The 'Why?'

To find out what this journey is about, start with the beginning, the 'Intro' post.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The goings on today

Didn't find much at the place the next town over furniture wise.  Will have to keep eyes open.  I do have one standing plastic drawer cart that comes up to just about the right height and has plenty of drawers that might work if I had a few of them together, it is the one I formerly had in the RV closet here:


So was thinking, if nothing else, I can get one or two more of those and stabilize them together.  I'd have plenty of storage and a flat surface for cooking on.  Was at Walmart earlier to look and see if they had any, no Bueno.  :(     Am sure I can find it online, if nothing else better comes along.

While at Walmart earlier, checked out, again, the foam mattress toppers.  Was intending to find two 3" toppers and put them on top of each other.  Last time I looked, they didn't have the size I needed.  And then I was reading others having problems with mildew forming under foam mattresses that sit on top of plywood.  Great.  I have plywood for the platform of my bed.   Well, I think I outsmarted them, haha!!  I was able to get two 3" ventilated cooling mattress toppers, woot!  There are vent holes in them.  Air will be circulating under the bed, and now there are vent holes in the mattress.  Here they are, cut down to size to fit, and working just beautifully:


Now to hunt down some plastic bins that will fit under the bed. 

Have also had some thoughts this morning.  Have already decided on getting this for a shower setup.  What I was concerned about was the base for it and the space it was taking up.  After reviewing some youtube videos this morning (cause that's what I do in the mornings...  lol    I read, research and watch to learn) I came across someone who uses one of these things.  Now that's a thought!!  Folds up out of the way when you don't need it.  Fashion the shower curtain and set it inside the tub, use your solar heated shower, and drain outside when done.  Then it folds back up flat after drying, stored out of the way.  Coolness!!    Throw your bag of water on the dash while driving that day..  pop out your tub that evening, set up curtain, hot shower, dump it, store it, and you are all clean and refreshed for a good nights sleep.  Some people also heat up the solar bags and put them in a thermos type container for use in the mornings.  It's a thought.

Am trying to figure out if a second battery can go in to the van engine area.  There is a space for it, right here:

 

And it appears there is a plug right there already wired for it.  No clue what it's wired for or would go to.  I would hopefully use it as a house battery, for 12v uses.  Not sure yet how it would work, so much to consider.  :)


Tomorrow is supposed to be yucky and windy as heck.  It is Oklahoma, ugh!!  Not sure if I will try to hunt down places to look for a kitchen/storage setup.  The window tinting is going on Friday, so it's cool it there's not much in the van for now, gives them more working around space.  :)



#VanConversion

Furniture search

Am off today in search of cheap used furniture to go in the van.  Will need storage and a kitchen set up.  There is a place next town over that is pretty much a junk store, but they are pretty cheap, so that's the target for today!

Will post later on anything I find and post pics.   :)

Monday, January 26, 2015

It's back home!!

Had it at the mechanics before 9am this morning, and they kept it all day.   Must admit, I was getting more and more nervous as the time went on.  I did get the parts myself with a discount, so it was just labor on their part.  But all day...  yeesh!!

So I got it back, $325 for the labor, ran like a champ!    They were not able to work on the A/C yet because their machine that fixes them was getting repairs.  They did say there is some wear on the ball joints, but nothing to be concerned with right now.  Cool!

Spent the remainder of the afternoon going through the stuff that has accumulated in the RV.  And since I have that RV for sale, all of it's stuff had to come out.  I stuck it in the spare room.   Holy moly!  Where did all this stuff come from??   And, dare I admit, most of it will be useful coming up.  How is all of that gonna fit?  haha..     *rubs hands*  a challenge!  

That's it for tonight.  Tomorrow, it's time to figure out the bed mattress.   :)





#VanConversion

Sunday, January 25, 2015

It goes in tomorrow

The van be going in tomorrow for some work on it.  I'm kinda nervous.

Plugs, wires, distributor cap and rotor, hoses, transmission drain, filters, and anything else they might notice while under the hood.  Have to ask them about AC work, forgot to tell them about that the other day.

Then Friday she's going in for window tinting, woot!  :)  (Thanks Dave and Lance!!)   Then I can really start getting stuff put in and figured out.

The kid has decided to go with me on my Texas trip.  We shall see how it works with more than one person.   Oh, and doggies..  can't forget the doggies.  :)





#VanConversion

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I'm legit now

Got business cards in, woot!  

They are for anyone that might ask "Why".  Or if I can't leave a hula doll because it is too big.  Or just for the fun of it.

Have 250 of them, yay!

 
 
 
 
#Travel

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Oscar and his special cocktail

It was late 2009 after John got the cancer card.  

We had to go in to get his mediport.  It was going to be easier to access his veins for his chemo.  So he went in, happy, of course.

I worked there.   At Christus Spohn Shoreline hospital.  I worked in the radiology department.  The people who were going to do this were the specials group, a spin off of radiology, a special department of their own.  They all knew me.

It was an easy procedure, just placing a piece under the skin that was threading a tube straight into his heart.  He wasn't going to be going under, just a lucid wakening so he could follow commands.  I've seen many of these done. 

So, we were waiting for his turn in the waiting room they put us in.  And in came Oscar... 

Oscar came for John.   He knew me.  So now he knew John.

Apparently, even with Versed, haha..  John had them rolling.   He told them, and scolded them, that his wife would be upset they were gonna shave off his 2 'manly hairs' on his chest.  He had them laughing the whole time.    They brought him back to me, laughing the whole time.  He extoled the greatness of 'Oscar and his special cocktail'.  They laughed the whole time.

Here is John...  2 years after the cancer card.  They were gonna go back in to check his colon.  He was happy because 1). he no longer had a butthole they could go in to with the scope..  2). he got to laugh about it..   he was 35lbs lighter in this picture, but here he is that day

 
 
#John  #Cancer  #Stories

You Dropped A Bomb

This was New Years Eve,  year was 2006. 

My mom and dad had rented a room at the Holiday Inn in our town, it had it's indoor Holidome thingy, with indoor put-put golf, pool, shuffleboard, hot tub, sauna and such.  They had grandkids join them, my daughter was one that went.  Me and John decided to stay home.

So it was about 1am when my mother calls me, frustrated cause my goofy kid decides she doesn't want to sleep and therefore won't let her sleep.  haha!!  Sucker!   hehe  just kidding.  But..   Yeah.   Not sure what I am supposed to do about it, but I listen to her and get kid on the phone and tell her to go to bed.  But now..  me and John are wide awake.  Thanks mom.

So we are awake and we both move into the living room.  It's dark.  We are just hanging out and talking.  Waiting for another phone call about my onery daughter, not sure if we are supposed to go get her or what.  

Hours go by.. it's probably 3am by now.   We have been chatting for a long time, had our blankets out, he was on couch, I was curled up on a recliner.  I thought John had drifted off because he hadn't said anything for a long while.  So I was getting comfy and about to drift off myself, when..  out of now where...

"You dropped a bomb on me...   BADEES!!!"

OMFG       Just busted out of his lips in the quiet darkness.  I thought he was sleeping and this comes out.  From no where.  He called me 'badees'.. his way of calling me Baby. 

To complete this scenario, imagine me laughing into the darkness, and not stopping.  I think I finally fell asleep laughing an hour later.  I woke up laughing.  I called my mom that morning and couldn't talk from laughing trying to tell her the story.  I laughed all day just thinking about it.  I'm laughing still...   :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=at7B30dkljU



#John

The Dookie

"The Dookie was staring at me!!"

That phrase still makes me laugh.

It was when we had Betsy, the tiny RV.  We had went camping and dune buggy'ing that weekend and had went to dump the holding tanks before heading home when I heard that phrase.

