Live by the Checklist

Where to start?

Hold on let me get out my checklist.

Frist, always use a checklist. When we first started out living in a RV, there were many things we had to remember. It was new to us, so the things that needed to happen before leaving was fairly long. But alas, I am getting ahead of myself.

When getting your first RV, you usually have a quick walk through only 10 or 15 minutes. In that 15 minutes, you are told where the water hook up is. How to turn on the pump. Where the dumps are at. Where the battery hook up is. When all is said and done, only thing that has happened is the delivery guy got his stuff checked off a checklist.

The dealership has everything closed up, ready to hook up, and they move it out to an open parking lot for you to drive off.

Back the truck up and hook up the hitch. Now what?

With our first 5th wheel, it was delivered, and set up. After seeing everything that needed to happen we asked the question, “What if we forget something?” In no way is the answer a good one.

In comes the Checklist.

We borrowed a Checklist from another RVer to get started. Made a few modifications to it. Made it our own so that it worked for our family and our rig.

Every trip we go down this checklist and make sure everything that needs to happen before we hook up is completed. A few things on this list are: Fuel up truck, close slides, make lunch, turn off A/C, wipe under the slides, check tire pressure. A few things you may not thing of: add water to tanks, open blinds, and secure the TV’s.

Everything on the list are things that may create a problem. May be an expensive error. May be a catastrophic mishap. We use this checklist to avoid breaking something unintentionally.

Below you’ll find a file linking to a checklist we have used and lived by. You can borrow our check list and make changes to it for your benefit.

We have also included this check list in the back of Our Travel Planner (click here to check it out) . A paperback book form of our planner that we use on a daily basis while planning our travels.

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The 5 resources we use when planning a trip.

If you are like us, you want to travel all the time. Each location comes with new experiences, new people, new foods, new…you get the point. While we are at one place, we start thinking of the next place to go. Someone may have mentioned a new city to see, a trail to hike, or a waterfall to see.

Sometimes each of these things get scribbled onto a post-it note that may or may not get looked at again. This is NOT the most efficient way to go about planning a trip. But please do tell of any places we should see in the comments.

Lets take a look at the 5 resources we use to make planning a trip easier.

  1. Internet
  2. Google Maps
  3. Phone
  4. Road Atlas
  5. Our Travel Planner

Internet: Once we have figured out where we want to be at next, we start looking at the area. This starts with an internet search of the area. Yes, some of the search is “What to do in ________” and this almost always gets a good starting point of things to do. If the list is short, it may keeps us to a shorter stay. If the list is long, we may stay longer in the area.

We check on the FCC website to make sure we will have cell coverage for work, or at least find out where there is bad coverage in the area we are looking at. This starts narrowing down where we will want to stay at what park or camp ground.

Google Maps: Plotting out the Points Of Interest (POI) we found on the internet search gives a visual layout of the area. Different pins show the stuff we want to do from hiking to eating, maybe even brewery and coffee.

Here we decide about the distance we would be willing to drive to see the POI’s on our things to do list. Normally we like to stay within 30 minutes of driving, but up to an hour is acceptable depending on availability, price, and amenities.

Also in Maps, we start looking for locations to stay. If it is a short amount of time, and cool weather, we don’t need full hook-ups and 50 amp electric. During times like today when I am writing this, we NEED 50 amp electric, along with Sewer hookup. 100° and higher weather means both AC’s and daily showers.

Most places have online booking and a website. Website shows how the campground looks, the lay-out and the amenities there. Booking websites are great, as long as they give you a conformations.

Phone: When the booking site is down, or they don’t have online booking, we use the phone. Yes you can still book a campsite on the phone with the campground directly. This also gets a chan/ce to ask questions like: “Is the pool open?” “How is the water pressure?” “How good is my cell service there?”

Road Atlas: This gets a quicker view of the major roads in and out of the areas we want to be in. Major roads are usually RV safe with a 13’6″ height, we need to be sure we fit. This combined with looking in Google Maps, we have a good idea of the route to take.

Our Travel Planner: This is a hard copy of a book. In this book we put each of the places we want to go. This has a layout per month, along with reservation information. Check in times and reservation information is now in a location to grab and go as soon as we hit the gates. Some places we go intentionally does not have cell service, or is spotty, so we do not have to rely on our internet to see our information. This book has been one of the best additions to our planning. It also helped reduce the amount of resources we use when planning.

Title Page for Our Travel Planner 18 month 2024
Our Travel Planner 18 Month 2024

Here is a link to Our Travel Planner for a description, and a direct link for sale.

We do try to plan more than one trip at a time because we are mobile. Our Travel Planner helps keep us organized and on track not over lapping or skipping days.

What resources do you use for your travels? Let me know in the comments.

When is the best time to visit National Parks in the US?

Yes we have asked this question a time or two. Then we looked at our schedule, and found out that what others think the best time to visit National Parks are. Well, it does not line up with our available times.

Our son asked about going out to see the Grand Canyon. I had never been there, Sonya has passed through once, so we decided that is where the vacation would take us in 2023. We found a time that worked with work schedules and applied for the time off. We started planning.

The list started being compiled from an Atlas, a large book of National Parks, and of course, Google Earth.

We took out Our Travel Planner, blocked off the dates, and started penciling in our intended trip. Our Travel Planner allows us to keep all the information about locations and reservations in one convenient spot.

We packed up our home and hooked it to the truck and started our journey to north Florida to stage for the long drive west. During this slow move time, we made reservations to assure AC for the pup in locations that she was not welcome.

Our list of places to see include Arches, Zion, Petrified Forest, Roswell, and of course, a part of the Grand Canyon. This is a big list to keep track of and knowing the cell phones and cellular internet will be intermittent at best, everything got laid out on a calendar and the reservations and ticking information listed near the times we will use them.

When we set off on this summer adventure, it was before we saw the infographic put out by the National Park Experience. As we are headed west from Florida, and seeing temperatures on the rise from mid 90’s to the low 100’s I really wish I would have seen this sooner.

At the time of this writing, we are 5 stops in, headed west. The real adventure starts soon, and of course, we’ll try to keep some great photos coming for everyone.

Here is the graphic, and the blog it was in is linked below.

Best Times to Visit U.S. National Parks, from

What? You mean you DON’T have this in your car?

I know the saying “Expect to Self Rescue” is something a few of us know, and many have never heard before. So why not be at least somewhat ready for whatever life throws at you?

Most of the time the grey matter between the ears is enough to get through a lot of situations. I assume you think that way too? I know I’m not MacGyver, and I know that I need more than a paper clip and bubble gum to get out of a few situations.

As an RVer, I expect something to go wrong while out in the real world. To simplify the process of getting back on the road, or back to camping, or back to life, I make sure there are certain tools on hand in my truck at all times.

Lets take a look behind the seat:

  • Umbrella
  • Hiking stick
  • Tow Strap
  • BIG Jack
  • Lug Nut Wrench
  • Orange Tire Plugs/Plug Kit
  • Air Pump

Umbrella, well, gentlemen, you keep the umbrella in the vehicle so that the lady in your life doesn’t get her hair wet. Nope, not an emergency, but very important in the “happy wife, happy life” category.

Hiking Stick. This too is useful if you find yourself on the hiking trails. Oops, also not for emergency.

Tow Strap. Here is a piece of kit that you don’t need until you NEED it. RVing puts us sometimes off the beaten path, and hopefully close enough to others that if we need to get UN-stuck, we can use it to tie to another vehicle to get out of a sticky situation.

BIG Jack. I have tried to get a tire up off the ground using a 2 ton jack before, on a 10 ton trailer. It didn’t move, at all. So to a tool store to get a bigger jack. Now I have a 12 ton bottle jack that stays in the truck. I know that I can lift the truck or the trailer now.

Lug Nut Wrench. Bot the truck and the 5er has the same size lug nuts. A breaker bar and the proper size socket is always in the tool box. If you are unsure, or have multiple lug nut sizes, a 4-way wrench may be the way to go. Don’t forget the key if you have security or locking lug nuts on your car.

Orange Tire Plugs/Plug Kit. Orange plugs are heavy duty tire plugs. These are used for truck tires, and tires that are under higher pressure. The Plug Kit is used for plugging holes when they happen in a tire. In my plug kit, I keep a set of wire cutters to use to grab the nail or other object that is in the tire causing the leak.

Air Pump. The High Volume inflation pump can be used to air up tires that have a leak, or change pressures if temperatures have lowered your tire pressure. If you have a flat, add air, find out the ‘why’ your tire went flat, fix the hole, and fill to the tire pressure for your vehicle (see sticker in driver door jam.)

Of course, there is always roadside assistance, but once again…”Expect To Self Rescue.”

This is not the whole kit that I keep, but some of the bare basics that I make sure are close at hand. Let me know in the comments if there is something you MUST have, or something you’d like to learn to use.

Barnes On Move: Our Story

The whole family was participating in the rat race. But we were a multi-generational home. To accommodate everyone, we up-sized our house. Enlarged our footprint, and had to live bigger. This included more time for maintenance, cleaning, repairs, cleaning, and just taking care of the time sucks.
We thought the pool would be a great addition. But that took money to upkeep, it was only usable part of the year. We used more time keeping it up than actually using it.
The yard was great, but that required mowing, or paying someone else to mow. So this took time and money.

All these little things that are “normal” just seemed to take away from the time in the day to see the world, travel, learn, explore, and quality family time.

We finally decided to do what we though right for our immediate family system. Parents were all healthy and had moved out on their own. The oldest child had moved out. So now was the time for us.

Sonya and I had traveled significantly throughout childhood.

When Sonya was a child, she road tripped with her family all over the US, to include out west, and up to Alaska. She has checked off all 50 states, and 9 different countries to this day.

When BJ was a child, he hiked/camped with his dad. Along with road trips in the South East. I have 30+ states, and 3 countries.

When we got together, we day tripped a lot to different Florida cities, from Tampa, to Daytona, St Augustine, to Key West.

One year-2016, we packed up our youngest, only 5 at the time, loaded up a tent, a cooler, and some clothing and headed north. This road trip took us up the eastern seaboard all the way to Quebec Canada.

The trip was a huge success! We saw many of the “not destination” things that were interesting and historical, along with food. On that trip there were only a couple hotels, but a few friends to couch surf with. All in all we consider this a “trip of a lifetime.”

That trip reignited the want to travel.

Here’s the timeline. We tent camped for a while. Found an easier way to do it, a Wolf Pup tow behind camper. A glorified tent (with bathroom) on wheels. This was small enough to be pulled by a Jeep Cherokee, and big enough to sleep, cook, and entertain.

We outgrew this when our son reached about 4′ tall. He could no longer sleep on the dinette table sleeping area. It got sold, I wonder how that lil trailer is doing?

We then got back in a tent, but not nearly enough thanks to the heat and bugs in Florida.

We got a boat, loads of fun! How does this fit? Well, we camped ON the boat in Hontoon Island near Blue Springs, Fl.

Come 2019, before the great lock down of COVID, we discussed going full-time in a Camper. Many hours researching, looking, shopping, we settled on a 5th wheel bunk house.

2021: Purchased the camper, sold the house…It was go time.

From then, we have moved around Florida into areas we had visited, but never had enough time in. We have lived in the Keys. We have lived on a river. We have lived near the springs. We have lived near the beach a few times. In horse country, in the country, near the retirement areas, and we have yet to get to all the places we want to see in our home state.

Outside of Florida, we have RV’d into Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and Texas. We will adventure farther out every time we get a chance.

This adventure is for us to see this state, and country we live in, along with looking at places we may want to settle down at in the future.

Follow, like, and share and follow along with our adventure. We may not be doing everything correctly, but we are doing it…

Are Non-Traditional Schooling Options For You?

February 18, 2023

I have had a lot of conversations with other parents lately and have been researching for our own family about schooling for our kiddo. Many of us are wondering about options. For so long, we could only choose between public school and private school, with little to no influence over things, even if we were actively involved in the PTA or the school.

But there is so much more out there, if you dig, know what questions to ask, and ask enough questions to find answers. I am by no means an expert, I’m barely above a novice outside of public school. But I wanted to give you a starting point on resources and options. This information is entirely based on my home state of Florida. If you live in a different state, please research your own state as these can vary greatly.

If you choose an option outside of public or private school, in Florida, you can still have your child involved in extracurricular activities at the local school, so don’t think that they won’t have access, they can!

