Transitioning to a new chapter of our life

We agreed sometime in 2019 that our return to Tucson, AZ at the end of the year would be the conclusion of our full-time travels.  During the past 8 years we’ve visited every U.S. state (several of them multiple times) and much of Canada.  We even slipped down into Mexico a couple of times to party with friends on the beach.  Although we’ve seen and done just about everything on our bucket lists, we realize there’s no way we can experience everything in this great country during the rest of our lives!  But we both felt it’s time for a change, and we had to start somewhere.

Where we’ve been during the past eight years (not counting overseas)

Tucson

To recap from the last few posts, we left Tucson at the beginning of January on a 4-month Viking World Wonders cruise that turned into an aborted 2-month cruise because of the Coronavirus.  The morning after arriving home from Bali on March 10th, we awoke with the pandemic already on a scary trajectory.  We figured we’d wait out the virus here, hiding out in Betsy per guidelines while Steve took care of a medical issue at the same time. 

Scrabble games made a comeback as we “camped in place”

Our trip to Costco around the end of March was interesting.  By the time we got in the store, all paper products were gone 😦

Wickenburg

During the past few years we’ve been looking at Wickenburg, AZ as a possible place to settle down.  We got a phone call one day from Jamie, the owner of Hidden Hacienda RV Park, where we’d camped last year.  She also happens to be a realtor, and she told us about a house that was available as a rental which looked very interesting.  We’d already decided to rent for a few months to confirm whether Wickenburg could be the place for us.

Our buddy Buster welcomed us back to Hidden Hacienda RV Park

Following that call we fired Betsy up and drove to Wickenburg.  After setting up camp we checked out the house and really liked it, especially as it met all of our requirements including that Betsy could be parked there.  We signed a short-term lease the next day and moved in on April 17th.  Yay!

Our home, at least for a while, on over 2 acres of land

Since then we’ve emptied Betsy out and cleaned her top to bottom, inside and out as we prepare her for sale.  Yes, you read that right, she’s up for sale!  It’s been quite emotional moving out of her after 8 years on the road, but also exciting to live in a “real” home as we settle into the next chapter of our life.

Spring flowers were in full bloom

We’re still adjusting to the new sensations of seemingly unlimited storage, having to yell to find out where each other is, and being able to walk around without the house shaking!  The large laundry room is wonderful, and the yard is huge with a great assortment of birdies and other critters coming and going constantly.

It’s furnished, and although it’s only 1,815 sf, it’s massive compared to Betsy!

The back yard opens to the desert, with our neighbors far away

We’re adapting to our new community and enjoying the fixed but beautiful desert environment.  Gone are the days of having new scenery outside the windows every few days, which we’ll miss!  We’ve been taking long walks through the area to meet our friendly neighbors, and venturing onto the trails on the huge state land adjacent to the development:

Access to many trails on state land is a short walk away

This is our street, very few cars pass by during our morning walks

Our feathered friends allow us to enjoy sheltering in place:

We even had a visitor of the slithery variety in our little garden.  Our tomato plants did great for a few days until a critter got in there and ate them.  We have a lot to learn about gardening here!

The famous Arizona sunrises and sunsets haven’t been too shabby:

We enjoyed our first sunrise from our patio

Venus was clearly visible at sunset many April evenings

Life is good, despite the Coronavirus!

As the temps soar into triple digits we’re mostly staying at home (except for our early morning walks), staying healthy and living in our “new normal” like the rest of the world.

Remain healthy, safe and sane everyone!

 



 

69 Comments »

  1. What a beautiful house and back yard! I’ll miss reading about your around the world adventures, but can’t wait to follow along as you explore more of Arizona. I’ve only been to the Grand Canyon so I have a lot to learn/see still in the state.

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  2. I feel so lucky to have met you before you quit traveling. Please keep posting about your life, you feel like and old friend now. All the best on your new adventure.

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    • It was great to meet you guys too. Wouldn’t it awesome if we could somehow meet up again in the future? Unfortunately I don’t know of any places here in Arizona where you could dock your boat. Keep in touch when you can…
      ~Steve

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  3. I have mixed emotions hearing you’re retiring Betsy and leaving the full-time adventures. I started full-time the year after you and still planning at least three more years. I gleaned many ideas from your blog as I was starting my own full-time adventure and blog. I will miss your adventures and photos. You both had a great run! …and Wickenberg is a nice place to retire again. I’ve been thinking about that area myself. Best wishes for your continued sticks and bricks adventures.

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  4. Best wishes Steve and Mona Liza! It sounds like you have found your place to stay. We met you a couple of years ago when we were just starting our full time adventure (Navajo National Park). Since then I’ve been reading your blog and getting great ideas on hikes and such. We still don’t have an end game, and this virus certainly isn’t making life easier for us, but we will continue on for who knows how long? Take care and enjoy your new place.

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  5. Wow, what an adventure you’ve had the last 8 years! We hope to see at least half of what you have since our FT life was cut earlier than planned. Glad you found such a great house in Wickenburg, we love AZ too and that might have been our choice if not for the quality of VA healthcare! Wish you well. We will definitely come visit when we can get back on the road. Good luck with finding Betsy a good home

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  6. We started our full time experience last September. Pretty much checked in weekly and read your posts for years now. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve added your information to our bucket list spreadsheet!

