Scottsdale, AZ: A Little Family Fun

In our previous life, we worked for my parents…they own 8 Cold Stone Creamery ice cream franchises in the Midwest. Cold Stone is headquartered in Scottsdale, so we have been there many, many times in the past for business meetings and other such nonsense :) So as we rolled into town, it was all very familiar. And that is a VERY good feeling to have. It was about to get even more familiar…because my parents were flying in from Des Moines for Cold Stone meetings and we aligned our schedules so we could all be there at the same time, and have 4 days of relaxing before the meetings began!

We picked them up, right on schedule and headed to our hotel in Scottsdale. We had a 2BR suite with a kitchen…so we parked the RV in the hotel parking lot, and moved in with my parents for a week! It was weird to leave our house behind, but we thoroughly enjoyed all the amenities the hotel offered! And when we opened the door…my little brother Daniel was there too! :) He had flown in from Denver for a few days and it was so fun to have him take part in the festivities. Bella adores him, as you can see in the photos! :)

We spent the bulk of every day laying around the pool and swimming. The weather cooperated very nicely…it was in the 90′s the entire time we were there. Aaaaaaahhhhh…. :) The hotel was in a really nice retail/restaurant area, so we all went out to eat several times. We rode the trolly to Old Town, went out for Thai food, coffee, and saw some amazing art! I also made them several raw meals throughout our time there. My mom was pretty much eating all raw for the entire time…I was so proud of her! Bella was able to have a SECOND birthday party with Nana and Papa too…we strung up streamers and balloons in the hotel and surprised her with it when she woke up. She got a Razor scooter and a new princess dress. So much fun!

While we were there, we had a demo at the Kahala/Cold Stone Creamery headquarters, in conjunction with the kick-off of their “green initiative”. They had just written an article about us for their internal magazine…so it aligned perfectly with our visit. We started off the day with an EARLY morning (5:00 a.m.!) live interview with KNXV-15. We’ve done a lot of interviews…but none of them have been live. Now that’s nerve wracking! You can see the media clip here. We had a great time chatting with everyone that came out…including many of the Cold Stone employees who we had done our initial training with back in 2004, etc. My parents had several days of meetings after that, and during that time we took care of two adorable little girls (one who is Bella’s age) who belong to some old Cold Stone friends of ours. They had a great time tearing up the hotel room and swimming, swimming, swimming. They also took a special liking to the hotel luggage carriers! :)

The highlight of our visit was when my dad realized that they had only booked one way tickets to Phoenix, and had no tickets to get home! So of course, I said, “COME TO SAN DIEGO!!” So they did. :) The next day, we all packed into the RV and headed off across Arizona and Southern California…to have more 4 more days of adventures together. I’m so glad my family is just as spontaneous as we are!

Photo album here.

Traveling West: Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona

Matt said that he was going to pull over to stretch his legs at the rest area…so as I sometimes do, I grabbed my yoga mat and went out for a little stretch while he and Bella played for a bit. I did a few sun salutations next to the RV…and just as I was going into downward dog, I hear a voice behind me…

“Live Lightly, huh? It better not run on gas if you’re going to do that!”

A young man had walked over to the RV…and apparently hadn’t taken the time to read the entire tag line about running on veggie oil :) We started talking and I found out that he was a traveler as well, and very interested in all things “eco”. When he found out we were headed west, he implored us to stop at San Solomon Springs at Balmorhea State Park. He said that we’d be making a big mistake if we didn’t at least stop to see it. He lived just south of Balmorhea…so I figured he knew what he was talking about! We took his advice and decided to spend the morning checking it out…and we’re so glad we did! So what exactly is San Solomon Springs?

San Solomon Springs has provided water for travelers for thousands of years. Artifacts indicate Indians used the spring extensively before white men came to the area. In 1849, the springs were called Mescalero Springs for the Mescalero Apache Indians who watered their horses along its banks. The present name was given by the first settlers, Mexican farmers who used the water for their crops and hand-dug the first irrigation canals.

