My life and travels in bullet points

Travel

North Michigan

 

Savana and Uncle Justin

Shell-Bell

Zeb and the gravatron

Sleeping Bear View

Margarita

Kiss

Juggling 6!

 

Northern Michigan Highlights:

  • Enjoying time spent with my nieces and family
  • Fun at the fair
  • Zebs birthday
  • Sleeping bear sand dunes
  • Anniversary dinner and beach time with my one and only. :)   I love you baby!!
  • And of course Juggling love.

South Dakota

Mount Rushmore

Gold Panning

Gold mine tour

Zeb at the Cosmos in SD

Badlands erosion

Night Sky over Badlands

South Dakota Highlights:

  • touring a old school living roof homestead
  • Hiking the Badlands National Park
  • Getting sideways in the mud with the fifth wheel
  • Seeing prairie dogs for the first time
  • touring Mt. Rushmore
  • Panning for gold and a tour of a gold mine
  • A fantastic 4th of July
  • The evening sky program at the Badlands
  • Wierdness on the tour of the Cosmo’s

A Video Update from Michigan

Tara and I decided to do something a little different this time. (And we had fun in iMovie too.)


Boise Id, Yellowstone Wy

Linda and Andrew

View in Boise

Father's Day in LEGO

Yellowstone Bison

Bubbling Paint Pots

Old Faithful during eruption

Juggling Snow Balls

 

Boise Highlights:

  • Time spent with marvelous friends.
  • Hiking along the Oregon Trail, and seeing the ruts from the wagons.
  • A SWEET Fathers Day present, and a day spent with my two favorite people!

Yellowstone Highlights:

  • Seeing bison, bald eagles, deer, antelope, and elk.
  • Seeing the Paint Pots, and enjoying the sulfur smell.
  • Watching Old Faithful erupt.
  • Juggling snowballs for the first time, and juggling with bison.

Eugene, Or and Vashon, Wa

Juggling at Saturday Market

At Sweet Creek

His first time to the beach

on the ferry

the needle\

Veg kit installation

bounce

 

Oregon Highlights:

  • Juggling at the Eugene Saturday market
  • Great hikes
  • Hanging with Clark the Veggie Guru
  • Bear’s first trip to the ocean

Washington Highlights

  • LIFE is Good unschooling conference
  • Ferry to Vashon island
  • Destroying the fifth wheel bumper getting off the ferry
  • Hanging with the ever so awesome Swiss Army Wife and her family
  • Playing tourist in Seattle
  • Veggin TJ’s and Heather’s RV

Bodega Bay and The Redwoods

Justin in the Redwoods

Corkscrew Tree

Funny treehugger

My guys on The Sky Trail

Almost as tall as me

On the edge

Enjoying the view

Highlights:

  • We saw Breath taking views at Bodega Bay
  • We saw the worlds largest tree
  • We took a gondola ride over the Redwoods
  • We walked among giants
  • We hiked where Star Wars 6 was filmed
  • And we we we we all the way home

See ya on the flipside!


New Blog

Wondering what this new blog is about?

  • I’m not a writer.
  • Hence why I haven’t blogged in almost a year
  • But I really wanted to blog about our travels.
  • So I thought it would be easier to do it in bullet points and photos.
  • With that in mind here is the new blog, hope you enjoy.

San Diego Fun

Fun on the Ostrich

Juggling at the Pacific

Running Away

Highlights:

  • Rode a carousel for the first time
  • Juggled by the ocean
  • Played in the water

See ya on the flip side!


Family Fun in La Crosse

The past month we have been in Wisconsin. Its so hard to post about everything, so I’ll just pick some of the highlights.

We spent time in La Crosse. This is where I was born and both my mom’s and my dad’s family is still there.

My aunt and uncle were kind enough to let us stay on their farm for two weeks. (Thanks Aunt TT and Uncle Ron!) My other aunt and uncle let us borrow their car while in town so it was easy to get around. (Thanks Aunt Sally and Uncle Scott!) Here’s a couple of pics of the family hanging out around the fire:

Fire“>

Family

We also had dinner with my other side of the family but I was having so much fun I forgot to take pics. It was nice to catch up with everyone. I haven’t seen most of my family in WI for 8 years.

Lots of get-together’s and eating. My grandma made yummy rhubarb pie, and my aunt Sally made Almond Hershey Pie. I bet I gained 10 pounds while in Wisconsin. ;)

Here is a pic of my Aunt Nancy and Uncle John and I. They came all the way down from MN to see us. I feel so special. They’re the greatest.

Justin, Aunt Nancy and Uncle Jon

Man, I think its time to shave my head.

I love all of my family; they are so great. I hope to come back soon and visit again.

For Z’s birthday we went horseback riding. It was so much fun and he really loved it.

Zeb and Annie

Justin and Gus

Here’s to family and fun times!


Blacksmithing Class

Smithing has interested me ever since we interned on the farm in Albuquerque, NM, where it was introduced to me. I had the opportunity to stop and take a weekend-long blacksmithing class in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, last weekend while on our way to visit family in La Crosse. I love the uniqueness and the endless possibilities  of things you can make with smithing. Its a dying trade that not too many people know how to do anymore, since we live in the age of machines.

This was my teacher David Day. He has 18 years experience smithing.

Here are some of the things I made: a coat hook (top left) that I made frome a push rod out of a engine, a ornamental leaf (top right)which was made out of a 1/2in diameter piece of metal . and a pair of tongs custom fit for my hands. ( The tongs they had at the class sucked; I couldn’t hold any piece of metal tight with them.) I had so much fun, and learned so much about the dynamics of smithing and metal. I wish there was a way I could smith on the road. :( It is so simple but yet so complex at the same time. I have hopes of using my carpentry skills, and smithing skills together one day to make some really beautiful pieces of art. I can’t wait to have the chance to do it some more.


Fun with Friends

I just want to say sorry to all of my readers for neglecting this blog so long. There is just so many interesting things to see and do. We have been staying in Keatchie, Louisiana (about 40 minutes outside of Shreveport) for the past 3 weeks visiting one of my good friends and helping him with some things. We also got to jam on the djembe which was so fun. His dad, whom was one of my bosses from Vegas, lives right down the street from him. He was gracious enough to let us stay on his beautiful land with full hookups for the RV.

Drummers

The first weekend we were there we went to Mudbug Madness, which is a crawfish eating festival in downtown Shreveport. I have to say after having crawfish for the first time they were very yummy. Z was grossed out by the way they looked and didn’t have any. But he did take advantage of all the cool things to do there. He went in a “euro ball,” which is ball you get in and fill up with air and can run on top of water. He looked like a hamster in one of those balls. ;) He also had the chance to try out one of those bungee jumping trampolines.

Mudbugs

Crawling Bobble

Bungee Bouncing

We just decided to leave Louisiana Friday and head back to Texas to meet up with some of our good friends that have just decided to buy an RV and embrace the RV lifestyle. We stayed at Martin Creek Lake State Park. It was a great park.

The only thing that weirded me out was swimming with the power plant in the background, and how warm the water was. Sara and Chris told us that the power plant uses the lake water to cool down the plant. And wouldn’t you know it when I got out of the water I had a fricken third arm! :D

I helped Chris and Sara do a little remodeling to their RV and help acquaint Chris with his new home and all of the cool gadgets that come with it. I can’t wait to meet up with Chris and his family again.

Closet Recon

I’ll try to blog more frequently for ya’ll. Peace!!


Lovin Life

Let me recap what I have been up to since my last post.

I picked up some work in Gonzalez, Texas, doing some hardwood flooring in a RV, working on a couple of generators and siding a house. I finally had the chance to take Zeb fishing on the river close by. Within 20 minutes Zeb caught a sunfish but it was to small to keep, but you should have seen the look on his face reeling it in. :) I caught a catfish but my line got snagged in the lily pads and broke. Damn, that one would have been a keeper too. The second day we didn’t have as much luck. Zeb didn’t catch anything but I caught a catfish again but it was too small to keep. At least I remembered the camera to take a pic.

IMG_8262

We left Gonzalez Tuesday and drove to Austin to stay at McKinney Falls State Park. We had a chance to check out downtown Austin. It was really cool, full of culture and small shops. Here is a pic of Zeb on his first bus ride.

First Bus Ride

From there we made our way to Waco, Texas, for a pit stop at Walmart for the night. Thursday we went to a unschooling park day in the Dallas area. Zeb and Tara had a lot of fun, but I on the other hand had fun day full of fantastic allergies. Here is a pic of Zeb and Tara on the rope swing at the park.

Zeb Swinging 2

Tara Swinging

Now we are in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area visiting with some old and new friends.


Central Texas

I have been super busy lately and haven’t had any time to post anything. We have been here in Texas for almost a week and I am loving every minute of it. I didn’t realize how beautiful it is here in Texas. The park we are staying at is close to a river with a dock going out to it. I can’t wait to go fishing soon.

Long Walk

I finally figured out what the fuel leak on Benny was its the injector line, the metal bushing that seals the line on the engine is cracked so I ordered a new one. I also ordered a bike rack for the spare tire to hold the bikes. So I have more room in the trailer to get another 55 gallon drum for veg. I changed the fuel pump on Benny because He was sputtering when I switched him to diesel, so hopefully that will help out. I also changed the oil on Benny yesterday because it was due to be changed. And guess what I noticed yet another leak. It looks like the small injector line that jump between each injector is loose and needs to be plugged. So I figure I’ll fix that when the injector line gets here. Then hopefully Benny will be up to par.

Other than that I have been relaxing and enjoying the nice weather here. Me and Matt went into town Tuesday to get some veg at a Chinese buffet that I got permission from in hopes of getting about 110 gallons to top us both off. but only got about 15 gallons. So we hunted around a little and found a place with great oil, and about 350 gallons worth. Score!!! :) When we got back to camp Matt had 2 55 gallon drums and one wasn’t being used so he was kind enough to give me one. Thanks Matt!! Now I have close to 150 gallons of veg which calculates into about 450 dollars worth of free fuel.


Carlsbad Caverns

We made it to Carlsbad, New Mexico, on Monday after going thru Roswell, New Mexico. I wasn’t too impressed with Roswell. But anyways, we are staying at the Carlsbad RV park which is about 45 min away from the caverns. Our first stop in town was the RV store which is right next to the RV park; how convenient is that? I picked up some stuff we needed and looked for a drain valve for the fresh water tank that has a slow leak, but they didn’t have it. I’ll probably have to order it when I get to Texas. Tara and Z got settled into the park while I changed the veg filter on Benny and hooked up the power and water. Man, it is hot here, which leads me to my next problem: I turned on the a/c and it worked great, until I turned it off an hour later. Then later on that night I flipped it back on to circulate the air in the RV and the blower motor didn’t move. I didn’t want to deal with it then so I told myself I would deal with it tomorrow and went swimming with Z at the indoor pool.

swimming

We woke up early Tuesday to get a jump on all the people going to the caverns.

Look at me, I’m a park ranger. :)

justin the ranger

This place is amazing. There are so many beautiful rock formations, and stalagmites. The cavern is 750 feet under ground, and a constant 56 degrees. During the summer months they have a couple million bats that use the cave as a home and at dusk  they leave to feast on insects. I think that would be a cool sight to see. Z was excited because he got to pee 750 feet underground. The pics don’t do this place justice. It is something you have to see in person. It is by far the most interesting and beautiful place we have gone.

soda straws

big room lookout

big room tour

Here is a link to some more photos.

When we made it back to the park I decided to look at the a/c. I took the shroud off and oiled the motor. Five minutes (after I had given up) later it started to work on its own. SWEET!!! Thank the Lord. I didn’t want to shell out money for a new unit. The rest of the night was spent making dinner and playing ping pong with Z in the game room. Today I’m going to go and hunt for veg cause we are running low. And that will give Tara some time to get some of her massage CEUs done online.


Great News!

I spoke with Clark today from Green Eye Auto. They do SVO (straight veggie oil) conversions and this is the same company that made the kit for Benny’s conversion. He wants me to come up to Eugene, OR in May to apprentice under him and learn more about veg conversions. After that I’ll do installs for the company while I’m traveling around the US. :) I am so stoked about this and can’t wait to learn more.

On another note: We are planning on leaving the farm in Albuquerque on Thursday to travel to Texas for the NuRVers gathering. We plan on stopping in Roswell and Carlsbad Caverns and I think some friends of Tara’s in Texas. I am looking forward to not being rushed and being able to sight-see and take our time getting there. It has just been go go go since we left Vegas. I am in desperate need of some down time and some R&R. Plus, we are going to meet up with Matt and Sara from The Happy Janssens at the gathering. :)


Ironwood Farm

This is such an exciting place to be with so many learning opportunities. Since we arrived last Thursday I have: finished building a chicken coop, built fencing, installed gates, fed sheep, pigs, goats, cows, chickens, and our self’s with all the yummy food they have here. And I have also learned a bit of Spanish from one of the interns from Peru. Her name is Julie; she is really nice. I finally milked a cow and a goat for the first time.

