We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.  ~ Hilaire Belloc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters in the end

~ Ursula K. LeGuin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey

~ Babs Hoffman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.  - Douglas Adams

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountain is going home; that wildness is necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life."

John Muir

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in
government." -
Thomas Jefferson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


When we realize our insignificance in this world,
it some how relieves the pressures from society to succeed - 
Cindy Bonish 04/07

     2008 Year in Review

With 2008 being our second year on the road fulltime, this RVing thing is becoming second nature.  We've almost stopped looking for campgrounds all together and now we seek out secluded, off the track spots that tend to keep the prices down and money in our pockets.  This is what we have our RV set up for and is our goal when finding destinations to explore.

For most of the latter part of 2007 and the entire beginning of 2008 while we were still traveling, we were in the Western half of the United States.  Wide open spaces and plenty of BLM land to camp till your hearts content all for free, or a very minimal cost.

If we couldn't find a free campsite that was nice and rustic, most of the times we'd just stay out exploring till it got dark and would find a parking lot that we could dry camp in for the night.

Once you've been on the road for awhile, the campground scene loses its charm unless you're with friends and are going to be staying for awhile.  We see no use in getting a campground when most of the time we're only going to be staying for one night.  By this point, its all we can do to pay to camp.  Its like stealing in my book, and we cant stand to spend money when we'd be just as happy and content to sleep out in the desert for free.

Starting out the New Year

We spent most of January in Arizona camping very inexpensively at the Salt River campsite with our good friends Darrel, Gene, Jim and his boys along with the many other campers/friends we met who camped there.  Most of that time was spent planning for a few months in Baja Mexico which was just an amazing experience and way more than we had expected it to be.

There were a few trips that had us running over to Vegas for the Super Bowl and exploring a few Ghost Towns on the way back.  Something we plan on seeking more of on future travels because of how cool they are to explore.

Baja California Sur, Mexico

From the start of the adventure, we wanted to explore Baja Mexico and see what all the buzz was about.  What we found was a true travel paradise.  The peninsula is surrounded by beautiful water to paddle and backroads that stretch on for miles and miles.  The waters are teaming with whales, seals, dolphin and large game fish and tropical birds doing some fishing of their own.  It's truly a travelers paradise and a photographers dream.

It was all we could do to drag ourselves back into the States, but when we did, we were immediately thrown into another paradise.  The amazing sights of Monument Valley and the Desert Southwest.

Spring Time and The Wild West

The reason we had to come home from Baja was to meet with some fellow photographers in Monument Valley for a photo workshop with Steve Bingham

After that awesome learning experience, we spent the rest of the spring time roaming around the Western states checking out the first class National Parks like Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon and driving HWY 1 up the California coast.

Of all the roads we've traveled, this twisting road was one of the most spectacular pieces of asphalt we've rolled along.  Our dream is to do it again on a motorcycle and as light weight as possible in a much smaller vehicle.  It seems the more we travel, the more travel plans we make to come back and experience different areas in different ways.  One form just leads to another and the road goes on forever, but then again, Every Miles A Memory isn't it?

Once up to the top of California, our plans changed and we headed over to Yellowstone and the Grand Teton National Park.  We both fell in love with this area and have already made plans to come back and work here for the summer of 2009. (Stay tuned for more on that)

Hitting the Breaks on the Adventure

Up to this point, we haven't spoken too much about what made us turn the whole adventure thing upside down and throw out the anchor.  It wasn't anything we had planned on, and we thought we should let our readers know why we spent the summer sitting still back in our home town.

It was back in mid-June of 2008 when we were in Northern California heading towards Oregon and Washington when we got some disturbing phone calls from friends back in our home town letting us know that my little brother was abusing drugs something awful.

I know I haven't spoken too much about my family background as it's something I don't really think needs to be talked about on such a fun filled website.  I've never felt too sorry for people who seek pity from a troubled background, but I feel talking about this situation might help out others who might be in the same situation.

Back in 1995, I was 22 years old and Cindy and I were living in Florida when we got the devastating phone call that my 18 year old sister had died

It tore my family up, but we were there for one another and came together to get through those troubled times in our lives.

