We’ve spent the last week in northern Utah, in a sweet little town called Trementon. It’s been a down week, not much sightseeing or adventures. We are still getting used to this full time thing and spent a lot of time resting and playing some games.
The views here were pretty awesome, and the RV park was super convenient, very clean, and there were lots of nice travelers we got to meet.
We took some time to check out a local diner on Mother’s Day, JC’s Country Diner. The food was delightful, if you’re ever through the area, get one of their scones!
Our oldest daughter, Emma, joined us this week. We drove down and picked her up from the Salt Lake City airport then made a stop at IKEA for some meatballs. She’ll be with us for a week or two. YAY!
I had my first In-N-Out experience as well. The burgers were good, the fries…meh. Emma believes In-N-Out to be worthy of a five hour drive, I think that’s debatable.
We had plans to go down through southern Utah, Zion National Park, and the Grand Canyon this next week. That itinerary had to be changed due to some life stuff, so we are beginning our trek to Texas a bit earlier than planned. Flexibility is a huge benefit to having your house on wheels!
Many asked us where we were headed first and I’d laugh and say, “Pocatello, Idaho!” I’d laugh because, there’s really not much to do in Pocatello. But it is low-key, slower paced, and exactly what we needed to start off our voyage.
Right off the bat, we found ourselves in a lurch because the RV park I reserved for us was a great big NOPE! It was not well kept, lots of trash everywhere, and honestly, quite terrifying. I quickly located a KOA in Pocatello and they could fit us in for only five nights, so our fifteen night stay became five nights. Not a big deal, we knew starting this journey meant lots of flexibility and being able to bob and weave when we needed to.
We enjoyed our stay in Pocatello, it was simple and easy, which was good for a first stop. We did celebrate Lilly’s 10th birthday while we were there! She picked out puppy cakes and we had a wonderful night hanging out. I was also able to get in for treatments at The West Clinic while we were there. Dr. Jason West is an amazing naturopath, I highly recommend him if you are facing tough or hard to diagnosis health issues, or even chronic pain or fatigue, he’s pretty great at giving your body what it needs to do it’s thing. People fly from all over to see him. (Not a paid plug or anything, I just really like this place!) We also just live normal life on the road, we like to watch The Chosen, and When Calls The Heart, so those things still happen. And the girls loved their time on the playground!
When we started this process, and decided to live a nomadic lifestyle for a few years, one of the first hurdles we had to jump was, what will we live in? There were many, many discussions about this. My original thoughts were to buy an old school bus and renovate it, I love skoolies! But my husband definitely liked the idea of being able to disengage from our home and leave it in one position while we take our vehicle and adventure elsewhere, and it’s a very valid point! We could have towed a car behind a school bus, but we were also concerned with when mechanical needs arose (and they will) we would actually be without our home. If the engine needed worked on, it could be pretty invasive, and this applies to class A’s and Class C’s for us too. So ultimately we decided on the fifth wheel as being the best option for us, there’s a bit more stability in towing a fifth wheel than a travel trailer, and there’s more cargo storage.
Once we decided on a fifth wheel we felt completely overwhelmed by all the options out there. We knew we wanted a used one, we knew we would do renovations and modifications to accommodate Phil’s workspace, to make things feel more like a home, and to bring the girls’ piano, but we struggled with floor-plans. We thought a bunkhouse would be the best fit, but we really could not find any with a configuration that suited us. I had been following Cortni, aka The Flipping Nomad, for quite some time and decided to reach out to her to get some consultation sessions going. That was one of the best decisions we made! Being able to share with Cortni what our family dynamics were, what our needs were, what our plans were, and what our budget was, she was really able to help direct us and guide us towards the exact fifth wheel configuration that we would need. Which ultimately we decided a toy hauler renovation would be the best bet. Because we could turn the master bedroom into the girls’ bunk room and put their piano in there, and then we could turn the toy hauler garage into our bedroom with Phil‘s workspace, and also have the added benefit of a drop down patio. Cortni also helped us know which manufacturers were the best, which slid out mechanisms we could work with and which ones we couldn’t. I cannot express how valuable those coaching sessions were to us! We were previous travel trailer owners and had even renovated one before, BUT we’d never looked at going full time in a rig, and Cortni’s experience and expertise saved us from some huge pitfalls.
After those coaching calls we literally had the fifth wheel floorplan nailed down to two rigs we were interested in. However, the Dutchman Voltage Epic 3970, from the Keystone family, ultimately won, because of some of the added features such as auto leveling, a central vacuum system, residential size fridge, food pantry, etc. Then we had to find one within the manufacturing years we wanted, within driving distance to look at, and most importantly, one that fit our budget! Our residence was in Meridian, Idaho, and every single day I searched all the ads, everywhere, trying to find us a rig. We drove a few hours to look at a few, and they just weren’t in good enough condition for us to pull the trigger on. This part of the process took months! And one day, a 2018 Dutchman Voltage Epic 3970 showed up at a local dealer in Meridian Idaho. So we loaded up the family and went to look at it. It only had one owner, an older couple without kids, and they had only taken the thing out a couple of times, and they had consigned it. It was like brand stinkin’ new. We were thrilled! We went home and prayed about it, and we asked God for a miracle on the pricing. We needed to offer the dealer way less than asking price, and in 2020, when there was hardly any inventory on used RVs, offering them thousands of dollars less possibly meant we weren’t going to get it. But we were okay with that, we fully committed to the price we were willing to pay, and we left it in God’s hands, if it was meant to be, it would be, if it was not, we then we would walk away and look for the next one. And to our utter and pure delight, they accepted our offer. So in August of 2020 we became the grateful owners of our new home on wheels, and we have lovingly named our big girl, Rhoda.
There’s a pretty big story behind what led my husband and I to buy a fifth wheel, renovate it, and travel with our children. It’s a story full of wrong turns, dead ends, divine intervention, and lots of grit and faith. We were pretty unsettled with life as is, the status quo, we definitely feel the Lord tugging at our hearts to discover His will and His plan for our lives. And we will share more about this in future posts.
But if you want to know one of our big whys, it’s found in these pictures I shared with this post, it’s relationships, it’s reaching into people’s lives, and finding a way to let the love of Christ flow through us. Two of the girls in these pictures are ours and two of the girls are new friends. A little backstory, we had our rig in the warehouse at The Flipping Nomad site in Emmett, Idaho, doing renovations under Cortni’s tutelage. On a Saturday in September of 2020 we happened to be out there working on a day we weren’t scheduled to work, and in walks this family that was staying at The Flipping Nomad site. They are a full time RV family and they were getting out of the smoke and fires that were happening in Oregon at that time. We chatted with them for a bit and for the first time in my life I invited complete strangers to come have dinner at our home. We wanted to hear more about their story and all our kiddos wanted to hang out too. And the next day, on a Sunday evening, we lingered into the night talking to people we had only known for 24 hours, finding some of the deepest and most heartfelt conversation and encouragement that we’ve ever experienced. This family spoke life into us. Their story and journey touched our hearts, the way God has been ever-present in their lives stirred us. And we had the opportunity to share our testimony of God’s faithfulness, and be vulnerable and honest. Man, it was good stuff. Connecting in this deep and intuitive way was absolutely surreal, our hearts were hungry for more.
The next day, while I worked on the Voltage, our two youngest girls and their daughters spent 11 hours playing in dirt, exploring old barns, checking out vintage cars, painting their nails, and never once bickering or arguing, or asking me to watch a movie, or play video games, they just explored the world around them. In my heart there was such a deep confirmation about what it is that Phil and I are doing, we want to show these two daughters, that are still at home, what it’s like to meet perfect strangers and build a relationship with them, so that you can encourage and lift one another up.
This is the kind of life we are seeking, a deep and intentional life, we want to be busy with the Father’s business, reaching into lives, and serving. We want to stop our attachment to things, and start connecting with people in real ways. Yes, there will be many fantastic sights to see along the way, but our deepest intention is people. We want to support and encourage others in the ways we have been supported and encouraged. We have been intensely and radically loved, and to God’s glory, we want to intensely and radically love others. Let The Inspired Voyage begin!