Category Archives: Travel

Sold!

There she goes.  That’s right, Our Way is sold.  We closed the deal yesterday.

Right from the start, 15 months ago,  we decided to buy an RV, travel around the country, see as many of the National Parks as we could on an extended but concentrated adventure and sell it upon our return.  At that time, it was just our plan and we really didn’t know how it would turn out.  We just hoped that we could get it all accomplished by the end of 2017.

Well, now we do know.  We were able to sell Our Way within our timeframe after having an adventure of a lifetime.  We checked off a significant item on our bucket lists and are in the process of closing this chapter of our lives (stay tuned, there will be one or two more posts after this one).

We were happy to meet the buyers yesterday, a very excited couple with dreams of doing something similar to what we have just completed.  Seeing this really nice couple being as excited as we were about their upcoming adventure made it easier for us to move on to our next adventure….more on that in an upcoming post.

ttys,

K&S

 

Stronger Together

Many people have asked us, “how did you live in such a small space for such a long time”?

It’s a fair question.  We’ve given it much thought and want to share our insights with you here.

First, we were not used to living in a small space and we certainly were not accustomed to spending every moment of every day together.  Prior to our RV Adventure, we did spend a fair amount of time together yet also spent a significant amount of time independently.  We both have individual interests that we pursue with our own friends and our exercise routines and the ability to just hang out in our own private space at home.

Once we moved into the RV, that was history.

Lets face it, we were now sharing a total of 272 square feet (thats right, 8′ x 34′, that’s it!), living on the road, spending our time (mostly) in places that we had never been before and where we rarely new anyone else.  It was “just the two of us’ as the song goes.

Yes, it did take some getting used to.  It wasn’t easy to start with.  It did take a while to get used to the smaller space available to each of us and the lack of our own individual space.  Once we adjusted to that and got to know how to “get out of each others way”, everything got progressively easier.  We certainly learned a lot about ourselves and each other.

So, if you intend to do anything like this, here are some things to keep in mind:

Prerequisite – you certainly better be best friends at the start of the adventure!

Recognize that you each have some growing and adjusting and compromising to do and its going to take some time to perfect those changes.  Its a dance…

Practice your listening skills – you will need them.  As my Dad once told me way back when I was young (oh, so long ago), “Listen twice as much as you talk – that’s why God gave you two ears and only one mouth”.  Maintaining a positive living environment, especially in this small space, requires way more listening.

Develop your sensing skills, too.  We all know that understanding your partner’s needs and desires often times has more to do with what is not said…this is magnified by the small space.  At least, it was for us.  Tune in to those often subtle hints.

Remember, it’s all about the journey, not the destination! (Refer to previous post on this topic – valuable lesson for those that have not yet learned this one.)

Lastly, stay busy.  We had so many incredible adventures packed into this journey.  Sure, we spent a ton of time in the RV but that was mostly driving or sleeping.  Other than that, we were on the go, outside, exploring the amazing destinations on our itinerary.  We ran ourselves so ragged trying to see everything we could in each area we visited that we actually had to force ourselves to “take a rest day” every now and again.

All that said, we agree that our relationship is stronger now than ever before and we wouldn’t trade this time together for anything.

Stronger together, undoubtedly!

We learned how to successfully coexist in only 272 square feet with only “the stuff” that we could bring with us or rent for the day along the way.  We had so much fun and continuous adventure, its going to be interesting to experience how we adapt to reentry into the “normal lifestyle” of our pre-RV-Adventure lives…maybe.

ttys,

K&S

Top Ten National Parks

Ok, it’s time to let you know how we rated the 44 National Parks that we’ve visited to date.

Our goal for this adventure was to visit all the National Parks in the lower 48 states that we had not yet visited. We didn’t quite hit that goal, however, we did get to 37 more parks in the past seven months.

As this can get a bit complicated, let’s use the chart below to clarify (I hope) what we have accomplished so far:

006FC10D-425A-4B10-81A6-196E0B43B08AAs you can see, there are a total of 47 parks located in the lower 48, 5 of which we had visited prior to this trip.  We got to 37 more during our 15,000 mile RV Adventure that began on April 1, 2017.  That leaves us only 5 more parks in the contiguous U.S. to explore, hopefully by the end of next year.

Then, there are the ten parks we have not yet visited that are spread across Alaska, American Samoa, Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands.  It may take a little longer to get to all of these places (and it may require that we win the lottery, too!).  We will see.

