On the Road to your Dreams, Stay the Course!

Driving in Utah brings one jaw-dropping view after another...

Yet another breathtaking drive in Utah. For us it was worth it
to give up our stuff for endless scenic drives like this.

Getting up the guts to untie the dock lines and go cruising, or to drive out of the driveway and hit the road in an RV full-time, is often the hardest part of starting a new life of adventure and travel.

Once you’ve set up camp a few times in your rig, or dropped the hook a few times along the coast, new patterns begin to get established and eventually the new lifestyle becomes routine.

But taking that first step — saying goodbye to all that is familiar and comfortable — can be truly frightening.



Pangas in Huatulco

Before we began cruising in our sailboat,
we knew nothing about Mexico.

Before we started full-time RVing in 2007, I used to sit in our home and gaze out the window and wonder how in the world we would ever be able to leave home and go live in a trailer.

A life on the road sounded so thrilling, but in many ways it seemed so impossible to achieve. Our house “needed us” to keep everything running right…would tenants trash the place?  Our friends and family were all staying put…would our relationships survive the long distances and time apart?  And we had so much stuff (and it was good stuff too!)…would we regret letting it go?

Sunrise in Puerto Balandra

We didn’t have sunsets like this in our neighborhood back home!
Puerto Balandra in the Sea of Cortez







As we sold off almost all of our belongings and put the rest in a shed behind a friend’s house, a mixture of terror and excitement filled our hearts.


Rainbow over fifth wheel

A rainbow over our rig in Flaming Gorge Utah

When we drove out of our neighborhood the last time, we headed 1,000 miles east with all our remaining worldly possessions in the back of our truck.

We were on our way to pick up a new rolling home that we had purchased online — sight unseen — and we were both utterly thrilled.

But at the same time a tiny voice inside asked, “what have we done?”

When we arrived at the RV dealership outside Dallas, we discovered our brand new trailer had been sitting on the lot for a year and was full of black mold under the fridge.

Cathedral Gorge, Nevada

We found this fascinating place (Cathedral Gorge)
while driving down the road in Nevada!

Holy cow!! What had we just done?

On our first trip to a laundromat, Mark looked at me glumly. “So this is it from now on,” he said.  “Laundromats… I used to have a really nice washer and dryer of my own!”

Oh dear… What in the world had we just done?

We can look back at those early days now and laugh.

In the end, Marshall’s RV Center was very upstanding and replaced our trailer with a fresh-off-the-line unit that was perfect in every respect.



Natural Bridges National Monument

A great spot to sit for a spell — Natural Bridges, Utah.

And we gradually got used to laundromats, and now enjoy doing three (or four, or five) loads of laundry simultaneously.

We returned to our home when we had been on the road for four years, and after just 10 days of painting and repairing, the place looked better than when we lived there ourselves!

After six years on the road, we returned again to do the same thing, with the same result. Maybe our home “needed us,” but apparently in small doses!

But what a lot of panicky feelings we went through on the way to those happy endings!


Cathedral steeples in Guanajuato

We had no idea our sailboat would introduce us to
sights like this in Guanajuato, Mexico

I think these kinds of mixed emotions and rocky beginnings are common among many new full-timers and cruisers.

As one friend wrote to me in an email during his final weeks before he left San Diego to cruise Mexico: “This is a confusing time, as we have wanted to do this for a long time, but getting ready is very stressful. Everything about it is scary.”

Emotions run extraordinarily high as you force yourself to let go of almost every material thing you’ve ever held dear, often for ten cents on the dollar, or less, at garage sales.


Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains

Leaving behind familiarity, comfort and stability, we opened our lives to
experience the beauty and wonder of places like Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains.

How hard it is to see your precious things get snatched up by vulturous yard-salers.

And — for cruisers especially — how frightening it is to see all the money you have carefully saved all your life, dollar by dollar, suddenly flying out of your bank account thousand by thousand.

No one REALLY told you that this is what outfitting your boat for self-sufficiency and safety in third-world countries would be all about… did they?


A fawn

A fawn stops to look at us

This preparation phase can shake you to the core.

Yet if you don’t hold fast to your dream, and march through these transitional days with strong resolve, you can’t ever open yourself to the new life that awaits you on the other side.

If your heart soars at the idea of sailing off over the horizon, or you long to sample a more exotic life on the road, pursuing that dream will ultimately push you out of your comfort zone. Only by accepting that can you escape the “same old same old.”

If you get scared, and give in, and give up before you ever get going, you are effectively saying your dream isn’t worthwhile.

Dreams are flighty and delicate. They flit around us like butterflies on a warm summer day, hard to pin down, and quick to fly off out of sight.

playing guitar on a boat

A tranquil moment at anchor aboard Groovy

Reaching out to catch our dreams can be a stretch. But we have to take that leap of faith, and sometimes even suffer a little scary uncertainty, if we want to make them come true.

Ironically, after six years on the road, three in a fifth wheel and three in a sailboat, Mark and I find ourselves right where we started, as we rearrange our lives to support our new dreams.

We are giving up cruising, resuming full-time RVing, and we plan on traveling in other ways too.

For all those wonderful things to happen, though, we have to make some big changes.

Santiago Sunrise

Glorious sunrises are routine in Manzanillo Bay!

For starters, we need to sell everything we bought for the boat, and sell the boat too.

Over the past few weeks, we have held a daily Cockpit Sale aboard Groovy in San Diego and sold off piles of wonderful cruising gear

How great it is that we never needed our EPIRB (emergency radio beacon) or spare storm anchor or spare macerator pump.

But how hard it is to let them go for half of what we paid.


An all day every day cockpit sale on Groovy.

An all day every day cockpit sale on Groovy.

It is not quite as hard as getting rid of a 25 year accumulation of stuff like we did when we started full-timing, but it entails the same mixed sense of loss — and of growing freedom.

To make things even more complicated, our tenants’ lease on our home is up and they have moved out.

We like to choose who lives in our home, so this new wrinkle has forced us to dash to Phoenix to tidy up the place and find new people to live there.

Saguaro cactus in the clouds

A saguaro cactus stands amid
monsoon clouds in Arizona




Putting the Cockpit Sale on hold for a bit, we are now in Phoenix, sleeping on an air mattress and using paper plates and plastic utensils in our empty home, as we clean and repair little things and show the place to prospective tenants.

