Monday, January 31, 2011

Mini Motorhome For A Mermaid

grocery bag storage photo copyright by Dear Miss Mermaid

My friend Nancy, gave me this idea.  I love recycling in creative ways.

I have one small trash bin that fits in the cabinet under the kitchen sink. Another trash bin is in the bathroom.  The third is a tubular wicker basket, lined with one of these bags. It's my floater bin, but often lives under the desk and dining booth.
Having small bags and small garbage bins, makes it easier for me to carry out the trash on foot. 
pillow cases from Ross photo copyright by Dear Miss Mermaid

There are creative ways to outfit bedding on a budget. 
Who says it all has to match?
Underneath the bedding, is a mattress warmer that fits under the bottom sheet and mattress pad.
No need to store it away in the summer,  just unplug it and leave it off. 
Also, no need for heavy blankets that have to be stored. This saves me a fortune on propane heating costs. 

Happy Face Lunch Recipe photo copyright by Dear Miss Mermaid

I hope I NEVER grow up!  Eating alone doesn't have to be lonely and boring. This is a tuna salad sandwich on whole wheat English muffin with grape tomatoes and a banana. 

I should have cleaned up before taking this picture.
My kitchen is always busy though, because of my healthy diet to get well.
I'm always making something from scratch to avoid sweeteners, additives and chemicals.
Many fancy motorhomes come with heavy rv sink covers  for extra counter space.
Mine didn't come with that, or someone lost them before I bought my used motorhome.
The prefab rv sink covers on the market, seemed pricey, and not to my liking.
My sailing friend was going to cut this big plastic cutting board down to fit over the sink perfectly.
But after studying it for a day, we decided not to customize it, instead  fiddles on the sides would be better.
That way I don't have to find a cabinet to store it in when driving down the road.
I actually use smaller wooden cutting boards on top of this one, to do my chopping work, I want to keep this one looking nice, because it is so handy as extra counter space. 
I move it out of the way, to wash dishes, then put it back again. It also hides dirty dishes, which is so convenient when you want to forget about them, until the  propane hot water is fired up for use. I don't keep my hot water on 24/7. I usually just fire it once a day, do all my hot water work, then shut it down until the next day.
This saves me a lot of propane (back to that budget thing!)
To the right you can see my small dish drainer that fits in the second sink or can be removed.  I was walking around with my sink measurements when I found this nice little dish drainer on sale in a discount store.
The dishes shown, also bought off various discounted racks, are mixed up spring colors. 
RV awning repairs photo copyright by Dear Miss Mermaid

This is the repair to my awning, which rolls out from the side of the motorhome roof, creating a big shady area to set up dining and relaxing outdoors. My awning is from 1994.  I am on a severe budget due to my illness and blah blah blah, this old awning will just have to do for now. The awning  had a rip at the leading edge.  The winds, when it was rolled out, were threatening to make the rip longer. Everyone said it could NOT be repaired. But then again, those folks may have been RV professionals, but they sure weren't Caribbean sailors from far flung islands, used to making repairs on the fly. I rebuilt a hurricane ravaged sailboat in the middle of nowhere, surely I could find a work around for this repair too. I happened to have some emergency roof repair tape on hand. That stuff has incredible strength and massive sticky glue on one side.It is superior to awning repair tape. My sailing buddy and I, while on a trip together 10 months ago, decided one day to have a go at repairing the awning. We used multiple strips of tape, attached to the roof and  the awning, both on top and the underside. Then we ran another piece lengthwise to kind of hold it all together. 
That was ten months ago. Guess what. The awning repair is still holding up just fine. 
Sure, I need a new awning, it's on my wish list, but we did this repair neatly, in case I have to live with it a long time. I still have leftover roof repair tape for emergencies. For those of you not familiar with motorhome roofs, mine is a rubber roof, which was fortified last winter with 5 coats of rubber roof paint.   Having a non-leaky roof on a motorhome, is just as important as not having a leaky boat at sea.  Any small leak, if left  alone, will with each passing rain or ocean swell,  increase the repair cost exponentially. If you have any leaks, fix them. My old motorhome had been garaged for years, so there wasn't any water damage, but the roof needed all new rubber paint, as the old stuff had just worn out. 

The links listed above, take you to the various product pages. 

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Success Yogurt

Oh my gosh, it has suddenly been so cold in the late afternoon and nearly freezing at night. I forgot to prewarm my bed, so puppy and I were in for a c-c-c-cold surprise. 

Usually puppy and I sleep without any heat unless it's freezing and the plumbing is in danger.  The bankers want their money for my hospital bills, so we skip the heat, pile on the clothes and covers. 

I realized what happened, when my electric box at the campground blew for the 4th time, (I think they have issues here)  it reset my mattress warmer to off. I didn't think to turn it on again, since I had turned it on earlier. Because it is a low gentle heat, it does take time to warm up the bed, especially since my bed is right over the unheated basement storage area. 

Puppy and I both slept in our sweaters and coat, because we fell asleep in them before the bed got warm.  We tried to watch a borrowed movie called Adaptation. It is based on the book; The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession.

I wrote a mixed review about it, I enjoyed learning all about the orchids and of course Meryl Streep is as usual showcasing her enormous acting talent. 

As I sit here writing as the sun starts to fade, a cold chill is setting in, despite the hot pot of beans I ate earlier. I slow cooked a bag of  assorted dried beans, then added jalapeƱos, peppers, onions, soya mince and assorted herbs. Oh my gosh, it was wonderful but hot. 

When I buy dried beans, I take ziplock bags, and then put a 1/4 cup of each type of bean into several baggies. As I buy more variety, I add to them. I usually only spread out half the beans in the assorted baggies, keeping the other half for a solo bean dish. Eventually I end up with several baggies of assorted beans. These can be fun to cook with, as the flavors of several beans are vastly different than the individual beans. The final dish was pretty hot, what with the extra spices I threw in. I could go on and on about the health benefits of dried beans and red peppers. 

I chased it down with some homemade yogurt I made the night before with my gas oven pilot light. I sort of made it on the fly, none of the stores in walking distance around here sell plain yogurt. I can't eat the stuff with all the sugars and additives and imitation fruits, I need the wholesome plain yogurt. I gave up on the diabetes meds, they were just too expensive, so I am trying to reverse diabetes which means I need to evenly space healthy lowfat meals.  It's hard to make breakfast in the cold morning, when I am in a fog, but if I skip it, well, bad things happen. 

The yogurt would have been a lot less nerve racking to make, if I had a proper thermometer. I finally stuck my outdoor thermometer in a sandwich baggie, submersed it in the hot milk to make sure I had the temperature more or less close enough to start incubating the yogurt culture I had saved from some plain Danon yogurt. Then I lit the pilot light on my oven, shoved the crock of milk and yogurt starter in that and said my prayers about it, then went to bed. 

I woke up several times in the night, but would not let myself peek at it, as yogurt prefers to make itself in solitude, undisturbed. Much like a writer...

In the morning, I hemmed and hawed, about taking a final look at it but put it off until later when I realized it had sat for 12 hours. Surprisingly, I had yogurt!  Yippee!

I then made up my breakfast mix that will last four or five mornings. The recipe is a bit chaotic, one day I shall measure it out for you. My homemade yogurt wasn't as thick as store bought Danon, because I forgot to throw some powder milk in with it, but still it was wonderful. 

For the breakfast mix,  I take the quart of yogurt I made, then add lots of 100% uncooked oatmeal, probably about 3 cups, then a half pint of fresh blueberries, when I can get them,  a splash of real vanilla extract, a big sprinkle of cinnamon and a tiny squirt of honey.  I stir it up to mix thoroughly and insure the oatmeal is well combined with the yogurt mixture. Then that has to sit 12-24 hours in the fridge while the oatmeal softens up,  soaking up the yogurt. The next morning, I eat about a cup of it either cold or warmed in the microwave, depending on how I feel. 

If it's c-c-c-cold, I get up, grab my breakfast mush and get back in the warm bed to eat. 

It's a super healthy tasty breakfast that sticks to your ribs without adding weight. The cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar, the yogurt does wonders for fortifying the immune system,  the blueberries are bursting with antioxidants,  the honey helps build up immunity and maintain optimum blood sugar levels, the vanilla is another antioxidant that also heps prevent certain brain cell damage. So the entire concoction is a wonderful healthy meal.   

Sometimes, I have it as a snack, if I have the munchies. 

Well, it's c-c-cold again, so puppy and I are going to beddy-bye. 

Last fall, I went to visit my friend in Jackson, Ohio. I was so enormously proud of myself, to have parked my motorhome, on the first try, so nice and neat on the residential street. I even took a picture to show I was barely an inch from the curb.  

I walked up to the house, thinking my friend would surely think I was clever when she saw just how near perfect,  I was parked out front. But when the nice lady answered the door,  she was a stranger. I was parked at the wrong house!  

My friend lived a half mile up the street. She never got to see my nice neat close to the curb parking because she waved me around to park in her back yard. 

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Land Charters

From the mailbag came this delightful note:

Dear Miss Mermaid

You’ll like this my love, hope you got those windows clean, and I love your little pup. I admire what you are doing and I would like to do it as well! I love the sea as much as you, I’ve been on over 20 cruises, some good, some not so good. I think those days are gone, I want to stay at home with my three dogs (Italian Greyhounds) and two old cats. I’m an introvert, it’s apparent that you are not, take the Myers-Brigg test online to see what you are but I know the answer. It’s warm in Florida and it’s cold as a witch’s behind up here. I just wish I could be on one of your ships, doesn’t matter, expensive or economy style, you would have made it fun and the ships need that these days. To hell with the Captain’s Table and all that stuff, where did the fun go? Keep on keeping on! With love, Jim

Dear Jim,

Thanks for the lovely email!  Between rains, storms and possible tornado threats, I've been spared washing the outside windows. Central Florida had such extreme weather recently that power was knocked out, several homes and businesses were damaged, and it wasn't even a hurricane. Makes me wonder how they are building around here. 

I've met Italian Greyhounds in my travels. Do yours speak English or do you press paw for Italian?

My dog can speak fluent Yappaneese, but he doesn't understand much English at all. We're working on that. 

I envy you having cats, hardly a day goes by that I don't seriously grieve losing my cats last year. Just recently, I looked at their pictures, and though my bottom lip quivered, I didn't burst into tears, like I usually do. But it was tough not to. 

I took that Myers-Brigg test.  It said I was a hopelessly lost mermaid with grand delusions of being human. 

As for the ships, I absolutely loved working at sea, entertaining guests, traveling to far flung ports. I toiled on Charter Yachts, Private Yachts, Tall Ships and even one Cruise Ship. Mostly I stuck to sailboats, but I did give my try at motoryachts. It was a semi-famous motoryacht that unwittingly launched my career at sea.  Once folks saw that yacht on my resume, I pretty much had the job sewed up. 

But now my body is severely battered from those years at sea. They don't want me anymore. They chew you up, spit you out, then you're done. I should have been compensated for my injuries, but I wasn't and that's a whole boring story, sure to cure insomnia. 

Getting work at sea, isn't as easy now as it was then. The governments have mucked up lots of things, making life more complicated rather than easier. 

Now if I could figure out how to charter my motorhome.  I have taken a solo friend here and there on land charters.  It reminded me of being at sea, except we had wheels instead of sails. I still did all the driving, cleaning, cooking, plus picking out beautiful anchorages for the night. I did the work, they relaxed and brought the wallet.  

I didn't even charge them a thing for the endless entertainment provided by my first mate, that ridiculous rat in a dog costume, masquerading as a miniature wolf. 
Wolfman Harley, the wonder dog who thinks he's a wolf and hasn't a clue he only weighs 6 pounds.
This is a rare picture with BOTH his ears up.
Customarily, he only has the right ear up, and the left one down.  

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A Hickey Stroke

On a funny note, I burst out laughing when I read this:

Because of the physical trauma, from the hickey, it had made a bit of bruising inside the vessel. There was a clot in the artery underneath where the hickey was.  The clot dislodged and traveled to the woman's heart, where it caused a minor stroke a few days later. 

For some reason I found it hilarious. (She lost movement in her arm briefly from the mild stroke, so she is fine now, I wasn't laughing at her malady but how it happened to her!)  She was 44. I think of hickeys as something we did as young teenagers.  Who knew that a hickey could cause a minor stroke? It's a wonder I didn't have multiple strokes as a preteen in the dark corners of the skating rink...  

Sure I went there for the skating, but there was a dark corner, where we went for kissing and hickeys. If you stayed too long in the dark corner, an adult chaperon would skate by and shine their flashlight on you. If you happened to be kissing or whatever, when the flashlight lit you up, this could cause screams of delight from other tween and teen skaters, usually followed by someone falling in the skating rink, because they were watching you instead of where they were going, which could cause other skaters to stumble and fall, sometimes a big pile up could happen, all because you were caught in the glare of the flashlight kissing. 

At least the poor woman who recovered completely from her hickey stroke, didn't die. Can you imagine the whispers and snickers at her funeral?  

On another fun note, my sailing friends, a delightful couple who are as wacky as me, called me on the Skype phone today. I could hear them both talking through the computer speaker, as well as hear my friend play his guitar for me. They were skiing in Canada, well not when they called, but they are hanging out up there skiing. Meanwhile,  I am in the semi-sunshine of Florida. The winds were whipping up around me in preparation of the impending storm. Which by the way, it's storming something awful right now, as I type this. 

I told them how my little motorhome rocked from side to side when the winds were up, reminding me of floating on the ocean in my  old sailboat.  We discussed stabilizers (my RV doesn't have them) and he mentioned a way I could probably make some  (Caribbean sailors are always trying to fix something with nothing, it's a way about us)  , but I said "I just love the motion, it reminds me of my days at sea."  

My friend then started making up a song, about my rocking and rolling motorhome, singing it  while strumming his guitar.  I was laughing so hard, as this was coming through my computer speakers. 

The hilariousness of the entire phone call,  made my troubles seem to melt away. 

Funny how  good friends can do that for you!  

The rains are pouring down.  Earlier today, the doggy hid all his toys under the motorhome. Now he is curled up next to me in what I call his bark-o-lounger. It's a little doggy day bed he uses.  It gets moved all over the motorhome, sometimes he moves it himself. Generally it's next to where ever I am sitting to work, which changes around. He won't go to bed until I go to bed. I keep odd hours.  My spirit is restless, my body is cantankerous. 

Which I keep changing my desk area. I've come to the conclusion that my settee cushions are shot. They bottom out. When I sit, I just feel the wood beneath the seat, rather than the cushion. Another thing to add to the bottom of the wish list; two  foam cushions,  for my bottom, so I don't bottom out *tee hee hee*.   In the interim, I keep moving around trying to find a comfy place to work.  The cushions are fine if you are just sitting down to a meal. But I sit for hours writing my articles for publication, doing research, cropping pics and so on. 

Now I am hungry. Lately I've been eating Quaker's multigrain oatmeal with fruit for dinner. I think I will have oatmeal again tonight. I love the new multi-grain stuff, but I am almost out of it. I can't buy anymore groceries until February 6th, unless something wonderful happens in the interim, so the next two weeks could get pretty creative around my galley!  

Ever wonder what your cat does all day while you are gone working?

A year ago, I helped my friend rescue an adult cat who was underweight, stinky and depressed. In short order, my friend had him fattened up to fighting weight, with a fluffy glossy coat of fur. Now the cat just sits around watching TV in the easy chair, on easy street. 

Ramblings about RV's and RV life...

I was reading with sadness, about the latest update in the RV couple that is missing in Canada since July 2010. Visit their Facebook page with details about the reward and disappearance. Maybe you know someone who knows someone who saw something...

Lyle, 78, and Marie, 77, left their St. Albert home on July 3. They planned to arrive in their RV in Abbotsford, B.C. on July 10, but the couple never made it to their destination.
The McCanns were last seen fuelling up their motorhome in St. Albert. Two days later, their RV was found engulfed in flames near the Minnow Lake campground, 20 km east of Edson. A few days later, the SUV they were towing was discovered near Carrot Creek, 30 km east of Edson.
For some reason, I've been following this story since it happened in July. I guess, as a fulltimer living in my motorhome, I am always concerned about safety. My own personal theory is that they may have stopped to help someone in need, only to be ambushed by the same. It came to me in a dream. I can't explain how or why I would dream such a thing.

Peace be with you, now on to happier news...

Fleetwood RV Opens Online Registration for its 'Circle Your Wagons in Shawnee' National Rally The Company's third annual owner event will be held at the Heart of Oklahoma Expo Center in Shawnee, Okla. from June 25-29, 2011.  which redirects to FleetwoodMotorhomeAssoc.Org is free to join.  Yes FREE.  It is  wholly sponsored by Fleetwood so there are NO dues. That is refreshing. I was wondering how I never heard of this before, but also read that it wasn't formed until 2007. I guess word is slow to get out, because I thought I had done tons of research on my Fleetwood before buying it. Pass the word along to other  Fleetwood owners. They can join for free. 

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Dirty Secrets

I loved the comments from readers about "Madly In Love".   Thank you for taking the time to write a comment on that and other posts. I truly appreciate all my readers. I know it's a major hassle to leave a comment, but it sure is nice to have some!

The sudden cold snap has slashed my plans to wash the outside of the motorhome windows. It's a job I detest, but the rains seem to leave the most awful water spots, making my windows look unsightly.

On a scale of like and hate, I enjoy washing windows about as much as I enjoy dropping a hammer on my toes. 

A certain little puppy dog, is responsible for some of the doggy slobber  juice on my windows...
Click to enlarge the picture, but don't let this ferocious dog frighten you!

The only problem being, I do like clean windows. What fun are windows if you can't even see out of them?  I can't do the cave thing, like so many, ensconced behind closed curtains or shades by day.   I need my sunshine and view.  When I arise in the morning, which is often before sunrise, I immediately raise all my window shades. I can hardly  wait for dawn to light up my world.

I recently cleaned the inside of the windows, well most of them anyhow.  Lots of muck came off, sticking to the paper towels.  I did this one evening while chatting away on the cell phone with one of my favorite friends. I clipped the phone to my collar, talked and washed. It made the work go by quicker. This was at night. In the dark.  

I'm losing my cell phone soon, so I might as well enjoy the company of friends by phone, until the day it goes dead. My hospital bills are piled up on my credit cards. Each month, the bank raises my payments, so each month I have to come up with more money.  So looks like the phone may be the next thing to go, until things improve around here. My book sales took a dive, I guess it's the after-Christmas blues. 

If you have read my book, I am trying to amass 50  book reviews on Amazon.  So far I am up to 28. Lots of readers have sent me their reviews, directly to me. I am flattered, no doubt about it!  But Amazon won't let me post them. The reader has to post them. Even if you got my book from somewhere else, you can still write the review. A five star review is a HUGE help. *wink wink*

Rumor is Amazon will give me some free publicity, once I accumulate 50+ reviews. Wouldn't that be nice?  Most people just read the books, they never write a review, it's understandable too. But reviews are a big, big  help.

At daylight, I was up, expecting to enjoy my new clean windows with the sun rise. But you can't even tell I washed the windows on the inside, because the outside is so covered with water spots. *SIGH*

I'm in a ton of pain today. I tried walking the doggy, but we barely did a half mile, the pain was making me cranky. So that's why I was thinking of washing the outside windows. If I have to feel miserable, might as well do an ugly chore.  Can you feel twice as miserable?  I think not. Misery is misery in my book.

But I woke up with the mattress warmer on a high number ten  setting.   I think I've learned to adjust the temperature in my sleep now. I never want to get up, the bed is oh so cozy and comfy.  But for some silly reason,  I crawled out of bed to make coffee, nearly freezing along the way. So I piled on a bunch of clothes including socks and boots, then I turned the heater on. I probably should have done it in the reverse but I was half asleep and couldn't think much. 

I just wanted to stay in bed, but it's better to get up and tackle the day, pain and all.

When puppy tumbled out of his bed two hours later, he saw me all dressed up, so he ran for the door. I piled on my heaviest jacket, actually my only jacket save for a white flimsy cover-up I own that is only suited for spring and summer breezes (but looks great with my summery dresses and sarongs!)

Yes, I'm a fruitcake. When I moved from the Caribbean, I had to leave many clothes behind. But I brought most of my Caribbean sarongs with me because they were beautiful. Some I use for table cloths outside, some I sleep in, and some I wear on summery days to feel closer to the Caribbean.

It's been hard to pick up and relocate back to America, after living in the Caribbean for 22 years. A lot has changed. 

I often feel like, I landed here from another planet. 

Sometimes people are impatient with me, as I navigate my way through modern American ways.

Some things I love about America, other things worry me greatly. 

Personal freedoms have tremendously eroded. There are far too many laws on the books, plus way too many lawyers. Litigation and liability is at an all time high of ridiculousness.

If the USA could export their love for litigation, that would solve the trade deficit.

Well, back to the windows. I specifically liked this old RV when I was shopping around on my tiny budget, because it had nice big windows throughout. I need my views, where ever I am parked. When I get up, all the shades go up.  The bathroom shade goes up and down a dozen times a day, because I want my bathroom to have the sterilizing effects of the sunshine.

Yeah, I'm a nut case, I flush the toilet, then open the shade again.

Recently I was a tad miffed because two of my shades broke, one was nearly new, a bit pricey too. But eventually they were repaired, with a big help from my traveling friend, who saw something I had overlooked in diagnosing the problems.  All but one of my shades  are circa 1994.

There is always something major or minor to be repaired plus the maintenance items.

Like washing windows.

The air conditioner and fan suddenly stopped working. Something else for me to attempt to repair. If I can't fix it then *ut oh* I may need hired help.  That is always pricey, unless you luck into a handy man type that is affordable or should I politely say "budget-friendly".

I don't need the A/C but I miss the fan. I want the A/C repaired because sometimes I have one of my friends traveling with me, and they very often need it, even if I don't.

I'm not a cheapskate, but my current income is less than a fifth of what I used to earn before I was stuck in the hospital for so long.

At least I am alive with a place to sleep and food to eat and a doggy to keep me exercising to improve my stamina. 

There was a year when I was a very young teenager, no where near 18 years old.  I was hungry all the time. I had six eggs and a stale loaf of bread to stretch out each week for sustenance. The rest of my meager earnings went for weekly rent to a landlord who showed up every Friday afternoon collecting in person. I had to pay or move out within 5 minutes. I had seen him throw other people out this way. There wasn't much left over for anything else. 

I dreamed about food all the time.  The common porch area, came with a old-fashioned porch swing. I remember swinging there back and forth, every evening,  staring at the sky, trying to think about anything besides hunger.  

Once a week the zoo was free on the same day I was off work. I used to take myself there, I could walk there from my place. They were feeding the big cats one day.  I was so envious of the large hunk of meat the cat was tearing with his fangs. My stomach made this loud growl, causing others to stare at me and someone snickered. 

I ran home in tears. Isn't that the silliest thing?  It's seems silly now that I write about it, but I surely remember that day.  The next week I didn't go back to the zoo. 

One night the neighbors, I shared the porch with,  had me over for dinner.  They fed me ham, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and  green beans.  I tried not to make a pig of myself, but I savored every mouthful, chewing it super slow, wanting it to last forever.  Someone had given them a ham and a sack of green beans. They were sharing it with me, I felt so honored. I washed all the dishes for them afterwards and kept thanking them so much for the food.  They had no idea what a major treat it was for me, to go to sleep that night with a happy tummy.

I dreamed life would get better. It finally did too. Matter of fact, about a year later, my life took off, literally. After that tough year, I never felt the pain of hunger again. I sometimes think about other teenagers who may be facing really tough times these days or find themselves unexpectedly supporting themselves long before they are 18, like happened to me. I wonder if it's any easier now, or if it's worse. In my case, I simply lied about my age to get a job.  No one asked for any paperwork. 

Now you need mountains of paperwork to do anything in America.

I had to do major battle to get an American driving license when I moved back to America recently.  South  Carolina wouldn't accept my USA passport and current driving license from overseas,  as positive proof of ID.   It took me five trips over the course of months, doing battle with the DMV before I finally got a license to drive in America. I had already bought my motorhome and insured it. The insurance company was going nuts,calling me and  sending me letters every week, reminding me to get a local license.  

I keep dreaming now, it will get better. Maybe a year from now, I will laugh this all off. I am ever so lucky I have all the basics now.  I have food, a place to sleep, and a doggy who has drastically improved my health.

I may be in pain, but I can creep around the galley, steam some veggies, make some rice, being extremely grateful I am alive and almost well.

It's a great day, cold weather and all. But it's so cold, I don't think I will be washing windows, until it warms up.

Praise be!  Thank God, thank angels, thank the higher powers to be.

I woke up alive again.

With dirty windows.

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sunshine What

Thunder, lightning, chance of tornadoes, followed by torrential rains, then the cold. If Florida doesn't straighten up soon, the tourist board is going to have to do something drastic. Who nicknamed this the Sunshine State?

Back in October, I was headed from New Hampshire to Florida. Let's see, I left Rye Beach, NH on October 17th.  On November 7th, I crossed into Florida.
October 2010

I guess that means it only took me 21 days to do a 1,359 mile trip. An average of 65 miles per day. According to my log book though, I drove 1 mile shy of 2,000 miles. That works out to 95 miles per day. Probably the only reason I did such high mileage per day, was because I had a 2 legged friend with me, who helped drive some for the first 11 days, when we did 1132 miles together. Wow, that works out to 103 miles per day average. We were really trucking along. 

I dropped him off at the Charlotte, North Carolina airport. That left me 535 miles to go to Orlando, Florida, but somehow I drove 867 miles getting there.
Cyprus Trees and Spanish Moss along the Edisto River at
Colleton State Park in South Carolina

Sure I have a beautiful Atlas now, that my friends bought me. But I get sidetracked by sheer beauty. Some of those miles were because I don't have any alternate transportation, so I was using my mini-motorhome to drive around and see some friends in the Greater Greenville area of South Carolina. 

I burned up a lot of miles, running around town trying to fix my rear brake lights and turn signals. That turned out to be quite the ordeal. I finally found the part I needed, where I least expected it. 

Filled with maps, history and suggestions for places to stop, the Edisto River Companion is an essential guide for those interested in experiencing one of the best of South Carolina's rivers.

Finally I got on the road again from Greenville, South Carolina on November 2nd. My log indicates I drove 97 miles just running around the Greenville area, most of it looking for RV parts. 

On November 7th, I clearly remember hitting the Florida state line. I had left a campground, well actually an RV Park,  on the edge of  Georgia near the Florida state line,  that seemed rather nice.  I was so tired, I was thinking of spending a second night there.  But the first night,  around 3 or 4 am, the dog and I were rudely awakened by someone banging on my motorhome!
I was parked here, at the end of the row, 
when someone came knocking loudly on my RV around 3-4am

I have no idea what that was about. 

But I armed myself with various weapons I won't describe for security reasons, turned on all the outside and inside lights and waited to see what happened next. I didn't pull up any shades, because I didn't want to reveal that I might be all alone with a tiny dog. The puppy was barking ferociously, clearly quite angry he had been awakened from his warm cozy bed in the wee hours of the night. This doggy sleeps a solid 10-12 hours per night.  Apparently, he can be rather cranky when his sleep is senselessly disturbed. 

Whoever or whatever it was, went away I guess. I was ready to pounce on my steering wheel horn, letting it blare and wake up the entire RV Park if need be.  They had parked me in the furthest spot, close to the highway but at the opposite end from the owners' home.

RV Camping in State Parks
I figured if I laid down on the horn, that might scare them away and draw a crowd, though I am sure my neighbors would not be amused to be awakened at such an odd hour by such unruly means. But I also suspect, they wouldn't like to think that someone was snooping around the RV park at night, checking to see if any campers or RV's were empty for perhaps nefarious purposes. 

So the next morning, even though I was dead tired, I packed up the motorhome, heading for the final leg of my southern journey.  Just the day before, a married woman, traveling with her husband and sad little dog, had asked me if I was scared to be on the road alone. I said well, no. I had run around the sea on boats alone,  spent much of my life traveling, working playing alone, not my choice, but hey, I know I'm an odd duck, and maybe potential suitors think me too wild for their tame life.  

When I finally got on the road, right at noon, it was gray and overcast. I planned to make it all the way to Orlando, if I felt up to it. But if not, I would stop somewhere along the way.  I was miffed about the interruption in the night. It had left me wide awake. So I was moving at reduced speed, in spite of the coffee.

The problem with drinking coffee and driving alone, is that I often need to make pit stops.  Coffee is something you rent, not buy.  Of course the doggy is thrilled, because even if I just pull over to use my own restroom, I always take him out for a walk, before we move along again. He of course loves any opportunity to go investigating new spots, leaving traces of his DNA behind. 

Incredibly, the very minute I crossed into Florida, the sunshine came out in full force. I burst out laughing. I was finally in the Sunshine State!  I put on some rock and roll to keep me awake, the sunshine gave me the energy to make it into Orlando the same day. 

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