We’re Alive and Well and Camping in Arizona!

Life is good on Arizona’s hiking trails!

Hi there! Long time no see!!

And a warm welcome all of our new subscribers — we’re so glad you’re here!

I took a blogging vacation starting in early November, and over the winter it morphed into a full fledged Blogging Sabbatical.

Holy smokes! I had no idea when I signed off on my last post about vacationing in Hawaii that it would be June before I got back to my keyboard to put together a new blog post for you.

Another gorgeous Arizona sunset.

Many people have contacted me to find out if we had fallen off the planet and to ask if we were okay.

I can’t thank you all enough for the incredible warmth, affection and concern expressed in those emails and messages.

We were both blown away by how much this blog has meant to some of you, how much it has inspired you and how much you missed it.

Thank you!

Saguaro cactus at dawn.

The funny thing is I think the personality on our blog that everyone missed the most was Buddy.

He continues to be a true delight every single day, and one of the most common phrases we say to each other is, “What an amazing dog!”

While I relaxed and recharged and enjoyed my blogging vacation, I suspect Buddy missed his celebrity status. He kept nudging me when a really great photo of him turned up on our cameras. “Write something!” he’d say.

Actually, Mark began saying that a few months ago too. “You could write about this,” he’d say. Or “Your readers would love to hear about that,” or “Just write something short so they know we haven’t perished out here!”

Desert sunset



He even threatened to start his own blog at one point. But blogging is a ton of work and he was having way too much fun processing his many beautiful photos (which takes many hours too!).

Morning reflections.

Every photo in this post is his, by the way, because I let my cameras gather dust while I took many long deep breaths and waited for inspiration to strike.


We met some interesting folks during our time off. They came from all walks of life. And some walked on all fours.

Wild burros check us out.

We also did some fun sightseeing.

The fountain in Fountain Hills

But mostly we laid around and relaxed.

Nothing to do and all day to do it…!!!

I just LOVE that hammock, by the way, and I use these straps to hang it between any trees that are handy.

It’s a dog’s life.

We have been in various parts of Arizona since late October, and we’ve moved with the seasons as it got colder at first and then got warmer as the months rolled by.

On May 22nd we celebrated 13 years of traveling full-time. Wow! What a spectacular life and magnificent opportunity it has been!!


Arizona has lots of boats and boaters!

Arizona is a very diverse state with several different major ecosystems ranging from low desert studded with saguaro cactus to high desert filled with ponderosa pine trees. And over the last eight months we’ve seen a lot of it.


When the pandemic hit and everyone stayed home for a month or two, we did too.

Fortunately, Arizona was one of the least restrictive states. Employees were laid off or had to work from home, and all but “essential” businesses were shuttered for a month or so, but we weren’t prevented from going outside and no one was forced to wear a mask or risk a fine if they didn’t, as was the case in other places.

Life for us didn’t really change, and we lived pretty much as we always do.

Trail scout.

Buddy’s private digs (for naps with dad).

The major change we experienced was the shortage of goods at the store and the shock of seeing places like downtown Mesa completely devoid of people and all the storefronts closed.

Morning dew…


However, once we got home to our trailer after running errands, life was the same as always.



I gave Mark a macro lens for Christmas, and when the wildflowers began to bloom and the bees started to do their thing, he had a ball taking flower and insect shots with it. What fabulous photos he took of dew on the flower petals and pollen caked onto bees’ legs.


Loaded with pollen!

I’ve seen many thoughts expressed online about RVing as it relates to pandemics and situations where you want to keep a little distance from your friends and neighbors for a while.

One couple who had been RVing full-time for three years decided that now was the time to buy some land rather than be forced to rely on campgrounds or dispersed campsites that might close. At one point Campendium.com had a notice on their home page that 42% of the RV campsites they have listed on their website were closed.

Other folks trapped at home seemed to feel that traveling in an RV would be the ideal way to have some fun while practicing social distancing. They seemed to long for a life on wheels.


The leaders of the RV industry at Thor and Camping World have been reporting that they are seeing the RV market exploding lately.

How exciting that RV sales are up!


For those that are curious about what we’ve witnessed as full-time boondockers living through a pandemic and an accompanying economic shutdown, our experience over the last few months falls somewhere in between “RVing is ideal for pandemics” and “An RV is not at all the place to be during a pandemic situation.”

Getting away from it all on public land was a little harder than normal because once all the RV parks and public campgrounds had closed, everyone who wanted to run off in an RV for a while ended up boondocking.

Boondocking campsites that might ordinarily support 3 RVs suddenly had 12.

People who ordinarily would have been going to work while their kids were in school suddenly took off in their RV to “work from home” with their kids and dogs in tow, and they headed out to the boondocks because that’s all that was available.

What a fabulous idea and great way to bond as a family.

However, it was not the isolated experience people usually think of with RV boondicking. At one point we were surrounded by a big group of families and friends from Gunnison, Colorado, as they escaped the more severe outbreak of the disease in Colorado to spend a few weeks in Arizona where there were far fewer cases.

Cactus flowers.

A heron rests by the shore

Also, since an RV has limited holding tank capacity and boondockers have to to remain on the move (there are 14 day stay limits in most places), we had to make periodic trips to some very busy RV dump stations. What a shock it was to find that some RV dump stations were closed!

In addition, in a world where other people’s bodily fluids had suddenly become absolutely terrifying, RV dump stations took on a whole new look.

But as I said, in most respects our lives over the last few months have been pretty much the same as they always have been. And when Spring arrived it was beautiful.

In one campsite we had a cardinal as a neighbor. He sang and sang, and even though he never attracted a mate during our stay, he did develop quite a relationship with his reflection in our truck mirror. For hours on end we would see him hanging on for dear life with his toes as he pecked away at the mirror.

This guy was a hoot. He pecked at his reflection in the mirror for hours!

Buddy worked on his hunting skills and blossomed from the last phases of puppyhood into A Very Responsible Adult Dog. Hunting lizards is now his all-day-long passion. He even catches one every so often!

In between hunting exploits, he guards our little rolling casa with the utmost vigilance.


I hope you have stayed well and have navigated these recent months with spirit. As I’ve always said, there’s a beautiful world out there, and it is still beautiful and it is still out there today.

2020 has been epic for the entire world so far, and along with everyone else, our little family has had some extraordinary, life affirming and life altering experiences that I will write about someday.

It’s a beautiful world out there!

In the meantime, enjoy your travels and keep dreaming great dreams!


Never miss a post — it’s free!

Blog posts on living the full-time travel dream:

Our most recent posts:

More of our Latest Posts are in the MENU.   New to this site? Visit RVers Start Here to find where we keep all the good stuff. Also check out our COOL NEW GEAR STORE!! *** CLICK HERE *** to see it!

<-Previous || Next->

96 thoughts on “We’re Alive and Well and Camping in Arizona!

  1. Welcome back 🙂 Gorgeous photos Mark! Great words Emily! You guys make an awesome team! My husband and I have remained busy despite the shutdowns in California. We ended up getting a huge contract to make sneeze guards for the local hospitals. The contract ended today so we’ll be leaving soon for a cross country trip in our RV to work on our other business-repairing playground slides. We’ll be working in the Phoenix and Tucson area but we would’ve rather been there in March, but the pandemic happened.

  2. Hey Mark, Emily and Buddy!
    You’ve been on my heart the last couple weeks. Thanks for returning and answering all the questions – and with gorgeous pics, especially those of Buddy. I had a Papillon girl many years ago, and he reminds me of her, with identical ruffs and fluffs in all the same places (although her markings were more to the black brindle), and that majestic pose and protectiveness. As for me, I traveled for a couple years (no RVing, but some high desert dry camping in the Rockies amid dino prints, pinon trees, fields of clear quartz and sunflowers; and some farming on the bayou with an award-winning author, a gifted chef, a couple patches of primeval-looking forest and a hidden pond with its own stories to tell), lost my mom last year, and am now preparing to relocate to my own rural piece of the Lone Star State. I’m eager to find out how you decide to enjoy the rest of 2020!

    • How wonderful to hear from you, Belinda. I remember so well our various online conversations as you planned for your RV travels years ago. It sounds like you had some fantastic adventures and discovered some beautiful places. I’m sorry that you lost your mom but I’m sure your new digs in the Lone Star State will make a terrific new home. Thank you for being such a loyal reader all these years and have fun in Texas!

    • Glad to have you back. I missed the blog and was concerned about both of you. Great pics and comments. We left Arizona a little early this year and returned to Idaho in mid April. Mostly because Utah seemed shut down.

      • Thank you, Dick. It was hard to know what the right thing was to do back in March and April and we agonized along with other RVers about what the best course of action would be. A lot of winter visitors were concerned they wouldn’t be able to get back to their home state if the states in between enacted restrictions regarding through-travel on the highways. I’m glad you made it back to Idaho safely and wish you well in your travels!

  3. I was so thrilled too see your post when I woke up this morning! I too was concerned about where you’d run off to and was ready to ‘alert the authorities.’ Then re-read your last post and realized you were just taking a break. Welcome back!

    • Wow! Thank you, Sara. I really appreciate knowing you were so concerned about our well being. I was a little shy about “announcing” my vacation back in November, so it was buried down at the end of the article and was described in a roundabout manner. But it was a much needed break, and when inspiration finally struck yesterday it felt really good! Happy trails to you!!

