BareNeckers Blog 2017-05-25T18:20:21+00:00 https://bareneckers.com/feed BareNeckers hello@bareneckers.com https://bareneckers.com/las-cruces-nopaymay-2nd-nomadiversary Las Cruces, #NOPAYMAY, 2nd Nomadiversary 2017-05-24T05:00:00+00:00 2017-05-22T23:54:59+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://bareneckers.com/

This wasn’t our plan. We were supposed to leave Santa Fe and head up into Utah but the weather wasn’t cooperating with us so we changed our plans last minute and found a great little boondocking spot in Las Cruces at the base of the Organ Mountains.

This is where my desire for a drone increased ten fold. I am so anxious to be able to truly capture just how amazing these places are that we are visiting. The Organ mountains were just screaming at us... “I can’t believe you don’t have a way to capture our beauty!” I know, I know...I’m trying!

Airstream In Las Cruces

When we were on our way to Las Cruces, the idea popped into my mind to just try to go the whole month of May without paying for a campsite. Why not? We have all the gear to be able to run what we need to (hello, solar!). We have two 5 gallon jugs that we can haul water to the rig. We can do this! We got this! #NOPAYMAY (you may have read about it here).

Every night we were treated to a beautiful sunset.

Airstream Sunset In Las Cruces

And often, the sight of grazing cows out our window. 

Cows Out The Window

One morning they woke me up by chomping on our tow chains! I scared that cow to death when I sat up in bed! They mooved on quickly. (see what I did there :)

Most of our time was spent catching up on things and enjoying the cooler weather. We hiked at the near by Dripping Springs Natural Area which was really pretty. The hike up to the cave was breath taking (except for the many, many bugs flying around our faces)

Sunset Hike To Cave Hiking To Cave Sunsetting At Cave

We were treated to this view from the top!

View From Top Near Cave

We went on a longer hike that landed us at an old sanatorium and exploring old house and hotel ruins.

Old House Ruins

Just down the road we found another hike (New Mexicans are fit, y’all) that supposedly would lead us to a waterfall. Sweet, it was a hot day and playing in a waterfall sounded perfect!

Hike To Waterfall

Guys...we got to the ‘waterfall’...it was literally a drip running down that dang rock. I mean, really? We need a waterfall to play in. It wasn’t even enough to get our hands saturated. It wasn't even worth getting a picture because you wouldn't be able to tell it was there!

It was a good hike though. Such a beautiful area and it was interesting enough (towards the middle of the hike) to really hold the kids attention and not bore them to death.

Waterfal Hike Sunset

Our kids hate easy hikes where you’re just walking on a flat surface and I agree, that’s boring. We need rocks to climb over and slot canyons and a certain level fear to keep our interest in the hike. This one passed with flying colors!

We arrived in Las Cruces just a couple days before May and on May 2nd we celebrated 2 years of being nomads! 

It has been the hardest and most rewarding 2 years of my life.  We have laughed and cried and screamed and been overwhelmed with so much love and joy. Living in a tiny house on wheels isn’t for everyone but it’s for us and we love it. It is really amazing how little we really need. 

Living with less has been such an eye opening experience. It actually makes me sick to think about much money we wasted when we lived in our huge house. Not only on the house but everything we bought to fill it up. All the ‘things’ that we ‘needed’ was just so unnecessary. Now, let me tell you. I do miss having a place to decorate (and the garden, I really miss my garden). It’s really hard for me not being able to paint rooms again or move around furniture. We had a really, really great house. We just realize now how much of our lives were wasted keeping up with it. 

On our Nomadiversary, we took the day off from work and asked the kids what they would like to do to celebrate our 2 year Nomadiversary and they all were for going back to White Sands National MonumentNo complaints here! 

Kids At White Sands 2Nd Time White Sands Walking Up Dune White Sands Leaving

We love that place. It’s so special. I could stand in that sand all day! The deeper your feet go in the softer and cooler the gypsum sand is. It’s just so fun to play in. 

Ada On Dune At White Sands

We spent a full 2 weeks in this sweet boondocking spot and we enjoyed being only 15 minutes from town but far enough away that it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. The only slightest bit of complaining I have that our ‘neighbor’ up the way liked to run his generator...a lot! But honestly, he was far enough away that it wasn’t a huge deal. If he had been closer, we would have left. The joys of having a home on wheels!

Oh! I nearly forgot! A whole bunch of our time here in Las Cruces was spent working on a new project! I can’t wait to be able to show you but for now...here’s a hint!

Jax In Video With Jon Recording

Guys, this life we live is not perfect. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. I just want you to know that we have bad days just like everyone else. Heck, did you know we’ve been driving around without trailer breaks for much longer than I care to admit? (We still haven’t found the problem.) Anyway, we just share our travels as a way to remember the places we have been and to hopefully help someone else who wants to explore the area. Thanks for taking time out of your day to read about our family’s adventures. 

Cheers!

Locations in this post

1

Sierra Vista Campground

Dripping Springs Rd
Las Cruces, NM 88011 USA

2

Dripping Springs Natural Area

15000 Dripping Springs Rd
Las Cruces, NM 88011 USA

3

Bar Canyon Loop Trail

Soledad Canyon Day Use Area
Soledad Canyon Rd
Las Cruces, NM 88011 USA

4

White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument
White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico USA

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https://bareneckers.com/hello-santa-fe Hello Santa Fe! 2017-05-22T06:00:00+00:00 2017-05-22T17:40:00+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://bareneckers.com/

Spoiler alert! We were fully or partially compensated for this product/experience so that we could review it for you. Rest assured we don't sugar coat or give favorable reviews just because we didn't have to pay for it. Now you know. Thanks!

After our perfect boondocking site in Roswell, we headed out for Santa Fe in search of cooler temperatures. We found an Alpaca Farm through Harvest Hosts that turned out to be a really great spot for a couple nights. 

We got to meet Bob, the owner of the farm, and he told us about his alpacas and horses. He even had two miniature mules named Romeo and Juliet. They were adorable. Adali was able to get some answers to her questions about alpacas and see what it takes to raise them. This farm even offers mentoring for those interested in starting their own herd. You can go there to learn all you need to know about how to care for your own alpacas. We are keeping this place in mind. When the time comes for Adali to spread her wings, she may just land at an alpaca farm. Who knows?

Alpacas On The Farm

While staying at the farm, we saw we were really close to Pecos National Monument so we took advantage of that on a Sunday morning. 

Kids At Pecos Working On Jr Books

Such a neat small area. The kids were able to complete their Junior Ranger booklets while we were there and earn another badge. 

Pecos Shot

They learned a lot and we just enjoyed being together and exploring new places again. We especially loved being able to climb down into this kiva.

Inside Kiva At Pecos

After the farm, we made reservations at a campground just west of Santa Fe called Cochiti Lake COE. It’s right on the lake. We paid for 5 nights with water and electric hookups and while the site itself was nice, when we saw the primitive campsites down on the water went straight to the office to see if we could move down to a site without hookups! 

Cochiti Lake Airstream

Of course they were happy to change our site for us and we were much happier down by the water away from the crowds.

This campgound is only 5 minutes away from Tent Rocks National Monument which is why we chose to camp here. We couldn’t wait to hike the trails, and they did not disappoint. 

Jax And Ada In Tent Rock

We loved the slot canyon trail! You twist your way through the slots and up to an observation point to overlook the tent rocks. It’s incredible. We have never seen anything like it. 

Tent Rocks

On our way back down we were just talking and enjoying our time when we ran into someone we knew! (what are the odds) Our friends from Belgium that we had met while we were at Big Daddy’s Grill in Fairhope, AL were on their way up the trial. We stopped and talked for a bit and asked them where they planned to camp for the night. They didn’t have any plans so we invited them to camp by us at Cochiti Lake. It was so nice to have neighbors we knew for a couple nights.

Cochilit Lake With Yellow Bus

We had one incident while at the campground. Evidently there was a ‘fight’ about 4 sites up from us. We didn’t hear anything but around 1:00 am we noticed really bright lights at our friend’s site. We looked out the window and saw a police officer looking around their site. Then we heard the officer knock on their van door. What could possibly be going on?

Well turns out the people on the other side of us called the cops due to a fight that broke out 2 sites UP from their site but the officers went two sites DOWN from their site. It was another 30-40 minutes of bright lights as another officer came with his spot light to address the problem. 

In the 2 years of camping, we have never seen an issue like that. Evidently one of the guys in the fight had to go to the hospital that night. Luckily, they were gone the next morning and we had no other issues. 

While visiting Santa Fe, we were able to visit several of their art museums. I had no idea that it was such an artistic town. 

Jett Art Museum Kids At Art Museum

There are sculptures everywhere and so many museums. Jax loved this section of the history museum. He had never seen a phone like this before!

History Museum Jax

We also visited their Botanical Gardens.

Kids On Bridge At Botanical Gardens

It's relatively new so there wasn't much to look at but we enjoyed walking around and looking at all the native plants. 

When we told some friends we were headed to Santa Fe we had several people tell us, "MAKE SURE YOU GO TO MEOW WOLF!" With that many people telling us about it we made sure to check it out. WOAH! If you haven't been, you must go! 

Meow Wolf is an arts production company that creates immersive, multimedia experiences that transport audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of storytelling. Our work is a combination of jungle gym, haunted house, children’s museum, and immersive art exhibit. This unique fusion of art and entertainment gives audiences fictional worlds to explore.

It was incredible. 

Meow Wolf Colorful Trees

The amount of work that went into this museum is crazy. There is no way to show you how awesome it is. And it really hard to explain. But, if you in the area, you MUST go!

Red Kids At Meow Wolf Meow Wolf Green

There is an underlying story that you have to basically be a detective and go through this house and all that's in it to find out about this family and what happened but then it opens up into all these secret rooms and it's just nuts. So very interesting. It's hands on, and you get 4 hours to spend inside trying to find out what's going on. It's hands down the best museum/entertainment place we have ever been to. Well worth the price to get in.

When we chose Cochiti Lake Campground it was because of how close Tent Rocks was to us but looking at the map, it appeared that Bandelier National Monument was also close by. Turns out you can’t take a direct route there which would have only been 30 minutes, but instead you have to drive almost in a complete circle to get there. I wish I would have looked that up before. But, it is what it is. We didn’t want to miss Bandelier so we drove the 1.5 hours to get there one afternoon. I am so glad we did, too. 

Girls In The Creek Crossing Creek At Bandalier Small Ladder At Bandalier

We got there just 2 hours before they closed which was just enough time to hike their best trail but it also involved 3 big ladders to get up to the Alcove House. Umm, I’m terrified of heights so I just planned on waiting down below while Jonathan took the kids up. 

When walking through, it was so neat to see how these homes were built into the cliffs. I can’t imagine how much work that would have been. There was a section of the trail that was just these huge rocks and several little homes built into the cliffs. I just couldn’t stop imagining all these families with little ones running around the rocks. It must have been the ultimate playground and the perfect spot for kids to grow up. I mean, how cool would it be to live in a cave in the side of a cliff?

Bandalier Caves

We made our way to the ladders that lead up to the Alcove House. I told them, “I’ll wait for you down here.” 

Kids Going Up Ladder At Bandelier

Just looking at where they were going gave me all the anxiety and I couldn’t look. But standing down there and hearing them be so excited to go up the ladders, I just got an uneasy feeling. We are always telling our kids that they can do hard things. We are constantly telling them to push themselves a little harder because we believe in them and we know the can do it. So, why am I not doing the same thing?

If I want our kids to be brave and do hard things, then I need to as well. 

So, I started up that first ladder. “Just don’t look down” I kept telling myself. It was all I could do to stop shaking. But I made it up that first ladder and caught up to Jonathan and the kids. Together we made it up the other ladders and into the Alcove House. 

Alcove House Kids In The Alcove House

Looking out, I couldn’t believe that I did it. I remained relatively calm and we ate a little snack that we had packed and tried to imagine what it would have been like to call this place home. 

Then we had to go down...ugh.

Going Down Ladder At Bandelier

Even half way down Jett was saying his legs were so shaky. He said, “not from it being hard to do, just because I was scared.” Me too, buddy, me too. We all made it down and Jett said, “I’ll never do that again!” but I don’t believe it. He loves that kind of stuff and now he knows he can do hard things...and so can I.

It seemed to be getting colder every day were were in Santa Fe, and the morning we were to leave, it started snowing! What? NO! We packed up quickly and changed our plans and headed south instead of north to Utah. We found a site in Las Cruces and the forecast warm and sunny! Let’s go!

Locations in this post

1

Blue Mesa Alpacas

10 Blue Mesa Rd
Santa Fe, NM 87508 USA

2

Pecos National Monument

Pecos National Historical Park
Pecos, NM 87552 USA

3

Cochiti Lake COE

82 Dam Crest Rd
Peña Blanca, NM 87041 USA

4

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Veteran Memorial Overlook
Jemez Springs, NM 87025 USA

5

Palace of the Governors

105 W Palace Ave
Santa Fe, NM 87501 USA

6

Santa Fe Modern Art Museum

108 Cathedral Pl
Santa Fe, NM 87501 USA

7

Santa Fe History Museum

113 Lincoln Ave
Santa Fe, NM 87501 USA

8

Santa Fe Botanical Garden

715 Camino Lejo
Santa Fe, NM 87505 USA

9

Meow Wolf

1352 Rufina Cir
Santa Fe, NM 87507 USA

10

Bandelier National Monument

15 Entrance Rd
Los Alamos, NM 87544 USA

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https://bareneckers.com/roswell Dreaming with the kids in Roswell 2017-05-09T08:30:00+00:00 2017-05-09T18:06:03+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://bareneckers.com/

When we left Texas we came across some giant legs! 

Legs And Airstream

We couldn't pass up the opportunity to get a picture. 

Everyone Between The Legs

Texas is weird in a really good way, but we were ready to explore more of New Mexico. We went through the southern part last year on our way to Oregon for the summer, but we didn’t have time to really explore it like we wanted to. We decided to head towards Roswell after escaping the storms in the Texas panhandle

I searched some blogs and found a place that I thought may be a good fit for us! Haystack Mountain OHV Area was just outside of Roswell, on the edge of a canyon rim, with a covered picnic table, a fire pit (which we couldn’t use due to a fire ban), and even a charcoal grill.

Once I read that it had a covered picnic area I was sold. That means that we won’t have to set up our dinning table every single day and we would get to enjoy our meals outside. We could even hang hammocks to enjoy the shade. If you’ve ever been near Roswell in the spring/summer, you know shade is everything!

When we pulled up to the location, we were so excited. 

Roswell Empty Airstream

There was no one around and the views were gorgeous. There were even vault toilets which can really help in boondocking situations. We couldn’t have picked a better spot. This was our first place to stay off grid for more than a couple days. We ended up staying 4 nights so we could really see what our solar panels could do and how long we could go on a limited supply of water.

It was such a great experience. We learned we really need to work on our water conservation methods. We would have stayed longer if the weather wasn’t so hot. Even in the shade it became a bit uncomfortable for our liking. It was so hot we bought spray bottles so the kids could cool down with water during the day. We would spray our hammocks and lay in the shade and try not to move. You may think that sounds miserable but it was actually just what we wanted.

Our days consisted of hand washing clothes.

Kids Washing Socks

The kids loved washing their own socks. Adali and Jett helped with the other clothes. Hanging our laundry out to dry and saving money on laundromat trips was awesome. Plus, it gave us more shade when we'd relax in our hammocks.

Laundry And Jon And Kids Jax Chiling In Hammock Ada In Hammock

I'm not sure if it was the air or just New Mexico in general but I've never slept so good as I did when we were there in Roswell. I think it's because we were able to hang our blankets and sheets outside every day and there's nothing like falling asleep on fresh smelling sheets and the open windows blowing fresh air in all night. Plus, I think New Mexico has some kind of magic calming abilities. We've felt so at peace here. 

Me In Blanket In Hammock

At night we would grill out on the tailgate with our Davy Crockett Green Mountain pellet grill.

Grilling On Tailgate

It's so nice to cook outside so we don't have to heat up the Airstream with the oven or stovetop. 

We took one day to make it into Roswell to visit the International UFO Museum and Research Center

Outside Aliens With Kids

It was definitely interesting to see all the research. The kids weren't super into it, which is weird because all kids like aliens, right? I think it was just too much to read and not easy to follow visually. Although now, they really want to watch ET. If you're in the area, I'd say go because it's not that expensive. Just don't have high expectations.

The biggest bummer was that the real crash site isn't even in Roswell! It's like 1.5 hours away and supposedly you have to hire a tour guide to take you there. We were really hoping to explore and find it ourselves. Oh well. Now we know.

Inside Aliens With Kids

The best part about going into Downtown Roswell was our lunch spot we found! If you visit, please make it to Big D's Downtown Dive! And you MUST order the garlic fries! Like, woah!

Back at camp, we watched the sunset every night from the picnic table, often laying in our hammocks. We would look at the stars which were SO BRIGHT every night. Not having the glow of the city lights was incredible. You never realize how much light pollution there is until you make it out to a place like this. Complete darkness. Solitude. Quietness. 

Airstream Sunset Roswell Sunet Hammcoks Sunet In Hammocks

It's been so awesome watching the kids grow up so fast while we've been on the road. It's a new found independence and I can see they are much happier with their freedom. It just gives them more time to explore what they are interested in. Adali perfected her egg-in-a-basket breakfast while we were in Roswell. She's becoming more interested in cooking these days.

Adali Making Breakfast

I will always remember this place. Not only because of the great location and views, but because it’s where we got our groove back. The renovation took a toll on our relationships so it was so nice to be together with no distractions. Just us.

During the days, the kids and I would read and talk about their dreams. Telling me about their plan to live on the same property together. They told me of the houses they want to build and the pond that will be in their middle of their homes. In their minds, it’s all planned out.

The girls talked about all the animals they will have on their little farm and how they'll make goat soap from the milk. The boys told me about their plan for Jax to fish all day in the pond so that Jett could run their restaurant on the farm. He even came up with a name for his restaurant. It shall be called, Short Jett Bronze (kind of opposite of Long John Silvers).  

I love that they are best friends and that they like each other enough to want to live together on the same land, working together to create their own lives. I love that with the freedom they have, Adali is always busy reading and researching about the animals. She wants to be prepared for when the time comes to get her own place. Is that normal for an 11 year old? 

