RV Life Week Two: Washington, DC

Saturday morning found our crew hard at work preparing to leave Williamsburg, VA to head over to Washington DC.  It was our first of many departures from one campground to the next on our summer adventure, but even so the transition went fairly smoothly and uneventfully. 
The boys - after a decent amount of prompting on the front end - have fallen into a helpful routine of working with Dad outside as we prepare to leave.  Their task is to tackle the dirty work - cleaning and dumping out the tank, unplugging the power cords, filling up the water, and preparing the car to be towed behind the RV.  Somewhere in the midst of the morning chaos, we all team up to gather the outside equipment - chairs, bikes, tarps and our many odds and ends. Mom and I tagteam as we work inside.  Leaving on the week mark provides the perfect opportunity to conveniently clean the bathroom, our many sleeping areas, the kitchen and our many nooks and crannies.  They are effectively sorted, cleaned out and wiped down in a relatively short amount of time.  We joke the quick cleaning is the main perk of all seven of us living in our 36sqft house on wheels.   
After a couple hours of solid work, we were able to hit the road and began our trek to Washington. 
With traffic against us, our 2 hours trip slowly leaked into 3 hours, then 4, and finally hit the 4.5 mark before our destination came into view.  

We camped at Pohick Bay, located in town right outside the DC area.  With strategic timing, we could  bypass the worst of the traffic and make it into DC within 45-50 minutes. 
After a full first day exploring one of the Smithsonian Museums, Mom and Dad made the executive decision that, with the exception of the zoo, it was probably best the little ones explore the campground and leave the big city to the older few for this stage of life. With this new plan set into action and ready to execute, Dad, David and I set out for the city the following morning.  We spent the day riding our bikes around DC to many of the Smithsonian museums, and later to the monuments when the evening came and it cooled down a bit.  Out of all the many unique museums and exhibits, my hands-down favorite was the Museum of African Art.  Shocker, I know :)  Not that I'm very into sculptures and the meanings behind them and all, but finding a couple pieces from DRC and hearing their backgrounds gave us a deeper peek into the country of Kaden and Bethany's birth which was a definite plus. On top of that, the museum featured a series of films, the main one centered on South Africa.  The film, though it covered the sad realities of apartheid, was structured around several pairs of conversation between grandmothers and their granddaughters on how apartheid has affected their lives personally.  It was a very interesting film, and though it was centered upon a heavy topic, the simple fact that I was allowed another glimpse into the lives of people from a country that I love did me good. 
That is another example of how the Lord has been so good to me in that area, covering me in His abundant grace and giving me every opportunity to thrive in this new season.  Yes, I have missed my close friends and often long for our deep discussions and Bible studies.  But just when I was beginning to feel that loneliness, the Lord provided a friendship with the sweetest Christian family who were camping in the same area we were.  Also, one of my good South African friends and I have been catching up through a chain of text messages, and it has certain blessed my heart to hear what God is doing in her life and how she is.  I often think about how I was there this time last year and what a sweet few weeks those were.  God was so good to prompt my friend to send that first message - it
really blessed my heart. On top of that, our first sunday away from Reimage allowed us to visit Summit Church and really enjoy it. Personally, I was so blessed by a couple of girls around my age who warmly welcomed me.  I soaked up every minute of the service, and the pastor even went a little ways over his time mark, just as an extra blessing strewn my way, perhaps.  Yes, God has been good to me, meeting me where I am and reminding me that His hand and His purposes still rest on us all. 

Can I get an amen? Amen. 

We are standing in front of the building where my granddad worked for over 30 years in the FBI.

All this to say that we are doing very well.  The Gilbarte Crew has settled into a nice routine and we are thoroughly enjoying ourselves in it.  Our week in DC has been a favorite, and we have made it to day one of our next adventure - Ocean Isle, NC for a week of visiting with family.  Even only a few hours into our third week, I am so excited to watch how it will play out and the memories that will be made. On top of that, we get the extra bonus of living in a house and sleeping on real beds for the week!  We will leave quite spoiled, I do believe :). 

Week three of our Summer 2017 adventure, here we come! 

RV Life Week Two - Photography

DC is stunningly beautiful! 
I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the area and seeing the sights DC had to offer.  
From Smithsonian museums to monuments and the gardens, there was something to see at every turn. 

Stay turned for a more thorough update on the happenings of the week. 

RV Life Week One - Williamsburg, VA

Well here we go again - the Gilbarte Gang has departed for another 
extended trek around the States in a motorhome!  

Today marks week one of our potentially 4 month excursion.  We left after church on Sunday, June, 4th and traveled four hours north to Williamsburg, Virginia for the week. 
Monday, our first full day in the RV, was spent in the campsite organizing and beginning to adjust to life in a motorhome.
Tuesday and Wednesday were long days spent exploring various state and national parks, Yorktown and Jamestown.  From museums to replica exploration to videos and various other hands on activities, our days brimmed full of historical fun.

York River State Park 

 Bethany, our little bluebird, found her own trail!

 Kaden is infatuated with policemen, FBI, firemen and the works, so finding a park ranger vehicle was quite the treat!

Historic Jamestown and Yorktown

Area Photography 

Becoming Jr. Rangers

Jamestown and Yorktown Con't

Thursday morning gifted us with a surprise. We woke up to a phone call from our cousins saying that they were headed to Busch Gardens and inviting us to come along. 
Two hours later we were on the road to an amazing day with our family - life couldn't have been better! 

Friday morning we took some time to rest after our busy week, and then set out for some final sight seeing in the afternoon.  Finally, our week in Williamsburg was was drawing to a close.  

So how has it gone so far?
Quite honestly, it's taking quite a lot of getting used to.  For the past two years, my life has been wrapped up in life at Trinity as I have grown and thrived there.  Prior to leaving, I had a significant amount of premonition centered around leaving the life I had grown to absolutely love.  The life of constant business that comes with young adulthood to the complete pause of RV life presents quite the contrast.  Brandon, our family analyzer, made an interesting point when he divided out the RV square footage (36 square feet) among our seven family members.  
"It comes out to less than six feet a person," he said.  "I'm literally more than six feet myself."

Thus, the days and weeks before leaving found me soaking up every minute I had with my closest school friends.  Graduation came and went, and saying goodbye to some of them, knowing that I was likely saying goodbye until Christmas as most of them would be leaving for college by fall, was a like a slap in the face.  Ironically, there was even a sense that I was being left behind, though I was the one doing to leaving. 
Sunday rolled around and I tried to put on a brave face as we said goodbye to our closest church friends in preparation for really, truly leaving.

  As of yet, our first day on the road has been the one to present the most challenges  All of us were trying to figure out how our new life was going to look and what we needed to adjust to live it well. Tuesday was must better as we set out to various activities and began to settle into more of a routine.
Looking back a week later, we have had challenges and rough places, as it to be expected.  But honestly I feel quite at peace that this is exactly where God has me.  It is a gift to have this time with my family before I really step out into my own life, and I am quite grateful for it and for the amazing family God has given me.  
Four more months on the road?  That's really hard to image right now, but there's to this week, and living it to the glory of God!