A family on the road living fulltime in an RV.

Tag: 5th Wheel

Days 82-85: Franklin and Nashville Tennessee

We woke up this morning knowing we were headed to Nashville. We didn’t know that we would be spending the night with old friends. We didn’t know that we would…

We woke up this morning knowing we were headed to Nashville. We didn’t know that we would be spending the night with old friends. We didn’t know that we would be having dinner with new friends. We didn’t know that Franklin Tennesee was much more than a little suburb of Nashville.  We didn’t know that we would get to go on a date. We didn’t know Smoked Tea with Plum ice cream could be so good.

Old Friends – Mike and Jen moved to Franklin from Ventura 10 years ago. We parked our RV in their driveway on a quiet cul-de-sac next to a lake. We felt right at home. They showed around Franklin and took us to Leiper’s Fork. They made us dinner and we stayed up late sharing stories and laughter.

New Friends – We had just got settled when we got an invitation for dinner from friends of one of Brent’s clients. Brent had told his client that we were going to be in Franklin and much to our surprise and delight they called us. Dinner that with strangers ended as dinner with friends.

Date Night – Mike watched the boys one night so Brent and I could spend some time alone. Being the adventurers we are we went to Trader Joe’s. Romantic, huh? Afterwards, we drove around Nashville and spotted a little pizza and kebab place called PizzeReal.  As we waited for our food we decided to check the Yelp reviews. Not a good idea. The restaurant had poor reviews. We hoped for the best and weren’t disappointed with the Tusan Garden, pizza topped with kale, mushrooms, garlic, mozzarella, and labne.  Sooo good. It just happens that an ice cream place, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, we wanted to try was around the corner. We got a Black and Tan sundae made with Salted Carmel and Smoked Tea and Plum. Splendid, indeed. Do not miss Jeni’s if you are in Nashville.

Franklin – Franklin takes pride in her history. The downtown is lovely, clean, and quaint. The visitor center provides a plethora of maps and brochures. One is a historic downtown Franklin self guided walking tour map. There are six tours routes to choose from: the Great American Main Street, Art & Antique, Haunts a & Headstones, History Homs of Hincheyville, Battle of Franklin, and Margin to Main. Unfortunately due to rainy weather and time constraints, we didn’t complete any of the walks but we did see many places on the walks. One of which was the The Carter House grounds. The Carter House, a National Landmark, served at a command post during the Battle of Franklin and was the home of the Carter family who sought safety with their slaves in the basement during the battle. One of their sons, Todd Carter, had joined the confederacy. He was mortally wounded during battle and was brought to boyhood home to die.

Adventure Science Center – Our last day in Franklin was a rainy one a perfect day to visit the Adventure Science Center. It’s part of the ACST Passport Program which means free admission and I like free. The boys played giant instruments, zapped germs with lazers, and experienced what it would be like to walk in 1/6 gravity. Fun times for all.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Day 55: Watch Out for Them Biten Dogs

Last night we arrived at our campsite at Lake Eufaula State Park in Oklahoma before dark. No small miracle. The campground was nearly empty and deer were roaming. I’m loving the…

Last night we arrived at our campsite at Lake Eufaula State Park in Oklahoma before dark. No small miracle.

The campground was nearly empty and deer were roaming. I’m loving the off season. The campground was lovely with large sites, many overlooking Lake Eufaula, the largest lake in Oklahoma.

Unfortunately, we discovered the panel that holds in the insulation on the bottom of the trailer had come loose. We also realized that was why a guy was honking and pointing to our trailer earlier that day. When we stopped we couldn’t find whatever it was he was making such a fuss over. Now we know. Just dragging insulation. No biggie. :-/

After dinner we drove off the curb around the campground to look at the Christmas light display. The display was impressive and included a giant brontosaurus. Like I said, impressive. It was cozy in the cab of our truck with four people up front listening to bad pop renditions of classic Christmas songs on the radio.

In the morning, we went to the nature center and I drilled asked the ranger about venomous snakes. I have a habit of drilling asking anyone who might know anything about snakes everything there is to know. It’s neurotic charming.

