Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ready To Run

I used to be a hurricane and weather correspondent in far flung ports. Matter of fact, I've been through hurricanes overseas and ran from a few in America.

Now Joaquin is on the loose, it's pronounced wah-keen but JOKIN' sounds more fun, as in you gotta be jokin' me! Wah-keen reminds me I have to go out wah-keen with the dog...

Typically I keep my motorhome ready for disaster. And I've had plenty of disasters...

But all jokin' aside, I knew my water tank was empty and I wanted to fill it. You just never know when the campground will have a water issue and there you sit with an empty tank and no water. Tsk tsk, no fun. No jokin'!

Besides having a full water tank is very convenient if I drive somewhere, I can flush the toilet, wash my hands, bathe the dog, make lunch, all while traveling. Well, I don't really bathe the dog while driving, but when he was a puppy, I was going to see friends. in Ohio. I wanted them to like my puppy, so I pulled over at a truck stop. With my tank of water, I tossed puppy in the sink for a bath, then put him up front in the passenger seat. I turned the fan on that blows through the vents and my puppy blow dried on the way to my friend's house. I arrived with a fluffy dry puppy that smelled clean.

So yesterday I stumbled across Hurricane Joaquin and even though she, oops he,  is not predicted to hit me on the Georgia coast, I still want to be prepared. He could take a turn and head this way. I would like to run like the wind with my full tank of gas and water as a head start. Yepper, I try to keep the gas tank topped up before I camp. That way if I flee in a hurry, I can go 400-500 miles on that tank.

Also my generator uses the same gas tank. If the current campground has a power failure on a miserably hot humid day, I can fire up the generator to crank on that good old comfortable air conditioning.

So yesteday, I drove the motorhome and forgot to fill up the gas tank, even though I thought about it, talked about it, planned on it then OOPSY it slipped my addled brain. Shoot.

Yesterday was the FIRST time I have driven my motorhome since busting up my wrist in July. Well, actually, I drove it about a mile the day after I broke my wrist. I didn't know my wrist was broken, I just knew I woke up with teeth marks on it, ready to finish chewing it off, it hurt like an injured paw caught in a bear trap.

My friend who was traveling with me at the time, well we both thought I was a big wimpy baby. We left the campground in search of pain pills which about 30 miles later landed us in an emergency room in a small town that didn't appear to have a walk-in clinic.

But before all that happened, I had to attend to something super important and I wanted to drive the mile required to accomplish my task. Once my labor of love was completed, I told my friend, I couldn't drive another mile. He took over and such is the long boring odyssey of the shattered wrist, subsequent surgery and all sorts of madness. It seems to be taking FOREVER to heal.

Yesterday my friend had to be dropped off 7 miles from the campground. So he drove my motorhome there, and I drove it back. It was hot and humid and I was a tad cranky from the pain. I was too scared to take anything for the pain, being that I had to drive.

Driving turned out to be not so bad, but putting on the seatbelt, rolling down the window, closing the door, was a huge painful nightmare that had me muttering unprintable things under my breath. I forgot to top up the gas tank, but I think it's still at about 85% full, so maybe I be OK.

I can't wear the arm brace and drive. Actually I am mostly just using the brace at night. If I wear it all day too, I get nothing done. It aggravates me too. Grrr...

Every day I am doing loads of finger and wrist exercises but the pain is just awful. It makes me not so nice sometimes, because I don't want to take the pain pills because they damage my damaged kidneys, but sometimes the pain is so great, I have to pick and choose my battles.

Oh back to the water tank. I filled it up and well like I sometimes do when distracted, I overfilled it. Oh fun. Typically it just spits back out the overfill which is there to let air out while water goes in and to let water out if too much water goes in.

That's when I noticed the electrical compartment where the 30 amp cord is attached was leaking water too. Very strange!

An investigation revealed that my water tank was broken on top. Oh brother. Now in case you are wondering, I didn't break the tank by overfilling it. I think it's a 40 gallon tank and that means about 320 pounds of water when it is full, so these water tanks are built super tough. But mine is from circa 1994. It's been bouncing that the highways off and on for over 20 something years through hot and cold weather.

Luckily I had some MarineTex which is nontoxic and perfect for repairing water tanks. Just a big dang hassle to complete the chore. I had to drain about a fourth of the tank back out again, so it wouldn't strain the repair. I am familiar with MarineTex from patching up my sailboat I lived on in the Caribbean for 10 something years.

marinetex handles like putty, hardens like steel, sands like wood
Marine-TexHandles like putty, hardens like steel, sands like wood. Available at Amazon with this link. 

