Happy New Year and Next Steps

Wow, it’s hard to believe 2019 is ending and 2020 is beginning! We have managed to fit so much into this year, it’s really been a banner year for us. So here are some of the highlights of where we’ve been and what we’ve accomplished this year, with a few musings for the future.

We started the year off in New Mexico, and we actually spent almost six months there, with ample time in Tularosa/Alamogordo and Deming, where we threw down routes with a state park pass for hiking and history and trips to Tucson, AZ (the desert museum is always our favorite), El Paso, TX (free theater, yoga and flying out of the airport to NH), Las Cruces, NM (ukulele festival and of course all of the free museums and parks) and Silver City, NM (performing, good eats, amazing shops and ice cream). We also spent time in neighboring cities, including a few visits to Roswell to perform, explore and eat excellent ice cream. In May and June, we shifted north, basing ourselves south of Albuquerque mainly, with visits to ruins, time in Taos (the best chocolate ice cream ever!), Santa Fe art explorations for our anniversary and of course a full week falling in love with Albuquerque during the Senior Olympics. We performed a lot throughout New Mexico, with the anchor being at yoga studios, which meant meeting people and, for Jamie, lots of free yoga classes!

At the end of June, we headed north, dusting off our Harvest Hosts path rather than going the campground route, and fell in love with new parts of Colorado, including Pueblo, Old Colorado City in Colorado Springs and a variety of Denver suburbs, with an RV park bordering a huge park perfect for Jamie’s walks. While staying there, Jamie flew to Slovenia, and while Ross’ promised work fell through, he took advantage of the location to see more of the music and comedy scene in Denver and get further work done on his ukulele course. We also performed together in Denver at Your Mom’s House.

After Jamie returned, having said her goodbyes to her grandfather, it was a quick dash out of Colorado, with the next month spent exploring Boulder, CO (complete love and wonderful performing experience!) and a visit to Tillamook and the coast for a few days. We also stayed at a winery with hookups, washer dryer, an open schedule and the nicest people imaginable, and our Tillamook location was perfect for the beach and had absolutely amazing food and drink for purchase.

From Boulder we enjoyed the gorge as we headed north (oh, we also boondocked on the gorge, just amazing!) and spent wonderful time with family in the Eastern part of the state. They catsat for us while we spent almost a week in Seattle, having an absolutely incredible time with Jamie’s cousin, enjoying a Star Wars stage show, outstanding ice cream and our first pho in addition to a great performance. We also fell in love with Seattle, made easier with a gorgeous week of weather, and Ross bought a new game system. When we returned to Ross’ family, via some delicious ice cream, we had some RV trouble, and a generous gift made it easy to get back on the road quickly.

Then it was time to head back. We spent a great night at a brewery in Missoula (with okay beer but tasty seltzer and a great location), and Jamie and Ross went into the town and walked her old haunts, getting ice cream too of course. The next day, Jamie got a call that her grandfather had passed away and the funeral would be in four days. So it was time for quick decisions.

While Ross would take a more typical pace across the country, with a stop to see friends in Iowa, Jamie raced, loading up on a gluten-free bagel sandwich with lox in Missoula, MT before departing at noon Wednesday. She made it with minutes to spare to an 11 a.m. funeral on Saturday in New Hampshire! She also got some tasty ice cream and a nice walk in Wisconsin as well as tons of city driving experience along the way. Ross’ mom acted as her travel agent, booking motels as needed on her path.

Jamie was reunited with Ross and Squeak about a week later, and the fall was full of teaching artist work (ukulele for Ross, theater improvisation for Jamie), performing for yoga and at Amphora (so much delicious food and drink!), teaching, socializing and of course producing the musical Goblin Market at the Hatbox Theatre.

After a full fall, with amazing Hatchland soft serve and Sweetly Offbeat gluten-free cheesecakes, we spent a quiet Thanksgiving together before heading south. We spent time with Ross’ sister and husband and Jamie’s cousin and wife and new baby, visited an awesome cheap winery, had an incredible visit to Savannah where Ross declared we could move there based on the dessert cafe alone and then made it all the way to central Florida, where we are now, in time to visit Galaxy’s Edge, eat a cookie butter sundae and eat a s’mores sandwich, amongst other things, at Disney World before year’s end.

We’ve accomplished a lot this year. We’ve quadrupled our virtual income. We’ve seen tons of bucket list places and found several new places we’d consider moving to. We produced a show we are incredibly proud of.

We also hit a few snags along the way, as Jamie learned the importance of narrowing her focus as a VA and of putting excellent business management practices in place to make her as successful as she can be. Meanwhile, a ukulele course we’d hoped to finish in quarter one is still in process a year later. We’ve also had to let some of our projects, like this blog, slide sometimes to meet our deadlines. But we’ve learned a lot, grown a lot and truly accomplished a lot along the way.

Thank you to everyone who has taken lessons from us and hired us for work this year. Thank you for all of the generous gifts and for cheering us on along the way. We’ve passed the three year mark and while our path is still somewhat unclear, we are narrowing in on next steps as we prepare to settle somewhere, at least part-time, in the relatively near future.

As we gear up with ambitious plans for growth and fun in 2020, we thank you and wish you an incredible year. Happy New Year!

Ross and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie AdventureRoss and Jamie Adventure

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Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.

The Las Cruces Uke Fest plus Silver City Fun

Our adventures have continued in southern New Mexico, and though we both caught a virus that we struggled through for a few weeks, we didn’t let it slow us down too much.

This past weekend was especially fun. Friday, we made our way to Silver City, where we had a return gig at Diane’s Restaurant. After mailing out a yoga CD (thanks to everyone who bought them here) we drove about an hour north from Deming. It’s a gorgeous drive, and returning reaffirmed how much we love it there. We visited favorite old haunts, like the game store and Vicki’s Eatery for homemade ice cream, and new spots, like this incredible vintage shop where every dress I tried on looked incredible and the hats were absolutely gorgeous too.Vicki’s Eatery, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Diane’s Restaurant, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie Adventure

After that, we headed to Diane’s, where we enjoyed a tasty meal, three drinks each (Jamie stuck to port and sherry!) and played three super sets. The audience loved it and showed their love, doubling our compensation with their tips!

The only downsides to the gig were that a) we didn’t get enough sleep and b) Ross missed the concert at the Las Cruces Uke Fest. But no worries – he spent the rest of the weekend soaking up workshops, assisting with sound and making new connections with people from across the country. I volunteered for a few hours too, and enjoyed the jam, but otherwise I occupied myself with visits to a couple of gardens and getting some work done.Flower, Las Cruces, NM | Ross and Jamie AdventureLas Cruces Uke Fest | Ross and Jamie Adventure

After a wonderful weekend, we knew we needed to pack up and leave Deming. But with a few more days at our disposal, we decided a return to Tucson was a priority.

So we returned to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson for another round of animals, cacti and gorgeous views.Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ | Ross and Jamie AdventureArizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ | Ross and Jamie AdventureArizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ | Ross and Jamie Adventure

I also found a family of birds (with seven little babies!) and Ross, as always, made friends too.

Thanks for a wonderful stay, Deming! We highly recommend Roadrunner RV and look forward to returning someday.

________________________________

Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.

Tucson Nights and Delights

Ross and I really loved our visit to Tucson. So much so that we kept extending it! Unfortunately we have been having persistent battery issues, so while we were there Ross installed a new battery for us. (That hasn’t fixed the problems, unfortunately, but that’s for another blog.) When we weren’t working or problem-solving, we found plenty of fun things to do in Tucson. 

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum has been number one on my list to explore in Tucson since I began reading RV blogs. It’s very pricey – $20.50/person – but it includes an aquarium, phenomenal gardens, a zoo full of exhibits and special presentations, a butterfly place, a hummingbird place, cafes, a cave and much more. Since a year’s membership is only $80 and includes unlimited admission, free coffee or tea at every visit and more, I knew we should just get an annual pass so we would have multiple days to explore the wonderland. 

I haven’t enjoyed a place that much since Disney World. I kid you not. Just ask Ross! He loved it too. I think I went at least 5 or 6 times – they have RV parking to make it even easier – and Ross went nearly as many. You drive through a park full of saguaro cactus to get there and Saguaro National Park is just past it – but I will be honest and say we had all the saguaros we needed at the museum. Ross even chose to spend his birthday at the museum – well, the afternoon anyway. (The morning was spent at Toys ‘R’ Us, where I surprised him by decorating the RV with Star Wars. See the feature photo.) But I digress; spending time at the museum was such a gift. 

We visited a few other places in Tucson too. We performed at a local nursing home and a local church (St. Mark’s Presbyterian) while we were in town, and everyone couldn’t have been friendlier. In fact, the church told us we’d always have a home in Tucson, so sweet. We also visited a few stores in a neat part of downtown, including a local food co-op. And we spent an evening visiting a great bookstore and two ice cream places – unfortunately neither were up to our usual standards, but we enjoyed them nonetheless, and the second had coconut milk gluten-free ice cream so it was basically good for me. Right? 

We really fell hard for Tucson. Although we imagine the heat would be too much in the summer months (after all, we saw temperatures in the 80s in December), we could definitely see ourselves here even if it became a popular vacation destination if we end up in the southwest. The music scene didn’t seem to be much of a “scene” to Ross, and left hand turns are awkward, but the people are so nice, the public transportation is great and it’s really an affordable, charming place from what we can tell. 

Thanks Tucson – we will definitely be back! 

Headed to Tucson this year? Let us know. We have a couple of passes to the Desert Museum to give away! 

Travel and Tucson and Changing Holiday Plans

It’s been quite a while since I’ve updated you on our travels. I hope you’re enjoying the holiday season if you celebrate. Ross and I celebrate Christmas, and this year was definitely unique as holidays go!

Ross and I knew we wanted to visit Tucson. It’s warm, it has excellent bike trails and public transportation and it’s beautiful. So we planned to spend a week or so and were happy to book a couple of gigs in town. We planned to head to the Phoenix area after Tucson, both to visit and so that I could catch a flight for the holidays. 

Yes, I planned to head back to NH – for a few gigs! My theater company, Not Your Mom’s Musical Theater, is still based in NH, and around the time Ross and I hit the road I was asked if we’d consider returning to the Mount Washington Hotel, a grand historic hotel in Bretton Woods, for a few performances before the holidays. I was hesitant initially – I’d need to cover my airfare (or find an accompanist) and rehearsing prior to the gig with my actors would be a challenge. But they were persistent, and we were eventually able to negotiate a pay rate and terms that worked for everyone. I was able to find a great rate flying Southwest out of Phoenix, so we decided Ross would stay at an RV park in that area in my absence. 

Unfortunately, RV parks in Phoenix seem to fill up for the season many months in advance. We called a variety of parks on our list and couldn’t find anything in our ideal price range and nothing in a good location. We settled on a park a mile away from public transit on the outskirts of Mesa that we would have to leave by January 1st. At least we were able to negotiate to keep our rental car through Christmas so Ross could sightsee – I was less concerned as I knew the area from a past visit. 

But then I realized; if we have a rental car, we could actually stay in Tucson! Much cheaper camping and it would give us more time in an area we didn’t want to leave. 

So on Sunday, December 18th, Ross gave me a ride in our rental car to Phoenix from Tucson, where we’d gotten a few weeks at at the Pima County Fairgrounds, a beautiful and easygoing park. While Ross spent a week recording a new album, working, playing at open mics and enjoying some free time and space, I rehearsed, prepared food and then spent four days at the hotel playing and singing with two of my extremely talented performers and friends. We performed a two hour holiday set daily and a few shorter sets too. We specialize in customizing musical theater set lists for events and in high-quality performances in unusual, interactive settings.



I had a flight booked to leave at about 5 pm on Christmas Day, which meant I could spend time with my family and have a midday meal (which I helped cook) before leaving. Yesterday’s flight was canceled (I had to fly into Chicago and the weather was bad) but it meant spending more time with family, including a Skype session with my husband, which was a really nice bonus. 

So today is a new travel day. If all goes well, I will be home this evening. 

For the record, we really are enjoying Tucson. We will share more about what we’ve been up to later this week. 


Thanks for reading and Happy Holidays!