The World’s Largest What??!! 7 Months of Our RV Road Trip Complete, 1 To Go!

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The World’s Largest What??!! 7 Months of Our RV Road Trip Complete, 1 To Go!

It’s pretty crazy to think that we’ve now been living in an RV for over 7 months. Yes, we’ve taken a couple of breaks and stayed at my mother-in-law’s house for a few weeks twice in that timeframe, but our home has been the RV… for better or worse.

Around this time last year, we brainstormed a way to do something different to escape the winter blues and cold of Ohio for one winter season… and this was what we came up with… our monster travel experiment.

We bought a new 2022 Jayco Jay Flight SLX 7 travel trailer and a 2012 Ford Expedition to tow it, let our apartment lapse lease, and moved all our stuff into a storage unit.

We moved into the RV on October 6, 2023, to get the hang of things, and then hit the road to travel the country on November 1.

It’s truly been an adventure and there’s been some good and bad, but I’ll save some of that for the wrap-up when we’re done. Today, I want to tell you about the past few weeks since we hit the road again for loop #3 – the third and final loop of our RV road trip.

And, arguably, just as important, I’ll tell you all about the world’s largest “whats” we stumbled onto as well!

Hey, who turned off the lights?!

If you’re new around here, our RV road trip plan consisted of three separate loops so we could periodically head back to Ohio to visit family after each one. Here’s what the drafts of each loop looked like…

They’ve all changed somewhat as we went through them, but that was the general idea.

Loop 3 is the one we’ve been looking forward to the most though… heading out west. We had planned to start loop 3 sometime at the beginning of April but didn’t have a specific date. However, once I thought more about the total solar eclipse, I pitched an idea to Lisa and Faith and we went with it.

Even though my mother-in-law’s house in northeast Ohio was in the path of totality of the eclipse, why not find a place that’s got a little less light pollution since we’re heading out anyway?

In the end, we decided to catch it in a small town called Linton, Indiana. And we didn’t succumb to some of the gouging that you may have heard happening out there. The RV park we stayed at was $25 out the door with electricity and water and they had an onsite dump. It turned out to be a great place to stop!

My photos don’t do the eclipse justice because I was afraid of ruining my phone so I only took photos with it behind its own pair of eclipse glasses…

I couldn’t have imagined that this would be as incredible as it was. An hour before, the partial eclipse began. The crickets started chirping, the bats started flying, and the temperature continued to drop until I finally caved and put on a flannel. Then 4 minutes of total darkness before another hour of getting lighter and the temperature warming.

So glad we did this!

The “World’s Largest” saga begins!

When we left Indiana and continued on our way I saw a sign for the WORLD’S LARGEST ROCKING CHAIR. That’s weird.

A few more miles and there was another sign for the WORLD’S LARGEST PAIR OF WOODEN SHOES. Strange.

Then a sign for the WORLD’S LARGEST WIND CHIMES. What’s going on here?




It was weird and not my thing at all… but I decided to make it my thing. We needed something a little different on this loop, so we followed the signs and stopped off in Casey, Illinois.

It was silly as all get out but still fun. We checked out a lot of the Big Things in a Small Town and it was cool.

I dug around a little bit on the internet and found the World’s Largest Map of the World’s Largest Roadside Attractions. Who wouldn’t want something like this at their fingertips during an RV road trip across the country?!

So we made sure to seek out the world’s largest ketchup (or catsup) bottle as well as the world’s largest pistachio.

We’re not going far out of our way to see these things, but if they’re along the way, why not? Faith rolled her eyes at first but she soon got on board and now thinks it’s funny. So, if it makes her happy, it’s well worth it!

These stays through Harvest Hosts are actually really cool!

We were careful when we started planning our RV road trip last year. It’s so easy to get sucked into feeling like every membership or subscription can be worth the money. Some certainly can be, but it depends on your goals for your trip, the price, and how much you can utilize them.

So we’ve been slow to buy a membership only when we determine it can likely pay for itself… and we wait until we need it to get it.

