Posts Tagged With: Casita

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.

 

 

 

 

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Categories: Aging Gracefully, Camping, Family, Humor, 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

camper1

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

 

 

oscar6

 

Eagle nest

Eagle nest

 

oscar1

 

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

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: , , , , , , , | 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

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

Sisters Camping Trip … Get Ready!

My sister has never been camping.  She’s somewhat of a princess.  Just kidding … she IS a princess.  She puts on makeup and fixes her hair to take the garbage out.  Just kidding … she NEVER takes the garbage out.  That’s what husbands are for.

She’s beautiful, I’m a tomboy.  She has an outfit for every occasion; I borrow her clothes.  She enjoys shopping, I borrow her clothes.  She has beautiful jewelry to match every outfit; I borrow her jewelry to match my borrowed clothes.  She is a fantastic cook and hostess and loves to entertain; I love to attend her parties.  She vacations at beautiful condos and cute cabins in the mountains; I go camping with my travel trailer and get stuck on the top of mountains.  She is funny and effervescent; I am, ummm – droll?

10492002_10202337261581396_4174609948372119634_nWe are opposites in so many ways but adore each other and have fun adventures (although we did almost kill each other in Costa Rica a few years ago).  She’s an “un-packer”; I’m a “throw your suitcase on the bed and let’s go” traveler.  We had great adventures on our road trip last October but this camping trip could be a game changer.  Setting up a campsite can be hard physical work, not to mention having to back the camper into the site.  I told her I absolutely forbid flip-flops with wedge heels at the campsite.  I don’t care if she did just get a pedicure and a new toe ring.  I warned her that camping means a minimum amount of outfit changes, little or no makeup and flat shoes or sneakers.  She thinks I’m bossy.

I explained to her that the most important thing when camping is to pack light and consolidate your belongings.  So, we agreed that to save space we will forego her bottles of rum and coke and my bottles of red wine.  We figure one large bottle of vodka, a couple of bottles of diet tonic water and a half dozen fresh limes should do it.  See how nicely we play together when we compromise?

Tomorrow I’m loading up my Casita and Saturday will drive 150 miles to Orlando to pick up the Princess, then we’ll leave for three days of camping on a beach on the east coast of Florida.

Pray for us.

 

 

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

Do or Die

Daily Prompt: You have three hundred words to justify the existence of your favorite person, place, or thing. Failure to convince will result in it vanishing without a trace. Go!

It is my refuge, my office, my sanctuary, my sanity.  Parked in my driveway or in a grove of oak trees next to a river, it is my younger years denied, the dolls and toys I never had, and the places I never experienced.  It is my first and second childhood.   I need only my computer, my books, my phone, some food, a couple of bottles of red wine and a full tank of gas.  Then I hook up my little Casita camper and go exploring for a safe place to reflect, refresh and rejuvenate my spirit.  My camper provides the freedom I crave to discover myself in new sights and sounds, to meet people and explore places I’ve spent a lifetime bypassing.

When I am ready to return to my beloveds, I am calm and eager to join them in our daily real world adventures.

Casita

cropped-camper.jpg

 

Categories: Camping, Family, Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

No More S’mores! (a 5-year old’s first camping adventure)

Roasting marshmallows over a campfire, then placing the blackened goo on a piece of chocolate between two graham crackers; the hot marshmallow melting the chocolate … the iconic image of camping with kids.  We couldn’t wait to make them with Rebekah, our 5-year old granddaughter on her first ever overnight camping trip.  She assured us she loves s’mores … well, except for the marshmallows … maybe hold the graham crackers …. o.k. …  just give her the damn chocolate!

We camped at Koreshan Historic Site State Park in Estero, Florida between Fort Myers and Naples on Florida’s west coast.

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

I Met Angels on Lookout Mountain

It was snowing last April when we arrived at our cottage in Michigan after driving our new 17-foot Casita travel trailer from Florida.  I was expecting lilics and cherry blossoms and I only lasted three snowy days before  I told my husband I was heading back to Florida.  He was to fly home whenever he was ready and I took off on my first solo adventure towing my little Casita behind me.  My only fear was that I would have to back it up since I had never practiced driving in reverse with the camper.  But I figured it was a straight shot south on I-75 from Michigan to Florida, what could go wrong?

cottage1

The snow followed me to Chattanooga, Tennessee and I spent the night in a Comfort Inn since it was too cold to set up the trailer on a campsite. The morning dawned bright and sunny so I decided it was a perfect day to drive up Lookout Mountain to visit Ruby Falls, an underground waterfall, before continuing to the Chickamauga Battle site to do a little Civil War exploring.  I planned to reach Atlanta before nightfall.

Lookout Mountain

Lookout Mountain

The drive to Lookout Mountain was easy but I must have taken a wrong turn because as I drove up the mountain higher and higher, the road got narrower and the houses scarcer.  I figured what went up must come down so I would just drive to the top and then drive down the other side and eventually find my way to Ruby Falls.  I figured wrong.  The pitted one lane road ended abruptly with a sheer drop to infinity on the right and a steep rock wall on the left.  There were a couple of shacks that looked abandoned.  I was too nervous being a woman alone on an isolated road in the middle of nowhere to approach either of the dwellings.  I started sweating and praying since the only way down was in reverse.

I tried backing up inch by inch; the same six inches in reverse and then forward again because the trailer and the car kept going in opposite directions.   Alone on a 10 foot wide road at the top of a mountain was not the time to practice backing up a travel trailer.   My face and neck were flushed with tension, I was practically sweating blood and I was jibbering.  Every time I checked the road on my right I was looking at a drop off down to the treetops below.   I was scared to move forward or back.  I was alternately cussing and praying.  I eventually t-boned the car and the trailer and was good and truly stuck with my trailer about 12 inches from infinity. For one of the few times in my 60+ years, I honestly did not know what to do.  I didn’t know who to call.  I didn’t know where I was.  So, I just sat in the car to get my heart rate under control and when my breathing stabilized, after  two puffs from my rescue inhaler, I decided to lock everything up and hike back down the road to civilization.  I wasn’t worried about leaving my car and camper since I was literally at the end of the road and I hadn’t seen a soul since I started up the road 30 minutes before. I grabbed my purse, locked the car door and turned around to begin my hike.

Standing behind my camper were eight children where there had been no one before.  They were a diverse group; Anglo, Latino, black and Asian carrying rakes and shovels and hoes.  They appeared to be as astonished by me as I was by them.  “Where did you come from?” I asked.  They pointed down the road.  “Do any of you know how to back up a trailer?”  They shook their heads which was understandable since they appeared to be 12-14 year olds.  They told me they were with the Lookout Mountain Conservancy and maybe their counselor could help me.  Around the bend came a sweet looking woman who assured me she could get me turned around since she was a FedEx driver.  She handed her hedge trimmers to one of the kids, got into my SUV and with the help of the kids, we maneuvered the camper in reverse to a small dirt turnoff where she got me headed in the right direction. She told me the teens were inner-city kids who volunteered once a month to help keep the brush and trees from overgrowing the roadway and I was just lucky it was their volunteer day.

I don’t know why or how those children were at the top of that mountain at that exact time on that day but I know they were angels.   And, I will pass their good work forward so I, too, can be an angel to someone in need.

casita

 

Categories: Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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