After neither of us could run any more due to knee issues, we mostly stopped
attending ultra-distance running events in 2011. The journal morphed, with a focus
more on our extended RV travels, hiking, and cycling -- still in beautiful
places all over North America.
We enjoyed traveling so much that we sold our house in Virginia in 2014.
We weren't homeless, just house-free.
Inside our rolling residence, Jim digs in to a
scrumptious lobster dinner
we prepared at Whale Cove CG on Digby Neck, Nova
Scotia. (Aug., 2014)
three years we lived and traveled full-time in our comfortable 36-foot
5th-wheel coach, a 2010 Carriage Cameo, pulled by our 2008 Dodge Ram
2500 diesel pick-up truck and accompanied by our 2002 Honda Odyssey
minivan. (After 16½
years, we finally replaced the Odyssey this year with a Toyota
Highlander SUV. I like all of its new safety features but miss the space
and versatility of the minivan, which served us very well for so long
Even though we had to drive separately while moving from one place to
another, the Odyssey came in very handy at our destinations.
You can see all three vehicles in the next two photos:
Most of the campsites we occupied
while full-time RVing had plenty of room for both all three vehicles.
This was our really long site at
Peregrine Pines CG at the USAF Academy in Colorado Springs. (6-5-16)
We enjoyed this large, inexpensive site at the Horsethief BLM campground
on a mesa above Moab, UT near Canyonlands National Park in April, 2016.
We saw even more of North America during those three years when we
didn't go back to our house in Virginia twice a year for routine maintenance and
medical appointments. We were literally all over the map,
visiting places from Florida to Alaska, the Canadian Maritimes to
California, and many spots in between.
Although we enjoyed being house-free for most of that time, our
lifestyle morphed yet again with our decision in 2017 to buy another house
and suspend our RV travel for an unknown period of time.
Our last extended RV site was this beautiful one on
Lake D at
Kings Bay Sub Base
near St. Marys, GA during the winter of 2016-7.
I explained most of the reasons in this
It wasn't so much a matter of been there, done that. Although we
were repeating some of our favorite destinations, we always added some
new ones each year to keep things interesting.
The main problem was
the U.S. economy recovered sufficiently from the Great Recession,
so many other people were buying RVs and doing the same thing that it became too much
of a hassle to find decent, uncrowded campsites when and where we wanted
to go. The thrill was gone when we no longer had the spontaneity we
enjoyed in our first decade of extended travel.
Our new home base as it looked in August, 2017
before we did more landscaping
in the front yard; an upcoming entry will show what
This year's and subsequent journals will continue to reflect the changes
in our lives. They will still include RV travel information
(destinations, campgrounds, activities, our vehicles, etc.);
hiking, cycling, race events, and our other recreational activities;
gardening and house projects; lots of photos; and whatever
else we decide to share with the world.
We're not a total "open book." I don't write about everything or
everyone in our lives because I want to protect the privacy of our
friends and family. There's so little of that in social media today.
I also do my best to avoid controversial topics here, like politics and social issues.
That's just not the purpose of this website.
UPDATE ON OUR 2018 ACTIVITIES
Last year I wrote about our search for, and purchase of, a
single-level home where we could comfortably age in place in our 70s, 80s, and 90s.
We are very pleased with our choice of both the particular house we
bought and the neighborhood and community in which we relocated. I'll have two more
detailed entries following this one that feature new photos from the
Peachtree City area and the landscaping we've done in our yard.
The picture above is an Okame Cherry tree I planted this
past May in our front yard. It's supposed to bloom around Valentine's
Day in this area -- once and done for the rest of the year.
What's wrong with this picture??
I took it on October 16. This very confused young tree
dropped all of its leaves in August, sprouted these new green ones in
September, and started blooming in early October! It's still blooming in
mid-November. We have no idea whether it will bloom this coming February.
That's part of the fun of gardening, I guess --
the interesting surprises.
HIKING, WALKING, & CYCLING: OUR QUEST TO STAY
"YOUNGER NEXT YEAR"
One of the main reasons we chose to live in Peachtree City is its
extensive network of paved multi-use paths that wind throughout the
hilly, treed neighborhoods and past large lakes, several ponds, and
multiple golf courses. (I'll have updated photos of all that in another entry.)
