Lions Dog Park in Lake Havasu City, Arizona – 4 Paws Up

Our poor dog. In the last few weeks we have traveled through Arizona, Nevada, California, and now Arizona again – and in that time he has not set his paws-to-grass. Thankfully he’s fairly adaptable and was able to adjust to rock gardens but still… he’s a dog! He likes grass! We were also quite busy moving out of one RV into another, in a very tight timeframe. I think Frodo was feeling neglected. It was way past time to get this dog to a DOG PARK!

Thankfully, we discovered Lions Dog Park in Lake Havasu City, Arizona!

Lions Dog Park in Lake Havasu City, Arizona

The off-leash area was HUGE, and very well cared for – and – it has grass. In Arizona! Real grass in a dog park! Sadly we’ve seen too many parks recently labeled “dog park” that were sand pits – um – that doesn’t count!

It was really awesome to have such a large area where we were allowed to let Frodo just be himself. He’s very well behaved and loves socializing (in the photo below, he had just greeted the man on the bench, before running back to us).

Frodo Having Fun

And Frodo makes friends everywhere he goes, this was just one of his playmates today.

Frodo and a Friend

Since Frodo got to run and greet people and dogs, he was able to wear himself out from play. It’s a great thing to see him tired from playing! A tired dog is a happy dog!

A Tired Dog is a Happy Dog

We may stay in Lake Havasu City for a few days so I hope to have an opportunity to take him back to this park. If you are traveling with your dog, Lions Dog Park a must-visit park! Frodo gives it 4 paws up! For real, he’s sleeping on his back snoring right now, all paws in the air. It was really nice to give him a good play day!

Our Day Ended in Needles, California

Today was a busy day. We planned to leave Las Vegas and it’s windy, windy weather by heading just a few hours south – but had several errands to run first. We worked in the morning, then buttoned the van down and headed to Whole Foods, Home Depot, and a Gas Station for propane. It took us a long time to get everything done so we were glad our actual travel time would only be two hours. Errands still happen though, it’s just a fact of life!

We lunched at our propane-fill location but got kicked out by security because we were apparently in a (unmarked) commercial parking only lot. Okay then. It was at Home Depot then when Dave ran in to get some necessary supplies, that I finished up from lunch by washing dishes and brushing my teeth — yes — in the Home Depot parking lot. That felt odd, and hysterical at the same time.

Our Van

It was wonderful today to reach nicer weather in Needles. Last night in Vegas we experienced winds with gusts of 50mph, which, is WINDY. And chilly wind is COLD. And cold, windy weather makes me unhappy. A two hour drive straight South from Vegas gave us weather ten degrees warmer with less wind. Talk about a win-win!

Needles, California is just a small town on the Colorado River – so some folks who live here have a spectacular view!

Cool View

But it also has a lot of character.

Town with Character

And interesting plants.

Cactus

Some that look half alien. We didn’t get to look too close at this cactus/tree/thing, because it had things on the ground near it that were prickly, and Frodo appeared to get one up his nose. He didn’t like that (he’s okay), so we just kept on walking.

Alien Cactus

Tomorrow we need another trip to Home Depot so we plan to drive to a nearby larger town so we can get a few more household chores done. You can leave the house behind but not all the chores!

Over and out!

No. Oh no. What Have We Done? (The Unbelievable!)

Over the last week I’ve questioned my sanity thousands of times. Thousands. But I’m happy to say, I’m sure we did the right thing. I realize that this post may also make most folks who know us think we are crazy, but that’s okay!

Okay, let me back up. Oh where oh where do I start?!

We purchased a truck and travel trailer back in August, and soon there-after sold our house. All has been relatively great in regards to some of that, but not all. Sometimes, it simply takes true-life experience to evaluate goals and see how they really pan out. As it turns out, it isn’t that we weren’t meeting our goals, but in fact, our goals have changed.

Initially we simply wanted to be house-less, and at the same time, have a better work-life balance and see the country very slowly. We figured we would hop around from one place to another staying in places for long periods of time (a month to a full-time traveler is a long time!) – but that isn’t quite working out for us.

As we made the journey to South Dakota, and then back to warmer weather, we realized how much we were missing out on by our restricted travel method. Going from Point A-to-Point-B without an option to stop along the way to explore cool things that caught our attention was very frustrating. It felt like trying to hang glide with a cement block tied to our ankles.

With a truck and a 30-foot travel-trailer, there isn’t an option to go exploring without proper planning. The method of travel  with a travel-trailer is setup like a Hub and Spoke. You park the trailer somewhere (often at a campground, or bookdocking location if you’re lucky) as your hub – and then use your tow vehicle to explore in as many different directions you like, each time returning back to your hub location.