All of our incredible travels suddenly seem like a distant dream. Stranger still, I am now gazing out the windows of our former home, and I am wondering how in the world we will ever get from here into our next phase of life.

The anchorage at Las Hadas Resort

I never imagined we would anchor in places like this —
Las Hadas Resort in Manzanillo Mexico.

I can envision it, but it seems worlds away.

Gorgeous red rocks at Capitol Reef Utah

Gorgeous red rocks at Capitol Reef Utah


We need tenants.

We need a boat buyer.

We need to sell the rest of our cruising stuff and downsize back into our trailer.

The key, I think, both for first-timers and for folks like us that are making a midstream adjustment to their traveling lifestyle, is to Stay the Course.

I’ve said this to lots of people who have emailed me in a panic in the last weeks before they take off on their dream adventure. Now it is time for us to remind ourselves of this important message too!!

The beauty of full-timing is that we can boondock among Utah's red rocks as long as we like.

The beauty of full-timing is that we can boondock among Utah’s red rocks as long as we like.

hobie mirage i14t tandem inflatable kayak

First days with our super fun kayak in Florida

When we were going through our initial big sell-off, before we moved into our trailer, my mom asked me how I could part with so much of my personal memorabilia.

In a way, purging all that stuff was like clearing out a place in my own soul.

Only by letting go of it all could I make room for new memories, new experiences and new thrills.


porta-bote portabote

Mark and his son check out our slick new porta-bote.

If I clung too tightly to my past, I wouldn’t have room for the future.

And so it is now as I watch other people walk away from our boat with our fins, our cruising guides, our kayak, our dive tanks, our cool portable VHF radio and our dinghy.

Each holds precious memories — both of choosing the gear in anticipation of our cruise and of putting it to use in Mexico — and in each item I see a younger and more innocent me who embraced our cruising life with such enthusiasm.

Groovy anchored in Tangolunda Bay, Huatulco

Groovy anchored in Tangolunda Bay, Huatulco

Now it is time to let it all go.

We could try to keep all that stuff — we might use some of it again — but our new life is still on the road, and there is absolutely no room for any of it in our already full fifth wheel trailer.

If we need any of it in the future, we can buy it again.  That may not be the most cost-effective approach, but at least we won’t have had to lug it around with us either.



Big hole Montana boondocking

A rainbow over our rig in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley

Likewise, as I sit between our home’s bare walls and wonder when those wonderful new prospective tenants we’re waiting for will suddenly walk in the door and fall in love with our place, I have to dig deep for the faith that they will indeed show up, that they will truly love our home, and that they will pay the rent on time.

A big part of having a dream and pursuing it is also having the faith that all the pieces will fall into place and allow it to come true.

For three straight weeks we have turned into expert salesmen, day in and day out, selling everything we have right out from under us, from tarps and fishing gear to a lease on our home.

Standing on a corner

Standin’ on the corner in Winslow Arizona

But this uncertainty, and these weird feelings, and this soul searching are all part of the process.  They are the small toll we must pay to transit the gate to where our dream lifestyle not only resumes but takes flight.

Once past all this, once our new adventures get going, I now know that I will eventually look back on these days and remember this younger me, gazing out these very same windows, wondering how it will all come together.

I will look back, too, and remember how, beneath my nervousness, I was so full of anticipation, expectation and hope.

Sunrise in Huatulco

Good monring sunshine!


If you are working towards a dream of escape, and putting together the many pieces that will go into a new life of full-time travel, remember: Stay the Course.

When things get a little emotional, and you question your own sanity, and you wonder if giving up your current life for a fragile dream will be worth it in the end, have faith in your vision.

If you are like us, with wanderlust and adventure in your soul, imagine yourself in your final years. Which will be most fulfilling to reminisce about, a lifetime of possessions or a lifetime of experiences?

When you fear your dream may not work out, believe — with all your heart — that your innermost yearnings and your deepest desires are right for you.

You will cherish the days when those intangible longings have become the very essence of your day to day life.


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Our most recent posts:

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Living, Loving and Perfecting “The Dream”

Sailing Groovy

Happy days aboard Groovy!

June 2013 – We’ve been living the Good Life here at Paradise Village Marina in Puerto Vallarta for three months now. Wow!

This is a wonderful place to hang out, and lots of folks stay for years at a time. But the reason we have stayed here so long is actually because we’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching and thinking about our next move.

Bahia Concepcion, Sea of Cortez

Bahia Concepcion, Sea of Cortez




Heaven on earth at Las Palmas Resort in Huatulco

Heaven on earth at Las Palmas Resort in Huatulco

We’ve had an unbelievable run of good fortune and exciting times this past year.

Last summer in our trailer, and this past winter in our sailboat, we were gifted with one beautiful experience after another.

Groovy Isla Coyote, Sea of Cortez

Groovy at Isla Coyote, Sea of Cortez

The jewel box interior of Morelia's Our Lady of Guadelupe church.

The jewel box interior of Morelia’s
Our Lady of Guadelupe church.

It seems that everywhere we went we met kind and caring people who quickly became friends.

All year long we have been pinching ourselves, saying, “Is this all possible? Are we really living this life?”

It may seem strange, but on that very high note we have decided to make a huge change in our lives and take Groovy back to California and gradually close the cruising chapter of our travels.

After sailing up and down Mexico’s west coast several times, we have fulfilled our cruising dreams completely — and then some.


Monte Alban - the first ancient pyramid ruins we ever saw

Monte Alban – How stirring it is to see these ancient pyramids.

Throughout our travels this past year, in the background, behind all our exhilarating escapades, we have been digging deep in our hearts and pondering all the different ways we could move forward with our cruising lifestyle.

Cruising is a unique way to travel. Even though you move from place to place, the focus is always ultimately on the boat and the process of boating rather than on the destinations you visit.

Groovy anchored at Isla Coronado in the Sea of Cortez

Groovy anchored at Isla Coronado in the Sea of Cortez

As one seasoned cruiser told me before we started our sailing adventure,

“The boat takes up the majority of our budget and the majority of our time.”

We have found that to be true!

When we started cruising we had already traveled full-time by RV for two-and-a-half years.

We thought that cruising would be much the same as RVing, just doing it on the water instead of land.

Sea of Cortez

Sea of Cortez – RVing on water?

Colorful Bahia Careyes on the Costalegre

Colorful Bahia Careyes on the Costalegre

But we have found that while RVing is all about the destinations we visit, cruising is largely about the boat.

Why is the boat such an important part of cruising while an RV is so much less important in RVing?

Because a cruising boat is a very complicated vehicle.

The boat’s Plumber, Electrician and Mechanic are all very busy people as they work to keep the boat’s power plant, water treatment plant, sewage plant, mechanical propulsion system and wind propulsion system all functioning.

Aboard Groovy, my sweet hubby Mark filled all these roles while I concentrated on navigation and sailing the boat.

Barra de Navidad, a favorite cruiser hangout.

Barra de Navidad, a favorite cruiser hangout.

Needless to say, we were both very busy, but Mark bore the brunt of the responsibility of keeping us afloat, and it weighed heavily on his shoulders.

Unlike a sailboat, an RV, especially a trailer, has very simple systems that rarely require any maintenance or repair.

In addition to the boat itself being more complicated than an RV, living aboard a boat at anchor is infinitely more complex than living in an RV anywhere.

In the cruising life, simple day-to-day tasks like provisioning, doing laundry and getting around require forethought, planning and time.

A spotted eagle ray soars over the sand in Huatulco

A spotted eagle ray soars over the sand in Huatulco

They often involve dinghy rides, crazy beach landings, intense study of the weather forecasts and all-night travelJust showering is an adventure!!

And then there’s the simple maintenance of cleaning. After every sailing passage the entire boat would be covered with salt crystals, and although it was sometimes a fun adventure to swab the decks underway, it was still a chore that had to be done regularly!

Not only did the decks need swabbing, but barnacles needed to be scraped off the bottom of the boat every few days. Every time I jumped over the side to snorkel and enjoy the reef fish, I took a few tools too so I could to spend an hour cleaning the hull!

One huge surprise was the crazy noises at night. Nevermind the live bands that played at the resorts lining every beach in every anchorage, but the fish were surprisingly loud too! This often made sleeping a challenge, as the boat rolled relentlessly in almost every bay.

One of our favorite pastimes - swimming and playing on the back of the boat.

One of our favorite pastimes – swimming and playing
on the back of the boat.

In contrast, in the RV lifestyle you’ve always got wheels to get around, the weather plays a much less important role in travel planning, you can let a few weeks go between rig washings, and nighttime is for sleeping.

Therefore, out of necessity, Travel, in the traditional sense of sightseeing, mingling with the locals and becoming immersed in a new culture, is a secondary focus in the cruising lifestyle.

Sunrise in Santiago

Santiago – Land of Sunrises!

In our sailing travels we’ve found the happiest cruisers are those that have a deep and lasting passion for everything to do with boats and boating. Many are skilled handymen who love working in, on and around boats as well.

We love our boat Groovy. It is our dream boat in every sense: beautiful, sleek, well engineered, meticulously maintained, easy to sail, and as comfortable as a sailboat of its size could possibly be.

We have poured our hearts and souls into making it ultra-efficient for long-term life afloat at anchor.

Misol-Ha waterfall in Chiapas

Misol-Ha waterfall in Chiapas

However, as we have cruised Mexico for the past three and a half years, we’ve discovered we are actually more passionate about Travel than we are about Boating.

We are drawn towards seeing the sights, spending time with the locals, taking photographs and writing about our adventures. Time spent working on the boat and on the logistics of our lifestyle afloat often feels like time away from what we really wanted to be doing: traveling.

Our recent phenomenal trip to Guanajuato was a peak experience we’d love to repeat over and over. We absolutely loved our visit there. But Guanajuato is nowhere near the coast and has nothing to do with sailing, the sea, boats or living aboard. How do you put all this together?

As we spread out our maps of Mexico and Central America and studied our options for cruising beyond Mexico’s border, we pinpointed the many fabulous destinations we wanted to go see and then thought long and hard about whether it would be best to travel there by sailboat or to go another way.

Guanajuato city street

Guanajuato, like no other!

It turned out that most of our bucket-list locations were well inland from the coast and not easily reached by boat. Cruising further south just doesn’t make sense for us.

If we could use the boat for just three months each winter and temporarily leave it behind inexpensively and with confidence that it would not deteriorate during the rest of the year and need loads of work upon our return, we might continue cruising.

Sailing Groovy

Sailing Groovy

Then we could enjoy all the things we do love about boating each winter. However, that’s not possible, at least not in the areas we’ve explored that are within a reasonable distance of Pacific Mexico.

We will miss the lively day-sailing we’ve had in Huatulco, Acapulco, Zihuatanejo and near Loreto. It will be really sad to give up swimming off the back of the boat and living in our tiny home in the middle of beautiful tropical bays.

However, we have lived that dream — and loved it — and we have three-and-a-half years of vibrant memories, tens of thousands of photos, and hundreds of stories that we bring away from the experience.


Palenque - an evocative and mystical place of the ancients

Palenque – An evocative and mystical place of the ancients that fascinated us.

So we have made the most of our time in Puerto Vallarta as we have waited for July to approach. The 1,100 miles between here and San Diego are a very difficult voyage.

Sailors call it the “Baja Bash” because it can be a very long, scary, miserable and dangerous slog directly into huge winds and waves. After making the trip last month, a cruiser said simply: “I thought I was going to die.”

The advice from experienced sailors that have made this trip many times is that the best months to go are July and November.

Agua Verde anchorage, Sea of Cortez

Agua Verde anchorage, Sea of Cortez

We are waiting for a weather window to make the first 280 mile (48 hour) jump across the Sea of Cortez to Cabo San Lucas. From there we will take it section by section, trying to catch the best conditions we can as we make our way up the 850-mile coast.

If this post has surprised you, or saddened you or just seems strange, because you thought we would be out cruising “forever” — or at least a lot longer than three and a half years — here are some parting thoughts:

In the end, going cruising is all about dream fulfillment. The most important thing is to HAVE a dream and then to make it come true.

Beach time at Playa San Agustin in Huatulco.

Beach time at Playa San Agustin in Huatulco.

The thrill of having a dream and making it come true is being able to live it, to live WITH it, and to find its true essence.

Only when you are actually living your dream, day in and day out, can you decide which parts of it are dreamy and which parts need a little adjustment.

Many people allow themselves to be scared away from pursuing their biggest dreams. The fear that pens them in is fear of the unknown.

However, if you don’t jump into your dream with both feet, you’ll never know what that dream might have become once you wrestled with its limitations and figured out how to make it even better.


Enjoying some sweetie time in the romantic hot tub at Paradise Villaage resort.

Enjoying some sweetie time in the wonderfully romantic hot tub at Paradise Villaage resort.

It is said that cruising is about “The Journey,” and in our experience the most important journey you end up taking is one that goes within.

It is a journey where you learn a little more about who you are and what you truly want out of life.

As we have lived our cruising dream, we have learned that we are Travelers more than we are Cruisers. It took us a while to understand this.

While we love doing both, our preference is to spend our time seeing new sights and experiencing other cultures rather than taking care of and living on a boat. We can’t wait to see Mexico’s Caribbean side — by plane, bus and hotel!


The sun sets before our overnight passage.

The sun sets before an overnight passage.

Once we get settled in San Diego, we will be offering our beloved boat Groovy for sale so she can continue her own adventures with new hands on her helm.  She has been our “dream boat” in every way.

We so appreciate all of you who follow our travels. We have many many more adventures ahead, not least of which is this upcoming voyage (yikes!).  We should have internet in many locations along the Baja California coast, and we expect the trip to take about three weeks, so stay tuned for more stories from the sea and for many future land-based capers!

Note added later: Our Baja Bash trip had exciting moments but went very well in the end. Here’s the story:

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For more comparisons of the cruising and RVing lifestyles, see the two articles I wrote for Escapees Magazine, “RVing by Land and Sea” and “Life Afloat and On the Road” which are about 1/2 way down this page in the Other Articles section.

More thoughts on Living the Dream in a sailboat or RV:

Our most recent posts:

What’s It Like to RV Full-time? – A Snapshot of Pure Joy (as the banking world collapsed)

What's it like to live in an RV full time? Here is a peek at one month of RVing adventures.

Mountaintop meadow where our

month started in Parowan, UT

Full-time RV - Tractor show in Parowan, UT where we boondocked in our fifth wheel RV.

Tractor show, Parowan, UT

Full-time RV - John Deere Memorabilia, Parowan, UT where we boondocked in our fifth wheel RV.

John Deere rules

RV full-time - Iron County Fair rides, Parowan, UT where we boondocked in our fifth wheel RV.

County fair in Parowan, UT

RV full-time - Iron County Fair balloons, Parowan, UT where we boondocked in our fifth wheel RV.

Kids love clowns and


RV full time - Boondock site, Parowan UT in our fifth wheel RV.

Boondocking by a babbling brook

(brook not shown!)

RV Full time - Budweiser Clydesdales, Cedar City, UT where we boondock in our fifth wheel RV

Budweiser Clydesdales at the Cedar City western rodeo

RV Full time - Cedar City Western Rodeo, UT where we boondock in our fifth wheel RV

Lil' cowboy

RV Full time - Pioche, NV ore bucket where we boondock in our fifth wheel RV

Ore bucket in

Pioche, NV

full time RV - Pioche, NV where we boondock in our fifth wheel RV

Pioche, NV, ghost town, living history

and fading memories

full time RV - Pioche Nevada Overland Hotel where we boondock in our fifth wheel RV

One remaining saloon

out of 80 that once

thrived in Pioche, NV

full-time RV - Pioche Nevada jailhouse where we boondock in our fifth wheel RV

The jailhouse in Pioche,


Full time RV - Pioche Nevada Cathedral Gorge State Park where we boondock in our fifth wheel RV

Cathedral Gorge outside

Pioche, NV

RV Full-time - Pioche Nevada Cathedral Gorge State Park where we boondock in our fifth wheel RV

Moonscape at Cathedral Gorge

RV full time - Pioche Nevada Cathedral Gorge State Park where we boondock in our fifth wheel RV

Cool shadowing cliffs at

Cathedral Gorge

Full time RV - Colnago bicycles at Interbike Las Vegas NV Boondocking in our fifth wheel RV

Pricey Italian Colnagos lined up for test

rides at the Interbike Outdoor Demo.

Full time RV - Shelter Island Harbor San Diego where we boondock in our fifth wheel RV

Sailboats in San Diego Harbor

RV full time - Cruise ships San Diego where we boondock in our fifth wheel RV

Cruise ship dwarfs the San Diego skyline

RV full time - Shelter Island Harbor San Diego where we boondock in our fifth wheel RV

Local sport fisherman shows off his shark

before tossing it back to the sea

full time rv - Shelter Island Harbor San Diego where we boondock in our fifth wheel RV

San Diego skyline at sunset

Full time RV - Mission Bay San Diego boondock in our fifth wheel RV

Sailboat headed out to catch the breeze

RV full time - Mission Bay San Diego where we boondock in our fifth wheel RV

A day of fun in the sun on Coronado

Beach in San Diego

RV full time

Scenic road through Red Rock Canyon, NV

What's It Like to RV Full-time?? A Free Spirited Month of Pure Joy (as the banking world collapsed)

What is it like to travel fulltime in an RV?  It is a total blast.  We have a sense of freedom and independence that we have not felt

since childhood.  But the wonderful difference between living like this and being a kid is that there are no grownups around to tell

us what to do.  Each day -- every moment -- we do whatever we feel like.  And we never know what will happen next.  We

structure our overall movements by seasons:  we'll spend spring here, summer there, and by fall we should be over there.  We

structure our daily movements by how much we like a place, what chores need to be done, and the weather.  Sometimes we

arrive in a town to discover there is an event going on, and we get caught up in the local excitement.  Sometimes the highlight of

a day is the hours at the laundromat: we have met some great people while folding

clothes.  Sometimes we have a totally quiet day, filled with reading, writing, napping and

talking with each other.  However we spend our days, by the end of each one we almost

invariably look back and say, "What a great day!"

For me, the best part of this lifestyle is the

unpredictability.  I like not knowing what I am going to

do after breakfast.  I like not knowing anything about

a town until I get there.  I like studying maps and

wondering about the views from the tiny squiggly

roads leading into the hinterlands.


During September, 2008 we had a series of outstanding adventures.  Those few weeks form a perfect snapshot of what it's like,

how repeatedly stumbling into unexpected good times can be so much fun.

We had spent the summer near Bryce Canyon, Utah where we had settled into

one idyllic location for a month.  Gorgeous as it was, while August began to wind

down we felt like we were growing roots and were beginning to itch for new

scenery.  Our overall goal was to get to Las Vegas, Nevada, by September 23rd

for the annual bike industry trade show, Interbike.  Then we would meet up with

family in San Diego on the 30th.  In between, we had a month to kill and very little

geographic distance to cover.  That month held the essence of all that is great

about this crazy, traveling lifestyle.

County Fair in Parowan, Utah

We arrived in Parowan, Utah, September 1st.  Missing the turn to our planned campsite, we stopped

in the visitors center for directions.  While there, we discovered the town was hosting a huge Labor

Day county fair, complete with a 5K running race, in just a few days.  Mark signed us up for the race,

and suddenly we were immersed in the fair's rides, kettle corn, crafts display and tractor show.  We

saw a terrific seminar on local raptors, ran the race, talked at length with various residents, and

watched the parade.  During the days of the fair we camped in a mountaintop meadow near a

beautiful reservoir, at 9,000 feet elevation amid aspen and tall pines.  When the morning air got too

cool we found another spot at the base of the mountains, at a warmer elevation of 6,000 feet, where

we settled in next to a babbling brook, just a mile from town.

New Friends

After the fair ended, we were doing our laundry, pondering what

might come next in our lives when, between washing and

drying, we met a delightful couple from Arizona who live in their 24' fifth wheel in a local

mobile home park every summer.  They invited us to stop by, get water for our trailer, and

visit a while.  What a glorious afternoon!  Their fifth wheel had a stunning view of the nearby

mountains, and they were full of tales of their lifetime of international travel adventures.

Great American Stampede in Cedar City, Utah

Still caught up in their stories, we packed up the trailer and moved

a few miles south to Cedar City.  We decided to stay in the Home Depot parking lot which put us close

to a lot of shopping that we needed to do, and allowed Mark easy access to Home Depot for purchases

and returns as he embarked on a trailer project.  After six weeks in remote areas, it was fantastic to get

22 high definition digital channels on TV, so we sat in front of the boob tube for a few days, nursing our

sore running muscles and resting up after all the excitement of the fair.

We discovered the town was hosting a

western rodeo show over the weekend, so

once again we found ourselves caught up

in the small town celebrations of a rural

lifestyle neither of us has ever known.  We

spent many hours with the Budweiser Clydesdale horses and

handlers before and after the parade, learning all about the recent

purchase of Anheuser-Busch by InBev, and learning about the life of

these magnificent horses and their dedicated caretakers.

More New Friends

While admiring the horses we ran into a friend we had met at the tractor show in Parowan, and he

invited us to stay a night in his driveway nearby.  First we needed to watch the parade and sample a

little more kettle corn, but soon we found ourselves camped out in our new friend's driveway, learning

even more about tractors.  He is an avid John Deere collector, and besides his many tractors, he has

a house filled with John Deere memorabilia: lunch boxes, quilts, vests, curtains, table cloths, coffee

mugs, you name it.  His wife is a collector too, and our eyes were saucers when he swung open the

door to a bedroom that was filled, floor to ceiling, with Pepsi memorabilia.  Posters, trays, cans from

every era, pens, mugs, buttons, statuettes, hats, clothing.  Neither of us is a collector, and last year

we emptied our lives of almost all our worldly possessions.  How amazing to stand in this house that is

a shrine to all things John Deere and Pepsi.

Pioche, Nevada - Living History

Talking a mile a minute about these amazing collections, we

made our way to Pioche, Nevada, a town of 700 where the

nearest grocery store is an hour's drive away.  The town is so

far off the beaten path that their city RV park is free.  Pioche,

NV, we discovered, is a living ghost town that is filled to

overflowing with real-life memorabilia of the town's rugged,

wild-west, mining past.  As we pulled into town, we had to drive

under the ore-bucket tramway that was stilled 75 years ago

but still has buckets swinging in the breeze.  Without the

slightest nod to tourism, this town is the real deal, authentic in

its living history and dying population.  The caretaker of the

historical museum and courthouse has so many stories to tell,

of living citizens and long-dead historical figures, that I wished I had a

notebook to take notes as I listened to her.  For three days we pondered

the brutal lives of the nineteenth century silver miners who lived in this

once rocking town of 10,000 where 80 saloons and 20 brothels thrived.

Everywhere we turned in this quiet, peaceful town, we were surrounded

by reminders of its rugged history.

Echo Canyon and Cathedral Gorge - Nature's Treasures

Seeking a little exercise, one day we rode our bikes 15 miles out to Echo

Canyon, a delightful desert oasis complete with herons fishing in the

reservoir and sheer rock cliffs.  Another day we rode fifteen miles in

another direction to Cathedral Gorge.  We hiked among the sandstone

towers, climbing deep into their cool, shadowed crevices, our heads

thrown back as we gazed up the immense, sheer walls.  We would have

stayed in Pioche longer, but Interbike was calling and we needed to get

to Las Vegas.

Bicycle Tours

We started our Las Vegas visit with a few days in Red Rock Canyon

where we enjoyed some gorgeous bike rides on the scenic road that

loops the western end of the city.  The views were right out of a bicycle

touring company catalog.  Once Interbike's Outdoor Demo got

underway, we joined the "Hangover" group ride on a stunning tour of

the eastern suburbs outside the city.  I will never forget the thrill of the

peleton flying down the hill in Henderson, NV, going 40 mph and more,

as the stunning view of the bright blue lake set against the red and

brown mountains opened up before us.

