Sunday, February 26, 2012

So, I had this fantastic blog post in my head...

Sometime either in the wee hours, or late at night, I can't remember which, I had what I was sure to be the most inspiring blog post I've ever written. I had it largely mapped out and it was one of those that would hit the social networking and launch me into a new realm of "people with wise words in the blogosphere".

I have no clue what it was about. I think I was awake...

An-y-way, here I sit at the club house, a hop-skip-and-jump from the bus, with great internet, a free night of relaxation, where I can sit think, enjoy, reflect, and write of all the many thoughts and experiences we are having - yet unable to get even one coherent thought to pass through my head.

Oh well. I'll just start typing and see what happens.

We had a wonderful morning. Since the bus is our only form of transportation, we don't usually like to randomly select churches, then scare them when a 38' bus pulls into their small parking lot, so we have had to miss some Sunday services, choosing to find a good sermon to listen to in the bus. Not today though! Right next to the front entry of our campsite is a cute little country church, called "Country Church". We called the night before to confirm the service time. It's a very small congregation right now, and just trying to get off the ground in the area, so they only had one service time, no Sunday School or otherwise. *Perfect* for us. Honestly, I would rather not hassle with random Sunday Schools, we just want to go to the worship service and when we're traveling, there is no time to get to know people in a big church, so those little ones are simply the best. You get a chance to immediately connect, often in ways that turn into friendships right away, instead of after the 7th or 8th visit when your face finally registers and familiar.

We showed up a bit early and Michael went in ahead of us to make sure people were there and we had the start time correct. Next thing I know he heads back out to the bus and tells us to grab our instruments. Turns out he spoke with the pastor and mentioned we were a family band. What also happened to be the case is that the ones who often lead some music for this church were not there that day, (coincidence? I think NOT!) and we were all pretty convinced that God had set us all up, sending us their way on the perfect day when they needed some lively bluegrass gospel. We tuned up the instruments, stepped up to the microphones, and pulled out our best gospel music, then enjoyed a very engaging sermon. When the service was over we stuck around to chat, and pulled the instruments out again to play some fast and fun bluegrass instrumentals! It is a small and struggling little congregation, and I sure hope we brought them a little excitement and encouragement to keep on stepping out in faith.

One lady there had a small guitar she purchased months ago and never learned to do much with it, so she asked if Alex would mind giving her a lesson. She arranged to come by our campsite that afternoon and they sat down together to go over some basics. We now have new friends in this unknown area.

Once again, we started off assuming we were stopping at an RV park, no where near our next destination, just killing time before the next scheduled item on our calendar, to find God had set something up for us right where we randomly stopped. That. Is. Cool. We have had so many of those at this point, I don't know why it still surprises me.

I wonder what insta-gigs He has planned for us this week?

Well, what do you know, I managed a blog post after all, though not likely to be one that will hit the social networking sites with a storm. It will someday serve a purpose to remind me of details during this very unique time in our lives.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Not even one picture...

Can you believe we zipped up to Colorado, played at a great bluegrass festival, and I didn't take even one picture of the whole weekend? I'm a photographic documenting failure.

It was a crazy week, and if I never see that much mud, cold, mud, snow, and mud again, it will be too soon. We had a terrible time finding a place to park the bus because of that mud. We couldn't park it in Grandma and Papa's yard unless we wanted a repeat of Dumas, so we called around, only to find out that Colorado, in the middle of winter, has outrageously priced camping prices everywhere. The first night we thought we'd get a deal at the state park, but they charged $24 a night for an isolated spot with no nearby bathrooms or showers, plus a $7/vehicle/day pass, so the bus and our large van (which we can use here in Colorado), would cost us $38 per night to freeze in a muddy, isolated location.

Then we went to a fairgrounds for $20/night, but it was a mud pit (mud seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life anymore), and it was behind the grounds, very isolated, and we were simply afraid to leave the bus there unattended, so after 2 nights there, we left.

