Welcome! I’m Mary, an early retiree who escaped from the workforce in 2016 and never looked back. Although I enjoyed every single one of the jobs I held in the fields of finance and human resources, my transition to retirement was a smooth and welcome one. My husband, Alan (also an early retiree), and I have been married for nearly 40 years and we have two amazing kids – a son Ryan, now 24, and a daughter Kyra, now 19. Both kids have been traveling with us since they were tiny tykes as we have explored this magnificent country of ours from coast to coast, including Alaska. Our family lives in the mountains of the northeast and enjoys a number of outdoor activities including camping, boating, hiking, biking and kayaking. My special interests include reading, health and fitness, planning our next travel adventure and, of course, blogging! If you’d like to learn more about me, be sure to visit my post “I Can’t Go Camping, So . . . “ (link HERE) and take the quiz!
Since Reflections Around the Campfire marks my first experience in the world of blogging, I imagine that many of you stopping by this virtual campfire would be curious as to my background and credibility. I’ve been writing creatively for more than 15 years simply for my own personal satisfaction, and I try to do so with an easy, conversational style which feels very comfortable and natural to me. In 2017, I had the privilege of having a personal essay published in a major magazine.
As for my camping credentials, please know that Alan and I have been camping for more than 35 years and have made six cross-country camping trips – four for extended vacations and two for personal business – in addition to countless trips of a shorter length. Although a travel trailer is our home away from home now, our lifetime of camping began with a small and simple tent.
Newly engaged with big dreams and not much in the way of disposable income, Alan and I turned to camping as an inexpensive way to combine our love of the great outdoors with what would become one of the top priorities in our lives – traveling throughout the fifty states of our grand and glorious nation. In fact, our honeymoon was a month long, cross-country fall camping adventure to visit a number of the well-known National Parks and Monuments of the West: Yellowstone, Glacier, Grand Teton, Rocky Mountain, Devil’s Tower and Mount Rushmore. That trip solidified our love of the wild and beautiful places that our National Parks encompass and our penchant for road trips of any length.
A little more than 10 years ago, we bought our first travel trailer – a Jayco Jay Flight 27BH. We loved that travel trailer and put over 40,000 miles on it. The times we spent camping with our kids - whether we were out exploring America or simply relaxing at a favorite lake near our home - provided some of the most precious memories of my life.
In 2017, we purchased a Creek Side 26RLS travel trailer made by Outdoors RV Manufacturing (ORV) which we tow with a GMC Sierra 2500 4x4 pickup truck. Since the kids were no longer traveling with us on a regular basis, a bunkhouse model was no longer needed. The rear living layout in our Creek Side provides extra space in our “retirement home,” while retaining enough sleeping options to allow the kids to join us whenever they can. ORV is a small company located in the mountains of eastern Oregon that builds RVs for outdoor enthusiasts like us, with higher ground clearance, extra insulation, thermal pane windows, large tanks for fresh, black and gray water, and a bigger refrigerator that includes a cold weather package. This genuine “four seasons” travel trailer allows us to camp earlier in the spring and later in the fall, and extends our ability to camp without hookups in the public lands that we love. Our campsites of preference include those in State and National Parks, National Forests and Army Corps of Engineers (COE) campgrounds where we enjoy the beauty and solitude that only nature can provide.
So, please . . . Be sure to read my “Welcome!” comments at the right to get a feel for the flavor of this blog, and do sign up to follow Reflections Around the Campfire via email in the lower right corner of this page. New blog posts will be delivered directly to your Inbox so that you’ll never miss one. Know that you’re always welcome to stop by the campfire and join in the conversation. Comments will build our little campfire community and yours are both encouraged and appreciated. Please understand that I’m a big believer in kindness so, while different ideas and opinions are welcome (and are, in fact, what make the world go round in such an interesting way), disrespectful treatment of others will not be allowed and inflammatory comments will be deleted. Campfires are for pure enjoyment and we celebrate the good conversation and solid relationships they encourage.
Thank you for stopping by today - please come back soon and often!