By Valerie Coffey
We have had some misadventures in our ten months as full-time RVers:
There was the first day we drove off in our brand new 2014 Thor Tuscany motor coach, leaving behind our empty Sticks & Bricks home in Massachusetts forever. Only a few hours from home, Mitch was making an acute left turn in our 45-foot monster plus the tow car, just as the green light turned yellow…then red. It takes time for 60-+ feet to clear a tight left turn, and Mitch was being very careful, going slowly.
As the cross-traffic received a green light, an impatient driver in a Jeep Wrangler on the cross street to the left pulled two vehicle lengths ahead of the stop line, right up into the side of the Tuscany. Then she refused to move until the police arrived, trapping our toad in the middle of an intersection at rush hour in the NY-NJ-PA tri-state area. This bad decision on her part created a delay that gave me time to take pictures! The police cited her on the spot, and her insurance covered the body work to replace our left compartment doors and repaint them several months later.
Then there was the time we were crossing the Continental Divide in Wyoming, on a Saturday night in December around 11 pm. We had two of our college kids aboard, and were trying to get over the mountains to beat an impending snow storm and pick up our stranded college freshman on winter break in Salt Lake City.
The Beast blew a fuel line and strewed about 30 gallons of diesel fuel across southeastern Wyoming before we could find a safe place to park and ride out the storm (read the whole story here). We managed to get her fixed before Christmas Day, but the kids may never go anywhere with us in the RV again, and we all probably have PTSD that can be triggered at the slightest whiff of diesel fuel. Snowstorm 1, Love Shack 0.
By Valerie Coffey
When Mitch and I planned over a year ago to visit San Francisco on our year-(plus)-long RV trip, spending time in the city was not the goal. We were in the area to pick up a friend and abscond to enjoy Napa’s wine country on Memorial Day weekend. The City by the Bay on a holiday weekend is a crush of traffic and tourists, which should be avoided…by everyone.
But as we got closer, my friend had to cancel and we decided to see the City by the Bay. So we designated one day, Thursday, to spend exploring.
San Francisco is like a home of sorts to me; I’ve been there numerous times since middle school for field trips from my then-hometown of Reno, for business conferences, and visits to see a college friend. I can feel my way around the city fairly well.
Mitch had been to the city for business, but he never had time to see much. So, it was up to me (Valerie) to plan the perfect one-day SFO experience for Mitch. My plan can work for anyone. So here it is!
As we move along in nearly 9 months of full-time RV travel, Mitch and I are often asked whether we have made progress in one of our key missions of the trip: finding another place to live that is warmer and cheaper than New England. With palm trees. Within commuting distance of a major airport for Mitch’s work and our continued wanderlust. Big enough community to keep it entertaining and convenient. Far enough away from a big city so that we can afford a big backyard space with a pool. Proximity to skiing is a plus.
As a matter of fact, we have narrowed down our choices somewhat! Here’s a little recap of our favorite and not-so-favorites.
You get what you pay for.
Mitch and I agree: In the contest of the music festivals between Coachella in Southern California versus South By Southwest in Austin, Texas, Coachella wins hands down. Here’s why.
By Valerie Coffey
Death Valley is one of America’s most “to die for” National Parks, and it’s one of my favorite places in the world. I’ve visited the park perhaps nine times in four decades. It’s a must-see National Park if you like natural beauty, mountains, the desert, or history. Here’s why:
Death Valley, situated about three hours west of Las Vegas in the Mojave Desert, is a region of extremes — it is the lowest in elevation, the hottest in temperature and the driest in recorded rainfall in North America. It’s also one of the quietest places, and perhaps the darkest region of the U.S. at night. It’s not so much a single desert valley as much as a region consisting of several valleys, plateaus, and mountain ranges in Eastern California’s Mojave Desert. Its name comes from pioneers (the Lost 49ers), who struggled to cross this part of the frontier in 1849. The hottest air temperature ever recorded on Earth is 134°F (57°C), which occurred July 10, 1913 at Furnace Creek Ranch, which is #1 on my list:
By Valerie Coffey
We have gone nearly coast to coast in a short time, from Palm Springs, California, on Jan. 29 to Pensacola, FL, on Feb. 14 in time for our first Mardi Gras. We learned a lot. Let’s bust some myths! (If you have any trouble viewing this post, WordPress viewed on Chrome is to blame for eliminating spaces between random words and crunching them together. If you are seeing this problem, try viewing it in Internet Explorer or Mozilla instead.)
By Mitch R.
Happy New Year 2015!
After four months on the road, we posted Mitch’s Interim Report Card Part I, in which we graded ourselves on how well we’ve accomplished the goals of our trip. We also named some best of the bests, like best scenery, favorite place for fun and frolicking, and favorite surprise experience.