We made it to Oregon, we arrived in early June. Internet the last few weeks of our journey was not very great. Every time I had access to my humans laptop I couldn’t get on the internet. I was really missing those crazy cat videos on Youtube. We are in our apartment and things are quieting down. I was so happy when my humans bought my Cal King bed into this funny small house. They think it is their bed but it is mine; I just let them sleep with me.
I had a good time in the trailer for two months but I am happy to be in a non-movable home. I have been trying to write to you about this new place but I couldn’t find the laptop with all the boxes. They have the place put together now and I should be able to grab the laptop when they go out and do errands.
There is no back yard in an apartment instead there is a tiny cement area off the back door. If I wanted to run fast I would bonk my head on the wall. My humans are cool though and they take me for lots of walks but it’s not the same as running around in your own yard. I am glad this place is temporary. I am loving the weather here and when my humans go out I get the run of the house.
I watch TV, Youtube, sleep anywhere I want: my bed, chair, my favorite chaise lounge or the recliner.
The only thing that would make it perfect is if I could open the refrigerator, then I could eat my favorite leftovers, steak. Now that things are settled I think we are going to explore and find places where we can hike and maybe an off leash dog park or area. I used to love to hike atDel Vallein Livermore, it would be great if we found a place like that. Hiking here I think will be wonderful since the weather is much cooler than in California.
Take the time to embrace the smells and sights of your journey, enjoy the moments of each day.
We have been on the road for 39 days and tomorrow we arrive at our last National Park, Glacier. We have another 11 days including our stop in Glacier. Part of me doesn’t want the journey to end and another part is ready to start setting up our base camp. We have learned so much about traveling on a long trip like this and what I do know is I would like to do another in the future. There are so many historical and beautiful places we have yet to visit.
What is exciting is that once we arrive in Oregon we begin a new adventure and journey; learning about the new area we planning on living for the long term. While on the road we secured our apartment in a complex that we had viewed several months prior to starting this trip. One challenge was e-signing the 51 page rental agreement over the campground wifi. We had brought with us a hotspot device which still didn’t have full range but was way better than the free wifi. So we were able to get the job done. I am looking forward to better bandwidth once we we settle in our new place.
I am so thankful that we took the time out to travel and I am excited for the next chapter as well. We purposely are not stopping at any of the national parks or historical places in Washington or Oregon on this trip, those will be adventures we will have from our new home base.
Today we are staying in Missoula, MT a planned stop to rest between Yellowstone and Glacier. We will be doing some chores, getting the oil changed on our vehicle, grocery shopping and maybe some laundry. One thing is for sure no matter where you are you always need to do the laundry, change the sheets and go grocery shopping.
Things I have learned while traveling across country:
Starbucks is not everywhere
Dairy Queen Blizzards are very good
When in a RV you don’t have to use stinky rest stop bathrooms
Wifi available doesn’t me it will work
Take your time and enjoy the surroundings
Driving 3 to 4 hours across country the scenery is very diverse
Nothing like driving Interstate 5 in California from the Bay Area to So. Cal.
It is very hard to eat outside in the rain/snow because you have a dog in tow.
Not all states allow dogs on the patio area of restaurants
Most places that you can eat outside on patio area with a dog are fastfood
Eat out in nice places when your dog is in daycare, cook the other times
Learned how to cook for two
All gift shops start to look the same
Don’t trust your GPS (okay I knew that before) always have paper maps with you to validate where it is sending you.
Its okay to take a day out and do nothing
As our journey starts coming to end, I will continue to enjoy each moment and let the next steps come naturally. At the end of the day life is journey with many different chapters. I have many blogs to share about our journey but right now I am focused on today and what memories and joy it will bring.
When you travel how do you handle taking care of the day to day needs?
It was a warm spring day when we started our adventure. No job, no house just our trailer and the road. We embraced that we were not on a time schedule and hit the road. We stopped at the rest stop to stretch our legs and then stopped for lunch. It felt good not to have to check email and see what is going on while traveling.
To be able to start this adventure it took a lot of planning. We knew we wanted to travel the country and visit national parks. So which parks and how will we travel there? How much should we book ahead and how fluid did we want things to be. Based on reading blogs and our experience to date in booking campgrounds we knew that if we didn’t want to dry camp we needed to book ahead.
One of my favorite applications to research campgrounds was the All Stays Camping App:
It showed the most campground options and was very easy to use. So I would sit and play with the route, until I came up with the baseline of which major national parks/monuments and points of interest to visit:
and purchased the different parks we were interested in visiting so that I could do research whenever I had a free minute.
We were taking our dog with us and most National Parks and National Monuments don’t allow dogs beyond the parking lots. We needed to research what we would do with our dog. In most towns there were places that specialized in dog boarding or daycare. I also purchased a book and App to aide in this search:
The last piece of the puzzle was timing, when were we going to start this journey. That would be driven by the sale of our house, we couldn’t even plan anything until we knew that timing. We also had some important family events going on so we couldn’t leave any earlier than April 18th. That was our fist line in the sand, hit the road on the 18th. The big question; would the home sale line up with that or push it out. Thankfully our home closed in plenty of time.
