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Welcome to my travel blog

Wanderlust:

a strong desire to wander + travel and explore the world.

” Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. Explore. Dream. Discover. “

— Mark Twain.

Playing tourist in my hometown. Naples, Florida

Pelicans at 3rd Ave S

When I grew up in Naples in the early 1980’s other than the beach I thought there was “nothing to do!” Now it is on of the top travel destinations in the USA. I have had the privilege these past two weeks to relax and explore my hometown so I wanted to share a few of my favorite things to do here.

THE BEACH: Any of them are beautiful. My favorites are in Old Naples where many of the original boat dock pilings and the Naples Pier are located.

BIKE RIDING: Downtown is a fun way to spend a day. Explore some of the local shops; my fav is the Olde Naples Surf shop, ice cream parlours like Regina’s, beautiful homes, art galleries, art sculptures every where you look, unique landscaping and stunning banyon trees to see along the way.

WATER SPORTS: Kayaking, boating, paddle boading, fishing, waverunners; pretty much the best part of Naples is spending time doing anything on the water.

SUNSET: Every one is unique, and in my opinion the more clouds the better. Its like a work of art being formed before your eyes.

PARKS: The Naples Botanical Gardens, Naples Zoo, Conservancy of Naples, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Gordon River Greenway, Baker Park, and many more local parks to explore and be in nature.

EAT! : We all love a good meal. I have traveled all over the world and Naples has some of the best resturants I have ever been to! My favorites are Osteria Tulia/Bar Tulia, Island Gypsy, The Bay House, Tommy Bahamas, Celebration Food Park, D’Amicos, Gumbo Limbo, Fernandez the Bull, The Bowl. The list could go on, but you get the idea, there are a lot of great places to eat here.

LIVE MUSIC: I love going out to listen to talented live musicians. Our music scene has gotten really good here in the past few years. Facebook or Google are a great way to keep up on whats going on. My favorites are Sarah Hadeka, Ben Allen Band, Matty Jollie Entertainment, and Edith Diamond.

Boat docks at The Island Gypsy resturant in Isle of Capri, FL.
Sunset at my favorite beach 3rd Ave S

What are some of your favorite places in Naples? How about your hometown, what are your favorite things to do where you live? I hope you and your family are all healthy and making the most of these challenging times, spend your days being creative and with the ones you love. xoxo

For more of my photography and travels check out my Instagram Angelique_Ireland

The Seven Wonders of Oregon

If you have been to the Pacific North West you know the unique beauty of Oregon. If you have not been to Oregon yet your missing out on one of the most beautifully diverse places in the USA! Did you know the state of Oregon has seven wonders ? I have had the privilege of visiting 6 of them and plan to add the Painted Hills #7, very soon!

Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint

Let’s start with my personal favorite; the Oregon Coast. Growing up on the Gulf Coast of Florida the beach has always made me feel at peace. The Oregon Coast however with its 363 magnificent miles is one of a kind. If you start at the historic Goonies town of Astoria, be sure to stop at the 1906 Peter Iredale Shipwreck on the beach at Fort Stevens. Next on my list is Cannon Beach, famous for Haystack Rock and tons of charming restaurants and shops to explore. Plan to take your time driving and check out some of the many amazing waysides & viewpoints that make the already breathtaking drive along Hwy 101 more unique. There’s hiking, fishing, crabbing, whale watching, sea lion caves, light houses, surfing, sand dunes, off roading and so much more to do along the way!

Wallowa Mountains

At 9,838 ft The Wallowa Mountains are affectionately known as the Alps of Oregon. As we drove through the charming little town of Joseph, we felt like we stepped back into the old West. The sapphire blue Wallowa Lake was a stunning place to spend a day kayaking and fishing. We took the tram, built by the Swiss, up to the top to enjoy the views, and hike. Everywhere we went we saw deer, we even had several walk through our campsite. We enjoyed a scenic ride on our Harley-Davidson winding through Hell’s Canyon. At 7,993 ft it is the deepest river gorge in North America ! Even deeper than the famous Grand Canyon, at only 6,000ft.

Wallowa Lake Tramway

The stunning landscape across Oregon is ever changing, from the Coast, through the Columbia River Gorge where we love to hike to amazing waterfalls, to Mt Hood and the Willamette National Forrest. After a visit to Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood we drove the beautiful Hwy 26 towards Bend and spent a day at Smith Rock State Park. Its an awesome rock climber destination or a beautiful place to hike along the Deschutes River with rock formations that look like your on the moon!

