Saturday, December 21, 2013

From Camper to Cabin - day 14

Do my kids really have room to run around inside? While living in a camper is amazing, it does have its drawbacks and small indoor play areas is one of them.  With the big December snow storm, we appreciated having the room to spread our many wings and play for the week we were stuck inside.

I don't miss the camper yet, it has only been a couple of weeks.  It feels great to take a break from the 42' traveling house.  If we hadn't rented the cabin, we would be south by now.  

I have found that we can only handle five days at most in the camper without a break. I learned that
a few years ago when we were stuck in the camper for five days during an ice storm in Dallas, Texas.  We almost went looney having to stay cooped up in such a small space for so long with so many of us!

It was wonderful to move into the cabin a couple of weeks ago, just before the storm hit and hide out for a week while the roads remained iced over. 

It was wonderful and still is....

I told my hubby, 

" Why don't we sell the camper and just rent cabins for a year?"

Hmmmm. We will see what happens!
Gabriel sleds down an Ozark hill dotted with trees. The camper and cabin in the background.
I always think of Missouri sledding as a human game of pin ball, dodging trees on all sides.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

From Camper to Cabin - a well needed break

While it may seem that I have disappeared, I have not. While it has been my dream to blog and write and inspire people to live lives that are valuable to God, others, and themselves, my priority is to my family. So while I have seemed to have vanished in the internet world, I have been living full time with my family.

The past eight months have brought many a changes in me. I would not even know where to begin to share our adventures since we left Utah. My heart has been touched, broke, re-built, then recharged, and to be broke again.
Winter brings much needed change in our life.

I have had zero free time.  I don't need free time.  It is a privilege.  While I may have been too busy to blog and write, I have not been too busy to reach out to my husband, kids, and the people God has brought to me.

The hours spent with campers, new friends, old friends, people in need, people who don't need anything, hurt people, happy people, and every crazy one in between - they have taken much of my free time and even more of my heart.

These past months have been amazing.  But now I find myself at the other end of the spectrum and am hiding out in a cabin in the Ozark Mountains for the winter.  My husband was determined to give us a break from the camper.  He has had his fill of traveling for the time being.  He has no desire to go anywhere and is ready for a break.

This is our third time renting a cabin.  The first was Wisconsin, then Utah, now Missouri.  

So, another adventure begins.  Day two in cabin - brown recluse!

Monday, December 16, 2013

New Traveling Book With Two of My Stories!

Hey friends!

I want to share with you this new book that is coming out about traveling women, which includes me!

I submitted two stories and my daughter Hanna did also.

They are for sale as an e book and later in print.

To read great stories from a bunch of wild women, buy it today.  

Click through my ad above and I will make a commission!

It is on pre-sale right now at a discounted price. Buy now for a Christmas present!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Condensation in a Camper...I Might Have Won the Battle!

The battle is over...I think I won.

Time will tell.

Cold weather is coming to stay and with it condensation in the camper.

If you are a regular reader of my blog you know the struggles I have with condensation.

With paper thin walls and extreme temperature differences, water/condensation collects on almost every wall and fills every window sill, every morning.

Mold becomes a serious problem and has to be dealt with constantly.  In the past I thought I was going nuts after having to wipe walls and sills for months at a time.  I had to dig everything out of cabinets that were on the outside walls of the camper and dry them out every other day.

I tried putting charcoal in bags, Damp Rid, small dehumidifiers, leaving a vent open, and other things but none seemed to help much.  They all helped a little, but not enough to keep my sanity!

So, when my husband decided he wanted to try to stay further north this winter instead of say warm Texas, Florida, or Arizona - I was thinking - make a reservation at the nut house for me!

I love my husband very much and try to trust his judgement.  We don't always agree but I decided to just go along with this and make the best of the cold situation and stay in the cold with a smile.

I researched bigger dehumidifiers on line.  I don't have room for one that is larger than 30 pints and I definately want one that is on the quieter side.  But, after reading the reviews it seemed that none would work.

