Our 2017 Adventure had both ups and downs. It was a year with several unexpected expenses that included a broken windshield and various camper repair projects. Later on we decided it was time to put new tires on the camper. At four and a half years they still looked good but camper tires are notorious for failing at about that age. We also ended up putting new tires on the truck, but, sorry to say, that came after a major tire failure that did damage to the truck. Not long after that the truck ended up in the shop for a bigger repair. After working through the issue with the warranty company, the repair ended up costing us hundreds rather than thousands of dollars. Still, it was an expense that hit the bank account pretty hard. The lesson learned wasn’t a new one, but still hit us in the wallet: when it rains it pours.
2017 also brought some medical issues our way, some are still ongoing. That reminds us of another old lesson made new: life happens, even when you are living the RV dream.
During the year we tried a bit different approach to travel. Rather than moving every 1-2 weeks during the months when we aren’t volunteering we decided to slow down in the early spring while we waited for warmer temperatures up north. We spent a month on the Alabama coast, then another month near Knoxville, TN. The result was mixed. The month in Alabama wasn’t bad at all. We were in a park that had lots of winter people and lots of interesting activities. The month in Tennessee, so close to the month in Alabama, seemed longer. The campground was crowded and the weather was wet. All this added up to a less than enjoyable stay for us. Lesson learned: be careful when scheduling longer stays to be sure the campground/area is worth the lengthy stop and don’t schedule longer stops too close together.
While we were in Indianapolis we were joined by our son and family for a few nights. The camper was really crowded. Still, it was fun seeing our loved ones and accommodating our “guests.” None of us would have enjoyed this set up for a longer stay, but for a few nights it was great and we would happily do it again. The lesson learned is that changing things up for a special occasion can be fun even if it is inconvenient.
We enjoyed family a couple of other times during the Adventure, spending a week near Jackie’s brother and his wife, Jim and Phyllis. This was followed by a couple of stays near Jackie’s family in Iowa. Then in the fall, my sister Susan joined us and traveled with us for a couple of weeks. These family times are a real bonus and make traveling even more fun. Same lesson: it’s a real bonus being with family and friends.
We always enjoy worshiping with the various congregations we visit in our travels. This year we especially enjoyed the Church of the Nazarene in Summerdale, AL. Being that this was one of our longer stays we got to know the folks a bit rather than just being one or two Sunday visitors. Then, we finished the year by filling in for a month for a pastor friend of ours in Denison, TX and then accepting an interim assignment (still ongoing) at Baytown, TX. A good lesson is that while being a perpetual church visitor is always interesting, nothing takes the place of being part of a worshiping community.
During 2017 we towed the camper nearly 5000 miles, visited 17 states, and stayed in 34 different places. This year, when we arrived in South Dakota we completed visiting all 50 states (although not all in the RV). We started and finished the year volunteering on Battleship Texas. This marks our fourth season of wintering in this unique location on the Houston Ship Channel. We are still working on our 2018 Adventure and expect to continue our journeys in this New Year.