The one sure thing that people who visit Peachtree City for the first
time will remember about the town is these "cart paths," so-called
because there are at least 11,000 golf carts registered to about 36,000 residents!
The majority of them, including us, don't golf but we all love to get out
and ride those things around to shop, go to work, to school, to church, to
special events -- and just for the heck of it because the city is so darn
beautiful and there are fewer traffic hassles on the paths than the roadways.
Jim makes sure Holly (L) and
Casey are buckled in before we take a cart ride.
He took out the back seat and
built a platform for them. (2-27-18)
We lucked out because the people who previously lived in our house
gave us their cart when they moved to an area where they could no longer
use it. We've had a lot of fun taking the dogs for rides and saving gas
sometimes when we go shopping or to the vet.
But I digress. The main way we use the network of paths is to
walk and to ride our bikes on them.
One of our top priorities when we bought a house last year was
finding a quiet neighborhood where we could access a safe bike path or
trail quickly and by simply walking from our house and not having to drive
several miles to reach it. We use the city's path system multiple
times a day to walk the dogs, do longer solo walks, and ride our bikes.
A section of the cart path along
When Jim hurt one of his knees about eight years ago in a bike fall,
he did enough damage to his meniscus that he had to stop running
after three decades of enjoying long-distance events up to and beyond
100 miles. Surgery to repair the
meniscus wasn't successful, so he focused on cycling for several years.
In 2013, at age 65, he completed the very difficult Leadville Trail
100-mile mountain bike race at high altitude in Colorado. He wasn't able
to comfortably hike very many miles until this year -- finally.
At the end of 2016 he had a partial knee replacement and was able to
increase the distances he could comfortably walk. At the end of 2017 our current knee
orthopedist gave him the go-ahead to do ultra-distance walking with the
admonition that he do no pounding, i.e., no running.
Jim (in blue shirt) walks past
one of the ponds on the scenic Endless Mile
race course at Veteran's Park in
Alabaster, AL. (10-19-18)
That was exactly what he needed to hear! This year Jim has been more
like the guy I used to know -- setting race goals, increasing his
training, and completing both 100 miles and 106 miles in two different
fixed-time running events . . . without doing any running.
It's amazing how many miles you can cover just walking if you
have adequate training and enough time in a race. I'll have separate
entries about those events.
With his focus on
those races and two more to come in November and December, Jim hasn't
been riding his bike nearly as much this year. He still occasionally
rides his bike with Casey on the Walky-dog attachment. Soon Holly-pup's
joints should be developed enough that she can learn how to run next to
the bike, too. That dog LOVES to run, but neither of us can run with her.
Jim rides with Casey near on a
path near our house.
At the end of 2017 I had my second of two total knee replacements in
I had a lengthy four-page
entry about the first surgery in
last year's journal. I had a great surgeon and my recovery was easier
than I expected. Recovery after the second one was even faster and
more comfortable, probably because I knew what to expect that time.
I worked back up to a max of 10 miles of walking by spring. With all
the yard work I've done this year, a hot summer and fall, more cycling
than Jim, and no interesting plans to travel to my beloved Colorado mountains or
Utah canyons to hike all day this summer . . . I haven't had the motivation to go
much farther than about 15 miles. That should adequately prepare me for
some longer hikes at places we plan to go on
this winter's RV trip:
One of the trails at McDowell Mountain Regional Park
near Phoenix (1-10-08)
I have absolutely no desire to get back into walking ultra events
-- at least yet. I trained for and ran races for thirty years.
It's been so much less stressful in my 60s to get outside and just hike
for the sheer joy of moving my body and keeping it as healthy as possible.
Almost all of our walking and cycling this year has been on the paved path system in
Peachtree City. There are four nice nature areas with dirt trails several
miles away but we use them less often. It's
just so much easier to go out the door and down to the path system at
the end of our cul de sac. We have covered most of the
100-mile network at one time or another.
We also bought a kayak the summer of 2017 . . .
. . . but haven't used it for over a year because both Lake Kedron and
Peachtree were drained during the summer of 2017 to build a new spillway.
In the photo above, Jim is just starting to paddle out from the shore on
Lake Peachtree before it was drained. Casey wanted to follow him but I
called her back.
