Posted on October 27, 2013 by angela
Way back before Bode was even a thought, Jason and I were pretty avid snowboarders. We were on a mountain somewhere every weekend of the winter. We drove the only 2 wheel drive SUV in the state of California, but it got us there and we loved it. We dreamed of quitting our jobs and becoming lifties. 2 and 2. 1 and 3. 4 singles. We got this.
With a European/African trip as our next main goal, we decided that springtime would be a better launch date than winter. Also, it’s time we stopped crashing at our parents’ houses. What to do in the meantime? Live out our other dream- ski bums.
It won’t be all on the snow, though. We’ll research the ins and outs of vehicle shipping, the Schengen Agreement, carnets, visas, vehicle permits, etc. Heck, we may even write that book. Jason will work. Plus, there is that homeschooling thing.
So, we’ve made the decision on how to spend the next few months (like, tonight). But, the where is a bit overwhelming. Obviously, we want a good mountain and a sweet place to stay. We’d also like to find a cool town. Value is high on the list too – we’ll be looking for opportunities.
Now that the decision has been made, we’re getting pumped up to be back on the snow. We’ve gone a few years without a winter. Jason has been working like crazy to get Red Beard ready. Despite a ton of setbacks, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’ll be leaving soon – we just need a destination.
This is where you come it.
Got any suggestions for where we should go? Know of any opportunities? (we’re awesome house-sitters!) As always, any and all advice or suggestions are appreciated!
Posted on September 30, 2013 by angela
…From our friends at GoWesty!
Somewhere on the northern Brazilian coast when the constant heat and rain turned the inside of the bus into a petri dish, a kind reader suggested we get a mold-resistant pop-top tent. What a great idea! Where can we pick one up on the Amazon river? We couldn’t, of course, but the guys at GoWesty offered to help us out with a new one. At the time, we figured we’d be back in the U.S. eventually and really had no desire to install a pop-top tent in the rainforest. So, we balked until a more convenient time.
We are thrilled to announce that the fine folks at GoWesty have agreed to help us get Red Beard back in business. GoWesty has been a big supporter of our trip from the beginning – they’ve helped promote us, encouraged us and given us some great advice. Now, they’ve upped the ante and have generously supplied us with a bunch of great stuff.
After multiple friendly emails and a constantly expanding parts list, we had ourselves a contract with a burrito clause (we knew we had partnered with the right folks). Last week, big heavy boxes started arriving in the mail. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Jason so happy. So, a huge thanks to everyone at GoWesty for helping us prepare for the next phase of journey. We’re happy to be part of the family!
Posted on September 11, 2013 by angela
Back in Colombia, we got the news that our tenants had bought a house and would be moving out on September 1. It took all of about 5 minutes to dismiss the idea of moving back into our old house and back to the cubicle. Luckily, through word of mouth we were able to find new tenants within a week without either of us (me or the new tenant) actually being in California.
Last week we made an efficient trip back to California. We did some maintenance on our old house and met the new tenants. Jason worked, we ate lots of sushi and ice cream, and most importantly, we spent every opportunity we could meeting up with some old friends and meeting some new ones.
It was fantastic to see everyone. And as if to reaffirm our decision to avoid real life while we can, we found more of our friends over-stressed, over-scheduled, getting sued (!), and even battling some major health issues. It seems to be going around. I guess it’s mostly our advancing age, but this year seems to have taken it’s toll on too many of the people we love. Scary stuff. We wish them luck, recovery and health in the immediate future.
Speaking of valuing every moment – Bode and I spent a shaky four hours at the Dept of Motor Vehicles. Years ago, we’d removed the month and year stickers from Red Beard’s expired plates, and we were told that it now wasn’t possible to re-register the expired classic blue plates. But, a couple of weeks ago I made a call to confirm, and was told to send in $14 for the suspension fine, and $72 for the new stickers. On the form we filled out to accompany this, we used Jason’s Texas ID (which we got last year knowing our CA driver’s licenses were about to expire) and had to write in a note that it was from Texas.
We were pretty sure this wasn’t going to work, but I thought it might be worth heading to the DMV to find out if there was anything more I could do… including renewing my CA driver’s license. The thing is, when we got the TX licenses, we had to prove residency, which was fairly easy considering we had changed our mailing address to Texas. And, although we own a house in California, we didn’t have any documents that would prove we live there, because well, we don’t live there.
There were no appointments available at any DMV in Northern California for three weeks, so I loaded up with snacks and books, Bode and I headed to Pleasanton and arrived as they opened. We weren’t the first ones. It took 45 minutes just to get a number. Bode killed it reading Call of the Wild for an hour and a half before standing up, stretching and asking to play games on my phone. The young man next to me, reading some Star Wars novel commented to him that he liked his shirt. Then he says, ‘I noticed you’re reading Call of the Wild, my great, great uncle wrote it.” So, we met Joe London. Bode moved next to him and they talked for the next hour. Only in California.
At about the three and half hour mark, it was finally my turn. With a quick computer check on our vehicle, the kind employee told me the stickers had been issued and we would receive them within the month. No further information or payment necessary. It was all just too easy – no extra fees for reinstatement of expired plates like we had been told previously. We don’t want to jinx it, so our fingers are crossed until they arrive.
I decided to try my luck at renewing my CA license anyway, since it would be nice if one of us had a license from the state our vehicle was registered in. I told them it was expired and I didn’t have it, could I renew? A few clickity-clacks later, and I was asked if I had surrendered it. Well, yes, in Texas where I had gotten a license while visiting since my California license was expired. Same address? Yes. OK, $32 USD. Line up for a photo and a test.
Test, what?!!! I sweated that one out, wishing I’d been studying all that time I was sitting on my butt. In the end, I skated by and should have a new DL being sent to our new tenant’s place in a few weeks.
Of course, our successful trip was still a bit short. So, I’m trying to convince Jason to get to work on Red Beard so we can road trip back to California later this year.
Posted on September 3, 2013 by angela
It only took a few weeks of an August in Texas to realize we needed to make a visit to our old stomping grounds. Red Beard is still unregistered and half torn apart in our parents’ driveway, so we took a plane.
After seeing some of our dear friends, we pointed our rental car towards Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is always on each of our Top 10 places. Nowadays, with Bode, it’s a different kind of fun – more rides and less chilling on the beach.
And, the drive down 1 from San Francisco is still a great stretch of road.
Posted on July 31, 2013 by angela
When Bode and I left Jason in Santa Marta, it was a bit of a last minute thing. I bought the tickets at 9:30 am and Jason dropped us off at the airport at 3:30 pm that day. At this point, we were still hoping to ship from Santa Marta, but knew that RORO was a very real possibility. The plan was for Bode and I to take everything we could with us.
We ditched most of our clothes and stuffed our 3 large duffel bags with everything we knew we wanted to keep and that Jason wouldn’t need. We were allowed 2 checked bags each, which meant we had to go buy some bags – the big rectangular plastic tote bags with the zipper for $5 – 1 for us, 2 for when Jason returned. We also carried on 4 pieces. You’d be surprised what you can stuff into a ukulele bag.
We spent over an hour trying to get a letter notarized that said it was okay for me to travel internationally with Bode. This is supposed to be required, but I was traveling one-way from Colombia to the U.S. on a ticket purchased that day… with a bag full of kitchen knives, car parts and other things that may be hard to explain. In the end, no one asked us for the letter, but I think it’s a good idea to keep a generic letter like this on-hand in case of emergency.
Bode and I flew from Santa Marta to Bogota (oh yeah, in the Andes the temperature drops a good 40 degrees), to Houston. Nothing more than a ‘Welcome back’ from both Immigration and Customs – very nice. We rented a car and drove to my Mom’s house. She was at a conference in Atlanta, so I sent her a ‘guess where we are?’ e-mail.
We spent the weekend at my brother’s house and within 24 hours had gone to a movie, the community pool, spent $100 at Target, and eaten Mexican food, sushi, and donuts. Welcome to ‘Murica!
Posted on July 8, 2013 by angela
After a long windy mountainous road along the coast, we arrived at Mochima National Park. The park contains beautiful beaches on various islands, with jungle backdrops. But, the town of Mochima was a bit of a disappointment. Since we weren’t feeling it, we turned around and drove back up the mountain.
Over a week after being sick, we still had zero energy and decided to forgo the boat trips and plunk our butts down at Playa Colorado. The weekend crowd was 100% local and it was a fun experience to sit back and watch the party.
Unfortunately, like a lot of Venezuela, there was a trash problem. I’ve realized in traveling through 19 countries, I am fairly good at not judging people. Two exceptions: those that litter and those that blast music through crappy speakers. Pick up after yourself. And, either turn it down or invest in some quality equipment!
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