After SXSW wrapped up, we entered into an intentionally still time. We knew we needed focused time to concentrate on giving birth to our first iPhone application which became State Lines.
This is probably the least amount of miles driven in any such Travelogue we’ve posted, but yet likely one of the most eventful. Just goes to show – experience is not just about the miles driven, and sometimes slowing down the pace invites awesome to your doorstep.
Our awesome mileage these past two months has been astronomically off the charts.
McKinney Falls State Park – Austin, TX
With SXSW chaos in Austin over, our spot at McKinney Falls State Park became available. It’s one of our favorite places to stay – beautiful surroundings, but yet close enough to south Austin to be accessible without feeling like you’re out in the boonies. We stayed here last year on our way through Texas, and fell in love with it – and been looking forward to launching our development here while keeping close enough to Cherie’s brother for quality hang out time.
When we arrived, most of the trees were still barren from a hard winter in Texas. Over our two weeks there, we watched spring bloom around us and turn brown into brillant greens. Wildflowers, including the Texas Bluebonnet, had an epic bloom. It was an awakening after a long cold winter, and a perfect environment for launching new projects.
The start of our stay at McKinney Falls was a visit from our friends in Hemet, CA to Austin – Helene and her brother Victor. We had a blast doing a photo walk with Helene, and introducing them to Cherie’s brother, Ken, in Austin.
Aside from breaking the back development wise on State Lines, we also took on a new personal challenge – health improvement. Keeping fit on the road can be a challenge, and our options are limited with little space for carrying things like bikes. The Couch to 5K running program kept popping up in our social circles, and we found there was an iPhone app that took away the need to think about interval training. We decided to take advantage of the wonderful trails at McKinney Falls to start up running/jogging.
While at McKinney Falls, one of Cherie’s major software development contracts was up for renewal – which she rebid and won. It secures another couple years at minimum of guaranteed mobile friendly income for us.
We also received an invitation for dinner (delivered to our campsite) from a blog reader in Austin who had just purchased their first RV to gear up their lives to be mobile. Brice & Rose, the Tacky Texans, turned out to be folks very much of like minds, and offered to be our tour guides in exploring Austin. It was awesome having new friends in Austin to encourage us to take breaks from development to get out and explore.
Hill Shade RV Park – Gonzales, TX
Texas state parks have a 2 week limit on them, so we knew we’d have to move on. When the NuRVers Days of Nu 2 location was announced in nearby Gonzales, we decided to contact the park about securing a spot for a month or so. We wrote the owners to ask about their wifi and if it was parkwide. Their response blew us away – they said it should, and if we encountered problems – they’d make it work! So off we went to Hill Shade RV Park, with intentions in mind of being out in the middle of nowhere for a few weeks before the rally to concentrate on launching State Lines without distractions.
Intentions rarely live up to reality.
The Happy Janssen’s had also decided to make Hill Shade home prior to the rally – so our mobile tribe was already gathering. And soon more started to trickle in. Sam & Tracy, ZenNomads, made an early arrival, and there (happily) went our evenings to ourselves. Every night became a new adventure in community – of campfires, pot luck meals, gaming and movies. Happy community bliss.
And wouldn’t you know it, our intended social-free time was further thwarted by the awesomeness of Hill Shade’s owners, Christine & Michael and their amazing kids. A friendship quickly started to bud with them, and we just couldn’t resist the temptation to be distracted from our seclusion.
By the time the rally officially started, there were already a dozen NuRVers, including our long time technomadic rendezvous buddy and his new sweetie – Ben & Karen who we hadn’t seen since last November. Hill Shade was already rocking before the sound of the rally tweets. It was an amazing and connective experience to be part of the ramp up energy.
We did take a break and made one trip up to Austin, while Cherie’s parents came in from Florida for a small family reunion. Otherwise, we barely left Hill Shade for weeks.
Despite all the attempts at distracting us, by the time the rally started we had the core of State Lines completed with just need for polishing. We wanted to show off our new creation to the very type of people the app had in mind to get initial feedback.
Days of the Nu 2
We had missed the first gathering of NuRVers the year prior, and had made it a priority to make this gathering. All and all, 17 nomadic households made their way to Hill Shade – all in different stages of their nomadness. There were several families on the road in attendance, as well as many childfree folks. It was an interesting experience in trying to find balance to make sure events met the needs of all involved.. and much learned for future events.
The rally was a mix of scheduled and spontaneous events – a field trip to the Shiner brewery, jewelry making workshop, happy hours, crowdsourced meals, costume night (which we won for ‘Best coordinated couple’), bartender wars and more. The days quickly became a chaotic blur to us, especially as we had taken on the challenge of documenting the event with video. All footage has now been shot, and now we start the long process of condensing down several hours of footage into an approachable documentary to share with all the variety of ways we make this lifestyle work.
Instead of trying to recap all that happened at the gathering, check some of the posts made by other attendees who somehow found the time to record the daily happenings:
Sara Janssen’s Daily Wrap-Ups: Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
Karen’s: Pre-Gathering Wrap Up
Jim & Rene’s: Tequila Tasting
Jonathan & Dasy’s: Wrap Up
Tara & Justin’s: Sculpting Passion
Becky and Chris’: Traveling Neighborhood
Jennifer’s: First RV Rally
Brice & Rose’s: A Rally at a Perfect Time
Shonda’s: Intimidation amongst peers
Photos: NuRVer Flickr Pool
Gonzales Inquirer Newspaper Article (notice that everyone’s names in the paper is wrong? Small town publishing or protecting the innocent?)
While the rally officially lasted 4 nights – things ramped down like they ramped up – slowly. It would be almost nearly a week before the majority of the nomadic households moved on. This was wonderful, as it allowed us to experience community without the chaos of a rally schedule to follow.
Hill Shade – Post NuRVers
Us and ZenNomads decided to stick around Hill Shade post rally to finish up various projects we were working on.
We dove back into finishing up State Lines, which got submitted to Apple early morning on May 8, and was in the App Store on May 17. We loved being able to share our joys with community, and are proud to consider Hill Shade the birthplace of our first app.
We enjoyed hanging out more with Christine & Michael, and made some trips into Austin to see Cherie’s brother, into San Antonio with ZenNomads and more touring around Austin with Tacky Texans. We even got to help them learn their new home on wheels, which was a joy to see their excitement with their new home and life simplification.
We also got to know some of the locals in Gonzales and sampled lots of home made wine, collect our own chicken eggs right from underneath hens and help harvest fruit for future batches of wine to enjoy on our next trip through.
Landa RV – New Braunfels, TX
While some of us stayed behind in Gonzales, some of the NuRVers moved to nearby New Braunfels to enjoy some time along the Comal River. With our app launched, and starting to get a bit of nomadic itch – ZenNomads and us decided to hit the road and join up too. So a sort of round two of NuRVers happened for a few days, in a much more chill fashion. It was a lovely time along the Comal, with tube floating, swimming, shared meals and community. Christine & Michael and Tacky Texans even joined up for the fun! How cool is that that the owners of your previous RV Park drive to come join you??
Pecan Grove RV Park – Austin, TX
Next stop would be the fabulous Pecan Grove in Austin, TX – a spot we had been itching to check out. Both ZenNomads and us were able to score spots next to each other for a few days. The location is fabulous, on Barton Springs Road – and in walking distance to yummy places to eat, Town Lake, Zilker Gardens, downtown and even a brewery next door. We’ve been enjoying a lot of social time in our little nomadic caravan.
We’re also using the opportunity in Austin to provision for attending Burning Flipside this coming weekend.
We’ll part ways with ZenNomads in the morning, only to join up again in a couple weeks near St. Louis for Gateway Burn. Where some others from our nomadic tribe will join up too, including Ben & Karen. If you have any inclination to join up with Camp Nomadia at Gateway, tickets are on sale through June 5.
After that, it’s back to traveling on our own for a while – which is going to be a strange experience after so much abundance of nomadic community. Our route to Burning Man for the summer is still unknown.