Fast forward to 2001 and Cindy and I had left Florida, moved back up to Michigan and were living a comfortable life owning the Red Dog Saloon. We were already in the early stages of planning this adventure and getting our affairs in order to tackle this next part of our lives.

We had battled with drug addiction with my older brother for years while we lived in Florida and he too had moved back up to Michigan following us so he could be closer to family.  At the time, we had no idea how bad we were all enabling him with his drug addiction.  Something we later learned out could have helped him immensely.

That same year my brother died in a motorcycle accident.

So I'm sure you are as shocked and appalled as Cindy and I were when we got those phone calls from some concerned friends back home telling us about how bad our little brother looked.  They knew that my parents were clueless to this addiction and suggested that we either come home immediately or it might be too late for yet another sibling.

I know this is going to sound horrible, but I was half tempted to just say "Forget it" when we found this information out, but I know my parents and my older sister were the ones who really needed us most.  I was pretty upset and angry that my brother would allow this to happen knowing full well the outcome of his two siblings.

Most of the Summer has been spent fighting back and forth with my brother who still thinks he doesn't have a problem.  Our first family intervention when Cindy and I had came home resulted in him promising he'd clean himself up and telling us all he would seek some counseling.

This only lasted a few weeks before we could tell he was back at it.  The first sign is when he stops coming around and avoiding us like the plague.  I think as an addict, you know the others know you're using, so you go out of your way to avoid anyone that might call you out on it.

Here is the problem, my brother and I are both bull headed Alfa types, so talking this out is almost impossible.  Wait, let me be totally honest, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE!  I've never been one to beat around the bush, and lying to me is only going to get me pissed off and even more angry.  So when we are questioning him and he's failing drug test after drug test, yet swearing that he has a logical reason for why he's coming up positive, I tend to go off the deep end and start yelling.

This is where Cindy is such a blessing.  Even though she is just as fired up as I am about all of this, she can keep a cool head and usually talk clearly in these situations.

It was Cindy who right before Christmas said she couldn't handle this any longer and called another family intervention.  This time we drove to my brothers house, put him in the truck and drove to the emergency room.  At the time he was so drugged up that he probably didn't know what we were doing 100%, but when the emergency room doctors told us there werent too many drugs that he didn't test positive for, it was then and only then that we gave him the ultimatum.

Admit yourself into a rehab facility or the family was going to give up 100% and basically disown him.  Reluctantly he went into a 10 day in-patient facility and has been drug free ever since.

While our brother was in the facility, the entire family was attending group meetings so we could learn what we need to do to make sure if he decides to keep using drugs, that we aren't enabling him to do so. 

This counseling was the best thing about coming home this year and if it meant sacrificing the adventure of a lifetime so my parents could learn that losing their two children wasn't their fault, then it was worth it in my book.

I've never lost a child, and I hope and pray that we never have to, but blaming yourself for something that you cant control is a sure way to mess up your head something awful.  This is where both my parents are and blaming anyone other than the drugs isn't going to solve anything.

Hopefully that didn't scare too many people off, but we've gotten dozens of emails from readers asking why we've stopped traveling and I felt it was time to come clean with the truth.

I would hope that if anyone knows of a family member, friend, relative or co-worker that is abusing drugs, they would confront the person and ask them to seek some professional help.  There are only two outcomes to drug usage, 1 being serious Jail time and the other being 6 feet underground.  Neither sound too glamorous and the hurt it causes the surrounding loved ones is usually devastating.

As of January 2009, we've learned that as family members, we're 100% behind Joe if he wants to stay clean, but if he decides the drugs are the route he wants to travel along, then he has to do it alone.  So it's all up to Joe from here on out.  We've done our part.

If you do know of a person who is battling drug abuse, please seek help before it is too late.  If you cant help them, I know counseling for yourself really helps you cope with the addiction and lets you know you're not alone in this battle.

There are a few different programs that might help you with counseling, one being Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Both sites will provide you with info on where to attend meetings or seek more help.

Back to Recapping 2008

For 2007, we had put together a series of questions some weekend warriors who were following along with the site had been asking us and we thought we'd go ahead and answer them again after our second year on the road to see if our answers had changed any.  I was quite surprised at some of my own answers that changed, and some that stayed the same.

