Looking for a simpler life, but not too simple…

Travel

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 possibilitiesย  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. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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! ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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 duskย  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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