Feb 262009

My Dad lived through the hard times of the Great Depression, and used to say “They can take away your car, they can take away your home, they can take away your money, they can even take away your freedom. But they can’t take away your memories.”

Those words are so true.

I was reminded of that when Joe and SuzAnne Padberg, a nice couple from Alberta, Canada, stopped by the bus to introduce themselves yesterday. Joe has a couple of buses back home that he has collected with the plan of converting someday. SuzAnne commented that she’s not sure if they should spend the time involved in building a conversion, instead of buying a finished coach to travel in. “I worry sometimes that time will run out before we get to get out and start traveling like we want to,” she said.

Over the years, I cannot begin to count the number of people I have talked to who have told me that they wanted to fulltime “someday.” But while they were waiting for someday to arrive, life got in the way. A husband or wife got sick and could not travel; or one of them died, and the one left behind couldn’t picture living their dream alone.

I have also talked to people who hung up the keys for one reason or another, and every one has said the same thing: “At least we got to try it for a while, and we’ll always have those memories.”

Terry and I have been very fortunate in that we have built some wonderful memories together in our life on the road. Some of my favorite memories, in no particular order, are kayaking the blue and aqua waters of the Florida Keys; wading in the Gulf of Mexico at Long Beach, Mississippi, on a hot day when the water was so warm it was like stepping into a bathtub; exploring the French Quarter of New Orleans; seeing the commercial fishing boats tied up at Conn Brown Harbor in Aransas Pass, Texas on an afternoon when the thick fog made everything look ghostly and surreal; walking the Freedom Trail in Boston; driving past acre after acre of wild poppies near Lancaster, California one beautiful Spring day; sharing fresh baked Greek baklava at a bakery in Tarpon Springs, Florida; and marveling at the beautiful Fall colors of northern Michigan.

Those are just a few of the favorite memories that RVing has given me. I have many more that I don’t have space to share here.

I’m curious, what are some of yours?

Thought For The Day – If you are going to try cross country skiing, start with a small country. 

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  17 Responses to “My Favorite Memories”

  1. I do not think I could singe one or two out. Every day that Teri and I spend in our coach is such a memorable day. The folks that we now call friends, whom we have met on the road, is right up at the top. The places we have seen and the visiting between the two of us as we travel down the road in our GMC motorcoach, are a couple of more. Now, we are enjoying this geocaching. None of this would have been in our memories had we not retired and hit the road two years ago. We have seen places that I could not have imagined the beauty if not for our travels. We try to cram as many memories as we can, while we can. The geocaching is really making memories now, getting us out and seeing sites we would not see if staying in or near the coach.

  2. For me hands down the best and most wonderful memories I have since we have been full timing are those of the people we have met.

    I really can’t think of a place we have been that has not been memorable in one way or another and I feel very fortunate to be part of this lifestyle.

  3. Your memory of popies in California immediately brought back memories of huge fields of sunflowers seen in North Dakota late last summer on our way back from Fairbanks.

  4. It would be very difficult to choose. Around every corner is a new adventure or a new place to see. It seems like everywhere we go, we say “oh, I love this place”. One of my favorites is the Big Tree in Lamar, TX. I love to just sit and imagine all the life that old tree has seen. We love the Texas Gulf Coast, but we also love the San Juan Island area in the Northwest. We haven’t been to Maine yet, but I just have a feeling that will be a favorite place.

    At the top of the list are all the people we have met on the road and in camping spots and RV parks. Those relationships are what add the exclamation point to all our adventures!

  5. My wife does genealogy and we have traveled the country looking for old homesteads and graves, etc. Two memories that will stay with us forever is finding and touring an old house built in the 1600s by an ancestor of mine and touring the Civil War battlefields. We actually saw and stood in the exact spots where another ancestor of ours fought battles. How awe inspiring!

  6. Most of my favorite memories are of fulltiming, also.

    1. getting our lot at Rainbow’s End when it was just getting started. Joe and Kay and Cathie and Jack were all living in the campground.
    2. The feeling I had when we pulled out to fulltime. Freedom!!!
    3. Working in Yellowstone for 2 summers.
    4. Making Life Master at Bridge in Phoenix

  7. Those folks above us have just about said it! The people are the greatest. Of course – we won’t overlook the glaciers and bays and rivers in Alaska; the fishing fleet in Ninilchik, AZ; Suzy riding her mobility scooter around the base of Devil’s Tower; a curious feral cat watching through broken shutters while I took its picture; the bluebonnets carpeting the Hill Country of Texas; Nebraska, for heaven’s sake!

    There are other memories: our one and only blow out … just as we turned onto a country lane (after running down the Interstate); driving 65 miles with our slideout extended 6 inches (the motor had failed); the day I stepped out the motorhome door and the stairs were retracted (just shortly after knee surgery!).

    We won’t forget any of those. They are all part of the adventure!

  8. Alaska, Newfoundland, Mexico, Key West and everywhere in between are all wonderful memories but one that really stands out is our first holiday as fulltimers;
    Thanksgiving dinner at a country club in Benson, AZ. with Smokey and Pam Ridgely and all of us wearing shorts.

