Now that I have stopped traveling (at least for the near future) I will be devoting more time to the pursuits of a more stationary life. Trying new recipes, sipping wine, advocating for those things that I feel strongly about, and trying to absorb as much knowledge as this brain of mine can hold.
To that end I will not be posting here at this BLOG but will leave it available so in case someone may stumble across it they can see what a beautiful country we live in and what wonderful people we can meet if we just ope ourselves to the world around us.
As soon as I have a new BLOG to compliment my new interests I will do one last post to let you all know where to find me.
Now that I live the “stationary life” I am trying to get back into the tech mode. I have now started using a program called Windows Live Writer which supposedly lets me type and prepare my posts to the BLOG off line and then publish them when I do go on line.
This is my first attempt at doing that and hopefully, if it works, will save my web data time and allow me to do this when and wherever I am.
This is a new photo I call shadows on the wall and it was taken in my apartment one morning during my morning coffee time. I may try to do a charcoal sketch from it.
It was, again, my first winter on the road in January 2009 and I was hanging out as far south in the Everglades as I could get, Flamingo Campground. If you remember the winter of 2009 – 2010 you know that a lot of us were questioning global warming since it was a deep freeze and snow across most of the country. In fact one January day, there was snow on the ground in every state except Hawaii. Well, while biking and hiking around Flamingo I met a couple from North Carolina, Mike and Sherri. Having lived in Carolina for a while myself I, of course, struck up a conversation. Mike is a kind of laid back dry humor sort of person and Sherri is the artistic one in the family. They both are retired engineers and were just a whole lot of fun to be around. I spent time with them at Flamingo and then ran into them again later on at Long Pine Key Campground.
It was about 6 months later while I was camping at Badin Lake in the Uwharrie National Forest that the “serendipity” part of the story happens. While sitting outside my tent the first day there what do I hear but someone call my name. Yep, it was Mike and Sherri. They had been following my travels on the BLOG and knew where I was. So they just stopped by to visit. It seems that they lived just a few miles from where I was camping. Since they were home for a few days (they spend a lot of time on the road in their RV) I had a chance to visit them at home and see some of Sheri’s great art work and listen to some of Mike’s great stories.
Just another reason why I loved travelling!
While there are many stories to share from the last two and a half years of camping around the country I realized, as I was going through my pictures, that what impressed me the most in my travels was not the beauty of the places I visited but the people I met along the way. It is hard to believe, unless you are someone who has been on the road for extended periods, just how open, honest and caring the people you meet in campgrounds really are. And so, for the next few posts I am going back and giving you an idea of just how diverse and interesting people can be.
Chuck and Joan
This is Chuck and Joan who I first met in January of 2009 at Midway Campground in the Big Cypress area of the Everglades. Chuck is a retired firefighter from Chicago and since that is where I grew up we had something in common right away. Chuck and Joan have been on the road, just about full-time for about 14 years. They are in a small RV similar to a conversion van, You know it is love when you can spend that much time that close together. Since that first meeting I have run into them at various campgrounds each January down in south Florida but that first year is what I really remember and here is why:
During a conversation with Chuck I had mentioned that a friend of mine insisted I get a Catholic “Saint Christopher” medal for this new adventure I was embarking upon. I also mentioned that I hadn’t been able to find one.
I, of course, didn’t think anything of the comment and forgot I had even made it until… About 3 weeks later I ran into Chuck and Joan at another campground in the Everglades (Flamingo) and the first thing they did was hand me a Saint Christopher medal. It seems that they go, without fail, to mass each week and picked one up at the church they visited in Homestead, Florida.
I still have that medal clipped to my visor and every time I look at it I remember my first friends, Chuck and Joan.
I have decided to settle down and get of the road for a bit. The slowness of the retina surgeries healing and the looming cataract surgery in August caused me to re-think my plans for the next several months.
I found a small place near my family in Northeastern Texas and will be working on catching up on my writing and my painting and possibly even taking a few courses at the local college. They now offer an Anthropology degree as well as one in Creative writing.
I have planned on about a year off but will still be updating the BLOG with stories from the last two and a half years of travelling. I may even be able to do that more often since I will have continuous power and a good internet connection.
I am at Chickasaw Rcreation Area in Southern Oklahoma. I have camped here several times before and it is a nice place with good facilities and close to town. No showers but the creek is great for swimming, if a little bit cold. I decided to stay here for a week or so while I wait to see if my vision clears up any. The doctor said it wouldn’t get any better until I have cataract surgery but it wasn’t this blurry before the retina was repaired and I am hoping it clears up a little bit more.
The ctaract surgery will have to wait till August in order to give the eye time to heal a bit.
Right now I am just a bit frustrated with the whole process and wondering if this isn’t something nudging me to end the trip and settle down for a bit.
Time will tell.
I will be heading back on the road tomorrow morning, probably back up to Oklahoma for a week and then moving further north.
A lot has happened this week:
On Tuesday the brakes on the van went out. I was backing up when all of a sudden the pedal went completely down and stopping was slow. As it turned out (many dollars later) the rear cylinder was “seeping” and something called the cruise control switch was leaking and I lost almost all the fluid. Well, now that is fixed and the eye doctor says it is ok for me to travel so back on the road I go. The one problem is hat my cataracts have gotten worse and I have to be back in August for surgery. So, I will just have to see how far I can get in 3 months.