RV Show = Game Changer

Last October 2013, I wrote a blog post about my idea dream for 2017.   I even told all the key players in my life about it both in person and online (like my three bosses, Lil O and Mr. UpCyclist).  At the time, I think the majority of those folks thought I was losing my mind and/or not ultra-serious - with the exception of one - my boss, CE.  She smiled at the idea and said we would honk at each other in our trailers/RVs.

Fast forward to now and my family - Lil O and Mr. UpCyclist - are totally on board.

The game changer was an RV show.

My family and I had never really checked out RVs/trailers before.  Sure, we pass them all the time in Colorado, but we had never really been onboard one.  That changed last weekend when an RV show came to Breckenridge.  We had the opportunity to stand in about ten of them and ask a zillion questions.

That show changed everything.

Change #1:  We learned that adorable, adventure vans like the white one above are way, way, way too small to live in for a year - unless you are 20 years old, single, with a medium-sized dog, and you are a pro-cyclist.  Vans, like the Sprinter above, are totally cool - just not spacious enough for us for an entire year of living on the road.  That really surprised me as I adore Sprinters and that genre of vehicle.

Change #2:  We need space for home-schooling (although, road-schooling might be more appropriate) and for Mr. U and I to work, in general. Most of the RVs we checked out had clever spaces for working like this pull-out desk Lil O is pretend using below.  This desk, by the way, is right up front as part of the passenger seat - clever!

Change #3:  We plan on living in our RV/trailer for an entire year.  Thus, we really want modern conveniences like showers, toilets, kitchens, etc. right in the RV.  What surprised me was how nice and sometimes fancy the RV amenities were.  I'm talking lovely showers, full and half-bathrooms, washer/dryer combos, and kitchens with islands.  

Change #4:  We have a ton of gear.  Currently, we travel with five bikes, one Diggler Scooter, a healthy stash of art supplies, my sewing machine, plus during ski season we have three pairs of skis and two snowboards (plus snowshoes) and gosh forbid we start bringing our kayaking gear - we have three whitewater boats + paddles.  To make a long gear story short, we need storage space outside of the elements, preferably.  The clever RV, below, has a "toy hauler" in the back with a queen-sized, lofted bed overhead.  Mr. UpCyclist and Lil O were both in heaven scheming how they would use this back storage space.

Change #5:  Our family does not agree on what size RV we need (I think we've ruled out doing a trailer, by the way; we all would prefer to drive and have access to our stuff simultaneously).  Lil O and Mr. U want a very spacious RV - like the photo below or the toy hauler RV above.  I don't think any of us want the disco lights like the one below has - ha!  However, Mr. U makes a great point:  This will be our home for a full-year.  We don't want to be on top of each other.  We all need space to chill, work/learn, and rejuvenate.  We aren't trying to camp or go glamping.  This RV will literally be our home on wheels.

Change #6:  Personally, I would prefer a medium-sized RV like the one pictured below.  Or at least, that's how I feel at the moment.  I think this size would be more maneuverable, guzzle less gas, and still provide enough space for our family of four (Jedi included, of course.)  My goal this fall is to check out more medium-sized RVs in Maryland to see if that size is a reality or not.  Any Marylanders are welcome to join me!

Change #7:  Seeing the RVs in person made the 2017 idea seem like a total reality.  Lil O, Mr. U and I have been talking about it ever since and really thinking about how to make a year in an RV work - financially especially.

As an aside, I've been stalking blogs of families who live full-time in RVs either to "live lightly" and/or because they want to have an adventure like us.  This blog currently has my interest.  I love this mom's honesty about RV living, road-schooling and sex!  Ha!

I'm guessing you might have thoughts or advice on RV living, what size RV makes the most sense, etc. If you do, would you mind emailing me or leaving your comments below?  I'd love to hear more perspectives since I am a total newbie to the RV scene.

