This morning we did something that was for me quite exciting, and I was still in my pajamas! Shannon got on the computer and the Google Maps and the Nomad sites and we planned our first year on the road. This is just the big picture, details will be added as we get closer and do more research. Remember, we are on a budget and we also have the goal of traveling no more than 200 miles/day, and staying no less than 2 nights at each stop.
We knew the first loop was going to be to the west to accomplish a few major directives… an appointment at the Fleetwood service center in Coburg, Oregon before our first-year warranty expires, a stop at the conveniently close solar company in Eugene to get our solar system installed so that we will be better equipped for boondocking, visits with all of my west coast California family to show off our new digs and deliver all of the items that my relatives wanted, and visits to friends and relatives in Spokane, Seattle and Portland. Eventually we would like to be not quite so regimented in our travel style, but this first trip has so many required scheduled appearances that an itinerary seems in order. We also want to do at least one stint at a NOMADS work site, so we started looking there.
Much to my surprise, the NOMAD work sites fill up a year in advance, especially in the more desirable locations. Assuming that the house will be sold in the next 4 months (I know, big assume. But the local economy is improving and we are highly motivated.), Shannon’s last day of school is May 10, and his mom’s birthday is on the 17th, we should be able to be on the road by the 18th. We found a NOMAD work site in Ten Sleep, Wyoming starting on June 3rd. That’s 761 miles to travel in two weeks. That includes a stop in Ft. Collins, CO to visit with my niece Sarah and her family. So far this fits our leisurely time frame. We will go back and fill in the details later (exact routes, accommodations, etc.). We will be at Ten Sleep for three weeks.
The next time-sensitive stop is the Fleetwood service center in Coburg Oregon before the 29th of July. This gives us 4-5 weeks to travel. First up to Spokane to visit our friends Jay and Jennifer who went full-time this year. Also, I went to college in Spokane and Cheney and have not been back since the 70’s. I’m looking forward to exploring old haunts and seeing new changes. We also have friends to visit in Seattle, but in the interests of not being too rushed have decided to postpone that leg of the journey. Next is a visit to the Wallowa River Valley and then a leisurely drive down the Columbia River Gorge. I lived in Portland for 7 years back in the late 70’s and I have a nephew living there now. We will be passing through twice, so depending on timing, we may stop on the way north to Seattle.
As our plans firm up we will be able to set appointments for warranty work and service in Coburg and solar in Eugene. From there we will be able to do day trips to the coast and explore southern Oregon while our rig is being worked on. Then it is off to Portland to spend a little more time walking down Memory Lane and a visit with my nephew, and then Seattle to visit my college friends Paul and Lourdes and their family.
According to my rough calculations, we should be approaching the end of August by now, we’ve met all of our scheduled appointments, and it’s time for a meander down the west coast to visit with my sis Cindy in Vacaville, CA, who has a large horse property and has invited us to stay as long as we like as long as I can help feed horses in the mornings (rough duty, I’m telling you). Shannon has some genealogy work he wants to do in San Francisco, and no trip to the ranch would be complete without a drive up to wine country for a nice dinner out.
After that we will continue south to Ojai and Santa Barbara for a stay with my sister Shelley and her family. Affordable camping looks to be difficult to find in Southern California, so we need to do a little more research there to find a place we like close to my family. Also maybe a trip to Santa Barbara for fresh seafood and a visit to my nephew Andrew, and maybe get my tattoo tweaked!
Last stop in California is Redlands, to see my nephew Adam and his wife Kellie and their son Shane, who was an infant the last time we were out. Always amazing to see how much the little ones have grown.
On our last leg we will head across the southern desert with stops at Deming to stay at the Escapee Dream Catcher Campground and Albuquerque to visit Shannon’s niece Shannon and her husband Montana. Then back to Four Corners for annual doctor appointments and Christmas with Shannon’s family.
In our first year we will have managed to circumvent the entire western third of the United States, travel about 5,000 miles, miss Nevada and Utah completely, as well as most of Montana, including Glacier Park and the Road to the Sun, and any chance of seeing Alaska. So we will most assuredly be back.
We also booked our first NOMAD work camp stop for 2018 in Mercedes, Texas, January 8. But that’s the beginning of a whole new story. . .