Looking Back at 17,000 Miles of RVing

Wow, we can’t believe we’ve driven 17,000 miles since December, 2016!!  And now we are just starting this new, one year journey that will bring so many more memories.  We have blog entries going clear back to the beginning of our travels, which are fun to go back and look at!  Even the stressful moments!

Are we glad we did everything we did?  Heck yeah!!!!  We have learned so much about RVing as well as our country, and we hope our kids will remember most of it as they grow up.

When we think of all the things we’ve had the privilege of doing, here are the ones that stand out:

  • Sea kayaking with Sea Otters, Sea Lions, and Seals between Monterey and Santa Cruz, CA on Carla’s birthday. Unreal!!
  • Learning how to go crabbing (and how to cook and eat what we caught) near Raymond, WA. The boat sprang a leak and took on some water, which added to the excitement!
  • Open car steam train ride through a redwood forest in Santa Cruz, CA
  • Sandia Peak Sky Tram in Albuquerque, NM that took us up a mountain to 11,000 feet!!  Scary and awesome!
  • Yellowstone – absolutely beautiful, and got to see a herd of bison right near our car!  Got to walk within 50′ of an elk, and see many geysers.
  • Airboat ride through the Everglades where we saw several alligators and neat birds. 
  • So many beaches on the west coast, east coast, and gulf coast!
  • Tidepooling on the west coast, seeing so many neat creatures.
  • Having a campfire on the beach in Port Aransas, TX (a favorite place)
  • Driving a beach buggy up the beach along the surf at night, from our RV resort to downtown Port Aransas (a few miles) with the boys in the rear facing seats…fun to hear them talking, reggae music playing, jackets on to stay warm (winter time gets a little chilly o a beach buggy!)
  • Taking a charter Jetty boat from Port Aransas to San Jose Island to go seashell hunting.  Saw starfish, puffer fish, and a shipwrecked boat washed ashore!
  • Taking a dolphin cruise in Gulf Shores, AL. That was quite an experience!  Avin even got to drive the boat!
  • Camping in an awesome site in Florence, OR, which backed up to old growth evergreen forest. The kids had so much fun playing in the woods.  We kept a watchful eye over them, due to a bear alert.
  • Watching a sea lion chase his lunch down on the dock in the old town part of Florence, OR.
  • We took a tour of the USS Lexington in Corpus Christi, TX.
  • Eating amazing German food in Leavenworth, WA (neat German town), where I used to go in the winter time while growing up in Washington.
  • Riding in a giant dune buggy over the sand dunes in Florence, OR.  This was the same dune buggy I rode in when I was really young (i’m guessing eight years old maybe).
  • Walking along Cannon Beach next to Haystack Rock, and looking in tidepools. 
  • Took a ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island and drove around the island. We found an old growth evergreen forest (Grand Forest) with massive trees and ferns!
  • Tripp learned to ride his bike in Florence, OR, at the campground!
  • Taking my family on a bike ride on the Gilman trail (“the bike path”) that runs from Marymoor Park in Redmond to Seattle. This is the same trail are used to ride my bike on as a child.  This was fun, because trip) had just learned to ride his bike in Florence, OR, on our way to Washington.
  • The new giant sky wheel downtown Seattle. We had been in an identical one at Myrtle Beach, but that was not during a trip in the RV.
  • Grand Canyon, and stopped off to visit an elk on the side of the road. 
  • San Diego Zoo was very nice!! Exhibits really well done. 
  • Legoland
  • Disneyland, but the kids actually liked Legoland more
  • Lunch in the rotating restaurant at the top of the Space Needle, where we watched sea planes cruise right by us as they are about to land. 
  • Crossed the Mojave Desert in 115F heat!
  • Kayaked the mouth of the Willapa River in Raymond, WA. 
  • Parked our RV for a week right on the beach in Destin, not far from the surf!
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium – WOW!  The tanks are so HUGE!!!
  • Children’s Pool in La Jolla Cove – what an experience (a big creepy!) to see big waves below crashing against the sea wall and coming all the way up to you!  Neat history behind that place also.  Not what you think it is by its name.
  • Stopped by the Roloff Farm in Oregon, but they didn’t invite us in… 🙂
  • Climbed to the top of the lighthouse on St. Augustine, FL – what a view!!
  • Saw a massive model train museum in Blaboa Park. 
  • Experienced the Santa Anna Winds first hand while driving up the west coast near Santa Barbara, CA at night.  Really warm winds coming down out of the mountains toward the ocean (that’s backwards from normal coastal winds). Felt like the winds were actually going to blow over our Itasca RV at times!
  • Driving near snow-covered Mt. Shasta was really breathtaking as we crosssd from Oregon into California.
  • Mount Rushmore!  Wish we had more time to hike around it, as there were several pretty trails.
  • Drove down the coast from Mo tweet to Big Sur – WOW!!!  SO so beautiful and also creepy at times as we drove near the edge of cliffs above the ocean. We hiked out to Point Loma and watched Sea Lions.  Very pretty scenery!
  • Our kids both caught their first fish at the start of our one year journey!
  • Jogging along the beach in the mornings in Port Aransas, TX, as well as in Orange Beach, AL. 
  • We stopped by Laguna Seca Raceway, as well as Daytona Raceway, sadly no races were going on. 
  • In another week we will add Disney World and SeaWorld to this list!

