Our First Week of Fulltiming

We are beginning to get into a groove, and have already had some memorable experiences.  At our first campsite, the Sportsman State Park on our first official whole day of being nomads, Mitch and I decided to take our bikes to Walmart.  We were both excited about our first outing, me especially because it meant I could use my bike basket.   We had to walk up a steep little hill to a trail, and then off we went.  It was rocky, bumpy and more peddle power than anticipated.  I had mapped out Walmart on my phone, and yet I said turn left and we were supposed to go right. After taking off our bulky coats, re-arranging, turning around after leading us in the wrong direction, off I go, with no Mitch behind me… I hear in the distance “BABY!” I stop, thinking he just wanted to catch up, and then I see him walking his bike. I ride back to him, and he says, “I got a flat.” Oh no! We walk back to the site, add tire tubes to our list and drive to Walmart. Papa stayed at the site with the dogs, and when we return we find that he had put the leash on Milo’s collar and not the harness and he got away from him. When he did get ahold of him, the squirmy little booger wiggled in papa’s arms so much that he lost his balance and ended up falling! Thankfully he was okay, a little sore from the experience but is doing just fine and he said after he fell, Milo came right to him and didn’t run off! Go figure!

We had a couple friends stop by to visit while in Yakima, a life long friend of Mitch’s was out of town but his wife came and visited for a while, and it was nice to catch up with her. Later in the evening a friend from DOC, Ray and his wife Tressa came by.  When I met his wife, I thought she looked familiar, she thought i looked familiar, and what do you know, we went through CORE together! It was great catching up with her and meeting Ray.  Good people, good times. They too live in an RV! They left Spokane this summer and moved near Yakima to learn the business of cutting meat on the mountain. They are buying a meat processing business called Nile Valley Game Processing and Smoking .  I’ll tell you, they know how to make good stuff! They brought us some of their most delicious specialties.  My favorite is the chili cheese sticks and of course their peppered jerky.  If you are a hunter or need someone to process your meat, they’re the ones for the job.  Their number is (509) 714-8896 and address is 4721 S.R. 410 Naches, WA 98937.

Second site, third day of adventures we were in Oregon and went to the Champoeg State Park.  Come to find out, even in the fall they are busy! Heard more than once after arriving that you need to make reservations 9 months in advance for weekends if you want to stay!  Now we know! Still no bike ride, or lovely evening stroll, we ended up searching the whole night to find another place to stay near Portland.

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Walking trail at Battleground State Park

Third site, fourth day and we are back in Washington after finding Battleground State Park Near Vancouver, WA, It was first come first serve, so we rushed there in the morning on Friday.  It was beautiful, super wooded and peaceful.  It was muddy and pretty tight trying to fit our home in the longest of the sites, thankfully the camp host was there to help us back it in.

sun through woods
Sun shining through the woods at Battleground

 As we settle in for our longest stay yet, 3 nights, Mitch tackles the flat tire problem on his bike.  Only to find that he has two flats!  He must have rode through a patch of goat head stickers.  Those pesky little pokey fellas were all over in his tires.  After another trip to the store to get the tubes, find a place to print off paperwork and get our brakes checked (little smoky after our first hill we descended) Mitch had fixed his bike!!  He hopped on his bike to take it for a little ride, went off the pavement into the ivy next to our site and rode right through a hidden Charlie poop!  Oh the humor of it all!

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The lake at Battleground State Park

We decided to only stay two nights at Battleground based on the weather, but we did get to see his wonderful sister Cindy a couple times and my dear friend Alice.  While spending time with Cindy I told her about my shoe dilemma that I had before leaving and that I still hadn’t counted them. So her and I went and did an official count.  I have 21 pair of shoes, and the funny thing is, when I showed her my hats she said I should count those too.  I have 21 hats!  She found that quite funny and I said “well, if anything I got one hat for each pair of shoes!”  During our organizing I found 6 lint rollers, 5 super glues, 6 almost used clear tape rolls, and a drawer full of floss!  Talk about accumulating stuff over the years! We are looking forward to returning to Oregon next summer and spending more time with our friends and family.

