Saturday, May 16, 2009

Taking a Much Needed Break

Well after much thought on what direction to take our family, we have decided on a house. Sadly to get this house at a decent priced rent we had to leave the State to achieve that. In the Midwest homes are much cheaper, buying a home is a real possibility instead of a far fetched dream.

Our family has grown through it all. The tent was great while it lasted, but our children come first. Our 6 month old got a very bad stomach bug and we had to get running water to clean bedding, clothes and bath him.

It is not that we wouldn't do it again or could do it. As a family I think we passed a very hard test. Could you survive in a tent with minimal provisions from material things? - Yes!

Our family lasted in our tent from February 2009 to April 2009. Our family really did need a break from society. We are very proud of this. But we also have to come to terms with the fact that yes we were homeless. Our kids need a home.

Another thing we found out is that unless you are set up somewhere where water is easily gotten and wood is abundantly dry then a tent can be a money pit. My husband cut, split and hauled so much wood, that same amount of wood would have kept a house warm for at least a couple of months.

We are still very active in studying what is needed for long term family survival in a bug-out situation. The two main limiting factors that make tent camps hard to transport is (a) fuel in the winter for wood stoves (b) realistic fresh water supply.

One of the thing that we feel might make this better would be a muli-family camp. Where one vehicle can pull a fresh water trailer of 200-500 gallons or more. We believe that successful tent living as history has shown has been done in groups, like the Indians of North America, the Tribes of Asia and the early Celts.

Thanks for all the support. We will be now taking a break into the next adventure possibility the next summer. We will be trying new equipment and new ideas.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring is Here

Winter have finally retreated and let Spring move on in. The flowers are starting to bloom and the trees have small leaves now. The temperature is 41 degrees at night and 60-70 degrees in the day. Weather man says it's not supposed to last long but hey its a good sign.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Alaknak stood strong through our first windstorm

We pretty good wind yesterday, the trees around us were cracking and crap was hitting our tent. After our sons nap we decided to go to town for a while, and give the wind time to die down. When we got back the wind had stopped and it was a mess of little branches on the road and around the tent. But our tent was standing.

This tent has kept every type of weather off of us. Wouldn't necessarily trust this in deep winter. That is what the TEMPER tent will be for. We are really liking the design of the TEMPER tent. We can make it as large as we need, since they are put together in sections.

Today is a busy day. Hope to get the vestibules for the front of the Alaknak from Cabelas, and looking at getting a good jogging strollers. The jogging stroller has to be one that can go over rough terrain without bouncing the boys all over the place.

Mac is keeping his eye out for a couple old RV water tanks for our water storage. A water trailer would be ideal but not in the plans right now.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

We were Bombed!

It snowed, a very wet and heavy snow last night. That lasted for a couple hours, which resulted in a thick dusting on the ground. Soon after that the snow bombs started. The snow falling from the trees lasted all night and into the morning. Hard to fall asleep but easy once your there.

Where is spring? It almost April. My son picked his first flower he found by the tent two days ago.

Oh yeah, we also have a large owls nest right behind us. She hoots all night long. We are just surrounded with life, I love it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

You Know You have Earned that Warm Cup of Coffee,

When you have cut down two trees, cut one up and split and piled it up undercover from the rain.

That is what Mac and I spent about 3 hrs of this afternoon doing. We harvested two died standing trees. One has some rot and the other is almost perfect, both are dry.

All this was done is Western Washington's famous down pour of a rain. Really feels good getting dry and sipping that coffee.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Photo Update of What We See Everyday

These are the birds that we hear all day long. They're not as bad as the fighter jets that fly over. C-17

Fighter Jet. Now those suckers are loud!

These deer will let you almost walk up to them. They were born hear on the base. Their home is among the fences of McChord.

If you look in the bottom right hand corner you will see our tent lines.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mac got it going

Mac got the generator running great. He had to take the carburetor apart and clean it out and replace the spark plug. Running nice and quiet now. Nice to have the power back. We are going to get a battery bank set up next month. We had one in 2006 that worked great. Our generator charged two deep cycle batteries using a battery charger. Hooked to the batteries was a inverter that we plugged our light and computer up to. Only difference is we will be using gel deep cycle batteries.

We want to also invest in a solar panel. That would be great.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Our End Goal

Many have asked what our goal is and I haven't even thought of posting it. Well our goal is quite simple. To live in our tent until we have enough saved up to put a good down payment on land. Then we will move our camp on to our land and keep saving. First thing that has to be done before we even consider the start of building the house is the well and septic.

We live in a time where it is just not wise to take out a 15 or 30 yr bank loan. After figuring at monthly expenses we figure we will be living in our tent for 2-5 years, but after that time we would own property and have a good sized house.

But in that time we will have the perfect camp figured out. Our goal is to make our tent a movable house, and we are partly there. But aside from all that we are out here to learn to love life. Learn to live off the land. Most importantly, learn to be a better husband/wife team. These are life skills that can become rusty over time if not used. Through it all our boys will be learning great skills and knowledge.

Just over all to escape the madness of funding someone else dream.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Photo update.

After a week of rain, sleet and snow we are dry inside, well except for the condensation.

Some things we do not like about the 12x20 is the huge air vents over the front and back doors. As you can see Mac duck taped them. The air flow was to great for the stove output.

Back door

Front doorClose up of the front door vent

Our set up is a 5 x 10 cargo trailer and tent. For transport our tent and all the living amenities go in the trailer. - We will be upgrading to a 6 x 12 trailer soon.

And it was a warm snowing morning. Well it was warm inside.

Mac and our son working on the generator.

All in all we are a happy family living in the woods loving life to its fullest. We no longer have the burden of the ever amounting junk that homes collect. I should really say houses, since we have a home here. See.

Looking in the front door.

You see our bed, boys crib and the kitchen

Fairing the cold weather

Western Wa has been hit with quite the winter. Coming over here we thought it was warming up or at least soon to warm up. Not so, Mother nature had other plans. For the last couple of weeks we have had snow, sleet, hail, rain (tons of rain) and sunny days. Nights have been cold. But inside our home we are nice and toasty.

It is really amazing how your tolerance for cold changes when you have been cold. Living in a house I felt like I was freezing at 73 degrees. Now 73 degrees is hot and 60 is warm. Funny how spoiled we can become. Having the bed off the ground really helps though since you are not laying at the coldest spot of the tent.

The inside is coming together. The "Kitchen" has a shelf for food, cook table with shelves and a table to do the dishes. To do dishes I heat water on the wood stove or propane stove, while that is heating I go get 4 gallons of water. One kettle of hot water warms 2 gallons of water. I split 4 gallons of water between two containers to have wash and rinse water. Works great.

For lighting we use one propane lantern for cooking, one incandescent light bulb powered by the generator for overall evening light, and two LED lanterns for the late evening when the boys are asleep. This seems to work great.

The boys sleep in a bolt together crib, I put them to sleep in our bed then once they are asleep move them to theirs. Never once has tucking your child in been so important. They don't even seem to notice that we are in a tent and not a house.

This is all coming together.

Monday, March 9, 2009


It started snowing last night and dusted the ground, we woke up this morning to about an inch. We were lucky to get in a half a cord of wood before the temp dropped. We've been in the low 30 for about 3 days now. We are making it though. We got our wood stowed in a Wal Mart tent that a couple gave us when they left (had some damage from their kittens). Works great to keep our wood dry.

Mac got the generator going. The gas line had air in the carburetor. He had to run it half open on the choke all day for the air to work its way out. The generator powers the DVD player, laptop and a light. Next month we are getting a couple deep cycle gel batteries that the generator will charge. Then our stuff will plug into the batteries instead of the generator. Not that our generator is loud, you can't hear it until you are close to our site. The batteries will cut the run time on the generator down to 2 hours a day instead of all day.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fun at one of McChord's Air Museum

These are the birds we hear taking off daily from our campsite

Watching them take off
" Where did he go?!? He went Bye-Bye"

The C141 Starlifter - Mac took many Airborne jumps from one of these

Photos of our Adventure

Looking in the front door

Early Morning in McChord after a light snow dusting

View out one of our windows

Wood Pile

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Doing Great

We got the bed off the ground and the kids is a crib. The weather is warming up so its not so bad when I wake up at night to stoke the fire.

