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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Going Mobile

Boating is a lot like RVing - should we take the plunge?

As much fun as we have living the RV dream, there’s the occasional conversation that usually begins: “What would you think about becoming boaters?”

After all, we have so much in common with the watercraft crowd. Like boaters, we've learned to embrace life in tight quarters as we seek exciting adventures.

A memorable day trip: That temptation became even stronger recently, as we hopped on board a cozy vessel owned by the Washington state parks department. Our destination was James Island, a marine park in the San Juans.

As volunteer camp hosts at Spencer Spit State Park, we jumped at the opportunity to visit with a parks work crew in late May.

The 20-minute ride from Lopez Island was just the kind of exhilarating journey that quickens the pulse without triggering a queasy tummy. We’d both grown up riding on boats with our parents, John fishing with his father and Leslie admiring her stepdad’s skills in finding hidden beaches not far from the home he shared with her mom on Orcas Island.

During the time we lived in the Inland Northwest, we often tagged along with friends who owned boats, whether it was sailing on Lake Pend Oreille or waterskiing on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Being back on the water was nostalgic, but it also felt fresh because we were looking at the liquid landscape in a whole new way. We have a deeper appreciation for the way travel makes you feel fully alive and close to nature. Oh hey, isn’t that an eagle sitting on the treetop in the distance? Yup, but we’ve got places to be and trash to pick up on James Island.

It’s a lifestyle for many: After docking, we met a friendly boater from Republic, Wash., who spends the winters roaming the Puget Sound on his sailboat. He was heading back to Eastern Washington soon, relishing the last days on James, pointing out the spots where he’d hiked with his dog.

The tie-off spots on the dock were completely full over the Memorial Day weekend, but on the following Tuesday, the park was all but empty. This spawned a chant from Leslie as follows: We’ve got to come back here. But how?

Having a boat would give us the freedom to explore the gorgeous coast and inland waterways of the Pacific Northwest. It’s tempting, but there are lots of questions: Where do we practice the art of “home is where you park it?” Who’s gonna be captain? HA! The learning curve seems pretty steep on tasks such as finding a home port, outfitting a vessel and -- oh yeah -- learning how to navigate and safely dock a boat.

Then again, that’s where we started in 2018 when we bought our 23-foot Thor Gemini motorhome from Camping World. If we knew then what we know now, as the old saying goes, we might not have taken the leap. But we’re sure grateful we did.

What’s next? Is a cabin cruiser in our future? Probably not.

However, we’ve been talking more about a new way to push our nomadic lifestyle to the next level by trading in our motorhome for a pull-behind. Stay tuned for details!

Connect with the New Going Mobile

We’re celebrating our fifth anniversary of writing Going Mobile, so we’re excited to share some big news.

If you dial us up online at, you’ll find a brand new website that features all of our content over the years. To find us, go to Check us out, and in the coming weeks, you’ll also see globe-trotting travel stories from our buddy Dan Webster. Up next from Dan — a deep dive into Spain and Portugal.

But that’s not all.

We also have a brand new Facebook page: Please follow us. And to connect on Instagram, our handle is now


Leslie Kelly
Leslie Kelly is a freelance writer.