Monday, April 30, 2012

Two to Nine

I so hate skipping days and try to post once every day, but when the internet goes on the fritz, life happens and the post doesn't get out. 

Hunting Island State Park beach in South Carolina with photo by

On a fun note, besides having the internet flake out on me, my little camp site for two (one mermaid and a monkey dog) suddenly became nine, with  three adults, four teenagers and two dogs. It seems some of my friends finally decided to accept my chronic  invitations and actually SHOW UP in spite of the five hour drive required to do so. 

I was thrilled, as was Harley dog, to have all the chaos and excitement.  We cooked up a mess of great foods, including local fresh shrimp and awesome crab.  We washed a mountain of dishes, swept 10 pounds of sand out of the camper, took numerous walks to the dump to keep the campsite more or less cleaned up. At night we spread out between my camper, a tent and a van.  Of course both dogs had to share beds with humans, their choice, naturally.

Ironically, before the crowd, I had carried out the garbage finding a nearly new grill parked at the dump. I hauled it back to camp. When the visitors arrived, they immediately pushed it into service. What fun!  

At one point we were out of  eggs to make crab cakes to cook on the grill. We dispatched a teenager to see if they could go  appropriate eggs from another camp site. Amazingly she came back with 3 eggs  in short order. After the crab cakes were made, we sent some  over to our surprised egg donor. 

In between the nuts and bolts of camping and cooking, we romped on the beach from one end to the other. We spread out between fishing, crabbing, hiking, cooking,  and creating general mayhem. There was never a dull moment.  The first night, out of sheer excitement,  we all sat around the camp fire until a ridiculous hour, being mindful to not break the "quiet hours" rule.  We hoped no one would complain that we laughed too loud while trying to shush each other down to a loud whisper. 

Oh to be a teenager again...  it was  fun to have them around, rather than feeling old, I felt rather young.  

Hunting Island State Park campground in South Carolina with photo by DearMissMermaid.Com
Above is my campground for one mermaid and a dog. 
Below is campground for 3 adults, 4 teenagers and 2 dogs.  The firepit has been relocated to the front of the campground. The tent has been put away. 

Hunting Island State Park campground in South Carolina with photo by DearMissMermaid.Com

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hunting Island Scenes Part Eight

Hunting Island Beach in South Carolina, photo by Dear Miss Mermaid
We blew into Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina along with the storm last Sunday. This seems to happen every time I come here. Last October the storm was so ferocious, that a tree branch took a stab at my roof, entering my kitchen ceiling (The Stabbing). It's is all patched up for now. 

Hunting Island Beach in South Carolina with photo by
The next day, skies were clear and the beach was absolutely gorgeous. With 5 miles of beach, it's easy for the campers to find their own piece of sand without the place being crowded at all. South Carolina state parks and beaches are dog friendly, so dog lovers flock to this campground with their canine companions.  

Seashell at Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina, photo by Dear Miss Mermaid
Low tide reveals seashells scattered everywhere. 

Palmetto at Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina, photo by
This palmetto has a massive root system above and below and the sand.  Sometimes high tide splashes up against the trees. 

Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina with photo by Dear Miss Mermaid
Mother nature has a sense of humor. A live tree, uses a dead tree to prop upon. You can see how the front of the campground backs up to the sand dunes.  The fence is designed to let the sand dunes pile up, while discouraging pedestrian traffic. There are marked paths to the beach, so that the rest of the sand dunes can accumulate to protect the beach from erosion. Turtles need those sand dunes to lay their eggs. They really dig this beach. 

Driftwood at Hunting Island State Park beach in South Carolina with photo by
Driftwood sculpture fascinates me. What a beautiful world. 

Travel with Harley, Hunting Island State Park, photo by
I have to run now. I have a tennis date with Harley, who is patiently waiting in my favorite chair (he is a well known seat thief)  with his slightly dirty tennis ball. Ironically, when we pulled into our campsite, this  tennis ball was waiting for us (it was nice and clean at that time). 

Harley thinks campsites come with gifts. At McIntosh Lake RV Park (Townsend, Georgia) our neighbors gave him a huge sack of colorful dog treats.  Then at Savannas Recreation Area in Fort Pierce, Florida, two golf balls landed on our lot (one while we were outside playing) from the nearby golf course. I guess since it was out of bounds, the golfers would have had to leave the golf course, crossing the alligator moat to come retrieve it.  No one came asking for their balls. 

At Long Point Park (Melbourne Beach, Florida) the staff gives Harley an enthusiastic greeting.  They feed him dog treats they keep in an  office drawer in a tin shaped like a dog bone. 

Small wonder he arrives at each campground with unbridled enthusiasm. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Outraged Over My Campsite Being Searched Again

Hunting Island Campground, South Carolina, photo by

I am careful to abide by all the rules. But still they show up. Then they thoroughly search my campsite. It's annoying. I've done nothing wrong. Not breaking any laws here, just peacefully camping with my puppy dog and a few friends are  visiting off and on.  But search it they do  and with their grimy hands. 

Every day.  

Every night. Is this harassment?

What are they looking for?  I ask them, but they refuse to tell me. I like to be outdoors, so I have awning, chairs, table, rug, set up, plus the picnic table is here. I am working on various projects, so much of that is scattered on my table, as I plod forward. 

We went to the beach, then came back to find them searching my campsite again. They have even woken me up in the dead of night because they were making such a ruckus searching my camp outside. In the dark! What an outrage!  Harley barks at them ferociously.  I ask them to leave. They ignore us. 

I draw the line, refusing to let them inside and I lock my door when we go to the beach. Legally, nothing they can do about that. But still they inspect every square inch of my outdoor camp and have crawled under my motorhome several times checking up under there for gawd-knows-what. 

Are they confusing me with a known smuggler?  

Afterwards the buggers even had the nerve to wash their filthy hands in my dog's outdoor water dish. It's an old stainless steel cooking pan. It's heavy enough the dog doesn't drag it away, the winds can't blow it into another camp site. I fill it to the top with fresh water every day. Now the search party washed their dirty hands in it after crawling under my motorhome to search.  How tacky is that?

Tsk tsk tsk.  Is that not rude or what?  Some say I should just pack up and leave, but why?  The campground won't refund my money if I leave, I've done nothing wrong. I just want to peaceably live my life. 

Today I noticed they busted up some plastic Easter eggs. I had saved them to give to my luncheon guest yesterday. He opened them, then ate the candy. He closed them back up, setting them on the outdoor table. The search party, while trying to open the eggs to see what I might be hiding in there, simply broke them into  jagged pieces. 

Then for good measure, they knocked everything off my outdoor table. Is that not spiteful or what?  Here I am a law abiding citizen, just camping out near the beach, trying to have a little fun. 

Next they opened up the outdoor coffee can I use for small bits of garbage. I bet they were surprised!  It mostly contained cigarette butts, shrimp peelings and doggy poop baggies. Used doggy poop baggies. Ha ha!  I saw their noses wrinkle up in disgust at  the unpleasant aroma of those three combined. So they scattered the contents across the campsite. I had to pick up the mess. I surely didn't want them writing me tickets for littering. 

It's not just me getting the special treatment. Finally I met some other campers who complained they too were the subject of frequent searches, with the search party making a huge mess of their camp too. 

One camper said, they opened up his cooler and confiscated all his food while he was at the beach. Now they have nothing to eat until they travel 20 miles back back to the closest grocery store. 

Today when they showed up, I got out my camera and started snapping pictures of them but this time, they ran off, as if my camera was the very devil. But I still got a good picture of one of them, even though he is wearing a mask. I guess they don't want to be identified.  

Scroll down for the clearest picture I could get.

Racoons at Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina by

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hunting Island Scenes Part Seven

My wheel estate instinctively veers off course to head for Hunting Island whenever possible. I am enchanted with this magical island that I first  glimpsed when I was around 5 or 6 years old. I was ready to plant my roots.  

I've always wanted to live here forever. I still do. I've tried 9 different ways  to get a workamping assignment here. But alas, they want couples only for the campground. It makes me so sad. I would be such a huge asset to them but my solo status seems to make that impossible.  

Yesterday Harley and I walked the entire campground past 210 camping lots. We had a cold snap that plunged temperatures down to 46F degrees last night. By the time Harley and I were ready for a walk, it was up to 52F degrees. By afternoon it was 74F degrees, with milder nights planned for the rest of the week. 

South meets north. 

That morning Harley wore a sweater with a plaid flannel jacket while I had on boots, long thick leggings, a camouflaged shirt and a very heavy jacket, with nice warm pockets. As we walked around, Harley was shivering as we encountered other southerners bundled up in hats, sweaters, jackets, long pants, socks, gloves and boots.  The northerners were walking around in shorts, lightweight shirts and sandals or sneakers,  teasing the southerners, saying this is not cold. 

Hunting Island State Park and Campground in South Carolina  photo by  DearMissMermaid.Com
You just never know what is going to wash up on the beach next.
This horseshoe crab washed arrived with a hitchiker attached to her shell. 
She may have been attempting to lay eggs.  Females dig a hole between the spring high tide and low tide to bury 4,000 or more eggs which are about the size of a pinhead.  Horseshoe crabs like to live in the intertidal flats the first 9-12 years before reaching a reproductive age. As adults they often move into deeper waters, living up to about 18 years old. 

Hunting Island State Park and Campground in South Carolina  photo by  DearMissMermaid.Com
A blue claw crab was left behind at low tide.  I have no idea where the rest of his body is. A crab can lose his claw and survive. He will eventually grow a new one, but if he loses both, then he becomes easy prey. 

Hunting Island State Park and Campground in South Carolina  photo by  DearMissMermaid.Com
A laughing gull shorebird. 

Hunting Island State Park and Campground in South Carolina  photo by  DearMissMermaid.Com
Hunting Island boasts 5 miles or so of unspoiled beach. 

Hunting Island State Park and Campground in South Carolina  photo by  DearMissMermaid.Com

Driftwood  makes interesting art from nature. 

Hunting Island State Park and Campground in South Carolina  photo by  DearMissMermaid.Com

Home sweet home this week.  No two campsites at Hunting Island are identical in size nor terrain. Mine happened to be rather large with tropical trees, sand and grass. I used lumber underneath the right front tire to level up the wheel estate. 

Amazing what a few inches of hard wood can do.


Hunting Island Scenes Part One through Six were posted in October 2011:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gypsy Plan Sojourn aka GPS

I am so lucky! I had an eggstra wonderful Easter and birthday. My fans, friends and framily saw to it! A huge thank you to all you wonderful angels!

My dear friends that I workamped with this winter in Florida astounded me with a GPS for by birthday. Wowie! 

So, I am now traveling  by GPS (Girl Planning Service). I have never ever owned a GPS. Yet I spent decades messing about boats at sea. I think I sailed to 15 or so countries, will have to actually sit down and count one day. I think it was at 12 or 13 when I lost count awhile back. Anyhow, I got there with compass, charts, stars and prayer. The old fashioned way. Small wonder they call it "dead reckoning". You reckon you'll get there or be dead if you don't. 

Now I am learning GPS (Gypsy Plan Sojourn) for the first time ever. I understand about lattitude and longitude, attitudes and youtube. But programming the GPS (General Plotting Scheme) to get me where I am going on a route I prefer is a bit of a bewildering effort. But I have used it 3-4 times now and more or less turned up where I wanted to be, so YAY! It works.

The GPS (Great Planning Service) talks in a female voice. The first time she started directing us, Harley barked at her. He searched the motorhome frantically, very upset with this lady he can hear but not see. He gave me worried looks while I tried to calm him down and explain GPS (Ghostly Paranormal Speech) to him. 

I still get lost but now when I do this lady says "Make a legal U-turn! Make a legal U-turn!"

Um, I'm in a 30 foot chunk of wheel estate. (I guess you could say I lengthened it when I added the toy box out back. )

Is it legal to make a U-turn while overshooting the road, driving up on the curb, across a field of weeds, then banging back off the curb, narrowly missing a mailbox and into a lane of traffic on the road while listening to blaring horns and screeching brakes?

Hmm... maybe not. 

I drive forward sightseeing, debating what to do. Right when I found a place to turn around in a parking lot, I was almost back on the road in the U-turn direction she had insisted on when she says "Turn right"  (but we were going to turn left because that would put us back heading in the U-turn direction she wanted us to go.)

Is she mocking me?

Harley glares at her, then me. We turn left anyhow. The lady is silent.

We drive a mile or so. The lady is still speechless.

Have we offended her? 

Is she giving us the silent treatment for our transgressions?
The silent minutes march forward as we drive back down the highway.  Eventually she forgave us then piped up "Turn left in one mile." 
Ah... She is going to talk to us after all. 

So today, I am going to attempt to program her again. I am having trouble learning how to tell her we want to stop hither and yonder then end up at the next campground. 

I am hoping overall, that this GPS (Grand Plan Scheme)  will save me gasoline and actually help me those times I have appointments in places I can't find, which is often. 

So far GPS has routed me like this since April 11. The A-F is everywhere we have camped thus far. Well I am not at F yet, but I am optimistic about making it there today. If the GPS (Girl Prattling Source) can find it. 

RV campgrounds by DearMissMermaid.Com

Gypsy Plan Sojourn aka GPS (this blog)
was originally posted at: 22 Apr 2012 06:04 AM PDT
Then it simply vanished. Lucky me, I signed up for a subscription to my blog which is delivered to an obscure email address. When I went there to check, there was a copy of the errant blog. So I am reposting it and praying the cyber thieves don't nab it again...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Missing Blog Mystery

A comment on yesterday's   Blogger Wars:

 Linda said...
It was there this morning... I read it, even linked it on my FB page. I didn't take it though! So sorry it is gone!
I even made a nice comment! Oh well, sending you good thoughts now.

Thank you for that comment!  You make me feel sane (a scary thought...)  I saw my post too, then later in the day it was just gone.  Poof!  Vanished!  Never to be seen again. 

The mystery of the missing blog...

I think life exists solely to poke fun at me. 

Yesterday I was driving to Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina near Beaufort, halfway between Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. A huge storm broke out while I was driving.  It never fails. 

For the past two years, whenever I have the opportunity to detour over to Hunting Island, I do. If I could live here fulltime year round, I probably would but I think the max stay is 2 weeks except in the dead of winter, you can stay all month at a special rate not available any other time of the year. 

I fell in love here as a mere child. It was at that moment, I knew that I  had arrived on earth. The ocean called my name, boats fascinated me, fresh shrimp and crab were delectable, the jungle fascinating. 

Hunting Island boasts over five miles of unspoiled beach, thousands of acres of marsh, tidal creeks, maritime forest, a saltwater lagoon and an ocean inlet. The lighthouse, which is open to the public, is the only commercial venture near the beach other than the little campground store.  

Lighthouse at Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina with  photo by  DearMissMermaid.Com

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Blogger Wars

I wrote a beautiful post with pictures. I hit the publish button. That was early this morning. Then I busted up camp, drove to a new place and settled down again. Eventually I turned on the computer to make a phone call.  I checked to see if my post looked OK.  

Daggum it, my hard work simply VANISHED.  It's not here, it's not there. 

Boo hoo. Google Chrome and Internet Explorer were fighting over my laptop this morning. I guess my column was a casualty their war. 

So this is all you get for now. I am pooped. But what the heck, here's a pretty picture, the fun part about not owning land and living like a gypsy in a caravan. 

You can have flowers in your yard one day and a beach in it the next. 


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Welaka Lodge and Resort in Florida

“Madness is only a variety of mental nonconformity and we are all individualists here.”

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Cross Creek

Welaka Lodge and Resort with RV sites on St Johns River in Welaka Florida with photo by  DearMissMermaid.Com
It's hard to believe this little doggy used to be terrified of water, docks, and bridges.  Now he sniffs his way down this deck at the bar and restaurant on the St Johns River at Waleka Lodge and Resort. We stayed in their wonderful RV park recently.

The St. Johns River is 310 miles in length and the longest river in Florida. Among its many distinct characteristics, the St. Johns is one of few major rivers in the USA that flow north. The River and its tributaries drain about one-sixth of the state of Florida. The river flows from its headwaters in marshes southwest of Cape Canaveral, evolving into a series of lakes, finally maturing into a river averaging two miles in width for its final one hundred miles into Jacksonville, eventually entering the Atlantic Ocean.

Welaka Lodge and Resort with RV sites on St Johns River in Welaka Florida with photo by  DearMissMermaid.Com
Harley reports "Oh my gosh, what a BIG water bowl!  Where's the doggy that drinks out of this?"
Welaka Lodge and Resort with RV sites on St Johns River in Welaka Florida with photo by  DearMissMermaid.Com
The path to the bar and restaurant on the St Johns River has special parking for the golf carts and motorcycles that frequent the area. Harley was on his best behavoir at the open-air restaurant.  He sat under my chair very quiet, while I had lunch with a friend. 

A bird startled him when it flew across the deck, he let out one bark. I leaped out of my seat, announcing, he was going home. But everyone said "Oh, let him stay!"  So we lingered awhile more and he didn't make another sound, but he did flirt with anyone that dared to look at him. 

When my hamburger arrived, I sliced off a quarter of the meat, letting it cool on the side of my plate.  Once my friend and I  were finished with our lunch, I took Harley back out to the grassy area. I told him to sit, which he has finally learned to do on command. YAY!  Then I fed him the burger for being such a nice doggy. Afterwards, we went back out on the deck. I've been training him that he can not beg nor bother me when I am eating. It's like he's starting to understand some of his training. I never thought it would take me this long to train him. Either he is hard headed or I am a lousy trainer but he has learned a lot.
More or less.
Welaka Lodge and Resort with RV sites on St Johns River in Welaka Florida with photo by  DearMissMermaid.Com
One of the five cottages available for rent at Welaka Lodge and Resort.

My little wheel estate was cozy here.

“I do not understand how anyone can live without some small place of enchantment to turn to.”

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Friday, April 20, 2012

GPS aka Girl Planning Stuff

My brain is in a fog.  My computer had a technology hiccup, spent hours trying to fix that.  Then my brain had a meltdown. So much work to do to patch up the wheel estate and I feel very confused! 

Also, studying GPS my friends gave me for my birthday. I love it.  More on my hilarious learning curve later...

In the interim, I made a repeat stop at a favorite little place I first discovered last fall. A small peaceful place on Lake McIntosh.  Enjoy the pics while I go do housework and see if that clears the cobwebs out of my noodle.

McIntosh Lake campground and RV Park, Townsend, Georgia by DearMissMermaid.Com

McIntosh Lake campground and RV Park, Townsend, Georgia by DearMissMermaid.Com

McIntosh Lake campground and RV Park, Townsend, Georgia by DearMissMermaid.Com

Help Support a mermaid and her dog...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chapels and Another Alligator

Yesterday we drove an astonishing 190 miles in under 6 hours. For some reason my body locks up into place when I drive. I have to stop every hour and take a break. 

The first stop was at Dollar Tree (everything is $1) to get some  coffee and  tea bags. I drink about a gallon of iced tea daily.  I need all the fluids to keep the poisons flushed out of my system. Green tea and peppermint tea have loads of unique health benefits and both are carried at bargain prices at this store. At first when I stepped out of the wheel estate, I felt really weak. I crept around trying to walk Harley to the postage stamp sized landscaping in the parking lot then put him back inside. I managed to walk to the store feeling like I was in somebody else's body. It was hot outside and cool inside,  I began to feel much better as I walked the aisles.

Eventually we rolled on down the highways for another hour. 

The second break, I climbed out of the drivers seat and collapsed on the ground. Nothing wanted to work.  My legs gave out, my knees folded up, my hips protested and bingo-bango-boom, there I was laying on the ground,  looking at the Truckers Chapel. I thought I was hallucinating, as I didn't recall pulling into a church parking lot, but there I was  staring up at a chapel made from a truck rig.  

Harley was barking frantically, jumping up and down in the drivers seat. Finally I stood back up, opening up the door, assuring him I was OK. I took his picture, because he looked so serious!

This time I bought a banana, apple juice and coconut water, hoping that would improve my disposition. I took Harley for a walk and we took a picture of the chapel above. 

Eventually we made it to a lovely campground. I've been weak and pooped out ever since. Sheesh!  I remember now why we usually keep our drives much shorter. 

Which we did take a third  and fourth break. No wonder it takes me so long to drive so little. On one of the breaks, I made lunch for us.

But Harley was such a good doggy, when we went to bed, I brought out his treat, a new toy from the store that made me laugh out loud when I saw it, so I splurged a $1 and bought it for him. 

It's an alligator!  He had great fun torturing it into squeaking quite loudly, his little tail wiggling in delight.    Then I would toss it down the aisle of the wheel estate and he would chase it then bring it back to bed. He makes me laugh every day. And THAT feels great, in spite of the road-rash on my knees from falling down. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Time to Shuffle Along

Welaka Florida by http://DearMissMermaid.Com
Harley sleeping by http://DearMissMermaid.Com
Wake me up when you are ready for me to drive.
Time to bust up the camp in Welaka, Florida and hit the road. We are days behind schedule. I feel like dog poop, but thinking of driving anyhow. Time will tell if I make it out of here or not today.

I just discovered last night, you can buy and keep instant music from Amazon.  In other words you can download individual tunes or albums and listen to them moments later. I must be the last to understand this newfangled technology. A musician friend wanted to learn a particular song. We were able to download it from Amazon for 99 cents.  He listened to it over and over about 5 times, then sat down at his keyboards, playing and singing the song flawlessly. Simply amazing. Not sure which impressed me more... that you can buy instant music on your computer or that he could just learn a new song that quickly without any paperwork involved. I have to have written music in front of me to play anything at all on the piano. I guess I have no real talent other than being able to read sheet music and play it.  My friend, on the other hand is a musician magician.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It Just Keeps Getting Better Or Am I Confused Again

Every day just gets better than the last.  I awoke before dawn, waiting for the sun to rise. A strange ritual I enjoy.  Believe me, if the sun doesn't pop up one day,  I will be the first to let you know. 

My schedule has flown out the window again, so I am in the wrong spot or the incorrect day, I forget which,  something like right pew, left church or is it a one way street that dead ended. 

I fell in love with the current campground at Welaka, Florida so I am still here, extending day by day, but I need to shake a leg, make a plan then mosey on down the highway.

Now that I've sewn up my future workamping schedule, many are calling to ask me to come workamp with overlapping dates. Some are places I would love to go, but once I've committed to a workamping gig, I don't want to change.  I like to keep my word, honoring my prior commitments. 

Once I get my writing income better organized (ha ha ha!) or maybe I should say, once I get it at a living wage, I won't be taking on so much workamping. But for now, for me, it's an end to a means, a way to keep me rolling in my wheel estate. 

I've learned how to turn a trip to the grocery store into an adventure when I am workamping. Many folks lament the fact I don't have a car or alternate transportation. They say driving the motorhome to the grocery store must be expensive. But for me, it's worked out far cheaper not to have a car. For what I spend on gas driving the motorhome on errands, I couldn't even begin to afford a car, insurance, maintenance, and so on. Usually I do my provisioning and errand-running when I am traveling between campgrounds anyhow, so there are no extra costs involved. 

I like to live eco-friendly. One less person running around the overcrowded streets in another dang car, is good for the environment (the one less car). I think it's hilarious that the folks who scream and holler about tobacco smokers, never say a word about the huge amount of pollution filling our world from this excessive love affair with individual car ownership and a propensity to drive one solo, each and every day, on multiple trips,  no matter what. Frankly, I am so glad I get to avoid driving and riding in cars every day.

Lately, traversing around in my motorhome as I approach the location of my next workamping assignment, I am truly amazed at the heavy traffic I keep finding myself driving through. I wonder, is ANYBODY at home or at work because it seems like everyone is in their car on the roads 24/7.  Where did all these crowds of folks and their vehicles come from?

In my 22 year absence from America while living and working overseas,  it appears to me, upon relocating back to America,  that in the past two decades or so, car ownership and people has multiplied by 10 to 20 times or more.  

However, once I am workamping for awhile, I have to eventually bust up camp to go shopping for food.  This is not as bad as it sounds. It does force me to clean and organize for the trip. Getting better organized is always a good thing. Well, it's a major hassle, but worth the effort. I usually make a day of it,when I go grocery shopping,  looking for free entertainment after shopping, such as exploring a public park or dog park.  

My friends that sold their fifth-wheel RV to relocate to Brazil, gave me a mountain of food and other gifts. So I've thrown my menus out the window, to start planning around the new food inventory. My grocery list to feed me for the next two weeks, only contains 4 items now. Wow!  My friends have no idea what a HUGE help all this food is. Also for my birthday, I received unique goodies from friends, fans and "framily"  including several boxes in the mail of organic foods.  So if you are hungry, just stop by my place for the menu du jour. Feeding friends is 99% of my annual entertainment budget. Living "efficiently" means the entertainment budget is practically zero. But feeding "framily" is fun and entertaining, something I enjoy. A leisurely meal with great conversation al fresco in a gogeous campground... What more could I ask for?

I've decided there is going to be no car in my future at all. Traveling solo, I  find it so much easier to just deal with the wheel estate only. 

However, I am considering saving up for an electric bicycle like this one on Amazon. You can pedal or use the battery or both. That way if I go bike riding to the store or somewhere and suddenly get tired (a mega medical problem that plagues me) I can flip the switch to the electric motor, then get back home again. Of course part of the problem is the cost of the accouterments I need to go with the bike, that drives the price up higher.  Harley needs a basket up front to ride in, then I want a basket in back for shopping.  Then there is the ding-a-ling bell, the night light and the locking cable, so I can lock it up when I am not riding it,  the bike rack to haul it out back of the wheel estate, the helmet for those states that insist you wear one, and so on. At the rate I am going, and what with all the other wheel estate repairs that pop up when you least expect them, well saving up for this could take a very long time. But I am patient...

The number one consideration about living efficiently on a tiny budget is PATIENCE.  No impulse shopping allowed unless it's a fantastic bargain and something already on the wish list.  This is assuming the funds are even available to take advantage of the fabulous bargain. Otherwise, tons of patience, planning and waiting can save one massive bucks. I am constantly having to re-sort the priority list. For instance, my wheel estate needs some critical repairs that I just can not do on my own. So I am going to have to hire those jobs out and the sooner the better, but first I have to more or less plan ahead. 

My brain just gets overloaded some days. What to do first?

But having friends pack up to move overseas and bestowing loads of useful items upon me has certainly had a wonderful advantageous impact on my efficient budget. 

I am so lucky!  

Best of all, I woke up alive and I feel great.

And the sun came up. 

Sunrise at Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina with  photo by  DearMissMermaid.Com
I took this photo at sun rise on 
October 2011

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dem Gators

My blog is not always a detailed day by day happening.  Many of you who have read me for years, know that I often write out of sequence. This was written  in March when I was visiting Savannas Recreation Area, Fort Pierce, Florida but I am just now getting around to posting it. My brain still works funny.  I discovered I have over 200 unpublished posts in progress, so I may eventually get them all finished. 

Savannas Recreation Area, Fort Pierce, Florida  by dear miss mermaid copyright
Welcome to Savannas Recreation Area, Fort Pierce, Florida

I should have known when you enter a beautiful campground and the first thing you see is "Do Not Feed Alligators"  that this visit was bound to be an adventure. 

The office assigned my spot, even though I noticed others were allowed to drive through and pick their own spots. I let it slide. I decided long ago to be happy with my camping lot.  Sometimes you end up with a fantastic place, other times, a not so great spot. But if you can't make yourself happy where you end up parked, or you've become ultra picky, then maybe traveling like a gypsy isn't for you. So I tell myself to love the spot and have a great time. 

This was worked wonderfully well so far. 

Long ago, I read on somebody's blog that they took a picture of their RV in  every place they spent the night. So I am doing that too. It's a terrific idea.  

As I write this now, I am up before dawn, waiting for the sun to rise. It's something I often do. Get up to watch the sun come up!  I don't know why that daily miracle fascinates me so much, but it does. I think it's a reminder than I've been handed a wonderful gift.  Another day on this wild planet, another day I've been spared.  

I only got lost a few times. Not in finding the park, but in finding the Publix grocery store. I passed three grocery stores, but each time I was in the wrong lane in thick traffic, unable to change lanes to make the turn in time. Since I had directions to a grocery store a few miles before the park, I figured, I still had a chance of finding it. 

I added that cargo carrier to my RV hitch, so instead of 27 feet long, I am now almost 30 feet long. I am trying to remember this when I change lanes, so that I don't twack another vehicle with my cargo carrier, which I can not see in my mirrors, I just have to remember it's back there. 

When I got to where the grocery store should be, I couldn't find it. I ended up on some side streets, dodging low hanging trees and a basketball hoop that was parked in the street. Not by the street, but IN the street. Then I realized what the problem was, why I couldn't see the store. 

Can't see the forest for the trees...

Years back the parking lot of the shopping mall area had been carefully landscaped and manicured with perfect little  trees precisely planted. Now those trees had all grown to the identical height. They cleverly blocked not only all the signs for the mall, but every sign on the facade above the stores. So when I looked for the grocery store, all I saw was trees. 

Can't see the mall for the trees...  Never thought I would say that in America!

I will give Florida an A+ in my book for beautiful parking lots. Many are exquisitely  landscaped, which makes my four legged co-pilot very happy who is often treated to a brief tour of the parking lot landscaping. He likes to water the bushes and trees. If he leaves a deposit, I am a pretty good pet parent, I clean up his poop.  I can't say that all dog walkers do this...  but I try to be decent about it all. 

Of course some of those gorgeous landscaped parking lots with lots of trees, can be a real nightmare for my wheel estate, as I slowly drive very erratically trying to dodge low hanging branches. I fear I resemble a drunk, very uncertain at the wheel, but in reality, I am trying not to bang into anything.  Sometimes the trees are too short for me to give Harley the dog,  some shade while I am shopping. 

On this day, I feared the heat was too much, so to give me peace of mind while I shopped, I treated Harley to the generator and air conditioning in his rolling dog house. 

alligator and wildlife at savannas campground in fort pierce florida by dear miss mermaid copyright

This alligator kept a constant vigil in the wetlands a few feet behind my  wheel estate.

The next morning, I was waiting at the office when they unlocked the doors.

I asked to move to a different lot, one I had picked out, that was much further from the gators.

Yes, I am a wimp and I was just too worried about my tiny dog, to be happy where I was.  

I felt like I couldn't enjoy my outdoor "patio" because this alligator was intently staring at me and my dog, watching our every move. I felt like he was waiting to leap out of the water and snatch up my puppy dog, making a mere hors d'oeuvre out of him. 

Wheel Estate at Savannas Recreation Area and Campground in Fort Pierce Florida by Dear Miss Mermaid, copyright
Nothing is set up outside other than my awning, because
just a few feet in back is that alligator watching us.
I took this picture then put away the awning and
moved clear across the park, leaving our alligator friend behind. 

PS...A big thank you to all the angels that shop Amazon through any of my links. I earn a small commission any time you enter Amazon through my links. Those little checks that eventually turn up, are a huge help with my "efficient" budget. 

For  RV-ers, you might be pleasantly surprised that Amazon is hugely competitive on RV and camping supplies. Also by joining Amazon Prime, not only do you get a host of benefits, but you also get 2 day shipping on most of their items. This means having items shipped to your RV park is a breeze. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Funday

Turkey Lake
Orlando, Florida

OK, just toss that schedule right out the window. I arrived a day late and already extended my stay under these moss dripping oaks by the St John's River in Florida. Pictures coming on another day. 

My friends who are moving to Brazil by way of plane rather than RV, have bestowed my wheel estate with hundreds of gifts.  I am still sorting and storing and tossing out or regifting my old stuff to make room.  

See ya later.