Not all who wander are lost.

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Getting Settled

We decided to stay at Boyd Lake State Park for the first week and a half.  This would give us time to get the RV more organized and scout the area for a more permanent spot until January.  We spent the first day putting the rest of our stuff away and figuring out where everything is going to go.  One thing that we both realized pretty quickly is that we’re going to have to pick up after ourselves frequently because it doesn’t take much to make this small space seem messy.  5 dirty dishes makes it look like the counters are full of dishes waiting to be washed (pretty sure I’ll be missing my dishwasher very soon.)  Laundry could easily start taking over the place if not done frequently.  As we travel more we’ll probably soon be able to give reviews and locations of laundry mats across the country.

Sadie, Reid, T, and Heather all came here to spend a few days with us and Brooke and Ben live in Fort Collins so we decided to invite them over and have our first official family dinner to break in the place.  Plus we had a jar of Apple Pie Moonshine that we got from Molly that needed to be cracked open! After pouring a round for all of us legal drinkers, it was gone pretty fast!  I kept telling everyone we were going to have our first family Thanksgiving dinner in the RV and everyone was skeptical (except me of course!)  There were 9 of us total and no one had to sit on the floor so we learned two important things:  We will be able to accommodate this group plus 5 dogs for the holidays and Molly is going to have to send us more moonshine!

Photo Oct 27, 8 10 00 PM We’ve had some really beautiful weather here so one of the days we decided to take a hike up the trails at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space.  When I say hike up the trails the operative word here is “up” because we did hike up….A LOT.  Some of the trails we’ve been on will go up, then level off a little, then up but not this one. We’d hiked here before when we visited Brooke & Ben last summer and we chose the trail to Horsetooth Falls which is an amazing hike that ends with small natural pools that waterfalls from the rocks above flow into.  It was a hot day so there were quite a people just hangin’ out, wandering through the water, hammocking, or just sitting there enjoying the space. This time Sam and Reid wanted to climb to Horsetooth Rock so we went the other way.  All the way up there are breathtaking views and I find it difficult to take it all in at times.

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One of my favorites of the day was this photo where I was able to capture moon and the sun in the same picture.  I was trying to get a picture of all the different peaks and didn’t see it until I looked at it later. I love it when you get a cool shot of something that you weren’t trying to get.

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Sam and Reid wanted to climb to Horsetooth Rock which involved a little bit of climbing so Jason, Heather and I headed back down about 1/2 mile or so before the rock.  I blamed it on not being used to the altitude yet…definitely not age related!  Sam sent this picture after they had reached to top of the rock.

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The next day was a bit of an emotional day for everyone.  It was our 20th wedding anniversary so taking a day to remember one of the best days of our lives is always a good thing for which I can feel nothing but complete happiness.  Sadie and T had come to Colorado to go to a concert the evening before but now they had to go back to work in Iowa.  Reid and Heather were riding with them so they were leaving too for school and work as well.  When they came to say “Good Bye” I think we all kind of tried to ignore that they were going to be 2 states away  but its tough to leave the people you love and start a whole new life no matter how much you want it.  We’re hoping to see them all at Thanksgiving which is only about 3 weeks away so that helps.  And of course we can all remain hopeful that they’ll decide to come live here one day.

Although our plan was to spend the day just relaxing and doing absolutely nothing, we spent the rest of the day moving the RV to another space in the campground but that is a whole other story that we will share later.

Our first cross country haul.

Well, we have finally started living in our RV. We have arrived at our first extend stay location. We will be staying in Colorado for at least the next few months. We started our cross country haul late Saturday afternoon. I had to back up the RV (5th wheel) for the first time and it really was not as bad as I thought it would be. Tip: Tow mirrors makes a hug difference. Ok, I will admit the thought of pulling a 10K pound RV 700 mile was making me very nervous. I have never pulled anything this big or heavy.  It’s not only pulling the RV, but I am pulling it with a used GMC with almost a 150k miles on it. At this point the only thing to do was to feel the fear and do it anyway. We stopped by JJ’s to say bye to Sadie and then jumped on Hwy. 30 to start our journey west. The plan was to travel as far as we could Saturday and then stop for the night somewhere in Nebraska. We traveled Hwy. 30 all the way to Grand Island, NE. and stopped and stayed at a pet friendly Roadway Inn.  I will have to stay I am glad we decide to take the the hwy. rather than Interstate 80. We drove around 55 – 60 which was fast enough, at least until I got used to pulling the RV and how it would feel behind the truck. When first getting started down the hwy. the ride was very bouncy. I was thinking to myself “I hope this is normal” then I thought “I don’t know if I am going to be able to stand 700 miles of bouncing in this truck” It Felt like my insides where being bounced all over the place. I think my co-pilot (Jude) was feeling the same as me but all and all he did very well traveling. JudeFinally everything smoothed out and I could hardly feel the RV behind me. So after the first 100 miles I figured out that all of the bouncing was due to the road surface. New blacktop very smooth, old blacktop very bouncy! My nerves had finally started to settle after I knew the bouncing was from the road and not something wrong with the RV or truck. The other thing that took awhile to get used to was breaking. When going down the hwy. you don’t think much about stopping. But when traveling hwys instead of interstates you have to slow your speed through towns and in the bigger towns you will be stopping at the stop lights. I have learned to start slowing down way before the lights because it takes awhile to get that much weight stopped. We woke up Sunday and had some hotel breakfast and got back on the hwy. This time we decided to jump on to the interstate. Even through the speed limit through NE is 75 I think the fastest I ever got up to was 70. I tried to stay around 65 as I felt pretty comfortable cruising at that speed. The last thing about the 700 mile journey I learned about hauling the RV and driving this truck was the poor poor gas milage we got. I would say we averaged between 8-10 mile per gallon. The truck had plenty of power with a 8.1 liter motor but it also consumes the gas.

