Longer Than Expected

We had planned to leave Houston headed… somewhere on Monday, however a series of events kept us here longer than we thought. I have spent the past days parting with the last keepsakes I once said I’d never rid of and selling a few things.

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Hammy McHammerson

I know some think it strange that I’m doing this when I don’t have to, especially because it really has felt traumatizing. I have kept some sentimental items and left a few irreplaceable photos behind (meaning not digitized).

We are still taking much more than we need, that’s for certain. We are looking for a trailor hitch so we can make ourselves a little more comfortable and take along large items (like the Pack n’ Play, which we are only keeping for the coming baby in six months, so for now it will just be stored).

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One set of pickup items for a teacher; a small fraction of my stuffs

In retrospect a van may have been the best vehicle choice for our purposes. A vehicle we can sleep in would be invaluable, as much as we adore our Buick Lesabre. Oh well; one of many lessons we have learned.

We have no clue when we’re leaving, so I’m going to start planning side jobs like I’m available.

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Mostly photo fails

I’m very eager to leave Texas. I love my family and recovery family, however after being mostly pain free for months my pain level has steadily increased daily in Texas. Upon realizing this and expressing the correlation I found it’s not uncommon for this climate to negatively affect chronic pain sufferers. Who knew, eh?

Some Time in Texas

This week has been refreshing after being isolated from anyone familiar for so long. We love our friends and family in Texas, but after a few days here we are reminded this does not feel like our home. We plan to leave tomorrow.

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Borrowing grandpa’s binoculars 

We enjoyed many hours several days in a row at our recovery hangout. A couple of times I had opportunities to earn good money doing fairly simple personal tasks for people, and being wanted at the club took priority both times.

I know most people would say that it’s insane to skip out on opportunity for money right now, but our family knows God’s will, helping others, comes first.

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Bonding with old friends

We were generously offered a small gift that allowed us to have a little cash for the week… Perhaps just what we’re supposed to need, but certainly less than the jobs would have earned.

It is an endless battle to keep from being overwhelmed by finances. Although now it may seem reasonable, I have been stressed about money as long as I can remember (including when I had a great job, paid zero in rent, was debt free and had thousands in the bank). Perhaps the desperation will finally break me from feeling driven by a paycheck.

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Belly photo, 13ish weeks

This week I saw many loved ones with a few surprises. Some are confused as to why we are leaving again. Some think we’re being irresponsible.

The majority say, “You’re totally insane, but I wish I could do what you’re doing.”

YOU CAN. Seriously. If we can, anyone can. We have made SO MANY mistakes. We seriously could have died on that logging road off 101.

Let me know in the comments if you’d be interested in a list of our “What not-to-do’s” on the road!

San Diego and some Texas

After Palm Springs, we had a couple of locations in mind that were within two hours of where we were. The first place we checked out, a KOA in Pomona (which offered complimentary breakfast and a pool) looked like not much more than a parking lot. It was definitely geared more towards long term RVs, and the tent sites were currently being worked on. We decided it wasn’t for us and drove to San Diego instead.

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Bouncing Pillow

San Diego was a Resort KOA, and because this weekend had a promotional discount it was packed. We stayed from Wednesday through Saturday night and Aramis had the absolute time of his life playing with tons of people. We never even swam; he spent hours everyday jumping on what they called bouncing pillows, thick rubber balloons the size of several trampolines filled with air from an electric pump. The rest was spent on the playground, which of course was a hub of child activity. They also offered free little train rides which was fun to ride and watch. It was pretty special.

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Little Train Ride

It was also the end of ideas, and after a tense couple of days we just decided to drive to Houston after hitting the crossroads before El Paso. We drove twelve hours yesterday, stayed in a cheap motel for a few hours and drove all day today to surprise Aramis with his grandparents. He’s currently overloaded with toys and hopefully getting ready for bed.

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Mmmmmm beanss

I’m hoping to see my sister as soon as I can since our plans change often and quickly. We have no clue what we’re doing anymore. Weeeeeee. I’m ready for work; we just have to figure out where.

Palm Springs KOA

After being soaked by rain in Oregon with a dismal weekly forecast, we sadly had to bypass seeing family. We couldn’t camp in those conditions and the timing was off for my family (illness, upcoming surgery and travel) so we headed back South to dry off in a new place where it pretty much never rains: Palm Springs. A campground was recently purchased and converted into a KOA (like Motel 6 for campgrounds, but some get pretty fancy) where we have a membership.

