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Walmart Boondock

August 19, 2015

We did it!  Walmart Boondock. Done. Check. Oh, yeah!

Another bucketlist item checked off!

boondock

 

It’s pretty amazing how things unfold sometimes.  I’ve wanted to boondock, a.k.a. dry camp, at Walmart, but it took me months of Rv’ing to finally do it.  In my mind, bucketlist achievement of boondocking at Walmart would represent the “New” American Dream:  the full-time work-travel lifestyle…wherever, whenever.

A combination of not being able to find a campsite in Denver, needing to fill-up on gas, wanting to grab a latte at Starbucks, and spotting a kids’ dentist (one kid had a toothache) all within a matter of feet apart sealed the deal on overnighting at Walmart.

Walmart is far from one of my favorite places, but I found a fancy schmancy Walmart in the Denver suburbs and set up camp for the night.  A freshly paved lot, nice landscaping, and good lighting.  Oh, and a very friendly store manager who said it was fine to camp overnight and encouraged me to shop at the 24 hour Walmart as long and as many times as I wanted during my overnight boondocking extravaganza!

The kids want to boondock at Walmart again.  They think it’s a “way better and cooler” experience than staying at a K.O.A. or typical RV park.  Plus, it’s free.  I wouldn’t be surprised if my kids are thinking about this from a strictly economics point of view:  Free Boondocking at Walmart means Mom can spend cash that might have otherwise been used at a campsite on Barbies and Legos at Walmart.

Quite honestly, Walmart’s policy that allows overnight boondocking (although not all stores allow it) makes me like the store more.  I like knowing that a store values its customers.  RV overnight parking is one way Walmart seems to show that it likes RV customers–who undoubtedly buy lots of stuff, like food, Barbies, and Legos, whenever they park for an overnight.

RV'ing 50 States USA United States

Whirlwind 50 States USA RV Tour with Kids Continues

July 22, 2015

And the whirlwind 50 States USA RV Tour continues….

After a few weeks spent in the city and the country, it feels great to be back on the road again exploring the big and beautiful USA!

rv_kids_wanderschool

This week brought some exciting adventures including a wild, unexpected narrow, dirt road highway adventure in New England (and burning brakes on a very steep descent)…thank you Google Maps for that lovely route…a visit to Ausable Chasm and rafting tour adventure, a meet up with the grandparents, a big and memorable RV grocery stock up at Walmart, a LONG day and a half getting brakes repaired and hotel overnight, camping at our first bluegrass festival at Grey Fox in Oak Hill, NY, bluegrass academy for the kids, including a performance (and mini solo) on the big stage, mom-daughter yoga, driving through an upstate New York tornado/serious rainstorm, and making our way westbound.

greyfox_kids

As a solo traveling mom with the kids, the RV adventure continues to bring excitement on top of regular mom duties, like feeding kids, making sure they brush their teeth and remember to change their underwear (really guys, still???), and do their school work like journal writing (because we homeschool year-round).

wanderschool_greyfox_bluegrass

The RV adventure also seems to regularly call upon my inner Mr. Mom EVERYday to fix something in our older model motorhome (though I’m reassured by other RV’ers that even new motorhomes have lots of quirks that need attention).  This week’s projects have included: home improvement repair, including fixing a cabinet door that broke off mid-drive, fixing a slide-out issue, and repairing a kitchen drawer that detached from the glides.

I’ve met some super nice people this past week on our travels, including several nice RVers, including the guy who offered to start my campfire with a blowtorch, the guy who brought over kindling to my campsite ‘just in case’ I needed it to start my fire, the retired couples at the pool who seemed to enjoy cheering on my kids as they competed against each other in the pool, the RV’er who helped me back into my campsite one evening at a KOA in NY, the awesome staff at Grey Fox who helped me find a spot for my rig in the crowded festival field, and many others.  Thank you all for adding to my travel story.

Perhaps the biggest challenge of the week has been finding time to write.  It’s been an exhausting week of driving, pool time, and baking homemade gluten free pizza on the grill.  😉

Much more to come….

Thanks for following us here, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Instagram.  We hope our travel adventures inspire you to start wandering and start traveling!  Follow your dreams!

Happy Wandering!

Blog Destinations New York United States

A Mom’s Guide to Buying Chuck Taylor Converse Shoes

July 10, 2015

In my travels with kids in tow, I’ve learned that there is something quite legit to the cliche, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.  If you don’t know what that phrase means, it basically means that when you are visiting another place, you should do what the locals in that place do.

