Author Archives: Theresa

RV for Sale!

This morning, we put our RV for sale in RVTrader (click on the link to see the ad).  We spent the last 2 days cleaning and scrubbing to get it looking “like-new” so we could take pictures and have it ready to show to potential buyers. 

RV in Vermillion Cliffs National Monument


Gift #5: Freedom

As I wrote earlier, this trip has given us 5 unforgettable gifts.  The first gift is having the luxury of time to explore and meander. The second gift is being able to take the long way around and discover the road less traveled. The third gift is the shared passion Timm and I have for this journey.  The fourth gift is we have become emotionally closer to our family and friends.

The fifth and final gift is freedom.  It is hard to express how free we have felt these past 10 months.  We have been free in so many ways:

  • Free to wake up slowly every morning.  Free to lay in bed awhile longer and enjoy the warmth under the blankets.
  • Free to wander the country.  Free to visit whatever cool parks or tourist attractions we happen upon along the way.
  • Free to stay an extra day in a dispersed camping spot that is… well… free.
  • Free to follow the sun.  Free to pack up the RV and move on down the road because the weather is turning rainy or cold.
  • Free to sit for hours gazing at a warm campfire.  Free of guilty feelings about gazing at the campfire for hours.
  • Free to eat whatever we want because we know we’ll burn off the calories on tomorrow’s 8-mile hike.
  • Free of nearly all time commitments.  Free of appointments, meetings and reservations.
  • Free of nearly all health-related problems.  Free of all but only minor aches and pains.



Time: The Most Precious Currency

Time has come today
Young hearts can go their way
Can’t put it off another day
I don’t care what others say
— The Chambers Brothers, 1967

In January, I wrote an article about my two jars of marbles that mark the passage of time, one marble for each Saturday until I reach the age of 80.  Every Saturday, I move a marble from the one jar to the other.


Two jars of marbles

In the picture above, taken in January 2012, the jar on the left is the weeks past, and the jar on the right is the weeks ahead until I’m 80.  I’ve been doing this since I was 39.  This ritual helps me to be conscious of the passage of time in a visual way, as I watch the marbles move week after week, year after year, from one jar to the other.


Two marble tins

When I packed for the trip in January, I brought 50 marbles for the remainder of the weeks in 2012.  I placed them in two separate Altoids tins, one labeled “Weeks Past,” and the other labeled “Weeks Left.”


You Can’t Think of Everything

When we made the decision to go on a year long RV trip, we had zero experience RVing.  We bought the RV on faith that we would enjoy traveling and living in it.  To learn how to use it, we spent a total of 4 days camping at Big Bone Lick State Park which was literally across the street from our house. That was the extent of our experience living in an RV before departing on our year long trip.   We hoped we could think of everything we needed to bring and what we forgot, we’d buy along the way.

As it turns out, we did pretty well imagining living in an RV.  To equip the RV, we brought many household items such as dishes, pans, utensils, toaster, clothes, sheets, towels, tools, outside table/chairs, etc.  However, there are a few things we brought that we often say, “Wow, I’m sure glad we brought that!”

Darby models her extra blanket that keeps her warm on cold nights.

1. The Dogs – Almost a year ago I wrote about our consternation on whether we should bring the dogs or leave them with a friend.  It turns out, we’re very glad we brought them.  With some patience and consistent training, the dogs became very good RV dogs.  We also ended up spending more time in parks that allow dogs on trails than we originally thought we would.  In fact, to date, the dogs have hiked 480 miles.  We have hiked 800 miles so the dogs have hiked with us 60% of the time.  We’ve never had to board them as they do fine in the RV while we hike in national parks that do not allow dogs on the trails.  It’s been a joy having them with us.  They are an integral part of what has made this trip enjoyable and we’d miss them terribly if they were not with us.


What Are You Reading?

Back in February when we were just starting our trip, our friend Sean O’Shaughnessey sent us a list of possible blog topics.  When I feel inspired to write, I pull out his questions and pick one.  Sean wrote:

You are both quite intelligent but I don’t know if you have a hobby of reading – any good books that you have started now that you are care free?

As far as the “both quite intelligent” part of Sean’s question, Timm is indeed brilliant.  As for me, let’s just say tenacity, determination and old fashioned hard work can obscure intellectual deficiencies.  Regardless, I do enjoy reading.

I read books in both traditional book form and electronically on our iPad. For the electronic books, I borrow them from the wonderful public library system.  I have 3 library cards: Boone County, Kenton County and the Cincinnati Public Library.  Here are the books I’ve read during this trip.


Following the Flowers North

Lupines on a mountain hillside.

I have always wanted to see wildflowers blooming in profusion in the mountains.  Because the growing season is extremely short, Alaska, Canada and the northern U.S. have brilliant flower displays with all the flowers seeming to bloom at the same time and covering entire mountain hillsides. (Hover over the pictures to see the flower name.)

Timm and Darby amongst yellow Arnica (from the sunflower family) and Labrador Tea.

We traveled north in what seemed like perfect synchronization with spring, as spring also moved north. We hiked in southern Canada in the Canadian Rockies in May.  As spring moved north, so did we.  We spent June in northern Canada.  Then, we traveled farther north into Alaska in July and spring accompanied us there as well.


Pine White Butterfly

While hiking in Olympic National Park along the Griff Creek trail, we encountered hundreds of butterflies fluttering around the conifer trees.  As we sat on a sunny outcrop overlooking an expansive valley and river below, our eyes were drawn to the butterflies as they gracefully danced and mingled against the dark green background of the pine trees.

Pine White Butterfly Copyright © Scenes from Here. Image Used Under Creative Common License.


Phases of Our Trip

People tend to divide their lives into a series of phases, one leading to the next.  Phases are delineated by major progressions in our lives, such as leaving home to start college, moving from one city to another, getting married, having children, changing jobs or becoming a grandparent.  A new phase might also occur due to an unexpected event, such as winning the lottery or the death of a family member.  Some phases we bring upon ourselves with purpose and intent.  Sometimes, new phases are brought upon us due to random chance, the same random chance that has affected the entire universe since it was born 13.7 billion years ago.

Even our trip of approximately 1 year has distinct phases.  We tried to be conscious of each passing phase so we could improve upon the experience to ensure the next phase was even better.  We’re now starting to enter the final phase of our journey and then we’ll return to something that at least resembles normal life.  These final phases have yet to be written.

Here are the phases of our adventure so far.

Phase 1 – Preparing for the Trip
Timeframe – April 2011 to February 2012
Duration – 11 months
Location – Cricket Lane in Union, Kentucky
The day we left Cricket Lane
Description – The year of preparation for this trip was filled with giddy anticipation.  We had talked about going on an extended RV trip for years and finally, we felt the time was right.  Once we made the decision to go, I counted down the days until we would depart.  Every evening, I went to bed dreaming about wandering the country in an RV, hiking and exploring.  I remember getting ready for work with a brochure of an RV on the sink, so I could start the day thinking about our “new home.”  I made a list of the songs that reminded me of the trip.  I never looked forward to anything as much as I did this trip.

In addition to looking forward to the trip, we also spent the year getting ready to go.  We created a task list of about 250 items that had to be done, such as selecting, buying and equipping the RV, buying health care, getting our investments squared away, figuring out how to get mail while on the road, getting last minute doctors checkups, getting the dog shots up to date, etc., etc.


Found: An Ax!

My favorite find of the trip: an ax! I found it at a campsite in Olympic National Park where someone had accidentally left it behind. This whole trip, I’ve wanted an ax for splitting wood and kept telling myself I didn’t really need it because most of the wood we get is in small enough pieces.  However, there were a few campgrounds in the Yukon that gave away free wood and said “BYOA,” Bring Your Own Ax.  We heard people splitting wood all about the campground and I was envious, wishing I had an ax to BYOA.

Yesterday, I FOUND one!  We split a few pieces of wood last night for our campfire.  It’s going to take some practice to get good at hitting the same spot more than once but by the end, I was starting to figure it out.  Timm got into the wood splitting act too.  It was fun!

Here’s Shadow modeling the ax.  He has no opposable thumbs so he didn’t try his paw at wood splitting.

Shadow likes the ax because it means more roasted marshmellows!

Nature’s Infinite Variety

Before we started this trip, I worried that I would get bored of hiking day after day for months.  I worried that the hikes would all start to look the same to me.  After 7 months of hiking, this could not be farther from how I feel.  I love getting out on the trail and seeing what nature has in store for me today.  I look forward to experiencing each hike and letting all my senses explore the path. 

Rialto Beach on the Pacific Ocean in Olympic National Park.

My feet feel the surface of the trail, sometimes soft with pine needles, sometimes scrambling over boulders, sometimes slogging up a gravity defying incline and sometimes walking over cobblestones rounded smooth by an ocean surf.