Trying to catch up on a whole bunch of updates

I have been meaning to sit down and write something like this ever since we got back from our trip (late June) – but once you get behind on something like this it doesn’t feel right to just skip ahead, but I’m finally giving up on catching up and I’m just going to give an update on where we are now, and sort of what’s brought us here. Probably will be just a lot of reading, and not much for pictures, but its something.

Hmm… maybe I’ll do this in Q&A format – that seems fun.

First off – we didn’t do a great job of updating our blog, but we did pretty good at filling out our trip on TrackMyTour:  Cynanchum

Q: Why haven’t you been on facebook?

We just felt like it was too easy to compare ourselves to others in the FB world, so when we got back we sort of took a break.

I had a time, somewhere in the middle of the trip, that I saw a post of some dad playing baseball with their kids and I immediately started getting down on myself for not playing baseball like that with my kids. Then I realized where I was, what we had been doing as a family for the past X months, and how susceptible I was to this – and how bad I must have been making it for other people that didn’t have the flexibility that we had.

I’m not really anti-facebook, and I do believe that most of the people I know don’t intentionally try to do anything like this – but it has its effect on me anyway.

Q: How was the trip?!?!?

When people ask us this, it’s really hard to answer. This was actually a bit of a stress point when we got back “How are we going to answer that question?” It’s so multi-faceted.

On one hand it was awesome. Of course it was awesome. We got to see things we wouldn’t have seen before, and do things we hadn’t done before. Yellowstone, Kennedy Space Center, camping on the ocean, “living” in the Oregon mountains for 6 weeks, spending time with friends and family we normally rarely have a chance to see, loads of time together with just our family to strengthen our relationships, etc, etc, etc… it was awesome.

On the other hand, camper life is hard. Leaving your friends and family behind is hard. The first few weeks we pretty much had social detox – kids (and us adults) would frequently just get slammed by the sadness of not having people around. Being bored because you don’t have anyone within 100 miles to hang out with is hard. Having to do dishes 3 times a day is hard. Having a camper that went from clean to pigsty in 30mins of not paying attention is hard. Not ever having a place to yourself to go sit and be by yourself is hard. We also moved nearly every weekend – so always being in a new place and not really knowing the area is hard. Finding new places is hard (especially when you are dumb like us and go to Florida in snowbird season with no plan). Blowing out a tire in the middle of New Mexico on a weekend after shop closing time is hard with no one to call up and help you is hard. Leaving an awning open in a torrential rain storm and having it get ripped off the side of the camper when you are just starting and already feel like a rookie at everything, and realizing your dad you are super close with who usually helps you figure things like this out, is 1000 miles away and you are alone is hard.

So yeah – it was awesome and really hard.

Q: How did you grow as a family?

So many ways that we are still learning about. One big one is that it bonded us as a family together. We had to work through tough times, we had to get along, we had to learn that you need to just live with un-ideal situations and make them work. Bonding always seems to happen the most during difficult stuff, and we never in our right mind choose to make the difficult stuff happen – but when you don’t know what you are doing the difficult stuff happens anyway :-).

I think a really astonishing one to me was our capacity as a family. Kayleen and I both really struggle with feeling like we are lazy. The result of this is that we would commit to doing more than we had capacity for, and then feel really, really down about ourselves as people for not being able to do all the things we felt like we should be doing. We would both have semi-“meltdowns” on a reasonably regular basis. Once we got on the trip, and pretty much just had a light schoolwork load, and my job, we were surprised that we STILL felt like really only going and doing something about 1 or 2 nights a week. That was an eyeopener. How in the world did we get to the point of having so many things piled on ourselves and still expect to be healthy and functional?

This next one is a really big one for me, but I always have a hard time explaining it well. I feel like when I owned a house before, there were always expectations of what I should be working on, what I should be fixing, what my yard should look like, what I should be spending my Saturdays doing, etc… and with full-timing I knew that we were so far off from the beaten path that I actually had freedom to decide and not feel that pressure. Every family full-times differently. Everyone has a different number of kids, with different personality mixes, with different bedtime rhythms, etc. Some people have a dedicated space for everyone, some do a “bedtime conversion” and all the sitting areas/tables turn into beds and everyone goes to bed at the same time. Some people buy huge rigs, some buy small rigs, some buy a class A and pull a trailer behind, some buy a pop-up. It’s always different, and you are free to choose what suits and fits your family. It was immensely freeing for me.

