RV Options

While writing “A Few Thoughts on (RV) Size” I briefly touched on different RV options and mentioned how we are curious about the different rigs that people are using. Of course, we don’t know who is full-timing, on a 6-month walk-about, using a week’s vacation to travel or just out for a relaxing weekend. And to some extent, it all depends on the person. Some people would be happy in a teardrop for a year while others need a fully decked-out Class A to be comfortable for a weekend.

Here are a few of my thoughts about the different options – how and what I would use them for, personally.

Class-A Motorhome
These buses are just bigger than I have a desire for. The space would certainly be convenient (especially moving up from something smaller) as I could throw everything that I own in one an still have room left over. They seem like they’re ideal for families who use their RV as long-term home-base for adventures, driving to a new destination and staying there for at least a few weeks. Plenty of room to spread out.

Conversion Buses
While these can be the same size as a Class-A, I am a lot more intrigued by them. It’s the DIY nature that appeals to me. I like the idea of buying a bus, ripping out the interior, and getting to build up from a blank slate to match my desires. However, I know that this can be a challenging and expensive process (though it doesn’t have to be).

If I were to do this, I think it would work best as a quick way to build a permanent structure on a plot of land. Install wood floors, some hammocks across the back, cabinets and counters down one wall and a window seat on the other for easy furnishings. A black-hose solar water heater on the roof with a water cistern underneath hooked into the sinks, combined with a composting toilet and a wood stove would be fairly easy to put together for basic utilities. A solar panel kit on the roof with batteries stored underneath for lights and some power. It would be a metallic rustic cabin, with lots of natural light from all of the windows.

Class-C Motorhome
Obviously, I’m happy with one of these. It’s a great mix of a self-contained vehicle and living space. The Ford chassis that ours is built on provides plenty of pulling power and we have ample space inside. We really like the ability to move directly from our living quarters into our vehicle without having to go outside – not only convenient but very handy when it’s cold, raining, or we otherwise don’t want to go outside but are ready to start moving. Plus, it can’t be overstated how much we like being able to see what is happening inside our home while we are on the road. If we forget to take something off the counter and it slides onto the floor we can quickly stash it away, though on a trailer we wouldn’t know until we arrived and went back to find it.

Class-B Motorhome
The RoadTreks keep drawing my attention. Though I’ve seen video and photo walk-throughs online I have not yet been inside of one and am curious. They seem large enough to make a dandy full-time space for two while traveling but I’m not sure that they would feel large enough to live in while stationary for any period of time. If anyone happens to have one that I could test out, however, I’m certainly happy to experiment!

Though these seem to be popular and provide plenty of space along with, I assume, quite a good turning ability, they don’t appeal to us. Of course, we haven’t spent any time in one so we can’t give an informed decision. I know that they can be the largest of trailers, as the tongue doubles as an additional room without adding additional length out the back and they are popular choices because of that. For aesthetic and storage reasons we are more interested in a traditional trailer than a fifth-wheel.

Trailers provide the convenience of separating your house and your vehicle, something our motorhome cannot do. We are towing along a secondary vehicle (commonly called a “toad”, in our case the motorcycle on our trailer) to make up for that fact. With a trailer we could park, unhook, and drive our towing vehicle as a daily driver. That vehicle would also provide additional storage – perhaps tools, grill, and bicycles could live in a truck bed, replacing a trailer of some sort.

We are drawn to the Airstream trailers, though I expect it would have to be either a new one or remodeled to look how we would like inside – and the price of a new one rather dampens our interest. Our vision includes wood floors, a tiled shower in the bathroom, sleek modern lines on furniture, and brightly colored blinds to liven up a space.

Conversion Van
The project nature of a van appeals to me – the fun of planning it out is probably greater than actually building it. There are three things that really intrigue me about these: the satisfaction of living in something you made, the portable nature allowing one to get far back into nature, and the stealthy ability to overnight parked along the street in towns.

I think that one of these would be a fabulously affordable way to venture out on an extended road trip or to save money while traveling along with a mobile job of some sort. The building process would just start the adventure early, before the travel is actually undertaken.

Tear-drop Trailer
Again, the DIY nature of these appeals to me. There are abundant plans available online. Small and streamlined, they can be pulled by efficient vehicles, not requiring a large truck. Providing basically a comfortable bed and efficient kitchen, they look like highly-upgraded camping kits to me. I expect to build and utilize one of these once we decide to settle down somewhere. It will help push us to go and spend time in nature or travel, camping in luxury in a mobile vacation home of our own.

So many options…

I know that I’ve left a lot of other options out (like a converted box truck) and that many of the DIY projects overlap (wooden floors and solar) but I just wanted to share some of the different methods of travel that I’ve seen and thought about while on the road.

There’s something for everyone out there, customizable to your specific desires and circumstances. It just takes a bit of time and effort to seek it out and then make it your own.

A Few Thoughts on (RV) Size

At this point we have been traveling for 14 months, living in our RV full-time while on the road. Some of you have asked how the RV feels and if it’s becoming cramped. Here are a few of our thoughts on the subject – if you’re in the market for an RV of your own, perhaps they may be of some help.

Where we live

We have a 2002 29′ Class-C motorhome that we remodeled. It definitely feels like home and we love it more the longer we live here. We can see ourselves living here for many years, even if we decide to stop traveling. It’s more than big enough to be comfortable – we feel neither cramped nor is anything too far away if we have to go and get something we forgot.

Physically, the length from bumper to bumper is 29’10” and is externally 8′ wide. So, at most, we have under 240 sq ft of room. Though we will need a workshop or storage shed for storage once we settle down (there are tools and such in storage now), we don’t currently want anything bigger. If we were to build a house of the same size and add a loft above it this would feel absolutely luxurious as we’d have a whole extra room to use for something.

If anything, for traveling, we need something smaller.

We have stayed in a variety of locations – from WalMart parking lots to gravel campgrounds to spots in the woods miles off of a gravel road. Especially with the trailer added in, we are just under the common length limit for a number of campgrounds. While that hasn’t affected us it would be nice to be smaller and a bit more nimble, mostly for our times out in the wilderness. Our entire bedroom sticks out past the rear axle, so we have to be extra careful crossing pot-holes and dips, otherwise we can scrape with the rear bumper and trailer-hitch.

We have had to pass up on some splendid-looking sites because we couldn’t cross the drainage ditch at the entrance. A truck-bed camper in a 4-wheel drive truck or a 4×4 conversion van would suit perfectly for access to the back-country sites that we are drawn to. It would be small for long-term living (or so we imagine) but perfect for our time spent traveling.

A shorter version of what we have now would also allow us to be a bit more flexible, though we’d have to jettison some more stuff to shrink down somewhere smaller. Perhaps having a conversion space – a fold-down (murphy) bed of some sort – would be a good compromise.

Myriad Options

Along the way we have seen quite a few different RV’s of all shapes and sizes. I am intrigued by all of them and interested in trying everything out, at least for a bit. The teardrop trailers look like they’d be perfect for vacationing – small, light, cheap and nimble. The Class-B’s look rather agile and relatively fuel efficient, I’m especially drawn to the RoadTreks. We both think that the classic Airstreams look like a lot of fun and could have very interesting interiors (though I wouldn’t want to polish the outside of one). Always a fan of DIY projects, I love the idea of building a motorhome out of a work van of some sort.

There are so many different variables to consider, it can be hard to choose. We didn’t have, or want to purchase, a vehicle to pull a trailer, so those were out. The Class A’s (look like greyhound busses) were bigger than we wanted, narrowing the field further. Class B’s (that look like a big van) often didn’t have a dry shower (separate shower and toilet space) or permanent sleeping area and we didn’t want to convert our eating booth into a bed and back every day or have a wet toilet seat in our long-term home.

Our decision was relatively easy, as we lucked into a good platform that was readily available at a price we liked. Would we make the same decision today? Absolutely.

While a smaller RV of some sort would open camping options and we would be perfectly comfortable in one, we weren’t just buying for a road trip, we were purchasing a long-term house. We are comfortable inside, with enough space for our things and projects and to individually spread out and also comfortable driving (as long as we aren’t downtown somewhere or on a curvy, slippery road up in the mountain top). A larger RV would give us even more space but we don’t feel that we need it – though we might if we were stationary for longer periods of time.

Eventually, I expect that we’ll try out something different – maybe we’ll have a travel trailer of some sort for vacationing or build a conversion van so that we can spend more time in cities. Until then, we’re happy with our RV, love our home, and really can’t imagine anything better.

Why Don’t More People Live Tiny?

We are proponents of the Tiny House movement. Fans of living small as the foundation of a large life.

For us, our goals, that means an RV. For others, probably for many, that means a fixed residence. Either way, Ashley and I frequently find ourselves amazed at our life and wondering why more people don’t utilize “alternative” housing to more intentionally build their lives.

Fourteen months into our adventure and we love it more as we go. It suits us perfectly. Maybe one day we won’t. Perhaps our needs will outgrow the RV, or we’ll need something with thicker walls. Or the RV will prove to be too large for us and we’ll want something smaller. But for now, we couldn’t ask for anything better.

One size definitely doesn’t fit all.

Technically speaking, I believe a Tiny House is defined as less than 1,000 sq ft. We are living in less than 240. The popular shows on TV seem to focus on very small, 250 or less (from the handful of episodes I’ve seen).

I don’t wonder why everyone doesn’t live in a 220 sq ft house. A couple with young children need more space. A couple with children at all need private spaces. That takes more room.

RV’s aren’t well insulated (at least ours isn’t). They aren’t built for 4 seasons. So those in cold or hot climates wouldn’t be super comfortable, at least not without high utility bills to offset the lack of insulation.

It isn’t traditional

This, I believe, is the real reason people don’t pursue alternative housing. Financial institutions aren’t equipped to deal with non-traditional housing situations. Living in an RV doesn’t fit into their spreadsheets of security. Nor does living out of a converted van. At first glance wheels don’t provide a permanent mailing address.

Tiny houses fit into a gray legal area that have to be dealt with or worked around. Utilities have to be searched out and found. Traditional houses fit in designated situations and utility companies will gladly allow you to pay them for the privilege of letting them provide you with their services.

Nontraditional means you have to do a lot of the work

You have to find a mailing address for yourself and search out your own utilities. It might mean you don’t have unlimited water and electricity like you’re accustomed to. Perhaps you’ll have some extra paperwork to do that others won’t.

The benefits are great

A smaller abode can mean smaller expenses. Less to heat and cool means lower utilities. Fewer square feet require less lights to see and less furniture to fill. It can mean a smaller purchase price and thus fewer payments.

Though it doesn’t have to be, your home can be portable. You can live right next to work when you need to. Vacations could be more relaxing because you simply move to an area, taking everything you own with you (including the kitchen sink!) You could move as often as you like, with far less trouble – and none of those pesky leases or utility hook-up fees.

Live a Rich Life

In Ramit Sethi’s book, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, he talks about the meaning of being rich. Rich doesn’t always equal great amounts of money. It is personal. Perhaps to you being rich means being able to eat out every single meal and taking flying lessons. Maybe it means that you can travel every month. Perhaps it means that you don’t have to work at jobs you don’t enjoy.

Ashley and I love to travel, to explore, to be out in nature. We are homebodies with wanderlust in our hearts. Our RV affords us this opportunity. It costs less to live in than our previous apartment so we can afford to travel. We get to take our home with us everywhere we go so we can comfortably experience new locations. And it is self-contained so we can spend a week or so out in nature without the convenience of utility hook-ups.

A traditional life is expensive. Keeping up with the Joneses can take all of your income. But it’s easy. Others understand it. Our culture guides you to that lifestyle.

But if it doesn’t provide you with a rich life, the cost might be too high.

A couple of examples

Whenever Ashley and I wonder why more people don’t live a non-traditional life we always think of people who we think would be happier with a few changes.

A single person (likely with college debt and maybe owing on some credit cards) who spends most of their time working, hanging out with friends, and perhaps engaged in some sort of hobby or second job to help pay the bills.

They could live in a conversion van that could be parked anywhere, provides a places to sleep and store clothes and food. A camping stove or little microwave could heat up meals. Wifi could be shared with a neighbor. A gym membership provides showers and exercise equipment.

