Mashley’s Adventures – Nocturnal Edition

Current Location: Fayetteville, NC

Work hard, save your money, and keep your nose clean.
~ Sam French, Jr.

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This week finds Adventure-Some on the night shift! While it doesn’t seem like a lot has happend in the last few days, at the same time everything has changed since our last email!

We visited with Ashley’s sister, bro-n-law, and the nieces for a few fabulous days in Newport, TN. While there they took us exploring in nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where we had a wonderful day checking out historic buildings (like a working mill with a water wheel), watching sorgum molases being made, and hiking along a delightful creek up into the mountains. Our timing worked out splendidly, as we even got to see Bailee (our oldest niece) on her 13th birthday!

Then it was time to continue on our way to Fayetteville where we settled in at our current location at Lake Waldo’s Beach RV Campground. Of course, there is no lake, as the levee was damaged over the summer and has been drained for repairs, which the recent Hurricane Matthew delayed.

Ashley made it through two days of hospital orientation and then a couple of night shifts on her unit. Tonight she will begin working on her own. Since she’s going to be working nights she is planning on sticking to a sleep-during-the-day schedule to make it easier. Matthew’s also switched sleeping schedules so that we can maximize our time together.

Sleep deprived while switching schedules and focusing on orientation, we’ve been relative homebodies this past week. Cooking, reading, and getting out for a little bit of local exploration have been our primary activities.

Starting Thursday Ashley’s going to have a 4 day weekend, however, so we expect to get some different type of adventuring done then.

Until next week, Happy Thanksgiving!

Adventuring away,

Matthew & Ashley

Mashley’s Adventures – On the Road, Again!


Current Location: Cookeville, TN

A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.
~ Tony Robbins

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This week finds Adventure-Some migrating! It’s always bittersweet to leave family and head back out. We cherish the time shared with loved ones but are excited to return to our “normal” life of travel and exploration. The past few weeks have been rather tumultuous, filled with rapidly changing plans, consideration of options, debate of potential paths, and emotional releases. There is no better place to ponder such things than surrounded by family for encouragement, advice, and support.

After only being listed for a few days, we have sold the PT Cruiser. The cruiser was a direct tie to Ashley’s dad, and she’s had it longer than we’ve been together. So many of our adventures involved the Cruiser – it’s like a third member of our family. It was a hard, emotional decision to let it go, though we know it was the right choice. It has gone on to a new owner and we are officially car-less. Now, if we’re driving somewhere it’s on the motorcycle or in our house! Though, it’s been that way for most of the last 15 months…

As we mentioned last week, Ashley starts as a travel nurse on Monday. We’re heading that way to establish a home base for the next three months. Reservation at an RV park is made (after many calls, the area seems to be swamped!) If you’re going to be near the Fayetteville, NC area any time before February 11, let us know!

Fortunately, the path from Kentucky to North Carolina passes directly by Matt, Brittney, and the nieces, so we’re looking forward to a visit with them before settling down on Sunday. (And we’ll get to be there to celebrate Bailee’s 13th birthday, huzzah!)

Travel nursing offers the chance for us to continue traveling for the long-term, which we’re thrilled about! The longer we’ve been adventuring, the more we love it. We may have to adjust our goal timelines but we’ll still manage to visit all of the contiguous US within 3 years. And with more of a regular income we can focus a bit less on keeping to a strict budget. In the future, it also makes it easier to get to and temporarily live in Alaska and Hawaii, which is also one of our goals.

On a lighter note, it was great timing to be back in Western KY. Tobey, Matthew’s sister, bought her first house, so we were able to help her move in and get (somewhat) settled. That included helping to repaint the bathroom and also paint a mural in the bedroom. Even more fun, is that the mountains that comprise it are actual silhouettes of places we’ve been on our travels! 😀

Adventuring away,

Matthew & Ashley

Mashley’s Adventures – The Winds of Change are Blowing

winds-of-change-are-blowing

Current Location: Mayfield, KY

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward. Adventure is worthwhile in itself.
~ Amelia Earhart

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What a crazy week! We’ve made plans, changed them, made new plans, attended a Spooktacular Halloween Party (dressed as a Park Ranger and a Moose!), ran about a million errands, and there is still a piling list of things to do. Also, it sure hasn’t felt like Fall here in Kentucky. The temperature has been keeping steadily in the 80’s, and we even had to run the RV air conditioner so we didn’t sweat to death…in November! Madness! But, a cold front should be rolling in soon, just as we begin rolling out.

