Wednesday, July 29, 2009

San Diego CA

It was time for a change of scenery. I came to know our neighbors at Glen Ivy RV park a little better than I wanted to. One was an older white woman and the other a Puerto Rican. Both were in gangs when they were in high school and both had abused some or many different types of substances over the years. One of them seemed a little jittery now as though she was high on crack. As I was putting the food on the grill, this guy approached me and asked me if there was another way out of the park than the main gate. This guy was in some kind of trouble and had a look of extreme fear in his eyes. He offered to pay me $20 to give him a ride 2 or 3 exits down the highway. He was running from something or trying to evade someone. I felt sorry for the guy because I decided it in my best interest to not get involved and he continued to walk around the RV Park looking for a way out. I felt bad for the guy because I could see the fear and worry in his eyes. To be honest, he looked like he could be involved in some kind of organized gang or sorts. Who knows? Either way, it was time to move on to another home for a few days.

I dropped Rose off at the Fair and headed south towards San Diego. We’ll be here for 4 or 5 days until it is time to go meet Rose for her days off next week.

Corona CA

So I slept in the parking lot and we found a great RV park near Riverside that is just what we needed. Nice shade, pool, store, small restaurant, and as usual very interesting individuals that have been abused or abused a few substances for long periods of time. We could probably write a book on campground experiences as a coffee table book. In the afternoon we went to a henna party held by one of Rosemary’s colleges. These woman are the ultra professional all knowing henna artists. These are some of the best henna artists in the US and Rose has kind of just been invited to work amongst them. It was amazing to see their work; their techniques, their abilities and how Rose can learn and adapt to use similar techniques with her ideas. I am blown away with the people she is surrounded by and all the growth she is experiencing in terms of knowledge, experience with these woman, and even the tools that are being introduced to Rosemary for her to use back east. This experience is invaluable. It does not matter if her money goal is not met; she is surpassing her goal by 10 times if you include the knowledge and contacts she is gaining. So….it is absolutely wonderful to see her again, to be with her, to see her smile, to laugh and joke and live life to the fullest, together.

So I changed the plans and am now thinking about just hanging around Southern California for 2 weeks until she is finished. I think I am just going to hang at a State Park beach. I think I am going to wait to travel north until Rose is done and we can head up to the Redwoods together. For the next few days though, we are hanging together rejuvenating one another for another few weeks until she finishes. We spent Tuesday at the beach at a dog friendly beach and laughing at recent experiences we had both had.

From Moab to LA in one day

So, it gets lonely traveling alone. It was becoming more and more apparent that I was ready to see Rosemary. The whole reason I was driving out west in the first place is to get her and support her with the henna business. In the midst of it all I am able to do some things I want to do. So I was beginning to either go north to Oregon and it would be 2 more weeks till I pick her up in LA. BUT, I got the vibe that she and I both needed to see one another and be with one another before 2 weeks. It was going to help both of us continue with the trip. She was putting in around 80 hours a week in and I was traveling alone with the dogs. I was beginning to feel as though I was just traveling to get to the next place on the agenda, leading to the time when I see Rosemary again. I began to think of her more than the places I was visiting, and I could feel it in her voice of exhaustion and hard wok, that she could use some time with me as well. So I decided to pack up the trailer and drive the 14 hours it takes to get to LA. I would go southwest towards Las Vegas to LA. This trip would take me through Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and then California. I would pass though many mountain ranges and the Mojave Desert and Death Valley ending the drive in the LA Mission Viejo area. It was probably the most beautiful and diverse landscape trip I have ever taken. Between Las Vegas and Los Angeles was HELL. The heat must have soared to well over 105 degrees. My air conditioning was in and out, but I did not use it a lot anyway to not overwork the truck with the trailer. Some of the places we were looked like what we would expect from Mars. And there are communities out there as well with golf courses and imported plants and lots of cookie cutter houses and shopping. I can only imagine the energy bills incurred, the consumption of energy and usage of water. Who the hell wants to living in a traditional man-made structure in the desert???

We finally made it to Los Angeles and I was immediately introduced to the craziest driving I have ever seen. Passing on the right going 90 mph and tailgating going 90 mph and basically just the most aggressive driving I have ever seen. The most frustrating thing is that we arrived in LA with a location of the KOA campground on Santa Marguerita Parkway, but it turns out we were at the wrong location, the correct location being about 50 miles north. I reserved a spot over the phone, and used the gps in my Iphone. So I was about to lose my mind, exhausted after driving 15 hours, 3 dogs that were anxious and exhausted as well, hot as hell, hungry, and not a clue where I was going to sleep….So we headed to the closest Wal-Mart parking lot where RV’s and others are aloud to sleep in their vehicles. It was frustrated and pissed off and then I realized that there were people like me sleeping in their cars. There were 4 cars of normal, well-dressed, individuals sleeping in their cars nearby in the morning. So I quickly became thankful for what we have and the opportunities we have and abilities we have to sleep in a house or trailer on the road. What a wake up call. I hear there are tent cities in Sacramento. Rose says that the whole fair revenues are down and that California seems to have it really bad compared to other states in the US.

