A family on the road living fulltime in an RV.

Tag: Texas

Day 54: “Visiting with” Longhorns

We made it out of Texas. Almost. First we had to find some Texas Longhorn cattle. You see the other day Thing 2 and I decided we wanted to see…

We made it out of Texas.

Almost.

First we had to find some Texas Longhorn cattle.

You see the other day Thing 2 and I decided we wanted to see some Texas Longhorn cattle close up. So I went online to look for nearby ranches.  We started calling around asking if the ranches allowed visitors. One phone call (from Brent) went like this.

“Hi. My family and I are from California and we are looking some longhorn cattle. Do you have any that we could come and visit with?”

Pause.

“You don’t do anything like that? Oh okay. Well thanks.”

Mistake #1 – “from California”, i.e., weirdos

Mistake #2 – “visit with“, i.e., WEIRDOS

Who visits with cows? Weird Californians who live in a RV that’s who. He might as well asked if we could have tea time with the Longhorns. ” Oh but it’s organic green tea full of antioxidants.”

However, as it turned out, there was a quaint Longhorn ranch right next to our campground. It was a bed and breakfast, Front 30 Ranch Guest House, run by the friendliest retired couple. They even smiled politely when I asked if they minded if I did a workout with the Longhorns because working out with longhorns is much more acceptable than visiting with longhorns. Very gracious folks indeed. They walked us out to the pasture while the boys made friends with their dog, Abbey. We didn’t get to pet the Longhorns (Abbey made them nervous) but we got closer than we had ever been and had a nice “visit”. We also enjoyed visiting with the owners who shared how they had built and cultivated the ranch themselves.

Front 30 Ranch is lovely, almost as lovely as the couple who runs it. Large rolling meadows stretch into the surrounding cedar forests. The guest house with its inviting porch overlooks the serene pastures of the Texas Longhorns. It almost makes me wish we didn’t have our RV. This would be the perfect place to come and relax at Lake Texoma. Our boys would have happily stayed all day and so would have we had we not had to get on the road to Oklahoma.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

 

 

 

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Days 51-53: Stuffing My Soul

When we left on our road trip I had visions of what it would be like to live on the road with my family in an RV. My dreams didn’t…

When we left on our road trip I had visions of what it would be like to live on the road with my family in an RV.

My dreams didn’t include family photos in front of Mt. Rushmore or touring the Smithsonian. Although we plan to go to both places.

My dreams were made up of far more simpler things. Things that have filled the last three long rainy days here at Lake Texoma.

I imagined…

…cozy days in the car

…school days on the couch

…that turned to naps

…I guess “working with sentences” isn’t very interesting

I imagined…

…wonder

…friendship

…cat naps

…and playing footsie with my love under the table.

(Okay so I really didn’t imagine footsie but I sure do like it.)

I wish I could just hold my breath and with it these moments. These not-so-small-anymore-hands grow as I hold them in mine. I’m all to aware that these days are limited. I do my best to stuff as many of these moments as I can into my soul. My soul is infinite but these moments are not.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Days 49 and 50: Life at Lake Conroe

Our stop at Lake Conroe was unexpected. We had planned to drive up to Lake Texoma from League City but decided to stop for a night. Or two. Or four….

Our stop at Lake Conroe was unexpected. We had planned to drive up to Lake Texoma from League City but decided to stop for a night.

Or two.

Or four.

We did nothing “exciting”. Unless you count laundry. Or getting stuck in “quicksand“. I needed the two extra days to recover from the stress.

The boys enjoyed playing with some other fulltime RV kids.

Brent worked. Of course.

The highlight of my four days was Marilyn. I met Marilyn while doing laundry. The conversation moved from the fulltime RVing advice to writing to facing fears. I love it when conversations naturally flow beneath the surface and we discover the beautiful reefs that are our lives.

The next morning, she invited me to her RV for coffee. Marilyn is a writer who lives part of her life in an RV and the other part on a boat. She is a woman who faced her fears and released her free spirit. Inspiring. Three hours passed as we talked as if we were old friends.

I was sad when we said goodbye  just as quickly as we had said hello.

It’s all apart of the adventure.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

I’m one of those moms that, even though my boys are nearing adolescence and can swim like fish, I knock on the bathroom door repetitively when either of them are…

I’m one of those moms that, even though my boys are nearing adolescence and can swim like fish, I knock on the bathroom door repetitively when either of them are taking a bath. Or a shower. They may slip. They may fall asleep. Mr. Bubbles may come up from the drain and sell them candy.

Now you know the real reason we moved into an RV…Mommy can see or hear everything.

Except that I really want my children to like me so I try, as hard as it may be, to give them some freedoms. This means I let them decide if they want ranch or hummus with their carrots and when we are in private gated campgrounds I may let them explore a little as long as they have their walkie talkie. Oh the walkie talkies, not only are they the most fun words to say ever, they are the best purchase of the year.

