Friday, February 6, 2015

St. Augustine...then and now

What do millionaires, pirates and Spanish sea captains all have in common?  They all thrived in St. Augustine Florida!

St. Augustine was officially established on September 8th 1565, making it the oldest continuously occupied city in our nation.  This was the day of the arrival of Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles, founder of St. Augustine, Father Francisco Lopez, and their crew.  They constructed an alter made of stone and wood.  Father Lopez held his cross high over the alter and conducted the very first Catholic mass in what would become the United States of America.  Now, in truth, Ponce de Leon, while searching for the Fountain of Youth, landed near this very site in 1513.  Awed by the splendor of the lavish greenery, Ponce called this land "La Florida" or the Land of Flowers.  But...he didn't do anything "official" about it...so, the date of 1565 sticks.  To bad for Ponce, I guess "no guts, no glory".


All that aside, there is a ton of things and places to see here in St. Augustine!  We set aside 11 days for our visit here, and boy are we glad we did.







First up, was the St. Augustine Lighthouse.  Built in 1874 and what a beauty is is too!  We don't always climb up to the top when we visit the lighthouses travel to, but we decided to this time...all 219 of them!  Phew...you never know just how much you are out of shape until you climb 219 spiral stairs, let me tell you!  We are...ouch!  It took us two days for our legs to stop complaining.  But, as they say, the views were well worth it!  It was a clear, sunny day and we "could see forever" from up there.

The next big adventure was to spend the afternoon at the Castillo de San Marcos.  This is the "main attraction", I'd say, in St. Augustine.  It's their fort, built in 1645.  It's huge, and really quite a sight to see!  Of course they have costumed interpreters throughout and cannon firings from time to time to help you imagine things.  Jack, of course was enthralled.




Days later, we visited their "other fort", the tiny Fort Matanzas that you take a short boat ride to get to.  What a hoot that was!  It did it's job tho.  You see, this area with it's sand and sea shells has what they call "coquina".  It's a combination of those two, sealed together like a fine cement, with air holes.  They learned that you can build with this stuff like bricks - and the best part is, that when
cannon balls hit it, it doesn't destroy it, it absorbs the balls...they just kind of sit there..in it.  So, the Castillo de San Marcos never lost a battle - it changed hands due to treaty exchanges between countries, but never due to war.  How about that!  Many of the old buildings around St. Augustine are still standing today because of this "coquina".

Being located where it is, St. Augustine was destined to be raided again and again by pirates, so it only makes sense that they have a museum about them here!  It was kind of fun, a little hokey too, but that's okay.  The town is built with a lot of zigzag streets which is a common practice of places that have pirate challenges.

I haven't forgotten the millionaire!  He came later...in the late 1880's.  Henry Morrison Flagler changed a great deal of how St. Augustine looked after he and his family arrived here.  He, along with John D. Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Company and later, on his own created the Florida East Coast Railway.  While here though, he built several hotels (because they didn't have any decent ones).  He wanted to make it the south's playground for the rich and famous.  He envisioned grand hotels and old southern charm for its guests.  If the property he wanted already had buildings (church) on it, he just bought them out, built them another one, and built his hotel where he wanted it!  When his first wife and daughter passed, he built a huge lavish memorial church.  It's the only one with a bell, since he had built the other two churches in town, he made sure they didn't have bells! 

His hotels are now used as the college and a museum.  There was one other wealthy man already in town when Henry Flagler arrived, and that was Franklin W Smith.  He had built the Villa Zorayda for his home inspired by a visit to the Alhambra Castle in Granada Spain.  It's definitely "fantasy architecture".  Henry Flagler offered to purchase the home, but Smith declined, so that's why Flagler built his own hotel.  There is no comparison.  Smith and he competed a couple of times, but Smith could never keep up and Flagler ended up buying him out.  He eventually sold the Villa to another gentleman years later as well.

What would it be without at least one "factory-type tour"?  And, St. Augustine has one...a genuine distillery!  It's only a little over a year old, and it's small, but it's "mighty"!  They are currently distilling vodka, gin & bourbon with rum being in the near future.  They bring in all their supplies locally and handcraft everything.  It's a great little operation and a fun tour...that gives wonderful samples afterwards!  We drank to that!  Yum!

Believe it or not, this town is not a very big one, but it sure packs a lot in it's footprint!  We were so glad we took the time to stay awhile and learn it's history and see some of it's beauty...well worth it!








