We hitched up from Maggie Valley and caravanned with Mikey and Rita from The Wall of Death. We decided to get to a Harvest Host spot in Georgia that was half way. It hadn't stopped raining for about a week so we just all piled into the Frolic where I made everyone dinner and we drank and played cards games. I hadn't laughed so hard in a long time playing cards against humanity with the gang while the rain came down.
The next day we made it Birmingham, Alabama. We all needed to be here for the Barbers vintage Motorcycle fest and swamp meet. The Wall was setting up for a couple days of shows and we were gonna set up shop for a couple months and try and get some work.
We have always loved Birmingham and would frequently come down from Chicago to visit our friends. We wanted to see if this was a place we would one day like to call home. We had talked to our friends and they had all been looking for jobs for us traveling folks. Our friends Daniel and Allison had offered us a primo spot in their back yard for our time in Birmingham.
We got in with a week to get set up before Barbers started. I got work straight away with Jrag printing where our friends worked. I would be working in the screen printing department and instantly loved the job. Everyone was amazing, we listened to great music all day and I was learning more about a job as a printer I had always been interested in. The day I started work though was a bit tough for me. I got a message very early that my dad had just had a stroke and he was n the hospital. I knew just the facts and frantically called around to find out what was going on. My parents and me a very close so news like this hit me hard. My first reaction is to go home and be with my family but when you travel full time you have to assess the situation before you make huge plans. I decided to go to work hoping it distract me a little. At this point, me and Jerimiah shared a pay as you go phone so I took the phone n case my mom were to call. Jerimiah hit the streets liking for work at local bars and restaurants.
As the week went on I talked to my family daily and was keeping track of my dad's progress. It had been a couple small strokes and he was recovering well. My parents told me as much as they would love me home it wasn't really necessary and I needed to stay and work in Birmingham. I wasn't feeling very festive when the weekend came for Barbers but we were surrounded by friends and friends who are like family so it made the weekend the silver lining on a dark cloud.
Jerimiah had offered his help assembling the Wall of Death again in exchange for some Barbers tickets so he was hard at work for that weekend.
After the weekend passed, we settled into our new normal life. Working a 40 hour week was a bit of a change. Any chance to earn money is so exciting for me, I look forward to going in everyday however it did take me a second to get used the 9-5 life again.
Jerimiah had been Interviewing like crazy and he was getting no frustrated nothing has panned out yet when Corey from jrag offered him a position with the vinyl wrapping department. He could learn and new skill and work 40 hours like me it was perfect and like clock work as soon as he accepted every bar and restaurant called and offered him a job. Funny how things work out.
It's so hard to put into words how amazing our time in Birmingham was. We felt we had really had found a place we could call home. We would even look at Craigslist to see what the cost of living would be. We have an amazing group of friends here in Alabama and everyone made us feel so loved. Every week there was a dinner party, a show to see or a bone fire to sit and drink by. Time was flying by. In November while exploring the city with our friends we met the soon to be love of our lives. Sitting on the floor of Faith skate shop laid the sweetest, calmest pup we ha ever met. We found out he was up for adoption and Crys and Peter the skate shop were fostering him. Crys saw how we looked at him with love in our eyes and she suggested we take him for a trial period and see if we fit together. Jerimiah looked me as to say 'can we?' I needed to think about it for a minute. Where would he sleep, how would we afford a dog with no steady work? How would we travel with a puppy? As we laid awake the next night we both obsessed about Hank. Would he like us? Would he cuddle with us? This is a big decision but when you are living on other peoples property it's even bigger. We have to think about more than just us and what we want. We talked to Allison and Daniel knowing full aware they could be uncomfortable with brining a puppy into the mix. They already have two lovely dogs and well it's their house. They were amazingly supportive of us adopting Hank and welcomed him into the mix. Our trial was a joke as soon as we got him home we knew he was never leaving.
Life was good. My da was getting better day by day, we had a new puppy, jobs a place to live and great groups of people around us.
The Holidays were approaching and the southern winters were like a Chicago spring. We were lucky enough to have some family in the area for Thanksgiving. A touch of home was really what we needed. We had been on the road about 6 months and had no plans of going back anytime soon so being able to see family is such a sweet gift.
We were working 40 hours a week but we were not saving as much as we wanted. The holidays took a chunk. I flew home to see my family, after my dad's stroke it wasn't even an option to not go home. Then Hank needed stitches after day of serious playing, the van needed some work. We had planned to leave after the New Year but that wasn't looking like it may be tough. Again when people offer you a home, and a job you have to consider them before you make a giant decision. Would Daniel and Allison be fine if we stayed another month or two? Would we have work?
Everyone welcomed us to stay and asked us to never leave we were overjoyed. We were able to do some major exploring with our friends around Alabama and actually save what we needed.
We made a final date of our departure. At the end of February that was it, we had to leave Birmingham. We had so much left to see, so many more states to explore before we could pick the place to be our home. The weeks before we left were bittersweet. We moved the camper from our friend's yard to the Haints Motorcycle shop. We have the Frolic and the van a well deserved make over. We were beyond thrilled with the outcome of this makeover too, if you follow us on Instagram you may have seen the changes. The van got an amazing vinyl wrap courtesy of jrag. We used the Gorgeous George graphic and our friend Nick added his artist touches making it an all over van graphic. The Frolic for a full makeover from our friend Brian. He is an incredible painter and had the whole camper painted in a short amount of time. We caulked all the holes where water was leaking and even made little vinyl grapghic replicating the 1970's Frolic logo.
The Haints had offered us a going away party at the end of the month at their new shop which would be a great send off for our exploration to the West.
When we left that morning at the end of April our hearts were heavy. How can one be so excited for the future but sad to leave the present?
The west was calling our names so we loaded up our road dawg and headed towards Mississippi to see what the frontier had to offer.
This post would be nothing if I didn't thank everyone who helped us. Daniel ans Allison we owe you so much for welcoming us to toe home, we love you both so much.
Nick, Laci, Jazmine, Dick, Seth thank you all for taking a chance on two hill jacks in a trailer. Brian my friend every rain storm we thank you for the amazing job you did to keep the Frolic dry and pretty.