John got in after dumping the tanks and was acting funny.  I kept asking what was wrong.   He would just look at me, then look away and at the steering wheel like he was embarrassed.  I kept asking.  He kept avoiding the subject.  Finally, finally...  he said:

"The Dookie was staring at me!!"

Apparently, when he went to take the cover off of the dump tanks outlet there was a turd, he called it "Dookie", that was sitting there.  Like it had grown eyes and could look at him.   OMG   The "Dookie" was now a living breathing thing.  

We started making up stories to include The Dookie.  I would threaten stuff, starring 'The Dookie'.  And every time I said the words, The Dookie, he would look away just like when he would stare at the steering wheel.  The Dookie was all powerful now! 

 
 
 
 
#Camping  #Stories  #John
 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Philosophical lunch

Life is weird.

Yesterday I went to lunch with my awesome daughter.  Maybe I should explain said awesome daughter first.  I freakin' LOVE her mind!!  And the way she thinks.  Maybe this picture will explain it, one day I asked her to pose for a picture, this is what I got:


Yeah...  so anyways, we are talking at lunch and our brains are churning with how things are messed up with the general way of thinking and how people just blindly follow it.  One thought spins off to another with us and it builds steam and I woke up this morning thinking about life.

Like I said before, the typical thinking is for people to be born, they are brainwashed then into this 'This is how it is done' mentality of:  go to school, go to more school for which you will have lots of student loans that will follow you forever, to get a degree for something you may or may not like that you might have been forced to pick at 18 years old, so you can get a non-secure job that no longer lasts for 40 years, that hopefully gives you benefits that are dwindling ever so quickly, so you are deemed worthy enough to get married and have 2.1 kids, so you can buy a house, but before you buy a house you must have 'good credit', the way to get said credit is to borrow money, and more money, and slave at said job that you maybe liked before but now start to resent because all you do is work there to make payments, then your 'good credit' is built up so now you can buy a house, because that is what you are supposed to do right? and then the magic is gone and you probably hate your job but you can't quit it because you have so many payments and a spouse and 2.1 kids and an SUV and probably 2 more cars parked in the driveway, and you live for the weekends yet you waste it working on the house, which has trapped you and taken your free time, and you spend your whole year dreaming of your two weeks off a year (if you are lucky, paid if you are even luckier), to go to a tourist trap place and wrack up more debt with more payments that you didn't enjoy to begin with, and keep having to get up and go every 5 days a week to a place that you now hate to pay for things that you resent, and have to keep working on stuff on the house, just to keep on this "I am normal" face, and it stresses you out, you are stressed about the economy, your job security, braces, ER visits, bill collectors, and you try to escape the awfulness of it all by drowning yourself in TV at night, because at least you can dream you live like the people in that boob tube, and you aren't happy because you can not be like those people in the boob tube, because they have things you don't and they look happy, so you get those things so you can be happy, you add more payments, you are always working on the house or yard to impress the neighbors, you buy something else, add more stress, your health suffers, you buy bigger house, bigger car, bigger payments, you drink or pop anxiety or depression pills to numb it, you play video games or start over eating or have a gambling habit or a porn addiction, cash out your retirement to pay off credit cards, your marriage suffers, you don't spend any times with your 2.1 kids, more odds are in favor of you getting a divorce than staying married, your job suffers, you take out a second mortgage to again pay off credit cards, and your health keeps suffering, you buy stuff to make you happy, it doesn't, so you buy more stuff, and you are still not happy, the cycle, over and over, day after day...   on a hamster wheel     FOR 40 FUCKING YEARS.

At the end of which, if you are lucky enough to have saved over the years you might have a retirement fund, enough to live on, that hopefully will keep up with your medical conditions that were brought on over 40 years of unhappiness, stress, over weight, addiction, depression, and then you don't know what to do because you don't know what makes YOU happy, you never did, you were only programmed to think that the above prescription for life was supposed to make you happy, yet you knew it didn't, so you keep thinking you are supposed to buy stuff in retirement or go to preprogrammed tourist places and it will make you happy, and it still doesn't, your life consists of going to the doctor, when people ask how you are you give them a list of your ailments, and your retirement fund isn't keeping up with the medical or the stuff buying and you are still not happy.

Why?

Who said this is how it is supposed to be?

So my daughter and I sat there and we discussed this.  We do that, by the way, we like to ask 'Why?'.  On just about everything. 

How about a different prescription to the above scenario?

What if?   What if you instead took that 40 years of your 'earning potential' and said to hell with it, and did what you wanted to?  To hell with what everyone says your are supposed to be doing.  Be a cellist, make jewelry, backpack around Europe, take off on a sailboat, whatever.  To hell with being able to afford it, figure it out as you go along.  You are happy.  You figure out for those 40 years that it's not things that make you happy, but it's you.  The stress is over come by the joy of doing what you know is right for you.  You smile.  The people around you feel it.  You have experiences.  You learn to live on less and thrive on it.  You don't need a lot.  You aren't tied down.  You don't have a conventional 9-5 job, you are flexible.  Your health is better since you are in motion, in your body and your heart.  You have taken the years when you are in your best health and got to live those 40 years. 

And when you get to retirement age, you probably don't have a retirement fund.  And?  You have learned to live on less, your needs aren't much.  You might want to settle in one place for a while after 40 years of living it up, so you rent a cheap place.  Your bones aren't what they used to be but that is okay, you had 40 years of fun times.  You might have to work a low paying steady job now, but that is okay because you like people and think they are interesting to talk to.  You are interesting to talk to.  Since your needs are small, part time is okay.  Which means you still have time to get to do your fun things.  Your bones are gonna hurt now regardless, better to have 40 years of fun under your belt rather than wait 40 years and be hurting to finally get to do what you wanted to.  You don't have 40 years of stress under your belt so you health is probably good, you are still active.  You are still smiling.  Stuff still doesn't make you happy, you do that yourself. 

I read something like this "It is better to learn to live on less than to work enough to not have to".  Could mean the same as it is better to learn to be happy with less than to spend your whole life working searching for happiness.

Are people really just living in The Matrix?  We are plugged into the consumer machine, our whole reason for being is just to spend money, so like good little soldiers we go to jobs we hate so we can spend so The Matrix just gets richer?  Maybe I am Neo..    feeling something is just not right.  Morpheus!!  Come get me!!





#AntiConsmerist  #AmericanNightmare

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The bed goes in

Thanks to Mr. Super-Handy-Badass-Old-Man, got the frame in for the bed in the van.

Decided to go with a pseudo full sized bed across the back.  I say pseudo because most full size beds are 52"x75".  I only could put in a 52"x66" to fit the width of the interior of the van.  But I think I outsmarted it, getting it to the height where I can utilize what would have been useless space that sits below the big windows at the back.  You know, where those all important cup holders, ashtrays and headphone jacks are at that was near where the old bench seat was.

Had to fit it to where it sat over the wheel well and above those big seat belts contraption that were still bolted on over the wheel well.  Could have taken them off, but they looked like a booger.  Besides, it was 12.5" to clear them and leave them be.  That was enough space for decent storage under anyways, so decided to work with that. 

We used 3/4" plywood for the bed which made it pretty sturdy.  Since the size of the bed will have to be modified to fit the width, I decided to buy a 6" foam mattress that I can cut myself.  Actually, am going to get 2 3" foam toppers..  I've had just one on my old queen mattress that made a huge difference, so 2 should work perfect.  The 6" height of the mattress should come up just to where said useless ledges are under the windows, allowing an additional 6" length.. on both sides!!   Yep, that's right, the width that I can stretch out now will go from 66" to 78", over what a normal full size bed was.