This would allow them to live close to whatever job they have at the time, save most of their income (or use it to pay off the monies owed) and still functionally live their current life with no interruptions. They could go to work, pursue their hobbies, and hang out with friends.

If they have been moving regularly (new job, room-mate leaves, etc) this would allow them that opportunity without the annoyance of deposits and leases.

Too unconventional? Buy a travel trailer, pay for a long-term parking spot and live the same way, except with full utility hook-ups and a direct internet connection.

More than one

Of course, this isn’t limited to single individuals. Two people can be more than happy in a smaller house. Just look at us!

But you don’t have to travel to appreciate it. We were looking at a tiny house even if we hadn’t decided to hit the road. Less to clean, to decorate, and less room to fill with items.

By my rough estimates, we could have built a tiny house, paid it off with our then-incomes in about a year. Then, with some careful managment we could have continued saving and been almost financially independent (ie: retired) in around 10 years.

What about the children?

While I can’t speak personally, I have read about a number of families who are traveling even while having young children. One family of four set off to sail about the world with two boys who are not yet teenagers. Another family began a bicycling adventure, aiming to ride all the way across the continent, down to the tip of South America. Yet another, with three children, have flown around the world, visiting many countries with their family. The Tougas family have lived in five places in two countries, plus hiked the Appalachian Trail – including all three kids!

Children seem to be far more resiliant and flexible than adults. Especially if you can keep their routines/schedules the same. It will be an adventure for them as well. And just imagine how much they will learn! Geography will have meaning. Historic sites will help provide rich memories of the past instead of just being dates and names.

Of course, one doesn’t have to travel. There is something to be said about having a stable community. So maybe you don’t live in a tiny, mobile structure. But at least you don’t have to stretch your mortgage to buy the biggest thing you can. Purchase a modest house, work to make it yours, and revel in the joys of life instead of the joys of home-ownership.

No longer a spring chicken?

Travel and RV living runs in my family. My mom does it, who learned it from her parents. For at least 20 years they spent part of every year living in their RV. They traveled, visiting friends and family around the country. Eventually, they parked their travel trailer in a single location and lived half of the year there and half at their house.

If G-mom had gotten her way, however, they would have just lived in the travel trailer. She liked the town it was in so much more than where her house was. While I don’t remember her mentioning them specifically, there are additional perks to living in a smaller space – ones that might be of particular interest to someone who is older, or is living on a fixed income.

Everything is within easy reach. Forget something in the bedroom? It’s only 20′ away. Your favorite coffee mug is just across the aisle from the table. You can still clean every day, if that’s your habit, and finish the entire house with time and energy to spare. Not so steady on your feet? There is always something near-by to provide support if it is needed (a counter, wall, or piece of furniture) without requiring a walker or hand-rails inside your own home.

While my grandparents were able to keep their home and still travel, others might not be so fortunate. They could rent out or sell their home. Even if the sale results with them breaking even, their other retirement income (fixed amounts, I expect) would allow them to travel around. Even if the mortgage has been paid off this still saves on other recurring costs – taxes, insurance, utilities, and maintenance expenses. When funds run low, you slow down or stop traveling. If you need special medical equipment, it can be incorporated in your home.

Tiny isn’t for everyone

While we think that living tiny is a great way to build a foundation for a large life we know that it’s not for everyone. But we do think it’s for far more people than are currently doing it.

Incredible lives don’t just happen. They are intentionally designed and built.

The Beauty of Two Wheels

While planning for our adventure we debated what vehicle to bring with us. The motorcycle gets better gas mileage and is easier to tow. The car is better for long trips and we could carry more groceries but it gets worse gas mileage and will take expensive accessories to bring with us.

Ultimately, after lots of research and many changed minds, we decided to bring the motorcycle. And we couldn’t be happier with our decision.

A Money Saver

The trailer that hauls it, complete with home-made bicycle rack also carries a propane bottle and extra water jug while costing about half of what a car dolly would have. We can resell it for the same price that we bought it for if we ever decide to. While the RV gets a whopping 8.3 mpg on average, the motorcycle helps to even that out at about 48 mpg – much better than our car’s 23 mpg. A tank of gas doesn’t go very far in the motorcycle but, at a 2-gallon fill-up, stops are quick and affordable.

Though we knew it, we have still been surprised to realize how much the motorcycle saves us when shopping. On the one hand, you can fit a surprising amount into our tiny saddle bags and laps on the ride home. On the other hand, we are severely limited in what we can buy due to space constraints. This not only saves us money and forces us to be intentional in our shopping, but it also works well with the small space of the RV. No value packages of paper towels for us – not only can we not easily get them home but we couldn’t store them even if we did!

Just park wherever

While riding a motorcycle in a city can be a bit of an adrenaline rush, there are certain perks that come with driving something smaller than a Smart Car. Quick responses and small size make it easy to maneuver in traffic (leading me to actually feel safer than in a car, generally). Parking is normally easier to find on a motorcycle – tucking two wheels into a sliver of a parking space is a simple matter, making parallel parking jobs a delight.

See what you can see

We love the motorcycle for its expansive views. With no roof, dashbord, or door-frames to block our view the world is wide-open to us as we ride through it. Which is more than perfect as we are touring about locations filled with natural beauty. Our rides through the Badlands were some of the most beautiful rides we’ve been on since we’ve been riding.

Experience the weather

Unfortunately, without those doors, windows, or roof we ride out in the open, experiencing the weather up close and personal. On the chilly mornings we have to bundle up to make it into town. Hot days out in the sun have us rueing our safety gear (who wears black leather jackets in the middle of summer!) Climbing mountains involves a stop half-way to add or remove layers – on the way up you freeze and coming back down you melt.

This is actually one of the perks, though. If we had gone with the car, there would have been numerous days when we would have just “gone for a drive” as a way to pass time – wasting fuel and causing us to miss the area immediately around us.

A good decision

Yes, there have been times that our car would have made for a more comfortable day. Or when we would have been able to combine multiple errands into a single trip. And Ashley would run errands on her own from time to time.

Ultimately, though, we are happy with our decision and the results it has had on our adventure. We love motorcycling and this gives us a chance to ride, to experience the world around us more fully, wherever we may be.

It might not be the most convenient option for living a traditional life and just running to the store. But we aren’t aiming for a traditional life, are we? 🙂

Ride Your Own Ride

This time last year, Ashley and I were half-way across the state of Iowa, participating in the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, along with somewhere between 17,000-25,000 others. How many different riding styles do you think there were?

We had a great time! It was our first trip across the state and we picked up a few tips along the way. Most notably, in our mind, is the fact that you can ride the route in many different ways, each of which is well within the recommended safe guidelines. Here are a few:

Wake early and stay ahead of the crowd
This is what we ended up doing as the week went on. The course officially opens at 6 (sunrise) and by leaving then you can stay ahead of the huge throngs of people and skip the worst of the lines. We arrived in the final towns early enough to have a good array of campsite choices.

Sleep late and ride leisurely
Some friends did this, since it was their vacation. They slept late-ish and meandered their way from stop to stop, thoroughly exploring and seeing what each town had to offer. They ate supper on the road and upon arriving in the overnight town only had to set up their tent and shower before bed.

Ride fast!
While we were solidly better-than-average riders, there were definitely the “hot dogs” who flew by us on the left. I don’t know if they are professionals, serious amateurs, or just riders from the mountains who were enjoying the relative flatness of Iowa. Either way, there were lines of riders who would handily pass us by. Within this speed, I am sure there are sub categories:

  • those who slept late and rode hard all day long to arrive early at the overnight town
  • others who rode hard from stop to stop, enjoying lots of time at each location

Deviate from the route completely
We spoke to one gentleman who takes daily detours off of the route, visiting towns that have been passed by just a few miles away. They are more than happy to see him, he encounters no lines, and he gets to see something that most others don’t.

Don’t ride the whole week
Many people didn’t ride the whole week, opting for one-day passes, or multiple one-days. This requires less training, allows them to pick and choose their terrain and towns visited, and fits more easily into their schedule.

Only ride part of the day
Some groups, in order to save money on shuttle service each day, traded off riding and driving between members. One person would drive in the morning to a designated meeting spot, trade with one of the riders and ride in the afternoon.

Don’t ride at all
A lot of teams have support drivers who come along for the trip, bringing along luggage, food, drinks, and more. While they travel a different route, the supporters still get to participate in RAGBRAI, without all of the pedaling!

There are a lot of options, and I’m sure that we overlooked a number of them. Some are tailored to the amount of time you have, some are to the energy and riding ability, while others are simply designed around what and how you want to ride, or whether you want to ride at all!

Designing your ride doesn’t apply only to the RAGBRAI, or even other touring bicycle rides. It also applies to life. While it might appear that there is one route, one path to success, there are many ways to get there. Explore all of your options:

  • Maybe you can really rush for a bit and then have time for a mini-retirement.
  • Perhaps slow and steady will get you where you want to be.
  • Or maybe you should just deviate from the course that is presented to you all-together (does traveling around the country in an RV sound familiar?)
  • Step back and play a supporting role of some sort, perhaps taking care of friends and family who, in turn, provide a place for you to live.

Whatever option you decide to take, be sure to get out there and go on an adventure! You never know what you’ll find and who you might meet.

Worst Case Scenario

Well-meaning friends and family members have often asked us “What if…” questions while we were preparing for our trip.

  • What if the RV breaks down?
  • What if the RV breaks down and you can’t afford to fix it?
  • What if you run out of money?
  • What if Ashley gets pregnant? (this one seemed to come up a lot)
  • What if you get sick?
  • What if Ashley gets pregnant and has morning sickness while you’re driving?
  • What if you don’t like RVing?
  • What if you get tired of traveling?

Continue reading

Silver Linings

During yesterday’s hike, it rained on us. Cold rain. Fortunately, we had our rain gear with us, and we knew that the rain was coming – just couldn’t hike fast enough to beat it (and if we had, it would have rained on us as we rode the motorcycle.)

Even taking the rain into account, it was a fabulous hike. We traveled though a variety of environments, ate lunch sitting next to a beautiful alpine lake, and met a delightful gentleman enjoying his vacation.

The rain only lasted for a few minutes Continue reading

It’s not all puppies, rainbows, and butterflies

Never compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.

Have you noticed how fabulous some people’s lives look? You check Facebook, Instagram, etc to see what friends are up to and their lives look amazing! Boating, grilling out with friends, playing with their beautiful children, and still finding time to whip up some amazing meals and creating beautiful crafts. How can you ever compare?

The answer, of course, is that you can’t. Without thinking, we only use social media, those tools of public projection, to show the highlights of our lives. The bad pictures, mistakes and boring sections are edited out. At a glance, it would appear that everyone’s life is perfect and amazing from these curated displays.

You might think that of my wife and I, if you are following along on our journey around the U.S. in our motorhome. It is an amazing adventure and we are having a wonderful time and know that we’re blessed to have the opportunity, but we still have boring, frustrating, and bad moments, that you won’t find captured on our Facebook stream.

Even looking at our journal entries, you only see the highlights. Yes, we have visited 5 states and seen a lot of neat things. But here are a few of the things that we don’t mention:

  • hours and hours and hours of driving
  • so many bugs that we don’t go outside except to leave and go somewhere else
  • the challenge and frustration of finding somewhere to park for the night
  • getting annoyed and tired as a day goes on too long
  • gas station stops and watching the meter spin as the fuel pump flows
  • the challenges of having a good time while budgeting
  • the pictures that don’t turn out so well

Life is pretty darn good. We really don’t have anything to complain about. But if you looked at it only through the filter of social media you might think that we do nothing more than relax between adventures.

Whenever you look at someone else’s life, whether in person or online, keep in mind that it has been curated only to show the best parts, the highlights. Everyone has lows to offset the highs, stretches of boredom punctuated by excitement, and adventures tucked in between the day-to-day routines.

Picnic Lunches

My wife and I have been thoroughly enjoying picnics recently. Good food, great locations, fabulous company – what’s not to like?
This is not the first time I’ve mentioned going on picnics. So you can say that I’m a fan.

It’s easy to overlook a picnic as an enjoyable activity, however. Maybe the weather isn’t ideal, you think that you need a particular type of food, or it just doesn’t cross your mind.

We have been going on picnics during our travels out of convenience. Out on the road on the motorcycle for most of the day, we just don’t have the room to pack a lot of food. So we have been putting sausage, cheese, fresh vegetables, and our water bottles in the saddle bags. When we get hungry then it’s time to find a picnic table and stop for a bite.

Picnics don’t have to be fancy. We have been using lunch meat as the outside of a wrap, with cheese or avacado and slices of cucumber inside, plus fresh vegetables on the side. Or slices of summer sausage as a base to put the other ingredients on top of. We use the ziplock bags as a workstation and a couple of paper towels/napkins to clean up with. Quick, simple, compact – and we can slice everything with the pocket knife that I carry.

Of course, we also take the oportunity for something a bit fancer when the chance presents itself. We take along the grill or backpacking stove and grill some chicken to accompany a salad. It would be easy to throw these into the trunk of your car and head out in search of adventure!

We have discovered waterfalls, creeks, and rivers to eat beside. Beautiful scenery where we can enjoy our meals.


You don’t have to be on the road to enjoy the pleasures of a simple picnic.

If you slice everything before leaving, the only set-up is hand washing and opening of containers. It doesn’t take any time! You can meet up on a quick lunch break and enjoy company with a loved one to help break up a work day. Or you can take the opportunity to go and explore your neighborhood, seeking out those hidden treasures that are so easy to over-look.

Have you been on a picnic lately?

Not living up to expectations

Have you experienced this? You hear about some new thing and everyone seems to love it. It will make you smarter, faster, and richer, all while helping you lose weight.

Then you try it. And it just doesn’t suit you. For whatever reason you aren’t overwhelmed, even after trying it a few times. Finally, no matter how much you want to, you just decide not to keep this new thing in your life.

This has happened to me more than once. Most recently, with Bulletproof Coffee. High quality coffee with grass-fed unsalted butter and coconut oil blended in.

I first read about Bulletproof Coffee (BPC) a few years ago and was intrigued. Supposedly it will result in the “creamiest, most satisfying cup of coffee you’ve ever had.” And “it will keep you satisfied with level energy for 6 hours”. Every review I read was positive, talking about how much more energy they had and how much more mentally focused they find themselves. Those sound like good things to me! So I tried it.

I made some BPC before heading out to work one morning to replace breakfast. My first sip? Tasted oily/buttery. Maybe I just needed to give it more time. I drank the rest of my mug.

The rest of the morning I felt… almost queasy. And hungry. I normally ate breakfast every morning, and my stomach was waiting for it.

Perhaps I didn’t make it right. Maybe I used the wrong measurements, or didn’t pick out the best ingredients. I decided to wait until I could get one that was “professionally made” instead of making my own again.

I didn’t actively search out a coffee shop that made Bulletproof Coffee, so quite some time passed before I had another one. My interest remained on a warm simmer as I read about others whose lives had been changed by drinking BPC.


Finally, three years later I visited a new coffee shop where they offered BPC. I had already eaten breakfast before visiting so the coffee would not have to be a meal replacement. I’ve been drinking my coffee black for some time now and a “creamy, rich” coffee sounded good.

Order up!
Coffee in hand I tentatively took a sip. My wife could tell from the look on my face, I wasn’t convinced yet. She tried it, and I had few more swallows. I just don’t like it.

At lunch time, I was hungry again. It might have delayed my appetite but by no means did it make me want to skip my next meal. I don’t need its help to become a fat-burning machine, another of its claims, I have already lost 45 lbs over about 5 months.

Maybe I built it up too much in my mind and unless I have a coffee-flavored milk shake it just can’t live up to my imagination. Perhaps I’m too accustomed to drinking black coffee and would have to grow to like the milder flavor (other than a sip or two I don’t enjoy lattes because of the milkiness).

Whatever the reason, as much as I want to, I just don’t like Bulletproof Coffee.

But maybe you will. Buy or make some for yourself and see if it works for you.

  • Brew 1 cup of coffee.
  • In a blender, add in 1 tsp. of MCT Oil (or coconut oil)
  • and 1-2 Tbs. of grass-fed, unsalted butter or ghee.
  • Mix it all for 20-30 seconds until it is frothy like a foamy latte.
  • Bottoms up!