Nine Months on the Road, Just Getting the Hang of It

It seems like just yesterday that I was writing the 6 Months in Review post from my parent’s house in Virginia.  We knew that the summer would fly by, but it seems like fall is passing even quicker.  When I started adding up numbers of nights under the stars, miles driven, and hours volunteered I came to appreciate our journey in a new way.  We volunteered the same number of hours in the last 3 months as we did in our entire first 6 months on the road.  We are driving fewer miles, moving at a slower pace, but getting to experience more and give back more.  I think we are starting to get the hang of this!

snow on the car in Fort Collins

Feels like we've come full circle, getting snowed on and heading south

A few milestones from the last quarter before I run the numbers:

  • Last month we finally paid off / resolved the last medical bill from Jay’s accident on Week 7.
  • This month we had the first time experience of staying with new friends that we met during our travels.
  • During Month 7 we had our first radio interview by a news source.
Jay and Sharon on Intrepid Trail

The last 3 months have also seen us both riding a lot more

Things we are excited about in the next 3 months:

  • Volunteering with the National Park Service in the Grand Canyon — we will be hiking into the canyon and staying at the bottom for a few days removing tamarisk.
  • Spending Thanksgiving with Jay’s family in Phoenix — and Jay will continue his tradition of riding the Flight of the Pigs ride on the day after Thanksgiving
  • Exploring California — we have lots of friends there to visit and cool places to see and volunteer
  • Testing the waters on bicycle touring  — I am determined to at least try bicycle touring and we are hoping to start small in southern Arizona or California
  • I’m also hoping to learn to ski (both downhill and cross country)
Abajo Peak in fall colors

Fall is almost over, but we were lucky to experience brilliant fall colors in southern Utah

Hours Volunteered:  195.5 hours in the last 3 months, 391.5 hours for the last 9 months.

We have increased our average volunteering per week from 7.5 hours per week in the first 6 months to 15 hours per week in the last 3 months.
During the last quarter we have also had the opportunity to have a greater impact working on projects where we have expertise or experience.  For example, Jay took the lead on installing irrigation for the native plant demonstration garden at the Kane Ranch for Grand Canyon Trust.  Sharon led a photography workshop for junior high school kids in Chinle, Arizona through the Muskoka Foundation.  We have also been trying to build up experience in trail building and have had the opportunities to work on trails in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Utah, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
Jay working on irrigation at Kane Ranch

Jay working on irrigation at Kane Ranch

States & Provinces:  
In the last 9 months…
3 Provinces
30 States
and the District of Columbia
sunset over sand flats recreation area

Sunset over Sand Flats Recreation Area

Miles on the Car:  Well, the odometer has crossed the 100,000 mark.  It was at 90,000 around June 1st.  We have driven a bit fewer miles in the last few months, but mostly we are just covering more miles on dirt and covering shorter distances at a time.  We are starting to see some wear and tear and are looking forward to installing new springs this week or next.
Jay working on car

We have been struggling with collapsed springs since early in our trip -- we hope to resolve that later this week!

Top Posts in the last 3 months:
In case you missed them, here are the most popular new posts on our blog in the last 3 months.
The blog continues to pick up readers.  We had 5,183 views on the blog in the last 3 months.  We have 47 active subscribers, 35 of whom are not related to us.
Budget: Without any major setbacks in the last 3 months we have managed to stay on budget, but in our first 6 months we had over $7,000 in emergency expenses between Jay’s medical bills and car repairs.  As we look at the year ahead and continue to enjoy life on the road we are more interested in finding sponsorship or ways to earn money along the way.  Let us know if you have any ideas!  And of course we always appreciate your support, especially in the form of gas gift cards or items from our wish list.
jay and sharon in tent
Nights Under the Stars: 42 in the last 3 months, 99 nights total for the last 9 months.  It’s exciting to be so close to 100 nights sleeping under the stars.  Right now we are in Colorado and it gets colder everyday, but as we head south we plan to keep tent camping.
Thank you so much for reading our blog and for supporting us on this journey.  We welcome your ideas and feedback as we finish out a full year on the road.
jay in lick wash

A fun photo of Jay in Lick Wash, Utah

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5 responses to “Nine Months on the Road, Just Getting the Hang of It

  1. Sharon and Jay — I’m so proud of how much both of you have accomplished over the past 9 months! It’s exciting to hear about new places and to learn about new volunteer opportunities all across the country. I look forward to reading more blog posts as you continue the journey! Safe travels & happy volunteering! 🙂

  2. Love the blog. I’m going to be setting off on a long road trip myself. Any tips, strategies or recommendations on finding your volunteer work?

    • Hi Dillon! Welcome to the blog! How exciting that you are getting ready for a long trip. Hope you will check out the Briefcase to Backpack site, we found it helpful. Your comment has reminded me that I planned to write a How To post about finding volunteer opportunities. I will get that rolling and put it up on Friday. Thanks for asking!

  3. I am so proud of the two of you for the planning and saving you did to make your dream come true! Keep on keeping on!

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