Live Lightly Tour Featured on RVTV

This spring when we were in Tybee Island, Georgia, we met up with RVTV. Here is the segment that aired on the Outdoor Channel this summer. Sorry about the delay…it took awhile to get the DVD and upload it. This is probably the most thorough coverage of the tour so far…they did a great job!

Home Sweet New Home!

Yes! It’s true. We have a new home. When we were on our last leg of the tour in the Pacific Northwest, we had decided in our rain-induced stupor, that we were done traveling and we were going to settle down. Luckily, the sun came out the next day and we snapped out of that madness :) We happened across a Camping World in Burlington, WA that had recently taken a trade-in and it was exactly what we were looking for. We loved it as soon as we walked in. It was spacious, had a large countertop, HUGE windows, a tall full-sized shower, and more. The most important feature we were looking for…a coach chassis. When an RV is on a coach chassis, it sits up higher, drives smoother, is safer, and has tons of storage in the “basement”.

After many negotiations, we closed on the RV and drove it directly to Green Eye Auto in Eugene, Oregon to have it converted to run on veggie oil. Finding Green Eye was a huge blessing. We definitely did not want to drive the RV back across the country to have it converted at Golden Fuel Systems…simply because it would have cost us thousands of dollars in diesel!! We have nothing against GFS, just didn’t want to pay for the gas :) We talked with Clark at Green Eye on our way through to Portland to make sure he was willing and able to do larger systems, and he was. After a week in the shop (and a lovely visit in Eugene!), we were back out on the road with Matt’s custom “dream” veggie oil system. A big thanks to Clark and crew…they know their stuff and we highly recommend them to anyone looking to “go veg”!

After one last stop in Washington, we arrived in back in Bozeman (home of our first RV remodel!). While we were there, we spent a lot of time with our friends at the Refuge Sustainable Building Center talking about flooring and paint options. We finally decided and got everything painted and built a loft for Bella. A few weeks later, we traveled on to Matt’s parent’s home in Minnesota and finished the bamboo floors and other small projects. There are always little projects going on of course, just like a “real” home, but we have finished the big remodel. All in all, we LOVE our new home. It suits us perfectly and we’ve loved every minute in it. I know you have been patiently waiting for photos…so here they are!

Click here to be magically transported to the Flickr set of our new RV. Some of the photos have notes on them, so if you click on the main page for the photo, you can see the notes.

Here are the specs:

*1998 Western Alpine Coach (small company out of Yakima, WA, now out of business)
*325hp/8.2 liter Cummins Engine
*Onan Quiet Diesel/Veggie Oil Generator
*36′ long by 8′ wide (4 ft longer and same width)
*12′ tall (3 feet taller)
*Fresh Water: 100 gallons
*Grey Water: 10 gallons
*Black Water: 60 gallons
*6 gallon hot water tank
*Automatic leveling system
*Central air/heat
*Central vacuum system (possibly my favorite thing about the RV!)
*Flat panel HD television (we love our movies!)
*Combo convection oven/microwave
*Bamboo floors
*Zero-VOC paint
*King-sized bed with loft

Veggie System:
Custom 150 gallon system by Green Eye Auto
50 gallon “dirty” tank (allows for quick gathering of grease)
100 gallon filtered tank (dirty filters to clean while driving)
100 gallon factory diesel tank (for start up and shut down)
18 second “quick purge” for shut down
Averages between 5-8 mpg

And now to answer some FAQ:

Where is the big blue RV now?
We sold it to Jeff, Kim, and Parks…in Plano, TX. Jeff flew into Seattle to pick it up and drove it back to Texas. Just in case you missed that blog post, you can read more here. They have been busy making it their own and will start traveling as soon as they get everything in order.

Why did you need a new RV?
We didn’t NEED a new RV…it was not essential to our survival on the road. However, we knew that we wanted to make our life on the road more permanent and the new RV allows us to do that. It’s heavier, easier to drive, has more room to stretch out/entertain, I could go on and on, but it’s just better all around.

Are you going to continue doing demos around the country?
We are still going to be traveling around the country, but we are not planning a lot of public demos this year. We aren’t opposed to doing them, but we aren’t seeking them out as actively as last year. This year will be specifically for processing all of our thoughts from the past year…along with doing a lot of writing, catching up on blogs, and photography. We’re settling into “real life” on the road…which means more time with just us as a family (instead of being with other people 24/7) and enjoying the beauty of our country without a super strict timeline. Our loose plan right now is to travel to NYC in a few weeks, then down the East coast, hitting the south and the west in the winter after we fly back to the Midwest for the holidays…similar to last year’s route without as many stops. We love life on the road!

Movies on the Road

Last fall, when we were traveling through Maine, we made a discovery that would change our entertainment options forever. We found Redbox! Redbox allows anyone to rent movies with just the swipe of a debit/credit card (no memberships, no late fees, etc)…and each night is only $1. The kicker is that you can return your movies to ANY Redbox around the country. We’ve been enjoying movies this way for the entire year and we love it! Just today, in Ogallala, NE…we went early this morning and snagged a few new releases. We’ll watch them and return them somewhere in Colorado. They also have free rentals on Mondays and Wednesdays…and you can reserve titles from your computer too! Most communities have Redboxes now…or DVD Express, which is basically the same thing.

Happy movie watching!

P.S. We have no affiliation with Redbox, we just love them :)

Omaha TV Spots

We’ve had a GREAT time in Omaha! A big thanks to all of you who came out to welcome us at the events. We spoke with 3 TV stations…here are the two that I could locate online. They’re similar, but focus on different aspects of the tour. And for those of you who have been begging for photos of the new RV, you’ll be able to catch a few glimpses of the inside :)

Action 3 News

Channel 7

We’re heading to Lincoln, NE today and then on to Boulder/Denver early next week. Have a great weekend!

Omaha Bound!

For all of you in the Omaha/Lincoln, Nebraska area…we have two events planned for this week. We’d love to see you there! A big thanks to all of the folks in Omaha who have worked diligently to get all of this lined up!

Omaha events brought to you by:
What Cheer Creative
Brian Smith Marketing
Pizza Shoppe / PS Collective
The Slowdown
Blue Moon Brewing Company
Mid-American Music Festival

Wed. September 3
7:00 p.m.
729 North 14th Street
Omaha, NE
Benefit concert at The Slowdown
live music by lindsay donovan,
49 cents, jessica lindsay, vago,
matt cox + band, chris saub plus
artwork by Scott Blake

Thurs. September 4
7:00 p.m.
Mid-American Music Festival
PS Collective
6056 Maple Street
Benson, Omaha, NE

Update from Iowa

Just wanted to drop in here quickly and let you know that we haven’t dropped off the face of the earth! :) I will soon be writing a longer update and will continue to blog about our West Coast adventures. But for now, I wanted to let you know a few things:

*We’re in Iowa. Contrary to where I am at in my blogging (currently Los Angeles!)…we have settled down in the heartland for some rest and relaxation. Well, of course that was the original plan…but we’ve been rather busy!

*We are soon heading to Colorado and have demos in Omaha and Denver. Stay tuned for more details.

*Yes, I will be posting photos of the new RV soon. How soon? I’m not sure…but soon. :) We’re still building a few things and putting on the finishing touches. It’s been great though…we love the extra space and smoother ride.

*I am now working part time as my mom and dad’s personal assistant…which is GREAT because I can do it from anywhere in the country and it’s a steady paycheck. Yay! However…right now it’s taking up most of the limited free time I have. It won’t always be that way…just right now while I catch up on things. My photography business also keeps me hoppin’… it’s such a blessing to do what I love for a living!

*Matt’s been busy working at my parent’s stores doing maintenance, training new managers, etc. He’s also learning all the ins and outs of our new RV and enjoying every minute of it.

*We’re still planning on traveling this next year, but as of right now…we’ll be taking the year “off” to decompress, mentally process everything we’ve done and seen this last year…and work on writing some eBooks. We’re going to go back to our favorite spots, but won’t be doing as many demos/stops as last year.

*I haven’t been blogging as frequently on any of my blogs (rest assured, I will resume soon!), but if you want to find out what we’re up to…check out our Flickr photostream (which usually has a few photos of where we are currently living) and my Twitter account. And…if you’re reading this in a blog feeder/reader, you might not realize that I do also update our current location on our home page (not the blog).

Thank you so much for “following along” on our journey…and for being so patient. More to come!

Santa Monica and Malibu: Sweet Sunshine

Leaving San Diego, we headed north up the coast to find a place to camp for the night. We were a little nervous, because we had been told that camping in California was not only expensive, but also booked up months in advance. We decided to pull into San Clemente State Park and see if there were any openings for that night. We were excited when we found out there was! Yay! In fact, there were LOTS of openings. Apparently we were just ahead of the super busy season, and we were also there during the week, which made a big difference. We paid for one night there and got settled (the expensive part still applied…it was $35 a night). We met our lovely neighbor, who happened to be the grandson of the founder of Fleetwood Motorhomes (our RV is a Fleetwood). Crazy. We walked down to the beach, which was just a short walk away.

The next day, we moved up the shoreline to Dockweiler State Beach. Dockweiler is located on the end of a runway. An LAX runway. Literally. So, let’s just say it wasn’t the most remote or quiet of campgrounds! I would call it more like a parking lot with electrical posts. However, I wasn’t complaining because we were able to snag a “front row” spot, which meant that the sand from the beach was touching our front tires. So fun! There was a busy boardwalk bustling (say that 3 times fast!) about 10 ft in front of the RV, which made for really great people watching from the comfort of my living room. That night, we enjoyed an amazing meal at the Terra Bella Cafe in Redondo Beach, a raw restaurant owned by Melissa Davidson. I wrote more about it at Happy Foody…here.

We had a free day and decided to head into Santa Monica to peek around and of course, we had to have supper at Euphoria Loves Rawvolution, owned by Matt Amsden (raw chef and author). Lovely eats. Read the full scoop here. Later on we ended up at REI, where we got Bella a trail-a-bike. It basically turns your bike into a tandem bike for kids! It’s the best thing we have ever purchased! When we got back to Dockweiler, we immediately hooked it up and took off on the boardwalk. It was super, super windy, so we didn’t last for long…but Bella was in heaven!

One of the reasons we chose Dockweiler was because of it’s proximity to LAX. We were picking up my sister, Laura, and her fiance, Dan there on Saturday morning! Yay. We set out from the RV and headed in the airport (which was a bit surreal after seeing it in movies so many times). After a few phone calls, we found Dan and Laura and we all squished into the car and headed back to the RV, still parked at Dockweiler. We got everything and everyone situated and headed up the coast. Destination: Malibu.

The Malibu Beach RV Park was a welcome sight after the traffic on Hwy 1. Whew! We arrived 15 minutes before check-in time, and we were turned away…being told that we needed to “just come back at 1″. Grrrrr. There were plenty of sites available to pull into, but they were being difficult. So we pulled the rig all the way back down the hill and parked it on the PCH (Pacific Coast Hwy) and made lunch. Dan and Laura immediately ran down to the ocean…because Laura had never seen it before. We finally got checked in and settled…it was a very nice park and we had splurged a bit by staying there. But it was in the perfect location and had an amazing view. Wow. Apparently, this is the same RV park that Matthew Mcconaughey stores his beloved Airstream. Fun little fact.

We packed back in the car and headed through the hills over to WorldFest. WorldFest is a large earth-day type gathering, with a heavy emphasis on vegan activism. It was fun to walk around and see all the booths and eat food at the yummy vendors, which included 3 raw food vendors. Heaven! You don’t see that in Iowa :) One of my favorite things there was the “public display of meditation“. Very odd to see all of these people sitting on the ground meditating in the midst of all the hustle and bustle around them.

