Friday, December 6, 2013

Connecting All of the Pieces

15 days and a wake up, my peeps!

Until what?.... you ask

Until our "Maiden Voyage: Take Two" starts.

We came to the Bay area at the beginning of July to visit an old friend. Our plan was to stay & visit for one month, maybe trek up the coast a bit, see some new sights & maybe even other friends, and then drift back to wherever the wind blew us. While visiting with one friend, it led into a visit with another and some work was laid on the table for our taking. We figured it was only for a couple of weeks and it would allow us to fix some things on the van, and maybe even get some items on our wish list!

So Jamie started working with one of his friends, doing plumbing, that he actually used to work with 25 years ago. At this moment in time, we had been in the Bay area for the month of July, like we had planned, and another one of our friends had asked us if we wanted to stay with him for another month.

We accepted.

During that month & two weeks, so much had already been done to the van. We got ourselves a new radiator (the old one had a 5-6 inch crack down the front),

[caption id="attachment_5167" align="alignright" width="150"]Crack Cracked[/caption]

new Rancho shocks on the front...made the biggest difference in the way Joon drives, and we replaced a "suspension" belt. J' did all of the labor himself, among a ton of other stuff, sigh... my handy man. The only thing we paid to have done was to have a new A/C pump and power steering pump installed...well worth the cost!

So, we're working, we're playing, we're gettin' stuff done. We spent a weekend in the mountains with friends; one day in, and around, Lake Tahoe and the next day at the river.

[gallery columns="2" ids="5171,5170"]

About the 3rd week, or so, of August, we were gifted two tickets to the Giants vs. Red Sox baseball game at AT&T Park in San Francisco...heck yeah!

What a fun experience all the way around...well, we had one little snafu, but it was so fun! We walked to the train station, (it's about 3 blocks from the house we were at), and took the CalTrain into San Francisco. The train system out here does not mind if you "pre-party", meaning if you want to get loaded on the train before the game then have at just can't bring outside containers into the park and due to that, we were gifted two 16 oz. Coors Lights...hell yeah!

[caption id="attachment_5172" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Toasters Toasters[/caption]

We obviously were not prepared for the train system to be this way or we would have brought our own 6-pack. Beers inside the park are $10.50 a pop! Anyway, we had a great time from the train, to the free beers, the ballpark food, great pics, great weather and great seats. Are you wondering what that one snafu was...? You know you're wondering. Well, we were walking to our seats and after searching hi-n-lo for them, finally found them. The game hadn't started quite yet, we both decided to hit the potty one last time and get some food before sitting for a while. We ordered our food; I had to get the traditional loaded ballpark dog and Jamie went for chicken tenders...the crunchy kind. We walked over to this wall where you can place your food and eat while overlooking the's a fantastic view.

I think it was right about when these pictures were being taken...

[gallery columns="2" ids="5175,5174"]

that it happened...

Jamie bit down on a chicken tender and something didn't feel so right, it bothered him the rest of the night and into the next day. We got the name of a recommended Dentist and a day later J's reclined in a Dentists chair getting x-rays taken of his teeth! Turns out that chicken tender, he bit into, was just enough to split/crack his tooth all the way up into the gum! Yep, you can say it....FUn times!

[caption id="attachment_5177" align="aligncenter" width="350"]At least we can still laugh! At least we can still laugh![/caption]

Our 1 1/2 month Bay area visit has now been rearranged to be lived out until just about the 2nd week of we can pay off our dental bills, of course! This is some of what was involved in the 8 different appointments: x-rays, a root canal, his gums extracted, fitted/molded for his crown & tooth, check-ups to see if he was healing the right way and then finally getting the tooth put in. That would round us out to around $3,800. In my opinion, that tooth should be put behind glass in a museum! Damn, dude for one tooth! Anyway, we have had many months to overcome the entire situation as well as paying the entire thing off...which we have. (To all of our friends that are going to tell us, "You should have gone to Mexico".... the situation we were in with work, funding, the van, time, etc. just didn't fit the Mexican slot in this scenario.)

We moved back into the van full-time at the beginning of September and spent two months stealth parking around the city. While not the most convenient way to live this lifestyle, we made it work by rotating between a handful of places like grocery stores, gyms, Wal-marts, etc. Then "Mr. Biscuits" (our friend J's working with) offered us his shop to sleep at, we would still be in the van but would have a guaranteed spot to sleep undisturbed at night. It was the perfect plan. Jamie had to be at the shop early in the a.m.'s anyway, so it really worked out well. We spent a day short of exactly two months (nights only) at the shop without any distractions or infractions. One (work) night we dozed off around 10 p.m. or so, a normal night, and about 1:37 a.m. abruptly woken up by a BANG BANG BANG on the side of the van. Our security alarm (Savannah & Chili) was going crazy, I jumped up like someone had just woken me up to get out of a fire...another BANG BANG BANG... "Belmont Police, come to the door with your hands in plain view." Dude, seriously...we're sleeping, what the hell. So, I answer the my undies (they gave me no time to do anything but get to the door). After talking to me like I'm an idiotic 4 year old and treating me like I'm a hardened criminal, they ran both of our I.D.'s ...coming back clean, duh. After a half an hour of the same questions of what we are doing here, I kept telling him the same story (a.k.a. the tooth story a.k.a. the TRUTH, after all that's why we are still here). Then, the one guy, Officer Douchnozzle, told us we had to move on due to it being unlawful to sleep in our vehicle in their town.

