Onward!

It’s been a very busy winter’s end and start to spring! Conclusion to it all however is that we are now onward and excited!

18221740_10210714825919918_7498422469173469359_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February brought about a very magical Unschoolers Platform week! This year was such a warm, heart-felt group of truly amazing people. It was a wonderful week of connecting, supporting, loving. I simply can’t put words to how fabulous our second annual conference went this year!

Proceeding the conference it was full-on-sell-RV time!
I had the Class C advertised most of the winter, but as you can imagine, the response during the winter was pretty minimal. No one quite serious enough to pull the plug. As the summer weather was coming about, dozens of people came out of the wood works! It was fabulous. Lots of calls, emails, texts, and showings. I even had offers coming in, but I was holding out for the right offer. March 31st we are just so lucky to have the right family needing, wanting, and able. The whole thing went just smoothly and perfectly. And it was then we quickly said goodbye to our 2nd nomadic home in just a very short while.

20170331_130446

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The intent after leaving brick and mortar in our mini van was to have the Class C. Once having the experience of the Class C and realizing with kids it would work ever-so-better to be able to separate house and motor…. *and* have a wee bit more space for the stuffs. There is just kinda a lot of stuff, even in the minimalist’s world, to carry along with 5 kids. So we learned quickly with our Cobra that we’d like to have a separate motor and home and that was the end goal with the sale of our then 2nd nomadic home.

We were fortunate to find exactly what we were looking for. We landed inside a 2016 Ford Transit 350 XLT which only had about 21K miles on it when we purchased it. It is a 12-seat passenger van with the tow capability to pull a travel trailer if/when we decide to purchase and tow one. But the brilliance of this vehicle is that we can maneuver the country very swiftly in it as the space is incredible. So we feel so-so-so lucky to have scored this great deal.

So yep…. conference in February, RV sale in March, and car purchase in April! It’s been busy. We’ve celebrated a 15th birthday, lost a tooth, shaved long curly locks, braces removed, explored gardens, forests, said goodbye to a dear sweet guinea pig, watched our dear sweet puppy grow, and all the while finishing up swim team, virtual job hunting, and enjoying the fluke warm days Chicago was willing to grace us with. We’ve had quite a few fun adventures (pics enclosed below), but the biggest, most obviously, was the prep to hit the road once again. We have all be itchin’ for quite some time now. We set a departure date and set all sights on the when. The biggest thing happened upon purchase of the car was that I opted to sign up to be a Lyft driver. I have spent the last three weeks working pretty much full time for Lyft to pack some money away for the numerous adventures we have in store for this summer. It was a massive change for all of us. I have never ever been away from the kids full time for employment, and they rallied and then some. I hated being away from them so much, and they did not care for me to leave. But we made the agreement that we’d see this three weeks through because the income was so immensely beneficial to all we wanted to do and see this summer (and fall).

After a very successful three weeks, I closed out my Lyft career last night, we packed up the car today, and hit the road. We celebrate a 9th birthday tomorrow and this little gentleman wanted to explore the Indiana Dunes for his birthday…. so we are not all that far from home. Which ended up being a good thing as it took a great deal of time to get the car packed up and ready to go today. And then, on top of the length of time we took to depart, it was pouring rain and dark, so we ended up choosing a hotel nearby and move into our camping spot tomorrow morning for a full few days of exploration.

It’s amazing to be back on the road! Looking forward to sharing the adventures with you here! Meantime…. here are some fun pics from our past few months!

#nakitababynomads

Resized_20170427_213248(0) 20170430_115616 20170412_134836 20170412_134548 20170412_134418 20170410_115215 20170411_115907 20170412_124630 20170412_124746 20170412_131859 20170408_182033 20170409_124107 20170409_124120 20170409_130910 20170409_131938 20170318_174058 20170318_174756 20170318_175301 20170318_204645 20170404_173833 20170318_164016 20170311_150343 20170308_135835 20170308_132448 20170308_131040 20170307_164117 20170301_182607 20170308_125233 20170302_163649 20170308_130506 20170304_121624 20170308_130841 20170306_111306 20170308_130907 20170307_154717 20170224_145957 20170215_215435 20170224_145952 20170215_214928 20170223_215301 20170215_175823 20170221_165453 20170214_201447 20170216_110338 20170214_194858 20170214_194857 20170212_145040 20170214_161553 20170213_184129 20170212_171325 20170212_162728

Continue Reading

Nomads’ New Year

Happy New Year!

We had such an incredible 2016! It was truly fantastic for each and every one of us on this end. I realize I have been somewhat incognito for some time. Life has been…. busy…. to say the least. End of October we spent much time bouncing from place to place in and around Chicago. November 1st we ended up at my brother’s home. We had made the familial decision that it was best to sell this rig instead of invest in new tires (after the massive blow out), simply because this rig is just not big enough for us. Also, it became abundantly clear in our adventures that having a vehicle and wee bit more storage would be MUCH wiser for the sheer number of people and activities we have going on. So, we needed a place to park it for a few months, allowing us time to sell the RV and invest in a truck/vehicle plus a travel trailer. TT seems the much better route for us.

And…. it just so happened that my brother was in major need of some family support. Our family is quite distant (to say the very least). Last I spoke to my brother was years ago. But I heard from my dad that he was in a tough way. He was laid off, house nearing foreclosure, and mounds of debt if he did not swing things around right quick. House was kinda in shambles when we arrived, but we struck a deal that I’d help him get his house back in shape and help him rent out rooms to build up income to save his house. At the start, we lived in the RV in the driveway for quite some time. Needed to get the house in order before moving in. Eventually we moved into a large back room to the house that has backyard/private entrance. Kids have a fabulous yard, a fun fire pit, and super nice neighborhood and forest preserves to explore. Overall been a great stay.

I’ve helped him rent out some space in his home, he regained his job back (whew!) and he’s at the very very beginning stages of getting back on his feet. I’m working hard on selling our rig for it’s value, and getting the conference up and running! It’s only a few short 6-or-so weeks away! Wowza!

Our hope is to be situated by conference time so that start of March we may set back out once again. And so far, we seem to be on par with that plan! In the meantime, the kids are having fun catching up with Chicago friends and taking a few classes. D got back on the swim team for our period here, K has been working VERY hard on filming projects, and the littles will all start park district classes in the week or two ahead. AND!!!!!! A new puppy has been occupying much of ALL of our time. Meet Mansa. He’s a true sweet pup. 10 weeks old now, but was a xmas present to the kiddos. Super awesome addition to our family!

img_20161224_192853_570

 

 

 

 

 

So….. the new year had me thinking….

Well…. actually it was the FB posts I had been seeing ALLLLLLLL over the place suggesting that 2016 could go F-itself. I was kinda confused. But really….. the confusion just is mine and mine alone. Yeah, there were clearly some truly crazy wordly woes that happened this past year. Many celebrities died, we had probably one of the craziest presidential elections of all time…. Natural disasters and the like. It was rough on a wordly perspective. Ironically however, our family had one of the best yet. It was such a super-special year full of experiences and personal achievements.

February we hosted our first ever unschooling conference and it was a raging success. By May K had completed a full feature documentary about homeshcooling and hosted a movie premier. We participated in the UWG conference, traveled some more in the summer, including east-coast travels and participation in the Unschoolers Rock the Campground weekend. We furthered beautiful relationships with friends on a farm in Ohio and fell in love with them and their amazing slice of heaven. We explored ideas to move/relocate but then ultimately decided to pick up and hit the road full time on our nomadic adventures. Just before nomadic adventures commenced however, K participated in the 48 Hour Film Festival and won Audience Choice Award (amazeballs!!!!). A first-time trip to Rethinking Everything completely changed our lives for the better. The experience, the adventure, the people…. it nourished us in ways we did not even realize needed nourishing and fostered amazing connections with beings I LONG to see again super-duper soon. We purchased our first RV and had the most “amazing” adventures in the first rig. (And yes, I’m being sarcastic there!) But in all seriousness, I was meant to have that rig to teach me a plethora of things I could not have gathered from any other experiences. So I feel totally blessed to have had the time and experience in our first rig. We had the MOST AMAZING trip to AZ to participate in the Free to Be conference. We happened upon the International Balloon Fiesta in NM and man…. live felt completely altered from there. Upon return we rekindle family relations with my brother which has actually been super duper great. The kids did not know their uncle at all. And, we have been able to spend more getting things on track for the conference (which we are SO excited about due to all of the amazing speakers AND registered participants already!)!!

I’m sure I’m leaving some things out…. mainly due to me not recalling every detail but living in a state of bliss for all that has come our way this past year. It was a really amazing year, and because of this I am super stoked at what 2017 is bound to bring our way! It’s going to be a great one!

I’m closing out with some pics of our near-end-of-year adventures here. Some are likely repeated due to previous blog posts I’ve shared, I’m just thrilled to share them with you! Happy New Year!!!!

20160901_1205020 20160901_135220 20160902_133611 20160902_133618 20160902_143116 20160902_143118 20160902_183131 20160902_183854 20160903_125932 20160903_130150 20160903_130151 20160903_201653 20160903_205812 20160903_211548 20160903_221201 20160904_151454

 

20160904_162005 20160904_164653 20160904_164941 20160904_165000 20160906_154430 20160906_163238 20160906_163431 20160906_165519 20160906_170520 20160907_144958 20160907_145624 20160908_154850 20160911_181016 20160911_181035 20160911_194953 20160911_201744 20160911_203556 20160911_222711 20160912_080007 20160912_080037 20160912_093459 20160912_093611 20160912_102733 20160912_102737 20160912_211414 20160912_211615 20160913_135438 20160913_142012 20160913_161428_001 20160913_163257 20160913_184136 20160914_095759 20160915_181919 20160915_210131 20160915_210135 20160915_211927 20160915_211947 20160915_212734 20160915_213936 20160916_115534 20160916_122433 20160917_150858 20160917_184510 20160917_185724 20160918_205046 20160920_122142 20160921_142756 20160922_184619 20160922_190841 20160922_192817 20160922_192837 20160922_193542 20160922_195248 20160922_214019 20160922_221513 20160923_181110 20160923_181750 img_20160826_182213

20161028_140023 20161031_151005 20161031_151242 20161031_152153 20161031_152235 20161031_185522 20161104_143603 20161104_145158 20161107_123954 20161108_151944 20161111_141154 20161114_174447 20161118_142454 20161120_123959 20161124_160534 20161124_173339 20161127_130135 20161130_104358 20161201_144502 20161201_144538 20161201_150729 20161201_150747 20161204_102240 20161205_151213 20161206_181224 20161207_152606 20161207_191743 20161211_103633 20161212_130837 20161212_130851 20161212_133315 20161212_134144 20161212_134315 20161212_134645_002 20161212_142222 20161216_122556 20161216_205511 20161223_135237 20161223_163049 20161223_163200 20161223_170049 20161223_170119 20161223_171257 20161223_190758 20161223_204023 20161224_122256 20161224_134557 20161224_134605 20161224_144414 20161224_144440 20161224_171844 20161224_1806470 20161224_212259 20161225_103721 20161225_132512 20161225_132521 20161225_151254 20161225_211458 20161225_225428 20161226_140220 20161226_141054 20161226_141105 20161226_141116 20161226_143301 20161226_143344 20161226_143353 20161226_143357 20161227_131224 20161228_212436

Continue Reading

Illinois Beach State Park

If you caught the last post, we are putzin’ around Chicago for a spell and awaiting the ability to make a few upgrades (namely new tires) our rig so that we can continue on our journey. I have to say that Chicago is truly the least RV friendly city I have ever (ever) experienced. There are few-to-none places you can boondock and certainly RV facilities far and few between. We’ve been fortunate enough to have a friend here and there host us in their driveway which has been super amazing. But in effort to regain some sort of ‘normal’ life, we needed to escape the city for a spell. We decided Illinois Beach State Park would be a cool…. and most affordable…. escape. We booked 5 days, four nights up there and headed up for a long-extended weekend.

I will be the first to admit that I don’t give Illinois the credit it deserves. When I am wrapped up in city life, I will easily admit to ‘nature’ in Chicago not necessarily going hand-in-hand. But of course, once you escape that, or find it’s alcoves, you will come to appreciate just what Illinois has to offer really. Same holds true for Illinois Beach State Park.

Now, this was our first experience at an RV park as well! We had been boondocking, or staying with friends. We had not utilized a park yet, and so this was our first. I successfully had our first dump, which was quite an amazing feat in and of itself. I had been holding the kids off from ‘fully’ using the facilities other than the emergency pee simply cause I did not know how to to actually empty our tanks AND I did not know where we were actually going to come across our first opportunity. So this was great timing. It was definitely time to get it done, and it was in a non-busy, non-rushed atmosphere where I could put all of my newly acquired YouTube knowledge to good work. After our first, I felt far more comfortable and knew I could handle it all now 😉 .

14695458_10208945574649742_6769032317798755627_n

 

We drove around the park when we arrived and the office was closed with a note that stated “go pick your spot and come back at 4pm.” So we did just that. We drove around to each of the various sections and truly picked the most beautiful one. It was a longer hike to the playground, but right across from the bathrooms and showers, and just steps from a beach pathway. Within the first hour of us being there we were greeted with a pair of deer, a few raccoons, a snake, and skunk (fearful of us thank goodness…. off he ran). We also could hear many owl and eagle calls through the trees as well. We were quite happy to have landed in a nature-heavy area with RV season seeming to be tail-end. There were very few spots filled in the park. A few showed for a Friday and/or Saturday night, but even then it was quite an empty park and perfect time to be there.

We had an electrical hook up which was perfect. Little-to-no wifi connections though. But with the amount of time we were outdoors, that did not seem to matter too much. We did several hikes a day and the park is close to a business district as well, so a mere mile walk westward into town and you could grab something if you happened to need it.

Several bonfires during the day and evening as the temps were quite cool. We were quite thankful for the working RV heater we had, and had strong empathy for those tent campers that showed up on those cool, cold nights!

Being right on the beach we had several beach walks and collecting of rocks, which also lead to rock art designs with sharpies. That was a super fun activity to do with the teens. The little did lots of widdling of sticks and collections of various nature items. Oh yeah, and we finally got our map up on the outside of the RV. We had been talking about how to track our travels and this seemed like a super duper fun way! You’ll see the kids have already been *all* over the place! It was fun to reminisce each of the trips when we did it!

It was a super great time, and after the 5 days we were sad to depart. Definitely a place we’d return to again!

unnamed-1 unnamed-2 unnamed-3 unnamed-4 unnamed-5 unnamed-6 unnamed-7 unnamed-8 unnamed-9 unnamed-10 unnamed-11 unnamed-12 unnamed

Continue Reading

Cathartic

Seems to be the word of the month….

I know it’s been awhile…. I have been recuperating….. regrouping….. and thinking….. a LOT.

20161005_153328

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apparently after my last post, and even with my new found outlook on ‘home’-owning…. The universe felt we (namely * I * ) need another swift kick in the a$$.

After having the very kind soles in OH take extremely good care of us and being given another clean ‘bill of health’… I slapped a new rubber roof on our rig and felt very helpful for the adventures ahead. I was still nervous, mind you, of (a) what the oil gauge may do to us on our way to AZ and (b) whether my roof job would truly hold or not… but nonetheless, this was where we were and I was feeling really good. There was only one way to figure it all out, and that was to live it!

So off we traveled. Saying another fair well to our dear friends in OH and beginning our trek southwest. I was feeling quite at ease when a good two hours into the trek the oil seemed to be strong and steady. I was feeling good about the engine and knowing that if I held a sturdy 60mph then I’d be a-okay getting down to AZ. With the amount of time we had to get to AZ and the fact that the RV was holding strong, I figured I’d just keep on driving till I needed a sleep. After all, my crew mates could sleep as they needed and were quite comfortable, so I could get the miles behind us and keep on moving.

At that time, that seemed like the best laid plan until about 11p – 12a just on the outskirts of Indianapolis I started to hear something flapping. It was a strange noise…. One I had trouble identifying. At the beginning of it all I was pretty sure something up top the rig was flapping around and needed to be secured once more. I turned to K and said “oh no! I think something is flying off the rough!!!” He says the noise did not sound to him like it was up top. Then I began to panic. A huge massive semi passes us to the left, as they have been most of the day. The pull from the semi’s are quite grand on our rickety rig. This was what seemed to be the final straw, however. When this rig passed us to the left there was this huge explosive noise… a loud bang…. And then somewhat silenced. I freaked and immediately got off the highway. We seemed okay but still sort of clueless about what had just happened. Until, that is, we begin to accelerate again at the stop light. I knew then…. We had tire issues.

20160925_090602We pulled off to investigate. Searched on top and below. And finally came to see that it was one of our interior rear tires…. Not only a flat, but a complete and utter blow out. And it’s the middle of the night…. AND…. We are quite clearly in not the best part of Indianapolis.

I ask K to map us a Walmart. I just need to get us somewhere we can boondock, regroup and think things through. We hobbled our way to a Walmart and went in to get some water, food and use the facilities. The guard asked us if that was our rig over there and instructed us that this was not typically a spot for RV’s. He says, “we don’t usually allow overnights. We are not a 24hrs. spot and, well, this is not the best part of town you know.” Oh great…. You just had to say that in front my kids did ya?

We climb back in and hunker down for the night. I notice the Walmart tire and car repair garage and figure we ask them in the AM what they may be able to do for us.

Early AM I race outta the RV and into the car care area. I point through the window and let them know what had happened. They look at our rig and shake their heads saying…. “Oh man that’s a BIG RV…. I don’t think we can even fit that in here…. Let alone have the right tires for it.” The woman behind the desk is quite friendly and offering other information about spots in Indy that may be able to help. The gentleman goes out to the RV and checks out the tire ID and comes back saying he’s not seen that kind of tire in many many moons. My hope deflates quickly and I begin to worry again…. I can barely move on this tire and if I have to take it elsewhere I may loose my you-know-what.

The woman is quite kind and gives us a number to call. The RV spot is *very* hard to get a hold of. In the meantime, I call our AAA can they explain to me that I need to ‘up’ my membership to RV status and even IF I do that, it would not be valid for 72 hours. I finally reach the Indy RV spot who tells me that he does not do tires there, but refers me to a spot who may be able to help. At the very least, they offer on-site service. Phew…. Feeling a bit better.

That is… until I call them. They tell me they don’t have the tire. And that most places will not have the tire. That having that specific tire means we need to order it and won’t likely receive it till later that week, being that it was a Saturday and the tire could not be ordered till Monday. MONDAY?!?!? LATER THAT WEEK!?!?!? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I can’t sit in the not-best-part-of-town-Walmart with my kids for the WEEK!!!!!

I called a few other places and seem to be receiving the same information. So I opt for the 1st service to come on out and at the very least put our spare tire on. If the spare is on there, I can head back to Chicago and figure it out there. Perhaps someone in Chicago operates on a Saturday, but even, at the very least, we would have friends to stay with and figure it all out…. Verses sit in the Indy Walmart for a week or longer.

The service comes out and begins working. He mentions another spot that may be able to help and true to the other spots, they do nothing for people on a Saturday. World stops in Indy on a Saturday folks. Just keep that in mind should you be traveling through town. He puts the spare on for me and say, “Well… the spare is likely the next to blow, I feel I should warn you. It’s in bad shape as well. But it will carry you to a spot to get it fixed.” I am thinking…. “a spot to get it fixed?!?!” I had NO intentions of staying in Indianapolis at this point. I was burnt out. Fried. Crispy. WELL-over done. I was emotionally a wreck and totally spent on all we had been through with this rig to this point in time.

I ask him if he feels it’s ok driving up to 45-50mph. He seems to think it’s just fine. So that solidified my decision…. I was going to drive back roads at 45 mph all the way back to Chicago. Once I could feel safe and secure again, I could make next plans and figure out what to do.

A mere 6.5 hours later, we pull into a friend’s driveway. Nothing like open arms and feeling like you are safe again. I know I slept VERY well that night. Like a rock. But now the decision making had to happen. What to do? Replace the tires? Sell the RV? Still go to AZ and make it to Free to Be?

The decision is made at the very last second…. We opt to rent a car and make it to AZ for the conference. We rented a truly fabulous Ford Transit 350, which I have to say, was the BEST decision at that moment. I needed to be free of the rig to regroup. I need to cathartic trip to sooth the mind and sole. I need a *smooth* ride! I needed to visit Arizona. I needed the cathartic adventure to figure out where my mind and sole rested with this entire thing.

