Monday, December 31, 2012

Bringing in the New Year, baby!

Hey to all my peeps out there...

The Year 2013 is among us! Did you think we'd ever make it? Did you think you would ever make it? It's a bit crazy to us actually, but we are here and so are's like a party! Whoop whoop! I hope everyone brought in the New Year safely, festively and happily. We brought in the New Year in the middle of the desert, something new to us, and it was a night full of laughter, dancing, good food and LOTS of fire!

"The Man Camp" invited everyone over for the New Years Festivities. During the day Sayward and I had a small girls' day, running errands and shopping for the big night. We got an assortment of drinks for the whole camp along with some snackies. As the sun started setting, we drove over to "Camp Ironwood", no sense in walking when we can just move "our house" and have everything right there. There was definitely a joyful festive vibe in the air. We sat around the campfire, swapped stories, ate our snacks, downed some beverages (some adult, some more tame) and just had a great time.

[caption id="attachment_3062" align="alignleft" width="150"] All smiles[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3063" align="alignright" width="150"] Da Boyz[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3064" align="aligncenter" width="150"] Hello![/caption]

A little further into the night, the title of "Fire Keeper" started turning into different people...then The Fire Keeper 'War' was born. It was quite the fire experience, you really had to be there. At the end of the "War", we ended up with a small bonfire, but it sure did keep us warm! Say & Kevin ended up going to get more wood in the middle of everything, in the dark...they were determined and successful! The funny thing about a fire...everyone has to be involved, everyone wants to have a part. I just like the warmth, thank you fire keepers!

[caption id="attachment_3066" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Feel the Burn[/caption]

About ten minutes or so after the Wood Crew came back, we were counting down to midnight...counting down to a new year, to new stories, new memories, new friends. Almost time to close the book of 2012 and open the new book of 2013...

[caption id="attachment_3065" align="aligncenter" width="300"] My Tribe[/caption]

10...  9...   8...   7...   6...   5...   4...

[caption id="attachment_3067" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Watching closely[/caption]





[caption id="attachment_3068" align="aligncenter" width="225"] I think I was celebrating still being awake![/caption]

There were hugs and kisses, fireworks, laughing and dancing...friends just being friends. 

[caption id="attachment_3070" align="alignleft" width="150"] The Fire Keepers[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3071" align="alignright" width="150"] Love this Lassie[/caption]


Hooray for 2013!

[caption id="attachment_3069" align="aligncenter" width="150"] Big Ole Teddy[/caption]

It was a great night had by all. With new friends and old friends, good music, a campfire that ended up as a bonfire, a bit of crazy conversation and everything else in between...what else could a human ask for in the celebration of our lives!?

We finally pulled ourselves away around 2 a.m. I was surprised I hung in there that long. I was ready for bed about 2 minutes after midnight...actually well before that, but I was coaxed into staying by the warm fire a little while longer. We got into Joon Van and snuggled in for the was just about 40 degrees, brrzies & freezies.

[caption id="attachment_3087" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Excited...for bed![/caption]

No matter what you did...or didn't do tonight, I hope you are excited about 2013. There is so much to learn, to experience, to create, to imagine, to dream, to do. So, let's do it...all of it. Lay it all out on the table. Turn your dreams into  a vivid reality.


I'm stoked about our new year...and the best part is we get to journey through it together...woo hoo!

C'mon and get stoked with me!

Happy New Year, I love ya'll! 


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Gorging on Food and Fights

I know, I know...just slap me already! At least I have something different to write about...lucky for you, haha! It's been so nice to be around people (some familiar, some new), that it's hard to sit inside and sit on the 'puter when you can catch up and create. The afternoon we united with Bob & his tribe, we stopped and said hello to Bob and then stopped quickly over at "Camp Ironwood" and then set-up shop by sunset.

Over the next couple of days we've met a few new people, all very nice. We all hung out with Sayward in her rig one day...I think we ended up fitting like 5 people in there at one point. We drank tea, listened to beautiful music, ate some amazing pumpkin bread and just gabbed & gabbed...even the boys! It was hella fun.

