WheRVe we been? Our travels, 2nd quarter 2018

Wow. So uhhh… all that not leaving the Lone Star State we did in the first three months of 2018? We more than made up for it during the 2nd quarter!

Here’s a summary of our travels from Texas (home of our younger son and my side of the family) to Washington (home of our older son and Tim’s side of the family) and Idaho, mapped with a little help from Google.

RV miles traveled this quarter: about 3,215.

It’s not exact, but it’ll do.
I deliberately left out one-nighters, and some of our stops in WA lack labels because I had to zoom out so far to show our path from end to end.
(source: maps.google.com)

Texas to Washington, March 31 – April 12: We spent our first night in north Texas, having received a quick and positive answer to a last-minute, “Hey, I just realized we’re passing through. Are you guys free?” Erika & Tony, with whom we became friends through the Heartland RV Owners Club, not only secured us a spot in the RV park where they live, but also treated us to dinner!

In many ways, the RV community reminds us of our military community. We’ve got friends all over the place; they welcome us even on short notice; they offer generous support and assistance of all kinds; and we pick up right where we left off, no matter how long it’s been since we last saw each other.

After that, we stopped for a few days in Norman, OK, where the The Toad got upgraded tires, wheels, and axles from our friends at Performance Trailer Breaking; and we got to reconnect with a college friend of mine and her family for Easter dinner (that’s her bunny in the photo below). Moving on to Utah, we stayed for a couple of nights at the beautifully secluded and pleasantly uncrowded Fremont Indian State Park, before continuing to Hill AFB in Ogden to restock the fridge and do the laundry.

– Our scenic spot at Fremont Indian SP
– Flower, the bunny
– The face I make when I find dollar washers and dryers (hurrah for access to military RV parks)
– A nice, long hiking day in Sevier, UT
– A trail with a view, perfect for an afternoon run at Hill AFB

Skagit County, WA, April 14-30: At long last, we arrived in Washington on April 12, but had to hang out on the east side of the Cascades for a couple of days while we waited for a non-blizzardy time to cross Snoqualmie Pass — yes, in April! The primary reason for our visit was to help Tim’s folks clear the last of the stuff out of the house they’d just sold, in order to downsize to a 5th wheel. Like son, like father much? It was a perfect time to experience the best of a PNW springtime. The tulips and cherry trees were in bloom, the sun was out more often than it wasn’t, and although temps were a little chilly for my taste, we were able to enjoy several outdoor activities.

– A colorful afternoon at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
– Tim reminiscing with his mom, over a tub full o’ family mementos bound for storage
– An ornamental cherry tree (maybe one of these?) at our campground
– A view of the Columbia River, from our holding spot at the Wanapum Rec Area
– Midpoint of a “sluggish” run

Here’s an outdoor activity for ya: We ran our first race together in Mount Vernon, in the rain, with temps hovering around 48 degrees.
This was a 5K to benefit the non-profit agency one of Tim’s sisters works for, Community Action of Skagit County.
The things we do for family!
(photo credit: Community Action)

Jefferson County, WA, April 30 – June 1: For the entire month of May, we hung out close-but-not-too-close to our older son and his girlfriend, and were able to spend as much time with them as possible, juggling get-togethers and adventures around their full work schedules and community commitments. They had their home; we had ours.

– Hello, Port Townsend, and what fine beer you have.
– The boy, his girl, and me, at the first stop of what turned into a pub crawl. They let me tag along!
– Tim spent the first week of our stay on a hiking trip in the Grand Canyon. Off you go, dear.
– Time for rhubarb at the farmer’s market
– If you visit western Washington, don’t forget to look up every now and then

– A 10-mile hike along the Lower Big Quilcene River Trail
– Another race together, the 40th annual Rhody Run 6K
– I may have been a little excited to spend Mother’s Day with one of the reasons I get to celebrate
– Hair color shenanigans to cement my reputation as an RV park “rebel”

But yeah, it was still too chilly for me.
I got caught doing my “I can’t believe I have to wear this much clothing in May, and I am still effing cold” dance.
(photo credit: K. Eichmann)

Central & Eastern Washington, June 1-22: We helped Tim’s folks kick off their first month of full-time RV living by traveling together to a few different campgrounds. In order, we stayed at the resort located inside Sun Lakes/Dry Falls State Park, the municipal park in Bridgeport, a privately owned RV park near Dayton, and a military recreation area near Cheney. And yes, by “traveling together,” I mean we helped each other fix things that broke on or in our respective 5th wheels. Ha!

– Tim’s parents have an inflatable kayak, and we are now considering adding one to our collection of adventure gear
– A hot hike with Tim’s folks, to the ancient Indian caves above the lake
– This unwanted stowaway outsmarted our traps twice, and also dodged the root beer mug, before finally taking that one. final. bite. SNAP!
– In-laws, arriving to join the mayhem. I mean fun.
– Such different scenery than the green forests of western Washington

– Tim’s dad, a talented amateur photographer, got some fantastic shots of the rolling hills of The Palouse. The best one I got was this one of him!
– Another stowaway was hiding inside our tire covers. This is the kind of stowaway we like, but we sent him hopping off into the grass, where he’d be happier.
– The oft-photographed Palouse Falls

Coeur d’Alene, ID, June 22 – July 6: And now we’re kicking off the third quarter of 2018 in a hometown from Tim’s past. He graduated from high school here, and his family still has several friends in the area, so it’s been a trip down many of their Memory Lanes.

What’s better than having a dog?
Having friends nearby with two dogs, one of which is a wriggly, pees-on-contact-but-I-don’t-care puppy!

