Apr 25, 2024 8 min read

High Stakes to Open Roads: How We Gambled on Adventure and Won

Sometimes a leap of faith can lead to an extraordinary journey and memories to last a lifetime.

paul and lorena on the road
Table of Contents

My wife Lorena had no idea she was about to get blind-sided by a crazy idea I dreamt up while she was visiting her family in Mexico City.

She walked off the airplane in Las Vegas to the familiar sound of slot machines ka-chinging away, signifying she had arrived back home.

After a big hug and a kiss, I grabbed her hand and said excitedly, "wait until you hear about the idea I came up with while you were gone!"

"Uh oh", she said. "I knew leaving you alone all by yourself for a month was going to be dangerous."

We both laughed, knowing that was the truth, and headed to a restaurant for dinner.

Shot Down in Flames

At dinner, I held off as long as I could, but finally asked, "Are you ready for my idea?"

She smiled and reluctantly nodded yes.

"We're going to sell everything, buy a sailboat and sail around the world!"

Lorena replied very quickly with, "you don't even know how to sail and I'm not dying in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, while you try to Google how to sail in a storm!"

We both laughed and although I said I would learn to sail before we hit the water, I knew that was probably out of the question.

So I said, "how about we buy a motorhome and hit the road?"

She didn't immediately shoot this idea down, but we had recently watched Christmas Vacation, so I know she had visions of me standing outside of an RV in a robe yelling, "Honey, the shitters full!"

We talked a bit more and after showing her some Youtube videos about the RV lifestyle, Lorena agreed that we would buy an RV and try a few weekend trips before committing to the full-time RV lifestyle.

Our First Motorhome and The Test

It took us several months to finally agree on our first motorhome. I told Lorena not to worry about finding the perfect rig because this would be a temporary one until we knew we liked it and then we would upgrade.

More on that later.

The day we picked up our 2006 Fleetwood Flair from the dealership, we fueled her up, bought propane, and took a 30 minute drive out to the Lake Mead Recreation Area, just outside of Las Vegas.

We were totally unprepared, but really excited to get out and test our new toy. We didn't have any supplies so we stopped by a convenience store to grab a couple of drinks and some snacks for a quick overnight.

I had owned RVs before, but this was Lorena's first experience. We had a small campfire, watched the sunset, listened to music and had a great time.

A month or so later we were ready for a more complete test. This time we had camping chairs and camping supplies and a fully stocked fridge.

We had made dinner and were sitting out next to Lake Mead.

The fading orange sun was low in the sky preparing for another amazing desert sunset when Lorena looked at me and said, “Okay, I could get used to this.”

We smiled and clinked glasses in a toast to what we knew was going to be our next big adventure together.

Breaking the Chains

We immediately formulated a plan to start downsizing and prepare to get our house sold in the next 6 months.

We still had a business to run so between that and life just getting in the way, it wound up taking close to 9 months.

Although we were getting rid of physical possessions our plan was to run our business from the road. This turned out to be more of a challenge than we expected, but we did manage.

Selling the house wasn't as stressful as we thought
Selling the house wasn't as stressful as we thought

On December 17, 2016, we said good-bye to our home in Las Vegas, as we traded it for our home on wheels.

Our Delusion

To say we were excited about this new chapter of our lives, was an understatement. We figured that after a year on the road, we would decide where we would settle, buy another house and return to “normal”.

We had convinced ourselves that a grand circle tour of the United States was possible in a single year. 

Being somewhat intelligent human beings, I have no idea how we thought that we were going to make that happen, but we set out with that goal in mind.

We had both agreed that we would continue our usual road trip plan, which is, to have no road trip plan. The only destination we needed to set a date for was New Orleans for Mardi Gras, almost 2 months in the future.

We decided we had spent a lot of time in Nevada and Arizona already so we set our sights on Texas.

The History Rabbit Hole

Neither Lorena nor I were history buffs. We learned just enough in school to get by, but it wasn’t something that was of great interest to us. But shortly after starting our road trip we found a few sites that reignited our interest and we went down the rabbit hole…DEEP!

Every place we stopped, we dug into the who, what, when, why and how of the area. That would spark something in another area and we spent those first couple of months absorbing Texas history.

From the “Law West of the Pecos”, to the Alamo, and the Battle at San Jacinto that gave Texas its independence from Mexico, we took it all in.

After making our final destination in New Orleans, we figured out that if we continued trying to take in every history lesson along the way, we could never finish our grand tour of the United States in a lifetime!

East Coast Road Trip

When we started out on this adventure we had also decided that we would share our travels with friends and family on a Youtube channel we called, “The Motorhome Experiment.”