Moab – Day 2

It blows my mind sometimes when I think about all that has happened to Rosemary and I over the last year. We did not even own an Airstream one year ago and Rosemary’s business was slow during the Summer months. It all hit me this morning as I sat atop Klondike Bluffs overlooking Arches National Park. I just sat there in silence and appreciated all that has taken place over the last year in our lives. Life is great and I am very happy to have come into contact with such a wonderful woman, Rosemary. Together we have created something special and continue to allow this life to grow daily into our dreams. We have a good life together and lately I have to pinch myself to make sure we are doing all that we are.

Klondike Bluffs
I awoke at 5am to get out and do some mountain biking. I decided on Klondike Bluffs since I was told it is one of the best intermediate/novice trails in Moab. It started with an easy but fairly long climb. It is a nice mix of Jeep road and slickrock with a couple of short sandy sections. Near the start of the slickrock there are some dinosaur tracks off to the side. That was really cool, even though they looked just like a spot where lightning hit and had eroded over time. At the end of the 8 mile point, the views overlooking Arches National Park are tremendous. It was overcast and perfect conditions for riding, especially after yesterday’s highs were in the low 100’s. I think the temperature only got to about 80-85 this morning. The return to the trailhead was pretty much all down hill. I spent some time playing around on the slickrock and tried a few jumps here and there. It was just about the perfect morning ride - peaceful, quiet, beautiful, and not too hot at all. It was around 15 miles out and back.

I arrived back at the trailer in time to cook breakfast and feed the kids. The things about having the Airstream that is nice is that it is air conditioned and I can leave the dogs alone when I want to go explore. To be honest, there is not too much dogs are able to do in the desert areas due to the heat of the sand and rock on their feet. So I ended up leaving the dogs at the trailer and went to hike Negro Bill Canyon. It is a 2 mile hike in and 2 out, but I went down the wrong trail and ended up hiking an extra 1.5 miles. The objective was to hike in and see the 3rd largest land bridge in the world. I completed my objective, but was exhausted by the time I arrived back at the trailer.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Moab, UT & Arches National Park

We awoke and were eager to get on the road. I pressed some Maxwell House, Marley took a dip in the river, and pretty soon we were off. The drive took us through southwestern Colorado, within a few miles of Durango and into southeastern Utah. It was nice to see the trees in Colorado but before we knew it, we were in the desert again. The desert was breathtaking. The red rocks, the cliffs and huge plateaus. I am not sure what they call these types of formations to be honest with you. Whatever they are called, they are absolutely beautiful. It makes me think about the possibility that this whole area was under water at one point. The plateaus are actually what used to be above water and all of the erosion is what caused the cliffs etc…..Am I correct? Either way, this is a most amazing part of the country.

We pulled into Moab and decided on an RV park north of town, about 3 miles south of Arches National Park. The people here are so cool, friendly, relaxed, and enjoying life. The first person I met was admiring our Airstream when I was signing into the RV park. It turns out he has a 1965 Globetrotter and is actually around my age. We talked for a while about what I did, how long it took me, the upgrades I made, etc. He is from Ohio and started a business in town flying hot air balloons. Nice guy and really into what he does. He’s been flying them for about 7 years and he has a buddy, Mark, here from Colorado helping him. It is really nice to meet another person who had similar thoughts about how they wanted to travel, specifically in an Airstream. It is really weird that we met actually since I could have gone to 12 other RV Parks here in Moab. So….I think I am in the right place. The price to stay in a hotel here ranges from $75 to $100 a night and we only paid $78 for 4 nights. So traveling this way is very nice and is meeting our budget. Moab seems like the kind of place where I would fit in just right. It is hotter than hell, but what do you expect in mid July??

Arches National Park is 3 miles away so Marley and I decided to take a drive and check it out. It was too hot to take him hiking so we just drove through and took some great pictures. Tomorrow we are going to drive the Scenic By-Way (Hwy 128) along the Colorado River and check out some of the places where John Wayne filmed movies and more recently where Thelma and Louise was filmed (The place where they drove their car off the cliff).