[caption id="attachment_5194" align="aligncenter" width="800"]JOON VAN @ SHOP During the day at the shop[/caption]

Okay, now I was starting to get peeved, it's now 2:30 A.M., Jamie has to get up in about 4 hours, and they want us to move knowing that if we had somewhere else to park, we'd be there and not here. We just moved our bed into the shop and slept in there the rest of the night, er... morning.

Bed in shop 500

In the morning Mr. Biscuits told me that the shop is private property and they had absolutely no right doing what they did....oh, if only I had known that 6 hours before! Harassment...yes, I think so.

The very next day we were moving over to our friends' house that we started at in July, he was going to Cabo for vacation and asked us if we wanted to stay at the house while we watched his dog. Just a few more hours and that may have never happened (with the bobbys) but we think someone called us in. Before "everyone" took off to Cabo, we were able to hang out with a couple more friends we hadn't seen yet.

[caption id="attachment_5188" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Triple Trouble! Triple Trouble![/caption]

All in all, everything worked out, if we do move back into the van while we are still here, at least we know we have a place to sleep, even if it's not in the's not forever.

Thanksgiving has come and gone. This year we spent it with a family of friends, while last year it was just our trio in Laughlin at the top of a very bitterly breezy mountain. It was nice to cook up some yum yums, get all gussied up, and cram our faces full of food...and it was Chili's 1st Turkey day with us!

[caption id="attachment_5189" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Turkey Day G" Style Turkey Day G" Style[/caption]

So as our one month in July has turned into me writing this along to Christmas tunes (John Denver & The Muppets, to be exact!), it's been a very interesting experience here. I guess now we can say we've lived in the Bay area for half a year! haha

Big Thank You's to:

Mr. Biscuits for giving us an opportunity to make those dolla' bills to get our stuff right and to some great weekends. Our friends for putting us up all over town and showing us a good time while doing so. My peeps at the dog park, you & your pups have made our time easier to pass during the week and I will miss every single one of you, your furbabies & our funny conversations. And last but certainly never least, my babaa' for being such a trooper for working, having patience & understanding, being our handy man to save us money and for being so darn cute!

We'll be buttoning up for the next two weeks. If you think about it, please put out some good thoughts & prayers for us as we get all of our puzzle pieces put back together and back on the road.

Happy Holidays to all of you, may you be blessed with laughter, love and most importantly LIFE!

[caption id="attachment_5190" align="aligncenter" width="150"]PEACE PEACE[/caption]


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Slowly Jumping Back on my Snail

For the last month or so, I've sooooo not been in the right "space" (this word could be used in many different ways right now) to write. I've been doing other projects, dealing with too many thanks to myself.  It just seems I can't keep up with the pictures I take! haha But I just LOVE taking pictures, it runs in my DNA (Thanks Pop)!

[caption id="attachment_5145" align="aligncenter" width="150"]Pop Pop[/caption]

J' asked me to make two (small) albums, The Best of 2012 and The Best of 50 pictures in each...for the year. I'm still laughing at him for that idea, although I'm taking it on one picture at a time. See, I figured out that I could do 5 pictures per month, giving me 60 pictures for the year...then I sat down and really focused on the first month and the lowest I could do was 16 pictures. Oh boy! I'm hoping it will even out due to some months being a lot more exciting than others because we are driving, touring, rockin' & rollin'...we're just living man and I want to capture every moment! Believe it or not, but it takes a looooooooong time to pick the right pictures for such a thing! I mean, it's a whole year in pictures...that just blew your mind didn't it!? haha... yes, I've been spending a lot of time alone lately.

I might as well use the awesome dog park we go to as an excuse as well. I've been going to this dog park for the last month now and I couldn't have planned better peeps & pups to spend my day with! I was going pretty much daily M-F, for the first couple of weeks and then some things changed; the weather, our routine, hormones, etc. so I try to go at least 2-3 times a week now.

[caption id="attachment_5143" align="alignleft" width="150"]Poor babies have to socialize 500 The Newbies[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_5142" align="alignright" width="150"]Ricky, Goji, Huck Finn, Bacon & Chili 500t Playful Pups[/caption]

The girls have gone from cowarding underneath me to socializing a bit more...well, Chili chases and plays, Savannah bosses...we call her The Lifeguard or The Referee.

[caption id="attachment_5141" align="alignleft" width="150"]Goji Goji[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_5140" align="alignright" width="150"]Bacon My girl, Bacon[/caption]

They have really grown and it's been so fun to have these great people along to witness the change with me. I feel like I've made some pretty rad forever friends there and they will be greatly missed by all of us girls.

And then there is all of the baking I've been doing...oy vey! I told you, I'm not in the right space to be writing...with all this fun (& yum) around and all! haha

[gallery columns="4" ids="5139,5138,5137,5136"]

And don't even get me started on my guitar skills!! One of my groovy friends, Zach at the dog park, gave me a super helpful guitar lesson. He kind of busted me out of my shy & embarassing cocoon for a little while...(yes, I do have one, just get out the guitar), as I had to practice and sing (a little) around the peeps at the park. It was pretty awesome to learn some new things along with lots of helpful tips on moving between chords quicker and that stupid F chord. I know why it's called the F chord now...should be the M.F. chord, hee hee. Thanks dude, it's much appreciated.

