Going Geocaching

We have been checking out the Geocaching website. I found out about it on Families on the Road. They have a “Roadschooling” section. Seemed like a natural fit.

I watched the little videos. Showed it to the kids. It looked so easy. It is like a treasure hunt with a GPS. There are these amazing little treasure boxes buried all over the world. “Cache in, trash out” is their little slogan. You find these little treasure boxes. If you take something out of the box you put something in of the same or greater value. What fun! No worries. Right? Time for our quest of epic proportions. A treasure hunt.

In Morocco we didn’t have maps for our Nuvi GPS, for Africa, so we tried to use “Girlpod”. Our dear little Girlpod is a handmedown ipod touch with a broken screen. We gave her a facelift (replaced the glass) but she is still a little old lady (old ipod touch) and in need of frequent life-support (electricity) as her heart (battery) is that of a little old lady. Her battery has seen many moons and would only take us one hour into our quest. Not nearly enough time for a quest.

Back to yesterday. Attempt number 2.

We start off singing. “We’re following the leader. the leader. the leader….”. We took off to find the first cache.

A construction site. They are redoing the roads. We look longingly out at the bus stop in a cage. Bus stops should never be in cages of construction. It must be in there, we thought. Lets try another one.

Not another construction site. It couldn’t be.

At this point I pointed the way home for the kids. They can make it back without me. I must find one of these little boxes. Isn’t this like a kids homeschool thing. I like puzzles, for goodness sake, I am good at puzzles. When all was lost I navigated my family back to the truck without getting lost IN FES! Everybody gets lost in Fes, Andrew got lost in Fes, repeatedly, though he will probably never FES UP to it. Dang, I am sure not going to let some silly kids game get the best of me. Determined to trek on til I FIND A GEOCACHE BOX. I can be quite stubborn at times. Only occasionally. Uhhhhh. The kids unanimously decided to continue on our quest. I think they regretted it later. Could be the 4+ km of extra trekking for the next geocache. Maybe they are as stubborn as me. Trying for geocache number 3 we see many wonders along the way.

Pink bear and rabbits in captivity.

A headless bear with a button “guess who killed the cat”. Hmmmmm.

We played in the sun (get it?!? There was a sun in the middle of the roundabout. A sun in the sun. Ha. Ha. Hmmmm.)

We skipped along the yellow brick road.

The third geocache place was much more scenic. Pine trees. Dirt trails. Still, no luck. In real life it could be GONE. STOLEN. Maybe our geocache is MIA. These things are so hard. Maybe nobody has found these for years. Perhaps we have stumbled  across the most difficult level of geocaching. Perhaps no one has EVER found these enormously difficult geocaches.

We come to grips with our defeat. Finding comfort in the fact that these were geocaches of an extremely difficult level. We find consolation in other ttreasure on the way home. Treasure like pink shells and starfish.

We contemplate the day.

Surely these things must be findable perhaps they were especially difficult geocaches.

We get home to discover they were, in fact, exceptionally easy ones to find and gazed unbelievingly at the cocky faces of the LAMERS that have found our geocaches before. Ooooh they think they’re so smart. ONE of them found one of OUR geocaches only 2 days ago. Perhaps it was one of THEM that stole it. See what can happen to a, somewhat normal, middle aged woman when she plays kids games. Knock yourself out of it Deb.

After about an hour or so of going back and forth, unbelievingly, between the pages about OUR geocaches. Looking at the photos of the uh… particular individuals… that were successful. I am determined to go out again the next day. TODAY. As I make my declaration the girls all pitch in. WE will go out again. We won’t let some silly little geocaches get the best of us. Seriously now, we have trekked the Sahara. We have been chased by drug dealers in the Rif mountains. We aren’t going to let a silly little kids game get the best of us. WE WILL go out again today. They are MY stubborn little offspring, plus 1, after all. Grrrrr.


