Bring Fido

If you travel like us, Fido never stays home! So, it is always awesome to find dog-friendly places to stay. Our dog Lucy travels with us wherever we go.

This weekend, we attended a wedding for a family member in Hattiesburg, MS, which is about a seven-hour drive from our home. Hattiesburg is also only two hours from the beach. So, we attended the wedding on Friday, and on Saturday we packed up and headed for the beach!
It is hard being only two hours away from the salt and sand and not go there! (Especially for us in-landers) The closest beach to Hattiesburg is south of Mobile, Al, so that’s where I started calling around for reservations. We found a spot-on Dauphin Island with hookups for $44 a night, and the only drawback was that the site only had thirty-amp service. But, hey, I figured we could suffer (using one AC unit) for a couple of days, in exchange for a chance of playing on the beach.

My beach-joy trip was purely selfish; In that, I did not care whether our pup could play in the waves. Making sure Lucy had beach exercise was never a consideration at all! My only consideration was the nearest barrier Island to Mobile, Al.
After arriving at the campground, setting up, kissing my furry friend on the head, and saying, “Sorry girl, enjoy a good nap! You can’t come this time,” (without remorse) I gathered my thing and headed for the beach.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Dauphin Island is pet-friendly! So, the following morning Lucy got her day at the beach too!
The only place, I saw no dogs allowed was at the public beach at the end of the Island. But Lucy was too tired to swim there anyway. She was plum tuckered out from playing on the campground beach!!



Have you ever noticed that wet things are more colorful and vibrant?

Today, I am reflecting on rain. Why?? Well, mostly because it’s raining. The day started with a quiet, humid, peaceful hush. Occasionally, as we sat outside on the picnic table of our campsite, we heard the low rumblings of thunder in the distance as we enjoyed of morning cup of Joe.

We sat for a long time before we began to feel the big, fat, heavy plops of rain which sent us scurrying under the awning. Because it was a lazy sort of camping morning, I was able to observe, that with every drop of rain, the world around me was being transformed. Colors became brighter, as warm hues of orange and coal black radiated from the tree trunks surrounding me.  The canopy of green became richer, as the olive tones of treetops darkened in response to the soaking rain.

I began noticing raindrops forming on the edge of the awning. Occasionally, they joined forces to create a trinkle of water dripping from the edge of the awning, and I thought, “What would the world be like without rain?” And I answered myself, “Dry, hot, parched, scorched and lifeless.” And, I wondered, “Why do I fail to see rain for the blessing it really is?” Or a more direct question, “Why do I begrudge rain in my life?” if I were to give an honest answer, I guess I would have to say, I begrudge rain because it inconveniences me. I get wet. It ruins my hair. I must drive in it. It makes me cold. And my list of complaints goes on and on.

I fail to notice the multitude of blessings that surround my life because I focus on all the wrong things. So, for today, I say, “Bring on the rain!”

Gardening in the Rain

This morning I am in my pajama’s working in my garden in the rain. TMI, right? And, this is supposed to be a travel blog, right? Bear with me, please. Because, I do have a point to all of this. I promise.

I don’t travel the open road 24/7. But I do travel 24/7!! I travel this wonderful adventure called life. So, perhaps in a way, this is a travel post.

Muddy and Wet
Trust me, this morning I look like a hot mess. A happy hot mess!

Muddy, as the sweet soft raindrops soak my face and hair, I reflect on my current station in life. Retired. Newly retired. Three weeks, newly retired.

Loosing a job is difficult, even if, losing that job is voluntary. Especially, if it is something that you love doing. For me, I was a teacher. Not just an ordinary teacher, I was an art teacher.  On any given day, I would see approximately one hundred and twenty students. In one week, my students would work on seven different art projects, which I planned and implemented. I loved my job, but it was very stressful! Teaching is not easy. This year, I will miss my students and I will miss teaching. I will miss the paycheck that I received as a result of my labor. I will not miss lesson plans and the fast pace of my artistic days.

Next week, my associates will return to school (it’s just the second week in July). Honestly, I am a little sad that I won’t be joining them. But, then again, instead, I can weed my garden, in my Pj’s, standing in the rain, just because I want to!

They are a little faded, yet still beautiful.

RV Hacks

We often travel as a family of eight (including the dog) in our thirty-four-foot Class A Motorhome. Traveling with so many people, in a small space, poses many logistic problems. Luckily, there are hacks.

The Safety Pin Towel Hack- Because we are a family of eight, we use many towels. It is hard to decide which one is which after seven people have showered. I created a hack for this problem. We use safety pins, a piece of two-inch light-colored ribbon, and a sharpie.  Cut ribbon from a spool in your desired length (we use about two inches), write a name on the ribbon with a sharpie marker and attach ribbon to the towel with safety pins. Each person can identify their towel to use again for a second day.

Over the Shower Door Towel Holder Hack- On a long trip, we like to pack two towels per person. Towel storage is a real issue when you are talking about fourteen plus towels. I bought a towel organizer from Amazon and two over the door hooks. Then, I simply hooked the rack onto the shower stall. It holds seven towels.

Shoe storage Hack- (For my husband and I) We decided instead of wasting valuable drawer/closet space for shoes,  we purchased a Whitmore Bed skirt Storage Organizer Clear  from Amazon. I had to change it up a little to use under my RV mattress. It was too big and every time I lifted my mattress in order to access the under the bed storage, I would lift a thousand pairs of shoes as well. So, I solved this problem by cutting my pockets from the attached sheet. I left a two-inch boarder and then I velcroed the pockets directly to the bed frame.  

