February 18, 2020 is our four year anniversary of this travelling lifestyle. I can hardly believe it… FOUR YEARS!!! That is nothing short of mind-blowing. This bizarre to most way of life seems so normal to me now and yet maybe still just a teensy weensy bit bizarre. Looking back, we are so grateful and even in awe of the amazing places that we have been and the sites we have seen. I went back and re-read my anniversary post from last year, when we were three years in, and I wrote, “In some ways it’s stressful and in some ways it’s downright exhausting, but in most ways it’s nothing short of amazing.” With another year under our belts (or I should say under our wheels) I still couldn’t agree more. This lifestyle is still stressful, still exhausting (not physically exhausting so much as mentally and emotional exhausting), and still absolutely AMAZING!
Looking forward, we are still fleshing out what we truly desire the next phase in our journey to look like. But before I go there, let’s do a little recap. We actually ended up spending quite a bit more time back east than we had originally anticipated. After all was said and done, we ended up being east of the Mississippi from the end of January of 2018 through the end of August 2019. That is over a year and a half! We were both itching to get back out west and are thrilled to be back out here exploring and enjoying this side of God’s country again. We are thoroughly enjoying visiting some of the sites and areas that we missed the last time out west, as well as revisiting some of our old favorites. Now that we are kid-less we are able to do and see even more. In addition to our youngest son, we also had our oldest granddaughter for a huge portion of the time that we previously spent out west and almost the entire time we were in California. She was only five years old, and turned six during that time with us. All that is to say that having two kids with us, especially one of them being so young, really limited us in what were able to see and do. This time out here it’s just Greg and I as a couple with no children. Now we can visit and focus on more of the things that we are uniquely interested in, as opposed to only the kid friendly activities and sites. Although we thoroughly enjoyed and are thankful for the time we spent with them, we are now thoroughly enjoying this newfound freedom to come and go and do as we please… which is something we haven’t had in 33 years!
Where are we now? Well, since we set out on our trek back out west in August of 2019, we explored Wisconsin, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico before spending four full months in my (Pamela)’s favorite state of Arizona. Well, truth be told, Greg spent four months in Arizona while I only spent three as I ended up spending the entire month of December back in the Carolinas. I was there for the birth of our youngest grandson, Atlas, and to get in grown kid and grand kid visits as well. After we left Arizona in mid-January of this year, we headed over to southern California. We recently left the San Diego area and are currently hanging out in our 103rd campsite (since we left) in the small scenic town of Menifee. Although Menifee is considered a part of the “greater Los Angeles area”, it is actually located way out in the outskirts, fairly far away from the city itself. This is a good thing as we simply aren’t big city people. Been there, done that… too crowded and congested! We frequent the big cities to visit specific areas or sites, but neither of us desire to actually stay in or even be super close to a big city for more than the occasional day trips.
Our plan for the remainder of this year is to continue our adventure working our way north through the massive state of California through the spring and early summer. Our two main highlights will be (1) staying at Yosemite Lakes (which is located right near the west entrance to Yosemite National Park) for three full weeks in late April/early May and then (2) staying in South Lake Tahoe for a full four weeks in June. We didn’t visit Yosemite during our last stint in California, so we actually haven’t been to Yosemite National Park in over twenty years! Not since we lived in California eons ago. As for Lake Tahoe, that is one of Greg’s absolute favorite areas, so we are both excited to get some extended time there. We are trying to get the wild, wild, west out of our system for a while because once we leave and start heading back east, we don’t plan on returning for several years at least. In early July, we will begin our slow migration back east to ultimately winter in Florida again and FINALLY start the next phase of this journey!
“What is the next phase?”
Our name is Wheels and Sails, so the next phase should be a given. We have said since we started out that our journey was “First by Land, Then by Sea”. That’s our tagline on our blog as well as on our Wheels and Sails Facebook page. The next phase is for the “Then by Sea” portion of this journey to begin! Once we arrive back on the east coast, our search for our new (to us) sailboat will officially kick into high gear. How the next phase will look in reality we don’t fully know yet.. but God does! How much time we will spend on the sailboat and how far away we will actually explore, by sea, will depend greatly upon what boat God ends up blessing us with. Although we may not yet be able to afford the perfect, blue water, live-aboard sailboat that we have been dreaming about for years, we are both in total agreement that time is quickly approaching to just get one and go sailing!
One of the reasons we started on this journey was being hit with the realization of how short life is. Dreams are really nothing more than just dreams until you actually act and and do the hard things required to turn them into realities! To that end, we are going to find the best deal we can on a ‘good old boat’ that we both can fall in love with and just do it! We don’t know if we will live on it for months at a time or just weeks at a time, but either way – we will be back on the water and continuing to live out our dreams! We have missed our little 26’ sailboat, Genesis, since the moment we sold her 4.5 years ago, shortly before we began this journey. Whatever boat we get will definitely be bigger and will allow for longer time spent aboard than Genesis, so it’s all a win-win. Thankfully, I am very drawn to ‘good old boats’ even more than the newer condo looking ones. Not only is that simply a personal preference, when it comes to costs… it’s also a blessing. When I climb aboard most of the newer boats with their more minimalist and modern look and feel, I always think something like, “This is very nice.” But it’s only when I climb aboard an older boat with lots of wood (preferably teak) and old school boat character that I truly feel drawn in and think (and usually say out loud) something like, “I love this! I could so live here!” Greg is drawn to both and seems to like the newer ones more than I do, but I think a big part of that is due to the maintenance and work required by older boats. Especially since that will primarily be his responsibility, due to my back and other health issues. That said, I’m thinking that my love of the ‘good old boat’ will surely work in our favor.
In keeping with tradition, I will show you below one photo from every single one of our homesites/campsites during our 4th year up to and including our current one (we are up to 103!). I have done this with every anniversary blog post thus far, so I can’t stop now!
If you want to see everywhere we have stayed since we began our journey, below are our anniversary blog posts with pictures:
YEARS 1 & 2 • YEAR 3
As always, thanks for making it all the way to this point and if you feel so led, leave us a comment! We’d love to hear from you.
Happy Trails and Sunny Sails!