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#ourendlessroadtrip

Meet Cleo the Camper - Our Endless Adventure's Vintage Camper

Meet Cleo the Vintage Camper

Camper, On The Road, Outdoor Adventures, Travel By February 26, 2018 Tags: , , , , No Comments

Meet Cleo the Camper - Our Endless Adventure's Vintage Camper

But First, Why?

Before I get into the details and a tour of the camper, I still get a lot of questions as to WHY I wanted to travel the country for 3+ months and why in an old ass camper? The desire to just pack up and drive all over has been instilled in me since childhood road trips, staring wide-eyed out the window, as if it was one long movie passing me by. I longed for more trips and to experience more places.

My husband (boyfriend at the time), Christopher, and I had our first extended taste of it after college. We packed up his grandfather’s 1991 Forest Green Lincoln Continental for a month of exploring. This was a big trip for our relationship, realizing if we can live out of a car for a month together with barely any bickering, we could probably take on some more challenges together in life. That month scratched my nomad itch for awhile, as we unpacked our lives from storage and settled into our first rowhome in Baltimore.

We intended on moving, we really did. 6 months max, maybe a year, enough to save up some money. We were going to move somewhere fun and new, preferably warmer, somewhere on the west coast. San Diego sounded nice, but Baltimore had other plans for us. With her unexpected charm, we found ourselves making a home and building our own community of friends, not bringing the subject of moving back up for years. (It took a lot to not turn this blog post into a love letter to Baltimore, but we must stay on track…)

We decided to buy a house here because we knew if we moved, we’d spend all our money coming home to visit. Why not just stay and use all our extra money to visit other spots? Sold. Travel became a priority, but usually in the form of long weekends, a week at most, 2 weeks for our honeymoon to really treat ourselves. The desire to wander, to drive across the country, laid dormant for awhile. Usually piqued when we saw a VW bus or fun camper on the road, Christopher would point, I would smile and say “one day.”

VW Bus Dreams

VW Bus Spotted in Port Townsend, Washington

But Why Can’t One Day Be Now?

Then I reached a point that I wanted “one day” to be… now. It took some brainstorming, but after 13 months, a career move, looking at our budget, an additional part-time job, starting my own business for marketing and photography, going down to one car for awhile, lots of savings, lots of research, one day happened. Super easy, right?

While the idea of just going and being nomads was tempting, for us, keeping our home here in Baltimore made the most sense. We weren’t ready to throw all the caution to the wind and pull up our roots. I bring this up because this was a critical part in deciding HOW I was going to drive cross country, as each vehicle option had a lot of factors, like what amenities were needed and how much it would cost.

There were spreadsheets, pros and cons lists, more budgets, and hours on the internet. Ideally, I wanted a old VW bus that looked adorable, but Christopher brought me back down to earth. Realistically, I know nothing about car engines and many of those VW’s need a lot of work to stay running. Then there were RVs to consider. Some new friends had traveled the country for 1 year and had an RV they were open to renting us (PS – you MUST go check out Amazing Life Together). It was really nice, but after weighing what we needed, wanted, and potentially bringing our dog, we kept looking.

Vintage Shasta Travel Camper Goals

My Dream Vintage Camper: a Shasta or Airstream, but you know… budgets.

A Vintage Travel Trailer It Is

We also figured if we were going to spend that money, it might as well be on something we can keep. Additionally, probably to Christopher’s annoyance, it had to be cute and picturesque, I was going to be capturing this whole trip after all. We eventually landed on the idea of a vintage camper, also known as a travel trailer (turns out you need to know various terminology once you get into booking campsites). With a fresh paint job and some updating on the inside, it would be a pretty inexpensive option, all things considered. We could attach it to a reliable SUV or truck so that I would have to worry about getting stranded, with the added bonus of being able to detach when wanting to easily explore cities or national parks.

So then we had to find one, we searched the internet far and wide. I found two people in Nashville who sought out and renovated old campers, which worked out because we traveled to Nashville often and didn’t quite have the spare time to do this ourselves. It was a great experience until it was not. Please note: while we love our camper, if you’re looking for something similar to travel with, we would not recommend working with them. If you want more info, let’s chat!

It took longer than expected to get the trailer, only 2 weeks before the planned departure date, which made this Type A, structure-loving planner nervous. It was too late to push the whole trip as I had reservations at national parks during peak season that took months to get and friends flying to meet me all over the country. The show had to go on. She even had a name!

Meet Cleo the Camper - Our Endless Adventure's Vintage Travel Trailer

Cleo the Camper Parked in a Oregon Forest

Meet Cleo The Camper

We had to do some unexpected work on Cleo before the trip, which ensured she’d be on a solid and safe base to travel across this whole country. We added some painted touches, a new axle, a custom door that my father-in-law created (that actually closed and locked unlike the OG door, because you know… safety), new tires, pillows, a couple more coats of sealer on the roof, new bed framing, some more shelving, drawers, and wow, now that I read this, we did a lot. A BIG THANK YOU to my husband, my in-laws, some friends, and my father who took this on with us in a moment’s notice. I was over there stenciling pretty designs on the inside of the cabinets while my sister-in-law’s husband was literally ensuring I had a solid bed frame to sleep on. Ya gotta know your strengths, I guess.

We get a lot of questions about the “amenities.” I have to remind people that it’s old and we bought it because it was on the cheaper end of the spectrum. The bathroom tank needed replacing, but honestly, when it came down to it, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of figuring out how to empty it… I wanted the option to not pee in the woods in the middle of the night, but after our time on the road, we decided we’d rather not deal with it and we plan on taking it out so we can rearrange the bed set-up. In the meantime, the “bathroom” became a much needed closet for when I had extra guests joining me.

The water line/sink drainage doesn’t work, which was probably the most disappointing find because running water would have been real nice. The original stove and oven also do not work, but that was to be expected. Especially if you have an old camper, I found it was highly recommended to redo all the gas lines because the last thing you want is a gas leak near a campfire and that kind of work was not in the budget. A Coleman camper stove would do! BONUS: The vintage stove then became a great spot to store wine bottles safely while driving. The vintage fridge became a great spot to store pots and pans. When life gives you lemons/non-working vintage appliances, right?

Meet Cleo the Camper - Our Endless Adventure's Vintage Travel Trailer

Photo Captured by Christina Julia Photography

Would We Do It Again?

In a heartbeat, but, needless to say, this whole “let’s just drive cross country” thing was a big endeavor and not nearly as spontaneous as one might think. We learned A LOT. If I had to go back and do it again, I would probably go the vintage camper route again, but buy our own and leave time to gut it completely, which would lead to a lot more learnings. It would probably take as much money ($5K-10K ballpark) and even more time, but we would have more control and ensure quality work.

OR I would go the #vanlife route, there is something to be said about just rolling up anywhere and being able to go to sleep, plus the vanlife community is amazing. This is just a larger investment and would probably require another car payment. Knowing that I would need a real daily driver when I returned to Baltimore, I didn’t think a camper van would serve me well when rolling up to client meetings or whenever we have kids.

The travel trailer / camper works for us. I have a 4Runner I drive normally or I can attach Cleo to it, no additional engines to worry about. My parents are amazing and let us store the camper at their house. Since it was more affordable than a new RV or camper van, we paid for it in full. It is now ours, no monthly payments (other than insurance). As we grow as a family, we hope to be able to use it for more easy camping with some kiddos and our old lady dog (who prefers shorter car rides, hence not joining for long trip, but she does LOVE camping).

Cleo still has some work that needs to be done, after all, I did drive her 15,000 miles across some bumpy ass roads, shaking every screw and component over miles and miles of this country. I’m afraid that as we work on one small fix, it might pull a string and before we know it, we’re gutting it, but we’ll see.

One day, we hope she’ll retire on our farm, Camp Runamuck. For those saying, what? You have a farm? The answer is no, but yes, we have a name for our hypothetical farm, open to nomads and campers alike, a farm that may or may not house other adorable vintage campers. An idea that was shaped and inspired with every day of #ourendlessroadtrip. It is probably way too early to share this idea, but I am becoming a firm believer in putting your ideas and dreams out into the world. You’d be surprised how that can help “one day” become now. In the meantime, more to daydreaming and spreadsheets to make that happen in the next however many years!

Meet Cleo the Camper - Our Endless Adventure's Vintage Travel Trailer

Photo Captured By Christina Julia Photography

Okay, Okay, The Interior Pictures You’ve Been Waiting For

Meet Cleo the Camper - Our Endless Adventure's Vintage Travel Trailer

The Main Bed: Folds up into a couch when traveling or need more space to hang. The curtain to the right is the “bathroom” turned closet. You’ll realize in the next photo why this isn’t that ideal.

Meet Cleo the Camper - Our Endless Adventure's Vintage Travel Trailer

The Main Bed: Pulls out when it’s bedtime, somewhere between a full and queen size bed. For me: so much better than sleeping on the ground or even an air mattress in a tent.

Meet Cleo the Camper - Our Endless Adventure's Vintage Travel Trailer

The Dining Area: Sits 4 for cards or dinner, perfect when your camping weekend turns into a rainy one.

Meet Cleo the Camper - Our Endless Adventure's Vintage Travel Trailer

The Dining Area: Table drops down and bench cushions can be converted into a bed that is around a full size.

Meet Cleo the Camper - Our Endless Adventure's Vintage Travel Trailer

The Kitchen: Original stove and fridge, used for storing kitchen items.

Meet Cleo the Camper - Our Endless Adventure's Vintage Travel Trailer

A little art by Annie Howe Papercuts, not practical for hanging on the wall while driving because EVERYTHING shakes, but a little inspiration for the trip and interior. Lots of bright white, pops of red, and a sense of adventure!

And we’ll end this tour with 3 reminders of why this camper was perfect for #ourendlessroadtrip, it always gave me a sense of perspective, whether amongst the redwoods, under the starry sky, or next to a really really really big radio in the middle of no where Montana.

Hope you enjoyed the tour of our little adventure mobile. I’d also love to see your adventures on my feed, use #ourendlessadventure when sharing Instagram.

Now Get Lost (Ideally in the Outdoors),

Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure

 

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Land-of-Pleasant-Eating-Our-Endless-Adventure-Baltimore-19

9 of the Best Road Trip Snacks with Land of Pleasant Eating

Companies I Love, Food & Drink, On The Road By October 16, 2017 Tags: , , No Comments

As I was preparing to head out on #ourendlessroadtrip, one of the items top of mind for me was obviously road trip snacks! I came across this topic when I was having coffee with Anastasia of Land of Pleasant Eating and I figured I would get her take. Anastasia is a restaurant owner in Baltimore, but she also has an awesome food Instagram and blog in her free time (for all small business owners, yes, I laughed when I typed “free time”). She’s a huge supporter of all small and local businesses, so I knew I would be getting some good recommendations, but I’ll let her speak to it:

anastasia-keramidas-land-of-pleasant-eating

I don’t know what it is about long car rides that make my snacking go from 0 to 100 REAL QUICK – but I’ve perfected my snacking ability due to biannual 24-hour road trips with my family from Baltimore to Key West. Here are my favorite, useful and wholesome road tripping snacks! Some require slight refrigeration to last a long time, but most will be okay in room temperature for a couple days.

Blueberry Quinoa Bars, captured by Anastasia Keramidas, Land of Pleasant Eating

1.

Blueberry Quinoa Bars – Why: Quinoa has many benefits, for example it has twice as much fiber as most other grains, contains lysine, and it is one of the most protein rich foods you can eat! Also, these bars are delicious, nutritious, GF, dairy free AND travel well in slight refrigeration for up to 7 days!

Cherry-Granola-Land-of-Pleasant-Eating

2.

Orange Spiced Granola – Why: Granola is a staple for long car rides, so just dive right into this wholesome, no refined sugar, crunchy goodness! No snacking guilt here.

3.

Trader Joe’s Popcorn – Why: IT IS SO DELICIOUS. Also, popcorn is such a lightweight snack, full of tasty flavors that will satisfy your bored eating.

4.

Gunpowder Bison Snack Sticks – Why: Contains lean proteins, energizing B vitamins, Zinc and Iron! Trust me, this isn’t your average gas station jerky, this stuff is smokey, textured, local and farm raised in Maryland!