Also, what was considered, is the lower ceiling at the back.  They, in their infinite *cough* wisdom built a box like type thing over the bed area, with one dinky storage box trimmed in their 'fancy' wood.  I wanted to make sure the bed height wasn't so high as to hit my head if I sat up in bed.  Measured my head to my butt and just clear the little useless LED light that sits in the middle of useless box.  Yeah!!

And yes, we did remove the 'fancy' wood covering over said dinky box on useless box over the bed to see if there was extra room they didn't allow, but noooooo!!!   Them jerko's covered around said dinky box under that 'fancy' wood with the same material covering the interior cabin, it was all one piece.  Which meant removing or cutting.   Forget it, trying to make this a simple as possible.  And still be able to put it back to normal for resale later on.  Under bed storage and other storage will have to do.  I will just have to live with simplicity in mind.

Here is the start of it

 
Yeah, yeah... I know..   that carpet shoulda went out.  But...  K.I.S.S.!   Keeping it simple stupid!!  It already has padding and carpet in there, why mess with it?  You can also see we decided not to remove the metal near the back (you can slightly see it between two boards) because I knew the bed would be over that and it wouldn't stick up any further than the bed frame so plastic bins used under there for storage wouldn't be affected.  We also didn't remove the other base to the seat that sits behind the drivers seat.  The one behind the passengers seat was a MF'r!!  I figured, for keeping it simpler, to leave it and just figure out the kitchen or desk area to go over it.  If I am way off, can always try to get the sucker out of there.  Will probably put in a rug of some sort to keep it pretty.
 
Another cool kinda thing, the back where the bed is isn't as padded as the front in front of the bed.  Works for me!
 
And yes, before you ask, that is my portable potty sitting right behind the drivers seat.  It makes a handy stool while working in there.  Plus, it has been already tested on side of the road, Pammy approved!
 
And here is the finished bedframe
 

It is Hotrod approved!!  Haha.  It was funny.. we spent hours out there working on this and Hotrod just never got out unless ordered to do so.  Picked out his spot inside even.  Don't have the heart to tell him yet that that is where more stuff is going, hehe.

So I've got big openings for storage accessible from inside in the front, and from the back getting in from the back doors.  Figured I would put the things in the back I don't use as often.  The front will probably be clothing and foodstuff that would need access more often.

Today, I may attempt to work on limo tint on the windows.  If it turns out to be too much of a pain, I may look in to getting it done for me.  Trying to save money though, less money spent means more gas money for me.  :)
 
 


#VanDwelling  #VanConversion

Friday, January 16, 2015

Time to get to work

Have been under the weather this week, and the van is sitting in the driveway looking at me like "What gives?"

So today, come hell or high water, the inside is getting a good cleaning.  Am going to be taking more measurements of the inside for bed placement.  And maybe, maybe, maybe...  beg some help this weekend to attempt window tinting and fashioning a bed.

Oh, and the hula dolls have come in.  :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

More Transmission Fun

So...  yeah...   I bought my current RV just a few short weeks before my 25th high school reunion.  Probably not my smartest move.  But I was going to take it with me.

When I found it, it was in Lubbock, Texas, a few hours from where I lived.  My awesome-sauce daughter went with me  (do we see a pattern here?  haha!)   I had a high stack of cash to purchase it.  Off we went!   Had sushi first time at some weird place there in Lubbock, Texas..   the kid actually got me into a mall, argh!  But finally it was time to go get that RV.

It is awesome!   Drove it the 4+ hours home no problem.  Did good in the wind that was hitting us broadside.  So, I decided to take it to south Texas, a 10+ hour trip.

Yep.  I sure did.  So off I go, it was 7am that morning and I took off.  Fanny Mae (what she is called) did really great.  It is July, in blistering heat in Texas traversing Texas Hill Country...  do we see what is up ahead??

The rig is doing great and I am trucking along.  Until..   It was in Fredricksburg, Texas when it happened.  I had just come down the most horrid hilly area, having to gun the engine a lot.  I get to Fredricksburg and am at the first stop light and my beautiful RV dies right there.  Dead.  At a stop light.  Cars honking.  No movement.  I am panicking.  The rig starts, but when I put it in gear it dies again.  I am sweating.  More cars honking at me.

Finally, finally, I get it in gear and floor it limping it across the intersection, illegally, to an Inn across the street, it's dying again..  I get it to the side of a quaint little german inn and it's completely dead, I can't even get it moved to the back of their hotel.   So... there I am...   dead stick, stuck in Fredricksburg, Texas at some german inn and not knowing what to do.  I go in and tell them what is going on.  I can not say enough about how nice they were to me, they sat me in the back and gave me a huge glass of wine on the house while I called Good Sam and AAA and people with motor knowledge...

No puddles, the fluids were good, decided to wait to let the engine cool down.  I let it cool for an hour or so.  Started okay, drove okay, so I was off again.

The road between Fredricksburg to San Antonio went without too much incidents.  I decided to not run the dash AC to keep the engine cooler.  I had set up a fan and plugged it in to the 12v outlet to help cool me off.  It WAS mid-July in Texas, after all.  I stopped a few times to check things and let the engine cool.  Twice I took a cold shower.  Nice thing about RV's...  if you are ever stopped in them, broke down or otherwise, you can pretty much do anything.  Cold shower, make a sandwich, go to the bathroom.  No complaints there.

San Antonio, though...    It nearly killed me twice.   I am already stressed, I was definitely hot and already pissed off worried about every odd sound or smell.  Decided to take the loop in San Antonion, thinking I would at least bypass the down town heavy traffic.  That's funny!!!    OMG there are tons of traffic no matter where you drive in San Antonio.  So I am trying my best to just get through that dang city, my rig was stressing me out, I was hot..  and here is where my first near fatal incident occurred. 

When you drive something that big, you naturally have an appreciation of just how much weight you have going down the road.  So I was, of course, taking my time, not going fast, and giving myself a ton of room in front of me.  Jerko San Antonians, though...  noooo... kept cutting me off.  It was said incident that almost killed me.  Kept having too many cars in too much of a hurry cutting me off, when a line of them all slammed their brakes on right in front of me.  My only choices were to slam into them cause I knew I couldn't stop in time, or turn my nose to the on ramp and pray no one was coming.  I chose the latter.  I stopped 3 cars in. 

I stopped and got lost for a bit on the southern side of that loop, and the rig died again at a Love's Travel Stop where I had stopped to get my bearings.  I hung out in their air conditioning to cool off for bout a half hour.  It was about 6pm that same day.  I had been driving for 11 hours now.  Was hoping to just take it easy and stop more to get the rest of the way to my destination.

Engine cooled... Pammy cooled, and I take off again.  I am still on the San Antonio loop on the southern end looking for I-35.    And the second thing happened.  I can not even make this up.  I am on a 3 lane highway, and I am on the right hand side because I am going slower.   There is a truck in the far left lane, with a kayak tied down on the back.   True story, the kayak decides right then and there to come loose, flying across the interstate, and heads for me.  I swerve going 60mph into the shoulder to avoid, am stoic the whole time.  What is the freaking odds????

So, I find I-35 finally and head south, destination still a few hours away.   Until...   yep..  I smell something.  Let me just say now, my nose for engine smells is awesome!!    So I pull off at the next exit, I am probably 30 miles from San Antonio, it is dark.  I find a gas station and pull off to it's side.   Dead stick again.   I get out to look.  Huge red leaking puddle under engine and a long trail of red following my RV's path.    :( 

Dead as a doornail transmission.   Crap!