For Kayleen, she had different pressures to be careful of. Because we were doing this amazing thing, that means we should be hiking constantly, and enjoying the outdoors, and doing all the things, and visiting all the places nearby, and having this cool pinterest-worthy camper and life we were living. She felt she had to learn to give herself permission to do this our way, and have realistic expectations.

So in summary, we learned to be “us” and kind of what that meant.

I could probably write pages more, but I’ll save that for if anyone wants to have coffee or a beer sometime, or come hang out.

 

Q: Weren’t you going to go to Alaska?

We originally had plans to spend the end of the summer driving up to Alaska, but if we did that it would mean only being in Michigan for a month or so before heading back out again, and we knew we didn’t want to leave everyone that quickly. So for the time being “Going to Alaska” stays on the bucket list.

Also, strangely, after staying in the Oregon mountains, spending a week in Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP, and a week in Yellowstone…. we felt like we were a little numb to astonishingly beautiful nature and wildlife.

Q: Are you going to keep full-timing?

At this point, we are not. After much discussion with the kids, and between Kayleen and I, we would rather have roots and be close to people we love and live life with them.

Q: Where are you living? 

We actually just bought a house in NW Grand Rapids, near Leonard and Alpine.

Q: WHAT?!?!?

Yup. We are city people now.

Obviously I need to explain this a bit. Hopefully I do an okay job. The reasons are sort of intermixed, so it’s hard to explain them linearly. I keep rewriting these sections, so you might just have to live with a few disorganized blobs.

For one, we lived in a camper for about a year bouncing from campground to campground and having to be flexible with wherever we were at – so we felt like we could live about anywhere. 🙂

Before we left on our adventure we started going to Gold Avenue church in Grand Rapids. We right away felt like it was a great place for us, and planned on coming back to be a part of it after we got back from our travels.

During the trip we didn’t really have much of a plan, and that was great, but I think we also learned that without a goal we feel very aimless. As a family we are pretty flexible and adaptable, but we don’t naturally have any direction. I don’t think this was a problem in how we did the trip – but I think it was sort of an analogy of a bigger lesson to us.

Jesus says in Matt 16:25 (NLT) “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.”
My favorite singer, Rich Mullins, had a song with this section in it:

Do I turn to the left?
Do I turn to the right?
When I turn to the world they gave me this advice
They said boy you just follow your heart
But my heart just led me into my chest
They said follow your nose
But the direction changed every time I went and turned my head
And they said boy you just follow your dreams
But my dreams were only misty notions
But the Father of hearts and the Maker of noses
And the Giver of dreams He’s the one I have chosen
And I will follow Him

So – yeah. We knew we wanted to be part of this church (which is a small, very community-nuturing church) when we came back. We knew we wanted/needed to be a part of close community –  and we felt like with knowing that, we couldn’t decide to live out in the country – it just felt too incongruous. We started with a plan to find a place to rent, but it ended up making more sense to us to buy something.

So we bought a place. In the city. Not too far from a few of our close friends, and not too far from our church. It’s not our slice of heaven, but it’s not supposed to be. We pray that it will be a place of peace, and that here, and with our community of faith, God would grow us and teach us what we need to be taught. *shrug* Not sure what to say beyond that.

In Conclusion…

There. You are largely caught up now. There are tons of things I’ve missed or skipped, but if I don’t publish this post tonight it will never get done :-).

I don’t think this is really the end of this blog, we are definitely still some crazy Jasperse – so there will probably be more things here or there to write about.

If you want to know more, just ask us. We love getting to know people, so if you want to reach out and get together sometime please do!

 

Footnote: I have been getting SO MUCH spam from this blog that I have disabled comments, but if you want to contact us and don’t have our contact information you can use the Contact Us form.

A Crazy Thought…

This is how it started. You know, the adventure we began practically on a whim, at the expense of most of our belongings, our home (I’m going to miss that item), and temporarily all our amazing friends and family (REALLY going to miss those). Not that we won’t have friends and family; I just mean we won’t see much of them for a while, at least in person.

Our plan started out as a wistful comment I made to Scott. We were driving to Portland, Oregon to fly home after a week-long visit with some family in the state. We had greatly enjoyed having time to relax together, seek out fun things to do as a family when we weren’t otherwise occupied, visit with our relatives we don’t often get to see, and enjoy the beauty that our God had created for us to marvel at. We even got to witness and be part of the beautiful wedding of my brother and new sister! However, the week had gone by too quickly, as vacations tend to do, and there was much we still wanted to see and explore in the area.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we could spend as much time here as we wanted to, and not have to return home at a specific time?” (I can’t remember the exact words I said, but it was something along those lines.)

