My wife, Sharon, and I started our full time RV lifestyle in 1997. We took our first RV adventure with our two daughters sometime around 1972 or ‘73 when we used my brother’s new 24’ Champion motorhome for a trip to Gatlinburg, TN. One and a half decades later, our children then in college, Sharon and I moved to Clarkston, MI, a far north suburb of Detroit. Not finding boating on the east side of the state up to what we had on Lake Michigan for 10+ years, we sold our 30’ twin engine sportfishing boat and soon thereafter purchased our own first motorhome, a 1988 36’ tag axle Fleetwood Limited which we used quite extensively for 10 +/- yrs weekending and vacationing.
Retired, we decided to sell our waterfront condo, furniture, car, motorhome etc., buy a pickup, order a 36’ fifth wheel to be built and hit the road full time. We fulfilled that plan and left for parts south in August, 1997. We stayed on the road 365 days per year until April, 2011 when Sharon’s health declined to the point we hung up our keys, sold our then International medium duty truck (small semi tractor) and 40’ fifth wheel and RV lot at Silver Lakes Golf & RV Resort in Naples, FL. We bought a condo at Port of the Islands in Naples. Sadly Sharon passed in November 2011.
I finally decided in 2015 to buy a small motorhome for two reasons. First was to find out if I still had a passion for traveling and second was to escape the brutal Everglades summer heat and humidity. I documented the 2016, 2017 and 2018 summer trips in my first attempts at a blog. When the host of my ‘blog’ quit functioning, I thought I had lost the three years of material. A few months ago, 2020, I accidentally discovered my entries still on line and downloaded them. By that time I had my own website which I could control and had already used for a couple of years. So I cut & pasted the 2016-2018 entries into this, my new blog.
The period from 1997 to 2011 had been chronicled via Facebook posts and emails – impossible to recreate. I still have the thousands of pictures on various laptops and flash drives. Many I’ve since uploaded to ‘the cloud’ but not all. I’m not sure I can find, or even still have in storage, some of the laptops and even if I do, not sure I would know how to use some of the old operating systems. 9Technology has changed so much from when we started – pre cell phones, pre WiFi, etc. Internet download/upload of email on the road back then consisted of lugging your laptop to a pay phone booth, hooking it up to the phone via an acoustic coupler and having the laptop dial AOL or Compuserve’s ‘800 number for an internet connection.)
As I now do in segments, I then plotted each year’s travel onto a US map. I have been able to find a few pictures of some of the maps and in an effort to consolidate the years of travel in one place, I’m at least putting those maps into this post. If I come across more of my mapping, I’ll add them at that time.