Oct 31 2010

The first year

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With our first year behind us, we’re starting to feel like seasoned RVers. We have definitely learned a lot in our first year. We’ve met many people with great advice for us that have been on the road for 10, 12, 15 years or more. We’ve learned for ourselves how long we can dry camp before needing a dump station and fresh water refill. We now know where to economically camp when we need to readjust our budget, one of which is Donna’s driveway or Monument Lake National Park in the Florida Everglades. 

We learned that campground write-ups are not created equal. Some of the write-ups sound like pure paradise, and turn out not to be so great. Others sound terrible, but are pure paradise. The only way to know what a campground is like is to try it. We read the reviews, but remember that a reviewer could be disgruntled at the time of his stay and nothing will please him/her. We’ve visited some parks with poor reviews, but have found them to be quite enjoyable. We learned that campgrounds in Canada usually have 30 amp power, but often have low voltage. Most of the campgrounds in Nova Scotia were waterfront and beautiful.

We spent our first winter traveling around Florida, learning the places we definitely want to return to.

In August, we traveled to Nova Scotia, taking Jan’s sister on the journey. We had a lot of laughs and had a great time. It was a worthwhile trip. We went to Nova Scotia from Michigan through Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick, and from Nova Scotia to Cape Breton. One of the things that became obvious is how expensive it is to travel in Canada. We returned to Michigan from Nova Scotia by ferry from Digby to St. John, New Brunswick, to Calais, Maine and through Vermont, New Hampshire, upstate New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. We avoided interstates and saw beautiful country by using the backroads.

Jan has learned that it’s not easy to maintain a blog site. Sometimes the excuse is poor Internet connection. The new year resolution is to stay on track and write something every day. Already the resolution is failing. ;)

We are now on a road trip to Florida, staying on the roads less traveled, visiting friends and family along the way. We have been to many places for the first time. We left Michigan to Illinois; to Missouri; to Arkansas; to Oklahoma, through Texas to Louisiana. We are traveling through Mississippi to Alabama, to the Florida Panhandle and on to Jacksonville/St. Augustine. We will again travel around Florida during the winter months.

In Illinois, we stayed at Cave-In-Rock State Park. We visited the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, and had fun digging for diamonds (with no luck). We liked Cypress Bend Park in the Sabine River Water Conservation District in Many, Louisiana. Another wonderful state park is Grand Isle State Park in Louisiana. We especially enjoyed New Orleans and the French Quarter. We’re stopping at casinos along the way and trying our luck with the one-arm bandits. We’re also learning where there are better or worse payouts.

We have joined a few organizations offering discounted camping. The ones we like are FMCA, Good Sam Club, Encore/Equity Lifestyle, and Passport America. Don recently joined the Loyal Order of the Moose. Many of their lodges have on-site campgrounds for members, one of which is very close to Tracy and family.

We don’t know how long we’ll do this. There’s still much more to see and do in the USA, like a trip to Alaska. We’re not setting a time period, one way or the other. Like living in Hawaii, we’ll know when it’s time to move on to a new adventure.