Black Ford truck pulling a white fifth wheel parked at a rest stop on a sunny day. Text on the image says "First Year of Fulltime RV Living 2020 Travel Recap - Part 2"

First Year of Fulltime RV Living – 2020 Travel Recap Part 2

Since 2020 is coming to a close, we wanted to look back at this years adventures – good and bad. If you missed Part 1, check it out here to get up to speed. We’re going to just jump right back in where we left off. 

June 6, we made our way back to Indiana, this time to Terre Haute– our college town! Even though all the buildings on campus were closed, we still had a blast walking around and reminiscing on our college days. We got to eat at some of our favorite restaurants just off campus. Chavas for burritos the size of your head. Saratoga for some classier food. And Crossroads Cafe the cute little restaurant where we had our first date! We also got to visit and worship with the church that we attended when we were in college. It was so good to see familiar faces and visit with people we hadn’t seen in about 5 years! We also had the opportunity to meet up for dinner with our Instagram friends Mike and Steph from @lifererouted. Steph is a travel nurse and just happened to be on an assignment not far from where we were! It was so cool getting to meet up with other like minded people who understand RV life. Hopefully we’ll get to run into them again one day! 

Man and woman jumping for joy in front of fountain at Indiana State University.
Jumping in front of the fountain on campus at Indiana State University.

Next we headed north to the land of the Amish and RV’s

June 13, we arrived at Twin Mills Campground in Howe, IN. If you weren’t aware, the north-central area of Indiana is full of Amish communities. This area of the state is also where TONS of RV’s are manufactured – now you know. Howe isn’t too far from Shipshewana, IN which is home to the Midwest’s largest flea market. We visited on a Saturday afternoon and had fun window shopping. We got some Ben’s Pretzels for our lunch and picked up a bag of kettle corn to take home. Right next door to the flea market is Yoder’s Meat & Cheese. They have not only 150 cuts of meat & 100 varieties of cheese, but a full line up of popcorn, jams & jellies, salsa, canned goods and more. We ended up getting a gallon of chocolate milk, a bottle of flavored cold brew coffee, and a couple varieties of cheese. Everything in the store looked great which made it hard to choose which items we wanted to get. 

Since we were only a few hours away from Indiana Dunes National Park, we decided to make a quick day trip over. We woke up early and made our way over- it can get crowded quick and there can be a line to get in if you go later in the day. This is one of the few national parks that allows dogs in most areas so we brought the pups along with us for this adventure. We decided to do the 3 Dunes Challenge. The trail is only 1.5 miles but is made up of mostly sand and stairs. Some parts of the trail are even a 40 degree incline. The beach that’s close to the dunes challenge was very busy and was one of the few that was not dog friendly, so we skipped that this trip. If you complete the challenge, make sure to stop at the visitor’s center for your free dunes challenge sticker! We also recommend wearing sport sandals so you don’t get a bunch of sand in your sneakers!

Our good friends from college David & Mary also live up in this area so we got to visit them too! We had a blast catching up with these guys and checking out their new house. We grabbed dinner and then went for some ice cream at Oink’s and went to the beach for a couple minutes. We hadn’t see these guys for about 5 years so it was really great getting to catch up 😊 

On June 27, we headed even further north to Michigan! We stayed at St Clair RV Resort. One of the staff members escorted us to our RV site and put us in the pull through the wrong way (while we were turning in, we were inches away from a tree on one side and our neighbors RV on the other side). The neighbors were super nice and put their slides in for us and helped us with getting turned around so our hookups were on the correct side. This park wasn’t too terrible, and we were so thankful the pool was open as we were heading into the hotter July weather. The town of St. Clair is so cute! There’s a small boardwalk that runs along the St. Clair River, with views of Canada just across the shore. The border was due to be reopening while we were in Michigan and we had planned to do a day trip over to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Well, COVID kept the border shut so our plans to visit Canada are postponed until another time. 

A little further north of St. Clair is Port Huron. Also another super cute little town, where Thomas Edison spent some of his childhood. There’s even a museum you can visit to learn more about him. Not far from the museum is Light House Beach on Lake Huron. This was our first time really visiting any o the Great Lakes, and we were blown away. The water was so clean and clear, and since the lakes are so big it feels like you’re more at the beach/ocean than at a lake. We honestly did not spend enough time in Michigan! We really loved just sitting on the boardwalk and watching the huge ships go up and down the river. Even though we didn’t get to visit Canada we did get to try some Tim Horton’s Coffee which was delicious and highly recommend trying it if you’ve never had it before!

