Spontaneity is the best kind of adventure
We were camping about an hour west of the SW entrance to Mount Rainer National Park for 4 days. We hadn't really talked about going to check the park out prior to being at our campground. After talking to one of the rangers at our RV Park Thursday evening we decided to make the trip Friday morning and put our work stuff on hold.
The drive into the park and towards the area that we hiked was pretty amazing in itself. We made a couple stops at some overlooks.
We pulled off at the first pull out that had a really good view of the mountain. That is Eli telling us that he wants to climb that mountain! After that we came to Narada Falls. It took a little bit of a hike to get to the overlook but was worth it. The falls were probably a few hundred feet tall and flowed down into a gorge that ran down the mountain.
After that stop we made our way up to the area called Paradise. We stopped a picnic area just down from the lodge and had some lunch. Salads have been our go to travel lunch. They are so easy to pack up and we know what we are getting versus leaving ourselves open to museum and park cafes, which who knows if I'll be able to find any gluten free options.
Now that we were fueled up, we made our way up a bit further to the official Paradise Visitor Center and Lodge. Looking at the map our initial plan was just to do about a 1 mile round trip hike out to Alta Vista. We made it that far and then decided to keep going... then keep going!!! Our 1 mile hike turned into about 4 total. We made it all the way out to Panorama Point which was totally worth it. The view were incredible and absolutely breathtaking!
Almost 4 miles later....we snacked on coffee, ice cream and protein bars and Eli was wiped out!! We did check out the gift shop and I think for the first time in our 9 year marriage we bought matching shirts!
This unexpected trip was such a treat. We aren't really the hiking outdoorsy type but really enjoyed this adventure. Who knows... we might end up becoming more of true campers as our adventures continue!
We try our best to share our life with you guys....and I know social media makes it seem like it's all glamour, beaches, fun stuff all the time and no work It's not. I promise.
BUT there's a big difference between what our days looked like last year compared to now.
Now...we choose what our days look like. As coaches, as business partners and life changers with Beachbody...we STILL wake up with an alarm around 6 or 6:30, because we WANT TO...with goals of getting up even earlier.
Some days we work a lot...some days we don't....sometimes we work on the weekend...and we stop when we'd like!! Sometimes we work at the beach or a coffeeshop or at home in the RV...the location doesn't matter.
Yoga pants...no showers...no pants...no shoes...no problem. HA!! Every day is a new day to make a choice. To set some new goals. To grow.
It's a NEW day to connect with people that want to join a movement...and want to spread the message of health and life to their friends and family!! If you want more CONTROL of your life...more flexibility or more control of your health and you love to serve people and help them, we'd love to chat with YOU!! ️
Our First Winter As Snowbirds
As you may have noticed our travel blog posts have been few an far between. It's not that we haven't been traveling or doing anything fun but when I have time to sit down and write, doing stuff for our business seems to take precedent over travel stuff.
We last left off with us back in MInnesota for the Ryder Cup... yeah we are about 6 months behind! So here's my goal for the next year of travel, put out a blog post at least every other week. Do you ever have that thing in your life where you just can't seem to get out in front off, that there is always more and more. Maybe it's the laundry if you are a mom of numerous kiddos, or dishes if you live in an RV. Anyways, these travel posts are that for us so in order to get "caught up" I'm going to dump about 6 months of travel into this one post, so bear with me.
Where have we been in the last 6 months?
As you can see we tried our hardest to stay warm for the winter and have for the most part. We've learned that Florida winters are a little nicer than Texas! Other than being back in MN we only had one night where temps got below freezing, so I would say we did pretty well.
Some of the highlights over the past 6 months...
Eureka Springs, AR
Christmas in MN, Iowa and our RV
Galveston and Kemah, TX
The Rest of Florida
Traveling with Family
Well there you go, our last 6 months of life in a kick photo slideshow! We are now on our way back to the Midwest and eventually out to the West Coast later this summer/fall.
One Year RV-versary!
Today marks one year since we moved into our motorhome and hit the road! This was the first time we were all hooked up and ready to roll out! We had just finished up most of our renovations...and were ready to head south. We left on a Sunday and made it to our first scheduled stop outside Augusta, Georgia by Wednesday.
Nothing like 1,300 miles traveled in 4 days to start our adventure!
Where Have We Been?
Over the past year we have logged a total of about 15,000 miles on our motorhome alone. We've visited 33 states!!! Everything from Bar Harbor, Maine to Austin, TX and Minneapolis, MN to Orlando, FL and a lot of stuff in between. We've also hit up a lot of touristy spots like Niagara Falls, Washington DC, Brooklyn Bridge and NYC, Boston's Freedom Trail and Acadia National Park.
We've spent a fair amount of time at beaches...Laura really likes the beach.
Ok fine... we all really like the beach!
A few of our favorites have been Gulf Shores, Siesta Key, Kiawah, Sullivan's Island, Cape Cod and Ogunquit! A few duds were Atlantic City and Galveston!
We've hit up a lot of Thai restaurants and coffee shops. Laura has had her fair share of almond milk lattes. So far the winner is Bluestone Lane's in NYC!!! Oh and get the avocado toast there too!
We've mainly stayed in a lot of RV Resorts just due to amenities and ease of booking and getting in and out. We bought a zone pass with Thousand Trails in June of last so we've spent a fair amount to time in their parks. We've done some state parks, a couple Walmarts, and a lake front boondocking spot at Laura's brother's house.
What Have We Learned?
"Fulltime RVing does not mean a fultime vacation!"
After a few months in vacation mode we learned that vacations are expensive. So after going through a chunk of our savings account we decided to slow down and stick to a budget! We've maybe missed out on eating out at some fun a few less days at beaches but it's allowed us to live within our means and keep the adventure going.
With that we've learned that we operate best with at least a tentative schedule in place. This allows us both some time to do some work, time alone with Eli and lots of time together as a family.
We've also learned that we don't need nearly as many clothes as we originally packed up. We tend to wear the same stuff over and over... mainly workout clothes and yoga pants! There are a handful of other things that we've brought along that we've hardly used... like a tent, veggie spiralizer, extra camping chairs, bosu ball....to name a few.
Another thing we learned early on was that we all reach our breaking point after about 6 hours of driving on travel days. 4 hours max is what we prefer! With travel, we also learned that it's not ideal to show up at a new park after dusk... short, wooden posts in campgrounds tend to hide a lot easier!
