Thursday, June 18, 2020

Is this the end?

After we took our end date off of the table for our one year trip, people would ask us how long we would stay on the road? Honestly, we never knew. Every place we went to ended with us leaving and saying, “man, I’d love to go back there one day!” I knew RV life wasn’t forever, I just didn’t know what or how you decided you had done enough, and you had seen enough, and that it was time to hang the RV up.

My stock answer was always, “as long as it stays fun.” And then as Paige for older, I started adding “and practical” to my answer.

Time goes on, things change, and we started looking at things differently. There’s no one thing that I can say, “this, this is why we got off of the road.” And no, I don’t blame the coronavirus. It may have helped us realize what was in our hearts but it didn’t make our minds for us.

So now that we’ve announced our big change, I’ll answer a few questions that we’ve gotten as we told individual people.

Tell me about the house!

It’s a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom manufactured home. It has an office/den off of the master bedroom for my work and for Mandie’s Traveling Creations crafting. It’s in a managed resort-like community with 3 pools, 2 hot tubs, a small snack bar, and a ballroom that they usually have events (or you rent it out).

It’s a just outside of Disney.

It’s also 5 miles from Thousand Trails Orlando and 3 miles from Lake Magic RV Resort. We are right at the fulltime families Florida hub. Which means, we’ll get to keep seeing our family of friends!

Are there RV hookups?

Nope, but there are TT parks nearby. There are 3 within 8-9 miles. You can be close!

Are you done traveling? What about the truck and camper?

No! Well, we don’t think so. As I told my mother-in-law, any answer I give now about the future is completely made up. We are scheduled to go on a multi-month trip days after closing.

We are keeping the truck and RV as long as we continue to use it. The community does lawn care and we are keeping our mail service so that we can lock the door and walk away on a whim.

We are going to store the RV nearby.

Didn’t... didn’t you sell all of your stuff?

Yes! Man oh man, we have so little stuff. And we really don’t want to empty the camper since we still want to use it. So now we have 100% of all of the house stuff to get!

Are you still going to homeschool?

Yep, neither kid has any interest in going to public school. They both want to stay homeschooled.

Are the kids excited?

Very. They both get their own rooms and are already laying them out in their heads. Paige has a Pinterest board for “Dream Room”.

We took the kids over there today for the first time (we picked it and got the contract on Tuesday). They ran around and were excited about the littlest things. Even the Community Manager laughed when Paige was agog over the number of outlets in the rooms.

Paige describes it as the size of a mansion. Logan wholeheartedly agreed! It’s not, it’s only 1680 sq. ft. but hey, we toured smaller.

Going to get a dog next?

Oh heck no!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Labor Day Road Trip

We started Labor Day weekend with saying goodbye to the Schroeders on Saturday. We spent 2 weeks alongside of the garage like this. Other than having to back down their cul de sac, it was a great visit. I love that this lifestyle lets us visit with family like we would not have been able to before.

Leaving Huntsville, we got into Mississippi a short time later. We were excited- after 4 years, this is the first time we were spending the night in the state! (That's our criteria to be "counted".)

Mickey has been through some miles up there.

I found this Army Corps of Engineers (COE) park, South Abutment Campground, on while looking for an inexpensive place to stay in Mississippi around Memphis. We initially planned to stay for a week, but we have a schedule to keep to make it to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta by the end of September AND we lost a week to Jacksonville a couple of weeks ago.

So, just one night.

I was nervous about coming into a first come, first served campground on one of the busiest camping holidays of the year. There were plenty of spots, but we did almost have an incident getting around one of the loops- my tires fell off into a depression on the inside and Mandie was certain we were driving off the road on the outside (full-on panic attack, which is super unusual for her). We had to back out of a loop and up a road. No damage, just a little excitement.

Our campsite was nice.

We parked and went exploring the "project" as the areas around the lake are called. Here's a view of one of the campground points. No spots were open out there being that we arrived so late. Pretty, though.

Dam Rd. And let me tell you, 7 year old Logan got a kick out of talking about that road.

The same campground point as before, but from the opposite side. Gave us a nice sunset view.

We packed up on Sunday morning (which was pretty simple- stow a few things, unplug electric, and hitch up). We got on the road and in no time were through Tennessee and into Arkansas.

There was a mix-up at the campground, Treasure Isles RV Park, and they gave our site to someone else. They put us into a 2nd site and shortly after we pulled in (but before we unhitched), they showed up to tell us they really messed up and had given that site to someone else. They offered us a lake front spot for the same cost. Which is even better as we got the Passport America rate for the park.

The camphost described it as "a little snug but has a great back yard". He wasn't wrong.

Where he was wrong, he tried guiding me in to back up. I only take backing directions from Mandie. He was usually telling me at odds with her. I tried to tell him but he wasn't ready to listen- actively stepping in front of her so I couldn't see her. Ultimately, he walked away frustrated. Oh well.

See that gazebo? By night fall, that campsite probably had 20-25 people at it. Loud music, corn hole, and a lot of kids. At 10:30pm, they played "I WANT MY MTV" on repeat about 5 times. Right about the time I was fixing to go say something, it stopped.

