April 18, 2019

What we carry!

In an effort towards more informative blogging, we are giving you a full-disclosure kind of blog - everything you always wanted to know about WHAT WE CARRY IN OUR TRUCK!

When we were making preparations for full-time RV living we had to make some clear choices about what we wanted to bring along and, more significantly, what we had ROOM to bring along! This was important for our Airstream (we’ll do a full disclosure blog on that, if you’d like) as well as for our tow vehicle.

To begin, you should know we have a Dodge RAM Bighorn ¾ ton diesel with a 6’ 4” bed. We added a Thule cargo box, one we’d had for years on top of my car, that sits on our crossbars along with our bike racks, and above our tonneau cover (the blog link to all of that info is here).

A great Harvest Host spot in Oregon.

A quick boondocking stop means we don't have to unhook!

The Pads, outside of Death Valley National Park was a great overnight.
I don't think our truck gets enough credit for making this life possible! 
Seriously, it's a beast and has never (knock wood) failed us!

One of the first decisions we needed to make involved choosing what we wanted TO DO on our travels (which includes hiking, biking, photographing and paddling).  We love water, to be near water and, even better, paddling on water is one of our favorite outdoor activities. We chose to carry our inflatable paddle boards, largely for the packability, and also that they are so much fun!   Ours are from the 100% employee-owned Idaho company, Northwest River Supply,or NRS.  Mine is the “Big Earl 4”, (it’s 4” thick, 30” wide, 10’ 6” long and weighs 22 lbs). Mike’s is a little bigger, it’s their “Imperial 6”, (it’s 6” thick, 32” wide, 10’ 6” long and it weighs 27 lbs).  We, of course, didn’t want to be up a creek without a paddle so we each have lightweight paddleboard paddles.  Mike’s is a Werner paddle and it’s height is adjustable, mine is from Surftech and it’s length is fixed, sized for a shorty like me!  And, along with a hand pump, we bought an electric pump (NRS Bravo high-pressure 12 volt) that we can attach to the truck’s battery for a quick and easy, regulated fill.

Paddling on Lake of the Springs...heavenly.

The next best activity, particularly great after a day of paddling, is sitting around a fire. We absolutely love this Outland Firebowl!  It’s convenient, safe, easy to setup and use and, my favorite part, there’s no smoke!  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the smell of a wood campfire.  I really do!  But, I don’t love hauling firewood around with us, then spending the evening scooting my chair around to avoid the smoke blowing invariably wherever I am sitting, or the smell of a campfire permeating every fabric in the trailer!  This portable propane Outland Firebowl has been a fantastic addition to our "what do we want to pack in our truck"!

Hanging out in Mesa with friends and family!
Enjoying a night under the stars in Arizona.

Also after a day of paddling, or biking, or a do-nothing day, we like to eat! (I'm getting good at these transitions, right?!  I could totally write for an infomercial!)  We often grill our dinner outside on this Weber grill.  It’s a great size for a full dinner of meats and veggies and I also really appreciate the thermometer and flame regulator, because it works really well! (I’ve been “burned” by a few grills who really only had one setting, hot!)

We have a big outdoor mat...this black and white one we bought online at Amazon, because the one we had before was ‘too damn heavy’ (as per Mike, who had to roll it and load it up!) and tended to keep water rather than shed it!  This one is relatively inexpensive, super light weight and mold and water resistant...and, you can see it really easily from space!  If you’re full timing in your RV, this is one item I’d say to plan on replacing about every year or so.  Between the sun and the rain and the constant traffic, they do wear out, so for us, buying a less expensive one ($50) and replacing it once in awhile was better than splurging on a fancy and spendy ($200) one that would be a pain to maintain (our original one is in storage...lesson learned!).

Boondocking outside of Quartzsite, Arizona.

Gilbert Ray campground outside of Saguaro National Park is one of our favorites.

We love our zero gravity chairs (Target)! Our daughter called them our ‘old people chairs’ until she herself reclined in one! They’re kind of clumsy in the truck bed, but we make them fit by sliding them on top of everything. (And by we, I mean Mike!)

Sometimes it seems like a dream!  Thanks for the picture, Gene!