Situated about four miles west of Balmorhea, Texas, the 45.9-acre Balmorhea State Park was constructed by Company 1856 of the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC, between 1936 and 1941. The CCC was established as a New Deal program by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression as a way to employ people that would have otherwise been out of work. Many of the state parks in Texas were developed during this time.

The 77,053 square ft San Solomon Spring is the focal point of Balmorhea State Park. From 22 to 28 million gallons of water flow through the spring-fed swimming pool each day. Other CCC structures in the park include a limestone concession building, two wooden bathhouses, an adobe superintendent residence, and San Solomon Courts, an early expression of the modern-day motel, constructed of adobe bricks. All of the CCC buildings are constructed in a Spanish Colonial style with stucco exteriors and tile roofs.

It was a sunny day like no other…one that you just HAVE to spend near water! We pulled into the park, paid the day use fee…and parked the RV. We were the only vehicle in the entire parking lot, and as we walked over to the springs, we realized that we had the pool to ourselves as well! We laid out our towels and snacks and checked out the water…it was CHILLY! But the greatest thing…is that it was FRESH. NO chemicals…chlorine, nothing. Just good ‘ol water! The sheer number of gallons that flow through it each day is incredible (see description above). We had a great time splashing, swimming, and jumping off the diving board. We met another family there who came in a bit later…they were on vacation and the dad was originally from Bozeman. Small world! :) They let us borrow their little floaty boat, and Bella was pleased.

We packed up and made a little lunch in the RV and then traveled onward. We drove to a little campground in western Texas and settled in for the night. There was a swimming pool there, so Bella was super excited to check it out. The next day, Matt went to talk with the owners about their grease, because they had a little cafe on site. Turns out, they did have grease. A LOT of grease. There was a 1000 gallon container of perfect oil … and it was filled nearly to the brim! We were giddy with excitement, of course, and we topped off the tank and all of our extra containers.

We headed out across the beautiful landscape of the southwest…through New Mexico and Arizona…stopping at the Camping World in Tucson to replace our broken motorized step. It was fun to see Tucson…even in passing, because it’s my birthplace! I was born at Davis Monthan Air Force Base while my mom and dad were stationed there. My dad was in pilot training for the Air Force back then (and just to brag on my dad a bit…he’s a 2-time Top Gun winning fighter pilot! Dad, you rock!).

While Matt replaced the step, Bella and I went for a walk around the parking lot and we stumbled upon the CUTEST little trailer and we just had to check it out. The owners of the trailer, Justin and Julie were from a little town outside Telluride, CO and had just trekked back to the US after many weeks in Mexico. They were making repairs on their trailer as well, so we had a little camp out right there in the parking lot and got to know them a bit better. Bella really, really wanted to move right into their cute little camper…it was just her size!

Back on the road, we realized that we were getting dangerously low on fresh water in our tank. We knew we’d be boondocking (camping without hookups) that night in the Phoenix area, so we needed to find some. After striking out numerous times, we came across a nice 55+ RV park just off the interstate and they were kind enough to let us fill up with nice cold water for free! :) What a blessing!

We rolled into Mesa, AZ and found a brand new Wal-mart in a nice neighborhood to park in for the night. We had one entire side of the building to ourselves…and the landscaping was so nicely done, I felt like I had my own little garden :) We slept hard, and awoke the next morning…ready to go pick up my parents from the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport!

Photo album here.

San Antonio, TX: Tommy and Kari

Unlike many of our destinations throughout the tour, San Antonio was a city that I had already visited! I spent nearly 7 weeks there while in Air Force basic training in 1998, and came down again to see my brother, Dan, graduate from basic a few years later. And AGAIN…I went down for a Pampered Chef conference in 2003. I was excited to bring Matt and Bella back there and show them the sights!

Kari, Tommy, and Paisley opened their home to us while we stayed there and acted as wonderful tour guides to their city. Paisley and Bella had a great time together…they played dress up, chased each other in high heels, painted, and watched movies. They especially loved the tree swing that Matt hung up for them in the huge front tree. Such fun!