During our travels towards California we stayed at the Walmart in Roseburg, OR.  It was glorious fall weather, and seemed like a really quant town.  The parking lot was huge, clean and they even had an area where we could take the dogs.   Thanks Walmart!

Monday we were driving again, going towards California, driving on hwy 138 to I70 and going down I-5 towards Lancaster CA to see family and warmer weather.  We are trying to avoid passes, as our truck is not happy climbing hills!  With routing around passes we went through some of the most beautiful sights!

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Tioga Bridge on Hwy 138

After coming down off the pass, which by the way, was super easy ,we stop to fill up on fuel. As I take the dogs out to do their business I see sparkling black spots under the truck.  Yep, oil leak!! Ugh. The station guy sends us across the street to a mechanic and the guy says, “I don’t work on newer trucks, best bet is the wash the underneath and look for the leak”.  We arrive into Klamath Falls, OR and search for a car wash. After finding one and realizing there was no getting in with the trailer, we go to Walmart to drop off the trailer.  Once Mitch cleaned off all the oil under the truck and identified the location of the leak, we decide to call a business in town that we had passed called My Mechanic.

under truck
My handy man!

I spoke with a gentleman about the truck and where the leak was coming from.  He seemed apprehensive about working on it and I asked what was his hesitation.  He said that since it seems like it is coming from above the oil pan, it is most likely the timing chain cover and it is not an easy fix, it could be a couple days and $1,200! After hanging up, I cried.  When will all this stop! Haven’t we already had enough repairs?  What are we going to do?

papa face
Papa’s wondering what’s going on too!

I was at the end, close to throwing in the towel on our whole journey, as it just seemed like one thing after another with this truck! Mitch suggested just going there anyway and having them look at it.  When we arrived a Gentleman named Dale, the father of the person I spoke to came out to look at our truck.

my mechanic
Dale checking out our problem with the truck

He looked under the engine, under the hood, and said, “that’s it right there, I can have that fixed for you in 2 minutes. It’s a rubber seal that has a crack.”

rubber hose
The little booger that caused such heartache

Now came tears of joy and relief!  I gave Dale a huge hug and cried a little more!  He said, “ just give me $10 and we’ll call it good.”  We were so relieved and grateful, thanking Dale and thanking God!  Now with smiles on our face we went back, hooked up the trailer and off we went.  We made it to Lodi, CA and stayed the night at the Pilot. Had our morning coffee, I making my coco-jo (half hot chocolate, half coffee), which is by far the yummiest way to go with gas station coffee, we were on our way again.

mt shasta
Mt. Shasta

5 more hours of driving and we have made it to our destination.  We are staying at the Sierra Trails RV park in Mojave, CA for a whole week!

mojave morning
Sunrise in the desert

We are looking forward to organizing; washing laundry, relaxing, visiting family and just slowing down, oh and getting stinking ball joints in the truck!  Yep, still putting out money on the truck, but thankfully we avoided one big cost!  Thanks again Dale at My Mechanic in Klamath Falls!!!

Away We Go

We are finally official full-timers!

 

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Tired, freezing and hopeful before our travels.

Blessed with a wonderful send off from my Post Office people, and Mitch’s AHCC peeps who gave us lots of love, support and best wishes, they also gave us Subway and Starbucks gift cards! Thanks again for that!  We will really miss all the great people of our Medical Lake life, and we hope to keep in touch. Thanks  to Cherie and Dale for letting us use the house after they had moved in! So glad we had that time to hang out. After taking an extra day to organize, making multiple trips to storage and enduring 25-35 mph winds with super cold weather we finally headed out around 6:30 pm on Monday, Sept 30th. Now, keep in mind this is the first time we have hooked up Way (our trailer) let alone hauling it with Willy (the truck and camper) No time like crunch time!  

