RV Open House

We're almost done with the RV renovations. Joe has been working from dawn to dusk to finish the thing--new floors, countertop, hardware, and lots of other little details to make it feel like home. Now if we can only get Rowan to do a little more painting, we'll be all set! (She isn't always naked, although I think she'd prefer to be).

We're planning to host an RV Open House for those of you in the Grand Rapids area who would like to see our new digs before we head out to CA.

So here's the plan: this Sunday, Sept. 30, at Ada Park (the Buttrick Ave. entrance). We'll be there from 4:00 until close to dark...so if you want to just drop in and say hi, or if you want to pack a picnic and eat with us and enjoy the park for awhile...whatever fits your schedule. We'd love to see you no matter how briefly.We're going to just be there, hanging out, eating some supper. And we should be easy enough to find--just look for the huge Ford F-250 with a 35-foot Dutchman 5th-wheel behind it! We can't wait for you to see our new pad!

After that, our plan is to leave MI sometime early the next week (during that first week of Oct), take a leisurely trip out to CA, and hopefully be in Isleton to start training by mid-October.

Joe's dad continues to recover and gain strength every day. Rowan has been taking a daily walk with him up and down the street. It's the first time we've seen Joe's dad with facial hair--he hasn't shaved since surgery! For pictures of the beard(s) and the walk, check out his site at www.caringbridge.org/visit/cebulski


Last Days in Jonesboro

I finally got around to uploading the last few weeks' worth of photos...so this post is a strange conglomeration of moments from our last few days in Jonesboro. I'll comment on each briefly. But first, we wanted to give an update on Joe's dad. He had open heart surgery (quadruple bypass) on Thursday here in GR. The surgery went well and he has been hard at work recovering. So we've been spending some time at the hospital, trying to give Joe's mom a break. You can find out more details about dad at www.caringbridge.org/visit/cebulski

These two pics of Rowan were taken in our window seat on Nettleton--during a thunderstorm, so the light was just right. The classic 2 year old fake smile.

This man is the reason we moved to Jonesboro! Earl Bell is an amazing pole vault coach and has been supportive, loving, and encouraging to us for over 8 years. We will miss the fun meets at the building, the cookouts, and the big hugs.

Earl's parents (or, Grandma and Grandpa Bell, as everyone calls them) are another thing we'll miss about Jonesboro. Grandma and Grandpa are two of the most amazing people I know. Grandpa is in his late 80s...and he still pole vaults! He holds the world record for his age group. They live simply, healthy lives---and take all the pole vaulters in like family.

Friends saying good-bye--Jordyn, Carson, (me and Rowan), Julianna, and Camryn.

Rowan really wanted to help Joe take apart her crib. This is the beautiful oak crib that Joe's dad made before Rowan was born. We packed it up carefully for a future sibling!

We had the good fortune to live very close to some great friends. Amy, Lon, and Eli lived right across the street---and hardly a day went by that we didn't spend some time over there, or they would stop over for a visit. We miss Eli already! This was taken on one of our last days home.

This is the Hewitt family--James, Dana, and Saraya. James and Dana were some of our first friends in Jonesboro--we even lived together for 6 months at one point! Saraya is a year older than Rowan and they are great buddies. They play so well together, and just truly adore each other. I will miss watching them laugh together.

This is from the last morning in our house. Rowan, in the window seat, pretending to talk on my cell phone.


Veggie Oil (Conversion) Adventure!!

Several weeks ago I sat in my garage with tubing, valves, gauges, wires, and a growing sense that I was in over my head. I was supposed to be installing my new waste vegetable oil (WVO) kit from Golden Fuel Systems into my 97 Ford F250. Shortly thereafter, I removed myself from the confines of my 107 deg garage and plopped down at the keyboard of my computer to ask for help. My plea fell on kind ears and hearts, and soon I was off to Springfield, MO for an "installation sponsorship".

