During the fall, I’ll continue my trek west; by the end of the season my RV will be in storage and I’ll be on my way to Seattle and then England for several months. I’ll be driving more miles after Labor Day than I have all year so far. For more info, see the post called Long Term Schedule.
Here’s the fall route, showing all the stops along the way:
As I started to write this post, I realized I’ve already written a post called Fall Schedule – in 2016. I began living in the RV at the end of August last year, so it’s been one full year since I retired and started life on the road. Time has truly zoomed by! It doesn’t feel at all like it’s been that long, but at the same time my former life seems in the distant past.
Next Monday, I’ll drive from Ohio to Washington County, Wisconsin, where my Goodenough line settled in the mid-1800’s. This line migrated from New England to upstate New York, and ultimately to Wisconsin. My father’s grandfather, an itinerant carpenter, was born there, married in Iowa, and settled in California.
At the end of September, I’ll travel to Whiteside County, Illinois, where my research will focus on the folks from Ohio (or their descendants), who went there in the first half of the nineteenth century, as well as my ancestors from Vermont. I’ll be staying at a campground directly on the Mississippi River which I’m excited about!
After Illinois, I’ll have a break from researching for a bit while visiting a cousin in Missouri, and then I’ll binge-drive to the warmth of Phoenix as it starts to get colder in the north. With the RV in short-term storage, I’ll spend a week in Mexico with a friend at the end of October, and then we’ll travel together in the RV from Phoenix up to Fresno, California, arriving around November 7th. Many members of my Goodenough family lived there in the early twentieth century.
Leaving the RV at the Fresno campground, I’ll drive my car to Los Angeles for Thanksgiving with my kids and my favorite uncle. My daughter will then spend a few days with me in Fresno during the week after the holiday. Once she leaves at the end of November, I’ll be spending most of my time working through the logistics of putting my RV and my car in storage, preparing to leave the U.S. for five months, and then flying to Seattle in mid-December for the Christmas holiday.
Whew!! It’s hard to imagine saying good-bye to my RV in just a few months, and I don’t feel ready. I have just under 5 more weeks to enjoy my genealogy research before I hit the whirlwind of the long drive to Phoenix, the vacation in Mexico, and then the holidays. I have a feeling that after all the genealogy research and solitude of these months heading west, I will welcome that whirlwind when it comes!
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!
Summer is the perfect time to be in the northern climates, so I’ll be spending it in Pennsylvania, upstate New York and Vermont, researching both sides of my family.
In my Spring Schedule post, I wrote about my plans for the month of June in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I’ll meet a second cousin for the first time, visit my parents’ and brothers’ grave and see their newly installed gravestone, research my mother’s extensive family in the area, and attend the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh the last week in June.
I’ll stay in Pittsburgh through the 4th of July, and then head up to the Rochester, New York area where I’ll visit with friends of my brother Jamie. Jamie died in 2005 at the age of 44, unmarried, but with a passel of very dear friends, many of whom live in Rochester where my brother spent seventeen years of his life. My father, Jamie and I all attended the University of Rochester, so the place has deeper family ties as well. I’ll visit familiar places and enjoy the company of all the special people who also loved Jamie. I’ll be staying at a state park campground on the shores of Lake Ontario for five days, so I’m planning to take a break from the research and enjoy some swimming!
On to Copenhagen in Lewis County, New York, researching my father’s family, the Goodenoughs and others. My kids attended a Unitarian Universalist summer camp very near there for several years, so I know it’s a beautiful and remote area. It’ll be fun imagining what it was like when my ancestors were among the first settlers there around 1800.
From there, I’ll head to Rutland County, Vermont, where I’ll stay for the last two weeks of July. My father and Jamie researched the Goodenough line – but they only did the men! The parents of one of the Goodenough wives came from this area of Vermont, so I’ll be researching the Abbotts, the Crouches, and the Jennings families there, back into the 1700’s. I’ve NEVER been to Vermont in the summer, so I’m excited to see it!
Next, I’ll spend a month in the Albany area. Both my maternal and paternal lines have numerous New York ancestors, and I’ve wanted to get to the New York State Archives in Albany for at least the last five years. In addition to ancestors in other parts of the state on both lines, I’ve got a big brick wall on one of my mother’s lines in the Albany/Troy/Sarasota County area, so I’ll do local courthouse/town research as well as state-level research.
After Albany, I’m heading back to Pittsburgh for the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ annual conference. It’s one I’ve wanted to attend for years, but never could work it in to the few weeks of vacation I had while working. I formed the Bucks County Genealogical Society in 2012, so I’m very interested in learning best practices from other groups. When I eventually settle down somewhere, I’m sure I’ll be active in my local society.
On Labor Day, I’ll head to Butler, Ohio for two weeks, which brings me to the end of summer. My Dad’s ancestors were very early settlers and prominent citizens there.
