Monthly Archives: March 2012

Valley of Fire

Theresa at the Valley of Fire Visitors Center

Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada has some of the reddest rock we’ve ever seen.  Many other colors of the rainbow are also represented, creating a landscape that is so vibrant and colorful that it looks unreal.  Please check out our Valley of Fire Photo Tour.

Mom Wonders What Her Children Are Eating

My mother and father, Pat and Jim Hoctor, recently sent us an email asking a few questions.

Do you have propane heat and a stove in your RV? Mom was wondering if you only have a microwave and, what are you eating if you don’t have an oven and gas stove. I told Mom that most RV’s have both. Also, I’m surprised that your RV batteries lasted four days. Did you still have the radio on or the TV? I know that you must have the refrigerator going and the lights at dark.

Similarly, our friend Sean O’Shaughnessey was interested in how we manage on the food/cooking front.

Where do you cook/eat?  When I was growing up in an RV, a good portion of our meals were cooked on an outdoor grill – always charcoal.  I know that you talk about lunch on the hikes but it would be interesting to get a bit more color on this.

First, the power options, which are important to understand in order to boondock and still be able to prepare food. The simplest way to explain RV power is by listing the source and what each runs.


Major Route Change

After careful consideration, we have decided to make a major change to our planned route.  Due to weather and other factors, we are essentially going to reverse our loop, i.e., go counter-clockwise instead of clockwise.  So our new route will take us from Death Valley to Nevada, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Canada, Alaska, Canada, Washington, Oregon, and end up back in California.

Mojave National Preserve during a winter storm


Our 20th Anniversary in Death Valley National Park

Timm & Theresa on our 20th anniversary at Dante's View a mile above Badwater Basin in Death Valley

We originally planned to spend our 20th anniversary in Yosemite National Park, but life threw us a curveball in the form of a traffic accident, which in turn pushed back our schedule a couple weeks.  So instead we enjoyed our very special day in another truly special place: Death Valley National Park in south-eastern California.  In spite of its name, reputation, and foreboding environment, Death Valley is actually very beautiful and an amazing place to hike.  And we enjoyed the hot weather after the cold winter storm in Mojave National Preserve.  In the photo above, we are a mile above Badwater Basin, the lowest, driest and hottest place in North America.  Be sure to check out our photo tour of Death Valley National Park.

Mojave National Preserve

Our camping spot in Wild Horse Canyon

Mojave National Preserve was the first time we got to experience roadside camping, and now we’re hooked!  The preserve had lots of variety including sand dunes, cinder cones, lava tubes, and spectacular mountains.  Check out our photos tour of Mojave National Preserve.

Mighty Dogs

Shadow on a ledge watching our RV

We are blessed with two truly “mighty dogs” who want to experience everything on this trip as much as we do.  Here Shadow stands on a ledge a few hundred feet above our RV in Black Horse Canyon in the Mojave National Preserve in California.


Prickly, Sticker and Thorn

Cactus barbs

There’s an old law firm in the desert named “Prickly, Sticker and Thorn,” and it means business.


Roadside Camping

Snowstorm over the Providence Mountains in the foreground, Granite Mountains in the background

Cost to roadside camp in Mojave National Preserve for 6 nights: $0.  Cost of waking up surrounded by mountains: priceless.


Mojave Sunset

Tonight in the Mojave National Preserve we enjoyed one of the most spectacular sunsets we’ve seen so far on our trip.


Comparing the New and Old RVs

Many of our friends were very encouraging as we worked through the accident and made decisions of how to move forward with our trip.  For example, here’s what our good friend Tony Martin wrote:

Timm/Theresa: Sorry to see you have such trouble so early into your endeavor. But we’re very glad to hear you’re ok. Like you said, RVs are easy to replace, people and dogs, no so much. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you.

I guess, as for a silver lining, assuming you continue your journey (and you should), and assuming it is totaled, you will have the benefit of having spent a bit of time in your current RV. So when you purchase the next one, you will have the chance to improve on the little things that can make a big difference when living on the road. The little things, like more counter space here and more storage or some new widget functionality there. You know, the little things that get under your skin after 4000 miles that you could not have thought of prior to getting out on the open road. A do over, if you will.

Again, let us know if we can help out in anyway.

Tony and Becky Martin

“A do over…”  Timm and I used that phrase many times as we searched for a new RV.  We decided to try to get something that fit us better since we were forced to basically start from scratch.  We said to each other several times “Since we have to go through this, we might as well come out of this bad bump with something that fits us a little better.” 

With this in mind, here are our favorite improvements in our 2012 25 foot Coachman Freelander vs. our old 2006 31 foot Four Winds Hurricane, as well as a few things we don’t like as well.

Our new RV, the 2012 Coachman Freelander 23CB.