One Year Anniversary of Full Time RVing

As of September, we have been living in our RV for a year! We picked up our Grand Design Reflection travel trailer last September in Tampa, Florida. It still feels really comfortable and we are very happy with the model we chose.

Winter in Florida was wonderful and we look forward to getting back there in October. The trip to Yellowstone was also amazing. We are happy we took the route we did because we got to see so much. FL-AL-LA-TX-NM-CO-WY. Two months was a perfect amount of time to travel to WY.

Our first Workamping position was very interesting. We loved being able to spend more time in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. We hiked over 100 miles, saw more wildlife than we had in the past and met many great people. In the future, I do not know if we would work somewhere so remote. At least not for so long! It was very hard to do our other work with no WiFi nearby. It was also tough to eat healthy with decent grocery stores at least two hours away.

Yellowstone Forever was a nice orginization to work for, but trying at times. The Old Faithful bookstore was always busy. Sometimes packed with hundreds of people in a very small store. The AC was broken all summer, so it was very hot and stuffy trying to stock or clean. The POS system was also broken all season and would ring prices wrong, items wrong and refused to do refunds for weeks. It was very hard to chat with customers or give good service when you had to be constantly checking your computer screen for mistakes! Craig and I both sold well over $5,000 each in memberships for YF. People were really wonderful about giving back to their park. It was hard to sell memberships when you had lines out the door some days though.

Because of the amout of people from all over the world packed into our small space, as well as not eating healthy and tons of fires surrounding us, we have been sick off and on for the entire season. Craig and I rarely get sick- maybe once every two years- so this has thrown us for a loop. We are super excited to finish out our season and head back to Florida October 1st.

Would we do it again? Yes, but not for 5+ months and not in such a remote location. Or, we would consider it if they offered workers WiFi. They have WiFi in the Snow Lodge for a charge and they also offer it to employees of the hotels and restaurants. We have other work we do from the RV that is our main source of income, so we need to be able to do that if we take a volunteer or lower paying position in the future. The Disney Wilderness Preserve where we are volunteering next does offer volunteers WiFi, but we will also be able to use our phone data there. 

In all an interesting first year and we are glad we had this adventure!

Another Quick Update

Craig and I decided to try and keep our original plans to start full time RVing this fall. We are going to take a trip to Florida in May to look at several RV dealers, a few RV parks and see what seasonal positions may be opening up for the fall/winter season. 

We have been busy clearing out our living space. Every day we sell, give away and donate clothing and other items. Furniture will be listed in August. We are going to try and get a truck in July or August as well. We have been looking, but inventory changes all the time. 



In May we will change our address and start to apply to seasonal work in Florida. I held Fort Wilderness for a month (the end of September until the end of October), but we will see some other parks in May. 

We would like to make a deal for an RV after we see some first hand, and pick it up in Florida in September. That way, we only have to drive a truck and not a travel trailer through New York, Connecticut, etc. while we are new to this! Then we will also be close to the dealer for several months in case anything needs to be worked on. 

We plan to start applying to seasonal work in Yellowstone and Grand Teton in the summer/fall so we have something set for May-October of next year!

Then, we will head out for Wyoming at the end of March 2018. We want to take 5-6 weeks to drive through FL, AL, TX, NM, CO and stay overnight in several places. We will try and follow the 2-2-2 RV rule. No more than 200 miles of driving a day, get to the spot by 2pm and stay at least 2 nights. I actually have to start holding some of the popular state park sites (like the Florida panhandle) this month. 

We will post more updates soon. Very excited!

The Sunshine Blogger Award

 

Thank you Matthew from the The Adventures of a Day Hiker blog for nominating us for The Sunshine Blogger Award! It is an award exchanged among bloggers for those who are “are positive and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”. What a nice idea! Check out Matthew’s blog-the pictures and hike ideas are great.

Rules of the Sunshine Blogger Award:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the eleven questions set by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate eleven other blogs and give them eleven questions to answer.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post.

Our Answers to Matthew’s Questions:

What is (or was) your dream job?

Craig- wants to do trail maintenance in the National Parks or run a mobile forensics lab.  Patricia- always wanted to be an SFX artist, Disney Imagineer, Park Ranger or Photojournalist.  

What is your favorite National Park?

So hard! I love every park we have been to so far, but I love Yellowstone, Glacier and Grand Teton (our first park) the most. Craig does not have a favorite. He likes Bryce, Yellowstone and Grand Teton equally.

What is your favorite food?

Patricia-any seafood. Craig-loves hot and sour soup.

What type of camera do you use?

iphone 6, Sony RX100.

Why did you start blogging?

We wanted to share our love of the National Parks and our pictures.

How long have you been blogging?

About 1 year 6 months now.

What is your favorite animal?

Another hard one! Patricia-wolf or giraffe. Craig-cheetah.

What is your favorite beer?

Wormtown’s (Worcester, MA) Norm (oatmeal, coconut, chocolate stout.)

What place is at the top of your Bucket List?

Patricia-Africa, Craig-more National Parks

What is your favorite book?

Patricia-The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings. Craig-Catcher in the Rye, 1984 and Siddhartha.  

What is your favorite state?

California and Utah so far.


Our blog nominations:

Retirementally Challenged

Drivin’ & Vibin’

tandem trekking

ZenOnWheels

Northern Star Travelers

Paint Your Landscape

Traveling the World Solo

We are still finding blogs to follow and read-new to this!


Questions to our nominees:

Why did you want to start a blog?

What is the most amazing place you have traveled to?

Where do you most want to travel to?

Favorite hike?

Favorite outdoor activity?

Favorite movie?

TV show?

Best animal encounter?

Favorite personality (actor, singer, writer, humanitarian, etc.)?

Favorite band?

Song?

Quick Update 


2016 was an amazing year! Craig and I got to visit 4 new national parks (Glacier, Everglades, Biscayne and Dry Tortugas) and revisit 2 of our favorites (Grand Teton and Yellowstone.) We also had a great camping weekend with friends in Acadia National Park and hiked a must do-the Precipice Trail.


Our plans for full time RVing are a bit up in the air now with probable changes coming to the ACA. We will keep our eye on what happens and continue to save for an RV (hopefully an Airstream) and truck. We want to have a nice cushion to buy some land soon too. 


We had a wonderful time in Florida in October and are going back in January to see friends and family. We have no other plans right now for 2017. Our Alaska trip is being put off until we have more money saved. We will see what the new year brings! We know we want to see the Pacific Northwest soon. We also want to hike more of Yosemite. We hope you all have an awesome 2017! 

Two New Books

I am reading two new books that I thought you all might enjoy. Here is the description for The Hour of Land:

“America’s national parks are breathing spaces in a world in which such spaces are steadily disappearing, which is why more than 300 million people visit the parks each year. Now Terry Tempest Williams, the author of the environmental classic Refuge and the beloved memoir When Women Were Birds, returns with The Hour of Land, a literary celebration of our national parks, an exploration of what they mean to us and what we mean to them.

From the Grand Tetons in Wyoming to Acadia in Maine to Big Bend in Texas and more, Williams creates a series of lyrical portraits that illuminate the unique grandeur of each place while delving into what it means to shape a landscape with its own evolutionary history into something of our own making. Part memoir, part natural history, and part social critique, The Hour of Land is a meditation and a manifesto on why wild lands matter to the soul of America.”

Under the Stars is both funny and interesting so far. It is a history of camping. Here is the book description:

“The definitive book on camping in America. . . . A passionate, witty, and deeply engaging examination of why humans venture into the wild.”―Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

From the Sierras to the Adirondacks and the Everglades, Dan White travels the nation to experience firsthand―and sometimes face first―how the American wilderness transformed from the devil’s playground into a source of adventure, relaxation, and renewal.

Whether he’s camping nude in cougar country, being attacked by wildlife while “glamping,” or crashing a girls-only adventure for urban teens, Dan White seeks to animate the evolution of outdoor recreation. In the process, he demonstrates how the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, Roosevelt, and Muir―along with visionaries such as Adirondack Murray, Horace Kephart, and Juliette Gordon Low―helped blaze a trail from Transcendentalism to Leave No Trace.

Wide-ranging in research, enthusiasm, and geography, Under the Stars reveals a vast population of nature seekers, a country still in love with its wild places.”

Check them out of the library like I did or look for them at the book store or on Amazon!

Full Time RV Route Planning

RVMapRoute2017/2018

After we decided on a date of 2018 for full time RVing, I have been planning a route. I think I have a good plan for our first year! I have been using Road Trippers again since it is pretty easy to map out a route online. Then the info shows up in the app on my phone. It is a rough draft right now since campsites are still too far out to book in a lot of the areas. I have to fill in stops in between major stops as well. I would like to keep our driving time to 3-4 hours or less on travel days. We also have to firm up where we would like to work. Interviews for the summer season (April-October) in the National Parks usually happen in November and December of the previous year. We hope to work in Yellowstone or Grand Teton for our first summer season since they have a lot of options for Workampers.

Our plan is to head down to Florida in the fall of 2017. Hopefully the beginning of October. We will just have the truck at that point. We want to stop at Shenandoah, The Blue Ridge Parkway, The Smoky Mountains and Congaree National Parks on the way down. We would also like to see Charleston and Savannah since we have never been. Our cats Lotus and Bamboo have been on a road trip before from Florida to Massachusetts, and luckily several of the hotels are pet friendly.

We will stay the winter in Central Florida. My parents are there and Craig and I lived there for nearly six years. We hope to do some seasonal work at the parks and shop for an RV. 5-6 months should be plenty of time to find one we like (fingers crossed.) Towards the end of March/beginning of April we will head to Wyoming by way of Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. We hope to see several of the National  Parks in those areas on the way. I would like to get to Wyoming towards the end of April, so we will tell them that in our interviews or add that info to our resumes. 

After working the summer in Yellowstone or Grand Teton (hopefully), we would like to head down to Utah or Arizona again.  Zion and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon are open year round. If we can, we would like to work a few months at one of these parks. Then we could head to San Diego for a month and up the coast to Yosemite! I am hoping we can work the summer season of 2019 (April-September) in Yosemite National Park. If they would let us leave mid September after Labor Day, we could see Lake Tahoe, Lassen, Redwoods and Crater Lake.  After that we will have to decide! 

Again, we are pretty flexible since we will have to see what job offers we get and what is posted next year. Craig and I have both worked in retail, merchandising, front desk and concierge at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, waited on tables, bartended, etc. in the past. We have worked in travel, banking, library/archiving, IT, web design, marketing, PR and owned several companies. Both of us are good with computers. We used to own a pet sitting company so we can help out on farms. In the next year and 1/2 we plan on taking several AMC classes on trail work and building, wilderness first aid and  map and compass info. We already volunteer for several local outdoor organizations helping with walks, trails, hiking, etc. I think we have well rounded backgrounds for Workamping!

Wheelingits blog posts on Planning RV Travels are a big help. I have bookmarked and Pinned so much info it will take me a year to get through it all! A trip to AAA is in order so we can pick up some paper maps. I will also buy Benchmark Maps so we have paper maps on hand. 

Stay tuned for more planning!

   

Smash Books For Memory Keeping

 

I was trying to think of a way to keep our ticket stubs, park and hotel maps and trail guides that would not take up a lot of space. Then I read about Smash Books. Since Craig and I want to travel around full time in an RV soon, we are trying to get rid of a lot of our “stuff.” We have been going through books, clothing, prints and picture frames and selling, giving away or donating them. We would like to keep some memories though. 

  

Smash Books are like an expanding scrap book with plenty of pre decorated pages and pockets. You just glue in what you like on the pages or slip guides or maps in the pockets. There are different designs like “International” or “Wedding” with themes. We found several on sale at Marshalls and TJMaxx for $3.99 and $4.99. Great! Easy to store and plenty of room to add to.


  


Now we can refer back to our National Park maps, hiking routes and guides, hotel maps and planning scrap pages. I can check what cabin number we had on a past trip, see what prices were and remember places we ate. What do you like to save from your trips? How do you store everything?