We Cut the Anchor!! (another “Best Laid Plans” blog post)

February 14, 2020

This is the beautiful house we lived in for over 30 years. Trees, woods, critters, a large lake (hiding behind those trees) and peace and quiet in the midst of the Maryland hustle and bustle and crowds. Such a sweet place to go to at the end of a hectic day.


Continue reading

Posted in Miscellaneous, Trials and Tribulations | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Palo Alto National Battlefield Park, Brownsville, TX

January 30, 2020

In less than 100 years (1754 to 1846) large swaths of North America changed hands. Great Britain, France, Spain, the United States, the Republic of Texas, Mexico, and even Russia claimed, negotiated treaties for, and fought wars over control of vast territories. Being a history buff and lover of maps, the Palo Alto NBP Visitor Center visually showed how borders on the map of North America shifted.

Posted in History, Museums, National Park | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Sea Turtle Inc.

January 28, 2020

What an awesome place! John and I spent the whole day there learning, exploring and just watching these beautiful creatures. What started out as one woman trying to help a species has turned into a major force in the education, rehabilitation and conservation of sea turtles https://Seaturtleinc.org


Brisket and His Buddy at the “Salad Bar”

Continue reading

Posted in Beach, Nature Notes, Science, Zoo | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Deep South Texas

November 26, 2019-April 13, 2020

We were WARM for winter! Volunteering, exploring and generally chilling. Here’s a bit of what we did. Continue reading

Posted in Beach, History, National Park, Nature Notes | Leave a comment

Volunteering – Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge

November 25, 2019 – April 13, 2020

Volunteer Campground

John and I have spent a chunk of the winter volunteering in deep south Texas at the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge visitor center. We work three days a week and have four days off to explore and play. John is loving this “job” situation so much that we’ve already signed up to work in the North Cascades this summer. What a change THAT will be. After months of flat land with short stubby trees, extreme sunshine, sandy clay, fire ants, chiggers, gnats, scorpions, pack rats and mosquitoes, we’ll roll north to towering trees, drizzly days, majestic mountains, hundreds of glaciers, gorgeous lakes, lush forests, banana slugs, bears… and mosquitoes. I am so ready!

While we totally enjoyed our slow wandering over the years, it seems John needed a little more purpose. I don’t feel the need for a “job” but enjoy volunteering so it works for both of us. So many people have chatted with us about what it’s like to volunteer like this. Retirement, travel, exploration, but a sense of purpose. Toss in the feeling that you’ve helped one of our parks and it can be a win-win situation. Several of these interested people were recent retirees who held onto jobs because they didn’t know what to do if they weren’t working. They were very interested in how all this works.

Well, it’s different every place you go. You look for a “job” that works for you and gives you the amenities that you need. John and I have a free full hook up campsite in a “gated” volunteer village with 14 concrete camping pads with picnic tables (Take that you evil fire ants! You get sand, I get concrete, hah!) We have a free laundry room and use of the visitor center breakroom for our group dinners (Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.) other than that, we potluck at each other’s campsites. It’s not a bad way to spend the winter. We work three days a week at Santa Ana and wander, explore and play the other four days (or hike the refuge and chill).

Santa Ana has volunteers working: visitor center, revegetation (native plant nursery), environmental education (school programs), bird guides, IT assistance, gift shop, tram tours, maintenance, and trail work. I saw a posting for a National Park that will give a full hook up site to someone to come out and take pictures… wow, rough job to wander the park and play with your cameras. I wish I had the skill and camera equipment to apply for that one.

So, why am I telling you the story of my life? Because this may be what you are looking for. Winter in a warm place, socializing, touring, working a bit then moving on. Maybe to another volunteer spot, maybe wandering aimlessly, maybe heading back to your stick-and-brick house. What we each want, need, like and do differs from person to person, place to place, time to time and can quickly change. If this lifestyle interests you, places to volunteer can found at volunteer.gov or on state park websites. Your RV is ready to roll and take you wherever you want to go. Get out there and ENJOY!