So you see, I've been pretty busy! (enter snickering)

We're still churnin' n burnin' out here in the Bay area...a little over a month away from moving down the road. Change is happening everywhere around us; the weather, where the sun sits in the sky, how we dress, the time, the holidays are upon us, people are moving in, moving out, moving on. Change is good, for if there is never any change then we never get to experience anything new.

Embrace CHANGE my groovy peeps, for CHANGE is waiting to embrace you.

[caption id="attachment_5156" align="aligncenter" width="224"]Beggars! Beggars![/caption]


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Ultimate Update #2 WITH PICTURES!!!

I am able to use the hubby's computer while he's working so I have been working on getting some pictures sized for the blog.

This post is, I guess, the picture half of The Ultimate Update post. If you read this blog at all, you know how much I love my pics and the story just isn't right without them, so I hope you enjoy seeing our faces again and meeting Chili Moon!


Me and my little Owling get tattoos

(15) A long night worth waiting for 500

My new boots and my first pair of skinny jeans (yes I returned them and got the right size!)

030 CROP 500

We went to Tahoe

Lake Tahoe Weekend 500

J' finally got his Metal Detector!!

Metal Detecting 500

We got surprise tickets to the Giants game!!

Go Giants 500

J' went riding

Hottie in the Dirt 500

I'm spending more time with Claramae...and actually learning stuff!

Girl on her guitar 500

 (Some of) J's handy work on the van

[gallery columns="4" ids="5108,5105,5106,5107"]
We played Tourist for a day

[gallery ids="5114,5117,5118,5119,5115,5113,5116,5111,5110"]

[caption id="attachment_5112" align="aligncenter" width="224"]Pure Magic Pure Magic[/caption]
And last but not least,

Get your giggles & awwww's ready because you are about to see one of the cutest things on this Earth...

Introducing (drum roll, please)

Chili Moon

Sweet Chili Face 500

Little ball of Chili 500

Lovin Life 500

I told you....she's stinkin' cute, isn't she!

So there you go, I hope these pics give you the same smiles and warm fuzzies they give me. We are gettin' 'er done and (this much) closer to being back on the road... refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to rock 'n' roll!

Can't wait to see you all very soon.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Ultimate Update!!!

Since we are rounding the end of September and it's been almost two months since an actual (fun) post, I figured that I would update you on all you've missed...because there's no way I'm going back and writing two months of past posts! HA!!

So everyone knows that I went to Orlando to help the moms move at the beginning of August...right? Right.

Here's what happened after the trip:

While in Orlando, my little owling and I got matching Owl tattoos on the underneath side of our arms (mine on my left, hers on her right).

The moms new house is big and gorgeous and I was able to see my sister, Brooks.

We spent time in the pool with the pups, bought me a bomb pair of boots (the only reason why I can't wait for the weather to get cooler!), and I got my first pairs of skinny jeans (that I have to go return because they are too loose!)

We went on a weekend trip to Tahoe with friends...where we saw a dozen bacherlorette parties taking shots, playing games and beer bonging a flamingo!

J' got a metal detector...yes finally....remember the trip to the Superstition Mountains? That's all he talked about! (Weaver's Needle)

We got surprise tickets to the Giants vs. Red Socks game, where we got free beer, spent too much on food and J' broke one of his back molars!

J' picked up full weeks of work with a longtime friend to be able to pay for all the dental bills (now do you see why we're still in the Bay area!?)

J' has been dirt bike riding a couple of weekends, something he loves!

I learned a full song on the guitar! My computer broke...yes, still broken. And I got a new hat.

J' has been fixing up the van on his weekends. Look at how handy this man is:

  • New Radiator

  • New Water Pump

  • New Rancho front shocks

  • Suspension Belt

  • AC Pump (done in the shop)

  • Power Steering Pump (done in the shop)

  • Put "pucks" in front, lifting it about 5 inches

  • New shackles in back

  • New Leaf Springs (5 springs now instead of 3) in back

  • New Rancho shocks in the back

  • (All of the work on the back raised us up about another 3 inches...yes about 8 inches of a lift overall)

He is a hard working man I tell ya, all that work, other than the two pumps, were all done by his own two hands, on his time off on the weekends! Yes, ladies I am a lucky girl....he saves us a lot of money too!!! We still have a few more items that we are staying here to work the dental bills, but it's turning out to be a great thing. We are pretty much pushing a huge refresh button on our home, it's amazing!

Alright, there's still more to review here. Let's see.....

We moved back into the van full-time. At first it wasn't the easiest of all things but has turned into an adventure again and it's nice to be in our own space and something that WE own!

We were given a 2nd bicycle, so I started riding my bike a little bit here and there. I'm not too keen on riding it around the city because people are totally crazy whack-a-doodle drivers here and I'm afraid of getting hit, so I put the bike in the van and go to this awesome park we found and ride. One day I got on it in my flops and rode 9.5 miles right on the bay, it was delightful!!

We've been to a few State Beaches: Half Moon Bay, Montara, and Pacifica.

We went to Golden Gate Park and were able to get some pics in front of the Golden Gate Bridge! (How magical and romantic it is by that bridge!?)

And last but definitely not least, the freshest thing in this family is our newest gypsy addition, Chili Moon a 4 yr. old Deer Chihuahua with the sweetest face & temperament and thee longest legs you'll ever see on such a teeny pup!

