Mantis Month: Week One Recap

The Realities of Life on the Road

Remember that plan for us to embark on our journey on Saturday? Yeah, it didn’t happen. 

With such a busy work week, Alex and I were unable to really get ahead of any extra pre-departure to-dos, which left us evenings and Saturday. Evenings kind of happened. We both admitted we were too mentally exhausted and tried to knock a few things off the list before falling into bed each night, but by Friday morning the reality was clear: all remaining sh*t had to be dealt with on Saturday. I’ll fully admit Alex got way more ahead than I ever did. By the time the late afternoon rolled around, I knew that my previous night of next to no sleep was not going to carry us to Abilene with an ETA of midnight. Not happening. We then made the decision to do 10+ hours on Sunday to make up for lost time. 

That decision, although pretty necessary considering we lost a day, was one of my least favorite ones I’ve ever made. I’m usually the hard ass that wants to take no breaks, powers through drives and only stops for fuel. That Ally was not present on the trip to New Mexico. The version of myself at the helm was not one I’m a fan of. My anxiety was through the roof and I think I had a micro panic attack at one point on a 60 mile stretch of nothingness. The driving for some reason really got under my skin. 

Nearly 11 hours later, we finally made it to Red River, New Mexico, where we were doing a quick overnight before we headed to our first week-long destination. Never have I seen any of us so ready to be out of the car. The setup at Road Runner RV, although full, was really nice. We snagged a creek side spot, so the soft murmur of running water was a nice touch. With the sun on the way down and knowing we were just going to pack up the next morning, we opted for a quick setup just to get us through the evening. After the usual setup routine, Alex went into town to investigate dinner options while the boys played and I did a car clean out since I can’t stand a mess in the car. As the temperature continued to drop, the fellas took some toys onto our bed to play till dinner returned. The next thing I knew though, no sounds were coming from the Mantis and they were both dead asleep. Driving really takes it out of you. Alex returned later and brought us a treat of Tex Mex which came with complimentary sopapillas and we unashamedly sat on the floor of the Mantis eating our weight in non-keto goods. Then we shuffled the boys into their bunks and crashed ourselves. Man, was I glad for that day to be behind me. 

We awoke to a beautifully crisp morning on Monday and felt so refreshed after getting a solid night’s sleep. After the usual morning routine ensuring the boys were fed and I was properly caffeinated, we went through the tear down checklist and headed out to make our way to Angel Fire. 

For the next six days, we were set to call Angel Fire RV Resort home. This would be our kick-off location for not only working on the road, but also officially diving into the world of homeschooling. Thankfully, we couldn’t have asked for a better location to ease into our new way of life. The property was absolutely beautiful and offered great amenities (hello solid Wifi), plus we had a spot with a great view of the mountains. Everything’s better with a view, right? 

One thing we didn’t really account for, as it was still early in the fall, was snow. There was a little system brewing that was set to pass through and bring snow on and off for a couple of days, till it warmed up enough again to simply turn into rain. Now I admit the boys were stoked at the thought of seeing actual snow, and I was excited for them, but the reality of the situation came down to this: four humans were going to be within 100 square feet for a minimum of two days. Two of those humans have real jobs that include conference calls and deadlines. Alex and I were a bit anxious, but the beauty of this kind of situation is that you have no other option but to figure it out. Our saving grace was the versatility of the Mantis interior as we had one end setup as a dinette with a table, while the bunk side was converted into a couch. This gave us the flexibility to at least rotate within our little space and set up separate areas for each of the boys to tackle their lessons.

The snow, or the threat of it I should say, ended up making a larger impact on our trip overall. After chatting with three different Colorado natives, it turns out where we were headed for the next two weeks was much more prone to rando snow dumps than I ever realized. It also turns out that the two routes of travel to get there aren’t great. One way was described as “awful” while the other was described as “God awful.” Comforting, huh? Couple that information with Ally’s anxiety of mountain driving in general and you’ve got a recipe for a plan change. But seriously, each of these sweet folks advised us to not mess with the Rockies this time of year as they can be pretty unpredictable. It was then I had to build my case to present to her Majesty. She was going to be disappointed no matter what, so I had to come up with something at least kind of good. Thankfully I landed upon something that I knew would get her past the disappointment and back on the road to excitement, but we’ll tackle that next week.

Once the weather warmed back up, it was windows open 24/7 to take in all the fresh air we could get. We worked and experimented with different scheduling around school. The boys played outside, took random bike rides, and played the ukulele at the end of our spot pretending to be street performers (where they got this concept, I have no idea). Each evening we all wound down and found ourselves falling into a sound sleep.

I admit that as the week drew to a close, I was sad to leave Angel Fire. It was as if right when we got into a good routine, it was time to disrupt it once again. As we drove away from a spot I had become so comfortable, I reminded myself that we didn’t set out on this journey to stay in our comfort zone, but to push ourselves outside of traditional living and seek new experiences. One week down, three to go.

More to Explore

Ten Things We Love About Our TAXA Mantis

During TAXA’s takeover this month, we did a Facebook live talking about how much we love our Mantis. As the video didn’t quite go as planned, I thought I would create a post to accompany the original concept!