Today is our 7th anniversary of full timing. Has it really been that long?
When we left Sacramento on April 1, 2003, we had around 13,000 miles on Scoopy (purchased one year old). Subsequent anniversaries:
EVERYWHERE and EVERY experience was new to us. We knew nothing about RV’ing, and nothing about our new-to-us motorhome (or any RV, for that matter). We didn’t know anyone on the road. It was all new, all the time. That year, if we stayed 3 nights in one place, it was a long time. We had many one-night stays. We were always anxious to see what was over the next hill, and we loved it all, with especially happy memories of the Great Lakes and Niagara Falls.
April 1, 2005: Grand Gulf State Park near Port Gibson, MS. Mileage: 46,068. Not quite 14,000 miles that year. We made our first trip into Mexico, and as far north as Jasper in British Columbia.
April 1, 2006: Desert Trails RV Park (Doc Justin’s hadn’t been built yet), Tucson, AZ. Mileage: 60,520, almost 14,500 miles. We went as far south as Mazatlan that year.
April 1, 2008: Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park, Fredericksburg, TX. Mileage: 83,828. Barely made 11,000 that year. We planned to visit Memphis, but tornados sent us scrambling back to the west.
April 1, 2009: Placerville Elks Lodge, Shingle Springs, CA. Mileage: 93,770. Not even 10,000 miles! Are we getting old??
Today: Oak Plantation RV Park, Charleston, SC. Our mileage went over 100,000 somewhere back in Texas; it now stands at 101,987. Time to celebrate our anniversary again!
Thanks to my cousin Ron (is my cousin’s son my cousin?), who used to be a carriage tour guide in Charleston, we had a great recommendation for a celebratory dinner: The Fat Hen, not too far from our campground. We wanted something special, and we got it.
Last year’s travel was just over 8,000 miles. I don’t know if we went ANYWHERE we hadn’t already been. We hardly needed a map to move from one place to another – we knew the route (having frequently traveled it more than once) and knew where we would stay when we arrived. There is some level of comfort in that – especially since we were returning to places we enjoy – but I began to feel that we were in a rut: enjoyable, but without adventure.
Since the beginning of 2010, we’ve added 4 states to the map, with more to come. From Charleston, we plan to head back to Memphis (Odel’s hometown) in May, then east again to visit Odel’s daughter near D.C. at the beginning of June.
Summer? The northeast and Great Lakes. We hope to revisit Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons in fall, before returning the Sacramento in October. We’ll travel around 15,000 miles on this trip; we’ve traveled 4,400 of them already.
Here is what we had forgotten about traveling to new places: you need maps! You need to plan ahead! You need to know when the “busy season” is, and plan accordingly! We had completely forgotten how much time is spent researching: campgrounds, attractions, weather…
We had also forgotten the excitement of heading to a completely new place. New scenery, terrain, regional accents and regional foods. It’s as if we were back in our first year – except that we know every inch, switch and button of the motorhome, and we have friends everywhere we go.
Every so often (actually, quite frequently), someone asks us if we have any plans to quit fulltiming. With every passing year, that seems more difficult to imagine, though of course it will happen sometime, either by choice or by necessity. I can’t imagine how we would ever decide on one spot. Thankfully, for now, we don’t need to!