I may be missing some things but you can see that we've been quite the busy little bees in the Bay area. While we were only planning on visiting a friend for a month and moving along, we are glad that we are able to get everything needed and wanted for the van, pay off the dental bills, see our friends, make new friends, tour around the San Fran area and get our new lil gypsy!

Being here has been a huge reminder to us why we chose the traveling lifestyle and the life we lead. It's made us appreciate everything A LOT more, as well as each other and our relationship with one another. We cannot wait to get back on the road and live the free life once again, where J' doesn't have to wake up to an alarm and be away from us all day, where we can frolick in the enchanted forest or dance in the desert, where if we want to snuggle in the fort all day then it's totally on and that's what will happen, where we make our own rules... then break them, where anything goes because that's the way we like it.

Yep, we can't wait and when we become free birds once again, we are going to celebrate like we know how, with smiles on our faces, a beer in our hand, a dog on each lap with friends swapping stories of anything and everything.

We are counting down the days and hope to see you all very soon. I think our first stop will be the Winter R.T.R. in Quartzsite (what better place to celebrate) we'll see you there!!

Come out and LIVE your life with us!

See you soon


Friday, September 20, 2013

Computer Update

Hello, hello everyone!!

The update on my computer situation:

She's broken., hiss booooo.

Turns out my graphics card has gone to poop and every time I turn on my computer, it white screens on me. I talked to quite a few people at Best Buy, because I was hoping someone would give me an answer I actually wanted to hear...but no, they all said the same thing, "That would be your graphics card, Miss."

We tried many, many things to make it work...even if just for a moment and BAM! We got white screened every time.

The good news?

We were able to start it in safe mode last weekend and I was able to save the pictures, videos, documents, etc., that I was so sad that I would lose. So to me, that is awesome news. I did not want a new computer, for a few reasons. I really like my laptop, it's mine! I've worked really hard on my awesome sticker collection on the cover. I know how to use it, I know where everything is and it does exactly what I need it to do. And it's only about two years old, so it's not like it's old or anything!

We will be shopping around for a new one but probably not getting a new one until around November, due to finances and a million other things that need to come in front of a new laptop. That's the sucky part...but J' has let me use his computer when he is not working on it or when he is gone during the day (he has picked up some work from a friend during the week). He's a real sweetie! It's all good though, I've been focusing more on practicing my guitar, spending more time with Savannah, although she's not too fond of that! And I've been working don't piss me off!!! haha I showed my muscles to J' last night and he was like, "Whoa,'re getting ripped!" I giggled.

All in all, things have been up, things have been down and they've been allllll around a few dozen times but we are still healthy, happy and just getting through this "phase" of life right now.

There are a ton of positives on the horizon for us and each day we get closer to being able to leave the Bay area and get back to our life on the road, with like-minded people and the awesome taste and feel of true freedom.

Keep the good juju chugging along out there for us and don't give up on us.

With your love, support and laughter, everything is going to be just fine!

Thank you for keeping us close in thought. The positive energy is truly felt.

Love ya'll


P.S. I can't wait to be able to post pics again!! hee hee

Friday, August 30, 2013

Please be patient...

To all of my amazing readers that keep coming back for more...

I'm having major difficulties with my laptop lately which makes it hard to post anything; pictures, posts...anything.

Please keep a kind prayer out there for me that I do not need a new computer, because I love the one I have and it's only two years old. Right now I am using J's due to his "working for the rig" status, but am still wishing and praying and keeping the faith that mine comes through, due to the thousands of pics and videos I have on it.

So again, please be patient with me and the distance between posts. I know you are all just chompin' at the bit to get another update.

We are doing good and getting things handled!

I hope you have a wonderful day and a wonderful Holiday weekend (Labor Day).

Peace to you all

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Flyin' High, Flyin' Low...Flyin' to Orlando!

On my second plane of the day. The time is roughly 5 p.m. on this Thursday evening. We woke up at 4:15 a.m., took care of "The Bugs" morning rituals, fed myself with a ham and cheese toasted sammie and diet coke...yep, the breakfast of champions! By 5 a.m. we were out of the house. My flight didn't leave until 7:25 a.m., but I wanted to be a good flyer and earn my wings and get to the airport 2 hours early like "they" say. We were at the San Francisco airport in about 25 minutes and I was checked-in and through security in about 9 1/2 minutes!! I found a plug and opened my computer to do some "work"...uploading pictures...I was only able to load half of an album due to the slow connection, but it's half of an album that I didn't have loaded, so it's all good! The plane boarded and left pretty much right on time for Charlotte, NC...where my layover was.

[caption id="attachment_5063" align="aligncenter" width="350"]See ya Charlotte See ya Charlotte[/caption]

The flight was about 4 hours and 45 minutes long but it went by pretty fast due to my awesome luck of being seated next to two amazing women from Hawaii. We talked for the majority of the flight, in between napping, reading, stretching and potty breaks. While I am flying to Orlando to help 'the moms' move...they are enroute to Rome! They flew through the night last night, flying from San Fran to Charlotte and they're going to keep on truckin' to Rome, then once in Rome they will take a small cruise ship to Greece! How awesome is that!?

During the flight we talked about all kinds of stuff from our van-life to their lives in Hawaii. One of the women, Vicki, can watch her kids and hubby surf from her kitchen window as she makes brekkie for the fam and at times, when it's mating season, has to close her windows due to the whales making so much noise splashing their tales and bodies and moaning! They spoke of how amazing the sunsets are and how they never get old to watch, as well as how magical the views are...even after living there for 30 years! We talked about our kids & our husbands, our mothers & our siblings...and of course, the Nana Bug!