...kicking back in Florida,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/74905158@N04/ 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Citrus Sunshine!

We've been just "kicking back" in Florida these past few weeks...just enjoying the beautiful blue skies, sunshine and lazy days.  Ah, isn't the "retired life" great?  Yup!  I just keep reminding myself of this whenever I start to feel even a little bit guilty!  Working steady since I was 14, raising 3 beautiful children...it's time for me to just sit back and enjoy life!  So...I am!  We met a lovely couple at the campground the other day, who are doing this in their 50's, wow, good for them!  I think more and more folks are figuring out that life can be short, and putting off retirement/fun, etc. may not be the smartest thing to do!  So, "downsizing" and living a much simpler life allows you to retire earlier and have a bit more fun than continuing to work longer just to have that great big house and all those cars, etc.  Different things for different folks...

After the cruise, we decided Ft Lauderdale was just to crowded for us, and headed north to Ft Pierce where it was so much more quiet and peaceful.  We found a beautiful campground...one of the loveliest one's we've ever stayed in actually.  Nice big sites and a big pond in the middle where some of the guys have remote control sailboats that they race in it, that's fun to watch.

Not to much to do around here, and that was fine by us, as we just really wanted to just "sit back and relax"...read a little, take some nice walks, drive around and see the town, walk the beaches, etc.  We did discover that they have one of the best Farmer's Markets we've ever been to on Saturdays tho!  So much so, that it was part of the reason we stayed a few extra days here!  Fantastic veggies, bakery items, spices, spaghetti sauce, coffee, so many food items to name, and the crafts were of such great quality and uniqueness!  What a joy it was to shop there...we spent almost all day, just soaking it all in...and buying, of course!

Ft Pierce does have a couple of unique places though, one being the Manatee Observation & Education Center.  It's a small place, but they take the time to walk around with you and show you various sea life and talk about the manatees around the world.  They also shared where we might be able to observe them.  We drove over to the spots, but no luck.  Darn.  Jack really loves those big sea cows.  I must admit, they are pretty cute. 

The other thing unique about Ft Pierce, is that they have a citrus packing plant.  Now, your thinking, "hey, it's Florida, how unique can that be?"  Well, in our tour, we found out that 90% of the citrus grown here is made into juice - so, actually, that leaves only 10% that is used for "fruit" - so out of that 10% some of it must go to stores, then that doesn't leave a whole lot for the "speciality packing", and of that, this packing company is the only one giving public tours!  So, pretty special, huh?  ;-)

So, we went to Al's Family Farms for a tour, and had a great time!  Coming from California, where we really do grow a lot of citrus, I was surprised at how much I did learn!  Like, the California fruit is "pretty" on the outside with it's bright, thick orange, perfect peel, while the inside is nice...sweet and a little juicy.  While the Florida, specifically the Indian River area oranges have a thin skin, scarred (due to the wind brushing the leaves and branches), very, very full juicy (twice the weight), sweet fruit.  This is the reason that they are used for juice vs the California ones!  Ha!

They had several different types we got to taste - Navel & Honeybells - Oranges and Red Ruby & Pummelos Grapefruit.  All delicious!  They said it had a lot to do with the Indian River and the way it runs through the ground they have there - unique.

The fruit has to all be picked by hand, some sniped with clippers so that the tops don't get torn off.  Then they are brought to the wet-line, hand inspected three separate times before going through the polishing (which is really just drying blowers).  We then went into the packing house where we got to see how carefully they hand pack the fruit for shipping.  They pack as they get an order and not before, so it's always fresh. 
















I placed an order for my son in New York...I thought he could use a little "citrus sunshine" right about now...

...kicking back in Florida,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/74905158@N04/ 


Friday, January 23, 2015

Vacation!

Yes, even full-time RV'ers need a vacation!  So, where and how do we vacation?  Well, "we", take a cruise!  At least this year we did!  How it came about is actually kind of a funny story...

