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!


St. Mary’s, Georgia – historic downtown, Crooked River State Park and a marvelous evening with cousins

After saying goodbye to family in Ocala we headed a few hours north to St. Mary’s – a little town just north of the Florida Georgia line. We prefer short trips between destinations when pulling the travel trailer as does LizzieBelle. In fact, the shorter the better as traveling with her is sometimes like traveling with a young child. She doesn’t care for bumpy or curvy roads and I’m always trying to decipher whether or not she’s just grumpy or needs to stop for a potty break. So yea, short trips are most agreeable to all of us.

This trip was less than three hours and before we knew it we had finally left Florida after being there for three months in various locations throughout the state. Mind you, we weren’t far from Florida but we could now say we were in another state.

Our main reason for choosing to stop in St. Mary’s was to reconnect with my cousin and his wife whom I haven’t seen in, oh, maybe twenty five years or so. We’ve kept in touch with each others’ lives through Christmas letters but none of us could pinpoint when we had last seen each other. We surmised it was at a funeral of a loved one some 25 years ago since Ronnie had never met them and we’ve been married almost 23 years. Twenty five years is a long time so to say that I was thrilled that our schedules aligned is an understatement.

During our stay in St. Mary’s we camped at Crooked River State Park. It was a nice park with plenty of room between campers however relaxing in our camp chairs was limited due to the biting gnats. We did walk down to the river and enjoyed the view from a perfectly situated bench.

After setting up we checked out historic downtown St. Mary’s. It’s a quaint little town on the St. Mary’s river with some shopping and restaurants.

We ate at the Southern River Walk Bar & Grill then enjoyed a scoop of ice cream from Market on the Square – a fun little gift shop with an ice cream parlor in the back.

We spent a few minutes watching a boatload of people disembark from the ferry after a trip to nearby Cumberland Island.

St. Mary’s was hit hard by hurricane Irma in 2017 destroying much of the waterfront and sinking many boats. The town is recovering and is a lovely hidden gem.

In fact, those exact words were used by a fella we met in a laundry mat while in Salt Springs. He had lived in St. Mary’s and described it as a hidden gem. After he found out why we were going there he inquired about my cousin. I remember thinking what are the odds that this guy will know him and, lo and behold, he DID! They were neighbors at one time. Unbelievable! It truly is a small world.

The following day we went to my cousin’s house for dinner. I was thrilled at the invitation and was honored to have the opportunity to partake in what I knew would be a fantastic meal prepared by my cousin’s wife. She is a gourmet chef and has a reputation for hosting fabulous dinner parties. (I’ve seen photos on Facebook!)

Their house is on the river and has a gorgeous view.

It’s just so peaceful and serene. I could hang out there all day.

Another place I could hang out was the dining and sitting area just beyond the living room…

With all the windows one feels as though they are dining al fresco.

Another reason I love this room is all the plants.

I’m a plant girl. I believe plants warm up a space and extend an invitation to sit a spell and sit a spell we did as we enjoyed a delectable meal while catching up.

Here’s another gorgeous view with a couple plants on the windowsills…

With a view like that one (like me!) might actually forget they were at the kitchen sink!

Prior to the meal we savored hors d’oeuvres then dined on salad, salmon grilled to perfection and topped with a tasty sauce, sticky rice and sauteed corn and red peppers served with fine wine. Dessert was displayed on a cake stand and as we were touring the house Ronnie asked me if I thought it was real or not. I told him it was indeed real and not to touch it. I tell you I have to keep my eye on him but I’m glad he asked before he went poking his finger into it! Dessert was a beautiful and delicious Lemon Creme Brulee.

All that deliciousness was served on these stunning plates…

In fact, the entire table setting was splendid…

Do you see a theme here? Check out the foot of the wine glass. How cool is that?!

My cousin is a retired Captain in the Navy and we are extremely grateful for his service to our country. He and his family spent several years abroad throughout his career. During those years many beautiful pieces were collected and are now artfully displayed throughout the house. One room, in particular, showcases the beautiful collection that was amassed during the three years they were stationed in Japan…

… the guest bathroom! WOW! Ronnie and I felt as though we had been magically transported to Japan without ever leaving the house. So many beautiful pieces and works of art in a bathroom! I was told to take my camera and I can see why. In hindsight I should’ve taken more closeup shots but I was so mesmerized by the bathroom as a whole that I got caught up in trying to capture it in its entirety. Maybe next time.

Ronnie and I had a marvelous time. We were treated like royalty by our amazing hosts and all too soon the evening hour became late and it was time to bid farewell.

Cheers to a marvelous evening and catching up with cousins. We vowed our next meeting would be sooner rather than later.

Till next time my friends!

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.