Whether or not this happens, I think the most important thing I can do is help them learn about what it takes to make their dreams come true. To really get involved and let them know that it’s possible. We talk about how much things would cost to get a farm started. We talk about barns, fences and different feed options. We research how to build their own houses and all the different options they have. Jax can’t decide if he wants a treehouse or if he wants to live on a dock over their pond. I told him he should have both!

When was the last time you really dreamed with your kids? 

Hammocks And Laundry Hanging

This is why the little spot in Roswell is so special to me. We talked for hours about their plans, and my plans, and what we would do if we had property. We allowed ourselves to dream big. But we also allowed ourselves to believe that all of it is possible. 

The good news is, you don’t have to be in the middle of nowhere to be able to dream with your kids. I would encourage you to really talk with them and ask them about what they want out of life. They may surprise with all the information they know. I couldn’t believe all the facts Adali told me. I had to look up some of it just to make sure she was right, and she was!

Kids are so awesome when we let them be themselves. When we don’t push our ideas on them, and when they’re allowed to truly dream and think for themselves. 

We all agreed that it was getting too hot here, so we packed up and headed north. We headed north to an Alpaca farm! (keeping the dream alive)

Locations in this post

1

Haystack Mountain OHV Area

Clovis Highway
Roswell NM 88201

2

Big D's Downtown Dive

505 N Main St
Roswell, NM 88201

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https://bareneckers.com/brake-issues-a-winery-and-palo-duro-canyon-state-park Brake Issues, A Winery and Palo Duro Canyon State Park 2017-05-04T08:00:00+00:00 2017-05-03T23:14:26+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://bareneckers.com/

After leaving Caprock Canyon State Park, we started having a brake issue with our trailer. We kept getting a TRAILER FAULT warning on our dash (our F350 came with a factory brake controller). Jonathan could tell that the when he would push on the brake while towing, if that warning came up on the dash, our brakes were not engaging on the trailer. NOT GOOD!

We called around but being a Friday afternoon we couldn’t find a place that was able to look at it until Monday morning. Okay, so we needed to stay near Amarillo for the weekend in order to be close by the shop when they opened. 

We overnighted at a Walmart parking lot. We saw a storm brewing in the distance and didn’t want to drive any further than we had to with our faulty brakes. 

With nothing else to do, I decided to head out and get our laundry done for the week. When finishing up, I glanced outside and noticed a familiar glow. When I walked outside and looked up, I couldn’t believe what I saw. 

I have NEVER seen clouds like that but the color of the sky mimicked that of a sky I remembered in Indiana right before tornados swept through my hometown. I remember watching one in the distance from our front porch. The sky was a odd golden color and the tree tops seemed to have a different tone to them. I remember the smell in the air and all those memories came flooding back when I walked out the door of the laundromat. 

Boobclouds

I called Jonathan and he too was outside taking pictures of the clouds! It was the coolest experience. I just wanted to stay there watching them blow by. But my momma instincts said to get home to my family. 

The Wal-Mart security guard stopped by to warn us of the storm headed our way. With hail in the forecast and based on the lightning we were seeing, we were slightly worried about the winds and possible tornadoes.

Last minute, the winds shifted and we didn’t even get a drop of rain. We watched lightning around us in the distance, but we slept like babies that night!

Saturday morning came and we were eager to get out of Wal-Mart. We called Monty from a Harvest Host winery and asked if he had a spot we could stay for a couple of nights. He said he sure did! It was only a 20 minute drive which we were thankful for as we were driving with faulty brakes.

We set up and walked around the property before they opened to see what was around. They have a great set up on a hill outside of Amarillo. Beautiful location with the most amazing sunsets over the back patio. 

Barzsunsetpatio

Monty was a great host. He told us some of the history from the area and about a guy who cloned racehorses that lives nearby! Crazy stuff! We love being able to talk to people who really know about the area. It’s the best way to find out all the great spots that only the locals know about!

I couldn’t tell you if the wine we bought is any good because we don’t drink - however, I do have a bottle of 8 year old wine waiting for the next awesome people we meet along our way. Hope we picked a good one! Judging by the crowds at his winery, I’d say it must be pretty good!

Saturday was grocery/meal prep day. We realized that the next day was actually Easter Sunday so I found out that there would be a sunrise service Sunday morning in Palo Duro Canyon State Park. We’ve never been to a sunrise service so I thought what a great place to go to our first one! 

We woke up a little after 5:30 AM so we could get to the park around 6 or 6:30. I think I can count on both hands the number of times we’ve ever woke the kids up to go somewhere. They’re not huge fans. But they were troopers and we made it in time to get a seat. I thought it would be a bit more crowded but I’m glad it wasn’t. We knew we were in the bottom of the canyon but all we could see is this setting.

Dark Sunrise Service

But as soon as the sun peeked over the canyon rim, everything was slightly magical.

Sunrise Service

It was a much different service than what we are used to. We come from a large Pentecostal church that has an amazing band. The stage was so awesome. I just kept imagining how awesome it would have been with the band from Park West Church!

Just imagine the music building and just as the sun comes over the canyon everyone is singing loudly about our risen Lord. I built it up in my head too much, I guess. 

We decided to stay in the park for the morning and hike as much as we could. We packed our lunch and lots of water and started with an easy trail. Beautiful doesn’t do it justice. The rushing stream, the singing birds, the humming bees. It was magical. And every hike after was better than the last.

Paloduro Hike Flower Path Kids In The Red Rocks On Hike Ada Semba Kids In Cave

As we made it back to camp, we were treated to a great sunset Sunday night which soon after turned into a bit of a scare. As I was washing dishes, Monty came and knocked on our window and said...”You need to come look at this!” He explained what the clouds were doing and showed us his radar. He let us know that the storm that was just about 30 minutes from us was producing golfball sized hail and producing tons of lightning. He was a bit worried which made us a bit worried. 

We had just bought some Refletix the day before to be able to block out sun from our windows so we took that and taped it to the outside of our windows in preparation for hail damage and prayed that the storm would turn. And you know what? A wind came and blew that storm away from us! You don’t have to tell me who is responsible for that. We have seen God’s hand in every step of our journey over the last 2 years. But seriously, it’s time to get out of the Texas panhandle.

We said our goodbyes and left for our appointment Monday morning. A quick diagnostic suggested what we thought all along - the factory brake controller was acting up. They installed a third party controller and so far, so good. Really hoping that’s all it was.

We realized that in all the weather drama we had neglected to figure out where to go from here. We thought about just heading west to Albuquerque but decided to take the Roswell exit instead! I love the flexibility of being able to just go wherever the wind takes us. 

A quick search on our favorite boondock locating site, Campendium, and we found what turned out to be the most magical location to date. Just wait until you see where we ended up! 

Locations in this post

1

Bar Z Winery

19290 Farm to market 1541
Canyon, TX 79015 USA

2

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

11450 State Hwy Park Rd 5
Canyon, TX 79015 USA

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https://bareneckers.com/harvest-hosts Harvest Hosts 2017-05-03T10:00:00+00:00 2017-05-03T23:09:58+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://bareneckers.com/

If you travel in an RV for any amount of time, Harvest Hosts is a membership you should really look into. Often, we find ourselves needing a place to stay for just one or two nights in between drive days so Harvest Hosts is a great place to look for a quick stop.

What is Harvest Hosts? It's a membership that allows you access to host's wineries, farms and attractions. For just $44 per year, you can access Harvest Host's all over the country. Though remember, call or email them to make sure they have a spot available and it is polite to purchase something from the host.


Alpacas And Kids

We have stayed at several over the last 2 years and couldn't be happier with the membership. My only concern was that since we don't drink, what do we do when we need a place to stay and the only option is a winery? Well, what we end up doing is buying a bottle of wine and just giving it away to people we meet on the road. We make friends with the hosts, buy their product, and our friends on down the road get a special treat!

Blue Mesa

Just in the last few weeks we have stayed at 2 different Harvest Hosts locations.  Both of the hosts were so friendly and helpful and they even let us even stay an extra night! 

We have met such great people on the road. This is just a unique way to have a free place to stay, meet new people and learn about what they do.

Airstream Hanger

We sometimes joke around that Harvest Hosts stays are more expensive than a campground (wine is expensive, guys) but the location and the people are what makes this such a great opportunity. 

If you travel often and think this may be a good fit for you, just go to Harvest Hosts site to sign up for a membership! By mentioning us, BareNeckers, you will get one extra month on your membership and so will we! We hope you love it as much as we do! Happy camping!

Spoiler alert! There are affiliate links above. We may get compensated if you follow it and buy the product we've written about. Of course, we only recommend things we genuinely love. Thanks!

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https://bareneckers.com/no-pay-may NO PAY MAY! 2017-04-30T06:00:00+00:00 2017-04-30T14:36:29+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://bareneckers.com/

Guys! It's almost May and we have been thinking about some crazy stuff. 

Before the Airstream, we were setting aside a ridiculous amount of money for campgrounds each month. That beast of a 5th wheel meant we needed full hookups and plenty of room to maneuver everywhere we went. With the Airstream's off the grid capabilities (solar, composting toilet, truck tires, lift, etc...) we nearly halved that amount, but we decided to take it a step further. 