Now I find out MarineTex has a better product, called Flex-Set. I never knew it existed until now. If you have a motorhome,  get some, it will repair all sorts of things like plumbing and roofing, to name a few.

flex-set, marine-tex, marinetex flexset
Flex Set can be shipped to your door (or campground), click here for more info.

Marine-Tex FlexSet is a non-sagging, non-shrinking, permanently flexible epoxy adhesive.
Sandable and paintable, FlexSet resists vibration and bending failures by curing to a tough, flexible consistency that creates an air and watertight seal between mating surfaces.

Bonds to Polyethylene Starboard & Marine Lumber, PVC, Hypalon®, ceramic, rubber, polyurethane, glass, acrylic, steel, fiberglass, polycarbonate, wood, ABS, aluminum, Lexan® and dissimilar materials.

Apply above or below the waterline, in wet or dry areas.

Bonds dissimilar materials like PVC to copper. FlexSet outperforms PVC Cement! Because of the vibration and shock resistance, FlexSet is highly recommended for PVC pipe repairs. As bonded joints shrink and expand, the FlexSet moves with them. Therefore, it won't crack or break from the surface.

Now then, just so you know and before you start yelling at me... MarineTex products are not super cheap, but THEY WORK. When I sold my sailboat, there were various Marine-Tex repairs on that boat in numerous locations above and below the waterline, and 13 years later when I sold my boat, those repairs were still going strong. Not a single one had to be redone in those 13 years of sailing the high seas.

Now my water tank on my motorhome has a Marine-Tex repair. Matter of fact, I repaired some fiberglass with it awhile back too, and it's been sanded and painted over, so you can't even tell it.

tioga motorhome, rving, tioga montara, fleetwood rv, class C
My current home-sweet-home in southeast Georgia. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Summer of Travel in a Little Old Motorhome

Summer 2015
1 Camper
2 Bicycles
1 Dog
2 Humans
3 States (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia)
18 Campsites in
13 Campgrounds

When an old sailing friend decided to join me on a little trip, last spring, it turned into a summer long incredible misadventure of great fun, lots of giggles, some occasional grief and a bit of wild pandemonium. Somehow we are still friends in spite of the sudden changes in plans brought on by a bit of bizarre chaos. Originally, my friend was planning to go back home last May, but the most incredible things kept happening. It's possible he stuck around longer just  to see what kind of bedlam would turn up next. 

I first started traveling in 2010. A fulltime RV owner told me they photographed every place their camper spent a night or more, so I decided that would be a fun thing too. In the last 5 years, I believe there is only 1 overnight campground picture missing from my photos (and it was a super nice spot too on the Ohio River in the fall of 2010).

These  pics and parks  below  from my summer misadventures, were last minute reservations or just rolling into a place to see if they had room for us to park a spell. We were only turned away twice due to full camps. There was a great deal of summer chaos, what with me spraining an ankle then later shattering my wrist, emergency surgery, a few blown tires, one on each bicycle, one on the RV.  Oh and the RV transmission died in the middle of nowhere, but close enough to be pushed by hand (and buckets of sweat) into a campground by several gallant senior workampers. We joked about that campground doing ANYTHING to get a customer through the entrance...

I survived and woke up alive this morning. What a miracle to behold!
Cedar Point Campground, Cedar Point, North Carolina
Due to constant confusion on the part of the workampers, we had to change sites twice, making 3 sites total for this camp and I accidentally badly sprained my ankle on one of those moves.

Kinston, North Carolina

H. Cooper Black Junior Memorial Field Trial and Recreation Area
Cheraw, South Carolina

Kings Mountain State Park
Blacksburg, South Carolina

Palmetto Cove
Cleveland, South Carolina

North Greenville KOA
Travelers Rest, South Carolina

Springwood RV Park
Greenville, South Carolina

Bear Creek RV Park 
Asheville, North Carolina

Springwood RV Park, 2nd time around
Greenville, South Carolina

Lake Hartwell Recreation Area
Fairplay, South Carolina

Barnwell State Park
Blackville, South Carolina

Tuck In The Wood Campground
Saint Helena, South Carolina

Hunting Island State Park
Hunting Island, South carolina

Jekyll Island Campground
Jekyll Island, Georgia

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Not What It Seems

Following too closely?
This was the view out my rear window in the motorhome. Those red knobs are for an emergency exit. I could open the window and pass the Grey Poupon.

following too closely by

While up on Paris Mountain in South Carolina, we came across this modern art, curiously placed at the top of a steep winding hill in the state park next to the outhouses. I snapped a few pics of this unique creation,  then it dawned on me what I was really looking at.

paris mountain state park in south carolina
A self service bicycle stand to repair or tune up your bike before descending the steep winding mountain roads.

Speaking of strange sights... Harley dog doesn't like to go out in the rain. He will run and hide all over the motorhome trying to sit cross legged, refusing to go out for doggy duty. However, if I put on his rain coat, he suddenly becomes fearless about the rain. He tosses back his hood, then splashes through mud puddles when he could skirt around them. By the time we get home again, his slicker is covered in muck yet he is amazingly clean. I caught this picture at the start of the walk before he had a chance to trash his raincoat.

circus dog by dear miss mermaid, dog slicker, dog raincoat

Jekyll Island on the Georgia coast in the sea islands has many wonderful foot, paw and bicycle paths.
jekyll island, bicycle paths, paved bicycle path,

Below is my goofy bicycle with the addition of the hornless split pad Hobson bicycle seat. It's surprisingly comfortable with no pressure points on my crotch or tailbone. I am still struggling with the handlebar comfort. On a whimsical note, I added leather motorcycle grips with fringe. At the bottom of the picture is my kickstand with a faded red rubber ball glued on it. The kickstand it came with is just kind of flimsy, even on pavement. On dirt or sand, it's a disaster. My bicycle used to fall over with a loud clang, making a mess, one time the fall knocked my handlebars crooked. Good grief.

Then I saw a man on the beach with a bicycle that had a tennis ball attached to his kickstand. Hmm... what a fabulous idea that really works. My bicycle has never fallen over since the addition of the red rubber ball. Well, I take that back. It fell once when the ball slipped too high up the kickstand. I guess I wore a hole right through the bottom of the ball from heavy use., so we removed the rubber ball, stuck glue on the bottom of the kickstand, then jammed the ball back on to adhere permanently.
schwinn bicycle converted to electric assist, basket painers, leather motorcycle grips

Jekyll Island has many massive ancient trees dripping in moss. This one was found beside the fence bordering the airport. I hope it lives forever. Trees are good for the planet.

spanish moss on jekyll island georgia in the sea islands

That trucker wasn't following me too close on a road or highway. I pulled into the Blue Beacon which is a 24 hour truck and RV wash. I waited behind 6 trucks for my turn to come up. That gave me time to lock the windows, cover the outside refrigerator vent, walk the dog and admire the sky. Typically only one truck is in the bay at a time while about a half dozen workers attack the outside with pressure hoses soaping up the rig, then rinsing. My mini motorhome is so small, they often fit a truck in behind me.
class c motorhome, blue beason truck and rv wash
(If you don't get the Grey Poupon joke, watch the original 1980's Grey Poupon commercial on youtube.)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Transporting A Critter

Harley fetches the mail...

Harley dog has been with me over 5 years traveling by motorhome and bicycle. Recently during all the chaos of spraining my ankle followed by busting up my arm/wrist, emergency surgery, hospital, all that mess and hullabaloo, the motorhome had transmission problems simultaneously.

Never a dull moment around here!

Harley in the motorhome assists with reverse
"Back on up, keep going, nothing but a few trees back there... hmm... that tree reminds me, it's time to sniff over some pea-mail..."

Eventually the transmission had to be sorted out, and I made arrangements a few weeks in advance to have in repaired start to finish in one day. This was no small feat, as the transmission repair place was backed up silly and wanted us just to leave the motorhome for a few weeks until they could get around to it. I couldn't move out of it, so we struck a happy medium, and finally the day rolled around when we had to leave the motorhome at 6am on a super hot muggy day.

Harley waits in the rental car for us to shop for a picnic.

Through a stroke of luck, I managed to reserve a rental car in advance. I know so little about modern American cars, that when I reserved a "mid sized" car I thought it would have plenty of room for my super sensitive extremely painful left broken arm/wrist to ride along in the passenger seat. It was still heavily bandaged from surgery and in spite of the pain pills, being quite disagreeable to live with. But hey, I opted out of amputation, such is life. It had to travel, still attached to me.

I was dead wrong that a "mid sized" would be roomy. I should have rented the "luxury" car if I didn't want my injured arm to be banged around all day. Well, you learn something new every day... like do not break your arm, it's a world of pain and inconvenience.

Enterprise car rental which promised to pick us up, showed up late, then hid unmarked in the parking lot of the transmission repair place. The transmission place had 2 or 3 dozen cars in the parking lot, employees, customers coming and going and cars sitting, waiting on repairs. The driver for Enterprise, pulled in parked, forgetting about us. I think he was waiting for me to find a crystal ball...

When I couldn't find a crystal ball, I called Enterprise to find out why no one had picked us up. We were waiting inside, being that it was rapidly climbing way above 90F degrees even at 8am on a hot humid day. Well, by now it was nearly 9am, Enterprise was supposed to be there at 8am. A few phone calls later, we found out the anonymous car and driver were sitting outside, he was texting or something on a gadget when I knocked on the window, just parked among the other cars coming and going. Duh... It had never once occurred to the driver to check inside for us at the tiny office or that we might not see him in an anonymous car (no Enterprise signs on it.)

Life is goof.

Lesson learned. Next time pack a crystal ball...

The driver was dismayed that with my good right arm, I was carrying a tiny dog. Well what do you want me to do? Have him jog along beside the car? The transmission place wasn't running a boarding kennel, there wasn't one in walking/hobbling distance (sprained ankle). Harley weighs all of 6 pounds and sits on my lap, smaller than many purses. They threatened to charge us $150 extra for "dog hair" but eventually we got this sorted out without paying the surcharge. The car they gave us was dirty, but they were willing to clean it if we waited another half hour, but I just wanted to get going. We had lost nearly 2 hours of rental time already as once we arrived at the office, the person handling our paperwork kept vanishing. Harley doesn't shed. Even so at the end of the day we left the car far nicer than they gave it to us, so they should have been paying us for cleaning service. We carried out garbage that wasn't ours and swept out the dirt it came with plus any we may have added. So much for making advance reservations...

Once we finally got the keys to the car, it turns out a "mid-size" car is very cramped. A Ford Focus to be exact. My friend kept accidentally using two u's in the Focus name, changing it to something wickedly hilarious that gave me the giggles. Not to insult anyone that owns one of these, but I can tell you right up front, it was very tight. My very tall friend's right arm (he was driving) would accidentally bump my left broken arm/wrist and then the screaming and cursing and Focus mispronunciations and pucking fain filled giggles would begin. Oh joy.

Next we had to find "dog friendly" pursuits on a hot humid day, so we toured some used motorhomes, daydreaming about pricey possibilities, but hey, dreams are free (and fun)! Harley dog picked out some very large RV's he would love to own, he was particularly smitten with the used band tour bus that was 45 feet long and came with 12 bunks. He raced up and down the aisle, picking out a lower bunk as his new bed. He twirled around in it 3 times, then curled up to try it on for size.  As the heat climbed, we retreated back to the air conditioned comfort of the rental car. By now we were starving and needed to find a dog friendly restaurant but instead we fetched a "picnic-to-go" from Kentucky Fried Chicken then we drove with our aromatic food to Paris Mountain State Park in pursuit of higher altitude (1800 feet) cooler temps and freedom from the cramped car. Harley dog was thrilled that he had to eat chicken, being that in our haste to get out of the motorhome early that morning, we had forgotten to bring any dog food for him to devour. Poor thing. But he was gallant and gleefully devoured his chicken after we deboned it for him. Oh the things we do for our canine critters.

Harley reserves a picnic table at Paris Mountain while waiting for us to park.
At the end of the day, we got the motorhome back as promised, returned the car rental then brainstormed a crazy idea. I wanted my friend to test drive us and the motorhome's repaired transmission up to the mountains the next morning. So off we went to camp in parts unknown, which turned out to be Bear Creek in Asheville, North Carolina. Curiously, they had this old car in the RV park that reminded me of the old blue Chevy my family owned when I rolled into their lives.

This Chevy reminded me of my current life... Beat up, rusty, missing parts, leaking fluids, peeling paint, prone to overheating and just *ahem* a tad rough around the edges but still sturdy enough to survive the elements... slowly going nowhere at great expense... oh wait, that "slowly going nowhere at great expense" was my metaphor for living on my old sailboat.

200 meters long (656 feet) and 33 meters wide (108 feet)
Can hold an astonishing 6,542 cars on 12 decks (4 which are hoistable for larger cargo)
Depth to upper deck 118 feet

Speaking of boats, while camping at Jekyll Island, I biked to the beach to photograph the bridge, but it was hidden by this incredible car carrier, the Torino, leaving the Brunswick, Georgia port for Charleston, South Carolina then across that big pond lovingly referred to as the Atlantic Ocean.

Crossing oceans... I received a phone call from Croatia yesterday. Oh that cheered me up. One of my old buddies who is still sailing the high seas, working aboard a luxurious sailing yacht charter  (my former career, well one of them!) called up to chat. Oh fun! I could daydream and drool, listening to her latest pursuits, while remembering all the hard work and fun times I had while working on yachts and messing about boats. I miss the sea, the exotic locales, the fascinating people, but I don't miss the 16 hour work days, 7 days a week. Sometimes a glamorous job comes with caveats. Another day I managed to snap the bridge, um photograph it. That enormous freighter can clear under the bridge with room to spare.
Sidney Lanier Bridge (named for the poet)
486 feet high, 7,779 feet long
Clearance below is 185 feet
Brunswick, Georgia

Saturday, September 19, 2015

That Can Work (Hilarious RV Innovations)

Living in a little old motorhome on an efficient budget in remote locations without a car, has it's moments. There are times when things need to be fixed  or done and I have to scratch my head and come up with some wild wacky ideas. Hmm... That can work!

My motorhome has no backup camera. I have on occasion backed into the wrong tree. Matter of fact, I owned my rear cargo carrier less than a month before I put an offcenter dent in it (a centered dent would have looked much nicer.) Recently I bought an inexpensive portable iball wireless trailer hitch camera. In essence, it's a remote wireless camera with a screen. You stick the camera on anything magnetic, turn it on, then use the screen to look at what your're running over or hitting while reversing. While my bumper is metal the rest of my motorhome is fiberglass. Besides the bumper is hidden by my rear cargo carrier rack which holds a big plastic trunk. So... in my enthusiasm to test out the camera, I cut the metal bottom off a big coffee can then taped it to the center top of the rear plastic trunk. Now when I need backup help, I just place the portable camera on the coffee lid, then reverse the motorhome while watching the wireless screen which sits up front in the 12 volt plug (cigarette lighter). By golly, this camera will be a huge help in identifying things to run over or back into. Eventually I will work out something neater than the coffee can lid, but hey, for now that can work. 

My motorhome has a compact washing machine but no dryer. Some campgrounds don't allow clothes lines outside. This compression post closet rod fits along the side wall of my motorhome bedroom. I put in flanges to hold the rod in place when weight like wet laundry is hanging on it. Now my clothes hangers do triple duty. When I need to dry some items that came out of my washer and can't dry them outside, I just hang them on the clothes hangers about an inch apart and let them dry indoors. Works great in the rain! That clip on fan is facing my bed, but I can rotate it around to speed dry my laundry. That can work. 

Clothes hangers aren't just for clothes. When my inside busted up broken accordion shower door had to be replaced, sadly the beautiful brass trim had to come out. What a shame to toss that away. Oh wait, with a notch sawed into it, then several holes drilled, it became an instant outdoor laundry dryer. Its pops on the chair rack on the ladder on the rear of the motorhome in 2 seconds. Just hang laundry on hangers then place them in the drilled holes. Strong winds won't blow the hangers away, but sometimes clothes pins are needed on the hangers to hold laundry. It's nice to hang my shirts and tunics up to dry on hangers, then just transfer them to the closet, still on hangers. The bonus of having laundry drying on hangers, is that if a rain squall appears out of nowhere, it's easy to snatch the hangers and rehang them inside on the overhead pole in the bedroom or the shower. That can work. 

I love having an outside faucet, but it didn't come with anywhere to hang the hand held shower head. I didn't come with three hands, so this was problematic. I might be filling a bucket, or rinsing sand off my feet, or washing grease off my hands or doing dishes alfresco or washing a muddy doggy. I found this goose necked push button suction shower holder. With the push of a button, the handheld faucet can be placed anywhere at any height and the goose neck allows it to be at any angle. That can work! I now have a second one, I use for the inside shower stall too.

I only buy the small bottles of dish soap because my galley (kitchen) is small and I like things neat. Besides the small bottles also fit inside my outdoor faucet compartment. When the door is opened, there is room to hang a wash rag there, ready for the next dirty little secret. That can work. 

When I bought my old used motorhome, the access door for the electric cord and generator outlet had a raggedy ugly hole for allowing the cord to drape outside (so it can plug into the electric post at the campsite). I hated that unsightly hole, it looked like a blind man with a dull chainsaw tried to cut it out. I used a piece of beige rubber I custom cut with scissors from a sink guard to cover up the unsightly hole. I stuck it on with outdoor double stick tape on the underside. What's so hilarious, is that this was over 5 years ago, and the same piece of rubber is still there covering up that ugly rough cut hole. I can keep the bay door closed (keep out rain water) yet the heavy electric cord can hang out at the campground and it looks neater. That can work!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Jekyll and Harley

Exhausted from his performance, the diminutive pianist takes a break from playing at the conclusion of his alfresco concert. 

jekyll island, georgia, campground

Most public places require humans scoop the poop of their canine companions. Sometimes we come home from a doggy walk with a loaded poop baggy. Sometimes there just isn't a convenient garbage can in the places we wander.  Having a little outside garbage can is handy indeed but winds can blow the garbage away, raccoons can get into it and finding a tiny garbage can with an odor proof,  rain proof, wind proof lid is hard to find. 

I solved the problem by upcycling a large coffee can with two lids. The bottom lid makes it look sharp and prevents rusty rings if it's left out in the rain. The top lid obviously snaps on keeping odors at bay. While it's wind proof and rain proof, it's not always raccoon proof. Matter of fact, it's hilarious to watch a wayward raccoon open the outside poop can, take one sniff and walk away in disgust. Typically they don't ever return again. 

In this case, tired of looking at a coffee can sitting outside all the time, as if I have left errant garbage on my camp site, I used some cheap colorful tape to decorate the can. Dollar Tree sells this tape in oodles of designs for a mere $1. Arts and crafts on a budget. For a poop can. Next time I am gathering up my garbage to hike to the dumpster area, I empty the coffee can and cart it off. In the background, you can partially see my long handled grabber. 

When I set up camp, I like to walk around my entire site and pick up all the minuscule garbage other campers leave behind. Having the outside garbage cans makes this super easy to accumulate, plus I can pop off the lid, walk with the can in one hand and the grabber in the other. In a few short minutes, my campsite is devoid of any manmade garbage. Often I spread out and clean the streets and paths, it just depends on how I feel. I am amazed at the spare change I find along the way. Apparently many people won't stoop to pick up dropped change anymore. We've been laughing ourselves silly because it seems every campsite yields at least 25 cents or more. It's like a tiny tip for cleaning. 
jekyll island, georgia, campground

Some days Harley dog has to work for his food, like pretending to be a vicious guard dog protecting his ride. This photo is from Jekyll Island in the sea islands, off the coast of Georgia. The island boasts over 20 miles of paved biking and hiking trails. I have to stop often to exercise my arms and hands, so I don't really get very far on my bicycle lately, but I sure have torture... I mean fun. 

My injured hands are still healing. I often have to stop and doing rowing exercises with my shoulders. I miss the days when I lived on a sailboat at anchor and used a rowing dinghy to commute to shore. It was great fun exercise except on windy days, I could have quite a rough time trying to row fast enough to beat the head winds. You can see pictures of my old sailboat at this link. Sure I miss those carefree days of working hard, playing hard in far flung ports on life afloat, but I am glad I did it while I could before my body started falling apart. I don't think I could keep up with the rigors of sailing, living and working on boats anymore but I sure wish I had that boundless energy and fearlessness again. I used to work on larger sailing yachts as a career, but it was very hard work with super long hours but the ocean lifestyle suited me at the time. 
jekyll island, georgia, campground

Harley gets break from bicycle guarding to play toss the ball. Here he waits for it to be thrown. So many of my pictures show him dragging his leash along. Many public places require a doggy to be on a leash. Some don't specify whether the leash has to be attached to anything or anyone, so we sometimes *ahem* read the rules literally and let an energetic pooch have some ball chasing running fun while dragging his "dogs must be leashed" accouterment. 
jekyll island, georgia, campground

Jekyll Island as seen from outer space. 
jekyll island, georgia, campground

Below is an excerpt from the book "The Jekyll Island Club". It's amazing that I in my little old wheel estate on an efficient budget can visit and camp in such a fascinating place that for over 60 years was exclusive to only the wealthiest of the wealthy. Life is goof.
jekyll island, georgia, campground

From its inception in 1886, the Jekyll Island Club included in its elite membership the nation's wealthiest families, among them the Rockefellers, Pulitzers, Vanderbilts, and Morgans. Far from the hectic northern cities where the members tended their fortunes, this private island refuge off Georgia's coast offered the wealthy a tranquil change of pace.
Bringing together more than 240 fascinating photographs, Barton and June McCash trace the sixty-two-year history of this exclusive retreat whose members at one time were reputed to represent one-seventh of the nation's wealth. From the time of the club's opening, members came to Jekyll Island each winter to seek elegant leisure, arriving on yachts or in private train cars from New York, Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Capturing the lives and amusements of the very wealthy, this evocative photographic history presents descriptions of elaborate costume balls and playful outdoor parties; the Rockefeller clan gathering at water's edge and J. P. Morgan lounging by the pool; Victor Astor's "patented beach boat" and the Goulds' private indoor tennis court; the Vanderbilts' yacht anchored offshore and the imposing "cottages" built by individual members.

During their stays, members amused themselves in a variety of pursuits. In the 1890s they organized bicycling clubs and held races on the beach. Hunting was also for a time a favorite activity and the island was regularly stocked with imported wildlife--pheasant, quail, turkey, and bucks. By 1919, however, the game committee had dwindled to one member, and prime hunting grounds had been cleared for golf courses and tennis courts. The hub of the island's social life, however, was the clubhouse, where members gathered in formal attire to converse, while drinking fine wine and dining on freshly caught game and local delicacies.

The seclusion that Jekyll Island offered was not impenetrable. On the day after Christmas in 1900, the country's fascination with technology could no longer be resisted, and the sound of a gasoline automobile disturbed the island's quiet glades for the first time. Despite the immense wealth of the club, it was not immune to the stock market crash of 1893 and the Panic of 1907. The club managed to survive World War I intact and enjoyed a "golden age" from 1919 to 1927, during which time it held its own against the increasingly popular Florida resorts. The stock market crash of 1929, however, initiated a death spiral. Membership declined steadily throughout the 1930s, and when the United States entered World War II, the club closed its doors forever.

Based on surviving club records, newspaper accounts, and letters and diaries of members and guests, The Jekyll Island Club chronicles an era when leisure was the preserve of the wealthy. For more than six decades the island, now a state park, served as a haven for millionaires. As one visitor described the Jekyll Island Club, it was "the only place of its kind in the world--and will never be again."

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Adaptive Aids For Tiny Homes and Crazy Mermaids

Adaptive aids can be super useful if you are disabled, physically challenged, handicapped, crippled, old, feeble, injured or just plain lazy with an obsessive need for efficiency. I've had intermittent problems with my right hand, so I've come to rely more on adaptive aids that make life easier. Then horrors, I shattered my left wrist in late July, now I had two "bad" hands. Good grief. I began searching online for adaptive aids. Additionally, I needed ones that took up minuscule room. My motorhome is tiny and tight. Everything I own in the whole wide world is traveling with me, which is to say, I own very little, but it seems to me I have plenty. Sometimes in a fit of housekeeping and obsessive organization, I suddenly start donating, regifting or sending stuff to the dumpster or trade room.

Some campgrounds and RV parks have a space set aside for trading stuff. You drop off what you don't need or want and take what you do need or want. Awhile back a close friend hopped aboard for some thrilling travel (misadventures with me!) so I began seriously cleaning out the excess to make room for their comforts. I even parted with some sentimental things after copiously photographing them for the memories.

Everybody has their own ideas of what they need, I could live with a lot less, but some things I enjoy having around. I probably have more kitchen gear than most RV's my size, but until recently, cooking for friends was fun. Lately it's been way too hard for me to cook much of anything at all. Even so, over the years, I've made my kitchen gear do double and triple purpose, plus eventually I amassed useful equipment that nests neatly, saving valuable space.

Note that many adaptive aids are not called adaptive aids. Typically, it seems to me, when it is called an adaptive aid, the price escalates, perhaps because of the insurance hassle for those that are able to obtain insurance approval for various devices.

This little pencil sharpener was worth every penny at about $8 delivered to my door. I love to scribble my notes in pencil plus I use them for repair projects. (Measure once, cut twice.) This tiny machine leaves a small footprint (4.2 by 1.7 inches) yet works on batteries or included USB cord. It does the job fast with only one hand needed for gentle pressure. As a bonus, a spare blade is hidden near the optional battery compartment. 

This 30 LED Lamp uses 3 D batteries, which give the base some needed heft. It has two settings, bright, and brighter. I love this lamp because it's bright light when and where you need it. The comfy grip makes it easy to grab in a hurry for  outside peek-a-boo at night to investigate ghoulies, ghosties and other things that go bump in the night. The head rotates up and down, so you can angle the light perfectly.

This $9 tiny can opener simply works by setting it on top of the can, nothing to hook into, then just lightly press the button and LET GO. It will entertain you as it appears to wobble and wiggle erratically around the can, but it truly works hands free. It eventually stops by itself with a final satisfying grunt. It has opened every round can I have asked of it. I am amazed at the performance though the magnet top often doesn't work, this hasn't been a problem for me because it cuts on the side of the can, leaving no sharp edges, though I suppose you could cut yourself if you worked really hard at it. 

During the day or evening, my friend was shy about watching the forward TV when I was snoozing and recuperating in "back" just steps away in my very compact motorhome. I set up a stereo headset in the teensy living area, so he could enjoy rowdy TV shows with fabulous sound without disturbing me at all.  However, I slept in fits and found myself watching movies or TV at weird hours of the night when the incessant pain kept me wide awake. I bought this $19 pillow speaker (plus a speaker extension cord) that reached my bedroom TV just fine with cord to spare to run it neatly along the wall then draped over to my pillow. The tiny speaker on my pillow gave me fabulous sound without disturbing anyone, be it 3am or 3pm. It also worked with my computer and mp3 player. Nothing sticking in my ears and if I dozed back off, I never seemed to tangle with the padded speaker laying on or near my pillow. I typically set my TV or computer to shut off automatically after 30-60 minutes, in case I went back to la la pain pill land, the room would be darkened and the sound gone. The blue padded cover is removable and washable. 

I've actually had this unit awhile. I have such a hard time enjoying bicycling, that I caved in and bought a front wheel electric kit for my bicycle. It cost $799 with the 20 mile battery representing half the cost. I've never run out of battery power and because me, my bicycle, my dog, baskets, and cargo gear exceed the 170 pound weight used to rate the batteries, I doubt mine would last 20 miles, but I have no idea really. It depends on if you are using battery assist to go up hill, over sand or across flat pavement. This has been heaven on earth for me to tootle around having fun. Even when I sprained my ankle, I discovered riding the bicycle was easier than hobbling around with a quad cane, so off I went, wind in my hair. If the going gets tough, the tough push a magic button for some electric assistance. The fabulous thing is I pedal more, because I have the courage to go out more! 

Circulation and exercise is important for improving my health. That electric assist has enabled me to have confidence to go out on two wheels of pure fun knowing I can get back home. The doctor wouldn't give me a clear answer about riding a bicycle, so I quit going to doctors and began riding again. I take my arm brace off, wrap my wrist with an ace bandage and off I go. I have to be super careful, but so far, so good!  Life is meant for LIVING. I don't want my final days spent with a social life consisting of medical offices and insurance nightmares. I am a fruitcake, I know it, but if I had a choice of a year of misery or a day of fun... I would choose the day of fun. I even bought an old fashioned brass dinger for my bicycle. Ding ding! Crazy mermaid coming at ya!
Harley dog most often rides with me. He sits in the front basket while his toys ride in the back baskets.

About 15 years ago, I fractured my tailbone in a bad way. My Schwinn bicycle seat was giving me pure grief at times and other times numbing my crotch in a painful way. Now I use a Hobson split bicycle saddle. I had to fuss around the adjustments several times, then a few short rides to actually get used to the different pressure points. It's taken away the tailbone pain and my crotch is much happier.

While amazon offers many wonderful adaptive aids at competitive prices, delivered free to your door (even campgrounds and RV parks) some might seem a bit odd, such as the "Short Toilet Paper Aid" appears to be *ahem* a set of  kitchen tongs that *might* have been "re-purposed" and repriced. I show you the actual page I found it on, because I thought it was kind of hilarious.

***Prices mentioned were valid around mid September 2015, they may have gone down or up in cost since then. I use Amazon because it saves me travel, time, gas and hassle plus the selection is like visiting ten thousand stores at once. Get Prime and savor free 2 day shipping, very handy for gypsies.