New Mexico Day 2

What a day it turned out to be. We awoke and all four of us decided to hit the road. Our travels today took us first to have breakfast with Maya, Andres and Yako. I cannot tell you how great it was to finally meet them. We all have so much in common including the 14 month old Yako who has the greatest smile and looks like a little man. He is such a happy child and really enjoyed the dogs. And Maya, well, she is everything and more than Rosemary said. She embodies the well-rounded spiritual mother/wife/woman. Her husband Andres and I both connected as I had hoped we would. I think I am beginning to really realize that it IS about your community of friends and family. I am feeling as though these three are family and that our relationship will intensify. It was so great to spend the early afternoon with this new family of ours. We plan on stopping back in Albuquerque and all 8 of us going on a trip to some hot springs and maybe camping in a few weeks. I can’t wait to see what we end up doing and where.

After leaving Albuquerque, I really had no idea what to expect except that I had a 3.5 hour drive to Farmington. What a gorgeous drive it turned out to be. We climbed to 7000 feet elevation and crossed through grasslands and canyon lands. I had never before seen this kind of landscape again. It was so beautiful. I think it might have been a primer for what we will see tomorrow once we drive through Arches National Park and Canyon Lands up outside of Moab, Utah.

We made it to Farmington and I got the kids settled in and then went to visit my Uncle john and Aunt Susie. They have a nice place outside of Farmington with 2 miniature horses, 3 goats, 3 chickens, 1 cat, 2 dogs and probably 50 or so hummingbirds. I just love what they have going on together. The gardens are desert plants that are low maintenance and the animals all have their very own space to live amongst one another, sharing the living space. It is so obvious that they are all showered with love and attention. I am planning on coming back to visit in early September bringing Rose to see their farm. John also has an amazing workshop and a very respectable quiver of bicycles. I am completely impressed and envious of what they have accomplished together. It is really nice to see the passion that they both have for life. This is also true for Uncle Pat and Dale in Louisiana. It all goes back to quality of friends and family and I am lucky enough to have such great family to visit with along this journey. Thanks John, Susie, Pat, Dale, Maya, Andres and Yako!!!

Tomorrow we are off to Moab for a day or so. John mentioned to me that the heat during this time of year makes it extremely hard to do the mountain biking that I wanted to do. So we’ll see what happens, maybe I will do one in the evening rather than in the middle of the day. Who knows, we’ll see. Goodnight everyone.

Goodbye Texas, Hello New Mexico!!!!

Today was a driving day. I had to get some distance between where we have been and where we want to be, especially if I am going to complete the itinerary I set up in the last entry. I am glad I drove I-10 through Texas so that I will not ever wonder if it IS as boring as people say it is. We cut up north through Pecos, the home of the Worlds First Rodeo, and then on to Carlsbad. I decided that this was not the trip for me to visit caverns. We drove through Roswell also and decided not to stop and go to the UFO museum. I guess the landscape did not start getting somewhat pretty until we were north of Roswell.

Since I blew my whole budget and more ($2,300) repairing the truck, I will more than likely be staying at a lot of state parks. They are only around $15 a night and are usually pretty quiet. Since the dogs were so patient with our eleven hour drive today, I decided that they could use some exercise and a swim. We decided to hit the Fort Sumner State Park. The campgrounds are very quiet and on the lake Sumner, just what we needed. Marley chased sticks, Athena actually waded around and Katie swam and ran sprints all around. I could tell that they all three needed to release some energy. The elevation here is around 5,000 feet so it is kind of chilly this evening. I have the air conditioning off and the windows open and I feel like I need a sweater.

Tomorrow we are going to head into Albuquerque to have lunch with Andres, Maya and Yako their infant son. I have been looking forward to meeting Maya for a long time. She and Rosemary traveled across country many years ago and Rose seems to be connected with her in many ways. So it is such a pleasure to meet her and her family. I think Andres translates ancient texts from Spanish to English. Maya is into natural healing, medicines, and a lot of things I don’t remember, but she is beginning to sell her products at a local farmers market. Since Rose and I are going to spend 3 or 4 days with them on our way back to the east coast, I am only having lunch with them tomorrow. Then I will head northwest towards the four corners area and have dinner with my Uncle John and Aunt Susie. Long day driving, getting some sleep, good night.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Carlsbad, here we come

I got the truck back this morning and it is running wonderfully. I spent the day at The Texas Ski Ranch for a fun-filled day at the cable park. The weather was great and I spent the whole day getting better at riding my board. This place is amazing with skateboard half pipes, cable park, motorcross course, etc....Anyone who is passing through Texas should spend a day in New Braunfels just for the cable park. Oh, and if your car breaks down, go to Landa Automotive on Landa Street off of I-10. Ask for Jeff and the mechanic Chris, they are the type of people I would send my Mom to if she need auto work done.

