A Few of My Favorite Things & More

We have had a VERY eventful week which resulted in our tiny home getting even tinier (well, it feels tinier anyway) and some very unforeseen circumstances.  Honestly, there’s so much to tell that I’m not sure where to start.  So…  I guess I’ll start with the “& More” and then wrap it up with “A Few of My Favorite Things”.

First of all…  Where in the world are we?  I’m starting to feel more and more like a full-timer as more often than I care to admit, I will literally stop right in the middle of whatever I am doing feeling totally stupefied and think “wait…  where are we?  Although we are leaving here tomorrow, we are and have been in Alabama for a full two weeks now and we are staying in…  you guessed it…  yet another state park.  This one is called Wind Creek State Park and it is located in the historic town of Alexander City, which is about 40 miles north of Auburn.  First, here are some pictures from inside the state park.  Remember, if you click/tap on a picture, they will get larger for better viewing. 😉

We have never previously spent any time in Alabama.  Although it still looks very much like the south (SC/NC/GA) it has lots of farmland on gently rolling hills.  It has a distinct country look and small town feel which we love.  Here are some pictures from around this area in general:

Last weekend we wandered down an old dirt road to find the most beautiful picnic spot imaginable.  We pulled off and truly felt as though we were the only people on the planet.  Looking one way we had a hilltop view of Lake Martin and looking the other was an expansive view of the beautiful rolling hills.  It was a moment to remember.

Now to even more of the more…  Last Sunday I ended up driving 5+ hours from Alabama back to Greenville to pick up my oldest granddaughter, Saylor.  Her mom is a single parent and is struggling right now financially and in other ways.  We all three (Greg, Elijah and I) felt the Lord clearly telling us (nope, He didn’t ask – he told) to offer to take her for the summer.  We just finished up with Elijah’s homeschool for the year so the timing couldn’t have been better.  We knew this would give our daughter an opportunity to get back on her feet and to save some money since she won’t have to pay for day care or any care of her daughter for the summer.  So…  I drove down on Sunday and drove all the way back with my granddaughter on Monday.

Talk about an unexpected turn of events!  Now we have FOUR people living in 410 square feet.  Apparently God has bigger plans for us than being able to relax this summer.  LOL  We can clearly see how He had set everything up to make this doable for the summer.  He provided us with the perfect rig for her to live with us without Elijah having to give up any of his space or room as the loft is plenty big enough to serve as her room and she LOVES it!

So, although we are all in need of prayer as this is not going to be an easy task, we know it’s a worthy one and one that God has made clear we are to do.   Here are some pictures of this past week with Saylor:

FINALLY, for a few of my favorite things.  Here are just a few of the things that make this lifestyle not only doable, but AWESOME!

How’s that for an INCREDIBLY LONG blog post?!!?  Prayers are appreciated for us all, my daughter (to be able to get back on her feet); my granddaughter (to have an awesome summer – and to turn into a calm, chill child.  Lol); my hubby, Greg (who still has to work during all this!  Thank God for his private office in the MBR); my son, Elijah, (who has happily and with zero complaints given up his free time, peace and quiet in exchange for lots of babysitting); and finally for me.  With my health issues, just pray that I can handle the additional stress well (give it to Jesus!) without a health crisis.  Also, pray for the energy it takes to care for a five year old 24/7.  Energy is always something I am lacking the most of.  All that said, we are all super excited to have her with us for the summer.  Let the fun begin!

Happy Trails and Sunny Sails!!!

 

Sadler’s Creek & We’re OFF!

Hello again!  I am back as I promised to write a quick review on the last park that we stayed at: Sadler’s Creek State Park and to give everyone an update on us.

First and of upmost importance, check out my awesome view as I write this:

I'm sitting here at the marina looking at sailboats while my 3 loads of laundry are washing away in the building behind me.
We are currently in Alabama at Wind Creek State Park and I’m sitting here at the marina looking at sailboats while my 3 loads of laundry are washing away in the building behind me.  Not a bad way to do laundry or work on my blog!

As I started to write about Sadler’s Creek my mind went blank.  No I mean completely and totally blank as in huh?  What?  Where?  I couldn’t even picture the campsite until I went back to look at the pictures to upload.  This lack of, ummm clarity made me realize that I probably need to write these reviews while we are STILL staying at the campground/area in question. It seems that my memory of our recent destination fades as soon as we arrive at the next! This is not good.  My memory, or lack thereof, is yet another reason that I started this blog to begin with.  I must selfishly admit that I am writing this not only for friends and family, but for myself!  ‘Nuff said.

We ended up staying ten days at Sadler’s Creek which is near the SC and GA border off of Lake Hartwell.  It was quiet, private, and full of God’s beauty, making it yet another South Carolina state park that we highly recommend. The T-Mobile cell service there was a bit sketchy.  It worked beautifully IF my phone was sitting in just the right spot in MBR window, but didn’t work much for Greg’s phone at all unless he stepped outside the 5er.  We immediately drove into town and purchased a Verizon Jetpack for Mifi with 18G of data.  We have had this on our list to get, but have been waiting until we had a need for it. Well, the need arose.  As a result, between our T-Mobile and new Verizon we now have a total of 46 Gigs per month in hotspot.  Couple this with our unlimited data on both my iPhone and Greg’s Samsung Note along with the wireless provided at some campgrounds, and I do believe we should be good.  If not, we’ll add even more to our arsenal because Greg has to work and we need consistent internet.  So far, so good.

Anyway, we had yet another beautiful campsite at Sadler’s Creek with a view of Lake Hartwell I easily could enjoy while I was cooking.

This is the view from my kitchen island.

We decided to take one of our granddaughters, Saylor, with us for a few days since we will not be seeing her again (other than on FaceTime) for a while.  We ended up having her for three days and two nights. Needless to say, she had a blast.

We had sailed past Sadler’s Creek many times as it’s just a few miles from Big Water Marina, which is where we used to keep our sailboat, Genesis.  Although this made for some great memories (we could see many of the islands that we named during our sailing adventures such as “Pirate Island” and “Anniversary Island” from the campground), it also made it a bit more emotional, at least for me.  From continually going back to the old house to now staying where we kept the old boat…  It was while staying here that I really started to feel a bit too emotional in general.  Greg and I talked about it and we both knew that the time had come for us to wrap things up and leave the area once and for all so we could start making new memories and stop dwelling on the old!

Okay, back to my review.  I keep getting sidetracked.  Sadler’s Creek, as so many of South Carolina’s state parks do, afforded lots of hiking trails and plenty of opportunity for us to enjoy God’s creation.

It is also only about an hour’s drive from our “old” house.  This made it easier for Greg and I to go back and forth as needed to wrap everything up.   During our stay here, Greg and I moved completely and totally out of the house and made sure that everything was taken care of so that when we leave Sadler’s Creek, we could head west.  And…  We did!

We left on Sunday, April 17th, and drove west – to Alabama; our first leg on our trip to establish our domicile in Texas.  In all honesty, we were not looking forward to driving through Atlanta.  We have experienced the craziness of driving through Atlanta on more than one occasion by car and were certainly not looking forward to pulling our huge 5th wheel through all that heavy traffic;  especially the way drivers tend to weave in and out like crazies.  That said, we figured driving through on a Sunday would be the slowest, least crazy day to do it and being that neither Greg nor I was overly intimidated by Atlanta, we decided to save the miles and drive through it rather than around it.  Although we did encounter the usual heavy traffic, it turned out to be quite uneventful and easier than either of us expected.  Woohoo!

I know I’ve said this before, but this time I mean it! It feels like our real journey has now officially begun.  We are not only in a brand new state, but we are in a whole ‘nother time zone!  Furthermore, when we crossed into the central time zone, Elijah pointed out that he had never been in another time zone.  I hadn’t even thought about that but I realized that he was right.  Although he was born in California, we moved back east when he was just a wee little thing before his memory kicked in.  This realization reminded me, yet again, of one of the HUGE reasons why we are doing this.  He has been tucked away much too long in his homey little comfort zone.    That boy needs to TRAVEL!

Can you read that sign? It says "Sweet Home Alabama". And it is our sweet home... For 2 weeks anyway!
Can you read that sign? It says “Sweet Home Alabama”. And it is our sweet home… For 2 weeks anyway!

We are now at Wind Creek State Park here in Alabama, which is where we are going to be for two weeks.  I will write about this area soon and this time I’m going to write it while we are still here so I don’t forget the details!  I also  want to do a post soon to tell you all about “a few of our favorite things” (you must hum the tune while reading that.  It’s mandatory.).  Are you wondering what in the world I am talking about?!?!?!  Stay tuned to find out…  Until then.

Happy Trails and Sunny Sails

 

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

I just realized that it has been two weeks today since my last blog entry. As they say, time flies when you are having fun. Fact is, we have not been having quite as much fun these past two weeks as you might think. We have spent these past two weeks dealing with all things involved in moving out of and selling/donating/organizing for storage – absolutely everything in our s&b house of almost 11 years.

Since we pulled our new home into our driveway 8 weeks ago tomorrow, we have been back to our driveway two additional times for a few days at a time to sell more stuff and work on the house. During that time frame we met with and listed the house with a realtor. She had a professional real estate stager come in and they both advised us to replace all carpet on the main floor (hallway and bedrooms) and to neutralize and repaint the entire house and empty bedrooms of furniture and use what we had to untheme and stage the rest of the house. Since that very first day we have been going back and forth working like doggies on the house in addition to Greg working on his software business and Elijah and I homeschooling, all of which resulted in a whirlwind of busyness. Too much busyness. Elijah and I both have gotten sick twice already in these past 8 weeks and we really don’t usually get sick very often. I think we are all just run down at this point.

If you think I’m just being whiney – check out our locations in Exodus since we moved in:

• 2/18              MOVING DAY! (30 minute drive)
• 2/18-2/23  DRIVEWAY (Drove home, backed into driveway, moved in)
• 2/23               MOVING DAY! (45 minute drive)
• 2/23-3/4     PARIS MOUNTAIN S.P., SC
• 3/4                  MOVING DAY! (45 minute drive)
• 3/4-3/6        DRIVEWAY (To sell stuff, clean, organize, … Blah, blah, blah)
• 3/6                  MOVING DAY! (4 hour drive)
• 3/6-3/11     FOREST LAKE CG, NC (visit son’s family and 2 granddaughters)
• 3/11               MOVING DAY! (5 hour drive)
• 3/11-3/25  MYRTLE BEACH S.P., SC (To work, homeschool, and try to rest)
• 3/25               MOVING DAY! (3 hour drive)
• 3/25-4/3     LEE S.P., SC (working our way slowly back to old house)
• 4/3                  MOVING DAY! (3 hour drive)
• 4/3-4/7        DRIVEWAY (Most stressful time during this entire process)
• 4/7                  MOVING DAY! (Just over one hour drive – with granddaughter)
• 4/7-now       SADLER’S CREEK S.P., SC – (We also had 1 granddaughter stay with us for 3 days and 2 nights during this stay.) We are staying here while driving back & forth to house as needed. Our next MOVING DAY will be 4/17.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

 – But not in that order –

THE BAD   Note that there have already been 8 moving days since we started. We started 8 weeks ago tomorrow so that is A LOT! The moving days are the most stressful. First we have to prepare our rolling home for travel by stowing things, securing things, unplugging things, putting slides in, etc. Then we have to hookup to truck and maneuver out of site & park. Next comes the process of dumping the tanks if we were not hooked up to sewer (so far only one of above parks had sewer, so 7 times we had to dump on leaving or arriving when we left driveway.) Then we drive to next location. Once we get there, we have to maneuver into campsite (or back into driveway, etc.). Finally, we can unhook, level, plug in, put slides out and put everything back in place, setup our patio area, etc. So those days are very busy and exhausting. Oh yeah… And then I always have to make dinner!

THE UGLY   The sad fact is, every single time we go back to our old house, all of our stress levels go through the roof. It has been very emotional selling and/or giving away all of our possessions, but that I was prepared for. Seeing the home that you built, loved, and raised your family in for almost 11 years being depersonalized, neutralized, and turned into what looks like a brand new spec house, with brand new paint and carpet, but looking like only a shell of the home it has been to us for all these years, was something that I don’t think any of us were prepared for. Don’t get me wrong, we have sat down and had family meetings discussing this and none of us have any regrets or desire to change our minds – not even for a second – but we have all been suffering from more stress than we anticipated. This process has been emotional beyond words. We have all dealt with these emotions in our own ways, but this last driveway visit seemed to have pushed all three of us very close to the edge. Since then, we have been tired, crabby, sickly, and just generally stressed out. This does not make for a great family dynamic! LOL. All this said… we CAN do this because we all know that we are in the end stages of this process! God is in this and this too shall pass. The good is just around the corner…

THE GOOD: This is NOT the way we are going to live from here on out! The bad and the ugly above are all temporary problems. Greg and I are going to return to the house in the truck on Friday to finalize absolutely everything. (We won’t have Elijah come with us so he can chill at home and not have additional stress. Greg and I have moved many, many times, but he has lived in that house since he was 4 and that’s the only home he has known. This is the first major transition that he has ever been through and Greg and I feel that he’s already had enough stress at this point.) That will be our last visit to the house. When the house sells, our realtor can handle everything for us so we can close from wherever we are.

Then we get to truly start our journey… This coming Sunday, 4/17, will be another moving day for us, but this one is to start working our way to Texas. From then until we arrive in Texas, we will only have one moving day per week at the very most, maybe less if we decide to hang longer during our route. Our first stop will be in Auburn, Alabama for AT LEAST one week. Once we arrive in Texas, we will stay at each location at least 2 weeks, we may stay 3-4 weeks if we really like an area and want more time to explore.

We did not choose this lifestyle to see as much as we can as quickly as we can; rather, we chose it with to spend time exploring, living, working, and playing as we journey slowly throughout the nation. We don’t just want to see it, we want to experience it! Following good weather for my health and our desire to see as much as there is to see everywhere, we have no timeline to adhere to. We want to explore all of the United States, and some of Canada as well as Alaska! If it takes us 4-5 years, then that’s fine with us. But it needs to be a slow, thoughtful, journey so that we have the time to relax and take it all in. Once we’ve explored it all by land, we’ll buy the “bigger boat” and explore even more by sea. As I’ve said many times, we are not retired. We still work and homeschool. This is not vacation for us, it’s our daily life. Even if we were retired though, I still think that this is the method/time frame of travel that we would choose. The majority of the fun is not in the moving days, but in all the days in between.

The Journey is The Reward

I will be posting again soon about Sadler’s Creek State Park, where we are currently staying, so stay tuned. I wanted to go ahead though and share with you a glimpse of reality in the midst of stepping off the beaten path and stepping out in faith. It’s not all easy and it’s not all fun, but it is most definitely all worth it!

Sneak Peak of Sadler's Creek! (Hey, that rhymed!)
Sneak Peak of Sadler’s Creek!
(Hey, that rhymed!)

Happy Trails and Sunny Sails