All the best,

PS - Stephanie, if you are reading this, I will definitely contact your sister when I get back to Maryland.  Thank you for always offering her as a resource :)

Life Updated: The Spell Edition

I finally figured out what's going on.  I'm in a spell.  The Breckenridge Spell.  Here's what my family and I have been up to in my spell-like trance of just being in the moment....
  • Hiking.  Oh man, have we've been hiking.  I think we are up to at least four new big hikes this summer as evidenced by the natural-esque photos above.  Three of the hikes were spectacular. Just one was a dud.
  • Laundry.  Got to keep it real, right?  I was totally dreading going to the laundromat until Lil O proclaimed, "This is so much fun!"  Don't you just love a child's perspective?  It was fun because she was with me and because we had a laundry snafu and flooded part of the laundromat floor. Long story, but washing waterproof mattress protectors is harder than I thought.
  • Totally off topic, but we went to an RV show two days ago.  I figure we need to get ready for 2017 at some point.  Anyway, I couldn't believe how many RVs have washers and dryers. Without exaggeration, most of the RVs were more elaborate than our current homes.
  • And....now, Lil O, Mr. UpCyclist and I really, really, really, really want an RV.  I am obsessed with a home on wheels.  Obsessed.  Lil O and Mr. U want a giant RV.  I want a modest-sized one.  We will see how that story turns out.
  • We took a two-day trip to Denver to pick up Mr. UpCyclist from the airport.  He needed to work in Maryland, so we were without him for a couple of weeks.  He has returned.  We enjoyed Denver (saw our cousins and good friends) and now are back in Breckenridge - apparently, sipping drinks together like cheesy newlyweds.  Ha!  We do love this semi-new taco restaurant in Breck.  Yum.  Even Jedi enjoys it.
  • Shockingly, I've barely done any crafting this summer - it's that Breckenridge Spell thing again. However, Molly came over recently and we started a little DIY project.  We still have more to do.  The project is in this genre in case you are interested.
  • I decided not to attend the John Denver tribute concert (it was a fundraiser). Why, you ask?  I am a huge JD lover and I knew I would cry the entire concert - or at least for most of it.  Lil O was curious about why I would cry and all I could say was:  1) JD songs completely remind me of growing up and attending camp in North Carolina.  2) I miss camp; I have SO many fond memories of my ten years there.  3) Since JD passed away over a decade ago, I realize the bittersweetness of life.
But, to make me smile, I did go listen to the faint sound of the concert while Lil O, Jedi and Mr. UpCyclist played on the lawn next to the venue.  It was the right combination of hearing JD and letting tears well in my eyes without feeling embarrassed about them.

About crying:  One of my coaching instructors told me crying mean "there's something important there."

I agree.  There is something important there.

How's your summer?



Living Like a Local

Train playground in Breckenridge

When we travel or spend the summers in Breckenridge, we try to embrace the mantra, live like a local. For us that means, taking advantage of local spots, events, festivals, and amenities.  A few that come to mind this summer include....

  • Hearing the local orchestra play (and bringing our badminton set to play on the lawn while we listen).
  • Attending the ribbon cutting for a new train playground (photo above). Breck has a rich history of trains and mining.  We may have also enjoyed cake, cookies and lemonade while we were there ;)
  • Working or volunteering at our favorite shops like the Fresh Soap Company or Breck Bike Guides.  
  • Checking out books from the local library and participating in library happenings.
  • Going to local festivals or events.  Recently, Lil O and I went to our first hip hop competition in the mountains.  An all girls crew won called the Janes; those girls were so impressive.
  • Enjoying local fundraisers.  We have two coming up - one for Francie's Cabin (which makes me think of my mom, Fran) and the other for Domus Pacis, which provides free vacation housing to families who are battling a terminal health issue.
The secret to living like a local, in my opinion, is three things:

1.  Stay one place long enough to feel like a local.  I think a week or more can do the trick.
2.  Tap into the community by reading the local newspaper daily or talking to locals about what they enjoy.  In Breckenridge, I literally read the local newspaper daily and find most of my gems in there.
3.  Be open to the "local lifestyle," which typically means being unrushed.  That part is great for me this summer since I am working on living in the present moment.

What are your thoughts?  Do you like to live like a local sometimes?  If so, what are your tips to do so?

All the best,

Drum Roll Please for Today's Yes Day

Yesterday, we went on an awesome hike as evidenced by the photo above.  Lil O, by the way, is studying the stem of a wildflower while she walks.

(drum roll, please)

Today is Lil O's Yes Day.

You remember Yes Days, right?  The day where I have to say Yes to everything Lil O desires.

EVERYTHING (luckily, she's such a cool kid and doesn't seem to go too, too overboard with her demands).

