Independence Day with Luna!

Our friends Nick and Aimee.. he handmade this awesome sign for us!

About a  month and a half before closing on the sale of our house, we booked our first campsite for Luna.  The planned date for departure was July 3rd. We knew we would have some things to finish on the road and were good with that… but the closing date on the house was July 5th, so the schedule was determined. 

 As July 3rd approached, we worked hard to get the coach ready.  All of our friends and family kicked in to make this happen. The weather didn’t cooperate, it was either super hot or raining.  Add to that, we were also still emptying our house, and trying to organize the remaining things to take with us. These last days were hard.  Fatigue and emotion were deep and stirring. Added to all the logistics of the house sale and remodeling Luna, we lost two dogs to old age in the previous 5 weeks.  Dear family members that had been with us for more than 15 years. It would be an understatement to say we were done. Done with hot weather, interrupting rains, and done with sharing tears.  

Mica and Skeeter… we had planned on starting this adventure with them along side. It was so difficult to not have the choice. We will miss them dearly.

July 3rd rolled around and the coach was just not ready to leave.  To this day I cannot recall what was not ready, but the fact was.. it wasn’t.  The last few weeks were like that, a blur. I had been working on the coach until midnight or later for several days, at 1:30 am on the 4th of July, I rolled into bed to let Christina know… today is the day we leave. 

We fell asleep knowing the hardest days were behind us.  On the morning of the 4th of July, we woke up to cool, cloudy weather.  I hitched the van to the coach and started finishing details needed to pull out.  A friend in the Avion community was coming over to take my first drive with me. I met him on a Facebook page for Avions last year, and he had been a huge help, visiting the house and cluing me in.  When he arrived we jumped right into the van to go for a drive. 

I had no experience pulling a coach this size, and the brand new brakes had not even been set in.  I looked at him and joked about my first drive in a downpour. All he said was “trial by fire”. After a rainy test drive and a visit to the scales, we shook hands and bid farewell.   Our sister and brother in law showed up like the National Guard and helped us finish up details we hadn’t even thought of until we were supposed to be leaving. We threw more gear into the van, the station wagon, and into our new home on wheels.  Christina headed out to make a couple stops on the way to the lake, and I drove out of the driveway into the rain, headed for long roads and broad horizons. 

I have to admit it felt pretty powerful, and emotional at the same time, but I was so busy clearing corners and gripping the wheel, I had no time for any distractions.  I headed out of the city to highway K10 west, toward Lawrence, Kansas, about one hour away. Settling into the right lane, at 60 miles per hour, with a solid rain coming down, it hit me~ Independence Day.  While the whole country was busy icing down coolers, setting up tents and gassing up boats, we were experiencing our own amazing journey of independence. Independence from mowing the lawn, living in one place year after year and independence from decades of “normal” life. We will always stand at the edge of America’s most celebrated  summer holiday, knowing we too declared our own independence. It inspires us to know this, and to hold it in our hearts. So cheers! Cheers to living in a country where freedom and independence are so readily available. Cheers to hard work and changes in life, and cheers to living out dreams of wide open spaces, windy days and restful nights, and cheers to relishing well earned, independence.  

8 Days to Go!

We are 8 days away from leaving our driveway with the next house. 11 days from closing on the sale of the sticks and bricks home we have lived in for 14 years. It feels insane.

Every time a storm blows through I realize we’ll be in an 8500 pound aluminum tube during future thunder storms. Every morning I walk through an almost completely empty house, comfortably make a pot of french press coffee, waking to the fact that these wide open rooms will soon be behind us. And every morning my lovely bride shuffles out of the bedroom, half asleep and ready for a cup of joe. Within an hour, she’s making lists, kicking me in the can to get to work and joking about our adventure. Rock. Fucking. Solid. A champ to the enth degree. She inspires me. She props me up when I wobble and she hold me tight when I hold her first. This is where the truth shines brightest.

These are the moments when I know, as sure as the sun rising in the east, that we are a team. This project has taken everything we both have. Courage, ingenuity, creativity, strength and above all a sense of humor. This journey would simply not be the same without Christina Jonas. Onward!

Take a breath… let’s catch up!

A year ago we were dreaming of a different life. A tiny house, an adventure, all of the excitement that could come from just selling everything we own and hitting the road. Well.. we bought our beautiful (to us) Luna, we worked hard on her for a year. This coming Friday we close on the sell of our sticks and bricks home. Dreams are coming true..

