We had Christmas morning like we used to on the floor of the living room with a pile of cats, catnip and wrapping paper. This is my favorite time during the holidays. Our kittie-babes seem to always feel the magic of the season and they are in the most playful spirits. We laughed and took these silly photos and ate cinnamon rolls in our jammies. It was warm, it was special, it was a very happy cat-mas!
We’ve been on the road one month today. That’s just crazy.
It took me four weeks to get my thoughts together. As an avid reflective journal’er, it’s weird for me to sit down and write about the trip that we are still on. I really didn’t want to wait because I know I will forget things, so this post is sure to read like one giant run-on sentence, never-ending-paragraph-ness of a mess.
We’re here. We made it. One month ago we didn’t know if our dream was meant to be. We had delays and then car trouble the day we were leaving and it just seemed like everything was working against us (our norm). But on February 16 we tore out of the muddy driveway in the fog and rain and didn’t look back. This was the first time we’d driven Ginny loaded with gear and with all the new equipment on the Jeep (upgraded brakes, anti-sway, brake-controller, etc) We also hadn’t de-winterized because it was still in the 20’s in Ohio.
Our route led us through Kentucky, where we stayed in a Cracker Barrel parking lot, then into Tennessee for a bit and on into Arkansas where we stopped for second overnight. Here we experienced our first planning bummer. Somehow I didn’t know that Hot Springs National Park was on our route. We literally stayed less than 10 miles from the park but didn’t have time to explore. At least our park had nice showers, that was a plus. Early that morning we headed for Austin. The traffic and the weather were crazy when we left Hot Springs, AR…Justin was a boss driving through construction and heavy fog. He was really starting to get the hang of driving and the cats were settling into their own routines and kind of seemed to be loving it.
Texas. This is a chapter of the drive that I’d like to avoid but, it happened. Texas is long, kinda boring, the roads were terrible…and then there’s Austin. We had planned to visit Austin because so many people said it was awesome. Maybe it was that we were ready for wilderness and not a bustling city but it definitely wasn’t awesome. We booked a full-hook up RV park just outside the city of Austin so that we could de-winterize and settle in before heading further west for all the boondocking we’d be planning. The park was nice enough, we de-winterized with ease. Austin, though is a city I will be reluctant to return to, especially with a trailer. The roads were HORRIBLE. At one point we got stuck on the service road because it was one way, the RV park was less than a half mile away from where we sat but we had to drive almost 20 minutes through some serious slums to get around and back onto the service road going the right way. There was so must construction it looked like a bomb went off. People we rude, driving was insane. I’ve never seen so many strip malls in my life. But we did experience a few nice Target stops. Ha! We did go into the city for dinner one night but it just wasn’t fun, so we tore ass out of Austin, heading for New Mexico.
The second part of the drive in Texas was much better than the first, as we got closer to the desert things started to spread out and we felt like we could finally breath. At Oliver Lee State Park in Alamagordo, NM we made ourselves at home for the first time in five days. We put the cats out in their mesh tent to watch the sunrise over the Guadalupe Mountains and I cried. The first time ever in my life, I cried pure happiness tears.
At Oliver Lee, Justin did his first ever solo hike. I had some work to do and we were still a little leery about leaving the cats unattended in the camper, so I stayed with them. He hiked the Dog Canyon trail for about 4 miles, mostly jogging. He said he turned around when he realized he was the only person out there and he started to feel like he’d crossed over into someone else’s (mountain lion) territory, so he came back! We had a great time at Oliver Lee, we’ll definitely be back!
The next day we woke up at sunrise to see the White Sands National Monument which was insanely beautiful…stay tuned!
The holidays got wild around here. We spent a whole week just hanging around the camper, making delicious meals, watching Christmas movies and enjoying family time. Then we hopped on a plane headed for Arizona for New Year Eve (more on that later). But before we did that, we added a member to our family of vehicles. (face palm)
I’d like to keep this short because I have a million other things I should be doing for work….but this story is one I want to remember.
Back in 2014 maybe early 2015 when we were looking for a home on wheels, we were considering all the options. We looked at a new Rpod with an outdoor kitchen. It was too small for our vision back then so we kept looking. Fast forward to October this year when we got the news about our engine needing a major repair and we decided that it was time to revisit a smaller, towable option for getting around and getting the hell out of town as soon as possible before we go insane. After months of back and forth decision making we decided that a more mobile, smaller, towable travel rig made us both more comfortable and excited rather than feeling nervous and anxious about driving a 32 year old motorhome.Our tow vehicle can’t tow much so we were pretty much limited to less than 3-4 options. We had been looking for weeks. We looked at very used, very old trailers. We looked at brand new, very expensive trailers. We even considered a van build. We knew that we wanted to tow something so that if we needed repairs or had an emergency that we would have a separated home and vehicle while traveling. We spent more time on RV Trader than is healthy for any person. And then we found her in Columbus and we just had to meet her.
Rpods are a hot commodity in the RV world. They hold their value really well and sell very quickly. We made the decision in one afternoon to drive the two hours south to get a look at her, but more so just to put a deposit down so that we didn’t lose the chance to make her ours. Big purchases are always scary and we both hate that we financed something new while we are on this path of financial freedom….but we just couldn’t pass it up. We got a great deal and we are SO excited to make her our own!
As for the Big Girl, we are increasingly saddened that we won’t be traveling in our real “home”. We’re sad she won’t be joining us this winter on our western adventures because we worked so hard to get her ready but our plan is to fix her up this summer when we have time and nice weather to do so. For those wondering what we will do and why we have two campers, that’s our rationalization. We live in one, travel in the other, for now. When you don’t have a house, a mortgage, a slew of bills to go along with it and you aren’t tied to any one particular lifestyle the options that open up to you are many.
So, without further ado, meet Ginny P. Also known as Ginevra Pod’der, as in Ginny Potter…Harry Potter’s eventual wife and Ron Weasley’s sister. Her and Berty (our Jeep Liberty) are best friends already, they’re attached at the hitch. I couldn’t wait to use that joke when we picked her up. We’re starting to put our own touch on the interior of course, because it has to feel like home (base) but we cannot wait for her to be sitting among the cactus and the mountains in a few weeks! Wish us luck!