That’s right! Adventure-Some will be back on the road, headed to a new destination! Now, our plans have changed quite a bit since our last email, very surprising I know. It really should just be expected by now. We are no longer going to be in Campbellsville, KY working for Amazon until Christmas. As luck would have it, Ashley got offered a Travel Nursing position in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She starts November 14th and the contract ends February 11th. We are both excited for this opportunity because 1) we get to go somewhere new 2) it gives us a way to make a substantial contribution to the bank account and travel fund while also giving us an opportunity to make this lifestyle more sustainable long term 3) and it gives us the chance to visit more states and nearby National Parks this winter!

We are grateful for the extended time we have been able to spend with our families this last month. God knows that we have missed them and they have missed us, but we can’t deny that we are itching to get back to exploring new places, seeing amazing things and accomplishing this journey we set out on 17 months ago. If there is one thing we are, it is determined 😀

Adventuring away,

Matthew & Ashley

P.S. – This change in plan does throw a loop into visits with friends over the next few months, which we hate! Pondering other ways/times to get together, however.

Mashley’s Adventures – Breaking News

breaking-news

Current Location: Mayfield, KY

If you don’t read the newspaper, then you’re uninformed. But if you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.
~ Mark Twain

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It’s been a pretty steady couple of weeks here in Adventure-Some land. Working on some saved projects, spending time with family, and searching for future jobs. As all that has taken place, however, we did manage to fit in an interview with the local paper, the Paducah Sun. (All thanks to Jim’s suggestion and introduction!) The story ran Saturday and was on the front page! Woohoo!

We’ve decided that the current best option is to move forward with Ashley finding a travel nursing job or two. A couple of contracts a year should cover most of our expenses – if these are during the winter in the south, we can continue exploring during the summer elsewhere. Matthew is still looking at options, whether that be finding a remote position with an online company so that he can work anywhere or… something else.

There’s still a lot of puzzling to do as we research options. Until then, we’re enjoying the fall weather and chance to spend time with family!

Adventuring away,

Matthew & Ashley

Mashley’s Adventures – Visits, Chores, and the Future

visits-chores-and-the-future

Current Location: Benton, KY

Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation.
~ Oscar Wilde

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It’s been a pretty quiet week here on the Adventure-Some front. After the BBQ Ashley and her mom headed to eastern TN to spend a few days with our nieces (and their parents). Everyone had a wonderful time, complete with some day hiking at Cades Cove, a birthday celebration (happy 40th, Mr. Daniels!) and lots of giggles and laughter. As always, it went by far too quickly….

Matthew stayed with the RV and took care of some routine maintenance items. The PT Cruiser still seems to be running fine.

Ashley received some details about her upcoming Amazon stint – she’ll start on November 7th so we’ll be settling in to our new location in Campbellsville on the 5th.

Until then, we’re debating what to do. There are nearby parks we’d love to visit, but aren’t sure we trust the car to get us there and back and don’t want to spend too much gas money on the RV at this point in time. We are compiling a list of next-door activities – trails to hike, paths to bike, roads to motorcycle, and camping to do – but don’t quite have them figured out yet.

For the longer-term, we’re also pondering our options. We’ve discovered that the more we travel and live nomadically, the more we like it and want to continue on, but in a more sustainable way (i.e. have a regular income). We discovered during our last month in the car that we really hate travelling quickly. We hate just “passing through” and spending so much time sitting in the car getting from place to place. We prefer to spend at least a week or two in a place and really get to know it in depth. Our plan (after numerous variations) was to have visited all of the 48 continental states and the National Parks there-in within 2 years, next June. However, the car problems threw off our schedule (which is largely dependent on weather) and messed with our budget. So part of the conundrum is whether we should focus on that 2 year goal or if we should go ahead and start working toward building a long-term, sustainable nomadic life. This pondering has made Ashley start thinking about the option of travel nursing. She could work 3 month contracts anywhere she chooses, and in addition to the normal paycheck, we’d get a housing stipend, paid travel expenses, and at the end of 3 months we are done. Something to think about as it would definitely fit our lifestyle. At the end of a contract we could go adventuring for a few months before accepting another contract elsewhere.

