Life is a Detour

It’s been a crazy ride since March 2017, eight months of non-stop changes.  Here are my thoughts on the whole experience.  

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When I started this blog, I committed myself to being honest concerning the experiences we endured during this camper life journey. The good, the bad, and the indifferent. It’s been a crazy ride since March 2017, eight months of non-stop changes. Here are my thoughts on the whole experience.

Confined Spaces and Cabin Fever.

Cabin in WinterEven the hardiest people of sound mind will find it difficult to create enough entertainment to keep yourself busy. There is only so much reading, crafting and internet activities to keep the mind active. There will be days when you will question yourself, “What am I accomplishing here”. Not to say the solitude is bad, but it will run its course over time. Human beings are social by nature. Look out for extended periods of time when you are feeling blue or indifferent. These could be precursors for mental health issues in the future.

The O’ Mighty Dollar.

As frugal as we may be, there will always be a need for cash. Finding enough income dollar-726881_960_720to buy food, clothing, medicines, or fix breakdowns is inevitable. The majority of the population is depended on the Capitalist way of living, no matter what your personal political beliefs are. We need service providers and stores to make it month to month. In order to make the camping lifestyle a success, there must be some form of residual income to depend on. Be it retirement, pensions, social security and the likes. Don’t think you will make a dependable income from the mass amounts of people out there wanting your services. Yes, you will make a little, but a little won’t cut it. It takes much more than you think.

What about all those successful YouTubers you’ve been watching? They all have their own story to tell. If you pay attention, many of them have residual income; are they receiving a disability check, food stamps, other forms of benefits? How do you know? You don’t. Many I have watched have not given up their homes. They have stability, or they circle back to their familiar stomping grounds, aka hometown.  They are not going it alone. Enough about that.

Creature Comforts of Home.

Pink_and_black_bathroomHere is where we get down and dirty. Are you willing to forgo your daily bathing routine? Yes, I have heard, “I have a shower and water hook up”. What happens when you can’t find suitable utilities, aka campgrounds? Don’t kid yourself, it will happen. Do you know how many gallons of water it takes to bathe in a bucket, not a shower? I do… five gallons if you have short hair. Add a couple of gallons for long hair. It takes a half a cup of water to brush your teeth. How about using the toilet?  Have you ever pooped in a bucket? You say, “WHAT”! Yes, a five-gallon bucket with a Lug-a-loo.  What if I have to pee? Well, ladies…an empty gallon jug and a plastic funnel works just fine. Guess you never thought you would stand up to pee. Now you can. Disposal is always an issue. One word of advice, don’t go digging around in trash cans and dumpsters. Ask any truck driver, they can teach you a lot. Enough said on this subject.

Food Preparation and Choices.

We have a decent size refrigerator in our motor home. It holds approximately a weeks worth of food for two people. With that said, it does not leave enough space for cold soft drinks and the top shelf is used for a large block of ice to keep everything from spoiling. That doesn’t leave room for fresh veggies. Meal planning has changed 3345850330_f85ba44d10_bdramatically, more canned very thing. Not that it is bad, but it does get mundane after a while. Not to mention trying to get the nutrition that is needed to keep one healthy. How many ways can you cook hot dogs, eggs, canned veggies till it doesn’t appeal to you any longer? I long for my kitchen gadgets.

Moving, Moving, and More Moving.

The four M’s. Is this really realistic? Sounds great in theory, but every story has an end. For us, the end is no more moving. I may have told you all before that my husband and I drove an expedite truck across country for five-plus years. We were paid to move freight long distances. We saw almost all lower 48 states multiple times. Lived in a 96-inch sleeper, slept at truck stops and rest areas alike. 100_1097I’ve showered and laundered our clothes in so many small towns across North America it would make your head spin. I have enjoyed fine dining and greasy spoons from Laredo, Texas to Minot, ND. So our need to see the country has been fulfilled, our adventurous streak has run its course. This Camper Life was just another extension of that lifestyle that needed to be explored, and we did it. One more check mark off the bucket list.

Recommendations:

So you still want to give this uncertain lifestyle a chance? I’m not here to convince you otherwise. We did it, we survived. Who am I to tell someone, “You’re crazy” for trying. If there is a burning desire for you to get out there and experience an adventure then do it. Just know what you’re in for and plan accordingly. You may find yourself right back where you started from.

For us, we are putting roots down again. Our curiosity has been quenched and our longing for permanency has taken over. We’re on a new path, new career, and a new start. I wish all of you the best of luck in your adventures and God Speed.

Laura at San Refael Reef, Az

*In the near future, this blog will be incorporated into my personal blog, Dotty’s World. I will continue to write about new experiences mixed with my interests, events, and hobbies. I hope you will enjoy reading my discoveries because there is always something to be said.*

 

 

 

Long Road to Recovery

 O’Lord, this wasn’t going to be easy.  I needed help right a way.

A Crash Course in Nursing.

Picking up where I left off in my previous post, Crash of the Titan, a very long night was ahead of Bill and I. First challenge was getting him up the front stairs.  O’Lord, this wasn’t going to be easy.  I needed help right away.  I heard my neighbor outside, running around the house, I called out for assistance.  Thank God someone was there to help me lift and push Bill up the stairs.  He could barely move.  The morphine had worn off and every movement created sharp cries of pain.Toon Nurse

Now in the house, do I sit or lie him down?  Every movement caused him so much anguish.  Laying down caused the most pain and getting him back up was almost impossible.  It was a terrible idea. This is how I got him off the bed and my first failure as a nurse.  I gently placed the palms of my hands on his should blade and pushed.  Oh NO, NO, NO…and the screaming commenced. Jumping to the lower part of his back I forget about the eleven broken ribs.  Oh NO, NO…wrong move, more screams.  There was nowhere to place my hands to pry him off the bed!  One big push and he was up, gasping for air.  I remember falling to my knees and crying…uncontrollably.  It was the most helpless feeling I had ever experienced in my life.  Hurting the one I loved thinking I was helping him.  Sad Heart

Now I knew he was going to have to sit in an upright position for weeks.  Staggering down the hallway to the living room we went, searching out the biggest, comfiest chair we had.  This is where he slept for many weeks ahead.  I took to the couch to keep an eye and ear on him throughout the next week.  The children were old enough and available to assist me with taking care of Bill’s needs.  Our son, Ray, placed cinder blocks under the comfy chair raising it up enough for Bill to get out of it with ease, good idea.

The following morning our next challenge was bathing.  You know, they don’t give you a shower in the trauma unit, so to the shower, we go.  Bill was still covered in blood from the night before, he smelled like iron.  It seems like forever trying to wash away the dried blood stuck in his long hair. I gently avoiding the fifteen stitches in his head trying not to disturb the sutures.  What a nasty scar this is going to be.  The rest of the day was filled with scheduled medications, bathroom runs and making sure he was eating and drinking a lot of fluids.  Sleeping was his main activity, mine was watching him sleep.  cat eyes

Nothing changed much that day, it was the following day that raised an alarm.  Bill began to cough.  Coughing with broken ribs was more than enough to deal with but he was coughing up brown mucus.  The dangerous dark brown sorts, I then knew he was in danger.  Infection was settling in his lungs.  I had to get him to a doctor and quick.  

 

To Be Continued

 

 

This Life in a Camper

No matter how much strategizing life has a way of doing its own thing.  This summer has proven that to be true.

The Best Laid Plans Goes Astray…

No matter how much strategizing life has a way of doing its own thing.  This summer has proven that to be true.  I would like to get real here for a moment or two.  Sharing our setbacks and changes in plans.

Here is the truth, we are getting older.  At fifty life is much slower and (not to be a downer) less exciting.  The things that used to excite and move our emotions just don’t do it for us anymore.  Every morning takes a little more effort to motivate.  Life is not anew, it’s that same old hat. old_age_quote_3 I now understand how elderly people become crotchety, the grumpy old man syndrome.  I feel it peeking its head out every now and again.

Reality set in when we realize there is no way of getting around some type of permanency.

A stable place to call home.  Whether it be a campground, small piece of land, even BLM land (semi-permanent).  It’s still quasi-permanent.  Even nomadic people had a migration pattern.  So do we.  Knowing we needed a steady income in the near future, we had to back up and punt.  We are not pensioners, collect social security or independently wealthy.  There has to be some form of income at some point. Here is where the problem lies.  How to put down roots as cheaply as possible, remain somewhat mobile and reduce expenditures in today’s economy.

I frequently read on Facebook group posts (full-time camping threads) questions concerning making a living.  How does one do it, traveling the country and making money?  I won’t say it’s impossible, however, if you’re a prideful person I will say you will have a tough go at it.  Changing jobs frequently is stressful, wondering if you are going to work today or tomorrow is stressful.  thumb_stress_reductionDo you have enough money for the limited bills you do have, is stressful.  Our age doesn’t provide us with the flexibility to constantly change our situation on a whim.  We are on a two to three-year cycle.  Not bad for our age.

So we have stayed put for the past couple of months taking care of multiple doctor visits (old age got us again).  Battling out the aches and pains (where did that come from?) and learning what we can and can not do.  Our YouTube site has been stagnant due to lack of content. Permanency doesn’t provide for interesting videos.  Neither does waiting on doctor visits and surgery.  Life is rather boring that way.  It does allow for reflection on what is to come.  Now we are back to the permanency thing.  A ‘Catch 22’ or a full circle quagmire.  We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

quagmire-word-nerd

Limitations of income don’t allow for rent payments or mortgage (not that we want them).  Moving to an area that allows full-time camping removes us from the labor force. So now what?  What is good for the goose may not be good for the gander.  This goose doesn’t want what comes along with brick and mortar housing.  We like our simplistic life with all its navigational problems.  This is most likely the most challenging change we have made yet.  As the seasons change maybe we will have an epiphany that will set us on the right course.  Until then more waiting and more reflection on this life in a camper.

 

Oscar Wilde     “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
― Oscar Wilde

Honeymoon at Belle Acres Resort

I researched secluded camp grounds in North Georgia and there I found, Belle Acres Resort, a camping resort for nudists!

Our First Experience Camping…Going Nude.

In my last post A Start to a Healthy Relationship I ended my memories with possible ideas for a honeymoon spot.  We were both married before and we were looking for a new experience, something totally different.  We both liked the idea of a mountain retreat and camping.  How could we create an exceptional memory that was unique, memories we would never forget.

I researched secluded campgrounds in North Georgia and there it was, Belle Acres Resort, a camping resort for nudist!  Ok, this piqued my curiosity.  How many people did I know could say they spent their honeymoon with nudists?  I loved the idea. However, it took a little more effort to convince my husband to forgo his clothes and enjoy the forest, naked.

We had all sorts of misconceptions of what we would find when we got there.  Would people stare, would we feel awkward or would there be unwanted attention?  None of those things happened.  I will admit it took a six-pack on the drive up ( I drove) for my husband to calm his nerves before we checked in.  We were greeted with the most gracious hospitality we could have expected.  The owners made us feel so welcome and at ease.  They were tickled that we chose their piece of heaven to spend our honeymoon.  They nick-named us the “honeymooners”.

It took me no time at all to strip my clothes and enjoy all that campgrounds had to offer.  Bill, well…he took his time.  I will never forget the image of my husband dressed only in flip-flops, a towel around his neck and a cooler in hand.  Of course, there was a six-pack of ever calming liquid hidden in that box.  We were making our way to the community pool.

This is where all our preconceived notions of what we would find became unwarranted.  We were greeted by other camp guests with warm welcomes and the utmost respect.  Never once did we feel uncomfortable in the presence of other nudists.  No one starred or gawked at us.  Holding a conversation, there was direct eye contact, no wandering over body parts, it was not what I expected.  We were both pleasantly surprised.  How many people can say they played pool naked?

If you’re wondering about the facilities,  well it was almost 18 years ago.  At that time there was a huge community pool, activity center ( with pool table), and the largest hot tub I have ever seen.  While preparing to write this post, I went back to Belle Acres Resort’s website and was pleasantly surprised that the owners have made many great upgrades to the grounds.  It looks great, makes me wanna go back and experience my memories all over again.

So would I do it again, yes?  Would I recommend others to try the nudist lifestyle, sure? Don’t be timid or shy.  It’s totally natural and invigorating. An experience I wouldn’t trade for anything in this world.

Guide to Successful Boondocking

This is our top 10 boondocking tip for the inexpirenced boondocker. This guide helped us have a safe and enjoyable stay where ever we parked.

10 Boondocking Tips for the Inexperienced Boondocker

This is our top 10 boondocking tips we recommend for the inexperienced boondocker,  We used these tips on our 2600 mile journey this past Spring, on our road-trip to Georgia and back to Michigan.  Not once were we asked to leave our parking spot.

Here is our list:

1:     Ask permission – Just don’t assume it is legal for you t to park in any public parking lot.  Ask the management of the anchor store if they would allow you to park overnight.  Many times they will agree and direct you to the best area in the parking lot to park.

2:     Don’t lie about why you are there – Be honest about your need to park.  We were never told no, even when it was posted “no overnight camping”.  We were just honest about it.

3:     Never set up camp in the parking lot – We have seen campers take advantage of the kindness of store manager and their parking rules.  Don’t pull out your grills and chairs as you would if you were at a campsite.  It’s rude and just plain tacky.

Rude

4:     Never overstay your welcome – One or two days stay at best.  You don’t want to attract attention to yourself and ruin other traveler’s chances to boondock at the same location.  Share the love.

5:      Spend a little money  – Even if it just a gallon of water or a bag of ice.  Patron the store will make the manager more willing to let you stay longer.  It’s also being considerate of the situation.

pitch in trash image

6:     Keep it clean – Pick up your trash and clean up your surrounding.  It’s very sad to see full trash bag and tons of litter surrounding the parking lots.  Be a good guest and pick up after yourself.  It will make management happy too.

7:     Be quiet – This is not a time to have a party.  Keep your noise level down, again don’t attract attention, it’s rude and you may get a visit from the police.

8:     Vehicle Presentation – You don’t have to have a new camper to be overlooked while boondocking.  Keep your rig clean and in good working order.  It draws less suspicion.

Traveler, Motor Home, Travel Journal, Bonndocking

9:     Consideration parking habits – Plan your parking on the outskirts of the parking lot.  Don’t park up front and take up multiple spaces.  You’ll only make management and customers angry.  Be considerate of the space your rig will use.

10:    No major repairs while parking – Many stores have a policy that states no repairing of vehicles in parking lot. If you have major repairs in the future, plan accordingly and drive your rig where you can repair it or have it repaired without harassment.

Live by the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have done to you” (Luke 6:31) and you should have no problems boondocking on your travels.  You can also save money on the way too.

Challenges of Boondocking

These are real concerns that will put a crimp in your travels…

Travel Obstacles While on the Road

When you read about boondocking you’ll frequently hear how wonderful life is living free on the road.  Well, I am here to tell you not every day is peaches-n-cream.  There are plenty of obstacles you’ll face and many changes you will make.  This post is about a few of those challenges we have faced along our 2600 mile journey.

Over the course of two months on the road, I’ve watched many YouTube videos, read many posts and blogs concerning the RV lifestyle.  The majority of information that I have found leads me to believe that the RV life is an all carefree style with limited stress.  I’m here to tell you life, in general, is stressful.  It doesn’t matter if you live in a house or on the road, problems will arise and have to be dealt with.

The first big issue we faced while being on the road was high-speed internet access.

4G-internet-phone-serviceNow if you are working from your laptop as your main source of income you will be hard-pressed to find a steady fast connection.  Yes, you can give it your best shot at the local McDonald’s or Starbucks, but driving your rig to find these locations will get tiresome.  Depending on how big your rig is you may not be able to find parking close enough to connect for long.  There also will be days when you won’t be able to connect at all. We use Verizon with a Jetpack and still have trouble with a steady signal.  Verizon has dead spots too.  This is just food for thought for those planning on an online income.  You may want to rethink your plan.

energy-139366_960_720

Power usage is another biggie to think about.  Are you the kind of person who can’t live without your t.v. shows or video games?  I can tell you even if you have batteries and solar panels the power generated will be limited.  The power that’s  been stored during your travels would be better used to power a refrigerator, an air conditioner, fans or keeping your cell phone charged.  There will be a lot of quiet time.  Can you handle the quite? “Silence is golden” as the saying goes only to those who enjoy it.

Storm+warning

Weather conditions are a must to keep track of during your travels, rainstorms, high winds and hot temperatures.  These conditions can all be a day breaker for the boondocker.  Keep a daily check on your local weather channel to make sure you are not in harm’s way.  Hot temperatures are the most of my worries living in an RV.  See this post on how we deal with the heat. Spending for a full hookup campsite for power can take a toll on your finances if you are on a limited income.

bathing with a bucket (500x629)

Lastly, get used to limiting your bathing time.  There will be days when you will not bathe.  I know you have probably heard of full-timers that purchase time at a gym to use their shower facilities.  Once again, driving around in a big RV in a heavily populated area to find your shower access will get old.  It’s also expensive, remember you have to pay per person.  You would be better off locating a truck stop and share the shower stall if you’re traveling as a couple.  We’ve used a bucket with water or baby wipes to wash down if a shower wasn’t available.  Change your clothes regularly and don’t forget the deodorant. This will stretch the bathing considerably.

These four issues are not often discussed or are sugar-coated in the camping, boondocking world.  They are real concerns that will put a crimp in your travels if you’re not prepared to deal with them.  Think it through, be realistic, prepare and enjoy the ride.

Savannah Eats

Savannah is a fun place to visit – there is something there for everyone’s taste – come hungry and leave satisfied knowing Savannah Eats.

On our visit to Savannah, Ga. to see a close family friend we decided to partake in the local cuisine.  It’s always a good time trying out local food and engaging in new cultural experiences.  Here’s a list of where we went and what we ate along the way.

First stop was “The Chromatic Dragon located at 514 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.  A unique pub and eatery that has captured the interests of its clientele, the 21st Century video gamers.  The establishment is a gamers paradise with food, drinks, big screen tv’s, games galore and a bar.  Pick your seat, select your controller and order from a hearty menu.  Everything from drinks, appetizers, lunches and entrees.  The list of video games is long, long enough to keep you and your friends entertained and satisfied for the evening.

The gamers theme extends through out the eatery including wall decor, friendly staff members and right down to the menu.  You will get a kick out of reading the many food options “The Chromatic Dragon” offers.  All item descriptions are geared toward favorite video games, past and present.  Oh, did it bring back the memories.

Our choices from the menu included:

Nachos of Doom – Fresh traditional nachos with a spicy twists.  Simply delicious.

Starfox Barrell Rolls – Corned beef, swiss cheese and sauerkraut rolled into a spring roll and deep-fried. Who ever thought of such a combination.  What a game changer.

Our entrees were “The Castlevania” a classic corned beef sandwich with sauerkraut. The “1 Up Burger” a large mushroom and swiss and “The Tractor Bean” sliders made with black beans.  All sandwiches were equally good and served with piping hot steak fries on the side.

All this delicious food makes this a must see and unique experience for the visitors of Historic Savannah.

Next we ventured out to an up scale English pub and restaurant called “Churchill’s Gastropub & Taphouse“.  Located on 13 West Bay St., Savannah, Ga.  Nestled in the historic area of downtown, just two blocks from River Street, this little pub was a wonderful food experience.  A refurbished two storey authentic English pub right down to the mahogany bar that was shipped to Savannah straight from the United Kingdom.

Churchill’s offers a large selection of imported beers to choose from.  Choose your seat from the first level of traditional English pub scenery or venture up stairs to partake in the open terrace overlooking historic Savannah.

The menu has a large selection of English and American favorites.  We ordered the Giant Bavarian Pretzel.  I have never seen such a deliciously, huge, soft, yummy pretzel in my life.  It was served with two different spicy mustard dipping sauces. You could make a meal out of just one of these pretzels.

Our entrees were as follows:

Paella – A rice and seafood dish with added Chorizo in a red sauce. Not too heavy and very flavorful.

Banger’s & Mash –   Pork sausage marinated in beer severed with mashed potatoes   and onion gravy.  Hubby seemed to enjoy his meal as there was nothing left with no complaining.  🙂

Rosemary Biscuits – House made fresh biscuits with home-made jam and honey butter. These were tasty little treat which went well with Churchill’s full  flavored fresh brewed coffee.

Enjoying the whole experience, I would give Churchill’s a two thumbs up for a relaxing adult dinning experience you wouldn’t want to miss.  *Side Note* Churchill’s opens at 5:00 pm till 1:00 a.m. for dinner meals only.

tangerine-pic

Probably my favorite evening meal was prepared from the Tangerine Fusion & Sushi Bar located at 11215 Abercorn St., Savannah, Ga.  Tangerine is on the south side of Savannah and was rated one of the best sushi bars in the area.  I was able to experience why.  The food and atmosphere perked up the senses and taste buds as soon as you walked in the door.  The owners have created an atmosphere of Pan-Asian and Thai style with grace.  Warm, bright colors splashed the walls mixed with traditional Asian flowers and decor make for a relaxing adult dinning expirence.

Food choices are numerous as the menu leans toward seafood and chicken, however they do offer pork and beef dishes.  I was not disappointed with the quality or quantity of the portions.

We were not able to dine in as we arrived very late in the evening, but the staff were more than willing to prepare us a take out selection.  I would highly recommend giving  Tangerine Fusion & Sushi Bar a try if you’re a lover of Asian Cuisine.  We hope to be able to dine in next time.  *Side note*  I ate the leftovers for lunch the next day, they were just as delicious.

Savannah is a fun place to visit not only for it’s historical value but also for it’s food selections.  There is something there for everyone’s taste buds and pocket book.  Come hungry and leave satisfied knowing that Savannah Eats.