Today Rosemary told me all of the places she wants to visit on our trip back to Atlanta. All of the things she wants to see are in NM, AZ, and UT. So.......I am thinking we will head north of LA to the beach for a few days, then out to Las Vegas, over to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, North Rim of Grand Canyon down to Albuquerque to visit Maya, painted desert, white sands, and some other places. I am thinking about visiting with my Uncle John on the trip home also. He lives in Farmington, NM, close to where we will be on our return

This leaves me with a northern journey. My plan in a nutshell is to drive from San Antonio to Carlsbad and Roswell area. Next I will head to Albuquerque to meet Maya and her little man. Then off to possibly meet my Uncle John and Aunt Susie in Farmington where they have a ranch with miniature horses and mini-goats. Then to the Moab area to visit Arches NP and Canyonlands NP. Really I am looking forward to riding some of the premier mountainbiking trails they have in that area. Next to Jackson WY to visit Yellowstone NP for 3 days. Then head west to the Columbia River and the Hood River area to possibly take a kite boarding lesson. After this I will head over to Oceanside and Highway 101 the Pacific Coast Byway down to Crescent City CA and Redwoods National Forest. Next will be San Fransisco and then to Yosemite to hang out until Rosemary is ready for me to pick her up.....

The second portion of this trip will more than likey include the beach, Las Vegas, Zion NP, Bryce Canyon, North Rim of Grand Canyon, Albuquerque and MAYA, painted desert, white sands national monument, hot springs and lots of other good things.

While this is ALOT to have happen, I think it is all going to take place. There have not been many pictures in the most recent posts, but that is mainly because Texas is not really that exciting. I will write once we reach Carlsbad.

Monday, July 20, 2009

In memory of Jeff Langford

I just received word that my buddy, semi-father/uncle, Jeff Langford passed away last night. Over the last 5 months, Jeff and I had become quite close, like brothers in a way. I had never felt closer to Jeff than I had in the past year. I really tried to be there for him, in every way. He was a good man trying very hard to make his life better in many many ways. He has played a very large roll as to why I am even an Airstream owner. He was my main reference for when I joined the Peace Corps. He and I had become true friends in some new ways. Just 2 days ago we spoke. He called to check on me and how things were going on the road. He was a good man/friend/father and did the best he knew how to do with what he had in his lap. He is now in heaven and at peace and is with his son Jeffrey. No more suffering.

Rest in Peace Jeff. I will miss you and will think of you often.

This picture is one I took of him as we arrived in Atlanta just last week. He had been unhappy with a haircut he received and wanted me to cut it short. I did and I gave him a mohawk. We laughed.

I love you man, I will miss you. You will be in my thoughts, always.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Braunfels, TX

Today was a day of desperation. I decided at about 12:25 pm that I, we, needed to get to a better location with more opportunity to repair the truck. I visit the diesel forums online and they had a list of "help" sorted by state. These are individuals that mention that they can help those in need. I called about 5 or 6 people this morning and 2 called me back. The one that I really wanted to call me back, did. He gave me the name of his neighbor, a diesel mechanic for 20 years, and we spoke. He told me that I should be OK to drive it to San Antonio keeping a close eye on the gauges for oil pressure and temperature's etc. So we did so. It smoked and the DTC codes I am getting now for the injectors on the right side. The thing I liked about this mechanic is that he did not immediately jump into me having to replace the injectors which are about $300 each, 4 have already been replaced with 4 left. He mentioned some problem solving he wanted to do. So, this is what we are doing for the moment. The truck is more than likely going to be towed to this mechanic tomorrow for him to look at Tuesday. It was making some pretty loud knocking noises which I have heard previously on another diesel I owned. I plan on spending my time reading and possibly wake boarding at a local cable park here in New Braunfels. That was the whole reason we were going this route in the first place, so I might as well get some practice. So life is good, even with the challenges. In the big scheme of things, these challenges are nothing knew, it is just taking place in a different place, out of my comfort zone. I am beginning to think that is why they are here in the first place. This is really what I have been dreaming about, living on the road with Rosemary, supporting her art and having a home away from home. So these problems are simply a different kind of welcoming party to the challenges faced on the road. At least this is how I am going to look at it. So would say that it is simply occurring because it was time for the engine to have issues....I think it is more than just that. I think spirit is challenging me to see if I can do it, or if I am going to turn back and run to the comfort zone of Atlanta. So, these are my thoughts for the day.

This evening I had dinner with a friend of mine who worked for me in Atlanta. Alex actually helped me take the shell off of this trailer when I began the renovation. So it was nice to be able to show him the finished result. He told me he thought it was a piece of trash back then. I spent about 30 minutes showing him the pictures of Guatemala since he is from there. He is here in San Antonio working. He has offered to help me with whatever I need while I am in town. What a friend!!! This is truly what I consider a friend.

