Road Scholars on an Eduvacation!
Yes, we're moving on again, but this time like we mean it. In an RV.

Monday, December 1, 2014

It's been six months!

It's our sixth month anniversary of becoming full time travelers! Six months ago, on June 1st we pulled our beloved Falkor out of our Washington driveway, and drove 20 minutes to our first home. What an exciting day that was. It was nerve-wracking and thrilling and freeing. Now we're in Charleston South Carolina, pretty much the complete opposite of Washington and today was spent on a gorgeous beach splashing in the warmer waters of the Atlantic ocean and digging holes in the super-fine sand.

What an adventure these first month have been! I think I've made more memories than I have in years. It's now a normal occurrence to not remember what state I was in last week. I noticed recently that most of my stories start off with trying to remember where the memory was made. We've celebrated 4 birthdays (5 counting Mom's birthday tomorrow.), stayed in 14 states, sung Let it Go and played football in 14 states, slept in 27 parks, earned lots of Jr. Ranger badges, baked many yummies, seen beautiful sights and landscapes, witnessed Autumn 20 times over (seriously we've been in Autumn for like four months) and we've had pretty much the best time of our lives. I have learned so much about life, myself, history, the world, everything! I think we all have, and I think we're so much better for it. I am so thankful for this life and I enjoy it ever single day.
Here's to another six months and many many more!!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Little House and Minnesota

When we had a chance to see the Little House sites, we had to take it. First, De Smet, SD, where the Ingalls family settled after leaving Minnesota. We went to the site of their homestead, the house Pa built, and the cemetery where most of them rest. The street where the action of The Long Winter takes place was awesome - it's so WIDE! You can really see how it would have been easy to get lost in that blizzard! So neat to see in person.

And of course, Walnut Grove. The museum here was a lot of fun. The town itself is TINY, and the craziest thing - there was an Asian market there (one of the six businesses still in town) which was the ONLY place we found fresh greens (amazing Chinese mustard) in all of South Dakota, Minnesota or Iowa. People don't  eat anything with chlorophyll in the midwest. We also got to go to Plum Creek and see where the dugout was. We kept an eye out for flat badgers. :) So fun!!

The rest of the time in Minnesota was spent researching family history in Madison and Marshall. Genealogy gold mine there!

South Dakota

The Journey Museum was one of the best museums we've seen. Everyone loved it, and we stayed a lot longer than we had planned!

A spell of very cold and stormy weather kept us inside for a few days while in SD, but we did finally get to Mt. Rushmore! Check it off Abe's bucketlist!

Friday, October 17, 2014

A lot to see between California and Iowa!

We've seen so much since the last update! We'll have to skip over some things, but here's a look at what we did in September.

La Pine turned into a whirlwind of projects as our back slide turned out to be completely moldy and needing replacement. What a good thing that Abe decided to bring so many of his tools! His work in replacing a complete FLOOR was very impressive.

 Across Oregon and into Idaho - totally new landscapes! Rhanna was pretty freaked out at the lack of trees, so she was happy when we got into Montana.

Yellowstone involves a lot of driving while in the park in order to get to the different areas, but we were lucky to see quite a few animals on our first day. Emrys had been wanting to get to Yellowstone for months, so seeing a bison up close in the first fifteen minutes was super exciting for him. He also really loved the museums, and all the kids enjoyed working on the Junior Ranger program.

We celebrated Rhanna's 18th birthday while at Yellowstone! She wanted to dunk herself in Yellowstone Lake to commemorate the occasion; it was cold, but she did it!

Made it to Jackson, Wyoming to see the Tetons! The girls and I drove a different route and arrived earlier than the boys, so we had time to walk a labyrinth.

The Autumn colors were stunning!

Tea party with magic tricks under the crabapple tree in Jackson.

Rest areas in Wyoming are FUN.

We ended September in South Dakota, where we were met with a DOOZY of a storm, with high winds, about three inches of rain, and flood warnings. We kept checking this little creek behind our parking space for trouble, but it never overflowed its banks, thank goodness!

This rain was not the cute kind of rain we get on the west coast, no; it was a deluge. So we stayed indoors hiding out for the last couple of days of September. You'll see Mt. Rushmore in October. :)

PS - you can read a little more about this on a new blog we've recently started with another Fulltiming family, here:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Crazy Week of 1,000 miles

driving through the foggy
This has been a insane week of traveling. We started out in California and we're now in Yellowstone, all done in four long trips. Some pretty crazy stuff happened during those trips; we had an emergency remodel on the back slide, a time change, several different terrains, bunches of historical landmarks and national monuments, and finally amazing landscapes and autumn colors.