From Sea to Shining Sea

All the rooms at the DoubleTree have balconies with ocean view which is part of the reason we chose to spend our last few days here.  We felt like we didn’t get enough ocean time so we wanted to make sure we could see it every time we looked out the window and we can.  Last night we had left our curtains to our deck open and as soon as we opened our eyes we were treated to this sight.  We’ve stayed here before but I had forgotten how beautiful the sunrises can be.  This picture doesn’t come close to capturing it but it was still awesome nonetheless.

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Some of the best things are the simplest and one of our favorite things to do is wander along the beach watching the waves and hoping to catch a glimpse of a dolphin, crab, or any other type of life that we don’t have at home.  I like to see what the evening waves discarded on the shore and it’s always different from the night before.   On our walk today we found your standard seashells, a little sand crab, and of course the many different birds that are flying around trying to catch their breakfast.  We saw a few other things to.

(picture me stepping on soap box)

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Awhile ago we had watched a documentary on Netflix called Bag It .  It was one that I had stumbled upon probably while I was spinning, knitting, and avoiding work.  I typically have the TV on while working with my fiber more for something to listen to.  I’ve HEARD several movies, but seen very few.  I’ve also found myself a little addicted to documentaries lately  (don’t get me started on food documentaries!)  After a little while a stopped what I was doing completely and actually watched it..with my eyes!  It’s about a man who started out trying to study the impact of plastic bags on the environment.  Paper or plastic?…those bags. By the time he was done, it was more about how all plastic, particularly single use plastic containers have impacted not only our environment but the lives inhabiting it as well (think bottled water, Lunchables, toys, stuff like that.) After I watched it, I asked Jason to watch it with me later because I couldn’t believe what we are doing to our planet, to our wildlife, and to ourselves with this stuff.  I couldn’t explain it all to him so I wanted him to see it too.   There’s way too much information for me to explain it all here which is why I included the link. Watch it for yourself (its FREE.) This movie is partially why we ended up giving our credit card information to a nice young girl on the street of Boulder, CO so we could be card-carrying members of Green Peace.  It’s also why we’ve probably become a little annoying at the grocery store by not putting our produce in those plastic bags if we can help it which causes them to weigh them separately sometimes (apologies to those behind us in line at HyVee)

I had never really given it much thought before, and now I can’t seem to stop looking for this stuff.  And it’s everywhere.  As we walked along the beach we couldn’t help but notice all of the plastic bottle lids mixed in with the seashells in the sand.  There were little bits of plastic everywhere we looked.  Straws, bottles, little chunks of who knows what scattered around the beach.  How do you lose 1 shoe in the ocean?  Maybe it matches that one that is always along the highway.

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We also could see how the sea life would make the foreign object part of their environment in some cases.

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In our opinion, Florida has some of the most beautiful beaches we’ve seen and that is still the case here.  There are many places that are much worse off but we couldn’t help but wonder when these beaches would start looking like some of the ones we saw in the movie.  After watching this movie we made a conscious effort to reduce our use of bags and bottles whenever we can.  In fact, when we first started talking about taking a long bike trip we tossed around the idea of biking across the country (well, part of it anyway) picking up garbage until we realized that we would never actually be on our bikes, and then where would we put it all anyway?  It seemed like an enormous task.  We have taken a few steps in the right direction, but we know there is still more we could do.  Did I stop along the beach and pick up each little piece of plastic that I saw? No.  It seemed like too big of job and how much impact would I have by just picking up whatever bits and pieces that my hands could carry?  But I suppose that’s the problem.  We don’t realize that if everyone grabbed whatever they could carry it could be a lot of plastic and maybe the job would seem a little smaller.  Next time, I think instead of complaining about all the bottle lids everywhere, I’ll just pick them up.  It would be great if we all did the same.

(stepping off soap box now)