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, May 15, 2014

Check Your Pinch-able Areas

     Hitched up and ready to pull in the slides and Steve notices that an extension cord is stuck between the bench seat frame and the wall.  Huh?  Stuck. Really stuck?  How the heck did that get there? We wiggled. We pulled. We unscrewed screws.

     Then Jo suggested bringing the slide in. Maybe the gap widens as the slide comes in and that's how the cord fell in between.  Steve brings the slide in, but we see no larger gap. So, we go back to pulling. Yank. Pop.  It's out.  An indent in the wall is left behind. The laminate trim is broken, somewhat.  But, the cord is out.

     Perplexed still, we put everything back together.  And Steve FULLY closes the slide.  Voila!  There's the gap Jo predicted.  Would have slipped out nicely if the slide was fully closed.

So, check those pinchable areas before and after you close your slides.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Keeping Your Portable Ice-Maker Working Well

If you are lucky enough to have a standard-home-sized refrigerator in your RV, and it contains an ice maker, you probably won't need to read this post.  However, if you are one of the many with a standard RV-sized fridge, small, no ice maker, barely room for ice trays, you will want to read this.  In fact, it's for anyone who owns a portable ice maker.

Back while still living in Connecticut two years ago, we purchased the Igloo 26lb Freestanding Ice Maker, in silver.  Model #ice102c.   We paid just about $100 for it at the time from,  I believe, Sears.   This portable ice maker fits perfectly in our rig and provides us with a basket of ice every 15 minutes, or 26 pounds in 24 hours.  Saved us a bundle of money and time no longer having to purchase bags of ice.
We purchased fabric/plastic clamps that we stuck to counter; one on side of the ice maker, 
one behind, that keep the unit form moving as we travel. 

About a year after purchasing this gem, it started making itty bitty ice cubes (well, ice cylinders with a hole in the middle), and we became depressed.  Only a year?  I don't want to shell out 60-something dollars a year for a new ice maker!

Being the frugal bugles we are, Steve decided to dismantle our ice maker and check out its innards.  Dust, dust, dust.  Dust on the fan and outer fins (which we could see prior to the surgery), dust coating all the insides of our Igloo.  A good few blasts from the air compressor, some bleach cleaner for the water bin and good wipe downs all around, and we plugged her back in.

To our great and profound joy, she stated pooping out ice again!  Love the sound of the clunk as the ice falls into the tray, the whir of the motor as the tray becomes a scoop and sends the newly made solid water cascading down into the waiting basket.  Such elation.

Now, another year later, we once again were faced with a lack of cubes.  In fact, they weren't even being formed.  The water sucked up from the well wasn't entering into the scoopy-tray-thingy so that the cold rods could form their end results.  Rats!

After a moment of despair and assumption she had finally fell victim to age, Steve once again shot her up with high-pressured air, removing from her mechanics a slew of dust bunnies, balls, wads, and everything in between.  A Q-tip was inserted into the water-exit area from which the hose expels the water sucked up from the well. Pretty icky in there.  Dust.  Wet, soggy, cloggy dust.  A quick bleach clean down to get everything up to par, and she was stitched back up again, making cubes and keeping our drinks cold.  Cheers!

For weekly cleaning, I suggest emptying the well water and cleaning the well.  It can get slimy.  No one wants slimy ice cubes.  The scoopy-thingy that holds the water while the ice is formed gets pretty cruddy, and is tough to get at and clean without taking the cover off the unit.  
So, take the cover off and clean the unit.  

The rods that form ice.   The rods begin to get a bit speckled with some not-rust 
Can't clean it with regular household chemicals, 
but doesn't affect ice. 

Looking down into the well where you store the water.  Basket is removed.  
You can see the rods dipped into the water in the scoop.  
Keep your unit clean and it will work well.  
(Guess that's a good rule for everything.)

 So, the moral of the story is, take care of your ice maker.  It will work well and have a long, happy life, if you take some time to keep it clean.  
We will start a 6-month regimen to ensure good working order.  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

An Osprey's Dinner

Tucked in at the top of a dying pine, an Osprey couple has dinner.

Mother Osprey sits watching her clutch of eggs high atop a pine tree.

Father Osprey flies in with tonight's dinner...a nice, juicy fish for Mother Osprey.

Daddy drops off the fish to a hungry mommy.

Luckily, Lake New Melones is nearby packed full of fish.

Mom and Dad chat about the day, future plans, the need for a nest repair.

"Thanks for getting dinner babe."

"No problem dear.  Enjoy your meal."

"Woohoo little eggies.  Watch dad dance.

Mommy gets to enjoy a meal in silence.

This looks like a nice spot to pick at fish.

Mmmmm, great fish dinner.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Splendor in the Desert: A Trip Through The Mojave

Exploring the Desert

It has been an eye-opening experience living in the desert over the past year.  We've enjoyed the Chihuahuan Desert, the Mojave Desert, the Sonoran Desert, and the Great Basin Desert.  
{Did you know the U.S. had that many deserts?}
Our preconceived notions of what the desert would be like were rendered faulty.  There's a lot of brown, and some reds, with little green.  Large, jagged rocks, and low dry basins.  

But, clear, deep blue skies dominate.  Vibrant reds, oranges, yellows, and purples explode in sunsets.  In spring, yellow, purple, and orange blooms start to appear along the roadways.  
The Mojave Desert of Death Valley National Park and the Las Vegas area has exposed us to history, and a deeper appreciation for our dry, western deserts.  

Plan a trip.
Click the links for more information.

Glorious Sunsets

Other visions...