[caption id="attachment_3037" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Nice day for Tea![/caption]

We must have been in her rig all day because we ended up getting out only to get our jackets for the evening walk. It was nice to have Savannah be able to run and run...and run. She LOVES to hunt. It was a little unnerving for me (yes, still) she runs so far ahead of the group and wasn't staying with Homer this time...and I did have to go looking for her a time or two. We're both still learning...well maybe I'm the one still learning! haha It was a beautiful walk, though. Even nice enough to not have to wear my jacket!

[caption id="attachment_3038" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The Walk[/caption]

Oh...and we saw another Moonrise! They are starting to be a regular favorite...LOVE! Later that night we had movie night in Say's rig...The Movie: Space Cowboys. It was a good movie, I really liked it.

The day after we just hung around camp, cleaned up & organized, cooked up some lunch and watched Savannah hunt like a mad-woman.

[caption id="attachment_3042" align="alignleft" width="150"] Lunch Time[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3043" align="alignright" width="150"] Play Time[/caption]

Zeke (Steve's dog) and Nana got to play later that day, they play pretty well together, so it makes us all happy.

December 29,2012...FIGHT NIGHT

Yes, here we are again...haha. We sat through the morning and early afternoon at the camp spot with the rest of the gang and then getting into evening we drove into town and hit the closest...okay the only Sizzler in town. (There are not many choices in the Blythe/Ehrenberg area as far as restaurants go). We went in thinking we would gorge on all of this food and after a big salad and a bite of chicken...we were full! haha I told you Vandwelling does things to you (and your body). I tried eating as much as I could without feeling sick and I think I did pretty good...until later haha, it wasn't bad though. It sure was nice to have all that food in our bellies and we even doggy bagged our 'served' food. Lunch for tomorrow...Hooray!!!

And if you're wondering if that was both of our food...Nope, that was all me baby. J' did pretty good himself though, not a space in our bellies was empty! After the Sizzla', we went over to Mickey D's to get wifi but could not pick it up. It was still pretty early...the prelim prelims were on, ha. We ended up driving across the street and parking in between the Del Taco and the laundry mat and picked up a few good signals from the nearby restaurants. I'm not so sure that we will head out that early again to watch the fights, it's fine on a great night of fighting but that was not the case tonight.

The fights weren't that great, they were kind of boring, long and drawn out...too much sitting to get one good fight at the end. I guess that's the luck of the draw with the sport win some, you lose some (literally)! After the fights, we were planning on going out to where we were before meeting with Bob (football tomorrow), but decided to just hit the Flying J (grass for potty time...for Savannah, haha) and head back to camp.

We are ready for the New's quickly approaching. 2013 is going to be amazing! Everything just seems to keep getting easier as we journey through this life. I don't know if many people feel that way, but we do, because we don't only see the smooth 'road'...we feel it and even when we hit a pot hole...we embrace it. I hope everyone gets a smoother road going into this new year.




Thursday, December 27, 2012

Our Two Tribes Unite Once Again

Getting gas at the Flying J yesterday was quite the event! You can definitely make the assumption that gas is cheaper on the Arizona side, rather than the California side! When we left the hotel gas in Blythe was $3.79 for regular. We drove less than 10 miles down the road, across the border into Ehrenberg, AZ and gas was $3.19!

Definitely worth the drive and the wait! After waiting for a good 20 minutes for a spot, we got a front pump...for an easy out. I looked back at all of the waiting cars and saw that there was now a traffic director, this place was no joke! After getting our full tank pumped and out of all of the madness, we pulled over to discuss where we wanted to go from here. We were only about 3 miles away from Bob and his flock so we decided to drive over and catch up with the gang...maybe even stay a while. The spot was real easy to find (he has a map on his blog telling their whereabouts). We pulled right up, talked to a couple of people we hadn't met yet, then went over to say hi to Bob. He and Homer are all set up.

