Chinese style breakfast – Fish Floss

Why has no one told me about this little gem before? On my way to Bangkok on EVA Air, I chose the Chinese style breakfast,  pictured above.  Yam noodle and seaweed salad, rice bun and dried shrimp with pork and FISH FLOSS! It was a dried almost, powdery substance slightly sweet with a fish flavor of course. Added to the shrimp  and pork rice dish, was muy sabroso!

On this trip, no doubt there will be many posts about food, and I was lucky to start it off with something new before I even set foot in Asia :).

I’m missing the kids a lot already, and know they are having a great time with daddy!


Byron Bay, NSW


The Pacific Ocean is getting a little colder with each km, but the seaside no less beautiful. Our second day in the motor home saw us to Byron Bay, NSW. I had visited this hippie hideaway with my friends Rebecca and Isabel while I was studying abroad at UQ in 2000. We had a similar shot of this gorgeous beach but from a lighthouse lookout on the cape that we couldn’t reach with our campervan.


As one can imagine,  the kids enjoyed the waves with the clearest of water lapping at their feet or chasing them up the beach.




We spent some time atop the lookout at the edge of the beach we had walked,  taking it all in and then lunched in the shade by this lovely view.

It was a surfer’s paradise,  I’d never seem that many surf boards in one place,  even when I was in Hawai’i. I don’t know how they avoided hitting each other.

Although there were some pretty skilled surfers who could avoid the folks riding out further or who had already wiped out but they made it look easy.

All in all a great,  although far too brief,  stop.


The Red Centre

Uluru (aka Ayer's Rock)

Uluru (aka Ayer’s Rock)

We got our Austrailian adventure kick started with a trip to the Red Centre. This is a vast arrid landscape with two land formations that are stark in contrast to the surrounding area. The first is Kata Tjuta and the other is Uluru, also known as Ayer’s Rock. Both sites are very spiritual to the native Australian people. Uluru had a significant meaning for me, and the only reason I knew about it, was because it was described in a book I read when I was twelve (Atlas of Mysterious Places). The area around Uluru was covered with a red sand, the same color as the rock itself, for which the region has it’s name.

The science lesson on Uluru:

The 300 million-year-old rock is comprised of sand, feldspar (various crystalline minerals) and rock, and originally hailed from a sea floor. A large chunk is above ground today (348m), and the flat top and grooved sides are a result of weathering.

We took a short hike with the kids at the base of the rock. It was a pretty spectacular experience, despite the 100 degree Fahrenheit temperature (yes it was pretty warm, after all it is summer down here) and the flies that surrounded our faces almost the entire time. With the kids, we got a good dose of how disconcerted they were with the flies, and they pretty much wanted to go back to the hotel after the first 100 ft., but like the troopers they are they made the entire hike.

Also, as part of Uluru expereince, we made it out to the eastward lookout to watch the sunset. It was breath taking.

The trip to Uluru was the type of expereince that makes trips like this worth its weight in gold. We, as a family, are able to experience not only things we don’t see every day, but some of the absolute wonders that exist in the world, and how grateful we are to expereince them


Round the world again!

As I write this, I’m shaking my head because I really should be sleeping. But I am WAY too excited for what this post will unveil… We’re going to Australia tomorrow!!!!

As an undergrad, I studied abroad in Brisbane, QLD. I honestly didn’t know if I would ever get back there. Since then I have had the privilege of visiting many other amazing places as well, but Australia will always have a special spot in my heart. I attended my first Olympics there, I almost died a few times but made it out ok, I made some long time friends that I am looking forward to seeing again, and I learned a lot about myself. I’m excited to be going back with my own family now, to see the town I lived in, finally see the amazing Great Barrier Reef and visit with some of those old friends again (Rebs, watch out!).

We’ve got a slightly bananas itinerary for our two weeks abroad (as if I know any other way to travel):

  • Sydney, NSW
  • The Red Center, NT: Uluru (Ayer’s Rock)
  • Cairns, QLD and the Great Barrier Reef
  • Brisbane, QLD
  • Motorhome from Brisbane to Sydney (sorry Western Australia, I’m skipping you again)
From Google Maps

From Google Maps

We only did any prep for this trip because our dear friend Turbo was excited and kept us on task, despite hectic family, work and volunteering demands the past few months. Not to mention, 3 days of a stomach bug for both kids this week to slow down prep. So a huge thanks, Turbo!!!

I won’t make any promises, but we intend to track our travels and adventures here, and of course, wish us luck!


Merry Christmas 2015

We traveled to Houston to celebrate Christmas this year.  We still have family in Texas,  me with a lot more than Sean,  so we appreciate the trip as a way to reconnect. This year it came with a warm surprise due to higher than normal temperatures for Christmas day:  balmy, sunny 80 degree temps.

I attempted to find a picture of us outside while we were there and couldn’t as we obviously avoided the heat.

However we did enjoy some very warm holiday traditions:


A picture with Santa in the airport.


Putting together presents on Christmas Eve.


Building gingerbread houses,  at breakneck speed.


Cute Christmas pajamas and sibling cuddles,  or chokeholds, depending on who you ask.

I’ll add more to this post as I collect the evidence of merry!


It’s all over…. Let’s do it again!

Overall, after 2 countries, 5.5 weeks, 16 states, 5000 miles the District of Columbia we wanted more. As I mentioned in the last post, we couldn’t believe that we were only a few days away from the end of the trip. After our last night in Yellowstone we returned to our regular itinerary of a playground a day and plenty of playtime for Cora and things settled down a bit with her. Harlan slept a little better our last two nights in Coeur d’Alene and RV living seemed to be the best way to go. But all good things must come to an end, isn’t that the saying?

When we arrived back home, we were shocked at the space we had in our living room alone. Harlan, however reveled in it. He decided he was ready to crawl and stand up using any and everything available, which he wasn’t doing just the day before in the RV. As for us mobile folks, Cora jumped right into played with her favorite neighbors next door and we didn’t even venture into the rest of the house until the entire RV was unpacked.

The trip had been long enough for the house to feel unfamiliar, and we’d gotten so many new habits for day to day living in small quarters that we weren’t quite sure what to do with all the room. It reminded us of Hurricane Ike in Houston. Without power for 3 weeks, you develop new habits that are slower, more neighborly and allow you take it all in. We hoped (much like then) to keep some habits going after our return.  At least for longer than we did post-Ike!

Everyone has asked what our favorite parts of the trip were. Here they are:

For Sean – the complete baseball pilgrimage – Cooperstown, NY and Kansas City, MO

For Me – visiting all the friends and family along the way

For Cora – Jumping Pillows, “those are my favorite”


The End is Nigh

Yup, after spending so much time with my little girl, the mirror has shown I have a flair for the dramatic. The world as we’ve known if for the last month is in fact coming to a close. This life on the road has been quite eye opening in a great many pleasurable ways (and some intensely trying as life with a toddler can be in any environs). As we sit in our rental RV looking at the Winnebago website at floor plans, we are amazed that we’ll be back in Seattle in a few short days. We skipped our last national park stop in Glacier N.P. due to poor weather and fishing conditions we’ve found along the way. We decided to add a day back in Coeur d’Alene, ID to be beach bums.

Some lessons learned, while a bit of a rehash from the traveling with kids post, I’ve learned even more after spending 6 nights in one spot for the first time.

The great outdoors aren’t a replacement for a good slide and a swing to a 2 year old when they can’t follow their own schedule. Telling your toddler to hurry up more than once in a day is a recipe for tantrums and willful resistance even in the awe-inspiring beauty of the US’s first national park.

As it has taken me over an hour to put this post together, the other thing I’ve learned is to live a little more in the moment and not worry so much about what is left to be done. Because there will always be more to be done, or see, and it will still be there. And a blog is fun at times, and when you’re on sketchy RV park wifi, a chore at others 🙂



Family Gatherings While on the Road

When we thought about our trip, it really was a tale of three trips. The first was a lot of sightseeing in large urban centers such as New York, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. This was in addition to the other sites we visited such as Cooperstown, Gettysburg, Shanksville (site of the United Flight 93 9/11 Memorial) and Niagara Falls. The second was visiting family. We were fortunate enough to be in an area where we had a lot of family. In Washington D.C. we visited Brie, sister, aunt, and sister-in-law and my oldest cousin, Don May, who works in a gorgeous office in the middle D.C.


After the big push for seeing the sights, we went to West Virginia and visited my father’s family. My parents came up to West Virginia to visit while we were there. We had four generations of the Beard family under one roof. My aunt and uncle, Jill and Rick Turner, hosted us in Hurricane, West Virginia while we visited. It was great to have the family together. All of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandmother visited, and I am always happy to show off my children. No one had met Harlan yet, so it was great to make the introduction.

In addition, I decided to use the fishing rod I had been carrying since we left Seattle and managed to catch 12 fish in the creek behind the house. These weren’t big game fish (small mouth bass, sun fish, and another type of fish referred to as a creek chub), but it was fun to catch them with a dry fly.


After West Virginia, we went to Frankfort, Ohio and visited my uncle and god-father Gary May. I enjoyed seeing his house without all of the ice and snow I was used to seeing. Typically, trips to Frankfort have been at Christmas, so I haven’t seen the full trees or even a thawed pond. It was great visit, but it was a shame that my cousin Susie was unable to join us.

The final stop in seeing family was to visit AJ’s uncle Chris and his wife Joanne in Cridersville, Ohio. On our way to Cridersville, Google maps got confused and directed us in a round-a-bout way around Dayton, and as a result allowed us to avoid a potentially dangerous situation with tornadoes.

Also, before we made it to Cridersville, we stopped in to the Armstrong Air and Space Museum. We didn’t realize how many astronauts have come from Ohio, and the museum a was small but very fun stop. Cora managed to crash the space shuttle quite spectacularly multiple times.

In Cridersville, we visited with Chris and Joanne and had a great stop, in addition to some real good food. Ahhh, Texas style grilling and barbecue (and old school drank!). When we left Cridersville, we were excited and anxious to get to Chicago and get in the RV.

It was a real and rare treat to be able to see so much family with the kids.



Busy Days On The Road

I know it may seem like we have disappeared off the face of the earth. And some days we have the feeling that we have been transported to another world. Spotty cell phone service, funky wifi and hours on the road have made it difficult to get to the blog and share the details. A totally different challenge is that travelling with two little ones means there really is no down time. Prepping the RV for the day’s travel or to get dinner ready and the kids to bed is full time work between naps, feeding a busy toddler and infant, and seeing the sights. So thankfully, digital technology is letting us capture it all in pictures and we’ll hopefully get the time in the next couple of weeks add words to the details for sharing before we get back.

These next two weeks will actually be spent in only three places, the Black Hills of South Dakota, Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park. There are a couple days to get us between the long hauls, but primarily, we will be spending 3-5 days in each spot.

DSCN5641 (2)


DSCN5651 (2)South Dakota has been a real treat thus far, we are already planning on coming back! We have traversed almost the entire state along I-90 and have seen the pride of folks living in a somewhat hard and isolated state.


Kansas City, MO

The trip to Kansas City was the final stop to complete the baseball part of the trip. There, we went to the Negro Leagues Hall of Fame and Museum. As we approached Kansas City, I also remembered that barbecue (real barbecue) was a bit of specialty in Kansas City, and we decided to put it to the ‘Pepsi challenge’ with Texas barbecue.

It just so happened that Arthur Bryant’s, a world famous barbecue joint, was four blocks from the museum, so I said bring it on … and they brought it. Not only did they give us a ridiculous amount of food – the sandwich I got had enough brisket for three meals -but the food was delicious. Put simply, it was spectacular and melted in our mouths.  We also had cole slaw, baked beans, and French fries. Also in insane quantities. The one point of displeasure was with the sauce. I have long believed that truly good barbecue, doesn’t require sauce, and they put a lot of sauce on their meat. However, I did have some that escaped the deluge of sauce and it held its own against Texas barbecue. Since I get barbecue of that quality so infrequently, it was heavenly.


The Negro Leagues Hall of Fame and Museum was incredible. It had examples of how professional baseball has flourished outside of Major League Baseball. It also showed how the Negro League was just as much of a cultural icon of the black community as the MLB had been for the white community. In addition, the Negro Leagues had some of the best players to ever play the game. The main room was an incredible site. It had life-size bronze statues of the most renowned players at their position and art by Kadir Nelson. Unfortunately, we had the camera settings all wrong for the lighting, so not many pictures came out.

In addition, we happened to visit during an event with several former Negro League players there to tell stories and sign autographs. I managed to get all of their autographs across two Negro League Museum baseballs. A bulk of the former players were from the Kansas City Monarchs. I will update this post when I get the names straightened out. A great visit, and I only wish we had more time to go through all the information on display.