This is me helping Z with the boat he made on irrigation day. I had to rake out tons and tons of leaves from the irrigation canal that day; I was pooped. We had to open up different canals from up to a 2 miles away to get water to the fields we seeded.

Help From Dad

Here are some shelf’s I made out of spare doors Chris had laying around:

This is the adobe floor I helped with and sealed:

Handmade Adobe Floor

I think this is my next project I am going to tackle. Its a corn sheller. As you can see it needs a little TLC.

We went to a local bar for St. Patty’s day were Chris was playing some Irish tunes on his guitar. The bar had some awesome beer by the way.

Falling Into The Music


New Mexico so far

City of Rocks is located about 45 minutes out of Deming, New Mexico. What a great place to visit with awesome views.

Just The Three Of Us

When we arrived Zeb and Tara went off for a hike. I stayed back to check the fluids on Benny.

In the morning we started to make our way to Albuquerque. I forgot to filter oil the previous night t so I tried to filter some in the morning but it was too cold and kept on popping fuses. So I had to stop and fill up the diesel tank. :(

Then the GPS took up on a back road thru some steep snowy and icy mountains. Other than that we made it to the Ironwood Farm in Albuquerque at about 5 in the afternoon. Chris, the owner of the farm, is very friendly. He showed us where to park and setup, he also invited us inside for dinner to meet the two other interns. I told Chris I would tackle working on the chicken coop for the 100 chicks he had waiting. I finally finished up today after finding things and getting acquainted with his shop.

Chicken Transfer To Their New Home

I also helped move a bunch of bails of hay and worked on an adobe floor in Chris’s shed.


What a terrible 2 days…

We finally made it to our first destination in Phoenix, AZ on Friday to hang out with a great unschooling family for the weekend.

Zeb has had so much fun hanging out with their 3 boys, riding bikes, and playing video games. Tara is having a hard time trying to get used to this lifestyle, but I think she will come around eventually. ;) Saturday was so hot here; I would say close to 80 degrees. Oh, did I mention that our water pump went on the fritz Saturday? I messed with it and got it to work till Sunday morning when it was shower time and then it decided to keel over. Carlos, the dad we were staying with, was kind enough to give me a ride to the RV store for a new pump.

Sunday it rained all day, so of course one of the windows leaked and soaked our mattress. So I got drenched outside trying to fix it. I woke up Monday morning to a crack in the toilet and water everywhere again. So another trip to the RV store to get a new toilet. The good thing about the RV store is it had a free dump station and water to fill up the fresh water tank. I proceeded to dump, and then started to fill the fresh water tank  and the freaking hose came out and soaked me ( by that point I’m so pissed and fed up).

Finally after that we get on the road and made it to Tucson, AZ, Tara found a nice spot to boondock on some BLM land. We arrived and Zeb gathered wood for a fire and set up his Heroscape. Tara took a walk, and some pictures, and made some awesome pork tacos. I filled the veg tank, and caulked around all the windows in hopes of not having another leak.

I know tomorrow is going to be a better day. On to the City of Rocks National Park in the morning.


Death Valley

Yesss!! We finally made it to Death Valley and back. Benny ran great. With only two minor flaws, Tara ran out of battery’s in the camera,so we didn’t get as many pics as we wanted, and the temp gauge didn’t work, but I’ll check into that tomorrow.

We stayed at Furnace Creek campsite witch was a great campsite, but a bit more than what I wanted to pay. Our first night we made a awesome potato soup on the rocket stove. And played games.

rocket stove

When we woke in the morning I opened the door and closed the screen and within 5 minutes a roadrunner came right up to the door.

roadrunner

While we were eating breakfast I saw a coyote probably 50 feet away. I would have a pic for you but someone forgot the battery’s for the camera. :)

we finished up breakfast and were off to to hike at Badwater salt flats. This place was very interesting, the ground not only looked like snow it felt like you were walking on snow.

Badwater Salt - Death Valley

Next we traveled north to check out Scotty’s Castle a must see if your in this neck of the woods, or shall I say desert. :) We were privileged enough to take a tour. The house is full of unique and beautiful woodwork definitely a must see for any woodworker.

Scottys Castle

We also took the underground tour which was a 1/4 mile of underground tunnels leading to different locations on the grounds. What I thought was interesting about this part of the tour was a underground observation room so you can see people swimming in the “lake”.

We then headed back to camp and enjoyed dinner, and read Harry Potter by campfire.