So much has transpired in the last month- we've wrapped up our last stops out in California, put The Mobile Observatory into storage, traveled back across the country and are still settling in. We STILL can't believe we are having a baby in a few months - what a crazy chaotic journey!
For Valentine's Day, we had an observer share something awesome with us - his girlfriend gifted him a jar with little notes of things she loved about him. Here's one of those notes that we had to share:
You know what isn't wonderful? Pregnancy induced brain fog. It IS a real thing, so let's recap the past month before April gets here!
Los Angeles, CA - Ben has one sentence to convey his feelings about this city: "You couldn't pay me to live here!" I have to agree with him. While the area is a beautiful place to visit and explore, we couldn't see ourselves out here- overpopulated, too many cars resulting in constant never-ending traffic, highest gas prices in the nation - we exchanged high fives looking back to the day we decided to keep the RV out of the city and zip around in a car instead. Little victories like these help keep our blood pressure down.
We spent several days in the city enjoying time with family as well as preparing for the Conscious Life Expo. We had a chance to connect with one of our sponsors, Lana, who took us to lunch on the rooftop of a hotel overlooking the city - what an amazing treat! Thank you Lana! The Expo was quite the experience to be had- we weren't sure what to expect as it was our first time attending. From special workshops, panels, to vendors showcasing products ranging from oils, jewelry, books, services, a permaculture section, etc…plenty to see and do. It was amazing to see the sheer number of people who came out to attend - there were lines wrapping around hallways for highly anticipated panels and speakers, and at times it was hard to get from one end of the hallway to the other! We had fun, and met some very cool folks while we were there.
I thought it was hard downsizing from a small home to a 36ft RV. One of my friends had taken one look around and shook her head. "Oh no, I couldn't do it," she had said. "Where would all my shoes go?!"
Now, it was time to downsize from the 36ft RV to a 15ft SUV. We had to be efficient about how we packed; it was the ultimate game of Tetris cramming everything in. Then it was off to the daunting task of getting The Mobile Observatory ready for storage- sanitizing water lines, cleaning out all the cabinets and fridge, getting fuel stabilizer in, propane off, the list goes on and on. It is A LOT of work to maintain an RV- so many things can go wrong and turn into complete disasters, so the process took much longer than we thought. Final task- put the cover on. According to the instructions, a professional would have it on in 15 minutes. It took Ben about 25 - quite the accomplishment! Thank you to our sponsor Keith for graciously keeping an eye on her as she is stored for the next few months!
We went over several potential routes (~2300 miles) back to Ohio, originally intending to stay south (holding on to the warm weather as long as we could) but eventually realized that the shortest route home would be ideal despite dealing with drastic drops in temperatures everyday.
"If we push ourselves we can make it back in 4 days," I had said. "MUHAHAHA," Mother Nature had replied, and she doubled my estimation.
Our route spanning 8 days: Los Angeles, CA - Flagstaff, AZ - Santa Rosa, NM - Oklahoma City, OKC - Memphis, TN (2 nights due to snow) - Goodlettsville, TN - Louisville, TN - HOME!
Flagstaff proved to be memorable, but not in a way we wanted. We had accumulated a number of camping points on the road and had enough for a free night in a cabin- we declared another little victory. Upon arrival we were told the nearest restroom facilities were closed and we would have to use their main facilities on the opposite side of the campground (not walking distance). At this point in the pregnancy, having a restroom in the immediate vicinity is a MUST, and I found myself hopping in the car to drive back and forth multiple times before the night was over. Temperatures dipped through the night; it was cold and this dance into the car to the other end of the campground continued. Not glorious!
Delays were everywhere - we woke up early in Memphis a few days later intending to hit the road early, only to realize our car was completely covered in a sheet of ice. We didn't have an ice scraper on hand and relied on help from a hotel guest just to be able to get out of the parking lot to get our own! We can't remember averaging over 40MPH in TN or KY- some interstates were not paved, resulting in dangerous road conditions, single lanes, calling for extra caution particularly with trucks. One day, we sat on the Interstate for 6 hours near Nashville due to a truck losing control on black ice and hitting a bridge, spilling oil and diesel requiring more extensive cleanup- thankfully, no fatalities and we made it safely through. Roads were clear afterwards to Ohio!
Ben's stops for April ARE in the works- please continue to check the website for more details as he visits some major cities and stay tuned for more exciting happenings in the near future!
One perk of returning home: Taking advantage of every one of these we can. Another victory!