Finding Like Minded Families Living the RVing Life

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When we are on the boat we are always on the lookout for other kid boats. It was usually pretty easy to find. Boats that had kids on them had some defining characteristics such as netting surrounding at least the cockpit, multiple paddleboards trailing behind the boat or the weeks of clothing drying on the lifelines. Whenever we would arrive at an anchorage Victoria and Alexander would first checkout each boat with the binoculars and then paddleboard to each boat asking if there were any kids aboard that would like to play at the beach. These techniques were more often than not successful and in most of the anchorages there would soon be a group of kids ranging in ages all gathered and playing on beach. These kids came from all walks of life but were all living a similar lifestyle so their interests were similar and connections were made easily and that includes the parents as well.

This is not the case as we have transitioned to the RV life for the time being. The ratio of families with kids is significantly lower and the signs are not near as obvious.  When we do find families, they are often only out for a weekend or a vacation. These folks are usually looking to cram as much sightseeing or family time into their allotted time off so understandingly they are less inclined to share that with strangers. We have had some successes and Victoria and Alexander have been able to carefully (covid adhering) play with kids their age. But even with those play times us parents had little more than small talk amongst ourselves as we both knew that in two days or a week we would be going our separate ways. Another point of friction with finding kids to play with is Victoria and Alexander’s level of play in regards to intensity. For instance we were once recommended a hiking trail by a family. When Victoria asked how far and Alex chimed in with how high? The dad of similar aged kids said in a reassuring tone it was a flat trail but it was almost a mile hoping to not scare off his potential recruits. Unfortunately, he underestimated these two and was greeted with a “that’s not a hike that is a short walk”.  Slightly embarrassed and yet inwardly proud I corrected Victoria and Alexander. Victoria asked if they knew of any hikes that were closer to 6 miles and Alexander asked if they knew of any of the trails to the many high peaks that surrounded our campground. Both the mom and the dad looked at me like the kids were joking and not believing that they could hike a trail like that let alone want to or would enjoy it. Needless to say we have not spent any time with that family.

We did, however, meet a young family with a very nice boy just a little younger than Alexander. Isaiah and Alexander hit it off immediately while playing in the pool. The two boys spent nearly three hours swimming, jumping and splashing in the pool one evening. This led to mini golf games, pickle ball hit arounds, and even some epic laser tag matches. Soon Isaiah was even joining us in our regular workouts. Isaiah is a great kid who is down for anything and despite it being difficult at times to keep up with the older kids he never complains or gets discouraged and just keeps trying. Alexander and Victoria both seem to recognize his constant positive attitude and are happy to throttle back when necessary in order to keep the group together. Isaiah’s parents have also become friends of ours, with Ashley and Marissa spending long hours discussing parenting, traveling, home schooling, RV living, clothes, hair and make-up. You know I was kidding about those last three, right? Have you seen the pictures of Ashley’s hair? Craig, Isaiah’s dad, and I have also hit it off. Craig is a natural athlete so he is fun to play a good fast paced game of one on one pickle ball and also willing to go for a dad’s day mountain biking.

On one of our workout days we all decided to have a triathlon. We planned to swim laps in the pool, then rush to our bikes parked nearby, ride a few predetermined laps outside the park, come back and drop off our bikes and then run a few laps on our mile loop. I thought that I would go around the park and ask if others would like to participate as we had had many people take notice of our running and I thought they may want to play along. Victoria and I went around the park telling many people and families of our plan. And as you can probably guess we received a lot of “thanks, but no”. There was one family however, that I met at the other pool who had the same bring it on mentality as the Murphy family. Soon Autumn had her parents and younger sister Brooke rushing to our event. We were already half way done with our swimming when Autumn and Brooke joined us but that did not stop them from quickly catching up. We have seen dolphins who cannot swim that well. Soon we were all out of the pool and heading to our bikes. I caught Autumn and Brooke’s parents up on the bike and run route and just like that we were all off. The kids all introduced themselves on the 8 mile bike ride. They all cheered each other on at each of the turn arounds. By the end of the swim, bike and run Alexander, Victoria, Isaiah, Brooke and Autumn had become good friends. Will and Karin, Autumn and Brook’s parents, not only seemed to put up with my crazy ideas of “fun”, but also seemed to enjoy it. (I think, or I hope). The next couple of weeks would lead to many days of playing, forts being built, and engineering projects designed and implemented. The two new families like our workout rotation and soon joined in our adventures.  We did another even longer triathlon. Will and I designed an obstacle/adventure race that took the kids and adults from swimming in the pool, exercising at the pool’s edge,  running around the RV park, climbing over ladders, bouncing pickle balls, jumping streams, jump roping, doing burpees, bike riding and then climbing 1500 elevation gain mountain.  One day Brooke created a fantastic scavenger hunt with riddles and clues for Victoria and Alexander. It was so fun reading her riddles and searching for the clues she left for them. Alexander and Victoria wanted to use her fun idea and make her a course to follow. I told them we would another day. I then used her brilliant idea and created a scenario for the kids that included riddles, clues hidden throughout the park, and an obstacle course we called “the gauntlet” all in the hope of rescuing a kidnapped otter at the hands of an evil stuffed monkey. The whole adventure was actually a guise to have the kids run all around the park without evening knowing they were exercising. Alexander’s fitness tracker for this event had him running almost five miles. The kids each had their own expertise based assignment to gather clues that when combined with the other kids’ clues would lead them to a group assignment that they needed to complete in order to rescue the poor otter. Once all the clues were combined they all went off to fight their way through the gauntlet as a team, Alexander, Victoria, Isaiah, Brooke, Autumn and even little 3 ½ year old Addeline (Brooke and Autumn’s youngest sister) all working together, pushing each other on to the finish.  In the end the otter was saved in the nick of time and the kids were all tired but happy. It does not get better than that.

