RV FAQ

Here are a few of the questions that we are asked about our journey:

  • Why? – Why not? Both my wife and I have always been curious about the world around us and want to see more of it. So we are exploring the country to see what there is to see.
  • What inspired you? – As mentioned above, a love of travel and exploration. However, we have both lost loved ones to cancer – and they both left us too early, before they got to live out the adventures that they had planned. We don’t want the same thing to happen to us, so we are going on the adventures now, while we know that we can.
  • Where are you going? – Everywhere! We are going to visit every National Park and National Forest in the continental United States (and are also going to visit each of the lower 48 states).
  • How can you afford this? Arent’t you young to be retired? – Though we say we are retired, that might not be the most accurate description. After paying off our school loans we built up savings and began looking for a house to purchase/build. Eventually we decided that wasn’t the best option for us and chose to use those savings to buy a motorhome and remodel it. No debt,  further savings, and frugal living will allow us to travel for an extended period. We will pick up odd jobs as they strike our fancy to help add to our financial cushion (perhaps helping at a vineyard or orchard during harvest, or working in Orlando Studio’s Harry Potter World). Also, want to buy some soap?
  • What if your motorhome breaks down? – As long as we can continue to live in it, we will do so. If we can’t afford to get it repaired, we can work and save until we can get it fixed, and then continue on our journey. After two years, we will have broken even between the cost of the motorhome and our previous rent payments and will actually be saving money by owning our own home on wheels.
  • What do you do? Just drive around? – We are hiking and exploring the parks and forests that we visit, and other interesting destinations along the way. In the evenings and during rainy days we read, write and draw. For gas savings we can explore on the motorcycle. We have also brought our bicycles along so that we can further explore and continue training for our ride across Iowa in July, 2015.
  • Across IOWA? – Yep. We are taking part in the RAGBRAI. A weeklong bike ride across the state of Iowa, from west to east.
  • Don’t you need more room? – We find our RV to be perfectly sized for us. If anything, we could have gone a touch smaller. There is room for everything that we do, it’s comfortable and uniquely ours. What more do we need? Plus, we spend a lot of time ouside, enjoying the great outdoors on our quest.

Have more questions? Feel free to email me at Matthew (at) Adventure-Some (dot) com and I’ll answer them for you.

Nomad Standard Time

Living on the road, without a fixed schedule, means that you live in an alternate time-zone: NST.*

Only a couple of times in the last month have we set a firm deadline, and of those all but one have been set once we had already arrived in our destination and settled into a stationary spot. The other was set months ago and has been the impetus behind our over-all rate of travel for the last month.

  
Nomad Standard Time is full of approximations, firming up as a timeframe approaches.
As we head south to visit family and friends we keep getting asked when we will arrive (so that our bundle of mail can be forwarded to us). The answer has been some variation of “we’re not sure yet” until early last week.

  
Finally, we were able to to say “we think that we will arrive sometime early next week.” Our mail has been shipped along its way – it may well still beat us there.

  
We are currently meandering south, generally aiming toward their hometown. While we could have rushed and have arrived yesterday, that would have been a fairly long day of travel. And since we are home, no matter where we go, we just don’t have to be in a rush!

  
The closer we get, the more accurately we can predict our travel plans, though they remain flexible. Talking to Aunt Joni this morning, we found out that she is busy, so we slow down our rate of travel a bit. This allows us to get some writing and other personal projects done before heading out. Today we can drive until we’re ready for a break, find a place to park for the night and then coordinate in the morning to firm up a good time to meet.

  
Don’t be offended or off-put if we don’t give you a firm schedule or time-frame of when we’ll be in a particular location. The honest answer is that we’ll get there when we get there.

Likewise, don’t be concerned about telling us that you are busy and can’t meet with us. Chances are, we can accommodate a delay to catch up with you at another time.

Remember, we live in an alternate time-zone! 

* I can’t take credit for NST. I first heard of it from Cherie of Technomadia – check out point number 5 in her letter.

Journal entry – 28 June 2015, Sun

Journal entries are just that – the digital copy of my hand-written entries in my journal. If you aren’t interested in the daily details of our adventure, feel free to skip on to the next “regular” post.

Today’s our anniversary! We have coffee and tea while we finish loading. Top off the water, load the motorcycle and we’re ready. I wasn’t thrilled about having to manually load water into our fresh water tank, but the campground was delightful – pretty, quiet, and conveniently located. We pull out, empty the tanks and it’s only a few miles to Coco’s.

