Friday, August 28, 2015

Storms and Surfing...

We started our first month here at the Wilmington KOA with Tropical Storm Ana.  Her winds stayed under 50 mph when she made landfall and we sailed through with no problems.

Now, as we are approaching our last month here, we're watching Erika. She's a Tropical Storm right now, heading toward Florida. Where her path will go after that is anyone's guess, as well as whether she'll be happy with Tropical Storm status or will decide to upgrade to a hurricane.

We've been through hurricanes a house. In an RV even a Category One hurricane is dangerous so we wait and watch. If Erika upgrades and comes our way we'll high tail it out of here until she passes. That's why we have wheels under our house!

2011 Age 7
One thing about coastal storms is that they bring good waves for surfing. You find all the good surfers on the beach just before a hurricane. Davis used to be one of them...probably still is...and he's passing his love for surfing on to Katie. She's been going to an Indo Jax Surf School Surf Camp since 2011 and is an awesome little wahine! 
I'm so proud of her!

2013 Age 9
2014 Age 10
2014 Age 10
2012 Age 8
So easy I can do it standing on my head! 2014

2015 Age 11

Conquering the Short Board! 2015

A Short, Hot Summer...

Labor Day weekend is almost upon us and in little more than a month we'll be back on the road. Though the summer has gone quickly, this is the longest we've stayed in one place since we started our travels and we're both getting itchy to get moving. I'm looking forward to traveling again but hating the prospect of leaving my family.

Katie and Jackson have busy schedules even when school is out but I've been babysitting weekly while Becca works. Babysitting...doesn't seem like the right word anymore since they're far from babies but I haven't been able to find a better word! I did have to bail on babysitting one week. Jack and I both came down with something...stuffy sinuses, horrible coughs. took over two weeks to recover and I'm still coughing some.

We took advantage of the campground's Saturday night outdoor kids' movie one weekend. It was fun but I was a veritable buffet for the mosquitoes!

We've gone to Barnes and Noble a couple of times and I've discovered a trip there can be an all day affair with these two! Becca and I are both avid readers so it shouldn't be a surprise, great is it to have grandchildren who can happily get lost in a bookstore for hours?!

School started a month ago for Jackson who goes to a year round school. He's an adorable third grader! Katie started middle school this week. She's in the sixth grade and looks super cute in her new uniform!

We've yet to visit Boombalatti's and introduce Grandpa Jack to their wonderful homemade ice cream, but it's in the plans. Also on our agenda is a pedicure for Katie and me. Time is short and definitely tighter since school has started but we'll make it happen.

Jack and I took a day trip to the Raleigh area a couple of weeks ago and met Glen and Joanna for lunch. It was about a hundred mile drive for each of us. We met at a Mexican place in Garner that I found online...La Cocina...we were not impressed with the food but we had a great time visiting!  I don't know why I've never thought of doing this before. Unfortunately, meeting Ken and Ciera wouldn't work with Ciera's gymnastics schedule. We'll get to see them all when we visit Greensboro in October as we start our travels.

Ken emailed me some photos he took of Katie and Ciera while they were visiting last month. They are both eleven...just six months apart. These photos are two of my favorites. Such beautiful gymnast cousins!

It has been so hot this summer that Jack and I haven't gotten to do some of the outdoor things we wanted to...the heat seems to bother us more than it did when we were younger. With September on the way and hopefully some moderate weather we will have the chance to get out and do some of them!

One of the things we are planning is a day trip to Myrtle Beach next week. We hope to find a little leather shop we visited a couple of years ago and get a personalized bracelet for Chanoa to replace the one her little sister flushed!

We have two events coming up  in September. Jackson's ninth birthday and the arrival of a new granddaughter in California!! 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Two Years on the Road...

Two years ago this summer, after retiring, we downsized our possessions and moved into our fifth wheel with a plan to travel the country and visit the forty-eight contiguous states. So far we've traveled some 15,000 miles and visited twenty-six states...all of which is documented in previous blog posts.

When we started our travels we had two older dogs, Maggie (top right) and Ryan (bottom right). Maggie never liked car rides and always had to be coaxed to get in, but she's adjusted pretty well and is always ready to hop into the truck when it's time to move on. Ryan always loved car rides, but had more trouble adjusting to life in the fifth wheel...maybe because he was aging and his health was deteriorating. We lost him in California in September 2014, but his ashes travel with us. At fifteen, Maggie remains in good health but does show signs of her age.

We love traveling. I do all the research and planning for our travels and Jack does the driving. I enjoy researching the places we'll visit, finding interesting restaurants to try and sights not to be missed, planning routes and researching campgrounds to find the best place to stop at the best price. Jack has no patience for the planning so we complement each other in this area.

Traveling has enabled us to get out to California to see Jack's family. He has enjoyed seeing more of them and I've gotten to know them better. I think we both really enjoy the time we spend with each other's families. The downside is that I see less of my family than I used to and I miss them, but I route us back here as often as I can.

We've adjusted pretty well to living in a small space. The trick is to stay organized and keep things uncluttered. We've never been the types to retreat to separate rooms, so not having them hasn't been a problem. We have a second TV in the bedroom for those times our tastes diverge...such as during football and racing seasons!

We read many comments about how easy and fast it is to clean an RV...people saying they whip through it in twenty minutes. We disagree, it takes us a few hours to clean both bathrooms, the kitchen, dust all the wood surfaces, vacuum and mop floors. Maybe my standards are higher than other people's but I doubt it! is faster then when we lived in a house.

Having only one vehicle when we are staying somewhere for a while is a tougher adjustment. I miss the independence having my own car gives me. That was never more apparent to me than when we had an issue that prevented us from unhitching the truck while visiting my brothers. I borrowed my old car from Glen and really enjoyed running around in my old Honda!

We knew going into this that we didn't want to do it forever, that someday we'd put down roots again. We live in an RV for the travel not for the lifestyle and we're not ready to stop yet. We've been a lot of places and seen a lot of things but there's still more to see, including twenty-two more states!

How long we continue is dependent in a large part on finances. We've hit some really rough patches and have had about $15,000 in repairs to both the truck and the fifth wheel. Any more major repair expenses will likely sideline us before we're ready...but, ever the optimist, I'm already planning our next route!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Lordy, Lordy, Guess Who's Forty...

Becca and Davis are the last of the July birthdays...I can't believe my baby is forty!
They had a great party to celebrate...just like the one they had five years ago for Davis' fortieth. It was nice that Ken and Ciera were able to be here for this celebration. Ironically, Glen and my sister Amy happened to be here visiting for the last family was well represented both times.

Happy Birthday Becca and Davis!

Great cake...the photo is from a college party twenty years ago!

Party helpers...Katie and Ciera

Katie surprised Becca with string foam!