Applying For Passports On The Road and Out Of State!

So your on the road fulltime and no where near the state which is your state of residence and you decide you want to cross the boarder in to Canada or Mexico, now what?  Get a passport easy peasy, right?  Well not so much as we soon found out while doing our research.

Us waiting outside cause it was freezing in the middle of June inside the building, totally not loitering.
Because you are trying to obtain a passport out of state you will need to provide more than your drivers licence and birth certificate. And when I say more, it’s a lot more, it’s crazy how much more! Good news is all the paperwork can be filled out ahead of time on line here!

Here is a list of a few acceptable ways you can prove your a US citizen to obtain your passport. This is the website we got our information from as well as calling local office to confirm! You can also check out this PDF!

*All the ones that are in bold font are what we used.

  1. Drivers License
  2. Birth Certificate
  3. State ID
  4. Military ID & photo
  5. Pilot Licence & photo
  6. Student ID card
  7. Current Green CARD
  8. Employment ID card & photo
  9. Expired passport

OK the list goes on and here is where it starts to get weird with the Secondary list!

  1. College Diploma
  2. High school yearbook
  3. Baptism certificate
  4. Credit card
  5. Voting registration
  6. Vehicle registration
  7. Proof of vehicle registration
  8. Proof of health insurance
  9. Marriage Certificate
  10. Divorce Decrees
  11. Welfare Card
  12. Mortgage
  13. Pay Stub
  14. W-2
  15. Social Security Card

OK not so weird but the baptism cert was interesting, and interesting enough I had mine thanks to my parents shoving it in the envelope with my birth certificate, thanks guys! Also a fun fact when clearing out everything and downsizing to move into our RV we were totally gonna trash our college diplomas.  They have sat rolled in a tube for almost 2 decades, never needing to be used to show proof of our brain power.  We decided we’d minimize their space and fold them up and stick in an envelope and put in out travel filing bin.  That was the first time those ever came in handy and probably the last!

When you go to a USPS location to apply you need to have made a photo copy of all the piece of documentation your submitting. Note: you will also need to make sure you make a copy if the documentation has any writing or info on the back. As we found out while we were in their office double sided photo prints are not acceptable, they need to be on a separate piece of paper. If your submitting your credit card make sure you take a black sharpie and cross through the number and 3 digit number on back, as well as cross through the number on the back copy cause you can still see the imprint of the credit card number.

When submitting this info to the person handling your application put the copy with original in your file. Show both to the employee and they will keep the copy, except for the birth certificate. This they will take your original along with copy and send in with your application. When you receive your Passport a separate envelope will be mailed back with all your copies and the original birth certificate.

If you are applying for your child’s passport who is under 18 you will need to copy and submit the same documentation. Make sure each child has their own set of copies to submit with their application.

Exhausted yet from the crazy amount of steps needed to take, we were too. What made our experience with the USPS worker a slight nightmare was the fact that she was extremely vague and made us feel like we were trying to pull a fast one on her. A long and tedious process was made harder by the fact that she wasn’t so awesome. And she wasn’t having a bad day, the lady where we paid our fee at said the passport lady was “hard”. Grumpy was more like it!

Ok so when you go to get your passport at the office you can call to set up an appointment or find a location that accepts walk-ins. We called a lot of offices and none of them had any appointments before 3 weeks out, our time was getting tight. We did find a walk-in place and prepared to be there a while not knowing what to expect. When we arrived there were 2 solo people ahead of us and a family finishing up. Families will just take longer cause it’s a lot of documentation to dish out and paperwork to sign, photos to take, checks to sign. But we were in and out in about 2 hours, which we thought under the circumstances for a walk-in where pretty good!

Here is where everything got awesome!  So the processing time is generally 6-8 weeks. You can pay extra for a faster turn around time. These things ain’t cheap so adding this fee on top of our family of fours budget was too much so we decided to take our chances that they would be a little speedy, we had heard that 3-4 weeks was more the norm.

So a week after we submitted our application we get a phone call from a passport office cause the whole out of state application situation I guess isn’t common and we got red flagged? The guy was just wondering why we were doing it out of state. We told him the truth that we are traveling around and decided to go visit friends in Canada and our home base state isn’t on our traveling path before then. Our state of residency is Texas for Fulltime RV/biz/homeschooling purposes. Before that we resided in Georgia for several decades and had a brief stay in Mississippi. All the different address I guess seemed fishy to them. But the guy said it all sounded fine and said they would ship out our passport in the next few days!

2 weeks, it was 2 weeks from application submission to them being in the mail and on their way to us. This is incredible, especially for the USPS and any government office turn around time. We almost wonder if our out of state/red-flagged situation got put on that special guys desk and that made it get fast tracked through their system?  Either way I’ll take it!

So we are now officially free to wander the world! First stop is Canada this fall for an RV rally at our friends RV resort. We also need to swing through Mexico for some dental work this Winter. But after that, who knows! It’s just nice to know if we had an out of the blue invitation to Bali for the weekend we could just get on that plane and go!

Ohh and a bonus, I have a pretty decent mugshot pic on mine I don’t have to hate for the next 10 years!  My youngest daughter on the other hand has a giant scratch on her nose and looks like a serial killer, Just kidding, not really!

If you follow our Facebook page 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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Happy Nomadiversary To Us – Top 5 Lessons Learned! 

Holy cow, what just happened?  How did an entire year go by of living in our RV?  There were for sure times where days felt like weeks and seasons would never end, BUT! We have never put a time limit on our fulltime traveling but I can’t even imagine only doing this for a year, which is a typical goal a lot subscribe to.

If you’ve seen everything all in a year your moving super fast and man you must be exhausted! We took the Southern route from the Atlantic Ocean to Pacific Ocean and back and we still want to see so many things we missed along this route. The Grand Canyon for one, how did we miss that big hole in the ground? Well it was Winter and its snowy and cold that time of year so not ideal, at least not for us!So a year in and we have no future plans of stopping this life style. We’ve learned a few things and have tweaked a few of our travel norms as well. Plus we know that if we don’t adapt swiftly to change our lives will be pretty miserable. Everyday the road throws you a curve ball and if you don’t roll with the punches it will beat you down and your lucky if it spits you back out.

OK, so a few major things we figured out while traveling were

#1 – We bought a camp ground membership to Thousand Trails. 

In a nut shell the Thousand Trails membership lets you stay at one of their numerous locations for cheap or free for up to 3 weeks at a time depending on your level of membership you purchased. I won’t go into the tricky ins and outs of it cause it’s kinda like buying airline tickets. We started out with their basic Zone pass and 6 months later we now have one of their highest level Elite memberships (bought used). The way we are traveling, this upgrade just made sense financially and it was a less stressful way to travel as well, here’s why:

  • We gained access to more parks (81 nation wide).
  • We can stay for 3 weeks at each location.
  • We can move from park to park w/o having to stay out of the system.
  • We don’t have to pay any additional fee per day unless we need 50amp at some of them.
  • We can book out 120 days in advance.
  • Discounts at more reciprocal RV resorts.
  • It’s soooo affordable, it’s not a posh resort by any stretch. It’s like like Forrest Gump said about the box of chocolates, “you never know what your gonna get”.
  • We’ve met a lot of great families at these parks and run into each other again at others across the country, it’s fun!

#2 – The weather isn’t something you will ever figure out.

We set out to stay the Winter in Southern California cause, well, it’s Southern Cali, mild and sunny, RIGHT? Sooo wrong, at least in our experience. It was a record breaking year for rain this past Winter where we stayed and man it was not awesome. So much rain and wind and cold that seemed never ending!  I lived in San Diego a few decades back, I know what it’s supposed to be like, this was the opposite. Also the wind, who knew that the Southern CA/AZ/NM/TX region had a windy Winter season, yes everyone except us! We had an amazing week planned to visit several National Parks in New Mexico and had to make hard and fast decisions to divert while driving to get ahead of this front we were driving strait into. Where we were heading was reporting 30-50 mph sustained winds with 80 mph gusts, that’s Tropical Storm worthy.  So back tracking through New Mexico is on our to do list cause we really still want to go to White Sands and Carlsbad Caverns National Park!

National Parks pass is our #3, it’s a must have!  

It’s soooo amazing and a really cheap and amazing way to see the country. $80 for an annual family pass or cheaper if your a senior/military/disabled or like us next year we have a 4th grader in tow which earns us a free one for the year, thanks to the Every Kid In A Park program! It’s really easy to spend all the money sightseeing, but if you enjoy the outdoors, hiking & history then this pass is a no-brainer. We’ve come to realize these parks are huge and being able to go back multiple times is a huge perk.  Trying to cram it all in one day is exhausting.  Plus they have a really amazing Jr. Ranger program which gives our kids a chance to earn a badge or patch while learning about the park they are exploring.  Its homeschooling made easy and personally I’ve learned more about these places just from visiting than I ever did in a school book.  One of our favorite shows is Rock the Park on ABC as well as Netflix and Hulu.  If you don’t get a chance to visit all the parks this show will give you a great overview of whats there to explore.  #4 – Something we couldn’t predict, but it really was a possibility was that things would break and need fixing/replacing on our RV/Truck.

We bought new and a big perk was the warranty for this exact reason. However, once all your stuff is in your RV the thought of having to take it to a dealership for warranty work and either sleep over night in the RV dealership parking lot or get a hotel seems less than ideal. We picked a company that has built a great customer service reputation, Grand Design. Their stuff breaks just like all the other competitors, but the way they handle it is the big difference. Most parts/furnishings come from the same handful of distributors and quality control has a long way to go in this industry, sigh! To avoid the above mentioned scenarios we’ve had parts shipped to us, called ahead and had parts shipped to dealership and had Mobil techs sent out to fix the problem. I’ve heard of many horror stories of those spending weeks to months in a dealership to get warranty work done. RV dealerships are a major part of the RV industries problem as well regarding communication breakdown and lack of customer service. Choosing to repair things our self, sometimes even out of pocket was worth the money in exchange for our sanity. That’s why deciding to DIY as much as possible has made our lives way more easier to keep this journey going. So many things have broke and if you let it get you down you will miss whats right outside you door.

Take a look at our laundry list of repairs

Finally, #5 is taking time to enjoy the adventure.

It’s easy to swiftly move from one national treasure to the next and not even stop to smell the roses, just checking it off your sight seeing list. We have slowed down some and are trying to soak up as much of our surroundings as possible before we pack up and move on down the road. Everyone has their own path and feeling, sometimes feeling like your not living up to an expectation or feeling sorry or guilty for missing a must see spot.

Our journey is unfolding exactly the way it’s supposed to be. Do I get sad cause our rig is too big to fit into some really amazing camp sites, yes!  But I’m thankful for all the things that rig does for us and it’s the right size for our needs at this exact moment. We’ve met a lot of people who have been doing this a long time and are moving on to new adventures like fulltime living on a sailboat, downsizing to a smaller RV, buying a campground, buying land to build a house on and the list goes on and on. It’s so interesting to watch all these stories change and unfold. We have no timeline as mentioned before, we are having a blast on this adventure and cant wait to see what this next year brings!

Check out our RV inside and out


If you follow our Facebook page 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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Implosion of a Shelf

While we travel we encounter a lot of bumpy roads which sometimes lead to things not holding up well inside our home on wheels. One of these such instances was one of our built in storage shelf cabinets. One day when I went to retrieve some thing out of it I had discovered that the base of it had imploded. These cabinets are not very user friendly because they are very deep. They are made this way I suppose because they are the depth of the couch they are next to and double as a side table. Since we removed the couch these became kinda more of a nuisance then a usable addition to our home.

At the same time I discovered this implosion we were also removing book shelf that was also at the point of implosion and needed to come up with a plan for its replacement. Realizing even if we were going to simply fix the imploded base the only way to do so was to take off the side pho-wood panel. Since it’s stapled on like everything else in an RV it was easy to remove. Once off we realized we could build up a secondary shelf and reuse the panel for extra base and trim work.

We love the finished result. Love being able to access everything in this shelf easily. There is also another one of these shelf/cabinets on the other side of the wall which may be another project in our future. 
We also purchased a new table and chairs. We have never liked the pedestal table that came with our RV. It was heavy and the top came wobbly more than not when we traveled.

We love this new Ingatorp IKEA table we got that has folding sides.We also got 2 IKEA folding chairs and it’s so much easier on travel days to secure them. Simply fold and put under the table. We love IKEA, check out our IKEA post about all the RV friendly items we love, IKEA: Why RVers love it!