If you are military, know these options do exist for you, as well, based on your home of record, so the on base DOD school isn’t your only option either.

If you are a nomadic or full-time RV family, but have a home as a home base, you may also be able to use these options, but it will depend on your situation–you will need a physical home in the school district and a utility bill or lease agreement with whomever you stay with when at home.

PUBLIC SCHOOL This is the most common option. For many, this is the best choice since it is free and provides supervision for your child during the day while you are working. Students will need to complete learning within predetermined time limits based on the school calendar, academic learning maps from the school district, and other state mandated lessons (health, bullying, smoking, etc.) that are worked into the curriculum. Class sizes and school assignment will be based on state guidelines. Students will participate in state standardized testing and will be placed in class levels based on these scores. While you do have the option to opt out, it can be difficult to do so and there can be challenges, such as limited opportunity to advanced classes. If this is something you are interested in doing, research your state, find the opt out coalition and talk to them, and openly communicate with your teacher and guidance counselor so proper documentation can be kept for promotion.

PRIVATE SCHOOL This option is often the alternative families choose when they don’t want to opt for public school. Many private schools are based on religion, so faith-based education is incorporated into their daily learning. There is often a tuition involved with this option. However, some private schools do also accept government funding for education for incorporating certain aspects, such as state standardized testing, scholarships for students that can’t afford tuition, and other public school requirements. When choosing a school, be sure to ask questions about their funding and state compliances so you know if this is something you will need to consider. From some friends I know that chose private schools that did these things, they often felt like it was just like public school, except they could have religion and were paying tuition for it.

VIRTUAL SCHOOL This option means your child will do all of their education via online classes. In our state, there are both full time and flex options, and there are school district virtual schools as well as a separate school district that is entirely virtual. In full time, they will have structured times, days and classes to take and follow a school calendar with deadlines–it is a public school so will follow similar aspects of private school, including state testing and mandated lessons. The flex options allow you to choose which classes, how many at a time, and when your child will work, reaching out for support from their teacher as needed, or to comply with communication requirements. So long as you meet the grade level requirements to complete/graduate from that level you have control. There will be course records and transcripts and state standards for you to keep on file and show documentation of complying with requirements. You can also decide on state testing options as well, but be sure to communicate with the virtual guidance counselor and your school district’s home school options to be clear.

HOMESCHOOLING If you are able to keep your child at home with you or a family member, this is the option that many choose. You are able to teach your children the content you’d like, in the time span you’d like, in a method that works with their learning style. There are a variety of curriculums to use, most require purchase, or you can create your own. This method often requires annual certification to be signed off on by a certified teacher or a homeschool liaison.

UNSCHOOLING (FLORIDA) This is a fairly new option and is gaining in popularity. This option is set up as a private school to which your provide minimal documentation to register, then you can enroll in a virtual school’s flex program. Because it is a private school, state standardized testing isn’t required and you only have to meet the minimum academic requirements. As of the date of this article, there is no fee for this, although donations are accepted since it is a small operation. As it gains in popularity, this could change.

RECORD KEEPING I recommend keeping excellent records, no matter which form of education you choose. The term used in the education system will be “portfolio”. Documentation of learning, grades, communications, etc. This is especially important if you are choosing one of the non-traditional methods other than public or private school. This can be a simple binder showing what was learned and when, scores, and work samples, at a minimum. Keeping a paper and digital copy is also recommended, so if you need to provide emailed documentation or there is a digital storage failure, you are prepared in both cases.

Whichever option you choose, be sure to withdraw your student from their current academic setting and enroll in the new option, or provide a letter of intent to the local district. Should you relocate to a new state or district as your permanent home of record, be sure to also update both the old and new districts with the information. This will save you time and headaches in the future.

Start Early!! I can’t stress this enough. Schools are always planning a semester ahead, this is a good idea for you, as well. If you are looking for changes the next fall, start exploring and getting set up in the spring before school is out for summer–this will make contacting people easier and save you the beginning of year crowds for those that do wait, or had to wait.

