Sunday, December 11, 2016

Tybee Island, Georgia

This month brought us to hurricane ravaged Tybee Island, Georgia. Our RV park was just getting cleaned up and reopened after the storm, but was packed to the brim anyway. The sides of the roads were piled high with debris and it seemed like every house in town had roof replacement underway. The main pier was closed, unfortunately, as well as a few of the beach access boardwalks. Coincidently, it seemed like every other house was for sale. Bad timing!

The park, Rivers End, was nice but crowded. James was able to take full advantage of the workout room, something that is not offered at most other RV parks. The pool was closed, however, which is to be expected. Most parks advertise a pool, but they are almost NEVER in working order.

Making friends with one of the many feral cats on the island.
Despite the fact that Tybee is only about a 20 minute drive from downtown Savannah, it feels well removed from all the hustle and bustle of the city. There are no fast food chains here, and it is legal to drive your golf cart on the street. The town is very walkable. We were able to go everywhere from our RV site (the main drag,  the beach, the park downtown), which was nice since since parking is very limited here.

Fort Pulaski (yes, they let dogs tour the facilities!)
James tried his hand at ocean fishing this month, but didn't have a whole lot of luck with the pier being closed. He almost got a giant crab, but of course they let go of the line before being brought in!

Now we are headed to Florida, and after a few days of 50 degree weather I'm ready for the heat again! We may have a new project coming up next month, so stay tuned!


Sunday, November 13, 2016

North Carolina - One Year On The Road!

Destination: Asheville, North Carolina
Well folks, it has been one interesting year. The time has flown by, yet it feels like we have always been living this way. Some places my heart longs to be, while others I hope I never see again. Some places were unexpectedly great, while others that are supposed to be great are just too crowded. Sometimes it felt tiring to pack everything up and go all the time, while other times it felt good to step on the gas and go. Kansas and Missouri; thanks for the dance, hope I never see you again. Texas; I am going to eat a 72 ounce steak the next time I cross your border. 

  This past year I was also blessed with the opportunity to learn a couple skills. I taught myself how to fingerpick on the guitar, now I never want to touch a pick again. I also learned to build guitars. I think I may be somewhat of a better fisherman. I caught my share of trout in Arkansas, and was able to keep the freezer full. 

   If you have been following the blog you will know by now I hate cities, crowds, or just about any crowded town. I do like being able to get good groceries and bulk herbs, but I just don't like being around a lot of people. Asheville felt a lot like Ann Arbor to me, but we stayed about 20 miles out of the town in the mountains. We had a nice winding drive up and down the mountain to get to where we camped. Hana hated the drive, while I didn't mind. The payoff for me is seclusion. Can't get enough of it. I didn't fish or build a guitar a single day this month since I had the opportunity to hike through some nice trails as the leaves changed color. 

  I am really going to miss these hills in Appalachia, and hope to return. I learned a couple traditional songs of the area which I hope to play and sing for you, and wrote one of my own inspired by the area. I am also going to miss the farm store where I could get all hormone free grass fed protein. I stocked up the freezer on liver since it was priced so well and hard to find elsewhere minus the chemicals. Liver is really high in b vitamins, and is pretty much considered a superfood. I also got some yummy blueberry maple sausages which I am going to miss. They just take your senses to a place called home when they sizzle and the maple scent fills the air. 

 We may be returning to this area. I hope so. It was my second to favorite to Taos, New Mexico. There is also a bit of a drought here and all the streams are dried up in the hills, but while they don't match the beauty of the snowy trails I walked in Taos, I did not have to look out for any wildcats. I am really going to miss the hills, but look forward to seeing my Dad, Rosanne, and their new puppy Ziggy in a month. 

  All in all it has been a good year. I have to give thanks to God for the experience, the multitude of fish I caught, as well as the protection when Frankie and I faced a wildcat in Taos, or when a footlong stone fell off a truck and bounced off the windshield right in front of my face. I have eaten a lot of good food, and it shows. I have seen some beautiful places, and have made some friends along the way, some of which I still think about from time to time, hoping they are doing well. 


