This past week has been so enjoyable for our family- we've been doing a LOT of driving and not much sleeping...but have had the opportunity to create some wonderful experiences that we'll look back fondly on. Our first stop, which was VERY much anticipated, was Skyview High School in Nampa, ID. We knew the students had been longtime watchers (thanks to very great educators!) and had sponsored our journey, so we were PUMPED to meet them!
We were impressed- the students were articulate, insightful, and supportive! Teachers took the time to take other classes out as well, including Geometry, Anatomy and Physiology classes - we had a great time, and the dogs got plenty of attention! THANKS SKYVIEW!
Our stops in Cheyenne, WY and Wilber, NE were more low key and relaxing. We've realized we have been overly ambitious with our stops and traveling, and at some point have to slow things down to avoid sheer exhaustion. One of the most common questions that has been asked - "So when do you guys sleep?"
Although we make our best efforts to make as many stops as we can, we recognize our health is important to continue the tour!
We had two events during our stop in Kansas City, KS. The first was at Open Door Christian School - we met a bright group of students (4th-6th grade) to show them some sunspots, and teach them about our star. Thanks to Renee and Joe, who helped facilitate this stop for us, and to Mrs. Christopher, Principal, for having us! The kids had watched a few clips from the Sun Series, and had knowledge of sunspots, coronal holes, flares, etc. One bright young student made a very insightful comment when comparing the Earth scale to the sun - "The Sun is like a basketball, and the Earth would be the size of a peppercorn!" So much potential for these small scientists of the future!
Our evening event was at Walnut Grove RV Park- we had an amazing group of people that came. Lots of laughter and swapping of stories - we hope to visit Kansas City again someday! One consistent feeling that we get at our stops, is that the people we meet never feel like strangers, but long time friends catching up and connecting. It has been such a treat to meet so many like minded! We were even lucky enough to have some ribs from Oklahoma Joe's, a famous barbecue joint in Kansas City that Anthony Bourdain endorsed as one of the top "13 places to eat before you die". Had no idea but we were happy to try it... pretty tasty!
Tomorrow begins a new month - hopefully another month of safe travels, good health and no more RV troubles!
We absolutely enjoyed our stop in Lynnwood, WA. Our host, Bob, was just a delight to be around and he made our visit extremely memorable. Our first evening entailed of a lovely dinner together with friends Julie, Kurt and Denise. We spent dessert eating the best Caramel Torte we've ever had in our lives, and had more fun playing musical glasses than adults should have. Easy entertainment, eh? We decided a few weeks before the actual event to make it a potluck, and boy did that turn out to be one of our better ideas! We had a great turnout and people filled the tables with all sorts of delicious dishes (ours was a salad with fresh tomatoes from an organic farm the previous day). If anyone left hungry that night, it was NOT from lack of food! I propose all future stops to be potlucks! Thanks to Kurt of D&KP Productions Seattle for filming the event - to be included in our documentary!
It was time for the RV to be serviced, so we were able to take care of that too. Bob was gracious enough to let us use his washer and dryer- I COULD NOT BE HAPPIER! Laundry has been one of the more arduous tasks on the road. For some reason, at campgrounds we always end up on a site that is on the opposite end from the laundry facilities. Walking back and forth across a campground, realizing you are short a quarter or forgot a dryer sheet, etc... it could always be worse though, and we end up laughing about it.
Next up, Spokane, WA! What a stop - our hosts Terri and Thomas were awesome. They gave us free reign on the garden to pick out some fresh strawberries... I discovered one of their chickens, Anna, LOVES strawberries and will just constantly cluck at you nearby until you give in. Picked one for me, one for Anna, one for me, and so it went. They have a BEAUTIFUL Newfoundland, Miss Kira Thunderpaws - our dogs were in for QUITE the shock! Her head was probably their combined weight - she was an incredibly sweet and gentle dog. Our event took place at Argonne Library and there were some very lively discussions (at one point, heated!) going back and forth. Spokane friends were incredibly hospitable to us and we wish we had more time to explore the city!
The next day, we headed towards Portland, OR for our next event. Stopped at a gas station to clean the windshield from the bug cemetery it had morphed into. Within two minutes of getting back on the highway, a bird relieved itself and it splattered ALLLL over. This bird had a substantial meal the previous night too, I'm sure! Sigh. Then, a tiny unwelcome visitor AKA Mr. Highway Rock decided to present us with a BIG chip in our windshield! It was just not a good day for the glass on our RV!
We survived and made it to Cascade Locks, where we had a pleasant get together with those in the Portland Area. We met sponsors, chatted with new friends and We found a bottle of wine outside our door that morning. Niiiice!
Currently just wrapping up our adventures with Michael Steinbacher, Electric Universe Geologist - he and Ben had some day outings to see basalt formations. One of their stops included visiting the Bureau of Land Management. Apparently government geologists get Fridays off; there were none to be found! We'll be doing Steinbacher Adventures: Part Two early next year when we reconnect again in New Mexico and Arizona!
To hear the FOTW session featuring Josh discussing his journey with affirmations, click here.
Affirmation- a declaration or statement that something is true.
It was a real pleasure to have Jshwa (Josh) take part in last weekend's FOTW discussion - we appreciate you, and are looking forward to keeping in touch.
In this session, Jshwa delves in on how he uses affirmations along with his studies in neuroscience to successfully create the positive life that he wants, and hopes to share with others. He creates affirmations that he desires to see manifested and uses a process that he developed successfully. Affirmations can be applied to all facets of life: friendship, career, family, love, etc.
Affirmations can be as simple as:
I will have a great day.
I have a loving family that supports me in my dreams.
I am grateful for the experiences with my family.
I encounter love in all my relationships.
I take small steps every day to be healthier.
But the affirmations alone will not bring change; you must visualize, translate it into words and take action to make it happen, and believe it reflects an intent of honest self improvement. Jshwa incorporates recordings played when the mind is in a particular state (when brain is producing alpha waves) to bypass the conscious filters of the brain and into the subconscious. Through repetition and creating a habit of hearing these affirmations, the mind reconditions/rewires itself. He has spoken to the universe, and she has responded!
Jshwa shares his experience and lifestyle change with us - years ago, he was a DJ in Seattle, rockin' out at crazy parties, drugs, smoking, proud of his 'f*$% the world' attitude and had a personal appearance to reflect it. When he shared a photo of himself back in the day, I almost keeled over and thinking the shock his in-laws had when they met him for the first time. "Here's my boyfriend, mom and dad!" Sure, life was a huge shindig, but he was not fulfilled, experiencing high highs and low lows - time to create balance! In thinking about the changes he wanted to create in his life, he began to think positively about what he desired - the qualities he wanted to strengthen, the things he wanted to see more of, how he wanted to view himself, and slowly change his habits to reflect it his intentions.
Fast forward to now - Jshwa is happily married to a beautiful woman (Laura!), and is part of a wonderful, loving family. Drugs and smoking are no longer part of his life; he and Laura are honing in their farming skills, doing honest work and micromanaging their nutrition by going all organic. Their land is filled will an overall sense of peace and tranquility. His mind is calm, and focuses on love of family, positivity and the future- he has created the reality that he wanted! To contact him and learn more - click here. For his Facebook Page- click here!
From Left: Anna, Jshwa, Laura, Lisa, myself, Ben and Tom
'When you really want something to happen, the whole world conspires to help you achieve it.' - The Alchemist (Paulo Cohelo)
A personal story to share along the same lines- back in June, we were getting ready to embark on this project and a realization dawned on us.
It was the weekend the RV was to be completed for us to pick up and bring home to our humble abode...and then we saw that there was no way to bring the land yacht up our driveway. A gigantic oak tree encroached and hung over it. Cue small moment of freak out, then planning for options. Do we park it in the public parking lot of the city for few days and go back and forth while we move our belongings into it? Park on different side roads nearby? We needed to have an electric hookup to dewinterize, run the water pumps and flush out the tanks...how do we go about that?
I'm a firm believer in that things will always work out - maybe not in the way you'd expect it to, but in ways that, I dare say, turn out to be better down the road anyways whether or not it is realized at the time.
"No fear," I told Ben. "Something will work out. It always does!"
That weekend, we looked out our window:
Mother Nature had taken care of our problem - we had the rest of the tree removed, and was able to bring the RV home!
Our minds create a coherence between beliefs and reality, and perception plays a huge role in our beliefs. A healthy mind and spirit = healthy body in harmony. A stressed mind will manifest itself in fear and illness. Do you have stories about affirmations you've manifested in your life? Please share! Stay positive, no fear!
Calgary, Alberta was one of our most inspiring stops. Thank you to Cory for helping us secure a spot for our gathering, and our hosts Todd and Scott for taking AMAZING care of us!!! Their house was a sanctuary for us for three nights, and was opened for other observers to come and hang out post meet and greet. It was a casual BBQ with smokies (Canadian for hot dogs) and plenty of great conversations to be shared and wine to be had!
"The best part is seeing how people transition from their normal, guarded, attitude toward discussing these topics, to an open and excited approach to sharing thoughts and observations with like-minded people." -Ben
Sacha and Julie, pictured below exchanging phone numbers, came up with a GREAT idea to have a monthly 0bservers Potluck to keep everyone connected and stay in touch - AWESOME! It turned out to be quite the party, lasting until 2:30A (of course we were in bed before 9P)!
We ended up staying another day in Calgary- Hope fell incredibly ill. I'll spare you the fine details, but sleep completely eluded us and it was incredibly stressful. Thanks Scott for taking us to the animal ER!
We drove to Kamloops, BC on the 1st, keeping a watchful eye on Hope as we got ready for events. It was an 8+ hour drive, with plenty of stops throughout for the dogs. There were parts of the drive that were not easy - mountain passes, steep grades, runaway lanes for heavy vehicles whose brakes have failed, etc. Glad we don't have to do that again- there were definitely parts on the road where we just held our breath until it was clear!
Our host Lisa was very kind and took great care of us - including having plain rice and boiled chicken for the dogs... they were pretty pleased. The lecture at Thompson Rivers went very well, with sponsors and folks from the area coming out to hear Ben speak. Canadians are just awesome, and I am not being biased because I was born there! :) Thank you to Colin of TRU for hosting us! We had a potluck dinner with some members of the Kamloops Astronomical Society, with a small presentation the following evening.
Surrey, BC was our next stop- it was a beautiful day to share sunspots! Hope had improved greatly although we hadn't caught up on sleep yet. Our event took place at Bear Creek Park- we even had some folks from the RCMP come out to chat and ask questions. Ben is always impressed to see students with a love of science, and Bryan was one of the younger observers (15) that came out to support us.
Eleven days, twenty six+ hours of driving and 1500+ miles later... it was finally time to return back to the US. The border crossing was painless, and as Ben said, it was great to be "back in the land of great internet and RV friendly gas stations!"
We had a great time in Canada, and hope to be back again soon. Canadians are just awesome!
Our next blog post coming out in the next few days will feature information on the most recent FOTW call that featured Jshwa Hale for those that have been curious! Have a great week!
It is now September and we are sitting in Kamloops, amazed that we're still alive and in one piece.
Our drive through the rest of the Dakotas and Montana felt incredibly long. Endless rows of corn, soybeans, and sunflowers (ND = #1 in production)! Memories were made in Butte (Laura, love you and your family - until we meet again in Colorado), where new and lasting friendships were made, and hours spent troubleshooting the RV to keep the journey moving. First issue was a melted electric plug- we probably tried to draw more power than allowed, or had a loose connection. Second issue was waking up in the morning after a rough storm to find no power to our fridge. We checked the connections, tried everything to turn the fridge on with no luck. After research on the make and model of our fridge (thanks Google!) and a small freak out moment on the thought of wasting food, we found the recall box had been tripped. The compartment behind the fridge was completely wet from the storm, which likely triggered it. We used magnets to reset it and voila - a working fridge and once again, happy couple!! Yes... magnets.
Canada, Part Two
We are almost through our 11 day journey through Alberta and British Columbia, and boy, what a journey it has been!
Lethbridge, AB was a fantastic stop - our hosts, Kendall and Sandy, took great care of us and we had a great event (articles from Lethbridge Herald and Global Lethbridge). Thank you Lyle for bring us Taber corn - amazingly sweet corn due to the area receiving more bright sunny days than anywhere else in Canada. Taber is actually known as the Corn Capital of Canada - can you taste the difference from sweet corn in the US? Yes! Sweet delicious Taber corn, we surely enjoyed you... until we meet again!
The drive to Edmonton, AB was uneventful, but we we had a fantastic event at Whitemud! Thanks to Adam for helping us, and to Ron for the fun photo below! So many great conversations and fun times. Connecting to the internet was again, an issue for us, but Christopher saved the day by coming early and giving us access to his hotspot. Woohoo! Thanks Nial for bring a cooler with drinks for everyone - wish we lived a bit closer... would love to be back in Edmonton someday.
The next morning, we headed off to Alliance, Alberta, a small town (population 120) southeast of Edmonton. Mayor Sue had invited us to share research with her community, and we were parked right outside their recently rebuilt community complex. The previous one had collapsed from a storm, and the community came together quickly and combined efforts to build another one. We love being in small towns, and this particular one has such a sense of support, community, and spirit all around.
Some very interesting things that we appreciated learning - Alliance is part of the Battle River Railway, a community owned rail line that serves several communities in the surrounding area. Parts of the rail network were being salvaged following declines in grain output, and central Alberta farmers collectively came together to purchase the line and has helped local producers stay in business.
I also had a chance to explore their Doll Museum, home to many, many eclectic dolls! Some brought back nostalgic feelings of childhood - there was a doll made in the 1800s that had straw legs, which was very neat to see. Some of the the photos below feature the Dionne Quintuplets - what a heart felt story. The quintuplets (all girls) sparked much attention after their birth as they survived more than a few days, and were taken away from their parents to become wards of the government under fear of private exploitation. The irony - they essentially became a large tourist attraction, living in an exclusive hospital called 'Quintland', where 3 million tourists came through in less than 10 years; they were involved in product endorsements, featured in movies, magazines, the list goes on. The government made an asinine amount of money peering in all the intimate details of their lives and exploiting their childhood. Remaining survivors Annette and Cecile turned 80 this year - my heart hurt learning their story...wishing them much love, and peace. There were so many other dolls to see - what an impressive collection!
Another post to come soon with our Calgary update and adventures in Kamloops and Vancouver! Thanks for reading!
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!