Nomad Life

Another year is coming to an end. As I look back through the years I realize that so much of my greatest moments came while living in my van.

It’s kinda cheating because about two years ago I upgraded to a Class B RV. If you’ve followed along then you know it has all the comforts of home in a Sprinter Van.

I will let the pics explain while I explain the pics. Here I am with The View Finder. I bought it used it needed a little work but that I could handle and it made the price affordable for me.

Look at that huge bed. It is so inviting. A couple mattress toppers and I sleep like a baby.

It fits in a regular old parking space. Very convenient!

My first night I slept in an industrial area. I had to work on that track in the back ground the next morning. Yep pretty rough commute that day.

I moved the next day about a mile away. It’s in an undeveloped area that has been preserved. Right next to the industrial area. If you know Reno/Sparks NV. Then it’s off the USA Parkway exit. Great quiet little hideaway.

My Father (Jim Hunsaker) and I were working near Yosemite National Park. We took a day and visited the park. We didn’t make it to the the valley that day but it was still awesome!

My wife and I went on a cruise from Long Beach. I drove down from Sacramento in the Van. She flew into Long Beach. After the cruise she came with me back up the coast and flew out of San Francisco. I went back to work in Sacramento. This was our spot overlooking Malibu Beach. Her first night ever sleeping in the van. We woke up to dolphins saying good morning during our coffee and breakfast.

We made it to Morro Bay next. The first pic is our lunch pull off. Then we slept at the famous Morro Bay Rock. It’s a bird refuge and a beautiful bay. Cool little tourist trap of a town too.

Next stop was Big Sur! This pic is of the Julia Pfeiffer Falls. The portal was cool too.

Our dining views in San Francisco were unheard of. We had a table that over looked the Bay. We could see the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco Skyline, Alcatraz and the Bay Bridge with its new dancing lights. There isn’t a restaurant any where that can give you that. I don’t care how much money you throw around. It was a perfect way to end an epic Trip!

Even while working the guys and I will take advantage of the van. A BBQ in the parking lot.

Not all the places I go are Glamorous. Some times iron Bars are welcomed. Bakersfield CA can get rough.

Because I travel with my home. I can travel a path less traveled. I don’t have to worry about where I will stay when night becomes to heavy. Little wonders are still all over this world. If you just fall of the interstate for a bit you will find them. This is by Moab UT. great little sleep over spot.

I built a little bunk for my boys to sleep. We took the van to Moon Lake UT. It was perfect!

Yuba Lake. Right off the beach we loaded the jet skis. No one wanted to ride them across the lake to the boat launch ramp. It was sun down and getting very cold.

I really do find amazing places to stay now that I’m free of the motel World. Idaho has a lot to offer in their BLM lands.

My wife came to work with me for our Anniversary. It was supposed to be a simple trip to Nampa ID. My work is never simple. They moved us to Kalamath Falls OR. Haha it turned into an amazing Road home. Crater Lake National Park, Lassen National Park, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park. We even saw Mark Twain’s Cabin featured in the pic.

Summer was coming to an end Arron, Shanna Amber and I were not about to let it slip away though. I know you have read the articles of Mason’s Big Adventure. If not get to it. A full week of insane road trip madness. Idaho Potato Museum, Flat Head Lake MT, Glacier National Park, Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, The Royal Tyrell Musem, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole Wyoming. Ya busy week. Go check it out. in the middle of nowhere again this sculpture is in the salt flats between Salt Lake and Wendover. It’s the only thing for over a hundred miles.

some trips are so long I have to make many pit stops. This was a drive to Lordsburg New Mexico. I hit Arches, Canyon Lands, and Mesa Verde National Parks. Plus many pull outs.

More proof. Inside the van is cool too. The best food I can find. Restaurants can’t compare with the budget, health, or goodness.

Hermosa Beach CA. The parking can be difficult. Here you see I squished into compact parking.

Travels through Utah are amazing. Camp fires are a must at times. This was just a typical drive home from work. The top pic is in New Mexico BLM land. That was the starting point of my drive home.

Huntington OR is a tiny town on the border of Idaho. There is an article somewhere in here about this stay.

my wife got tired of me having all the fun. She and her Cousin Dea stole the View Finder. They drove through Lake Tahoe to San Francisco down PCH to Santa Monica Blvd. Traveling through Monterey Bay for the Fourth of July and Morro Bay. In Steamboat Springs Colorado. I picked wild flowers and took naps.

