I’m not in the RV right now. I’ve written about that in the previous post. This is a time for art and writing. I’m dedicating these weeks to that. I’m signing up for classes in nearby towns. Signing up for a drawing class, creative writing and still life in acrylic. Still looking for more. I want to learn…to prepare for the next chapter in my life. If I can find a place to teach others, I’ll do that, too.
I can never get a photograph that does this painting justice. Right now it is leaning against a wall so that when I enter the house, there it is. And it still takes my breath away. But it doesn’t photograph well at all. Perhaps I need to buy some oil paints (mine were sold two summers ago) and work on it some more.
That’s it for this Monday evening. I hope you’re well and happy. Remember to “relax and dream up a good life”…Jim Carrey.
I’m not actually sitting on a house. In it, though, yes.
I’m enjoying this newest adventure. Taking care of my friend’s (hi, Reen!) house is wonderful. Her house is comfortable and well built. It feels solid and is a great place to spend the cold winter months. She has a humidifier that’s keeping me healthy. Normally I have all sorts of sinus problems in the winter, but not this year. Never realized how important a bit of humidity could be.
I got here the day after Christmas. Reen left her Christmas tree up so I could enjoy it. I hung my hand drawn ornaments on it. My friend, Stephanie (Hi!), made me two ornaments. She hand-painted them so that if you look on the inside of the ornament you see a winter scene and if you look at the outside, you see a desert scene.
I love the way the tree looks with her red hanging candles, Stephanie’s hand painted glass ornaments, and my cardboard ornaments.
I’m getting settled in. I’ve made a little workspace for art and for my laptop. The bed is comfortable. Einstein loves the fenced yard and I love being able to just open the door and send him out there. His favorite activity is to smell everything in his environment. In fact, I don’t think he’s ever been as happy as he’s been since arriving here. All the people and traffic are overwhelming for me, but I’ll adjust.
January 27th, 2020
More days have gone by. I’ve ventured out many times and have indeed adjusted to things. I admit that I loved the western side of the country. More wide open space, fewer people. I had found many favorite places there. I suppose that’s the place I love the most. I’m here now and I’m making the most of it. Finding new favorites. Getting to know the people. There’s exploring to be done here. I never thought I’d find adventure still…without my RV. I have.
I love it when I’m outside and the church bells are ringing. There are several churches that ring bells. Yesterday I heard them at 6:51 pm. Not sure why that exact time, but it was lovely. Maybe it was their call to parishioners to hasten to the evening services.
The houses here are a feast for my eyes. I love houses. Homes. The house I’m staying at has been in this family for 65 years. Three boys and one girl grew up here and the girl still lives here. It holds many memories. Even though the house has been updated a bit, it still bears the character of who it has always been. I can almost hear the rumbling overhead of three boys playing, laughing, shouting. I can imagine the mom and dad down here watching a program on television. I wonder what Reen was up to? Maybe she was working on one of her beautiful pieces of needlework or reading a good book. She might have been listening to records. Its an honor to spend time here. When I’m out and about, I look forward to getting back here…to my home for now.
I’m going to spend this coming week looking for a gallery so I can sell my artwork. I’d love to earn a bit of money. I have framed paintings, one original framed zentangle inspired piece (an Oriole on a celtic-type background), a number of unframed originals, and many limited edition prints and notecards. They’re all looking for a good home and would love to be displayed and appreciated.
My life is slow paced still, as it was in the RV. For now there is no planning of the day’s route. No researching campgrounds and gas stations. My days are rather slow and relaxed. I spend a lot of time listening to music, reading, writing, and doing art. In the evenings I play online games with friends. Jonathon, Lilli, and Knight are working to improve the Guildhall that we have in Guildwars 2. I’m proud of their efforts. It takes time and materials. Yesterday Jonathon and three others invited me to help them with a dungeon…the most difficult one in the game. I started out on my tough and powerful Revenant, but ended up bringing in my petite Sylvari thief so she could make everyone invisible to run through dangerous minions and creatures. We were all in Discord, so we could talk and discuss our strategies. I loved it.
Einstein brings me his ball and we do a bit of tugging about a dozen times a day. He always wins. I don’t have certain times to eat…just whenever. For the last three days I’ve made chicken sandwiches, along with some raw carrots, and a couple of Splits (pretzels). I love naps and manage to get one of those about every other day. No particular time…just whenever I’m sleepy. I don’t watch TV, but today I watched an old 1958 movie called “To the Moon from the Earth”. (Hope I got that right). I love old black and white movies.
I guess that’s about it for now. Its not as exciting as my adventures in the RV, but to me, its wonderful. I enjoy having time to myself to think and do creative stuff. I’m happy. Very happy.
When I pull out onto the highway with my trailer, I feel so amazing. Airstreams are rare and draw a bit of attention. At one gas station I parked and was walking in to get something to drink. A group of people standing outside wanted to ask me all sorts of questions about the trailer. After getting my drink and going back out to the truck, an SUV stopped beside me and rolled down their window to ask me questions. The woman said, “I want to go with you!”
Indiana to Colorado and Points In Between
Since leaving Indiana, where I attended the RVing Women 2017 convention, I have travelled through several states, including Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, California, and Oregon. Except for California and Oregon, I merely passed through each state. I was trying to get to Seattle, Washington, so pressed ahead as best I could, setting miles-traveled-per-day goals for myself. At first I tried to be very spontaneous and would drive until I was tired and then would find a spot to stay overnight. Rest areas are possibilities, but when I found one, it was usually full of trucks. Truck stops are another possibility, but truckers prefer RVers stay away as overnight spots. They have fewer choices and our taking up valuable parking spaces means some of them have to keep searching for a spot. I respect that. I found a Cabela’s one night, but was not able to find any other RVers and was uncomfortable with being the only one so I moved on.
As I headed west, the weather got colder and colder. When I got to Wyoming I hit snow and by the time I pulled into a Walmart Supercenter in Laramie, there was ice. The first thing I did was go into the Walmart and purchase an inexpensive winter coat and some gloves. I also bought a dog bed. The two dogs won’t always share the couch and the floor gets very cold. I put the dog bed under the dinette and Emma took to it immediately. Einstein became quite jealous and laid with his back to me.
Because it was so cold in Laramie, I decided to start using campgrounds in the colder climates. That meant having to pick out a campground before leaving in the morning. It also meant having to go a fixed amount of miles and arriving whenever I arrived. No more stopping when I was tired.
When I made it to northern California, where I was to spend time with a friend, I was ready for a rest. A few days of good conversation and good food refreshed my soul.
October 9th, 2017 was the day Einstein lead me off on our great adventure to discover our country. After much planning and research about what to take, how to store it, good places to camp, and how to be safe, we hit the road.
We had planned to leave Saturday, October 7th and spend three nights in Ohio, visiting family. Because the solar generator didn’t arrive until Monday, we had to alter the plan. Once the generator arrived, we piled into the truck and off we went, leaving at about 8:00 in the evening. It was dark and I don’t like driving the DC beltway after dark, but I felt we should be on the North side of DC the next morning, to avoid rush hour traffic. We pulled into a Cracker Barrel and spent the night in their parking lot. The next morning Einstein and Emma had breakfast, water, and a walk. I went into the restaurant for breakfast. Perfect. (Thank you, Sue!)
The next day we arrived at Sherry Ziccardi’s. She is a gracious and loving hostess and friend. She had the bedroom all made up for me, but understood that I was trying to get used to sleeping in the trailer. It was a good night. The following morning she sent us on our way with bags of leftover stuffed peppers, corn on the cob, apples, and bottled water.
We arrived at a campground near Goshen, Indiana just after dark the next evening. The “RVing Women” convention I was there to attend was being held at the Elkhardt 4H Fairgrounds, but the gates wouldn’t open until the next day. There were several others from my chapter (Mid-Atlantic chapter) at the campground. We talked a while, getting to know one another. The following morning, we all caravaned to the Fairground. Arriving together assured that we would get campsites together. It amazed me that a fairground had over 250 full hook up campsites right there on the grounds. There were maybe 350 campsites all together. Impressive. I was located with the Mid-Atlantic chapter of the RVing Women organization. The women in the group were amazing. From the very beginning; helping me, watching over me, teaching me a new card game, which we played and played and played. Maureen (Reen) made me coffee every morning and often we had breakfast together. During the day we all attended seminars on tire safety, RV maintenance, fire safety, how to take care of holding tanks, and so much more. We participated in chair volleyball, which was a blast.
The Mid Atlantic chapter had a spaghetti dinner together outside on picnic tables. In one of the buildings there were vendors selling all sorts of great stuff for the RVing life. Two different evenings there were dances and I actually danced! I stepped out of my comfort zone and just flat out enjoyed every moment. A bunch of us went to the RV museum. Some of us went on a tour of the Newmar Motorcoach factory. Goshen is where most RVs are made. There are an untold number of factories/assembly plants. It was great to see exactly how they’re made. I understand that its a great place to live and work, with plenty of jobs. Newmar, in particular, is a Mennonite company.
It was difficult to say good-bye to my new friends. I am still amazed at how many women hit the road to explore and have adventures. I was very encouraged and inspired. Finally, on October 23rd, Einstein ushered us into the truck and we set off on the next leg of our adventure. I felt warmed by friendship and equipped with knowledge about what to do and expect over the coming weeks and months.
…forgot. I bought a hat in Goshen. Einstein barked at it for five minutes.
If I could show photos here, they would all be of myself sitting at my computer, surfing the internet for YouTube videos about RVing in all flavors; solo, by Airstream, with dogs, as a woman, full time, and what to take. I knew that I wanted to stay out as long as I could, making a circuit through Indiana to Seattle, Washington, Oregon, Northern California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Illinois, Ohio, back to Maryland. I wanted to spend time dry camping at national parks and state parks. I would need to be prepared for that. I enjoy my computer and having internet. I would have work to do on two weddings. My small travel trailer would need to contain clothing for multiple weather conditions, art supplies, a computer and all the paraphernalia for editing the weddings and videos that I would be taking along the way.
I researched solar panels, generators, heaters, RV-friendly gadgets, how to store everything, how to stay warm in cold weather, what to do with dogs, etc.
The last few days before leaving for my trip were used to await deliveries and to plan at least the first couple of days of my journey.
One of the first things I ordered was a Weboost to boost the cell signal in the trailer so that I could use my Verizon JetPack to have WiFi internet on the trip.
I bought a Goal Zero Yeti 400. It has 400 Watts, which should run a couple lights and my laptop. It’s a solar generator and I also bought a suitcase solar panel kit to charge the generator, which can also be charged with a normal outlet.
Two other purchases were for heat. I got a small cube of a heater from Broan. I can use that one when I’m hooked to a power. It does a great job. I keep it up on the stove, with the cover down. I like to turn it on at night. It doesn’t use up my propane and I like the trailer cool during the night anyways. When I’m in the trailer, working on a project or watching a movie, I like to feel cozy and comfy. The propane furnace does a great job at that. When I don’t have electric power, I can use a small propane heater that efficiently uses small one pound propane canisters. If I keep the heat on low, one canister should last six hours. I purchased eight canisters. That pretty much covers my need for electricity and heat.
I watch videos made by a couple that have a video production company called LoLoHo (Long Long Honeymoon). They have great advice about Airstream life, as they have a twenty-five foot Airstream. I’ve learned a lot from them. They recommended ways to make sure you get good sleep in the Airstream. I did a lot of research on the top mattress toppers. I have a lot of joint pain, lower back pain, and hip pain. The joint pain started suddenly on August 8th. Its pretty constant. The other things are occasional. I found a mattress topper that is four inches thick and specifically made for the issues that I have. Its been very comfortable. I got a great mattress pad and sheets for a short queen mattress. I tried using some from home, but they were so much bigger than the mattress they slid all over and bunch up.
My Airstream is wired for panels on the roof, but that will have to wait until next year. I’d also like to have an insulated water hose. An electric blanket might be nice, too. It doesn’t use as much electric as the furnace and I could turn it on a while before I go to bed. No more getting in and having shivers from a cold mattress.
A small item I ordered that has been awesome is my little Moka Pot. It’s an Italian espresso maker that would make six tiny cups of espresso. I use it to make one nice sized cup of regular coffee. It uses no electricity.
These are some of the things that I researched and ordered so they would be delivered before we left on our long, long adventure. The solar generator and solar panels didn’t arrive until the last minute.