What if we went all of May without paying for any campgrounds? 

We could save that money for something else that we would like to do or get. (a drone, Hawaii trip, iPads, Apple Watch, hiking shoes, MexiCoke stash?? Oh, the possibilities!)

With 500 watts of solar, 400 amp hours of batteries and our Nature's Head Composting toilet, we are fully set up for long term boondocking. Why are we paying for overly crowded parks? Our favorite sites have been those away from the city and in our own little bit of paradise so...let's try this!

The whole month of May we will not pay for camping! We already know what we will do with the extra money we will save, but we can tell you about that later. (it's something for the kids)

We are all super excited about this challenge. It will push us to step out of our comfort zones. It will force us to be a bit more conservative with our water. It will teach us how to create less trash. It will force us to spend more time outside and less time on devices. It will encourage more adventure. It will cause more family time outside and we will have to get creative with our resources. 

We've got nothing to loose! If you choose to do this challenge with us, tag your Instagram boondocking photos with the hashtag #nopaymay so we can see your slice of heaven!

Good luck friends!

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https://bareneckers.com/caprock-canyon-state-park Caprock Canyon State Park 2017-04-29T09:00:00+00:00 2017-04-29T14:21:21+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://bareneckers.com/

After meeting with William and his family in Forth Worth, we were so excited to head towards open land and red rocks. We had heard good things about Caprock Canyon State Park so we pointed Leatherhead (our trusty F350 that is of course named after a TMNT character) northwest and took off. 

Let me try to do this place justice. Standing next to our site, I was able to hear prairie dogs making their adorable noises anytime someone walked by their home, which happened to be just behind our site. Then a rabbit hopped by as I walked to the trailer trying to avoid fresh bison patties ON OUR SITE! 

Each site had a covered picnic area that we didn't use often because the flies were kind of bad which is to be expected when there are fresh bison patties everywhere. 

Caprock Campsite

We went on a short little hike at sunset and came across a few bison which was a bit alarming. We stopped and waited until they moved on in the opposite direction and continued our hike. 

Sunset Hike Lake At Caprock

The sunset, the bison, the red rocks...it was just what we needed! A beautiful place to rest and recoup and make a general plan for the next few weeks all while enjoying this beautiful place. 

We tried a bike trail one day, but it was pretty overgrown with thorn bushes and the kids couldn’t handle it. I don’t blame them. It wasn’t fun getting all scratched up. Plus not all of us have bikes made for trails...one day we hope to all have good trail bikes. Until then, I guess we’ll stay on paved trails.

With all the great walking trails, there was no way to do them all. We did make it on several hikes, though. It was a drastic difference in temperature in the canyon so make sure to pack plenty of water...and snacks to keep the kids going!

Caprock Trail

We found out that there was a bike trail that lead to an old railroad tunnel that is now home to thousands of bats. Of course we had to check that out! But from the place where you can park, it’s a 4.5 mile ride to the tunnel. Could the kids make it? I had some doubts seeing that little Ada had to peddle three times to our one. Poor kid. We decided to try it and see how it goes. We stopped frequently and made sure to rest when the little kids needed to. We made it about half way before the crying started. I offered Ada two options. We can turn around and I’ll wait at the truck with her while everyone else went, or, we rest and take our time and I stay with her the whole time. She wanted to keep going! That’s my girl!

On The Bike Trail

I was so proud of her. We would go about half a mile at a time and she would need to rest and drink but we all made it up to the tunnel!

Tunnel Batcave

After reading about there being a good 10” of guano in the tunnel I packed some trash bags to put on our shoes once we got there. I know, call me crazy, but I don’t really want bat poop on our shoes and ultimately in our house. No, thank you!

Trashbag Feet In The Bat Cave

We looked ridiculous AND we forgot a flash light. So, we couldn't really see them but we could hear them! As great as it was to hear the bats, my favorite part was that the kids pushed through as the winds were pushing against us on the slight uphill trail to get there. We had a blast coming back down, though. It was just enough of a hill to not have to peddle most of the time so the kids flew back down to the parking lot and celebrated with a water fight.

9 MILES! So proud of the kids!

After almost a week at Caprcok Canyon, it finally happened!! I had been waiting and waiting to catch a bison walking through our campsite. Jon happened to be the only one outside, busy filling up a container of water from our outdoor shower area, and had no idea that this big guy was right behind him! Jett happened to look out the door (which was open) and yelled, BISON! Jon turned around and about peed himself!  

Bison Out The Door

He turned the water off and ran in the door so fast. I had to get the picture before he wandered off, but I also thought it would be best to shut the door as quickly as possible. 

Shew! What a cool thing to be able to watch him walk by our home.

Oh, there was this one night, Jonathan and I stayed up late finishing up the Netflix show, 13 Reasons Why (so good...and disturbingly real), and when I got up to get a drink in the kitchen I looked out the window to see a SKUNK sniffing around our bikes! I freaked out! I have this crazy fear about being sprayed by a skunk. It stems from a camping trip when I was little and had to go to the bathroom with my mom but there was a skunk in front of the bathroom door so we couldn’t go in. It scarred me for life!

We had a blast at Caprock Canyon State Park and I think it should be on your list if looking for great Texas State Parks.

We were really looking forward to more boondocking, being around less people, and more family time exploring. It's time to get further west where there are endless possibilities to do just that.

Locations in this post

1

Caprock Canyons State Park

850 Caprock Canyon Park Road
Quitaque, TX 79255 USA

2

Clarity Tunnel

Fort Worth and Denver Rlwy
Quitaque, TX 79255 USA

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https://bareneckers.com/back-to-where-it-all-started-forth-worth Back To Where It All Started, Forth Worth 2017-04-27T13:00:00+00:00 2017-04-27T16:54:51+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://bareneckers.com/

Eager to get out of Louisiana, we knew we wanted to head towards Forth Worth, Texas. Why? Well, you may remember last August when we picked up a tiny shiny home from a sweet man named William. 

Well, I contacted him to see if we could come by for the weekend to show him the changes we made to his old trailer. It was a bit of a gamble. I wasn’t sure if he’d be happy about our renovation. Or, what if it would be too hard for him to see all the changes?

He said he would love to meet us and come see it. I hope he likes our changes and that he will know how much we love it and how great of a fit it is for our little family.

Forth Worth was quite the haul from Louisiana so we opted for a quick overnight stay at Huntsville State Park. What an adorable park. We sure do love state parks but Texas really gets you with their DAILY entrance fees for campers. SO EXPENSIVE. We forgot that when we booked our site.

However, if you do get into Huntsville State Park, we ended up with a great site that I wanted to share with you. Raven Hill Camping Area, site #10! Its a gem. 

Huntsville Sp

Huge back yard for the kids to play, picnic table, fire pit. Trees for hammocks. It was great. It also helped that our neighbors were sweet had a bunch of kids that were eager to play. I love coming across families traveling full time. It’s so neat to hear their WHY. Each of us has our own reasons we ditched suburbia and it’s so neat to learn from each other.

The next morning we loaded up and headed towards Fort Worth. With it being spring break, not many of our top choices to camp were available so we ended up at a KOA for a couple nights. The only good part about that was meeting this guy.

Russ the Big Guy and his 1957 Caravanner.

Russ And Airstreams

He was finishing up a 2 month trip and headed back home to New York. He is an artist and offered to draw us as cartoons. 

Russ Drawing Us

The kids loved it and it was so nice getting to meet him an take a look at his rig. He even weathered out a tornado IN HIS AIRSTREAM. It actually picked it up and moved it. Crazy. It was great to meet you Russ, and thank you for the drawing!

The day had finally come! We have been looking forward to showing William the Airstream for quite some time. He also brought his family, most of which were there when we bought the Airstream last year. It was nice seeing how much they loved what we had done. How it basically remained the same layout, just updated and a perfect fit for our little family. We listened to him talk about his favorite places he and his wife had been, and how much this trailer meant to him. It was a really great day. 

William And Us

One question we had been dying to ask is where he bought the decorative screen door piece. We had been researching online trying to find out if it was original to the 1972 Sovereign or not. Turns out, his wife had been after him to put something on it so he took a screen door from his house and cut it to fit the space. It’s a unique piece, and it’s not going anywhere!

It was so nice to catch up with William and his family and know that we have his blessing on this journey. Now, time to go adventuring!

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https://bareneckers.com/kentucky-tennessee-alabama The Roadtrip with the Renovated Airstream Begins: Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama 2017-04-21T05:00:00+00:00 2017-04-25T21:28:31+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://bareneckers.com/

I guess it’s time to update on where we have been the last month on the road! We’ve been so busy playing catch up from the renovation that I haven’t taken the time to record where we have been. Although its mostly for our benefit, so that we can remember our travels, I know some one out there may find the information helpful as well.

When we left Indiana we drove 3 hours and overnighted at Kentucky Horse Park Campground

Ky Horse Park

It was a nice place but we didn’t really get to explore it. We were in a hurry to get to Knoxville to spend time with Jonathan’s family before we took off on our journey.

