My official countdown has begun. 24 months and I’m hitting the road. Can’t wait!
So much to do…
Cali boy now. Downtown Boston. Shirt and shoes optional.
With this impending RV purchase looming, it’s funny that I have been dreaming of boats lately. Maybe it’s my subconscious trying to tell me something. I LOVE the ocean and we all miss the Hat. I could definitely see myself with another boat, but I was thinking it would be nice, at least for the time being, to check out some of the middle of the country. But, I suppose until I actually make the purchase I could change my mind. I still have 24 months. We’ll see…
This summer has been great so far. Lots of beaching, hiking and hanging out. But I’ve been getting ancy waiting to hit the road. I never have been that good with patience. We still have a LOT to figure and sort out though. Like which camper/truck combo I will purchase. I have been thinking and doing a great deal of research. The only problem is that it isn’t easy to see the different models without traveling to them. It’s ok though, I still have time. The countdown to take-off will begin next month 🙂
I haven’t talked much about this yet, if at all, but I have been teaching my lil’ man at home. Some call it homeschooling, yet, he is online. Technically he’s enrolled in a public school, but, I don’t follow the “path” the way they want it followed. He is way ahead in Math and Science and maybe a little behind in writing. I completely dismiss the Music and only brush upon the Art, skipping the actual “Art projects” altogether, because he is not at all interested in Art…unless of course, he is at an Art Museum, like the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston… he loves. We sort of unschool, as I give him plenty of leeway in navigating his learning, but not completely, as there are some things that he may not want to do, but he still must. I guess I’m winging it in a kind of way, because I just do whatever I think is best for him as we move along….Smartschooling!
He started school at home last year because he HATED first grade. Just a few day ago, we wrapped up second grade. He thrived in kindergarten the previous year, but first grade was an utter disaster. In all honesty, I was completely freaked out at first. The thought of teaching him myself scared the crap out of me. But, I really had no choice. He was having horrible anxiety issues over changing schools and being in a new environment. He likely would have overcome the issues, as most kids do, had the school handled the problem correctly, but they really bollixed up the whole ordeal…horribly. This certainly isn’t my first rodeo. After all, I have 5 kids, the other 4 are in high school. None of them did school at home. Between raising my own kids and years of babysitting when I was younger, I have plenty of experience and insight into what makes kids tick. That’s why I was fairly confident when my intuition told me that the situation with my lil’ man wasn’t going to be easily resolved. I won’t get into the wretched details, but after 2 weeks of him feeling miserable about school and me being sick over bringing him (all reinforcing what I have always known- a good or bad teacher can make or break a kid’s school year) I made the excruciatingly difficult decision of pulling him. But, it had to be done. He was needlessly unhappy.
I have always stood by the notion that everything happens for a reason. In the end, this is all well and good, as I plan to be up, out and about, just months from now. He would have been schooled at home, when the time came, anyhow. This just fast tracked the inevitable. Lucky for me, he’s a bright kid, so teaching him has been a lot easier than I realized. In fact, now that I can see the light for what it really is, I am happier than ever that it played out like it did. He can avoid years of learning useless information. He can excel at what he enjoys. He can move ahead at his own pace and take more time when he needs it. He can concentrate on his strengths and interests. He has one-on-one attention. And, best of all, he gets real life knowledge. What a perfect way to learn…Smartschooling!
There aren’t very many times in my life, thus far, that I have been able to say that I really didn’t know what I wanted. Generally, I’m a fairly focused type. I do some research and figure out pretty quickly what’s for me. Even when I was shopping for the boat, I sorted out relatively fast which boat I wanted. Not the case at all with this RV plan. I thought I had decided on a particular model, the Durango Gold M-G382MBQ, because it has a bunk room for the kids, a loft for my Mom and what really sold me is the rear deck off of the living area.
The problem is, this fifth wheel is really large. We won’t fit into many RV parks. I could be fine with not being able to get in everywhere, like boats, that’s what you’re buying into. It’s all trade-offs. You have to decide what’s most important because you can’t have it all. Although, my Mom really doesn’t want us to be locked out of some National Forests and oceanfront campgrounds because we are too big. We have really been on the fence with whether to go for the comfortable living or the size convenience. I could also be fine with getting an older/ smaller/cheaper RV, doing some light renovation and being able to sell more easily if/when I decide to change direction again. At this point, I’m not sure what we will choose. It’s a good thing I have a few months to decide, because if I had to buy something right now I’m not sure what I would get. We thought it might be best to look around at some more RV’s, so maybe we can get better clarity on which way to go with this. So off we go, checking out more fifth wheels and travel trailers in smaller sizes and with different layouts.
My Mom is trying to see if her bunk area has a window.
My lil’ man loved this table in his bunk room.
I think I have officially conquered my coyote fear. Where I come from these guys are scary. They eat little moving things: cats, small dogs, and even little kids on occasion. We had a real bad bout of coyotes a few years back. They were in our back yard daily. I was afraid to let my little man, who was 2 or 3 at the time, play in the yard.
We were hiking today at Lake Calavera, and there they were. A family of coyotes. When I saw them my heart sunk and sheer panic rushed over me. We had to get out of there quick, without running. I didn’t want us to be chased. I stood…frozen…watching the coyotes, as they watched me. I scanned the ground searching for a large branch, a rock, anything that I could use as a weapon. Nothing was there, but my little man had a stick in his hand that he had picked up a ways back and was whacking trees with as we navigated the trail. I quickly took the stick from him. Some locals turned the corner on the trail just ahead of us. What a relief… more people…power in numbers! They were pointing to the coyotes. They must have seen the terror on my face because as they approached us, they chuckled, “Don’t worry, they won’t come after you.” They told us that they walk this trail frequently and the coyotes don’t bother anyone. I believed them. I snapped a photo of one of the coyotes, then stood and watched until the coyotes walked off. Then we continued along the path. I can’t say that I’m completely comfortable with them, but I no longer feel that there is a reason to fear them. I think that there is a big difference between the city coyotes that I am familiar with, the ones that eat pets and are fed by neighbors who condition them to become brazen and unfearful of humans, and the rural coyote who lives in his natural habitat and eats small wild animals and doesn’t view people as a food source.
So, on with the hike…
This was an active volcano at one time.
We got our National Parks and Federal Lands Pass! Well…my Mom got it. The senior lifetime pass is 10 bucks, but really it’s 20 because they also charge a $10 document processing fee. This fee is going to increase by the end of the year. It’s going to 80 bucks so we wanted to get it before that happened. The pass provides free access to over 2,000 federally run recreation sites across the country. This includes BML land and national forests. Besides free entrances fees, it’s great for RVers as it gives a discount on camping, swimming, boat launching and tours. It covers the entrance fee for everyone in the vehicle, not just the owner of the pass. We got ours (my Mom’s) from Cabrilllo National Monument.
After we got our pass, we took a stroll on the the Bayside Trail. It was a beautiful hike with outstanding views.
My little guy got a kick out of chasing lizards all over the trail.
There was even an opportunity for a bit of rock climbing along the way.
Be warned though… after hiking the canyon DOWNHILL for a mile, you have to turn around and take the same trail back UPHILL for a mile. We didn’t realize this when we started the hike.
Beverly Hills was fun to visit.
Heartbroken that this little guy has a damaged wing.
Searching for a way up this monster.
We FINALLY have found Chinese food. We haven’t been able to find a good place since we had Chinese in Boston, back in August! We had to travel all the way to LA, just to get good Chinese, and boy was it good.
I haven’t really been hiking since I was a kid and I loved it then. Not really sure why it hasn’t occurred to me to hike all these years. Even when my kids were little, I don’t think that I ever once took them hiking the Blue Hills, where my Mom frequently took me as a kid. I certainly did take them on plenty of long walks. When I think of hiking now, I think of extreme sporters in very remote areas, with zero cell reception, dangling from the side of a cliff. But, my interest in hiking has suddenly been revived. Not exactly sure why….I guess because I am finding myself wanting more than day after day of the beach. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a real beach bum and always will be, but I would like to see and try some new stuff that isn’t necessarily coastal. After all, I know that soon we will be traveling and I will be away from my beloved ocean. I want satisfaction from Mother Nature in ways other than salty feet.
The other day I was talking to someone that I have recently met. She was telling me that she and her husband had taken their kids hiking and how much fun they had. All of my childhood memories came rushing back; twigs snapping below my feet, toads, boulder navigating. I love hiking! I went home and researched trails in my area and that same weekend, this past weekend, we were out. Out hiking!
This chronicle of written life events is about to take on a major transformation. We are no longer 5 kids and a boat. We will be traveling by land on wheels, and there will not/should not, be 5 kids aboard. Some should be college-bound. I am excited about what is to come. I won’t need a captain for every move I make and I will not be learning to operate a 63′ yacht. I already know how to drive, all I have to master is how to navigate 50′ of vehicle. I’m certainly not going to underestimate the complexity. I know it will be no easy feat, but will pale in comparison to running a small ship.
I’ve been thinking lately as I will soon start counting down to take off. This school year is almost finished. I have next school year, and then, the 12 months following, I will make my purchases. There will be a lot of shopping around to be done and I want to give myself plenty of time to make the right choices and get both of my new vehicles (new-to-me-vehicles) ready to hit the road. I like to view time in terms of months, rather than years when I’m ready to go but forced to be patient, because the wait seems more palatable in months. If all stays well, then my 24 month count down to the next chapter will start this summer 🙂
But, what about the blog name? Seems we may need a new name… and… possibly a new web address. Any ideas?