Along Rich Mountain Road near Cades CoveRV Adventures Across America

Traveling with Jim and Elaine - Our Story



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Jim's Story...

Jim Panning for Gold in AlaskaI was born in South Jersey as the oldest child of a military family. I spent most of my younger years traveling throughout the USA and Panama, constantly meeting new people and making new friends. These experiences gave to me a love of travel and meeting new people that I still enjoy to this day.

Marrying at 18, the next 11 years were devoted to raising my children, which left me little time to pursue my love of nature. Finding myself single at the age of 29, I became very active in canoeing, hiking, mountain biking and camping of all sorts, including tents, motorhomes and pickup truck campers. I have taught whitewater and flatwater canoeing and belong to a local paddling, hiking and biking club. Have worked most of my life as a machine repairman or some other type of manual laborer. Had my own small construction company for a while in the ‘70s and have built both of the homes I have lived in.

Being in my 50s and having been retired for four years already, I was living alone on six acres of wooded property with my own garden and fruit orchard and living the good old “back to basics” lifestyle. You know the type... I heat and cook with a wood stove, cut wood off my own property, eat a very natural type of diet and try to keep my life as simple as possible... the low stress, one-day-at-a-time sort of life. Deciding I would like to have someone to share my life and lifestyle, I took to the internet ... 

Elaine Elaine's Story...

Born on an island in the Chesapeake Bay as the oldest child of a waterman, I spent my early years living very close to nature and being very aware of the surrounding environment. My father instilled in me a love of nature and taught me to be thankful for everything natural that God has bestowed upon this earth... even the unpleasant things such as inclement weather. Being somewhat isolated on the island, I always dreamt of someday traveling and seeing the world.

Marrying at 18, I moved to the city and a new lifestyle which I thought would expand my world. I didn’t look back until years later after my children were raised. Being in my 50s and finding myself single, I took some time to reflect on which direction I wanted my life to take. I began to yearn for the feelings of being free and close to nature that I had once had in my youth on the island.

Having developed a career in computers over the years, it seemed only natural to look to the internet for a like-minded companion who would be willing to share this “back to nature” style of living... 

Our Story...

...AND THEN... one day in the fall of ‘98 while surfing the net... Jim ran across a personal ad from Elaine on ... of course, she wasn’t using her real name. He enjoyed her way of writing and thought that we may have some things in common, so Jim answered her ad. After many e-mail messages for a week or so, along with some very lengthy long distance telephone calls, we decided it would be cheaper to meet in person, even though we had not exchanged photos, our conversations up to now led us to feel very comfortable with each other.

Jim and Elaine at Hope Glacier Overcoming the initial awkwardness of seeing each other for the first time and after regaining the ability to speak, we decided our appraisals of each other were positive and warranted getting to know each other better. This meeting went very well and led to many happy shared experiences, many of which were new to Elaine, including whitewater canoeing and mountain biking. The more time we spent together, the more we found we had in common and the more we wanted to be together. We’re both just big kids at heart with a great sense of humor and feel fortunate to have found another big kid our own age.

From the time we met and for the next 3 years, we enjoyed many things together, including canoeing, biking, hiking and many short RV trips around the country, limited only by Elaine's work schedule. We both wanted to be able to do some extended traveling and had been contemplating a trip to Alaska for over a year. Finally we decided to go for it! In order to do this, Elaine would have to retire... so on May 4th of 2002 we were married... Elaine gave her retirement notice... and Jim started packing the camper. On June 2nd we left for an extended RV trip/honeymoon through western Canada and Alaska that lasted for 105 days.

We both love traveling and especially love the mountains.  After several trips out west over the past 8 years, in 2006 we finally found a beautiful piece of property in the mountains of southern Colorado.  We cleared the deadwood from the property in 2007, installed a septic system and drilled a well in 2008.  Jim then went back in 2009 and cut in a driveway, installed a well pump, dug out the basement and put in the concrete footers.  He returned in 2010 to build our basement/garage and get it closed in.  The logs were cut and put in storage at a local sawmill as he plans to return to build our log cabin next year.


Jim spent the summer and fall of 2011 getting the log cabin up and under roof. He went out in 2012 and had hoped to get the windows and doors installed along with a wood stove but that didn't happen as he ended up with a herniated disc in his lower back that required surgery. The surgery was a success and he plans to go out in 2013 to work on the cabin. And the story continues ...




im went out in 2013 and got the windows and doors installed, a coat of stain on the outside, some front steps built, cut and installed siding on the front and rear gable ends to match the log walls and poured a concrete garage/basement floor. Next year he'll start working on the inside of the cabin. And the story continues ...



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to Jim and Elaine
jim.canoer  at  gmail  dot  com