  4. YAY, YOU’RE BACK!!! Hi, Buddy! Don’t you look all grown up?! Emily, while I’ve certainly missed Roads Less Traveled, I’m extremely happy to hear how much you enjoyed your sabbatical, and that all is well with the three of you. Thank you for the gift of that macro lens – Mark is not the only one benefiting from your generosity. The “bee with pollen” pic is AMAZING, and the landscape shots are just as gorgeous as ever. Thanks, Mark, for keeping that shutter clicking! The three of you have just filled the empty spot in my reading list – it’s such a pleasure to see one of my all time favorite blogs up and running again, and I’m happily expressing my gratitude! Travel safely, stay well and enjoy your summer adventures!

    • Thank you thank you thank you, Mary!! What a ringing endorsement — music to our ears!! Mark had wanted a macro lens for many years and our special friend, Bob, who has created the various “magazine covers” featuring Buddy that I’ve shared here on this blog had one in his camera bag that he wanted to sell. I intercepted the conversation between Bob and Mark about it to snatch it away without Mark knowing. Boy, was he disappointed when Bob told him he’d sold the lens to another buyer!!. For many months we weren’t in places where there were any macro photography opportunities, but when the flowers began to bloom, Mark was unstoppable!! Thank you so much for all your compliments. Buddy sends tail wags. Very grown up ones, of course!

  5. So glad you all are back! The pictures are beautiful, and I am so jealous! It will be good to get your emails again. Thanks so much!

    • You’re welcome, Betty. And thank YOU for reading and appreciating our postings. It feels so good to know our efforts are valued. Enjoy the weekend. The sun is casting a beautiful golden glow on the woods around us this morning!

  6. I too am glad to see you are all doing well. I was concerned as others were and looked for your last email, which said you would be taking a break. I’m glad you are back and I love the macro lens pictures. I had planned to spend the winter in the North Carolina mountains, visiting with my daughter and son in law, which is what I did. I had hoped to be on the road when spring arrived. But the virus put a temporary hold on my plans. So I’m using this time to work on projects around my little travel trailer. Enjoy your travels.

    • Thank you, Carolyn. Spending time puttering around the house, whether it has wheels or not, and doing long put-off projects has been such a wonderful theme behind the shutdown. It’s cool how creative some folks have been, including a friend of ours who enlisted the help of her teenage daughters to repaint their living room as a family project. I’m sure you’ll be traveling again before long and it will be extra sweet to be free on the open road!

  7. After seeing your post I know that today is going to be a good day. So great to hear from you and know that you are both well and continue to enjoy your adventures. Fantastic photos. We are still about a year away from going part-time RVing, but we are already deep into the planning phase. All the information that you and other bloggers provide is not only a great resource but also a great inspiration. Looking forward to more updates.

    • Well, how cool is that, Gary?! Today is going to be a fantastic day, no doubt! You know, passing on the inspiration to travel is what motivates a lot of RV bloggers to figure out how to blog and tell their stories. It’s what got me into it way back when. Even though at the time I knew a lot of RVers were far more experienced than we were in our early years, it was still such a thrill when we discovered something new that could help others coming along behind us. Enjoy your research and have a blast with your travels!

  8. Like others, I had checked your website a few times in February, March and April wondering if there was news. We figured you just needed a well deserved break! Glad you took the time, and SO GLAD you are back. Thank you so much Emily, Mark and Buddy for your hard work! We are full timers too, and hit a bumpy road in AZ at the Escapees Co-Op in Benson and had to leave. We hunkered down near family in San Antonio, TX. We moved up to WA to stay with family where our rig fits on their property and we are on a lake, so here we stay for the summer. Cancelled our trip to the East Coast and have been very much unraveled by this whole mess. Not sure what our future plans are, it is quite possible that we need to not have any plans for a while. That’s a big change for me! Glad you are all well.

    • We sure appreciate your concern, Laura. Thank you. I’m sorry you’ve had such a difficult time, but I think you have a lot of company and many people have been really unsettled these past few months, RVers especially. Although it’s frustrating and scary to have your plans turned upside down by outside forces, one of the silver linings for some people may be that they’ve had a chance to review their priorities and think about trying other paths in life that they might not have considered otherwise.

      After 9/11 Mark and I revamped our lives completely, and although it wasn’t until 6 years later, part of the impetus for us to start traveling full-time was the soul searching we’d done in the months and years following that fateful day.

      I suspect a lot of people have started on a similar inward journey in recent weeks because of current events, and once the dust settles they may find themselves on a more fulfilling life path. We wish you well. Having no plans can be a great way to live and we’ve been perfecting the art for many years. Ironically, the latest world events may propel us into a more structured approach to life, but it’s only natural for all of us to make some adjustments to our dreams as we ponder what we want out of life against a changing backdrop.

