Big Lagoon State Park, West Pensacola, Florida - May 9, 2017

Big Lagoon State Park, West Pensacola, Florida - May 9, 2017
Big Lagoon State Park, West Pensacola, Florida - May 9, 2017

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fall Colors in Portland, Oregon -- Wed., Oct. 31

Our flights from San Antonio to Phoenix, and Phoenix to Portland on Southwest Airlines went well: no crying babies, both flights only about 1/3 full, and the ride was mostly smooth with just a few bumps. We were able to switch seats into an exit row for our Phoenix to Portland segment. It was nice to have extra leg room.

Michael, our son, picked us up from the airport last night about 11:50 p.m. Portland was a cool 54 degrees and a little foggy and overcast. We had a few sprinkles on the 1/2 hour drive to Mom's house.

The fall colors are still beautiful, although the rain and wind have scattered some of the leaves into a multi-hued carpet...beautiful patterns of red, yellow, peach and orange spread across green lawns or grey cement. People here have landscaped in such a way that not only their trees turn color, but also their shrubs.

View from Mom's patio.
View in another direction from Mom's patio.
The next picture is autumn leaves in an evergreen shrub.


 

Begonias in a neighbor's yard.
 



A view down the street.
Today is overcast and rainy. There has been a lot of rain for the past two weeks, so lawns, golf courses and fields are a lush, springtime, new-growth green.

Bob and I headed into downtown Portland this morning to take care of business with an attorney and the bank. We had forgotten how much we love downtown Portland. It is a walkable, friendly city. Nordstrom, Meier & Frank (Macy's), and other clothing stores still have the large picture windows with beautifully styled mannequins on display. I remember how much I loved walking past Meier & Frank's window displays decorated for the holidays.

For lunch, Mom made egg salad sandwiches and I stirred up some pea soup. I am definitely adding to the foods I can eat, although I did have my egg salad without bread. This afternoon, for a snack we're having chocolate/banana smoothies. 

Halloween is tonight, but I don't think we'll have any trick or treaters in the retirement community where Mom lives.

Tomorrow, we have more business to take care of in the morning. In the afternoon, we will go with Mom downtown to take her bird to the birdsitter. Then tomorrow night, my sister and son are coming over to Mom's for dinner.

We packed light for our trip to Australia to keep everything as carry-ons. We will be staying in timeshares with washer/dryer in the unit so we can wash our clothes as they get dirty. Plus we'll have a very small rental car and we need the luggage to fit.

Pretty mellow day today.

Travel Bug out.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Whoops! My Bad -- Mon., Oct. 29

Bob and I were having a conversation a couple of nights ago regarding things we're taking to Australia and going over the list. 

He said, "Do we need a visa to go to Australia?"

"No," I replied, "all we need is a passport."

Then I got to thinking about it. I had ASSUMED we only needed a passport and I THOUGHT I had read online that we didn't need a visa. Just to be safe, I checked. We DO need a visa to go to Australia. Panic!!!

No need to panic. The Australian website couldn't be easier to understand. All we need is a tourist visa called an ETA. Apply online and it is almost instantaneously approved. All I needed was our passports and a credit card to pay for the two visas. I filled out the applications online and it took about 15 minutes start to finish. In fact, my credit card company called my cell phone to alert me I had an international charge pending on my card almost as soon as I hit the send button for the visa. I called the credit card company back immediately to let them know it's a good charge and to put it through.

The ETA tourist visa is electronically linked to your passport so no stamps or labels are needed. This is pretty high-tech stuff. 

Whew! Without the visa, we would not have been able to fly out of Honolulu to Sydney. Thank you, Bob, for asking a very simple question. I'm glad the solution was just as simple.

Today I went to yet another hairdresser for a haircut and highlights. I asked the hairdresser if she had a sample book of hair colors. She showed me samples and I picked out a beautiful golden blonde color. We discussed that I wanted a golden blonde, not a white blonde or platinum and no strawberry blonde because any color with red in it turns orange on me. 