For the sake of length, I kept this pretty brief and focus on a preview of major options. Be sure to do your own independent research on enrollment for your county, graduation requirements, testing coordination and opting out, as well as specifics to your child’s grade level and any special needs they have. My first draft, I tried to include it all and it was just too much for one post.

None of this information is privileged and it is all available by public record and able to locate by a simple internet search, if you ask the right questions. This is by no means a comprehensive reference, but more a starting point to help you have more meaningful conversations with your family or your child’s school as you explore options. As with any information, things can change from year to year. Be sure to research further with your school district and the Department of Education so you have a complete picture.

Like or comment below, and share with others to support the blog. I post weekly about teaching, traveling and family. Until next time, you can find us on Facebook @BarnesOnMove, Tiktok & Instagram @BarnesOnMove OR @BarnesOnMove2, or our website

Eliminating Micro-Decisions Improved My Daily Life

October 11, 2022

In a 24/7 fast-paced world, it can be a challenge to keep up with all of our demands, let alone slow down. But this was something I had to do for my mental health and for my family since the speed of life was just too fast.

I had ventured into the minimalism movement years ago as a way to help my allergies and get control of our clutter. But I kept hearing some of them mention micro-decisions and it resonated with me deeply.

Everyone is busy these days and, as an educator, I feel like that is quantified with the added responsibility of taking care of so many additional kids. Waking up in the morning and deciding what to wear and eat for myself and my kids, then locating my stuff that gets hauled back and forth was exhausting–not even including if I checked email or social media that morning, before even getting to work. I had decision fatigue by the time I got to work to truly start in on the day.

I started looking for ways to take decisions out of my day and make them in advance. Then I assigned times of day for specific tasks and I got away from multi-tasking in general, to focus on the moment and task at hand. I was amazed how, on the first day, it made an impact and I wasn’t as mentally exhausted. Over time, things got refined or have to change as life changes, but I have maintained this course for year and have noticed better focus, better outcomes, less fatigue and less stress.

So let me share some of the areas I focused on and what I did.

CLOTHING making decisions about what to wear can be overwhelming, so there are two ways to tackle this area. First, create a uniform so that you simply grab items from the categories and they all go together no matter what you grab. When I worked in the classroom, this was a polo shirt and cargo pants, along with a pair of good quality comfortable shoes. If you are fashion-oriented and the idea of a uniform doesn’t appeal to you, hang your clothing up as a full ensemble on one hanger and move them down the rack. I did this for a bit and, when I did laundry, the newly washed/recently worn items got hung up on the left and everything moved down to the right. This allowed me to grab what was next in line and get ready with little thought. And don’t forget jewelry–hang that necklace, bracelet or earrings in the same hanger (use a small bag or I have seen little racks to hang over the hanger.

GROOMING in this category, we simplified our soaps into what we could all agree on and that is all that is in the shower for us all. Likewise for shampoo, conditioner and lotion. I no longer wear make up, but when I did, I had my go to items in a quick grab bag and kept my stuff for special occasions in another location. This method has allowed us to buy in bulk, which also helps the budget.

MEALS Planning and prepping in advance is a huge time saver, and by sticking with a staple for the week allows you to buy in bulk and makes prep easy. If the idea of the same staple all week isn’t appealing, choose two and rotate. We tend to rotate chicken and beef, so it is in bulk and we freeze it so we can set it out that morning, or use the instant pot for prep from frozen. We also can brown a few pounds of ground beef or cook and dice up chicken ahead of time, then just combine that day for the meal. We pulled our favorite recipes from several cookbooks and compiled into one book to grab and plan from if we are feeling stumped. I also plan out a dessert or snacks for the week and can bake those in advance, too. Oh, and don’t forget to plan a leftover night, or portion the leftovers into containers for lunch to make another decision for yourself in advance!

TECHNOLOGY I have heard it said that by the time it is released to the public, the technology is already outdated. Since I live on a budget, we don’t even try to keep up with the latest technology. We buy the newest product for what we need, then keep it until it no longer works. We do this for smart home products, smart watches, phones, tablets, computers and TVs–and even for our vehicles. We keep them updated and cleaned, have them in protective covers as needed, and use them until they no longer work. So when the ad for the new smart phone comes out, I can appreciate it, and move on without it taking up mental clutter–or better yet, skip the ad or go get a snack!

