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Big Tex – part 3 – Return of the Boondocking

We packed up our rig all confident that we were ready for the next 4 nights of boondocking that we had set up via Harvest Hosts. We were traveling from Dallas to Palm Springs to stay at our first Thousand Trails membership RV spot and had 5 days to make it in time. However because our rig is trying to fight its boondocking destiny we had a few detours in our itinerary.

Our first Harvest Host stay over was at an airplane museum on an active runway. We arrived after they had closed and gone home for the day but they gave us great instructions where to park and access their 15w plug. It was on the runway side and we were a bit nervous that there would be noise from the planes over night but we were pleasantly surprised that there was not. All the over night noise was from a next door steel supplier who loaded trucks all night and they decided to idle right next to us instead of the 100 thousand other places they could had done so, grrrr!

In the morning we headed south toward El Paso, TX for our next overnight boondock stop. Traveled all day through a long stretch of pretty bare land except for what seemed to be a bunch of coal refineries. The towns surrounding these areas were filled with RV parks as far as the eye could see. This was the only time we’ve ever seen such a sight, cool and kinda crazy. Made it to our location which was a petting zoo and dairy farm about a stone throw from the Mexican border and it was great! The family was very friendly and the kids loved the zoo.

Now this is where our boondocking dreams crumbled.

The next day we took the mail to local post office before hooking back onto the RV. When hubs returned he said he heard a not so awesome noise coming from the truck. He also informed me the furnace was not working ,that’s why it was so cold. We decided he go to a local chain auto repair shop to hopefully fix said noise, and they did (kinda). EIGHT hours later he returned, we froze our butts off all day due to rain and wind outside and no heat. With truck fixed but no heat from propane powered furnace we decided it would be best to find a place to hook up for the night to be able to use space heaters and fireplace.

We realized we really had to scrap the following few nights left in our boondocking trip due to cold over night temps forecast and not knowing how to fix our heat issue. We scrambled some last minute nightly stays together and reached our Palm Springs, CA destination as scheduled. Although our plans were derailed the scenery made up for it, the drive through Southern Texas through New Mexico and Arizona on I-10 was awesome. We made it out of Texas, but not with out some drama.  Excited to spend our Winter in Southern Cali and soak up some sun and warm weather, or so we hope!

To be continued….

If you follow our Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/Trailin1/ you already kinda know all the awesomeness we have been having, please “like” us. Don’t forget to follow us on here as well to keep up with our families trail! Also, our families main source of income is Hippie Hoopla, any purchases on-line allow us to keep our adventure going. Please stop by our site and take a look!

Thanks for your support!

💕HELP SUPPORT our TRAILin adventure at no cost when shopping through our Amazon link! http://amzn.to/2IAHhh8

 

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Big Tex – Part 2, the suburbs strike back

cropped-trailin-white-background-png1.pngAlthough our posts are about a month behind I couldn’t help but show our new Trailin logo, it makes my heart happy!! Thank you so much for all your positive feedback!  Thank You to Jennifer b. Jacobs Marketing.

We are in Texas not only to seal the deal on our residency stuff but also to visit family in Dallas. When making reservations several months earlier we had a hard time finding an RV park with an opening for an entire month, didn’t help we got a late start.  There are so many RV parks in and around Dallas, which rocks! However, a lot more than traveling families stay at them.  The entire city of Dallas is under construction so I’m pretty sure a lot of other people who have moved into the area to help with these improvements are also utilizing the lots.

So we ended up getting a space for just over a month at Shady Creek RV, just North of Dallas in a newly developed area and you cannot travel anywhere without road construction.  They kinda built the housing and commercial first than forgot they had to widen the roads and are doing them all at once.  We were kinda stuck in suburban hell, the very place we ran from! But the RV park was small, quiet, well kept and had large sized lots.  Didn’t hurt that our backyard was a horse farm, except for the flies!

While in Texas we had a long list of things to fix, get, resolve and decide on, a month was not enough time to get it all done.On top of that we were there for 2 holidays, Halloween & Thanksgiving.We bounced back and forth between our suburban sprawl and in-town Dallas to see our relatives, about an hour drive each way due to traffic and construction.  But the bonus was always staying at a really large lovely house with huge bathtubs and all the hot water you could wish for!

So what are all the things that needed our attention on our RV?

The water pump had crapped out before we left Atlanta and all our boondooking was cut short or made slightly difficult because the pump wouldn’t cycle off when not hooked up to a non electric power source. We called Grand Design and we were told to bring in so tests could be run. Well we were pretty sure it was just a quick fix we searched out all the YouTube/Blogs and for $70 we could buy and replace it ourselves. We were right and the $70 was a small price to pay to not have to spend any amount of time w/o our home due to warranty work.

Next we wanted to upgrade our battery situation. RVs typically come with a pretty standard and really crappy 12v battery. They are sufficient enough for the weekend campers but not so much for fulltiming. We got rid of that one and got 2 6volt golf cart batteries. Apparently 2 6v are greater than 1 12v, go figure!  But we also had to purchase a new home for these batteries to live in and install that as well. The new battery box fit great in our front storage area and didn’t take up too much room. Less storage was a small price to pay to have longer power opportunities while boondocking.

If you read our last post you know we had a bent cargo rack issue thanks to the Louisiana stretch of I-10!  We originally went with this style cargo frame because we liked the idea of folding it up if we were in a tight spot and needed more room. But it did become a pain in the butt to lift the generator on and off of it, plus we never ever used the folding option. We decided on the cargo rack type with a fold down ramp used for electric wheelchairs. This way the generator just rolls on and off with only 1 person doing it. It does not fold up like the previous one, however with that model the hitch extended so far out to make that folding option a reality.  We think that’s why it was more likely to bend. Problem solved, for now!

We also finished the final piece of the puzzle to our Texas residency and got our drivers licenses. Because of the lack of childcare we went separately so we were not bring kids in for an unknown amount of time. Hubs was at the DMV forever, I was in and out in probably 45 minutes. My experience was a little different in than you need to bring a form showing ownership of your vehicles if your using your registered vehicles as your permanent address proof. Well for some reason my name is on the RV but not the truck. It’s odd cause the loan is actually in my name. Not a problem now but maybe one to get resolved in case of any future whatnot. The guy helping me out was very nice and asked me at one point what county Livingston, TX was?  I had no idea, cause I just moved there?  He looked it up, I live in Polk co. He also was curious why I was getting my license up in Dallas, nowhere near where I “lived”?  I told him I was in the area visiting relatives, not a lie but still I see why it would seem fishy!  But like I said, in and out and this TX residency thing was now complete.

Besides all the have to’s we did a lot of fun stuff while there, here’s the brief rundown:

  1. Dallas Arboretum & Gardens
  2. Gaylord Texan sledding, ice sculptures
  3. Ice skating @ Allen Community Ctr
  4. Trick or Treating
  5. Thanksgiving
  6. Ray Roberts state park
  7. Several local parks
  8. Lots of eateries,but our favorite is Babes

Hubs and I both got sick midway through our stay and mine lingered into walking pneumonia so my productivity and ambition to do more activities was low. There was a week that it rained daily and never really dried up so I think everything outside was getting moldy and my immune systems is not a fan of mold.

That’s all for part 2, stay tune to hear all about the final installment of Big Tex! Hey it’s a big state so it deserves to be a trilogy, right?

If you follow our Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/Trailin1/ you already kinda know all the awesomeness we have been having, please “like” us. Don’t forget to follow us on here as well to keep up with our families trail! Also, our families main source of income is Hippie Hoopla, any purchases on-line allow us to keep our adventure going. Please stop by our site and take a look!

Thanks for your support!

💕HELP SUPPORT our TRAILin adventure at no cost when shopping through our Amazon link! http://amzn.to/2IAHhh8

Big Tex -part 1

I know I’ve been a little absent from the website the past few weeks but as always I usually post daily on our TRAILin Facebook page so please like us over there too!  Update, we have been in Texas for 4 weeks takin care of business.

Our first stop was our new home, Livingston, TX. When I say our new home I don’t mean we really live there, but our address does. When traveling like we do you will need a permanent address of sorts. We decided to switch from Georgia to Texas for several reasons.

  1. We need to pay taxes, I know sad but true
  2. We need a drivers licence, car registration and license plate
  3. We need insurance on our vehicles
  4. We need to declare a state to homeschool out of
  5. We need a state to affiliate our business with

We no longer own a home or have a job or actually reside in Georgia so switching it all over to Texas was our best all-in-one stop shop to do so.

“So why did we choose Texas?”

Florida, South Dakota and Texas are the 3 most Fulltime RV friendly states to be a resident of. Look at most RV license plates and usually it will be from one of these states. What makes them so RV friendly, mostly the taxes, then registration as well as homeschooling laws?

Livingston, Texas is our home turf now because a company called Escapees is located there. They are an RV club & mail service and for additional fees they will also give you an actual physical address of your own, not just a POBox, this is important. We need the physical address for our business, Hippie Hoopla. 

OK so on our way to Dallas where we were staying for a month we decided to stay in Livingston  for 3 days and get as much done as we could. First stop was visiting the actual offices of Escapees to fill out/sign paperwork and pay monies to get the official address, which you get right there and then. FYI escapees has a large RV park so don’t confuse their RV park office check-on bldg with the actual business offices which are a few blocks apart.

Now that you have your permanent address you need to get to work on switching all your vehicles over.  You’ll need to get them inspected, have insurance for them both in Texas and then get them registered in same county as your permanent address. Sounds easy enough, bwahahahah?  You also will need to get a drivers license but that’s last and I’ll talk about that down the road.

The inspection thing is kinda a joke, they just have it as a way to generate additional monies for their government, its $7. One thing on the list of things they look for was mud flaps or guards that are required on all dully trucks. We did not have these so we were scrambling the day before to find them. FYI we checked all the major auto part stores in town and it was a no go unless we ordered them. Finally found them at a small mom and pop truck accessories shop. We were going to get the truck and RV inspected at the same small auto repair shop in Livingston but their inspector dude woke up late and my hubs was there right when they opened and he was not so we went on down to the nearest car dealership. Truck passes no problem and he came back to our RV site to hook up and take it to the small mom and pop spot cause the guy finally woke up and was now at work. We arrive, guy asks if we have a fire extinguisher, never looks in the RV and in less then 5 minutes we are on our way, see I told you it was a joke!

