The Holding Tank

Well, I am happy to report that we did figure out what the problem was with the septic system…it was just a holding tank. Yep, the state park only has one campsite with “full hookups”. That is our site.

The only issue is that the septic hookup is simply a holding tank that has to be emptied from time to time.

We did realize also that the run off from the tremendous amount of rain we have also fills the holding tank. So, we have ordered some supplies including a tarp to help keep rain water from filling up the tank and a water use counter that fits on our fresh water hose to count how much water we are using.

With a little finesse, we will be able to manage the holding tank with no problem. The experience of living in a state park has had a learning curve, but we are quickly adapting to each new issue.

Yours Truly,

Marlie

Waiting on a pump truck..

Well, today has been quite unusual.

I started my day in a normal fashion, going on campground “rounds” and making sure the ranger station was open. I made some breakfast, swept the floors, spot cleaned some of the carpet, put some clutter away, and other various tasks. Mike and I took a walk with our dog, Buttons, then we went about doing some Christmas decor work.

Then it began…

We decided to flush out the black tanks in our rig, and we thought there was a clog somewhere in one of our tanks or pipes. We checked everything, and sure enough the “clog” was a full campground septic tank. (Insert lots of disgusting looks, here)

“You have got to be kidding me.” I said to Mike.

“Not even kidding you, Babe,” he said.

This ordeal wouldn’t have been as big of a deal except that this is the second major issue we’ve had since arriving in California. I mentioned a few blogs back that we had a problem with the “shore power”. That took over a week to be restored.

Hopefully, there is a truck on its way to pump the campground tank as we speak. It could be, right? I’ll stay hopeful.

More to come…

Yours truly,

 

Marlie

Thanksgiving in an RV

“That there is an RV, Clark… Don’t you go falling in love with her when we leave here next month.” (Cousin Eddie, Christmas Vacation, paraphrase)

Yep, it’s that time of year! The holidays are upon us and we very happily risked Thanksgiving dinner by cooking everything in our RV oven. What?! Yes, it can be done!

Now granted, our North Point fifth wheel does have a different version of an oven than our Heartland Trail Runner had. In the North Point, we have experimented with the propane micro version of a residential oven with some success. Mike’s birthday cake came out perfectly. Bbq chicken cooked through; we even made those boxed Red Lobster biscuits with little issue.

We were ready to conquer Thanksgiving dinner!

The day before Thanksgiving, I started the pie making process. Having a mixing bowl that was too small was the only real problem during the dough making ordeal. I made a gorgeous pumpkin pie and put it in the oven to bake while I started the apple pie. This was my first attempt at making an apple pie from scratch. It was perfect! (Thank you Pioneer Woman!!)

I also made Pioneer Woman’s mashed potatoes which you can make the day before Thanksgiving and heat through the next day. They are perfection.

The next morning around ten, I put the turkey roasts into the oven. This was the only compromise on a traditional Thanksgiving dinner that we had to make. It wasn’t hard for us since none of us care for dark meat. The turkey breast roasts took about a half hour longer to cook than I anticipated, but I had warned the family when I put them in the oven that we would eat when the turkey was cooked through. No issues! I finished a few other items on the stove, and we sat down to a scrumptious dinner.

Parks Thanksgiving

We had a beautiful day of food and family. I guess the old adage is true still; “no risk, no reward.” We took the risk on making dinner in the RV oven rather than using an oven here at the state park, with yummy results. We are looking forward to making lots of Christmas cookies and goodies during this new holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Marlie

 

Out of the mouth of babes

Often times, our kids can make Mike and I belly laugh at an instant. Are your kids this way? Kids are brutally honest and hilarious all in one sentence. Much of the time, they don’t even realize what is so funny. Other times, they will say something absolutely profound and not understand how wise they seem for their ages.

I attempt to make a note of sayings that my kids have come up with. Granted, I’m not great at it, but in my notes on my phone, I did find two cute things that my kids said which I will share with you.

On the topic of RVing full time

“I like that the world is our home.” Emma, 8 (at the time)

How truly profound is this sentiment that the whole world is our home because the four of us are together? This simple observation from Emma really sheds light on the way she thinks. Little insights from our kids are truly magical, and her expression of “happily living anywhere” was one of those instances.

On the topic of making a ball

“I only need two things to make a ball, Mom. Paper and spit.” Jensen, 6 (at the time)

My son is constantly cracking jokes and making us laugh with his silly antics. His perfectly timed jokes (some of the time) make Mike, Emma and I burst into laughter. Thankfully, some of those moments of hilarity have been during the most stressful times for me. (Think moving days and storage unit garage sales)

I thank God for these two beautiful kids He gave us. We absolutely adore being parents. We are treasuring every memory we make during our adventure called life.

Yours Truly,

Marlie

A Day at the Coast

Today was a much needed escape from the rainy, cold forests of the Redwoods. No, I don’t hate the rain, cold, and lack of sunshine, but I often find myself needing sunlight desperately.

Mike says that I’m “solar powered” (think of Wall•E). Yes, I agree. I instantly feel better when I feel the sun warm my skin.

