Friday, February 20, 2009

Today we are headed back through lower CA and the southern states we came through to get here which WAS NOT our original plan. We intended to go home via CO and see the Rockies, but due to a HUGE snow storm that even hit CA mountain chains pretty rough, we have voted that it was unsafe. Some of the parks are completely closed with snow accumulations up to 96”. Over half of the parks that are open require that you carry or use snow chains, of which we do not have and other parks received the storm in the form of rain and have shut through roads due to rock slides and ice. None of these sound to pleasing ESPECIALLY in an RV.
I decided in this post I would tell you a little about RV life and how it is adjusting.
The camper sleeps 6, but it is tight. There are two twin beds in the back, the table and seats which fold down into a full and a queen above the driver area in an overhead sleeping compartment. Nick constructed a make shift conjoining bed to connect the twins. We store the plywood under each twin and pull it out for sleeping and Hannah gets that bed. I found a neat little Pilates mate that rolls up and stores nicely for the mattress. It works. The fold down kitchen unit is what Zeke and I sleep on mostly. Once and awhile I hop up on the queen to snuggle with Nick, but I want him to have as much room to spread out as possible since he drives sooo many hours at a time. Also, by the time we have called it a day, he is quite tired and his snoring gets a bit bothersome. I have self nominated to get up with Zeke in the middle of the night and take care of most the “house” duties. Nick can tell when I am just spent and will help out or lend a hand.
I have packed way too many things that I do not need nor use, but I rather have than have not and now I know. I found two great RV packing lists from on-line that I used as a guide, narrowing my list from the two. I thought I was being conservative, but now see that I could unload plenty more. I believe that Nick and I agree that we will turn the shower into closet and storage space, as most of the parks have showers and we also have a YMCA membership as a back up. It is hard not to envy campers with slide outs and other handy dandy options, until we remind ourselves that is exactly how we got into all the trouble with the house.
Nick and I want to do some slight remodeling to the RV this summer which includes mainly things to ensure health precautions such as ripping out the carpet which is smelling of a mild dewy/sour scent because of all the leaks—past and present—and putting in some laminate. None of the remodeling is pleasure/decorating remodeling—we’ve been there, done that and learned!
I will post pics of our “RIG” as I know when I was investigating RVing I really appreciated the people who had blogs and kindly let the world view how they managed to get it all in and live in such a space. I think the next trip will be even more relaxing with having our things even more simplified and in order. I am big on order. I am also wondering what it will be like to go home to our huge house and realize the things I never use. I thought I was really honing in on this and simplifying, but I have a feeling I am going to be shocked at how much more I need to do and how far from the goal I am.
It certainly will be an adjustment back into our home. As much of one as it was into the RV. What will the kids do if they aren’t right on top of one another? I saw one blog of an on the road family who had the opportunity to use someone’s guest house and each kid had their own room. They thought it was going to be great and quickly scurried to claim their own. By the end of the evening, all the kids had managed to find each other again, wanting to be together.
We are currently looking for a place to stay. We need all the amenities tonight as we have stayed in parking lots and such the last couple and need to shower, unload the load (eewww) and do some laundry. We are stuck in traffic right outside of Santa Barbara and have decided to use our time wisely and pull off, do dinner and catch a wave to do some researching, blogging and such.
Hope you are enjoying the blog and pics thus far…oh by the way,I am on this trip…I’m the one behind the camera all the you will see.

Well, yesterday was a very interesting day and on a whole, and I can not say it was my favorite, rather one of my least favorites, although there were certain points in the day that were neat.
We began our day looking for some parking (which in Frisco is crazy not to mention if you have an RV almost near impossible!) We just about had it when we saw a spot open up that was NOT metered, yet quite a hike to the wharf area. We were happy to have found it with out having to completely leave town and prepared ourselves for the hike with some tuna melt sandwiches for lunch. Nick got the stroller down from on top of the RV (we had no idea how handy that would come later on) and we headed for the wharf.
It was our plan to begin our day by blessing others so we practiced for our serenade that we were going to give the public down at the pier in hopes to earn some cash for the homeless. We have been giving them money and feeding them as we see them, but this was something the girls were really pumped about and so it was.
