Photos and Journals from a Wandering Soul
It all started at the end of October 2005. The season was winding down at my job and I realized that I could be living anywhere - or everywhere! I've met a lot of people who have been in the hospitality business for a number of years. I therefore have had the opportunity to chat with many about a variety of things. In the summer just past I talked with a lovely couple staying at the inn where I worked and they were RVers. We had a great conversation about RVing and travel and they encouraged me to look into it for myself. I was certainly not ready at that point, but it really got me thinking. I stayed in touch with Charlie and Mollie. They sent me information and when I told them I was ready to seriously look into full-time RVing I received an email with a very good recommendation for a used Class A.
In the meantime, I talked about this over and over with my very good friend, Brian. We spent hours on the Internet researching everything imaginable in regard to RVing and full-time life on the road. His knowledge and input boosted my confidence to continue planning this new phase of my life. I had yet to tell other friends or family.
Still, I hesitated to actually look. This was, of course, a huge lifestyle change that I was thinking about. But finally in mid-December, I made the 2 hour drive downstate to Complete RV to look at the RV that was available. The minute I walked into the 32' Gulf Stream I felt at home. This, I know, was an uneducated, uninformed, gut feeling that I had. I succeeded in not getting too excited about it because it was only the 4th or 5th RV I had been in so far. I expected the search to take a long time.
I looked at several other Class A's and did a lot of research on the Internet. I went back to look at the Gulf Stream and still had a good feeling about it. But I knew I needed to have someone else look at it with me. I've never RVed before. Have never experienced any kind of camp life at all. And certainly didn't have much of a clue about the mechanics of a large dimension vehicle. My friend, Barb, put me in touch with someone who was willing to go with me to take a close look at the RV. On a very mild day in January, we met [for the first time] at the dealership and spent a good bit of time going over every inch of it. We took it for a ride. I found it was not too difficult to maneuver, but knew I would need a lot of practice!!! John was willing to coach me when I finally made a purchase.
John checking things out for me.
Craig Beane, RV Service, has gotten my furnace running, and the water heater fixed and was able to trouble shoot some things that need watching. And, after a long day this past week at We Fix Trucks in Littleton, NH, the RV has had everything done to it that needs attention at the moment.
The weather has been dreadful. Lots of rain, wind and flooding in certain areas of the state, although the flooding is worse in the lower part of NH. It makes little sense to be on the road in bad weather when I don't really have a deadline to meet. But my first stop will be CT to see friends and family. It looks like I will be able to leave on Tuesday.
Since I wrote a month ago, so much has happened. I have hardly had a spare minute to myself. So many details to iron out. But it is all coming together and by the beginning of next week I'll be driving myself out of New Hampshire and headed to Connecticut to see family and friends there.
I am currently at the Twin Mountain Motor Court and RV Park in Twin Mountain, NH. I still have some things to finish up here in the area before I head out. Last minute banking, Post Office, and a couple of things on the RV to get done. And I needed some time to relax.
I spent Wednesday afternoon spinning with my group, The White Mountain Spinners. It was a wonderful afternoon with friends and fiber!
There is so much I will miss about New Hampshire, especially the good friends and acquaintances I have here. To mention only a few... Kathy and Dick, Steve and Doreen, Gale, Kevin, Jim and Cat, Bob and Peggy, Gene, Tony, Matt, Scott and Laura, Lenny, Bonnie, Mark and Anja, Stephen, and all of those I have had coffee with. I hope you all stay in touch!
On May 23 I made my way to Connecticut. The trip was uneventful and I made good time. Of course, I knew the route very well and there was great comfort in that fact. Most of my time has been spent visiting with family and friends. And it has been a relaxing way to start my traveling.
Kathy and I at the Mt Washington Hotel - Red Hats!
June and July 2006
I left Mystic, CT on Sunday, June 4 after visiting friends and family there for two weeks. Destination Ohio.
The first stop was New Haven for fuel, then on up Route 91 which was very busy. Drivers were all in a big hurry. Route 84 was a mixture of good and bad surfaces. I stopped again just before Port Jervis, NY and then again for the night just a few miles down the road at Milford, PA. There I boon docked at a K-Mart.
I took off the next morning for Lamar, PA [exit 173 on 80] and stayed at a Flying-J Truck Stop. I met with a friend who is also a full time RVer, going between NH and FL each season. We spent a day touring on his Kawasaki. Great way to see the mountains! We also stopped at the Piper Aviation Museum in Lock Haven and had a very interesting tour.