We've been semi-stationary for the past 6 months, 2 1/2 months in Texas and 3 1/2 months in Florida. We love that we've been able to stay warm for the winter but definitely miss traveling. We traveled around both Texas and Florida but the scenery hasn't changed all that much. So there is a balance between quenching our travel/adventure needs and not moving as fast...so we can manage our finances.
What Lies Ahead?
Currently: we are in Florida and will be here for another month. Then our adventure will take us north and west. We will slowly make our way back up to Iowa and Minnesota around the 4th of July to spend some time with family. It will also be convenient since we will be dropping Eli off with grandparents while we head down to New Orleans for our annual Beachbody Coach Summit the middle of July.
After that conference, the plan is to start heading across the northern part of the country. We hope to hit up Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks on our way out to Washington state. We always appreciate advice on places we NEED to visit so if you know of anything between Minnesota and Washington, let us know.
Our plan is to be out to Washington by early September and hangout in the Pacific Northwest for a couple months before we start heading down the west coast as the weather cools. At this time, we think we'll spend at least another winter as snowbirds but we aren't exactly sure where we will be... maybe Southern California... maybe Arizona... we'll see!
That's about all we have "planned out" so far. After that we'll potentially talk about settling down but that isn't for sure either!! What we do know: God is faithful and is providing SO MANY amazing experiences & relationships through this journey. He is ultimately our guide...so if we feel led to change our course...we will!!
This cross country adventure was on our schedule even before we hit the road. For those of you that don't know a bit of my (Dan) past, I used to work as a golf professional. The course I worked at just so happened to be Hazeltine National Golf Club which was also the site of the 2016 Ryder Cup. I left my job at that club in October of 2013 after working there for 10 years.
Hazeltine was a second home for me. The members and staff were like family. So when the biggest golf tournament in the world is being hosted by said club and members it was a no brainer to make the trip back.
One of the fun things about making a trip half way across the country, we started in Maine, is you will likely come across some friends and family. Our first stop was just south of Sryacuse, New York where we were blessed to spend some time with Dan and Christa Hamon and their 3 boys. Once again we were able turn Instagram friends into real life friends! They have such an amazing family and their boys played so well with Eli. We can't wait for our paths to cross again.
After New York we made it to the Cleveland area where I was able to meet up with a golf pro friend. That was a super short stay, and we were off to Elkhart, Indiana where we returned to the dealership we purchased our RV. We had some routine maintenance done there since we had logged almost 12,000 miles on our RV since purchasing it. Crazy, we've done that much traveling in that short period of time.
We had an interesting adventure at our next stop in the Amana Colonies. We are learning that a lot of RV parks are located on flood plains, I guess its cheap land. This was our first experience where we nearly got flooded out! It was a little scary to wake up to all of the water surrounding us.
We were hoping to spend some time exploring the Amana area but instead decided to just move onto Laura's aunt's house. We parked in front of their house for a few days so that we could spend some time with them and Laura's grandma. It was great to see her and have Eli spend some time with her. He really liked her magnifying glass and her stash of ice cream!
After our time in Iowa, we made our way back to Minneapolis for the Ryder Cup! Seven years after I first learned that Hazeltine would be hosting the biggest golf event in the world, we were there! On top of the amazing golf event it was also a homecoming for me coming back to Hazeltine, a club I spent countless hours at for 10 years and met so many amazing people. Oh and top of that it was a week where I got to spend some quality time with my family! It was pretty special, let's juts say!
The Ryder Cup itself was pretty epic! Europe has pretty much dominated the Ryder Cup winning 5 of the last 6 matches going back to 2002. There was excitement for the US team but also apprehension around whether they could get a win on their home turf.
The venue itself was incredible! The infrastructure that was built to host this event was amazing, over million square feet of platforms were erected to hold everything from merchandise tents, corporate hospitality and concessions. The golf course was pristine! The stage was all set for a great event and it didn't disappoint.
The US team got off to a great start and never really looked back. There was a moment in there Saturday midday, whether or not the lead that the Americans had built was going to disappear. They rallied Saturday afternoon and dominated on Sunday to bring home the cup! If you want all the details you can head over to the full scoring here.
So while I was chasing around a golf course, Laura found some pretty amazing ways to keep Eli entertained! Here are just a few pics from their time at a local apple orchard with his cousins. They also made a trip to the zoo which I think he really missed!
It was a pretty incredible week back in Minnesota! We saw family and friends! I also got to witness an epic golf event at a course I used to call home! Until next time Minnesota!
This is post is dedicated to the second half of our travels through New England! We did a lot of up here and so if you missed our first post, that was all about Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The second half of our time in New England was up in New Hampshire and Maine! Let's just say we loved it!
After we left Mass and the Cape Cod area we headed north to the Lake Winnipesaukee area for a week roughly. We had gotten some recommendations to go check this area out, so we listened! It didn't disappoint. We were camped out right by Wolfeboro which was a super cute little town.
We noticed that our ice cream consumption increased quite a bit when we were in New England. There were cute little ice cream shops everywhere we went. I think it also helped that Eli learned how to say "ice cream" so therefore he was asking for it all the time.
We also were told we needed to drive the Kancamagus Highway through White Mountain National Forest. Eli and I made the drive one day leaving Laura behind to do some work. Yeah believe it or not we do actually work a bit from the road. It was a super pretty drive... from the car. Unfortunately Eli fell asleep as we turned onto the highway so we didn't get to stop and explore all that much.
From New Hampshire we moved onto Bar Harbor! Yup, pretty much loved this area and all of Maine! It was also fun because we were able to meet up with Laura's cousin who was also a new coach on our team for a couple days since she and her husband moved out there this past summer. The campground we stayed at was amazing! It sat right on one of the canal in between the mainland and Mount Desert Island. It was amazing to see thew change in water level with high and low tide.
Like Niagara Falls, Acadia National Park was on our list of places we needed to visit. We spent a couple days exploring the island that the park was on. One of the first nights there we took a drive around Southwest Harbor. This was definitely the slower side of the island but still fun. We caught the Bass Harbor Lighthouse right at sunset and was just breathtaking.
After our lighthouse visit we decided to finally indulge in lobster rolls. We had been holding out until we could actually get a "Maine" Lobster Roll. So good! The place we went actually had gluten free buns too, so I could partake!
The rest of our time in the area we spent exploring Bar Harbor and Acadia on the busy side which included Cadillac Mountain. Let's just say we have contemplated spending an entire summer out here based on our experience.
That was a busy and fun weekend in the Bar Harbor area! From there we down the coast a bit and continued to explore but at a slightly slower pace. We explored everything from Portland all the way down to Ogunquit. One of the most common questions we get asked...
"What's been your favorite place you've traveled?"
Both of us both usually respond with the time and places we visited during the two weeks we spent in this part of Maine. Not only was it beautiful but the people were fantastic, there was some amazing food in Portland, there were beaches, the temps were perfect, and we got to explore at a slower pace.
A lot of our trips revolve around coffee and food. We found this super fun wall on the side of a coffee, books, and beer store in Saco.
Our campground was only a mile or two from the Ogunquit Beach so we made sure to take a couple trips over to it and hang out. A super fun simple beach, Eli loved it!
Another awesome find that we stumbled across was the Marginal Way walk. It was simply just a path that followed the coast right around Ogunquit.
We also hit up brunch and an ice cream shop in Ogunquit. Once again more ice cream!
Another super fun little spot that we were super close to was a cute little town called Kennebunkport. We spent an afternoon driving around this town, mainly driving around. One place stumbled upon was the home of President George H.W. Bush. I knew that his home was somewhere in the area but when we drove past Walker's Point, it jumped out to me that there would be a security guard station at the entrance to a home out there. So we stopped a little turnaround spot and did a little googling and sure enough, it was his house. We ended up doubling back and stopped really quick on the side of the road and snapepd a few pics of his compound and also a monument for him.
That day ended with a peaceful time on the beach. There was a fun playground that we found and we just let Eli play. It's days like that one that I have to pinch myself. We love this life and it has been such a blessing for all of us!
The Process to Become Texans
It's hard to believe it has be 8 months since we left our home in Minnesota. So far our travels have taken us to 35 states and we have logged over 13,000 miles on our motorhome. Yeah we've seen a lot and moved a lot. It's been fantastic so far and we have really loved every bit of it. We've made some new friends along the way and have immersed ourselves into the RV community that is out there.
One of the reasons I wanted to write up this blog post because I know a lot of people that do what we do or intend to have questions about the relocation process is like. There is some good information out there and there is some bad information out there. We found all of it.
One of the good pieces of information that we came across early on was through Escapees. Escapees is the company/service we use to get our mail forwarded. They are based out of Livingston, Texas with a few other locations around the country. It was through them that I was able to setup a time to chat with a domicile lawyer named Miri Wakuta that works with Loring & Associates. As an escapees member we were able to setup a free consultation back in February where she guided us through the process of what it takes to switch our domicile from MN to TX. That benefit alone is worth the price of your escapees membership.
The big thing that she stressed and this isn't legal advice but intent was a huge part of proving your new domicile. The more evidence you have to prove you intend to live in Texas or whatever location is key to establish your domicile. She mentioned things like joining Escapees and getting a Texas address but other things that would prove intent could be things like registering vehicles, using doctors and other services in that state, and actually living there.
Step 1: Get a Texas Address! - Done
The next step in the process for us to was going to be to register our vehicles. This was a little bit of curveball for us. When we set off in April our first stop was Augusta, Georgia so that I could attend The Masters golf tournament. We didn't think our next steps through too well, because after Georgia we started heading towards Texas to get vehicles registered. We made it as far as New Orleans before we realized we didn't have our new titles for vehicles yet. We purchased our motorhome in February and our Jeep in March and the titles were still hung in the MN DPS. One more curveball to add to that mess was that both titles would have to be mailed out to our old MN address, and because they are legal documents they can't be forwarded, so they get sent back to the state. Then once they get them back I could apply to have them reissued to our new Texas address. Needless to say we weren't going to wait around in Texas until the middle of summer to get all of that taken care of, we had a lot of the country to see!
So we headed back east and up the East coast with a couple stops back in the Midwest between April and October. If you want to follow all of that you can go HERE.
By the middle of October we were on our way to Texas with titles in hand. This is where we really started researching what we needed to do and what the steps were to get everything switched over.
We started here with an Escapees document that does a pretty good job laying everything out and the locations you need to go to take care of stuff. To me that is all kinds of complicated. So here are the easy steps that we took plus some info on taking the driving tests I had to take to get the proper license in the state of Texas. More on that later!
Step 2: Get insurance that is valid in Texas
We did this prior to getting to Livingston, TX. We chose to get our insurance through National General which is who Good Sam contracts out to provide "Good Sam" insurance. We found the prices were actually better than what we were paying using our old insurance and coverage was very similiar. Wish we would have switched earlier.
Step 3: Get vehicles inspected
We did this at Soda Auto Repair in Livingston. It cost us $7 per vehicle to get this done. It only took 10 minutes. The inspection just looks at whether lights, brakes, wipers, etc work. There is no emissions check in Polk County.
Step 4: Register vehicles in Texas
This involved going to the County Tax Accessors office in Livingston. To get our vehicles registered we just needed copies of our titles, inspection certificates, proof of insurance and I think I had to show them my MN drivers license. You wil also need to tell them the weight of your RV. I snapped a pic of the vehicle tag that is inside my coach and states the GVWR. I think the cutoff is 26,000 pounds if you are more, you pay more. Oh and a check, no credit cards! We paid right around $600 to get our motorhome and Jeep re-registered.
Step 5: Get Drivers License
This process wasn't too bad. I read horror stories from people needing to provide all kinds of documentation and it wasn't bad at all since we had passports. We just had to show them our vehicle registration, our escapees card which was proof of our Texas address. Then we showed them current passports, social security cards, and our MN drivers licenses. If you don't have a passport then I believe you need to provide a birth certificate. The cost for each drivers license was $25.
Applying for a Texas Class B Non-CDL License
This is one area where I got a lot of bad information. I think part of it was due to the fact that the DMV in Livingston didn't have a standardized practice for how they treated RVer's even though they saw a lot of them. I read stories of people needing to parallel park their rigs, taking multiple sections of the CDL test, air brake testing, etc.
Talking with the employees at the DMV in Livingston it sounds like they finally have a system for dealing with RVers so hopefully the information I give you is all you need.
There was a lot of information out there on who needs to take this test. People were saying because we drive recreationally versus commercially we don't need this special endorsement on our license. Not true!