Denver I took advantage of one of my favorite go to sites. Boondockers Welcome. These great people gave me a place to park including free solar power.

Oakridge OR was incredibly moody. Made for amazing views even leaving the grocery store.

while in Portland OR I visited Silver Falls State Park. $5 will get you access to the most incredible waterfalls. The trails even go behind so you can feel the raw power.

last week I took advantage of a day off and visited Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. Their Moro Rock allows for 360 degree views above the park.

I caught it a sunset. WOW!

As you can see having this van has really elevated my life. If you wonder if a van could make your life better. Just think of the experiences you could have in two years.

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Oregon is a Boondockers haven.

So it’s been a long summer. I worked a lot. Saw a ton. I spent three months in the Eugene OR. area. From Oakridge OR to Portland OR. I need to apologize for not keeping up. I hope you can all forgive me.

First I need to say that Oakridge OR is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever worked. Just leaving the grocery store is impressive. The boondocking is easy. The entire area is National Forest. I found a sweet spot by one of the many lakes. The foliage, moss and fog are dense. Fall colors were amazing!

While in Portland I had a chance to visit Silver Falls State Park. I can only say WOW!!! I will let these pics say 1000s of words.

You can always check out my Instagram and Facebook links as well.

I recommend this area for sure if you are looking for places to dwell. I will say that Meth and Heroin are very prevalent. Please be careful. I actually saw to bums in a fight. One tried to cut the others head of with a hack saw. Probably the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen living this style. But don’t let crazy intimidate you. I never felt threatened. Just keep your wits and OMG that VIEW!!!

Spring free!

Today, as the spring has come to full bloom, I find my self alone like I am most of my time. I am working in A very small town just over the Idaho border into Oregon called Huntington. The railroad has been the only industry here for ever it seams; other then 1 gas station, 1 bar and 1 liquor store until recently. A new marijuana farm has been cultivated and two dispensaries created. I can only think that Idaho’s population has some sort of hand in supporting this new industry. I can’t imagine this town partaking in enough weed to support two dispensaries. I have chosen a sweet little spot off Washington street to the east of Town between Huntington and Spring Recreation Area. I believe it is private property owned by a vacation home rental. The site manager at Springs Rec. Area had told me about this place and I see there is no one to care that I stay. Others come and go fishing the large Stream nearby and there are no posted signs. My phone died today. The service is horrible in this small valley. My phone is constantly searching for better service. I am trying to stay connected and then darkness. It forces me to look up out of my Electronlic stuper to find, again, the beauty that sorounds me. I decided a walk through this wilderness is long over due. As I open the van door I hear so much. The birds first, they are singing to me. Suddenly the wind picks up, barely enough to feel. The trees tell me to take in the smells and my mind awakens with the aroma of the world around me blossoming. I’m not from Oregon although I have been here a few times. I’m not familiar with life here. So many new flowers and plants I haven’t taken the time to notice before. The stream is quite high and the sound becomes louder as I get closer. Sadly people have been here before and the Stream is bubbling with some sort of detergent in this little cove I thought perfect for fish. Despite the pollution I was able to see a small fish nontheless. Staying idle by the bank. Beautiful! I am always impressed when I walk amongst the wonders of our world and yet I get sucked away into this digital creation we have built. Living in a van continually disrupts this in so many ways. And I am thankful that I’m forced to look out and around. 

Another Perk: freedom feels free when I choose to open my eyes and walk amongst our lands. 

Dealing with it. 

In my last article I wrote about taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves. Sometimes they look like disadvantages until I spin them into advantages. 

My work Railroaded me again. I guess it comes with the territory. I wrote about riding my motorcycle home to Utah from Washington. I left my van in Hermiston Oregon. It’s sits on the Columbia River Gorge. The border of Washington USA. I received a Text from the Forman mid off cycle. “We will not meet in Hermiston OR next week. We will meet in Alamogordo NM.” Can’t be much farther apart. My van is on the Border of Washington I’m in Utah and I have to be near the border of Texas in five days. Most would see a problem with this but my mind starts to see potential. 
My wife and I have needed some time away. She likes roadtrips. So we climbed in the Kia and she drove me to the van. 

