Last year we spent Christmas and New Years in Key West, Florida. This year we were in Oregon—Santa found us in Portland and we rang in the New Year on the Oregon coast…hard to get more polar opposite than that…Regardless, following the complete unraveling of our carefully crafted winter game plan, we finally managed to achieve escape velocity from Portlandia and got back on the road.
During our aborted stay in Portland, we called Roamer’s Rest RV Park in Tualatin, Oregon home. Because our pre-paid month at Roamer’s Rest didn’t expire until the 9th of January, and our recently-acquired cum recently-cancelled YMCA membership lasted through New Year’s Eve, we begrudgingly sheltered in place for 12 additional days after learning that Anna’s Portland locum tenens gig fell through. We considered hitting the road immediately, but we didn’t want to be traveling over Christmas. Also, we weren’t even sure which direction to head?!?! Therefore, we spent a cold and wet Christmas week parked in an RV Park and a town that we increasingly found more depressing each day. We debated staying through New Years, but once a nice weather window materialized we made a break for it. On a warmish and sunny Saturday morning, we spotted Roamer’s Rest the last 11 days of our campsite rent and hit the road.Our plan is to head south via the Oregon and California coasts. We have given ourselves an end-of-January deadline to find an alternate locum job for Anna. If nothing workable surfaces, then February will be memorialized with a Big Big Decision regarding the future of the Big Big Trip. In the mean time, with nowhere to be and no timeline to push us along, we decided to ring in the New Year in quaint coastal town of Newport, Oregon. We closed out 2017 and welcomed 2018 at the Port of Newport’s RV Park.
Located on the south side of the art-deco Newport Bridge, next to the very nice City Marina and the World Headquarters of Rogue Brewery, the Port’s RV Park actually consists of three different areas: the main RV Park with full hook-ups, the older and not as nice RV Park Annex located across the street, and the dry camping/overflow lot. At $22 per night with access to the RV Park’s bathhouse, the dry camping was $12 per night cheaper than the RV Park (during the off-season) and exactly our speed.
Essentially a large parking lot with lined-off campsites, our dry camping site worked out perfectly fine. Other than the late-night barking of sea lions and the occasional car cutting across the lot (either heading to, or coming from, the marina or Rogue’s House of Spirits, an Artesian distillery), the Dry Camping area was empty, quiet, and peaceful. All-in-all, Newport turned out to be the perfect place to offset the frustrating and stressful previous three weeks in a wet, crowded, and cigarette smoke-filled, suburban Portland RV Park.
Newport is a fairly large town with ample infrastructure and all the standard amenities. We spent our time in Newport across the bay exploring the historic Bayside and Nye Beach areas, as well as the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Rogue Brewery—both located a short walk (5-min for the brewery and 10-min for the aquarium) from the RV Park. We had planned on visiting Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, but it was closed for renovations. Although the marina market rents crab pots and the port area has ample fishing and crabbing areas, we decided to do it the easy way and pick up our New Year’s Eve Dungeness crabs at South Beach Fish Market, a local seafood place that is short walk from the RV park.
We closed out 2017 not knowing what 2018 will look like. Where will we be this spring? Will the Big Big Trip continue into the summer? Will we be with our road friends on the #alaskacaravan2018? Regardless, now that we’re out of Portland and back on the road things are already looking better. We have a fresh perspective and a better outlook. Irrespective of how it closed out, 2017 was a fantastic year.Between leaving Key West, Florida last January and arriving on the Oregon Coast this New Years, we traveled over 18,000-miles, staying in 101 different campsites and parking spots across 27 different states. We spent time exploring the shores of the Gulf Coast and the backroads of the southeast. We spent much of April studying the history of democracy by wandering the halls of our Nation’s Capitol in Washington, D.C. and meandering the nearby historical towns Williamsburg, Jamestown, Charlottesville, and Gettysburg, all spots that were pivotal in our birth and development as a country. We watched the birth of an Airstream in Jackson Center and the frolicking of baby bears and a moose in the Tetons and Yellowstone. We climbed among the ruins of ancient Pueblo people at Mesa Verde and stood in footsteps of American Soldiers and Lakota Sioux Warriors at Little Bighorn. We stood in awe on the line of totality, sharing cosmic syzygy with some of our favorite traveling families. 64 different National Parks, Monuments, Historic Sites, Seashores, and Memorials captivated us as we marveled at the grandeur of nature and were sometimes saddened by our shared history. Overall, 2017 gave us the chance to see things we’ve never seen, learn things we didn’t know, and remind us of lessons we may have forgotten. But most importantly, 2017 further opened our eyes, expanded our horizons, and broadened our perspectives.
New Years 2017 was filled with excitement and optimism. We were sitting on a beach in Key West and had finally learned to slow the fuck down and enjoy the ride. New Years 2018 finds us on the other side of the country and filled with slightly different emotions. But we remain optimistic about the future. We’re optimistic because of the freedom and options that this lifestyle provides. We’re confident because of the experiences we’ve had and the lessons we’ve learned over the last 12 months. We’re bullish on 2018 because while it may not be exactly what we had planned, it will probably be exactly what we need. And, things have a funny way of working out if you give them a chance to do so…
Some Random 2017 Statistics:
Miles Towed: 18,328-miles
Days spent traveling: 101 out of 365 days (28% of total)
Average Miles Towed During Travel Days: 181-miles per travel day
Gallons of Diesel Towing: 1,560-gallons
Average Towing Economy: 11.7 mpg
Free Nights of Camping: 121 out of 365 (33% of total)
Free Nights spent Moochdocking with Family or friends: 90 out of 121 (74% of free nights)
Boondocking Nights: 73 (20% of total)
Total Camping Costs (Campground fees, etc–NOT Fuel): $7,069.62