Posts Tagged With: travel

Lynda’s Update on our Road Trip


Just a little update on our status and progress. We have been though Ouray and Telluride, CO, Yellow Stone, the Grand Tetons  in WY and Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and   Wind Cave, South Dakota.

There was a bit of drama in the Tetons… The campers across the road from us set a generator under a clump of pine trees and started a mini forest fire. 4 trees went up in moments. We are told that the campers started a fire brigade and had the blaze out before the fire department got there. it roasted 3 trees and completely destroyed 1 that had to be removed completely. When we returned home late in the day from exploring the Grand Tetons, everyone was excited to tell the story. We were thrilled thinking that we had dodged a bullet. Our precious Koko, out home and everything we now own was spared. The next morning after I returned from photographing the cool mornings sunrise I looked up at our out-stretched awning only to discover it was full of burn holes from the embers. Upon closer inspection will need all 4 new awnings as there are holes in all of them. But THAT appears to be the only damage. And, the park will pick up the bill for the new awnings.

We had Erick’s nephew, Garrett for a month that flew by. We did a couple of over night camping adventures. One was 3 days and 2 nights along the Hell Roaring Trail. a beautiful trail that parallels Yellowstone River. Our campsite required us to cross (excuse me I bellieve “ford” is the proper term) the river. Yes 3 of us with full backpacks (tents, sleeping bags, food and of course my camera) in fast moving mid-thigh high water. No one went down but it was close. At one point I looked up from my footing to see Garrett facing DOWN river, AHHHhhh! He got himself turned back around and made it the 35 or so feet across facing upriver like a champ. I have a whole new appreciation for trekking poles. It was like having 4 legs instead of 2.  We nicknamed the crossing “Butt-pucker Creek” The Creek is highlighted in the video. Afterward, on the way back to Koko, we saw the trail marking for where we were SUPPOSED to have crossed. It wouldn’t have been near the adventure. AND it didn’t lead to our own private black sandy beach. We sent Garrett home yesterday from Denver and are now headed back to Wyoming for the 6 day, 5 night Executive Leadership Exhibition backpacking though the Wind River mountains of Wyoming.

My camera is getting quite a work out. I am putting the final touches on a slide show set to some rocking music. It will be about 15 minutes (3 very appropriate songs). When complete I will put it up on face book or your tube – what ever will work and send links. My phone got tested for water resistance also. I left it out overnight in the rain in Spearfish, SD (yes, South Dakota) It didn’t work for 3 days so I go a new IPhone 5 and then the 4S started working and appears to work fine. It now operates as our Ipod – a very expensive Ipod… but it fits in to are Boze speaker and the IPhone 5 have a different connector and doesn’t fit. It even still connects to or WiFi on board. That was a $400 lesson.

We were in SD one week before the Sturgis. Motorcycle Rally. There were more motorcycles (and every variety of Tricycles) on the road than cars.  We missed it this time but may time a trip more carefully in the future. That area of SD is spectacular. The Crazy Horse memorial and Mt Rushmore are amazing. We re-routed our trip so Garrett could see them.

After out hike in Wyoming we will be on to Bozeman, Montana where Erick has found several trails that NEED to be explored. it is also where we plan to have the awnings repaired. We expect to do some longer hikes. Mt Rainer in Washington and Three Sisters in Oregon are 40+ miles. I will have to get a couple more batteries for my camera. I seem to be able to get a day/battery.

Then we will meet John and Terri at the Bristle Come forest near Mammoth in CA in September and head on to San Diego for a couple weeks before heading to Aspen for a conference and to find where we will spend the ski season.

We haven’t been dancing since we left SD (that’s San Diego not South Dakota) I suspect we will correct that in Bozeman (and be prepared in San Diego).

Well, that is the update. Erick is learning all about the mechanical aspects of Koko and doing great with it. We trade off on driving and navigating.  The navigator spends the majority of time doing something on the computer (like writing this).