Holiday weekends in the RV park- it's just part of life.

Inspired by my neighbor with their deck down, I set ours up for the evening. And then promptly never went back up to it. Mandie sat out while the kids and I played in the lake/river. We even broke out our river floats to bob around in.

We headed into Hot Springs National Park on Monday for a bit of exploring. The Fordyce Bath House is setup as a museum. The Fordyce itself had some pretty neat mechanical "therapy" options. And some crazy ones- like the "electrowater" therapy.

There was a guided tour that started as we got there, but was too many people for our liking. We opted for the self-guided tour instead.

The museum was nicely done. Going to Hot Springs has been on my bucket list since we launched into fulltime RV living 4 years ago.

A few doors up is Superior Bath House. Its name was purely ironic as it was the most simple of the bath houses in its day. Now it's a brewery that uses the hot springs water as part of the brewing process.

Cute decal to the tap room. (Is that the right name for where they brew the beer?)

We were in it for the root beer. I'm not a big craft beer guy, the flavors are usually a bit too strong for my tastes and Mandie doesn't drink beer at all. It reminded me of the Amish root beer from Lancaster, PA but with a bit more carbonation (still not like a "regular" soda, though).

Tasty, but Logan didn't care for it. Fortunately, he got a sweet tea. We also got a couple of appetizers, but they were a bit disappointing overall.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A Yardsale of Everything

We were in York for exactly 1 month.

Hilariously, I was nervous about driving such a big vehicle! Mandie told me I was stupid.

We got there on Saturday and on Tuesday, Grandpa Alan and I went and fetched all of our belongings that went to storage just before we took off on this adventure.

We got back to York and were greeted by an awesome team at storage. Lisa was back at the house watching a couple of kids. Paige, Grandpas Pedro and Alan, Aunt Tara, Kayla, Travis, and Trinity helped unload the trucks into 2 storage units and then into Alan and Lisa’s garage. Pizza for dinner was everyone’s payment.

Friday's view- a garage full of boxes that she just started scratching the surface.

Once everything was in York, we spent 3 weeks busting ass. Mandie priced all 700,000 small items and I got to work selling the big stuff to family and friends, on OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace (and yardsale groups), and Craigslist. Thanks to Danyiel for coming to visit a few nights and being put to work! A second special thanks to Danyiel for rescuing Paige from storage one day!

A rainy day for pickups.

It rained so hard, I had to close the door in order to stay dry.

Alan and Lisa graciously hosted the yardsale. This is a ton of work for them- not only do they have to price and prep their own stuff, the garage gets cleared out, big items get stored, and their house becomes a chaotic staging ground. Then the canopies go up and tables get setup to turn the garage, driveway, and a portion of the yard into the Setzer/Harrison/Lloyd Store!

Paige and Lisa pricing and tagging clothes
And then we started unpacking boxes of things that were priced and prepped. We spent hours getting things setup.

Friday and Saturday were the yard sale. At one point, we had 4 people checking customers out and there was quite the line. We can’t just take a total as we keep track of which family gets credit for which items. Paige came up with the idea of a spreadsheet. I helped her a little with some formulas. I didn’t reconcile the total at the end, but it seemed like it was a helpful guide.

Setup for the yard sale. Mandie's brother's family added even more to all of it.

Setup for the yard sale. 

Setup for the yard sale. 

Setup for the yard sale. 

Setup for the yard sale. 
Mandie's PartyLite.
Customers arrived before we opened. Regardless of the rain, we had people all day both days.
More shopping.

As of now, we have just a handful of things in Alan and Lisa’s basement and down to just a single 10x10 storage unit. When we come back through town, we’ll switch to a temperature controlled 5x10 unit. And I expect we’ll be able to get around in it.

This is it. We added two 8' tables and a handful of empty bins.
This unit was stacked high and tight. And now I've already given it back to the storage unit company.

Can you believe that in the middle of all of that, we celebrated Memorial Day, Mandie’s girlfriend’s daughter’s high school graduation, Logan’s 6th birthday, celebrated our 3rd nomadiversary, hung out at camp with family and friends, did camper projects, celebrated Mandie and my's 17th anniversary, and probably more! 

We came in for Chloe's graudation. Here's Mandie and Danyiel and their kids.
Paige's Twin from Another Mother - Chloe
Logan turned 6.
Tara took a bunch of kids and Weizer to the river.
Weizer just hangs out on a float. Cracked me up.
JJ and I hung out with Weizer after most everyone went to the pool.
We all 4 got hair cuts.
Alan trimmed back the cover over the pin box.
The kids drove Matchbox Cars (from the attic to the main level).
Happy Anniversary to my beautiful wife.
Cousin Kyle babysat and guided me through my first oil change.
Pool day on Father's Day.
Our Campsite.
A treat after day 1 of yardsaling.
Logan and his cousin on day 2 of the yardsale.

