Greetings from the rainy coast of Washington on Puget Sound at Fort Casey State Park. We'll be in residence here for a few days before moving farther south on Whidbey Island. Melanie has been invited to preach this coming Sunday in Freeland, Washington at St. Augustine-in-the-Woods.
We've just finished spending a week in La Conner, Washington where our friends, Nancy and Mike, live. We were in residence at the La Conner Marine Resort within walking distance of their home and the village center of La Conner.
The week was filled with lots of fun trips around the area and lots of tulips. It was a privilege to spend colorful mornings and evenings walking around various tulip fields (including Roozengaard) making photographs with Nancy. We're grateful for their wonderful hospitality, friendship and for including us in celebrating Mike at his birthday party this Saturday past.
We made new acquaintances, ate great local cusine and look forward to more time in La Conner over the next few months we'll be in the PNW.
April 27 marks 3.5 years of living that van life. Life on the road continues to be a truly great adventure for us.
We spent most of the winter months this year traveling in California. I know Florida seems to be a preferred destination for those like us who travel full time, but meh. While we are domiciled in Florida and vote there, the state has begun to remind us of Alabama politically. The Christianists seem to be running the guv'ment there too.
California has an incredible diversity of climate and terrain and Southern California in winter is like perpetual spring. I'm thinking, despite the higher costs there, California will be one of our default destinations for winters to come. Southern New Mexico and Arizona need to get a consolation mention though as both provide great places to spend time and we are certain to spend some of future winters in those states too. We love the desert in winter.
Diesel prices slowed us up a bit recently, meaning we stayed in place a bit longer than we might ordinarily. When a day trip costs $75.00 in fuel, you consider if maybe you could include the destination on your way to the next spot you're traveling. We paid a high price of $6.50 a gallon in the mountains of Northern California and most recently $4.89 a gallon in Mount Vernon, Washington. Fuel tax is high in California, but the roads are, generally speaking, well maintained. Gas Buddy is your and the RVer's friend.
Inflation has made one of our favorite on-the-road treats, feasting on the local cuisine, noticeably more expensive. Groceries, of course, are up in price too. And yet, not a day goes by that one of us doesn't express how great this traveling life is for us and how fortunate we are to be able to do it, especially during the pandemic.
There are no sage revelations to convey at this juncture. Everyone who lives full time on the road will have different experiences depending on their finances and tolerance for risk. You learn quickly how malleable you are, being able to pivot quickly is a plus. Anticipating what you may need or want is also a plus though, you know, even the best laid plans at times require revision.
Having backpacked all my adult life has proven to be a plus. It put me in the mindset of thinking about necessities and then, if there's room, considering the lagniappe. It is surprising how little one needs to be happy.
Checklists are essential. If my backpacking brothers read this, they are sure to get a chuckle. I was notorious for carrying too much stuff and, sometimes, suffering the consequences. I swear I've repented. Mostly. We still have too much stuff in the van.
Most of our everyday life has now become routine.
After a few days off grid (without hookups), I can pretty much tell you how much fresh water we have without checking. I know how long we can be off grid, based on what we've done, before we need to empty grey and black tanks.
Set up and take down are generally seamless operations. Most times I make sure when we're finished using something, it's stowed away, especially on the night before our next departure. That way we're underway in very little time and I can enjoy my morning coffee and breakfast without having to think much about breaking camp. It's a preference.
From time to time people send us articles about people out here living the life. We really like hearing from people back home and new friends we've made. A few days ago we got this piece out of the New York Times. It reminded me of Bill Bryson's book, A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail. While Caity's piece in the Times is humorous and well written and worth a read, believe me, like her, there are people out here who are doing it with little thought of what the experience may actually be like. #vanlife #indeed
I'm not inclined to bore you with the minutia of our version of #vanlife. If I did, I think most people would say, no, no thanks, there's no way I'm routinely doing "x" in order to see or do "y." We understand. It's a big, beautiful, interesting world out here. We live like this so you may seriously consider not doing it. #joking #maybe
Steven and Melanie