Surely, rating which parks you like best is a subjective endeavor.  We’ve attempted to provide some balance by including our individual assessments as well as a simple weighted average which we used to generate the prioritized list below of all the parks we’ve visited so far.  We think this will show you that, at a minimum, Siobhan and I agreed on the relative placement of at least the top seven parks.  Here are our Top Ten:

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And, without further ado, here is the entire list for your viewing pleasure:

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We hope this list may provide some guidance should you one day decide to visit any of the National Parks in this incredible county of ours!

ttyl,

K&S

For Sale

Yes, that’s right.  Our Way is now for sale.

When we started this adventure, we planned to sell this coach when we completed our exploration of the lower-48 and all its National Parks (except ME, SC and FL).  We weren’t sure if we would actually still feel like its the right thing to do once we got home so we reserved judgement.

Well, we had a magnificent adventure and loved (almost) every minute of it.  However, after serious contemplation, we’ve decided that we love where we live and don’t want to give that up.  There just simply isn’t enough time to do everything.

So, sticking to our overall plan, we are now selling Our Way.

Please feel free to share this info with anyone you may know that is interested in purchasing a meticulously maintained, beautiful home on wheels.

Its a 2016 Tiffin Allegro Open Road, model 32SA.  If you or someone you know is interested, all the specifics and 20 pictures are available on RV Trader.  Just look for ad ID#5000567142 at https://www.rvtrader.com.

We will keep you posted on the progress.

And we still have a few more posts so stay tuned…

ttyl,

K&S

Last Leg

With all the warranty work completed and Our Way looking great, we were off to our home in Fort Myers to “wrap this thing up”.  On the way, we camped in Eufaula, AL on Thursday night right on the shore of a lake and then at Dad’s place in Mount Dora, FL on Friday and Saturday before heading home.

We hadn’t seen Dad for almost seven months so it was great to get an opportunity to visit with him again.  We enjoyed catching up and sharing stories about our trip and had a couple of nice meals together at “The Lodge” in his community.  We were even allowed to park our coach right on the property (special permission needed, for sure) since we arrived on a weekend for a couple of nights of dry camping.

 

Sunday morning we were off for Fort Myers, the final drive of the trip!  When we were about half way home, Siobhan demanded that I stop at the next rest stop so she could get one last stint behind the wheel on this last leg of our RV Adventure.  Quite the contrast from the beginning of the trip when she really didn’t want anything to do with driving!

We arrived at home around noon, emptied everything from the RV into our garage and then got Our Way to the storage area a few miles away.  Its a covered spot with electric which allows us to keep the AC running to keep the humidity out and the coach in great shape.  A huge task completed, we drove back home for a well-earned happy hour.

The majority of the next two days were spent at the storage area, cleaning the RV both inside and out.  A ton of hard work but it looks brand new again!

We attacked this task with such vigor because Siobhan had to catch a plane to Toronto on Thursday.  Getting all this work done on Monday and Tuesday left her one day to get everything ready for her upcoming extended stay visit in Canada.  Her Dad, Ken, was getting his knee replaced on Friday and would not be able to get around on his own nor drive for a while so she wanted to be there to help out (what a great daughter, eh).  One way ticket – hhhmmm – should I be worried? (Just kidding, she’ll be back…eventually…I think…)

ttyl,

K&S

Red Bay – Again

We’ve been in New Hampshire for about three weeks now and we’re antsy,  itching to get back out on the road.

We began this grand RV Adventure with an early visit to Red Bay, Alabama, home of the manufacturer of Our Way, the Tiffin Motor Home company (and not much else!).  It seems kinda fitting that we would be wrapping it up with another stop there on our way home to Florida.

One of the many things we’ve learned along this journey is that things don’t always go as planned (surprised, right?).  If you’ve followed this blog, you already know that we’ve had some issues (remember the refrigerator story or the bedroom slide story or…) along the way that need to be resolved.  We’ve learned that that is what happens when you drive your house (the RV) down the road for thousands of miles.  Well, the Tiffin company has a great warranty and their customer service is second to none!

Whenever we encountered an issue that needed to be repaired but wouldn’t derail our trip, we would simply call Justin, our service technician contact at Tiffin.   He would record the issue and let us know that Tiffin would handle it for us when we returned to the factory service center whenever we got back to the east coast.  They even extended our warranty by a couple of weeks just so we would not have to rush back to Red Bay to get there prior to the actual expiration date of the warranty.