This morning, Brent and I were sitting at the table still in our pjs trying to plan a route that we won’t stick to (not sure why we even bother) while the boys rode their bikes. It was a cool cozy morning and Brent and I were happily huddled up in our booth dinette when we got a call from the boys on the walkie talkie.

“We’re stuck in quick sand.”

Followed by static and laugher.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes.”

“No.”

“Yes.”

Static, scuffling, and bits and pieces of a conversation amounting to nonsense between them.

Followed by…

“We’re stuck.”

“Give it to me.”

Silence. More static. More Scuffling. Laughter?  What was going on?

“What’s going on? Are you stuck or not? Are you playing around? This is not funny.”

Thing 1 got on the walkie talkie and said, “Yes, we’re stuck in the quicksand. Come here.”

I’ve really been working on not getting upset at the drop of a dime. Some people call it “chilling out”. As Brent was rushing out the door, he reassured me that everything was fine, that there wasn’t any “quicksand”, and that they are just playing.

So I sat at the dinette and waited for a phone call that everything was just fine. Then I noticed that Brent had left his cell phone and taken our walkie talkie. What the…

“Breathe deep. Everything is just fine. Just keep planning the route that we won’t use. They will be back in a minute.”  I told myself.

But what if it is quicksand? Did you see Never Ending Story? I’m still haunted by the horse part. I better consult google. My google search for “quicksand dangerous” taught me in 20 seconds that quicksand does indeed suck people down. Not only people but cars and locomotives. It also traps people leaving them defenseless against the wild animals that maul them and holds people for the tide of the ocean to swallow up.  Somehow I missed the part that most quicksand isn’t dangerous and is only a few inches deep.  Maybe I didn’t see that part because I took off running in my Ugg boots through the campground.

When I got to the lake I found this…

..muddy buddies.

I was, at the same time, furious and over joyed.

Dirty rotten scoundrels.

So much for the new boots.

We took them home, cleaned them up, loved on them, and then reminded them they better never ever do something like that again.

Yeah…right.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Day 47: Texas Junk Co

I prefer the musty smell of at thrift store over the plastic-y overly perfumed smell of a department store any day. This may have something to do with convincing Brent…

I prefer the musty smell of at thrift store over the plastic-y overly perfumed smell of a department store any day.

This may have something to do with convincing Brent to navigate our truck and trailer through Houston city streets looking for 215 Welch Street.

Or maybe it was because I really wanted a pair of Texan cowboy boots but didn’t want to spent a month’s food budget on such boots.

Or maybe it’s because I have a nine year old (who really wants his own pair of boots) to back me up.

Or maybe it’s because I’m cheap and adventurous but mostly cheap.

Welcome to Texas Junk Company.

(Texas Junk is actually open on Fridays too.)

Swoon.

Yes, let’s.

Vinyl, anyone?

I didn’t find a pair of boots but the little guy in the middle did.

A door to a door.

Texas Junk Co.

Don’t miss it.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

 

 

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Galveston

We spent the majority of the day doing school and work. After all, it was rainy and cold but come late afternoon I was itching to get outside.  The campground…

We spent the majority of the day doing school and work. After all, it was rainy and cold but come late afternoon I was itching to get outside.  The campground in League City was about 20 minutes from Galveston and Galveston is on the ocean. Our hometown, Ventura, is on the ocean and how I longed to inhale the cool salty sea air and be comforted by the crash of the waves.

Sometimes you don’t realize how much you miss something until you’re cramped in a 280 square ft space with 3 other people in the rain it’s gone.

There were only a few hours left in the day but we decided a few breaths of ocean air is better than none.

While Galveston is a town rich with history we decided we would skip the history and just be. I think the boys appreciated it.

We had coffee.

We explored.

We found a knight in not so shining armor.

We enjoyed the architecture.

 

We found a surfing sharkman.

We played.

(I can’t tell you how much I love this guy!)

We watched the sunset.

We searched the sand.

Thing 2 found the most lovely black shell.

For a few hours we simply enjoyed being and I think we all came back to the RV feeling a little more alive than before.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

 

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Days 44 & 45: Space Center Houston

Hi guys! Just when I was almost caught up blogging about our trip, we lost a strong internet connection. One night I sat at the computer for over an hour…

Hi guys!

Just when I was almost caught up blogging about our trip, we lost a strong internet connection. One night I sat at the computer for over an hour trying to upload 5 pictures. Frustrated, I decided the blog would just have to wait. Then we came up to my parent’s for Christmas so we’ve been busy with family. I’m going to be here for the week and I’m hoping to get all caught up so I can start writing in (almost) real time again.

Tuesday morning, we left San Antonio for League City near Houston. It was the longest driving day we’ve had since we left Marfa.  We pulled into the campground before dark which, for us, was very exciting.

And meant time to to just hang out.

Wednesday morning we visited Space Center Houston.

Space Center Houston is cool. Really cool.

