Putting It In Park in Park City: An Open Letter to Rhonda from Brett and Vanessa

Rhonda, can you believe it has already been four months on the road? Thank you so, so, so much for putting up with us!!

Thanks for muscling through the recent 12 hour nonstop drive from San Francisco to Park City, Utah. You handled it like a champ, like we knew you would! Now in Park City, I bet you are wondering why we’ve stayed here for so long. Usually we don’t last in one location for more than a day or two before we head to our next adventure.

Well, you will probably be relieved to know that you will be able to take a longer than usual rest: six month rest that is. Yup, we’ve decided to put it in park for the winter season in Park City. We have jobs and in a few days will have an apartment.

And you deserve the rest. We have so much to thank you for:

… the ungodly altitude climbs:

Altitude Sickness Anyone?
Altitude Sickness Anyone?

…the random boondock spots. Some were amazing:

Now THIS is a beautiful boondock!
Now THIS is a beautiful boondock!
While others were questionable:
Yikes.
Yikes.

…the endless meals that couldn’t have been possible without you:

Homemade Pot Pies
Homemade Pot Pies

…taking us to some of the most beautiful sites we have ever seen:

The amazing Golden Gate Bridge.
The amazing Golden Gate Bridge.

Thanks for just letting us hang out and be silly.

Teach me how to Snuggie?
Teach me how to Snuggie?

We’ve collected a lot of bumper stickers along the way.

Nice collection on your backside!
Nice collection on your backside!
And the adventure WILL begin again. Until then, here’s to all of us surviving the snow!

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As High Maintenance As They Come!

I finally know what it’s like to have a high maintenance girlfriend!

It has only been two weeks and I can say with sheer confidence that I’ve never met anyone as high maintenance as Rhonda. She is mentally and physically exhausting.

Granted some of it is not her fault, but everything is work. We have to constantly monitor water and bathroom visits because too much means it’s time to empty water tanks. And trust me, even though he claims it smells like roses, Brett’s waste certainly does not.

Every time it rains we have to tarp her, which is as exhausting as it sounds! One morning we frantically woke up hearing rain drops and without thinking about it we sprang out of bed at 2 a.m. Scrambling to find our head lamps in the dark, Brett sprang up the now slippery ladder and got on the roof to put the tarp down while I was on the ground attaching the bungee chords. He would be yelling directions but through the torrential downpour it was hard to hear. At this point putting the tarp on has become a timed challenge. Can we do it faster than the last time? Can we pull it tight so the rain drops off the sides? Gotta keep sweet Rhonda dry.

If we come upon a bridge, there could be issues.

With the unbearable heat, living in Her Heiness is especially tough. At times it is so hot and so uncomfortable its been tough to get restful sleep. Pretty sure we are keeping Duracell in business with all the batteries we use for our hand held fans. We’ve also figured out that frozen margarita drinks are great pillows too.

Sweet tan line
Sweet tan line

We have been very busy with the Hoops and Hope Tour, frantically running errands, buying things for Rhonda that it becomes difficult to eat right. Unless a steady diet of Combos and 1000 Grand Bars is a well balanced meal (ok, we are exaggerating a bit. We have also eaten fajitas and other good stuff).

Did I mention it’s been SO HOT!!!

But we are definitely getting the hang of it and MOST DEFINITELY couldn’t have done it without friends along the way:

David and Lizzie Assa
Becky and Mike Iaconnelli
Dave and Becky Kronman
Chad and Stacy Wain

If your name has not been mentioned and you live anywhere near The Route, we are coming for you!!

I guess you can say, I am beginning to feel like we are nailing this whole RV living thing! Is this unconditional love? I think so.

Written by Vanessa with slight, slight editing by Brett

Feeling at Home in Camden, New Jersey

Camden, New Jersey. What do you think about when you hear someone mention this city? Probably what I used to think. Guns. Drugs. Untapped potential. But that was the old me. The person who had never driven down Federal Ave. to the Boys & Girls Club of Camden County or cruised down 7th Street to the North Camden Community Center. I had never hung out with Jose Martinez, his brother Ray, or Guy Still. I had never hung out with over a hundred kids ages 6-13 who were the same as any other 6-13 year olds in the country. Nor had I been part of a one day basketball tournament for young men ages 16-24. Many of them in college studying to be businessmen or engineers or broadcasters.

This is the Camden that I know now. A city where those with opportunity are taking full advantage, and there is a pride for all things Camden. So what exactly did we do? We got to run a one day basketball camp at the Boys & Girls Club of Camden County and met some awesome men and women, including Guy Still, the Director of the Club. Guy was born and raised in Camden, left to work in the entertainment industry, but came back because he wanted to help his community. He is the director at what has quickly become a pillar of the Camden community.

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Saturday was spent helping Ray and Jose Martinez run a one day basketball tournament for young men ages 16-24. The camp was in honor or Ray’s son, who was also named Ray. The younger Ray died tragically in 2009 from unnecessary violence. From the stories we heard, Ray Jr. was an amazing young man full of promise and talent, especially on the basketball court. Instead of blaming the world for such a tragedy, Ray and his brother Jose started a basketball league in his son’s honor. This basketball league helps keep kids off the streets, steers them away from a life of violence, and in a number of cases into college.

When asked about the sullen circumstances surrounding the creation of his league, Ray looked straight at me and said he believes his son Ray helped the lives of hundreds of kids as well. He said one died but 80 have lived because of their league.

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The mayor of Camden, Miss Dana Redd, even came out to watch the games. This is the Camden I know now and I encourage anyone who is going near there to contact me so you can meet some of these amazing humans.

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Posted by Brett

Take It All—The Liberation of Selling All Your Stuff!

I’ve been owned by my stuff for quite some time. From my first ‘adult’ living room set I bought fresh out of college to the house I stupidly purchased at the height of the damn bubble. I’ve been looking for a way to break away from all the crap that I feel constrained by.

Hence this trip. So why does the idea of not owning a couch start to freak me out? When you are an adult, you are supposed to buy nice things right? Well now that I’m an adult, I freaking hate moving that adult shit everywhere I go.

Luckily, Rhonda figured it all out for me! Can’t fit a queen pillow top bed in an RV? Craigslist that shit! Wait, you’re telling me I can’t fit a couch either? I’ll sell this couch, which I bought after meticulously spending hours online and perusing furniture stores, to the next person who shows interest! And before you know it, you are using patio furniture in the living room. Ha!

Furniture

I felt I had to keep one adult thing, not for Rhonda, but in storage—my kitchen table. The stupid love I have for that thing is weird. Is it because of its versatility? Nope. Is it because of its high top, circular shape that reminds me of any table you would hang out with friends at any bar getting hammered? Probably.

So there you have it. It feels quite liberating to only own one kitchen table. And thanks to some dear friends who just moved into their new house and are in need of extra furniture, I can keep my big girl bed.

posted by a furniture-less Vanessa