Also, Becky’s new favorite is Ayoba-Yo, which can be purchased at Whole Foods or Diamondback Brewing in Baltimore.

Land-of-Pleasant-Eating-Our-Endless-Adventure-Baltimore-20

5.

Unsalted Almonds with Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies. Why: Contain vitamin E, copper, magnesium, high-quality proteins and healthy unsaturated fatty acids! It’s a 2 ingredient trail mix because let’s be real, when you’re adventuring on the open road, there is no better time to embrace your childish roots! Fav Brands for almonds: Vitacost and Woodstock

Land-of-Pleasant-Eating-Our-Endless-Adventure-Baltimore-27

6.

Tangerines/Clementines. Why: Contains high amounts of calcium, Vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous! They smell great & give you some vitamins for those long days when you’re feeling groggy and fatigued.

Photo from @madeinnature

7.

Dried Fruits – Why: Dried figs are my favorite – they contain high amounts of beta carotene, vitamin E, niacin, Iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium! Fav Brands Include: Nature’s All Foods, Equal Exchange, Made in Nature, and Woodstock.

Justins-Land-of-Pleasant-Eating-Our-Endless-Adventure-Baltimore

8.

Nut Butter & Fruit Slices! Why: Who doesn’t love peanut butter or almond butter with apple slices? Fav Brands Include: Wild Friends, Trader Joe’s, and Justin’s.

Health-Ade-Land-of-Pleasant-Eating-Our-Endless-Adventure-Baltimore-31

9.

We can’t forget the beverages:

  • Chameleon Cold Brew EspressoWhy: for those long hauls without a local coffee shop around
  • KombuchaWhy: Detoxification, Digestion, Energy! Helps to keep your digestive system happy (sitting down isn’t the BEST position for your gut) AND it gives you a little pep in your step (or wheels). Fav brands: Health-Ade, Baltimore Wild, or any local Kombucha in the areas you’re driving through!

Do you have any favorites road trip snacks we are missing?

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Big Sur is Open for Your Next Road Trip

Destinations, Outdoor Adventures, Travel By September 7, 2017 Tags: , , , , No Comments

Big Sur is known as one of the most breathtaking regions on the California coast, with its winding roads, rocky coastline, dramatic cliffs, and magnificent seaside views, you quickly realize why it is often featured in movies, TV shows, and photographs. It was an obvious must for our cross-country road trip.

Unfortunately the region underwent a severe winter that included multiple mudslides, fallen boulders, and a collapsed bridge, resulting in a portion of the iconic Highway 1 being closed. When I heard this, I was heartbroken for those who live and run businesses in the area and was selfishly sad that we were not going to be able to visit one of my #1 spots on the road trip bucket list.

As the trip got closer though, I was happy to hear that they were slowly opening portions and many businesses were still open. I was doing research every week to see what else had been opened and where we could visit. Here are some tips from our recent trip:

  • Adjust Your Route – While there is still a portion closed, you can head into the region from the south and north quite a bit. We personally were coming from the North and we were able to follow the coast all the way to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, where the road is closed just south of it.

  • Stay in One of the Open Parks or Hotels – We were able to find a campsite at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. It is typically difficult to get campsites up and down the California coast during peak summer season, so take advantage of many not knowing these spots are open. There was also the Big Sur Lodge right there at the park and next time we come back, I want to stay at the Big Sur River Inn, complete with a restaurant, store, pool, the world’s cutest gas station (yep, that’s a thing), and the best part being that you can…

  • Have a Drink in the River – Grab a drink from the Big Sur River Inn bar and head down to their adirondack chairs that are in the river, not next to, but in the river. Dip your toes in the water and sit back. Why isn’t this a thing in more places?

  • Stop at Bixby Bridge – while the Pfieffer Canyon Bridge is being rebuilt, the iconic Bixby Bridge is stunning as always. I would recommend being ready to pull off on the right or left before you drive across it. Go slow because it can be quite busy, but this is where you’ll find get beautiful views easily for your photographs.