Before I said it out loud, the thought invoked inward laughter, and I said it mostly as a joke, or a crazy idea that couldn’t really happen. But it ended up sounding much less ridiculous out loud than it did in my head. Scott looked over from his driving (just for a second, though), and said, “Well, we kind-of could, you know.” Um. Not the reaction I’d expected.

Thus began a conversation hashing out a rough sketch of possibility for us. What if we took the six to twelve months, more or less, and lived in a travel trailer and went wherever we felt inclined to go, within the U.S. and Canada (except Hawaii for lack of roads across the Pacific…)? We already home school, so no big difficulty there. Scott’s job is fairly portable. We’ve been wanting to have experiences and adventures as a family that would take us outside our normal zone of comfort (I’m sure I’ll regret saying that later when I’m driving through some huge city during rush hour with our big rig, and our exit is 4 lanes over). All this to say, the idea seemed to fit. So the conversation continued.

A couple days later, we realized we hadn’t really prayed together about this. We were leaning toward going ahead with it, and had been praying separately about the matter, but we really hadn’t reached a definite decision, and didn’t know whether it was something the Lord was leading us in, or if it was just a fun-sounding idea we were running with. We’d both felt peace concerning it (almost relief, actually, as I’ll explain later), but we wanted for it to be surrendered to God and His plans for our family. So we prayed, and both had a sense of God giving the choice to us to make. We were free to do it. We were free to not do it. Freedom. Well, I guess you can figure out which way we decided to go 😉

For me as a home school mom, I’ve been feeling like we need a change. Something big. Something new. My plan for the year had been to send my kids full time on Fridays to a local home school program that offers classes in most major subjects, as well as art and other electives. But when their new schedule was released, classes began quickly filling up before Scott and I had time to sit and figure out what to do. So that option was out. There were other options, too, and good ones, but I felt uneasy about them for this year. Then this traveling idea came up, and it really felt like the answer I was looking for concerning our kids’ education. For the first time in a couple years, I’m excited about school. Our plan is to bring along what we’ll need for math, writing, grammar, spelling, and reading. Science and history will be based on where we are and what seems of interest in a given place. Exploring museums, libraries, maybe a space center or observatory here and there. Discovering the history of the places we locate at. U.S. history was the plan for this year anyway, so this should fit in nicely.

GPS mishap

While we were moving the fifth wheel today I missed a turn and my GPS was trying to re-route me. We just use Google Maps for directions for now, so it can try to tell me to do things that I don’t want to do with an RV.

So I missed this turn – and my GPS went crazy trying to get me to do U-turns on two-lanes roads and whatever, so I am looking at each road as I come up to it trying to guess if it’s ok for a 30′ 5th wheel. I hit one side road that looks alright, so I turn into it and it immediately starts looking more and more residential. I don’t want to go any further, but I don’t just want to stop and block the road so I am in mild panic mode. I see a long curving drive to the right into some business and I quick look and it looks like it’s a big enough parking lot to stop and turn around in, so I make the snap decision and turn into it.

It wasn’t a big parking lot. It was narrow.

It had a hair turn at the end.

It was an elementary school – and I pulled in right at the time the parents were packing in to pick up their kids.

So I’m stuck. The parking lot isn’t hardly big enough for me to turn around in anyway, and more parents are arriving by the minute.

I found a gap between some cars and drove across the small grass median in the parking lot, between the cars, out onto a little field it looks like some people park in, and out onto the neighboring highschool’s driveway.

I must have looked like such a jerk doing that across the school parking lot/grass right at peak time – but not sure what else I shouldn’t done.

My route:

(205) 939-6826

Where I was: (mostly adding this so I can find it back someday)

(256) 756-0364

We wanted to find a place a little closer to the ocean this time, and somehow stumbled on this tiny little campground. It’s about 20 spots, no reservations, right on the Gulf of Mexico – and available and cheap. It’s even got a fishing and birdwatching deck down the road a bit.

LATER UPDATE:

Here is something a little funny about the place. The site we picked was on quite a slant. We barely had enough travel on the front landing legs of the camper to lift it off the truck, and then lower it down far enough to be level.

One thing we learned about the place the next day was that it was a VERY shallow tidal flat. It was just a few inches deep for hundreds of yards out, and the only boat traffic was airboats. Lots and lots of airboats. Here is a picture of it at low tide.

It really wasn’t a great “coastal” area. We tried a little fishing, but gave up pretty quick. We did learn about the fish called the “mullet” though. Its an extremely common fish, and they are know for just randomly jumping out of the water. Crazy!

It was pretty clear why it was called “Shell Mound”. Pretty much all the ground was half shells. The boat launch area looked like they push in shells with a bulldozer to build it up

Crazy!

There were so many crabs around. The kids caught tons. Here is my fearless Lydia who actually went ahead and held one.626-433-5387

We also had such a huge problem with no-see-ums (tiny biting gnats that came come right through screens). We had cloud of them in the camper. We ended up closing all the windows (got pretty stuffy), turned all the lights off except one, and then hung a big strip of Gorilla Tape by the light as a make-shift strip of flypaper, and then I stood by with the vacuum to suck them out of the air with the hose. It was a bit miserable right at dusk.

One kind of humorous thing we did here was to hang our clothes inside due to rain. It worked pretty good, although we needed to run our new dehumidifier at full blast all day.

 

 

 

 

SpaceX Falcon 9 ZUMA launch!! – Port Canaveral, FL

As a family we have been watching almost every SpaceX launch we can. A few years ago Sam and I got into Kerbal Space Program, and that really gave us some context for how cool the rocket science stuff was. Watching a SpaceX launch really was a bucket list item for us.

We thought we would have to figure out Kennedy Space Center passes, but I had a busy week with work (and every single night we needed to run into town for something – which was a 20-30min drive each way while we were at Hardee Lakes) so we didn’t figure out what we needed to do. I was planning on just having to not go to the launch, but then a friend I used to work with years ago messaged me saying he was in the area and wanted to know if we wanted to go watch the launch. He know were we could go and that the view would be good. HECK YES!!!

Last time he was there watching a launch the parking lot got packed early in the day, so we set out as early as we could (which after breakfast, cleaning up, and everyone going to the bathroom was like noon), and packed the truck full of stuff to try to be able to not be too bored while we were there all day waiting for the evening liftoff time.

We had some fun getting there – we went down a ton of toll roads, and then Google Maps hung up while I was on a toll road and I didn’t realize it until we had gone 30min out of our way paying tolls the whole way, so then we had to turn back around and re-pay all those tolls again. I think we spent almost $20 in tolls one way.

It turns out that for whatever reason the parking was pretty open all night – so it really wasn’t bad, and as a bonus for us there was a very nice playground so the girls played there nearly the whole time while Sam and I fished (we didn’t know what we were doing, and didn’t catch anything).

This was our view. The red circle is the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building about 10 miles away. The rocket took off from over to the right a little bit.

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While we waited we even got to see dolphins! That was a first for all of us.

After a while the cruise ships left port. That was cool to see. Everyone was sanding on deck waving at all of us.

reboast

(508) 362-9652

The launch was at 8pm – which seemed like forever to wait. I was worried that it would be so far away that we wouldn’t see it well – but that turned out to be totally unfounded.

I didn’t take any pictures or videos. I didn’t have to gear to capture anything worth rewatching, and there are hundreds of videos on youtube of every launch. If you want to see it, go there.

If you don’t know anything about SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket – it not only goes up into space on a spectacular tongue of fire, but the lower stage (the powerful bottom half of the rocket which has the job of pushing through the thick lower atmosphere) after it’s finished it brakes away from the top half of the rocket, spins around, and comes back and re-land at a nearby landing pad. Crazy stuff.

The rocket was so high. I thought it was going to be out low and away from us, but it must have been towards us because it seemed like it went nearly over our heads. The noise of it was quite loud even at 10mi away, although it was delayed by about a full minute. It was incredible. Even from that far away it was so bright.

As it rose we could see the rocket plume get wider and wider as atmospheric pressure lessened, and then we got to see it finish it’s burn, separate, and see the 2nd stage “vacuum” engine light up and head away down range with it’s super-wide exhaust plume behind it.

Shortly after the 2nd stage fired up the lower stage spun around (which we couldn’t see) and then began it’s “boost-back burn” – which heads it back towards it’s landing pad. This was probably the coolest part – with the two engines “facing” each other in relative proximity in the dark they lit up each others exhaust as it kinda curled and swirled around between them. This video isn’t great quality but kinda shows what I mean.

After the boost-back burn is done everyone is waiting for the 1st stage’s reentry burn – which it makes as it reenters the atmosphere – but we didn’t quite know where to look. We were all in suspense keeping our eyes peeled but not knowing where. When it finally relit it was much closer and higher over us than we expected.

The reentry burn finished, and then I think about 30 seconds or a minute later the landing burn started and ran until it touched down. Right when it touched down the sonic booms hit us – we thought the rocket had exploded on the pad or something until we realized what it was. I’d never heard a sonic boom before. It sounded like one of those big fireworks going off.

I’m going to steal this next picture from the guy I went with(well – he sent it to me, so I didn’t really steal it). Scott Hendricks had his camera gear out and took this AWESOME time-lapse picture.
bass deafness

(I like to think I helped him with it by making sure Lydia didn’t walk into his setup in the dark and knock it over)

We were all so geeked by the experience. It was way cooler than I expected, and we all want to go see another one. I wonder if we’ll be in the area when the Falcon Heavy goes up…

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So, on this trip we hadn’t seen the ocean yet – which we decided needed to end. We had some friends recommend the De Soto beach, so we decided to make a day trip over there.

It was great – and I couldn’t believe how much sea stuff there was to find on the beach. We arrived later in the day (because we can never leave on time) so I figured the beach had already been picked over, but there were millions of shells of all shapes and sizes, as well as a bunch of horseshoe crabs!

We walked around on the beach for while finding what we could find (and not taking enough pictures). We even did a group Facebook video call with a handful of friends so we could share what we were seeing. It was so cool!

On the way back Lexi really wanted to see the fort that was there. We didn’t have a lot of time (the park was getting ready to close and we wanted to hit one last beach) but we quick ran through some of the fort. The kids thought the 12in mortars were pretty cool – as did I.

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We hit the final beach before the park closed, and it wasn’t as cool It was the east beach – which faces a bay instead of the ocean, so there wasn’t as much to find – but Lydia busted out her shovel and had her own little outing all by herself while we walked the beach. It was kinda adorable – even if it did mean soaking wet shoes.

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We sorta stumbled across this park by accident. It’s a nice, quiet, open park with a very good price. We called to ask them if they could fit us in, because they didn’t have much of a website. It turns out they are a park that is almost never full – and we don’t really know why. It’s beautiful! Maybe it’s because it’s 20min away from the nearest town, or maybe it’s because there isn’t full hookups, and no pool or other activities – but for us it fit great. We loved it.

It had fishing ponds (we didn’t catch anything), some nature trails, some geocaches, and a ton of armadillos – which for us Michiganders is pretty exciting.

There were a bunch of big rock piles the kids had a blast playing on and pretty quickly they realized there were tons of shells and sharks teeth mixed in.

(imagine a cool picture that I never took of all the sharks teeth)

There were also a few families here, so the kids had some other kids to play with.

I have the advantage of being the early riser in the family, so I got to catch some nice sunrises.

I’m sure it’s old hat for the people who live here, but that spanish moss everywhere is pretty cool

Also – I’m apparently really good at guessing how far away from trees I can park my rig and still have room for the slide out.(873) 510-8100

 

Well – not much else to say. I didn’t smash my truck, or break anything. We did have the black water tank (that’s RV code for sewage tank) plug on us and it wouldn’t empty. I was afraid I would have to auger it from the bottom (which would require the discharge valve being open) and clean up a huge mess after, but with a little sloshing around on the way to the dump station it must’ve come loose and it went pretty good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Hunny – why is the carpet wet over here?”

Water is my worst enemy. It plagued me at my house, and I can never relax when it’s raining. There’s always something I left out, or some way it’s getting in, or SOMETHING. So I wasn’t thrilled when Kayleen asked me if I knew why the carpet was wet by our school supplies area.

That’s not good. It’s been raining off and on for the last day and a half so the first thing I was worried about was a roof leak, but I couldn’t find any evidence of water in the cabinets anywhere. That’s good… I think. So I popped open that panel there.

Ah – the water heater. And yup – definitely water on the floor in there. Upon closer inspection I could see that one of the T-fittings was leaking.

You can also just barely see it in the above picture, but there is a little hair-width stream of water spraying out up and to the left. Ok. That’s no big deal. I put a container under it and draped a rag. I’ve heard PEX is pretty easy to work with, so this shouldn’t be a big deal.

At the hardware store I found out there is a specialized tool for doing the clamps. Dang. Didn’t want to have to buy a specialized tool. There were other pressure fittings I could possibly have used, but guy at the hardware store warned me I might not be able to get a good connection to the existing PEX, so I might need to replace it… which would mean replacing the other fittings also. I decided just to get the tool, and grabbed a pouch to store it in.

Once I hacksawed off the old clamps, and figured out that if I heated the pipe  it became soft, the rest went pretty good. Popped the old fitting out, new one in, and voila!

Not too bad.

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What a day.

We are staying at a campground that is pretty full for Christmas weekend, but there were some non-electric sites so we stayed in one of those. We haven’t done this before, so it was an interesting first. We have a good generator, but not a good battery setup, and no inverter.

Well, with yesterday being Christmas we spent a bunch of the evening at my sister’s house. We returned late and found two things:

1 – It was cold out. Recently the nights have been warm and we weren’t watching our propane levels. We were super low, and we were going to need it.

2 – Lydia had taken a quick potty break before we left earlier, and had left a light or two on all day. Our battery was nearly dead, and it was after quiet hours so we couldn’t run the generator.

The propane lasted the night with the furnace set at 55, but it quit at about 6am because the battery didn’t have anymore left in it. I held out until 8am, then fired up the generator and ran to the nearest propane refill station. Phew. Not too bad.

So after that was done I looked to see if there were any electric sites open (this is a walk-in only campground) and there were a couple. I reserved one (lots of people were looking for them, so I had to jump quick) and we started the scramble to pack up the camper so we could move over and I could start work.

We got everything packed up in good time, and started to pull out… we got about 10in. before we figured out we had missed the “make sure the fifth wheel hitch plate latched properly” step in our getting ready. The fifth wheel had never latched and we drove right out from under the camper, dropping the kingpin into the bed of the truck and the camper onto the tailgate.

The tailgate isn’t supposed to be bent outwards like that.

We got the camper back up on the hitch plate, latched it in this time, drove over to the other site, and were able to raise the camper high enough to clear the tailgate (which was non-operational) and still get it back down to roughly level.

I suggested backing into a tree to shove the tailgate back into sort-of-shape, but Kayleen didn’t want a redneck solution, so I dropped her and the kids off at the laundromat while I searched for a mechanic.

I found one open, he got a good laugh at my story, and called a junkyard nearby to see if they had a replacement tailgate for me. Amazingly, they had one in the right color “if I was okay with a couple dents”. I wasn’t sure what that meant, so I decided to go the 30min down to the junkyard so see if I could look at it. If I could figure out how to get the tailgate open myself I could probably fix this on my own.

On the way to the junkyard the tailgate fell open. Cool. One problem down.

I found the junkyard, and found the part. The dents are hardly there, but there are a couple scratches. Oh well – not bad and in much better condition than mine. They gave me a discount because they didn’t want to guarantee the latching mechanism worked, but I checked it there as best I could and it all seemed fine.

I threw it in the back of the truck, picked up the family, arrived at the campground, and 15 minutes later I have the new tailgate on.

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The plastic trim on the top was bad, so I took it off and I’ll need to get more. Also the trim around the handle is missing, so I’ll need to order that. Plus figure out if I want to try to do anything with the scratches or not. At least it works. Not amazing, but only $150 for dropping an 8,000lb trailer on my truck is pretty cheap “stupid tax”, I think.

So now it’s 5pm and I’m finally ready to start work. I’m sure I’ll be very productive. 🙂

Ocean Pond Campground – Osceola National Forest, Florida

This is our new location for at least the next three days. With the Christmas weekend we found out quickly that campground fill up in Florida. We didn’t have any reservations so we found a campground in the Osceola National Forest that had a couple spots open, but they were for non-electric sites only. Going non-electric is something we haven’t tried yet, but probably over the Christmas weekend when work isn’t going to be a huge priority is a great time to try it. We have a good generator, so we should be fine. When we found a spot and pulled in the lady right across from us what a volunteer for the forestry service, and gave us activity packets for the kids and good maps of the roads and trails in the forest. She will be gone for Christmas but will be back next weekend, and if we are still here she can do tours and stuff with us.

So far, the kids say this is their favorite place. And since it’s quiet, and $12/night I think so far it’s ours too :-).