A few months ago, I sat down and literally made my bucket list. There aren’t many touristy travel destinations on the list – most items involve my genealogy research. And since I have a “life is short” approach to planning, I feel a strong need to front-load the high priority items on the list. In other words, “someday” is NOW!!
I created a Google map with pins in all the places I want to go, which helped me to visualize my path back and forth across the country. But I also have places on my list which I can’t get to with my RV. So here’s my long term schedule:
I’ve already posted the details of my summer plans this year – I’ll be in the cooler climates of upstate New York and Vermont. Then, after a week at a conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I’ll head west on Labor Day, starting with Butler, Ohio for two weeks.
I pretty much learned last fall what my limits are in terms of temperature. For the first ten days of October last year, I was in Cortland County, New York, and I saw frost on the ground. I have a heater in the RV, and it wasn’t cold enough to freeze the pipes, but I don’t want to be in weather any colder than that. So I know I’m taking a bit of a chance with my plans to be in Wisconsin for the last two weeks of September. My ancestors lived in Washington County, just north of Milwaukee, so it’s not way up there, and I’m hoping it’ll be OK.
For the first two weeks of October, I’ll be in Illinois, camping on the banks of the Mississippi River. If the weather in Illinois is similar to the weather in Pennsylvania, which I think it is, then it will be chilly but not freezing.
Next, I’ll spend several days in mid-October meeting a first cousin (for the first time) in Missouri, and then I’ll high-tail it to Phoenix, Arizona, driving 1,200 miles in three days, arriving on October 23. I’ll stay three nights in a campground just outside the city.
Then, I’ll put my rig in storage, stay in a hotel near the Phoenix airport, and fly to Puerto Vallarta. Eric gave me a week of his timeshare as a gift, and I was able to exchange it for a week in Mexico. And, I’m using frequent flyer miles, so the trip isn’t going to cost me much at all. I’m thinking that I’ll be ready for some pure R&R after seven months of living in the RV and doing my research. My good friend Sandra and her daughter will go with me (my daughter declined the offer – not her habitat!!).
I’ll retrieve my car and RV in Phoenix when I return, and then drive up to Fresno, California to stay for a month, doing some research on my father’s family there.
For Thanksgiving week, I’ll drive my car to my Uncle’s house in the LA area, and I’m flying my kids down from Seattle to join us. I’m so excited to see my Aunt and Uncle, and to spend the holiday with family!
I’ll return to Fresno after Thanksgiving, and prepare to put my RV and car into storage for 10 months.
As I did last year, my plan is to fly to Seattle for Christmas. I’ll spend a week at an Airbnb in the city itself beginning in mid-December, and then our little family (Eric, our two kids, and I) will spend Christmas week at a cabin in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, near Steven’s Pass.
And then, on December 29th, I’m flying to London, England. From there, I’ll either fly or drive up to Northumberland County, way up near Scotland. I’ll spend two months there in a furnished flat in the same little town where my great-grandmother, Mary Payne, was baptized at St. Cuthbert’s Church in 1870.
At the beginning of March, I’ll drive to South Wales and spend a month in Blaenavon, Monmouthshire, and then a month in Pembroke, Pembrokeshire, which brings me to the end of April.
I haven’t decided what I’ll do for the first two or so weeks in May, so I haven’t yet booked my return flight. I think I’m going to take a break from genealogy, take advantage of being in Europe, and go somewhere just for fun. I’m thinking maybe Italy.
I’ll be returning to Bucks County, Pennsylvania at the end of May for my annual doctor appointments, and will rent a car there for a couple of weeks.
For the summer of 2018, I’m planning to sublet an apartment in Manhattan. I’m still in touch with a few people from my college days who live there and go to New England for the summer, so I’m hoping to be able to easily find a place. Not only do I have endless research to do in NYC, but I’ve always wanted to live there for a short time. It’s a good time to go since I’ll already be on the east coast, and I won’t have my car or my RV – neither will be needed in Manhattan!
I don’t have precise plans yet for the month of September, but I would love to spend time in Boston or Washington DC, or maybe both. I have until September 24, when I’m planning to fly to Ft. Lauderdale with my friend Cindy and her husband Fred, and embark on a two week Panama Canal cruise, which ends in San Diego.
And that puts me back on the west coast to retrieve my car and my RV by about mid-October 2018.
As you can see, I’m a planner, and I already have ideas about winter of 2018 and on into 2019. I have lots to do on the west coast, including genealogy research in California and Oregon, visiting friends and family, and spending a long time camping near the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. My next big trip will be to Germany to solve a family mystery, which I hope to do in 2019, perhaps in the fall.
So at the moment, I have no plans to buy a house and settle down – way too much to do!