Thursday, April 15, 2021

Every new beginning

As I watched Loretta pull away with her new family my eyes threatened to leak. She's been our home and refuge for 4 years. What started out as simply a method to help us obtain our Forever Boat became a new way of living - land cruising - a delightful surprise we hadn't originally planned but ended up embracing.

In our four years together, Loretta has delivered us to some amazing places. Originally there were only 4 things on our "to do" list while we hunted down the boat of our dreams. The Florida Keys, those parks in the middle of the country (we didn't even know their names yet), Niagara Falls, and the Smithsonian.

What actually happened is... every new friend we met along the way added to our list. And soon the 4 things on our list became pages and pages of things to see and we were having such fun two years flashed by before we got around to seriously boat shopping again.

Here are a few of my favorite memories of our full-timing adventure.

The manatees of the Florida Keys are very friendly and surprised me by swimming right up to my paddleboard and wiggling their whiskers like vaudeville villains

The bleached trees on the beaches of Forks, WA are huge, haunting and plentiful

The pebbles of Lake McDonald at the lower levels of Glacier National Park are every color of the rainbow

We spent our first night as full-timers at a Harvest Host winery in Paso Robles, CA, in a field full of fascinating bunnies which were quite active at sunset. We had a bet going on which of our furry family members would bolt to chase bunnies first, in the end the sun went down first and everyone relaxed when the bunnies were out of sight.

At Foster's Big Horn restaurant in Rio Vista CA your meal is supervised by representatives from all around the world. I ordered a salad.

Sunset in Willcox AZ, coyotes sing at the property perimeter and roadrunners flit through the campground

Saguaro cactus in Scottsdale AZ contribute to the surreal vistas of the SouthWestern desert

Chloe at the Grand Canyon's South Rim. She has no fear of heights and nearly scared us to death by dancing along the wall anytime she thought she could get away with it.

Camping on the Natchez Trace Parkway offers little internet or cell coverage, so on workdays I holed up in the Meriwether Lewis room of the local library, surrounded by the history of the Lewis & Clark expedition

Of all the places we stayed, Elks Lodges made for some of the best memories. We were welcomed like family at most any lodge across the country and Forks WA was one of our favorites.

Dragon Lights in Albuquerque

Christmastime with Elks in Tavernier

The world famous Betty of Abbeville, LA, the hostess with the mostest. Every afternoon RV guests migrate to her patio, and instant friends are made over homemade tasty shared treats, beverages and stories from the road.

The rides of Moab Utah left us begging for more. Until about noon when we went begging for cold beverages.

We found the best service could be had at truck stops where technicians wrench from the pit underneath. Driving over the pit is not for the faint of heart.

Staging in Murphy NC for a day's ride at the Tail of the Dragon

Working from the RV on a city street allows for some great people-watching. This mother was waiting for her daughter to walk around the corner from school, and apparently the little brother was done waiting. This led to the most epic temper tantrum I have ever seen.

Roswell NM is all about the aliens

Niagara Falls was amazing. We did get soaked, in spite of the ponchos. What we didn't expect was the power required for the tour boats to keep us in place at the foot of the waterfall against those currents.

We found a lobster restaurant we could bicycle to from our RV park in Maine, and got to pick our own lunch, which was prepared right there. Doesn't get any fresher than that!

Montana big skies, approaching Yellowstone National Park

Cutting up with Leiloni (my sister's childhood friend from our hometown of Lincoln CA). Leiloni loves to research history and introduced us to some of the local lore in Old Colorado City where the historians dress in costume of locals from days gone by and tell their own stories in first person.

Introduced my favorite little princess to her first smores around the campfire in Littleton CO, which turned her and her Mom into sticky smores monsters. So what does a marshmallow-covered princess monster sing? Let It Go, monster-style. Of course.

Mile Zero in Key West. It didn't take Chloe long to figure out those open-door bars were pumping out air conditioned air and we had to allow extra time as she tried to become a barfly at every door we passed.

Loretta at a Harvest Host winery in central California. Since it was after hours we had the corn maze all to ourselves. Chloe got the most scared of the three of us and raced around to beat us to the exit.

Loretta's new family is a retired couple who look forward to traveling around the country to visit their grandchildren. I think they will be good stewards and we hope they have many excellent adventures together.

We are now down to one motorcycle, one large sailboat and a whole heap of stuff that needs sorting onto the boat. Our floating adventure has never been closer. In the immortal words of Semisonic's song Closing Time...

every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end

RVers say "see ya down the road" and they mean it. We do plan meticulously to end up together in places around the nation. I wonder if sailors have a similar saying. Maybe... see ya on the water?