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.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Paying for Laundry...what's the cost?

When you travel full time in an RV, you, sometimes, have to give up on some of the luxuries of a sticks-n-bricks home.  No dishwasher.  And no laundry room.  

Some rigs have both.  Not us.  We could have opted for the washer and dryer.  There are hook-ups.  But we'd lose all of our bedroom closet space for two small units that would break down with all of the work they'd do for a family of five.  

So, we utilize the campground laundromats.  For the most part, washing costs $1.50 for about 
30 minutes and $1.25 for 45 minutes of drying.  The dryers stink.  The only ones that worked well were in  the New Smyrna Beach, Fl campground.  Expect to do two drys for every one wash.  Or you'll re-dry anyway.  And, you can't just add a quarter or two for a few minutes...you have to put in another whole $1.25.  (And not too many campgrounds "allow" clotheslines.)

If you are close to an actual laundromat, as we are this month, it may be worth taking a book, or your iPad, and utilize a few hours to head there.  Not so bad, really, if you are the mom.

Here is what we spent on laundry since we left our house on November 28, 2011.  (For the first 10 months, we were lucky enough to do a bit of laundry at Nana's and Grandpa's...saving us a few bucks.)

This is what we spent on laundry from Dec 1. 2011 until October 28, 2012.  $448.50   For about 11 months.

Misty Mountain Crozet, VA
Nov 4, 2012

New Smyrna Beach
Nov. 7 - Nov. 18



Camp Inn Florida
Nov 18 -Dec 18


Lakeside RV Louisiana
Dec 19 - Jan 19


Jan 19 - March 20





5/wash 3.50 dry

7/wash 2.50 dry

Here are the amounts we've spent, solely at campground or local laundromats, since hitting the road on Oct. 28, 2012.   (The gap is the amount 


So, for the year and 3 months we have been in our RV, we have spent a total of $542.75 to clean our clothes.

As you can see, since being in Texas, we have done a pathetic amount of laundry.  Not so sure why that is!

That averages out to $36.18 per month for laundry.  Not so bad, I guess.

The biggest thing is where to keep all of the dirty laundry.  The itty-bitty laundry draw our Eagle provides is a useless waste of space.  And, of course, you can't travel with several hard-plastic laundry baskets.  Collapsible is best.  

If you are traveling with just two, a washer/dryer combo or stackable unit may be the best bet. But some people would prefer the space and to forgo the extra weight washer/dryers add.

As for us, we try to encourage the kids to stay clean, re-wear, and hope the campground's laundromat is clean and efficient.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Time to Clean the Roof Fans

The roof of a camper can get pretty dirty, and requires periodic cleaning.  The roof fans on your rig will need it too, and not just the outer cover.  

Today, after a year and a half in the rig, we unscrewed the fan casing and Steve got up on the roof with some windex and the vacuum.  

The casing is in two parts; one is clipped to the camper frame 
and the other is screwed into the ceiling of the room.  They are easy to remove but you'll need to be on some sort of stool.  The four screws will give your arms a work-out.

When you pull it apart, you will see lots of bug corpses, dirt, and other organic matter.

Be careful handling these plastic parts as the small clips become brittle being exposed to UV light, 
and can break.  (This I know to be true.)

Into the shower for a spray of cleaner, hot water, and a sponge.

Inside the grooves you will see the same bug community as well as 
possible matter left behind during construction.

Clean the fan itself and brush away cobwebs and other non-fan related stuff.

You probably have been cleaning the screens regularly, so these shouldn't be too bad.

All back together, clean, and ready for use.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A SeaWall Walk From 25th to 53rd Streets

The other day, I enjoyed a 3 mile, solo walk along the Sea Wall the other day.  Steve dropped me off to snap some photos while he shopped with the kids, and picked me up when he was done.  

This area has gone through many transformations over the years, beginning with the 1900 hurricane that devastated the island, killing over 6000, people and causing the building of the seawall.  After Hurricane Ike in 2008, and more damage, the Seawall of Galveston has been rejuvenated and continues to be built up again.

