Ed and Rachel Barnhart went back on the road! After traveling the United States and Mexico for six years and being parked almost four years in an RV retreat near Medina in the Texas Hill Country outside San Antonio, they suffered an extreme case of “hitch itch” and prepared to go back on the road. Hence the title “Rving Again.”
They have lived in their 34-foot Alfa Gold fifth wheel since March, 2003, when they sold their 2250-square foot home overlooking the City of Wenatchee, the Cascade Mountains and the confluence of the Columbia and Wenatchee rivers in Washington State and downsized into their 375-square foot RV. Then they downsized again as they left their Alfa parked on their Texas lot in the retreat as their home and resumed travel, this time in a shorter, lighter 250 square foot North Country travel trailer by Heartland.
From March, 2003, until April, 2004, Ed and Rachel lived in their RV in the Wenatchee Valley as Rachel wound up her responsibilities to her employer. Rachel retired on April 1, 2004, and on April 2, they began the first leg of their travels in North America. For 13 months they traveled over 11,000 miles through all the perimeter states of the U.S. except Vermont and Florida and into Mexico.
Passing through Wenatchee to visit friends and family briefly, they realized that Ed’s elderly parents there needed their presence as their health deteriorated, so they stayed in Wenatchee in the RV through the winter of 2005-6. They resumed travel in September 2006, traveling throughout the West Coast and the Southwest, including three weeks near San Diego, California, for some body work to the Ford F-350 dually, during which time they fell in love with San Diego.
After continuing through the Southwest states, they returned to San Diego in February, 2007 and parked on the south end of San Diego Bay in Imperial Beach. There they spent the next 21 months enjoying the beach, the moderate weather, worship at Horizon Christian Fellowship, and the many attractions of the San Diego area.
After a road trip to the funeral of a cousin in northern California, they felt the urge to hit the road again, so on December 1, 2008, they put the Alfa on the road once more. They spent the winter in the Southwest, and in spring, 2009, they started a loop up through Tornado Alley in the Mid-West. A family emergency in Montana changed their intended route toward Florida as they returned to the Northwest briefly and then continued to and down the West Coast, stopping for several weeks on the Sacramento River Delta in California.
While there they began to feel the leading to establish a year-around home base where they could return from travels. After considering all the places they loved in their travels, they decided on Texas Hill Country because of the year-around livability, the area attractions, and the friendliness and wholesome attitude of the people.
In January, 2010, they pulled into El Viaje, an RV retreat 65 miles northwest of San Antonio, Texas, (now named Rocky Point) where they could lease a lot long-term, live in their RV and build some out-buildings to expand their RV living space. Then, after nearly four years of enjoying the San Antonio area and worshipping at Christ Chapel in Bandera, they downsized once more and prepared to travel again.
The difference this time was that they had a home to which to return, unlike the previous six years of travel when virtually all they owned was pulled behind them on the road. They thought of this adventure as an extended vacation during which they would return home occasionally and then set out again. Their plans for the first year included month-long and longer stays in several places in the Southwest and on the West Coast. Another year might have included the Southeast. They have always held that they make their plans, but God determines their path as they listen for that still, small voice that directs their lives.
Following 13 months on the road they decided to return to Texas and remain instead of traveling on. They returned in October, 2014 and since then have taken shorter RV trips, both in duration and distance, and have utilized the trading power of two time-share condos for RV-less trips.
Ed was born and raised in the Wenatchee Valley in Washington State and lived there most of his adult life except for four years at college in Cheney, Washington, and then a teaching job for two years in Washington’s Tri Cities. He was a professional educator, teaching music, elementary classroom subjects, as a middle school vice principal and principal and finally as an administrative assistant to the superintendent, all but two years in the same school district where he attended for 13 years, K-12. After retiring in 1992, Ed went back to work in 1997 at Head Start as Transportation and Facilities Coordinator for five and a half years, retiring again in 2003.
Rachel was born in Missoula, Montana, and spent her childhood in the Bitterroot Valley. She moved to the Wenatchee Valley in 1984 and worked as a bookkeeper, a banker, a newspaper district circulation manager, and as an office manager for a successful orthodontic practice, retiring in 2004.
Both are musicians and enjoy a variety of hobbies and crafts. They love “Tourist Traps” and when on the road seek out local Calvary Chapels and affiliates wherever they are with whom to worship. They enjoy the beauty, local history and attractions in the places they travel. While they are home in Texas, they enjoy the beauty of Hill Country northwest of San Antonio, the quiet country life and the abundance of wildlife. They are both a part of the music worship team at Christ Chapel in Bandera, a non-denominational Christian church, and Rachel teaches women’s weekly Bible study at the church.