So after we left California, we drove for around 7 hours to La Pine Oregon. The park we stayed at was basically a huge meadow. After the first night there, which was much colder than where we had been, Mom was feeling really chilly and there was a breeze blowing around her bed. So we took the bed apart to look underneath, and surprise! The whole bottom of the floor was completely rotted and falling apart with a gaping hole in the corner. So Dad took the whole piece of plywood out and he replaced it with a new one. It was quite the surprise project, but we (mostly Dad. We all tried to help a bit) got it fixed, and now we know Mom won't fall through the floor some freezing night. The next day was much less eventful, thankfully. We did some laundry and baking and the little ones dragged me through the sprinklers until we were utterly soaked.

The new floor
The hole in the floor

the bigger hole in the floor

We packed up early the next morning for the second of our longest drives. This time we drove from La Pine to Caldwell, Idaho. Another 7 hour day. It was pretty crazy what we drove through. We drove through a lot of high desert.  Some of the places we drove through were practically prehistoric looking, like you could just SEE dinosaurs walking across. We got to the park in the evening, all exhausted (except for the little ones; they seemed energized by the whole thing) and spent a long time playing and drawing with chalk before dinner. We stayed there for two days again, in which we caught up on baking and the second day Mom and I went out and found tons of specialty foods we had been looking for for a long time. Thank goodness for ethnic markets!! We also got some new jeans at a thrift store, and met up with Mom's friend Mandy. We talked with her for a while, which was really nice. It was weird to get used to the time change; we're now an hour ahead of where we used to be. Which lead to us all "sleeping in" and mom's alarm going off at "9:00am" and I climbed down to turn in off, and then flopped around the living room in a exhausted daze, much to Dad's entertainment. 

We decided that trying to do another 7 hour day was just too much, so we split up the trip into two shorter, three hour days. We left Caldwell not-quite-as-early-as-before, and this drive was very exciting, at least from my point of view in the bug. We girls stopped at a rest stop and got separated from Falkor and somehow, thanks to our GPS, ended up on a completely different highway than the boys. We'd been driving for a while until we realized we were way off, so we girls took a little side stop to Jerome, Idaho, where a great-grandfather had been born and we drove on the street he lived, which was pretty cool!

It was a really fun adventure, We also stopped and took pictures of all the historical markers along the highway and learned a whole bunch about the area's history and geology, which was awesome. We drove through Craters of the Moon, which was insanely awesome. You're just driving through the creepy, flat, dry, dead, desert that is the middle of nowhere, and getting more and more anxious and paranoid. . oh wait that's just me. Anyway you're driving and then suddenly there's just huge amounts of lava rock that goes as far as the eye can see. It's one of the coolest things I've ever seen! We pulled over to check out a sign, and it was so quiet - there wasn't any noise anywhere at all. It was creepy cool! We ended up getting to the rv park in Arco Idaho around an hour behind the boys, so everything was set up when we got there. We somehow managed to create some kind of dinner and fall into bed,

We got up the next day, packed up, and were out of there. Nothing very eventful happened during this drive. Mom and I read a bunch more historical marker signs, listened to Fruits Basket Radio, and drove through MORE high desert. Then we suddenly entered the mountains and it because forested and mountainous and gorgeous! I was bouncing around in my seat and super excited to be back in my favorite landscape, and seeing the trees change colors. It feels like REAL autumn now!! While everyone got everything set up, Gwynnie and I went over to the little playground and played around.

We've had to start doing more prep at night because it's getting down to freezing temperatures here, like turning the water off, and covering the windows in the bedrooms to stay extra warm. It's pretty cool to start entering a new season in our new(ish) life.

Today we went exploring Yellowstone, but I'll write about that in another post.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

We're off again!


We're going to be moving on to a new place after being in one place for a whole month. It's been quite a new experience to stay in one place for so long, but am I ready to getting adventuring again. We all are. Though after being here for so long it feels really different to be moving. It feels like we're ACTUALLY moving, not just the normal moving on after a week in a place. It starts to feel homey, even more so since we've been in California. This state has a way of trapping us in its boundaries and holding on with all its might. I think it was good for us to take so much time to rest and get prepared in our home state, and goodness knows I enjoyed seeing, smelling, touching, and being in the redwoods, as a calm before the storm of fun.

It's going to be strange leaving the West Coast. In a few days we'll all be further inland than we've all ever been, living wise. We've visited places inland, like Yellowstone and the Tetons. But we came HOME after those trips. This time we're taking our home there. There's no coming back after a week!  It's terrifying and super exciting all at once. I was feeling nervous a couple days ago, thinking about traveling into new territory, which is silly since I'd never been to so many places in Washington and Oregon, but now it feels like our first few months of trial is over and now we're REALLY starting this. And I'm feeling pretty exhilarated. I'm feeling like starting things, which is a funny feeling for the beginning of autumn. It makes me think of one of my favorite song lyrics:

"They say spring's a time for rebuilding, but this is not spring.
Now I look out my window and wonder what tomorrow will bring. " (Andy Pearson)

So tomorrow we're going to be heading out for our longest traveling day yet. Somewhere around 6 to 7 hours of driving up into Oregon before we shoot east to end up in Yellowstone for my birthday! Dad looked at how far we've traveled since we started, something like 1100 miles. From here to Yellowstone it's around 1000 miles and we're going to being driving all that in three fast jumps. I spent all yesterday making car-trippy snacks; homemade-everything-free 'cereal', chocolate-berry plantain muffins with lemon topping and savory "French bread" plantain muffins. Plantain crackers, Pumpkin-coconut-shortbread cookies, along with our mandatory coconut shortbread (cinnamon flavored this time!), and a double batch of fudge-y plantain brownies. All gluten-grain-dairy-egg-nut free and super delicious! Impressive, I know. And STILL delightfully edible. It disappears faster than I can keep up, though don't worry. All that cooking and baking brings me endless amounts of joy and is so satisfying, along with tired feet from all the dancing and spinning that occurs while I'm doing my thang. It's good practice for my someday-bakery.

Mom has also downloaded a BUNCH of language podcasts for the trips, so maybe we'll be fluent in a few days in several languages when we come out the car! Along with lots of music, Fruits Basket Radio, and Audiobooks, hopefully we'll be happily entertained while we fly across the country.

So wish us luck with the car rides and our travels!

Monday, August 25, 2014

August in California

We got Rhanna back after Not Back to School Camp! She had a terrific time this year. Time to head to California now!
I teared up when we crossed the border. I'm definitely a born-and-bred Californian, and so happy to be back in the redwoods.

Having such a light "schedule" for this leg of the trip has helped us find a more normal daily rhythm, which has been pretty delightful. Our little "yard" even has blackberry bushes and we picked enough to make a cobbler! I'm especially enjoying the fog/sun/fog routine, which feels like Real Summer to me!

How fun to find a second Moonstone Beach! (We got married on a Moonstone Beach in Cambria, much farther to the south.)

For the previous week, I had been telling Gwynnie all about redwoods, how their bark is so soft and warm that you can feel that they are alive when you touch them. She was so eager to touch her first redwood! The whole experience made her giddy.

The old cemetery in Ferndale, CA is one of the neatest cemeteries I've ever seen! We enjoyed walking through this quaint town, and Rhanna and I got new hats! Thane felt like he was making a pilgrimage to the blacksmith's shops (he wants to be a blacksmith!)

New Junior Ranger badges, gigantic Mother Trees, octopus trees, and a field of dragonflies. Gorgeous days.

We ended up staying in Trinidad much longer than expected due to a dental emergency with Emrys. We're actually still here now; his procedure is on Wednesday. As long as everything goes well and we can leave when we think we will, we'll have been here in one parking spot for 27 days, which seems like a really long time!! 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Made it to Oregon!

We started off our visit to State #2 with a relaxing day in Seaside with our friends the Hessel family. What a nice welcome into Oregon!
We hope to visit many of the Lincolns or Lincoln City-like towns in America, and here's our first. Of course we had to visit the Abe statue. He's reading a book - how perfect is that?? Apparently, Abe was asked to be the governor of the Oregon territory way back when, but he decided to give the Presidency a go - there's one of those string-theory-different-dimension-spin-offs for you!

Couple photos of life around the house: got the veggies fermenting, Wii games happening, Thane did some whittling and crocheting outdoors when it wasn't too windy, everyone got haircuts, and we accompished a lot of itinerary planning. Rhanna shot that photo of me and Abe - apparently that's what all the excitement looks like. LOL!

This beach wasn't far from where we were staying, and Gwynnie in particular was beyond thrilled to find some good sand in which to play. Nothing like a relaxed beach day!

We had seen a lot of surreal photographs of Thor's Well on the internet, so it was on our list of must-see places. It was pretty darn cool! We trekked down to the site (a laborious undertaking for Abe, who ends up carrying Emrys a lot of the way, and for Thane, who helps out by carrying the cumbersome walker) and were duly impressed. The little ones were also able to earn new Junior Ranger badges.

Before we left Lincoln City we spent another afternoon at Gleneden Beach.

We hung out in Bandon for a week, waiting for Rhanna to finish her week at camp.