Sunday, May 29, 2016

Retrospective -- Addendum I

I hadn't any more than posted our retrospective on full-timing than Gary asked, "why didn't you write about all the churches?" I didn't write much about them during our travels and it was something very dear to me so I will write this addendum.

When we set out, I avowed that I would get to a physical church every weekend that I possibly could. I simply did not wish to rely on TV Mass; it is just not the same and I doubt I would have been as faithful to it. So I found a website, The Catholic Directory ( that located church choices for me all over North America. Out of about 190 weekends I went to a physical church about 180 of them with TV church on the rest. When wintering I went largely to the same church for weeks at a time so I would guess that I went to about 120 separate churches. I went to some of the most well know of cathedrals and basilicas -- St Patrick's in New York City, Notre Dame in Montreal, and St Paul's in St Paul. The Mass at Notre Dame was in French which I don't know so I mainly prayed.




But there was many a fascinating tiny little parish like the pine wood church of West Yellowstone, the very simple board church of Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, and the tiny Desert Mission of Torrey, Utah.




Among the ones in between, there was one in Myrtle Beach we coined "the tuna church" because the "Our Lady Star of the Sea" made us think of Starkist -- it had a beautiful "porthole" of a stained glass window. The one in the home of our mailbox in Livingston, Texas had the most beautiful of altars.


Of course, let’s not forget how much time we spent in Las Vegas.  I had a small church within walking distance from the Freemont Street Experience and St. Joan of Arc accepts casino chips in their collections.


I often wished that I would have maintained a separate blog just to record each and every of the lovely churches that I visited. But as this hindsight now is 20/20, this addendum will have to suffice.

And now I have my own church – Holy Spirit in Mims, FL only about 3 miles from where we now live.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Our Full-timing Years–A Retrospective

It is overdue that we recap our nearly four years of traveling full time in our motor home, seeing the United States in a way that only this type of lifestyle would allow.

We moved into our Motor Home in August of 2011 and moved out in April 2015, 3 years and 8 months later.

Each year we summarized certain data about our travels and here it is for the last year and for the total of our full-timing journeys.


Our fourth year started in the Pacific Northwest and ended on the Atlantic coast of Florida; it was the only time we made a cross country trip.   Our new states included Washington, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin plus the Canadian Province of British Columbia.  Highlights included the Willamette Valley, Columbia River Gorge, Portland, Mt St Helen’s, the Olympic Peninsula, Seattle, the Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island, Teddy Roosevelt National Park, Minneapolis, Chicago, our new Grandson – Victor, Savannah, and our friends at Willow Lakes in Florida.  But we also were saddened by the loss of our very special nephew, Peter.



There is not enough space to write about our full four years of traveling.  Besides, we already blogged about it and it is all still over there in the right hand column of this page.  Our motor home traveled 23,000 miles, and the car another 57,000 miles.  In total, nearly 80,000 miles of amazing travels.  We visited 44 States, the District of Columbia, and 7 Canadian Provinces.  I still have 3 states to go to get to 50.  Gary has visited every state and has been to all of them a second time except for one.

There were a few categories of our travels that we will mention – people, national parks, cities, winter in the south, and breweries.  Even as we traveled the country we were able to maintain our contact and communication with our families and friends.  And of course we made many new ones.  It was not that hard to drive the car back, jump a plane, and our always wireless communications systems did their jobs.

The national parks of the United States and Canada are simply spectacular.  We saw dozens of them.  There is no way we could name a single favorite or even group of favorites.  They each have to be loved for their unique features and characteristics.


We spent much more time in cities than the typical full time travelers.  Some full timers avoid cities like the plague.  We have always enjoyed what cities have to offer and we embraced that during our motor home travels as well.


For many years we had the view that upon retirement we would not spend winters in the north any longer.  We no longer wanted cold and snow in your lives.  After wintering in the motor home in Florida (twice), Texas, and Arizona, we made the right call.  Even if we aren’t traveling full time, we will enjoy the relative warmth of the south for winters from now on.


And breweries?  What is that about?  Before we went on the road, we were home brewers.  Simply stated, we brewed our own amazingly great beer.  As we really couldn’t brew in the motor home (but we did it once), we did the next best thing -- we visited as many as we could of the small breweries that are now all over the US.  Moreover, good brewers tend to be good cooks so breweries often have good food and they aren’t chain restaurants, something we try to avoid.  So, in our travels we visited over 350 breweries.  And while what averages out at about a hundred a year, it still is less than 10% of all the breweries that are out there.


So why is it that we finally stopped with this fantastic lifestyle that we are remembering?  In a word, it was me.  If Gary had his way, we still would own that same motor home, still be living and traveling in it and we probably would be doing so for at least another 5 years.  He might never have given it up.  But for me, the walls were closing in.  Moreover, I wanted a home base with at least some level of roots – and not just owning an RV lot while for the winter while still living in the motor home and traveling. And I also felt the ongoing stress of owning this older super complicated monster rig of a home and car.   It was tough for us when our desires had diverged.  But full time RVing can only be done if both of the travelers fully embrace it and I just couldn’t do that anymore.

But I think we did find reasonable compromise.  Our home in Florida is an RV port home in an RV community – it is a base for continuing to travel on a part-time basis.  We have a new rig that is more suited to a part time traveling lifestyle.  And we have found Florida to be a pretty nice place to live.  And Titusville even has a brewery.


And the part time RVing is about to begin!