Chill, Eat, Recipe, Travel

Sitting tight

It has been a month and a few days since my last post. Not much has been going on in our 30 foot world but I felt like writing today so I reckon I’ll give a little update of what’s not been going on. Ha!

After our time in South Dakota we made a mad dash back to Kentucky in order to get some blood work done in plenty of time for an upcoming follow up appointment. That mad dash cost quite a bit of money in fuel to get us back in time. We drove till dark (almost eleven hours) the first day then stopped overnight at a Love’s gas station. I had previously read somewhere that Love’s was going to start accommodating RVers with electric and water hookups. As the sun was setting I happened to see a Love’s billboard in western Missouri that offered sites for RV’s. It took us a bit to figure out how to make the reservation (which had to be done online since their kiosk wasn’t working properly) but once we confirmed it our water and electric was magically turned on and we promptly conked out for the night. There was a total of five sites at the side of the store and I believe it had just been opened up for business. In my opinion, I felt the nightly cost was a bit high (around $37) for a parking spot with water and electric only but I guess the convenience of a one-shot-stop (accommodations, fuel, showers, food, etc.) was worth it. I would do it again if push came to shove for a safe place to stay overnight.

The following morning we brewed the coffee, filled our travel mugs and were on our way. Halfway through Missouri my B&B boss called wondering when we would be back in the area. Was that evening soon enough?! That being said, after resting for a few days from our mad dash across half the United States I was back at work for a few days here and there working on a special project. Since we are staying put for a while to catch up on fuel funds the work was much appreciated and, as always, it was wonderful to see my former coworkers and boss again.

As we made our way back we were fortunate to see the arch in St. Louis…

… and a cool bridge (pardon the messy windshield) taking us over the Mississippi River and into Illinois…

… where we saw the arch again from across the river…

It’s something neither one of us ever expected to see as we’re not much for visiting big cities but there it is!

Our trip to South Dakota was made so that we could set up domicile there. (It’s the easiest of the three states – Florida, Texas, or South Dakota – to establish.) However, and it’s a big however, in my research on establishing a domicile I failed to actually read the necessary documents and discovered (once we were already in S. Dakota) that Ronnie would need an eye exam and a document signed by an optometrist in order to get his driver license due to his age. Since we had less than a week in western S. Dakota that was not an option. So, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves while we were there then made a mad dash back to Kentucky all for naught.

So, here we sit in a different campground (Walnut Meadow RV Park) in Berea, Kentucky for a couple months while we get caught up on fuel funds. Here’s the kicker, we rushed halfway across the US to get back for an appointment that was ultimately canceled. Had we known that it would be canceled be would’ve stayed out west, gone to see our grand-daughter in Montana, and seen more sights which would’ve ultimately saved us quite a bit of money. But, what’s done is done and here we are – sitting tight.

Even with working here and there sitting tight has given me a lot of chill time. I’ve read a couple books, finished another cross stitch piece that had been started years ago, crocheted some dish cloths, knitted some dish scrubbies and now I’m working on a baby blanket…

Shortly after our arrival in Kentucky we had several rainy days in a row. The morning the rain finally stopped these little ones brightened my day as I waited for the sun to make an appearance…

… robins taking advantage of a puddle in the road. I enjoyed watching their bathing antics for several minutes before they all flew off.

The weather has also cooled off significantly. In fact, I’ve spotted some early Autumn colors in some of the leaves ’round here…

In a couple weeks the rest of the leaves will be changing creating quite a show in the mountains and hills here in the Appalachians.

On a sad note, we had to make a trip to Arkansas last week for a funeral. It was expected, but still… We made the trip sans the trailer which saved us on fuel cost and we stayed with one of Ronnie’s brothers for the duration of our stay. Although it was a sad occasion we enjoyed seeing and visiting his side of the family. There was even a little time for some backyard fishing…

Once we got back ‘home’ I felt as though I could have slept for a week. Much like this little girl…

… so tired her tongue’s hanging out! What a trooper LizzieBelle is. Even with being blind and deaf and suffering from CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) she just goes along with the flow and as long as she gets her meds and we are nearby she’s good.

No sooner did we arrive back in Kentucky Florida was getting ready for the storm of a lifetime. Living much of my life in Florida and knowing the impending danger and devastation a hurricane can bring I kept an eye on Ian. We have family in south and central Florida so the path was of great concern. When the path became clear we spent days worrying about Ronnie’s brother and Mom as they live near Ft. Myers and we couldn’t get a hold of them. And then the possibility of it heading to my cousin’s in Georgia. Thankfully, they and their houses are all OK but the lives lost and the devastation is none like I have ever seen in all my years. The aftermath photos are heart-breaking and my prayers are with those that have lost loved ones and are beginning the long and arduous process of rebuilding their lives.

While in Arkansas Ronnie and I stopped at a Chinese restaurant that offered a buffet. I had a small plate of some of my favorites and a cup of Wonton soup in which I intentionally scooped up only one wonton and added lots of sliced green onions on top. (I was more interested in the broth and the onions!) I have been craving that broth ever since so today I decided to try my hand at making some to quench my craving.

I looked up some recipes online and using what I had on hand came up with the following:

  • 2 pints of home canned chicken broth
  • 1 smashed clove of garlic
  • 1 Tbs soy sauce
  • 1//2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 3 drops ginger essential oil because I didn’t have any fresh ginger – note about the EO: I use Young Living’s essential oils which are 100% pure with no synthetics or fragrance. What’s in the bottle is 100% the plant(s) listed on the bottle so I am comfortable with using them for cooking. In fact, they have a whole Vitality line branded just for cooking. I would NOT recommend using other essential oil brands for cooking (as most are for aromatherapy use only) unless you can be 100% sure they are pure and plant based.

Combine all in a saucepan and simmer for at least 15 minutes to let the flavors meld together.

Ronnie had to go to the store to pick up some soy sauce and green onions. While there he grabbed some wonton strips as well but they were out of green onions. He went to two other stores nearby and there were no green onions to be had. Oh well. The broth was still delicious even without the onions and was just what I was craving. Maybe it’s the cooler temps but I’ve already made a pot of chili, drank copious amounts of hot tea and now I’m craving broth – wish I had more home canned chicken broth. Sitting tight has been relaxing, productive and delicious! Bring on Autumn!

Chill, Eat

Hangin’ out at Lake Yale

Saturday, March 5

Today is the first day since arriving at the campground that we’ve had to simply lounge around and do as we please. The day after we arrived we awoke to a gorgeous sunrise…

After coffee and a quick breakfast we headed not quite an hour away to Ocala where my family lives to spend the day with them and to celebrate an early 95th birthday. My dear ol’ Dad will celebrate 95 years of a life well lived the end of April. Since son and daughters, grand and some great grands were all in town we decided to celebrate this amazing man with a little (OK a LOT) of pizza and cake. Happy early 95th birthday Dad! You are loved beyond words!!!

The following day a friend and fellow quilt retreater booked an extra night at the retreat and we spent the afternoon catching up and making sandwiches for the first day of retreat the next day. Once retreat started I was at the auditorium where we were set up to sew to our hearts content no later than 8:15 in the morning and I was walking back home well after nine o’clock (and after our normal bedtime!)

During the retreat I sewed a total of 12 pillowcases for charity;

… helped prepare supper for our Thursday night wrap-up party; cut up a lot of scraps of fabric; and finally, on the last day, I managed to put all those scrap pieces into a quilt block.

There are nine 6 1/2 inch blocks sewn together which makes a large block totaling eighteen inches. Once several more of these blocks are made and sewn together I’ll have a good size quilt made up entirely of leftover, or scraps, of fabric.

I was completely exhausted by the end of the retreat but it is always so much fun and it felt good to have the sewing machine out again. I also got to see people I haven’t seen in years. Attending next years retreat is up in the air as these wanderers don’t know where we’ll be!

Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center is such a beautiful venue. There is a campground, motel rooms, auditoriums, conference rooms, a cafeteria, and a pool all nestled in a park-like setting. The South Camp is where I attended many summer camps as a kid…

Ronnie sent the drone up today for a bit…

and captured a different angle of the South Camp…

Shortly after the drone took flight the wind picked up and sent the drone crashing into a tree and landing upside down with two broken propellers. It took us a while to find the drone but it is OK and we have extra propellers so all is well.

Meanwhile I wandered around with my camera snapping a few photos around the lake…

After the drone mishap we came back in to get a few things done. It was time to bottle the wine we’ve been toting around from place to place.

We weren’t sure how it would turn out since it had been jostled around while driving and in various temperature settings but after filling the brown bottles a bit too full we each poured a sample taste and it was pretty good – like a Pink Moscato, sweet and tart. The bottles are lightly capped for the next couple days and will be capped before pulling out on Tuesday. It’s going to be nice to not have a gallon jug o’ wine at my feet when we travel to our next destination this time.

Speaking of our next destination, I am glad we don’t have far to go with gas prices soaring into the clouds. We are heading to our friends new-to-them place where we will be their construction consultants as they begin some renovation projects. It will be nice to spend some more time with them and to help them bring their ideas to fruition.

Yesterday we met some Kentucky friends (who snow bird in Florida for the winter) for supper. We introduced them to Miz Kathi’s Cotillion

It’s a deliciously, wonderful cafe & sweetery in Wildwood. After a scrumptious salad the menfolk had the catfish dinner and we ladies had meatloaf and chopped steak. All came with sides of smashed potatoes and collard greens. Yummo!!! If you’re ever in the area stop in and grab a bite to eat.

We have two more days at the campground before heading to our friends new place. We were going to go to Universal Studios to see the rest of Hogwart’s and all things Harry Potter that we didn’t see the last time we were there but with the price of admission and the price of gas we decided to forego the trip to Universal and put the money towards other destinations and places we haven’t seen before.


A whole lotta nothing, kinda nice!

Tuesday, February 22

Since my last post it has been a whirlwind of nothing in particular and it has been pure joy. We have relaxed and gone swimming in the pool; we spent Sunday with family going to their church then enjoying a nice meal in the afternoon; we’ve played games and watched movies; we’ve roasted in the camper on two very hot days for this time of the year; Ronnie’s wet a hook in the canal and I’ve cross-stitched. Today we did a few errands and picked up a couple things to contribute to this evenings’ supper. I’ve wandered around taking a photo here and there and last Saturday we were serenaded by this guy (or gal)…

… a Limpkin that was either hollerin’ for a young’n or a mate. Either way it was not a very pleasant sound. I can’t tell whether this is a male or female as they are similar in color but it was directly across the canal up in the trees just a hollerin’ away. Actually it was more like screaming. Thankfully, by the next day it either found what it wanted or had moved on. I love birds but this bird’s call simply was not the least bit pleasant.

As I’ve wandered around I was reminded of the plethora of lizards in Florida constantly scurrying around.

This one, however, was very curious and was not bothered in the least by me standing nearby with a camera pointing at its face. He almost seems to be asking me ‘Whatcha doing lady?’

Last night was our second night attending Bingo Night in the park where Ronnie’s Mom lives and guess what? I bingoed!!!

It was lucky game number 13 and we had to get a 7 – 11. I won $32, woohoo!!!

Thursday, February 24

On Tuesday we needed to get some items in the mail so we headed to the tiny town of Alva to find the post office. Just before we reached the post office we drove over the Caloosa River and quickly found ourselves dreaming about life on this river. After we took care of business we drove up and down the streets checking out the area. It was a nice area and one that we could imagine ourselves living in if it weren’t so dad-blamed hot in the summer.

Wednesday was a day of golf for Ronnie and his brother and some friends of his. I did my own type of relaxing by spending the day cross stitching. I had Thieves in the diffuser and some mello tunes playing on the iPod. In the evening we all relaxed and watched ‘Undercover Grandpa’ before calling it a day. I needed a day like today. I’m still getting used to life outside the farm – meaning being around people and all – so today allowed me to regroup and rest and ready myself to be around people again and having to attend events. If I am to be perfectly honest I am not much of a people or an event person. Hopefully as we travel to and fro and immerse ourselves into our surroundings I will become a better people and event person. One can always hope, right?! This, however, is more my style…

Today I wanted to find a book store. I had donated a Crock Pot and a rice cooker when we sold the farm and bought an Instant Pot in order to save room in the camper. I used the Instant Pot the other day to make rice and it worked great! Delicious rice in half the time. Since we’ve been traveling, visiting, and trying to eat up leftovers we have not been eating as healthy as we should and shame on us. Eating healthy MUST be a priority no matter what. It doesn’t mean we can’t consume unhealthy morsels every now and then but we must do better at being intentional with our diet for our own health’s sake. If you know me then you know I’m a firm believer that you are what you eat and that food is the body’s fuel. If you don’t feed it good nutrition then there may be consequences and those consequences are different for every individual so why not just give it good nutrition rather than risk suffering.

That being said, I wanted to find a cookbook (or three) with Instant Pot recipes. I think the Instant Pot will allow us to have home cooked, healthy meals with a lot less mess and easy clean up. I simply love the ease of cookbooks and with the sketchy availability of Internet while we’re traveling I wanted to have a cookbook on hand so that we could use the Instant Pot at any given time even without Internet. (You know, all those recipes that get pinned on Pinterest but without Internet are useless?!). So, we drove into Ft. Myers to find a book store. We came across a Books-A-Million where I was fortunate to find three cookbooks at a reasonable price …

I used a $25 gift card I received for Christmas and added another $5 in cash and got all three books. Each book has lots of great recipes and I can make adjustments to any of them to make a healthier version if necessary.

On our way there we drove through the historic part of town. What a great, happening place! All the downtown shops were open, there were lots people milling about at the restaurants and shops and the little snippets of water we would see every now and then were icing on the cake. We also spotted a Joe’s Crab Shack so after I had my books we stopped there on the way back and filled our bellies with some delicious seafood. The view wasn’t so bad either…

We sat there soaking in the views and reminiscing about the boats we’ve had throughout the years and laughed at how our 32′ boat we used to have would look small amongst these yachts. Big boat or small boat we sure do love the water!

Tonight is Bingo Night again. Our last chance at playing and hopefully winning. It’s also our last night of spending time with the family as well. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed our time here but time has run out. Tomorrow morning we are buttoning up the camper, battening the hatches and pulling out. We’re heading about four hours north to the central Florida area. This time tomorrow we’ll be set up in a campground at the retreat center where my upcoming quilt retreat will be held. We’re both very excited to be starting another adventure!

Chill, Travel

Surviving the drive

Sunday, February 13

Today was spent in the truck. Eight hours to be exact. This morning we enjoyed our coffee in Sweetwater, TN, ate a yummy breakfast of some of our farm fresh eggs we hoarded and brought with us and some seed bread toast. After that it was time to batten the hatches and button up the camper. We were on the road by 10 o’clock.

Around noon we were approaching Atlanta. Since everyone seemed to be heading around Atlanta on 285 we opted to go straight through. I mean, it’s Sunday so we thought the odds were pretty good that we’d get through without too much trouble.

Up ahead four lanes on the right were closed which caused a bit of a backup prior to but after that it was fairly smooth sailing. I’m just glad Ronnie was driving. The amount of traffic entering the interstate from the ramps and the lane changers were setting me on edge. Then there’s this…

… buildings sitting on top of each other …

… jam-packed with no breathing room. I just can’t. I literally feel my blood pressure rising just at the sight. It’s hard to believe I grew up in Orlando and the city never bothered me. Now I can’t stand being anywhere near a city with all the people and traffic and fast pace and especially such a large one as Atlanta. Hats off to the people that live there. Or in any big city. I sure couldn’t!

As we were about to exit the city-scape I saw the sign for the Varsity…

I’ve eaten there one time in my life as a teenager. The youth choir from First Baptist Church Orlando went on a mission trip and we stopped and ate at the Varsity. I remember being a bit overwhelmed when we walked in but it was a fun place. Here’s what they have to say on their website … “The Varsity in downtown Atlanta is our original, world famous location. This enormous restaurant sits on 2 city blocks and can accommodate 800 diners inside. Opened in 1928, this store quickly gained the reputation of being “the world’s largest drive in”. At The Varsity Atlanta we are dedicated to living up to our slogan “The FUN place to eat!”” I don’t think I would even want to try and find it now or even attempt to go in with possibly 800 diners inside, ha!

Once we were on the other side of Atlanta we breathed a sigh of relief and continued on our way stopping every three hours or so for fuel. Mercy, towing a house behind you gets pretty expensive.

I had my first Buc-ees experience. I walked into the store and stopped and stood there like a deer in the headlights and stared (I’m sure with my mouth gaped open) at all the people and the extreme massiveness of the store. I looked to the left, looked to the right and could hardly see the ends of the building. It was massive. The first order of business, however, was to find the bathrooms. Luckily they were almost straight back with plenty of stalls. With that out of the way I looked around in the general area I was in and was immediately overwhelmed. We decided it was too busy to stop and shop so we got back in the truck and moved on. It was a pretty cool place but my goodness was it overwhelming for this ol’ gal who had hardly left the farm the past seven years, teehee.

Today’s drive was nice and smooth. We drove a total of eight hours and stopped in Lake City, FL. LizzieBelle was a trooper right up until the last hour. She knew it was approaching two hours PAST her supper hour and she was not having any more of it. Since we had reached our goal for the day we found a campground for the night rather than staying in a rest stop or Walmart parking lot. The first thing I did after the slide out was in place was fix her supper. She was a happy camper after eating and is currently curled up in her bed sound asleep.

We are chilling the rest of the evening and I’m pretty sure we’ll call it an early night tonight. Why is driving so exhausting!

Monday, February 14

Happy Valentine’s Day!!! We arrived at our destination safe and sound a little after noon. We’re parked in the yard of some family members for the next two weeks.

We are ready to simply unwind and see what each day brings. We do have some lose ends to tie up but otherwise we’re going to try and adjust to having fewer responsibilities and learning to relax more.

With scenery such as this I think we’ll certainly adjust!

However, I think that’s going to be much easier for one of us than the other. Can you guess who, ha? I’m adjusting better than I thought I would but then again, I’m still working on getting the camper better organized for tiny space living so that occupies some of my time and brain cells.

As I write this blog post I am sitting by the pool watching Ronnie cast his line into the canal. Yup, I believe he’s adjusting just fine, hahaha!

It took LizzieBelle a couple days to get used to her new surrounding and routine but she’s got the hang of it now and is quite content that ‘Mom & Dad’ are never far away. She may be blind and deaf but she’s such a trooper!

On Wednesday the boys worked on a little project for the camper…

… retrofitting a cargo carrier for our camper. We wanted one that attached to the bumper but all we could find was one that slid into a hitch. Since we don’t have a hitch at the back of the camper they modified the hitch plate and now it attaches to the bumper.

They did a great job and yet it wasn’t without some bloodshed…

Can you see it smeared on the camper? sigh. Thankfully it wasn’t anything but a slight prick of the skin.

Now we can move some things that we don’t use very often into a box or tote and store it on the cargo carrier and free up some space in the camper.

Speaking of… I guess I’d better get to it!