Lots of puzzling to do as we consider options. Until then, we’re enjoying the fall weather and chance to spend time with family!

Adventuring away,

Matthew & Ashley

P.S. – Happy birthday to Matthew’s mom this week!

Mashley’s Adventures – SleepOvers and Smoked Meat

sleepovers-and-smoked-meat

Current Location: Benton, KY

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.
~ Anthony Bourdain

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Our plan was to be up in Maine this weekend, enjoying the cool weather and the spectacular fall colors. Of course, that didn’t quite work out so we’ve been enjoying more time with family, celebrating Tobey’s (Matthew’s sister) new house purchase (and helping her move in) and helping pull off another successful Unky Doo’s Bar-B-Que!

Friday evening we seasoned the variety of goodies for the next day and early Saturday morning we got up and started the smoker. Family and friends trickled in from all around throughout the morning and the feast properly began at 2:30.

There’s not much that can make one feel better about life, about humanity, about the state of our world than gathering together with family and friends over a delicious meal. We had a fabulous time visiting with family that we hadn’t seen in over a year, catching up with friends whose visit was even longer ago, and making some new friends along the way. The weather was fabulous and we couldn’t have had a better weekend!

The car has been running fine since we’ve returned home, not that we’ve needed it very often. We’re looking into options for it – repair, rebuild, or replace the current engine or just move on to something new. But we aren’t expecting to need it frequently in the near future so, now that we’re back around family, there isn’t such an urgency to repair it.

Adventuring away,

Matthew & Ashley

P.S. – We’re still in a holding pattern, waiting to hear back from Amazon about Ashley’s start date and our next move.

Mashley’s Adventures – Waterfalls and Unexpected Stops

waterfalls-and-unexpected-stops

Current Location: Benton, KY

Again it might have been the American tendency in travel. One goes, not so much to see but to tell afterward.
~ John Steinbeck

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Wednesday morning we headed into Cuyahoga Valley and bicycled from one end to the other on the Tow Path trail. The train ride back to our starting point was a lot of fun and provided a fabulous opportunity to see the park from yet another point of view.

We left our trip plans open because of the issues we’d been having with the car. Getting up to Maine and breaking down didn’t sound like our idea of a good time (though it would definitely still be an adventure of some sort). So we agreed that if there were any problems while heading to or during our time in Cuyahoga Valley, we’d return to Kentucky. We had no issues what-so-ever, though, so after our bike and train ride we packed up and headed north east.

Thursday morning we stopped by Niagara Falls. What a fabulous place for lunch! As you may know, we aren’t big fans of touristy places, so the falls didn’t hold a huge appeal to us. Without paying to go down to the bottom, we couldn’t feel the full force of the volume of water moving (by standing next to it, not underneath!), so we probably didn’t get the complete experience. None-the-less, we can now honestly say “yes” when asked the inevitable “have you been to the Grand Canyon/Yellowstone/Niagara Falls?” Apparently that is, collectively, “The American Experience” trifecta. 😀

After lunch we continued east and found a delightful free campsite in the Chataqua State Forest in NY.

On Friday we made it just to the Vermont border when the car started stuttering. Pulling into the visitors center we assessed our options. There was a nearby Dodge/Chrystler dealership that was open for just a few more minutes so we headed that way. By the time we arrived the car was running ok and the check engine light was off. The service department was closing in about 5 minutes and didn’t work on Saturdays so we decided to press on. A few more miles and one big hill later, the stuttering started again. We took the first exit we could, called the closest dealership – just missed them but they would be openin in the morning – and headed to a nearby RV park/campground for the night.

