Southern Hospitality

It all started last week with a simple post from Facebook.

It all started last week with a simple post from Facebook.  In the most unlikely way a post came over offering us a place to park for a few days.  It caught us both by surprise, we didn’t know what to think or say, “Was this for real?”  Being sceptical, we decided to think on it for a day or two.

The weather was getting hotter and we really needed to find shade.  Maybe it was time to learn a little trust and accept the offer.  We didn’t have to travel far when we were greeted by  (we will call her Gail) a small, cheery-eyed woman with a warm smile and cherry cheeks. She directed us to her back yard to park ‘Dotty’, and there it was… shade, wonderful large oak trees with the charming hanging Spanish Moss.  The perfect place to keep us cool on those hot days.

We spent the first few days getting acquainted.  A lot of question were asked and answered, one being how were we going to finance ourselves? Our plan was to take on odd jobs, (according to our skill sets) and possibly workcamping.  “What are those skillsets, you might ask?”  We have a few at our age, my husband, Bill, is a carpenter by trade and an all around handyman.  Myself, I have a nack for cleaning, organizing and yard work.  Those are my specialities.  Gail was carefully listening to our story and quickly asked if we would like to extend our stay and help her with home repairs and clean up duty.  This was shock number two, we weren’t expecting that question.  She showed us around the house pointing out various needed repairs, back door casing, hanging new drywall, lawn work, etc.  We decided quickly we would like to help her out knowing she wasn’t able to do the work herself.  Labor fee was briefly discussed, however we hadn’t thought about a price, we decided to ask for donations for work completed.  We felt that was fair.  We now were well on our way to our first job with a reference…priceless.

As the days progressed and the work was getting finished a funny thing happened.  We were building a new friendship.  In the evenings we would all relaxed on her wonderful screened in back porch having drinks, meeting neighbors and just having a good ol’time talking about camping and life.  Gail went out of her way to be a gracious host.  She even cooked dinners for us and of course we joined her, she a great cook!  Our few days turned into a week.  We knew we would have to leave soon, we had another committment coming up.

This week was a complete success.  I had heard stories of the kindness of strangers, but have never experienced it.  This boondocking adventure has made us realize there are good people out there.  Gail has shown us there is kind and thoughtful people in this world, people who do care.  She is one of those people we will never forget and hope to see again in the future.  We are forever grateful to have met her and can call her our friend.

A Weekend of Visits, Boondocking and Repairs.

Time to play catch up in the world of blogging.  We’ve been busy the past couple of day, bust’n butt getting Dotty ready for our first boonndocking experience.  We also made a mad dash to say good-bye to friends and family over the weekend.  Friday was laundry and shower day while we still had water access.  Writing our list and checking it twice making sure we didn’t leave anything behind and thanking Bob for putting up with us over the past couple of weeks.

So heading out early Saturday morning, traveling north, to Madison Heights, Mi. for a good-bye breakfast with dear long-term friends, the Wagner’s, and their brood.  Jeff is another good friend who has alway helped in times of need.  He was the first person to offer help when this journey started.  We appreciate all you’ve done and offered to us over the years.  Keep that steel polished and well oiled, Jeff, and hugs to you and yours.

Heading back to home base it was dinner with, Mom.  It’s been years since Bill and I have had contact with his Mother.  It sure was nice to spend a couple of hours catching up on life and having a wonderful steak dinner.  We love you and promise to be in contact more often even if we are miles away.

First night boondocking wasn’t as restful as we would have hoped it to be.  We pick a less traveled parking lot with a Dollar Tree store (we needed more plastic containers).  I spent an hour playing, stake out, looking out the windows watching the police patrol the strip mall.  I thought to myself, “How long will it be before we get a knock on the door?”  Not interested, we never got that knock.  The next morning we woke up to McDonald’s coffee, not a McDonald’s fan, but  I never knew I could appreciate McDonald’s, however,  I will say they have damn good coffee.

Next day, Sunday, more family visits, my son Ray, who I will miss dearly and Bill’s brother, Dougie.  Dougie’s visit was exceptionally nice and entertaining.  Bill’s sister, Marge and niece, Kristin also dropped by.  We enjoyed all their company and were glad we were able to see them before we left for the road.

Evening was spent with Pops and his wife, Wanda.  We went to dinner at a local diner and had a very pleasant visit while giving the waitress a hard time.  Don’t worry, she got a fat tip for putting up with us, chaching.

Another night of boondocking, this time at the ol’trusty Wal-Mart parking lot.  Low and behold, there’s a Tim Horton’s next store.  Gotta look out for those coffee spots since we’re without shore power.  I don’t think Wal-Mart would appreciate us building a camp fire to heat water in their parking lot.  It would draw a lot of attention.

Well, in between all the visiting, we managed to get someone to look at Dotty’s suspension. She is ass end heavy and needs new shocks and a rear seal replacement. We went to a local RV repair shop under the recommendations of a national RV chain store.  Now here is some cool advice for those looking for repairs on your campers/vans.  Make connections with a good honest mechanic, ask around, get advice, this relationship is priceless.  We received the estimate for repairs at $1600.00.  Ummm…not gonna happen.  So, what to do, what to do?  Our first thought was to call our long time diesel mechanic to ask for advice.  Happens… that they are willing to do the work and can get us in tomorrow.  Whoohoo!!

One more night boondocking in amongst the semi trucks, buses and dump trucks, lol.  Don’t think anyone will find us after being locked in the yard at the repair shop.  Parts already delivered, repairs start yearly in the morning.  Should have a good night sleep tonight.  Keeping our fingers crossed.  Eight o’clock comes early, looking for fresh brewed coffee with the staff at DRS.

Best Friends Make Everything Better

We made it up the highway around fifteen miles to our next destination, to best friend Bob’s house…

After the home sold we made a mad dash to load up our belonging into the motor home and be on our way.  Our first stop wasn’t far.  Packed to the gills, camper squatting like a s.o.b., we made it up the highway around fifteen miles to our next destination, to best friend Bob’s house.  Bob has been a close friend of my husband for years, way back to the high school days.  The carefree days of immense trouble making.  Like I said, a really close friend.

Bob offered his driveway for us to park Dotty and get our bearings straight.  We needed time to adjust to the new accommodations, check out all thing mechanical and throw more stuff way.

First on the list was shore power.  It works like a champ.  We plan to purchase a small microwave to use when power is available.  Our hope is to install a couple of solar panels to use on such occasion when we are boondocking.  Next issue is the classic refrigerator.  It’s in great shape but doesn’t run and if it did it would be a power-hungry whore.  Think we will be removing it and purchasing a 12 volt to put in its place.  We’ll also have more space for dry good storage above it.  There is plenty of projects to keep us busying for the next couple of weeks.  The more we assimilate to camper living the more we will be ready to head out down the highway when the time comes.

And as always, thank you Bob for letting us intrude in your living space.  We will always be grateful for your help.