Archive for Travel

Girls go to NC

We have been settled for awhile, but I knew this trip was coming.  I was kind of dreading it.  Getting packed back up, going into our moving home, and being away from the things that I love – my animals, my garden, James….

But now I am getting excited.  This will be a fun trip and full of memories!

My mom, sister, and I along with Val and my nephew Tyler will be taking The Angry Vegan to NC!  Just girls driving and taking care of all the “man RV” stuff along the way.  It’s a little nerve wracking, but exhilarating at the same time.

We will be leaving in a little over a week.  Be sure to check back for stories and pictures from the trip. 🙂

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East of the Mississippi

After our stop in Broson, we headed to the metro St. Louis area.  We were officially East of the Mississippi, and on our last leg to Michigan.

Before arriving at our home, we stopped at a friend’s house.  James had worked with Blake at Scott AFB back in the day, and now we were going to park at his house for the night and spend time with him and his wife.  We had planned on having a poker party there but other things came up.  That was fine enough because then we got to go to Aroy Thai with Blake, Alisha, and Eric.  Yum yum! 🙂

It was a short and quick visit, but it’s always nice to reconnect with our STL friends when we are traveling.

We also enjoyed the green grass!!

And loading up the dolly one last time!!

When we got home home home – Valentine got to show off her special new trick to her Grandpa.  “Nice to meet you!”

Meeting a Dingo in Bronson, TX

I have been a member of MDC for quite awhile (way before I had Val), and I happened to get involved with a group of running moms which we have now coined the Dingos.  Fast forward FIVE years, and I finally have a Dingo meet up!  At her homestead!  Which was on the way back to MI from Gonzales, TX!  I love how things come together. 🙂

She lives on her land that was her parent’s, and her dad built the cabin 40 years ago that they live in now.  They dream big things like houses like Stoneview and converting buses that run on veggie oil.  She runs barefoot, cooks from Nourishing Traditions, and homeschools her boys.  It was just the type of family we dream of communing with about our goals in life and being inspired by seeing these things in action already.  It was something we *needed* on our trip home as there is so much up in the air about our futures right now and what we *want* to do.

I had just ordered my Vibrams for barefoot running, I was thinking of ordering NT’s on the Kindle but after talking to Dana I decided to buy the book and I’ve been cooking from it already, and I will be homeschooling Valentine and any future children – it’s just so great to see it working for another family.  We chatted about all of these things, we skimmed through their books which motivated James to read all about cord wood houses, and she made us amazing food.  I still drool at the thought of her homemade honey latte with raw milk.  Yum yum!

I cannot put into words how much this stop meant to me (and us as a family).  Our time there was far too short!  Maybe we will return to their homestead for a “barn raising” if they decide to build a guest house like one of the books James has read.  Until then… our memories of this visit will be our inspiration as we move forward with our dreams.

Hill Shade RV Park in Gonzales, TX

After our trip through El Paso and La Vernia, we traveled a few hours away to meet up with some friends in Gonzales, TX at Hill Shade RV Park.

The park itself was surrounded by trees and lush grass (which we had so missed during our time in Arizona).  There were also long horns that came in during the evenings to graze along the fence line of the park, and there was a dock with water on the other side.

During our time there we got to catch up with The Happy Janssens, meet Organic Sister and her family, meet The Tao of Long, and also meet Welcome to my Brain.

Valentine played with the other (bigger) girls in the park, we shared picnic dinners together as families, and we even had a night time campfire that turned into a grand conversation that I just sat back and listened to for the most part.  It was so educating, but heartwarming to hear so many views that are like our own.  The topics spanned from free range kids, to art, to life on the road, to passions and work, to education and unschooling.  I am blessed to have had that time with such wonderful people who have sparked new ideas and questions in my mind.

We did leave the park during one day to travel to the beach, but it wasn’t much of a beach trip.  It was overcast and windy (no bikini for me), so the time playing in the rocky beach (not even sand) was short for our little family.  But we gathered sea shells and dipped our feet in the Gulf before packing up and heading into town for something to eat before heading back to the RV.

