Catch Our RV Journey on YouTube!

The journey itself might be over, and our “A Year On The Road” RV adventure is officially in the books, but you can still catch up with all the excitement and intrigue on our YouTube channel, which now has almost 100 snapshot videos of different aspects of the trip in the bag.

Javelinas! Jevelinas! Finally, we get to see Javelinas!

From Pictured Rocks National Seashore in Michigan to Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, plus dozens of fascinating places and experiences in between, this is our chance to wow you with the visuals of this epic RV journey across 23 states.

Our latest contribution is all about those elusive Javelinas in Texas, but you’ll also find recent videos that highlight the vibrant Historic Market Square in San Antonio, Big Bend National Park and a stunning tequila sunset in New Mexico.

Check it all out on this link:

The stunning Natural Bridge Caverns just north of San Antonio featured in a recent snapshot video

A Year On The Road – The Final Maps

Back in Orlando again, it’s time to tot up the final mileage and trace our entire route (in 2 maps) around the US. We reached West Glacier, Montana, at our furthest distance from Orlando at almost 2,700 miles away, albeit we reached there via a distinctly circuitous route that involved fully 12 states!

The first 7 months saw us take in by far the biggest ‘chunk’ of our year-long route, including side-trips into Colorado and Southern California by car, as well as parts of Northern Arizona and New Mexico

The “return journey” from there was also far from a straight line, taking in another 10 states before completing what was essentially a giant circle of the Midwest, the North, South West and Southern states. For much of the last 5 months we were close to the Gulf of Mexico before coming back into Florida via Pensacola and the Panhandle area, where we were definitely able to relax a bit (albeit keeping more than one eye on staying out of the way of some seriously stormy weather).

The final five months took us from the heart of New Mexico down to the far south-western corner of Texas, then right around the Gulf of Mexico via Galveston, New Orleans, Biloxi and Gulf Shores

So, with no further ado and a bit of a fanfare – “Ta RA!!!!!” – our final mileage comes to, wait for it…35,186 miles since we left home on May 14, 2023. In our RV, Fati, we traveled a total distance of 9,846 miles, while in our trusty little Ford Fiesta, Nippy, we added a whopping additional 25,840.

Somehow, we’re all still in one piece, albeit Fati has been in for several repairs and 2 full services, while Nippy is heading for a fourth service today and has needed new tires, windshield wipers and two air filters (!). Needless to say, we are immensely proud of our Ford-engined Winnebago RV, as well as our little Fiesta, and they both now deserve a good rest.

Finally back in Florida, we spent a quiet week in a beautiful little RV campground in Milton in the Panhandle before turning south for the last leg of the year-long trip

Will we have more travels to report anytime soon? The debate is now on at Chez Veness! We DO have a fair bit of work to catch up on first, but there is already talk of an East Coast RV tour, as well as a possible trip out West to the areas we missed this time, namely Washington, Oregon and Northern California, as well as more of Colorado.

So, stay tuned for further travel bulletins, and, if you have liked and enjoyed our blogs, please leave us a comment and be sure to check out our YouTube channel for a series of snapshot videos of the trip on this link:

Bye for now…!

What We Learned During Our Twelfth Month On The Road

Today marks one full year (plus two days) since we locked the door to our house in Florida for a year-long adventure in an RV. Here’s what we learned during the past month:

Humidity = sweat, and when you’re covered in sweat for three days because you don’t have sewer hookups so you can’t dump a gray tank full of shower water, air conditioning cannot penetrate the sweaty build-up. When you do have full hookups again and you take a shower, that layer of pure, unadulterated evil is wiped away, and you are once again kissed by the cooling breath of your sweet, sweet A/C. This is what bliss is made of.

But you’re in Florida now, so that feeling doesn’t last long.

At 50 weeks into a 52-week trip, Simon JUST discovered his laptop has a built-in editing program. All those videos he’s done that could use editing, but our expensive editing program is back on his computer at home? They could have been glorious viewing comparable to the stuff of Spielberg and Scorsese.

To be fair, he’s only had the laptop for a few months, but still.

We prefer not to be camped near unhappy tiny-humans who wile away their entire three-day vacation screaming things like, “I don’t WANT the sand washed off my feet!” and “I don’t WANT to go inside now!” Usually,we love kids. Adore them, even. We have discovered, however, we always love 55+ campgrounds where the only whines are spelled “wine,” and it’s a pleasure to hear your neighbors suggest you join them for some.

When you hit I-75, an interstate you know so well you could drive it blind, tears will flow. When you remember your final four days of this grand, exciting, confounding, eye-opening adventure will be spent at Walt Disney World’s Fort Wilderness Campground, happiness will be restored.

We’ve learned we could happily live in the mountains if not for the snow. We could happily live in the desert if not for the sand storms. We would be thrilled to live along the Gulf coast if not for the hurricanes. There is so much we love about each state we’ve visited, but always there is “one thing” that doesn’t make them a strong contender for a move away from Florida. Florida has that “one thing” (two really; horrible humidity and…well…politics) that makes us want to move. Everything else – literally everything else – makes us want to stay. And we didn’t know that before this month, and this trip.

It’s true. Home is where the heart is. Over the course of a year, we came to feel that Fati is our home, and everywhere we have visited now holds a special place in our hearts. Connection, appreciation of differences, and a deeper understanding of yourself; these are the priceless gift of travel. We will treasure these lessons forever.

Thank you for making this journey with us!

A Year On The Road in The Independent, Pt 7

Regular blog readers will know our grand year-long RV adventure is being serialized in the UK’s Independent newspaper, and the latest instalment is now online.

It covers the northern part of our Arizona travels, and you can find it on this link:

The majestic Grand Canyon

Let’s Do A Little FAQ

We’ve had several questions from readers about our trip, this lifestyle, and more, so we’ve put together a little FAQ, in case you’ve been wondering.

I love Ruthie! What’s her story?
We wanted to bring an older rescue dog into our family to give him or her the best final years possible, and Houndhaven had just the right girl for us. It was taking some time for her to get adopted, partly because, according to a Houndhaven volunteer, she “didn’t show well,” (she’s was not overly affectionate to people she didn’t know, at least to start with) but she fit into our family right from the start.

She went through a period of extreme illness shortly after we got her, and during the process of trying to figure out what was going on, the specialist vet told us she appeared to be between the ages of seven and nine, which puts her between 16 and 18 now (we’re pretty sure she’s 16; there’s no way she’s 18). She’s 60% a sweetheart, 30% moody intellectual, 10% diva, and she makes us laugh a lot. Mostly.

Why are you doing a year on the road in an RV?
We’re at an age where, if we don’t see this wonderful country now, we’re not likely to ever see it. We’ve done most of Europe, we’ve been to Africa and South America, and while Asia and other locations are on our list, now was the time for the U.S.

We’ve also spent a lot of time on “other people’s schedule” for our work and in our personal lives, so this was a chance to decide where we wanted to go, when, and for how long.

How can you stand being together all the time in such a small space?
We’re used to it, and we thrive on it. We’re one of those couples who loves being together, and we feel “half-alive” when we’re apart. We have our moments, but they’re rare, and they’re moments. Not only do we love each other, we’re also best friends. It’s a pretty good combination.

How did you come up with those ridiculous names for your vehicles?
It’s a gift! Well, maybe not a gift, but the names did just come to us. Our RV got her name before we bought her, when we were talking about names other RVers have given their rigs, and Susan mentioned a couple and their young son who are doing 15 years traveling around the world in a small jeep they named Dauntless (check them out on YouTube under Hourless Life. They’re incredible!). Simon said, “Let’s call ours Indefatigable.” Susan said, “Yes! And we can call her Fati for short! Hahahahaha!” Perfection, isn’t it?

Nippy got her name when our next-door neighbors in Florida were telling us how much they liked their Ford Fiesta. They named theirs Zippy, and when we bought ours (because our Mazda can’t be flat-towed, and that was important to us), we named her Nippy in their honor. The comedic value of that moniker has been priceless (at least for us; we think we’re hilarious).

How do you choose where you’re going?
We had a “blue sky” itinerary when we started, the result of about four years of research. It covered most of the major highlights west of Florida and Michigan, such as National Parks, scenic spots, oddities, and fabulous cities. Part of our goal was to see how people really live across the country, and part was just to immerse in the areas we were traveling, to see what made them special.
We knew our blue-sky itinerary would change at some point, and when it did, we dropped Oregon and Washington and re-considered how we’d visit California. We referenced the original itinerary document, and re-worked that itinerary to keep the rest of the highlights we didn’t want to miss.

We also agreed at the start of this journey that, if either of us doesn’t want to do something, we won’t do it, no excuses or arguments needed. There is no pressure on either of us to be uncomfortable. Simon was happy to do Going-To-The-Sun Road on his own, and Susan was happy to let him do it alone. We skipped a place Susan really wanted to see because Simon wasn’t comfortable with the gravel road in Nippy. We did Chief Joseph Scenic Byway as a compromise for Simon’s desire to do Beartooth Highway and Susan’s desire not to do it. So far, we’ve found ways to work it out.

What’s it like to drive that big RV?
Simon says: It’s a challenging proposition, especially towing a car. We felt it was essential to take RV driving lessons right after we bought Fati, even though it’s not strictly necessary. You have to maintain 100% concentration at all times, but the view you get from the cab driving through the sites we’re seeing is just superlative. It’s not the most maneuverable vehicle you’ll ever drive, but, on the highway, it drives really well, and you just need to be aware not to get yourself into any places you can’t get out of, gas stations being the biggest case in point. If you aren’t positive about the route out, don’t go in.

What’s it like being a passenger in that big RV?
Susan says: Honestly? It can be magnificent and it can be terrifying. As the passenger, I have no steering wheel, no brakes, and zero control. My job is to be the co-pilot, and there are certainly times when those co-pilot eyes have been extremely useful. I keep constant watch on the GPS info and warnings, on the tire pressure monitoring system, and on Nippy, who I can see on our rear-view camera, and I report them to Simon.  That leaves him free to concentrate solely on the road. We both watch the road conditions, such as rises, descents, and camber, like hawks. Simon has the final say in where he’s comfortable driving and turning around, and I have a say on the smaller things, like “Slow the hell down,” and “Keep her between the lines!” But, ultimately, how the rig is driven is totally his call.

How do you do the basics, like laundry, getting prescriptions, and getting your mail?
Laundry is relatively easy. We have a washer/dryer combo in the rig, and for heavy things like rugs and Ruthie’s bedding, we use campground laundry facilities.
Our prescriptions are through Walgreens, so we call our refills in at the closest one to our location. It’s proven difficult at times, since it has to be done quite a while in advance, and sometimes the refill order doesn’t get confirmed by the doctor until after we’ve left an area, or, in the most recent example, the pharmacist was “overwhelmed” and couldn’t “review it” (whatever the hell that means) even though he’d already filled it, it was just cholesterol medication, and all they had to do was hand it to us. We left town before he could be bothered to “review it.” It then took two weeks to be in a place long enough to call it in to another Walgreens and have a chance of getting it filled.
Ruthie’s medications are even more difficult. Sometimes it takes weeks to find a vet or a pet store that will honor her vet’s refill prescriptions. Thank goodness we discovered Costco pharmacy carries some pet meds!
Young Son deals with all our mail, but there are mail services full-time RVers use, too. We just didn’t need to go that route.

What is this “Wallydocking” you speak of?
It’s when you “boondock” (park your RV overnight on wherever land you can find that’s legal to park on), but in a Walmart parking lot. Entertainment value? Priceless!

Why are some of the photos in your blogs so wonky?
If we knew, we’d fix them! We do know the photos are formatted differently by WordPress, depending on whether you reach the blog from a link on Facebook, or have the blog delivered directly to your email (by being a subscriber, which we highly recommend), or by going directly to our website. We can only apologize!

Your trip is almost over. Are you going to keep going?
Yes! We’re both ready for a break, but we love this kind of travel so much, we’re going to find a way to keep doing it. But for a few months at a time rather than a full year!

Have a question for us? Leave it in the Comments and we’ll do our best to give you an answer!

The Month 11 Travel Map

As keen-eyed blog readers will know, we have just hit the 11 month mark in our grand “A Year On The Road” RV trek across the US. After Louisiana, we arrived in coastal Mississippi, our 23rd state in this epic voyage.

