Why We Sold the Airstream

When we started our full-time Airstream life, we didn’t set a specific timeline for how long we’d be on the road. We were shooting for around three years, but we weren’t going to force anything. Prior to our first night as full timers, we had never spent a night in the Airstream, so we didn’t know what to expect.

But we loved it.

From January of 2018 to March of 2020, we continuously zig-zagged through the western half of the United States and two Canadian provinces. We travelled to places we had never thought possible, many of which we had never even heard of until #airstreamlife. There are so many unique, beautiful, amazing places to see in this country of ours, and we felt privileged we were able to experience them.

And then March 2020 rolled in. When the pandemic started, we tried to travel as little as possible and stay socially distanced, but the isolation and uncertainty started to wear on us. We decided that the best thing for us to do (when staying home was the safest and considerate thing to do), was get off the road and find a home base to settle into. We decided on Bozeman, Montana, a city we had spent time in during the previous two summers. We loved its beauty, the outdoorsy-ness, and the small-town feel with all of the amenities a larger city has to offer, like good restaurants, breweries, and an airport. We found a perfect-for-us condo online, had the listing agent do a Facetime walkthrough, and set off from our little oasis of an RV resort outside Capitol Reef National Park and headed north. In early May, we did an in-person walkthrough and put in an offer that was accepted. Luckily, we were hitting the market just right and prices hadn’t yet increased. During the (many) weeks it took for us to close, we continued to live in the Airstream at a few different RV parks in the area. We finally closed at the end of July and settled into a ‘sticks and bricks’ once more.

And we loved it.

We loved all the things that you give up in order to live in an Airstream. Privacy. Rooms with doors. King-size bed. Washer and dryer. Dishwasher. Large shower. Normal-size kitchen appliances. We loved having a local grocery store again. We loved exploring all of the hiking trails in the area. For us, it was an incredibly easy transition from Airstream life to condo life. #noregrets

We were lucky to find an available indoor storage unit in the area for the Airstream to live in when it wasn’t being used. Over the next year (mid-2020 to mid-2021), as we continued to travel in the Airstream part-time, the thoughts starting creeping in. On the bad days (and there are ALWAYS bad days when it comes to RV life), we missed our new home. We found ourselves cutting some trips short so that we could get back to Bozeman sooner. We regularly talked about selling the Airstream, but decided to spend one more winter in San Diego before making any final decisions. We lived in San Diego pre-Airstream life and had spent a decent amount of our previous winters on the road there. We made it to Southern California mid-November and, well, it wasn’t the best experience. You can read more about that here, but the gist is that we ended up having to stay at a less-than-ideal RV park, had crappy weather, and Travis had a medical issue. It’s that last one that really cemented the idea of selling the Airstream, and what better place to do it than San Diego County? To read about the selling process, click here.

A lot of people in our life were surprised by our decision, but here are the reasons we came to it:

First, RVing has changed dramatically since we first started in 2018. There are hundreds of thousands of more RVs on the road now. You have to plan further ahead (like, sometimes a year or more) and pay more than ever before.

Second, we love Bozeman! Owning the Airstream made us feel like we had to travel regularly in it, otherwise it was stupid to be paying the carrying costs (storage and insurance). But we hadn’t gotten to spend much time exploring and enjoying Bozeman, and we wanted to change that.

Third, we lost the excitement and spark one needs to have to live the Airstream life. The concessions we had to make when living in a tiny space had started to outweigh the joy it brought. When people asked us how long we were going to full time, we would always say until it’s not fun anymore. And while we stopped full timing a while ago, part timing had lost the magic for us as well.

Fourth, Airstream’s parent company has an $18 billion backlog of orders. Airstream dealerships are empty. Someone ordering an Airstream today has to wait 9-12 months for delivery. This supply and demand issue means used Airstreams are selling quickly and for a good price on the private market. It was an ideal time to sell.

Fifth, Travis’s health scare put things into perspective. We were VERY lucky to be in San Diego when it happened, but could have easily been in the middle of nowhere. This was always the biggest fear for us and we just didn’t want to tempt fate twice.

But the number one reason for selling was 100% financial:

Not all that long ago, we “owned” a four-bedroom, three-bath home in North County San Diego. I say “owned” because we had a too-large mortgage on this too-large house and it was going to be decades before we truly “owned” it. I had student loans. We had vehicle loans. We had credit card debt. Yet, we were still eating out way too often and taking vacations we shouldn’t have. We were going to concerts and Broadway shows and buying clothes whenever we felt like it. We weren’t necessarily living beyond our means, but we definitely weren’t concerned with paying down debt or building our savings. Then, one day, a realtor knocked on our door and asked us if we wanted to sell our house. And we did. With the proceeds, we paid off our debt. We moved into a rental and eventually decided to buy the Airstream. With some of the remaining profits from the house, we were able to buy our Airstream and truck in cash. We entered our full-time Airstream life truly debt free. And because our mostly-remote consulting business easily transitioned to road life, our income didn’t change. Of course, there was still site rental fees, gas, propane, laundry, groceries, vehicle maintenance, insurance, etc. – but we didn’t owe anyone anything and it was a glorious feeling.

Our full-time Airstream life was much less expensive than our pre-Airstream life, but that may not be the case for everyone. We had a very spendy lifestyle in an area of the country with a high cost of living. Also, living in the Airstream really turned us into minimalists, which is also not the case for all RVers. We stopped buying stuff – mainly because there was no room for it. We stopped going out to eat all the time. We stopped taking vacations. We started to really pay attention to what we spent our money on. I’ve seen people enter the RV world thinking they were going to save tons of money and then not, but for us, it worked out. During our 2.5 years of full-time Airstream life, we were able to build up our savings, increase our investments, and focus on contributing to retirement. Financial stability kind of became an addiction for us.

As the discussion about selling the Airstream became more serious, we looked at our financials closely. We realized that if we were able to get a certain amount for the AS (which we ended up getting), that we’d be able to pay the condo off and once again be 100% debt free. So that, my friends, is what we did. Just 18 months and 4 days after closing on our condo, we were able to pay the mortgage in full.

Buying and living in the Airstream taught us how to be financially intelligent. Selling the Airstream allowed us to be truly financially independent. And 1.5 years after quitting the full-time lifestyle, we are still living a pretty minimalist life, choosing not to surround ourselves with stuff. People ask if selling the Airstream was bittersweet. For us, it was not. Did we get to do and see everything we had hoped to? No, and that’s okay. We loved that part of our life, but we do not miss it. We did, however, learn so much about ourselves and how we want to live our lives, so we will be eternally appreciative of our time spent as Airstreamers.

