Can you believe we have lived in our bus for 17 days now, and so far.. it hasn't been THAT bad of a transition. It's actually been pretty easy for the most part. I was just telling Adam last night that I actually love our new home, and that it feels like our HOME more than the big house we had. I still clean a good bit but it's nothing like it used to be. It take a second to dirty this place up, but only a very short time to clean it all back up. I seriously don't see how I could ever live in a decent size house again.. It's just that soooo much time goes into cleaning- esp when I'm as ocd as I am, which I hate!! Anyway... I want to share so far what we've learned, haven't learned, and the places we've been!
The places- We started our adventure heading North in hopes to spend Christmas with our children's babysitter/our sweet friend who just moved back to her hometown of Morgantown, West Virginia. We were going to go to the Birmingham area to visit some friends, then Nashville to hang, then over to W.V. and then NYC for new years! Butttt.... we've learned very fast that bus life isn't always a totally planned out thing, at least for us it isn't. We suck at planning as it is, sooooo this is a HUGE challenge for us!! We started out good though, kind of on track.. we went to Guntersville, Alabama to see one of my very best friends, Morgan and her husband Michael.. we stayed at Guntersville State Park which I highly recommend. It was beautiful!!!! There were deer everywhere and they would come right up to you! I also did a maternity photoshoot for a long time friend of mine that turned out gorgeous because of the location! We stayed there a few nights and it was the first shower I used at a campground (in this adventure) and I was shocked at how nice it was! Seriously, they were nicer than the ones we had at our home!
Ok, so after that.. we headed to Nashville.. a place I'll always have in my heart. We stayed at two rv parks there that were.. ehhh, ok. They were right off the interstate by Opry Mills Mall. The first was Two Rivers and the second was Nashville KOA. They are literally next door to each other and they were in a good location.. we just weren't totally impressed.. esp for NASHVILLE! Anyways, we went and saw the Christmas lights at Opry Mills and they were out of this world.. the way they make that place look is unreal! If you're ever around during the holidays, definitely check it out. Oh, and the kids got to see Santa, Maddox wasn't so sure about that.. Sutton obviously doesn't know the difference, and Willow was stoked! So.. that was fun!
Then.... our most challenging decision so far approached us... Willow and Maddox were actually sick the first week of our trip, we were hoping Sutton was going to get lucky but she unfortunately caught whatever they had. Our next stop was going to be West Virginia for a few weeks but the weather was getting extremely cold... we didn't want to drive our 40 ft bus in any snow or mountainous areas because of the dangers and we just aren't that comfortable with driving it yet. Sutton was getting worse so we made the call to head "home" and bring her to her doctor... turns out she had RSV. I was devastated. Like really, this is our luck! The doctor said she would get worse, but she wasn't weezing, and was actually doing well so far. She said to just keep breastfeeding her. Luckily, we spent the next two days doing nothing but skin to skin with her and keeping her on the breast and she was all better within a few days!!! (breast is best is no joke)
After that, we decided to take off again.. this time, we thought, lets just go to Florida.. stay in the semi warm weather (vs the rest of the states) and just hang out. We drove and called about a hundred places (not exaggerating) along the way trying to find somewhere to stay, not thinking of all the snow birds that would be in Florida and the rest of the country trying to avoid the cold weather that was rolling in! We ended up staying in Apalachicola for a few nights at the Coastline RV park which was right on the bay and it had breathtaking views. We spent Christmas here and it was the cutest Christmas ever.. We got the kids just a few things, obviously we couldn't get them much. It was actually nice though.. to not stress over what to get them and if we got them enough or if they'd be happy with getting very little. They're kids, they didn't care at all! They were sooo excited with what they got! Whew! Thank goodness!!! We drove over to St. George Island that day and we will definitely be going back there soon! We hung out at the beach and cooked lunch in the parking lot there, it was just simple & so nice!