The Santa Monica Pier was calling our name, and we were off to find it. Dan and Laura are excellent volleyball players and wanted to play in some pick up games on the beach. So we headed there and enjoyed the afternoon watching them beat everyone :) Next on the list, more Rawvolution. Yum. It’s just blocks away from the beach, and we had to take them there to experience the raw goodness. After that, we headed to the grocery store to pick up “Juno” to watch later at the RV (gotta love Redbox!). So funny. Dan fell asleep first. :)

On Mother’s Day, we headed back to the Pier for a day at the beach. Dan and Laura played more volleyball…mostly beating everyone again, but eventually getting schooled by an 80 year old man. Good job guys! :) Bella fell in love with the playground there…tons of monkey bars and rings. Her favorite. If you’ve never been to the pier in Santa Monica, you must go sometime in your life. There is SO MANY things to see and people to watch…there was never a dull moment. For supper, we met up with Dan’s old friend, Nick (who lives in L.A.)…and we walked until we found a Thai restaurant. Ahhhhh….Thai. Afterwards, we headed over to the famous 3rd St. Promenade, where we enjoyed some yummy coffee, lively street musicians, and great conversation. Back at the RV, we watched “August Rush”. Wonderful flick! But Dan fell asleep again :) hee hee.

Monday was a wonderfully lazy day. When we woke up, we pulled back the curtains in the bedroom and were thrilled to see tons of dolphins swimming and jumping within view. They continued to jump for us throughout our breakfast of raw coconut pancakes. We headed to the beach shortly after that and set up for a few hours of fun in the sun. We had a passerby tell us that there were sharks in the water and that he was “SURE” he saw them a little ways down the beach. Turns out they were just dolphins :) But we did proceed with caution… :) Dan and Laura cooked scallops and asparagus that night and stunk up the RV :) We had a lovely dinner and went to bed relaxed and ready for another day.

Dan left early the next morning to go golfing at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades and we all slept in. Dan is a golf pro back in Minneapolis, so he couldn’t come to L.A. without golfing!! :) After making some especially delicious green smoothies, we brought them outside and watched more dolphin action. Later on that morning, a new friend came to visit us and have a raw food coaching session. Carrie-Anne found my blog through Emily Falconbridge’s (they knew each other in real life from when Em lived in L.A.)…and she wanted to come see the RV and talk raw food.You all probably know Carrie-Anne as Trinity from the Matrix movie series…of course, it’s hard to imagine her as a latex-clad and gun-toting girl after you get to know her :) We share a lot of the same passions and had a great time. We met up again later at a park near their home before we left town…to hang out and let the kids run free. She brought me the bestest of all gifts…a bag full of fresh avocados from their tree. OH MY WORD. They were fabulous.

Later that day, we caught up with Tami…a friend of Becky’s who we had met in Florence, SC back in December. She was living in Carpinteria and working as a traveling nurse…and she had friends in Malibu. We all met up at Dan and Lauren’s house, which was within walking distance to Paradise Cove. We really wanted to surf (well, Matt did!) but couldn’t track down a wet suit for him and didn’t want to rent one. So we just hung out on the sand and enjoyed their company. Dan and Lauren are super sweet people…so laid back and welcoming. We had a lot in common with them as well…I knew I would like them right away because as soon as I walked in the door they were handing me a green smoothie :) Now that’s my kind of people.

On the last day that Dan and Laura were in town, we headed to Santa Monica again for a demo at the New Roads School. We had a great time talking with the staff and students there about our journey and other environmental issues. It’s so encouraging to see the youth of our nation so concerned and excited about helping the earth. The students were very enthusiastic and fun to talk with. A big thanks to Jessica for bringing us in!

We headed to the airport to drop Dan and Laura off for their flight…and with hugs and sad goodbyes, we were off to another adventure. L.A. was amazing. Nothing like we imagined…but everything we needed. We loved it and will definitely go back!

Live Lightly Meets Cage Free

Yes, yes…we are still alive! We have been B-U-S-Y with the remodel of the new RV…and my blogging is the first thing to go when we get busy. Hang with us…I’ll be posting more regularly again very soon. In the meantime…here is some fun stuff for you.

This week, I just happened to check the Cage Free Family’s website and realized that they were only an hour away from us in northern Minnesota (Jeff and Aimee were the featured family in the New York Times article that I linked to awhile back). I emailed Aimee and extended an invitation for them to swing by just in case they had time. They took us up on the offer and we spent one night as neighbors…laughing, talking about life on the road, painting, playing in the dirt, sitting around the campfire, eating watermelon, swimming in the lake…and more. Our visit was much too short, but we were happy to be with them anyway! Bella and Quinn had so much fun playing together…of course, that was after Bella loudly declared (immediately upon meeting them) that she wanted a “SHE” to play with and not a “HE. She forgot that right away as soon as she realized that she had a new biking buddy.

