Saturday, May 6, 2017


We hit the road for the adventure of a lifetime. 

So much has happened, so many plans have changed and we have learned so much it is all hard to put down in words, but here goes.

People have asked me if traveling full time is what I expected it to be, the answer is yes and no.  How is that for an answer?  We have done and learned so much it is hard to sum it all up. 

One thing is for certain with traveling full time, if you don’t like a travel plan wait five minutes it will change.

From the very first day, when instead of getting away early in the day as planned we didn’t do it until mid-afternoon life has been basically go with the flow. That is okay though, because we are retired and have no set place we have to be at any certain time.  We make as few reservations as possible so if Murphy of Murphy’s Law pops up from his place in the back seat to misbehave we aren’t out a deposit or stressing about getting to a campground on time.

A prime example is our plan to spend quality time at Williamsburg, VA.  We headed that direction last fall, only to be met by Hurricane Matthew and turned away.

This spring we decided we would head directly up there from Florida and we actually are at Newport News, VA right now, and have been for around two weeks.  We leave first thing tomorrow and have yet to make it into Williamsburg due to weather and all the other site seeing we have been doing. So Williamsburg and Washington, DC are on our travel plans for this coming fall.  We will see if we get there then.

Murphy hits in the form of flats, a lost wheel, a lost truck rear end, a stolen truck, trailer repairs, broken eye glasses, sheer exhaustion and so much more have changed our travel plans on numerous occasions. 

Some of those visits from Murphy were enough to make us consider for a nano second tucking our tails and going back to the farm to hide for the rest of our lives.  Like I said for a nano second.  We aren’t quitters and for the most part enjoy all that we do as we travel.

So far we have proven ourselves to be time travelers of sorts.  Thanks to museums, amusement parks, and archeology sites we have visited from 900 AD at the Mitchell,SD Prehistoric Indian site

to far in the future at Walt Disney World.

 In between we have gone to school with Laura Ingalls Wilder,

fought in all the wars our nation has participated in,

 visited with Andrew Jackson in his home,

listened to Dolly Parton at Dollywood.

We even tried to get the secret recipe from Duke at Bush Beans.

One of our biggest entertainments is enjoying the diverse landscapes as we travel the country.  From the green hills ofArkansas

 to the Palo Duro Canyon of TX,

 the stone bluffs of the Badlands,

 to the beaches of Galveston, TX.

  Let’s not forget the Great Smokey Mountains.

 The landscape is constantly changing. 

We have yet to do the Little Sahara and the Great Salt Flats in Oklahoma in our retirement travels, nor the great southwest.  So there is much more to see.
Another great thing we have done is visit with friends, both old and new.  There are no words to describe how much delight this has brought us.

Of course there have been some down times. The biggest of which was the sudden loss of my brother in law.

 Luckily we were close enough to Oklahoma at the time we were able to scoot home for the funeral.  While when my cousin passed we weren’t able to do so.

Nor were we there to say good-bye to an ancient beloved cat as he took his last ride to the vet. 

These times were hard, but life happens when you least expect it and so does death.

We have learned so much in our travels.  Not only about camping life but about unusual things and words.

Before this last year of traveling we never knew there was a point in history a ten hour watch.  Nor had I pondered the meaning of toothsome (tasty).  Yet touring two different museums these two items and many more were made known to us.  Travel is educating.

Speaking of toothsome, we have created so many tasty meals traveling and using dried foods it is amazing.  I know Gary was a little reluctant when I suggested we fill our cupboards with dried foods instead of can goods to save on weight and space, not to mention money.

Now he is very adept at creating such meals himself and wonders why we hadn’t been using dried eggs for baking all our married life, or at least all the camping we have done throughout our 44 years as husband and wife.

One year on the road and we have barely made a dent in our dried food storage, where we would have had to purchase massive amounts of canned and frozen foods in that same time period.

Another thing we have learned is less is more.  We have learned to cook for just two now without leftovers to worry about squeezing into our tiny refrigerator. 

You can get through cooking a meal without having every single appliance, pot, pan and utensil that Bed Bath and Beyond sells and do so quite easily.

Teamwork is essential when you are together 24/7, whether it is cooking a meal or replacing the landing gear on the fifth wheel.

 Working together we can accomplish just about anything.  We can even survive driving through Houston, Texas!

I have been asked more than once what would be the one piece of advice I would give anyone starting out on this adventure.  My response “have a large emergency fund and then double what you think is big enough and you might get close to what you need”. We had a huge one thank goodness.  We are now in the process of rebuilding it to an even larger amount, just in case.

While you may not have the same breakdowns we have had, you will have them.  Every camper we have spoken with on that subject says they were in no way prepared for all the “little” things that popped up their first year, and even subsequent years on the road.  Having an easily accessible emergency fund is essential while traveling.  Don’t leave home without it

With all our ups and downs this last year we discussed this morning whether or not there would be a year two of travel.  We both agreed whole heartedly that as long as we can physically and safely do it we will keep moving on down the highway learning, seeing and enjoying all this great country has to offer.

To quote Gary this morning “We’ve barely scratched the surface of all the things there are to see and do in this United States of America.”


  1. CJ, thanks so much for sharing! I am a future retired camper and love your posts - hopefully a glimpse into my future (without some of the breakdowns)! If at some point you are able to write a post about how you fit in mystery shopping while traveling (if you do), and how you handle payments, uploading reports and receipts with internet so scarce, and whether you think it's worth it, I'd be interested in that side of your travels as well. Would also love to know how you find some of the hidden gem locations you visit. Happy, healthy & safe travels to you and Gary!

  2. We haven't done mystery shopping this last year, but did so for 18 months a few years back when we had a hot spot. We spent a lot of time at McDonald's, Panera, libraries and such.

    We have been talking about doing some shops this next year. If we do I will definitely post about it.

    In the meantime if you put mystery shopping and/or merchandising in the search feature on this blog it will pull up all my past posts on how to do it etc.

    Thanks for the idea for a post on how we find our hidden gem spots. Stay tuned for an up coming post on that subject.