Then it was time to hit the road and head to Arkansas. It feels like we didn’t really give Oklahoma a chance. After talking to the ranger about the geography of Oklahoma I was wishing we had more time to stay and explore the state.

The drive to Hot Springs was loooong. Brent may or may not have insisted on stopping for Starbucks at the busiest strip center in all of Arkansas.

That evening we had dinner at a small restaurant in Y City. I picked up a paper and began browsing the real estate ads.  A four bedroom house on 20 acres for 155K?  The prices of real estate are unbelievable when you are used to California prices. Do we have any California friends who want to move to Arkansas with us?

I was ready to move until…

…we stopped for a bathroom break.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Day 9: And we’re off! (again)

Today we cast off on our own. We left the security of Brent’s parents and officially hit the open road and landed at Morgan Hill, CA but not without a…

Today we cast off on our own. We left the security of Brent’s parents and officially hit the open road and landed at Morgan Hill, CA but not without a few detours.
Detour #1 – The family picture. The picture was fine or as good as it can be with 2 kids, 2 pugs, and a cat.  (Nigel, the light pug, looks thrilled.  Simply thrilled.)
It was during this picture, I put Meow Cow in the car without rolling up the window.  Ooops.  We spend 10 minutes searching for him as he watched hidden amongst the stuff in the garage.  I’m certain he was laughing.
Detour #2 –  We stopped at Goodwill to drop of our last (for now) load of stuff.  This Goodwill was in a strip center and not set up for RVs.  As we were unloading the stuff, we found out we were blocking a lady who had to get her child somewhere.  We moved and circled back around to drop off the rest of our stuff.  After we were leaving we hit a curb hard.  Ouch.
Detour #3 – We weren’t on the interstate but 10 minutes when Meow Cow peed on Thing 2.  Good times.  (Note to self, don’t forget to put litter box in the truck.)
Detour #4 – Pottie breaks 20 mintues apart.  (I’m sure we’ll soon come to see this as a part of life and not “detours”)

Detour #5 – Finally, we get to our campsite after dark (just brilliant our first time out) and we may or may not have used our phone flashlight to park the beast between trees. As we started to open her up for bedtime the large slideout didn’t want to go.  Brent found a small leak in the hydraulic system.  Bummer.  He and Nathanael went to Wal-mart at 10:00 pm leaving me and to fend for ourselves to get brake fluid only to come home and discover that he didn’t have the switch turned on properly.

Newbies.
Love and Laughter,
Jenn
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Day 1: Posers

We didn’t make it far our first night on the road as “full timers”.  We drove about 100 miles north.  We parked the trailer on the cul-de-sac of a perfectly…

We didn’t make it far our first night on the road as “full timers”.  We drove about 100 miles north.  We parked the trailer on the cul-de-sac of a perfectly suburban neighborhood. We ended up sleeping in the guest room at Brent’s parents.

Posers.

In the morning, it took us an hour and a half to park the trailer in the driveway.  I hope this is not an indication of the year to come.

We even needed to cut limbs to make this beast fit.

I need a cowboy hat.  That’s high on my list when I get to Texas.  I have priorities.

After parking the trailer we headed down to Rancho Oso to purchase a Thousand Trails membership   After spending hours researching and budgeting, we decided to go with the national pass which included an RPI preferred membership.  It seems like it will be the best way to stretch our campsite dollars and it will give us a little direction.  Brent or I both tend to get a little overwhelmed when presented with too many choices and this will help narrow them down.

There were lots of deer.

Kids activities are another reason we decided to join Thousand Trails.  While Brent and I love the idea of boondocking (but not as much as I love saying “boondocking”.  Saying it just makes me feel adventurous.) we have young boys who might enjoy spending some time in a campgrounds with amenities like pools and ping pong.

Our day ended with a stop in Santa Barbara. The boys wanted to drive by the houses Brent and I lived in when we met.  He loves to say he “married the girl next door.”  It’s true. The first time I saw him he was standing on the steps of my my little white duplex.  It was love at first sight.

We have a few more days at Brent’s parents.  There is still some major organizing to do and we have to get rid of more stuff.  Sigh.

Oh and before I go I wanted to show you what was next the gate of the parking lot to our trailer the day we left Ventura.

How sweet is that!  My friend and her kids hung this at nearly midnight the night before we left.  However, I’m wondering if it should have said “New School Nomads are Off Their Rockers.” 😉

Friends.  We only left Ventura a few days ago and I’m already missing them.

Time will fly.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

 

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Open “House”

Saturday morning, we decided we would have an rv open “house” on Sunday.  We had been *thinking* about the open house for a month and leave it to me to…

Saturday morning, we decided we would have an rv open “house” on Sunday.  We had been *thinking* about the open house for a month and leave it to me to invite people 24 hours beforehand.  The truth is I wasn’t procrastinating.  I was just being thorough. Everything needed to be “just so”. Which explains (or muddles) why we were still up at 12:00 am hanging cabinet doors and sweeping piles of screws into the drawers.  Those finishing touches.   Nothing says we are ready to go like  clean countertops even if the closet is filled with paint cans instead of clothes.

The party was at noon and at 11:30 am we found ourselves an hour behind schedule still trying to hitch up the trailer.  You see, we waited until right before the party to test out the hitch and as it turned out our truck “hitch height” is different than the previous owner’s truck making it impossible to “just hook up and go”.  Somehow Brent figured it out (he always does) and we pulled up to our little get together.

There are a lot of things we are going to miss about Ventura this year…the beaches, the mountains, the fabulous weather, two Trader Joes…but none of that compares to the way we are going to miss the people.  So many wonderful people.  I’m thankful that a handful of these wonderful people were able to make it out on such a ridiculously late notice and I hope they know just how much it made our day.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Is there a forest around these trees?

Life may be a tad bit on the busy side right now but I still want to document it. This week we’ve been painting, sanding, painting, sanding. From how much…

Life may be a tad bit on the busy side right now but I still want to document it.

This week we’ve been painting, sanding, painting, sanding.

From how much we’ve I’ve been painting you would think that we are moving into a 3000 square foot house not a 300 square foot trailer.

I may or may not have had a breakdown in the bathroom last night over….

LINT.

Yes, there was lint in the polyeurathane and it nearly sent me over the edge.  Good times.  Good times.

I’ll just let you imagine how I felt today when Brent told me today after driving home from the LA fabric district that the polyurethane (I spent an entire day applying to the cabinets) didn’t dry clear and everything has to be re-sanded and re-painted.  I thought I was done with the kitchen cabinets and now I’m almost back at square one.  I basically wasted an entire weekend.

Except I didn’t because…

…I spent precious time with this guy.   His hard work blows me away.

I’m really trying to see the forest through the trees and remember what this trip is really about.

Family.
Adventure.
Memories.
Love.

Who cares about a little lint.

We are hoping to leave October 9th, our 12 year anniversary.  I can’t think of a better way to celebrate.

But…there’s the to-do list.

RV
Finish paint and Hang Cabinet Doors (we took them off to paint)
Paint Living Room Walls
Install Wood Floor
Build Brent’s Desk
Sew Curtains
Find Upholster for Cushions
Upholster Couch Frame – We were going to take it somewhere but it won’t fit out the door!
Install Closet Organizer
Install hardware
Paint Fan
Paint (or Find New) Light Fixtures
Re-upholster headboard
Buy storage bins
Install and plumb new bathroom sink
Purchase various small items

House 
Sell, giveaway, or burn stuff we are not taking.  (This is a mile long list in and of itself.)
Sell Car
Pack RV
Clean and repair current house. (Another list as long as this list.)
Trim bushes at current house
Fix stuff at the rental house. (Our tenant just let us know there is an opossum living under it.  Awesome.)
Order a few more school books

Misc
See friends
Keep up with laundry

Oh and that video we shot in July?  The deadline is fast approaching. When I think I’m working hard, I remember how hard Brent is working.

How many days to October 9th?

Don’t remind me.

But I’m not complaining because it’s all going to be worth it.

I think.

I hope.

with love,
jenn

 

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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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