I love this time of year. After a few months of rest, my feet are itching to get back on the road. So, I spent much of this week setting my travel schedule for the year ahead. There are so many fun places to visit and sites that are on my bucket list that it was hard to whittle it down to a manageable number.
Yes, I promised myself I would slow down in 2016, but as a journalist covering the RV industry, it seems everyone wants the media at their show or event.
This year will take me from Arizona to:
- South Dakota
- Wisconsin — twice
- Illinois — twice
- Ohio — twice
- New York
- Washington, D.C.
- North Carolina
- Tennessee — twice
The big events along the route include the RV Industry Association annual meeting, Kampgrounds of America Big Weekend, Escapees Escapade, FMCA Family Reunion, Pennsylvania RV Show, Elkhart Open House, RV Dealers Association Convention, KOA Convention, National RV Trade Show and Tampa RV Supershow (in 2017).
I’m still trying to squeeze in a few more events, if possible. And I’m hoping to score some invitations to meet folks as the actual trip schedule is released over the next few months. One thing is for certain, I’m planning to do far more blogging about my travels than I have in the previous two years!
I did factor in some play time this year. For example, I am hoping to spend a week exploring the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, a week chasing elk and bison in Yellowstone National Park, a week gobbling lobsters in Maine, and a day or in Toronto and Montreal.
Best of all, I get to spend 12 weeks with two of my daughters and my three granddaughters. I can’t wait until they’re old enough to go “gramping” with grandpa!
One of these days, I want to get up into Canada for some extensive travel. But, I’d need to win the lottery in order to afford the higher gas prices. There’s a rumor that my tech partner is planning a trip to Alaska in May 2017 that will follow the Alcan Highway. That would be my second visit to the Last Frontier where there is a Kodak moment around every turn.
But, each time I read one of Carol Ann Quibell’s features on Canadian travel in Let’s RV, I’d really like to spend an entire summer traveling from British Columbia to Prince Edward Island. Alas, maybe next year.
Someday I’ll be able to just toss a dart on a map and let my adventure plan it’s own course. Until then, I’m going to force myself to take some time off each week to enjoy the area I’m visiting — if only for a few hours.
After spending nearly $10,000 last year for 288 days of camping at private campgrounds, I’m planning to spend at least one-fifth of my time in 2016 staying in state and county parks, and land managed by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Land Management.
Other full-time RVers have been chiding me for months for avoiding some of the most scenic RV parking places in the nation. First up will be an ocean-front state park near Huntington Beach, Calif., in mid-March. There appear to be some beautiful state parks near Pudget Sound in Washington. I’m a sucker for camping at any type of waterfront site.
Next week, Nelson, my motorhome, goes into the dealership for a checkup and pre-trip work like an oil change for the engine and generator, a tune-up, and a battery charging system that keeps the engine battery juiced when plugged into shore power.
There are also some nit-noid repairs that always seem to pop-up during RV use, and I’d rather have an RV tech tackle those than grab a wrench and hammer and try doing it myself. That’s an invitation to disaster. RV techs love it when non-technical people attempt their own repairs!
The first year I was full-timing, I put 13,000 miles on the motorhome. Last year, it climbed to 17,000. This year I will be visiting all four corners of the nation for the first time, so who knows how many miles we’ll cover. But, a rough estimate puts it at 10,500. We’ll see what the odometer reads in December. Thank goodness for podcasts and books on tape!
Getting closer to launch day also means Nelson gets a good cleaning inside and out. Last week, I went through the RV and tossed bags full of stuff that manage to accumulate over the year. That’s the one thing about RVing that I REALLY like. It forces people to adopt a minimalist lifestyle and breaks any obsession with accumulating things.
So, it’s going to be an exciting year. I love the Pacific Northwest almost as much as I love New England for sheer beauty. And the idea of spending December in Florida again has me thinking about taking another Christmas cruise.
Now, if there was just an easy way to get Nelson to swim to Hawaii, I could check off the one remaining state from my travel history.