And now the moment we had been waiting months for! Drumroll please…

 Cedar Point announced their opening for the year!! Back in December of 2019 we had purchased Cedar Fair season passes as we had planned originally to head up the east coast and hit their parks along the way ending at Cedar Point in Ohio. We had to adjust our plans of course, but as soon as we found out Cedar Point was opening we booked a week stay at their campground Lighthouse Point.

couple in front of steel vengeance roller coaster

Philip took the entire week off and we arrived at Cedar Point on July 11. We were able to even visit the park that same day! They had social distancing procedures and precautions in place. We had to get our temperature checked at the campground office each day and were given a wristband for entry. Luckily for us, we were able to enter through the resort entrance at the back of the park (close to where all the best rides are!) just a 10 minute walk from our campsite. We definitely made the most of our passes and went to the park every day that week.We got to ride everything we wanted by the end of the week except for Top Thrill Dragster. They had been testing it all week and we heard rumors that’d it be opening the day we were due to leave.

We had been going to Guest Services just about every day that week and leaving compliment cards for employees we thought had gone above and beyond. Well, if you’re amusement park pros like us, you’ll know that guests services hands out passes (typically to customer service issue guests) that allow you to skip to the front of the line (through the exit) on the ride of your choice. We went to guests services the day before our departure to fill out a compliment card and also see if we could somehow get our hands on a couple of those passes. We explained our situation to the girl at the front desk that Saturday morning would be our only opportunity to ride Top Thrill if it actually opened. She had seen us in multiple times that week and only for good things so she decided to give us the passes So on Saturday morning we packed up and pulled out of our site into the designated RV parking spots. We left the dogs in the RV with the generator running and ran in to see if the only ride we had left to ride was open. As luck would have it, the queue line was open. We of course got to skip the line and ended up getting on the first car of the season to launch! After our epic ride, we grabbed some food and booked it back to the RV so we could head to our next destination. If you’re interested in staying at Cedar Point’s campground when you visit, be sure to check out my review of it here!

RV parked in front of Cedar Point amusement park

As if our time at Cedar Point wasn’t enough, we headed back to Wilmington, OH on July 18 so we could visit King’s Island in Mason (Philip’s old summer job during the college days). This time we stayed at a much better RV park- Olive Branch Campground. We got to ride the brand new coaster Orion as well as a few classics like Diamond Back and The Beast. We went to the park a couple times, but the most interesting day was on July 20. We entered the park as usual and headed over to get in line for Diamond Back. 

We were sitting outside the ride waiting for the queue line to open when we noticed a helicopter circling pretty low overhead…

Suddenly, a bunch of employees emerged from the ride saying we needed to follow them and go to Festhaus (dining hall). To say we were a bit weirded out is an understatement. No one had any information and there were crazy rumors that someone was loose in the park with a gun (which turned out to not be the case). We ended up sitting there for an hour before they gave the all clear and the park opened back up. Long story short, there was a police chase and the suspect crashed and made his way on foot toward King’s Island. Anyways, we had fun visiting a park we both grew up going to. We also got to hang out with our friends Drew & Libby again plus my sisters came and went out to lunch with us one afternoon!

Kings Island Eiffel Tower and water fountains

After round two in Ohio, we headed for another new to us state on July 25– Pennsylvania! Let me just say we had a heck of a time getting to our campground in New Stanton, PA. So the roads were awful, like construction going on along a state road, no shoulder at all, and super tight. There was a toll we were thinking we needed to avoid so we didn’t take it (we totally should have because the road didn’t turn into a toll until after our exit). Anyway, we kept going and ended up getting dumped off into this tiny little town. We needed to make a left turn and get turned around but there was literally no turn we could make with the rig, plus we were getting into uncharted territory. So we kept driving and driving until we finally saw somewhere we could turn left. We took the opportunity and went for it! Well we kept driving and saw a sign that 10 ton limit…. we are most definitely over 10 tons but there was no turning around at this point. Luckily we made it through there alright! But on to the next challenge we faced… Philip suddenly stopped the RV in the middle of the road, put the hazards on and got out of the truck and started directing traffic around us. Turns out there was a tree branch above that was risking taking out our RV’s AC unit. Our campground was just around the corner if we could just make it past this tree. Well, we lucked out yet again and had just a few inches to spare as Philip slowly crept the truck forward making sure the tree branch cleared the RV. Whew!

