Colorado Springs

2000 miles, 10 states, 7 full days of driving, and we’ve made it to Colorado! This move has an air of permanence about it. Props to anyone out there who is currently working from the road – we have really struggled to find steady, reliable internet.  The campgrounds all advertise free wifi, but it is almost always crap.  We have the Verizon Jetpack that gets us 3G or 4G LTE almost anywhere… but it also costs hundreds of dollars each month to get any amount of normal data usage. So, we are still working hard on the business, but are also planning on settling down a bit… and of course, we brought the kitties with us!

Camper Kitties

Toulouse Camper

We picked up the camper from storage in Crestview, FL, and set out on a Thursday with the intention of getting to Colorado Springs within 2 weeks. The first night was a quick trip down the road. The second night we went another couple hours, and made it into Mississippi. We quickly realized that this constant driving and moving each day was going to get old really fast – so we decided to quicken the pace.

Last Florida Campground

Sweet Home AL

Mobile Tunnel


We made it off the crowded I-10, and almost all the way up to Shreveport, LA by day 3. So far, the Jeep has handled the camper pretty well. On the interstate, it cruises nicely with the overdrive off between 60 – 65mph. Anything faster than that, the thing tends to move around back there a little too much for comfort. Anything slower would be a bit of a hazard with fast moving traffic. I have also started to notice a shimmy when I apply the brakes – this happens whether we have the camper in tow or not. I just paid a shop a bunch of money to replace the pads and rotors on the Jeep. Chalk that up to one more time a car place has totally failed to do the job!

Day 4, we entered the massive bit of land known as Texas. The weather app said “a light rain barely enough to wet the pavement.” Of course, the reality was a torrential downpour. The initial plan was to stay on the interstate through Dallas, but when the weather turned nasty we changed our minds. Something about having a 4,500lb box swinging around behind, while semi after semi goes trundling by with blinding water and shifting winds made me a bit nervous. We got off the big road and took local highways north of the city.

Small Town Texas

Eagles are number 1

We saw a bunch of nice little north Texas towns, and stopped at the Bonham state recreation area the first night. We made it almost to Amarillo the next day, and spent the night at the Old Towne Cotton Gin RV Park – super cute and clean!

Old Towne Cotton Gin

North Texas Plains

Sweet Old Rig

Day 6 had us cross into the northeast corner of New Mexico. Turns out they have a pretty sweet extinct volcano up in those parts – cool!

The High Prairie

Still Going

Sierra Volcano

NorthEast NM

We could definitely feel the gain in elevation, and I think the Jeep was feeling it too. I got back on the interstate at Raton, NM. The road immediately climbed up a mountain. We barely made it up to the top – I kept the pressure on the engine just below the point where it would over-rev. Our speed slowed to about 40mph, but we eventually made it up. There was no relief at the top though, because now we had to make it back down the other side. The grade was steep, I probably should have put it in 2nd gear, but by then I was going too fast. The road curved and steepened. I started to apply the brakes, but that pesky shimmy started up hard – The steering wheel started shaking violently, the car was not really slowing down at all, the road kept sinking and curving. I’ve driven through a blizzard in Minnesota, a tornado in Iowa, and the worst Chicago traffic has to offer… but I think this was closest I’ve come to dying (well there was that one time the door flew open in little Cessna my dad was flying, and the only thing holding me in the plane was the little strap of seat belt… but mom doesn’t need to know about that). After another couple minutes of white knuckle racing down the mountainside, the road leveled out. We made it down, but honestly are lucky no one was in front of us, and nothing disastrous happened. I will not be taking this thing up any more mountains any time soon!

The Mountains

Colorado Springs

So after a week of hard driving we made it to the Springs. I parked the car to check in at the RV park, and the poor thing wouldn’t start back up. It knew we had made it out Colorado-way, and it was done. I waited a bit, and finally got it going again, but we’re done with the long trips for a while. Now we can sit back and enjoy these lovely mountain views!

Mountain Views

Sold the Bus


I started this blog a couple years ago when I bought an old VW bus.  I started out clueless, and bumbling around trying to get the thing to work – after two years – I’ve had a lot of fun with it, and have learned a bunch.  I’m still pretty clueless, but owning this bus has certainly impacted my life in a lot of really positive ways!

We’re changing our plans with the camper, and starting to look for a more permanent base for our rambling ways.  To help with that, I’ve been closing up some loose ends – the bus is definitely one of those ends.

Bus_Pass Side


Bus_Drive Side

Bus Side

I took about a week to clean up and beautify the bus.  I painted and assembled the front and rear bumpers.  Earlier, I bought the front bumper accessories and entire rear bumper assembly from Wolfsburg West, and was pretty happy with how they came together.  It took some creative ratcheting with a strap to get the things to fit properly onto the bus, but I think they look really good.

I also did a little tuning to get the engine running decently again, and then, posted the ad.  Within 5 minutes I had a call. After about an hour and a half, and a multitude of calls and emails, I had the thing sold – to the guy who called first no less!

He came to pick it up, and away went the bus.  Two good years of trial and error, fun times, and a few doses of stress and worry. I never thought I would be someone who would enjoy something like an old air-cooled VW, but now I’m not sure I want to be someone who doesn’t own at least a couple.  I’ll have to make do with an old camper right now, but who knows, I could see a nice shiny Bug in my future!

There she goes

We’re getting back on the road soon – headed west for some new adventures.

Heading North

Lake Juniper Fog

We’ve made our way up to the Florida panhandle.  It’s a bit colder up here, but we’ve also spent some quality time with family.

We hit up this exciting flea market… it was exciting, but we didn’t buy anything!

Flea Market

A few foggy camping days ensued.  We’ve really seen a lot of the state of Florida, and it is crazy how varied the environment is.  Big southern forests up north, beautiful Atlantic beaches, alligator filled marshes in big Cypress, and Caribbean vibes in the Keys.

Camping in the fog

We ended this current leg of the journey at the white sandy beaches along the gulf coast. Sweet!

Miramar Beach

Hickory Hammock

Hickory Hammock Trees

We finally got around to spending a couple nights out in the woods at the Hickory Hammock Wildlife Management Area.  To keep up the work pace, we’ve been spending more time camped at sites with wifi and all the other comforts of home like hot showers and water pressure.

To take a break from all that comfort, we headed to Hickory Hammock.  This place is part of the South Florida Water Management District – and it’s free!  I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but the campground was really well situated.

A quick online registration gets you the code for the gate to the area.  The campground has composting toilets (read: fancy porta potties), an outdoor shower, and fire rings.

Hickory Hammock Camping

We walked a little bit of the horse trail that surrounds the area, we saw some wildlife, had a fire, got some bug bites, and just generally had a great couple of days.

Hickory Hammock

I snapped these really low quality iPhone pics of this big turtle, and this F/A 18 jet that kept buzzing overhead.


F:A 18

The new battery set-up performed well.  I ran the laptop on the inverter for about 4 hours, and ran the fan for about an hour.  After checking the voltage, I think we are still in the 80 – 100% charged range – sweet!


Hickory Hammock Sunset

Deep Cycle Battery Installation

AC Delco Voyager

We’re back to the camping life after a nice break over the holidays. Today I installed a deep cycle battery in the camper to help us get more off the grid – everything seems to be working too!

We have been saying that we want to do more dry camping (boondocking, dispersed camping, sleeping in the woods like a hobo, whatever you want to call it). However, up until now the trailer hasn’t had a battery set up to let us bring electricity with us.

Our computers only last a few hours – once they die, so does our ability to keep working.  We then start drinking too much beer, watching too much nature, and having way too much fun… we can’t be doing that! I did some research, bought a few things, and got a system in place and all hooked up – it was electrifying!

Here is the basic wiring diagram:


I have tried to keep the set up simple – my goal is to be able to charge the laptops a few times, run a little 12V fan, and run a few other small things like a work light or drill if needed. I am not looking to run the fridge, water heater, space heater, or anything else like that. The cost of batteries and electrical components definitely skyrockets as the capacity need grows.

I went with a big size 31 AC Delco Voyager deep-cycle battery. This thing cost about $100, but has an 18 month warranty – and I can take it in anywhere AC Delco is sold (ie. any GM dealership). It has a 210 amp hour reserve, so I can get 105AH before needing to charge it up.

I went with a relatively cheap 400watt inverter from Wal-mart, but opted for a slightly more expensive battery charger. The research I did said that charging these big batteries properly is a huge factor in how long they last. I bought the Deltran Battery Tender Plus. It says it goes through 4 modes of charging, with the last being a maintenance mode. It automatically adjusts for temperature, and that last mode will ensure that I never overcharge the battery.

I also wired in a 12V outlet with inline fuse. My plan is to plug our little Road Pro fan into this thing. If I ever need to swap that out for something else that runs off 12V, I can easily do it without needing to rewire.

12V Appliances

I’ll have to post a follow-up on how effective this whole thing actually is, but my math would suggest that we can get about 20 full charges for the laptops (the computers draw 1.5AH, and take around 3 hours to charge), or I could run the fan for like 80 hours (1.3AH). I’m not counting efficiency loss, so reality will probably be worse – but as long as we can go at least a couple days on the battery I’ll be happy!

The battery cost a little over $100 with no core, the inverter was $30, the charger was $45, and the other few odds and ends made the total cost around $200. We average around $25 a night at a campground (or trailer park…), so it will take about 8 nights of sleeping out in the woods to make this worth it.

Deep Cycle Wiring

Deep Cycle grounding

I’m pretty happy with the installation. It took me a few hours to get everything set up (along with the obligatory two trips to the hardware store). When we want to charge the battery, we just plug the Deltran charger into “shore power”. When we want to charge the laptops, we just flip the switch on the inverter.

Everything seems to be working perfectly – now we just need to get off the grid, and see how long it lasts!