2021: A Year in Review

The beginning of 2021 found us in Bozeman, Montana, dealing with the first real winter we’ve experienced since we moved from Wisconsin to Southern California in 2011. Thanks to Covid, we decided to spend the winter in our condo that we purchased in July of 2020, instead of heading to warmer climes. Bozeman is as equally as beautiful in the winter as it is in the summer, but after almost six months of cold and snow, we were ready to adventure again.

Our very first night back in the Airstream for the year was May 15th. We spent two nights at a nearby campground to get the rig de-winterized and to make sure everything was still functional after its long winter sleep. Besides needing to replace the propane tank hoses, all systems were a go! It was during this first outing that we started a new tradition we refer to as #CampfireSweatshirtSeries. Here’s a sneak peak, but I’ll share more about that later:

Without further ado, our year in numbers:

 

States Visited: 5 | Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, and California – We weren’t able to add any new states to our Airstream travel map this year, so our total sits at 20. (And that’s where it will stay, but more on that later.)

Montana | Glacier National Park
Wyoming | Grand Teton National Park
Idaho | Craters of the Moon National Monument
Oregon | Silver Falls State Park – Sublimity, OR
California | Sue-Meg State Park – Trinidad, CA

Miles Traveled: 3,410 | We opted to stay mostly close to home this year and it really made for an enjoyable spring, summer, and fall to not be putting too many miles on.

Gallatin Gateway, MT | May 23

Nights on the Road: 100 | I’m actually pretty happy with this number, seeing as we spent almost the entire first half of the year in our condo.

Anthony Chabot Regional Park – Castro Valley, CA | November 15

Different Overnight Locations: 24 | We had a good mix of site types this year, with a fifth of our nights being spent in national park campgrounds; a healthy blend of city, county, & regional parks; four state parks, all in Oregon; a sprinkle of casino, Harvest Host, & fairgrounds stays; two different KOAs; and the remaining nights being spent in private RV parks/campgrounds.

Millsite Park RV Park – Myrtle Creek, OR | November 5 – 6
Emigrant Springs State Park – Meacham, OR | September 30 – October 2
Azalea Glen RV Park – Trinidad, CA | November 11 – 13

Total Site Fees: $4017.79 | That number is a combination of nightly/weekly/monthly rates, tax, reservation fees, and electricity. It comes out to an average of $42.72/night, which is much higher than we like to spend. However, our not-too-ridiculously-priced place where we usually spend the winter in San Diego County was closed for maintenance and the also-not-too-spendy backup wasn’t available when we first arrived, so we had to settle for one of the holy-crap-this-is-stupid-money RV parks for the last month and a half of the year.

Cheapest Site – $0.00 | Harvest Hosts at Milano Family Winery in Hopland, CA — November 13
Most Expensive Site – $86.15 | West Glacier KOA — July 12 – 15

National Park Service Sites: 6 (Officially) | We revisited a few of our favorite national parks – Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier and Redwood. We also added a new one in Pinnacles. We visited Crater of the Moon National Monument as well, and minus Redwood, our 20 nights in national parks campgrounds were spread across those 5 parks. We also made it to see the Golden Gate Bridge, but didn’t officially cross the bay to Golden Gate National Recreation Area. And one of our favorite places to visit this year was the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, which is actually managed by the U.S. Forest Service as opposed to the National Park Service.

Grand Teton National Park (Stayed at Colter Bay Campground) | May 24 – June 4
Yellowstone National Park (Stayed at Mammoth Campground) | June 29 – July 2
Glacier National Park (Stayed at Fish Creek Campground) | July 8 – 12
Redwood National and State Parks (Stayed at Azalea Glen RV Park) | November 11 – 13
Pinnacles National Park (Stayed at Pinnacles Campground) | November 18 – 19
Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve (Stayed at Lava Flow Campground) | October 27 – 28
Golden Gate Bridge (Stayed at Anthony Chabot Regional Park) | November 14 – 18
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (Stayed at Ainsworth State Park) | October 2 – 4

You can find information about all of the places we’ve stayed and traveled to in previous blog posts.

You can find wrap ups for previous years here: 2018, 2019, and 2020.

As I mentioned earlier, we started a new thing we refer to as the #CampfireSweatshirtSeries. For some reason, we decided to start taking campfire photos at every place we stayed (with a fire pit) while I sported a ‘Campfire Sweatshirt’. Are we weird? Yes. Do these pics bring me joy when I look back at them? Also yes. We have never shared these publicly before, so enjoy!

Cheers to us! at Colter Bay Campground | Grand Teton NP – May 28
Taking in the sights at Mammoth Campground | Yellowstone NP – July 2 (It was too hot for an actual fire.)
Bucks game at Fish Creek Campground | Glacier NP – July 8 (It was still too hot for an actual fire.)
#instahusband at West Glacier KOA | Coram, MT – July 13
Scrabbling at Emigrant Springs State Park | Meacham, OR – September 30
Fireside tea time at Ainsworth State Park | Corbett, OR – October 3
High five for starting a fire in what is essentially a rain forest! at Silver Falls State Park | Sublimity, OR – November 3
“There’s no one else I’d want to live in a 200sqft aluminum can with” at Harris Beach State Park | Brookings, OR – November 7
Caution: Hot at Anthony Chabot Regional Park | Castro Valley, CA – November 15
Our 20th national park at Pinnacles Campground | Pinnacles NP – November 18

We also did a Phase 2 of modifications at Ultimate Airstreams. You can read all about that here, but here are a few pics of what we had done:

We replaced the rounded sink and cabinet with a straight cabinet with new square sink.
This gave us much more room, especially in the area between the sink and the desk.
This of course required a new countertop, so we chose Corian’s rice paper color.
We also replaced the old Atwood stove/oven with a the new Furrion model. We love its look AND functionality!

On the personal front, we got on a plane in July for the first time in a long time to fly to Wisconsin to visit and spend time with family. We explored a lot of things we never got around to while living there, such as:

Lambeau Field Tour and Packers Hall of Fame – Green Bay | We’ve been to plenty of games and we’re even Packers shareholders, but Travis hadn’t done the tour since he was a kid and I had never done it, and neither of us had ever been to the Hall of Fame.

Harley Davidson Museum – Milwaukee | The museum is pretty great and has an onsite restaurant.

Lakeshore State Park – Milwaukee | This is a smaller, urban state park, but is nice for a walk along Lake Michigan.

While in Milwaukee, we were also able to catch the traveling Beyond Van Gogh exhibit…

…and check out Fiserv Forum a few hours before the Bucks won the championship!

Summer in Wisconsin can be pretty great!

We also flew to San Diego in September for our friends’ wedding. This trip actually felt like the kind of vacation we would take pre-Airstream life…

Speaking of pre-Airstream life…

While we didn’t put on a lot of miles this year and most of the places we spent the bulk of our time we had been to before, we really enjoyed our travels this year. However, towards the end of the year we officially decided to do something that we’ve been discussing for a looooong time — we’re selling the Airstream. There are many reasons that go into this decision and I’ll share them at some point, but for now, you can find more information regarding our rig at the blog post here, the RV Trader link here, the Airstream Marketplace link here, or the Airstream Hunter link here. If you are interested, please reach out. If you know someone who may be interested, please pass along our info.

 

Phase 2 at Ultimate Airstreams

We made our trek from Bozeman to Clackamas, Oregon at the end of September for one main purpose — to drop the Airstream off at Ultimate Airstreams. To read about where we stopped along the way, check out this post.

Whenever you tow, the weather is very important to take into consideration. Once we had decided that we were going to do some modifications at Ultimate, we needed to choose a date to start the project. We knew we wouldn’t be spending the winter in Bozeman, but in the San Diego area instead, and we knew that winter weather can start early in the northern Mountain West region, so we took both of those things into consideration. We ultimately decided that we should be safe leaving Bozeman at the end of September, taking the longer, flatter route to avoid mountain passes just in case Mother Nature decided to get winter started early at the higher elevations. We allowed ourselves 8 days to travel and enjoy the sights along the route to Clackamas. We dropped the Airstream off on October 4, a rainy Monday morning, and immediately hopped back in the truck and drove the absolutely gorgeous, shorter (750 miles vs 900 miles) route home. It took exactly 11 hours to get back to Bozeman and exactly one week later, we received our first snow fall. The timing really couldn’t have been better, as not only were we able to avoid snow, but also below freezing temperatures that would’ve required us to winterize the Airstream. Four weeks later, we packed up the truck, drove west once again where we were blessed with fantastic driving weather, spent a night in Spokane, and then continued on to Clackamas where we spent one more night before picking up the freshened up and fixed up Airstream.

By the way, this is our second project with Ultimate Airstreams, or ‘Phase 2’ as they dubbed it. To see what we had done during Phase 1, click here.

So, what did we have done this time? The major project during this phase was to replace the round, bumped out kitchen sink and cabinet with a straight one. Ian at Ultimate suggested this to us the first go round, as it would give us more space to move around, especially with the addition of the desk, but we said no. It didn’t take us long living with it to realize he was right, but we put the idea of another modification session off for a while. Like almost two years. If we were going to go in for a phase 2, we wanted to make sure we had a list of every possible item/issue that needed to be addressed.

We decided that if we were going to change the bumped out kitchen to a straight kitchen, we could change out the round sink for a square one. We also decided to replace the stock Atwood oven/stove combo with the newer Furrion model that now comes in the new Airstreams. Seeing as the Corian countertop was going to need to be replaced, we opted for the ‘rice paper’ color as opposed to the original (which has a yellowish tint), as it is a lighter, brighter color.

We also had two things addressed from phase 1. First, the bottom kind of fell out of one the drawers underneath the couch (our fault, not theirs), so they fixed that and reinforced it. Second, the arms of the couch had sharp edges, so we had them upholster those.

After that, it was just a list of maintenance items: Fix the hinge on the water heater door, replace the blind in one of the vista view windows, and fix the trim along one of the walls.

I did an absolute horrible job at taking before pictures, but was able to scrounge some up to show how some of the items looked pre-phase 2.

Before

After
Before
After

As you can see in the above photos, we now have so much more room between the desk and sink area. The original round design was actually not very good. That bumped out sink took up so much real estate and the round cabinet doors were literally falling off as we drove into Ultimate Airstreams parking lot on the day of drop off. We are so much happier with the straight cabinet design!

The rice paper color of countertop has little flecks in it to make it a little more interesting (and to hide crumbs better).

The previous oven had a metal door, so in order to look inside, it had to be opened. It also didn’t have an oven light, which the new Furrion model does. Besides looking much sexier than the previous, the new oven/stove also has a very functional safety feature. Whenever one of the knobs is turned on, whether it’s for a burner or the oven, the ring around it lights up red. This is a fantastic safety feature as it lets you know that there is propane actively flowing. With our past stove, one of the burners wasn’t shut off completely once and the propane detector ended up going off, so we’re very glad to have this feature.

One would think that replacing that large, round cabinet would mean losing storage space, but I think the storage is actually better now than before. Again, I didn’t take a before picture, but previously there was a small garbage can under the sink that took up a bunch of space. We didn’t use it for garbage seeing as we had a pull-out garbage can installed in the desk in phase 1. That being removed, plus the fact that this sink isn’t as deep as the previous and the builder was able to move the plumbing back further, really freed up a lot of space. They were able to design the little storage notch that you see in the bottom pic, which keeps bottle from moving around while we’re under tow.

Before

After

As you can see, after phase 1, the arms of the couch had sharp edges. I hit my back on that corner more times than I count, and when we decided to do phase 2, getting some padding on there was definitely a must for me. I’m really happy with the way it turned out, and so is my back.

Another successful project with Ultimate Airstreams is complete and they did a great job addressing the issues and maintenance items that needed to be taken care of!

 

Campgrounds/RV Parks near Ultimate Airstreams:

Pheasant Ridge RV Park – Wilsonville, OR

Ainsworth State Park – Corbett, OR

Portland-Woodburn RV Park – Woodburn, OR

Emerson Vineyards (Harvest Hosts) – Monmouth, OR

Silver Falls State Park – Sublimity, OR

All About Harvest Hosts

As we continued to make our way south in California, we stopped at Harvest Hosts site Milano Family Winery in Hopland, California for the night.

If you are unfamiliar with Harvest Hosts, you can visit their website for more information here. That link will also give you 20% off the annual fee for the life of your membership. The gist is that for one low annual membership fee, you get access to over 2,500 locations throughout the country that allow you to spend the night in your RV on their property for free. These locations can include wineries, breweries, farms, museums, golf courses, etc. You are expected to purchase something from the host, whether it be a bottle of wine, cheese, wool socks, admission tickets to the museum, etc. As the Harvest Hosts network continues to expand each month, some hosts are starting to offer amenities not seen in the past, such as longer stays or options for partial or full hookups. However, it’s a good rule of thumb to assume that you need to be a fully self-contained vehicle that does not need access to water, electricity, or sewer, as well as that your stay will consist of just one night. It seems many hosts have signed onto the reservation system available through the Harvest Hosts app or website, but some still prefer to be contacted via phone or email to arrange your stay. It’s important to keep in mind that these hosts are business owners whose first responsibility is their business and customers. They are not campground or RV park managers and these are not campgrounds or RV parks. Make sure to thoroughly read the instructions and rules of each host both on the Harvest Hosts website/app and whatever information the host gives you directly.

The two RV spots at Milano were located right off the highway in a gravel parking lot. There was plenty of room to maneuver, but they were a bit unlevel and had consistent road noise. We knew what to expect, though, as I had read a number of reviews in the Harvest Hosts app. After getting parked, we went in and did a wine tasting and purchased two bottles of wine. We sat at a picnic table while sipping our wine and enjoyed the menagerie of animals that call the winery home.

Back at the Airstream, we chatted with our neighbors for a while, who were also Airstreamers, albeit an Interstate van as opposed to a trailer.

Some of our favorite stays have been at Harvest Hosts, which are such a great option when you just a need a place to park for a night as you travel one place to the next:

Sanders Family Winery – Pahrump, NV – January 2019

Our very first Harvest Hosts stay was on January 1, 2019 at a beautiful and quiet winery located in Pahrump, NV. It was FREEZING, but our gracious hosts let us run our generator as the temp dipped down to 22 degrees that night. It may have been cold, but the views were beautiful!

Emerson Vineyards – Monmouth, OR – October 2019

According to the reviews, this is a popular stop that features live entertainment on Friday nights, though we were the sole RV on the Monday night that we stayed. We didn’t do any wine tasting, but did purchase a bottle of their award-winning Brother Red. Minus the sporadic distant gunshots, this was a peaceful, private stay where we were able to test our newly installed solar and lithium batteries.

Sentinel Ranch Alpacas – Belgrade, MT – August 2020

The alpaca ranch is located just outside Bozeman, Montana and is a very popular Harvest Hosts location. They graciously allowed us to film part of our House Hunters episode there that highlighted our transition from full-time Airstream living to part-time condo living. You can also visit the ranch sans RV, as they have a nice little gift shop and an area to pet and feed the alpacas.

Garvin Heights Vineyard – Winona, MN – September 2020

This was a lovely little winery that set us up in their parking lot. The weather was absolutely perfect, allowing us to leave our windows open all night to listen to the summery midwest sounds and get one of the best nights of sleep both Travis and I had had in a very long time.

Big Snow Resort – Wakefield, MI – September 2020

This was one of our favorite Harvest Hosts stays. The Sky Bar and Grille atop Big Snow’s Indianhead Mountain is open for most of the year, offering food and drink to be enjoyed on their expansive outdoor deck. Once we parked, we grabbed some drinks and a basket of fries and took in the view. We also enjoyed walking up and down the ski runs, enjoying the beautiful fall colors that started to settle in.

4e Winery – Mapleton, ND – September 2020

Another lovely winery setting with the nicest people! This Harvest Hosts is a particularly popular one, and we were thankful they had room for us. Even though the winery was closed on the day of our stay, Lisa allowed us, along with three other RVs, to stay and opened the tasting room for us. We made sure to thank her for her hospitality by purchasing a bottle of wine. They have a large, level open field for RVs to park in, and besides the hundreds (thousands?) of crickets jumping around, it was a very peaceful evening.

That’s a wrap on some of the great places we’ve stayed through Harvest Hosts! It’s a great program that we love to utilize whenever we can.

The End of an Era: We’re Selling the Airstream

UPDATE: Sold 1/7/2022

We’ve made the difficult decision to sell our Airstream. Why, you may ask? While it has taken us around the Western United States and into Canada to places we would have never otherwise considered visiting; from mountains to deserts to lakes to oceans to rivers to beaches to forests; from cities to small towns to ‘where the heck are we?‘; allowing us to visit family and friends and to meet new people along the way; and to explore amazing state parks and national parks, as well as myriad of points in between — we’re ready to give our new city of Bozeman the attention it deserves as well as to start traveling a different way.

We bought our Airstream in July 2017 and started traveling full time in January 2018. We traveled freely for two and a half glorious years, but when the pandemic hit, we decided to get off the road for a bit. We purchased a condo in Bozeman, Montana last summer, and have really started to fall in love with our new city. We’ve continued to travel in the Airstream since purchasing our sticks and bricks home, but it has felt different than when we first started. Ultimately, we’ve decided that we’d rather have someone else be able to enjoy the Airstream life in the amazing adventure mobile we’ve created, but our time on the road is done. At least for now.

So, without further ado, here’s the info you’ve come here for:

FOR SALE: 2017 Airstream 27FB International Signature – $99,950

We have modified this unit to be the perfect Airstream for today’s digital nomad! Whether you travel a few weeks a year, a couple weekends a month, or on a full-time basis, you’ll find that working, traveling, and living in this modified 2017 27FB International Signature will be both comfortable and functional. We removed all of the factory seating and replaced it with a comfortable couch (a real couch!) as well as a desk that gives you plenty of work space. We swapped out the round, bumped out kitchen sink and cabinet to a straight cabinet to increase the valuable floor space without taking away any precious storage space. We’ve outfitted the unit with solar and lithium batteries that will allow you to live and work off-grid pretty much indefinitely. To make sure you have a cell signal in some of the more remote areas, we’ve installed a WeBoost cell signal booster. And in order to assure a good night’s sleep, we installed the Froli sleep system for great support and air flow as well as recently upgraded the stock mattresses with custom mattresses. The 27 layout with twin beds is known to be one of the most spacious Airstream layouts when it comes to storage, both inside and out. We’re including everything you need to hitch up and hit the road immediately, including the anti-sway/weight distributing hitch, hitch lock, surge protector, and tire pressure monitoring system!

Answers to questions we’ve been asked:

Clear title. We have been the only owners and purchased it outright, so the title is free and clear.

We tow with an F-150 3.5L Ecoboost.

The GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) is 7600lbs.

Currently located in Escondido, California (San Diego County).

 

Exterior Specifications
  • Height: 9’ 9”
  • Width: 8’ 5.5”
  • Length: 28’

 

From the Factory
  • 30amp Service
  • 1000w Pure Sine Wave Inverter
  • 15,000 BTU Ducted A/C with Heat Pump
  • 25,000 BTU Furnace
  • 6 Gallon LP/Electric Water Heater
  • 39 Gallon Freshwater Tank
  • 39 Gallon Blackwater Tank
  • 37 Gallon Greywater Tank
  • Two 30 Gallon Steel LPG Bottles w/ Aluminum Cover
  • Electric Jack
  • 7 Cu Ft 2-Way Auto Refrigerator
  • Microwave
  • Separate Bathroom and Shower
  • 2 Fantastic Fans – Exhaust w/ Rain Sensor
  • 2 Samsung LED HDTVs w/ HDMI
  • FM/AM Radio w/ CD Player, 4 Speakers, & Subwoofer
  • Blue-Ray DVD Player
  • OTA Antenna

 

Add-Ons from the Dealer
  • MaxxAir Vent Covers
  • BlueOx Sway Pro Hitch
  • Awning Package with Curbside Power Awning and Manual Roadside & Rear Awning

 

AM Solar (Springfield, Oregon) Lithium Battery & Solar System Installation

August 2019 | $9,000 in Upgrades

  • Four 100w Solar Panels with Rocker Mounts
  • Two 100Ah Battle Born LiFePO4 Batteries w/ 10yr Warranty
  • Victron Battery Monitor System
  • Lithium Compatible Charger Upgrade

 

Ultimate Airstreams (Clackamas, Oregon) Modifications

September 2019 | $16,500 in Modifications

  • Replaced dinette with couch featuring two large drawers underneath and cupholders in the arms.
  • Added two 100v/USB popup outlets at shelf behind couch – one that works on shore power; one that works on inverter.
  • Replaced side bench with desk with butcher block countertop, drawer, and pullout garbage can.
  • Added one 110v/USB outlet below desk.