So, when I saw one at Walmart the other day I just grabbed it and set it in my cart.  I figure if it doesn't work then it will go back.

And guess what....

It works!  So far so good!  Tonight will be a test of its efficiency.  With temperatures dipping even lower and us still breathing as much as usual - we will see how much, if any, condensation is on the windows.

I hope it will do the job and the battle will be over and I will continue to be only half crazy instead of totally!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Day at Wilson's Creek National Battlefield in Battlefield Missouri

Looking into the past is an exciting part of our trip.  While spending time in southern Missouri, we decided to go to Wilson's Creek National Battlefield.  It was one of the largest battles in the beginning of the Civil War.  

This battle was the first major Civil War battle west of the Mississippi River.  It took place on August 10th, 1861.

Hundreds of men died here in a land that was torn between the north and the south.

The park has great walking, biking, and hiking trails.

Our family had a wonderful time there and can't wait to go back!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Government shut down sends us on the road again with a humbled heart

With the government shut down we are officially homeless.  Our home was in a camper parked at a National Forest Campground.  Thankfully, we can hook it up to our truck and move to another great place. 

We had just talked with the district Ranger and she gave us permission to keep working for two more months.  It is a wonderful campsite and great people to work for.  Only days later we got the news that we had 41 hours to vacate.  Usually it takes me a week to prepare after camping in one spot for so long so it was quite challenging.  I thought to myself, how would Washington like it if they had 41 hours to leave their home and have the electric and water shut off in 41 hours?  I don’t blame the National Forest Service, they have been amazing to work for and with.  They are also suffering, much worse than us.

I have to admit, though, I am not used to working outside the home and for other people.  I got out of the Navy in 1994 and have only done a few things to earn money since.  The office politics and dealing with work problems have been quite difficult for me.  I am called to be a wife and a mother and when I stepped outside of that calling I sure had a hard time. 

Shae and Hanna did over half the work, but I still had to do a lot.  I dealt mostly with the people, which is normally wonderful as we love the people that come there.  I didn’t realize that there would be so many problems, though. 

I failed so many times.  If I could go back I would make different choices – often.  

Why did I fail so miserably? 

God had me there to cause me to grow and show the sin in my heart, among other reasons.  I know that He didn’t want me to fail; He wanted me to learn and change.  I know He has plans for me and sometimes the hidden faults and sins hold us back from His perfect will.
It is a difficult and uncomfortable process to have those sins exposed and confronted. 
I could now continue and share with you all the wonderful things that happened at the campground and how there are so many good things that our family experienced that I cannot even count them.  But, that would diminish the seriousness of my sin.  It would say, yes I was wrong but oh well, focus on the good things I did.  I think God wants us to focus on our sin, when it is revealed, and work to overcome it with His help.  At that point I can remember the good and the right choices I made, which were also by God’s grace.

I will share the good in another post.  For now, I apologize for the bad choices I made and hope that I can overcome and move forward.  I will put the past behind and remember today is a new day.  I have learned from the past and with God’s help I will not make the same mistakes again.

Moving forward to the higher call and shaking of the sin that would so easily ensnare me.

If we chose to go back when the government starts working again, it will be a new day, a new me, and a humbled heart.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Outdoor speakers on a camper help everyone in the neighborhood to enjoy the movie!

My son has been looking at campers lately.  The newer ones have many gadgets that I wish our camper had.  

Walking in all of those new rigs made ours seem 
out of date 
And ours is only a 2009!

How quickly things change.

The outdoor speakers were unique, although something that I don't need.  If I am outside I want to hear the outdoors, not music.

But, it sure explained a recent situation.  While an evening hike at Zion River Resort in Virgin, Utah, we came across an unexpected situation.

Virgin River at Zion River Resort in Virgin, Utah
Besides the sound of traffic, there was a camper with the TV playing as loud as can be!  We were so surprised that he was playing the movie so loud.  We had visited with this man many times and he did not seem like the type to crank up the radio or TV!

