Here We Are

It is exhilarating to romanticize living life on the road. Waking up in new, beautiful locations. Trail running every morning on undiscovered paths. Lounging in hammocks and reading stories to the kids. Watching the sunrise while gliding across smooth, blue water on the paddle board. These are some of the things I dreamt about as we planned and prepared for this journey. Simplicity and rich adventures waiting around every corner. It is, of course, not all dreams and I don’t believe we would want it to be. Overcoming challenges, figuring things out in a new way, trial and error, feeling depleted and thinking through all the reasons to give up and throw in the towel and then the eventual exhilaration of accomplishment and a sigh of gratitude. It is not meant to always be easy. The fulfillment we have when the hard work has been put in feels like a recharge - battery is full - continue the journey.

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Our adventures so far have included hiking, rock climbing, s’mores making, meeting amazing people, working through some kinks, annoying each other at least once, stressing over where to stay for the night and today we are still smiling. Each day is unique and encompassed by thoughts of “what if we…..” and “”how do we….”  and “where will we…….” and most importantly “will the bus fit”?

 

We “camped” at Smoky Mountain Campground for 3 nights. It is a quiet campground near City of Rocks “the city” in Idaho. Over the years I had heard friends talk about this being an excellent rock climbing destination, so we definitely wanted to check it out. It did not disappoint. For starters, we camped next to 2 stellar families - our kids had a blast playing with theirs! They invited us to join them for climbing and they even gave us a “first neighbors” house warming gift. So thoughtful! The kindness of strangers never ceases to amaze me. The rocks here were very cool and so unique. It’s difficult to describe. There are spires and mounds of granite that just seem to bubble up from the earth, dotting the valley. There are places to climb and hike everywhere you look. In some places, the granite is very sharp and rough, making it an unforgiving surface for climbing on. We took a hike to Circle Valley Overlook where Milo stumbled upon a nest of rattlesnakes. As we were climbing and playing around on the rocks, Milo suddenly stepped back. He had heard a rattling sound coming from a crack next to his foot. We all backed up and peered into the crack. There were several snakes piled up together; it was difficult to see exactly how many. It was a creepy, but fascinating sight. We were sure glad that Milo knew to back away immediately! Climbing around the rock to make it back to the trail was a little nerve racking for sure.

Our new amazing friends and first neighbors.

Our new amazing friends and first neighbors.

 

We climbed one last time with our neighbors on the morning we pulled away. It was a great way to end the start of our adventure! On we go, towards Boise. Now, where should we stay? The realization that we were heading into the week of the fourth of July and that we hadn’t planned anywhere to stay suddenly hit us. And hit us hard. These are the times that my panic really sets in. We know the places we’d like to be, things we’d like to see and experience, but we’re not tiptoeing in with an invisibility cloak here. We are big and loud and we take up a lot of space. From the head of the bus to the foot of the Jeep we are approximately 65 feet long. Yikes!! I may have mentioned before that planning is not our forte. However, we do have several known locations that we are traveling to that know we are coming and know our size. But these locations are a bit spaced out and we cannot and more importantly do not want to do full days in the bus in between locations. Mostly because is it too hot and taxing on the man behind the wheel. I have yet to sit behind the wheel. I think I will at some point, we’ll see. So, here we go, searching for a destination. Suddenly, Chad remembers seeing some travel hosting aps that provide a place to stay for a night or two. We decide to check out Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome. We decide to join both, costing us $80 between the two for annual memberships. We originally wanted to make it to Boise, but after climbing into the afternoon and stressing over where to stay for an hour or two we find a closer location through Harvest Hosts about 60 miles out of Boise.

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We stayed the night in lovely, picturesque, Coldwater Springs Winery. The kids spent the evening playing in the sprinklers and having Nerf gun fights. Then Chad took them for a walk through the endless rows of grapevines. Addison and I made a delicious steak and potatoes dinner. And for the night we are snuggled up and nestled in this beautiful vineyard.

-Katie

Getting Started

It is early morning. I am waking up in Smoky Mountain Campground, Idaho. We did it!!! We drove away. We left our normal, suburban living, to experience a different way of living. A life on the road. A life of adventure. A life full of possibilities and constant unknowns.

