Revisiting Normal

Today, August 7, 2016, is the first birthday of GoingGonzoRV and @Ironman_Tempo and the first anniversary of our liberation from “Normal“. One year, two RVs and over 10,000 miles ago today we began our wandering journey. While we are hoping for many, many more adventures, our experiences this year were nothing less than spectacular…and challenging.

Normal [nawr-muh l] adjective 1. conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural. 2. serving to establish a standard. 3. Psychology – approximately average in any psychological trait, as intelligence, personality, or emotional adjustment. free from any mental disorder; sane.

The last 12 months we’ve wandered from Dallas to as far east as Tennessee/Kentucky and as far west as Utah/Nevada. We’ve camped and hiked in blistering heat, unrelenting rain, scary-as-hell thunder storms, mind numbing cold and even a little snow; navigated steep mountain passes and awakened to a beautiful sunrise on the beach; discovered that every state has a place called “the middle of nowhere” and some states are in fact in the middle of nowhere. We created a Blog, Tweeted on Twitter, Integrated  our Instagram (with our new FaceBook page), Pinned on Pinterest and made fools of ourselves on YouTube! In other words, we’ve redefined our “Normal“.

Free, Normal

After the storm. Homolovi State Park, AZ

How We Celebrated Our Escape from Normal

Tempo: I'd like to go to a movie today.

Me: What?

Tempo: A MOVIE!

Me: I heard you. But, we haven't done that in forever.

Tempo: Well, let's find an Indie at the Angelica...maybe go eat at HalfShells!

Me: We haven't done that in FOREVER...

In our blog post Are You Retired we share our employment status as “full-time professionals.” Such is still the case. Summer-time is my busiest at work, therefore, we limit our travel to two to three times a month, three or four days at a time. Travel is a priority, but, so is eating! That said, 10,000+ miles is an enormous amount of travel for us…for anyone! So much so that we no longer recognize being in our stick and brick house as normal. Our weekend activities prior to August 2015 consisted of movies, eating out and hanging out with AussieOne (adopted in 2015). Frankly, we got bored (except for hanging out with AussieOne). But yesterday when Tempo suggested going to a movie, I realized we’ve gone a year without our “dinner and a movie” routine! So we went for it and had a fantastic time!


Hiking at Petit Jean State Park, AR. Lunch Break!

What the Year Taught Us

Under the Tuscan Sun is one of my favorite movies. I confess to never having read the book but it’s on the list. In the movie is a scene where the main character, Frances, is pleading the case of a young man, Pawel (pronounced Pah-vel),  to the parents of a young woman, Chiara (pronounced Kee-are-uh), whom Pawel intends to marry. The parents insist the couple are too young to marry, but Frances points out the parents also married young and in fact are still in love. Chiara’s mother quickly responds, “Don’t be ridiculous! I hate him half all the time!” I love this line! And it’s true!

First, isolating ourselves in a 36′ tube for long periods of time is challenging. We have stressful moments; times when we have a mechanical issue or some other malady appears out of nowhere (see Ground(ed) Chicken). What we found is the challenges made us stronger as a couple. Out of necessity, we problem solved together. Our successes and our failures forged our relationship into a sustainable oneness.

Second, we learned to troubleshoot mechanical problems. We’ve jiggled wires (the manufacturers recommendation when our hydraulic levelers went dead while our rig was in fact up on the levelers), blow dried circuit boards, applied duct tape and other strange remedies to keep us on the road.

These wonderful people have been our life line. They are the true pioneers of the RV lifestyle from whom we have learned a great deal and to whom we express our deepest gratitude.

Finally, we learned we were not alone. The world of travel is full of fellow wanderers who are social media gods! They all blog, have YouTube channels, FaceBook pages, provide online Q&A sessions…it’s endless. These wonderful people have been our life line. They are the true pioneers of the RV lifestyle from whom we have learned a great deal and to whom we express our deepest gratitude.


Sunrise at Galveston Beach, TX. I love getting up early to catch sunrise!

The Good and the Bad

The raw stillness and unmistakable beauty of the desert; the sheer immensity and rugged charm of a mountain; the subtle siren that is the ocean winking at the falling sun. All of these bring to mind a quote I heard somewhere: “There is a God, and I am not he.” I’ve never felt closer to God than in those quiet, fleeting moments in which I bear witness to God’s beautiful canvas. As a result, I feel privileged to travel this country…Free! This is the Good.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Wanderers, RVers and the like are by far the nicest group of people you’ll ever meet. Unfortunately we’ve run across our share of “jackasses” this year. Full time travelers call them “weekenders”. I define weekenders as people escaping the city for the weekend and relaxing at all costs. Unfortunately, they relax by ignoring either their kids, their pets (or both) and their manners. First, their kids run screaming through your camp, walk into your rig or leave their pet’s poop next to your hook ups. Further, their pets bark incessantly. Finally, their parties go on all night. I could go on. This is the Bad.

Next Up…Colorado!


Map of southwestern Colorado. A trip worth repeating.

As luck would have it a rare ten-day open spot has appeared on my summer calendar. Beginning August 25th through Labor Day we are free! Our original plan included visiting three parks near Lake Ouachita, Arkansas. A year ago I would have been kicking up my heels excited. But, then I realized we’d been there, done that! I wanted more. I mean, isn’t that why we made the lifestyle change to begin with; to stretch ourselves and go where we haven’t been before? So, we decided on an RV park in Silverton, Colorado. There we’ll rent a Jeep for the week and trek up to Ouray, Telluride and over to Durango. Just play it by ear like we always do. Silverton is only 14 hours from our RV storage so game on! I prefer the coolness of Colorado to Arkansas’ summer heat. Plus this is a trip we probably can’t make in the winter, when I have more time.

After that, who knows? Our new “Normal” is not normal at all!

(Update: See “Everything Goes to Hail on the Alpine Loop!” for our latest vlog on GoingGonzoRV’s YouTube Channel! 

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Hi, I'm Gonzo (call sign "Ironman"). I like to think of myself as an ordinary guy making the "next thing" happen now. I live and work in Texas with my wife, call sign "Tempo" and our fur babies AussieOne, Red and Griz (call signs of course). Together we make up a merry band of travelers wandering in search of extraordinary experiences, good wine and the occasional craft beer. Thank you for your interest in our blog! Cheers!

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2 thoughts on “Revisiting Normal

  1. Julie Rose

    I enjoy your writing style. A nice, relaxing read over lunch. We’re new to this lifestyle, and just getting started, but hope to be full-time by spring. Happy travels!

    1. Thank you Julie Rose! People like you are the exact reason why I love to share our travel experiences! We aren’t full time travelers either, but, we travel so much it certainly feels like it sometimes. I am truly humbled by your words. Thank you for sharing!

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