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. We left the Odyssey in the Lower 48, however, when we went
to the Canadian Maritimes and for our second summer in Alaska.
A scene from colorful Lunenberg, Nova Scotia
Cody (L) and Casey sit with Jim high above the
on a trail in Nova Scotia (August, 2014)
bikes in Haines, Alaska, while Jim was training
Fireweed 100-mile bike race in June, 2015.
Harding Icefield high up a trail along Exit Glacier
Fjords National Park near Seward, Alaska. (August, 2015)
years, we finally replaced the Odyssey in 2018 with a Toyota
Highlander SUV. I like 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 during the three years we were full-time RVing -- and
seek campsites large enough for all three vehicles -- it made
more sense than storing the Odyssey for so long and it came in very handy at our destinations.
You can see all three vehicles in the next photo:
We enjoyed this large, inexpensive site at the Horsethief BLM campground
on a mesa above Moab, UT near Canyonlands National Park in April, 2016.
During this period of time we visited some new places and began staying
longer in our favorite areas so we didn't have to drive as much.
also chose more campgrounds and RV parks with partial or full hookups
and did less and less dry camping AKA boondocking as we got older.
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,
this time in Peachtree City, Georgia,
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
The thrill was gone when we no longer had the spontaneity we enjoyed in
our first decade of extended travel. We entered a new era of being
home-bodies again and became more involved in our new community.
Cody in front of our current house (8-14-18)
Iconic Lake Peachtree (above) is full again, after
being drained for over a year
to build a modern piano-key spillway (below) at the
lower end of the lake.
The Cameo stayed in "dry dock" at Fort Benning in south Georgia for
about 19 months before we took it out again for a few days to a foot
race in Alabama last
October. That served as a good shake down for our
current two-month winter trip to the desert Southwest.
2018 journal chronicled the first month of that trip and several
fixed-time ultra-distance races Jim walked, the first competitive running events
he had done in seven years. He was able to complete 100 miles or more
-- just walking -- in the three 48- to 70-hour events:
Jim walked 106 miles at A Race for the Ages (ARFTA)
in TN early September, 2018.
Jim looks happy on Day 1 at The Endless Mile event
in AL; he walked 100 miles in 46+ hours.
Above and below: Jim walked 100 miles at
Across the Years (ATY) in just 43+ hours!
That was a great way to celebrate his turning 70 in 2018!
I know he'll soon be planning more 100-milers for 2019, although right
now he's too tired to even think about it -- his most recent
100-miler was at the Across the Years (ATY) 48-hour event in Phoenix this past
weekend. He'll probably resume riding his mountain bike more, too.
Jim thinks I should consider ATY and/or other 24-hour events in 2019
after I turn 70 in a few months but I'm just not interested any more. I
spent thirty years training for races from age 30 to 60. For the past
nine years I've really enjoyed more leisurely hikes and walks, long
enough to keep me fit and transport myself to quiet or scenic places.
One of my favorite hikes anywhere is up to Eielson
Ridge in Denali National Park, Alaska,
with majestic Denali Peak, North America's highest
mountain, in the background. (July, 2015)
I also enjoy riding my cyclo-cross bike. I don't want to race with it,
either. We'll see. Maybe someday I'll get competitive again.
Our Labrador retrievers are an important part of our lives. We're pretty much
inseparable from them and have taken them with us on all of our RV
From the beginning of our website in 2005 until late November, 2018,
Cody was often pictured in these journal entries. He was an athletic
black Lab who accompanied us while we ran and hiked thousands of miles
of trails. We got him two years before our AT Adventure Run so he could
run and hike with me on the Trail as much as possible.
Over the years that dog traveled to
more states and provinces than most people do in their lifetimes,
from Florida to Alaska and from Nova Scotia to California.
me at the top of 14,440-foot Mt. Elbert in August, 2010;
Massive, another 14er, is in the background, right.
Unfortunately, a few months before he turned 16 Cody died. That's
ancient in people years for a larger dog. We still think of him fondly
and often. He was literally "the best dog I've ever had" in almost 70
years of living with dogs.
Cody got to be a role model for two little sisters in his later years.
He was nine when we got Casey, our lovable yellow female who was born in
2012. Despite his advancing age, Cody was very gentle and tolerant of the little
squirt as she grew from an exuberant puppy to . . . an exuberant
liked to climb all over Cody. He did the same thing
with his older sister, Tater, when he was
this age, too.
Cody and Casey chasing and sharing sticks after a cold swim in
Turquoise Lake near Leadville, CO
After we bought our house in Peachtree City and knew we wouldn't be
traveling for a while, we decided it would be a good time to get Casey a
puppy to play with before she got too old
(she was almost five already). That's when another little
yellow female Lab joined the family -- Holly.
The next 15 months was the first time either Jim or I had ever had three
dogs at one time.
Whew! Our lives were rather chaotic for more than a year with a young puppy to
train, a still-exuberant girl who needed lots of exercise, and a
senior boy with doggie dementia and loss of some nerve function in his
Cody, Casey, and Holly in late July, 2017
Now that Holly is 19 months old and Casey is six years of age, things
have calmed down quite a bit. Holly has responded well to her training and
Casey has significantly matured. People always comment on how "happy"
they are. Both girls enjoy playing with other dogs and both love all
My plan is to get one or both
girls certified as therapy dogs this year or next so we can take them to schools,
libraries, nursing homes, etc.
Meanwhile, they are great
therapy for us! I saw a poster recently that summed it up quite
nicely: All dogs are therapy dogs. The majority are just
Like Cody, both Casey and Holly love to travel and explore new
territory. They even enjoy going to the vet. They like the attention and
simply getting to go somewhere, anywhere, with us.
Holly (L) and Casey wait eagerly for Jim to throw
the ball for them to chase. (Nov., 2018)
Both girls require a lot of exercise, but Jim and I are good with that
-- we need lots of exercise, too!
We take them for a couple walks every
day, throw balls for them to chase (Holly is as manic about that as
Casey was when she was younger), do continued training to teach them new
things and reinforce previous commands, take them on golf cart rides on
the 100-mile network of paths in Peachtree City, let them play with other
friendly dogs in doggie day care and at friends' houses, and shop with them
at Home Depot and other local stores that allow dogs inside.
We used to run with our four Labs who are no longer alive but since
we can't run anymore, Jim rides his bike with Casey so
she can run:
Unfortunately, we didn't bring either bike with us on this trip. When we
get back home Holly will be developed physically enough for Jim to teach
her to run slowly alongside the bike with the Walky Dog attachment, too.
She loves to run.
This year's and subsequent journals will continue to reflect the changes
in our lives. They will still include travel information;
hiking, cycling, ultra-distance race events, and our other recreational
activities; more dog tales;
gardening and house projects; lots of photos; and whatever
else I decide to share with the world.
Next entry: summary of our 2018-19 winter trip so far
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
Casey-Girl, and Holly-Pup
© 2019 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil