Hello, Wyoming!

Our drive started out great yesterday. By late morning, we were on the road, which is what we had hoped for. The roads were all dry with little traffic. Everything went smoothly until about 30 miles or so outside of Gillette, where we ran into blowing snow and icy roads. It took us almost an hour to finish up that last bit of the trip. We were really happy to get off the road for the night!

This morning it was still snowing. Schools were all delayed, there was black ice in all directions, and no travel to the south. Sooooo, we are going to hang out in Gillette for the day! We are not in a big hurry, and do not mind staying put, especially if the alternative is ice and snow!

The speed sign on the freeway made me laugh. I do not think Waldo could go 80mph even if he wanted to! Pretty sure there was no chance of us speeding through that area. ūüôā Ah, but those dry roads sure were nice!

DSC_0415

Gotta love Montana!

Hello Virginia!

I am going to make this quick since it is late and we are planning on getting an early start in the morning, but we made it to Virginia! We got a later-than-planned start so we didn’t make it quite as far as we had hoped, but 320 miles is a pretty big dent into the 600 miles we have to go. We crossed the Virginia state line to cheers from all, as seems to be our tradition whenever we enter a new state. It feels good to be on the road again, something about pulling out and heading somewhere new always makes me giddy.

The drive thus far has been beautiful. The trees are very¬†thick giving it¬†a remote feeling, even though I know¬†it has been¬†anything but. We can always tell when we are getting close to a larger city, though,¬†because traffic¬†suddenly becomes thick,¬†even if¬†we can’t really see the town itself.

On the schedule for tomorrow, after our early (HA!) start, is a snippet of West Virginia, then into Maryland where we will attempt to survive Baltimore (hopefully not during¬†rush hour¬†traffic, since that seems to be the time we always¬†arrive in big cities…), and then up into Pennsylvania. For now though, it is off to beddy-by. This rest area is not nearly as quiet as our peaceful Tennessee campground, but we’re in Virginia, so who can complain? ūüôā

Resuming an Old Habit

There was a time not too long ago when blogging was such an important part of my day, that my day didn’t feel complete if I didn’t share something. Sometimes it was a story or a memory. Other times it was simply a picture and a quote. Daily life happenings made their way onto the pages of what was slowly becoming the story of our lives. When I began blogging about three years ago, I didn’t exactly know what my purpose was, but as time has passed, I have begun to realize that this is my memory book. Life has a way of passing by so quickly that simple things are often forgotten. A day at the park, goslings in the spring, a road trip that resulted in a flat tire in an isolated ghost town. Being able to read the stories and relive the memories has become very special to me.

I have realized that my purpose in blogging is to give us a way to look back over the years of our lives. Everything from farming, which was a very special time for us, to hitting the road in our RV, which we found incredibly liberating. I want to remember how we felt as we visited new places. I want to look back at the pictures of my children, who are growing up way too quickly. This blog is my way of doing just that.

Unfortunately, as time becomes short, blogging is one thing that gets set aside if needed. That happened last fall, and try as I may, getting back into the habit of regular posts has been more difficult than I would have thought. I write things in my journal almost daily, silly things, random thoughts, stories, but I don’t get around to sharing them. And yesterday, as I was reading through my journal, I realized just how much of our story is now missing from the blog.

It may take me a week or two of sharing whatever I can come up with in order to make blogging a habit once more, but I don’t want anymore of our story missing. As I read back through the pages, I want to know that the story is complete. I want to know that we truly lived.

Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.  ~Grandma Moses 

Back in Tennessee

After wandering aimlessly (and loving it) for the last month and a half, we have finally made our way back to Tennessee. This little town, well, it’s not so much a town as an exit off the freeway, is nestled in the mountains and has the Pigeon River running right through it. It consists of a couple of gas stations, an RV park, a few houses and about a half a dozen rafting and adventure companies. Since it is still so early in the year, and tourist season has not yet begun, we have the campground completely to ourselves. This is very beneficial in that we can send the kids out to play without worrying¬†about disturbing other campers. This¬†came in handy¬†this morning since we woke up to snow. The most snow we have seen all winter.¬†Needless to say,¬†we had some very¬†excited kids.

DSC_0746 snow

The Best Laid Plans: Part One

As I have mentioned before, things rarely go as we have planned. Our quick stop for an oil change in Bowling Green turned into almost an entire day ordeal. Waldo, as lovely as he is, decided that he did not want to start on Tuesday morning.¬†If he wouldn’t start, we couldn’t get him in for his oil change. So, we sat. And we thought. And we fumed. Just a¬†little bit. What were our options?

While Camping World does not do engine work, they did have a mechanic come out and he told us our starter was bad. Rob was more than able to replace the starter, but¬†he couldn’t fit underneath Waldo, and we did not have the ability to lift him. We could have him towed, but after a musical circle of phone tag with insurance, we decided that would be way more trouble than it was worth, especially since nobody seemed to know¬†what was covered and what wasn’t. Next option: mobile repair.

