Wednesday, December 30

Kids Change People

We have NEVER been cat people…more like English Bulldog people, but never cat people. That is until Jonas and Jewel came along and decided they WERE cat people. For our kids sake we opened up our minds and our hearts and we tried to accept cats as even an option. There was a garage cat named George that we thought was pretty darn cool, and then when we came across an abandoned kitty at a campground in Michigan it tore at our hearts enough to bring him with us in the RV. We all fell instantly in love with Tinker, although Joey still had his reservations. Travelin' Tinker He liked her, but did not like the litter box. She wasn’t meant to be an RV cat though, as she liked to be outside too much and after six months we eventually lost her. It was incredibly hard on the kids and I and still, three years later, we miss her. Really, miss her.

Our English Bulldog was never a good traveling dog either, as he’d get motion sickness, so my Grama adopted him and lived happily with her the rest of their lives (he died a week after she did).

We’ve not had much of a desire to replace either of them while we’re still living on the road, but we have missed having pets around. So when we moved into this house and started have cat visitors daily it was a HUGE treat. They kind of trickle in slowly, some decide to stay, some move on, and it’s always exciting around here when a new one shows up! You’d think Polar Bears just showed up.

Let me in!

Stuffles has been here I think the longest, and she is, by far, my favorite. She’s here, rain, snow or sleet, and usually can be found just like this, on the back porch staring in the glass slider door. It didn’t take long for Lucy to realize we had a sweet pad for them (heated enclosed dog house with bedding), so she’s almost always here too.


Lucy is jewel’s favorite. Lucy always has this same stare. Lucy kinda freaks me out a little.


Jr. Cat Lady

Jewel especially loves these cats. It’s surprising to me to have these feral cats, this people friendly. These two are, at least. The others just use us for food, but Lucy and Stuffles come for the rubs, too. Jewel * Stuffles

Our landlord asked us to not have any indoor pets, and Joey does his best to keep them out.

The Motley Crue 

It’s not easy, but I know we won’t be here forever so I’m trying not to get too attached, and we are definitely not wanting them to get dependent on us. We are ALL enjoying them while we can! :)

Sunday, December 27

Where the FuhKaui……..?


My Book

For the last year I’d been wanting to preserve this here blog on paper, and now I finally did it! With the help of I was able to compile together a coffee table book which I had sent to my Mom for her Christmas present. It seems every year my brother and I have this “competition” on who could get Mom to cry on Christmas, and according to him…I won! (And that I need to stop talking about it already!) But since I’m all about preservation I also have to post her reaction:

I won't go into "present" details, but I must tell you what Vicki presented us with.  She managed to compiled - edit - arrange her entire Blog (which amounts to a day to day - month to month) chronology of their life and travels - - words and pictures - - 248 pages and had it bound (hard bound) and published!  It has a full color jacket and forward on the inside cover.  This is the beginning of a great family history to pass down.  This is only from Spring 2006 through Winter 2009..........but wow!  Sooooo artfully done.  A true labor of love.  …..…  I may have to order more copies!  I was so surprised to learn that she arranged everything - - did all the editing - - formatting - - compositions - - every detail her's  - - -  all Blurb did was publish it for her.  W O W  !  Great job Vicki! 

It’s available online for review if you’d like to check it out! Click Here I had so much fun doing this book, that I thought I would offer my services to anyone else that might like theirs done. Then Joey reminded me how they didn’t see me the entire time I was working on it, so maybe it was more involved than I had thought, so maybe I’ll just try to focus on getting our Early Years put together. I better hurry though, before we move on to the next chapter already!

Monday, December 21

What Two Months Will Do

We moved into the house two months ago. At first I almost said we pulled in, but we did leave the bus outside, and since we completely emptied the bus, I have to admit we moved in. That was a hard concept for me to swallow at first, but I did quickly adapt. The last time we pulled off the road was when we were pregnant with Jewel and couldn't imagine bringing a third kid into our small twenty three foot motorhome. When we had originally gotten on the road almost three years prior to that we told ourselves we'd settle back down when we find the right place to raise our young family. Iowa seemed the perfect fit.....until winter hit and we all piled back into the motorhome to head south for warmth. Making us a part time on the road family, but still partially on the road.