Just add cold beverages...
We also have a couple of folding Coleman camp chairs, handy for guests or when we invite ourselves over to your campsite! And we grabbed a foldable cheapie side table, one that you can find in any drug store along the way.  We also have a little bit larger outdoor table, ours is one we’ve had for quite awhile...the Aluminum Camp Adjustable Rolltop Table, from REI. It’s adjustable height makes it great for the BBQ or to set out a small spread or drinks.  I kind of wish it was a little bit bigger and taller, but that would just take up more room!

We use the Telesteps1400E ladder to clean and check out our solar panels and roof top.  Our solar installer, Lew, provided us with a great foam pad which fits nicely on the top and prevents scratches on the trailer. It’s aluminum construction, it easily extends and retracts with the push of a button (watch your fingers!) and we don’t ever have to borrow the neighbors!

Mike, tilting our solar panels at Trona Pinnacles!  (Maybe he's trying to collect energy from the Super Moon!)

Rounding out the truck bed, and filling all the nooks and crannies, we pack a tool box, for, ya know, basic tools, a small shovel for, ya know, or in case we get stuck...a bucket with a few odds and ends, my very cool REI bike basket (not shown ‘cuz it was on my bike) and a 6 gallon potable water jug.  We use the water jug when we are boondocking for a longer period of time – whenever we are in town or going past a place we can get good clean potable water, we fill it up and pour it into our holding tank to extend our water usage capability.

That’s it!  Now you know!  I’ve linked as many things as I could to make browsing/shopping easier for you!  If you have any questions, don’t ever hesitate to reach out, via email or Instagram or Facebook!  We’d love to help you get on your way too!

This is what it all looks like! 

Next up, we’ll show you what’s in our cargo box!

December 1, 2018


The best thing about traveling is getting to hang out with family now and then...and especially when there is birthday cake!

We even got to have a sleepover in Gracie Lou!  Complete with mini-golf, paddle boarding, a movie night and hanging out with great-grandpa!

And...JUDAH turned ONE!

It's a very grandma thing to say that they grow up so fast...especially to young moms whose days seem to go on endlessly, with the constancy of motherhood...but, they really, really do grow up soooo fast!  And this guy is so cute and sweet!



I almost cry every time I look at that last photo...he's so sweet!

And this girl, who thought it was a good idea to wear her cowboy boots to the amusement park even though her mama and I told her she probably would regret it 'cause her feet wouldn't be as comfy, she wouldn't be able to run, etc...well, she proved us wrong when we spotted the horse rides!!!


Par for the course...we didn't think to take any photos of 'us' until we were leaving...but then we took some doozies!

I sure do love these kiddos and hate saying goodbye!
...especially times like this...just hanging out playing Legos...

But, the mountains were calling...so we made our way, via Reno, to the Mono Lake area...for a whirlwind, one day trip into Yosemite!  Again, Marion hadn't ever been and we were excited to show him...and to see it again for ourselves because it's one of our favorites!



It was amazing, all of it...especially because we were fresh off of seeing the movie "Free Solo"!  We really do love this park.

But it was still cold at night!!!  So we needed to keep moving south!

This was a dream...having heard about this area for awhile...being able to hang out here for a few days was awesome.  (We use Campendium to find many of our camp spots!)  And, I am getting the hang of this drone!

A very cool, unexpected place out in the middle of nowhere!

Venita's favorite was Roy Rogers...and this guy!  She had good taste!

This was the movie set of "Rawhide" in 1951...and it was also our campsite!


Stopped at Star Wars canyon on the way into Death Valley...

An overnight at the Pads, on the other side of Death Valley...
We got into Las Vegas where Marion's brother and his wife spend their winters...and they were able to get us into their RV park on the Air Force base as guests...so we were able to visit with them for a couple of days, which was wonderful!

A night of boondocking outside of Havasu City.

Bill Williams bridge...that was my grandpa's name.
You can tell from the pictures that the temperatures were getting better and better...it felt good to be in the sunshine again!

Boondocking in Quartzsite, before the crowds!

Apache Junction in time for a Thanksgiving dinner!

And a date night!

Can you see us?!
We ended November hanging out here in Apache Junction, Arizona, just east of Phoenix.  It was a nice little Thousand Trails park...with 2.5 miles of roads that we biked once or twice almost daily!  We got all of our Christmas shopping done, made our Christmas cards and shipped out everything!  A very productive stay!  

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