October 2021 | $10,000 in Modifications

  • Replaced round sink/cabinet bump out in kitchen with straight cabinet.
  • Installed new kitchen Corian countertop.
  • Installed new square sink with flush Corian sink cover.
  • Replaced factory-installed Atwood propane stove/oven with Furrion model.

 

Other Upgrades/Modifications
  • New Mattresses – Spring 2021
  • New Goodyear Endurance Tires – April 2019
  • WeBoost Cell Booster
  • Ring Doorbell
  • Froli Sleep System
  • New Curtains in Living Area

 

Other Included Items

Interior: Beddy’s bedding set for each bed; Desk chair; Dishes; Silverware, knives, & other kitchen utensils.

Exterior: 30amp power cord; Progressive Industries 30amp EMS surge protector; Proven Industries hitch lock; Tire pressure monitoring system; Wheel chocks; Lynx levelers; Miscellaneous hoses, tools, and replacement parts.

All user manuals are also included.

 

Any maintenance issues that needed to be addressed were taken of while it was at Ultimate Airstreams in October 2021.
For more information, please contact us through this blog’s contact page.

 

Opening Up the Airstream After a Long Winter’s Sleep

Last October, we had to do something to the Airstream that we had never done in our 3+ years of owning it — we had to winterize it. While our Airstream was born in Ohio, it had always spent winter in warmer locales, with us in it. But, we decided to settle into a condo in one of the coldest places in the contiguous US where winter lasts a very long time, so we had to winterize before tucking it in to storage for a long winter’s sleep.

We aren’t expert winterizers, but we are pretty good at Googling and YouTubing, and found the process to be pretty simple. We followed the same process the factory uses — empty the tanks, drain the hot water heater, blow out the lines with an air compressor, drain the low points, and put some RV antifreeze down each drain.

The low-point valves on the 27 are found between the two tires on the driver side.
While using the compressor, open each faucet one by one to make sure all of the water is blown out.
We poured antifreeze down the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, shower drain, and toilet.

As I said earlier, winter lasts pretty late into the year here in Bozeman, so we didn’t get the chance to pull the Airstream out of storage until May 15th, when we booked two nights at Bozeman Hot Springs Campground to make sure all systems were go. This is not our first time staying at the hot springs — you can read about our previous stays here, here, and here. Here’s what we checked/tested during our post-winter shakedown:

  • Ran city water through kitchen, bathroom, and shower faucets, as well as the toilet, to make sure all had good water pressure and there were no visible leaks.
  • After disinfecting the fresh tank with a bleach water mix, turned on the water pump and ran water through all faucets and toilet to make sure water pressure was good and water pump seemed to function properly without any leaks.
  • Filled hot water heater with water and checked that there was hot water at all faucets, along with good hot water pressure, while first using the water heater on electric and then on propane. Also checked to make sure there were no leaks at hot water heater.
  • Made sure the fridge and freezer operated properly on both electric and propane.
  • Made sure the air conditioning operated properly.
  • Made sure the furnace operated properly.
  • Made sure the microwave worked.
  • Made sure the oven and stove both functioned properly.
  • Made sure the solar system was working properly in conjunction with the batteries.
  • Made sure the propane detector is functional.
  • Made sure the smoke/carbon monoxide detectors are functional.
  • Made sure all fans, including the fantastic fans, the vent fans in bathroom & shower, and the stove vent fan are all functional.
  • Made sure all of the lights are working properly.
  • Made sure the electric awning functioned properly.
  • Did a visual inspection of the roof.
  • Did a visual inspection of the tires and made sure the tire pressure monitoring system was working properly after reinserting the batteries into each monitor.
  • After replacing a propane tank monitor, made sure both tank monitors were reading correctly.

It was after that last item that we realized we had a problem. Up to this point, our propane had been functioning properly off of the one tank we had open. When we opened the second tank after replacing the monitor, we heard pssssshhhhhh. Not good. We had a leak, and a very substantial one at that. I was literally able to put my finger on the leak and found that the rubber ring had disintegrated and this is where the propane was leaking from.

We shut the propane off and disconnected it, and then we went in search of the parts to fix it. Thankfully, we were in our own city, so we had ideas of where to look. Unfortunately, Bozeman doesn’t have a Camping World, Tractor Supply, Cabela’s, or Gander Mountain. It was also a Sunday, so that meant that all of the RV dealerships that might have a decent parts selection were closed. We tried Lowe’s and Home Depot first, but they only had replacement hoses for propane grills, which are not the right part. We checked Ace Hardware, and they had almost the right part, but the hose was too long (15″ instead of 12″). We then went to a local hardware store called Kenyon Noble and an employee there was able to help us immediately. They had the right part, except the connecting piece wasn’t exact. Our propane hoses had what’s called an NPT thread where as the hoses at Kenyon Noble had an inverted male thread. In the pic below, our hose has the red end — you can see the difference in size between the two.

We ended up finding an adaptor that would work to make everything fit properly.

We made sure to use gas line seal tape around all threaded parts to make sure there would be a tight fit and no leaks.

We ended up replacing both hoses as the other one looked as though it could go at any time. Once we had everything reconnected, we turned the propane on and had no leaks!

I did end up finding the exact hoses we needed with the correct connecting threads, so I ordered a set to have as a backup. You can find them on Amazon here.

Luckily, this turned out to be a fairly easy fix, but this did inspire us to order a few extra things to have on hand for spare parts just in case, like more hot water heater plugs (ours looks like the next time we remove it will be the last time) and some fuses.

A reminder for all RVers: Don’t count out local hardware stores for RV supplies while you’re on the road. As you can see, we couldn’t depend on the usual suspects for parts. Our Ace Hardware has an RV supply aisle that rivals Walmart’s.

After determining we were good to go for our upcoming 2-week trip to Grand Teton, we were able to relax and enjoy an adult bevvie by the fire.

 

I’m Not Even Sure What to Say About 2020

Where to begin?

Every year I like to write a post that wraps up the previous year’s travels with a proverbial bow, reliving all of the joy and wonderment we experienced. You can see how this is usually a fun little project by checking out the posts for 2018 and 2019. Obviously, this year is different. Like, so, so different.

We started the year spending the winter in the San Diego area as full-time Airstreamers and ended the year living in a condo in Bozeman, Montana. To say things took an unexpected turn is a bit of an understatement. I know that COVID-19 affected the life of pretty much every one on the planet, in a wide range of ways. We are so very grateful to be able to say that, as of this post, we have not personally experienced the virus, or lost loved ones to it. We know there are so many that can’t say the same, and our hearts hurt for the pain and loss others have experienced during this time. We know it’s still going to be a long road for our community, our country, and our planet, but we’re hopeful and optimistic that 2021 will eventually bring some health and happiness.

Besides the isolation, frustration, and disappointment that the pandemic brought to our lives, we also had to deal with the loss of our third amigo, our travel buddy, our faithful canine companion — Max. We said goodbye to Max on February 25th, just two days shy of his 15th birthday. When we first started our full-time travel life, we were so unsure how well Max would adapt. It turns out there was no need to worry, because he was the BEST Airstream dog. He slept through travel days like a champ and preferred so stay ‘home’ whenever Travis and I would venture out. The strangeness of not having a dog around after 15 years was compounded by the weirdness of the early days of the pandemic. Ten months later, and we still miss him dearly, but the thought of him no longer triggers a twinge in the heart.

So, yeah, 2020 hasn’t been the most enjoyable year, but we did have some good times and we were able to travel to some great places. Let’s look at some of that joy and wonderment we DID get to experience.

We travelled 4,608 miles across nine states — California, Nevada, Utah, Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and North Dakota. Our longest travel day (which we’ll never do again) was 738 miles (you can read about that here) and our shortest travel day was 19 miles. We averaged $36.78/night for site fees, which is almost $10 less per night than 2019, so, yay us!

Michigan was the only new state we added to our travel map this year, making it our 20th state that we’ve ventured to with the Airstream. We were very happy to be able to spend some time in Michigan in fall — such a great time to be in the area!

While we had originally planned to visit a number of new National Park Service sites this year, we were able to make it to only eight, with four being new and four being return visits.

The four new sites were:

Capitol Reef National Park

Check out more from our visit to Capitol Reef here.

Voyageurs National Park

Our visit to Voyageurs makes 19 national parks visited thus far! Check out more from our visit to Voyageurs here.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Check out more from our visit to Pictured Rocks here.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Check out more from our visit to Apostle Islands here.

The other four sites we were able to revisit were:

Zion National Park

Due to the pandemic, the only exploring we did of Zion during this time was to take a drive up the canyon, which is usually closed to vehicles, but was open because the shuttles weren’t running.

Check out more about our visit to Zion here. Read more about our previous visit here and here.

Yellowstone National Park

Check out more from our visit to Yellowstone here. Read more about our previous visit here.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Check out more about our visit to Roosevelt NP here. Read about our previous visit here.

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument 

Check out more about our visit to Little Bighorn here. Read about our previous visit here.

But our year wasn’t just about the parks! Take a look at some of the other things that brought us joy this year ->

We visited some of the ‘World’s Largest’ statues:

We ran into some interesting creatures in the Anza-Borrego Desert:

We tried a new sport:

We were able to meet up with a handful of other full timers:

We enjoyed some beach days and amazing sunsets:

Pre-pandemic, we were able to spend time with some of our favorite people:

And when we didn’t think it was going to happen, we ended up being able to spend some safe, socially distanced time with family:

The pandemic forced us to change our travel plans for 2020 (goodbye, hard-earned FL state park reservations!), so we made a decision. A big one. Even though the RV lifestyle somewhat prepared us for pandemic life (you can read about that here), it didn’t make sense for us to stay on the road. After dealing with multiple reservation cancellations and watching things close as the case numbers rose, we decided that the best thing for us was to get off the road and settle down for the time being. One of the best parts of full timing is not only exploring the natural wonders of our country, but also meeting new people along the way and checking out things in each city we visit — restaurants, museums, community events, etc. With all of these things closed, traveling just wasn’t that enjoyable. And we wanted to make sure we stayed healthy. So, we purchased a condo in Bozeman, Montana in July. Read more about what led to that decision here.

We’ve been enjoying safely exploring our new city:

And we’re learning to embrace winter (kind of):

But probably the weirdest thing to happen to us personally in 2020, is our appearance on HGTV’s House Hunters!

We filmed the episode in August and it aired in December. It highlighted our transition from full-time travel to part-time condo living. It was an interesting and tiring experience!

Which brings me to what’s next for us:

We plan to continue to travel in the Airstream — A LOT. It’s nice to have a home base to return to when we need a break or something comes up, but we miss being on the road. We’ll get back out there once we feel comfortable doing so, which for us means when we’re both vaccinated. It’s been nice to take a pause and enjoy some of the things you give up when you live tiny, such as a king-size bed, a dishwasher, a washer & dryer, and easy access to our mail, medical care, and good grocery stores. There’s still so much left to explore! And we aren’t really cold weather people, so we’re looking forward to seeking out warmth in the coming winters.

We’re wishing everyone a safe and healthy 2021! Hopefully, we’ll see you somewhere out there!

 

Why We Decided to Stop Traveling Full Time

925 days.

16,807 miles.

19 states.

96 different overnight site locations.

2 countries.

18 national parks.

 

Listing the stats of our full-time travel as above reminds us of how much we’ve experienced and how far we’ve traveled, though our last few months on the road have felt anything but adventurous.

When the seriousness of COVID was realized in March, we had just left Southern California where we had spent the winter. We were at a state park in Southern Nevada and had an amazing itinerary ahead of us: Some fantastic state parks in Southeastern Nevada; the Mighty 5 in Utah; Mesa Verde and Great Sand Dunes National Parks in Colorado; a brief stay in the Rapid City area for a doctor’s appointment; and then on to Minnesota and Wisconsin to spend time with family and celebrate holidays, a high school graduation, sporting events, and birthdays. We were then going to explore more of Wisconsin, the state we grew up in. We also had a large part of our winter mapped out, and we were finally going to hit the Southeast and East Coast: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, etc. We researched and planned and mapped and reserved sites the day they become available, anywhere from 6 to 13 months in advance. We woke up a handful of mornings before 5am in California to book sites that became available at 8am in Florida. We. Had. A. Plan.

And then it got blown up.

