About John and Jean

We love to hike and backpack and have been to many great places.  John takes high quality photos everywhere we go and Jean writes about our adventures (among other things).   We get to do this a lot as we're retired and since April 2010 we have been living full time in an RV.  John is originally from Chicago. In 1974, after graduating from college, he spent the summer traveling throughout the western US. He began working in Louisville, Kentucky later that year, with the intention to relocate somewhere in the northwest US in the future. Jean is originally from Jeffersontown, Kentucky and had dreamed of exploring the western US. We met in Louisville in 1975 and in the fall of 1977 we packed up a few belongings and left our family and friends behind and headed for Seattle.

John and Jean in Louisville, Kentucky in 1977

We have both always loved the outdoors and living in the Pacific Northwest provided us with numerous opportunities to hike and backpack.

John on a backpack trip in the Pasayten Wilderness, Washington in 1979

Family vacations with our sons, Dan and Tom, allowed us to explore the western US as well.

John, Dan and Tom on a backpack trip in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming in 1990

And we have been fortunate to have opportunities to experience some of the iconic natural wonders on other continents including Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania ...

John and Jean on the way up Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania in 2007

... and the Khumbu Valley in Nepal.

Jean and John while trekking up the Khumbu Valley in Nepal in 2008

All have provided John, a lifelong avid photographer, opportunities to take countless photographs.

John in Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Once our sons were grown ...

Dan and Tom

 ... and John retired we made plans for the next chapter in our lives. In April 2010, after selling our house in Kent, Washington, we began living and traveling full-time in our motorhome. However, we are not stereotypical “full-time RVers” or "Snowbirds".  We think of ourselves as modern day "Nomads"!   We are still physically active and we love to hike and backpack and this lifestyle has enabled us to do many great trips in the western United States and Canada. You can read about our travels in chronological order or about specific adventures in Australia, Canada, NepalNew Zealand, Peru, Tanzania and the USA.

Our 27' motor home, the one on the left, is considered to be too small for full timing and has even been called a "divorce in a can".

Our motorhome on the left compared to a "Big Rig" that some "Fulltimers" prefer

However, our "backpacker's mentality" enables us to see it as a veritable palace. We love backpacking and sleeping in our tent ...

Our camp while backpacking in Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument, Utah

... but we also thoroughly enjoy returning to the luxuries of our home; lights, heat, fresh food, a comfortable bed and especially a hot shower.

John taking it easy at home

Despite the skeptics I am happy to say that our relationship has thrived throughout our travels.  Our first year on the road included a three month adventure through British Columbia ...

John and Jean at Lake O'Hara in Yoho National Park,British Columbia


John and Jean while backpacking in Tombstone Territorial Park in Yukon

... as well as Alaska.

John and Jean in Wrangell - St Elias National Park, Alaska

Our second year on the road was spent primarily in the southwest US including Utah, ...

John and Jean on Deertrap Mountain in Zion National Park, Utah

... Arizona, ...

John and Jean backpacking in the Grand Canyon National Park

... Colorado ...

John and Jean on the summit of Handies Peak (14,058 ft) in Colorado

...and California.

John and Jean on the summit of Mt Whitney after completing the John Muir Trail in Sequoia National Park, California

In early 2012 we spent three months in New Zealand. It was a trip of a lifetime! The highlight was completing seven of the nine "Great Walks" including the Routeburn Track ...

John and Jean on the Routeburn Track within Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

... and the Milford Track.

John and Jean on MacKinnon Pass while hiking the Milford Track in Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

During the summer of 2012 our sons came to visit while we were in Montana.

Dan, Tom, Jean and John in Glacier National Park, Montana

We also did several backpack trips in Glacier National Park, Montana as well as Wyoming's stunning Wind River Range.

Jean and John on backpack trip in the Wind River Range, Wyoming

In 2013, after spending time in Grand Canyon National Park, we headed to Washington State for the summer.  This lifestyle is definitely not for everyone.  However, for us the reality has far exceeded our expectations.  We have had no trouble thinking of our motorhome as "home".  Washington State is our domicile but "home" is where ever it is parked whether that is in British Columbia ...


Yukon, ...


... Alaska, ...


... Utah, ...


... Colorado ...


... or Arizona.


We originally thought we would travel for about ten years before settling down someplace.  However, we have since decided that we'll just keep traveling for as long as it is fun. I'm happy to say that after three years on the road we are still having just as much fun as when we first started.

John and Jean on Redcloud  Peak in Colorado

Highlights of 2013 include backpacking in Grand Canyon National Park ...

John and Jean at Elves Chasm in Grand Canyon National Park

... and hiking in Washington State including with our two sons, Dan and Tom

Dan, John, Jean and Tom on the Hidden Lake Peaks Trail in Mt Baker Ranger District, Washington.

Highlights of 2014 include more backpacking in Grand Canyon ...

Jean and John on the Escalante Route in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

... as well as another trip of a lifetime when we went to Peru.  We hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and did a high altitude trek around Mt Ausangate.

John and Jean at Machu Picchu in Peru

2015 brought our 5th anniversary of traveling.  We started off our backpacking season at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona ...

Jean and John at the Nankoweap Granary in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

... and ended it by backpacking the Wonderland Trail at Mt Rainier National Park in Washington State.

John and Jean in Mt Rainier National Park, Washington 

2016 was an unusual year for us.  Jean had complicated foot surgery and then developed a frozen shoulder also requiring surgery.  The result was our travel season was shortened and we didn't do a single backpack trip. However, we were still able to do quite a bit of great day hiking.

Jean and John on the summit of South Sister in Three Sisters Wilderness, Oregon

In April 2017, after spending another fun winter ...