I went in to said gas station to explain to them that I am parked off to the side, that I am broke down, and that I had already called to get it towed.  He was a jerk about it.  An hour later, tow truck shows up and hauls awesome Fanny Mae, butt up in the air, back to San Antonio to a mechanic place they assumed would fix me.  I slept in the parking lot of that place.

Come to find out, they couldn't accommodate my rig.  I called around, either no one touched RV's or no one messed with transmissions.  Found a Ford dealership that would actually accept me, and called AAA again,   another tow..   That membership more than paid for itself with those two tow's, they were awesome to this scared chickie.

So..  dead transmission...   rental car with no freaking cruise control..   I did get to hang out with my most awesome friend I haven't seen in almost 30 years though.  (Yes, she is still most freaking awesome!!) A week later I go to pick it up at the Ford dealership in Boerne, Texas.  New transmission, four grand pourer, and I finally head back home.  This time, you better believe I took my time and stopped a lot!

And, I didn't die. 






#Camping  #RV

The Turd

Yup...  today I am writing about..  "The Turd".

I was RV-less, having sold the awesome Georgie Boy to get out of debt.  My mom, though, spied "The Turd" while traveling with RV-sis to Dallas.  It was a whopping $1500, I had it.  So off we went from western Oklahoma to Dallas, Texas to get it.

It was in a huge parking lot and I had my doubts about her.  It was a shorty class A, flat nosed, and ugly.   BUT..  someone had done an awesome job retrofitting her inside. It made 'The Turd' ...  cool!!

My poor daddy...   bravely getting behind the wheel..  driving it in Dallas, Texas.   Me, following.  Watching sparks out the tailpipe.    We broke down somewhere and had to spend the night behind a truck stop.  My mom kinda took all the covers and snored all night,    LOVE YOU MOM!!  We only had the propane gas stove for heat for us.  No one died.

It was a miracle we got that thing home.  We broke down again the next day about an hour from home, my dads nerves were completely shot.  I'm sorry daddy.  I can't believe he got it as far as he did, though.  My aunt and uncle had to come rescue us with some tools that were needed to get it going again.   

So... yeah...  I named it 'The Turd' way before the movie "RV" came out...  it really was one.

It kinda looked like a white version of this one on the left:

 
 
 
#Camping  #RV

I know I know..   don't hate.  You know you want one, too!  haha

One neat thing about it was it had a HUGE U-shaped table at the back.  It was the only thing that made into a bed in it, and when it was a bed, it was at least king size or bigger.  I remember one time we went to a lake about 30 minutes away, a few of my family was there with their rigs.  Although mine was the ugliest and oldest, somehow we piled about 10 of us around the huge U-shaped table playing cards until late in the night while it rained outside.  Cause, that's just what you do sometimes when going camping with others, you play cards way into the night drinking too much, haha.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I am a BadAss!

Shot a gun for the first time in my life Sunday, a 9mm.   Check this shit out!



Yep, I am badass!!

"This is my rifle, this is my gun.....   "   lol

I just took a course for my concealed carry, have to do the paperwork, pics and finger printing to get my permit to conceal carry.  It's in the works.  The gun goes with me on my travels.



#Gun  #Travel

Friday, January 9, 2015

Empty Shell

The seats and back bench/bed is out of the van, and now it's an empty slate.  Needs a cleaning something awful. 

The carpet that is in it isn't torn, just different color from sun fading.  It was apparently once a maroon color that had turned to a green shade where the sun had hit it.  I'm thinking still to keep with the Keep It Simple Stupid aspect and leave it, put the things in it I need to, and maybe a throw rug in the middle to cover the carpet. 

Now is time for the planning stage.  Everyone has at some point had a measuring tape and butter knifes on the floor marking the space to play with, haven't they?   I keep changing it around, still unsure if I want the bed across the back or to the side.  And what size bed, for that matter.

Did a big expedition earlier to Walfart.  I had a list going on Amazon for things I would be needing.  Today I decided to take that list with it's prices and just compare them to the Walfart down the road.  Hate to say it, but on the same items, Walfart was cheaper.  I have a good start going on the stuff I need.

Will be going to Texas on my first excursion.  For a few reasons.  #1. It's warmer there!!  When you haven't seen 40 degrees as the high in a week, you naturally want to head somewhere warmer.  #2.  Family down there.  Mom and Dad are at their house down there, and I have a sister down there, along with many aunts.  #3.  A big enough trip but still not too far away.  Can test out the camping aspect and get a good shakedown on how road worthy the van will be.  The place I am aiming to go is about an eleven hour drive.  Far enough, yet not too far, and people I know there just in case I run into issues.  Or a warm house if I am totally way off my mark on outfitting the van.

This weekend will be cleaning and tinting the back windows with dark limo tint.   Never tinted windows before, another first for me. :)  Also want to start making a playlist of songs to burn to CD, it's important to have proper tune-age while driving, ya know.

Next week will be hitting the thrift store to see if they have anything for sale that would be useable for a storage/cook area type of center.  They have stuff at Walfart, of course, but may as well try to save a buck.  Also on the to-do list is seeing about replacing the right blinker cover, it seems to not want to stay put.  Looking forward to hitting the road.  Can't wait!






#VanConversion

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Georgie Boy, Farmers, Transmissions and Computers

This sequence of events that unfolded in 2005 tested my sanity, and also showed me how good people can be.

It was a typical day with me driving Georgie Boy to work in a tiny rural hospital that was over an hour from home.  I had sold Bertha (to my mom and dad who loved it) and had gotten a fancier, bigger RV that was another class A type and 31' long.  Damn it was nice!!  So there I was, trucking along the back roads towards work, going 70mph with the cruise set, jamming some awesome tunes, cruising along, left leg bent up in the seat, one lazy hand on the wheel.  Then, it happened.

BOOM!!!!!!    Front left tire blow out going 70mph on a two lane highway.  Was immediately thrown left across the other lane and into the ditch on the left side of the road.  I got it stopped before it hit the culvert somehow.  It didn't roll over and I didn't die.  The pieces of the completely blown tires was in a trail behind me.  If there had been a car or semi (semi's drove that road constantly) coming I would have been dead. 

After the adrenaline rush and calming down a bit, I noticed a side dirt road a few feet from where I was, and put the RV there.  Called my husband.  He was at work and would be there when he could to help me change the tire.  Called my boss and told her what had happened.  Calmed down some more.  So what do you do when you are broke down in an RV on the side of the road and waiting?  You cook breakfast, of course.  Nice thing about being broke down in an RV, you can do just about anything. :)  

So my husband showed up an hour later, all casted ankle and all.  He had broken his ankle playing softball about a month before.  That didn't stop him, nooooo...   We set about changing out the spare and many people went by us, but I tell you, the ONLY person to stop and offer to help, was a nice old farmer with a cast on his own arm.  That's funny!!   'Casted farmer stops to offer help changing a tire to the casted dude with the RV, news at 11..'

Anyways, got the tire changed, yet it needed air.  Boss's husband on his way with an air tank.  Tire aired up, and off we go.  Not two miles down the road..  it was a dead stick.  Dead transmission.  Really?   Really?!!   Like, what are the odds?

So we are sitting there on the side of the road in rural Oklahoma and who happens by?   Same farmer with the cast on his arm.  He says his farm is just up a ways and we can park it near his house until we figure out what to do with it.  Nice guy.  We tow it and now my rig is sitting at a farm in rural Oklahoma.

A few days later, a brother in law went with my hubby to assess what was needed for the transmission.  He told us it needed a new one, only it was a special transmission, special turbo something, it would be a needle in a haystack to find. 

