This Goat Is Living Her Best Life, Hoofing It Cross Country in a Vintage RV with Dog Sibling
First there was goat parkour. Then there was goat yoga. You could even watch the total eclipse while glamping with goats! And just recently, a goat went to school with a bunch of (human) kids. It's 2018 and goats are doing it for themselves — with a little help from their people.
Case in point: Meet Frankie Rae, a four-year-old half Nigerian dwarf, half pygmy goat who is also a one-of-a-kind pioneer. Her human parents, Cate and Chad Battles, have been documenting their travel adventures with Frankie and her 12-year-old dog sibling, Maggie, in their 22-foot 1976 Airstream Argosy RV, since June 2016.
In that time, the Battles and their four-legged friends have journeyed across the U.S. and Canada, covering over 30,000 miles together.
The Battles realized a lifetime dream when they sold their bar and their home in Asheville, North Carolina, and traded it in for a fixed up, vintage 1976 Airstream Argosy, which they remodeled themselves. Their kids had grown up and moved on to college, and the couple was ready to get a move on as well.
"We have traveled over 30,000 miles around North America," says Cate Battles. "We've covered 25 states, 2 Canadian provinces, and countless national and state parks."
The Battles don't stay in campgrounds; instead they "boondock" on public land. Basically, they're roughing it.
"We've had Frankie for almost four years now," her owner Cate Battles tells PEOPLE, "since she was a baby."
Battles says that Frankie was a gift from a friend who always knew the traveling artist and photographer wanted a goat. (Cate painted the RV's gorgeous, colorful exterior, inspired by Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," according to RV Life Magazine.)
"Training a goat is similar to training a dog. Lots of work and practice, but it can be done," says Battles. "She sleeps in bed with us at night and travels great."
When the Battles first brought Frankie home, they had Maggie and two other senior dogs. Unfortunately, the two older pups are no longer around, but Maggie and Frankie are good pals.
"Frankie grew up as part of the pack," Battles tells PEOPLE. "They both love exploring nature and are great hikers."
The sleeping arrangements in the Battles' RV are tight, but cozy.
"Frankie sleeps in bed with us every night and Maggie goes back and forth between the bed and cool floor," Battles tells PEOPLE.
Sharing a bed is not the only thing the animals have in common.
"They are both stubborn, strong-willed ladies like their Mom!" says Battles. "Frankie is a diva, but very sweet and affectionate. Maggie is a senior, but still very much a puppy — very loving and easy-going."
When it comes to caring for their goat girl's needs on the road, the Battles make it sound easy — with just a bit of advance planning. Aside from her usual goat feed, Cate says "we spoil her with fresh fruit and veggies."
"She grazes on the changing flora along the way. We do our research to make sure there is nothing poisonous first, like rhododendron or azaleas."
While the Battles note that the majority of the U.S. National Parks aren't pet friendly, they have a few favorite exceptions.
"Great Sand Dunes National Park & Reserve in Colorado is a fun one to take pets," says Battles. "The Alabama Hills outside of Lone Pine, California, is awesome [Bureau of Land Management] designated land full of wild rock formations, perfect for jumping around and exploring. Maggie is a big swimmer, so anything involving water is fun."
After 18 months on the road and over 30,000 miles of North American land traversed, the couple has carefully picked out a new homebase for a while. Currently, the Battles are in Applegate Valley, just outside of Grants Pass, Oregon.
"Next month we'll be doing a roadtrip around California, checking out a few places we haven't been yet," says Cate. "A few highlights being Big Sur, Joshua Tree and Anza-Borrego."
In May, their kids (Cate's stepchildren Maddy, 23, and Kepler, 20) will join them on the road for the first time, making a big loop around Oregon. But that's not all.
"We hope to make it up to Alaska in the near future as well," Battles tells PEOPLE of the family's 2018 travel plans.
"Our animals are definitely the stars of our blog and we enjoy sharing their adventures with others," says Battles, proudly.
Check out the family's blog for more information, photos, travel ideas and especially goat inspo!