Time

I find myself with time on my hands, for one that is used to working 3/12 hour shifts and travel time from home to job site, this is a bit much.  Packing is almost done and believe me I have taken my time but the van has been semi packed for a week.  The house is in as good of a shape as it will ever be in, theres only so much you can do.  So with all that said I have time to go to my grandson’s soccer game, spend some time with my girls and generally do nothing.

Doing nothing.  I don’t think it is in my psychic makeup to do nothing.  I find it depressing and don’t really understand how one can do nothing day after day, month after month.  Even on vacations you do something, tweek your schedule, decide what you need/ don’t need, where you will stay, how to set up camp, that sort of thing.  To literally do nothing all day….ugggh.

I know people who have made a career of doing nothing, excel at it but I have to wonder how happy they really are?  Maybe I just don’t understand the art of doing nothing?  Maybe I don’t understand the concept of relaxing at all?  Although I like to think I can relax, doing nothing while actually doing something.  What an oxymoronic statement if there ever was one.  🙂

Unemployment and Vacation

It took me sometime to recover from working 10/14 day 12 hour shifts in the Emergency Department.  Rained almost the whole time and I gained 10 pounds, yay me.  But I’m back in the world of the living and getting excited and impatient for our trip.  I must report that I love the new van!  I live about 130 miles from my now old job and it drove like a champ. I wasn’t even waiting for it to break down!  So now I feel much safer although a bit more broke.   But we will make it work, if  we can skip past the convenience store coffee,  fridge magnets, and fast foods.

We have 5 days to go and I have the van packed already for the most part. The only thing not in there are our clothes, fishing gear, kitchen stuff and our bikes.  Kitchen stuff taking up a small plastic tub and our clothes not much at all. I wanted to make it so that if we needed to we could sleep in the van. vanpack

Most in the back seat is food, that will quickly be replaced as we go along freeing up some space should we need it.  After that is depleated  we will buy for the day or for a couple days, except the snacks, I hope they last a long time.  In the very back are the things to set up our sites, tent, chairs, and bedding.  It actuall does leave space to sleep if we take the bikes out.  I’m very excited, next week we at this time we should be in Florida.  Hopefully the weather will hold out for us.

I Bought A Van

I bought a van with our trip money.  Not that we’re not going on the trip, I bought it for the trip. Minimum down payment, high interest rates and I still bought it.  Yes, when you have poor credit you pay high interest rates.

We had already been across country on the Trail Blazer and it was breaking down every other month and I just didn’t trust it.  However, now I have a car payment that was not figured into the traveling budget.  Neither was repairing the Blazer along the way and having to pay for lodging when it did break down so I guess it evens out? Maybe?  It just makes me a little more nervous about money for the trip.

Not that we had a lot for the trip, we don’t.  So it’s going to be a much more budget friendly adventure than I had originally planned and that’s ok.  Maybe.  I just don’t want to be miserable for lack of funds.  Perhaps that will be the adventure, seeing the US with little money without being hungry or stranded somewhere I definitely don’t want to be.

It can be done, has been done by many people, just not me.  Will it take so much planning that it won’t be worth it?  Can we just fly by the seat of our pants and  enjoy ourselves?  There is so much I want to do, to see, to experience on this adventure.  One more week of work and then another week of packing, cleaning, re-packing and May 1st,  finally, leaving.

Tent Camping Across the US

We, my husband and I,  have set our sights on a new grand adventure, tenting (for the most part) across the US.  I must say I am a bit anxious about this endeavor is putting it mildly.  We have the route figured out for the first 10 days, leaving Virginia hugging the coast until we get to Florida. State Parks, private campgrounds and national forest are all paid for which is no small feat. This however does put us on a schedule and doesn’t allow for the inevitable things that can go wrong, will.  But it also is comforting in a weird sort of way,  both of us decompressing from work, getting used to pitching the tent, finding out what does and doesn’t work.  After the Florida trek we are pretty much going to be coasting along across Texas to California using BML land and national parks.  Planning a week or so in advance with a “we’re going in this direction” mindset.

