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

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Swamps to Glaciers!

Ferndale was not in the original itinerary; we had planned to spend the week touring Northern Exposure Country near Roslyn and Cle Elum, but for a variety of reasons we changed our plan last minute and decided to go north to the Canadian border instead. We ended up having a pretty nice week! Wetlands, low tide, volcanos, glaciers, swimming, BBQ, cribbage, flower photography, and passport applications, oh my! 

(Clicking on these should bring them up full-size)

What makes men want to dunk their heads in icy water is a complete mystery, 
but does provide for a lot of laughs and general entertainment.

Sweetly goofing off at the passport office!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Goodbye, Marblemount

This week did not turn out at all like we had planned. Even without an actual plan! Rhanna's concussion was quite a bit worse than we originally thought, and she spent the entire week resting in bed. So there aren't a lot of photos from this week in the North Cascades. I didn't take any photos of her miserable condition, but here's Joxer, who also slept all week, as cats do. ;)

Father's Day was not an impressive affair, as holidays go, but when every day is lived the way you want to be living it, there's less pressure to make some days more spectacular than others. Thane did spend an entire day working on an impressive Minecraft fireworks display as a gift for dad though. :)

watching the grand finale!

So mainly this week felt like a lot of tip-toeing around to keep quiet for Rhanna's recovery, but we did play some card games, and Gwynnie took a trip into "town" (Concrete, WA, population 705) with Abe for some groceries.

Plus, it rained BUCKETS all week, with the exception of the first day, so even had Rhanna not been injured, our touring would probably have been limited. We did have a small swingset in the "yard" and were able to see a bald eagle and some black-tailed deer from the comfort of our living room.

Gwynnie and Emrys both became Junior Rangers this week. Rhanna and Thane loved this program when they were younger, but are abstaining this time around. The younger ones are jazzed though!

We just passed our first-month anniversary of living in the RV, and we all love it. It feels very homey and natural to be living this way, but it isn't without its hazards. We have all suffered numerous cuts, scrapes, and burns (not to mention concussions and whiplash) learning to live in a miniaturized home. I mean, really, an inordinate amount of minor injuries. And with so many creatures living in such a small space, the cleaning is continuous. Each space has to be transformed into day- and night-use, and our efficiency in packing means that, usually, to get something you need, you have to remove twelve things from the space in order to reach it, then put everything back. LOL. Rhanna and I are still on the Auto-Immune Protocol, so at least two (if not three) separate meals are required three times a day, and nothing we eat is bought prepared. Our tiny oven, stove, and fridge means that this is much more of a hassle than it was previously (if that's even possible). In another post, I'll show you how I have all the cupboards organized.

Still, it's all positive and good. The sensation of driving your entire HOME from one place to another is surreal; you are in a totally different place, but everything is the same! A lot of work, yes, but we lived in a gorgeous forested National Park this week, and are heading to the coast tomorrow, so no complaints!

Marblemount, WA:
Animals observed: bald eagle, black-tailed deer, tons of little birds

Friday, June 13, 2014

North Cascades National Park

It's raining buckets here just outside of North Cascades National Park, so there's time for a mid-week update. The wi-fi here is iffy, and there's no cell coverage at all, so it may take a while to upload any photos, lol. We have this entire little RV park to ourselves this morning, with the exception of a really cool woman named Al who is cycling solo across the country (destination Maine: for her story); all of her gear is too wet to pack today, so we're actually going to give her a lift as soon as we have a little break in the weather; these steep hills are too dangerous in this rain!

Casita Lincoln

Our first days here, though, were gorgeous, and the kids enjoyed playing in the new yard. :)

Yesterday we journeyed up the road a dozen miles or so to the National Park

It feels so great to be back in the mountains. Our decade in the Sierras truly made us into Mountain People, and we have been breathing a collective sigh of relief to be back in this type of terrain. They call this the American Alps, and it's beautiful here! The Skagit River is glacier-fed (North Cascades NP is home to nearly half the glaciers found in the lower 48 states!) and its turquoise color is amazing.

Foxglove season in Washington! They're everywhere!

The museum was fun for the kids, especially 
Gwynnie, who exclaimed, "Hey! I'm starting to like this 
place!" (She's still having some challenges with all 
the transitions from one too-fun place to another.)

most of the peaks around here are apparently named for food:
Chocolate, sourdough, bacon, the works! (hungry goldminers!)

who doesn't love a banana slug?

Gwynnie and Em loved the lightning area

Em loved this snowy owl - we don't have room in the RV to buy lots 
of souvenirs, but we can take photos with them!

Thane taking in the scenery

wildflowers everywhere; the lupine is beautiful

Rhanna actually had a mild concussion all day, after a run-in with the heavy basement 
door in the morning, but she's feeling better today, thank goodness. Still smiling! 

The clouds were coming in at this point, so it's hard to see the top of this glacier-topped 
mountain, but this was a stunning view!

Em knows how to look for the handicapped-accessible sign to see which little hikes we can take - he's chosen our next destination (which we will check out tomorrow, hopefully, under clearer skies!)

Rhanna says I was terrible mis-informed about the mundane nature of her concussion:

"So I thought you would all be interested to here the story of how I got a mild concussion yesterday. It's a crazy story! So we arrived at the North Cascade National Park, and I took one look at the beautiful Mount Baker and decided that I needed to climb it (Since the mountain and I have the same name. Plus I wanted a new profile picture of me on top of a mountain.) so we hired this (cute) French park ranger name Jacques-Pierre to take me up the mountain. We were almost to the top of the mountain when an avalanche came rushing toward us. We tried to get out of the way but Jacques-Pierre was struck by a boulder and knocked unconscious, So I had to dig him out of the snow, where a stray clump of ice hit me on the head momentarily stunning me. Then I carried him to the shelter of a nearby cave, but it happened to be housing a family of bears and wolverines and bear-wolverine hybrid cubs. It was almost nightfall and we didn't have any supplies to keep up warm for the night so I carried Jacques-Pierre down the mountain on my shoulders, and we reached the ranger station at midnight where I set Jacques-Pierre down and called an ambulance to take him to the hospital. Then I walked back to the RV where everyone else was asleep and being so full of adrenaline I baked throughout the night, until I was so utterly exhausted I fell asleep on the counter and woke up with a dreadful headache and lots of cookies. 
True story!!"  ~Rhanna

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Week One - Lake Pleasant, Bothell, WA

Our first week has flown by! Lake Pleasant was a wonderful place to spend our first week out of the driveway. Only 15 minutes from our sticks-and-bricks, it was a baby step, but we are feeling much more confident now as we begin to pack up for our first REAL leg of the journey, to a place none of us have ever been. Thus far, we've still been driving familiar roads, shopping at the same stores, etc., but tomorrow the adventure into the unknown begins! I think it's a keen coincidence that this adventure begins on the anniversary of my beginning DGD 
(11th anniversary of the dolls tomorrow!)

Lake Pleasant RV Park - we'd definitely come back here again. We've heard that 
some RV parks are uptight and have a lot of rules, but this place was delightful, clean, and really laid-back.

Right in our front yard was a brand new playground, at which the kids spent a ridiculous amount of time. They were more exhausted each day, but just. could. NOT. stop.
We set up a shade room at the front of our space; here we are playing Angry Birds.

And Rhanna enjoyed learning a couple of new songs outside, too. 

Big News: Gwynnie learned to pump herself on the swings 
our first day here! Milestone!

Some awesome person left a bag of blocks at the park, so a lot of towers and fairy houses were constructed.

On the 8th, Rhanna and Abe shared their experiences on a panel about Unschooling over on Bainbridge Island. This required a ferry ride -  a first for Rhanna and Thane!

Meanwhile, Gwynnie, Emrys and I checked out the 
local water wheel, planted an herb garden, did yoga, 
and played more Angry Birds.

It's got a handle - portable garden!

Cat-Cow (which is which??) ;)

Other highlights include football, grilling, and geocaching :)

This is me with my first on-the-road friend Cynthia, whom I met at the laundromat. I so enjoyed talking with this woman from Florida (on her way to Alaska!), and look forward to meeting many more people during our adventures.

Personal goal for next week: to figure out how to incorporate some sewing into my schedule. I had some hiccups this week with missing sewing machine parts and just literally no time, not to mention such a lack of space to set everything up for a short time (sewing projects are generally longer than an hour or two, and everything here has to be disassembled and put away so we can use the space for other things). I did get a few potholders made, but didn't sew one stitch of the curtains I thought I'd have finished by the end of this week. Gah! 
I tried; I really tried.

Some posts by Abe, to remember:
* June 4
Managed through a few kinks in our system these first few days:

- Didn't know the measurements of our slide-out when we parked, so ended up parking a bit farther away from the hookups than necessary (our 15 ft sewage hose was a bit short for the 40 feet away our black tank was)

-The water connections for our washer/dryer combo were stuck in the off position. A bit too much brute force finally moved the knobs but also cracked one.

-Once the washer was mid cycle, we noticed water dripping out the front of the RV. We assumed the leak was from the washer but couldn't find it. Once the washer was shut off, the leak stopped. Unfortunately, that wasn't the end of the story.

-After the kids took a bath today, the water once again started leaking out the front. After an hour of crawling underneath the rig and taking apart a fair amount of the underbelly to trace all the pipes, we finally solved our mystery. When our grey tank over-filled, instead of overflowing into our tub like it's supposed to, the water found its way up the washer pipe which turned out not to have a leak but was completely disconnected and the water was flowing straight out of the pipe under the bed.

literally no pipe there!

The good news is we have truly learned the ins and outs of the RV. The pipes are fixed, the grey tank is drained and can now stay open, most of the water is out of the RV...we have some more drying to do tomorrow.

While I may have preferred everything to go flawlessly our first week, I have much more confidence as we go forward. Everything can be fixed with a little patience and perseverance! 

On the plus side, our TV air tuner worked like a charm and I got to see Game 1 of the Stanley Cup tonight in HD for free. :)

* June 7th

One week in-

Well, we learned a lot about the plumbing and have developed some new daily routines. In an RV, you have to be conscious of things you take for granted in S&B, like water, electricity and sewer.

We have made some appliance/furniture adjustments: teeny tiny washer/dryer combo out and sold to RVing neighbors. Portable Freezer in. Groovy Bean Bags also gone. Just too space-hoggy.

On the lifestyle front, patience and order are becoming clear topics. You need to constantly manage your space. Things must be put away before new projects begin. And that always takes a bit more time than you think.

The kids love it so far. However, Gwynnie and Emrys (to a lesser degree) seem to be suffering Disneyland-syndrome - they are exhausted from playing but can't seem to stop and rest. The older kids will be getting RV 101 lessons today now that I have figured it all out.

We are looking forward to our next destination mid-week and my nervousness about driving seems to be gone. Backing up is a whole other story though.

Stay tuned...

Friends encountered: Tamarah, Katelyn, Mike and Roxanne
Animals observed: ospreys, herons, owls (heard only), rabbits