Tag Archive | just do it

A Day in the Life of a Full-Time RVer

There is never a dull moment when living full-time in Gypsy.

If you miss taking the trash off by one bag  (to the local campground dumpster), you then have two bags, three bags….. and/or the list goes on until you finally decide it’s too much to do the convenient thing and head to the campground dumpster so you do the nice thing instead and head to the dump. Good. Very good.

Except ‘dump’ day ends up being on a holiday, as you so conveniently have forgotten. Drats!

But that’s not all. As stated before in some other post, making a house a home requires some things that are just plain useless but happens to give a sense of happiness and fulfillment when looked at or touched. Oh dear! That does include the ‘greenhouse’ that lives out in the front yard, the rainforest full of tropical foliage, overseen by Matilda, the pink flamingo, who’s beauty is probably seen only by me. Oh well. Still, it’s good. Very good.

Then there’s the over-abundance of clothes which are in all different sizes so as to accommodate the big span of weight difference that varies, sometimes significantly from day to day. So we’re keeping the biggest clothes and the rest are being sorted in various boxes to be donated whenever. Dump day sounds good.

Then there’s the camper toilet. If there’s one thing that needs to be maintained in a camper, it’s the toilet (most especially the grey and black water tanks). Any questions or problems are answered by YouTube, complete with demonstrations. No problem. None at all – until you find out there’s something that you should or should not have done and it should have started a year ago when the Gypsy first started being a home. Oh, good grief! Talk about live and learn! Chalk up another notch in the belt.

Thank goodness for the knowledge of the electric cord and the breaker switch – otherwise, this last hook-up might have turned sweet Gypsy into cinders. There’s nothing quite like the sounds of ‘snap, crackle and pop’ when you plug in the cord, all before you even turn the breaker on! That’s what you call being on your toes. Easy fix though – plug the 30 amp electric plug into a 50 amp converter and it runs as smooth as flowing water. Chalk another one up for the belt.

One thing that’s not good but not strong enough to do anymore is lower the stabilizers. Four of them. Oh yea, they’re total manual, as in a lot of elbow grease. There is zero energy to turn the hand crank to get it done. It’s been mentioned to get a whatever it’s called and do it mechanically but it will void the warranty. However, with things the way they are, it might be useful to have that tool on board, just in case. Otherwise, everything is cool and we’ve been completely safe.

The smoke detector does not like cooking and proceeds to let everyone in the general vicinity know on a pretty regular basis by yelling – loudly. Repeatedly. Makes me wonder what’s wrong with Gypsy’s smoke detector because we don’t hear anyone else’s smoke detector going off. That’s just the cooking part. Wait until it tells you it’s time for a new battery. Peace and quiet then, all of a sudden, you’re about to make a new door through the roof! Battery changed. Mission accomplished.

Even the carbon monoxide detector has to put its two cents worth in every now and again. If that’s not a royal pain in the butt, I don’t know what is. Get on the floor with a lighter and see what happens. Good grief! Nothing happens. The flame doesn’t blow out and we’re not dead. There are candles and incense burned inside and no problems yet. Think it’s just testing itself for something to that effect but don’t know that for sure. Maybe it is something but so far, everything and everyone is alive and well.

Many, many things to learn while living and traveling in Gypsy but the one that takes the cake is the one that happened today.

The a/c. As in quit. Stopped. Kaput. Died. No juice. None. Oh NO! Not only is it hotter than hades here, the humidity is higher than the temperature a lot of the time. Here come the tears as the sweat begins to poor. Weird thing is I’d been reading about the RV a/c online today, about how to maintain it, what to do when there’s condensation, how the heat AND humidity affect the unit, among other things I found to add to the knowledge bank.

Then it died. Dead and not working and would not come on; the coming dread of being stuck inside a hot box with no a/c was quickly overpowering. Calm down, you can do this because you are no dummy. Okay. No Problem. Since the pep talk was working, I pulled up the instructions I already had, briefly read the Greek, then went and turned the whole unit off. Probably blew a fuse was the thought, at least that’s what the most hopeful thought was. Dead, as in graveyard dead, did not fit into this thought process. Grabbed the mag light (a.k.a. the lethal weapon) and hit the floor in front of the fridge. Why do you always have to get on the floor to fix something? Anyway, pulled away the fuse panel cover and looked around. Hmmm…. this was interesting. It wasn’t one of those little fuses you pull out and replace with one of the 20 extras you already have. No, it was like a regular fuse in a regular house, all neatly marked and organized, thank you very much. Flipped the switch for the a/c then flipped it back. That one didn’t blow. Good news. Then there was the Master switch. Flipped that one off and back on. Wasn’t that. Things weren’t looking too promising at that point. Then I noticed this ‘thing’ above the Master switch. Pushed it and it stayed in. So I pushed it again and it stayed out. Pushed it back in again and stood up. Have to try it and see if I’m even close to being on the right track. Either it’s going to work or it won’t. Turned the thermostat back on to low a/c and voila, a/c came on! It must have gone into overload mode and the safety switch popped it off. The ‘hot box’ was steamy within five minutes after the a/c quit but is now cooling the air nicely. First time there’s been a goose bump all day.

Another notch in the belt.

A lot of ladies I know would never do this, travel or live in a camper and go thousands of miles away because they don’t think they can do it.

Yes, they can. Yes, you can. It only takes one time and you can pep talk yourself into anything you think you can’t do.

You learn by the predicaments you get yourself into and by figuring how to get out of them. You store away every little bit of knowledge that YOU experience and rely on that in the future. You ask for help when you are really in a jam and someone will be right there to help you. (Believe me, I would have searched the world over (actually, the campground) for Ron if the a/c did not come back on and he would have helped)! Most fear failure – the only failure there is will be if you don’t try something outside of your boundaries and comfort zone, especially if you want to badly. It doesn’t have to be camping – it can be anything you want it to be.

Just believe in yourself. You’re smarter than you think you are and a lot smarter than most people think.

On a personal note, there are many legitimate fears in my life that will never be conquered before I leave this life, and I don’t want to waste any more precious time trying to beat those fears when I can do the one thing that doesn’t cause me fear. Gypsy. Towing Gypsy. Living in Gypsy. Traveling in Gypsy, Miss Ellie and Hershey, the Wonder Dog. She’s home, no matter where we are. It’s a great feeling to hook her up and set off to some far off place with no specific plan in sight. The feeling that brings trump any and all ‘real’ fears.

Love

Nanny

 

Remembering Gypsy

Change is inevitable.

Nothing ever stays the same.

Change has come to visit my door.

Not that I’m so much for or against the change, it’s just getting all the pro’s and con’s in order and setting the mind right to make the change work. The original reason for this change was for warmth during the winter. Now, it’s a matter of necessity. Simply put, I’m just too old to deal with some things and choose not to.

Most of “The Laughing Nanny” readers know I have been living in Gypsy ~ The Airstream  for about 20 months and have had some very interesting experiences. As I prepare to leave her for the winter and stay in a house for the sake of warmth and health, not knowing if I will ever come back here, I would like to remember back on some things that has made this such an interesting experience and one I will never regret.

I came here when I received the call to pack a bag, grab the dog, and come down here. Your camper is ready. All you have to do is move in. Music to my ears because I knew I would finally be safe. Nothing and no one would bother me where I was living now. Nobody would be that dumb.

I moved in at the end of winter; springtime was on the way. The world was good, the family was great and I became comfortable in my little aluminum house. When it rained, I could hear it on the roof and what a peaceful sound that is. Sunshine in every window; a breeze from the North or Northeast would blow in the windows of my little hidey-hole.

Of course, there were many adjustments to be made living inside such a tiny space (approximately 168 square feet), and making sure everything had a place and hopefully, a multiple use. I found over time you learn what you can and can’t live without and believe me, there’s not much you can’t live without. So I organized, discarded, donated, gave away what did not serve a purpose. I have very little until I think of all the things I have to pack up to move into the house! But I did it and it worked out beautifully. Prepared but not overboard.

I fell in love with my step-granddaughter and we spent a lot of time together when she was allowed to spend time with me. I looked forward to Baby Girl being born and holding her for the first time, having dreams of grandeur at being the best grandma and loving her forever, with all my heart. I had tremendous love for my kids regardless of any problems and it felt good to be with and around them.