Stressed out, worried, sick over the new turn of events, not knowing what to do.. all was going on with me.  And so it happened that day..    yep..    my terrible awful...      That day I was supposed to log on my computer to chat with a friend in Illinois who needed me.  She was leaving her husband and had turmoil and needed a sympathetic ear, we had agreed to log in to chat at a certain time.   But, argh!  My damn computer decided right then and there to crap out on me.  I couldn't take it.  With everything that was going on, and now this?!!   

I am embarrassed to admit it, but I beat the shit out of that computer.  I took every frustration, worry, anger, everything out on that plastic and circuit boards.  I threw the monitor against the wall, broke the sliding keyboard shelf, the tower was in pieces.  And then I sat down and had a really big bawl fest right there on the floor.  The computer was in pieces, but I think I had more bruises.   Can you believe, after I had my good 30 minute cry, that damn thing decided to start working again?  Like it was mocking me in some way.  I hate that computer to this day, may it roast in hell.

Few days later, transmission was actually found a few hours from us, and the brother in law and hubby changed it out right there in the front of that nice farmers house and it was rolling again. 

Honestly, I wasn't that sad to see Georgie Boy go when it sold.

 
 
 
 
#RV  #Stories  #John



Big Bertha

I found 'Bertha' off eBay, in another state, and sight unseen when I bought her.  I had never driven a bigger class A model RV in my life.  It was an 80's model Pace Arrow.  A huge piece of metal.  Had that shag carpet and fake bamboo-ish looking blinds and everything.  It was exactly like the meth lab RV in Breaking Bad.



(Hey, here's a Breaking Bad funny (for those who are fans):  At the time of going to get big Bertha, I was actually driving that same color Pontiac Aztec as Walter White.  No lie.  I actually had one of those!   I kinda dug it, cause it was different.  Fuck people!  I think the writers stole some of my life history for the writing of that show.)

So anyways, it was really a white-knuckled trip..  navigating through Wichita, Kansas in a huge piece of metal you weren't sure about mechanically and being the biggest thing you've ever driven in your entire life!!    No sweat.  haha.      Okay, lots of sweat.  The dash heat didn't work, but we had the sellers turn on the generator to run the furnace fan to keep it warm for us.  That is, until I had to stop for gas, I turned off the generator cause I didn't really know the rules with it running and pumping gas.  And then I couldn't get the generator started back up again.  I realized later on the furnace blower would have ran off the house battery, but I was a newbie.  So the rest of the 5 hour trip my daughter and I pretty much froze.

It got a little hairy about 30 minutes from home when the windshield decided to fog up.  Since we had no dash heat, had no way to defrost it, either.  It was dark and hard to see, but we made it safely in.

I took Bertha a few times to work with me.  I worked over an hour away in a tiny hospital.  My job consisted of working all day Monday, taking call Monday night, working half a day Tuesday and then going home.  I would repeat that for Thursday and Friday.  Only, the hospital was so tiny, there sometimes wasn't a place for me to sleep there at the hospital.  So I decided, in my infinite wisdom, to just drive my damn bedroom to work.  I had a bed, bathroom, and movies I could watch.  The church behind the hospital was nice enough to let me park in their lot and let me plug in to their electricity.

So it was on some of those trips the fun with Bertha began.  One time, I was driving down the back roads and going through a small town.  Can you believe a stupid little kid on a bike just flew out on the road in front of me?   Uhhh..   little kid...   big huge monster metal thing coming your way..  hello??    Screeching brakes and me white knuckled, I stopped in time.  That jerk of a kid just looked at me like I was the idiot.  Omg!   I really wanted to stop and go to the house he belonged to and give his parents a piece of my mind.  But, I didn't have time.

Another incident, same road to work, different day..  I was low on gas and needed to stop and fill up.  I had noticed people looking at me on the road but just attributed it to a huge behemoth monster piece of metal that made up Bertha and didn't think anything of it.  Pulled in to a place that would accommodate her height.  But when I went to open the side door something was hanging it up.  Apparently, one side of the awning decided to come loose and it was hanging out, making my door opening impossible.   How embarrassing!!   Like Bertha was trying to fly or something.  So, rolled her back in and I fixed that sucker with duct tape.  Yep.

Bertha had her bad things, but she also had her good things.  I have never felt before or since a more comfortable jackknife couch-bed in my life!  The layout of her was that there was a couch and two barrel chairs making up the living area, kitchen past that, two bunk bed type sleeping areas with an aisle through it and bathroom at the back.  Even with your own sleeping bunks, we preferred sleeping on that sofa, it just was that comfy!! 

One of my fondest memories of Bertha is freezing our butts off, parked across town at the local lake that provided free electricity, us curled up under covers on the sofa bed, watching Armageddon on the built in tv between the driving and passenger chair (cause.. that's what you DO when you go camping in and RV and it's almost bed time, Armageddon was a must!) and little doggy curled up under the covers near your feet.  At one point we had to make sure little doggy, Chevy, was still alive.  We kept poking her and moving her to make sure she was alive, started calling her "Limp noodle".  She was just so happy under those covers she didn't move at all.  We had to keep checking to make sure she was breathing, haha.

Fun times, fun times...



#RV  #Stories

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Score!!

Scored a van today.  Am the new proud owner of a 1996 Ford E150 conversion van.  Had 117k miles on her, drove fantastic.  Negotiated price to $2550 walking out the door.  Well, I should say, my badass daughter chewed the salesman down, made him throw in an oilchange and include tax in the walk out the door price.  I felt sorry for the dude after she got done with him.  Proud mama here.  Drove it the hour and half home no problems, rode very smooth.

Will have to get at least one new tire and tires aligned.  Some bolts need tightening.  Other than that, she is ready.   Now to start in on the outfitting the inside.  Tomorrow's high is around 26 degrees, so I may just be planning while warm indoors tomorrow.

Anyways, here she is


Let the games begin!!



#VanConversion

Monday, January 5, 2015

Buttercup

This is a story about John and his dune buggy.   We used to hook up Betsy the little RV with the dune buggy and head a few hours from us to a place called Little Sahara.  It had some decent sand dunes for Oklahoma.  We looked forward to it very much and had a lot of fun when we went there.

Many a time the dune buggy broke down.  Okay, too many times to count.  So many times we just pretty much expected it.  And it was cool.  We rode in it until it didn't go anymore, hoped someone would tow us in, and proceed to chill and have a good time for the rest of the weekend.

Our dune buggy was a long travel type buggy.  I didn't know what the difference was then, I know now.  There are two types mostly seen at those sand dunes.  The long travel and the jumpers.  The long travel was built for speed.  The jumpers were made to, you guessed it, jump.

So although we had a long travel type, the one made for speed, that didn't stop John from trying to jump stuff.  Noooo...  that wouldn't be 'normal'.   I have a picture of him flying across the sand dunes in freezing cold weather and a huge smile of complete joy on his face.


So we went on a weekend like usual.  This time, though, my little sister and her boyfriend were to meet us there.  Her boyfriend had a jumper type buggy.  It was fun to ride with other people. 

Buttercup is the name of the biggest dune at Little Sahara.  And John was determined to jump it.  We both had 5 point harness seat belts strapping us in and a roll cage, so what's the worse that could happen, right?   Little sister's boyfriend was going to be at the top of Buttercup and signal to us that it was clear for us to jump.

Let me pre-face this by saying, John didn't have a medium foot on the gas pedal.. it was either pedal down or brake.  So, of course, Buttercup could be done with no less than full throttle foot to the floor, balls out, flying!!   We got a good  ways back and he just put the pedal to the floor and we were off.  Across the dunes, sand in our face, yelling, climbing the steep hill, yelling, cresting the peak and WHOOOOOOSSSHHHHH!!!!!!    Airborne!!!    Both of us yelling to the top of our lungs!    It was like Thelma and Louise at the end when her T-Bird was flying, that's what it felt like.  Yelling the whole time, and BOOM, we hit the sand.  A weird noise.  Rolling down the hill.   Yelling.   No power.  Still rolling down the hill.  We were still yelling.  Still rolling.  Until finally the buggy stopped. 

After a bit the yelling stopped and our breathes were caught, we surveyed the damage.  Looking behind us we could see a trail of stripped wires in our wake.  Apparently when we hit the sand the distributor cap jumped up and caught all kinds of wires and stripped them and left a trail for Hansel and Gretel.   Honestly, we didn't care.  It was the most epic jumps of all jumps. 

Later on, the little sister's boyfriend said he had never seen a jump that awesome, it was supreme.  All in a buggy that wasn't made for jumping.  What did they know?  haha

*John taking a friend out..  poor fella*



#Camping  #Stories  #John

Fuck it

I used to say this a lot.  Or 'get the wild hair' as I would call it.   Seems like I've lost that in recent years.

"Hey!  I'm looking around for my 'fuck it'...  has anyone seen it lately?"

One day I got a wild hair, decided I wanted a tattoo..  said fuck it, went and got one.

One day at work a co-worker and I decided right then to go get our belly buttons pierced.  I said fuck it, we went.  Ouch!  haha

One day at 29 years old I decided I was going to go to college.  Said fuck it, applied and got in.

I think fear has been hiding my fuck it's.  I WANT THEM BACK!!!  I want my wild hairs.

Buying this van with the intention of no destination other than driving the 48 U.S. states is my 'fuck it'.  I'm doing it!  :)

...

Funny story:  I worked since 2004 as an xray tech.  I worked at the biggest hospital in Corpus Christi, TX between the years 2008-2012.  It was a few months into working there that I was trained for surgery.  Mind you, they had 16 surgery suites going almost non-stop with 2 cysto rooms, 4 cardiac cath lab rooms, it's own heart intensive care unit for it's heart surgery patients that was separate from the 2 floors of ICU, and about 4 neurosurgeons with God-complexes that did spine cases almost 7 days a week.  To say I was intimidated was an understatement.

The week I was training I was decidedly very nervous.  The most my other hospitals had me do in surgery was bone cases that were just click-click of the C-arm (what we use in surgery to image things), cholecystectomy cases which were easy-peasy.  I was to train to do some mind boggling stuff, well, more than I was used to anyways.  The spine cases made me soooo nervous!!   Imagine someone's spine getting surgery with all the instruments and sometimes halo'd heads and you have to get your equipment in there, all while being sterile, and not hit the intruments or the patient, and get the correct image exactly like the ego'd neurosurgeons wanted right then and there or else.  They liked to yell, too.  A lot.  Yeah, umm.. like yelling at me is going to make me soooo not nervous anymore and get your image perfect that much faster.  Not.

So one day I was stressing about it and a co-worker, April, gave me some sage advice.  Let me describe April first.  Happy go lucky, nothing gets her down, ray of sunshine and always smiling.  Always late and doesn't have an excuse.  Doesn't care what people think.  One of those you always want to be around just because she is so much fun, type.  So we are sitting there and this is literally what she tells me.  She said when those a-hole docs start yelling at you just imagine a spot on their forehead.  Stare at it.  Then tilt your head sideways while staring at that spot.  And in your mind, say 'Fuck it'.   haha!!   Rich!!   I laughed at that but she was dead serious.  Said what are they going to do, throw you out?  Nope.  They will calm down and wait for you to get THE image they need, cause they actually need you.  Don't let them treat you that way, just say 'fuck it'.  It did help many times, and not just with jerk neurosurgeons with God complexes.

I know there will be people in my life coming up when they find out what I am about to do that will start in on their:  Why?  It's not safe.  But you are going alone.   It's too dangerous.  Why do you want to go see stuff?  Why don't you want to just sit inside your box and put on the happy smiley face and be 'normal'.  This is what I say to them:




#Stories

McVan-o-rama

I have been looking off and on at vans for months now.  Got out and about today to see if there was anything local, there wasn't.  I did, however, see a bunch I would consider that were already on the road and in driveways, but I doubt I can talk them in to selling them to a perfect stranger for what I want to pay.  I can dream, right?

Have been going back and forth in my mind between different styles.  I think I am set on one, then another thought pops into my mind on a different type and I second guess myself.  Just shut up brain, will ya?!!  

Right now I feel like a full sized van is for me.  Less cramped and comfy.  Will be trading the lesser gas mileage for more comfort.  After all, I will be living out of it while traveling.

But with the many, many used mini vans I see listed for sale I can't help but wonder if that is a better option.  Certainly most are better on gas.  Gas is good right now, I know.  Today I filled up my little car, and gas was under $2 a gallon!  Heck yeah!!   Haven't seen it that low in a long, long time.  But I know it is only short lived and the gas prices will just inch back up again.  But the size inside, just don't know if I can make it work being all cramped up.   Some of these trips will be alone so that would be do-able.  Some will not be alone and will be tenting it some, so with another person and doggies and tent gear and such,  am not sure if a mini van would work.

Since I do plan on keeping this van for a long time, should really just ignore the mpg aspect and concentrate on the comfort aspect.   That's what my head tells me.  Well.. that's what it tells me today, anyways.

If I can just order up what I want and pick up my order that would be awesome!!   Like pull in to a drive-thru..  order what you want..  pull forward to the window, pay, and boom! there's the perfect van.  Name the place 'McVan-o-rama!'

"Hello, I'd like to order a full size conversion van, one with the taller top, with a good running motor and I don't want to spend too much for it, please."

"So you would like one all beef van, full size with mustard, conversion with the taller top combo, strong running motor, the budget menu item, and a side of fries?"

"Yes, please."

"Okay, that will be $2,000, please pull forward to the next window."

Boom!  Done!  Now was that so hard?  I can dream, right?  haha

 
 
 
 
#VanConversion


Sunday, January 4, 2015

The last time I fished

It is on my list of things I need to learn how to do.  Or, re-learn, if you will.  I haven't fished since I was about 10 years old, and here is why:

We were camping at Hog Bayou, this time we were on the side of the river with the boat ramp.  Only, they had sort of made a dirt barge across the end of it so boats couldn't use the boat ramp.  That is where I decided to cast out my line.

So there I was, skinny little kid, sitting on a pile of dirt at the end of a boat ramp near a river, quietly fishing.   But then I saw it.  I wasn't sure at first.  But sure enough...

 
 Coming right at me!   Of course, I screamed, chunked my fishing pole at it, and went hollering for daddy, my savior.
 
There was an alligator in the river.  It was probably 10 feet from me before I saw it.  There was no ripples, just those eyes coming towards me.
 
Some other campers had some teenagers with them who decided it would be fun to catch it in their nets.  So they were on the bridge tossing over the net to catch it and they were successful.  They hoisted it up in the air and I about keeled over, it was big.  Scary!  Little kids were all around camping there, it could have been a bad scene.  It was almost me.
 
And that is the story of the last time I went fishing.
 
 
 
 
#Camping  #Stories

Winnebago's and California

I was 12 when my family went on a huge 2 week trip to California.  We lived in south Texas, and my dad's mother lived in Sacramento, California at the time, so we planned a trip to see her.

So mom and dad bought something like this:

 
 
Beauty, ain't she?   Believe it or not, we actually piled in 9 people and took off. 
 
 
Dad had to modify some of it to sleep everyone, and it worked.  The back had a U-shaped couch that made into mom and dad's bed, above it was a bed that folded down that two kids slept on.  The kitchen dinette made a small bed that my uncle and 7 months pregnant aunt slept on.  Over the drivers area dad built another fold down bed another two kids slept on.  Across the front seat dad fashioned a board that my little niece slept on.  It worked. 
 
Saw snow for the first time in my life in Colorado.  It was actually slush, but what did we know.  Us girls had slush fights.  Saw the Grand Canyon.  Saw weird fake dinosaurs.  Listened to my oldest sister moan and groan and make everyone more miserable going through the Mojave desert.  Got scared in California from being lost, but my step granddad came and found us and took us to my grandma. 
 
That is where my real love of RV'ing came into play, my grandma.  Or MawMaw, as we always called her.  Miss her so much!   She had a little class C that was fairly new at the time.  I remember being so impressed how she always kept it stocked up and ready to go.  She said that way when she felt like taking off she just had to throw in clothes and food and be off.  I got that from her, my need to always have my rig stocked up.  Me and my little sister was lucky enough to get to ride with them in their snazzy newer rig, as they were going from California to Oklahoma and we would be convoying with them.  It was such a thrill to be up top over cab area watching out the front window, so much fun.  We felt like we were flying over the road.
 
We stopped outside Reno, and my lucky step granddad went in to pay for gas and hit a big win on a slot machine in the little convenience store there, he was lucky that way.  Stopped in Lake Tahoe, us girls snuck into a swimming pool illegally while the grown ups were gambling, we got caught, and everyone was asked to leave.  Oops.  Went to Vegas and got to go in to Circus Circus, much fun for a kid.  It was a grand adventure.  We 'mined for gold' on a river somewhere in Colorado.  Really, I think they were just wanting us kids out of their hair, but we were all sure we were gonna strike some gold, haha.  It was a great two week trip.
 
Only later to find out....    Can you believe dad didn't have a clue if that Winnebago would make it across town, let alone to California and back?  No tags.  No insurance.  And a lot of times unsure if the brakes would work.  We got back and they had $1 to their name.  That's balls, people!
 
 
 
#Camping  #RV  #Stories

Betsy and Whoops

This is one of the stories about the lil class C RV I named 'Betsy'. 

It was around the year 2004, and there was an annual Mud Bogs being held north of Amarillo, Texas that we were wanting to attend.  It was going to be our first time going.  I had decided to skip class for xray school that day so we could head out first and find a spot big enough for my family that would be joining us later on.

I was driving Betsy, and John was following pulling his big nasty Jeep on a trailer behind him.  When we got there it was still a little bit muddy from the rain that came through that day, and as the road we had to go down was dirt roads near the river, it was slow going.   Very slow going.  Forever slow going.  I started getting nervous, being the one in the front trying to scout a good area, and after what seemed like a million miles and no places were empty.  I was sweating, I admit it.

After what felt like hours of fruitless searching, a spot showed itself to me in the distance.  It was as if the clouds opened up and the sun peered right down lighting the space up for us, it was perfect.  Big and level and enough space for the four more RV's that were going to be meeting us there later.  That spot was all I could see and I floored it anxious to get it before someone else did.

What I did not see, however.. was the whoops.  Have no idea what else to call them, those small little bumps in the road, tiny hills.  In my euphoric state of finding a perfect spot, I just didn't see them.  They saw me though.. oh boy did they! 

I can't tell you what was going on in my mind at the time, maybe I thought we were being abducted by aliens or something.  My daughter, Karen, was in the front passenger seat, I'm sure she was white knuckled and yelling.  I can tell you what John saw unfold in front of him, though.  He saw the complete underside of Betsy, her butt up in the air, about 4 times total. 

If you ever want to dump the entire contents of your fridge in the floor and have a 19" mounted tv come crashing into the floor, hit the whoops while you are flooring the gas pedal.

This story got told over and over again to each and everyone at our camp by John, to my dismay.  Laughs were to be had by all.  Blushes were to be had by me.  I never lived that one down.

Here is a pic of John and his 'nasty' Jeep...  and yes...   yes that is him wearing a leprechaun hat haha!



 
 
#Camping  #RV  #Stories  #John 

I was getting out of debt!

So there I was..  it was 2005, I was working as an xray tech in a town over an hour away, and I was miserable.  T-totally miserable!!  I hated it.  Picture tiny hospital with one other co-worker in the xray department, your boss.  And your boss was THE most self-centered person I have ever met in my entire life.  I literally had to wait to see what kind of mood they were in to know what kind of day I was going to have.

But anyways, I was doing the normal American way, doing stuff on payments.  Mortgage, car payments, student loan payments, personal loan payments.  Go to work and hate it just to pay for stuff you can't enjoy cause you're too busy at work being miserable.  There's got to be a better way!!

Yeah, I admit it, it happened one day.  I was reading a magazine for radiology, and at the back were quotes.  Quotes from famous people, all of which I knew, except one.  Dave Ramsey.  Who?  So I looked it up right there at work.  And had an epiphany.

So I quit el miserable job-o.  And went fanatic about paying shit off.  It was my new mission in life.  Shit was gonna get paid off or I was gonna die trying!  Wanna know what?   I had a blast!  Over 18 months stuff was either sold or paid off the hard way, all $56,000 worth of it.  About a year of that was done on a single income, I might add.

I won't even tell you all of the insane things I did to save money.  A funny one, though, me and my daughter was just talking and laughing about the other day, that I will share.  My family likes to go out to eat.  Like, all the damn time.  It is like a past time.  And while I was paying off debt I did allow for some blow money in the budget each for things like that, it made it all work so much better.  So as it happened one day, my family wanted to go out to eat, as usual, and I was low on my blow money.  So me and my daughter decided to fill up on left over Hamburger Helper before we went, and we sat in the restaurant with them and had tea and munched on the chips and salsa.  You would have thought we created some grievous sin.  Like, OMG, we aren't going to die because we didn't eat a freaking enchilada.  Gees!  They kept trying to buy our lunch but we were full already and quite content.  They couldn't conceive of the idea.  It was funny to us.

I bought a $1,000 car from an auto auction to drive, and put the one with the $23,000 price tag up for sale.  It wasn't worth that, of course, after all the rolling into the new loan trading up crap I have fallen prey to time and time again.  What can I say, I did stupid things.

I went to see Dave Ramsey live, twice.  It was very motivational.  I read everything I could get my hands on about saving money.  I have a list somewhere, haha, it's pretty impressive.  A lot of them I read more than once.  And yes, we even screamed on Dave Ramsey's live show "We're Debt Free!!". 

I hate payments.  I am now where I don't even like house payments.  A roof over your head just shouldn't cost so darned much, ugh!   I read an interesting article once about the mortgage myth, there's a lot of wisdom in it, even if it is written tongue-in-cheekish.   This is a link to jlcollinsnh's article on his website, read here.  

Right now I have no debt and I feel very free.   Debt sucks.

 
 
 
#Stories  #DebtFree

People name their rigs, right?

After I was grown and getting RV's of my own, I had this thing of naming them.  Isn't that what people do?  

My first little RV I got on my own I got back in 2002.  I spied her sitting off in a distance in a fenced in backyard of an oilfield company.  Weeds had grown around it.  It was an older 70's model Class C, about 21' long.  Of course I had to go inquire about her and she happened to be for sale.  I think we paid $2100 for her.  Took a bit to get her going, but go she did.  The inside was in amazingly great condition, someone having put some loving care into reupholstering her, it was so cute!!  We paired her up with a dune buggy and a trailer and took her many time to a place a few hours from us that had sand dunes.   Lots and lots of fun memories in her.  I named her "Betsy".  She was just so darn cute!!   More stories about Betsy later on.

