Our last post had us in San Diego – we had a great stop at the Academy of Performing Arts. We appreciate them graciously hosting us at the last minute (schedule conflict with previous location), and had a lovely time having discussions with the folks and sponsors that came out! We missed some from the group picture due to early departure for the Packers vs. Seahawks game, which we completely forgot about – we’ll have better timing next time. Keeping up with sports has been impossible with everything going on, and it doesn’t help that we don’t have cable. I will share that I was very excited that we found ourselves in Buckeye, AZ the weekend that the Ohio State Buckeyes (my alma mater) won the National Championship!
Considering that San Diego was our last stop with The Mobile Observatory (LAX Hilton cannot accommodate RVs), we talked about how happy we were that we made it through this crazy journey without anything catastrophic occurring. A couple of chips in the windshield, needed a new voltage regulator for the generator, and had to replace a portion of our exhaust pipes, but beyond that, she’s been in solid shape!
The excitement was premature. Throw in a wrong turn on the way back, and a guardrail that couldn’t be seen = our first mishap. The broken piece ended up being dragged half a mile as the RV made it back to the campground. It was a bit embarrassing, especially since our site was central to the campground, right next to the bathroom and laundry facilities. You live and learn, right? We seriously considered duct tape to jerry rig the pieces together. Luckily, we were able to find Al’s Mobile Repair Service- Al was able to come out to us, remove our bumper and returned it looking better than ever! Everything ended up working out as Ben used those days continuing to look at sights with Micheal Steinbacher and putting together a new video.
It is with mixed emotions that we wind down this journey. A little over a year ago, we were in a completely different place. We both had great and stable jobs, enjoyed the status of being DINKS (dual income no kids), lived in a house we loved within a fast growing community with a nice yard for the dogs, and on track of paying down student loans ahead of schedule and saving for emergency expenses and retirement.
Fast forward – our house is rented out, we’ve left our jobs and spent the last 7+ months traveling, living, eating out of a retrofitted 36ft RV, traveling to a new city every 2-3 days, successfully visiting 4 provinces and 40 states, along with being pregnant. If the pregnancy hadn't happened we surely would have continued being on the road - but we are so happy to welcome a new life into our family in a few months. It has been the best gift of the journey. I think back to the first weekend that we took the RV out for a test run – it was a nightmare. It was an extremely hot and humid day, and we arrived at a large RV park to hook everything up and make sure things were in working order. We plugged our electric plug, not being able to wait to put on the A/C… lo and behold- no power! We tested the outlet, checked fuses, switched sites, even had a staff member and a fellow camper come out to try to troubleshoot. Being completely drenched with sweat, with the poor dogs panting and tempers raging, we finally gave up and went home, wondering what we had gotten ourselves into and if we were going to make it. We've come a long way!
Now - after spending the last few days cleaning, organizing, and performing maintenance to get The Mobile Observatory ready for storage (not very fun), we have a feeling our hearts are going to ache a bit; we’ll miss being on the road and living out of this tiny home we’ve become accustomed to. We’ve developed a system for setting up the RV and have grown to absolutely love the lifestyle and freedom it provides. There are definitely learning curves but the rewards are worth it. After our Los Angeles stop at the Conscious Life Expo, we will be traveling back home to Ohio in a car, and planning to cram every nook and cranny to maximize space efficiency.
To those inquiring about the remaining stops for The Mobile Observatory Project- running the RV is definitely a two-person job, and it will be stored out west until we are able to be up and running again. In the meantime, we are working on a tentative schedule for Ben to fly back out west at the end of April to present at some select stops in Northern California, Utah and Colorado. Stay tuned; we will post that schedule in the next several weeks!
I sit here writing this blog next to a pint of delicious ice cream. I’ve decided that this baby really, reaallly likes ice cream. Its only right I indulge to keep both of us happy. It has been a LONG couple of days, one that included another close encounter with a rock on the highway. Upon further inspection, we found three more chips in the windshield. Several calls later, we were on our way to Safelite in Phoenix… of course, once we got there, it was raining and work was unable to be done. We rescheduled and hit the road, with the skies clearing up and sunny not ten minutes into the drive on the highway. Add in a few hours of driving and two relocations that evening, a 12:30 AM wake up time (still sticking to EST) … we were a bit tired, to say the least. We've arrived at the San Diego RV Resort and couldn't be happier to have a few days of not driving around and basking in beautiful weather! Here’s a quick recap of our last few stops:
Amarillo, TX- It was a dreary week ahead as we knew that the one thing we wanted to avoid (and had done so successfully) on the journey was unavoidable in the days ahead. Snow! We had a one night stay at Fort Worth RV Park – it was a cold one!! We originally had our visitors come hang out inside the RV with us, and moved into the clubhouse when it got a little too cozy. Also squeezed in some time for an interview with Cori of NewsChannel10!
Albuquerque, NM – We spent a few days here, enjoying a quiet New Years (with more snow!) and reminisced how we were just here last March for the Electric Universe Conference. It felt good to be back, and boy have things certainly changed for us! Thank you to Whole Foods Market Indian School Plaza for hosting us -we had a great time meeting and chatting with people from the ABQ area.
Truth or Consequences, NM – We’ve been looking forward to T or C for a long time – our hosts/sponsors Lee and Sylvia run Riverbend Hot Springs, right next to the Rio Grande River. The atmosphere is extremely quaint and peaceful. With mineral hot springs on the banks of the river and Turtleback Mountain in the background, its a perfect getaway for those looking for some R&R. The hot springs themselves are just amazing! Thank you especially to Danae Harding and Bria Roth for driving down from CO - wish that you were able to join us Vernon!
Tucson, AZ – We had a lovely brunch at The Egg Connection (Thanks Will!) – it’s a delightful place to eat, and the people that came were incredibly friendly, inviting, and open to sharing ideas back and forth. We only wish we had more time to spend in this city to get to know more of the folks that live there- too much awesome, not enough time- but we definitely plan on coming back for an extended stay. Maybe even stop on the way back to Ohio!
Phoenix, AZ – One of our best stops! We can never anticipate how many people will show to an event (some email beforehand to let us know, others we get the pleasure of meeting at the event), so when filling out the reservation forms for the lecture room at Burton Barr Central Library, I had scribbled in 15 or 20 in terms of expected attendance. Oops :) Like Tucson, Phoenix is a city we will definitely revisit- we eventually want to move out west, and Arizona is a frontrunner!
We’ve got TWO more stops, San Diego at the Academy of Performing Arts and Los Angeles at the Conscious Life Expo before this journey comes to a pause for the addition of a new family member – we’ve been told adding a baby into the mix changes a few things ;) The Mobile Observatory Project is not over, just paused, and we’ll pick up to finish our last few stops hopefully near the end of 2015 or sometime in 2016.
We are relaxing at San Diego RV Resort –the dogs have enjoyed their walks around the area and meeting new friends. This resort has been very good to us and we want to extend them a BIG thank-you. We also had SafeLite come to us to fix all four of those chips- Thanks April for a fantastic job! The staff let us borrow a ladder so she’d be able to reach a chip that was out of reach. We’ve been to a so many RV parks on this tour, and they have by far been the most efficient and welcoming. Palm trees everywhere DO help :) Thanks for following us on our journey!
Our blog covers the journey as we roll along - sharing stories of people we've met and engaged with, places we've seen, the discourse between a couple with two animals sharing <300 sq ft of moving living space, and more!