Over the past 7 months Tate and I have driven around 10,000 miles visiting 24 States, 9 National Parks and numerous other monuments and State Parks. We experienced wide ranging climates, landscapes and demographics and met some INCREDIBLE people including many that have followed our refit and sailing adventure for years before this RV trip. Through a combination of National Forest, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), friend’s lands and the occasional Walmart and Flying J truck stop’s we ended up not spending a penny on a night’s stay!

The entire seven months living expenses were around $9,100 ($1,300 a month excluding gas, boat storage and RV purchase price), while our gas bill over the 10,000 miles was about $2,800 an average of $2.50/gal for us. I’ll share more details of the cost in a later post but what do all the details add up to? THE END OF OUR RV TRIP (sniff).

OUR RV IS UP FOR SALE! (detailed sales post to follow)
2002 Itasca Sunova 27c Sale AD on RV Trader

So where are we now?…In Tulsa, Oklahoma actually. Does this guy look familiar?
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This is Doug Jackson, the mastermind behind SV Seeker which is a giant 74′ steel “boat the internet built”. Tate first showed me Doug’s videos WAYY back around 2011 or 2012. His massive project gave us hope that we could tackle our smaller project aboard Sundowner. Welders, mechanics, sail makers and just awesome people from all over the world come by and help Doug with this construction.

Why build a giant steel boat you ask? Doug says it best here:
“If your interests are in exploration, discovery and adventure then what could be better than a boat to take you where you want to go. SV Seeker is our 74 foot steel origami hull, junk rigged, cargo, motorsailer. Once completed she will be a part time research/charter vessel and full time home on the water.”

He is even building a “low cost” ROV for underwater exploration over 3k feet in the ocean!
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Wow really?
SV Seeker – Check out his project here (He has about 75,000 You Tube subscribers!)
You Tube channel
Blog

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However seeing SV Seeker was just lagniappe to the REAL reason we came to Oklahoma on the way back to Louisiana. We came this way to see some other long time blog followers and aspiring sailors (who also happen to be our biggest Patrons for our video series) Eric and Joanna Knox!
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We spent an incredible weekend here sharing delicious meals like thyme and lemon stuffed wild caught rainbow trout, venison and sausage burgers and a homemade gumbo from the man who has the BEST recipe (Tate) and also dreaming of the future. Our own future sailing but also what the future might look like for them.

After following our adventure for 5 years they have now put in place their own 5(ish) year plan to go cruising one day! It was SO great to meet them and they have inspired us to keep sharing our lives but also to soak in each and every moment of our trip.

Seeing how much other people want to do what we are doing is a good reminder to never let our lives feel ordinary or take our experiences for granted. They even sent us on our way with local jam and bbq sauce and homemade salsa, tomato sauce and banana walnut muffins. This picture is all that remains of these muffins.
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But wait, weren’t you just in the Tetons hanging out with Montana folk and wild red foxes? Why yes we were, at least back in August. It’s now almost October so I suppose we’ve fallen a bit behind on updates.

Allow me to catch you up real quick. We left the Grand Tetons, WY area in early August and drove south to Utah where we stayed a GLORIOUSLY cool month at about 8,500 feet. This location was called “Duck Creek” and while there we visited both Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks which were only a 40 mile motorcycle ride from our RV. This campsite and these parks were definitely one of the trip highlights for us.

In early September we drove from southern Utah to Flagstaff, Arizona where we picked up Tate’s dad (Mr. Logan) who proceeded to join us for the next 10 days. We visited the Grand Canyon (wow) and then drove up through Utah again (and Zion) before making it all the way to Northwestern Wyoming near Cody and Yellowstone National Park.

Mr. Logan had always wanted to go to Yellowstone and Tate and I discussed going there with him way back when we were still on the boat in Panama. I’m so happy he came and made it happen.
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We drove to Denver, Colorado with Mr. Logan where he flew out and then we spent a week visiting with my cousin Timmy’s family (who I haven’t seen in YEARS) and some old work acquaintances. After Denver we headed here to Tulsa and now today…

WE START THE DRIVE BACK TO LOUISIANA!

That’s just the details of the RV trip but there has been much much more going on in the background. Over this past year every time Tate and I would think of something we’d like to bring back with us to the boat in Panama we’d add it to our “boat list”. Now finally I am buying the various items we’ve jotted down and we are so grateful that Mr. Logan is letting us use his address to receive these many packages.