We were a bit scared at first, Nick and I both knowing we couldn’t back down, this was a valuable lesson to teach our kids—stand up for what you believe in. See, there were magicians, and performers of the world, but no one singing Christian music, and especially not a family with kids. We made a sign that stated our intentions and began to set up “camp”. We got a lot of blank stares and a few “are you kidding me” looks and then our first donation-$5.00 right of the bat! God Bless that woman. And then a young girl who gave and then came back and gave again. We were able to raise $8.75 in 20 minutes and then we got shut down. IN a very nice manner, a security guard for the Pier 39 informed us that we were not allowed to play on the Pier 39 premise. We could go across the street, but we couldn’t play there. He was very nice about it and even said, “I feel like doo doo for having to ask us to leave” and so we decided to ask him to take a picture with him for our blog.
The kids loved the sea lions. This morning one of the first things Hannah said was, “Mommy I liked those sea lions yesterday. That was so fun.” I am glad she remembers the fun of the day because it got a lot crazier and I am certain that it is Satan’s attempts to disturb our trip and discourage us because the singing at the wharf was very uplifting. Which, by the way, the money we raised I gave to the kids to give to any poor or homeless person throughout the day. What a great feeling for them.
Next we decided to head to China town and that was a good mile or so hike. I kept asking the kids if they were sure if they wanted to do the haul and they said yes. We attempted to catch a bus a couple times, but they never stopped for us (and it wasn’t just us who were waiting either). China town was neat and the girls really loved looking in all the little shops. I was in heaven with the amount of fresh fish and produce there was. All the shoppers at the markets was almost like the stock exchange on Wall street—people yelling there orders and waving and the mere volume of the markets was incredible—both in people and in sound. We ate at a quiet little spot despite the several flyers we received with bribes of free pot stickers and other such things to get us into their establishments. I fell for that the last time I was in Frisco—a lot of bait and switch. The food was wonderful and we began to relax a bit even after a short lived scare of a lost cell phone (boy that wouldda been preferred compared to what happens next). We were nourished and ready to begin our hike back to our RV. The Frisco hills did a number on the kids’ stamina and our meal was quickly burned off within the first half mile. I loved the hike—what a great work out—but the kids were quickly fading as well as the sun and we still hadn’t made it back to our RV. For an instance we began to fret that we were lost, but then reality hit that we weren’t. We were standing at one particular corner, looking lost and searching our map for where we were supposed to be and a nice man stopped and reassured us that we were headed in the right spot. But where was that RV? We couldn’t see it down the streets that we peered down…our RV was gone. After pacing the same block three or so times….it was evident that we all knew we couldn’t all possibly be insane and our RV had vanished. How does an RV vanish? Well first thing we thought was it got towed and I’m not so sure that was even preferable. I think I almost rather it got stolen because after a $20 taxi fare back to right back from where we had just hiked (over 20 blocks) and $300 dollars later we were able to take possession of our home. I never felt so angry, defeated and beat up in my life. I wanted to hit someone, scream, yell and cry all at once.
Next we needed to get to a store for some formula for Zeke who was now in his seat and throwing a fit. We stopped at Costco and I knew it was not going to be a good stop as it looked so much like a Sam’s Club and I was sure I would need a membership. I approached the entrance and asked the greeter if this was the case and she affirmed my suspicions. I asked her if she could point me in the direction of another store and barely speaking English…she said no. Tears began to well up in my eyes and it must have been pretty apparent at how I was feeling because another store associate saw me and motioned for me to come to her. She said, “I overheard you honey and you say you just need some formula for your baby.” I gulped through the lump in my throat, nodded and said yes. She walked me over to a help desk and leaned into a manger and got a code and led me to the formula and got me to the check out. This may seem small, but this gesture felt like the biggest hug at a moment I needed it most! I gave the lady a hug and thanked her from the bottom of my heart.