Just as I was starting to feel at home at Hill Shade, it was time to continue our journey.   It was sad saying goodbye to other mamas who share the same ideals, but yet have so much more information to share (and I have so much to learn)! 😉

Our next stop was at the home of another friend I had met online – five years earlier.  This would be our first meeting face to face and at her home in Bronson, TX.  Stay tuned for that post next! 🙂

El Paso and La Vernia, TX

Traveling from Tucson, we connected with a high school friend via Facebook, so we stopped off in El Paso to have lunch and catch up.  Having a loose travel schedule and being connected while on the road is an amazing thing, and I am grateful for it.  I even got to meet their little girl. 🙂

Our 2nd stop to stay was in La Vernia, TX with some friends that James was in the Air Force with back in the day. 🙂  After a drive on a bumpy red dirt road (doesn’t that sound so TEXAN?!), we arrived at their 10 acre homestead.  Did I mention that the wildflowers were in full bloom?  And that the drive on the back roads was beyond beautiful?

Valentine got a lot of play time with their 3 kiddos, a cat named Bob, Roxy the dog, chickens, and sheep.  It was wonderful to catch up, sit and chat and have grown up talk, and share in some great food.  They spoiled us with steaks, James made french fries, and they sent us away with free range fresh from the farm eggs!!

Somehow I managed not to get any pictures of our hosts at this stop – doh!  But do know that they surely made us feel at home and we are very thankful they let us stay in their yard and share time with their family. 🙂

Mt. Lemmon and Agua Caliente Park in Tucson, AZ

We had planned on making the trip back to Michigan in the beginning of May, but plans changed and we even got someone to take over the lease at our rental house in Arizona to make it more worthwhile.

So we packed up, hired some cleaners, and had a going away party.  We planned our trip to visit 2 different friends in Texas with homesteads, stopped at Hill Shade RV park to meet up with Organic Sister and the Happy Janssens.  We also wanted to squeeze in a stop at the beach and by friends in the St. Louis area.

But our first stop with Tucson, AZ to spend time loading up on food from Whole Foods for our trip and last minute stops at the mall for an AZ Cardinals jersey for my nephew and trip items.

We boondocked at the Desert Diamond Casino and it was so nice.  We met nice people, it was very quiet, and although it was close to the airports I never thought it was too loud to sleep or put V down for a nap.

The main goal of the stop in Tucson was for James to ride his bike up Mt. Lemmon, which is the 9th hardest vertical climb on a bike on pavement in the USA.

While he was riding, V and I and the dogs were hanging out the most beautiful park – Agua Caliente Park.

We saw ducks and turtles.  And beautiful scenery.

After James finished, we celebrated with big cookies!

We drove by the ski resort and saw the snow was still being used.

And we caught some great views on the way down.

Including catching someone who was rock climbing about 7,000 feet up!

Be sure to check back for our next stop in La Vernia, Texas.

RV’ing in Sedona, AZ

This past weekend we spent in Sedona, AZ, and although the weather was a little chilly, it was a pretty grand weekend.

We finalized packing and headed out in the RV on Friday, and after a full day’s drive we arrived at our campground – Rancho Sedona around dusk.  We got our rv hooked up, took a walk down by Oak Creek that runs through the campground and went into town for supper.

We ate at The Chocolatree, which is an organic, vegan, and mostly raw cafe.  It was so nice to sit with Valentine and share my meal with her.  I had the Thai spring rolls and raw platter.  The raw platter was better and Val had her first experience with raw crackers, which she loved.  James had the raw burritos that he really enjoyed (they looked really yummy).  We took home dessert too – who can pass up raw pie and ganache?  Not I!

We were all in bed quite early (after James helped our neighbor with a fuse around 10:30 because we were preparing for the Sedona 5K.  I was up by 6am and into my running clothes soon after.  The rest of the family awoke in time for breakfast and a change of clothes and then we were off to the races.

I had planned on pushing Val in the stroller but the tire was flat, so after much deliberation James walked the whole 5K with her in the Ergo and her falling asleep to his many steps over 3 miles.  I ran (ran/walked) and was proud of my time even though no speed records were broken.  It felt good to cross the line, breathing hard, and to go home with a medal and new shirt. 🙂  The race was a great course, had beautiful scenery of the red rocks, and was well-manned for it’s many participants.

On our way back to the campground, I mentioned a coffee would be great since it was so cold outside.  We didn’t have either of our wallets or any cash, so we went back to the rv.  The neighbor, who James helped the night before, offered us mochaccinos.

Thank you, Universe! 🙂  Later we had fresh juice with them, and (after my mentioning I needed a sweatshirt to James) the lady gave me a fleece that fit perfectly.  We had a lovely talk and then went about our way to the Airport Vortex.

It was breathtakingly beautiful.  I thought it was more amazing than the Grand Canyon.  I remember just saying, “Wow!”  And actually feeling like “Wow!”  Amazing!  Let the pictures speak for themselves.

Later that day, we stopped back in at the Chocolatree for some smoothies (Orange Julius and Hawaain).  It really hit the spot and it was a great family treat.  Afterwards, we went to my massage with Jyoti at Massage Sedona.  It was only 30 minutes, but it was glorious and much needed.  I haven’t pampered myself like that since before Valentine was born.  If you visit Sedona, you should see her.  She’s a great spirit and does energy work, massage, and readings from her home studio.

Our last stop of the weekend was D’Lish.  I was expecting a really fancy place inside, but it was a cute cafe.  Fine by my standards, of course.  I had the Rawsome platter, which was huge and I couldn’t finish, but was fab.  James had veggies nachos upon request, and we took home chocolate, vegan cake for dessert.  That was d’lish (get it?  Haha)!

We woke up our last morning, to a mix of snow, ice, and rain.  Poor James had to hook up the van and everything in it, but by the time we left the roads were just wet and fine.  The fog around the red rock mountains was a sight though.  Such a beautiful area!

We wished we could’ve stayed to explore more, but we were not feeling the rv this trip and were ready to get back to our rental house.  That’s another post….

Until then, Angry Vegan — out! 🙂

Arizona weather

There is a saying in Michigan that goes something like this, ” if you don’t like the weather – wait 5 minutes and it’ll change.”  That was exactly how Arizona weather was yesterday.

We drove to Tucson to shop, and within that hour drive we experienced a 7* drop in temps, rain, hail, and then a 10* rise in temperature.  After a few hours of shopping, with the snow covered mountains in the background, we drove home and actually turned on the A/C because the sun was scolding hot and it was only 53*!  Haha!

This is the mountain we see out of our back window.  It has been covered by clouds for the last few days as we had monsoon-like weather with rain and lots of wind – even taking out our power one evening for about an hour.

Sure is beautiful now…. all dusted with a layer of snow! 😀

Trip back to Arizona

We are back in Arizona, and we have rented a house for this stay.  The RV was cozy, but for 3-4 months I do believe it would have been too cozy for our liking.  We used our extra bunks to pack our goodies for this trip, and we went house hunting upon our arrival but I am getting ahead of myself.

We left MI on Friday, January 8th and we drove into northern IL to stay the night boondocking.  Val and I fell asleep on the couch and James went into the bed when we stopped.  He made it about 2 hours before he woke up shivvering – realizing that our battery had died and couldn’t power the furnace to heat our RV.  Did I mention it was about 5* outside?  He woke me up to call local hotels to see if they were open at 2am and would take dogs.  I found one close by, and we went inside to thaw.  Val stayed up and played until almost 4:45 but at least we were warm.  And the hotel was nice enough to let us plug in, so that our stuff wouldn’t freeze.

The next night we stayed at a friend’s house in the St. Louis area.  They had mutual friends over, we ate good food, watched a playoff game, the boys played poker, and the girls stayed upstairs to chat.  It was nice, and it surely makes me miss that area when I visit.  We are blessed with great friends there.

The next few days are a blur of driving through Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.  We realized once we got to the warmer states that we could sleep in the RV without plugging in and the battery would last.  So I am not quite sure what happened, but I am guessing we need a new house battery. 🙂

{Picture of Val and DaDa in New Mexico at a rest area where we had lunch and played in the sunshine.}

We are now in Arizona and renting a very nice 3 bedroom, 2 bath house, with a fenced in backyard for the dogs and even a small pool.  We are not in Bisbee, but close enough that I can go there on a regular basis.  The best thing about this place?  I can watch the sunrise over the mountains out the kitchen window and the sunsets out the playroom window everyday.  I must admit, they sure are beautiful! 😀

On the road again…

I hope everyone had a very happy holiday season with their families!  Now it’s 2010, and we are going back on the road.

Depending on the weather and how soon we can get packed up, we should be leaving MI tomorrow or Friday and heading south toward Texas before crossing to Arizona.  James will be heading back there to work until the spring.  I hope that we will have a lesiurely drive there – stopping at a few sights and good eats along the way.  If you have suggestions, please do share! 🙂

This time, we won’t be living out of our RV full time since we have decided for months or more it is a little too small for our liking.  But I am excited to get back in it for the week long travel there.  I will keep you all posted about our travel and time in Arizona again.

Much love and abundance for 2010, friends!

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