Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Kind of Homeless: Finding Home

  Being married is a great and many splendid thing. I get to share my life, goals, ideas, family, good things, bad things and everything in between (you get the idea) with a really awesome man of God. We love each other and we even like each other. I am one lucky lady.

  Moving around and going where the wind may take us has been really cool and we may not be able to do something like this for a long time to come. What's more, is Dave and I got to do this together.  Throughout our time of roaming, I've tried to push the fact  that our material things are scattered between two or three counties and that boxes are a vital part of our existence, out of my mind. Now is the time where those boxes become a reality that we're going to have to face and now is the time when we have to decide what is important enough to come live with us in our Bounder and what gets to live in those boxes until further notice. We knew this time would come and I have been both looking forward to this time and dreading it. Mostly, looking forward to it all.

  Our family and friends have been a blessing to us this summer. Letting us stay in their houses, in their beds or in their driveways has made our last month a great one. There are no complaints on our part.

  Our impending reality of box diving has become a sign of renewal, in a way. We are realizing how important it is for us to have our own space, so even though the Bounder is a small space, it's our space. A place where we can debrief at the end of the day before being in bed and too tired to talk. Aplace where we can put our groceries and then cook them later. A place where we can make a mess and choose whether or not to keep it messy. A place where our underwear might be the only thing worn. In no way are we unappreciative to the people who have welcomed us into there place of living with wide open arms, nor will we claim to have had a less than stellar time with them. We have just realized throughout these past weeks how a space of our own is something we have taken for granted.

  In the past, Ephesians 5:31 made me nervous, because I love my family (both biological and new) and being around them makes me comfortable. So comfortable that I usually feel nervous letting others in on how I am behind closed doors. Through this, I am becoming aware of the need for a man and his wife to be independent from their family and discover life relying on one another. In this way, I am in an ever growing understanding of how we should feel about God. Being a wife gives me a clearer knowledge of what it means to submit to God's will and love while still maintaining a deep relationship with just Him. Like many others, I don't want to leave my old habits or learn to do things relying solely on God. Just as Dave and I find it vital to find our independence in our relationship, I should find that and desire that in my relationship with God. To leave what I've known, what is comfortable to me to better myself, is where I know I should be.

  Home is subjective. While away from our four walled building, home was with those we love or on the beach with hundreds of other people or on the top of a mountain with millions of gnats. While your home might look like these places or somewhere completely different, my home is always the same, just with different views, with Dave.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Kind of Homeless: Part 3

  I couldn't decide whether or not to post about our "homeless, vagabonding" adventures because we left the Bounder behind in Jamesville after our second week of roaming around. But, I decided to go ahead and keep you guys up to date about our summer even if we aren't in the Bounder because our travels are leading up to our more permanent life in our RV, coming up in August.

  Our third week, July 9th through July 15th, was spent in Richmond, Virginia with Dave's sister and her boyfriend. We had a pretty awesome week and did a bunch of things. We stayed with Landon, the boyfriend of Dave's sister, Jo. His living quarters are unique this summer as well. He is living in the basement of some people he knows from the church he is doing his internship with this summer. Check this church out, they're pretty awesome and pretty new - Area 10 - !! Landon was kind enough to let us have his bed for the week while he slept on the fold out couch.

  Moving right along! Dave and I met a ton of people during our week in Richmond and they were all pretty awesome and most of them were very busy people a lot of the time. Monday Dave and I went to the small group, or bible study Landon helps lead and got to be a part of some awesome discussion and be there for a baptism! It's always awesome to be a part of the beginning of a new chapter in someone's life.

  Tuesday was spent being touristy and walking around Cary town with Jo and her roommate after breakfast. Later, riding with Jo to work resulted in our buying a hanging fruit basket for the Bounder! We are always trying to find new ways to conserve space in there. Tuesday was quite easy going and lovely.

  The excitement began to build Wednesday as we woke up in anticipation of our camping trip the next day! Dave, Landon, Jo and myself planned on going up to Woodstock, Virginia to camp for 2 nights and do a little hiking, take in the mountains and let Dave hang glide off of said mountain. Unfortunately, Jo woke up feeling bad this Wednesday morning and later found out that she had strep. Dave and I kept our distance for the 48 hours of her being potentially contagious and prayed she would feel up to camping Friday. We didn't want to go without her because we wanted her to be a part of the fun. Thankfully she was feeling up to the challenge on Friday and we trekked up to Woodstock.

