A family on the road living fulltime in an RV.

In Search of Our Nomadic Home – We found her!!!!

Our trip suddenly seems very real. Even Panada Express thinks so. We got most of our homeschooling books. We got our black belts.  (One of the reasons we’ve been putting…

Our trip suddenly seems very real.

Even Panada Express thinks so.

We got most of our homeschooling books.

We got our black belts.  (One of the reasons we’ve been putting off our trip.)

And…

…after months of dreaming

…and looking at RVs.

We found her, The Millennium Cedar!

Here she is being delivered.

Thing 1 was just a little excited.  He has been carrying the brochure around everywhere  since it was delivered on Sunday.  It’s almost odd.

Old and new owners.

Here is a quick tour.  I can’t wait to look for fabrics and paint.  This “hotel look” is going down, baby.

Living room

Kitchen

Since we got our black belts that weekend both sets of grandparents were able to join us in welcoming exploring our new home.  That’s my dad.  He’s awesome.  Thing 2 is back in his bedroom on top of the 3rd bunk Meow Cow’s bed.

Boys’ bunks

Master bedroom

Huge closet in the master bedroom (Praise God.  I’m not going to have to get rid of everything.)

Opposite of bed in master bedroom which will become the office

The WC

We are beyond the moon excited!  (Not about the WC…that would be weird.)  We’ve been searching for months. In the beginning, we were “CERTAIN” we were going to get a diesel pusher.  I wanted a vintage bus conversion.  For a few weeks, we seriously considered an Airstream but the bunk model we wanted was $35k+ and it was very small. At one point I said, “To hell with it, let’s just get a VW bus and go.”  That idea lasted all of 30 seconds.  We went back and forth.  After reading about other families on the road and looking at our finances we decided the 5th wheel was the best choice for us financially and space wise.  Besides, after years of driving a little Honda, Brent is going to look hot behind the wheel of a big ole’ diesel truck.  I may just have to get him a cowboy hat.

This month has been crazy and things feel like they are suddenly happening fast.  Reminds me of waiting at the beach to watch the sunset.  You wait and wait and just as soon as it starts to dip behind the ocean’s edge, it’s over.

We actually had put a deposit down on one at a dealer a week and a half ago but left the dealership feeling a little unsure.  It was used and in good but not great shape.  The bunk room was a little small but we thought it would work.  The boys were “meh” about their room.  It was on a Sunday evening so the banks were closed and we weren’t sure if we were going to be approved for a loan. (Oringinally we were going to finance the RV and pay for the truck and now we doing the opposite.)  When we got home I looked on Craigslist and saw a “2006 Cedar Creek with bunks and 3 slide outs”.  I had not seen this listing despite checking almost daily.  It was priced well below blue book so I emailed them assuming it had been sold.  It hadn’t.  The next morning, we called the other dealership and told them we had changed our mind.  Then I drove down to LA to look at the Cedar Creek with Thing 1.  With just Thing 1. (Good thing, I took Thing 1 he asked all the technical questions while I checked out the cosmetics.)  Brent was so busy with work, he couldn’t afford to get away which I meant I had to make the decision if we would spend every available penny we had for an rv by myself.   Ummm…pressure?  I knew instantly that this was “the one”.  I’m good at that.  😉  Thankfully, when it was delivered to our house he loved it!

Now all we need to do is get a truck.  I guess we put the cart before the horse.

with  love,
Jenn

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In Search of Our Nomadic Home – Part 2

Last week, Thing 1 and I went on two all day dates while Thing 2 was at Cubscout Camp.  Our dates were “his choice” and he chose to go look…

Last week, Thing 1 and I went on two all day dates while Thing 2 was at Cubscout Camp.  Our dates were “his choice” and he chose to go look at RVs.

Awwww…the youngest old man.

Since the birth of our on-the-road-dream, we’ve always imagined living life in a motorhome.  In my dreams, it’s a vintage bus conversion. So far, we haven’t found anything that suits ours needs and is in our price range.

This week I thought we had found an almost perfect RV.  It was a low mileage diesel pusher  in our price range with many of our desired options.

A large bedroom with lots of closet space.

A perfect place to build an “office” for Brent in the bedroom.

A decent sized kitchen for me to experiment cook.

A living area just waiting for new fabric and paint.

A blank slate  just makes me giddy.

But then….

 

….we saw the space where we wanted to build bunk beds is about 6 inches too short.

Boo.

With much trepidation, I agreed to look at some 5th wheels and I was surprised by how much I liked them.

A crazy amount of space for a girl who likes her clothes.  Not that I know that girl…

A separate bedroom for the boys.  A year on the road makes this option very appealing.

More counter space than the diesel pusher.

This particular model even had an “office”.  Unfortunately, it was in the back bedroom so we would probably still end up building one in the front bedroom but still it’s a possibility.

