Thursday, December 29, 2016

What I Stock Our RV With BEFORE Traveling!

Hello Luvs,

A while back I did a post that mentioned the items I usually buy/bring to equip Eartha before we hit the road. Since I have now had the experience of rural (versus urban) boondocking a couple of times this list has been fine tuned. Stocking her with these items ensure that our systems stay healthy AND happy along with an actual enjoyment of the items eaten and used. I thought I'd share these just in case you've felt unprepared or simply did not bring enough. I am going to break down the use of the items whether it is for cleansing, eating, or RV maintenance.
We were about halfway through our
fruit at this time.

3- 1 gallon bottles of water

It probably goes without saying that bringing water is essential. But, this water is not just for drinking. I use it for making our coffee (5 cup maker) and morning espressos (filled enough to process two double espressos (about 7-8 ounces). It is used to make tea later in the day for the kiddos, and oatmeal for breakfast. We also use it to brush our teeth and wash our faces along with filling the dog bowls. Since our water tank is not large this lowers our water usage more than you'd think.

Several Packs of water based wipes

These have been a true life saver for mainly Jalen and me. They are used for cleansing (my make-up comes off with ease on the days that I wear it!) our faces and private parts on days when we really need to preserve our water. This is usually on the third or fourth day of dry camping. They are also great when I use any hair product. An extra benefit to these is the fact that they do not dry my hands out. YAY!

Baking Soda


I even add walnuts to my
homemade hummus.
I use two heaping tablespoons in the bathroom sink with water that has been slightly warmed. I DO NOT heat the water to hot because it ends up making me add water from the tank to balance it. I found that out the hard way. Doing that...for me...defeats the purpose. Checking it when it starts to barely steam is the best measure for me. I then (without need for soap) use a water soaked washcloth to cleanse myself from head to toe. It works really well at making you feel as if you've actually taken a shower. The person who recommended doing this said that her skin felt soft afterward. I have found it to be around the middle. I do have to lotion...though not as much as if I used Dove.

Battery Packs

If you work remotely (like both Josh and I) having enough juice is essential. Make sure to pre-charge anything you are bringing along and use them wisely. For our phones we have battery packs provided by Google. However, may cell companies sell them for their cell phones. Pick one up, charge them along with your phone, and don't forget to make sure that you have an extra wire. If there is more than one person using them you will be grateful you did.

Paper plates, bowls, utensils(?), and cups (paper or plastic)

This really helps with making your water last as long as possible. I placed a question mark by the utensils because I really prefer regular ones. If weather permits, you can burn all of the paper products in the fire. DO NOT burn the items that are plastic. We wouldn't want any toxic fumes to surround you and add to the planets atmosphere....though I'm sure that you already knew that!
When you are prepared...all that is left to do is enjoy the ride!

Paper towels

We use pick a size. When needed these can be used to clean up a mess. I usually combine them with a white/apple cider vinegar and water mix (in a spray bottle).

Blankets (to layer)

I cannot stress enough the need to bring blankets to layer. At night...especially around this time of year it can get chilly. With various blankets you can add one to the interior of your sleeping bag, on top of your sleeping bag, or layered over you in your bed. It is easier to take off a layer then be missing one that is needed. We roll and/or fold them during the day and place them under the couch and/or on the bed which is used as a kind of daybed. This can actually be said about clothing, hats, and accessories! Make sure that you are prepared for the elements!


This meal is prepared ONLY when
plugged in! Too many dishes and
water needed for clean-up.
FOOD!

I know that everyone has their own taste, but I have found that these items really help as a constant for our systems. Traveling can take a toll on all of us with (out fail). However, if I have these items we have found that our bodies really appreciate them.

Oatmeal- I bring at least two small containers of it or one large. I refill the jar on the counter as needed. Each of us likes to put different things in it like frozen blueberries, fresh blueberries, bananas, walnuts, dried cranberries, milk, batter, trail mix, etc. As you can see...the possibilities are endless!

Shredded wheat- Just like oatmeal this cereal provides much needed fiber. We usually add fresh fruit to it. I might add walnuts and dried cranberries because I am currently ADDICTED to them!

Trail Mix- Easy to make your own with dried fruit, nuts, and grain. This is something the kids grab to eat on their own.

Granola Bars- Either as a snack or breakfast....there is no clean-up needed for these.


Saving money while boondocking
also allows for yummy meals out-
like Rudy's BBQ!
Fresh fruit- We take bananas, oranges, apples, mango, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries...sure you get the picture. These are used to get our daily amount of fruit, various oxides, and stomach calmers, along with some fiber. Eaten alone or placed in a smoothie they never go to waste. I might throw in some spinach and/or lettuce in mine.

Canned sparking water- I am sure that some might disagree with this, but these have been a soda replacement for both Josh and me. We do buy soda occasionally, and the kids usually split a can. Throughout the day they quench our thirst. Being various fruit flavors (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit,along with others) with only two-three ingredients is amazing. An RV fridge usually has smaller shelving and the cans fit perfectly.

The items above are my go to items for traveling in Eartha. It took some to get it right. I'm sure I will learn even more as times passes. When I do, I will share them here with you. Make sure you follow the blog and on one of the social sites to the right so you don't miss a thing!

