Home Again, Home Again…Not SO Much (RV Series #21)

(Our family is on a five month RV trip. We are journeying West from Dallas, TX and making our way up the Western coastline finishing in Washington state before we streamline our way back to CO for the summer.)

Our unfinished Ranch House

Our unfinished Ranch House

Within an hour of porting back in Seattle, we nearly ran off of the Alaskan cruise ship, picked up the dogs from boarding, and hit the highway bound for Colorado. We’d originally talked about taking our time and staying at several RV parks on our journey home, but excitement took the wheel. Home was calling.

We decided to split the trip up into just two long days of driving. We traced our finger along the driving route on the Atlas and picked a spot 12 hours down the road.

Aleyna rode with John in the truck pulling the fifth-wheel. Alek rode with me in the SUV. I set my navigation system, put in a worship CD, and bawled my eyes out for the better part of the day.

Alek, engrossed in a book in the third row with the dogs, was unaware that his mom was having a mini meltdown. At the time I didn’t know exactly why I was so upset.

I did know that we’d set out on this RV journey some five months ago hoping Continue reading

Alaska – The Last Frontier (RV Series #20)

(Our family is on a five month RV trip. We are journeying West from Dallas, TX and making our way up the Western coastline finishing in Washington state before we streamline our way back to CO for the summer.)

Confession: I married a planner. As in a guy that actually likes to sit down as a couple and PLAN. Everything. It’s the most attractive quality in regards to planning for retirement, planning for a house remodel, or planning for company to visit. It’s incredibly annoying when it comes to planning vacations. He not only wants to schedule them on the calendar but also plan each day’s activities months in advance.

We planned our Alaskan cruise nearly seven months ago. We knew we’d be RVing up the West coast of North America so we let the cruise departure date drive our journey. We began in Arizona mid-January and we’d need to be at the Seattle harbor by the end of May to set sail for Alaska. John’s customer visits determined how long we visited each city and state in-between. That was the plan.

Except that four months into our five month journey, we were burned out and not looking forward to spending seven more days with our kids anywhere, let alone all stuck in one room aboard a vessel bound for a state no one prints on their driver’s license. Continue reading

Death with Dignity? Easy Decision

When I shared the update link about Brittany Maynard’s death on my Facebook page, I chose not to offer an editorial comment. I wasn’t ready to engage in a debate. In spite of my non-comment, a debate occurred in the comment stream without my prodding. And I’m so glad.

You know what’s so great about debating a topic with someone? It means you’ve stepped away from people in your life that always agree with your opinion. Yes, our opinions may be based on sound theology, but what good is it to preach to the choir?

I experience true growth when I engage in deep, philosophical conversations. I’ve never walked away from an evening discussion about pizza toppings feeling challenged. Continue reading

Kennewick Compass Shift (RV Series #16)

(Our family is on a five month RV trip. We are journeying West from Dallas, TX and making our way up the Western coastline finishing in Washington state before we streamline our way back to CO for the summer.)

We built our RV travel itinerary around two factors: the northern pacific thaw and an Alaskan cruise departing at the end of May from Seattle, WA. We kept a close eye on the weather forecasts and drove north maintaining steady daytime temperatures around 72 degrees.

We’d originally scheduled two weeks in the Portland area but my teens’ rebellion combined with the never-ending drizzle was like Chinese water torture. I needed out. Continue reading

Oregon (RV Series #15)

(Our family is on a five month RV trip. We are journeying West from Dallas, TX and making our way up the Western coastline finishing in Washington state before we streamline our way back to CO for the summer.)

I say Oregon, you say _________. Oregon, ________. Oregon, ________. Did you say rain? Ducks? Weird? Bridges? Beautiful? Scratch ‘n Dent? Any or all fit the bill and all are reasons to visit:

• Rain. Crossing the border into Oregon from California, we officially traded our beach towels for umbrellas. Continue reading

Relaxing in Redding (RV Series #14)

(Our family is on a five month RV trip. We are journeying West from Dallas, TX and making our way up the Western coastline finishing in Washington state before we streamline our way back to CO for the summer.)

The words jumped out of my mouth without asking permission: I’m so sick of hotels. What? I asked myself, Who have I become? Just three short months ago, I’d never overnighted in a fifth-wheel. Now, I was missing my rolling house? Wishing to check-out of a hotel?

The RV’s broken axle didn’t seem to be the only part under repair. My softened heart and appreciation for this trip, with all of its up and downs, began affecting my thoughts and words. Amazing change for a girl who swears the Ritz Carlton club level is the standard for family travel. Continue reading

Napa Know-You-All (RV Series #13)

(Our family is on a five month RV trip. We are journeying West from Dallas, TX and making our way up the Western coastline finishing in Washington state before we streamline our way back to CO for the summer.)

On our last full day in San Francisco, John called the RV repair shop to verify that the rig would be ready for pickup the following day. When I saw John’s shoulders fall during the phone call, I knew it wasn’t good news. The manufacturer sent the WRONG part?!? And no one called to tell us?!?

If you’re a Bob Newhart fan and watched his spinoff show, picture the eccentric neighbor brothers who introduce themselves the same way every time they make an appearance at Bob’s Vermont Inn. The older, wiser brother does all the talking, “Hi, I’m Larry; this is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl.” We were dealing with them in real life.

The correct, driver-side axle was to be overnighted to the RV repair shop. With the weekend days and their backlog of rigs awaiting repair, we had another week to wait. My patience was wearing thin. Continue reading

Singing in San Francisco (RV Series #12)

(Our family is on a five month RV trip. We are journeying West from Dallas, TX and making our way up the Western coastline finishing in Washington state before we streamline our way back to CO for the summer.)

San Francisco makes my heart sing. It’s a city worth singing about. Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco and you can’t help but sing the Rice-A-Roni jingle when you hang off the steps of the cable car. It’s “The San Francisco Treat!”

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Alek and Aleyna hanging off the Cable Car

But the cause for my singing this week lay in knowing that our RV was getting repaired. While I show the kids the bright lights of the big city, the fifth-wheel axle would be made new. After sitting sidelined in tiny-town, CA for ten nights awaiting RV parts, we decided to forge ahead without the rig. Continue reading

Yosemite Blues (RV Series #10)

(Our family is on a five month RV trip. We are journeying West from Dallas, TX and making our way up the Western coastline finishing in Washington state before we streamline our way back to CO for the summer.)

Relieved from leaving the Malibu cliffs, we pulled into Oakhurst, CA, a mere forty-seven miles from Yosemite Village. It’s the closest town with RV hook-ups to the national park’s southern entrance. Don’t read between the lines and think that closest means nicest and full of amenities. Nope, none of that.

Fond memories of the Oakhurst, CA RV Park

Fond memories of the Oakhurst, CA RV Park

Our site was decent. Large enough for our two vehicles and our forty-three foot rolling house. Unlike Malibu, we could enjoy campfires, but only if we were willing to share space with stray cats, less than desirable neighbors, and views of metal carports and storage buildings. Fortunately, our plans include driving into Yosemite National Park most days, which means I won’t spend many daylight hours in the landfill RV Park. Continue reading

Cliff Diving in Malibu (RV Series #9)

(Our family is on a five month RV trip. We are journeying West from Dallas, TX and making our way up the Western coastline finishing in Washington state before we streamline our way back to CO for the summer.)

Malibu, CA: The city on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Malibu RV Park: A higher cliff overlooking the city that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

Malibu RV Park on a cliff

Our rig at the Malibu RV Park on a cliff

Oh yeah, there are gorgeous views to enjoy if your brain ever relaxes from the imminent danger of sliding or shaking off the cliff. Before we ever left Dallas in mid-January, I had a dream (nightmare) that an earthquake tore most of California’s coastline away from the continent and our RV slid into the ocean. I’m not prophetic and I’m not a Nervous-Nelly, but this “dreamare” nagged at me.

So when we awoke on the second morning to what felt like an Alaskan black bear vigorously shaking our rig to empty it of its contents, I was alarmed. I nearly threw John out the front door in his underwear to assess the situation. Within seconds of realizing that the skies were calm, and hungry, wild animals weren’t attacking, it hit me. An earthquake!

I’d never before experienced the earth quaking beneath me. I didn’t want to ever again. I clamored for idevices checking reliable sources on Twitter and Facebook for confirmation that we were about to pull away from the continent and be dumped into the ocean. Continue reading