  Though, I skipped Thursday, it was a fun day. Dave, Landon and I went to Kings Dominion, so no complaints here. I can ride roller coasters until I black out. Seriously. And even then, I'd keep going. Anyway, Friday came and we put our camping faces on. We went up to the camp site first thing to set up our stuff because we thought it might rain. Even though the rain was looming, we headed up to the mountain where Dave would launch his hang glider and we would all hope for the best. Once you step off the side of a mountain, there's no coming back, really. Thankfully he flew right over those sharp, deathly trees of doom and glided safely to the ground. He flew for about seven minutes, which was good enough for him considering the not so perfect conditions and we headed back to the site to continue camping!

  We got back Saturday just in time for Dave and Landon to practice for the Sunday music at church while Jo and I vegged out in front of her tv. Sunday morning came and went, we ate lunch at a Thai place and packed up just like a normal Sunday these days.

  Uneventfully, we got from Richmond, Virginia to Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. We did leave our friends in Richmond with some thunderstorms, but we didn't see any of it. We had a great time and I probably left out a bunch of really awesome things, but I'm very thankful if you read this far. If this post was full of more awesome, you'd be reading for days and I don't think that's what anyone wants to do.

  The Outer Banks is next on the agenda. We'll be staying in a regular house, the kind without wheels, but we'll keep you posted nonetheless.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Kind of Homeless: Part 2!

  Week two was spent in Jamesville, NC with my parents. This one pony town is located between Plymouth, NC and Williamston, NC. My parents were also very generous in sharing their driveway with us. This week we only popped the breaker twice! We’re getting good at this whole electricity thing huh? We spent a bunch of time inside this week since it was scorching and were able to relax a bit. 

  July 4th came during this week and we ventured down to the OBX to hang out with my sister, Emilie. Dave got a chance to go hang gliding, while the rest of us hung out at the beach. It was a pretty good day until Dave got heat exhaustion near the end of the day. Thankfully he was able to get going enough to make it to the car to head home. 

  This was a dangerously hot week for our family. Dave loves working on projects to keep him busy. Luckily, my dad needed his mower to be fixed! My dad and Dave had the mower high in the air as they tried to distinguish what the problem was and my dad ended up passing out. He had been careful to drink plenty of water, but had forgotten to eat. No food + 102 degree temps = a passed out pops. Thankfully he recouped and eventually the mower was fixed as well!

  Family time was had for the rest of the week. The Bounder did well, as expected. It was doubly hot inside of it, which had its own, unique draw backs. I don’t know if you guys know this, but when one has to go to the bathroom in an RV the deposit goes straight into a holding tank. Duh! Right? Yeah. Well, when an RV is full of you-know-what, and it’s above 102 degrees outside, things tend to... become obvious. If you catch my “sniff” (pun intended). So, we kept deodorizing that until it could no longer be deodorized.

  Dave finished up some odds and ends on the Bounder that he had started in Falkland, while I tried not to even be outside. All in all, it was a pretty relaxing week with some bumps along the way. 

  We were able to attend church at Poplar Chapel Church of Christ where I grew up attending, on Sunday July 8th. It was really awesome to get to see everyone and catch up a bit. After lunch we attempted to leave to head to our next destination. This plan was tricky, so stay with me. We packed up EVERYTHING and stuffed it all in our two cars. Jamesville was the end of our summer rendezvous with the Bounder, so we took a bunch of things with us. We left the RV in my parents yard and headed for the OBX. Dave’s parents live there and after week 3 of being kind of homeless, we knew we would be going straight there. So, we went to the OBX to drop off Dave’s car and a few things. After that, we headed North to RICHMOND, VA!!!

  Yeah, right. It wasn’t that easy. Of course. 

  We always have to leave in a dramatic way. Mostly, we’ve moved on to our next destination accompanied by buckets and boat loads and tons of rain. This time my body decided it was too hot to function. That’s right, dehydration. On the way to the OBX, I suddenly realized I had tunnel vision. Soon after the tunnel vision, my head started pounding. This pounding was accompanied by nausea and feelings of hot flashes. By the way, I was driving.  Yep. Needless to say, we barely made it to Dave’s parents without me vomiting and we stayed the night there. We can’t just have a boring, normal departure. There at least has to be a tornado, hail or sickness.