Til next time,

Kat

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

How Do You Decide Where To Boondock?

Hello Luvs,

Today finds me blogging about boondocking once again. Where we've officially boondocked is on BLM (Bureau of Land Management-Federally Owned) Land. Our first spot was named La Paz. There were saguaro cacti all around us, but most of the trees (if any) were short. What this did was allow for a nicer view. Part of the main reasons for choosing to be on dispersed camping land is the view. In previous posts I've spoke about a lot of the positives. With one of the main ones being the fact that it is free!

The Beauty of B.L.M. Land- http://blog.haveparasolwilltravel.com/2016/12/the-beauty-of-bureau-of-land-management.html

Diggin' the view outside!
Now I would like to share the negatives. Something troubling has happened at both sites we've stayed. Our first parking spot in both locations were both used as dumping sites. We knew this because within a few minutes of parking and walking around we were hit with the smell. This means that someone had dumped their black water tank. This is the tank that holds what goes down the toilet. Some folks (including us) us a compound that breaks it down so it smells less and is easier to drain. There is a good chance that the people who dumped used a compound but nonetheless it still stinks to high heaven. I guess if there was one thing that makes me nauseous while RV'ing...it is that smell.

You might wonder why I have issue with other people dumping? One major reason is that it's illegal to do so. If you are caught dumping you are subject to a fine (at the very least) because it is federally owned. These people did so even when there was a risk to it. I do know that sometimes you find yourself in an emergency situation, however the town caters to RV'ers and there are plenty of places that you can drive to to dump your tanks. Even if they were simply dumping fresh or grey water it is still illegal.

More than likely they dumped at night so no one saw them doing it. This is an example of people who only think of themselves. That land has now been tainted by urine and feces that will soak into the soil. It is not only campers and RV'ers that are affected. It is the wildlife that lives there. We saw quail and baby foxes at both places. They have the right to NOT have their habitat destroyed. 

The sunset view of the mountains last
night reminded us of the Sandias in
New Mexico. Beautiful!
So, how do you decide where to boondock? Well, I've listed a few places that we have used. They are rated them from 1-5 (with 1 being the lowest) and I will attempt to explain why they received that specific rating. This will hopefully help you when you decide to camp, rent an RV, buy an RV, or boondock in your vehicle. Since we are RV'ing I will approach it by our point of view.

Lowes (urban boondocking)- 4 The reason I gave Lowes a 4 is because they shut off the wifi when they close. While open (they open early) you have use of their bathrooms (which are usually clean), and you can buy any needed supplies for the RV. The signal is fairly strong. During the day we park closer to the store and then move it after wifi goes away. Not all Lowes allow you to park overnight. If they did I would definitely have rated it higher. Also, if you are unsure about whether or not you can just go in and have a quick conversation with the manager. He or she might allow you to so it's worth the try. 

Walmart (urban doondocking)- 3 Now.....most Walmarts allow overnight parking BUT NOT ALL. We actually had a security guard ask what our planes were TWO HOURS  before the store closed (on a night when we were actually not planning to stay there, but instead shopping). There is no wifi signal outside the store even if you park closer. It is pretty obvious if the location is ok with it if you come by when dark. You will see semi-trucks, vans, RVs, and some types that we custom built. You do have use of their restrooms, but we have found that they are usually not maintained very well. Of course many store have a walk-in eating place, food shopping area, and a dedicated RV shopping section.
As you can see...Eartha has space all
around here....to spare!

RV Parks- 3 (average rating) Not all of these are created equal. Most have a terrible wifi signal even though you pay for it. In the six we have stayed only two had decent service. We even had one where we could not even check our email. They said we would be able to do so, but boy were they wrong. Some of the parks have swimming pools that are available for use year round. They also have laundry facilities (the worst one was at Circus Circus-with half not functioning and the ones that worked did not work well), small stores, dog walk areas, restrooms (with showers), and a couple had TV set-ups that you could attach your television cable to (if you have one). Some of them are kept clean while others had trash and other gross things littered all around the site (once again Circus Circus). When picking a place you can walk around beforehand to pick the best spot for you. Sometimes the price varies and sometimes not. I would ask the front desk before you head out. You are able to hook up to power (anywhere from 20-50 amps) and water along with their septic system which is DEFINITELY a plus! I will do a separate blog rating of all the RV Parks we've stayed sometime next week. This is the only places we've paid for. Everywhere else has been free.
Isn't she beautiful!?!?

B.L.M. Land (dispersed camping)- 3.5 This rural type of boondocking is definitely our favorite thus far. The fact that there are folks who dump their tanks when they should not is a definite bummer. Also, there is no wifi or water available. If you are low you could always go to the closest dump and refill site. If none are close then you need to be VERY careful with water usage. I buy 3 gallons of water and use that to cook with, bath, and drink. We also keep sparkling water (our favorites are made by La Croix) on hand. We finally started to use paper plates and bowls (trying to use more than once) which are bagged and saved to throw in the fire. I end up washing our utensils, pans, and coffee mugs. For regular liquids we use plastic cups. Oh, and the vast land around works for walking the dogs....just remember to pick it up after them or cover it properly! This all helps to make the B.L.M. visit less stressful. The only reason the rating is so low is because of the dumping. If it were not for that I would easily rate it a 4.5.