From there, we went to St. Augustine and stayed in the Wal Mart parking lot for three nights! yes, I said Wal Mart. Because there was NOWHERE else to stay in a wide radius of there. We called everyday, every single park with NO luck at all. I honestly don't mind staying in their parking lot though, whatever you need is right there! Buttt... it kind of sucks to not have constant running water and full hook ups for electricity. Luckily, we have solar panels that help us out! We haven't not had electricity because of those babies! Getting back on track, St. Aug is magical. We ate at a bbq joint called Mojo BBQ and it was fabulous! I don't even like bbq, and I loved the wings! We checked out the "City of lights" downtown and I'd seriously do that again every year if I'm in the area. Something about a lot of people & Christmas lights makes my heart so happy! The next few days was going to be cold & ugly soooo we kind of decided to head more south....
After a bit of a disagreement with Adam- we ended up in Juniper Springs. He is clearly the more responsible one that likes to have somewhat of a plan while I'm kinda like.. we will figure it out, lets just drive. I just wanted to drive South. I actually wanted to drive to the keys butttt there REALLY isn't anywhere there to stay! :( Between the storms that messed the islands up, and the people that booked the keys a year ago... we were out of luck! So the next best thing was to see a natural spring because neither of us had ever seen one! We rolled into Juniper Springs State Park and they had ONE spot left! Can you believe it?? We were like, WE WILL TAKE IT!! Although the spot had no hookups.. it was nice to just get somewhere and relax. We walked to the spring and it was super neat. SO CLEAR!!! People were swimming in it.. they said it was 72 degrees year round, how cool! Maybe in my younger, more careless years.. I would have jumped in?? but now.. no thanks! We stayed there last night and this morning, we called another spring nearby that did have full hook ups and here we are, staying at Silver Springs with water, electricity, wifi (which I haven't figured out yet- I'm running off my phone currently) and Adam is making a yummy dinner while I finish this up!
All in all, the traveling has been pretty fun... although, it is a bit tiring. We've tried breaking up each trip making sure we're all getting out and finding things to do along the way. The kids have taken naps almost everyday which at home, Willow NEVER napped so that's been nice. She would rather sleep on the couch at night than her bunk and we've been letting her because, why not? She's asked a few times when we are going to go home which made me cry... I didn't really know what to tell her, so I asked her to color a book with me to get her mind off of it. She's the only one old enough to "miss" her home/room/space. I know she misses it but hopefully we are doing a good job at keeping her busy with other fun/educational things. Maddox on the other hand, LOVES his bunk. He will crawl in on his own and crash. He's loving helping Adam set up camp wherever we are. He's just happy to be outside playing and hanging out. Sutton Gray, she's doing amazing. She's seriously the best baby ever, hands down. She's still in the eat, sleep, poop stage. She's starting to really smile and laugh though, so that's extra special to have in this small space. The dogs.. they're just happy to be with us. I'd say they're adjusting well.
We've learned a lot in 17 days... we didn't realize how many people travel in rvs! It's insane at how many parks are completely booked up! That really surprised us.. so we're going to have to start getting an idea of where we want to be and book, book, book! We are using our shower in the bus for the first time tonight... it's just been easier to use showers at campgrounds because of the room. Cooking in the bus- we've figured it out! We bought a flat top that I wish we had years ago-It's sooo easy to cook on and clean up! Laundry- we have a washer/dryer combo that we've used and it works good.. but again.. easier to do all the laundry in a day at a campground. So, we've figured out a lot but there's always going to be something new to learn. So far though, we are loving it.
We haven't learned how to secure everything down while driving. We haven't learned to make a check list of things we need to do before we drive (we forget something every time). We haven't learned how to make a proper grocery store list so we don't have to go every single day. (we've always sucked at that!) We also haven't learned how to be ok with just being. It's hard when you're so used to needing to be somewhere at a certain time, needing to get this done, and that done... think about it.. when you have no schedule at all- what do you do? When you only have 40 ft of space to clean.. where does your time go? It's a weird concept to get used to but we are definitely working on it. We've still spent a lot of time on the road (driving) so I'm hoping soon enough, we are settled somewhere for a while to get comfortable and just get out and play/learn/explore.. we just haven't found the space that we want to do that in yet- I'm sure we will one of these days!
The support we've had along the way has been wonderful. We're so thankful to know we aren't the only ones doing this.. but we are the only ones we know personally doing it... We are doing our best.. that's all we can do, right?!
Follow along.. see where the bus takes us next -->