The second one I got was a few years later.  We thought we wanted something bigger, so I went to hunting and actually bought one off eBay.  Only, haha, it was in the next state over.  Did that stop me?  Nope.  Had I ever driven a Class A RV before?  Nope.  Did I know much about the vehicle's condition?  Nope, just took their word for it.  Was an ice storm heading our way in the next few days making it imperative that I head out right then and there?   Yep, cause surely I couldn't wait.   So, there we were...    in western Oklahoma having to drive to Wichita, Kansas to go pick up a monster Class A motorhome sight unseen.  It was me, my teenage daughter, and my pregnant sister.  Off we went.   There are stories about that one, too.  I named her "Bertha".  She was big and ugly and 29' long and the name just fit.  If you've ever seen the show Breaking Bad, yep, it was just like that RV they cooked meth out of.

After Bertha and it's mishaps, my older sister, who had gotten started in the RV business (thanks to me, hehe) decided to find me a deal and upgrade my current behemoth rig.  Yep, and even bigger Class A, this one 31' long, very fancy and nice.  There is one hell of a story with this one.  No name really called out to me on this one, so I just called her "Georgie Boy".  Cause, well, that's what brand it was.

After that I got into this phase of paying off debt.  I went fanatic about it, I was paying off debt!!  So, Georgie Boy was sold to pay off the loan.   But I still had the itch.  So what did I do next??    Yep, found one I could pay cash for.  Well, my mom had spied one I just had to have while in Dallas with RV sis (what I will call her) and told me about it.  It was $1500..  I had it.  So off we went after that one, me, my mom and dad.   OMG there are some stories on that one for sure..  It was a 70's flat nosed model class A that was about 23' long.  I named that one "The Turd".  (Sorry Robin Williams fans, I named it that before the movie 'RV' came out)

The Turd had it's uses, but damn it was just so ugly!  haha    So I sold her to an older guy, real character, who saw her charm.   But, I still had the itch.  So next came "Brownie", a class C again, 25' long.  I didn't keep her long as we were doing a life change and selling everything and moving to south Texas.  That was in 2007.

I didn't get another recreational vehicle again until almost a year ago.  I still had the itch, and I think I passed it along to the boyfriend, so off we went in search of one.  We wound up getting a 1983 class A, 29' long.  Stories on that one, of course, haha.  It is still here, we (or should I say, the boyfriend) has named it "Georie Porgie".  Cause.. well..  it's another Georgie Boy brand RV.  Class A's kinda scare me, story about why later.  So in my brilliant mind, I decided to get my own class C, which I feel safer driving and riding in.  His and her RV's..  yeah.. kind of over kill, huh?    So I am selling mine, and we still have the roomier Georgie Porgie for some camping and trips.  The driving trips for this journey will be in a van, though.

The class C I currently own (that is up for sale) was originally going to be called Evie.  For, E-V.. Escape Vehicle.  I liked the name.  But nooo..  the boyfriend, in his infinite wisdom (okay, smartassed'ness) started calling her Fanny Mae.  Reason?  Cause I have this weird obsession with fans.  I think there are 3 of them in the rig.  The name kind of stuck.  So, she is "Fanny Mae".  Stories on her for sure.

I wonder what kind of name the van will get...
 
 
#Stories  #RV

Monkey Blood

When I was about 11 years old we went on a family vacation to Nashville, Tennessee.  There was my mom and dad, us four daughters and my sweet Aunt Becky.  We went in the huge family van pulling a small travel trailer.  My dad had welded on a rack on the back of the travel trailer to also carry 2 mini-bikes that he had made for us girls.

After going through many states and seeing lots of wonderful things, we finally made it to Nashville.  Only, there were no camping spots.  So we drove north until we passed the Kentucky state line and were fortunate enough to find a beautiful camping spot at a state park.  We set about making camp, but all me and my little sister wanted to do was get on those mini-bikes.

One of the mini-bikes dad built was faster than the other.  Naturally, that is the one we both wanted to ride, so we decided to share it.  We were going to a spot where I would jump off the mini-bike and we would take turns riding it.  Only, I miscalculated the speed when I jumped off, resulting in me face-eating asphalt.  My little sister, upon hearing my moans, could only turn and laugh.  She laughed for 10 minutes straight while I staggered to my feet, blood smeared and black from the asphalt on my face.

And that is the story of how I came to be at the Johnny Cash Museum with 'monkey blood' all over my face.  That's iodine to the unenlightened, that burning red stuff used back in my day, and the only stuff we had in our trailer for the scrapes. 

 
 
 
#Stories

Camping

I've been camping since I was born.  Well..  okay, I can't remember that far back.  But, I do know for a fact I was camping at 11 months old.

How do I know?  Well, it was Easter weekend, I was 11 months old, I had two older sisters and mom was pregnant with baby #4.  You guessed it, she went in to labor.   It was in the ambulance on the way to the hospital that mom had my little sister.  Poor daddy, he got four daughters, no sons.

I remember tent camping from way young.  There was a place I remember most when tent camping, it was in south Texas, called Hog Bayou.  (What is the loneliest Bayou in the world?     All Bayou Self.    haha!!  couldn't resist)  Really, it was just a bridge with clearings on both sides, one side had a boat ramp.  I remember the morning breakfasts cooked over the fire, yum!!  Us four girls running wild. 

So many things I could tell you about my experiences camping.  Like the time my little sister thought the gallon jug had orange juice in it and drank it.  It was really gasoline (yes, she is still alive).  Or the time I was fishing and spotted two eyeballs slowly coming at me, an alligator almost had me for lunch.  Or taking a boat ride down the river so dad could check the trot lines, our hands over the side of the boat to feel the waves, water moccasins swimming nearby.  Or how I almost stepped on a coral snake that was headed for the water.

Stories that were not always dangerous.  Later on I will tell about the time we took a Winnebago  on vacation from south Texas to California.   Or the mini bike incident on the Nashville vacation.  Or the many hilarious times I have had with me behind the wheel of my own campers.

So you could say I am an old hand at camping, from tents, to popups, to travel trailers, to motorhomes.  I've done it all.  Hey wait, scratch that..  I haven't camped out of a van yet.  Haha!!   I guess it is just natural that I would want to do that next. 

 
 
 
 
 
#Camping

Firsts and Guns

There may be a lot of firsts coming up for me.  Cool!  

I've never been to all 50 states in the U.S.   I've been to the bottom 13, most of them as a kid on vacation, lots of them just passing through.  Do those count anyways?   I barely remember Georgia and Mississippi.  So that will be a new one.

I've never geocached.  Have heard about it over the past few years but dismissed it.  Finally looked it up the other day.  A treasure hunt?  How cool!  I'm so there! 

I've never outfitted a van to live out of.  Very much looking forward to that.  Kinda have to find a van first, though, huh?  I'm looking, I'm looking....

I've never had a passport.  That is on my to-do list within the next few months.  At some point when I venture to the Arizona area I will want to go across into Mexico for the cheaper vision and dental aspects and will need a passport.  Just be cool to have one anyways.

I've never shot a gun.  Guess what, I got my very own gun for Christmas.  Yep, a 9mm.  It's sitting here in it's box on my desk.  Still afraid of it.  I have learned how to take it apart though, and load the clips (hard as hell!).  Small steps, small steps.  There happens to be a nifty little shooting range here at the boyfriends house that is set up, I have no excuse, just fear.   I wonder if I should take it with me on my travels.  Will have to look up the laws in the states before I go that route.  Should probably get a concealed carry permit thing, huh?

 
 
 
#50USStates  #Geocaching  #Gun  #Travel