Remember that when you leave this Earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given, a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. -St. Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Nov 6 - One year on the road

6,636 miles

6 states

Oceans, Rivers and Lakes

Mountains and Valleys

1,000,000 Awesome Views

I left my house in Illinois on Sunday, November 6th, 2011. One day later than planned due to a minor incident with the right outside mirror on the RV.

My first night was at an RV park in Southern Illinois, I was planning to stay just one night.  I ended up staying for 4 nights to decompress from the craziness of emptying and selling my house and getting rid of a ton of stuff.  While I was sitting beside the lake relaxing, the buyers of the house signed the paperwork on Tuesday November 8th.

I was now officially without a home address. I would become a Texas resident at the end of November when I stayed at the Escapees Ranch in Livingston, TX for several weeks.

On this journey, I have traveled through IL, MO, AR, TX, NM, CO. I camped in driveways in Arkansas, Texas and Colorado.  I spent the winter at the beach, and then drove north to visit with my daughter and son-in-law near Denver before starting my first workamping job on April 11th at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.

I enjoy finding places to stay overnight that are near a small town or at State Parks that have a lot of walking/hiking trails. I do not tow a car.  I did not want to constantly be jumping in the car to drive from here to there.  I did enough of that when I was living in Illinois.  I wanted to stay put when I parked the RV. I prefer to explore on foot or on a bike.  It's easy to stop along the way to pick up groceries and to visit attractions.

I am sure there are times when a car would be handy, but I have not felt an overwhelming desire to have one, yet.

I have found several small cities with a "trolley" or bus system that will take me where I want to go.  Many of these are free or they charge a nominal fee.

Some of these cities are: Eureka Springs, AR - Port Aransas, TX (Mustang Island) - Corpus Christi, TX - South Padre Island and Port Isabelle, TX.  At Mesa Verde they have an employee shuttle to take employees to town for groceries, movies, etc. and they also scheduled outing to other cities.

There were several small towns where I could walk/bike from the RV park to grocery stores, libraries, etc. - Rockport, TX - Port Lavaca, TX - Palacios, TX - Cortez, CO - Goliad, TX.

My favorite town, so far, to get around easily is Rockport, Texas. I could walk or bike for hours at a time around the entire town and along the beaches.

Eventually, I would like to do some dry camping/boondocking - camping without electric and water hookups.  In order to do this, I will need to upgrade my refrigerator and at some point install some solar panels. There are many state and federal forest service campsites that do not have electric hookups.  There are thousands of acres of BLM land that are free to camp on. The scenery at these locations will be better than some of the commercial "RV Resorts" that I have stayed at. 

I am really happy with the RV that I purchased.
  It is the perfect size for me.

There are a few changes I would like to make inside, but nothing that is necessary, just things I want to do.  It would be nice to have a desk, instead of the typical dinette that is added to most RV's.

I have never used the awning, I feel it is too much trouble to open and close. I would like to replace it with an automatic awning someday, just push a button to open and close.

While traveling, there are some "bumps in the road".....the weather, road construction, noisy neighbors, crowded RV sites - but its all temporary and nothing that really bothers me. I can park for the night, close the shades and easily "shut out" the rest of the world. I am an easy-going person and it takes a lot to get me really upset or frustrated. I am good at "tuning out" distractions and noises.

I have met a lot of people and I have enjoyed my job at Mesa Verde.  This week I will be starting a volunteer position at a National Wildlife Refuge, only 25 minutes from my daughter's house. And I am looking forward to a finding new job for next summer.

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3 years ago, my life changed suddenly.  We never know what tomorrow will bring.

Some of the things that were on my life list of dreams and goals are happening, but it is not what I expected my life to be. That does not mean I am unhappy with this lifestyle, just that I never planned for the possibility of living alone.

I feel we need to take advantage of all that life has to offer. I am visiting so many places, and meeting a lot of people, and totally looking forward to more adventures.

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

So, that's it, my first year on this journey.  I still have many, many more places I want to visit. And my biggest dream of all is to spend a lot of time in Alaska.  

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

When I started this blog, I had a list of things to accomplish and checked them all off the list.

The only items to put on a "TO DO" list right now are:

Spend several months or longer in Alaska

Take a cruise anywhere (on a small ship)
maybe a Tall Ship on the east coast

Visit Iceland

I would like to visit all 50 states eventually, I have not traveled on an airplane since 1976.  I could take a cruise to Hawaii - or maybe even fly - and there are several volunteer opportunities in Hawaii, or maybe a temporary job to help keep the cost down. Of course, I would have to leave the RV behind if I decide to go to Hawaii.

 Anything is possible

I have not put a deadline on these goals, because I am living life
 "one day at a time".


  1. Your story is truly inspiring, Teri. Well done on completing your first year of full-timing!

  2. Congratulations on completing your first year. I think you'll find as the years pass your journey will evolve and new horizons are waiting to be enjoyed. Happy trails.