  9. Hi to all 3 of you, so glad to hear from you and know that all is well. Love your pictures, so fun and inspiring to look at. We are spending most of our time at our cabin in Gila County. Can’t complain at all about that. Keep up the blogs, very enjoyable and a relief from the daily screaming matches and madness that is out there. My photography business has been on hold since March so it gives me plenty of time to reflect on the wisdom of continuing in business after 39 years. We did do one dance studio session this week so that was encouraging. Take care!

    • What a blessing to have a cabin to retreat to, Liz. I’m sure you’ve loved watching spring bloom out there and that being away from the hustle and bustle of the city has given you time to reflect on your dreams and goals. 39 years is a heckuva successful business. Congratulations on that! And have fun with your photography, whether it’s for your business or just for pleasure out in nature.

      • Your photography is beautiful and inspiring. I enjoy all the images and of course, Buddy is a great subject. Have you tried night skies photography? I am sure that you see some beautiful ones when you are out away from the city.

  10. Kept waiting to see your byline again, Em! Like others, Bette n Glen were worried about u, Mark, and your canine boy, Buddy. And that was before this Pandemic hit! Thought u had retreated to Fountain Hills, and parked the RV for awhile…to hang out and recuperate. Which is a really good idea, as we’ve found. Now that Arizona and Maricopa Country is seeing new Covid 19 Cases, and deaths, shoot up; we’ll stay in our cave, for a little while longer, as all routes out of Aryzona, go through serious Covid Country. But that’s okay, because Arizona stands on its own for RV Adventures, doesn’t it? Especially when you folks have a Razor UTV to putt around in.

    Very happy to see youse again…and take care, ya here….Glen & Bette Horsmann, in sunny Peoria Aryzona

    • Thank you for worrying about us, Glen & Bette. Rest and recuperation are so important. Buddy is a master at sleeping away the hours, especially after his 5 mile long springs alongside the RZR in the woods, and we’ve enjoyed much quiet time (and naps) following his lead! I had stopped paying attention to the Covid hotspots since we’ve been interacting with people so rarely these days, but I did see a few news articles float by about Arizona’s cases climbing as it finally took hold here long after the peak in other places. Our summer plans are up in the air but, like you, we’ll probably stay put for a while. There’s plenty to keep us happily entertained. Stay cool in Peoria — so good to hear from you!

  11. YAHOO !!! Great to have you all back, filling our hearts and imaginations with – the beauties of AMERICA !!

    The new lens is MAGNIFIQUE….congrats, Mark, on your gorgeous photos, Emily, on engaging narratives and Buddy on his success in keeping the lizard population at bay.

    • Thank you! Yet, America is such a beautiful country. We were reminded of that again and again over the last few months as we often sat down with old photos and went through them. Life had gotten so busy at times over the years that we both have “stacks” of photos that we’ve never really looked at or processed with the computer. We’d just grab the obviously nice ones, touch ’em up, and send them off to the magazines or put them up on the blog and keep snapping and keep moving. What a pleasure it has been to relive experiences from 3, 5 or 8 years ago as if they’d happened yesterday because the photos are fresh off the camera as if we just took them and have never been viewed…!!!

      The lizard population is pretty safe around here. Buddy likes cooperative hunting and loves for us to do the heavy lifting for him. He’ll locate a lizard and then look at us with a hopeful expression and wait patiently for one of us to come over and turn over a heavy rock or rustle the leaves with a stick. He’ll pounce and then bounce around like a madman as the lizard scurries away. Lizards are very fast, though, and not so easy to catch, even with human helpers. Most of the time we’ll see one streak by but it will vanish almost as soon as it appears!

  12. Hello Again!! Your photos are beautiful works of art! The macro lens was a great investment!! Love your little mascot, Buddy! I appreciate the news you report about what’s going on out there with the pandemic and traveling. It is crazy times for sure and we need a good distraction which you have provided, if not for a little while each e-mail. Thank you so much for your hard work and efforts and know that there are many of us that appreciate it, just not sure many make “comments” here. Have a wonderful and relaxing week!! 🙂

    • I think it was the idea of providing a distraction that got me motivated yesterday, Deborah. We’ve all been deeply rattled and continue to be, and finding little bits of normalcy from our old lives helps us navigate it all. It feels good for me to go through my old blogging patterns and it seems our readers have appreciated the familiarity of having something pretty and amusing and inspiring to look at and read. Thank you very much for your encouragement and your many heartwarming comments!!

