No Boundaries in Newport Beach (RV Series #8)

(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.)

If there were something to complain about our site in San Diego, it would be the six-foot chain link fence between Mission Bay and us. Apparently the fence was to keep us out of the wildlife reserve (a.k.a. the murky duck habitat). Whatever. Anyway, I didn’t care for it.

San Diego fence view

San Diego fence view

What the San Diego site lacked, Newport Dunes made up for it in spades. WOW. We fell in love with this RV Park the moment we arrived. Once again, our site backed up to a bay but this time, without barriers. No fence. No murky duck area. Just paved walking paths, mature trees, and green grass. Just ten steps from my door, I squished soft sand between my toes. Little slice of heaven to be sure.

Bay view in Newport Beach

Bay view in Newport Beach

While the sky boasted the most brilliant blue in Newport Beach, a dark cloud hovered over my heart. Continue reading

San Diego R & R (RV Series #7)

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

We’re just five weeks into our five-month journey. We’ve only hitched the fifth-wheel to the F-450 four times including the day we drove it off the sales lot. Essentially, we got our forty-three foot house set up in Phoenix and didn’t move it. We are rookies.

Now the real RVing adventure begins in California. We will RV Park hop every week or so to a new location beginning in San Diego. That includes driving in California traffic, maneuvering down narrow streets lined with parallel-parked cars, and weaving through tree-lined RV parks to back into our assigned site. We are apprehensive but excited.

I was exhausted from deep chest coughing and blowing my nose. After John and I returned to Phoenix from Colorado, I crawled to Urgent Care with bronchitis and laryngitis. The doctor prescribed me Augmentin and coughing pearls remarking that the nasty stuff was going around. I didn’t have the heart or the voice to tell her it was probably a symptom of the major stress in my life.

My sentiments exactly

My sentiments exactly

Aside from emptying a box of tissues, the drive from Arizona to San Diego was uneventful. Continue reading

Healing Waters in Vegas (RV Series #5)

(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.)

Two weeks into our five-week RV stay in Phoenix, we left the fifth-wheel at the RV Park and drove northwest to Las Vegas opting to stay in a hotel for a week. Look, I was desperate for a bathtub. The RV shower closet isn’t cutting it. Seriously, a girl needs a soak. There’s something about warm water and time alone with my thoughts that’s healing to my body and soul. I usually gain clarity, a fresh perspective, and shaved legs.

Oh, and John had customers to see so the Vegas plan was set into motion. He drove separately and visited customers along the way. I was most excited to take the kids around the city we’ve spent so much time visiting over the years. We’ve made lots of memories in Vegas:

Continue reading

Mini Bump in the Road (RV Series #3)

Mini Bump in the Road

Speed Bump

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

We learned the Key Thing about RVing on day ONE of our journey (Jan 18, 2014). These are the days following (Jan 19 & 20):

With tasks reassigned and our sights set on the Bronco game, we were determined to get our campsite set up and the TV antenna searching for local channels pronto. Our drive from Las Cruces, NM to Phoenix, AZ was great. John and I had hammered out our differences, refocused our priorities, and we were looking forward to getting settled, i.e., NFL and draft beer.

John made our park reservations over a month ago as the snowbirds start flocking toward Arizona this time of year and we needed a space for five weeks. The registration hostess presented us with a tote bag and name tags, and was so welcoming until she realized that we had KIDS. Apparently the reservationist failed to mention that this park is for persons 55+ and the park is ‘kid-friendly’ two weeks at a time. Our form clearly stated that we were traveling with kids and dogs. Furry friends welcome without length of stay restrictions. These 55+ folks may be on to something here. I digress. Continue reading

The Key Thing We Learned in Las Cruces, NM (RV Series #2)

Our journey began on Saturday morning, January 18th at 4am, less than 48 hours after taking possession of the RV. No practice drives or testing the systems, we’d be doing that on the road. We were hoping to methodically organize and stow all of our belongings onto the moving house over several days and then meander our way from Dallas across the panhandle of Texas and parts of New Mexico on our way to Arizona. But the ice storm that hit the eastern part of the US in early January grounded our rig at the manufacturing plant in Indiana forcing us to shove clothes in drawers and hit the road in record time. There were golf tournaments scheduled within seven days of our arrival into Phoenix, AZ. All this rush for golf?

You see, our oldest son, Blake, opted not to return to Baylor after his freshman year. He didn’t flunk out but his grades prevented him from receiving his scholarship and the lack of funds caused some soul-searching. His heart was fixed on golf and our West Coast RV trip seemed the perfect fit for swinging clubs during the winter months. He was determined to play an amateur tour and see if he had what it took. We supported his decision.

That makes the official count at two adults sleeping in the master bedroom and sharing the master bath. One adult man-child, one teenaged boy child, and one teenaged girl child, sleeping on two bunk beds and a sleeper sofa, and sharing the second full bath. Oh, and don’t forget Dixie, the white Maltese, and Cookie, the brown Yorkie, sharing a kennel.

Our course was set: 12 hour drive from Dallas, TX to Las Cruces, NM for an overnight and then another 7 hours from Las Cruces to Phoenix, AZ. We had RV park reservations and our destinations were entered into the RV Trip Wizard app. With iPhone alarms set for 3:15am, we collapsed into bed at 11pm.

The drive was smooth. Continue reading

Living in Never Land (RV Series #1)

“I’ll never make my kids go camping.” Words I uttered as a 14 year-old girl after spending two weeks with my family in a pop up camper without electricity or running water. “Never!” I said. Well, you know where this story is going.

In the summer of 2013, we felt God prompting us to tour the USA…with our kids…in an RV. Really God? We like our spacious home with walls and doors. “We will never camp,” I repeated, pleading for options:

  • Maybe, instead, we could raise money for a new church in our neighborhood.         We will never camp.
  • Maybe, instead, I could coordinate Vacation Bible School for all protestants.               We will never camp.
  • Maybe, instead, we could proofread algebra books, solve for X without pay.          We will never camp.
  • Maybe, instead, this RV trip wasn’t about camping at all? And all-in we went.

Actually the RV trip could solve a dilemma. Continue reading

A Toolbox for Christmas

I eased up on the gas pedal as I approached the stoplight. A choice lay before me. Turn left and drive north toward the airport where I could board a flight to anywhere. Turn right and follow my husband and son south toward home where I’d be forced to deal with the horrors dealt to me.

Her words were grinding in my head like oil and vinegar swirling about in a food processor, mixing together but not blending, and separating again due to their inability to stay conjoined. It’s December twenty-third and Christmas shopping isn’t on the agenda today. Or wasn’t until the doctor suggested it while sitting on the bench outside the elevators.

She spoke matter-of–fact after the grueling six-hour mental health evaluation, “On your way home today, stop by the department store and buy one of those heavy-duty, red, metal toolboxes. Keep it on your kitchen counter. Lock up everything you consider a weapon. Wear the key on a long string around your neck twenty-four hours a day so you can control its access.”

Gripped in fear, I clung to the steering wheel, systematically considering the weapons in our home. Continue reading

Things I’ve Learned on the Ranch

Dream of owning a ranch? Wish you lived amidst a picturesque setting with 360 degree mountain views? Know what it takes to maintain 99 acres? Here’s what I’ve learned seven months into our ranch ownership journey:

  1. 99 acres seem small when you’re driving but much larger when walking.
  2. My kids hate when community members tell them that ranch work builds character.
  3. Bats are black, creepy, milking mammals, live 20+ years, migrate south in August.
  4. Critter guy that eradicates bats, mice, and cluster flies is my new bestie. Continue reading

Honey, Grab the Checkbook

Gut-wrenching. Peace. Torture. Peace. Heart-break. Peace. I’d describe 2011 as the year that God swaddled me in His peace amidst gut-wrenching decisions, physical and mental torture, and complete heart ache and heart-break. The year 2011 bore much pain within our family, yet, the most miraculous thing occurred in my husband’s heart. He decided to test God according to Micah 3:10. “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.

My husband has been a small business owner for our entire marriage. We do not receive a bi-weekly paycheck. We do not receive a monthly paycheck. For many years, we scraped by on very little so we could re-invest back into the company. When you’re unsure about the timing of your next bank deposit, it’s hard to commit to ‘bringing the whole tithe’. We’ve discussed tithing to our church over the years but didn’t see eye to eye on the issue. Continue reading

Clean Traveler

Geez, Louise, I’m tired. I don’t even know a Louise but I’ve referred to her for years. Why am I tired? I’m 72 hours away from boarding an airplane and traveling puts me in a tizzy. Well, not the traveling, but the leaving, the preparing, the cleaning, the getting things in order before I travel.

Prior to every trip, I prepare my home and my life as if I’ll never return to it. Am I crazy? I do it to myself every time. I want everything in order. I want beds made, bills paid, dry cleaning dropped off, bathrooms scrubbed, items returned to stores, credits issued, filing done, magazines sorted/recycled, laundry washed/dried/folded/hung, floors swept, flowers dead-headed, fridge shelves wiped clean, rugs vacuumed, burned out light bulbs replaced, socks darned, blankets knitted, the homeless fed, healthcare reformed, everything in its place. Every time. Every trip. Without fail.

My motive is morbid. Continue reading