  3. You really do inspire me Teri. And right now I can sure use some. I'm facing the bleakness you have survived and you give me hope. Thanks so much.

  4. Sounds like a success story to me. I think that sentence "it's all temporary and nothing really bothers me" says a lot about you and why the year has gone well. Wishing you the best in your new volunteer position. Looking forward to your posts about the NWR.

  5. Teri...I remember when all this started for you...I admire you. You figured out what you wanted to do and did what you had to do to get there...not many people do that. Hawaii is a must if you can...I have never felt more alive and healthy as when I was there...something about it.

  6. Good for you! I think you have the perfect sized rig to go to Alaska. :)

  7. glad to see you enjoyed your first year...

  8. It was a wonderful year for you - full of new adventures and learning more about yourself and your strengths. Not easy, that's for sure, but you have accomplished so much. Way to go girl!

  9. congrats on your first anniversary! may you have many more safe miles and great views!

  10. Right on Teri! I'll bet you've come farther than you ever dreamed. So keep on dreaming because you'll get there. Good luck with the new job.

  11. Happy first anniversary! I am confronting some of the same decisions you were a year ago.

    I can't decide about towing a car or perhaps buying a motor scooter or perhaps just waiting until I'm on the road to see what is best for me. . .

    I would be interested to know more about why you chose TX as your domicile state. Having been born & raised in Illinois, leaving only for short vacations, I am inclined to keep my residence here. There is a mail forwarding service in IL. With my limited income, taxes won't really be a concern. I haven't yet researched renewing drivers' license & car tags. The only variable that might impact greatly is the cost of insurnce in the zip code of the mail forwarding address.

    Was there a compelling reason for you to chose a state other than IL for your domicile?

    Thanks for sharing your anniversary thoughts. LG

    1. I tried to reply via email but you don't have your blog set up for me to do that. I picked TX because of the Escapees group and because my daughter has family in TX and we all may eventually have some property there. My insurance actually went down a bit, even though I changed from part time to full time RVer when I changed to a TX resident. If you would like to correspond more, I would prefer to send an email. Thanks.

  12. Happy AnniRVsary! Wow, what a ride you must have been on the last three years, and what changes you have seen. Brava!

  13. Happy Anniversary! A good attitude takes you everywhere!

  14. Congratulations on your one-year anniversary. It went fast, didn't it? You've accomplished a lot in that time and seen a lot, too. I hope you enjoy your new volunteering job, and am looking forward to hearing about it. :)

  15. Congrats on your first full year. Way to go Teri. I hope you enjoy many more years and you get to Alaska. That is one on my wishes also.

    Safe Travels Always!

  16. Congrats to you. Love following you on your travels

  17. Happy 1st year anniversary Teri! I admire you doing all of this on your own. For me it is very inspirational. My dreams were shattered 3 years ago also, but I know that like you I can still have a very long and fulfilling life.

  18. Happy anniversary, Teri! wow... I've been following you from the beginning! it has been a year... wow.

    You have done absolute wonders ... you are indeed an inspiration! good stuff

  19. Teri,
    Your "journey" is more than miles and places along the way, as I'm sure you realize. It is a journey of courage, goals, and triumphs, as well as a great example to others... especially women. I congratulate you on your spirit, and thank you for sharing you life with us.
    Box Canyon Mark... and Bobbie. Hiking partners if we ever cross paths.

  20. Congrats Teri on 1 year! Sure hope to be following your footsteps in another year or so and leave Illinois for full-time RVing myself.

    I got the RV bug after flying to Alaska and renting an RV for a week back in 2005. If I can ever get back there, I think a really fun trip would be to drive one way and take the Alaska/BC maritime ferries the other way. They transport RVs (but you can't stay in them while at sea)--still, a neat and rather inexpensive way to see parts of Alaska you can't see from the road.

    Have fun work camping at the NWR. Other than your connectivity issues, it sounds great!

  21. Hello Teri-
    Been reading your blog for a few months and finally caught up. I commend you for taking this brave step in the rest of the journey of your life. I am about the same age as you are and wonder what I would do what if things change...nice to see this option... Looking forward to seeing pictures of the new interior remodel- take care and safe travels-
    Kitty Kiss

  22. Wonderful blog. I like the way you have expressed yourself. I will visit and kayak Alaska and Hawaii... hopefully by May 2014 (when I turn 70). In the last 3 years, I have kayaked all the lower 48 states. Hope our paths cross one day. I'd enjoy meeting you.

  23. Just read this, Teri. Bless your heart, Girl, I hope you make it to Alaska and Hawaii and get to do the things you desire to do. I am also hoping to go to Alaska but not for that long of a time. I would like to go with others maybe in a small convoy. I love your blog!


Hi, I welcome your thoughts and comments.

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It is the sandstorm that shape the stone statues of the Desert. It is the struggles of Life that form a person's character ~ Native American Proverb