    Thanks so much for all the posts and wish you both the very best of luck. We stayed in Congress on the way to Quartzite in January with a couple of visits to Wickenburg. Nice area.

    Currently in Camp Verde, headed to Williams and then beyond.

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    • Hi Joe, we’ve put a lot of effort into the site and it’s really good to hear when someone was able to use it to enhance their travels, which was our intent. Happy travels!

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  7. I hope you enjoy your new home. You deserve a nice rest time. Being on the road for 8 years is a long time. I’ve loved reading your blog. If you are ever in the Bay Area we should go hiking

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    • Good to hear from you, Marcy! We hope you’re staying safe out there. We’ll definitely be back to your area at least once more, just don’t know when. Take care! ~Steve

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  8. And here we were hoping to see you arriving in your rv here in Camp Sherman! Guess you’ll just have to make the journey by car when the world reopens safely.

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  9. Thank you for all the beautiful posts. Good to know you are in Wickenburg. Hope we can get together after the “social distancing” phase has passed.

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    • That would be great. It’s a strange feeling being in one place with no plans to move, but it sure makes planning to see friends a lot easier! Take care and be safe –
      ~Steve

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  10. Beautiful segue you two into the next phase of your lives, and as usual a great example to those of us who will eventually arrive at this juncture.

    I still can’t help but wonder how Steve will see a porcupine, maybe in time.

    Until we meet again, keep the boot rubber side down.

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  11. Congratulations, MonaLiza and Steve. Your house and yard look amazing. Good job finding a place. Do you think the people who rent it to you will eventually sell it to you, if you like it? We’re with Dave and Faye, we’ve always wanted to spend some time in Wickenburg. We may be in touch when we come through that way. Will you be keeping up your blog? We love our home base in San Antonio, but we’re keeping our 5th wheel for forays on the road. Last year’s eight-month trip to the Northeast was epic. Anyway, enjoy all the luxuries of your new home.

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      • Hi LVee, hope you guys are doing well and staying safe. We should do a video chat sometime…
        ~Steve

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    • Thank you Susan, We do like the house, small but very spacious. If the house is up for sale we certainly will make an offer when the time comes. I may still keep my blogsite but wont be posting regularly. Now you have a good reason to swing by Wickenburg!

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  12. Single 64-year-old guy here. Just a word of thanks for your posts and campground reviews over the years. Began full-timing 2 years ago in a class A. Have stayed at several of your recommended campgrounds and visited many of the same sights and hiking trails. I could have just followed you guys. Less than a month into it I found myself staying for a week at the fairgrounds outside Twin Falls, Idaho. A different kind of place, but nice and quiet away from the city. Your maps are the best I’ve seen and so easy to use. Please keep your website going! Many of us out here will refer to it for years to come. Thanks again and good luck in your next phase.

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    • Thank you for your kind comments, it makes the many hours of blogging much more rewarding! We hope you’re able to enjoy your travels despite the current situation. It sure makes the excursions a lot more challenging…
      ~Steve

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  13. Just curious what criteria you had to decide on the place to settle down. I have been to Wickenburg. Not much there. So, what exactly attracted you to this place?

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    • That’s what we like about Wickenburg, not much here. But we like the atmosphere and the people, and everything we do need is here. Other things we need less often are not too far away, and that works for us. Take care!
      ~Steve

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  14. Wow! That is a miraculous change! I love the new home — spacious, totally AZ layout and the backyard looks huge and definitely a good fit for two people coming off EIGHT years of travel. Well done! You have not left a stone unturned — and I trust that life will continue to surprise you with goodness in Wickenburg and beyond. Stay safe. Best of luck in finding the next owners for sweet Betsy — I am sure this decision comes with mixed feelings. She is special after all. Cindy

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  15. Well, you know we’re going to miss crossing paths with you on the road in our travels, but now we know where we can always find you! You guys really did it right in your travels, with such a great plan for seeing the country. And you’ve kept such a wonderful blog that is not only a journal that you can enjoy looking back on, but that has been such a great resource for all the rest of us. It’s been fun traveling along with you, and I hope that you’ll continue your blog so that we can keep up with your adventures. I love the views from your patio, and I’m so envious that you have Lazuli Buntings! OXOX L & E

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  16. Hi guys — I’m so happy for you and hope you have many wonderful years in Arizona. But I’ll really miss your travel blog and all the beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing your journey with us over the years!

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    • Thank you for the kind comments! Our blog site will continue to be a resource for us and we hope others can benefit from it as well, which was our intent. Take care and be safe!
      ~Steve

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  17. Congrats on your new beginnings and Thank you for your many travel blogs from interested areas. Your blog is a wealth of knowledge as I refer to it on our travels because of your great content and park ratings. You will be missed on the road. Arizona is a good home base and beautiful place with many different climate areas. We enjoy Wickenburg for its small town atmosphere including the arts & crafts, parades and friendly people. Enjoy.

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    • Thank you for the nice comments, Debra! We like Wickenburg a lot and are excited to settle down and join the community as soon as the situation improves. Take care!
      ~Steve

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  18. Hmmm … not sure what happened to my comment, so I’ll try again. You guys made the most of your fulltiming years … that map is quite impressive. Good luck with the transition … as one era ends you begin another one.

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  19. You guys certainly made the most of your fulltiming years. That is an impressive map. As one era ends, you begin a new one. The changes may take some getting used to, but there are advantages to having a home base that is a bit more permanent than a house on wheels.

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    • It was 8 years full of adventures, big and small with some challenges thrown along the way but we make it through. Living in a fixed home, for now, is a novelty that we hope we can adapt months from now.

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  20. We are excited for you and the changes you’re making, though we will miss meeting up with you two around the country. I imagine it’s a little surreal as you transition to your new lifestyle. When next we’re in AZ we’ll plan some time in Wickenburg, a place we’ve always wanted to check out.

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    • You now have lots of reasons to swing by Wickenburg, family, and friends! Getting used to a spacious place will take a while. We don’t have to worry about heat, wind, rain or snow or even people!

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  21. You really seemed to have found the perfect place at the perfect time. I think it make a lot of sense to slowly ease into the new location with a rental too, just to make sure it’s a good fit. I am very sad that you guys won’t be on the road anymore, but I’m happy that you’ll be in Arizona since I know we’ll be through there in the future. And I hope you keep this blog going so we can keep up with all your new adventures!

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    • I agree with you, we did not realize that 2020 is going to be an exciting year with lots of firsts: aborted cruise, a pandemic, no RV trip planning, and living in a fixed albeit a rental home! I know you have not been to Wickenburg, so be sure to stop by here and we can show you this horse town around. I may miss blogging but, I am just so relax now for not thinking about what to write. What a relief!

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  22. Very exciting! We know exactly how you feel. You got lucky finding a furnished rental while you house-hunt. Our 1200 sf apartment seemed enormous when we first moved out of the motorhome but it seems much smaller now during the pandemic 🙂 Anxious to see if you decide to settle there long term.

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    • That is why we kind of rushing to drive up here when we got the phone call. We think the house is just the right size for both of us, small but spacious. We hope our landlord will offer to sell us the house, for we will get it in a heartbeat. So far we like the small-town scene just like being in McDowell SP, uncrowded.

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  23. Whenever we’ve embarked on a major life change, it was always exciting but a tad sad at the same time. Congrats on finding the perfect rental and hope you eventually find the perfect ‘home’. Hope to see you guys soon!

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    • I know, our original plan was to only full time in 5 years, but we enjoyed it so much that we extended it for another three. And now we feel the call of getting stationary. But you have more excitement as you are building your new huge home! With us selling Betsy we dont have a chance of visiting you and check out your labor of love.

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  24. The end of an era for sure. It must feel wonderful to be in a much larger space and spread out a bit, but also probably a bit surreal to think the full-time travel is no more. Big change is exciting and terrifying all rolled into one. The house and surrounding land are very nice. What a good variety of birdie friends at your feeder! I’m still waiting for more interesting ones, but maybe it’s already too hot here, too? I don’t know if I(we) could take the triple digits for very long, but if we do settle someplace like that, I must have a pool.

    It has been such a pleasure to ride along with your travels over the years, and even more of a pleasure to get to know you both in person. I hope you will continue to share your lives on the blog (don’t think staying in place is boring! I’d be happy to see any and all tales of gardening, birds, and critters!) and you can be sure we’ll find you whenever we pass through. Stay well, my dear friends!

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    • OMG, we now buy big loads of bird seeds! Some migrants came through but are now gone. Remember we don’t mind the triple digits anymore for we are in well-insulated house. Gone are the days of cranking up the AC so our tin gets cold all day long.
      So far the novelty of living in a house has not worn off yet although I will miss the beautiful places to hike to and get amazed by the scenery.
      I have to say the many friends like you that we have met on the road added an emotional depth in our adventures. Through your blog, we will still be traveling and hiking with you and that will keep us connected all the time. Essie can park either in our driveway or nearby and we will share and explore the trails (other than Vulture Peak) nearby.
      Sometimes I feel thankful that we have planned this rental a year ago, for RV traveling these days seems no longer fun with all the protocols that each park has to established and the social distancing we have to keep.
      Stay sane and stay healthy too !

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  25. Hello Mon!
    It was really nice to see you yesterday with the MUSA group. It was a rare chance for all of us to chat live on video. Nagkaguliyang uroy tang tanan. It was short but fun. Now that you and Steve plan to settle down in Arizona, it would be a good time for us to share and try out our “baking” recipes. Manambok gyud ta Mon. 😋😃😄🤗

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    • Noi, I would like copies of your recipes now that we have a big and a real oven. The only issue is my waistline will expand 🙂 🙂 🙂
      Yes, it was fun seeing you and everybody on line, that was definitely a first! Mora ta ug mga alinsiyang, dili magdungog.

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  26. Congratulations on reaching the next goal and good luck on this new journey! We look forward to lifting a glass together in the near future.

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