We left hungry so we had to stop in the tiny town of Tremonton UT. Not being familiar, we decided to drive through town, then decide where to go. It was 11:30 and every where had empty parking lots. I was not feeling inspired. Until we found the edge of town and a Mexican food bus. A few cars parked around and we New we found the gem. 

Very cool concept. It was parked by a river. They also owned the building on the lot so you could eat in a brick and mortar. If you felt better about it or you could sit inside and experience the adventure. 

The food was alright. I wish I could say it was incredible but it was a bit bland honestly. The experience was awesome though. A little girl came in with her family. She was maybe 6 years old. She enters and says “Wow its fancy in here”. It was cool. It really felt like Old Mexico. 
We made a few more stops on the way. Including this awesome bridge. 

Once we arrived in Hermiston I dropped the trailer parked the car and we jumped into the van. Of to the river we went.Where I got to spoil my bride with a vanhome cooked meal. She also got a breakfast the next morning before we started the wild ride home. 

After we ate breakfast we hooked up the trailer and she followed me back through the Blue mountains in Oregon. We decided a detour to Idaho Falls where her Sister lived was in order. 
What a beautiful state Idaho is. The scenic road we took, Highway 20 from Mountain Home to Idaho Falls, was incredible. 

The best part was suddenly we had landed on the moon. 

It was a volcano and the lava was still preserved. Extremely harsh environment. Temps upwards of 150 degrees in the summer and deep snow in the winter. Jagged rock formations everywhere and the vegetation had just begun to grow again. 

My wife had work in the morning and my son had drivers ed at 6:00 am. With all our detours I wasn’t going to make it home that night. So we stopped at another historic point. Caught 3 hrs of sleep and finished the drive landing home right in time. 5:45am. Just enough time to gather my son and get him to school. 

Luckily I had the day to regroup before I had to continue on to New Mexico. That will be a couple more stories. As for now I will bid you farewell. Tomorrow I might tell you more. 

Overcoming life’s obstacles! Perk 9

In the article “Winning With Solar” I told you about the Solar System I had installed and tested best I could in the driveway of my vacation home. Before I set out into the wild unknowns of my work. 

I was excited to go back to Hermiston Oregon. It was one of the best boondocking experiences in my life. At Sand Staion you could park for free on the banks of the Colombia River Gorge. It had Bathrooms and picknic tables. 

There was a bit of Squatting going on. It looked like there was a potential problem starting to arise. I, on the other hand, didn’t mind it. I would bring beer back from work. I made friends with the locals and I knew for certain my things were safe. 

So with great excitement I got my Motorcycle ready to ride. 

I loaded it on the trailer. I filled the fridge with food and was ready to camp on the river. I was going to commute on my bike. There were a lot of dirt roads to explore after work if I had the Time. It sounded like I would. We were scheduled to work 2-11hr days and 5-10hr days. 

The drive out wasn’t bad. It took me about 9 hrs. I pushed 80mph the entire way. I left a little late so I arrived with only enough time to catch a bit of a nap before work started. I found out the first day that they changed our schedule to 6-12hr days. It was a long one. 

We were finally released. I had about an hour of daylight left. I hurried to the truck stop and got some propane. I was finally off to the camp site. It was getting pretty dark by the time I arrived to find out it was closed. Later I talked to the Park Rangers and found out it had been changed to a group only reservation site. My guess, the squatting got unmanageable. 

I drove over the river into Washington and parked on a ridge overlooking the river and Hermiston. It was beautiful.

I sleep there and drove the whole rig back to work the next morning. This wasn’t going to be the trip I expected it to be. The next day I spent all my spare time trying to find a good boondocking spot. All my resources came up empty. So I left the bike on the trailer in the parking lot at the work site. I dug into my old school car camping urban style knowledge. I spent the rest of my time sleeping at that truck stop. And driving two miles back and forth to work. LAME! 

It was comfortable though and the Utah Jazz were in the first round of the playoffs. I had court side tickets to every game right on my phone. The screen is kinda small though. I watched as the Jazz struggled. I cooked and cleaned staying warm while it was cold outside. My furnace ran quit a bit and it rained a lot. It was a good test on the Solar set up. On my way to Oregon I stopped and traded my battery in for a new one. But even new it was a little undersized at 55amp hrs to last through every night. There was two that killed the battery. The panel seemed to charge it through the day with out a problem. Even in the rain. 