  Next on the agenda, Richmond! Because we did finally get there!   

  If you missed the excitement of our first week, we've got you covered ;) Part 1

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Kind of Homeless: Part 1

  Dave and I have spent two glorious weeks in our majestic Bounder. I am using such wonderful adjectives, aren’t I? I just realized that. Anywhoo, These past two weeks have flown by and we’ve done a bunch, Bounder related and otherwise. 
  Our first week was spent in Falkland/Fountain NC. For those of you who might be geographically challenged like me, that’s right outside of Greenville. We have really good friends who gave us their driveway to park in and use their water and electricity. They’ve always been really hospitable people as long as I have known them. We did the majority of our Bounder maintenance this first week because it was a trial and error type of thing since we’ve never tried living in it before. When we went on our anniversary in New Bern, NC, we were spoiled by the 30 amp plug they had there. We thought we could get away with running whatever we wanted in the Bounder off of the 20 amp plug outside their house. Well, we were wrong. Three times. We tried running the A/C and the fridge at the same time and some how they would cancel each other out and we were poppin’ fuses like they were hot. Coming home to a very silent rv, no A/C running and no fridge running is a disheartening thing. We learned, eventually. 
  We really wanted to be able to run the fridge between trips so we wouldn’t have to put everything in our cooler every time we unplugged. Also, we didn’t want anything to spoil. So, earlier in the month we bought a solar panel large enough to charge a battery that we could hook up to the fridge and keep it going on solar power alone. Pretty exciting!! Dave spent a good amount of time on that this first week, but it was worth it. 
  The heat was looking like it was about to reach a level we weren’t very comfy with sleeping in this week. We bought a window unit for our room since it didn’t get any air flow from the big A/C in the living room. It was almost the best decision we’ve ever made. Sleeping in a cooled space is almost too good for words after a sweaty day. And we were sweaty... erry dang day. Dave worked his magic and used his ingenuity to fit the window unit into place. We wanted to be able to ride down the road without it falling out, so there were many a screw screwed in that day. It’s so good.
  Dave’s last day as the music minister intern was approaching at the end of this week. As we were preparing for this day to come, we were feeling happy to move forward and sad to leave friends and such an awesome church family. The day came and it was a pretty great Sunday, like usual, but it was kind of a sad day. 
  They prayed for us and took up a love offering. Dave sang a song by himself and people hugged us before we left them. I almost cried and we both were so appreciative, so beyond appreciative that we were overwhelmed. I felt like I couldn’t express myself well that day, so I just hugged people and tried to treat it like any other day. 
  We ate lunch and went back to Falkland to pack up the ‘ol Road Whale and get moving to our next destination. This task was far greater than we could’ve imagined. I don’t know if you North Carolinians and Virginians remember, but we had a pretty intense storm come through July 1st. Dave was driving the Bounder, I was driving our Ford Focus, Dave’s dad was driving our Tracker and Dave’s mom was driving her car. Our fleet of vehicles was bombarded with first wind then sheets of rain and a lastly, a little bit of hail. This forced us to pull over. The normal cars made it to a gas station, but Dave had to stop a little further back because he went through the dump on the way out and once he saw the land spout he called it quits until it got a bit more calm. After about 30 to 40 minutes of waiting... waiting... waiting, we headed out. The main road we were taking closed down halfway because of power lines being down across the road. We were forced to use dun dun dun!... Backroads. We weaved through miles of limb and debris riddled road for around 25 minutes only to get about halfway and see that a tree was blocking the entire road. The kind folks that lived near this blockade told us we might as well turn back, so that’s what we did. 
  So, making our hour and a half journey into a two and a half hour journey, we made it. Finally.
  Our second week was a bit action packed as well. Stay tuned for part 2!!  

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Up Dates.