I basically lived in the woods so there was always a chance to hike the surrounding areas, from which I had much enjoyment. Nature at her finest. I had lots of birdfeeders and I think every bird in the neighborhood and surrounding areas knew where they could eat for free. At night, possums and raccoons would show up for a visit to climb the canopy so as to snatch down a birdfeeder in which to eat his meal. One in particular caused me much laughter during the middle of the night since I booby-trapped the feeders! So the night I caught him on film, just as guilty as could be, was a defining moment in the enjoyment of living so close to nature. I hear a lot more of what’s outside while inside the camper than can be heard in a house; like the gentle sound of a rainshower, quiet thunder in the distance, even lightning because there are no obstacles in front of the windows.

There was peace, there was quiet, there was unconditional love for those I called my own.

When I got so sick in February and it eventually came down to the decision to fix it or die, I chose life, knowing it would be hard living in the camper afterwards and not trying to think about that part of it. I love my camper and easily lived and could have died peacefully here but the first cold night of the season rudely awakened me to the facts of life as they stand with me now. I would not survive another hard winter without appropriate warmth on a body with no fat anymore.

So today, as I try to gain back the five lbs that I lost between Sunday and Monday, I remember all the fun and good times I’ve had in Gypsy – with great laughter but not without a tear or two…or ten.

Many people, or so I’ve heard, don’t see why or even choose to understand why I chose this path with Gypsy. But I love her, I’ve enjoyed her, and as I prepare to leave her, I realize it’s much harder than I would have ever thought. I’m going to miss her. She was a savior in my little life.

On the positive side, change can be the best thing of all.

Love

Nanny

 

Return to the South Forty – Day 5 – The Mission Ends

 

the real south forty

the real south forty

Day 5? Already? Starring out the window of my original destination from Day 1, looking at the land rising towards the sky, I knew what I’ve always known; I did not want to return to the Eastern Shore. No surprises there. The trip has been a mission of sorts, to figure some things out, what to do, where to go from there, what was I able to do health-wise, does it really matter to anybody where I am, etc. Not random thoughts of displeasure but deep soul-searching of doing what’s right for me and for those I love.

Regardless, that didn’t stop the feeling of sadness as I crossed the Continental Divide, heading towards the Eastern Shore. I had made some incredible new memories, been a few places I had not been before, resurrected the past and put it where it needed to be; yet I could not seem to stop the feeling of sadness and loss of peace that was quickly creeping up as I slid down the other side of the great Divide. I lose a chunk of my heart every time that happens but my spirit and soul is always and forever embedded deeply on the other side of the Divide.

So I buried the feelings and enjoyed the road trip; well, until the Piedmont, and the awful traffic, and the crazy drivers. Then, of all things, I stop for gas and who should I see but an old flame. A good man, a good person, but not our time. I had just lost my dad. Not a good time. Still, it was good to see him because he made me realize that yep, there were good things and people at the Eastern Shore. I have to say that was strange, so far from home, and seeing someone from home. Interesting, but weird.

Finally off the interstate and gee whiz, 63 mph is so slow after traveling 75 mph for hours and hours. It’s going to take forever to get home! Not really, it just seems that way when you have to slow down but ‘they’ really do want to nail your butt and I don’t have much butt to nail!

I stopped at a roadside stand and picked up a fresh melon for the nightly snack. Actually, truth be known, I was putting off the inevitable and I knew it. But it kept looming closer and closer until finally, it was here…..the Eastern Shore.

Suddenly, I was excited. Why? I was going to see my doggie! Hershey, the WonderDog! When I opened the door to Gypsy, that fella was all over himself, shaking his all over body shake so hard that I couldn’t even pick him up. He was so excited to see me that he finally jumped right out the door, ran around the yard, jumped back in Gypsy and finally let me pick him up, for which he planted a big, slobbery kiss right in my smoocher! Ha! That I did not see coming!

Then there’s Baby Girl, that sweet little Angel sent straight from heaven. Well, on some days. Full of energy, full of life and it’s full-steam ahead. She always shares her big laugh with me and thinks Nanny here is her own personal play toy. I guess I am until I say no. Oh my goodness! Her world has come to and end. Ha!

Lots of feelings and emotions, lots of realities. Needed the experience to get away from the hustle and bustle of trauma and drama. Life was so peaceful for a few days. Returned to the hustle and bustle of trauma and drama. But you know what? I can handle that. Why? Because I found out how dependable my truck really is, how many miles I really can travel in a day, what I need to make sure I’m taken care of if a medical emergency should arise but, most importantly, knowing how I feel about leaving my family. In other words, I can pack up and leave again tomorrow without a single regret.

