WheRVe we been? Our travels, 3rd quarter 2020

We put some miles on, y’all!

And thanks to friends in remote places, we were able to feel safe about where we stayed — a fair trade for making a big diamond around CO instead of spending time exploring it as we’d originally hoped to do this summer.

Just in time for fall, we drew you a leaf!
We went from TX to AZ to UT to MT to WY, and added our 40th RV state by spending a night in NB on our way back to TX.
RV miles traveled this quarter: about 4338
(Map does not reflect exact routing.)

1st major stop: 45 miles outside Kanab, UT, on private land belonging to friends of friends, who are now our friends

When I wrote last quarter that we’d planned to head northward to cool off, but didn’t really have a specific itinerary, our friends, David & Cheryl Goldstein of Landmark Adventures said, “Well, if you don’t know where you’re going, why not stay with us on the way?”

It was impossible to argue with that kind of logic.

They’d set up housekeeping in southern UT, on land belonging to fellow Escapees, Cindi & Roger, who we’d somehow managed not to meet at the Escapees Baja Mexico Hangout that we all attended in February, but we quickly made up for that lost opportunity during our very private, 12-day “Socially Distanced Unofficial Hangout Limited to 6 Escapees.”

Getting to our secluded enclave involved a 45-minute drive out a dirt road, from a point that was a 30-minute drive from the nearest town. Now that’s remote!

Getting into our designated site was a challenge that required navigating tight turns, narrow pathways, tree branches, and the other two RVs.
Tim likes to call this video “How I performed a 187-point turn into a tight spot in only two minutes.”
(We were aiming for that yellow square.)
I like to call it, “Keep your eye on your wife, and you might get a fun little dance at the end.”
The view from the property was well worth the parking hassle.
Got a little warm inside the RV, though.
Usually means it’s time to head north when I shout, “Honey, the coconut oil has liquified!”
We did some hiking through mystical rock formations…
(Location: Lick Wash Trail)
Location: Peek-a-boo Slot Canyon
… and rented one of these so that all 6 of us could go on a “motor assisted hike”
(Cindi & Roger drove their own).
Seriously, though. Who wouldn’t have a good time with a group like this?

2nd major stop: Thompson Falls, MT, for a birthday celebration that was worth the travel

We’d decided months and months before we’d even heard the word “Coronavirus,” that one way or another, Tim was going to find a way to be with his parents for his father’s 80th birthday in August.

You think we’re moving targets? You should try keeping track of my in-laws!

As it turned out, we were able to meet in Montana to celebrate about two weeks early, with the added bonus of doing so with one of Tim’s sisters and her husband.

So many of us missed multiple milestone events with our families this year. We are exceptionally thankful that this one happened.

Tim and the Birthday Dad at Kootenai Falls
Tim, his mom, dad, brother-in-law, and sister shaking things up on the swinging bridge,
just downriver from the falls
We climbed all over Thompson Falls, and let the record show that Tim’s folks
went up even higher than I did.
Pretty little riverside town.
Visit Thompson Falls
From Thompson Falls, we made a long day trip to Glacier National Park.
The marmot wanted Tim’s dad to put down the camera and just let him into the rental car.
He clearly knew that cars and humans mean food, and he was not wrong.
We did indeed have a whole day’s worth of snacks onboard.
Now if this guy had asked?
I think we’d have let him have all the snacks, and probably the car too.
“Just take the keys, Mr. Grizzly, sir. It’s allllll yours.”

3rd major stop: Meeteetse, WY, on private land belonging to friends we’d met in January

Hey, remember when we helped clean Carlsbad Caverns by picking lint with teensy little paintbrushes? That’s where we met Debra & Larry, and learned that they own 20 acres of property about 30 miles south of Cody. But when we parted with, “Hey, we’ll let you know if we come your way in our travels,” we didn’t really know it would be so soon.

But summer safety this year meant avoiding crowds, and Wyoming makes it really easy to do that (population of the state of WY = 1/3 population of the city of San Antonio).

We thought we’d boondock on Debra & Larry’s little piece of paradise for about a week, but it turned into a whole month!

Not only is Meeteetse small, but our location was on a gravel ranch road, about
4 miles from the heart of town.
A typical experience: evening drinks and shared dinners at the pole barn
The lifestyle common to our friends, both Wyoming natives, was not typical at all for us.
What a gift that they shared so many of their experiences with us.
These included a 7-mile hike with two humans on foot, two on horseback (I took this photo from the saddle, y’all!), three doggies, and a random herd of cows…
… fishing for our supper …
… canine assisted kayaking …
… stand-up paddle boarding …
… making chili using ground elk instead of ground beef or turkey …
… and making judicious use of an outhouse, which allowed us to save enough space in our black tank that we didn’t have to find a dump station until we were ready to leave,
which was 3 weeks later than planned…
… but was also just in time.
Debra texted us this pic of our “yard” just a few hours after we left on Labor Day.
We knew the storm was coming, and we made it eastward to Casper in time.
We woke up to about 4″ of snow there the next morning.
Debra & Larry got 4-6 feet, and couldn’t open their RV door!