The conference was great. Arizona was fabulous! The time away even more so! After the conference we took some time to check out some local neighborhoods that I had been eyeing on Craigslist. It was good to narrow down options and ideas should the idea of settling somewhere become the main topic. What surprised me most, however, was how much I would fall in love with Albuquerque!!!

We opted to go for a night there as K wanted to create a self-tour of all of the Breaking Bad filming spots. I was excited about this too as I had watched the series along with him. It was going to be super fun to see the filming spots! What I did not realize though, was that we just happened to land there the week of the International Balloon Fiesta! So we then opted to stay two nights in order to see and check it all out. First day we see all of the Breaking Bad sites, check out some local neighborhoods (as I was already falling in love with the place!), and visited Old Town. It was such a great time! Next morning, before sunrise I drive us to a spot where we can see both sunrise and the balloon fest start. It was such a truly magical morning! We began our trek home from there…. But as we pulled out I felt very sad to leave. The spirit, the atmosphere, the nature, climate…. Just about everything we experienced felt wonderful. The one and only thing I did not check into was the unschooling community. (I did check the homeschool laws though 😉 I just did not reach out to the community just yet.)

20161004_113725-copy 20161005_074919 20161005_073535 20161005_071730 20161005_071708-copy 20161004_184110-copy 20161004_125711-copy 20161005_075529 20161005_081249 20161005_153425 20161005_154218 20161005_160112 20161005_160603 20161007_134514 20161007_141955 20161009_123021 20161009_212600 20161011_144132 20161011_144152 20160925_093202 20160930_140752 20161012_140607 20161012_134843 20161011_144409 20160925_143607 20160925_200839 20160925_214224 20160928_095248 20160928_162636 20160928_183610 20161002_142510-copy 20161004_113638-copy 20161004_1034250-copy 20161002_142409-copy 20161002_135754-copy 20161003_121809-copy 20161003_113026-copy 20160930_113427 20161003_112039-copy 20160929_064335 20160928_185712 20161003_075030-copy 20161012_131306

Onward and upward, homeward bound. We pass by Amarillo to see Cadillac Ranch and leave our mark. Oh! Forgot to mention, just prior to Albuquerque we passed by the Zuni nation and nearly came home with a stray dog 😉 I wanted to visit because I had a friend who lived there for some time, long ago and I wanted to visit and see the reservation. While we were there the kids fell in love with a stray and even called SBJ to see if he’d be up for us bringing him home. When we went back for it, he seemed to sort of be hanging around a house so we were not sure he was completely stray to begin with. I told the kids they needed to ask to avoid the police chasing us out of town. But they were kinda chicken to go ask 😉 I will whole-heartedly admit I was a-okay with that cause I could not envision this journey with a new found friend! They were a wee annoyed with me, but at that point in time, I could not fathom the drastic change in family membership.

From there…. many other cool stops. We spent a night in St. Louis. We visited Lincoln’s home in Springfield, IL. After picking our rig back up we had some super fun nights in a local hotel with friends. And then it was time to get back to reality. K had an orthodontist appointment and we needed to figure out the ‘what’s next’ to our story here.

That’s where we seem to be at this moment…. The what’s next portion. We are good, locally, on our tires, but we need to replace them to take off again. We had been doing quite a bit of boondocking in the city but quite frankly…. It’s super stressful. Chicago is *not* (even in the slightest) a very RV-friendly spot. We also still need our generator connected, so that makes it a bit more challenging in that we are not totally contained/sufficient just yet. Once we have power and tires, we are in pretty good standing. We just are very (very) low on funds to do so with everything else we have had to put into it. So are here, regrouping and figuring it all out.

Through it all we celebrated a second birthday of our little C and a sixth birthday or our special M. M lost a first tooth in AZ! And we’ve been enjoying the Halloween season upon us!

OH…. Also…. Let’s throw this into the mix. As we thought we were preparing for the CampForce Amazong job in KY, we received word that SBJ did not get it due to some paperwork being missing (on time). Then…. Just as we are regrouping on that turn of events, I begin interviewing for a very fabulous online/virtual position that I would love to have, and he gets a “wait we still have space in KY for you” email from Amazon, AND he’s in negotiations regarding a promotion at current work position! So the other monkey wrench is whether he joins us or not. Does he forego promotion for the Amazon? OR take the promotion over Amazon? And then if he stays, where will he stay? Housing has been a huge issue since we began. And it was ok for the time being because he was joining us in a few short weeks. But at this point, if he stays for the promotion and more permanent solution needs to happen.

AND…. Then if he stays, do we travel short term and relocate back to Chicago? Do we eventually try to move to Albuquerque? AHHHHH!?!? The choices!!!

All the while, we left the city and have been staying at Illinois Beach State Park for a period. It’s been SOOOOOO much better than the city. Cathartic really. It’s been lovely. Chilly. But lovely. The current attempt is to (a) figure out what SBJ will do regarding work, (b) try to fix our generator and tires, and (c) plan to stay an extended period with friends on their farm in OH. That time will also likely be the most necessary and cathartic to figuring out the ‘what next’ from there.

Till then…. I’m off to enjoy this insanely warm October day (for Chicago that it is)… and the rest will hopefully reveal itself to us as the end of this month comes, and the new moon enters! We intend to enjoy a ghostly Halloween above all else! Our most favorite holiday will be the priority and the rest will come to us as it needs. Perhaps I will begin a “support Nakita Baby Nomads” campaign to help us acquire new tires 😉

Happy Halloween All!!!!

 

 

Continue Reading

New Home

I swore to myself, namely for the kids, that I would be far more diligent about keeping updates on this massive life transition. I have failed at doing so since this process started. Namely…. I think….. cause I have been on such an emotional ride that I have failed to put words to it all. As I begin to come out the other end I am feeling 100% better and realizing how much this process has impacted me profoundly and forced me to grow in even more ways I never knew existed.

So… let’s see I think last I left off we had found our next home. We had left our home of twelve years, packaged all that was important to us in a 5 x 11 storage unit and took off for Alabama 4-H to attend the Rethinking Everything gathering. At some point in time in the packing process back in August, it dawned on me that my focus was so heavily placed on where we were going and not what we were doing at the present moment. I was stressing big time about finding the right rig for us, and then it hit me… We had traveled dozens of long, extended road trips in our van before. Why would this be much different? Of course we’d be incurring a bit more cost for a few hotel stays along the way than we would have otherwise had to if we had our RV, but if it meant being in the present moment and actualizing this move, then the wee bit more cost was worth it.

So we packed up into a storage unit and a mini van to hit the road. As mentioned, heading to the RE 2016 gathering which, I might add, was also a life-changing experience. Having left our home of twelve years, converted ourselves to a nomadic family, and then ending up at RE was truly *exactly* where we needed to be at that very moment in time. To be welcomed with open arms, embraced, loved, cherished…. To be cheered on as people heard our latest endeavors. To be encouraged by the dozens whose stories we heard and also embraced. The kids all made new, beautiful friends who also included them right off the bat. It was a most memorable experience that even now, still fills each of our hearts.

As we gathered there, it was also my intent to track down and view Class C RVs along the way. I figured being out of Chicago I’d more likely find exactly what we were looking for with the money that we could afford to spend on it. In Indianapolis there was one but the water damage was extensive. In Birmingham there was another by the gentleman was very challenging with setting up an appointment to see it. Once I Chattanooga was in pretty dire straights. On our way to Louisville we were messaged that it had sold just an hour before our arrival. As we headed to Cincinnati the same happened…. It sold just before our arrival. All of this was leading me to believe we were on the right track. I was getting a wee bit discouraged, but I did know that our time was coming.

After and amazing tour of Mammoth Cave in Cave City, KY and then two nights in Cincinnati to just chill out and not drive like crazy, we  headed to Fort Recovery where checked out a converted bus. The bus was pretty cool. They did a great job converting, but there was just way too much left for us to do. I knew I was becoming overwhelmed at the process and not really looking forward to putting hours and hours into still converting further to the standards in which we’d like it. Not to mention the fact that driving this seriously huge diesel engine scared the bajoobers out of me. I told the kids, “yep, it is super cool, however you all are my life and I would not put my life in that machine and drive it down the highway.”

Onward…. We had one more appointment set for a Class C in Antioch, IL. We headed to a friend’s home just outside of Chicago and crashed with them. Then made the drive out to Antioch to see it. Upon seeing it I was super pumped. It was structurally sound, it appeared. We drove it and seemed great. Received a very decent deal on it, which included a generator as well. All was great…. Till we hit the highway with it with our own plates on it to take it as our own…

Duh. Duh. Duuhhhh.
We get on the highway and the darn thing is struggling to get above 50mph! Eeek! We were headed straight to CarMax to appraise and sell the mini van. It felt like we were barely going to make it there. The engine was struggling big time. I was quite worried as you can imagine. What the heck happened between the day before and now? Its feeling like the gas is struggling to circulate when it reaches higher speeds. It does just fine at lower speeds, but over 50mph, forget it.

After the deal at CarMax is done, I feel a bit relieved to be rid of one about-to-be-headache. There were many things about to really go wrong with that van that I was quite relieved to have rid of it prior to having to deal with any of it. There was an exhaust/emissions issue, and electrical issue to name a couple. I had also had it appraised by folks prior to this sale and both appraisers were saying the transmission was about to go as well. So, that was one headache off my plate, though that car was so immensely great to us! We had some super amazing trips in that car, so we are ever so grateful to it for its perseverance.

We head to Evanston to have our mechanic look at it. He says that he can’t get it into his garage so he can’t service it, but he recommends someone else who is able to take a look at it. We take it over there, but being as it was Saturday they were closing shop early that day. Blech. I have to now drive from Rogers Park to Downers Grove via local streets cause I don’t want to danger any of us on the highway not going up to speed. After a bite to eat I’m feeling better about everything. We’ll just head back there first thing Monday morning and have it serviced and then we can begin the move in process.

That evening back at our friends’ house we start cleaning it up. It’s quite dirty from sitting around for a year to a year and half. So as we clean and clean and clean K finds that under the top bunk there is 100% complete rot. It’s not just a “little water damage” as the gentleman who sold it to us says as he lifted the mattress to show us. It’s complete rot through and through. The entire wood bed is smelly and falling to crumbles. It’s a disaster. Takes us the whole night to clean it out and get it to a point we’re ok with it. As we are digging it out I am concocting a plot to build a new bed up there. Shouldn’t be too complicated. We will leave there the next day, build a bed at Home Depot and then head out to K’s 48 Hour Film Festival premier (the whole reason we were back in Chicago to begin with)!