Rainsticks and Food

Over the weekend Alana’s family brought her back after getting her visa renewed. They also brought Steff with them. We had a great weekend together.  We were 19 all together. Lots of cooking and talking and laughing. We had some great food together. Of course, the Hurst family came laden with all sorts of good food including a banana cake, homemade bread and pasta. Once again, the Hurst family loving great food almost as much as sharing it. Abigail made some great puddings for Sunday (Wacky cake and a Portuguese Cookie cake). The cookie cake tasted great but didnt hold its shape too well – we’ll need to try that one again. Apparently it is the first cake that young portuguese girls learn to make …. hmmmm. Of course, we also had “Paulo’s Drunken Chicken”. Andrew was quite proud of his chicken and the fact that he could cook 4 chickens at the same time. Portuguese chicken is so great. They arent nearly as big as other countries but the taste of those little yellow flesh chickens, mmmmm. Anyways, when they left they took Peter (from Germany) with them. We have had such a good time with Peter. Peter, our multi-talented friend.


While gathering sticks for making Didgeridoos he found a smaller stick and used it to teach Lizzy how to make a rainstick. He taught “circular breathing” to Sam and Donald so they could play didgeridoo.

He had an impressive collection of Freakstock wristbands. He went up to Lisbon with the Hursts and then will go up to Porto to Paulo’s other tattoo parlor.

We will miss Peter and his gentle heart, wise words and good teaching and and and.

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A snapshot. in the Algarve

The rain and wind swirled around us all night. The sun came out this morning. I was so happy I ran around taking pictures of everyone. Ever feel like doing that? Capturing a moment? A snapshot.


Gee, what a surprise. Lizzy is in the truck playing the sax. She is jamming to beatles songs. She has been enjoying doing this so much lately that she has numb lips at the end of each day.


Abi and TJ are cooking flapjacks in the house. MMMMM it smells great.


Hannah learned how to crochet yesterday. She slept with it last night and woke up crocheting this morning.


Dang, those boys are still sleeping in their tent.


I am rushing around taking photos of unsuspecting people.


Andrew is on his computer putting the world to rights and comforting friends.

How is this moment for you?


Flapjacks are done. Edna came in to share a coffee.

Another moment.


Happy 2010! Here’s to a bog free year and olive oil

Had a great New Years eve celebration at Paulo and Edna’s house. We have taken our minds off the difficulties of the last week. We had no vehicle for days as Serge’s car broke, days later Paulo and Edna’s van broke, days later we arrived in our truck and after picking up Petr from the Airport got our dear Maggie stuck. Yes, I know, our overlander truck. Yes, our 4×4 truck. Add to this the fact that our truck is leaking and Paulo and Edna’s house is leaking. As a matter of fact we were thinking we would celebrate New Years by candlelight because the water is leaking into the walls and making it unwise to use electricity in parts of the house.

On the last day of the year Paulo and Edna’s van got fixed! They rushed off to the grocery store.

We had spent several days doing various “teambuilding exercises” that some people would pay dear money for.

We dug trenches, with our small foldable shovel, and made small roads for each wheel with buckets and buckets of stones we collected from around the land. We all carefully watched the wheels while andrew figured out the “locking differential” system. The sun had come out briefly and we were feeling determined to not go into the new year with a bogged truck. Slowly she climbed out of the mirey clay.


Just a half an hour later we took “Maggie” out to take Sam and Donald to the train station so they could go to a party in Lagos with Eddie and Rubin (from Conscious Earth). We also used this opportunity to go grocery shopping. Get the idea there wasnt much food in the house.


Canoeing, Feasting and After Eights for Christmas

Well, tried to post this up and lost everything. Here it goes again.

How are we doing? Soggy, soggy, soggy. We are so soggy. Did I say we were soggy? It is still raining, and raining.

Was not so sure how this Christmas would be. You see, we were supposed to be in Morrocco! Spending Christmas with our dear friends the Carters. We were kinda bummed. However, this Christmas turned out to be wonderful indeed.

The river bed that was empty when we first arrived was full and fast and ready for white, oops brown, water rafting for Christmas Eve and the sun even came out for a few moments to celebrate. I must confess I wimped out on all the fun. It may not look it but it was seriously COLD but the kids didnt seem to notice. If you look close you can see that where the small waterfall is behind Andrew is supposed to be a bridge. Now, a few days later, the water has gone up so high that you cant see the bridge at all.



