Epilogue: 11 months of MoonDust

It took two months to get the keys…

Stationary in MoonDust was an entirely new experience. We were in the University RV Park, really a long-term trailer park next to Paradise Creek in Pullman. The decision was easy as the price to stay for a month was equivalent to a week in the KOA 45 minutes away. Being right on the Chippmann Bike trail made an easy ride for Jake to his new building. Access to the City Playfields was great for M. This was by far the most economy RV park on our journey. It was the destination for all — mostly construction workers in town for jobs, others had familial connections in town to tend for months at a time, others called it home. Everyone was nice and eager for connection.

University RV Park in Pullman.

We had feared being stationary. We had this belief that our journey was powered by novelty — every week presented new parks adventure and intrigue. Go, go, go… But we began settling into a different experience. Living downtown next to the trail was an entirely new way to experience Pullman compared to our old house on College Hill. It was easy to ride bikes on the trail downtown, or walk down to see friends at the park. We began experiencing the novelty of people in the community while planning for our new house.

One day, on a whim, Jake walked into Renaissance Woodworking’s shop next door. Nobody was out front so he wondered in back. He met the new owner, Andrew, and asked if he was booked up. Andrew said, “Depends, if it’s not cabinets we’ll put you to the front of the line.” That is how our new dining room table began it’s existence. Following cues from working with guides in Big Bend, Jake knew what to say when Andrew started asking specifics on what we wanted in a table, “You’re the professional, what would you do if this was your table?” To which Andrew always smiled and exceeded our view of possible. Although not quite finished at the time of this post, we trust Andrew when he says, “easily one of the neatest pieces I’ve ever made.” The walnut tree it was cut from had lived on Pioneer hill, so it is even local to Pullman. Jake wonders if the purchasing experience was just as rewarding as making the table himself.

Call it the Pioneer Table.

Our next networking experience was with The Phoenix Conservancy — a local non-profit dedicated to restoring native Palouse. Phoenix recently started a ‘pocket prairie’ program to help build the native plant seedbank for conservation and restoration purposes. The back of our new house has a steep north-facing former wheat field that must be kept free of noxious weeds per city code — a perfect place for Native plants. Phoenix inspected the hillside, taught about the invasive plants (pretty much all of them) and came up with a plan to restore the hillside with the hope of inspiring the Pullman School District to try something similar in the adjacent hillside. Not only will we be resisting invasive weeds, but we’ll be promoting change in the school district while helping a local non-profit. The eventual goal, and where most of the seedlings will be sourced, is to restore the hillside into Native Palouse similar to the Whelan Cemetery about a mile away. Jake had never seen Whelan before and it was a wealth of prairie plants we had not witnessed anywhere else on the trip.

The new house ideal was ever-present. We’d drive by to check progress on almost a daily basis. Our window to move into our new home was the end of May through June 30th. But June decided to set the record for monthly rainfall in Pullman by June 20th. The delays were agonizing.

We finally closed on June 22nd, just three days before Chelsea had to leave for a week-long conference. The move was rushed, but everything was in the next day.

First impressions — quiet, it is so quiet. Water softener — we’d never showered in non-hard water and our skins immediately thanked us (bonus — there were no bugs in the showers and the tankless water heater never runs out). Place — M immediately began settling into planning his room, Chelsea the kitchen, Jake the garage and hillside path.

After a year of traveling trails it was time for our own.

On June 30th it was time to move MoonDust out of the University RV park. After sitting stationary for two months there were a few kinks to work out in the trailer wiring, but we made it to the storage place — right where the renovation of MoonDust began.

MoonDust comes to a rest.

We knew that this adventure would change us. We didn’t anticipate that coming back to Pullman and living downtown would change us. We didn’t anticipate feeling the same level of change moving into our new house as when this journey began. It’s still all hard to imagine.

Looking back on the trip suddenly feels like so long ago. But when we look at us, and how much each of us has changed since the trip began, we can see big differences. Would it have happened had we stayed put? Perspective. But, we do often review the highlights from our journey in MoonDust. Since we’re often asked about the highlights we’re sharing a few of them here with you.

Best Hikes

  1. The Fiery Furnace (Arches)
  2. Emerald Lake (Rocky Mountain)
  3. Vernal Falls (Yosemite)
  4. The Natural Entrance (Carlsbad Caverns)
  5. Painted Hills Ladder Trail (Joshua Tree)
  6. Bear Creek Caves (Pinnacles)
  7. Titus Canyon (Death Valley)
  8. The Notch (Badlands)
  9. Closed Canyon (Big Bend)
  10. Fern Canyon (Redwoods)

It really came down to being in the right place at the right time. Any National Park has the potential to have the hike of a lifetime. For many of these hikes we just got lucky.

Best Photos

Over 3000 photos in our trip file and we had to pick just a handful…

Yosemite Falls
Half dome at sunset.
California Poppy at Sunset Beach
Closed Canyon in Big Bend
Crash landing outside Roswell at an abandoned Atlas ICBM site.
Cottonwoods at Aztec Ruins
Double Arch at night
Ventura Beach Art at Sunset
Sonoma Cathedral
White Sands
Fiery Furnace
Orion slays the dragon of Anza Borrega
Joshua Tree
White Sands
Dark Skies in Capital Reef
Storms over the Badlands

While we’re not sure when and where our next adventure to National Parks will be, we’ll be sure to document it here. We look forward to many more Streaming Good Times with many of you. Thank you for following along!