Woke up after a long night of tossing and turning! I told Joe when the soul is expanding you can feel it- at least I can!
At 9am today we close on a long dream of owning a house in the mountains. We couldn’t be more thrilled.
So many emotions this whole week. Today is all comes together.
Thank YOU for all the many messages and comments and likes about the close on our house in Flagstaff!!
Joe and I and the kids still think we’re dreaming. Luke said to me today “I still can’t believe this is our house. I feel like we’re visiting!!”
Truth be told to move a family across the country the way we did – with a year long RV trip sandwiched in between running a business and homeschooling- can NOT be done alone.
I know we might have made it look easy but truth be told we had the bestest of friends, colleagues and professionals who are the best at their craft help us!!!
Shout out in NY to our realtors Anthony Perrotta and Michael Sadis!! You 2 got us off Long Island! If you’ve got a house to sell they are your power team to call.
Bryanna and Craig Royal blazed the path for us years ago and answered all our crazy questions since they live on the road full time!! Their oh -so- resourceful blog that talks everything RV life is called crazyfamilyadventure.com.
Long View RV in Connecticut is THE premiere RV dealership in New England. They held our RV for months while we figured out how the hell to finance it. Then when we ran into air conditioners that stopped working , washing machines that exploded, no hot showers for 2 weeks, no heat for a week they were there for us any time we called, any day of the week and any time of day! We recommend them hands down as they stand behind their customers and care deeply.
Then there is Joe’s family Tim and Annie Edden who let us store all our “keepsakes” + Joes tools 😀 in their homes while we travel. And the rest of the Paccione + Edden clan who showed up for an A-MAZING launch party and who help get us off Long island!!
Then there is Kelly Broaddus who is an Arizona realtor extraordinarie. Without Kelly we would never have won the bidding war on our house. It went into contract 4 days after Hitting the market. If you live in AZ and want the best house look no further- Kelly is the bomb.
And if it wasn’t for the dedicated work of our dear friend and mortgage specialist for Wells Fargo, Dave Goldklang we might have been delayed closing for another 2 weeks. Dave goes above and beyond for his clients… we would know. This is the 2nd mtge we’ve worked together on! If you need a mtge that gets done right, Dave is your guy.
And our dear friend, financial guru and accountant Dave Cooper takes customer service to a whole new level. If it wasn’t for him we’d still be drowning in paperwork with no clue how to explain our 4 businesses and that we swear we really do live in an RV and run profitable businesses. Lol.
Behind every success story is a team of caring dedicated people who have your back.
I’ve noticed when a person wins the Tour de France they always give credit to their WHOLE team because without them, they could not have won.
Remember when you were 10 and it was the day before your birthday (or Christmas!!!) and you COULD NOT SLEEP??
That’s me. All week.
I literally wake up 4:30am like clock work and stare at the ceiling.
There is a joy in my belly I can not describe.
First 2 days I thought it was nervousness then day 3 I realized it’s actually EXCITEMENT.
When you set your mind on a dream and it comes true I swear the soul decides to do a – think 80 disco dancing at the club- dance.
Well my soul dances at 4:30am right now.
When my house blew up from a gas explosion just 4 months after being married 18 years ago I lost everything including all my wedding gifts.
Back then I didn’t have a lot of disposable income as Joe had just quit his job to start a biz and I was supporting us.
So we bought whatever we could afford and mostly while suffering from PTSD!😥
(Reminder – never buy stuff while suffering from PTSD. You’re not gonna love it as much after you heal. Just sayin!) 🤦♀️
3 kids later and 2 self employed people in 1 house with an insistence that they go to a private montessori school because I just loved the community and well….😌
Let’s just say I wasn’t buying myself any new expensive furniture, fancy dishes or all that fun stuff you get when other people are chipping in to buy you gifts 😁
Insert yesterday’s conversation Joe had with me while hiking!!!
“You know Jenn, we got EVERYTHING we’ve ever wanted!”
Huh Joe- you think?!?!
Let’s recall what we wanted …
✨Last house had 1 bathroom we all shared and no guest rooms. Girls bunked up and there was no basement. We now have a 4000sq ft “compound” with a guest room, office, 3 bathrooms (kids promise to clean their own bathrooms let’s see how that goes!), game room- yes game room and a hot tub on the deck while looking at the mountains. Pinch me.
✨we always wanted to live in a cul-de-sac. Now we do!!
✨we always wanted to leave NY and live in the mountains!! We live 30min from The local ski resort. Pinch me again.
✨ we love small towns!! We now live in one with freight trains that roll by and remind you of the days when you owned Lionel trains!
✨ we didn’t want to leave Huntington NY because we loved the village SO much. Music + food + shops the most amazing people!! I had so many friends as shop owners. We ❤️ the flagstaff village with music + shops + food and people everywhere (well pre-COVID-19!) pinch me once again!
✨we adored the kids Montessori school which was one of the reasons why we stayed as long as we did! Their new charter school we saw this week had a dog in the classroom and the teaches are bright and happy and kind and open minded! Such a positive fresh space to learn from!
✨we can afford to buy ALL new furniture and dishes and beds and organic mattresses to START OVER the way I always dreamed after the old house caught fire. Just WAIT till you see the Restoration Hardware + Crate and Barrel furniture my dear friend and interior designer extraordinaire picked out!! Dreamy.
AND If that wasn’t enough I just received word from my lawyers that the Sugar Freedom Method is officially trademarked with 6 A-MAZING certified coaches out there teaching others the method.
(OPRAH did you hear that? Isnt it time we spoke??)
I said it before and I’ll say it again-
If you don’t ask, no one is going to give it to you.
And if you don’t have faith, you’ll quit long before your dream materializes. Hence we named our 40 ft home on wheels (Leap of) FAITH.
This has been a dream of a lifetime this past year on the road and I have NO INTENTION OF WAKING UP!!
Acadia NP Shenandoah NP Everglades NP Guadalupe Mountains NP Carlsbad Caverns NP White Sands NP Saguaro NP Montazuma Castle NM Grand Canyon South Rim Arches NP Rocky Mountain NP Mt. Rushmore NM Badlands NP Jewel Cave NP Devils Tower NM Yellowstone NP Grand Tetons NP Bryce Canyon NP Grand Canyon North Rim
Niagra Falls The Alamo Key West New Orleans Las Vegas Washington DC Philadelphia Sedona Lake Placid Hoover Dam Glen Canyon Dam Lake Powell Lake Mead Canada Monument Valley Cape Cod RV on a ferry across Lake Champlain
Life is too short to let a bad mood bring us down. Truth be told- this too shall pass.
The general consensus was that Lake Mead is too hot. So, we left a day early to go back to the cool elevation of Flagstaff.
It seams funny to say but, there is almost nothing of interest between Lake Mead and Flagstaff. Flat open road with a few elevation changes to keep the trip exciting. The rig doesn’t do well climbing long hills with the Jeep in tow and the tractor trailers don’t do much better. There is a lot of jocking for position that goes on while traveling up and down all the long hills.
On the way up the hills we gradually slow down to about 45 mph. Some trucks are empty or carrying lighter cargo and pass all the heavy trucks on the climbs. Then we get to the top and start rolling at highway speeds again down the mountains. We hit 70 and 80 mph coming down the mountains with engine brakes ON to keep the speeds under control. This avoids us from burning out the mechanical brakes.
The posted speed limit for most of the trip was 80 mph but, I typically don’t travel at speeds over 70 mph. The rig feels more manageable at lower speeds and thats important if you need to change lanes quickly or if the traffic comes to stop quickly. The motorhome doesn’t like to stop quickly and I’ve had a few scares that made me think twice about my life.
If you have to stop, it will stop but, everything in the rig gets reorganized in the process. Plus, you have to deal with the smell of burning brake pads that comes with bringing 20 tons to a commanding stop.
Sometimes you come around a corner and the traffic light is RED or there is some traffic backed up and I’ve had a few chances to really put the brakes to the test. I like to keep those opportunities to a minimum so, I drive a little slower most of the time. I also leave lots of room between me and the guy in front of me and always give others the right of way. It’s been working out very well for me.
So, back to the journey….. We drove 3 1/2 hours to Flagstaff and I loved seeing the signs as we got closer to our new home town. (FLAGSTAFF 130 MILES). We stopped off in a small town, called Seligman, for gas and lunch only to realize that we were on Historic Route 66. There was an old barn with pictures of Mater and Lightning McQueen from the movie “CARS” painted on the side.
There are so many rustic small towns that you would never know existed as you fly by them at 80 mph on I-40. I’m glad we got to see this one. It was a nice break from a long day of driving and the people here were so nice.
As we approched Flagstaff, we caught site of the San Francisco mountains. These are the tallest mountains in Arizona and I found out that it used to be the home of a volcano. The Flagstaff local ski resort “Snowbowl” is in these mountains now and only a 30 minute drive from our new home. I don’t know very much about everything “Flagstaff” yet but, I will find out more as I live here.
We love Flagstaff and all the beautiful places up in nothern Arizona. Route 66 runs right through town as well as freight trains that roll though each day with 60 to 100 cars “click clacking” there way by. There is something very special about this town which I just can’t put my finger on. There are tons beautiful restaurants and eclectic shops, as well, which makes this place fun to explore.
With all that said, we are just happy to be home right now!