If you have never been to IKEA than you don’t know of all the awesomeness that it entails. Its one thing to just buy something online but the store itself is an adventure. We’ve been to several across the US and its pretty uncanny how they are all set up exactly the same. I know I know lots of stores do this, but they do it consistently. It really irks me to go into a superstore thinking I can find the product I’m seeking and not only have they relocated it but it is not carried at that said location. We love IKEA for this and so much more and here is why.

Here is a quick video of finished shelf

Also check out a full tour of our 2016 Grand Dedign Refection 367bhs

If you follow our Facebook page 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!






 RV Extras: Wants vs Needs

Wants vs needs can be a very fine line at times. Some people simple want and need different things. Having never owned an RV or traveled extensively we were not sure what our wants and needs would be. But we did do our research and got a feel for where other families who full-timed in an RV drew their line between the two.

OK so buying a new RV there are many need items that are not included. Just to be clear this is only our want list, I will follow up with a link to our need list in the near future. We also included items for our Truck as well since we never owned a truck before and it’s really an extension of your living space with the RV fulltiming lifestyle. We bought a used 2010 Ford F350 Super Duty Dulley Long-bed.

There are so many gadgets and upgrades that can make your RV life more comfortable and streamlined when traveling. Also some people in general are more organized in their living environment so storage needs and wants will differ for many. The size of your rig and family, as well as the location you feel you’ll be traveling around in too.

Our wants are based on a family of four with young children, no pets, enjoy outdoor activities and adventures, follow warmer weather climates, like an organized environment and also run a family business out of our RV. Nothing on these lists were items we owned prior to purchasing our new RV.

Besides the following list we also will provide you with our list of items purchased at IKEA. Check back for updated link!

The following items are all linked to our TRAILin Amazon Affiliates account where we receive a small percentage from your purchase at no cost to you. Thank you for following and supporting our families adventure.

You can also check out a video of the first day we picked up our Grand Design Reflection 2016 367bhs before all these wants were added! Please subscribe to our YouTube page, we need more follower to gain the coveted access to a legit http:// name!

Dishes & Cooking

  1. CORELLE – Winter Frost White Dishes

2. InstantPot Slowcooker glass lid


  1. ENO straps
  2. ENO Bug Net
  3. ENO Doublenest Hammock
  4. ENO pillow
  5. Hammock stand

TRUCK accessories

  1. Phone mount
  2. Running boards
  3. Yakima cross bars
  4. Q-clips
  5. Yakima Q Towers set
  6. Sports rack bike mount
  7. Yakima Windshield
  8. Bike rack for ladder
  9. Bench seat console 
  10. Back seat storage
  11. Walkie Talkies

Kid Accessories

  1. Kidz Gear headphones
  2. Headphone splitter adapter
  3. Fan with Clips 


  1. Berkey Water Filtration System
  2. Berkey Spigot
  3. Set of 2 extra filters


  1. Shower head
  2. Shower head holder


  1. Cuisinart Tabletop Grill 
  2. Grill hose adapter
  3. Grill Cover

RV Misc.

  1. Screen door bar 
  2. States Map 
  3. Cargo carrier #1
  4. Cargo carrier #2
  5. Ladder/chair rack
  6. Awning anchor kit
  7. Generator cover
  8. Guitar hanger wall mount
  9. Spice rack clips
  10. Outdoor solar lights 

If you follow our Facebook page 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!



Six Months Fulltime RVing, What Has Broken?

So we have officially hit our 6 month mark of hauling our family in an RV around the country. There’s the constant back and forth when buying an RV if you should buy new or used. There are for sure benefits to both and here is why.

Although we have never owned a used RV, we have owned a used house before and we can back up a lot of these statements. When you buy used you are hoping the previous owner fixed all the major things unless your buying as is and your job now is gonna be routine maintenance and some aesthetic updates here and there. The older the property for sure major things like roofs and flooring along with major appliances will need updating and replacing. Our home was 20 years old when we bought it and while living in it we replaced the roof and gutters and updated all lighting, painted and bought a new fridge. The previous owners had just replaced the furnace and water heater, stove & dishwasher before we moved in and for sure the next owners will need to think about siding and windows in their near future. So like a regular house an RV home needs the same kinda love and upkeep.

So why is buying new just as big a gamble as used?