So, we went to plan B on the 4th night. We surveyed Grandma and Papa's yard to see how far we could pull it into their property before it got stuck. We got the back tires in, but the nose stuck outside of the gate. We drained the pipes, then crammed into the house, which was turned upside down while they frantically try to move 45 years of stuff out so my sister can purchase the property. Oh, how I was wondering why I was there and not in Arizona still. We had offers. We could have stayed at played and more parks, saved the diesel money and kept out of the cold and mud. However we were very honored to be asked to play at the festival and I may be a wimp for cold, but I'm not stupid enough to pass up such an opportunity!

We did very much enjoy the festival, and that is the one thing that I truly cannot believe I failed where pictures are concerned. I will ask around and scour the internet for some pictures, which are bound to pop up eventually. I saw a lot of people with cameras.

So... here I sit, back in Texas, the north this time. We have nothing on the schedule this week, so we planted ourselves at an RV resort outside of Fort Worth to clean the mud off the bus yet again, remind the kids what a school book looks like, and get in some relaxation. February, up to this point, was nothing but travel and rush, cold, oh, and mud. So help me, outside of an emergency or command from God, I will not be returning to Colorado during the winter in this bus again. We are booked in Texas next year and I'd really like to make that a habit.

I do have a few pictures around the mud trip I will share.

Mary decided she simply had to have a pink dress for Valentine's Day, so we stopped off at one in Arizona, and she used her own money to pick one out!

Arizona completely fascinates me. We tried to figure out how to make it back there next winter, but so far it's looking like we cannot justify the trip, which is sad, because I just love how you can go through 4 different seasons in one state, in one afternoon. I took all of these from the bus window as we drove.
I think it was something like 70 degrees when we were driving through the above area. Start climbing up the mountains and you get...

Yes, that's snow. Should have been my first sign to turn back, and yet we plugged on to the high plains.

The sudden change in look was sometimes surprising, especially if you dozed off for a bit. You'd wake up in a very different land.
One look away and the color of the dirt changed, too.

I'm trying to remember who this guy is. I think we saw him in our old hometown last fall. When I passed by him near, I think it was Lamar, CO, I was really surprised. Perhaps it was someone different. Could he really only be as far as Lamar at this point? Here I thought the bus was slow. I guess horses aren't into zooming down highways.

The day after the festival we stopped off at Pickin' on Tennyson to see Molly's puppies. Molly is Suzie and Gary Solomon's dachshund. They were so cute, and no, we did not leave with one!

Although it was a chilly day here in northern Texas, it was adequate to be outside in a sweatshirt. Mary bundled up just a bit and headed out with her pink ukulele, where she sang for a good 30-40 minutes non-stop, the same song, over and over again, complete with strumming. I am very glad I had Sean at least tune the ukulele first. Her siblings were off getting some schoolwork done so she finally had a chance to sing out loud without the older three hushing her!

We also appear to have picked up some temporary pets. These ducks came to visit and hung out for a time under our bus. They are very tame and would come right up to the kids.

Words cannot express how good it feels to be back on the road, however. I just don't know if we're still in that honeymoon period of long travels, but unless it wears thing at some point, I think I'll find the lifestyle completely addictive! The kids are thriving, Michael and I are smiling, and we simply enjoy the newness of each adventure. We'll trust God along the way to send us where He wants us, and when it's time to stop, no doubt we'll land right where we're supposed to be.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Webisodes and Left Turns

Oh, before I forget... (Why I forget such things is beyond me. It's my bread and butter. I better get with the program.) Our new CD is OUT!!! You can buy it from the link on the front of the web site. Samples are up, too. The first 10 are from the new CD, Hourglass.

In travel news, we're in Albuquerque, and yes, we won't forget to make that left turn first thing in the morning. We're trying to race the snow (Booo!) back to Denver, as we head back for the Mid-Winter Bluegrass Festival! (Yaaaaay!)

