Canadian Bacon

On December 2nd we put out a question on the inter webs if there were any full time RV families that wanted to help us celebrate Rhyes 3rd birthday in exchange for Gin & Tonics. It was a lot like online dating. We choose to park our houses near each other (but no too close) near Quartzsite AZ. They had kids we had a kid, they were 6 months in we were 6 months in. They seemed like a non-murderous family, so far we are a non Murderous family...

I mean they were from Canada... how dangerous could they be? 

When we met up and it was love at first sight. We all shared funny stories, route preferences, and our favorite way to dump the black tank. On Rhyes birthday they even made her a little card and got her some gifts.... total strangers....it was amazing. After many G&T’s and some great laughs we choose to hang out for a few more days before we split ways for the holidays.  

It was in Quartzsite AZ where we made our first friends on the road- we really enjoyed their company and their kiddos. 

Joshua Tree National Park


Joshua Tree National Park (feel free to click on links) is located very close to LA and due to this close proximity to a large metropolitan area I expected it to be quite busy. Unlike other National Parks in California, there are not large busloads of tourists or car load after car load of gawkers.  However, with the power of social media sites like instagram I found Joshua Tree to be hotbed for 20' something LA rockabilly hipsters, and rock climbers. We did see some very impressive tightrope walkers but mainly... homless looking rockclimbers sitting on $400 Yeti coolers. The Park is quite incredible, the ecology, geology, and accessibility make this place one of my favorite arid parks so far. There were numerous short and long hikes, many beautiful roadside pullouts, and this time of year (November) it was relatively easy to find parking to explore.

The visitor centers are small and the campgrounds primitive, which makes the park feel much more “intimate” and centered around nature and experiences not the stores, shops, park trinkets, and curated “tours”. Joshua Tree is truly the polar opposite of Yosemite and Sequoia, and for that reason we love this park. Connecting is so much easier.

To the north of Joshua Tree is the town of Joshua Tree, we would have spent more time there but alas… we needed to make haste as we were Arizona bound. The town is super fun in a way that I imagine Burning man would be. Its creative, artsy, shabby, and clearly has a culture all its own.  

We stayed outside of the park (Click Here) on the south side to avoid camping fees. While camping we had many like minded neighbors, which made camping all the more fun! Here are some images from or touring the lovely Joshua Tree National Park.

Family Time - Thanksgiving

We spent a few weeks parked in the driveway of the Shea’s residence in Riverside CA.  Our presence in their driveway certainly had elements of the movie Christmas Vacation. While in Riverside we spent time with our nephews of whom are very dear to us, it was a real treat to spend so much time with them! Our visit wasn’t justed limited to our nephews, but many family members including a 103 year old grandmother! While there we traveled to the beautiful Newport coast, Disneyland, and a thanksgiving 5k run. 

Thanksgiving is the time for thanks, I am thankful for my inlaw’s for allowing us do coupious amounts of laundry, take long hot showers, drink up their fine liquor and eat all their food.

We are in Arizona now and today I saw a hand painted sign in a flea markey. It said, “live your dreams”. I think we are close to achieving that, which makes me very thankful.

We love you all and will return the favor of generosity someday...somehow!

Photos to follow this sappy post are from a Turkey Trot 5k, Thanksgiving, and Disneyland. 

Kernville CA

We made a three week “standstill” near Kernville CA. Kernville is a gem of a town, it reminds me of a town I group near (Carbondale, CO). It is full of outdoor enthusiasts and artists. Rock climbers, rafters, kayakers, hunters, and old timers abound. This town is a gateway to the Sierras, a true gem in California. We first stayed at at the Stine Campground (a free campground) on Lake Isabelle. When we arrived at the Stine Campground we found that is was surrounded by grazing cattle and views were grand. Unfortunately, we only could do five days at this campground as the wind was relentless and intense. So intense, Robyn woke several times thinking we were in the process of flipping or already flipped. It (the wind) was wild. When then moved just a few miles to an amazing campground called Chico (https://goo.gl/maps/LcXJC74mrh22). Here we found minimal wind, large boulders, and endless river activities. Two weeks at this campground was just right! Robyn found a Cowork location where we met some amazing new friends! This place is a must return too!


 

I Have A Purse

A TIME OF MOURNING

In football, the game is aggressive and intense. But even on the hardest drives there are flags, timeouts, and commercial breaks. Some of these “pauses” in game play are short in duration and some are are long. During these pauses teams strategize and fans retreat to relieve their restless bladders, grab hotdogs, and load up on a few beers. These breaks help one to regain their senses, update the world of Facebook, or catch up with the person sitting next to them.

Now instead of football lets imagine its a 2 year old, hour upon hour you body mind and soul gets tackled by screams, demands, snacks, doo doo, and constant needs of stimulation. No commercial breaks, no long sits on the toilet, no water cooler talk. Months ago I could fight the good fight with Rhye knowing that a nap was on the way. That hour break in the game where I can nap, read, Netflix, work out, or just sit in the corner in the fetal position rocking myself back to sanity.  Naps, are what I worked towards every day. There are times I feel moments of calm are far more restorative to me than it’s ever been for Rhye

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Naps, for the most part have become a distant memory. Sometimes I dream about the time I could rest on the toilet and see what “CRAP” Trump was incoherently blabbering about. Now I look forward to 10:00pm where I get to sleep for 8 hours. There was something undeniably blissful about those naps, every now again she will gift me a nap but they are rare moments and I now find myself at a loss when they do occur. 

HANGING WITH THE LADIES.

Most small towns have libraries, most libraries have a “Children’s Story Time”, most participants or 99.999% of the time mothers with theirs children, whom all listen to a women librarian read books and sing songs. The first time I attended one of these readings, I had to do a discrete sniff test on my shirt, I smelled quite nice I thought. The looks I get from the mothers made me think I had just walked into the womens bathroom. It was weird. But Rhye loved it. We go to them all the time. Every library, in every town it’s the same experience. Either women have never seen a dad at these, or there is an unwritten rule - Like yoga pants… they are for women only. For you single dads out there, looking to date, this is a gold mine to find someone - just an FYI.

SAHD (Stay At Home Dad)

I feel sometimes like people judge me, judgement for not working, judgement that my wife makes more money than me, judgement for making dinners, doing laundry, and knowing which direction to wipe my child bum. Having said that, SAHD was easy at the beginning, I felt it was like vacation, but as Robyn tasked me with more SAHD duties that would be typical of any stay at home parent, it really started to get difficult. It’s a full time job.... and I only have one kid!

Being a SAHD isn’t emasculating but sometimes I feel it is. Being an engaged father that wears pink nail polish isn’t emasculating but sometimes I feel it is. Changing a diaper full of shit, in a grocery store bathroom isn’t emasculating, but it feels like it is. Singing a baby shark at a red light is just embarrassing- that song is devil music. I am learning to enjoy these skills, in fact I am embracing many “mom” qualities, and it feels good.  So I don’t care. I like story time and dancing like a princess.

I travel with a purse, I am a bag lady. I have diapers, wipes, wallet, chapstick, dog bags, snacks, sunscreen, cell phone, bandaids, cell phone charger, and binoculars. I never leave without my purse, don’t judge. I need a bigger bag. Yes I loose things in it all the time - it’s my purse.

TRAILER PARENT

We live in a 12’ by 25’ box. Three humans and one dog (and recently a mouse). The trailer can smell bad, just five toys on the ground make moving around the trailer a death defying feat, you can not hid your farts in the guest bathroom, if you have loose bowls… yea everyone can hear. Garlic is not allowed in the trailer – you know why. The outside of the trailer can look like a donation center for the homeless. If you want a late night snack, grab a glass of water… everyone wakes up, because you have to step over the dog, the toys, the baby, the dog bowl, a rogue iPhone charging cord…

IT’S A SMALL PLACE.

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Rhye has about 10 toys, I have four shirts, 7 boxers, 7 pairs of socks, two coats and a hat. We have four plastic plates, 2 cups, and minimal cooking equipment. We don’t have room. We are limited by weight. Fully loaded the trailer weighs just under what is allowed. We cant have many extras. We have to be creative, but mainly we have to be outside - all of the time. I have not played with as many bugs for entertainment since I was a kid. I have never found rock throwing more fun…. Ever. We hike. Everyday. Its. AWESOME! We find bones, we poke cactus’s, and yes I am trying to teach her to pee outside as apart of potty training.

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So, there you have it. No more quiet time reading the news, no more tiptoeing around a sleeping ticking time bomb. No more frantic typing as I try to compose a creative blog post or plan the direction of travel. From the moment Rhye wakes, to the moment she lays her head on the pillow, I feel defeated but yet never more thankful and appreciative that my wife makes it possible to be a SAHD.