I just got off the phone with some other very very special friends of mine in Houston. I am realizing that I am definitely not alone out here. There is alot of support all around me even on the road. So I am still out looking for a recommended diesel mechanic. Oh, some of you may get a kick out of this, I am going to have a small ceremony this evening with the truck. Going to burn some sage, sweet grass, and sing some chants, or at least try to chant. It couldn't hurt.....

The dogs are sleeping and I am ready to dream as well. I am wishing for wonderful dreams tonight and a wonderful day tomorrow. Life IS truly wonderful, even more so when we are challenged....

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Middle of no where TEXAS

Well, my visit with Uncle Pat and Aunt Dale was just about a great as it gets. It was so nice to visit with them for the first time at their house. I was able to see the video of my cousin Tyler's wedding as well as plan some different routes I might want to take out west. Pat and family have traveled out their so much that his knowledge is welcomed.

So I decided to go ahead and hit the road this morning. The truck was running fine, so I saw no need in staying another day. I decided to go ahead and get out towards San Antonio to do some wake boarding. BUT, the truck started smoking again, so I quickly pulled off the interstate and found a spot at a campground. Luckily, there is a Ford dealership at this exit, so that is where I will start my day on Monday. I am also going to speak with the mechanic that replaced the fuel injectors just a few days ago. I have some very specific questions for him. After looking under the hood this afternoon, I noticed some things that I want to talk to him about. I think I will also call up Wachovia to discuss what my options are since he obviously did not correct the problem...We'll see.

I do have time, which is a good thing, but it is so very boring sitting in campgrounds that are not even close to ANYTHING I want to see. It would be one thing if I were in Utah, Arizona or Colorado, but I am in the middle of Texas. Oh well, my dogs and I are lucky to have this little trailer with AC and everything else. Life is good for being broken down on-the-road.

I am trying my hardest to stay positive about the whole truck situation........I am sure it will get fixed and we will be on our way, sometime in the next week, hopefully. Oh well, it could be worst.

Friday, July 17, 2009

New Orleans

So we woke up later than normal today and pressed some fresh coffee and all four of us headed for New Orleans.

I wanted to check out a RV park down near the French Quarter as well as check out the 9th ward area where a lot of devastation happened during Hurricane Katrina. The RV park was basically a parking lot in downtown New Orleans with facilities that include a gym, pool, jacuzzi, etc. The hostess told me how crazy it gets during football season. I can imagine that these people down here are pretty accustomed to party goers. Not long ago I was one of those party goers. So I decided that the state park is where we will continue to stay. While we were at the French Quarter RV Park my Aunt Dale called me back. My cousins are off at college, but she and Pat are in town and actually live near the where we are camped. So, Athena and I are going to have dinner at their house around 4pm. Dale said she would be sure to fill me in on my cousin's wedding which took place on June 6th, I think. Casey is off at Ole Miss and Tyler is at A&M, I think. Not sure, but it will be the first time I, or anyne in our family, has visited them at their house.

As we left the RV park, we headed down towards the 9th Ward area of downtown. The whole area on the way to the 9th Ward area is pretty rough. It reminded me alot of the downtown areas in Belize City. The area that I saw in the 9th Ward mainly consisted of a vast area of cleared lots with overgrown grass, stairways to nothing, slabs of concrete, deserted houses. You could see where there we holes in the roofs where people during the hurricane escaped their attics. Basically a hole area of the city destroyed. It had obviously been cleaned up but now abandoned. Closer to the river, there looks to be 5 or 6 modern style houses with flat roofs, bamboo plants, very square look, solar panels ont he roof, etc....It looks like someone came in with a publicity stunt and then left the area after their story hit. I am wondering if there are more or are things not really moving in this specific area of town.

So we headed back towards the state park this afternoon and picked up some hamburgers and fresh veggies. There was this great local farmers market that had everything we could have asked for, including quality meat. I got word from Rosemary, that Wendy will be back in Houston on Sunday evening, and that she wants to introduce me to a few of her friends. Here are a few pictures even though they will not do any justice.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Getting un-stuck DAY 3

Getting un-stuck can be hard at times. Most of the time it is our mentality that gets stuck in one place or another. During the begining of this trip I have decided to not let the problem with the truck get me frustrated or stuck in my mind. So today I am really lookin forward to getting the truck back and having her run well for the remainder of the trip and longer. I spent the morning watching a documentary on about the Buena Vista Social Club. The music was so nice, their individual stories of how they got to be were so nice, the scenery of Cuba was so nice. It reminded me of where I was 3 weeks ago, in Guatemala. It brought back to me just how lucky we are to have the opportunities that we have in this country....

This pit stop has really given me a chance to look at what we have with us, what we need, and what we can use if we are stranded somewhere.