 Jean and John playing Pickleball at Jojoba Hills SKP RV Co - op in Aguanga, California

... at our "winter base" at Jojoba Hills SKP RV Co - op (in our new spacious fifth-wheel trailer), we loaded up our trusty motorhome and hit the road again. 

 Our site at Jojoba Hills SKP RV Co-op in Southern California

Our first destination was Grand Canyon National Park where we did several day hikes and two backpack trips.

Jean and John in our camp on the North Bass Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

  We then headed to Washington State for more backpacking including along the rugged Olympic Coast.

Jean and John backpacking the Pacific Coast in Olympic National Park, Washington

We got an early start to our 2018 travel season.  We hit the road again in late February and headed to Grand Canyon where we did five great backpack trips. 

 Jean and John on the Royal Arch Loop in Grand Canon National Park, Arizona

We spent the summer in Washington State where we hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from Cascade Locks Oregon to Manning Provincial Park in British Columbia.  We then headed back sunny Southern California for the winter. 

Jean and John at the northern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail at the US-Canadian border

2019 turned out to be a very different kind of year for us.  We left Jojoba Hills in late May and went to Bend, Oregon with a specific goal in mind; improve my Pickleball game.  Bend is a Pickleball "hotbed"with a large, active Pickleball community complete with teaching pros. 

 Jean and Lisa Palcic, head instructor at Pickleball Zone in Bend, Oregon

We both competed in several Pickleball tournaments including the Pacific Northwest Regional Tournament where we competed together in Mixed Doubles on our 40th wedding anniversary.  While we did not get far, our game together is still a "work in progress", we did have another reason to celebrate.  John and his partner won Gold in Men's Doubles 3.5 65-69 which qualifies them to compete in Pickleball Nationals to be held in November 2020 in Palm Springs, California.

 John Strother (second from right) and Mike Newberry (far right) on the podium

While in Oregon, and in between all the Pickleball, we did some day hiking within Smith Rock State Park and up Tumalo Mountain. 

 Jean and John on Tumalo Mountain in Oregon with the Three Sisters in the background

We also spent time in Washington State visiting family; John's sister and our two sons.  We had intended to fit some backpacking in but, much to our disappointment, it just didn't work out.  When the weather turned wet and grey in early October we headed south again.  We spent just over a month in Green Valley, Arizona.  We had begun thinking about owning a house again and decided it should be in Quail Creek, a 55+ plus community.  Quail Creek has great Pickleball and good hiking nearby.  It will enable us to get our "Pickleball fix" in the winter so we can travel in our motorhome in the summer and get our "backpacking fix".  We went back to Jojoba for the winter but plan to hit the road again by early March while our house is being built.  To be continued ...

Location of our future house in Quail Creek near Green Valley, Arizona

2020 update:

We arrived in Green Valley, AZ in on May 15th and rented a house in Quail Creek while we waited for our house to be complete.  This brought our full time RVing adventures to an end.  We had begun by saying we wanted to do it for 10 years and we ended up doing it for 10 years, 1 month and 3 days.  While we felt some sadness, we also looked forward to experiencing the luxuries of living in a house again.  However, we kept our motorhome and intend to do some traveling in it in the years to come.  We closed on our house in early July and moved in.

Our house in Quail Creek in Green Valley, Arizona

We spent the rest of the year furnishing it.  We discovered a great way to create large and meaningful wall art.  John found an online company, Fine Art America, where he could have his photos printed (for a reasonable price) on fabric.  We have filled our ample walls with our favorite photos from our favorite places. The provides us with constant reminders of all the amazing places we have been fortunate enough to have been.

 Our house in Quail Creek in Green Valley, Arizona

 2021 update:

While we thoroughly love living in our house, this year did not turn out as planned.  We had intended to load up our motorhome and head for California in August where we planned to backpack in the Sierras.  Unfortunately, smoke from wildfires caused us to cancel our plans.  We are hoping that environmental issues or declining health won't prevent us from going in 2022.  We will continue to "console" ourselves with playing Pickleball with other members of the Quail Creek Pickleball Club and hiking in the nearby Mt Wrightson Wilderness.

Jean and John with Mt Wrightson (9,453 ft), the highest peak in the Santa Rita Mountains.

2022 Update:

To be continued ...


Anonymous said...

Hi, my daughter Sarah and I had the pleasure of meeting you both on the West Rim Zion Park trail. Thanks for the words of encouragement to keep going up the West Rim trail to our camp 5 destination. We had a spectacular sunset view that evening and a wonderful sunrise the next morning. You have a wonderful lifestyle and website -- keep on hiking !!

R. Mahoney

John and Jean Strother said...

We have been planning to do just that with all of our stuff; RV, backpacking etc and I definitely want to include details about John's photography. I'm just not sure when he'll get to it but I'll keep working on it.

Karen in Colorado said...

Love your pictures, especially the Grand Canyon shots. I'll never get there, but my husband hiked the Tapeats Trail w his brother several years ago. We ran across one of your photos that we both 'love' and thus hold 'special meaning' for us. The past 2.5 years, my husband has been fighting a very aggressive blood cancer, and is running low on treatment options, as his cancer spreads. Could you email me to discuss options regarding using 110528_JTSg_7255_h.jpg | Deer Creek for personal use?
Thanks for your consideration. from Colorado-KD

panafoot said...

To Karen in Colorado - Sorry to take so long but we just got back from 5 1/2 weeks doing the PCT through Washington State. I am so sorry to hear about your husband. Please feel free to use the Deer Creek photo for your personal use.

Unknown said...

Hi Jean and John,
You have had such a great life! I am so happy for you. Two kids, travel, health, and a great marriage. Was thinking about you and found this blog! Susan Carroll from Louisville, KY (friends around 1975).