When we got to Knoxville, we had hoped to moochdock (staying with friends or family on their property) with a friend but we didn’t want to overstay our welcome so we opted for a week at VolPark Family Campground. It’s nothing fancy and a bunch of run down RVs that live there permanently but their weekly rate is reasonable and it was a convenient location to our Knoxville family. We have stayed there before but it’s not a place that we will likely stay again. 

At any rate, it provided a good base to do some more purging, selling and organizing as we tried to figure out exactly how we were going to live in our new Airstream.

Of course we enjoyed our time with Jonathan’s family. We only stayed a week as we were so anxious to get back to our normal life. Traveling, seeing new places and just being together as a family. The renovation took a toll on our family dynamic and it’s time to get back to the way things were. 

We left Knoxville and headed south to Birmingham, AL. A really sweet lady named Katie invited us to stay at her in-law’s pottery studio. Sweet! We pulled up and were greeted with smiling, friendly faces of this sweet family. They also have 4 children that our kids instantly started playing with. We toured the pottery studio which is really impressive. They do a lot of pottery for local restaurants and their work is top notch. 

Katies Family Pottery At Studio

The kids got a chance to throw pottery on the wheel. Earthborn Pottery offers classes and if we were in the area for any length of time, we would totally sign up. The kids had so much fun. Jax and Ada especially loved it. Jax has already asked if we can get a wheel in the Airstream. Sorry, buddy. Not going to fit. 

Kids At Pottery Wheel

It was really great to meet Katie and Nathan and their kids. Thank you so much for the tour and parking spot! Hope to see you all again sometime! (ignore the dog... so inappropriate. HA!)

Us With Katies Family

Time to head south!

We overnighted at Meaher State Park. We always love this state park but the ants can be a problem. They even suggest that you spray when you pull in. We didn't and made it out without an infestation, thank you Jesus! 

Maeher Sp 2017

Have you heard of Boondocks Welcome? We signed up and we love this membership! There are several businesses, as well people with property, that will allow you to park for the evening or a couple days. Some even have hookups. We contacted Jason from Big Daddy’s Grill in Fairhope, Alabama and he had a place at his restaurant we could park for a couple days. This was our first few days of boondocking and seeing how it our solar panels would work out. We tilted them and had no issue charging our batteries.

First Boondocking Big Daddys Grill Solar Panels Tilted Big Daddys Grill

Fairhope is such a cute little town. They have a great walkable downtown with a really cool park not too far away as well as a pier which is great to watch the sunset. 

Fairhope Pier

We had actually stayed near here about a year ago when Jonathan’s parents came down to meet us before we headed west. 

It was a great stay at Big Daddy’s Grill and we are thankful for Jason having a place for us to park and rest. 

Big Daddys Thank You

When we were asking the kids about where we should go (before we even left Indiana) they said they just wanted to go to a beach. So, we did our best to get to one as soon as possible. Which leads me to our next stop.

Creole, Louisiana.

Rig And Truck Beach Side

We pulled onto Rutherford Beach early afternoon and the wind was really whipping the sand and Ada and Jax were crying that it hurt having the sand hit their legs... Not quite the beach we all envisioned. It was completely full of litter. Some washed up and some from people who are idiots and can’t throw their own trash away. 

It’s really frustrating to go to all these places that could be really cool and they are full of trash. We spent an hour or so collecting trash from the shore and ended up with a huge garbage bag full. 

This is a place that could have been a great stay but bad weather forced us out early. With tornado warnings, flood warnings and sever weather alerts, we asked the kids if we should leave or try to stick it out.

They said, we'll just build a trench and we'll be okay. So, they started digging.


Kids Digging Trench

Once I received a text from a friend saying she hoped we were okay due to the tornado warnings...we decided to head into town for the night to stay away from the storm. We overnighted in a wal-mart parking lot and regrouped. Trying to figure out where to go for the remainder of the week so that Jonathan could work. 

We found this really cute little city park campground called Intracoastal Park and it was a gem of a place.

As And Intracoastal

We watched the boats pushing the barges all day. Kids had a blast waving to see if they would wave back. Most did which I thought was really sweet. We met a neighbor who was fishing and the kids asked him all kinds of questions about what fish he was hoping to catch and how to clean them. Then the kids remembered that we had fishing poles in the very back of the truck (not easily accessible) so we dug through trying to find them. 

They had such a blast sitting on the dock trying to catch fish. We didn’t catch a thing but they had fun. 

Kids Fishing Intracoastal

With our beach trip turning out to be a bust and us dying of the humidity in Louisiana, we decided to keep heading west. We were ready for red rocks and low humidity. 

Follow along with us as we head west. We don’t know where we are going yet, but that’s the way we like it. 

Locations in this post

1

Kentucky Horse Park Campground

4089 Iron Works Pkwy
Lexington, KY 40511 USA

2

Volunteer Park

9514 Diggs Gap Rd
Heiskell, TN 37754 USA

3

Earthborn Pottery

7575 Parkway Dr
Leeds, AL 35094 USA

4

Meaher State Park

5200 Battleship Pkwy
Spanish Fort, AL 36527 USA

5

Big Daddy's Grill

16542 Ferry Rd
Fairhope, AL 36532 USA

6

Rutherford Beach

Gulf of Mexico
Creole, LA 70632

7

Intracoastal Park

7955 Intracoastal Park Rd
Sulphur, LA 70665 USA

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https://bareneckers.com/airstream-renovation-tour-before-and-after Airstream Renovation Tour: Before and After 2017-04-17T05:00:00+00:00 2017-04-19T13:27:01+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://bareneckers.com/

After months and months (and months!) of pouring our days and nights into this renovation we are finally finished! 

Both the interior and exterior of our 1972 Airstream Sovereign Land Yacht came to us in pretty pristine shape - eight track and all!

It was so loved and taken care of by the family that owned it before us that we wanted to make sure we did the renovation right. We owed that much to them at least.

As we’ve talked about before, we had lots of reasons for downsizing from our 37’ 5th wheel to a vintage Airstream. The biggest being that we fell in love with boondocking (camping without hookups) and wanted an RV that was built from the ground up with that in mind. I think it’s safe to say that Airstreams have always been built with the goal of exploring off the beaten path, even if ours did need some upgrades for true off the grid living.

We also wanted to make a legitimate family home out of this trailer. Something that all 6 of us could live comfortably in full time and that would last another 45 years. Not just a showcase of beautiful interior design without practical functionality.

This drove us to spend hours upon hours of research on everything from solar panels and lithium batteries to water heaters, gray tanks, cabinetry latches, hooks and internet boosting antennas. Every single part of this Airstream has been thought and re-thought through so many times I am just happy not to have to think about all this stuff anymore. 

Before we show the final results, you may want to read through the process. 

Now that you're all caught up - here we go. The official Barestream renovation tour. Or as we like to call him - Metalhead (we’re Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle nerds)

Dinette + Master Bedroom

I'll never forget the look on the kids' faces that first time we went to go look at the trailer! They didn't have to say a word. They were not impressed. We kept trying to tell them our plans but they lacked the ability to see past the yellow lights, oak laminate cabinets and carpet. Just have faith little ones! We're about to make a major transformation.

Airstream Before Dinnette

If you have 6 people in a 31’ trailer you are going to have multi-use space. There is no way around that. The original floorpan had a couch up front, but when we bought it there were two recliners and not much else. A small table folded up from the wall, but it was only big enough for a couple of people. It all had to go!

Airsteam Before Dinette Area

We decided to removed the endcap and replace with new aluminum strips to open things up and allow more headroom. Then we built the seating from the door all the way back to the nose. Every inch of the area underneath the seats is storage, with our massive lithium battery bank setup in the front, two lid based storage areas on the side that house our camping gear and important documents, and drawers that pull out on the end. One holding Jonathan’s work stuff and other for all of our shoes!

Airstream Dinette Electrical Wiring Dinette Drawers

In the middle is a beautiful solid walnut table made by hand to fit the notches in the seating just right so that the marine pedestal lets it set gently down as we transform it from our eating and work area into….

Dinette Down In Bed

The “master bedroom.” Or as we like to call it - a really, really big bed! The surrounding cushions rearrange to fill the entire space. A couple of blankets, sheets and pillows and you’re ready to hit the sack or pile on for family movie night. Yeah, the frame of this thing is built like a tank.

Bed Made

Standing Desk Workstation

Directly across from the front door is Jonathan’s standing desk area. A thin cabinet chase covers some wiring we needed to run from the roof and back of the trailer and provides a small bit of storage. Next to that is our slide out trash can - the top of it doubles as a mini-desk to hold the laptop, keyboard, mouse and other items at night.

Standing Desk Side

We mounted Jon’s Apple Cinema Display with a Newer Technology NuMount Pivot Wall Mount. This thing is amazing. The range of movement is so helpful in this tiny space. We can get it back up against the wall so it doesn’t stick out at night, or bring it all the way around the other side of the wall if we need to work while everyone is at the table.

Jons Office

Remember I mentioned piling on the bed to watch a movie? It extends out at least 18” or more and moves up and down so we can use it as a TV. High five for multi-use!

The other piece to this puzzle was a small desk that the keyboard and mouse would go on that would be standing height. We looked at all sorts of options - even considered buying a second Numount Pivot Wall Mount. The difficult part was that this whole standing desk needed to be out of the way when not in use. And sturdy enough to withstand banging on a keyboard and using a mouse.

Someone jokingly mentioned that Jon should use a music stand - remember those from music class in school? But the idea of a folding stand stuck with him. He searched and searched and searched the internets for a pre-built solution and came up with nothing. Finally, he found a company that made computer tables for camera tripods. He didn’t really like any of their specific products, but they sold their mount separately so he grabbed one of those, used the same walnut from our kitchen table and made his own. Their mount had 4 screw holes in the top so we had to match those up and get some longer screws, but it works perfectly. 

He can slip the table off, compact the tripod and stick it in a drawer at night when not in use. Plus, he can put his laptop and mouse on it if we don’t want to use the inverter and run the monitor. Having the “table” part of his desk easily movable makes it simple to adjust depending on what the rest of the family is doing - and it only takes a few seconds to move things around.

The wall behind also houses all manner of cell phone signal booster and router nerdly stuff that we can bore you with later.

Kitchen & Pantry

We ended up keeping basically the same 1972 kitchen layout, but made it much more useable. Everything was so dark and cluttered in here before, so my goal was to open up the space and make it functional for full-time living. Maybe you recall what it looked like before...

Img 8655

When we designed our kitchen, I wanted to have as much counter space as I could have since we do cook most of our meals in here. Right next to Jonathan’s office area is our ‘pantry’ side of the kitchen. We have a small NovaKool fridge/freezer combo that is plenty big enough to feed all 6 of us. Most of the items that we use on a weekly/daily basis are in the upper pantry cabinets. 

Below we have baking items, bowls and our pots and pans and still have room for extra food storage. I wanted to leave a good portion of this side of the countertop usable. We opted for one side to have a barrister door to close off the clutter of charging devices, and one side to remain open for optimal food prep space. I especially love ‘the drawer’ as we call it. It is huge and we store our dishes, cups and silverware in it.

Pantry Finished

Across from the pantry side is the 'kitchen' side. The original plan was to not have an oven and just use a double burner stovetop. I am so glad we changed our minds. I love my stove/oven! We went with an Atwood because I just couldn’t shell out the cash for the marine stove I really wanted. Still looks pretty nice, though!

One of my favorite things about the kitchen is that we ended up having to raise the countertop height so that we could clear the fridge on the other side. I didn't want it to feel unbalanced so we raised both sides in the kitchen. A higher countertop just means more storage underneath. Win/Win!

Kitchen Side Finished

When looking for a sink I knew I wanted one deep bowl. I am in love with this Ruvati sink. The 16 gauge steel sink is a beast and came with a rack in the bottom to prevent scratching. It is the perfect size for an IKEA dish drain we got on a whim. I was so excited when it was a perfect fit!

The Kraus faucet we choose goes so perfectly with the Ruvati sink. I wanted something that could swivel 180 degrees so that when we are in the middle of nowhere we can just open the kitchen window and turn the faucet for a quick outdoor shower! Again...multi-use for the win!

Ruvati Sink And Kraus Faucet Kitchn Pantry Finished

As for the countertops. I have a love/hate relationship with them. I love the look of them, but I hate the fact that they scratch so easily. Think twice before you go with a solid surface. They are ridiculously heavy as well. If I had to do it over, I think I would have done butcher block top. Still heavy, but way less maintenance. 

You may have noticed these bird hooks I have in our kitchen! I had picked those out long ago and knew I wanted to incorporate them into our design. I get asked so many times about where they are from. Well, I’ll tell you. There is a store online called At West End and they have such cute stuff. I love so many of their hooks. I’m also dying to get a set of their placemats. One day...maybe.

At West End Bird Hooks

Kid's Room

I love our kids room!

We started out with the twin beds on each side from the original plan. But we wanted to open that space up. We went with narrower beds and more storage!

Airstream Before Twin Beds

At first, we wanted to move the bathroom to the middle so that the kids could have the back of the Airstream all to themselves, but I am glad we didn’t do that. Moving the bathroom drains and figure out support for the beds along the curve in the back would have been too complicated. 

Turns out my sister is a tiny house genius and had a great idea to make bunk beds that could be fold down into couches during the day. The tricky part was getting the height right and working around the wheel wells and windows. We turned to my dad and knew he would be able to come up with a plan that would work. And he nailed it! 

We used the wheel wells to support the lower bunks and the walls on either side and ribs in the frame to support the top ones. They are so sturdy and amazing, each having plenty of room for sleeping. The big kids took the bottom bunks and the little kids finally got their turn on the top bunks! They are all happy which makes us happy. 

Kids Room Bathroom Door Shut

It's just an added bonus that we can flip the top bunks down to make the beds into couches for the ultimate party room

Kisd Bunks As Couches

Each bed is equipped with their own LED reading light as well as their own 120v plug and a 12 volt plug with USB insert. This means they can charge their own devices without hogging all the ports and they are loving their own spaces. 

Bunk Bed Outlets

Above the top bunks and below the bottom bunks we crammed as much storage as we could - 14 cabinets and drawers all together! Working around the wheel wells and outside storage compartments was a little tricky, but we figured it out.

Upper Storage Girls Side Upper Storage Boys Side Lower Storage Kids

We did install two hooks on the kids side of the kitchen walls so that we can put up a curtain to divide the space for a little privacy. 

Bathroom

I am so happy with the way our bathroom turned out seeing as we didn’t have a plan for it until the week we began building it. We knew we wanted to get as much storage in there as possible. What we started with felt so cramped, but we knew we didn't have much space to work with. Hopefully with cleaner lines and a simpler design, we could achieve the feel of it being bigger than it really is. 

Bathroom Before

First we put in a huge storage cabinet to the right that houses clothes, cleaning supplies and extra towels. The lower section is where our water heater and electrical wiring comes into the trailer so really we are only able to use two-thirds of it - but it’s a huge cabinet and really stores a bunch of useful items. 

In front of the window is our vanity. It’s tiny, but we spruced it up with the same countertop we used in the kitchen, a basin sink and modern faucet. Underneath, Dad made some custom shelves to go around the plumbing and we can put a few items down there as well as storing our coco coir for our composting toilet.

Bathroom Finished As

To the left of the vanity is our shower. We went super practical on this. We didn’t want to spend the money or time fabricating some tiled masterpiece that would require the entire bathroom to get wet anytime anyone took a shower. We knew we could have done it and made it look amazing, but when it comes down to it, the functionality wins over being super pretty and impractical. 

Getting the shower to fit the curve in the back was kind of ridiculous, but it turned out great. We were even able to use the empty space behind the shower to hang a laundry bag so all our dirty laundry is out of sight.

Shower Finished As

Having this shower curtain rod really helps in the tiny space as well. We are able to pull out the bar when we are showering so that we can have a bit more elbow room to wash our crazy hair...I mean, have you seen this family’s hair? Out of control!

The hardest part for me in the bathroom is that we didn’t really have a place to hang towels that wouldn’t be visible. I agonized over it for a few days until I just gave up and we put hooks in the only places we had. 6 people, 6 hooks plus one awesome giraffe hook for our hand towel at the sink. 

Giraffe Hook

It may not be the most beautiful bathroom renovation, but it’s functional and I love it. 

And of course we had to bring along our measuring ruler! 

Ruler Bright

I made this when the kids were little and it has all their heights marked on it. Literally the only space this would fit is on this bathroom wall. We had to cut a bit of it off, but it works!

Oh! I almost forgot to tell you about our toilet! I’m sure you’re dying to know. We choose to go with a composting toilet because we mostly want to camp where we don’t have hookups PLUS we didn’t want to have to deal with a black tank ever again! We had to deal with the stinky slinky in our 5th wheel and we knew we didn’t want to have a black tank again in our Airstream. 

Composting Toilet2

Going with our composting toilet allowed us to turn our existing black tank into a gray tank. We also added a second gray tank thus doubling our storage. With nearly 40 gallons of gray tank storage we can be out in the wild for quite a while before needing to dump! We have been using our composting toilet for a little over a month now and we can say that it is much better than dealing with a black tank. Thanks for a great product, Nature’s Head!

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We hope to get a video walk-thru done soon but we want to take our time and do it right. Be sure to sign up for our email list (down below) and subscribe to our YouTube Channel. We have big plans and we would love for you to follow along on our journey!

Spoiler alert! There are affiliate links above. We may get compensated if you follow it and buy the product we've written about. Of course, we only recommend things we genuinely love. Thanks!

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https://bareneckers.com/airstream-renovation-weeks-25-26-finishing-it-up Airstream Renovation - Weeks 25 & 26 Finishing It Up 2017-04-02T05:00:00+00:00 2017-04-02T18:31:46+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://bareneckers.com/

You may recall that from the last post we had help from my Uncle Fred and finished up with the doors, drawers, and floor. Which left us with a final punch list and one major project (making custom frames for the vista windows)

Our final punch list included things like, caulk around the tub and floor, hang hooks for towels, touch up paint, figure out what was wrong with the water pump, reattach the small back splash on the kitchen countertop, etc. We had several small things to fix and fine tune but there was one major project... The pesky vista windows.

I had an idea to somehow have portholes instead of the pill shaped window. We just had to figure out a way to work around the large opening we were left with from the original window frame.