Sunday rolls around and we do a pretty decent job. We drive locally back to Evanston, park at Home Depot and get to work. I seal all of the open cracks I can possibly find, and run in and buy cut wood before we head downtown. Things seem to be a-okay and all is working out fine.

48winnerThe 48 Hour Film Festival is AMAZING! K’s film premiers and he has hoots and hollers. People loved it and laughed and congratulated him afterwards. After the film there was a brief Q & A and K gets a standing ovation for being a 14 year old homeschooler. People truly dug his work and it was quite the highlight of the week….. until just a day or so later that week when….. he receives an email that he should return to the award ceremony! Later that week he is awarded an Audience Choice Award for his group! What a truly amazing accomplishment! It blew him out of the water! We are all super duper proud of him.

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, so bed gets built, we head to the mechanic the next morning and they deem that a carburetor and new plugs need to be put in. We agree to the service and pick up our home that evening. Immediately the car seems to be running better so we are thrilled we can begin the move in process. The next day, however, is the plan to have a beach day with friends for the girls birthdays. C turned two on the 12th and M turns six on the 25th, so we opted to have a little gathering with friends on our most favorite beach in Chicago. It was the perfect break to the chaos we’ve been dealing with. And, a super amazing weather day for our potentially last beach day in Chicago for quite some time. With watermelon and cupcakes in hand we head down for a truly amazing afternoon and evening. Closing out the beach after sunset.

Next day begins move in day. That was trying and exhausting. We had just had this massive move from home to storage and now we had to move once gain from storage to camper. The stuff we had we still needed to sort, purge and donate because we had far more than we ever needed. So it took several hours to go through everything in the storage unit first, then move it out to the RV next, and then figure out what was staying in the RV, what was again up for purging or donation, and finally whatever else needed to return once more to storage. It was an all day thing. I believe we arrived there by 11a or 12p and we did not return back to our boondocking spot till about 830p that night. Long day.

Now the camper is a disaster once more and we need to begin organizing and creating new spaces for storage as well. But we do this over the next day or so…. And frankly, is still in process now. We have more to attend to and it will happen in due time. That same evening we run into our first boondocking problem ever. It’s late at night, I’m sweeping out the home and there is knock at the door. A police office telling me that we can’t park there because it’s private property. I’m at a Walmart, which in the numerous times past has never been an issue. I’ve never had a Walmart have an issue with this and, in fact, many folks nationwide know that Walmart is the place RVs are allowed to boondock.

Any rate, he’s saying we need to leave. So, I pack up and we roll out down the street to the other Walmart who never really seems to have a problem ever. Next day I see that the other RV that was parked there is still sitting there, so why we were asked to move but everyone else boondocking there (including the semi’s) were still parked. But whatever. What I do know at this point, it is crazy hard to be boondocking in your own home city. Especially when that city is Chicago and they are truly just anti-RVs anyway. The week was stressful. And I was always worried about parking or moving around that I truly could not wait to leave town.

That said, it was during this last day or two that I noticed the car was driving a little fun. It felt like gas was just cutting out at low speeds. The engine would not drop if I gave it more gas, but it felt like it was cutting for a brief second before it would continue. I decided before we left that Friday that I would take it back to the mechanic to look at it, and then to the RV spot to hook up the generator for us, and check out the propane and such.

Mechanic sees that hoses were bumped when he did the last repair and so he adheres some sealant to them and reattaches everything. He feels we are ready to go. I head to the RV service center to see if they can help with some things before we leave for Ohio. As I arrive there I realize it’s quite late in the day so perhaps I’m not going to get done what I need. My big things were the generator and appliances. I wanted to be sure everything was in working order, and get the generator connected. The guy who runs the place was really kind of a jerk. Even when I prefaced everything with “I’m a brand new RV owner” …. “never done this before” … He was quite obnoxious in my opinion. What I did come to conclude on my own was that everything is a-okay. They checked the propane level and we were full, so we were good. I was hoping the generator could be attached but they are giving me this spiel that it would be $500-$1000 to connect it and a minimum of 3-4 hour process.

Well…. Not money I have at the moment, nor the time, so I leave that for another time. We take off for OH. The RV is running really pretty good. It’s a bit noisy, but overall seems okay. I’m relieved to be leaving town now and to be moving on a new location, as are the kids for sure. They are looking forward to seeing friends in OH, and enjoying a new adventure. Day one is pretty uneventful, that is till we pull into a Walmart to sleep for the night. It’s wee hours of the night after several hours of rain and I hear D say, “Oh no, Oh my gosh!” I could not bare to know what the heck was going on. I was SOOOOO exhausted from the past several weeks, I did not know if I could take one more. But alas, there it was, water, down pouring on my daughters head from the light socket above. Ugh. We grab towels and a bowl and start catching it. We move her to another bed with S to spend the rest of the night. I lay restless listening for any other leaks and down pours as the rain moves on. I’m so frustrated at this point. Not sure which was to go…. Home or onward?

