Monday, May 20, 2013

Traveling Dreams: Our First Trip, Day 1

It's been about four or five years now that hubby and I have been talking about "someday" buying a school bus, converting it to a home on wheels and setting off across the United States. We want to experience as many of the mini-cultures of our giant country as possible, work seasonal jobs together as a family, hike, bike and explore all the wild places that strike our fancy. One son wants to visit many wildlife rehabilitation places, another wants to meet a "Real" Texas cowboy and visit the part of New York city where Percy Jackson "lives". 

Constrained by financial questions: how to we earn money on the road? How will we save up enough to buy a bus? And other concerns (will Brannon be too old when we finally get it together, i.e. not want to leave his friends, job etc?) We were starting to feel like our dream was never going to be a reality. 

We started to talk about buying and converting  a cargo trailer or a short bus and starting our explorations in our own state. There are so many beaches and hiking trails we haven't explored yet. Mostly because tent camping is just too darn Cold! My health has also been a big issue. Anyhoo. We figured if we could sleep warm we'd be a lot more likely to do more "weekend" trips. 

We started to look for a short bus. And immediately found one in our price range, partially converted. There were no pictures on the Craigslist add and next to no description. Except the year, 1969. We made the hour drive to look, both of us secretly expecting to be disappointed by a ratty, unusable bus. We talked about deal breakers, mold (of any kind) and leaks being the biggest. 

We came up the driveway to find a beautifully painted, dark green (Nate's favorite color) nice looking bus staring at us. 

The inside was as clean and nice as the outside.

We didn't bring our money with us because we know no matter how good our intentions we'll get excited about something and agree to buy it right away. We drove away after telling the owner of the bus we would "sleep on it" and get back to him the next day. We were both brimming with excitement. Our bus was perfect! Oh, and the price "included" the dmv fees we would need to pay, in other words, the owner listed the price $300 higher than he wanted so when he let potential buyers know the title and tag fee would be about that much it wouldn't be an extra expense (who does that?! :D ) 

Two days later we were the proud owners of our "dream machine" and already planning our first trip.  There was a beach we really wanted to take the boys to, and an art display in another town on the coast. Six days after our purchase we were on the road...
The big boys riding on the top bunk for a while (after shoving all their coats and life jackets out of  the way.
They didn't stay there long though :) but moved up front to the long benches which were set up as their beds.

Around midday we stopped at a park to ride scooter and eat lunch.
 While we were there a gentleman and his mentally handicapped son were eating lunch near the playground. When they left he gave us the remainder of their lunch and ten dollars. We were perplexed. Did he think we were broken down (the battery had to be turned off each time we stop and so we had the hood up)? Did he think we were living in a little bus under unfortunate circumstances? 
The boys mulled this over for a while and finally Brannon said, "Well, I think the world would be a lot better if a lot more people were like that man." 
"Yep." I said, "That's why we act that way too. Helping people whenever we can. And hopefully we are teaching you guys to be the same way."


After he threw himself down on his face and got a mouthful of salt-water for his pains, lol!

So many heart-melting smiles!

This crow came to check our our bright collection to see if any of it was food

Brannon got Nate (and eventually Joshua and Blaizen) to throw rocks at their sand castle to try and knock down all the knights and flags. 

Sand angel! 

After dinner we set out around the campground with the boys on their scooters. Eventually we came to a trail leading up to a cliff-top view. I was SO sad I didn't have my camera with me as we arrived just in time for a Gorgeous sunset. There were some very scary cliff edges and the boys were keeping us on our toes! There was one spot where you could see people had climbed over a large root and dropped from an overhang to a very precarious trail that eventually led to a little sheltered beach at the base of the cliffs. No thank you! We really enjoyed the view though and the big boys crawled to edge to look over, very carefully. Then on the way back they got into wrestling matches in a big meadow, and got Papa playing with them too. It was a fantastic evening.
And we slept nice and Warm! :)

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