The space center is filled with exhibits, tours, movies, and hands on activities for the entire family. (I sound like an infomercial, forgive me.) My favorite part was the Starship Gallery. There were videos featuring one of the astronauts (I can’t remember his name..ooops.) on the last Apollo 17 mission. He talked in detail about the last mission and what it was like to see earth from outer space.  While listening I kept looking at the Apollo 17 Command Module imagining it in outer space and looking down at the earth. Thinking about it gives me chills.

Next time I want to complain about the shower in our RV I will try to remember the shower in Skylab.

We also took the tram to see historic Mission Control, the astronaut training facility, and the Saturn V rocket. That thing is crazy huge. HUGE!

The space center opens at 10:00 am but we got there at 11:30 am. At 5:00 pm security was pushing us out the door as we lingered in the exhibits trying to see just a little more. We considering hiding in one of the space capsules until after closing so we could play all night but the security guard was pretty frightening.

I thought from now on it would be nice if I share some visiting tips. Maybe someone will find something helpful.

Visiting Tips

– Buy tickets online. You will save $5 per ticket.

– Try to get there when it opens at 10:00 so you have all day. They told us it takes people 4-5 hours to see everything. We had 5.5 hours there and wished we would have had another hour or two more. We didn’t even watch all the movies or read everything. If you purchase a ticket two hours before they close they will let you come back the following day for one day’s admission.

– The audio tour was totally worth the extra admission to us. The only downside is you really have to look for the audio guide numbers. I ended up missing quite a few including the one at the Saturn V exhibit. I listened to it on the tram ride back to the museum which wasn’t nearly as interesting as it would have been walking around the rocket itself.

-We were glad to have brought our lunch (which they let us bring in because it was cold outside) as there was only one restaurant open in the food court. The guy at the door did say that they normally don’t let people bring in food and they have to eat outside at the picnic area.

-Watch Apollo 13 the night before you go! It adds an extra layer of excitement. Of course, if you aren’t in the mood for something as intense there is always Space Camp. It was all fun and games until someone got “launched”.

Love and  Laughter,
Jenn

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Day 43: Remember the Alamo

After a long day trapped in the rv while it poured rain we were ready for some adventure. San Antonio Did we see the Alamo? Of course!  No matter how…

After a long day trapped in the rv while it poured rain we were ready for some adventure.

San Antonio

Did we see the Alamo?

Of course!  No matter how many times I hear it, the story of the 13 day siege and fall of the men at the Alamo fascinates me. Thing 2 too. He never gets tired of battles. Did you know that Davy Crockett died at the Alamo? I didn’t until today. We walked the grounds of the Alamo and the boys did the Alamo Patch Program .(Similar to a Jr. Ranger program.)

After the Alamo we walked along the River Walk to the Plaza where the San Fernando Catherdral has been standing since 1731.

Tomorrow, we head to Houston to see the Space Center.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Day 42: Downpour

The photos opportunities today were endless. I didn’t even know when to start clicking. Me still in my pajamas at 6:30 pm? My eyes swollen from crying on the couch…

The photos opportunities today were endless. I didn’t even know when to start clicking.

Me still in my pajamas at 6:30 pm?

My eyes swollen from crying on the couch the night before?

Yelling at the kids?

The boys fighting?

The pouring rain?

The foggy windows?

Or the woman who asked if our “bulldogs” were “petable” and her husband (?) who thought they looked like “huskies”?

This is our life and despite the occasional downpour I love it.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Day 41 – “Tejas”

The Texas motto is “friendship” This morning I lay in bed listening to the rain my heart as heavy as the clouds. Goodbyes are hard. After getting dressed, I busied…

The Texas motto is “friendship”

This morning I lay in bed listening to the rain my heart as heavy as the clouds.

Goodbyes are hard.

After getting dressed, I busied myself with cleaning…prolonging our departure. The vacuum momentarily sucking the sadness from my heart. I wiped the last of the toothpaste off the counter and swallowed.

My favorite part of this week has been seeing my friend walk through her life as a wife and mother. It seemed only yesterday we were sleeping on air mattresses and eating off of moving boxes in our empty LA apartment. Yet, here we are with husbands, children, and houses. We stayed up late sitting on the couch sharing disappointments, frustrations, laughs, ideas and dreams. Being around her makes dreams seem like they are in my pocket ready to be pulled out like a rabbit from a hat.

We intended to say 5 nights at their house in Austin but those 5 turned into 10. Ten nights. Ten wonderful nights that will remain locked away as a reminder that, in a world where friendship is often as deep as clicking “like”, kindred spirits do exist.

That afternoon, we all drove out to Buda and walked the old streets with our families. Ju-boo and I wore our new vintage dresses in coordinating colors. We ate at an old soda fountain. We poked around in yet another thrift store. We took pictures. We laughed.

Then in the street under a damp thick sky we said good bye.

As it turned out, I had forgotten my phone at their house. (Thankfully, I married the world’s most patient man.) and I got the chance to say goodbye again. As I walked out of her house for the second time I desperately wished I hadn’t forgotten my phone. Seeing “our” empty room put little holes in my heart. Little holes that were patched by those last hugs goodbye.

Texas, we lived your motto.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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