Next day we headed to the government building where you pay all sorts of taxes to get our registration and license plates. It’s a small office and no one was waiting ahead of us but there’s a lot of paperwork and after taking forever to fill out it takes forever for them to type it all into the computer. So plan on staying there at least an hour even if it’s not busy. The picture above is what we needed to bring with us to submit for registration for them to have on file. You will also need to take a picture of the label on your rig with all its weight measurements. We had zero issues, paid them their money, got our license plates and were on our way! FYI this small government office does not have parking for a large RV in their small parking lot. I suggest doing what we did and just drive your truck or Toad to take care of business.

Just a reminder you will need to get your insurance for all vehicles switched to Texas before you can get registration/plates.  Coming from Georgia our RV insurance stayed relatively the same but our truck insurance about doubled, crazy! We shopped around a few weeks later and saved a few hundred more and paid for the year in a lump sum so that was an additional saving but it’s still high. Apparently the storms from the past year skyrocketed all the rates due to all the hail damage payouts:(

Yea we got all the things done in Livingston that needed to be done. We don’t have to actually ever go back there to our home turf, I think?  We can get our drivers license anywhere in Texas and we did. Same with inspection, can be done anywhere in Texas. Also for the following years we don’t need to be in the state when our annual registration fees are due. You can send in a letter that you promise to get the inspection within 48hrs the next time your in Texas, see still kinda a joke!

You may have noticed a picture above of our cargo carrier which holds our generator. Well because of how ridiculously bumpy I-10 is through Louisiana into Texas the frame at the hitch bent, a lot! It was not over weight but we think because of how far the hitch attachment extends out from the hitch itself it was enough of an engineering no no resulting in this incident. We were able to bend it back, but not close enough to its original state. We made it safely to our next destination without any drama and got us a new one!  Crossing fingers this one will be our last! The new one is better for us anyways cause its actually a wheelchair cargo holder which has a drop down ramp.  This makes it much easier to wheel it on and off.

To end this on a high note the site we stayed in at Lake Livingston was booked solid, partly cause it was the weekend before Halloween and also because a group of Heritage Girls from Houston had taken it over. They were great, our kids instantly had several dozen new buddies to play with. Most of them homeschooled like us and they even let our girls hang at a few of their scheduled talks. We met a few of their parents who were very nice. One of the dads was very interested in our journey and may even being reading this now, if so “hello!”  We meet a lot of people on our adventure who state how envious they are of our lifestyle. Just goes to show there are so many people stuck in a lifestyle they don’t want to be in. We were there, trapped in that suburban shuffle not 6 months ago. I love the choice we made and continue to make, I’m very excited to see how it all shakes out.

Tune in soon to hear all about part 2 and maybe part 3 of Big Tex!  Hey it’s a big state so it deserves to be a trilogy, right?

If you follow our Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/Trailin1/ you already kinda know all the awesomeness we have been having, please “like” us. Don’t forget to follow us on here as well to keep up with our families trail! Also, our families main source of income is Hippie Hoopla, any purchases on-line allow us to keep our adventure going. Please stop by our site and take a look!

Thanks for your support!

💕HELP SUPPORT our TRAILin adventure at no cost when shopping through our Amazon link! http://amzn.to/2IAHhh8

Icky Yicky Sicky

Whelp our first sickness has swept through the RV. One person started off with a cough and fever, then I got body aches/fever/congestion and then last kid gets fever and upset tummy. Three people, 3 different illnesses?

It wasn’t really any different being sick in a large house as opposed to our new close quarters. It was in ways a little easier, less air I needed to try to keep diffused, clean up after went way faster and you can tell how everyone is feeling cause you can hear every sneeze,sniffle and cough.

Video of all the dishes I had to wash after letting them pile up after being in bed for several days. Days like those I miss having a dishwasher. Normally I don’t mind doing the dishes after every meal but 3/4 days of them piling up and still not feeling well was not awesome. https://youtu.be/DDB180doqGM

We made a new list of things that we want/need to try and accomplish before getting on the road.

Truck

  1. Tag
  2. Hitch
  3. Steps to get in truck
  4. Tool box
  5. Kayak/paddle board rack

RV

  1. Generator
  2. Dehumidifier
  3. Stabilizers
  4. Back cage/rack
  5. RV hitch lock
  6. Motion lights
  7. Water pressure adaptor
  8. Wii cable
  9. Ladder
  10. Grill/mini fridge
  • Make reservations
  • Health ins
  • Business plan
  • Pay off debt
  • Computer
  • Escapees

I love how our lists have evolved over the past 18 months.  I’m excited for less of these kinda lists and ones that involve where are we gonna stay this Summer and business oriented ones.