Even the clouds BEAM for her!
Neighborhood Parking (quiet safe spot to park at bedtime occasionally)- 4 This is a great option if you are between places.  In Nevada there are a couple of neighborhoods where there is overflow streets parking that others use to park business vehicles, extra cars, trailers, and any other moving object they do not have room for in their garage and/or driveway. I would wait until it starts getting dark then scope it out. The last thing you want to do is have someone call the police about your RV or suspicious vehicle....not that YOU are at all suspicious!

There you have it! These are what we have utilized in the past 2.5 months since we bought Eartha. I am sure that we will have more to share in our travels (including National Parks). If you have any questions and/or there is something that I have not covered please feel free to reach out. I am sharing our experiences with the goal of saving you some time or inconvenience before you decide to take the leap.

*To make sure that you never miss a travel/food/city recommendation, poetry, or fashion blog please follow here and on one of the social sites to the right----->>>>>

Til next time,

Kat
  

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

How RV Living Has Affected Our Health....

Hello Luvs,

When we lived in North Carolina our health was subject to many outside forces. The kids attending public school and my business teaching music enrichment classes in preschools. Just hearing the latter you could probably guess that there were germs being shared by all....even with washing hands and anti-bacterial cleaner.
Some of these...if not all..are often
not done.

Let's take on the first one. There is a policy of keeping your child at home for 24 hours while their temp is 99 or above. Nurses will call the parents if the child is already at school. Oftentimes families cannot afford for the parent(s) taking days off from work to stay home and nurse their kids to health. So what happens? Kiddos come to school with bad coughs, sneezes, or both. That leads to students who otherwise would be in good health being affected by the germs being spread out into the classrooms and hallways. 
Not as easy as we think!


In regard to teaching in preschools. The same policy is in place for most of the schools. However, children would be attending with green/yellow gook coming out of their noses in addition to other symptoms. In the first few minutes of being there I would of course have greeted them all and you guessed it, unknowingly touch something that has about a million germs on it. Poor things would be droopy eyed and half awake. Of course they would call the parent and send the child home. I would sanitize the instrument or whatever else they had touched. By then, because it was in the air, it would be too late.


In the end...we are the best defense for showing our kids
how to maintain good hygiene and the best ways to avoid
the spread of germs.
So, how has living the RV life affected that? The first thing is that the kids are not in the public system. If they were unwell (which has not happened yet thankfully!) we would just stay in the RV and not take the germs with us to another area/place. We sanitize when we touch items outside the house. I also try to keep things as clean as I can....I KNOW...after boondocking it was a little messy! When shopping I always use wipes to do the top AND bottom of the bar along with the area for young children to sit. Lots of people place their bags (including me) there and the bottoms are not the cleanest. Then I wipe down the edges all around the cart. This happens first thing and is done whenever they are available. If they aren't then we sanitize immediately when we return to the car and/or RV. Ultimately, removing them from the public system has led to less exposure to other students who are sick and no bouts of sickness. Not saying it won't happen, but the changes are slimmer...which I am happy about on its own.
Yep...this is the reality when you
are a Mom or Stay-at-home Dad.

It is funny that I am penning the blog in the local library in the teen/children's area. The young ladies that were here when we arrived are now starting to cough, rub their noses, and sneezed more than once. Because it is the holiday break they are at the library playing games on the computer. Why has their parent decided to bring them out to a public place and expose not only us but the children who will use the computers after them to their germs. Keeping them occupied is something he or she is trying to do, but will they wipe down the computers after they leave....probably not. 


 
This little guy has the right idea!
This leaves everyone else (including us) in a quandary. Even though other students are on winter break, my children are not. This is where we come to use wifi and complete their school work. Sitting on the floor for too long gets old. I guess that it is what you have to contend with when visiting a small town which has a 1,000 (if that) square foot library and no Starbucks in site. I guess since this is the season we will need to find a way to do both. Accomplish their schooling subjects while staying healthy when we are at others whims.


Feel this way sometimes....but to weak
to follow through!

Any home/roadschooling (or even public attending) parents reading the blog? If so, please share your experience and/or recommendations on what you do to keep your kids healthy. We are all in this together...this parenting thing. Sharing with each other offers additional ideas and approaches that sometimes lead to a different way which works for those who did not consider or even know about your brilliant idea(s)!

Til next time,

Kat

Monday, December 26, 2016

Where We Boondocked For 6 Days and 5 Nights!

Hello Luvs,

There is so much that I want to share with you about the last few days. We had been staying on BLM (Bureau of Land Management/Federally Owned) Land for several days. If you missed the blog just click the link below.

Acres and acres were our
playgrpund. Rain happened.....
http://blog.haveparasolwilltravel.com/2016/12/the-beauty-of-bureau-of-land-management.html

The plan was to stay for three nights then check into an RV Park for a couple of days. Because we liked it so much we stayed for six days! This was definitely a first for us and we really learned our limits. 


Sunrise.....
Fist thing that we agreed on was that actual boondocking is wwwaaaayyyy different than urban boondocking. The feeling of peace that surrounds you is beyond words. Watching the sun rise then set is another plus. Also, it encourages us to simply open our door and explore. No need to drive...we simply pick a direction. I HIGHLY recommend it for anyone needing to recharge. Oh, and no wifi...did I mention that? More time for famly board games, reading, or working on music.


...then sunset! The striped things
are solar panels.
The one thing (ok...goin' ta actually mention a few!) that I was going a little bonkers about was the dish situation. Because I did not buy paper bowls we had to use the set from the cabinet.We were stretching our water, so I was doing dishes once a day. Because we did a few day trips I would make breakfast then we would jet. Well, the pans started adding up....especially when we were like....let's add another day (a little INSANE when I think of it now). I get creative with how I layer the pans (yes I layer-DO NOT JUDGE ME PEEPS!) in the convection oven which added even more pans. Oh, and I did not buy silverware to eat with. Yep, ya guessed it! Almost every utensil was used. First thing I did when we hooked up at the RV park, even before showering, was wash all those dishes, cups, utensils, pans, racks....ARGH! I just went back to that crazed mind obsessive moment from this morning.................Ok, I'm back.
I guess it doesn't look that bad when
organized and placed to the side?

Learning your tank(s) capacity of gallons is never the same as conserving what you have in the tank. I have never been one for using paper plates, bowls, etc. but reading a blog written by a fellow RV'er with hints for travel made me think again. She uses them sometimes more than once and then burns them in her camp fire. We are planning to try that starting tomorrow. 

We loved the last locale so much that we are going out for another stretch. Josh has picled out a different site that charges a small fee ($40 for the week) and you can dump, refill fresh water, and throw away trash. 

Below are the items that we will take along (hopefully some will be conserved because of the set up) with us that will hopefully help us conserve water, and that will hopefully allow my brain/obsessive mind from overloading. 


Come on...this is MUCH BETTAH!
All clean...!
-Paper plates, bowls, cups
-Napkins
-3 gallons of water (in one gallon containers) for washing dishes, drinking, bathing)
-biodegradable toilet paper 
-firewood
-kindling
-lighter
-wipes for face and body (when wanting zero water use)
-baking soda ( 2 tablespoons in the bathroom sink w/ warmed water to do a head-to-toe body cleanse)


Mama made hummus! YUM!!!
I am sure that I have left something out. However, I will let you know how we fared soon. In the meantime check out the pictures from the last couple of days.

*To make sure that you never miss a new blog, update on our travels, recommendation of family activities, or poetry blog simply follow here and on one of the social sites on the right--->>>>

Til next time,

Kat

Saturday, December 24, 2016

When In Doubt Do You Still Believe?!?!

Hello Luvs,

I wanted to take a quick moment (I know...always sayin' that!) and reiterate just how much you should show appreciation for loved ones without being prompted. Corporate sponsored holidays often dictate when and how much you should do...and when not doing enough is frowned on. This might even happen with the person you rained presents on. Homemade presents are shown their place in one's heart by the genuine or disengenuous reaction given. Hopefully that person already knows how much you treasure them.


Full panoramic of photo posted to instagram @haveparasolwilltravel. Thought about editing out the smashed pumpkin, then I decided against doing so. I have a ten year old son for goodness sakes!
I have often written poems to celebrate a friend or family members birthday. With their burned edges and raffia string often keeping them rolled tight. Poetry has always been part of my equation toward happiness and expression. Most friends knew what was coming. They usually loved them (think they faked it?) and relished (too immodest?) receiving one. Birthdays I think of in a different light than the holidays that sometimes shun another's belief system. It is a day to celebrate that specific person being born and a part of your life. A celebration is completely warranted. However....when libraries, post offices, federal buildings, and various other places are closed two days before and one day after a solely Christian holiday it is (for me) a little off putting. This oftentimes does not happen for other religions. Is the Christian belief system the only one that matters. Of course folks who celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and other religious holidays throughout the year (many go by without a mention except on a calendar?) do so on their own. There is not a shut down for them. Anyone else have a problem with this? If not, you should really think about it. Am I delusional and insensitive? I try not to be one who overlooks or puts down another's belief. However, I think that almost everything has something redeeming about it. The same rings true with what other folks want to celebrate. In the end it is often the upperichilon of society and/or elected officials that give it a yay or nay.

There...I've said it! Now I'm going to try to pen something that kind of ties into my words above. It remains a chain of thought I have for my fellow Human Beings.
The beauty of whispy clouds NEVER
escapes me...!


Believe...!

