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Welcome to the July, 2016 Epic Journey update!
Thank you again for subscribing to my monthly travel plan alert newsletter. Each month I will send you my future plans for the upcoming month plus some past experiences of the past month. I want to first apologize for this late update on the July Newsletter. I have definitely found out how IMPORTANT it is to invest in a dependable WiFi system for the camper trailer. The RV Parks and Free WiFi networks (even with a booster in the camper) are not suitable for me. I am still researching the best option for me. But as of now I do have AT&T/DIRECTV unlimited plan.I am in it now! A full-timer!!! I wake up sometimes and wonder how did I get here? What led me here? How did I reach this lifetime dream that seemed unreachable until possible retirement at the age of 65, if so lucky? That story if you don’t know is for another time but I credit all the personal growth, planning, and work I have done as a Beachbody Coach. There’s a little saying us successful coaches say “If you can dream it, you can make it reality with Beachbody.”So the new lifestyle began June 1st at 10:00am when Benjamin Atlas and I walked into Camping World with the camper trailer in mind to purchase. A Crossroads Sunset Trail Super Light 250RB! My new home! Everything went smoothly with financing and insurance until June 3rd, the day of pick up, when I found out it would take an additional 3 hours to prep my old 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 with the proper 7-pin tow package additions that where not properly installed at the factory back in 2004. So the old cliche of RV/Trailer ownership; If it can go wrong, it will.

Finally at 4:50pm I was all hooked up to my new home and ready to roll. But there was a one problem. A central Texas thunderstorm was about to hit and I was heading 40 miles North on I-35 to East Austin in order to set up the trailer for the 1st time. But first I had to drop off Ben at his breeders for a weekend visit with his Mother, Brother, Sister and extended family of English Labradors. This would give me a free weekend to load the trailer with everything I needed and enjoy the annual Gettin Boney Domino Tournament with all my life-long friends.

Unfortunately, the first night didn’t go as planned as Murphy’s Law was in full effect. Just as I put the jacks down leveling the trailer that thunderstorm hit and it hit hard. So hard it kept me from hooking up the electric, water and black/grey tank drainage tubes which meant no A/C in the Texas summer heat. I was a sweaty mess that night, my 1st night!!! 🙁 Murphy’s Law hit again the following morning when I found the shower doors (3 sliders) where completely off track, the stitching on one of the dinette table seat cushions weren’t replaced during the mad rush to get out of Camping World before 5pm the day before. This after I hooked up all the connections in the mud at 6am on Saturday, the day of the domino tournament keep in mind, so the decision was made to pack up and head back to Camping World again. Unfortunately I would have to withdrawal from tournament. Long story short everything was fixed, did some shopping, loaded the trailer with everything I needed from the storage unit I have in Austin. I finally made it to the tournament about 6:30pm Saturday June 4th to visit with friends and watch the epic ALI to ALI championship game between the Gays and Come on feel the Schube, Girls rock yer . Congratulations to my friends Jay and Jodie on a well played tournament and WIN.

Sunday I was able to get a little organized in the camper, pick up Ben and visit with Marlee (my ex-roommate) on Sunday evening. We both have been so much and it was surreal that we both have come so far. I am proud of her and her accomplishments as well as honored that I was able to impact her greatly. She has come so far.

The next morning I successfully packed everything away and left Austin for the long 3 month trip to the east coast with my best bud Benjamin Atlas. Unfortunately, I have to return to Austin in September for followups with my Rheumatoid, Dermatologist and Oncologist Doctors to have my Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) and Melanoma checked on. These both are heavy burdens on my mind each and everyday. I always have to ask myself, “Chris, you sure you can stay this active? The chronic pain is always going to be there from the AS only to get worse with each year and you will have to stay protected from the sun 100% with SPF clothing and spf skin lotion and sunscreen.” This is where I am thankful that I have Ben. He’s always there to lift me up out of depression and even pull me while walking in order to help me get to one point to the other.

June 6th: On the road for the 1st trip as a full-timer heading to Houston for 3 days. The biggest thing I noticed during the 1st leg of the trip was how much different it was driving my truck pulling over 6000lbs, 6650lbs to be exact. My old 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 is finally working and she did well at an average of 1800-3500 rpm. I am afraid she won’t last the 2-5 years I want to do this but at least she’ll get me through the first 6 months. Fingers crossed.

My stay in the Houston area was short but definitely a learning experience. Apparently, on the 2nd night I didn’t latch the door properly before going to bed and woke up to find Benjamin Atlas sitting at the door staring outside as if on guard. I believe he did that most of the night after he touched the door while laying down on the floor pushing it wide open. Poor guy but damn I am glad I have him. He guarded me all night. Love that dog.

Next stop was New Orleans to visit my very good friend Kelly Watson to drink some beer and BBQ. Most importantly have some guy time with someone as crazy as me. These 2 evenings with Kelly were well worth the drive across LA on there BUMPY roads. FYI: Do not tow a camper trailer on I-10 in LA or you’ll bounce around all over the highway. Terrible road system, the knuckles were white!!! Kelly and I drank and ate way to much as it seems we always do. I have a few moments I had to pause to reflect on the reality that I am now a full-timer on the road going wherever I want to go. Why? Because I can.

My next stop was Mobile, AL to see my stepbrothers David and Mark. I am so proud of them and all they have accomplished. Loved seeing David’s new house in Loxely, AL and visiting with Mark who has been very busy working his way towards his Master Pluming certification.

UGH! The next road trip from Mobile to Tampa was grueling. 11 hours on the road. Google Maps may say 6 hrs to destination but in actuality when you are driving 55-65 it adds hours to the trip. But I arrived safely and had a wonderful visit from my old neighbors from the Austin neighborhood: Scott and Michelle along with Cynthia (Michelle’s sister) and her husband Pete. I sure did miss them since they left the summer of 2015. That old neighborhood never was the same after they left along with a # of others (Dana & John and Pam).

Over the weekend I had to pleasure of joining another best friend in Exuma, Bahamas for his wedding. Congratulations Ron Wight!!! It was a great time seeing life-long friends from the days in The Woodlands as a kid; Lance, Andy, Kristi, and many others. As one can guess if you knew this group of my friends from The Woodlands we definitely didn’t hold back on having fun. wrecked, stranded, and golf cart or two. Even in our 40’s we can still party like it was 1999. I had to throw a Prince reference. RIP!!! BTW if you ever get a chance to go to the Bahamas go and stay at Exuma and one of the few resorts over there. Definitely worth the money and all the locals are awesome.

I stayed a couple extra days in Tampa after Exuma so that I could visit more with my old Austin neighborhood friends before heading out to St. Augustine. I couldn’t wait to get there as St. Augustine is one of the few cities I have always had the desire to visit and it was worth it. Ben and I were able to go on the trolly tours and visit The World Golf Hall of Fame which brought tears to my eyes at moments. My Grandfather was a big influence on me with Golf and the memories displayed throughout the tour brought up some old memories of me as a child sitting with my Pops watching Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson on TV in many tournaments and Majors.

Now it was off to Fuquay Varina, NC for a 3 week long awaited visit with my younger Brother Mark and his family. Oh the kids have grown so much. Haley is a wizard at drawing, Luke is becoming a talented athletic competitor on the court in basketball and Kiley, well Kiley she’s an all around Princess. I am truly blessed to have such wonderful nieces and nephews from my Sister and Brother. To look back at how we grew up to now realizing everything we went through together as a single parent family and all the struggles that we all turned out pretty well. They are my golden stars, I am so proud of both of them especially Mark, as the youngest. Kudos to you Mark and your beautiful wife Amy! BTW you are awesome Beachbody Coaches and saving lives all the time striving for your own dreams and goals. Fuquay Varina was amazing. I was able to relax a lot from the stressful travels of living on the road, watch Luke practice, Kiley at her gymnastics, enjoy watching Haley draw and even go with her to learn how 3d printing works. Oh I can’t forget to mention that I was able to see one of the 1st Beachbody Coaches and fellow challenger from 2012 Karie Hare and her new baby Hazel. Plus, her ghost of a husband JP. 🙂 I will always cherish the moments watching movies with the kids (Back to the Future series) and the laughs.