They were also dropping a friend off at the airport in Minneapolis. Their friend was Mark, a 17 year old from Austria. Mark was spending just one month in the U.S. and he was flying back on August 4. It was fun to meet him as well and discuss the differences between Austria and the U.S. Such as the price of organic apples. Don’t get me started. :)

Here are some photos of our time together…I’m sure our paths will cross again in the future! Happy trails Cage Free!

San Diego, CA: Mick and Emily

After sending my parents back to Des Moines, we headed straight up to Mick and Emily’s house. I have been a reader of Emily’s fabulous blog and was so excited to finally meet her in person! You know how there are some people in your life with whom you just “click” with? Well…Emily is one of those people for me. We share so many of the same passions and she is just an all around beautiful person. Emily and her family are from Australia, so you can’t help but smile whenever she is talking to you. Especially when she is referring to the “rubbish” (trash) :) . She is also an amazing artist…and her creative spirit comes through in everything that she does. If you are in the scrapbooking world, you may recognize her…she is a contributor to many publications/websites also does workshops and such. Be sure to check out the photo album to see a fews pics of her stuff. It’s inspiring! I’ve never really wanted to be a scrapbooker until I met Em :) But she’s so much more than a scrapbook extraordinarie…she teaches people how to integrate art into their daily life…and that’s what everyone truly needs! Oh, and do be sure to check out her most recent photos of Italy on her blog…they are breathtaking!

The night that we arrived, we had a lovely picnic in a park near their house. The girls ran free while we enjoyed a HUGE green salad and fruit. We enjoyed chatting about the tour and about where the road is leading for them as well. The next evening, we had dinner at their friend’s house. The kids played in the back on the GIGANTIC slide/swingset thingy. We ended up leaving the men so that the “big” girls could go have a pedicure! Yay!

Mick and Emily’s home is decorated in such a fun manner…a little bohemian, a little funk. I LOVE it. I could have stayed and stayed…just to enjoy the atmosphere. They have a lovely little patio in the back…just off the light-filled kitchen. We had a great time chatting and hanging out back there…watching the kids play and create. Being in her home ALMOST made me wish that I was back in a non-moving house again! :) Another fun fact…one of Emily’s best friends is Tara Whitney…one of my very favorite photographers! I had fun peeking around Em’s house at beautiful images Tara had taken. Hopefully next time we get back to the San Diego/L.A. area I’ll get to meet Tara too! :) Someday I might even go to Thailand with BOTH of them. Now wouldn’t that be crazy? I better start saving my pennies now…Thailand is my dream trip!!

And of course, it was great being around another dready mama. Em’s dreads are long and beautiful…and they suit her perfectly. She was actually my inspiration to go blonde recently. We had fun tying our hair up and inspecting each other’s knots :)

And the last bit of fun stuff…Emily has a little side business on Etsy. She creates the most fun and funky camera straps I’ve ever seen. I was soooooo excited when she said she would make me one. Yippeeee! And for all of you photographers out there…Emily gave me one of my favorite straps to GIVE AWAY on my blog. SO…jump on over to this post at Walk Slowly, Live Wildly to enter yourself in the giveaway. And tell all of your friends about her crazy straps. Who wants a boring ‘ol factory strap when you can have one made with love by Emily!? She is constantly updating and posting new and different designs, so be sure to check back often.

One thing is for sure…it was too short of a visit! We will definitely be back to spend more time with the Falconbridge family…we miss them already!

Photos of all the fun here.

San Diego, CA: Sun and Surf

This was the first time we had taken on “hitchhikers” during the tour :) . Hitchhikers named Mom and Dad, that is! Having them ride in the RV with us was such a treat…it was so fun to share that experience with them and see the beauty of the southwest together. The sand dunes and mountains…wow! I had no idea how much the landscape changed in such a short distance. We arrived in San Diego around supper time and headed to our campground. After quickly getting settled, we jumped back into the car and jetted just a few minutes down the road to La Jolla Cove. We found parking and as we walked toward the water…and we were overwhelmed with the beauty of the sunset and the power of the ocean’s waves crashing just below us. It was so quiet except for the sound of the water. I could have stayed there all night…but we decided to venture up the sidewalk and check out the shops and restaurants. La Jolla is such a neat area, with a diverse mixture of people roaming the streets.

The next day, we left early and headed to Pacific Beach and Mission Beach. After seeing the ocean in San Diego…I immediately fell in love with the West Coast. The ocean is soooo different than the east coast…definitely more my style (bigger waves and a bit warmer!). We had so much fun just hanging out on the boardwalk for hours. The people watching could have kept us occupied for days…the surfers, the bikers, the skaters, the vacationers, the volleyball players. It’s so sunny, and everyone is so happy to be out in that sunshine. There is definitely a mix of people here as well…as you can see from the real estate. There are “surf shacks” with run down exteriors and surfboards and wetsuits lined up in a row next to huge, luxurious homes. Someday, we want to come back with our entire family and rent a condo on the boardwalk so we really CAN sit for days watching the people go by :) .

Being in a larger city, I just had to see if they had a raw restaurant…and they did! Cilantro Live! was located not too far from where we were (although nothing is too far in San Diego!)…so we headed there for some lunch. We had a great time trying out all different kinds of raw foods, including desserts! You can read more about what we had on my food blog, Happy Foody. If you have never been to a raw food restaurant…seek one out the next time you are in a larger metropolitan area. They are definitely a fun culinary experience, whether or not you eat a raw diet.

The Point Loma Tide Pools were next on our list. We ended up spending a good chunk of our day here because the ocean was just so captivating! :) There were crabs to chase, surfers to watch, and apparently there are whales, but we didn’t see any. There are also octopus, sea anemone, sculpin, starfish, lobster and abalone! A little tide pool ecosystem to explore. Everyone kind of did their own thing…mom and I sat and talked, Dad explored off on his own, and Matt and Bella had fun finding sea creatures. It felt so preserved there…like you were at the end of the world. Loved it.

We were all getting hungry and so decided to drive over to Coronado Island to grab a bite to eat. We settled on sushi and were able to get a seat on the ocean-front patio! What fun! After that, we walked up and down the beach…checking out the famous Hotel del Coronado and all of the busyness around it. There was a big dinner event in the works (right on the beach) and it was fun to peek in on that. Bella fell asleep in the sling…so we kept walking and went to find some coffee to sip while we watched the sunset. The light and surroundings were so ethereal and peaceful…it was hard to pull ourselves away!

The next day, we headed to Shelter Island to see the parade of Naval Ships coming into the harbor. And after that, we spent most of the day in and around Seaport Village…taking in the sights and watching the Red Bull Air Race. Wow! Talk about amazing! There were people EVERYWHERE trying to get a glimpse of the airplanes in action. The little area around the bay was packed. We had lunch in the village, Bella got a Little Mermaid painting on her arm by the resident face paint artist :) and then wandered out to watch the start of the races. Those little airplanes can sure get your heart racing! We wandered down to the Gaslamp District and then headed back the La Jolla “Children’s Beach” to see the seals.

The beaches at La Jolla are these cute little things…with cool rocks lining them. We spent a lot of time playing in the sand and watching the skimboarders. The colors of the flowers were so vibrant against the sandy rocks and the blue water. True bliss. Aaaaah. It’s moments like those that I truly remember how blessed we are to be able to see all of these sights as a family. Be sure to click on the photo above and look at it enlarged…it’s like a “Where’s Waldo” photo. Can you find my Dad!? We decided we liked the La Jolla area too much to leave, so we found a cute little restaurant near the water so we could eat, relax, and decompress from our busy day! After that, we made one last trip to Cilantro for dessert…and then called it a night.

Back at the RV park, we all went hot tubbing and then crashed! We crammed a lot of things into just a few days…but it was so worth it. The next morning, we loaded up the RV and took mom and dad to the San Diego airport. It was, of course, hard to say goodbye after being with them for so long. We always have such an amazing time when we’re together. We waved goodbye to them sadly, but were excited…knowing that more life-changing adventures were awaiting us.

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