When I take it all in
I realize that the same feelings
Still remain
When I let it out
Some may listen to me 
With Doubt
My true heart made for love even when
Weathered thin from the wind
Being blown about
Washed away then replanted
In another breathtaking place 
That we've landed
When I tell you my words are true
Does believing me still alarm the beliefs 
That you hold true
Holding each and every thought close to the heart
Even when everything around us 
Is falling apart
With the tattered edges of my sleeve
I reach for you and quietly say
"Please Believe."
Not words that have been burned into the mind
But the actions we try again and again
To hide....
Fearing being shunned then turned away
Hoping to be welcomed back again
One day
What if I said that you have Worth, Peace, and Contentment
Bursting from your seems
Not empty words....if you STILL BELIEVE.....
                                                                                 ~Kat L. Wilson
Last night's sunset. There are endless cloud shapes housed here.
What do you see?

*To make sure that you never miss out on a poetry blog, update, or family travel recommendation please follow the blog and on one of the social sites to the right------>>>>>

Til next time,

Kat

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Beauty of Bureau of Land Management Land for Boondocking...

Hello Luvs,

Not much time to get this to you (library closes in about 30 minutes), but I am going to try to share just how wonderful it is to boondock on BLM land (which happens to be federally protected!). The past few days have found Josh sleeping the best he has since buying Eartha. That in itself makes it an easy choice. However, I am going to try to lay out all of it's benefits so you know whether or not it might be a good fit for you. With the incoming administration stating already that during the first hundred days he would like to begin exploring National Parks as potential mining spots. I have trouble even typing his name, thus giving him the publicity that he lives for. If you are as worried as I am you will take advantage while you can. Just sayin'
Our first night...

Josh heard about Quartzite from a gentleman he watches on youtube quite a bit. Bob Wells has been RVing for some time and his advice has been spot on for us. When mentioning Quartzite he explains how it's really geared toward rvers. There are lots of laundromats, RV repair spots, and really great places to eat where you won't kill your budget. In the winter the population can find itself growing from 6,000 to 60,000. Many folks called 'snowbirds' flock here as a reprieve from the cold.
and in the morning!
 


The other thing he mentions is that RV'ers can boondock (not urban boondocking in a parking lot that allows for a wifi signal) at multiple spots. This is a find a spot and park kind of deal. There are hosts that you check in with and give them your car/RV plate number(s), the amount of people in your party, and how long you will be staying. That's it! Did I mention that it is free? There are some locations where you pay a small fee that gives you use to a bathroom and some other things. Most of these are located on the west coast of the U.S. You can stay for up to 14 days. For us...a few days works then we go and plug in so we can restock and clean the RV. If our water tank was bigger we would definitely stay for longer. Because we have solar panels we can last for that long with no problem. So if you are either a citizen or a visitor to the States this is a place to commune with your surroundings, meet other RV'ers, and/or have your RV worked on. 
Up close they were still beautiful!

We came across cacti in
various states of decompositon.

When we pulled into our area (named Road Runner) we instantly felt at ease. We were surrounded by saguaro cacti and mountains at almost 360 degrees. The road is not too far from us, but you can't see it very well. Instead you see the low laying clouds and various shades of green. We have trekked around a few times and on each occasion we find ourselves with a sense of awe. It really is a beautiful place.

But what about the people? Well there are all types. There are families, retired couples, couples who live on the road, hippies, hunters, and of course locals. We've found most to be very friendly and welcoming with a few that are very cool characters. There was no....oooo stranger! stares which I for one appreciate.
These little bushes were
all around.

We popped into a bookstore (Reader's Oasis Books) where the owner in the summer months wears nothing but a patch over his unmentionables. He is a musician who plaYs boogie-woogie music and has been doing so for decades. There is so much to take in while visiting. I suggest you allow for at least an hour. There is music for sale along with toys, pop-up boxes, and so much more. We did meet an author who has found some success doing an arthur signing. He started writing late in life and once he started he fell in love with it and hasn't stopped since. I will do a separate blog about him after we've read his book that we bought.
The kids were amazed at how
big they were.

Now we decide where we will flutter to next. I will of course share our continued adventure. Until then, try and catch up on all the latest blogs.
So was I....!

*To make sure that you never miss an update, poetry/short story blog, or recommendation make sure you follow the blog and on one of the social sites to the right------>>>>

Til next time,

Kat

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Two People We've Met While RV'ing in Nevada and Arizona

Hello Luvs,

I thought today's blog would address the types of people we've met thus far. For sure there have been some people who were not friendly and that looked at us as if we just ducked out of a police line up. That is going to happen even more as people around this country figure out just where they stand in regard to new policies and an out in the open attack on what this country was supposed to stand for. The more I learn the more confused and angered I am at the 'if you don't like it' bigots. When others stepped foot on this land there were already indigenous people here. Whether it is the border that was part of Mexico but taken over as the property of a country that held a bigger stick, the native people considered to be heathens and barbaric, or those who were forcefully brought over against their well...these people often read what they want into just whose country this is.

TO DIE FOR sunrise on our second day!

So, recently I wrote about folks who looked at me with hatred in their eyes. Today I wanted to share a couple of stories about the RV'ers who have brightened our days and spoke with an open heart. There are two that come to mind right away....