In the fall, I’m generally traveling west, via Wisconsin, Illinois, and Missouri. I’ll be in Arizona by Halloween – the map below is my planned route from April through October. So much to look forward to – I’m excited about every single stop!
I checked on my RV the other day – it’s been in storage since December 1st – and it started up just fine. Seeing it generated a flood of great memories from my travels last fall, and I realized how much I miss it! So I’m really looking forward to getting back on the road in early April after my trip to Seattle and China beginning next week.
My first stop will be at a campground near Athens, Georgia, where I’ll stay for a full month. I was there for about three weeks last November, and barely scraped the surface of the research I need to do in Walton and surrounding counties. That’s partly because Eric and I had the agenda of cleaning up the family cemetery and visiting places from Eric’s childhood, which was great fun. But this time, I’ll focus on courthouse research.
Eric’s family goes back more than 200 years in Georgia, and the campground’s location is central to various county seats I’ll need to visit. The weather in Georgia will be stunning, with all the flowers in bloom which we don’t see until May in the northeast. And it’ll be really helpful to have my first stop be a full month, so I can get organized for the season, which will include several visits from my new BFF, the local mobile RV repair man!
In early May, I’m heading up to Raleigh, North Carolina to attend the annual National Genealogical Society conference. I’ve been to a few of them over the years, and always enjoy it tremendously. I especially love the feeling of being with thousands of my “peeps” – they’re all just like me when it comes to genealogy!
After a week in Raleigh, I’ll go to a little town north of Richmond, Virginia to visit my cousin Betsy for a week (the same special cousin who lets me stay at her house in Sarasota). I visited her last fall for a few days, but we both decided it wasn’t long enough! She has a lovely home and sheep farm and I just feel so comfortable there. If I want to, I can visit the fabulous Library of Virginia in Richmond to do some genealogy research.
Next, I’ll be going back to my former home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania for two weeks, spanning Memorial Day weekend. I have some annual doctor appointments scheduled, and will hopefully spend time with people who I miss very much, including my wonderful friends at the Bucks County Genealogical Society, and my former workplace. And, I’ll do an RV clean-out, dropping some things off at storage and picking other things up.
When I leave Bucks County at the beginning of June, I’ll head out to the Pittsburgh area, where I’ll stay for a month, through the 4th of July weekend. On the way there, I’ll stop at the home of my second cousin, Melody, for a few days – that’s a whole ‘nother exciting story which I’ll share when I get there! Melody will join me in the Pittsburgh area, where we’ll do research together, visit the family cemetery, and spend some time at her mother’s house in Belle Vernon, going through photos and boxes of family memorabilia (Yay!! I can hardly contain my excitement!!).
Last fall, I ordered a stone for the grave of my parents and my two brothers, and it’ll be installed this spring. So the trip to the cemetery will be especially meaningful for me.
At the end of June, just before leaving Pittsburgh, I’ll attend a week-long class at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (“GRIP”), held on the campus of LaRoche College. I registered for a course called “Mastering Genealogical Documentation”, taught by Dr. Thomas Jones, one of the top genealogists in the country. I attended GRIP in 2012, and intended to go each year since it was low cost, and easy to get to from my home in Bucks County. But, it just never worked out – there was never enough vacation time, especially since I used every day of accumulated time off to take care of my brother in 2013. So, I’m extremely happy to be finally attending GRIP again!
I’ll post more details about my summer plans when the time gets closer, but generally my path will go through upstate New York and western Vermont, looping back to Pittsburgh for another conference at the end of August, and then I’ll head west after Labor Day.
I’m so excited about every single stop this spring. At the risk of sounding extremely trite, the truth is that Willie Nelson’s song keeps invading my mind: I just can’t wait to get back on the road again!!
My original vision for the winter was to stay in Siesta Key, Sarasota, Florida for three solid months, December through February, with a quick trip to visit my kids in Seattle for Christmas. I pictured myself processing all the research I did during the fall, catching up on the genealogy documentation for my tree, developing new genealogy presentations, creating a marketing plan for attracting new genealogy research clients, and taking long walks on the amazing powdered-sugar white sand beaches at sunset. Ahhhh, sounds perfect…
My winter isn’t shaping up the way I originally envisioned it, but I’m not complaining!
As was always planned, Eric and I booked a week in the Seattle area at Christmas so we can spend the holiday with our two children. We rented a cabin in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains so it’ll be a white Christmas.
Once that was booked, I decided to add a week in the City of Seattle to spend extra time with the kids, and to prepare for Christmas. And why shouldn’t I? I’m retired!! So, I’ve got two weeks booked in the Seattle area beginning December 11th.
Then, as I’ve blogged about before, Eric and I are going to New Zealand for twenty three days directly from Seattle the day after Christmas.
After that trip, I’ll have about three weeks in Sarasota before I take off in early February for a week at the RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City. I got an amazingly low air fare, and I’ll be sharing a room with a friend I met there last year, so the cost is low. She and I are on the same page regarding the balance between conference activities and genealogy research at the Family History Library – we go to the FHL as often as possible before, after, and in between sessions!
