Airing out, getting fixed up

Bonita Springs

We left Michigan with only a temporary license plate. The true license plate was overnighted to us in Asheville as soon as it was ready. Unfortunately, it was shipped to the wrong address. Instead of being shipped to a UPS Store, it ended up getting shipped to a bank.  We frantically drove all through the area trying to figure out what had happened to it. We were getting more and more nervous. It wasn’t until we had retraced our steps that we discovered that it was sent to a bank. We mounted the license plate safely to the back of the car and finally we were able to relax. We headed out on a sprint to the south to dip below the frost line.

RouteOn the drive south, I called a few Roadtrek dealers to see if they could service our broken heater. The first one told us they could not even look at it till February 3. I tried to calmly discuss with the service agent that we were living in our RV and that was not going to work for us. She calmly let me know that most people in Florida were living in their RV’s. After a few more tries we hit gold with another service dealer three hours away from where we wanted to be. They told us to stop by anytime and they would take a look at it so we headed to Port Saint Lucie. I drove from Asheville till after midnight that evening trying to get as close to the dealer as we could. Once I started to loose energy I pulled over in the next rest stop and we went to bed in about two minutes. That was cool.

Technition working on the heater unit

Technition working on the heater unit

The next morning we showed up and their technician fixed the heater in an hour and a half.  I wont bore you with the details but it should be set for a while now, and if it breaks again I will know how to fix it. This allowed us fill up our water tanks for the first time. We were so eager to get water running in the van. Warm showers and full meals could now be easily achieved in our home.

We then jetted across to the gulf coast to visit with Bruce and Sue Osterink. They invited us to stay in their guest house in Bonita Springs. We gladly took them up on their offer and had a wonderful time catching up with them. They told us of some fun things to do in the area and we went out exploring. Naples, then Fort Meyers beach, Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Check out some more photos here.

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Asheville

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Open fermentation at Wicked Weed Brewery

We were drawn to Asheville by it’s reputation as a great beer city, but we enjoyed so much more than that.  A friend who had lived there sent us a list of fun things to do in the area including everything from best waterfall to jump in to the best breakfast spot. At the top of the list was a phone number of potential friends to call who might be able to host. I was nervous to call and ask to impose on complete strangers, but they gladly accepted and we quickly became friends.  They let us play with their brand new pet bunny, use their shower, and wash our dishes in their sink (we are sans water in the van until we get below the frost line). They were also great ambassadors to this city.  In our eyes, Asheville is like a big eastown surrounded by mountains.  We immediately felt at home.

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Highlights of our time in Asheville included:

  • Meeting and spending time with our hosts, Ryan and Ellen
  • Wandering the halls of America’s largest house, the Biltmore Estate (think Downton Abbey)
  • Walking up the mountain to see cool houses and views
  • Burning our friends’ christmas tree at a brewery’s giant outdoor fire pit (turns out we weren’t supposed to do that)
  • Taking warm showers at Ryan and Ellen’s house.

Oh, and now we have a route map.

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Kentuckey

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The distillery in full steam

We left Michigan to get out of the cold, but the second night of our trip was cold once again. After spending our first evening with the Cunnigan’s in Elizabethtown and after touring the Maker’s Mark Distillery in beautiful rural Kentucky, we journeyed further south to Mammoth Cave National Park looking to see some caves. Unfortunately we arrived too late for a cave tour so we decided to stay the night. The main campgrounds were closed for the season, but free backcountry sites were still available to anyone willing to brave the woods. That sounded like free parking to us so rather than camp in the cold woods, we choose the van.

green-river-ferry-cautionAs we wound our way back into the sticks towards our campsite, we were supprised to see a sign saying “Road Ends in Water”. Sure enough, the road stopped right in a river. After a moment of confusion, we saw a tiny river ferry on cables, just big enough for two cars or a van, making it’s way across the river to us. The boatman waved us forward and we gleefully drove onto the ferry and crossed the cold water of the Green River with big smiles. We love boats you see. And even on the most rickety of boats we would gladly have taken a ride.

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Itsy bitsy little ferry

Shortly after, we reached our site’s parking lot way back in the woods all to ourselves. We went on a short hilly bike ride, made some dinner, and headed to our new bed for the first time. We turned out the lights and my heart dropped. While we had turned on the heater while we were making our bed, the heat still hadn’t kicked on. Instead, the heater’s control panel was blinking with a big ominous red light. We tried everything we knew to do with no luck. Usually in the Commonwealth of Kentucky the average temperature is above freezing, but due to the unusual polar vortex, the whole day sat below freezing. Our first night in the van dipped down to 19 degrees. Glad we brought the warmer comforter!

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We did get a great cave tour the next day

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The Beginning of an Adventure

Taylor and I are excited to announce that we will be spending the next 3-9 months traveling the country in a converted Sprinter van!

Our main goals are to learn new skills, experience creation, and connect with our community throughout the country.

The story starts on the first day of our honeymoon.  Not even three hours into our drive toward Canada, Taylor turned to me and said, “This might not be the best timing, but I’ve been feeling a tug at my heart to possibly move to Arizona”. Cue tears from me.

After visiting the copper state in November, however, I caught the bug and spent the plane ride home talking about how we could make it work for us.  This time, Taylor was the one taken aback!

We still haven’t officially committed to making the move.  While we would be excited to be closer to Taylor’s family and would have some interesting career possibilities, it would be hard for us to leave the great state of Michigan.  What we have committed to is taking some time away to figure it out.

We’ll be figuring it out as we travel the country in a converted Sprinter van.  All last year Taylor has been dreaming about living in one of these vans.  They are like tiny houses on wheels that get a whopping 22mpg.  It is very exciting to finally have one parked in our driveway!

When I told a friend that we had decided to go for it and actually leave on this big adventure she jumped up and down and exclaimed, “You are going to love it!  You are going to learn so much, but it’s not going to be the things you’re expecting”.  For this reason, we’re trying not to make too many plans or have too many expectations.  As stated above, our goals are to learn new skills (coding, AutoCAD, design, videography), experience God’s creation (I’m looking forward to taking time to be more deliberate in my spirituality), and connect with friends, family, and acquaintances all across the U.S.  As for the rest, we’ll take it as it comes.

First destination: Key West!