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.

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