The Hub and Spoke method of travel feels like such a huge waste, and overly planned. Also, every single time we have a travel day to get to specific area (or time to explore), we have to “pack” for the day. With our rapid travel pace to South Dakota, we found ourselves “packing” EVERY DAY! With an average of at least four hours in the truck, we had to pack everything we wanted with us for the day – water (multiple bottles), snacks, cameras, you name it. Sure, we did stop at rest stops and switched over to eat lunch in the trailer, but each stop like that adds a large amount of time to an already long day of travel. Restroom breaks can be frustrating as well because sometimes there is a long break between rest stops – and our bathroom was behind us, but inaccessible. When we did have an opportunity to stop, we were usually limited to truck rest stops where there was enough room to drive through with our full rig (50 or so feet of vehicles).

What has surprised both of us is how our goals have changed since we first set out on this path.

We want to travel much more frequently than we originally planned. We want to drive from one area to another and see what we like in between – and simply see where that takes us. We want to have the freedom to go in any direction we choose and simply “go”. It seems silly when traveling with your house behind you that you need to pack for the day, but without any way to access our house from the road – that’s how it is. So, we wanted to change our travel method. It would appear that many full-time travelers change their RV setup on almost a yearly basis, though before now I couldn’t figure out why people make the change. Now I know! It takes living on the road to gain the experience of what it’s really like, and see what you think. We never would have predicted we would feel the way we do, or guess the direction we are headed.

After hours and hours and hours of research to determine our needs, and the options available, we have changed our setup!

Here’s the thing. In addition to traveling on a frequent basis, we also want the flexibility to go anywhere. If the downtown area we are near looks cool – we want to go walk around and take photographs! We also need to be able to run regular errands such as get groceries, which means fitting into a normal parking space (or close to it).

After exploring all the various RV options out there, our needs, and budget to make the change – We found something perfect. So…

We sold our Airstream. It’s gone. We have sold our truck. They’re both gone. I’m sad about the truck, I LOVED our truck! We are continuing on with our travels as planned, living full-time on the road only…

We are now living in a Class B RV. Not familiar with the term? It’s basically a van, with the various things we need such as a kitchen, bathroom, and a place to sleep. At 22’9″ it has everything we need to live comfortably, and travel spectacularly.

Yes We Live in a Van

My life will never be the same. Neither will Dave’s. I hope you continue to follow us along our journey as we continue to see this fantastic country of ours, and see just exactly how we are managing to live in a space so small. I’m sure we’ll have a lot more to say about tiny-house living!

Tucumcari, New Mexico on Route 66: The Land Time Forgot (and a Truck/RV Wash)

We started the day in Amarillo, Texas.

Our truck and RV were desperately in need of being washed, so we planned only a short drive today because we didn’t know how long that would take. Blue Beacon Truck wash is handy for RV’ers because you can keep your vehicles hitched together and run them through as though it was an automatic car wash, but there are people managing the sprayers. That’s very useful because you can also let them know to avoid spraying directly near the window seals, or any area of your rig that is particularly sensitive.

The wait time took about an hour, during which you stay in your vehicle and you’re sandwiched between semi-trucks, so the decision for the wash is a committed one! While we waited we watched the ducks swimming in some nearby water (they are hard to see in this photo, but they’re there).

While the truck was being washed it got quite loud, and Frodo was a little concerned. He was basically okay, but I’d recommend if you are traveling with a dog who does not handle loud noises well, or is scared of thunder, you may want to walk your dog during the actual washing of your vehicle to keep your pup happy.

As far as our experience with Blue Beacon, it was definitely a good one. They did a great job and now our rig is shiny and pretty again (and no longer smelly)! The running boards and wheel wells were caked with muck and both are completely clean now. I’m happy!

By the time we had both vehicles clean, it was time for lunch and we hadn’t even traveled more than a few miles. It was a great day to plan a short migration path!

It wasn’t long before we passed through the “Welcome to New Mexico” sign and discovered Tucumcari, New Mexico on Route 66.
Palomino Motel

Most business here look like they have slept through the last few decades. It’s a little on the eerie side, but also quite cool.

Texaco

Check out that car in the front of the Blue Swallow Motel!

Blue Swallow Motel

And there was this…

Tucumcari Inn

And this… (this appeared to be free-standing art work, not related to the nearby businesses).

RV Park

Tucumcari, New Mexico: Route 66 – I was here.

Route 66 - I Was Here

Roadside Kansas

Today’s journey was about making as much progress south/south-west as we could go in a day. Traveling the way we do only allows us a few hours to drive each day so we’re making the best of what we’ve got! Once we get to better weather, we will slow down considerably and explore an area in detail.