  • Stretch Your Legs – while many trails are also recovering from the winter and fires, we headed over to Andrew Molera State Park for a hike to the beach. It was all flat, led you through some trees and opened up to a spectacular beach. It felt a big majestic as you looked around to see dozens of driftwood structures built by those who had previously been there.

  • Shuttle Further South – The Pfeiffer Canyon Bypass Trail was created by residents and opened to the public in July. You can use this trail to access the southern side of Big Sur and can board a shuttle at Andrew Molera State Park to get there. We were hoping to do this to go have lunch or dinner at Nepenthe, but unfortunately ran out of time.

While we wanted to explore and stay longer, the road trip must go on! We were obviously not able to continue to drive south on Highway 1, but in a similar amount of time it would take, we went north (yay, one more trip over Bixby and Carmel) and took a detour to Highway 68, through Salinas Valley, to Highway 101, down through San Luis Obispo (a town that Oprah claims to be the happiest city in America) and then we continued south to Santa Barbara.

To learn more and stay up to date on openings and closures, head over to See Monterey’s website.

Happy Travels,

Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure

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11 Reasons to go on a Summer Road Trip NOW

On The Road, Travel By September 2, 2017 Tags: , , 1 Comment

If you looked at your calendar today, you might have realized it is officially September, say what? If not, you may have seen the hoards of people claiming it to be the last weekend of summer on social media, but I’m here to tell you that they are all liars and then give you 11 reasons why you should go on a summer road trip now!

big-sur-summer-road-trip-adventure

1.

Because the Autumn equinox is not until September 22nd, so that gives you 21 more days of summer. Yes, I love leaves, hoodies, and pumpkin spice lattes as much as the next basic chick, but summer is not over yet. I repeat, it is still summer.

2.

I get that for many, school is starting up for them and/or their kids, which leads them to think summer is over, but last I checked, I don’t have kids, I am not a teacher, and I haven’t been in school for over 9 years (yikes). So that puts me into this little opportunity bubble of September, kid-free, budget-friendly travel. It’s cheaper, it’s quieter, what more can I say?  

point-reyes-trees-california-road-trip

3.

Well, that being said, you’re running out of time. I know, it is an emotional roller coaster over here, but put on your seatbelt. If you’re like me, you’re wondering where on earth August went… and July… wait, what about June? Shit. The days are flying by and you still haven’t taken that summer adventure you were dreaming about posting on Instagram about. If you were waiting for the right time, guess what? It’s right NOW. Literally, put down your cellular device, go grab a bag and throw some clothes in it!

4.

So what are you waiting for? Many of us are fortunate enough to have a car. If not, maybe a friend with a car who can be coerced into a spontaneous adventure? A relative that can be easily guilt-tripped? A guy you met on Tinder who “loves to travel”? At the very least, maybe you can go rent one. I believe in you. 

carmel-by-the-sea-vintage-car-road-trip

5.

And just like that, you’ve happened upon reason #4, roadtrips = freedom. The freedom to stop and go as you please. If you see something cool? Check it out. If you need to pee, stop. Want to stretch your legs? You might get the point by now, but yes, no one is stopping you. You are on your own schedule, unlike traveling via plane or train where you are being told where to be and when to be somewhere. We know how I feel about being told what to do (hint hint: I hate it).

6.

Speaking of, those methods of transportation can get pretty pricey, especially last minute on a holiday weekend. Lucky for you, CNN reports that gas prices are at a 7 year low. Even with a small car gas tanks, you can put in 12 gallons of gas at a current average price of $2.52 per gallon according to AAA. I’m not great at math, but the Washington Post tells me that the average car gets 23.6 miles per gallon and my iPhone calculator tells me that should get you 283.2 miles for only $30.24. Someone check my math, but shit, if you have a Prius, imagine the possibilities! 

big-sur-american-road-trip

7.

Driving is also one of my favorite ways to discover a new area. You can get a quick feel for a place without wandering too aimlessly in a bad direction, then you can get out and bike, run, or walk around your fav spots. Or you can be a creeper like me and drive through all the gorgeous neighborhoods, pretending in another life you live there, so much more fun than an overcrowded tourist attraction. Just me? Oh okay, this just got weird.

8.