[caption id="attachment_3025" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Bob's Camp[/caption]

We talked with Bob for a while, I met a nice lady named Trisha and then we drove over to "The Man's Camp" aka Camp Ironwood, where Bryce, SoulRaven (Steve) and Joey are camping. It was awesome to finally meet Joey (we've been keeping in touch due to the blog) as well as meeting Bryce, we've heard about him! haha All good things of course, wink wink! It was really nice to see Steve & Zeke, the mountain dog again...haven't seen them since Shaver Lake! It's like walking into a very small family reunion, it's a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling! Awwwww....

[caption id="attachment_3026" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Da Boyz[/caption]

We sat around their camp for a little bit and chatted it up, then decided to go find ourselves a spot before the sun set, to get situated with being level and the antennae and internet and all that jazz. Even though there are a bunch of peeps out here, there's still a ton of room, so finding a spot wasn't that hard.

[caption id="attachment_3027" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Room with a view[/caption]

I think we'll be sticking around until everyone moves over to Quartzsite, no reason not to. It will be a nice change to be around people, if you want to visit you can, if not you don't have to. There are a few people that are in the camp that we haven't met yet but that's all in due time, everyone is on their own of the best parts about this lifestyle. It feels nice to be around great people again and it will be fun to meet new faces and hear new stories. Savannah is even getting a little more freedom being around more people and dogs, which is great for her heart and pot belly!!

[caption id="attachment_3028" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Freedom!!!![/caption]

Here is to being with "family" again, meeting new purty & furry faces, and Freedom!

Hope you get your dose today!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Belated Christmas!

Merry Christmas

...I know I'm a little late, sorry! We were captured by hot running water and a super comfy bed at the Best Western here in Blythe. When we got to the hotel it only took about 5 minutes to check-in and then, it was on!

[caption id="attachment_3003" align="aligncenter" width="300"] So much room![/caption]

I think I was in the bathroom for like 3 hours, only coming out to grab something else to wash/clean. I scrubbed down everything: dishes, cups, silverware, underwear, socks, anything of Savannah's, our coffee maker, my rocks I have been finding in the desert...everything down to our bodies and Savannah's! What a night...I was exhausted by the time we got into bed. I think the mix of excitement, hot water over your muscles and all of the cleaning was a recipe for a good nights sleep. Well, it would have been if it wasn't for the couple next door having an extremely loud conversation until 2:30 a.m. ~Another reason we love being in the rarely have neighbors you can hear. These people sounded like they were having a conversation on our bed that's how loud they were. J' slept through the whole thing and I ended up getting about 3 1/2 hours of sleep but I can deal with it...I'm pretty used to it. We were up around 7 a.m.-ish for a well-rounded hot brekkie! It was pretty amazing. They were serving eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy, pastries, bagels, three different kinds of bread, cereal, yogurt, fruit, O.J., coffee, and get this...WAFFLES! I was so excited, I couldn't hold it in, everybody that was working the front desk was laughing at me and J' told the lady that was helping me make my waffle how she just made my day...I love me some waffles!

[caption id="attachment_3005" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Brekkie of Champions![/caption]

I ended up making a second waffle and taking it back to the room...this girls' gotta get her fill!

[caption id="attachment_3006" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Extremely excited![/caption]

It was really nice to have some space to stretch out, get everything washed and clean, get ourselves scrubbed down and just chill out. J' was able to get a ton of work done. I was able to download a gaggle of pictures to Snapfish and videos to DailyMotion and Savannah was able to go potty on grass's been a minute! I swear grass is magical...she knows exactly what grass is for! You know all of that time spent in the desert trying to get her to go potty? Well it took a whole 2 1/2 minutes for her to do her business...both numbers!

We lounged around the hotel room Christmas day, trying to watch something uplifting and Christmas-y but everything on the tele was either violence, killing, fighting or something that was negative. Anything we watched had this negativity surrounding it, so we would just look at each other and (in a funny and sarcastic way) say...Merry Christmas! haha I guess that's just what our world is, these days...sad.

[caption id="attachment_3008" align="alignleft" width="150"] Before[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3009" align="alignright" width="150"] After[/caption]

 Oh, I also finally got my afro cut back so I don't have bubble hair anymore...woohoo! After working and hanging out all day, we thought it would be nice to have a meal out of the room, I mean we can cook chicken any day of the week in the van...why not have a nice meal. The place we wanted to eat was closed, just a little mami & papi Mexican restaurant, so we went to Carl's Jr. instead.

[caption id="attachment_3010" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Merry Christmas![/caption]

It was a good time all in all. We got a lot, play, cleaning,

and Savannah was finally able to catch up on all of her rest! Poor thing! haha

So, now we're back in the van and ready to take on a week or so wherever we go and then onto Quartzsite. We may look and see where Bob and his crew are, he told us they were pretty close to us. J' wants to get a bunch more work done before all of the major festivities start, so we may also just go back to where we were for him to be able to do that. First things first though we must get gas so with that, we will be driving over to the Arizona side to the Flying J to do that.

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas. I hope everyone got to stuff their faces with yummy food, put on their new threads, play with your new toys, got lots of hugs and kisses, were able to spend it how you wanted and just had a groovy time overall. Your happiness is most important!

We love you all!


(155) Merry Christmas! by Ayevangabond

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Blabbin' in Blythe

Something must be wrong with me...I haven't picked up my camera in almost a week. I actually don't even know where it is right now! I just don't see the point of taking pictures of the same thing day in and day out...but hopefully that will change soon. Each day we get closer to January, which means (for us) Quartzsite. I know there are some people (who have been there before) that won't be there this year, but we have never been and it's been a major to-do since even before we started our we will be going this year and are pretty stoked about it. So, right now it's a little bit of a waiting game but it's giving time for J' to grind it on the work-front and for me to find all the stones in the world to wrap as jewelry! I'm going to have to go through them soon and maybe weed out some of them...and maybe not, hee hee! I am having a hard time finding a place to put them...we'll see. I also haven't really been doing much lately due to my shoulder dislocating a couple of nights ago. The first time my shoulder went out was probably around 2002, I was making a salad at work...go figure! I went to a doctor and he told me surgery wasn't really a possibility due to the flexibility of my muscles and bones because of swimming. He said my shoulder would just stretch right back out to where it is now in time, so he gave me exercises to do and saved me a ton of money! It goes out a few times a year now and when it does, it's so amazingly takes my breath away. I'm very thankful to have J' around (most of the times it happens) to be able to put it back in place. This time I was pulling the blinds down on one of the windows...POP! I was stuck in between the bed and the ceiling and couldn't move to a better position, it actually paralyzes me...hurts to move, to breathe, to think. After it gets popped back in, the crying and the pain's just so freakin' painful. For about 2-3 days I can't really do much with it: can't raise it, lift anything over a lb. with it, sleep on it, and walking Savannah has to be done all left handed so she doesn't yank it out of the socket again. It stays sore and spasms for a few days, it's just a real big pain in the butt. I've been having a hard time sleeping due to my shoulder (and the cold) and the other night I swore I was going crazy! I was in between barely asleep and barely awake, actually having nightmares when I heard this noise and started seeing what I thought were lights. At this point I didn't know if I was in my dream or if something was actually going on around us, so I laid there trying to wake myself up. I thought I was hearing cars racing...? What a weird noise right? I mean we're in the middle of the desert it's about 12:30 in the morning, pitch black, freezing cold outside...who would be out here racing cars at this time of the night!? Just as I was trying to make sense of things I see headlights coming straight toward my window and hear a car motor, could have been a Mustang? Then I see this car whizzing by my window...what the crap!? I raise my blinds and see taillights of not just one car but two more ahead of the one that just whizzed by my window. I looked at my watch, in my mind it was like 3 a.m., it was only 12:38 in real time. Savannah was very interested in the whole thing, she was puffing her cheeks, getting ready for a fight. I cracked my window with the screen on it because I heard voices. I have to say, it's kind of unnerving to be where we are and have cars this close to you and able to hear voices...almost like they are walking toward the van. I haven't been this 'weird' feeling this whole time we've been doing this, but I was actually scared at this point. I couldn't see them due to us having our shades in the front windows (keeping cold out, warmth in) and also being in bed...still trying to wake up 100%. They sounded like they were only about 50 yards in front of the van, they were blaring music, hootin' and hollerin'. I just couldn't wrap my mind around why people would come out here at this time of night and hang out,'s like 30 degrees outside! After J' heard me moving around and Savannah huffing and puffing, we started talking about it and he said it was probably just some high school kids drinking with nothing better to do. This was probably true, I just didn't want them to start messing with us because they were bored. I stayed up and tried to watch out of the window...couldn't see anything but pitch black. I finally heard them turn the music off and doors shutting, then heard what sounded like a Jeep climbing a hill pretty close to us. I opened my blinds back up and there were lights coming up over the hill on the side of us, then the lights were coming straight for the van at a pretty good speed. There's no way these people didn't see us. The "Jeep" turned and drove behind us then came up from behind at probably about 30 mph then swerved around the van, got back on the road and finally left. Jerks. It took me about 2 hours to finally fall back asleep, Savannah just wanted to keep looking out the window as she laid her head on the sill. I have to say that as small as she is, she's a great protector with super good hearing!

