ExploRVistas – Our First Year

Well, we have our first year in the books…and what an exciting year it has been!  On September 26th, we had just gotten back from the RV-Dreams Fall Rally in Goshen, Indiana and we headed out the door of our house for the last time.

We knew that this was what we wanted to do, but we were unsure how the immediate future was going to play out, as we were (and still are) responsible for Diana’s mom’s care.  We moved the fifth wheel a few miles down the road to Woodchip Campground, as Diana was having to visit her mom often.

In early October, we decided to make a quick run to Florida, so we could deliver Diana’s dad’s tools to her brother.  We left our golden retriever Jenny with my sister. While we were gone, Jenny stopped eating.  She had been losing weight for some time, and a visit to our vet upon our return revealed that she had cancer of the blood vessels, of all things.

With great sadness, we had her put down on November 12.  To say we miss her is an understatement. With that said, we made the choice to be ‘dogless’ for awhile, as we have had dogs every year since 1991.

The day after Jenny left us, the snow arrived in Grand Rapids.

We were well prepared for the cold.  We skirted the entire underside of the trailer with 3/4″ foam board, and we placed an electric heater underneath.  Our biggest challenge was keeping the moisture at bay inside the RV.  We ended up purchasing a couple of small dehumidifiers to help with that issue. Heating costs were high for an RV, but not much different than we were paying to heat our house. In February, when the outside temperature dipped to 25 degrees below zero, I was making daily trips to the propane refilling station.  We kept a good attitude and actually did quite well.  🙂

We kept ourselves entertained throughout the winter.  We went in with the attitude ‘if we have to live here during the cold months, then we may as well embrace it’.  As many of our long time readers know, we did a good job of it.  A few of you even mentioned that our posts were making you cold!  🙂

We made several trips to Lake Michigan, which at times resembled the Arctic Ocean.  Only thing missing were the polar bears!

We also visited the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex.  No, we didn’t try the luge.  

In March, we volunteered for Gilda’s Laughfest.

We worked a couple of shows as ushers, which ended up being a lot of fun.

In early April, a bad case of ‘hitch itch’ overcame me, so we tore off the skirting, hooked up the RV and headed to Florida!

We spent some time with Diana’s brother and our niece and her family near Leesburg, and then we spent the rest of our time in Naples.  It was good to get away after a long winter.  :). We got back to Grand Rapids in mid April.

On April 30, we headed north to begin our work camping job in Lake Leelanau at Wild Cherry Resort.


No leaves on the trees yet, but what a view!  It would only get better as the summer wore on.  🙂

In early June, we hiked a newly opened portion of the North Country Trail near Fife Lake.

It was part of a celebration that designated the village as a ‘trail town’.  Part of the trail we walked on was a section that we used to snowmobile and cross-country ski on.  It was great to see it now under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of the Interior.  🙂 

Also in June, we drove our Escape down to Alton, Illinois to get together with some of our friends from college.


Never a dull moment with this bunch!  We had a fabulous time. 🙂
It was about then that the festivals began around Traverse City.


The first one was the Traverse City Wine and Art Festival.  Lots of food, music, art and wine! 

The crew at Wild Cherry also completed their first ‘paver’ site.

We had a deadline of July 2 (as it was rented), and we made it with a day to spare.

Our next adventure was Paddle for Pints, a pub crawl in Traverse City, involving kayaks.

Diana’s cousins organized our contingent, and we had a marvelous time!

Throughout the summer, the wineries would host music events on their patios.

Here we are with Camilla at Aurora Cellars listening to Drew Hale.

And here we are with Patti & Lane, Grace & George, and Mary & Rod at Shady Lane Cellars.

In August, we hooked up the rig and took a week’s vacation to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Our destination was the Porcupine Mountains.

We did several hikes and toured a lot of areas we hadn’t seen in quite awhile.  A few, like Summit Peak, were new to us.  🙂

Labor Day weekend came and we were visited by our friends Mike and Cindy.

They are also friends we met in college.  They weren’t able to meet up with the rest of us in Alton, so it was really good to see them!  Here we are at Pyramid Point, over 400 feet above Lake Michigan.

In mid-September, we received word that Diana’s mom was taken to the hospital with pneumonia.  We made a quick trip to Grand Rapids and determined that we were going to need to relocate back to be by her for a bit.  There is a good possibility that we will still be able to get back to Wild Cherry for October, as Mom is doing quite well…but we will see what the next week brings.

 So, one year later, we are one site over from where we spent the winter.

Alaine is crusing by with the kiddie train and everybody is having fun.  🙂

All in all, it has been a great year!  Thanks for riding along with us!

31 thoughts on “ExploRVistas – Our First Year”

  1. Congratulations on your first year! You certainly had your highs and lows throughout the year but you persevered and even embraced your winter haven. Being adaptable and staying positive is a must in this lifestyle….keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Major Milestone! Folks like us don’t think much about 1 year but so many start out on the road and don’t make it that long. Good for YOU!

    Fun looking back at a whole year’s experience. I write too much to try to do an annual summary. But you guys had a lot of fun. And 2 trips to FL — I’m envious — as much as anyone who is not sure whether he even wants to take his RV INTO Florida can be envious.
    Hope you don’t have to hang out in the cold this winter. But you’ll know what to do when the time comes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your blog has been both educational and entertaining. It is great to see how both of you meet all the challenges and adventures as partners. Your love for each other sets such a good example for everyone to see. The enjoyment that you have doing what you’re doing is refreshing for all of us. We are looking forward to seeing both of you soon!


  4. I can’t believe it has been a year already, I remember a lot of those photos:) It has been a pleasure following you! Here’s to another good one (imaginative cheers)!


  5. Congrats on your first year! It just keeps getting better. Steve and I are amazed at how quickly our time on the road has passed. Hope your winter goes well. As someone who’s not seen much snow, I think it would be kind of fun to spend some time up north one winter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Joan! We like winter weather, but RVing in it can be expensive. Take a look back at our post Preparing for Ol’ Man Winter from last October. There are more folks out there that do it than you would think….but it is usually out of necessity. The trick is in the preparation.


    1. Thanks, Gail and Donald! We ended up staying at Club Naples. It’s a nice park, but the sites are very tight and it is at the beginning of Alligator Alley. Naples is a great area, but we’ve yet to find what we would call a ‘perfect’ park for us.

      Michigan’s U.P. Is a beautiful place, that’s for sure. So is the northwest Lower Peninsula. We hope you make it over here someday!


    1. Thanks, Sue! Jenny was a sweetheart, that’s for sure. She was the most content when the three of us were together. It didn’t matter which one of us it was; the second person home from work got the crazy greeting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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