Before we knew it, 2 days of the sale were done. Anything that didn't sell went to the Salvation Army. It wasn't much- our stuff, Alan and Lisa's stuff, and a small smattering of things from the rest filled the back of their 4 Runner and Camry. Mandie's brother's family took most of their stuff home. That's it. All told, it was quite the successful sale.

On Sunday, we had hit our 3 weeks at the campground so we took the camper back to Alan and Lisa's house for a day of wrap up. And by Monday night, we were camped overnight at a Walmart in Somerset, PA.

Thanks Walmart! Quiet and fairly level.

And by Tuesday, we had our prize - a lazy afternoon with the Jacobs!

Dawn, Chris, Mandie, and me.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

2017 In Review

Holy Macaroni, how time flies! My last post was exactly 1 year ago. I last left off with Memorial Day of 2016 and well... yeah, I'm going to ignore the second half of 2016. Let's just quickly summarize it: Florida, not Florida, Florida, not Florida, Florida for Halloween at Disney, Key West for Thanksgiving, and then Port Charlotte for Christmas and the New Year. WHEW.

Let's take a "quick" (lol) glance back on 2017 now...

But first, some geek stats:

Total Number of Stops:56 - so much for our "slowing down" claims (see route/map)
Miles Towed:10,100-ish
Shortest Distance:0.5 miles from a storage lot to Lake Conroe Thousand Trails
Longest Distance:412 miles from Pensacola RV Park to a Walmart in Bushnell, FL
Nights Dry Camping:18 (14 at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, 2 at Walmart, 1 at Sams Club, 1 at Harvest Hosts)
Nights at Thousand Trails (or Trails Collection) parks:71
Nights at City + State Parks:70
Nights at KOAs:21
Average Cost/Night:$44.42

Highlights of 2017

With a year that busy, it's hard to decide what the high points are. But a few things stand out.

The Jacobs

Fostering a friendship with the Jacobs clan, The Possibilitarians. The Mommas had hung out a couple of times before and Mandie knew she wanted to get to know Dawn better. We hung out a little in Florida in January and then intentionally met up a few times this year- Kentucky, Moab, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon (Bend and Lincoln City). We loved every minute together!

Hanging out for an afternoon at Disney's Fort Wilderness

Dinner together in Bend, OR

The quietest July 4th in the history of ever

All of us in Moab, UT

The Great American Eclipse

The Eclipse was the first full solar eclipse to cross the entire United States. When we decided we wanted to ensure we got to see totality, I started calling RV parks somewhere near February. I contacted or called every RV park in Oregon in the path of totality. Only 4 had availability- 2 were dry camping for $100/night (uhhh, no), I forget the 3rd, and the one we stayed at ended up as a little RV park along a river: fulfilling my fulltiming dream of "living in a van, down by the river!".

If you didn't see totality, you didn't see the Eclipse.


No really, we had friends who saw 99.7% coverage. The first 99.9% was cool to see with your special Eclipse glasses. But 100% was literally awe inspiring and jaw-droppingly beautiful. My words will absolutely fail me in describing it- but the sky went dark, the moon went black, and the sun appeared to be a white fiery ring. Our group gasped, cheered, and tears were shed. Once our time was up and the sun started to peak out, we saw the Diamond Ring that pierced the darkness.

That moment of totality.
Take note: the next eclipse that crosses a large portion of the USA is in April 2024. Make plans now. Start saving money now. Do anything you can to make it to where you can see totality. It was THAT AWESOME.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

The Balloon Fiesta hit our bucket list in 2015 when we saw pictures coming from other fulltime families who were there that October. This absolutely needed to happen; it took 2 years, but we made it! We were fortunate to have Mandie's mom, Lisa, join us. At the fiesta, we were part of the Fulltime Families hangout and were 1 of 20 or so families who were there.

The Balloon Fiesta exceeded all of our wildest expectations. We lucked into amazing weather and every day found hot air balloons floating over the RV parking area each day. For most of the fiesta days, Paige helped crew a hot air balloon called Carried Away piloted by the Dinklers. She got up by 5am and out shortly after. She was rewarded one of the last days by being offered a ride up in the balloon. While she was nervous, she took them up on the offer and loved every minute of the flight - including the roller coaster like take off!

Paige's photo (Instagram)

Paige's photo (Instagram)

Evening session

Grandma and Logan watching balloons

Balloons and our home

The Lowest Moment & the Moores

The year wasn't without trials, of course. In September, we were headed south through California when we found that we had major frame damage. We were literally sitting next to the road when a truck service mechanic told us that we should drive straight to the nearest RV dealership and trade it immediately. Dejected, we went to the nearest RV park and regrouped.

It's ugly!
Mandie posted to the Fulltime Families Members group and the Moore family literally came to our rescue. Tara responded to Mandie and offered her husband saying, "he's worked in heavy equipment all his life and might be able to help".

The next morning, Josh was the calm in our storm. Showed up in a big ass work truck and flip flops. He confirmed the frame damage but instead of suggesting an immediate sale, his response was coolly, "yeah, it's buckled but we can bend it back."

