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, October 27, 2012

Kicked Out

We have made the decision, or, more-so, the decision has been made for us, that we will be leaving CT on Sunday by 1:00 pm.  We had hoped to anyway, but we HAVE to now as the park is requiring everyone to be out.  Gates will be shut down and no in or out will be possible.  From CT, at this point, not sure where we will be heading.  Wherever Sandy is less of a Bitch, I'd guess.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hello Sandy

Welcome to the Road, Hall Family!  And to make the celebration even more memorable, Mother Nature has planned a rained-soaked, wind-blown weather pattern in which to drive! And she calls her party Sandy! 

Instead of leaving Connecticut on Oct. 30th as planned (a change of planned from the Original Oct. 31), we are now looking to leave later on Sunday, Oct. 28th, to try to stay ahead of the lady.

We partied with Bertha in '96 at our wedding.  The end of our last summer, 2011, at our house in RI sent us off with Irene.

Now Sandy joins in the transitional celebration.

It will make for interesting writing as we dodge the limbs and overflowing streams to make our way towards PA.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Let's Hope For No Rain

Less than a month to go...we are completing small projects and purchases necessary to hit the road, for real this time.  All in all, everything is going smoothly and with minimal expense.  Climbed into the truck Saturday afternoon to head north to visit family for the weekend, and dear hubby sees the awning was still out.  He wanted to put it in.  Now, if we could go back in time, he'd never have exited the truck.

As I sat waiting with the kids, I hear BANG!  Hoping fervently that this noise's origin was anywhere but our campsite, I was quickly disappointed.  A rapid knock on the window from a surprisingly calm Steve solidified my fears.

The awning arm had just snapped.

Technically, the piston malfunctioned, and the force of trying to close against the stuck rod caused the support arm to crease and eventually, break apart.  This rendered the awning unable to close, causing the weight of the now unsupported awning to hang.  Luckily, it didn't rip from Eagle crashing to the ground in a tangled mess.

Steve smashed it up against the camper as best as possible, and we tucked away the scenario for the next 2 days.  

This morning, upon examination, and several different thought processes, Steve decided that the best thing to do would be to remove the piston completely, which he did, and crank the arm back into place.  Not completely back, mind you, as the arm that holds the whole shebang in place is now in two pieces.  Fearful that the awning's secure placement could be compromised once we hit the road, Steve zipped over to the Depot to purchase some zip-ties (somehow we had none left of the 1000s we had last November).  

The awning company is Carefree of Colorado.  

So, now, we wait a bit to see how we will proceed.  On the way through Pennsylvania, we'll look to get it fixed.  Not a thought I am pleased with...hoping the cost won't be too ridiculous.

**Update.  We traveled from this October 6th, 2012 break until we arrived in Virginia and had it repaired on Nov. 5th.   We pulled into a repair shop in Staunton, VA, and 30 minutes later pulled away with a brand new arm, professionally installed, for free.  All hail Jayco...for this anyway.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Honey Sweetie?

The Egyptians used honey to keep wounds clean.  Honey is a hygroscopic substance, which means that it absorbs water.  It also stimulates the production of white blood cells.  The Egyptians knew nothing of this -- but they did know that applying honey to a wound caused it to heal quicker.

           Our friend the Honeybee.
Scientific classification
Latreille, 1802

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mobile Viewing (Phones, Tablets, etc)

If you are viewing our site on a mobile device, it doesn't read too easily through 


So if you want to use 


it is better for mobile viewing.


Samuel Clemens

Samuel Clemens a.k.a. Mark Twain

Samuel Langhorne Clemens  was born In a two-room house in Missouri, on November 30, 1835. He was the sixth living child of his  Father and Mother, John and Jane Clemens. John was a Farmer, a lawyer a merchant, and a speculator. Sam apprenticed at a printer’s shop and learned the printing trade. At the age of fifteen, Sam and his friends saw a steamboat coming down the river, thus giving him the wish to pilot one. But the dreaming came to a halt when his Father died on March 24, 1847.

In 1859, Sam became a riverboat pilot. One day, he heard a man yell the depths: Mark twain was one of them. Sam heard it, and in his later years, used it as his pen-name.  He carried on the job for 2 years until The outbreak of the Civil war. Sam left for Nevada and discovered the mining business, which he entered. But, alas, he eventually ran out of money.

