Three plus years of full timing....what have we learned

Zion National Park,  Utah, December 2010
Harris Hawk at Sonoran Desert Museum, Tuscon Feb. 2011

When we left Cedar Rapids it began our 4th year of living and traveling in our RV. The last three years have flown by and we are still not ready to go back to a sticks and bricks life. We have traveled a lot of the western US but even with time out there all three years there are so many places we have yet to discover. This year will be our first going south and east, all new places for me and many new ones for John. I think one of the things that I learn every time we find somewhere new is how beautiful this country is. If you slow down and take the time you will find amazing things everywhere. I think the thing I appreciate the most about this lifestyle is that freedom to take it slow.

BLM land near Quartzite, AZ in January 2011

Putah Creek, Winters CA in Jan.2013

Crater Lake, Oregon, fall 2012

Diamond Lake, Oregon, fall 2012
When we first took off we were excited to see new places and we moved along at a pretty good pace. We traveled 4-6 hours a day and maybe stayed 2-3 days at a time. It didn’t take long until we found that driving 3-4 hours was preferable and staying longer was more enjoyable. I think now our normal stays are a week at a time and at least once in the winter we will stay put for 2-3 months. Like most full timers we like to do most of our site seeing and travel in the off seasons of spring and fall when it is a little quieter and more relaxed. We have found ourselves on occasion, like a family commitment, traveling much faster and it certainly makes the trips less enjoyable.

Elephant Butte Reservoir, Elephant Butte NM, Spring 2012

Elephant Butte, South Monticello campground, Spring 2012

Heceta Head Lighthouse, spring 2013
One of the things that has surprised us is that we have enjoyed staying longer at times. Last winter in California, when we first decided to stay 4 months I was really worried I would hate it. The first two months because I wan’t working like John, I was dreading the rest of the winter but slowly I began checking out more things in the area and began to enjoy our stay. It was a beautiful place, and we met many nice people and really got to know the area. I think now I will go into those longer stays with a different perspective. I still started getting hitch itch after about 3 months but sometimes I think it comes on because I know we will be moving soon and it’s the anticipation. I’m the one who does most of the trip planning so as the time gets closer I am doing the research for our route and what to do and it makes me anxious to get moving.

Death Valley, California January 2011
Grand Canyon, Arizona, spring 2012

Lake Pend O'rellie, Idaho September 2012

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, Fall 2012
I was thinking back on some of the highlights of our travel. Friends often ask what our favorite place has been so far. The more we travel the more difficult that answer becomes because like I stated before there is beauty everywhere. Some of our favorites are Zion National Park. We were there in December and it was almost like having the park to yourself. Tucson was also a lot of fun, with lots to do there. Elephant Butte State Park in New Mexico. We love the South Monticello campground and it is one of the few places we have made return trips to and the second time we stayed for two weeks. That park is on a wonderful reservoir and is one of the most quiet and peaceful places we’ve experienced. There also is no light pollution to speak of and the night sky is amazing. The Grand Canyon is another highlight. I think everyone should see it at least once, photos just don’t give you the scope and perspective you get standing on the rim. The mountains have always been close to my heart. Driving through Colorado, Montana, Utah, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and California was amazing. It makes me smile just remembering.
Patricks Point California Spring 2013

Canyon Creek Park in California from a trail on Lake Berryessa

Harris Beach Oregon, February 2013

Crater Lake in Oregon is another place that needs to be seen to be believed. There are photos of how blue the water is but seeing that it is as blue as that is just surreal. Speaking of Oregon, I think so far it is my favorite state. It has an amazing coastline, beautiful mountains and forests so what’s not to like? Heceta Head Lighthouse will forever remain etched in our memories. There are so many more places it’s hard to put them all in this post. It would go on for a very long time. So instead I am putting in my favorite photos from these last 3 years. I hope your travels, whether in an RV, a car, a plane, however you travel gives you as many special memories and that you see the beauty everywhere you go.

Happy Trails.........................
Heceta Head Beach, Oregon coast, March 2013


  1. After over seven years on the road, I have to agree with much of what you've said. I've slowed down a lot, and have come to enjoy my extended stays wherever they take me.

    Perhaps you need to visit the high desert area of Oregon to add to your love of the state.

  2. That was a great summary of your first 3 years of full-timing. Quite an achievement.

    The photos you selected were absolutely beautiful of some really stunning looking locations.

  3. Beautiful pictures. I'm so looking forward to seeing Oregon one of these years. We hope you have many more years of exploring ahead of you, and our paths cross often!

  4. Isn't it great looking back at all the places we've been? We don't realize all that we've experienced until we look back at photos. We were just saying yesterday with RV friends we were with... Oregon is hard to beat!

  5. I think you have the same answer as us to which place is our favorite... " The more we travel the more difficult that answer becomes "

  6. I am trying to start "slow" We have been doing one week stops that take us at least two to three weeks. One special place in the middle with time to get there and back. Some day we will be able to just keep going

  7. We get that question a lot... and, like you, we don't have an easy answer... even after nearly 13 years on the road. You chose very descriptive photos of your travels... they say as much as words. It's a beautiful world out there!

  8. Great photos of your time on the road Janie. I think the Sierras and Oregon have been our two favorites so far, but we have much left to see. Be safe and hopefully we can catch you two sometime this winter.

  9. You've done a lot in 3 years. We're almost to our one year anniversary on 10/1, and have not even scratched the surface of what we want to see and do. I hate seeing so many RVrs deciding to come off the road for whatever reasons. I don't even want to think about that yet!

  10. Janie you say it so well. I really enjoyed seeing the great pix as it reminds me of the those same places we've visited. Girlfriend, you are just getting started. After 9 years of FTing.......I just don't want it to end.....but we all know at some point it will. Enjoy each day!!! Hugs, Tom and Donna

  11. Great photos and good recap. Elephant Butte Lake has always been one of our favorite campgrounds, in fact when I looked at your photo, the RV on the left is our Lazy Daze with our old blue Chevy parked in front of it!
    Hope you have many more years of fun travel. If you haven't been along CA Hwy 395 in the Eastern Sierra, don't miss it. This is our first time and it may be our new favorite area.

    1. That is too funny that that is your rig and car. What a small world, who knows we may have even talked or at least passed by each other. :)


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