 

This past month has not been easy. I don’t think I could have possibly imagined the emotional toll that packing up life and moving a small portion of it into a bus would have on me. The build of our bus took hours and days and weeks. We spent almost all free time between January and May building the bus. This time was hard and tiring and exciting; always thinking of the possibilities and the times that were to come. Then June hit. We wanted to be on the road by June. We were not even close to ready. The bus was getting close to being ready, but wrapping up the pieces of our life we were leaving behind took more time and mental and emotional capacity than I could have ever planned for.

Arriving at our first destination! City Of Rocks National Reserve.

Arriving at our first destination! City Of Rocks National Reserve.

 

Packing up things we don’t want, things we do want, things we kind of want (that will sit in a storage unit until who knows when and then when we see them again we will realize that we don’t actually want them, but at least we had the pleasure of paying to store them). Deciding what to do with our items became such a draining task. I would look at things, things like a set of plastic Nerf rackets and baseball bats and suddenly I was in the most grand stupor of thought. Do we want these things? Do we want them now? Do we want them later? Do any of the members of our family actually play Nerf tennis or baseball? But might they want to in the future? I can’t possibly make this decision lightly. I could be altering future sports careers or at least future leisure activity choices. And what about the 500 markers, pen, crayons and pencils that we seemed to have collected over time. What is to be done with these? How many do we want? Where will the ones we don’t want best be put to use? Now, I must draw with each one to ensure that we are taking the best ones, throwing away the unusable ones and giving someone else the sort of okay ones. How is it possibly that these are the things that are taking up all my time and mental capacity? And these weren’t even the really taxing choices. I also had to sort through and contemplate toiletries: ridiculous amounts of samples from the dentist, trial shampoos and conditioners, the seldom used products. Do they get space on the bus? What about that one time I will want to use mousse and curl my hair; that time might exist and so I will make space in my tiny drawer in the bus for the curling iron and mousse. I mean, this scenario probably came up once in the last year or two, so I better be prepared for it. Day in and day out I was weeding through things. I ran out of steam and at times I was going so slow and painfully deliberating over the most ridiculous items. Besides sorting through  things, we also needed time for doctors appointments and figuring out how to refill medication on the road. We needed to make sure we have the right insurance for our vehicles and ourselves. We needed time to deal with everyday mishaps like getting $7000 worth of Red Socks tickets fraudulently charged to one of our credit cards. Life keeps happening and you just have to roll along with it. Most importantly, we wanted time to see friends and family. To say “goodbye for now” and “see you soon”.

Eating at the only restaurant in Alamo ID, for Kates 35th birthday.

Eating at the only restaurant in Alamo ID, for Kates 35th birthday.

 

And even now, having spent the first night out of state and feeling like things have been wrapped up, tears are streaming. I am not really even sure why. I’m sure the exhaustion of this process has a good deal to do with it. I’m not feeling overwhelmingly sad that we left. I am just full of so many emotions. Emotions that feel raw and vulnerable. But I feel okay here. It is a process. I am ready to get out on a trail this morning. See the beauty and be filled the newness of a new day

 

-Katie

How To Pick The Right School Bus For Your Skoolie Conversion

How To Pick The Right School Bus For Your Skoolie Conversion

https://lovealwaysadventureoften.com/checklist

Thats a link to a checklist and bus comparison spreadsheet to assist you in the process of finding the right school bus. I hope this is helpful!

Finding the right bus for a skoolie conversion can be a difficult task! there is so many things to learn and so many aspects to consider! In this video I give a few pointers on how tp pick the right bus for your skoolie conversion.

Happy shopping!

We Installed The Outdoor Shower On Our Skoolie!

Who doesn't want to take a refreshing shower outside, right???

In this video we go to Addison's first Taekwondo tournament, where she wins two bronze metals in sparring and form.

We install our outdoor shower on Buster Brown The Bus. Our beloved skoolie. you can find the outdoor shower insert we used here: http://amzn.to/2HPXWF8

I also give a heartfelt thank you for all of you that regularly watch and share our adventure! We are so grateful for the connections that we are making because of our YouTube channel!