It was great to be seated next to such wonderful energy, I sure needed it after the few days leading up to this trip. For some reason, I was majorly stressing about the flight, which flying has never bothered me or scared me before. I'm sure it was driving J' totally batty listening to me for three days about how nervous I was! haha So thank you ladies, my prayers were truly answered by sitting next to you and I hope you (Margaret) had an amazing 80th birthday reminiscing in the magical city of Rome! (I'm upset I didn't get a picture of them, darn.)

They gave me a pretty good push to truly start writing my book. I've really got to get my thoughts in order to start that thing, just seems like something else always gets done before that...hmmmm. So another thank you, to you, ladies!

So...yes, back on the plane. We took off about 15 minutes ago out of Charlotte and should be arriving in Orlando in about an hour or so. I'm pretty excited...actually I'm super freakin' stoked! I not only get to see my mom (after almost two years) and hug and kiss her... this mama gets to see her Baby Owl too!

Super Stoked Flyer 400

My, not so little, girl and I are going to have a sleepover and just be giggly girls together and of course I get to put the official mother's stamp of approval on her man, her house & her pup! She's a really great "kid", so I'm sure her life and everyone around her are just perfect. It should make for a really nice trip all the way around and if I get to see my best Aussie mate, that will make it even better!

[caption id="attachment_5065" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Rainy Florida Rainy Florida[/caption]

For the next 7 days, I'll be giggling with my little owl, moving the moms, unpacking boxes and shopping for furniture for her new home and I'm sure a lot more that I haven't planned for, purty fun stuff...actually, it does sound fun to me! haha I'm always happy for the time I get to spend with anyone I love even if we just lay on the floor, stare at the popcorn ceiling that hasn't been scraped off yet and using a shower curtain for a blankie! Just kidding can have the shower curtain! I'm there for the quality time and adventure.

We're coming in for a landing.

[caption id="attachment_5066" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Crazy Cloud!! Crazy Cloud!![/caption]

So, here we go.......



Sunday, July 28, 2013

JULY = Our month of celebration!!

July has always been a pretty exciting month for me, as a was the time of Summer, school was out, I could play with my friends all day long, and it was my birthday month. Now as an adult, it still holds the same excitement but now I get to share the month with my babaa', our daughter Brittney and Savannah due to all of their birthdays and both of our anniversaries all in the month of July. For us, it is truly like it's Christmas in July!!!

Last year we were celebrating in the mountains of Shaver Lake in California with our traveling friends: Bob, Steve & Miss Cheri. This year we are back in California, in NoCal...the Bay Area, but celebrating with our 'sticks & bricks' friends that J' hasn't seen in about 13 years and I'm meeting for the first time. It's been a great time and fun is always had by all. On J's birthday, we woke up to homemade french toast among other amazing foods for brekkie made by our friends Jenn and Scott. The rest of the day was spent lounging in the pool then for dinner I took him to Applebee's and had one hell of a feast for the price.

[gallery ids="5037,5054,5053"]

For Savannah's birthday, she was able to pick anything in the world to do and she picked taking it easy by tanning poolside.

[caption id="attachment_5038" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Birthday baby Birthday baby[/caption]

For our Anniversaries, the day seemed to more get away from us then going out and celebrating so we made burgers at home and just hung out. It was a nice day and really every day seems like our Anniversary because we get to spend every single day together and being together is the most important thing!

Burger eatin' babe 500

For my birthday, Jenn and I went for a 4 1/2 mile walk in the morning, made some sloppy joe's from scratch (I'm not a "sloppy" girl, but I am now, those things were the bomb!) We ended our nice time together by cleaning her porch and garage...hey friends gotta do what friends gotta do! haha Later that night, a couple of our friends took us to a restaurant named Ceviche's whose food is to die for...O.M.G.!! The shrimp looked like baby lobsters... they were so huge! We had a great time together, it's so great meeting and getting to know all of these people I've heard about for the last 8 years. Oh my gosh, I almost forgot...J' came home with TWO DOZEN roses for me. They look and smell amazing and the only request for dinner from J' was that I wear a flower in my hair...done!

[gallery columns="4" ids="5045,5043,5044,5042"]

The only celebration we will not be able to attend is our 'Lil Bit's 21st birthday which is happening right now, today, this moment. I hope she stays safe, has fun and knows that we would give anything to be with her on this day...well every day!!! We love you very much and wish you the happiest birthday!

The month is almost at an end and has been another amazing month to remember and to celebrate. It's awesome that we've been able to come together with friends of the past and (for me) making everlasting friendships. This July of 2013 is sure to go down in the record books of being one of the most amazing celebrations to date! Thank you to everyone that made every memory worth remembering and smiling about for years to come, we love you so very much!

[gallery columns="4" ids="5046,5047,5048,5049"]

[caption id="attachment_5050" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Here's to July Here's to July[/caption]

We hope your July was as much fun as ours...maybe even better and if not...there's still three days left!!

 Here's to an even better August and more unforgettable days.




Friday, July 5, 2013

A Million Dollar Good-bye

I've been meaning to get this post out for, well ...forever now but life seems to be moving a little fast these days so it has slipped under things, put on the back burner, blah blah blah....

No more excuses.