Erick Lynda Garrett -2

Lynda Carpenter

Categories: Adventure, Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Love, Reconnection, RV Travel | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

And we are off

Well, a few weeks into our road trip FOR a lifetime, and the fun we have had.. and some interesting learning curves… We started off by enjoying the Hudson family reunion in Grand Junction, Colorado,


followed up by our start with Ouray, Colorado,


Then on to Salt Lake City where we picked up my nephew, Garrett Taylor.. (Mike Taylor and Ellen Taylor, we cannot thank you enough for letting us have him for some quality time)…


Then we descended on Yellowstone where we spent a 3 day 2 night back packing trip in Hell’s Roaring River area, and also did a few other spiffy hikes in and around Yellowstone.




and of course, “Butt Pucker Creek” where we forded the river to get to the other side for our camp site.. wondered if any of us were going to go swimming with our packs… and on that note, we did learn that if you are going to cross a swift moving river, unclip your waist strap and your upper harness in case you have to release your pack. (Thank you forest service video BEFORE we went on our backcountry hike).

We had our own beach for the day.


and after a nights rest, we hiked back to our truck… two nights, three days, and it was fun

After that we trekked on to the Tetons


Found some nice day hikes around String Lake (thanks Danny) and found Hidden Falls trail… not so hidden as it was loaded with people. and we discovered that if you want to get away from the people, you are going to have to do a 20+ mile hike to do it. There are some GREAT trails there, but you are talking 4 day jaunts that we didn’t think we were up to.. Day hikes are nice, but busy with people.. I think we enjoyed Yellowstone more than the Tetons.

We sat around and discussed what we wanted to do and Garrett thought that Mt Rushmore would be cool, so off we went. We stopped by Devils Tower, Wyoming, and wow, incredible country side and the Tower itself was very impressive.


The day hike (1.4 miles) around the Tower was very cool.

Now we are in Spearfish, South Dakota so I can catch up on some maintenance on the rig, and so Lynda can do some work. We found a park here in Spearfish managed by the city, and it is gorgeous.. cannot recommend it enough. On one side note, the Sturgis rally is about to kick off. and bikers are converging on every town near Sturgis.. should prove to be interesting.

Now, all the side notes to things learned. We replaced our tires in Salt Lake City and I discovered that they did not replace the stem core’s in the stems. and crap often gets loose inside the tire (dust and whatnot) that makes the core jam and leak… so if you get your tires replaced, plan on replacing stem cores.. not a big deal, just a learning curve

Next item. we are still scratching our heads. We pulled into a gas station, filled up and Lynda hit the ignition… nothing. nada. zip, zilcho… and we noticed the transmission shifter flashing odd numbers. Well, Lynda the logical one digs through the Allison Transmission manual and we discover that our oil in our transmission is too cold.. WTF? that makes zero sense… but that is the code that is flashing… So after a about a half hour of trying to start the rig, we gave it 15 minutes hit the ignition and WALLA! we have engine roaring… So I checked the oil level and it was low.. not critically so, but low just the same… so figured out how to add oil to the tranny and we were off again.

We pulled into Spearfish and I have figured that is the time to do minor maintenance stuff… so here we sit, having an absolute ball, and our nephew is enjoying the time… Never, let me repeat this, never in a gazillion years did I ever see this coming… Sometimes life smacks you between the eyes… and sometimes it hands you a dream…. As we have been handed both over the past decade, never did I think that it would be better than anything I could have imagined…..


Road trip FOR a lifetime…

Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines, sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover.

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Epiphanies and such…

Well, Lynda and I were sitting at the table, and we were discussing her family reunion.


Let me start from the beginning. Lynda and her family back in the 80’s discovered that the only time the entire family got together was during funerals.. and the senior members of the family found that unacceptable. So, they started having annual family reunions around fathers day.. Just a time when kids were out of school and everyone could make time to be somewhere for the Hudson family reunion… (This was Lynda’s Mom’s side of the house)

Each year they rotated through who was going to host the family reunion, and if you weren’t there, you often were selected as the site for the next reunion. (teach them not to make it to the reunion) Then, if you were a spouse and didn’t make it for two reunions?    You were OUT. GONE.. Asta La Vista Baby. You can’t make a family reunion? Den go swim wit da fishes…

So we have been going to those family reunions since 2004. and in that it started me thinking that my family needed one, so we have done our best to follow in kind, having a Carpenter family reunion each year, usually during the summers in Alaska. However, Lynda and I started talking about doing something different. Something that would fit our bucket list, and make the Carpenter family reunion fun and exciting….. 