The spillway project is done and the lakes have finally filled up
again in November but it's chilly now and we're busy with other
activities. We plan to do more kayaking next year.
Jim's been a lot more involved with volunteering in our new community
than I have, but it wasn't exactly intentional. He didn't realize all the work he
was getting himself into when he agreed to be the Quartermaster for the local
He's always been interested in all things military, from
historical to current events. Last year he got involved in a
project at the Atlanta Motor Speedway helping rebuild some old
helicopters like the ones he flew in Viet Nam. He also joined the
VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) post in Peachtree City, the first he's
been involved in that large, national organization.
Jim walks between two golf carts
representing the local VFW post in this year's 4th of July parade.
Participating members gave out thousands of little
American flags to the crowds lining the road.
As Quartermaster he's in charge of the post's finances and attends
what seems like a lot of meetings locally and around the state.
Although he's not fond of all the meetings, he's good with the math
details and enjoys representing his post at public awareness events like
the big 4th of July parade in Peachtree City and giving out Buddy
Poppies to customers at Kroger's in commemoration of Veteran's Day:
Above and below: Proud to
continue serving his country (11-10-18)
I haven't found any one volunteering niche in Peachtree City that
excites me yet. I've been too focused on our house, yard, dogs, and
surgeries since we moved here last year. And now that we plan to be
traveling some again in the RV, I have to chose a type of volunteer work
that is compatible with extended absences.
The two things that most interest me currently are training Casey to
be a therapy dog (perhaps in a kids' reading program at the local
library) and volunteering to operate remote cameras for
http://www.explore.org, a really good nature website.
I'll talk more about our dogs and my tentative volunteer plans in the
PLANS FOR OUR WINTER RV TRIP
We made reservations at some RV parks and campgrounds in southern Texas and
Arizona several months ago, as soon as online registration opened and we
had our itinerary sketched out.
We plan to leave home in December and return in February.
Destinations include some places we've visited before,
like Brazos Bend State Park in Texas and McDowell Mountain Regional Park
east of Phoenix, and at least one new spot (Lost Dutchman State Park near
Deja vu all over again . . .
We've reserved the same site at McDowell Mtn. for this trip that
we had eight years ago in Dec., 2010 -- same truck and camper, so we
know they'll fit the site.
In late December we'll spend several nights at Camelback Ranch in Phoenix while Jim
participates in the Across the Years (ATY) 48-hour foot race. We've both
done the ATY 24-hour event several times and Jim has done the 48-hour race once before.
I'll have entries about each of our destinations and the ATY event.
NAVIGATING THIS WEBSITE . . .
. . . is a little different than most personal websites
or "blogs" but I don't think it's too hard.
Every page you're on has a link near the top to our
where you can find a representative photo and link for the topics
page of each year's journal. The most recent year is at the top of
the home page. Currently there are 14 annual journals, each with its own
topics page of subjects covered that year.
You can see exactly what subjects/destinations are covered each year by
scrolling down the topics page. Entries that you can read are
underlined and have a date to the right. That means there is an active
internet link to the page(s). If there is a topic but no date, I haven't uploaded it
Here's an example from the 2016 topics page. I've gotten
(temporarily) stuck uploading entries during April in Utah. The topics
with a date are completed but the ones without a date are not:
There are gaps in other years, too, where I've listed topics but
haven't uploaded the entries and photos yet. I can't guarantee if or
when I'll ever do all of those but they give you an idea of what we did
We do not have an index of topics, such as all
the entries relating to a particular destination or race, like many websites do;
we just never got around to including that feature.
When you are done reading any of the journal entry pages you can
click links to go back to the previous entry, forward to the next entry,
return to the topics page for that year, or go back to the home page, as
illustrated by the section I highlighted on a page from last year's
Note that dates on entries don't always correspond to the date an
event, hike, etc. actually occurred. I often write
entries that are summaries and include information and photos from more
than one date. If the date is pertinent, I'll
give that information in the entry itself.
We hope you enjoy our site. I know I'm often too wordy; some of the
entries are quite long because of excess verbiage and/or lots of photos.
If you don't have the time to read an entry you may still enjoy
scrolling through the photos, which often have captions.
Next entry: updated information on our doggie family + my new
obsession with Warrior Canine Connection and Explore.org
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
Cody, Casey, and Holly-pup
© 2018 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil