Bodie Historical Park

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During our California road trip in the summer of 2016, we stopped at our first ever “ghost” town. Chris turned thirty (!!!) during this trip and had always wanted to go to a ghost town, so I made it my mission to find one for his birthday. Lucky for us, on our travel day between Yosemite NP and Lake Tahoe, we would be near a genuine California gold-mining ghost town. Bodie Historical Park is what is left of the town of Bodie, which began as a gold mining boomtown in the mid-1800’s. In the 1960’s it was given to the state of California to be preserved in “arrested decay” for its historical value. Bodie Historical Park is run by California Dept. of Parks and Recreation and is located in Bridgeport, CA only thirteen miles from Yosemite NP. You do have to drive on a gravel road part of the way, and I’d suggest visiting in summer as in winter it is usually snowed in due to the high elevation.

The historical park was quite big and we set out to explore along with a map of the town. There were homes, a church, a school, general store, mill, cemetery, and even a “red light” area to explore. Some of the building we were allowed inside to explore further and see some of the old furniture and decorations. I also purchased a small guidebook with more information and stories about the town, including a murder! I highly recommend the guidebook which made the town come alive with the ghosts of the past.

I wish we had more time to spend at this historical place. We visited in early July as a small sidestop, but really we could of explored for a whole day.I’d suggest bringing a picnic, buying a map and exploring! You can also go on a tour of the stamp mill, for an extra $6 a person.

Cost:

Adults: $8 per person
Children: $5 per child (ages 3 to 17)
Children ages 3 and under are free

Brochure:

http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/509/files/BodieSHPFinalWebLayout2016.pdf

 

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Who Inspires Us:

I’m always on the search for great content. Not only do watching and reading other people’s content help inspire us to write, but it also gives us motivation and drive to get to our goals. I want to share some of my favorite bloggers/vloggers who inspire me daily!

Gone With The Wynns – Amazing travel vloggers and bloggers. They RVed the USA for years, and are now on to their next adventure of sailing! Not only are they a great example of what can be achieved if you put your mind to it, they are seriously top notch videographers. We LOVE their videos and blog posts. They are beautiful, informative, funny, and honest. Our dream to one day RV comes from them.

Keep Your Daydream – This family have wonderful weekly YouTube videos of their RVing adventures, but I originally found them from their podcast where they interviewed others with more alternative lifestyles, people following their dreams to sail around the world, RV full-time, hike the Appalachian Trail, etc.  Currently their podcast is on hiatus, but if you want more info about traveling full-time with kids, RVing in general, or amazing travel videography, check them out!

Less Junk, More Journey – This family of three also full-time RVs with a toddler. They inspire us constantly, not only to get out there and see the world, but also to be mindful about minimalism as much as possible. They sold their house and most of their belonging to travel full-time with their only child. Also, they post videos almost daily of their adventures! Constant motivation for us 🙂

I have so many more, not only travel vloggers but personal finance bloggers, authors, etc. Too many to share right now 🙂 Check out our page “Other Sites We Like” for more suggestions.

Who inspires you? Leave us a comment below!

 

Steps to Frugally Furnishing Your Home

We bought our first house three years ago, while simultaneously planning a wedding and starting new careers. It was a big purchase, and we had little funds left over to furnish or decorate more than necessary right away. These are some steps I recommend to decorate when you’re on a tight budget.

Prioritize. What do you absolutely need right away? Sit down, make a list, or think through what you already have, and what you need first. Honestly, no one really needs that beautiful formal dining room table right away, new TV’s, couches, the fancy coffeemaker, etc. In our case the only brand new thing we bought when moving into our house was a mattress. We had gotten rid of my husband’s old college mattress he had slept in on the floor for years (Gross!). We also got a great deal and bought a new Serta mattress without a warranty to save $; and only AFTER sleeping on an uncomfortable blow up mattress for two weeks while we searched for our perfect mattress.

Negotiate. Now you know what you absolutely need. Next, look for sales, price check, and always try to negotiate! I’ll be honest, I’m GREAT at finding good deals, but horrible at negotiation. I usually leave that up to my husband who loves it anyway. We use this tactic often while purchasing from consignment stores, Craiglist, or local community Facebook swap groups.

Ask. Have friends or family in your area? Ask around and see if anyone is getting rid of old or unwanted household goods or furniture. We got SO much stuff over the years with this tactic. Hand me downs aren’t always the most fun to pick through, but it saves you lots of money! We’ve gotten free couches, kitchen tables, lots of patio furniture, dishes, and even a lightly used queen mattress for our guest room. Spread the word you’re interested in hand-me-downs and see who responds! Especially if you do the grunt work like searching through the garage or attic and moving the pieces, people are usually grateful to get rid of crap they don’t use anymore. And pay it forward! If you have something you no longer want or need, donate to a friend or family or a local thrift store. We are so often asked now if we want unused items that we started giving friends things we can’t take, like wooden bed frames, patio furniture, chairs, and  lamps.

Thrift. Check your local thrift stores, habitat restore, goodwill, consignment stores, craigslist, garage sales, etc. We use all of the above and more to find household goods, furniture, clothing, holiday decor, the list could go on. Seriously, there are really nice things out there you can use to make your home look fabulous for way less. Often people haven’t even used the items they donate or sell. This is great way to find those “wants” over time without paying full price. Also, check for local thrift stores for sale days. Our local Habitat restore has 50% off days when they become overstocked with furniture and other items. I got a solid wood coffee table for $10 that I made into a beautiful ottoman with one of those sales!

DIY. This tactic can be time-consuming but I think this saved us a TON of money in the long run. Much of the hand-me-downs and thrift store items we had needed some TLC or just didn’t match my decorating vision. But a little inspiration from Pinterest and spray paint or chalk paint can make a huge difference. I’ve painted almost all of our furniture, picture frames, lamps, patio chairs, you name it! Google some free DIY tutorials and you can be on your way to a more coherent, attractive style for your home without paying even sticker price.

In the long run, we all want a comfortable home, but material goods aren’t what life is about. These steps helped us furnish our home without stressing me out or stopping us from other personal goals like traveling. Any more tips you guys use to save money on home furnishing and decor?

Exploring the Louisiana Northshore

 

 

Louisiana can be a fun, wild, and vibrant place to visit and explore. There are so many things in our own “backyard” we still have yet to do, even after living in Louisiana almost our whole lives. Here are some of our top picks for the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain. Continue reading “Exploring the Louisiana Northshore”

10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Key West

1. Completely FREE museum about the Florida Keys ecosystems, it holds a 2,400 gallon reef aquarium, and has free parking which is rare in Key West.  Unfortunately is was closed Sunday and Monday, the days we were in Key West, as it was going to be our first stop. We’ll just have to visit it next time!

Continue reading “10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Key West”