Bike Gear and Lance Armstrong

The Interbike trade show is a five day blitz of shiny bikes, clever gadgets, cycling

celebrities, free beer, and endless free "swag."  We test rode a Co-Motion tandem,

Co-Motion touring bikes with outrageously huge tires, top-of-the-line Lightspeed

titanium bikes (for the 24-mile "hangover" group ride), and an Orbea carbon frame

with the latest Shimano drivetrain.  Mark studied Campagnolo's latest 11-speed

gruppo, and we each ended up with a free pair of Oakley sunglasses.  Mark got

free custom insoles for his running shoes and a free set of Gore cables for his

bike.  The supplements were flowing on every corner, and we left with a year's

supply of electrolyte drink additives and energy bars.  The big surprise was the

night we aimlessly got on the free shuttle bus to go see a cyclocross bike race,

and arrived to find Lance Armstrong on the start line.  He passed us on every lap,

just an arm's length away, close enough to see him grimacing as he fought to stay

in the second pack, a full minute behind the leaders.  Why didn't I bring my


California Casino Hopping: Tiki Bars, Farmers' Markets and Swimming Pools

Las Vegas is insanely hot in September, and we had a week to kill before meeting Mark's daughter and granddaughters on their

vacation in San Diego.  We wandered into California hoping to find some relief from the heat, but the road from Vegas to San

Diego is mostly through the desert.  So we decided to casino-hop, planning on free overnights in their parking lots and air

conditioning somewhere in their buildings during the days.  We aren't gamblers, but one casino gave us money to play the slots,

so our meager winnings meant we were paid to camp at their place.  Even better was the delightful surprise that many California

casinos are set up as resorts.  We jumped from one casino resort swimming pool to

the next, soaking ourselves in the hot tubs and enjoying the poolside tiki bars along

the way.  What a great way to beat the heat for a few days while making our way

across the desert to the coast.  Between tiki bar hops, we rode our bikes to Old

Town Temecula and happened to hit it on a Saturday, the day of their farmer's

market.  We spent a happy hour talking with a 40-year resident who has been

bringing her homemade wheels of Gouda cheese to this market for 15 years.  She

told wistful tales of riding her horses through the valleys where the freeways and

housing developments now stand.

Waterfront Life in San Diego

Once we got to San Diego we joined the local RV crowd that takes up

residence along the harbor-side streets on Shelter Island and Mission

Bay.  We relaxed on the waterfront, checking out the latest yachts at the

nearby brokers, and watched the pelicans dive for fish while the

thundering Navy jets rumbled our chests on every take-off and landing.

A perfect 80-degree day of play in the sand and sun at Coronado

Beach topped off an incredible month of fulltime RV living.

Couldn't Have Planned It Better...

Looking back, it is amazing to think about the variety of good times we had that month.  I couldn't have planned a more ideal

string of 30 days, yet every great adventure was something we fell into by accident, completely unplanned.  From a 5K running

race to a county fair, western rodeo and parade, to meeting some great people we never would have met at home, to watching

Lance Armstrong race his bike, to sitting in a resort hot tub quaffing drinks from a tiki bar, to body surfing on a white sand beach,

we experienced a little bit of everything.  If I didn't mention any down times, it's because there were so few.  Sure, the drive

towing our 14,000 lb fifth wheel up and down the desert mountains was a white-knuckle affair.  It was almost as scary as the

rush-hour drive down I-15 through Escondido, California, where I prayed nonstop that no one would rear-end us.  The traffic jam

on I-15 between Baker and Barstow, California, really took the cake too, as we sat

motionless in 102 degree heat and wondered if we would ever get the truck out of

Park -- on the freeway.  Sure, it was frustrating to sit in a casino parking lot

with the trailer interior at 95 degrees, unable to use the generator to run the air

conditioning because security forbade it.  And it was a little discouraging to do that

running race knowing that if I were living my old conventional life at home I would be

more diligent about my fitness and would be closer to true "race shape."  But those

are tiny tiny prices to pay for a glorious month of total freedom, unexpected

adventure, and countless great discoveries.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...

During this same month, the US financial markets imploded.  Lehman Brothers filed

for bankruptcy; AIG collapsed into government support; Uncle Sam pointed his

finger at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and said "I want you;" Washington Mutual

had a coronary, narrowly revived by a buyout; Wachovia went begging to Citigroup

and Wells Fargo, and everyone born after 1940 was talking "Great Depression."

Taxpayers were hooked for $700 billion to save their own skins when we didn't even

know our skins needed saving.  Cover photos on newspapers showed Wall Street

rank-and-file with their heads in their hands.

What a great time to be meandering happily between historic western towns, exotic

sandstone cliffs, swimming pools, farmers markets, boat-filled harbors and the

ocean, making new friends along the way.

What is fulltime RVing like?  This month says it all:  It's a great life.  We are very lucky to be alive and to be living this way.





















































































Why Do It? – Why We Left Home to Live in an RV!

Why leave the security of hearth and home and run away in an RV full-time?  We followed our hearts and our dreams to a live full-time RVing lifestyle. The Luvnest is our ticket to freedom, traveling fulltime by RV Fulltiming in our RV means no more fences holding us in We are soaring free in our full-time traveling lifestyle Stunning views are a regular part of the RVing lifestyle. Follow your dreams and start living full-time in your RV! Gorgeous sunsets are a regular sight when living the fulltime RV lifestyle We see gorgeous sunsets all the time in this fulltime RV lifestyle Living fulltime in our RV means having the chance to ponder the more important things in life. Living fulltime in our RV means we have time to stop and smell the flowers Fulltiming in our RV means we have the time to stop and smell the flowers.

Why Do It ?

Why on earth would we give up the security of hearth and home, get rid of all

our stuff, and run away on a traveling adventure?

To go places.

To see new things.

To be together.

To be free.

At 47 and 53, we had reached a point in our lives where certain chapters had

closed, and a new chapter needed to be opened.  We had each left the

corporate world fairly recently and were doing a lot of soul searching as we

considered different possible lifestyles.  We each worked part-time.  We had

cut our expenses way back and learned to live very frugally.  Mark operated

a boutique bicycle shop from our home, and I was a personal trainer at a

small studio.  The arrival of two adorable grandkids and the departure of Mark's son for the Navy planted us in a new position in the

circle of life.  As we contemplated this new phase of life, many memories bubbled up from our pasts.  At the same time, we

watched our parents settling into their late 70's, and realized that in a few short years we would be there ourselves.

Looking back on my life, my most thrilling memories were my childhood summers on the north shore of Massachusetts, travels

through Europe at age twenty-three, a few months in Australia at thirty-one, and the four years I lived on a sailboat in Boston

Harbor in my late thirties.  As one sailor wrote after completing a six-year sail around the world:  "Those memories are in

technicolor.  The rest of my life is in black and white."  His words rang true for me.  Mark's experience is much the same.  He feels

about the woods the way I feel about the sea, and he spent many happy childhood hours in the forest.  Whenever he is in the

woods he comes alive.  He took a motorcycle trip with a friend when he was twenty, going from Detroit through the Upper

Peninsula of Michigan, out west through the Canadian Rockies to Vancouver Island, down the Pacific coast to Tijuana, Mexico and

back to Detroit.  It was five weeks of his life that I heard about many many times.  There were lots of places along that route he

wanted to show me, and I had seen very little of that whole part of the country.  As we kept discussing those happy memories from

years ago, we kept wondering: what was it about those few weeks and months of our lives that made them stand out with such

vivid brilliance?  How was it that whole decades of our lives seemed to merge into indistinguishable years spent working in cubicles,

commuting in traffic and submitting timesheets?  What, exactly, made those other times so special?

