Load up

There are places to be seen. This is a roadside stop along Alaska’s famed James W. Dalton Highway in 2010. Not our rig, by the way. Photo by Steve Martaindale.

After having our RV sit in the same spot some 362 days, Leah and I hooked it to the pickup last Wednesday and pulled out of the park that, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, stretched from serving as our winter home to our year-round home.

We then drove some 900 yards, according to Google maps, to get its state safety inspection. We then returned the trailer to its same spot – actually, about six inches farther back and two inches more toward the starboard side.

Why is that a big deal?

It means we’re getting ready to hit the road.

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RVs and the virus

Riding out a pandemic in an RV isn’t as challenging as camping on Antarctic sea ice, but it does provide a few wrinkles. Photo by Steve Martaindale.

Someone brought up the topic of facing a pandemic while living an RV life, referencing an article from last spring that made it sound somewhat horrific.

It sounded to me as though the writer was trying to milk readers for pity. The fact is we’re all affected by COVID-19 and most experiences are different.

However, there are ways the virus might have an effect on full-time RVers.

* It may curtail your travel plans. This was particularly true early as restrictions were put into place to minimize movement in hopes it would slow the spread. Sure, they affected all travelers, but people whose life is moving town-to-town in an RV felt it more acutely. RV parks now, like other businesses, have adopted procedures and techniques to make it safer for travelers.

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Can you see us now?

There remains a lot we want to do with the Dream Chasing 101 website, including recruiting articles from readers, live travelogues and no telling what else, but right now we would like your thoughts about an idea Leah came up with.

Videos.

Her idea is having the two of us tackle a topic during a short video. (Post-COVID, we could rope co-workers or other travelers into the conversation.) Maybe we’ll answer questions, recall a past experience, argue about who has the most accurate memory of an event, whatever. Most of them would likely complement an existing blog post but might address a timely topic.

One thing I’m rather certain about is there won’t be many rules.

Neither can we invest in a special camera or expensive editing software, so they certainly will not be candidates for any Oscars.

That’s a rough outline because that’s all we have at this point.

Our first shot at it is posted above. We sat down with Leah saying she had a topic and completely winged it from there. It should be obvious to you we had a lot of fun doing it.

Use the comment link below to tell us what you think. Should we continue doing these? Do you have any advice about any aspect of it? If you do not want me to publish your comment, just say so and we’ll keep it between the three of us.

As always, feel free to comment about anything at any time and please include your own stories and tips for fulfilling dreams and traveling.

Dying to get in

Choc Cemetery in Castries, Saint Lucia. Photo by Steve Martaindale

Please note this post contains affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

Most people, I suspect, tend to pick up topics of interest to follow when they’re traveling.

Maybe it’s antique stores, theaters, famous birthplaces, whatever. We used to try and visit all the state capitols we could … but that played out.

One thing that easily catches our interest now is cemeteries.

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COVID and chasing dreams

Has the COVID-19 experience left you ready to set out on a new path, enter exciting territories, test hidden talents and dreams? Prepare … then do! Photo from Big Bend National Park by Steve Martaindale

Let me first make one thing clear. This post in no way is intended to trivialize the global pandemic that has inordinately impacted the United States because of the ways our country has mishandled and ignored it. Here, we’re attempting to look down the road to sunnier days and consider how differently we might handle dream chasing options. While you plan, please stay home as much as possible, wear a mask, maintain social distancing and wash your hands!

How has the COVID-19 virus affected your life?

The answers to that question range from one extreme to the other. Many people have lost loved ones and friends and/or have spent weeks in the hospital before beating the disease. For some, their biggest complaint might be having to wear a mask when going shopping.

Here … for this article … we’re concentrating on how this disease (or others like it) could or should influence decisions you might have to make or how it could lead you to open yourself up to new possibilities.

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Is that right?

Leah took this photo from the passenger seat on the left. Of course, the objective was to snare a photo of the koala crossing sign, but it also illustrates the fact we’re driving on the left and occupying the outside lane on the left, something that is a tad challenging after driving on the right for, at that time, almost 40 years.

Please note this post contains an affiliate link and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

For Americans traveling overseas, an issue that strikes deep fear into many is driving on the left side of the road. It’s a topic we didn’t really touch on in the Dream Chasing 101 book, so let’s look into it a bit.

First of all, and briefly, while concerns concentrate on the act of driving, it affects you even as a passenger and pedestrian.

Simply riding in a vehicle is strange. It is a little disturbing just to watch. Your instincts tell you the car should be going this way instead of that.

Also, walking around streets can be downright dangerous.

While laying over a couple of days in New Zealand en route to work the summer in Antarctica, I made friends with a fellow near my age and we roamed around a bit. He’s the one who gave me the warning, “Death comes from the right.”

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Flipping the drive brain

Leah grabbed this photo while I waited for her to return from the hotel desk in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

Our trip to Australia in June 2008 was my third stay in a country where one drives on the left side of the road and, this time, I decided to give it a go. In fact, I raised the bar and set the goal not only at not having a wreck but even to not embarrass myself.

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On a quest

Nothing takes the chill out of a wet spring day in Bruges like a good Belgian beer.

It’s often helpful, when visiting new places, to have a goal, a theme, a project, a … quest. Here’s one memorable example of a port call to Bruges, Belgium, in the spring of 2018.

Traveling with our friends Steve and Deb (No, it never got confusing, why do you ask?), the first thing we did after leaving the bus that brought us from the dock was to choose a route into town that took us over the Lake of Love via Lovers Bridge. Touristy, for sure, but it was fun.

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Slow Ride Home

The Soldiers of Destiny scooter club glide through Badlands National Park, South Dakota, during a coast-to-coast trip chronicled in the film, “Slow Ride Home.” (courtesy photo)

Please note this post contains affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

On the downhill side of our fourth month hiding out from the coronavirus, Leah and I have taken to watching a movie every night. Doing so has given us incentive to dig deeper into the movie vault and take a chance on films that might not normally hit on our radar.

Such was the case with the documentary “Slow Ride Home,” but I’ll admit the plug –  “8 pals from Seattle’s Soldiers of Destiny scooter club ride 3,700+ miles of American back roads from Florida to Washington in 11 days” – had already pulled me in.

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Salesmanship on the streets of Matamoros

I have no photos from our Matamoros visit, but here’s a glance at a much sleepier looking La Caseta, Mexico, from December 2018. Photo by Steve Martaindale

Please note this post contains affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

When traveling, Leah and I are not big spenders. To be fair, we’re not big spenders anytime, which is one lifestyle choice that has helped us be able to afford seeing the world, as explained in our series’ first booklet, “1. How we made our travel dreams come true.”

We will make careful purchases, however, and usually manage to take home a memento of the trip. That’s sometimes easier than others.

Take the summer of 1994.

We took a week off, along with our 12-year-old daughter, Erin, to hop down the Texas coast, making stops from Matagorda to South Padre Island. Before proceeding up the valley and turning back toward home, we spent a day strolling the streets of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico.

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