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.
I thought there would be more to see on Route 66 in Amarillo, and the surrounding area, so I booked us for a week at the RV Park — I was wrong!
Our first few days, we were pretty much stuck inside. First, high winds, then rain, then snow, then snow with high winds. It was three days before we could resume our Route 66 adventures. Three days of cold, wet, and high winds.
The winds eventually died down then the warmer weather came hitting 80 a few days later. It was hard to tell who was moodier at this point - Mother Nature or Me
On our first day on the Route, we did lunch at the Midpoint Cafe. It was…Nostalgic. The food wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. Of course, like any other Route 66 traveler, we had to take our photo at the Mid Point Sign.
My favorite sites along Route 66 are old gas stations. Some of my best childhood memories were the summers I spent with my grandpa. He owned a Chevron in Sterling, Colorado, where I spent many a summer with him at the gas station. My main job, (probably to keep me out of trouble) was to keep the gas pumps clean. I had my rag and a bottle of Windex, and I took my job seriously. When customers would pull in, grandpa would greet them, fill their tanks, wash their windows, and send them on their merry way with a smile. Sometimes, I was allowed to help. I would clean the side view mirrors. I had access to all of the bubble gum I wanted and my little chair, where I often sat and just watched my grandpa work on cars. I treasure those times with him, and Route 66 is flooding me with memories of a time when life was so simple.
After lunch, we resumed our Route 66 drive and did the old and new of Route 66 through Amarillo. Sorry, but I was a bit disappointed. What remnants that remain are more than run-down the luster long forgotten. So many other states and towns are renovating their route 66, embracing their history, welcoming visitors, and inviting them to times past and times present, but Amarillo seems tired and forgotten. You can locate parts where they are trying. But, the draw, the magic — it just wasn’t there. At least not for me.
Oasis RV Resort was a nice RV park with big sites and clean. Over the week, I watched as RVers came in for the night, leaving early the next day for their next location. Amarillo was just a stopover, a place to rest the heads of weary travelers traversing the long miles across Texas. Another sign that Amarillo didn’t seem to have much to offer travelers.
We ventured off the Route and drove to Palo Duro Canyon for an afternoon. The Canyon is the second-largest canyon in the United States. The canyon is about 120 miles long and 20 miles wide and is up to 800 feet deep. We ventured down the canyon, stopped at the Trading Post for lunch, then met a fellow Airstreamer (Two Peas and the Pod) in one of the campgrounds. It was the most beautiful part of our week and worth the drive.
We waited until the snow melted before stopping at Cadillac Ranch. You hear about these places and you think, “I must go there, too,” this was one of those places. I expected more to it. I guess I expected them to make more of a big deal of this iconic place. But it’s just ten old Cadillacs buried in the ground. No monument, no fanfare, no parking lot. You park on the shoulder and walk in through a gate. There was a truck selling spray cans, a must for anyone planning on the full experience. Children were having a blast. What more could they want - mud to splash in, spraying cans of paint, and the freedom to deface property with full zeal.
We spent a week in Amarillo, a long week. Maybe it was the weather? Maybe it was my mood? Maybe it was the dreariness? Whatever the reason... Route 66 in Amarillo was just not as magical.
Now, time to move to New Mexico. May Route 66 in New Mexico be filled with Enchantment.
RV Newbie - Celebrating our first year
I don’t know how to explain it. I am sensitive to my environment, the weather, and apparently RV parks.
When I research where to park Betty Jo (the Airstream), I have certain criteria I am looking for when booking an RV park. I read reviews, look at photos, I will even Google Earth a location, but none of which can tell me how an RV park “feels”. And this I can’t explain.
We have stayed in forty-six RV parks/resorts/campgrounds in our first year, some I really enjoyed because it “felt” comfortable, the vibe was great. Others, even though highly recommended, did nothing for me, there was nothing exactly wrong with them, I just did not feel comfortable, and therefore did not enjoy my stay as much. And, there were a few where I was very uncomfortable, my least favorites.
What do some of my favorite parks have in common? - nice wide sites and the neighbors aren’t real close. Easy to navigate around. Good energy.
The following parks made me feel “at home.” I knew the vibes were good when I just wanted to hang out at our site, and at the park. Most of them on the list are a little on the higher-price side, it was early on when I noticed I was becoming an RV snob and not much of a camper.
Here is a list of the Good Vibe places we parked Betty Jo (the Airstream) and I would gladly stay there again. They are not in any particular order.
Swinomish Casino and Lodge, Anacortes, WA
1. Swinomish Casino and Lodge in Anacortes, WA.
There is nothing really special about this RV park. The sites were decent. No amenities of any kind. Maybe because this was our first RV park and where we started to learn how to live in a tiny space. The location was a BIG plus. Being close to home probably helped (we are from Anacortes, WA.) The staff was FABULOUS!!!
FHU, 50/30 amps, good interior roads for navigating, small park, pull-throughs and back-in sites, Big Rig friendly gravel sites, fairly level.
Bay Point Landing, Coos Bay, Oregon
Bay Point Landing - Coos Bay, Oregon
This was our first encounter with a resort-like RV park. We pulled in and immediately I felt like I was home. Beautiful location, nice large sites with nice little touches. WIDE interior roads for easy navigating. We were just starting and I had reserved a pull-through site but we could have easily backed in to one of the back-in sites, even though we were newbies. Wonderful amenities. The staff was very friendly and resort-like customer service. And the view!!!!
FHU, 50/30 amps, great interior roads for navigating, pull-throughs and back-in sites, Big Rig friendly, laundry, bathroom/showers, gravel sites and level. Right along the Oregon coastline so there is so much to do.
Jackson Rancheria RV Park - Jackson, CA
Jackson Rancheria RV Park - Jackson, CA
Similar to Bay Point Landing, this was a resort-like park. Beautiful location, nice wide sites, friendly staff, nice walking trail around the park, shuttle rides to the casino. We only stayed a few days but wanted to stay longer.
FHU, 50/30 amps, great interior roads for navigating, pull-throughs and back-in sites, Big Rig friendly, laundry, bathroom/showers, concrete sites and level.
Seven Feathers Casino RV Park - Canyonville, OR
Seven Feathers Casino RV Park - Canyonville, OR
LOVED this RV park. We stayed there twice. Like Bay Point Landing, they provided resort-like customer service. Right off of I-5 in central Oregon. I don’t know what drew me to it, but I definitely could see why others raved about this RV park. Wide sites, easy to navigate, very BIG RIG friendly, nice amenities, great staff, large free-book library (a book lovers dream). There was a serenity to this park, you just felt welcomed and comforted. It was hot while we were there but being cushioned in a valley between two mountains, it cooled down quickly in the evenings.
FHU, 50/30 amps, great interior roads for navigating, pull-throughs and back-in sites, Big Rig friendly, concrete sites and level.
Four Corners RV Resort - Antioch, TN
Four Corners RV Resort - Antioch, TN
This is a newer park and they are semi-resort like. We stayed over a week here and I wished it could have been longer. This park felt like home. We were close to Nashville and did some touristy things, but here, I just wanted to hang out in the park and enjoy the vibe.
FHU, 50/30 amps, great interior roads for navigating, mostly back-in sites, Big Rig friendly, concrete sites and level, laundry room, bathroom/showers.
Resort at Canopy Oaks - Lake Wales, FL
Resort at Canopy Oaks- Lake Wales, FL
This is a relatively new park in the central area of Florida. It was not conveniently located next to a town, but I think that added to its charm. It’s a large resort but everything is so spaced out you didn’t feel like everyone was on top of you. The sites are wide and long and the interior roads are easy to navigate and easy for backing in. This was a well-laid out park. Nice amenities. Everyone would be out in the morning walking. Fun Tiki Bar. It has a lot of potential. Active Facebook group. We spent a month here and I hated to leave.
FHU, 50/30 amps, great interior roads for navigating, mostly back-in sites, Big Rig friendly, concrete sites and level, bathroom/showers, laundry.
Wanapuam State Park - Vantage, WA
Wanapuam State Park - Vantage, WA
When we started everyone said you have to stay in state parks, but they fill up so fast. I didn’t find them as budget-friendly as most people stated. I also felt that most of the state parks were not as easy to navigate around. But this park was AMAZING, even on a smoke-filled and hot summer day. We only stayed the one night and as soon as we pulled into the park I knew I needed to return and stay longer. I have already reserved a spot for May of this year (2022.) I have not, yet, been able to adopt the “rustic” type of camping. For some reason those parks make me a bit uncomfortable. But this park, the rustic (outdoorsy feeling) was a charm.