Part of it was the excitement of seeing new places and experiencing new things.  Part of it was

meeting new people that weren't from our small circle of friends and family.  Part of it was the

adventures that we stumbled upon.  But those were just the icing on the cake.  As we thought

about and talked about the exhilaration of those memories, it became clear to both of us that the

real joy of those times was the total independence we had, the utter freedom we felt.  There was

nothing in this world quite as satisfying as living without a schedule.

Life in our culture today doesn't allow much freedom.  Too often the focus of our lives seems to be the passage of money through

our fingers.  We try very hard to cup our hands so we don't lose too much, and some have better luck at this than others.  We build

our lives by acquiring things and stashing them around us.  Some people have a huge stash that towers over them and their

friends.  Some don't have a stash at all.  Almost everyone, however, is frantically busy.  Every minute of every day is committed.

Spontaneity is a lost art.  There is no time to think.  No time to be.

The only way to get some time to yourself is to leave your life -- take a vacation, or even a

long weekend.  But too often a shadow hangs over the whole experience.  I left on a Saturday

for a 9-day Caribbean sailing vacation once.  I remember the incredible sadness I felt on the

following Thursday.  I had just started to get into the rhythm of the tropics -- and I was leaving

in three days.

As a child I was blessed to live on a beach in the summertime.  My mom would open the door

in the morning to let me out -- like a cat -- and tell me:  "Don't come in unless it's raining."  I

don't remember any rainy days!  It must have rained.  Massachusetts gets a lot of rain in the

summer.  In fact, I remember distinctly that as soon as I started working full-time as an adult,

it rained all weekend every weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  But during those precious years on the beach it never

rained.  My friend and I played all day long, building things in the sand, splashing in the water until our lips turned blue, and lying on

the hot granite boulders we lovingly called "hot rocks."  The tide gave our days their shape and form.  At high tide there was no

beach, just massive boulders.  As the ocean rolled outwards, a fresh palette of sand laid before us with endless wonders waiting in

the tide pools.  Our rumbling stomachs marked the passage of time.  Lunch drew us home when the fire station whistle blew at

noon, and we went in for dinner when we grew cold from the lengthening shadows on the beach.

Those were days of pure freedom.  I never knew when I woke up in the morning what I would do that day.  But every

day was delicious and fun.  The important things in those days were very tactile:  the warmth of the sun drying the

salt water off my cheeks while hot trickles of water dripped down the rocks I laid on; the sound of the kids' voices on

the more distant beaches, a kind of dim, high-pitched roar; the taste of the salt water on my fingers.  We would

watch the tiny red bugs, no bigger than a grain of sand, that crawled over the rocks, creeping in and out of the

granite crevices.  We would lie on those rocks for hours, feeling the sun slip across our bodies as it moved across

the sky.  We didn't do anything useful.  We didn't do anything productive.  But we were infinitely happy.

I found that kind of open-ended freedom just twice again in my life: when I went to Europe for three months and

when I went to Australia for three months.  During my travels I woke up not knowing what I would do that day, and I

went to bed savoring the memory of whatever had come my way.  Those months of travel were all about freedom.  There was an

overarching structure that held the days together and propelled me from one locale to the next; I planned my course as I heard

about interesting places to visit, and I followed the seasons along north-south routes.  However, my days were unscheduled.  If I

liked a place and wanted to stay an extra few days, I did.  If I looked out the window and didn't like what I saw, I kept going.

Now, in the middle of middle-age, I found myself yearning for that kind of freedom once again.  I had always longed for it, but it

wasn't possible.  I was busy building a stash of stuff around me.  It was what adults in our

culture do.  But now I looked at my stash -- a very small one -- and I realized that it was all

replaceable.  I could buy any of it again.  Very little was unique.  Just my photo albums and a

few mementos.  The rest was meaningless, manufactured and aging.

Mark and I discussed possible scenarios for our lives at great length.  We made up lists of

adventures we wanted to have, researched the logistics online, subscribed to magazines and

talked endlessly.  I found logs of people out adventuring, both online and at the library.  It was

amazing how many people were living really exciting lives, full of travel and independence.

They all shared some common themes.  They found a mode of transportation and housing that they liked and could afford; they

painted the plans for future travels in broad brush strokes with bright colors; and they left the details to be discovered as they went

along.  Some traveled by bicycle, some by sailboat, and some by RV.

These intrepid souls shared something even more fundamental in their new chosen lifestyles: they had given up

their stash of stuff.

We outlined all kinds of adventures we wanted to have.  We wanted to ride our bikes along the Mediterranean

coast from Italy through France to Spain.  We wanted to take our pop-up tent trailer on a tour of the western states

and National Parks.  We wanted to take our bikes from the northern tip of the North Island of New Zealand to the

southern tip of the South Island.  We wanted to spend a few years sailing up and down the Caribbean island chain.

We wanted to sail the great circle route of the Pacific Ocean.

But each of those journeys would take many months, at the very least.  What would happen to our stash of stuff

while we were gone?  The more we got excited about embarking on a new life filled with travel and independence,

the more it seemed in conflict with our stuff.  We were looking for something intangible: a life of freedom.  Our stash of stuff, small

as it was, was tying us down.

As we sat in our little garden that we had lovingly transformed from a barren gravel lot to a

lush flowering arbor, we longed to get away.  I wanted to wake up when my body decided it

was time.  I wanted to read when an easy chair and a good book beckoned.  I wanted what

I had wished for in my journal twenty years ago, "mornings filled with quiet cups of coffee."

I didn't want to wake up to an alarm clock.  I didn't want to answer a phone.  I didn't want to

drive in rush hour traffic.  But I knew that even if I eliminated the alarm clock, the phone and

the traffic, as long as I lived in a community surrounded by people engaged in today's

frantic lifestyle, I would feel their pressure.  True freedom lay out there somewhere, on the

road, away from the push and pull of modern life.

As I read, and thought, and stared at my stuff around me, I slowly realized a simple truth.  The amount of freedom in my life was

inversely proportional to the amount of stuff I had.

My friends who left their home on their bicycles in 2002--and were still out on the road today--unquestionably lived the most freely.

All their worldly possessions fit into the panniers on their bikes.  To date, they have ridden from Arizona through Central America to

the bottom of South America, through China, around Australia and New Zealand.  After six years on the road they are just getting

started.  They anticipate traveling the world by bike for twenty years or longer.

The sailors I have followed in their wanderings around the world are also very free, though not quite as free as the

cyclists because they have a boat and a dinghy to care for.  The most unique might be Lin and Larry Pardee who

have spent the past forty years in a 37' sailboat with no engine.  They have visited over 80 countries.  Living without

an engine gives them more space in a small boat and requires no maintenance.

RV travel offers incredible freedom as well.  Unable to cross oceans easily, RVs are essentially restricted to one

continent or another.  But the basic elements of living without a schedule, having all your possessions within arm's

reach, and wandering from place to place on a whim, are the same.

I have always been intrigued by people who live independently.  I was a teenager during the homesteading movement of the

1970's, and the ideas of subsistence farming and living off the land or the sea have always been deeply appealing to me.  I was

raised in the city and always lived near cities.  I became an engineer and worked in high tech for twenty years.  Those simpler

lifestyles attracted me, but I had never made the opportunity to live that way.  I was an armchair homesteader with dreams of a

small cottage by the sea, or a cabin in the woods, or a sailboat bobbing at anchor in the tropics.  Yet in my current life I had none of


At the same time we felt very restless.  Our travels around Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and California with the popup had

whetted our appetites.  Whether we took a 12 hour drive to some faraway place for a week-long vacation or dashed 30 minutes to

the campground at the edge of town for a weekend, we always had an adventure and we never wanted to come home.  In our first

two years with the popup we spent 157 nights in it.  And we had barely scratched the surface of the southwest.

Our dream slowly and gradually took shape.  We wanted to be on the move, we wanted to

live simply, and we didn't want to be tied to a schedule.  These little desires burned in our

souls, just a small flame at first, and then a roaring fire.  We bought digital cameras with the

idea that we would be taking photographs as we traveled.  We bought a laptop so we could

communicate with friends and send those pictures to them.  We tossed around ideas of

buying a boat, but couldn't decide which coast to start on and couldn't come up with a good

name for it.  That seemed like an omen, as the popup had taken the name "Luvnest" so

easily.  We toyed with the idea of taking the popup on a summertime jaunt and coming home

in the winter to deal with our stuff.  That darned stuff.  It was a real nuisance.  Cars, furniture,

house, bikes, rental house.  It would take money to maintain it all while we were gone -- and

for what?

Suddenly at the end of April, 2007, Mark put his foot down.  He is a very mild mannered person, and is not one to force his opinion

on anyone.  "I'm tired of scenario building!"  He said.  "I'm putting a sign in the yard tomorrow."  I came home from work to find two

signs in the yard -- "Yard Sale" and "For Sale By Owner."  At 6:00 the next morning the garage door flew open and garage salers

from all over town poured in.  By the end of the weekend we had sold the car, the popup, half our stuff, the house was in escrow,

and we had put a deposit on a trailer -- sight unseen -- in Dallas, 1,000 miles away.  Twenty days later we had sold or given away

just about everything we owned, put the remaining things in a shed in our friends' yard, and found tenants for the house after it fell

out of escrow.  We drove to Dallas with everything we would need in our new lives packed into the bed of our pickup.

Since then we have lived our dream.  Every day is an adventure.  I never know what any

day will bring when I wake up.  Some days it's a beautiful new place; some days it's an

interesting new person; some days we stay in bed until noon talking about our childhoods.

I truly feel like a child again.  Sometimes I lie back and watch the clouds.  We take endless

photographs of flowers and sunsets.  Mark bakes wonderful things in the oven.  I haven't

answered a phone since we left in May, 2007.  Every day, at least once a day, one or the

other of us spontaneously blurts out, "what a great life!"  We live largely on public lands,

boondocking in secluded places away from the fray.  Our solar panels provide all the

electricity we could ever need, and we get water in our jerry jugs whenever we find a spigot

in town.

I haven't missed my stash of stuff for one minute.  Ironically, we have photographs of all our stuff because we sold most of it on

Craigslist.  Sometimes I bump into those photos and I feel as if I still own it all.  It's at home, of course, in the house we live in,

right?  This is just an extended vacation, a very wonderful and very long one, isn't it?  And since I still feel like all my stuff is back

there in my old house, what difference does it make that it isn't really?  Afterall, memories and dreams live and flourish in the same

place -- the imagination.

Our story is hardly unique.  Lots of people are out adventuring.  Most are propelled by

something profound in their lives.  Our motivation was a deep undercurrent of desire that

had flowed in our souls since childhood.  And we wanted to start before time ran out.  It

was hardly a financially prudent move.  Most of our friends are building up significantly

larger retirements and will enjoy far more security in old age.  But I fear that for each year

a dream is postponed, the risk of it never happening jumps exponentially.  We have met

too many people who wanted to go out traveling but waited too long and either traveled

for just a year or two or never made it out at all.  On the opposite side is a couple we met

who started their RV travels because his stressful job had damaged his heart so badly

the doctor gave him just one year to live.  She worried about becoming a widow on the

road, but the doctor said, "either you can stay home and wring your hands while you watch him die, or you can get out there

together and live your dream as long as he lasts."  That was twelve years ago, and he is far healthier today than when they started.

Perhaps the hardest thing is figuring out exactly what your dream is.  Unless it is far more appealing than whatever your life holds

now, why change?  Whenever we drive by beautiful homes in beautiful settings, I wonder if I ever could have left such a place if it

were mine.  Possibly not.  Most people we meet on the road are traveling part-time, three to nine months a year.  In each case they

say that they love their homes too much to give them up for fulltime RV travel.  If we had been able to have our dream home and

have dreamy part-time travels too, then we would probably be among their ranks.  However, without the means to pull that off, it

just took a leap of faith and a bit of soul searching to decide that it was worthwhile to give up the security and familiarity of life at

home for the unknown thrills waiting for us on the road.

Note: I wrote this after our first 14 months of full-time RV travel, in July, 2008


































































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