The story so far – 11 months on the road (NB: The pin-points are not our only stopping points – there are more than 60 of those so far!)

Since our last monthly update, we have covered another 181 miles – a totally sedate travel distance at this stage of our journey (especially when we covered more than 2,200 in the first month!).

In the last month we have moved from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Biloxi, Mississippi, and our traveling has been a lot more focused on the areas close by, rather than trying to cover vast distances quickly. Even including the last two months, we have only gone a total of 672 miles in our trusty Winnebago, Indefatigable (or Fati for short).

The last two full months of our journey, from Port Aransas in Texas all the way along the Gulf Coast to Biloxi via Louisiana

Mind you, we have still covered some territory in our trusty tow car, Nippy, putting an additional 2,534 miles on our little Ford Fiesta (and 3,991 in the past two months), which shows that we’ve completely changed the balance of our touring – going shorter distances in Fati but doing more exploration in Nippy.

Now, with just a month left of our travels (but still more than 550 miles from home), it definitely feels like the end of our grand adventure is firmly in sight, which is very hard to contemplate after such a prolonged – and intense – period of traveling.

In total, we have come 9,225 miles in Fati since leaving home, and another 24,604 in Nippy, for a grand total of 33,829 around this amazing country. Eat your heart out, Hardest Geezer!

A Year On The Road – Month 6 in The Independent

The latest instalment of our exclusive series for The Independent newspaper in the UK is now online, highlighting our travels through Nevada and Southern California, including the Mojave National Preserve, Valley of Fire State Park, and Greater Palm Springs.

This section of our Year On The road adventure took us deep into desert territory – both the Mojave Desert of much of Nevada and the Sonoran Desert that runs from Mexico up into Arizona, including part of SoCal.

Our view of the Hoover Dam from our travels around Las vegas

We spent much of the month in Nevada, either from our base in North Las Vegas (the fab Hitchin’ Post RV park) or further south in Laughlin, where Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort & RV Park provided the perfect base to explore along Route 66 and down into California, where Joshua Tree National Park was another highlight.

There were scenic wonders aplenty, and a chance to see why both one of the Star Trek movies and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall were filmed here and, for as bright as it shines, we honestly felt the scenery around Las Vegas actually glittered brighter than the city itself.

Read all about it here:

The superb Joshua Tree National Park

We also want to offer our sincere thanks to both Travel Nevada and Greater Palm Springs for their help in ensuring we saw the best of their areas, as there was a LOT to see!

A Year On The Road – The 9-Month Map

Somehow we’ve reached the three-quarter mark of our grand RV adventure, and we’re looking at another month of travel that completes nine full months on the roads of America.

The full scope of our 9-month journey to date, starting from our Florida base, then heading north and west, taking a loop from Yellowstone National Park (G) to Glacier National Park (H), then down through Montana and Wyoming (I) before heading west again to Twin Falls, Idaho (K) and south through Utah and Nevada. We’ve then headed east and south through Arizona, New Mexico and Texas

January was very much a “rest” month, in which we were largely in one place, down in the southwest of Texas, but we got back under way again at the beginning of February, turning north and east to skirt along the Gulf Coast of the Lone Star State, a part of Texas we’d heard a lot about but had never visited before.

Setting out from Donna, close to the Mexican border, we drove due east to beautiful South Padre Island, part of the barrier island system along the coast that is laced with wide, open beaches. Here, we were lucky enough to find accommodation at the KOA Journey close to the long stretch of SPI Beach.

The long-distance view of Month 9, down in the southwest corner of Texas

From there, we back-tracked slightly and then headed north for more coastal experiences, first at a tiny but lovely spot on Baffin Bay called Riviera (and the wonderfully natural Seawind RV Resort, part of the Kaufer Hubert Memorial Park), then it was on to the busy port city of Corpus Christi, where we were lucky enough to stay at the Colonia Del Rey RV Park, ideally situated between the beaches and the city itself.

Finally, the last week has brought us to another idyllic spot on the epic Texas seashore, Pioneer Beach RV Resort, where we are only a few hundred yards from the unbroken 18-mile stretch of gorgeous beach hideaway.