  
It seems that everything is home-made and most of it is local. It all looks and sounds delicious! Ashley gets eggs-in-a-basket and I get a sandwich. Ham, Wisconsin cheddar, seasoned cream cheese, 2 eggs on focaccia with red pepper, portabella, and onions. Plus a side of roasted rosemary taters. Wowzers! Delicious!

   
   We get a slice of peanut butter pie and local strawberry cupcake to go.

  
On down the road Ashley spots a laundry mat and we swing on in. First laundry in about 3 weeks. Were getting low on fresh options. 3 loads covered it, and the commercial driers were much faster than either of us anticipated.

  
Before leaving we have our desserts. Oh so delicious! The PB Pie was super rich, and the cupcake was very strawberry-ey.

Going through Minocqua caught our eye so we stopped for a quick detour on foot. Very touristy, but a cute town.

  
We head on to a Walmart in Merrill for the night. Head in and grab some spaghetti for a last anniversary treat – garlic pasta for supper! 

We cook and eat supper with the best view from a Walmart parking lot yet! Beautiful sunset. Only us and a semi overnighting. And the highway is just far enough away to not require earplugs.

  
I finally catch up on journaling about the last few days while Ashley reads. Even manage to get most of them posted on the website.

Journal entry – 27 June 2015, Saturday

Journal entries are just that – the digital copy of my hand-written entries in my journal. If you aren’t interested in the daily details of our adventure, feel free to skip on to the next “regular” post.

Today’s the day we’re celebrating our 7th anniversary! It’s officially tomorrow, but we’re going to explore the sea caves by kayak to celebrate and it’s an 80% chance of thunderstorms tomorrow.

Ashley fixes breakfast while I prepare to unload the motorcycle and gather some snacks for the trip. We load up, check our directions one last time and head over to Cornucopia, WI.

It’s a bit chilly riding in hiking pants, and they’re too loose legged and thin of a material so they really flap in the wind and ride up my legs. Jeans are better, for sure!

We arrive about 45 minutes early, so after we sign away our lives in the waivers and get wetsuits on we head next door to a local everything store (hardware, groceries, bakery, decorations) and get a rhubarb muffin as a snack.

  
Walk back over to the outfitter, eat our muffin, and the rest of our party has arrived and is wet-suiting up. All of us gather, along with Tessa, our guide, and introduce ourselves. Then it’s time to load into the van.

 
The put-in is a couple miles down the road, where we unload everything and receive intructions on how to safely operate our tandem kayaks. The water is super smooth – the only disturbances being wakes from far-off boats. We can see all the way across the lake, over to Minnesota.

  
We strike out, aiming for the cliffs that start at the point. I’m sure we only scratched the surface during our half-day visit. We paddled into “the Crack”,  

 
the “Garage”  

 and through a very low “Washing Machine” a cave that opens to the lake from the “Garage”, but is so low that you lie down and propel yourself by pushing off the ceiling with your hands!  

  

 

 There was the “Keyhole” and more. 

       
All too soon we have to head back. Going back is straight across open water and in the sun the whole way. The sun wears us out more than the paddling!

We return and load everything back on the trailer. So glad I brought snacks and water – ate all my snacks during the trip (it was lunch time) and almost all of the water in my camelbak.

  
When we go back to the Bayfield, WI area, definitely go back to Lost Creek Outfitters and see if Tessa has any excursions open. They also teach wilderness/survival skills – how awesome would that be?

  
Back on the motorcycle, we head to Bayfield and park so we can explore this quaint town on foot. It’s a beautiful little downtown area and we thoroughly enjoy ourselves. We enjoy finding Fazer Chocolate, salted licorice, and Moomin books in the Scandinavian Design store – good memories from Finland for both of us! We stop at the coffee roasters/shop for a shared latte. Delicious!

Everyone seems to have ice cream in their hands (what is it with these northerners and ice cream on every block?) so we search for the shop – but don’t find it until leaving on the motorbike. A wedding seems to have just wrapped up on the pier.

On the way back to Washburn and our RV we detour down a side road in search of falls and cliffs that Tessa told us about. It’s a short hike to reach them. There would be some very pretty falls if it rained.

  
Back at the RV I prep for tomorrow’s departure while Ashley puts together stuffed peppers and corn on the cob.

Without a water hookup it’s annoying to have to lug over 7 gallons at a time from the spigot and pour it into our fresh water tanks. It is nice to know there’s plenty more water available and that we can empty our tank as we head out, though.

I hang the hammock for a moment of leisure and try to pick up someone on the nearest radio repeater. No luck. I can never seem to catch anyone, but that may be due to only trying intermittently.

After supper Ashley hammocks while I do dishes. We pour in 2 more jugs of water to the tank then it’s shower time before bed.

