Minnesota State Fair

Minnesota State Fair 2012

My sister and her husband have a concession stand at the Minnesota State Fair. Walleye on a stick is their Trademark. This is the fist time we have been able to see it in person.

carter and caden

Uncle Paul gave the boys each a t-shirt. Our middle son got to volunteer serving soda for a 1/2 hour. He thought it was a lot of fun.

If you have never attended the Minnesota state fair, it’s a big deal. Thousands of people attend everyday. I talked to one person who said he attended the fair every year but one or two for the last 45 years.


Yellowstone, WY

After leaving the Teton’s we arrived in Yellowstone National Park. Surprisingly we got to Old Faithful and only had to wait for 15 mins. for the explosion

The boys had forgotten how great the water/steam from Old Faithful smelled.

The Visitor Education Center was a new addition since our last visit. It is worth the time to wander in and have a look around.

We also learned about Christmas in August (25th) in Yellowstone.

In the 1920’s there was a group of travelers stranded in Yellowstone on August 25th by a blizzard. To make the most of it, they celebrated Christmas. They made gifts for each other and everything. It has been a tradition since.


Complete Circle

8/23/2012 (Idaho Falls, ID) If you noticed in our home page that part of our goal is to serve others as we travel. We haven’t posted any pictures or stories about this because we purposefully are enjoying summer, not to say we haven’t helped anyone along the way, but we haven’t been purposeful about it yet. As we settle into the “school year” and establish routines we will share stories of our encounters.

We headed North. We have 9 days to get to MN to visit my sister. Along the way we are planning to visit some of the national monuments Yellowstone, Mt Rushmore, etc. It was nice to be back North where the temperatures are cooler. It was the first time in 6 weeks that we didn’t need to turn on the A/C.

We crossed the mountains on HWY 22 from ID to WY which almost proved too difficult on our truck. I wasn’t aware that there was a 10% grade up and down the pass. We didn’t over heat while climbing the pass, but any higher we would have. On the way down I realized the truck brakes were doing more work than the trailer, needed a little adjustment to get down the hill.

Not knowing exactly where we were going we went to Jackson Hole Ski resort and noticed the sky tram.

When we got to the top we were told to try the made to order waffles. We did…It’s not to often you can eat waffles at 10K ft.


A Day in the Life of a Family on the Road

Some people are envious that we get to travel for a year, others think we are crazy, but most are curious. Many people have asked, What’s it like living with your family on the road? I’m not sure we have a typical day. Crossing time zones makes staying on a schedule more challenging. The events are sometimes dictated by our location.  In the past 3 months we have stayed everywhere from nice upscale RV Parks

to Walmart parking lots.

I know a parking lot doesn’t sound that interesting, but it’s not everyday you bring your house to the store. Besides, it’s comforting to know you can find a place to stay even if it’s late at night. I’ve even seen a few of the People of Walmart. I hope I’m not one.

We launched July 6, 2012 and as of writing this have traveled through 15 states, some of those visits have just been driving through while others have been extended stays. We are currently parked for 3 weeks in Northern Minnesota which is the longest we have stayed in any one location. We are still learning, but loving every moment!

In our planning we knew that we would have some long drives, so we bought a truck with the biggest cab possible. We bought a 5th wheel that would give us space together and space to be separate. The 5th wheel also has more storage than most bumper pull trailers. We wired the 5th wheel for long range internet (although I forgot to put the antenna down and broke the router connection) and cell based broadband.

Some basic info: We are set up to live one week at a time.
Food: We can store enough food to eat for 7 days, except milk. We usually have to buy milk every couple days because 1 gallon is all that fits in the frig.
Water: If we use water wisely our tanks will last for 7 days, and won’t need to be emptied or filled. That is if we don’ have full hook ups at an RV park.
Dishes: The 5th wheel doesn’t have a dishwasher. To make it easy we each have a personal cup, plate, and bowl. If you want to eat or drink each person needs to make sure their items have been washed. Unfortunately we have to boil water to wash the dishes. The hot water tank just doesn’t get hot enough.
Laundry: We all have socks and underwear for 7 days, and other clothes to last longer depending on the weather. We planned for warm climates. After that it’s time to do laundry, which most RV resorts have facilities for that. Laundry actually goes faster than at home because we can have 3 of each machine running at the same time.
School: We are using a web academy in our home town school district. It’s home schooling, but we aren’t the teachers. they have teachers, counselors, and curriculum. The boys log in and work at their own pace, but have milestones they have to reach. This is new to us so, and the school, I guess they haven’t had any families living on the road until now.
Work: My wife and I both work online, so making sure we have internet access is vital (for school too). Set a folding chair outside

or lay in bed like I’m doing now, it’s kinda nice! The down side is sometimes it’s hard to work when you would rather play.

We have chores that we try to keep up with regularly. I already mentioned the dishes. Living in a smaller space makes it much easier to keep organized, but we still have to keep on top of the boys to put things away, and even more so in a smaller space. I keep teaching each of  boys how to connect/disconnect all of the different components too.

For recreation we have bikes, scooters, balls of all shapes, tennis rackets, and all kinds of pool toys. We each have camel backs to carry water for hiking or biking too.

For example: today I got up at 6:45 did some reading, went for a 10 mile bike ride, ate breakfast, took a shower, got on a business conference call, wrote this post, made some business calls, helped our boys with some classes (today was the first official day). Ate lunch made a few more business calls, spent some time on social media, did some clean up out side around the 5th wheel, made dinner (my wife went to visit our niece an hour and a half away), and ate too. Sent out some business emails. and now I’m finishing the post. Tomorrow I’ll be working with the boys doing some work on my sister’s house.

I could get use to this. Oh yeah, do we ever fight. Sometimes like a normal family.

What’s your dream?

North to Utah

8/15-22/2012 (Ogden, Utah) We spent a week just outside of Ogden, UT. While we were there we had three main goals; stay put for a while, because we were just coming back from a busy business conference, visit the family history library, and swim in the Great Salt Lake.  We accomplished all three. We went to Temple Square in Salt Lake City. The buildings were impressive.

The area was very inviting…clean, lots of helpful people. We toured the visitor center

Then we made our way to the family History Library. My wife and I enjoyed researching our family trees, but we both ended up stuck in the 1800’s. We actually came back another day to do more research. My wife was able to solve a family mystery . I was able to trace my family to 1604 England.

We also got to go to the Great Salt Lake. It was so much fun! We drove out to Antelope Island.It reminded me of being at the Pacific Northwest Ocean because the day was overcast and all the sand around.

There we found the beach access. It is a bit of a walk and there were sharp rocks mixed in the sand in some spots.

There were also millions of flies on the sand and in the water. They would move out of our way see the darker spots. That’s not wet sand…It’s flies.

The water didn’t feel too cold, after walking out a ways all you do is sit down and you start floating.

You would have to work really hard to drown in this water. Our oldest son wanted to swim out to Egg Island, but we figured it would take too long.

Bright Lights

8/13/2012 (LasVegas, NV) Although the convention kept us pretty busy we tried to take in some of the fun things to do in Vegas. We took a walk down “the Strip” to see some of the outdoor shows.

We got to see a show that not many others will ever get to see.  We thought it was part of the Treasure Island volcano eruption, but soon realized we were watching the Mirage sign on fire. A wire shorted out and caught the dolphins on fire. Sorry no pictures here.

Walking from the MGM to Treasure Island took a bit longer than we had expected, although it was fun seeing the shows and the city all lit up. I ended up carrying our youngest the majority of the way, and we didn’t make it back to our hotel until after mid-night.

Me and my oldest son love thrill rides, so we headed to the top of the Stratusphere (112 stories) to ride the Big Shot.  (tower on top of the Stratusphere).

While we were there we saw a new ride. Basically you are attached to 2 wires and you free glide down to the ground. I wasn’t ready for that yet.

Of course we solved a murder in the CSI Experience. All I have to say is we solved the crime there is no reason to keep the Experience going any more.


Business in Vegas

8/8/2012 (Las Vegas, NV) We are in Las Vegas for a business convention at the MGM Grand. Finding a place to park our 5th wheel for a few days while we stay in a hotel proved to be more difficult than expected. After making several phone calls we found that the Las Vegas KOA would store it for $10 a night.

The convention had all kinds of surprises one being a live telecast to some of the Olympic athletes in London

Also Jakie McCoy, She was on ABC’s Extreme Make Over weight loss addition.

Jackie at the beginning of the show weighed over 400lbs. Using the Cinch inch loss program and exercise she is now under 200lbs and still losing. ABC signed her up to be the personal trainer for the next season.


Back on the Road

8/7/2012 (Apache Junction, AZ) The A/C is fixed. At this point all the A/C components have been replaced. In order to fix the broken blend doors and the control arm I had to replace the heat/air box under the dash & the A/C  evaporator.

The wait on parts gave us a good time to visit with my brother and his family.

The favorite part for our boys were the toys my brother has..

We left for Vegas tonight. We are boondocking at a Flying J gas station about 100 miles away.


RAM Blend Box *%!*#@!

RAM Blend Box

Apache Junction, AZ Fixing the blend doors on a Ram Truck is quite the job. The entire dash has to be removed to access the air box. Good thing I found the “43 easy step process to removing the dash”. This post is probably more for me to remember the FUN! Keep in mind I’m in Arizona and it’s 108 degrees.

All that work to get at this broken control arm and the broken blend doors inside the box. As you may have read in my earlier post the dealer told me they would have the parts I needed in stock. I went to pick up the parts I needed and they said, “Oh, you need the whole lower half of the air box, we have to order that”. After making several calls I found a dealer with the part in stock. I went to get it only to find it doesn’t include the actual moving parts that are broken on my air box. For some reason I had to order the lower half of the air box off a 2008 (different model year). It should arrive Tuesday.