 

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hooking up Willy and Way

Before heading out we held hands and said a prayer of thanks and safe travels. Off we went, out of town straight to the Petro/Iron Skillet fuel station to check our weight.  Before checking the weight, we decided to double check our tire pressure, 4 dollars, 45 minutes, a busted pressure gauge and full bellies of subway (I recommend the buffalo chicken sub!)  we still weren’t set to go. Oh, the adventures begin! I had mentioned to Mitch that we just stay at the gas station for the night, and would have bet money he wouldn’t be up for it, knowing how excited he was to hit the open road. Surprisingly, he brought up staying for the night a while later. It’s was windy, cold and that was all ok because we had made it this far (a whole 5 miles from home). Papa, unable to convince him otherwise, slept in the back of the truck. we kept the slides in, so Charlie whined a bit more than usual and we decided to rough it as well and didn’t turn on our heat. Our first day as full-timers and we’re boondocking! Thankfully all those blankets I really wanted bring just because they’re soft and fuzzy came in handy! After a pretty good nights sleep, besides any tossing and turning, resulting in an instant freezing sensation from the cold sheets.  As morning came and a new day was upon us we were raring to go, of course after we finish checking the tire pressure and weighing our ride.   We thought, ok, it may take 20 minutes, especially after Mitch bought a heavy duty truck tire pressure gauge that hopefully wont break. Two more dollars for air, and finally on the last tire, I squat down to unscrew the cap and the tread looked weird and uneven. Huh? I show Mitch and he said,  ‘that is not good, we gotta get it checked out. Airway Heights Les Schwab here we come. We did finally get that weigh in, a svelte 20,020 lbs. now that is with 2/3 fresh water, a full tank of gas and papa’s belly was full!  Once arriving at Les Schwab it only took them 10 minutes to show us what we had encountered… A separated tube and a huge tire zit!

dk
oh, trouble awaits in this guy!

We thanked God that this happened when it did,and not a blow out on the freeway! Being that the tires were original, and the gentleman we bought it from recommended having them replaced  because they were not of good quality as the RV industry puts the cheapest tires on new RV’s! We opted for four new ones.  Cost of tires -$620.00,  peace of mind -priceless! Thankfully, we also made a new friend, Jason at Les Schwab who also has a trailer, and gave us many tips to use along our way.  An hour later, the dogs well walked, new tires, dumped our fresh water, (at Les Schwab), payed  and asked Sandy if we could get some kind of punch card for being such frequent customers ( just got new tires on Willy last week for a good chunk of change!) and getting our last coffee at On Alert we were for REAL on our way!!  We all said Wahoo, goinroadtrippin!!! And off we went! 

scenery
The beautiful open road to Yakima, WA-26
Hey dad, I am not a back seat driver, i just want to nap!

We made it to Yakima Sportsman State Park, beautiful, peaceful, with a kind gentleman at the front desk and a wonderful (back in space)number 32 we sit outside, not a hint of wind, cool fall weather, Mitch reading Willy and Ways manuals while I sit in my reclining lounge umbrella chair, milo on my lap keeping me warm, Charlie laying between us, papa watching a movie in his own little home. Aaaahhhhh, this is the life!

What? Who? Me!?


Thanks to all our friends, family and followers for your support and encouragement through our times of trial, frustration, happiness and flat out challenging experiences to get to where we are right now!

Moving Out and Moving On

Things are starting to finally fall into place.  Our closet’s are empty and the “Way” (our trailers name) is way full of clothes. All our dressers are sold, and the house is beginning to feel cleared out.  Our plan is to finish cleaning the house on Tuesday (today!) and Wednesday, then our renters will be moving in on Thursday. Just in time, as  the weather is getting cooler by the day!  We had as super strong storm last week, so strong it blew down large portions of two of our neighbors trees, right onto their front porch, along with a power line.

