Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Monday, November 30, 2009

At the Fort

I arrived yesterday and found my way into Cockspur Island and Fort Pulaski with a minimum of effort, due mainly to the excellent maps provided to me by Charles (Roz on chat). He was so kind to come and pick me up after I had settled into my temporary spot and take me into Tybee Island to get my bearings there, and to a really nice seafood restaurant and oyster bar right at the sea.

Today I was scheduled to meet with the Vol. Coordinator at 9 am, a farewell party for departing volunteers at 12 Noon, and a volunteer meeting at 2 pm. I just stayed at the Visitors Center and Fort the entire time and by now I am suffering the RVers version of jet lag!

I just came back from visiting the folks who are leaving tomorrow and whose camp site I will probably move into. I like it where I am though, and am ambivalent about moving.

My job will be primarily working at the Visitor Center gift shop as well as the Sutler's gift shop over at the Fort. I am overwhelmed by the wonderful books they carry, to say nothing of all the gifts and other items for sale. Until I officially start work on Thursday, I will probably "shadow" other volunteers and learn various duties so that I can fill in where needed.

There are deer everywhere on the island, and I heard today that there is a baby alligator in the moat. Evidently, the alligators can be found on land, near the river, and just about anywhere in the vicinity of the Fort. I walked back home in the dark after my visit this evening, and kept a sharp eye out for gators! They advise keeping at least 10 feet away from them, and I will do my best to double that distance.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ft. Pulaski N.M., Savannah GA

I finally got here, and who all said I shouldn't have much traffic on a Sunday morning? I-95 surprised me with the constant traffic in both lanes, vehicles going 70+ mph with very little space in between. It is unnerving to see nothing but cars and trucks in such numbers and they are constantly hitting their brakes. Why not just leave more space? I think this area must have a lot of Baltimore-Washington, DC area transplants, because that is a feature of driving in the Capital region.

I'm here at the Fort! First of all, there won't be a permanent space for me until sometime Tuesday, so I am set up on the "river side" which is quite attractive except away from the other volunteers. One of them told me that cargo ships & boats go up and down the river all night long, and that there is a lot of noise at the spot I'm in now. But I'm quite happy to just be here and set up on a concrete pad, open the slides, doors & windows, and hook up to electric, water and sewer. I'll move over when the space is vacated on Tuesday.

I first went to the visitor center as the woman at the gate told me Ron (vol. coordinator) was working there today. We met and he gave me some info about what I'll be doing - it looks like I'll be working at the bookstore, and other jobs as needed. My training will evidently encompass a variety of jobs.

Pardon the interruption, but what looks to be a small trawler is just going soundlessly by my site. I didn't think trawling was still done, but it is definitely a fishing boat with big nets. Shrimp maybe? Trawling wastes a lot of fish, so I hope they don't do that here.

Back to the Fort, there is a bookstore in the Visitors Center as well as one at the Fort itself, and of course you know where I want to be. This is a gorgeous place to be, and as soon as I got out of the truck to go over to the VC I sensed that it is sacred ground. I can't wait to learn all the history of it and explore the area.

As you can tell, my aircard is working although slow as molasses.

I need to get back to my set-up now, and may write more later but probably tomorrow. Thanks so much for all the comments regarding my plight yesterday. I'll get over it eventually and I just hope things go smoothly for me for a while. I dislike the 5th wheel the more I have to move it, which isn't a good attitude. I'm either going to find something else or to park the 5th someplace, stay put and just live in it. That will be my last choice though.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Blow Out!

I got to within 70 or 80 miles of my goal today and heard a loud explosion. I pulled onto the shoulder of I-95 South, and sure enough, my right rear tire on the 5th wheel had blown. I made a call to Good Sam Emergency Road Service right away and was told help would be there between 90 minutes and 2 hours. Two and a half hrs later I called again to find out the tire service was only a few miles away. By this time the sun was going down and I don't drive well in the dark, so I was relieved that it only took a few minutes.

According to Good Sam I could have had my spare put on or purchase a new tire, and the tire man would bring the proper tire with him in case I decided to go with a new one. While I was waiting for the service to arrive, two very kind gentlemen drove up and offered to change the tire for me if I had the tool to get the spare down from where it is bolted. I had no idea and just opted to wait. When the tire service arrived he said it looked like I had to release the tire from somewhere inside the rig. At that point, with heavy traffic whizzing by and after waiting all that time, I opted to take the easy way out and buy the new tire. I believe I will soon be buying three more tires to round out the set, and I will definitely figure out how to release the spare so it can be checked.

When I was first making the call to Good Sam a state patrolman stopped and talked to me for a few minutes - he said I would be safe sitting inside the truck, but to buckle my seat belt and keep the flashers on. I can't believe he came by just when I needed to see a friendly face. And the kindness of two strangers made me feel good as well, although I ended up having to wait quite a while. The tire man, when he got there, got the switch accomplished pretty quickly. He also told me that from how the tire looks, it hit something, although I certainly didn't feel or hear anything other than the loud explosion.

I had a blow out once with a small car and it took a lot of effort to keep it under control and coast to a stop. This time, other than the noise, I wasn't sure what had happened. I briefly took my hands off the steering wheel (really, really briefly) thinking that if it was a tire I would feel the pull. The rig pulled a bit to the right, but there was absolutely no problem with controlling it, or with bringing it to a stop. I am certainly grateful for that.

With all that time to wait I phoned Natasha (Mary) who is now in Kansas City. She had told me about an RV park that would be on the way to Savannah should I need to stop, but she spent quite some time looking for alternatives for me, and since I was about 2 miles from SC Exit 33, she discovered a KOA at Exit 33! I know some folks think KOA is too expensive, and it sometimes is a little pricey, but a KOA has always been there when I've been close to rock bottom and really needed one. This was yet another of those times, so I can't say enough good about KOA.

And I can't say enough good about Natasha! I was ready to bawl when I reached her, and she just took hold and kept talking to me while trying to get info on where I could find an RV park close by. Friends like that are a treasure.

Back pedaling to yesterday afternoon, I decided to go ahead and try to hitch up. I had problems with it which I won't enumerate, but I ended up jogging down to the office to catch Rex as he was out the door and leaving for the day. God bless that man, he came back, solved the problems with the hitch, and hitched it up for me.

I realize I have been the recipient of a lot of kindness in connection with this oddysey of mine, and I can't express how much I appreciate it. But there comes a time when one has to ask "Why is this happening, and what is the message for me, or what am I to learn from it?" I am bombarding myself with these questions and when I figure it out I will certainly let you readers know. I don't think I should quit just yet, and while I would love to exchange this 5th wheel for a different kind of RV that would be easier for me, the economics of it are such that I probably couldn't afford something in a late enough model to warrant trying to change. So I will continue to ponder this dilemma and go deep into my heart to try to figure out what is the right thing for me to do. At least I will have three months at Fort Pulaski where I will be able to just park it - that is to say, if I can get the damn thing backed in properly!