Everyone at Golden Fuel is affable, interesting, and seems to enjoy what they are doing. John and I dove right in and had the truck plumbed by the end of the first day. Halfway through the second day we had things wired and ready to prime. Two things were clear, I had made the right decision not to do the install myself, and things were going way too smoothly. The latter would be remedied soon. We turned the ignition, started the engine, and were greeted with a less than appealing rumble from the engine. We test drove it around the block and were glad we had our seatbelts on since the violent shifting pattern might have launched us from the vehicle.

By 9:30 PM we had exhausted every possible solution. Everyone was tired and dirty and disgruntled. We vowed to return in the morning to resume the fight. By lunch the next day, the truck had revealed itself a formidable foe, and still no solution had been found. The call was made to send me to the local Ford diesel genius, Guy Ferguson. Suzie Ferguson greeted me as I entered and took great compassion on my weary soul. Though they were booked out for the day, Suzie somehow convinced Guy to take a look at it.

Before letting you know how things turned out, it is important to give you a little background on my truck. She is known as "the Beast", as she could eat each of our other trucks for breakfast. I have recently done some genealogical research on her to discover a bit more about her past. Come to find out that she is in fact a polish truck. Full name: Betty Beastinski. This helps to explain why it took an extra day in Springfield, lots of man-hours, frustration, money and a local diesel genius to discover that a 30amp fuse had blown.

I was back on the road shortly thereafter, and running on veggie power!

Many thanks to everyone at Golden Fuel. What a unique bunch of diversely talented people. There have been a few more bugs that have been worked out since the original conversion, and each time, everyone is helpful and supportive. This is more than just a job for everyone there, and though conversions are what they sell...it is top notch customer service that you buy!

Here are some pics of the conversion:

Made it to Grand Rapids

We finally arrived in Grand Rapids late Saturday night. We had a good stop at Golden Fuel in Springfield to iron out some kinks with the veggie oil, then spent a relaxing day in Missouri with our friends the Sanders. The next day we stopped for a few hours for lunch with Joe's grandparents in Farmer City, then made it the rest of the way to GR.

Joe will blog about the veggie oil adventures---we're definitely excited about it, but it's also been a challenge. Rowan seems to get a kick out of it--when we stopped at a particularly smelly and dirty spot in Kankakee to get oil, she put her hands on her hips and announced "we're working on vegetable oil!"

It was hard to leave Jonesboro. Walking through our empty house one last time felt surreal--will I ever go back in there? Our first house, the place we brought Rowan home to, the place that we spent hours and hours working on. It was also hard to wrap my mind around saying the last good-byes to friends. No fun.

So now we're at Joe's parent's house, unpacking and cleaning and getting some rest. Joe's dad is having an open heart by-pass surgery on Thursday, so we are thankful to be in town for that and his recovery. We'll keep you posted. I'll add some pictures once we get our computer all unpacked and fired up!


Almost Ready to Leave Jonesboro

We've had a busy week. Joe went to Springfield last week to get the veggie oil system installed (he'll write about that soon---a fun adventure!), came back to Jonesboro for a day, then headed up to MI with a load of our stuff to store at his parent's house....and then drove over to Detroit to get a 5th wheel hitch and our RV! He returned to Jonesboro on Sunday--so we're spending a few last days saying goodbye and getting everything packed onto the RV.

The RV is in great shape. Joe had done a lot of research...but still, we bought it after only seeing pictures. So we were more than pleased to find it in great shape....almost looks new. It's a 2002, 35' Dutchmen with 2 slides (and 2 toilets! More than our house!) When we get to Michigan, we're going to spend some time making some cosmetic changes so that it feels more like "home" to us....we'll be sure to post good before and after pictures!

This picture just gives you an idea of the interior--plus there's a "bunk room" for Rowan, and a bedroom for us with a Queen bed. Not too shabby! That's our neighbor and good friend, Daniel, checking out the RV with us.

Yesterday we spent a good portion of the day saying goodbye to people---a pretty emotional day. By the end, Rowan asked me "are you going to cry again mommy?" Yes, I probably will.

Our plan is to leave Jonesboro on Thursday morning, make a stop at Golden Fuel, make a stop at our good friend Jeff and Ruby's in Missouri, see Joe's grandparents, and land in GR on Saturday or Sunday. This is it!