A belated Happy New Year to our friends, family, and loyal readers, old and new, from Mitch and Val in SoCal!
We’ve been quietly enjoying the region of Palm Springs, California, since October, and plan to stay a while. Most of our activity has been on our facebook page. But I haven’t forgotten about my blog, and I don’t intend to stop writing about all those adventures, even if it’s weeks or months after the fact. We’ve had a lot going on, had a wonderful holiday with lots of friends and family, and I’ve been too preoccupied to blog. But we have too many pictures and adventures *not* to write about them!
But for now…
It’s long overdue, but finally, here’s our YouTube channel brand video debut for RVLuckyOrWhat. Thanks to Mitch’s son Greg for putting it together as a project in his film class at the University of Utah!!! We LOVE it!!! It’s a gift we’ll always cherish! What a great way to sum up our almost 2.5 years of full-time RV adventures on the road.
By Valerie Coffey
One of the best things about this life roaming the US in an RV is visiting friends and family around the country. All the new people Mitch and I meet are a huge bonus. What’s hard about this life, however, is that you miss a sense of community. You miss your friends from home, you miss going to their events and seeing your neighbors around, and seeing people you know when you’re out.
So it means so much when you meet someone with so much in common, and then you come to find out you’ll be in the same place again down the road. So it was with Marc and Julie Bennett of RV Love.
Ah, the beauty of the interwebs! We “met” Marc and Julie Bennett of RV Love through Instagram, the social media app that lets you share inspiring pictures. Then, on a walk around the Garden of the Gods RV Park in Colorado Springs one June evening, Mitch and I noticed their Allegro bus rig and little MINI Cooper convertible displaying their logo, “Live. Love. Travel. RV Love.” And I immediately recognized their brand. I looked them up, sent them a message and we met for social hour around their campfire.
Whereas most full-time RVers are retired, Marc and Julie are full-time RVers who are working age, like us. Marc grew up in Colorado, while Julie grew up in Sydney, Australia. Also like us, they sold their sticks & bricks home to expand their horizons and see the USA in a motorhome. Marc works full-time as Operations Manager for a nutritional supplement company, and Julie is a lifestyle coach. In the sharing of their journey via their blog and social media platforms, they’ve become a social media sensation with a following of thousands and over half a million views on their YouTube channel!
We had a lot of fun hanging out with the Bennetts during our time in Colorado Springs. We were all scheduled to be at Cherry Creek State Park in Aurora, Colorado, at the same time about a week later, so we made plans to meet them again down the road. We went to TAG restaurant in Denver with them to celebrate their two-year “nomadiversary” – just a few weeks before ours!
Julie and I bonded easily like two long-lost girlfriends, even though she looks like she could be my much-younger daughter. I’m a jolly giant at 5’10” and she’s a spritely elf at 4’8”! And we had a laugh when we found out that I went to high school in Sparks, Nevada, with Marc’s boss, Bert Wegner! I have stories about parties at Bert’s house back in the day. What’s even funnier is that Bert is my Friend on Facebook; Bert noticed the picture of the four of us together (Marc, Julie, Mitch and I) and he did a double take because he thought Marc was Mitch. A few people have commented on the resemblance of Marc and Mitch – they could be brothers!
I asked Marc and Julie some questions about their life on the road, and their answers make a great story. Read on to see why we love RV Love:
By Valerie C. Coffey
Mitch and I have been so busy with work and exploring new places that I haven’t blogged in over two months – I hope you can forgive me, dear reader. I have at least been posting frequently to my accounts on Instagram and Facebook, so if you’re ever wondering what we’re up to, please check out the action there. This week finds us in Page, Arizona, at beautiful Lake Powell! It’s great to have been in Utah’s red-rock country for the past six weeks. While in Bryce Canyon, Utah, two weeks ago, we celebrated our two-year “nomadiversary!” It’s hard to believe we are now in our third year of living, traveling, and working from our RV full-time!
Our travel post this week comes to you from our visit to Colorado Springs in June. Mitch and I spent six weeks in Colorado from early June through mid-July. We left loving the state even more than we already did. Before our full-time RV adventure started in 2012, we had both spent time in Colorado – Mitch on vacations, skiing and RVing with his kids, and Valerie having lived in Grand Junction, Colorado, for six years in elementary and junior high school. But neither of us had ever spent much time in the city of Colorado Springs – our loss entirely.
Garden of the Gods RV Resort sounds nice, right? Well, the RV park is not as impressive as its name. Although the website claims “spectacular views of Pike’s Peak,” we noticed that the trees pretty much obscure the view throughout the campground. It wasn’t even worth a picture of the RV in its site. But the location near the mountainous west side of Colorado Springs (near the town of Manitou Springs) was perfect for exploring numerous sights. In fact, CO Springs had *so* much to do and see, that our ten days there were barely enough.
Each of the following “Things To Do” are “Must-Sees” in and around CO Springs. Each deserves its own blog post. But as time, metered data, and cellular connection are limited, I’ll stick to just the top few.
By Valerie Coffey
In April of 2014, Mitch and I took our first RV trip together a few months before we purchased our new home on wheels. We thought a short trial voyage with a rental RV would be a good idea before we exchanged our sticks & bricks house in Massachusttes for full-time life on the road. (Um. Ya think!?) Mitch had some experience RVing on family vacations but me, not so much.
So we took a road trip, rented a 36′ Winnebago from a private owner in Pennslvania, and drove it to Virginia for a long weekend.
I was sold on the RV lifestyle immediately! What a rush to be riding high, looking out the big windshield at the view, angsting at every turn and at every overhead branch and cable, but every minute becoming more comfortable behind the wheel of a big rig.
But perhaps what *really* romanced me was the rental advertisement for the RV we rented. In the ad, the rig was pictured at a tropical waterfront site in Key West, Florida. The owner told us that he took this picture of his rig at Boyd’s Key West Campground, a popular RV destination in Key West that required booking months in advance. We couldn’t wait to get there!
Now that we’ve stayed for a longer period at numerous RV campgrounds in the Keys, we found Boyd’s was only the tip of the iceberg. The Keys are chock full of great places to camp or RV! We found some other sites we liked even better!
Here’s our take on several amazing RV parks in and around Key West…
By Valerie Coffey
Travel + Leisure voted Charleston the “Best City in America” for 2015 — for the third year in a row! My first visit to Charleston in October 2015 was long-anticipated. For years, I’ve heard people say how much they love this southern city on the South Carolina coast.
“What do you like about it?” I would ask.
A typical response would be maddeningly vague: “Oh, it’s wonderful! The history! The art galleries! The architecture! You have to visit!” But I wondered, what’s it really like? Would I like it as much as everyone says?
And does it really qualify as the Best City in America?
For decades I lived in Boston with its even longer history. I’m a vegetarian who doesn’t care for most Southern comfort food. And doesn’t Charleston get a lot of rain and even hurricanes there (like Boston)? Call me a skeptic. And we only had a week, during which Mitch had two days of business travel. But let me try and answer the question better than I’ve heard it answered … Why is Charleston so charming?
By Valerie Coffey
What does a year-plus of full-time traveling by RV around the US get you? 10,000 pictures and video totaling 60 GB of files!
Granted, we have two of us taking pictures — a LOT of pictures — using mostly a Samsung Galaxy S5 cell phone and a Canon EOS D60, occasionally a GoPro Hero4, and various other DSLR cameras.
And we are solidly amateurs dabbling in photography. But here on Google+ is a sampling of 31 photos that are my personal favorites from our amazing year, representing every region of the country, every month of our travels, and boatloads of smiles.
Click on the Google+ box below.