We have 3 weeks to go until we leave which means our living room is a staging area for supplies, packed and repacked. Making sure I at least know where everything on the master list is. I spent a whole day tearing the house apart looking for my bicycle tire pump, needless to say I loaned it to my daughter who promises me she will get it to me ASAP. packing

We will be leaving in May so trying to decide on heat versus a fan, cold weather versus hot weather clothes.  Whether we are going to take electic versus propane cooking gear and such  is proving complicated.   Space will be very limited and lugging any extra gear out every couple of days will be tiresome and mailing it back home could be expensive.

I am very excited about this adventure too, it’s not all anxiety producing!  Three months have been allotted for the trip.  If we find somewhere that we just fall in love with then a possible travel assignment might be in the works, who knows?  After the 3 months bills will becoming due again and we will have to do something to make a living.

 

Confessions of a List Maker

I am a list maker.  I make a list of things on my list that I don’t complete.  I make grocery list, coupon list, cleaning, chores, packing, re-packing, places to see,  places to camp, mileage,  re-list of places to camp, and list of things that don’t really belong on any list but that need to be done.  I lose my list from time to time and have to re-write them only to find it and have two.  I also have a daily planner that I have list on as well as composition books that I list things in.

Now, this isn’t to say that I am a super organized person, oh no.  I am not, though I strive to be.  I work with a chaotic mind, forgetful and thoughts running rampant throughout the day and the only way I can get anything done is to write it down or something will be forgotten, overlooked or just dismissed.

I have recently discovered the “spreadsheet.”  A very easy way to list things then you have it at your fingertips through google drive.  You can also make list on notes on your phone.   Except I like paper so I end up printing it off and carrying it around like a regular list.

If I could only get everything done that I have written down!  I guess if I accomplish half of what I write down then I am better off than doing nothing.  list

Creating Balance

I was telling my husband all the great things I am yesterday.  Wife, mother, grandmother, bicyclist, camper, writer, nurse, coupon boss, recycler, memory hoarder and other grand titles and it dawned on me that I really am lacking balance.  I am a project maker never a project finisher.

I am planning the trip to Alaska, couponing and working extra to save money and while doing that my other projects go by the wayside.  Yesterday was the first day I have been on my bike in ages,  I have written nothing and I am starting to hate my job.  I need balance, a schedule, something!

How can I possibly do everything I want to do if I have no discipline at home. What will I be like on the road for three or more months?  Do I block schedule times for each activity I want to do?  Do I say F*** it and concentrate on one thing at the time? No, that wouldn’t work, something inevitably wouldn’t get done.

So, after just completing that sentence I think I  have to at least schedule times, in general for things.  Different things can be combined, recycling and biking perhaps. Using coupons and biking or trip planning and using coupons.  Memory hoarding, which is what I call doing something with all my photos.  That  is something that can’t be combined with anything so that will have to be one of those one thing only projects.

How do you fit everyday regular things into this project free for all? Cooking, cleaning, driving back and forth to work?  I drive 3 hours to my job and stay for 3 days, more if I do overtime. I am basically living in a hotel for 3 days a week, plus drive time.  How do you exercise in a semi crappy hotel and it’s dark when you get off work.  Not to mention being dead tired from working?  Couponing and writing should be easy in the hotel but it’s not.  It’s flu season and what is generally hard work has become exhausting work.

I feel like I have asked more questions than answers, hopefully I will come up with some solutions. image

Hotel living at it’s finest!

Camping and the Evils of Pinterest

tentredrockI have tent camped most of my adult life.  Personally, I like the tub method of sorting and obtaining supplies.  One tub for the kitchen, one for the tent/air mattresses/blankets or sleeping bags and all the gear that goes with that, one for light, electric and emergency supplies.   This has worked well for us until I went on Pinterest.   I never knew I was packing so wrong and missing so many creature comforts of the camping experience.  But I did go there and now I will need a separate vehicle just for supplies!

I have a strange relationship with Pinterest.  I am the owner of 42, yes, 42 boards of various things that have caught my interest over time.  I don’t know whether to be ashamed or proud that I have 42 boards.  But be that as it may I was searching camping, supplies, hacks and whatnot.  To tell you the truth my head hurts.

