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.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

There's always NEXT winter...

A year ago, the day after Christmas, I sat in my house and looked out at what would be the first of many major snowstorms of the 2010-2011 winter season.  Besides regretting the early sale of our tractor, it was enjoyable to relax and hear the crackle of the fire, watch the trillions of flakes, and, most likely, sip a glass of red.  Little did I know that by the end of January I'd be relishing in the fact that NEXT winter I would not see snow.  I would not shovel.  I would not search, fruitlessly, for a previously-unheard-of roof rake.  I would not slip and fall on ice.  I would not pray whenever I climbed into my 1995 bald-tired Lebaron Convertible.

And so, how ironic that this year I am thinking the same thing...mostly.  I mean, the car died months ago, so no problem there.  You can't use anything resembling a rake on a rubber RV roof.  We aren't allowed to shovel here.  But, there is still the threat of slipping on ice.  For, instead of hooking our sewer hose to a hole in the desert sun, it is connected to one in New England.  And will be until NEXT November!

Yes, we are staying longer than first anticipated.  The Beer Man has an opportunity to work, and make some money, and so, we are bending with the wind.  When a beneficial circumstance presents itself, you have to take it.

We have lived in East Lyme for a month, and the time has flown by.   There has been so much to do to get our new home livable.  And we are still working on it.   The weather has been more than cooperative, and, if the Almanac is correct, it will be a much better winter than last year.  Seriously, how could it not be?  The worst predator has been the wind, and the guilt lays in only the scare factor, not in any damage.

Plenty of room for Wii.
What's next?  Well, 2012 will hopefully bring some settling and routine and movement around town and new friends.  We really need a second vehicle...looking into a lease trade but so far no luck.  The oven doesn't work so we have been grilling a lot.  We are thinking of ripping the oven out and making it into a wine cooler.  The toilet clogged twice and ice creeps up the interiors of the windows on really cold nights.  We are getting to know the local library to rent dvd's since local TV here is somewhat BORING!  But, Steve may get Digital TV.  That's undecided at this point.  The first electric bill for our 382 sq ft camper was so freaking huge I wanted to puke!  And there's a dog at a residence behind us nearby that barks all night and I may have to offer it some rat poison, or maybe offer it to its owners instead.  There are some ups and downs daily but, no regrets.  It has only been a month.

Looking forward to a trip to IKEA to buy some much needed organizational accoutrements.
Also need to head to a consignment store to get snow pants.  Snow pants and boots.

 SNOW PANTS AND BOOTS?????  What the %^@#!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Enjoying the Lights of Niantic

Tonight we took a little ride to Niantic's Main Street for the 23rd Annual Niantic Light Parade.   Everyone was bundled up in layers for the night.  It had been a beautiful sunny day, in the 40s, and the night was actually pretty mild.  We started out at Ray's Pizza and then met Steve's friend from work and his family.  Fireworks began the parade, and we hunkered in for the light show.

Chloe and Daddy at Ray's Pizza

Pizza was tasty.  Daddy Says it was like Papa Gino's.
It was actually New Haven Style Pizza.   Who knew?

We'll be heading here!

Cold night but not windy so a nice time watching Niantic's lovely parade!

These two were the best!

Watching the acela pass.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Grills & Chills

Ah, the grand plans I had to bring out my inner chef once in Eagle.  Kind of tough when the brand new camper oven pilot light won't stay lit.   Thank goodness for our awesome smoker grill, a Christmas present from mom and dad from about 3 years ago.  It's cooked pig, steak, fish, chicken, and maple syrup.  I even baked an apple pie in it during Irene.  It has done us well here in East Lyme, also.  So far, we have cooked several dinners on it, since we lack an inner oven.  Yesterday, it roasted a chicken so today it could simmer Steve's chicken soup.  Chef Steve was out in the chill all day.

  Last night's dinner was meatballs.

It's a cold 30 degrees outside and a nice 60 inside. 
 Tomorrow we join in on some East Lyme tradition.
Hope it's not too chilly.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

There's this, and then, on the other hand...

Last night brought in another grand Connecticut storm.  Maybe this storm was not any more impressive than those we have experienced over the years in Chepachet, or Riverside, but hearing them through the thin fiberglass walls of a camper is a very different experience. And, too, it is most likely not the first time we have encountered strong winds and hard rain in an RV. We are not virgin campers.   We've been doing this for years.  But, when the RV turns from vacation vessel to permanent home, it has a different vibe.

So, it was yet another sleepless night.  The sounds of the 35mph wind ripping through the slide awnings was not only deafening, but stomach churning.  The thought of those expensive pieces of vinyl being whisked away into the hills was not pleasant.  The only real casualties, if one might call them that, were our adirondack chairs situated around our, as yet unused, fire-pit.  They tumbled to and fro, but, luckily, not into our Navy-man neighbor's camper.

After a fit-full night, we decided to take a trek to the Crystal Mall and do some Christmas shopping.  Fairly empty, and amidst a whole-mall-redo, it was less than I remembered. The last time I had been to the Crystal Mall was well before Emerald and Providence Place Malls were built.  It seemed so grand to me.  Not so much today.  But, we achieved at least part of our shopping goal, had lunch, then headed back to the campground to bake a chicken on our monster grill.

The evening was spent with the kids having a chance to play some Wii, and Steve and I watching Ken Burns The West DVD series.  Living in East Lyme, as quaint and pretty a town as it is, has been less than exciting when it come to television viewing.  We have about 5 channels, all of which play some decent shows, and others which are less than satisfying.  Last night was a special treat.  The local PBS played the 25th Anniversary Concert of Les Miserables.   It was wonderful.  One of my favorite musicals, and if you have not yet seen it, do so.

I have no desire to add cable or satellite TV to our repertoire.  Not that I have cracked a book yet, but, it is what I desire.  I have a cabinet full of novels waiting for me, and a wonderful town library holding more.  So far, that pleasure has escaped me.  Between the unpacking project, teaching, and working, I have not the time to reach for one of the many books I want to read.

But here's the cool thing.  I have the time.  I can do it next month.  Or in two months.   I can spend a month reading Shakespeare or Michael Crichton or Nietschze.  It hasn't quite sunk in yet that I don't have to rush to do these things.  That it isn't a vacation.  I don't have to make a decision between three books because I only have time for 2.  I can read whatever I want, whenever I want.

But, with the realization that this lifestyle is just that, a new style of living, comes a major load of responsibility.  There are no familiar crutches on which to lean to be sure that things get done; that the kids have what they need; that future plans and securities are made. It is all open and free and new and unplanned and untethered.  Nothing holds anything in place except our will and drive and determination and fortitude and utmost focus on what needs to be done, as well as what can be done, what is possible, what is dreamt.

I am not sure what gives me more pause;  the responsibilities of the old life that need to be continued, or the unknown of the new life that must be allowed.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011


If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up.  ~J.M. Power


1. capable of or having movement: a moving object.
2. causing or producing motion.
3. involved in changing the location of possessions, a residence, office, 
etc.: moving expenses.
4. involving a motor vehicle in motion.
5. actuating, instigating, or impelling: the moving spirit behind the party.

After over a year of planning, we are finally, if not 100% on-the-road, at the very least entering the on-ramp.  Last night we spent the first of many nights as a family in our new home-on-wheels. It was a LONG day.

On Sunday, 11/27, Steve stayed overnight at the campground after driving down a 4th time since Friday to bring some of our belongings to the camper.   I went to bed at 12am and woke at 4am on Monday, 11/28, the day of the closing.  I was beyond stressed looking at all of the stuff that still needed to be packed to go to Eagle or to my mom's & dad's house, but felt there was still enough time to get it done before 12 noon.  However, noon arrived rather quickly, so we returned for another 2 1/2 hours after the closing to finish.  I had 
spent Friday packing the UHaul truck we rented.  

Walking out with the last item.
Here's how Monday went.

4am-12pm like a motor pack pack pack clean pack pack pack sneak a glass of vino pack pack pack
12pm-12:45 shoot to Friendship Lodge #7 to drop off our Ram truck loaded with stuff, take car on a rocket run to McDonald's for lunch  
1:00-1:30 cruise to the house closing, which went as unbelievably smoothly as this entire house-selling process has been from the beginning.
1:30-3:30 speed back to our "former" home to sweat and scream through the final packing
3:30-9:30 zip to mom's house to unload the entire fully-packed 20 foot UHaul truck...Officer Collins came to help and take a plethora of police paraphernalia and dive equipment...Lloyd and Cathy prepped that attic for us and our years of crap-ola.
9:30-10:00 ride back up to Friendship Lodge to move much of the stuff in the rental Sonata into the back of the truck
10:00-10:20 roll on down to Ace Hardware to return the empty UHaul truck and then motor back to grab the truck
1:20-11:20 travel to East Lyme with both vehicles packed with the last of our belongings (well, except for a couple pieces of furniture we have to grab next weekend)

Wipe down the kids, slap together some beds, throw them in, crack a couple of cans, and just sit and stare...Holy Shit, we did it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tonight is the last night I will ever sleep at 384 Durfee Hill Road.  Today, I told Brendan it was his last night, and his response was, Oh Good!   Chloe later told me she would miss this house. Ian is excited, but a little melancholy, too, as am I.  I think Steve joins us in these feelings.

I will miss this home, too.  But I think I will miss what it might have been in the next 5-15 years.  I saw a more cozy home, with better furniture and a "finished" look.  I saw my kids and their friends hanging in the tree house and barn loft, and Steve spending more time there as well.   I saw more parties and new friends being welcomed.  

But as quickly as those images come to mind, so does the reality of full-time work, still in EP, taking me away from all of it.  I was being stretched too thin for what this place "could" become and missing out on all it was already.  

Tonight, I drift between sadness, excitement, and shear exhaustion.   Tomorrow, when all the storage is placed at my very wonderful parents' house, and the keys have been transferred, we can head to our, now over-packed Eagle, and begin anew.  The new owners are lovely people who I know will thoroughly enjoy this house and appreciate the love with which we filled it.

So, time to get back to work and continue packing.  I think we may need a bigger camper!

Friday, November 25, 2011

I realized the last pictures of the house were the old look...so here is what the new buyers get.

We set a goal, and we saw it through.

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.  ~T.S. Eliot

Steve retired from the police department; I left my job as a teacher.   We sold or gave away most of our possessions, pulled our children from school, sold our house, and hoped for the best.

Now, with the closing on Monday, the last year-and-a-half's work towards this goal of a new life seems within our reach.

Today, Steve drove Eagle down to our new abode...Aces High Campground in East Lyme, CT.  This small campground is 15 minutes from Mohegan Sun, 3 miles from rt 95, and 6 miles from the ocean.  This is a temporary spot while STeve continues to work at Mohegan.  We'll be there for probably 4 months, then decide if we should stay longer, or go.

People keep asking me how I feel; if I am excited, nervous, sad, scared.   I cant say right now.  I am kind of numb, running on fumes.  The enormous mental energy needed to pour through every scrap of paper and item you own wears you down.  Yesterday, I stood in what was once my dining room just staring, wondering how I would get it all done.  After procuring a large U-Haul truck this morning, and enjoying about 7-8 sets of visitors all coming to pick stuff up, the house looks pretty empty.   In fact, the past 2 weeks have been a buzz of people coming to buy or accept many of the items we could not take with us on the road, or chose not to store.  I truly thank everyone who has done this.   The thought of tossing perfectly good pieces of furniture, toys, clothing, decor, appliances, etc., really bugs me.

I had wanted to blog more often, but I haven't had the energy or time.  I am really looking forward to my new found time.   Time to have a cup of coffee, read a book, sew, well, learn to sew, play with my kids, teach them, learn new things myself.  

Of course, I have no idea what the future holds.  Throughout this whole process, we have had very little control of anything that was going on.  It has all been an act of fate, destiny, God's intervention, or just pure dumb luck.  And so, as we prepare to walk up the steps into Eagle and begin our much simpler, and hopefully fulfilling, life, I will hold onto that sense of faith, karma, luck that has seen us through to this point.

Fingers Crossed.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What an amazingly busy month it has been.  The kids began school a little late this year due to Hurricane Irene who, by the way, demolished some of our trees.   

I am a full-time-stay-at-home-mom-housewife and totally loving it.  I was thinking I'd be relaxing and maybe getting a pedicure now and then, but I think I am just-as-busy-if-not-even-more-busy than I was when I was working full time.

After I get the kiddos onto the bus, I pour myself a cuppa joe and settle in at the computer.  I have started working for a great website called HaveFunTeaching.com.  I frequented this site over the past two years as a teacher, so I reached out to say I'd be happy to work in any capacity if needed.  Well, I am working!  It's all computer-time, which is awesome because IF we ever leave this state I can still work.  And, it feeds my teacher-brain.  Not that I really miss the classroom...which is kind of sad, but, I find more and more each day that I was done.  I hope to get back into teaching some day when I can devote more than 10% to it...but right now, my time is for my family.

Ick, that sounds so marytr-esque.   Really I type all day.  I try to get in some creative writing for the Suite, but it is hard to be inspired when you sit at a desk all day staring at an imac.  I did get to move my "office" out onto the deck few days and relax while working.  Liked that.

My beading has taken a back-seat, but I like that so will be sure to make time for it.  The one thing that is weighing on my mind is the book I want to write.  I have several individuals ready to talk with me, and even someone who will drive them up North here to booney-ville. I just need to get it set up.  This book is so important to me, and has been in the works for about 9 years.  I am running out of time to get it written.

Being home has given me some peace that I haven't felt in a long time.  Nobody really understands how much teaching drains you.  ESPECIALLY when you have kids and ESPECIALLY when those kids are the age you teach!  And now, with all of the changes going on...I am so grateful I can stay home.  Not that I can really afford it...but, I am used to low fashion and sewn socks.

The house has no bites; but some cool things may be on the horizon.  I really need to begin yoga to calm myself and wait for things to occur.

I'll search Google tomorrow for a good online yoga class.  In between my typing.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Some paths run through the weeds before they get to the flowers.

Do not go where the path may lead, 
go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. 

We had our path all planned out...if not the actual driving path, then the path on which we would forge ahead with our new life.  Only one small, minuscule, problematic obstacle continues to stand in the way.  HOUSE.

Everyone loves it...but no one will buy it.  So, as September looms, I am reminded that I will not be entering a classroom, attending meetings, or getting paid.  Not that I am upset about any of it.  It is just a reminder of how long it is taking for us to begin on this new path.

The one thing I am thoroughly enjoying is the freedom I am experiencing.  My mind is moving at a mile a minute, so sleep has not been forthcoming without some sort of small, oval aid.  My creative juices are flowing which makes it painfully obvious how much I am lacking in certain skills.  

My newest passion, which has been bubbling at the surface for some time, is writing.  I just published my first article for an online site called Suite101.com.   Here it is...

I hope to only improve, but now that I have, so they say, "popped my cherry," the words should come a little easier.

 If I could focus on only this, that may be the case, but I am also working on my other newest passion; beading.  I know next-to-nothing about making jewelry, but with Youtube as my guide, I am finding it to be quite fun.  Sadly, though, it has brought to the forefront how badly I need glasses.  (I used to wear reading glasses once-upon-a time).  Thanks to my $3 in CVS ExtraBucks, I was able to get a pair of 125 strength eyeglasses.  Which, of course, inspired me to make some beaded eyeglass lanyards.  Cause and effect people.

My hope is that at the very least, I will be able to use some new-found skills and talents to make a few Extra Bucks of my own.

And then, there's the man...
Throughout this summer, Steve has been working non-stop.  We have barely seen him.  Between working details for the East Providence Police Department, and helping a friend with his beer line cleaning business, daddy has been very busy. We love him for all he has done. It has been tough.  We are hoping the stress, lack of sleep, and long, long hours will be worth it.

 The path we are taking is not traditional or conventional; and it isn't scary.  I guess it should be; but, as my mom has always said about us, somehow, we fall into shit and come out smelling like roses.  Compared to the manure we could be in, this isn't so bad.  And the sweet smell of roses will be even more fragrant when we finally break lose and hit the road.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

You can take the teacher out of the classroom...

but, well, you know the rest.  So, to fulfill my need to constantly provide educational information and tools, please click this link to check out this awesome website.  I don't remember who first introduced this site to me, or if I found it by chance, but I go to it very often for great materials and products.  Take some time to search the site and check out the great products they sell.  Teachers and Homeschoolers will find many things to get excited about!

The Have Fun Teaching Shop is filled with Educational CD's, DVD's, Phonics Packages, Counting Packages, Teacher Shirts and Bags and so much more! If you are a teacher, parent, or homeschooler, the Have Fun Teaching Shop is the place you need to visit. Teachers all over the world are using Have Fun Teaching's highly effective Music CD's in their classrooms to teach Phonics, Math, Counting, Science, Character Education, Reading, Grammar, and even Fitness!
have fun teaching shop 300 100 Seller Account
The Have Fun Teaching Shop has lots of teaching supplies and resources for teachers:

Monday, August 1, 2011

I am not sure how I will look back on this summer.  
It has been far from the typical cliché vacation.

We have not traveled at all.  Eagle is just sitting there, looking hum-drum and entertaining the mice.  We never put up a pool because we didn't think we'd still be here.

I am just finishing up a 12-day stint of Summer School teaching.  Not something I ever saw myself doing.  Why am I doing it?  Same reason Steve is working un-Godly hours cleaning beer lines and being a human traffic cone.  No need to beat around the bush...We need the money.

I am officially on leave from my teaching job so, as of June 10, I have not been paid.  We are living off savings at this point.  The dream of being on the road by end-of-summer is slowly being smashed to smithereens.

But... we have not yet found ourselves between a rock and a hard place...

it will all work out, come Hell or high water.  

I just keep reciting this to myself.  It will all work out.  It may not work out in our time-frame or in the way in which we perceived it, but it will work out the way it should. You just have to keep your head above water.

I am seeing reasons why we haven't left yet.   One is the reason why I am teaching Summer School...to help out a friend.  And when the opportunity came to make the money, I had to take it.  Even though I HATE getting out the door 4 days a week at 7am with three kids!  I am looking forward to next week when I can just begin my summer.  Not that I won't keep working...I mean, money doesn't grow on trees.

Steve, too, has been on the clock since the first week of July.  He is also helping a friend with his business cleaning beer taps.  If nothing else, he'll learn a new skill.  There are worse things to know than how to keep your keg lines clean.  It's amazing how absolutely disgusting some bars and restaurants keep their systems.  I won't say where, out of professional courtesy.  But, yeah, look before you draught.

Steve's hours have been many and have made for very long days.  It's been a work summer so far, but we are thankful for the opportunities to work as many people have none, or, at least, no desire to take them.  And, in the long run, maybe this will all work out.  Our Fall 2011 may look different than the vision we had a year ago.  Being flexible is key...you have to bend with the wind; roll with the punches.

Anyway, I have a few tricks up my sleeve.  Where there's a will, there's a way.  Nothing ventured; nothing gained.    And we have everything to gain...so...

Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A little vent...


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Prayer, Paint, and Perseverance

Once the new roof is on, it will sell.  Once the paint is done, it will sell.  Once we bury St. Joe, it will sell. And the price gets lower, and lower, and lower.  And it still isn't sold.  Isn't sold?  It isn't even getting seen!  I am more than a little insulted and very much worried that we will not see this dream happen.  

Today we had an open house...house is clean and shiny ready to welcome the throngs of tire-kickers.  No one came...again.  Deja Vu.  Really?  I mean, really?  This house has never looked so good.  People, you do not know what you are missing!

It's hard to keep a stiff upper-lip and not get a sour stomach during this frustrating time.  Today, I am not feeling so confident.  But, there is no turning back.  It will sell.  There are just no other acceptable options.  

"Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.” 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Hallin'" Away the Trash

So, Spring is here and we are in full purge mode.  The dumpster was delivered today, and in a few weeks time, it should be filled with remnants of a past life that are no longer applicable.  What's sentimental will be saved; 
what's useable will be sold or passed on; 
what's junk will be dumped.

Along with the plethora of items we are sending away to be trashed will be a roof's-worth of shingles and other roofing paraphernalia.  A new roof will grace the house for the first time since it was built.  If the weather holds out, it should happen sooner than later.  

Ready to Fill

Saturday, April 16, 2011

When the wind blows...

Seeing the devastation in the Southern states after this latest tornado has me thinking about the weather we may encounter while on the road in Eagle.  Like having a fire escape plan at home, I think we need to begin to research the necessary steps we'll need to take for a chance encounter with a twister, or, perhaps, an earthquake.  

The cb radio we have hopefully will have alerts of dangerous weather...will be checking into that soon.  So, once we know of a possible whirling vortex of death coming towards us, where does one hide in an RV?  Outrunning it may be out of the question as the rig probably won't be able to get over 70mph.  And taking turns quickly could be just as dangerous as being sucked up 40 feet into the air and slammed back down onto the hard ground.  Well, almost as dangerous.

According to alltraveltips.com...It's a Twister...

It's a Twister...
In the Southern states, peak tornado season is March through May. Northern states are more likely to be hit with tornadoes during the summer. People know that during a tornado warning they should move to an interior room with no windows, or in a basement. When camping, that’s not a viable option. Experts suggest retreating to a ditch or other low area, get as low to the ground as possible and cover your head from possible debris. “Do not seek shelter under an overpass; they act as wind tunnels during a tornado,” Weaver warns.

Author Brad Herzog and wife Amy of Pacific Grove, Calif., have been camping for nearly eight years. During their first trip, Brad authored “States of Mind,” a book, which chronicles their experience. One night, while camping in Mississippi, they encountered severe weather. “There were late-night tornado warnings and we were able to track the warnings by keeping tuned to a local station,” Herzog explains. They were aware of the warnings in advance and took precautions in case of a tornado strike. Fortunately the storm passed without any tornados touching down.

I think my biggest fear is that I may actually not run from it.  I mean, what an opportunity to see Mother Nature at such an elevated level of PMS!  

Friday, April 8, 2011

Breaking out from the Ice

Well, so, I have taken quite the sabbatical from this blog.  The horrifically long and arduous winter numbed my brain to hibernation mode.  Now that the days are a tad bit longer, and the sun is peeking out a bit more, I am finally starting to feel a slight surge of mental energy...although, not much so be patient.

The nibbles on the property and house have been few, however, since we hadn't planned to place it onto the market until Spring, and actually did so in October, we aren't really bugged by the lack of offers.  But, we need to see some soon.

The next big projects will be a full-house painting, and a new roof.  April vacation will be chock-full of home improvements, sans injury we hope.

Steve is still recovering form a knee reconstruction surgery in early February.  He is doing well though and enjoying the retirement he took since just before the surgery.  He is now a full-time stay-at-home dad.

The Eagle has sat, silent, snow-covered, and is beckoning to us to pull her from the mud and begin the trek across the USA.  Steve is currently installing new slide-out motors as one has already fried, and the company sent us 3 new to replace all.  Have to say that Jayco has come through.  They also sent new wall boards and doors...really what we needed was new door moldings...as some moisture got into the rig and warped the wood.  Door moldings are coming.

Winter is over and Spring is here.  Wishing for a summer that sets us on a new path.