Coming to Expect the Unexpected

During our Get Living Adventure there were many events that occurred and things we saw that were completely unexpected. When we set out at the end of January we had a vague idea of our route and the following were not on our radar to experience:

Actually doing this in the first place – hitting the road in an RV for 6+ months! It seemed crazy – however there is not a day we have regretted the decision.  Cancer has a way of realigning how you live. It took some packing up and some storing of a few things back in Denver.


We managed to scale down our belongings to a 10×10 storage space.

And there was N-O-T  O-N-E day that we thought about or missed any of these possessions. Blake really put his Tetris skills to work on this space!

We eventually hit the road and headed south into Texas!

 

Amazed that were able to scale back and manage to have more than enough room in the RV for all our stuff. We are not minimalist, but it is amazing how little we need. I know the picture looks chaotic here, but this was the first night!

 

The Hepburn Clan does Mardi Gras! We thought this was a day event in New Orleans – but it is not – it is weeks long and stretches a great distance along the Gulf, including Galveston, Texas where we were for this Mardi Gras pet parade!

 

Taking our RV on a ferry! [several times, in several places]

 

Having friends from Denver visit us outside of Austin, Texas at Pedernales Falls State Park, just a couple weeks into the trip!

 

Fishing alot and not really catching a thing! Guess that is just called fishing!

 

Wanting to go back to Texas! And Dublin in particular! Best Dr. Pepper soda fountain ever!

 

Getting the Civic booted in the boot state! [we paid for the parking and too shocked to take a photo to share!] The kids still can’t stop laughing at this one – booted in the boot state! Ha! We have never in all our days been booted before – thanks for the Southern Hospitality LA!  πŸ™‚

 

Skipping over Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama in one day 😦 not enough time! We really wanted to explore this area of The Gulf, especially Orange Beach, Alabama. We learned the hard way that snowbirds take RVing in the south very seriously, booking spaces up to a year in advance, there was not an RV spot to be had.

 

Real Live Mermaids! It’s true! They swam in an underwater theater at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park in Florida! Hadley was in heaven!

 

Disney (well everything outside of Disney World) for Free! Monorail, Disney Springs, Disney Store, Water Taxis between Resorts and Magic Kingdom Fireworks from The Grand Floridian (Thanks Claire, for all your tips & for being such a Disney aficionado!)!

 

Enjoying a preseason MLB game with new Floridian friends Mark and Raegann and their children! We were S-W-E-A-T-I-N-G it out in March, they assured us it was winter and it only gets hotter (and probably were very entertained by our kids chasing the shade of the foul pole and our mister spray bottles in winter)! Meeting these sweet people was such a highlight, so much fun! (Please keep them your prayers, as it looks like their home might be near the eye of Irma in South Florida)

 

Witnessing a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral! To which Nolan 15 minutes after the night launch says, “Now we need to see one during the day!”

 

Running into college friends, Jason and Kate on Isle of Palms in South Carolina! Kate & Cortney were roommates in College and Kate & Blake shared a major in recreation, without Kate, there would be no Cortney & Blake. We hadn’t seen or talked to them in close to 10 years so it was really quite a surprise to see them walking down the beach in front of us and getting to spend time catching up on life and kids!

 

Crossing paths with Chris Tomlin and Worship Night in America in Charlotte, North Carolina with Cortney’s parents. What a fun and unexpected way to celebrate Nolan’s birthday!

 

Learning to perform all types of repairs along the way! We are not handy people by any stretch – we actually don’t even like changing burnt out light bulbs, we usually leave them for weeks (maybe even months) waiting for the other person to change it. So thankful for YouTube!

 

We have this tradition of putting streamers up all over the house the night before our kids’ birthdays -so when they wake up it’s a party already! We thought (maybe) we could get by without doing it for Nolan’s birthday since we were not at ‘home’- we were wrong! Overheard him talking about it with Hadley – after late night run to the local dollar store – the tradition in our ‘home’ lives on! 

 

Meeting and listening to Thomas Jefferson at Colonial Williamsburg! If you haven’t been to Colonial Williamsbug it must go on your Get Living List along with the nearby Jamestown Settlement, living history at its finest, so engaging and fun! Now, how often do you hear history and fun in the same sentence?!

 

Hitting up Busch Gardens in Williamsburg! It was super-duper awesome! Probably one of the top three highlights of the trip, growing up Disney in Southern California we have high standards for theme parks and family entertainment, this one was way up there! So fun having kids be tall enough and old enough to ride roller coasters, this was a first as a family for us, such a special memory! Highly recommend! 

 

Watching our Starfish, Hadley, blossom the way she has on this trip! Her self confidence has grown and she is learning (and dressing up for) her royal position as a princess in the family of God! Love her heart and her sweet voice and her growing adventurous spirit!

 

Touring our nation’s capitol! We never anticipated making it this far north or east, so having the opportunity to see all the sights in DC while studying US history was really something special. The kids were troopers on the metro and walking ’til kingdom come from Lincoln Memorial to The Capital and beyond!

Via the commuter train! While camp hosting in Maryland we were one city east of the end of the commuter line that ran through Baltimore and into D.C.

 

Visiting Amish Country in Pennsylvania and Driving an Amish Buggy!

 

Camp Hosting! What a fun experience and boy did we get lucky! Elk Neck State Park along the upper Chesapeake Bay was so incredible. The absolute best people, incredible Maryland Park System and great friendships made! So thankful for the opportunity! How often do thankful + cleaning bathrooms + camping go together?! That’s how great it was! We love you Mr. Dennis and Ms. Jane and sure do miss Ranger Pruett and her amazing staff! Can’t hardly wait to do the camp hosting again one day – I think we have our retirement planned πŸ™‚

 

Nolan’s Trip to the ER! [Well, actually we have been expecting this for some time!]

