When Justin and I decided to RV again, we did so with our past ventures in mind. Our idea was that it would be pretty much the same, just with a tiny human. I feel as though Emma has given us the desire to live life more fully. I don’t want her to hear about our life stories with us saying, could have, should have, would have, but didn’t.
In this blog post, I want to share with you all our highlights we had this last year of RVing. We had so many new experiences and shared fantastic adventures together.
Where It All Started
Emma was born on February 13th, 2018 in Tampa, FL Only 3 weeks later we decided to drive up to Dandridge, TN to purchase our new fifth wheel and then shortly after to Virginia to buy our new truck. It was only supposed to take 3 days total but ended up taking over 2 weeks due to the sellers.
Once we got everything settled, our first stop was Anchor Down RV Resort. We bought our RV right down the road from where we were staying. If you haven’t been to Anchor Down RV Resort, please do yourself a favor and go! It’s absolutely beautiful, so much so that it’s the second time we’ve gone in 4 years of traveling over 37 states. I was awestruck every time I walked out our door. The owner has done a wonderful job making each site so luxurious and inviting. I am so happy we had a chance to go back to this RV resort.
Tennessee was one of 5 states we actually hiked. We, along with our friends, Eric, Krista and their daughter, Stella, went to the Great Smokey Mountains. Amazing, absolutely beautiful. It was a humbling experience to see how small we are in such a big world. The other adventure we had in Tennessee was visiting The Lost Sea Adventure which was a very neat cave network where we learned the history behind the discovery of the underground lake. This was great for our whole family. Emma was only two months old but handled it all well.
Note: Wear your old shoes though, it’s very muddy!
A Beach In Texas
It never really crossed my mind that Texas has beaches. I just never thought of it. I’m glad I saw it though. Justin, Emma and I enjoyed Galveston, TX for a whole month back in the middle of April 2018. This was just our second month back in full-timing and we enjoyed it very much. Galveston had such a relaxing atmosphere. The RV Resort we stayed at, Stella Mare, was across the street from the beach so it was almost a daily thing to go in the evening and enjoy the sunset and waves on our feet. The thing I remember most about this place was the smell of salt in the air. I am not one for extremely hot weather, but I love the beach. Galveston was a great mix of nice weather and beach life.
Something else that makes this place memorable was that Justin got his Boosted Board there. A Boosted Board is an electric longboard. Justin loved it, and there are great city streets in Galveston he used to get around when he didn’t want to drive our truck. This place had something for everyone to enjoy and I remember how calm it all was. It’s great for a nice relaxing getaway.
Coming Together In Virginia
The biggest thing I remember during our time in Virginia was family and friends. When you travel all year you make friends of course but you inevitably leave to a new location. It’s always nice to come to a place you have friends and family waiting to see you. My favorite moment has to be when Emma’s grandmas got to babysit together. My mom and Justin’s mom hadn’t ever met before then. They are all the way across the country from each other, so I loved letting them get to know Emma together. They are now great friends, exchanging grandma advice and what-not.
Not only did the grandmas get Emma time but so did all five of our nieces and nephews, staying the night in our RV at North Landing Beach RV Resort. That’s right, eight people in an RV comfortably. Thankfully we had the space to accommodate everyone. It was great to have everyone together for a night to experience our home.
The more we travel the more I wish to have more places full of friends to visit. That sounds exciting, being able to visit so many friends while exploring the country.
Awestruck In Acadia, Maine
This was a great touristy area. The thing is, it gets cold fast, and most of the town closes during winter. They get a lot of snow. Because of this, summer is the best time to enjoy all of it. Also, cool note, they have buses that take you all around Acadia National Park, just like a city bus. So, if you don’t have a spare driving vehicle the bus is a great way to get around for the day.
Now, this is a place that I never thought about seeing. The Northern states actually never really crossed my mind much. I’m sure glad we took our RV journey up North though. When we drove to Acadia we only had a few days to experience everything. We went to Bar Harbor, had some amazing seafood, enjoyed the boats in the harbor and drove up/climbed Cadillac Mountain. That was my favorite part, being above the town we were just in and feeling small in this great big world.
Boondocking Behind Starbucks in New Hampshire
When we first got to New Hampshire, we stayed at an RV park right on the border in Vermont. Shortly after we stayed with our friends Eric and Krista on their property but realized we were going to Starbucks to work almost every day.
So, we decided to head to Lebanon where a Starbucks had a huge empty parking lot behind it that no one used. It wasn’t the most beautiful view, but very practical for the time being in New Hampshire.
Justin and I didn’t feel like paying for an RV park near the area, and it wasn’t bothering anyone so we just went with it. We had everything we needed right in the town (Walmart, restaurants, good internet, and the gym) and of course coffee literally around the corner. This is memorable because we don’t boondock very often. I feel it’s because I am very picky and Justin would rather not hear me complain. I did enjoy this though, it’s always fun to talk about how we made an empty lot our home for a week. We made great company with the baristas at Starbucks as well and everyone, of course, loved Emma.
If anything this let us learn more about our RV and understand how she worked. How much water we used from our onboard tanks and how much gas the generator needed. It sure as heck felt luxurious though with our fifth wheel.
The Beautiful Niagra Falls in New York
This experience has to be the most fun to talk about. We only planned to go here with a weeks notice and I’m so happy we did. Our friend Eric has always given us pointers on the best places to see and this was one of them. We happened to be going this direction from New Hampshire and just had to see it.
The highlights for Niagra Falls have to be seeing Canada on the other side of the water. It’s surreal knowing that you are right across from another Country in such a beautiful setting. I enjoy moments where I feel small and am brought back to the reality that there are so many lives in this world. This was one of those moments.
Later on, that day, after we relaxed in the grass we ran into a family with little girls who were just going crazy over Emma. We all stopped and let the girls play with Emma and this family convinced us to go down to the bottom of the waterfall with them and get rained on by the falls. We were nervous since Emma was still pretty little, but she loved it! I am so glad we just went for it and enjoyed living in the moment. I loved every view and think about how adventurous that day was.
Hey There Montana
Montana is another place our good friend Eric said we should see. We went to Flathead Lake and enjoyed a nice quiet town and breathtaking views. This was one of our longest breaks in almost a month of traveling and we stayed for only four days. Constant traveling had worn us out so we took in as much of this break as we could. We had time to do some maintenance on the truck and spread out our legs for a bit. Great mountain views and friendly people all around. Go before it gets cold though!
Away From The World In Idaho
Right after our amazing short break in Montana, we were back on the open road headed for Idaho for two weeks. We have friends who have some land up in the mountains there, they actually have spots for RVs and some electric hookups. I have to say it was amazing waking up in an open space above and between mountains. We let Teddy (our dog) and the cats Obi and Anakin run free, I’m sure this was their favorite spot; having so much room to roam and venture. I enjoyed the quietness throughout the day as well as the glowing night sky. It was definitely a great hideaway from the world.
Our Decision to Take A Break From RVing
We all get worn out from doing too much all at once. That’s exactly what happened to Justin and I. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoyed every adventure we had. It just became a lot to take in. Justin was working his butt off every day while we were on our long treks on the road, exhausting himself to get things done. I had a hard time setting some consistency for Emma because we didn’t have a schedule. That had no effect on her but it was hard on me since I had no downtime really. We either worked, traveled, set up the RV or packed it up all the while trying to make it feel like a home. It would have been a bit easier had we slowed down and taken our time, but it just didn’t work out that way.
I am so grateful, though, to have had so many wonderful firsts on the road this year, especially with Emma. Being a parent is one thing but to have the opportunity to share these moments with her, those memories are priceless.
Our reason for taking this break is to get some spark back in the idea of traveling. I mean it’s still there, we just want to find a balance by part-time traveling instead of full-time traveling.
This way we can build more consistency in our daily lives with a schedule, local friends, and focusing more on our health.
That sounds better for our family. We are constantly talking about where we want to go in the Spring. I think national parks are where we want to go first and really disconnect from our busy lives and enjoy some good off-road journeys.
Calling Oregon Our Home
Our choice to rent a townhouse here in Hillsboro, OR was decided within a two day period of us getting here. Like I said we both felt drained from traveling and Oregon was next in our route that was originally set for California. The timing was perfect and we couldn’t be happier with our decision. We have lived in this location before, up until we found out we were going to have Emma. We felt right at home here, being back around friends has helped us so much. We drive each other crazy sometimes as well so having a bit of extra room with Justin working at home has been wonderful. With Emma walking as well she has an abundance of room to run around. We are all right where we should be.
Everyone’s journey is different. The point is to enjoy life the way you want to. Take chances and make memories. Thank you all so much for being apart of our journey and other’s here on Open Road Chronicles. This wouldn’t be possible without you.
We’re dedicated to keeping Open Road Chronicles going and have a lot of exciting things planned for this year. We can’t wait to share more adventures of our own come Spring 2019.