Blue Ridge Mountain views

It's been just over 1 year on the road now. We've had ups and downs. There have been times I wondered what we were doing, and times that I wished the trip would never end. Part of me wants to keep traveling forever, and part of me wants to settle down.

We've been to a lot of beautiful places in this country; mountains, coastlines, canyons, and forests.. Every place is different but the same too, and nowhere is perfect. A perfect place is something you make. That or you'll spend your whole life looking for the next best thing. As a person who gets bored easily and never quite feels fulfilled, I don't know if I'll ever truly be satisfied or have the feeling that I've found what I'm looking for. Maybe I like the adventure, the not knowing what's next. 

Smoke fills the sky, and ash falls down like snow flakes as we prepare to leave Asheville this chilly fall morning. Yet again, we leave on the heels of a raging forest fire just a few miles away as we did in Idaho. That's one thing I've never experienced in Michigan..

Next we are heading to Savannah to stay on the coast for a month, and then on to Florida. I definitely can't complain about skipping winter 2 years in a row ;). In fact, I've become dangerously used to having pleasant weather all year-round.

Thanks to everyone who supported our trip and followed the blog during the course of the year. We'll try to continue posting if we have something worth posting. As to what our future holds, your guess is as good as mine :).


BEST OF our travels, 2016

We in no way set out to find the best of anything, but here's what we discovered along the way:

Best Restaurants:
Cotton: West Monroe, Louisiana
Monell's: Nashville, Tennessee
Char Bar: Kansas City, Missouri
Biscuit Head: Asheville, North Carolina
Miguel's: Slade, Kentucky
The Big Texan: Amarillo, Texas
Orlando's: Taos, New Mexico

Best Pastries
Frank's Bakery: Amarillo Texas

Best Burger (this one was all James)
James Ranch: Durango, Colorado

Best RV Park:
Tom Sawyer: Memphis, Tennessee 

Best State/National campground:
Crab Orchard Campground, Illinois
Pokagon State Park, Indiana 

Best State/National park:
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Wichita Mountains Refuge Center, Oklahoma

Best Fishing:
Hot springs, Arkansas

Worst City:
Wichita, Kansas

Best Overall City: 
Taos, New Mexico
Asheville, North Carolina
Savannah, Georgia

Lastly, the two things you'll find in EVERY state/city in this country without question? Cows and Walmart.

Sunday, October 9, 2016


Destination: Shawnee National Forest, Illinois
Last week was my birthday (big 3-0) and James decorated the whole RV with streamers, pom poms, and balloons. He also got me a delicious carrot cake, yum! It was a simple but very nice birthday in the woods.

Frankie keeping me company in the office.
This stop took us to the Shawnee Nation Forest in souther Illinois. We came in with no expectations, only knowing that we had found a rare and coveted campground with full hookups.

As a caveat, we are completely sick of RV parks at this point. They just aren't good. We spent most of the summer in RV parks since it was the busy tourist season and most campgrounds were fully booked for weeks or months into the future. If you know where you are going to be at a certain time it's great to be able to make reservations, but we didn't and couldn't. So we spent the summer crammed into parks with other rv-ers, the ever-present smell of sewer chemicals wafting in the air, no hiking trails, no real nature to speak of. Many times these parks are on the side of a busy highway. In other words, state and national park campgrounds are WAY better. The spaces are huge, you are on the water most of the time, hiking is available without first having to drive somewhere, and they have a much more festive vibe. People love to hang lights and decorations in campgrounds (lots and lots of lights). It's like Christmas all year round. For some reason absolutely no-one hangs up lights in RV parks.

Garden of the Gods, one of the Shawnee highlights. 
Our campground these last two weeks was a nice reprieve. Shawnee Forest is huge! It spans most of the souther tip of Illinois, with tons of hiking trails. We visited a lot of them, but we'd have to stay in the area for months to see everything, it's that big.

James finally got out his fishing poles again this week after months without fishing. We were staying right on a lake, so he was able to get out there are a lot and ended up catching a few bass.

It was mushroom mania this week!
Today we are headed back to southern Kentucky where we've found yet another full hookup state park! Now that it's not summer we have our pick of parks, which is great. We really enjoyed Kentucky last year, so looking forward to going back as we head into the "official" final few weeks of our trip.


RV of the Week:

An old-school Bluebird Wanderlodge, yes made by the bus company.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Destination: Kansas City & Mark Twain National Forest

When traveling for an extended period of time all places we stop at just simply can't be a trip to Wally World. Life just isn't like that. On our way to the appalachian trail outside of eating at a couple of good places in Kansas City, our excitement has been mostly taking the dogs for a walk down a street where the residents consider the road private dowmain, and will send their dogs out after you, even if they are just an obnoxious little pomeranian. We have been places where people burn their garbage, plastic and everything. This was a typical walk in Missouri; A man in his yard yelling at the neighbor's dog "I TOLD YOU TO GIT!" while the owner of the dog screams "AHHHHHHHH" at the tope of her lungs and blows her whistle, and an obnoxious pomeranian at our heels letting us know he wasn't standing for it.

  The last week of Missouri we were in an area that is known for it's springs, but while we looked for a pipe to fill our jug the springs were small bubbling riverbeds where the water was clear. I was told by some locals that you just fill up your jugs right in the river. 

  If you are going through Missouri I would recommend stopping at the Three Springs  RV Park. It is a peaceful little place where you have a nice sized lawn and an owner that goes beyond what is expected to accomodate you. There is a large bbq trailer in the pavilion, and the pit master Sue serves up some award winning bbq, including brisket and pulled pork. I was fortunate enough to receive a generous sample of this right after we arrived, and it lived up to the reputation for the bbq that Missouri is known for. As I said, this is a friendly place to stay and rest for a while.

 Overall is has been hot and humid, and we haven't felt like doing much. It seems that one side of the country is bone dry, and the other is covered in a cloud of hot steam. Now we are on our way to southern Illinois to camp at a state park. This will be our first time in a campground for a long time and we are looking forward to it.


James' most recent cigar box guitar build.

RV art of the Week:

Monday, September 5, 2016


  When thinking of going on the road one pictures scenic drives and majestic places. An outside may look at what we are doing and say, Wow, you guys are living the dream. Because of this it is tempting to only portray the highlights of this journey, as if we are just bouncing on our tails from one great location to the next  like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. To portray this would not be accurate. There have been places we have had to stop for a few days or a week that were worse than where we left. After going to a lot of towns you see that life really isn't much different anywhere. I am thinking it is a matter of deciding do you want to be around more trees, or people. How far do you want to live from the stores. What types of stores and groceries would you want available to you in a town, and what kind of opportunity is there to make a living in that town.

  Taos was almost my ideal town. With a beautiful forest nearby, organic groceries, good restaurants all in a small enough town that you can get in and out of easily even during the busiest time. It did lack one thing and that was opportunity for pilgrim's like us, and that is a major thing to take into consideration. Durango had some of these characteristics, but Hana would hate the long winters.

The Long Branch bar, Dodge City 
 When going ove the border into Kansas the world did not turn black and white as expected. There were no flying rocking chairs, or witches and gypsies. It was somewhat disappointing. We pulled into Dodge City, which is an old historic cowboy town that had a bad reputation until it was cleaned up by Wyatt Earp. We stayed at the Gunsmoke Rv Park which got a lot of bad reviews. After being in a crowded place and breathing everyone's sewer chemicals I figured the place that had a reputation of a crazy owner might not be as busy. Reviews can be deceiving often. The woman did have her particular ways, but she was nice to us. She won't check anyone in before noon, and we did witness some arriving at 10 am being turned away because they showed up too early. I suppose we all have our challenges great and small, and this owner had hers, but I won't condemn her. The park had some trees and was peaceful enough.
An old west gun fight in Dodge City
  The next place we arrived in Witchita was nothing like the reviews, and I did sense some foul play in the ratings because there was one in particular that was going far out of his way to slam another park because he didn't like the way they looked at his and his partner's "high end tattoos", thus claiming that the park hated women and every other type of person that could fit in a minority category. I was wise to this, but we made our choice because one place had internet that worked while the other didn't. The place that was slammed would have otherwise been the better place. I was told on the phone that they had a pull through available during the week. However, when we got there the pull through was an alley right up against a fence behind a gas station. There was dog poo all over the narrow site. We were told that we had to transfer to a back in site the next day, which was nothing of what I was told on the phone. A back in may have had more shade and less dog poop, but we didn't feel like moving everything. I talked them into a couple more days in the site while we stayed there to pretty much receive some packages in the mail and go. It was not a pleasant place to look at with old, beat up permanent sort of trailers and rvs.