Her first Yes Day was documented here.  Last year, we did it up with a Yes Day here.  Lest not forget my first and only Yes Day here.  If you are wondering about my Yes Day last summer, I decided I didn't need a Yes Day because the entire summer felt like a Yes Day to me.

Think good thoughts for us today.  Heck, think good thoughts for me!

Here's to Yes!



PS - In case you are concerned about our other child, we are planning a Yes Day for Jedi, too!

Way of Life

Early morning hike with Jedi in Breckenridge

Every morning around 6-6:30am, I take Jedi on a morning hike, swim and stroll.  This morning, we met a guy from Pennsylvania who is in Breckenridge on business.  The guy was so happy to be out in the morning hiking.  He said he didn't pack hiking shoes because he didn't think he'd have time to hike, but when he realized he would, he went out the night before to purchase new shoes in town.

What I loved about our early morning exchange, besides his enthusiasm for the mountains, was he totally got it.  Being outside.  Enjoying the trails.  Getting lost in the beauty of the mountains.  That is the way of life around here.  There is no "exercise."  Hiking, walking, biking, and moving are just a way of life in towns like Breck.  Those activities are just that - activities.  Not exercise.  Not separate from life.

They are life.

So, if you are wondering where I am.  Why my blog posts are so sporadic or you can't find me easily. It is because I am living life.  And I'm incredibly grateful for it.


Stealthy Around Here

Car Testing in Colorado

Every summer in Colorado we see cars like the one above.  Cars completely covered and disguised.  I had zero idea about why until I mentioned it to Mr. UpCyclist.  I swear, that guy knows just about everything there is to know about cars.

And apparently car testing.

Since our place is nestled in the Rocky Mountains at 9,000+, car manufacturers will test new cars (actually, future models of cars) in our area.  In doing so, the car companies can analyze how their cars handle high altitudes, cold temps, mountain roads, etc.  Every insignia on the cars is hidden.  In fact, we recently saw a test driver get out of a test car and he even covered the dashboard, so no one would see the make/model/design.

Stealthy, no?  

Mr. UpCyclist also told me the drivers are sometimes called car mules.  I wonder what that job is like driving around all day in a secretive, fabric wrapped car in such gorgeous places.  Actually, if the car was mod podged with fabric, I might be totally into it.

Happy Weekend, lovely blog reader - see you on the other side,


Still Here

Hiking in Breckenridge; Black Powder Pass

Is it just me or are those clouds above totally fake looking?  They aren't.  But, really, Mother Nature. You are such a lovely show-off.

I'm actually blogging in real-time right now.  Jedi is passed out on the couch after our two-hour hike this morning under the fake clouds above.  I love this hiking area so much I want to go back tomorrow.  Lil O is watching the Disney Channel - Austin and Ally to be exact.  Just keeping it real.

In my effort to just be, blogging has taken a backseat.  It's hard to just be when I am writing a blog post for the future, which is why I am typing this and will hit "publish" immediately.   Past that, I have life things to do - food shop, laundry and visit the tiny library here.  I am hooked on libraries.  I believe they are one of the greatest inventions of humankind.

Dr. Irwin - a contributor to Upcycled Education and a dear, dear friend - is coming to our place in Colorado for the weekend to visit.  I have so much I want to talk about with her I am considering drafting an agenda.  Can you believe that?  I want to draft a weekend agenda.  Luckily, she's the one friend who would totally dig that - all my talking points outlined.

Jedi is now making his way to his new favorite spot, the bathroom.  I think he likes small, dark spaces to rest. Lil O is rifling through the fridge looking for lunch.

Cue motherhood.



Being Present in Colorado

I just love Breckenridge, CO.   No, duh, right?  It's the town, the people, the energy, the pace, the fresh air, and there just feels like there is so much to do or not do.  I also love just looking at the mountains and leaning into them.

One of my goals this summer is just to be.  Do you know how hard it is to just be sometimes? Without thinking of what's next or what just happened?

Being present in the exact moment of time is tricky.  However, I do believe that is what is so magical about being outdoors and being lost in the mountains (or the sea or the jungle or wherever you are outdoors). Being outside is probably the best and easiest place to just be.

