The Lakes of Minnesota


When Matt drove across the border into Minnesota on July 22 around 6:00 a.m., I was sound asleep with Bella on the bed in the back of the RV. It had been a long road getting there! We left Bozeman at 6:00 a.m. the previous morning, and had traveled off and on throughout the day. We stopped in Miles City to look for grease, but the rendering services must have just cleaned everyone out. There was none to be found! So we headed East and stopped in the little town of Terry, MT. After scoping out the town of about 500 people, we stopped at the Dizzy Diner. As Matt approached the grease barrels to check them out, the owner came out to chat. It turns out that they are only open seasonally, and they had two 55 gallon drums sitting there FULL of oil. One of them had been sitting for an entire year! This is really good for us, because it means that the sediment and gunk had already settled to the bottom, leaving beautiful, clean grease on top. They were happy to get rid of it and we were happy to fill up our entire tank! We had a great time chatting about green living and about the veggie oil system. We bought some root beer floats and chatted some more. The owners’ granddaughter came into the RV to watch a movie with Bella while Matt filled up. It was a fun stop.

The temperatures were over 100 degrees all the way through Montana and we ended up stopping in Glendive, MT to give the RV a much needed cool down. Because the RV was overheating, we couldn’t run the air, which meant we were sweltering! Luckily, we located the public pool in town and promptly changed into our suits. We had a leisurely afternoon at the pool and had a picnic after that. We hit the road again after it had cooled down a bit. We pulled into Bismarck, N.D. around 1:30 a.m…and parked at the Wal-Mart overnight. Matt got up at 4:00 a.m. to hit the road again. And like I said…I stayed in bed!

We spent the next 2 weeks in the Baxter/Brainerd Lakes area. Matt lead worship and helped teach campers how to wakeboard at the three wakeboard camps at Camp Shamineau. It was wonderful to be reunited with old friends! Matt worked at Shamineau for 5 years on their high-ropes course and has fond memories there. Jeremy, the Marketing Director, and his wife are good friends of ours. We had a great time hanging out at the beach and on the boats. Be sure to check out the photo albums for some amazing wakeboard shots! There were some really talented riders there teaching…including Bart Copeland, pro trainer (and brother) of Emily Copeland (she has won tons of awards, including the title of Pro Women’s Wakeboard Champion). We met Bart and his wife Brooke when we worked for SportReach Ministries. They have a 4 year old and a 2 year old…and along with Jeremy and Melissa’s 2 year old and 1 year old, there was an abundance of fun. There was even more excitement when one of the campers broke his femur while wakeboarding…and had to be picked up by the Life Flight helicopter. It landed and took off within feet of our campsite…Bella is still talking about that!

While we were at camp, my brother, Dan, came up from Denver, CO (he had some business meetings in Minneapolis) and spent a few days with us (that’s his car in the above photo). He was our first overnight guest in the RV! We hooked him up with a comfy bed and some s’mores and he was happy. He turned our table into his mobile office and was good to go. It was great to see him…the RV was so quiet and lonely when he left! :)

When we weren’t at camp, we were in town spending time with Matt’s parents. They also live on a lake, so we had lots of water and sun time! Matt’s aunt and uncle were there with their 4 children (3 girls and 1 boy) for one of the weekends. They are all around Bella’s age, so endless hours were spent in the playhouse and with the dolls. We also had a seafood boil party with all of our camp friends and another couple, Andy and Jen, that Matt knows from high school. There was an abundance of food…an abundance of children, and noise…and an abundance of good fellowship. It was great catching up!

It was hard for Bella to leave Grandpa and Grandma’s house…she LOVES being there! After Brainerd, we headed down to Minneapolis and stayed with Matt’s aunt and uncle for a couple of days. We were able to see even more of Matt’s cousins the night we arrived and had fun chatting around their pool. It was really nice having poolside accommodations! :) Thanks Dan and Brenda! We also caught up with my sister Laura while we were there and went out for some Thai food and coffee. Yum yum! On our last night there, we had our first official tour of the RV with a blog reader! Leah and her son, Rex came over from St. Paul and we had a great time talking and sitting outside.

We headed for Des Moines on August 8, and have reunited with my family once more. We’ll be staying in Des Moines and working for my Dad to make some extra money before heading out on the “official” tour around Sept. 17.