San Antonio College was our first demo while in town. We were the focal point during their “Go Green” festival on campus. It was especially encouraging to see so many young people interested in taking steps to make our world a better place. I’m always excited when YOUNG people are being educated about the environment…we need to teach this new generation now so that they can start changing their future.

The next day, we were at the “Earth Day San Antonio” event and had a great time talking with blog readers who came out and also with random people who wandered unknowingly into the RV. :) It was a hot, sunny day…and we loved sitting out in the Texas sun, taking it all in. The event was part of the big Fiesta Celebration…so it was a bit crazy in town!

We also enjoyed touring the downtown area. We took the kids to a production of “Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus“, checked out The Alamo, and walked the Riverwalk (I LOVE that!). We also did a small demo at their church…and Kari even had a raw restaurant do some of the catering!! Woo hoo! We had fun meeting their friends and family at that event.

One of the fun highlights of our stay was dreading Kari’s hair! A lot of people say they love dreads and that they would love to have them….but they always have an excuse of why they can’t. Well, Kari was different. She made the decision and went for it! Kari and I stayed up LATE into the night while I coaxed her hair into knots :) She has beautiful hair and it looks amazing…see photos of her dready progress here.

We thoroughly enjoyed our days in WARM San Antonio…there was lots of talk about raw food, numerous green smoothies were consumed, many yummy shared dinners, and of course, sadness when we had to leave. Before we left, Kari surprised me with one of the coolest gifts ever…a necklace with a sterling silver little RV on it. It’s magnificent…check it out here. If you’ve ever seen a James Avery design, you know about the attention to detail. I just couldn’t stop looking at it! It even has a little ladder to the roof. So cute. Every time I wear it I am not only reminded of our time there with Kari, Tommy, and Paisley, but also of this journey that we’ve been on this past year and how we’ve changed so much because of it.

Photo album here.

Another Journey Begins…

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” – D. Williams Jr.

One of the most commonly asked questions on the tour has been “What are you going to do next?!”. We set out on this adventure exactly one year ago with the intention of trying out this vagabond lifestyle for the year and then reassessing our goals. We are happy to say that we’ve accomplished everything we set out to do! We traveled to faraway and delightful places, we met new friends (who will now be lifelong friends!), we educated others about sustainable living, and we spread the love of Jesus. All of that excitement has left us longing for MORE of the same! So, instead of settling down…we have decided to continue our journey indefinitely! We’ve enjoy the “mobile life” so much, that we wanted to make ourselves more permanently mobile. With that in mind, we’ve made a few changes.

The first change is that we have moved into a new home! Another home on wheels of course. :) We had been looking for a new RV for about 6 months, and found the perfect one for us in Burlington, WA when we were traveling through to Vancouver. It’s a little longer, a little wider, and has a few nice features that will make full-time life on the road easier. As I type this, we are in Eugene, Oregon having the veggie conversion done at Green Eye Auto. They are a fantastic company and we have been really happy with their service. If you are looking to get a veggie conversion done on the West Coast, be sure to give Clark a call! They also have an abundance of cool diesel (veggie-oil ready!) vehicles too. We’ll be headed to Bozeman, MT next to do the remodel on the inside. I’ll be doing an entire post telling (and showing photos of course) about the new RV near the end of July.

Our beloved “blue beast” has served us well…it was really hard to say goodbye to it! Moving out and saying goodbye was so bittersweet. Before I walked out for the last time, I paused to think about all of the memories made in that space…so many amazing people and intriguing conversations, the late nights spent blogging and sipping tea, delicious meals shared, and oh the sights we saw! It was a wonderful home…I was unable to hold the tears back! Bella was quick to point that out with her adorable comments. “Mommy…are those TEARS?!!?” and “Mommy…why are you sad?!”. We had some good talks about how you can be happy and sad at the very same time.