So we have landed outside of Slidell, LA at the Fontainbleau State Park on Lake Ponchartrain. We picked up the truck this afternoon and immediately hit the road. I am going to try and visit with some folks while we are in town. I atleast want to meet Tanner, a very good friend of Rose's. I also want to go and see what parts of the city got hit the hardest by Katrina. It will be interesting to see how it is today....So it only cost us $16 per night her. Tomorrow we miht stay here, or we might find another spot. Rose mentioned something about the French Quarter Camp Ground......Not sure if she was joking, but that sounds like something we must try out while in the area. Especially if we are going to be visiting people down that way. Who knows. For now, we are just settling in for a nice quiet evening on the lake. Good night everyone. We are still alive and well, Andrew, Katie, Athena and Marley

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Challenges on the road

Well, we did not get too far along when we were faced with our 1st problem. I noticed thick black smoke coming from the truck, as though the fuel were not burning completely. So I had only been on the road for an hour or so. So I quickly decided to find the nearest campground and set up for the day. So it is a fuel injector that needs to be replaced. Thankfully, I found a Ford Fleet mechanic, Gary at FleetPro, and he will have the truck ready for the road tomorrow at lunch time. The cost is not low, but the issue was going to come up sometime, so now is the time. It could have been a lot worst. So I have internet, AC, my dogs are fine, and the truck is getting repaired. Tomorrow evening we should be in Slidell LA depending on how the truck situation turns out.

One of my biggest fears is the thought of being stuck on the side of the road with the trailer and dogs. It would be naive of me to think that this is the only challenge we will face on this trip. It is definitely teaching me how to not be in control. I really don't have that much I can do without a vehicle. Internet access allows for some great viewing material on So we watched some National Geographic documentaries and drank coffee w/pure cocoa, and we left waiting for the family vehicle to return. The down time definitely gave me time to re-organize the trailer a little better. Otherwise, I have really enjoyed this 1st day of traveling, not really traveling anywhere at all.

This evening is filled with the frogs chirping. It is nice to be able to open the windows of the trailer and to hear all of the life surrounding us. It is like a choir of frogs tonight.....Rosemary just called and she is doing well. Will write tomorrow evening when I am in Louisiana.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Grayton Beach - Day 1

The trip down was easy. Marley now has his place in the back of the truck with a leash on and the truck window open. He see's the world as it passes us by. Athena and Katie ride up front. Katie likes to hang out of the window perched up forwardly....sp?? Tonight I am eatting at my favorite place, The Red Bar.....It is too trendy these days, kind of over-the-top seasideish......

Anyway, we are going to start early and get most of the driving done before it gets too hot tomorrow. I would like to stay outside of New Orleans in order to possibly see the wreckage of old Katrina that still lingers. If I could see that, well, then my trip will have started off in the right direction.

As I sit here, I am surrounded by the bar crowd and well....I am just ready to be somewhere I have never been before. I have been here so many times....and it is definitely time for some new scenery. I must thank Rosemary for this opportunity.....Thank you so much Rose. It is starting off well...The dogs are doing great. I'm off to try and line up some time in NOLA to see Katrina mess.....Will post pictures

Monday, July 13, 2009

Preparing for our journey

The truck is packed. The dogs know that something is about to take place. So it will be Athena, Katie, and Marley on the road.

I was thinking about how this trip is the ultimate tour for ANYONE that owns an Airstream. To have a month to travel across the country, Come On!!! Am I dreaming....Is this really something that I am going to be able to participate in??? So sometimes I feel as though I am dreaming, but them I realize I am not, and I am in complete control of my destiny. So, let's see where we go from here.

Every hour the plans change on paper, in my mind it is all the same, we go west. We will go west and see places we have never seen. I will share this with the dogs on the way out, and with Rose coming back. What is challenging me is the fact that I am getting to know my very own country on my own. Into the wild is a weird way of looking at it. It is kind of survivalistic in alot of ways...going out into the unknown with only a handful of tools and...anyway, this blog is starting to get all .........I guess emotional.?? So, tomorow we go to get our bad ass trailer "Serendipity". I still think she is a black and white biker chick....She knows how to weld and stuff....Yeah, I'm talking about the trailer. So the journey beins tomorrow. We got a long way to go and I hope it all goes well.

Good night, Andrew
Off to Santa Rosa Beach to pick up Trailer

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Whirling winds of peace and love and sunshine...

This whirl wind life is making me dizzy.....I cannot believe all that has been transpiring. Rose is doing wonderful at the fair. She has seriously been wowing me in ways I did not know existed....if that makes any sense. I am sitting here in Atlanta this Sunday evening with my digs, all lights out, a few candles, ceiling fans roaring, and am contemplating the journey I have signed up for. I am completely jumping out there on the road with 3 dogs and a trailer. I will drive from one coast to the other experiencing it the way I experience America. It is scarey to think about...But that is why it is going to be amazing. I have decided that I am going to travel completely sober, no goodies or anything that would get me locked up. All natural, no issues please, ...