We made it around the corner and went inside our camper and shut the door and could still hear the voices from the other camper!

Well, last week my son said, "I bet he had outdoor speakers and didn't realize 
they were on!"

"Ah ha!  That is it!"

So, for those of you who have outdoor speakers, make sure they are off when watching TV!  

We laughed a long time about it.....

Tytus didn't catch any fish....there wasn't a hook on the end!

Campers are close so the noise can be heard by neighbors, like us.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

More New Tires! That Makes 25 this year!

Wow!  More tires!  
You can’t be serious!  

Last August, we were travelling from Montrose,  Colorado to Marysvale,  Utah when we blew two tires on the camper.

Though we bought 19 tires last August, that did not include our Dodge Dually.  We drove all the way from Virgin, Utah to a campground near Branson, Missouri with only one cracked rim on the camper, which is quite common for us.  That happened somewhere between Grants, New Mexico and Amarillo, Texas.  My husband was doing his normal check of the tires, rims, and motors before we would head out the next day when he came across the crack in the camper rim.  He found a local tire place that got us one pretty quick and we got it put on and left the next day.

But, back to the current wheel problem.

 Thankfully, my husband is very meticulous when it comes to motors, campers, vehicles, and basically anything you would consider “a guy’s job”.  A couple of days ago he came in and broke the bad news, “Honey, we have to buy tires for the truck.”  Oh no, I thought.  Seriously?  We just bought 19 tires last fall and now we have to buy six more!  Plus, the truck tires cost more than the other ones. 

Shae was looking over all of our machines, motors, tires, and equipment – on an almost daily inspection – when he spotted the bulge in the back outside tire of our dually.  He told me how thankful he was that we had made it to Missouri without it busting.  So since my oldest son needs our van for his new job, I asked my husband to get new tires quick, which he had already planned on doing.

Today we made the 40 minute trip to Walmart to get the new tires on.  We have always used locally owned tire shops but this time we thought we would go with a nationally owned shop in case we have problems down the road.  When we go to a local shop in a particular town we can almost guarantee that we will not be going back to that town again.  If the shop does bad work, we can’t just bring it back and say, “Fix It!”  We might be 1000 miles away before we catch their mistake!  Believe me, this has happened to us.
After we arrived at Walmart, my husband glanced at the tire with the bulge in it and the bulge had tripled its size in just a short drive!  The Lord really protected us, as usual!
He decided on a NITTO Dura Grapplor tire.  We hope it will do good for us.

Tires are definitely something we have to budget for.  These are the tires that Shae decided on.
The rim was welded back at one time.  Now, we just replace them.
Shae checks our tires often which has saved many a problems on the road.

Sometimes we get the same rim and other times we do not.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Chores were not left behind in the house...they followed me into my camper!

I think I truly believed that I would have more free time while on the road and in a sense I do.  When I had my sticks and bricks I spent most of my time cleaning, sorting, and tending to things.  Our family was involved with more classes and clubs that took many a nights.  Now, our nights are spent with each other, around a fire, or working on our writing.  

My husband and I find time to spend together everyday! 

Not just once a week. 

We date everyday!

But, even with all of the benefits of travel, we still have normal life.  

We are not on permanent vacation! 
 Let me repeat:  
We are not on permanent vacation!

We have normal daily life -
  • wash dishes - we have no dishwasher
  • wash clothes
  • vacuum
  • clean rooms
  • do school
  • cook more meals
  • make sure everyone gets outside to run and play
  • spend time with hubby
  • pay bills
  • sort paperwork
  • sort clothes and school work
  • fix broken items in and on camper
  • fix van, truck, camper, flatbed, UTV, ATVs, bikes, and toys
  • change oil on numerous motors
  • decide where to go next
  • spend days trying to find a campground that will work for us
  • pray pray pray pray pray
  • visit people
  • site see
  • and so much more
It is so hard to fit it all in.  I thought that I would have time to read and relax more, but I don't.  That is OK, though, I have such amazing experiences and memories that it is all worth it.