So now I’m making lists.  I love making lists.

Advantages of a Class A Diesel Pusher
– Comfortable moving down the road
– I’ll have my little CR-V to drive around.
– Basement storage
– We already own a perfect tow vehicle.
– If it breaks down we have an extra vehicle.

Disadvantages of Class A Diesel Pusher
– Bunks next to the one bedroom
– More difficult to get serviced
– Higher maintenance expenses
– Length: Could be too long for many places.
– Two drive trains to maintain

Benefits of  5th Wheel
– More living space
– Better floor plan, i.e., two separate bedrooms
– One drive train to maintain
– Lower cost
– Length: Easier to get spaces to stay
– Diesel trucks are easier and less expensive to repair.

Disadvantages of 5th Wheel
– Confined to truck cab while traveling
– I’ll have to drive a big ole’ truck around when the boys and I go on excursions without Brent.
– If the truck breaks down we are out of luck.
– Just doesn’t seem “like us”.  Interpret that how you will.

We are torn. Thing 2 and I are all about the class A.  Brent and Thing 2 are all about the 5th wheel.

It’s an important decision but really it’s not.  At the end of the day, all of us just really want to get on the road to have some adventures and makes some memories.

Advice?  Experience? We are all ears!!!

with love,
Jenn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Making Trail

Nathanael’s Boyscout Troop is heading out for their first backpacking trip since he joined next weekend. He insisted that before he joined them in this outing we would do our…

Nathanael’s Boyscout Troop is heading out for their first backpacking trip since he joined next weekend. He insisted that before he joined them in this outing we would do our own father & son trek. So last week we made a trip to Sport Chalet for backpacks, sleeping bags & cooking equipment then Saturday afternoon we hit the trail! We ended up getting a late start (5:30) but it was only a 3.5 mile hike so no worries… right?

Starting at Sunset

Our Destination was Big Cone Camp, right up the hill from the Punch Bowls – a destination I have heard about for so many years yet had never actually visited.

The first leg of the hike is just getting to the trail. You have to walk around the perimeter of Thomas Aquinas College then past some oil fields then cross a stream before actually hitting the trail.

There seem to be many small variations of the trail that have been established over the years and I think we sampled a good many of them… which made for somewhat slow progress.

making trail

Surprisingly colorful “flora”…

color

We made it into camp just as darkness was finally setting in. We set up camp & had some of the best cheese & crackers ever, according to Nathanael (Laughing Cow & Club crackers for the record).

Side note: one of my trusty Vasque hiking boots delaminated 1/2 way to our destination. Thankfully I had my Vibram TrekSport. I wore them the rest of the trip & they worked great!

Next morning we made awesome breakfast burritos with Trader Joe’s chicken sausage (our fave) then headed down to check out the Punch Bowls.

morning campfire

punchbowls

 

Plenty of refreshing water there just waiting for a swim…

jump

After much cajoling …

cajoling

swimming!

swim1swim2

Then for the long slog back to the car…

 

We got a late start back so we were hiking in the full heat of the afternoon sun.

sun

Slow & steady did the trick. By 3PM we were having a late lunch in Santa Paula.

This was a special first backpacking trip with my boy. He kept a great attitude even when he was worn out, we were loosing light and hunger was setting in. I was proud to see his strong character shining through. I look forward to many more great wilderness treks with Nathanael.

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Sunrise Coffee Kisses

Brent and I could have fun together in a cardboard box. Put us in the mountains at sunrise with cameras and coffee and 2 hours feels like 2 minutes. The…


Brent and I could have fun together in a cardboard box.

Put us in the mountains at sunrise with cameras and coffee and 2 hours feels like 2 minutes.

The day after the cast and crew left Brent and I got up at 5:30 am to film b-roll (him) and take pictures (me).

There was dew.  There were ducks.  There were shadows. There were jumping fish and croaking frogs. There was some nut job a girl army crawling across cracked pavement to get within feet of a rabbit.  (Ahem.)

There was no one else there around the lake except the critters and us which meant there were also….

….kisses.

Who doesn’t like coffee breath kisses at sunrise.

With Love,
Jenn

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Fireworks and Whispers

We haven’t had much time to think about, much less prepare for, our upcoming road trip.  We’ve been busy preparing for our last big project, a video shoot for a…

We haven’t had much time to think about, much less prepare for, our upcoming road trip.  We’ve been busy preparing for our last big project, a video shoot for a local publishing company, before we hit the road.

We headed up to our location, Pine Mountain Club, on the 4th of the July to spend four days with 13 people who were almost strangers. Brent and I were sad to be missing fireworks with our boys but excited for the adventure ahead.

On the 126 highway, we passed a man with a long pony tail sticking out from under his patriotic bandana soaking up the sun next to his lady as they cruised in their old convertible. I knew it was going to be a good 4th.

