Our Favorite Moments of 2018
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2018 marks the year we spent the most time parked in just ONE place. The first 11 months of the year, we could be found in Port Lavaca, Texas were we worked and lived at Texas Lakeside RV Resort before relocating to Albuquerque, New Mexico in December. Despite our home “Charlie” not traveling much this year, we did enjoy several in-state adventures while in Texas and our fair share of journeys to other states via airplane! While the year was not 100% filled with sunshine, cupcakes and unicorns, it was still filled with lots of happy. So without further ado, here are some of our best or most memorable moments from the past twelve months.
JANUARY: We rang in the New Year with our annual trip to Florida. Why Florida? Well, why not? Is Florida ever a bad thing? But, in actuality it is when we plan our annual doctor visits and as a bonus we get to hang out and stay with our friends Jay & Karen! We are hoping to be able to maintain this tradition this year too, but not sure if we can fit it into our work schedule. Seeking out the states with the most sunshine in the winter months, we next headed to Phoenix, Arizona area at the end of January for a get-together with several of Russ’ high school classmates. A fun time exploring sunny Scottsdale was had by all!
FEBRUARY: After a month of several flights, we decided to do some more local exploring. Despite having 10 more months in Texas, we had a lot to see and do in the huge state of Texas. February marked our first trip to San Antonio and we were joined by Russ’ sister and brother-in-law, Annette & Mike. It also was our first of many experiences with Airbnb over the year. With only a few days to explore, we stuck to the main attractions - the Alamo & the Riverwalk. We were impressed by both and vowed to make a return trip during our stay in Texas, which we did in early November.
MARCH: Magnolia Beach is located along the waterfront of Lavaca Bay and is a tiny little coastal community about 11 miles outside of Port Lavaca. This is exactly where you could have found us on several sunny March afternoons, perched in our beach chairs. You can drive right out on the beach at Magnolia, just as you can on most Texas beaches, so we literally backed up to the water’s edge, dropped our beach chairs out of the Pilot and sat down. The water at Magnolia Beach is not the ocean, but rather the waters of the Matagorda Bay. These bay side beaches provide its beach guests with the same sounds of the ocean, but without the mesmerizing distraction of large waves making it a great reading spot as well as making us thankful for our local library cards!
APRIL: As usual, time with family always makes the “best of” lists and that was definitely the case in April. Betsy’s parents joined us in Texas for about a week. Their visit was highlighted with a day trip to Galveston, a trip to the Houston Space Center and a few days relaxing in Port Lavaca. We all really enjoyed the space center, especially Betsy who as a child said she wanted to be an astronaut when she grew up! It’s never too late for a career change. Just a few days after Betsy parent’s headed back to Ohio, Annette & Mike stopped in for a few days on their trip back North. So as you can see, April spoiled us with family visits!
MAY: In May we celebrated our 2nd Nomadiversary, marking two years since we sold our house outside of Philadelphia, packed all our belongings into our 5th wheel, and officially hit the road as full-time RVers. In true Russ & Betsy fashion we celebrated this occasion with our all-time favorite pastime - a few days at the beach! The beach of choice this time was South Padre Island, often considered the best beach in Texas. While the waters weren’t as blue as promised by a few people, we really enjoyed the small beach town feel and were glad to be there after the winter crowds and spring breakers and before the summer throngs arrived. The big dunes, beach afternoons, the turtle rescue, sunset from the campground, and a trip to the local farmers’ market were some of our favorites. Not only was this the best part of our May, it also provided us with a chance to say we spent the night in a water tank!
JUNE: Our favorite part of June was a toss-up, coming down to our niece’s graduation or some good Texas BBQ. The BBQ was the winner! Just kidding, being able to attend Lexi’s graduation won out unanimously. Having the dates well in advance, we were able to secure a reasonable flight to Philadelphia which jived well with our work schedule. The red-eye overnight flight was not the best part of month, but being with Russ’ dad on Father’s Day weekend and attending the pomp and circumstance surrounding the graduation of our niece, Lexi, from Drexel University’s College of Engineering were. We got the opportunity to listen to two great speeches, one making us a very proud aunt & uncle hearing our niece speak at her commencement and another inspiring us to “be the change” by M. Night Shyamalan, the American film director and screenwriter.
