Every year since we hit the road together, I’ve hand created a year end routing map – it’s such a fun way to reflect on the year’s adventures.
2011 was a year of a lot of changes for us, and trying to illustrate that on a map was quite a challenge! We started the year in the USVI, traveled via 3 different RVs, traveled cross country via train, traveled by car and took a few plane trips.
Here’s a quick recap of our 2011 adventures:
Virgin Islands: We ended our glorious winter on St. John, aside from a fun trip to Austin to speak at SXSW on Technomadism in March. We returned to Miami in early April, rented a car to visit family and then re-united ourselves with our Oliver Travel Trailer stored in Orlando. We got moved back in and switched to trying to decide what was next for us.
Orion Sold: In late April, just as we were coming to realize we’re ready for a larger home on wheels, we got an unsolicited offer to sell our Oliver. We dashed up to Virginia to deliver in early May, with no plan for what to do with all our stuff, or where we’d live! It was huge leap of trusting in serendipity. We ended up traveling 1485 miles in our Oliver in 2011 before saying a bittersweet farewell.
Le’Sharo Ritual: Serendipity presented an offer to borrow a 1986 Le’Sharo motorhome to use as a moving truck with a bed. It was an amusing ritual of frequent issues that tested our resilience. We were pretty sure we wanted a vintage bus and viewed contenders on the east coast. We traveled 3016 miles during our month in the Le’Sharo, including a stop in St. Louis to leave Kiki & our stuff.
Bus hunt by Train: We had a top contender bus in Oregon – and we both had always wanted to travel across country by train. So we decided to make the trip a train adventure! It turned out cheaper to buy a 1 month Amtrak rail pass than rail fare, so we decided to conduct the rest of our bus hunt by rail. We had an incredible cross country train journey in June, but got our hearts broken by the bus we went to see.
Finding our Bus: In hopes that buses in drier climates would be in better shape, we boarded a train to Arizona to continue the hunt. We rented a car to travel around the state looking at contenders. On a whim to check out a bus that didn’t look all that promising on paper, our last stop in Yuma lead us to finding Zephyr – our 1961 GM 4106 vintage bus home. On June 22, we had our next home.
Blazing Hot Arizona: Our dear friends in Lake Havasu City, AZ opened their home & bus parking to us. The downside? Summer in AZ is hot. Very hot. At the peak, the temps reached 125+ (which didn’t stop our crazy friends from surprising us with a bus warming!). But we got a heck of a lot of bus work done during July. We flew back to St. Louis to bring Kiki home.
Burning Man: For the first time, we hadn’t planned to attend or not attend Burning Man. Serendipity clearly spoke and presented us with tickets to the sold out event. So after a stop in Flagstaff to cool off, then a trip down to Phoenix to pick up some sweet Lithium Ion Batteries to start building our new house battery system – we attended Burning Man, staying in Camp Nomadia which we founded in 2008.
Cross Country Mad Dash – We stayed in Las Vegas and St. George, UT in September (yearn!), enjoying another rendezvous with Ben & Karen (who we saw 8 times this year) – and then decided to get across country for the holidays. A goal was set to attend the Bus Conversion Magazine Rally in Chattanooga. It was way too quick of a trip, but we did attend the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.
MINI Adventure: In late October, we headed to St. Louis to pick up our stuff and finally fully move into the bus. We also decided to buy Ben & Karen’s MINI Cooper to be our toad which was just coming out of lease. To obtain the MINI, it required me flying back to Las Vegas and having a 1700 mile solo motoring trip back!
Florida: We made our way to Florida with a month long reservation awaiting us! The holiday season was spent with both of our parents and our Florida communities. And we also put 13.1 miles on our feet in November by completing our first half-marathon.
We ended up driving 6252 miles in Zephyr in 2011.
What an amazing year!! Thank you each and every one of you for your encouragement throughout our adventures by following along, commenting, inviting us over and sharing your wisdom with us. It means the world to us.
Here’s to the adventures ahead!