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In conclusion, I want to talk about Pinterest. For those of you on it will get it. 2 years ago I used Pinterest as a way to communicate with my wedding clients (typically the bride). It was full of bridal pictures, flowers, dresses, sexy kissing pictures, and dramatic wedding shots. Now…. Its full of recipes, child arts and crafts, mommy advice memes, and self care tips. I bet you couldn’t tell the difference between and 60 year old grandmas Pinterest board and mine… that’s the one things that really makes me feel emasculated. But don’t worry my Pinterest is set to private so no one has to know. Its our little secret.

Sequioa and Kings National Parks

We met the Birkedal’s (Robyns parents) as they were moving from Alaska to California. Since they were passing through the area they decided to meet us in Sequoia and Kings National Parks. It was a wonderful visit and we felt very excited to spend time with family.  Side note: the pool at their hotel...had swimming bugs in it. No one seemed bothered by them. Is this a thing down here? 

These parks have not been discovered quite by throngs of tourists like Yosemite was. Though the landscape is not a dramatic as Yosemite. Over two days we enjoyed the vast nature and giant sequoia trees. I defiantly would go to this park in the fall if your thinking of visiting.

The last day in the park Robyn and I were talking about options of where we would like to go next, when she spotted some bears! We pulled over and observed a cub 25 feet up in a tree eating nuts. The cubs mother was watching closely. Then two turns later Robyn spots anther mother bear and her cub both in a eating nuts in trees (She is the bear whisperer). That was a special and memorable moment. 

We are off to the Kerns River and Lake Isabelle.  

Sequoioideae Forest - Nor Cal

WOW THESE TREES ARE HUMONGOUS!!!

WOW THESE TREES ARE HUMONGOUS!!!

Sequoia sempervirens (coastal redwoods) only have a few places left in the world where old growth trees still stand. Some of these trees are 2000 years old- or older! It is in these small preserves along the California Coast where they stand like statues of a bygone era. Not only are these places a refuge for the endangered species, it is a place where fairy tales and day dreams are born.

Comparatively these Northern Redwood parks and preserves are small in size and fragmented by America’s industrial growth decades ago. Thanks is owed to the few who sought to protect the remaining stands which allow for thousands of visitors (like us) to be amazed at the wonders within these forest - hopefully for eons to come.

These shots are from Humbolt Redwoods State Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Redwoods National Park, and Smith River Wilderness. 

Rudi & The Redwoods

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Joe Rudi, is one of those people you just can seem shoe away. No matter how much we give him a hard time he keeps coming back. Like a puppy, if you pet it... you are stuck with it. Joe has been apart of Robyns life as much as mine. He has been with us for nearly every single major life moment.  Here is an abbreviated list of some of those moments:

  • Joe & I fishing nearly every salmon run in Alaska from 2004 to 2012
  • Joe was there when Robyn started hanging out with us (she was in high school- AWKWARD).
  • When I first started dating Robyn
  • He was literally there when she moved in.
  • Moved Robyn and I from AK to OR
  • Then moved us back to Alaska
  • Groomsman – we fought over which side he was to stand on.
  • Numerous visits to Oregon
  • Was the first non-family member to meet Rhye
  • Visited us on the first “kick-off” trip of our RhyeNot ramble.

Rudi likes wood, he likes hard natural wood, even more so he likes rare old wood. So what a better way to kick off the RhyeNot ramble then in the beautiful California Redwoods with the man himself - Rudi. When we picked him in the evening he looked tired, tired from his exhaustive work schedule. After a short chat we all went to bed looking forward to the adventures that awaited us in the giant redwoods. Rudi woke in the morning the next day with the eagerness of a hungover sloth. His movements were so labored that not even the thought of an ancient old redwood put any pep in his step. 

That morning I spent an hour cleaning and organizing the Beige Mahal for the windy road ahead…. All the while he slept. Rhye even asked what was wrong with Uncle Rudi, concerned he was a zombie. When it came time for everyone to get in the truck (Jimmy) he remained steadfastly asleep. So, I left him there. Like a good friend I left him dangerously unsecured in a trailer not equipped to sustain any type of mishap.  l purposefully took speed bumps at angles and aimed for washboards. The stow away never stirred. When we arrived at the temporary destination we climbed into the the trailer and forcefully woke Rudi.  Only then did he wake from his slumber and said…” um okay, I am hungry”.

He was on vacation. Rest and reprieve from the grind is exactly what the crew of RhyeNot is searching for. What a better way to kick of the RhyeNot adventure then with Rudi. 

The Redwoods are incredible, majestic, grand, and stinking huge! I think one could spend an entire summer exploring all the different parks and what each has uniquely to offer. The coastal areas are rugged and gorgeous. The roads we have been on are narrow and winding and the weather has been perfect. We expect to be moving from park to park over the next few weeks so stay tuned. 

We moored the Beige Mahal for 7 days here: https://goo.gl/maps/MVycEbD3FgE2. The Redwood RV Resort is our splurge for the month and will be the last “pay” camping for the next 3-4 weeks. So, while we enjoy hot showers and abundant electricity we are also thoroughly enjoying or best friends company. 

P.S. While I am writing this - I learned that the #6 worst prison in the United Stated is the Pelican Bay Prison. This prison is also convienently located 2 miles from us. Just a moment ago a fog horn went off... and what seemed to be the entire California police force drove past the RV Park at mock 5. I think something is going down at the prison...and hopefully entirely WITHIN the prison.  

Venice RV Park

So to begin this post lets set the stage. It has been over 6 weeks of “Traylering” (yes I spelled it that way) . Though “camping” in the trailer includes hot showers, a bathroom with 2 ply toilet paper, a fridge/freezer, and yes DVD player with a complete collection of the Die Hard movies…. it still requires lots of conservation. Conservation of water, patience, waste, and money. We shower with just under 2 gallons of water and dishes are cleaned with much less. A large RV Battery supplies Robyn’s office and my iPad (takes about 2 hours of generator use - per day to charge). We don’t have endless supplies. However, its not really “ruffing it” either…. by any means.

We are nearly two months of military showers, generator use, the last of the “almost” clean laundry, and all out of bath water for the the dirt devil we call Calamity.  As we drive towards the coast we are very much looking forward to an RV park. An RV park with boundless electricity, water, propane, and a washing machine use.

If I had come to this RV Park 7 weeks ago when we first started I would not have even stopped. I would have kept driving past the meth houses, deteriorated cars, abandoned garbage... but after 7 weeks, Venice RV Park looked like the an Oasis. For $55 bucks a night you can camp so close to your neighbor that you can hear their sleep apnea machines pump. Parking the trailer is literally like trying to dock to the international space station. We are so damn close to our neighbors that  we have to coordinate who is going to walk out of the trailer first - you or the neighbor.

But for us, at this moment. The Beige Mahal has been parked in an Oasis! We took crazy long hot showers…. turned every light on, and have clean clothes! 

Trials at Trillium: 2 of 4

Robyn the renegade & her work space

Robyn is known for her supreme style. She does what she wants, when she wants, where she wants. You won't find her browsing facebook, CSPAN, or Amazon Prime because she is probably out being cool somewhere. She might be on run, but it's probably not a Harley or a crotch rocket because she won't spend that much money to be accepted. She feels no obligation whatsoever to justify her beliefs, values, convictions, morals et cetera with anyone. She likes her music because it sounds cool to her. She does not think that she is badass; she KNOWS it and that's that.

She works for a company called 10up. All of the staff work remotely. She’s is a Producer, a producer of engaging seemingly impossible ideas and achieving success in a manner that renders all onlookers completely awestruck. 

We made a foldable desk that is located under our bed. With a little early morning workout Robyn has access to all the modern necessities of an office. When the generators are not running (we run them for about 2 hours a day) she is able to power to her tool kit with an RV battery (Thanks Fred & Sharon). She can work 8 hours on one charge. Thankfully, we have doors that separate the bedroom/office from the rest of the trailer. So she can fiddle faddle with the internet and her internet friends. Meanwhile Calamity, Rollie and I diddle daddle in our outdoor “fort”.

 

 

Morgan Lake Oregon

We are back in Oregon! We stopped in La Grande to get a few repairs made at the trailers manufacture. Our camp location was to be at Morgan Lake. The road to Morgan Lake has a pucker factor of 7 out of 10. The short 2 mile road was 18% grade with no pullouts. The transmission temperature climbed and eventually pleaded with me to stop via a series of anxiety enhancing dings. I was going 5mph -it felt like 0000.2 miles per hour.

Jimmy don't hate me. I love you. 

We made it. The truck cooled. I googled so much about transmissions I can confidently say my name is tranny.... haha. With my new online transmission degree I am sure I didn’t cook any transmission seals.  We relaxed and watched people fish.  

Tomorrow, Robyn is to work from coffee shops here in La grande while Rhye and I bounce form city park to city park. Mt. Hood Bound! 

 

 

Drove the Chevy to the Levy

 (43.3576994,-115.4470238) Anderson Ranch Reservoir 

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Driving the Chevy to a levy. 

Drove the Chevy to the Levy. On the backs on 1 million giant coffee colored cicadas. I have never seen a swarm of cicadas quite like this before. There were quite literally millions of them on a 2 mile stretch of asphalt. As Robyn sat co-pilot she felt queezy with the splattering of giant insects, while Rhye and I were giggling at my efforts to find large clumps of them on the highway in an effort to make them small clumps. 

It was not until I got out of the truck to inspect these crunchy grasshoppers that to felt the gringe creepy crawlers that Robyn must have been feeling. When I got out of the truck I found that my road rampage had splattered green and brown slime all over the trailer and Jimmys fenders... the ooze was slowly rolling and dripping off of the truck and trailer... I was astounded by the sheer amount of guts. Gawking at the goo, I quickly realized that my feet were quickly surrounded by these insects. They were feasting on the entrails of their brethren.... nasty. 

We dropped down a gravel road (luckily away from the swarm) and ran the off-road chassis Like it was designed too. We dropped down onto Anderson Ranch Reserviour. We found a little spot, set up for the night and quickly started exploring. The night was a mere pit-stop but worth a few several days. 

Total drive time = 6.5 hours. Insects killed = infinite. Gravel road at 13% grade = 3 miles. Amount of cubbords open due to the gravel road = 2. Number of Snakes = 1. Gin and tonics consumed out of insect-a-palooza = 2. 

Whoa. Dude.

Well, we are on the road. With the help of family and friends we are about to embark on a new journey. We are heading home to clean house, rent house, and move into the Beige Mahal - fulltime. 

First night, Salt Lake City KOA. Full-hook ups, cable, pool, laundry... it has all the things. We tested everything, the Beige Mahal is fully operational! I am a damn good back-er-upper! Robyn holds and phD in shitter draining engineer, and Rhye is so good at walking the dog on a leash while she swears he doesn’t need one..... I dont believe her. 

Next stop on the journey back to Oregon. Idaho...somewhere with no hook-ups. 

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Jimmy and the Beige Mahal

So here we are in my parents Colorado yard looking at a 2007 GMC SLT Diesel Long Bed Truck named “Jimmy”. This petrol guzzling Hellcat on wheels looks and drives like it just came off the dealership lot. Fred and Sharon made sure he (Jimmy) had all the best mechanics, the cleanest undercarriage, and most delicate of oil changes. It shows,  “Jimmy” has the demeanor of Brad Pitt in the movie “Money Ball” crossed with 1973’s Bruce Lee movie “Enter the Dragon”. Jimmy is a softy on Sundays and blackbelt seeking revenge on a Monday. 

Tagging a few feet behind Jimmy is the Beige Mahal. This dream boat on wheels is a Palace of Luxury smashed into 12’ by 25’ tube of wood and metal. No, crappy composite cabinets for this princess, only the purest of timbers were harvested. It is rumored that the manufactures used miniature Paul Bunions and oxen to harvest the most durable of woods.

Beer drinking, flannel wearing, tobacco spitting, steel workers on a remote island in the PNW made this off-road chassis for this trailer from molten metal -  with their bare hands. This baby is 100 percent bad-a@%. 

Have you read Jules Verne’s 1864 novel “Journey to the Center of the Earth”? Well Jimmy and the Beige Mahal are about to take us on a journey.... Jimmy and and Beige Mahal are about to be our vessel - around the country. It is planned to take a year. Not unlike finding the center of the earth. This trip will be challenging and hopefully TOTALY WORTH IT.

So here it is folks, we are renting out our house, selling most physical anchors and moving into the Beige Mahal. Robyn is working remotely, I am the general trophy husband/dad.  

P.S. On a serous note: Sharon and Fred sold us more than means to recreate - they gifted us a lesson. Do it while you can, the world has a great way of keeping you on our toes. Sharon and Fred, thank you. Thank you for selling us your dream. We hope the next page was a good as the last. We hope our book is as good as yours! 

Next Stop - Oregon to start the preparations for the journey to the center of the earth.  

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