By Valerie Coffey
We had to go to New Orleans for one dream of mine to come true.
Do you remember your childhood dreams? Did you dream of getting married to a royal (or never being married)? Having a big family (or not)? Having a nice home with a garden and a white picket fence? Having a nice car? A successful career? How about being an astronaut, fireman, supermodel, or actor? Some people dream of being a talented cook and opening a restaurant.
Not me. It’s a dream of mine to sing like a rock star in front of a crowd of enthusiastic fans.
Some dreams you have to work so hard for, that they are a special kind of reward when they happen. But like many dreams, being a rock star is a far-fetched one. The “American Idol” ideal takes so much talent and great gobs of luck, that I never for a second tried to pursue it. Besides, when American Idol started, I was 34, eight years past the cutoff age.
But sometimes you get a sampling of a dream come true, even without trying.
By Valerie C. Coffey
We left our sticks & bricks home in Massachusetts forever on August 14, 2014, driving away in our brand new Thor Tuscany 45-foot motorcoach for a year or more traveling the US.
We sold our homes, sold a lifetime of belongings, dropped of the kids at college, continued our jobs on the road, and have had the kick-ass adventure of a lifetime this past year, and have seen so much of the US! We have learned so much!
People commonly ask us — What’s the best thing you’ve seen? — an impossible thing to answer, because it’s entirely personal, based on our pre-RVing experiences, values, prevailing weather and our mood at the time. In one year, we have hit 42 states and have driven 25,000 miles in the RV with an additional 15,000 in the Hyundai Veloster tow car.
We have stayed at well over 100 different sites, including luxury RV resorts, campgrounds, RV parks that resemble parking lots, state parks, and national parks. We have managed to completely avoid an overnight stay in the parking lot of a 24-hr WalMart!
But we do have some answers!!
What is THE BEST THING we’ve seen??
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.
By Valerie Coffey
Austin is the capitol of Texas and its also the capitol of vintage neon. It’s a gas!
I have had a lot of work the past month, so didn’t get to see as much of Austin as I’d like. I’m a science writer and have certain seasons that are busier than others. I rarely left the RV by day the whole month we were in Texas, but I went for a walk at midnight on a Wednesday just outside our quirky-cool RV park, Pecan Grove, on the quirky-cool Barton Springs Road, which is full of restaurants and bars that ooze the weird-in-a-nonconformist-way essence of Austin: neon light, strings of Edison light bulbs, al fresco dining, food trucks, and a happening music scene.