We drove out US 1 from the state park we work in, and soon encountered some of the worst switchbacks we’ve ever experienced. Emma and I have never been so sick on a short trip like we were today. I was able to get a motion sickness pill down (why didn’t I buy the chewable kind?!) with no water, but poor Emma wasn’t going to risk it. She ended up heaving her breakfast out on the road. Oh dear.

It was a rough couple of hours for us, but when we pulled over to let her finish vomiting, we found a magical forest that looked like the movie Jurassic World. Emma, Jensen and Mike walked down the embankment from the road to a stream, and Emma soon forgot her terrible motion sickness ordeal.

After another thirty minutes of mountain roads, we came upon the breathtaking views over the bluffs to the Pacific Ocean. It was one of those moments I will never forget, you know, one of those “metaphor for life” kind of moments.

We had the terrible experience of Emma and I being so sick then the incredible reward of the beautiful ocean scenes for pushing through.

Anyway, we followed the coast south and saw whales migrating south along with us. Holy bucket list! I really did not expect to see the whale spouts shooting into the air from the surf, but I sure saw them! (Insert cheesy positive metaphor for life here-again)

Pacific Ocean, sun, whales…goodness, it was almost too much to take in.

We found a coastal state park to explore which turned into finding starfish and walking around tide pools.

It was a glorious day, one that I will undoubtedly replay over and over again.

Yours Truly,

Marlie

Our Veteran’s Day 2011

As our family of four sat in Applebee’s enjoying Mike’s free meal for Veteran’s Day, we found ourselves reflecting on various memories from his brief time in the Army. Yesterday was the first time Mike had off from a job of some sort to celebrate the holiday. It was an odd experience to have him with us to tell you the truth. Last year, the kids and I took goodies to him at the car dealership where he worked as a service advisor. The year before that he was at the station where he worked as a fire fighter. If you know anything about veterans, multiple jobs can be a reality during their reintegration into society. For my husband, it is also a sad part of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Yes, my veteran deals endlessly with the realities of having been “down range.”

IMG_0740
Mike and Emma, Veteran’s Day 2017

But I digress.

Our reflection during our meal yesterday afternoon included the one from Veteran’s Day 2011. That day will stay with me for as long as I live. You see, that holiday, Mike was in a convoy crossing from Iraq into Kuwait. I hadn’t heard from him in three days, something I became accustomed to during his time in the Army, but this time, I felt as though I was holding my breath. Waiting for the phone call or the email from your spouse or loved one can be sheer torture even when your loved one is somewhere safe. This seemingly brief halt in our communication was in fact, good news. The bigger picture of the danger and silence of those few days the convoy was on the move was that it was actually the first step in Mike’s brigade returning to the states. Their deployment was to be cut short from the original twelve months down to six months. It was a blessing in disguise so to speak, but the convoy would pass through treacherous areas during their trek to a safe zone.

That trip forever changed the way Mike sees bridges and piles of trash on the side of the road.

“Babe, we made it,” were the first words I heard on the other end of the phone. I sunk to the ground in my room and softly let out all the tears of worry and stress that I had bottled up for the past few days.

“Are you okay?” Mike asked.

I’m sure he was wondering if I was losing my mind at that moment.

“Yes, Babe, I’m just relieved.”

I could barely get the words out to reassure him that I was, in fact, okay.

Those precious moments still make me tear up when I recall them. I am grateful for those moments in time because so many loved ones of military members did not get that phone call. Their service members were not coming home. The gift of that phone call was not lost on me that day. When I reflect on that time, I will always quietly pray for those who are living without someone that they loved. That moment, that phone call, forever changed me. I think it forever changed Mike as well.

He was coming home.

Yours Truly,

Marlie

 

Woohoo! We have power!

When we arrived at the state park last Tuesday, October 31st, we plugged our rig into power. Three days later, we only had power to half of the rig. “What in the world is going on?” we wondered. Mike quickly narrowed it down to something in the electric outlet was not right. A maintenance team came out the next day and found out that the problem was bigger than the electric outlet our rig was connected to. They thought the problem was the transformer, but it wasn’t something that they could repair.

“It’s no big deal, we have our generator,” we said confidently. We pride ourselves on being self-sufficient and able to work through problems such as this.

“We’ll have someone out on Monday.”

“No problem.” we said once again, confidently.

On Sunday, a maintenance man from another state park showed up and thought he could figure out what was going on. Mike and I were pretty hopeful that we would have “shore power” later that day, but the transformer was the problem and the part was in another town an hour and a half away. “Will you guys be okay for one more night?”

“Sure, no problem.”

The same man came back on Monday morning with the new transformer and we were sure that Monday evening, we would have power.

That transformer was bad. “Well, we have to order a new one. You guys will be okay, right?”

“Sure, no problem.” We were getting used to the dull roar of the generator, kinda.

Rain poured down the next day, and the part did not arrive. Mike asked me if we should start a pool of bets to see when everyone thought we would have power again. (just trying to stay positive, folks.)

Once again, we were okay, sure, no problem. Thankfully, the rangers had us use fuel from the state park to keep our generator going.

Today, Thursday, November 10th, we had power restored to our campground host site! Woohoo! We were so excited to turn off the generator. Now, we have to get used to the silence again. HA!

Yours Truly,

Marlie