Monday, November 30, 2015

Three Month Nomadiversary

Already! Today we celebrate our 3 month nomadiversary! Three months of being nomads - full time RVing.  We've not made it as far as we envisioned - but it's been good.  We had a month of moving every two weeks, a month of moving every 3 - 4 days and a month of not moving at all.  I think we've experienced a wide variety of the full-timing lifestyle. Our perfect stride seems to be to move every 10 - 14 days; this allows for a solid week of book school in between sight-seeing and traveling.  IF you have specific questions, feel free to ask. Maybe I can answer questions at our 4 month nomadiversary!

 Just the Facts -  In our first 93 days on the road:
·         We've averaged $25.22 a night. Our budget was $30 a night for "rent."
·         We've stayed in 4 Fam Camps, 6 State or County Parks, 6 private parks and boondocked twice in family's driveways.  Fam camps and boondocking allowed us to come in under budget as most private parks are over $30 a night.
·         We've spent $162 in laundry. That's $54 a month we'd forgotten to budget.
·         We've traveled 2889 miles. We quit counting when we arrived back at Beale.
·         We've spent $1479.66 on gas. Our budget was $400 a month. We were WAY over on that at the start of November. Being stationary is really going to bring this number down. We spent $150 this month. Our lower space rent and gas expenditures are being banked for future adventures in the spring.
·         We've spent $169 on tourist fees - this includes a $90 membership which will give us entrance to science centers and museums around America. This isn't bad for all the things we've seen and experienced.
·         We used 66 gb of data a month on our mifi - and are grieving the loss of the plan on 30 Nov. Now what?
·         Our wifi range extender has helped "some of the time."
·         We can fit a tiny Christmas tree in here. (Guess who added that?)

Unexpected Observations
·         Campgrounds and RV parks are FULL - not simply with "snow birds."  The parks are full of 20 and 30's who have found RV's to be sustainable housing whilst the housing market takes too much of their paychecks.
·         It is easy to witness different generational ideas of boundaries in an RV campground/park.
·         It's surprising how much energy it takes to always be looking ahead to where you'll "park" or "sleep" for the night. This is giving us new insight and empathy into part of the life of a homeless person.
·         Weather factors in much more in day to day life. 

·         More automatic family time - it doesn't take intentional effort to find time to connect. Stacia volunteers that it takes an intentional effort to disconnect.  We've often laughed as we remember Jared's famous line - "There's togetherness and then there's WAAAY togetherness."
·         We needed a sabbatical - we're getting it.
·         Less time spent cleaning.
·         Great conversations with people from a variety of geographical areas, living in RV's for a variety of reasons, in a variety of generational seasons of life. These are people we most likely would not have met without staying in campgrounds and hanging out in laundry rooms.
·         Visiting different churches - though always being a visitor may be a drawback.
·         With small cupboard and fridge space much less food gets wasted. I buy what we plan to use - we use it.
·         I don't wash the same load of laundry four or five times because I forget to move it to the dryer.
·         While we forgot to budget for laundry - I DO think using a laundry room with many washers/dryers is a BENEFIT. I enjoy the conversations and it does save time.
·         WE NEVER HAVE TO PACK and we get to see new and fun places! It's WONDERFUL. Many of you know how I hate to pack - and how we love to travel. This allows for both.
·         When we were traveling, we enjoyed the variation of views outside our windows.
·         Catching up with old friends, loved family and elder Gherkins.
·         There are no flat surfaces for clutter to collect.

Favorite Places
·         Snoqualmie Falls
·         Grays Harbor Lighthouse
·         Mount Saint Helens
·         Skyscrapers in Seattle
·         Air & Space Museum in Seattle
·         Valley of the Rogue State Park
·         Oregon Vortex
·         Beach at Fort Stevens
·         Fort Clatsop
·         Chittenden Locks

Favorite Experiences
·         Geocaching
·         First time catching fish (10 fish - she says)
·         Bike riding in the Redwoods
·         Climbing the top of Grays Harbor Lighthouse
·         Kite flying on the WA coast

·         Campground/Resort Wifi simply doesn't work well.
·         No "set" flesh and blood community when we're traveling. Though we do have lots of online community. I really miss being part of a body of believers and growing in Christ-likeness with a group of women. I miss mentoring.
·         Clutter  - a continual war must be waged against the caboose becoming filled with clutter. Everything has a place and needs to be put up immediately - this doesn't always happen.
·         We've had a few odd experiences at the showers here at Beale.

