We are on another "practice run" in RV life — You can read about our First Maiden Voyage here. This time we will be gone longer than two weeks. We were lucky to score a site close to the beach, at the charming Turtle Rock Resort RV Park in Gold Beach, Oregon. Ten days of relaxation, the sound of crashing waves at night, and beautiful sunsets. It sounded delightful and just what we needed.
It is a long drive to our destination from Anacortes, WA, so we took our sweet time and we meandered down the I-5 corridor to get there. Our first night on the road we stopped at the Midway RV Park in Centralia, WA. The name of the park is appropriate, meaning it is midway between Seattle and Portland. We arrived late afternoon, after skirting our way through Everett to Olympia traffic. We found our spot and glided in like we knew what we were doing.
The next morning we splurged and ate at Judy’s Country Kitchen, voted Best Breakfast, conveniently located next to the RV park. After a delicious breakfast, we scurried to I-5. Our next stop was just south of Portland, Oregon, close to McMinnville in Amity, Oregon. I was filled with excited anticipation for our next stop, a Harvest Host (affiliate link, get 15% off membership) — Wings and Prayer Alpaca Farm.
It was a beautiful drive, filled with sunshine as we wound our way through the Oregon countryside. We had never really explored this part of Oregon and I enjoyed the drive through the vast farmlands and green hills.
We arrived shortly before 4:00 pm. As newbies, backing up is still a bit of trial and error for us and our host gave thoughtful instructions and guidance with a touch of a lesson as we settled into our location for the evening. Once we settled in, I immediately grabbed my camera to venture out and explore.
After a restful night sleep, we hurried through our morning routine because we were going to take an Alpaca for a walk. They offer an Alpaca Trek experience on their farm for guests and I signed us up. We got a brief lesson, charmed our Alpaca with some goodies, then trekked up the hill with our host as our guide. She shared their story of how they came to be Alpaca farmers, how it grew, and shared some tidbits of Alpaca information. It was a delightful way to start our day and get exercise having Mondae (the Alpaca) by my side.
We thanked our hosts and bid them farewell as we continued on our journey. Our hosts recommended we continue on Hwy 99 for a more scenic view until we get to Eugene and they were right, it was beautiful.
Our next stop was Meadows Estate Winery. Located in the Umpqua Valley, the scenery was lovely. When we arrived our host greeted us and then once we settled in we ventured inside for some wine tasting and a little history on the winery and the area. It was a quiet and peaceful place to rest our heads after a days travel.
Thanks to the advice from others in some Facebook groups and our winery host, we opted to take Hwy 38 to reach the Oregon Coast, an RV friendly highway over and through the mountainous range. What a gorgeous scenic drive.
After a leisurely drive through the mountains and down Hwy 101 on the Oregon Coast, we arrived at our final destination — Turtle Rock Resort in Gold Beach, Oregon. A nice breeze greeted us as we found our site and settled in.
After ten days at Turtle Rock RV Park in Gold Beach, we headed up to Bay Point Landing RV Resort in Coos Bay, Oregon. I fell in love with this RV Park, we only a few days here and so much to see.
The mornings were gorgeous but then fog would roll in and hang out along the coastline. We traveled to see the sand dunes, but between the fog and other factors we didn’t really experience the sand dunes. Oh, well, maybe another time.
Another day, we did a scenic drive along HWY 540 aka Cape Arago HWY. It was a foggy day so we couldn’t see much off the coast, but still it was a stunning drive. Our next stop was Bandon, OR. To get to HWY 101 via Hwy 540 we discovered 7 Devils Road in Charleston. The sign said it was a “scenic” drive, at first it wasn’t much of a road but then suddenly it was more like you were in heaven, such stunning scenery from on top of the world. It was a winding road with curves and twists, fun to drive with the right vehicle, and I was sure glad we weren’t towing.
After lunch in Bandon, we drove along the coast on Beach Loop Drive to see Face Rock State Scenic Outlook and Devil’s Kitchen. By then, the fog was further offshore so our view expanded. But our favorite location and a “must see” on this day was Shore Acres State Park on Hwy 540.
Perched on craggy sandstone cliffs high above the ocean, Shore Acres State Park celebrates two sorts of beauty: ruggedly organic and artfully constructed. — Oregon State Parks
A unique blend of cragged rocks and rugged nature mixed beautifully with a landscaped garden and grassy area. The scenery was nothing short of sensational, a photographer or even a non-photographer’s heaven.
As a newbie, we are still learning how to plan our trips. I depend heavily on reviews and suggestions from groups I belong too. I am learning how to mix locations, utilizing Harvest Hosts during travel days, then finding a park where we can stay a little longer and have the use of full hook-ups. We have found we do better traveling when we have a location that we stay at least a week to actually enjoy the location, also to have downtime and days for chores — like laundry and grocery shopping.
