May 13, 2016
I don’t need a plan for 2009. I could plan to live through 2009 in good health but maybe I should make that a wish and a prayer?
Planning is good, up to the point that your life changes everything.I make “To Do Lists” and set goals both near and distant. Paula has her planner and her Franklin Covey organizer and other tricks to remaining sane when Plan “A” ends up as Plan “F” and we aren’t even on the same continent that we had set out for.
Its all good.
So 2008 is almost one for the books and as I look back I see that one and usually both of us traveled to Canada,(three provinces),The U.S.A. (27 states), Mexico (down the East and up the West Coast), Belize, Guatemala, France, Germany, Monaco, Italy and Australia
It will sound strange to say that we spent ,(for us) ,quite a bit of time settled in one place. Our Marina side home in Belize, was a stay of almost 4 months . If you ever want to test your compatibility and tolerance for close living ,try a 20′ Motorhome, with a dog inside and four more sleeping just out your door.
It was great fun and I hope to do it again. But not for 4 months straight. Not ever.
We parked the more spacious 5th wheel at an ecological reserve/rv park on the St.Lawrence River,Thousand Island area for almost 6 months and stayed there about half of the time.My Mom and siblings all live in that corner of Canada and it was nice to get together and see some nieces and nephews that I had previous only met on family sad times. No sad events this year. No funerals and although the older ones gave us a scare they all pulled through and are back living their lives. Old age may not be for wimps but with the characteristic, “what can you do” shrug, the old folks walk out of the hospitals and get back to living. A good example for us all.
We were again fortunate to travel to both foreign and domestic lands. Amazing to me sometimes, is the realization that I often have more in common with a person in, say, Italy, than I do a neighbor from Nevada.The more we travel the more I treasure the gift that people give of themselves by just being who they are. So many different nationalities,cultures,beliefs and views of life. About the time I start thinking that maybe I have life figured out,a stranger or family member says something that just rocks me back on my heels and gets me looking at the world in a new way. Thank You.
When Paula and I think back to memorable trips our stories and thoughts go back not just to places but more often its the people we met that made the trip stand out.
I wish, as I did last year at this time,that we had got around to see many of more you than we did. You are in our thoughts as the New Year approaches. One of the luckiest advantages of having so many friends and acquaintances is that our six degrees of separation has shrunk by a degree or two. Its such a laugh to meet another traveler in a foreign land where we may be the only four English speakers in a restaurant of one hundred people and after a few minutes find that we know some of the same people. You.
I have to write a blog soon about these encounters. Many of you will be surprised. You can never know all the people who know of or about you or when and where your name comes up in conversation.
You are in more thoughts than you can know and as 2009 approaches I wish you all, a healthy as can be, 2009. What else do you really need?
February 19, 2009
This is official – since I have “launched” the new site, I am shutting down the borderlinegyspsies blog, and building a new site at Vagablonde Traveling . Please visit me over there! 🙂
January 6, 2009
Now is the time when most people are talking about plans for the new year. Resolutions, goals, organizing, planning for the year ahead. I tried to answer the question about where we would be in 2009. One thing is for sure, we will be in Kissimmee, Florida until February 22nd, 2009. Our RV space is rented until then, and it’s still too cold to be heading north. Keith returns from a 3.5 week tour in Adelaide, Australia this week. That is the only other thing I know for sure.
We’d like to spend more time in Savannah, GA timing it to be able to partake in their annual Tour of Homes and Gardens at the end of March. We spent two nights in the Savannah area on our way down to Florida, did a walking tour and ate at Paula Deen’s restaurant, it’s just one of those places that warrants more time. It’s on the list.
Washington D.C. lived up to every notion I ever had of the Capitol city, and then some. The original idea was to visit in the spring and see the cherry trees in bloom. Our first trip was in late May, our second visit was late October – so if the third times a charm, we will get back up that way this April.
Newfoundland is definitely on the list. Keith tells such fantastic stories of working up there, says you wake in the morning with sore stomach muscles from laughing so hard. Sounds like a good time to me! This requires a major ferry crossing in the RV, and is a trip only to be planned for in the mid-summer otherwise it likely still be too cold.
Loosely planned is another summer in the 1000 Islands area of Ontario, as a base. Most likely Keith will be going back and forth to Italy throughout.
Fall 2009 we will try to be in the right place in the right time for the New England fall colors (last year’s plan) and by the winter maybe we can get a trip to Belize in. We’d like to get a trip to Belize in this winter, but, if we don’t make it, it goes back on the list.
All speculation, but it’s a start. What about you, where will you be in 2009?
December 16, 2008
I snapped a photo of our darling Christmas tree in the RV this year, those who have seen it (on Facebook and Twitter) seemed surprised and have enjoyed it. I’ve been working with a lot of our photos from the past nine years, and thought I’d post a blog with pictures of our Christmas Trees past.
Not our first Christmas together, but our first tree. I was (as I usually am) really proud of how it turned out.
The “tree” in this next picture requires a little imagination. Far right in the photo, it’s a spiral piece of acrylic wrapped in candy cane garland. At least it gave me something to hang our ornaments on in this 18 ft trailer. By this time, we had begun collection ornaments, starting with the handblown glass Bobbo Natale from Venice, Italy.
This was our first RV. We have since decided that we do in fact love the full-time lifestyle and have traded up a little bit (both the RV and the camera). Anyway, this was how we decorated for Christmas while camping at the Carpinteria State Beach, a very short walk to the water
No tree this year, we were celebrating in Jindabyne Australia
This is my mom’s tree, which she and I decorated together. Christmas in Bishop with the family, it’s a treat. Mom can really light a tree, I tell ya! Look closely, Keith is trying to get Zoe to smile for the camera.
Fun-facts about Keith’s career:
Among the heroic duties of firefighting and the economically important seismic exploration or logging contracts, he has also fulfilled contracts to fly in harvested Christmas Trees. Bundle at a time, slinging from steep tree farm forests into the backs of waiting trucks.
Each year working this duty he has received a gorgeous Douglas Fir. Finally, after three years of giving friends and family the tree for their holiday, I finally got to keep one for myself. Here it is.
In 2006 we were camped in Vegas. Though we went to my brothers in Big Pine for Christmas Day, I still put a tree up. Went a little overboard bringing in the 5 ft’er, but loved every day of it.
I did say we were in Vegas, didn’t I? Since we weren’t going to be there, I didn’t do much outside decorating. I let nature do it for me.
Keith has been in Australia since Monday (well, Sunday for us, it’s confusing when you travel down under). Even though won’t have Christmas together we did put our tree up. It’s a smaller version than ’06, Keith could circle the tree and name the places all the ornaments came from in less than 5 minutes, ha ha.
We’re in a warmer climate this year, parked beneath palm trees, enjoying the evening air with the door open
Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas from Florida (this year)
December 11, 2008
Tropical Palms Resort, our home for the next three months, is a 60 acre RV park with 575 full hook-up sites. That’s a lot of asphalt and concrete to support so many rigs. There are buildings for laundry rooms, restrooms and showers, a cafe near the heated pool, picnic shelters and cabins to rent in case you don’t have an RV. We are less than 3 miles from Disney World. Yep, the Magic Kingdom is just a short drive away. The road to get there is a major one, lined with souvenir shopping mecca’s, super buffet’s, mini-golf, all variety of hotel (offering unbeatable rates right now $25/night!), and neon, neon, neon. We can bike ride to a half dozen supermarkets, super Target, super Walmart, Home Depot, post office, banks, movie theaters, we don’t have to drive at all around here.
Amidst all this city life, this seemed quite the contradiction to stumble upon as we scouted the park:
And, it’s no joke. there was a small gator hanging in this pond. Where there is a small gator there must be a bigger one, I figure. I learned quickly that here in Florida, where there is water, there are alligators. Urban vs. rural has absolutely nothing to do with it. Turns out, from Nov-March these creatures do not eat. Lacking the heat & sun to digest food, it would just rot and kill them. My better judgment tells me this does not mean they won’t attack to kill. Hmph, puts a damper on Zoe’s swimming, but we’re trying to learn about living safely with our alligator neighbors.
So, it’s not the presence of gators that surprises me around here. I have to admit I was a caught off guard last week to watch a wild turkey strut down our lane way, in no particular hurry at all. Where he came from or where he went I don’t know. The morning I found a raccoon lounging in the trash dumpster was a bit of a shocker as well. More so, the fact that it didn’t even flinch, just stared at me as if wondering what goodies I might be bringing for breakfast. Raccoons in the city, not where I’m from, but I guess it happens. And, I have finally seen my first alive armadillo snuffing around the grass along the bike path…dangerously close to the road, of course. I herded him back into the brush, and look for him each day when I ride by.
This morning I woke to the who-whoooing of an owl, quickly identified as the Barred Owl, the same species we had serenading us in the Living Forest in B.C. (blogged about in April and May 07) There is little chance for a sighting. Our space, #371 is on the last row before the park acreage returns to it’s wild roots, overgrown Cypress, Pine, Palm and countless shrub for I don’t know how far. I don’t know, because I have only gone 20 or so feet in, and that was while looking for a neighbors lost Siamese cat. Unfortunate story, the one of Herman the 13 yr. old house cat. I don’t think he stands a chance with all the wild animals, including the osprey and the short-tailed hawk that live here. Every time I see that hawk he’s either got a meal in his talons or he’s too full to fly. Yesterday a neighbor excitedly reported seeing a small herd of deer in this brush near our RV. After all the things we’ve seen so far, this didn’t seem like news.
Because we are so near to Disney, it is difficult for me to see or hear any of these animals, right down to the pesky squirrels that come right up on our steps begging Keith for almonds, without imagining they have cartoonesque voices, and dramatic stories, and that I am somehow part of their scene for the winter. Seems impossible to be any other way.
December 9, 2008
Some numbers from the last year:
12 months, eight countries, 27 states, two provinces and two continents. These are my travel stats, Keith’s vary slightly – add one province and a third continent…he’s off to Australia this week. I regret that I am such a chronological blogger, and that if I don’t write when travels are current…I don’t write. There is a lot of sharing to catch up on.
The first three months of 2008 were spent living in Belize. Having our our Visa’s in order meant we could stay for a year, and were considered Belizean. This last bit doesn’t mean much, but was fun to acknowledge. Such a beautiful little country, I fondly think back on the snorkel trips, Mayan Ruin exploring (taking us into Guatemala), jungle treks, trips to the islands, helicopter flights over the reef and life in general camped at the Cucumber Beach Marina. Most of what is packed into my journal from living last winter in the Caribbean are not details of the trips we took, or wildlife we encountered, it’s about the people we met, time shared with new friends, and things I learned from other people. That’s what I cherish most. We will return to see our friends and build our life in Belize. To see archived blogs, search Jan, Feb, March 08 on the right-side of the blog. For photos use the Webshots link, search Belize Album.
I get very attached to the people and places we visit, but when it’s time to roll I get anxious to move on. When it was time to head back to the U.S., at the end of March, I was ready. The drive up the west coast of Mexico was a rewarding 18-day trip in itself. The lessons we’d learned on the east coast in the fall made us feel like real pro’s, not cocky enough to get into trouble, just confident enough to have a nice time. We beach camped our way home staying along nearly deserted stretches of beach some nights, other nights we camped near Acapulco, Zihuatenijo, Puerto Vallarta (actually, Sayulita, a place that won our hearts), and Mazatlan. The days were long again, just like summer days as a kid. Beach combing, body surfing, meeting new friends and just working on our tans, ahhh a couple of lucky people. An archived blog in May 2008 has some photos of our camping spots.
The first week of April we crossed the border from Nogales, Sonora Mexico into Nogales, Arizona U.S.A. Immediately the fact that we had a schedule to keep sunk in. Our plan was to be in Gananoque, Ontario, Canada by Mother’s day. Sounds doable. The catch was, we were not traveling directly, but via some of our regular haunts, Las Vegas NV, Bishop CA and Tumwater WA to attend to the business of life that always awaits our return. At that time, we were paying $4.25/gal for diesel, on a truck hauling a fifth-wheel RV, getting 15 mpg. This 4500 mile cross-country journey we embarked on was likely to be the first (for me) and last time to see some of this country.
Our home for the summer season ’08 was an “ecological reserve” in the 1000 Islands, Landon Bay Centre. Knowing we would be away for a better part of the summer, the $7 a day camping rate was a better than average deal. One quick week after setting up our base-camp, we were on the road again. This time a “vacation”, spending 10 days in Virginia touring the Nations Capital. As I wrote in the June blog, this trip to D.C. and the area made me want to spend so much more time here – and as it turns out, we would return for 2 more weeks later in the fall. Yeah!
The majority of the summer was spent in Alassio, Italy on the Italian Riviera. Keith worked six out of nine weeks, I played, isn’t that how it goes? If you are keeping count, this makes the sixth country of the year. From here we hopped the train to visit Monaco and Nice, France – eight rounds the tally. This is the sort of summer that really puts life into perspective for me, how lucky a person could I be? Well, lucky enough to spend glorious days biking the cobblestone promenade from one village to another alongside the shallow waters of the Mediterranean, sipping espresso and eating gelato whenever I wanted. Unlucky enough to have a gigantic tree fall on our truck two days before leaving for Europe, only to have the wonderfully repaired truck stolen from the Montreal, Quebec airport not a month later – these things are all just part of life, taken in stride it makes for an interesting ride.
Our Ford dealer in WA was more than accomodating to help us replace our vehicle, without which meant our “home” was stranded in Canada, the winter clock ticking. Ironic to find ourselves making a repeat of a cross-country drive that we would take us through country we never thought we’d see so soon. Taking advantage of the opportunity, we changed the route from the I-90 to the I-94. We had some weather to out run, but enjoyed the last of the fall colors going back into Canada.
It was late October when we hauled out of the 1000 Islands, just ahead of the first snow storm of the season. Having decided long ago that since we are on the east coast we’d may as well stay, explore and enjoy it we spent November and December slowly making our way to Florida. During the 2008 Presidential Election, we were camped in Maryland exploring more of D.C., where we stayed for more than 2 weeks. Now we’re hooked up in our home in Kissimmee Fl. where we’ll finish out 2008, and begin 2009. What’s in store? Not really sure, Belize and Mexico would be nice, spending more time in D.C., getting up to Newfoundland might be an option – we’ll let ya know.