Our campground was only about an hour away from Pittsburgh so we decided to drive into the city one evening after work. Let me tell you, Pennsylvania has some of the worst (and weirdest) roads we’ve been on. If you’ve been then you probably get it! Most stuff in Pittsburgh was closed so we decided just to take the Duquesne Incline up to an over look of the city. You ride in an old cable car up to the station at the top for stunning views of the rivers and downtown Pittsburgh. If you walk a few more blocks down the street you’ll find yourself at Points of View Park that has more gorgeous views of downtown from a slightly different angle. We accidentally timed it perfectly to watch the sunset!

couple posing for photo at Pittsburgh overlook

Another fun place we visited about an hour away from our campground was Ohiopyle State Park. This was another after work adventure. By the time we actually made it to the park, we had very limited time for hiking. So we hit a couple short trails and called it a day. This park looks like it’d be a fun one to come back and explore more. If you want more details on what we did at Ohiopyle, check out the blog post I wrote about our adventure here!

On August 1, we made our way a little bit further east in Pennsylvania to Shartlesville. This place was in the middle of NOWHERE! There wasn’t a whole bunch to do or see in the area and we got stuck in a less than ideal site, but as usual we tried to make the best of it! We ended up driving about an hour to Hershey, PA one day for some sweet adventures! We went to both Hershey World & Hershey Park. If you’re interested in hearing about what all we did here check out this blog post. Aside from visiting Hershey, we really didn’t do much here. It was honestly a good chance to slow down and rest a bit. 

August 15 we made our way out of what we consider to be our least favorite state so far and headed for another new state for us- Virginia. We had booked our stay at Bethpage Camp Resort in Urbanna, VA (a Thousand Trail park) which we had heard really great things about. We had a huge spacious site which was really nice after the last two weeks of being in a “buddy site”. We really loved staying at Bethpage. There’s not a lot to do in the immediate area but Williamsburg and Virginia Beach aren’t too far away, plus there is tons to at the campground too. They had two pools, a couple water slides (were closed because Covid), a really nice dog park, playgrounds, a lake and a boat ramp to the river. It rained off and on during our stay and got super humid. So humid that we had water dripping off our ceiling and AC unit. We decided at that point to invest in a dehumidifier. We had tried a small table top one previously that didn’t work so well so we got one of the bigger units. Guys, I’m telling you, if you live in an RV and don’t have a dehumidifier you need to get one. It’s a game changer. Even in places where I don’t think the humidity is too bad, it always ends up sucking in more water than I expected. 

We had a hard time deciding what we wanted to do while we were in the area, there are so many options! Neither of us had been to D.C. before so we ended up making a day trip over on a Saturday. We made a 2.5 hour drive to the Branch Avenue Station in Maryland to hop on the Metro. We took the train into the city since we didn’t want to have to worry about finding a place to park our huge honkin truck. We took the metro to the national mall. 

It was pretty incredible stepping out of the dark metro and into the sunlight and seeing the Capitol Building ahead, turning a corner and then seeing the Washington Monument towering in the distance.

We had no real plans or agenda, most of the museums were still closed down, so we decided to rent some e-bikes. I highly recommend renting a bike or scooter to get around to the memorials and monuments, especially if you’re short on time like we were. Everything is a little more spread out than it looks on a map so the bikes made it super easy to zip around the city. I’d say the biggest disappoint aside from museums being closed was the wall put up around the White House because of all the protesting. Either way we were glad we got a chance to visit and still had a blast! Plus it was nice not to have too much of a crowd anywhere. The day after our D.C. adventure, we headed to Norfolk, VA for a little beach time. We brought our tubes along and had fun just relaxing and floating out in the ocean. 

Advance, North Carolina was the next stop along our route. We arrived at Forest Lake RV & Camping Resort on August 29. We checked in as usual and made our way to our site. The site set up in a way so that we’d be backing in down a hill. Well the fun part was that there was a ditch on the opposite side of the road which made getting the angle to back into the site a bit more tricky. After a few minutes of adjusting we finally started backing in when we heard the kayak rack on the back of the RV scraping the ground (I had made the mistake of sitting in the truck and not getting out to help). Anyways, the bottom of the kayak rack was scraped up and our license plate got bent. We pulled forward so we could take the kayaks and the rack off as well as the license plate. As Philip backed up, I watched to make sure the RV was not going to be scraping the ground. One side was a couple inches from the ground, but we did it! I’d say it took about 30-45 minutes to actually get into our spot. And of course as soon as we were in the spot the park ranger comes up on his golf cart asking how we’re doing. We were both a little cranky since while our RV could technically fit in the spot, it was not well suited for our rig. The ranger proceeded to tell us the spot was only 30 amp (our RV is 50) and that there was a pull through spot we could move to instead. We decided to go for it since we didn’t want to worry about our power usage. It ended up working out well, even though the moments leading up to it were a bit stressful. 

My 26th birthday just happened to fall on Labor Day this year so we decided to make a whole weekend out of it! Saturday morning we got up and drove to Hanging Rock State Park. Even arriving early to the park we could tell it would be super busy. We ended up just doing the Hanging Rock Trail, which the views are totally worth the many steps you take on the way up. Since it was so busy we just did that trail and then grabbed some lunch.The next day Sunday, we had a pretty chill day. We grabbed some Bojangles for lunch. In the evening we did a spa night that included pedicures and face masks. On Monday, my actual birthday, we made the trip down to Charlotte to the U.S. National Whitewater Center. This place was so cool! They had white water rafting, zip lines, rock climbing, kayaking, ropes courses and more. We went rafting for the first time and I was a bit nervous – I was terrified the raft would get flipped over. It ended up being a blast! We both agreed that this is something we need to do again. If you’re interested in learning more about the U.S. White Water Center, be sure to check out my blog post!

Route from Indiana to North Carolina

The original plan was to head to South Carolina and then back up to Tennessee but we didn’t think it made much sense to head south and then back north just a few weeks later. So we found Camping World Racing Resort in Concord, NC that had full hookups for only $25 a night. Score! So we ended up there on September 12. The sites were gravel and pretty basic but were nice and spacious. The cool thing was that we could see the Dragway from our RV and a few times that week Ford Performance Driving School was out there practicing. The Dirt Track was also within view of our RV too. We’re not huge race fans by any means but we ended up taking a driving tour of the Charlotte Motor Speedway and it was really interesting. Definitely had us wishing we could watch a race!

Winners circle Charlotte Motorspeedway
Winners Circle Charlotte Motorspeedway

The past couple weeks Philip had been going on and on about how we should get a golf cart. At the previous campground he even asked one of our neighbors if they could pull their golf cart into our garage so we could see how much room we’d have. I was totally against it- why do you need a golf cart when you have legs to walk? But I ended up getting talked into going to just look at golf carts. Guys I was not impressed with most of them. It wasn’t until we test drove the Yamaha that my mind started to change a bit. The suspension on the Yamaha is amazing and unlike any of the others we tried out. If we were getting a golf cart, it was going to be this one. So we went home and thought and talked about it (Philip totally would have bought it that day). A few days later we ended up agreeing to go for it! We spent the next week tricking out the golf cart with speakers and lights and even a wench. Although our week here was mainly focused on the golf cart, we did try an awesome little fast food joint called Cookout. Whenever you visit North Carolina you need to stop here and get yourself a Cheerwine to drink along with some tasty food.

And then the time came that I had been anticipating for weeks…. our trip to the Smokies! We had both been to the Smoky Mountains before, but the last time we were here we only had two days to spend in the area. This time we had two weeks one of which Philip had the entire week off! We arrived at the gorgeous Ridge Outdoor Resort on September 26. I’ll just say this is probably one of if not the nicest places we’ve stayed so far. You really just have to see it for yourself. There is so much to do in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg. We really had such an amazing time hiking, driving, and doing some fun “touristy” activities. A couple highlights were: seeing a bear out in the wild for the first time, renting a Slingshot, and meeting our Instagram friends Michael and Kris. If you want to more details about what the hikes we did and places we visited, make sure to check out my post about our time in the Smokies!

So our plan was to head west so we could visit our family one more time this year and then head back down to Texas. We had originally planned to stop South of Nashville, but decided at the last minute to cancel that reservation and drive the entire 430 miles to Memphis (about a 6.5 hr trip). We woke up early so we could get ahead of any traffic. Of course the morning we were leaving it decided to down pour (don’t you just love when that happens). Luckily, we had most stuff packed up the previous night, but hitching up in the dark and rain and getting the remaining stuff put away was a challenge. Earlier in the year we had added an auxiliary fuel tank which was so helpful for this trip. We ended up not having to stop for gas and just stopped one time at a rest area to let the dogs out for a bit and to use the restrooms ourselves. 