We have tent camped from Virginia to Washington State to LA and back home again. Haphazard as it was, it was minimalist, it worked, and it fit in the Trail Blazer.   Now I must go to the store and get a bucket and pool noodles for a toilet, kid foam flooring and a fold up kitchen to lug across the country.   Rugs to keep dirt out of your tent,  poles for your lantern,  a hand washing station separate from the spigot that we have been using for years.  Hanging dishes in a tentmesh bag, belts for you cookware to hang from the trees and pool noodles attached to your tie downs so you don’t trip in the middle of the night.  How did we ever make it in the wilderness?

I know, Pinterest is for ideas. You have to pick and choose what makes sense for what you’re doing, where you will be going and how long you will be on the road.  Since this trip across the US will last a few months I can’t be a camping “junky” and really need to think about how we will use the stuff , multiple uses and how economical it will be.  Decisions, decisions!

My Pinterest boards.

National Parks

 

Sevierville

Smokey Mountains

There are 59 National Parks in the US, I have visited 18 of them.  That leaves 41 for me to complete my bucket list.  As I am doing research for our US road trip I have learned that there are 417 national park sites but only 59 have the actual “National Park” in their name.  There are battlefields, memorials, parkways, reserves and seashores and much more than just parks. The best information regarding the national park sites is from the NPS website,  here.  What an awesome legacy we leave to the younger generation that rarely goes outside anymore.  As I write this President Trump has made efforts to take some of the land from Bear Ears and the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.  Two places that I haven’t seen but will make sure to include them in our trip before they no longer exist.  The world has become smaller and I fear that the land is too valuable for the greedy to “waste.” That, of course depends on your definition of waste.  So, I will  attempt to see as many of the national parks as I can with this trip.

We will travel through 25 states, more or less and the Yukon territory of Canada if everything goes according to plan. Starting in Virginia we will make out way down the East Coast to Florida, follow I 10 until we get to Texas.  We will spend quite a bit of time in Texas, going to Big Bend, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and the Rio Grande Scenic River.  I am most excited about Big Bend.  Before my mother died from cancer we had made plans to go there so that will be a tribute to her.  We will then head to San Diego, California and head north through Northern Arizona, Utah, and Wyoming to Alaska.  It will be an adventure of a lifetime!

Yosemite

Yosemite National Park

I Am a Terrible Blogger!

38122301814_19fe98dc3d_o (1)We did make it Florida and down the coast, over 600 miles!  I lived!  Man, what an adventure that should have been put to words.  I didn’t.  I was busy trying to cycle, trying to make miles, trying to live the experience.  I do have some grand memories to write about!  I found out that I love my brother and would be his friend even if we weren’t siblings.  I realized that I could do anything I wanted with a little preparation and training.  I will relate these experiences in the days to come.  I am also planning my and my husbands trip to Alaska.  Four months of working hard and then we’re off. This is going to be a super budget trip, camping, glamping and hotels along the way. I hope, I hope to be better disciplined with writing especially since we will be in a car. I love planning trips almost as much as I love taking them. Since my husband has no interest in the planning phase I will be making most of my notes here. At least it will be in one place!

We Made it to Florida!

Yes, we made it to Florida. A thousand miles for my brother and roughly 500 for me. All with relatively few hiccups. My brother, George, henceforth know simply as G had some car trouble at the beginning of his journey. He has, like most of us do many computer parts in his car that decided to quit communicating . He had it repaired only for it to stop communicating again once it got here. But the always piddling brother of mine got it fixed long enough to drop the car off at storage. That and an expensive hotel room, who knew Jacksonville was having a game Sunday things went pretty well for me.

So it’s close to 6 am day 2 and I’m sitting on a picnic table waiting on my coffee to boil and the fog so thick I thought it was raining. I slept horribly having set my tent up right on a root that crossed just under my hip. Tossed and turned all night with my hip and thinking it was raining.

We are camping on a naval base which is quite interesting for me. Sailors up at the butt crack of dawn doing PT. Running in fog while I’m trying to discretely pee behind a palm tree. Ships moving out of the harbor as soon as the fog lifts and the sea birds fishing for their morning breakfast.

The sun has burned off the fog and it should be warming up soon. I have to shake out the things I left on the picnic table to dry, lesson learned, everything can get wet whether it’s raining or just fog.

It is time to get busy with day 2, drying out the tent!