RESERVATIONS REQUIRED

I am not a planner.  I have always lurched from one situation to another.  I have been exceedingly lucky.  Not planning might very well be a character flaw.   I like flying by the seat of my pants, and living in the present.   On New Year’s Eve at the KOA Campground on Pine Island, I sat watching senior citizen’s dancing, I thought, how the f*ck did I get here?  Yikes, I am now a senior citizen.  However, I do enjoy watching couples dance.  When I lived in Nevada, you could always tell who the show girls were.  They still have great legs at age 70, and the moves.

So, watching a bunch of grey hairs dancing, especially when the couples know each other’s foot work, is always nice.   Couples who have been dancing together since their high school prom, or at least that’s what it looks like – is real dancing.

I didn’t go to my 1972 high school prom, and didn’t want to.  I hated HS.  Of course, at my HS prom there was only flaying, not dancing, and no fancy footwork.  

Happy New year and welcome 2018.

Welcoming the new year is the ‘Bomb cyclone’ blasting East Coast a polar vortex uncorking tremendous cold. If it is snowing in Florida, this may be a sign that Hell is freezing over.   I of course blame Donald Trump, enough said.

When it is cold in Florida, what is a person who lives in a 20′ Airstream to do?  Yesterday, I cooked in my new huge kitchen, complete with double sink and counter space.  Today I made campground reservations through April.  Anyone considering RVing in Florida in the winter should make reservations a year in advance.

Planning, I hate planning.

Worse, you have to pay in advance, or at least put down a deposit.  It is like paying rent 6 months, in advance.  Some campgrounds only want a deposit, but the many want the full-amount.  Plays havoc with retirement budgeting.  And, when something happens (and, it always does), and you pay cancellation fees.

There are so many blogs, list serves, YouTube and DIY websites that tell you what to do before, and while you are full-time RVing.  I missed the post about reservations.

The other thing I missed was purchasing a portable air compressorChecking tire pressure is much easier in a campground, then maneuvering into a gas station air compressor.  Especially, since my first foray into a gas station was not pretty.  I bought an air compressor on Amazon.com for under $40, it is a life and time saver.  

I love a man with tools. Chuck, my sister Becky’s finance, is just that guy.  Chuck helped me install my truck bed cover, and that same morning Becky had a flat tire in the garage.  Chuck to the rescue!  Chuck of course had a portable air compressor.  Chuck also cooks and plays golf, and always wants to be helpful.  What a great guy.  Becky and Chuck are helping with mail and an address.  When you live on the road, you need to have mail forwarded.  The US Postal Service charges $20 a week, not in my budget.   Thanks, Becky and Chuck.

Today, I mapped and reserved camping for my next 5 months: Fort Myers to Port Saint Lucie, Key Largo, Everglades National Park, Suwannee State Park and music festival, Gulf Coast and on to New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival the last weekend in April, and then on to Long Island for the summer.  Friends are welcome to meet me anywhere along the way.

Happy New Year, 2018.  Thanks for sticking with me.

Christmas in the Tropics

I have always loved the 1st verse of, I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.  Legend has it that Irvin Berlin in 1940 was sitting at the pool at the La Quinta Hotel, a frequent Hollywood retreat, and wrote the song.  No one ever sings the first verse, but it explains the song so well.

The sun is shining, the grass is green,
The orange and palm trees sway.
There’s never been such a day
in Beverly Hills, L.A.
But it’s December the twenty-fourth,—
And I am longing to be up North— I am dreaming of a white Christmas…

Spending Christmas in Venice, Florida with the sun shining and wearing shorts and swim suits, makes me want to sing the first verse.  Of course, the temperatures in Bethlehem is in the 50s, and not freezing with snow.  So why do we always think of Christmas with reindeer and snowmen?  Christmas lights on palm trees just look really stupid, but festive.

I spent a lovely Christmas day on the boat in the Venice Marina, Michelle and Duane are cruising the Gulf of Mexico and I am tagging along on land.  One by land, two by sea.  What an amazing life.  I never dreamed of spending Christmas on boat in Florida, let alone living in a 20’ Airstream.  But, here I am.

I was never a planner. I always fell into things, jobs, etc.  I have been extremely lucky, and privileged.  So, entering my 3rd year of retirement, I am extremely grateful that my luck has brought me here (with my union pension).

All the days are the same, no weekends or holidays.  I sleep-in, which I have always enjoyed, and stay up late.  When I was a kid, I always stayed up to watch the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  If you wanted to watch the 6:00 p.m. nightly news, in Anchorage, Alaska in 1968 you had to stay up late.  They put to tape on the last plane leaving Seattle, WA and if weather permitted the news aired at 11:00 p.m. Anchorage time.  I have always been a news junkie, and a night owl.

Today we spent some time on the dog beach, after Maggie got shaved.  She is totally embarrassed, because she feels naked!  Tomorrow we go to Pine Island, and in January we will be on the Atlantic in Stuart, Florida.

I am enjoying a news moratorium, until 2018.  Not that it will be any better, but a holiday shut-down seems appropriate.  Of course, my Facebook friends are posting, so it is hard to avoid the stupid…

I am looking forward to 2018, because the Road2Reinvention stretches before us, and we are taking flight.

Introducing Scout II

I bought a 19′ International Airstream in Katy, TX in August 2016.  I really wanted a 20′ Flying Cloud, but used Airstreams are hard to find.  A year later I found a classified ad for a 2014 Flying Cloud for sale in New Hampshire.  I was on Long Island for the summer and Alaska pals Diane and John were driving Scout cross-country from Sacramento, CA.  I put a classified ad up and 3 interested parties contacted me.  Ironically, all 3 were on the route Diane and John were traveling, Memphis, Nashville TN and finally Asheville, NC.  The buyers in Asheville made the deal and came to pick-up Scout a week later at Jordon Lake Campground, NC.   The Airstream goddesses were obviously working with me.

I closed the deal on Scout II, and picked her up on 10/13.  Yes, it was Friday the 13th, so a few issues arose.  The Jeep quit, and I hit a gas station post on our first trip.  The damage is now repaired and Scout II is a real gem!  She looks brand spanking new!

Some of you may remember I spent the summer make new curtains and cushions for Scout.  With some minor alterations, they fit!

Notice a single sink and stove top right next to the sink. 

Counter space!

Most amazing is what one foot, 10 inches will give you in an Airstream.  I feel as if I am living in a mansion, with a real kitchen – counter space and storage!

While I am still organizing, I wanted to give you a preview of the Flying Cloud – Scout II.

We are enjoying the Gulf of Mexico and plan to spend most of the winter in Florida.  Maggie has now put her paws in the Atlantic, Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico.  What a lucky dog.

FINALLY in Warm Weather

I have arrived in warm weather!  Enjoyed an authentic Mexican dinner with pals Michelle and Duane who arrived in from Stuart last night.   Clewiston, FL is on the south-east shore of Lake Okeechobee and the home of the US Sugar Corporation, according to Wikipedia.  Now the purveyor of pollution into the lake and when the Corps of Engineers releases water from the lake, the beaches of east FL are closed due to toxic algae

Florida politicians have been bought and paid for, and seem unwilling to stop sugar subsidies and the pollution caused by sugar agribusiness.  When I was in Stuart the summer of 2016, Stuart was voted the best coastal community in FL, and they closed the beaches that same week because of algae.  Sugar apparently trumps tourism.

In Clewiston, there are no chain grocery stores, other than Wal-Mart. (No matter how desperate – I won’t shop Wal-Mart.) The closest movie theater is 30 miles away. Clewiston, is a very sad wide spot in the road.  Once sugar cane was harvested here by slaves, later Haitians, and now Latinos.  The Roland Martin Marina is a stopping place for Bass fisherman, duck hunters and boaters taking the inter-land waterway from the east coast of FL to the Gulf of Mexico, avoiding miles of travel around the tip of Florida.  AKA, my pals Duane and Michelle.

My delayed travel caused me to stay in campsites for one night, and drive more miles each day than I prefer.  But I made my rendezvous with Michelle and Duane, and we will travel for the holidays.  They are on their 50′ boat and I am in my 20′ Airstream.  In FL, campgrounds and marinas are often joined.   

I spent one night at Wekiwa Springs Campground as an over-night stop in North Orlando.  Surrounded by multi-million dollar homes, Wekiwa Springs is a wilderness area, beautiful and well maintained campground.  I was told to be careful of FL Brown Bears.

Now that I am here in Florida, and looking forward to a slower pace, I hope to stay at least 5 days in any one spot and explore local beaches, golf courses, etc.

I spent my first day in Clewiston, changing out my winter to summer clothes.  No more blankets on the bed, no need for the heater at  night – it’s shorts and flip-flops from now on.  I Love WARM weather, especially in December and January!  28 years of Alaskan winters cured me of cold weather and lily-white skin.  In the morning I enjoy listening to WAMU my Washington, DC public radio station, to hear the weather forecast each morning, before I put on my shorts to go for a walk with Maggie.

The one cute street and Common Grounds coffee shop.

Some minor issues with Scout II.  The bottom of a kitchen cabinet fell out, giving me an opportunity to visit Clewiston’s local hardware stores. And, you know how I love hardware stores!  Thankfully, there are both an ACE and True Value, strangely next door to each other on main street.    The CVS and Walgreen are a block away.

Tomorrow, I will drive an hour east to Ft Myers, again meeting Michelle and Duane for holidays on the Gulf of Mexico.  

Thanks for staying with me, and more to come.

On the Road Again

Scout II has finally been repaired from my very stupid mishap with a yellow cement post, and we spent 2 rainy cold days in a campground along I-95 (the worst highway in America).  RV Vacation is a nice campground with the sound of trucks, as Emmy Lou sings in Boulder to Birmingham “I came to listen for the sound of the trucks as they roll down out on 95″.  I admit to singing this song while walking Maggie in the rain.

I was so glad to wake to sunshine this morning, if but for temperatures in the 30s.  

Now in Santee, South Carolina and camped on the shores of Lake Marion, at a beautiful state campground.  I am looking forward to a campfire tomorrow night.  According to Wikipedia, the Santee River was dammed in the 1940s to supply hydroelectric power, as part of the rural electrification efforts initiated under President Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s New Deal during the Great Depression. It is one of the fifty largest lakes in the United States.  There is also a beautiful golf course less than a mile away.  But tomorrow I finish will organizing and storage, which I wasn’t able to do in the rain.  Golf will have to wait for another visit, and a bit warmer temperatures – above 55 degrees.

Pictures to follow! Stay tuned.