What Was Our Favorite State? (This is probably one of the most asked questions)

Pat - Growing up in the Mid-West and living much of my life on the East Coast of Florida, I always felt that California and the West Coast got so much press that it sort of ticked me off.  I mean could the state really be that cool?

Then we visited it and I'd have to say that "Yes, it's that cool!"  There is so much diversity there.  I mean you can be on the beach in the morning, drive a few hours and be in the mountains skiing on snow, hike through the desert or be surrounded by towering Sequoias that make any human feel small in comparison.  I think just the state of California could take a year or two to fully explore and see all it has to offer.  It by far is probably my favorite state for the diversity alone.

Cindy - Looking back on the last year I would have to say that my favorite state would be "My State of Mind" when we were on the road.  We have been pretty much stationary for the past 6 months and 'Wow!', what a world of difference.  Life seems so much more hectic with all of the situations that can come at us when we least expect it.

Being at a stand still for so long, boredom sets in and makes me feel really antsy and waiting for something to happen.  To combat this feeling I took on a huge project of refurbishing a 1000 square foot house which also puts forth quite a few challenges. 

On the road, I am never bored and if I find myself feeling a bit unfulfilled, we take off and begin a new journey.  I am constantly presented with a thrill or a new experience that gives me goose bumps when I fall asleep at night because of the sheer beauty of it.  Currently the only goose bumps I'm getting is when Pat steals the covers and it's 15 below!

Where Was Our Favorite Campground?

Pat - This is sort of a dumb question in my book because I hate normal campgrounds, but we're asked it all the time.  By this point in our journey, I despise staying in a campground and love the fact that we are 100% self sufficient with our solar panels, inverter and bank of batteries.

To pay to sleep on a piece of property just kills me.  Now paying an entrance fee or a simple $6 per night to stay somewhere like the Salt River or on some State Land is a whole nother story, but those aren't typical Campgrounds.

If I had to choose a campground, I'd say either Oasis RV Park in Las Vegas which is more like a 4 Star Resort, but you pay $60 a night, or the Queen Mine RV Park in Bisbee Arizona.

Oasis has everything one could want and you and the family will never have to leave the RV Park.  Queen Mine RV Park has a gravel parking pad, a view of beautiful Bisbee and is within stumbling distance of the many taverns that line the crooked streets of historic Bisbee.

Also, we didn't stay here because the owner recommended the Queen Mine RV Park for its walking distance to downtown, but the Shady Dell RV Park which is also in Bisbee has got to have the best character and ambiance of any RV Park in America.  It's lined with Vintage Travel Trailers that are all restored to their original look and feel and the place is a 'must see' when traveling through Southern Arizona.  It is also home to Dot's Diner which is a cool little diner in an old Airstream!

Cindy - My most memorable campground would have to be on Mono Lake just outside of Yosemite National Park.  Not that we were in an actual camp ground, but we did spend a couple of nights on a small trail that encompassed Mono Lake with no one else around.


View of Mono Lake from our Camper

I remember getting ready to make dinner and looking out over Mono Lake to the incredible sunset which engulfed the sky.  The dogs were out playing in the waist high weeds which blew gently in the breeze as I smelled the strange and slightly unpleasant smell of the sulfuric waters which were rimmed with a bright trail of salt. 

We walked that night with no leashes on either I or the dogs and stayed out in the night air until the skies were lit by the twinkle of the gleaming white stars.  Such freedom and delight this place offered, I will never forget it.

What is the One Thing We Miss the Most?

Pat - By this point, I don't miss anything other than time spent with family.  I actually cant imagine doing anything other than traveling or moving every few months.  You know the drug addiction I was talking about with my siblings, well I have it even worse, but my addiction is with seeing new places and experiencing different things along the back roads of North America.

Cindy - I miss the ease of a microwave, the mind numbing TV and the companionship of my close friends and family.  I however can talk myself right out of all of those yearnings when I think about living in a stick house and having the life that requires so much attention to detail in order to lead a "normal" life.  I feel like a Gypsy most of the time and want to be enjoying new people and places to keep me grounded.

A couple of things that I really missed were being able to dig in the dirt and redecorating.  So, I told Pat on the way home to Michigan that I wanted to become a gardener for someone and also flip a house while we were home.  Both things I accomplished and loved every minute of it. 