EMAIL/SOCIAL MEDIA These areas are challenging because of their 24/7 accessibility, but there’s a few ways to combat them so they aren’t a distraction. First, turn off alerts on your devices–this will keep you from being drawn in. Next, resist the urge to boredom check–this is a rabbit hole that can be very distracting! If you need a break, go outside and walk around or stand up and stretch or do jumping jacks, drink some water, or call and check on a friend of family member directly. Next, designate times of day or days of the week you will check these and stick to it. If you are able to, put an autoreply on your email telling them you check email every morning and will respond to them at that time. If you are able to, eliminate how many email and social media accounts you have, as well. You can turn off direct messaging on most social media platforms. For email, you can use an auto-forwarding option or use Microsoft Outlook and link all your email accounts into the one so you have only one place to check, write and reply from. If that isn’t an option, create folders and rules and have your incoming mail sort into those, then you can set up a schedule to focus on a person or category.

WORK As a workaholic, this area was challenging for me, especially as a virtual teacher with students and families with highly varied schedules from early birds to night owls, and classes with locked in meet times. I can’t be on all the time and I cannot do all my tasks every single day in the time I have available. By creating a task list and assigning days, I can tackle what needs done that day and then move on to the next. A rule I have put in place is “there are no emergencies in Education” and I stick to it. I use Google Voice for my work communications with students and Teams and email for coworkers, and I check and respond them first thing in the morning and at the end of the day. I may do a midday check, but only respond if it is something I was waiting for or was on my to do list. I also use spreadsheets to download and color code my information to help me focus each day (future blog coming on that-I promise!). When I was in the classroom, I streamlined the supplies I used and would put all like items in one container to come out when needed (a crayon box, scissors, markers, glue sticks, etc. all had their own box and place in the cabinet).

ENTERTAINMENT/HOBBIES As someone who enjoys new experiences, this one was tough, especially when we moved into an RV. But by pairing down what we filled our spare time with, we cut down on clutter and distraction. For our kids, we only allow ONE extracurricular at a time. With school and church already, we want them to learn to do one thing well, and learn how to handle being bored. This has meant delays in doing activities for a season or more, and giving up something that was done to try something new. It also saves on the budget and our schedules, so it doesn’t cut into family dinners and force us into the fast food rut. We love to read, so try to borrow or use audiobooks when we can, or we buy used and donate when done. We have a space for our favorites we will read again. This way we have a quick glance to find something if we have some time to kill.

KITCHEN ITEMS New gadgets always sound great when they promise time saving, but they take up space! We simplified down to one go cup, one coffee cup, one plate, and one bowl each. For cooking and baking I have a nesting mixing bowl set and we have a boiler, frying pan, skillet, cookie sheet, casserole dish, muffin pan, instant pot and a grill–and yes, a stove, microwave and coffeepot. We have basic utensils to cook with–and we can make everything we want!

DECOR We keep this category simple and useful, too. We have enough seating for us plus a guest and enough blankets and pillows for us. I have a few family photos and wall items, a task lamp, and a few other functional items. We don’t have a done of items to clean or repair, and if it doesn’t get used, it doesn’t stay. I do minimal seasonal decor with a throw pillow and an item here or there, but it often gets donated or is consumable so I don’t have a ton to store. What few items I keep are someplace easy to reach and I won’t forget about. Plus, I don’t lose a day or weekend decorating, I can enjoy the season.

CHORES/CLEANING PRODUCTS With less stuff comes less to think about and time to deal with it. We have daily chores to do, but then we do a weekly chore once a week as well. We streamlined our cleaning products to things that serve more than one purpose so we don’t have to sort and search, or carry a lot around.

BUDGET With less stuff, comes less spending, by default. We are able to put our funds into things that are important, or purchase better quality products that last longer. It also means less line items on the budget, which makes bill paying simpler. Most of our bills are on autopay. I have a reward card for our consumables like food and gas that can vary, but I pay them off every pay day, and we have an emergency fund for unexpected expenses and for annual expenses that we put a little extra into savings for. Being conscientious of how we spend has allowed us to cut down to a single income household and live a traveling lifestyle years before we ever thought we would.

I know I didn’t cover every category, and I know these won’t all work for you. But cutting back in any one will help cut down the decisions you make and help streamline your thought process and your productivity.

Like or comment below, and share with others to support the blog. I post weekly about teaching, traveling and family. Until next time, you can find me on Tiktok @sonya.BOMSquadleader or follow our adventures at, Facebook & TikTok at @BarnesOnMove

Roos and Coos Farm & Harvest Hosts – Our First Experience With Both

May 24, 2022

Last month, we had our first Harvest Hosts experience at a local farm called Roos and Coos Farm. First of all, if you don’t know what Harvest Host is, it is an RV membership that allows you to stay overnight for free and locations all over the US. They can be farms, wineries, breweries, museums and much more. They won’t have hookups so you will have to boondock (camp unplugged with what your RV can provide or a generator, if allowed) but it is a great chance to experience some neat places.

Roos and Coos Farm is in Plant City, Florida and is a rescue. Marlene, our host, is very friendly and kind, to both people and the animals she cares for. She told us they had all sorts of animals when her kids were growing up and took in pets of friends, as well. They have turned it into a non-profit rescue and provide homes to all kinds. We saw a variety of animals including Watusi cattle, Coos cow, sheep, kangaroo, raccoons and many others. They were just finishing up a new aviary when we visited and we hope to return to see the finished product.

There was a nice size area for our 36 foot 5th wheel, however, the road is narrow with no turn around and the gate access isn’t large, so be sure you are a confident driver since there is no turn around and it is a one way street.

It was quiet and peaceful. We enjoyed it, as did our pups since it is pet friendly!

There are places to eat and visit nearby. We ventured over to Keel and Kurley Winery, another Harvest Host location, for a drink then hung out at the farm.

Whether you want to camp or just want to visit while passing through, tours are available by appointment, so reach out and schedule, it is worth the stop. There is no cost, but they do accept donations to support the animals, and they have an amazon wish list, if you want to support them.

We look forward to so many other Harvest Host locations in our travels!

Like or comment below and share with others to support the blog. I post weekly on a variety of topics about travel, family, and education. Until next time, you can find me on Twitter @AddictedtoTeac1 or on Tiktok: @sonya.BOMSquadleader. You can find more about our adventures on our our website at, Facebook, TikTok & Twitter: @BarnesOnMove . Support us and get more in depth and personal interactions at Patreon: Barnes On Move

Prepper vs. Minimalist – The Internal Struggle is Real

April 19, 2022

I’ve been on my minimalism journey for about 7 years now. I stumbled upon it by pure accident. I have a severe dust allergy and struggled managing it. I was on so many medications that just made me feel awful and we spent so much time cleaning or moving things around and money on storage.

At the time, we had a family of 4 (a teenager and a toddler plus my husband and I) living in 1200 square feet. I searched on either Google or Pinterest for decorating ideas that require little cleaning and the word minimalism kept popping up. I followed that down the rabbit hole, discovering videos, articles and books and got very excited–and then very discouraged.

As a military brat and veteran, moving was a part of life, so we already had the habit of getting rid of things we didn’t use. But we used a lot of things, or had good intentions for a lot of things. I bet you can relate to that? We also live in Florida, so there’s a lot of outdoor activities, plus gear for hurricanes and disasters. We kept a month supply of non-perishables on hand at all times. Needless to stay, we had stacks that were forever being shifted.

I figured I’d start with the obvious stuff and emptied our storage unit, either ditching it or finding a place for it. Then I cleared old hobbies and Knick knacks.

And then I was introduced to Marie Kondo and her concept of Joy. I attacked my closet with such a vengeance. I’ve never been a big shopper or fashionista, but I had a lot in my half of the closet and a full dresser to myself. I cleared 6 large bags of clothes that didn’t bring me Joy–a lesson I learned wasn’t a good guide for summer cleaning of winter clothes, so a word of warning!

I continued my journey, eventually inspiring my kids and husband to join in, especially when we had to move to make room for a parent that needed to live with us. But she even joined the journey, so our twice as big house had half as much stuff from prior homes. It was refreshing.

Last year, we decided that, after a parent and college graduate moving out, we didn’t need a big home anymore and would follow our dream of full-time RV life. So we started the process. We found a rig, then figured out a plan for dad since he’d stay on his own. We began selling and donating with a renewed passion and reduced down to what fit into the rig and one storage closet at a family member’s house (and our home base). What we kept were either family heirlooms and keepsakes, or kitchen gadgets we knew we’d want whenever we had a house again, as well as off season stuff.

Sounds great, right?

We’ve been at this two months and it’s gone mostly well. Mostly.

The prepper in me struggles, and my husband and youngest son seem to have the same struggle. We have stuff with us we may need. I managed to stock a month of groceries in our rig’s kitchen. It fits, but it’s extra weight. I’ll be honest–I am a master packer that is personally responsible for a moving company changing it’s policy on moving quotes because I had way more stuff than they assessed under their old policy. I’m that person.

We are out for a couple weeks now, but will return to home base for a 3 week stretch for some appointments.

Until then, I am not grocery shopping except for perishables and staples we use often until we clear the pantry. I am also making a mental note of what we use and don’t use.

When we get to home base, we will regroup and try again. Some things that we have stored, we don’t need to store for 3+ years when we settle into a house again, even if they don’t take up much space.

Photo albums and mementos can get sorted and paired down–do I really need all those pictures of people and places I don’t remember, or 5 shots of Big Ben or the Eiffel Tower? Probably not. And I want to have a small enough collection I can bring the albums with me as we travel for when I miss them.

I know I don’t need to keep 3 different size portable tables and 7 different types of seating in the camper for the 3 of us.

Minimalism is a journey that is ongoing as life changes. It is also tackling mindsets from how we were raised or have always lived and changing those.

So pray for me as I embark on this next chapter.

And if you need to clear out things that the old you doesn’t need to hold onto, then join me in your journey. Comment and message me of what you find.

Share pictures on social media with me of what you clear out. I’ll be posting there, too.

We’ll get through the piles and make room for new memories and adventures!

We’ve got this.

Like or comment below and share with others to support the blog. I post weekly on a variety of topics about travel, family, cooking and education. Until next time, follow or interact with me on Twitter @AddictedtoTeac1. Support us and follow along on our RV travels around Florida (mostly) at Facebook & Twitter: BarnesOnMove or join us for more in depth and personal interactions at Patreon: Barnes On The Move

The Best Lunch Break – Walking Through the Woods

April 4, 2022

Last week we stayed at the Peace River RV and Camping Resort in Wauchula (south Central Florida) that is along the Peace River. It is a beautiful area with varying lengths of hiking trails, and we decided to take our lunch outside to enjoy it.

It was one of those late spring Florida days that are cool in the morning and warm during the day, but not so humid that you are miserable. We packed some sandwiches into a Tupperware box, filled our water bottles and stopped at the camp store for some chips before heading out for the 1.5 mile trek.

It meanders in and out of the trees, bouncing between the river and campsites. Being midday, we saw insects, birds and squirrels, alligators and fish in the river, and evidence of wild boar, but no other wildlife. A variety of trees and plants played up the midday sunlight and were stunning.

We stopped along the clear river and enjoyed our lunch. It looks like the spot we chose was a popular spot and someone had attempted to make a lean-to from branches and palm fronds.

Today the river was moving quickly, but clear enough, even with the brown-tinge, to see the various sandbars and rocks along the bottom. Sitting along the banks, rock and sand were carved by higher water levels and faster currents. It was clear this is the dry season and this shallow and wadable stream could be a powerful force of nature. Some families were panning for shark’s teeth and other treasures along some of the sand and gravel bars. We hope to get out there and try our luck before we leave.

While we were only out there for an hour, it was certainly an enjoyable break in the day’s work. We returned a few more times over the week, especially to look for shells and fossils. We found a great one of a plant and it came home with us.

There were a few other places we ventured out to explore along the Peace River nearby–Pioneer Park Animal Refuge and Pioneer Museum and Payne’s Creek Historical State Park. We learned a lot about this area, and enjoyed the peaceful area, and that it hasn’t been inundated with development. I look forward to a return visit and many more walks in the trees to see how it changes with the seasons.

What is your favorite outdoor lunch memory? I’d love to hear about it! Until next time, follow or interact with me on Twitter @AddictedtoTeac1

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