By my number (which could be off….!) this is my 384th post on this blog. The first entry was posted before Bob and I even hit the road, shedding our sticks-and-bricks house for our home on wheels back in May of 2009.
Counting on my fingers, that means this is our tenth summer as full-time RVers.
We’ve experienced a lot, including watching the world of RVing change right before our eyes.
Back in that first leg of our journey, on our way from the Great Lakes to South Dakota to establish our residency, I published a post about a stay in Illinois, writing, “…this is what full-timing is all about, after all: deciding to ‘stay awhile’ anywhere we like because there’s more we’d like to experience.'”
Maybe because it was 2009 and so many people were still reeling from the housing implosion and recession, but we had no problem getting places to stay and there were few enough RVs on the road we nearly waved at everyone we passed.
Hard to imagine today, huh?
But when we stopped at Glacier National Park that August, we were floored by the number of people swarming the trails, crowding the visitors’ center, and generally taking up all the parking spots. With construction on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, traffic was a nightmare.
In that first year, I was amazed to meet people who returned annually to the same spots. With so much of the country to see, I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to beat a path to any one place (or maybe two).
Now I understand.
Let me see if I can explain.
At least in our case, we found the increasing crowds and noise a turnoff. While many full-time RVers opt to spend as much time “off the grid,” boondocking away from most people, we like our amenities, appreciate the organic milk and produce found in larger groceries, and yet still want to be able to get outdoors to enjoy nature.
Before we started RVing, we spent most of our vacation time out East, so we were glad to have more time exploring the far end of the continent when we became full-time RVers. We’ve liked it so well we’ve only been back East twice, and both times we made sure we got out to the Outer Banks, our favorite spot on that side of the Mississippi.
We found ourselves making a general loop around the western states — spending the winter in the desert Southwest and the summers tromping around the mountains, or watching seals along the Pacific coast…
…and we’re still making that loop. But we’re always adjusting things. This past summer we stayed in the Hell’s Canyon area (on the Oregon side) in the spring rather than late summer, which meant we were there when wildflowers were still in bloom…
…and snow still capped the higher peaks:
It seems that every time we re-visit an area, we see more or we see it differently because of the timing of our visit. We’ve become such familiar faces in some places that we’re greeted like old friends when we return: “How’ve you been? Where have you been traveling? How long are you back for this time?”
And it’s always fun to realize we’re spending a birthday someplace we hadn’t been before. Of his last ten birthdays, Bob has spent his in eight different states; I’ve spent them in six different states, including Alaska. One year, I had some amazing Huckleberry Cake in Montana.
Yep, there’s a lot to appreciate about the full-time lifestyle. But would we recommend it to those of you considering ditching your sticks-and-bricks houses to venture out on the road?
More on that next time!