When we had a house, I could put a pile of items in the basement and get to it in a few months, when I had more time.  Now, everything has to be sorted and put away daily, there is no room for piles!  Dishes can't sit overnight, and laundry has no large basket to pile up.  Things cannot go undone, but must be taken care of daily.  There is a benefit to that in that chores are not piled up for another day, yet it can get difficult trying to do it all everyday.  

The grass is always greener on the other side, and sometimes it is.  For me, I love traveling.  But, I have learned over the years that troubles and problems can follow us anywhere.  Will a lifestyle change solve those problems or just join you in your new life?  Traveling has not been the solution for my problems, but instead has given me a different perspective on life.  It has changed me to the core - forever.

The Grass is not always greener on the other side, it is just on the other side!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Benefits of Full Time Travel - great education

There are many benefits to the full-timing lifestyle and a great education is at the top.

Instead of just reading about the Civil War, Revolutionary War, Indian settlements, volcanoes, mountains, habitat, and animals - we go to them, experience those locations and subjects - we live them.

While in the east we studied manatees and then went kayaking with them and played with them on the shore of an inlet.

We studied alligators then held one and later that day we took an air boat ride through the Everglades.

We didn't just draw the Appalachian Mountains on a map - we drove through them and hiked them.

Mt. St. Helens was visited and studied.

Bears were seen, a little too close, and photographed in Colorado and Montana.

We went to the PBR and another day sat on a bull and some even rode a bull at a
PBR world champion bull riders home!

We kayak the rivers, lakes, and oceans.

We hike the trails weaving through the many National Parks and National Forests.

We go to Pando, the world largest known organism.

We camp near every race, gender, and type of person in the United States.

We meet people from all walks of life from all over the world.

Education is not just learned from a book but we actually see, smell, touch, taste, or feel  what we learn.

My husband confirmed that, yes, the salt in Death Valley National Park actually
tastes like salt.

My son found out that sand at the bottom the ocean is hard when you hit it with your knee after flipping over in your kayak.

My daughter found out that the view from Angel's Landing in Zion National Park is as stunning as she had heard.

My three old learned that trees and mountains are meant to climb and that they belong to him.

Instead of just reading about places and events, we study them and then experience them in as many ways and using all of our senses.

I can't imagine a better education for my children, from birth to 20 years old, all of my children are better off from this trip. Their education is unbelievable - I cannot even put a price tag on it.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Some people say we are crazy to do what we do - they were right!

Sometimes there are people that tell us we are nuts to travel full time with 
eight of us in 42'.  

And over the years, I have come to agree with them.

Some would say those with houses are crazy to not travel full time.

And over the years, I have come to agree with them.

Yet, I have evidence that we truly are crazy to do what we do.

The following conversation happened the other night between my husband and oldest daughter.
She loves to visit with friends and family on facebook and uses pinterest as an outlet
for some of her creativity.

Hanna:  "I found a cool hair style on pinterest the other night.  What do you think?"

Dad:  "It looks like an Indian headband."

Dad  goes to bedroom and makes a hair band out of his underwear.

Dad then runs into living room area of camper to scare his children.

Children:  "AHHHHHHHH  DAD!"

Hanna:  "NOOOOO"

Dad:  "How do you like the hair band idea I found on pinterest?"

Mom and Hanna think - does he even know what pinterest is?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Awesome times at the Red Bull Rampage Track - unique experiences on the road

Have you ever heard of the Red Bull Rampage? 

 I hadn't, but I sure was missing out! 

Traveling full time brings us to new places and new experiences that I couldn't have even imagine existed.  When we leave the comforts of what we know and have known, we open ourselves up to not only the good in America but the peculiar and the unique.

The mountain bike free ride competition is one such event and experience that I never knew existed but I am so thankful I know now.  I am thankful not only because I love to watch the riders maneuver the seemingly impossible terrain, but because I have met some that rode the track while we watched and they are what makes this sport awesome.

