Calamity and Mayhem

Okay, so it’s only minor calamity and mayhem. When on the road, little life annoyances seem magnified. It’s partially due to the need to do a full on research project to find a mechanic, a tire place, a veterinarian, a whatever. You never know if you’ll find someone honest or someone who will take advantage of a stranded road weary traveler.

On the last full day in Florida Mr. Dog (not his real name) decided to fall ill. Waiting a couple days would be my response in an established location, but a journey loomed in the morning and we went to a vet right away. We got a family referral to vet and they set him up with many potions. After a few days his little tail started wagging again.

He felt so lousy he stole his friend’s tiny bed and did not want to leave

The next morning we boogied through the pan handle, whipped across Alabama and collapsed in a rest area in Mississippi. Crossing the border just before sleep, for the simple joy of saying we did.

The Moss Point Welcome Center has cool sculptures made from trees destroyed in a storm

We tried for Texas the next day, but alas, so very tired. We found A Plus Motel and RV Park in Sulphur Louisiana. It was more than our usual limit of free, but quiet with wonderfully hot water showers… pure bliss.

Louisiana has fun ads and food

And fun names for things… this was along an 18 mile bridge (The Atchafalaya Basin Bridge)!

New Texas Plan: Make the 4-5 hour drive to Waco TX and stop by Magnolia Market at the Silos (shout out to America’s Sweethearts, Chip & Jo). Our plans were quickly dumped when we discovered a low tire.

Mavis Discount Tire, a gem, found right around the corner from our campsite. The outside tire looked low, but it turned out the inside tire was the culprit. Our new friends at Mavis attempted to fill that pesky inside tire. There I sat, minding my own business, inside the RV, when I heard a gunshot! That cacophany actually turned out to be our own exploding tire! Thankfully our new friend scrambled out from under that rig just before the explosion and no one was hurt in making of that particular movie (phew!)

We lounged in the camper, while the guys worked in the 100+ heat index without a lift, (the camper was too tall for their bays). Four hours later, we were good as new and on our way. An hour into the drive to Texas and we realized, we would never make it before closing. On we pressed with a new plan to boondock and check out Chip and Jo’s place in the morning.

Another hour in and it hits me: tomorrow is Sunday… in Texas… there’s no way those shops will be open tomorrow. A peak at the wide world of web confirmed this little bit of sadness. Plan C: Reverse course and headed for Austin. Food trucks for dinner, woot woot.

Bringing Sexy Back?

We took one last day of activities with family in Central Florida yesterday. With a borrowed car (thank you Cassidy) we headed to Silver Springs. The adventure started with this truck, thanks for making us laugh “Big Sexy!”

It’s been about 20 years since I went to Silver Springs and I forgot how cool it is. The zoo and the water park disappeared after the state took over, but the nature remains untouched. It felt like going back in time, walking through those gates and a dark canopy of massive old trees. Shortly after arriving, thunder loomed and the boat tours were promptly postponed. Why do I always forget that lightening happens in Central Florida’s summer afternoons? There’s no excuse!

The wait turned into a blessing as we wandered through the educational centers. We learned about the wild life, the segregated parks of the past (two parks, owned by the same people), the old time movies and television series that were shot there, and we watched videos with people who worked in the park for decades.

No one in our party saw a monkey or any type of creature from the black lagoon, though we did see an alligator, turtles, fish, and remarkably clear water. Simple pleasures are the best.

One of the springs seen through the bottom of the boat
Mr. Alligator, gliding by on the left
Companions

But It’s a Wet Heat

Still in steamy Florida. It’s 92 today, but feels like 98! Friday we stopped to meet with dear ones and received blessings at their door. After a very special meal we were gifted papaya right from the garden.

Once we got to the next stop we presented the papayas, which were promptly turned into salsa and dessert enjoyed by a large crowd. Food is such a great way to bring family and friends together. It’s the best gift for people living a minimalist lifestyle. It shows love, is enjoyed right away and best of all it does not leave behind any burden of stuff. Feeling the love.

Florida Oh Florida

Progress To Date

There’s no where else I’ve seen, in the lower 48, with sights like these

One thousand miles behind us, and five thousand more to go (to paraphrase JT– for those who know). It’s so great being able to do this amazing journey. It never could happen without going tiny. Planning to relax in central FLA, with family, for a couple more days… then on to MS, LA and TX… and beyond. We may decide to stay here a bit longer, to wait out (potential) Hurricane Barry (I blame you for this Bazzer Hall 😀 ). Anyway, life happens and the Universe laughs at our plans at times. This is how we learn patience and maybe become blessed with unexpected experiences.

