Friday, January 19, 2018

Six months, my perspective

Movie set outside of Lancaster, CA
A really big canyon somewhere in Arizona
Shakedown trip to Utah at the end of June 2 weeks before we closed on the house.
January 17th marks 6 months of full-timing, what a ride! We have met interesting people, seen parts of the US that we've never seen before, and encountered a whole new group of local animals. I saw a spoonbill today, unfortunately no camera. It looks like a flamingo with a
flattened spoon shaped bill (hence the name). 

The people on the road have been remarkably friendly and helpful, always ready with a restaurant recommendation, advice on campgrounds, or a local point of interest. 

Loretta is behaving remarkably well, coming up on 10,000 miles since we purchased her. We haven't used a drop of oil and she starts every time. 
Monterey Breakwater near the Coast Guard dock
Shawna's office is coming together and our We-Boost cell signal amplifier is working well, between ATT, Sprint, Verizon, and local WiFi we are always able to work online. 

Joss House, Weaverville, CA
Travel days are still stressful for me as all of the roads are new to us. I worry about getting into a tight spot towing the trailer or a catastrophic breakdown in heavy traffic.  I'm glad the bus has been so reliable but my anxiety remains. That being said it wouldn't be an adventure without some danger, real or imagined. 

Surprise rainstorm raised the water level at Trinity lake, CA
The animals are settling in finally, the cats are resigned to indoor life, and Chloe lets us know when she wants to go out. The pet hair is a constant battle however, we vacuum two or three times a day on average. The Dyson has been a lifesaver.

Life on the road has been a little more expensive than I imagined and now that my foot is mostly healed I have no disability income. I'm working to get some video up on YouTube, however my VR camera is being repaired. My video equipment now includes a DJI Mavic Pro drone that I hope to use for some good overhead shots. The real surprise has been the Nikon B700, nice glass for a point and shoot, and good video at 1080p 120fps. It will shoot 4k video but for only 7:30 minutes and 30 fps so not very good for fast action.

I may add a GoPro or a Garmin VIRB as the VR camera has been so unreliable.
Brookings, OR

We have settled into a routine for travel days. Shawna works in the morning (if it's a work day) while I pack up and disconnect the the bus. We withhold food from the cats (Stewie gets the whirlybirds, and Starfish just throws up if we feed them). We then verify that Google maps agrees substantially with the Garmin GPS.  One of us takes the dog and drives the Subaru, the other the bus. I'll drive the bus if Shawna has to work in the evening and we try to limit the miles to about 250. If it's not a work day we will set a short goal (~250 miles) but if the roads are good and we are feeling ok we will have a stretch goal of 400 miles or so.
Clear Lake, CA Mt. Konacti in the background.
We like to stay in sites that are pull-through so we don't have to disconnect the trailer. If there are none available it's not a big deal to back in with the trailer if there is room. 

We haven't ridden the motorcycles as much as I thought we would, mostly due to weather. Just about all the bikers in Florida ride Harleys, the roads are long and straight with slow moving traffic, perfect for hogs. Not ideal for dualsport bikes however.  Soon enough we will go in search of some windy/twisties.

We plan on taking out the kayak and paddleboard as soon as the wind dies down.  
Red Tailed Hawk Skyline Park, Napa, CA
Shellville, CA
Harvest host on highway 140 between I99 and Yosemite
We have no immediate plans to sell the Subaru, it's a great grocery-getter and we can tow the utility trailer with it in a pinch, but it adds a lot to our expenses. Shopping is a challenge, both online and grocery. Amazon is not happy with my constantly changing address and has cancelled orders because of suspected fraud. I had them put a note in my file that I was traveling, but now I worry I will be the victim of stolen account info. They verify every purchase with me now.

I now have five or six customer loyalty cards for grocery stores, none of which seem to work in the town we are in. So add one more.
Castello di Amorosa, Napa, CA

While I am enjoying our adventure so far, I miss being on the ocean. There is a lot more to see however, and we are just getting started.
Near Bodega Bay, CA
Rio Vista, CA


  1. Awesome dissertation! I've been moonlighting for Uber and Lyft lately, and have found that Waze is the superior navigation customers agree! Just our two cents. (Google kept ripping us off as an example: "take a right at the freeway on-ramp, and enter into the Hilton driveway"...NOT!!!!).

    1. We agree with you for populated areas, Waze is the answer. It was our go-to in LA too. However, lately we find that we mostly use Google Maps because we've already done the research on the RV parks there so it's a one-click button for directions. Good advice when we get close to you we'll switch over.

  2. enjoying you trip vicariously. Our theme song seems to be" On the road again"

    1. yes I do find myself humming that one quite a bit.