That was my mission for this trip………to find out if I could “without a single regret.” I don’t think I’ll live a long and healthy life so ‘without a single regret’ means I can and I will.

S

courtesy of google images

 

Return to the South Forty – Day 4

ridge top

ridge top

Looking from the top of the ridge, I had the first view of a mountain where the top was shrouded in heavy fog and clouds. A most enchanting sight to see, especially since Ridge Top was really at the top of the ridge. I could only imagine the views I weren’t able to see from my perch at the top. What a way to start the day.

farming valley

farming valley

It was time to hit the trail again. Still heading east on the old road, I encountered some beautiful and enchanting views, too many to be remembered but some would be engrained for a lifetime. One view in particular caught my eye; there was a valley below and a few people lived in it. Looked like a little farming village with barns, tilled ground, crops. What a sight for this old farm girl. Couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like growing up on a farm where the land goes up and down all the time.

soco falls

soco falls

My destination was to hit the high road north to the tallest point in Tennessee but that ride came to a screeching about halfway when I found the coolest waterfall on the side of the road. Actually, I missed it and had to turn around and I’m sure glad I did. Foot path down, one I could do, or most of it anyway, until I had a birds eye view of the falls. Wow! No other way to describe it. I have seen a good many waterfalls on this trip, more than I’ve shared, but this little jewel was fantastic. She was just a beauty in the woods, water cascading over the rocks, flowing down into the stream below. The whole area was like a fairyland; lush and green. I made it a point to carry a piece of that peace with me.

refreshing and rejuvenating

refreshing and rejuvenating

Forever onward, I took the high road north, up into the clouds. Again, I couldn’t resist and pulled off the side of the road. Before me was a true fairyland, the one where you expect to see fairies sprinkling fairy dust. It was so overwhelming in those woods with all that before me. Stream flowed gently over the rocks. Nothing looked disturbed, like it had been the same for a thousand years Everything was green; the trees, the rocks, the land. Mother Nature at her absolute finest. I couldn’t resist the pull of the water. I had to get in, a baptism of sorts. I needed to be a part of it but I also needed it to be a part of me and I felt like that was the thing to do. I’m so glad I did, too. Refreshed and rejuvenated, my baptism.

fairyland

fairyland

almost there

almost there

After a small regroup from that little adventure, it was on to the high mountain. A good little distance but worth it to be in and above the clouds naturally. Twist, turn, twist, turn and there I was, at the summit. In and above the clouds. Nothing, absolutely nothing to see, which was amazing because of what I already knew was out there. Before me were Christmas trees, then fog and clouds. Behind me, the mountain went straight up to the summit, then fog and clouds. Wow again! I knew what I wasn’t seeing and it was amazing. Probably a disappointment for those that had come for the big view because they’d never seen it before; me, I was just as impressed with the things I knew were out there that I wasn’t seeing. Ethereal.

christmas trees - clingmans dome

christmas trees – clingmans dome

Headed south back down to the reservation and I made one stop at a shop I still hoped would be there. It was. Authentic Native American pottery and jewelry, both Cherokee and from the west: Navajo, Sioux, Lakota, Zuni. I knew what was authentic and these goodies were. Even found a new Cherokee artist who made beautiful pottery that I loved. Beautiful work these people put into their crafts. Lots of time and effort. Everything has meaning and it meant something to me.

mother nature

mother nature

On the easterly route again, I passed through another tourist town and kept on trucking. Cute little place but not what I was after. Actually, I had a destination in mind; the day had passed so quickly and I’d not realized it. I had spent right much quality time in places that made me feel good, alive, more than human, spiritual. I wanted to enjoy those feeling as long as possible so I reached said destination for the evening, the same destination from Day 1, even had the same room. Ate my meal, brought back my to go box for the evening goodies and settled in to think about the day. All good for the soul, mind and body. I was on a roll. This journey had turned more spiritual than I had thought, I realize that now.

I had no clue what tomorrow would bring, where I would be, what I would be doing. But that evening, I knew where I was and I knew what I felt, and it was all good.

