Saturday, March 29, 2014

Pick a spot, any really... Pick A Spot!!

We fell in love with our little spot in Lake Havasu, it turned out to be a great place for us to stay for "a minute" (if you know what I mean), but at some point, all great spots have that day where you pack up, turn the key and leave it behind. We hope to be back to our "little perch" again, but for now, it's time to scratch these itchy feet!

Our perch

We planned a small trek North to get into some cooler temperatures; seeing some old sights, experiencing some new sights and everything else that happens in between when you're rolling rubber.

"The Plan" was to head out of Lake Havasu, drive North and camp somewhere between Laughlin & Kingman... well we all know how plans go and what they're made out of.....chocolate pudding!

We drove about 60 miles to Avi Resort & Casino, it's a desert oasis...really! The RV parking was not what we had in mind, from previously staying at other casinos, as well as just coming from pure privacy. It's pretty much just an open gravel lot, a dirty one too (not good for walking the dogs due to trash, broken glass & other debris) with a bunch of RV's, trailers, and other vehicles packed on-top of each other it and it's a pretty far walk just to get into the actual building of the Casino. It's all in opinion and perception but coming from where we just camped, this was not a destination point for us. We got back in and drove over to the Casino lot and parked for about a half hour to walk around and so glad we did! The Resort & Casino are where it's at, you'd never know it from the parking lot but this place has got it goin' on! The Casino isn't smoky at all, it smelled delicious in there from the food and the bathrooms were super clean and running hot water is always a special thing on the road! We walked out of the back doors and it opens up into a beautiful scene of palm trees, lush plants and flowers, a swimming pool and a beach was absolutely beautiful!

AVI Resort & Casino

We walked to the boardwalk, that sets alongside the Colorado River, sat down and plunked our feet in the cool refreshing water. It was so nice to be in a new space, gorgeous weather, awesome surroundings and feel the rush of the water over our tootsies...something that doesn't happen very often and re-energizing indeed!!

[caption id="attachment_5397" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Fresh tootsies pops! Fresh tootsie pops![/caption]

We got our fill at the river and mosied back to the van. We were sad the parking situation wasn't better but Laughlin was only about 15 miles up the road so we mushed on to better (casino) parking! When we arrived at The Colorado Belle, there was still enough light outside, so we figured we would take a stroll down the Riverwalk...that's always a nice walk. We started at the Golden Nugget and walked down towards the River Palms, then turned back toward the Colorado Belle. In the past year they have done a couple of 'renovations' and now have music playing through rock speakers, flowers have been planted and the walkway has been cleaned up, so it looks a lot nicer than the last time we were there in 2012.

[gallery columns="2" ids="5398,5399"]

By the time we got back to the van, we were still feeling a little restless. We have been here, we have already done this, we've stayed in these parking lots and while all of that is fine, at that moment we needed to move, to roll, to just goooooo.

So, that's what we did!

Later Laughlin

Since it was now about 8:30 p.m. and dark and we really didn't know where the night was going to take us, we stopped at a Circle K that had a glacier water kiosk and filled up our water tanks. We usually stop at another water place but it was out of order so we had to do the Glacier stand that charged us .05 cents more a gallon! Oh well. We then stopped off at Wal-mart and got a couple of things along with the most disgusting Rotisserie Chicken anyone could ever eat! No joke. We should have known better than to buy a "fresh" Rotisserie chicken at 9 p.m. at night but we were starving. We ended up eating some of it, giving some to the dogs and tossing the win some and you gag on some, I guess!

As we drove into the night, we headed down a dirt road toward Oatman... now that was an interesting road! The moon was soooo big & bright, that we thought we might be approaching a small town, but then it rose over the last mountain top and BAM! Thee most amazing moon rise we'd ever seen. We drove this road in the blasting wind, for about 5 miles and decided to pick a spot for the night...heck, we might even like it so much we might stay for a couple of days.

Didn't happen.

When we woke up and walked the dogs the next morning, we saw piles and piles of trash everywhere; broken glass, shot gun shells, among other things we couldn't identify and also had some traffic using the road right across from us as a shooting place, so we rolled up the bed and mushed on.

