Quote of the week

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

~~Robert Frost

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Temporaily Grounded

So it's been awhile and alot has happened and the dust is finally starting to settle. I plan on updating all the smaller aspects of the past 4 months such as our experience working the sugar beet harvest, our time in San Fransisco, our issues with Iowa, and getting to Fl. Right now I am fast forwarding to the present after a quick recap. On our way down from Montana to Omaha in mid Nov for our next contract, the tranny in the truck went out 20 miles south of Sioux Falls, Sd. We had the leave the truck and trailer with the mechanic and hotel it until we could get the truck fixed.

We still don't have the truck or trailer and are currently back in a stick n brick temporarily while Kurt works his contract in Tennessee. We decided that getting a house was a much cheaper option and sanity saver than staying in a 350 a week hotel for god knows how long. We are looking at getting our rig back in a few more weeks, and oh how have I missed it. I used to wonder if we would ever consider getting back into a house but always came back to the same almost instant conclusion: I don't think I would ever choose to "settle down again" as my family puts it:)

Now after returning to a house, I know with a greater degree of certainty that we made the right decision when we first set out on our new adventure years ago. Yes, I do like the larger living space, and the 18 acres we are sitting on, but that means more to clean, and they seem to be the only positives I can find. This house that we are currently in is everything I would of wanted years ago, tons of cabinet space, an open floor plan, 1600+ feet of living area all sitting on 18 acres. Looking at it now, it seems pointless to have all those cabinets, it would take hundreds of dollars to fill them with things I would more than likely only use once a year. With the extra living space on the inside, the kids don't want to play outside like they used to. They used to beg to go outside and play.   

It will only be a few more weeks before we get the truck back. Not only was the transmission bad and we needed a brand spanking new one, but turns out, the whole rear end was bad as well and it takes time and money to fix.

  Living in this house, has helped us realize one thing though: what we thought we wanted, which was ingrained in us since we were little, was the American Dream,  a large house with lots of land that you could call your own. It took us years to realize that wasn't "Our" American Dream. So for right now, living in a house meets our immediate needs, like having a roof over our heads and heat, but is doesn't give me that everyday peaceful feeling  living our dream did.

Looking forward to being back on the road very soon:)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Family Fun in Vegas---No Way!!

Free Vegas Attractions

First stop, once we received the tent, was Vegas, where we were meeting up with the Millers (another FOTR). I wasn't to sure there was going to be much for the kids to do in Las Vegas, but she assured me there was plenty. I always laughed when I saw the commercials advertising the city as a Family Destination, but I digress. The plan was to arrive on the same day and spend a few days seeing the sights. Almost happened as planned:)

When you plan a trip to Las Vegas, make sure you arrive at night to get the full impact of the Vegas strip. We did, and on our first trip down the strip, we were all in awe, then the kids saw what they called the best thing on the strip....the big McDonalds arch all lit up and dancing. After a constant reminder of..No kids not tonight we just had dinner... they settle for the prospect of getting a happy meal there sometime.

After 2 trips on the strip, we headed over to Lake Mead and set up camp for the next few days. That didn't last long, come noon the next day we felt like we were dieing  from heat stroke, camping in the middle of August... not the brightest idea. So we booked a hotel, called the Miller's, and greeted them at the door within 5 hours. We now begin our Vegas family fun. The first thing that surprised me was how cheap the hotels were. Little did I know about "Resort fees" doubled the cost of the room, rookie mistake:) We stayed in Circus Circus, highly recommended for families. With the casino on the ground level and a Circus midway on the second level (complete with circus acts) everyone was happy.

The next few days flew by in a blur, I never realized there was so much free stuff to do. We did inside attractions and shows during the day, and walked the strip from sundown to kid down:) I gotta say, our internal clocks got completely out of whack but our bodies didn't seem to mind.

As for must see kid things:
M&M World: Whats better than a free 3D Movie
The Fountain Show
The Volcano in front of The Mirage
Lion Habitat at MGM
Show in the Sky at the Rio
The Sirens of TI (Treasure Island. Kid Friendly but adult humor)
And The Fremont Experience
were the my kids favorites.

While at the casinos you can sign up for the member cards, and get some free cash to play with. Anywhere from 5-15 dollars. If you stick with the penny machines that could be almost a full hour on their money! and Every 6 months you can sign up again.

We ended up staying in Vegas for 5 or 6 whirlwind days and are looking forward to going back!

P.S. The Vegas experience was complete when we witnessed a streetwalker acquire a date to the night..or hour, don't know.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Theres Always Something

So with the idea implanted into my mind, I began to make plans. We'd start in Montana cross over to Washington, head down the Oregon coast, drive all the way to San Diego, up to Vegas, Salt Lake City, then back home. All the while hitting everything in between. Nows heres what really happened. First, we were postponed for almost two weeks. The water pump on the car went out, oh, such a simple thing, nada problem, we'll just replace it and be on our way. I was so wrong, we had to take everything out of the car just to get the water pump off, including the timing belt and pulley. In the meantime, our plans had changed slightly, we would head south than north, same idea, just reversed traveling. The initial water pump process took 5 days because we didn't have the proper tools. Then another 4 days to get the timing pulley and belt back on and have it timed right so the car would run. That was a challenge since neither of us had ever set timing on a car. With the help of friends and the Internet, we got the car timed properly. Within 2 days, we had the little car packed with all the essentials for what I called our big Camping Adventure. We hooked up the trailer and moved her to storage and headed out west. We drove through Montana, we drove through Idaho, We drove through Salt Lake, which was were I wanted to stop for a few days but nothing was available for us to set up camp, so we drove south to a place called Chicken Creek, where we camped for the first night. Our goal was to be in Vegas where we were meeting the Miller family

for a few days of fun.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pioneer Beginnings:)

It's been awhile since I have been able to post anything. I know what you are thinking......busy busy busy with working Yellowstone. Well, my fellow travelers and wannabes, that couldn't be further from the truth. First let me say the the drive out here was awesome.....once we got off the highway for the last 2 hour stretch of Nebraska. Earlier in the drive, we lost the newest member of the family, Lilith our Ball Python, to the scorching dry heat of the Nebraska plains, everyone was upset. So let me say that for the most part, Nebraska is best driven at night. Once we got off the highway, we checked out Chimney Rock and Scottsbluff and spent the whole day in that corner of the country. When we finally made it to Yellowstone, we were greeted by 5 buffalo sleeping on the side of the road. We spent 3 hours driving through the park just to get to our campsite, did we see everything on that first drive?......not even close:) But I was able to give my son Marshall what he wanted for his birthday....Snow!! On June 9th there was 6 feet of snow on the sides of the mountain we were transversing as well as a heavy snow fall! He was in heaven:) We arrived at the campground, unloaded and began to unwind. I started work the next day working for as cashier for one of the gift shops. I loved it, this appeared to be a dream job, we were able to tour the park on my off days and get discounts to boot. About 3 weeks into it, I was awaken by a knock on the door from my manager and informed that I was laid off, unfortunately, with the current over all sales being in the red, and dispite cutting everyones hours to 26 a week, they had to start laying off the newest employees,(me being the first) but not to worry, when they picked back up, they would call(yeah right). You have 3 hours to be out....Ok where do we go??? With my next check a few days away, and our finances still not recovered from the 1000 hit it took to get there, we decided to temporarily boondock until we could figure something out. We ended up at a wonderful spot right on the Yellowstone river where we had our own private access to our own swim area . Talk about roughing it in style:) We stayed there for a few weeks, feeling very much like pioneers! River water for all our water needs, including laundry and cooking with only a campfire. I had the best lasagna in that fire pit! Yes it can be done, you can eat more than just hot dogs and eggs, but thats another blog:) After 2 weeks of pioneer life, I concocted our plans. We decided to store our wonderful home and truck and  head west. We loaded up the Metro with out tent, pillows, blankets, food storage, and all other necessities I could cram between the kids and headed off to a new adventure and new chapter. To Be Continued...... Next up. 5 people 1 tent 2 months

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Workers Neeeded

I recently got off the phone with Yellowstone and was informed that they need more workers for the season, they had about 10 people cancel on them. I'll be starting work there on the 10th. If anyone is looking for work and want to visit Yellowstone for a few months email me. They pay 7.50 an hour for all hours worked and your campsite is either free or 50 a week depending on where they place you. As far as I know, it's only cashiering work in the gift shops, but I may be wrong and they may have other openings in the park.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Home at Last

When we first got our rv, Kurt had brought up the idea of remodeling and I was completely against it. I didn't want to affect the resale value with modifications that would affect our ability to resell it. After living in it for 2 yrs. I got the itch to change things around. So far we have changed the living area, dining area kids room and some of the kitchen.

In the Living area, we removed the jack-knife couch and replaced it with 2 recliners that can be pushed together to make a love seat. The Dining room area we an easy change. After we removed the dinette, we replaced the seats with restaurant booths and kept the table. The seats are especially easy to clean and we didn't lose and storage space.

After kids room
The kids room was the most involved, most exciting, and still in progress. We started with two twin bunks and a mini dinette that converted to a twin and a small skinny dresser between the two. We tore out the dinette completely and replaced it with an entertainment center/dresser that is a foot shy of the total length of space. Prior to this the remodel, the kids were using Rubbermaid dressers with 3 drawers each. Not wanting to throw anything away, I put them in the space between the entertainment center and the wall, perfect fit! I then proceeded to dump all the kids toys in the kitchen and my lovely little ones, went through everything and separated the toys and put then in the drawers. We are just about done with the kids room, all we have left to do is build Marshalls bed on top of the entertainment center and in the spirit of recycling, the jack- knife couch will replace the bottom bunk twin!

As I sit here typing this up, I’m eyeing the kitchen cabinets. We already replaced the standard rv fridge with a residential, and will be replacing the rv oven with a standard one soon, so what makes the cabinets think they are safe! I thought this rv felt like home before, now that I have begun to really make it “our” it feels much more like home!
Written for The Families on the Road Blog Carnival. Feel free to join in every month at Families on the Road Pics will be up shortly, I'm running on VERY limited Internet:)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fast Approaching Moving Day Prep

We'll, it's been a few months since we had to move. 5 to be exact. We are scheduled to be in southern Illinois by May 22nd, 8 hours away and 210 in gas. Not a bad trek with the added bonus being we will be spending a few months with some good friends of ours and their kids, so my kids are super excited. They are actually looking forward to getting the house ready.

So whats involved in Moving Day prep? Well a lot but really not that much if you know what I mean. Since it's been 5 months since our last move, our house is in complete "living" mode, Clothes in hampers, appliances on the counters, toys everywhere, your typical day to day house. So our first step is to completely get the house cleaned and try to keep it that way for the next 6 days:) Good luck right? 3 kids thats never going to happen:) but once it's done, it's easier to do a quick run through the night before moving day then to try and do it all the night before.

Once the house is cleaned, all the appliances get put back up. The toaster, the Crockpot, coffee pot, griddle, everything that has found it's home on the counters. After that, there really isn't much to do until the day of the move, thats when we empty all the shelves so nothing falls off, this is normally just the bathroom shelves and the one in the kids room. everything from the bathroom goes into the shower and everything in the kids room goes onto the bed. Viola! The house is done. Now the outside.

Our home
The last thing we do outside is disconnect, don't want to be without water or electric:) Prior to that, we load up all our things into the bed of the truck, blue boy, bikes, chairs, grill, and outside kids toys, leaving room for our jacks and leveling blocks. This is normally done 2 days prior, but there have been times when we had to move in less then 2 days notice! Those are fun times:)

Once all that is done, we disconnect, close the slide, hookup to the truck, and begin another chapter in our Journey through change!