After a very long and difficult drive from Corpus Christi, Texas to the Seattle, Washington, we arrived in Bend to spend a couple of nights before the last six hour haul to Seattle. It feels great to be parked and enjoying this beautiful city of Seattle and the surrounding areas that will now be our oldest son’s home. We are all four feeling incredibly grateful to have found the perfect apartment on the first day of looking In downtown. This part of the world is so beautiful with all the mountains and water every place you look. We are so happy to be on the road again and seeing our fulltime family friends along the way. I can honestly say that this is a place I could stay for a very long time. So happy to have a reason to visit until then. ❤
Posting from Alaska turned out to be a bit of a challenge. I had thoughts of long drive days and up to the minute posts of all the wonderful sights along the way. The idea of what the trip would look like and the reality ended up having no real relationship to each other. The trip was beautiful but there were not many days that internet or sitting in front of a computer screen were possible. We were busy moving almost every day often with no service at all. The view was incredible but most often seen from the passenger seat with the occasional stop at a pullout for a quick shot of “I was here”.
I hope to rewind and post back all the wonderful things we did and saw while we were there, but for now I will just say that it was all worth it. The long driving days, the less than perfect roads, the super high prices and the days and days with no “real” electricity or showers. We enjoyed driving through Canada and being in Alaska and especially traveling with friends. We also had the joy of seeing our oldest son and his girlfriend for nine glorious days of the trip. It was all amazing and a time I will never forget. For today it feels great to be parked in a site for more than 24 hours and to have city water, electricity and all the comforts of home.
We spent the Fourth of July holiday in Chicago. A super fun and very busy place to be for the summer in general and the Fourth of July is no exception. Next time you are heading to Chicago and looking for a great place to park your house, and you don’t mind boon-docking, look up McCormick Place Truck Marshaling Yard. We had a blast staying there. It is really close to everything. We felt very safe inside the gated and guarded parking lot and even enjoyed a fun Zombie Run around the place for exercise. My mother, sister and the four of us all stayed here and even set up chairs in the parking lot to watch the trains go by. This place is right across from the lake and easy access to all things Chicago. On the day my sister left we watched her train whiz by and waved at her for a funny family memory. While we were in Chicago, some very good friends we met in Bahrain happened to be in the area during the same weekend and stopped in for a visit and to see our new home. It was just an all around thumbs up kinda stay. My Mom and sister even gave me the much sought after approval to my lifestyle by saying they can see now why we love this way of life. Our stay here included shows, museums and a local neighborhood Rib Fest. The McCormick Place Truck Marshaling Yard is a parking lot, so no frills, but for location and price it more than makes up the difference.
I am super happy with the results of our remodeled home. My sister helped out with the choices and after much sewing and painting we have a very nice and comfy home on wheels. The pictures really don’t do it justice, but here are some closeups of my favorite things we did. If you want to see the comparisons head over to the Our Tiny Home tab where you can see the before and after shots. The bedroom has a tiny projector that flips up out of the way under the cornice and then flips down and gives us a huge screen to watch while we lay in bed. I found a great ottoman that the lid flips to be a seat or foot rest, then a coffee table too. I have a place to clip recent photos in my bedroom that reminds me life is good. And finally I have canvases all over the RV that are attached with velcro so that I can have works in progress the whole time we are on the road. I couldn’t be happier with the results. Now it’s time to head to Alaska.
For the last six years I have thought of myself as a green person. Shortly after leaving the states for our first move overseas a friend of mine told me a story about life as an “expat” and how the experience changes people. The way she explained this change was unique and visual. It went like this, when a person leaves their home country that place is a yellow country. The new resident country is a blue country. Over a period of time the culture and traditions of the new country become a part of this person changing their once yellow color to a mixture of yellow and blue. This expatriate is now a green person. There are many green people in the world and my friend assured me that they are an interesting and supportive group. Green has been my favorite color since that day. I spent six years in my blue country. I loved it. It is an experience I highly recommend. Then came the day when this green person moved back home. I thought for sure that it would take me a while to acclimate to the yellow color of my home. Surely I was forever changed. It’s amazing how quickly being yellow came back to me. I am surprised how fast I have adjusted to life back here. The only part that hangs on for me is the constant comparisons. I try not to talk about them all the time. There are many times I can’t help it and I have to share how this country is different from the one I spent the last six years of my life in. Mostly I just miss the green people. The ones who were a part of my daily life and the ones that I knew only briefly but that touched my heart and life in special ways changing me forever and directing my path to who I am today. The girl who told me the Green People story was my neighbor in Houston before I ever knew I would move to Saudi Arabia. She lived just a few houses down from me. After I moved away we grew closer. Greenness does that to people. The reason I bring all this up here on my blog about a very different journey of becoming a full-time RV family is because I am noticing so many similarities between expats and full-time RV families. The first one is how quickly friendships form. It’s like we know we have limited time here and there is this clearing away of the small stuff because there just isn’t time for it. This happens in a foreign country as well, expats are moved away from family, friends and all things familiar in addition to the fact that they are strangers in a strange land. When one expat meets another expat, they may be from completely different countries, but there are so many experiences that are the same. This makes for quick and easy relationship. It is a need for community amongst the outsiders. Foreigners equals comrades. The people I met overseas proved to be the most satisfying deep relationships I have ever known. I miss that the most. Strangely when we started on this journey I knew there were other people out there that had chosen this path. A less traveled path. What I didn’t count on was just how much this commonality brings people closer together faster and stronger too. I have met some people on this journey so far and I can honestly say I count them as close friends. We don’t have history, but we do have something special, we are kindred spirits. I think that fulltime RV families have a color all their own. A beautiful rainbow of colors, all different, yet linked together.
We got a late start leaving the ranch yesterday. Not a big surprise with all that is still such a huge learning curve for newbie Fulltime RVers. Scott realized our spare had the wrong lug nut pattern which needs to be changed or we have no tire for the trailer should we get a flat. And our battery, the house battery, is bad, having no water then water that boiled hot. So, we hit the road with two things that needed replacing as soon as we found a way. Discount Tire in Houston had the wheel we needed and Walmart carries the deep cycle battery to run the house when dry docked. We arrived in Baton Rouge at 12:41 am. Tired and ready to sleep, but 40 degrees here and a freezing cold trailer made for some not so sleepy people waiting to warm up. We had decided to just overnight park at Walmart and although the convenience is great, the parking lot noise, street sweeper and IHOP in the parking lot made for a restless night. The new battery worked all night to keep the trailer at a toasty 56 degrees and we all slept in our clothes piled on top with blankets. Today Tampa is just under 11 hours away. It is 7:32 am and we need some provisions from Walmart, then we should be on our way. I’m praying, if nothing else, warmer temperatures tonight and maybe a safe and level campground spot.
Our next stop on our journey was to visit with my dad and grandmother. Not being sure when we will return to Texas, we decide to stay a little over a week and really enjoy the visit time. My favorite part of this trip is having our home with us every where we go. Often times when we are in a place that otherwise may be uncomfortable to my family, we have a place to retreat, to just relax and lay our head on our own pillow and fall into a sound sleep. It makes visit time with friends and family more pleasant for everyone involved. At least from my perspective it allows for the folks being visited to prepare less and feel less pressure to clean, feed and otherwise care for us and it allows us to let our children’s picky palettes always have food outside and when we need our space, it is just a few steps outside the back door. We had such a visit at my dad’s place and it was an easy way to enjoy our first days on the road. We also managed to clear away a few more unnecessary items and clean and organize with my dad’s help.