We all know this year, 2020, will go down as one of the most memorable, simply because everyone’s life has been upended one way or the other by the Covid-19 pandemic. We didn’t let that stop us, though, from allowing our long-in-the-making plans come to fruition. But first, a quick update on Madeline and Rachel.

At the beginning of the year, Madeline bought her first home, a townhome in west Raleigh. She has enjoyed decorating it and making it her own. She still works in the solar industry as a project manager, and, because of the pandemic, she has been working full-time from her home since the end of March.

Rachel graduated from Appalachian State University in Boone at the beginning of May with a Bachelor’s in Sociology. The pandemic, of course, interfered with an in-person graduation ceremony, but we went to Boone to watch the televised graduation ceremony with her, take pictures with her in her cap and gown, and have a small celebration with her at her apartment. It was underwhelming, given her accomplishment, but we will attend her next graduation in 2022 when she receives her Master’s degree in Student Affairs from App State.

As for us… we sold Chimney Keepers to Will and Sarah Gilfillan at the end of March and began our full-time RV travel adventure on May 22. We had planned to start at the beginning of May with our first “stop” being in Boone for Rachel’s graduation, but the pandemic pushed our start date back a few weeks. Our first official stop was in Stuart, Virginia at our friends’ house, Wendy and Billy, after a tearful goodbye to family and friends. We then went to Hershey, Pennsylvania then to Hampton, New Hampshire before making our way west. We have written travel blogs about most of our stops. Feel free to catch up on our travels and see some photos!

Karen’s favorite place was the Olympic National Park in the northwest portion of Washington, with Yellowstone in Wyoming and Canyonlands in Utah being runners up. There are no real standouts for Carl as he has enjoyed every place, but when pushed he mentions Wisconsin Dells and Cottonwood, Arizona as two possibilities. The pandemic has definitely affected our movement around the country. We had to cancel a couple of reservations and re-route our plans a little. Many of the places we wanted to visit have been open, even if their museums or visitor centers were closed. There have been some places that were closed altogether, which puts them back on our list to visit in the future.

We were so grateful to have Madeline, her boyfriend Layne, and Rachel join us in Cottonwood and Sedona for Thanksgiving. And Rachel is with us for the Christmas holiday. It is a big change for everyone for us to be far away and living in a 200-ish square foot Airstream.

We are spending Christmas and New Year’s in Mesa, Arizona and will spend all of January and February in different parts of Arizona. We hope to go to Alaska next summer and are currently working on our itinerary to go in that direction. We will have a Plan B, however, in case the border opening into Canada doesn’t align with our timing.

We hope you are well, and we wish you a holiday season full of love, warmth, laughter, and happy moments. Sing some songs, watch some sappy movies, call someone you haven’t talked to in a long time, read a captivating book, take a walk in nature.

Virtual hugs and much love,  Karen and Carl