But Can We Stand the Weather?


Burlington VermontWe’ve traveled many miles searching for our ideal community. A few times, we thought we might have found it. But . . .

The thought of moving into a small town is nice, but few have the diversity that we feel makes life more interesting.

We crave the solitude of 40 acres in the sticks, but fear we might go nuts being so isolated.

And in places where we love both the land and the people, it might a lot of effort to fit in.

So where does that leave us? At the other end of the country, completely enamored with one state in particular, which is now the benchmark to compare all future areas against. That state is Vermont.

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Look Out, Here Come the Localvores

Montello WI Amish FarmAbout 4 states ago, I whined about how I was stunned find out that people in North Dakota didn’t have fresh local lettuce all year long. Silly, spoiled native Californian. Getting out and into the real U.S. has opened my eyes.

As a lacto-ovo vegetarian since 1989, I always tried to live by the creed “Eat / Buy / Act Locally.” And when living in California, abiding by it was easy. I never gave much thought to those organic hearts of Romaine I’d buy in December. Even though I was paying as much as $3.00 a bunch, the lettuce was organic, and it was “local” because it grew in my own state, so it didn’t travel that far. During summer, as I bought salad greens at the Farmer’s Market each week, I was mentally adding up my bonus karma points. Score! How much more local and hippy dippy could I get? My, did I feel righteous at the checkout line!

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Living the Good Life in Belgium, Wisconsin

Belgium, Wisconsin, Horse PropertyWisconsin has turned out to be a favorite state, and by the time we arrived in Belgium WI, about 40 minutes north of Milwaukee, lakeside, we thought, “hey, we could really live here.” The area is gorgeous. Rolling hillsides and farmland, quaint towns, roadside farmer’s markets, trees, and quiet county roads winding through the countryside.

My brother-in-law grew up in this old farming community (pop. 2000), and almost all 9 of his siblings, and parents, still live in the area today. Sherry, my brother-in-law’s sister, and her husband Dave generously let us set up our rig on their property. They have an incredible block of land out in the countryside, 40-acres that have been in the family for years, complete with horses, a pond, a garden, beautiful landscaping that the two have done all themselves, and trails in a forested area. It’s the perfect example of what Jim and I are looking for when we land somewhere.

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We’ve still got a lot to learn…

don’t eat the feed corn… not about this full-time RVing lifestyle, we seem to be getting that down pretty good. But René thinks she wants to be a farmer, and this morning we discovered that we can’t even tell a field of sweet corn from feed corn.

On our morning run down the rural county roads near our home (this week) at Harstad Park, we couldn’t help but be tempted by all the corn in the fields alongside the road, just ripe for the picking. What we got serves us right for taking two and dashing home.

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No Tolerance for Lactose Intolerance in Wisconsin

Pie and Ice Cream in Wisconsin

Yesterday, I forgot what day of the week it was. I honestly couldn’t remember if it was my birth DAY or not! Or maybe I was in denial. But once I realized that it was the 8th, and I was another year wiser, I committed to celebrating the big day.

So, we indulged on awesome grub. On my birthday, I was going to eat and drink whatever I wanted and enjoy it without guilt! We were in Wisconsin, so what else could we eat, but dairy! Lots of it!

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Which Shall It Be: Bankruptcy of Purse or Bankruptcy of Life?

Finally, I have our budget numbers for our first month out. But keep in mind, there’s no such thing as a “budget” when you’re on the road; it’s in reality, a “spending plan.” As the super frugal CFO of this family, these circumstances are difficult for me at times. Maybe this is why many people who want to do this kind of trip never do, because spending money while not working is terrifying.

When we decided to take the gamble and go on this trip, we put the following passage from the Sterling Hayden book Voyage: A Novel of 1896 in our bathroom medicine cabinet, for daily inspiration;

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Living and Eating in a West Coast Bubble

Self Serve Produce StandYesterday in Grand Forks, ND, I found another health food store. They’re becoming less than a few hundred miles apart now, a good sign that we are getting closer to larger populations where healthy food & environmental consciousness matter. The stores we’ve encountered are reminiscent of what health food stores were like on the West Coast many years ago; small and hippie-ish, with a focus on supplements and little, if any groceries and produce. This one in Grand Forks did have some local produce, but no lettuce or greens.

I noticed a sign-in sheet for a local CSA Farm on the counter. The farm was about 50 miles from Grand Forks, and it turns out, is the nearest local vegetable farm for the area, but they only produce for CSA members. For anyone else who wants organic produce, they can take a gamble and go to the nearest supermarket, but chances are that the produce came from hundreds of miles away. Huh? No local produce in stores during summer? Barbara Kingsolver would be appalled.

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Why Does Being Green Have to Hurt?

Biodiesel cost in Carbondale, COOuch! See that price per gallon? That was for B20 biodiesel in Carbondale, Colorado. Now, do the math to figure out what it cost to fill our 34 gallon tank.

I was thrilled to finally be able to fill our tank up with biodiesel for the first time since leaving California, but what a painful experience it was. This was B20 for cristssake, not even the primo stuff. Once, we wanted the kind biodiesel, so we paid $3.74 a gallon for B100 at Real Goods in Hopland. Pure as gold, and worth every penny to find out how our Dodge would perform on it. But B20? In Arcata, CA, we paid $3.05 a gallon for B20, and we were OK with that. But $3.53?

Why does doing the right thing have to hurt? Can average people truly afford to be “green”? Not completely, not in this universe. Would you pay that?

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Independent America TV Documentary

My sister sent me this link to the Yahoo News Interview with Hanson Hosein and Heather Hughes about Independent America – the documentary they created during a two-lane trek across the U.S. to identify communities where mom & pop stores are taking on Big Box America. Just as we are in search of the ideal community to live and work, where mom and pop stores …

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And Now for Something Completely Different

Stick Home Vs. RV Home There’s so much to learn, it’s hard to pick where to begin. Everything’s a lot smaller in the RV versus the house. It’s Simple Living at it’s finest. Organizing our things so they’re easy to grab but not in the way is a puzzle, and figuring out how to make the most use of limited space requires some doing. Downsizing …

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