‘Cause standing out like an obnoxious tourist is not always a good thing, especially when you’re trying to rock your solo mom traveler vibe.

Somehow whenever I think of do as the Romans do, a picture of Chuck Taylor Converse Shoes in a SoHO, New York City shop window comes to mind. I have yet to travel to another place that seems to love and appreciate Chuck Taylor Converse Shoes more than The Big Apple.

So, doing as the locals do in New York City necessarily means buying Converse Shoes.

shoes

And since it’s always nice to buy a practical travel souvenir (something I much prefer over shelf knick-knacks), I’ve bought several pairs of Converse sneakers, especially in recent memory for my tweens, and know a thing or two about them.  I’ve also tripped over plenty of stray Converse shoes in the entryway, but that’s a separate discussion.

A Mom’s Guide to Buying Converse

First off, these are my own thoughts.  I am not getting any sort of compensation for writing this post.  My tweens are just fans of these shoes, and from walking the streets of NYC, it’s pretty obvious that they aren’t the only ones who think these sneakers are cool.

1.  Converse shoes tend to run big.  No need to freak out if the salesperson tells you that your kid needs a smaller size. That salesperson probably isn’t trying to pull one over on you or scheming up a way to get you to come back in a couple of weeks for the next size up when your kid’s foot grows.

2.  Lots of stores sell Converse.  Can’t find the size or color your tween wants at one store?  Don’t sweat it.  You can find Converse at lots of stores, especially in NYC, at boutique shoe stores or bigger chain stores, as well as department stores like Target, JcPenney, or Nordstrom, or places online such as Amazon.  So, if you can convince your kid to be patient a few more minutes until you get to the next store, you’re likely to find exactly what they (and you) are looking for.  Happy Kid = Happy Parent and vice versa.

3.  You can find Converse second-hand.  If you don’t want to break the bank and are okay with buying used shoes, you might get lucky and score a deal on a previously loved pair in like new condition on eBay or at consignment stores, like Once Upon a Child.

4.  Look for sales. As far as children’s shoes go, Converse shoes are somewhat inexpensive.  Even better, Converse shoes do go on sale.  I recently found a pair of cute high-top Converse shoes for my youngest at 30% off.  Another store had a Converse buy one, get one 50% off sale.  You can also find free shipping options or promo codes online, depending on the store.

5.  Even Old Converse Shoes Look Cool.  One thing I appreciate about Converse shoes is that even when the white toe becomes less than bright or a pair starts to look well-loved, they still look fashionable.  Of course, as a Mom, I wish they would look pristine and dirt-free, but worn and dirty means my kids are playing hard and enjoying themselves–and their shoes.

6.  You Can Find Canvas Knock-Offs.  You can find lots of Converse knock-offs out there, including some “eco-chic” shoes (which have been the subject of Converse litigation) and canvas kicks with interesting and fun designs not found in Converse collections.  However, in my experience, my knock-off kid purchases haven’t held up as well.  But it doesn’t mean yours won’t.  Sometimes you get what you pay for.

7.  They Come in LOTS of Colors, Styles, and Designs.  It doesn’t matter how many kids you have.  They each can have their own unique look, if desired.  Low-cut, mid-cut, high-top lace-ups.  Blue, Light blue, Lighter blue, Light-light-light blue, Multi-colored blue, the list goes on and on….  Yay, no arguing over who gets what shoe or which shoes really belong to who.

8.  You Can Clean or Wash Converse Shoes.  There are YouTube videos and blog posts galore online about how to clean Converse shoes and restore them to oh, so fabulous.  As a mom, you can always wipe them off (and surely the ‘ol mom spit trick could work in a pinch), maybe try a Magic Eraser or use extra elbow grease, to make them look fresher.

9.  There’s a Reason They Are Popular in The City.  Converse shoes may be a good pick for city living, but if you live in places where there’s variable weather, less pavement and more dirt, or where kids spend a lot of time outside in the elements, they may not be the most sensible pick.  The traditional Converse shoe is canvas.  It’s not going to keep out the elements, like rain and snow.  The flat, sleek bottom, isn’t necessarily going to be the ideal surface for playing on uneven terrain, running on trails or in the woods, or providing sufficient support for adventurous kid feet.  Wearing for video gaming, strolling around the city or mall, riding scooters or skateboarding, looking cool with other tweens?  Yes, definitely.

Do you have Converse Shoes hanging around your entryway?  What’s to love or not to love about them?

 

Happy Wandering!

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