Christmas in Portugal

Christmas in Portugal. We are staying at the Conscious Earth Eco-village. We will ask them to heat up the sauna for Christmas day.


They also have an outdoor kitchen where we will cook out our rolled turkey in raisin and orange sauce. Yes, we are in the middle of an orange grove so finding oranges is pretty easy.


Its a nice place to be this Christmas.


Hanging up some washing on one of the tipi bases.

Europe Portugal

Camping in a Hurricane

Last night there was a hurricane. Serious, no exaggeration. First the teenager report than the official one from the news guys. Me and Andrew had a great time watching the light display and hearing the music of the rain from our bed through the night. A bit worried about Samuel and Alana (Donald stayed back because he was a bit under the weather and Elizabeth stayed back because she didn’t understand the attraction of an all nite party). They went off with Eddie and Rubin to an all nite beach party. Turns out that they didnt go to the beach but opted to stay at a shed outside a Dutch and Jamaican household who happen to be dance instructors and gave them dance lessons well into the night. Samuel announced triumphantly this afternoon that he had learned to do a headstand while dancing.

So anyways, away from the very clever teenagers that avoided a beach front performance of a hurricane and back to our would be romantic evening from our Maggie if it wouldn’t have been for the 5 young people sleeping in the truck. So the truck rocked like a cradle all nite. The light display and rain gave way to winds that kept sucking our door open, so we locked the door, seemed sensible. That was it. The next morning the bridge at the edge of the land was out, the river was overflowing and a very large electric metal tower thing bent over midway across a house to get the road into town closed during the day.

I started thinking. As I do too much. We had so much fear of being so vulnerable while we lived in our motorhome and here we are riding out a frost, an earthquake and now a hurricane. All this within a week. Why should we be afraid. I believe in a loving God who holds us affectionately in his arms. How many times does fear keep us from doing what we want to do. Fear keeps us from living a life filled with passion for living. Why should we be afraid. We have been in an earthquake and a hurricane in one week in our beloved Maggie. Way vulnerable but way protected.


Silves and the grooviest campground in the Algarve

We went to Silves, Portugal and met some more nice people, including Klaus, “Like Santa he says”. We looked around a bit. We like Silves but were feeling really scruffy and were kind of dissapointed after determining that the pool was way over priced for us. It also required speedos for men, one piece suits for girls and bathing caps for both. Lizzy had a sort of ‘sour grapes’ response and decided we didnt LIKE the pool anyways because they had too many rules and decided to look for other options. We agreed but were still feeling scruffy. Looking to the internet for answers in the WIFI zone next to the pool like others would look into a crystal ball, Andrew came bouncing back to the truck. “I have found the place. The best place ever. Debbie, you will love it. It is called ‘Conscious Earth‘ and is only a few km away.”

Conscious Earth is the “grooviest campground in the Algarve’ so we just HAD to see it. Our GPS proved again to be clueless so we went old school. We noticed on their not-so-detailed map that the place was north of Silves. OK, north, so we drove on unmarked roads, through the ancient village of Silves with our giant truck trying to keep to the north of the village looking for the road that nuvi said didnt exist. I tried to resist images of last Easter Sunday in the north of Portugal and join Andrew in his enthusiasm. We finally found a 2 lane unmarked road going north into the hills and decided to take it. After going up a ways and finding several potential wild camping spots we started looking for a place to turn around and was greeted by the driver of an oncoming car. “We knew you would be coming. I saw you in Silves this morning and knew you would be coming to camp at our place.” We looked into the back of the truck and saw the looks on the kids faces. Mixed looks of disbelief, joy and shock. He and his wife turned around and took us over the next hill to ‘Conscious Earth’. Oh yeah, Andrew was right. I think this is the best campground ever for us.

So, we are now camping at Conscious Earth in the middle of an orange grove with Hammock island, Teepees, Outdoor kitchen, pizza nite, wood-fired sauna, all you can eat oranges and…..this little piece of heaven is run by…


a family that lived on the road for 4 years with their New Zealand housetruck! No lie! So we are having a great time here – all of us.


We have the local eccentric, Adi and his 16 year old dog (TJ figured out 112 in people years). Seen here burning 2 days of packaging. He says that if you compress your packaging into a cube it can create alot of heat and keep the elderly warm. He said he got 45 minutes heat from one cube of packaging. Worth thinking about. He has a 4 berth camper. He sleeps on one bed and keeps his recording studio on the other. Complete with speakers, amps, lights and electric instruments.


Living here is a great family with 3 kids +1 that our kids get along with great. Jason is the dad and here he is, hosting pizza night with his glorious pizza oven.


It was so cold that we had severe frost one morning, we had an earthquake in the middle of the night and we have again brought our rain curse, oops blessing, they need rain here.

Still, having an amazing time.


Wild camping in Portugal

So, it is post-RockonChristmas Festival and we are supposed to be in Morocco. We are being held up by paperwork. But, you know we have been working hard so decided to take a bit of a break. We started discussing among ourselves, “You know people come to the Algarve that dont know Edna and Paulo. There are other great things down here”. We have reluctantly flown the nest to see the Algarve. We are tired, broke and dont like touristy stuff but we decided to go out for a look anyways.


Our explorations brought us to Armacao de Pera. OK I guess there ARE very touristy areas of the Algarve.


We still find interesting things to do – like… uh… torture ants.



However, it seems always possible to meet eccentric gems with words of wisdom. Like Sebastian. He has been on the road for over 20 years. Said he went into a house for 3 days and started twitching. Had to get back to his truck and the road. I was talking to Sebastian about our electric problem giving the appropriate excuse that we dont have alot of confidence with the electrics because we dont have alot of experience with it. With a smile on his face, he says, “Confidence comes AFTER the experience. Don’t you know, with small successes comes confidence. You never get confidence before.” Ouch, I needed that.


Next we went away from the coast because try as we could to take in the coast with style it was COLD and well, touristy.

So, feeling a little bit wiser, we ventured away from the famous coast on a long and winding road that our Nuvi declared did not exist and spent the nite at Dam 1, Barragem do Funcho.pordam1.jpg

We had the beautiful place all to ourselves. It was great but after a few accoustic experiments (talking in normal voices off the top of the dam to be heard at the truck) we decided to venture on because, hey, we are exploring. We soon found dam 2, Barragem de Arade, and seeing it was already inhabited by a couple of impressively tough overland trucks and their german owners.



We were surrounded by tough old germans that had been doing this for 8, 10 and 16 years. An impressive lot. Andrew refused to accept any alternative but to spend a couple of nights here to hang with the big guys, practice a little german and learn from some tough overlanders. We have realized that overlanders, however, are not a very social lot. I am beginning to think they might have overlander, go anywhere vehicles so they can run away from people.


This place was also great because it was next to an abandoned restaurant that the 18 year olds used to set up camp.


We also took this opportunity to try out a new Friday Nite pizza recipe. We tried pizza on a stick. We put some pizza dough on the end of an oiled stick and when it was cooked we took it off and filled it with cheese and sauce. Yummy. So, everyone at the dam was talking about Silves as a place to get water, food, internet and a pool so we continued our adventure and checked it out.


Photos of Rock on Christmas

rocposterhamPromised some photos of Rock on Christmas and Alana and here they are. I am blogging from Cafe Chinta in Armaceo de Pera. The nice gentleman who runs this cafe says, “tell all your friends to come to my cafe and get free internet.” Anyways back to the photos.  Our truck became a billboard. We covered it with posters on 3 sides and parked it at the edge of the street in front of the warehouse.

rocstage The stage came around on Friday morning.

rocgenNext came the generator. Andrew was drooling. Then he realized the generator had an inferior engine to Maggie’s engine. His mind started spinning about Maggie generating enough energy for some future festival in some sort of obscure location around the world.

rocboband Now time to bring in some musicians. 8 bands worth. Great people to hang out with.


Hannah “helping out” Rob Cassells with his sound check.


Sam and Donald … uuuuhhhh … working hard on video.


Look who came to see us. Cindy! We love cindy. Me and Andrew met her when she was 14 in Australia. We are so glad she is still in our lives!!!