I know for a fact that anyone driving an motorhome over 26,000 pounds for a dry weight needs to take this test. I'm pretty certain anyone with a combined weight between truck and trailer over 26,000 pounds also needs to take this test. I don't want to be one of the blogs out there handing out bad info so I'll stick to the motorhome side of things.
The process of getting this endorsement involved taking a written test that was solely based on Section 14 in the Texas CDL Handbook. It was a lot of questions about the size of vehicle you are driving and permits needed. I remember there being something about road flares vs flags. There was some stuff about farm vehicles. The test is 20 questions and you need to get 14 correct to pass. I read through that section of the handbook a couple times and took some online practice tests and was able to pass on my first try. There is also an app that has some CDL practice tests. I wasn't able to find any practice tests specific to section 14 so I just took it as good knowledge to know about driving a big rig.
I took this test at the same time that I applied for my license. After I passed I was then issued basically a trainer's permit/license for this endorsement until I was able to take the road test. Also I had to pay an additional $11 to upgrade from a standard license. After passing the written test I was able to setup an appointment to take my driving test which the earliest they could get me in was 1 week from the time of my written test. So we extended our stay at Rainbow's End park and hung out in Livingston a little longer. I've read this is about average for what they are booked out on driver's tests.
The Driving Test
I showed up about 10 minutes early and parked in the large lot south of the DMV building. The instructor later had me move my rig to the shoulder of N. Washington Ave facing south. They didn't ask me how I got the rig there, which was a small concern since technically I wasn't licensed to drive it. The pretrip inspection included testing the brake lights, turn signals, headlights, wipers, and horn. Even though I have air brakes they didn't ask for any of those tests. After that, Talia who was super friendly hopped in and read through a document and we were off.
We started heading south through town, looped back on highway 59, exited onto a frontage road, came back to Washington Ave heading south. Did a lane change then turned left and headed north on highway 146 for about 1 mile. We turned onto a side street where she hopped out and instructed me to pull forward about 100 feet and back up straight down the street until where I dropped her off. No turning, no parallel parking!!! After that we made our way back to their office and were done! It took 25-30 minutes max. Nothing tricky! Didn't get asked about road signage which is another thing I read you would have to do. Not a bad thing to pay attention to, but wasn't part of my test.
Overall they are mainly looking to make sure you use your signals, mirrors, and understand how to move your vehicle between lanes and take a corner.
Hope that helps a few of you that are considering going through the process! If you have any questions feel free to reach out via email or the comments below and I'll do my best help.
New England Adventures - Part 1
After our quick trip through KY, WV, PA and NY we landed in southeast Massachusetts for a couple of weeks. This was super refreshing since we spent basically from the end of June through the middle of November moving every 3-4 days. We love traveling but moving that often takes it toll. We were excited to just slow down and get back into a bit of a routine. We also spent some time exploring the area.
One spot that we absolutely fell in love with was the Sandwich area. We spent a couple of afternoon/evenings out there. Here are some pics from the boardwalk that took you out to the beach. It was amazing to see how much the tide went up and down in these coastal areas.
We were also only about 20 minutes from Plymouth rock which as maybe a little underwhelming but still a fun spot to check out and see where some of the first pilgrims landed back in the 1600's.
We were staying at a campground called Gateway to Cape Cod while in Massachusetts so it just made sense that we needed to explore the Cape. We were about a 2 hour drive from Provincetown which is the town all the way out at the end of the cape. We spent one morning out there. The town had a similar feel to Key West, beachy and laid back! The downtown area was a fun and easy walk with fun stores and restaurants. Since buying chockey type touristy stuff doesn't really fit our model of downsizing we opted to pass on the shopping and check out the local library. Glad we did because it was pretty cool with a big ship inside of it.
On our way back towards our campground drove up to the national seashore park ranger station which had some incredible views. We even got to see some whales swimming on the ocean side of the cape from this lookout. Since we love beaches we also found a super fun beach, Coast Guard Beach. We hung out there for awhile and played in the sand and waves. We also saw some seals swimming just off the shore.
A trip to New England wouldn't be complete without a tour of Boston. We spent one long day in the city but could have easily done more. There was so much to see and lots of fun areas of town. The main attraction we took in was walking the Freedom Trail. If you aren't familiar there, is a line of red bricks laid into the sidewalks/streets that lead you through town on a 2.5 mile long walk. There are 16 historical sites along the way. We managed to make it to 15 of them and saw the 16th from afar. We were tired!
Of course we had to check out the Otis House! We thought these were relatives of Laura's, her maiden name is Otis, but it turns out her relatives lived in Maine, not Boston! We found this out after we spent $25 for the tour! Gah!!!
What would a trip to Boston be without a trip to Cheers! It was actually semi dissappointing in that the bar that they used for the show was actually upstairs. There was a line to sit in Norm's stool so I opted for a pic outside!
We also got a recommendation from a few people to check out Newport Beach in Rhode Island. I'm glad we listened and checked it out. It was totally worth it! We did the cliff walk along the beach which was incredible to see the homes along the way.
That was the two weeks we spent in the Cape Cod and Boston area! So much to see and 2 weeks wasn't enough time to see it all. So many cool places and both of us agreed that we could see ourselves spending the summer in this area. We will have another blog post up shortly with our trip up into New Hampshire and Maine! We liked that area even more!
It was a strange feeling after our Beachbody Coach Summit in Nashville. In years past that event comes to an end and we go back to Minnesota and go back to our normal lives. So it was strange when this year we just packed up the RV and moved on to our next location. Slowly this full time traveling thing is starting to feel like the norm.
One place that was definitely on our radar that we wanted to check out was Niagara Falls. From Nashville we plotted our course to get there and it took us through Kentucky. We did just an overnight stay at a little park in Renfro Valley. It was actually a cute park that hosts a bunch of country music concerts.
After Kentucky we had heard great things about West Virginia and how beautiful it was. Our original plan was to stay at a state park or Army Corps of Engineers park called Bulltown Campground for 4 days. It was up in the mountains and right on a lake, everything looked fantastic. Well... we didn't think about cell phone coverage. We didn't have any on our ATT phones or our Verizon hotspot. Had we known that we could have planned for us to be unplugged but unfortunately we had some business commitments that we needed to be a part of which meant we needed to find some service. So our 4 day stay turned into 1 night.
It actually didn't turn out to be so bad that we left West Virginia. Our plan was to drive up to Pittsburgh for a quarterly Beachbody event anyways that Saturday so it did save us some mileage and time in the car. The spot we moved to was a fun little park with a lot of full-timers a little southeast of Pittsburgh. We spent a decent amount of time at the playground in the park and met some pretty cool people, even some fellow Beachbody coaches.
We spent a great day in Pittsburgh. Our morning was filled with our Beachbody event where we got to hear some amazing stories from fellow coaches. Laura and Eli got to meet Autumn Calabrese, the trainer behind 21 Day Fix and Country Heat. After our event we walked around downtown a bit. It happened to be Regatta weekend and we were in the neighborhood so we checked out some of the boat races.
After our 4 day stay in the Pittsburgh area we made our way up to Niagara area. We stayed at a great campground literally right Lake Ontario. Our view was looking out at that lake. Here's one at sunset, pretty incredible!
I was a little worried Niagara Falls was going to be underwhelming. Let's just say it wasn't. Such a cool spot and awe inspiring to see that kind of power in nature. We only walked around on the US side of the falls but walked all way from the horseshoe falls down to the US falls and up on the observation deck that hangs out over the river.
We did drive the road that runs parallel to the river and falls on the Canadian side. It definitely looked like you would get better views of all the falls from that side! Now we know!
Our travels went international at this point too. We decided to make a day trip up to Toronto. We had heard great things about the city. We wish we would have done a bit more homework ahead of time and it would have been fun to spend more time there. We spent most of our time in the distillery district. It had some fun restaurants, coffee shops, and boutique style shops.
One mistake we made due to poor planning was walking to Cherry Beach Park. Let's just say Canadian beaches don't really compare to others we have visited. We wish we would have went and checked out some market areas of town instead. I wish we had more time but we tried to get out of downtown before rush hour. We left downtown around 3:00 and our 2 hour drive turned into 3. Who knows how bad it would have been had we stayed another hour or two.
We did all of that in just over a week! Are you tired just reading about all of that? Yeah it was pretty exhausting moving that fast and doing as much as we were doing. We had one more stop in central upstate New York before we would settle into a campground in southern Massachusetts for 2 weeks. We did pretty well in keeping the whirlwind going. We spent some time in Rome, NY, a petting zoo, washed the RV, and spent an afternoon checking out a local lake town. I almost forgot we also celebrated Eli's 2nd birthday!
We had such a good time during this part of our trip. This is really why we wanted to go on this adventure. To be together as a family, see places that are popular spots and quite a few that are off the beaten path.
Road Trip with Nana
We left Minneapolis on July 21st with 3 of us and after 36 hour pit stop in Des Moines we had four in our RV. Laura's mom, aka Nana, joined us on our trip to Nashville. She was coming along with us to babysit Eli during our annual Beachbody Summit event that was taking place the following weekend.
We had a couple pit stops between Des Moines and our final destination. The first one was Hannibal, MO. This was such a fun little town right on the Mississippi River. We were originally only planning on staying one night, however due to some plumbing repairs that we had to do we stayed a second night. This gave us a little time to explore the city. It also gave me a chance to work on some plumbing skills in 100+ degree weather. It was hot!
From Hannibal we moved onto the Gun Creek Recreation area by Benton, IL. Other than our first campsite being on too big of slope to level out our RV safely, this campground was fantastic. Big, roomy campsites that were right on a lake. Oh and it was cheap! Definitely a great spot and if pass through southern Illinois again we will for sure make a stop here.
After one night in Illinois we made our final drive to Nashville. It was only a 4 hour drive roughly. We happened to time out our arrival exactly as a thunderstorm was rolling in and knocked out all the power in the park we were staying. Not a huge issue other than needing to run the generator on our RV for an hour or so. It was hot and humid and our AC's needed to be cranked up!
We made it to Nashville! Now to prepare for our coaches to arrive and learn, sweat, and have some fun with them.
If you are following our adventures we left off last with our 4th of July adventures around Lake Minnetonka with Laura's family. We ended up spending another 2 weeks in Minnesota. This time included me playing in a golf tournament with some of my family. Doing some minor RV repairs and one major one, a new fridge. We got to meet our newest nephew, Joseph, right before we left town and spend some time with some amazing friends that we've missed while being on the road.
Going home is always pretty special to me, especially when it involves playing golf. I grew up on that golf course. If it wasn't for Minnesota winters it would probably be fair to say I spent more time out there than at our house. So to be able to bring Eli out here is pretty special. He really like riding on the golf cart with Grandma and Grandpa. He also like chasing around our golf balls and even hit a few!
While I was playing golf Laura was able to sneak away to hang out with her sister and her family at an RV park just 20 minutes from my hometown. Pretty random coincidence that they happened to be in the same area on the same weekend as us. Oh and of course being home in Redwood Falls meant we had to stop by Dari King. Eli really liked his first ice cream cone!
Being home in Redwood also meant we had access to my dad and his handyman skills,tools, and generosity. The project that we needed to tackle was installing a residential refrigerator into our RV. Our old Norcold 1200 RV fridge just couldn't stay cold. The freezer worked but the fridge temp was hanging out around 50 degrees. This meant doing some modifications to the cabinet area where the old fridge was in order to make room for the new one.
We were fortunate to find pretty much exactly what we were looking for after a handful of stops. Given the smaller space we needed a counter depth fridge otherwise our hallway would disappear. The height wasn't as important since even the shortest fridges out there would have still required us to do some modifications. The other thing that played into our decision was finding a fridge that we could fit into RV. The fridge we found had about an inch to spare, and that was bringing it in through a window.
The actual install process was pretty easy. Thankfully we had a plugin that runs through our inverter, which means that our batteries could power our fridge as we were driving down the road instead of running on propane like our old model. If you want more details about what we did, I'm happy to share, just send me a note.
We saw Laura's family. We saw my family. We completed some necessary RV remodels. We saw some good friends. It was now time to say goodbye and make our way to Nashville for our Beachbody Summit. On the road again!
1,200 Miles Later - Back in MN
Do you ever try to plan your life out? Yeah we do too. Back in May we felt pretty awesome that we had booked parks all way up to the first week in July....and we wouldn't have to stress about where we would be staying. Our plan was to stay on the east coast, then make our way to Asheville for a few weeks before we would end up in Nashville for our Beachbody Summit the end of July.