I worked in a friends yard for around 4 weeks and got their gardens weeded and trimmed before the autumn leaves fell.  I then moved onto the next project of renovating and staging a place for us to sell.  It is now time to get back on the road.

I always say to Pat how fortunate I feel that we don't have to worry about loosing our home or our jobs since we lost those things a couple of years ago.  Life is so short, I want to see and be all that I can while I am on this earth and I think that means missing things cannot be in the cards.

What is the One Thing We Like the Most?

Pat - This was my answer for 2007 also, but I still fell the same exact way!  The fact that we move almost constantly.  I love meeting new people, I love learning new things and experiencing new ways of life.  So really this is living a dream for me.  I cant imagine anything better and have no idea how I'll ever go back to a normal life, if there is such thing as a normal life.

Cindy - I don't think that I even realized what things I liked the most until we stopped traveling.  I enjoy looking at states on the map and weaving our way through them without hitting traffic and avoiding the big cities.  I enjoy the long walks that I would take the dogs on and know that they enjoyed them just as much.  I love all of the cooking that I did while on the road and making Pat happy with his favorite dishes.

Pat asked me one time, "You seem like you don't really have a passion for anything in your life, you just seem to enjoy everything the same."  After much thought and a few days time I responded with this. 

"My passion in the world is being a good wife and a care giver.  I enjoy making Pat happy and showing my family and friends how much they mean to me, That is my passion, that is what makes me happy."

What is the One Item We Couldn't Do Without?

Pat - The Solar Panels!  This again is my same answer from last year, but it's still the one thing I don't think we could do without.  It would change the way we travel and how fluid we are when it comes to stopping anywhere we want to. 

It's just amazing to me how many campers we meet that have never boondocked?  Without our solar panels, we would be stuck in a campground much more than we'd like to be.  Many of our best memories have been out in the boonies all by our lonesome and without the solar set-up, we couldn't have been there for any length of time.

Cindy - The one thing that I couldn't do with out is my griddle.  This is a non-stick pan which fits over two burners at the same time.  In such a small space it allows me to make pancakes and bacon at the same time or eggs and toast.  This thing saves me so much dishwashing time, I love it!

One Item We Made the Mistake of Buying?

Pat - Two generators!  Of all the items I thought we'd need, I guess I underestimated the power of the solar panels.  We have two Honda EU2000i's and have yet to put more than a few hours on them both! I'd sell them and get another solar panel or a wind turbine if I could.    

Cindy - This would be a list of things that Pat has purchased through out the trip which are too long to even say.  I would need a really long piece of paper to even put them all onto!  I would have to say that the macerator would be right up there at the top of the list.  We have only used it once and I think we just used it so we could see if it would be like the movie "RV".

What is the most important thing we have learned in our second year on the road?

Pat - To slow down and see more.  Boondock more and not be so worried about finding a campsite. Except for California, which was the only time we've ever had a knock on the door, almost any gas station, rest stop or parking lot is a fine place to just spend the night.  And it's more money in our pocket to extend the length of the journey.

Cindy- How to manage our money better.  Not alot of nights were spent going out to eat or drink.  Most of our time was spent doing free outdoor activities.  Cash goes fast when you have no income!

One Item We Found that We Never Knew Existed?

Pat - Inverters.  We carry 3 inverters with us.  1 big 2000 watt pure sinewave one that is hard mounted in the camper and supplies all our main power, 1 smaller 400 watt one that plugs into a 12 volt outlet in the living room for when we just want to work on the lap top and don't want to kick on the big Xantrex. 

Then we have another 400 watt model that is hard wired in the truck for when we're driving.  This powers the laptop when we're moving during the day time and want to check emails, or recharges our camera batteries while we driving so when we stop, they're always topped off.

Without the inverters, life would be much more complicated.

Cindy - A squeegee for the shower stall.  We used that thing every time we took a shower to dry the tub and I rarely had to clean it.  Now that is an invention that no one should do without.

Our Favorite Place for Food?

Pat - I really liked the food in Mexico.  The fact that you don't have fast food, the vegetables are fresh and usually homegrown and I just love spicy authentic food, and that's what Baja was all about.  Authenticity!