And for those interested as to why your looking at a picture of an onion?  Well onions are really healthy to eat but also help absorb all the bad yucky germs in the air. Cut one in half then quarter and let it set out for 2-3 days. We also diffuse essential oil,this week it was DoTerra OnGuard,our go to healthy healing oil. I’m also going to sage the house any day now to help clear any negative energy this illness swept in. Yes I’m a modern day witch, and I love it:)

If you follow our Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/Trailin1/ you already kinda know all the awesomeness we have been having, please “like” us. Don’t forget to follow us on here as well to keep up with our families trail! Also, our families main source of income is Hippie Hoopla, any purchases on-line allow us to keep our adventure going. Please stop by our site and take a look!

Thanks for your support!

💕HELP SUPPORT our TRAILin adventure at no cost when shopping through our Amazon link! http://amzn.to/2IAHhh8

N’awlins 

We made a last minute decision to swing through New Orleans on our way to Texas. A couple of great campsites are in the area and we decided to stay at the Fountainebleau State Park on the North end of Lake Pontchartrain.  It’s a large park, quiet and has a great lake accessible water area. We unfortunately did not get to take advantage of the lake!

So when staying at this park you can choose an improved lot or not improved lot, of course there’s a price difference.

Being cheap we went with the unimproved lot and paid the price!

We pull up along side our lot and it’s just laughable. Just a patch of dirt would had been a vast improvement over this slab of busted up concrete type I don’t know what kind of material they had on the ground. I don’t even know how to explain it so a pic will pretty much have to sum it up. 

We are parked, hubs goes around the side to throw the chucks under the wheels and comes back hopping on one foot, he twisted his ankle!  He tripped over a piece of unlevel whatnot and fell off the 1 foot ledge of the pad. Fudge, mother fudging fudge!!!!  Not what you want to happen the day before your planning on walking around New Orleans. 

I immediately got him a chair, ice pack and ibuprofen and with his verbal walk through I set up camp. I’ve been watching him do it for months so this was my first hands on attempt, I did good! We were hoping his ankle was just a minor thing but unfortunately it was a full on sprain. Swelling & bruising, he kept it elevated the rest of the day and wore a foot sleeve brace for compression. Luckily it’s not his driving foot so we did drive around the park at sunset which was fantastic. Would had been even better if he could had walked out to the lake to watch it. 

Next day it’s still sprained but he insists we are going to New Orleans. From where we are at the park it’s about a 45 min drive. We choose to take the causeway across and man it’s a long long long bumpy ride, however we drove around the lake on our return. We got a lead on a nearby parking lot that is said to be truck accommodating and close to all the stuff. Well it was truck friendly, just not really Dulley truck friendly, but where is? We normally take up 2 spots or spill out into the aisle so this was no exception. We just crossed our fingers we wouldn’t get booted, we didn’t!

The parking lot was literally a block from the main drag of the French Quarter. For a midweek, off season, morning it was hopping with tourists. The sights, smells and music were just fantastic. Every other street it either smelled really really good or really really bad. There were so many amazing musicians playing, people painting and random people taking naps on sidewalks blocking your path!

For lunch we decided on Cafe Du Monde, how could you not stop there? So beignets for lunch it was, OMG they just melt in your mouth. The whole waiter situation at the cafe is a treat too. We got to watch a little behind the scenes of how they make & pick up their orders while we waited in line for the only bathroom which is kinda in their kitchen. 

We wanted to see everything but the combo of the ankle and a 4 just turned 5 yr old who usually rely’s on the injured party to carry her when tired made for a tricky situation. We heard the Garden district trolley was cheap and a great way to see the city so we walked 20 min in the wrong direction to eventually find the stop to get on it. And I’m not kidding about the 20 min, hubs was not getting correct info from his maps app and we walked way out of our way. I felt so bad for him, but the hour and a half trolley ride was a nice respite.

The Garden district trolley, also known as the St. Charles line (the green trolley) was really great and cheap, $1.25 one ride or $3.00 for a day pass. We opted for the day pass cause we saw that we could connect two more times which would put us back a block from our truck and avoid walking. The green trolley line takes you through this district of historic humongous mansions. You will also pass by Tulane and Loyola University and the Audubon Zoo Gardens. If we were more mobile that day would had gotten off and explored those but we can plan that next time. Hubs and I have been to the city many times in the past so it was just enough to give the girls a taste of its greatness.

If you follow our Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/Trailin1/ you already kinda know all the awesomeness we have been having, please “like” us. Don’t forget to follow us on here as well to keep up with our families trail! Also, our families main source of income is Hippie Hoopla, any purchases on-line allow us to keep our adventure going. Please stop by our site and take a look!

Thanks for your support!

💕HELP SUPPORT our TRAILin adventure at no cost when shopping through our Amazon link! http://amzn.to/2IAHhh8

Boondocking or Bust!

So we really want to Boondock as much as possible. Some of you may not be familiar with this term Boondock. It means to not be hooked up at an RV site with water/electric/sewer. Ewe, yuck, weird, why would we want that you may ask?  Well for one not paying a daily fee for these luxuries is a huge cost saving way to travel. But, it comes at a price, you for sure have to sacrifice some normal daily creature comforts. Depending on the size of your tanks you have to be pretty careful what and how much goes into them. All I’m saying is on boondocking days or even sites w/o full sewer hook-ups, we pee as a family!

So we decided to faux Boondock in my hubs parents driveway for a few days before we headed out West and tried it for realz. The girls slept in the house but we spent 3 nights in the RV and it was a good trial run. We have an RV 12 volt battery that will run stuff like the lights and the a/c and heat but it will also drain very very quickly. I’m still figuring all this battery stuff out so I pretty sure I don’t know what I’m talking about!  Don’t plan on plugging anything in cause it ain’t no 110 volt either, which means no coffee maker or TV. You don’t realize what all you use that’s connected to power until you ain’t got none. I plugged my phone charger into the wall charger cause I wasn’t thinking and about completely drained the battery. The furnace needs electric to run its pump to provide this luxury as well, its also a battery sucker.

One thing we were glad we found out while on our test run was our water pump is not working right. It’s completely fine when hooked up to city water but if it’s not and we want to pump water out of our fresh water tank into our pipes it runs and won’t turn off which will inevitably ruin a motor or something like it. So we have some further trial and error reasurch to do with that but for now we just plan on having no water coming out of a faucet while boondocking, not so awesome.

OK besides the bad there is good, there are so many places to boondock that you may had never known about. For instance just to name a few, these places will let you stay over night in their parking lot; Walmart, Cracker Barrel, Bass Pro Shop, Cabelas, Casinos, truck stops and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few. So why would we want to over night in a Walmart parking lot?  Well besides it being free they are everywhere!!!!  If you are trying to go from point a to point b and it’s 800 miles. Driving as far as you safely can the first day and pulling over into one of these parking lots at night then heading out in the early morning is a cost effective way to travel. If you had paid for a night at a state park or independently owned park it would typically run you $25-$60 depending on location and hook-up. A place you may only be at for 12 hrs to sleep and eat and be on your way sure ain’t worth dishing out the dough. Most likely you will need or want something from these locations and the managers know this so that’s why they allow it.

There are a few boondocking clubs that have recently popped up and it’s becoming really helpful with our boondocking needs. We joined membership based club called Harvest Hosts. You pay a small yearly fee and it gives you access to Winery’s, farms and historical locations around the country that will let you spend the night for free on their property. We recently got to experience our first Harvest Host boondocking stay at a Winery on the Georgia/Alabama border.

Our first real Boondock experience couldn’t had really gone any better. You call ahead to make sure they have space for you, the website gives a bit of info on each location and some pictures, also how big of an area they have and for how many RVs. The family who ran the winery could not had been nicer and even though they were closed on the day we arrived they were super welcoming and gave us a wine tasting. We did purchase a bottle from they which is suggested. The theory being you should spend the amount you might spend on an RV site at the location. So I got a night stay and a bonus bottle of wine is the way to look at it.

While we boondocked at the winery we used battery powered lamps and strung lights inside for light. The fridge runs off electric or propane so for traveling and boondocking it’s on propane. We woke up that morning freezing and our bettery was already pretty low so we cranked up our generator. This will juice back up your battery while it’s running things like your furnace for heat. So our rig did not come with a pre-installed/vented generator. We purchased one and carry it on the back of our RV cargo hold hitch mount. To use this we have to physically take it off the cargo holder and it ain’t light. Plus there is the added bonus of it being super duper loud. We asked the owners the night before if we could run it and they had no problem. However we were not gonna run it all night, we would never sleep due to the noise. If we had pulled over into a Walmart parking lot for the night doing this generator scenario is not an option.

So how do we boondock and run all the things?

The answer is get more batteries and eventually solar.  The more batteries you have the less you will need the generator to charge them back up. Also you can charge the RV battery while it’s hooked up to your truck, but then you run the risk of draining your truck battery.

We have boondocked one more time since our Winery stay and it went in the complete opposite direction. We boondocked at a Casino and we had the option of several in the area and just by sure bad luck picked the wrong one. The parking lot was apparently the parking lot for the unlabeled after hours nightclub across the way that made for a very disrupted night sleep from 3-5am!  For those of you looking to boondock in Biloxi, do not stay at the Hard Rock Casino! The Golden Nugget or Harrahs seem to be way less likely to have a similar result like we had.

We really like the idea of boondocking and once we get our water pump issue solved and gain a few more batteries I can see doing it for longer stretches. Out West there are tons of BLMs –Bureau of Land Management areas that are free or almost free to stay on.  Many people whose rigs are too big to fit in National Parks like Yosemite boondock right outside their entrances as well as the Grand Canyon.  National parks usually have a 35′ limit and ours is 40′. These are places I’m excited to stay for free at, a little bit more off the grid then the Walmart at the closest interstate exit!

If you follow our Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/Trailin1/ you already kinda know all the awesomeness we have been having, please “like” us. Don’t forget to follow us on here as well to keep up with our families trail! Also, our families main source of income is Hippie Hoopla, any purchases on-line allow us to keep our adventure going. Please stop by our site and take a look!

Thanks for your support!

💕HELP SUPPORT our TRAILin adventure at no cost when shopping through our Amazon link! http://amzn.to/2IAHhh8

Stone Mountain

If you’ve never heard of Stone Mountain it’s this geological phenomenon located in Atlanta, GA that is realy quite surreal. Besides being a natural beauty filled with history both good and bad there is so much to do and see for every kind of person and lifestyle. Living in Atlanta we utilized most of all that the Mountain had to offer. Hiking, fishing, history museums, train rides, adventure passes, laser show, tram ride to the top as well as walking up and down. We started camping there with tents a few years back but had never stayed in an RV there. We thought lets spend a week there with our new home and do one last hangout in our hometown before shoving out West.

First things first, the first few mornings were cold, like in the 50’s which we hadn’t experienced since late Spring and it felt so good. We’ve been sweating for about 4 months so this change in temp was a welcoming change.

We went from having no plans to too many plans, not uncommon. Hometown stay meant wanting to see everyone and also enjoy Stone Mountain in our RV. We arrived on a Friday and our lot was kinda unlevel, but so we’re all of them. It took about 2 hours and several repositioning tries to decide that being almost level would just have to be good enough, plus the park was packed so relocating wasn’t even an option. The same night we arrived another family pulled in around 9ish so it was dark. I offered some light assistance from our truck and after briefly chatting discovered they had just moved out of their house into their RV that day and became Fulltimers!  Pretty sure the Universe was looking out for them by placing them next to us.

The following day was great we had friends over for dinner and hit up the infamous laser show at night. I’ve been going to that thing for over a decade and not much has changed and that’s why I love it. Just a reminder the Snow Mtn structure is set up and taken down in the spring/Fall so that takes up half the lawn. Good info if your meeting friends and tell them you’ll be sitting toward the top, cause this time of year that place is no more.  The following day was a whirl wind cause we had our friend/Elli’s speech therapist come out in the morning for a quick evaluation and visit then we were off to meet more friends at lunch time to do all the adventure pass fun!  Train ride, putt-putt, ropes course, tram to the top of the rock and then some. A fun filled packed day to say the least.

The rest of the week we had friends who stayed at the campgrounds a few days near by and it worked out great. We invited even more friends to come out for dinner and had a blast. After everyone left we had 2 days left to kinda chill and do nothing, well kinda. We fished, played at the playground and hiked up the mountain! FYI if you haven’t been to their playground this year it’s new and realy cool. I know I know, the old wooden one rocked too, However they actually relocated the old one to the campgrounds so now you can enjoy them both!

The week really flew by and as sad as we are to say goodbye all our friends and family we are excited to push off our West and explore. This East coast swing was our soft launch cause we were familiar territory. Can’t wait to see how our families adventure plays out in the unknown.

If you follow our Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/Trailin1/ you already kinda know all the awesomeness we have been having, please “like” us. Don’t forget to follow us on here as well to keep up with our families trail! Also, our families main source of income is Hippie Hoopla, any purchases on-line allow us to keep our adventure going. Please stop by our site and take a look!

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Pirate Matthew Argh

So as I mentioned in the last post I’m 2 weeks behind and really want to fill you all in on everything but with my really especially horrible short term memory, the farther I get from the actually happenings the likelihood of me recalling such events drastically plummets. I’ll remember this week really well in 2 years, I gots rockstar long term memory! With Hurricane Matthew that just raged along the East coast it kinda ties into our 2nd week at Tybee. So here we go…

Our family has a timeshare at a condo on Tybee Island, GA and it is a numbered week that usually falls the last week of September into October. But remember, everything shifts early this year due to Moon phases and tide changes 🙂 Our week was really early! If it had fallen as usual we would had evacuated that Thursday due to the mandatory evacuation of the island. So thank you Universe and all your Moon/tide juju working in our families favor.

OK now let’s talk about all the fun stuff we did at a Tybee while we stayed in the Condo. We went to the beach, end story!  Literally I don’t think much else took place. We parked our truck on Saturday in the condo parking lot and didn’t move it to go somewhere again until the following Friday. When you can walk out your back door to the beach why would you go anywhere else?  I should mention this was a particularly warm week as well, highs in the upper 80’s and lows in the low 70’s. I don’t even think it did more than a light sprinkle once all week either. In the past we’ve been freezing and rained out so it’s a crap shoot this time of year. But the major perk is that it’s off season and no one is really there but us. The following week is the islands Pirate festival which we sadly always miss and sadly was cancelled due to the hurricane.

The one major obstacle we faced this week was where to store our home?  I started this search way back in July. I knew our rig would never fit in the condo parking lot, our Dulley was a tight squeeze. I called the islands visitors center, police dept and city hall and they all said the same thing, check with the River’s End Campground. Yes the camp ground we stayed at the previous week. I actually called them first and the response I got was they did do storage but only for locals with a Tybee drivers licence!  The fact that none of these official depts. knew this is kinda nutso.

So as recommended by the campground I called a couple of local storage facilities and none had enough space to accommodate us. I also reached out to several marinas that stored boats and again hit a roadblock. I even tried to pull some strings with family members and see if their local business owners/friends had any pull with our situation and again nothing was looking in our favor. Every inch of public parking on the island is run by the city and you have to pay every day from 8-8 no exception. I reached out to them to see about a special permit and the lady helping me was able to speak with her boss about allowing us to park on the street across from city hall. We would take up 2 spots but we would only be charged for 1. Great, problem solved, kinda!

The week before while at the campground we swung by the spot they suggested to park and it for sure would fit, we know because we busted out the measuring tape and measured it!. But it would only fit if all the stars were aligned in our favor and no one parked at the two spots near the cross street. Backing into these would be our only shot, there’s no parallel parking this beast. The road we were to park on is also the main road on the island so relatively speaking its busy. The thought of leaving our rig alone was starting to not seem so awesome. Day before the relocation we started calling camp grounds further outside of Savannah as well as storage facilities.

We really lucked out and found a secure and fenced in storage area where the guy who ran it lived on site. We really couldn’t get any safer and it was cheaper then if we parked on the original street spot, by half!  So an adventure in finding this spot that started out 3 months previous was pulled together 24hrs before Go time. Wow didn’t expect to talk so much about this parking issue but it was rather stressful and if I can help one person out by giving any helpful tips then I did my job!

I should add that with storing the RV we had to deal with all that lived in the fridge, we were not hooked up to power while stored. Do we bring it with us for the week at the condo or leave the propane tank on and cross our fingers it don’t run out? Well in the end not knowing much about how much propane suckage a fridge on full time eats up we decided to relocate the goods. It was a pain in the butt, however it made grocery shopping light and we were able to toss some extra things we really were not gonna eat anytime soon away.

So yea we wrapped up our 2 week Tybee tour on a good note and headed inland back to our hometown HOTLANTA!  One swing through the mother-ship before our big adventure out West truly begins.  You will not want to miss out on all the Westerly adventures.  Make sure you subscribe to our website to get emailed updates on all the newly posted blogs.

If you follow our Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/Trailin1/ you already kinda know all the awesomeness we have been having, please “like” us. Don’t forget to follow us on here as well to keep up with our families trail! Also, our families main source of income is Hippie Hoopla, any purchases on-line allow us to keep our adventure going. Please stop by our site and take a look!

Thanks for your support!

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It Feels Like We’re On Vacation!

Well that’s the whole point of doing this, to live life as though there is nothing to escape from. My husband said while we were discussing life that

“It feels like we’re on vacation!”

Plus we’re at the beach and we have always gone to the beach for our family vacations. When you pull kids out of school and begin homeschooling there is a time period called deschooling. It’s a grace period where you let them settle in and don’t really hold any expectations for a bit of time so they can adjust to their new norm. I feel like this is his deschooling or rather deworking grace period.  The girls and I have had our rhythm of sorts for a long time and we too are adjusting to our new norm. But his transition is a bit more drastic and I hope he can soak it up and enjoy.

So we left South Carolina last week and have been on the Georgia coast. We spent 2 days at Skidaway State Park and it was beautiful.  The lots were big and well kept and you were basically in a Forrest with Spanish moss dripping on you everywhere, it was kinda magical. Our first night there was a Harvest Moon and we took a lovely hike to the attached March to watch the sunset and try to get a glimpse of what my kids called the punkin moon. Sadly we were not in a good angle to watch it’s rise but we did see it later when it was still huge, just not a punkin.

 

The next day we visited a near by marina that also had a picnic area and swimming beach. We originally thought we were going to fish and paddle board but there was too much Eco life to explore. The crabs were insane, gazillions of them. We also got to help a local guy retrieve shrimp from his bait net which the girls loved and we now own one to do the same, cause it’s so cool and fun!  The next morning before we headed out the Rangers had a reptile feeding and it was as fantastic. Watched snakes, turtles and alligators eat and learned so much.
We only relocated a few short miles across the marsh to the coast of Savannah on Tybee Island at the Rivers End RV/campgrounds. We have been going to the island for over a decade but never camped there and were excited to go so. We arrived w/o any drama, set up camp and headed to the beach. The 3 short blocks they claim you can walk to the beach is a bit of a stretch. It’s more like 3 long blocks then a cut through a large parking lot, then the long bridge to get to the beach. So maybe more like a 20 min walk would be more accurate!  It wouldn’t had mattered except for the 4 yr old and they are not particularly awesome after long stays at beach then long walks home in the heat when sandy. Let’s just say we didn’t walk there again. We figured out a way to ride bikes with all our beach crap.

 

Our whole week on Tybee flew buy with lots of bike rides and beach trips. We got a bunch of stuff checked off our to-get list with a trip to Bass Pro, Walmart and Auto Zone. Girls played with kids daily staying at the park and Elli worked on Skateboarding everyday. She was also able to do a drop in class with 4H run by UGA with a field trip to the beach to explore beach ecology. The weather was hot hot hot but the pool and beach kept us cool.

 

One of the main reasons we took this first stay along the GA coast was due to the family timeshare we get to enjoy every fall on Tybee. This next week we actually go on vacation and store the RV for week while we stay at a condo on the beach. Tune in next week to see how week 2 on Tybee Island shakes out.

If you follow our Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/Trailin1/ you already kinda know all the awesomeness we have been having, please “like” us. Don’t forget to follow us on here as well to keep up with our families trail! Also, our families main source of income is Hippie Hoopla, any purchases on-line allow us to keep our adventure going. Please stop by our site and take a look!

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Oh Oh Julia

Ok now that we are on the road official let’s talk about all the fun stuff we did!  We stayed at James Island Co. Park in Charelston, SC for a week and it couldn’t had been a better starting off point for our family. The park had so much fun nature based activities such as biking, kayaking, paddleboarding, wall climbing, fishing, frisby golf and a great playground and slash pad. It’s a super easy ride to Folly beach and although you are surrounded by every creature commercial comfort you could need right outside its enterance you would never know its there while you were chilling at you RV site.

We were close to family and got to enjoy their company all week and swim at their house, go out to eat and visit at the beach. The beach was perfect, the weather in September was still super humid hot in the 90’s and the ocean temps were so comfortable. We worried about parking our beast of a truck at the breach cause parking is mostly off street and parallel parking it would not be easy. All 3 days we went we found end of the road large parking spots and had zero issues pulling it in, and it was free!

After Charleston we moved down south a bit to Edisto Beach. I had always heard great things about it. Basically a private beach that not many visit compared to near by beaches, not a very big beach town. The shells are supposed to be the big attraction and they were not kidding.
So we had to pack up in the rain for the relocation, both of us wore our swim trunks cause it did not look like any chance of it being dry at all that day. We had zero issues pulling out of our lot, yea!  We arrived in the dark and left in a thunderstorm. However what I thought was a thunderstorm was actually a tropical storm. Someone wasn’t paying attention to the bigger picture on the weather app, oops!

After an afternoon layover at Costco we h added to Edisto during the peek of  tropical storm Julia circling over us, it had stalled out on top of our RV:(. We had to make a mad dash to our truck and RV in a complete downpour. Imagine the very furthest point of a Costco parking lot from the front door and that’s where we were parked. But when we first rolled into the parking lot a family came up to us to mention that they too were Fulltime RVers and wanted to take a pic of our bike rack on top of our truck, that was a nice treat!

Ok so we pull into Edisto Beach State Park  and it’s still a tropical storm outside, literally. The lot number they had us in was not doable even in good weather conditions. They gave us 2 other spots to check out and they worked out way better, plus a view of the actual ocean. The RV was a rockin and rollin all day and through the overnight. The weather had for sure settled down by daybreak. Girls and I went for a stroll on the beach.

This beach is known for its sea shells and it did not disappoint. It’s hard to say how much of it is as the storm bringing more to shore or if it was biz as usual. Man there was just huge whole seashells everywhere. Our bucket filled up fast and was heavy. I found a whole sand dollar that was not alive so I could keep it!  My daughter found a really interesting shell that had spots like a giraffe or leopard. We first thought it was perhaps a turtle egg shells since they had protected dunes on this beach. Later with a little googling we discovered it was a part of a leopard crab shell. Turtle egg shells are soft, who knew, do now!

While taking pics back at our site of our haul I had stepped in one of the dozens of ant hills that appeared out of nowhere after the storm. I got bit about a dozen times, been there done that. But sometimes my body decides to over react, this was one of them.  About 10 minutes after the bites I started to feel fuzzy, lightheaded, rapid heartbeat and extremely hot. Pretty sure I was lucid or passed out while waiting for my hubs and daughter to arrive back from the beach, I text alerted them I was going down. My face was on fire, I kept putting ice packs on it. After I felt a bit more normal I slept pretty much the whole day, getting up here and there to hang out with family who came to visit. It was not my best health day, I struggled to do anything but lay down and rest. Oh and the entire day we were infested with love bugs! Like a the wrath of the locust after the storm, it was insane.

 

All in all Edisto was a bust but we will be back for sure, I can see its potential!  Watching the ocean from your window does not suck. The town is super duper small and I love that about it. I’d take that over all the places to eat and shop at any day! One small warning, the water from the hook-up is salty so bring in your own. I was warned and even told my hubs and he decided to chance it and it was what I was warned about. We drank out of bottled water the whole time which I hate all that waste.

 

Thanks for the memories South Carolina,we had a blast!  Couldn’t had asked for a better first Fulltiming on the road trip!  We will always swing through the Coastal SC area cause our family lives near by. Plus it’s just gorgeous and lots to see and enjoy.

If you follow our Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/Trailin1/ you already kinda know all the awesomeness we have been having, please “like” us. Don’t forget to follow us on here as well to keep up with our families trail! Also, our families main source of income is Hippie Hoopla, any purchases on-line allow us to keep our adventure going. Please stop by our site and take a look!

Thanks for your support!

💕HELP SUPPORT our TRAILin adventure at no cost when shopping through our Amazon link! http://amzn.to/2IAHhh8