Already two years under our seat belt, living and traveling in our faithful RV, Starbuck, and we can only wonder where the days and months rolled. December 19th marks two important days for us. It’s not only the day we stepped out of our “sticks and bricks” home for the last time to embark on a whole new way of living life, but it is also my husband’s birthday. For me, this day represents all the things in this world that I cherish deeply and could not imagine a day without, the freedom of the open road and new possibilities all shared with the one I love.
This new traveling lifestyle has allowed us to see our country through a kaleidoscope of sorts. We have hiked through amber waves of Kansas grain, picked Michigan apples under fruited plains, drove miles and miles of that ribbon of highway in the shadow of Kentucky’s steeples, and stood in a trance as the beauty of the morning sun warmed up Minnesota’s frosty autumn skyway. The sights, sounds, smells and sensations are all so vivid in our minds, and although mere pictures would not do each scene and experience justice, it is the best we have to share of our Second Year in Review as Full-Time RVers.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Kansas was probably one of our favorite places to visit this year. Whether in the bitter months of winter or breezy, bright months of spring, the vast, ever swaying grassland has a beauty and peacefulness that we can (oddly enough) only compare to waves sweeping in and away from the shore!
There are all sorts of hidden treasures in America. One in particular is hidden quite well, 650 feet below the Earth’s surface. That’s where we went to tour Hutchinson’s salt museum, Strataca. The picture above shows a decommissioned work vehicle, composed entirely of spare parts.
Although seemingly destructive, this prairie fire is anything but. A seasonal occurrence throughout the Midwest, controlled burns are strategically created to clear out the old brush and make way for new vegetation. We happened upon this particular one just driving around one day in the southeastern portion of Kansas.
We spent the tail end of April in Kansas completing our work camping job at USI RV Park and experienced the start of tornado season with a hailstorm. Luckily, there were no casualties, but the nickel-sized hail sounded more like cue balls hitting the roof of the rig. The cats got upfront seats, on the dashboard, to the show (probably not the best place to let them sit, in retrospect).
On our trip eastbound to Michigan, we passed by the Gateway to the West. A marvel of workmanship, the Gateway Arch is a monument all its own. The ride to the top, alone, was out of this world!
One of the benefits of our work camping gig in Michigan was free passes to area attractions. We boarded one of the fastest ferries to Mackinac Island to check out the Lilac Festival. It was truly an island paradise with the colors and fragrances.
Spring arrived late in the year, but with it came a crafty Stowaway. She built a nest under our slideout and within weeks, four eggs hatched. We were fortunate enough to capture bits and pieces of the births.
Perhaps our favorite past time in Michigan was scuba diving. We met up with a local PADI group about once a week to dive in Lake Huron and surrounding rivers. We experienced diving in a river and around a shipwreck for the first time.
The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is quite breathtaking in autumn. We spent a few days dry camping at places like Haymeadow Campground where we glimpsed a tranquil waterfall during a hike.
The Sugar Beet Harvest is by far the most grueling, but lucrative work camping job thus far. Twelve hour nights working outside in freezing temperatures always ended with a bright sunrise stretching over the horizon,warming the new day.
A giant nest sits atop a tree , no doubt belonging to one of the many hawks, falcons, or vultures we’ve seen souring above in Kentucky.
What’s a stay in Kentucky without a Bourbon tour or two? This building section of the Barton Distillery in Bradstown, KY is all that remains after a fire ensued. The red doors, symbolic of many things like safety, luck, warmth, and welcome, are all that we wish for as we begin another year on the road!
Here’s to another three or five or ten or twenty more years on the open road! Who knows! What we do know is that we will continue to travel, continue to share our love for this country and its amazing treasures, continue to tell our stories of adventure, continue to learn and grow from every soul, every situation we come across, and continue to help others seeking the road less traveled!
To all of our readers, thank you for meeting us halfway on our journey and we hope you will stick around for more tales on the trail.
If you are interested in taking up photography as a hobby or want to know how to use your current camera, Levi has written a beginner’s guide to photography, Photography 101. Now, through the end of December, you can purchase the e-book at the discounted price of $1.99. That’s 50% off!!
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Also, be sure to check out our RV Store for the latest “RV-themed” apparel, creations of yours truly!