After a quick call to a recommended repair service, we decided that this would be our best option. So we waited. And waited. I am sure it was not nearly as long a wait as it felt, but since we were dead in the water and frustrated, it seemed like an eternity. But alas, he showed up, squeezed his way under Waldo, replaced the starter and was on his merry little way. And we, with a noticeably lighter wallet, were ecstatic to hear Waldo running. Camping World was even able to fit him in for an oil change and propane fill, even though it was much later than planned.

By late afternoon, Waldo was ready to go, and we decided that it was still early enough to head for Nashville. We planned out our target truck stop and hit the road.

Our planned stop was full.

So was option two.

Option three was closed for construction.

Option four was non-existent. Or at least it was successfully hiding from us.

By the time we found a place to park for the night, we were already 30 miles past Nashville. So much for spending a few days there. We were feeling a little defeated, so we decided to wait until morning to come up with a new game plan.

After some much-needed rest, we decided to head on down the road to Knoxville…

Here we go!!

From our front window we could see Amazon, especially since the trees had lost all of their leaves. And there, over the mass building that had been our second home for the last several months, the sun rose on a beautiful January day. It was to be our final sunrise of the season in Campbellsville, Kentucky. Afer much anticipation, the time had come to venture onto new places.

Last sunrise in Campbellsville, Kentucky

Last sunrise in Campbellsville, Kentucky

Of course, things do not always go as planned, especially when we are involved. As we were getting ready to pull out, our stairs decided not to retract, which makes it impossible to drive. Rob ended up spending a chunk of time outside trying to figure out the problem. Once they decided to cooperate and pull into position, our leveling jacks decided to have a little fun with us. While they lifted as they were supposed to, the controls were convinced that they had not, and as a result sounded a lovely alarm. I particularly¬†loved Rob’s solution to this problem:

When all else fails, disconnect it!

When all else fails, disconnect it!

Even after all the challenges of the morning, we eventually made it on the road. It was a beautiful day. Cold, but beautiful. And it felt¬†wonderful to drive. We didn’t have too far to go, though. Waldo has an appointment in the morning for an oil change. After driving 2000 miles to get here and then sitting all winter, we figured he could use it. So we are currently hanging out in Bowling Green, Kentucky in the Camping World parking lot.

Earlier this evening we cruised around Bowling Green. Western Kentucky University is here, which is where I almost went to college many, many moons ago. How strange it feels to have made it here after all these years.

Tomorrow, it will be time to say good-bye to Kentucky, at least for a little while. I do love it here, though. I love the country, the farm land, the history, the pride. We have had an amazing time here. But tomorrow we are off to Nashville, Tennessee. A whole new state awaits, with its own treasures and secrets to share. Nothing compares with being able to see so many wonderful places in person, and once again I find myself extremely grateful for this amazing opportunity.

The time has come…

After over four months here in the beautiful state of Kentucky, the time has finally come to head out. We received word last night that campers are free to leave anytime. After discussing our options, Rob and I decided that this will be our last week. We both have three more shifts to work and then come Sunday, we will hit the road.

The kids squealed when we asked them if they were ready to head somewhere new. There is something magical about pulling Waldo out that even they cannot resist. The excitement of new adventures, new scenery, new memories. It is simply irresistible. Either the kids are wanderers in their own rights, or they feed off of us, but our house is full of giddiness right now.

Now the real work begins.¬†A family of¬†five sure can spread out over a chunk of time and my week will be spent trying to ready the ship. We tend to boon-dock when we are out on our own, which means that we are not hooked up to utilities, so we have to be very frugal with our water and propane. It is best to leave¬†in tip-top shape. Laundry done, blankets washed,¬†turtle¬†tank and rabbit cage¬†clean,¬†floor vacuumed, mopped, and the list goes on and on. Needless to say, I won’t be lacking¬†in things to do this week.

Our plan so far¬†is to head¬†down to Tennessee. We loved¬†the afternoon we spent in Nashville last December and would like a couple more days to explore the area. After that, we are off to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for some down time. Rob plans on picking up a fishing licence so he can hit the rivers. Fishing has always been one of his favorite pastimes and he hasn’t done¬†any lately. The kids are dying to hit the hills and do some hiking and exploring. I think they have had enough of this gravel campground for a little while. They long to roll in the grass and climb trees and get filthy dirty chasing squirrels, and I cannot say that I blame them. As for me, I have fallen behind on my reading and writing and my camera is screaming to be taken out for some photo shoots. Not to mention I have some running to do. Mostly though, I think we are all looking forward to some time with no schedule. No agenda. Nothing. Some time to simply… be.

After a couple of weeks in the woods, we will venture to Charleston, South Carolina. We have heard such wonderful things about the area and all of its history and are excited to explore it for ourselves. It may be a little chilly in February, but everyone is looking forward to seeing the ocean and playing on the beach.

This is our plan as of now, but it is always subject to change. We are still not sure where we are going to spend the summer, but most of the summer jobs do not start until March or April, so we are looking forward to a couple of months of free time.

As I have mentioned before, Amazon has been a wonderful job for us. We definitely plan on coming back next year if they will have us. There is still so much we want to see here in Kentucky. It truly is a beautiful state with so much to offer. I am grateful for everything it has shared with us over the past months.

But for now, it’s about time¬†we add some new state stickers to our map…