On the last day I was informed that we would be right back in Hermiston on our next work cycle. So when I was finally released I hooked the trailer back up. That truck stop was kind enough to let me leave my entire rig in their back lot. I off loaded the bike bought some water and rode home. It worked out well. I got to ride after all. It was a long 560 mile 50 degree ride. My smile was frozen on. 

Point is keep at what your doing. Life will never be what you expect but it will always entertain you. 

Perk 9: in a van you will have every thing you need to overcome all life’s obstacles. 

How a successful man comes to live in a van. Part 3

I’m thinking it’s time for a little background. In order to understand how I ended up living in a van. You need to understand my past a bit. I call this blog Roadtovanlife. It’s about living on the road in a van. It’s also about how I got here. I haven’t written about the how for a long time so let’s begin again. 

The greatest thing happened to me in my first couple of years being alive. My parents (Diana and Jim) got divorced! Ya I’m sure it sucked for them but it worked out pretty good for me. My Mom met a guy (Brad) and married him. He has been the greatest man I’ve ever known. My Dad (Jim) has stuck around through everything. He has been the greatest man I’ve ever known. Yep I said that twice. They are completely different in attitude and physicality. Completely different goals and expectations. Completely incredible men in there own ways. 

My mother (Diana) had two more kids. My sister (Brooke) first. The meanest person I have ever met. She showed me girls are scary. I was so scared I didn’t get married until my mid twenties. But really she has always stood by me and loved me no matter what I did. She has always been my Fan. She has the biggest heart I’ve ever experienced. She loves on a level I will never understand. I’m not sure why but I think I’m the only person she has ever been mean to. 

My mother (Diana) also had my little Brother (Parker). He is incredible. No matter how many times I let him down. He has always been there. Somehow standing above me with his hand out picking me up. Believe me his arms must be tired. He might be the only other person that would agree with me about Brooke being mean. 

My Dad (Jim) found a lady (Maurine) as well. She had a kid (Matt) already. I knew him. He was older then me but we ruled the preschool. We would put all the trikes in a pile and ride circles around them so no one else could have one. He dared me to kiss a girl. My first was in preschool. How my Dad (Jim) found his Mom (Maurine) I still don’t know but way cool that they did. 

My Dad (Jim) had two kids in eleven months with his new wife. My New Mom (Maurine). First my little Bro (Nic). A real life Hero. That’s his story to tell though. 

Second was my little sis (Dana). Poor thing always got left out. To many boys and no girls. She is beautiful and kind and everything a girl supposed to be. 

There was now three other kids around when I got to visit my Dad (Jim) And two more kids at home. For an only child I was being surrounded by siblings. 

Then… the worst thing in my life happened. I was young so it didn’t effect me as much as my older brother (Matt). Mom died! My new Mom. Dads new wife (Maurine). She died terribly violent too. It changed everything for my older brother (Matt). My Dad (Jim) adopted him. So glad I got to keep him. The two little ones (Nic and Dana) where so young and no longer had a mom. It was bad. Still is really. 

It took a lot of years for my Dad (Jim) to get right again. His third wife my next Mom (Ruth) took on all of that Challenge. Knowing she could never be Maurine she just tried to be Mom. She had an older daughter (Kim). She was older then all of us. She had my older brother (Matt) by two years and she was HOT!!! Still is really. She showed me that girls had a lot more to be scared of then just being mean. She was awesome. I could ask her anything and she was real. She always told me the truth. 

I was a late bloomer. In eighth grade I was still a kid. Hell I can barely grow a beard and I’m almost 40. 

I was walking the hall and out of no where this tall beautiful blond girl walks right up to me and says hey your Kris right? Now I’m shaking. I stumbled over a shy yes. 

She continues unfazed “Ya, I know your sister.” 

I’m thinking it has to be Kim the other two are to young. 

I ask which one?

 “Jenny” she says. 

My heart fell out. She was talking to the wrong Kris. 

I let her know and expected to walk away with my tail tucked when she said “Your brother is Matt right?” 

“Yes, how do you know” I said. 

“Because Jenny is Matt’s sister.”

Now remember I know girls are mean. I didn’t believe her but after a while she just knew to much. 

That night I called my dad (Jim). 

He then told me that “Maurine had two children Matt, my brother, and Jenny. 

Jenny had been adopted before Maurine’s divorce with Matts dad. 

I had a sister that everyone knew about but me. How the hell could that be.

You would think after all that my Dad (Jim) would have had enough. Nope! Later my dad and his third wife (Ruth) adopted my youngest brother (Jesse). He is a real life American Bad Ass. He too is a hero. His story is still being played out. I pray for his saftey. As he continues to protect us all. 

You can see that growing up I was all twisted. Pulling everywhere. People where crying while others had complete joy. I had to learn that having compassion meant joy for some at the same time as sorrow for others. I learned the way everyone else lives isn’t my life. I started out of the box and never felt comfortable inside one. 
I have more family then anyone I know. 

I learned that not seeing them daily was ok. 

I had to many homes to know homesickness. 

I can wander the world and live all over still knowing my roots are always under me. 

Home truly is where the heart is. 

My heart just happens to be everywhere. 

Winning With Solar 

Let’s talk power! I have owned this class B RV for 16 months. It’s a sprinter Van. I’ve spent 288 nights living in it and 55,000 miles. 
My biggest struggle is the electricity. Of all the nights I’ve stayed in the RV, I’ve been plugged in maybe a dozen. If I stay in the same spot for more then three days at a time, my Blue Top Optima 55 amp hr battery will be Dead! Dead! Dead! I’m surprised it still works. Honestly it shouldn’t. I highly recommend it. 

My favorite way of living is to find a great place to park the van and commute to work, the gym, groceries and so on with my Motorcycle.
I found that it was almost impossible though. After three days I had to drive the van around just to get some battery juice. I didn’t have enough miles mid work cycle to get a good charge on the system. So it became a real hassle. 
I do have an onboard 2000w Onan generator. For some odd reason it would take hours to get just enough charge to last through the night. I was using all the propane and again I was driving anyway to fill my propane tanks. 
I decided I wanted solar. I had heard great things. So I started rummaging through the still uncertain info all over the World Wide Web. It was a lot of math and a lot of reading in another language, electrical. Best I could come up with was add everything you have together and then divide it. That equaled a lot. Never would everything run all at once, Nor would it ever be the same combination. By the math, I would need 10,000 watts of solar. It was never going to happen. 
I put on my common sense cap, turned it backwards and got to thinking. If my battery has always lasted 24hrs then I just need enough solar to recharge that battery in a few hours. That way if the sky feels moody or if I’m using some power during the day my system would have plenty of time to charge my battery by night. 
Suddenly I only needed 100w. My mind drifted back to an old man living on the banks of the Columbia River Gorge in a little camp site called Sand Station. He said to me. “All these young kids are always getting so many panels. They don’t need that much. It’s a waste. All a person needs is 100 watts. It’s plenty.” 
I found the Renogy 100 watt plug and play system. The price was on point, the 700+ reviews with 4.5 stars was definitely on point. The fact that, if the old man was incorrect, I could add another 300 watts to it was on point. 
So I gambled. Knowing nothing but, I know not what I’m doing. I closed my eyes and click. I sent it to my dad for his opinion. Yes I’m almost 40 but he is my dad. He will always have good advise for me. 

He text me back. “To late. You will have to spend your birthday money on something else.” With a picture of the order screen and shipping info. He bought it for me. YA! Now I really had nothing to lose. 
It arrived three days later. I was so excited I opened it then and there. It was very well packaged. I was shocked at the quality as well. 

I figured I would put the brackets on real quick. Next thing I knew the ladder was out I was standing on my van panel in hand trying to figure out where I was going to mount it. I had a bunch of ideas before I had received it. In hand they weren’t making sense. So right in the middle it went. Holes were drilled, wires were fed, screws got screwed. Silicon got messy. It really was so simple. All that worry and fear not knowing if I could do it my self just lifted away. It was a cake walk. 

