How the Other Half Lives

I last left you at Clark Family Campground and we were just not feeling the whole full-time RV thing yet.  Well I am happy to report that we did leave town and have been a few places now.  I’ll catch you up, but it will likely take a few posts.

The Other Half

I signed up for a scrapbooking weekend back in August of 2016, and it was for January in Titusville, FL.  My pitch for paying for 3 days of crafting fun with friends included the big hotel savings.  “Hey, we can just take the RV to Titusville and I won’t need a hotel room”, I tell the money man.  Sounded like a plan so we scouted out some places.  The choice was easy since all close places were sold out for that timeframe except the Great Outdoors RV & Golf Resort.  Emphasis on RESORT.

I did indeed save on the hotel room for 2 nights, but we are pretty sure this is our hands down most expensive week in the RV so far.  Lots of amenities, but lots of rules and high dollar, too.  This place has a golf course as the name implies, along with its own church, library, restaurant, RV sales center, and oodles of stocked lakes.  One was even named Lake Judy.

It also had an enforced 15 mph speed limit, deadline for putting out your garbage, rules for RV leveling jacks, absolutely no motorcycles, and not a lot of places for dogs to do their thing.  The postage stamp fenced dog park was a car drive away.  Oh, and we had to have our pass scanned by the security guard every time we entered.  Of course I paint a bad picture.  It was absolutely immaculate and we had the best grass of anyplace we’ve been.  The people were super friendly and the view was gorgeous.

As to the other half comment, this place really had a lot of high end coaches and more motorhomes than we normally see.  They have a size limit of course – can’t be smaller than a certain length and absolutely no tents or pop-ups.  Meh.  The sites range from just a cement pad (our site) all the way up to a full house complete with RV and car garages.  Here’s the visual….

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Us – just the pad, nuthin’ but the pad

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Port sites

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And the Big House

Not only are these pricey spots, but apparently you also must have a swanky golf cart to go with them.  These were a hoot – everything including a model T, old-fashioned truck and the ’57 Chevy.

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This baby is for sale!  You can own it for a mere $6,000!

We did enjoy the view from our site.  Right on the 15th tee.  I don’t know much about golf, but pretty sure the guys rooting around for their balls in the pond by us were not having the best day.  Plus there really was an alligator in there and he came cruising by after I scooped up a bucket of pond water.  I’ll explain the pond water later.

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Our golf course gator giving me the eye

And here is our view from our humble cement pad….

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The 15th fairway

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Jackson’s not really dead

Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area

Since we were feeling a little out of place at the resort and Jackson was missing his trails, we ventured down the road just a few miles to do some hiking.  The Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area doesn’t even have a manned gate, but it does have lots of wildlife and peaceful trails.  We paid our money at the little kiosk and set off for unpaved places.  It was the last day of Hog Dog – we assume hog hunting with dogs, so I was a little apprehensive hiking with hunters nearby.  We steered clear of their parking spots and found the perfect place.  Not another soul to be seen.

We walked through an area with a recent controlled burn and I thought the burned palm trunks were interesting.  Jackson got his trail dogging time and we did not find any ticks.  Success on all fronts.  We liked this place so much that we went back again before leaving the area.

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Couldn’t resist this the photo op at the totally tacky tourist shop on the way to the wildlife management area.  Pretty big gator, I must say!

Getting Crafty

The whole reason for this particular stop was my need for craftiness.  I went with friends Patti and Mary so I could stock up on cards.  I hadn’t had much time for that lately with all the house-selling work.  We had a grand time and I made 52 cards!  Yes, I’m stocked for quite a while and finally getting those Christmas thank-yous in the mail.

We had a great dinner out at Fat Kahuna’s in Cocoa Beach.  I highly recommend if you are ever in the area.  That location also afforded a great view of the Atlas V rocket launch that was scrubbed from the previous night.  We ducked out of the restaurant to see the launch, then ducked back in for dessert.  Fab.

Here we are, taking a break to recharge the creative batteries…

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Patti, Mary & Judy with our well-dressed silent type.

Now don’t let this next picture shock you too much…..

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Pat says he is most definitely NOT scrapbooking.  He is “decorating”.  Yeah, right.  Anyhoo, he is a total fan of Calvin and Hobbs, but realized that we couldn’t schlep around the whole set of comics in book form.  He’s been re-reading, laughing out loud, and tearing his favorites out of the books.  Now he’s “decorating” the maintenance & travel planning notebook with then.  He’s using my crafting trimmer, so I say he’s scrapbooking!

 

 

My New Hobby

I read somewhere that you need a new hobby for 2017.  Like a hole in the head, but ok, I’ll find one.  I actually snorted when I read that, but then this magazine comes that I didn’t order and it hooks me with a new hobby.  They have an article in there about epiphytes and how air plants are fun to grow and don’t require soil.  Genius!  A non-messy plant for the RV!

I tell the money man that I’m ordering me up some air plants.  He’s used to such crazy pronouncements by now.  I don’t just get one. Oh no, I need five.  Well one is a set of three, so really only three….  They come in cool sea urchin shells that I just cannot resist.  I order and we promply drop into 30 and 40 degree temps.  They specifically say these plants need to be in 50-90 degree temps so I worry about them during the whole shipping time.

My new babies arrive and Pat says I cannot call them babies.  He says I call everything that – him, Jackson, Ethan, and he never knows who/what I’m referring to.  So eensies then.  My new eensies arrive and this is how I get back to that bucket of water from the golf course pond.  (and you thought I forgot)  The care card says they prefer pond water and both Clark Family campground and this spot have a pond.  So I water from the pond, and thus the reason for grabbing a bucketful from the alligator infested spot on the golf course.

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Here they are – my fleet of eensies that require no soil.  The one on the far right is actually from the wildlife management area.  I discovered them free in the woods on trees and rotten stumps.  They even have pretty blooms!  Of course this is when Pat says, “yeah, those things fell out of our trees at home and I mowed over them”.  Now when we see one on the ground he says “look there’s $20 on the ground!”.  Moon-faced assassin of joy.  (Babylon 5 lovers will know this reference)  So yes, I paid for these things that I can apparently find for free in the woods.  Not the same at all I say.  Those do not come with sea urchin shells.  And any new ones I adopt will help me make use of the china napkin ring holders that I just could not part with and had no use for.  The newbie gets one as you can see in the picture.

The Happy Place

Our next stop is back to Orange City and to my mother-in-law’s happy place – Blue Spring State Park.  It is again too close to home, but back to nature and with plenty of peace and quiet.  Or so we thought.  Stay tuned for that post and house update.

See you on the way!

What Have We Done?!

The House

There is a song that keeps resonating right about now and we keep hearing it on our Sirius XM radio.  It’s ‘Once In A Lifetime’ by Talking Heads.  I’ve never been a particular fan, but you read this snippet and tell me it doesn’t apply to our life right at this moment…

And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go to?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right? Am I wrong?
And you may say yourself, “My God! What have I done?”

After painting, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning and sorting through and dispositioning absolutely everything we owned, we finally put the house on the market.  We were so very happy to be done with that phase.

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1/5/17 – on the market!

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1/9/17 – sale pending!

After a fun Facebook bidding war for Pat the butler and Jackson the faithful pup, we had a true bidding war in the DeLand housing market.  Four days and five offers later, we had a contract for $10,000 more than we asked.  Of course we priced to sell, but we had no idea of the madness that would ensue over our humble abode.  We’re even on track to close before we leave the state in March.  This just couldn’t be falling into place any better.  But my God! What have we done!?

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I know this is a terrible picture through Bitsy’s dirty windshield into the morning sun, but I just had to get the shot.  Lucy pulls out of the sticks and bricks driveway for the last time.  Momentous, exciting and scary!  We are finally moved out and also moved on.

A whole four miles away, we set up at Clark Family Campground in Orange City.  It proved to be an excellent home base for 2 weeks as we finished up the home prep and worked on the garage clean-out.  Only 10 minutes from home which was helpful when the realtor locked herself out.  And when we had to go back and forth for mail, opening and closing the blinds, and switching back and forth between air and heat.  Ah the fickle Florida Winter.  It was all so worth it for the quick contract.

The RV

But enough about the house.  Bleck!  We are so very tired of it.  Now on to stowage.   It was as if the house threw up into the motorhome.  We had everything in there, but everywhere.  The pantry was a jumble and impossible to find what you wanted to cook.  The storage bays were crammed with the garage contents and Pat waged war getting any particular tool out for a job.  So we sort and we stow and we are almost totally organized.

Our intention was to take a project break, but that darned porcelain toilet kept getting in the way.  It was hidden in a bin in the garage so as not to alarm the potential home buyers.  But really.  How many times can you tote it from the car trunk to the RV and back?

So we decide to install it.  Lovely, flawless porcelain with an almost realistic flush that doesn’t require you to use your hands.  And a sprayer, too.  Anyhoo, Pat is a wonder and installed it and we L-O-V-E love it!  You just cannot live long term with a plastic toilet and hand flusher.  At least we couldn’t.

Ok, so not so fast.  We have never had a project go completely smoothly and this was no exception.  Here’s a riddle for you.  What do you get when you have 11 inches of toilet and 9 inches of space?  A hole in the wall, that’s what.  Yes, Pat had to get out the circular saw and open up the wall for that pesky extra 2 inches.  Picture me with my hand inside an access panel supposedly holding wires away from where he is sawing on the other side of the wall.  I cannot see my hand or the saw, but I can hear it and feel the sawdust.  Nope, not happening.  Letting go because I value all 5 fingers.  All went well, however, and Pat says that’s what trim is for.  We’ll just disguise that hole and it is the start of our beautiful bathroom remodel.  More on that later since the new sink is still riding around in the car trunk.

Time Off For Good Behavior

In between trips to the house, we managed to have some fun.  The people in the campground were quite friendly.  The guy who built this one-of-a-kind motorcycle headed off to the bathhouse and told me to take as many pictures on the bike as I wanted.  Many of you know I have a desire to drive all sorts of things. In the case of motorcycles, I’m going to consider sitting on this one as check, check!  I’m chicken to actually drive one, but this photo shoot was totally a hoot.

Jackson approved of this spot, too.  I think he’ll miss the backyard the most, but this place had a very nice dog park.  He’s normally one to do a perimeter check, leave a little something, and be ready to leave immediately at most places.  This one was different.  They stocked it with some new toys while we were there and it was the first time I saw Jackson try to bury something.  Turns out he doesn’t share very well and wanted that stuffed monkey ball for himself.  He spent some good playtime there and on the grounds as well.  He found a way to do his famous backyard back scratching even on the leash.

Finally we take time out for a nice dinner with neighbors and friends, Chuck & Petra.  This outing is to Bonefish Grill for a delicious dinner and great conversation.  Before dinner, Pat and I took a stroll on the beach to smell the salt air and enjoy Ormond Beach at sunset one more time.

Lovely blue and purples of Ormond Beach

I’ve lived in this area most of my life and had no idea there was a historic shipwreck right offshore.  We walked a different direction this evening and noticed this odd sign post.  It marks the spot of the three masted schooner named Nathan F. Cobb that capsized in 1896.  The ship was on the way to Brunswick, GA and drifted for four days before becoming grounded on a sandbar off the Ormond Beach coast.  Apparently the hull of the ship became visible in May 2004 due to shifting sands and a simultaneous very low tide.  There truly is something interesting everywhere you go.

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The Nathan F. Cobb shipwreck marker

 Darth Vader

Before we forwarded the mail and left the house, we took advantage of one or two or three or so Amazon order deliveries.  Yes, we are completely enamored with Amazon and prime shipping.  It saved us when the range went out right before putting the house of the market.  Less than $25 dollars and 2 days later with Prime and we were back in the cooking business.

But I digress.  You want to know how Darth Vader made it into this post.  Well, our last order was for a few things to keep us warm since it is Winter after all and we haven’t been in the motorhome in the cold.  I read about a quiet little space heater in another RVer’s blog and knew it was just the thing for us.  We did a little research of our own and then ordered it right on up.  To me, this thing looks just like it should be saying “Jackson, I am your heater”.  It oscillates to look even more lifelike.  Allow me to introduce the Vader as we are now affectionately calling him:

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You see it right?  I know you do!

Not Feeling It Yet

We are indeed living full-time in the RV now, but somehow being almost right on our former doorstep doesn’t feel like a huge change.  We’re thinking we have to actually put a little distance between us and the home front to feel like we’ve made the leap.  Stay tuned as we do leave town for a bit and let you know how we’re feeling at the next stop or two.  Seems the Talking Heads lyrics still ring true…

Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was

See you on the way!

 

 

New Year, New Digs!

So here we are parked in our driveway and sleeping in the motorhome.  We’re not fully moved in, but should be by January 1st!  We are so very excited to be starting 2017 as full-time RVers.

It’s been a busy 2 months since our last trip.  Prepping the house for sale has been the main focus.  Pat essentially replaced the siding on the entire back side of the house.

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Here’s Pat working on the chimney with faithful dog Jackson at the foot of the ladder.  (This is where I last saw Dad, so this is where I’ll stay – says Jackson)

I don’t do woodworking, so I was assigned painting detail.  I hate painting and oh, let me count the ways.  I’m also not particularly good at it, but I work for free.  Now that the outside is done, I must say it looks pretty good with the drive up appeal we’re looking for.

Some stats for you on this whole house ditching process –

  • 20 trips to Goodwill (our best guess since we didn’t count)
  • One torn bicep and at least 3 ripped fingernails.  (Ok, I’m the baby with the torn nails and Pat suffered the real injury.  Healing nicely thank you!)
  • Two trailer loads of tools and general house “stuff” from the shed carted off by our very patient neighbor Rick.
  • At least a month of garbage can commandeering.
    • Pat was obsessed with getting rid of all the siding debris – remember the whole back side of the house – and knew one can of garbage a week would not cut it.  We enlisted the help of neighbors to use their garbage can space each week.  So essentially we drove down the street with pieces of wood and extra bags of trash to stuff in the neighbors cans.  Thanks Vicki & Denis and especially Chuck and Petra for this service.  They even texted to let us know when the cans were out and ready for stuffing.  We truly have THE BEST neighbors who we will dearly miss!
  • One curb alert to get rid of the old RV couch we were using as seating in the house – couch was gone in less than 2 hours thank you very much!
  • Bed and 3 folding tables picked up by crafty friend Deb.
  • The rest of the furniture removed by strangers passing by.  They just cannot resist my neon FREE signs.  Everyone loves a bargain and we had some pretty good junk if we say so ourselves.

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The last FREE offering – 3 desk chairs, one wooden chair, one armchair and two end tables.  3 items still remain, but it is dark, so they’ll likely be gone by morning!

In case you were wondering, I have 2 favorite “things” that we ditched during this process and they’re in the Goodwill pile for trip # 21….

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Yes, my friends, those are the alarm clocks we had on each side of the bed.  Never, ever using them again.  Ha!  Retirement IS grand!

Of course the last  months were not all work and no play.  We had a lovely, restful Thanksgiving at my cousin’s house in San Antonio, FL.

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We love the peaceful pasture, curious cattle and a chance to connect with the extended family.  Our first Thanksgiving without Ethan, but we survived.

It was the last Christmas at the DeLand house, so we decorated with Pat’s famous flamingos one more time.

Ethan was able to visit for 10 days and his girlfriend, Stephanie joined us as well.

Our family shots before church on Christmas Eve.

And finally, one of the best reasons to live in Florida in December.  A Christmas Day walk on the beach!  I confess we ran into some rain when we arrived at Ormond Beach, so we just drove South to Daytona Beach for some better weather.

My little montage from the beach walk.

Now we look to 2017 with an empty house and full motorhome.  It has been a tremendous year with plenty to celebrate and we’re looking forward to even more big adventures.

Our “departure date” from the house is January 2nd.  We’re going a whole 4 miles away to a local campground for two weeks so we can stay close and finish off the rest of the house cleaning and listing tasks.  After that we’re off!  We just heard Rascal Flatts on the Roadtrip channel and yes – “Life is a highway and ‘We’ wanna ride it all night long!”  See you on the way!