This adventure is really coming together. Mac got the generator working. It needed an oil change. Mac had also figured out that the wire harness inside the generator vibrated loss when it was running so rough. Glad he got that going.

The Alaknak is working out rather well. Mac taped the top vents above the door. We uses the side vents daily to reduce condensation, which works.

We scored on a Coleman propanee stove, and to boot, it was on sale at Big 5. $100 stove for $69, not bad. We returned the one we had since our boy could turn on the gas. That and this one has a larger base so it can hold stock pots.

The boys just love the outdoors. Off to do laundry today.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Good Day

Well got word back today, our wood stove was approved by the fire marshal. So that worry is gone. Thank goodness because the weather is very cold now. We had snow and freezing temps for two nights now. We had to go out and buy wood. Wood gathering is only really worth it in the summer when it is hot and dry.

We are off to day to get our Ikea bed and toddler bed for the boys. I am confident that they can both sleep on the one bed together. They have been sleeping just fine on half of our bed together.

Our generator which we have used less then 30 hours is not working right. And to boot it is a $900 Honda with inverter. Need to replace spark plugs and change the oil, then after that Mac may get it in to be further serviced.

Off for now, busy day ahead.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Really enjoying Ourselves

The McCord Holiday Camp is beautiful. We have really been able to relax here. We have ran into some snags though, such as they don't allow any wood fires only charcoal. We have are scurrying around that rule right now as that is our only real heat source. The head guy is looking into it. The official rule is no Open Fires, well ours is contained in a wood stove. Everyone should know to use cation when burning in the dry months of the year but it is raining, an open fire is not likely to burn down the forest.

Other than that this place is just great. Our tent is sitting on a large pad of moss. You can walk out the front or back door onto lush moss. I have photos I will be sharing in a bit.

Around the campground is a whole network of roads. I have started walking them daily. Very flat and level, and they boys will love walking it.

We have found out that our wood stove is two small to efficiently heat our larger tent. But since it is so close to spring and it is warming up we will just stick with this stove for now. Come winter we will need the size up in the cylinder stove series.

The robins are out already, which in Western Washington means spring is around the corner along with the rain.

Nothing more peaceful and surreal about waking up and looking out your door to the forest surrounded in a misty fog. Or laying in bed at night hearing the rain land on the roof over your head. We may leave like this forever; who knows.

Don't know how I could forget to mention this. lol Holiday FamCamp is located at the end of the runway. We hear the lovely sounds of jets taking off and landing day and night. Some days they are doing touch and go landing, which they then fly right over our camp. Boy the noise those big birds make. Took some getting used to, thankful the boys don't seem to mind.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Our first move tomorrow

We will be breaking camp and moving to McCord Airbase campground Holiday Camp tomorrow. They have more to offer for our children. That and the spot we chose is well away from the road. We were going to do it today but there was quite a wind.

We are finally getting settled in the tent. I cooked french toast on the wood stove last night. Probably won't be doing that again as it stunk the tent up pretty good. Any food cooked in oil or pam will have to be cooked outside. We don't want our tent to smell - that could attrack un wanted animals.

Speaking of animals, those "cute" squirels we saw the first night stoled our half and half from outside the door and dug around inside the potato bag. Wild animals are cute until they become pest.

We finally got wood that wood burn. First few nights we heated with propane. Ours spark arester was clogged after just two days. It was caused by wet wood.

Every one is adjusting. Our oldest is loving the outdoors.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Pretty Eventful Week

We have had quite the time with the Cabela's Alaknak, We returned the 12x12 yesterday and bought the 12 x 20 Alaknak. After getting the 12 x 20 set up and a fire going it was still very cold. You see above each door they have a triangle screen for air flow, but that is still better than the water that pooled up in the corner of the 12 x 12. The triangle is so large that air flows in faster then the heat can push it out. It was a very cold night snuggled under the blankets. Thank goodness we can all share a queen bed. Mac is thinking of ways to block off some of that air flow. Tonight he is going to try to cover them up. We both like the size and eaze of setting it up. The 12 x 20 is the perfect size for a family of 4.

12 x 20 Alaknak

The alaknak is one of the easiest tents to set up. You first stake out the base and then put in the two center poles, next you put the side poles in, ground stakes and ropes. Tension that all up and you have a tent.

We also now have a kitchen that has a sink and three tables to prepare food. On each side there are shelves to put food.


Our boys are taking to this just great. Our oldest loves it.

After being here almost a week I remember the bone chill of this area. It may be 40 degress but that wind is very cold. Eastern Washington is diferent, it is a dry cold so it can feel warmer at 4o degrees. Arizona or New Mexico are sounding like paradise right now.

Our Hunter Wood stove by Cylinder Stove

We also have spent quite a bit of time at Cabela's. They didn't spare any expense with that store. There is an aquarium, animal displays, waterfalls and to boot, a plane. The store is two stories. It is an amazing store.

We have kind of been having a headache with Ft Lewis. The people are great but management is just about the money. They had on there website that they had tent sites and when we got here they said they no longer accomedated tenters, because they were trying to expand on the cabins. Well after much talk they allowed us to stay in one of the tent sites not touched by construction.

We find that to be quite a bummer. I'm not sure if a lot of people could afford to stay at a $60 cabin for 2 weeks.

Can't think of anything else at the moment, other than the fact that this country girl is wanting out of the city. Big city is way to much. lol I will have Mac do a review on the tent for me later when he has time. Later

Ft Lewis Wa Campground

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

First night in Tent

Thanks to a woman who had a bad attitude we didn't get into our tent until today. Yesterday would have been the best day to set up came because it snowed today.

When we planned our trip we decided on Ft Lewis since they had a longer stay period then Parks and all the amenities needed when you are setting up camp for the first time in 2 years. Well when we got here the host told us to set our tent up and then the assistant director told us the tent site were no longer offered as they we planning on building two more cabins. Well we were here and had no funds to get a motel for a week or more. Mac talked then into letting us stay the amount that was offered on the website.

We are warm in the tent, it would be warmer if the wood stove was going. For now we have a propane heater going. Not as good as wood but it will do. We are seriously considering hitting a warmer state until it warms up. But we will see how we feel once the wood stove is going.

This tent is keeping the wind and rain off of us. Got to go. Son is trying to through diapers out the door. lol

Monday, February 9, 2009

Its been a quite a while

Since I have danced in the rain and had the wind blow my hair. To sit on the deck and hear the wind blow through the trees, seeing the moss on the trees and seeing green grass. Eastern Wa is so dry. It seems like most of our time was spent inside. The winters were harsh and the summers were brutal hot.

Crossing the Cascades last night was like coming home after almost 4 years gone.

Ft Lewis is an active base, hearing helicopter ever couple of minutes.

What a day!

So we accomplished a lot and lost a lot all in one day. Where to start. Well we lost our kitty, more like set him free. Nemo has never like cars or traveling, he was not taking this trip good at all, he spend the whole time howling and clawing at the door. So at a rest stop in Tokio Wa we let him out and he ran. He had peed all over himself. Come to find out the owners of the gas station have a large shed just for cats. Tokio is surrounded by farm land and they love having stray cats, so they said they'd keep him and feed him. That was a great relief off of our shoulders. Wasn't a easy thing to do, Mac's had him for 5 years, but this is a life we choose, that Nemo would have never chosen. Nemo has always been a farm cat, since the morning Mac got his first mouse in his face. lol

Tokio Wa

Nothing but flat terrain for miles

So back on the road from there, we headed for stopped a rest stuff to make sandwiches and go potty. We met a really nice couple who was a long haul driver team. Nices couple. Travis loved seeing the inside of their rig. (very impressive by the way)

We were going to stop over for the night in Ellensburg but we went through about 6pm and we decided to try for Ft. Lewis.

Just out side of Seattle a lady was flashing her lights at us and she drove up beside us trying despratly to get our attention. We looked back and notice our queen mattress had come off. (on the freeway) I proceeded to freak out and Mac got us off the freeway and back to pick it up. Luckly it had parchutted in the far right lane. Our mattress came off from a failure of equipment.

We bought a set of two straps from Home Depot Saturday night and Mac noticed that one of them had a spot that looked like a thread was pulled tight, but we used it anyways (bad Idea - but we didn't know) We had it padded where it rested on the trailer. After we got the bed pulled off the freeway, we noticed that one of straps where in the road and Mac went on a search for the other one. It was about a 1/4 of a mile back. The one with the flaw is the one that snapped off. We got the bed onto the bed of the truck and strapped it down with one of the straps and one we were using for our bags. The strap that Mac had to walk to had been ran over a few times and was in bad shape. Home Depot is getting a visit tomorrow.

Can't forget to add the multiple times I had to re strap our son in while driving down the freeway. Gotta love it that 2 year old have no sense of danger. He was finally starting to understand that it was a major no-no after a few spankings.

Once back on the road we headed for Ft. Lewis and found out that the motel we were going to stay at charges way to much so we headed out to see the campground before hitting a motel in Tocoma. Luckly we found out that the campground has cabins. So, we are sitting in the most beautiful cabin on the lake. I will show photos of our trip in a few days.Peaceful Morning in Ft. Lewis

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A stop along the way.

Spokane stop almost done then we are on to Ellensburg, in one of the last stops before Ft. Lewis.

We figured out a way to take our queen mattress with us. We layed down a large tarp, set the mattress on that, then wrapped it like a package and laced up the tarp with rope, pulled it tight and knotted it. The mattress is now strapped down on top of the 5x8 trailer.

Our truck and cargo trailer all loaded and excited to leave Spokane Wa

We will defiantly have to upgrade to a 6x12 cargo trailer in a few months, with our stuff, camping stuff and our sons things the smaller trailer is packed. We kept asking our self what did we take that we could have left and you know there was not that much. When we first when camping in 2006 it was just us two so we didn't have much. But we can't leave our boys toys behind. That trike has to have a spot on the truck. We just have to figure out how the load will ride best. But in time we will master that.

You know we haven't really got that much flack for our choice. Actually how a lot of support from the ones that matter. We are tackling life head on with this way of life. In a house you don't live, you maintain.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Next leg of our journey almost done

We bought a 5x8 cargo trailer to haul all our camping gear, which we will be upgrading to a 6x12 for some head room inside (we are both tall). We decided on a cargo trailer over a utility trailer because our stuff would be protected from wind, rain and theft. In 2006 when we first did our major camping trip we had a utility trailer that had to have a tarp over it, we looked like a bunch of hillbillies pulling out of town. lol

This time we will have class. This is very important when you think about all the people that are looking to judge us for our choices. We want to stay blended in as much as possible, but yet skirt along the outside of the cage called society.

In a few days we are heading to Cabelas to get a bigger tent. In 2006 we had a 12x12 Alaknak but then it was just us two, now we are happily four. Something we have considered when looking at the Alaknak, is the 12x12 has roof window that we didn't really like. Sure you could see the stars but just hope it doesn't start raining while you are sleeping and the plastic cover is rolled up. You WILL be running outside to roll them down, before your bedding is soaked, though you will be by the time you are done. So we are moving up in size to the 12x20, which only has windows on the walls.

We are almost ready to start this journey, just need to get our stuff into our storage unit. When downsizing for the tent I often find myself wondering why we have so much stuff, and half of it is just plain junk. New family rule if you haven't touched it in a month - it's gone. Well unless its needed like radios, medical and such.

And to end our hectic day, we had some adorable bagers peek in our window. We had two raccoons looking in the window.

Well until later.