Our Story

Welcome to our site! We are Joanne & Steve. After 20+ years working for a city school department and police department, we sold almost everything, bought an RV, and started living on the road with our three children. Joanne homeschools and works online.
What we have chosen is to live life as unencumbered as we possibly can and to spend time with our family, for our family, and as a family.
This website is a record of our travels. But, we also hope to educate, entertain, and inform others about RVing, roadschooling, and the great places we visit in this country.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Phase II

It has been a crazy couple of months, and thus, the reason I have not posted.  Between school beginning and the decision to place the house on the market this Autumn, time has been non-existant to put thoughts to blog.  So, here is an attempt to catch up.

Let's start with today.  Today we had our first Open House since deciding 3 weeks ago to hire a realtor and list the house earlier than originally planned.  We had first thought to wait until Spring and try to hawk the homestead on our own.  I began a detailed website and even had business cards made (for free through Vistaprint.com).  Soon after speaking with a retired-teacher-turned-realtor friend, I decided that there was much too much to deal with on our own.  So we hired her.  

As I said, today was the first open house.  I have spent the better part of the last two weeks purging to the nth degree, painting, repairing, purchasing, and ripping up carpet.  We had new carpet installed and bought a new bed (since I sold our old bedroom set); through Craigslist, of course.  The house has never looked so good.  Part of me hopes it takes a while to sell so we can enjoy it.

So far, that seems to be the plan.

No one showed for the open house.  

I know that I can't take it personally, but it sort of feels like an insult, as silly as that sounds.  Then again, if I didn't have this deadline, I would still have old ratty carpet, and a king mattress on the floor.  The house is clean and bright and looks wonderful.  

Now I am looking forward to relaxing and enjoying my home.  Yet, there is this nagging pang of dread...what if it doesn't sell?  Another couple who is embarking on the same journey as us just put their dreams on hold due to the market...in California.   The thought of having to give up what we have planned to do is a bit scary; but it is still early.  And, tomorrow we have another open house.  If no one shows again, I have little faith anyone will even ask to see it during the winter.  We bought this house in the winter...maybe someone else will, too.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cute and fluffy

In August of this year, our sweet Chumsley finally passed away.  He was our second born for 14 and a half years.  We really wanted the kids to be able to enjoy having a dog again as we travel, but, of course, the living space being what it will be, we needed to think about a pup that would fit.

Meet Maxwell...

Maxwell is a Shih-Poo; half shitzu and half poodle.  We bought him this week from a couple in Fall River, thanks to Steve's brother and sister-in-law.  He's perfect; cute, small, hypo-allergenic, and his name was Max!  (Ian wanted to name Brendan Max before he was born.)  Sometimes things just work out.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

It's time to be Fresh!

I have a quest to eat more healthy foods...for myself and my family.  So, for lunch today, may I present...Veggie Pizza....


 Tandoori Fabulous Flats
fresh asparagus
fresh tomato from the garden
fresh tomato sauce made from our tomatoes
fresh garlic
fresh broccoli
fresh grated parmesan cheese
fresh oregano and thyme from the garden
fresh ground salt & pepper

I sauteed all of the veggies in evoo and the herbs for 5 minutes or so, 
then baked it all at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes.  


Friday, September 3, 2010

Eagle vs Earl

So, the first major hurricane of the season is bearing down upon Rhode Island.  It started as a category 4 and at the present time, I believe, is a category 3.  Should be all of 2 by the time it hits us.  Meteorologists are predicting it will travel just south east of Nantucket, so only the coastal towns and cities will really feel the affect.  However, I am still a tad bit concerned that the pine trees standing just feet from the camper may come crashing down on her.

Where do they come up with these names anyway?  Earl?  

Steve and I were married during Bertha.  

According to http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/basics.shtml...

Hurricane Names

When the the winds from these storms reach 39 mph (34 kts), the cyclones are given names. Years ago, an international committee developed names for Atlantic cyclones (
The History of Naming Hurricanes). In 1979 a six year rotating list of Atlantic storm names was adopted — alternating between male and female hurricane names. Storm names are used to facilitate geographic referencing, for warning services, for legal issues, and to reduce confusion when two or more tropical cyclones occur at the same time. Through a vote of the World Meteorological Organization Region IV Subcommittee, Atlantic cyclone names are retired usually when hurricanes result in substantial damage or death or for other special circumstances. The names assigned for the next several seasons are shown below.

Names for Atlantic Basin Tropical Cyclones


So Fiona is next. 

  or not...   

Hurricane Earl to Prevent Hurricane Fiona?
Hurricanes draw their strength from warm ocean waters, and Earl is expected to remain a powerful hurricane as it churns northward, because northern Atlantic waters are unusually warm this year. The same factors pushing and powering Hurricane Earl are expected to remain in place for days, so tropical storm Fiona is likely to stay offshore of the U.S. But Fiona is unlikely to grow into Hurricane Fiona, Blackwell said, because winds from the more powerful Hurricane Earl will probably disrupt the new storm.  If Fiona gets too close to Earl, he said, "Earl might eat it."  

Sounds just like what an Ogre would do.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Eagle Has Landed

Saturday, August 28th, at about 6:30pm, Steve and Ian drove into the yard with our new 40' 2011 Jayco Eagle 365bhs.  She's a beauty. (Happy Birthday Ian!)  After traveling to Indiana to pick her up and stopping along the way for a few days in Hershey, PA, the Eagle is finally here and we can begin to seriously plan our adventure.

It has been a fairly painless process so far, (knock knock), with only a few minor issues.
     a. the ceiling fan light cover and bulb came crashing down during the drive...the bulb smashed, the cover was ok...this happened twice.
     b. there are a few nicks and scratches here and there from the installers, which we can fix or just learn to live with
     c.  crooked panels and stickers drive me nuts: there are a few of those
     d. the air conditioner was dripping condensation and created a puddle on the counter and floor; Steve's working on that now.
     e. the sofa bed, which has an air mattress, is not attached to the floor, or wall, or stud, or anything, so the whole couch tilts and flips and comes off the floor when you try to form the spare bed...not that we'll need it until guests visit but it can't be correct that way.

We all slept in the camper on Sunday night after watching the Emmys and having pizza and snacks.

The biggest issue was with the king pin and hitch...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Could you live in 500 square feet?

We will be...

we aren't the only ones heading for this trend.

The fees can take a Toll!

Steve and Ian's trip is in full swing.  They are currently camped out in Hershey, PA at the Hershey Highmeadow Campground.  Tonight they are getting a visit in the park and will start tomorrow at the park before it opens.    As they drove out to Indiana to take possession of Eagle, Steve told me about the tolls they were paying along the way.  It is amazing how much money these tolls are, especially when you add a few more axles to the price.

We will have no choice but to take on these fees...it will not be worth the unknown situations we may encounter if we travel too far off the main highways...low bridges, narrow roadways, dirt roads, construction...so, we will purchase the EZ Pass to at least cut the price a tad (possibly), and get us passing through the toll booths quickly.

We've used EZ Pass before, and it is worth it.  (Sometimes people pass through the EZ Pass toll booths mistakenly and try to pay $2.00 to an empty booth and then set off alarms as they drive through!)  I have to take some time to look into discount plans...each state maintains its own EZ Pass system and I am not sure if the discount plans pertain only to your home state.

Here's how EZ Pass works:

When you sign up for E-ZPass, you open up a whole new frontier in convenient transportation. Instead of the inconvenience of coins, tokens, and tickets, E-ZPass allows you to pay tolls electronically as you pass through specially equipped toll lanes.
You can establish a prepaid E-ZPass account using your credit card, personal check, or cash. The convenient credit card payment option automatically replenishes your prepaid account. Check and cash E-ZPass accounts have a higher replenishment threshold and are replenished by mailing or delivering a payment to the E-ZPass Customer Service Center.
When you establish an E-ZPass prepaid account, you receive a small electronic tag that attaches to the windshield inside your car. Within the tag is an electronic chip that contains information about your account. Each time you use a toll facility where E-ZPass is offered, an antenna at the toll plaza reads the vehicle and account information contained in your tag. The appropriate toll is then electronically debited from your prepaid account. A record of your transactions will be included in your periodic statement.
Your E-ZPass tag is installed using fasteners that come with your tag. The tag should be installed approximately one inch below the top of your windshield above your rearview mirror. If there is not enough room above your mirror, the tag should be installed to the right of the mirror, approximately one inch below the top of your windshield. Be sure to read the E-ZPass Customer Guide that comes with your tag for detailed instructions on proper installation.
Some vehicles may require an external tag. Please refer to the customer application section, “Vehicles Requiring External Tags“ to determine whether your vehicle requires an internal or external tag.
Once you've installed your tag, simply drive through the toll facilities that offer E-ZPass. Please remember that not all lanes are equipped with E-ZPass, so you'll need to watch for E-ZPass signs as you approach the toll plazas.

Not all states have EZ Pass at this time...

I've looked online, also, for a website that lists all of the major US Highway Toll Booths...but there does not seem to be one such site.  I have found a few sites by state, so as I look, I will create a page with this info.  It will be a good resource in case anyone heads for a road trip.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Eagle is a'comin.

Traveling to Indiana, Steve and Ian have finally taken possession of Eagle.  Tonight they are camped out in a Walmart Supercenter in Delmont, PA.

It has not been an easy road to this point.  Steve will have to fill you in on the goings-on with their trip.  Stay tuned...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Next Step: getting the rig

Thursday morning, Steve and Ian left for Indiana to pick up The Eagle and have the hitch installed into the bed of the truck.  Just before they left, the new owner of our ATV came to pick it up and pay for it.  Good timing since we needed the money for the hitch.  Monday is the day all this should be happening.  They took a couple days to get out there, stopping on the NY side of Niagara Falls, heading through some Amish country, and enjoying the trip as a whole.

Niagara Falls...US

first night's food
entering Ohio
the hospital where our new baby is being delivered

Today, both made it to Middlebury, Indiana and RV Connection where the our new Jayco Eagle 365 bhs is awaiting its new family.  

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tick Tick Tick

So, Tuesday, while Ian was at soccer practice, I noticed a teeny tiny tick on his neck...deer tick.  The black-legged tick.  Removing it was neither laborious, nor upsetting, thank goodness.  The little critter was out...Marie Antoinette it was not. However, the entire episode started me thinking about what other individuals from the Insecta Class we would encounter on our travels.  Being reared in New England, we are quite accustomed to ants, mosquitos, wasps, hornets, spiders, etc...which, in their own ways are more nuisance than frightful.

Ixodes scapularis

Apparently, ticks will be residents in many of the states to which we travel.

Minnesota; Iowa; Missouri; Oklahoma; Arkansas; Texas; Kansas; Wisconsin; Illinois; Tennessee; Mississippi; Louisiana; Alabama; Kentucky; Indiana; Michigan; Ohio; West Virginia; North Carolina; South Carolina; Georgia; Florida; Virginia; Maryland; Delaware; Pennsylvania; New Jersey; New York; Connecticut; Massachusetts; Rhode Island; New Hampshire; Vermont; Maine

Whether it is a deer tick or dog tick, as they are commonly called, the recommended method used to remove it is fairly universal:

The best way to remove a tick is to pull it off gently, leaving the tick and its mouth parts intact. This can be difficult because some ticks cement their mouth parts into the skin. Every effort should be made to remove this cement if it does not come out with the tick. Applying heat, alcohol, petroleum jelly or fingernail polish to an embedded tick is not effective. The following is the recommended procedure:

  • Use blunt curved tweezers or a thread
  • Grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible and pull upward with a steady, even pressure.
  • Do not twist or jerk the tick because this may cause the mouth parts to detach and remain in the skin.
  • You should pull firmly enough to lift up the skin.
  • Hold this tension for 3 to 4 minutes and the tick will back out.
  • DO NOT squeeze, crush, or puncture the body of the tick because its fluids may contain bacteria.
  • Immediately dispose of the tick. If you have any concerns, put the tick in a plastic bag and freeze it. If you get sick you can take the dead tick with you when you see your provider.
  • Immediately wash your hands and the affected area with soap and water.

If you do not want to use tweezers, there are several products on the market created by those go-getters of the product world.  Here are a few,  all for around $5.00.   Note: I have never tried these products; I am a tweezer-gal.

cause id like to see you out in the moonlight 
id like to kiss you way back in the sticks 
id like to walk you through a field of wildflowers 
and id like to check you for ticks 


This site:  www.insectidentification.org/ has a great dichotomous key to help identify insects, or perhaps, arachnids, as the case may be.  (See left side menu).

And here is a great game for the family!  


Monday, August 16, 2010

Pros of Prose & Poem

I have spent half, or more, of my life reading text books...I cannot wait to have the time to sit and read the novels that have escaped me.  My particular genre is historical nonfiction, preferably biographies during the World War II era.  (Thank you Dad.)  But I anticipate delving into some classics as we travel the country.

Steve would like to "Kindle" read...but I am partial to holding a book; a used book would be my first choice.  I love the feel of a book.  There is something personal about holding a heavy novel in one's hand, and as each page turns, being encircled by the fine scent of slight, pleasant mildew that only a second-hand, loved book can emit.

The works of Twain, Shakespeare, Dickens, Bronte, and Hawthorne, among others, are where I would also like to travel.

A wonderful site where you can read classic literature, without heading to the coffee-shop-book-store, gently-used-book-store, or library, is Literature Online.

For example, you can read Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary in it's entirety.  Set in the early 1800's in Normandy, France, the story has a very modern theme...it's the Harlequin Romance of its day.

Or, one can enjoy Charles Dickens' first novel, The Pickwick Papers.  I have not read this piece of work, but, as I understand its plot, it is a comedy about a group of men who form a traveling club where they discuss findings and scientific inquiries from excursions, interesting adventures, and the relationships they encounter along the way.  Another early victorian-era piece of literature testing the new boundaries of that day's society.

I am hoping to one day add my own book to the list.

If there's a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.  ~Toni Morrison

Her Impressions

Watching Chloe paint and draw has become an interesting pastime.  She uses many colors and brushstrokes to create a picture reflective of modern impressionism.  I can't wait until she has such influences as the Rocky Mountains, Hoover Dam, and San Francisco Bridge.  I have decided to create a page just for her drawings...click the tab for Chloe's Page.  Some day you can say, "I knew her when..."

Ian's Soccer Coach, Ken by Chloe

Ballerina by Susanna Katherine

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The First Trip

Back in July of 2000, Steve and I, along with Rosco and Chumsley,  took our first cross-country camping trip.  We traveled in a 2000 Ford F350 dually diesel king cab truck and towed a 1999 Challenger fifth-wheel. Yesterday, Chumsley passed away, finally joining Rosco after 5 years.  We will miss him, as we have missed Rosco.  Thinking back to this big trip we took as a "family" in 2000 with our first "kids," makes me even more certain that our biological children will thoroughly enjoy this experience.  We learned something new about Rosco and Chumsley on that trip...they did not need to be on a leash to stay with us.  Up in the mountains of Montana they ran and played but never strayed.

Here are some of those memories...

Badlands, SD
Devil's Tower, Wyoming
Narrow Tunnel, SD
Farm Lands, Iowa
US/Canada Border
Roberts Prairie Dog Town, SD

Mount Rushmore, SD
The First George W.
Bison at the Sulfur Pots, Yellowstone Park
Forest Fire, SD
Sunset, Idaho
Bison contemplating the bath
Crazy Horse, SD
Grizzly, Yellowstone
Moose, Yellowstone
Hill City, SD
View from the hot air balloon, SD
Emerald Spring, Yellowstone
Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Mackinaw, Michigan
Idaho Home
quoth the Raven, "Nevermore"
I couldn't see the actual line
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Glacier National Park, Montana