I must say we have had fun putting this post together and reminiscing on all the places we have been! Truly an amazing adventure and we got to see family and friends along the way and even made some new friends for which we are ever grateful!
We have traveled to 16 different states and put 9860 miles on the Solitude. Many people qualify a state they stayed in differently and for us that is staying at least one night in the state, not just driving through.
We stayed at 50 different locations. That is almost 1 new location a week, however some were just a day while we were traveling to a new location and others were for over a month.
Of those, we stayed at:
-2 free workamping spots
-2 family & friends moochdocking spots
-1 Boondockers Welcome spot
-2 Harvest Host spots
-7 Passport America locations
-2 County Parks
-3 City Parks
-3 Corp of Engineers Parks
-11 State Parks
-15 Private Parks
Favorite Places We Have Stayed
Of course our friends and family are tops on the list!!!
Fort Wilderness at Disney is a no brainer, but at an avg night rate of $115, this was a special visit and not a normal occurrence! We stayed in the 1200 loop and really liked the location. It was half way between the lake and the bus stop to the parks. We rented a golf cart from an off-site vendor and had a great time zipping around the campground because it is sooo big! THe amenities were amazing, including the laundry rooms that had a site online you could see if there were machines free to use or how long your laundry had to go! Amazing idea! We stayed 11 nights, which was perfect to visit Disney and the greater Orlando area. We flew our boys down and enjoyed a memorable family vacation! Read about our Disney trip here.
Another great, but expensive place was Anchor Down in Dandridge, TN, just north of Pigeon Forge and the Great Smoky Mountains. Beautiful views, great amenities and the sites with fireplaces...oh my!! Read about our time at Anchors Down here.
In the reasonably priced private campground category, Belle Ridge Retreat in small town Monterey, TN was a winner. This is a relatively new campground that has some great amenities! Nestled in the woods on the Cumberland Plateau, this beautiful park has tons of trails for hiking and ATV's. You can rent an UTV and go exploring, including caves! The bath house and laundry room is also top notch! Read about our peaceful time here.
Best up and coming park is Rest Up Camping & RV Corral in southern IL. When we visited in July 2018, they had just opened and we were one of the first campers. This will definitely be a contender for top park with FHU and lots of activities and a yummy saloon and grill! You can read about our time here.
Best Corp of Engineer park had to be hands down Mill Creek COE park on Table Rock Lake in Branson. Our site out on the end of the Peninsula had water views on three sides with amazing sunsets. Great site to relax and enjoy time with friends. Read about our time at Mill Creek here.
Best State Park is a tough category because we had a bunch of great parks that we love but Topsail Preserve State Park in Santa Rosa Beach, FL topped the list. How can you beat being that close to the gulf and have full hook ups! A true gem and we met up with friends and had a great time! Read about our time here.
We really do need to mention Don Carter State Park in Gainesville, GA as a runner up! Most sites have lake views and with almost FHU (except for black tank), it really was a wonderful park. This is also close to where we used to live in GA so we had a great home base for visiting the old haunts and friends. Read about our time at this great park here.
Our best public free spot has to be Mortimer Farms in AZ, part of the Harvest Host network. Rick made a lifelong friend with Pedro the donkey and we enjoyed the hospitality and delicious food they have to offer!
We could mention soo many other parks that were close runners up. We really got lucky with some great places to stay this first year but had a couple of duds. Oh well, that is why the house has wheels, right?! For those interested in all the locations we stayed, you can check out our campground tab here. We will try to keep that up with every place we stayed and the details in hopes that it helps others find great sites too.
We have been fortunate to find some pretty cool workamping gigs in our first year on the road. We have heard horror stories from other workampers and we are happy to say that we did not have any crazy stories to add! We really did enjoy all three of our gigs and, they were all different.
-Peninsula State Park- We were camp hosts in one of the 5 campgrounds within the park for a month in July and August. We took care of Welker's campground and Welker's Point day use area. We had about 55 sites that we picked up in after campers left, checked trash and spot checked the restrooms. There was full time staff who cleaned the restrooms. You can read about our time here.
-Lee Bottom Flying Field- Here we helped the really cool owners, Rich & Ginger, on some projects around the airfield such as powerwashing and painting picnic tables and a fuel wagon, replace a door and cleaned up a bath house, some landscaping and much more. We spent September and October down on the river bottom and had a great time exploring the area and hanging out watching the planes land right in front of our RV! You can read about our time here.
-Val Vista Village- At Val Vista we worked for Cal-Am Food Services in the bar & grill. This was quite the experience, especially when Happy Hour rolled around every day. Rick rocked it in the kitchen and I ran food and drinks out to the tables and pool. You can read more about our experience here
We have some really neat workamping gigs lined up for our second year. These workamping opportunities allow us to not only continue this lifestyle, but explore places for longer periods of time that we may not have gone to without the job. We really love all the different experiences and will continue to search out the next cool opportunity. Who knows...we might just be photographers in the near future...hint, hint.
Top Places We Visited
We also want to identify the top places we have visited and again, really hard to keep this to just a couple so we will post pictures from some of them.
Again, we could go on and on because we have seen an unbelievable amount of amazing things! This year has allowed us to see more than we ever would have in our old sticks & bricks life. We are truly blessed and are excited to see what year 2 brings!
Speaking of year 2, we are back in the Midwest for a couple more months and then we will be making our way down to TX for some camp hosting and some R&R on the beach for the winter. After that remains to be seen. Now that we have a year under our belts, I am trying to lay back a bit on the planning and see where the road takes us.