For photos and explanations of our time in Minnesota, click HERE.


  1. YAY! Thanks for sharing all of the fun. Very sweet. I’m so happy for your family. :)

    Comment by Isle Dance — August 12, 2007 @ 10:57 pm

  2. what a wonderfully trying time this must be for you all… sounds like an amazing experience in the making. you can be sure that I will be coming back to read more and more of your adventures… and like I said, you should send me a friendly reminder when you and your traveling family get near Raleigh… maybe my fiancee and I could fix you up some food (or take you all out) : ) blessings on your adventure – continue to live light & right; i already know you will. -blake

    Comment by matthewblakepowers — August 12, 2007 @ 11:45 pm

  3. What a wonderful opportunity for you and your family! I can’t wait to read all about you and your adventures. I am so jealous when I think of all the people you will get to meet and the things you will get to see! Your RV is a beautiful home.

    Comment by Katya — August 13, 2007 @ 1:24 am

  4. How are you filtering and de-watering your oil? If you are using a water-block filter instead of de-watering, how often are you having to change it?

    Comment by Anna B — August 13, 2007 @ 5:58 am

  5. It was great to meet you guys! Rex-Goliath and I will be keeping up via the internet. Have fun in Iowa!

    Comment by Leah — August 13, 2007 @ 6:47 am

  6. looks like you guys had a blast, can’t wait to follow you on yer tour!

    Comment by Kate — August 13, 2007 @ 8:51 am

  7. I thought you might be interested in the Portland, Oregon Build It Green! home tour. Here is the link: then go to the Build It Green part and click on it. It takes place on September 15 from 11-5pm. If you do end up out this way and need people to connect with, contact me. I can connect you with people in Portland to connect with. Also if you get this way, Eugene is a place you must visit!

    Comment by Heather — August 13, 2007 @ 9:10 am

  8. Thank you for sharing all your travels with us! The journey you’re on sounds very fun and inspiring. I live in Arcata, CA and if you need any info when you head this way, let me know. If you are around here the weekend of Sept 22nd there is something happening called the North Country Fair. It’s on the plaza downtown and has lots of food, booths, music, etc. It’s a fun time!

    Comment by Tiffany — August 13, 2007 @ 12:23 pm

  9. Sara, your trip looks so awesome! How very exciting! I also must say, your brother Dan is a cutie! :-)

    Comment by Kiki — August 13, 2007 @ 12:38 pm

  10. Sara, It must be so great to have so many people you know from your faith community, supporting you and cheering you on. As a non-church goer, I’m often envious of the community support that church going people experience throughout their lives. How beautiful!

    Comment by Rene — August 13, 2007 @ 3:16 pm


    I absolutely LOVE what you guys are doing! Veggie oil is fabulous and you are creating so much awareness while continuing to live by your values. I have thus nominated you for the Frugal Subversives Award and details are on my blog at the above link if you choose to participate! Best of luck on your continued travels!

    Comment by Simply Authentic — August 13, 2007 @ 6:33 pm

  12. What are the laws regarding your child being out of her seat and in bed when the RV is moving? I never knew how this worked. Also, how does she spend her days when you are driving somewhere?

    Sounds like you are all having a great time.

    Comment by Cheyanne — August 14, 2007 @ 11:33 am

  13. Cheyanne…the laws vary per state. Bella is in her carseat 99% of the time. The only time she does get out is to go to the bathroom, change, etc. When we slept and Matt drove…that was a rare occurance :) I need to do more checking in to state laws, but OUR LAW is that she is in the seat all the time.

    Regarding what she does while we drive…our goal is to never drive more than 3-5 hours in one day, so that makes it easy. She’s a really good traveler. We keep her entertained with playdoh, coloring, reading books, watching movies, talking…all the same kinds of things we do when we aren’t driving :)

    Thanks for reading!

    Comment by livelightly — August 14, 2007 @ 6:03 pm

  14. i worked at shamineau one summer and totally know jeremy! also, we drive to wyoming alot from MN and we go through Fargo, Bismark, Terry, Miles City, Glendive, etc all the time! keep on truckin’

    Comment by jake — August 21, 2007 @ 10:38 am

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