Ashley and Alexander on one of our triathlons
Victoria clawing her way back to the front on her bike
Craig and Isaiah doing jumping jacks before another lap in the pool
Brooke and Will leading the race on the bike
Alexander fighting to keep Brooke in sight
Isaiah feeling the burn
Some superstar swimmers preparing for their race
Conducting a science experiment in order to find a clue
More laps?!?! Yes more laps!
Don’t ask! Yes more laps!
Isaiah and Craig take a quick water break on the bike portion of the triathlon
Autumn and Karin rockin’ the bike leg of the triathlon
Beautiful day for some endurance racing!
Two battle buddies awaiting their aquatics training
Autumn putting on a clinic in the pool!
The crew of special agents awaiting their next mission
The special agents learning about a kidnapped otter and their new mission.
Receiving their individual orders
The Music Man showing how its done!
What is in store for us now?
We have to spin in circles around these poles? Whaaaaatttt?
Me demonstrating how to become very dizzy quickly.
Kind of…
Sorry, no pictures of all the kids falling down while trying to run. We were all laughing too hard to get a picture.
Everyone in tow to the next event
The soccer circle
Brooke is patiently waiting for us non-soccer stars to get her the ball so she can show us all how its done
Show us how its done Autumn!
No Victoria this is the soccer stage. Balance beam is coming later.
Victoria trying to keep it in bounds
They earn a word clue after each event
Two battle buddies running to the next station
You got this!
Victoria leading the way!
Almost 3 hours into this event this is Brooke’s “is this all you got?” face.
Some day if she is not the President of the United States it is because she is president of the world!
Two new buddies helping to find each others strengths.
Warms your heart doesn’t it?
What, we have to play pickle ball in the desert?
We have to bounce it 20 times without stopping while not stepping on a cactus?
Alexander: “let me show you how its done”.
I got this
Look at that concentration!
Smooth like butter. I mean butta.
Addeline says no problem!
I can almost do this with my eyes closed.
Is there anything this girl can’t do? Answer: NO, NOTHING, NADDA, NO WAY
All done, on to the next stage!
Go figure Brooke is leading the way! Hey fellas watch this girl show you how to get it done. GIRL POWER!
Alexander says, I am used to learning from a powerful girl, and I am happy to learn from you too.
Did I mention that these heavy pipes sometimes roll?
Brooke holding it steady for Alexander. What a team!
Brooke negotiating the curve in the pipe!
Victoria and Autumn working together to help Addeline make it across the pipes.
Victoria holding the pipe still for Isaiah to get to the finish!
Addeline (with dad’s help) makes it through the rolling pipes. Autumn graciously playing the role of sweeper.
Will leading the kids in a test of yoga strength, flexibility and stamina!
Nearly three hours into our event I can promise you those were some tired legs.
Field full of warriors!
The battle buddies again.
Yep, still nothing she can’t do and do amazingly well!
Putting together the clues they have so far.
Last obstacle. Crossing the river of lava.
Oh I got this!
Those are big steps for little legs.
Brooke and Autumn ask, “should me do this blindfolded?”
Ok maybe I will keep my eyes open for this one.
Victoria going for it!
Addeline getting a little boost from her dad!
The clue and the kids intelligence have led us to this box. Could the otter be trapped inside?
She was and she is saved just in the nick of time!
Two buddies going for a bike ride.
Another mission and digging for clues
This new mission takes them across more lava. This time using a slack line.
Victoria making her way across the line. Yes we will be getting one of this ASAP!
Isaiah fights to keep his balance
Alexander makes it across to safety
The team of special agents work together to get up the silk line to a hidden clue.
The team of agents work together to get one another across the pool
Final destination is the top of the hill. Yes that is me in the back sucking wind.
Getting their new assignment
Bike ride from the park to the base of the hills
Autumn is eyeing the hills ahead of her with a mix of terror and determination
A little log jumping before biking to and climbing to the top of the mountains pictured in the distance. Yes the top!
Here we go. Addeline is keeping the big kids in sight. She is an incredible runner and bike rider. Yes two wheels. and yes runner not walker.
We have to go where? Alright let’s do this!
Victoria reaching the finish line.
Victoria and I get to the finish line about 10 minutes after Alexander.
These two rock stars dropped all of us adults as they just powered to the finish line. Then they both wanted to climb to the next peak up which was another 400 feet or so of elevation.
We started this adventure race way down there at the farthest RV park more than 2 hours ago. Oh and the kids decided it would be “fun” to run back down to where our bikes are parked.
A jump rope day
Amazing kids, wonderful memories. Thanks for being our good friends!

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