About Clark

Full-time RVer (for a year) traveling with my family, and writing about our experiences, sharing tips about being on the road, and hopefully inspiring others to pursue their dream.

The Launch

Portland, OR – Well, we hit the road a day late, but we are officially on the road. The last few days at our house were a rush to finish packing, and little projects that had been put off for a later date.

I can appreciate the DMV trying to make sure things are done correctly, I had one of the most difficult times transferring my truck and 5th wheel title of course, Arizona where I got my truck, and Washington where I got my 5th wheel, have different paper work than Oregon. 8 hours later I finally was able to get license plates.

Celebrate Good Times!

6/30/2012 – Today is my wife’s birthday so we’re slowing down to celebrate. Otherwise we have been really busy getting ready to depart. Up to this point we have been selling, donating, and tossing stuff  (for days!) we have accumulated over that past decade plus that we have lived in our house. All I want to say about that is we had too much stuff.

There is one snafu that has the potential to delay our departure. The title to our truck is delayed, and we have to have the truck inspected at a DMV because it comes from out of state. I’m hoping it will be here on the 5th so we can get that taken care of on the way out of town.

Adopt a Dog?

6/22/2012– Last night we went to bed with the expectation of rain in the morning (70% chance). We woke up to a cloudy but dry day. Quickly we rushed to setup for our garage sale. We did a pretty good job of spreading our junk throughout the neighborhood. “one man’s junk, another mans treasure”.

In other big news, we think we have a adoptive home for our dog while we are on the road.

It’s a huge farm and the other dogs are as big as horses, well they really are horses, but Snickers, our dog has never seen a horse until today. We took her to the farm to visit, just to see if it might be a good fit. Steve & Kathy love her, and we hope it works out. The next test is a 3 day visit next week.

 

Busy! Busy!

6/21/2012– So today was a big day. If you have ever watched a show about getting organized. That was us. We are moving from 1566sqft to 280sqft, but only for a year. We had piles around the house and even in the driveway 1. Store for later 2. take on our trip 3. sell/give away. Very productive, but we had a couple set backs too.

The boys school informed us that their web school wasn’t going to work for us, if we didn’t promise to return for state testing in January. That was a blow. Who wants to leave the sunshine (hopefully) in the middle of winter and return to Oregon’s cold and wet days? Our other options would be pay $5k for each kid to be in a national web school or home school completely. Option 2 is too expensive, and option 3 we aren’t ready for, so an added trip back to Oregon in the middle of winter in now on our itinerary.

The other set back is out of our control. We were planning to have a large garage sale tomorrow, but 70% chance of rain is going to put a hamper on those plans. Hopefully Saturday will work.

Buying The 5th Wheel

6/17/2012 – We looked at two 2007 Jayco Eagles today.

One was a private party in Everett, WA, and the other was at a small dealership in Tacoma, WA DandeRV.

 

Both were “good deals”. The one in Everett had a noticeable tear in the roof, and a little delamination on the back wall. That was enough for us to say no even though it came with more extras than the other. I have to say the salesman Robert @ Dande RV was very helpful. No pushy tactics, because they don’t work on commission, very informative. We bought it.

Found the Truck

.I’ve been watching, test driving, and waiting for a 2006-08 Dodge Mega cab Diesel pickup.

These trucks boast the largest cab of any pick-up on the market. I sat in the back seat and I think there is as much leg room in the back as there is in the front. This is important because we have three boys and two are teenagers. I’m trying to eliminate hearing things like, he’s touching me, or his stuff is in my way. Personal space helps on the extended drives. We already have some reservations that will force us to drive across country (Seattle to Dallas) in 5 days. More about that later. The Cummins Diesel engine is very reliable, and will ultimately save on fuel costs. I was really surprised at how quiet it was inside the cab. I was expecting more engine noise with the Diesel engine. The Dodge trucks typically have a stiffer ride than the Chevy or Ford, but one we test drove rode smoother than I expected. I drove a Dodge Dakota that had overload springs so the ride was pretty stiff, until you added about 1,000 lbs. in the back. We’ll find out how the dodge Ram will ride connected to a 5th wheel.

If you have a Ram Mega cab what has been your experience, and what should I be aware of before I go pick one out?

Update – Well my favorite color is blue and I had a blue Dodge Mega cab picked out on ebay. It was located in Texas which would add 2k for shipping, but I liked it. Then an offer came up that I couldn’t refuse. A Mega Cab closer to home and 5K cheaper….Did I tell you my favorite color is charcoal?

 

 


Web Based School

5/14/2012 – All three boys are officially enrolled in a web-based school. Timing is everything…Most schools are struggling financially, which impacts class size and has to impact a student’s ability to learn. The web Academy is public and part of our school district, but our boys will receive individual attention, and we will have  monthly conversations with a counselor who will help all of us stay on track. The curriculum is more interactive, and will be supplemented by our journey around the US.

Does this Make Me Crazy?

I listen to a radio station that has a segment called, “Does that make me Crazy?” They ask a question and let listeners comment.

My wife and I decided a year ago to travel the US with our kids for a year. Crazy! At the time the idea sounded crazy, but was appealing too. I quit a good job, in a weak economy. Crazy! At the time the only people we had heard of traveling the US in a RV were retired or crazy.

Over the last year we have been building a personal business that was new to us. Crazy! Preparing to down size from 1600 sq ft to 400 sq ft. Crazy! Home schooling our three boys for a year. Crazy! I agree all those things make me sound a bit crazy, but when you have a compelling dream crazy seems OK.

This was our winter…Crazy?

We had a good snow storm in the Northwest this year, which I like, but makes driving a bit crazy because snow here is icy, and ice and hills are not a great combination.

About a week later this was our winter…Crazy?

The Northwest is known for being rainy and wet, but add snow melt and the rivers over flow their banks. Crazy?

Winter was coming to an end as spring was arriving. This is what we got…Crazy?

Call me crazy but, I’m looking forward to spending 12 months in mild to warm weather.

I’m looking forward to spending time with my family.

I’m looking forward to seeing and experiencing sights and culture around the US.

I’m looking forward to a change of pace. No need to hurry, anywhere.

Does that make me crazy?

 

It’s a Big Country

1/23/2012 – We put a map on our wall to begin marking out our journey. We asked our kids to put a post it note on places they would like to visit. This is our first run.

So far we have…(in no particular order)
Portland, Oregon (Family, home)
Seattle, Washington (Family)
San Diego, California (Sea World)
Yellowstone, Wyoming (Yellowstone)
Las Vegas, Nevada (Business conference)
Mesa, Arizona (Family, Grand Canyon, Four Corners)
Evansville, Minnesota (Family)
Fort worth, Texas (Family)
New York City, New York (Sites)
Washington D.C. (History)
Virgina Beach, Virginia (Family)
Raleigh, N. Carolina (Family)
Orlando, Florida (Disney World)
The reality is we probably won’t be able to visit every state. What locations would you suggest as must see places either for historical or just a great place to visit?

 

Counting Down

1/16/2012 – We are about 6 months away from our launch of a year long journey around the country. We will down size from a 1700 sq ft house to roughly a 400 sq ft 5th wheel. The reality of this plan is starting to become real…like what things do we NEED, and what should we store, and what should we sell/give away? Part of our goal is to live simply, but we don’t plan to give up all the convinces of modern culture. We will need the internet for business and school. The amount of space we will have available will challenge all of us. We hope to show our kids  that stuff/things aren’t bad, but they aren’t the things that define us or what creates lasting significance.