It was a scramble to the finish line as we expected, but we’re officially nomads. We moved out of the house, into the RV and onto the road. We arrived at our first stop in Louisville, KY and are settling in. Lots of unpacking and organizing, a couple motorcycle rides and a bunch of new friends sums up our stay. Oh and a little bit of Bourbon, of course.
To say the last coupe of months was a lot of work is an understatement. Two bathrooms renovated, plus miscellaneous other house repairs. Purged a metric crap-ton of our stuff and moved out of our house. Installed 1000w of Solar panels and 750Ah of batteries in the RV. And performed a laundry list of other upgrades, modifications and maintenance to the RV, Jeep and Motorcycle.
The pressure really set in the final month before departure when the house had been wrapped up but basically no progress on prep for the trip. I began working 7 days a week as many hours as I could muster to try and catch up. Lindsay left work halfway through May and it was clear if I was going to get anywhere with prep she was going to have to carry the bulk of the moving burden. And she did. All by herself.
By the time she made it to Wisconsin, with the final belongings in her car, I was neck deep in Jeep repairs. We pushed our departure back a couple of days to allow so much needed time to get things put back together. She single handedly went through the mountains of stuff we’d just scrambled to get out of the house, trying to find every nook and crany to fill. The day before we were going to leave I finally was ready to start packing everything on the trailer. At this point I wasn’t even sure it was all going to fit. Finally around 11pm everything was loaded, hitched up, and ready to roll.
We spent the remainder of the night trying to sleep, but mostly waiting to leave.
First Leg of the Trip
We rolled out under the cover of darkness. It’s always nice to leave Wisconsin early and get around Chicago before rush hour traffic sets in. The night before a trip rarely affords any good sleep anyways due to the excitement. This was no exception for obvious reasons. The great thing about leaving early is that the first few hours of the drive are a blur and by the time you come to your senses you’re already a couple hundred miles into the day. Always seems to make things go quicker.
Our first stop is Louisville, KY for some much needed R and R. It’s an easy 400 miles down I-65 and it seemed to fly by with the early departure. I got the rig weighed at our only stop and was pleasantly surprised to see the trailer weight almost perfectly distributed. With all the gear we’ve added, as well as tanks full from the couple of weeks I’d been living in it, we were 300lb over capacity on the rear axle, but all good everywhere else. I was able to resolve this problem simply by dumping the black and grey tanks and only carrying a partial load of water in the fresh tank. Before and after tickets below show my weights. We’re heavy that’s for certain!
Starting life on the road
One of the things that has me most intrigued about this year long adventure is how vacation and real life are going to mix. It’s easy to romanticize about a year off and just day dream about all the good times we have on vacations, then extrapolate that out to a whole year. What’s not to love about that idea? But reality is, or so I assume, that at some point real life is going to come knocking.
Well it didn’t take long to test those waters
We woke up on our first full day of “vacation” to find our credit card number had been stolen. A few thousand dollars in miscellaneous travel costs were pending and I knew Lindsay hadn’t booked any tickets on United Airlines based on our current travel plans. As an aside, I’m still not sure how one plans to fly on a stolen credit card with TSA ID requirements. Chase was as usual great and it was painless to get the errant charges removed and new credit cards overnighted to the campground. Guess we get to test mail to the campground earlier than expected too! Thankfully our new cards arrived the next day without a hitch.
Riding bliss on the back roads of Kentucky
After the morning of getting everything rearranged and trying to begin to sort out the piles of stuff that just got thrown in the Jeep towards the end of the packing scramble, it was time to have a little fun. We hopped on the motorcycle for a quick tour of the Kentucky countryside. For the next two hours I was in heaven. Winding, hilly country roads, rick houses, and a mid-70s breeze through my jacket. To be able to just hop on the bike and head in an unknown direction and end up with ideal riding conditions. These are the things motorcycle dreams are made of.
All of a sudden all of the stresses of the past 3 months, the scramble of the past week, the annoyance of the morning where gone.
This is why We’re doing this.
Our second time out a couple of days later, I made sure to bring the cameras to try and film some of the beauty. Again we set out East with a few ideas of roads that looked twisty on Google maps. Since I haven’t ironed out my phone mounting I was doing it the old fashioned way — “from memory”. Much to my “surprise” I missed a few turns and we ended up on some way back roads. The double yellow in the center disappeared, and the road narrowed but I figured we’d either find the end of the road or a new road. It turned out to be just another great path through the KY countryside.
New Friends at Every Turn
One thing I hadn’t really thought much about was the people we’re going to meet. Not sure why it hadn’t registered, since we’ve already made so many great friends living this lifestyle on our time off the past few years. But after the past week, I’m even more excited for all the new friends we’re going to make this year.
One day we noticed a Dynamax Force HD pull in the campground. We barely see other Dynamax RV’s on the road, and I can count on one hand the amount of time’s we’ve run into another one at a campground. Of course I had to go say hi. I introduced myself to Brian and Connie from Texas and we ended up spending the remainder of the evening sharing stories about RVing, traveling, and our rigs. Turns out they’re headed to the Delaware rally also, so we’ll get to spend some more time together in a couple of weeks. It was the perfect end to what turned out to be a great day.
Later in the week, Monique and Ryan, who are 3 months into a similar adventure came by to interview us. Only a few days in and we’re already being interviewed! Monique is documenting her travels across the country by focusing on the people she meets. You can follow her on instagram @livelowflyhigh. We don’t run into a lot of RVers our age, especially living in them. We had a great time swapping stories and places we’ve stayed.
Glenn is the manager of the Louisville South KOA and all around a cool dude. Lindsay and I both chatted with him for a bit. In addition to running a great campground, he’s been traveling in his RV working for KOA for 8 years! Started out as a work camper and is now the man in charge. Very cool to hear these stories in person.
All in all, it was a great addition to the week getting to meet and chat with all these people. I’m really looking forward to more of this at the coming stops.
Let’s not forget the Whiskey
Our choice to start the trip in Louisville had several reasons behind it, one of which was of course Bourbon. We left with an adequately full shelf so there was nothing to be purchased, but we still had to get out and enjoy some.
The only tour we managed to sneak in was of Jim Beam. There’s a history here, because when we did the entire Bourbon Trail 3 years ago, Lindsay missed out on the Beam tour because she was stuck on work conference calls. We decided to fill in that gap for her, and to be honest I found the Beam tour very enjoyable. It takes place down their craft line which is much smaller scale (similar to what you see elsewhere) all the while stopping in at the huge main scale production areas. It’s a perspective you don’t find elsewhere and I particularly enjoy the logistics and engineering that goes into a production of this scale.
It’s not just anywhere you can see whisky being distilled at 35 gallons per minute
Since we found ourselves staying in Louisville on National Bourbon day, we had to celebrate in some form. We found a dog friendly bar downtown and brought Ranger along. The following morning we went to what’s become one of our favorite places in Louisville, Harvest, for brunch. Regardless of the fact that it was 10:30am we decided to spoil ourselves a bit and put together our own flight of near impossible to find Buffalo Trace Whiskies. George T. Stagg, Weller 12 Year, Van Winkle 12 year. Such a treat to get to taste these side by side.