  13. Man, I sure have missed you guys! What a thrill to see the Roads Less Traveled email in my inbox. I am so glad you are all ok and have been able to carry on during this pandemic. Since I work in healthcare, this situation has been been a challenging change of normal. As my retirement grows oh so close, my work world has turned upside down. Having the ability to ride along again with you guys digitally will bring lots of smiles and a little relief. So…..WELCOME BACK! You were missed!
    Mark’s photos with the new lens are outstanding. The bee loaded with pollen was amazing!

    • I hadn’t realized you were in the healthcare industry, Jeff. Wow, what challenges you must have been (and still are) facing. Yikes! Usually almost-retirees can slip into retirement with one foot half out the door for the last few years at work, but not so for you. Hang in there. Many years of wonderful travel adventures await!! Thank you so much for your heartfelt appreciation of our work, both now and through the years. I was blown away by Mark’s bee photos too. I had no idea they packed so much pollen in their panniers when they flew around! The intricacies of Nature are so miraculous…!!!

  14. I was excited seeing your post today! I too was concerned if all was good. I have been following your blog for some time and look forward to the posts. I enjoy the great pictures and info on where you have been. Especially enjoy Buddy. We were in Arizona and left in March to go to Colorado to visit our daughter. We left there just before the shut down in our state of Michigan. We are part time RVer’s so looking forward to explore more places. Unfortunately we were going to spend the summer traveling to Alaska but postponed until next summer since borders are still closed. Again, so glad all is well and look forward to your next adventures.

    • Thank you for missing our posts, Joann, and for dropping us a line here. That must have been quite an adventure getting back to Michigan in the early Spring. We have quite a few RVing friends who were really flummoxed in March because there was still a chance of snow storms blocking their travel up north but restrictions were being implemented really quickly in every state between AZ and home. I’m glad you made it back okay. Alaska will be beautiful next year, and you’ll probably go with a clearer head than if you had rushed there this year after rushing to leave AZ and then CO on the way to MI. You’ll have lots of time for research and planning now too!! Thank you for following our blog and have a great summer.

  15. What a great surprise to see your post! Certainly made my morning coffee all the more enjoyable! I retired two months ago and if all goes well, we plan to start living the “Canadian Snowbird dream” of Canada in the Spring, Summer, and Fall, and the Southern U.S. in the winter in our yet to be purchased 5th wheel.
    Your posts have not only been an inspiration to me, but also a great source of information. Be well, be safe, and a heartfelt thank-you.

    • Hey, Leonard, it feels great to know I made you smile as you enjoyed your morning coffee! Congratulations on your retirement. You will be in excellent company with many fellow Canadian snowbirds when you being your annual treks down south to enjoy the mild winters in the southern states. How fun! We love going the other way and visiting Canada, and we hope to return to the Canadian Rockies sometime soon. We got a glimpse a few years ago and that just whetted our appetite for more. Happy trails and thank you for reading our blog!

  16. Em,
    Glad you are out of your hammock phase and back to writing! Wonderful pictures. Of course, Buddy’s Fan Club is happy to see him in action once again. No doubt he will keep the lizards on their toes. 😉

    • I really like that hammock, Bob, and I’m not at all sure that my hammock phase is over just yet! Buddy has all the lizards within a few mile radius on high alert, and every so often he scampers through the woods to the base of a tree and stares into the branches only to be scolded by a squirrel high above him! He’s a cutie-pie and it’s a great life.

  17. Welcome back! That last pic of Buddy standing on the rock looks like a painting! This would make the most beautiful painting! If I could paint I would definitely try!

  18. It is so good to ‘see’ you again, like all of the others I have been missing your posts! I have been waiting on pins and needles to hear if you decided on a new home and whether you went with another fifth wheel or a toy hauler. Your blog has been such a valuable resource to me and my husband as we plan our transition to full time life in an RV. I’m so glad you have been safe and able to ride out all of the changes and unknowns over the past few months. It’s going to continue to be an interesting year. Hi to Buddy, I’ve missed him too!

    • Thank you for missing our posts, Lisa. It is heartwarming to know that this blog has been helpful to you as you make your future plans. We have kicked our new trailer decision down the road a bit and decided to stick with our current fiver a little longer. It has been a crazy few months, and I think we’re all in for a continuing wild ride this year, but the beautiful places in our country are still beautiful and well worth the effort to go see. Happy trails…Buddy sends tail wags!

  19. Hello Emily and Mark – Reading your RV full time travelling posts, comments and excellent photography have been educational, informative, entertaining, and great fun for me the last several years – you are an inspiration. I’ve vicariously enjoyed these travels through you. Bought a used Winnebago Sightseer several years ago and have immensely enjoyed boondocking trips up to two months long and now it’s time for me to sell the house and jump in full time, although with a bit of trepidation during these unsettling times but doing it. Best regards and please continue your delightful traveling journals and vivid photography! Tom
    P.S. Where can I find a Buddy clone?!?!