Opened in Summer of 2012 on the site where the original Pleasure Pier stood, built in 1943
and destroyed during Hurricane Carla in 1961.

Pleasure Pier at 25th Street and Seawall.

New benches with a new Pleasure Pier.  Tiles designed by local school children.

Galveston history and biology combined with places to rest.

A walk out on the breakwater.

The Laughing Gull

Fort Crockett, just west of 45th Street

Dolphin Sculpture on Seawall
Where what was once a wide open space with a single palm tree, is now a grove of 28 palm trees and a grand fabric structure with tables and spectacular views. 
Fort Crockett
Fort Crockett

Fort Crockett, across the street and part of the seawall, was a military reservation built in 1897.  After the 1900 hurricane, the fort was not garrisoned again until 1922.  During 1941 - 1946, German prisoners-of-war were interned at the post.  After WWII, the post became a recreational facility fro active and reserve military and their families.
In 1955, the post was considered surplus and began to be dismantled.

1900 Storm Memorial
Erected in 2000, this bronze statue sculpted by David Moore is in memory of the over 6000 Galvestonians killed in the 1900 Hurricane.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Classic Vintage Actress Spotted at Houston Museum of Natural Science!

Enjoying the gorgeous and utterly fantastic petrified forest segments at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, I was lucky enough to come across a true gem!  
A Girl with Great Gams!  
Betty Boop!

Obviously, wearing a spiffy, red jogging suit.

Mixing ancient trees with vintage cinematography!

Spend Some Time on an Oil Rig

If you travel to Galveston, Texas, and look out onto the Gulf, you will see itty-bitty oil rigs far, far away. If you don't plan to get a job on one of those rigs, you should head over to The Offshore Energy Center: Ocean Star, on Galveston Island.  

You'll learn about the history of oil rigs and the industry for which they are built.  

Here are some of the things you may use that are made from petroleum.

Visitors board the retired jackup drilling rig and view a video about the offshore industry.  The museum features three floors of models and interactive displays illustrating the story of offshore oil and gas from seismic technology, to exploration and discovery.

The second Saturday of every month is Family Day where children get free admission (normally $5) and adults pay $8.     A different activity is planned each Family Day.  The day we went, the kids made Valentine's Cards using shaving cream...a petroleum product.
The museum

Escape Pod

Jack-up drilling rigs

I...don't know what this is.

Deep Sea Diving Suit
Models are amazing.

Amazing model.

Two hard-working crew members.
Some really cool oil rig part.

I think these guys have been working too hard.

Link of a chain used on the rigs.
The docks
Bird Greeter

Texas Seaport Museum

Texas City...where the oil gets processed.
These refineries are like cities within themselves.  Especially cool at night.

Parking is free right there at the museum, (well, there's an honor box of a dollar fee that Steve paid but, apparently, no one else does.)  Leave the car there when you are done and walk Pier 21; check out the cruise ships or million-dollar yachts; head to the restaurants and pubs; walk a couple blocks to The Historic Strand for food, drinks, and shoppes.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Getting Ready to Hit the Road: Purging What You Own: Part 3

But, what about the memories?

You sit, holding in your hand that crayon drawing your son did at a restaurant on the back of a white paper placemat.  It's just one of hundreds of items you will go through and have to make a decision about; Yes/No Stay/Go?   No easier than the tooth-pick tower that your daughter has told you for ten years to throw away.  Or, the little note your child wrote to you...i luvs yow... written on a scrap of paper 13 years ago.  How can you throw these things away?

Items hold sentimental value...but often, it's not the item, it's the memory, or the closeness to the person who gave you the gift that makes it hard to part.  Items are inanimate...they have no real sentimentality.  So, if you are torn and in agony when it comes to what goes and what stays, do this...

Get your digital camera and start taking pictures of the angels, and dried florals, and special mugs, and dolls, and kids' drawings, and plaster-of-paris one-of-a-kind art projects.  Download your pictures to the computer...but don't stop there.  Create a word file, at the very least, or a photo book through places like Snapfish.com, and add short captions for each picture.  What memory does this item recall?  Why did it have a place of honor in your home?  Take these 3D objects and give them eternal life by saving them with the stories they invoke.

This is made via MixBook.com.

You could even make one book for each child, and create something that someday they can share with their own children.

Here are some online sites where you can make your own photo book.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Getting Ready to Hit the Road: Purging What You Own: Part 2

The Big Stuff

So, when do you start the purging of the big items, namely furniture?

If you start too early, and the house doesn't sell for months, or, shudder, years, you will live in an empty house, the feeling of limbo persistent.  However, if you wait too long, and your house sells quickly, even with a 2-month escrow, you are going to be hard-pressed to do it all.

Selling furniture early on, especially if your house won't sell for many months, can be tricky.  We sold our Ethan Allen king four-poster bedroom set to a couple from Binghamton, NY.  They drove the 6 hours to Rhode Island with their two kids, a trailer, and lots of clear wrap.  After that, we slept on the mattresses on the floor.  Eventually, we purchased a used full bed frame and mattresses (both new) locally on Craigslist for $100.  It was very comfortable and worked great, except it was kind of small for hub and me being used to a king-sized bed.  So, we passed that onto our oldest son (after we sold his loft bed/desk/drawer monstrosity), and bought a used king waterbed on Craigslist for $100.  When we finally moved, I sold the full bed to my aunt, and the waterbed stayed at the house bought from us for $50.  (A LOT easier than dismantling it and getting rid of it ourselves!)

{Yes, after we sold, we bought...because we needed places for our clothes and to sleep.  Who knew how long it would take for the house to sell?  Thus the conundrum.  There's always the possibility of friends with extra furniture in storage that you can borrow until you leave.}

So, start with the non-essentials, and whatever those items held, get rid of those items, or box them for storage right away if not necessary items to daily living.  This is a great time to go through all those chotskies that collect dust and filled the space of a large home.  Do you want them for when you stop traveling?  Will your kids?

Once you start getting rid of the furniture you know you won't hold onto, your house will feel a bit empty.  This is a plus.  It took so long for us to get on the road, that by the time we actually left, there was nothing in our house.  It was an empty shell.  But that made it easier to let go.

Where to sell?  Well, Craigslist of course, yard sale, consignment.  Don't try to make a fortune.  If you are getting close, price the items to sell.  If you hold out for more, you'll make far less at the end when you have no choice but to give it away.

 {If you advertise for your yard sale, here is something to think about.  I did so very early on through Craigslist with pictures of furniture and other items for sale and descriptions, but I DID NOT name my exact location.  I gave the town, or area of the state, but never the exact address or street.  All it takes is for someone to see that you are selling all this great stuff and know exactly where you live.  Keep the specifics under wraps until right before, but whet the public's appetite.  I had visitors from an hour away looking for, and buying, big items.)

  • If it is a nice time of year weather-wise, get your neighbors involved.  The more enticing the yard sale environment, the more people will show.

You've sold what you can...given away what couldn't be sold.  So, what do you with Aunt Edith's secretary and Great-granddad's hand-carved rocking chair?  

Rent a storage unit?  Things to keep in mind...what is the monthly (or 6-month or yearly) price?  Don't forget any hidden fees or taxes.   Think about climate control...dampness will destroy.  Is the business in a safe area?  Are the buildings newer and in good condition?  Before you spend what could be anywhere from $90/month to $500/month, ask yourself...Is everything in there worth the money you'll pay?  Or when you open it back up in a year or 5, will you get rid of most of it?

If you are able to store some things at various friends' and family's houses, you may be better off.

One thing we did was label all of our furniture still left after the buyers gave us their offer.  Being such a large house, and the buyers coming from a small apartment, they needed furniture.  It was appealing to them to be able to purchase some of what we had at good prices.  Some furniture may be even used as bargaining tools.

Of course, if it is the eve of the big move, and you still have a plethora of furniture left, there's always that bon fire permit and a big send off!

**When you sell items on Craigslist, sometimes, especially with furniture, you'll need the buyer to come to your house.  Never do this alone.  If possible, bring the item outside so the buyer does not need to enter your home.  Keep garage doors and other areas of the house off limits and closed off visually.  If possible, get the buyer's name, phone number, and license plate.  Record the date and time they visited.  Always be safe.

Stay tuned for Part III...What About The Memories?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Getting Ready to Hit the Road: Purging What You Own: Part 1

We have been asked by many how we were able to go from a 3000 sq. ft house and barn into a 40ft, 4-slide RV with 5 people, and a dog. It was not easy.  It took time and a lot of work.  But, nothing worth having is easy.

You've made the big decision.  You and your family, or you and your spouse, are selling the house and moving into an RV to travel the United States and beyond.  Before you tell anyone, be prepared for questions.  Try to have answers for those questions, but welcome those you don't have an answer for...and then find the answer.  We told people knowing they'd think we were nuts and would ask us everything under the sun. It was beneficial. If we couldn't answer, we found out the answer, as many were good questions.

Now everyone knows, and you have a house full of stuff to get rid of or save or bring.  Selling the house won't be the hard part...purging will be.

So where do you begin?  Well, WHEN is easy...immediately.  25% of the items you have in your home should be an easy yes/no, stay/go.  So here's a plan:

              a.  pick a room or area of a room that will be your sorting station
              b.  place three to four large bins there
              c.  label the bins:  donate    RV     sell    keep (for the early-on 
                      things you know you want to store permanently...which, you 
                      WILL go through later to dwindle down even more)
              d.  as you go about your lives, and use something, or pass by 
                      something, wipe layers of dust off something, toss it into the 
                      correct bin

*When you are sorting, use the 3 second rule, grab and decide...YES/NO  STAY/GO...don't think about it.  It makes things go quicker and easier.

Here is our solarium, a mere two weeks before we moved,  filled to the brim with everything we wanted to sell.  This was the room where I placed the sell stuff.  After a yard sale, about 90% of this was still left.  A friend and her brother came to haul it all away that night for his charity.  (This does not include what is outside, in the barn and what was already sold on Craigslist.)

If the bins fill up...empty them.  Donate the donations.  Women's Shelters, Salvation Army, YMCA, Goodwill, are just some ideas.  Some places are more "charitable" than others.  Most places will NOT take stuffed animals, so be prepared to deal with getting rid of those if you have lots.  (That was one of the hardest things!)

Sell the for sale items on Craigslist (be safe with CL), ebay, yard sale, bazaar, or at a consignment store.  Start gathering permanent bins for permanent storage (plastic is best, stay away from cardboard).

Give away things to friends and family, which you will end up doing, I guarantee it.  We felt great giving away the items we could knowing the people who took them would enjoy them.

Once you are sure, SURE, the stuff in the KEEP bin will definitely be kept, start some new bins for the Keep stuff.  Take the time to store like-things and LABEL the bins.  Produce a master list with bin numbers, general description.  I suggest you use CLEAR bins.  If at some point you need sis, or mom, or a pal to look for something for you, they will have a much easier time finding it.

What you put aside for the RV will most likely become a large pile that will be picked through and made smaller before you move in, and then made even smaller after you move in.

This is just the beginning.  The process is much larger than you think.  You may have moved from one house to another before, but that is: box up the stuff, move the stuff, unbox the stuff (or not!). This is taking 100% of what you own, and shrinking it to about 9%. And, guess what?  You won't miss ANY of it!

Shoving what we can in the attic.

Emptying the fully-packed U-Haul of stuff to keep.
THAT filled up VERY quickly!

Stay tuned for part two...The Furniture!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Domino Math on Teachers Pay Teachers

I am now on Teachers Pay Teachers.  With the help of my fabulous colleague, I hope to add many more items...some for purchase, some for free.  14-page item.


Download for free.