To be continued….Return to the South Forty – Day 3

S

soco falls - a perfect moment in time

soco falls – a perfect moment in time

 

Return to the South Forty – Day 3

mountain foliage

mountain foliage

This was going to be the hard day, the one with all the memories attached. Moments in time never really go away and three years worth of those moments were going to be felt that day (refer to previous entry Return to the South Forty – Day 2).

I woke up and looked at the mountain I had driven beside thousands of times. The road on it had taken us to the grocery store, school, work, ball fields, Tennessee, friends homes’, our home, our very livelihood, and secret memories of someone special I’d rather not share. Yes, this was going to be tougher than I though because I already felt the flood of memories and emotions coming in. This would, by far, be the most bittersweet day of all, and the most important.

ball field

ball field

The first place of all to go to was the ball fields. I worked, my kiddo played ball; all kinds of ball. Baseball, football, soccer, even basketball. He was pretty darn good at it to, especially baseball and football. When that ball connected with the bat, you would hope the bases were loaded because he would bring those runners in. Football? He became an expert on the quarterback sack. I’d seen him chase the quarterback the whole football field and then drop him five yards from touchdown. Yea, these are some good memories so it has to start with the ball field.

the sitting tree

the sitting tree

My, how things have changed. A couple of the front fields were gone and had been made into a nice park area, complete with a walking/running/biking path. Whoever designed it made it where the Valley River was in the forefront of the meandering pathway. Benches and swings had been set beside the river but the old trees that hung over the banks, the ones we had sat our butts on so many times, were still there and had grown so much over the years. I sat down on one of those overhanging trees and listened to the river flow, the imaginary loudspeaker yelling home run, the fans cheering in the bleachers, remembering my kiddo and I playing tennis and knocking so many tennis balls over the fence, which landed in the river, never to be seen again. Beautiful world, beautiful place to be but then again, it always was to me. An important place doing some of the really important things in life. Having fun.

valley river

valley river

I did a drive-by of the town but that was all I needed to do. I’d already settled it in my mind. Forever onward, I headed east towards the next county. Another fine place and where the real South Forty is and those special memories that come with it. I did a drive-by and realized that although everything had changed, it was still the same. Enough of that. Onward again, this time heading south in the North Georgia mountains.

north georgia mountains

north georgia mountains

My, my. What a view! Nothing can be any prettier than a view of the North Georgia mountains, unless you’re in North Georgia and looking at the view of the North Carolina mountains. Even after seeing either view thousands of times, it never gets old. Dropped in at Brasstown Valley Resort and spent some time sitting in an old rocking chair, looking at the view. Kiddo, friends and I would go there to eat, play pool and shoot darts. Kiddo became quite a pool shark at his young age. He actually won $10 from this fella. I wasn’t going to let him keep the money but the poor fella said please let him keep it because he earned it, fair and square. I couldn’t argue with that logic. All of this passed through my memory bank as I sat in that rocking chair, looking at the mountains in the not so distant distance. But, forever onward. There was a lot of ground to cover that day and the most important part would be the most time-consuming and most bittersweet.

fires creek falls

fires creek falls

fires creek

fires creek

I headed north and then headed west, then headed north again. Destination known. Fires Creek. Probably the most important place to be. Go way up and down the road (literally) and hang a left at the sign. About two miles in, this is where we camped (very primitive), swam, played, lounged, talked, laughed, met new people, squealed when we put our hot bodies in that cold water, hiked. Our home away from home unless we were going camping somewhere else, which we frequently did, like every single weekend, excluding winter. I never worried about my kiddo while we were out there, not even when he slashed his foot open and I didn’t have enough first aid equipment available for that deep cut. Yea, up and out we went, to the hospital a ways down the road. Doc fixed him right up and said get back to camping. What a cool doc!

sitting rock

sitting rock

I sat down on one of the many big rocks by the creek. In my mind, I was watching my kiddo slide down the falls, jumping straight into the deep hole, watching him float, get hung up on the rocks, and make friends with any and all other kids. I remembered the big copperhead that was under the big rock that I sat or laid on while kiddo played. He was safe; nobody was going to be messing with him, especially me! I remembered the Easter Sunday that Dana, April, kiddo and I went to the creek after church and a meal that Dana had prepared while we were at church. We spent the afternoon together at the creek and had a wonderful time. Great time, great food and great friends that were closer than family.

