We have been on the road for two months today, so we thought we would reflect a bit and check in with how we feel like it has gone so far. We also asked some of our family and friends what questions they have for us, so we will get to some of those, too. First, though, the stats:
Number of States We Have Visited: Seven. Eight, if you count Kentucky.
Miles Traveled: 5,001
Number of National Parks Visited: Seven
Number of other National Park Service Units (Monuments, Parkways, Recreation Areas, etc.) Visited: Six
Campgrounds, Harvest Hosts, Boondocking Sites Stayed In: 24. Total cost $986.67
Grocery Runs: Six
Laundromat Visits: Four
Fuel Stops: One Billion. Actually, it is 23, at the low, low total cost of $1,904.04. It just feels like one billion.
The camper water pump stopped working. Luckily we had a spare and it was replaced quickly.
We had both a cactus thorn and a nail stuck in a tire, but luckily, neither one protruded enough to cause an air leak.
The check engine light came on once in the truck, but once we cleared it, it never came back. Yet.
Lithium Ion Battery Isolation Manager is acting flaky, causing our camper batteries to sometimes not charge while we are driving. We were able to find a new one, but haven’t installed it yet.
Now, for the questions. For the questions with answers that might differ between the two of us, Heather put in her answers before posing the question to Jeff, and we didn’t discuss our answers beforehand!
How do you decide where you will be traveling in the future?
We have some destinations that are at the top of the list and required reservations far in advance, so those are main destinations that we know we will be heading to at a particular time. For in between those destinations, we do a lot of looking at maps, reading about places on the internet, watching YouTube videos, and otherwise, just looking for places that sound interesting to us.
What are your main concerns/worries during your travels?
Heather: I tend to worry more about logistics, like where we will be able to dump our tanks, fill with fresh water, do laundry, get to the grocery, etc. I suspect Jeff’s answer will be more safety related.
Jeff: Car accidents and theft.
What is your favorite destination so far?
Heather: That is a tough one! My usual answer is the place I am or where I just was, but if I really need to pick somewhere, I think it would probably be Chiricahua National Monument. Something about the standing rocks along with the amazing weather we had while there was good for my soul!
Jeff: I would say Chiricahua and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monuments. Both, because they are lesser known and have amazingly scenic hiking with very few people.
Do you have a favorite hike or activity so far?
Heather: Snowshoeing in Zion! It was so unexpected and a great opportunity to try something we have wanted to do for a long time! And you couldn’t ask for a more beautiful setting to do it!
Jeff: Probably snowshoeing along Kolob Terrace Road in Zion National Park.
What is your favorite thing about full-time travel?
Heather: Being able to go and do what we want, when we want! Other than a couple of scheduled activities, there are no agendas. We can get up each morning and do whatever activity appeals to us for the day!
Jeff: It has removed a tremendous amount of stress from my life. Days now pass at our own rate. I actually get outside and see the light of day! We typically travel from one amazing location to the next. What healthy-minded person wouldn’t enjoy this?
What is your least favorite thing about full-time travel?
Heather: The near constant uncertainty. Where are we going, where will we stay, will they have water there, can we dump our tanks, where can we have our mail sent or a prescription refilled? Etc., etc…
Jeff: Being away from friends and family, dealing with the occasional noisy neighbor, and sometimes crowds of people at popular destinations.
What was the best food you had?
Heather: We prepare most of our meals in the camper and have only eaten out a handful of times (and some of those have been fast food), so I guess my answer is the Mexican food we had in Boquillas del Carmen (Mexico) near Big Bend.
Jeff: Ask me again after the Stromboli comes out of the oven.
What was the best campsite so far?
Heather: I really liked our site at Dog Canyon Dispersed Camping outside of Alamogordo, NM. The views were great, and the price was right. Freeee!
Jeff: Probably Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. It was well manicured, clean, and they had nightly Ranger programs followed by dark sky, star-filled nights!
What was the most challenging day and why?
Heather: The day we had to make the call to cancel our Grand Canyon reservations was a challenging one for me. I was really looking forward to that visit and coming to the realization that it wasn’t going to happen was disappointing.
Jeff: The day before we left home because we were running around trying to get the last few things into the camper and concerned the whole time about what we might be forgetting, and whether or not we would remember where we packed all our stuff. And yesterday…I drank the last beer.
Are there any destinations you would skip next time?
Heather: I’m not upset about any place we have been, but I guess I would skip Tombstone next time and spend more time in Chiricahua National Monument, instead.
Jeff: Not unless I get to count the overnight stay at Cracker Barrel.
Where do you wish you had spent more time?
Heather: Well, Chiricahua like I said in the previous question, but also Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. We really enjoyed everything we did in Organ Pipe and there was so much more to see and do that we had to skip because we had made other reservations.
Jeff: Probably Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. We had nice weather there, there were friendly people (we are talking about you, Don and Kelly), and we enjoyed the Ranger programs.
What was the worst drive between locations?
Heather: I don’t do the driving, so I don’t feel qualified to answer this, but I really disliked most of the drives we had in Texas. Around Houston seemed especially bad! Everyone seemed to drive so fast and recklessly that it was stressful to me and I wasn’t even the one behind the wheel!
Jeff: The drive between Winslow and Page. It was so windy and the road was full of potholes!
What was the biggest, most pleasant surprise?
Heather: I think probably the Alamogordo, NM area. I expected to love White Sands, but didn’t realize there would be so much more there for us to enjoy!
Jeff: The unexpected opportunity to come back to Zion National Park. We lucked into a cancellation at the campground.
What do you miss about home?
Heather: Well, our family and friends the most, but otherwise, I miss the comfy recliner, my treadmill, long showers, and being able to do laundry whenever I want in my own machines!
Jeff: Comfortable seating. At home, we have two leather recliners and a house that is always at a constant, comfortable temperature. We typically keep it around 60 degrees in the camper if we don’t have electric hook-ups to run an electric heater. We could keep it warmer if we wanted to spend more for propane.
Are you ready to go home?
Heather: Not even a little bit!
Jeff: Hell, no!
Until next time!