Cindy - I'm sure this is crazy but a friend of ours who we met on the road, Jeff, made the most incredible steak, chicken and pork on the BBQ grill that I have ever tasted.  The steaks were two inches thick and cooked to perfection as well as the pork. His chicken was juicy in the middle and almost burnt on the outside so the flavor was perfect for me. 

He and I were alot alike in the fact that we love to cook, and eat.  He used special dry rubs on his meals that kept me coming back for more.  I always tried to sneak the last piece of BBQ before someone else got it.

Our Favorite Place for Nightlife and Entertainment?

Pat - As far as Nightlife is concerned for 2008, we didn't experience too much of it, so I'll stick with my answer from 2007 - Either Memphis or Nashville.  I love blues and country music, and these two cities are home to the birth of both.  The Bayou of Louisiana is third when it comes to damn good music.  Cindy and I both feel in love with the Cajun Music of this area and the funky little bars that host these local bands.

Cindy - The Salt River Campground.  The happy hours that we enjoyed there will live in my memories forever.  We made incredible friends and would sit outside almost every day from 4 till ? just laughing and enjoying each others company.  Many stars to watch and coyotes to listen to.  No bands or juke boxes, just good friends.

Best Piece of Clothing to Have?

Pat - I'm still going to go with a good fleece jacket.  You can ask Cindy to testify to this, but I practically live in my Fleece Jacket.  The beauty of fleece is you can wear it almost year-round, and it keeps you comfortable.  It's light weight, dries almost instantly and keeps you warm even if it's wet.  I own too many and have trouble deciding which one I'm going to wear each day. 

Besides my camera it's the one piece of gear that I bring anywhere we go.

Cindy - While on the road I became so limited in what clothing that I had I really can't pin point an answer for that one.  A broken in pair of hiking boots would be the most important thing while we were in the Western states since the hikes and climbs we did were pretty long and taken daily.  Besides that I would have to say the old Molson Hoodie did me right again this year. 

This is no regular Hoodie mind you since I have probably 6 of them I know my Hoodies.  This one was always there to warm me up and comfort me when I needed it.

What is the Hardest Thing We've Found about Living on the Road Fulltime?

Pat - Not having a dedicated space for our computers.  We keep saying we would like to move to a smaller camper to save on weight, but I cant see how we could unless we did something different with the computer gear.

I'll be the first to admit I'm a Computer Junkie and spend waaayyy too much time on this darn thing, but considering I don't watch TV, I do most of my reading online and any other time I have I'm working on pictures, the computer is sort of my crutch.  I wish I had more space so I wasn't always in Cindy's way with it.

Cindy - The hardest thing for me this year was keeping everything in order.  If we stayed some where for more than a day, I would leave things out and when it came time to move again, I dreaded putting it all away.  This only took about 3 minutes but I dreaded it just the same.

What is the Easiest Thing We've found with Living on the Road Fulltime?

Pat - How little you really need. After our first year on the road I said this same thing, but now with two years under our belt, the need and want for less has grown even more!  Probably the only thing I ever want more of is photo equipment, and that's just sort of a thing that I don't know if I could ever get enough of.

Cindy - Waking up with a smile on my face, a spring in my step and feeling like a prayer has been answered.  I have never been so thankful for my life and what it has to offer me as I have been while traveling.

Our Favorite National/State Park?

Pat - This is a toss up between Yellowstone and Yosemite.  Both have so much to offer and one could spend multiple years in both and not see them all.

It'll be interesting to see what we say next year in our Year in Review after spending the entire summer in Yellowstone.

I should say that I know while we were in Yosemite, we talked pretty bad about it in our blogs, but that was mostly due to the camping situation.  While we stayed there, they had 4 campgrounds closed down due to winter weather and the only ones that were open were the main Reservation Only campgrounds.

We did a major No-No and camped out in the parking lots moving each night and not using any lights, but it allowed us to camp there for 7 full nights!  Looking back, the park itself is without a doubt just down right beautiful.  If they could do something about the camping situation, it would be top on my list.

