Here are 100 random thoughts and lessons we’ve learned on our first 100 days on this adventure. We tried to only list things we would not have learned without coming on this trip.
1. Colorado’s flag is everywhere in CO.
2. Mermaids are fake.
3. Tarantulas are real.
4. Don’t always talk so that other people can talk.
5. Sometimes you’ve got to do what Coral says.
6. Goegraphy is so fun!
7. Sea stacks are first just rocks in the water, then it gets a crack which grows into an arch, which collapses, and then the water keeps hitting it until it’s just a stump.
8. Redwood trees are so big!
9. Some birds can live their whole lives in the tops of the Redwood Forest without ever coming down to the ground.
10. San Francisco has an awesome kid museum.
11. Me & Coral can live by ourselves. (When Mom & Dad were sick)
12. I can make oatmeal.
13. We can wash dishes!
14. I can shred cheese.
15. The sun is a burning ball of gas.
16. The redwoods are the tallest, and the sequoias are the fattest.
17. Delicate Arch is real.
18. Crater Lake was formed when the mountain grew, blew, fell, & filled.
19. I take work too seriously.
20. There is a spirituality to be found outdoors.
21. We grow stronger by trying new things & facing our fears.
22. I don’t want to live in a big city, but I also don’t want to live in a teeny tiny place. So much of the US population live in one or the other.
23. The soil on the California coast is so rich because when the tectonic plates collided one scraped the nutrient rich “icing” off the other, and it all piled up.
24. We certainly don’t need as much as we think we do, because in 281 sq feet we still have things we don’t need.
25. People in CA love totoro.
26. Bringing an old down comforter with holes in it to your new life in a tiny space guarantees that you will find tiny goose feathers everywhere. At home I was always trying to clean dog hair. Now I feel like we have a pet goose.
27. Driving in downtown parking garages with 6’10” clearances in a F250 is very unenjoyable.
28. My espressso maker pulls a better shot if I turn the space heater off first.
29. Membership with a ASTC museum was so worth it!
30. The national interagency parks pass is awesome.
31. Everything we read ahead of time gave the same accurate forewarning….stuff in an RV breaks all the time.
32. Wind storms in New Mexico are no joke.
33. California roads are crazy.
34. Propane is heavier than air, so detectors should be near the floor. They should also be replaced every five years, so if the manufacture date is March 2002, that could be the reason it keeps going off.
35. The RV crowd is super nice.
36. The little electric heater heats our RV more consistently.
37. Our propane furnace heats the whole RV more rapidly, but while it runs we sweat and when it stops we freeze.
38. On the coldest nights, the electric heater & propane furnace are a perfect team that we’ve finally got dialed in.
39. Camping world in Albuquerque is not a good place to have RV service done. (This is definitely our most expensive lesson learned.)
40. Empty yogurt containers come in handy for a wide variety of uses, from trash cans for tiny spaces to travel nutrigrain holders so the snacks don’t get all smashed up in the car.
41. Brad is way better at fixing things than he thinks.
42. When it’s going to be below freezing overnight, simply draining all the water out of the hose & leaving the spigot off all night is a simple way to avoid “froze-hose” in the morning.
43. You always dump the black tank first so that all the water in gray & galley wash out the pipes & hoses afterwards.
44. Cooking family-sized meals in large pots in a tiny kitchen is slightly challenging.
45. Cleaning those large pots afterwards is just ridiculous.
46. If water starts somehow coming up out of your intake for the fresh water tank, it might seem like a complicated problem. But a broken one-way value at the water pump is the simple answer.
47. Once you dump that bottle of rubbing alcohol that’s been in the bathroom cabinet for a decade, there will be 5 reasons you need it. It’s ok though, they sell it lots of places…
48. Public showers are ok…sometimes even awesome.
49. A mesa is an elevated part of land or rock that is wider than it is tall. A butte is an elevated part of land or rock that is taller than it is wide.
50. No matter how old you are, it’s fun to make “butte” jokes.
51. The “ring around the neck” of dirty kids that my grandparents used to tease me about is real…I have seen it!
52. We’ve prepared nearly 300 meals in Stumbo, so the fire alarm has been off at least 430 times. Pretty sure even making sun butter sandwiches sets the thing off.
53. We learned a new way to make an awesome sand castle in Oregon.
54. Sand fleas are WAY BIGGER than regular fleas.
55. I should have taken Brad’s advice & read “The Prophet” a long time ago.
56. If it looks like a chipmunk but the stripe goes all the way across it’s face, it’s probably a squirrel.
57. Crater Lake is a collapsed mountain.
58. There are way more interesting rocks in the world than I would have guessed.
59. Caffeinated Clif Bars are my favorite snack ever.
60. I can live without internet, but I don’t like it.
61. The beetles killing off the pine trees in CA are native; they are just taking advantage of the drought conditions to wreak havoc.
62. John Muir was someone I’d like to know more about. He wrote awesome things and did awesome things.
63. It’s confirmed – my least favorite weather phenomena is WIND.
64. The difference between a National Park & National Monument: Parks are instituted by Congress, Monuments are declared by the President.
65. I’m the only female that I’ve seen back a trailer in a campground…c’mon girls, we can do this!
66. Experiences can be hard and wonderful at the same time.
67. I’m addicted to my phone, to comfort, and to feeling busy.
68. Warm food is so much more satisfying.
69. Crater Lake is pristine because it’s filled only by rain water.
70. “Good Wifi” is a relative description.
71. Albuquerque is a great city but is also one of the most violent in the US.
72. Dry camping is great as long as you know it’s about to happen.
73. State & National Park Campground sites take way more skill to back a trailer into than private campgrounds.
74. The Redwood trees that remain represent only 5% of those that were in Oregon & California before the logging industry came through the area.
75. The chance to live out a dream with my family is cathartic.
76. Albino trees exist, and are pretty amazing to see.
77. Humans are delighted by the colors, shapes, and light in the everyday world around them. Sometimes the most simple things are also the most amazing.
78. The Las Vegas strip is even crazier & more overwhelming than I expected – and I was only there in the day time!
79. The National Parks attract huge crowds from all over the world, but sometimes there are things just as beautiful along the side of the road on your way in between.
80. Wildlife sitings are only wonderful if EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the car sees it. Otherwise, you should just keep your mouth shut about it.
81. I don’t mind towing a trailer, but I feel safer at speeds of 60mph or less.
82. Open cabinets after a bumpy ride very slowly.
83. Don’t turn on the bathroom fan while you’re flushing the toilet – it sucks up the smell from the entire tank into the bathroom.
84. My kids are way better at helping with chores around the house than I had previously realized.
85. There are beautiful, mundane things happening in the natural world around me every day, but most of the days of my life I miss all of them.
86. Our family can live very comfortably in a space much smaller than I would have thought.
87. The arches and spires in Arches National Park are a result of a giant pit of salt that was left after the valley was filled with ocean water & dried over & over again, forming a underground salt layer. When the salt ran into harder rock, the giant deposit bubbled up and pushed crazy rock formations out of the earth & created the opportunity for arches to be born.
88. Enjoying the breathtaking beauty of a sunset or a moonrise can unite a very diverse group of people.
89. Way more of our country is desert than I realized.
90. Parents are the most mean when they are scared.
91. I’m starting to see the signs of nighttime anxiety in myself, so when the negative, cyclical thoughts start after bedtime, I just gotta shut it down. (I’m still figuring out how exactly to do that.)
92. I don’t miss working out at all, but I feel so much better when I’m getting exercise.
93. My kids can’t do separate school work at the same table.
94. The part of my brain that lets me miss things is broken – maybe from years of being away from people that I love. I have confirmed that I’m not a sociopath, however, because I miss my dog so much I feel physical pain when I think about her.
95. Being in a big crowded campground is sometimes exactly the perfect way to camp.
96. State Senators running for office in Nevada run horribly negative campgains!
97. National park rangers are crazy-knowledgeable about so many things.
98. No matter how much you love someone, it’s tough to be around them 100% of the time.
99. Standing in vast open spaces and listening to the deafening sound of silence is a rare, spiritual experience that helps me feel my place in the universe.
100. We can do this.