End of Week #22
Summerlan RV Park, Raton NM > Ute Lake State Park, Logan NM > Fort Amarillo RV Resort, Amarillo TX
Miles traveled since last week’s post = 320
Total miles traveled to date = 4,194 with trailer
Hello to you all from Texas! You may have seen on my recent Facebook post, that we arrived to Texas almost a week earlier than planned, and were welcomed by some interesting weather… A lot of our travel plans for the past couple of weeks were completely shifted around, as the original plans just didn’t seem like the best idea anymore.
Sort of last minute, we ditched the idea to head east through Colorado and down through Oklahoma, and instead went completely south into northern New Mexico – like I mentioned last week. From there we fully meant to stay another 5 nights in eastern New Mexico, at a State Park, however upon arriving there we had zero cell signal (which has started to become a non-negotiable at this point in our life), and there wasn’t as much to do there as originally thought. We had plans to stay specific dates at a Texas State Park south of Amarillo, however we cancelled those and instead booked an entire week stay in the city of Amarillo.
I’m not going to lie, upon heading this way we absolutely thought we would be in the “safe zone” of warm weather and relief. We had it engraved in our heads that Texas meant no snow, and tons of warm sunny days. Funny story – the first full day we arrived here it snowed for 12 hours straight, accumulating about 4 inches and the winds gusted wicked cold air the whole time too.
Welcome To Texas
Here we are. We have been welcomed into Texas in the most Minnesotan way ever. In fact, we have been trending a lot colder than our friends in family “up north” in Minnesota for awhile now and we think that is just totally unacceptable. My dad reminded me this morning that we are sitting at 3,700 ft elevation, about 3,000 more than St. Paul. This is the high plains, and the cashier at the store where I just bought myself some chocolate also told me that they can typically experience all 4 seasons in one day here…. Hmm, sounds a lot like Minnesota, eh?
Needless to say, I don’t think Adam and I will be returning to Amarillo after this week, at least not anytime soon. The city is quite large and has everything you could need, but the surrounding area is basically a whole lot of nothingness. Flat plains, farmlands, and houses plopped right in all the nothingness with no surrounding trees, bushes – nothing. It’s so odd looking and really makes me have a stronger appreciation for Minnesota and my old neighborhood of Woodbury!
Winter Came Early
Dealing with snow & cold while living in an RV
When I think of living in an RV, I personally do not think of withstanding the snow and cold while doing so. Now there are a lot of brave, bold and extreme people who DO camp out all winter long, in places like Colorado and even Minnesota and wherever else. But this is not something that we specifically planned to do ourselves.
RV’s are all designed different, some are built to withstand “4 seasons”, and some are not. And amongst those that are built for it, some are more insulated and protected than others. There is a lot of variety! Our Grand Design is technically more along the lines of the “4 season” variety, but you would be surprised at how much cold air actually comes through. When the sun starts to set you can definitely feel it coming in through the walls & the windows, and even small cracks to the outside that I can see through the slides. The floor gets super cold too!
We will try as much as possible to keep the cold air out by shutting the blinds on our windows, by running our furnace with propane, and by running our electric fireplace heater as well. But if we are somewhere where we don’t have electricity (like when we were in Great Sand Dunes National Park) then we have to be very conservative of our heating efforts, because running the furnace and fireplace will drain our battery completely and then we won’t have any options.
For the past 2 months, we have done an outstanding job of outrunning the snow. I was starting to feel pretty confident we weren’t going to encounter it at all. Ever since we went to Yellowstone, we have been leaving places and within a few days of leaving that area they get a wild snowstorm. This happened to us all throughout Wyoming, Utah and Colorado. It’s quite ironic to me, that in all places possible, our first snowfall happened in Texas. It almost seems unnatural to happen here!
Regardless of what we think, Mother Nature clearly had a different agenda, and she brought us around 4 wonderful inches of snow last Thursday. Sure, it mostly all melted by Saturday, when the temps neared the 70s with a full blast of sunshine. But looking ahead to this week the temps are dropping again and more snow is expected on Wednesday, which also happens to be the day we were supposed to move on to the next location – Wichita Falls.
Steps to take after snowfall
We are obviously quite new at this whole experience – both in dealing with snowfall and in living in our RV in general. But I like to think we have a pretty decent amount of common sense when it comes to dealing with anything that might come up in this lifestyle. Specifically – the day after it snowed, there were certain steps we took to ensure that we did our part to help clear away the snow and ice, and any condensation, to prevent any leaks or water damage. (And when I say we I fully mean Adam.)
Once the temp warmed up a bit and the sun slightly poked out, Adam went to work in wiping down the windows on the inside of the trailer to help remove any moisture buildup. (The day before our windows were frosting a lot from running the heat and from when we would cook meals.) He then went outside and climbed onto the roof to clear away snow with our broom and clear away buildup in the gutter systems along the sides of the roof. Our hose had frozen from the night before so he laid that out in the sun to melt. And after a few hours he re-went back onto the roof to clear off anything else remaining. Everything he did made a HUGE difference, and prevented any leaks from entering the trailer as all the snow melted over the next few days.