Hello friends y familia!  Since it has been a while since we have posted on our blog (life is super busy right now) I thought I would take a second and give you a quick update on our motorhome project.  Let's hit some highlights:

Katie and I celebrated our first year anniversary of marriage on May 22nd by taking the motorhome on a trip to beautiful, historic NewBern North Carolina.  We booked a site at the KOA for monday through wednesday and were super stoked for the vacation.  I was a little concerned that the Bounder would give us trouble on the way, but she ran strong and smooth the entire time!  We ended up finally purchasing a new chassis battery for starting the engine, as the old one just gave up.  It was super cool getting to drive through all sorts of new situations: over bridges, under overpasses, through down town traffic, and I even pulled a successful U-turn!!

I will say yet again: I have found the ultimate driving machine.  BMW doesn't even know.

Our stay at the KOA was perfection.  10 out of 10 for sure.  This was our first real experience RVing and the nice folks in the yellow shirts helped us out without being condescending or anything of the sort.  It was cute to see the couple's reaction when they heard that it was our first trip.

"Oh I remember our first RV trip!"

The town of New Bern is an excellent place to take your sweetheart because there is lots of fun and romantic things to do.  Katie and I got to take our paddle board out on the river during the day, and in the evening we got to go on a sailing cruise with On The Wind Sailing Cruises.  The cruise was excellent and really made us appreciate not being super rich.  It also gave us sailing fever again.  I strongly recommend On The Wind cruises if you're ever in the area.  The capitan is super nice and knowledgeable and her boat is beautiful.

On the way back home from our trip we followed a giant thunderstorm.  We tried to take our time so that it would stay ahead of us, but we ended up catching  up to it as we neared Washington, NC.  We slowed down and used the hazard lights until it started hailing!  I quickly swerved off the highway and we hunkered down in a Food Lion parking lot.  It was super nice to be able to walk to our bedroom and just relax while waiting.  It was also awesome to see the storm through the ginormous windscreen of the Bounder.

After the storm we got to see some Mammatus clouds, and Katie helped an older lady get her groceries in her car.  Then we fired up the old beast and continued on towards Jamesville, NC.

All in all we had a safe and wonderful first RVing experience celebrating a marriage that has been a tremendous blessing.

Other updates include:  We recently purchased a 45 Watt solar panel kit!  We're going green baby!  We are hoping that the solar panels will be able to keep our mini fridge running in case we have to move or the power goes out.  Dad knows far more about electrics than I do, and unfortunately he doesn't think the panels will be enough to keep the fridge going.  At least they should keep the coach batteries topped off.

We also have some exciting news!  Our gracious friends in Falkland, NC are letting us live in our RV in their new back yard for our last week here in Greenville!  We are stoked to get to spend some time with them and their puppies out in the country.

As far as technicals, we have received our new genset muffler and should be installing that shortly.  Our fuel filler hose has a crack in it and I will be replacing that soon as well.  We discovered that our adventure driving in the storm had damaged our front right fender.  The puddles splashed up and split the vinyl siding.  This too should be a fairly quick fix.

We are still excited about living in our RV for a while, and all the adventures that we will encounter along the way.  Thank you family, friends, and visitors for supporting us and checking out our blog!

I'll peace out with some pictures of the fun.

-Dave & Katie Broyles

Here's our beautiful camp (Kamp) site.  I love KOA but I think its silly to start every "C" word with "K".  Notice the scenic Neuse River in the background.

This is the breakfast flower that I picked for a centerpiece for our anniversary breakfast!  A morning glory I believe.  

Here is our sweet touristy picture taken with the 10 second timer!  Notice the beautiful seat cushions and curtains curtesy of Mom in Law!

Here's me and my girl.  Notice the cloud in the back ground?  It started like that...

...And turned into this.  Check out our sweet bumper whiskers bristling in the wind!  Oh the glory!

Stopping on Hwy 17 to let the rain settle down.  The windscreen is so vast that it takes the wipers a while to get back and forth.

Chilling in the bedroom for a while.

Here is me on the sailing ship Nervana.

"Can I hoist that sucker?"- me  "Absolutely"- capt. Melinda

Thursday, May 17, 2012


As aforementioned in the previous post, work has re-begun on our 1988 Fleetwood Bounder motor home!  Since we are planning to take our first RV trip next week, there are a goodly amount of projects needing to get done to get the rig ship shape.  Here is what we have been working on as of late:

Curtains and dinette seat covers are almost finished thanks to mom-in-law!  The seat covers are secured with velcro and look super good when stretched tight.

Katie has been painting the bedroom a nice minty/aqua blue color.

I removed the entire A/C unit and cleaned everything.  It was quite a project.  The guy who sold us the RV told us that there was a leak around the A/C during downpours.  He was right, the aluminum roofing around where the AC unit seals had corroded leaving small holes.  After removing the unit, I swept the debris away then used a wire brush to rough up the aluminum.  Then I cleaned the underside of the unit and used leftover roof sealant to solve the leak issue.  Cleaning the indoor side of things was awful, since the leak had caused mildew stuff in the baffles and filters.  I'm glad I took care of the whole thing before we had to live with that thing.  Here is a look at the spot where the outside part of the unit was.

Yesterday, there was a severe deluge and I could detect no leaks afterwards!!

Another project that has been a pain is the engine belt situation.  The great belt dilema.  Changing belts on most rear wheel drive vehicles is fairly easy, especially ones with spring tentioners.  The Bounder is very different, in many ways.  Ways that make engine work less enjoyable.  The main problem is accessibility.  The engine is completely surrounded by frame and steering components.  The other factor is that this set up has 9838 different belts.  There is a serpentine belt for the alternator, a v belt for the AC pump,  two parallel v belts for the power steering, and a v belt that runs up into a mysterious realm of the engine compartment that has remained unexplored by humans for at least a decade.  Most of these belts are either old, or loose, or in the case of the serpentine belt, shredded into oblivion.

As long as the weather permits, these issues will be solved on Friday.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Jeepers, it has been a aeons since our last post!  Much has happened in those aeons, and I'm here to bring everyone back up to speed.  Since our last post we discovered that Katie will have to have her wisdom teeth out, so there went our budget for our great road trip adventure that we had been scheming about.  After that we received word that due to our friend's home owner's association's rules we would not be permitted to even park our RV on their property.  Since we were planning to live there in Camden whilst finishing school, it was a major setback.  Things were looking pretty grim for the ol' Bounder.  We questioned whether or not we should just try to sell the thing before having to resort back to conventional (expensive) housing.  We decided to investigate possible contingency plans, and put the renovation process on hold.

Thankfully, we slowly began to see some hope for our quest, starting with the help of our good friend Keith.  He proposed to our school board to allow us to temporarily stay in our RV on campus.  Katie and I both had our doubts, but MACU came through for us, graciously permitting us to park on campus for a semester at least!  We will have to pay for utilities and parking, however it is still a good deal since we are so close to class and homework resources.  This is especially good news since we used school money to purchase the rig.

Another ray of hope came when we ran into our friends Kim and Erin from the OBX.  Mrs. Kim shared some life experience wisdom with us, recommending that we keep the RV if at all we can since we would probably regret selling it later in life.  This was very poignant advice for Katie and I because we have a marriage where we try to live our dreams (within reason of course), even though it sounds cliche.  I'm already living the dream, waking up to her pretty mug every morning.  Anyways, we decided to heed Mrs. Kim's advice and keep the rig.

Furthermore, we have just confirmed our reservation at a KOA campsite ("kampsite" I am annoyed when people change the letters just to be "cute") in New Bern, North Carolina to celebrate our first year of marriage!  This will be our first excursion in the Bounder so far.  I got really excited and bought a bunch of stuff to make the trip better, like a new sewer hose (Rhino Flex-seems really nice), a new faucet, a new smoke alarm, and some sweet Walmart camping chairs.

This last few weeks, we have been working diligently on finishing our renovation projects:
-New carpet and vinyl is done. (decided to leave the cab as-is)
-New curtains are almost done.
-Trim is down
-Electric water heater conversion is successful
-Exhaust leak has been found and repaired.**  Thanks to Jonathan for the parts!
-Generator problem has been isolated
-Engine belts still need to be tensioned/replaced
-AC and furnace still need to be cleaned and checked out
-Mom-in-law is working on new covers for the dinette seats

In conclusion, we are stoked once more.  Hopefully, we will be posting more updates soon.

Since every blog post needs pictures, here is a before and after of the exhaust leak.  Note that this is on the inlet side of the muffler, also that there is no catalytic converter on this vintage motorhome.  "What does that mean?" you say? It was LOUD.

I used aluminium foil as a sort of gasket and clamped a piece of flexible pipe over the hole.  Works nice.