March 29th 2017 , after selling our house, we headed off on our motor home adventure. On April 7th 2017 we moved the coach to The Yogi Bear RV park in Williamsport, MD. Twelve months later, almost to the day, we’re back where we began. It has been quite a ride, and an eventful year!
In that 12 months we’ve covered about 10,000 miles with stops in VA, TN, AL (Tiffin factory), KS, NE, CO, WY, SD, NM, TX and FL. We saw old friends and made new ones along the way. We saw spectacular parts of this Country, and a wide range of conditions. So, what were the highs and lows? How do I feel about the travels? What are we looking forward to as we plan to head out again — and now that we have a sticks and bricks home again? You can browse back through the previous posts to see some of the highlights. This post is about our reactions, lessons and discoveries after living 24/7 in a moving home and confined to small space and constant contact. Motor home living is not necessarily for the faint of heart!
When we began this adventure, I had been retired for 5 years and done extensive sailing, much solo, cruising the east coast. Denise only just retired as we were moving from house to motor home. Neither of us had ever owned or driven a motor home. We took delivery near Buffalo, NY and drove home to MD – 425 miles under some marginal conditions – a quick way to learn about handling a 38ft MH and tow. The next months would provide lots of on-the-road lessons which thankfully we survived and learned from.
So, what were the highs and lows…? Not easy to pick from a very long list. I loved the chances we had to meet up with old friends from my conservation career days – folks I had worked with and become lasting friends with. That clearly needs to be in my top five. Sharing some of the amazing western landscape and wildlife with Denise ranks right up there. The bison and donkeys in Custer, SD State Park were wonderful to experience, as were the Big Horned sheep in Creed, CO. I would add landing a 20″ wild Rainbow Trout in the headwaters of the Rio Grande was pretty special too!
Don’t ever miss the chance to experience the annual Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerqui, NM – despite the really cold, dark start!
Mesa Verde ruins, the train ride through the southern Colorado mountains, wading in the Gulf of Mexico, and finding great friends at our winter quarters at Sundance RV park in Florida all make the list of special memories.
Among the VERY few lows, was the incredibly sad loss of a good friend who visited and toured some of Colorado’s wonderful scenery with us. We remember those days and they will stay etched in my memory for a lifetime….
On a lesser scale, I said goodbye to Cricket who was not able to adapt to the traveling lifestyle. We become amazingly attached to these furry friends, and they are family. She went to wonderful home with good folks and other dogs to enjoy as well, but is still missed most every day….
Twelve months of travel was largely without issues – a good thing! We made two stops at the Tiffin factory in Red Bay, AL – the first on the way west, the second as we returned to Florida for the winter months. Only minor issue to address on our 2017 Phaeton 36GH as well as a couple modifications to improve handling and ride. The miles built confidence in handling the beast, setting up and breaking down at campgrounds. I can now eat breakfast before heading out after an RV park stay! And kudos to Tiffin for their product and remarkable service. An AC unit failed in Cody, WY – it took only 4 days to receive and install the new unit they shipped to the local tech!
In January Denise lost her 98 year old dad. He lived independently till the very end and passed away quietly in his sleep. It was not a surprise, but difficult none the less. So, at the end of our first year we are now parked for a few months while renovating a house. Yes, after the year’s freedom of only the coach and the travel, we are house owners again with all the considerations that brings. It is a stark reminder of how quickly ones life can change, emphasizing the wisdom of the words I try to live by – ‘Nothing is more important that this day.’
Yes, we will be off again! the first year was a great teacher, and perhaps the most important lessons were how to live together in a small space and the value of time together, the magnificence of our Country, the importance of friends, and how to manage a complex machine. Clearly there is more to learn and see. We will finish the house renovations, enjoy the blessing of having two homes, and build more wonderful memories experiencing other remarkable places and people. It was a very good year!