For now though, we migrate. We awoke in Concordia, Kansas, and we’ll be spending the night in Liberal, Kansas. With almost 5 hours of actual driving time, plus added stops for a hot lunch (in our RV), bathroom breaks for us and Frodo – it was an incredibly long day.

Kansas Drive

Driving through Kansas is a bit on the dull side. Add in 40 degree weather, some windchill and rain, and it was hard for me to stay awake! I wasn’t the one driving, don’t worry…

Kansas 1

There was a considerable amount of farm land. Acres and acres and acres of it.

Kansas 3

Every so often there were some things to look at besides flat land, though I do appreciate being able to see miles into the distance. And of course taking photos from a moving vehicle is always a fun challenge!

Kansas 2

Frodo loves seeing wide open land. When driving through cities, he tends to nap, but with open land – he’s active and engaged and can’t stop staring. He loves getting to travel and is always happy to jump right back in the truck – even after a long day.

Dave and Frodo

Tomorrow we journey on, destination still to-be-planned. We are however almost out of dog food, so that will be our mission for tomorrow! Can you believe there are places where no PetCo or PetSmart exists for 50 miles? Yes, we’re there now – in the middle of nowhere Kansas, I mean, Liberal. Right!

P.S. If you have ever played World of Warcraft and been to Westfall, you’ve seen Kansas!

Resting for the Night in Concordia, Kansas

We did it. We really did it. We sold our house, 90% of our belongings, moved into a travel trailer, and migrated NORTH at the start of Fall to make everything legal. We are officially South Dakotans now – woot! My head still spins at the thought of how fast we pulled off this crazy plan. And of course, we work 7 days a week. That part definitely adds to the exhaustion, but everything we are doing is absolutely 100% worth it.

Because South Dakota is a friendly state for full-time RV’ers, we don’t even have to worry about registering our truck or RV right now. We can do that later in a few weeks, remotely. Yes, that’s right! Neither we, nor the vehicle(s), need to be present to complete that part of the moving process (this is yet another reason we choose South Dakota for our Domicile). South Dakota is awesome. It’s also very cold right now, so we left this morning and are spending the night in Concordia, Kansas.

Concordia Kansas

Tonight we are resting at a very tiny Campground at the Airport in Concordia. There are only a few spaces here, but they provide water and electric at a few of them – and it’s FREE (there is a donation box and donations are happily accepted). Oh, and there’s even a fenced in dog park!

If you’re nearby and want to check it out, you can map to the Super Walmart across the street (140 College Dr, Concordia, KS 66901) and you’ll find it. Because this campground is a simple, clean, and FREE place to stay, it’s a great resource if you’re passing through – especially if you need to restock anything since Walmart is here as well.

The temperature is dipping into freezing temperatures again tonight, even here, so in the morning we head out again and continue our southern migration. Cheerio!

Edited to add this beautiful sunset shot Dave captured just after we arrived this evening:
Concordia KS Sunset

A Quick Glance: Columbia, Missouri

Today it was rainy and overcast in Columbia, Missouri, but in between a grocery and fuel run – we did manage to check Columbia out just a bit!

We’re both tired and run down, but we drove by Stephens Lake Park – so of course, we HAD to stop so I could take some photos! I’m so glad I did!

For one thing, I saw for the very first time ever in real life, a Little Free Library! Well hello Columbia! What a nice way to greet me!

Little Free Library

Stephens Lake Park is a beautiful place. There were people walking, running, and biking, and a few folks were there to walk their dog.

Stephens Lake Park

From the perspective of traveling with a dog, it is an excellent place to go hang out for a bit with Fido (or in our case, Frodo)! The park has a great sidewalk (super handy after a day of rain!), and trash containers never too far from reach. I didn’t notice any doggie-bag stations if they have them, but we always have those with us anyway.

The park not only had trash cans sprinkled about, they also had recycle bins! Lots of them! In fact, I noticed there were also recycle bins at the gas station, as well as clothing donation drop-off bins. Yay Missouri!

In case you are wondering, yes, Stephens Lake Park does in fact, have a Lake! A sign mentioned something about boating and fishing…

Stephens Lake Park_The Lake

What a nifty place to take in the Fall colors!

Stephens Lake Park_More Lake

Just a quite note about the grocery store. I shopped at Hy-Vee, a grocery store chain I have never heard of before and I thought it was important to mention what I found. HEALTHY FOOD! I’m adding those note so I’ll remember, but if any of you out there have dietary restrictions, this store (at least the one in Columbia) had great real food options. So if you are one who cooks from scratch, or reads the label carefully on anything that comes in a package, be sure to check out Hy-Vee, you may find some great snack options!

That’s all from here! We hit the road again tomorrow. Cherrio!