We discovered this summer that Betty Deux is our home not just a house on wheels. For whatever reason, there is a comfort level achieved there that is not present in our brick and mortar house. Sure there is only a fraction of the room. We are limited on the things we can take with us, however, we seem to take what is necessary for both living and entertainment. And that seems enough.
Now that we are home from this summer’s adventures, we find ourselves sitting in front of the television or the computer an exorbitant amount of time. Let’s face it, it’s just too damn hot to do anything else! No more sitting outside with our early morning coffee watching deer graze nearby or cottonwood snow or baby robins. No more meals prepped in the best kitchen ever, the outdoors on the cast-iron grill. Exercise is forced now rather than the constant going in and out of the camper or taking early morning or evening walks around the campground, nodding a friendly hello to the neighbors.
Bertha is unhitched, free from her tethers. Betty is under cover, cleaned out and waiting for cooler weather to have her interior painted. For Betty, time is at a slight stand-still, waiting, waiting.
Well, someone made chicken salad out of chicken poop. I can just imagine all these gears laying around rusting and filling up a scrap yard. And then comes along some Rooster with a creative brain and voila you have a made from scratch yard art!!
This was one of the neatest shops we have been in on our travels. We stayed there for at least an hour and a half. I highly recommend stopping there if traveling through Kansas on I-70. They have the most unique items and friendly staff. Thoroughly enjoyed our impromptu excursion.
If you can’t visit in person, and I highly recommend that you do, then visit their website. I know I plan on visiting and purchasing virtually from them until I can visit in person again. https://www.kansasoriginals.com/
For once, Jim feels the truck and camper is completely ready. He worked tirelessly over the past several months making many alterations and upgrades. He’s excited about our new cell phone booster. Boy will be doing online classes again this year, so he will need the extra connectivity.
In addition to the booster,, he also installed shock absorbers for the axles to smooth the ride. In addition to the shock absorbers, he put two new tires on the trailer and new heavy duty axles. We had the horrible experience of the bearings burning and caused the axle to bend. This is not an experience worth repeating! So, of course, prior to this trip all wheel bearings were greased and lubed. On the lighter side he installed a poop hose holder, cleaned the ac and the vents, replaced the thermastat with digital.
We also did a complete bathroom upgrade. I noticed that we were having a lot of separation of the vinyl wallpaper. We have had that issue in the main living area from the time we bought it and then it showed up in the bathroom. I was concerned for moisture getting into the walls and causing mold. I removed the wallpaper (with a hairdryer) and applied 4 coats of really good paint. Jim installed a real (not plastic) water faucet and then he installed a stone backsplash (again, real, no press on stuff) behind the sink. This was done after he also raised the bathroom cabinet higher. He was tired of bumping his head everytime he brushed his teeth. New caulking, new shower curtain and a few pretty photos and voila, new bathroom.
Cooking prep has begun: hamburger for taco salads in a jar, hamburgers premade, rice cooked and frozen for cauliburgers. I make salads in a jar which gave us an easy healthy alternative for a couple of nights. They can be made ahead and kept for up to 5 days. I baked muffins and egg/sausage “muffins” for easy breakfasts. Freezer was packed.
Clothes were packed at least a week ahead. I told everyone to wear it twice if you have too! We did buy a few clothing items to have some fresh wear on the trip. I never had the chance to do that in my earlier years so I like to take advantage of summer buying and then again right before school.
All laundry is done! House is cleaned (no one wants to come home to a dirty house.) Dishes cleaned. Coffee pot emptied (believe me that is not cool to come home to!) Mail stopped. Lawn guy hired. This was a new one for us and hopefully it will be helpful to come home to a nice mowed yard and not a jungle. I’m sure the neighbors will appreciate it. Betty Deux (camper) gets washed and waxed. Bertha too. That’s our truck. You know because she has a big butt!
Then comes the last two days. That’s when it gets real. Gas tanks filled. Toiletries and meds in. Pillows and of course Boy’s blankies. Cameras, printers and computers go in. All those little things you couldn’t put in ahead of time. We also turn off the AC and the water heater in the house. I empty the fridge and we turn it off. My daughter laughs that she needs to keep some room in her fridge for my yearly purge! If you are going to be gone an extended time why pay for utilities that you aren’t going to be there to use. We do put a light on a timer. That helps for safety purposes and have someone check your house often or use securtiy cameras connected to your phone.
Prepping takes time and is best done over time. Don’t wait until the last minute. It will not be worth it. Use your list you created in the planning stages and check it multiple times. Have your partner check it too. We really followed the list well this year and it helped tremendously. I think when it came down to it we only forgot a couple of things. We forgot the drill for doing the levelers, but bought another one at Walmart. We also forgot my new sticker map. I was so sad about that, but I’ve been informed that we can just buy another one as it wasn’t that expensive. YAY! Can’t wait to start inserting all those places we have stayed on the new map. (Oh, and if you are wondering, we are from the “It’s where WE have stayed overnight” camp.)
Wanderlust settles in me like a too tight favorite jacket. I’m excited about wearing it, but it pinches all the same. School wraps up this week and the countdown begins. With that comes intense anxiety. Can I get everything done in time? What will I forget? I’m adding to and amending my packing list constantly. That, I think is finally almost publishable!
On the other hand, my mind plays previews of roads not even traveled yet. Open highways, mountain views, and quaint towns. My excitement can hardly be contained. Jim watches lots of YouTube videos and travels Google Earth in preparation for the trip. I think this is his mental meditation.
We have a destination and a few weeks ago we weren’t even sure we would be going any where. Originally we were to go to Michigan, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic we had to change gears. Now we are Colorado bound!
In the past, travel took the form of short burst, several days to several weeks at a time. This year we reserved a month at Riverview RV park in Loveland, Colorado where my daughter lives. We stayed 2 days there last year, so know pretty well what to expect. Of course even this causes that anxiety jacket to pinch again.
It’s the unknown that rubs at my nerves. It’s also the unknown that makes it exciting. I am reminded that the goal is not the destination, but the journey.
This is my first post in a long time. I find writing blog post time consuming and always seem to find excuses. Perhaps this year will be different. That being said, I would like to change the name of my blog site. 2bikes1boat served its purpose, but no more. I would like something that reflects our traveling ways, our sense of adventure and wonder. Ideas Welcome!
One cannot help but notice the thousands of statues and sculptures that are scattered throughout Washington DC. Notice one and you are probably missing half a dozen more. These are great subjects to photograph as they don’t move. They can be challenging in that you have to get your shots without people in them. The shots are usually in the what I call the “crane your neck” view as you have to look up at them to take the shots. This also means you have to watch that the sky doesn’t blow out your highlights. This view, however, can add to the immensity of some of these works of art. Especially my favorite, the view of the Infinity Sculpture/Artwork that we found outside the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. I’ve taken this shot before, but never did it come out like this one. The reflection of the sky in the metal just added to the feeling of motion. I don’t know what the names of many of the statues are, as I took them as we were walking from point A to point B. Often, I was only afforded a few minutes to point and shoot. We were always on the go! There is just so much to do in DC.
The first place we visit when in Washington DC is, of course, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. This is a must due to my very nerdy men. My husband, a fifth grade teacher, loves science almost as much as he loves me and that’s a lot. Our 8 year old son, gifted, cute and truly a young scientist at heart wants to be a NASA engineer when he grows up. Last year he even got to meet a real NASA engineer, which of course, further fueled his desire to one day build a faster rocket than anything they have today! Watch out future American citizens, he just might do it.
Howard Hughes Plane
This plane is absolutely stunning.
Our guy in my favorite gallery.
Not a great shot, but I loved this photo. So clear and detailed.
Navigating ships by the stars.
These are only a few of the photos I took. I didn’t take near as many as I did the first time we went to the Air and Space Museum. Back in 2014, I think I took a photo of just about every exhibit. This year, not so much. I wanted to concentrate on what I was seeing. Of course, the coolest exhibit this year was the original model of the spaceship Star Trek Enterprise. Being a fan of the show, this was a must see.
A new exhibit: The original model of the Star Trek Enterprise.
We took the camper for a dry run today to make sure all the adjustments Jim made to the camper and truck work well before we head to Maine in a couple of weeks. We don’t want to get caught with our proverbial camping pants down.
We drove from home to Gainesville, stopping for lunch at the rest area on 75 and 121. In the past stopping at a rest stop would be a miserable trip, sweating and noisy. Now that we have the Honda 3000 generator stopping will be a sweet relief. Almost too sweet. The issue : “Do we really want to get going again? Can’t we just stay here and take a nap?” Two more weeks and why yes we can!
Well the traveling Wallaby’s are heading to DC. We left yesterday and had a fairly good trip. We came to some slowdowns due to accidents so we decided to stop at The Comfort Inn Campground in St. George, South Carolina. Yes, a campground located at a hotel. It was okay for a one night stop over. Nothing to write home about except the warm pool. It was very nice to swim in a fairly clean and definitely warm pool after a long drive across several states.
Getting off early in the morning we headed back out and are now staying at the South Forty Campground in Petersburg, Va. This is a pretty campground with a much larger and cleaner pool. Again it was wonderful swimming after a long day in the truck, especially since we were rather sweaty. We have decided this is a must for traveling. The nearby restaurant, Nino’s Italian, though is a pass by as it was not that good. We use an app called AllStays and it is great for finding the nearest campgrounds, rest stops, truck plazas and our favorite, Walmarts that allow overnight stays. Highly recommend it!
Since most of what we are doing is traveling I don’t have much to talk about except to report that the first of the premade breakfasts we tried were pretty good. (I spent a whole day cooking and freezing to-go breakfasts for the trip.) The breakfast burritos were a hit with me and Jim, not so much for Kaelin. Tomorrow we will try the Cheesy Egg Puffs.
The other thing that made the trip good so far is a game we made up. We each pick something to find and whomever sees it first gets 5 points. Once a person gets 20 points they get to pick the next thing. When I couldn’t record our initial anymore that item was scratched off. We had things like alligators, dogs, license plate numbers that spelled actual words and many other fun things. Did you know green is not a popular car color? It really helped pass the time.
Tomorrow we only have about 3 hours to get to our final destination: Cherry Hill Campground. So excited!