Luckily, we won’t have to say goodbye for good…the original Live Lightly Tour bus will “live on”! We have sold it to Jeff and Kim (you met them in yesterday’s post about Plano, TX) and they will be JOINING the Live Lightly Tour…starting their own adventure in early 2009. They will be doing a separate tour…doing demos around the country and using the RV as a tool to bring awareness to social issues. I asked Jeff and Kim to give me an overview of their mission and what they are all about so I could share it with you:

Hi! We’d like to introduce ourselves…we are Jeff and Kim Harrison. Our 3 yr old son Parks will also be joining us on our new adventure! Born and raised in West Monroe, Louisiana, we ventured out to Boulder, CO six years ago to live and play in one of the most beautiful places in the U.S. Living in Colorado taught us to pay even more attention to our environment then we had ever done before and we want to take that knowledge and our passions of travel and meeting new folks out on the road, spreading some Live Lightly Love!

We had the amazing opportunity to meet up with Sara, Matt, and Bella while in Plano, TX where we currently reside. We had already felt the tug of our own hearts to hit the road and set out on a tour that would mirror some of their accomplishments. When they gave us the chance to become part of the Live Lightly Tour and share many of our same passions, we realized that it was no mistake that we had crossed paths. Our dreams were now given some wings to fly!

Our goal for the this tour is to encourage people to make simple choices for both their environment and their communities. By lightening our footprint on our earth, we would like to share some ideas for people to do the same in their own lives.We in turn want to continue to educate ourselves about organic farming, gleaning, and of course hopefully enjoy some great music along the way! We also desire to shed some light on organizations across the country who are sharing their own love to help others.

There are simple things we can all do make a positive difference, and we will live purposely to share that truth.

Our plans at the present time involve getting the RV home to Plano, TX and just doing some small projects to make this very cool bus our own. We’ll be donating and selling more of our belongings with the goal of moving into the bus around August of this year. Our desires are to keep our current full-time jobs through December 2008, and with Parks still in preschool, live in a local RV park here in Plano. This will enable us to schedule our route, make contacts,be with our families during the holidays, and develop our plans to hopefully hit the road Jan 2009. We HOPE to be doing some local demo’s here in the south throughout the fall, aiming to stay in the southern region on the first full-time leg of the tour, then moving farther north throughout the spring, summer, and fall. We will most likely begin in Florida, moving our way West, through New Orleans, across Texas, and of course passing through Colorado, aiming for Portland and Seattle. We also will plan to do an East coast leg as well because Nashville,TN, New York and the Carolinas won’t be missed!

Our paths will certainly intersect with the Janssen family while we are on the road…we plan to meet up with them to celebrate the Tour of ’09 and regain some much needed inspiration!

-Jeff, Kim, and Parks

We are so excited to welcome the Harrison family to the tour! They are a perfect fit and God has had his hand in this process from the beginning. There have been so many little details over the last couple of months that have worked out exactly how they needed to for everything to happen. Jeff will be flying into Seattle tomorrow to pick up the RV and will meet up with us in Burbank, WA so we can give him an “RV 101″ class :) before he drives it all the way back down to Plano, Texas.

The website will, of course, remain…but will undergo a few minor changes…adding their blog, etc. Those changes will take place over the next couple of months. Basically, The Live Lightly Tour will now have two families traveling and spreading the love instead of one. Double the fun!

As for our immediate plans…our schedule on the Route page is still accurate. Our last booked demo was in Vancouver, BC…but we will still be available for bookings in the Midwest. We will be focusing on catching up on blogs and photos from the West Coast and relaxing throughout the rest of the summer and will be with Matt’s family in Montana and Minnesota and my family in Iowa. We’ll head out to Colorado in the fall…we’ve been contacted by several different groups to speak, so if you’re out that way, watch the Route page! My sister is getting married in October in Minneapolis…and after that, our life is an open book! Another journey begins! We are planning on heading south during the winter months and then will be back to the Midwest in the summertime. We’d like to settle into a routine of 6 months traveling, 6 months parked (near family). We will continue doing demos, although the schedule will not be as intense as this year! And of course, we’ll be swinging in to say hello to all of our new friends around the country.