The road, that we were driving, heads straight into Oatman. It's about 11 miles of pretty rough, washboard road, but it was different and that's what we were looking for. While it was nice to see everything during the day, we probably won't be taking this road back out to anywhere.

wash, wash, wash

We drove straight into the cute little town of Oatman, the town known for wild Burros roaming the streets. The dogs were going nuts out of the window due to all of the 'wonderful' smells in the air! We drove through and the very first thing we saw...? No, not a burro but a very tame and stout coyote walking through someones side yard...yikes!! We'll have to remember that!

We drove slowly through the streets, it was only about 8:30 a.m. so there was hardly anyone even out, including the burros. As we came to the edge of town, we saw 4 burros entering town & eating some kind of vegetation in someones op!!! As soon as we stopped the van, they immediately stopped what they were doing and came over to the window. I wish I had some carrots to give them, they definitely wanted something and all I could give them was a scratch on the nose!! And yes, the dogs were going nutso!

[gallery ids="5405,5403,5404"]

We drove on toward Kingman and the burros went into Oatman...they've got a schedule to keep! haha We saw some great roads right outside of Oatman and decided to drive down a few of them to see if we could just camp out there for a week or so and keep moving North. We tried, what felt like a hundred spots, but really was only like's the roads that we drive down that make it feel like a hundred. The roads are definitely 4x4, off-road vehicle roads but we've got Joon van Spirit so we drive them, it may take us all day but we drive them! We found a couple of totally amazing, secluded spots where we probably wouldn't even be found if we died...I guess that can be kind of scary but we like it. The roads were pretty rough due to absolutely no traffic being on them for some time and tons of packs of donkeys/burros but the one reason why we couldn't stay...?

Even though we were (pretty much) right 'on-top" of the wifi towers, we couldn't get one single bar of wifi; not 1X, 3g or 4g...nothing. Believe me, we tried and tried and tried...nothing. Which was so weird because when we woke up (on that weird dirt road) we had all bars blazing fast 4g signal....hmmmm?




With every single effort exhausted, we turned back toward Oatman. On our way out of the mountains I found out we were being watched....

I see you

...and I laughed my 'ass' off! I don't think you can tell in the picture but he/she was in between 2 mountains, in exactly the middle, and the mountain top was pretty high. Oh my gosh, I laughed all day due to glad I took that picture!


Busy streets

The town that was barely awake a couple of hours ago, was now buzzing with tourists, burros and vendors. We had to drive super slow, not to hit the people standing in the middle of the road feeding the burros. It was fun to see this little town come alive with so much activity and since we had to drive so slow, I think we became just as much of a spectacle as the burros, but we didn't get fed! People were actually taking pictures of the van as we drove it really that 'bad'!? haha

[caption id="attachment_5414" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Petting zoo or road? Petting zoo or road?[/caption]


Road block!

So, we headed toward Kingman.

We were both at starvation level at this point, driving down Route 66 and I'll tell you The Roadkill Cafe that we passed was starting to sound ah-mazing!! Jamie sees a little park and pulls over. What a great find! The park had picnic tables under shelter with the greenest grass we've seen in a while, a playground, a very small amphitheater and a dog park! We were able to spread out a bit, due to having to pull the fridge out of the van to be cleaned (meat juice....ewwwwww) I was lazy and didn't bag the meat while frozen, so that's what I get! We cooked ourselves up some lunch and took the dogs over to the park, where I thought Chili would run around like a mad woman but ended up just standing between my legs. Oh well, can't say I didn't try!




"The plan" was to stay in Kingman, but we just couldn't make ourselves camp there. Probably those itchy feet still!

So....we just started down Route 66 again.

Where are we going?

Well, now we think it's time to pick a place we kind of know and the weather shouldn't really be hot at all, so we drove 115 miles to Williams! haha I know, we crack ourselves up too! (This is when our daughter would say, that's the A.D.D. family for ya, haha) But, we were able to drive a lot of those miles on Historic Route 66, which was very cool all by itself!

[caption id="attachment_5421" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Get your coffee!! Get your coffee!![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_5422" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Belgadillos Burger Joint Belgadillos Burger Joint[/caption]

Route 66 put us in the middle of Williams right around sunset. It was a great sight to see, we've always liked this town. We drove through 'downtown', in 'rush hour' traffic... that's like 10 cars, but a lot of stop signs! We drove to our spot tucked up in the woods, set a few things outside so we could sleep and took the dogs for a small walk before it got too dark. It feels good to be back here, but it's a little colder than we thought so we'll have to see how it goes.

