Thursday, January 26, 2012


Beatrice in Louisiana

In our travels over the past couple of months there are certain things that come up. Lots of people want to know what our favorite place has been. Others try to hold back expressions of horror that we live in a thirteen foot trailer and how could we possibly still be together! Lots of people are so eager to share their own travel experiences and the best places to check out up the road. These conversations have mostly guided our trip, and we've been able to allow ourselves the fancy of following these suggestions for the best places to eat, hike, sight see, hear music, you name it. Everyone's got their own likes, but we've tried pretty hard to check out the things that people tell us about and it really is true that it's better than whats in the guidebook.

So what have we learned from this trip? What kind of invisible merit badge do we walk away with when this is all over? Are there things that we would have done differently thus far? I'd like to think that we've learned a ton about our country. There are few things that I would have done differently, and those things are all just a matter of attitude and very from person to person. And I have high hopes that we get the merit badges at the end because they would make a beautiful and colorful display to show where we've been. So here are a few things that we've found useful, and if you're thinking about trying this kind of trip out for yourself, maybe some of this will be useful to you too.

1. Always follow suggestions! People really want you to have a good time in their town, state, National Park etc. Most folks won't lead you astray when it comes to good food, a great campground, or the best route to drive on. Being a lover of travel memoirs and reading guidebooks to countries I'm not even planning on going to in the bookstore, I brought a ton of travel books. Some have been handy and have really saved us some nights, but for the most part just being friendly to people will be your next step and best guide on a long trip.
Starry and cold night in Kings Canyon National Park

2. So after saying that, I would have brought a guide or at least a printed map of state parks in the states we'd be traveling to. Not knowing our route ahead of time made this hard however. When we haven't had internet it's been hard to find our next place to spend the night. The big road atlas has some state parks listed which is helpful, but then you've got to get the right number and reach them during business hours, which is easy enough when your working from a library or home or have a cell phone connection but lots of places don't have any of those to work with. And that's when you want a guidebook! Usually state park entrance areas have a good pamphlet or two about that entire states park system. A few highway welcome centers have this information but usually just a big rack of advertisements for tourist attractions.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park inTexas
3. Have a good tool kit and know how to use it! This is the one area where I think it's good to bring the stuff you don't think you'll need. An axe for chopping firewood. Water jugs that are easily refillable as lots of parks don't have safe drinking water, so we try to fill up when it's good. We have a big seven gallon container but that's a big one to carry around if a water source isn't right near by, so we have a few smaller ones too. When we left, we had a pretty good idea that we wouldn't have power in the trainer very often so we're set up for that. Good headlamps and lanterns and a propane heater. So if you were to pursue a different style of trip, the tools necessary would be totally different.
4.If your going to buy a used trailer, read up on what repairs you might have to do. What supplies you'll need to work on the trailer. We wound up installing a water holding tank, getting a new pump faucet, and water proofing, Pat did a lot of fiberglass work etc. So know what you're willing to get yourself into, how much money you have and how much time you're willing to spend. We had more time than money so we were lucky and got a good price and put in the time to revamp the trailer a bit and get it ready for a big long winter time trip!
There will be more to come I'm sure, but these were a few big ones for us, we could also get way more detailed about where we've gotten parts, what seem to be common issues for these particular trailers and all kinds of things involving this little rolling house of ours!
Hope all is well,

Monday, January 23, 2012

Here in Portland

Hello all!
Pat and I arrived in Portland! We've been enjoying visiting my family, it's a rare treat getting to visit my west coast relations and have been having so much fun with them. There has been much galavanting around the city and the surrounding area, we've got to really take advantage of the things that Portland has due to getting to stay with family. One of the best parts of traveling has of course been our visits with people close to us, and you always get the inside scoop that can sometimes take a long time to learn on your own.
 Multnomah Falls in a heavy rainstorm
Multnomah falls lies outside Portland by half an hour and is quite the tourist attraction apparently, we went during a heavy downpour day and had the place to ourselves (yet another product of our winter trip) and spent about an hour roaming around and taking pictures.

We've had delicious food at the house here, we've been working in such a small kitchen for the past month and a half that we were so excited to get to use an oven and be able to make whatever we wanted. A warm bed, no condensation dripping on your nose, you get the idea, it's nice to stay in a house and take a break from travel, and in such a cool city too. It suits both of us due to the small towns we grew up in and it's the kind of city that just dosn't feel that big, but has the benefits of a city.

A highlight for me has been taking classes at Yoga Bhoga in the South East quadrant of the city. Up on the second floor of a refurbished industrial building it offers a beautiful view of the city. It is a very fresh and colorful studio and has a very friendly atmosphere.
Some other highlights if you'd like to read about some unique Portland business's check out Rejuvenation a great company (where my uncles happens to work!)that makes reproduction vintage and also new lights and lighting. They have a really creative retail store featuring all kinds lighting, antiques and vintage items. Check out their store online.
 The Lodekka vintage clothing bus and Wanderlust camper two women who have teamed up and sell vintage items and clothing out of a double decker bus and a vintage camper!
Ristretto Roasters. I'm sure it's a big debate in Portland as to who serves the best coffee, but we've had many chances to try these folks out and all I have to say is that they are so so good.

So this is a bit of a link heavy post, but they're all worth taking a glance at. Our time here is wrapping up and we're headed for Washington in a couple of days now to hopefully meet up with some folks there as well. We've been gone for over two months now which seems so unbelievable even just writing it. We miss everyone back home. Our stay here has made us a little lonesome for the comforts of home, staying with family and all. During our whole trip I've been trying to keep a mental list of the "things we've learned" practical and otherwise. I try to keep a tally of these things anyway, even when not traveling, but I've been meaning to share them with all of you at some point soon. This is quite the trip, and it's not over yet! I was showing my little cousin some photos of our journey and we've really covered a lot of ground. I showed her a map of the United States so she could see just how far we drove I think she summed it up the best. She asked me to show her on the map where I live, and she said "All that way! That's so far!"
So hello everyone from far away!
till next time