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Filed under: Family Camping, Holidays on the Road, Holidays on the Road, Preparation & Readiness

This Is The Year! Happy 2012!

January 1, 2012 by · 2 Comments 


Some of you may recall a post that ran at the end of last year in which I discussed our family New Year’s tradition of listing accomplishments of the past year and goals for the new. We traditionally spend the week between Christmas and New Years vacationing at our little cabin in the northwoods of Wisconsin. In the days preceding the holiday, each family member makes a list of each and after eating a delicious dinner, we take turns reading, first accomplishments, then goals.

Our cabin in the woods

Our little cabin in the northwoods

We do not read our own lists, however. Each family member reads those of the next oldest member of the family. Our theory in structuring it this way was that the accomplishments of older siblings might provide motivation for the younger ones.

We have been doing this for more than a dozen years and I think it has worked well. Accomplishments of the children might involve such things as being named captain of the Dance Team or making the “A” Honor Roll. Terry’s and mine often involve traveling and health, such as keeping off that extra five pounds and working out regularly. Goals tend to be focused on the school year and extracurricular activities for the kids; travel, spending and health for Terry and me.

Last year I wrote a post listing our RVing accomplishments and goals. I won’t rehash our old accomplishments, but some of our goals for 2011 included trying to take at least one trip on which both of our younger children (Ryan, 20 and Meghan, 18) would accompany us (something that did not happen in 2010), replacing the steps on our camper which had been damaged by hitting a large rock in the road the previous summer (that could have been MUCH worse!), to pace ourselves more moderately on our trips (this one was more for me than for Terry), to plan a trip for “just the two of us” after we dropped the kids off at college in August and to enjoy more incredible vistas and see more of this beautiful country.

I am proud to say we have accomplished four of the five!

  • We enjoyed a wonderful twelve day trip out to the southwest this summer with both kids and all three dogs. It was a special time for all of us, made more precious for Terry and me with the realization that any of these trips could be the last on which we enjoy having both children accompany us.
  • We did finally replace the damaged steps on our camper. We took it in just before our summer trip but unbeknownst to us they merely bolted the new ($300+) set of steps onto the bottom of the trailer. So when I went to step on it for the first time as I was packing the camper, it immediately let loose—that was terrific for the old ego and led to a whole new set of “goals.” We called to let them know what had happened, endured the trip putting a log under the steps for stability, then took it in again after we came back. This time they welded them onto the frame and did not charge us a dime! So, yes, they are finally fixed so my short legs no longer must leap into the camper!
  • I have done much better scheduling our daily travel and mileage totals like the RV family we are, not like the tent campers that could do 14-16 hours at 70-75 miles per hour.
  • We climbed one more “14’er”, Mount Massive at 14,000+ feet above sea level, the second highest peak in Colorado, to enjoy some of the best views and vistas in the country. Some of you may have read about our losing Meghan on that adventure! Luckily we found her again!
  • One more accomplishment that was not on our list last year but which needed to happen was replacing our 2004 Durango, which had 160,000 miles on it and struggled mightily to pull our Trail-Lite camper across Iowa (!) during the summer of 2010. Early in 2011, we noted a problem with the old model that sounded like lifter troubles. It was not, but while at the Chrysler dealer, we spotted a 2006 Durango with 34,000 miles on it. Better yet, it had a hemi in it, which provided 100 more horses under the hood. We took it out in April pulling the trailer and had no trouble. We took it out pulling the camper on our summer trip for nearly two weeks and had nary a problem. This was a huge relief for us!
New Durango

Our "New" Durango has a much easier time pulling our camper!

We did not manage to plan a trip for just the two of us because in September our oldest daughter graduated from the Palmer Chiropractic School in San Jose, CA and we flew the entire family out to celebrate with her. I’m thinking we will be able to arrange a trip for two in 2012, and for many years after that! We were just thrilled to get both kids to travel with us this summer!

In thinking ahead for 2012, I just want to say “this is the year!” We have our house listed for sale and are both planning to “retire” from our 40 hour a week jobs this year, for different reasons. Me, because the economy is suffering so in our small city that it is no longer possible to pay our expenses with my counseling practice so I would prefer to spend my time doing something else, either camping or earning money writing or teaching. Terry, because he is now 67 and has been employed in the field of social work for about 40 years and is in need of a change and more leisure time. This has been a good year, but a tough year for both of us.

Taos Mountain

Taos Mountain--our new home

We will not yet be RVing full time . We will, however, be relocating from our current home in the Midwest to Taos, NM, which we plan to use as a home base to do a great deal more traveling than our schedules previously allowed. We have been making lists of places to return to for longer periods of time when our schedule permitted more than a two-week trip every year. We adore our beautiful national parks and at the top of our list is spending several weeks at Glacier National Park, which we have visited for two short visits.

With that preface, here is our list of RVing goals for 2012:

  • Sell our home in Wisconsin and quit our jobs. This will probably happen in April or May to give us a few months to tie up loose ends.
  • Close up our clinic, refer my clients who wish to be referred to other therapists in the community; for Terry, retire from his position with Manitowoc County Human Services.
  • I have just begun teaching online college classes for Kaplan University. I plan to get more familiar with these programs as this will be my main source of income from here on.
  • Try to plan a summer trip to include Ryan and Meghan. I just can’t get enough of traveling as a family!
  • Spend 3-4 weeks with Terry camping in our Trail-Lite at Glacier Park. This should be easier to arrange now that we are not committed to a 40 hour work week.
  • To travel more than ever before and view even more incredible vistas.

Hopefully we will be able to accomplish all of these goals. If not, I know we will have fun trying! Wising you a Happy New Year and Happy Travels!

To read more about camping adventures to take with your family, browse RV and campground directories at Woodall’s online bookstore.


2 Responses to “This Is The Year! Happy 2012!”
  1. Corey says:

    You have a beautiful family. Good luck in 2012 and I hope you achieve ALL your goals!

  2. Diane Berry says:

    Thank you Corey! Happy New Year to you as well!

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