  9. Since folks have mentioned most of the obvious things that we would pick, I’ll just note that December 29, 2004 will always stand out. That’s the day Randy came home from work for the LAST time and we packed up for our first trip on the road, beginning December 30, 2004. We knew we were truly blessed by God to be able to retire at 55 and 46 respectively AND to be able to travel full-time. It’s been a wonderful journey ever since.

  10. Kayaking rivers and lakes in the UP of Michigan, including the Big Lake they call Gitchi Gumee. Spending 3 months in New England, seeing the full spectrum of Autumn colors (leaf-peeping) and experiencing 2 Nor’easters just before participating in my sister’s family Christmas gathering with 4 children and spouses and 18 grandchildren. Escaping the stress of the working world at age 55. Learning how to be a full-time RVer by myself, before I really knew what the term meant, and all the challenges and adventures that includes. Meeting new friends and developing a whole different ‘family’ with whom to spend holidays and share this lifestyle. Experiencing solo RVing for 5+ years, then meeting a marrying another solo RVer; having the joy of sharing a new life together, with many unique adventures yet to come!

  11. Exploring off the beaten track highways, byways, and back roads. Reliving history by following the Califoria and Santa Fe Trails from beginning to end (over a four-year period) while reading diaries of those who did so on each trail in 1846. Following Route 66 and most of its alignments. Tuscarora, Nevada: overnite at the post office after visiting the pottery (you should go there)! The backroads south of Taos. And doing all of this with my very best friend, my husband of 51 years. And then there are those solo retreats in out-of-the-way state and national parks where one gets close to nature, God, and self. And, making water color paintings to solidify the memories. “Living” in hotel parking lots while hubby attends conferences — He looks out the window in his hotel and waves to me in the parking lot! Should I go on?

    And, I just can’t wait to go full-time!!!

  12. The old log house/fishing camp we raised the kids in at Herrington Lake, family Thanksgivings most years at the farm in central Ky, the blessing of Lynda and I finding each other three and one-half years ago. Also PLANNING for the RV trip to Alaska and then doing it last summer for several months. Homer Spit and everything else in this great country. You can read about it at winstonandlynda.blogspot.com. And what about Banff and the Canadian Rockies. All of Alaska and the multitudes of great people along the way. And then there’s the Oregon coast, the National Parks of Utah and the “corkscrew” down the side of the mountain on route 261 on the way to Mexican Hat. On top of that, there was seeing San Antonio by Segway. And then the joy of hanging out with the snowbirds in the Sunshine state for the season and above all, the three great-grandkids born in the past six months, two of whom we have yet to see. . . but we love ’em anyway. And the list goes on and on and on……..

  13. We have camped for many years. For now our memories are the trips we had with our kids and grandkids. Like – first time our son saw the mts( age 5 ) and said they were beautiful and wantd to live here or hiking in Cades Cove, Smokey Mts and our grandson said he could smell the history or hiking a 14er and having a snowball fight on top of the mt. It’s great to give these memories and adventures to the kids.
    Yes, we are some of those people that are waiting to fulltime (in 3 years) to make more memories.

  14. Many people have written about such great experiences. For me, it’s about family. Ours is spread across the US and flying back to Nevada after a short 4 day visit with my 85 yr old father was the final straw. Our jobs were too stressful and I will never forget the feeling when we pulled away from the sold house in a snowstorm on March 9, 2006, it was a feeling of freedom and fear. But if we hadn’t made the decision I wouldn’t have been able to help my daughter with newborn triplets for 8 months in Calif or be with my sister in law’s family in Montana for 3 months after her death at 47. We haven’t been able to travel to Alaska or the east coast but right now we are grateful for what we have experienced and grateful to be together. Money is tight for us, so what? We jumped into it with very little planning, thank goodness we did. I wouldn’t want to have missed a moment.

  15. We full timed for 6 years and just bought a winter home base in FL. Our first year, we traveled cross country in a huge circle. Of all the places we visited, Yellowstone Nat. Park and the Candian Rockies were my favorites, largely because both were another world for me, coming from New England. So very different from anything I had ever experienced. The Icefields Parkway, between Banff & Jasper, offers the most breathtaking scenery of granite mountain peaks and the turquoise glacier-fed lakes. Lake Louise and a tour of the Athabasca Glacier by Snocoach are not to be missed.

  16. Wonderful memories of volunteering in Louisiana; spending a Cajon Christmas with new friends; birding in Texas (with over 40 new life birds!); monthlong stays at each daughter’s house spoiling the grandkids; watching the sunsets on the Gulf coast — and the Arizona desert; meeting new people; of never being bored as there is always something new to see or do just around the next corner.

    AND we never would have discovered Nick’s blog and the Gypsy Journal if we were still back living in our stix and brix!

  17. Since selling our house and starting fulltiming August 1, 2007, we have enjoyed the Arizona high desert, the beautiful rocks of Utah, Death Valley, as well as the quiet beauty of Missouri and Illinois, and a bunch of other places. The best thing has been traveling a simplified lifestyle that allows us to see and do what we want and be where we want….and doing it together with no distractions. Meeting so many other fascinating people is up there too.

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