Imagine spending 85 days living in a 10-foot popup tent camper while driving 8,000 miles around the American West in search of a place to call home. We didn't imagine it. We lived it. This is our story. Debbie and I spent most of our adult lives chasing career opportunities in journalism, allowing the job to determine where we lived. Our adventure took us from Wisconsin to Iowa to California to Colorado to Texas and finally to Tennessee. That formula worked fine and dandy for the 14 years Debbie and I were married without children. Then we started a family. Our commitment to our two daughters came down to this: One of us would always stay at home to raise the girls. Sure it was a financial challenge, but from an early stage we learned of the priceless benefits. Our career carousel eventually landed us in Tennessee. There's a lot of nice things that can be said about the South, but having grown up in the Midwest and living years in the West, well, we just didn't fit in there. I moved around a pinch too much as a youngster and always at the wrong time. With my daughter Sierra just finishing third grade, I knew it was time to get her to a place to plant roots before middle school and high school. A place we would stay until both daughters were away to college. This is the story of that journey, in the summer of 2005. An unforgettable time when we taught our daughters an important lesson: When your life isn't going the way you envisioned, take control and make your life what you want it to be.
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About the Author
Born and raised in Wisconsin, John Rezell has visited 44 states, lived in seven, and calls Oregon his home. He began his newspaper career in high school, writing for the sports section of The Brookfield News. While studying journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, he wrote for the student newspaper and worked for the Janesville Gazette. Once out of college, he began a career of climbing up the newspaper ladder, beginning with smalltown journalism at the Jefferson County Daily Union in Fort Atkinson, WI where he was a do-it-all sports editor — writing, editing, layout pages and taking photos. From there he crossed the Mississippi River into Iowa to work for the Dubuque Telegraph Herald. Continuing his Westward march, he spent the bulk of his newspaper career at The Orange County Register in Santa Ana, CA. There he created the weekly cycling column, as he focused on off-beat sports like beach volleyball, surfing, running — any assignment that might include bringing suntan lotion. After a freelance career establishing himself as the premiere cycling journalist in the US, he became editor of VeloNews magazine. Later he started the e-magazine bike.com, and eventually came full circle back to newspapers as an outdoor columnist for The Register-Guard in Eugene, OR. In 2015, he will publish three ebooks. Two of the books (Taken for a Ride and A More Simple Time: How Cycling Saved My Soul) chronicle his early days of covering bicycle racing, including his relationship with a young Lance Armstrong (Taken for a Ride). The third book, You Can't Cook a Dead Crab and Eat It, is the life-changing story of how John and his wife Debbie decided to find the perfect place to raise their daughters. In 2005, they sold as much of their belongings as possible in an endless Moving Sale, packed the rest into storage and spent 85 days traveling 8,000 miles while living in a pop-up camper as they explored the American West in search of a place to call home. John is working on his next book, based on his outdoors column he wrote for The Register-Guard that focuses on adventures in nature with his family in Oregon and many National Parks.