So, I feel like I need one more day to meditate, nothing but meditation through breathing...It is still scary though. I like it though, it is kind of like living in the 3rd world...I am really looking forward to the road. Good night, it is storming outside. I am enjoying the large living space here in Atlanta, before our sace becomes the trailer. It will be interesting.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Cha cha cha cha cha cha cha changes.........

So it looks as tough we have an opportunity in Los Angeles for the next 5 weeks. It is kind of nice to be able to take advantage of such opportunities. So Rose fly's out tomorrow afternoon while I am wake boarding here in Orlando. So the plan is that myself and the dogs will be traveling across country with the Airstream.....I have always wanted to drive cross country. It sure is nice to have the opportunity. So I am wondering what route to take, the southern route or the middle route. I think I will take the southern route since the trailer is already in the an handle of Florida. So, I just got word of this today. She is asking me to completely take my time driving out there. I could take 2 weeks if I wanted to....Imaine the places that we could visit along the way?? We'll just have to wait and see.

Oh, today was great! I learned how to wake board riding both ways, regular and goofy footed. I was able to switch directions (180) while riding once. So I am pleased with the progression of my board skills. This is definitely going to help my one my journey to become a competitive kiteboarder.....or atleast someone who has added kite boarding to his menu of activities....So today was a success. I am thinking about hitting a cable park on my way out to LA...There is one in Oklahoma...We'll see.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Other pics in Guatemala

Challenges, Orlando, cable park, and more

I have decided to go to Orlando to start my wake boarding/kite boarding adventures. I am mainly going in order to become better at managing my board skills better on the water. I need to be able to ride both ways: regular foot and goofy foot. Not sure if that is the terminology but you get the idea. Being able to do so will more than likely open some new opportunities with snow boarding as well. But I am looking forward to progressing to a point where I will really be able to experience kite boarding as we see in magazines. I am sure it is as fun if not more than it looks in the pictures. We’ll see. For now, it is Sunday July 5th and I am simply enjoying this new adventure of life on the road. We will be here in Santa Rosa Beach for the next 2 months. I am in charge of cooking and keeping up with our kids while Rose works. I am really enjoying the peacefulness that is present within our trailer. I am also looking forward to seeing how many different landscapes we can live in this year. Hopefully, we can experience the dessert, mountains, lakes, beaches, canyons, and many more.

One thing that is becoming more and more clear to me, is that no matter where we live, what we do for a living, or whatever we market to others, we ALL have something that is challenging us and making life difficult. These days seem to be just as challenging as every other day. While I may be here at the beach and living what we explain as a dream come true, it is still challenging. These days it is simply challenging for me to get used to this lifestyle. I mean, living in a 20 ft airstream trailer with 3 dogs is no simple task. I am also getting used to not having a daily job to go to. It is tough also living in an area of the country that is very different than our home in Atlanta. I am so accustomed to living in a community of diversity, with people of color. I am accustomed to being a minority where I live. There is not much diversity to say the least here. As a matter of fact, I would assume that if I made a racist comment around here, there would be someone to join in on the conversation quickly. Then again, that would probably be the case no matter where we live or what color our skin is. So this leads me into another challenge I am facing, judging others. I guess we all do it, but it is more likely to happen when we are in uncomfortable situations, you know? It makes us feel a little better if we can make someone else wrong or lesser than we are, correct. You can only imagine the looks we get when we tell people we live in a trailer…so… is interesting to say the least. There is a lot of getting used to. I am continuously learning about patience, possibly the same patience that is needed to be a parent. Life on the road is very different. It has its ups and downs, but then again so does life wherever we live. I am beginning to try and get beyond the “grass is always greener” way of thinking. No matter where we are we have to be happy with what we have in front of us, be happy with the present and do our best to not live too much in our past or the future. I think that this is something I have struggled with for most of my life: being present. I tend to always be looking for the “next” thing or to be judging life against past experiences. Or I judge myself against other friends of mine or by what the mass media portrays as being important. Don’t we all do this? Aren’t we all in the race to get ahead?? I guess these are just a few of the thoughts that run through my head most days. It is nice to be out on the road with my family.

