Travel

My Baby Wants to be an 18-Wheeler

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Categories: Camping, Daily Prompt, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Sisters Camping Trip # 3 – Preparation

Casita

So, the Princess and I survived our first two camping adventures without hurting each other.  I always try mightily to back my Casita travel trailer into our camp site but I echo Blanche DuBois (A Streetcar Named Desire), “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers,” when I fail miserably.  My job is to sweat and cuss and try and try again to back the camper in the right direction.  Yes, I know you have to turn the wheel in the opposite direction from where you want the trailer to go. The Princess’ job is to stand around looking adorable with an an imploring look & pleading smile while nearby campers rush to volunteer to back the trailer in for us.  I guess it takes a village.  Whatever.

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This time we’re heading to St. George Island State Park in the Florida panhandle.  We’ll camp on the beach and explore Apalachicola and other coastal towns.  We’ll eat lots of seafood — shrimp, oysters, mullet, etc.  It’s going to be cold (30’s-40’s at night) so walks on the beach may mean bundling up in several layers. Picture two female Pillsbury dough boys and pray we don’t trip.  “We’ve fallen and we can’t get up.”

I’ve prepared and frozen two meals, chili one night and chicken cacciatore for another night.  I plan to store them in the freezer compartment to help keep the refrigerator cold, then use my slow cooker to defrost and heat up our dinner when we’re ready.  I’m buying steaks & Idaho potatoes for our first night. Since we don’t have a very good track record with grilling on an outdoor fire, I’ll buy New York strips instead of rib eyes just in case our dreams go up in smoke (again).  The Princess is responsible for cocktails and appetizers for the trip and local restaurants and bars will fill in the gaps.weenie

I live in southwest Florida and the Princess lives in central Florida so we coordinate our departure times and meet at the confluence of I-75 and the Florida Turnpike in Wildwood.   Her husband transfers her luggage (matching pieces of course) to my car and off we go.

I’ll let you know when we get there.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Aging Gracefully, Camping, Family, Humor, Life, Retirement, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Where Do I Find the Time to Blog?

DAILY POST:  Life After Blogs ...Your life without a computer: what does it look like?

Without a computer I would have even more time for/to:

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Family

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Read

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Pay bills

 

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Chill in the pool

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Visit our cottage in the northern woods

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Quilt on my longarm machine

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Explore

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Cook

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Sew

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Travel

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Eat

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Kayak

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Hike

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Explore

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Encourage my grandchildren to be silly

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Participate in raising funds for breast cancer research

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Categories: Aging Gracefully, Daily Prompt, Family, Humor, Kayaking, Life, Retirement, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: | 2 Comments

Of Course I Love My Family But …

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Pride and Joy.” What’s your most prized possession?

Of course my family and their love is my most prized possession – that goes without saying.  But if you want to know my most prized material possession, it’s my Casita travel trailer.  It was my retirement gift to me, from me, with love. I am eager for every camping adventure, especially when I go solo.

My 17-foot Casita Freedom

                                                              My 17-foot Casita Freedom

On Long Key, near Key West, Florida (Paradise)

                                                On Long Key, near Key West, Florida (paradise!)

I always wanted to be a cowgirl so that's how I decorated my Casita

I always wanted to be a cowgirl so that’s how I decorated my Casita

Bathroom behind door #1, closet behind door #2

Bathroom behind door #1, closet behind door #2

Dining table drops down, cushions flatten to form a queen size bed

Dining table drops down, cushions flatten to form a queen size bed

Inside dining for two - granddaughter & Grampy

Inside dining for two – granddaughter & Gramps

Just big enough on a rainy day to stay inside & watch movies

Just big enough on a rainy day to stay inside & watch movies

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Getting ready for take-off

I took my sister with me to Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine, FL for a girls' weekend

I took my sister with me to Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine, FL for a girls’ weekend

Girly repairs with pink duct tape

Girly repairs with pink duct tape

My happy place

    My happy place

Good night

                          Good night

Categories: Aging Gracefully, Camping, Daily Prompt, Family, Life, Retirement, Travel | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Who is Oscar Scherer and Why Is There a State Park Named After Him?

Because it’s one of our favorite camping sites and just 30 miles from home and since we’ve spent some fun camping trips there and I’ve often wondered who Oscar Scherer was, I finally googled (that’s a verb?) “Oscar Scherer”:

In 1955, Elsa Scherer Burrows bequeathed 462 acres of land to the state of Florida for use as a park. The land was donated in memory of her father, Oscar Scherer, an inventor who developed a process for dyeing leather for shoes in 1872.

After a year of preparation, Oscar Scherer State Recreation Area was opened to the public in 1956. In 1991, an additional 922 acres were purchased as part of the P2000 initiative. This increased the parks total acreage to 1384 acres.

It appears that Elsa and Pinnochio had a lot in common, famous fathers involved in shoes.  Now we know and “knowing is half the battle” according to GI Joe.

Oscar Scherer State Park is where I often go when I need to run away from home for a couple of days.  I particularly love this park because the campsites feel private and wild although you are only 20-30 feet from your neighbors and have access to water and electric and the showers & restrooms are clean –   which is about as wild as I want to get.

My last escape from reality I was joined by my husband and we had a good time although things do tend to get a little bizarre when you have two 60-somethings escaping reality together:

front sign oscar

Bobcat on the Red Trail

Bobcat on the Red Trail

 

 

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Eagle nest

Eagle nest

 

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Would you go swimming?

Would you go swimming?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delightful camping site

Delightful camping site

 

 

No, I didn't hit him ... clunked himself on the trunk's hood!

No, I didn’t hit him … clunked himself on the trunk’s hood! But that’s what first aid kits are for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Camping, Family, Humor, Kayaking, Life, Retirement, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

A Rare and Perfect Day of Honor and Reflection

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “All It’s Cracked Up to Be.” Tell us about a time when everything actually turned out exactly as you’d hoped.

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I was slightly anxious to be driving alone through a strange city,hauling my tiny camper, watching for road signs and listening to Siri’s annoying GPS voice directing me to the Chickamauga Battlefield.  Anxious because the previous day I got stuck on the top of Lookout Mountain and was rescued by angels – but I’ve already told that story.

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The morning was perfect; no clouds, in the low 70’s, sunny and bright.  I drove through Chattanooga without mishap arriving safely at the Chickamauga Battlefield and Chattanooga National Military Park. I pulled into a perfect parking space for the camper (meaning I didn’t have to back out) and had wonderful ingress and egress to parking throughout my tour.

I entered the museum as the award winning film depicting the battles on Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge began.  “The Campaign for Chattanooga: Death Knell of the Confederacy” is a haunting film of the men from rural farms and small towns who fought and died at the Battle of Chickamauga. Their dashed hopes and broken dreams as the Civil War raged is profoundly sad and thought provoking.

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General Rosecrans commanded the Union Army of the Cumberland and General Bragg commanded the Confederate Army of Tennessee

I was given a map to the Chickamauga Battlefield that features a 7 mile self-guided auto tour, monuments, historical tablets, hiking trails and horse trails. As I drove from site to site I was struck by the number of people touring the battlefield; young people on motorcycles, retirees, the aged with walkers, and families with children. 300B8D1A-1DD8-B71C-07163CE398CD7C8D-largeI was touched by the beauty of the site and the interest and respect shown by the visitors.

The battlegrounds and roads have been maintained in their original state even to the placement of the cannon and surviving structures. Only brush removal is allowed. As I enjoyed the perfect weather and the beautifully maintained historic park, I reflected on how time can erase the physical scars to the landscape but we must maintain the memory of the battles. It is easy to forget that the Revolutionary War forming the United States had been fought only 87 years before.

A short 152 years ago, over a two day period in September 1863, this beautiful park saw 16,000 Union and 18,000 Confederate casualties, making Chickamauga the second bloodiest battle of the war after Gettysburg.  That’s 34,000 soldiers wounded or killed in two days.  Keep in mind that these battles were fought face-to-face, hand-to-hand with soldiers seeing and sometimes recognizing the faces of their adversaries.

I am grateful for the hours I spent honoring all the Civil War heroes who fought in this corner of Tennessee.  The day was everything I hoped for.

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Categories: Daily Prompt, Life, Retirement, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses Their Weenie

We’ve all seen the movie where a man builds a fire by rubbing two sticks together to create a life-saving blaze when he’s lost in a frozen wasteland.  Think Buck, the sled dog, and John Thornton in the Call of the Wild.  They’d both have been frozen popsicles if that blaze had been my responsibility.

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My sister, the Princess, and I arrived at the Myakka River State Park in Sarasota, Florida mid-afternoon.  By the time we got the Casita backed onto the site (don’t ask), unhooked and set up we were starving.  So, we had cocktails and appetizers and discussed starting a campfire to cook hotdogs.  Grilling hotdogs on an campfire is the epitome of “roughing it” according to the Princess and something she’s always wanted to try. She brought kosher hot dogs, buns from the bakery, charcoal and lighter fluid, long expandable forks and a Bic lighter.  I was supposed to provide the expertise.

We must have erased from our memories our previous attempt to start a fire.  The Princess and I were having cocktails (notice a common theme?) by the fire pit at my cottage.  We gathered leaves, twigs and some pieces of wood and made a teepee of them in the pit.  It smoldered and smoked.  We didn’t have any charcoal lighter so we threw rum on the smoldering mess.  Embers started floating through the air and the leaves around the fire pit caught fire.

firepit

A successful fire built by my husband, The Man.

I ran to get the hose from the side of the house but it was about 20 feet too short. I was running in such a panic that I landed on my hands and knees when the hose suddenly played out.  I ignored my scraped and bleeding knees and palms, jumped up and ran to help my sister stomp out the burning leaves around the pit.  I yelled at her to stop stomping because she was wearing my purple Crocs and I didn’t know if they would melt onto her feet. I visualized purple plastic webbing fusing her toes together.  Actually, there was no danger of setting the woods on fire.  The whole sodden mess was due to damp leaves and wood.

Back to the present and oblivious to our miserable history, we put charcoal in the campfire pit, sloshed it with lighter fluid and lit it.  Then we waited for the coals to turn white hot while we had another cocktail.  The Princess speared the hotdogs onto our new forks and after a few minutes of holding the forks over the hot coals she began complaining that her back hurt from bending over the campfire.  I told her to just put the hotdogs on the grill and turn them occassionally.  You guessed it.  One fell into the coals and one flipped into the dirt. I told her to rinse them off.  weenie

When she returned to the fire, she said, “I don’t think that was such a good idea.”  Huh?  Turns out she rinsed them in the dishwater bucket that had Dawn soap in it.

I gathered up the surviving weenies.  “You make us another vodka tonic and I’ll plug in the microwave.”

 

 

 

Categories: Camping, Family, Humor, Life, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses Their Weenie

We’ve all seen the movie where a man builds a fire by rubbing two sticks together to create a life-saving blaze when he’s lost in a frozen wasteland.  Think Buck, the sled dog, and John Thornton in the Call of the Wild.  They’d both have been frozen popsicles if that blaze had been my responsibility.

casitanite

My sister, the Princess, and I arrived at the Myakka River State Park in Sarasota, Florida mid-afternoon.  By the time we got the Casita backed onto the site (don’t ask), unhooked and set up we were starving.  So, we had cocktails and appetizers and discussed starting a campfire to cook hotdogs.  Grilling hotdogs on an campfire is the epitome of “roughing it” according to the Princess and something she’s always wanted to try. She brought kosher hot dogs, buns from the bakery, charcoal and lighter fluid, long expandable forks and a Bic lighter.  I was supposed to provide the expertise.

We must have erased from our memories our previous attempt to start a fire.  The Princess and I were having cocktails (notice a common theme?) by the fire pit at my cottage.  We gathered leaves, twigs and some pieces of wood and made a teepee of them in the pit.  It smoldered and smoked.  We didn’t have any charcoal lighter so we threw rum on the smoldering mess.  Embers started floating through the air and the leaves around the fire pit caught fire.

firepit

A successful fire built by my husband, The Man.

I ran to get the hose from the side of the house but it was about 20 feet too short. I was running in such a panic that I landed on my hands and knees when the hose suddenly played out.  I ignored my scraped and bleeding knees and palms, jumped up and ran to help my sister stomp out the burning leaves around the pit.  I yelled at her to stop stomping because she was wearing my purple Crocs and I didn’t know if they would melt onto her feet. I visualized purple plastic webbing fusing her toes together.  Actually, there was no danger of setting the woods on fire.  The whole sodden mess was due to damp leaves and wood.

Back to the present and oblivious to our miserable history, we put charcoal in the campfire pit, sloshed it with lighter fluid and lit it.  Then we waited for the coals to turn white hot while we had another cocktail.  The Princess speared the hotdogs onto our new forks and after a few minutes of holding the forks over the hot coals she began complaining that her back hurt from bending over the campfire.  I told her to just put the hotdogs on the grill and turn them occassionally.  You guessed it.  One fell into the coals and one flipped into the dirt. I told her to rinse them off.  weenie

When she returned to the fire, she said, “I don’t think that was such a good idea.”  Huh?  Turns out she rinsed them in the dishwater bucket that had Dawn soap in it.

I gathered up the surviving weenies.  “You make us another vodka tonic and I’ll plug in the microwave.”

 

 

 

Categories: Camping, Family, Humor, Life, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hey, Caesar Augustus … I Needed That Extra Day in February!

caesarThere’s an old story that the month of February used to have 29 days but Caesar Augustus took a day from February to add it to August, a month that was named after him.  Well, I suppose if I had a month named after me I’d make the most of it too. Really, I understand why February has 28 days, the Roman calendar and the reforms in the Julian calendar, leap year, Sadie Hawkins day,  blah, blah, blah … but I really could have used that extra day in February and maybe borrowed one from May and July, too.

I reviewed my calendar for February:  Super Bowl, recover from Super Bowl, doctor visit, mail order prescriptions, color hair, ship eBay sales, meet with attorney, babysit for granddaughter, dinner with friends, clean and re-supply travel trailer, drive 150 miles to Orlando, three days camping at Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine, quilt tops for customers, three days in Orlando, taught nieces to make burlap wreaths, made a huge linguine and clam sauce dinner for family, Valentine’s Day, met daughter and grandson in Orlando and had them follow me 150 miles home for three days of fun and games, granddaughter’s 6th birthday party with dinner afterwards at my house, drove back to Atlanta with daughter & grandson for 5 days of fun and games, flew home from Atlanta, hair cut, grocery shopping, laundry, paid bills and cleaned out the travel trailer.

Not fair, Augustus.  If I’d had a couple more days I could have had some real fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Camping, Family, Life, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Think Global, Act Local

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Think Global, Act Local.”

I don’t quite understand it but hear that global warming is responsible for the bitter winters the U.S. has been experiencing. If true, perhaps residents of the frigid northern states will overrun Florida, purchasing every available property and my home will become immensely valuable. I could then sell it for a ridiculous sum of money and trade in my 17-foot Casita travel trailer for a large ostentatious RV and follow the sun wherever I wish.  Or not.

Categories: Daily Prompt, Humor, Life, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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