Monday, September 30, 2013

Touring South Carolina State Parks Part Two

Finally made it into North Carolina on Sunday the 29th of September. It took us only 7 days to make 432 miles.

I am super lucky to have my friend aboard who is 12 years older than me but in superb health. By the time we reached Little Pee Dee State Park we slowed down for a 4 day, 3 night stay because my body was putting up a fuss being cantankerous in spite of my sunny outlook.

So far I had been doing all the driving but Sunday after about an hour, I felt too weak to go on, so my friend took over the wheel while I snoozed in the passenger seat with a puppy in my lap.

mermaid the body found

Harley dog has been thrilled to have company aboard, because this means he has a comfy cozy lap to enjoy while we travel down the scenic routes. We made stops at gas stations and grocery stores, which bored his tiny brain. Upon surveying the parking lot, he lets out a long sigh, then gives us his saddest face as we lock him inside the motorhome to go shop.

He loves the brief walk I take him on while filling up the gas (petrol) tank. At grocery stores, when I come back outside, I always have a cart to push. This is because my motorhome is typically parked at the far end of the lot or in the shade or both on a good day. Due to prior injuries, the physical therapist suggested I always balance weights equally in both hands. This can be rather hard to do with groceries. I was also taught to walk upright with the aid of a cart, so I guess I am a grocery cart person, even when just picking up odds and ends.

While many RV-ers travel straight to the campground, then launch their car to backtrack running errands or sightseeing, we do all this along the way. Once we arrive in the campground, we tour on foot, paw and bicycle. Since many campers are out running around in their cars by day, we often have the campground blissfully quiet and to ourselves for much of the day.

Since this is a money efficient trip, we only do the free sightseeing but there is so much free to see and do!

Harley dog has learned to do cart return. We often walk it back to the store front, sometimes briefly going inside to leave the empty cart. This little jaunt never ceases to thrill my funny little pooch. One day when my friend was going to return the cart by himself, Harley barked at him then put on his sad puppy face. He was amused when I explained that it was a great way for Harley to get some speedy exercise before we drove off again in his rolling dog house.

The first few times I tried this, Harley was scared of the wheels on the cart. A few times I let him ride in the cart. Finally he got used to walking on a leash while I pushed the cart back to the store front. It's a little reward for him waiting quietly in the RV while I shop. Now he looks forward to this treat.

If you are traveling with a pet, I encourage you to take them on a walk at every stop, even if it's just a one or two minute splurge. This gives the pet a chance to relieve himself, sniff a few things and exercise his legs. It sure makes for a happy traveler. Harley is thrilled just to stand on his leash at the gas pump while I fiddle around with the purchase. Once I get the hose set on auto-fill I can take him for a brief walk. Even if I have to manually fill the tank, he waits with me. Afterwards I take him on a walk.

Harley has a great nose for sniffing out campgrounds he has never been to before. Let us get within a mile or two of a campground and the little dog is going wild with excitement. He seems to sense we are about to set up camp. It's uncanny how he picks up on this.

Having an enthusiastic canine is hilariously fun. Every campground is the absolute best one ever to him. He begs and whines while we are trying to situate the camper on the lot, because he can't wait to get outside, dragging one or both of us around the campground or out hiking the trails. He loves to meet and greet the other campers, sniff up the new smells, water the bushes and occasionally eat some wild salad.

Many of the places we camped last week were so far out in the boonies, I couldn't get my internet to work. That left more time to soak up nature, and hence my erratic postings here.

One way to travel efficiently, is to home cook all our food.
This is a million dollar view at Cheraw State Park where we had several beautiful meals at our picnic table, overlooking the lake. On our first dinner, I had just carried out all the food, plates, utensils, drinks and napkins when it started to sprinkle rain. My friend helped me pop out the awning, then we dragged the table underneath it, where we still had a fabulous view while we dined in spite of the brief rains.

I must admit, I have thoroughly enjoyed every place we have camped. I read park reviews where others fuss about a place, but I end up feeling sorry for them, that they can't enjoy the good things about fabulous places.

My campground reviews must sound so boring because I love every place we stay, it's beautiful, the lot is lovely, the nature is awesome, the people are wonderful, the weather is perfect.

At Chester State Park, there was just us, the workampers in their RV and one other camper that showed up. Our lot came with this rolling lawn that meandered down to the lake's fishing dock.

We continue to pick up random litter as anonymous volunteers serving the beautiful lands. If anything, we can say we leave every park cleaner than we found it. Mother Nature needs a little help and relief from the  idiots that continue to scatter their garbage around rather than properly dispose of it. It's mind boggling what we find. A wadded up used diaper thrown in the bushes makes me wonder about the IQ of the parents raising that child. Sometimes we find good stuff like stainless steel hardware that fell off something or recently a nearly new bungee cord which we quickly put to good use on my rig.

Mostly we pick up loads of beer cans, twist off caps, little juice straws, fast food wrappers, cigarette butts, fishing lures, candy wrappers, plastic grocery bags and so on. I just don't understand the mindset of some people; "Let's go somewhere beautiful and trash it!"

OK, let me get off my soap box about that... no need to qwack up here.
Ducks at Little Pee Dee State Park in South Carolina would quack rapidly like they were giggling about a private joke. I found myself laughing along with them. They qwacked me up!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Touring South Carolina State Parks

We spent our final night workamping last Sunday the 22nd of September. The prior Wednesday I drove my loaner car (now returned to the owner) to the Charlotte, North Carolina airport to pick up my friend. We returned to Lake Hartwell, deciding the enjoy the lake a bit longer in view of the beautiful full moon and the perfect temperatures.

Like two old salts setting sail for parts unknown, we planned our trip fair weather style.

Monday we made 47 miles to camp at a lifelong friend's house in Mauldin, South Carolina. They live in a beautiful neighborhood that fortunately is not under the control of neighborhood associations that dictate your every move. So spending the night on their land never brings out any trouble. Matter of fact many folks in the neighborhood own campers which are parked on their lots. Contrary to the realtors and some neighborhood associations' belief that the neighborhood will go to ruin if a camper is anywhere near it, this seems not to be the case at all in my friend's neighborhood. The houses, yards, gardens and RV's are well kept without the need of a homeowners' association.

Sometimes I think this country has become way too complicated for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If I were to get on my soapbox and preach, I would say for every law added to our books, 50 more should be eliminated (many are way outdated anyhow.)

The United States Declaration of Independence,was adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. The text of the second section reads:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Travel Itinerary
Souls Aboard: Two sailors, one monkey dog
No reservations, just careening around in an easterly fashion

1994 Tioga Montara 28 foot Class C RV made by Fleetwood
Car: none but we travel with one bicycle (mostly for fun and exercise)

September 22, 2013
Workamping on Lake Hartwell in SC to Mauldin, South Carolina
47 miles
spent one night

September 23, 2013
Mauldin to
Chester State Park
759 State Park Rd
Chester, SC 29706
76 miles
spent one night on the lake front

September 24, 2013
Chester State Park to
Cheraw State Park
100 State Park Rd
Cheraw, SC 29520
96 miles
spent one night on the lake front (Lake Juniper)

September 25, 2013
Chester State Park to
Little Pee Dee State Park
2400 Park Access Rd
Dillon, SC 29536
61 miles
spent two nights (so far) near the lake front (Norton Lake)

Before the trip, I mapped out the economical places to camp including places where one or both of us qualify for a discount. I was hoping for electric and water hookups, everything else being optional. South Carolina state parks are beautiful with reasonable rates that generally include water and electric. They tend to be on lakes, rivers or beaches, another plus since I enjoy beauty in nature along with natural water features.

As a former mermaid now on land, I am naturally attracted to water.

Some of our future camping may include sites without any utilities at all. I spent about a dozen years of my life "going green" by living without utility hookups while residing on a small sailboat at numerous anchorages in the Caribbean. I caught my rain water to store in tanks, and I had a tiny solar panel that powered my electrical wants, mostly boat stuff like the automatic bilge pump and the ship to shore radio which served to keep me employed before cell phones arrived on the horizon.

But for these days and times, I enjoy having electricity most of the time. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Where Is The Mermaid

On the road again -
Just can't wait to get on the road again.
The life I love is making music with my friends

And I can't wait to get on the road again.
On the road again

Goin' places that I've never been.
Seein' things that I may never see again

And I can't wait to get on the road again.
On the road again -
Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
We're the best of friends.
Insisting that the world keep turning our way

And our way
is on the road again.
Just can't wait to get on the road again.
The life I love is makin' music with my friends

And I can't wait to get on the road again.
On the road again

Excerpt from Willie Nelson's Song "On The Road Again"

Mermaid the body found

Lake Hartwell has been an awesome place for me to volunteer workamp this past spring and summer. But it's time to get this wheel estate on the road. The lure of travel has enabled me to live 3.5 years in my little old motorhome which offers up efficient living in under 150 square feet (14 meters) of indoor space. 

During the epic rains and chronic floods of the early summer, I was stashed inside my tiny abode more than I cared to be but I daydreamed of being on the road again. Those whimsical thoughts kept me from feeling cramped.

I guess my working and sailing days at seas helped to prepare me for an RV (Residential Vehicle). Some say RV stands for Recreational Vehicle but live-aboard fulltimers like to call it a residential vehicle. 

mermaid the body found
Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway..

Monday, September 23, 2013

Take Me Too

Don't leave without me!

My little dog Harley falls in love with everywhere we camp. Settling down for volunteer workamping the past 6 months gave him an opportunity to get all cozy and comfy.

Well, actually we have split our workamping between two different parks the last 6 months. But since he hopped aboard in May 2010, his life has been one campground after another while living in his rolling dog house. 

Recently we spent a day traveling to and from the Charlotte, North Carolina airport. We went to pick up our buddy, another old salt from the Caribbean seas to hop aboard the wheel estate, helping us sail the highways and byways to exotic ports of call. 

Along the way to and from, we stopped to see other friends plus an exercise trip through a pet store. For Harley it started out as a ho hum day stuck in the milk crate doggy seat in the borrowed car, but as the wild adventure unfolded, he became rather smitten, though he was confused why we didn't bring the motorhome for the trip.

I was just too exhausted and disorganized to get it ready in time, plus return the loaner car back to it's owner. So we went with plan B, take the car to and from the airport, backtrack to pack up the RV, deliver the car then begin our journey. 

Yesterday, it threatened rain, so my friend and I hastened to pack up some of the outdoor patio where I have lived and workamped  this summer in between the chronic rain squalls and massive floods. Yeah, it's been a wild summer here. 

It seems to always be pouring down rain when it's time for me to break camp, meaning that many things are stowed away wet, then have to be unloaded and dried out at the next place. Read that as a royal pain in the elbow and that is putting it rather politely. Today we wanted to get much of it packed away before the rains could soak it all.

Harley could see the tell tell signs of breaking camp. Usually he plants himself inside on the passenger seat, looking forlornly out the window.  

Yesterday was no different.  My happy enthusiastic puppy was suddenly very solemn, looking so worried.  Because of the imminent showers, we were tossing his toys inside one by one as we found them under the picnic table, in the bushes, on the patio mat, in the grass and so on. Some of his toys look pretty rough, but I have to wait until he is not looking to sneak the worst of the lot into the garbage. If he catches me throwing out a nasty worn out dirty torn up shredded toy he commences crying and fussing until I bring it back out of the garbage. Needless to say, I have learned my lesson on this one. 

Harley loves his toys and I don't begrudge him having so many because he has never torn up anything of mine in the motorhome while left alone. He does sometimes pick a certain toy for shredding or unstuffing. I am never sure what his criteria is for which toy to destroy. I am just grateful he understands in his silly little head the difference between his toys and mine. He is a good little doggy and an endless puppy who shows no signs of growing up. 

After awhile we decided to take Harley on a walk around the park while picking up litter and placing reminders on cars that forgot to honorably pay their honor fees for parking in the recreation area. 

Harley absolutely refused to go for a walk. He looked like we were dragging him to his death.  He planted his little six pound body resisting all attempts to willingly walk on a leash. We were laughing so hard, because he really was putting up a stubborn fight. 

He was too afraid to leave the motorhome. 

He seemed to think that if he didn't guard the wheel estate, now that it was 90% packed for travel, it might just wander off without us, leaving us stranded while taking all his toys, food, bedding, treasured puppy blanket, and warm winter doggy sweaters away to parts unknown. He couldn't bear the thought.

What a silly dog!  He loves his walks and bark ranger duties in the park. But not today. He was going to guard the motorhome to make sure it couldn't escape without us. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

South Carolina on My Mind

Artist In Residence

If you are an artist you can garner a free week in a beautiful South Carolina state park cabin in 2014. Apply now, the deadline is October 31, 2013.

This unique opportunity is  available to  painters, photographers, potters, sculptors, weavers and other artists the opportunity to capture the natural and historical resources of South Carolina State Parks. Collaborative proposals will also be

In exchange the participating artists will donate an original work representative of their stay at their selected park within 90 days of their residency. The original work will be displayed in the cabins and other facilities throughout the park. The finished artwork should reflect a part of the artist’s residing park for present and future generations. 

For complete details:


Once again South Carolina State Parks are offering their half-priced 30 day camping snowbird special at select coastal parks from December 1st through February 28th. You can pick 3 different parks and spend 30 days in each one at half price.

If you're looking for temperate weather and pinching pennies, this could be a great opportunity for you and your RV.

From their website:

Dec. 1, 2013 through Feb. 28, 2014
Calling all snowbirds! Escape the cold of the North and come spend some extended time camping along the South Carolina coast this winter.

The South Carolina State Park campgrounds at Colleton, Edisto Beach, Givhans Ferry, Hunting Island, Huntington Beach and Myrtle Beach would like to offer you a 30-day campsite reservation at half price!  50% OFF!  This special is valid for reservations that encompass the period of December 1, 2013 through February 28, 2014.

There’s beautiful weather during this time of year in South Carolina and still so much to do on the park and in the nearby area.

To take advantage of this offer, here's what you need to do:
Call one of the six coastal parks that you are interested in reserving your campsite, and make your reservation. You cannot make your reservation online or via the toll-free number.
Mention you are interested in the 30-day snowbird camping special.
Pay for your entire month (30 days) at the time of registration.
There are no refunds for early departure.
Arrive and enjoy your stay!
For more information, or specific questions about the 30-day snowbird camping special, contact the park you are interested in directly:

Colleton  843-538-8206
Edisto Beach 843-869-2156
Givhans Ferry 843-873-0692
Hunting Island 843-838-2011
Huntington Beach 843-237-4440
Myrtle Beach 843-238-5325

Reservations can be made for only one 30 day period per park. Reservations are subject to availability at the following parks only: Colleton, Givhans Ferry, Hunting Island, Edisto Beach, Huntington Beach and Myrtle Beach. This offer is not valid with any other form of discount (SC Senior Citizens, etc.). Valid towards new reservations only. No refunds for early departure.  Campers can make additional reservations at one of the other parks.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Harley's Twin

I found this picture on another blog:

It's what Harley might look like if he wasn't so ugly. This must be his handsome twin! I repeat, that is NOT Harley.

Here is little Harley below:

This picture was taken when Harley was about 9 months old. I picked it because the stance and smile are so similar to the above pic.

Here is a more recent one of Harley, now that he has sprouted out some fur finally.

Harley was semi-groomed by a professional yesterday. He had snarls and mats that appeared when I was sickly and unable to brush him enough. I had tried everything to no avail.

Yesterday I saw an OPEN sign at a doggy daycare and boarding place that also had a NEW GROOMER sign up. Harley has never been to a groomer.

We went aside smiling and wagging our tails. I asked if by any chance they could clip out his matted fur. The friendly lady said "Here, put him on the counter, you hold him, I will comb them out."

In a few minutes time of some very difficult work, she had all his snarls, tangles and mats gone without any serious cutting at all. She worked with these magical tools that Harley wasn't overly fond of but tolerated.

At one point he snapped at her, so I gently grabbed his muzzle, soothing him by whispering pleasantries in his ear while she finished the worst area. When all was said and done, she asked for a very reasonable small fee, so I added a tip and paid her in cash.

Harley strutted around like he was Miss America with the coveted tiara.

Miss South Carolina startled the audience at the recent Miss America pageant by announcing “I'm from the state where 20 percent of our homes are mobile because that's how we roll, I'm Brooke Mosteller, Miss South Carolina.”

It's a hilarious statement that is sure to snap up the news media's attention. Being that I am a native of South Carolina and I love our abundance of gorgeous state parks that tend to be on rivers, lakes and beaches, I find it rather ironic that she couldn't paint a prettier picture of her home state.

In 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau recorded 17.9% of the state’s residents living in mobile homes, making it No. 1 in the country.

If we are to believe those kinds of things.

I think the manufactured housing industry should hire her as a spokesperson to promote their product.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Angels Whispering

Angels whispering in my ear.

Yesterday I was enjoying the final use of the borrowed car (which I must return this week.)

I had made my two stops and was now headed home. On the final leg, I cross 3 bridges over lake waters before turning into my lakeside park where I volunteer workamp in my little old motorhome.

As I was leaving the parking lot of the grocery store, I heard that unseen little voice whisper in my ear.

"Wait. Don't go home just yet."

I felt impending doom and gloom. I had no idea why I suddenly felt this way at all. Something took my breath away as if I was drowning and I tried to push the frightening thought out of my silly head while gasping for air.

Is this it?

One beautiful day you just don't make it home alive?

I got back out of the car, taking Harley dog for a jaunt around the parking lot, looking for the tiny bits of landscaping for him to sniff over. I wanted to clear my head of these horrific feelings. I felt breathless, dizzy, I felt ill, I was confused. I hoped slowly walking the dog would ease my fears.

If I dropped dead, maybe a good Samaritan would rescue my pooch.

That few minutes of canine frivolity might have saved my life and his though eventually it also consumed 40 miles and over an hour of time trying to get home.

But I made it ALIVE and I have the angels to thank for this. I have no idea why I was spared but I am mighty thankful to wake up alive and be able to write today.

I was only 4.5 miles from home with three bridges to cross over water. While waiting to exit the parking lot, a screaming fire truck raced down the highway with police and ambulance hot on their trail with sirens wailing, horns blaring.

After they passed, I pulled out onto the highway to go home. They were going the same direction but were now miles ahead of me. Suddenly more cop cars, firetrucks and another ambulance raced through the traffic while I pulled over to the grassy side while they passed. My camera couldn't snap the picture fast enough of the curious sight of an ambulance speeding by with a boat in tow.

That's a first for me, seeing an ambulance hot in pursuit while towing a boat. But we have big lakes around here, so it makes sense that one (or more?) of the ambulances are outfitted with a boat.

As I neared the first bridge on my short journey, a Sheriff had the road blocked motioning for people to turn around or make a forced right turn into suburbia. Interesting enough a left turn would have dead ended at the only bar in this neck of the woods.

When I lived in the Caribbean, it was common to hang out in the open air bars when traffic or weather was bad. But this isn't the Caribbean and I didn't want to hang out at a bar waiting for the bridges to re-open. I wanted to go home.

Beyond the Sheriff blocking the the bridge in the distance were flashing lights from the firetrucks, ambulances and numerous police and sheriff vehicles. I think every official in the county was parked on that bridge. While waiting for the traffic snarl to clear, more cars, trucks and ambulances arrived on the scene.

The only way to get home now was by a super lengthy detour that ate up over an hour and 40 miles. There just wasn't a shorter route to choose from.

After getting home, I searched the news, which I usually try to avoid, but of course I was curious. What happened on the bridge?

In the minutes the unseen angels held me up at the parking lot, a horrific wreck occurred on the first bridge ultimately landing an 18 wheel tractor trailer in the lake with 2 people trapped inside under water.

Both were removed alive, but tragically the driver died later at the hospital. The details of the wreck are still sketchy but I suppose eventually more on the story will come forth. I read this morning the bridge is being repaired for reopening.

My heart goes out to the victim and their loved ones. For some strange reason I feel so guilty and deeply sad. We just never know when *POOF* our time is up or how it will end.

Anytime the lake claims another victim, I feel horrible, like there was something I would of... could of... should of... done.

View from the bridge at sunset.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Weight Until You Hear This

My latest let's get well routine is working out with weights. Great big gigantic heavy duty 5 pound weights.

*Cough cough sputter huff puff cough cough sputter huff puff*

OK that was the most painful 180 seconds of my life.

I started with working out with canned goods from my little motorhome pantry. But ya know, I buy mine out of the dent and scratch reduced bins. If it's a veggie or fruit without sugars, it's in my cart.

Funny how my life has come full circle. From cooking for the rich and famous in zillion dollar villas and yachts where only the freshest and best will do, to learning how to stretch a dollar ten different ways while smiling and laughing picking through the dents looking for veggies.

Smiling is free. Laughing is free. Savor both for the price of none. 

I need to get my strength back.  My adventures aren't over, but I can't languish around waiting for a miracle that just might not happen. Anything to avoid the medical mongers. 

So... I was trying to use a couple of dented cans for weight lifting. *Gurgle slush gurgle*

But I have trouble gripping them. They are too cumbersome for my hands that used to do all sorts of wonderful tasks. I would occasionally drop them startling the dog and scaring me toes.

The cans were looking pretty beat up. Then there is the problem of the labels falling off while working with them. Sweaty palms? Some meals became mystery surprises a few days later.

One day I opened up two blank dented cans. I couldn't remember what was in them.


Oh look we're having red beets and red kidney beans for dinner tonight. Yum.

So I went dumpster diving around the corner, dug out some half gallon milk cartons, tried filling those with water as weights. The handles were so tiny, my fingers were going numb. I kept accidentally dropping one or the other.


I never knew how flimsy milk cartons were until you drop them outside on the concrete patio a few times.

One day the Bark Ranger and I strolled through the park, casually digging through picnic garbage cans until we found some small water bottles with caps. I spent way too much time at the swim beach trying to fill them with sand. Where's a little kid when you need one?

Lift, curl, hold it, uncurl, stretch, lift... oh oh oh...

They didn't seem heavy enough. They were clunky to hold. But for a few days this seemed to work. One day I accidentally dropped one denting it. I picked it up trying to push the dent back out, but somehow popped the lid off. A pile of red sand spilled out landing on my feet.

I contemplated getting another 6.6 pound doggy and working out that way.

Lifting puppies.

But Harley is such a wiggle worm and a very big hand full all by himself. I looked around my tiny motorhome imagining if he had a twin as crazy and energetic as him.

*Shutter shake shutter*

I'd love to have a kitty. But how to find a cat that can sustain indefinitely at 6.6 pounds?  Harley simply refuses to get any bigger, sometimes his weight drops down because he is just an active doggy with no sign of letting go of his joyful puppy ways.

Finally I worked and reworked my budget to go buy a pair of 5 pound weights in the name of health. Bound to be cheaper than the frightening cost of seeing a doctor. The past year or so, I had noticed that weights rarely turn up in the nearly new shops.  I once found a complete rusty set suitable for an avid athlete and they wanedt a bloody fortune for them. I just need something simple to jump start me.

I could feel the teeny tiny itsy bitty difference my cans, bottles and cartons of sand had made.

Even just small stuff can go a long ways in the positive benefits of staying alive.

When I finally ventured out to a real store to go have a look-see, it's a good thing I was shopping alone, because I spent nearly an hour fretting over which ones to get. Luckily no one helps you in stores these days, you are pretty much left on your own to find things, figure them out, test them, open up the package, close them back again and so on.

If anyone was watching me behind hidden cameras, they probably thought I was daffy thinking I was at a gym as I played around with all their equipment on display. The maddening part is trying to find the correct prices. It seems shopping for new stuff is very mysterious. You have no idea what stuff costs unless you can match it up to a shelf sticker that may or may not be on the same aisle as the merchandise.

I settled on the ones that felt great in my hands and were hexagon shaped. Since the 5 pound ones felt ridiculously heavy, I figured those were the ones to get. (By the way, a few weeks later as I write this, they seem even heavier...)

Embarrassingly enough, I was so pooped from my store workout that I had to put the ten pounds of weights in the rolling cart. I pushed this around the store another half mile or so looking for a scanner to find out the secret pricing.

The scanner had a note scribbled on it "Out of order".

Sheesh. I need a nap now. I am pooped out.

While I was looking for the mattress department, I stumbled across the exit. What the heck, might as well check out go home and nap in my own bed.

Two cashiers and seventeen people in the 20 items and under lane. The other cashier was only nine deep in people but with overflowing buggies and entire families in tow.

Good grief. This is turning into a career.  A whole afternoon spent figuring out the cost of two 5 pound weights.  I prayed my little doggy hadn't perished while waiting for me outside.

Finally it was my turn. I heard the couple behind me loudly grown when I asked for a price check. The cashier gave me 3 seconds to make up my mind after tersely quoting the price to me. She looked like she was well overdue for a break.

A big long sigh and a huge leap of faith. I bought them. It seemed so frivolous to be buying something brand new that wasn't necessary like shelter or food.

It wasn't a need it was a want, but then again I need better health, so does that make it closer to a need than a want?

At least I amused the cashier and shoppers behind me when very red-faced, I put the ten pounds back in the cart to push outside. I was positively exhausted. My arms and hands were aching from all the testing back on aisle 42, three blocks east.

These dumbbells are hexagon shaped on the ends. That way they can't roll around when I am driving. If I set them down outside they can't escape down the hill.  If a certain doggy and his tether tangle with them by accident, they won't roll around and hurt him.

I am totally disorganized. But throughout the day, I pick them up, doing more exercises. They feel wonderful (but all of me aches). They don't gurgle or slosh or swish nor do they pee water or sand on my feet.

I figure a year from now, I might see some changes. Already my arms feel longer and heavier, not the effect I desired,  but  I put on an old favorite blouse  before I donated it back to the charity used clothing shop because it had shrunk.

Well, shrinkage was my excuse anyhow. I hated to see it go because it was cheerful bright colors, so I was going to put it on one more time, to remind myself why it had to go.

My motorhome closet is only about 14 inches wide, so I have to be mindful not to clutter it up.

The pretty fun blouse suddenly fit quite nicely. Whoa!


*Huff puff cough sputter huff puff huff puff grrrrrr huff puff*


*Huff puff cough sputter huff puff huff puff grumble huff puff*


*Huff puff cough sputter huff puff huff puff geeez huff puff*


Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Messy Life

We survived Friday the 13th. Kept a real low profile too.

Everybody should buy some rat and mouse poison and hide it unopened where children and pets can't get to it. Ditto for bug bait too. The rodents will find it and happily rip it open and die.

I never smelled a thing.

But I found my toilet paper torn up. A brand new roll in the cabinet had been gnawed at.


I don't have a playful kitty (though I so wish I did!)

A thorough search of my motorhome in all the weird places turned up a flat dead mouse. Why did I never smell this?

I also found one of the packs of hidden poison had been torn open. A ton of research later, I learned that a mouse needs a space the size of your finger to enter your home or wheel estate. When they are hot or cold or hungry, they will do anything to sneak into your abode.

That lead to me doing some serious vacuuming in very hard to reach places. I also alternated with soapy damp microfiber cloths that picked up dirt that I couldn't reach with my tiny vacuum cleaner.

And all that cleaning made me sick.


What's even more embarrassing, I thought my motorhome was rather clean before this crazy rampage. I keep my food super sealed.  My days on leaky boats and salty aired islands taught me that. But apparently those hard to reach places underneath drawers and the backside of the hot water heater, are just empty lonely places that somehow turn into mega dust magnets.

I thought I was going to cough myself to death. Then I thought I was going to hurl up my innards. Then I became hot, then cold, then confused. Doggy and I have been in and out of bed in a collapsed state of disrepair.

I've hooked up the germ killer, used Ozium spray, hooked up negative ion chargers and so on in an attempt to sterilize everything. I've even donned rubber gloves and scrubbed with vinegar and bleach. Not mixed together, but both kill germs and mold in different ways.

Even the dog was hacking and coughing some. Gee wiz.

I emptied out the bed, washed all that in super hot water too. I beat the pillows, then vacuumed them. I ran over all the furniture with the vacuum, something I do pretty often anyhow.

But it seems I was either living in the broom closet where I keep the toilet or languishing in bed praying for a miracle.

Maybe I am allergic to housekeeping.

Life is messy. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Out With A Bang

Avoiding news...

Usually I try to avoid the news. It's depressing. I am trying to be positive about life so the more negatives I can deflect, all the better.

However, while I am workamping, I do search the news occasionally for anything about Lake Hartwell. We do from time to time have some strange events happening around the lake. I try to ignore all the sensational headlines about other stuff while I search, but one caught my eye. I just had to read it.

"107-year-old man killed in standoff with police in Pine Bluff, Arkansas"

I ponder the unsaid, the unwritten, the what ifs.
Was he really that big of threat?
Have we thrown common sense out the window?
Was he just tired of this crazy world?
Did he contemplate suicide by authority force?
Did he just want to go out with a bang?

Seems like if one had managed to make it 107 years, one would stick around just to see what else happens next. But a shoot out?

I wonder what kind of life he lead that he made it through 107 years old before being killed in a standoff.

Life expectancy for males born in 1906 was set at 46.9 years.

Clearly he beat many odds throughout his lifetime until his last fatal encounter.

Before I got around to posting this...  more news has come out. It seems the old fellow had been asked to move out of his rented room. He had only been there a month. He was legally blind and deaf according his friends from church.

It's just so sad.

I think Andy Griffith and Barney Fife would have ended this much differently. We could all learn a lot about how to deal with cantankerous people from that magical show.

At the age of 107, seems like the authorities could have just waited for him to doze off, then relieved him of his gun.

At 107 one probably still needs nap time now and then.

If the police can't disarm a blind deaf 107 year old...

Well, it's just mind boggling.

As for me, I really should keep avoiding the news. It's depressing.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Harley Graduates

Harley dog graduated from puppy school tonight. At the age of three and a half years old.

It was a miracle!

Class was skipped for a week due to the holiday, so Harley was shocked to see the other puppy was quite larger.

Harley is such a cut up in class.  He had a very hard time completing his final exams because he wanted to play with me, caper with the other puppy, romp with the teacher,  flirt with the spectators behind the glass partition, commune with the other pet parents landing in their lap after taking one of his famous flying leaps giving them sloppy kisses and seeming oblivious to anything but spreading cheer.

Look at me!  Look at me!

The other dog has grown in leaps and bounds. He sat there nice and neat, wearing his graduation cap.  He looks perfect in his picture.  Hat on top of his head, calmly sitting in his owner's lap, looking at the camera.

This puppy learned to sit motionless for his beautiful graduation picture.

But Harley didn't want to sit and pose for his picture. No matter how many times we put his cap neatly on his head, he would push it over to the side. He was so thrilled to graduate, he danced around the room with his cap cockeyed looking goofy as a clown in the circus. The hapless teacher was chasing him around trying to snap his picture and we ended up with blurry dog.  I grabbed him up for a posed picture, but he was wiggly not wanting to sit and pose. So I grabbed him quickly while the teacher tried to snap a motionless picture. Even the best one is obscure.

Harley's graduation picture is blurry with his cap rakishly perched on the side of his head. 

Harley just has boundless enthusiasm. He wants to be a meeter greeter or a circus clown or an entertainer or a magician or a dancer when he grows up. For now he is a wild child, comedian and volunteer Bark Ranger. He shows no sign of wishing to grow up at all. An endless puppy.

When it's just him and I, he is sometimes calm like I am boring him. Other times he gets wildly excited pestering me to play with him. Get him around other people or dogs and he springs to life at 99 miles an hour searching for the spotlight.

He surely made the whole day worthwhile. I've had a really rough time but not going to waste time complaining.

I am just super happy to be alive, goofy dog an all.  

Sunday, September 08, 2013

SOS We're Sinking

The bad thing about buying an old used motorhome is that it looks lived in. 

The nice thing about owning an old used motorhome is that it looks lived in.

Today I was going to wash down the cab area, the dash, the front and side windows, the windshield and the engine hood. I felt so guilty that I've spent so much time trying to get well. I am just wore out exhausted. Even today, I had to take two naps. But hey, it beats dealing with waiting rooms, doctors and drug stores.

So after the second nap, I raced around multi-tasking out of sheer guilt.

Huge mistake.

Somehow I missed a critical task along the way which multi-massed into a daytime nightmare.

We're sinking!

Man the pumps, grab the life jackets, find the emergency abandon ship kit. Put out a Mayday. Pray for miracles and angels.

I had the washer going with the bath rug in it. I was outside filling up the water tank, plus washing the windows. Periodically, I would remove the hose from the water tank, to rinse the soapy dirt out of my microfiber rag.

I resumed washing the dash, while the water tank went back to filling up. The washer was humming, the water tank was swooshing, I rinsed my rags some more, because the doggy juice on the windows was thicker than I thought.

Outside I closed the doors, then rinsed off the front of the motorhome. Next I began on the windows up there. I put the hose back in the water tank to fill it some more.

Orange dirt from the Saharan Dust  seemed to be everywhere. The sudsy microfiber wash rag was pretty dirty by now and the drying rag, fairly wet.

I went around the motorhome to go inside for more microfiber cleaning cloths.

Imagine my horror when I saw an exotic waterfall coming down my steps at the front door.

Sorry there's no pics to show you, but I was busier than a flea circus at the dog pound.

Racing inside I was slipping and sliding trying to find the source of the water while grabbing the broom to try to sweep it outside. It was like fording a small river.

In a sinking sailboat, it's so much simpler, you just turn on the bilge pumps to empty out the accumulating water while begging for mercy.

Then I saw the problem. I had failed to hook up the drain hose for the washer.

Oh my gosh. I don't need this foolishness.

The washer cleaned the bath mats, dumping the dirty water on the floor while I was busy outside on the other side of the motorhome with all that other water, washing and so forth.

The washer happily moved onto the next cycle to rinse the rugs, then it splattered all the rinse water on the floor.

I guess you could say my floors got  a thorough cleaning.

It took me hours to mop up most of the mess. As I type this I am yawning with all fans blowing every where to dry anything and everything before the mold even thinks about forming.

But my floors sure are clean!

Saturday, September 07, 2013

September 7 2013

Life on the lake is just gorgeous. Another lovely day in paradise.

Before it gets too cold, it will be time to pack up the circus, load up the wheel estate sailing this carnival down the highways and byways to parts unknown in search of a new utopia.

When I think I am going a little crazy in my diminutive semi-ancient motorhome, the thought of seeing more of this planet earth in far flung parts is the carrot on a stick to perk me right up.

Dreams are good to have. Both dreams for my future and those that occupy down time, like sleep dreams.

Lately my sleeping dreams have taken me far and wide with interesting characters. Folks I hope to meet in person one day. It's mind boggling to fall asleep, dreaming about people I've never met in places I've never been. Sometimes the intricate detail in the dreams makes me think I am living another life in another place and that's why I am so exhausted much of the time.

The Bark Ranger and I are leaving this park in far better shape than we found it. A little ray of sunshine for others to enjoy the fruits of our labors.

Perhaps the Bark Ranger left his mark in a slightly different way.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Drawer Comedy Solved

Drawer Comedy...

I appreciate the comments and suggestions especially the hammer and crowbar ones.

Wouldn't it be fun just to smash everything to smithereens!

But my treasured Corelle dishes are held hostage. I used to eat off these old beat up scratched, dented and faded plastic plates that came with the motorhome when I bought it. But a wonderful angel supplied me with some Corelle dishes. WOW!

A few more useful pieces I managed to snatch up at the Salvation Army Thrift Store for a tiny pittance.

In a campground I met some young good looking boys who were living out of a van, debating about careening around the country before they were forced into settling down to regular jobs and debts.  I was eagerly encouraging them.  Do it while you can!

I say that because there are so many wonderful experiences I had the opportunity to do in my younger days, that I could never do now, because my body is beat up, heavily scarred, wore out and staying alive by the grace of God and pure magic with a large dose of love and caring from wonderful angels, both here on earth and floating around us.

(Phew, that was a lengthy sentence!)

The boys were impressed that I was cooking on an outdoor grill I had hauled out of the dumpster. They kept taking my garbage to the dumpster the rest of their camping stay. Perhaps they wanted first dibs on the loot.

I offered them the grill when I was done with it, I didn't have room to haul it around with me, but it was fun to cook on during my stay at the island campground. They were so eager to have the grill, that I gave them the old plates and anything else in my galley I was no longer using or didn't use enough to justify the space it occupied. When I bought my little old wheel estate, the former owners left a pile of galley gear with it. Some of it useful, much of it wore out leftovers but it was enough to jump start me in living and cooking.

As I kept pulling things out offering things to the boys, they acted like it was Christmas! So much fun, I still think about those guys and wonder what they ended up doing. I also told them about CoolWorks.Com where energetic folks can find eclectic seasonal work, often with accommodations and completion bonuses. Perhaps they could bank up some funds and see their way through an adventure while they were young and healthy.

But back to the drawer...

I've been eyeing a hefty camping ax, methodically sharpening the blade while giving the stubborn drawer dastardly evil looks.

Perhaps I can scare the drawer into opening out of sheer fear of what I might do to it if it doesn't.

*Puff Puff Puff*

I've been secretly working out with weights on the patio.  Out of sight.


I don't want the drawer to know it's stronger than me.

By golly I am going to get beefed up enough to beat that drawer at arm wrestling!

By the way the reader's suggestion not to stuff it so full is certainly well received.

However, everything in it was neatly organized, nested where possible and even the mugs wrapped in thin rubber shelf liner to prevent chipping. It's a HUGE drawer. It gets open and closed 10-15 times a day or more. I'm either getting dishes and pans out, or putting them away.

My dish drainer is teeny tiny, so I pretty much wash in small batches.  The drawer stays busy either accepting cleaned air dry dishes, or spouting them forth when I wish to cook or dine.

However, because of my seafaring days on exotic yachts as hired crew, I pretty much keep things ship shape inside the motorhome. I have a total of 9 drawers. 5 in the bedroom area (2 are tiny) plus 3 very small ones in the galley plus the jumbo mother of all drawers beneath the refrigerator that holds most of the cookware and dining utensils.

So of 9 drawers, 8 of them are precisely organized including the jumbo drawer that was defying me.  One small drawer is always in a state of confusion, only part way organized. I guess everyone ends up with a junk drawer sooner or later. One day I will finish straightening it out.

Still the massive drawer taunted me. It would open about a half inch, then start to fight back. I tried wiggling it, banging on it, shoving it back closed then out again. Still it only gave up that half inch.

My final method was to pray to the spirits to fix it while I slept. I was exhausted and frustrated. Eating and drinking out of a tin can was certainly humbling. I thanked my lucky stars I had food and a tin can to eat it out of.

Life is goof.

I was on day four of this old stubborn drawer. Throughout the night I dreamed of old loved ones who have gone before me to another world.

Imagine my surprise when the next morning, I reached down, half asleep to tug on the drawer, it simply slid open, pretty as you please.

Those spirits do good work!

I was so impressed, I emptied out the entire drawer, vacuumed for dirt, checked to see what was wrong with it but couldn't put my finger on any problems.

Finally I decided perhaps I needed to rearrange my galley in such a way, that the drawer didn't take the brunt of the heavy items.

What was I thinking?

It took me another day and a half to finally get everything cleaned, reorganized into new places, and the jumbo drawer only containing the lightest of light items instead of the heavier stuff.

I am exhausted. I want to cook now. I'm hungry. But I have no idea where anything is anymore.

Spirits at work in mysterious ways. I have no other explanation for the drawer magic.

I have not read this book yet, but I stumbled across it on Amazon after I wrote the above. The title "Angels 101: An Introduction to Connecting, Working, and Healing with the Angels"  astonished me.

Perhaps I am not alone in my thoughts. There are others. Hmmm...

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Drawer Comedy

Some days you just have to wake up, smell the roses and pray for the best. It's a beautiful day here today.

I woke up alive. That completed my bucket list for the day. Wheee!

I've decided my life is just one big comedy. I just need to keep laughing about it too. The more laughter the better.

I have a friend who gets mad at me for laughing. Anytime I am happy they are unhappy. Why do I keep this person around as a friend?  I have no idea. Maybe it's to remind me not to end up a grump.

The great big drawer is broken again. Not only broken, but jammed too. I can't get a thing out of it. It opens about a half inch, just to mock me. Not enough to stick my little hand inside.

For days now, I have been laughing at the drawer.  It holds over half my galley hostage. Just little incidentals like bowls, plates, mugs, cups, cooking utensils, a few pots and pans.

So I laugh.

And eat like a hobo.

Every few hours I test my strength against the drawer. It's like an arm wrestling contest. So far the drawer wins every time.

This is the great big drawer beneath my refrigerator. In most RV's they place the refrigerator above a cabinet or drawer. This is so it gives the illusion of having a large tall refrigerator because the fridge and freezer are eye level, more or less. If they put the fridge on the floor, you would notice how short it is, and you'd be stooping down to retrieve things.

The prior owners let the fridge leak all over the drawer and cabinet facing, so that is why it's not so pretty. All the cabinetry in the RV is in excellent shape save for this great big drawer.

My refrigerator is not frost free, so the water has to drain out somewhere. It's a propane powered fridge that optionally works on electricity. It's an absorption fridge.  Those are different than house type fridges.

I tried to repair the leak numerous times. Last winter, I met a repairman who finally found the exact problem and repaired it. The fridge has not leaked a drop since, except when I get sloppy and klutz it up. Now the refrigerator drains outside, like it was intended to. So that is one problem finally fixed up right.

The drawer has been repaired at least 7 times in 3 years by 5 different people (me included). I guess *sigh*  no one can seem to get it right. At least not for long.

It's a HUGE drawer and I need it for galley stuff.  My RV does not have a lot of storage. Not near as much storage as my sailboat had. RV manufacturers like to waste a lot of space with dead air,  that could be useful storage. Sailboat designers tend to utilize every square inch of usable space.

So even if I get mad and just bust out the jammed drawer wrecking the cabinetry around it, where will I put all the stuff that is in the drawer?

This is an RV. The refrigerator is built-in and can't be moved without a herculean effort that is nothing like moving a household type fridge. The working parts of the fridge are separate, so you have to disassemble the fridge to remove it. No thanks. That's like removing your car engine so you can unjam the glove compartment.

Meanwhile I am drinking my coffee out of a used tin can. Thankfully the coffee pot is built-in, so at least I can make coffee.  I have to wrap a towel around the tin can so I don't get burned from the hot coffee.

Is this comical or what?

I have soup in a box. It's a long life dated box that is sealed without air but lined with foil on the inside. The soup is made without chemical preservatives, so they have to use this method to keep it fresh. Because of the foil I can't microwave the soup in the box.  The pot or bowl to heat it in, is well, held hostage for ransom.

In the drawer.

Meanwhile I cut the top off, eating the soup straight out of the box at room temperature. It was wonderfully delicious.

Staring at the drawer holding my galley hostage, I shake my empty soup box and tin can at it laughing long and hard.

I tell the drawer "You won't defeat me! I can live like a hobo without you!"

Life goes on.  I'm on day 3 of laughing at the drawer and mocking it.


Am I really talking to a drawer now?

Well, I am going to take doggy outside for a walk. When we come back, I am going to laugh at that drawer some more. Then have another arm wrestle with it.

My life is one big comedy and I am the reluctant star!

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Laughter Feels So Good

I needed some seriously good laughter for medicine. I hope you find these funny pictures worthy of a giggle.

You can click to enlarge them if you are on the webpage, not sure the enlargement works if you are receiving this by email subscription. 

Below, Harley's cousin was showing off in his ride. 
Now Harley wants a sun roof in the RV.

I see aliens!

Qwerty Forehead

Recuperating, Rambling, Roving, Writing...

Too much recuperating and not enough adventure lately.

I shouldn't complain, we're both alive and smiling.

Doggy and I are going a little stir crazy.  We've been stuck inside the little old wheel estate alone too much instead of out and about on our feet and paws. Harley is a real trooper by my side, but he is sick of this routine as much as me.

When I am not napping I am doing medical research on the internet. This is very frustrating and not near as easy as it sounds. But it will cure insomnia. More than once I woke up to my face planted on the keyboard.

I look in the mirror and see the faint outline of "QWERTY" on my forehead.

My naps are so frequent lately, I wonder if I am really a cat and no one told me.

I am sort of looking forward to getting back into a campground eventually where there are people around and a chance to make friends or have a dog walking companion.

Poor doggy needs his exercise. I so miss my walks around the park.

I hope the litter isn't piling up. Harley and I normally dog walk all over the park, picking up the trash folks toss out on the ground. It is a beautiful place. Folks come here to swim or picnic or go boating, there is no campground in this park.  I am oh so lucky to be living here.

Lately we just walk around the large yard near the camper. I tire out too easily to get further along. I play chase the golf ball with Harley to run his little legs off. Usually he brings it back so the game can continue. We like to do this until he is panting out of breath, gulping down water, then *whew* we can both take a break.

Waking up alive is the most precious gift of all.