A family on the road living fulltime in an RV.

Tag: Thousand Trails

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 21: Porcupines and Passion

‎”When I got into hunting porcupines, I knew everything there was to know about porcupines. I was passionate.” – Tom from the campground chapel service We set up camp at…

‎”When I got into hunting porcupines, I knew everything there was to know about porcupines. I was passionate.” – Tom from the campground chapel service

We set up camp at Thousand Trails Verde Valley  last night.  Will we ever get in before dark?  While we were driving around blindly looking for a space, I spotted a group of javelinas. Meow Cow must have spotted them too because he got all funky on us, hissing and growling.  That ferocious feline.

It was a cloudy wet morning. After a lingering breakfast, went to the campground chapel service which was really more of a “Bible study”.  Travelers of all ages and walks, sharing their opinion on God and the Bible. The topic was “passion vs. duty”.  Tom was my favorite.  He told of of his passion for porcupine hunting and searching for gold.  How he threw himself into researching and pursuing his hobbies with commitment and passion.  His wish was to pursue God with the same passion.  While clearly simplistic and odd, there was something sweet and touching about his honesty.

Personally, I don’t see passion and duty as mutually exclusive nor do I see one as better than the other.  (Although passion is most certainly more fun.)  They work together.  Duty picks up when passion falters.   I experience this again and again.   Take fitness, for example.  Sometimes I workout because I crave the feeling of strength found through the cold iron of kettlebells, sweat, and time alone for my mind to wander.  Other times, I do it because it’s what I do, like flossing my teeth.  The same goes for marriage, parenting, writing, and my faith.  I try to cultivate and feed passion but try not to shun duty.  Mostly though, I try not to over think it too much because that makes me crazy and I have enough of that for 5 people already.

Anyway, I sat quietly the entire chapel taking it in and stumbling over the hymns.  I didn’t grow up singing hymns.

After two days of driving, we decided to rest the remainder of the day.  The boys met another fulltime RVing family and played with those kids the rest of the day.

I sat at the window and watched the desert landscape.  I’m a little sad and worried.  After the broken refrigerator and new tires, I’m starting to wonder if we should have saved up like we intended before we left.  Certainly, that would have been the dutiful thing to do.  However, passion took over and we took off, trusting that God will provide.  Clearly, I’m as simplistic as Tom.  Maybe, I should take up porcupine hunting.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Day 17: Snow!!!

Some days are simple.  I really like the simple days. Days when we get up, have breakfast, and I do school with the boys while Brent “goes” to work.  Then…

Some days are simple.  I really like the simple days.

Days when we get up, have breakfast, and I do school with the boys while Brent “goes” to work.  Then when afternoon comes, we go for a bike ride, a walk, or some other simple adventure.

Today was one of those days.  After our morning routine we loaded up in the truck and headed back to Yosemite to say goodbye to Half Dome and film my first workout.  I’m trying to film a workout in every state for my health blog, Girl Heroes. While in Yosemite, the boys decided to play in the snow since we had just bought them overpriced new gloves from the camp store.  I’lll never understand, how we took off forgetting gloves when it was nearly winter.  For goodness sakes, I packed a pair of fishnet stockings.

Then it was war! 

After playing in the snow, we ran out of propane which meant no heat or stove. Go figure.

Luckily for us, I had bought some convenience food and we had a cozy meal of  micorwaved lukewarm Indian fare before hitting the cooooold sheets.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Catch Up Day (Yosemite)

Today was a “catch up day”. Brent spend the entire day working at the lodge where there is internet.  We lost our cell phone service yesterday coming up the mountain…

Today was a “catch up day”.

Brent spend the entire day working at the lodge where there is internet.  We lost our cell phone service yesterday coming up the mountain right after we got a call from our tenants that the fridge broke.  Oh lovely.

While Brent worked, the boys and I did school and laundry.

Thankfully, we have a security guard.

