And, they have an interesting background that led up to their life and travels together, so it's surprising how much traveling they've actually been able to do!
So, let's find out what's so interesting... here we are with Ray and Cindy of Ray and Cindy's RV Travels!
Kevin and Ruth: First off, we'd like to ask about your personal history. You two have only been together for less than 20 years and yet you've got 13 (yes, thirteen) children. Want to explain a little about that please?!
Ray and Cindy: I had been married 30 years to my first wife and had 8 children, 5 boys and 3 girls. When Cindy and I met She had 5 children, 2 girls and 3 boys. We have been married 16 years (on the 14th of this month). Our family is "Yours, Mine, and Ours" as per the movie. When we got married we each had 2 children living with us.
My youngest boys were 14 and 16. Her youngest son was 13, and her daughter was 18. The rest had moved out, and were on their own. As our profile says, we met on a blind date!
Kevin and Ruth: Now...we're understandably curious. Going back to your first marriage, did you manage to take any vacations? How does one do that with 10 people in the family?? Did you rent a school bus? :-)
Ray and Cindy: Sorry, no school bus. We had relatives in southern Alberta, and went to visit them a few times. We had a class C motorhome, a Tioga on a Dodge chassis. That is part of how I got into RVing. With 8 kids, we learned to get along. We also went to Disneyland and San Diego in it.
Kevin and Ruth: Wow, we can just imagine the fun you had with that many people. I'm sure the kids still remember those trips as being some favorite times of their youth. So what about Cindy? Did she take vacations with her family when the children were younger?
Ray and Cindy: Cindy was a single parent most of the time when her kids were growing up, but they did get to visit Yellowstone, Disneyland, and camping trips. So they weren't too deprived.
Kevin and Ruth: Okay, so let's fast forward a bit. You two get married and have a huge extended family. I guess most of your vacation time was spent visiting your kids as I'm sure they're spread across the country. Once you were together, did you manage any travels outside of North America? What's on the list of places you would like to visit?
Ray and Cindy: OK Kevin, here goes. When we got married we took a cruise to the Inside Passage of Alaska. This kind of gave us a taste for Alaska. After the cruise we spent another week and took a train ride from Vancouver to Calgary and then flew home. This was our honeymoon trip.
In one of my past lives I was a home builder, and I built a home for some friends in Roseburg, Oregon. As a reward, they took us to Germany, Austria, Italy, and Spain. While in Germany we spent some time in a town called Garmish. They are both retired Air Force, and were once stationed there. We then went to Spain and spent time in Malaga. We went to Morocco from there on a day trip, and Cindy had a snake charmer wrap a snake around her neck. We went to the Rock of Gibraltar, and Cindy had one of the monkeys sit on her shoe begging for food. We saw the Alhambra, and many other sites. Next we flew back to Germany and drove to Italy and saw Venice, and many of the sights in northern Italy. On the way to Italy we went to Salzburg, Austria and took a Sound of Music tour. This trip was for three Weeks.
We had previously been to New England in the fall. We saw the fall leaves in New Hampshire, and visited Boston on that trip. Another trip we went to Virginia in the spring and saw Jamestown, and Richmond.
We took a cruise through the Panama Canal from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale. We found going through the Canal to be very interesting.
Cindy and Ray entering Alaska!
We have cruised extensively in the Caribbean and Mexico. Probably our favorite cruise was from Buenos Aries, Argentina to the Falkland Islands. We then spent about 5 days sailing through the islands of Antarctica. We saw Killer Whales and literally millions of penguins. We went past one ice burg that the captain said was 60 miles long and 30 miles wide. Our next stop was the southernmost city in the world. While there we saw the end of the Pan-Am Highway. We also took a trip to walk along a path where there were penguin nests. We were on a board walk, and the baby penguins were at our feet. We got to see a group of penguins playing in the ocean about 20 feet from us.
We took a trip to Peru to see Machu Picchu. While there we got to walk on the Inca Trail. We were with a group of 12 people and it was one of the best tours ever. The guide’s name was Maria, and she asked us to call her Mama Maria, and treated us like her children. We went to Cusco, a city that is about 11,000 foot elevation. From there we took a train to Lake Titicaca, a large lake between Peru and Ecuador. It is at 13,000 foot elevation. We took a trip to the Reed Islands, and saw how the Indians lived on them. One thing I will always remember about them was a solar panel, a satellite dish, and an old man watching TV. All this was while floating on Lake Titicaca.
Another trip, we flew into Budapest and took a cruise down the Danube River to the Black Sea. We spent three days exploring Budapest before the cruise. At the end of the cruise we ended up in Bucharest. We then took a trip to Transylvania and went to Dracula’s Castle. Yes, it actually exists.
Another trip was to Italy on a land trip. It started in Rome, where we saw the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican. We went to Florence and saw the statue of David. We saw the leaning tower of Pisa. We went to Venice and finally took a Gondola ride, which we had not done on our first trip there.
We have been on, or seen every continent except Australia, and that is still on our wish list. Cindy went on a trip with her mother to China, and I had been there previously.
We have probably been on a dozen cruises, and all of this since we have been married, and all without any of the kids. In fact, ALL of the above trips were without any kids!
Kevin and Ruth: Wow, for some reason we didn't expect all of that...we think that's FANTASTIC! There is a lot more to the world than just North America and we're glad you've seen quite a lot of it. We think that's what it's all about! Okay, so now you've both fully retired just this past year and you're out exploring with your RV. In fact, you're in the middle of a long trip up to Alaska right now, aren't you? Can you tell us a little about your current rig?
Ray and Cindy: After Cindy’s grampa died we inherited a class C motorhome. I had one a long time ago that was a money pit. It took her a long time to talk me in to it, but we finally licensed the motorhome in 2005, after it sat for a couple of years. We took it to on a trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I hated to be confined in the motorhome with no slides, and having to climb over the cab for bed. When we got back we looked at an Everest fifth wheel and traded the motorhome on it. We liked and used the Everest, but one Saturday we were out and drove by Camping World and noticed they were having free hot-dogs. We went there and Cindy saw a Montana fifth wheel with 5 slides. So we went to look at it, and I fell in love with the design. I especially like the front living room, and rear bedroom. Anyway we talked to a salesman and told him what we had and found out a price to trade. I guess I’m too frugal, but I checked on line and found a dealer in Vermont that made me a price that with a trip to Indiana to their branch dealership with a year newer and several options that we wanted that would save over $10,000. So we took the Everest to Indiana and picked up the Montana. It is a lot longer than the Everest, but I haven’t been sorry for the upgrade. Even Cindy has learned to drive it.
Ray and Cindy, having fun in Alaska!
Right now we are at the Wal-Mart in Fairbanks, Alaska. I should mention that I spent a lot of time (and money) to put in solar so we could boondock most of the time. At this point our only commitments are 4 days in Denali National Park next Saturday, June 8th and a week in Soldotna on June 29th. We have such a tight schedule that I don’t know quite how to handle it. LOL. We plan on spending some time on the Washington and Oregon Coast before we go home. Cindy promised to be home by Thanksgiving so she could cook Thanksgiving dinner. Other than that, we are wide open as to any schedule. We plan on being in Alaska until probably the first of September.
Kevin and Ruth: Well, we're going to be following along on your trip, because one of these years we're going to do the same thing and drive our motorhome, Sherman, up to Alaska for the summer! It looks like a great trip. Hopefully some of our readers will also head on over to your blog and follow along as well.
Thanks for spending time with us today, and enjoy the rest of your trip!
Interested readers can follow Ray and Cindy's RV Travels at http://rayandcindyrvtravels.blogspot.com/