It's been a long, boring day. We went from the beautiful dessert sun of Phoenix with stunning saguaros going up the side of hills, to snow and pine trees in Flagstaff, then to the high plains as we headed towards Gallup, all within a matter of half a day. It was climatically and geographically rather confusing. So now here we sit fighting over the last of the thin mints, in a cute park that is too dark to really appreciate.

In other news, we found out one of Mary's donated ponies has a magnet in its foot. I'm sure you were dying to know this.

Ok. I think I better quit while I'm behind and just get on with the video log's second webisode. Tada.

We leave first thing in the morning for the next 450 miles of our trip. Ugh.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Oh, Cacti, How I Love Thee

I am going to try tonight to mostly put together our 2nd "webisode" of our travels through South Texas. I have some great stuff but we've been monstrously busy, with lousy internet, so it's taking longer than I hoped to get it together. Meanwhile, I'm going to post a preview of some of the pictures that will go on our 3rd "webisode", which will take place in Arizona. It's so incredibly beautiful out here, and pictures will simply not do justice to the experience, but I'll post a few anyway.

One thing has become quite evident on this trip. I am completely fascinated by cacti, (cactus, cactuses... Sean has been impressed with himself that he knows how to make cactus plural by saying "cacti", so we'll use that one.)

The photo of this saguaro simply does not do justice to the amazing sight of the moon hanging in the sky, right over the beautiful scene. It seemed so much bigger at the time, but it is still a pretty shot, I think.

The cactus above is probably my favorite. It looks so fuzzy from afar, but up close it is truly a frightening sight. So many needles! Can you imagine walking into one of those?

Isn't it pretty, in its own dangerous way? I was looking at the desert as we passed through New Mexico and on towards the Sonora Desert area and thinking what it must have been like to come to the area as an early pioneer, in a wagon, with a full skirt! Yikes!

That one is certainly a fingerprint of our amazing Creator. Love the pattern on this little round, poky ball!

This was a fun shot from the train ride with a full view of the Goldfield Ghost Town and Superstition Mountain.

Benny is getting an amazing view of the most biodiverse desert on the planet.

Here's our bus pal sitting by a little church on a hill.
It was so beautiful out, practicing at the top of the hill behind the ghost town. There was a snow storm in Colorado at that moment, yet we were outside on a lovely day! It amazes me.

This picture backs us up a bit. We were actually in New Mexico at this point, on our way to Arizona, but we had a fantastic experience there at this quick stop. After 2 days of driving from Texas, dry camping without hook-ups, no showers, and not even a moment to bother finding a hair brush, we decided to stay in a nice park so we could clean up a bit and let the kids enjoy some time in the indoor swimming pool. However, before we let them get their fingers all wrinkled and soft, we needed to get in some practicing, so we stepped out of the bus and tuned up the instruments.

Half way through the first song, a man in a nearby RV stepped around the corner with his eyes bright to see where the music was coming from. We told him that we were just practicing, but he was welcome to sit in and watch. We always love an audience. Next thing I knew, he had brought his lawn chair, his drink, wife, and a few neighbors, and parked himself right in front our bus. More nearby people wandered over, drinks in hand, and sat down, until we had a decent audience. We simply turned around and played for them, chatted, and had a bit of fun. They were very appreciative, many picking up some CDs to take with them.

What was the most amazing was how messy we were! Like a bunch of grubby street urchins right out of a Dickens novel or something. I should have been rather embarrassed, but everyone was having so much fun, why bother?

Right now we are in an RV park west of Phoenix, where we have a show tomorrow night... one that was just added today. We are finding a very exciting pattern in this. Find an interesting looking park we think the kids will enjoy, check in, get some buzz going about what we do, and suggest we play an informal show for them. Pretty cool!

I had so many other things I wanted to write in the last few weeks, but at this point I better get busy on the webisode. Watch for the video on the next post!