Wow Happy New Year everyone! Can you believe 2016 is over already?? We certainly can’t and are a bit sad to see it go, while being very excited for what 2017 has in store. In 2016 we got married, went to Hawaii, moved into an RV full time, completed 3 Half Ironman races and a Full Ironman, travelled over 13,000 miles, visited 35 states plus St Croix and two Canadian provinces…this year will be one for the books!
We’ve been so blessed to have had so much time to spend with family and friends over the past three months, and that continues for a few more weeks before we’re back to being solitary in Bertha once again. We last left you with Christmas celebrating and this week we welcomed in the new year. We spent last Wednesday catching up with some old high school friends of Jim’s, well, mainly of sister Jamey’s really. We met up with Jamey’s friend Megan, her husband, and two sweet little girls at Amazing Jake’s – an indoor arcade, bowling alley, buffet, movie theater…this place has everything a kid could dream of! We spent almost the entirety of daylight there, that was partly spent bowling three games…Heather and Jim’s mom, Deb, were at a tie after two games (they each had won one but Deb was up by about 7 pins overall), so of course we had to have a tie breaker round. It was a real nail biter but Heather ended up winning the third game…however, Deb was still up by ONE pin over the three game span and took home the bowling trophy. Once we had our fill of arcading, we headed over to our friends’ house for dinner. We met Kash and Shawn at their home in Scottsdale, Kash is one of Heather’s closest friends from San Diego and has asked Heather to be in her fall 2017 wedding. They had delicious Mexican take-out waiting for us (we’ve missed good Mexican food so much this year!) and we had an absolute blast catching up with them. We really miss hanging out! We chatted and caught up and eventually transitioned to playing JackBox – a very silly game of trivia-ish questions that are really designed to make everyone laugh. It was a super fun night and so wonderful to see them again!
Thursday we spent hanging around Jim’s mom’s house, getting a little work done, some laundry, and some planning. We snuck in a really nice Mexican lunch before we headed out to meet another couple of friends for dinner. Ty and her husband, Adam, are in town from Michigan…you may remember them from a few months ago – they let us park on their farm in Michigan for a few days. They were in AZ to visit family and we were lucky to get some time to have dinner with them. We met at The Old Spaghetti Factory downtown and had a magical time chatting with them for a while before they had to get their baby home and to bed. Ty is one of those people who has a contagious energy about her and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy when you spend time with her, and Adam is a pretty wonderful guy as well.
The next day was Jim’s birthday – he turned lucky number 37! The day was his to do what he pleased…and he amazingly decided on shopping for new jeans! We had a nice little breakfast with the fam before just the two of us headed out for a few hours of shopping. Jim is not a shopper and doesn’t ever do it, especially now that we’re living in an RV. However, his jeans have holes in them (not the stylish kind that you buy that way) and he is long overdue for some new shirts that don’t say Ironman on them. We headed straight to Nordstrom’s Rack and had a very successful trip, thankfully, since convincing him to shop isn’t easy. And shopping at the holidays is the best; he got two new pairs of jeans, 5 new shirts, and a new pair of shoes for a very affordable amount. After stopping by a Filiberto’s for another burrito (birthday boy’s choice), we made a quick stop at REI to grab Heather a raincoat for our upcoming trip to Portland (we had gift cards for this, which was a super bonus). Once the shopping was done, we went back to the house for an amazing dinner made with love by Jim’s mom. We had steaks, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and freshly baked biscuits…holy moly it was amazing! She had also made an incredible Texas Sheet cake (Jim’s fave) but we all needed a little time after dinner before eating it. We sat down to watch a documentary on minimalism, the idea of living small and being aware of our consumerism (might be a little contradictory that we watched it immediately after shopping!). After the movie, we sang happy birthday and ate the super delicious cake before calling it a night. What a great birthday and so nice to be able to spend it with family.
Saturday it was time to prepare for our flight to Portland! As we talk about our plans for 2017, it seems we can officially say that we’re looking to put roots down in Portland. We had talked about this idea before we moved into the RV even, we both love the area up
there (though the overcast weather makes Heather a tiny bit nervous) and we wanted to take a little trip over New Year’s to do some exploring. Jim’s mom and sister Jamey came along with us, allowing us to get more quality time and to ring in the new year together. We arrived in Portland, grabbed our rental car, and were checked into our hotel by 6:00pm. The hotel was in a great location and, despite the fact that it was actually SNOWING (yes, it was snowing!), we walked the quarter of a mile to the local Thai place for dinner. The place we chose was awesome and we had a very warm, very tasty New Year’s Eve Thai dinner. It was a long day so we headed back to the hotel, changed into our pajamas, and all waited to watch the ball drop. We cheersed to the New Year with our individual mini champagne bottles, before turning out the lights and cuddling up in our warm bed.
Being that Sunday was New Year’s Day, we weren’t sure how many places would be open and weren’t quite sure how to spend the day. We headed out and found a really cute little spot for brunch. We were greeted and seated by an energetic woman wearing a dinosaur with sunglasses t-shirt who had the kind of energy that made you just want to hug her. We’re loving Portland already. After a perfect brunch, we decided just to drive around and see a few of the Portland sights we wanted to see. We drove through some neighborhoods, stopped for 2 hours at the infamous Powell’s Bookstore, the world’s largest independent bookstore, wandered down by the waterfront (but only for a minute, seriously, it was SO cold!), drove through Washington Park and saw snow on the ground, did a tiny bit of shopping (mainly Jim’s mom), checked out Pioneer Square, and ended with dinner at a great little modern diner. It was the most perfect day of sightseeing.
Monday was our first year anniversary! We can’t believe it’s already been a year since we eloped in Vegas in our fancy flannel shirts, or just how incredible this first year of marriage has been. We started the day with a late family breakfast before mom and Jamey were kind enough to allow us to take the car and get a little alone time on our anniversary. Jim’s mom even googled romantic things we could do that day and suggested we go see Multnomah Falls, a place Heather had been dying to see! So that’s exactly was we did. The falls are about 30 miles away, taking us through the breathtaking winter landscape and into more snow. We made it to the falls, took a couple of photos, and almost immediately decided to head back. We weren’t prepared for the ice and the 25 degree weather so we decided we’d come again in the summer! But it was just stunning to see, and even beautiful to see with the snow and ice. Once we were back in Portland, we snuck back to the hotel for a nap (yeah, we’re old), before heading back out for dinner and a drink. We attempted a stop at the Whiskey Library, a trendy spot with fancy whiskey cocktails, but the wait was long and we ended up sitting downstairs and having a warm mug of mulled wine. We realized just how hungry we were and sought out a place to eat, deciding eventually on Japanese. It was another great spot and nice dinner together, really it was a wonderful anniversary. We picked up mom and Jamey from the bookstore before heading back to the hotel for warmth and rest.
Yesterday, Tuesday, we had some planning and work to do for the first part of the day in Portland. We then decided to get a nice, greasy lunch and then, of course, stopped at VooDoo Donuts, a Portland must. We spent a little time driving around a couple of different neighborhoods and dreaming about what it might be like to live there. All of our plans are still in the works, but we’re thinking we’d like to stay in the RV for the first few months of the year and move to Portland in the summer. We have a lot to figure out but couldn’t be more excited! The remainder of the day was spent travelling, flying from Portland to Salt Lake City and then back to Phoenix. We’d call this a very successful trip!
Thank you for following our journey this past year, we hope you’ll continue to stay with us in 2017. Happy New Year to you all!
Total RV Trip Miles: 13,085