My Way or the Highway…

If I were to describe the most important attributes needed to be a full-time RVer, they would be flexibility and compromise.  I suppose a third one would be patience, but that word and I aren’t speaking to one another right now!

I thought with six kids I already had flexibility and compromise mastered but it has been 10 years since they were all living at home and I’m afraid those skills have become rusty.  Well, no more!  There have been three times already when our plans have gone seriously awry, including our start up date which ended up being pushed back almost a month.

So here we are again with a new plan.  We were hoping to go to Houston for two weeks to help with hurricane relief but the timing wasn’t good with the mission we chose as they are still setting up to have groups in. We hope to try again in February on our way to California.

From Houston we were headed to the Austin area to visit my sister and her family so we just pushed those dates up.  Anne works part-time and I had some hours to fill so she found me another way to help through the Austin Disaster Relief Network.  I guess since the flooding a lot of people have moved from Houston to Austin and so Austin is distributing food and supplies.  Not sure what it’s all about yet but I signed up!

Brent will be in Orlando for a week while I’m in Austin.  He does some consulting for a company there and this is a good time and place to leave me.  We plan/hope to be in Texas until the 12th of November and then will head back to Fort Wayne, getting there by Thanksgiving.

I thought it would be fun to spend our first real holiday on the road but it made more sense to push straight through. Can’t stop thinking how cute Cornish hens would have looked in our little RV oven but there is always next year and I’m excited to see four of our kids who live in Fort Wayne or nearby Indy.

We need to get Fred in to a Camping World for some much-needed repairs but that has been a difficult proposition. I won’t bore you with the gory details, but you need at least 3-4 weeks lead time and Winnebago has to get involved and sign off on everything since he is under warranty and it has just been a big pain in the butt.  I guess we will get through Thanksgiving and then figure it out.

The good news is that our Jeep, Riley, is in Fort Wayne and so when we pull out in December we will have an escape vehicle which is super exciting.

 

Tying up Loose Ends

 

We were in Biloxi this week and so, of course, had to hit a casino.  Brent is very lucky (he would say talented) and always manages to win, while I do my part by balancing us out!

But the evening went south when we got our bill.  Apparently a senior is anyone over 40 in Mississippi?

When the free (comped) all you can eat crab buffet took a negative turn.

Yesterday we left Biloxi for a small campground in Scott, LA.  We were able to catch some of the Ohio State game even though the picture on our t.v. was super snowy and it was hard to tell which team even had the ball.  Still, you have to admit, it was a good day to be a Buckeye fan!

Oh no you don’t, Penn State!
#scarymascot!

We got to our campground yesterday only to discover that it was the official night for trick or treating.  I have missed seeing a lot of kids in our travels but we more than made up for it as there were probably 150-200 kids running around.  It was the perfect set-up  since the RVs were literally feet apart and almost everyone participated.  Brent teases me about my candy stash but it came in handy and I was able to share with what my daughter, Molly, would call a “happy heart!”  (She has three kids four and under!)

Organized chaos in the campground. Lots of fun though.

This campground is situated on a small lake and I got some good pictures last night while on my walk.  Met some nice people and got invited into someone’s motorhome for the second time in a week.  Shout-outs to Harold and Sandra and Betty and Dorothy for their southern hospitality!

 

 

The 8 Best and Worst Things About RV Life

Greetings from rainy Biloxi.  Nothing like starting off your day with a tornado siren blaring right outside your door.  On the plus side, I now know what a mesocyclone is! 🙂

I will share more soon about our week in Alabama but thought I would throw this random post in here now…

Things I miss the most

  • Real toilet and shower
  • Tennis, Tennis, Tennis
  • Our king-sized bed
  • Sunday dinners with my kiddos
  • Counter space
  • Screened-in porch
  • My Jeep Wrangler and easy access to stores
  • Hanging out with friends and colleagues

Favorite Things

  • We eat well
  • Naps
  • If you don’t like a certain place, you don’t have to stay there
  • Adding new states to the back of Fred (we are at 22!)
  • Having time to write and research things that interest me
  • Meeting fun and interesting people
  • Only agenda is the one we set
  • Being on the “younger” side of RVers (older guys…and I mean 70 and over… have always had a thing for me!) 😊

Sweet Home Alabama

Hey y’all!

Am writing this as we head across Florida and into Alabama.  I had a wonderful time at the tennis retreat.  It was nice to get away from Fred for a few days (no… that is not a code name for my husband, it’s our RV) and do something different.  Four of us rented a condo on the beach and it was a lot of tennis (my heel was grumpy!) but sometimes you just have to suck it up for the greater good…

Lisa Robinson, me, Betty Tudor and Frannie Weaver

I was hoping to lose a pound or two with 4.5 hours of tennis every day but the fantastic food apparently was the great leveler!  We did sneak away from tennis on Saturday afternoon (it had been raining on and off all day) to go shopping in Fernandino Beach.

I know this isn’t really a travel blog but I have to recommend this little town if you ever get to Amelia Island.  It was adorable (think Franklin’s main street only longer and with an ocean view) and lunch at a little place called Timoti’s Seafood Shak was fabulous.

Now we are slowly making our way to a little town just north of Houston called Cleveland.  Not sure yet how long we will be in Texas, but we are looking forward to putting a gigantic state on our map.  I must admit, this is yet another time I was wrong.  (Dang it, that’s twice this year!) 😊

Brent wanted to put a map on the back of our RV so we could track the states we had visited.  This is really stupid but go with it, I thought.  Of course, now that we have been to 21 states I’m having a ball with it. The only sad thing is somehow we missed West Virginia.  It was never close to any of the highways we were on so we will have to backtrack and pick it up later.

For the next three days we will be boondocking at Big Daddy’s Grille in Fair Hope, AL.  My life just keeps getting rougher and rougher… LOL!  #seafoodbinge

Sunrise from our back porch! Have to admit I’m kinda proud of this picture, taken with my iphone!

 

The Green-Eyed Monster

This is what I’ve discovered after five weeks on the road.  You can run but you can’t hide…from yourself!

I readily admit there were a few things about myself that I was hoping would change once we got underway.  I don’t think I’m particularly materialistic but (if I’m being honest) I do like nice things.  My Jeep Wrangler, for example.  Yes, it’s a 2008 but I didn’t NEED a Jeep, I just wanted one.

So… I was hoping with all this downsizing and with literally everything we own now either fitting into Fred or our 5×10 storage unit that maybe that monster would be “put down” or at least have been dealt a sizeable blow.

What did I find instead?  I’ve just found new things to be jealous of!  Did you know that some Class A’s have washers and dryers in them?  I know…  Or that they have huge “basements” (RV lingo for the storage outside your unit) with storage that’s actually accessible?  Totally unfair, right?  I’m also jealous of people towing cars…how nice would that be to be able to make a Target run whenever you felt like it? (We do plan to add our Jeep at some point.  Just not sure when.)

In other words, I did not suddenly, miraculously become a new and better person when we left on this trip.  Rats.

Even worse, when I was organizing every day, I got compliments on my work and my clients appreciated me.  Same with my tennis friends who were always encouraging.  Now it’s just me and my computer and not a lot of meaningful interaction with people who adore me.  (LOL)

I’m still super friendly and reach out but you don’t have deep friendships when you move every few days, or every few weeks.  So that has been an adjustment that I never considered.  And my daughter Molly keeps sending adorable grandkid pictures (the nerve!) which makes me think that if they lived anywhere other than Indiana I would just chuck it all and move back to my hometown.

I guess I can look at this one of two ways.  Either I need lots of “atta-girls” (it’s all about me) or I just want to be in healthy relationships with people I care about.  Hmm…probably some both, truth be told.

Which brings me to the third annoying thing about myself.  I (as already admitted in another post) can be a bit of a pessimist and I was hoping to get a better handle on the whining which obviously isn’t happening.  A while back, I did go one day without complaining (at least I think I did) but it took so much effort that I can’t see that happening again anytime soon.  I say that half joking but sadly, half serious.  I think we just get into these habits and can’t see ourselves for who we are or maybe the way others see us.

As usual, I don’t have any answers for all this.  Just questions.  I guess I can at least put one thing in the plus column about myself…I’m honest! 😊

Since I’m sharing all these personal moments, I managed to get a shot of this RV as it was pulling into our campground. Notice the black and it’s cool and fun. Heavy sigh! 🙂

Fred on a “good hair” day!

Awhile back I posted some pictures of the inside of Fred but didn’t show the whole thing so I thought I would add some shots.

Here is the bathroom.  It has two doors which is nice so you can enter from the kitchen (I use this term loosely!) or the bedroom.

The next two rooms are obviously the bedroom and the kitchen.  The bedroom has a whole wall of drawers and a great closet.  There is a large window (not shown in this picture) on the back wall of Fred.

The kitchen is super tiny and has almost NO counter space but I’m starting to figure out little hacks (like putting a glass cutting board over the sink ) to make it more functional.  We try to cook outside a lot or in the crock pot (a lifesaver).  I think the fridge is 7 cubic feet!

 

If He Ain’t in It

I want to introduce this blog entry with a disclaimer.  Although its purpose is NOT to proselytize and I promise not to ask you to bow your head and say a prayer at the end of it, from time to time I am going to talk about my relationship with God.  It’s central to the core of who I am and I’m not embarrassed about that.  If you don’t know me, I try very hard never to push my beliefs on you, but at the same time I don’t apologize for them either.

I’ve always had a love affair with music.  I wrote my first (um…and only) song in the second grade.  It was about God’s Holiness and won an award at my school.  I was in the choir growing up and can’t remember a time when music wasn’t important.  You name a song from the 70’s and I can tell you what was going on in my life at that time and, like many of you, certain songs transport me back to specific situations. For example, I can still tell you exactly where I was (Sherry’s basement the summer before 6th grade) when I discovered rock/pop music.  Elton John’s Philadelphia Freedom started another love affair (one-sided though it may be!) that is still going strong. I know… I know…he’s already married but do you think if I could win him over he would sing me to sleep every night? 😊

Anyway, all joking aside, music still defines my life in many ways and when I lost both of my parents recently within a year of each other it was a song that brought comfort in each instance. What I love about this is that I don’t look for them; these songs come to me. I’m sure many of you understand.  You hear a song for the first time and feel like it was written for you.

So, when I heard a song by Danny Gokey recently, I knew it was the one for this adventure. It’s called “If You Ain’t in It” and I know it’s hard to get the feel for a song with just the lyrics but the refrain says…

I don’t wanna have it all, write my story any way I want.

Everything would just fall apart if you ain’t in it.

I don’t wanna get my way, no I don’t want to run this thing

Cuz I know it all ends the same if you ain’t in it.

 

The rest of the song is just as awesome and conveys the message that we need to follow God, not hope that He follows us and that’s a reminder that’s always timely.  I want to start every day asking God what He has for me and listening well as the day progresses.

We have an amazing opportunity, not just to see the U.S. but to speak into peoples’ lives and I don’t want to miss out on anything He has for us because I’m trying to call the shots.  On the other hand,  I’m sometimes guilty of not doing anything because I only want to do “big” things for God, but I think He purposely has me slowing down and concentrating on just being available daily in the little things.  I’ll keep you posted…

Where in the World is Barb Eimer?

Okay, not quite as catchy as Carmen Sandiego, but it will have to do.  Do you remember that? My kids were obsessed with that computer game which I think later became a t.v. show.

Anyway, we have had a good week.  We spent three days in the D.C. area in the nicest campground we have stayed at yet…Cherry Hill Park.  The best part was that it offered easy transportation to D.C.  We took a short bus ride to the Metro and then hopped on that and got out a few blocks from many of the Smithsonian buildings. (Embarrassing side note: I thought the Smithsonian was one museum!  Oops. Only off by 18!) 😊

The highlight of our time in D.C. was a bus tour of the city that started at dusk.  We got to the capitol building just as the sun was setting and it was truly spectacular.  Next, we went to the White House which was bathed in pink for breast cancer awareness month.  Then we saw the major monuments and memorials including the Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial and the Korean War Veterans Memorial.  As I hadn’t been to D.C. in 40 years, it was great to experience again.

Yesterday we drove to the middle of North Carolina and spent the night at a vineyard.  For those of you who might want to do a long RV trip, we found this organization called Harvest Hosts.  You pay $44 for a year and can stay with any one of hundreds of “hosts” across the country for free. They are almost all vineyards, breweries or working farms, although I think a few museums also offer their parking lot.  It’s nothing fancy and you are boondocking (no hookups) but it’s a fun way to meet people and experience new things.  They ask that you support your host which usually involves buying a few bottles of wine.  Well, okay…if we HAVE to!

Actually we have a system now where when we boondock at someone’s home (another option similar to Harvest Hosts called Boondockers Welcome) we give our hosts a bottle of wine from our last Harvest Hosts stop.  These are both great options for one-night stops when you are on your way somewhere and don’t want to have to pay for (or set up at) a campground.

Today we are on the road again.  We are spending six days at Hilton Head on our way to Florida.  Okay, I admit, a lot of the next few months are more of a vacation than work.  But after my extended girls’ tennis weekend in Florida we are heading to the Houston area to help.  We found a mission group that’s actually based in my hometown of Fort Wayne and they have different teams coming in and out of Cleveland, Texas (just north of Houston) so we will join up with them.  I’m a little nervous about it as I’m not sure what exactly I will be doing but this whole year is about getting outside my comfort zone so I guess I just need to dive in.