 

A daddy & son day touring The Naval Academy in Annapolis, filling his mind with all the possibilities of some day, followed by a spontaneous lunch at Chuck E Cheese’s!

 

Meeting Martha Washington and hearing her tales of Mt. Vernon and her beloved George! Mt. Vernon is another must visit to put on your Get Living List, what a breathtaking property and estate.

 

Touring Revolutionary and Civil War Battlefields in 90 degrees temp, near 100% humidity and no functioning A/C in the Civic!

 

New York City in 1 Day!

via the Stanton Island Ferry! It’s free! 

 

S’more night with these special friends! Fight on Katie! We love you! Such a blessing to have you visit, an amazing inspiration to us and example of true friendship. As John 15:13 says, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
What an amazing demonstration of sacrificial love lived out by Laura Lea, you are the greatest ally a friend could ever have! You both are a gift to all who know you!

 

Visiting with Cortney’s childhood neighbor and friend Ted and his wife Jenny and their very handsome Henry!

 

 

Niagara Falls on Father’s Day! When we set out in January we imagined making it to the Carolina’s by early spring then heading west through the Great Smokies, then up through the mid-west to be in Michigan by The Fourth of July. Making it as far north as Niagara was definitely not on our radar. Phenomenal! Highly recommend the Canadian side, incredible views of the Falls and parks manicured with great pride framing the treasure that it is!

 

Visiting Canada! Eh!? Taking two kids and a motorhome through Customs four separate times was not on our agenda when we set out but made for some great stories and memories shared! Canada is a beautiful country, we want to explore more! Just don’t make the same mistake of thinking you are getting a super awesome deal on gas at $0.99 per gallon in addition to the favorable exchange rate, then proceed to fill up your entire motorhome…that $0.99 is for liters not gallons. Yep, duh!, they’re on the metric! That was a painful reminder & lesson learned. Most expensive fill up on the adventure!

 

Finding Blake wedged under the dash and other various places and positions attempting to fix a problem – like when your jacks won’t come up and it’s now hours past the time you were suppose to check out! We weren’t sweating at all!

 

Witnessing a Long Ship off Lake Michigan navigating this narrow river inlet in Manistee MI!

 

Traveling Through Lock System in Sault St. Marie, MI + ON!

 

Coming to realize our kids have a ‘mild’ obsession with Mini-Golf! Actually they are addicted! Hadley’s first putt sent Blake chasing her ball straight out into traffic, she followed that up by a hole in one on the very next hole. And, seriously one of the most beautiful sunsets of the trip and incredibly delicious white fish in Sault Saint Marie!

 

Petting a Bear Cub! Oswald’s Bear Ranch is a true treasure in the U.P. of Michigan–Bear Paradise some might say! What a sanctuary of love and great care Mr. Oswald has created for these gentle giants.

 

Finding and eating an ice cream sandwich this huge! Glad we shared!

 

A visit from the Dave Ramsey video team to see how being debt free has allowed us to “Live Like No One Else” getting shots of our home from the sky and while we drove it! More on this in the future! Thanks Justin, such a gift of storytelling you have!! A blessing to have met and spent the day with your family!

 

Finally getting to play Pickleball over the Fourth of July! Blake had heard of the game before, didn’t know much about it. But Blake loves it! Pretty sure one day we will have a Pickleball court painted on our driveway too!

 

Watching the Badwater Ski-Ters perform in Spread Eagle, WI!

 

The kids wanting to sleep outside! Having warm beds inside a cozy motorhome wasn’t satisfying enough, they really wanted to experience the great outdoors! We now own a tent again!

 

Spending more than a week in North Dakota! We found a shady spot next to a playground, the kids didn’t want to leave!

 

Getting a campsite in Custer State Park! Almost 9 years ago we had a camping trip planned to South Dakota and Wyoming – which included a stop through Custer. However, life happened as life does, Cortney was pregnant with Hadley so we cut back that road trip to just Yellowstone and Grand Tetons. That is what happens when the wife is 7 months along and tent camping for 3 weeks doesn’t sound very ‘fun.’ We have been wanting to do Custer ever since. When we set out at the end of January – all sites in Custer were booked. But Cortney is persistent and 1 day before we headed toward a nearby lake to camp; Cortney landed this first call first serve site and so we hustled ourselves and the motorhome from near Bismarck down to Custer State Park!

 

We knew there would be traffic along the way, but behind such a**es?!

 

Viewing Mt. Rushmore at night and sitting next to a man that introduces himself as “Hi, I am Bob and I am in a Winnebago!” Who says that?! So funny!

 

Okay – so this one was expected. Returning back to the office in Denver to launch the school year. Thankful for the little helpers in the background! And so grateful for the staff for running a fantastic winter, spring and summer without us there and Blake working from the road!

 

To bookend it all, our family experiencing our first (and hopefully not last) total solar eclipse with this earth scientist! Blake is very tempted to become an eclipse chaser! 2019 Argentina anyone?

 

And finally; not quite unexpected, watching our kids enjoy themselves, growing closer to one another and us. We were a little nervous to leave “normal” life & activities, fearing we would scar them in some way, that they could hold against us into adulthood–my crazy parents who moved us into a motorhome…but then once again one of our goals as parents is that our kids end up in therapy as adults so maybe this experience checked that box for us! We were amazed at how in new environments, around new people and a new way of living and experiencing life allowed them to blossom and grow in confidence–this was unexpected and for every memory and new friendship made we are so grateful!

Hadley loved life on the road so much, now that we are home she keeps planning out a camping trip that she and Daddy are going to take and sleep in a tent! (Ha! More on that later!)

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