Flip flops and all, Josh jumped right in
He then talked to his boss and secured a spot at his work. Over the next 4 days, "we" (read: he did all of the work and I held heavy things... poorly) cut our bent and twisted cross member supports, pushed one side of the frame out, pulled the other side of the frame inward, and added heavy steal C-channel steel cross-members. At the end of the week, we were able to be back on the road.

In one week time, we hit the lowest of lows and made new lifelong friends. I'll forever be grateful.

Monthly Highlights

Let's talk through the months...


January found us in the Orlando area at Disney's Fort Wilderness and Thousand Trails Orlando (aka TTO). TTO is great in that we get to visit with a lot of friends who are also hiding from the cold elsewhere in the country.

The field at TTO full of kids

Pennsylvania family get together, at Disney's campground

Pool day with the Simpson Six and Grandma & Grandpa

Visiting with Grandma June

Adults dinner with the Jacobs


In February, we left the relative warmth of Orlando (though some pictures above contradict that statement) and headed for Florida's panhandle. First we rallied in Tallahassee with 80 Fulltime Families. Afterward, we spent a week at Camp Gulf at a beach front site- wonderful, sandy, and super cozy with the neighbors. We finished up February by making our way into Alabama where we enjoyed Mardi Gras parades. As we got some camper service (pic set 1 and pic set 2), we made a trek back to Orlando for a hotel stay for Mandie to go to the doctor (for her vocal chord polyps) and played at Disney for an evening using our Disney Vacation Club membership.

Campsite at Camp Gulf. Lucky that our neighbor was a
motorhome and we shared a yard.

Warm enough for a beach day in February!

Start of our first parade.

We got to spend time with Anna and Amy.

Menu fight!

We had work done at Cherokee Farms RV Service Center in Foley, AL.
They treated our family wonderfully.


In March, we headed further north in Alabama to Huntsville where we got to spend a couple of weeks with the Setzer/Schroeder family. Y'all, we ate so much fantastic food. It was frightfully amazing. Oh and we went to a drive through safari where Logan screamed when he came face to face with an emu. We got our 1st of 4 snows this year in Huntsville; let me tell you that I am not amused.

We ended March by heading up to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky where we had a mini-rally of sorts with 5-7 other families. It was cool weather out, but we still had a good time. We did tours in Mammoth Cave, Diamond Caverns, to a train museum, and even went to a shooting range. It was a busy visit!

Logan tempting an animal with food

Feeding a whateverbeast.

We had a couple of fires with the Schroeders.

Each rig is a different Fulltime Family.

We took Paige's bestie, Melody, on a cave tour with us.

It's a law that when in Kentucky, you must drink bourbon.

One of the movie nights.

Mandie trying out the rifle.

Our crew!

We toured Diamond Caverns with the Cropp boys.


We zipped back down to Huntsville for a few days to start April off. Once we said our sad "see you laters" to the Setzers and Schroeders, we started heading west.

We made an abbreviated stop in West Memphis, AR where we stayed at a campground right next to the mighty Mississippi River. Moving westward again, we stopped for some diamond mining at Crater of Diamonds State Park (spoiler alert: we aren't rich but we had fun!). The campground there is absolutely beautiful.

Onward we went to the Dallas area (Grapevine, TX) where Alan and Lisa flew in to babysit while Mandie and I flew back to Orlando for yet another follow-up appointment for her vocal chord polyps. Unfortunately, it looks like she's going to need surgery again but we're holding that off until later this month (January 2018). The good news, she and I got to spend a fun couple of days running around Disney.

We didn't let the tires rest and got back to Dallas where we immediately turned and headed for Amarillo, TX. Amarillo was the site of snow #2 (of 4) for the Setzers in 2017. The Big Texan and  Cadillac Ranch were our touristy stops there- cheesy but fun nonetheless.

Huntsville Rocket Center

A night at the campground, by the fire

Pictures don't do justice to the size of the barges.

Our campground at Crater of Diamonds State Park.

One of our dig sites.

Wet sifting the dirt afterwards.

Easter silliness.

While Grandma and Grandpa had the kids, Momma and I
clean up nicely for a day of hotel hopping.

She playgrounds well.

They went kayaking.

And to an aquarium.

When we got back, Logan, Grandpa, and I went fishing.
Didn't catch anything but Logan.
Epic snowball fight.

Cadillac Ranch

Wet and muddy fun!


Whew doggie, so many places, so many photos and we're only to May. May was pretty quick moving- we were trying to make it to southern Utah to explore a bit. We stopped for a few days in Albuquerque and drove the Musical Road there (it's neat, but not as nice as the one in California). 

And then headed to Towaoc, CO which was supposed to just be a place to sit for the work week before heading down the road again. Instead, we happened to stop at the Aztec Ruins National Monument on the way where we started learning about the dwellings left behind from the ancient Puebloans. That led us to heading to Mesa Verde National Park which was absolutely phenomenal. My family completed what is affectionately known as the "Indiana Jones Tour" (the Balcony House Tour) which starts with ascending a 30' ladder and ends with climbing through a 18" hole (no kidding) before heading up another set of ladders.