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God’s covenant

It’s fantastic here. Cool at night, hot during the day, heated pool kept at 85° and three covered hot tubs kept at varying temperatures. All three spas and pool are fed by the Desert Hot Springs, which are rich in minerals and believed to have healing properties. The pool area has a reading room, card room, rec room, dining hall (not currently open) and sauna. Nearby is the playground, dog park, miniature golf, horseshoes, tennis, and 2 basketball courts all with free equipment to use. Because it’s “new” they have a great promotion to stay two nights and get the third for free. It’s kind of an amazing deal (and it’s cheaper than most Cali camps, too), and we need as cheap as we can get. If you are enjoying our journey and are interested in contributing to our needs, please message me for details.

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Our tent is SUPER cozy

Bandon, Oregon

(This was written Thursday, but not posted until this morning due to uploading issues.)

Yesterday morning we left Giant Redwoods RV and Camp and headed North on 101. I highly recommend this drive for people who love the road. The two days we drove on it were both bathed in trees towering over the road from every side and scenic mountain top views on smooth pavement with a 55-65 mph speed limit. The ocean views coming into Oregon are unique from the California coast in the low fog that likes to drift. In some places the combination of moisture in the air and crystal sunlight gleaming off the waves made the ocean look solid white, like glass. It was something special.20170501_134334

We stopped at a Walmart, got the oil changed and car looked at (after our treacherous dirt road drive) and are now at a KOA right outside Bandon off 101. It’s nice, but the mist makes it so wet it might as well be raining in the morning. We could use the practice caring for a wet tent. The days are a little sunnier, and I requested the site right next to the playground so hopefully that makes the moisture more bearable. The forecast for tomorrow is showers, so we are getting prepared.20170504_093650

Yesterday we laughed a lot, which is a sign of our spurits. Today I’m super grateful to be feeling connected. I plan to contact a cousin of mine who sent an open invitation when we announced our journey back in February. I think my aunt and uncle are still here, and possibly another cousin.

Giant Redwoods RV and Camp

That’s the name of the place we’re staying right now. It’s everything I hoped it would be. I booked it yesterday with Aaron in mind because he LOVES trees and this place is right in the middle of a forest with a beach right behind our tent.

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Our backyard 

Unfortunately my good intentions were completely crushed by a GPS snafu that got us lost on a terrifying road in the middle of nowhere with nothing but a GPS arrow on a blank map. We thought we found the way out multiple times and would hit a collapsed road or something else insane. I finally used nothing but that blank arrow to navigate us to Hwy1, where a giant metal gate barricaded our very clear exit. In front of us was a highway and civilization, and behind us hours of driving to get out of the woods. Feeling desperate Aaron played with the combination lock… and he got it open. We found our camp soon after.

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A fraction of the garbage I put us through. No road names, all dirt.

It was the worst day yet followed by what feels like the biggest victory; multiple days in one gorgeous place to sleep outside in perfect weather, do laundry and decompress. Aramis is on Cloud 9 playing in sand by the beach. I would feel incredible, but yesterday was one thousand percent my fault and a mistake Aaron has gently tried to correct me on too many times which is, in my own words: Fuck the GPS and follow the damn map. If it’s too far off a major road, it’s probably not meant for a Buick Lesabre. I feel humiliated that I made such a grave error, but at least we found the way, we’re here and it’s perfect.

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Clear water

I asked the owner about work, and they said Aaron could help them out tomorrow. Not women’s work, I suppose.

I know some people are concerned about us, but please don’t be. First off, we are in the hands of the Divine Creator; of that we have no doubt. Beyond that, we are healthier than we have been in years. Aaron has lost forty pounds, and not in a malnourished way. He’s clearly now gaining muscle mass. Now that the illness is subsiding, I am craving nothing but fresh fruit, salad and protein. I feel pretty amazing right now, and Aramis’s crappy diet is just being forced to adjust. I am still medication free and feeling healthy. This trip hasn’t been what we planned, but character building isn’t supposed to be easy and today is a good day.

Finally Camping

Friday we leisurely packed from my cousin’s and headed to check out the Pacific Coast Highway. It was as incredible as we were told. We were hopeful to find a campsite even though it’s Friday because there are SO MANY state parks along the way, but literally everything was full. After a long day driving up and down PCH, we ate from a way-too-expensive grocery store and found a motel.

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PCH

Saturday we spent the entire day driving as well, this time through Los Padres National Park. It takes you through and on some green mountains with luscious valleys. Some of these turns twisted my tummy. Aramis was impressed for a little bit. It may have been my favorite place so far, and absolutely our favorite drive. The park is riddled with campgrounds, and after another full day of driving every camp was full. It was a major disappointment and we ended up in a hotel again. I am getting a little frustrated. We want to play everything by ear, but we can’t keep getting stuck without a camp and wasting money on hotels. Hotels are for shitty weather and illness.

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On top of a mountain looking down at inferior mountains.

Sunday after driving North to get to San Francisco, we once again came and left. We didn’t stop to see anything, and around five Aaron suggested we drive five more hours to the redwoods. I could not convince him we needed rest. It turned into a heated argument, and is one of the few times I did not concede to Aaron’s wishes. I usually do because I respect his opinion as a spiritual leader in our relationship. Yesterday I knew resting was the right thing to do. It was a PERFECT day outside. I had plenty of energy and set up camp unassisted and the KOA playground was right in our “backyard.” It was just ideal. As I type this morning, a peacock just walked through our camp. So random.

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California strawberries won. Everyone else can go home.

Things still feel tense. I’m so tired of bickering on the road. I’m hoping we can see that we need to slow down and enjoy this instead of spending everyday in the car. Right now I’m just trying to be as loving as possible and not get angry again. It will be a difficult day if we can’t drop our frustrations and listen to eachother. It’s overwhelmingly lonely fighting on the road.

Three Days, Six States

This week we’ve been making up for lack of travel by spending a lot of hours on the road. It’s been beautiful and challenging. Kansas on Monday, Colorado Tuesday, New Mexico and Arizona with a Vegas motel Wednesday and LA Thursday night. Colorado Springs was particularly overwhelming; though I’ve been nauseated, it was the only time I was profusely ill for several hours on end. Thank God I’ve been keeping food down now. Almost all photos I took over the last few days have been from the car of the scenic view. Aramis has been mostly lovely with some intermittent potty battles (hurray for potty training on the road).

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On the road again

Not one hotel or campsite we have planned on or mapped out has worked out. As spontaneous as we think we are, we are faced with seeming complications and peaceful blessings daily. It really is a lot. We wasted a lot of time and money waiting for me to be well enough to move, and it has made things even more unsure (as if that was possible).

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Incredible sunlight between mountains

Last night we stayed in my cousin’s backyard in our tent, and it was an incredible night. I haven’t seen her since 2010, and never met her family. Aramis was over the moon for two playmates, one nearly his exact age. He was so exhausted, he fell asleep in the grass while Daddy was setting up the tent. It was pretty adorable. The wind whipped against the tent all night, humming and whistling. The sounds and vibrations were meditative. We all slept so peacefully.

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Cousin gymnastics complete with scorecards for judges

We are packing up after a perfect night with family and finding a place to sleep tonight near LA. California feels pretty good so far.

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Pacific Coast Highway. Wow.

Tonight, Kansas

We decided to leave Missouri yesterday. We were very torn about the decision, but confident this is the direction God has in mind for us. Perhaps because we stayed so long in Missouri, it truly felt like leaving home again. The Lemmon family is more dear to us than we can express in words. We are born into families and then we choose our families. The Lemmons are the family we chose ♡20170317_192803.jpg

I generally get what I’ve come to call “road anxiety” before we take a long drive, but today I felt much more calm. Thank goodness; I don’t think my sensitive tummy could handle my hormonal nerves right now.

The last time we came this way a few weeks ago we drove straight to Denver, 13 hours from St. Louis. This time we have no specific destination. Today we left in the afternoon and drove around 5 hours. Freecampsites.net showed a great free campsite right outside Kansas City that we made it to around 7:15pm only to see the road was closed half a mile from the GPS destination. After that blow, paid sites were our best options. We decided for the sake of sunlight, convenience and a speedy morning departure we’d just Motel 6 it.

So here we are, eating freeze dried camp food in a hotel somewhere in Kansas winding down for sleep and resting up for a full day tomorrow. The tentative plan is to leave bright and early, make it to Colorado, hit a Walmart for some supplies and have PLENTY of sunlight to stake out a free campsite. In Colorado all free camping is in State Parks, so if anything we should be able to at least make a phone call or receive better information about small town roads, availability and hours. We shall see. Praying I feel as physically good tomorrow as I did today!