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.