Journal entry – 26 June 2015, Fri

Journal entries are just that – the digital copy of my hand-written entries in my journal. If you aren’t interested in the daily details of our adventure, feel free to skip on to the next “regular” post.

Lazy morning in the RV. Taking care of house-keeping. Ashley reorganized some cabinets, now that we’ve been living in here full time. I entered all of our receipts to see how our expenses are running.

Calling for rain on Sunday, so tomorrow’s “kayak the sea caves” day. Looked at options and made a reservation. Booked our spot for 2 more nights. We’ll celebrate tomorrow and travel during Sunday’s rain.

Head out for a 55 mile bike ride. Route we found from map of local bike rides is a 52 mile loop, through the forest with good roads. It doesn’t take long for our first disappointment along the ride. Just on the other side of town we run into construction: “grooved pavement”. That will put your hands to sleep quickly on road bikes! This lasted for a few miles until we turned off the main road.

  
Followed street signs until realizing we were on the wrong road. Glance at the map and take a turn at the next intersection – gravel road! So we go back to the last intersection that we know is correct, 5 miles back. Fortuntely it’s either flat or downhill! Take the third and final option at the intersection – still the wrong road name but gets us out where we expected to be.

We ride on to the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center to top off water and hit the head. A woman was giving out samples of locally made cheese. It was delicious! I had to go back for some seconds.

She also dispensed some knowledge about our route – road construction ahead. Which apparently means they cover the road in gravel. Unfortunately, our road bikes are horrible in gravel. Just at the beginning of the gravel, though, is a trails-from-rails path. Still sand and gravel and mostly used by ATV and snowmobiles, but at least we would bypass a hill and there wouldn’t be any cars.

We head on and follow her directions. We are paused on the road, debating if we remember them correctly when she catches up with us. We’re at the right place. She turns left toward home and we head right.

This trail is much better than the road, but it’s still horrible. Too sandy to ride on. Takes a lot of energy too move forward. We end up walking for most of it. Finally we come to a paved road, only for it to have a name, while our map has road numbers. We continue on a few more miles (at least 5 miles we walked on this trail).

The next intersection is also blacktop and has a number, but it’s the wrong one. We should have turned at the last one! The map shows that they intersect and we don’t want to walk back down the gravel sand trail again so we head on.

  

The trail turns to packed sand/gravel. We press on. It turns to loose sand – unbikeable. we hike on. I can see that look in Ashley’s eyes as we head further into wilderness. The contemplation of which branch will make the best spear, either to kill me for bringing her out here or for protection against bears.

After an eternity we come to a blacktop road. Checking the phone’s GPS confirms that we’ve finally reached the proper route. 42 miles down, only half of the original 52 remain! The blacktop makes a huge difference, we feel like we’re flying after a few hours of walking through the sand.

   
Unfortunately, we’re low on water. I’ve got a few drinks left and Ashley’s out. We know we can ride the remaining 12ish miles after we finish mine.

It’s past supper time and past time left to make something. We agree to stop at Sauce, a burger and shake joint for a meal on the way home. This thought keeps us moving and we were going to eat out supper tomorrow anyway so we just moved it up a day.

 
We pull back into town, only a couple of blocks from Sauce. Are they still open? Whew! 45 more minutes! Everything looks so delicious! What shall we choose?

I settle on 1/2 lb Portabella Swiss burger. Oh so delicious! Homemade buns and we split the house chips. Ashley gets a 1/3 lb with guacamole and pico de gallo. We top it off with a shared cookies-n-cream shake.

  
We enjoyed a delightful chat with Harry, who we assume owns Sauce. His son was running the kitchen. He loved the idea of our trip and we discussed traveling and different places to visit.

Energized and refuelled we hop back on our bikes and pedal the last couple of miles back to our RV for showers and some tea before bed. 69.14 miles complete for the day!

  
The day started off so well and then seemed to get worse as it went on. We made it without getting mad at each other, hit personal records for mileage, and it all ended on a good note with a delicious meal. Over all, it ended up being a good day!

Journal entry – 25 June 2015, Thurs

Journal entries are just that – the digital copy of my hand-written entries in my journal. If you aren’t interested in the daily details of our adventure, feel free to skip on to the next “regular” post.

After breakfast we hit the road once more, heading back to the Ashland Peninsula in Wisconsin for our anniversary weekend – going to check out the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

Following the guidebook’s advice we aim the GPS toward Bayfield. Apparently there was only a single campground and we didn’t feel hugely excited about it. There were more options about 12 miles down the road so we moseyed along to Washburn.

The campground is well-kept and has electric hook-ups but only community water. Pay showers, so that’s disappointing. Right on the water so we’re only 100′ from Lake Superior. Very pretty view out the window, and plenty of scattered pine trees throughout the sites.