It’s all about being in the moment, fireworks or not.

And this week there were many moments, some as large as fireworks others as faint as whispers.

Strangers bonded.  Storms loomed over the mountain tops.  Meals were shared.  Prayers were said.  Prayers were heard.

The crew was amazing.  They know how to work and laugh.  The first day of shooting we found ourselves striking the set in the middle of rainstorm.  We were wetter than fish and yet I didn’t hear one complaint from the crew.  Not one.

The actors were committed and caring.  If there was a diva in the bunch we never knew it.

Brent and I experienced the immense satisfaction and challenge that comes with being a team in a new game.  We saw our strengths and weaknesses and let God fill in the gaps.  Those big ole’ gaps.

Laughter, tears, sarcasm, love, frustration, compassion, fear, joy.  It was all there on our little set and in our cabins.

With love,
Jenn

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Our Father’s Day Tradition

We only have a few traditions in house and most of them have to do with food. Except… Father’s Day. Every Father’s Day, the boys decorate Brent a shirt.  This…

We only have a few traditions in house and most of them have to do with food.

Except…

Father’s Day.

Every Father’s Day, the boys decorate Brent a shirt.  This has been our tradition since Brent’s first Father’s Fay when I decorated the shirt with puffy paint like a 10 year old in 1987.

Now the boys decorate their own shirts but since they are “new school” they draw pictures of MacBooks.

And iPods

And swords. And guns.  And blood.
(At least I still see a few hearts.)

 

\

It’s 20011! Didn’t you know!

The perfectionist!

“Don’t mind me.”

“Why don’t you take a picture, human? It’ll last longer.”

“You won’t even try pulling me off this box.”

Every father’s day they wear them for Dad.  I’m not sure how long this will last but for now I’m enjoying every moment.

Afterwards, I wad them up in a box in the closet because someday I’m going to make one of those “t-shirt quilts”.  I will.  Never mind I can’t sew a straight line without wanting to throw my sewing machine against the wall.

With Love,
Jenn

 

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Back to Baltimore.

Cobblestone Row houses Dragon Boats Fire Jugglers Ships Shark Submarines A Lonely Carousel Food (Crab cakes? Yes, please.) Museums History Welcome to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor I love being with my…

Cobblestone
Row houses
Dragon Boats
Fire Jugglers
Ships
Shark Submarines
A Lonely Carousel
Food
(Crab cakes? Yes, please.)
Museums
History

Welcome to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

I love being with my family.  Nothing comes close to joy of exploring with Brent or the joy of seeing our boys delight in the world around us.

But…

Every once in a while, it’s good to be alone.  It’s good to find solitude among a crowd of strangers.  It’s good to soak up unfiltered sights and sounds.  It’s also good to remind myself that I can fly by myself, arrange transportation by myself, and read a map by myself.  Yes, I’m a big girl.

This week was rough.  It was the boys last week of school, I’m helping Brent with a big project, and I was just down.  Not sure why but it happens.  Tonight, I dreamed of taking a mini vacation…alone.  I decided to “go back to” Baltimore.

I felt the wind of an approaching storm as I stood on Federal Hill.  I tasted greasy crab cakes.  I slipped through the fence of a vacant carousel.  I got lost with myself.

Now, I’m back and ready to tackle the week ahead but I’m looking forward to going back to Baltimore next year with the ones I love.  I want to visit the National Aquarium, hold Brent’s hand on Federal Hill, and ride in a dragon boat with two boys while they still think dragons are cool.

With Love,
Jenn

 

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Playlist

I’m going to start building a playlist for our upcoming year-long roadtrip. This idea just occurred to me as I was listening to the forthcoming self-titled Bon Iver record (check out the…

I’m going to start building a playlist for our upcoming year-long roadtrip. This idea just occurred to me as I was listening to the forthcoming self-titled Bon Iver record (check out the album preview here on NPR Music). Two tracks in and I can already see us driving down the road towards majestic sunsets/sunrises with this as the soundtrack.

What does your roadtrip soundtrack sound like?

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Peek-A-Boo

The other day I was walking back to my car when I spotted a squirrel. I love squirrels.  Actually I’m one of those odd “rodent girls”.  (Squirrels are rodents aren’t…

The other day I was walking back to my car when I spotted a squirrel.

I love squirrels.  Actually I’m one of those odd “rodent girls”.  (Squirrels are rodents aren’t they?)  In highschool, I had two pet rats named Rocky and Rambo. Don’t judge.

Back to the spotted squirrel or, should I say, the squirrel I spotted because he wasn’t spotted he was tan like most common squirrels.

But unlike common squirrels this one wanted to play peek-a-boo!

Peek-a-boo!!!!

My favorite.  Cute little fellow.

Much love,
Jenn

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