You can also set your own soundtrack. Music = key. It sets the tone and mood of the trip immediately. So much better than that crying baby on the plane or the dude snoring next to you on the train. I use Spotify to discover new songs and create my own playlists. I even made an #ourendlessroadtrip playlist for you to check out. It includes some of my fav road trip songs, from very literal interpretations (yes, Life is Highway is on there) to anything that just feels right to drive to. Any good ones I am missing? Let me know! 

9.

Besides music, food is clutch. No road trip is complete without snacks. In the car, you don’t have to buy an overpriced dry deli sandwich from the food court inside security or abide by any 3 oz checked bag rule. You can bring your own food and drinks, you can indulge in your gas station guilty snack pleasures, or you can find your new favorite roadside diner. You could even tailor an entire road trip around places to eat. You do you! I’ll have some of Land of Pleasant Living’s favorite road trip snacks hitting the blog soon, stay tuned!

10.

Road trips are the perfect example of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s or whoever-that-person-on-Instagram-who-posts-quotes-too-much claimed said “Life’s a journey, not a destination.” If you disagree, please refer to reason #4, you can stop wherever you want! For instance, if you see a 49 foot Paul Bunyon, you can stop. I suggest you do.

trees-of-mystery-paul-bunyon

11.

Then, once you get to said destination, you can make what you want of it. You can tow a camper like us! You can camp out of your car for all I care. Rent a treehouse on Airbnb. Splurge on a baller ass hotel room. Or just turn around and go home to sleep in your own bed. Day trips are better than no trips.

vintage-camper-road-trip-california

And just like that, I’m at 11 reasons. I could go on all day about why you should go on a summer road trip right now, but Google tells me that odd number lists perform better than even numbers, so I’mma stop right here. You’re welcome. Hope to see you (or at least your Instagram stories) on the road.

Drive on,

Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure

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Terra’s Kitchen on the Road & Giveaway

Companies I Love, Food & Drink, On The Road By August 14, 2017 Tags: , , , No Comments

Hello from Port Townsend, Washington! 3,777 miles, 12 states, 3 time zones and too many smores later, I was ready for some downtime in this adorable historic town. After a day of exploring the Victorian houses and maritime setting, I was pretty thrilled to see a Terra’s Kitchen vessel sitting on the doorstep of my Airbnb. Terra’s Kitchen is a healthy food delivery service with fresh, pre-chopped ingredients, based out of my hometown of Baltimore, but shipping to customers all over the US. Read on for your chance to win $75 in Terra’s Kitchen credit. 

Terra's Kitchen Baltimore Meal Delivery

Traveling is an amazing way to try new foods, but it can also be tough. I find that I am either absorbing myself into a new city, sometimes overindulging in restaurants or I am eating quick and easy meals on-the-go or at my campsite, which often is just hot dogs and baked beans. This can be delicious, but after 2 weeks, it can take a toll and at the very least, makes me crave some fresh veggies.

Terras-Kitchen-Meal-Delivery

Terra’s Kitchen is my fav new way to eat when I’m on the road. I was able to schedule a delivery to my Airbnb address, not having to worry about looking up recipes, finding a grocery store, or even chopping the ingredients. Not only that, the meals are all simple enough, that I could even cook it in my tiny Airbnb kitchen. All of this would have been taken away from my exploring and I still ended up with a delicious meal. Leaving me the time to simply enjoy the Buddha Bowl and share my memories on some postcards to home.

Terras-Kitchen-Buddha-Bowl-Meal-Delivery

Not only that, the Terra’s Kitchen’s folks filled up my vessel with a ton of easy grab-n-go items, like Revolution Food bento boxes, pre-made salads, fruit, cheese and crackers. We are all ready to hit the road down the coast now! I might even attempt to cook a Seared Tuna Poke Bowl in a Tipi on the coast of Oregon. I’ll let you know how that goes!

Terras-Kitchen-Meal-Delivery

Now for the fun giveaway part – the kind folks at Terra’s Kitchen and I want to share the food love with YOU. Enter below for your chance to win $75 in Terra’s Kitchen credit! You can also comment on my Facebook and Instagram posts for more chances to win. Winner will be randomly selected and announced on Friday, 8/18. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Made the odds be ever in your favor!

Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure

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