And as you’ll read below, there have been some no-so-fun times along the way….funny looking back now!

  • Not making the turn in a grocery store parking lot in Raymond, WA.  While blocking an Isle of the parking lot, I frantically unhooked our tow car so we could back up and scraped up my hand in the process of disconnecting the cables so quickly. 
  • Missed a turn on our way to an RV park in Santa Cruz, and ended up on a two lane highway with hardly any room to turn around.  Again, had to unhook the car and have Carla guide me as I turned around (took backing up and pulling forward a few times!) in the middle of a road where cars would fly around an S curve through the woods!
  • Around 10pm, after battling the Santa Anna Winds, we checked into an RV resort. I smashed my thumb in the car door after I unhooked it from our RV (took 6 months for that thumbnail to grow back!)  Carla then tore her pant leg on the tow bar as she stepped over it while helping me. I then went inside and knocked out TV soundbar onto the floor, which was likely heard 3 RVs away from us.
  • Hail storm dented out AC units’ cooling fins
  • Dallas construction while on our first real RV trip – I really thought I was going to smash into a construction barrier or the cars next to us.
  • A malfunctioning ice maker filled the freezer with water at 5am.  I opened it and had a few gallons of water gush out into me and the floor.
  • ATS (which switches power between the generator and sure power) started malfunctioning on our trip to the West Coast, causing the generator to not produce power.  This meant we didn’t have overhead air-conditioners working while traveling through 90-112 degree heat in a BLACK RV! We have the kids sit up close to the dashboard AC vents.
  • A REALLY bad thunderstorm that blew in as we were driving south through Missouri. We took shelter in a Sam’s club parking lot. There was so much rain and wind that we couldn’t even see across the intersection into the parking lot!
  • Driving through snow and ice in Missouri on our way to Elkhart, IN to trade in our last RV.  Fog and ice were building up on the insides of the windshield and side windows. We were using the heat of our hands to melt it so we could at least see our side mirrors.  We finally had to use an ice creeper when I got really bad. It got down to 0° one night, and -14° in Elkhart (we opted to stay in a hotel that night, not knowing how well our RV would handle it). 
  • Avin was NOT happy about having to take, as Aunt Kelly calls it, a “no thank you bite” of the crab we caught and cooked!  So funny!
  • In our last RV, having to put the pedal to the metal while going up steep grades in higher elevations and only being able to do 37 mph!
  • Driving over some extremely tall bridges where you see straight down into the ocean (if you were in a car, the sidewalls of the bridge would block your view, not when you’re sitting up high in an RV!)
  • Not being completely sure if our RV was too tall to make it under some overpasses in Texas.  They were doing construction and the new overpasses are taller than the old ones, but the GPS doesn’t always know and thinks they are too low. When you are in traffic with no way to pull over due to construction barriers, your only choice is to move forward and hope you make it!  If you get a chance, go visit YouTube and search for “11 foot 8 bridge”
  • In our last RV, the ceiling LED lights were defective and we would lose one every day.  It was pretty dim by the end of our trip!
  • We usually have pretty good neighbors at campgrounds, but one time while camping in Destin on the beach, a new neighbor pulled in and decided to blast his sound bar aimed at our RV and only 4′ from our RV with none other than bagpipe music….at 8am on a Saturday!  We had to file a complaint about that one, because we couldn’t escape the music anywhere inside our RV. 
  • Getting our beach buggy stuck in the sand in Port Aransas, TX. It took a lot of digging to get it unstuck!
  • While camping on the beach in Destin, seagulls came down and ate Avin’s lunch. Pretty funny, but he wasn’t happy about it at the time!  We sent the video into America’s Funniest Videos, but didn’t get selected.
  • While driving down the freeway late at night in South Dakota, an 8′ ladder fell off of a truck in front of us and was spinning around in our lane. I couldn’t swerve or I would have turned the RV over. Fortunately, the ladder stopped spinning perfectly and was lined up parallel with the lane and in the exact middle of the lane! (Thank you, God!)  I carefully centered the ladder between the RV’s wheels and our tow car’s wheels as best as I could and we cleared it. If the letter has been turned at an angle, it would have destroyed something on the RV or the tow car. 

So there you have it!  I’m sure I missed several things, both good and bad, but those are the ones that come to mind. It’s really wild how much we have had the privilege to experience in just over a year and a half!  I look forward to doing another write up like this in another 10-20,000 miles from now!  I can’t imagine what is still to come.

2 thoughts on “Looking Back at 17,000 Miles of RVing

  1. Wonderful experience. One question: have you had any encounters with snakes or bears while walking on trails?

    1. We haven’t yet, except for a black snake that crossed the roadway as I was walking our trash to the dumpster at compass RV park in Saint Augustine. We have seen plenty of bear warning signs in different areas, but no sightings yet.

Leave a Reply