A Walk in the Woods

One of the downsides of going solo can be taking a hike.  The other day at Suwannee River campground there were several well-marked trails.  Maggie in the lead, we walked above the river and enjoyed beautiful views and a few bugs.  The trail turned away from the river to make a loop back to the campground.  However, we ended up on a road that took us to a paved road, no campground insight.  How could I have missed the post with arrows pointing the way?  7,318 steps later, finding a powerline road that looked vaguely familiar we were back at the campground.  I did have my cell phone (don’t leave home without it), so I could see we were on the state park parameter.   If I had to call 911 to say I was lost, that would have been embarrassing.

Next time I will bring water along for the both of us.  It wasn’t supposed to be that long a walk in the woods.  Poor Maggie plopped herself down at one point, giving me a look of “where’s my water?”

I thought about my pals Madeleine and Norman and wished they were traveling with us.  They love to hike.  Me not so much.  My favorite hike is on a golf course, on a beach or in an urban jungle.

Way Down Along the Suwannee River

Way down along the Suwannee River, that is where we have been, attending the Suwannee Spring Reunion.  A cross between Burning Man and Woodstock, there was an abundance of tie-dye T-shirts and Birkenstocks.   I now understand why camping on the property might have been the right decision, because the music went far into the night.  I didn’t stay for the late-nighters, rather enjoyed the folk music during day light hours.  Suwannee Music camp is a huge campground, with acres of tents and art.  The Music venue and offers 4 stages: the inside Music Hall with food and a full bar, and outside the amphitheater, the Porch, and Music Farmers stage.

I wasn’t sure I was up to the campground, which I understand was full of music and whatever to all hours.  The acres of tents seemed to go on for miles, and the port-a-poties, yuk.  I am a snob when it comes to toilets.  Instead we stayed at the Suwannee River Florida State Park, another beautiful and well-maintained campground, with full hook-ups, beautiful clean facilities, and along the banks of the river.  I only wish I had a kayak.

Tomorrow we drive west to return to the Gulf Coast and will spend the next 3 weeks traveling to New Orleans to attend the Jazz and Heritage Festival.  Looking forward to meeting my Alaskan pals Hilary and Robin, Bruce and Lydia there for a weekend of great music and cajun food.  

Bill, where the hell have you been?

After a month on the east coast of Florida.  I extended my stay there, because of friends, great weather, beaches, and lots of shells.  Finally, I have returned to the road traveling west to inland Florida (why bother), Suwannee Spring ReUnion Music, and onto the Gulf of Mexico. 

The news about Facebook being used by hackers to influence the 2016 elections, reflects the lack of privacy protections when we join social media.  I hate social media, and will never tweet.  However, FB is truly helpful with keeping in touch with far-flung friends.  Jill in Thailand, Robin and Hilary travels in Africa, Susan in Indonesia, Betty and Don’s travel in Central America, Nephew David and Camilla in Italy, and so many more. 

I have to say, people who would be influenced by ads on FB, should not be allowed to vote.  Really?  FB is where you get your news from?  Nevermind, that topic is for another day.

What a very pleasant surprise to see my golf pal Bill appear on my list of “friends you might know”.  Where the hell have you been Bill?  We lost contact after Bill’s marriage to Vickie 10 years ago.  A wonderful event on Hilton Head Island, a beautiful beach house and a lovely ceremony, I was so happy to have been invited.  I was sorry to hear Vickie died last year.

Bill and I met on Match.com in 2001 (I think).  Bill messaged me, “I only meet one of your three criteria”, he wrote.  He was beyond my age and distance criteria, but he played golf.  I lived in Washington, D.C. and he lived on Hilton Head Island, SC.  Well he played golf, one out of three.

Bill and I became great golf buddies, and he has helped my golf game immeasurably.  My set-up is because of Bill, and I never stand over my tee shot without thinking of Bill.

After 10 years of absence, Bill is on FB and he lives in Long Boat Key, west of Sarasota, FL.  Another change to travel plans so I could reconnect with Bill, and meet Fluffy the dog.  We enjoyed catching up, sadly no golf.  No matter, I have decided my road is about reconnecting with friends, and meeting new ones.  Onward!

 

Dentist, Doctor, Vet, etc.

As a full-time Rver, medical/dental issues come-up.  The other night while eating popcorn and drinking red wine (a favorite diner), I felt a very hard colonel of popcorn.  Opps, that isn’t popcorn, that is a dental crown!  Thankfully, I didn’t swallow it.

I have a wonderful dentist is Washington, D.C., but he just retired.  It doesn’t matter, because I am in Stuart, FL.  The next morning, logging on to my CIGNA dental plan finds a list of local providers, 3 calls later I found a dentist I could see that morning.

Of course, I did text Tim my retired dentist pal.  I asked if I could super glue my crown.  Tim said, “NO!  It will ruin the crown”.   Always helps to ask before you DIY.

Whenever I relocate, I always find the nearest Urgent Care and Emergency Animal Hospital.  I am so incredibly fortunate to have a ObamaCare health plan and the resources to take Maggie to a Vet, if needed.

My dental crown is now re-bonded, and good to go.    To all my NE friends enjoying those winter stroms.  Stay safe and warm.

A GREAT BIRTHDAY GIFT

Happy Birthday to me!  I have been staying at Port Saint Lucie RV Park, space #50, since 2/13.  It is a typical RV parking lot with campers packed in like sardines.   It isn’t the park, but the location.  Close to my Florida friends, and beaches.  I spent the summer of 2016 in Stuart, FL house sitting for my friends Michelle and Duane.  My first summer of retirement and freedom.  Stuart is only 10 miles south.

Reservations are required, if you want to winter in FL.  Snow birds come for 2 – 3 months in their mammoth RVs, and book months in advance.  Scout is the very smallest trailer in the park.  Our space lacks a picnic table and cable TV.  Picnic tables are the most frequent casualty of backing up an RV, I am told.

“Keep checking”, said Sandy in the office.  I was supposed to leave today, February 22, my 64th birthday.  I wanted to stay longer, but there was no space available.  

Sandy offered 3 additional days, but in space #55, about 100 feet away, 5 spaces down.  The move would require: packing-up, stowing stuff, hooking-up, pulling-out, backing-in, un-hooking, unpacking…100 yards down, 5 spaces away, for 3 additional days.  I was ready to make the move.

Best of all, I would give my neighbors another show of how I (a signle woman) can back-in my 20′ Airstream.  No simple task, but I am getting better each time I do it, solo.  Though there is always a guy around who wants to give me advice and assistance.  Mansplaining at it’s best, which I accept gratefully.

Happily, Sandy called me on the morning of my birthday.  Space #50 was now available until March 1.  The VERY BEST birthday gift, no move required.

Stuff happens, people who reserved months ago, possibly last winter, may not make it.  Their family tragedy, a death in the family, snow birds traveling south to escape the winter, but had to turn back.  My silver lining.

In this case, because I am staying another week, my future reservations need to pushed back.  It took me most of the morning to adjust my March and April reservations.

The rest of my birthday consisted of oysters, and a walk on the beach with my BFF Michelle.  Only  365 days until I become Medicare eligible.  Who would have thought I would be counting the days until I turn 65 years of age!  

More about Campgrounds:

All campgrounds are not created equal.   In addition to public county, state and national park campgrounds, there are private campgrounds like KOA, ENCORE, Thousand Trails, and others.  Private RV resorts are trailer parks under the guise of “RESORT”.  Many have full-time residents that use to travel in their RVs, but got too old or too tried, or both and parked the RV permanently.  Others have given up their RVs entirely, and have converted to a module home.  I have been amazed at how many handicapped or disabled people are living in RV parks.  People in wheelchairs, scooters, and some with oxygen tanks.   Sadly, I have met several couples with disabled adult children.  The economics of RVing may make sense?

County, state and national parks are truly campgrounds, but typically, stays are limited to 14 days.  In the private “resorts” discounts are offered for weekly, monthly or longer stays.  I admit to enjoying swimming pools, showers and laundry facilities.  Yes, I am living in an Airstream, but it doesn’t mean I am “roughing it”.  Let’s face it my friends, I don’t rough it.  I like hot water, electricity and even cable TV.  

I could have moved into a 55 and older community, but I wanted to travel.  RVers enjoy the community an RV Resort offers, pickle ball, shuffle board and swimming pool, etc.  

Friday night the French Canadians are making tacos!  $5 gets you 2 tacos.  Monday morning, they came around collecting the $5 and getting a head count for tacos.  I answered my door in my pajamas, but they didn’t seem to mind.  Many people walk their dogs in PJs, not me.

I have found the public campgrounds are much nicer when it comes to size of the lots, but the public amenities are hit and miss.  Florida state campgrounds I have stayed in have been wonderful.  Clean bathrooms and really nice size camping sites with picnic tables and sometimes fire pits.  A mix of private and public is my preference.  You won’t find me boondocking, camping on public lands out the the wilderness.  I have been there and done that in Alaska.    I prefer hot showers, swimming pools and laundry facilities, that is as rough as I want.

Happy Birthday to me.