Our first attempt was to call in a friend of Dad’s who is a ‘metal master’ and he made us this contraption. While it was good and really accurate, it wasn’t exactly what I had in my mind 

Metal Portholes

Once Dad and Fred saw what they came up with, they talked and made a plan to make it out of wood. It would require very accurate measurements and a whole lot of chisel work but, with Dad involved, we knew it would turn out just right.

We ended up stacking 3 pieces of 3/4 inch poplar (that was cut to the size of the inside of the vista windows) on the back side of some 1/2 plywood. Once the glue was dry Dad drilled four 6 inch holes through the plywood and poplar to create our portholes. We origionaly wanted 3 per window but when we realized we could fit four, and reduce the weight of the frame, we opted for four holes instead.

Dad Chisel Windows Dad Working On Windows

After lots of sanding, planing, measuring, test fitting, and staining, we ended up with some really unique window frames that I am in love with. I’ve never seen it done before and it’s so fun to have something so unique in here.

Ashley Staining Windows

After we put in the window frames to stay, Dad had one last thing on his list! When we installed our water pump and used it, it sounded like we were being shot! The lines were shaking so bad and making so much noise. After lots of research we realized that our water pump was WAY TOO POWERFUL. We had ordered the best of the best and it was WAY too much power for the trailer. So, we ordered another one with half the power and installed it the next day and...problem solved!

You should have seen my dad’s face when that was done. He peaked his head in the door with the biggest smile and said...I’M DONE! I think he was a little too excited.

At this point, we had been sleeping in the trailer for almost a whole week so that we could get used to it and use things and see if there were any issues we needed to address. So far, so good. Nothing major to fix so we made plans to leave just 2 days later!

The day had finally come. It was Thursday, March 16th and it was moving day! We loaded up the truck and prepared the trailer for the journey. 

Bikes And Truck Loaded Up

We said our final goodbyes, and I tried not to cry (but that didn’t work). We have all been working 6 days a week on this Airstream for just over 6 months. We have poured our heart and souls into this renovation and it was finally done! The emotions were running high. 

Mom And Dad Sending Us Off

There are no words or things I could do to tell my parents how much this means to us. They opened their home to us for 6 months and let us interrupt their lives. Dad worked so hard on this project. I know he loves a good challenge but this wasn’t just a small renovation project. He basically built a whole house for us in 6 months. Mom helped me with the kids and helped with meals and made fresh blueberry muffins for us!

We had so many people pitch-in to help us in so many different ways. We will be writing a separate post about everyone who helped. It’s just amazing to us how many people stopped by to see what we were doing and to offer a hand. 

Mom and Dad, thank you! You made this happen.

Want to see the finished product? Don't worry that's coming soon. We've put a few images up on Instagram, so make sure you're following us over there. We can't wait to give you a virtual tour..

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https://bareneckers.com/the-2017-bareneckers-travel-route The 2017 BareNecker's Travel Route 2017-03-31T18:42:00+00:00 2017-05-22T17:23:30+00:00 Jonathan Longnecker https://bareneckers.com/

Below you'll find a map showing our travel route in 2017. Click on a marker to get a link to any articles we've written about that area. We'll keep this post updated so you can follow along with us. Enjoy!

Locations in this post

1

Martinsville, IN

Still in Indiana at the start of 2017. The renovation took nearly 7 months total and we left Indiana at the end of March. Want to see the whole process?
Airstream Renovation.

2

Knoxville, TN

Had to stop in and see Jon's family before we headed back out. Also had quite a few loose ends to tie up. We spent the week here in non-stop catching up with people and getting stuff done mode. Whew!

3

Earthborn Pottery

Our first official boondocking spot was with an awesome family in Alabama. They let us park at their pottery studio, taught our kids how to throw on a wheel and showed us so much kindness.

4

Meaher State Park

Stopped back at one of our favorite parks in Alabama for a night of waterfront breeze, cleaning the fresh tank and preparing for our first long term boondocking gig.

5

Big Daddy's Grill

We used Boondocker's Welcome to find this rad little restaurant outside of Fairhope, AL. Which is a rad little town in it's own right. The owner plans on traveling full time in the near future and was so awesome. 4 days off solar and buckets of water got us prepared for our week stay at the beach with no hookups.

6

Slidell, LA

Stayed overnight at a wildlife preserve on the way to the beach. Had amazing tacos at Tacos and Beer and met up with some traveling friends.

7

Rutherford Beach

Free camping on the beach! First day was gorgeous. Then the horrible weather rolled in. We toughed it out for two days until the tornado warnings showed up. Headed back into town and cut the beach trip short :(

8

Sulphur, LA

Had to spend the rest of the week here instead of the beach. Not bad, though. Got to charge our batteries up, get some decent showers and dry things out. Humidity at Rutherford was so bad everything was wet inside.

9

Huntsville, TX

Overnighted at Huntsville State Park and wished we could have stayed longer. Beautiful spot with a huge play area for the kids and even met another traveling family next door!

10

Weatherford, TX

Made a special stop to meet up with the family that sold us the Airstream and show them the renovation.

11

Quitaque, TX

Spent the week at Caprock Canyons State Park hiking, biking and excited for low humidity!

12

Canyon, TX

Hung out at a beautiful Harvest Hosts winery (Bar Z Winery) for the weekend waiting to get our brake controller looked at on Monday.

13

Roswell, NM

Stayed off the grid and went into town to explore the extra-terrestrial :)

14

Santa Fe, NM

Stayed at an Alpaca Farm and then some BLM land on the Cochiti Lake. Explored Bandalier National Monument, Tent Rocks and a bunch of museums in the city.

15

Las Cruces, NM

With a cold front bringing sucky weather to anywhere close by, we drove 4 hours south to Las Cruces where the camping was free and the weather was warm.

16

Phoenix, AZ

Moochdocked at some friends' house, bought a ton of stuff on Amazon and ran way too many errands while we were in civilization.

17

Sedona, AZ

Boondocked overlooking the incredible mountain range and hiked to our hearts' content.

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https://bareneckers.com/airstream-renovation-weeks-23-24 Airstream Renovation: Weeks 23 & 24 - We called in reinforcements! 2017-03-23T05:00:00+00:00 2017-03-23T18:54:42+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://bareneckers.com/

With the bathroom project behind us, it was time to call in reinforcements. We were nearing 6 months on this project and we were ALL ready for it to be done. 

My Dad had been keeping his twin brother informed on the whole process. They talked multiple times a week and bounced ideas off of each other. Well, Fred has some special tools for making cabinets and we were about to that point, so Dad made a very important call. 

Fred was more than willing to come all the way to Indiana (from his home in Oklahoma) to help us. Dad asked if he could stay a week to get some major progress done. Fred said that when my dad tells him it will be a week, he needs to count on two, and he was right.

Fred made it to Indiana on Sunday, Feb 19th and we got a game plan together. We had already scheduled to get our countertops installed on Monday, the 20th so while Jonathan and I hooked up the trailer, Dad and Fred were going to start tackling our dinette table top!

We had not moved the trailer since we got to Indiana in September! We were a bit nervous but crazy excited. 

Hooking Up To Go Get Countertops Airstream Hooked Up On Our Way To Get Countertops

We got to the countertop store a bit early and had planned to unhook the trailer so that we could go grab sushi down the road. (I’m late on the sushi train but you can’t get me off now) Well, we went to raise the trailer off the hitch and our jack crapped out on us. I mean, it is 45 years old and we knew it had issues but it just sucks to keep spending money. But it had to be done. Luckily, the guys at the countertop store had a floor jack and they helped us get it off so we could go grab lunch.

Dad and Fred met us when the countertops were done being installed and followed us to a nearby weighing station. We knew we had added a bunch of weight to the trailer but we needed an exact number so we knew what we needed to do going forward. They brought Dad’s jack so we could weigh the truck and trailer. Now we know that we could only add 1700 more pounds based on the suggested weight of the trailer. Yikes! That will be a challenge seeing as we have yet to install the cabinet doors, flooring, drawers and all of our belongings.

We made it back to the house and got right to work. Dad and Fred planed the walnut for our dinette table top. I just love watching them work together. They fight and bicker like teenagers but have all the respect for each other. It’s really need to watch them figure out all the little details and different ways to get the job done. 

Dad And Fred Planing Wood Dad And Fred Empty Sawdust

Dad was especially excited that Fred brought so many great and useful tools. 13 of these awesome Bessey Parallel Clamps to make our table! Guys, this table weighs close to 100 pounds and has over 100 screws in the bottom of it. (this may be a problem later...)

Clamps

While Dad and Fred were busy making the table, I tried to stay busy upstairs going through all of our stuff. OVERWHELMING is an understatement. I was ready to just burn it all and start over. Geesh. Why do we have so much stuff? PS. Not all of this is ours, most of this actually my sister’s but, we had quite a bit up there too.

Upstairs Disaster

When the men got the table done, we test fitted it before I started finishing it. With just a few minor adjustments, it fit like a glove and it is stunning. Just wait until you see it finished

Table Top Sanded Trimming Table

Next up was finishing the framing of the upper pantry that sits on our countertop. I’m really excited about how we are going to get use of most of this counter space but still have so much storage! You’ll understand it just a bit!

Making The Top Pantry Pantry Frame Pantry Installed

Jonathan was excited to be done finishing up with the wiring of the last of the lights and switches. I was so thankful that we ordered extra lights because now they don’t make them anymore. I think we have 3 spares! Yikes.

Last Pantry Lights

Dad and Fred continued trucking away all week building our drawers so that I could add a little pop of color before they were installed. How fun is this?

Drawer Color Blue Dad And Fred Making Drawer Boxes

We choose to go with 2 styles of doors so that we could add a bit of contrast. So, we have a total of 7 paneled doors and of course, Fred has a jig for that, too! It really is all about the tools, isn’t it?

Dad And Fred Making Panel Doors

Before Fred came, we had come up with a list of all the hinges, soft closes, and drawer slides we needed. He was able to get them cheap at a local shop in Oklahoma so he offered to pick them up before he came! What a guy! With the jig he has for the hinges, we were able to get them all done extra quick. I can’t imagine what a pain that would have been without his jig.

Drilling Holes For Hinges With Jig

They installed the drawers, I finished the staining of the paneled doors, and then they tackled the duct work, water lines, and pluming before they added doors! 

Dad And Fred Running Water Lines Running Water Lines Under Sink

I think Dad and Fred LOVED working in our ‘master closet’. This 6 inch space behind our shower is where we ran our water lines was a PAIN to get anything done in there. This space is where Jonathan's guitars will be stored.

Running Lines In Master Closet

Once the water lines were run, we added an outdoor shower! I couldn't believe we were finally to the point of having running water and working drainage system! They even got our shower faucet up and working! I thought that day would never come!

Shower Faucet Installed

Now it’s time for the rest of the doors! We got 3/4’ cabinet grade plywood that I would just sand and paint. I love the simplicity of these doors! What really makes the doors look good though is the knobs we found. We decided to go with SeaDog’s Push Button Lock for all of our doors! FORTYSEVEN KNOBS PEOPLE! FortySeven! 

Painted White Doors Bathroom Doors Up Sanding So Many Doors

Check out this video to see how they work!

While everyone else was busy installing the doors, I tackled finishing up the bathroom door. Dad and Fred made this great frame and we put in translucent plexiglass. It lets 50% of the light in but you can’t make out whats on the other side of it! We are thankful for that little bit of privacy!

Bathroom Door In Process

Now that all the doors were painted and hung, Fred had one last day to stay so we tackled the floor. Guys, I looked at so many flooring options when we first started this process and I still am in love with the one we choose. It’s a laminate flooring by Mohawk. It’s called Barnhouse Oak Cottage Villa. I am in LOVE. It looks so good with our Dark Walnut stained doors and really pops with the Simply White paint by Benjamin Moore.

Flooring Feet Dad And Fred Laying Floor Bathroom Floor Finished Dad Laying Last Piece Sitting Looking At Floor

I don't’ want to show you the whole thing just yet because we are still playing around with where everything will go - but look at how far we have come in the last 2 weeks with Fred’s help! 

There are no words I can say to show our gratitude for him taking time to come help us get this done. I mean, I know he had a blast working with dad, but I hope he knows what a blessing he was to our family. We would never have gotten this far, this fast, without his help. Thank you Uncle Fred!! And thank you Rhonda for letting us borrow him for 2 weeks!

Guys, it's down to the final punch list and we are on our way! Exciting times around here!

Spoiler alert! There are affiliate links above. We may get compensated if you follow it and buy the product we've written about. Of course, we only recommend things we genuinely love. Thanks!

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https://bareneckers.com/airstream-renovation-bathroom Airstream Renovation - Bathroom 2017-03-11T05:00:00+00:00 2017-03-22T20:46:58+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://bareneckers.com/

Guys, we are so far behind. Let me back up a bit and tell you about our bathroom.

We choose to go really functional with the bathroom. Instead of picking designer tile and spending way too many hours grouting said tile, we chose a simple bathtub with a plastic inclosure and shower curtain. 

Seeing that we didn’t have a plan for the bathroom until the day before we started building, I am super happy with how it turned out. 

The day the tub arrived we quickly got it inside so we could measure and make a game plan. We knew we would have to raise the tub due to the P-Trap but we were able to keep our rise at around 3 inches instead of the 5 that we thought we would need. Every inch counts in an Airstream.

Checking Tub

I have said it many times but it is still true...My dad knows how to do everything. He spent so many hours thinking about how to keep the tub as low as possible and we are so thankful for all he knows. This could have never happened without him. None of it!

Dad Plumbing Tub

Once we had a game plan walls went up quickly. Each board cut to different angles on the top. The precision dad has with his tools is just amazing to me. He cut most of these with a hand saw!

Framing Tub Walls Bathroom Studs

Once the studs were up it was time to make the plywood walls. Let me tell you, we are so tired of cutting curved walls. This bathroom had so many curved walls. We're over it. But it was no surprise how Dad was able to master the curve, even in tight places.

Tub Wall Curves Last Bathroom Wall

Now, time to get that tub in on the platform and get the drain in.

Walls And Tub In

With all the walls in place, now it was time to cut the plastic enclosure to fit the walls. One wrong cut and we'd have to order another one. Glad I've got the pro, even when he won't let me help.

Dad Cutting Plastic Bathroom Walls

Ada approves.

Ada In Tub

Jonathan's going to get huge thighs from all the squats he'll have to do in the shower.

Jon In Shower

Now on to the vanity. We wanted to keep it as small as possible but utilize as much storage as we could in this small room. Maybe you remember from our last post that we had already built the 'closet' on the opposite side of the tub. It's getting really crowded to do anything in here. At this point I knew Dad was counting down the days until he was done with this project. It's gone on longer than any of us cared for but we are all really happy with what we have created.

Framed In Bathroom

With everything built in the bathroom it was time for me to step in and paint and stain.  That went quick and now that we have the vanity, it's time to get counter tops ordered!

Things are MOVING and we are so happy to be nearing the end of the renovation!

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https://bareneckers.com/angel-peak-scenic-area-new-mexico Angel's Peak Scenic Area New Mexico 2017-02-11T05:00:00+00:00 2017-02-15T16:23:49+00:00 Jonathan Longnecker https://bareneckers.com/

Back at the end of August we were driving non-stop from La Grande, OR down to Texas to sell our 5th Wheel and pick up the Airstream. 1,700 miles in 5 days. Whew. We stopped in Bloomfield, New Mexico to overnight. Exhausted and tired of sitting the car all day, we needed an adventure. 

It was late, but Trip Advisor showed this little place about 20 minutes away called Angel's Peak. Nothing crazy - just some cool mountain views. In fact, the reviews even said the main peak had eroded recently to the point where it didn't even resemble an angel anymore. But we decided to try it.

The drive out was beautiful - expanses as far as the eye could see. It didn't hurt that the sun was starting to go down. Desert sunsets are always a plus. 

Heading down a long washboard and gravel road, we finally found the parking area. The remoteness and lack of signs paid off. We were the only ones there.

Angels Peak Truck

Getting out of the car we were struck by the stillness. It was sooo quiet. Almost immediately the edge dropped down into the badlands. Pastel colored cliffs, scattered hoodoos and brush as far as we could see. The silence, the view and the sunset took our breath away.

Angels Peak Canyon 1 Angles Peak Valley Angels Peak Family 2

There were even some insects and wildlife around. This moth was particularly cool.

Angels Peak Butterfly

Now that that gawking was out of the way it was time to explore! The road looped around the basin so we drove until we came across a picnic area. There were 3 of them total, and at this one we found a trail to the side that led us to a beautiful little bench overlooking the canyon. There had to be pictures!

Angels Peak Ashley Jonathan Bench Angels Peak On Edge

One of the coolest thing about this whole area was how undeveloped it felt. The "trails" were really just areas that lent themselves well to walking based on how the grasses and rocks opened up. We felt like explorers, not just trail hikers.

The further back we went, the more fun it got. The kids were having a blast climbing over rocks, sliding down sandy embankments and finding their own paths.

Angels Peak Panorama

Finally we saw this really cool formation of rocks way down in the basin that it looked like a rock castle that we could hike to. The kids were all about it, but Ashley was not. She stayed behind while we climbed down. I'm not sure if it was the sunset, the adventure of it, or the kids' excitement, but it's something I'll always remember. It really felt like an accomplishment to get down there.

Angels Peak To Castle Angels Peak To Castle2 Angles Peak Castle

Even better, there were more hidden formations past the ones we saw after crawling through some tiny openings. At this point Ashley was a speck in the distance and we could tell by here waving and yelling that it was time to come back.

Angels Peak Ashley Speck

Making it back to the truck we headed out just as the sun went down - exhausted and happy to have adventured to Angle's Peak. If you have a couple of hours and are near Bloomfield, NM we would definitely recommend spending some time here. The views, the quiet and the raw trails were a great way to spend the evening.

Angles Peak Outcropping

We didn't notice while we were there, but apparently this is BLM land and there are some campsites available. It would be an amazing place to wake up in the morning, that's for sure. I can tell you that the campground we stayed at in Bloomfield was basically a parking lot and in a pretty sketchy area of town so boondocking in the badlands would have been a much better way to go. Check it out if you're in the area!

Locations in this post

1

Angel Peak Scenic Area

Angel Peak Scenic Area
Bloomfield, NM 87413

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