For tonight, we are getting ourselves, the fort and the dogs all snuggly. We are definitely ready to stop driving & settle into a good, solid place... for the moment.

We shall see how we feel in the morning!





Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pegs, Pigs & More Pegs

I think we both have to say that getting the dirt bike/motorcycle has been one of the best things we could have possibly done for our lives as vandwellers. We can jump on at any time and hop over to the grocery store, get out of camp for a bit, experience a change of scenery, whatever we want and we don't have to move the van...its been great for the mind, body, soul & our gas budget!

Jamie has always had bikes, he grew up on them and as he has gotten older has kept his love for motorcycles alive. Before our journey began, back in 2012, we sold our 2003 Harley Davidson V-rod to help along with the funds for the beginnings of our new life....and oh what a beautiful bike.....

[caption id="attachment_5345" align="aligncenter" width="358"]Sooo many great memories! Sooo many great memories![/caption]

We sold the V-rod knowing it wouldn't be the most practical bike in our new lives and we also knew that another bike would be in our future. We've been looking at dirt bikes for a few years and while we were in San Carlos this Summer, we found one...or maybe it found us! One of Jamie's longtime friends had this bike, it was in great condition, & had barely been ridden, so J' worked, paid it off, and then worked on it to make it street legal as well as a few personal touches.

Our new bike is a Honda XR-400

[caption id="attachment_5347" align="aligncenter" width="384"]Honda XR 400 Honda XR 400[/caption]

Along with the street legal kit; hi/lo beam headlight, brake light, license plate light, turn signals, horn, rear view mirror, Jamie switched the 2.5 gallon gas tank for a 4 gallon gas tank (cost $23.50 on ebay) and put passenger (foot) pegs on for me. We started with these foot pegs (cost: $10 amazon)

[caption id="attachment_5349" align="aligncenter" width="280"]Save your money Save your money[/caption]

We knew when we opened the box that we would need better ones soon, but these were something to get us by, so I could come along for the ride. Once we were back on the road, I rode along about two times before one of the pegs fell off, so we ordered Rescue Pegs (cost: $68), they attach onto the existing foot an extension.

[caption id="attachment_5357" align="aligncenter" width="280"]Rescue Pegs for me Rescue Pegs for me[/caption]

 I really like the Rescue Pegs. I am 5'7 with pretty long legs, and with these pegs my feet/legs are able to rest lower & be more at ease, plus it's nice to sit comfortably on the back of the bike. The more we rode the bike together, the more Jamie figured out they were in his way at times; starting the bike, at stoplights, etc. And if ya'll know him, you know he's always keeping his research fresh, so the passenger pegs he wanted for the long haul were already on his wish list!

One day last week we went to town to run errands, our first stop was the laundromat. As we were turning into the plaza, the police officer behind us turned his lights on and stopped us in the parking lot. What was the reason he had pulled us over? We were waiting to hear what it was too, because we know we are current & legal on everything, 'cause that's how we roll. First, he asked us about our foot peg situation and after we told him all about it he said, "Hmm, I'll have to check if that's legal." #2- He said we did not have a rear view mirror but we do, he just couldn't see it. So that was a no-go. #3- He said we didn't have a license plate light...but we do it's just harder to see in the daylight.
No-go. #4- He didn't like where our license plate was attached and told us we needed to get a bracket and put it on the side or on the back where it can hang down...he thought that was his "go"...but it wasn't! We stood by the bike while he ran both of our I.D.'s along with the bike and even checked into the foot peg statute. When he came back over to us he said he wasn't going to give us a ticket but he was going to give us a repair order to get safer passenger pegs for me...and for Jamie.

We were given 5 days to get the "right" passenger pegs plus have them installed, before a citation would be issued... so either way he gave us a ticket!!

[caption id="attachment_5360" align="aligncenter" width="203"]Looks like a ticket to me NOT a ticket![/caption]

 Later that day when we got back to the van, Jamie got online and ordered his wish list foot pegs, costing us $137.76, almost $40 bucks of that went to shipping because we had to overnight them.

They arrived the next day, earlier than we expected, so we went and picked them up and then headed over to a local welding shop, where Presley welded on our new passenger pegs. (cost $50) We thought that was a little steep but it seems to be a good price around here.

[caption id="attachment_5362" align="aligncenter" width="218"]Welding Presley Welding Presley[/caption]

[gallery columns="2" ids="5373,5374"]

After that hit to the wallet, we had to go to the police station to have an officer sign off on the "fix-it ticket". Funny enough the same officer that gave us the ticket was the one to come out to sign us was comical and made the whole experience complete! All in all, in the end, everyone was happy, he was happy we got it done so quickly and we were happy that we got the pegs we truly wanted...could have done with different timing for the bill, but now it's done and we won't have to worry about getting pulled over for something so silly.

[caption id="attachment_5372" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Good Citizens Good Citizens[/caption]

 Now that we've had them on the bike for a week, Jamie loves them & I'm still getting used to them. As you can see in the pictures they sit much higher than the Rescue Pegs, so the first couple of days I felt like my knees were hanging out by my ears...but I'm slowly getting used to the feel of them and in the long run it will be safer for both of us.

I guess the next best thing will be getting my own bike.......right!?


Saturday, March 1, 2014

My Cup Runneth Over with Boredom

Been having quite the time with motivation lately....I have  All of this time on my hands and I don't feel like doing an-y-thing! Someone told me about a year ago, that I should NEVER be bored...I'm too young to be bored.

Okay. So....

I read (within a page)...I'm bored.

I listen to music...I'm bored.

I meditate...I'm bored.

I write...I'm bored.

I do Yoga and stretching...I'm bored.

I practice my guitar or Ukulele...I'm bored.

I get online...I'm bored.

I play games...I'm bored.

I TRY to be artistic....I get frustrated, then bored.

I go on a walk...I'm bored.

I eat...I get bored and don't want to finish my meal.

I turn on the tube to take away the I'm raunchily bored.

I try new things....bored.

I try old things....bored.

My dogs are sleeping...even they are bored.

It's windy outside...I'm bored.

I'm breathing...I'm bored.

Even taking pictures lately makes me dreadfully bored. you can see....I'm bored.

Where does this incessant boredom come from? And where is my motivation to change it?

Growing up my mom always used to say to me, "Life isn't always about fun, you can't just have fun ALL the time."

Well, why not dammit!?

Do I feel like I'm missing out on things, on stuff, on fun, on life...probably.

In our lifestyle, we have all of this freedom (on a pretty tight budget) so there is a LOT of down time. We are still working towards goals to make our budget a little bigger, but there still feels like something is missing.

On our biggest boring days, we find ourselves scouring the internet for bigger rigs...ooing & ahhing, giving us something to look forward to. Living in our van is great...for now, but some days, especially the super windy, cold & dreary days, it's exciting to think about what life would be like in something a little bigger. Something we could stand up in, to be able to put our pants on all the way...inside, to stand up and stretch...inside, to cook...on a table...standing up...inside. What a concept, huh! It's just nice to have something to look forward to.

I mean, right now it's like a dream to imagine this: Get out of bed in the morning, Jamie could sleep in, I'll walk the dogs, come back, put on a pot of coffee and start making breakfast. He gets out of bed, stands up...stretches and we sit down and have our morning rituals together. All of this is going on and we DON'T have to wait until the other one gets up, to make the bed to be able to roll the bed up together (NOT a one person job), so we can start doing anything at all!!!

The thought of moving about a space without having to get the bed out of the way....THIS is what excites me!

I love the fact that we have total teamwork living together in Joon van, but the days that we're NOT on the same page...well, let's just say I want to go back to bed, before the bed even gets deflated.

At least I'm blessed with a mate that can put a different spin on things, that I can talk to, that can make me laugh, that will put me on the back of the dirt bike and take me into town for something different to do. Who also lets me know that I'm not boredom or in life. Plus, he's SUPER fun to be with!

So, maybe (right now) we aren't having the time of our lives every second, of every minute of every day, but we have one another and if we can keep that in mind and keep on truckin' to follow those dreams, the fun will start to follow us around!

How do you get yourself out of a (looooong) motivational slump? Out of endless boredom? Please tell me I'm not the only one!!!

[caption id="attachment_5335" align="aligncenter" width="200"]boredom ...[/caption]

Here's to a less boring day and the motivation to change it!