The close-up view of Month 9, showing our route from Donna to South Padre Island and then north to Corpus Christi and Port Aransas, truly a lovely part of the state

It is a total of 294 miles, which is barely a day’s drive under normal circumstances, but we’re looking to stay out of the way of all the winter weather immediately to the north and explore an area we’ve never been to before, hence the slow pace and the chance to really savor the journey at this stage.

That compares with 928 miles in Month 8, and takes us to a grand total of 8,536 miles since we left home.

However, we have managed an additional 945 miles in the past month in our little Ford Fiesta, Nippy, exploring the state parks, small towns and wonderful open countryside of this part of the world. Our extra mileage in the car is now at 20,653, and the grand total of miles covered in both Fati and Nippy has reached a whopping 29,189 across the USA, or enough to fly back and forth from Orlando to London almost four times!

We still have at least another 1,500 miles before we get back to our Florida base, and another three states to visit, but we can safely say at this stage that our grand RV adventure has definitely lived up to our expectations, and more besides!

A Year On The Road in The Independent (Parts 1-5)

Catching up on the first five months of our Ultimate American Road Trip, being serialized in The Independent

Keen readers of our road-trip blog will know we are also serializing the whole trip, month by month, in The Independent newspaper in the UK, and you might like to see the story so far, Months 1 through 5.

It all started back on May 14 with our departure from Orlando and then a month heading north as far as Minnesota…

In Jay Cooke State Park, Minnesota

Part Two saw us travel from Minnesota west to the Big Sky state of Montana, where the magnificent scenery REALLY kicked in…

The astounding Earthquake Lake in Montana

After arriving in Montana, Part Three of our year-long epic saw us focus on Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park for two of the undoubted highlights of the trip…

Taking time for the geothermal marvel of West Thumb Geyser Basin in Yellowstone

Part Four of our big RV adventure took us back through Montana and Wyoming to soak up more of those epic views and vast, open spaces…

Mountains – big, dramatic mountains – were a constant feature of this leg of the journey

Once we reached Idaho and Utah, we were always in sight of spectacular scenery, and it gave us plenty of material for Part Five…

Utah served up the mind-boggling views of Arches National Park

In Part Six, we’ll be writing about the wilds of Nevada and Southern California, but also including Las Vegas and Palm Springs. Stay tuned….!

A Year On The Road – The 8-Month Map

Here we are at the two-thirds mark of our grand ‘A Year On The Road’ RV adventure, and we have reached deep south Texas. We are currently in Donna, TX, and we have traveled a full 928 miles in the last month from our December base in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Our route from Las Cruces took us down through El Paso to Van Horn, and then on to Alpine (for the magnificent Big Bend National Park), before heading further south to Del Rio and then Castroville for Christmas (just outside San Antonio). The New Year then took us southwest to Donna via Kingsville.

All safely set up at our RV resort in Donna, Texas. We could end up being here a whole month!

Our total RV mileage since we left home is now 8,242 and Texas is our 20th state (not counting Florida). That 928 miles probably doesn’t sound like much, but it is more than the total for months 6 and 7 combined, as we had started a significant slow-down in favor of being longer in one place and exploring further by car.

The story so far. The full track of our trip in Fati is in yellow, and our multiple side-trips in Nippy are shown in pink. We still have another 1,500 miles or so to get home!

Our little Ford Fiesta, Nippy, has put in an additional 1,558 miles in the past month, giving her a total to date of 19,708. Combined with Fati, we have driven a grand total of 27,825 miles, or basically enough to have gone right the way round the world, plus an extra 2,924 miles!

We had to make sure we didn’t arrive too early at our Donna campground, so we paid a call to the local Post Office (which had a nice empty parking lot!)

In all honesty, we are not looking to break any long-distance records at this stage. We knew we had to get some miles under our belt by January as the weather becomes a major factor at this time of year, and we need to stay as far south as possible. RVs are not built to travel far during the depths of winter and, even being this far south has had its challenges, with temps dropping below freezing several times this month. Including the wind-chill, we hit 15F/-9.5C at its coldest and, living in what amounts to a glorified tin can, that gets REALLY cold, really quickly!

Our route from here will hug the Texas coast all the way to Louisiana in March, and we should just be warming up again by then!

Simon, Susan & Ruthie

Snug as a dog in a rug!