A week (or so) on vacation and an update

Update: We have camped several times since my last blog post but I had huge blogging issues when I changed from an iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy. I’m back on iPhone (6plus, LOVE IT!) so here I am blogging again via phone. 

Now for the fun stuff- camping!

Y’all know I’ve blogged a bit about Travel Day, that terribly exhausting time where you pack pretty much everything you can think of, forget too many important things and THEN load it all and hit the road. 

It’s my least favorite time. And let me just say if you don’t find travel day stressful then we can’t be friends. Unless of course, you bring puppies or kittens or chocolate- then it’s on like Donkey Kong. 

But back to the matter of travel: it seems like we learn something new every single trip, and this one was super helpful. 

TAKE A NAP FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE!

Seriously. 

Ninja Man brought the RV home from the storage facility and parked it in front of our house. Of course with the truck hooked to it, the whole enchilada gets parked in front of ours AND the neighbor’s house.  Anyway, we began loading it. 

And we loaded. 

And loaded some more. 

I know, we should have “two of everything” and we do- as far as the toaster, kitchen utensils and bed and bath linens go. But the clothes, food and perishable necessities have to be loaded each time since we store our rig when not in use. 

So back and forth we went, loading to the point of (some) blood (his knee), sweat (both of us) and tears (guess who…). And did I mention my house needs to be in near perfect order? That’s something I have learned is super important to my mental health- I don’t want to come home to a messy house. It’s a deal breaker. 

Since our destination was ONLY 45 minutes away, at my breaking point I informed my husband that the pups and I would just meet him there. Not only that, but I was going to nap. Right now. 

The pups, clearly on my side, jumped up to snuggle with me on the sofa. 

To my surprise, Ninja Man stretched out in his recliner and dang if he wasn’t asleep in a matter of minutes. 

The pups and I looked at each other. This, being an unprecedented event had us all perplexed. But not so much that we didn’t cozy up and fall asleep too.

And there we were. Already one hour past the time we wanted to leave, RV nearly packed, house pretty much ready to lock up, and the whole lot of us snoring away. 

Just 30 minutes of this was exactly what we all needed. When we awoke I was back to my fun loving self and no longer feeling the need to convoy, Ninja Man had settled his attitude and the pups… well, they were ready for a treat. 

We piled into the truck, bid the house adieu and off we went for our adventure. 20140511-195800.jpg

I’ve often said a nap cures pretty much what ails ya- and it’s true about Travel Day. 

We leave tomorrow and take the short 45 minute drive home. It doesn’t matter so much how far we are driving, preparing the rig for the road is the biggie. I think we will get up early so we can get a nice short nap- just in case. 

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Our former storage spot.

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A Big Trip

We are planning a big trip.

Here’s my current “to-do” list: (surely to grow)

Laundry
Stock up on pastured meats and eggs
Stock up on pup food
Buy extra sunscreen
Do more laundry
Get house ready
Stop mail delivery
Put a few crafting kits together
Do more laundry
Give neighbor dates of our time away

Wow. That looks so simple.

But I know that Travel Day will be so exhausting no matter how much I plan ahead! If only we could go with the bare minimum- and maybe one day we will figure this out so we can. I keep trying to anyway!

The little pile of “must-haves” has already started to accumulate. Here we have our Quilter’s Travel Companion (who would be without?), the new popcorn popper, the ever ready air pump and a sweet gift from my friend Angela! A tea towel just perfect for our RV! I mentioned in my last post about a surprise from a friend and then I received this! Wow! Two very special camping themed goodies!

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And speaking of sweet friends, we will be meeting up with some very special ones at our destination! Stay tuned!
God bless! Kathy Bo

Ever been so excited???

When someone says they have a surprise for you, it can be exciting. Like, when we were kids and someone had a “surprise” – we just couldn’t wait to find out what it was.

It’s been ages since I was that kid and even longer since anyone said they had a surprise for me. Still, I was like a kid again when my friend Tammy presented me this:

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She made it on her Babylock Ellisimo Gold sewing / embroidery machine- a project those of us in the biz call “in the hoop”. I love how the frog and hedgehog peek out of the windows!
She even used sleeping bag fabric for the inside!

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I am thoroughly enjoying it! It was the sweetest surprise and so thoughtful!
As long as we are talking camper crafts, here’s a project I made with my Silhouette electronic die cutter and a smidge of adhesive vinyl.

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The cup, by the way is from Academy Sports and has a spritzer feature that I am sure will have a ton of use around camp!
Thanks so much for stopping by! God bless.
Kathy Bo

On the coast in May

We decided to scoot away for a few days in May, and returned to one of our favorite places, Blythe Island, near Brunswick, Ga.
It’s a little county-owned rustic campground with a lake, ample camp sites and a picturesque dock overlooking the deep water.
We were so happy our new camping friends were able to join us here! Donna and Benny are just awesome. We met on our last trip to Tybee Island and I was so hoping they would be able to come on this trip! It makes camping even better when you have buddies to hang out with.
This camp is quiet and tranquil, and a place where locals come to launch their boats.
I took this group of photos on our first day, as I’m clearly fascinated with how this guy got his boat into the water!

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And off he went!

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Later that evening, the four of us went to what MUST be the most out-of-the-way seafood restaurant known to man. It was about 30 miles away at a little known marina. We’ve been here only twice in 16 years because it’s over an hour from home.

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This restaurant / marina needs about $1.5 million spruce up. It was sad to see that it’s really gone downhill.
Once we got back, Ninja Man (aka Driver) put his big screen (aka sheet) up and watched the NFL draft. He streamed it from our Dish Network at home via his iPad, via a projector. I’m forever impressed with his talents.

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Just before we left for camp, our pup Hoover had to have surgery. He is recuperating well but decided he needed to be hand fed. Of course, whatever makes him feel better, right?

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This is the lot we are in- just as we were starting to set up camp.

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We camped from Wednesday until Sunday- just enough to miss home but also just enough to wish we never had to leave!
Ninja Man hosted a movie night and our friends brought Avatar. Oh my goodness this movie was so vibrant after dark on the outdoor “screen”.

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Before we left home we picked up our organic FarmBag and we had quite a selection of veggies to grill.
Here’s what I did: wash, chop, season, butter and wrap.

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20140511-195049.jpgHere’s what Ninja Man did: grill. (And watch the NFL something on his iPhone).

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After a lot of fun with our friends and long relaxing days (I took a zillion naps) it was time to pull in the slides. And yes, that is our trash on the hood of the truck. If we put it on the back we are 99% certain to forget it. This has been proven many times.

20140511-195456.jpgMiele (Mee-Lah) kept an eye out on Baby Beluga during the drive home while Hoover snoozed in the back seat.

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20140511-195657.jpgBy the time we arrived in our neighborhood, they were both helping Ninja Man navigate.

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All in all, it was a great trip with sweet friends and easy days. Oh, and my previous post about the “Truth”- well, Travel Day was SOOO much better going and coming this time. Maybe, just maybe we are getting the hang of this thing.
Thanks for visiting and God bless.

Camping: a spring celebration!

When we decided to go camping in March, we didn’t really count on a cold snap! We are Georgia born and Georgia bred, so when temps get into the low 50’s, our southern bones get to shivering.

Since driver is not yet retired, our weekend trips are within an hour of home. Really, when you wake up to the sounds of birds chirping and the smell of bacon sizzling, it doesn’t matter how far one traveled to escape their routine, just that one escaped.

Our trip began with a chilly but nice four day excursion to Tybee Island. It’s about 45 minutes away but it *feels* like a vacation.

I drove separately this time and though I’ve seen them many, many times, I paid attention to the sights along the way.

There was the little trek toward Bay Street, where the very tall Talmadge Bridges spans across the Savannah River. My route would not take me across, but I have driven over it many times. Here’s a shot of it from the Bridge and Tunnel Club

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Who knew there was a club for bridges – let alone tunnels? I’ll be checking out their site.
So I drove under the bridge and on to Historic Bay Street, where students from the Savannah College of art and Design seemed to have just been released from class.

20140403-002305.jpg The college campus is spread all over the city proper, so seeing backpacks, art supply bags and huge portfolio folders tucked under an arm is not at all unusual.
Historic Bay Street is a must see – even for those of us who live here. Today it is a mix of old and new- mostly old- architecture.

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After Bay Street, one follows the trail to the islands. You know you’re on your way when you see this drawbridge.

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I have to admit, drawbridges freak me out a little and I’m somewhat overjoyed once I’m safely on the other side. It’s just unnatural for a bridge to open up in the middle. It just is.
Having made that death-defying leap across the bridge, I drove past marshland, river ways and crossed over a few islands.
And then I saw this.

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The light had just changed when I got this shot. The famed Johnny Mercer, Savannah son, musician, lyricist, and all around local-guy-did-well, has this street as well as a theater named after him.
Read a bit further for more on Johnny M.
After a trek along the mostly two-lane Tybee Island road, I arrived at the city owned River’s End Campground.

