Why RVers Should Join Harvest Hosts Now

Hi everyone! We’ve had a very busy week, hunkering down at our campground in New Mexico while working on a variety of projects toward our business goals.

In the midst of our work, we’ve been finding time to catch up on our Netflix queue (go watch Springsteen on Broadway! It’s amazing!) and to think about what business purchases we should make before year’s end.

This year we decided to invest in a membership with Harvest Hosts, which is something we’ve been considering for a long time. With a Harvest Hosts membership, you’re entitled to stay for free for a night at wineries and other awesome businesses across the country. They suggest you purchase something from the business as a thank you (it’s a great excuse for a wine tasting!), but you’re under no obligation, and there’s no limit to how many places you can stay over the course of the year. Some places even offer hookups or will allow you to stay a second night!

Ross and I love buying local wine and other local goods, and we can’t wait to take advantage of this. But the reason I thought it was important to purchase now, and the reason I’m telling you about it, is that the membership rate is currently only $49 for a year. I’ve been told that as of January 1st, the cost will almost double! On top of that, those who’ve already purchased at $49/year will be grandfathered in and able to renew at that rate indefinitely.

So, frankly, we thought it would be a bad decision not to purchase this now. It’s an investment, if nothing else!

Harvest Hosts is only for self-contained RVs, so if you don’t have your own bathroom or you’re tenting etc., you’re out of luck. But if this sounds like it’s for you, head here to save 10% on the cost of membership and throw a few coins in our coffer too!

Make sure you purchase today; after all, the deal expires on December 31st, and after that you’ll be looking at paying double the price from now on. At the current rate, you’ll earn your fee back in just a night or two of camping.

Whether you need Harvest Hosts or not, we hope you have an incredible New Year and a wonderful 2019!

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We’ve Arrived!

Back in our RV and life is good.

We are still adjusting to small-town life and life on a tight budget again, but we are back in our RV (which seems to be in great shape, minus a broken water filter that must have occurred in transit) and are so thankful.

Our cat, Squeak, is happy. We are happy. And pretty exhausted.

Ross and Jamie Adventure

But with daytime temps in the 50s and sunsets like this, who can complain?

Sunset, New Mexico | Ross and Jamie Adventure

More soon on where we’ve been and what our plans are. But until then, Merry Christmas, if you celebrate! Ross and Jamie Adventure

Overseen in a botanical garden in Oklahoma City

Falling in Love Can Be Fun

We’ve fallen in love, friends. With a mountain town in New Mexico. As I write this, we’ve been in New Mexico for about a week and a half, and we’ve got less than a week before we start work in Colorado. We’ve had such an amazing trip so far. After where my last post left off, we spent a few nights in Texas, including our first night at an Army Corps of Engineers park. Ross and Jamie AdventureCampsite | Ross and Jamie AdventureIt was insanely gorgeous, with water views at our site, and I only wished the nature preserve across the street had been open while we were there. (They even had a little conference room I was able to work in the next morning before we left!)

The nice thing about having to plug in every other night (due to our house batteries being too weak to power the fridge) is we’ve gotten to check out all sorts of beautiful campgrounds along our route. We spent one night in Las Cruces, a city we really love in New Mexico, and we liked the campground so much it’s on our list to return for a month this winter. They’ve got fantastic internet and are actually within walking distance or just about to lots of great restaurants and ice cream.

After our night in Las Cruces, we made our way toward Silver City, New Mexico. We had two gigs in Silver City, both on Friday evenings, and when we saw how charming Silver City was (especially the downtown, where we played our shows), we knew we wanted to stay all week. After our gig at Diane’s Restaurant, I decided with the generous tips we’d received we could justify splurging and staying at Rose Valley RV Park, which is definitely the prettiest campground we’ve ever been to. (Especially for a private campground!) Rose Valley RV Park, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie AdventureSilver City, NM | Ross and Jamie AdventureRose Valley RV Park, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie AdventureRose Valley RV Park, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie AdventureThe sites are spacious and feel very private and you’re surrounded by nature, and there’s a walking trail and the nicest bathrooms/showers you could ask for. Plus, the laundry was really affordable and the people couldn’t be nicer, and it’s extremely convenient for exploring the city. So this is another park we’d love to come back to in the winter. (Only complaint is the internet isn’t great, but they have a little hut where it’s pretty usable for email and easy web work like I need it for, and our cell phone signal was fantastic.)

We fell completely and totally in love with Silver City. Ultimately I think Ross and I might be a little bit torn between Silver City and Las Cruces, but with Silver City being at about 5600 feet above sea level, it seems to stay about ten degrees cooler, so that wins major bonus points with us. We love Las Cruces because it has a great downtown and an arts district and a huge local food movement, and between the college, the four local (free!) museums and the local music and theater scenes, there should be plenty to keep us busy…and it’s only four hours from Tucson, and a few hours north of El Paso.

Silver City was new to us this trip, and in addition to the gorgeous scenery that seems common throughout New Mexico, we found a charming, historic downtown with an amazing urban walking trail, a great local music scene that embraces original music, tons of galleries and cafes and fantastic food and drink that we can afford. It’s a college town and seems to check all of our boxes, with the possible exception of theater, but a community theater opened in 2014 and with the support of the local community, there’s a ton of opportunity there. It’s smaller than Las Cruces, but in many ways that means there are more opportunities for us to be a big fish in a small pond. It’s also an easy two hour drive to Las Cruces or an easy one hour drive to Deming, which is a bit of a bigger city, and it’s only 3 hours from Tucson or 2.5 from El Paso (and only 4 from Albuquerque), meaning more culture and airports are available to us easily.

Silver City is on the list. The “yes, we can move here” list. Honestly, Las Cruces is too…but I think Silver City has charmed us even more somehow. We’ve still got lots of exploring to do, but we would be happy to call Silver City home when we’re ready for a stable base.

I feel like I should tell you more about what we actually did in Silver City! Lots of work, of course, between our gigs and our other work on teaching, virtual assistant work etc. Both restaurants that we played at (Diane’s Restaurant and Little Toad Creek Brewery & Distillery) had outstanding food and drinks. Diane’s definitely has a local focus – we both had outstanding burgers with local green chiles on them – and Ross enjoyed a few local brews while I was a weirdo and drank port! Very tasty. We had to rush to get to Silver City for our gig at Diane’s, so it felt a little bit like eating on the go, but it was really delicious.Ross Malcolm Boyd, Diane’s Restaurant, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Little Toad was a much more laid back experience, thankfully! We checked into our hotel room (it was really cute) downtown at about 3:30 p.m., and after chatting with the local store starting Magic games in the community (Ross) and finding the most charming café for coffee and tea (owned by a former touring musician), we rested up and headed over to Little Toad. They had a basic system in place, so Ross set it up to sound fantastic with our gear and then…we indulged.

I was so excited to have another delicious, free meal, and I wanted to make the most of it. So we started with Cowboy Irish Nachos. Homemade, crispy potato chips as the base, with seasoned beef, cheese sauce (probably the only thing about it that didn’t taste gourmet, but it was still really good), tomatoes, and green chiles….it was insanely delicious. It truly hit the spot. Then Ross had a fun burger and I had a house-smoked salmon plate, with extra tomatoes and cucumbers in place of the rye toast. Delicious and refreshing, not too heavy – which is good because I’d just eaten a ton of nachos! Then Ross was full, but I continued onward, because there was a gluten-free cheesecake! It’s described as having a hint of lemon and a gingersnap crust, and it was absolutely perfect. Perfect. I can’t wait to have it again this fall!Rose Valley RV Park, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie AdventureRose Valley RV Park, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie AdventureRose Valley RV Park, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie Adventure

We were also treated to some amazing drinks. I had their own tequila as the base for a Paloma, with grapefruit juice and soda with a salted rim. It wasn’t sweet, just sour and salty delicious. I also had two amazing martinis. My favorite was the Lavender Lemon Drop Martini, with their house-infused lavender syrup, but I also enjoyed the Red Chile Chocolate Martini with their own Red Chili vodka, Mexican chocolate, cinnamon and Mole bitters. Ross tried their whiskey and also enjoyed an IPA and a porter of theirs, and he was really pleased with it all.

Our show was a big success there too. The next day, I ran around grabbing a gluten-free muffin, walking the urban trail downtown, exploring the area around the Visitor’s Center (and seeing Billy the Kid’s house for two years) and I toured the local historical museum downtown, which had an exhibit on Flamenco from Santa Fe. Ross took it easy, and then we headed to Cactus Jack’s, an entirely gluten-free restaurant and grocery store, so that I could get a delicious pizza. (I also found gluten-free gnocchi for a future treat. Yum!)

We never actually got to any of the other “tourist” stuff in the area, including all of the amazing natural wonders, because we had to work and we loved taking advantage of exactly where we were for the week. But that leaves plenty for us to do when we return. We did manage a visit to Vicki’s Eatery though. It’s currently the only place to get homemade ice cream in town, but that is changing in a few months! Vicki’s ice cream was outstanding…Vicki’s Eatery, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Now we’re spending a couple of nights in Deming before heading to our next performance in Alamogordo and then north to Colorado. It’s been an incredible trip, despite the challenges.

Oh – and our cat is expecting kittens any day now. I’m pulling for Thursday morning before 10 am. Fingers crossed!

Las Cruces Love

It was practically love at first sight…but first, how we got there. 

As I mentioned in my last post, our visit to El Paso, TX was super-short due to weather and the lack of a car. It was the first time I have been in a Walmart and didn’t see any other white people! We were impressed by how art is everywhere in El Paso – even on the highways! Here are a few photos to give you a taste. 

We originally had plans to visit White Sands National Monument for some sand-sledding, but Ross was nervous about getting enough music prep time in, so at the last minute we decided to settle into Las Cruces, NM for a couple of nights. We’re so glad we did!

Their library was surprisingly easy to fit a smaller RV into – at least on a Saturday – and I was overjoyed to see that we were within an easy walk of downtown! So after a few hours researching campgrounds and settling on an expensive KOA with amazing views of the mountains, we took a walk downtown. 

After showing Ross the music store (one of three, it turns out) and the phenomenal used bookstore (they also carry sheet music, albums, comics, theater books etc.; It’s a mess but it’s a fabulous treasure hunt you could spend weeks exploring) I went off to visit some of the FREE museums downtown. 

I started with the Nature & Science Museum. Although these aren’t usually my favorite museums (I prefer history and art typically), I hadn’t gotten a science lesson in recently and I thought I was overdue to learn about the region. Not only did I get to see amazing reptiles and amphibians with the fossils – I was also invited to enjoy a private behind the scenes tour of the museum! Here I saw LOTS of additional animals, learned how they are fed and cared for, including a Gila Monster, and I got to get up close and personal with the creatures I had previously seen behind glass. It was such a unique experience! 

There are three other free museums. I skipped the Railroad Museum, which is a bit of a walk from where I was, but I loved the Art Museum (it’s small but had a phenomenal contemporary exhibit), and the Cultural Center offered exhibits on the region, including the use of quilting by Native Americans and one on military costumes, in a historic and beautiful building that I was glad I made time to visit. 

When we weren’t enjoying downtown, we were learning about this awesome university town, barely 90 minutes from El Paso. It has farmer’s/crafter’s markets twice a week that are one of the best in the state. It has great programming for its residents. Dance classes were dirt cheap – $2-$4 – at many local studios. And it has two downtown theater companies, one more mainstream and one Black Box (A New Brain was on the docket there). And of course anything you couldn’t find in town would be found in El Paso. 

We drove to the KOA, where we were greeted with the best views yet. 


We spent two nights surrounded by mountain ranges and beauty everywhere we looked. The gorgeous showers didn’t hurt either! 

Monday morning, we packed up and headed to Mountain View Market Co-op, where I struggled to stick to my budget (but did) and was impressed by their offerings, especially the wide variety of local honey products. Ross meanwhile visited a comics shop with fun collector’s items. On our way here, I had been brainstorming where to get Ross a taco – he’d been craving one and we hadn’t had one in Texas or New Mexico – when we passed Bosa Donuts & Burritos. So after I ate my own lunch, we walked to get Ross a donut and a taco plate. The donuts are moist on the inside but crispy on the outside, and after a bite of a taco, Ross said, “Yup. I wanna live here.” This institution has been around for twenty years or so and I really hope I will be healthy enough to eat it when we return!

Everyone was incredibly friendly in Las Cruces. Everyone! We felt incredibly safe walking around and driving was easy to navigate, even for me. Hubbard’s, another music store, was so friendly that they invited Ross to their regular Monday night jam. And we read about an LGBTQ choir, a ukelele group, theaters and a film society in town, so it seemed like we’d fit right in. 

Like Missoula, MT, Las Cruces is surrounded by mountains and completely gorgeous. We would prefer to learn Spanish, but unlike El Paso, we didn’t always feel like the minority here, so we felt we’d be fine without the second language. 

Suffice to say, we will be looking up their university offerings. Arts seem to be pretty cheap here, which may mean it’s hard to make a living in them, but the cost of living also seems low based on what we were seeing. Lots of mixed use communities we would be happy in. The bus system is pretty extensive and cheap ($1/ride, with other discounts available for frequent users) and buses to other parts of the region and El Paso are also available – particularly good for airport options I imagine.  

As we headed West, we passed the Continental Divide, enjoyed 180 degree mountain views in Arizona and New Mexico (it was like a sea of mountains) and passed a Geronimo Surrenders monument. 

We will be back, New Mexico. As soon as we can!