With all the moving around we’ve done this quarter, it finally happened: I forgot which state we were in.
Let the record show that I have since taken preventive measures.
Not. One. Word.

Tim and his parents recreated a typical family road trip, during opening night of the classic car weekend in Dayton.
What a long, sweet trip it’s been.

Where to next? We’ll head east to Minnesota to visit one of Tim’s cousins, then we’ll work our way back to WA for a little more family time in August and early September. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter for updates as we go!

We started full-timing in August of 2015, but I didn’t think to do an annual review until the end of 2016, and it was just a listing on Facebook of places we’d visited. After that, I started using a quarterly format.

1Q 2018      4Q 2017        3Q 2017        2Q 2017        1Q2017        2016

And the left rear tire falls off. It falls off. It falls. the fuck. off.

Not kidding. (And also not willing to claim that line as my own. It belongs to comedian Ron White, and I thought of it immediately). Here ya go:

The drama started yesterday, about 3 hours into what was supposed to be an 8-hour driving day, taking us south from Portland, over the mountain passes, and into northern California for the night.


We were here, southbound on I-5, just north of Roseburg.

Tim was driving, and here’s something you need to know: The man thinks out loud when he drives. He says things like, “Huh,” and “Seriously, lady?” and “That’s interesting,” without ever specifying exactly what, in the 180-degree view in front of us, he’s actually talking about. Since we are not often looking at the same things, I’ve given up trying to guess, and mostly I ignore him. But when the guy at the wheel says, “Uh, I think a tire just fell off,” that’s an attention grabber.

Neither one of us felt it. I mean, we’ve got nine others, right? But Tim sensed a disturbance in the force, and noticed two things simultaneously:

  • Hey, there’s a tire rolling down the highway behind us, and
  • Oh, shit. We’re missing one.

Thankfully, we were already in the left lane, and that left rear tire came to rest along the median, rather than careening across traffic and causing further mayhem. We pulled to the shoulder about 1/4 mile beyond it, and while Tim was on the phone with Good Sam Roadside Assistance (a call that took nearly an hour), an Oregon State Trooper pulled up behind us and made sure we were OK. Senior Trooper Gorman also went back to the tire, and rolled it over to the right side of the highway for easier pickup by the emergency assistance dude — who finally arrived at 3:00. We’d pulled over at 11:30.


I was bored. Really bored. So I created this series:IMG_4561 IMG_4562 IMG_4563

And there it lies.

And there it lies.

The emergency dude, Joel, worked for half an hour, in the rain, in the strip of shoulder between our rig and interstate traffic, and then had to leave to find… uhh… let’s just go with lug-related parts. He was gone for two hours. Lola was not the only one who looked like this:


Could’ve been worse. Could’ve been kids in the back seat.

I scrawled BRING WINE, in the rear truck window, facing traffic. I know what to do in an emergency, people.

I scrawled BRING WINE in the foggy truck window, facing traffic.
I know what to do in an emergency, people.

While we awaited Joel’s return, not one, but two Kind Old Men pulled over to offer assistance, and sympathy too, I’d guess. One was pulling an RV, so he definitely felt our pain.

Old Man 1, in yellow jacket

Old Man 1, in yellow jacket

Old Man 2, on left. Both gentlemen gave Tim that hearty handshake-back slap thing that men do, before heading off.

Old Man 2, on left.
Both gentlemen gave Tim that hearty handshake-back slap thing that men do, before heading off into the night.

Joel returned at 5:30, by which time it was dark, and put in two more hours of work to affix the spare, and charge our truck battery, which had died at oh, maybe the 4-hour mark. Good times, y’all. Good. Fucking. Times. For which we are now out half a house payment, but hey, I got a blog post out of our seven-hour sit-down on the shoulder of I-5 in Oregon.

So now we’re parked at a fairgrounds complex, and the good news is that Tim was able to find a compatible wheel at a nearby dealer this morning, so we won’t have to cool our jets here through the weekend, as we’d feared. Yes, we could have continued driving on the spare, but then we wouldn’t have had a spare, and we’ve got mountains and desert to cross before we get back to San Antonio. Safety first.

Guess we’ll have to save exploring the Umpqua Valley — which is known for wine and ice cream, and is hella fun to say out loud — for another visit.

Also, as my clever and hilarious friend, Mark, pointed out, Umpqua answers the question, “What sound does Emily and Tim’s RV make with a missing wheel?”


Walked our butts to the Butteville Store

From our site here at the Champoeg State Heritage Area just south of Portland, OR, we took a little trip back in time along the Willamette River.

Two miles out to the red 5, two miles back.  Yep, in the rain.  Because it's the Pacific Northwest, and if you don't get out and move, you'll mold.

Two miles out to the red 5, two miles back.
Yep, in the rain.
Because it’s the Pacific Northwest, and if you don’t get out and move, you’ll mold.

The bigger picture

The bigger picture

It was a gray and drizzly day...

It was a gray and drizzly day…

Oregon's longest operating store is closed for the season, which we knew before we headed out, but wanted to see it anyway.

Oregon’s oldest continuously operating store, established in 1863, is closed for the season. We knew that before we headed out, but wanted to see it anyway. Worth the walk to peer inside the wavy glass and see the old tables, chairs and countertops inside.

"But Emily," you inquire. "We know you hate mud. Why did you go hiking four miles on a rainy day, idiot?"

“But Emily,” you inquire. “We know you hate mud. Why did you go hiking four miles on a rainy day, idiot?”

Paved trails, bitches! I win.

Paved trails, bitches!
I win.