Sequim Bay

sunriseHi Guys! It’s Liv (aka Girl). This post is about Sequim Bay. I hope you like it!

Sequim Bay (pronounced Squim) is amazing. There are many opportunities to hike, bike, boat and be outdoors. Our camp site was really close to the bay. So when I got to take Stella on walks I took her down to the bay. I was looking at the ocean with binoculars and saw an otter. One morning I woke up really late and my dad told me that an otter was teasing him. I told him I wasn’t surprised because otters are funny.

I went on a hike and it was so beautiful. When we got back from the hike we went to the river. There was a really good swimming hole. The water was the prettiest color teal and I liked that I could cross all of the river rocks. My mom did something amazing. She built this tall rock pyramid. She put tiny rock stacks on the rock pyramid. It looked like a rock castle!

After the hike we went biking on the Olympic Discovery Trail. There were many different color leaves on the trail and we could peek at the bay through the trees. At one point we got to get off our bikes and pick blackberries. Everyone of them were a different flavor. They were the best blackberries ever! I felt like a black bear grabbing blackberries and stuffing them in my mouth. It was so delicious. When we finally stopped eating blackberries we kept on riding. After a few minutes down the path we saw some people picking blackberries and putting them in a bucket. It was a great idea!

Not everyone can visit Sequim but if you go to Washington go to Sequim Bay!

 

Homeschooling on the Road

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School house in the Redwoods

When Bob and I were considering going on this adventure, one of the first things that stopped us in our tracks was Liv’s education. We knew we wouldn’t be able to leave until September, so we’d have to pull her out of school for an extended period of time. Homeschooling Liv seemed doable for the short period of time we planned on being gone, but would her school allow it? Would they be on board with our plan? After speaking with Liv’s Principal, many of our concerns were alleviated. He advised us that the easiest way to take this two-month absence would be to unenroll Liv from school and then re-enroll her upon our return.

Third grade started mid-August for Liv. She was able to spend a few weeks in the classroom before we took off on September 1st. This time not only gave her a jump start on the academic side of third grade but also helped Liv make friends in her class and get to know the daily routine. Amazingly, Liv’s teacher was totally on board with our plan as well. We really lucked out with such a remarkably thoughtful, kind teacher. Taking Liv out of school for the first part of the year would have been much more challenging had her school not been so supportive and helpful. Before we left, we met with Liv’s teacher and talked about what we would be working on with her while we were away. We were given Liv’s math, cursive and spelling workbooks. Liv also packed many age appropriate reading books and writing notebooks.

Liv’s teacher was enthusiastic about her blog and said she’d try to read it to the class while we were gone. Knowing her class would read her blog was a real incentive for Liv to focus on her writing.  We also promised to have Liv write postcards to the class from the various states we visited. This way, Liv could continue to feel connected to her classmates while she was on the road and her class would have a better idea of what she is up to while away. So far, sending postcards back to the classroom has been a really fun activity on the road. For Bob and me it feels kind of retro (in the best way possible) and Liv loves picking out a card at each of our stops. As an added benefit, it helps rein in the interest in purchasing junk from gift shops, instead was can just focus finding the perfect card.

Before we left I thought we’d have a more regimented schedule for school work. I imagined Liv grabbing her backpack, walking around the campsite and sitting down at her table to begin her school day. The reality of life on the road has been less structured. We work on memorizing state capitals, multiplication tables and spelling as we drive but once we get to our campsite, we’re more focused on enjoying our new surroundings than schoolwork. By the time we get back to the campsite in the late afternoon, Liv is often too tired to focus very long or retain new information well. We’re working on breaking schoolwork up into smaller sections throughout the day. Morning work before our daily outing, shorter afternoon work before dinner and independent reading before bedtime in the tent.

There are some clear benefits to homeschooling Liv on the road. Both parents working one on one with our child has allowed us to better understand the specifics of what she is learning. We can reinforce definitions and new ideas while on a hiking trail or make connections to academic concepts while exploring a new place. While we were both working full time, we would ask Liv questions at dinner about what she learned that day, but rarely would she share mundane specifics. On the road, class time blends into the rest of the day and there are teaching moments in all that we do.

We met a nice man hiking in the Redwoods. He was interested in our travels and as we described our game plan he nodded and smiled. He said “Classroom time is important, but these experiences are priceless. She’ll remember this forever and it will shape her as a human being.” I couldn’t agree more.

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Checking out the lava rocks while on a hike in Lassen

Girl’s first stop

Hi blog followers! I’m Liv, aka Girl. I’m really excited to share this post with you guys. I hope you like it.

I just started my two month road trip! The first place we went was Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Wyoming. The warm, murky water at the Flaming Gorge was kind of scary. I couldn’t even see my own feet in the water. As I brushed passed sticks they felt like fish. As I was in there, I got over my fish fear. Then I dunked myself! I was so proud of myself, I’ll be proud of what I did in the future!

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The Rig Revised

Guy back again, and a few things have changed on the ‘ol Rig. A challenge with the Tepui tent mounted to the Tacoma was that once we got camp set up, our home was attached to our rig. It seemed daunting to have to tear down the tent just to take the truck somewhere. We felt stuck and didn’t necessarily want home to be right where we parked it. We wanted to be able to leave our tent at the camp spot and drive the truck to a trail head a few miles away or go grab a bag of ice back in town.

I said I didn’t want to pull anything. Good lesson here is to never say never! We are now pulling a small trailer. After much research and debate we went with a local company in Denver: Ruger Trailers. We found them through The Adventure Portal off-road trailer guide. We called and talked to the owner, Steve, and he invited us down to their production facility so we could check out the trailers and options. We always prefer to shop and buy locally when we can and Steve was so friendly and knowledgeable, it was an easy decision. We had them add a propane tank holder and an emergency gas canister to the sides. They customized the rack by increasing the height about 6″ so our Tepui would mount a bit higher. They also added bike rack mounts to the sides. With the two additional racks we added to the tongue, we can fit four bikes total. The trailer space is perfect for all our camping gear (inside dimensions are 72″l x 43.75″w x 24″t) which leaves the bed of the truck open for our personal and recreation gear.

Speaking of the truck bed, we added a storage solution which consists of 2 sliding drawers and a cargo slide. We have never been more organized and gear has never been easier to get out of the truck, even the stuff all the way back. Just like mom used to say, “Everything has a place and there is a place for everything”. Girl feels more empowered knowing where everything is and she can get what she needs without needing to ask Guy or Gal for help. Dog has no thumbs, so she can’t get anything and spends her time lying in the dustiest spots directly in the sun; to each their own!

Last weekend we went up to Lake Dillon, just outside Breckenridge. It was really fun and a great test run for driving with the trailer and canoe. The trailer is only about 60″ wide total, so I never had to worry about it veering into the other lanes. It pulled very smoothly and easily. Turning and corners were no problem either. We do need to work on our backing up skills though…we will have plenty of time to practice that in 11 days when we set off on our journey!

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Let the adventures begin!

There have been so many moments when Bob and I have dreamed of leaving work and going on an epic adventure together. After lots of hard work, setbacks and challenges we have finally done it! We’re in the final steps of selling our business and at the same time we are in planning mode for one of the biggest adventures of our lives.

While co-owning and managing a sign shop in our home town of Boulder, Colorado work has trumped fun more often than not. Our daughter, Olivia, is growing up before our eyes and time seems to be slipping away faster with each year. We made this radical decision to sell our business so that we could spend more time doing what we love: biking, hiking, camping, traveling and hanging out together.

The first big adventure we’re planning is a road trip through the beautiful United States of America. We plan to visit as many US National and State Parks as we can over the Fall of 2017. This blog is intended to document our journey navigating all of the needed gear, guides, and roadblocks along the way. We plan to share thoughts and ideas from all of our perspectives- the guy, the gal, the girl and even the dog.

We hope you enjoy!