Like most folks on the road, we charge everything.  So, as you can imagine, it really adds up too.  I had watched my friends over the years have credit cards that gave them "points" towards flights, or hotels, etc. and had been bugging Jack for years for us to "get one of those".  So, one day he turns to me and says, "Marie, we DO have one!"  I said, "We do?"  I thought the Credit Union was just a regular Visa?"  "No, it gathers points, I just never paid any attention to them, give them a call and see what we have and what their good for".  So, I got our statement, and gave them a call.  Well...after all these years, and all the mileage etc that we've accumulated...we sure had a lot of points!  So, I asked the nice lady if I could use the points for a cruise and she said "yes, where would I like to go?"  I told her the Caribbean.  She asked me for how long, I told her not less than 10 days, she said one was going out of Ft Lauderdale in January for 11 days - "perfect!"  I asked her if I had enough points for a balcony room, she said "oh yes, no problem".  ;-)   So, folks, that's the story of how our trip got started!  It seems that we still have plenty of points left over too!  Guess it pays off not knowing when you have something storing up for you!  ;-)

Our itinerary was this:  Two days at sea (which was a nice way to get settled in), then Philipsburg St Maarten; Castries, St Lucia; Bridgetown, Barbados; Fort-de-France, St Martinique; Basseterre, St Kitts; Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas; at sea; with the last day on their private island Half Moon Cay, Bahamas, then back to Ft Lauderdale.  The weather was exquisite the whole time.  It did rain a couple of times, maybe 10 minutes each time - then gone.  We lucked out each time as we were in shops at the time, so no big deal.  Our room was great and the balcony was on the port side so we got to watch us dock each time and see the ports as we came in, which I loved - made for great picture taking!  I will say tho, that Jack never really got used to the rocking of the ship and didn't really enjoy when he had to walk from one area to another "holding on" to the railings!  I thought it was kind of funny, myself.

We had great shore excursions too.  In St Maarten we went with about 20 others all around the island and met 5 local artists in their homes and galleries.  We saw their work and got to talk with them.  Each was very different from the other.  A young woman, an old one, another not so old, a daughter of a man who had passed on so she was carrying on his work, and a gentleman.  Each offered us refreshments and shared their "visions" with us.  It was such a delightful way to not only see the island, but to "see it through someone else eyes".
Akinom's Gallery showing, St Maarten (French side)

Jack with the artist Monika (Akinom), St Maarten (French side)

(Artist in white) Dolphin Home Gallery, St Maarten (Dutch side)































A chattel house, Barbados

Bathsheba Beach, Barbados

Entrance to Strong Hope sugar plantation, Bridgetown, Barbados








In Barbados I went with a local professional photographer, Ronnie Carrington, and about 20 others for a tour around the island to shoot some areas that "tourist" might not see.  He was a wonderful guide.  Full of stories and information.  We got to see so many great areas, including a fun stop at a "rum shop" where I learned the difference in rums...10 yr old, 5 yr old and "clear"...big difference!  ...and the difference in the punch! Yum!



































In St Kitts we took a train trip that turned into "an adventure"...one we hadn't counted on!  We had really been looking forward to this trip since we love train trips.  The St Kitts Scenic Railway is a 1912 narrow gauge railway that (normally) runs 3 hours for a 30 mile circle around the island.  Well...ours made it about 3/4 of the way and stopped.  Luckily it happened after it had crossed over the (last) bridge.  We ended up sitting there for two hours!  They first had to call and wait for the mechanic to come and see if he could fix it, then wait while he tried to do so, then when it was determined that he couldn't they had to call for the buses to come and get us, which were at least 45 min. away.  At least there were plenty of beverages aboard and the singers did their best to entertain us!  We did get a full refund, which I was really surprised at, I must say.  So kudos to the ship and the tour company for that!  The tour was great up to that point tho!

















Our last fun tour was snorkeling with the turtles!  That was so much fun!  We went to Turtle Cove in St Thomas on the Castaway Girl Catamaran.  What a great team they were too!  We saw a number of turtles,  a couple we could almost touch!  Then we moved over to Shipwreck Cove and got to see a couple of shipwrecks too.  All and all, a pretty cool day.


Oldest Lighthouse, Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas

Turtle Cove, St Thomas











































The last stop at Half Moon Cay was a lovely way to end the cruise.  Their island was absolutely beautiful.  The water was a color almost to hard to describe - between a blue and a turquoise and completely clear.  The sand so soft it was like baby powder.  They had a ton of lounge chairs that you could choose from in the sun, in the shade, half in half, what ever!  Great food, great drinks, nice music...nice day...nice ending.


All good things much come to an end...but we were ready, and the rest of Florida is waiting for us to explore...

...kicking back in Florida,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/74905158@N04/


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Looking back...

It's already mid-January and I'm just now "finishing up" with 2014!  Where did it go?  December always seems to just fly by so fast, I just can't seem to keep up with it, and before I have a chance to blog about it, January is here!  This year, it's even worse...so, sorry for the delay...I have a lot of catching up to do!  ;-)

It never ceases to amaze me that we are "still doing this"...traveling, but we are, and still enjoying it!  I love looking back over the year, seeing where we've been, what we've seen & done. 

We camped at 78 campgrounds this year, staying longer than we have in the past...but not as long as I want to do this year.  Slowing down and staying longer is my goal this year.  We spent $8941.70 in campground fees this year, up a little from previous years, as the economy has gotten better, we've seen a change in the increase in people camping.  Two years ago it was common to see campgrounds half empty, now, not so much.  This was also the very first time I nearly found myself without a place to stay over one of the holidays because I forgot about it until the week before!  We traveled 19,172 miles, (and just turned 60,000 miles on our coach!)

The highlight of our trip this year was the Great Lakes area of Michigan.  It had been our "goal", as we had never been to that region of the US before, and we weren't disappointed.  What a lovely area!  We pretty much stayed in their state parks for most the trip which was delightful as well as economical. 

We also did something "unusual" this year, in that we flew to Hawaii and visited with friends on both the Big Island and Oahu.  What a treat that was!  Nice to have friends in far away places to invite you to come and play with them!  ;-)  We also were able to catch up with some of our RV'ing friends this year as well.  We've made some wonderful friendships along the way, and we've managed to maintain them, seeing them from time to time.  All of them have "sticks 'n bricks" homes besides their RVs so we can often find them there, if not on the road!  Several of them have made plans to travel with us this year, so we are really looking forward to that!

What will this year bring?  Another trip back east, that we know for sure.  We have a wedding in September to attend...and I really miss seeing my east coast grandchildren.  The route and the states in between are yet to be planned...and that's half the fun!  As I write this we are in Florida, just returning from a wonderful Caribbean Cruise (a great way to start the year, don't you think?), but that's another blog...

I just read a great little ditty from a fellow RV'er (J Dwag) that I thought really summed up "our life" perfectly, so wanted to share it here: 

It's titled:  "I'm not a camper, I'm an RVer"
  • I don't sleep on the ground under the stars. I sleep in a bed under the AC.
  • I don't cook on an open fire. I cook on a stove or in the microwave.
  • I don't watch the stars.  I watch TV.
  • I don't set up camp.  I park the RV and plug in.
  • I don't bathe in a river or take a cold bucket show.  I wash in my shower.
  • I don't look at the sky for the weather.  I check my smartphone.
  • I don't swat flies.  I surf the web.
  • I don't sit on a log. I sit on a leather couch or recliner.
I still get to see many of the same great natural views and see many beautiful places.  I still take hikes, sit by lakes, and enjoy the outside.  I just do it with an RV near by.  Is this all bad?  I don't think so.  I've been in both worlds.  I liked camping and I like RVing.  Its just a different way of doing the same thing.  I suppose you could be both.  But for me, things changed and now I'm an RVer.


...so the new year begins, thanks for follow along with us!  Marie

Monday, December 29, 2014

Boondocking...

Boondocking is a term used by RV'ers for camping without any hook-ups.  That's the simple explanation.  More commonly it's used to mean camping "off the grid", or camping in "non-camping locations, or spots".  This can be anywhere from places like on the beach or the desert to WalMart parking lots.

When you are a small RV like a Class B (like a Roadtrek) or a small Class C, you can easily pull off onto dirt or sandy roads and find lots of cozy spots with privacy without to much notice or fear.  With a larger RV, that's a bit harder.  First of all, you don't want to take the chance of getting stuck - either in the dirt and sand or the fact that you might not be able to turn around to get back out again!  You also stand out a whole lot more, and therefore are a bit more noticeable to authorities or neighbors who don't much want you parking there.  Running a generator on a bigger Class A makes more noise than one on a smaller RV too.  All good reasons for us "bigger kids" to stay away from the "no camping zones" when we can.

For those reasons, and for general "safety" reasons, we don't usually boondock.  We have though, a very few times, mostly in desperation, over the three years we've been camping. Traveling through Texas usually presents those "opportunities".  You see, there are very large, open spans where there just are no campgrounds!  Well...no "open spaces" in any.  The very few that are there, are filled with oil workers...if you even want to call them "campgrounds".  They are pretty much just large gravel parking lots with hook-ups, for the most part.  You can go miles and miles without seeing very much except for some tumble weeds and dust in between oil rigs and tiny towns with just the bare-bones basics. 

The one thing Texas does have though, is great "Safety Rest Areas".  They are big, clean, and well maintained.  They mark them on their maps for you as well.  You can park over-night there, no hassles, no problems.  Vending machines, security cameras or during peak season, security officers on duty.  They even have storm shelters.  Did I say they were nice?  ;-)

This trip through Texas we ended up staying at two of them...on the way into Dallas from New Mexico to visit my son and his family for Christmas and on the way out of Dallas towards Florida.  When we pulled into the first one, it was about 4 days before Christmas and about 5:00 p.m.  We don't put any of our slides out, we just tuck ourselves in and get cozy.  There were just a few other "18-Wheelers" in the lot with us at that time.  The night ended with a gorgeous sunset, and we called it a night.


That morning we looked out to see what other "company" had joined us in the middle of the night (I had seen out my side window that someone had pulled up next to us) and was surprised to see the lot almost full!  There must have been at least 30+ of those big guys there!  Many had already left, so we were sure it had been full over the course of the night.  I think we were the only RV though, all were the big 18-Wheelers.


At our second Safety Rest Area, two days after Christmas, the "make-up" was different.  This time, it was pretty much a 50/50 mix of RV'ers and the 18-Wheelers.  The lot wasn't as full either.  Being a Friday, with two days left before people had to get back to work, might of made a difference, I don't know.  I do know that the traffic picked up more and more as the days into the weekend passed.

I know that a number of people like to boondock to save money, and do so whenever they can, most often at WalMart's parking lots, but, I have to say, I still prefer a nice camp- ground.  I'm not out here traveling "to save money", I'm here to enjoy the scenery, and there isn't much scenery in a parking lot - any parking lot, no matter how nice it is.  I'm grateful that Texas has those rest stops, because there isn't much else for us, but given the choice, give me a pretty campsite any day!

...On the road heading to Florida,   Marie

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Changes...

I practically grew up in San Diego.  I was a Navy brat, so spent two years here, then two years there and two years somewhere else again until I was ten, but in and out of San Diego and back again permanently at thirteen until three years ago...so, I've seen a lot of changes over the years.  I've seen San Diego grow up you could say.  Jack first moved here in 1970.

And "grow up" it has!  When I first moved here, almost sixty-five years ago, it was practically a "small town".  You could get from one end to the other in less than fifteen minutes!  We used to take Sunday Drives out to the north county for the day.  ;-)   Now, all my children have moved away to other parts of the country.  I still have some family and a lot friends here, so we still come back once or twice a year to visit.  One of the things we like to do tho, is to drive around and see all the changes the city has undergone while we've been gone...because it continues to grow, and change.

We had such a chance the other day.  We started off by going downtown to look for the new library that we heard had finally been built.  Now, if you've ever lived here, or are now, you know how long that's been coming.  It's been talked about and been voted on for decades!  Certainly something this city has needed for many, many years.  It took us awhile to find it, but it sure was worth the hunt.  What a beauty!  I think it's actually in a good location too.  Right at a trolley and bus stop, has parking (pay), out of the way of the Gaslamp District, near condos and apartments, etc.  San Diego can be proud.


We did have to shake our head tho at the continued building of more housing, knowing how bad the drought is.  Where do they think they are going to get the much needed water for all these people?  Jobs building these now, but how will these people get water later?  Short sighted planning, I'm afraid...

From there we mossied toward the Embarcadero and admired the progress of the enlargement of the airport.  We also noticed all the new signs and how they "dropped" the name Lindbergh, and are just using "San Diego International Airport" now...poor Charles.  They even painted over his picture and did a new mural!  Guess he just didn't make the cut.  While there, we drove on around to Spanish Landing to see the progress of the building of the replica of the San Salvidor.  What a lovely surprise, as she's almost complete!  They should be launching her in about a month.  What a great sight that should be for San Diego.  We wish we could be here for that.  It's been fun to follow the building of her over the years.  The Bandy Blacksmith Guild has been forging all the ironwork for it, which Jack is a member of that Guild, so we feel proud if only by association.

Leaving there, it was time for lunch, so naturally we had to stop at a favorite stop...El Indo!  Thank goodness some things never change!!  YUM!  Chips to take with (of course!)  and off to Pacific Beach...

When Jack first moved to San Diego, he lived in Pacific Beach, just a few blocks from the beach.  I also didn't live very far from there for many years, only "fifteen minutes", and was there often.  It was "my beach" hangout.  So it's the one we go to, when we are in town.  (there are beaches all along the coast in San Diego that people think of:  Pacific, Ocean, & La Jolla).  Now, PB (as it's called) is always changing.  There are some places that change constantly, and always have - same building, but new name.  It's like a game "what will it's name be this year?"  Then there are the ones you know will always be there, like the Denny's that's been there for sixty years, etc.  But the "old ones" are getting old and it's the beach after all, and the sea takes it toll, so buildings need repair, and times change, etc.  So, one never really knows...such was our discovery.

As we drove down our favorite streets and remarked on the various buildings, we had very little surprises.  We loved that we actually found a parking spot right at the beach (that's rare).  We have a favorite restaurant, one that has been Jack's since the very beginning.  It's a simple, clean, nothing fancy place, called The Green Flash.  It always had a line, breakfast, lunch or dinner.  It catered to the quiet crowd, beach people who just wanted good food with a good view, as it is right on the beach.  There are plenty other places catering to the 20s-30s drinking crowd.  We loved it.  So as we walked the beach, I asked, "do you think it's still there?"  Just as Jack was saying "of course, The Green Flash will always be the...OMG what have they DONE TO MY RESTAURANT?"  ...we had turned the corner and saw the change...ugh.  It was no longer The Green Flash...but the garish Baja Beach Cafe...filled with the 20s-30s sipping their huge Margaritas...and enjoying the changes....


...but that's ok, life is still good!


...kicking back in San Diego CA,  Marie

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Thanksgivng Blessings...

We usually spend the month of November in Washington.  Both our toad and our rig are licensed there, and most of my family lives there.  So, once a year, we, and our vehicles all go there for "annual check-ups" and visits.  Now, November isn't the warmest of times, but, alas, that was when "everything" fell into place three years ago!

Three years ago, last December, we sold our house in record time (two weeks!), found the "perfect" RV (clear across the US) and loaded up what we didn't sell into a tiny storage unit and headed north.  Washington seemed like the perfect "home base" since we knew we would be on the road full time, and my sister was willing to be our mail person.  So, we drove up there, registered ourselves, got doctors, new licenses, etc. and celebrated!  Now, once a year, we brave the rain & cold and visit family and get rewarded with a wonderful Thanksgiving Feast for our efforts!



We started out thinking our adventure would be just for one year.  Jack was new to "camping".  Born and raised a "city boy", his idea of "camping" was "no room service" at a hotel.  I, on the other hand, love it.  This whole thing had been my idea all along, he was just "coming along for the ride...or the drive, actually, since he does the driving.  Now, this being our third full year, with no end in sight, he's the one who is still really loving it!  Probably even more than I, if truth be told!

Every year has been very different from the one before...just like life itself.  We are blessed with good health and this year I was reminded how much that matters as for the last four months I've suffered with limited use of my right arm due to some bone spurs in my shoulder.  I was thrilled that the doctor in Tacoma was able to tell me what all the pain was about and that a simple out-patient surgery will fix the problem once and for all.  I will have to come back in a few months to have it done, but that's minor, and we can go on with our journey from there, no further problems.

I also feel blessed that I have a family that allows us to travel the way we do and understands and loves us.  We don't get to see them as often as we would like.  Our children and grandchildren are spread all across the US and it's tough getting around to all of them very often and still see all the nooks and crannies of the various states, but we try as best we can, but of course, its never enough, and we miss them more than we like.

We are also blessed by the people we meet along the way.  Some are just in passing, but some we've managed to stay friends with, and that's extra special.  People like us who really get this crazy life-style of ours, who love this wonder lust.  This year, several of our friends who haven't been able to RV in a long time due to family issues, now can, are now planning on trips to either join up with us, or travel along with us.  We've always traveled alone, so we are looking forward to doing some "companion traveling" in 2015!

Doing what you love, being loved, and being healthy and happy...that's truly a blessing, ones I wish for everyone!


On the road again,  Marie