Preparation and Planning for Life on the Road
The house is filled with boxes and building supplies, waiting for our move into the bus. The kids have toys scattered all over. April is showing Daphney her box house, one moment. The next second, she is headed out the door to do laps around the bus on her bike or pick dandelions. Our house is chaotic, but each day we get closer to our dream of the living nomadically for the next year and selling our bike bags, on the road.
Bryon has been working from sunup to sundown on bags or the bus each day. When this all began we were nervous, because we didn't get new orders for the first week of the stay-at-home order. After that first week, the phone calls, emails, and online orders have been growing in number daily. The bus is coming along well. Bryon has been working on it primarily. The wood stove has been installed. The girls "room" has walls. The epoxy counter is in place, ready for the sink and stove top. April calls her bus room her "fancy room." Daph gets wide-eyed every time she goes into the bus with me, to visit Bryon. It's exciting see our future home take shape, more and more each day.
I have been teaching remotely from home. Often it doesn't seem like teaching as I'm used to it. I feel my job has transitioned from teaching new concepts to more of a coordinating position. I schedule activities for 18 young individuals and their parents to review previous learned topics in reading, explore math virtually, and spend time connecting with their surroundings and finding awe in the natural world. I love seeing the small projects I assign, that engage the students use of design thinking and inquiry, come to life. Last week, they each carried out projects that helped local wildlife. When I am not planning for remote learning or checking student work, I have been spending time packing boxes, taking care of the logistics for the summer, ordering materials for bags, and managing the website for FBJ Creations.
The time and energy we both are putting into each day leaves us exhausted mentally and physically. We are up by 7 and don't go to bed until almost 11 most nights. Our days our fully consumed. We love being together as a family, despite our fatigue. We love that we are both able to be home with our daughters. April talks non-stop. Each day she says something that surprising me. She loves to run around, sings, dances, and enjoys playing outside a lot. Daphney rolls around the floor and scoots across the floor pulling whatever she can reach down, in her walker. I am thankful to be home with her, as she grows so quickly these days.
Our concept of a home is evolving. June 1st we will be out on the road, living in the bus. By the end of July, we hope to cover over 5000 miles, bike through forests in the Midwest and Souteast and over sand along shores of the Gulf of Mexico and east coast. This will be a time for us to visit family and friends, ride bikes, and make bags.
Our first official event for the summer as vendors will be Bike Bash WV at Big Bear Lake Trail Center, near Bruceton Mills, WV. We look forward to embracing cycling with others again! We had originally planned to be in Oregon, but due to most June events cancelling we decided to seek out events in the east, later in the summer. Following the event in West Virginia, we look forward to exploring the northeast before heading back to the midwest for the Gravel Worlds, Outerbike Duluth, Copper Harbor Trails Fest, and Chaquamegon MTB Festival.
In September, after Chaquamegon MTB Festival we will head back east. We plan on being at the Vermont 50 in late September, Coldwater Mountain Fat Tire Festival in Alabama, and the Alafia Fat Tire Festival in November in Florida.
Our journey will continue from Florida. We have not set our schedule out past the Alafia Fat Tire Festival in Lithia, FL yet but events like the Sedona MTB Festival and Sea Otter are on our radar for spring.
As we envision what may lay ahead for us, this next year we have begun to set goals. Bryon wants to get back into BMX. I want to try out an endurance mountain bike event. We want to bikepack more. We want to embrace the time we have together traveling with our children and share with them our love for bicycles and seek out adventures in nature on our bikes.
We are very thankful for all our customers here in the Tetons. We are surprised at the growth our business has seen the past two years. When we started making bike bags, I was hesitant. The first bag that Bryon made, broke our at-home sewing machine. Our first year we made bags on a Heavy Duty Singer machine. We now have two industrial machines and
I order fabric weekly. We have orders for gravel bikes, mountain bikes, and ebikes on our list. We have bags going to Colorado, Tennessee, California, and North Carolina in the works. We love exploring on our bikes and making rad bags that meet the needs of individuals all over the country, whatever their bike journey may be. I am excited and anxious to see where the next year takes our family as we immerse ourselves into the world of bicycles full-time.
I look forward to sharing our journey here, on our blog, The Family Bicycling Journal, with all of you! Stay tuned through out the summer to find out where we travel and what we discover along the way!