Josh and I ventured to Rudy's on
our shopping trip...sandwich with
moist brisket and sliced turkey
YUMMMMERRRSSS!
The first person is Gail. She is from the Northern part of the U.S. (Washington State) and was at our Lake Mead stop. She is a petite little thing with bright red hair. After being diagnosed with cancer her son bought her a smaller place to live in that was much easier to maintain. When we met her he had purchased her a small RV (talk about an awesome son....she did a good job) that is one of the cutest I/we have encountered. She introduced herself to Josh when he arrived and was sweet to Goldie. We had animated conversations about politics, the state of the planet, and what is happening in our schools. Being a former professor and now yoga instructor she was full of energy and life. Even though she looked a bit frail to me she still had a dynamo's spirit. Meeting someone so brilliant, kind, and feisty is ALWAYS a pleasure.

One of the lovelies I will be
selling on ebay or mercari.
Have interest? Reach out!
The second person's name is Kay. The kids and I just me her at our Salome (36 minutes from Quartzite, AZ) stop. She is another mature woman who has the same color of firey red hair as Gail. She popped into the pool area around the time we were finishing up. She was curious about what our journey was/is and how the kids like it. During our conversation we talked about weather, her son (who is a costume designer....making just above $7.00 while working at Disneyland) and his struggles. She shared how someone in her son's department had over TWO DECADES with Disneyland and only makes around $14.00 per hour. I won't even get started on just how much a place like that paying their employees that amount SHOULD BE ASHAMED of themselves. Just to get in, many groups pay well over $300. Many times it is even more than that. She is a kind and thoughtful soul that placed a friendly cap to the end of the day.
My take on shrimp linguini.
Went over well I think!

I know that many of my blogs lean toward the negative feelings I hold about what is happening both racially and politically in this country. The hatred that I know is harbored toward my family. Then the bigotry that has been spewed, swallowed, and modeled for future generations. There will be more I am sure, but until then....sharing a bit about these two amazing women reminds me of those who do not follow along that same bright red line. Unfortunately, right now we have met them few and far between.

Til next time,

Kat


Monday, December 19, 2016

LAKE HAVASU CITY- Is It A Go-To Spot During the Winter?

Hello Luvs,
We are really feeling at home on
Eartha....luv how she captures sunsets!

Well, we thought that we would stay a few days in Lake Havasu before making our next move. I visited back in my 'Milk and Honey' days along with a couple of bandmates. Back then it was to camp, ride jet skis, and jam. So I did not have a full experience in regard to organized activities. This was to be a new experience for all of us since our focus would be on family activities and learning more about the area.
We always stock fruit....
never disappoints
the tum-tum.
Because we arrived in the evening checking out where to go on BLM Land (you can boondock up to 14 days) would have been a bit of a challenge. We decided to check it out the next day. Daylight hours would allow us to drive around and really get a sense of the landscape and how the Lake looked during the day. We parked at the local Lowes store...which has been our place for picking up things to update the rv.

When we woke up we were a little surprised by how it seemed to be a little desolate. We drovemy new housing developments and not a lot of business. There are a significant number of places that cater to boaters. There are a couple of thrift stores (Goodwill and the Salvation Army.) so that made me happy. Found a few things at the latter, but Goodwill unfortunately did not offer up any goodies for me to snatch up. I did make a second trip there this morning and picked up a belt for Myles who is now wearing jeans! Their prices were pretty steep for what they offer. If trying to decide between the two and not having a lot of time I would definitely visit the S.A. 
Belt for Myles' jeans...thrift store finds!
One pair is Levi's....!

Of course not all the places we visit are going to have museums and cultural activities. L.H.C. does however have the actual London Bridge (which was bought and transported in 1971), an In n Out, and a wonderful donut spot call 'Donut Post' which we visited this morning. If you need to pick up a few small things for your trip they have a Family Dollar and a Dollar Tree along with a few supermarkets. There is a local Organic Store we did not have the chance to check out. We also opted out of visiting the park because it is on the expensive side. It would cost us $65 a visit. That made it a no brainer to stay at Lowes for one more night. 

During our drive and stop at In n Out (ya know I was going to eat there!) we realized just how Lake Havasu is missing a diverse population with 90% of its residents being white. I actually had several people look at me with a blank stare when I said hello. They stared as we walked up, did not acknowledge our greeting, stared during our visit, then...ya guessed it...STARED as we walked away. This was not a good stop and we decided to move on. Others might have a different view, however our experience was blatant. It might have something to with the fact that a significant amount of the demographic happen to be older white men. It ranks #2 on this list of most conservative cities in Arizona. Why oh why did we visit here again? 
Seeing 'Rogue One' was a
highlight because of the
time spent w/Myles!

Instead of four days we spent about 36 hours.....with a few of them being in the library. Thus allowing me to pen the blog for today. The more we see of the country the more we experience those who are not open minded and have a hang up in regards to a bi-racial family. There are probably lots of nice folks who reside here. Unfortunately we did not come across many. I believe that we are receiving a more accurate measure of this countries stance on race relations. Relocating will not come soon enough. Where we WANT to be is very cold so having the temps rise will be a better recipe for a happy family.

So, how would I rate Lake Havasu City (in the winter-the summer could be different)?: rated 1-5 with 1 being the lowest

Cost- 2 If you plan on visiting the National Park and 4 if you plan to visit BLM land. The National Park is by far the most expensive cost we have seen. I should add that the gas prices are awesome. If you need to gas up and can make it there I say go for it!