Originally we were not gonna buy new, due to the previously stated facts above as well as budget. We went to a few RV shows just so we could walk in a bunch of models all at once to get a feel for our wants and needs. At our first show we discovered the Midbunk model and it was all down hill from there. This is a fairly new concept in the RV world and it is very rare to find any used ones for sale at the time we were looking. So new it was gonna be for us so we focused on the pros of owning new!

Buying new means no one has lived in it previously so everything should be new and work like new, right? Depending on the company and RV dealer you purchase from you will get a warranty for a few years to utilize in case things do break, and they always do. Being new to the RV world this was appealing to us. A new RV means no one has lived in it so any allergies you may have to pets or smoke will not be a factor to have to worry about. We have relatives who purchased an RV that was stationary and previous owners hid mothballs everywhere, even under the trailer where it sits all year round. They have found most of them and removed them but I still cannot linger inside of it for long do to the smell. A new model should also not have any hidden things wrong like leaks, mold or infestation that sometimes goes unnoticed even upon an inspection. Then there is the fact you can decorate anyway you want and not have to reverse others personal style and tastes. The RV industry is pretty standard with its interior design or lack there of, so most know what their in for with the decor upon a new purchase.

When you live in your RV fulltime and travel with it a lot of things are gonna need more tending to than if your a weekend warrior and only doing a handful of excursions a year. We knew this and were prepared, or so we thought! We decided on Grand Design because of their reputation for producing a far superior RV and above and beyond customer service. We looked at a couple of competitors midbunk models and you could tell the workmanship in the Grand Design was higher quality. But and it’s a really big but, most of these RV companies purchase the same parts from the same companies. It’s like buying a can of peas, you can buy generic or a trusted mainstream companies. Most likely they are the same product, packaged in the same warehouse just with a different label and one costs more.  You may be one of the lucky ones who just happens to get the rig where everyone who assembled it was on their A-game or it could have been assembled by a disgruntled employee who is overworked and has health problems and couldn’t care less if there is 1 or 10 screws holding up the cabinet.

So all that being said it’s a crap shoot and in the end we wanted a company that if things went wrong would work with us not against us to get it fixed fast. Grand Design (now owned by Winnebago) again and again gets all of this hype and in our experience has lived up to it. I’ve heard a lot of complaints about other companies not handling warranty work well. But warranty work is a whole other beast of a blog unto itself for another day to discuss. Check out a video of the first day we picked up our Grand Design Reflection 2016 367bhs

OK, here is our good, bad and ugly list of what has needed to be fixed in our first 6 months:

  1. Water pump – bought new one
  2. Furnace – had it serviced and now it works (out for pocket)
  3. Toilet -GD shipped new one & we installed & it happened again, its the foot petal (GD send another one)
  4. Floor divot from slide – covered with peal & stick flooring
  5. Wall outlets – bought new ones(box, outlet & cover)
  6. Closet hanging bar broke off- replaced our self
  7. Back window seal – still leaks when it rains sideways 
  8. Slide rubber seal – GD sent replacement to dealership and they adjusted slides. 
  9. Propane regulator – bought new one
  10. Leaky breaks – Lippert sent out techs to fix, so far so good!
  11. Door clasp that keeps it shut – our fault, Replaced our self
  12. Slide molding – our fault, still not fixed
  13. Outdoor water filter attachment, got different water filter
  14. AC in midbunk – DIY fan fix
  15. Propane pigtail – bought new one
  16. Shower sealed incorrectly – silicone
  17. Cargo Carrier hitch bent – user error as well as I-10 in Louisiana should be avoided at all costs! We went with a different model 2nd time around, this was the 2nd cargo carrier & upgraded generator cover we purchased!

So do we regret buying new after looking at this laundry list of things that we’ve had to fix the past 6 months?  No way! We love our rig, the midbunk has been such a great layout for our families needs.  There was no way of knowing any of these things would happen and there is no way of knowing what will need fixing on a used RV either.  Some of the things listed were completely rookie mistakes on our part, others are what you should just expect when you travel fulltime.  Some are personal concerns cause we want to boondock more that not and need things to function properly w/o being hooked up to power.

Hopefully we have shook out all the major things that need fixing for a while and can enjoy our lifestyle a bit without having to be in fix-it mode.

If you follow our Facebook page 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!