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These last two weeks have flown by at the air field, literally! We have been busy whittling down the list of our workamping projects, getting in some last-minute sightseeing, getting warranty work done on the truck and making preparations for our departure and subsequent stops.
These last two weeks we have been busy with a variety of jobs around the air field. We repaired and stained the porch on the cabin and touched up the stain on the cabin itself. Such a cute little cabin!
We also painted some metal disks and washers that will be used to mark property lines and guide planes to parking. We have done a lot of roundup and tree trimming around the properties as well. Our focus then turned to one of the other properties with the airfield affectionately called “the nut farm”. It has a nut barn, nut shed, sunroom off the nut shed, trailer and camping pad off the nut barn and a lot of nut trees. The naming comes from the previous owner’s dedication to planting a nut tree every time he had to take down another tree on the property. There are a variety of nut trees all over the property. This last spring, the nut farm, being in the lower land, on the other side of the road from the air field, closer to the Ohio River, flooded. With that came a lot of clean up. The owners were able to move a lot of equipment and other items prior to the flood, but the buildings themselves and other items that were unable to be moved were all flooded and required a lot of cleanup. We have replaced lights at the nut shop and are using a lot of Zinser mold paint after the shop and sunroom have been sprayed for mold. Rick also rebuilt and replaced 2x4’s that were rotten under and around a window in the sunroom.
One of the group projects that we were able to complete is the replacement of the windsock at the airfield. With the windsock being up on a 16 ft pole, it took a couple folks to hold the ladder for the lucky chap, Rich, climbing to the top. The new windsock looks really nice waving in the breeze!
We had another couple, Keith and Kathy, visit the air field and spend a couple days with us enjoying the peaceful location, a campfire and local establishments. We enjoyed talking with them about their full-time travels, their planes and history in flying. They know our hosts, Rich and Ginger, through their aviation backgrounds. They are originally from Alaska and travel the US in a 1948 Spartan. Truly an oldie but a goodie! We hope to cross paths with them again.
Keith, Kathy, Rich and Ginger were kind enough to help us cheer on the Milwaukee Brewers in the playoffs, but alas, the World Series was not in the cards for them this year. Maybe next year Brew Crew! We are excited to see them at Spring Training while we are in AZ early next year!
As for our sightseeing, we wanted to spend one more day in Louisville before we left. We decided to go to the Frasier Museum in downtown Louisville. We have heard good things about this museum and it did not disappoint. It was well done and had sections on the history of the area and the building it was in, a section on bourbon, including a bourbon room that displayed a bottle from all of the Kentucky bourbon makers. There was also a section on Louis & Clark that was very interesting.
After spending a couple hours in the museum, we decided to get some BBQ at Doc Crows on Main St in the Bourbon Row. All the buildings in the area have a storied past in the making of Kentucky’s Bourbon and many reminders can be seen in and outside of these buildings. The BBQ was delicious but a bit pricey. Certainly, a splurge for lunch! We then made our way over to Cave Hill cemetery which is highly rated as one of the top places to visit in Louisville. This cemetery dates back 170 years and has an abundance of Revolutionary War and Civil War soldiers and families, famous people such as Colonel Sanders and Muhammad Ali and was painstakingly planned with beautiful grounds including lakes, beautiful landscaping and even a cave. They even conduct walking tours. The crazy part…we never took any pictures! It a was probably because we were in a big fat dually truck, driving on roads, just wide enough for us that had headstones right next to the road!! Yiiikes! That was the theme of our day though, very narrow roads, lots of construction and next to no place to park the big truck. But Rick managed to guide the truck through all of it. We even drove through Old Louisville area were the beautiful old mansions resided and through the heart of the University of Louisville where again, construction forced us to sneak through some pretty tight areas. The challenges we endure with a large dually truck.
Our day was topped off with a visit to the Louisville Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular. This amazing event is in its 6th year and is VERY popular! We knew that going in, so we purchased our tickets online and arrived well before the gates into the park opened. With ticket booths and gates opening at 6pm, we got in line at 5:15pm. The website warns that weekend lines could be over 2 hours long. I believe it, looking at the line we had on a Thursday night, even prior to the gates opening. Once the gates open, you wind your way through the Iroquois Park Amphitheater area which is well stocked with vendors selling all sorts of snacks and beverages to keep you busy and warm while you wait for the pumpkin trail to open. The 1/3 mile trail opens at dusk and you walk through at your own pace, marveling at all of the spectacular carvings. It is really hard to describe just how amazing this experience was, and the pictures below don’t begin to do them justice. There are over 5,000 carved pumpkins, with over 100 intricately carved masterpieces, carved by various artists that come to the area for the event. The trail is illuminated and there is music and special effects for each themed section of the trail. To preserve the pumpkins, they are kept cool with small computer fans inside and moth balls to keep the animals from nibbling on them. The event is open for a month and some pumpkins will need to be replaced during that time. The artists are on site, carving replacements in a cooled trailer. We took our time looking at all of the amazing pumpkins and photographed several and it took us 45 minutes to walk thru. If anyone is in the Louisville area in October or the beginning of November, we highly recommend going to see this.
We are coming into our last week here at Lee Bottom Airfield and will be busy wrapping up workamping projects and getting the RV ready to roll. We also will be going thru everything and pulling together many things to take to Goodwill. Remember our rule…one thing in and one thing out. Thanks for stopping by!
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