trailhead

trailhead

I loved this place and didn’t want to leave. Leaving my perch on the rock and grabbing my backpack, I decided it was time to hike the trails. I knew none of them would be outside of my physical boundaries so I was really looking forward to the gentle exertion. It’s not like I haven’t hiked them all before because I have; it’s because I wanted to hike them again and that was the memory day. As luck would have it, there were even more trails than before and I was on them all, as far as I could go, wherever they should lead, which was usually to some spot on the river that was sloping slowly upwards. I spent the rest of the day there, enjoying the peace and wonder of it all. I felt all the same things I felt all those other times. Some places are just special and have a significance that we might not can identify. All I know is I felt so close to the Creator while there, and always have. I don’t need a photo to remind me of that spiritual place; it was and is, forever and always, engrained in my heart and soul.

red clay

red clay

Leaving a piece of my soul behind and taking with me the peace of the creek, I headed out to the main drag again. Out of the woods. Into the real world. Turned east towards town then south again, towards the lake. Talk about memories! These are the funny ones. The mountain lakes are full of clay; actually, the whole world is clay. And it sticks. Forever. Even with clorox. (Big Laugh)! Well, me not exactly realizing so much about how clay works, I proceeded to be creative with the kiddo. In other words, he was going to become a piece of art. I was going to paint him with clay. So, I did. Even his hair. Oh my, the funniest sight I have ever seen! And he dried like that! Until he finally got in the lake to get the clay off. Well, that didn’t work out so well. At all. This was not good. Finally got him cleaned up enough where he could change clothes and get him home for a shower. That pretty much did the trick, except for his scalp. It was clay red. As in stuck forever clay red. Don’t know how many times we scrubbed that scalp but that clay was no going anywhere! Oh dear, and he has to go to school tomorrow. However is he going to explain this? My mama painted me? I would imagine that somewhere, somehow, there’s still some of Lake Chatuge’s red clay stuck on that head somewhere! Great memories!

happy chicky

happy chicky

Forever onward, I headed back out to the main drag, headed west again back to my town, then east. Beautiful drive between these two towns and I needed to see those ‘grey-backed gorilla’ mountains that I loved. This lands me in the Nantahala Gorge, a most wonderful drive with a mountain at one side and a river at the other. Destination known. Nantahala Outdoor Center to get on the Appalachian Trail. Yes!!! Received my day pass for parking and up the trail I went. It was a pretty nice hike. Easier than I expected, especially since I’d never been on this part of the trail before. Hiked and hiked and hiked until I knew it was time to turn around and head back down to civilization. Saw quite a few thru-hikers on my daily excursions in and around the trail and they’re pretty interesting people. Me? I was just happy to be on the trail once again.

 a view from the trail

a view from the trail

It’s getting late in the day and time to reach the end destination although I wasn’t really for sure where that would be. My parking pass included the next two days and I wanted to be close enough to NOC without having a long drive. As I drove out of the Gorge and along the road heading east, I knew where I wanted to go. With a name like Ridge Top, where could you go wrong? Destination reached.

It was time for food, replenishing the nighttime snack supply and going over the day to see how it all felt.

Day 3 has ended on a good note; Day 4 is coming up next.

S

nature at her finest

nature at her finest

 

Return to the South Forty – Day 2

 

the view

the view

I woke up to a beautiful view of land rising towards the sky, standing tall and proud and majestic; realizing that in the grand scheme of things, I/we are nothing compared to what I was seeing. The intense feeling of being so tiny only comes when being a part of the land that goes up; an incredible feeling and one that immediately puts things in the right perspective. With that on my mind, the decisions for the day were made.

Plan A simply would not work; first, the weather would probably not cooperate but more importantly, Plan B was the one I was leaning towards. Being a traveler instead of a tourist, it was time to hit the trail running, exploring places known and unknown. No need to re-acclimate myself to these mountains; they’d been a part of me for 17 years. Some things never go away.

I headed south from said destination (refer to previous post, Return to the South Forty – Day 1) and then headed westward. Beautiful county. Beautiful views. Awesome road to drive if you’re not skittish of the curves and drops and rocks and things. Yay! The party had started!

lake toxaway

lake toxaway

I went over a bridge and there, below me, was a beautiful waterfall. It wasn’t a big, gushing one but a beauty just the same. The water came from under the bridge and flowed down the gentle slope of rock until reaching the drop. Down it went, lost from sight only to be found seconds later farther down the mountain before being carried around the bend. The path of least resistance. I couldn’t help but wonder how forceful the flow would be if a big rainstorm should happen. The path of least resistance might become obsolete for a time.

Forever onward, I thoroughly enjoyed driving this curvy, sometimes switchback, road. Curves are just so much fun! While in the midst of one of said curves, I happened upon a sign pointing out another waterfall. Hang an immediate left so I hung an immediate left. Yea, I’m good at things like that (big grin!). State Park one mile up; not my destination. My destination was nine miles up, a lonely, silent, desolate stretch of road that I enjoyed immensely. If I could choose that location as home, I would but that was all National Forest. The few homes I did see were bordered by National Forest land. In other words, the perfect spot.

in the woods, under the canopy, perfect silence and dim light

in the woods, under the canopy, perfect silence and dim light

Destination is reached and wow, is it ever quiet! There were a few other stragglers like me hanging about but otherwise, I was on my own. Waterfall up ahead but first I had to hit the woods. The silence, the dim light, the heavy canopy, no sound whatsoever filled the soul (and all points in-between) with peace. I could have sat there all day, enjoying that little wonder. However, I was determined to see the waterfall so out of the woods I went and onto the trail to see another wondrous sight. And what a sight it was.

Whitewater Falls is impressive, to say the least. Over 400 feet of cascading water; falling, tumbling on rocks, falling more, tumbling on more rocks until it finally reached the bottom that was so far down. The sound was a lullaby, another wondrous gift from this earth.

whitewater falls

whitewater falls

following the yellow brick road……steps end and dirt trail begins

Since this was a public place and others were around, I decided to take the foot trail down the mountainside. That was my first blast of reality. I couldn’t do that anymore. Hike. The mountain. My heart hurt for me. I had no stamina, no energy, and definitely not the nutritional resources to do it. One-eighth of a mile maybe, and I had to come back up. Didn’t need to be a medical emergency that nobody knew about. Rude awakening. A definite smack up side the head moment. I reached the summit and sat down, contemplating what had just happened and couldn’t think of anything else more I could possibly do. I haven’t been cleared to continue ‘living life’ so soon after surgery but this little realization took some wind out of the sails. That’s okay though, I did get as far as I did and back up again. I’ll just have to work more efficiently and within my realistic boundaries, not do things like I used to could do, which obviously was not within my boundaries. It sure was in my heart, though!

reality can be brutal at times

reality can be brutal at times

So I hiked myself back to the woods, the dim light, perfect silence, heavy canopy and felt good about everything again. Besides, it was time to hit the curvy road again.

The trip was beautiful, no other way to describe it. The mountains have a smell like no other and I breathed that like life-giving oxygen. Bittersweet because I couldn’t fill up a bag and bring it home (laugh!).

I made another stop at another waterfall along the way, this one right on the side of the road. Very popular because it’s right there. Had a chat with a couple riding motorcycles. They were from Florida and camping ‘up’ the road somewhere. Interesting talking to perfect strangers. But soon, our quiet time came to a screeching halt as about 15 Harley Davidson’s pulled in and drove directly under the falls. I know lots of Harley riders and there’s not a bad bone in their bodies but this group here was rude, arrogant and king of the falls, and sure didn’t mind letting you know it either. They ‘subdued’ the normal folks out there and I soon left. Arrogant Harley riders were not on my list of peaceful things to do. Besides, the best curves of the bunch were on the open road right in front of me. Peaceful, easy feeling once again.

bridal veil falls

bridal veil falls

almost home

almost home

I hated when the ‘road’ ended and I entered town. Good thing though; it was getting late in the day, I needed to eat and restock healthy snacks for the night and I still had not reached the second destination, the one that was my old stomping ground. Did what I had to do and headed westward again, driving one of my most favorite drives in one of my most favorite of places, the Chunky Gal mountains. Such a beautiful place. I’ve been there when there was no snow starting up the mountains only for there to be eight inches of falling snow within 2 miles. Ice climbers always come in winter to climb the frozen ice over the sheer rock. They draw a crowd because you can’t help but stop and watch them in action.

