Doing It Florida Style

So here we are in Florida. After the “adventure” of our trip down here, I was definitely ready for some down time. I knew we had to get Waldo over to the repair shop for an estimate on the roof, but first we had to unload the belongings staying in Florida. I’m sure Waldo was quite happy to shed a few pounds!

On Thursday, we brought Waldo to Nature Coast RV, handed over the keys and hoped for the best. It would be a few days before we got the estimate so we set our sights on some relaxation time.

It had been quite a long time since Steve had enough spare time to get out in the kayak. While water sports aren’t his favorite activity, he does enjoy kayaking on calm waters. My first thought was to head down to the Gulf of Mexico (only about 10 minutes from my dad’s house). We made a quick stop at the store to pick up some sunscreen. Steve has two colors of summer – Casper white or lobster red. Not wanting him to spend his first week in sunburned pain, we opted for spf50! I thought better of the gulf because the waters can be choppy and there is no shade. I decide a trip on the Rainbow River would be better. The Rainbow River is a busy river with boaters, tubers, kayakers and paddle boarders. Since it was father’s day weekend, the river was crowded, but not so much to make it unenjoyable. Steve seemed to have a good time…

Kayak-3374

We promised my dad a trip to his favorite restaurant for father’s day. I dislike eating out on holidays due to the crowds, so we waited until later in the week. Peck’s Old Port Cove serves steamed blue crabs. Daddy and I split 1 1/2 dozen crabs while Steve had their fried fisherman’s platter…

Pecks-3380

A great meal – as always!

Before we left New Hampshire, I had been looking for a place to workamp. Work Camping is when you work at a campground in exchange for your RV site. Sometimes there is an opportunity for extra hours for pay, but not always. We had committed to a park in Texas, but didn’t leave NH in time to make it when they needed us. I was very happy when the manager of  Wind Point Park in Lone Oak, Texas emailed me and said we were still welcome to come work for the summer! Their website shows a beautiful park and conjures visions of lovely sunsets and quiet evenings by the campfire. I can’t wait to get there and settle into our new life as workampers!

We had received the estimate for Waldo’s roof…gasp! Between $7000 and $9000! Double what it cost to put a roof on the stick and brick house in NH! But, it has to be done! Steve checked in on their progress this week and it’s getting there…

roof repair-0340

 

roof repair-0341

roof repair-0343

They are hoping to have it done by the 30th so we can be on our way.

While Steve was checking on the roof, I decided to take my kayak out to the gulf. I drove to the end of Ozella Trail. There is a great park there with a  boat launch. A few other kayakers were out. I parked next to them, unloaded and hit the waters. As I suspected, the water was choppy, but it was a gorgeous summer day and I made my way around the mangrove islands and headed back. I hadn’t checked the tide report before I went out and I won’t do that again! When I got back to Trouble, the tide had come in enough I could paddle right up to it…

Pecks-3375

It was still over an hour before high tide, so I’m glad I headed in when I did.

Hoping my next post is about an uneventful 14 hour trip to Texas and our arrival at Wind Point Park!!!!

 

Looking Through the Windshield

Happiness in the rear view mirror didn’t last as long as I planned! We had barely made it out of New Hampshire when the problems started. In a motor home, you can have 2 completely different sets of problems, either of which can leave you on the side of the road. On one hand, you have the mechanical components, the engine, transmission and so on. On the other hand, you have all the same problems you have in your house, the roof, the windows, the plumbing, electrical systems, yada yada yada…

If you saw the last post, you know we are already aware of the fact we need a new roof. We had already taken care of a plumbing issue (the cap on the faucet in the kitchen had to be replaced). Steve fixed a starting issue with our generator. SO, when we left, we were pretty confident we were on our way. Not so fast…literally! Not long after we hit the highway in Vermont, we started noticing a steep decline in speed every time we started up a hill. Since Vermont is nothing but hills/mountains, this quickly became a major problem! At first, I thought it was because we were loaded to the brim and overwieght. Every available inch of space had something in it, so I sat quietly in my seat calculating how long it would take to get to Florida, 1300 miles, at 30mph. After a while, we were climbing hills at 18mph and getting up to 30mph on the downhill side of the hills. Not good! Finally, five hours later, somewhere in the southern part of Connecticut, Steve pulled off on the side of Interstate 95 and changed the fuel filters. It made me glad to have mechanic for a husband, I wouldn’t have thought of it!  Problem solved! Woohoo – 65mph. Since it was getting late, we pulled into a rest area and got a couple hours sleep.