The last time we pulled off the road we bought a house and then put all our energies and finances towards improving it & furnishing it. This time is waayyy different! The ONLY thing I've bought for it is one bar stool. We're making due with only items from the bus along with lawn furniture, and we've been quite content. In fact, I've enjoyed living in a house. Joey hasn't been working all that much, but enough, and it's allowed us plenty of time to talk out our situation. The first thing we decided was to GET RID of everything and START OVER. Joey's accident left him more than just physically scarred. Before the accident he was in a work-make money mode, but like most life threatening events, it changed him. Moving into the house allowed us to step outside of our current life and see things from a new perspective. We always knew this but we admitted it to ourselves: we still had too much stuff for our comfort. Too much stuff that was either too high a monthly payment, too big, too hard to drive, too much, too unuseful, too much of a hassle, all requiring him to work more.

Having all this time to think and talk out our options wasn't as easy as it sounds either. It's hard when you have endless options! By getting rid of everything and starting all over from scratch, we can do anything. Including, work less. Our first thought, naturally for us, was to move to Hawaii. That plan lasted a while until we really hashed it out & determined that would limit our travel, and one is ready for that. Jake wants to go to Italy, Jonas to France and I still want to travel Australia in a VW Bus, so settling down on an island won't work just yet. We then started looking at travel trailers and fifth wheels and just never really got that THIS IS IT feeling we were looking for. Then one day as Joey's cruising eBay he found another Bluebird Bus. Get rid of one Bluebird, for another, smaller even, Bluebird? Someone lost it. Then I started seeing the possibilities...and we BOUGHT IT! It's newer than our old green bus, and is set up as an RV/car hauler. Front half is a new modern RV with 3 bunks, couch, shower & sink, and the back half is an open air car hauler with attachable canvas cover, which I plan to turn into a screened in porch, complete with hammocks and a wet bar. Sounds fun, but we haven't actually taken possession of the bus yet so until we physically have it we can only guess what we want to do with it.

It was weird, after deciding to get rid of the green bus, for the first time in my life I felt homeless! Then I thought of the millions of people that rent houses and have no motorhome, and I realized our situation wasn't as scary as I thought. I actually embraced it. We could live in any house we wanted! We can have the bus and still rent houses when we want, like when we're on a job. Endless possibilities!

Right now we're just waiting to get our bus, take a couple weeks to set it up how we like and then we're getting back on the road for a couple months until the pipelines call the welders back. So we play the waiting game a little longer, but just enough time to work out all the details. Fun things are a happening!!

Tuesday, December 15

Love is...........

Holding on to her number for sixteen years

Monday, December 14

Mobile Blogging

Once I got broadband internet from Verizon I thought my days of sitting in the truck hunting down wi-fi were over, but in an effort to not go over my monthly limit I find myself in the library parking lot uploading a huge file. While I have an hour to kill I read blogs, email, twitter and facebook on my new Droid cell phone so I figured I may as well round off the list with blogging from it!

Monday, December 7

Baby It’s Cold Out There

It’s snowing again, and we’re waiting for a blizzard. This wouldn’t be so bad if we were properly prepared. Winter’s hitting us fast and hard, and I was still living in Summerland. The kids outgrew every snow boot and snow jacket, and have long since tied the scarves together to tie each other up with leashes and collars. Jewel has mud boots she trenches in while playing tag with the cats, but other than that we just stare out at the snow wondering what the heck we’re doing back in cold country for the winter.  Random at Home 075

I let Jonas wear my favorite suede boots out in the snow last time and when I peeked out the window I saw him heading into the unfrozen silty muddy sticky pond. I was helpless to stop him from getting stuck and then pulling his socked foot out to step in the mud to then put it back inside my fuzzy soft furry boot. I would have cried if I weren’t laughing so hard. Watching, knowing exactly what was going to happen, yelling inside while jumping up and down, frantically waving my hands……….. with him in JonasLand.

Today he went out in deck shoes, no socks, and shorts…says he’s immune to extreme heat and cold. At least he went nowhere near the ponds.

Wednesday, December 2

When I said my views changed……

When I said my views changed, I wasn’t kidding around…..

Starting at o’dark thirty:


then o’dark thirty two


The views change quick around here

East View from Home

from a cloudy Fall day

East Facing views from home

to a snowy sunset reflection

with an early moon

East Facing views from home with Moon

After a rain

West view from home

before the storm

West views from Home

or bright crystal blue

I love them all, I do

north from home

Our neighbors to the north

and our frozen pond on one freak blizzardy morning in October

small frozen pond

with the lights of the Interstate twinkling (even though we’re not ON the road, we’re still on the ROAD)

Deer in the Backyard

Every morning and every evening these deer can be found grazing in the fields behind us, sometimes they drink from our ponds and stare in our windows, too…for reelz

North view from home

My favorite thing about all these pictures…they’re straight out of the camera, so all those colors you’re seeing is exactly what we’re seeing.

But I know what you all want………….

Colorado house

The House

Random at Home 011

and The Land to go with it

Random at Home 375

Home Sweet Home

For Now

Tuesday, December 1

A House for Winter

colorado house pano

On the very day my friend Lara and her kids were coming to visit Joey wanted me to see The House. I didn’t want a house, but I went and looked at The House….. The next day Lara and kids helped us move into The House.

The kids were beyond thrilled, they each got their own room. Joey was happy, he got the space and comfort he was craving. I got 2000 sq. ft. of floors to vacuum and mop, three toilets to clean, and four bathroom sinks to scrub toothpaste out of. Of course, it made me happy to see everyone else so happy so I eventually came to appreciate The House, but what I love more than anything are the views we get from practically every window and door.

View from the Living Room

This is the front window and where we regularly watch the sunrise…which is something new for me but this House has turned me into a morning person. Even the kids have switched from Up All Night, Sleep All Day to normal people hours.

View from the back

Most of my days are spent in the kitchen with my views out the back. (This cat hung out on our porch for a couple weeks but then we never saw him again.) Jewel named him Stuffles.

Jewel in backyard

Jewel fishing in our backyard pond

We have a couple small ponds on the property where the kids fish for crawdads.

Jewel's Homemade fishing pole

With homemade poles.

That’s a stick, some pretty yarn and some cheese. Forget the dozen professionally built poles we have, they don’t have purple and pink yarn.

My Backyard

It looks like we’ll be staying put for a little while while we figure out our next move.

Colorado Landscapes 086

With views like these, that are constantly changing with the sun and clouds, I think we can hang like this for…… least three months.

Front Yard Dusk View

Thursday, October 15

Back in Colorado

After a lot of talking back and forth between visiting Dee in Illinois or Lisa in Green River, UT, we chose Utah for economic reasons. Not only was it less miles to drive but it’s still within close proximity to the gas fields in Wyoming and Colorado, and we wanted to be in a good position when they finally kick back off. Plus we spent April last year in Utah and absolutely fell in love with the Canyonlands so not only would we get to explore the areas we missed, but this time I get to see Lisa, too. Win, win.

So as we’re at the gas station, literally filling up to head east to Colorado, Joey got a call asking him to come to Colorado to help out with a couple drilling station moves, lasting probably a couple of weeks. yee haw…can’t ask for much better than that. A slow, easy start back to work after a whole year off with a broken arm and leg, plus no set schedule.

We pulled over at The Truck Stop and consulted with the cows

Consulting with the Cows


Of course we were going to go, we just couldn’t believe we got the call….right when we really needed it. We just had to pull over to convince ourselves it was real. But…are we really going to go back to the mountain that almost killed him?? Yep!

We took the same route down from Rawlins as we did last week, but this time we stopped and had a roadside lunch, this time stopping at Fortification Rocks instead of just cruising by.

Roadside picnic @ Fortification Rocks

I couldn’t believe it when I saw a FOR SALE SIGN! This gorgeous chunk of land with it’s volcanic uplift of rocks on it, that were used by several Indian tribes for fortification before battle…is for sale to the public! You’ll have to fight the rattlesnakes for it, but it could be yours.

We’ve stayed in three different RV Parks on the Western Slope of the Rockies in Colorado, so we decided to try out a fourth one. We cruised through it a couple years ago and I swore I would never stay here, but seeing as they’re the only one with a spot available we really had no choice. Luckily for us, it was under new management and had been much improved. We got an end spot, at the very back of the park, just yards from the Colorado River.