Well...in comes a curveball. We found out Laura's entire family was coming to Minnesota for the 4th of July. Hearing this, we laid out the pros and cons of making the trip back or sticking to our original plan. If the title of the blog didn't give it away, we chose to head back to MN. All those plans we had, were now up in smoke :) Instead of heading to Asheville, we went to New Jersey for a couple weeks to explore NYC and that area!!
Our first stop on our way back to Minnesota was Hershey, PA. Since we love chocolate as much as we do, this was a no brainer. Although Hershey doesn't exactly make healthy chocolate, we still wanted to check it out. Eli's favorite part was the singing cows on the ride that we went on. So that made it all worth it. We also indulged in a few chocolate treats.
We left Hershey on a Saturday and since most parks are either full or make you pay a premium for a weekend rate, we opted to stay at a Walmart outside of Cleveland. We don't mind doing this as long as it's a quick stay. On our way through Pennsylvania I made Laura a little nervous since we ended up on a bit of a detour due to construction and weight restrictions on the road we were supposed to go on. The roads were a little narrow, a little curvy, and a little hilly. We took it slow and made it through unscathed, other than upsetting a few locals that got stuck behind me.
After our Walmart stay we got on the road fairly early, which was a blessing and a curse. Our plan was to stay on the east side of Chicago since that would have only been about a 4-5 hour drive from where we were but we didn't factor in the time change and also the difference of driving through Chicago on a Sunday vs Monday. The blessing was we opted to push through the to the North side of Chicago but the curse was that meant spending almost 9 hours traveling that day. Which gets to be A LOT with a toddler.
This made our drive the next day super easy though, only about 2 hours to Wisconsin Dells where we stayed for a couple nights. Of course we chose the two coldest days of the summer to be in the Dells, so that meant no waterparks. We did have a nice pool and splash pad at our campground so Eli was able to spend some time in the water. I was even able to sneak in a round of golf one morning since it was only 55 degrees when we woke up. Great golf weather, poor pool weather.
Before heading out, we made our way to a train museum to indulge Eli's new fascination with choo-choo's. They had a legit coal powered mini-train that we could ride on. Eli loved it, even thought at times it got kind of loud. We also got him his first choo-choo set which he still loves! After that we made our final push to get back to Minnesota.
Our first couple of nights back in Minnesota we spent at Baker Park, just west of Minneapolis. When we make it back to MN from now on, this will definitely be a home base for us. It's a great park, tons of room and nice playgrounds. We even had some visitors one night for dinner. We miss our friends and family and seeing them made our 1,200 mile journey home SO worth it!
After a couple nights at Baker Park we moved to Laura's brother's empty lot which was conveniently located right on Lake Minnetonka. We were pretty spoiled! We parked on his lot for 5 days over the 4th. Definitely one of the best views we've had in our RV adventures so far.
It was also super fun to get to be "RVing" with Laura's sister, Sara and family again. They parked right behind us on the lot. Over the weekend we spent time on the boat, swimming in the lake, eating delicious food, but most importantly spending time with family. It was fabulous!!!
Look for a blog post in the next couple weeks where we can catch you up on the rest of our adventures in Minnesota, along with our travels down to Nashville for our Beachbody Coach Summit.
It's been awhile since we've shared some of our travels. I wanted to catch up on our posts over the next couple weeks. For now, here is our New York and New Jersey adventures.
We stayed at an RV Park about 2 hours south of NYC but there wasn't really wasn't anything much closer unless you wanted to pay a premium. So we took 2 hours away and camped for free! This was our first 2 week stay with our Thousand Trail membership and it was so nice to slow down a bit and setup shop for longer than 4-5 days.
Both times we came into the city we opted to park on the Jersey side of the river and take the ferry across. If we wouldn't have run into road construction on our second day coming into the city this would have been super slick both days. One day we parked close to the Hoboken ferry terminal and the second day (on the weekend) we parked by the Jersey City ferry terminal. We figured this was the cheaper and more convenient route to explore the city versus driving downtown and paying tolls and parking over there.
We did pretty much everything you would want to do in NYC. We spent some time down around the water watching some of our friends play in the professional volleyball event that was in town and found a couple parks that Eli could play at with some other kiddos.
After some volleyball watching and park playing we headed towards the 9/11 memorial and were blown away. We didn't do the museum but just being on the grounds where it all happened was pretty powerful. From there we walked towards the Brooklyn Bridge and made it half way across before we turned back, LOL!!! We then hit up a NYC pizza place in Little Italy that made gluten free crusts. Pretty tasty but given the price tag, I may have to pass next time. Then we were back to watch more volleyball! Yeah that was all in Day 1, it was a lot of walking!
Day 2 we did a little more volleyball watching then made our way to Bluestone Lane for brunch and lattes! This might have been the highlight of our NYC trip, especially the avocado toast that I got on GF toast!
After brunch, we hopped on the Subway or as Eli calls it, choo-choo, and headed to Central Park. It was a hot day and we were starting to get tired from all of our walking so we didn't get into the park too far but explored the south side and just sat for awhile and let Eli run around.
After sitting a bit we started walking towards Time Square. We hit up a little detour on the way and stopped at Momofuku Milk Bar where Laura got a little treat. Unfortunately they didn't have anything that was gluten free so I was forced to watch Laura and Eli enjoy their ice cream. Which apparently when you get to the bottom it tastes just like the milk in the bottom of a bowl of cereal. We continued on and swung past Rockafeller Center and Radio City Music Hall.
We cruised through/past Time Square...but because it was absolutely nuts and we were starting to get tired frustrated with the crowds...it was literally a "oh hey, there it is" and kept walking. We continued on to the Subway Station which we found out after buying our ticket that we went in on the wrong side of the street and were heading uptown and not downtown. So, we bought ANOTHER ticket, crossed the street and started heading home!
We hit up the salad/hot food bar at Whole Foods and made our way back to our ferry. After watching the sunset from the NYC side of the Hudson River we hopped on the ferry and started heading home after a couple long days in NYC. So fun!
We had a couple whirlwind days in New York but part of our adventures were just hanging out at our RV Park too. It was a great park with a huge playground for Eli and a nice new pool. On top of that Eli (and us) made some new friends. Eli loved playing with Chloe and Carson. They were so nice with him and were really like nice older siblings, not the mean kind that pick on you. Oh and like I said we made new friends too with their parents. We had so much in common and loved chatting while the kids played. Can't wait to meet up with them again in California!
We also explored the Jersey area closer to where we were staying. That included Atlantic City which was about 20 minutes away. We were very underwhelmed with the city. We walked up and down the board walk and explored the beach a little. You could tell that it was hit hard by the economic downturn. So unless you like casinos...it really isn't that great. We did find this statue that recognized that AC was/is the home of Miss America Pageant.
We also took a trip down to Cape May which was a a lot more our style, laid back beach town. We met up with some friends, Laurie and Trey, that actually took a ferry over from Maryland. Trey was racing in a triathlon in the area the next day which sounded like a lot of fun. The beach area was fantastic down there. We also heard, but never went, about a zoo that was down in Cape May that was supposed to be fantastic. By the time we knew about it, we were already too busy to make it down there.
All in all, we really enjoyed our time in this area! Jersey was a good change of pace and was nice to slow down. NYC was fantastic and fun to see all the sights!!
From May 27th until June 9th we were in 3 different locations....Laurel, DE at Trap Pond State Park; Hillsboro, MD at Tuckahoe State Park and then just outside of Washington, D.C. at Cherry Hill RV Park! The first two parks were in the middle of nowhere but we were able to see some good friends that lived close by...so that was fun!
On the drive from Williamsburg to Laurel, DE we got to experience our first HUGE bridge and tunnel. We had to pull over to turn off our propane before we could go into it but other than that, it was pretty easy. When we were at Trap pond we explored Rehoboth Beach and the park actually had bikes that we could take and use...so Eli was able to experience his first bike ride! He loved it! We didn't explore a ton around this area...just because there wasn't a ton to do...and it rained a few days so we watched movies, went for walks, played at the park, worked and relaxed.
Dan also had to perfect his parking skills as the spot they had advertised on their website was NOT big enough for a 40 foot RV....but he did it! It was really our only option because it was Memorial Day weekend. Our fault for waiting til the last minute...duh.
At Tuckahoe State Park we were about 30-40 minutes from any civilization...aka Walmart or any town :) and the only hookups we had were electricity. There were a lot of spiders...and bugs...but the park was gorgeous and so secluded you could barely see your neighbor!!
We were able to meet up with another one of our coaches, Laurie & Trey and their kiddos. They treated us to an incredible day in Easton...breakfast at their favorite coffee shop, shopping at the fish market and amish market, boat ride, ferry ride and then dinner at an all you can eat crab place so Dan could learn the ropes from Trey about how to eat those suckers. It's complicated...and I don't like to work so hard to get such a small piece of meat. I'm lazy...so I chose to get scallops instead. Haha!
In DC, we picked Cherry Hill specifically because we wanted to spend a couple days exploring and visiting the memorials, parks etc...and it was located just outside of the city. There were some long days (3 days), lots of walking and lots of money spent :) but it was so worth it. Our friend Angela and her son, Caleb came to visit for a day and she took some pretty fabulous pictures of our adventure and also of us as a family!
We visited almost all of the major monuments...a couple museums and Arlington Cemetery. My favorite part was on our last day there we had planned to go to the Holocaust Museum. However, we didn't realize you needed to get tickets ahead of time for the main exhibit...and all the day passes were gone by the time we got there. SUPER sad face. We figured we would just go in and take a look around. As we walked in I said a little prayer that we'd be able to get into the permanent exhibit and suddenly this woman walks up to us and asks if we have tickets. She had 2 extra that would let us into the exhibit right then...with no waiting (which was a huge blessing because Eli was sleeping)!! SO cool. He did end up waking up halfway through, but that's OK. It was SO worth it.
All in all we have really liked this area of the U.S!! The toll roads are kinda annoying...but we've had a blast meeting up with amazing people, seeing historical places and meet new friends!!
Stay tuned for our NYC adventures!!
Williamsburg | Virginia
We spent 7 days just outside of Williamsburg, VA...and even though it rained for probably 4 out of those 7, we still had a great time!! We checked out Silverhand Meadery, walked around Colonial Williamsburg, met up with a good friend and coach on our team, made some new friends through a random God thing, explored Richmond and Yorktown AND got our car fixed again. HA! Seems like we did a lot, doesn't it? Guess we crammed a lot in when the rain wasn't coming down.
One morning we drove to Yorktown because we had heard the beach was pretty nice...and it was fabulous! There was a trolley you could get on to explore the area a bit, but we decided to just hang out at the beach because we only had a couple hours before Eli's nap and it was HOT. Sometimes we make decisions based on what Eli is going to like the best...and have the most fun doing...and I'm completely OK with that. The beach was full of little kids and relatively quiet for a little while! We were even able to see the drawbridge open and shut to let a big ship through...Eli thought it was cool for about 5 minutes, but Dan and I loved it. Haha!
We drove to Richmond (40 min) one afternoon to see my friend Jessica. The area where we met to have dinner was ADORABLE. We met up with her at Garnett's Cafe because they had gluten free bread and Dan never gets to have sandwiches any more. We hung out for a couple of hours, ate delicious food and drank some wine. It was a blast!
After meeting up with Jessica, she suggested we head over to Maymont Park because wanted to explore a little bit. This park was SO cool and very unexpected. It's a huge park with walking trails, a giant mansion that's been there for hundreds of years, amazing gardens and waterfalls, fish, bison, farm animals and more!!
In a random turn of events (aka God thing)...we were able to meet up with an Instagram friend that we had started chatting with only a few months prior. We ended up finding out that they started following us from a persicope that my sister did...giving a tour of our RV, right when we went on the road. They didn't know she was my sister, but they had met her at DoTerra's Leadership Conference and had started following her. THEN, we randomly went to their friend's meadery (Silver Hand Meadery) and posted about it on our Instagram...we started chatting and the rest is history :) They are such an incredible family and we were blessed to have them over for dinner!! We're still mastering the art of entertaining in such a small space...so it was tricky...but we'll get the hang of it soon. It was so much fun!!
That concludes the 7 days we spent in Williamsburg, VA. We loved it ad were blessed so much by the people we met and the places we saw!!
Charleston | South Carolina
I think it's safe to say that Charleston has been our FAVORITE place to visit thus far. We only had 4 days to explore....and that just wasn't enough time! All within a 30 minute radius you have:
- SO much history
- Cobblestone streets
- Parks galore
- Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie, Fort Johnson
- The OCEAN
- Farmers market
- Amazing restaurants
We were able to meet up with my cousin for dinner the first night in Mount Pleasant and then walk along Sullivan's Beach. It was SO peaceful and this was the first time Eli actually WANTED to go in the ocean! He fell in love with it!
The next day we met up with an "online friend", her husband and their little boy for brunch at Eli's Table. Angela and I met through my sister and through either Facebook or Instagram a few years ago but had never met in person...so this was a lot of fun!! I had a feeling we'd get along great in real life, and we all did. After brunch we walked around Charleston, the Battery, the Pier and then we found an adorable gourmet market and had some delicious beverages to cool off. It was HOT and very humid!
We explored Magnolia Plantation & Gardens one afternoon and had such a great time. Most of these plantations cost a bit of money because you have to pay for general admission and then pay for extra tours of the house, tours of the grounds etc...We paid for a tram tour and a house tour but kind of wish we would have done a tour of the slaves quarters instead. The tram tour was great because we were able to see some alligators, blue herons, see the entire plantation and hear a little history!
My cousin met up with us again and took us to the Charleston Farmers Market. I LOVE farmers markets and this one did not disappoint. SO much goodness!
After the market Dan, Eli and I headed to Kiawah Island to check out the beach. We were going to go to Folly Beach...but it was a Saturday, the forecast was clear skies, 85 and the 9 mile drive was going to take an hour. We opted to drive a little further to Kiawah...we loved it! This was the first time Eli actually went into the ocean with Dan. They jumped into the waves, dug in the sand and we went looking for shells.
After the beach, we were driving right by The Angel Oak Tree and knew we had to stop based on my cousin's recommendation. I'm so glad we did. It's 500+ years old, 66.5 ft tall and spans 178 ft wide. It's thought to be one of the oldest living things in the country!! Pretty magnificent huh??
Capped the trip off with an amazing steak dinner at my cousin's house. We will definitely be going back to Charleston when we have more time and money to go try ALL THE FOOD! Their restaurant/food scene just seemed pretty incredible..just like Savannah!
Pressure Cooker Maple Chicken
Our pressure/multi cooker has been a lifesaver while we've been on the road. For convenience I wish I could just say we have an Instant Pot because 90% of the people that own a pressure cooker own an Instant Pot. We just happened to find an incredible deal on a different model, a Fagor. Doesn't exactly have the same ring as Instant Pot, does it. Either way, like I said this piece of equipment has been fantastic for us to make quick one pot meals. If you are an Instant Pot user hopefully it has similar settings and you can translate my Fagor talk to your machine.
If you are all about fast, tasty meals that are easy to clean up I highly recommend you look into getting one of these. With RV living this is perfect, because it means less dishes and dinners that can be made last minute after a day of exploring or swimming in the pool. Win for everyone!
Seriously this recipe maybe takes 20 minutes of active cooking time and 27 minutes of downtime letting the pressure cooker do its job. If you really want to kick up the flavor of this dish, add some chopped bacon, 3-4 pieces worth right away with your chicken. We had bacon for breakfast the day we made this so opted to not have anymore that day.
So easy and so good! Go make it and lets us know what you think.
Citrus and summer go hand in hand in my book. I know it isn't technically summer yet but the weather in South Alabama has felt like it is the middle of August. I'm sure if you were to talk to locals they would tell you how great the weather has been. For this Minnesota boy it's a different story. Temps were in the 80's everyday and the humidity was above 90% everyday. That's hot!
Being in South Alabama we had the benefit of getting some really good shrimp and it was cheap. This has definitely been one of the things that I've enjoyed about traveling so far, local food! Getting to eat food that was picked, farmed or fished recently is so fun and adds so much more flavor. We've tried to take in local markets wherever we are and get some fresh veggies and proteins, then fill in the gaps with some food from the big box stores.
I made this while in Gulf Shores, Alabama and it was super light and perfect for a warm day. We hope you enjoy it!! If you have a shellfish allergy you could easily leave out the shrimp and do a piece of baked whitefish.
Where do we even begin?? The last month has been a whirlwind!! One month ago we left Minnesota for a quick stop in Nashville, TN...on our way to Augusta, GA so Dan could go to the Master's. Since then here's what we've done and where we stayed:
Greenville, AL: first Walmart parking lot experience. Pretty pleasant actually!
New Orleans, LA: Spent 8 days here to watch some friends play in the AVP tournament and to check out a few touristy things
Foley, AL: Spent 11 days here to see some friends, go to the beach in Gulf Shores and just relax a bit.
Quincy, FL: Just outside of Tallahassee. Spent 1 night at a small RV park...couldn't pass up $12/night in lieu of the Walmart parking lot. It was HOT and humid and we wanted to be able to plug in for electricity and run our air conditioners rather than run the generator all night.
Savannah, GA: This is where we are currently staying for 7 days and we can't wait to explore downtown Savannah, Tybee Island and Hilton Head Island, find a farmer's market and some good coffee shops and food!
Honestly, we're still trying to find a rhythm with our daily schedule. Since we work from home doing online health/fitness coaching it's really really easy to get sucked into working ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. We don't want that. There needs to be balance. We did this so we could be together as a family and have more flexibility/freedom!! So we are committing to a daily schedule where we both can focus on our priorities at different times so one of us is playing with Eli or taking him out of the RV to do fun things or run errands...then in the afternoon after Eli's nap, we'll head out and do some exploring around town for 2-3 hours. Every day may look different...depending on what we need to focus on that day but we both know we want to get up around 5:30/6:00 am every day to make sure we get our devotionals/coffee and maybe a little work done before Eli even wakes up! Yep, that's early BUT because we know the most successful people start their day early, we want to model our habits after them!
The other day I asked Dan if he was still glad we took the plunge and did this...his answer, with no hesitation was "YES...what else would we be doing?"...Well, we'd be living in our townhome in Minnesota most likely...working from home. And while there is nothing wrong with that, we both knew we wanted to see where God would lead us by stepping out in faith and doing something a little unconventional. Giving up something good for something great is hard to do when you can't see the whole road!!
I FULLY believe that He called us to do this for a purpose...whether it be for us OR for the people we interact with...or something completely different...I have a gut feeling that as long as we are open and willing to follow where He leads, He'll lead us into some pretty amazing things and put us in touch with some pretty awesome people.
I can't wait to watch the road unfold.
The Cook & The Coach
Healthy is a LIFESTYLE.