Several years later, Twain started writing for a newspaper, and after a few years, wrote his first book: “Jim Smiley and his Jumping Frog.” He fell in love with a woman named Olivia “Livy” Langdon, and married her after proposing twice. They moved to hartford and in 1870, he had his first child, who died at the age of two. He had three more children years later, Clara, Susie and Jean. Twain lectured throughout his life, which earned much of his money.  Twain Wrote the Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn in the house in Hartford, where he said those years spent in that house where the happiest years of his life.

Mark Twain’s house in Hartford, CT.

The Clemens family moved to England, because finances were better there. Several years later, they moved back to Hartford. He continued lecturing and writing, yet his writing showed more anger and emotion. Livy died in 1903 because she had heart problems. Mark Twain died seven years later.
By Ian Hall

Mark Twain House/Museum

iPad App Review: Stack the States

We purchased the iPad over 2 years ago now.  We originally bought it so Ian could use it to help us plan this adventure and feel a part of the planning.  It has turned into an awesome piece of technology that we use daily.

The kids use it for schoolwork wherever we may happen to be.  Before they can play a game (Minecraft is the biggie) they have to do schoolwork.  Some of the apps we have purchased, or downloaded for free, I'd like to share here.

One of our absolute favorites is Stack the States...  

It costs .99 to download...low-risk cost I'd say.  All three kids use it, not to mention the adults at times.  Chloe can beat any adult in recognizing the shape of any US state, and is fast becoming an expert at each state's capital and flag. Ian is right there as well, and Brendan is coming along swimmingly.

It is a fun, cute, fast-paced, reward-based game with multiple levels that need to be unlocked through acquiring states by answering questions correctly. Your kids are learning and don't even know it!

Check it out!  And you may like Stack the Countries as well.

iPhone Screenshot 2iPhone Screenshot 1

Monday, October 1, 2012

Back to Blogger

Phew!  We are back!  After an exodus to Wordpress, I have decided I missed my old posts and the easy format of Blogger.  As I nestle in, please visit often to read our posts.  We love comments, too.

Dr. William Beaumont

As a part of Ian's homeschooling he will be studying History and those who played a part.  Here he will share what he has learned.  We will start with...

Dr. William Beaumont

-Written by Ian Hall
William Beaumont was born in Lebanon, Connecticut on November 21, 1785. His family moved from England in 1635. William was the second born out of nine children. His parents were named Samuel and Lucretia Beaumont. In 1807, William left for Champlain. There, he became the schoolmaster and secretary for the local debating society.
On September 13, 1812, when he was 26, William went into the army as a surgeon’s mate, and was paid $30 a month. In 1813, The British army retreated, blowing up the main magazine in the process. The explosion caused lots of injuries. Beaumont was treating injuries, some that included using a cylindrical saw to cut off pieces of bone, to relieve pressure on the brain. (ouch!)
After the war, Beaumont left the army and began private practice in June, 1815, in Plattsburgh, NY.
There he met Deborah Green Platt. In December, 1819, William went back to the army as a post surgeon. He was sent to Fort Mackinac in Lake Huron. The hospital was in a storehouse. They had little supplies, and no thermometer.
In August, 1821, Beaumont left to go back to Plattsburgh, and married Deborah. They moved to Fort Mackinac, and brought Melancton Smith, Deborah’s 11-year-old step-nephew. Melancton’s father was Colonel Melancton Smith who died in 1818.

On June 6, 1822, Alexis St. Martin was shot  by an accidental discharge of a shotgun in the upper left of his abdomen.  He was shot less than three feet away from the gun. This was at the American Fur Company on Mackinac Island. St. Martin was brought to Dr. Beaumont, leaving the doctor to find the man’s latest meal gushing out of the wound. Beaumont cleaned the hole, but could not keep the contents of his stomach from falling out unless it was bandaged.
On August 1, 1825, Beaumont began to experiment on St. Martin’s stomach. Those experiments included tying string to a piece of food and lowering it into St. Martin’s stomach. After a few hours, Beaumont would take it out to see the extent of digestion. In one experiment, the food was removed after five hours for Alexis had a severe stomachache. The next day, St. Martin still had stomach problems, and Beaumont helped. Six days later, St. Martin didn’t eat for 17 hours (on Doctor’s orders!) so Beaumont could find the temperature of the stomach, which was 100 degrees.
A month later in September, Alexis went back to Canada, got married and had kids, so Beaumont had to wait to experiment on him.
In June, 1829, St. Martin came back to the doctor, but he brought his family this time. However, the doctor was busy and could not continue work until December. When he observed St. Martin on dry days, he saw that the temperature of the stomach increased, and vice versa on humid days. Beaumont would have St. Martin eat a meal, and then would later take out samples of the food and put them in separate vials of water, and gastric juice.  He observed that cold stomach acid does nothing, so digestion needs heat.  He also learned that when Alexis showed anger, it slowed the digestion process.
Near the end of 1832, Beaumont left the army to experiment on Alexis more. Beaumont tried a variety of different foods again, this time including sausage, raw oysters, and mutton. He saw that exercise helped the digestion. In April, 1833, Beaumont published his work and findings in a book called: Experiments and observations on the gastric juice and the physiology of digestion.  A month or so later Alexis left for Canada, and Beaumont went into private medical practice.
Dr. William Beaumont kept up the private practice in St. Louis. In March, 1853, Beaumont was leaving a patient when he slipped on the icy steps and hit his head. He died a month later on April 25, and was buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.


The Oven Works!

Since new (two years now), my oven in the Eagle would not stay lit. More precisely, the pilot would not remain ignited. When at the Jayco factory last year, it was on my “fix-it” list; but, I had other issues I wanted fixed as well and focused on those repairs first. Long story short, the oven was overlooked and remained inoperable.
As much as this should have been an inconvenience, it really wasn’t.  In fact, we contemplated taking it out and replacing it with something more important, like a wine fridge.  We also had the world’s best grill (Thanks to mom and dad…and now bequeathed to Jay and Michelle.) on which to cook and bake.

So, we converted the oven to a bread-box and put the oven repair back on the “fix-it” list.  It should be noted that I checked the thermocouple with a multimeter in the past and all checked OK. So, today being a cool damp day, I figured I would take the thermocouple out and just replace it. When I went to disconnect the gas line from the couple, I discovered that the nut was finger loose. Once I tightened this connection I could hear a ‘click’. VOILA!  The pilot light lit.

Now we need to find a new place for our bread…

LED Bulbs

In the past two years, I have had to replace more than half of my halogen ceiling lamps inside my Eagle. The GY6.35 bulbs were blowing out at a rate of one every 3 months; so, I finally bit-the-bullet and ordered 14 LED lamps to replace the halogens. I opted for the “warm white” effect. Initially, I ordered two @ $14.95 and paid an additional $3.90 for shipping. Although the web-store I purchased thru provided dimensions/specifications for the LED lamp I was purchasing, I figured I would just get two at first to make sure they fit with my OEM glass ceiling fixtures. Well the first two arrived today; and they fit and light just like the halogens. The immediate difference I noticed, is the lack of heat that the LED emits. As most of you know, halogens cast off enough heat to badly hurt you if you touch a bulb while lit (or even after a few minutes once it is off – they retain enough heat to fry an egg it seems). So, after successfully installing the first batch of LEDs, I just ordered 12 more to complete the switch-over. Since I spent more than $99.00 on this second order, I received free shipping. The overall cost will be saved in longevity and energy consumption. I highly recommend this “modification”…


After testing the old bulb’s temp (158˚) and the new bulb’s temp (70˚), I know we made the right decision.

Small Plastic Brick x 10,000

We now have less than two months left in New England before we hoist anchor and set the wheels in motion.  The excitement is building, but the time will pass quickly.  It calls to mind my teaching days, during those last two months of school; excited for summer to begin but overwhelmed with trying to accomplish all of the end-of-year requirements by the last day.  Considering we have been stationary for almost a year, you’d think we wouldn’t have to do much to get underway, but we are still purging.
The Eagle weighs, including full water and propane, 12,498 lbs and can hold an extra 3302 lbs of cargo.  That’s a total of 15,800 lbs.  The truck can tow 18,000 lbs.  3302 lbs can add up quickly considering the electronics, pots and pans, linens, clothing, books, toys, toys, toys, and other items we will be bringing.  We do not want to be stopped and fined for being over weight.  So, before we hit the road, we need to hit the CAT Scale and check our weight.   http://catscale.com/
There are certain things, of course, that we cannot say goodbye to.  One of which is the multitude of Legos that belong to the children with whom we travel.  Legos are small, but even small things have mass.
According to an unofficial Lego site, each 1×4 Lego weighs 1.64 g which equals 0.057849298 oz.  That means 275 1×4 Lego pieces weigh 1 pound.  Since we most likely have at least 10,000 Legos, that would equal about 36.5 pounds of Legos.  And since most of the Legos are larger than a 1×4, that weight is probably an underestimate.  Not a huge amount in the grand scheme of things, but weight none-the-less.
So, we continue to make decisions about what goes and what stays.  What we can store (poor parents) and what we can give away.  And we begin the end of Phase…something-or-other… to head full-on into Full-Timing.