·         Some of the washers/dryers in laundromats are really grungy. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Indoor Decorations DONE

Our celebration of Christmas is a bit unorthodox. As Stacia indignantly proclaimed, when hearing we don't celebrate Christmas, "We DO celebrate Christmas on Christmas. We give gifts on New Years or St Nicks day or something."  A very nice summary. We have cut the giving budget way back. Shopping is a breeze. Our focus is Jesus through this busy month...and on the 25th we have a great big party for Him, open stockings (a concession to Stacia) and discussing ways to give more of ourselves to Him in the upcoming year.  We ring in New Years with a family gift exchange - and more.

All that to say, when it came time to downsize and move into the trailer, I didn't think we needed a lot of "Christmas Decorations." They didn't seem that important to our celebration. I brought one could serve double duty...useful in both our Advent and Lenten journeys....

The journey begins
I quickly discovered the problem - aside from this table -  we have two other flat surfaces in the trailer.. That's it. I'm not exaggerating. 
I cannot give up my only cooking/counter space

Possibly cover the stove top with a butcher block (something I've been
thinking about anyway) and move it all as one when cooking?

 We are toying with somehow mounting it on this wall. For now, we'll pull it out each night, but that will make it hard to watch the progression of Mary and Joseph through the season.

 Stacia began asking about a Christmas Tree weeks ago. It became apparent this mattered to all the kids. Nolan suggested we hang one from the ceiling. An outside tree was considered - but the winds are ferocious. I looked at wall trees - but was unwilling or unable  to pay the price. ::snort::  She suggested wreaths, window clings - and some small tree. We usually decorate the day after Thanksgiving - followed by popcorn and Muppets Christmas Carol. We didn't do that this year. Evidently, we must keep some old traditions while we forge new adventures.  Today, after church, we headed to Lowes and Wal-Mart to see what we could find.

We found the perfect little tree on our way into Lowes. Michael doesn't want a bunch of stuff to haul around with us. This one is real (which I hoped for) and we'll just put it on our table. We have dreams of planting it out in the wild, marking it with geocaching coordinates, and coming back to visit it in future years.....

We briefly considered this to go OVER the Trailer.

Christmas would really be special with a 6 ft singing bass mounted on the side of the Caboose (trailer). NOT.

Stacia safeguarded the tree and we headed home to decorate!

Whilst the men-folk took care of winterizing our water supply.....did we mention it's been cold....
It's not snow - but when you packed for 70* - it's COLD. 

Stacia and I streamed Pandora's  Chris Tomlin Christmas station and began decorating.

The guys came in and rearranged the clings on this wall - to get everything to fit. I thought this was a window cling - since it needed to be on a wall, we have some more window space.

We  were relieved to have our little tree dressed for the season, and celebrated with the sought after popcorn and Muppets Christmas Carol. 

 Stacia and I will probably go to the BX after school and look for a candle for our Advent Wreath (none at any store we went to) and a few bows or something for a bit more color in the trailer. If you have a brilliant solution for what to do with the wreath - please do share. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Geocaching with the D's

We left the camp and headed to the bowling alley. The D family met us there.

This doesn't look like the  bowling alleys in your area?

It turns out the bowling alley was closed. We opted to go geocaching instead.  We split into male and female vehicles. The ride out to the spot for our searching to begin provided extra socializing time. ::grin::

We found to caches today.  We're aiming to hit 100 finds before the end of this year. We're at 98. We had a .61 mile walk to our first find of the day.
Stacia directed the gals
 The way we search is for each person to walk away from the find when they find it and say, "Found it." This allows others to continue searching until they find it themselves. Sometimes it works better than other times. ::wink::

The first small cache
The second find was off the road on the way back to the vehicles.
The search is on
I found a squirrel's cache 

2nd find - another small cache

The weather was perfect to be out hiking and searching.  Even Yuuki had a great day!
Look at those ears

This turned out better than bowling. We had lots of time to visit and being out in the weather was fantastic.  

