Friday, September 30, 2011

A Hike...

A good solution to the question poised before is a simple hike. It is healthy for both you and the kidos and there is an  opportunity for education in the conversations. No TV, Radio, DVD, PC, (leave your iphone off). Lex and I took close to a two mile hike this after noon, watched a falcon hunting, black birds hiding and we had a great conversation where he learned some new things about the world and I learned some more about him. Tomorrow we bring the twins!   


Sometimes it seems like one of the hardest thing in the world to do is to continually find stimulating, educational healthy, fun and affordable activities for a 7yo Boy and two 4yo girls to round out each day. How do you do it for your clan? 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Home Sweet Ride(s)

    So far on our travels we have called three vehicles home. The first was a 1972 GMC Wayne body 34ft standard school bus. Our bus of course was named Wayne. Wayne was propane powered, which I would not suggest for long distance travel due to low power and wildly unregulated price of propane without getting yourself a corporate account with all the regional fuelers. In the same 5 blocks I have seen it range from less than $2.00gal to over $5.00gal.  Propane has up to 30% less horsepower than other gas and diesel, but it burns cooler so the engines last a good deal longer than standard gas, with lifetimes almost as good as diesel. I made a conversion of the inside that was simple but suited our needs with beds for all, a simple kitchen, inverter and porta-potty and we hit the road leaving the sticks-and-bricks house we were renting behind. Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Miami-Hollywood later we sold our beloved Bus in favor of a more convenient fuel.
     Our next ride, or rides rather, we owned for a short time only. We purchased a Dodge B-250 hightop conversion van and a 26ft travel trailer that earned the names Vanny and Buster. These vehicles were both totaled in a crash near the end of our second crossing of the US. The advantages of this combination were the ease of fueling and the ability to separate transportation from the living facilities. The kids really grew to love these vehicles in the short time we lived in them and had truly made themselves at home.
    Our present vehicle/project is our Big Blue MCI MC 8 Crusader/Challenger. This is a 1973 converted bus. We had luck with us when we found it on craigslist 80-90% complete on the conversion. We are putting on some personal and finishing touches and planning our route of the next leg of our journey. I do not have a lot of experience with this rig yet but it purrs like a Tiger, can cruise at 70mph (55mph if you want to conserve) and has room I do not even know what to do with yet. The Detroit Diesel has plenty of power to tow anything. I would suggest this bus to anyone not afraid to drive it. I would love feed back from anyone with questions or stories of your experiences with vehicles like these.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cast of Characters

Dad (David): 41 at the time of this post. I spend most of my time being the father, teacher, mentor, friend, cook, protector, bus-driver to my three beautiful energetic children.
 Lex is 7, he loves to read, wrestle, run, ride and generally be a super high energy boy. The way he looks at the world help me to be a better person, everyone should spend time talking to and more importantly listening to their children.
Nova and Petra, identical girls of 4; loving, funny, and strong. My adorable little girls, I am about them like the old saying goes, " Like the father of identical twin girls."
Mom (Amber) whose energy and art make all of this possible.
Zeus our mostly blind 11 year old lhasa apso.
and Blu the Bus.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

In the Beginning....

      I had been laid off, outsourced. The phone was not ringing. I was heading to be just another 99er. One day while cooling off at the coast in Oregon, my wife and I speculated about looking for opportunities that we might find in a full time rv life style. We thought to ourselves, others do it why not us? We realized we simply could not show our children the country in the depth we wanted in "two weeks a year" and if we waited too long our children would not be a interested it travel after so long stationary. We did not want to " hope we could do it" at retirement age, we wanted to enjoy the experience of it with our family. We wanted to see more of our world and continuing to go back to work for someone else's corporation wasn't going to do it for us. We decided to just make it work. We found a old school bus that we could afford that had been stripped to the shell. As our Mini-van was repossessed, and we missed rent due dates I made our bus Wayne as ready for travel as I could. With our eyes on the horizon we knew we were making the right choice for our family. Our family and friends all thought we were crazy to the degree that when we had packed our bus and were preparing for departure they all looked at us and said, " oh, you meant you're actually doing it." With our home rolling we could not believe the new size of our back yard (3.79 million square miles).
      The glow that started in my children's eyes has continued to grow to fire that lives there today. Their road wisdom gives them confidence and strength I see in their every action. They possess a calm in new an different situations that I see growing with their experiences. Lex really enjoys meeting new people and building new relationships, he is fascinated by astronomy and physics, and has been known to pull back to back 20 milers on his bike without breaking stride. Nova loves animals, gardening, and cooking/cleaning. Petra, like her brother loves to wrestle and rough-house but has an eye for art and loves to sing. The twins although inseparable, have also blossomed as individuals, and express their joy of travel anytime we stay in one place too long.
        Although outnumbered by the positive experiences the lessons learned by the difficulties range from humility to bravery. The brake downs were varied, some avoidable, others not. Note: if you have the opportunity to quickly and easily remove the rear heat ex-changer in your school bus, just do it. Ours got a leak our first week on the road and blew coolant all over our new kitchen, and was our first scare. It was not our last, from Power steering loss (temporary repair with a metal ball-point pen tube) before running from electrical storms near the Grand Canyon, to street racers while Walmart camping in Albuquerque in yet another electrical storm. From the man begging for a ride because he "had just got outta jail and brain surgery" (he had paper work to prove it!) to others who donated money and gave our children gifts, the people crossed the spectrum. Opportunities to build my wife's' budding art-craft business also presented themselves and changed plans and made their own.
    That is about how we got here, but I will save the details of the journey for other posts.     

Sunday, September 11, 2011


     As I find myself with my family living on the road for more than a year now, I also find more and more people who ask me to share my story and stories. I have started this blog to do just that. I was reaching my 99 weeks when the choice was made to "step off" the grid so to speak.  I purchased for $1500 a 1972 Propane powered GMC standard school bus. After several months work it was converted to an amateur RV-Skoolie. We took our three children (ages 6, 3 and 3) and left our home of  more than 10 years, Oregon. To date, we have not returned, but have crossed the country twice.
     In this blog I hope to share my experience and insight with others who may have an interest or need for it, as my lessons   learned from the experience and insight of those I have met in my families travels are valued and treasured. I had some topics that I was going to touch on but I am sure content will evolve as time passes.
    Since most of the time I am a "stay-at-home"(still not sure about that phrase and how it applies to me. Link) Dad, I will have some things to say about that. I am presently homeschooling my children, it wasn't in my original "Master Plan" so to speak, but one does with life what they can. We live the five of us and our blind dog Zeus in an RV and have for more than a year so I will probably have a few things to say about that. On our last crossing of the US we has a accident involving our Travel trailer RV and a Commercial Big-Rig and the subsequent "relationship" with the insurers family of partners, might speak a little of that as well.  Throw in general perspectives of modern society and culture and a few current(ish) events and you get the idea of what you can expect reading here.