JULY: As we thought about our favorite memory of July, we started to sense a theme for the month and probably even for the year - the Gulf of Mexico! Several days throughout the month, we could be found on the sandy shores of that remarkably warm body of water. Early in the month, we enjoyed a trip to Padre Island National Seashore and later in the month a few trips to Matagorda Bay Nature Park. This 1,333-acre park and nature preserve is located at the mouth of the Colorado River where it dumps into the Gulf of Mexico. Not surprising to anyone, near both of these beach locations we found a great coffee shop to perfectly compliment each beach day!
AUGUST: When August rolled around, we got to combine two of our favorite things, family time and beach time (see I told you we had a 2018 theme going). Betsy’s sister, Krista and our nephew Ben came to visit from Chicago. We had several fun days staying and playing at the campground and added in a few days in the Padre Island / Corpus Christi area. The Padre Island National Seashore provided a great backdrop for Ben’s first trip to the beach. He has splashed in the big waves of Lake Michigan many times, but the warm and salty waters of the Gulf were new to him. We had lots of fun in the sun and he left with a new status of Jr. Ranger! But our splashing wasn’t over, as the next day we played all day at Hurricane Alley waterpark. Thanks for visiting, staying and playing with us!
SEPTEMBER: September was full of things that would make our “worst of” list, not our “best of” list - dentist appointments (lots of them). But we have no room in this post for that kind of negativity and since that kept us busy, we didn’t do much adventuring. However, we did add a lovely new thing to our home — a new mattress. Boring you may think, but we still are thrilled with our purchase of the Purple 3. We tried it for 100 days and definitely weren’t interested in giving it back! We still say “Ahhhhh, Purple!” when laying down each night. Sweet dreams, my friends!
OCTOBER: While we don’t officially have a Sports Bucket List, we still have things we enjoy adding to our sporting repertoire. It has never been our goal to make to all 30 major league baseball stadiums, but we certainly wouldn’t be disappointed if we did. October provided us another opportunity to catch a game at Minute Maid Park (Home of the Houston Astros) as they battled the Cleveland Indians in the postseason. The result was not in our favor, but the majority of the crowd in Houston was pleased. Maybe next year, Tribe! However, the weekend was a success, filled with lots of good food, several local coffee shops, a library book sale, dolphin sightings and beach walks in Galveston.
NOVEMBER: Holidays are fun, holidays with family are fantastic. After a year away from family at Thanksgiving last year, celebrating turkey day with the Gibbons clan in Pennsylvania was without a doubt the best part of our November. So much so, that it feels like cheating to even use it in this post. Thankfully, November was also home to another great getaway, taking us back to San Antonio to take a closer look. More views of the Alamo and lots more time exploring the banks of the Riverwalk was combined with too much tasty food, afternoon coffee breaks, and sunny fall weather.
DECEMBER: Following suit, December was just like November with the best part of the month being celebrating the holidays with family, this time the Dutt family for Christmas in Ohio. But since we ruled out using this obvious winner for the month, our highlight was “hitting the road.” We truly enjoyed our time working at Texas Lakeside RV Resort, but after a year in one place, we had a strong case of “Hitch Itch.” We chose this lifestyle, to be able to “see the country” and that is just what we were ready to do. Charlie was hitched up the Big Tow’er and was a great sight to see the pair rolling again. With stops in the Texas Hill Country, West Texas and Carlsbad, New Mexico, we got a chance to explore before continuing on to our “New Home” in Albuquerque.
Our year was definitely filled with exploration, family and the beach and we wouldn’t be at all disappointed if 2019 sounded similar. However, I think mountains might be a new addition to the list next year. As we finish out our 31st month on the road, we thank for always being a part of our journey. Cheers to the New Year…. hope to see you in 2019!