This was our first Christmas spending it without other family or friends and in our home(trailer). We really wanted to embrace and go all in for Christmas spirt. We had a few presents for the kids and some money for experiences to share and make memories. We had a very difficult time finding campgrounds to stay at in Texas but after calling about 15 different places we found one site that we could be at for a week and kinda settle at to spend Christmas there. We did a lot of light looking, town exploring and spent more time then desired inside because it’s cold and rainy here in Texas. It’s really a bummer and unplanned for because we thought(expected) sunshine and warm.
I cooked our first lasagna for Christmas Eve. We had plans to go to a families house, strangers actually but we had met them and talked to them while looking at lights late one night when we were still out and about with overly tired kids and a long drive home. They invited us for brunch Christmas Day. They wanted to learn more about RV life and we were wanting friendship and social conservations. Around 5am Christmas morning g Brayton started throwing up so we cancelled those plans ? and spent the day very chill and lazy.
We were trying to jump at the same time Lol. I really wanted to get a cool jumping pic of us all. Couldn’t get it so I just decided to be silly.
When we got here we decided to stay at an escapee co op park since we are members. I called and they had openings so we headed that way. We showed up and were the first family to a stay there. The lady in charge welcomed us and said that we are the future of Xscapers and that they need to be used to families amongst the RV communities. They even introduced us to everyone at the happy hour. I was nervous but everyone said they loved seeing the kids around.?
era died before we were even halfway thorough exploring. And it's hard to take pictures in a cave.
We are back in Colorado. Longmont and Boulder area. It’s so great here. Endless things to do and new places to go. Many little, but still big towns real close. We went to Layfette for laundry. If every laundrymat on every town could take notes form them they would all be awesome and have a great, cute, perfect coffee shop next door.
So many breweries to pick from. I think we went to 7.
Smoke has cleared and now we want to explore some hikes and The Flat Irons.
So far the coolest thing we stumbled upon was a creek along a park but along the creek we found a rope swing. Blake and Brayton loved swinging across the creek. Sadly the creek is shallow so it’s not made to jump off or jump across, just swing. It was so fun to see them enjoying that so much. No one minded being in jeans we all ended up in the creek. I couldn’t get more then this one picture because my phone was full and even though I deleted several pictures it only let me take two, but the other was bad.
From Longmont we headed to Frisco and went to Brechenridge, Dillion, and Silverthorne. We found a great bike park with a pump track and good runs that the boys spent hours riding. Showed up the day after the free Gondola to the top at Breck closed but we spent time in the town and tried to be more local then touristy so we went to the library, the parks and more place off the Main Street. We are learning to be fast locals becuase it’s to expensive to be tourists in each town we go to. We are learning that now and having to make choices and decisions to not eat at all the amazing places or get coffee at all the spots or beer at the brewery. Even though that would be so much more fun and enjoyable.
After 3 days of being out of water we had to move out and we traveled to Leadville CO. It’s a huge mining town but super historic and still feels like 1879 which is the building date on the saloon that is still open. So much history and so many beautiful homes and building. I LOVED it there and could move and stay there. We only spend one day there sadly becuase the RV Park, called Sugar Loafin, (fun name) price is $$$.
Currently we are in Buena Vista for the week.
Overall- We have meet so many cool people who are also traveling. We have to learn to be fast friends and hope to meet up again as we all travel on our ways. So thankful for the time we get to spend with those fast friends the share encouragement with.
Sadly no wifi as I update this so I can’t add pictures yet.
We got frustrated with having to move campgrounds and not having a place to stay over weekends in CO. Campgrounds are all reserved becuase it’s so busy during the summer with weekend campers. We decided to go to WY because I saw on Facebook from Driving and Vibings page that there was a lot of room to camp at Geayrock reservoir in Wheatland WY. It was also in the path of Totality. Yay!!! To bad we didn’t get glasses before all were sold out. The camping was great and free. Scott couldn’t work becuase of cell service( we even moved spots once to try and find better service), the lake was beautiful but the shore what muddy and cow poopy. But we played in it anyways. Long horn cattle grazed the area so we smelled, heard, saw and dodged piles of ?.
Left there sooner then we wanted since Scott couldn’t work but we ended up at a free spot in town. Awesome spot right next to a park and a pool. Love it!!!
Then we heard about a sweet little gem that a couple we were talking to said we would love. We went there and we do love it but it’s pretty small. Only 450 folks. It has been fun being in a slow pace-don’t see anybody else husseling around-way of life. We have enjoyed it. We are enjoying the small towns in Wy way more then we thought. We could spend much more time here. After hours of driving boring highways with no other people or even homes, we didn’t think we would like WY at all.
We met a young man (21) that was solo cycling across America on the Pan American trail. Will was on his last 2/3 stretch heading to Missoula then Oregon. We had him over for bfast and heard a lot of his stories of the people he meets, interviews and the ways he travels. He is an inspiration and our kids loved hanging out with him and talking his ear off. He was like the ” cool guy on a bike mentor” as he gave our boys good wisdom and showed them how cool it is to learn things and do things and what a cool life our kids have. We hope to meet up with him again in the future.
After our vacation in The Grand Tetons we decided to head to an area where the smoke was not so thick. I know there are a lot of fires, our lovely state (MT) is burning up with the majority of fires near Missoula. The smoke was so thick at the Tetons we couldn’t even see the gigantic mountains from the main road. Also Scott’s back pain had returned and we knew that driving would be rough and slow going again. We also knew that some friends were in Colorado at Fort Collins so we wanted to make our ways towards them and hope it worked to get together.
On our way out of the park we saw a grizzly bear, which was awesome because we decided that a grizzly would be the only animal we would actually pull our whole rig over for. We got out and watched the bear eat for a while and took a few pics. It was pretty cool to be that close ( safe distance still) to an animal so big and powerful.
We made it as far as Rawlings, WY and stayed at a Walmart. I was really bummed that Scott was in pain, we were in a parking lot in a dinky little town on such a special day that I had so many fun ideas for. It was Aveyah’s first Birthday and our 12th anniversary. We made the most of her birthday with a cute outfit, a spoon of whip cream and a cute little pallet garden for some pictures. Instead of dinner our time together Scott took some Ibuprofen and we drove Saratoga WY where Scott had looked up some Hot springs to soak in. It ended up being an amazing place. We camped right next to the lake that was surrounded by reeds which the boys turned into their jungle. The lake had pelicans! I thought those were only at the ocean. The hot springs were HOT and the Lava Pit was about 117 degrees. We hung out in the cooler pool that was about 104. The boys really liked the river that the hot springs drained into. It was the perfect spot to spend hours at. Brayton had a very hard time with the smell and I had a hard time with how slimy everything was and the algae floating and touching me; it was dark and I kept thinking something was on my leg, and I became very itchy.
We talked with one guy that had done a lot of traveling and exploring around the world. He was very encouraging about out whole family being able to travel over seas and how awesome it would be to do that. Scott and I enjoyed talking with him and sharing a lot of stories, faith, and encouragement. Scott went back each day we were there and that guy, Rob, was there every time. They had great talks about faith, life, good times and bad times. It was awesome to see how God can work through pain. Scott’s back pain lead him to search for hot springs and it just so happened that he got encouragement and was encouraging to Robert each time ( random times each day) at the hot springs.
We finally left to head to Fort Collins to see our friends The Gustafson’s. The fun, and short story here is that maybe a year ago, while we were is Spokane, when Aveyah was born, we said we should do a GMR (Gustafson, Mickelson, Rice) reunion in Colorado. At that time we had no plans to be in Colorado so we didn’t plan it more then that at that time. Funny thing is that The Rice’s are also in Colorado doing a back packing trip in Buena Vista. So that day ( Thursday) we were all in Colorado and all headed to Fort Collins to see each other. The reunion was going to happen after all. It was the first time some of us have even meet others kids. David, Micah and their 3 kids stayed with us for 2 nights in our trailer. It was doable with 11 people. We all met up at New Belgium Brewery where we were a crowd of 6 adults and 9 kids who were all 8 and younger. Fun times!!!
Now we are staying at Horsetooth Reservoir while Scott works for the week and we wait for an amazon shipment to arrive. I guess when you live in stick and bricks you take amazon prime and ability to get shipments quickly for granted.
One theme of our trip should be daily thunderstorms. Each day we have had rain, wind and thunder and lighting storms. Some have been pretty crazy but others have just blown over and the sun comes back out. We went to Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park. It was beautiful and 12,000 feet.
One tough decision we have been tossing around is whether or not we should keep our dog Diesel. She is a great dog and we have trained her to handle our life, kids and travel. She has been our sense of security (even though she welcomes anyone to pet her) and a companion among all our changes and moving. She loves to go on hikes with us and runs along on bike rides. We feel bad that she has to live in the back of the trailer or on a leash at all times. The day before we left Spokane to head to Missoula then to Colorado I mentioned to my friend that we were pretty sure Diesel would be better with another family. My friend has a friend who is looking for a dog:) and she has kids:)…perfect. We knew that if we were going to find her a new home it had to be to someone we know or someone recommend. We couldn’t do a stranger off Craigslist. We thought it was perfect but just wrong timing because we were leaving and going to be gone for over a year. Well my friend’s friend was super interested and her daughter really wanted Diesel. We were in Missoula getting ready to start our drive that day to Colorado when we talked to Stephanie on the phone. She said they definitely want her and could leave Spokane at noon if we. Hold meet them half way. Shucks. We wanted to be on the road headed east by noon not headed the opposite direction for another 3 hours of driving;but we knew we wouldn’t find her a better family and we knew we couldn’t really do the next year of traveling with her. So we got our stuff ready , found all of her stuff and records and loaded the truck up to drive and meet Stephanie and her kids.
It was such a bittersweet drive. We all talked about our times with her and what we love about her. We talked about responsibilities of having her and what her life is like with us traveling. We talked to the boys about sometimes hard decisions have to be made for the better of others not ourselves. We all knew that going to be with this new family who were so excited for her, had a yard and 2 acres, who would take her to the lake and camping was better for her then always being in a leash. Our biggest concern was her attaching and adjusting.
Stephanie has since then sent us many pictures and we can tell that she is super loved and attaching to them great. She even has a pool and got a haircut!!