With that in mind, we came up with “Christmas in Belize”.. get the Carpenter and maybe Smith family together and go diving and hiking and such in Belize..  We have the bucket list that inludes the Blue Hole, and we think that with some effort we can all go diving together in Belize… for Christmas. The dives there can be shallow and lively, and provided they haven’t had a hurricane in the season, the waters are crystal clear.

Freedom B

I pinged my siblings and Walla! Everyone is in.. Big brother, Danny, will consider it… (planning is not his forte’, so I asked Kristin, and they will be there)… He truly hates to plan that far in advance, so we will throw it out there and see if it sticks.. HA!

So we are looking at cheap ways to get to Belize.. 4 airlines fly in there from the US. We can use Alaska Airline air miles to get there, but there are those damn black out dates.. so how do we work this? What can we do…. and the epiphany struck… By that time we should be on the road. It won’t matter if we are there in Belize or here in the US. (other than cost of staying in Belize). Why don’t we see when we CAN go? hmmmmmm research….. research…. research……

December 11th to the 9th of January.. a MONTH in Belize.. Holy Mother of God…. that is a LONG time, but wait… wait… let that sink in….

Lynda looks at me and says “I have NEVER in my life taken a vacation for that long”… and my response? “Why not start now?”  The light in her eyes when the fire lit was beautiful… I think we are both starting to understand the implications of being able to go where we please when we please…. The quandary?

Where to leave from? So which airport do we choose? Dallas Fort Worth is looking like it might be on the hit list. Decisions, Decisions, Decisions… This nomadic lifestyle is sinking in. for both of us.

Road Trip FOR a Lifetime…. to be continued…

And continue it does.. three days later (From when I started this post) and yet ANOTHER ephiphany…

We have some items that need to be wrapped up prior to our launch date. And we have been churning those over and over. Then, yesterday, I get an email from Lynda at work, saying: “Hey, met these guys through Toast Masters and they want to know if we would be interested in joining them on a backpacking trip”.

In August. In the Wind River mountains of Wyoming. As I have never been there, we have been told that it is some of the most beautiful country God ever created. So here I sit, looking at a group of folks that are going hiking for 6 days in some back country, and realize that if we do that, we are going to have to go straight from California, to Colorado for Lynda’s family reunion, to Wyoming for this backpacking trip. and my second thought?

I’m game.

My first thought? My usual stick in the mud. “We can’t do this, we have too much we have to do before we can….” and that was as far as I let my little voices get.. I told them to shut the **ck up and let’s do this. Let’s go!!!!  We can do the family reunion, AND go backpacking, AND do our Road Trip FOR a Lifetime.. if not now? when? So we are gonna do all we can to push it. A line in the sand has been drawn. June 28th, we begin.

There are a couple of showstoppers that I will not discuss here, but the likelihood of them showing up are about zero.  Instead, the likelihood of us launching on June 28th? About 90%. and that just tickles me silly…

In the meantime? My sister and I have a marathon to run in June. (She does the full 26.2, I do the 1/2 13.1) I run as Elvis as seen here with a running pack of Elvii I am in the lower right in the white outfit. and my sister? She just shakes her head and laughs.


We also need to get our Advanced Open Water diving in if we are going to dive the Blue Hole in Belize… that is a bucket list item, so we need to push that up the line a bit.


Top that off with some camping this weekend to shake out our camping gear and Walla! Another day seized.


Categories: Adventure, Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Love, Reconnection, RV Travel, Scuba | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

And launch date is moved up a tad…

For those following this rather lengthy blog and insanity that we call our world, WELCOME… Lynda and I have been living in our RV for about 6 months trying to get everything lined up for taking off on our road trip for a lifetime.. And with that, had to come up with a way to earn a living while traveling, and to get health insurance as well.

These were our last two items and we suspected it would take until 2015 to pull that off.. Hmmm as Gomer Pyle used to put it..


Turns out that her friend Trish Claussen has a connection with a firm that just happened to be interested in Lynda’s services as a business coach. And our friend and financial advisor, Barry Todd (shameless advertising for his firm, BDT and Associates) needed her services as well. So the way things are looking, she may have her 10 clients by June. No later than October. And I am looking into health insurance coverage for us both, out of Florida. And that is going very well..