Taking Advantage Of One Nice Day
Being cooped up during the cold and snow is a new experience for us. We are so used to being able to get outside everywhere we go so far on this journey, and haven’t had a lot of days where we stay inside the entire time. That is, not until as of late where everywhere we go seems to get colder and colder. We have almost been in Texas a week and 4 of the last 5 days we have had to mainly spend inside, due to super low temps and oftentimes super high winds. I would be lying if I said we weren’t getting a little stir crazy…. even with the luxuries of being able to watch some Netflix, watching a lot of football, working on writing and my new online business – it can still start to feel like a bit much. The smaller space has NEVER bothered us, until maybe now – when it’s a lot harder to escape it.
With that being said, this past Saturday was a glorious day with abundant sunshine and warmer temps, so we absolutely took full advantage of it! We got out of the RV and drove to the State Park we had previously made reservations to camp at, to explore and do some hiking.
Otherwise known as the “Grand Canyon of Texas”, this canyon is the second largest canyon in the entire United States! It is about 120 miles long, and can range from 6 feet to 20 feet across from one side to another. It was an absolutely beautiful landscape, full of red rock cliffs, lots of green trees & shrubbery, and many hiking paths to explore.
We did have to pay to get into this park, which cost us $16 total. Upon entering the park we had to descend down into the canyon at a 10% grade – which would have been quite interesting with the trailer if we had actually stayed at this campground. The views the entire way were phenomenal and we stopped at a few overlooks to take it all in.
I had looked up a hike to do, a 6 mile one that went to the iconic Lighthouse Rock. The hike was mostly flat terrain with only the last 1/4 of a mile there being of any difficulty. It felt so rejuvenating to be outside, and in a t-shirt at that – instead of being all bundled up and trapped inside. It was the perfect way to spend the only nice day we have had so far!
Looking Ahead To Our Texan Plans
Adams 31st birthday
The man of the trailer turns 31 this week! Holy crap! Adam’s 31st birthday falls on Friday, November 1st (#Scorpio) – the same day we make our way from Wichita Falls to our new ‘month home’ in Burleson, TX, just south of Fort Worth. It’s crazy to think that he will have already completed a full trip around the sun in our 30’s era, and that we will each now have had a birthday on the road. [Way back on my birthday, July 13th, we also had to travel and leave our first home in Stone Lake, WI and make our way to Sturgeon Lake, MN.]
As life is a lot different for us now than it was a year ago, we plan to celebrate by having a 23 week shot (we celebrate our weekly milestones each Friday), and I will try to make him a pickle roll up cake, ha! We also might go crazy and have a wild extravagant dinner out at Chipotle….. lately we can’t stop talking about how much we miss it, and luckily there is one in Fort Worth!
Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Years
Our upcoming time in Texas will also take us through a few other milestones, as we go through Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years…. alone. I don’t mean that in a depressing way, but in a “life is different this year” kind of way. Thanksgiving will be spent in Burleson, TX, Christmas will likely be near Houston, and New Years may be in Houston or near Austin. Life is just that – it’s different this year. Of course it will be quite emotional to not be with our friends and family (although we are trying to convince some family to visit for each holiday ;)), but thankfully with technology we can video call and bug them all and spy on what good eats they are feasting on.
Also, in a way, it might be a relieving change of pace for us – as every year, for every holiday, we usually have 3-4 places to be at once and have to hustle and bustle all over the metro to be with everyone. That hustle and bustle always takes away from the bigger picture of everything and can sometimes make it a loss enjoyable and more stressful.
Of course I say this all now, and I know surely well that come each of those Holidays I will probably be nothing but a puddle missing my family. But like I said, it’s just different this year – nothing more and nothing less.
2020, A New Decade
Texas will also be the state that welcomes us into the new year, and a new decade at that. It will become the state we have spent the most time in, estimated at about 2.5 months total before we depart into New Mexico again.
After Houston in December, we will move through the Austin/San Antonio area. From there we will most definitely head to Big Bend National Park, near the Mexico/Texas border, and possibly up through El Paso. To kick off 2020 we will spend a few weeks in New Mexico (again) before moving on to Arizona, where we could stay for another month or so – all depending on our exact situation at that time.
Personally, I am really excited for the new 2020 chapter of life and think that it will bring even more captivating life adventures than 2019. (If that’s even possible!) 2020 will bring us up and along the west coast, through Montana, back through our home state of Minnesota, and then that year will end with a bang as we start our “second chapter” in moving along through the east side of the country. [Who knows, 2020 might even bring in wedding bells and marriage celebrations too!]
It blows my mind to think about where I will be and what I will be doing this time next year. I always love to reminisce on how much life can change in just 52 short weeks…
Finances, budget and the energetics of a positive money mindset! Let’s talk about money! So many people think it’s taboo to talk about it, but honestly that is the type of mindset that creates a negative energetic flow with money. The more we actually DO talk about it, the more it flows through us and to us. All things money coming next week!
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