Navigate around the road blocks, detours, and negativity, no one gets through life unscathed

This is life calling, and it’s, “Time to Fish or Cut Bait.”

Creative Tiny Storage

The little cabinet to the the left of the refrigerator was a tiny life-saver for us. It gave more storage storage in the tiny kitchen without blocking access to the existing narrow attic door. We bought regular sized cabinets and then cut the backs off to make them more shallow. We cut them down on a table saw, and of course each of the shelves had to be cut down too. It was a fairly quick job.

They were attached directly to the wall without backs. Because of their size they were very stable. The depth was seven inches, which fit all kinds of things. We filled it with large mason jars, olive oil, vinegar, peanut butter, maple syrup, and of course a few spices. It added so much.

Another creative cabinet, shown below, was a wall cabinet that we put on the floor. It allowed extra storage without interfering with the walking path. Initially we put a pretty wood cutting board on top of it, but did not end up loving the look. The granite company was all to happy to sell us a little matching piece of granite to put on top. Another helpful solution in the kitchen was base cabinets with drawers. It’s fairly conventional and allows so much more useful storage than the more typical doors and shelves. That set up ends up involving squatting or kneeling and dragging things out from the back at times. With drawers, even the lowest ones let you see what you have and access it easily. We used the four lower drawers in this set of cabinets to hold food, pots and pans, mixing and storage bowls, and tea towels. It’s a little more money for drawers, but so much more functional. In the living room we found a little second hand toy storage chest. It allowed extra seating and storage without shrinking the room too much. A remarkable number of things ended up in that bench– paper, the scanner, the printer, blankets, and little odds and ends.

My Minimalist Fail

On the very first day, I basically failed at getting down to a minimalist life on board the RV. I guess it really is smaller than our house. As the hours wound down and we were basically forced out of our home for an open house (being the people who want the sale and all), we stopped sorting and began randomly shoving things into boxes and throwing everything everywhere. No more organization, no more minimizing, nothing but flat out pandemonium. Plan B is now in effect… continue to sort and minimize on the road (cringing).

It looked like this… really (Don’t look at me like that, I know it’s hideious!)

In CT, when Honey began battening down the hatches with the remnants of our smashed AC, I began sorting in earnest. By the end of the morning the tools were mostly organized and there was a good pile of gifts, donations, and trash. More to go at our next stop, onward!

Still with the duplicates and triplicates (How?!)

Freedom Rings O’er the Lake

Lucky people that we are, we received an invitation to a lake house as we rolled into The city of Danbury. They fed us well, then treated us to the town’s early fireworks show over Candlewood Lake in Connecticut. It started off with an atmosphere of anticipation and low murmuring voices. As the sun set slowly, dozens of little boats lit up and dotted the lake.

This part of the lake is situated near hills that echoed the sound, and we imagined being surrounded by battle in 1776. We witnessed a burst of light, quickly followed by a pop, and then a thunderous boom echoing behind the hills a second or two later. Crank up the sound and check out the video… with your ears.

The Incident

So there we were following friends back to their place in Danbury, CT and just when that little railroad bridge seemed okay… Bang! Bang! Bang! Goodbye sweet little air conditioner. And here we were with a plan to head south in July. Not okay.

Here’s Honey doing damage controls bright and early

Fortunately we got a referral from a friend to a great RV repair place in Pokomoke, MD. What amazing service! We called from New Jersey and four hours later they assessed the damage. Sadly our little AC was beyond repair. They got us chillin’ again by 6:30 in the evening. This friendly crew even stayed 30 minutes past closing to get us on the road again. The bill was reasonable to boot, thank you We RV! Here’s a link to their website: https://wervllc.com

Tiny Visits

Our Stay in a Get Away House

Before we bought our own tiny house, my family got me gift certificate for a stay at a tiny house with Get Away (http://www.getaway.house/). We stayed at a 160 square foot house in New Hampshire. It was lovely. The woods were so peaceful and pleasant. It was great trying out a few features. I learned I don’t love a tight loft space. To me I feel like I’m in an MRI… not my favorite feeling. I also like a place to hang my coat or sweater and bag when I walk in the door. I am not a fan of a set up that’s like a studio… I like to have a bedroom that has a door. The dog really enjoyed the open concept though. Overall there were many lessons learned and we had a nice time away to boot. I would definitely recommend this company.

I’m screaming on the inside! Thank goodness there was a bed on the main level.