Flying Space A

Flying Space A through the Military

The Military has an amazing opportunity to fly for Free on select missions around the world when extra seats are available. This is called flying Space-A.

There are many rules to using this privilege, it’s not a guaranteed seat, flights get canceled at the last minute or  you  can easily get bumped. But if you have time and are completely flexible in your travels it can be a great way to explore!

The best way to find out how to fly Space A is to use this great website. It explains the different categories or how they prioritize passengers, how to get signed up to fly and info on destinations and how to look for flights.

I have flown a few times Space A when we lived in Hawaii. It was a great way to leave the island when my husband was deployed and be able to go see the grandparents!

I decided last minute to try a get a flight out to Hawaii to visit my best friend from college who still lives out there. A flight had popped up leaving San Diego 7am the next day. I quickly contacted a friend to see if she knew someone who could take Kona. Thankfully she had the perfect person and by 5pm I was dropping him off with Mr. P at his vet tech school. Kona was going to be able to attend class too! How amazing is that?!

The students were practicing wrapping bandages. Kona is so chill I think he was the perfect dog to help out!

Now my next obstacle was what to do with the RV! Since I have it listed for sale I decided to put it on the base used car lot. I went down and they had space available, I filled out the paperwork and paid my fee. Latter that night, after traffic died down and I finally got all packed and took a  shower I drove the RV over to the lot to park it.

The next morning we arrived at the terminal very early to mark ourselves present for the flight. Once roll call came we had been accepted for the flight and had our bags weighted. We were excited & ready! Unfortunately right before we were going to be called to board the plane, the flight was canceled! We were so bummed but that’s how Space A works, you have got to be flexible!

We were told there were not going to be any more flights to Hawaii through the end of the month. So I decided to check for last minute commercial flight deals, but the cheapest flights were over $2k! yikes! That is not in the travel budget! I then looked at the next closet terminal to fly out of, which was Travis AFB and an 8 hr drive north.

They had quite a few flights with many seats going out the next 4 days so I figured that was my best option! And if we didn’t get a flight out sight seeing San Francisco, Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park are all on my list of places to visit.

Since we had all of our luggage in the car we just hopped right on the highway and drove north! We arrive at Travis shortly after dinner and was able to get the LAST room available at the base lodging. It was a huge 2 bedroom apartment too. After living in an RV for a year that felt like a palace!

Unfortunately the fight that was scheduled for the next morning was canceled so we took the opportunity to drive into San Francisco to do some sight seeing!

I was able to check off 2 bucket list items too!

Drive over Golden Gate Bridge, it was way smaller then I expected!

Drive down Lombard St, aka the windiest road. It was so steep! Actually all the streets in San Fran were very steep and I was not expecting that!

We explored Fisherman’s Warf, had an amazing lunch & found a really cool antique coin operated game museum that you could actually play!

There was so much more we could of done or seen but with no plans and tired kids I called it a day!

Saturday 5/18 there was a Patriot Express Flight scheduled with 36 seats available. I figured that was our best shot at getting a flight. We arrived at the terminal very early because we had to check out of our hotel. After a quick trip to Walmart and the BX we decided just hanging out there was the best option. We marked ourselves present and waited for roll call. Once the list of people who had marked themselves present was posted I saw we were the only ones in Cat 4 and there were only 15 people in the higher categories so I knew were would get seats! Of course I didn’t let myself get too excited until we were taking off! lol!

 

These two guys had a long few days but man are they were troopers! 👊🏼

They were so excited to get on the plane. ✈️

Kai was telling people in the terminal he was going back to his “Homeland” 🤣

Keanu was a bit nervous & asked if we could hold hands on the plane ❤️

Once we got on the plane he was looking around asking 100 questions. 🤓

Then it hit me.🤦🏼‍♀️

This is only his 2 flight ever & he was a baby the first time we left Hawaii, so he obviously doesn’t remember that plane ride.

Fun fact: Keanu has only flown on military space A flights!

He was praying as we took off & got really scared when the fasten seatbelt sign came on during dinner and we got a bit of turbulence. I explained it was completely normal, kind of like going down a road with too many potholes and needing to keep seatbelts on so you stay safe. Kai was so sweet and grabbed his hand and told him it was ok.

He was very interested in what the buttons were, how the tray table worked and how the oxygen mask came down.

The bathroom was another cool thing to checkout too! Like 20 times durning our flight. I was glad we were right next to the bathrooms!

The boys also had their first (and last 🤣) soda because that’s all they had. #beggerscantbechoosers

Our meal included an old school hostess cupcake… they were not fans. 🤣 Its amazing that as a kid those were one of the best things ever! But I even took a bite and it was gross! 🤢 How did we eat that crap?! 🤦🏼‍♀️

As we were about to land Keanu exclaimed “I see a volcano!” Really loud. There was a bit of laughter from the other passengers.  I explained there was no active volcano on Oahu 🌋

We arrive in Hawaii after 9pm, collect our bags and went out to get the base bus that runs to the Navy Exchange so my best friend could pick us up. Unfortunately that bus was not running anymore since the store was closed! I swear when I called and asked about the bus they told me last bus leaves at 10:15pm. I was bout to order a Uber when another couple offered us a ride. I was very grateful since the Uber was a 45 minute wait and $30 to go 2 miles! yikes!

Here to a start of an amazing adventure!

The next morning after breakfast with my best friend and her room mate we headed down to Hickam Beach which is located on Hickam AFB. When the boys saw the colors of the water they were so excited!

Stay tuned for more Hawaii adventures!

Pops Wood Shop

My dad taught me everything I know about being handy. When I was younger he would set me up with a board and nails to pound while he was working in his shop. I used to be able to drive a nail in one whack in Kindergarten! 

Don’t worry I am not that cool any more!

But neither are my kids! ha! They are trying, despite whacking their thumbs more then not!

The boys have been spending a lot of time in the wood shop with my dad, more Kai as he is at the perfect age for it, but both are getting some experiences which I love!

Kai’s first project was a sword! My dad showed him how to draw it out on paper and then transfer that to the wood to cut out. He learned how to use the band saw to cut it out and the sander to smooth it out. He painted it and was quite happy with his creation!

Kai’s next project was a bandsaw box and he designed a pistol that will hold a clock.

I love that my sons are learning so much from my dad. I had even started a project earlier in the day as Kai was helping me I realized he knew how to work most of the machines! Tonight my dad jumped in and helped us. Kai learned how to join & glue a board. 

New England Aquarium, Boston MA

Kids lobster

Why is it when you go to the aquarium you want to eat seafood? 

 

Clam chowder for Kai


One thing I learned as a Masshole that left the state, trying to eat lobster anywhere south or west is an epic waste of money! 🤑

I was not planning on hitting up the New England Aquarium  because we have done it before when visiting but the boys requested. I’m so glad I said yes!


Normally I like to get to places when they open but our day consisted of getting a rental car, grocery shopping and cleaning the RV.

We arrived to the aquarium about 3pm and the crowds we’re heading out, the sea life were so active and it was feeding time!

We were memorized by the huge Octopus 🐙 moving around the tank. Man he put on a show!

The huge Honu was amazing along with the biggest puffer fish I’ve ever seen!

We learned so much too! I love how they have so many people on the floor ready to chat and fill you up with knowledge!

Did you know Lobsters color is based on their diet? So if they are picky eaters in the wild you will find blue or white lobsters. At the aquarium they can alter their diet which helps them look for lobster shell disease. 

The Morey Eel, the beautiful bright green one, is actually brown but covered in a layer of mucus which gives it a green color! gross! 

Exploring with kids who are 7 & 9 is so amazing! They ask questions and actually stop and look at the tanks instead of rushing forward!

Of course we had to find a gluten-free desert option after dinner! Modern Pastry was a short walk but man was it windy & cold! 

Day 1 of Boston was a success! 

Pro Tip: Parking in Boston can be very expensive! Get a parking app!

You can always take the T from an outer station that has parking but that can easily add up or eat up your day, and the energy levels of kids!

I chose to get a rental car. I lived in Boston many years ago when I was getting my AA and I nannied. So I’m comfortable driving in the city.

There are a few parking apps you can download on your phone and pre book a spot. Some are in big garages and some are in private offices that rent out parking.

Once you pay you will get a QR code to get entry & exit the garage. It will save you about $20 for all day parking!

 

 

Oh Canada…maybe next time…

Monday 10-8-18

To Canada!! I have to say I was pretty excited to travel through Canada. I have tried to see Niagara Falls a few times but the plans fell through. 

I had arranged to stay at another Harvest Host location that was a farm and winey that had a bunch of activities for the boys to enjoy so we were looking forward to that!

I crossed the boarder with no issues. The traffic was very quick to move, to my surprise! I have my US Passport but for kids you only need a Birth Certificate if you are driving (not flying). Also it is recommended to have a notarized letter from an absent parent stating you have permission to cross the boarder with your children. For detailed & up to date rules please check the US Customs website.

I will offer one tip about crossing the boarder, fill up your gas tank BEFORE you cross! It didn’t even dawn on me to do that and oh man did I pay for it, literally! At almost $5 a gallon it hit me right in the pocketbook!  I needed a 1/2 of tank which is about 30 gallons.

It sure was getting hot in the RV! It was about 85 outside when I filled up gas so once we were done filling up I told the boys I would turn on the Generators and crank the AC units.

Started her up and ….. then it shut off. Now our generator has been pretty reliable. Had her serviced, new spark plugs, oil change and new filters and after a quick adjustment to the ideal it ran perfectly. But now nothing. It was not even turning over. I pulled over at the rest stop and tried to tinker with it and the couple who was parked next to me also looked at it. I figured it was the fuse since it wasn’t turning over. The fuses inside the RV were good but I couldn’t tell if the 5v glass fuse was ok that was on the generator. We hung out at the rest stop for a bit and then I got on the road again heading to a Walmart close to our Harvest Host location. I had also found a shop near there that could service the generator.

We arrived at the Walmart and surprisingly there was only about 8 cars in the parking lot. Very odd! Once we got to the doors we found them locked. It was only a bit after 5pm so I was stumped. We wondered over to the Starbucks which seamed to be open and we were promptly greeted with “Happy Thanksgiving!”

The boys looked at me and I shrugged my shoulders and laughed a “Happy Thanksgiving” back at them The guy was quite kind and asked if we enjoyed our dinner and I explained we were from the US and had no idea it was Thanksgiving! He was surprised and happy we were visiting. We chatted a bit about our adventuring plans while my drink was made.

On the way back to the RV I noticed there was an open Dominos Pizza behind the Starbucks. With no working generator we were stuck eating PBJ or cereal but GF pizza just sounded nice!

10/9/18

The next morning I called the auto shop and he said to come down and he could squeeze me in.

Took it in and found the fuse was blown. But the new one that was put in blew right away too, so it was a grounding issue. About 3 hours latter he had an answer for me: The transformer was melted and there was a non functioning rectifier. My generator was really broke and it was not an easy fix,

I was planing on boon docking through Harvest Host locations though Canada and NY so that wasn’t going to fly, plus the 90 degree heat wasn’t going to be doable without AC.

They guy called for parts and pricing but told me he knew I could save 40-50% on parts if I just crossed the boarder. He gave me a full write up (with photos!) and the parts number so I could easily get the work done. Thankfully I’m on my way to my sisters and her husband is a mechanic so he can help me.

If your in Ontario, Canada and find yourself in need of a repair shop I highly recommend Trinity Automotive. They were kind, professional, worked hard to figure out what was wrong and didn’t try to take advantage of me just to make a sale. It took the guys 3 hours to figure out what was wrong and they only charged me for one hour because that’s what I was quoted!

https://www.trinityautomotive.ca 

Small Town America

Saturday  10-6-18 & Sunday 10-7-18

We left the Straits State Park and headed to my husbands Aunt & Uncle house in  Owosso, MI. I have been truly blessed to have married into such a great family. Most of the time I visit my husbands family without him. Last time we visited his Aunt & Uncle they were living in Texas and Keanu was a baby!

It was a long travel day and we were all excited to arrive at their house. Polly is an amazing cook and she had dinner all ready for us when we arrived! Unfortunately I have no photos since I was too busy stuffing my face. I got the recipes and will be cooking those up soon!

We ate, we drank wine and hung out for the evening. Danna told me all about Michigan and how much there is to do and see in the state. We will defiantly be exploring MI next summer! He told me about many small coastal towns, wineries and orchards and how unique the weather is in the state. He was a wealth of knowledge!

The next morning after breakfast and showers we headed out for a grand tour of Owasso. It is such a beautiful small town with lots to see. They have a cute little historic village that is open and holds events through out the year.

We drove over to the Curwood Castle and it was open so we ventured inside.

The castle was used as a writing studio of James Oliver Curwood in the 1920’s.

Right next door was a small art gallery we checked out too! The river that runs through the area has a nice walking & biking path and swinging bridge. We walked over the bridge and if the weather was not so rainy we would of walked a bit more.

After some touring looking at all the great architecture, we were on the hunt for some shoes for Kai. We were checking out at one store and Keanu wanted to ride the horse. I usually just tell the kids to climb on and pretend because half the time they never work or I don’t have quarters. Well this was only a penny! I think Keanu was a bit embarrassed once it started moving! He is getting so big! The horse would not stop either! I was standing there with heavy bags and finally had to ask him to just hop off! He defiantly got his penny worth!

Dana noticed my tail light was needing a bit of repair so he offered to fix it for me. He removed it, cleaned it, glued and taped it and got it back on the next morning! I was so grateful for the help. I have so many small projects that still need to be done, now its one less! Thanks Dana!

 

Harvest Host

Thursday 10/4/18

We got on the road heading towards a winery part of Harvest Host. If your not aware of Harvest Host it’s a network of wineries, breweries, farms & museums that allow you to stay on their property for free for one night. It’s expected that you will purchase something in exchange. To me that sounds perfect! I would much rather buy wine and food for $30 then pay a camp ground! I’m fully self contained so I can use my generator, I’ve got water so I don’t need hook ups. You can save 10% off the membership fee by using this link to sign up!

 

Let me tell you, for our first stay with Harvest Host we were so impressed! Susan who is one of the owners welcomed us at the tasing room with the biggest smile! The farm was busy with friends coming in to help harvest the grapes. We had unfortunately arrived to late as they had just finished, but Susan told us to go out to the vineyard and find some grapes and eat them right off the vine.

We got Kona out of the RV and he ran around the vineyard with their dog. It was so funny to see them playing together. Kona was so happy to not have to be on a leash too!

The grapes we ate off of the vine were the most delicious grapes I had ever had. Come to find out they were the ice wine grapes! Yummy!

I did a wine tasting and then took the boys over to see them processing the grapes. 

We got to see how the machine removes the stems and learned about the process of pressing the grapes and how some wines sit with the skins on to retain the color and some skins are removed right away.

The winery also does a rhubarb & apple wine! The Rhubarb was one of my favorites so I got a bottle of that along with one of their reds, Marquette.

All of the wines I tased were amazing. Most times I do a tasing at a winery I will like 1 or 2 but I liked all 6 wines I tasted!

I made me and the boys dinner and we took our food over to the patio under the grape vine pergola. It was a perfect 69 digress outside! The boys played for a bit in the yard with some of the yard games they had out and Kona got to run around a bit more.

I sat down to paint, I wanted to give Susan a thank you gift for hosting us. So I painted the grape leaves from the pergola.

In the morning I got up and secured everything for our drive and we said our good byes, hopefully one day we will return!

****

Norther Sun Winery

983 10th Rd

Bank River, MI 49807

906-399-9212

Mr & Mrs Anthony

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Check out our YouTube Video on Harvest Winery

Highway to Hell

Highway to Hell

Wednesday 10/2/18

First Day was a little nerve racking & a lot went wrong. But we are good and lessons were learned… plus the boys like me now because I gave them chocolate!

I left my in-laws house a lot latter then I was hopping, but there was a lot to do! We got on the road about 12:30pm. I was heading to the truck stop about 30 mins from their house first so I could get gas, LP, a final weight at the scales and get the RV washed so it looked … less old! Once they were done washing the RV I pulled out of the bay and went to go inside to pay and noticed the rear tires looked a bit low. Since the place was also a truck shop I asked if they could fill my tires.

RV tires are higher pressure then car tires (110 vs 40 psi) and I also have 3 axels with the middle Axel being a dully or two tires. So I do not have the equipment to do the tires myself. I will probably add that set up soon, although I do want a tire monitoring system though! It took them over an hour to add air! The hub caps were not lined up correctly on most of the tires so they had to remove them which took extra time but it was also hard to get the caps on and off the valves. They had 4 replacement caps that they gave me so air can be added without removing them. I’ll have to pick up 4 more some where else since they ran out.