I am realizing how memorable it is to be able to live this lifestyle. I thank all of my team of Beachbody Coaches, my customers and those who have encouraged me to “Go for It”. Thank you all…

Thank you again and I sure hope to see everyone during my travels.
Chris

Things I learned

  • YOUR LIST ITEM GOES HERE
  • Foil Bubble Wrap for the windows and sunroofs drastically reduces the heat coming in from the suns rays.
  • Spread bug repellent all around the camper trailer at every campground of RV park.
  • Have a tool box with every type of screw bit there is, plus have extra screws.
  • Tighten up ALL visible screws around the camper trailer every month or two if you are a full timer or before you head out on a trip.
  • Change the locks on the pass-through and outside grill locks. I found out that all RV/Trailers have the same locks installed from the factory and keep those locks oiled with WD40 and they will jam up. Lesson learned in Houston.
  • You will spend a lot of money at Camping World, Walmart, Flying J/Pilot and Home-Depot stores so get reward cards and if possible their Visa’s for discounts.
  • Join ALL the RV Park,camp site memberships so that you can get discounts up to 50% off daily/nightly spot rentals. Good Sam, Passport America and KOA to name a few will save you some money.
  • If it can go wrong it will.
  • Purchase WeatherTech floor mats for your truck because you will have to breakdown your trailer in the rain or mud. Tracking all that mud into the truck is going to happen.
  • Put everything in totes (different sizes) to keep all your stuff from moving around during traveling.
Place I’ve Stayed
Austin, TX: Midtown RV Park
Spring, TX: Rayford Crossing RV Park
New Orleans, LA: Pontchartrain Landing RV Park
Mobile, AL: Styx River Resort
Tampa, FL: Bickley RV Park
Exuma, Bahamas: Grand Isle Resort
Fort Myers, FL: Groves RV Park
St. Augustine, FL: Compass RV Park
Lake Marion, SC: Palmetto Shores RV Park
Jourdan Lake NC State Park, NC: Crosswinds Campgrounds
Benjamin Atlas having a ball

Benjamin Atlas at Riverside RV Resort off the Styx River in Alabama, a Coast to Coast Good Sam RV Park.

Benjamin Atlas at Riverside RV Resort off the Styx River in Alabama, a Coast to Coast Good Sam RV Park.

World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, FL. What an amazing tour it was.

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World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, FL. What an amazing tour it was.

Had a bit of a problem.

After arriving in Houston to find that my pass-through lock was jammed and I had to pull everything out from the opposite side in order to crawl through to release the lock. All in 100 degrees and 100% humidity at 4pm.  Spring, TX

After arriving in Houston to find that my pass-through lock was jammed and I had to pull everything out from the opposite side in order to crawl through to release the lock. All in 100 degrees and 100% humidity at 4pm. Spring, TX

Friends

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Visiting my friends from my old neighborhood in Austin who all recently moved from Austin to southwest Florida in 2015 at Groves RV Park in Fort Myers, FL.

St Augustine and a brew.

In St. Augustine enjoying the live music at Micas Cafe on St George St.

In St. Augustine enjoying the live music at Micas Cafe on St George St.

Jourdan Lake, NC

Ben taking over the conversation between my brother Mark and his wife Amy. He sure is loving the trip so far. Jourdan Lake, NC

Ben taking over the conversation between my brother Mark and his wife Amy. He sure is loving the trip so far. Jourdan Lake, NC

Mt Benjamin Atlas

Benjamin Atlas in front of Ben Hogans locker at the World Golf Hall of Fame. I name Ben after Ben Hogan.

Benjamin Atlas in front of Ben Hogans locker at the World Golf Hall of Fame. I name Ben after Ben Hogan.

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