As I mentioned to Natasha on the phone today, it's like the old gambler says - "you've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away, know when to run..." At this point I just don't know but it seems like it's between hold 'em and walk away.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A cold wind blowing

My last day in Asheville is the most uncomfortable to me yet. At least it seems to be the coldest but that is no doubt because of the wind blowing. The heat, set at about 50, kept recycling on and off throughout the night although the outside temp this morning was a balmy 40F!

I took care of the remaining few chores before leaving tomorrow morning - both tanks of propane were empty, and one of them emptied out during the night with the furnace running so often. I fueled up and hopefully I can drive straight through without needing to get fuel - I'd rather do that after I unhitch. I understand that sunset is somewhere around 5:15 pm in Savannah, and since I have to back into the site I need to get there so as to give me plenty of daylight to get the job done. I backed the truck up to the hitch and it looks to be in a good position to hitch without difficulty. I had thought I would do that this evening but will wait until morning, unless I get a sudden urge this evening to go take care of it. I am waffling about it because I'm not sure if I should pull in the slides while doing the actual hitching up process, and then put them back out for tonight. I really doubt that it matters a whole lot.

When I came back to the park after getting fuel I noticed a rig going the wrong way into a pull through site, and thought to myself he was going to find the connections on the wrong side of his 5ver. Now I see that he is parked door to door with a brand new Jayco Eagle, and is undoubtedly transferring his possessions from the old Wildcat to the new Eagle. I wonder if I'll ever be able to do that, although it isn't really all that important to me in the grand scheme of things.

This program will be brought to you from sunny Savannah tomorrow, if I can get a connection. Until then - so long and stay well.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

If only

I got a very thought provoking blurb in my email today, that talks about the "if onlys" in our lives - if only I had *** - I would then be content. Well I think everyone thinks this way at times and I am no exception. But I am making a list of my "if onlys" and it isn't really a long list - two items to be exact - and when I am sure I'm finished with it I am going to tear it up and forget those things I "need" for true happiness and contentment.

On the day that we give thanks for what we have, I resolve to be thankful, happy, and contented with my blessings. I give up wanting those things I think I would be so happy with and which I know would end up causing me a lot of grief.

One item not on my list but I sure wish that I had, is a good, lightning-speed internet connection! I have tried to leave comments on several blogs this morning but have given up waiting for the comment screen to load. Sorry Debbie, your flamingo is gorgeous and so "Florida"!

Finally, I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gathering loose ends

I'm almost down to the wire before leaving North Carolina and I'm trying to do and cross the items off my list. I just finished laundry which didn't take all that long. Tomorrow and Friday are forecasted to be rainy, so I am thinking about emptying tanks, cleaning and putting away the hoses this afternoon rather than wait until Friday. I want to get a very early start on Saturday morning. I could probably think better if I got rid of the clutter lying around, but what fun would that be. I don't want anyone to ever be able to call me "neatnik"!

I will sure miss the Asheville area, but it's good to know I'm still going to be in the sweet sunny south where ALL words are more than one syllable, and the food is down home cooking. Actually there are more Mexican restaurants here than when I left a year ago, and I'm sure they feature good old down-home Mexican fare.

And speaking of food, I made another quick trip to buy a slice of pie - I could crumble Oreos on my ice cream, and will probably have to do that in a day or so - but for now I have very berry pie & ice cream on the dessert menu for tonight.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Good to go for another 10 years! (2nd post Nov.24)

My passport arrived today. I will have to say it is the ugliest passport I've ever seen. Whereas they used to be fairly attractive and looked official, this one is a piece of junk as far as I'm concerned. All the pages have a lot of drawings and words printed so lightly as to be mushy looking, and the official page with the picture looks so washed out as to look fake. Oh well, I probably won't have much cause to use it so I might as well not complain. This is only my opinion and your take on it might be totally different, although I don't see how anyone could say it looks great.

I went from the post office, hungry since I hadn't yet eaten lunch, over to Ingle's supermarket. You know what that means! I bought tons of delectable snacking items but forgot pie. Guess I'll have to make brownies to go with all the ice cream in the freezer.

November 24th - 31 years

This day thirty-one years ago my dad suffered a massive heart attack and died four hours later. He was 68 years old, and left a void in my life that seems to grow larger rather than to diminish as the years go by. He didn't have an easy life but he celebrated everything he had, in fact, I'd say he was the ultimate celebrator--birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, anniversaries, his vacation, my promotions at work, one of his kids coming home from school with a good report card--you name it.

As I mentioned in a previous post I have never liked to celebrate my birthday, except for when I became 16 and then again at 21. But my dad wouldn't let anyone get away without a big birthday celebration, and to this day I still get melancholy on my birthday just wishing he was here to remind me of it.

He was an eternal optimist, and I think I picked up most of those genes, except for the birthday part, and the fact that I no longer celebrate any of the holidays. When I'm around my kids at Christmas I will try to pretend just for them, but my heart is no longer in it and I haven't believed in years. Maybe my dad would be disappointed in that fact, but I think he wouldn't be as judgmental as most folks are.

So today I will fondly remember my dad while missing him like crazy, and look forward to my baby's birthday tomorrow - he will be 32 years old. It's good thing he was too young to realize that his grandpa totally messed up the celebration of his 1st!

Love ya, Arthur Charles Federle, 1910-1978

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lunch with a friend

First thing on the agenda today was meeting Ruth for lunch. When I joined the Old Buncombe County Genealogy Society a few years back I volunteered my services. I was immediately suggested for a project to visit all the local cemeteries, hundreds of them from the large commercially owned and run cemeteries to the many church and private family burying grounds. We methodically recorded each stone, row by row, section by section, with all the information contained on the stone. The person in charge of this endeavor was Ruth, and we became good friends over the course of the time I worked with her. She was elected to two terms as President of the OBCGS, and still kept up with the cemeteries in addition to all the other calls upon her time. We both agreed that there is nothing more satisfying and peaceful than to walk among the remains of the departed. The result of all our work and that of others who worked on the project, is that to date three books have been published and on sale at OBGCS, listing the burials.

We climbed over and under fences and barbed wire, worked in the hot sun as well as often in a drizzle, and Ruth was forever calmly telling me that I was standing in the middle of poison ivy. We placed Confederate flags on the graves of veterans from that war, and often felt saddened by finding several baby graves from the same family. Some of the inscriptions were serious, many religious, and sometimes we came across humorous ones. And there were those that were lovingly hand carved on a field stone, barely legible over time.

I was so happy we could get together for lunch and catch up on each other's latest news.

(Click on photo to enlarge)

I took Lady to the vet this afternoon to catch her up on three overdue shots, and to get her nails trimmed. She was not happy with the nail trim but not quite as bad as she usually is. Maybe old age is kicking in, because it normally takes at least 3, and 4 is better, people to do the job. This time it was just the vet and his assistant, and she didn't really put up much of a fuss until he got to her front paws. Of course I always have her muzzled for any veterinary treatment, because you can't tell what an 85# dog might do.

No passport today, so I'll have to go back tomorrow to see if it arrived. My days here are dwindling down to a precious few.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Last trip this year to Huddle House

It is a cold and rainy day but I needed to get off the couch after yesterday's bout of laziness. I made a list of things to do, starting with visiting my belongings in storage one last time. I rearranged a box or two so that the stacks were more stable, and picked up my Coleman 2-burner propane stove to take with me. I bought the Coleman back in 2003 when I first moved into my house here in Swannanoa, upon realizing that absolutely everything in the house ran off electricity, including the water pump. I tried to imagine how I could get along with no water, electric or generator, and quickly bought several gallons of water to store for an emergency. I also bought the Coleman stove because I wouldn't want to have to heat water on a charcoal grill first thing, as well as a tiny little jar of instant coffee. I have to have coffee in the morning, and at that time I hadn't even thought about a Melitta coffee maker which worked so well for me at Lassen. I hooked up the canister of propane and test-fired the Coleman one time, but never needed it or used it since, so it is still brand new. Being the organized person I used to be I kept a file folder in which I dropped instruction manuals, user guides and plain old starting-up diagrams for everything I bought. I don't have the file folder any more, or else it is packed away inside one of those boxes at George's Stor-Mor, so I don't have a clue how to hook up and light up this stove. I suppose I can just do it by trial and error, although I'm not enthusiastic about doing anything connected with propane by trial and error. I'm not sure under what circumstances in my RVing life I would ever use the Coleman, but I feel better just having it along with me.

Instead of wandering around looking at things I don't need at Walmart or the Mall, I drove back to Huddle House for a late breakfast. I got my old standby including the delicious and nutritious "G" word food, and as always, got a terrific meal for the money. I will miss that place and the friendly folks who work there, but I am certain to find equally good breakfast fare in the Savannah area.

I am meeting a dear old friend for lunch tomorrow and am really excited about seeing her again. She and I worked together on several projects for the local genealogical society, and had great fun while getting the work done.

Now to try to stay warm for the rest of today. I am on the 2nd tank of propane so I don't want to run the furnace continually. I'll have both tanks filled on Wednesday or Friday which should last me quite a while in coastal Georgia. I also hate to run the electric heater continually, so I'm bundled up in a fleece robe and when my hands and nose get too cold I switch on the heater for a short while. I must remember this if and when it gets hot and humid in Georgia, or next summer if I'm in an extremely hot and arid place.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My laziest day in a long time!

By 8:00 a.m. this morning I had my coffee brewing, took the dog for a walk, and came back to see what had appeared in my inbox overnight. I have basically been at the computer ever since. It started with a notification from Escapees forum of a new topic, which I read, and then responded to. I provided the poster with a link to a website and online magazine that I enjoy reading once in a while, although I haven't looked at it since before I volunteered at Lassen this summer. Of course, I had to go back and catch up, and was again fascinated with some of the articles, forum discussions, etc. The site has little or nothing to do with Rv'ing, but more to do with self-sufficient living. It also has a definite libertarian perspective. As you may have figured out from my posts, I am wildly Liberal but find I have a teeny bit of a Libertarian streak that I normally keep buried. But it's the "downsize, economize, be free" philosophy that I truly hold dear.

I had planned to go out and do something today although I never did get around to deciding what that would be. About mid-morning I came to the conclusion that whatever I go out for will involve spending money, and since this is close enough to the end of the month and the costs associated with moving to another location, I decided to just stay home. It's a pity because the sunshine is spectacular today. Another reason to refrain from spending money is that if I have any left over at the end of the month I intend to buy a good bread machine. I have my eye on a Zojirushi mini bread machine that will allow me to make one small loaf at a time, which I hope I can eat before it goes stale. The downside to that is the weight gain that is sure to follow, which if allowed to go unchecked could result in having to buy new clothes. The thought of fresh, good tasting bread made with just a few pure, additive-free ingredients, outweighs all other objections.

Did I mention that my passport arrived in South Dakota yesterday, and was immediately mailed to me so that I hope to get it here in North Carolina by Monday. So that's the end of that drama, although there is always something going on to keep me stirred up.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A day to be thankful for

I picked up my mail at the Post Office this morning, and it included the results of the blood tests I recently had done. My total cholesterol has always been in the neighborhood of 240, so imagine my surprise to find it is now 175! The "Normal Range" is considered to be 100-199. Every single item on every single thing tested for was in the normal range - a lot of these these I haven't a clue about, but at least now I know I'm "normal". I've been walking on air ever since.

I have been taking glucosamine and chondroiton for years and it is no longer nearly as effective as it once was. Therefore I was thrilled to find a package at the P.O. containing some new supplements I ordered - basically coral calcium - which is said to hold back and even reverse bone loss, as well as to lessen the effects and pain of arthritis. So I'll give it a try for 3 months. Several years ago I took coral calcium for a while and it was fantastic - I could really notice a difference. The darn stuff was expensive though, so I reluctantly switched to regular calcium tablets.

The sun is shining today and everything looks bright and sparkly to me. I hope the feeling lasts for a while, and that everyone who reads this entry today will grab some of the bright sparkly for themselves. There is enough to go around!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

2nd Post, Thursday Nov. 19

I've been thinking about the passport being issued and realize that Department of Justice probably took one look at the file on me and just stamped the app! As a career federal employee I have been investigated many times in the course of getting clearances, but that was before Dept. of Homeland Security, which I have never made any pretense of liking or approving of its creation. I'm happy about getting the passport though, and if I want to visit Alaska, Canada, or Mexico I can do so. I plan to stay on the North American continent, however.

I'd like to again say thanks to the newest readers of my blog, as well as those who have stayed with me through all my joys and troubles. Sometimes I'd like to write a personal answer to the comments but there is no way to do it unless the individual has a blog of their own, and have an email link on their blog. But know that I appreciate each and every reader, and I take your comments and suggestions very seriously.

Several people have suggested that I should see a doctor about my sore hand, and I probably should. I can tell you how it will go, though. First it will be strongly suggested I go for a stress test on the treadmill to make sure there isn't an underlying heart condition. Then various other time consuming and costly tests will be recommended, including complete uppper gastrointestinal workup, to be followed by a colonoscopy. All because I have a sore hand. Seriously, this exact scenario took place about 2 years ago when I had a sore shoulder which ended up sending spasms down my entire arm and even affected my breathing it was so painful. After every medical test they could get by with and still charge my insurance, I was finally sent for an MRI of my shoulder, leading the doctor to pronounce, "Gosh, you must really be in pain." She sent me to an orthopedic surgeon who realized at once I had a frozen shoulder with complications including several bone spurs, and scheduled me for surgery as quickly as he could. The recovery was a long painful process but I'm fairly ok now. So maybe you can understand why I'm not chomping at the bit to see a doctor about my hand - it may get worse and I may have to eventually seek medical help. But it doesn't hurt THAT bad yet, and I am NOT going to get a colonoscopy!

My Passport is Ready!

I just received an email from the Passport office saying that my application has been processed and the passport is in the mail! I am so relieved to have that out of the way for another 10 years, at which time I don't think I will be much concerned about a passport! Yesterday was week #3 from the time my application was received in Philadelphia, so I take back every mean thing I've ever said about Homeland Security & whatever they call INS now. (Well, almost everything.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Even though I'm sitting right in front of the electric heater I'm still cold. I don't think it's that the temperature is so low, but it is rainy and windy and I'm ready for some warm weather!

I may get my wish but not at the time of year I need it - I had a telephone interview today with the volunteer coordinator at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah about a summer position. She promised to let me know in about three weeks. I think the temperature in that part of the country gets to 100 or higher during July!

All the RV's that were in pull-through sites left by mid-week and I'm sitting here all alone, which is ok by me. Of course there are RV's in the back-in sites around the perimeter, but not many of those either. Only us hardy souls aren't yet on our way south!

I took the truck out today to go to a nearby convenience store and found I am able to turn the key in the ignition by reaching over and through the steering wheel with my left hand. That is a relief to know as I'd like to rest my right hand and let whatever injury I have heal for a while. The pain occurs at the strangest times - like trying to tie my shoes in the morning before taking the dog out. Just a simple motion, but it triggers some muscle that doesn't want to be triggered at all.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More trouble

I am getting a little worried about my hand. You may remember that I complained about my hand hurting when I turned the ignition in my truck. This morning I was emptying waste tanks and running in and out of the rig. At one point I opened the door to the 5ver and nearly fell over with the pain in my hand. The large joint just below my index finger is what is affected, and I just took two ibuprofen so I will see if that helps. I've been setting the Mac on a small table in front of the couch, so maybe the angle is not helping. My right hand, of all things!

Earlier this morning I went out to close the grey water valve so as to collect the shower water to rinse out the hose after emptying the tanks. The valve came loose and I thought it was broken, so up to the office I went to see Rex. He came by soon after and got it back in place, but said if it happened again I might have to replace the valve. It was one year ago that he fixed the galley tank valve, and wouldn't charge me for fixing it either time. I will miss him when I'm gone from here!

I need to run some errands but am afraid I won't be able to start my truck. I should see if I can reach my left hand over to do it, but more likely this is an indication I should stay home and stay off the computer for a while. Other than my hand, I feel great and I feel energetic!

I called a local locksmith from Black Mountain that I had used in the past, and he came out very soon after to fix some locks for me. The good folks at Nu Wa in Chanute had removed the entire lock from the front storage bay leaving a little round empty hole, but fortunately the former owner of my rig had left me a bunch of spare locks and keys and I had just the part needed, so now I can lock the storage bay. He also replaced a lock on the door to the living area which had been giving me trouble, especially with my problem hand. Then he fixed a problem with the lock on the kitchen door. All this for a very reasonable amount, I might add. If you are ever in or near Asheville/Swannanoa/Black Mountain, NC and need a locksmith, I highly recommend Steve Fox of "Fox on the Run Lock & Key". He's a good locksmith and a good person.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Minor work accomplished

It was accomplished mostly by Rex at Miles Motors, and not by me. I just watched. He changed the oil in the generator, and I'm very glad to have that done. He drained the water heater, and I watched the process so that I will now be able to do it myself. Everyone told me it wasn't difficult, and it certainly isn't, but I wouldn't have been sure where to start and now I know. I had developed a leak under the kitchen sink when using the right basin, and after diagnosing the problem Rex installed a new fixture. The old one was chrome but the new one is white and looks much better with the white sink, at least to me. Now I can do a decent job on my dishes - there is barely enough room in the kitchen area to do the dishes, and to lose one of the basins made it extremely difficult. He also applied some caulking to a spot that needed it, and all this cost me an obscenely low amount of money. I would have had to pay double most other places. And, when I first arrived at the campground he helped me put all the parts together for a new waste hose line with a lexan fitting so I can tell when the water runs clear. I haven't been charged for little things like that, so all in all I'm a happy camper today.

I drove with two boxes of linens and glassware to the Kiwanis thrift store in Black Mountain. This is a scenic little village but the parking is hard to find and harder to get into if you do find a space. With my 1 ton pickup with duallies, just forget it. I parked in a church lot over a block away and made two separate trips for the boxes. An elderly man working there offered to go with me on the second trip and bring the box back, but I said I would just walk back myself and get it. That bit of walking, plus a trip on foot over to the post office this morning to pick up a package, has left me very tired for today. I took Lady to the post office with me and tied her up outside while I ran in for the package. I think she is tired herself, as it is more walking than she is used to.

I have developed a craving for bacon fried rice which I haven't had in a long time, so that is on the menu for supper tonight. I can't find my Japanese rice, so I guess regular medium grain will do. I nearly bought a mini rice cooker recently but wasn't sure where I would put it, and now I wish I had it.

I'm looking forward to getting to Fort Pulaski where I can set up my home in a semi-permanent fashion. I didn't ever unwrap all the dishes & glassware from traveling from New York. To me this is one of the downsides of moving frequently, although I'm sure many ambitious RVers take the time to set up completely each stop.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Nov. 15th and another year!

I would like to thank everyone who sent me wishes for a happy birthday yesterday. Most folks who know me well know that I have always disliked celebrating my birthday and in fact, usually get depressed when it rolls around. Of course I'm glad to be alive, but I don't like thinking about how many years are represented in this gypsy's life - actually the number itself rather than the time I've spent on earth.

There are many advantages to being older and I appreciate them. The downside is the onset of irritating physical difficulties and a degree of short term memory loss. I have been noticing lately how difficult it is sometimes to turn the key in the ignition of my truck. I don't remember having the problem when I drove a jeep, and wonder if it is attributable to Ford, to a 1 ton truck, or just plain old arthritis. I'm starting to wonder if some day I won't be able to start my truck, and at what inconvenient moment that will happen. What will I do then?

Things are looking up for me to be working at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah next summer. I know - summer in Utah will be brutal. But with the elevation I'm hoping at least it will cool off at night. It will probably mean that I will have to leave the air conditioning running for the dog during the day while I'm working.

Speaking of air conditioning, I think I've run it one day when the outside temperature in Orland CA reached the 100F mark. Normally I can get by with the ceiling fan and open windows, but this once I thought maybe I should try the a/c to see if it worked. It did, and in fact cooled the entire rig in just a matter of minutes. But then it wouldn't go off unless I manually turned it off. It didn't matter that I had the thermostat set to 80F, it kept on running and I got so cold I just turned it off. After several times of doing that I gave up and was just happy I have a ceiling fan. I'm not sure what I can do if the temps in the high desert require the use of a/c next summer. It makes me try to remember - what did dogs do in the old days when it got hot. Then I recall they usually dug in the dirt somewhere in a shady spot to try to stay cool.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

How did this happen?

I suddenly find myself parked between two lovely little class C's - an Itasca Navion, and a Winnebago View. I have seen women in and around both of them but no men, so maybe there are solo female RVers here this evening. I'd be quite happy with either RV, I think.

I got an early start this morning and first made a stop at Target - bought a scale which is smaller than the digital models, and is analog. I prefer the analog to tell the truth - I always had difficulty in certain light deciphering the readout on my old scale, which I never found, by the way. To make it even better, this one is 1/3 the price of the cheapest digital scale. But I don't care for the results of the weigh-in as I am 17# lighter than I was about 20 years ago, when I looked and felt healthy. I can't figure out why I've lost all that weight without trying, but I sure don't want to undergo a lot of tests.

I went to the storage place and consolidated a few boxes, packed a couple boxes to give to Goodwill, and then moved the rest into the new space. This is what I have in storage now, and as you can see it doesn't amount to all that much. And now that I think about it, there are more items in some of those boxes, glassware for example, that I should give to Kiwanis or Goodwill. When I leave the fulltiming RV life I can always buy glassware. What was I thinking of! Now I haven't a clue which box the glassware is in.

In case you wonder, the scratched up old rocking chair was given to me by my husband when our 2nd child was born. All four children were rocked in that chair, and a destructive puppy we had chewed on the rungs of the rocker, but it was and still is a beautiful piece of furniture to me. Nevertheless I would have gotten rid of it when I began fulltiming, but when talking to one of my sons about selling my furniture he nearly shouted "You're not getting rid of the rocking chair?" Not that any of my kids wants it or has room for it, but of course, I had to keep it. I just informed my granddaughter, who is more sentimental than I am, that it is hers when she has a place to keep it. She absolutely adored her "Papa", and just knowing he bought it when her mother was born was all she needed to hear. To tell you how sentimental she is, she also wants an old Tiffany style swag lamp that my Mom (her great-grandmother) bought back in the 70's. I have an old breadboard that was made by my great grandfather for his bride when they were married back in the 1880's, and of course, Ara gets that as well whether she knows it or not.

After the storage switch was finished, I went to the laundromat near the Park. I knew the minute I walked into the place that it was a bad idea to do laundry on a Saturday afternoon, but I had the basket of laundry in the truck, and I was parked right in front of the door. Lots of people in there and someone had spilled a soft drink on the floor, which was then tracked throughout the place. I got my two loads of wash done and outta there. I have to say the folks who were using the laundromat were pleasant, friendly, and helpful, so it was ok in the long run.

Now, for all my hard work today, I am going to walk over to the restaurant adjacent to the Park and have an early dinner. And then early to bed, so I can go back to Target early tomorrow to return a couple of items I bought on a whim this morning.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Changing storage units

I went out today to buy a bathroom scale and decided to stop by my storage on the way to see if there are any small items I could bring back. The contents have been whittled down so that I knew I could get my belongings into a smaller, and cheaper unit. I talked with the manager and the end result is I have half the space at $10 less per month, but because I am contracting for a whole year I get other discounts which will bring the monthly fee to about $20 less than what I'm now paying. Yes, I'll take back $240 a year.

Once all the paperwork was signed I started moving things I knew I would place in the rearmost section, and accomplished quite a bit today. I didn't want to stay any longer because I had let Lady come with me today and she was cramped in the back of the truck cab, so tomorrow I plan to work on it until finished. I think I have about 20 boxes to move, and hope I can consolidate them even further. The really heavy boxes contain binders of genealogy research as well as framed photographs.

I never did get the scale, but stopped at the grocery on the way home and picked up more pie and ice cream, so after a relatively healthy supper of pasta topped with olive oil, a couple kinds of grated cheese and sauteed fresh veggies, I will get decadent with dessert. Life is good!

The rain finally stopped and although the ground is pretty soggy the sun is brightly shining. I am sitting outdoors and Lady is snoozing in the sun. Under the 5th wheel overhang is the only spot I could find that isn't muddy and where the sun doesn't interfere with my computer screen.

I hauled one of my propane tanks down to the refill station this morning, and laughed with Rex about how one year ago he was removing 2 tanks, refilling and bringing them back and setting them up for me - probably once a week. I have since learned how to deal with the tanks, plus I am a lot better at managing propane usage. Having a small electric heater also helps. I asked Rex if he would change the oil in the generator and drain the hot water tank. He told me the hot water tank is very easy to do so I will watch how he does it and do it myself from then on. If I live long enough I might get proficient in taking care of a 5th wheel, although I doubt it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fort Pulaski Info

I just received an email from the Volunteer Coordinator at Fort Pulaski, and downloaded and printed out the Volunteer Handbook. It's deja vu, all over again. "If you plan on bringing a cell phone, be aware that coverage is spotty in the RV campground area." As I found at Lassen, where you can't get cell phone coverage you also can't get aircard coverage. But I take heart that the public library on Tybee Island, about 4 miles away, has WiFi that can be received outside in their parking lot, and has public computers inside. I can also get a library card, which I will really appreciate. So instead of having to drive 20 miles to get WiFi at a laundromat, I will only be a few miles away from WiFi at the library. I can live with that.

I am always amazed by the performance of my little Brother monochrome laser printer. It printed the 20 page handbook faster than the time it took me to attach the cord to the computer and the printer to the wall socket. It is super fast! And it was cheap as printers go, although if you try to buy a toner cartridge at Office Depot or other such store, one toner costs more than the original cost of the printer. I found an online office supply outfitter that has them for about 1/3 the price, and since I'm not doing genealogy lately I don't print often. I love it when all you need is a simple piece of equipment and you can find exactly what you need. I wish it had a scanner, but if I need one I can drag out the HP printer I have stored under the bed.

Yesterday I got out the maps for North/South Carolina and Georgia, to look at the route I will take in a couple of weeks. I'm considering traveling on Thanksgiving to avoid a lot of traffic, although I did that one year when traveling to California and was surprised at how many cars were on the roads, all going to Grandma's house for turkey & dressing, I suppose. I checked a few campground books I have and really didn't find much along the way, although I can probably find plenty in the Woodall's directory if I look hard enough. It is a huge, thick, heavy book with very small print. To read it I must have a good light directly overhead, and a magnifying glass helps. I would venture to say that most people who buy their directory are past a certain age where the eyesight isn't as good, so why do they print it in telephone-directory-sized type? I think I'd rather pay for two books - one each for Eastern and Western U.S., and be able to read them more easily. I'm sure there will be campgrounds along the way so I'm not too worried about it - if I leave early enough in the morning there is a chance I could drive it in one day. The maps are what I love looking at, and it is always good to have several so you can look at the route from different perspectives.

The rain has called a truce so far this morning, but the sky looks like it could open up and drench us at any moment. I have a list of errands to run and I should get to them while I can stay dry.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More rain

At this point I'd consider downsizing by trading a 34' 5th wheel for about a 29-30' ark. The rain has been steadily falling for a couple of days now and no matter where I walk the dog it involves wading in some deep puddles. It also wakes me up at night when it hits the top of the bed slide. But I'm not complaining yet, as I remember worrying a couple years ago if I should have my well dug deeper because of the drought.

I have been chided by several people as being paranoid and overly critical of Google, the home of the gmail, blogger, and picasa gods, as well as a few more. I am getting forgetful once in a while which is to be expected when you pass 60, but I am not stupid. I understand that any email or blog program will collect statistics - how many of this and how many times that, and it is fine with me that they do. What I resent is the fact that a little computer robot goes through everything I read, write, and receive, and is so accommodating that they present relevant ads alongside the text and retain that information. It's that practice that bugs me. You ask, who cares if they know you are searching for a 50' class A motorhome with all the bells and whistles? I don't care about any one specific thing, but together they present a snapshot of my current life - what I read, who I'm connected with, what types of things I google, what medical ailments I research, and a host of other topics.

Several years ago when George Bush created the Department of Homeland Security, it was decided they could demand telephone companies to turn over all their records of calls, and that brought an uproar of resentment from many people. There were always those who declared their life is an open book and the government could check them out any time. Well, I don't feel that way. My privacy from snooping and statistics taking is important to me even though my life is usually an open book, as a read of my blog entries should show.

Several years ago my family doctor came under scrutiny from the FBI, as well as the pharmacy two doors down. One day the FBI raided the doctor's office and confiscated all his records, simultaneously with those of the pharmacy. ALL the records! My complete medical history together with a record of prescriptions taken is sitting in a Government file cabinet somewhere! Naturally I switched doctors, but I could never get back MY OWN medical records!

Maybe I am a little paranoid about an organization or entity who collects records of what I do, who I write to, what I say, what I buy, what medications I take, and all the rest. I don't like it and I never will and that's a personal thing with me. I still have the freedom to speak out against what I don't think is right or proper.

Now I am finished with this subject.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's raining and I'm bored

The rain started yesterday evening and has fallen pretty steadily ever since. Some parts of the campground are beginning to look like a lake, so I dug out my Wellies again this morning.

Yesterday after reading Rick's blog about the information Google keeps on folks I decided to check it out. I have always disliked this part of anything-Google, and so I decided to delete some stuff. My mailbox was showing I used about 240 MB of 7389 MB total, so I deleted the trash, sent mail, and a few folders I no longer need, along with their contents. After each delete I got a message from Google to the effect "You have 7389 MB total, why do you want to delete anything?" This makes me sort of suspicious, but I kept on deleting. I didn't touch the inbox, nor did I go near certain folders. When the message at the bottom of the inbox showed I was using 8 MB out of the total 7389, I started looking closely at things. I had intended to leave about 40 emails that were in the inbox - now there were only 18. The trash and sent mail folders were empty, as were folders pertaining to my workamping applications and correspondence. I no longer have any record of the mail I've exchanged with Lassen, Dinosaur, or Ft. Pulaski. That means I have no record of my contacts there, and with Ft. Pulaski coming up in a couple weeks I need to touch base.

I know this is all automated and there isn't a little gnome sitting in Mountain View deciding that gypsy is going hog wild deleting, so I'll fix her! But it makes me wonder how they have set up their controls. And if anyone thinks maybe I just hit a folder by accident, I want to say that I am extremely careful about deleting anything, ever. I go by a variation of the rule, "Measure 3 or 4 times, cut once". I deleted items from one folder at a time, and not several at once. So if I made a mistake and hit delete for Ft. Pulaski, it isn't likely I made the same mistake for Dinosaur and Lassen, while leaving my genealogy folder intact.

I woke up in the middle of the night thinking "Good lord, what if I turn on my computer in the morning and can't get into gmail or blogger. Well fortunately Google is not that vindictive, all was not lost, and here I am. I am seriously thinking about an alternative email, even if I have to pay a subscription fee. Of course my first thought was AOL since I had that for about 6 years back in the 90's. Oh no, I won't go back to AOL again. And forget Yahoo, Hotmail, etc., as they no doubt do the same things as Google. Maybe if I ever get cable or satellite service I can find one that comes with an email program. In the meantime I am open to suggestions. I would also keep the gmail address simply because I have given it out to so many people, companies, etc. I even included it on the passport application, and it is printed on my business card. But I could switch many contacts over to a new address.

Blogger might be more of a problem. It's what most of the RVing community uses and it is simple to add links to someone's blog in your own page. Good Sam Trip Journal looks ok but it seems like a lot of hassle for readers to go through - get an email saying there is an update, click and go to the home page, then click on the date you want to view. With blogger you click the link and you are there. If anyone else is looking into an alternative please keep me in mind.

Now at 10:51 in the morning I should get dressed and do something! I keep my eyes averted from the cabinet I was going to clean out and rearrange today, and have nearly justified leaving it "as is" until I get settled for 3 months at Ft. Pulaski (if I ever find a way to contact them and get directions).

An addendum here: I just read two new emails; one I read and deleted, and the other I read and replied to. I decided to go back and retrieve the deleted email and send a response to it, but the Deleted Messages box is empty. A check of the Trash box doesn't show the deleted email at all. Now where in the world could it have gone? Maybe there is a little gnome out in Mountain View . . .

Monday, November 9, 2009

Souffle-2nd post Monday Nov 9

I decided to post the recipe on the blog. Please keep in mind I haven't tried it since I've been living in my RV, but I don't think it would make any difference I also use hot pepper jack cheese because I like the spicy flavor, but I think any kind would work.


Cooking oil spray
2 cups low-fat milk
½ cup cornmeal or quick cooking (not instant) grits
3 tablespoons butter
¼ cup grated jalapeno or plain Jack cheese
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 eggs, separated

1. Preheat the oven to 350F and spray a 1-1/2 quart soufflé dish or straight-sided casserole dish with cooking oil. (I don't have the spray on hand so I just wipe the dish with a paper towel & a small amt of cooking oil)

2. In a double boiler, heat the milk until it is almost boiling.

3. Add the cornmeal/grits and the butter. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture becomes a thick batter.

4. Remove from the heat; beat in the cheese, cumin, pepper, and egg yolks.

5. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold the cornmeal mixture into the whites and pour the batter into the prepared dish.

6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.

Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 servings
(From the cookbook “Corn” by Olwen Woodier)

November 9, a memorable day for me

My beautiful daughter, Jeannie, was born on Nov. 9. She was and has always been a wonderful daughter, even though she and I both agree it isn't easy raising a Scorpio child, especially when I'm a Scorpio myself). She has grown to become an intelligent and self-confident woman, loving, thoughtful, and the list goes on. One of the best things is that she is such a great mother herself, and her daughters are very lucky to have her for a mom.

November 9 is also the birthday of my aunt Rachel (who is also my godmother), as well as my brother-in-law, Mitsuo.

I wore myself out before Noon today, trying to make some order of my kitchen cabinets. So far I've only done two of them. I miss my big kitchen with loads of cabinets, where my spices could be neatly organized on turntables, in alphabetical order. That is one of the few compulsions I have, but it's been overcome by living with an RV kitchen. At least they are in a little better order now. I am still discovering dust and grime from being at Lassen this past summer. Will I ever get it all?

To reward myself I went back to Ingles supermarket and bought two more slices of pie - cherry, and peach praline - since I still have ice cream left.

If you can stand one more item about grits, I ran across a cookbook while in my cleaning frenzy, simply entitled "Corn". I love the recipe for cornmeal cheese souffle, for which you can use cornmeal or grits. I am not a fancy cook. I have never made a souffle before this one, and I doubt I'll every try a different one. But this works and is so good I thought I would pass it along in the event anyone is interested. If so, you can drop me an email at gypsy97@gmail.com, or simply reply on the comment form. If enough folks would like it I will probably add it as a special post to my blog, appropriately titled so that folks who don't like grits can avoid it altogether.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Update on MacBook-2nd post Sunday Nov 8

I am quickly getting used to using the MacBook and I really do love it. The keyboard is the nicest I have ever used, and to think it's a laptop keyboard! Most of it has been fairly intuitive, but there are a few things I haven't or can't figure out:

The trackpad is driving me crazy. If I so much as hover over a photo or a link it suddenly appears even though I swear I didn't touch the pad. The pad is great for scrolling, but I got out my usb mouse for the rest, and it doesn't work all that well since I mostly hold the computer on my lap while sitting on the couch, and it is too awkward to reach and use the mouse.

I have a webcam but so far have not been able to use it satisfactorily. I can connect with my daughter using Skype, but the picture freezes and is out of focus, and picture and audio are very choppy, from my end as well as hers. I read on a forum that Skype doesn't work well with the Mac. So far my search for help from Apple and from Skype haven't given me anything to go on.

I've also tried to use iChat; as I understand it I have to open an account with a messaging service and then use it with iChat (or something like that). On my computer iChat opens with Jabber, but nothing I have done has worked with it. That leaves AIM, Instant Messenger, and a few others. I just haven't been able to find decent directions for setting it up for video chat.

iPhoto doesn't do what I had hoped it would. Programs of all kinds get much more complex than they were 5-10 years ago, but with some things I just want to perform a basic task and updated versions are overkill. I find this with printers, cameras, photo programs, and many others. I want to create folders/albums - call them what you like - and be able to easily transfer photos into the folders I choose. I used to use the program that came with my old Lexmark printer, bought in 2003, and which I still use on my desktop PC. Many folks like Picasa but to me it isn't worth the trouble it would take me to learn it. And I DON'T want a computer program to recognize faces or anything else in my photos. Just show them to me and bow out!

iTunes is fun and easy to learn and use. Certainly folks who are really into collecting music and listening to it everywhere on multiple devices, would go much further with this program than I want to. I like to be able to click on it and listen to songs I choose while I'm doing other things on the computer. Background music.

I needed to print a downloaded document yesterday and pulled my old Brother B/W laser jet out from the under-bed storage. It has a usb connection and didn't take long to set itself up and print my 3 pages. Had I tried to hook up the HP all in one I'm sure it would have taken at least 1/2 hour to install it and then I would have all kinds of HP junk that I don't want on my computer.

But I've just digressed from the point of this update - which is not to complain about HP printers, but to comment on using a much different computer OS than I've ever used before. I think I've come a long way, and I am very happy with my choice. Would I like to have room for both desktop with Windows XP as well as the MacBook? Sure, I miss the games for one thing. But putting the desktop away was the best thing I could do because it has resulted in my learning this new computer much faster.

I've heard a lot of good things so far about Windows 7, and it certainly would have been a less expensive option. I'm glad I made the break with Microsoft and all their drama about "Microsoft has discovered an issue . . ., so download this fix."

In the long run, I'm happy to be a Mac user. I welcome advice or solutions from other Mac users.

Sunday morning

My first stop this morning was Walmart. I have never cared for Walmart, but sometimes it is the only game in town. They have things for RV's and that is usually why I go there in the first place, picking up other items while I'm at it. I happened to have about $20 remaining on a gift card, and decided to go spend it this morning - mostly on RV stuff and a double CD Toby Keith set, which is being added to my iTunes as I write this.

The next stop was storage, where I found a few items of clothing I want to have with me, but still couldn't find the bathroom scale. I had decided to buy one at Walmart but could never find one. I spent a while in the bath & bed section, as well as the pharmacy area, and didn't see anything resembling a scale.

I've had a few comments recently about my references to grits. I would like to state right now that you really need to order them in the southeast - east of the Mississippi and south of the Mason-Dixon line. You might find them elsewhere prepared decently by a transplanted southerner, but it is doubtful. As to the consistency, they aren't cooked right if they look like wallpaper paste! The instant and quick cook versions just won't do - they must be cooked the old fashioned way. And if you don't care for cream of wheat you might not like grits either. Some folks like to put sugar on grits. Others prefer a big pat of butter, then salt and pepper on theirs, and this is the way I like them. You can also eat them with sugar and milk (similar to cream of wheat) and this is how my mother served them to us for breakfast when I was very young. I really didn't like them that way, and I was a middle aged adult when I found out how divine they taste with butter, salt & pepper. You can add a dash of tobasco, gravy (southern style made with milk, not brown gravy) or some cheddar cheese if you like. They can also be shaped into patties and fried, and spicy fried grits makes a perfect base for topping with meat or shrimp. I'm fixin to get some prepared this way when I get to the Carolina Low Country in a couple of weeks. So what it amounts to is that there are many ways to eat them and you might like one or the other, or maybe not at all. But for goodness sake if you try them you have to come southeast! I realize there are no doubt those who disagree, but that's ok. This is just my take on it.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

This morning Paul & Mary stopped by to say goodbye on their way east. I was sorry to see them leave, but as we have connected several times since we first met in Sacramento, I look forward to seeing them again before long.

I received a recall notice for my 2002 Ford F-350, so I drove over to Black Mountain Ford to set up an appointment. Wrong, no more Black Mountain Ford. Since the Huddle House is in Black Mountain, and since everyone seems to be blogging about craving and eating bacon and eggs, I decided to go for it myself. And of course I had grits and gravy to go with them. I came home and napped for an hour or so, and then found a Ford dealer on Biltmore Avenue in Asheville. Since I have a medical appointment on Biltmore Ave. very close to the Ford dealer, I will call them on Monday to schedule the recall fix.

The sun is bright today and we are having a slight warming trend for the next few days and the trees are still colorful. It is a beautiful place to be right now.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A busy Friday morning

Those Canadians! I just heard such a racket outside it reminded me of the line from a famous poem, "When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter". It wasn't Santa Claus, but a flock of very noisy Canada geese.

I drove to the west side of Asheville to drop off some recycling and to shop at Earth Fare, an organic supermarket. Got some luscious vegetables and several kinds of meat. I didn't spend as much as I would if I had a decent size fridge.

I went to return the fleece pants I bought yesterday for a size large. I tried them on and they were way more comfortable but too wide in the hips, so I brought the mediums back home. Hopefully they won't shrink in the wash.

I don't know if it makes any sense to anyone else, but I am glad I left this area but I wish I was back. I feel so at home here, and would stay in a heartbeat if I wasn't so far from family. It wouldn't be the best place to live in an RV over the winter though.

Lots of things need doing around here and it's a perfect day to get them done before the skies get cloudy again.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Only two "S" Projects today

I visited the vascular surgeon who did my stent implant in 2004, and then went shopping. I haven't spent so much time in the mall and other stores since I was in Sacramento, when my daughter tries to lead me astray.

I last saw the surgeon two years ago, and today he said I could wait three years for the next visit. I bought a couple more pairs of khaki pants, plus two of comfortable fleece pants. I decided to take the fleece back and exchange them for a size larger. Can't be comfortable in tight pants, and at my age I think I should go more for comfort than for lookin' good. Most of the clothes I wear were made in the USA, which gives you some idea of how seldom I shop, so I decided to treat myself.

On the way home I made a quick stop in the grocery and discovered in the bakery that they sell pie by the slice. A thick slab of "very berry pie" and a small container of ice cream, and I may start dinner with dessert tonight!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I finally hit the ground . . .

with a big thud! I arrived here on Saturday evening and have been flying high ever since, but now have the RVers' equivalent of jet lag. I thought I had to be at the vascular surgeon's office this morning at 8:30, but looked at the calendar last night and find that the appointment is for Thursday morning. That was a relief so I began lining up other chores to fill in the time and then it hit me. I'm too tired to do anything, so I took a 3 hour nap on the couch! I started to do a bit of cleaning in the kitchen and quickly decided it isn't all that important, especially when I thought about it and realized I have never read one obituary where they said "The deceased was an impeccable housekeeper". And I don't think you get points in anyone's version of heaven for having a spotless house.

Auntie Jeannie and Keira


Joe, Sarah, and Keira


My newest granddaughter arrived yesterday in Sacramento, CA. Keira Rowan weighs 8# and is 21" long. She has a head full of dark hair like her mommy, and her sweet little face is the image of her daddy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Three "S's" this morning

I had my prescriptions filled first thing, and how nice it is to be at a real neighborhood pharmacy again! Then I took care of three "S's": Storage--Shopping--Sellphone.

My storage unit is looking good. There is actually room in it to move around in, and I honestly think with 2 or 3 more visits I could get it down to a unit half the size. I am going to try for it. Of course with each visit to storage I bring back more items to find a place for in my 5ver. Downsizing at this point would be really painful. I knew I was sentimental when I kept so many things after selling my house, but I am beginning to see I'm much more sentimental than I realized. You just wouldn't believe the little things I can't bear to part with, so I will just continue to visit them once at year when I swing by Asheville.

Then I went shopping for pants to wear for work in Savannah. I hate relaxed fit, just as I hate pants legs flapping in the breeze as I walk. I found a "not too bad" pair of khakis and also a khaki skirt, which might make a nice change once in a while from wearing pants to work, although it means that I have to retrieve the dreaded pantyhose out of storage as well. I shopped quite a few stores to come up with so little, and it makes me wonder who designs this stuff and how they select the size/fit. Most certainly don't match my size/fit.

I then stopped by an AT&T kiosk and got an upgraded cell phone. I bought the same brand, Samsung, as I loved the old one and this one is nearly like it except for the addition of a camera. I rarely take pictures with my Verizon phone, and in fact, would have to read the User Guide to figure out how to work it. I tried to download my favorite ring tones but had no luck, so asked son Steve to work it out for me. Ara downloaded and installed them for my last phone. I like Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again" as my main ringtone; "The Dukes of Hazard Theme" for each of my 3 sons; "Uptown Girl" for my daughter, and "Peace Train" for my granddaughter.

Well I had better get back to familiarizing myself with the features of my phone, and to transfer the contact list over. The salesperson told me since the list is saved to the phone and not the SIM card, I would have to do it manually. According to my son it can be done by AT&T but rather than go back I will just enter them myself.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sometimes I think I've died and gone to heaven!

What a beautiful part of the country is Western North Carolina. The foliage is brilliant and I wish I could stay here for a few months, although I know the weather will change soon. I had lunch with Boris and Natasha (Paul and Mary) today, after which we drove down the mountain to Tom Johnson's Campers in Marion, NC. We were fortunate to meet a very special man, Bobby Fuller, and I'm sure if I had found him when I was looking for a 5th wheel things might have turned out very different for me. But things always work out the way they should, and now at least I know a salesman who I think I could deal with if the time comes for me to make a change (I should say if I can afford a change). We looked at some beautiful units this afternoon and it is always fun being around Boris & Natasha.

I got one medical appointment down and two more to go while here in the Asheville area. When the results of blood tests come in it will be decided if I need to take a cholesterol lowering drug, which I hate to think about. I've also lost 7 or 8# since this time last year, and I will chalk it up to not cooking while I'm traveling.

I want to take the opportunity to thank all those readers of this blog, and to tell you I appreciate any and all comments, and especially the encouragement you send me when I'm feeling a bit down about the pitfalls and problems of a solo fulltime RVer. For the most part this is a wonderful way to live at this point in my life, and I wouldn't trade it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

It's wonderful to be back in Swannanoa

The day started off great. I met Paul & Mary (aka Boris & Natasha) at their campground about 2 miles down the road, and then we drove the few miles over to Black Mountain and breakfast at the local Huddle House. B&N each got the southern special, which looked like a lot of food to me, and I got my old favorite of grits, biscuits and gravy. Delicious! After leisurely breakfast and chat, we left and drove by my old house on the way back. It looks the same and I'm glad, as I was worried they might have cut down a lot of trees or the stand of rhododendrons. I really miss that house, but seeing all the leaves that need to be raked, and knowing that I could never get around to doing everything that needs doing, I know I did the right thing when I sold it. I miss the space I had though, especially the kitchen.

I drove over to get reacquainted with my things in storage and brought some things back. I realized I need one of my kids very badly. Any one of them will do. One thing they inherited from their dad is his incredible ability to organize and pack things - whether the fridge & freezer, a closet, a U-Haul truck or a storage compartment - he couldn't be beat. All four kids have the same talent and I need it NOW! I have always been able to pack things in an orderly and organized fashion, but now I've gotten lazy at it and I know it. I took things from this box and that, and if one of my kids was around to help me repack everything we could get it into a storage unit 1/4 the size of the one I'm paying for.

I brought back a lot of towels I couldn't find last year when I was moving things into my 5ver, as well as some clothing and kitchen items. I brought a couple of wine glasses and plan to get a couple more next visit - when I have someone to drink wine with we have to use champagne glasses.

Save your Confederate money boys - the South is gonna rise again. On the way back I heard a train whistle on the tracks parallel with the road. Lo and behold the train came in sight and it was AMTRAK cars! Lots of them. It has been years since Amtrak stopped coming to Asheville and I am delighted to see them, and just hope there is regular service, even if it isn't on a daily basis.

This is going to be a very good 3 weeks for me.