Saturday, January 26, 2013

Living on Beach Time

 Once we left Myrtle Beach, Denny and I made a brief stopover in the Savannah, Georgia area to visit River Street near old Savannah.  The roadways in the photo below show the rock that paves the roads here; the rock itself was the rock used for ballast in sailing ships that brought cargo and goods to Savannah.
 Cargo ships still travel the river in Savannah, bringing stack after stack of containers full of goods to the port.
 After a couple of days of adjusting to the lack of the sound of surf outside our bedroom windows we moved on to the Flagler Beach area.  Here we're three miles from the beach instead of 50 feet.  *Insert sad face emoticon.*
But it's a lovely beach of cinnamon colored sand created from crushed coquina shell.  Not only does it line the beaches, but it can be found in large formations guarding the tee boxes and along some of the fairways at the Halifax Plantation Golf Course.  Plus coquina was used to build the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida which is about 45 minutes up the road.
Denny and I have been wandering around the general area here checking out houses, townhouses and condos.  Upon reflection, we feel we would be comfortable here because it's a bit less touristy than most beach towns.  But once again as we started making plans to look seriously at homes we backed off once we got to talking about the places we still wanted to see out west.  Thus we're going to tuck this area in the back of our minds and prepare ourselves to head out in a few days.  We have some friends to visit here in Florida and a couple more beaches to visit not only here in Florida but in Alabama and Mississippi as well before we head north to visit kids and take care of medical/dental check ups before turning Black Beauty's nose to the northwest.  A vague checklist of things to see/places to go includes Banff National Park in Canada, the Tetons, the Oregon coastline and, well, who knows?  For now, all we know is that we're going to give this lifestyle until the end of the year before we start looking at houses again.  That is, once we've done a "are we really ready to settle down?" check again.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Wrapping Up 2012

The photo above is the very first photo I took in 2012.  Sunset in Arizona.  Me taking a photograph of a sunset--go figure.  I guess I should start a blog post about our year's travels with a photo of a sunrise but oh well.
First, the boring facts; we traveled 7,019.9 miles this year with The Beast.  We started the year in Arizona and ended it in South Carolina.  We visited the Pacific Ocean coastline and have stayed three months on the Atlantic Ocean coastline.  During our cross country travels Denny and I stayed at forty-three different campgrounds in eighteen states.  Of those forty-three campgrounds, twenty-two were membership campgrounds or affiliated with our member parks so we either stayed for free or at a greatly reduced ($10 a night for example) price.  Of the remaining twenty-one parks, I'm sure probably one third of those were Passport America parks where the cost of the stay is discounted at 50%.   We don't boondock, dry camp or spend the night in Walmart parking lots.  When counting up our restaurant stops I was surprised to see that Denny and I tried one hundred and nine different restaurants, cafes, diners or bars over the course of a year.   Hmmm, I can see right now where we could cut our expenses a bit!  I think Denny and I managed to play about ten new golf courses before I injured my back.   And as is usual with The Beast, we had numerous repairs to be made to the furnace, to leaking slide outs, lights, propane regulators and hoses and right at the end of the year the microwave/convection oven blew for the second time in one year (thank goodness for extended warranties.)

Ah, but the good part of traveling by RV comes next; we saw full moons over the ocean, over rivers, over lakes and over the desert.

Over the past year Denny and I have seen birds and critters and flowers galore, except when we specifically went to see something special like the Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve where there were no poppies.  Sigh.  At the Mesa flea market in Arizona Denny splurged on a pair of 20 x 70 binoculars and boy have we had fun with those.  They allow you to see rock climbers and soaring birds and things you just wouldn't be able to see normally or with a regular pair of binoculars.


During this year's travels in California we were finally able to see the Lone Cypress and to drive Seventeen Mile Drive in Monterey.

After fourteen years on the road we finally made it to Yosemite National Park.

And the Reno/Lake Tahoe area.

I rode a duck for the first time in Wisconsin Dells.  It was there that I slipped and fell, ending up with compression fractures in two vertebra which ended our travels for six weeks while we saw a back surgeon and had our normal check ups with our family physician and dentist in Ohio.  Because it was so uncomfortable for me to ride in the truck for the long distance to our hometown from our campground Denny and I didn't get to visit with as many of our friends and family members that we would have liked.

After the back surgeon cleared me for travel Denny and I headed north to visit both sets of sons and their families before turning the nose of the truck towards Myrtle Beach.  Our intent was to check out homes in the area as a possible location to settle down, but when we found a place that we liked Denny and I found ourselves getting cold feet about the whole idea of staying in one place.  Together we realized that there are still coastlines to explore, lakes to picnic beside, bends in the roadway to follow.  Yes, if we bought a house we could always fly or drive to other areas and stay in motels but traveling in a RV allows us to take the cat with us without worrying about her care (or if she's clawing her caretaker to shreds), sleep in our own bed, cook local produce in our own kitchen and enjoy having a different view out of our windows every week.

So while we will continue to look at houses as we travel I have a sneaking suspicion that at the end of next year we'll be nestled among the saguaro cacti with a view of the Superstition Mountains out of the rear window of The Beast.  While missing the sound of the surf at Myrtle Beach.  And so it goes....

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