We are on our way to California and so we have to say "good-bye" to our friends in the Enchanted Forest of Flagstaff. The past two weeks have been not only inspiring, but for me, also eye opening as well as having the opportunity to open my heart and mind to things that have been shut off for many years. I truly met a Soul Sister for life and I will never forget the time that was spent listening, laughing our butts off, and loving this life that too many people take for granted. This blog post is about the GOOD in good-bye. There are a few different links to this post due to the awesome friends we have and them being up on their "game" in the blog world. I hope you are able to view all of the links and can enjoy every minute as if you were there.

We hope you can join us next time!

Randy the poets blog post=

A video Laurie made including a song she wrote and some great photos =

A video J' took of our "Million Dollar Good-bye"=

We will never say good-bye, only see ya later...I mean, could you say good-bye to a friendship like that!? I don't think so. We are forever tethered and we are so grateful to have met such a great group of people and be able to call them, not only friends, but family.

Charlie's Angels 500

We love you and can't wait until we meet up again some time very very soon!


Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Gathering Like No Other

What is this thing called the R.T.R., you ask?

For those of you that don't know, the R.T.R. stands for Rubber Tramp Rendezvous and it's something that can be described but truly has to be experienced to get the full effect but I will try, as I always do, to bring it to life on your computer screen through my pictures and stories.

This gathering was our second Summer R.T.R. We saw some people that we had met previously at other gatherings as well as greeting new faces and making new friendships along with strengthening the bond of our true tribe! It's such an amazing time.

Upon our arrival, there were already quite a few rigs parked among the trees...everything was quiet...pretty much the norm for the middle of the day.

[caption id="attachment_4987" align="aligncenter" width="224"]Joon @ the R.T.R. Joon @ the R.T.R.[/caption]

We unpacked and set-up our awning...which I'm now going between calling the Freedom Fort or the Simple Temple...both are great names for what our amazing awning has actually become. Within about an hour of setting up, we started grilling hot dogs and within about 10 minutes of that we had a good 10-12 people bringing their chairs bringing in good food to share with the group, big smiles and good conversation. Since I was the hostess with the mostest...I have no pictures to share but take it from me, it was spectacular!

The couple of days that followed our arrival date were a little slower than usual but it was a great time to catch up with old friends and meet some new faces. We were super stoked to see one familiar face and his furry babies as well as an awesome addition to his family...Brad and the traveling fur babies! haha He has two pups and a kitty...hopefully they will be "on tour" soon and we will get to see more of them.

Brad & Me 500

The group walks daily, twice a day. Bob promised Homer (his dog) that he would give him a great life and keep him healthy, so every day... twice a day (8 a.m. & 6 p.m. depending on the time of year), they go on about an hour long walk. It's nice for the group as well because there is a lot of bonding time on those walks. In between the walks, there's a lot of other things going on. In the morning, around 10 a.m., we all gather and talk about different topics ranging from how we cook and our favorite gadgets to any kind of questions about living the lifestyle as well as gathering for meals and music. If you want to come, than come on and if you need or want some alone time than that's what you get. It's all about helping one another as well as doing what you want to be doing and if you want to be alone...then go be alone. Everyone understands and is very respectful of your time.

Some of our downtime consisted of bonding over cooking sweet potatoes with Bryce, talking in the forest with Steve, taking walks with the group or by ourselves, having dinner parties at The Simple Temple which would then turn into hilariously long conversations into the darkness of the night, gazing at the Super Moon, surprises from Bob, hair cuts and colors, installing solar panels and a bed on other rigs, J' being a mechanic, watching the Ravens and Squirrels "sort" our trash, beautiful sunsets, decadent oatmeal with Randy & Laurie, rainbow time, laughing, playing, trying to play music haha, getting soaking wet while eating brekkie in the rain, and among a million other things just being together as a group.

There are about a million and one pictures during this know me! Here I will try to sum it up in a few photos ...ya know for the full effect!!

[gallery columns="4" ids="4992,4991,4993,5003,4990,4994,4995,5004,4996,5005,4997,5006,4998,5001,4999,5000"]

I will have to upload the majority of the photos into Shutterfly when I get the data...there are just too many great photos that I have to leave out due to storage. But at least with these you can get a little glimpse into how much awesomeness we consume in two weeks!

Who knew you could have this much fun for FREE in the forest!?

There is nothing like this experience/lifestyle. I'm just happy to be able to say that we are able to live this life and enjoy it to the fullest. There are things that cannot be put into words on 'paper' for they are experiences that had to be felt in that moment that not a lot of people would understand unless they were present. This Summer R.T.R. is a moment in time that I will cherish and remember for a very long time. The people that I have to thank for that know who they are and I cannot say thank you enough for making this one hell of a Summer and making my life that much better to wake up to every day. And Bob, I want to personally thank you once again for bringing us all together so we can make these true bonds and connections that will last longer than a lifetime...You rock Bobby and I love ya man!

Thank you all for making this Summer magical! We WILL see you down the road and can't wait to hear about...well...everything!


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Thank you for the Summer R.T.R.

Yes, yes...behind once again! Truly I have to ask myself, am I really behind? What am I behind on? I guess I'm the only one that knows I take it back. I'm not behind...just enjoying this amazing life we're living! We're making memories to actually have something to write about! We have done so much in the last couple of weeks, it will be hard to go back to cover all that we have done but I will try...if not for anything else than for all of awesome readers out there! Don't you love that I put you on the priority list? Believe me...there's not a lot on that list...but you're all there and that's what matters.

