Again. And, thankful.

So, speaking of bumps and being bumped, seems our bumps were not yet over. I wrote that last blog when I thought all was fine and that we would be on our way. The universe had other plans, however :) Seems the axle that we paid someone overtime to come in and rebuild was done incorrectly, and the new wheel barrings were not fitted properly, and well, we broke down again. Once we left Defuniak Springs, FL we hightailed it across the south to Louisiana before we stopped to check on things and fuel up on some additional veggie. We were so excited to be on our way we were trying to get to Texas as fast as possible and we were making great time. But, when we stopped the wheel was leaking all over the place and concern rushed over us again. So, we had it looked at and were told how unsafe of a position they put us in to hit the road with a job that size not done correctly. Oh my, big sigh! We camped out for another night and found ourselves in Lake Charles, Louisiana at a Freightliner and GMC Dealership Service Station. And while we were not the least bit happy about another breakdown, we were glad it was somewhere that we knew would definitely fix the problem. Didn't realize it would take another week, but all things happen for a reason, right? Service here was incredible, and they really went out of their way to accommodate us and think of our needs, even driving me and the kids to a local Children's Museum so that we were not stuck in yet another truck repair place parking lot all day. Turns out that the axle that had been shaven down by hand to fit did not fit properly and had to be rebuilt altogether. Plus, the wheel barrings had to be redone and all the metal shavings stuck inside from shoving everything together had to be cleaned out and repaired. Sigh, sigh, sigh. This was Monday. After a week's stay at a hotel, because we could not stay in our home parked inside their garage, and several days of thinking it was done and then told one more day, again, we finally were on our way by Saturday. Have I sighed yet?

With such changes in our routine, not having a home, not having a vehicle, not having our food sources readily available, and losing money by the day, everyone was thrown. But, we were safe, and had accommodations, and found food, and had each other. Sometimes, your own reality can feel so devastating that you can't see the good, or that your reality really isn't that bad. This was us, being awakened to the fact that we were ok. Yes, lots was going wrong for us, we were taken out of the comfort of our home, had to shuffle things around with the kids, and we were losing money on all of the repairs, but we were ok. We realized that a few months prior we might not have been able to even cover the repairs, and although it wiped our small savings, we were able to cover it this time, even paying for it twice, thousands of dollars later. We also realized that we could manage no matter where we were, as long as there was a safe, warm place to sleep, anywhere we were all together we were home. And, we realized that trying times sure did bring our family together, for better or worse. Every moment is a moment to learn unconditional love, and there were many, many moments for this during this week. But, no bump in the road was going to stop us! And, sometimes, the bumps are well intended to have us stop and see what is right in front of us, or to slow down our pace a bit. This bump did both. We met several amazing people in Lake Charles, including the service station manager who drove us to get food and then back to the hotel, waiting until we were all checked in and taken care of, and the folks at Stellar Beans who made to order the best gluten-freen / casien-free sandwiches in the south. And, thanks to David Locklear and friends, awesome musicians that played our final night there and provided a much needed evening of relaxation, and the artists, Kenneth and Trina Green who we connected with and chatted with on every thing from waste veggie as alternative fuel to the corporate players in our government. We felt connected to people everywhere we went, even when we were down and out and not really feeling connected to what was going on for us at that time. You see, what is so beautiful about connecting is that it can happen anywhere at anytime and often when we need it most, even from the most surprising places. Lake Charles, LA was this small reprieve for us, a way to connect and slow down and reconnect with ourselves in a time of need.

We were pretty excited to finally leave, and finally get to Texas, don't get me wrong, but Lake Charles, LA will always hold special memories for us as a safe haven that helped keep us on our journey. Thanks guys! And, even though we missed both of our final events on our Fall Tour with the Sustainable Living Roadshow, we were determined to get to Austin, TX. So, so happy when we did. Love that city! Awesome places to eat (loved Snack Bar), fun little vintage shops along South Congress, food carts, local vendors, and great people! We stayed at Pecan Grove RV Park (thanks Janssen's for the tip), enjoyed the hip and eclectic vibe, and loved the close access to everything. We rode our bikes to Zilker Park, went to the Austin Nature and Science Center and had a blast at the Dino Pit and riding the train through the park. We also loved having JuiceLand across the street from the campground, as we stopped there both days on our bike ride back from the park. Best smoothies ever! Plus, if you bike there you get 10% off, way cool! Seems everyone was out biking or jogging, very active community, and anywhere we can eat out and get local, organic, gluten and dairy free grub is such a bonus. We even met the very hip Hymn for Her duo, who have traveled and recorded an entire album out of their vintage 1961 Airstream with their little girl in tow, so sweet. We connected right away and can't wait to catch up with them on the road to hear them perform live. Would have loved to stay longer, and next time we will. But, the road called, and we ventured, up to Dallas the day before Thanksgiving in crazy traffic. Not sure what we were thinking with that timing, but sometimes on the road you roll with whatever timing is handed to you. And, we were going to see family, my baby sister and her kids who we had not seen in well over a year. So, although our Tour was cut short and we were delayed and out of money, we did get to experience Austin and we were on our way to spend the holidays with family. All things happen for such good reasons and we felt blessed beyond belief! Happy day of giving thanks, and may all your days be full of thanks!

Angela Malson