Smith Rock State Park

Continue to drive south with a stop in the charming town of Bend and head to Crater Lake. The views are spectacular from one of the many platforms, and the hiking is great for the adventurous. Crater Lake is in a caldera, with a depth of 1,949ft its the deepest in the US! Another beautiful drive is Hwy 242 from the cute cowboy town of Sisters you wind through lava fields to Dee Wright Observatory where on a clear day you can see several mountain peaks.

Notice the chipmunk who posed for me!

The beauty of Oregon is endless and there are so many fun ways to explore!

Our favorite RV gadgets

Living in an RV has its own unique set of benefits and challenges. After a long day driving or exploring local waterfalls we like to come home to relax and watch movies and the Dish Playmaker has made that possible. We highly recommend splurging on it if you want to do the same. We also have Apple TV that allows us to get Netflix and Amazon Prime.

One of things we took for granted is the need for WiFi! But we discovered Verizon MiFi Jet packs. These tiny little devices have made it possible to stay connected when we need to be. They allow you to turn the WiFi off and on and connect multiple devices as needed. They cost about as much as an additional phone line and take up as much space as a phone, which is a bonus in the tiny home lifestyle.

Something we have learned alot about is the importance of number 2 and how to deal with it… ewww gross!! But when your living in an RV and your not hooked up, you have to deal with “dumping” the stuff that no one wants to talk about. After buying several things that did not work, we finally discovered the amazing Organic Happy Campers odor free holding tank treatment. Its worth every penny! As boondockers for any length of time this little tub of stuff will do what it says and make your lives more enjoyable between dumping.

Living in the woods can get very dirty. My favorite gadget is by far my Dyson V8 cordless stick vacuum cleaner. Its easy to use, takes up very little space and has excellent suction. I probably obsess a bit more than I should about keeping the RV clean but I love to come home to relax in a tidy space. It also works well to suck up bugs… yes bugs, we get a lot of spiders and in Oregon there are these creepy stink bugs who drive us nuts, so I just vacuum them all! The Dyson also works well to help keep the Jeep clean too.

Some of our other favorite things is our little propane fire pit. We use it when there are no campfires allowed due to fire bans. Its nice for warmth, ambiance and does not require any wood. One of our first RV warming gifts was our InstantPot. At first I didn’t get the draw of this, but once we used it a few times we both got hooked! You can cook most things in about 45mins without a lot of work. My favorite dish by far is pot roast/beef stew, comfort food at its best.

The handy heater

The last 6 months we have been living and working on a 30 acre horse ranch near Springfield, OR. Winters here are cold and wet, especially for a Florida girl! We have electric heat in the RV but some days we have needed a little extra heat to take the edge off. Friends of ours recommended The Handy Heaters. These little plug in heaters can be set to a temperature and will turn off and on as needed. They also help with the moisture and humidity inside. That along with cozy blankets, fleece lined leggings and wool socks I have survived during some 25* nights in our little tin can home on wheels!

We have both learned so much about simplicity and have a new found appreciation for space and organization since moving into our 450sq ft motor coach 11 months ago. We are grateful for this experience and all that it continues to teach us.

Thank you all for following & liking my posts. My next blog will be about the seven wonders of Oregon! xoxo Angelique

The West is calling

Charles & Angelique

” I haven’t been everywhere yet, but it’s on my list! ~Susan Sontag

We left Naples, Florida on April 4, 2019, our motor home filled with most of our belongings and hearts filled with anticipation. Our destination was at the end of the Oregon Trail. 3,216 miles plus a little more for detours and planned stops along the way. First stop Georgia, to visit my family and store a few of my paintings, extra clothes and keepsakes while we travel. We sold our furniture, and donated the rest of our stuff. Keeping only the “necessities” and maybe a bit more… Four of each kitchen essentials seemed sufficient for the two of us. The process of purging all your stuff causes a bit of anxiety but surprisingly once it was complete it brought me so much peace.

Next stop Nashville!!! We had never been to Music City and it did not disappoint. We stayed at Nashville Shores RV park just outside the city and unloaded our jeep to explore the downtown music scene. First club we hit was Tootsies which was really high energy but then we opted for a quaint bar called Hap & Harry’s and discovered some awesome local talent playing acoustic guitar. After enjoying the vibrant city with our friends Terry & Paula; who flew out from Oregon to help us drive back, we set out for the open road again.

Casino Boondocking!

Did you know that most Casinos let you boondock in their parking lots? What is boondocking…. Free camping, without amenities! Definitley a great place to stop for a night to save money on RV sites. Pro tip : make sure your water tanks are filled so you have enough for showers ect. And always ask for permission at the front desk so as to avoid any middle of the night issues.

Our next stop was New Mexico, although it was unplanned it ended up being a beautiful place to hunker down during a crazy 70mph wind storm that swept across the state. We got an spot at the gorgeous Route 66 RV Resort, and used the five star club house amenities. We both highly recommend it for a splurge!

