2017: A Year in Review
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2017: A Year in Review

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So as 2017 comes to an end, we sit and reflect on our accomplishments and adventures of 2017. As we go through the photos, we can’t believe the adventures we’ve had! What amazing memories and experiences all in one. After reminiscing and discussing our favs, we share with you, our readers, a year in review!

To whet your appetite we’ve checked off bucket list items including experiencing the Oregon coast, seeing both sea otters and manatees in the wild, visiting Jasper and Banff National Parks in Canada, witnessing the total solar eclipse, attending the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta and more!

In numbers, we’ve

  • Driven over 25,000 miles
  • Visited 17 National Parks and Monuments and countless state parks and wildlife refuges
  • Explored 14 states and 2 Canadian provinces
  • Visited over 45 craft breweries, cideries and wineries (Yes, we like good beer and wine.)

I mean I can’t even grasp we did all that in one year! Wow!

Let’s begin with our accomplishments.

Accomplishments

Personal Accomplishments

Ran a Half Marathon

First, we both successfully trained for and completed a half marathon! This has been a goal of ours for a few years and it finally made it on the list. Originally, we registered to partake in the Everglades Half Marathon. Then Hurricane Irma came along. The race course was under water and the event was canceled.

Well, Heather quickly did some research and found another one just over an hour from where we’d be parked. Heather made it all come together (needed our dogs watched for the night so we could stay in a hotel near the race) and we completed the half on a HOT sunday morning in West Palm Beach. Woohoo!

We became Florida residents!

Is this seen as an accomplishment? We believe it is.

It signifies we completed all the paperwork necessary for our full-time RV life. It certainly felt like a huge weight off our backs and meant our move from sticks and bricks to RV life was complete! Woohoo!

Solar

This was the year we got solar! Paul installed our solar system himself which was a huge accomplishment in itself. In addition, having solar allows us to boondock (be off the grid) more often. Although at times we find it to be a challenge finding non-campground spots, we do enjoy the end results of finding quiet places for parking our home.

It definitely gives us more flexibility with where we park which is nice. When we get tired of being close to people or we simply want to be surrounded by nature, we boondock. It also saves us money which we can spend on other fun things like beer and wine tastings.

Business accomplishments

Ladies first, right?

Hers

Heather’s photography is now hanging in a beautiful fine art gallery in old town Albuquerque! This is super exciting and she’s really happy to build a lasting relationship with a wonderful gallery. So, if you’re passing through the Albuquerque area be sure to check out Romero Street Gallery to see some of her nature and wildlife photography.

On the other side of work for Heather, she has officially earned the title of Enrolled Agent from the IRS. Enrolled agents are Federally recognized in the field of taxation and have unlimited practice rights before the IRS. This means she is not restricted by state lines as to which taxpayers she can represent. This marks the start to her continued education and learning as she works to grow a tax business specifically for RV Entrepreneurs, Tax Queen.

Plus, she’s got something big on the horizon related to this, so keep your eyes open for her next big thing!

Now for Paul’s accomplishments.

His

Paul and his business partners got their very first contract for campgroundbooking.com and all have been working diligently to get that up and rolling for its January 1, 2018 release! It has been over a year in the making and I’m so proud of all their hard work.

Paul also successfully completed an 8 month contract for a company that built software to connect emergency responders with problems at big events. It uses drones, GPS devices, detectors and alarms to know exactly where issues exist and hopefully avoid some lousy situations. Pretty neat, right?

Now onto our fun personal adventures.

2017 Adventures

We’ll start with our trials because we can certainly laugh about them now.

Trials and frustrations

Getting Stuck in Sand with the RV

First off, one of our biggest mistake this year was getting stuck in the sand near Great Sand Dunes National Park. However, we amazingly got ourselves out of the situation with no outside help! Now that’s an accomplishment and a trial all rolled into one. To read about that fun time, visit the post.

If you look closely, poor Suji is a cone head.

Dog Health Issues

Second, we had three visits to emergency vets for an injured/sick dog. If you’re just tuning in, we have two dogs who travel with us. This year adventuring took their toll on each of them from skin infections to a “brain event” (aka a mini-stroke) to an infected paw that took over a month to heal up. It’s been one wild ride with these two, but everything is back to normal and they continue to love smelling and exploring new places all the time.

Mice

Next up was the trial of having mice in our RV. I believe every traveler experiences this at some point and let me tell you, it is no fun to deal with at all! What we learned from this lesson. Have ALL food in plastic containers. We also now have Fresh Cab packets all over our “basement” and in hidden areas. Read more about that lovely story and learn some ways to deal with them over here.

Routine Maintenance

Lastly, was the trial of dropping the trailer off for some routine maintenance. Keep in mind we live in our RV and you can’t simply drop off a 5th wheel for the day for maintenance. The repair shop kept our RV for almost 3 weeks!

The hardest part of it was getting an appointment during “busy” season and then making the shop honor our appointment. RV repair shops typically don’t allow people who didn’t buy an RV with them to receive maintenance during the busy season. Yes. It is truly frustrating scheduling maintenance with an RV.

Thankful for a great friend for letting us crash at her place, dogs and all. However, it’s not easy being out of your home and routine for almost 3 weeks, so it took its toll on us.

Last but not least, the fun stuff!

Amazing Experiences

Kayaks

We purchased kayaks in the spring and are quite happy with our new toys. We have kayaked lots of places including Lake Louise and other places in British Columbia and Alberta, along the coast of Oregon, on lakes and rivers in Montana, Washington, Colorado, Florida, Texas and more. It’s been a wonderful, relaxing and peaceful experience having a new way to explore places. Read more about our kayaks and our first experience with them here.

Hot Springs

We sort of felt like we were hot spring chasing this summer. We were fortunate to visit all three commercial hot springs in the Canadian national parks of Jasper, Banff and Kootenay. While we enjoyed them, we prefer a more rustic natural setting. We found that in Idaho where we had to hike to soak in the natural springs and also in Colorado where we visited some amazing natural hot spring pools. In the end we love hot springs. Who doesn’t?!?!

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

This was a bucket list item for us and it amazed us. A truly magical experience in a great city. Read all about the experience and get some tips for attending yourself here. While we were exhausted after all the early mornings, the experience was definitely worth it.

Experiencing the solar eclipse

We purposely put ourselves in the path of the total solar eclipse and it surpassed all expectations. We also scheduled it to meet up with Heather’s sister and her boyfriend who were camping across the country on an extended holiday. It was the perfect long weekend full of laughs, adventures, family time, new friends in the RV park and of course, the total solar eclipse.

Becoming a little more flexible

Becoming a little more flexible with plans and changing them to experience something unique. If you follow us at all, you know that Heather is a photographer. Well, she learned about the Superbloom of 2017 happening from all the winter rain in southern California and couldn’t resist re-routing us to experience the bloom ourselves. It was worth it! Read all about it here.

By now I have either bored you to death or wowed you as much as myself with all our experiences, trials and accomplishments. Hopefully, it’s the latter and you can’t wait to see what 2018 brings us.

What were some of your 2017 accomplishments, trials and adventures? What’s on the books for 2018?