A couple years ago I got the idea in my head that I needed to spend a summer in Rhode Island ✔️ and enjoy fall in the Great Smoky Mountains. ✔️
So, what’s next? June on the west coast, perhaps. xo.
I hadn’t been to Memphis nor seen family here since 2010. Too long. So today I’m thankful to be living a life in which Zach and I could purposely (/perfectly) route our visit to join their big Thanksgiving gathering. It’s obvious where Zach gets his good-natured (and v witty) personality when hanging out with his aunts and uncles and cousins. #digitalnomad #fulltimeRV #familytime #thankful
So, where exactly do Zach and I live? In an adorable little Airstream which is towed by an equally adorable mid-size truck.
Zach and I shopped and shopped for RVs for many years. In 2012 we purchased a RAV4 with a tow capacity of 3500 confident we’d buy an Aliner to tow behind it. When our dreams of owning an RV turned into living in an RV we started having doubts about what we needed. We’d spend hours browsing RVs at local RV events and local dealers. We liked a lot of styles and brands but I couldn’t stand completely straight in some or didn’t enjoy the dated interior in others.
And then we saw an Airstream and that was that.
Our next decision was the length; we quickly eliminated the 16′, were seriously debating the 19′, but we ultimately went with a 23′. We knew at the time of purchase that we’d be living in and working from the space full-time; we wanted to be realistic about our needs and I’m so thankful for those extra 4′ feet. I’m often amazed at how little our Airstream looks from the outside compared to how big and roomy it feels inside.
When we started our search for a tow vehicle, the Colorado was newly releasing its diesel engine (wait lists!) which made it the toughest mid-size truck on the market. (And also toughest to obtain! That’s a story for another time.) Zach and I hadn’t ever thought about buying a Chevrolet but given the specs of our camper and after crunching the numbers we knew that this truck was the only realistic way we could stay mid-size and comfortably tow our Airstream. But even then, everyone (aka the internet and my dad) said it wasn’t enough truck. People love overkill.
Stressing their opinions, Zach and I spent a lot of time test driving other options. It was important to us to have a capable tow vehicle, while also having a truck that we felt comfortable driving on its own. We knew we loved the Colorado, but it wasn’t until we test drove — and subsequently struggled to maneuver — a Silverado that we officially decided to to take the plunge.
We’ve been so pleased with our decision and I’m so happy to have proven the concerns unfounded. Our little truck doesn’t struggle at all, has great control and handles the load so well. While towing we get around 16MPG, but Zach amazingly got 21MPG while towing from Asheville, NC to Nashville, TN. When we’re not towing we enjoy gas mileage that is far better than the small hatchback we traded in for it.
So, long story short, I am in love. Our years of research paid off because this is seriously the perfect set-up for our needs.
Zach has been doing a great job at plotting the locations we’ve been on a map. Considering we started our journey a mere six months ago and have purposely stayed in one spot a week or two (or a month or two), I’m pleasantly surprised and pleased at how far we’ve already traveled.
So, to celebrate those six months I decided to highlight six of my favorite things we’ve come across so far. Partly because I’d recommend these to anyone in the area, but mostly because I want to keep a record of these things so when I return I can do it all again. Plus, I recently wrote a postcard to my niece, Pepper, who loves lists and inspired me to write some lists of my own.
In order of appearance:
1. Hacienda RV Resort, Las Cruces, NM
This was our first experience with an RV park and we’ve been in a lot of RV parks since. It’s not fancy, but it’s a good price, has nice views, large spots, and privacy fences between rigs. They pick up your trash at the curb every day, have dog runs and nice/clean showers. The more RV parks we visit the more appreciation I have for Hacienda. I expect we’ll be spending a lot of time at this RV park due to its proximity to Zach’s family. I’m OK with this.
Honorable mention: Zach’s favorite was the KOA in Saco, ME. Close proximity to Portland, forest-like feel in the middle of a city and the staff was outstandingly friendly. Nothing beats moochdocking with family though, followed closely by state parks.
Out of all of the states we’ve visited Vermont is one of the few that I hadn’t been to before. Those mountains, trees, towns; dreamy. Vermont has officially made its way to my list of favorite states ever, but this decision might’ve also been influenced by…
3. Maple Creemees, Creemee Stand, Wilmington, VT
Pro tip: there is no substitute for the real thing. Zach and I ate a lot of maple creamies/creamees/creemies during our stay in Vermont, but the very best we had was the frozen custard variety from the Creemee Stand.
Honorable mention in the category of creamy desserts: my sister-in-law’s homemade ice cream. She experimented the entire time we were in Rhode Island and had it down to a science about the time we rolled outta there.
4. Goodies Family Restaurant, North Stonington, CT
I consider myself a pancake connoisseur so when I tell you that I had the best pancake ever at Goodies, you better believe it. These pancakes were so good we scoped the area for rig parking so that we could eat there again on our way out of town.
Honorable mention in the category of great pancakes: Buttered Biscuit, Maggie Valley, NC
5. Durham, NC
If someone told me right now I had to pick one place to live forever out of the places we’ve visited so far (yes, realizing this is a silly scenario) it’d be Durham. I loved Durham the first time I visited in 2010. I loved it even more this time.
Honorable mention: Providence, RI which has always been my favorite littlest big city on the east coast.
6. Cocoa Cinnamon, Durham, NC
I’m married to an avid coffee drinker and tea lattes are my drink of choice when I’m trying to keep up with him. Way too many coffee shops make tea lattes out of powder (ew) or syrups (meh) but the tea lattes at Cocoa Cinnamon were made fresh. On our first visit I ordered a killer rooibos tea latte but I knew I was hooked after I ordered that harvest tea latte on our second visit. My only regret is I’ll never have anything like it again. And, confession, it was then that I started shopping for houses in the neighborhood.
Purchased a new outdoor rug for the #airstream which prompted a photoshoot with the world’s best models.
Also, let it be known that Dakota is such a good dog and I appreciate her so much. The simple necessities like a good meal and comfy bed please her to pieces. She’s adapted to life on the road better than any of us. Wherever we go, she loves that she gets to go home.
#fulltimeRV #digitalnomad #homeiswhereyouparkit #rvdog #dogswhotravel #labmix #pekingesemix #travelingdog
After summering in New England, Zach and I have purposely landed in North Carolina this fall. We spent a week at Falls Lake State Park and despite my obsession with Durham, we continued on to a popular little RV park in Maggie Valley; what a wonderful time of year to be here. This desert girl has never experienced the season quite like this. We’ve driven the Blue Ridge Parkway during peak fall colors, explored the Great Smoky Mountains, discovered quaint Asheville neighborhoods, visited Harrah’s Cherokee (a hotel-casino Zach and I both supported during our various roles at the Caesars HQ in Vegas) and soon we’ll be taking contra dance lessons. But possibly most notably, today we tracked down a pumpkin patch/hay ride/corn maze to continue our yearly tradition of attending events typically geared toward families with children. #digitalnomad #fulltimeRV
Another reason I love towing my home: lunch breaks and bathroom breaks at the most beautiful scenic outlooks.
#fulltimeRV #roadtrip #newhampshire #travelday #digitalnomad #airstream
This member of our family loves the beach more than any of us. Happy #nationaldogday, Dakota! #wavechaser #beachdays #rvdog #digitalnomad #maine
Today would have been nan’s 90th birthday and next Tuesday will be my 34th.
I’d love to pick up the phone and call her; I’d sing a bad rendition of happy birthday, ask her about her day and tell her, “talk to you in a week!” One week later she’d call me and sing to me. Just like we’ve done every other year for as many years as I’ve been living away from her.
Zach and I moved to Las Vegas, NV in 2007. We weren’t far from my family in AZ but felt worlds away from the rest of our family. And when we moved to Austin, TX in 2013 we felt worlds away from AZ. We would talk about moving closer to family but could never settle on a location as we couldn’t decide between siblings or parents who were spread from AZ to RI. (We love you all equally.)
And we ultimately decided that we wanted to live everywhere and see everyone; we didn’t have to choose between one or the other. I’ve always felt a little transient by nature anyway and talks about living in an RV surfaced regularly in previous conversations with Zach. At one point, we had a 5-year plan with Google calendar check-in reminders along the way; I think our launch date at the time was tentatively scheduled for 2017. We hit the road in April 2016.
We started in Arizona where I was able to spend the entire month of May with my parents, sister, niece, nephew, brother-in-law, aunts, uncle and nan. Oh, nan.
Nan passed away in July and I can’t help but feel so thankful for the timing of our full-timing. With a goal to spend more time with family, how lucky was I to build such timely and lasting memories with nan on our first stop?
So yes, nan would be 90 today and I feel beyond appreciative for 33 years I was able to spend with her. I’ll miss her phone call next week (and forever). But I know she was pleased with this mobile life we’re living. I am too.
Right now Kyla and the #airstream are tied for compliments. (Including the random thumbs up on the highway and the lady that pulled over while I was on a walk just to tell me how adorable my dog is.) Yes! Thanks you guys. You should meet my husband.
#luckygirl #rvdog #fulltimeRV #digitalnomad