As the landscape changed I got more excited. Driving towards Flagstaff, AZ was breathtaking. Snow still tipped the peaks even in mid April. I had no idea they had mountains that big! I am unsure why but something has always drawn me to Arizona. Insert song : “Always remember us this way” by Lady Gaga ->->-> “that Arizona sky burning in your eyes…you look at me and babe I wanna catch on fire”

“The Chapel” at Desert Bar

We pulled into Lake Havasu City, Arizona our home for the next four days. You could see the beautiful lake from our campsite at Campbell Cove RV Resort. We set up camp and set out to explore. Our favorite day was 4 wheeling in our Jeep out to the infamous Desert Bar, an old copper mine. “Nellie E Saloon” is situated in the Buckskin Mountains and only accessible by an off road vehicle but most definitely worth the dusty drive. We enjoyed a delicious lunch from a local BBQ food cart while listening to a great live band. The unique atmosphere is like no place I have ever been. Lake Havasu is a large reservoir on the Colorado River with stunning canyon views. We spent the next day boating on the lake, which is a must do while your there.

Taking the road less traveled is always an adventure! En-route to Oregon we took the picturesque Route 395 through California, much of which was very desolate. Our next stop was Mammoth Lake, and may have been a bit ambitious due to the lingering winter conditions. It was very beautiful and very covered in snow. Once we rested for the night we kept on truckin on our way to Lake Tahoe.

Breathtaking gondola ride up Heavenly above Lake Tahoe

Driving a 38ft motor home towing a 24ft trailer is not for the faint of heart. Neither is being a passenger on her first RV road trip through the Sierra Nevada mountains!! Some of our travels were mapped out and some were spur of the moment. Deciding to take the shorter route up Kingsbury Grade to Lake Tahoe was one of those moments I will never forget! At a glance it seemed a bit intimidating, but the 8% grade and winding road terrified me as we climbed the hills going 10mph!!! The way down was a whole different thrill. Thank goodness for Charles’ mad driving skills, grade brakes, trailer brakes and my prayers. We made it safely down but I would certainly warn other RVer’s about choosing this road towing a heavy load. Lake Tahoe is a stunning place and was worth the wild drive.

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

After three gorgeous days exploring Tahoe it was time to roll on to our ultimate destination; Oregon! Where we would park our home, spend some quality time with family, explore and settle in for a bit.

Getting ready for a new adventure

Deciding to move into an RV full time was a hypothetical conversation we had during one of our nightly walks on the beach. We were living downtown Olde Naples, Florida in a charming but tiny (650sq ft) condo a block off the swanky 5th Ave S and a 10 minute walk to the beach. We were both working full time; Charles is a residental building contractor and I was a visual manager at my favorite clothing store Free People. Life was good! We have both always loved to travel and have had the opportunity to explore many amazing places together, including Greece, Switzerland, Italy! But we wanted to see more of the Western US and be closer to Charles family in Oregon, without actually living there the entire year. Mostly because of me. Growing up in sunny FL I have grown accustomed to blue skies and Oregon is know as one of the wettest places to live.

So this idea began to bubble up about living in an RV; being on wheels so we could chase those blue skies and 70* temperatures. Why not?? We both were willing to give it a try. But this was a conversation about something that seemed like an unattainable lifestyle. We started to do research about other people like us who were living full time in their motorhomes, and there were lots of them! I followed a bunch of RV’ers on instagram and we watched You Tube videos to get tips.

Charles has owned a couple of RV’s and is what I would call a professional driver. He can drive anything and really loves to drive. He is also a mechanic, and can pretty much fix anything. Which is a huge relief for me, I like to drive but I have never driven a big rig like that before!

We knew we wanted a big enough motor home to live in and not feel too cramped. We went to a few RV shows and found the models we both liked. Then on January 2, 2019 we bought this one! Its a 38ft 2009 Fleetwood Pace Arrow, has a full kitchen, three slides, and a bathroom. It works out to be about 450sq ft of living space with the slides out. It also has an awning for the porch, and lots of storage compartments underneath for all our stuff. { more about “stuff” later }

New Floors!

The first thing we did was tear out the carpet, it was worn out and an awful color. Once we tore the carpet and linoelum out, we installed beautiful new waterproof luxury vinyl plank floors. It modernized it so much and made it feel fresh. Charles also installed new white quartz countertops, a stainless honeycomb backsplash { to replace the creepy outdated mirrors } we re-upholstered the window coverings, and then we scrubbed it inside and out. Now this RV is our home!

Living on a beautiful horse ranch in Oregon!

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