(Shoe storage for a lot of people) Not really a hack. The bed pockets work well for just a few people. But, when we vacation with eight family members, we have way more shoes than pockets! Storing shoes in one location is a real bonus, because tripping over shoes in an already crowded RV is definitely no fun! We used one of the pull-out drawers from the dining booth to store our shoes.

Plastic Basket Hack- We use plastic baskets in the overhead compartments. Baskets keep things from rolling around, and they make getting items from high, deep storage compartments easy.

Milk Crate Hack- We use milk crates in our under-belly storage, to keep items secure and organized.

Cook Outdoors Hack- Using the propane indoor stovetop can warm up an RV super quick. This year we used two valuable tools to take our cooking outdoors: the Blackstone grill and Faberware Electric Skillet. The Blackstone did an awesome job cooking up a mess of Bacon, and The Faberware was able too scramble a whopping twenty eggs at once (with room to spare). We also used the Blackstone to grill meats and the Faberware to create casserole type dishes. Yum!

Bed-roll Hack- We wanted to be able to convert our couch and dinette into beds quickly and efficiently. When we were newbies to the RV world, we discovered that unfolding sheets and blankets every night, was time consuming. So, I created RV bedrolls. Using an RV bedroll for our dinette and couch beds saves us a lot of time preparing for sleep and cleaning up in the morning. We simply roll all the bedding into the bed roll. I will post detailed instructions on how I created the bed roll in my next post.

Have Fun Hack- This hack is the best way to enjoy your RV vacation. Just sit back and enjoy the sun, nature, seeing the sights and just plain relaxing! f

Riding on the Wild Side

Traveling west on I20, in an RV, through Atlanta and Birmingham is either a nightmare or comedy movie. Maybe a little of both. Faced with a 400-mile day, driving from Lexington SC to Jasper, AL (north of Birmingham) was a 13-hour day.  First off, there is no easy way through Atlanta. It is just so huge, and it is always a traffic nightmare. Our Garmin RV told us to take the northern route around Atlanta, but the flashing highway signs said that traffic was moving faster on the southern route. So, we ignored the Garmin and traveled the southern route. We were happy campers until…. just before rejoining our highway west, everything and everyone on the highway came to a standstill. We crawled bumper to bumper with max speeds of 20 mph for about an hour. Our son-in-law, who was pulling a TT whizzed straight though the middle of Atlanta in about half the time it took us to crawl around the outskirts. Go figure.  

Once we were back on the open highway, we zoomed along until we hit the outskirts of Birmingham. Birmingham is Atlanta’s baby sister, because Birmingham works very hard at being a traffic nightmare! (Especially in an RV) Interstate 20 is a torn-up mess! The detour route was taking forever. So, when a short cut popped up on my Garmin 780RV, promising to trim 10 minutes off our journey, I said, “Sure, why not!” It took us straight through downtown Birmingham at rush hour! Narrow one-way streets, tons of traffic and tight turns made me grab the the sides of my passenger seat with one hand and clutch both my cell phone (with my google navigator app) and our Garmin in my other hand, while trying to calmly give navigational instructions to my poor husband. At one point, both Google and Garmin were fighting about which way to send us. Google would say one thing and the Garmin would say another. My husband would hear a voice command from the cell phone or Garmin directing us, and he would say “Ok, turn left?!?” To which I would shout back, “No! Ignore that!” I was trying to select the best route offered through the narrow streets. Meanwhile, adding to the chaos, the dog was barking at anything that moved. It was interesting to see the reactions of pedestrians to our 34 ft RV, and six-foot tow vehicle. People sort of stared at us as if to say, “What are you doing here? We don’t see many RVs in downtown Birmingham!” All I could do was wave!

Finally, we navigated around Birmingham, and we were ready to make our way to Clear Creek Campgrounds in Jasper. After navigating Birmingham and Atlanta, we were courting our twelfth hour of travel. Our daughter, who was following us in her SUV, asked across the walkie talkie, “Hey how much further?” “Fifty miles,” I answered. She says, “Sixty?!?” “No, just fifty,” I responded. Silence…. But I can hear her thoughts as they paralleled my own, “Fifty more miles! Wow…. Oh, no!”

The Suicide

For the first time ever, my family had a campfire on the beach. The sun was setting, and the grandchildren were chasing ghost crabs with nets and flashlights. My hubby, papaw, was playing old favorites on his guitar. The other adults were quietly singing along or peacefully listening to the waves and music, while staring contently at the fire.  It was perfect and awesome, until…….

My thirteen-year-old grandson, proudly approaches his aunt and exclaims, “Look what I caught!”  While boasting of his catch, he tries to give it (a crab) to his aunt in her lap. She screams and jumps up, causing the crab to tumble. Grandson catches the crab mid fall and proceeds toward his mom, who was observing the scene at a safe distance. So, as he approaches his mom with his little gift, she screams and jumps up too. All this commotion has scared the stew out of this poor little crab who sees the open fire as a welcome respite from all of this human craziness. So, without further ado, into the fire poor little crabbie went.  

Meanwhile, pawpaw continued to quietly strum his guitar.