H

Posted in Volunteering | Leave a comment

Cape Henlopen State Park, DE

November 7-9, 2019

Holly was slowly healing from her elbow surgery but was feeling much better. So we decided to escape for the weekend with our granddaughter Chloe. We aimed for Cape Henlopen, DE. The state park is well known to both of us. Holly’s family spent many summer vacations there living in a tent and playing at the shore. John and Holly both spent time at their mosquito infested group campground with the Boy Scouts.

The park is awesome! You have the Atlantic Ocean, Delaware Bay, walking sand dunes, an old military base turned museum, submarine watch towers, a cool bunker, a great Nature Center with Ranger Programs, a fishing pier, swimming beach, hiking trails, biking trails, bird sanctuary, and more. The park is right outside the little town of Lewes where the Ferry to Cape May, New Jersey docks. It is also a short drive to several nature sanctuaries, a canal, more bays, more swimming beaches and the Rehobeth Beach Boardwalk for all the junk food and beach town vibe you can handle.

Continue reading
Posted in Adventure, Beach, Campgrounds, Hiking, History, Museums, Nature Notes, Parks | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Best Laid Plans

October 4, 2019

Ah, the trials and tribulations of being a full time RV’er. So many people tell us how we are living the dream, traveling, relaxing, no worries in the world. We love our traveling life but there are some bumps in that happy RV’er road.

Many people that live on the road head back to their “home” state once a year to do all those medical checkups that keep piling up as you get older. John and I did the same late August and early September this year but there were a few appointments that couldn’t be scheduled in our Maryland timeframe. We had to set them up for after our Travel Club Reunion in Charleston which meant we would be heading back north. Not our first choice but not a real problem. We gave ourselves a leisurely week to wander back north, get the appointments done then roll out again. It was a good Plan but… It didn’t happen.

While we were at the reunion our 12 volt system crashed. We had newish batteries but they just didn’t seem to be getting power. A look at the batteries and we could see where the connections were actually cracking in half. This would have been really bad except Phoenix Cruiser factory reps and repair guys were at the reunion and pieced our power connections back together which led us to a new plan that we would stop in to Elkhart for a new controller after our quick stop in Maryland. However, there was, yet again, an expected game delay.

The Great Blue Whale

I stumbled, tumbled and crashed on a nice level section of pavement at the reunion. Luckily it was on the last night so all we missed was the farewell BBQ dinner. As I lay on the ground writhing in pain, we discovered we have some awesome medical personnel in the travel club. They took care of me until the ambulance arrived and carried me off to the hospital in Charleston. It was a severe dislocation of the right elbow, torn ligaments, bone bits, the whole nine yards. They knocked me out and put it back in place and x-ray-ed it AGAIN before putting it in a splint/cast and sling, giving me drugs and sending me on my way. I have medical coverage so most of the cost of the emergency and the ambulance fees were covered. However, my current plan is an HMO. The Charleston ER doc was going to have me seen by their Orthopedic Surgeon right away. I knew my plan wouldn’t consider THAT an emergency so we had to hightail it back to Maryland. John had to do all the driving since I only had one arm and was on pain pills. We were able to do the medical service dance fairly quickly since it was a severe injury: Primary Care Doctor the day we hit Maryland, Orthopedic Doctor the next day X-ray, new bigger splint/cast and new sling, Scan, Doctor (oops, bone bits and tendon trapped in the joint from when they reset it in Charleston, referral to Surgeon SAME DAY (quick one hour drive to Baltimore to see him before they closed), Surgeon, X-ray, Surgery within days, X-rays (I probably glowed by that point), new HUGE splint/cast and new sling (aka the Great Blue Whale), Surgeon, cast off, new bionic cast, Surgeon, rehab… RUN AWAY!!!


Caption: Bionic Arm

All of that was accomplished with the other doctor appointments for both John and me sprinkled in, freezing cold setting into Maryland, campgrounds closing, etc. We watched and fretted over our batteries while we waited. We were sooooo ready to roll out by the time I was released. We were supposed to be someplace warm, not sitting on the road in Maryland without hookups and a faulty electrical system. After consulting with the surgeon, it was decided I could do the rehab on my own on the road so we pointed our noses to the even colder north-northwest and headed to Elkhart.

When we arrived in Elkhart we parked beside the snowdrifts at Walmart until it was time to hook up at the factory and wait for repairs. The good news is that it was just our connectors corroding and we didn’t need a new controller. They were able to fix it quickly, swap out our fogged window and do some minor repairs in just a few hours so we were only in Elkhart for one night. The bad news it, it was getting even colder.

Once all the bits were back in order for both me and the rig (or as good as they got at that point), we aimed south and started looking for a volunteer job someplace warm.

We made plans, changed plans, adjusted plans, made new plans, and finally just winged it not knowing where we would be or what we would be doing. In the end, we settled into a beautiful volunteer campground with super friendly volunteers at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. And it was blissfully warm.

We are still happy campers after all!

H

Posted in Trials and Tribulations | Leave a comment

James Island County Park, Charleston SC

September 30th to October 5th, 2019

We visited James Island County Park back in 2013 or 2014. We were having trouble finding campsites during the holiday season (who knew southerners spend their holidays camping?) We got lucky and snagged a difficult-to-get-into site for several nights. Once we arrived, we discovered the problem with getting a site wasn’t just the holidays, it was the Holiday Festival of Lights! WOW, what an awesome time to be in that campground.

With that fond memory we were very happy to hear the announcement for our 2019 Phoenix Cruiser Travel Club Reunion – James Island County Park!

Continue reading

Posted in Boat tour, History, Museums, Parks | Leave a comment

Kings Mountain and Cowpens National Battlefields

September 27, 2019

Kings Mountain State Park

We camped at Kings Mountain State Park. The campground road was full of potholes, the site driveways were almost as bad, and the sites were not even close to being level. Fortunately we were only there for a couple of nights.

The site we booked had a nonworking electrical connection. So we scouted the campground, made a list empty sites that would work as alternatives, went to the camp office, and asked for another site. They were happy to accommodate us. And they were shocked that our first choice was available. Apparently it had been booked but the reservation must have been cancelled at the last minute and no one else snagged it. That site was better, but only because it had electricity.

Kings Mountain National Battlefield

Kings Mountain Visitor Center

There is a 1½ mile loop trail that circles the crest of Kings Mountain. Along the way you will find informative signs and several monuments. Most of the signs have a map that show you who fought at that point.

The terrain today is quite different than what was here in October 1780. Oaks, hickories, and chestnut trees covered the slopes. The trees were massive compared to those standing today and were farther apart. There was also less underbrush. The top of the mountain was bare. The battle of Kings Mountain occurred on October 7, 1780. This battle was fought entirely between Patriot militia and a like number of Loyalist militia. So like in the Civil War the men who fought here very likely faced family and friends.

Continue reading
Posted in Campgrounds, National Park | Leave a comment

Shenandoah National Park – Skyline Drive

September 20-25, 2019

We FINALLY got to do our slow(ish) wander down Skyline Drive. We had attempted this when we first rolled out in the fall of 2013. We had long played with the idea of starting our journey at Front Royal, Virginia and wandering at our own pace down Skyline Drive, onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and eventually coming out way down in Cherokee, North Carolina.

It was a great plan… right up until the government shut down and the gates to Skyline Drive were locked. We had to divert and wander through Shenandoah Valley until we were able to hop onto the top of the Blue Ridge Parkway. So we missed that whole top section. Life rolled on until this year when we were traveling from Maryland to Charleston, SC for our annual Phoenix Cruiser Travel Club Reunion. We had a bit of time and the gates were not locked so the trip was on.

Continue reading

Posted in Campgrounds, History, National Park, Nature Notes, Scenic Drives | Leave a comment