2018 – First Year of Travel

2018 is the year Megan and I became travelers. We drove 4700 miles with our RV. We’ve had a combined 5 employers in 3 states. Since June we’ve driven over 15,000 miles including 4,700 pulling our 5th wheel trailer. We’ve visited 14 states and stayed at least 24 hours in 9 of them. Talk about a big year!

Before diving into the fun stuff, we want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has supported us and help make this possible. We are so grateful to have strong friendships and close family relationships.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica was a honeymoon vacation! The country was beautiful, locals were accommodating, and the food was delicious. We are very lucky to have had this opportunity, as this really was a trip of a lifetime!

We were there for a week, split between the two major destinations of the Arenal Volcano, and city of Quepos. This was a trip of a lifetime, and Megan and I both highly suggest Costa Rica as an incredible (and affordable) travel destination. (We found our travel package through Tripmasters.com)

Gearing up!

November of 2017 Megan and I made it our goal to purchase an RV and leave our hometown in Denver, CO to travel and live in campgrounds. Megan would work as a travel nurse and I would find work in construction.

In June of 2018 we took home our first RV. We bought a 2018 Grand Design Reflection from Windish RV in Lakewood, CO. Days after we bought a truck to pull it. A used 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Duramax Diesel.

I have to say, this was a massive endeavor for us! This was our first RV purchase, which required a ton of shopping and research. In addition to all of this excitement, Megan was able to connect with an agency who’d eventually place her at her first travel assignment. June and July 2018 were probably the busiest months of our lives!

Blacksburg, VA

Megan’s first assignment was at Lewis Gale hospital in Salem, VA. We pulled the RV from Denver, CO to Blacksburg, VA. We stayed here for most of August 2018.

We camped alongside the New River, and a campground New River Junction. The area is stunningly beautiful, through we did get A LOT of rain. We still found time to mountain bike Poverty Creek, road bike local farm roads, hike to Cascade Falls, and paddle on the New River. The nearby Virginia Tech campus and downtown area provided a nearby town for shopping and other resources.

North Carolina & the Outer Banks

We took a drive (with the RV) to Virginia Beach around Labor Day, 2018. We had a reservation to camp, but the campground made a mistake and couldn’t take us in. So, we had to improvise which led us to North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

Despite the frustration of the reservation mix up, we really enjoyed the beauty of the OBX. We spent some relaxing time at Kitty Hawk beach, and relaxing at our waterfront campground. We also had the opportunity to visit First Landing State Park, where I did some exploring on my road & mountain bike.

I hope we get a chance to go back to this area some day. We both felt we could’ve done more, had we planned the location. Still, it’s a beautiful area where downtime should be encouraged.

Buchanan, VA

After a week in the Outer Banks, we moved our home to Middle Creek Campground, near Buchanan Virginia. We nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains and a stones throw from the infamous Appalachian Trail. The area is as beautiful as it is remote, and we stayed for the fall season.

While here, we hiked some of the Appalachian Trail, mountain biked & paddled Carvins Cove, cycled the Blue Ridge Parkway (Peaks of Otter to Buena Vista), and boated around Smith Mountain Lake.

The greater area of Roanoke, VA is a fantastic place for outdoor enthusiasts. We were both surprised how much this area has to offer. The charm of the southeast is very much present and the people are very welcoming.

Shenandoah, NP

A short weekend trip before our final days in Virginia. We drove up and tent camped in the park simply to enjoy the fall colors and drive up the beautiful Skyline Drive.

We were treated to a bear scare our first morning, and a bear sighting later that day. Black bears are everywhere out there! Unlike most national parks we’ve visited, Shenandoah had some dog friendly (on a leash of course) hikes. It was a treat to hike with Bojack some of the area.

Lake Havasu City, AZ

We left Virginia to Lake Havasu at the beginning of November. Megan accepted a new assignment so we pulled the RV some 2,300 miles to spend winter in the desert!

In our first month here, we’ve paddled under the London Bridge, mountain biked SARA Park, and made a short day trip to Las Vegas. We have more time here in 2019 and we already love it!

On the trip out, we were able to see friends and family in Nashville, Fort Worth, and Phoenix. It was such a treat to see some familiar faces after our relative seclusion in Virginia. To help us bring in the New Year, Megan’s mom came out to visit which was also a wonderful time!

Welcome to 2019!

Megan and I look forward to continuing our travels in 2019. Here are some infographics showing our travel routes last year.

We are looking forward to continuing this amazing journey we have started. Follow our blog for more updates!

Happy New Year!

Bobby & Megan

On the Cusp – Hurricane Florence

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Hurricane Evacuation Route

A hurricane is a nightmare for those who are in its path.  The media tells us a story, which includes video footage of a newscaster attempting to report while being battered by the fierceness of mother nature.  Then, images pour in of large amounts of flooding, wind tearing off roofs, and the obligatory, albeit very saddening, casualty count and those affected by its devastating aftermath.  So when Florence started moving in, panic sunk in fast.

In our area, Roanoke, VA, initial reports started claiming forecasts of up to 20″ of rain causing severe flooding, as well as severe wind gusts which could potentially knock down trees and power lines.  The instant presumption was, we need to leave.  We have a house on wheels, so let’s get out of dodge!  Of course, this is much easier said than done.  Where are we going to go?  Will Megan have to take up lodging near work? If so, where will we park our RV, and will we have to separate for a few days?  We decided the best thing to do was to start an evacuation plan, while also keeping our eye on the National Weather Service (NWS) for Roanoke.

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Screenshot from Weatherbug when the hurricane hit.  Our location on top left.

For three  days, we remained on the cusp of Florence’s predicted path. Our campground host, as well as local community were all mixed in their advice towards us.  This was incredibly stressful!  DO WE STAY OR DO WE GO!  Of course, nobody is going to answer that question for us.

When Florence made landfall in New Bern, NC, it was eerily quiet here.   Also, by this time our friends and family back home were reaching out regularly, insuring our safety.  We couldn’t help but pray for those in this monster’s path.  Being from Colorado, we’ve never been anywhere near a hurricane.  All of our experiences came from what we’ve seen in the media. But now we’re waiting for it and only a few hours drive inland, it’s a very different story!

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The storm didn’t hit us too hard.  We experienced significant rain, and some areas with minor flooding.  The access roads near our campground had a fallen tree in the road, and the local creek ran significantly higher, but that was the worst of it for us.

We cannot express enough how terrifying hurricanes are.  After this experience, we’re left feeling hurt for those who’ve been impacted.  Business as usual resumes for most, rebuilding starts for many.

In the end, we wish to give thanks to those who reached out in concern.  Also, we want to send our best to anyone reading who’s been impacted by the storm.  It has not left our minds.

All the best,

Megan and Bobby

 

Cycling Virginia – Part 1

Of course I’d have a post about cycling!  To be honest, when we left, I had no clue what things would look like in terms of riding my bike.  Megan more or less forced me to bring my road bike (stored in the under storage of the RV) plus we both brought our mountain bikes.  Considering the space all this bike stuff takes up, we have to get out regularly!

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Riding my bike around a campground

First of all, the mountain bikes are perfect for getting around campgrounds.  I’ve toured almost every campground on my bike so far.  It’s just a great way to get some fresh air and spin out my legs especially after traveling.

Our first major ride was in the Poverty Creek trail system, outside of Blacksburg, VA.  Neither Megan or I consider ourselves expert mountain bikers, so we kept it to the “easy” trails.  Easy!?  I think NOT.  We rode an out and back, single track trail for 10 miles, climbing 900ft.  We encountered plenty of obstacles, including large tree roots, rocks, mud, and water.  We had so much fun!  Each of us dumped our bikes one time, reminding us to stay humble even outside of our home state.   This trail system spurred out from Poverty Creek, into more challenging sections.  We decided the easy stuff was enough for us, this time around.  Maybe when we get some more mountain bike experience, or increase our level of “guts”, we’ll give the other trails a go.  Seriously though, very fun trail and definitely recommended!

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Megan making a splash at Poverty Creek Trail

Megan and I continued to visit this trail system a few times.  We even decided to ride our bikes to the trail (5 miles of gravel road from our campground) and then explore the singletrack.  The mountain bikes are such a great way to not only get a work out, but also put a smile on your face!

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SELFIE!

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Road biking in Virginia had me anxious before we left Colorado.  It is no secret that many motorists loathe road bikes, and I wasn’t sure what that picture would look like here.  For certain, I have much more to learn in terms of safe, well traveled routes in this region.  However, I couldn’t have been any luckier with a location just outside of Blacksburg.  The roads here are seldom used, often accessing farm land or other rural homes.  On one occasion, cycling northbound on Spruce Run Rd, I wasn’t overtaken by a car through 5 miles or riding.  Of course, it didn’t hurt that the road was absolutely stunning!  Pictures can’t describe the fresh air, the smell of the roadside vegetation,  and the sounds of a nearby creek.  I can honestly say this was some of the nicest riding I’ve done!  The only downside is the post ride review on strava, listing all the Virginia Tech cyclists records on the same route.  Basically, I’m a snail compared to them!

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Spruce Run Rd – Giles County VA

As indicated in the title of this post, I intend on posting more about cycling in this region.  If anyone has suggestions on routes, or how to find them, please let us know!

With Love,

– The Wrights

Cascade Falls, VA

On our last full day at New River Valley, we decided to take the trip up to Cascade Falls which was highly recommended by the campground owner.  We were not disappointed!

The hike is about four miles round trip, and not terribly difficult at all.  There is an upper and lower trail to get to the falls.  The lower trail was mostly inaccessible due to all the recent rain fall, so we stuck to the upper trail.  However, if I get a second chance to hike here, I’d take the lower as it follows the creek all the way to the falls.

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Bridge connecting the upper and lower trail

Along the trail, we found it to be extremely green and lush.  Many large trees gave us a canopy from the sun, and we found lots of moss, mushrooms, and other interesting vegetation along the way.   We kept Bojack on a short leash out of fear he might eat a mushroom or run through some tick infested brush.

 

 

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Dog friendly, but leash required

After climbing up the trail for 2 miles, we finally reached the falls.  Because it was a weekday, we pretty much were the only ones there.  My understanding from others is you can swim, but it is not suggested at this time due severe undercurrents.  Even though I hike in swim trunks, I heeded the advise of other trail users.

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Bobby chasing Bojack with the leash after his quick swim

This was our first decent hike since arriving, and it was very rewarding.  Absolutely a nice way to finish our time near Blacksburg!

Upon return, we grabbed some lunch at a local sandwich shop and made our way home to pack up.  Overall, a great day!  Highly recommended hike to those interested in exploring the area.

 

 

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The falls are about 65′ tall.  Pictures never do justice!

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Megan and I near the lower trail – the water was so refreshing!

New River Junction – Blacksburg, VA

New River Junction (NRJ) was our home for 3 weeks.  Simply put, the place is beautiful.  NRJ is located in the mountains outside of Blacksburg, VA and sits on the banks of the New River.  NRJ offers camping, but is also locally known for renting tubes for floating down the river.  Located on the line between Montgomery and Giles county, the area is popular for outdoor enthusiasts.  During our time there, we went tubing, canoeing, mountain biking, road biking, and hiking.  This section of the Appalachian range sits about 2,000′ elevation, which is a far cry from the Rocky Mountains we’re used to.  This area is know as the “Blue Ridge Mountains”, which stretches from Georgia to Northern Virginia.  Despite the lower elevation mountains, this area was a welcome taste of home for both of us!

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New River and Blue Ridge Mountains from New River Junction

When we arrived, the area was experiencing lots of rain.  Our first night, we were scrambling around our maps because local news indicated tornados, hail, flooding, and a dam breach in the area.  Not something you want to hear when you’re parked next to a river!  We had very spotty WiFi and no cell service unless we took a 20 minute drive into Blacksburg, effectively taking us off the grid.

Once the rain cleared up and the river calmed down, we decided to rent a canoe for a day.  The river was majestic!  After one trip (approximately 1 mile) the NRJ bus picked us up and drove us back to camp.  Once we arrived, we decided to attempt another canoe trip, this time with Bojack!  He wasn’t as thrilled as we were… but we succeeded getting him on the canoe and completed our first family canoe trip!

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Bojack on the water

Obviously, the time we spent at NRJ was spent outside.  The biking and hiking (which will be touched on in later posts) was incredible.  I’m honestly surprised (and glad) the area isn’t commercialized.  I supposed we are used to the beauty of Vail, CO as an example, to include a large section of development to accommodate the many tourists and locals of the land.  At NRJ, we enjoyed the simple life and the natural beauty surrounding us.

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Bojack enjoying a nap on his favorite sofa (New River Junction)

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Getting outside between rain storms

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Enjoying a cold one – admiring the view

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Megan, Bojack, and I rescuing a lost dog (Butters) who ran away during a storm.

We cannot say enough about how much we enjoyed the three weeks spend in Blacksburg and New River Junction.  A special thanks Bernie, and the whole NRJ staff for accommodating us for so long.  We really had a great time, and your suggestions on nearby hiking and biking were fantastic!

With Love-

Bobby, Megan, & Bojack

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining us!  Megan and I have finally set off in our RV, landing in campgrounds near Roanoke, VA through October.  The road leading us to our first assignment was much longer than just the miles.  We owe SO MANY THANKS to our friends, family, and all who’ve supported us get to the hardest part of this journey, the start!

Since purchasing our RV in June, we’ve camped in five different states, eight different campgrounds, and pulled the RV approximately 2000 miles.  So, lots of travel!  Pulling a large 5th wheel is slow and difficult, but certainly achievable.  Neither Megan or I have experience pulling a trailer, or how to operate a RV.  So we’ve really put ourselves through some serious training!  For those who are considering this type of life, I suggest a mind open to learning.  I’m sure I’ve made an idiot of myself more than once these past few weeks! That said, it really has been fun and our RV is very comfortable for us.

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THE RIG!  Taken at Bear Creek Campgound (Golden, CO)

Our family is Bobby (me), my wife Megan, and our dog Bojack.  We are from the southern suburbs of Denver, CO.  Megan and I  began planning how we’d start a life of travel around November, 2017.  Less than a year later, Megan got her first assignment as a travel nurse in Salem, VA!  We got busy financing a 5th wheel and truck (more on this in a future blog) and hit the road!  Our goal is to travel, write, and most of all, simply enjoy life!

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Going forward, Megan and I will post a monthly update to share with all, depicting some of the fun (and challenges) from the road.  In addition to a monthly newsletter, we hope to publish material that may be helpful to those new to, or interested in topics.  We sincerely hope you enjoy it along with us!

With Love,

The Wright Family

 

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton