Voices from the Road

Journey west: A cross-country trip with stays at military campgrounds and a few surprises along the way

My husband Mack and I have been living in our RV full-time for 19 months. The uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the craziness of the world in early 2020, caused us to stay close to our home in Florida. In the first 9 months of 2021, we mostly camped along the East Coast of Florida and Alabama. We then reserved a spot at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas for the end of October. It was to be our longest trip to date. Our excitement and nervousness were mixed together as we set out on our cross-country journey.  

My husband handles campsite bookings and as a disabled veteran, he focuses on military campgrounds. In September, we departed from Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Florida, for our trip to Nellis, where we plan to live until April.

During our trip across the U.S., we experienced a stuck slide, a leak in the bathroom—that miraculously fixed itself—and damaged lights in the kitchen. We were thankful for the skilled mobile RV technicians and warranty that covered these repairs along the way. 

We were financially and mentally prepared to deal with mechanical issues, so we didn’t let these minor mishaps dampen our spirits. However, we weren’t expecting a short hospital stay. After we reached our destination in Las Vegas, I became ill with high blood pressure and a torn chest muscle. Thankfully, I recovered and feel great now.

On the road, the highlights of our journey have far outweighed any issues we’ve encountered. Here are just a few.

two people pose on a beach in front of the ocean and a blue sky

The beach in Destin, Florida, was the perfect place to celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary.

a man salutes next to a sign for the african american military history museum

In Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the African American Military History Museum taught us about African Americans serving in the military.

a bridge over the mississippi river

We walked along the Mississippi River in Vidalia, Louisiana.

the entrance to the oklahoma city national memorial museum, housed in a beige brick building

The Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum was one of the most well-done memorials we’ve seen. We also enjoyed spending time with family while in Oklahoma.

a silver stretch limo with both doors open is parked in front of RVs

It was fun to be picked up by a limousine at the Big Texan RV Park in Amarillo, Texas, for dinner at the Big Texan Steak Ranch. This spot wasn’t scheduled—we had failed to make reservations in Amarillo and didn’t realize it until we got there. Even though our original choice was booked, everything worked out and we had a great time.

dozens of hot air balloons float above houses

Staying in New Mexico during the Balloon Fiesta was an unexpected pleasure. When my husband booked our spot at the Kirtland Air Force Base, we had no idea we’d be staying there during the festival.

a couple poses for a selfie on a hike in front of golden fall foliage

In New Mexico, it was very cold while hiking Sandia Peak. The golden fall foliage was stunning and made up for the low temperatures.

a street art mural featuring two black and white portraits of martin luther king jr

We encountered some amazing street art in New Mexico.

a couple poses in front of a large meteor crater

Neither one of us knew that a meteor hit Winslow, Arizona, 50,000 years ago. Meteor Crater was an interesting place to visit.

a train that says "grand canyon"

This was our second trip to the Grand Canyon, so we decided to travel by train, which was a lot of fun and included an old-fashioned train robbery.

a bench sits on an over look with scenic views of lake mead

The weather was perfect for hiking at Lake Mead in Nevada.

a couple poses for a photo while hiking in the mountains

Now, we spend our days hiking and exploring all that Nevada has to offer. Once the sun goes down, we enjoy the nightlife—Las Vegas provides the best of both worlds. The journey has been very rewarding, and we look forward to taking full advantage of being in Nevada in the months to come.

Our experience of traveling across the country in Big Baby, our home on wheels, has shown us that it is a blessing to be able to experience the U.S. in an RV.

Here’s where we camped along the way: 

Meet the Roadtripper

Kirsten Womack