Tag Archives: top rv blog

Learning to Listen

Maturing as full-time RV’ers and travelers has happened quickly for us.  In a little over a year we have crossed the country 3 times, seen fifteen National Parks, stayed in everything from parking lots to luxury resorts, and we’re starting our fourth volunteer workamping job.  Phew!  It has been a year full of adventures, but also learning.

Fifteen months ago we were naïve and knew almost nothing about RV’s, campgrounds, workamping, or even about this country a couple hundred miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean. Alayne and I felt compelled to shake up life a bit and explore.  There is something about throwing oneself into the unknown that creates a quick learning curve, and draws upon resources previously unknown.  Living life on the road is not all smooth sailing and kicking back at campgrounds.  It is waking up and not knowing where you are, or where the grocery store is.  It is flat tires and blow outs, broken refrigerators and roof repairs.  It is all the things life throws at us, with the extra element of disorientation and a lot less space.  It is about becoming comfortable outside the comfort zone, and most importantly learning to listen.
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Fulltime RVing for Non-Retired Couples

Full-time RVing can be a great lifestyle, especially if you crave new experiences and a sense of adventure.  While most full-timers are retired and have the luxury of pensions and Social Security, the lifestyle is still within reach for many “non-traditional” younger wannabe RVers.

The first step is realizing this lifestyle exists and is an option.  For us, it seemed like we stumbled upon a secret, and in some ways, it is.  It bucks convention in that it promotes living simply, and works a lot better with less debt and “stuff”.  This lifestyle will not work for people who desire prestige and a gain in material wealth.  Less is more seems to aptly apply.

Most people can quickly determine if they are in the position to set off on the road in short time.  Debt is probably the largest obstacle.  A modest amount may be acceptable for the frugal, but for those up to their eyes in student loans, credit card debt, and excessive car payments will have to eliminate these before pursuing the idea much further.  Medical insurance can also be an issue, for the time being there are some affordable options for folks willing to ride with a high deductible. Houses can be sold or rented, and things can be stored or sold.  We have modest car and student loan payments, and “catastrophic” type health insurance.  We rented our properties and have a property manager, and sold just about everything that would not fit in our RV.

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Our First Experience Working on the Road

Now in to our third week as temporary residents and volunteer workers at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Alayne and I are beginning to adjust to this new lifestyle.  Unlike our recent three and half month cross country adventure, where we were seeing new sights and places almost everyday, we are now stationary for few months.


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Yosemite National Park

The Garden of Eden comes to mind when exploring Yosemite National Park.  In late April and early May, when we were there, the waterfalls, streams and rivers are at full flow. The rushing water sounds like thunder, and rainbows in the mist fill the air.  The bright green meadows, newly budded deciduous trees and flowering Pacific Dogwoods in the valley create a lush and sumptuous scene.   Animal life is active; birds of prey soar high above, deer and bears are seen drinking from the streams, while the smaller forest creatures scurry about comfortable with their human guests.


Left to Right: Upper Yosemite Falls from Big Meadow, Vernal Falls, Big Meadow
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Pacific Coast Highway

California’s fabled Route 1 is one of the most scenic drives in the world and it does not disappoint.  Our trip on this classic drive almost never happened.  Several people cautioned us about taking an RV up this stretch of road, sufficiently spooking Alayne, and nearly resigning us to take the 101 instead.  However, this is a drive I have always wanted to do, and after talking with a few fellow RVers, who had taken the trip in larger rigs than ours, we regained confidence and headed up the coast.

California Route 1 has many different personalities.  At times it is an in-town freeway, sometimes a two lane country road, and at others, it clings to the sides of cliffs with sharp switchbacks and steep drop-offs.  It is these changes that make the 1 always interesting.
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Arizona Roundup

Arizona exceeded our expectations.  After spending more than a week in New Mexico, we thought we had experienced the most varying landscape of our trip.  However, Arizona is not one to be upstaged by its neighbor.

We entered the State in dramatic fashion from southeast Utah, which upon entering you are immediately in the one of the most photographed western landscapes, Monument Valley.  Monument Valley is a place of towering monoliths of weathered rock standing like sentinels in the rugged arid vast expanse.  They are seen from at least 30 miles away and greet you with a strong, quite solitude, even when you get to the park and among the tourist bustle of the visitor center.  This is a Navajo Monument, and this being the case all of the prices are inflated, but the views from the road are free and almost as good as inside the park itself.  After leaving, the scenery calmed down a bit, perhaps in homage to the almost surreal visual experience awaiting us at the Grand Canyon.

Monument Valley – Left and Right Mitten


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New Mexico – Land of Enchantment

New Mexico is fondly called the land of Enchantment.  I am unsure what the true meaning behind this is, but for me it describes the ever changing landscapes and history rich in Native American lore. We drove from the southeast to the northwest of the state and hit several points in between.  In New Mexico the landscapes seem to change dramatically every 30 miles or so.  One minute you are in a dry flat desert and the next climbing up a snow capped mountain surrounded by Ponderosa Pine.  We even found ourselves in areas where we were looking at 4 or 5 distinctly different landscapes at one time; desert, shear cliffs and buttes, canyons and Rocky Mountains.

Road between Taos and Colorado

Road to Pagosa springs
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In the Beginning – Learning as we go

The adventure has begun and so has the education.  We have learned the value of level campsites after sleeping in a slanted driveway, added more padding to our bunk after a couple of sore mornings, have come to appreciate state highways over the Interstates, and that RV travel is is more than 20% slower than by car.  Already we have lost a gas cap and a wheel cover (recovered) , and drove to a campground that was full (call ahead). On our second day we drove narrow mountain winding roads and a potted steep dirt driveway, no RV has any business trying to navigate, on a mission to visit family. On our forth day we drove 300 miles in a high wind advisory, sometimes slowing to 40 miles per hour (partially in the neighboring lane).

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