Gotta be “serious” when you are sitting on your “thrones”.

While the laundry was drying I “made” the boys walk 1/2 mile up a hill to the country store because I’m a “terrible” mother for wanting them to get exercise.  Unfortunately, the store had closed 15 minutes earlier. Oooops.  The 10 minutes that followed weren’t  pretty.  Good thing, no one was around or I might have just decided to hitch a ride.  It’s also a good thing that I had my walkie-talking and could call 911 Brent.

Love and Laugher,
Jenn

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Great Noni

There is nothing like getting ready for church in the Wal-mart parking lot when it’s so cold you can see your breath. We are in Turlock, CA, to see Brent’s…

There is nothing like getting ready for church in the Wal-mart parking lot when it’s so cold you can see your breath.

We are in Turlock, CA, to see Brent’s “Noni”.  We’ve been meaning to see her for years and had decided that this was one of the first things we would do.

We got ready and headed over to her retirment community where we took the shuttle bus to Turlock Covenant Church.

Today was one of those mornings where I felt God’s presence as sure as I felt my own pulse.   Church isn’t always that way for me.  Faith has always been somewhat difficult for me to embrace as I’m a bit of skeptic by nature but today I fought back tears as a deep peace settled into the crevices of my soul.

After church we spent the afternoon visiting with Noni.

The boys swept her porch.

Thing 1 played the piano for her.

I sat in her small apartment, not much bigger than our RV, looking at her things.  Everything had a history, a story.  I noticed picture upon picture of family and I thought about how grateful I am for mine.   Dear family, I hope you know how much I love you.

Later, while Brent and the boys went move the RV closer to Great Noni’s apartment so she could see it, she and I spent a few minutes alone.  She told me about her wedding and how her and sister had a double wedding.  She told me about how she missed her husband.  Being missionaries to Africa in the 1950s, they had their own set of adventures.  I was reminded of the real reason behind our year on the road.  Love.  To say Brent still gives me butterflies is an understatement and going on this adventure with him…for lack of better words…is a dream come true.

Sappy, I know.

We said our goodbyes to Noni…

and hit the road.

We drove through fields

through small towns

and up into the mountains to Thousand Trails Yosemite Lakes to spend a few days enjoying the beauty of Yosemite National Park.

 

It’s beautiful but sure is cold cold up here…even colder than the Wal-mart packing lot we woke up in this morning.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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Not All Rainbows and Flying Squirrels

“Mommy, mama, daddy, dada, we saw flying squirrels!” squealed Thing 2 as he and Thing 1 came rushing into our bedroom this morning.  Just the sort of thing I dreamed…

“Mommy, mama, daddy, dada, we saw flying squirrels!” squealed Thing 2 as he and Thing 1 came rushing into our bedroom this morning.  Just the sort of thing I dreamed about in the months before we left.  I mean, not specifically flying squirrels (that might be weird) but curious little boys excited about God’s creation.

Of course, it’s not all rainbows and flying squirrels.

Later, Thing 1 comes stomping out of their room, “I wanna go home.”   We asked why.  “If he (Thing 2) is not going to keep our room clean, I wanna go home.”

We had our first meal together as a family in the rv.  It was mostly pleasant until “the crunching” got to me.  PMS is not fun for me or them particularly PMS in a 280 square foot rv.  I finished my lunch outside at the picnic table.

Like I said, it’s not all rainbows and flying squirrels.

After finishing school, I decided a walk would be good for us.  Aside from having to referee who got Nico and who got Nigel, it was lovely.

We ended the day with a workout and dinner. After the dinner I got a call on my cell phone.  “I have Nigel”.

“Huh? What?  You have Nigel?  Oh noooo!!!  We’ll be right there.”

Nigel had gotten loose and wandered down the street.  Brent and the boys went to campsite 247 and found him happily sitting on a stranger’s lap.

Yeah, it’s not all rainbows and flying squirrels BUT it’s so worth it.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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