Then in late March, Eric and I are going to China for 15 days. Eric found a tour for $1,400, all inclusive, including air fare and a four day river cruise, so it was hard to pass up! And, we’re leaving from Seattle, so I decided I may as well go a week early to visit the kids.
The RV will be in storage here in Sarasota for about 4 months (until early April), but I’ll only be in Florida for about six weeks of that time. Although I hadn’t originally planned on these international trips, I felt that I should take the opportunities as they presented themselves. It makes a lot of sense to do some bucket list traveling now, while I’m still healthy and mobile.
So it should be a very exciting winter, going from one adventure to the next, with some down time in Florida at the beach in between. I’m really liking this retired life so far!!!
We’re heading out on Tuesday the 20th, so our adventures are about to begin! A lot of people have been asking where we’re headed next, so here’s the plan.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking for campgrounds and making reservations at various places. I think I’ve mentioned before that we’ve found that it’s less expensive to stay at a campground for a week or a month, rather than for just a few nights. So that’s generally what I’m trying to do to keep costs down. Surprisingly, camping fees are pretty high and will take a big chunk of the budget if I’m not careful.
I’ve already written about plans for the first couple of stops – Gettysburg and then Washington County, PA.
After that, Eric will head west to Ohio, and my plan is to go to a campground in Franklinville, NY, which is in Cattaraugus County. Some of my ancestors were farmers in the area in the early 1800’s. I’ll spend a week there, visit them in a cemetery in the little town of Delevan, and do research at the County Courthouse in Little Valley.
My next stop will be a campground in Marathon, NY, which is in Cortland County. I have some ancestors who farmed in Homer, just north of the town of Cortland, in the late 1700’s. One of them was born in Wales, served as a Captain in the Revolutionary War in a New Jersey regiment, and after the war migrated up to Homer. He’s buried in the Atwater Cemetery there.
By then it will be mid-October, and I’m going to have to start worrying about avoiding freezing temperatures. Most of the campgrounds in the upstate NY area close around Columbus Day, or by October 15 at the latest. So, it will be time to head south.
I’ll make a stop in Bucks County for about a week, staying at a campground in Ottsville. It will be an opportunity to see friends, go to a doctor, and visit my storage unit if necessary.
Next, I’m going to spend a week with my BFF, aka my sister, Carol, on eastern Long Island. It’s probably been decades since I’ve spent a whole week with her, so that will be wonderful! While I’m on Long Island, I’m going to leave my RV with Rick of Central Jersey RV in Jackson, so he can re-seal the roof, replace the awning, and make some other repairs. It’s perfect timing, since he needs the rig for a few days, and I’d rather not drive it in the NYC area, anyway.
After that, I’ll start my trek south, stopping in Richmond, Virginia for a couple of nights to see my cousin Betsy, who is another sister! Our mothers were sisters, so Betsy and I have a strong blood bond, and I LOVE being with her and her wonderful husband. They raise sheep, so it’s delightful to be on their farm with the smell of the earth and the animals.
Then it’s off to Georgia, about November 1st – ish. Amazingly, 100% of Eric’s ancestors are from Georgia, back 200 years to when the State was first formed. I have never researched on site in Georgia, and there is SO much to do! Eric and I are meeting at an old family cemetery on someone’s private land near Monroe, Walton County, where we will “boondock” for three or four nights (boondocking is camping on land for free, with no hookups) while we work on cleaning up the cemetery.
For the next couple of weeks, I’ll stay at a campground near Athens, Georgia, which is centrally located to several counties where I’ll be doing research. I’m not sure yet whether Eric will be with me, or not. Then in mid-November, for the week before Thanksgiving, Eric and I will stay at a campground near Jacksonville, Florida. We’re going there because that’s where our mail forwarding service is. We want to become Florida residents, so we’ll be getting Florida driver’s licenses, titling our vehicles there, etc.
We’re going to spend Thanksgiving with Eric’s sister and mother, who live in Cape Canaveral. Frustratingly, the campground where we want to stay is completely booked, and another option close by doesn’t take reservations until a few weeks prior. So, we don’t have that week locked in, and hoping for the best.
Then I’m headed to Sarasota, Florida. I’ve decided to store the RV for three months (December, January and February), and rent my cousin’s house there. There aren’t too many places for me to camp and avoid risk of frost during those months, and I want to stay on the east coast for now. Staying at my cousin’s house and storing the RV is less expensive than camping, so that’s what I’m going to do, at least for this year.
I’m going to fly to Seattle to see my descendants for two weeks at the end of December! I’m getting a little studio for a week near my daughter’s house – both kids live in the city. For the second week, Eric is flying in and the four of us will be staying in a beautiful vacation rental near Index, Washington, in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. I’m sure it will be a magical end to quite an amazing year in my life!