Thursday, January 29, 2009


Jill's Journal: At this point, we’ve shared our RV plans with just a very few people. They all seem to have the same questions. So, without further ado, here is a list of common RV FAQ, complete with answers!

What about Rob’s job?

That one is easy – Rob already telecommutes, so as long as he has a computer and an internet connection, he can literally work from anywhere. We’re envisioning doing most of our driving on the weekends and setting up base camp for a week at a time, giving him an uninterrupted work week. I’ll spend lots of time exploring kid-friendly activities with the girls to give him plenty of peace and quiet for work.

What about school?

I’ll home school the girls. Erika will be in first grade, Madelyn will be in second-year preschool, and Victoria will still be too young for anything at all official. My girls love to learn and we already do little educational sessions here at home for fun. I don’t think this will be a difficult transition for them. We do worry a little bit about a lack of social interaction for them, but it’s only for a year. They have each other and we have lots of friends we plan to visit who have kids their ages. And surely we’ll find other kids to play with at campgrounds and various places. I also have no qualms about hunting down parks and all sorts of fun places in new cities where kids come in spades. In addition, we have many kid-friendly activities already on our developing itinerary (i.e. Crayola Factory, Sesame Place, etc.).

Are you crazy, doing this with little kids?

Maybe! It’s something we’ve always wanted to do and for a long time we entertained the notion of doing it sometime in the future. But when? The kids likely won’t enjoy it when they become teenagers and we don’t want to wait until they’re all out of the house because we’ll be too dang old! We’ve decided there’s no time like the present. They’re young, enjoy adventure and travel, and still like our company right now! What a wonderful life experience and incredible education for them. Plus, we want them to always follow their dreams. This is a pretty good example for them.

Do you realize how tiny an RV is? Especially for five people?

Oh yes, we know. But we’re already in a very small home and Rob also works from home, so we’re all used to spending lots of time together in a small space. Lots of larger families in history lived in a smaller space with a lot more people. It’s only a hardship if you believe it is.

Won’t you get sick of being on the road?

That’s always a possiblity. But we don’t think so. Rob and I have always loved road trips. Loved them with a passion. We really can’t think of any better way to travel right now than in an RV. To be able to move our home and necessary belongings pretty effortlessly, to see the country but still sleep in our own bed every night appeals to us tremendously.

When your trip is over, will you still live in Lexington?

Honestly, we don’t know, but that’s part of the reason for our trip. We had been planning on buying a new, bigger house in 2010 and really had no intention of living anywhere but Kentucky for the rest of our lives. However, lots of things have made us rethink that stance lately. We really do love it here, but since we got out of breeding Thoroughbreds (a whole ‘nother story but primarily because our focus is 100% on our children right now), it’s not as crucial that we live in Thoroughbred “Mecca.”

Moving is something we’ve been thinking about for a while – are we 100% certain we want our children to call this area of the country home forever? We’ve been here for 12 years and it’s a lovely place to raise a family, but is it a perfect fit for us? We’re open to other areas too.

This RV trip is partly to let us “live” temporarily in a few of the places on our list that we’ve been considering and let us “scratch the itch,” so to speak. We hope it will tell us if Kentucky is going to be our “forever home” or if that might be somewhere else. High on our list is the Central Coast of California, a place we fell in love with on a recent trip and, as an added bonus, a place where Kristi and Adam will be moving after school. The four of us have had many conversations about the “compound” we want to build together! Another place that really appeals to us is Montana. Or we may find somewhere else…or we may recommit entirely to Kentucky. We shall see, but we don’t see any point in buying a new house until we know exactly where we’re going to live for the rest of our lives. Enter the RV plan. Perfect timing.


Think of the adventure! This will be something to remember for a lifetime. We only live once and we’ve always believe in making the most of it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Parent Considerations

Jill's Journal: By this point, some of our closest friends know of our RV plans. Some undoubtedly think we’re crazy and some think we’re cool, but we’re not ready to spill the beans to the world just yet, or more accurately, to our parents. Here we are, in our mid-30s, adults in every sense of the word, and we’re afraid to tell our parents! We don’t know how they’ll react, but we suspect they’re going to meet the news with skepticism and concern. Our suspicion is that Rob’s Mom will most likely worry about how it affects her, as she moved here to Kentucky nearly nine years ago to be near us, and my Mom and Dad will most likely worry about how it will affect the well-being of their grandkids.

Regardless, this is a little more complex than a move to a new state and we don’t think either of the parental units are going to be pleased with us. Maybe they’ll surprise us. We hope they do.

Either way, it’s a conversation we’re not looking forward to having. We’ve thought long and hard about the best time to tell them and we’ve sort of given ourselves a deadline of Christmas. The trip is still a year and a half away at this point – no sense in telling them too soon and letting them stew over it for an extra year. Christmastime is plenty of time in advance and will give them six months to adjust to the news. I’d really like to just wait and spring it on them about a week before we leave so we don’t have to hear about it any longer than we have to!! Too bad that’s probably not the best course of action.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rethinking how the job will work...

So, I kinda had a bad night/day today. Chinese hackers (and other foreigners) decided to attack my server which in and of itself is not pleasant, but now it goes deeper than that.

I'm going to have to come up with a contingency plan for when we are travelling. Is my connection fast enough, secure enough, strong enough, hell, there at all, when something like this occurs. I will no longer be able to count on an absolute static IP, nor can I count on a high-speed connection. With the cellular network I think I'll be in good shape for most of the time we're stopped. Plus, most - well many? - RV parks have wireless networks, but again - how much can I trust that.

So - I'll have to start putting all that in place as well as setting all the other items up. That means I'll probably have to spend a little money this year in order to get everything secured. Would putting UEO on its own server be a better option since I can pretty much close the outside world to it? Should I move my non-essential services to a non-essential server? I'm sure I'll come up with a general plan in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Home away from Home

ehhh.... A good background book I guess, but not much in the way of important fact-gathering information on two fronts. First, we aren't European, and second, I'm not planning on going out to grab a VW bus anytime soon.

Overall not a bad read, just very clearly slanted toward the Euro sector - to the point that all the big RVs are called 'Americans'. Its also got more info on VWs than a non-amour would ever really need. Clearly the authors/editors/publishers have a thing for them. I mean, I understand they have a place in the history of motorhoming, but like 30+ pages?

I guess the best to takeaway from the book is that Camper Vans and the lifestyle have been around for a very long time (talk of motorhomes back before Model Ts) - its inherent in human nature I guess. They told some stories about why people did what they did, and mentioned that the largest growing segment of the market as of that writing (~2005) is 35-54 year-olds.

The other noteable - you aren't truly a part of the RV lifestyle unless you visit Quartzsite, AZ in January. Apparently the town is mecca to snowbirds, growing to over a million people in the 4 months of true winter. RV's as far as the eye can see...


Monday, January 19, 2009

Full-Steam Ahead!

Jill's Journal: We’re continuing our preparations and they’re coming at a feverish pace. It’s such a thrill that Rob and I are both so committed and excited about this together. He is being the practical one – studying and learning every possible bit of knowledge that might be necessary to owning and living in an RV. He’s inhaling book after book, website after website. He doesn’t want any surprises, wants to be fully prepared. And this is wonderful because I’m more the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of gal. Like with anything else, I figure we’ll learn as we go, which is most certainly not the smartest way to go when uprooting small children into a tiny, moving home for more than a year. I’m thankful to have Rob! We balance each other well.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Google Earth - the greatest thing ever.

I don't know what people did before google earth. For this trip I plan to use it in a myriad of ways, but for now it is all about the planning. This allows me to 'pin' every destination that we think we might want to see, and then fly around it to see what's close to what. Best of all it is not only portable, it can be manipulated by both of us, either on the same map or independently so we'll be able to really put on there everything we want to do.

Right now I have many different categories (I'm sure Jill will set up more, and we'll break some of these out further...) including:
  • Places we've lived
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Places of Interest
  • Must see Campgrounds
  • Restaurant/Food Shops to check out
  • Strictly for the Kids
  • Museums
  • Factory Tours
  • and of course - Card Rooms

I'm hoping that when we get this thing moving we'll be able to port our current location to a website so people can see what we're doing and where we are. there are a couple of programming solutions out there right now, but within another year I'm guessing there will be a perfect solution. Very exciting!



I missed a book on my list yesterday, and its turning out to be an interesting read. Window Seat, Reading the Landscape from the Air is really meant for people who spend a lot of time in an airplane, but with the amount of time I'm devoting to Google Earth - looking for places to visit, and sites to stop - I'm seeing basically the same type of thing. Now, granted I can zoom in and see more than a passenger at 35,000 feet, its still nice to know what those circular fields are stacked together in the center of the country. (answer: fields that are watered from a pivot waterer. Each field has its own, hence the corners get cut off.)

Starting off...

It really has begun. Jill and I have chatted about this, and we both are really excited about taking the trek. The information is coming now, slowly at first... books, motorhome magazine, talking with Gone Richter... I think we both think we can do this, and by that I mean...CAN.

So far I've been on a couple of book buying trips. I've picked up a little info, some very good books - but I've been disappointed on how little is out there in the stores. Amazon may be the only way to get the books I'm looking for - soon we'll see.

So far, my book list is:

Motorhome Magazine - (fantastic - getting a subscription)
Home away from Home - fun historic book, but I don't think it'll have much in the way of new info.
Essential USA - while we aren't really buying travel place specific books yet, this one seemed too good to pass up. What to do if you're there for one day, two days, five days - looks pretty well done.
The RV Handbook - a half price books book, looks older, but still significant enough to be a good read.
Frommer's America by RV - Seemed to have some good ratings, good info, and I liked the beginning and the end of the book without reading their travel suggestions - to come later.
The RVer's Bible - no idea yet, but doesn't the name say it all?
The complete RV Handbook - another book that seems to make good sense.
National RV Trader - how can this information not benefit the search for the perfect RV?

I've got a pretty large list from Amazon, but I'll work on that - once we work through this...


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Here we go...

So I've finally got something started electronically about this whole trip idea. Just a quick post now with much more to follow in the coming hours. And they're off......

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Google Earth

Jill's Journal: Google Earth is a man’s best friend, or at least my man’s best friend these days! Rob is obsessed. For weeks now, he’s been spending every spare moment mapping out interest points all over the U.S., plus adding the addresses of friends and family members we’d like to visit.

At this point, just about every place is a potential stop and an itinerary of sorts is starting to form. We can already see we’ll be spending a significant amount of time in both the Northeast and the Northwest and not so much in other areas. We may entirely skip the Southeast for now, as that could be a whole separate trip on its own. And we’re also thinking a year may not be long enough! TWO years is a distinct possibility, especially as we’d also love to do the Alaskan Highway…

Can you imagine what an education this is going to be for our girls? Yes, they’re young, but when they learn about ... oh, say, the Mayflower in school, they’ll have actually seen it (or at least the replica of it). How cool is that?

Saturday, January 3, 2009


/Jill's Journal: A new year; another step closer to scratching our wanderlust itch. We think this will be a quiet year for us as we prepare for the RV launch in 2010. We have just two major family goals:

1). Keep the status quo with our little family. In other words, keep everybody healthy and happy as we enjoy every day together.

2). Conquer that tax debt! Barring any unforeseen setbacks, our very aggressive goal is to be debt-free by the end of October. It requires commitment and sacrifice, but we’ve already made some major headway over the past six or seven months. We are dedicated and determined.

By the way, I’ve always loved the word “wanderlust.” I remember discovering it as a kid and thinking it was a positively delicious word! It also sums up an affliction I’ve had since I was very young. I’ve always loved to travel, always craved travel. I remember being 13 and literally begging my parents to let me use my life savings for a trip to England (especially as my fave band, Wham!, had just broken up and planned a farewell concert in London, but that’s beside the point). Naturally, my parents said no (I can’t imagine why!), especially as I planned to go by myself, and I thought I would just die from their stamp of refusal!! Somehow I managed to survive the crushing blow (!) and got a job as a travel agent before high school graduation. I put myself through college on my meager travel agent pittance and was fortunate to do more traveling in seven years than many people get to do in a lifetime.

I finally did get that trip to London and over a dozen more to Europe during those years (and certainly have visited a good portion of the U.S. and a few other countries), but like anyone stricken with wanderlust, I ache for more! I’m fortunate to have a husband who, although he probably doesn’t quite crave travel the way I do, definitely enjoys adventure and seeing the world.