We started this blog to share out story and our progress, and somewhere between home and “the new house”.. we couldn’t figure out what to share, how to time it, what to say to explain what was happening in our lives. Our emotions were high.. and have only gotten higher! Our physical strength and endurance has been challenged, mostly for Jonas for sure. He is a work horse. Plain and Simple.

So here we are today, the 2nd of July.. and we want to update you! Our Luna is almost complete, but in the words of one of my dearest friends Dad…she’s plenty good enough. We will have some odds and ends to finish on the road, but we can live quite beautifully in what we have made. In fact, we may be pretty smitten with her.

Our plans are to head out tomorrow afternoon and drive to Clinton Lake where we will home base for the next couple months and get our plans more defined. So when you ask… where will you go next? We will tell you soon, or when we decide.

The blog will now be updated regularly, and we can’t wait to share more photos and tell you what we have been up to and where we are planning to be. We are greatful for all the love and support we have been given.. we could not have done this in the ways and with the peace that we have, without each of you. Thank you, and Thank you for sharing our story with others.

Heading back out to paint! Wish us luck… tomorrow is pretty soon.

The Dreaded Roof

It was a hot, muggy spring day when we surveyed Luna for the first time.  Damp and stuffy inside, we did our homework and checked everything out. Borrowing a ladder I climbed the side of the coach to see what we were dealing with on top.  We already knew a big limb had fallen on the coach, but when I reached the top of the ladder my heart sank. The roof was a mess. It was coated in a white “lifetime” coating, messy and several layers thick.  The rear skylight was completely gone with a piece of plastic screwed in place. There were 5 holes in the roof where the limb had fallen. I dreaded the work ahead, but knew it was part of the job.

Once the coach was home, we thought the bathroom would be our first job, but the rainy weather let us know, that wasn’t the case!  I went to work on the roof straight away. Using 15 minute paint stripper I started at the back, curb side on a ladder. Working in sections about 2 feet square I stripped the plastic coating. It took two or three applications of the stripper for each section.  Using plastic scrapers, razor blades, a stainless steel wire brush, idle threats, paint thinner and scrubby pads, I work on the roof day and night. Buried in the coating were TV coax cables, unused hardware and lots of loose or broken rivets. I worked up the curb side, it tooks several weekends and evenings, then down the driver’s side from the ladder too.  Every rivet got a drop or two of sealer, then a 1” round Eternabond dot on top. All the long seams were scraped clean and re-sealed. The gutter line got a good cleaning and seal too. Then the center section. The worst. Heavily coated and beat to smithereens by years of weather, foot traffic and of course the limb crash.

Temporary indoor stud wall to crown the roof

Before I climbed on the roof and started, I built a temporary stud wall inside the coach.  Driving in studs, all cut to the exact same length, the ceiling was “crowned” and lifted. Toward the front and rear ends, the ceiling barely felt the push of the stud wall, but in the middle, especially around the AC, the studs had to be driven in pretty hard, and the ceiling got up to a half inch of lift.  What this meant was that the whole time I worked on the center of the roof, not only was my weight not taking a toll on the roof, but the roof was being rebuilt with a nice crown. I stripped all the coating in the center section. Under the coating were water pockets and air bubbles. The center seam had lots of broken or rivets, probably from trapped moisture and freezing.  I pulled the old 17” vents, the AC the bathroom vent, plumbing vents, a satellite dish, TV antenna and an assortment of screws and odd hardware. Every square inch had to prepped and cleaned for new rivets and sealers.

Dirty work… let’s get going!

We installed almost 500 rivets working on the roof.  Both vents were grommeted and replaced with 14” vents.  A new AC was installed, so was a new bathroom vent. The fridge vent cover and kitchen exhaust cover were reinstalled. I put 5 small patches on the holes where the limb fell.   The roof was finished just in time for winter and we had a lot of snow. Everything stayed dry and clean. I’m looking forward to being able to manage the roof long into the future now that it is not coated.  Annual inspections should keep us current on seams and joints. I also bought an 18 volt leaf blower that has worked great to keep leaves and needles off the roof and awning covers. It was the most dreaded job I faced.  I’m glad to have it behind me.

Rivets, rivets, rivets… repeat.
Grommet to retrofit 14″ vent into a 17″ hole.
New Maxxair Vent… we love these!
Patches where roof was punctured by limb falling.
Finished product! She looks beautiful!