Cindy -I loved Sequoia National Park as well as Yellowstone.  Both of them had such nice people working in them and the wild life is so abundant our cameras were constantly shooting.  Yellowstone would have to win since I feel like I took some of my best photos of all time while visiting there.

One Item We Wish We Could Change?

Pat - The motorcycle carrier and mount.  I'd love to move the motorcycle to the bed of the truck so I could shorten our length and keep an eye on the bike while driving.  It's my one thing that I always worry about.

I think I made a mistake with buying the ARE cap and not spending the money on a good aluminum flat bed (Highway Aluminum Beds) with some built-in storage boxes.  It would have cost a bit more in the long run, but the usability of it all would have made up for the cost ten fold.

Cindy - I would like to come up with some way of keeping the dog hair to a minimum in the back seat of the truck.  While riding in the front we can't put our windows down because it becomes a huge hair tornado and gets in our eyes and stuff.  Don't tell Pat I said that or he'll finally have something that I agree with him on.

What is the Most Important Thing We Want to Do/Accomplish in 2009?

Pat - 2009 is going to be our year for photography.  After the last few years on the road, I think we're both at a point that being in Yellowstone for a serious length of time will allow us to get some world class shots.  I cant wait!

Cindy - 2009 will be even more rewarding than any other since I am so thankful of the time we will be spending on the road.  Being stable for so long has given me a whole new perspective on what a lucky couple we are. 

A Few Things We Learned in 2008

Doing so much boondocking in the spring of 2008, we really learned how much money this can save, and how enjoyable it is.  It really makes you look at maps differently and makes you seek out new places that aren't normally on the typical tourist map.

Carrying the extra water tank in the bed of our truck really solved many of the issues we were having with running out of fresh water and saves in plastic bottle usage when it comes to the environment.

Using the solar panels to their full advantage.  We found that it's almost impossible to drain the bank of batteries as long as we have sunshine throughout the daytime.  What we've been doing is while we're traveling, we run the inverter and switch the refrigerator over to electric so it's drawing from the batteries for most of the day.  This saves in propane usage and we've never had a problem with our batteries being low.

Driving less and doing more while we stopped in a certain area.  We found that if we completely exhaust the area we're in, you'd be surprised how much time you can spend without having to do too much driving or moving of the camper.

This helps that we have the motorcycle in tow, and allows us to really explore an area without too much worry about parking, fuel mileage or getting in or out due to the size of the rig when we're all hooked up.

A few Tips & Tricks we've learned in our first few years on the road.

Passport America - This RV membership costs $45 to join, and enables you to stay in select campgrounds for half price.  We waited till we knew we were going to be staying in an area that had a few of these campgrounds to choose from, and in a single week of camping for half price, we more than paid off the membership cost.

The membership is good for one year, so in that time, we feel that we will make our money back tenfold when it comes to savings.  Make sure to check with the campgrounds as many have blackout dates, but over the course of a year, we'll save some serious money.

When we do stay in a campground, we always try to make sure it is a Passport America affiliate

Recycling while on the Road - Being major recyclers when we lived at home, it was killing us to be tossing out so much recyclable stuff while on the road.  What we've learned to do, is carry a few of those heavy duty washable plastic bags (The type you're supposed to use for grocery shopping when you don't want to use their bags) in the back of our truck. 

One is for aluminum and steel recyclable cans and any other plastic that's recyclable.  By crushing any of the cans and squashing anything plastic, we are able to go for long durations between recycling centers.  The second bag is for cardboard or paper products that are recyclable.

Kudos to states like New Mexico, Minnesota, California and parts of Arizona that had recycle centers at every State Park and a collection center in each town we passed through.  In this day in age, it's just amazing that this isn't mandatory for every state across the nation.

We also try and stay away from anything in glass containers simply because of their weight and breakability factor while bouncing down the back roads of America.  We've found it is also harder to find recycle centers that accept Glass containers.  This is weird considering that it is less expensive to make glass from recycled materials than it is to produce the product from scratch.

A Good Set of Water Filters - This was another thing that didn't take too long to figure out.  At first we were only using our fresh water tank for cooking, flushing and showering.  For drinking water we were buying bottled water.   -

 DON'T DO THIS!

The price added up quick, and the amount of plastic bottles we were wasting was just astonishing.  We bought two Whole House Filters from the local hardware store and put a Charcoal filter in the first one with the most expensive Class A filter in second one. 

We also bought a food grade 35 gallon container that we keep filled for drinking water only, but can reuse over and over.  We keep it in the bed of the truck and use it to fill the five gallon jug that we bring into the camper to drink out of.  This keeps our normal 40 gallon water container that is connected to the camper strictly as shower water and water used for washing dishes and what not.

Filtering the water through two filters is amazing how good it makes it taste, and the set of filters cost on average $25 a month.  They say that the filter is good for up to 6 months, but we never know where we are getting out water from, so we stay safe and change it about every month or around there.  This not only saves us a ton of money, but we never have to worry about our drinking water right out of the tap.  And the main reason is we no longer have all those plastic water bottles to recycle.

Less Is More - We learned this the hard way.  When we first left, we thought we needed to bring so much stuff to make the trip enjoyable.  What we found was the more things we had with us, the more we needed to shuffle them around every time we needed to get to anything.

This is also when we learned the saying "The Best Things In Life, Aren't Things!"

It didn't take long before we were filling bags with clothes to be donated to Goodwill, BBQ Grills that rarely got used, but took up valuable space and just odds and ends that never came out of the storage bins all got tossed out or I should say 'given away' to people that might be able to use it.

I weighed the amount of clothes I gave away at one time to Goodwill, and just my clothes were over 50lbs worth of extra stuff! 

I'd still say that we're still a bit overloaded when it comes to junk, but some things we need to keep just incase that time arises when we might need it.  Or at least that's what we keep telling ourselves.

Wilson Signal Booster and Antenna - We only just found this, but it's something that I wish we would have had all along.  This small amplifier hooked up to a short antenna boosts our cell phone signal along with our broadband connection to keep us online even when we're out in the boondocks.

You can read the full review of how we installed this simple amplifier and what a difference it made.   

GPS - There is no need for me to explain this too much, by now everyone should have one or know what they are, but I honestly cant imagine traveling without one.  Our unit, recommended to us by Tom & Mary at the Sunline Meet & Greet has saved us so much fuel and kept us in the right direction, that I cant imagine traveling without it.  Not to mention the amount of arguments it's kept us from happening when it comes to getting us lost.

Another great thing we learned from Tom was about the POI Factory Website.  This website is filled with free Points of Interest that will help you find just about anything you are looking for. 

Satellite Radio - Another item that we cant imagine being without.  For over 20,000 miles our satellite radio has kept us awake, and listening when normal signals just couldn't keep up.  For anyone who spends time behind the wheel, this is a must.

Digital Cameras - I don't even have to go into detail on this item.  But our adventure wouldn't be the same and I'd go as far as to say would be next to impossible if we were still shooting 35mm film.  To see what equipment we use, check out our Photo Gear Page

Forums - I know this doesn't seem like something that would help you with a long distance journey, but being a member of a few different forums was a life saver.

From getting questions answered for free to getting so many hints and tips on great places to visit, many being ones you could never find in a travel guide.  Learning so many things that kept us from making these mistakes ourselves was a huge help. 

By surfing the forums, it made our first year tolerable without making too many costly mistakes.

Our Dirt Bag Cover for our Motorcycle -  We bought the motorcycle brand new, and within a few states of trailering around with it behind us, it looked like it was a few years old and was taking a major beating.

Once we found the Dirt Bag Cover, I gave it a good washing and it's stayed nice and clean for the last 50,000 miles.

Adding Extra Scissor Jacks - While home, we had General RV install an extra set of Scissor Jacks in front of the wheels on the camper.  What a difference this makes while camped.

A Good Attitude - This is a must.  Luckily for us, Cindy and I are both really easy to get along with and can go with the flow in just about any situation.  Traveling full time would be impossible with a poor attitude.

The Mind Frame to Just Slow Down - It took us way too long to shake the idea that we werent in a race and had to get back to anything.  I'd say our first 6-8 months we would both get a little antsy if we sat still for any longer than a day or two. 

We're now just starting to realize that we can sit back and relax when the weather isn't cooperating or just chill when we find an area we really like.  This is one of the biggest obstacles to let go of.

 

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