State parks started to close. Then national parks. Then counties and states started imposing non-resident travel restrictions and mandatory quarantine requirements. When a lot of our full-timing cohorts got off the road to shelter in place with family, we stayed out there. We didn’t really have anywhere to go, so we stayed as socially distant as possible and crossed our fingers that we wouldn’t receive a knock on the door, email, or phone call saying we needed to move on because our current location was closing. After three reservations in a row were cancelled, we finally found a private RV park in Torrey, Utah to settle in for a month while we regrouped and figured out our next move. The uncertainty was uncomfortable. We felt in our gut that COVID was sticking around for a while and questioned whether we wanted to continue traveling during a time when the best thing to do is stay home as much as possible.

And we decided we didn’t.

We didn’t want to keep traveling at this time for a handful of reasons, some of which became more apparent as the weeks and months went by:

  • Above all, we wanted to stay healthy. And we wanted those around us to stay healthy.
  • It just wasn’t that fun to be on the road during a pandemic. People always asked us how long we were going to live this lifestyle, and our reply was always we’d stop when we didn’t enjoy it anymore. We weren’t enjoying it much, mainly for the reasons listed below.
  • It’s too damn busy out there now. A number of people around the country have turned to RVing as their preferred way to travel this summer. It’s wonderful that families are finding new ways to vacation and spend time together, but the huge uptick in RV sales and rentals means there are a lot fewer places to stay. And crowds. Campgrounds that are usually nowhere near capacity are now booked with a line out the gate waiting to get a site. A lot of people are visiting national parks during their travels, many for their first time – and they’re trashing them. Vandalism, trash, avoidable run-ins with wildlife, and human excrement have now become common place.
  • In our experience, many people aren’t being as cautious as they should be. This makes us incredibly uncomfortable and reinforces the importance of finding a safe place where we can live comfortably and keep ourselves healthy. Wear a mask and distance yourself from others whenever possible!
  • We knew when we decided to live in an Airstream we were giving up space. However, we were perfectly fine with that knowing that in return, we’d be visiting beautiful places and having some pretty great experiences. Well, when there’s a pandemic and it’s best to stay home, that once quaint and cozy small space feels smaller.

So, friends, we bought a condo in Bozeman, Montana. We had spent time in Bozeman the last two summers and really enjoyed our visits. We’ve been fond of our travels through Montana in general, and in fact, Montana is the state we’ve spent the most time in outside of California (where we would spend the winter months).

Why Bozeman?

We love its location. Three national parks – Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Glacier – are all within a 5-6 hour drive. Bozeman is a very outdoors-oriented town, catering to hiking, fishing, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, and various other outdoor activities. Montana’s busiest airport is in Bozeman, which is important for when business trips become a thing again. While the cost of living is higher here than in other parts of the country, we find it affordable after living in San Diego County for seven years. When considering a place to settle down, we always wanted to make sure it was somewhere where we wouldn’t have to sell the Airstream due to budget constraints. Bozeman also has some great restaurants and breweries, and is incredibly dog friendly, if we ever decide to get another pupper. Also, Bozeman residents seem to be very active and welcoming. Have I mentioned that Bozeman is beautiful? From the cute downtown to the endless trails and green spaces to the mountains in all directions, the landscape really sold us.

What does this mean?

Well, it means we will no longer be living in an Airstream full time. Instead, we’ll be spending part of the year in our spacious-to-us 1100ft2 two bed, two bath condo with doors that offer privacy, a large fridge, a washer & dryer, and a king-size bed. We will definitely still travel in the Airstream as much as we can. In spite of the reasons we chose to stop full timing, we still love it and can’t imagine not traveling. There are so many places we want to visit and revisit! We’ll wait until life returns to normal a bit, and we’re able to enjoy the things we loved about full timing — meeting new people, checking out new restaurants & breweries, visiting national parks & museums, and lots and lots of hiking. So, our Airstream travel is paused for a bit, but it will continue! Who knows, we might even go back to full timing.

Stay safe and healthy!

 

How Living in an Airstream Prepared Us for a Pandemic

Things people sheltering in place due to COVID-19 might be saying:

  • I’m on day three of not washing my hair.
  • I don’t know the last time I wore pants that don’t have an elastic waistband.
  • I’m proud of myself – I brushed my teeth before noon today.
  • My neighbor has seen me wearing the same thing ??? days in a row.
  • Feeling fancy – I shaved today.
  • Bra? Who wears a bra?
  • When’s the last time we talked to someone face-to-face that doesn’t live under this roof?
  • Did I shower today?
  • What day is it?

Just add, ‘I’m about four months past due for my biannual haircut’ and this is what full-time RVers are saying on the daily. Welcome to our world!

It’s been interesting watching friends and family, and society in general, adapt to life during COVID-19. About a week after stay-at-home orders were issued, we started seeing social media posts from friends and family that made us chuckle. People were already “losing their minds” after being home with their loved ones for seven days. Seven. Days. In 1800sqft homes. With a yard. And a finished basement. And multiple bathrooms with doors that actually give them privacy. And a full-size kitchen refrigerator and a garage refrigerator and a basement refrigerator. And a washer and dryer.  With grocery delivery available. And numerous nearby eating establishments offering takeout and delivery service.

We chuckled.

Here’s the thing: We are on day 820 of living in ~200sqft. Short of a combined handful of weeks of business trips, we have spent 24 hours a day together, every day, during those 820 days. When we say we live, work, and travel full time in an Airstream, what we are really saying is we are ALWAYS TOGETHER. This togetherness has REALLY prepared us for all of the sheltering in place, social distancing, and stay-at-home orders on the planet. Here’s what else has:

  • Isolation – While we aren’t usually in complete isolation from other humans, we ARE usually in complete isolation from other humans we know and love. We’ve had friends and family visit us sporadically since we’ve been on the road, but for the most part, it’s just the two of us.
  • Working from Home – This is a super new concept to a lot of people, but Travis has been doing it since 2011 and Missy has been doing it since 2009. Owning a business that allows us to work from home is actually the main reason we were able to become full-time RVers. However, we do understand that working for ourselves as opposed to working for an employer is a completely different ball game from what most people are experiencing now.
  • Stocking Up – Sometimes we’re going to be traveling through areas devoid of a real grocery store or a Walmart, so we have to stock up on items we’ll need in the upcoming weeks and months, including frozen foods, dry goods, hand soap, dish soap, shower soap, mouthwash, paper towels, paper plates, and yes, the ever-so-popular toilet paper, disinfectant spray/wipes, disposable gloves, and hand sanitizer. RV-safe toilet paper can be hard to come by on the road, so when we find it, we stock up. Disinfectant spray/wipes are used to clean areas commonly touched by others, such as in RV park laundry rooms, laundromats, and the water, electric, and sewer hookups at sites. Disposable gloves are used when dealing with the sewer hose (and now gas pumps). Hand sanitizer is used after doing all the things at the laundromat, hookups, sewer hose, gas pumps, etc.
  • Eating at Home – We eat at home a lot. Much more than we would like. While we often find ourselves in beautiful locales, we don’t often find a lot of amazing food options. But when we do, we fully take advantage of them. Right now, though, we’re able to pack enough food into our limited cabinet space and 7 cubic foot fridge and freezer to last about three weeks. And we’re eating all three meals a day at home, seven days a week, without the benefit of having a dishwasher. I would give multiple rolls of toilet paper for a California burrito or an açaí bowl right now.
  • Working Out – Pre-road life, we were gym people. While we’ve been able to join gyms for short periods of times or get multiday free trials, depending on having a gym just isn’t feasible. We travel with Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells and the BodyBoss 2.0 Portable Gym. These two things have the weight training aspect of working out covered. Travis runs and we both hike in order to get a good cardio workout in. Hikes have become more difficult with all of the park and trail closures, but there are still quite a bit available to us in our current location. The constant wind and cold temps are not helping our activity level, though!
  • Entertainment – Movie theatres, sporting events, concerts, or drinks out with friends aren’t usually available to us, so we aren’t missing them like many probably are right now. To entertain ourselves, we do the things that many people are finding themselves turning to now: Binge TV shows, read, do puzzles, play video games, do crossword puzzles, play board games, have campfires, go for walks — and most importantly, FaceTiming or Zooming with friends and fam. (And sometimes we even clean and organize.)