Bam! 2 hours later with the help of my other Dad, I had power. Ya I’m lucky, God gave me two great fathers and many Grandfathers to look up too. I didn’t know how much power though. I drove around for 6 days working. It was a different situation and I really had to drive every day. So I couldn’t tell what my panel was doing. 

Finally I got my scheduled days off so I left the van in my driveway unplugged, the fridge on, the furnace thermostat normal. Just like a regular day. Three days later the battery was fully charged. Ya it is working. 
I needed to know how well though. So first light the next day I turned the Fantastic Fan on high. It would usually kill the battery in three hours. It was rainy and overcast. Three hours later all four LED lights for battery condition are still lit. 6 hours still lit. It took ten hours to drain the battery down to the last LED. Fan and fridge running. Now I was impressed. 
I kept the fridge going that night and the furnace on just so I could make sure the battery was drained by the morning. Yes I know this is bad for my battery. I couldn’t tell you the amount of times it had died already though. That is why I was going down the whole solar path in the first place. 
That next morning I went out 2 hours after first light. Again it had been raining all morning and there was a lot of cloud cover. But all four LEDs were lit. It charged in two hours. Again I was impressed!
The website said it would charge a 50 amp hr battery in three hours with optimal sun light. My light was poor and it charged them In two. 
I can’t wait to take my bike and new solar equipped van back to Sand Station again next week. I can’t wait to use it for real and see if my tests were correct in telling me I have more power then I need. Maybe that old man will be there again too. I would like to tell him he was right. 

Surprise in the Mojave Desert. 

More of perk 4

Living in a van while working allows me to better understand the places my company sends me to work. While my coworkers live in hotels I’m out discovering this world. Every place has its own bit of history. It’s own secret that is well loved within its community. 
Mojave is no different. I found a nice lady on a web site I’ve decided to join. I wrote about it in my previous article. “New Friends In Many Places.” The Site is called Boondockers Welcome


I’m staying on her property for 7 nights. I work during the day. 1 day I was instructed to take off due to federal DOT hours of service. 
The lady I was staying with has one of her sons living in another house on her property. He takes care of her. 
This man invited me to go to the local Exotic Cat House with him. I thought exactly what you are thinking. Um, no thanks, it’s not really my thing. He laughed and replied “it’s not like that. They have a bunch of Lions, Lepards, Lynx and Tigers. They are all species that are going extinct. The place is trying to breed them and reintroduce them back into the wild.” It’s called EFBC’s Feline Conservation Center
Of course I had to take advantage. It was very cool. Surprisingly we were greeted by Peacocks as we entered the park. Very pretty!  
The place was small but had a lot of cats and there Habitats weren’t terrible. Especially knowing that it’s not a zoo. It operates mainly on donations and volunteers. They are just hoping to save some animals for future generations to know. 
Again I got to experience something most never would. I am very grateful to live in a van.

More of Perk 4

Having opportunitys to experience the secrets of the world. 

New friends in many places. 

     With all of the traveling I do and all the trouble I deal with finding places to park. I decided to try out a website I have been watching for the last three months called Boondockers Welcome

     It’s based on the premise that RV owners host other RV owners at no expense. The registration costs $25 a year if you don’t host and $20 a year if you do. Once your signed up you have the opportunity to message, via the site, over 800 hosts throughout the world. Mainly in the United States. 

     Hosts describe what they have available. Parking, size, power, water, sewer, wifi, etc.. they also leave a bit of info so you can see what kind of people they may be. Picture are also available for most host places. 

     A bio is also required for guests so the host can get a feel if they are willing to entertain. 

     Then it’s all about the reviews. Hosts and guest get to build a reputation. The better the host the better discount they can earn for future years membership. The better the guest the more likely you will find a host. 

     I was a bit Leary because I don’t get to choose where I’m going. So I watched the map for a few months to see if it would even work for me. This week I decided that $25 could be spent in worse ways, so I took the plunge. 

     I Contacted the nearest host to my work site, 14 miles away. She ended up being an elderly lady that has a bit of property and a lot of life lived to share. It took about 24 hrs for her to respond and I had a place to park including power and water. To my surprise after arrival I was also offered WIFI at no expense. That wasn’t in the bio. 

        If it doesn’t work out the rest of the year, I’m sure this week will be worth the entire $25 fee alone. Thank you Boondockers Welcome and thank you to my knew friend Lois.