Where to next?

Wellllllll, we’ve got medical appointments keeping us in San Antonio through the first week of November.

After that, we’re not sure. We’ve talked about moochdocking with friends in Pensacola, FL, for part of the winter, or boondocking in the southwest. The latter would put us in better position for a springtime run up to WA to visit family there, as we missed our older boy & his girl this year, along with Tim’s other sister and her family.

We’ll figure it out, and as ever, you can follow us on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter for updates as we go.

“It certainly was not the summer we had planned, but it was the summer we needed.”
~ that wise friend mentioned above, David Goldstein

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.

A quick reset at historic F.E. Warren AFB, with a bonus passenger!

Summer’s here, and we are plus-1 with the dash-2*!

Things do get a bit crowded in a fifth wheel when you add a third person — especially when that third person is 6′ 2″, weighs about 210 lbs, and brings three bags with him. We. are. full. Just don’t ask me how things are going with our teensy little RV fridge. OMG, the food.

But… an extra pair of hands is a handy thing to have, and we’re making our son work to earn his summer’s worth of travel, adventure, and oh yeah, having mom make his meals and do his laundry again. He’ll be with us until he goes back to school in August for his sophomore year at UT-Austin.

We intercepted him in Chicago after his 32-hour train ride from Texas, and then spent two loooong days on the road before stopping here at the F.E. Warren Fam Camp for two nights to catch up on laundry, cleaning, refueling, and grocery shopping. Have I mentioned the food it takes to keep this boy alive?

Downtown Chicago. Fancy meeting you here, tall and tired child o' mine!

Downtown Chicago.
Fancy meeting you here, tall and tired child o’ mine!


This is our life now. He with the longest legs rides shotgun, which means the non-driver gets half the back seat. Question of the Summer: Will we let him drive?

This is our life now.
He with the longest legs rides shotgun, which means the non-driver gets half the back seat.
Question of the Summer: Will we let him drive?


If he's rolling with us, he's learning to help with all the RV set-up and take-down procedures. Although he helped with many tasks on the morning we left Great Lakes, I had to snap a pic of him bringing in the slides (which is an easy one), because all I heard was my little boys shouting in an elevator. A: It's my turn to push the buttons! D: No, it's *my* turn! Both: Mo-om! Come to think of it, I hear myself and my brother too. Sorry, Mom.

If he’s rolling with us, he’s learning all the RV set-up and take-down procedures.
Although he helped with many tasks on the morning we left Great Lakes, I had to snap a pic of him bringing in the slides (which is an easy one), because all I heard in my head was my little boys shouting in an elevator.
A: It’s my turn to push the buttons!
D: No, it’s my turn!
Both: Mo-om!
Come to think of it, I hear myself and my brother too.
Uhhh, sorry, Mom.

We won’t get to spend time seeing the sights here in Cheyenne, due to a reservation in Utah that starts tomorrow. We did, however, go for a long, leg-stretching walk around one of the oldest parts of the base, which is widely rumored to be haunted. Glad I didn’t read about that before we went for our walk at twilight, and wish I hadn’t read it until after we were done sleeping here — or trying to.

The base dates back to 1867. These barracks, built in the early 1900's, are still in use, but I think we call them dormitories now.

The base dates back to 1867. Read about its history here.
These barracks, built in the early 1900’s, are still in use, but I think we call them dormitories now.


Company grade officer housing

Company grade officer housing

FullSizeRender 4

The buildings pictured in the historic marker

The 1885 barracks pictured in the historic marker above


As we walked by the old chapel (yes, there's a new one), the chaplain rode by on his bicycle and greeted us, almost as if we'd conjured him.

As we walked by the old chapel (not to be confused with the new one), the chaplain rode by on his bicycle and greeted us, almost as if we’d conjured him.


And 11' 6" bridge would act like a can opener on most RVs, but it makes our 6' 2" son look a little shorter.

An 11′ 6″ bridge would act like a can opener on most RVs, but it makes our 6′ 2″ son look a little bit shorter than he does when I’m looking up.


A bunker! Warren AFB houses 150 Minuteman III missiles -- just not in places that are this easily accessible!

We found a bunker! Warren AFB houses 150 Minuteman III missiles — just not in places like this,  which are accessible to a family taking an evening stroll.


Full moon over Cheyenne

Full moon over Cheyenne


The base is home to herds of pronghorn antelope. We saw nearly a dozen grazing between buildings.

The base is home to herds of pronghorn antelope. We saw nearly a dozen grazing between buildings, calm as you please.


It's just a bunny. Bunnies aren't scary. Unless one scampers right at you, and all you can think of is the Killer Rabbit scene from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." Just sayin'

It’s just a bunny. Bunnies aren’t scary, even on a haunted Air Force base. Unless one scampers right at you, and all you can think about is the Killer Rabbit scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

Next stop: Northern Utah for some hiking time!

*For those who don’t speak military: dependents have numerical codes. 30 for spouse, -1, -2, -3 etc. for children by birth order. Dane is our -2.