Settled in to camp for the day and headed out to explore Washburn on our bicycles. Gotta get those miles in! Didn’t take long and we’d covered the town. Spotted a few eateries that looked good for anniversary celebrations. We are debating if it’s worth going out for a nice restaurant – it’s been a few months since we’ve dressed up for a date. But there’s also the quantity argument. For the same or less money we can go to 2 or 3 cheaper places.

  
To get more miles we head back down the road to Bayfield. Stop for a break – snacking on home-made granola and water. I feel much better on the way back.

Stop for pictures in a field of flowers. I’ve been trying to get a picture of these for days while going down the road. They smell good and are very pretty! We weren’t the only ones stopping – at least 2 other groups had the same idea.

   
 Back in the RV we looked up activities and other campgrounds for the weekend. Supposed to rain Sunday, and we have to get in a long bike ride on Saturday. Without a water hook-up and our fresh-water tank empty, our new 7 gallon jug is handy – pouring it into the tank is a bit annoying. Maybe another campground will work better – we will look tomorrow.

  
Hard to believe, 7 years on Sunday! Ashley asked what I imagine 10 years will bring. Absolutely no idea. A year ago we were in the Bahamas. Now we live in an RV and are traveling the country. Neither of use thought we’d be where we are now. Maybe still on the road. Or settled and have a home/farm/business of some sort. I can only imagine, but I know that as long as we’re together it’ll be good!

Journal entry – 24 June 2015, Wed

Journal entries are just that – the digital copy of my hand-written entries in my journal. If you aren’t interested in the daily details of our adventure, feel free to skip on to the next “regular” post.

Well, that “relaxing rainy day” was exhausting. Forecast called for rain so we planned on staying home, reading and writing. And it did rain – woke us up during the night with drops hitting the roof. But when we woke it was a nice, sunny day.

  
So after a late breakfast we head out for a bicycle ride, since we’ve skipped all weekend due to rain and travel. We’re camped somewhere near Elephant Lake so we ride in that direction. Sandy gravel roads so the mountain bikes come in handy.

They are doing road improvements (laying down a fresh layer of sand/dirt) so we passed a lot of construction and had to wait for the stop/slow guy to let us through.

  
Finally made it to the lake and sat on a dock at a ramp for a snack break. Definitely didn’t have enough water but only one bottle holder on the mountain bikes.

  
Tired by the time we got back. After lunch we snacked.

  
Steak taco salad for supper – delicious! Reading and I finished crocheting a fruit hammock before bed.

  

Journal entry – 23 June 2015, Tues

Journal entries are just that – the digital copy of my hand-written entries in my journal. If you aren’t interested in the daily details of our adventure, feel free to skip on to the next “regular” post.

Woke to a pretty day – nice and sunny with big cotton-ball clouds in the sky. Good day for a motorcycle ride!

  
After breakfast and yoga* we get ready for our ride over to the Chippewa National Forest. Looking up from the atlas I see a little black bear out our window. Apparently the calm way that I said “there’s a bear” was humorous, as Ashley laughed about it all day long. It was small enough that we thought it might not be alone so we waited inside a bit before heading out to unload the bike.

   
       Off we venture, heading west and looking for the forest. There don’t seem to be any amazingly special areas so we’re just aiming to enter and find a pretty spot for lunch. After a wrong turn and 10 miles of backtracking we’re getting pretty close to my comfortable distance for a tank of gas. Fortunately we find a gas station (there’s at least 50 miles in there with nothing) and a sign indicating the forest is nearby.

  
We tour down a couple of roads that end in lodges or resorts before coming to a ranger/welcome station. They have a nice picnic spot overlooking a lake so we eat there. The water is clear, we can see down at least 8 feet to the bottom. You can follow the lily pad stems all the way down.

Forest visited we head back, topping off the tank at the same gas station.

  
About 10 miles from home I notice oncoming traffic has their headlights on and the occasional wiper blade going. Hopefully we can make it to the visitor’s center or gas station before the rain hits. No luck! It rains steadily for about 5 minutes – hard enough that we have to slow down. I have all the vents in my jacket open and the rain is cold!

It’s over and sunny again by the time we turn on the gravel road and get back to the RV. We load the motorcycle on the trailer and I get the grill ready.

We assemble beef kabobs and grill supper, along with some extra steaks for tomorrow’s tacos. After supper we read and crochet until bed.

* Doing a “sun salutation” routine is a great series of stretches to start off the day – makes a difference when I can’t make it to the chiropractor. Ashley has been attending yoga classes for at least a year now and missed those. She found an app for her phone with routines that she could download – and her mat fits just perfectly in the dining area hallway.