Now, tie in the process getting our vehicles registered in Florida, and it is looking pretty damn good to be on the road a year earlier than we expected. We still have a few bumps to get over, but all in all, it is looking VERY good for the home team. And with that, when the time comes, I will put forth a proposal to my current employer that I would be thrilled to work for them remotely at a much reduced rate, lower than what contractors normally charge, and less than what a fulltime employee would make.. An offer that I hope will be hard to refuse. If not, I will give my boss, Cathy Young, all the advanced notice I can, as she has been incredible to work for.

So the energy is ramping up, and the Carpenters are preparing to launch… and we are SOOooooooo ready.

Stay tuned, this is gonna be a RIDE!


Categories: Love, Reconnection, RV Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Shopping shopping shopping

Boy the more I look at this road trip the more I drool at the neato skeato “stuff” to have.. I just cannot get over how much RV’ing has changed since our trip in 2004… Technology is a wonderful thing.. and expensive.

  • Tire pressure monitors
  • Solar panels
  • AGM batteries!
  • Area rug to keep our carpet somewhat clean…
  • Shotgun for home protection…
  • Step carpets
  • Carpet to roll out when we camp
  • Plastic dishes versus our current ceramic jobs (weight savings)
  • Wireless printer/scanner/fax that has an autosheet feeder
  • Nortel wireless network instead of Verizon’s.. (20 gig vs 10 gig and cheaper per month)
  • Sky Ranger to pull in those weak wifi signals
  • Tire gauge that can read over 100PSI

Then there are the fun things I need to do like:

  • Wash and wax “Koko”
  • Wash and wax both cars
  • Check the air system in the rig to be sure it has enough hose to get around the rig and that it has the appropriate adaptors for the tires
  • Re-level Koko as it has been sitting for a couple of weeks
  • Start the generator and engine to run a bit
  • Learn how to change out fuel filters (including how to make sure I don’t get air in the lines)
  • Rain X the windshield

Then I can start drooling at the camp sites all over the place… and keep day dreaming about where to go first, and the things to do when we get there.. Hike, cook, swim, dive, meet new folks, have family join… Just puts a cheese eating grin on my face for the day…

Counting down to the exit…. hehe


Koko when we bought her


Lynda working on photo shop


And us in the UK last year… that I think started the whole damn road trip idea…. or helped it along

Categories: Adventure, Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Love, Reconnection, RV Travel | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

and the maintenance begins

As we learn more about our RV, Kokopelli (Koko for short) I have found that I enjoy turning the occasional wrench or screw driver… which for me is nothing short of amazing… I have never had the desire to learn much about autos or how to turn a wrench on one.. But now that our domicile has wheels, a new hobby has raised its head… and for the first time in my life, I can say that I enjoy the challenge of learning new tricks… (of course I say that now as we haven’t had any major things to do to our rig as of yet)

But all in all, we have quickly adapted to our home on wheels, and are eagerly anticipating our road trip. and this road trip will be one for a lifetime… see where the road leads and to what new adventures… So, today? Some minor repairs on the roof, some boondocking tips that I have taken to heart, and pick up some camping stuff for later on.

and this was our Christmas tree for 2012… Loving it..


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Our story.. via my wife, Lynda as written by her


 A few years ago I reconnected with my high school sweet heart. Let me back up a few years (30 to be more precise.) This is the guy whose promise ring (remember promise rings?) I wore in high school. We started all the high school dances and my year book has notes all though it saying “good luck with Erick.” We were an item no one doubted that we would marry once I turned 18.

 We dated for close to two years before he joined the Marines. Knowing that I would talk him out of enlisting, he didn’t tell me until it was done – frankly, I am not sure he had given much forethought about becoming a Marine. Erick accompanied a friend to the recruiters office, the friend enlisted, the recruiter was pretty good sales guy and, well, before he (or I) knew it, Erick was on his way to becoming a US Marine.