Our site had FHU and was a pull-through, 50/30 amps, great interior roads for navigating, pull-throughs and back-in sites, Big Rig friendly, dirt sites and somewhat level. For our return trip, I booked a pull-through site right by the water.
Clark’s Ferry - Montpelier, IA
Clark’s Ferry - Montpelier, IA
This is a Corp of Engineers park, right by the Mississippi River. I picked it because it was located right by the Mississippi and It had good reviews. My only real concern was it didn’t have full hook-ups and I wanted to stay for five days. This is another park that surprised me. Like Wanapaum, it was a little more rustic (meaning more nature-like, less resort-like) but I felt so comfortable there and really enjoyed my stay. They have great bathrooms with showers so we utilized them to save on our grey tank (there is a dump station located by the exit) we lasted the five days without having to dump. And, you can’t beat the price, $20 per night, $10 if you have the National Senior Pass (which we do.) Then there was the view!!!!
50/30 amps, good interior roads for navigating, mostly back-in sites, concrete sites and mostly level. Clean bathroom and showers.
Duck Creek RV Resort- Muskegon, MI
We booked this park to visit friends, so we were only there for a few days, I would love to go back and stay a bit longer, just not in the summer months, it is right across from an amusement park. Nice, comfortable sites. Lots of amenities and great walking paths. This was our first park that had a little cafe with ice cream and an arcade for children (or adults.)
FHU, 50/30 amps, great interior roads for navigating, mostly back-in sites, Big Rig friendly, concrete sites and level.
St Peter’s 370 Lakeside Park - St Peters, MO
This park is managed by the city of St Peters. I chose it because it was close to St Louis, but not in St Louis. It had good reviews. And what a joy it was. Simple, elegant, laid out well, surroundings were beautiful, and just so comfortable. We spent ten days there and I would gladly spend a month. The sites were wide and very long. The neighbors were close but not right on top of you. Great walking trail.
FHU, 50/30 amps, great interior roads for navigating, pull-throughs and back-in sites, Big Rig friendly, concrete sites and level, bathroom/showers, laundry.
Blue Earth Campground at The Faribault County Fairgrounds- Blue Earth, MN
This one surprised me. It was a last minute reservation on our way to Michigan. It is located in the back of a fairground and is really small. The cost was $25.00 for the night, so it was the price that caught my attention. It was such a delightful and almost quaint place to stop. Cozied in the back of the fairgrounds, simple sites with FHU. Great Camp Host. Some of the sites are not BIG RIG friendly. It was so hot and a bit humid but we still enjoyed our walk around the fairgrounds and had fun seeing the Jolly Green Giant.
1. Lewis and Clark Golf and RV Park - Astoria, OR
2. Casey’s Riverside RV park - Westfir, OR
3. Brookhollow RV - Kelso, WA
4. Heartland Rv Park - Hermosa, SD
5. Petoskey RV Resort - Petoskey, MI
6. Clarksville RV - Clarksville, TN
7. Skidaway Island State Park, Savannah, GA
8. Peter D’s Rv Park - Sheridan, WY
9. City of Canton RV Park - Canton, IA
10. Yreka RV - Yreka, CA
11. Riverside RV - Sevierville, TN
12. Bay Bayou - Tampa, FL
Most Disappointing Parks:
1. Siding Motel RV Park (AKA Circle K Campground) - White Lake, SD
2. Tween the Lakes - Grand Rivers, KY
3. Garden Bay RV - Garden Bay, MI
4. Premier RV Resort - Salem, OR
5. Lynden KOA - Lynden, WA
6. Skagit Valley RV - Mt Vernon, WA
7. Stagecoach RV - St Augustine, FL
8. Elma RV - Elma, WA
BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE
1. Bay Point Landing
2. Jackson Rancheria RV Park
3. Swinomish Casino and Lodge
4. Lewis and Clark Golf and RV Park
5. Seven Feathers
6. Peter D’s RV park
7. Blue Earth Campground
8. Duck Creek RV Resort
9. Clarksville RV
10. Four Corners
11. Bay Bayou RV
12. Ocean Lakes Family Campground
13. Brookhollows RV
14. Elma RV
And checking off some items from our Bucket List
Our Maiden Voyage back in April was short and bittersweet, read more here. We then returned to Anacortes, where after a brief stint home we decided to try again and took to the road. This time it got off to a great start, read about it in our article, Airstreaming, Alpacas, and Sunsets.
We’re back home, again, after two months on the road, after traveling through four states (Washington, Oregon, Northern California, and Reno Nevada area.) We discovered twelve RV parks, some were fantastic (didn’t want to leave), a couple were so-so.
And when we entered Northern California in early June, we also hit temperatures over 90+, then over 100 or more by mid-June, lasting for over a month. When you are from Washington state (the west side of the Cascades) anything over 75 is considered hot. If we hit 80, we moan and groan and start to melt, so just imagine what happened when the whole PNW hit 100 degrees or more. I knew that I was finally adjusting to the heat, when I decided that 90 was considered cool after hitting over 100. :-)
With the heat upon us, our original trip plans took a detour and instead of going where the road took us next, we had to make more concrete plans and find RV parks with full hook-ups so we could run our A/C. In an industry, where RV parks are supposedly full and hard to obtain, I was worried it might prove to be challenging, especially with a holiday weekend in the mix (the 4th of July) but with some good research and calling around, we somehow managed.
We picked locations that interest us, especially for photography, and places we had never been to. We also needed to allow time in some locations to just relax, when we could get it we would stay for a week. RV Life is fun, but it can also be quite draining when you are moving too much or doing too many activities. We needed our down time. Plus we had a few loads of laundry to do here and there.
Though it wasn’t part of any plan, I suddenly found myself checking off things that were on our list of Someday (Bucket List.)
The first Someday - River Rafting - see the article Why Are Adventures Always Fun…Afterwards. This was on my Someday list, I just never thought I would be brave enough for that adventure.
The next Someday(s) - We ended up spending a lot of time in central and southern Oregon between Medford and Eugene, since we were there we decided to knock off two of our Someday items: Crater Lake and Oregon’s Covered Bridges, during the heat, these two items were great ways to cool down.
Mt. St. Helens
Our last Someday(s) on this trip, took place in Washington State. We spent a week in Kelso, WA. This is not usually a destination we would choose, but I chose it because it wasn’t normally a destination and it was a place we had never visited. It felt like a good place to have some great down time and it was. While there we finally ventured up to Mt. St. Helens, a Someday item that finally found its day. What a beautiful and scenic drive up to Johnson Ridge. We also wanted to attend a small town rodeo and on our last night in Kelso, the Cowlitz Fair started and so did the Thunder Mountain Pro Rodeo. It was fun and so entertaining, a great end to our final night on this journey. As a bonus - we found our first “Largest” item, right here in Winlock, WA
Due to the change of plans and having to find RV parks, most of the parks we found were along I-5. I soon called our trips, ‘the I-5 Shuffle’, I felt sometimes like all we did was go up and down I-5, especially in Oregon.
The rates in parks have gone up considerably for various reasons, even state parks, making our stays a little bit more pricey, but it was also during this time that I found I was more of a Glamping RVer (see my article What Kind of RVer Am I. At least that is what kind of RVer we were during these two months on the road.
But all of that is about to change…well, at least, slightly. Stay tuned.
We left Anacortes on May 20th and returned on July 23rd. We are home until August 12th, then it’s off to an even longer adventure…
May 20 - Midway RV Park, Centralia, WA
May 21- Wings and Prayer Alpaca Farm (Harvest Host) Amity, OR
May 22 - Meadows Estate Winery (Harvest Host) Oakland, OR
May 23 - June 1 - Turtle Rock Resort, Gold Beach, OR
June 1-5 - Bay Point Landing, Coos Bay, OR
June 6 - Yreka RV Park, Yreka, CA
June 7 - Chico Rice Farm (Harvest Host) Willows, CA
June 8-10 - Jackson Rancheria Casino, Jackson, CA
June 10-17 - Gold Ranch Casino, Verdi, CA
June 17 - Susanville RV, Susanville, CA
June 18-21- Yreka RV Park, Yreka, CA
June 21-26 - Seven Feathers Casino RV Park, Canyonville, CA
June 26-29 - Casey’s Riverside RV Park, Westfir, OR
June 29 - July 3 - Olde Stone Village, McMinnville, OR
July 3 - 9 - Seven Feathers RV, Canyonville, OR
July 9- 16 - Premier RV Resort, Salem, OR
July 16- 23 - BrookHollow RV Park, Kelso, WA
Read my reviews on Campgroundreviews.com
As we roam the roads and highways, looking for that next fantastic stop, keep track of our travels in our Airstream - Betty Jo