“If We Haven’t Seen It, We Want To” (Guest Post)

Hello everyone,

We are Doug and Melanie, two retirees (ages 69 and 62, respectively) who left Cleveland, OH in July to spend one year traveling in our Airstream.  We are best friends who love travel, adventure and nature.  We were very lucky to meet Shelly and Tracy while boondocking in Anza Borrego and then to see them again at Imperial Dam LTVA.

There are many ways to travel in an Airstream.  Some stay in one spot for a full season, some move from place to place every few days, while others travel to a location and stay for an extended period.  We prefer to stay in a location for 10-30 days and saturate the area by exploring, then move on. 

We greatly prefer to boondock (as far out as possible), but this 360 +/- day trip is a combination of boondocking and campgrounds.  We hadn’t boondocked prior this trip and didn’t know how much we would like it, so we made a lot of advance reservations in campgrounds; most reservations had to be made 6-12 months in advance to obtain a site (can’t wait for Covid to be over).

Both of us love to hike/backpack to explore new areas.  If we haven’t seen it, we want to.  We hike between 5 and 15 miles most days.  We prefer to travel off trail following ravines and canyons, climb to the top of hills/mountains, just to see what we find.  Often a planned five-mile trip turns into 12-15-mile journey just to see what is around the next bend or over that hill, or that hill or that one. 

Beauty is everywhere in nature (sometimes you have to look harder to see it), and we want to see as much as we are able. 

Our hikes have taken us through slot canyons so narrow we had to exhale to squeeze through, up almost vertical inclines, over 20-foot cliffs, down ropes and up ladders.  We crawled through caves, waded chest deep through water and slogged through miles of deep sand.  You want a workout for your quads? Climb a 150’ sand dune before dawn; it does wonders for cardio too.

As previously mentioned, we love to boondock, as far out and away from people as possible.  To make this possible, we outfitted our Airstream with a composting toilet, solar panels, and lithium batteries, and we and combined the waste holding tanks to make one very large grey tank.  We have learned ways use less than a gallon of water to wash dishes three times a day, and both of us can still take a short shower occasionally (a normal shower takes 11-15 gallons of water). All this is to expand our time off grid. 

However, the Airstream is not built to go off pavement and get us to the campsites we want.  So, we modified our truck to go offroad and ordered an offroad camper from Australia.  We will put our Airstream up for sale when we return to Cleveland and then go even farther away from it all in our new camper.

Next year’s trip will be different from this year’s.  Ah, adventure awaits!

From Shelly: I hope Melanie and Doug’s infectious enthusiasm is clear! What may not be is Doug’s beautiful photography, because I chose for this entry only those photos with him and Mel in them.

To keep their friends updated on their adventures, Doug sends an email with a short recap plus a link to his curated photos that their friends can admire on large screens. That format suits their style—an emphasis on photos over narration—although get together with them after a long day of hiking and they’re overflowing as well with stories and laughter.

Thanks Doug! See you guys on the road.

Doug and Melanie

Doug and Melanie are avid explorers and hikers. They travel with their Kimberly Kamper, and their home base is Ohio. (For more posts by these authors, click on their names, above.)

5 thoughts to ““If We Haven’t Seen It, We Want To” (Guest Post)”

  1. Nice Guest Post! A slightly different take – sounds like they are having a grand time! One common thing all our traveling friends have is a love of meeting new people! Enjoy!