YEAH! We made it! I know you already know that, but boy is it exciting! Our goal for our FT retirement was to spend more family time. And we have been doing just that...and loving every single second! The long cross country trip was no where near as arduous as it sounds - or perhaps our reward was so sweet it minimized it?
Many of you are asking for insight on how we "lived" coming across. Paul is planning a post, to be done soon, that will have much more technical and detailed information. Me? KISS = keep it simple sweetie.
First, I guess - let me explain that even though we are "newbies" at the whole FT thing, we have owned the Journey for four years. So, we pretty much have a routine for set up/take off...I am sure most of you do, too. We can close up and be ready for departure in 20 minutes or less. What's that got to do with the cross country? Well, the whole trip was basically a semi-setup and take down. Every day. Yeah, we are now r-e-a-l-l-y good at that. :-)
After our 3 day stay at camp Freightliner, our days pretty much went like this:
Get up, get ready, breakfast. While I cooked breakfast, Paul did his walk around the RV and started up the toad (for you non-RVers, that is the towed car) to make sure the battery was fully charged before we pulled out. He checked the temps, and various other technical things he needed to keep an eye on. Meanwhile, I was getting breakfast ready - usually to eat on the run. Also, putting away dishes that were washed, and securing everything inside to prevent any breakages. Our routine nearly always had us finishing simultaneously. Off we'd go...
My routine, as navigator, would be to review the routes we would be taking that day - and we'd tentatively decide on a stopping point, but that was very flexible. Paul, drove and drove and drove. Along the way, he'd ask where the next Flying J was, when he'd anticipate a need for fuel. He also kept an eye on the propane level as well as the diesel. Of course, the propane furnace was how we kept warm at night. :-)
Also, along with tracking our route, I kept tabs on the DOT Interstate Route Website. A really nifty tool while driving interstate, and shows the entire route, for all states. (ie route 80 east to west, or perhaps west to east, can't remember). That alone, was a marvelous tool. It provided us weather, by state and by date. It gave us confidence on our path and plan. We also saw if a weather pattern was heading in our intended direction, and that would spur us to make extra miles.
On those long days, we typically ate on the road for breakfast and lunch - meaning we ate as we traveled. Dinner was always after we had parked at night, and could then decompress and relax from the day's travels. Occasionally, we ate out, more often we had a nice home cooked meal. If we were boon-docking at Walmart, we took advantage and went shopping for fresh fruit/veggies, and various other items. Of course, I often went back solo for another stroll, and often found fun stocking stuffers, or worked on finding items I need for a few projects in the making. It felt good to walk, after a day of sitting. Paul was always pretty tired, and preferred to sit in the rig watching TV and working on the post. :-)
Many have asked about the trip, and were we warm enough? Yes, that really wasn't an issue, even when it got really, really cold. Paul kept the furnace on at night, to keep the "basement" warm, making sure pipes didn't freeze or burst. Other than needing to disconnect the ice maker water line, we had no problems. In the cab, the dash heat was good. I have to say, the driver's side is warmer - and our unspoken rule has always been that the driver controls the heat, for the most part. I typically started in a sweatshirt, and by the time the sun was shining mid-day, had to switch to a T-shirt as it got too hot. We both have warm slippers, we wore inside the rig. Only once did I need a blanket up front, and that was the first day of our trip...after that I never needed it. During the trip, I refilled drinks, and kept him posted on any changes in weather or other pertinent information. Mid-day we narrowed down where the goal for stopping was. Interestingly, the days never seemed to drag (except the last day, for some reason the last 300 miles felt oh-so-long-gee, could it be the anticipation? LOL).
I kept busy, doing my navigator duties on my iPad, iPhone, then when that was done, read my book or played with my Nintendo DS, and of course did Christmas card and note writing. I was typically the photographer, taking dozens of pictures through the windshield (didn't have time to stop), as well reading the comments out loud from the prior days post. The days were very busy and the Christmas music we had playing was fun! So, all in all - the trip was very very easy, albeit 3000+ miles long. And worth every mile, every second, every day spent enjoying our new freedom. It sure was fun, planning what we want to do in the upcoming year, and where we want to stop on our next cross country trip.
I'll say it again: God is good, and we are blessed more than we deserve. Christmas will be a joy this year, as it was last year. It's family time - what's better than that? This year, we will have more time to visit - that will make it extra special. As each upcoming visit with the kids/grandkids will be great... Wow-let the Journey continue!
Thanks for visiting, and feel free to leave a comment. ~Marti