Trying to pick up where we left off....we were headed to the R.T.R.

The Summer R.T.R. of 2013 was two weeks of greatness, amazing connections, more laughter and love than I could have ever imagined, strengthening of friendships, keeping busy with jobs here and there and memories that will last a thousand years. Bob has taken gatherings of vandwellers and those alike to a whole new level and I just want to express my appreciation for him and for those that have gathered around him, making our vandwelling life a much more memorable one. The people we have met on the road and at gatherings, such as the R.T.R., are a pack like no other. We are like minded people, that love to listen to stories, laugh at each other, help one another and we all just get "it". Some of our best friends are now people we have met on the road of travel. We all come together and just ride on the vibe of life...there's nothing like it and as I have thrown out the invitation before...I throw it out again to all of you that want, wish or thrive on a lifestyle like this and invite you to come experience "this", at least for a week. I have never experienced comradeship like this in my life, nor do I think I would ever experience this in the world of the "Matrix". It's amazing and we thoroughly enjoy here I am tempting you again to come join us in this spectacular world that we live in...even if for a couple of days. I promise it's so intriguing you'll wonder why you didn't make it happen sooner.

In the next post I will try to captivate you further with moments caught on film and short stories about our time at the R.T.R.

Until then (and I promise I won't keep you waiting long)...


Friday, June 21, 2013

The Run-Down of our Run-Around

It has occurred to me that we have done quite a lot in the last couple of weeks and you guys don't even know about it...Shame on me! (as I slap the back of my hand).

Shall I catch you up to speed? I think I shall!

We were in Williams, for exactly a week, with Bob & the gang. We rode into town on the bicycles one more time, without Savannah...sorry Gloria! It was nice to have some "adult" not like that, get your mind out of the gutter! Just time by ourselves without the baby. We rode into town and did more of a touristy ride through this time, it was fun! We even got some ice cream...Bob would be so proud! haha

[gallery ids="4947,4948,4949"]

We left Williams and drove to the Grand Canyon with all of the best intentions of staying for a few days to a week...but as Miss Cheri says, "Plans are set in chocolate pudding!" And, she is right. I actually think our plans are set in water or in the wind...they're always changing! We did however make it to the Grand about 5 o'clock in the evening! We walked the South Rim and mozied around the Visitor Center (that closed at 5 p.m.) for about an hour, then decided to drive to Flagstaff to camp instead.

Panorama G.C. 700

[gallery ids="4952,4954,4953"]

 We camped on some land about 13 miles outside of Flagstaff, that I'm going to call Camp Cow Patty. We had actually scoped this place out before, (remember the day we left Sedona, went to Flagstaff to camp but then came back to Sedona?)...that's when we found this spot. We decided to come back to it even though we only got a 3g signal, it's a nice big area and thought maybe even the R.T.R. could be held here. We camped there for 2 days. The reason I call it Camp Cow Patty is due to all of the cow traffic along with the cowboys "wrangling" them in the early a.m. We were pretty much camping with the cows! It was pretty funny though. I was taking a shower the first day we were there and J' said, "You have a peeper! Look over your shoulder."

[caption id="attachment_4958" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Peepin' Cow Peepin' Cow[/caption]

 I hadn't laughed that hard in a while! As much as I LOVE cows, it was getting Rollin' Bug 500 Walking thru 500to be a little too much for us with them always walking through camp, plus Savannah couldn't contain herself around the poo-poo and I was getting tired of bathing her every half hour! Dis.gus.ting! We know this is their home so even though we liked our spot, we decided to move on...maybe even get a 4g signal.

[caption id="attachment_4961" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Camp Cow Patty Camp Cow Patty[/caption]

We got some coordinates from a friend and ended up driving to all of them, and then some, trying to find that perfect spot. After many hours of toolin' around, we found a pretty good spot up by Marshall Lake. Our spot sits around 7,500 ft. elevation, so were definitely going to get some cooler weather. We were also able to get a great 4g signal and all of the major network tele' channels. Another plus, we have to laugh about, is that we parked right by this awesome tree...

Camp Marshall 500

the tree had (we found out later) Mice living in it. Lucky for Savannah, she could smell them. The whole time we were there if we didn't know where Savannah was...just look at the tree! She goes totally mental over critter smells. The funniest thing is once... if she captures one, she's so grossed out by it moving around and doesn't know what to do with it, most of the time it gets away. She's such a girl!!

[caption id="attachment_4964" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Nutbag Nana Nutbag Nana[/caption]

While we were here we saw a bunch of different groups of Mule Deer, they look like Camels without the hump...they are huge! Savannah and I saw a family of about 8 of them one night and then a couple the next morning. Jackin' Rabbits 500 Mule Deer 500Along with the Deer we also watched many a Jack Rabbit feed upon the grass in the fields in front and in back of the van. When I would get close to them, to get a good picture, they would freeze like a statue sometimes it was hard for even the naked eye to see...that is if it weren't for their big pink ears! I love their long ears, so stinkin' cute!!

Monsoon season has started so the weather has been changing quite often. It's VERY windy here, not sure if it's monsoons mixed with the elevation and/or time of year...? It's crazy though, I don't think we've ever experienced anything like it.

[caption id="attachment_4969" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Monsoon Sky Monsoon Sky[/caption]

...neither has Savannah! Weirdo.