We ended up signing up for these programs:

  • Passport America (that paid for itself several times over and has saved us hundreds of dollars!)
  • Good Sam (we’re about even on this one)
  • The Dyrt Pro (this allows us to download boondocking locations offline, which can be huge when you don’t have a signal!)
  • KOA Rewards (we got this free through a Jayco pilot program we’re in)
  • Harvest Hosts / Boondockers Welcome (saves a ton of money over an RV park and much better than a Walmart or Cracker Barrel parking lot!)

Harvest Hosts / Boondockers Welcome is truly the most unique one of our memberships.

With a Boondockers Welcome subscription, you can stay on people’s private property (over 3,500 locations) for free. You can usually only stay one night but there’s no limit to the number of different places you can stay. Boondockers Welcome might seem a little odd to stay on someone else’s property, but it’s generally just other RV’ers giving back to the community when they’re not traveling themselves. And for being a host, they then get a free subscription to BW for themselves to use.

If you like meeting other people, Boondockers Welcome is a great opportunity to meet and chat it up. If not, you can usually just keep to yourself after arriving and meeting the host for instructions. But it can also be much better than sleeping in a Walmart parking lot. You can usually put your RV slide out and in some cases, they might have electricity, water, or even sewer that you can hook up to (generally for a small donation).

With Harvest Hosts, you can book and stay at farms, wineries, breweries, museums, and all sorts of cool places (there are over 5,000 places!) without paying any camping fees. You’re expected to generally buy something they’re selling or offering to support their business. You can stay at as many as you want while your subscription is active, too. And like Boondockers Welcome, some places will offer hookups as well.

We bought both – we signed up for Harvest Hosts and then got a discount offered to us to join Boondockers Welcome, too. But Harvest Hosts was intriguing to us as a way to stay at some unique places for quick overnighters. Although we haven’t done any breweries and wineries since we have our daughter with us, the farms have been our go-to and have been right up our alley.

We’ve stayed at an Alpaca farm and three horse farms so far. Faith is an animal lover and a horseback rider so these always generate some excitement. I mean, how often could you do something different like this?

Let the cool boondocking begin!

Things didn’t go so well for our off-grid boondocking adventures on loops 1 and 2. We knew there would be fewer options for us while out east, but we also had such terribly cold weather the majority of the time. It just didn’t make sense to do much boondocking (although we did stay on the beach in the Gulf and that was really cool!).

But here we are on loop 3… the out west trip! This is where things are getting exciting!

If you’re unfamiliar, boondocking is where you’re essentially doing dry camping on public land, without the benefits of hookups or other amenities. Why would anyone do this? Because, as we learned on our last road trip a few years ago, you can:

  • Set up in some incredible places
  • Not be crammed in like sardines like most RV parks
  • Appreciate nature more
  • Enjoy the cost of free or just a very small fee

We’ve only done a few so far on this loop and they’ve been super cool…

Haystack Mountain OHV Area – Roswell, New Mexico

Just a beautiful area with some gorgeous views…

Lake Holloman Dispersed Camping – Holloman AFB, New Mexico

Right on the lake at Holloman Air Force Base and open to the public. Watching and hearing the jets take off was fun. The only downside was that our slide had problems retracting when we were ready to leave so we needed to call in a mobile RV tech. He hooked us up though and Jayco is reimbursing us for the cost to cover it under warranty… nice!

Things will be ramping up quite a bit soon. I’m looking forward to doing some boondocking in the Utah area. And then if the weather warms up, we’ll continue to work our way north and do even more boondocking up there!

Some really incredible places out there!

I know, I know… how can I say this after pointing out the world’s largest ketchup bottle or the world’s largest pistachio? You might not think it, but the fact is that there are even more incredible places to visit than those towns out there. I’m serious – it’s true!

