What have we been up to?

April 11th, 2019.  Today marks the 2-year anniversary of “The Pipe Dream”.  Two years ago we came up with the crazy idea to sell everything and become full-time RVers.  I still can’t quite believe we had this idea and made a goal and then achieved our goal last December.  I’m pretty sure it’s the biggest goal we’ve ever set for ourselves and then actually made it happen.  We had already known for a long time we were ready for a change and ready to move out of Missouri but we weren’t quite sure about anything else, until we settled on the idea to travel the country full-time.  I never could have predicted all the things that have happened in the past 2 years, and even in the past several months.  It’s been a roller-coaster and although we’ve been keeping up with social media, our blog is LONG overdue for an update!  We’ve been busy and I don’t know where to start with an update so I’m just going to do a rough timeline and plan to go back and fill in more details later.

The last time I updated the blog, we had just returned from the Escapees RV club rally in Sedalia, MO.  We met a bunch of people and learned a lot!  The biggest game-changer we took away from Escapade was the knowledge that our plan to keep our Excursion as our tow vehicle was NOT going to work well.  We needed a more capable tow vehicle in order to safely and comfortably tow our big RV all over the country full-time.  I’ll start our timeline there.

June 2018– we took a 1,000+ mile round-trip road trip to Columbus, Ohio and bought a 2011 Ford F-350 dually truck! It had low miles and was just what we wanted and the price was right.  It was a bit of a needle in a haystack, we didn’t want to get another diesel truck and a gas dually truck is a pretty rare find. We left on Friday evening after I got home from work, inspected and bought our truck Saturday and arrived back home in the early morning hours on Sunday.                                                                                                 IMG_20180609_152224758_HDR

July and August 2018- Bryan and I were both working full-time and I was also commuting over an hour a day.  Bryan spent many weekends working on some upgrades to the truck, as well as other odds and ends that needed to be done in order for us to sell our multiple other vehicles we managed to accumulate over the years.  Bryan’s mom’s health was deteriorating further so we also made additional trips to Joplin over the summer.  We continued to be “weekend warriors” and every weekend was filled with either a trip out of town or a lot of work on multiple projects at home. We still tried to enjoy simple things like grilling dinner and playing outside even though it was SO HOT outside all summer.IMG_20180704_173748556

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September and October 2018- Bryan’s mom passed away after many years of struggling with dementia and declining health.  Although it wasn’t unexpected it obviously was still a very difficult time for all of us.  September and most of October were, for the most part, what I’d describe as “lost months”.  We made several more trips to Joplin and we were dealing with a lot of heartache and emotional stress on top of trying to keep up with full-time work and maintain a normal daily life for us and for Katelyn. These were a couple of really hard months and I don’t have much else to say about them for now.

November 2018- We came out of the fog of September and October and began working feverishly toward our goal to “Launch” full-time before the end of the year.  Things had been happening very slowly for us for such a long time throughout the spring and summer.   November was when everything kicked into high-gear for us.  We were finally ready to take the leap and said “Let’s DO THIS!” The weather was already starting to turn and we had a lot of snowy and cold days. IMG_20181204_073438000_HDR We didn’t want to be in Missouri for another winter.  We were just ready to be done with everything at this point.  We worked hard to get the house cleaned out, took a full moving truck full of stuff to be auctioned off at a local consignment auction.  We dropped off countless truckloads full of donations and had a bunch of other stuff we put out for the garbage truck to pick up.  My last day of work was November 30th!

December 2018-  December was so eventful, it really needs a dedicated blog entry (or multiple).  To summarize briefly, we finally hitched up our RV, said our goodbyes and drove out of our driveway for the last time on 12/12/18.  IMG_20181212_145150781We spent time with our family and friends in Southwest Missouri for almost 3 weeks.  We took a whirlwind trip to Livingston, Texas to establish domicile and register our vehicles and become “official Texas residents” and we visited the Escapees RV club headquarters!  IMG_20181217_123805760Our house officially went on the market! Our beloved Ruthie dog passed away unexpectedly the day before we were scheduled to leave Missouri on our way out to Arizona.  We rolled out of Missouri late in the afternoon on 12/30/18, headed west. I was bauling my eyes out much of that day and also many days beyond.  We had Andrea’s ashes in the RV and Ruthie’s collar hanging from the Jeep rearview mirror.  (I’m not crying, you’re crying!)  IMG_20181230_163129830

January 2019- We arrived in Arizona on New Year’s Day and had an unexpected snow day in Bowie, Arizona- 4″ of snow in an area that rarely sees any! IMG_20190102_120256065 We had only planned to stay the night but given the forecast we took an extra day and sat still on 1/2 before we traveled on to the Phoenix area on 1/3.  We spent a few days in Congress, Arizona at the Escapees North Ranch RV park where we regrouped and rested and enjoyed some long-anticipated warm and sunny weather.  We met up with the full-time families boondockers anonymous branch north of Lake Havasu City, Arizona and spent our first nights camping without any hookups!  We had been there for around 36 hours when Bryan found out on Wednesday 1/9/19, his company (division) was closing and he was losing his job, effective February 15th.  To say it came as a shock is an understatement. More on that later. IMG_20190116_163930976_HDR 1/12-1/20/19 we attended an epic Xscapers Annual Bash at Lake Havasu.  It was so much fun!  We headed to Quartzsite after that for another full-time families hangout, but with all the things we had going on we just weren’t “feeling it”.  We connected with a few people but our hearts weren’t feeling it and the internet was too slow for Bryan to try to work so we headed on to Saddle Mountain BLM land in Tonopah, Arizona where we met up with a much smaller group of families and tried to regroup for awhile.  I loved our time there and will have a dedicated post on that at a later time.  IMG_20190125_180156157

February 2019-  We finished up our much-appreciated time at Saddle Mountain and headed to California to meet up with our Escapees Chapter 8 group for our Mexico Caravan!  We arrived in Potrero, California on 2/11/19 and spent several days preparing to RV in Mexico.  2/15/18, we drove across the border to Guadalupe, where we spent several days camping at a zoo!  We got the behind-the-scenes VIP treatment and had an amazing time.  This is largely a rescue zoo and a community park and deserves it’s own dedicated post later, it was such an awesome place!  Katelyn celebrated her 7th birthday here. IMG_20190217_152730799_HDR

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On 2/19 we traveled on to Ensenada to La Jolla Beach Camp and I saw the ocean again for the first time in 15 years.  I cried as I drove over the mountain and the Pacific Ocean came into view.  It was Katelyn’s first time ever to see the ocean.  Our campground was right on the beach! IMG_20190227_140656458

Even better, the beach has natural hot springs!  We had such a good time in Ensenada.  I celebrated my 40th birthday on the beach sitting in a natural sand hot tub on the beach. It was epic.

IMG_20190227_120130394 Katelyn and I both got horrible sunburns!!  OOPS.  Mexico sun in February is not something I’m used to. We went on a beautiful Jeep ride while we were there as well.FB_IMG_1554956454156

We decided to extend our trip and go further south to Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur to see the gray whales in the lagoon where they go to breed and birth their babies every spring.  We felt like we were already in Mexico, weren’t sure when we’d have the opportunity to be back again, and we needed to just go for it. Spoiler alert, it was SO WORTH IT! Bucket list for sure, seeing the whales was awesome beyond words. IMG_20190310_133620107-EFFECTS

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I started to continue on with March but I think I’ll stop here.  I look forward to going into a lot of this in more detail and also picking up our story again in March because there’s still a lot to cover!  Cheers to life!