Hey kids. Looking back at August, me and your mom are sitting in the Bighorn RV back on JC & Vickie’s land in Ingram, Texas. It finally hit 98 °+ today. The RV will not cool below about 84° on days like this in the sun. Mom prefers 68°. The truck read 133° when we got in it.
Austin living in the A-Frame, outside of Sisters, Oregon and working in Bend at Black Strap doing photos and video. @AustinGWhite on Instagram | @blackstrap
Kes fighting fires for your first season, becoming squad boss after a few tours. Room-mating in Bend, Oregon on your days off after graduating from Colorado Mountain College last year in outdoor leadership. @thetrailof_ondine on Instagram. You’re kind of a big deal.
Sunny building lesson plans and teaching, living with room-mates, and adulting like a champ.
Home schooling worked out for you all. I’m proud of the lives you’ve built. We’re settling.
We’re not together, and that’s uncomfortable. Airlines say ‘If you’re with a child, put your mask on first, then the childs mask’. If you’re dead, you can’t save the child’s life. Your life. A metaphor for life, really. You all have learned to take care of yourselves first. It’s rewarding to see you care for others, selflessly & often.
When you’re in trouble these days, I can’t put your mask on first. We’re working on getting our masks on these days.
Kes reached out this week concerned for our health and well being. It felt different. A first of sorts. We know you’ve all cared, but something triggered her to show care for us as ‘elderly’. It pissed mom off, but excited me (I’m older?!?).
Kes: I just want y’all to be healthy. I want to be healthy too. I was worried about bringing that conversation up because I have no ill intentions or I don’t want to be aggressive or sound rude.
Mom that brings me to (a bunch of questions for mom)…
Degs: Hey. I’m all fucked up too. And fat. And addicted to sugar. And heroin. But ok.
Jenn: Shut up. You fat lard
Welcome to our world.
The start of August had us putting in our 30 days for the rental in Smithville, Texas. A place we’ve wanted to live most of our lives. We made it for about 5 months.
Smithville is a small town about 45 minutes east of Austin with lots of Pecan trees. Off the highway, not really a place anyone just drives through. It was a railroad town way back when.
I delivered Auto Parts there in the ’80s for Carquest. Fell in love with the small town. Bought a rose for the Zimmerhanzels bbq joint girl then never saw her again.
Brought Jenn here on some of our early dates. Brought y’all out through the years to pick pecans from neighborhood walks through the plantation style homes in the historic district.
We’ve watched Hope Floats too many times and still love it. Projected that movie on the shiplap wall our first night here this time.
Tried to like Tree of Life and topped the Christmas tree for years with the cowboy hat that we liked to believe was Brad Pitt’s, found in the trash from the alley behind the set .
It’s become quite the artist community as Austin prices out the best. Stefanie Distefano helped raise you guys when we lived in South Austin. She helped us find a place and welcomed us like family. We became best of friends with her dad during our time there.
Smithville has been good to us. And the cat. We also got a dog there, Chi Chi 2.0 as Sunny called her. Her new name is Guadalupe.
August 2021 started our 30 days notice at the Smithville house Stefanie helped us get into. Off MLK, built in the 1920s, blocks from the train tracks. The noise was amazing.
The cat, Forrest is probably 14 years old now. He’s lived in probably 12 different houses (Wilson, UV twice, Dogwood, Pinewood, Warrenton twice, 8th St, Tada, L&C, Seaview, Floral, Bighorn, MLK…). Probably 40+ different states. How are we still moving this much? Your parents like the term ‘velocity’.
Kes: On the road back on fire! We’re going to Orleans CA
Kes sends more pics than any of you. I save most, or all of what I can find from all of you. She texts more, so she gets more attention here. I feel like your little sibling spat and your big changes cause you other two to go into yourselves. That’s okay. Your family will always be in your psyche whether you want them there or not. Good luck with that.
If I’m tracking this right, this year took you fighting fires from Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Arizona, and back up through California.
I get to keep my wood coin I made! Practiced a lot on the chainsaw today and practiced different kinds of cuts!
Aug 12: So I’m on the river complex now near Etna CA. We will be spiked out likely for the rest of the run because we just loaded up a shit ton of MRE’s (military meals) and water. I’m hoping to have service at least in some parts but I’m not sure
I believe we have 7 more days on this road so it might be a long stretch without hearing from me!
Aug 18: Safe!!!
Hard set of days for Moms and Pops not hearing from you. Not being able to get in touch with you. Your company responded well through facebook. Thanks PatRick!
The beauty of having a home on wheels is moving. Beneficial if you move often like we do. Parked this beast in a nearby RV park. Cooled it off and moved out of the house, into it around the corner. Much simpler.
We’re expecting to house again soon, so saved more this time. Please keep our storage in LaPine safe and clean. Thank you.
Also got the Led out for them…
Meanwhile, back at the fires…
Did a few night shifts and a shift that lasted 30hrs with no sleep and shit tons of work
I got to BURRRNN!! I used the drip torch!!!!
In front of the heavy smoke: That’s the area we were just working on for the last two days.
I literally just walked into the store and this little girl came out of nowhere, ran up to me, and gave me a hug and said thank you 😭 and her grandma was so sweet and thanked us for our service 😭😭😭
Kes: First shower in 9 days 🤘. This is after scrubbing. Permanently dirty.
Degs: In the pores. You’re beautiful
Meanwhile, mom and pops back at the ranch…
Back in Bend, Oregon. Austin sent a pic!
Austin: Loving doughnuts y’all.
Degs: Hahaha! Wtf?!?
Jenn: How about you brush your hair.
Austin: Probably should. A is cutting my hair soon because she’s expressed it’s getting too long.
Jenn: Good. You look homeless.
Austin: Haha. At least i don’t have a scruggy crazy beard.
Austin: Miss you mama. I’ve been doing great! Just focusing on life and what’s next. Love you all! I’ll call you soon. A and I went camping and spent the weekend together in Mt Hood though!
Jenn: Love you too…😍😍😍
Sunny: My campsite last night above Utah Lake outside of Provo! On the road again only a little less than 2hrs from Moab!
mom mentioned this couple that was found dead outside of Moab earlier today and I just went to read about it only to find out this was literally on the same road I camped alone on just a week ago😳
Also been listening to a murder podcast for the past three hours about the Delphi murders (crazy) but definitely keeping me motivated to trek home hahaha
Kes: Hey, I just wanted to share this with y’all because the more I talked about it the more grateful I became for it. One of my squaddies Tyson is thinking about homeschooling his kid (7) and he asked about how we did homeschooling. I went into the whole unschooling thing and how it was less curriculum based and how it was more based on real life experiences and how much stuff we learned on the road. And the more I got into the more I just kept talking and realizing how much we have actually done in our life. I explained that we started multiple family businesses, coffee shop, families rock, how we did a lot of volunteering the older we got at places like the food bank, tavon center, sunny with childhood development and old people, 448hrs. How we helped out multiple families with different things like Isaacs rock and barenaked Santa. Talked about how we went and traveled and all the historical places we’ve been like Salem and gettysburg and all around. Junior ranger badges and national parks.
Anyways, it was just really cool to talk to him and remember just about everything we’ve done. I told him how we each found successful things that keep us creative happy, how sunny still works with kids and how much she kills it, how Austin is an amazing photographer with amazing opportunities in different fields, how I’ve helped mom and dad run weecasa and how much I got into firefighting. I even talked about the mirrassous and how Maddie is a badass with swords and welding, Naomi in her magical photography, brenon who has served and made through college with high grades, Colton being a friggin violin prodigy….it’s just really cool to look back on all the things and people in our lives and be really proud of us and all of our friends and how homeschooling actually worked 😂 he was fascinated hearing about how each and everyone has found multiple things we are good at, finding success in our fields and ultimately being happy with our lives.
You could just see it in his eyes that that’s what he wants for his kid. He admires our story, and all of our friends stories a lot and explaining it to him let me see how we’ve inspired a lot of people to chase happiness and passions even when the path isn’t always clear. I think that was just something worth reminding all of you about how cool and successful we’ve all become and how years later, we can still see the spark in someone’s eyes that gives them hope and purpose. Anyways, sappy rant over. Just feeling it all right now and grateful for y’all and the life you all have given and shared with me. Love you all so friggin much you don’t even know
Sunny: Awww bird, I love this so much!! Needed to hear this today too, I love you tons. Can’t wait till you’re back home in Bend with me♡
Jenn: Love this. Thank you for reminding us of all we have accomplished together. I’m so grateful you guys get it.
Kes: Can’t wait to be back either boobers! My body is friggin exhausted and I’m ready for some decent time off. Love you mama!
Degs: Kes, that’s beautiful. Timing impeccable. I just finished going through bnf.com and cleaning it up. Missing pictures, pages, posts. Shit links, stuff like that. Every page scanned and fixed. An epic journey! Disjointed on the site, but epic. You all are so great at life and its challenges. So proud of all of you! Love you so much ❤
Slept for so long last night and feel so much better. Resting was so needed and panzie is my best friend
Moving into mid-August…
Got a fire call. We’re driving out of Oregon and heading to the French Fire outside of Bakersfield in Sequoia national forest!
We’re getting rerouted to this fire (Caldor)
I live such a weird life honestly. This shit is a trip. Like imagine an end of the world movie and scene where they have to go to a military camp and that’s my life
We just met up with the other Patrick crew, so now I’m the only female with 39 dudes 🤣
Sunny: chi chi 2.0 trying to bite my face off right after I go in the truck this past trip….
Jenn: What?!? You attacked her and taunted her the whole time. You liar. Bitch
Sunny: Hahahaha not that time!! I just wanted taco cabana. Damn
Jenn: You were coming off with attitude. I was watching your face.
My eyebrows are dark for once 😂
Just got down off the hill after a 30hr shift. Exhausted.
My feet have never been in so much pain. Those shifts are so hard. But they’re treating us to in-n-out instead of fire camp food and then bed
This fire is getting wild. 3 different divisions lost their lines that they’ve been holding. Mean sections they were trying to keep away from the fire. Just got word that everything we worked on for that 30hr shift got lost the next day and is burnt over 😔
Going on another 30hr
Have to hold this line.
Apparently the last fire we were on where we were doing structure protection has been out of control. I don’t know if the structures are there or if they made it. Caldor fire the one I’m on is now in Tahoe this morning. I feel defeated. This is the first day I’ve gotten emotional and I’m trying not to cry in front of anyone in the truck right now but something just sank in my heart.
This morning is hard. The heaviness is setting in.
Kes Instagram story: