Early Report 3-28-2021

I am always a little sad when our Disney vacations end, but my heart is overflowing with memories of walking hand in hand with these girls…

We arrived at Sebastian Inlet State Park and set up camp about 3pm; spent the afternoon and evening wandering around. After a beautiful sunset…

the full moon rose just behind our campsite…

The plan is to hang here for a while, then drive by my cousin Kim’s place for a visit. We’ll head up to Lake City for the night, get up early and be back at Sonnystone tomorrow afternoon.

It’s been a Magical Trip…


Sunday Report 1-31-21

When we bought our travel trailer back in 2016 we had a vision of freedom to explore the United States, staying under trees, in open spaces, feeling the Earth as we went. We were going to stay put in some places long enough to get a glimpse of what it would be like to live there. We’d avoid the dull Eville winters, roaming from sea to shining sea.

The reality was much different. Winter is winter everywhere in the contiguous 48, and where it’s the least bit tropical or desert-ish there is a serious shortage of places to park a 30-ft. travel trailer. Those state parks in warmer climes are cheap, but generally unavailable during the winter months, as are the nice RV/campgrounds that cost more than a hotel room. It’s almost like a whole lot of people had the same idea and got there first. The weather between here and there is often prohibitive of travel in winter, too. The trailer had to be loaded up in freezing weather and de-winterized after arrival in warmer temperatures. For two years we spent March in Florida; though it was warmer, it wasn’t necessarily “nice” weather and we weren’t real happy with our campsites, either. By the time we returned from New Mexico in September 2019, we had decided that we wanted something smaller for our Adventures.

As You know we sold the travel trailer quickly and started exploring our options. Particularly we considered just How we wanted to use a camper. We didn’t like the snow-bird camps in Florida — too clique-ish, felt like it was a secret society. KOA was helpful for overnights when there’s a lot of driving involved and affordable, too. We wanted the capability to drive up into the higher elevations and/or to boondock. We ended up buying Goldie, a 20-ft high-top conversion van, and started making changes to meet our needs. Casey reworked the electricity so that we can plug into shore power; we removed the passenger seats and put in two 3-drawer plastic bins. The bed folds down and we figured we’d be able to sleep sideways, curled up, without difficulty…but maybe not…

Starting a couple of weeks ago, I checked forecasts daily in our closest “warm” spots, generally along the panhandle of Florida (about 10 hours driving), and prepared to make a test run for an overnight stay in the Goldster. Just after the inauguration, the prediction was four days of warm temperatures, January 24-28, so off we went…to Disney World, of course…with a stop at Casey Jones Campground in Lake City, FL.

It was an easy drive, no major slow-downs, no stops in Atlanta, and partly cloudy skies to shield us from glaring sunshine as we traveled south, arriving just before dark. We hooked up to cable, watched some shows we hadn’t seen in a long time, and ate sandwiches. So far, so good. The low temps were predicted 60degrees and we didn’t need a heater, just our cozy blankets. Tired, we fell out early. I woke up several hours later trying to get comfortable and repeated the process several times during the night, to no avail. By the next morning, I had brainstormed a way to improve the sleeping facilities, but my back hurt, my legs were stiff, and my arms felt like they were still asleep.

Good thing we were going to do a lot of walking in WDW, where we stayed at Pop Century Resort…

At first I was planning on camping one night down and one night back up, but when the temps dropped, they dropped into the 30s, so we drove straight back, leaving early in the morning of the 28th.

We learned a lot on this short trip! I’m real excited about adding a foot of length to our bed, and a new storage box to replace the chest of drawers behind the driver’s seat. Casey went right to work on it and it’s looking Great so far.

This is much more like we had envisioned our travel, giving us freedom to Go Now when the conditions are right. Since WDW is currently the Only Place I know of where a mask policy is strictly enforced, and it’s usually warm there, I’m grateful to have an annual pass so I can visit often. However… I’m seriously looking forward to the time when we can Go Someplace Else. Hopefully, that will be in the Fall, after we’ve brought in the crops.

In the meantime, we’ll be visiting our Disney Pals with the Jr. family for Spring Break this year. We hope the Jose’ fam can join us there, too.

… And we may just run down there when the weather’s just right, and our modifications are complete, just because we can…


Lights, Birds, Orchids…

Here we are in the New Year, but it looks a lot like the Old Year…

We’ve taken down the Christmas decorations except for the white icicle Lights hanging along the roof line of the front and side porches. I don’t know what Message leaving up the lights is supposed to send in our hyperactive culture, but for me it’s because I want to light up the night; besides, they look like winter and winter is where we are. Of course, the Peace sign wreath remains as well.

Last year our Bird/Peace Garden was only an embryo in my mind as I watched the birds from our meeting room window. I marvel as I watch the finches, woodpeckers, cardinals, bluebirds, titmice, feed at 3 finch feeders, 2 suet feeders, and 2 sunflower seed feeders. We just added a heater to our birdbath and throughout the day the space is abuzz with activity with the magnolia tree covered with birds perched like leaves waiting to feed or drink. They are not always nice to each other, but the locals are tolerant. The occasional starling or grackles tries to sneak in, but we run them off.

The Clowns of the Bird Garden are the squirrels. I think they must have some sort of bionic eyeball to do the geometry of overcoming our squirrel baffles and they do not give up. Recently we watched while a small gray squirrel worked and worked until he made it up a well-defended pole to the feeder. Once he made it up there, he could always make it up there. Casey did a couple of modifications and thwarted him, but his persistence and determination were admirable.

I’m ready to turn my attention back to my ancestors. I put everything together over on the original All My Ancestors blog for reference. Now that I’ve (nearly) made it down to great-grandparents on all sides, I will soon be ready to bring them all together in 1900.

My orchid re-bloomed! I’ve bought many an orchid in the wintertime, hopeful that they would reward me with annual blooms. Usually I gave up after a couple of years and no sign of life… I didn’t do anything different this year; in fact, another is just sitting there stubbornly not-blooming even as we speak, so I feel quite humble in its presence…

I admit, I’m very concerned about what’s going on in our country right now. I feel that I can’t exhale until Biden is safely inaugurated. Hope is an action word. Stay Strong.


Report from the Road

It’s Goldie’s maiden voyage and we’ve had a smooth trip down, though Atlanta Always insists we move verrry sloowly through their town. The only time we didn’t get stopped/slowed there was the year we drove down on Christmas Day, many moons ago.

Truly, this is a drive we have taken dozens of times in our years together, whether it’s just Us, or with our kids, or with our kids and their kids. We often take the Alabama route, adding about 60 miles to the trip, not just to avoid Atlanta, but also Chattanooga where there are too many Runaway Truck Lanes to suit me, especially when we were pulling a trailer.

Today is the last Pretty-Weather day of this outing — first is the last. Per the weatherman, rain will be “steady” all day tomorrow, ushering in a cold front that brings lows in the 30s on Tuesday… I keep looking to see if it’s changed, but it’s pretty much a sure thing.

Not to be daunted, we have jackets of all sorts, as well as Boots — something I’ve never worn in Florida. We are accustomed to the cool, though, and looking forward to the Extra Warmth from our Masks.

I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving week-end. No rest! It’s time to swing right into the Advent/Christmas Season! Disney is decorated for the Holidays, so we hope to return to Eville with lots of Spirit and most of our shopping done — I’ve arranged for a video shopping trip with each of the grandkids at the parks.

We were headed down here for our Anniversary back in August, but opted out for various reasons, deciding we’d celebrate 40 years of wedded-bliss at the same time as Casey’s Birthday (tomorrow). That’s a lot of Celebrating, so I’d better get started…