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The first morning, Driver and I were delighted to meet new friends just next door to our camp. Benny and Donna are on the right. Driver’s sis Jane and husband Randy also joined us at camp. We spent absolute DAYS in this circle of chairs, feeling as if we had been friends with our new buds all along.

20140403-005232.jpgSince spring was blooming all around, we decided to go by Bonaventure Cemetery it’s famous for so many things, including an abundance of huge oak trees and a breathtaking display of azaleas in the spring. We were just about a week early, so instead of floral shots, I took the following pics:

20140403-010523.jpgThis is the bench in the Johnny Mercer family plot.

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20140403-010629.jpgThe rest of these are just some monuments that I found to be exceptionally beautiful:

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20140403-011136.jpgA fireside chat followed our Bonaventure excursion, and the next morning we did this:

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20140403-011434.jpgAfter breakfast, “us girls” took a walk to the many shops nearby. I saw this and it was hard- very hard- to leave it in the store:

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20140403-011620.jpgupon our return I woke these two camp critters, interrupting their little nap time:

20140403-011801.jpgEvery camping trip has to end – well, until we are retired- and here’s driver getting ready to close up shop and pull Baby Beluga home.

20140403-011922.jpgOnce there, she got a bath.

20140403-012008.jpgOh, and here’s a sweet shot of my sis in law and her traveling bunny

20140403-013011.jpgNow just in case you read this and think of how perfect it all sounds, please scroll a few posts down and see “The Truth”. It’s not ALL sugar and spice.
But for now, and until the next trip, that’s just how I want to remember it.
Thanks for stopping by, and God bless.

Campy New Year!

We left for camp on December 27, eager to have a week of just doing little to nothing at all, for the exception of winding down 2013 and welcoming in the new year.

Every trip we take is a preview of life after retirement, and this one was just wonderful.

In the previous post I outlined the truth of how hectic it can be just to take this show on the road – and while that hasn’t changed, more of the truth is this: we had a great, great time.

We found this great county-owned and maintained park a few weekends before our camping trip.

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Located near Brunswick, Jekyll Island and St. Simons, Ga., it’s really a beautiful park.

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Soooo we are minding our own beeswax when we see this:

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Manatees! Right whales!
Oh. We were so stinkin’ excited!
And lo and behold, this guy swam by:

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It was a dolphin – or a porpoise- we didn’t get close enough to know. But whatever it was, we were just delighted to see it.
And we saw this guy too:

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Isn’t he just majestic? There were other pelicans and seagulls (see pix above) but this one was a loner and seemed to watch out for the others from a safe distance.
Other sites:

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And then some “family” shots of us and the pups.

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At the end of the day we enjoyed seeing Baby Beluga all lit up for the night.

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Along with the fire, it was doggone neat looking. I think we’re going to like this just fine.
Thanks for stopping in and God bless.

The Truth. Getting there.

“I just want to be there. I don’t want to go through the rushing, frustrations and anxiety that is the process.”

I wonder how many more times I’ll say this before we leave.

When bloggers post whatever it is they are blogging about, it often reeks of perfection. It also frequently makes the rest of us feel like we might never reach such levels of that imposed perfection.

That’s what today’s blog post is about.

I am here to share the truth- the back story, if you will, about all it takes to get from home to campground.

Here we go.

Family had just left on Christmas Day. Driver and I spent the following day getting ready. Laundry, cleaning house, napping, more laundry, dinner out so we wouldn’t mess up the kitchen, more laundry and a trip to drop off prescriptions.

Plan: leave at 11:00 am the next morning.

At midnight, we had this in a pile on the floor. By morning, this pile tripled in size.

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Midnight.

Yes. It. Was.

I was as tired as one would be on the day after Christmas with all the doings of that blessed day plus all the regrouping afterwards. Add getting ready to leave for a week and staying up till midnight is just par for the course.

Travel Day:

It is:
A) stressful
B) busy
C) full of lists
D) and THEN we load up and go.

On Travel Day we decide stuff like I need to clean out my car so I can pack it. We took two vehicles for the 1 1/2 hour drive- just know that by the time we arrived at Travel Day, driving alone contributed greatly to the length of my marriage.

So I cleaned it out, put the seats down to make a huge dog bed, and began loading.

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And I kept loading.

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That Happy Camper bag was a suggestion of better things to come. I wasn’t convinced that there would really be a Happy Camper but I could hope.