Heron's Nest RV park on the Colorado

We were just in time to watch the leaves change, and our site happened to be the only one that had flowers still in bloom. The flowers were on a weed, but a flowers a flower to me. I took it as a sign we were meant to be there. Then this amazing rainbow appeared. Colorado was welcoming us back! :)

double rainbow and bus

double rainbow

Another good sign was the on site chicken coop. The coop is nestled in the trees at the end of the rainbow, and houses eight chickens, three ducks and a huge white turkey. They belonged to another family but Jonas and Jewel visited them almost daily and Jewel caught this funny picture of the turkey!

chickens & ducks (5)

While we were still playing in Nebraska Joey expressed his concern about staying in the bus. He was tired of the cramped corners, of dealing with water pipe issues, having to dump the sewer, lack of privacy, and so on, so we agreed when he went back to work we would get a house to rent. But by the time we got to Colorado and we were happy enough with our RV park, instead of moving out we redesigned our bedroom in order to get more space and stretching room. When we first moved in it was a small full size half way walk around bed. We then made the entire space a platform and put a queen size bed on it, where we had to crawl in and out of it. The crawling got real old so now we turned the bed 180 degrees so our feet are pointing out the back door instead, and cut out the platform. Now we have lots of walking space, even room for Joey to do sit ups and push ups, and easy access to all the cupboards. We also moved the TV to under the rear cabinets, so now I can watch TV and watch the river flow by at the same time! What a difference a little shifting can make, and I’m thinking now maybe we can stay in the bus all winter.

Then two weeks later I get a call from Joey, “I found this great house……………..!”

Sunday, October 11

no matter how many times I say it I still can’t believe it…it’s been a year

It’s been a year since the accident. I remember the surgeon saying Joey’d be back to himself and back to work in about six months. I remember thinking, six months…we can handle that. It’s been a year since the accident. We’ve handled it, but it hasn’t been easy.

While we were in Wyoming we took a day to drop down into Colorado so Joey could see the surgeon and get reviewed for Maximum Medical Improvement for the insurance company. They would have flown him up here from Texas but the anally efficient person in me figured out that we could instead take a few weeks/months to travel up there in the bus and let them reimburse us for the gas instead. It was a tough decision at the time, but so glad we chose that route.

Fortification Rocks

It was just a few hour drive down from Rawlins and we passed some more gorgeous countryside. It was solid open country, with antelope, deer, geese, prairie dogs, mountain goats, sheep and elk interspersed with drilling stations and the always present Elk Mountain in the background. The drilling stations were painted to match the landscape so they blended right in and didn’t look obtrusive at all. Even the massive Craig Power Plant makes for a beautiful setting. To see it up close is jaw dropping.

Craig Plant

So we stopped for a quick break and a little tutorial on how to turn coal into energy

Craig Plant tutorial

The doctor’s visit was quick, and then it was all over. It seemed like we were waiting for the last six months to get to this point and then it was over in a flash. We were in Texas because of the accident. We drove up north, and landed in WY to see the doctor, because of the accident. The last year has been as hard as it was, because of the accident. Now it’s all over. We’re free to do what we want, wherever we want. We hadn’t thought much past this point. What now?

We stayed in Wyoming another week because we have learned an important lesson for living on the road with today’s increasing gas prices………Stay put until you know where you want to go.

Saturday, October 10

Seminoe State Park

For a third straight day in a row we were heading out another excursion, which prompted Jake to say:

Every single day??

Apparently Jake forgot that road trippin is what we do. Who can blame him really, after taking a year off to help Dad heal from his accident on the mountain we became quite sedentary. Luckily those days are behind us.

We took a drive out to Seminoe State Park, in Sinclair, Wy. Passing by Sinclair with it’s GI-NOR-MOUS oil refinery would normally make one want to keep on going, but because there was a State Park out there somewhere behind it, we had to check it out. Along the way we were stopped by cows in the road, and antelope, deer and Elk in the prairies.

Best seat in the Truck

Jewel had the best viewing seat in the truck!

We drove straight to the reservoir which created this man made lake and had a tailgate picnic.

Seminoe Lake

Seminoe Lake

We meandered on the drive back and had to take dirt roads to actually get down to the lake, and then once we were down there Jewel was a little upset with us that we didn’t bring her bathing suit. At what point when we say we’re going to a lake will the kids think to bring their own swimsuits? At this point I’m thinking…never.

Seminoe Lake panoramic

As amazing as the landscapes were, and as many pictures as I took, it was really hard to get a good picture of the lake. I stitched a few photos together in order to get this panoramic.

Seminoe Lake

Jewel decided to take over the photo processing and came out with some colorful pictures of her own.

                 Seminoe Lake 023 Seminoe Lake 025

                 Seminoe Lake 027 Seminoe Lake 050

She showed me!

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