Flying Over the Grand Canyon

grand-canyon-helicopterOn this bucket list adventure, we flew over the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in an ECO-Star helicopter.  We strapped in, held on, and were amazed as the ground dropped away – leaving us hovering over the massive canyon!

The huge, 90ft Ponderosa Pine trees looked like toothpicks from the sky.

In this point of view high-definition video, you’ll see the gorge 5,000 feet down, the Colorado River raging below, and huge Ponderosa Pines on the cliff face. Continue reading

Detour: Peru and Machu Picchu

peru-passport-stampsMonths before we embarked on our travel trailer adventure I booked a trip to Peru.  I try to take one solo trip per year, usually to somewhere on my bucket list.  Machu Picchu was calling my name!  That made for a conundrum. Where will I be in August and what city should I fly out of?  I knew we’d be headed south on our RV adventure, so I looked at ticket prices at every major airport from Virginia to Florida.  Not surprisingly, the cheapest flights were out of Miami.  I booked through Miami which meant we had 70 days to get from Northern Virginia to the bottom of Florida.  Well, we made it and I left Florida for Peru on Aug 1, 2015.

The trip was organized by a Virginia/Maryland/DC travel group.  I went to Costa Rica last year with the group’s organizer, but the other travelers were strangers.  It turned out to be a great group of 6 guys and 25 gals. Continue reading

RV Recipes: Easy 6 Ingredient Breakfast Burritos

Easy and delicious!

Easy and delicious!

6 Ingredients (with the exception of spices)

1. Flour tortilla
2. Shredded cheddar cheese
3. Boild small yellow potatoes
4. Scrambled eggs (with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, Chipotle Tobasco).

“Salsa”: (with onion powder and sea salt)
5. Chopped cherry tomatoes
6. Cilantro

Use salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder to taste.

Pretty fast, easy, and really good!

How We Got Here

Gram Weenie’s Story
(Read Kayak Chris’ version below.)

What lead you down your new and experimental path?
Growing up in a wealthy area of the United States filled me with certain lifestyle expectations and a culture of abundance.  The plan as I knew it was:  you get an education, you get a good job, you work hard, and you go into extreme amounts of debt to maintain the expected lifestyle those around you have.  Where I grew up, it’s normal to take on a 300-thousand dollar mortgage for a small condo or townhouse.  It’s normal to drive a 100% financed car. Your goals revolve around the possessions you have now and the others you are trying to get.  You buy things you really don’t need and then need a bigger house or a storage unit to put them in.   You have more credit card and student loan debt than you can actually afford.  Then, finally, after many years of hard work, and commuting in soul-crushing traffic, you get to retire and do what you really want.  Or at least this is they way I thought it was supposed to be. Continue reading

Traveler or Camper?

Are you a traveler or camper?  Or maybe both?

For us, it’s mix of both.  Over the last several years, I started to nearly hate travelling.  Not all kinds of travelling though; more specifically airplane travel.  Going on long ice hockey road trips as a kid gave me my fair share of long car rides that I can tolerate.  It’s just my luck that many plane trips, that were supposed to only be 4 or 5 hours total, ended up taking 13 or 14 hours just to get home.  I hate the idea of going somewhere, especially for fun, only to have to burn 2 full days on travel.  Even for some recent business trips, I ended up getting stuck somewhere or really delayed.  Thus, I’ve grown tired of it. Continue reading

Month One Impressions

We’ve just past the “one month” mark of our adventure on the road.  Here’s what I’ve realized and some initial impressions:

1. I Really Like our New Home
We’re still getting used to things, like you would in any new house.  (What drawer did I put the duct tape in?  Where are the cotton balls?  Why is the shower head at that height?)  I like to take walks and look at the other travel trailers and the more I see the more I realize that we chose well for our lifestyle and needs.  Our trailer is just big enough where we can all have our own space.   We don’t feel cramped or step over each other at all.  I can vacuum the entire place in 2.65 minutes!  There’s no grass to mow and there’s much less noise from neighbors.  There’s no dishwasher, which I always used as an excuse for a clean (or dirty) dish storage location.  Having less “stuff” means having less to worry about.  Finally, I love that we can pack up and be in a new place whenever we want. Continue reading

Today I Took a Tiny Shower

It’s been 24 days and…finally…today…we have on-site water!  We’ve been so busy these first few weeks that we hadn’t had the time to try out the water and sewer system.  Well today, Kayak Chris hooked it all up.  It’s wonderful to be able to wash your hands without walking to the bath house!  No more rationing water consumption for fear of the late night, flashlight led, trek to the bathroom.  Now we’re living! Continue reading

“You’re Living the Dream!” Yeah, Right!

Yeah, right!  That’s what I’ve felt like saying this week to that statement.  After camping locally at home for 2 weeks prior to this, all was going well.  Then, we got on the road for the first long term trip.  We had 2 days of travel lined up to Smith Mountain Lake and Pigeon Forge, TN.  Should have been about 8 hours over both days.  Instead we ended up being on the road, most of it stranded, for 22 hours total.  That was because of these 3 tire blowouts. Continue reading

First Trip: 22 Hours and $1900

Our first trip in the travel trailer was from Northern Virginia to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.  On a normal weekend, that’s a 498 mile, 8 h 48 min journey.  This was no normal weekend however.

We packed up and hooked up our tow vehicle on Friday night so we could get an easy start the next morning.  Early the next day we set off towards our half way stopover point, Smith Mountain Lake, where we’d also visit Gram Weenie’s grandmother.

About an hour into the trip, we stopped for breakfast.  After eating, we followed a road we assumed would take us back out to the highway only to discover a dead end.  We were stuck.  We tried to turn around but the anti-sway bars between our truck hitch and trailer don’t handle sharp angles well.  We ended up breaking off a small piece the hitch and throwing one of the anti-sway bars into the grass.  If an observer hadn’t alerted us to it, we might not have noticed the sway bar was off!  We reconnected it and instead, had to back up, all the way down the road, until we could make a less restrictive turn. Continue reading

Are you guys retired or something?

Ever since we started planning this adventure, we’ve been asked plenty of questions.  Here’s a running list of FAQs and answers.

1. Are you guys retired or something?
This was asked by a travel trailer salesman on one of our fact finding trips.  We’re not retired, but see no reason to wait until we’re retired to live the lifestyle we want!

2. Where are you going?
Everywhere the roads will take us! We plan to head south, do a clockwise loop around the US, and avoid winter weather at all costs.  We’re particularly excited to see or revisit Florida, Texas, Arizona and Utah.
Continue reading