We loaded Driver’s truck too.

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Finally, we got to the storage place. Yes, we have to store it, as our HOA doesn’t allow RV’s in the hood.
Two things happened here:
1) I sat in the car and prayed
2) a big guy named Kevin was visiting his RV just across the way. He began talking to us and I learned he has been doing this for 22 years. A retired truck driver, he’s been all over and back again in his RV.

Now let’s do the math. Though we stop by each week, I have never – ever – seen anyone hanging out in the RV storage area.

Today I sat in the car and prayed. Sometimes I just think I’m too wimpy for this, but it’s our dream, and once we GET THERE, I am in love with this lifestyle. So I prayed that God would bless us with a good experience that would honor Him.
Kevin walks up, introduces himself. He is a handsome black man. about 6’4, 300 lbs and a smile that won me over. Out of the blue, he begins to encourage me. “Man, you are going to love it!” He says. “Just wait till you get there, it will be all worth it,” he added.

I did the math. God sent Kevin to assure me that He heard my prayer.

I took a few deep breaths, got my second wind and realized, regardless of my fatigue, fear and anxieties, THIS is going to happen and I WILL love it.

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We stopped to put air in the RV tires, and Driver’s portable air machine was broken.

We went to a truck stop, towing the huge trailer along, only to discover the air machine was – yes – broken.

Now we had to go somewhere else.

That put me out in the parking lot, holding traffic at bay (read: BIG trucks and ticked off car drivers) while I directed Driver around all the stuff we should not make contact with such as metal to concrete or metal to metal. It was kinda nice to have something bossy to do.

Between the two of us we did a fine job even though we were both pretty frustrated over the broken air machine.

We crossed the highway, got air and were on our way.

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One would think the stress is over.

Nope.

Now I’m worried about the hugeness that is Baby Beluga. No matter how many times Driver says it tows like a dream, I’m still new at this and frankly, our little 40 ft dream on wheels that came true scares the snot outta me. That’s the nicest way I can say it.

So I began thanking God.

I drove, Driver and Beluga in my rear view. Surprise: that made me anxious.

So I continued to thank God.

I thanked Him for Driver, for Baby Beluga, for the pups who rode with me, for the fact that we were driving only 90 miles and there was only 80 to go.

I thanked Him for the gas in my car, the breakfast in my tummy, the crackers in the seat beside me and the fact that every single traffic merge- every single one- was wide open for Driver to tow through.

Yes, Virginia, God is real. If you don’t believe yet, I have many, many other accounts to share, much deeper than this. Just email me.

By the way, I don’t know why but every time God sends me an angel, it’s always a big black man. Usually Jamaican, but always soft spoken and genteel. I love God’s way.

So on with the trip.

Truth: we arrived safe and sound.

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Truth: I took a nerve pill when we got here. I had a prescription for 30 in Oct of 2011. I just ran out. I come from addictive genes (don’t we all?) so I don’t mess with stuff like pills that chill me out so much that I’m actually pleasant to be around. Basically, it was as much for Driver as for me, since I didn’t lose it , not even once. While some – maybe all- do not see the faith statement vs nerve pill, I can answer that as well. Email me.

Anyway, we arrived. I was chill and so very thankful to be at the very moment we were at. Parked and setting up.

I walked the dogs, swept our “porch” and began unloading the car.

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Truth: the place is cluttered upon arrival but it gets better. Everything has it’s place.

By the time I took this picture I was feeling so much better. We are here and all that stress is behind us.

I’m ready to play house now.

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I enjoyed putting everything in it’s place, especially these two items. The card – ADORABLE – is from my friend Heather. The quilted mat is PERFECT for our little table, and from my friend Martha.

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Truth: it has been a very long series of days to get to this point. I’m exhausted but blessed in so many ways. I have my faith and an eye witness to God’s blessings. I have friends who love me enough to make something that is absolutely perfect for me. I have Driver who is oblivious to my stress levels (yes, most of the time this is a good thing) and I have these two furry friends who can’t wait for snuggle time.

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Stressful? Oh yes it was.
Blessed? Oh yes it is.

Truth: my jaw hurts from clenching my teeth so many times today. I’m beyond tired and still have to set up the bedroom.

Truth: it is a very good day. With bikes to ride and pups to walk, tomorrow will be even better.

Thanks for stopping by and sticking with this “truth” story. I promise most of my future posts will be fun and upbeat, but just in case my blog looks even barely “perfect” now you know… The Truth.

God bless.