Cross Country Travelers Enjoy Peace of Mind at Ashby Ponds

May 29, 2013

(Ashburn, Va.) - In the 1950s, David Mitchell developed an appreciation for the great outdoors when he was a smokejumper in training after high school.  He spent that time fighting fires for the U.S. Forest Service in the greater Yellowstone National Park area.  When David retired after 35 years with Bell System, he and his wife, Janice, decided to set out on an adventure to see more of the country in a rented 25-foot motorhome.   Since 1995, the couple has turned this adventure into a way of life, often embarking on cross country travels for months at a time.  Having moved to Ashby Ponds retirement community in 2012, the two now are able to enjoy more peace of mind when leaving home.
The Mitchells met in 7th grade and went to high school together at Washington-Lee in Arlington, Va.  The two were married during David's freshman year at Virginia Tech where he was on the football team, in the Corps of Cadets, and upon graduation received his commission as a 2nd lieutenant.  They were stationed for two years at Ft. Ord and lived in Monterey Bay, Calif. while David served in the U.S. Army; in 1965, they moved to Annandale, Va., and in 1982, they made their way to Fairfax Station. 
Throughout their marriage, the Mitchells have travelled to a number of countries outside of the U.S. including the Netherlands, England, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Israel, and Egypt, but still admit that they most enjoy the magnificent beauty of North America's National Parks and seashores. 
"We've been to every U.S. state and all the territories and provinces in Canada," said David.  "With every trip, you have unexpected experiences," said Janice, who referenced their encounter with a once-in-twenty-years snowstorm in Tucson, Ariz. last February during their most recent trip.  In late March, they returned from a two-month, cross country trip which took them south to Florida and west to California and back. 
Typically, the couple travels for about six months out of the year in their own 35-foot motorhome; they purchased their first motorhome in 1995 and have since upgraded.  Their longest trip to date has been a three-month adventure to Alaska that included a fishing trip where they caught 12 halibut weighing a combined dress weight of 400 lbs; Janice caught the largest at 97 lbs!
The couple has also experienced a new sense of ease since moving to Ashby Ponds last year. "Before, we had to make sure to pay the bills in advance, transfer the mail, arrange to have the lawn maintained, cut the water off, be sure snow didn't collect on the roof, etc." said David.  "It was constant maintenance and now, that's all behind us."  At Ashby Ponds, they are now living a maintenance-free lifestyle where they don't have to worry about day-to-day tasks at home.  "Moving here has opened up a new freedom."
The Mitchells have other adventures awaiting them when they return to Ashby Ponds from their travels.  Their children live nearby in Centreville, Va. and the couple has discovered clubs that suit their interests at the community.  David has become involved with the woodworking club and is currently helping the group collect corks to make trivets for the community's Fall craft fair.  Janice enjoys sharing her talent with the quilting group and recently, had several of her quilts displayed on the art wall at the community.
The Mitchells next trip this August will include a Northern route to California and touring the Canadian Rockies, Columbia Icefield, Banff National Park, Lake Louise and Glacier National Park. 
About Ashby Ponds: Ashby Ponds, one of 16 retirement communities managed by Erickson Living, is situated on a scenic 132-acre campus in Ashburn, Virginia (approximately 30 miles west of Washington, D.C.). The community is home to over 700 residents and has over 100 resident-run and resident-driven clubs and groups, an indoor pool, a fitness club, transportation services, 24-hour security, and flexible dining options. More information about Ashby Ponds can be found at: