Why blog? Everyone who has one blogs for their own reasons. Many bloggers seem to think their lives are so fascinating, their words so witty, their (grand)children so fascinating, or their photography so amazing that the rest of the world must want to see it too. That is pretty much sums it up for me too.
NOT! Just kidding. But seriously, for me the blog is like a 21st century photo album, a medium for me to document and record where I have been, something to share with family and friends. I have always liked photographs and traveling. I have kept a personal travel journal since I was twelve years old, and have always liked seeing and hearing about the travels of others. Janene may have her own different reasons for blogging, like trying to make me look crazy for starters. Don’t believe everything she writes about me. Payback is sweet.
Our previous blog, “Larry and Janene in Kazakhstan”, was hosted on Apple’s iWeb platform. You might remember this cover photo.
Apple’s iWeb was good, but don’t try to find our blog on it now. Apple decided to erase it from the cloud. The dirty bastards. Apple’s move only reinforced my Luddite tendencies, and now I am leery of storing anything on the cloud. Truth is I wrote most of this blog a year ago but was bummed about iWeb and almost let it go.
A typical photo on that old blog we had going those couple years while we were overseas would have shown Larry and Janene jet-setting around the world. Such as in June 2012 , at the Istanbul airport, ready for one last backpacking Europe-on-the-cheap adventure after leaving Kazakhstan for good.
But here is our new life and the look of our new blog: Larry and Janene driving around North America in Moby, the Great White Van. Here we are in September 2012 ready to spend a week backpacking in the wilderness of the Wind River Range in Wyoming.
So who or what is Moby? Moby is a proper noun, neither male nor female, and the name of our 2010 Ford E-350 Sportsmobile van. After returning from Kazakhstan in July 2012 we bought and lived in it full-time for seven months. Our Portland condo continues to be rented out. I could list all of Moby’s macho specifications, but just let me say it is four wheel drive (that’s 4WD in truck talk) and has all the bells and whistles I could ever dream of in a rig. Someday I’ll post a full listing of all Moby’s glorious features. But for now just realize it is a big step up over my beloved 1956 Chevy I had for 40 years. Just don’t call Moby an RV. It goes where no RV would even consider trying. We have gotten accustomed to Moby’s size, but it does look big in this photo.
Old school: The Chevy living room/kitchen (from our 2009 honeymoon trip)
New school: Moby living room/kitchen
But Moby does suck up gas just as much as any RV. In addition to having extra large tires, Moby has an extra large gas tank. 46 gallons to be exact. Previous to Moby I was not aware that when using a credit card most gas pumps shut off automatically when you hit $100. I never had a vehicle that got that high before. I was pleased to see that Fred Meyer stations got with the times, realizing the high price of gas, and did not have a $100 limit, so I did not have to re-swipe my card with them. That was until the tank got really low, and the price per gallon got really high, and I discovered that Freddies has a $150 limit. Ouch.
That October, after three months of running around the West, Janene took a job at the community college in Boise. We began hanging out in Boise three days a week, camped out in the street alongside the home of her daughter, son-in-law, and the three grandkids.
Everyone here in Boise always talks about how Boise winters really are not that bad. Not that cold, not that much snow. So it turns out our first winter was one of the snowiest and coldest in 20 years. But no problem with Moby’s forced air propane furnace, and an extension cord to the garage electricity.
When they get older the grandkids might think it is weird to have had grandparents who lived in a van on the street, but at that time they thought is was awesome. They think living in Moby is way cooler than being in a boring old house. Lola was forever trying to figure out an excuse to get inside Moby. They loved hanging out in Moby’s upstairs “penthouse”.
Janene taught two days a week at College of Western Idaho while I goofed off and prepared for our next trip. She worked only Tuesday and Thursday evenings, which gave us nearly five day weekends. Week after week of fishing, hiking, hunting, soaking in hot springs, and 4WD explorations. Sounds easy I know, but it really was brutal keeping up such a pace. We’d just get back from a long weekend, and it was already time to start planning the next one.
Below is a sampler of where we went in our first six months in Moby..
As you might have noticed we did not camp much around others. No RV parks, no campgrounds, no neighbors. With one exception: a couple Walmart parking lots. Our first Walmart overnighter was out of desperation in Fresno, CA as we drove back from Bakersfield where we had bought Moby. But it was a lot quieter than at a rest stop next to the freeway. And hey, they are free, they have a bathroom open 24 hours a day, we have fellow quiet campers, and there is a McDonalds inside where I can get my discount senior coffee in the morning. Such a deal.
I have always liked T-shirt messages. As a teacher I always used to wear T-shirts with themes related to the topic of the day in my classroom. So it was great that my good British friend Debra found the perfect shirt for me and the Moby lifestyle.
Home is where you park it.
Indeed . . . We might have a house (or two), but ultimately, for us, Moby is home.
Maybe we’ll park near you soon.
Larry and Janene:
Resting my keister ( once again). At least this time I have a better excuse: bruised tailbone from a water displacement experiment recently completed in a family swimming pool. Now my project and garden respites include a block of ice for my TB (tired butt).
Last night we thought of you in Troutdale as again we rested our backsides to the music of Lyle Lovett and his Large Band. Great show and easy exit east (20 minutes to the Sandy from Edgefield– less time than it took to get a sandwich there).
The silver lining is that I’ve had more than the usual opportunity to enjoy your blog posts. Thanks again for sharing your adventures in word and photo. I am very impressed as always with the esprit de corps, articulate and interesting descriptions and wry humor that infuses your stuff. Sometimes I Mitty my way right into your exploits!
The bit about filling up Moby with fuel rings my bell also; we are motivated to conserve gas and spend as little of our savings on it as possible. I remember your stories about Chevron. To whit we have invested in what might be a reverse Moby (or is that a Greco-Roman wrestling term?): a scooter to get around town, plus a Prius for longer trips especially where freeway speeds are necessary. I hoard our fuel points at Fred Meyer until the end of each cycle and then we platoon all vehicles to the petro distribution center to max out our 35 gallon single fill discount limit. Many attendants balk, however, at the challenge of filling three cars and “Scootie” while meeting the one solitary fill-up requirement. Most are pleasant though befuddled though a few have been surly. One even told us that Freddy “has rules against this kind of thing.” So far our only rebut has been to ride our bikes but maybe Moby could help as it seems that 35 gallons is no challenge for her! So next time you’re driving with Moby down the Gorge, give me a call and we can assist you with refueling!
All the best,
Indeed, Moby can take on 35 gallons at a single gulp no problem.
Hi Pete– Yes, Moby is very thirsty (sadly). We’ll stop for a fill-up next time we’re in your neighborhood! -j.
I love it! Teri and I refer to this as “the prequel” to the Hazel Street years, however many they may be. Keep writing the adventure, and we will keep tagging along and reading. Larry and Janene, thanks for sharing!
“Prequel”. Good call, wish I would have thought of that. I wrote it as a post-script to Kazakhstan, but then took over a year to finally get it finished.
larry ya’ll rock so big time!
A truly monumental post- but surely Moby must have a gender? Our little trailer is Rita – from “lovely Rita, meter maid”.
Yes BG, we hope to park next to your Key West home, but not so likely to happen at your place in Caracas.
Hi guys! Awesome…and yes, I am waiting for you to come park next to me 😃