Next AM we opt to get a huge tarp. It fits the whole roof. That way when we are stopped we can have rain protection, at least until we find a solution to the leaky roof. We are cruising to OH and all of sudden the choke light flashes at me and the oil pressure gauge seems to be dropping. I pull over and fill it with oil as it appears to be quite low. I drive onward….. it happens once again. I add some more and we continue on. This time, however, I’m feeling like perhaps this old cruiser just does not like super high speeds. In my mini van I cruise right around 73mph on most highways that allow for 70mph. And driving this big huge mobile is a whole new ballgame. I realize it’s quite massive, it’ takes up the highway lane, and it’s quite wobbly. It does not seem to dig cruise control, not to mention the high speeds. So  tone it down to about 60-65mph and it’s seems happier. We finally arrive. Ahhhh…. Relief to be among safety.

While we are here everyone is jumping to help. I’m beside myself because I really just feel like throwing in the towel. I’m beginning to wonder what the heck I’ve gotten myself into?!?!

But friends check it out and help as they are able. We get connected to the electricity and have running water for the first time. Two gentlemen take a peek at my generator but determine they do not know enough to get that going for me. I will need to have someone else look at it, and hopefully someone who knows what they are doing and will not charge me an arm and a leg. The propane is deemed working and the fridge is cold. The only two remaining concerns at the roof top and the oil leak (if one exists).

Since it seems obvious at that point that we will not be leaving by the intended Tuesday for Arizona, I decide to order some roofing materials via Amazon and do the roof before we leave. A truly amazing neighbor takes me to another mechanic to have the oil issue checked out and not only does this guy feel that everything is a-okay and there is nothing notably wrong with the engine at this time, but he does not charge me anything for his time either. Everyone here has been over the moon supportive and helpful. It’s helped me pull my head out of my butt and realize…. I purchased a HOME. Something I never ever said I would ever do in my life!!!! I swore I’d rent till I die! And here I am owning a home. And this home, just happens to have an engine, but otherwise, it is really the same exact thing to owning a home. I purchased a fixer-upper. And if I were buying an actual physically standing home, I’d have all of these same things to contend with. I may need to fix a roof, or leak. I may need to repair a wall or a bed. I may need to redecorate or redesign. THIS is what I bought into and so I need to get over my pitty party and step up to bat here!

Yesterday, I get my butt up and clean house inside and out. I get up on that roof and clean and prep it for the new rubber roofing I’m about to put on, and I google how to store water on this damn thing, and work the pump and dump the shit. I’ve educated myself and empowered myself and so now I’m ready to take on this adventure head strong. I am now equipped and with the correct mindset. I was not there at the time of purchase, nor up to recently. I figured all roses and lilies were to follow. But when you take on something this magnitude, you put in the work to get it where you want it. And when something breaks, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just what it is and we move on.

With much better attitude I have an afternoon of roofing to do. The second coat will be put on tomorrow. And then we will enjoy the local Pumpkin Festival with everyone here before we being our westward trek to Arizona. I’m looking forward to it now. I can’t say that was always the case, but sometimes you need a swift kick to get back up and try try again. What is now home is beginning to feel more and more like home and that feels really great!

 

 

Continue Reading

Found It!

img_20160909_164942

 

It finally happened for us today! Miracles of all miracles! We have been searching high and low. In Chicago…. Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana….. back to Chicago again. We considered converting buses, drove a few and almost bought one and that fell through due to car dealer negligence (blessing in disguise). We looked at several more and then after seeing an RV we honed in on that as being right route for us. Then…. made an offer outside of our budget simply because I fell in love too quickly and then needed to renig cause going in debt was not what it was about. Since we were going to be on the road anyway figured it’s likely best to check out each state as we roam. Country farms and budgets more accessible seemed the way to go. Having failed appointments, seen the worst of the worst, RVs selling before we even made it to the schedule appointments….. and….. test driving an already converted diesel bus I was not quite sure I was willing to put my most precious beings in, we came back to Chicago empty handed but with one last appointment set for the time being. Figured if this last one were not ‘the’ one, then we had a slew more states to track one down in as we head to Ohio this week and then westward to Phoenix by end of September.

Alas! This was a great fit! The body is in incredible shape. The inside quite vintage and ready for our personalizing. It’s not huge-mongous like I was attempting to avoid, and yet sleeps us all. The mileage under 80K. Within budget so we are officially loan free and can work on rebuilding ourselves financially. The one and only clincher…. minimal storage so I’m about to get crazy-creative. The ultimate small-spacing living challenge is ON! I’m pumped at the challenge at hand and simply relieved this decision has been made in a manner that feels insanely fun, scary, exhilarating and AMAZING all at once!

After purchasing we made it to the DMV for title and plates with just 15 minutes to closing time. All went smoothly without a hitch. Incredible to have been on such an amazing journey and see it to materialize to this magnificent outcome!

We pick her up tomorrow, and say a bittersweet goodbye to our blue bus tomorrow in turn. We get the new-to-us RV cleaned up and ready for packing. Sunday is K’s movie premier and Tuesday our very last beach outing to celebrate C and M’s birthdays… and our departure.

Excitement buzzing all around. I tell ya, we have been so blessed by the immediate friends and community supporting our adventure…. I’m beaming with abundant gratitude for these amazing beings in our lives! We are truly blessed and lucky!

 

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading