Sunday, October 21, 2012

East Coast Whirlwind

Pictures! Best way to cover a month of crazy activity.

 The parks where we've stayed have been something else. Amazingly beautiful.
 While in Pennsylvania we spent a day in Philadelphia seeing some historic sites, including Independence Hall.
 Of course, the Liberty Bell was on the list of things to see.
 Did you know you could buy Founding Father Bobble Heads?
 We didn't find any special map-reading glasses made by Benjamin Franklin. (See: National Treasure)
 Fast forward a week and we were in DC with friends!
 You can also buy Albert Einstein Bobble Heads at the Air and Space Museum.
 Mary found Dorthy's Ruby Slippers.
 DC is beautiful!
I'm sure there is a clever caption in this pictures somewhere.
 Big and beautiful.
 What a view!
 Contemplating? Probably not.
 Fast forward another week and we're in North Carolina playing at the Balloon Festival
 We had a wonderful time playing, and an even better time enjoying the festival.
Finally, a couple fun pictures from our music set for the Joshua's Hand's Fall Festival.

Respect the Banjo. 

Great times, great friends.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Talk About Changes

10 months.

It's now the 10th month of our journey and when I look back on this last year, the high points outweigh the low points by a factor of perhaps 1,000. That isn't to suggest it's all been joyful. There have been health concerns, money concerns, mechanical concerns, and simply life adjustments, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Will we continue? As long as God is willing, absolutely. But we are also trying to be realistic. There may be times when travel is not cost effective for a band at our level. Look at the price of diesel now, and consider what could happen after the election. What if it's $7/gallon? $10/gallon? What then?

If possible, Benny, our beloved bus, will stick around in our lives, but I must admit that I'm about fed up with dealing with the red tape that goes with owning him. It's time to renew tags and the wonderful State of Colorado won't let us go online to renew. No emissions are due, but you still have to show up in person if it's a diesel, and it's also saying "insurance unknown", so they want proof again, but since they stripped the VIN# I must now try to see if our insurance company will place a Colorado ID on the card instead of a VIN#. Verdict is still out. (*eye roll*) Then I get to see if they'll let someone go handle this in our place because we're in Pennsylvania with the bus. I really am just about DONE with it all.

We will change to Texas this winter, not because I don't love Colorado, but I do hate their government messes. However, due to the VIN issue, I'm not sure we will be able to easily transfer the bus title to a Texas title with nothing but a CO ID on it. The very idea of another half a year long fight with a DMV is more than my poor heart can take. Alex and Katie want the bus for their own someday, so we may park it for them, while we work through a potential long process of finding it a new state residency - any state that won't give us trouble, then eventually transfer the title to them. Correction. No "we". Michael gets to handle the Texas DMV. It's only fair. I've heard nightmares about them as well, but at least we'll be there more often, physically.

Meanwhile, we are starting to think of other ideas. I really, really don't want to. I love my bus, but realistically, it doesn't have the storage a band needs if we are to continue to grow. We need a better sound system and we haven't the room for the one we have. We need more instruments, props, etc. No room. Perhaps our future holds a large 5th wheel with a big 6 passenger truck. Perhaps an MCI bus? Who knows. We'll give it a cute name and make it our own, just like we did Benny. One day if we're big enough to handle 2 vehicles on the road, perhaps the twins will take the bus along side our "whatever".

One thing is certain, I want a bedroom.  Yes, we have doors to close off the kid bunk area, but when do you ever get rid of teenagers. Seriously. They're up all hours of the night, then sleep late while the younger two get up and bug you. What I wouldn't give for the occasional place to go close a door. Our bedroom is the living room and it's where everyone is all. the. time. AAARRRRGGGG! I could do another year like this, but someday my head will explode and it won't be pretty, so we may start thinking of alternate ideas.

We can't afford alternate ideas, but we couldn't afford the bus when we got it either and God provides, so that's not my first concern. Honestly, God will provide. It may be a cardboard box, but it'll be the perfect box for us. Hopefully provisions will come soon too, if we don't get the insurance/tag renewal thing figured out. (Grumble)

Do not, if at all possible, choose Colorado as your state of residency if you travel full time. Just. Don't.

Other thoughts include staying in the southern states, limiting travels to the van and a utility trailer when we must leave Texas for a show. Soon it'll be cheaper to stay in a hotel than to deal with diesel prices and the high costs we've dealt with at many RV parks. We can go between Texas, Florida, and Arizona in the winters, Texas in the spring/fall, and simply head up a ways to the mid-west in the summer months. Once we're more established and if things change in the price of fuel, we'll take off full time and go everywhere again. Or our politicians will pull a rabbit out of the hat and we'll be flying around the country again this next year. Who knows.

Anyway, it's time to share some BEAUTIFUL pictures. I'm stunned at the east in the fall. Simply stunned. So much beauty. We love the architecture of the old buildings, the leaves falling to the ground, the brilliant colors of the Appalachians, and the cool temperatures. 

It's the perfect place to sit and contemplate everything at the end of the travel year, and to get your head back on straight when a bit of burnout finally hits. Yes, burnout. Hey, it always hit at times when I was in a stick and brick home, so I guess it's not surprising when it hits on the road.

Tests came back and Mary is officially gluten intolerant, so diets must change and I get to learn to plan meals and cook all over again, only with more expensive ingredients now. (Not just from lack of wheat - from the economy as well.) It's time to book gigs for next year but we aren't sure where we're going and how far we can travel, so there is anxiety there. If we don't book soon, we'll get nothing. If we book too far away and can't afford the travel... If we don't book we can't afford to eat...

It's quiet and lovely here. Best place to be when you're weary of it all.

Mostly it's nice to sit back and consider how much you really trust God in all of this, because He's been so faithful up to this point. How could we not? It's been 10 months and we're still eating, we're getting where we need to be, and we're all healthy, laughing far more than grumbling, and seeing the most amazing things we could have ever imagined.

I wonder what things will look like next October? I wonder where we'll be? I suppose that's what adventures are all about, right?