Monday, February 28, 2011

Albequerque, NM

This town was a delight. Old Town was quaint with shops and classic adobe homes. I loved the art around town. There were beautiful sculptures and the bridges were like none I've seen any other place. The landscape was stark and crass with its jagged edges but the people were very warm.

leaving the campground

Amarillo, TX

Traveling on I40 West, outside Amarillo, we stopped at Cadillac Ranch on Route 66. I was stoked. There's no gift shop or quaint welcome center, just an unlocked corral gate to gain entrance to the long dirt road on the farmland. It is definitely a ranch, though. I liked the unassuming way this Texan has just opened his homestead for visitors. Artists. Journalists. Families. Gypsies. Photographers. There was a journalist/photographer from Colorado leaving as I was coming through the gate. He was headed east.

Basically, it is just a row of vintage Cadillacs buried halfway down nose first. The fun part is being able to spray paint anything you want on the cars. I had a blast. I enjoyed it as much as the girls. You just can't go west and not hit Cadillac Ranch :)

Fellow travelers, I thank you for leaving behind nearly full paint cans for my enjoyment :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Somewhere In West TX, Betweeen Childress and Amarillo

We pulled into a rest area to spend the night with other roadies. Driving for more than a couple hours in the dark, we hadn't seen very much but just assumed that the great expanse of West TX had remained the same. Every cow had a twin and those twins were cloned. I swear I've never so much cattle. One ranch after another. Sadly, I saw dead cows at the fenceline and wondered how long it would be before they were found. Oil fields. One-lane dirt roads that lead off into the abyss of no-man's land.

oil, cattle and a few cacti

The terrain was consistent but the critters changed a bit

I saw this cute little shop when we stopped for gas, but it was closed
 West Texas was a long, dull and quiet ride, but it provided much time for reflection.

Sulphur Springs, TX with

After 16 months, I finally saw our friends again! We traveled and worked together for a month in the fall of 2009. We had met online through Families On The Road several years ago but had never met in person until September of 2009. Up to our introduction personally, we had spoken on the phone, email and Facebook so I felt like I already knew them. The first time we ever spoke was on our launch date of July 4, 2009.  Chad and Amy called to surprise us and to wish us well. I was comforted. I was quiet and reflective after having pulled out of the driveway that morning, and it was a washing over of peace to know that they cared and that other families were likeminded. We visited the Creation Museum near Cincinnatti upon our initial visit in Sept. 2009 and they came back with us in their RV to Kentucky, where we were parked. They ended up staying with us through October 2009 working on a project in Dawson Springs, KY. After completion, we all went to Atlanta to work the Catalyst Conference and said our goodbyes there. They were on to Mexico and we had to go back to Kentucky.

It was great to see them after all this time. I was awful sad to say goodbye again. We were able to celebrate their youngest daughter's 1st birthday with them.  We were treated like kings with great food, "hot, as long as we want" showers, unlimited use of the washing machine. And Amy cut and colored my hair. Yep. I didn't know what to do with myself. Well,.... I did know. I almost dozed off while she was cutting it. I am so blessed to have friends like them. They are currently off the road and settled in Sulphur Springs, TX in a cute little house and a wonderful church family. Click here if you'd like to read more of their story and their mission.

Bethany Grace, what a miracle she is

Chad getting to the frosting before she does

Amy and Bethany

Chad saying his goodbye

one last pic before the goodbyes and tears
I am hoping it won't be another 16 months until I see them again. They are trying to get us to go to Mexico with them. Again. They're making it very hard to say no. Why are our visits always timed immediately before their missions to Mexico? I'm not brave enough to ask God that question yet. Ridiculous. I know, right? He knows what I'm thinking already anyway...

Nawlins, LA, Y'all...

After the FOTR rally and Key Largo, FL, we headed up the panhandle and onto New Orleans. What a treat. The weather was wonderful. 75 degrees. Not bad for February. Unfortunately, there were still visible signs that Katrina had wreaked her havoc and had her way with the Big Easy. Much had been rebuilt, but there are some sections of town that have been deserted. Downtown was a different story. It is vibrant and thriving. I was glad to be extended southern hospitality after so long. I like to be asked if I'm having a good day and if I need help finding anything. Every state and town is different, but Nawlins delivered, y'all.

                     I had some fabulous beignets (french doughnuts) and cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde.


Spilling over with utter goodness

No trip to New Orleans is complete without visiting Cafe du Monde


rode the ferry to Algiers, a community of historic homes with classic southern architecture.

walked and shopped on Canal Street

tried on some pretty rockin' masks

in all different shapes and colors

got a history lesson about the Mississippi River

visited this super cool eclectic shop and got a fantastic bumper sticker

sat and reflected awhile in the St. Louis Cathedral

and watched as the residents began preparing for Mardi Gras
All in all, I had an amazing time in New Orleans, but wouldn't want to be there during the festivities :)

FOTR (families on the road) Rally 2011


I so enjoyed my time with my FOTR family. Most of us have been friends online for several years. The rally was held in Cape Canaveral, FL January 20-23, 2011. My entries are a bit out of order. I just realized that I had not even posted about it yet.

Quick recap.
16 families, I believe.
40 something kids of all ages.
Movie nights. Campfires. Sangria. Dessert Potluck. Science experiments which included a homemade bomb.
Oh, yeah!

Some of us continued on to Orlando together after the rally. We just couldn't bear to be apart. There is a kinship with us gypsies and our kids. We are proof to each other that we're not crazy. That we're not damaging our kids for life. That bonds of friendship aren't broken by distance. Or continent. Or time.

I have one friend returning from Australia reuniting with his family after a short job stint in Australia. Another family who will be leaving shortly to spend the spring in Europe. And one country music singer who is an absolute hoot. Families with adopted children. Families with little ones and families with older children not traveling with them. A family who started Fulltime Families magazine, that has given me an opportunity to write for them. Three single moms (mad props to single mamas doing this with their kids!). A family promoting wellness and sustainable living. Another family new to the road doing outreach. True free spirits.

Dynamics galore.
Each with a story and how they made it to this life.
And as I sit here tonight thinking of all my framily, I miss them, but happy too because, each of our stories have woven together into a precious book; a book with a wonderful introduction, an engaging middle...

But without an ending...
Just new chapters to be written.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hands Down, The Best Hands On Fun I've Had In Awhile...

Still in Key Largo, we went to John Pennekamp State Park today. It was our second visit this week. We just had to come back one last time before leaving tomorrow morning, and boy am I glad we did. The weather gave a 50% chance of rain. Didn't know it until 5 minutes before rolling Roxy down the highway. Our unpredictable life is rarely more than 50/50 anyhow, so in true randomroadmama style, I declared that we were going for it.

Yeah. I have a tendency not to look at the weather much when all there really is, is sun.
And sun.
And more sun.

I left the snow behind a few weeks ago, so snowstorms and ice are off my radar. There's been only one day of rain since arriving in Florida 3 weeks ago. To prove my point that roadschooling can happen anywhere and be about anything at any given time: my girls and Capt. My Guy swam and made nice with the manatees this afternoon.

Yes ma'am. The real deal. All 8 feet of baby mama and 5 feet of her baybay.

There were several manatees, but this pair put on a show and reveled in the attention. Baby mama foraged to her heart's delight on the sea plants at the bottom while baybay rolled and curled around our feet. Unafraid of the big humans lurking for another touch, baybay amazed us all and left us wanting more.

Avery snorkeling and touching Baybay


Angel touching Baby Mama

Capt. My Guy and Baby Mama

The girls and I hoping for another sneak peek

I am so glad we went for it. And for sure will do it again if given the chance.

John Pennekamp State Park, randomroadmama thanks you.
Can you take a stab at what we're learning more about tomorrow?

PS. It never rained. Not one drop.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

RV Pics Finally! Drumroll...

She is finished. And so are we. For awhile, anyway. I wouldn't necessarily mind another project, so if you need help with yours, I'm open to that. I'm only half kidding. Sorta.

Roxy proved to be good to us after all and has cleaned up nicely. Poor girl, she was just waiting for someone to lend a little encouragement. There are many people who donated materials and time, that I want to give a shout of thanks to:

The Crosmun's in NC for blessing us with Roxy,
Russell Hott for helping w/the radiator and Kelly Hott for the chat in the meantime,
My parents for helping us tear out the old stuff in the very beginning,
Brenda Laskowski for helping paint and make the slipcovers,
Judy Holt for altering the kitchen table curtains,
Lakewood Carpet for donating the labor and all flooring,
IKEA for being so affordable. Just sayin'...,
Billy West in Dawson Springs, KY for his hard work,
Chris & Shilah Barnes for their help. And for telling us we're not crazy after all...

Here are a few of the pics:

To see the entire album, you can view my Flickr slideshow to your left.

We've been living in the Pace Arrow for 4 months now. The girls have the bedroom and Capt. My Guy and I have the front IKEA sofa bed. It has worked out nicely.

And I get to wake up to a sunny yellow kitchen every morning. Love it.