Thank Buddha for Forest Service Roads.
So, we have found "home," but the journey is not even close to over. We are looking at possible houses and apartments for winter. Last night dropped to around 30 degrees, so we are hoping to be in something by September 1st. Olin has a nice insulated Kelty sleeping bag to snug in and dad even broke out his down bag last night, with mom wrapped in a wool Vader blankie. Dobby snuck into bed at the bottom of our feet, and Taco (in trouble for rolling in manure) involuntarily slept under the bed with his natural thick coat to keep him warm. Warmth is not the main issue here, but it will certainly be nice to get settled into a nice cozy abode before the winter month's hit in full swing. The house we are currently looking at is a 6 month lease (leaving us room to explore the area and options open with the van). It is heated by either wood stove or propane, so we will need to start cutting wood asap and stacking it to heat the house.
Last Night's Living Room
So we have been in Angel Fire since Friday. We were told that we may be able to move into this house by September 1st or sooner, depending on the application and lease arrangement. We are kinda sorta going a little stir-crazy. Not enough money to drive into the mountains and explore, as we have just enough to get into this house for winter before Collin starts a new job next week. So we are trying to save every dime, checking our phones maniacally for any news on the application status, and waking up in the middle of the night hoping we are doing something right.
So with saving money, we have been spending the last few days exploring locally in our new home town. We found a couple awesome parks for Olin to safely crawl, swing, and stretch in. They were even dog-friendly, so we let the dogs stretch their legs with their Sit Means Sit Training Collars snugly on. We parked the van out front and decided it was beautiful weather to set up the hammock and read a bit, while Olin took a nap after playing. The dogs, tired from running and swimming, laid beneath us and napped too.
The man said in a higher than average tone, "You all can't be doing this here and it is city ordinance that all dogs must be leashed! Several people have already called the cops on you!" Confused and slightly shaken from a sunny day daze, Collin stood up and apologized immediately, explaining that we were not aware of this. I grabbed Olin and stood up, but before I could introduce myself- the man stormed off as a friend of his reared into the gravel lot in his Camaro. They both stood beside the vehicle gawking at us, as we quietly and calmly packed up the hammock (which if you've ever had an eno, it takes a couple minutes). Both men veered our way with harsh expressions, making us feel very uncomfortable. The dogs stood beside us. The man in the Camaro pulled off, as the other walked behind our van and began taking close-up pics of our license plate. Collin ran over, feeling somewhat threatened, and took a picture of the man's plates also. The man said, "You want to run my plates? I am security." I walked up with Olin and told the man that we were very sorry about not having the dogs leashed, would not let it happen again, and had no idea that hammocking was not allowed in this park as there were no signs. I put Dobby in the van, after she ignorantly tried to jump in the man's truck (face palm). I tried to explain that we were new in town and had only arrived a few days ago, but he was not interested and jumped in his truck and pulled away while grunting, "Apology accepted."
Dogs Ready to be out of the Van.
Gratefully, I had just watched this awesome Will Smith pep talk earlier in the day and felt very responsible for our actions and our responsibility to keep calm. That said, I did not let my inner East Tennessee voice shine through. However, this left Collin and me feeling not only uneasy about our decision to make this community our home but it irked us that the man was unwilling to approach us in a friendly manner or have a conversation before threatening to call the police while rushing away, not to mention the finger-pointing with another local. This feeling was the reason we left Washington State. The communities began to feel unwelcoming and unsafe. However, I told Collin that it must be a very safe community if the security has nothing better to do than pick on a family hammocking in the park. We tried not to let it ruin our day, and we will make this our home regardless of the one negative experience in the sea of other friendly locals that have been ever so kind and welcoming to us here.
Van Lifer's Plea:
We wanted to do this with Olin while she is young, because we feel it may be more difficult once she is at a school age. We stay in your cities and towns to get a feel for the community, explore the mountains, and to try local cuisine when budget allows. And along the way, we learn something new nearly every day about culture in our own backyard. We don't want trouble or criticism, but we understand there will always be the latter. Our lifestyle may be different than yours, but it does not make us less than human. We are people just like people who live in houses and apartments. We have only been in the van going on 4 months, we are not less because of it (though we have less baggage). No one should ever be made out to feel less than human regardless of social status, living arrangement, or skin color. We are all people and all deserve the same respect. Shouldn't this be ingrained in us as human beings- to love and respect each other as the same species living in the same world? I wish everyone would stop fighting and realize that we are in this together.
Olin Watching Daddy Collect Firewood
Dogs & Diapers