When I am just in the present moment (the opposite of worrying or planning), I admire all the amazingness that life and Breckenridge offers.  Things like bouldering, hiking above tree line, admiring the cutest foxes I've ever seen, seeing Molly and Mr. UpCyclist ski/snowboard in early July..... (Didn't I tell you Molly was rad?)

Going sledding with Lil O and Cousin A (in July)....

Watching the gals ride our DIY long board (a snowboard mounted with wheels) and celebrate our newest family addition, the Diggler (which you can see in the background; Lil O is riding it).  The Diggler deserves its own post.  You know how long I've been wanting one.

See you on the other side of the weekend.  It's time to get back to being present.



Jedi Meets a Relative

Our second day in Breckenridge, a woman stopped us and said, "Your dog looks just like my dog." Being so curious, we asked if we could meet her dog.

What do you think?  Are these two long lost relatives or what?  (forgive the grainy photo)

Here's Marble giving Jedi a hug.

I can't get over the similarities.

Altitude headache:  If you saw my post on Instagram, you know I had a brutal altitude headache.  I usually feel icky for about 3-4 days when we arrive in Breck because it is soooo high here - 9,600 ft.!  The ickiness usually includes a mild headache, lethargy, and constant thirst.  This time, I felt all those things, but the headache - oh, the headache - was awful.  It just wouldn't subside.  Knock on wood, I am over the hump.  I woke this morning without a headache, only mild thirst and just a touch of lethargy.  You wouldn't know it from all the things I've been doing to distract myself - light hiking, going to the dog park, working at the Fresh Soap Company, swimming, and walking around town.  BUT, my family will tell you I'm a grouch-a-saurus. I love to read and just last night, I could finally pick up a book and see straight.  Whew.  Fingers crossed the altitude headache & sickness ends today; It is Day 4 after all.

Plus, Cousin A arrives!



Life Updated: Off We Go Edition

Hello, there.  Happy Summer!  I just realized.  I usually take a blogcation in May or June.  This year I did not.  I must of had so much to write about between my sabbatical announcement for the fall, the coaching workshop with Sue, the launch of my new website, and the fun podcast with Elise.

Life has been lovely, busy, jam-packed and totally great.  Maybe I'll take a blogcation in July especially since Sue challenged me in our last coaching call to go tech free for a bit.  Hmmmm.....

In the meantime, June has been superb.  Here's what's been happening....
  • Katy Perry!  Lil O enjoyed her first "big" concert with her best friend (I got to tag along, too!).  I must say, Katy Perry put on a great show.  I love that she kept the show PG rated and uber- theatrical.  I also appreciate that while in Washington, DC, she took advantage of the sights and her connections as you can see in her IG feed.  Lil O is now officially a Katy Cat.  Meow.
  • In honor of such a big first, we tried hair tinsel in Lil O's hair.  I bought the tinsel on Etsy here and used this video to learn how to knot it.  It looks soooo cool.  Though, I need to work on my knotting skills.  Over half the tinsel has slid out when the tinsel is supposed to stay in for 2-6 weeks.  I shall practice more!
  • Isn't Jedi such a lover?  Look at him up above waiting for Lil O outside the dentist office.  And then, there's the photo of him sound asleep amidst a mass of pillows and blankies on our roadtrip.
  • Roadtrip!  Woot, woot!  I'm blogging from Colorado today.  Get ready for a deluge of mountain photos on Instagram.  Breckenridge is as lovely as it usually is.  There's more snow on the peaks than normal, an assortment of the coolest RVs everywhere I look, and we finally have a Whole Foods nearby.  If we get a Trader Joe's here, I might have to move. Wink, wink.  Though I might be serious.
  • Oh, and let me tell you about our Whole Foods.  First, I am a Whole Foods fanatic.  I literally seek them out when we travel.  I've been to many including the Austin flagship store and the largest Whole Foods in the US outside Chicago.  I really am a fan.  Second, the new Whole Foods near Breckenridge is delightful and totally clever.  It has a bike repair station out front; yep, you can work on your bike using their tools, bike stand and tire pump.  Inside, it has a retired gondola car that has been converted into a table and booth.  Lil O and I can't wait to have lunch inside it. And the decor inside and out incorporates skis, snowboards, and old sails (from the nearby sailboats on Lake Dillion).  This store is so beautiful to look at in every possible way.  It also is semi-affordable when I stick with their 365 brand. Ahhh.....
How's your summer going?