I've decided that when I get a tattoo, it's going to read "You're stronger than you know." as a reminder to Mandie (and eventually Paige and Logan) that things may scare them and seem bigger than they can do, but they've rocked through some awesome stuff (even if we were all wheezing for air).

As we left Colorado, we hit a bucket list item for me and that was to stop at the 4 Corners Monument.

We made it to southern Utah and stayed at a small horse ranch about 1/2 way between Kanab, UT and Page, AZ. We also lucked into visiting with some friends (the Arnolds, Rhodes, and Churches). We also checked out some postcard perfect places - Grand Canyon's North RimHorseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, and more. We hiked were dinosaurs walked, sledded down sand dunes, and so much more.

Now, let me try to summarize that all down to a small set of pictures.... (lol, no chance).

The musical road in Albuquerque.

The Great Kiva at Aztec Ruins National Monument.

One of the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde NP.

No kidding, they start you off with a 30' ladder.

Remember this moment, my love- you never thought you'd make it
but you did and you did awesome. I love you, Mandie!

4 Corners National Monument

He's goofy, that's for sure.

It was a real life horse ranch!

Hiking near Lake Powell

Hiking the Toadstool Hike in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Lower Antelope Canyon - very touristy, but still quite beautiful.

Horseshoe Bend.

North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

One of many dinosaur tracks at a site near Pink Coral Sand Dunes.
Beware: it's 2 miles of deep sand driving that's much more narrow than my dually is!

Sledding on sand.


We actually left Kanab and made it to Moab in May, but my May section had gotten pretty big. Plus, the majority of our stay was in June, so here it goes.

In Moab, we caught up with the Jacobs again! We stayed at OK RV Park in Moab, right next to the fairgrounds. It's a decent place and affordable- I just sort of wished they had a pool.

While in Moab, we tried to take in as much as we could squeeze - we hiked to the Corona Arch (2+ miles of all uphill in full sun with a ladder in the middle, but an awesome arch at the end!), checked out Indian petroglyphs and pictographs, caught a mouse, celebrated Logan's 5th birthday (with some extra specialness from the Jacobs to him), took in a rodeo, went to Arches National ParkDead Horse Point State Park, and Canyonlands National Park, dinner and drinks out, midnight tacos, fancy anniversary dinner out, ruins, and lakes, and waterfalls, and whew... I'm sure there's more!

After a wonderful Moab stay, we said "see ya soon" to the Jacobs and we headed for Salt Lake City. Mandie had a Jamberry Nails conference there and we actually really enjoyed the city of SLC. We swam in the Great Salt Lake and Paige floated for the first time!

Hiking to Corona Arch

Here's what I love about Dawn. See that girl in green on the right, she was someone who Dawn chatted up while we were hiking to the Corona Arch. Maddie was on a cross-country trip and camping along the way. In the course of the discussion, Dawn invited Maddie to dinner and to get a shower. Super friendly.

For Logan's 5th birthday, the Jacobs took him to enjoy 5 fun things (3 parks, rock shop, and McDonald's if I recall correctly).

There was nowhere in Moab that we could get a cake decorated (seriously- people were away with family emergencies and vacations). Mandie got a blank sheet cake and decorated this!

Dead Horse Point State Park.

Mesa Arch at Canyonlands National Park.

One of a couple of swims at Ken's Lake.

After a night of dinner and drinking- these 1am tacos were glorious.

Anniversary dinner with this beauty.

We checked out Indian rock art but then went in search of an arch (found it too!).

Picture perfect beauties in the ruins of this building.

Faux Falls was another welcome respite from the heat.

Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City.

Art installation in SLC.

We spent a day at Thanksgiving Point.

We went to the Salt Lake and explored Antelope Island State Park.

It's hard to see- we're the dots to the left, but we swam and Paige floated!

Came back just after dusk and the bugs were atrocious! They sounded like rain hitting the windshield.

We did a tour at Utah Olympic Park.

Mommy and me day with Logan at Discovery Gateway Children's Museum.

Mommy and me day back at Olympic Park with Paige.


I'm beginning to think I'll never finish this year in review. But I'm on the second half now.. that has to count for something! July found us heading up into Idaho because Mandie read something about Craters of the Moon National Monument. I found an RV park in the small town of Picabo. This town was so small, the gas station was the campground office, town store, post office, restaurant, and fly shop. We spent our visit here with the Simpsons and Jacobs for the quietest July 4th that you can possibly imagine. To beat the heat, Mandie and I took a small pool with us and set it up on our site for the kids.

Chris, a couple of the girls, and I went for a couple of exploring drives. First in his van and second in my truck since it has 4x4. We found some really beautiful country up there.

Leaving Idaho, we made our way towards Seattle. First we stopped in La Grande, OR and stayed at a place whose pool is filled with hot springs water; it was not refreshing at all! Next we stopped in Kennewick, WA for a quick overnight.