We finally got on the road about 2:30 but my GPS had a bit of a lag and I thought I had to turn, which I did not and I ended up having to go in a circle 10 miles out of the way.

The drive was going pretty well. I got through Duluth good, had my first 6% downhill grade and bridge experience. We saw Lake Superior and the leaves were beautiful! The drive was only supposed to take about 4 hours so we would be in around dinner time. Unfortunately, at some point the GPS had me turn off of RT2. Since I downloaded a Truckers GPS app I figured it was taking me around a bridge or low underpass. But it had now changed our time from arriving at 6:30 to after 8pm. I had no way to turn around on a very narrow 2 lane road so I had to keep going. I was getting very frustrated, the boys were hangry and complaining which just made me more flustered. I finally laid it out for them and said “Look, something happened with the GPS and I have no choice but to stay on corse. I’m upset too and this was not the plan. I’m tired, my back hursts and YOUR making me more upset by compiling so ZIP it!” They got the point!

The black was our route, the red was the detour.

The arrival time got latter and latter since I could not go the speed limit because the rain and wind was picking up and once it got dark, I could hardly see. I found out I had NO lights in my dash board. Like I can’t see how fast I am going. Talk about adding stress to the mounting pile!

Then I had to turn down a dirt road. SERIOUSLY and dirt road. I about died. I was having visions of killing me and the boys by falling into a ditch on our first day. NOT THE PLAN. I prayed hard, took lots of deep breaths and gave myself a 1000 pep talks. But what stoped me dead in the middle of the dirt road was the sign that read

“HIGH WATER”

What!? Seriously, I am not driving through water. I know I’m big, but that also mean I’m heavy and will sink like a rock. NOPE not in the plan.

I creep up trying to see what lies ahead. It’s pitch BLACK. I’m thinking I need new headlights. They boys are freaking out. I tell them I will not drive through water. I turn on my spot light (Thanks 1988!) and I don’t see any water on the road, it looks like gravel. Which is what the sign up ahead says “Gravel Road”.

So did they fix the road?

I have no idea. I do know on the GPS it looks like the lake comes right up to the road, so maybe this is just a normal thing?

Then a car zips around me and he does not drop into the lake! He doesn’t even displace the gravel he just drove over so I know its well packed down.

I tell the boys we will go slow but I think its ok. I say a prayer and it was a Jesus take the wheel kind of moment…

It was 20 feet of gravel… 20 feet. Seriously…My RV is 34 feet…

We were ok!

Kai said to me “Mom you owe us big time, plus I’m starving now you owe us extra big time!”

I did not plan this… how is this lost on them?

Keanu, my 7 year old said ” Yeah you took us down the High Way to Hell!”  He shocked me with his comment and of course made me laugh. Sometimes this kid get gets it and he is so young!

I tell them I will buy them dinner once we get to the casino, because truthfully the last thing I want to do is cook… but they don’t need to know that!

Well that 8 pm turned into 9:30 pm arrival. I check into the smoke shop and chat with the lady at the counter about our drive, she tells me that used to be an old detour but its not active anymore. We register and head to the restaurant…

Which was closed….

Boys stomping off, muttering at me, me yelling at them for being rude and disrespectful squashing that BS faster then they can produce it.

Again, I did not plan this… how is this lost on them?

I whip up a new meal of pizza tacos- corn tortillas, sauce, cheese and pepperoni in our toaster oven air fryer. (Seriously the best toaster oven I have ever had!) It was so good and after the hangrey children were feed, hugs and apologies came my way.

We tucked in for the night pretty quickly, and man was it windy! There was a Gail Warring for Lake Superior and we sure could feel it! Gust were over 20mph!

After all the wind last night we woke up to a beautiful cool morning. I got a great shot of our RV with the beautiful fall leaves on the trees.

***

Bad River Lodge & Casino (Found on All Stays App)

Call smoke shop for RV parking 715-682-7121

$10 dry camp $20 Electric & Water

Located at US2 & Maple St, Ashland, WI 54806

Check out our YouTube Channel