So, as you can see, social distancing and its side effects are nothing new to us. For the most part, our daily lives haven’t been impacted too greatly. We’ve had to readjust travel routes and cancel some reservations, both willingly and unwillingly, but we’re doing what we need to do in order to keep ourselves and those around us safe. When you live in an RV, you automatically live a simpler life. At a time like this, we’re very grateful for this lifestyle, as we seem to be experiencing less disappointment and monotony than others.

We know that this time has been difficult for many people in many ways, and this post is in no way meant do discredit the feelings people are feeling or the difficulties people are experiencing. We miss our families too. We worry about the effect all of the closures will have on the people we love and the communities we love. We’ve cycled through fear, anger, disbelief, annoyance, disappointment, and many, many other emotions. We do not take the seriousness of our country’s current situation lightly. But we do believe that it’s okay – needed, even – to smile and laugh and make lighthearted jokes and get through these weird times with a bit of humor.

A Synopsis of Our Second Year on the Road

Our second year as full-time Airstream dwellers/digital nomads/travelers has come and gone. We added a few new states to our travel map (North Dakota, Nebraska, and Idaho), crossed the northern border for the first time (it won’t be the last time), and traveled 7,607 miles (just 61 miles less than last year). Our longest drive day was 377 miles and our shortest was 6.5 miles. We averaged $46.63/night in lodging costs, thanks to spending 45 days in a condo/hotels at various times throughout the year while our converter was fixed, solar panels were installed, and modifications were done to the interior.

We continued to learn more about ourselves, our Airstream, our country, and the nomadic lifestyle. Here’s a look back at our second year on the road:

We visited 13 National Park Service sites, with 8 of them being new to us:

Zion National Park
Arches National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Petroglyph National Monument
Pompeys Pillar National Monument
Jewel Cave National Monument
Mohave National Preserve

We also revisited Death Valley, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier, and Mount Rushmore.

With our return visit to South Dakota, we were able to conquer the remaining 3 sites of South Dakota’s Great 8, the other 5 of which we saw last summer:

Crazy Horse Memorial
Deadwood
Jewel Cave National Monument

The other 5 are Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park, Custer State Park, Wind Cave National Park and the Missouri River.

We hiked, and hiked, and hiked…

Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve | Desert Hot Springs, CA
Mollies Nipple Trail | Hurricane, UT
Hidden Falls Trail | Grand Teton NP
Little Devil’s Tower Trail | Custer SP – Custer, SD
Hidden Lake Trail | Glacier NP

and paddled, and paddled, and paddled…

Sand Hollow SP | Hurricane, UT
Jackson Lake | Grand Teton NP
Lake Louise | Banff NP
Moraine Lake | Banff NP

and soaked, and soaked, and soaked.

Lava Hot Springs | Lava Hot Springs, ID
Bozeman Hot Springs | Bozeman, MT
Catalina Spa RV Resort | Desert Hot Springs, CA

We chased waterfalls…

Kanarra Falls | Kanarraville, UT
Hidden Falls | Grand Teton NP
Bridal Veil Falls | Spearfish, SD
Johnston Canyon Upper Falls | Banff NP
Virginia Falls | Glacier NP

but we also stuck to the rivers…

Firehole River | Yellowstone NP
Colorado River | Moab, UT
Missouri River | Helena, MT

and the lakes that we’re (not) used to.

Utah Lake | Utah Lake SP – Provo, UT
Jackson Lake | Grand Teton NP
Lake Agnes | Banf NP
Avalanche Lake | Glacier NP
Moraine Lake | Banff NP

We drank beer…

Miner Brewing Co. | Hill City, SD
Nordic Brew Works | Bozeman, MT
Deschutes Brewery | Portland, OR
Firestone Walker Brewing Company | Paso Robles, CA

and wine…

Prairie Berry Winery | Hill City, SD
Michael David Winery | Lodi, CA
Glunz Family Winery | Paso Robles, CA

and cocktails…

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise | Banff NP
Sky Bistro | Banff, AB
Glacier Distilling Company | Coram, MT
Jake’s Del Mar | Del Mar, CA

and tea.

Lake Agnes Tea House | Banff NP
Portland Japanese Garden | Portland, OR

We rode a gondola in Palm Springs…

and one in Banff.

(Have I mentioned I don’t like gondolas?)

We saw where Forrest Gump ended his run…

Mexican Hat, UT

and where Thelma and Louise drove off a cliff.

Dead Horse Point SP | Moab, UT

We saw lots of wildlife…

Death Valley NP
Beatty, NV
Grand Teton NP
Grand Teton NP
Yellowstone NP
Glacier NP
Banff NP

and visited the geographic center of the country.

Belle Fourche, SD

We added four new tires,

Discount Tire | Albuquerque, NM

two new batteries,

AM Solar | Springfield, OR

four new solar panels,

AM Solar | Springfield, OR

and a couch and a desk.

Ultimate Airstreams | Clackamas, OR
Ultimate Airstreams | Clackamas, OR
Ultimate Airstreams | Clackamas, OR

We had visitors in Las Vegas; Hurricane, UT; Custer, SD; and Glacier National Park:

 

Our second year on the road was fantastically fun and memorable, even with the issues we encountered. (I’m looking at you flat tire and junk converter.) All of the inconveniences we deal with are by far worth the amazing places we get to experience. Thanks for following along and we hope you stick around for 2020, our third year on the road — although we’re not really sure what’s in store yet!