Journal entry – 22 June 2015, Mon

Journal entries are just that – the digital copy of my hand-written entries in my journal. If you aren’t interested in the daily details of our adventure, feel free to skip on to the next “regular” post.

We woke to rain on the roof, surrounded by nature. What a delightful setting in which to do nothing!

  
Tomorrow we will motorbike over/down to the Chippewa National Forest but today is our rainy day to sit at home. I read, finish my book of logic puzzzles and make a net fruit hammock (it is narrower than planned – will have to widen it later).

The rain throws off our plan of grilling – it’s too breezy to pull out the awning. So the steaks will marinate overnight and today it’s garlic spaghetti squash with broiled ‘maters and zucchini.

We’ve turned on the generator for a total of about 10 minutes and the only battery usage has been charging the two phones and Kindle. Water is definitely our limiting factor when off-grid: fresh for drinking, cooking, and showering and the grey tank for waste. Ashley had the great idea of buying some auxilary jugs for more drinking/cooking water. That would extend our time and we could store some decent-sized jugs on the trailer – which might help make it more front/back balanced and thus easier to load the motorcycle.

Tomorrow we check out the other national forest, then it is supposed to rain for the next few days. No further plans till our anniversary on Sunday (7 years!) so as long as the water holds out we may well stay a few more nights here in the Kabetogama State Forest, out nowhere surrounded by nature. More time for writing, reading, and drawing then.


Here’s a quote in the brochure from Voyageurs National Park. It’s about canoe travel but applies to our RV life as well, me thinks.

What a way to travel – no trains to catch, no traffic to annoy us, no towns to reach by evening, no appointments to remember! We wander anywhere our whims take us, through these lakes. Freedom surrounds us. We are finding more than peace here. This is an authentic and profound release from modern intricacies.

~ Florence Page Jaques – Canoe Country Journal

Journal entry – 21 June 2015, Sun

Journal entries are just that – the digital copy of my hand-written entries in my journal. If you aren’t interested in the daily details of our adventure, feel free to skip on to the next “regular” post.

I didn’t sleep so well – the trains blew their whistles as they passed so I caught a series of naps rather than a night’s slumber.

After breakfast we packed lunch and hopped on the motorcycle for a visit to the Voyageurs’ National Park – our first National Park of the journey. The road is much better on the motorcycle than the RV. Winter is rough on the roads and I certainly appreciate the ones back in the south a lot more now!

We head in to the Ash River Visitor Center, where the ranger points out some hiking trails for us to explore, and warns us against the “muddy and swampy” Kab-Ash trail which is in need of maintenance.

  
Off down the Blind Ash Bay Trail we head, which has a few scenic overlooks of Kabetogama Lake. We pass a ranger on the trail (who nearly fell down on a slippery rock in the trail right in front of us) and meet a trio of ladies who are touring National Parks as well. They strongly recommended a trip to Glacier. After a pleasant chat we head on and find a rocky outcropping with a good view of the lake upon which to enjoy our lunch.

   
     Our attempt at making our own Cliff bars turned out to be a tasty granola-y crumble rather than any sort of formed food. Definitely worth more attempts.

After lunch we head back to the motorcycle and head out, back down the road we came in on. We stop at the Beaver Pond where I hear a splash and see ripples but otherwise spot nothing more than a beaver lodge.

Just around a bend in the road is the Sullivan Bay Trail – a pretty hike through the woods that culminates at a picnic area on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Bay. Stunning view!

   
   Back at the motorcycle, it’s time to head back to the RV. While stopping for gas Ashley points out that we passed Elephant Lake a few miles back, where research shows boondock camping available in the forest. We head back and go off searching for a spot to spend the next few nights.

After the grooved blacktop in the road construction I’m a lot more confident in the gravel roads and we search down a spot back off of old logging roads off a forest road. An old gravel pit near the top of a hill provides more than enough space to turn around and, hidden behind a patch of trees, we discover a fire pit and beautiful campsite. Just in case, I continue along one of the side trails but it doesn’t appear that we can top that site.

  
Back down the road, time to move house! We top off the gas tank in the motorcycle for Tuesday’s trip and load up. Getting better at that process, as we made it on our first try!

The trip back to the forest is uneventful, except for the washboard gravel roads. Double digits was too fast! Fortuntely we’re only two miles off the blacktop.

   
   We settle in – Ashley fixes supper while I go gather firewood. After supper it’s shower time and then a bit of reading before bed!

Think I managed a shower in about a half gallon of water. No “soap or poo” really does help!