Tomorrow I will be practicing a new sport, wake boarding!! Check out the website at

Home to celebrate the 4th of July 2009

So the more we traveled the more we realized that we should begin to purchase one way tickets. After Belize we were faced with going all the way back to Guatemala city which required 2 full days of travel. We were ready to get back to Guatemala and I was ready to get back to the United States. We had experienced everything from magical lakes, colonial villages, humming bird experiences, active volcano hikes, Tikal, and now the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world. I was ready to go home and we headed back to Guatemala City and then we headed home. While we were gone, Michael Jackson died, Farrah Faucet dies, and Billy May’s died, and Honduras had a coup over throwing the elected president Manuel Zalaya. I am glad I decided against visiting my old village in Honduras, I might have ended up in the middle of a protest. Being a white North American can be a little stressful at times when you are in the third world. There are a lot of people who cannot stand us…..

Now it is the 4th of July 2009 and Rose and I and the dogs are settling into our new home at the beach. It is interesting building a new schedule of life, in a different place, in a much smaller space, and with new responsibilities. July 4th came and went and I am very thankful to be free and to be a North American living in the United States of America. We have so many freedoms that are not as easily accessible in other areas of the world. God bless America. So I decided to skip the fireworks shows last night and to come back to the trailer for some time alone. It is kind of new this life of living on the road. I needed some time alone to sort out new situations, to plan for challenges, to figure out my new schedule. So I have decided that I will spend the morning time running and exercising. I am a new member to a gym that gives me 24-hour access. I have also learned that while it might be fun to take Marley with me, it is too hot for him to be running with me. So he and the girls are going to be staying in our mobile air-conditioned living space. It’s really not that bad when you think about it…. So life is good here. I am no longer spraying foam insulation for a living, but rather spending my days reading books on Buddhism or listening to other spiritual learning books on my ipod. I have been spending a lot of time focusing on breathing and meditation and being less judgmental and more present. It all sounds great to talk about but the reality is that I am trying to really incorporate some of the Buddhist teachings into my life. After so many years of learning other ways of being, it could take some time for me to adjust.


Belize was a completely different world. It is the only English speaking country in Central America. Upon arrival at the border, we immediately felt a difference simply due to the culture. It was nice to read signs in English and to see dark skinned people. It was nice to see diversity again. It turned out that the island we were headed to was having "Lobster Fest" during this weekend. We quickly realized that the prices were 3 and 4 times as much as they were in Guatemala, but this would not hold us back from doing what we wanted to do, snorkel on the barrier reef. We ended up spending 3 days in the islands and the snorkeling trip made it all worth it. We swam with manatees, eels, lots of colorful fish, and nurse sharks. I actually was touching and petting the nurse sharks. It was so clear and beautiful on the reef. The aqua color is something I look forward to seeing more often.

Tikal pictures

This place was just about as cool as it gets when you realize that it is thousands of years old. It kind of put me in my place in a lot of ways. It was the tallest tower, Tower 4, that is the one that hikers get to early in order to watch the sun rise over the jungles. In our case, we watched the sun break through the fog. Listening to the howler monkeys off in the distance was neat. They actually sounded like a very large cat growling. I met some really cool people at the top of the tower.

After about an hour more I had had enough of the ruins and hitched a ride back to town. All of the tour guides wanted to charge me $20-$40 USD to go 20 minutes. Hitch hiking is much cheaper and I also learn just how much we all have in common with one another.

Northern Guatemala

The flowing day, we headed to Guatemala City to catch a plan to Flores Guatemala. This is the town on Lake Peten Itza where Rosemary would be volunteering with a local wildlife rescue association, ARCAS. Her goal was to work with the local wild animals such as birds, monkeys, deer, etc…. My goal was to go and visit Tikal and to hang out in the area for the week. I spent the following day watching the sunrise above the jungles at Tikal. The Mayan ruins of Tikal were some of the most amazing ruins I could ever have imagined. It was foggy at first and then the sunburst through and howler monkeys could be heard in the distance. They actually sounded like large cats growling. I returned to town of Remate where I relaxed by a pool and took in northern Guatemala in style and comfort. My room had an air conditioner!!! After 24 hours at ARCAS, Rose realized that they simply did not have enough in-depth work with animals in order to make her week enjoyable, so she and I decided that we would go to Belize and spend some time in the islands.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Volcano Pacaya

The next morning we were off again, back to Antigua and off to hike Volcano Pacaya. The hike started in the green trees and ended up in an old lava flow field. The scenery was amazing and the views were not anything I had ever seen before. We went from lush forest to a dessert of volcanic rock. Surrounding us were other inactive volcanos as well as 10-year-old lava flows that ran down the mountain and were still grayish in color spanning 100’s of yards if not 1/2 mile across. The rock was extremely sharp and just about as hard to walk in as thick sand at the beach. As we reached the top, the clouds were below us and lava was flowing. The guides brought marshmallows to roast on the lava flows. It was really cool to see the molten rock and to smell the smell of fresh lava. You could feel the lava below the hardened molten rock we were standing on. Heat was coming at us from all directions. What an experience it was to experience a live volcano.