I’ll try to write a more detailed blog post about what we are bringing back with us for just to give you an idea here is part of the list:

  • Bilge pump
  • Bow sprit bolts
  • Hand bulb
  • Watermaker membrane
  • Propane detector
  • Sails
  • Checks
  • Cash
  • Pipe tobacco
  • Protein powder
  • Flax and Chia seeds
  • Vitamins
  • Sunscreen
  • Summer clothes
  • Hair shears
  • Conditioner
  • Argan oil
  • DVDs
  • Hard drive storage
  • Tablet
  • Laptop
  • Microphone
  • Camera
  • Underwater housing

I usually try to look for quality used items in order to save as much money as possible and while I don’t exactly LIKE to buy used camera equipment I found a pretty good deal on Ebay in Greece from a nice man who was selling a gently used Canon G7x with the underwater housing, dive tray and light. I was REALLY excited about this deal. The seller I feel is trustworthy and has good equipment that he just isn’t using anymore. I paid for the camera package and it was shipped without issue and made it all the way down to Lafayette, Louisiana where it shows it arrived at the Post Office on Monday Sept 19th but has no tracking after that.

Mr. Logan visited the post office for me but they said they can’t find the package. I have also called (twice) and now they are opening an investigation into the matter. They may have had a trainee on the route that day so they said they are putting 2 people on the task of finding my beloved camera gear. There was no delivery attempt. The tracking just stops at the Post Office.

(**EDIT- My Camera HAS ARRIVED, OH HAPPY DAY!)

I don’t often share the intimate dramas that Tate and I face from time to time but this issue really makes me sad. I have contacted the seller who says he didn’t insure the item (even though I suggested but didn’t confirm that he did) and he asked that I wait a while for it to show up. I have read online about non-insured international packages going missing with the USPS and apparently it’s not uncommon for packages like this to never show up. I’ve also read other instances where the packages DO show up.

So for now I will keep checking the tracking number with hopes to see it delivered or at least it’s location pinned down. I will try to have faith that it will show up. Even though the package made it all the way safely with tracking from Athens, Greece through New York and into Lafayette the seller is still liable for the package not making it to me. According to Ebay and Paypal I’m protected because the seller should have purchased insurance. But he didn’t. Not to be malicious but because he thought it would be ok I suppose. It’s not the sellers fault if the package gets lost, it’s the USPS fault but in the end it’s his responsibility.

It’s a no win situation here. I don’t want that nice man (and fellow diver) to be out his equipment AND money because of some mishap at the local Post Office. On the flip side I also don’t want to be out the precious $800 I paid for this whole deal. I feel the pressure everyday of this issue and it pains my heart so I pray and hope that it will get resolved soon.

Unfortunately I don’t have 3 months to wait for this item to show up. Our best camera from the sailing and RV trip is on it’s last leg. With it’s lagging pictures and blurry details in film it is time for a new camera. This Canon G7x is a camera that I’ve been researching since we started the trip. It’s the mac daddy of vlogging camera but also takes great pictures and is a FANTASTIC underwater camera. Since Tate and I spend the majority of our activities under the sea I am really looking forward to having better camera gear. This will be the best camera I’ve ever owned.

If the package isn’t found in the next week I’ll have to file a case with Ebay and then also buy another camera. We have to pack up to fly back to Panama and unfortunately I don’t have the time to wait for 3 months for it to show up. But like I said, while on occasion I feel a stab of anxiety and dread regarding this issue I am trying to be positive and believe that it will work itself out. There is nothing I can do about it anyways, it will be what it is.

Over this past year I’ve written emails back and forth to Panamarina (where Sundowner is dry docked) near the San Blas islands and ask that every three months they replace these “mold packets” and also pump our bilge. This month in fact they renewed our year long Panama cruising permit for the boat and when we fly back we’ll be given 6 month visas through the airport. We have no idea the condition of the inside of the boat as it’s been sitting the past 5 months in 90+ degree temperatures with high humidity and heavy rain about everyday. It’ll be interesting to do a Grand reveal to show the status once we arrive. We’ve heard all kinds of stories of mold growing on everything to Monkey’s living aboard. We’ll see.

Once we arrive we’ll put the boat into the work yard area where we’ll have the bottom sanded and painted, we’ll replace the bowsprit bolts and various other project before splashing and heading back to San Blas for a couple of months before our Panama Canal passage in early 2017 followed by (hopefully) our biggest passage yet…the Pacific Ocean (40 days at sea).

We have lots of catching up to do with friends and family as well as packing our duffle bags over these next few weeks but our goal is to be back aboard in early November to get things moving. We also have to catch up on our videos and we’ll start a new video series for the sailing trip. (check out our channel and RV adventure here on You Tube)

Until next time!