The Red Bull Rampage is an event but it is an experience also, one to be had any time of year in Virgin, Utah.

We were off on one of our many UTV rides in the desert, destination - the mountain biking championship track put on by Red Bull.  When we arrived, we were in shock over the difficult terrain that these young men rode on.  We explored the hills and roads and ended up in the middle of the course.  There was a group of guys riding their bikes there.  

It was awesome to watch them ride down the steep ravines and red rock to the bottom.  

There is more to this story than I can even write in one sitting but, I want to share some photos of some of the riders.

Cody and Hanna are making a documentary of their rides.... coming soon.

Cody and Hanna climbing around the red rock at the new Red Bull Rampage track in Virgin, Utah.
Deep ravines make for awesome tracks down on a bike.

We found this tunnel at the old Red Bull Track on Kolob Terrace Rd in Virgin.

Patrick Schooler warming up on a few smaller jumps at the new Red Bull track.

Sun set at the old Red Bull track.

Jeremy Hottinger climbing to the top of the new Red Bull track.

Jeremy Hottinger training for this falls Red Bull Rampage competition.

Jeremy Hottinger  coming down the steep cliffs.

Patrick Schooler picking the line he will ride down at the new Red Bull track.

Patrick Schooler lifting his bike up the steep cliffs.  It has got to be tough to do.  

Patrick Schooler coming down the side and finishing his attempt to ride the Red Bull Rampage track and making it!

Jeremy Hottinger on the top of the track.

We take our Kawasaki Mule to the most awesome places.

Aaron Butler coming down a track at the new Red Bull track.

Some of the ramps and jumps are crazy!

Jeremy Hottinger and a friend.  It was awesome to meet them.

Aaron Butler jumping about a 70' jump across a ravine.  It was amazing.  He made it.  It was so incredible!

The guys checking out where Aaron landed across the ravine.

Patrick Schooler coming down a jump at the new Red Bull track.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hiking, Exploring, and Hot Tubs - a day on the road

Today was one of those days that remind me why we are on this trip.

It began with an average morning and chores.  Whether in a house or camper - there is plenty to do.

We worked on school subjects until my husband could take his lunch break.  He and I jumped in our Kawasaki Mule and road up to the Red Bull Mountain Bike Track in Virgin, Utah.  We like to hike for our daily exercise and this place had some really steep hills to help me with my backside.

He and I spent an hour climbing up and down the red, crumbly cliffs and slopes weaving through the mesas and buttes west of Zion National Park.  With the gorgeous formations in the background and no one around, it was wonderful.

We had to head on home so he could get back to work.  We pealed out in our Mule at its top speed of 23 mph.  

Later in the day, I told the kids we were going to take a ride up the mountain to Kolob Reservoir.  The kids are all almost done with a bad cold and I figured a ride in the van would be fine.  We just wouldn't let them get out and run too much.  Shae was able to go with us, thank goodness.  The road covered in  snow at the top, which he insisted on driving in the deeper parts.

I told him, "Honey!  We don't have 4 wheel drive!"

He replied, "That's what tow haul is!"  

We always joke that our 15 passenger van has turbo, can go in 4 x 4, and do just about anything my husband wants - all he has to do is push that tow haul button!

We got quite a ways up the road when we came to the road closed sign.  The park doesn't plow the snow and it was too deep past that point.  Oh well, we don't cry of the little things, so we just turned it around, attempting to avoid the deep, thick mud in the ditch behind us, and headed back down the mountain.

Shae decided to continue our adventure by going to Grafton, Utah - a ghost town nearby.  I will write more on that later, but let me tell you, it was a very interesting place to stop.

Since I had made a big breakfast and lunch, I decided to have Hanna make sandwiches for dinner.  Before that, her and I took a dip in the hot tub and then I went to a wine tasting party at the Lodge.  

Quite a day!