    • I’m so glad this blog has been helpful for you, Tom, and I love that you use the word “delightful” to describe our travel stories. It’s great we got you inspired to get out and enjoy nature in your new-to-you Winnebago, and I know you’ll have a blast full-timing. Here’s hoping you sell the house quickly and get on the road soon! Buddy is a dream-come-true and I sure wish I knew something about his parents and the other puppies in his litter…we just lucked out with an adorable rescue…!

  20. Great to see you back in the “saddle” and sending wonderful pics. We always look forward to them. I am glad you had much needed time to recuperate.

  21. OMG!!! I just happened to stop by and saw this post. I was so worried that you had burned out on blogging and had decided to move on to other things. I am so happy to see that you are back and that you are both healthy. Your posts are always such a joy and I look forward to more in the future.

    • Wow, Dennis what a ringing endorsement! Thank you!!! I won’t be blogging on a set schedule as I did before (I think that’s what wore me out!) but I will post various goodies as inspiration strikes and already have two story ideas for upcoming posts. I’m so glad you stopped by. You put a huge grin on my face. Thanks again!

  22. We have been thinking about the three of you and praying all was well with your family.
    Great to see this post!!!

  23. So glad to see you back and well. I do love all your wonderful photography. I am not able to travel as much as I would like to, and I love seeing these wild places through your camera lens! Glad you are ok.

    • We appreciate that, Linda. I know lots of RVers keep an eye on our travels, but the people I think when I write are the folks like you who aren’t able to travel as much as they’d like to. There is so much beauty in this world, and we have been blessed to see so much of it and to be able to bring our stories directly to you via the internet with relative ease. Thank you for being concerned about us. I won’t be blogging as frequently as I once did (for instance, today is Friday and in the old days I would have dedicated the entire day to producing a blog post whereas today I’ve been busy doing other things…), but I love being able to connect with people like you and bring you some inspiration and even some comic relief on occasion! Thank you for following our adventures.

  24. My prayers have been answered . I just can’t imagine being a full time RVer without the two of you and Buddy of course! Your perspective, both visually and written guide me as we set out on our in journey. If we ever crossed paths….. I’d know the Lord blessed me once again! Thank you for all you do.

  25. Great pic of the Fountain in Fountain Hills. I was there in 2017 and got some good pics but not as cool as yours. We travelled around the state and definitely saw the Saguaro cacti, Arizona sunsets and Theodore Roosevelt Lake while in the Fort McDowell area.
    13 years of travelling is impressive. I’m jealous. But like you said, “keep dreaming great dreams!”… Glad you’re back on the keyboard. All the best.

    • Fountain Hills is a fun place for a stroll and creative pics of the fountain. I’m sure your pic was lovely — thank you for the compliments on mine! The area north and east of Phoenix is very special and has a lot to offer. I’m glad you’ve spent some time there.

      13 years on the road just reflects a few crazy life choices we’ve made over the years, and we feel utterly blessed to have had the guts to make those scary decisions and cast off into parts unknown. But the same thrills are out there whether the adventure is 6 months or 26 years long, and the value of doing it is measured more by satisfied smiles than by the passage of time!

      The important thing is to take the time and expend the energy at some point in life to live your dreams, whatever they are. Overcoming the inertia, doubts and naysayers who question your sanity can be a huge and frightening challenge, but it is so worth it in the end to put your dreams to the test and live them for a while.

      The first and earliest dreams we have, once fulfilled, lead to new dreams, and once those have been experienced, more and different dreams emerge. It is a great journey that is open to us all, even though the first thing that often pops into our minds is, “It’s just a pipe dream…It’ll never happen…it’s impossible,,,” Not true!!

      Happy travels to you, Kevin!

  26. Hello and welcome back from one of your old Alaska followers. We have missed your great articles and photos and are now looking forward to seeing more as you settle back in to your new routine. Hope you are doing well and staying safe during these trying covid-19 times. Do you have any idea when you will begin writing and posting new articles? We so look forward to them! Take care and God bless.

    • Thank you so very much for your encouragement, Dan. It is great to hear from you again and it is a wonderful feeling to know that you have missed our pics and stories and especially that you look forward to them. I am still enjoying some time off from blogging but have been very busy writing for the RV magazines. I have feature stories and shorter stories appearing in Escapees, Trailer Life and Coast to Coast, and those have been a lot of fun to write. Thank you for checking in with us!

  27. Gosh; I never missed you being gone for so long. I started following you about a year ago but got too involved in “other” life matters and all of the various youtube channels. However, I now have my RV and will start mostly full time traveling next week and decided to look you up again! And…here we are! I plan on sharing some of my photos as I go along as I’m interested in doing a lot of wildlife photos. The plan, after hitting the road and visiting family and friends in the midwest for the first 2-3 months, is seek out many of the best wildlife hot spots around the country and settle in for a week or two, or three! Maybe I’ll run across you somewhere in the country!

    • Thank you for circling back to our blog, Rich. It sounds like you have some great adventures ahead of you, and I’m sure you’ll capture some fabulous wildlife images. Have fun on the road — we’ll keep an eye out for ya!

  28. Glad to know you are still out and about. Have thought of you since you took a sabbatical, wondering if you would be back.
    Question for you. We are on our way to North Rim today and haven’t been able to find much information on dispersed camping within or out of the park. I may have waited too long to ask for your input but thought I would try before heading out this morning.
    As usual, love all the photos and travel commentary.

    • Thank you for the compliments — they’re very much appreciated! As with everything these days, it’s hard to know the status of a place until you get there. There was a huge wildfire in the Jacob Lake area over the summer. I have no idea what it burned, but I believe the village of Jacob Lake was evacuated.

      Jacob Lake has a wonderful campground which is a 45 minute stunning scenic drive from the rim, and there is some dispersed camping in the Kaibab forest all around the Grand Canyon, or at least there was. Demotte Campground is halfway between Jacob Lake and the North Rim and can handle a big fifth wheel like ours (36′), but park and walk the loop first because there are some dips in the road.

      If I were going to the North Rim in anything smaller than a 30′ trailer, I would camp at the North Rim Campground. Many of the sites are right on the rim — literally looking out at the view from your RV window — and it is a very pretty and congenial campground. It may be booked right now, but there might be a cancellation too!

      Good luck and enjoy the spectacular wonders of that gorgeous part of our country. For reference, I have three blog posts from our visits to the North Rim area at this link here.

  29. So happy to see that you’re back! I had stopped looking after a few months so I was delighted to find this post today. Love following you on your travels and feasting on the amazing photography. Buddy is such a handsome dog and adds his own zest for living to the blog.

  30. Hey guys, we’ve missed you! Always look forward to your articles/photos in Trailer Life and the blog. Speaking of photos, how about a calendar or Christmas cards with some of those gorgeous images? (A 7×7 mini would be great for inside our rv cabinet…)

    Welcome back!
    Rick & Gloria

    • Thank you for missing our blog posts and for your compliments on our goodies that appear in other places. We’ve had quite a few RV magazine cover photos and feature articles this year, and that has kept my fingers busy on my laptop keyboard. Speaking of calendars, we have five photos in commercial calendars for 2021. If you are in Arizona, or want to snag a pretty wall calendar on Amazon, there is a Sedona glossy photo calendar with two of my photos, March and July. If you get to Wyoming, you’ll see my photo in the Yellowstone calendar (February), and Buddy made the cut with a photo of mine of him sitting in the flowers for the April page of a Puppies calendar. Mark landed the November photo in a Lake Powell commercial calendar and that same photo was chosen for a Lake Powell post card too. We are thrilled by all of this and are loving life as it evolves. Happy travels to you and thanks for stopping by!!

  31. Hello, This is Gary again. Have you all ran into any weird situations with this covid situation? Back in June it was supposedly going away only to catch on again even worse this winter. Have you done anything different? Or were you stuck any place?

    • We have stayed in Arizona. The governor here let each county determine its response to the virus and some counties, in turn, allowed the individual mayors to decide what to do. So, portions of Arizona have no restrictions and life is relatively normal.

  32. I’m glad to see a post here from Jan of 2021. I was worried about you guys. I hope you both are well, and that Buddy is well, too.

  33. Karma that you just sent out this post. Yesterday I was going through all of my blog subscriptions and I came upon yours and wondered how you were all doing.
    My wife and I retired last year, bought a 5’er, and are travelling our home province of Ontario this summer. We are in the midst of planning our first Snowbird trip to the U.S. this winter. A total of six months on the road traveling down the East Coast, across to Big Bend in Texas, and then meandering home. It is people like yourselves that have confirmed my desire to do this, and we are stoked!
    Thanks again for all that you do, and please continue to be well and stay safe!

    • What luck that you didn’t delete the subscription, Leonard!! And how neat that you were thinking about us as I was putting this blog post together. It sounds like you are having a lot of fun exploring your home province this summer. Ontario is still on our Bucket List as a destination we haven’t seen yet! Have a fantastic snowbird trip next winter. There is so much to see on the East Coast and we sure love Big Bend. Happy trails!