Us in 1981

 I was furious but there was nothing I could do, the papers were signed. For a few months I sent letters every day, then they dwindled to weekly and then he eventually got that letter that no military man ever wants to receive…

 Twenty-two years later I received an email. It began “Is this the same Lynda Smith…” It was the same Lynda Smith. He had stumbled across my name on We had unfinished business and we both knew it. He asked what I was doing and it all boiled down to I was leaving a bad job and a bad relationship. He asked “Why don’t you come up to Alaska?” So I did.

 He met me at the Anchorage International Airport at 9:20pm with 22 read and pink roses) one for each year we had been apart) and a fur coat. He had a video camera to film my arrival but as soon as he saw me he dropped his arm and got a great shot of the people behind him upside down and the only thing heard beyond the hustle and bustle of people arriving and departing and greeting their loved ones was Erick saying “Oh my God.”

 We embraced in the center of the isle. We kissed our first kiss in 22 years. The airport melted away, the people melted away, a lifetime melted away. All the relationships between then and now melted away. We might as well have been in high school again. When we came to the security/TSA officer was asking us to step out of the isle, we were blocking traffic or causing a scene or something. I am not sure what he said but it meant “move.” we stepped to the side and held each other and the fire of 22 years rekindled and in an instant burned as wildly as it had in our teens.

 I learned that after 6 years he was medically discharged from the Marines with a bad hip. His brother had been sending him photos of Alaska and he moved there once discharged. He had been in Alaska for 13 years. He had married Connie Calhoun, a glorious woman whose smile would light a room and a contagious laugh that captured his heart.


 They shared 13 years together and she was then diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It was 163 days from diagnosis to death. I never got to meet Connie and it was probably best. But I will say that I knew him before her and after and I approve. I am convinced she was a great lady and am glad he got the time he did with her.

 It was early December and though it was not that cold by Alaska standards (probably 10-15 degrees), but based on my thin-blood San Diego standards, it was quite chilly. I was happy to have the fur as the light weight leather jacket that I brought was not going to be adequate. We walked arm in arm to his Land Rover. Using a remote starter, unbeknownst to me, he had already started the truck. It was already running and warm.

 He opened the door for me and I got in. He walked around and got in the truck and then it happened. My left hand lay waiting on the tan leather padded console between the leather captain’s chairs, he reached over as we had done at least a thousand times in high school and took my hand. This time the whole world stopped. It was as though every hand I had ever held had been compared to that hand and finally, my hand had found where it belonged. He too felt it. It literally took both of our breath away. We gasped. Several moments later together we exhaled and smiled and kissed and asked each other – “did you feel that?” Yes, through labored breath, we confirmed we both felt it.


 And so began our reconnection, and our road trip in 2004, from Anchorage Alaska to San Diego, via Key West.

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Road Trip, Part Deaux

Traveling, the art of enjoying life while taking in what the world has to offer.

If you have read “About Us” you have an idea of what motivated us to begin this lifestyle change. And with that, our adventure begins. We are currently in the ramp up mode, saving money, working on ways to earn a living while we are on the road. And the downsizing..

Yes, major downsizing is still ongoing. We found it simply AMAZING how much crap we have accumulated over the years. and in that downsizing, some “landmines”. These are emotional landmines like a card from her dad who is now gone, or a plaque that her mom gave her. Or a picture of my first wife, or the myriad of little things that have nothing but sentimental value. It was a jaunt down memory lane, both good and bad, but interestingly enough, healing.

Now we are changing our mindsets, and after talking to our friends Don and Barbie who are currently traveling the US, we may change again. Our plan is simple. Go up the west coast in the spring time, across the US/Canadian border in the summer time, down the East Coast in the fall with the leaves, then over to either Utah or Colorado for the ski season. Then return to Key Largo for some diving… that in 2015. After that? Who knows. But the adventure is in a countdown.

Two years to setup financially, and gear wise. Our plan is to hike as many local trails as we can, and with that, we will begin training in 2013 with hikes with packs. At first, light pack hikes, adding as we go, learning what gear works well, what doesn’t.  Learn how to trouble shoot RV issues, and in that post those on line with video clips to show the problem, then the solution… (makes me think a little more logically knowing that there might be an audience).

This is a learning curve that never ends, but one we truly look forward to experiencing… so, stay tuned, this is a Roadtrip FOR a lifetime.


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