Other than that it's been pretty darn quiet around here. I think all in all we've only had 6 buggies pass by the van during the day, the entire time we've been here (2 weeks). We haven't even send a ground squirrel in over a week, nor any Coyotes. The cold doesn't just keep us in the van, it also gets the critters! Where do all of the Coyotes go, we wonder? I mean, they still have to eat, they can't just go to Burger King! Now, that's a funny image...haha

I was just looking to see what my last 'photo session' was of. I had actually hung my camera up outside to take pics of my "skinny" jeans (well they used to be) to send to a friend of mine. A few days ago, I was talking to a girl of mine about weight loss and I had actually come across a picture of me a couple of years ago with these jeans on, they were skin tight on me...looked like they were painted on me they were so tight. That same day (we had this conversation) I noticed I was wearing those same jeans. I now call those jeans my L.I.M.P. jeans = Load in my Pants! I swear they are so big on me now I can take them on and off without unbuttoning or unzipping them! So I did a side to side picture to show her...

[caption id="attachment_2996" align="aligncenter" width="232"] Whoa vs. Whoa[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2997" align="aligncenter" width="225"] L.I.M.P.![/caption]

If you're looking for a new "diet" just join us Vandwellers! It's a little different when you don't have fast food on every corner calling to you because it's easier, an oven to bake your favorite pies and cookies in, or a refrigerator to store all your yummy leftovers in, that mostly never get eaten! If you want to lose those extra few pounds that just won't come off,  just live in your van for a few every time! haha



Chicken Grease ya'll!

Monday, December 17, 2012

We're Crafty!

Okay, so you know how I was telling you about the stone I found for my one niece and was trying to find another cool stone for my other niece...? Well, I have been on the hunt of a lifetime, coming up with nothing. Every single time I go outside whether it's to stretch or walk Savannah or anything outside, I am staring at the ground...gotta find "that" stone! After many days and hundreds of wrong stones later, I decided I would "make" her this wonderful stone instead....yes, you can laugh with me. I found a pretty good sized stone, pretty thick but something I could 'chisel' into the perfect shape. Let's remember I have absolutely no idea what I'm about to do, just thinking it will be as easy as the stuff you see on the tele. I asked J' where his hammer and a flat-head screwdriver was...funny thing, he actually knew what I was about to do.

[caption id="attachment_2975" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Art at work![/caption]

It took me about 13 seconds before I figured I needed a bigger piece of rock. The new rock only took about 30 seconds before it broke into many pieces. I tried multiple things...I don't quit that quickly. J' just kept walking by, just looking, being that good hubby he is and never telling me it wouldn't work. I tried a few more rocks and a few different techniques...I am no Michelangelo!

