Travel Journaling

I’ve never been a journal writer. It’s not that I haven’t tried. I have. My memories of journaling go back as far as high school.  My pattern would be something like this: 

• I get inspired to start a journal

• I buy a new notebook 

• I start writing 

• About two to three days later, my interest in daily logging wanes and I give up 

• I have another nearly-new notebook that I will never use again because it’s tarnished (admittedly, that’s a me-problem)

In my adulthood, two things broke my long line of journal failures: 

1. Ryder Carroll developed Bullet Journaling, which has replaced my years-long use of planners for daily productivity

2. In 2014, when we purchased our travel trailer, I thought it might be good to start a camping journal.

I did start travel journaling in 2014 and have kept up through the years since. I am now in our fourth one. I’m sure they will add up more quickly when I retire in a year or so.

So far, I have labeled them “Camping Journal,” but since our travels aren’t always camping, I’ve prepared the next one to be a “Travel Journal.” 

We have been aware of the various things that people collect while on the road. Travel collections come in many varieties: t-shirts, magnets, maps, attraction brochures, pins or patches, to name a few. 

We settled on collecting stickers from the various places we visit. Why stickers? Well, last fall we traded our travel trailer in on a new Class B motorhome, a.k.a. camper van; a Coachmen Nova 20C. We have realized the necessity to downsize everything we take along, to accommodate the small space of a van. Stickers seemed like the obvious choice for us to collect. As I write in our journal, I can include a sticker from the various places we visit (oh, why didn’t I pick up a Buc-ee’s sticker when we stopped at the Jacksonville location in December? …LOL). 

Cara at Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, Jacksonville, FL

As I write, we are nearing the end of March and are anxious to get out there on our first full summer season with Cara (that’s what we named our van). 


We hope our children, grandchildren and beyond will find our journals entertaining in the years to come.

Please leave a comment to let us know what you collect when you travel. 

We’ll see you out there! 





Winter in western Pennsylvania can bring some drastic changes in a very short time. Yesterday was one of those days. I picked up my mother for lunch at Amazing Foods Catering Co. & Cafe in Franklin. In the 24 hours previous to our lunch, we saw rain and temperatures nearing 60 degrees. I loved it! But, as we were warned by the weather folks, a big ch20180113_083647ange came. It happened over lunch. When we entered the restaurant, it was 52 degrees outside. When we came out afterwards it was 42. But, it was even worse than that! We dropped 20 degrees within two hours and the downward trend continued as the rain turned to sleet, then snow. When we woke up this morning, there was about nine inches of drifting snow on the ground. I spent an hour-and-a-half shoveling.IMG_20180113_100818_303

If you’ve read our introductory blog post, you know that we are working toward retiring with a Class B or C RV to travel to warm weather during the winter months. We have been following several families on YouTube that have done just that. They bring us inspiration and help us narrow our focus of what we think we would like for the journey.

Although we have not yet entered the fray as YouTube content creators, we have started this travel blog and post my photography to our Instagram page (@thetravelingkites). Things were rolling along quite nicely during the summer camping season, but then winter hit. As I write, there are 55 miles separating us from our Keystone Hideout travel trailer. It is in the mine at Bradys Bend. I wrote about storage day here.

As winter gets long, one thing that we have done the past two years to break up the frozen season is to attend the Pittsburgh and Erie RV shows. The Pittsburgh show is always in January and the Erie show is in February. It was recommended to us by some friends that we try the Ohio RV Supershow this year. Held in Cleveland, this show is proclaimed to be the country’s largest indoor RV show. We had originally planned on going to Pittsburgh today, but the Cleveland show was also this weekend, so we decided to go to Cleveland instead. Then… the big snowstorm! We thought we would rather not show up on one of those YouTube interstate pileup videos, so we called today’s trip off. Pittsburgh is about a one-and-a-half-hour drive and Cleveland two-hours-twenty-minutes. Who knows how long it would take today? So, now we wait a month for the smaller Erie show.IMG_20171201_195642_809

So, at this almost-mid-way point through the winter, I thought it appropriate to check in to let you know we’re still here and looking forward to spring. Binx, the camping cat, is as anxious as we are to get back out there. As for now, I’ll just happily sip my coffee.20180113_110139

A couple of weeks ago, we made reservations for Memorial and Labor Day weekends. It feels good to have a couple of trips scheduled. The planning continues as we consider our vacation travels for this summer. So, stay tuned! The 2018 camping season will kick off in a few months. In the mean-time, stay warm and healthy. We’ll see you after the Erie RV show!


RV Shopping

Have you ever narrowed a search down to two products and found that you oscillate back and forth between them, causing you to be powerless to make a decision? That is the case with us as we look toward our retirement RV (still a few years off… thankfully).

Over the past six months, we have watched numerous YouTube videos and scoured the magazines and websites to try to narrow our search toward the perfect solution for our traveling dreams.

Perhaps in a situation like this, it is best to start with what is important to you. Here’s our list:

  • Small enough to maneuver without the need of a “toad” (towed-behind car)
  • Small enough to park wherever we want to go
  • Bathroom and tanks large enough to be usable for showers, etc.
  • At least one extra seat belt for those occasions when we would invite a grandchild along
  • At least one extra convertible bed

Until yesterday, we had pretty-much narrowed in on a Class B van. We like that you can park them anywhere you can park a car. The easy driving would not necessitate a toad, nor would the towing capacity support such a venture.

One of our favorite vans has been the Winnebago Travato 59K. We like the openness of the interior with all of the windows it has to offer. We like the rear bath and the fact that it doesn’t have dualies on the back (two less tires to buy). We like that it has a gasoline engine in the Dodge ProMaster chassis.

The 59K has some pretty serious drawbacks though; at least for our wish list. For one, it doesn’t have a third seat belt and it doesn’t have an extra bed. And though we like the rear bathroom in this Travato, we do not like the way you have to snap in the shower curtain. Those are only a few things, but they are deal-breakers for us.

We looked at the Travato 59G and man, does the inside feel dark and small! It does have the extra seat belt and convertible bed, but the double bed in the back seems small and we don’t like the way it folds up with no usable seating space incorporated. Another deal-breaker.

We would like to take an in-person look at the Hymer Aktiv 2.0. It looks to have a lot of the amenities of the Travato 59G, but the bed is larger, spanning the entire width of the back of the van. The bathroom is half-way up the narrow walkway, so that may seem very small to us. We suspect that this van will also cause us concern that we will not be able to overcome. There always seems to be give-and-take when it comes to a van.

Yesterday, we took a look at a couple of Class C motor homes that were slightly larger than a van and offer so much more by way of our wish list. We took another look at one we had seen in the spring; the Winnebago Fuse 23A. Wow, is this a nice motor home for couple-travel! It has just about everything we would want: extra seat belts, extra bed, dry bath (including a separate, enclosed shower stall). This RV is nice!IMG_20170701_120724105

There are a couple of things we do not like as much about the Fuse. For one, the size is a bit larger than a van; large enough to cause some driving and parking concerns. We hear there are National Parks and city destinations that allow a Class B van, but not a Class C motor home to park. So then what? Pull a car? We really don’t want to do that. We are currently exploring a couple of other options that people have done: 1). Occasionally rent a car, or 2). Use Uber or Lyft when we want to go where the Class C isn’t permitted. We need to look further into these options.

While we haven’t landed on the perfect solution for us yet… if it exists, we are sure having a good time looking and are thankful that we are a few years away from making a decision.

We have our calendars marked for the Pittsburgh and Erie RV shows! Will we see you there?


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