”An adventure has no purpose – life is about grabbing on to opportunities.”
- Tom Boyd, Teacher, Father, Husband, Musician, World Traveler, Adventurer
You know your perspective has changed a bit when you take a look at the clock and say to yourself, “…gee, its only ______ o’clock?” Today marks the day that we have been on our RV journey a week shy of 4 months. It also marks one year to the day of my father passing away.
I know dad is very proud of us and with us on our adventure. He has always been the poster child for casting off the tethers of ‘common thinking’ and unapologetically pursuing uncommon experiences. The man traveled through Africa on a bicycle, Stowed away on a Norwegian freighter and lived off of pancakes and beans during a 1700 mile solo canoe trip. He makes my RV trip look like a weekend at a KOA. I know he’s smiling big as he follows our travels. He passed that spirit on to me and it is my job to keep that fire tended. Thank you Tom Boyd, for teaching me to read between the lines of life and write my own story.
A lot has changed since we started our trip back in August. What took us over and hour to pack up our rolling home for travel now takes us half the time. Driving for me has gone from hours of white-knuckle, teeth gritting paranoia – slumped in an umbrella chair afterwards drinking a couple whiskey and ginger ales to more confidently navigating highways, mountainsides and the ever-present shopping mall parking lot while my cute copilot feeds me snacks and manages the GPS.
A major milestone earlier in the month was hitting the Pacific Ocean in northern California, approximately 7000 miles from our original destination in the Midwest. Time went pretty fast the first several weeks into the trip. Now time has noticeably slowed down and its a strange almost unsettling feeling.
Highlights for us include spending a night under the stars on in Glacier National Park. Alec and I hiked in about 3 miles to a campsite on the shores of McDonald Lake. Alec cooked ramen noodles over a pack stove and we stayed up late in our tent goofing off and playing Life on his tablet. For me, the trip could have ended right then and I would have been completely satisfied just because of that moment together.
We stayed in Seattle for 2 weeks and partook in the local food (good dim sum! Starbucks, woot!), art and visited family. Seattle is beautiful. You really notice how people-centric it is. There is a positive energy about the place, likely born form the pride that the residents take in their city. We took several trips in using public transportation since our Hemi-powered gas eater does not fit into Prius-sized parking spaces all that well. We left Seattle close to when it began to get rainy and colder, marking the beginning of the fall/winter season.
The plan was to stay in Portland, Oregon for a week but since the rain was not letting up for days on end, we decided to head straight for the coast of California where we would get our first real taste of the Pacific Ocean. We were able to get a good hike in the Redwoods before the rain won over our will. After 3 days of nonstop rain, we called an audible, packed up in a torrential downpour, and headed south.
We enjoyed San Francisco weather and sunshine immensely after running from the rain the previous week. Highlights included an audio tour of Alcatraz island and meeting an actual inmate who was locked up there at age 23. An old man now, he had written an account of his experience and was doing a book signing. My son Austin was a little hesitant to meet him but he was very personable and friendly. He was fascinated by our travels. He signed a copy of his book with a note to my sons and shook their hands. I now read (while editing for colorful language) a chapter of his book nightly to the boys before bedtime, hoping his stories will keep them out of jail.
We enjoyed fresh crab and chowder from the famous Fisherman’s Pier and Tammy bought some bread from the original Boudin’s bakery. We unapologetically like to try all kinds of food from wherever we go. Tammy even forgot she was a vegetarian for a sampling of some world-famous seafood chowder. Food always winds up being at the center of the places we visit. Looks like the weight loss plan will have to wait until after the trip.
At one of the beaches we visited one windy afternoon, we were able to experience the start of crab season. As we played on the beaches, some kayakers came in, each hauling a crab pot strapped to their bow. Each had gotten about 3 crabs which were destined for the dinner plate. The beach parking lot was filled with people camping out and enjoying conversation around big pots of steaming crabs that were caught mere hours before. This was a slice of heaven happening right here. I vowed that I would return on a future trip with my kayak, and outdoor cooker and a shiny new crab pot.
We spend a weekend in Yosemite – not nearly enough to experience all its majesty – but enough to get a taste. The tourists mobs reminded me of Yellowstone, which was a little hard for us since we generally try to avoid crowds. We got a couple hikes in and some great photos. We tried to get an overnight backpacking trip in but due to road closures and accessibility we opted for some day hikes instead. The overnight would have to wait until some future trip.
Our days seem longer now as we put less pressure on ourselves to be constantly ‘doing’. We often find ourselves challenging our own thinking about how life ‘should’ be. I often catch myself in the middle of a sentence, asking myself ‘why?’.
With more time available and less stuff to distract you, you slowly realize that you have more options and more choices. You brain gets much needed elbow room. You become less addicted to being busy and using it as an excuse to delay living.
There is still the daily pressure and responsibility of running and building a business from a backpack. We always have to remind ourselves that this is technically not a vacation, but more of an extended working vacation. Sometimes the work days are very long, and dad gets stressed and tired and it affects everyone. Not everything is unicorns and butterflies, but I’ll take it any day over having to mow a lawn or wear khakis.
Carpe Diem and Happy Thanksgiving