2018: Rolling Forward

Edit: You should read this post where we reflected back on 2017 before you read this post. The two go together.

A Little Holiday R&R

We’ve spent the last two and a half weeks back in Pittsburgh.  It’s been great – we’ve spent lots of time with family and friends, celebrated the holidays, knocked out some errands, and been fortunate enough to get some much needed rest.

We even got to show Calla the true joy of Christmas!


Calla and Santa – best friends


Now that we’re holidayed out and rested up, LETS GO!


Going South with a Bang

In three days, in the wake of a impending “bomb cyclone” bringing winter hell to the east coast, we’re heading back to New Orleans.  Back to Trudy and the mobile life we put on hold.

As if leaving most of your life in a storage compartment isn’t hard enough, our expected temperate “safe zone” to store Trudy without winterization did not turn out as expected.  The normal lows – 40s and 50s – are now the highs.  Lows have been dipping into the low 20s.

Trudy has a few gallons of chemically-treated water (but no RV antifreeze) in her tanks and water in her plumbing traps and lines that could freeze, expand, and probably cause serious damage.  I’m not a winter RVing expert (nor do I want to be), so maybe I’m overreacting.  But we’re 1000 miles away, helpless, completely relying on the RV being livable upon our return.  We’re more than a little anxious.


Trudy, taking a holiday break, sipping from the trickle charger


Trudy is stored in an long, enclosed storage building.  We’re hoping that the air buffer (there are many units on both sides of ours) and the size of the building will keep Trudy safe.  I guess we’ll find out soon enough.


Continuing the Trend West

Assuming the abnormal winter weather hasn’t caused issues with the RV, we’ll be staying as south (read: warm) as possible while exploring the western side of the country.

We had a general idea as to how we wanted to explore the east coast and Florida due to planned events and visiting friends and family.  We learned quickly that we had to book reservations in Florida’s state parks well ahead of time since most have few big rig sites and they’re in high demand.


The completed first leg of our journey


We’re not doing that for this leg.  The possible routes and places to explore are too plentiful. It’s overwhelming.  We simply don’t know enough to plan very far ahead in detail.  So we’re not going to!

In hindsight, the first leg of this journey was a great warm-up.  We saw lots of familiar things and sometimes stayed in areas we’ve been to before.

This next leg, though, will be different.  We’re going to be seeking out what’s different.  Cacti, red rocks, deserts, national parks, old western towns – it’s all in the works.  We want to experience the western half of the country in its true form.


Rough initial plan heading west


We do have a high-level plan, though:

  • Early January: spend a little under a week at Fairview-Riverside State Park near New Orleans while we get back in the swing of things.  We can also check out the city and surroundings.
  • Mid to late January: continue heading west through Louisiana and then through Texas as quickly as we comfortably can while checking out cool parks and towns.
  • Early February (hopefully): slow down and spend some time exploring southern New Mexico, Arizona, and maybe Utah and California while it’s still cold everywhere else.
  • March/April: Watch the weather closely – as it starts to warm up, we’ll start hitting up national parks and other attractions that a little more north or in higher elevations.
  • Summer 2018: Head to the PNW?  Fly back to Pittsburgh?  Drive back to Pittsburgh and then explore New England in the fall?  Who knows!

Hiking the Canyon

While researching places to explore in the southwest, Hannah came across an awesome backpacking trip in Grand Canyon National Park.  After looking into it some more, I really, really want to include this in our journey.

The 10 mile hike goes through Supai, AZ (which is the capital of the Havasupai Native American Reservation) and ends at a primitive campground.  Supai is known as “the most remote community in the contiguous United States” – with barely over 200 residents – and is only accessible by foot, helicopter, or mule.  The campground is central to several beautiful blue-green waterfalls accessed by awesome trails built into the surrounding terrain.

Hannah and Calla wouldn’t be interested in this.  I floated the idea to a group of friends that I’ve gone backpacking with and 2 or 3 are actually interested in doing it.  We’re discussing dates, logistics, and reservation options (apparently they get booked quickly).  Hopefully more to come on this!


Havasupai Falls (source: http://theofficialhavasupaitribe.com)


We’re excited to get back to it!

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