Our first full day on the road started early. With the fuel issue solved, I had high hopes of making good time the rest of the trip….not so fast…literally! Not that again!! Nope, new problem.  Ugh.  Now, Waldo was overheating. We had had this problem before, but we thought it was fixed. Obviously not. We babied Waldo as best we could and finally made it to the outskirts of Roanoke, VA. I have a cool app on my phone called Overnight RV Parking It uses your location to show where verified free overnight parking is available. Or you can search an area using the map. I found a place we could stop for the night and give Waldo a break. Right off the highway was a Gander Mountain that allowed parking. We settled in for the night. There was another family parked near by. They had a dog too! Diesel got to spend some off-leash time playing ball after the store closed. Happy dogs!

We set off in the coolness of the early morning, knowing it would be slow going as long as the engine kept overheating. Most of the day was uneventful. We pulled into every rest area, letting Waldo cool down. The only one happy with this was Diesel because he got to get out and investigate the area. Ok…maybe I didn’t mind too much…

img_3895

We’d been pretty lucky with the weather, once out of New England, we were out of the rain. The temps were rising and a cold one was just what I wanted.

Knowing we wouldn’t make it to my dad’s house without stopping again, I began to look for a place to spend the night. I figured how many miles I thought we could make and chose A Big Wheel RV Park in Saint Mary’s, Georgia. A small, quiet park sounded like the perfect place to spend the night. Lucky for us, this is the off season and they had a pull-thru site available. We used our Passport America membership and our spot only cost us $19.

img_3889-1

After getting setup, I cooked our first meal on the road…

img_3891-1

We took Diesel for a nice long walk, ending up near the fishing pond. There was another family there with their bicycles and I was going to let Diesel get a drink until they pointed out the baby alligators. Across the pond was a sign which read “BEWARE Alligators Poisonous Snakes Red Ants” I tried to get a picture of it – not my best shot…

img_3901

We debated staying another day, but when we awoke the next morning, the skies opened up and drenched us. Knowing Waldo’s roof didn’t need the ‘bath’, we headed south…

Stay tuned for our Florida adventure…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happiness in the rear view mirror

I know it has been quite a while since I’ve written a post and I’m sorry. An awful lot has happened in the last nine weeks! It has been an emotional rollercoaster, to say the least. In April, we put the house on the market. But it seemed every time I turned around, there was still some unfinished little project that needed to be done. Touch up the paint here, wash that cabinet, clean out that room. It was almost never ending and it really took a mental and physical toll on me. In May, we liquidated the contents of our business and our home. We auctioned off all the business assets. There was quite a crowd but the bidding was low and we came away with a lot less than we had hoped. But it was done! Next came our moving sale. Steve and I spent every spare moment moving items from the house to the garage. I organized and tagged while he did the heavy lifting. How in the world did we ever end up with so much stuff!?!?! The sale lasted 3 days – 3 long days! In the end, we did pretty well and a lot of “stuff” was gone. But what to do with the rest of our possessions? As I looked around at the leftovers, I made mental lists of what could be donated (and to whom), what should be thrown in the dumpster and what should be brought to Our Town Co Op, my favorite consignment store. It took several weeks to go from…

img_1242

To…

img_3890

In the midst of all of this, there was a family get together. For the first time ever, we had all three of our kids and all three of our grandchildren together.

the family

Plus there were lots of friends to say goodbye to. Breakfast with Bill and Sue, dinner with Jeff, lunch with Keith, dinner with Lindsay and Leo, beverages on the patio with Rick and Carol, lunch with Martha. It seemed every day we squeezed in one more goodbye. Unfortunately, it was taking away time I needed for wrapping everything up. Don’t get me wrong, I love our friends dearly, but I was feeling the stress of finishing my to-do list. Last week, I checked one of those things off my list – mowing the lawn for the last time…

the lawn

Finally it came down to packing Waldo. Our first destination is my dad’s house in Florida. There are just some things we don’t want to part with, but do not need on the road. Leaving them in Florida just makes the most sense, plus we need to have a new roof put on Waldo before we hit the road for good and staying at my dad’s sure beats nights in a motel! Finally, Waldo was loaded to the brim, every available inch of space was stuffed with something. It’s time!!!

 

We did stop at the end of our driveway to say one last goodbye…

goodbye

Happiness in the rear view mirror….

img_3357

Florida – Here we come!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Joke’s On Me

With hopes of making progress, on March 26th, we moved Waldo from its concrete pad near the garage to our driveway. There are still several Waldo projects we need to complete (replacing the microwave/convection oven for one). With Waldo in the driveway, we can plug into shore power (aka the house). Now, I can use power tools without needing a 100′ extension cord. Great! Let the projects begin…

Not so fast!!!! On the 28th, some snowbird friends called and asked if they could park their rig in our driveway for a few days. They are returning from work camping at Ocala National Forest for the winter and the campground they are heading to won’t be ready for them until April 1st. “No problem!” I said, thinking we could just put Waldo back on the concrete until they leave. Ut oh, dead batteries. Waldo isn’t going anywhere! Our friends arrived and were able to back down our long driveway and park next to Waldo. This wasn’t ideal, but we could work with it…

IMG_3166

We spent the evening catching up on their adventures and sharing our own work camping plans. Then Mother Nature decided Old Man Winter had not wreaked enough havoc on us this year! The forecast was calling for a FOOT of snow! Are you kidding me?!?!?!? This has to be an April Fool’s joke right?!?!?!? Nope – no joke…

IMG_3169

By the time it stopped snowing, we had close to a foot of wet, heavy snow! And, for the icing on the cake – our snowblower crapped out and our plow driver broke down before he could plow our driveway! I promise, I am not making this up!

Sunday dawned with bright blue skies and promises of temperatures reaching into the 50’s. Armed with shovels, snow brooms and the neighbor’s snowblower we began to dig out…

IMG_3171

We finally got the driveway cleared enough for them to get on their way and I’d be willing to bet, they won’t ever come back to New England quite so early.

Instead of getting to work on Waldo, I decided to take in some sun…

IMG_3187
Yes, that is a weight bench and Yes I know I’m laying on it wrong!

Maybe my next post can be full of the progress we are making!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can’t do that to me! I’m a SHOWER CURTAIN!!!

Well – Yes I can! You see, you USED to be a shower curtain. Now your just a curtain!

I should probably back up a little here. Last week, I wrote about how I made personalized curtains for the bedroom, using a collection of family pictures. This week, I took making Waldo our own a step further. About 8 years ago, I helped my mom sew together the curtains they used as the privacy curtain (for those of you not familiar with being in an RV, that is the curtain you can draw which blocks the windshield). It has several functions. It serves to keep nosy neighbors from seeing you before you’ve had your coffee and it helps insulate from either the scorching sun or the cold wind. The curtains I helped my mom with were a lovely shade of 1970’s gold. And later, after a trip to Mexico, my mom made curtains for the rest of the windows from very colorful Mexican blankets she picked up at a bazaar. I wanted a new privacy curtain and window curtains, something more in line with our taste.

About the time I came up with the idea for the bedroom curtains, I also had an idea for the rest of the windows/windshield. Now don’t laugh! Fabric shower curtains!I have to admit, it isn’t the first time I’ve used shower curtains for window curtains.

After scouring too many websites to count, I picked several shower curtains and waited anxiously for them to arrive.

The first step, was to determine which part of the curtain I was going to use. Most shower curtains are way to long for window curtains…

SC1
To be completely honest, the curtains in my dining room are shower curtains

Once I decided what part of the scene I wanted, I cut them to size and lined them with room darkening fabric (just like the bedroom).

SC4

SC3

SC2

It took a total of 3 to make the privacy curtain. The 2 sewn together will be drawn to the driver’s side and the 3rd one will be drawn to the passenger side when we are moving….

privacy curtain pano

Now, no matter where we are, the scenery will be beautiful!

If I had made curtains like this for my office, this wouldn’t be what I am seeing right now…

snow

Hitting the road can’t come soon enough!

Taking it all with us – Or Not!

Despite the fact I have never been over attached to crap we’ve collected over the years possessions, downsizing can be an emotional roller coaster! Lucky for us, we began the process several years ago (something else we learned from my parents – start early). We’ve had numerous yard sales over the years and more Craig’s List posting than I care to count but what about the truly personal items: the scrapbooks, historical photographs, hand written notes from loved ones? What do you do with those items?

Several weeks ago, an idea began to take shape. While it is not practical, weight wise, to take all those photo albums with us (and seriously who ever opens their photo albums and looks through them?), there isn’t any reason we can’t take the pictures. We do have one of those electronic picture frames where the images scroll by, but I wanted something more personal and functional. We have done very little in the way of making Waldo our own. It still has the curtains my mom bought and while they do the job, they aren’t exactly my style. What did I having lying around I could repurpose? I’ve always made my own curtains, I just can’t justify the expense of fancy store-bought ones. The only exception to that was the blackout curtains Steve bought several years ago (To be honest, Laura was visiting her parents when the curtains magically appeared – Steve) Well, I could cut them down to size and that would be functional and while the soft blue color does match our bedroom, it won’t make them personal. My plan was to use the blackout curtains as a liner. I wanted to do this as inexpensively as possible, so I used an old microfiber bed sheet I had lying around for the “front” of the curtain. I ordered dark fabric iron-on transfers and turned our favorite pictures into transfers. I took some time to size them, print them, cut them out and iron them on, but the result was exactly what I had hoped for…

Curtain B

Curtain A

I included pictures of our parents, our children through the years, our grandchildren and us. The blackout liner will be perfect when we finally get to “The Land of the Midnight Sun” aka Alaska. I hadn’t told Steve about my idea and had them folded up on the dining room table when he got home from the shop one night last week. I think I might have seen a tear in his eye when he looked at them. Now our favorite pictures will always be right where we can see them!

On another front, we are one step closer to being ready to put the house on the market. The new carpet was installed this week. Now all the flooring upstairs is new. Of course it wasn’t as easy as just getting new flooring, I had to finish all the painting before the installers arrived – no small task! But – IT’S DONE!! woohoo!

Out with the old…

 

And in with the new…

 

The final thing I accomplished last week was to design and order new business cards. Here are the results…

new business cards

What do you think?

My goal this week is to finish the painting downstairs and to start getting ready for our final sale, our moving sale!

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” – Anonymous

 

 

 

 

 

Planning To Wander

We’ve had a 5 year plan for about 14 years now. When we first got married, we talked about homesteading; living off the land, finding our own way. Life has a funny way of changing your plans for you. It doesn’t ask – it just does it and leaves you with the mess. After you dust yourself off, you start making a new 5 year plan. Sometimes, if you’ve screwed off for 5 years you’re not careful, 5 years comes and goes without any furtherance of your plan. Perhaps it wasn’t the right plan. My mom had a long list of serious medical issues, things that would ensure she didn’t live to be a centurion. So, my dad retired early, put their home on the market, bought a truck and a camper. Medical issues be damned – they were going to travel. And the things/places they saw!!! Steve and I began to formulate a NEW new plan. We wanted to travel too! Anyone who knows me, even just a little, knows I hate winter and I hate the cold. I’ve been talking about leaving New Hampshire since, well, let’s just say for a very long time.

Over the years, my parents went through several upgrades and downgrades. Everything from a 26′ tag trailer called The Dog, towed by an F250 named Beast to a 38′ Class A motor home named Waldo who towed a nameless Jeep Wrangler. I’m the one who named the motor home. I never knew exactly where my parents might be. Just because they were in Arizona yesterday, didn’t mean they were still there today. Hence – Where’s Waldo. Every summer, my parents would make the trek to New Hampshire, park their rig in our driveway and spend a few weeks with us. During their visit, Steve and I would listen to stories of the places they had visited and “oops” moments along the way. We learned a lot from my parents. Things like: when you buy your rig, make sure there are enough outlets, don’t buy things you don’t have room for, be willing to unplug from the world, it’s never too soon to start downsizing but maybe the biggest thing we learned is LIFE IS SHORT. Due to deteriorating health, in 2011 my parents bought a house in Florida. Travel time was over.

road-2169

Before my mom passed away in 2012, my parents gifted Waldo to us. Our travel plan got a little nearer – we had wheels!

outside-3

The next 16 months were a disaster for us. In Oct 2012 , my mom passed away at just 64 years old. In Sept. 2013, Steve’s dad passed away. And in Feb 2014, Steve’s 32 year old son lost his battle with cancer. We were learning first hand how short life is. And just to show that life doesn’t care what your plans are, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder to go along with the heart problems I have. Luckily, the heart problem was mostly solved with a cardiac ablation, but the autoimmune disorder isn’t going away (as with most autoimmunes there is no cure). Steve and I have learned to “live with it”. Good days – bad days. S0, before it becomes Bad days – good days we have decided to throw caution to the wind and implement our plan!

The first part of this blog will be about our journey from

img_2861

To

img_0813

We have a different Jeep now but you get the idea…

As we wander, I will post about where we are and the adventures we are having. I’d love for you to wander with us!

You can see where I’ve visited in New Hampshire by checking out www.TouringNH.com