From Alpacas to sunsets, the beginning of our adventure, our second Maiden Voyage, was off to a good start.
Living in an RV full time, traveling the country, sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
Everyone encourages you, they say, “Do it, you will enjoy it.”
The YouTube videos make it sound glamorous and exciting. You see photos on Facebook and Instagram and think, “I so want to be there.”
So why not sell off everything we own and do just that.
Leave behind family and friends, travel the country, downsize to very little, create new memories, write a new chapter in our life, enjoy the adventure.
But, what they don’t tell you in the videos, on Facebook or Instagram is about the emotional side of doing just that.
We made the decision to do this right around Christmas, and January and February has been an emotional roller coast ride, chunks of it downhill. The issue – we took on too much, too fast, too soon – quitting jobs, preparing to sell everything, finding the right Airstream, learning how to RV, finding places for us to stay in the Airstream, it was an endless list of things to do. I was completely overwhelmed, anxiety took over, fear replaced excitement, and worry took a strong hold.
It was also hard to not go down the remember-when-rabbit-hole. Reminiscing about this or that kept sucking us in, especially, when we found letters we wrote to each other when Tony was in the Air Force, or school year books, photos of our children, so many photos, so many memories. It was joyful, sad, entertaining, and time consuming.
Add to this mix all the things you need to learn about RVing, like towing and backing up.Then there are the things we take for granted in our homes, like water, sewer, and lights. Suddenly you have to learn more about them and about conservation. Not to mention living in a small space with your spouse.
Communication in the relationship takes on a new meaning, especially as newbies. “No, I said driver side.” LOL Hand signals need to be agreed upon. Working together as a team is critical. For us, after years of being self-employed and working together, it has been somewhat of a natural transition, not to say that it wasn’t hard sometimes or frustrating, but easier than it could be for some couples.
They say, “Timing is everything.” But I have to say, timing sometimes just does not make sense. At least, until later.
For over two years, we had been dreaming and talking and dreaming some more of traveling the country. We knew, almost from the start, that it had to be in an Airstream.
So, here we are – it’s 2021!
A year into a ravaging pandemic, a country broiling in uncertainty, and the highest RV sales in history with more RVers hitting the road and making it challenging. Yet, timing decides this is the year for us to follow our dream. What was timing thinking?
We are getting a crash course in time right now. It started with the financial means to put our dream into action and make it a reality, thanks to a special friend. As soon as the decision was made, time sped up, as if on a racetrack. Within a month, we suddenly had the tow vehicle, the Airstream, I quit my job, prepared to sell everything we owned, and gave notice to our landlord.
I have learned throughout the years “not” to argue with time, just listen and go with it. I just wished it would slow down long enough to catch a breath. But, as you get older, time just flies by and there is always this underlying sense of urgency that time is slipping away too fast, after all we won’t live forever.
Timing is also sometimes about coming full circle or repeating history in some form. In the 60’s and 70’s, Betty and her husband Jim tootled around in their various Airstreams. Here we are, some 50+ years later, starting our journey in our 2018 Flying Cloud, aptly named, Betty Jo. We are dedicating our adventures to Betty, it was her wish and inspiration that we enjoy life, which we hope to do when venture off to live our dream of traveling.
I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. Betty became a part of our life in 2008. The relationship grew and we became like family. We were there when she needed someone most and she was there when we needed someone most. In honor of our memories with her, we dedicate our next chapter of life to her and I can only hope that we do her justice.
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’s only right that Betty Jo, the Airstream, continues Betty’s adventurous spirit, taking us on travels we only dreamed about.
We met Betty at a camera club in Anacortes, WA in 2008. In her eighties, she loved photography and had been doing it throughout most of her life. She had no children of her own, her only sister and family lived in southern California. Soon our friendship grew and we became like family. Over the years, she spent holidays with us and our family, and numerous times we adventured to Princess Louisa Inlet in British Columbia, her most favorite place on earth.
Just a few days short of her 96th birthday, and the start of the Covid lockdown, Betty peacefully passed on. A long life, full of adventure, she left behind fond memories and cherished moments. She also left us the means to start the next chapter in our life.
Betty owned an Airstream back in her younger years. Adding us to her estate, her wishes were to make sure we had a home and a chance to enjoy life, so it was only fitting that our home and our dreams to travel take place in an Airstream aptly named, Betty Jo, in memory of a special person who became family.
I firmly believe that things happen for a reason. That we were meant to be a big part of Betty’s life and she was meant to become part of our family. The reasons are not always apparent, not at first, but later when you reflect back you can see the benefits or learn the lessons of that point in time.
Our gratitude to Betty extends far beyond what she has left us, it started with her friendship, her love for us, her caring nature. May we respectfully honor her as we take this next step, as we take her along on our next journey.
As we roam the roads and highways, looking for that next fantastic stop, keep track of our travels in our Airstream - Betty Jo