Do you plan out every last detail? Or do you just put a vacation on the calendar and decide the day before where you are going and what you’d like to do?
I’m somewhere in the middle. I’ve got a list of vacation plans for the next 20 years. Yeah, a bit long range, I know; but they’re all written in pencil.
In the spring of 2012, after being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and leaving the work force permanently in late 2011, I convinced my dear husband to try camping again. You see, my husband had only camped in a tent with our son for cub scouts and with church trips. Somehow, every time they went camping, it rained. Most times, the mud and water ended up INSIDE the tent. I grew up camping in a pop-up trailer with my parents and brothers. After the tent experiences, my husband wanted nothing with canvas, so we bought a travel trailer. It was 28 feet long and was a wonderful re-introduction to camping except for one small problem: space. We travel with three labs, and when it rains, two people and 250 pounds of fur just don’t fit well in 28 feet. After 7 trips in our travel trailer, DH (dear husband) learned that he liked camping as long as it wasn’t a tent and he was ready for an upgrade!
In the fall of 2012, we set a budget and began looking for a larger Class A motorhome. We knew we would buy a used one – there’s no way we could afford a new one. We found one that was under budget, well cared for with detailed maintenance records to satisfy DH. It’s a 40 foot long diesel pusher (diesel engine in the back of the motorhome) with a superslide that expands the living area when we are parked. We added a Jeep to tow behind for exploring around once we park the RV.
Our first vacation was to Charleston SC, where we met while in the US Navy. That trip was a solid representation of the RV adventure. We blew up both front tires on the Jeep because we didn’t unlock the steering fully. We smoked a battery as well (who knew they still made batteries that you have to check water levels on?). We loved going back to the place we met two decades before, and seeing the changes. We ate at a variety of local eateries and found a local distillery as well.
Then I came up with the wonderful idea of dividing the US into quadrants. GPNA was the Great Pacific Northwest Adventure, GNEA was the Great Northeast Adventure, GSEA is the Great Southeast Adventure, and GSWA is the Great Southwest Adventure.
2013 saw us go to the Badlands National Park, Custer State Park, Seattle WA, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Tetons National Park, Moab UT / Arches National Park, and Toad Suck Park AR over a 6 week period. It was hard for DH to go back to work.
2014 saw us go to Pennsylvania to visit my cousin (who was on the same submarine as DH, and says he introduced us), Saratoga NY for more family time, Acadia National Park in Maine, Old Orchard Beach in Maine and a side trip to Boston MA over a 3 1/2 week period.
2015 takes us to Key West, Disney and Universal (minions make me HAPPY and I’m just a bit of a Harry Potter geek), and New Orleans.
Remember what I said about penciling in the planned schedule? Well, we’ve already changed our plans for 2016. To do that large area justice (Albuquerque balloon festival, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and Zion National Park are on the list for the GSWA), DH is saving vacation over the next few years so we can have another 6 week trip. Next year’s trip is still written in light pencil. It might be San Antonio or the Great Smoky Mountains. Or it may just be several long weekends within 150 miles.
Also on the future destination list: Washington DC; Michigan; the coast of Oregon; the Sequoia forest; Colorado; Savannah GA; New York, NY; North Dakota; Vermont; Gulf Shores, North Carolina and revisiting Charleston SC, Moab UT, Badlands National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Seattle WA.