Coming out of the Chunky Gal’s, I’m pretty much there. Literally in the South Forty, which is just ahead. Home. It’s good to be back. Destination has been reached. Time to gather my thoughts, put things in perspective, sleep on it, and start afresh the next day. I knew the next day would be full of memories and I needed to be prepared. Good memories that needed to be put in their proper place.

Day 2 has ended but the rest of the story will be continued.

S

the south forty

the south forty

 

Return to the South Forty – Day 1

DSCN2697

the south forty

Bittersweet Symphony – the words that came to mind when I made the decision. Was I up to this? Physically? There was only one way to find out and that was to just do it.

Lots of memories at the South Forty but more importantly, I wondered if I was up for the long trip because of health issues. Apparently, nine years of not absorbing nutrients had played havoc with the old body. Two stomach surgeries later (seriously, a gastric bypass at 128 lbs.?), with the bypass being within the last couple of months, I was finally ready to do it or die trying. Well, I really hoped dying wouldn’t be the case because I really wanted to do it!

So I over-packed and went prepared for any medical emergency that could or has happened to me, along with too many clothes but hey, I didn’t know what I was going to be doing. After making my lists, checking them twice, loading up, giving instructions to the caretaker of Hershey, the WonderDog, I finally pulled out of the driveway, off into parts known and unknown and looking forward to the road trip very much! (Big Grin)!

cruisin'

cruisin’

It was perfect, the road trip. Chatted with some interesting people at rest areas, especially a couple of guys heading to the mountains to camp. They had this cool little teardrop trailer. That led to an inspection of said trailer. Very cool and no rush. Enjoyed the conversation with complete strangers who enjoyed something I did also.

I saw the first mountain at Exit 123. I always know I’ll see the first mountain here. It’s a baby but hey, it’s still up there in the sky. Right then and there, I went from Eastern Shore mode to South Forty mode. Happens every time because I feel that ‘peaceful, easy feeling’ come over me (courtesy of the Eagles). I’m here, well not really ‘here’ yet but close enough to know I’m almost where I want to be. Very interesting how this happens, and happens ever time I travel that way. All I can say is there must be something very special out there that the spirit is attached to.

I could not have asked for a better interstate driving day; traffic flowed smoothly, very few truckers were on the road and no accidents. Cruising at 80 mph (oh yea!); and I was the slow one; that is until about 20 miles east of the Continental Divide. Thunderstorm. When I say thunderstorm, I mean thunderstorm, complete with blinding rain, sharp lightning and thunder that could deafen a person. Traffic came to a standstill, as in stopped, on the side of the interstate. Flashers everywhere but I could only see the flashers of the car in front of me. Nobody was moving; nobody could see through that rain. Lightning coming down all around us in big, jagged bolts, thundering almost before the lightning would strike. Nowhere to go; we were all on our own. I just knew one or two or twenty of us were going to get zapped good with one of those bolts! We probably sat around about 20 minutes before it eased up enough we could actually drive but you can believe it weren’t 80 mph this time.

standstill - what a thunderstorm

standstill – what a thunderstorm

By the time I started over the Continental Divide, it looked like night. It was eerily dark with all those storm clouds; drippy, hanging fog; and a wet road that was even darker. I kind of felt like I was in an Edgar Allen Poe story, just waiting for the crow. I love driving over the Continental Divide – fast – but this wasn’t going to happen. Just a little too risky and yes, I wasn’t the only one behaving (Big Grin)!

End of the day destination up ahead. Tentative plans (I don’t like to plan!) for the next day but didn’t know if the weather would cooperate. I decided to stop at said destination anyway because if Plan A didn’t work out, Plan B was a definite, much more fun and interesting!

I was happy and my buttocks were sore (Big Laugh!). All my natural cushioning has vanished (I have no butt since I can’t seem to gain the weight back – Big Grin)! Being the lady that lives in Gypsy – The Airstream, I was finally sleeping in a real bed after a year and a half (not counting that hospital wannabe bed), had a TV complete with cable, an a/c that worked wonders and hot water that did not ever run out! Physically, I was tired and it didn’t take long to get sleepy, but I was there, I had made it, and I did pat myself on the back.

Yep, I’d say day one of my Return to the South Forty was pretty darn good.

To be continued…….

my view at the end of the day.....a rainy world and loved it

my view at the end of the day…..a rainy world and loved it