We spent 2 weeks near Seattle in Fall City, WA at Tall Chief, an Encore park. We used our RPI membership to get the 1st 7 days at $11/day and then the 2nd week, we used our Thousand Trails discount. Beautiful park but no sewer and the electricity voltage was terribly low.

When our time was up in Seattle, we headed south. We stopped at Chehalis, WA for a couple of days. There we caught up with the Jacobs (who left a day before us) and then had a nice evening gathering with the Travaglino and James families. While there, we went to Mount St. Helens. This mountain fascinated me as a kid as it went from being dormant to blowing it's top (well, side) off.

Ok, onward with pictures!

Seems only right- we set it up, we should enjoy it first!

July 4th cookout

Exploring the nearby river

Exploring the mountain roads

Shoshone Falls

Craters of the Moon National Park - basically everything you see here except the paved path is lava.

Lava cave. There was a larger/longer one but this was still cool. We just ran out of daylight.

Awning troubleshooting. Jason helped me fix this properly in Seattle (and helped me raise my pinbox on the camper so I  tow more level-ly).

Folks were using the campground building for an antler auction. Logan helped setup for it.

I love that Mandie drives. This is looking back on Deadman Pass- which she drove, without breaking a sweat!

Well, that's one place to hang out.

Jim Henson Exhibit at the MoPop.

Museum of Flight.

Freemont Troll.

We went up the Space Needle. Not all selfies go well for us. :-)

Exploring the tidepools yielded many sea stars (aka starfish) at Constellation Park.

Chittenden/Ballard Locks.

The kids built tepees in the woods behind the sites. This is a long tradition for Fulltime Families staying here.

Snoqualamie Falls in Fall City.

Impromptu gathering of Fulltime Families.

That's Mount St.  Helen in the background!


As I write this, I was just telling Mandie that it's no wonder we are tired all of the time! In August, we made our way to Bend, OR first. We ended up getting a pair of sites and pulling through them with my camper and driving the Jacobs into their headfirst. It gave us a great shared common area. It only works since we were both leaving at the same time, otherwise the Jacobs would have been stranded in there! At Bend, Fulltime Families came in full force as there was a Solar Eclipse Hangout.

We didn't stick around for the hangout, as I made reservations back in February at Coyote Rock Marina and RV Park in Lincoln City. This is a cute little river side campground with a lot of small sites but we lucked into a super nice spot. While we explored a little, the prime attraction was the Great American Solar Eclipse (photos at the beginning of this behemoth year in review).

The other big excitement for August is that we sold our house! Many thanks to Deb McPherson of Exit Realty who went above and beyond with helping us arrange contractors and handled the negotiations with the buyers.

After the eclipse, we said our goodbyes to the Jacobs as we wouldn't see them for quite a while (and still haven't). Our sights were set on seeing the big Redwoods of northern California. First we went to Klamath, CA for Redwoods State and National Parks and then we went to Redcrest, CA for the Avenue of the Giants.

We all explored Lava Butte at Lava Lands together.

Lava River Cave - this is literally a cave left behind from a lava flow

The Mommas floating in the Double Momma Tube.

Impromptu Gathering of Fulltime Families

Impromptu Gathering of Fulltime Families

We went for a drive and found a sunset.

I went exploring an island one day.

Whale watching. We saw some but didn't get any photos.

The Eclipse is happening! A neat trick we learned is you could see hundreds of eclipses by using a colander and letting the sun shine through it.

So very cool. Taken though our eclipse glasses.

We were enthralled. You can see the paper plate shield we made for Logan to keep  him from peeking around the glasses.

Redwood National and State Parks held the Redwoods that had been on Paige's bucket list.

It's hard to describe just how huge these trees were.

Their centers could be burnt out and the tree still lives.

Massive roots.

The Founders Tree, named for the people who helped establish protection of the trees from logging companies.


We went into September having no idea what lie ahead- major frame damage. We went for an overnight stop at Thousand Trails Russian River in Cloverdale, CA. This was where we found our first indication that we had problems.

Foolishly (but serendipitously), we left the campground and within 30 miles had gotten a flat in a tire from it rubbing on a portion of the under side of the camper. We got off of the road and into a cul-de-sac of sorts where we spent 6 hours while I tried to disassemble a portion of the camper to keep going. Failing that, I tried to tie it back with a ratchet strap. Unfortunately, within a mile down the road, we had another flat and ended up having to pull over again. I described the remainder up above, but longest story shortest- we were told the camper is shot and it'll be $8-10,000 to fix it to then having another Fulltime Family come to our rescue. The husband had the knowledge, tools, and shop to get us in and fixed up in 4-5 days. We're proud to call the Moore family our friends now.

The camper issues had us stop for a couple of days in Windsor, CA then to a company's property in Santa Rosa, CA. Once fixed up, we moved over to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds for a couple of days until we could move down to San Francisco. We had planned on 2 weeks in San Francisco but ended up shortening it to 6 nights.