Thanks for hanging in there with us through all of these transitions….please bear with me as I get everything uploaded and blogged from this last leg of the tour. I hope that you’ll understand now that you know all the craziness that has been going on! :) To tide you over…here is the San Diego photo set that I just uploaded.

I am also excited to announce that I will be working on an eBook in the next 3-4 months that will go into greater detail about our everyday life on the road, traveling on veggie oil, and also how YOU can travel too :) Stay tuned!

Plano | Dallas | Ft. Worth, Texas

At the last minute, we were booked to be a part of “Live Green Expo” in Plano, TX…so we headed up and parked overnight in the parking lot before the event the next day. They had a great turn out…with green companies from all over Texas being represented there. We were out in the “transportation section” in the back and had a lot of people in and out of the RV, including many blog readers who came by to introduce themselves.

After the expo, we were hosted by Jeff and Kim and their little boy, Parks. We immediately hit it off with this cute little family…we share many common interests…including a love for Jesus and his creation. We enjoyed meals together…including a particularly delicious one at a local Thai restaurant. Well, let me back up a bit. We were running precariously low on grease and had been talking to Jeff and Kim about it. So, during the expo, they just swung by a couple restaurants to check for us. Jeff called Matt and told him that he had found some…but of course, we had no idea of the quality, how much, etc. After heading over there and inspecting it, we crowned Jeff the “King of Grease Hunting”. He had hit the jackpot. We filled up completely and then some (120+ gallons!) with perfect, clean grease from the Thai restaurant he found. Yay Jeff! So, of course, to celebrate we ordered some curry, pad thai, and spring rolls and other such deliciousness and had a meal in the RV as we pumped.

The next day, we went to their church, Life in Deep Ellum, in Dallas. Kim had been working on getting us set up there for a demo for quite some time…and we were able to give a short talk during the service about our vision for stewardship and also talked about our journey so far. We had a fun open house and meal with the entire congregation and connected with so many cool folks. It’s a very young, hip church and their desire to care for God’s creation is strong! One of the ladies there who I had been in contact with before we came and she brought a big bucket that I could dump our compost “stuff” in . Thanks Kelly! We said our goodbyes to everyone and headed to Ft. Worth for another demo that afternoon.

City on a Hill is a house church organization in Ft. Worth and they invited us to come down and talk to their group about our tour. We enjoyed an afternoon of sharing, food and fun. Thank you to Beth and the crew for bringing us in!

Photo album here.

DwellSmart to the Rescue!

One of the things I have missed most in our travels is growing plants, herbs, etc….just green stuff in general! We don’t really have the space to have big plants in the RV…but growing herbs in the windows is the perfect solution! We were excited to receive a package in the mail from DwellSmart in Charleston, SC with the herbs as well as a neat compost container and compostable corn-based plastic bags. The herbs were so easy to set-up and grow. We have 2 different kinds, lemon basil in a fully biodegradable pot and saucer made from reclaimed rice hulls…and a mint “garden in a bag”. Bella loved helping me plant them and was absolutely giddy when the seedlings finally popped through the dirt to show their delicate green leaves. She continues to water them daily and asks constantly when we are going to eat them. :)

The compost container has been a great place to put all of our food scraps…and it’s so easy to just grab the bag and throw it in the compost pile. No mess! It’s surprisingly large and smell has not been a problem at all because it’s breathable. The unique material allows heat and moisture escape, therefore eliminating “stink”.

DwellSmart’s mission is to help protect and improve the health of individuals and the environment. We had a great time checking out their store when we were there….so much green goodness in one place! I was hyperventilating! :) They truly are a one stop shop for all your eco-needs…with a staff that is committed to living green and helping you do the same. Be sure to comb through their website…lots of goodies!

Wheatsville Coop and A Little More Austin

The crew at Wheatsville Coop welcomed us with open arms…we had a great time at the demo and met a lot of really fun people. While we were still in Austin, we were able to have lunch with an old family friend of Matt’s. Jamey and Matt grew up together in Minnesota, and we still hang out with his twin brother, Jeremy, whenever we go back. Before we left town, we had a “tune up” done on the RV and took care of several things that needed fixing. We parked in the shop’s lot overnight for a few nights…and awoke each morning to the sound of roosters just outside our window. We were also able to hang out a little more with Evan and Pilar. The hill country of Texas is so beautiful and we were sad to leave! But we were off to three events in Dallas/Ft. Worth…

Photo album here.

Crickets and Future Thoughts

There is a cool breeze coming through the RV tonight and the crickets are making their presence known…along with some frogs and other noisy night animals :) A freight train just rattled by for a few minutes…and we’re parked so close to the tracks that the RV swayed back and forth the entire time it was passing. We are settled in for the night just north of Mt. Vernon/Burlington, WA. It was a beautiful day today…super sunny and 70. FINALLY SOME SUN! These last couple of weeks have been heavy with decision-making and ideas of our future as well as demos, photo sessions, new friends, good food, mountains, and beaches. We have so much to share with you … exciting news and fun developments. But you’ll just have to wait a bit until it’s all ironed out. :) So don’t go away!

I am still editing photos and getting blogs ready from Texas, Arizona, and all the way up the West Coast. There are so many adventures and amazing sights just waiting to jump from my hard drive into the blogosphere…I am looking forward to a little more down time over the next couple of months to catch up with it all and process this year’s journey.

Hope you all had a great weekend and a meaningful Father’s Day. More to come soon…

Reflections From The Road: Months 7-9

As I looked back through our blog to get a sense of what our life has been like in months 7-9 on the road…I am overwhelmed with emotion. I am in awe of how many places we’ve been, how many amazing people we’ve met, and the sheer joy of it all. We are so grateful for every day that God allows us to keep going on this journey.

Right now I am sitting at the dinette in the RV. We’re parked for the night in Penngrove, CA at a small park. The only sound is the soft hum of my computer fan and the tapping of my fingers on the keys. Outside…it’s completely quiet as the fog rolls in off the ocean. There is a chill in the air even though it’s almost June. Inside…Bella is sound asleep on the couch. She was determined to go to sleep there “all by herself” tonight…and she did. :) Matt is asleep in the back. Life is good. We have food. We have grease. We have faith. We have freedom. We have each other. Ahhhhhh…. :)

Here are some thoughts from these last couple of months…

Raw on the Road
We’ve been eating primarily raw foods for going on 5 months now…and we feel great! Matt just recently bought some new jeans because he has lost 40 lbs! He went from a tight 38 to a loose 34 in about 2 months. Eating is a joyful thing around here…there are no feelings of restriction or rules. A typical day for me might look like this (Matt eats the same, just more):

8:30am Green smoothie [banana/pineapple/mango/spirulina/hemp seeds/spinach]
10:30am Big bowl of strawberries
12:30pm Kale Avocado Salad
3:30pm Peaches (2 or 3)
6:30pm Walnut Meat Tacos
8:00pm Watermelon (lots!)
9:30pm Pot of hot herbal tea

I may occasionally throw in some other yummy snacks…like a handful of raisins or some Manna bread smeared with raw almond butter and creamed honey. We like to keep it simple…if I can make it in under 10 minutes, I’m happy :) The West coast is PACKED with amazing raw food restaurants and we’ve been trying them all! I’ll be posting photos and reviews at Happy Foody soon. Yum yum!

Beaches and Being Outside
We’ve been spending a lot of time outside and it’s so good for the soul. There is just something living in the RV that makes the outdoors feel so much closer. It seems much more accessible…a shorter walk to the door maybe? :) I love to make lunch and immediately walk outside to eat it…whether it be at a picnic table or just on the curb. The beaches have been so soothing. Siesta Key was beyond beautiful. San Diego…wow. Malibu…double wow. And then there was Carpinteria…probably my favorite beach so far. For someone who hadn’t really seen the ocean much before this tour…I’m getting my fair share of delicious sand and sunsets. Bella LOVES the sand. It’s safe to say that she will be a water girl…and will take after her daddy. He’ll probably have her wakeboarding by the time she’s 5. I am much more comfortable on land, however…but I enjoy watching them run around like crazy people.

We have had the opportunity to experience so many unique and vibrant churches during our trek across the south. Big churches. Small churches. House churches. It’s also encouraging to see the church as a whole start to concern themselves more with environmental issues. There is a lot of education going on in the local church…about how we can take better care of creation and in turn, take better care of God’s people as well.

Feels Like Home
We’ve enjoyed a lot of family time on this leg of the tour. My parents and my brother, Dan, flew into Scottsdale, AZ for business…but came 4 days early to hang out with us. We spent days and days just laying around the pool in gorgeous 90 degree weather…pure bliss and good tans! By that point in the tour, we were in desperate need of a break! It may seem like we are on a giant vacation…but we really do work…and the hours were getting long. Then, my parents extended their stay and rode with us in the RV to San Diego, and spent another 4 days there. What fun! Then, a few days later, we picked up my sister Laura and her fiance, Dan, at LAX (they flew in from Minneapolis) and they spent 5 days with us in Malibu/Santa Monica, CA. It’s been such a blessing being able to share our travels with people we love.

Geeky Stuff
Somewhere back around New York City, our original GPS bit the dust. We didn’t buy another one right away because the iPhone worked in a similar manner. However, we REALLY missed the GPS. We ended up getting a new one in Atlanta, and I cannot believe we waited that long. It’s a life saver. The difference is that with the GPS, Matt can just drive and navigate on his own. Whereas with the iPhone, I needed to be up in the front telling him where to turn, quickly typing in addresses, etc. In heavy traffic, it’s not a fun marital experiment :) Life is so much better when I can be tending to Bella…reading books, etc. while Matt navigates on his own. So glad it’s back.

We also added another gadget to our techie bag…a Verizon air card that works like magic. We were hesitant to get one in the beginning of the tour because of the cost, but after doing a lot of research…decided to bite the bullet. Costco has a special for members where you can get the card itself for around $10.00 and the service is $60 a month. It has been worth every single penny. Now we are able to have internet on our computer anywhere there is a cell signal…and we don’t have to seek out a wi-fi hotspot to get our work done. What an amazing feeling.


We have had an abundance of grease throughout these last few months…not including that one time in the middle of Texas when we ran out :) With diesel prices at about $5.15/gallon, we just smile when we drive right by the gas station! We have made back our initial investment on our veggie system several times now…it’s so great knowing that we are driving clean and driving for free. Matt is an absolute pro at finding and gathering…and after 17,000 miles (pre-tour included) on veggie oil, he should be!


We have stayed very busy with work these past couple of months…photo shoots, demos, raw food coaching…it’s been wonderful. Because of this, I am a little behind on getting photos and blogs written. I have approximately 4,000 photos waiting to be sorted/edited, etc. And that’s just California! :) Have patience with me though…I’m getting them done and the west coast has been an amazing ride! I can’t wait to show you all the beautiful sites…

We are embarking on the last leg of the tour…we’ll be headed into Oregon next week and then Washington and Vancouver. After that, we’ll be spending longer periods of time in Montana, Minnesota, and Iowa…catching up with family. It’s hard to believe we moved into the RV almost a year ago already! What a wild ride. :)

New York Times

We were mentioned very briefly in the New York Times over the weekend…you can read the entire article, “Chasing Utopia, Family Imagines No Possessions” here. You may have to register for free account with their site to read it. The article features several families who are headed down the same path of living lightly…including our boat-dwelling friends in Annapolis, Cindy and Doug. Be sure to check out the featured family in the article, Cage Free Family, the choices they are making will inspire you!

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