We were in Orlando, Florida for Thanksgiving in the last blog post- this one comes from Amarillo, Texas! It has been an incredible year, one that went by too quickly. From the launch of the Kickstarter campaign back in March (with 178% of our goal funded!), anxiously waiting the completion of the RV retrofit in June, frantically packing up our home and hitting on the road… six months in, we’ve visited 40 states and 4 provinces, found ourselves expecting one on the way, and personally connected with so many sponsors, hosts, and open minds that have supported us on this journey- and not only us, but with each other. We’re so grateful to so many that have opened their hearts and homes to us, and continue to keep in touch – these friendships are priceless.
As a reminder, The Mobile Observatory Project will pause its journey after the Conscious Life Expo (Early Bird prices available now!) in Los Angeles (February 6-9 at LAX Hilton). Ben will be doing five events: a free lecture (day pass required), a General Workshop and a Post Conference Intensive Workshop, and two Discussion Panels. Afterwards, we’ll be making our way home in preparation for a new life ahead of us. Ben will continue to go to selected events, without the Mobile Observatory, and we hope to hit the road again to finish out the remaining states when time is viable, with a much more relaxed schedule. No worries, this is just the beginning! If you live out in those areas (see The Journey page) remaining, reach out to us if you’d like to connect- let’s end this with a bang!
Clearwater, FL – We spent several days in Clearwater, making time to catch up with family (they were incredibly missed). Grandma wanted to be on the internet…here you are Grandma- we love you! She is so sharp, witty, and never fails to make us laugh. We only wish we could see them more often.
Our event was held at the Clearwater RV Resort, and we had a great turnout of fantastic, friendly people - everyone was so easy going and good natured. If we ever get the chance to get together again, it is guaranteed to be a good time!
Two bald eagles were perched nearby, so a closer view with binoculars was necessary- you don't see those in Ohio! Plenty of hawks too, so the puppies were kept inside.
Tallahassee, FL – A lesson in keeping Kat as the Master Scheduler. When we pick out venues, there is a lot to be considered – proximity to an interstate and major city and ease of navigation is important. Ben scheduled this stop as I was out of town for a few days. Our location was out in the boonies, with long stretches of sand and bumpy roads (not fun when you’re 4 months pregnant and super sensitive to motion sickness). We were warned of alligators upon our arrival, and electricity was lost in the campground for a majority of the time we were there…on top of that, the wifi signal was abysmal. Thanks to those that were able to make it! We ended up having to leave to a different campground for the evening to ensure the news went out on time.
Albany, GA - Time to catch up with Billy and family- lots of filming was done in his lab for the documentary, along with enjoying his menagerie of animals: chickens, goats, dogs, cats all roaming freely, along with a beautiful horse! We had Pea Salad for the first time –we were told it’s a Southern thing, and it was delicious! Pregnancy cravings commencing… good thing its so easy to make!
Birmingham, AL- We were at Whole Foods Market Mountain Brook for our stop – what a busy area! There was a non-stop flurry of cars coming in and out, many stopping to curiously ask what we did. Thank you to the many kind folks that stopped by to chat with us. It is so cool to meet people who recall watching since the beginning, when there were less than a few thousand subscribers. As of today, we’re 208,000+ strong! Wow! I think back to when Ben started the channel… “It’s just going to be a hobby…”
Jackson, MS – When we hit the road, we had no idea how curious and tuned-in many students were. This was our largest school presentation yet- at Jackson Academy, Mississippi’s largest private school. The audience: 180+ students in 4th- 6th grade – inquisitive and lively, with many bright little minds in the group. They were so happy that Pluto was a planet again, and started a chant… at the end they crowded Ben with high fives. It was a fun day. Thank you to Lori and Wade of Jackson!
Shreveport, LA – A stop we’ll remember for a while! Our amazing host and sponsor Alice had us on her farm for a few days- Ben got to feed a bunch of goats, and I learned how to make gumbo (both chicken/sausage and seafood)! It was so peaceful to be in a farm setting - we were right next to the roosters and chickens, and sure got a wake up call from them in the morning- in fact a FOTW session probably captured a rooster in the background! We got our hands on a beautiful piece of uncured ham from Mahaffey Farms (pasture raised, organic) - the real tragedy was that our freezer compartment was too small to fit any more!
Our event was held at Sci-Port, Louisiana’s Science Center, and despite it being a cold and rainy day, we had the opportunity to meet sponsors (Hi Jim and Susan!) and chat with the locals. Thank you to Greg Andrews, Planetarium Manager, for participating with us and sharing your knowledge!
Dallas/Fort Worth area, TX – Two great stops here- our first was at the Whole Foods Market in Colleyville. Great folks and good conversations- TX has been very good to us. Its one thing to hear how a parent is so dedicated to engaging their child to be interested in science- its another to hear the excitement when one engages their young niece/nephew and wants to be involved in nurturing their love for the sun and space weather. A consensus is that the children of today are tomorrow’s future, and people want to get involved however and whenever they can – the Sun Series has been very popular… more to come next year!
Our second stop was at Orbital Systems – we had the opportunity to tour their facilities and boy, what a treat! Their specialty- building earth ground stations for satellite data reception. So much of the data that is used in the morning news is from a system of theirs in use somewhere in the world (China, Russia, Japan, Norway, here in the US, etc). To see them up close and learn more was invaluable – more to come in the documentary, but a few photos from our trip are below.
Ben just finished an interview with Cori Duke of NewsChannel 10; we'll be posting the segment when it airs - time for the evening news, dinner and getting ready for our evening event at Fort Amarillo RV Resort! We'll be spending the next few days making our way to Albuquerque, wrapping up end of year items and planning for a wonderful 2015!
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!