 

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Our neighbors house from the storm

Fortunately everyone was safe, unfortunately days later no one has been home and the trees are still where they landed.  What an unusual night it was when the storm came in, there was no breeze, complete silence in the night and it was a warm comfortable temperature. I had been on the phone with Mitch when I hear what sounded like wind through the large pine trees across the street. Caught off guard because I hadn’t felt any wind, I look to my right and see a brown glow around the library light and the trees are being tousled around like seaweed in the ocean. Still, I feel no wind, I look to my left and see the same sight. How odd this experience was, as I stand outside, my instincts tell me this is no ordinary wind storm, and in that moment one large brown maple leaf dances down in front of me as it seemed to say I am your calm before the storm.  Seconds later I finally felt the wind, and a fear of the wind came over me, something I have never experienced before. Rightfully  so as the results would prove as the power in that storm showed us how helpless one is when nature takes her way.  All the while, on the phone with Mitch all I could say was, oh my! Oh, wow! Oh my! Wow!  We said our goodbyes and I began to pace and panic just as bad as the dogs when a lightening storm comes, should I wake dad, what if a tree falls on the house? Where is the safest place? Oh my! I ran in, closed all the windows, papa woke up, and  we both just listened as large branches pounded against  the house and the wind ripped through every available crack an crevasse in our old strong house. When the wind died down, a fire truck arrived and that’s when we heard of the power line down and our neighbors experience.  It was now at least 25 degrees cooler than just an hour ago, and what a mess had been made. Mitch being so wonderful, spent his entire next morning with papa’s help cleaning up our yard, making multiple trips to recycling with all the branches. Amazingly, there was not a single leaf on the trailer or camper!

 

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some of the branches in our yard from the storm
Mitch recently put pressure gauges in Willy, a good precautionary tool for haulers, as we have learned.  We now have a transmission pressure gauge, an EGT and a boost gauge… Ask me what they each do and I’ll tell you, ummm they monitor stuff. I will work on learning more about them in the future.
Mitch putting  in the gauges
Mitch putting in the gauges
 I am just so grateful that Mitch and I compliment each other in regards to strong points and weak spots, it really makes us a great team in life. As we come closer to our new adventure excitement and anticipation are building. Papa has everything he can already in the camper, we are close behind and are feeling good about our progress. Our plan is to start our new adventure Sunday the 29th, just gonna camp out in our driveway for a few days before we go, finishing up work and tying up loose ends. Then it’s away we go!!

Two Sense Worth

I thought I would add my 2 cents to our blog since my beautiful wife generally does all the writing. It has been a stressful, uncertain, not knowing kind of roller coaster ride to get where we are at this moment and I will be glad when it happens. Trying to juggle work, house projects and moving into the unknown has made it very challenging. I often tell my friends at work what a joy it will be when we hit the road and how nice it will be to not worry about time while traveling, and I can only think of how time can consume ones mind. Time to get from here or there, making it on time for appointments, and to work, always rushed and needing to be somewhere, at a specific time. It will be a blessing to not have to watch the clock, (yet funny thing is that our truck doesn’t have a built in clock so my darling wife found one recently) and for what; to know the time.

clock

Our lives always seem to revolve around time and to have that time to accomplish your goal, dreams or desires is almost unheard of. To get into a frame of mind that time won’t much matter will be quite an adjustment, but an adjustment worth striving for. I am naturally a fast person, fast at walking, fast at working, fast at eating and fast at the pedal, so to slow down and smell the roses will be an amazing thing. Have you ever just stopped and taken the time to smell the roses as you pass by them at Costco or Walmart, or slow down to see the forest only to forget to enjoy the trees? My wife stops at the flower bouquets almost every time, and I have leaned to do this as well.

rose

I challenge you to try it and take that moment, ( all of 3 seconds) to stop and smell the roses, and endure the moment of stopping in your tracks to enjoy just one of Gods greatest gifts; the sense of smell or simply marvel at the beauty of the trees.

mitch

Our lives are driven by time, whether its not having enough of it, or taking to much of it to get things done. In order for me to be with my wife when she is working, I have to get up with her at 5am to visit with her or she has to stay awake until 10pm to visit with me. It is an undesirable position to be in due to our schedules, the lack of  time to not be with my loving wife and best friend is a tough path that I will not have to endure ever again. The time you get to spend with your significant other is what I cherish most and without that time I would be a lost puppy! And for all the fellas out there that are reading this blog, please cherish your wives, they are more of an amazing blessing than u might think! Honor them and show them what love is.

big tree

So to wrap it up, don’t let time define you, take the time to slow down, smell the roses, enjoy the trees and devote your time to the one you love, for life and love is all of what you make of it!