So, on Tuesday, 10/10/2017, it was off to Red Bay!  We did a few nights of Walmart camping along the way in PA, VA and TN to break up the drive before arriving at the Tiffin facility on Friday about 10:30 AM.  We figured it would be about a week to complete all the outstanding warranty work so we settled in at the Tiffin Campground (really, an upscale parking lot).  We got really lucky with the timing of the different service bays we needed to visit to complete our list and got out of there in 7 days with everything looking great!

While there, we made a few new friends, went on another Tiffin Factory Tour (where they are building 13 new motorhomes each week – all made to order and already sold), had lunch at Mason Jar on Main a couple of times and even decided on what RV we will buy next (if we do buy another one).  See what happens when we don’t have enough to do…

When we purchased Our Way, we thought a 34′ RV would be difficult enough to drive and therefore would not want anything longer.  After more than 15,000 miles of driving in all kinds of conditions all around this country, both of us would be perfectly comfortable driving a longer coach.  With that new feeling of confidence combined with the experience gained while living in Our Way for seven months and assuming we win the lottery or something (so that money is no object), we would now “trade up” to the 40′ Tiffin Phaeton 40IH.  I’d like the advantages the diesel drivetrain brings to the equation (air ride, engine break, longevity) and Siobhan really has her sites set on the convenience of the extra half bath that is part of this perfect floor plan.

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Over the past seven months we spoke to Justin a number of times.  He was extremely helpful and over time we seemed to develop a great rapport.  It always seemed like he had our back and we were looking forward to meeting him in person when we arrived.  It was our distinct pleasure to go out to dinner with Justin and his wife, Kayla.  This was not just any dinner, either, as they made this another really cool adventure for us.  They live in Mississippi (which is just a stone’s throw from the Tiffin facility) and decided to take us to Oxford via a National Scenic Byway named the Natchez Trace Parkway.  This 444 mile parkway is headquartered in Tupelo, MS, maintained by the National Park Service and connects Natchez, MS with Nashville, TN while crossing some of the most beautiful terrain in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.  After the 90 minute scenic ride on “the Trace” just before sunset, we toured through the Ole Miss (University of Mississippi) which is home to more than 24,000 students.  What an absolutely gorgeous campus with all the southern charm you would expect.  Then, dinner at Boure Restaurant on the historic Courthouse Square right in the center of Oxford.  Great company, great food, wonderful night!

We were worried about how long we would be here to get this final warranty work completed.  We had heard stories of people being here two, three, even four weeks awaiting parts or their turn in a specific service bay depending upon what work they needed completed.  We got very lucky with the timing of moving from one specialty (like woodworking) area to another and spent only six nights here on this visit.  By noon on Thursday, 10/19/2017, we were heading home – but – thats another story…

ttys

K&S

 

Mad Dash to NH

We’ve now finished our planned visits to National Parks so its off to New Hampshire for some time with family and friends.

On our way we made overnight stops in Le Roy, NY and then Bernardston, MA before arriving in Sunapee, New Hampshire on Monday, September 11th for a three week travel break (kind of – more on that  in a minute) .

The most difficult thing about this entire adventure was missing time with our family and friends in New England.  To make the trip work, we needed to sacrifice our normal “summer in Sunapee” so that we could travel to all the places we wanted to see while the weather would be conducive to RV travel (in other words, no snow).  The good news was that we got to visit all the places on our list and the bad news was that we didn’t see our family or friends all summer.  So, we were pretty excited about getting back to Sunapee.

While there we visited with our friends, caught up on our doctors and dentists appointments and attended a family party in CT to help celebrate the 50th birthday of one of my brothers.  And since we hadn’t been on the road much (not), we drove our car to Toronto for a few days to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving with Siobhan’s family.  We even used Airbnb for the first time to rent a cottage up there, fun times!

During the little bit of down time we did have available while at our NH home, we just plain relaxed and reminisced about all the exciting places we experienced on this incredible adventure around our beautiful country.  So far, we’ve visited 32 of the 48 contiguous states and 44 of the country’s 59 National Parks.

Our RV Adventure is a whirlwind and its already time to get back on the road for the last leg of the trip.

ttyl

K&S