We are always asked - "what's your favorite?" Favorite place. Favorite thing you did. Favorite RV park. Favorite food. Favorite, Favorite, Favorite. This list was hard to do but it here it is.
Not Planned Bucket List
Scenic Road Trips
From pre-newbie to newbie, to semi-advanced newbie, back to almost-newbie….Again.
We were pre-newbie in January of 2021 when we started looking for an Airstream and dreaming of RVing full-time. Then newbie reality hit once we found the Airstream in February of 2021 and had to tow her home. From then on it was a whirlwind of crash courses on RVing, and everything associated with this lifestyle and owning an Airstream.
After a couple of Maiden Voyages, we left our hometown of Anacortes and headed east. Each mile gave us just a pinch more experience and a tad more confidence. Pushing us toward becoming semi-advanced newbies.
We wintered in Florida for two months, then six weeks in South Carolina, being stationary for so long we found it hard to get back into the routine of being on the road when we finally left to head west. By the time we reached Washington state, we were semi-advanced newbies once again, even advancing toward ‘advanced’ newbies
For medical and dental reasons we returned to our hometown where we are moochdocking on a friend's property. When we finally hit the road again in mid-September. We will have been in one place for almost four months. I am starting to feel the anxious butterflies in my stomach as we get closer to leaving, and when I think about hitching up. Just like when we left South Carolina in mid-February, I suspect it will take a few trips to get us back into the routine of travel days - and I am newbie nervous.
It’s been months since I have had to plan a route and I am finding it takes a while to fire up the brain neurons (blame it on older age) that remember how I did it before. I finally picked an afternoon, knowing I needed enough time to focus on the task, I got as far as an outline of where we are heading.
This trip, I am planning (and I use that term loosely) is to try more Boondocking, another learning curve, and another newbie skill to acquire. Our route is Oregon to Yellowstone to the Tetons to Colorado to New Mexico to Texas, settling in Arizona for the winter. We will throw in a few Harvest Hosts and RV parks to mix it up a bit. For me, Boondocking tends to add to the anxiety, I prefer to know where we will be staying and when. And I found I am more of a mid-scale RV park type of RVer so this type of camping will be a change, to say the least.
This route will be more of a wing it route, how else will we acquire this skill and know if we like it or not unless we try? It is also part of this plan to help weed down our budget for nightly stays.
I feel a little more confident approaching Boondocking now with the skills we have acquired and the experience we have under our belts versus when we were brand new newbies. Boondocking will add to our experience of RVing - and to the thousands of photos we have collected since we started this journey.
We are allowing about two months for this route so by the time we get to Arizona we should be semi-advance newbies again (maybe even advanced newbies,) with new skills, new experiences, and new “I Learned That” attitudes.
There are drawbacks to Rving Full-time, but then there are drawbacks to many things in life. The rewards often overshadow the drawbacks, creating memories that last a lifetime, making this life just a little worthwhile.
1. Medical/Dental Emergencies - With today’s busy doctors and dentists, it is hard to get an appointment when needed, and it can often be hard to stay in an RV spot long enough to receive the care you might need. When I broke a tooth in Myrtle Beach, I obtained an appointment with a dentist quickly enough to have it looked at, but it was three weeks before they could get me in to fix it. Since, I was unable to find an RV spot without moving several times, I opted to wait until I returned to our home state. Thankfully, the tooth did not hurt.
2. Making Friends - One of the benefits of RV traveling is meeting new people. It is also a drawback. We have had the good fortune to meet the most amazing people on our journey, some we will stay connected with online, but many we will never meet again but will remember with fond memories. We are usually so busy in a location, zipping around doing tourist stuff, returning to camp late, so there is no time to interact with others. When we do meet someone in the park, it is often the night before we leave or they leave, giving us a few precious moments to enjoy their company. Then it is a quick goodbye before we are off to the next location, the next adventure, the next travelers to meet. Our connections with others may be short, but oh so meaningful.
3. Family and Friends - Thankfully, there is Facebook and other online platforms that help keep us connected to the loved ones we left behind. Phone calls help keep the connection strong and give us a sense of belonging, but there is nothing like a good hug, a face-to-face conversation, a meal with those who know you, or a solid shoulder to cry on.
4. Travel fatigue - The thrill of the adventure, the anticipation of the next location, and the beauty of the road attracts many to this lifestyle but the constant set-up and tear-down, the go-go-go, and the eternal moving can wear on a person. We discovered very early on that we needed to pace ourselves, to allow for days of downtime. We have been stationary for a few months now, creating a different kind of travel fatigue and we are anxious to hit the road.
5. Privacy - or lack thereof - Being on the road full-time, you are constantly engaged with your travel companions in a small space, day in, day out, allowing little time for privacy. Most of the time, this is not a problem, but once in a while we have to remind the other, “I just need a moment, please.
6. The constant route planning - I thought I would enjoy this since I love to plan, but the hours I can spend route planning and researching and worrying about where is our “next home”, can wear on me. I often wonder if I would love to “just wing it,” but still being a newbie and someone who needs to know “where to,” I think it would be rather stressful. I am getting better at it though.
7. Eating out - Food, Food, Food. Traveling provides the opportunity to taste the world in a new way. It is hard to resist the temptation of trying something new, tasting the cuisine of an area, or enjoying an old fashion diner, but this adds to the bottom line and blows up a well-planned budget. Yet, it is often worth every bite, every morsel of deliciousness, every delectable adventure.
8. - PARKING. Damn, we’re BIG. - When hitched, we are about 50’ in length, too long to just pull in anywhere. This means we have to be cautious when it comes to gas stations, even worse, parking lots, or heaven forbid narrow roads. Even when not hitched, our truck is too big for some roadways and too big for tight parking lots. In some of the towns we have visited, our truck struggled through narrow lanes and tight downtown roads, and forget about finding parking that fits a large truck. I would often find myself missing the days when I had a small Subaru that could fit just about anywhere.
9. Weather - Weather is a constant concern. An Airstream owners greatest fear is - HAIL. We always try to travel on good weather days.
10. Break downs and Maintenance - One of the hazards of RVing is breaking down or a blown out tire. The highways (and back roads) in this country are a challenge to say the least, some are downright dangerous and can destroy a rig with every bump. Most RVs are not meant to be lived in full-time, add the constant miles, the less-than-superior quality, the bouncing, and the RV will start to need maintenance sooner, rather than later. This is a costly expense of RVing.
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.
As we enjoyed the stunning drive of Hwy 95 through lush green hills and sweeping valleys between Boise to Lewiston, we also found ourselves enjoying the history lessons along the roadside.
There are many Historical Markers along this stretch of highway and a lot of history to share. We could not stop and read them all, but we did enjoy a few and followed up online for the rest.
We stopped at the Historical Marker by White Bird Pass and noticed a spiraling road off in the distance.. turned out it was the old Hwy 95. In Lewiston they have another one, they call the Spiral Hwy.
Fun Facts About the Spiral Hwy:
Scattered along the highway we noticed mine shafts close to the road. They were blocked off and warning signs were posted, this introduced us to a bit of the history of the area and that it was once known for mining, the rest we had to learn online.
“The story of Florence is seldom told. Few visitors to the Nez Perce National Forest are even aware the site exists. Just driving through the area today, one can hardly tell there once existed a thriving mining community.”
Riggins is now the “playground for the adventurous” but it was rich in history long before today’s generations discovered it.
The now friendly town of Riggins was once known as “Gouge Eye” after a vicious saloon fight in which the obvious happened between a couple of rough and tumble citizens who came here in search of gold in the 1850’s.
Riggins, which is now named after John Riggins, the area’s first mailman.
Riggins lies between the two deepest gorges in North America and rides the banks of the Little Salmon River and the famous Salmon River, the longest free-flowing river within the lower 48 states. Adventures east take you up the Salmon River to the “River of No Return” Wilderness, a name that the Indians used to warn Lewis and Clark; and also captured the spirit of Captain Guleke’s adventures in his one-way scow trips.
The gorgeous drive along Hwy 95 in Idaho was a wonderful lesson in history. As you take in the stunning view of White Bird and the valley below, you also get a lesson of the history and the battle that once took place here.
The drive along Hwy 95 was stunning.
Rich in color. Rich in beauty. And, Rich in History.
A quiet gem of a drive that hopefully will retain its history and its beauty.
A drive that we did not know about but I am so glad we discovered.
As we roam the roads and highways, looking for that next fantastic stop, keep track of our travels in our Airstream - Betty Jo