Six Months and Counting – Those Who Have Inspired Us

Have I Told You About My Friend Holly Carter?

While I have discussed a little about our decision to expatriate to Panama, I have been remiss in only giving a small mention to the significant influence that Holly Carter and her blog, Let The Adventure Begin!,  had upon our early research and decision-making. Today, I read Holy’s blog post, celebrating their 3rd anniversary of their move to Panama, and I reflected, AGAIN, on the friends we have and the friends will WILL have.

Yesterday, Roque and I hosted a party ringing in the unofficial beginning of summer here in the Mid-Atlantic region. As we begin counting down our last 6 months (+/-) in DC before we head out on our road trip, we have decided to make sure to see and spend as much time as possible with friends and family here before we depart. It was a great time, filled with lots of conversation about our itinerary, gathering hints from those gathered about places to see and full of discussions about how many will travel vicariously as we crisscross the US and parts of Western Canada before heading south. Continue reading “Six Months and Counting – Those Who Have Inspired Us”


Trip Map North – Round 2

Not satisfied with being able to display only a very limited portion of the planned drive from DC through the US and Canada, I continued to work on it and this map shows the whole US-Canadian part of our trip.  (Regrettably, the Google My Maps layers showing segments of the driving will not allow for any more points than 10 and so the planned way points show only as A-J and then restart.)  When enlarged, the map shows the driving plan (as of the moment).  What the map does not show is the ferry route from Anchorage to Juneau and then to Bellingham, WA – on the Alaska Maritime Highway system – that was too much for poor Google maps but which your imagination can complete.

While we are traveling without fixed time limits, we know that we need to get to the US-Canadian border for the travel to Alaska by July, at the latest, and our goal is to be in Vancouver by Labor Day (or thereabouts).  Depending on when we depart, we will be covering the first part of the US (DC to Montana) in about 5-6 months.  On the southern part of the journey, where we will be visiting a large number of the US National Parks on our list, we will have no time constraints and, with luck, will be visiting after schools start and the heaviest of the tourist travel season is past.  If things work out as we hope, it will make for a wonderful fall season of travel through the West and Southwestern parts of the US and perhaps an early winter entry into Mexico.

This blog started when we were 188 working days away from our retirement date; we are now nearing the halfway mark between then and the “end” and things are starting to get real.  We are planning our packing (and revising the list over and over), purging the house of things (thanks to great advice from other Pan American travelers who advised to do this gradually), purchasing gear for the journey (last weekend, a Delorme inReach Explorer – a satellite messaging device), and trying to take advantage of time with friends and family here.

Trip Plan – Part I

One of the most challenging things for me has been trying to work on aspects of the blog BEFORE we leave on the trip. Road mapping? No problem. Making endless lists? No problem. Sorting through belongings in garage and itemizing for donations?  No problem.  This embedding of maps and way points – well, let’s just say that for me, it’s more difficult than mastering phyllo dough or organizing a party for 100 . . .

I have learned how to use Google My Maps to create layers and to show the way points planned for the trip – I even got as far as showing the driving route from DC to Anchorage. But alas, THAT map won’t embed in this blog, as far as I can tell (at least as of this moment). So today’s experiment is with embedding a map – next task is to learn how to embed a map with ALL of our planned way points and not just a portion of a trip.

Plain ol’ Google Maps will allow for a certain number of points to be shown on a driving map and this is what is displayed below.  As I experiment, be patient.  I continue to learn, whether about solar energy, satellite messaging devices, bull bars or bug net hats for Alaska.  Behold the result of some of today’s lessons.

Dr. Seuss and Solar Power

The More that You Read,

The More Things You Will Know.

The More that You Learn,

The More Places You Will Go.

˜ Dr. Seuss

A year ago — no a MONTH ago – had you asked me about solar power, I would have given you a blank look.  What a difference a month makes and shows that the more that I read, the more things I will know and armed with that learning, the more places Roque and I will go.

From the scores of Overlander blogs from we have read and studied over the past couple of months, it seemed pretty clear that life on the road will be a whole lot more comfortable and enjoyable if we have a 12 volt refrigerator with us.  Not to be confused with thermoelectric coolers, 12 volt refrigerator/freezers are true refrigerators and have the capacity to maintain temperature required for real refrigeration, regardless of external temps.  Not only will this allow us to have fresh veggies, beverages and meat food on hand for days, it will allow us to save leftovers, etc. without having to deal with the inconvenience of locating ice and dealing with the melting, to say nothing of the spoilage that inevitably results from days of camping with coolers and ice.  Not a necessity, for sure, and relatively expensive (certainly compared to the cost of ice), but having such a fridge is a luxury we figure will be a great investment considering the amount of time we will be on the road and the unknowns of locating fresh food and ice. Continue reading “Dr. Seuss and Solar Power”