So, our Texas Christmas has come and gone, and so has our Pennsylvania New Year (and a couple of more weeks on top of that!!). It seems like yesterday it was Thanksgiving and poof, now it’s over.
So, it’s a new year and with a new year, comes an opportunity to reflect (the many questions we were asked over the holidays also helps with the reflecting). Our new, simpler life….was it everything we dreamed of? “Do we still like it?” “Do we miss the house?” “What’s been our favorite place?” Hmmm……
Well, overall, I think it’s safe to say, “so far so good!”
We still like and are enjoying our new life a lot…and we often say, we can’t think of going back to life as we knew it. Did we have some challenges? Sure, but honestly, as cliché’ as it sounds, that’s life! I think I would say we had less, and different kinds of challenges than we did in our traditional life. For example, getting shoehorned in at a gas station or the GPS taking us down a street we really shouldn’t be on….challenging? Yes, but way different than challenges of our previous “traditional” life.
The scenery never gets old
We definitely don’t miss our house one bit, and quite honestly, if there is anything we would have done differently in life financially (providing we knew ten years ago we’d be doing what we are now), we probably wouldn’t have bought the house we did. And, the only thing that we truly miss from the house is the bathtub. Small sacrifice.
Our main reasons for this change was reinforced as we spent a lot of time this past year visiting family and friends. My niece got to hang out with us (a.k.a. get tormented by Greg) for around six weeks this year, we got to visit with my college roommate who I hadn’t seen in over twenty years, also got to visit with former co-workers and we were able to spend some time with one of Greg’s friends prior to him passing away. We then were able to follow up later in the year with a visit with his wife and do some repairs on her house (well, Greg did the repairs, I just watched!!). We spent more time with my parents than we had in the last ten years combined, made it to visit my grandmother in the hospital and had a road trip with my sister and niece. Most likely, none of that would have happened in our “old” life.
Kennedy and Hobie really bonded....except when he had to do his business.
She wanted nothing to do with him then!!
Along with spending time with lots of family and friends, we also had the privilege of meeting a lot of new and interesting people during our travels. We have made some great friends along the way and the world of social media has helped us create a sense of community with our gypsy-like lifestyle and allows us to keep in touch with them a lot easier.
Lee and Trace (and Hobie and Greg
Where’s our favorite spot? That question is really hard for us to answer as it really is hard to pick just one. While we didn’t have a magical tour to the Grand Canyon, Wallyworld or other places many think of, we did have some really awesome times in places we’d never even heard of before or would have ever gone to, which to me is almost better than conquering those “magical” places. If nothing else, we had a lot of pleasant surprises. The Palace of Gold in the mountains of West Virginia to Poverty Point Historical site in Louisiana to Hamilton Pool in Dripping Springs, Texas….all incredibly cool and fascinating in their own rite.
Some of our favorite spots....
Palace of Gold outside Wheeling, WV
Hamilton Pool, Dripping Springs, TX
Poverty Point Heritage Site, Delhi, LA
Also the randomness or serendipity of it all is pretty awesome, including our trip to Philadelphia coinciding with the Naked Bike race, being in Knoxville and running into a festival to getting tickets to see The Band Perry in Nashville play for the Jimmy Kimmel show in the theatre next to the CMA awards. All unplanned; all really fun. We do find ourselves more inclined to seek out things to do and places to explore, which for some reason we just never seemed to have a lot of time to do before. Funny, but “life” got in the way.
Some randomness....Chili cookoff (Knoxville), The Naked Bikeride (Philadelphia) and The Band Perry (Nashville).
This past year, we camped in thirteen different states, stayed in 27 different campgrounds and six different boondocking locations (includes wineries, Walmart and a Cracker Barrel….along with a week in a field), and covered over 8,500 miles in the motorhome. We did discover that we are not the biggest fans of most of the private RV parks as we typically have a little more room with state parks, National Forests or Corp of Engineer parks. Too bad most of those parks (state, forest, COE) limit you to a 14 day stay!! We learned for our overnight stays, we prefer stops at wineries (through Harvest Host) versus stays at Walmart (sounds logical!!) or even campgrounds.
Yes, we miss our friends and family “back home” but we appreciate technology and the ability it gives us to keep in touch. We were also fortunate to be able to spend some quality time “back” in PA this past year, so we were blessed from that perspective as well.
Our Friday night Happy Hour gang celebrating New Year's Eve
So, what does 2016 have in store for us? Well, before we left Texas, we decided to make a change to our toad. We were driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee and now, we’re the proud owners of a GMC Sierra pick up. Texas edition of course. (and surprisingly, the Texas edition does not include a gun rack in the back!!) We did this mainly for the solar business; I’ve been told (or sold) that it will make things easier and provide some additional storage.
Our new toad
Also for 2016 (and forever) I made a big step and finally, officially changed my last name to Whitacre-Young. After almost ten years of being married, it seemed like timing was right! And seeing as I had to get a new driver’s license, timing made sense as well! Of course it was right before the holidays and I had five various flights booked, which was no fun changing all of them. Also, not fun going through TSA with a paper driver’s license because in Texas they mail you your license. Did not expect that!! Needless to say, I have become very intimate with some nice female TSA agents with “extra” screenings. (Yes, we have passports, but unfortunately they were expired!).
Our first stop in 2016? Quartzite, Arizona for the big RV show and doing some boondocking in the desert followed by some installs for Greg. Thanks for following along with us, and here’s to a great 2016!!
A few of our favorites in 2015:
Our Top Four Campgrounds:
Baldridge Creek Campground (COE) in Lake Lanier, GA
Anchor Down (Private), Dandridge, TN
Beaver Dam (National Forest) in Minden, LA
McKinney Campground (COE) in Acworth, GA
Our most favorite restaurant: Fox Brothers BBQ in Atlanta