We close on our new home July 30th and we have some mixed emotions about the sadness of ending our trip and the excitement of moving into our beautiful new house. We really enjoyed the constant excitement of seeing new places every few days and getting to explore and hike all over the US. We will definitely miss that and having a house to spread out into is something we can’t stop thinking about.
With no AC in our Jeep and a lot of water, we set out today to see the Hoover Dam and to pick up a few items at the grocery store.
Oddly enough, the Dam was closed. They had federal security guards turning cars around at the main gate and we had no choice but to turn back. There was no place where you could see the dam at all.
We drove across the new 4 lane bridge that was built a few years ago and the guard rails were too high and we couldn’t see the dam from there either.
Maybe if we hiked down into the canyon we could have gotten a glimpse of it but, everyone was overheating in the 117 degree heat so that option was out.
I’ve noticed that I am talking a lot about the heat and many of you may have lived in 110 plus heat and are saying to yourself, how bad could this be. I’m not one to shy away from hot weather. I loved the heat in the Florida keys and really enjoyed places like Marco Island and Sanibel Island. It was hot but, there was lots of respite from the heat. We were never far from the ocean, a pool, an air conditioned restaurant, our RV or even our Jeep.
The problem with Lake Mead is that there is no where to escape the heat (even for a few minutes). The visitors center was closed, the pools are all closed, the beach is a 10 minute drive away (plus there is nothing at the beach except the 85 degree water), there are no stores or shops anywhere near the dam and there are no trees to find shade anywhere.
Our RV would cool down in the shade of a palm tree or evergreen tree or any kind of tree but, it can’t cool down in direct 115 degree sunlight. Plus, we love to adventure and the adventure comes with lots of complaining and a level of suffering while we travel anywhere.
With that said, we left the Hoover Dam without actually seeing it and drove about 10 minutes to the Boulder City grocery store. Here we found some respite as the store was open and air conditioned.
We hooked up the kids with Ice Cream to cool them down. All the red faces was a bit much to take and they looked about ready to drop.
We also picked up a few additional items at the store that we overlooked while shoping in St. George’s a few days ago.
We were honestly looking for any reason to spend a little longer in the AC. We hadn’t experienced cold air conditioning in days and it felt so good.
The ice cream melted in our hands all the way home and all the kids laughed about how quickly it was turning to mush.
Jenn and I decided that this place was not enjoyable and I called our Flagstaff campground and added tomorrow to our reservation.
I’ve never experienced anything like this heat at Lake Mead. It’s absolutely brutal and there is no escape.
The AC units on the RV have not stopped running since 7am this morning and it actually keeps getting warmer in our RV as the day rolls on.
Last night we were able to turn off one of the units to give it a rest while the temperature dropped into the high 90’s.
We went down to the lake again today to cool off. The kids loved it but, you start to heat up again within 5 minutes of leaving the water.
Our AC in the Jeep is out. So, traveling anywhere outside of a 5 mile radius is completely out of the question. When we drove to the beach today it was 116 degrees outside. We brought a ton of water with us and it goes fast as we travel.
Jenn and I visted the campground store today on our bikes. It’s hard to travel far in this heat but, we are constantly trying to make the most of each day.
It was 115 degrees at 11am and with all 3 of our AC units running we couldn’t get the RV below 74 degrees.
At that temperature you can’t really go outside for more than 15-20 minutes without winding up in a hospital. So, we hung out inside and played board games, setup forts and did everything we could to have fun.
I left a plastic cup up against the window while driving yesterday and, while cleaning up today, I found the cup had melted. The sun here is so hot that can’t leave anything in the sun or it will melt. So, I pulled down the GPS and the Jeep braking monitor from the windows to avoid losing any of my tech.
At about 2pm we decided to take the kids swimming in Lake Mead. The beach was a 5 minute drive from our campsite and it was brutal in the heat, which had actually increased to 119 degrees. Remember that our AC in the Jeep went out 2 days ago near the Grand Canyon.
It’s Murphy’s law that your AC unit fails 2 days before you visit the hottest place on your year long adventure. Sometimes life works that way.
So, we got into our very hot Jeep and drove the 5 minutes to the lake for a dip. When I say that it was hot…that is an understatement. It was like a furnace outside.
Jenn and Luke said that having the windows down in the Jeep felt like a blowdryer blasting on their faces. We actually realized that having the windows rolled up about 80% was the best experience.
Jenn and I laughed with the kids while telling stories of the trips we took growing up before we had air conditioning in cars. Sitting in our family cars baking hot and usually in traffic. For me it was a Buick station wagon with all of my siblings moaning about how hot it was and who just farted. Lol
We arrived at the lake and jumped into 85 degree water. We were looking for 70 degree water for some refreshment but, that just wasn’t the case. All things considered, it felt great to jump in that lake and swim with my kids.
When you step out of the water you dry off in about 3 1/2 minutes. It is so dry here that you don’t even sweat.
We drove our “hot box” (the Jeep) back to our campsite and that was our adventure for the day.
I don’t think we are going to last long in this place if it doesn’t cool down.
Coming down from 8000 feet in Northern Arizona was a little rough on the ears. Everyone was dealing with the pressure change. Las Vegas is at about 1500 feet and although we made our decent in increments, you feel it.
We had to travel North to eventually go Southwest around the Grand Canyon. This put us back in Utah for a short amount of time.
We found a road side Hamburger/Pizza stop in Utah with diesel fuel truck pumps. Its hard to find gas stations that you can get a 64 foot rig into and out of without having to disconnect the Jeep or, at the very least, back up.
Remember that you can’t backup when you flat tow a vehicle. The front wheels of the tow vehicle just turn and lock in one direction and then things start breaking. So, finding an easy access gas station in the middle of nowhere was a true find that I wasn’t going to pass up.
We grabbed a nice enjoyable lunch and got back on the road with a full tank of diesel. We drove for a while in Utah through valleys of rock walls and dried up river beds. The altitude change caused the temperature to rise up into the 100’s and we started up the generator to run our three AC units as we traveled down the road.
All the towns we drove through were very small and not very inviting. We all wondered what it would be like to live in these places. It felt like a tuff like growing up in this part of Utah. It was very flat, dry and extremely hot.
We eventually came upon St. Georges. This was a large city with a very modern feel. They also had every store known to man. They had lots of palm trees which came as a surprise to us, being in Utah. I always think of Utah as a cold place but, I realized that we were very far south and at a very low altitude.
We found a great place to grab some organic food and restocked our RV. Its been about a week since we left Salt Lake city and we haven’t seen any grocery stores since then.
Next on our list was a new bike for Caitlin. Her last bike had a host of problems and blew a flat tire during our trip to Mt. Rushmore. I’m not sure how the tire went flat while being transported but, that was the last straw and it found a dumpster in South Dakota.
We found a Dicks Sporting Goods and I managed to get the rig into yet another small parking lot to do our shopping.
The store had a bike that Caitlin loved. I honestly thought she wanted a pink or purple bike but, when she saw all the bikes, she went straight to an orange bike and said that this is one I want. It had 18 speeds and fit her perfect.
We added a water bottle holder, kick stand and a bell to make it perfect. Away we went to the check out and within 40 minutes we were back on the road again towards Las Vegas.
We are camping out tonight at the RV campground in the Lake Mead Recreation Area. This is a national recreation area attached to the Hoover Dam and its roughly 40 minutes from Las Vegas. Since the AC went out in our Jeep and the outside temperature was 115 degrees, we decided that it would be best to drive the Las Vegas strip today instead of trying to drive back here with no air conditioning. So, I put the Mirage into our GPS and drove the Las Vegas Strip.
The kids were blown away by all the hotels, the statue of liberty, the Eiffel tower, roof top rollercoaster, huge coca cola bottle, water fountains and of course the pyramid with the sphinx.
It would have been nice to spend some time walking around but, there was no chance of finding a 65 foot parking spot here.
We continued our drive from Las Vegas to Lake Mead. When we arrived, after our long day of travel, the campground office was closed. I was thankful to find an envelope attached to the front door with my name on it and inside we found our campsite number and directions. Just as I released the air brake to find my campsite, a staff member came flying in on his golf cart to lead me to my site. That was a welcome site. He took me straight to my site and saved me from making any wrong turns along the way. We setup to camp for the night at Lake Mead in 116 degree weather.
The sun had set and it was still incredible hot outside as we went to bed. I woke up at 3am and it was still 98 degrees. This was a very hot place.
We are in a dusty campsite filled with tall evergreen trees, 8000 feet up in Kaibab National Park, about 1 hour north of the Grand Canyon.
Honestly, there isn’t much to do here if you’ve already seen the Grand Canyon. The girls took out their hammock and asked me to hang it up. Luke took a nap while Jenn and I caught up with a few business tasks.
I find it incredible how much business we can get accomplished from wherever we happen to be (even with poor internet access). I’m so thrilled we are able to make it work while seeing all the wonderful places we have seen.
We all did our own thing for most of the day and then I got everyone to go with me to the ranger station fire tower.
This was a 80 foot tall steel truss tower with a lookout both for spotting and directing crews to wild fires. The booth itself was closed and locked but, we were able to hike 95% of the tower and it was scary/exciting for the kids. Luke walked up about 20 feet and had second thoughts about the climb. He retreated back to the bottom, thought about things a bit and then climbed all the way to the top to meet us.
Sometimes you just need a minute to check in with your fears before you can overcome them. I was proud of him.
We climbed back down after taking a few pictures and headed back to our campsite for the evening.
Tomorrow we are heading to Las Vegas and Lake Mead.