After San Francisco, we made a 2-part drive to get to Anaheim. First we stopped in Castaic, CA for an overnight. Then we got down to Anaheim where we first stayed at a Disney Hotel using our Disney Vacation Club membership and then moved over to the Anaheim RV Park where Grandma and Grandpa came to visit.

Leaving Anaheim, we started eastward on a trek towards Albuquerque. Our first stop for a couple of days was in Kingman, AZ. In Kingman, we finally broke down and took Paige to the doctor to get checked-out. She had been having daily headaches and given her history - this was a nerve-wracking visit. Fortunately it sounds like she was just having bad allergies with the new area. But man, what memories came back with that.

We then headed to Holbrook, AZ where Grandma Lisa got to see a true Setzer travel day where I saw a sign and begged Mandie to let us stop until she gave in and did. The sign was for Meteor Crater. I had seen posts and maybe a thing on Roadside America about it and knew I wanted to stop; I'd just forgotten that we would be driving past. At first, Lisa couldn't understand why we were stopping for "some hole in the ground". After we stopped, even she said it was pretty dang cool!

Playing in the Russian River at the Thousand Trails park.

Logan making the best of our 6-hour roadside stop.

Our HERO - Josh straightening part of the camper to get travel-able.

Our Labor Day Celebration... picnic lunch next to a port-o-pot with our new friends. Forever friends.

Chinatown in San Francisco.

The Alcatraz Tour was really neat.

We looked at Lombard Street, but didn't try taking the dually down it. (I will next time!)

Traveling on our way to Castaic.

The bellhops said getting luggage straight from a RV was unusual.

We celebrated Halloween while there- here we are as the movie Inside Out.

Grandma and Grandpa came to visit!

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Our spot in Kingman, AZ was actually really nice.

Meteor Crater did not disappoint. It's an amazing impact site.

Getting a better view.


The hard drive from Anaheim was to get to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta. We first stopped at a local park for a few days with full hookups before our 2 weeks of boondocking were to begin. We lucked into seeing one of Mom's great friends, Cindy. Cindy and her husband Stet decided to sell it all so they can winter in Arizona and be lake bums in the summer. We had a great evening together.

The Balloon Fiesta was an amazing event watching the hot air balloons. I won't include many pictures below as I picked some of my favorites up above. We were sad to see Grandma go home at the Fiesta, but knew that we'd be seeing her soon enough (we were headed back to PA at the end of the month and into November)!

After the fiesta, we had to beat feet to make it to Austin, TX for a buddy's wedding. It was a 2-stop trip with us first spending a few days in Slaton, TX just for a spot to stay. The second was a beautiful overnight at a winery in Lometa, TX through the Harvest Hosts program.

Finding a spot in Austin was tricky. Almost everywhere I called was sold out. But we ended up finding a beautiful spot at La Hacienda. It was a little more than I like to spend, but it worked.

The wedding was cold, but beautiful! It was a freak cool pattern in Austin but with the dancing and campfire, everyone had a good time. The one thing that amazes me about life is the opportunity to meet new people. We went to Texas for my friend (named) Austin but left that evening becoming good friends with his parents- Mike and Shellie treated my kids like gold.

A visit with Cindy and Stet!

Paige "crewed" almost every day she was there. She was such a hard worker, the pilot and his wife repeatedly told me how much of an asset she was to have.

Watching the balloons from atop the rig. You can see how many rigs there were at the RV parking!

This was literally the most excitement we had in Slaton- a cat walked over the truck. After the 2 weeks of a flurry of excitement at the Fiesta, this was a perfect way to slow down.

More relaxation at the winery- a couple glasses of wine and nothing to do.

The kids laid and read by the vineyards for a while.

Our whole reason for being in Austin- being there to celebrate Austin and Grisella. Beautiful couple, beautiful love. Here's to you, guys.

Paige dancing with Mr. Mike.


From one wedding in Texas to another in Pennsylvania. This time we got to celebrate my sister getting it right- she and Jerome got married on 11/11/2017. I couldn't have picked a better guy for her. And for him... well, good dang luck! While back in PA, we had our second Halloween of the year with our Shark and Rosie the Riveter (the "We can do it!" girl). While in Pennsylvania, Mandie abandoned us all and flew down to Atlanta for a couple of days for a Silhouette Conference.

And, we saw our 3rd of 4 snows in Hershey. Not funny for a family who attempts to avoid the white stuff!

Pennsylvania was super busy with a special calendar and literally a visit or two each day. But we loved it. It's so wonderful to see everyone- even if we do surprise them when we got there (I'm looking at you Dad and Grandma Janet!).

Many thanks to the James gang for fish sitting Darth!

We flew back to Texas where we spent a couple of days at the Thousand Trails at Lake Conroe before we headed down to Galveston, TX for Thanksgiving. We were super excited to spend some time with the Moore family again.

Rosie the Riveter and a scary SHARK!

For a change, I took pictures at Dad's house. Here's some serious card game going on.

Momma got a year more beautiful and turned 30-$#@$#-something.

I'm beyond happy for these two. Note: this was immediately before I coordinated 5 Mardi Gras confetti poppers to be set off. Confetti was E'RYWHERE.

