I had envisioned spending the whole summer in one spot. Enjoying a sense of peace and quiet. Savoring our little slice of Island Life nestled amongst the trees, with its peek-a-boo view of the bay. Summering on the southwest side of Fidalgo Island. To being stationary for a while and reclining into a day-to-day routine that did not involve packing and unpacking, sightseeing, and lots of driving. I was looking forward to having the time to start and finish some much needed projects inside and outside of Betty Jo.
We have been back for three weeks now and I am feeling - ANTYSY! This surprised me, how much I needed to be on the road. I had a little inkling of being antsy while we spent a month in one location in Florida, but there was so much to see that it didn’t really take hold. Now, however, in a place familiar to us, it is hitting and hitting hard. I find myself craving to hitch up and just go. I have to often work hard to calm the antsy down. We had planned to do some short trips over the summer, but I was craving more than that…I wanted to hit the road and never turn back. Life doesn’t always cooperate and allow what we want to happen, as much as I want this, now is not the time.
The practical side of me says to be patient. To take this time to take care of business. I tell myself to be grateful. With gas prices soaring, the wild weather of Mother Nature roaring across the country, I tell myself this is where we are meant to be and to ride out the storm. The road will still be there come Fall. But still…the twinges of antsiness pinches me, reminding me — I am not finished, not yet.
For now, I will satisfy myself with short jaunts, looking back, and planning for what is to come.
In the meantime… Here is a look at some of our favorite spots.
After a few miles, it all starts to blend together.
I cWe started this RV journey in February of 2021, with two maiden journeys under our belt, we , hit the road full-time in August of 2021. We have been on the road full-time, for only a short nine months. We have driven over 20,000 miles since our journey started. And we have stayed in over fifty RV parks, Harvest Hosts, state parks, and national campgrounds in the last fifteen months.
We settled down in November, December, and January for the winter months, staying in three different RV parks for 30 days at a time, with a few short stops in between.
On February 9, we left our last winter campground and we have been on the road ever since. For medical reasons we needed to return to Washington state by May so we have been slowly working our way from the southeast coast to the northwest coast.
When we first hit the road, travel anxiety took its foot hold, after all, it had been three months since we had “really” traveled. We felt like newbies again. Once we got back into the routine, travel days became a little easier and being on the road is now just a way of life, again.
Since we left the east coast in February…we have been to twenty-one RV parks and one host site. We visited - South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah.
When we first started our cross-country journey, we had learned our lesson about traveling hard and long days, travel fatigue set in almost immediately, so this time was to be different. We kept our travel days light, traveling around 100-175 miles. We stayed in a location for at least a few days, sometimes a week. Yet, mid-way through and about the time we hit Arizona, travel fatigue hit, again, and I started to notice that everything was blending together. I often found myself referring to my calendar to check where we were last? What was that name of that RV park we stayed at? Was it really only just a few days ago that we were at ????
I found I could not always remember some things - like the name of a park. This is not like me and it was unsettling to say the least. As I have aged memories seem harder to hang onto, to be expected I suppose. But this wasn’t just memories fading away, it was that everything we have been doing just started to blend together, like one really long memory. Memories that were just only a week old, started to feel like a lifetime ago. Life was moving too quickly. And it was always a rush onto the next memory-making adventure.
I have met RVers who full-time and move at least once a week, sometimes twice a week, and have been doing this for years, I wondered - do the places they visit and the memories they made start to blend together too?
On the road, life still happens and there are still deadlines to be met. Staying in one location for a lengthy amount of time is not always feasible, and not always desirable. After all, we hit the road to see the places we have always dreamed of. To experience life in a way we didn’t when staying in one spot. And to answer a longing once buried inside.
It may all sometimes blend together, but I can at least say I can say I was there, even if it was only last week.
There is always this discussion on twin beds vs queen, when it comes to an Airstream.
My vote — a QUEEN!!!
Last night, a blizzard hit Amarillo, Texas. Snow and 30 mph winds wreaked havoc all night long. I woke up around 4:00 am from the howling of the wind outside. I got up to use the restroom and found out our power went out sometime before then. Luckily, (I seem to be using that word a lot lately) we upgraded our batteries last year to AGM Lifelines and Tony added a Victron battery monitor so he could monitor our batteries with his phone. And, luckily (there is that word again), we have a queen bed so we could SNUGGLE!!!
Our furnace was running constantly at this point, we had it set to 61 when we went to bed, to keep us, and Betty Jo warm. But since the power was out and the furnace was running on battery power, we decided to turn it down and monitor the usage. At 4:00 am our battery power was at 95%, we turned down the furnace to 58 and I set our alarm to wake us up about every 45 minutes so we could check the batteries, and to make sure we had not frozen to death. By 5:00 am we were down to 91%. Then at 9:10 am were down to 87%.
Our fridge was drawing about 14 watts, luckily (again) it switched to propane. So the only items running on batteries were our fridge and the furnace.
By morning, the sun started peeking through the clouds and added a little juice to our batteries through the solar panels.