BBQ at Char Bar, and a pic of the new Tee
 Now we are in the town of Independance, right outside Kansas City, Mo. There is some great bbq out here, and the pulled pork lives up to it's reputation. I was also able to meet up with my friend, Wayfinder who I met on Cigar Box Nation, a forum and website for people who build cigar box guitars. There are a lot of helpful people on that site, including another one of my friends from Australia, Jonno, who is a top bloke that is going to have me talking like Crocodile Dundee in no time. I also made a tshirt trade with Blues Frog, which you will see in an upcoming photo. I wore the same Sitting Bull t shirt every day for a year, and now I have to flip a coin as to who's shirt I am going to wear.  I also finished a 4 string which I am anxious to share with everyone in the next blog.

We are hoping to get the vinegar to do more exploring in the town, but right now we don't feel like doing much for a few days.

Pink Sauerkraut Recipe:

Weird RV of the Week:

We saw a few more truck/van home conversions like this parked on the street in the same town.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Destination: Manitou Springs & Durango (last spring)

Garden of the Gods Park
  After going through Colorado twice, I find that I felt different each time. Southwestern Colorado Still had that same magical feeling as northern New Mexico had. It also happened to be snowing when we drove in last spring, which added to the charm. In the south I would recommend that anyone visit the small mining towns which still maintain a remnant of that old west charm.

The mountains of south western Colorado
   Looking back at Durango I appreciate it more now than I did when we were there, and that was mainly because we went right after Taos. It's like watching a dance competition when the best one goes first, or having Jimi Hendrix be the opening act. However, out of all the towns we visited, I would say Taos was my favorite, and Durango followed just behind. Durango had plenty of good restaurants, farmer's markets, plenty of streams to fish in, and a nice long trail along the river. It had everything you would need in a small town without being overly congested. Parking and traffic were never a problem. I even found a bookstore in an old house where I felt like I was walking through the home of a book hoarder. This bookstore had more shoot em up cowboy stories than any place I have ever seen. I didn't even get the chance to go all the way through them because I had to dig through two piles of books that were in front of the actual bookshelf. To purchase the books I had to look over a pile to see the guy at the cash register.

  We found a nearby farm with some of the freshest grassfed beef you could get. It was just shy of picking out the cow you wanted for your hamburger. They had baby goats that you could get in the pen and play with.  If I had to pick a town to live in I would say Durango would be one of the best options.
Silverton, CO
  Just outside of Durango is the Million Dollar Highway which lives up to it's name. We took it to the small cowboy town Silverton, and it had to be up there with the most beautiful drives we have had. We planned on going to Estes Park this time around, but after driving through the Denver traffic we realized it just wasn't going to happen. All of the rv parks in the area were booked up, and it took us an entire afternoon just to get the reservation in Colorado Springs.

  Colorado Springs was congested and no matter where you drove it seemed like we saw shady activities, but that seems to be a lot of places these days. I was so wrapped up in building the latest guitar that I didn't really care to see any attractions. I can appreciate the lesser admired forests where I can get away and find some peace. Redwood pine looks and smells just as good in those places outside of the national forests.

 I just have a few finishing touches and I will be showing the latest guitar build. This was my first time building a fret board, doing a scarf joint, and carving out f holes with a tiny file. We should have a demo ready the next blog post.

  Central Colorado really just made me want to go to the southwest. The traffic was just too much. The attractions cost a lot of money to be crammed with a bunch of other people to look over a mountain and be restricted where you can walk. I would have to say both of us dislike national parks, at least the popular ones.

 The park we stayed in Manitou Springs was tight, smelled like porta potty chemicals, and was impossible to level the rv. It was nice to have trails to walk into the town right behind us though. A lot of rv parks are off an expressway and there is no where to walk at all. My best buddy Frankie and I were able to take long night time walks without worrying about coyotes, and drank from the several springs in the town which were naturally carbonated, some of which were explosive. One of our jugs busted open from the water from one of the springs. Some of them tasted like an effervescent lemonade. While I loved the water I found myself counting the days I could get away from the crowds and open the windows of the rv again without getting a headache.

  Now we are pressing forward towards the Appalachian Trail. I really tried to talk Hana into spending another month in Taos and Durango, but she is ready to head east. The west was a nice backdrop that had me watching old episodes of the Lone Ranger at night on youtube, but the crowds were how I expected them to be. The west likes to say they are more openminded than the southeast, but that is only as long as you believe the same way they do. I enjoyed the southeast, and it will be nice to be able to go fishing without having to pay hundreds of dollars to yank in small farm raised trout with power bait. I will be looking into the Appalachian music scene as it is the birthplace for a lot of handmade instruments. I would like to make an attempt at a gourd banjo, and test out those rubber worms I got in Texas.


"Gas & Grass". You guessed it, gas station + dispensary.
Honestly, I didn't give much thought to the fact that marijuana is completely legal in this state. It was legal in Oregon, but only to residents. In Colorado it seems that business is booming. We have been used to large crowds given that we've frequented tourist destinations all over the west this summer, but Colorado is completely jam packed with tourists. I haven't seen traffic this bad since Ann Arbor during rush hour. Manitou Springs is a nice little town, though. It is a mecca for young vacationers, and almost has a spring break vibe.

Last weekend we decided to drive up to a hilltop park and walk around the lake. Half way around (or what I THOUGHT was half way) I suggested we keep walking to complete the loop. We had already walked a few miles and I could see the other side of the lake from where we were. Turns out the lake was full of twists, turns, and loops that ended up taking us until almost sundown to complete. Turns out it was 14.5 miles around!! That is probably the longest I've ever walked or ever will walk at one time. It was an actual miracle that Maya didn't stop because she's usually very lazy and if she would have stopped we would have been completely stuck out there. Something tells me she knew the urgency because she didn't even slow down, she just powered through. I actually contemplated calling the ranger to come "rescue"
us, but had no cell reception.

To add insult, Frankie got stung in the throat by a bee and didn't want to walk so we carried him for several miles. On the plus side, we saw a bald eagle up close. My first time ever! It's too bad the camera isn't as good as my eye because I could see that thing's pupils! The beach also appeared to be made of shimmering gold, which was neat.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Yellowstone / Wyoming

Wildfire smoke filled that ravine the night before leaving Utah
These last 2 weeks brought fast paced moving, along with another new tire and a shattered windshield from a rock on the highway.

For some reason I thought an RV would be less maintenance than owning a home, but now that we're 10 months into the trip it seems like a new issue pops up every week with little time to fix it. Did I mention the wind has destroyed our awning? Every travel day I ask myself "why are we doing this?".  It's expensive, it's exhausting, and sometimes it downright sucks..  This trip is either the dumbest thing I've ever done or the most interesting.
Dead forest of Yellowstone.
Our travels took us to Yellowstone National Park, a place I figured would be way over-hyped so came into it with limited expectations. Good thing I did, because turns out it IS way over-hyped, and way over crowded which I also expected. After driving through so much of this country and seeing so many beautiful places, most of which don't charge you to drive through, I saw very little to be impressed by in Yellowstone. People crowding around to take pictures of elk and Canadian geese, tons of traffic, and miles and miles of dead forest.

A descent through the east entrance Yellowstone at 8% grade for 5 miles confirmed my desire to never go back. I can't imagine a semi or even a Class A taking that grade, and this route didn't have any of the usual "brake check" areas, truck warnings, or safety turnouts that we are used to seeing on less steep roads.. Just our rig careening down the mountain with nothing but a thin metal railing between us and the cliff.

We got to see a small rodeo while in West Yellowstone, which was followed by a cowboy cookout. 

While camped outside of Yellowstone we experienced temperatures down into the 30s at night, and even a hail storm one morning! The neighbors informed us that it starts snowing in this area in September.

Next stop was Cody, Wy, the town Buffalo Bill founded.  It is home to the Buffalo Bill Smithsonian, which was a great museum with a natural history and Native American wing as well. 

Next week we will be headed back to Colorado to re-attempt a visit, this time through the north side of the state!


This week we co-designed and ordered up some shirts inspired by
James' new guitar box venture. Mom, Dad, we sent them to
you so keep an eye out ;)

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Oregon Trail and on to Idaho

We stopped in Baker City, along the Oregon Trail.
Cons of living in an RV: rounding a sharp corner and having all of your dishes fall out of the top shelf and shatter on the floor.. Yes, we managed to go 9 months without breaking a dish, so I guess it only makes sense that they would all break at once! While this would have once stirred an emotion (understatement), now that we've given up almost all of our worldly goods it hardly phased me.

This old RV.
Our main goal these last two weeks was to try to stay remotely cool during the heat wave dubbed 'ring of fire', which meant drifting toward some remote, yet picturesque small towns at higher elevations. While it would have been nice to stay in Boise for a few days, at a high of 104 degrees this week we opted to pass on that. We did have the opportunity to park our huge rig right downtown in Boise to shop at Trader Joes, which already has a notoriously tiny parking lot. That was fun! We've been working on several projects these last two weeks, including finally putting a piece of cedar that we found in Louisiana to use by making a small end table. Every extra space counts! Now we finally have a place to set drinks, etc.

We've also been getting sick of having to put all the spices away in a cupboard every time we move, so we made a spice rack for the space available behind the stove. I used duct tape to secure it to the counter, so we'll see how that works out :).

Simple table made of found cedar.
Custom spice rack, also made of found wood.
When we pulled into our Idaho destination James noticed the inner side of the front tire was worn down so much that the tube was exposed! Meaning if we hit a rock, or drove a few more miles it probably would have blown. Luckily we had a spare tire that could be used as a replacement. The hardest part about changing the tire was getting the spare down from the underside of the RV. The nut was solidly fused to the bolt and took a while to pry off. Definitely not something that would be easily accomplished from the side of the road.

A new spare cost us a mere.. $200! Apparently tires vary in price from state to state, the west coast being much more expensive than what we're used to in the car capitol of southeast Michigan.  

The desert of east Oregon turns into lush forest right along the river.

James' Oregon follow-up:

 For a few years now I thought I would always want to live in Oregon, and for some reason Eugene had stuck in my mind as the place to live because I envisioned it being a smaller town with easy access to beautiful forests. When we got there the hills weren't as magnificent and the town was busier than we expected. The rv park we reserved for a month was in between an expressway and a trailer park in a small town ten miles outside of Eugene called Creswell.

 When making the reservation I had talked to Dennis, the manager a bit about fishing. I pictured making a new buddie, being away from traffic, and having a great month. When we were setting up some of the long term residents were out drinking beer, and I pictured them in my mind making eyes at my wife all day. Well, we stayed a night and it wasn't so bad, so we reserved a week. By the end of the week I found the longterm residents were actually the some of the most helpful and neighborly people we had met so far. I noticed that people watched each others dogs, shared their barbeque, and all around looked out for one another. The end of the week came and we just didn't feel like moving. We had been doing this one state a week thing for a while and felt like we should just slow down for a bit. By week two I was giving people haircuts, and the manager gave us a monthly rate. All the long term people said that they only planned staying there a week, but somehow stayed for a while. I started to become afraid that we too would get stuck.

  The month went by fast, but then felt like we had been there a long time. Eugene grew on me, and it was nice to be able to get decent groceries for a reasonable price. Surprisingly since Taos I have been able to find organic apples cheaper than what conventional apples go for. Natural Grocers has been a favorite place where I can stock up on grass fed hormone free beef and Hana can load up on her Tofracky.

  I made some good friends most of all, and was sad to leave. My first impressions were completely wrong. I could feel a small corner of my heart making a home of that place next to the noisy expressway, while at the same time it was all too similar to where we had left. It was time to move.

  I spent a lot of time working on my second cigar box guitar. I had struck a deal on a bunch of boxes and went to work on number two. While it isn't perfect, for my second guitar I am happy with the way it came out. I don't have many tools, so most of my work is by using a decent handsaw, a drill, and a variety of files. I did all of the soldering also for the electronics.. I made a resonator out of a small pet dish, which gives it that raw, southeastern blues sound that I wanted. Needless to say, there are more in the works. To justify getting an amplifier I promised Hana I would go busking with my blues boxes out in the streets. There will be more pictures as well as some videos to demonstrate the sounds I will be getting out of them. Before we got to Nashville where I got my acoustic I never dreamed my old passion for music would be rekindled, nor did I dream I would be making my own instruments. Now I am joining cigar boxes together and frequenting thrift shops to find things to make resonators out of. I am also making now making my boxes in a way that will represent some of my favorite places we have been.

   Bend was our next big town, which we thought we would really love. It was a nice town, but the driving and traffic made us thinking Eugene was the better city. We did get a good deal on some tires from a family run business, and a couple of shops offered to sell my guitars for me.

  The drive out of bend to the east side of the state was long, but the landscape was dreamlike in a way. We were happy to find most of the places we stayed had water from wells free from chlorine and everything else. The small town of Baker City had a great restaurant that baked it's own bread, served grass fed beef, and had some excellent cinnamon rolls. I stopped in the local guitar shop a few times trying out amplifiers, and the owner ended up giving me a six string  guitar without the hardware to do what I want with, and sold me the ideal amplifier for seventy less than what I would have payed for it elsewhere.

  So after six weeks in Oregon it feels like home to us in a way. It's an overall easy state to live in, and some parts of it are very beautiful. In Eugene you are less than an hour from the coast, and the same amount of time to get to the mountains. Overall it seems like a generally laid back state, and we may possibly return. Taos, New Mexico is still one of my favorite locations, as well as southern Colorado, but Oregon seemed to really grow on us.  All in all the weather in Oregon has been mild, the people have been friendly, and even in Eugene there is an abundance of farms to get groceries from.

The LONG drive from Baker City to Moore, Idaho.
  We are in our first week in Idaho, and camped out in the middle of the state. The businesses in the small towns surrounding mostly are only open a few days. If you are going to stop outside of the Crater's of the Moon National Park, Moose Crossing RV is the better park to stay in, and the owners Jeff and Barbara are incredibly nice people and will do whatever they can to help you out.  

  It has been a hot week in the desert, and very little shade is to be found. I am not usually one to move too fast, but found the heat even slowed me down more. I spent most of my time working on guitars 3, 4, and 5. I had a lesson this week in cutting and glueing a scarf joint. I am doing all of this without the assistance of any power tools outside of a drill, and occasionally a dremel. I am not going to complain, because doing things the old fashioned way and learning precision with a few crude tools will only build a stronger learning foundation.

 As for animals I seem to have a way with cats that don't like other people. One of the owner's outdoor cats, Stella, has visited me often while I work outside. The owners told me that she doesn't go up to anyone but them. They found her on a hike when she was a kitten. Someone had put her and her brother in a plastic grocery bag, and left her out in the woods.

  Here is a short video demonstration of my second guitar, and first attempt at making one electric:

  I soldered a piezo transducer to a volume pot and jack, and surprisingly I am overall happy with it. The next guitar will have a magnetic pickup.It has a few minor flaws, most of which are fixable. The main thing I would do different from here on out is put the bridge in the middle of the resonator, and set the neck a quarter inch higher. I am not going to attempt to change anything because the flaws in this guitar happen to give it a unique sound even unplugged, and I have ended up playing this guitar every day. It seems to have a raw bluesy sound, which is what I was after. I ate a lot of beets for a couple of weeks to get the red stain. There is about 25 coats of boiled beet water on it. So in conclusion I am happy with this guitar. It has a lot of volume unplugged, and has a raw sound that I would not attempt to change.

  We are now on our way to northeast Idaho, outside of Yellowstone, where it will be a little cooler and give us a good week of sleeping weather.