Childhood friends are getting all grown up.

Grandma and Grandpa with all of their kids... and a blur.

Time to fly home. Interesting to think that "going home" isn't to a location for us, but to our house on wheels.

The James, us, and the Moores.

Darren is awesome. You better recognize.

Fulfilling a tradition, we went swimming the first day we were there. The water was chilly but not unbearable.

A fun day bowling!

On another beach day, I managed to dislocate my knee cap and sprain the ligaments that hold it into place. Lots of pain and doctor visits to come.

We toured a decommissioned oil rig. The technology they use was pretty awesome to learn about.

After the Moores left, we needed replacements. (j/k!) We hung out with the Mills family checking out Christmas lights.


I think I'm on hour 6 or 7 putting this together. I only assume it's taken you about that long to read it. And lord help you if you clicked any links to the full photo albums. You could be there forever! (While back in York, I actually setup a Flickr app on each of the grandparents TVs so they can see a slide show of photos whenever they want. We let it run quite a lot at Alan and Lisa's and there are literally thousands of pictures to go through.)

December found us traveling a bit. We headed to Lafayette, LA first for a week where I wanted to catch up with a coworker and hang out a bit. This is where we got our 4th damned snow of the year. It also got COLD and the forecast for Christmas in New Orleans looked less than fun- rainy and highs barely in the 60s.

Due to the forecast, we called an audible and cancelled about a month and a half of reservations in order to head to southwest Florida. To get there, we still needed a couple of days in New Orleans because we had a crap-ton of packages shipped there. While in New Orleans, we made a trip into the French Quarter to get beignets at Cafe Du Monde (which literally translates to: Mount of Sugar) and checked out the area. The highlight of the night was paying $1 to get the kids flipped off by Santa.

From New Orleans, we stopped in Pensacola to visit with one of Mandie's Silhouette Conference friends, Dana Harris. We had dinner together and laughed the entire time- she and Ronnie were hilarious.

Our sights were set on Nokomis, FL but we needed to stop for an overnight at a Walmart in Bushnell, FL. Through my lack of navigation and planning ahead, I had Mandie drive over a curb. Longest story shortest, it ended up tearing a mount for a shock and busted one of our leaf springs. Good Sams Roadside Assist pulled through with a mobile mechanic on a Sunday and the local True Value store surprised us with having leaf spring packs that we could make do with.

Due to the issues, we didn't get to the Royal Coachman RV Park in Nokomis until 10pm - it was only an 120 mile/2 hour drive! Royal Coachman turned out to be a gem and we had an absolutely wonderful stay. Plus, with the Thousand Trails' Trails Collection, it was only $20/night. Alan and Lisa joined us for 10 days and celebrated Christmas with us.

We wrapped the year up heading deeper into Florida to Pompano Beach, FL where we landed into an absolute dud of a campsite. It was a parking spot no wider than the camper's body without slides. This is the tightest we've experienced- and after San Francisco, that says something!

Snow at Poche's RV Park & Fish Camp

Logan does love fishing.

My coworker is the coach of the Lafayette Drillers.

Logan eating sugar beignets.

The adults were no better!

Merry Christmas!

Quick goodnight selfie!

Getting the leaf springs replaced while sitting in a Walmart parking lot.

Broken leaf.

Paige turned 14. Such a beautiful and special young woman.

Swimming in December? Yes, please.

Dinner at Donato's Italian Restaurant. This is our 3rd visit and each time has been fantastic.

Christmas morning.

Canopy Walkway at Myakka State Park.

We went with our friends- former fulltime RVing family and now fulltime boating family.

Paige's photo (Instagram)

Our New Year's Eve parking situation- tight and tighter.

Yes, our slides actually overlap.

Happy New Year!

So many fireworks in the neighborhood- some pretty big, too!

Looking Forward to 2018

We are still in south eastern Florida. As I write this, it seems like the whole country is in a deep freeze. We aren't immune, but our "freeze" was a high of 58 today. I'll take it!

As I mentioned above, Mandie is scheduled for surgery to remove vocal chord polyps again on January 26th. This is the 4th time she's had them removed and our 3rd (I think) surgery with this specific doctor. That will have us in the Orlando area from mid-January until mid-March. Since we'll be there so much, we went ahead and got Disney annual passes again.

After mid-March, we don't have plans. We were supposed to go back to Fort Myers to catch up with friends but it looks like they're stuck in Indiana and likely won't make it back down.

We do plan on being in Pennsylvania by late May to be there for Aunt Danyiel's daughter graduating from high school. I can't believe she's that old, but I guess time does that. (smile) And while there, we're going to have all of our stuff delivered to us in order to sell it off- look for announcement of a HUGE yard sale!

And then, we really don't know... maybe north east and explore a bit. Or maybe a little west. We don't  know!

We'll likely winter in Florida again- we are kind of sissies for cold weather.

Anyway, I hope 2018 finds you healthy, wealthy, and well.

Happy New Year from the Setzers!