Thanks to our queen size bed and layers of blankets (and long sleeve shirts and socks) we snuggled together and stayed pretty toasty. Even, with the furnace set to 55, Betty Jo stayed fairly warm as well.
1. THE WINDOWS - Out my window... I see a dream, a reality, incredible beauty, a moment of gratitude.
My favorite feature of Betty Jo (and any Airstream) are the windows - and there are a lot of them. Before I start my morning routine I open all the curtains to let the light burst in. I need LIGHT!! And, lots of it.
And, then there are the views from each window… a frame of nature’s beauty promising a day of greatness. As I open each curtain, I stop and take a moment to enjoy the view. I am filled with gratitude of what each day brings and the enjoyment I get from receiving.
As an RVer, one thing you can count on is CHANGE - in location, in landscape, in the weather, and your neighbors. Often, when I open the curtains in the morning I will find a neighbor gone, or replaced with a new neighbor. The weather offers its own drama to the view or provides a stunning beauty that changes, oftentimes in minutes, leaving you breathless with awe and anticipation. Each location has its own rewards and contributes to the incredible view and journey we are on.
2. Her Name
In life, Betty was a feisty and adventurous woman. Born in 1924, she was far beyond her times, as a woman who enjoyed life and excelled in her career and adventures. A photographer, a sailor, a teacher, she lived her life to the fullest.
It is only right that Betty Jo, the Airstream, continues Betty’s adventurous spirit, taking us on travels we only dreamed about.
I am grateful to Betty for this opportunity and grateful that everyday I feel she is with us in spirit and still watching over us.
3. Her shining beauty - inside and out.
Airstreams entice you with their beauty, their shining exterior, their quality, their aerodynamics. But it is not just her aluminum shell I admire – Betty Jo has a natural beauty, a shining quality of uniqueness, a sturdiness, and a protective nature providing us with a solid home, much like her namesake.
4. Towing - She’s a natural at it.
Betty Jo has a solid streak of independence but when being towed, she is a natural at following and obediently staying on course. Her aerodynamic figure makes her the perfect partner for our Ford F-250 (Jack) truck. Her low center of gravity keeps her weight balanced and easy to tow.
5. Her Quirks
I swear, Betty Jo (the Airstream) has the same personality as her namesake - she can be determined or stubborn, she loves attention, most importantly she can be PROTECTIVE and generous.
In this first year together, I have learned to recognize her various moans, groans, and creaks and what they mean. I can tell when she is satisfied and settled in her spot, and when she is not quite comfortable. She sparkles brilliantly when she has a bath. She enjoys (as much as I do) when we are able to open all the windows and let in fresh air. She revels in sunshine and is quiet in colder weather.
When we name something, it is no longer just a “thing”, we make a connection, and in Betty Jo’s case - it makes her a home.
It has been almost a year since we bought Betty Jo. A year of learning, determination, crying, laughter, stress, adventure… most importantly a year of living.
“I want to ride on one of those someday.”
As we grow older our childhood dreams fade away, forgotten as life takes over. Since I was a child I wanted to ride on an Airboat and when we hit the road with Betty Jo (the Airstream) and ended up in Florida, I remembered that dream and made plans to make it come true.
I wanted the “experience” of being on an Airboat, not a quick tourist ride. I searched and located a company committed to providing their customers with an experience — not just a ride. Their mission is to invite you to discover the beauty and the nature of the Everglades and absorb its beauty. There are no “touristy” shows, no crowded boats — just you and nature — the way it was intended.
Our guide is the sixth generation in the area and was passionate about the Everglades and introducing people to it. We picked the company, Down South Airboat Tours, because of their personalized service and because they also have access to parts of the Everglades than most of the others in the area. It was worth every penny.
The ride was more than the thrill of skimming along the water on a fast boat. The natural beauty was beyond anything I could have imagined. I was mesmerized with what this earth truly has to offer — and how much we need to respect and appreciate it.
I was surprised by the diversity of the area — from grass to forest to swampland. And by its beauty and my reaction to it.
The Everglades is an intricate system of subtropical wetlands, lakes, and rivers, originally covering more than 4,000 square miles (10,000 square kilometers) from Lake Okeechobee to the southern tip of Florida. However, due to development, the Everglades has been reduced to less than half of that size,
While sometimes thought of like a giant swamp, the Everglades is technically a very slow-moving, shallow river. Because sawgrass marsh dominates this river, it was traditionally called the “River of Grass.” In fact, Native Americans living in the area called it Pahayokee, meaning the “grassy waters.
The Everglades: River of Grass
It was more than a ride on an Airboat — it was a history lesson, a deep appreciation for the area and its diverse offerings to the world, and a memory to be treasured for many years to come.
When we started this journey with Betty Jo (the Airstream) we knew there were a few places we wanted to visit, but as the journey unfolded, so did the dreams of where to next. We did not start with a Bucket List — it just evolved and keeps evolving — as does the journey.
Safe travels to all, and may you find your Bucket List dreams do come true.
As we roam the roads and highways, looking for that next fantastic stop, keep track of our travels in our Airstream - Betty Jo