  34. Emily, Mark and Buddy,
    First, please let me say I am so happy to see you back. Having enjoyed your explorations and photography for years as inspiration to our full timing adventure. We ended up settling in WA, bought a house and our RV sat in the driveway since last September. We got it out last week and are doing a NOMADs project in Ellensburg, WA. It is nice to be back out in the RV and living in nature. I sure miss it. I am also missing some of my favorite bloggers, as many of the ones I have followed have moved on to specialty subjects in their blogs rather than RV Travel or to a different mode of travel altogether. What I love about your blog is the mix of sweet stories about experiences and people and, of course the photography. Like you, my camera is collecting dust. I am going to get it out now as I have a macro lens that I need to use. Funny thing: Mark Leach of KYD showed a photo of Mark’s (yours), on his vlog recently so you two were on my mind. I was really worried you could have either settled down or were giving up on blogging all together as it is A LOT of work. Thank you so much for what you do. I sure hope to meet you on the road someday. We plan to spend some time in AZ next winter as we will be snowbirds for sure!!

    • Hi Laura — It is so heartwarming to know that we’ve inspired you and others to try the RV lifestyle, whether full-time or for shorter adventures. It is a great life and such a fun way to travel. I know a lot of the older RV blogs have changed focus or changed travel regions or changed modes of travel. That’s part of the whole process of fulfilling your dreams, since, as you know, dreams change over time. We fulfill our early dreams as we live them and that enables us to dream new dreams…

      I really appreciate your comment about my sweet stories. Very early on when my blog was first taking form, a gal emailed me and said, “I love your pics and stories.” I hadn’t realized that I was telling stories, but she opened my eyes to what I was doing and I saw the power of even just a one line story that tells a brief tale and brings a smile. It is such a pleasure to write these things down!

      My Mark and Marc Leach of KYD were close friends 20 to 25 years ago. Marc was just a teenager and Mark was in his 30s. They rode bikes together and spent many hours riding, working on their bikes, taking out of town bike trips and playing guitar together at Mark’s house. Mark’s family called Marc “Markie Junior” to distinguish the two!

      When Marc married Trish, Mark stood up at their wedding. It was held at one of the most luxurious resorts in Phoenix and was quite an event, as I understand. I wish I had been there but it was before my time in Mark’s family.

      Marc and Trish invited us over for a wonderful dinner together when we finished our sailing cruise in 2013 and they made us feel like rock stars. They had a gleam in their eye and were eager to get a trawler and cruise the world. We urged them to consider RVing first because it is much easier. They came up with a fabulous idea to do a podcast interviewing travelers, and we were their first interview. We suggested other blogs of people for them to interview, which they did, and they actually met the boat at the dock of one of the bloggers I suggested when the family returned to the States from their circumnavigation! Shortly afterwards, Marc and Trish were ready to jump into RVing, and when they were about to put money down on their first trailer we saved them a few thousand dollars by suggesting they go back to the salesman and make a lower offer!

      They are off in the stratosphere now with the most charming YouTube channel out there. What they have accomplished is truly sensational. But we sometimes joke with each other about when Marc got his first job and the paychecks would roll in. “I got another paycheck already and I haven’t cashed the last paycheck yet!” Marc would say to Mark with teenage glee. With a family and responsibilities, Mark would just shake his head and say “Wait til you’re a little older!”

      It is a true joy to see the life that Marc and Trish have put together. We met another couple that are fans of KYD just last week. They bought the Jeep and tent system from Marc and they are loving it!!

    • We liked having a hand in the real estate market during our travels, and we’re grateful we were able to do that by renting out our place. The market crashed, and our place lost 50% of its value overnight, but rents stayed steady and the pool of tenants became huge because so many homeowners lost their homes and needed a place for a while. Homeowners make great tenants! Then the value climbed rapidly as the economy climbed out of the Great Recession, and rents climbed modestly right alongside. When we were planning our departure for RVing, we wanted very much to sell and not have the responsibility of a property. We even had the place sold and in escrow. But the buyer backed out at the last second, and after crying an ocean of tears (me), we decided to lease it out. That was the best decision we could have ever made, and the buyer backing out was the biggest blessing in disguise we could have imagined.

  35. Nice to see the blog back, although I have a secret comms channel to know what you all are doing and where you are!
    The close up shot of the bee with the pollen was fantastic!

    • Very funny, Pete. I’m talking into my wrist now!! Mark got that wonderful pic of the bee. He was taking pics of hummingbirds in flight yesterday and got some good ones. 10-4 Good Buddy. Over and out.

  36. Like so many of us .I am glad your back. You still have the Hitcher and Razor.? We are less than 2 years of being 3/4 rv’ers . We are just waiting for my husband to retire. .

    • We sold the Hitchhiker, Cheryl, but we still have the RZR. Our latest news here and it gives an overview of what we’ve been doing for the last year. Congrats on two years of RV travels. Your hubby will be retired in no time and you’ll be totally free!!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *