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

 

 

Being different

Such a nice post on being different. Don’t judge. Just enjoy.

April's Gypsy Life Part2

IMG_7320It’s never right to judge People. You don’t know what People are going through, so it’s always best to be kind. If people choose to be different and or live differently don’t judge or make fun of them. Everyone is going to see life differently, there’s no wrong way to live. There are just different ways to live. For example: My Parents and I travel across America and Canada and we don’t plan anything, we just go wherever we feel in that moment. Some find this odd while others say it’s extraordinary that we are choosing to Live this way. It’s still hurtful when People say  it’s silly to Live the way we choose. We choose to be different because this is what makes US happy.

So instead of making fun or using hurtful words to look down on how someone who chooses to live differently….just acknowledge that there are…

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Could this be a panacea for the stresses of today’s world

Great descriptive article by “BoondockBob” on reducing stress with nature. Nice to know someone else pays attention to the wilderness. It’s still out there.

BoondockBob's blog

camper_streamA recent study indicates that the current unsettled political climate, the threat of radical Islamic terrorism, and a rise in worldwide nationalism threatening the collapse of the European Union are stressing out people everywhere. The result of this tumultuous state of affairs is leading people to stress-induced eating and weight gain.

A poll by the American Psychological Association asked whether the current political climate is stressing them out, and more than half of respondents said yes. One writer for NPR suggested an antidote for stress-eating is to step away from the headlines. I think I can add to that antidote by adding my own solution:

Go Boondocking!

Think about it. Using the purist definition of boondocking – “camping without hookups or amenities away from civilization” – such as on America’s public lands managed by the Forest Service, BLM, Fish & Wildlife Service, and others will likely put you out of…

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My Indentity Crises

My adventure trying to get a replacement social security and ID card in the USA.

Well, I knew the time would come sooner or later that I would have to get a current, valid, ID card.  I haven’t had the need for one in years.  I should have one now that I’m traveling around the country.  I have a picture ID but it’s very, very expired.  It’s a Georgia ID which has expired five years ago.  I know your thinking, “How have I gone so long without one?”  Well, I was rarely asked and if someone needed an ID, it sufficed as valid proof.  I also don’t drive. “Can I drive?” “Yes”, “Do I drive?” “No”.  (That another story for another time.)

My Georgia ID was the first experience with the changed USA identification policies.  In order for me to get this ID, I was told I need a certified copy of my birth certificate and all the paperwork that proved my name changes over the years.  OMG, really!  Very upset and frustrated I left the DMV office on the mission of requesting birth, marriage, divorce paperwork to prove who I was.  That took about a month then back to the DMV, this time with my husband.  I needed all the verification I could get.  The DMV accepted my Readers Digest volume of paperwork and I received my driver’s license in the mail within a few weeks.

Fast forward about five years, now we are in Michigan.  I got this covered, this should be easy…not!  Going to the Secretary of State (SoS) with all my paperwork in hand, minus my Social Security Card.  Holy, Moly, please don’t ask for the Social Security (SS) card.  Of course, I can’t find the damn thing.  Seventeen years of marriage and now I can’t find it.  Well, you guessed it, the SoS wanted my SS card, sigh.

Off to the Social Security office, we go with my growing stack of paperwork looking for my identity.  I’m very upset and nervous at this point, just waiting for them to throw another rotten apple in my basket.  Yes, yes…they did not disappoint me.  In order for me to get an SS card, I must have a valid Michigan ID!  What the hell?  Did I hear that correctly?  The explanation was this:  I needed to prove my age.  Well, I got a fricken certified copy of my birth certificate, is that not good enough?  “No, no,” he said.  “Anyone can request a copy of your birth certificate, I could pull it up right now”.

My blood pressure was going through the roof.  Frustrated beyond belief, he looked at me and ask, “Do you have a doctor?”  “Well, yes”.  I answered.  He continues to explain the Social Security Department can use a letter from my doctor, with his letterhead, and with my name and birth date on it for verification.  “You have got to be kidding?”  Nope, he was not.  “Can I call my doctor and have his staff fax this document over to you?”  “Nope, you can not”.

Now I remembered why I stayed away from these government offices and choose not to renew my ID in the first place.  It will make you bald before your years.   I was 40 miles away from my doctor and about to leave on our maid voyage with “Dotty”.  As it turns out, it did not turn out in my favor.  We left without a current ID or SS card.  I just hope all the other 50 pages of paperwork in my purse will suffice a traffic cop should we get pulled over.  Wish me luck, I’m a 51-year-old female without an American identity.  God Bless America.

The Big Truck has Sold…Thank You DRS.

Our big truck finally sold two days ago.  It was one of those things that caught us off guard.  It was up for sale for about a month.  We weren’t expecting to sell it anytime soon.  We were at a stand-still.  Everything depended on her selling, ‘Ling Ling’, our 2006 Sterling, 40-foot box truck.  She gave us a lot of memories.  I explained in previous posts that my husband, Bill, and I were expediters.  We lived in that truck, equipped with an 8×8 foot sleeper, for five years.  We traveled the whole country delivering on-demand freight for all kinds of businesses and in all kinds of weather.  It was now time for a change.  Sell her off and change our lifestyle.  It was a hard decision but we were ready.  The expediters lifestyle is tough and we were burned out.

This post isn’t all about the memories or sad feeling having to sell ‘Ling Ling’.  I really wanted to thank the great people of Diesel Repair Specialists, Beki, Tim and the crew, for always being there when the truck needed repairs and we needed advice.  Their team always did a top job and got us back on the road as quickly as possible.

It was Beki’s efforts that sold our 2006 Sterling.  She is one hell of a person and has always cared about her customers, that being us.  So this is our “Thank You” DRS for all you have done to make our expediting adventures over that past seven years memorable.  We will not forget you.

 

P.S.  I got your message about the postcards, I will be sending only the cool ones.  🙂

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 motorhome and be on our way.  Our first stop wasn’t far.  Packed to the gills, camper squatting like an 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 busy 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.