Convenience- 4 The drive is an easy one. When you exit it is pretty much a straight shot to get to the city. Though it is hard for me to call it that. It seems more like a town to me.

Accessibility (handicapped and children)- 4.5 The London Bridge can be crossed both on foot and car. Most of the businesses seem to have handicapped ramps. For children....strollers, backpacks, and/or walking should be no problem because of the sidewalks.

Once again I wanted to mention that I visited quite a while back during the summer months. It could be a completely different story in the summer. A busy Lake Havasu City could very well be a changed L.H.C. For us...it was not a good fit. We have decided to move on and will be joining Josh at our next stop (he went early to set up Eartha).

**To make sure that you never miss a travel update/recommendation, food/fashion/poetry blog, or rant follow the blog and on one of the social sites on the right----->>>>

Til next time,

Kat

Sunday, December 18, 2016

By Your Side...!

Hello Luvs,

With the weekend flying by I thought I would take on a poem that focuses on self-worth/insecurities. It is something that I have been thinking a lot about recently. As I see the world fluttering by while on the road I look over and see my kiddos and how fast they are growing. Trials and self-image problems I had have reminded me about my job as a parent. No, they are not me...they are their own vibrant, brilliant, kind, compassionate, beautiful Human Beings
Embrace your inner beauty and
brighten the world with
'You Being YOU!'

With Jalen now a teenager who is blossoming right before my eyes it is important that I remind her (and others going through any sort of confidence crisis) of her value and potential. I am trying to be a role model in this regard. Right now this is not a major problem for her, (and hopefully not in the future) but continuing our strong line of communication will hopefully remain in the future. 

I know that there are young adults who need to know that we too (in one way or another) went through what they are now experiencing. When in school their problems are just as valid to them as our adult issues are to us. We should never make them feel as if they we do not relate or empathize. Might be some adults out there who did not go through these tough times and that is in itself a blessing. However, having compassion for those who have and/or are is a good character trait. Would you agree?
Find your passion and
'Aim for the stars!'

I have attached a lyric video for the song 'In The Middle' by Jimmy Eats World. The words speak to anyone who has gone through those tough times. It is what we do to address these problems that dictates whether or not these times become what they went through vs what they are going through.


Jimmy Eats World- 'In The Middle' (courtesy of Blah/YouTube)- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FV-HPOHu8mY

So, here it goes....let's see how it turns out. 

By Your Side....!

I know right now
You may fail to see
The younger version
Of what I used to be....
I see the choices
You feel helpless to make
Or the certain friends
Whose favor you wish to take...
The very ones that smile
Right now at you
Have their own trials and tribulations
They are going through....
It may seem that they alone
Are solely to blame
For the actions shown daily
Calling you out of your name....
You have to remember 
That you are loved
For your humor, compassion
And ability to trust....
You no longer 
Are able to see
The hopeful soul that remains 
In spite of everything...
Please take the time to share
Whatever is comfortable
You have to remember
That I will always be here....
These times seem hopeless
Continuing with no end
But trust me when I say
That you are your own best friend...
With the potential to say 'No!'
To those who would try 
Day after day with the goal
Of crushing your soul...
Their actions say more
About them
Because they're acting out
The insecurities laying within....
YOU are a shining star
In your Mother's eyes
Your cheerleader who is always
By your side....

and maybe....just maybe....YOUR passion will answer...!
It may be someone other than their Mother who helps them get through this. Someone needs to step up and guide them to be their best selves. Reminding them that what is happening right now DOES NOT have to define their future.

Til next time,

Kat



Friday, December 16, 2016

Why is this happening, and why am I so troubled?

Hello Luvs,

A few things have struck me as disappointing and worrisome this week. I'm sure (especially if you read my blogs on the regular) that you know how much this past election cycle has troubled me. It has affected my optimistic nature, because I have now realized that looking toward the rosy image of things has been misguided. I know that there are good souls that flutter around in this world. I've met them from time and time, though sometimes I feel as if they are as rare as unicorns. The part that really concerns me is that more and more I am running into those who wish me ill will, openly express disdain for me on their faces, and are hateful when it comes to my family unit.

I am not diluted when it comes to being underestimated. I often hear others (with surprise in their voice) realize that I might know a thing or two about this world of ours. Being a person who has found no other way to survive than being myself. Often times it's cost me in my musical career and ended more than a few of my friendships.
Unfortunately Dorothy....the other side of the rainbow houses
darkness, tragedy, and tribulations....however, we might still catch
sight of those bluebirds.

So, why am I sharing these concerns yet again? Well, in the past week I have been openly profiled and had someone (through their actions) show that they saw nothing but a person who would steal from them. Little do they know that I am unabashedly honest and trustworthy...down to the penny, found item, or lost child. With the past election those who felt disdain for people of color now openly express themselves without fear of consequence. It can now be expressed in school, at work, and with people they run across in the neighborhood market. This week I was also pulled over (though I was not given a ticket because he saw on my face that I realized what I was doing too late) and fear made my heartbeat quicken. The policeman (as he was running my plates) was joined by another officer and they had a long conversation while continuously looking at me. With everything that has been going on I was truly scared. He came back, gave me a warning, and told me what he realized. I was grateful for not receiving a ticket, but even more to learn that he was a kind and understanding public worker. Did I receive this pass because I am a woman (other women of my race have been singled out), or because of the way I look? Or was it because I owned up to it and apologized? In the end is it most likely because NOT ALL policemen are bad ones and take their cues from superior officers? I would lean toward the latter....or at least my trusting heart wants to.

Why is this happening, and why am I so troubled? Well, the Black/African-American males in my life have told me over and over again that racism has never died down. That their daily existence is shaded by those who cross the road when they see them coming, clutch their purse when they enter an elevator, and passed over them for a job and/or promotion. This has been their reality for their entire lives, but now it happens to be more out in the open. 

The blatantly anti-women, racist, climate change denier, and war monger who will destroy what has been accomplished in the last eight years (if not what Roosevelt put in place)......let alone my whole working life. Healthcare, Social Security, Privatization of Public Schools, and any other public service are the targets. The people who voted for this man will see very soon just how wrong their decision was. He lied, worked them into a frenzy, and hyped up just how much he was going to do. Remember...this is a man who thinks that there should be no minimum wage. The current minimum wage is not a living wage as it is. The government is not supposed to be FOR PROFIT but an institution for all. This country will resemble 'The Hunger Games' more than a protector of it's citizens. The separation of classes will undoubtedly spread even more. These things chill and frighten me.....how about you? Do you think that these actions will not affect you and you will just ride it out? Will those closest to you be affected by these decisions? How about your children, will they feel the brunt of the blow given by the people who care more about profit then whether or not future generations will have breathable air? There are so many negative consequences that WILL arise from these decisions.

I have changed my opinion of the U.S. The country that touted the American Dream to all who would listen. The potential is here to be your very best. If you work hard and put in a good days work you be able to buy a house and send your children to college. That by being a good person you 'would be judged by the content of your character and not the color of your skin'...as MLK Jr. voiced so eloquently in his speech. The haves will distance themselves from the have nots and those who happen to be a different hue.

Troubling in every sense of the word.....!

Til next time,

Kat


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Skin We're In....!

Hello Luvs,
Without this family my journey
would be so different.

Not quite sure how today's blog came into this fluttering mind, but I felt the need to share some self-love realization. Growing up feeling on the fringe (in many ways) tends to leave you with the belief that you might not measure up. If I shared a couple of pictures from middle school you would understand. It was not until high school that I started to blossom. Yet even then I still felt that I wasn't good enough. It is not as if particular people were making me feel this way. Yes, I did experience some harsh words during awkward phases that left a bubble of insecurity that surrounded me.

Eartha is our vehicle for exploration.
This is where I found music. I had music (mostly gospel and some R&B) around me growing up, but when I started mixing styles as a means for self-expression and escapism did I really start to feel as if I had any value. There were years of trying to find myself and filling the male role that was left behind when my father died. It would take two decades for me to see that trying to find my confidence and worth in ANYONE else would not last. Though others might have witnessed confidence and security, I was still far from finding a way to feel good about myself.
This reflection shows only
a small part of my
growth.

Can you feel me? Have you ever looked in the mirror and felt that you were not measuring up? Have you told yourself (regardless of others telling you that you are intelligent, kind, and have a wonderful heart) that you lack worth? When looking in a magazine, watching a commercial, or gone to a party and not seen anyone that represents you? I know that I could ask many more questions along the same line. In today's society there is way too much value placed on how you look. If you do not have money on top of that....add that you are a minority....have a seriously chipped front tooth...an acne issue...glasses broken right in the middle and held together with tape....and that you are bookish??? This and so much more has the potential to make even the most propped up individual a basket case when they step out into society.
A pets love helps our
nurturing heart.

How do you battle against such things? Well, finding activities and experiences that add joy to your life. If you like to read...find your favorite book to cozy up to. If you like to be surrounded by nature...find a spot which enables you to partake in a safe way. If you like music...catch a show, download a cd, or find YOUR favorite station. Finding what makes you happy and not allowing others to dictate your life allows you to find YOUR path. What brings you joy with no harm to others are both ways to carve out a lifestyle.
Smiles brought about by having
fun with fashion.

Right now even with my health issues I am slowly but surely finding my bliss. I work on my music, getting out in nature, and writing this blog as a few of these things. They've brought me piece of mind and a heart with growing inner peace. Deciding that we should follow a path that strengthens our family unit (which seems to be embraced more and more families) has had a big impact on my piece of mind. This is what I wish for others who are feeling how I've felt in the past. Everyone deserves to feel loved, valued, and relevant. Hopefully through this blog I am enabling others to escape and reclaim what they need. I often find solace in what others share...especially when they are doing something that might be out of my grasp (hopefully not for long!) at the present time.
Comfortable in the skin you are in.
Growth of the heart, soul, and mind
being OUR  daily goal!

Stay with me on this journey. It is a course we've set sail on and look forward to the lesson this life has yet to teach me/us.

Til next time,

Kat