[caption id="attachment_2976" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Ah, Crud[/caption]

Just so we're all up to speed on what I'm trying to "make/sculpt" here...The other day I found a rock in the shape of an "L" and no it wasn't just a straight rectangle, it is an actual "L". I thought how cool, I can turn this into a necklace for my "little lizard" niece. After I found the "L", I wanted to find a rock in the shape of a "J" for my other niece...not going so well. Rocks do not form in the shape of a "J". So I thought I would chisel one out...not so much! I have found other cool stones so maybe I'll just turn one of those into her necklace, but I still stare at the ground hoping a "J" will jump out at me. I have also put J' on the alert! I'm sure he's searching hella hard! haha

Been a lot of "arts & crafts" going on around the van lately. First, there was the stone sculpting that didn't go over so well. After that I figured I would finally sew some velcro onto the curtains we've been putting up in the back window, to keep the cold out. That was a major process! The curtains are pretty thick where the velcro was going, plus I have to go through the velcro which is also very sticky and I have NO thimble...I'm pretty crafty so I made it work but I have a feeling my arm is going to be sore tomorrow!

[caption id="attachment_2978" align="alignleft" width="150"] Before[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2979" align="alignright" width="150"] After[/caption]

It's going to be so nice to keep some of the cold air out of the van with that curtain! As I was sewing and sculpting, J' was tending to some Joon Van maintenance... always good to get under the hood and check things out from time to time.

And if you're wondering where Savannah was during all of the festivities of Arts & Crafts Day...I think you all know the answer to that!

I wonder if she's getting enough sleep during the day and at night and in the morning and in between meals! haha This cold is really doing a job on all of us. We still go on walks but they tend to be much shorter these days...hopefully that will change soon, the weather looks like it's going to start warming up again in the next week or so.

To tell you the truth I would like to stay cuddled up in bed all day, but then nothing would really get done then....but it's super warm and snugly in bed!!

[caption id="attachment_2986" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Time to get up Savannah.

 Here's to snuggling in bed with your furry ones (or nakey ones) in the middle of the day and not having a care in the world!





Friday, December 14, 2012

Mickey D's always pulls through!

Woke up to a beautiful morning... a freezing cold, beautiful morning! Maybe we should have gotten the heater down last night. The moisture from the rain must have made it a good 15 degrees colder, no was pretty cold.

[caption id="attachment_2963" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Frosted windows!![/caption]

I got out to walk Savannah and actually had to go back in to get another layer of clothes on. I thought it was supposed to be warm down here...??? After Nana's potty walk and learning that our internet really isn't that much better here, we got a bright idea to go to Mickey D's for a cup-o-joe and use their speedy internet to do some work. What a grand idea indeed!!! But first, look at what the rain did to the roads we were camped on last night...

We got some brekkie and sat down only to see every single TV in the place loaded down with the incomprehensible news of the Connecticut shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. What very sad news and really so hard to try to wrap your head around any of it. We send out our love, light and peace to those who are mourning and pray they will be able to heal from this at some point.

We have been in this McDonald's for so long, we've seen shift changes and even a bus full of people come and go. It was a mad house in here!

.... back at our camp spot

We got a ton of stuff done at McDonald's. We were both able to download a bunch of stuff we have needed and wanted to download, J' got a lot of work done, I even got to play Words with Friends (haven't been able to in a month or so due to slow internet!) All in all it was a good idea and we got to do something different, that's always fun...even if it is sitting in McDonald's for a few hours! The clouds are starting to roll in again so we might get even more rain tonight. We came back to the same spot (off I-10), to give it another chance for the channels...still having the same problems!? It's getting pretty dark, pretty quick out there...guess I should go walk Savannah one more time before the moisture comes and puts us inside for the rest of the night.

[caption id="attachment_2969" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The thunder rolls[/caption]

Stay warm and dry my friends!