Through the channel, we started meeting people along the way. This was an unexpected benefit of the channel that we had not even considered. We heard people’s stories and learned about different areas through the eyes of the people who lived there.

It was incredible!

After New Orleans, our focus became the east coast of the United States.

And what better way to explore the east coast than to start at the southernmost point in the USA.

Key West is still one of our favorite places

Key West is still one of our favorite places that we’ve visited. It’s just a fun place to walk and bike and swim and enjoy live music. We could have stayed there a lot longer, but we knew we needed to head north.

We only saw a narrow path on the east coast as we stuck mostly to highway 1 and highway 17, all the way from Key West to the Canadian border in Calais Maine. 

We chose whatever path kept us closer to the Atlantic Ocean.

Before leaving Florida we met a couple of viewers who happen to be heading the same direction, so we made plans to travel together for certain segments of our trip.

Our friends Kevin & Laura
Our friends Kevin & Laura (front), new friends Craig & Kelly (back right) Paul & Lorena (left)

Little did we know this would turn into a lifelong friendship.

There were so many incredible cities along the way, each with their own storied history.

These are just a few of those cities we've explored along the way:

  • St Augustine, FL
  • Jekyll Island and Savannah GA
  • Charleston, SC and the Out Banks, NC
  • Washington, DC
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • New York, NY
  • Providence, RI
  • Martha’s Vineyard and Provincetown in Cape Cod.
  • Boston, MA
  • Portsmouth, NH
  • Portland, Boothbay and Bar Harbor, ME

And these before summer ended and we hadn't even crossed the border to explore the Maritime Provinces of Canada.

Winter is Coming

We crossed into Canada in late summer knowing that we still had the Maritime Provinces, Quebec and Ontario to explore before winter would force us back south into the United States.

This didn’t leave us as much time as we would have liked, but we made the best of it.

We spent a few days checking out the mind bending tide swings around the Bay of Fundy. At an area called Hopewell Rocks, the tide height averages 16 meters (52ft) every 6 hours. The average tide height world-wide is approximately 1 meter (3.3ft).

That’s pretty crazy!

We spent a few weeks in Nova Scotia, out on Cape Breton Island and then onto Prince Edward Island.

Campground on Cape Breton Island
Campground on Cape Breton Island

These are places you should definitely add to your bucket list!

We would have liked to have taken the ferry out to Newfoundland, but we were starting to feel winter closing in and we had to start heading east. We didn’t spend near enough time in this area.

This will be a recurring theme for us in our travels around the United States. 

The Journey Comes to an End

We wanted to be back in Las Vegas for the winter to check on our business and we had to decide where we were going to settle again.

We have relatives in Ontario Canada and we had enough time to swing by for a quick visit before heading south again.

We were already in the area, so along the way, we spent time in Quebec City, Montreal and Ottawa. We could have spent months in each of these incredible cities! 

In this region, there were endless opportunities to learn about the rich history of the early explorers that came from Europe.

After crossing back into the US, we made quick work of getting back out west. I had made this trip many times as a young truck driver back in the 80s. 

That’s a story for another time.

Lorena’s family lived in Juarez Mexico at the time, so we felt that was a fitting end to our journey before heading back to Las Vegas.

It was fun spending Christmas with Lorena’s mom and sisters, but it was time to roll back to Las Vegas and find a place to live.

We pulled into Las Vegas and found a campground to stay while we figured out what to do next. 

We had somewhat avoided this conversation, but both of us knew it had to happen. 

Where do we want to live?

Do we stay in Las Vegas?

After our travels do we want to live somewhere else?

How does this crazy thing end?

We made our decision!


The Journey Continues

We have been living in our motorhome since December of 2016.

What started as our temporary RV until we could find “The One” has turned out to be a great fit. 

Will we upgrade or change RVs in the future? 

Probably, but for now this one has worked out much better than we could have ever expected.

In 2018, we left Las Vegas again and explored the Pacific Coast Highway from San Diego to San Francisco. We crossed the border into Canada and had a life-altering road trip to Alaska.

Glacier tour in Alaska
Glacier tour in Alaska

We’ve now crossed into Baja Mexico a few times and criss-crossed the United States to Florida and back again.

We’ve met so many amazing people along the way and shared our stories with each other.

We moved at an insane pace for the first 5-6 years. We have slowed down our travels a little bit to give ourselves time to breath. We now spend winters in Baja and summers wherever we choose.

Almost everyday we start to talk about how or if this journey will come to a close, but then we think...that can wait for another day!

Please join us on our website at https://paulandlorena.com

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