First thing in the morning we drove to the dealership. They gave us a loaner for the weekend and looked at the car Monday. Seems like one of the valves is leaking, which is roughly a $2500 fix. Car’s worth about $2000. Hmm… It’ll cost us about $2900 to rent a UHaul and trailer to tow the car home. Ultimately, they said we should be able to drive it home if we take it easy. That’s our favorite option, so we hit the road on Monday.

– 9 new sparkplugs (in a car running 4)
– 1 new gasket
– 1 new Camshaft Position Sensor
– 2 jumpstarts
– 1 new battery

A few hours later, it started stuttering again and shuttering rather violently. Oh no! It’s just after closing time everywhere so we snag a motel in Herkimer, NY for the night. The next morning we limp over to a mechanic who adds some oil, replaces one of the spark plugs that is horribly fouled, and puts in a new intake gasket set before sending us on our way. He didn’t know why the spark plug was so corroded since it had just been replaced, but since we had gotten around 2,000 miles out of the first one, he said it should get us home.

Back on the road and, seemingly running smoothly, we coffee up and keep on moving, slightly afraid to stop for fear of another problem cropping up. From 2pm until about 5:30am we keep driving and finally pull back in at Benton, KY. We sleep for a few hours in our own bed, back in the RV, and are thrilled to be here!

So we didn’t quite make it up to Maine and Acadia. We spent some time in lovely towns in Vermont and northern New York. Though we’ve driven through the tip of Pennsylvania, twice, we haven’t yet stopped in the state. We’re back in Kentucky, in time for the family BBQ and are thrilled at the chance to visit with family. They also seem pretty happy that we are back for a bit.

The car is currently running but will have to be dealt with eventually – but for now we’re close enough to people we know that any issues are merely frustrating and not disasterous. Ashley’s offered to start working earlier than planned at her Amazon job. Matthew’s starting the job hunt again. For now, we expect to be in Kentucky until January, adding to our gas fund and taking some short trips to nearby states and National parks. And that’s enough planning for us – we definitely do better with short term targets than actual plans. 😀

Adventuring away,

Matthew & Ashley

P.S. – Curious where we rest along our travels? Here’s a few of our overnight spots – adventure-some.com/personal/you-slept-where/

Mashley’s Adventures – Planes, Train, and Automobile

planes-train-and-automobile

Current Location: Peninsula, OH

We believe in celebrations, both big and small.
~ Kate Spade

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After heading out from our free campsite in the Ottawa National Forest on Thursday, we headed south to Kalamazoo, MI for Lisa and Tim’s wedding. We had an amazing time and thoroughly enjoyed our time with the new couple, their families, and friends. The ceremony itself was beautiful and the reception in the AirZoo was a blast – it’s definitely worth visiting even without a DJ and cake!

Our current explorations find us in an odd mixture of urban woods. Sunday morning we left Kalamazoo and headed east, visiting a new state and eating supper in a new National Park – Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. Cuyahoga Valley doesn’t have any campgrounds so we followed the GPS a few miles further east to a nearby state park for the night. CV is unlike any park we have visited thus far, as it is more of an “urban” park, being situated between Cleveland and Akron, Ohio and populated with houses and small towns throughout.

Our most anticipated feature of CV is the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath bike/hike trail. It runs north-south through the park and we brought our bicycles specifically to take advantage of it. The highlight is that we only have to ride one way and can catch the Cuyahoga Scenic Train the other direction back to our patiently waiting CarVee thanks to their Bike Aboard! program. Of course, the engineer and conductors get a two-day weekend, so we’re waiting until Wednesday for our bike ride when the train is running again.

From there, we have a couple of optional routes so we haven’t quite decided where we’ll be heading next. But we’ll let you know as soon as we do!

Adventuring away,

Matthew & Ashley

P.S. – There are lots of ways to RV – here are some of our thoughts about a few: adventure-some.com/examples/rv-options

Mashley’s Adventures – Silver Linings

Current Location: Mackinaw City, MI

There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.
~ Linda Grayson

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This week certainly hasn’t been quite the adventure we expected. After spending a few days in Oshkosh, WI the car was running smoothly once again and we had adjusted tickets for the last boat of the season out to Isle Royale National Park. We found a free campsite out in the Ottawa National Forest, tucked along Sudden Lake. It was a beautiful place to spend a couple of nights until we headed up to Houghton to catch our boat. Along the way, the car sputtered once again and the check engine light came on. We called the Ranger station and let them know we didn’t think we’d be able to make it, once again. We found a mechanic who got the car fixed pretty quickly (it’s wasn’t the spark plug once again, as we feared, but a sensor gone bad.)

Though we missed the boat, we did stop at the visitor center. Technically, we’ve visited Isle Royale National Park. Of course, that didn’t quite satisfy our desire to get out in the wilderness and explore. We’ll definitely be returning another day.

Our planned stop at Oconomowoc Lake didn’t quite go as planned, either. Due to being under the weather, Joni and Jim thought it best that we didn’t come visit just now. We miss our time with them but we want them feeling better!

So we’ve found another free campsite out in the woods, this time just outside Mackinaw City, MI along French Farm Lake. We’re staying for a few days until it’s time to head south for the wedding in Kalamazoo.

Lessons Learned (or relearned):

  • If you look, there’s always something good hidden in the bad.
  • There are fabulous places to (temporarily) live everywhere!
  • Batteries on our phones don’t make for the most efficient long-term reading experience.

Other than some beautiful free campsites, that doesn’t necessarily sound like a great week, does it? Barring a couple of stressful days, we’ve enjoyed it, though. The days of pouring rain? We spent them lounging in the comfort of our CarVee or tent instead of backpacking through them. The Park service returned most of our pre-paid fares. Both of the issues with the PT Cruiser are common occurrences (according to the interwebs) so we should be, statistically, good for another few years. Both of us have been enjoying some extended reading time and Matthew has made some contacts on his amateur HAM radio (finally, after carrying it around since last June). And, at least for now, the weather is nice and sunny, our air mattress in the tent has been superbly cosy, and we’re together with our best friend on this amazing adventure!

Adventuring away,

Matthew & Ashley

P.S. – A few more thoughts about mis-adventures along the adventure of life: adventure-some.com/rv/its-not-always-sunshine-and-rainbows/

Ashley driving the CarVee

Mashley’s Adventures – Moving into the CarVee

 

Current Location: Oshkosh, WI

The more you have, the more occupied you are. The less you have, the more FREE you are.
~ Mother Theresa

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This week we’ve been gearing up for a new round of adventures while visiting friends and family! The bulk of that preparation included downsizing from Lady Galapagos, our 29′ motorhome, into our PT Cruiser. The Cruiser has long been called “The Cricket” and is now affectionately known as our CarVee. Home sweet home, for the next 8 weeks!

We spent a few unplanned days in Oshkosh, WI due to car problems. Nothing serious but enough to make us miss our boat out to Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. Though we did manage to switch our tickets to Friday’s boat (the last of the season) for a night on the Isle. It’s a bit of a bummer to lose a few days on the island, but at least we still get to visit!

From there, we’ll be swinging by Aunt Joni & Jim’s Lake Cottage for a few days back in Wisconsin before heading on to Kalamazoo, MI for a wedding celebration on the 17th!

Lessons Learned (or relearned):

  • We really don’t need that much stuff to be happy and comfortable! (We’ll update our thoughts in 8 weeks…)
  • There’s never enough time to spend with the people you love.
  • It’s amazing how much smoother the bicycle is after a tune-up.
  • We don’t make fixed plans for a reason.

Once we leave Kalamazoo then we’ll be heading east, aiming for Maine. The grand northeastern loop will net us a few new Parks (Cuyahoga, Acadia, Shenandoah, and maybe the Great Smokies) plus all of the northeastern states!

It’s going to be an exciting couple of months and we’re psyched about trying out the new mode of travel as well as the chance to explore new places! I’m pretty sure we’ll be happy to return to the RV though, not only because it’s our home and we miss it after being away for a while, but because it’s parked with our Kentucky families so we get to see them again when we return. We sure have missed everyone more than we realized these last 14 months!

Adventuring away,

Matthew & Ashley

P.S. – Curious what a CarVee looks like? Check it out here.