I know God isn’t to blame for the events of yesterday. We could have read the fine print on the sign closer that stated from 4-6 PM cars parked in that area would be towed. (How silly anyhow…two measly hours!) And they wait for it. Our vehicle got towed just minutes after 4PM. I will not be defeated by Satan and his evil devices. The RV has constantly been under repair and we have not yet been able to use all the facilities of this vehicle at one time (also creating a bit of frustration). Nick has been constantly repairing this house…today it was a leak under the bathroom sink and a leak on the outside of the RV having to do with the water intake. He handled it well and was repaired in no time. I wish he would have no where else to go at home sometimes when I need him to do repairs. All of this junk… it’s just Satan….he wants me to be angry and to let that anger spread viscously to my family and to anyone else I can infect. He wants us to head home and worry about things that wouldn’t matter if we worried about at home or in our RV. He wants us to stop helping others and start feeling helpless and if it’s a war he wants it’s a war he gets and the funny thing is he knows he can’t win…God promises us that. So doo doo on you buddy! Chris is my Rock and if I am for Christ than no one…no one can be against me and whom do I have to fear????
Please pray for continued strength for our family. We sure have had our unfortunates and would love for God’s blessings for less of them. I know that when you’re feeling down one of the best things you can do is praise God and help others. Self pity is a work of the enemy and I refuse. It’s a beautiful day.

The Redwoods were brilliant. It is hard to picture trees from home right now after spending a day with “the giants”. We made it up to the National Redwood Forrest in Northern CA and it was definitely worth the trip. Although most parks were still closed for the season, we were able to take a great hike through the forest and lose ourselves in the midst of the serenity. It was hard to believe predators lurked within the forests confines and that any minute we could be face to face with a mountain lion, a bear, or an elk (of which we saw dozens of), because it just seemed so peaceful…as if I could lie down in the moss and sleep for the night and listen to the babbling brook and old reds whisper ancient stories to one another. Moss covered trees looked like icing dripped cake and huge spider webs covered cubby holes in the little hotels established inside the trunks of many reds. Some reds ached as they struggled to keep rank and others lay at rest in a peaceful eminence as to have said….I did my part.
I felt at times as if the dinosaurs were lurking next to me yet out of sight because the elder trees in their ash cloak dated them to a time I have only seen illustrated in books and the human- size, tropic-like fern next to the abundant pines and redwoods that were towering stories above us, put us somewhere back in time I have only journeyed to in movies and imagination. There was a time in our hike that I wanted to get lost until there was a time in our hike where we almost were and then reality set in along with a bit of panic. How long had we been hiking, how many turns and jogs had we taken and now…where were we? When we finally found a path taking us back to the road, it was at a point that we did not remember seeing before our embarking and as we began our three quarter hike up the road and still didn’t spot our RV, we began to wonder if we didn’t get so twisted up on the trails that we should have been going the opposite direction. Sunset was fast approaching and everywhere I looked I felt eyes upon me. The warnings of rutting elk, famished bears and dangerous mountain lions began a constant replay in my head. Stay calm, look them in the eye and back away slowly…don’t run! There I was running. I ran…and I ran and I ran as fast as I could, jingling the keys the whole way. The girls were fatigued and we needed to find our home before “they” all found the uninvited guests in theirs. I kept saying in my mind….it’s just around the corner…just around the corner…and Lord protect me and my family and guide us to the RV safe and sound. I gazed to the next corner and no RV and I turned back to see my family watching my run in anticipation of a successful happy motion to them that I found the RV….I had nothing. I ran a bit further and finally, just as I was about to yell that we needed to head the other way, there was our RV. The old beat up “Betty” never looked so inviting. I fiddled with the keys and hopped in and drove to rescue my family. That’s right…I drove. And since that didn’t seem nearly as intimidating as that last half hour, I gave driving this old beast a try. I think I handled it quite well and Nick said it was a bit of a relief knowing that I could drive if he needed me too. I felt like I was 16 all over again. I looked at Nick in the rear view in his new surroundings (in back with the kids) and said, “Hey, I’m driving!” He said, “Do you feel like a trucker?” and my response was yes…even though I know that is another whole deal in itself…right James?
We headed back to San Fran and are parked near a Burger King near some neighboring RVs and truckers sharing the same free space. Somehow Burger King doesn’t even seem as if it should be in the same story as the forest that I earlier described….but here it is and here we are and I am going to go to bed. Tomorrow is another exciting day and I can’t wait to share with you our plans. Hopefully God brings it all to fruition. God Bless You All.