Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

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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. 

Just Doin’ a Job

Dolphins. Playful, frolicking puppy-dogs of the sea? Flipper? Yes or no?  Whichever your answer most of us would agree that human beings are attracted to these graceful, mysterious creatures.

Me personally- I think that the ocean, boats, and dolphins go hand in hand. I love the feel of the open water with the wind blowing in my hair and sunshine on my face while dreaming having a new BFF (a.k.a. Flipper). That’s why I chose to go on a Dolphin Tour.

I love the open water and wind in my hair.

The tour we chose boasted about providing a lot of education about dolphins, and they did provide a little bit of education. I liked the tour guide, and the trip itself was very pleasant. However, what most intrigued me was the captain of the boat.  He was all business (from his curt welcome to the boat, to his curt exit instructions).

We had the pleasure of sitting directly in front of the captain as we ventured in search of Dolphins. We could hear him occasionally talking to other captains and inquiring if any of them had spotted any dolphins. Finally, after gingerly scouting around the sound, word came over the radio that another boat had spotted dolphin. At which time our captain put his boat in full throttle and boogied to the mentioned location. After perhaps ten minutes of watching six or eight dolphin fins in the distance playing around the neighboring boat, our captain announces, “Well folks it looks like its time to head on back.” After which he put the boat in full throttle and made haste to the dock.

After successfully, docking the boat with a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree spin, my twelve-year-old grandson excitedly complements the captain on his excellent parking skills. To which the captain replies- nothing, nodda! Perhaps, he didn’t hear the child. Or perhaps…. 

I shouldn’t judge the captain. Maybe he was just having a bad day or maybe he just couldn’t hear my grandson.  But the encounter made me stop and wonder about my own toils in life and my relationship with others. How, do I embrace the tasks set before me? Am I joyful? Or, do I mutter through the job with a sour attitude? Am I happy to do for others? Or, am I like my perception of the Captain?  Just going through the motions because I must.

Third Times a Charm (I Hope)

While Climbing the rickety stairs of Bodie Island Lighthouse, I prayed, “Dear Lord, please….” I wondered if this lighthouse was more structurally sound than its previous two predecessors. The first Bodie Lighthouse was built in 1837; However, because of poor construction, the fifty-four-foot tower began to lean a mere two years after its completion. So, in 1859, the U.S. Government commissioned and completed another tower, only to have it blown to smithereens, by the Confederate Army in 1861.  After the war, it was necessary to build yet another lighthouse in order to protect ships from the treacherous banks of Bodie Island. So, in 1872, work was completed on the current lighthouse.

We were told, when purchasing tickets to climb the lighthouse, that only one person was allowed on a flight of stairs at a time. I thought, “Really?  That seems strange.” That was until I saw the stairs that I would be climbing. They were one hundred and forty-seven-year-old iron steps anchored into one hundred and forty-seven-year-old bricks. Oh, my!  My next thought was, “I probably should have taken dieting a little more serious, before buying a ticket!” While pondering whether the structure could bear my weight, and if I could make it to the top without collapsing, I watched my small grandson ascend the first flight of stairs. “What if he slips?” I thought. I then heard the Ranger say, “Your turn.”

Halfway up the winding staircase, I begin to count the steps. I was too scared to look down, and I was too frightened to watch my young grandson make the treacherous climb. So, to assuage my mounting panic, I looked at my own two feet and I began this little chant, “One hundred and two, one hundred and three, one hundred and four…keep on counting, keep on counting!” 

Finally, we reached the top and the view was beautiful. However, (honestly) I was too frightened to enjoy it! The only thing separating me from a one-hundred-fifty-six-foot freefall was a thin iron rail. After taking in the view for about two point one seconds and snapping a billion quick pictures, I was ready to make my climb back down from towering heights and so was my grandson. The child, whose eyes were saucer-sized while we were at  the top of the lighthouse, bolted down the stairs at a full-fledged run. I think he had seen enough, or too much! I was never happier than when I had two feet planted firmly on the ground. Climbing Bodie Lighthouse is not for the faint of heart!