Family standing in front of giant sized Memphis sign

We arrived in Memphis,TN on October 10. We are really blessed that our family’s church allows us to park in their parking lot for free. The church has 30 amp, water and even sewer connections, and it’s just a short walk to our family’s apartment building! We got to hang out with Philip’s side of the family the couple weeks we were there. I even got to babysit our two youngest nephews while the older kids went to the dentist. One afternoon, we made our way to Mud Island. We first stopped at the dog park so the pups could run around and get some energy out. Next, we headed over to Mud Island Park, which has a scale model of the lower Mississippi River (usually has water in it but didn’t when we visited), a museum, and views of the Memphis skyline. The park also features a 50 foot Memphis sign so we stopped to get a quick family photo. Our family had somewhere they needed to be so they left and Philip and I hung out in the park a bit longer. On our way back to the RV, we stopped at Gibson’s Donuts which is a must if you’e in Memphis!  

While we were here, we also took the opportunity to work on a few projects. We ordered a tonneau cover and had it sent to Philip’s dad’s house. We took out our truck tool box and stuck it in the bed of our old Chevy that Phil’s dad is hanging on to for us. We got the new tonneau cover installed along with some truck bed wheel well tool boxes on each side. Tic Tac Tiles was having an awesome prime day deal so we took advantage and got some white subway peel and stick tiles which was our other project we worked on. Instead of putting our blinds back up over the kitchen window once the tile was installed, we got a cute set of curtains and hemmed them to fit the window. Peel and stick tile or wallpaper is such an easy way to update your space a little. It already feels 10x brighter in here!

Sadly, our time with family came to a close and on October 24, we headed to Texarkana, TX. It was such an amazing feeling being back in Texas. As soon as I saw the welcome to Texas sign a wave of happiness came over me and it felt like we were home. We stayed at a cute little RV park called Shady Pines, which also has an RV shop of the same name right next door. On the 25th we celebrated baby Butter’s 2nd birthday! It was a cold, cold week so we didn’t do much. We did stop at some of our favorite Texas eats like Whataburger and Chicken Express.

Corgi 2nd birthday

October 31, we made plans to have our trailer inspection done next door on our way out of the park. It was our first time doing this so we weren’t quite sure what to expect. It was a fairly easy process and mostly just paperwork. I’d say it maybe took 15-20 minutes and we were on our way! Later that day we arrived in Conroe, Texas back at the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails park we had stayed at back in January. 

Our time in Conroe was mostly filled with getting things done. On Sunday the first, we made the three hour trek over to Austin.We got to worship with the church we attended when we still lived in Austin. Then headed up to our storage unit so we could get everything packed up into the truck. We were moving our storage unit closer to our actual address 1. because they kept raising the prices on us and 2. because it’d just make it easier to have everything near our home base for whenever we need to come back to Texas. After we got everything cleared up, we had to make a stop at one of our favorite taco places – Torchy’s. If you ever get a chance to visit, you need to try the Trailer Park taco  and get it trashy (with queso!). On our way out of town, we stopped at the famous Round Rock Donuts to grab one of their famous Texas Sized Donuts. Guys, this donut is as big as my head – it’s the equivalent of a dozen donuts in one! On Monday we took all of our stuff plus a few additional items to the new storage unit and got that all squared away. And then Tuesday was Election Day so we drove an hour to Livingston (our home base) so we could cast our votes! Our voting location was conveniently at the Escapees activity center. So we voted and headed right next door to pick up some packages we had waiting.

We hurried our butts back to the RV so we could get packed up and head down to Galveston!!! We absolutely love the Texas coast so we were excited to get to be spending another winter down here. We’ve gotten to volunteer at the local food bank, try out some new restaurants, and had tons of beach time so far. We’ll be here until February and then after that who knows where we’ll end up!

Despite all the curveballs this year has thrown at us, we still made the best out of the situation and had an incredible year regardless. Here’s to hoping 2021 is even better!

Galveston, TX Pleasure Pier at Sunrise

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  1. Wow, what a year! You had so many adventures, and this was so fun to read through. I loved reading about Cedar Point, we used to love spending days at amusement parks. So fun!

    1. I am sooooooo happy seeing all of the incredible adventures you all add despite the craziness 2020 threw at you!!! This is truly something amazing to look back on, and something to encourage others to go for it!❤️❤️❤️

  2. Seriously y’all are living the LIFE😍😭 so many amazing stories and adventures and food and dog adventures!! Y’all are such an inspiration and I’m SO READY for some warmer weather😅🤩

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