Palo Duro Canyon State Park – Canyon, TX

Palo Duro Canyon is supposedly the second-largest canyon in the country. This just made for some good hiking and incredible vistas. We went early in the morning and got out of there before the sun could bake us. This is a great place to visit if you’re ever in the Amarillo, Texas area.

White Sands National Park – NM

Only a few minutes down the road from where we boondocked at Lake Holloman AFB is this fascinating place. The name says it all – miles of white “sand”, which is actually gypsum crystals leftover from 12,000 years ago.

Tombstone, AZ

Tombstone is a city in southern Arizona that aims to preserve the Old West culture. It looks just like an old west town (albeit with lots of souvenir shops!). But it’s a fun place to visit. This is also where the shooting at the OK Corral took place, although we learned that it didn’t take place exactly at the OK Corral.

We bought tickets to watch an hour-long re-enactment show of the shooting, which was worth the cost of admission. We got our pictures taken later with both the good guys and the bad guys…

Culdesac, Tempe, AZ

Mr. Money Mustache started talking about Culdesac in Tempe, AZ about a year ago. The idea mesmerized me – a walkable community built from the ground up with a focus on no cars in it.

Since I knew we’d be heading near there, I put that on our list to check out. How could you not love this whole concept?!

Well, we visited and walked around there for about a half hour. I gotta say – I like the idea but it wasn’t what I was expecting. I was envisioning biking trails everywhere and honestly a bigger “city.”

But it’s right outside of Phoenix, which is obviously tremendously busy. That makes sense considering that if you don’t want to have a car, you can still get to places like stores pretty easily. But I don’t know where you’d bike around here other than right in the city (though I didn’t look it up online to check). Even if there were though, it was Arizona hot there – and this was only April. I couldn’t imagine doing much walking or biking during the daytime in the summer regardless.

It was still cool to see but we were there during the middle of the day during the week and the place was like a ghost town. I’m guessing everyone was at work.

If I wasn’t so whiny about hot weather (just like I am about cold!), I’d probably love it here, but I think I’ll need to keep looking for a dream place as great as Boquete, Panama. 🙂

More to come…

We’ve crammed a lot into just a few weeks and this time around (unlike loops 1 and 2), we don’t feel rushed or bored. We’re moving along at a nice pace, seeing things that we want to see, and having some better weather, too!

After Las Vegas, we’re going to Utah. From there, it’s anyone’s guess but a lot will depend on the weather. We’re likely going to head to South Dakota at some point though as our pivot point before we start making our way toward Ohio.

We don’t have a deadline to get back to Ohio, but we’re guessing it’ll be at the end of May or the beginning of June. That still gives us time to revisit the world’s largest drugstore (Wall Drug) and check out the world’s largest Jolly Green Giant or the world’s largest man on a bike.

Life is short, my friends – gotta check off all these “world’s largest” items while we can! 😉

If you enjoyed this post, consider jumping on my email list. I’ll keep you informed of what’s going on and let you know when a new post comes out – you can expect an email usually every couple of weeks. But I’ll also send you a welcome email with a bunch of cool spreadsheet freebies. These are spreadsheets that I created for my own use that I think you’ll enjoy including:

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Plan well, take action, and live your best life!

Thanks for reading!!

— Jim

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22 thoughts on “The World’s Largest What??!! 7 Months of Our RV Road Trip Complete, 1 To Go!”

  1. Looks like you’re having a blast with the family, Jim! Great pictures & job well done on creating this wonderful opportunity.

  2. Wall Drug is a HUGE tourist trap! We stopped last summer. Definitely spend some time in the Badlands. My kids really enjoyed The Cosmos and still talk about that from when they were younger. If you can catch the Medora Musical in Medora, ND, it’s worth it! We try to go every couple of years.

    1. For sure on Wall Drug – we stopped there a couple of years ago as well. Still a fun place to visit though – I don’t think we bought anything, just looked around. We’ll definitely go back to the Badlands, too. What I’m most excited about in that area though is the boondocking at Wall. Just a few miles from Wall Drug was an amazing spot we stumbled upon a couple of years ago that let’s you stay on the edge of the Badlands… simply amazing!

      I’ll dig into The Cosmos and Medora Musical – I haven’t heard of either but if we end up in the areas, we might need to go! 🙂 Thanks, Jen!!

  3. Amazing trip and beautiful memories being made for you all! We’re on a similar trip currently in Southern California heading to the national parks of California (Sequoia NP today) , slowly heading north through Oregon, Washington and then British Columbia with our 5 yr old son in a Small RV. Would love to meet you in person but realize our paths probably won’t cross this time, maybe another time. Have fun Jim!

    1. Oh, that’s really cool – wish we could have done Sequoia but it just wasn’t in the cards. I’m sure that’s really great!

      Yeah, we’re passing through Colorado and heading north so I don’t think our paths will cross this time around, but maybe some other time! You guys have fun too! 🙂

  4. So much fun! Glad you and the family are fully enjoying this leg of the trip. I appreciate the update as I’m adding some of these stops to my own “must visit” list. I grew up in the area near the ketchup bottle and actually lived about 0.25 mile from it in my early 20s (i.e., many many years ago). It loses a bit of luster when you look at it every day. 🙂 Be safe and enjoy the rest of your trip. As always, I’m looking forward to the next update.
    Happy Travels!

    1. That’s so awesome that you lived by something novel like that! This isn’t a great comparison, but they say that most folks who live in Paris have never even visited the Eiffel Tower. I think when something’s nearby, you don’t even think about it much… horrible comparison for sure! 🙂

      Anyway, thanks so much and I hope you get to knock out some of your “must visit” list sometime soon, Tracy!

  5. Hey Jim, if you get a chance, I’d strongly encourage you to spend a few nights in Custer State Park in SD. It’s our favorite State Park in the country, and we’ve been to a few…

    Cool that you were able to visit Steve and Courtney. As always, I enjoy traveling along vicariously on your adventures…

    1. I remember that you’ve told me about Custer before. I just mentioned it to Lisa again after reading this and she actually had that up on her phone already – she must be a mind-reader or something! 🙂 If we can get the weather to cooperate (another cold front for us again!), we might make our way over there when we get to SD. Thanks, Fritz!

      And that’s funny, I see/read all your stuff and live vicariously through your travels, too!

  6. A great trip and thanks for sharing! some highlights there to help on our coast to coast with our Jayco SLX too! but yeah, we’ve struggled with boondocking and been a bit of surprise tbh always managing water, dumping, power and there’s always some maintenance to do :s

  7. I follow your blog for several years and enjoy it. Still do not understand why you 1) moved out from Panama, 2) moved to OH. The high school for your daughter would be the major reason, but you decided for homeschooling again. Lisa’s relatives the only reason? Well, that could be it. Family ties… La familia es todo. I remember in 2002 my company decided to move headquarter from Cincinnati to Southfield, MI (10% salary increase, moving expenses covered, houses assistance, etc.) and only 17 out of 177 decided to relocate (mostly new immigrants, Green Card holders). The rest were with roots in Kentucky and decided to quit rather than move to unknown. OK, it is what it is, that’s your life.

    1. Hey, Alex – moving out of Panama was probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. But you’re right… most of it had to do with being near family again in Ohio. I wrote about it back in ’22 in my post, The 2 Big Reasons We’re Moving Back From Panama… and What’s Next!.

      I absolutely loved it there and miss it a lot. Maybe someday we’ll move back there but for now, it is what it is, and I make the best of our time in in the States (hence why we tried doing something different with this RV road trip).

  8. Your trip sounds great. Enjoy!
    I haven’t heard of Culdesac. Hopefully, it’ll grow to be a more interesting city. I’ve been biking more in Portland and I enjoy it.

    1. It’s definitely an interesting place and worth keeping an eye on. I’ve been intrigued by more walkable/bikeable places lately. My understanding is your city is fantastic for that. That’s great that you’ve been out biking more lately!

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