After a short side trip to Akron, Ohio I got to Dresden on June 9 and met up with Sally and the boys. I checked into a small camp site next to the VFW. It has only 10 sites. It is reasonably quiet and near town. Dresden, Ohio is a small community of only about 2500 people. It has a charming downtown and The Longaberger Company was founded here. Sally and I [mostly Sally!] are working on the RV, cleaning and polishing the outside. It sure needed it!
I need to leave this RV spot soon because the town is having a celebration and the carnival will set up here. However, the carnival had no other booking this week so they started moving in early. As I write this they have set up several rides around me, so I am right in the middle of a carnival setting!
I went into Columbus to meet up with Molly and Julie for lunch and a walk around the Whetstone Park of Roses during the City of Columbus Rose Festival. It was a great day and I took a lot of pictures.
I am finding the RV very easy to drive and I'm not intimidated by it, even driving in city traffic. Who would have thought I would be doing this?
From here I will be going to a campground near Columbus. It is far enough away from the city to actually be in farm country and the setting is very nice.
I am still in the Columbus, Ohio area. Shortly after making my last entry here, Molly injured her shoulder and was facing possible surgery. To make a long story short, thankfully she is recovering nicely with physical therapy. Because she can't work, I am able to get together with her much more than I would have, but I am sorry that she has to go through all of the pain involved with the injury. She'll ease back to work soon.
I stumbled on a spinning group. There is a yarn shop nearby and I stopped in to see what was new. Not that I need anymore yarn!!! The shop gal and I had a great conversation and she told me that several women meet on Fridays to spin. I've been joining them every week since and enjoying it very much.
The Columbus area is an unlikely spot to spend a long bit of time in the summer, but I really like Columbus and feel quite content here for now. The weather has been dreadful, however. Hazy, hot and humid most of the time. I could move on, but have decided to stay for awhile longer. There is a lot to do in the city and I stay busy. Molly and I went to CoSi, a wonderful science museum. The Star Wars traveling exhibit had just opened and it was fascinating to see all of the props and costumes from those incredible movies.
One thing keeping me busy is trips the city to solve a phone, computer, Internet connectivity problem. I am currently without 24/7 internet availability and have to rely on WiFi at Cup O Joe, a popular coffee shop in the area. Thankfully that is available. I am waiting for a parts delivery from Dell so I can again be connected from anywhere. This may take a couple of weeks and is another reason I am staying put. I need to get myself back online and there is a Verizon store in the city that I have been working with.
We went to an old theater in Columbus to see a silent movie. It was an incredible evening. The theater was magnificent and huge. The organ was old and had been restored. Gorgeous instrument. They have a full schedule of old classics being shown for the summer. This night, however, instead of the organist playing for awhile before the showing, he played the original music for the movie for the entire evening. It was great fun.
The internet connectivity problem has been solved. I am now fully connected and am grateful to be so!!!
The weather continues to be hazy/hot/humid, but the rest of the country seems to be having extreme weather as well. I am content to stay where I am for awhile longer. The time is going by fast, I am staying very busy and I'll be on the road again before I know it. No plan to report yet.
I recently spent a wonderful afternoon in a nearby town. A friend of Sally's invited several people for a day of rest and relaxation. She maintains acres of orchards - apples, peaches, plums and also a large vegetable garden. It was a very pleasant afternoon at an incredible setting. It was great to see Sally and the boys!
I took a road trip last week to a sheep farm in Johnstown, Ohio. I had been looking for a Navajo Churro sheep fleece and this farm raises this breed. Molly and I took off early morning and had a wonderful tour of the farm. I found the fleece I wanted and we went on from there to a mill in Apple Creek where I could have the fleece prepared for spinning.
It's getting time for me to hit the road again. I will be leaving 8/17. The next few days will be filled with preparation for the trip. I have a lot of housework to do before I go. The windows need cleaning and I want to wipe down the whole outside of the RV.
My stay here in Ohio has been wonderful. I have had a chance to visit with my girls and in addition have met some wonderful people. I am glad that this is a stop I will make again!!!
I was so excited to find a spinning group that I could sit in with. It met at a yarn shop in Pickerington, Ohio every Friday and we had a great time.
I had a comfortable stay in Ohio at the Rippling Stream Campground. The owners were friendly and helpful in every way.
I left Baltimore, Ohio about 1:00, fueled up and made my way around Columbus without any trouble. I'll miss Columbus. I have liked it since my first visit several years ago. It's easy to get around and has some interesting and fun things to do.
My destination is Allegan, Michigan where I am going to attend the Michigan Fiber Festival. I had a little delay on the road, which I will share with anyone who wants to know about it!!!
Arrived at the Allegan County Fairgrounds and was escorted to my site, which was at the farthest edge of the property, on the Kalamazoo River. I got myself settled and took a little break before I headed up to the Festival. This was a bigger fiber show than I had ever been to. I had a great time looking at all of the new products that had come out since I had been to an event like this. And there was a lot of dyed fleece.
After a rather lumpy start, I made my way to New Mexico. The holdup and issues around that would take too long to discuss here, but I'd be happy to tell you all about it privately. My trip continued uneventfully. I stayed each night at a truck stop and took my time as I went along. There wasn't a lot to see from the highway, but it was a nice ride.
My RV, however is not a race car and the long slow inclines and headwinds slowed me up. But the "The Old Beast" pressed westward and I got to NM safely on 8.25. I love driving! For someone who has never camped or driven alone very far from home, this is a major adventure for me.
I barely had a chance to regroup and started working on 8.26. The two days I work at the front desk of the RV resort more than covers my site fees here and I have the rest of the week to explore.
The weather is beautiful. Warm, but dry during the day and cool nights. They have had a lot of rain, so there is a lot of green for a change. Not all brown the way it usually is.
Carnival in Dresden
Mid October 2006
It's been way too long since I updated my web site. My devoted fans have asked when to expect the next chapter! The time is really going by fast. I am enjoying Albuquerque and the surrounding area. Friends, Jan and John have welcomed me warmly and I am spending time with Jan getting to know the city and all of the great places to food shop!
I've made one trip to Santa Fe which is only about 45 minutes from where I am staying. It is an interesting town and I look forward to going back.
Further up Route 25 is Las Vegas, NM and I have taken time to drive there as well in order to meet up with other longtime friends who have relocated their business there.
A day at the New Mexico State Fair was great fun!
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has just ended and I was able to go on two different days to enjoy that. It is quite a site to see so many hot air balloons flying at the same time!
November went by quickly. The weather in Rio Rancho remained very nice during the day and started to get cool at night. Perfect sleeping weather. Jan was on a trip for three weeks. I spent some time doing work for a yarn wholesaler and also getting holiday things done.
Barb came out from New York for Thanksgiving and stayed with Jan. We all got together to get ready for Thanksgiving dinner. It was fun to work together preparing the incredible feast.
The day after Thanksgiving Jan, Barb and I rode south on RT 25 to Sparrow Hawk Farm to see Beth, a bee keeper. She had some great holiday gift items in her shop and of course great honey.
On Saturday after Thanksgiving, Barb and I rode through the Jemez Pueblo Indian Reservation along Route 4. We ended up at the Bandelier National Monument. and we hiked through the ruins along the main loop trail.
Mid December 2006
After a good stay in the Albuquerque area of New Mexico, on November 27 I made my way south to Elephant Butte. Earlier in the year I had talked with an RV resort there about Workamping for the winter season. Their work schedule allows for couples and therefore wouldn't work for my situation. But I had a good feeling about the resort and decided to check on it. I road down to Lakeside RV Park to talk with them and felt instantly comfortable, I so made my arrangements to stay there for awhile.
It was great to get back behind the wheel of the RV and make the easy trip south. It makes it harder to think of staying in one place too long. I love driving!
The southern part of New Mexico offers a more relaxed atmosphere. Away from the fast pace of the city it is a nice change for me right now.
On December 9 I went to the Parade of Lights at the State Park. It was amazing. They used about 4000 luminaries to line the roads and mark new 'roads' on the beach where there were at least 25 groups set up in little areas off the walkways, all with different kinds of food. Most had built a bonfire. There was music playing. RVs lined one road leading to the beach and all were festooned with holiday lights. They had auxiliary generators going because there were so many lights. And there was a very festive boat parade. About 15 boats decorated with lots of lights paraded around the marina area. It was incredible..
Bandelier National Monument
Eight awesome years on the road full time.
Another eight years traveling half-time.