We have now been in the Pacific Northwest for 3 months and we are ready to
dry out! The weather has been typical NW weather, mostly rainy and 40 degrees, with a few days of snow mixed in, and we are ready to pull up our jacks and head to warmer weather.
Our holidays were filled with lots of family time with Becca, Jason, Alex, and Elly. Alex and Elly arrived on the 23rd and as this was the first time Elly had been to the NW we took in most of the iconic Seattle sites … from the Fremont Bridge Troll to Pike Place Market. We did our annual Boxing Day trip to the Seattle Zoo and took time out to hit the trails at Snoqualmie Falls and Deception Pass. Becca hosted parties for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, with not only our family and Jason’s Mom, but several of her friends were able to join us too, so we were a merry bunch celebrating the holiday.
And we loved hiking and playing with Becca and Jason’s pup, Teal’c or as they call him “Prince of Prancypants.”
We spent a quiet New Years’s Eve (Joanna woke up long enough at midnight to wish Jonathan a Happy New Year) and have spent the first part of the month working on all of the little projects that seem to creep up when you are not looking. Everything from resealing the brake air compressor in a belly box, to fixing squeaky doors and re-caulking counters, to putting on new windshield wipers.
One of the projects was adapting one of Joanna’s Christmas gifts. Jonathan had given her a craft stand to hold her cross stitch which we adapted to also hold a magnifier (it’s hell getting old!), a light, and a clip to hold the pattern. One of the challenges of living in an RV is that when repairs or projects like this come up and you need more specialized tools, like a drill press, you most likely will not be carrying one in your belly box. But the great thing about the new Maker type shops that have sprung up around the country is that you can rent a workshop and the tools for an hour or so and Wallah! you have a bracket made out of high density polyvinyl! Becca recommended we go to Rockler Woodworking and Hardware and with the help of the manager, Mike, Jonathan was able to construct the perfect bracket and Joanna is very happy with her new stand!
Figuring out how to accomplish task like the bracket is one of the major learning experiences we have had during our first foray of living on the road. We are also learning the types of campgrounds we prefer, how long we like to drive in a day, the number of days we drive in a row and how long we like to stay in one place. We are learning from our mistakes as to how to book and plan where we stay. We will not boondock at a farm again on the 1st weekend of October where they have a corn maze and fall festival. (We ended up being parked on a muddy, soft, bumpy parking field right next to the highway getting very little sleep and leaving long before sunrise.)
As always with a new year, we resolved to eat better and get more exercise. This can be a challenge when you do not have a gym down the street. We are still trying to figure out how to get the best exercise to stay in shape. The weather has not cooperated to allow us to consistently exercise outside as we have had numerous rainy days here in the NW or, as we had when we were in the Midwest, temps that reached 114°. We are hoping that as we head south again we will be able to be on the bikes more often and find more ways to keep the weight off.
As far as eating right goes, we have found that cooking in the RV is relatively easy and we are able to consistently eat well balanced home-cooked meals. (Now the real challenge is to stay away from the chips, sodas and cookies!) One thing we thought would be a challenge on the road was finding the gluten-free and dairy-free groceries that Joanna needs to manage her allergies. Surprisingly, it has been relatively easy to find what she needs and she has found lots of new and interesting substitutes. The only issue has been that occasionally we have had to drive up to an hour from the campground to find stores with the best selection.
Our first 6 months have been a real eye opening experience. We have learned so much about living as full-time nomads and we are looking forward to the adventures we will have down the road. So now it is time to pull up our jacks and head south. As we have a target of being in Georgia in March for the FMCA Rally, we will be hopscotching across the country with week long stays in Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, and Arkansas. We will then be making a stop at the Tiffin Factory in Alabama then on to the rally. Finally we will head back to PA to hopefully arrive in early spring.
We have thoroughly enjoyed our time at the Lake Pleasant RV Park, being
back in our old stomping grounds in Bothell and being with family, and though Joanna was pretty tired of the desert last October, we are now looking forward to the warm sunny days as we head to the southwest again!
Till next time ….