Monsoon Bug 500

We will be moving on soon to the Summer R.T.R. A place where friends can reconnect as well as meeting future amigos. It's a pretty fun little event that Bob throws twice a year, once in the Summer and once in the Winter. We have met some pretty amazing people at the gatherings and are excited to keep connecting with magical people. It's pretty awesome to meet like-minded individuals and hear of all of their experiences &'s very eye & mind opening. I think everyone should experience "this" at least once in their lives. It's beautiful in the "space" we live.

We hope you can join us one day.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Learning is Fun! Our "Awning"

Welcome back to the Learning is Fun! Series.

Today we're going to have fun with a little bit of our camp set-up. I might miss some things you might want to know, and if I do please let me know...this is our lifestyle so the things that we look at every day have become the norm and I don't even notice half the stuff anymore!

Today you will have the pleasure of hearing all about our tarp/awning. Lucky you! (Dan this is especially for you!)

We are getting better at this lifestyle all the time!!

Makeshift Pole 500 Shaver Lake Camp 2012 500

Last Summer we camped with a tarp up...but we used live trees (that were still standing) as well as trees that had fallen... with lots of bungees, to hold the tarp/awning up. When you need shade, you get very creative!

This Summer, we figured we'd do it "right" and get the few items needed to make a great awning for our Summer camp(s) you never know when it's just going to be you and the van (no trees).

We went to The Home Depot and bought 2 x 10 ft. PVC pipes that are 1 1/2 inches, they cost about $5.50 a piece. We also bought a 9 x 12 brown tarp, that averages in price around $14.00. That was pretty much all we bought, due to already having rope, rebar and a drill.

Once we found a place we knew we'd be "living" for a minute, it was time to try out our new buys! First, we cut the 10 ft. PVC down a foot...then two more to 7 ft., keeping the larger scrap pieces. J' drilled a hole through the top of the long PVC, then tied a rope inside of the middle of the tube. The rope will now be on the PVC until untied. The pieces of rope, that are attached to the pole, are fed through two corner grommets of the tarp.

[caption id="attachment_4918" align="aligncenter" width="224"]Up close Up close[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4919" align="aligncenter" width="224"]Farther away Farther away[/caption]

On the opposite end of the tarp (closest to the van) the tarp is hooked onto the "Z" bracket of one of our solar panels and the other side is hooked onto the milk crate on the top of the van (where we keep our solar shower). The "hooks" we use are actually just bungee hooks taken off of the bungee cord and tied to a piece of rope.

[caption id="attachment_4922" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Z Bracket Hook Z Bracket Hook[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4923" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Milk Crate Hook Milk Crate Hook[/caption]

Now, are you asking yourself...."Okay... but how does it stay on the ground and not fly away when a gust of wind comes?" I betcha you are...and I have an answer! See Learning IS Fun! In the pictures you will see a Blue piece of rope going the opposite direction of the tarp...this is where (half of) the magic happens! Once the tarp is in place at all four corners and the poles are where they need to be, to have a nice taut tarp ("taut like a tiger"~ Gold Member), we loop the blue rope over the rope that's already attached to the PVC. We then take two pieces of rebar (about a foot or so long), one piece we put inside of the pole that's actually holding up the tarp,

[caption id="attachment_4930" align="aligncenter" width="224"]Rebar me Baby 500 This goes inside![/caption]

with the other piece we tie the blue rope around it, pull it taut, then stake it in the ground. This is how it stays on the ground and doesn't fly away like a hot air balloon on a windy day. We've had some raging winds and it's held up to every single one of them! This brings up why we drilled the holes and tied the rope inside of the PVC...No knots + No untying = Super easy take down, especially when it counts to be fast!

These days, and I think it might just be the time of year, it has been pretty windy almost everywhere we've camped for the last two months, so we decided to do something a little different with the awning. This new way helps with the big wind gusts as well as the afternoon sun not blazing me to death!

I bet you're asking...."What in the world did these crazy kids think of now!?" haha And if you're not...C'mon man, get with the're supposed to be having fun!

Alright, alright, I'll tell you...

We brought one side down! gasp Life changing right!?

[caption id="attachment_4925" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Slanted Baby 500 We brought it down![/caption]

 Remember those 2 ft. "scrap" pieces of PVC? We use one of those instead of the long ones for this artistic beauty of an awning.

[caption id="attachment_4926" align="aligncenter" width="224"]Short Poles need love too! Short Poles need love too![/caption]

 We've also started putting up one of our older tarps as a helps with the sun, the wind and my's a win-win-win! We just tie the two together with, guessed it blue rope!!

Camp Cool 500

[caption id="attachment_4928" align="aligncenter" width="350"]The Cool Camp The Cool Camp[/caption]

To keep the "wall tarp" from flapping all day, we use more rebar!!! Super simple, right!? We just put the rebar in the ground where it needs to be and tie rope around it, we make sure it's tight enough to not flap...then make sure that there is plenty to see around the rebar so clumsy over here (pointing at me) doesn't trip, fall and break her face! (There are 3 of them back there).

[caption id="attachment_4935" align="aligncenter" width="224"]Back Bar Back Bar[/caption]

So, did you ever think it would be that much fun to learn about tarps and awnings!? I bet you didn't! But now you know where to come for the fun! haha And yes, I'm a total dork!

This concludes this portion of Learning is Fun! Join us for our next segment on Laundry at Camp!! It's sure to be a nail biter! haha