Mail Call

Nolan's permit reached him today.....exciting. Michael got his license too, but we didn't feel the need to take a photo. Nolan can continue "Driver's Ed" with a "permanent" permit now. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Tale of Two Kites - #WYFF

Michael spent a happy afternoon in the Fam Camp lounge watching the Oregon/Oregon State and the Washington/Washington State games. Ducks won - simply confirming I'm a jinx to the Ducks and Seahawks. If I don't watch - they win.

I tried to find our "holiday" box - and couldn't. THIS is our traditional day for getting a tree, decorating, watching Muppets Christmas Carol, and pulling out the books and such for Advent.  None of these were on the agenda for today. In my hunting for "the box,"  I found  kites.

We are in an outer loop of Fam Camp. Our loop has only 4 spaces (others have 8), this leaves quite a bit of open space in front of our trailers. On the other side of the street from the camp are open fields.....I'm not sure why we hadn't thought of kites before. We have plenty of wind.  Within minutes, Nolan joined me. It was both relaxing and exhilarating. Just what a day failing to live up to old traditions needed.

Nolan with The Legs

Our fun kite from Florence, OR
As fate would have it ,the little tie-dye kite we bought in Florence, OR hit a gust of wind and lodged in the one tree in the area.
Danger, danger!

It became apparent 95% of this tree was dead and Nolan would not be able to free the kite by simply climbing in the tree.
Do you spot Nolan in the tree? 

Alex observed the situation, and came out to take advantage of the opportunity to "fly the legs," meanwhile, Nolan and I taped together everything we had that would give us a bit more reach.
Alex is happy to help!

About this time our neighbors returned from a walk to the Commissary. She said she'd told her husband, "Look there are pants flying in the air." ::snort:: He brought out a ladder and a couple of more poles to lengthen the one we'd already made.  Nolan climbed to the top, extended the long arm and got 90% of the kite down. The kite, the string and 1/3 of the tail were rescued. We'll add some more ribbons and it will be good as new.  I had a good talk with Mrs. while Mr. held the ladder. Seems they retired in their mid-late 40's in 1995 and hit the road full-timing. They will be here until the end of February - I plan to pick her mind for oh-so-many-tidbits-of-helpful-info.
Like a good neighbor....
We all decided to go on a kite walk. I see more of this in our future.....yes, we were aware of the power lines and were appropriately cautious. We had a mission. We went to roust Michael from the lounge - which we did. He joined us for a bit of flying....and then it was time to move on to Part B of the Day after Thanksgiving.

It's a true friend who not only observes your slightly eccentric Friday behavior but makes plans to JOIN you in your craziness! 

It's Pizza and Game night with the Gherkins - but we couldn't really fit many in the trailer. The D family invited us over to their TLF for one last Friday night blow out.

Nolan was SO happy he found victims for Monopoly

I informed the men they looked like druggies in the Thanksgiving photos. They obliged and posed for a keepsake photo.
Much better
It was a great day! Our feet had plenty to keep them busy, football, kites and friends! The best kind of day!

BTW, I know our friend's names, but they wouldn't want it online.

#WYFF (Where's Your Feet Friday) is sponsored by Fulltime Families. View more of our Friday exploits by clicking the #WYFF tab above. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Rest of Thanksgiving Day

I've prayed for at least one friend to last a lifetime at each assignment. God answered that prayer with several during our assignment at Beale - or at least we assume so from this vantage point. ::grin::

This year we tossed Thanksgiving traditions and participated in a totally new round of activities. The lounge has a few channels and Michael has been enjoying football. He spent the morning watching a game or two.

I discovered a campground laundry room is EMPTY on Thanksgiving morning - so I did laundry.

The kids played games.

We touched base with several of the elder Gherkins.

Treasured friends from the chapel are preparing to move overseas. They cleared housing on Wednesday.  We joined forces and caravanned to Roseville for Thanksgiving dinner at Lucille's BBQ. What a novel idea. No stress, no work, no mess - just lots of excellent food and enjoyable conversation. My only regret is the Thanksgiving Tablecloth is in storage., a rather short-sighted decision on my part. I may go find a small one and make it for our RV'ing years.

I picked up this vet on the corner and brought him home for dinner.

All in all it was a great day. We were happy to squeeze in more time with these precious  friends.  C and I used to joke about our upcoming moves. She said she prayed we wouldn't leave until she did. Our retirement was 3.5 months before their scheduled move....and we are - preparing to say goodbye to them this week.  I think her prayers were more powerful than ours. ::wink::