Once we were in contract on our home we felt we could start planning our trip out. I was playing with different ways to keep track of what we were booking but settled on a basic Excel spreadsheet with all the dates listed in each row and then filling in the places as we moved across the country. Once I had it all figured out then I transferred the information to my calendar so that it would sync with my phone, computer and Ipad. I also loaded the information to the cloud and downloaded the excel file onto my Ipad and phone for reference. Then I printed it out on 11×17 paper to keep in the car, wasn’t sure what our internet connectivity would be like along the road.
We used a combination of several different tools to figure out our path, leveraging AAA trip planner (TripTik) and Good Sam’s trip planner. Both were memberships we already had and both have different benefits and features. The nice thing about Good Sam’s planner is it takes in account your RV size with the routing. Using these tools helped us determine distance between each location and determine where we needed to insert additional stops. Our goal was to spend between 3 to 5 hours max on the road between each stop. We planned either 2 to 5 days at each stop. We also needed to keep in mind that Memorial day was going to be in our window of travel so that needed to be considered as well.
So with a rough outline of our path my husband and I spent a weekend booking our trip, locating places to stay, checking reviews from AllStays (All A RVer needs: Campgrounds, Fuel, Parking, Washes and more) and Trip Advisor before determining where we wanted to stay. I used my Ipad and laptop and my husband was on his laptop verifying via google maps the distance between each place. At the end of plotting out the trip it felt like we had already been on a journey, a virtual one. Now the big question, what would the trip be like. Did our research pay off and what about the place that took only cash or check. Was it going to be okay?
We removed two major National Park from our list, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon because it did not open until May 15th and by then we would be in South Dakota. We also removed Capitol Reef because we were concerned we would be tired of all the red rock items. I guess we will have to plan another trip in the future and catch all the parks and areas we did not reach. There are so many beautiful places and so much history to learn about. The only thing we planned out was campsites and dog day care. What we did at each stop or park was going to be planned out in the moment. Our goal was to enjoy the sights around us, be flexible and embrace the journey. Do you enjoy planning a trip or just winging it?
We are not saying goodbye, instead Bon Voyage or Aloha*. The last two months we have celebrated our exciting adventure with friends and family. We have shared our plans and the detailed spreadsheet that I have created on the route we will be taking for our National Park tour.
We have played Bocce Ball, gone bowling, celebrated Easter, birthdays, ate lots of yummy food and shared many memories. We appreciate all the love and care we have received these last few months from our family and friends.
This is not goodbye, but Aloha, Bon Voyage for the new adventure started During our journey we will stay connected to our family and friends via this blog, Facebook, Instagram, Skype and whatever means necessary.
The journey has begun and we are thankful to all the well wishes and celebrations that lead to this event.
*In the Hawaiian language, Aloha can mean hello or goodbye.
Sunday was a weird day, they took everything out of the house. The bed, chairs, my dog dishes, blankets and pillow. We had to say goodbye to the house and also we thanked the house for providing us shelter. Which was nice because I really don’t like to be out in the cold or in the rain. Rain is wet and my feet are sensitive to wet things. We went to this weird place called a hotel.
It’s just a room with a bed but it’s nice and my human mom brought my favorite blankets. The next day my humans had to go to work so they took me to doggy day care. Usually I don’t like to be away from my humans but it was fun playing with the other dogs and run around after the stressful weekend of watching our stuff leave the house. They gave me a relaxing massage while bathing me and I didn’t mind that wet stuff too much. Then they gave me a pedicure which included trimming my nails. I was bummed that I didn’t get flowers painted like my human mom but oh well.
So far this hotel thing has been nice, the bed is comfy; I saw interesting animals like a turkey and a rabbit walking around the neighborhood. I wish I wasn’t on my leash so I could go say hi but I wonder if these animals make stinky spray like that skunk did in my back yard. Well I guess it is my old back yard. I wonder who will chase the squirrels out of the yard now? I hope that the new owners have a dog to keep the yard squirrel free. If not maybe my friends Deuce, Maverick and Woody can patrol that area when they go on walks with their humans. I hear I get to have a play date with them soon, yeah play time. I also think I get to hang with my cousin Maya too. Maybe I will get to see my BFF Daisy and her brother buddy too.
My human dad is working from the hotel the rest of the week, and he takes me for walks during his lunch break. Then he and mom take me for more walks in the evening and out to dinner too. I like going to restaurants with them I get special treats while they are eating. So far this adventure is not too bad. I hear by Friday we will be out of the hotel and in our trailer. Which means I think I am closer to having some steak. I wonder what new things I will encounter tomorrow?
Take the time to embrace the smells and sights of your journey, enjoy the moments of each day.
Once we decided to take the leap and follow this dream and adventure; the harder part was to share with friends and family. What was once a maybe someday thought shared with some friends and family was becoming a reality.
Family was first in sharing the news, then friends, bosses and co-workers. Different people knew at different times. It was exciting news, life changing news for us and those around us. Everyone has been supportive and happy for us. They are also sad to see us leave and don’t want us to go.
For me it’s not goodbye or sad because I know that we can still be connected, it will just be different. We won’t be across the street, in the next office, 10, 20 , 30 minutes away anymore. We will be in another state, doing different jobs and visiting by either driving 10 hours or via an airplane. But we will still be connected, just the how and frequency will change.
We will now have a causal hello via a text message, Facebook Post, Instagram message, this blog, emailed note, post card or via the phone. Today we have so many ways to keep in touch and say connected. We have our web-camera’s
ready and Skype accounts setup. It will require more of an effort to keep connected and some of us will drift apart. Some of us will grow that connection and value the quality of our time together and nurture the time apart with the tools available.
The one thing in life is constant is change and making that statement doesn’t change how hard this is for everyone. My hubby and I have been thinking, planning and dreaming about this for a long time. We have had more time to get used to this idea. For those that we shared the dream with they knew this is a possibility but not just if it was just talk or if it would become a reality. Then there are other people where this is coming out of left field and they are hurt that we didn’t share our dream with them. No matter which group you are in, the feelings you have are valid and adjusting to change takes time. For us we are excited about what lays head and positive. There will be days that we will miss everyone and question our choice. Those are the times we need to stay grounded to our dream and pick up that phone to keep our connections alive.
What ways do you like to stay connected to friends and family that are not local?
The house is getting empty. They also packed the frying pans and when I looked into the fridge tonight it is looking empty. My mom brought home a toy for me from my human Sister KK last weekend. It was so much fun playing with it and I left it in one of the empty rooms. Empty rooms, empty nest, too much empty for my taste. Which by the way I love the taste of Steak, Cheese, Chicken, Turkey and Milk Bones. I miss my human siblings, but I am proud of them going to that college thing. I hope we get to see them before the adventure begins, rumor has it we will. Maybe they will bring me some steak.
I am hoping this adventure we are going on will be fun. Since we will be living in the trailer for two months and it is small; there won’t be anything empty about that. Nice and cozy for the three of us to hang out and snuggle. Plus I am pretty sure mom will make steak on the BBQ, that is one of the meals we have had before in the trailer.
The adventure will start in 11 days. I wonder what a giant Sequoia will look like? Will it be bigger than moms old Toyota Sequoia? I think it is a tree not a SUV , so maybe it will be like the redwood trees we saw when we went camping in Felton at Henry Cole State Park. We are going some place that has three rivers, Giant Sequoia’s and Kings in a Canyon. I wonder if the Kings are served steak and if they share with friendly dogs?
Since I am a dog I have to go and follow the dreams my humans have. Good thing they spoil me with treats, walks and lots of love. I will miss our house, the smells, lawn, chasing the squirrels out of my yard, napping in the sun, my neighborhood dog friends Maverick, Duce and Woody. I won’t miss Mr. Skunk though, he didn’t want to play nice when I tried to chase him out of the yard. Change is hard, a lot harder than getting sprayed by a Skunk but at least it isn’t smelly and doesn’t require lots of baths in that wet water stuff.
Take the time to embrace the smells and sights of your journey, enjoy the moments of each day.
It is hard to say when the idea of leaving California started to form. Was it when I was in my early teens visiting Northern California, Washington and Oregon with my grandparents? I remember how green Oregon and Washington were; seeing waterfalls and the rain. I also remember wanting to leave California before the big one (Earth Quake). That is before I learned about the pacific ring of fire and about volcanoes in the cascade mountain range; I was in my early teens in the 80’s without the internet.
Flash forward to the summer of 2004, when we go on a family vacation to Oregon. Visiting Carter Lake, Bend, Three Sisters, and Florence. Exploring Central Oregon to the coast, I knew that this state was where we might want to live. So my hubby and I made the statement when the kids graduate from school we will move north or maybe east as far as Utah. So we spent the next 12 years taking vacations, reading and learning about different places to move. At 40 I subscribed to Where to Retire Magazine,
not that our move would mean retirement but it could be our forever town. We also read books:
The criteria for us for picking our new state or town: Lower cost of living, Airport within an 1 drive, no humidity, less traffic than we have in the SF Bay Area, jobs available for IT skills, not too hot, drive able to visit family and to go camping for the annual family reunion in Northern California. We narrowed our search to Washington State and Oregon. Portland, Oregon area seemed to hit our criteria the best. We liked the diverse landscape, how it would be easy to drive to the coast or the mountains. It reminded us of the things we liked the best about living in the SF bay area and all the outdoor options that were close by.
After several visits and lots of dreaming and planning we made the decision to make this change. I created a spreadsheet several years ago before we made our final location choice on what we needed to save and pay off in order to make this dream happen. The target time frame was 2016/2017 depending on where our kids where in their college journey’s.
In late December after our most recent visit to Portland, we asked ourselves what was keeping us from taking this leap. Fear of the unknown, would we find new jobs, home, would we be okay with all the rain, would we be get home sick for our CA family and friends. Taking a deep breath, with lots of research, dreaming, planning we have taken the plunge to pursue our dream of moving to Oregon.
Have you ever pursued a dream that was fearful? How did it turn out?