When she got all done coloring my hair, I was stunned to see my hair is a medium to dark brown. It's the darkest my hair has ever been. I don't know where the communication about color went awry. I am not happy with this color. Bob says he likes it. Oh, well, when we get back from Australia I'll be looking for another hairdresser. Sigh. As another of my blogger friends says, " 'Tis life on the road."

Today was errands day. And tomorrow, I will run more errands and finish cleaning the 5er.

Bob took me out to dinner tonight which was very nice.

Travel Bug out.




Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cleaning Day -- Sun., Oct. 28

Today is cleaning day at our "house." I vacuumed, did a spot clean of the kitchen floor, and did laundry. Bob emptied the grey and black water tanks. This afternoon the petsitters came over and we signed a contract for them to take care of our fur-kids while we're away. We feel very confident that they will do a great job. This evening we bought a few items at Walmart and hung out at home.

Tomorrow I will be out shopping. At 2:00 p.m. I have an appointment to get my hair trimmed and highlighted.

Tuesday I will finish up cleaning by scrubbing kitchen and bathroom floors and dusting. I also plan to put down Spectracide around the perimeter of our rig to discourage ants. We don't have many, but I don't want our home to become their home either.

We have a new follower: Janice of Ready to Go Full Time RVing. I've only just started reading her blog, but she's been full-timing for years. She enjoys riding her bike, photography, sharing RV tips and is currently looking for an alligator. Welcome to our blog, Janice.

I certainly hope that all of our blog friends on the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Coast fare well in the upcoming storm. Stay safe!

Not a very long or exciting blog today but not every day RVing is a vacation day.

Two days to flight time! We're so excited.

Travel Bug out.

 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday in the Park -- Sat., Oct. 27

Landa Park in New Braunfels, Texas, that is. Today we went out to lunch at Schobel's Restaurant with Jim and Peri of Tales from the Camping House. We enjoy spending time with them and today we met their seven-year-old granddaughter, Karli. She is darling! 

Oh boy, another restaurant! I am having fun getting reacquainted with food. Today, I enjoyed Nan's Chicken Noodle Soup, a side of mashed potatoes and divine chocolate meringue cream pie. Mmmmm. Bob and Jim opted for the buffet. Peri had a BLT sandwich, and Karli chose chicken strips, mashed potatoes and corn. Karli said I was torturing her by eating the chocolate meringue cream pie. All was good, though, we planned to go to Naegelin's Bakery a little later.
 

Karli and view of the Comal River from Shobel's patio.
Bob, Susan, Peri, Karli, Jim
Schobel's patio overlooking river. Too chilly today to sit outside.
Jim and Peri lived in Texas for many years. They took us around New Braunfels to show us the sights. Our favorite was Landa Park, a very large park with natural springs that start the Comal River. The springs are fed by the Edwards Aquifer.




Click to read.

Where the springs start the river. The water is crystal clear!
Karli checking the water temperature. Hard to see the water.

The Edwards Aquifer is several hundred miles long.
Looking downriver from the springs.
Panther Canyon Nature Trail in Landa Park.
Jet contrail gone alien. (Sorry, we talked about Roswell, NM today.)
As we drove through the park, we saw a small train touring through the park. That looked fun, so next thing you know, there we were riding the train.


Karli ready to ride the rails.
Listening to grandpa, proud grandma in back.
Not only did the conductor take tickets and drive the train, he also asked everyone if they would like their photos taken! How nice is that?

Karli, Jim, Peri, Susan & Bob
Our conductor, engineer, photographer.
Comal River in Landa Park. (It's dammed up. That's how it gets big so quickly.
A lovely park and train ride.
Karli wanted to be let loose in the playground, but first Naegelin's Bakery was on our list. Yum, yum, yum. I am a bakery connoisseur so I had to take photos here because it's just so good. These were taken at 3:30 in the afternoon. Most people know it's best to go to a bakery early in the morning to get the best selection. Alas, my favorite butterfly something or others were out, so I got a Danish cinnamon roll. Karli was particularly taken by the last purple-frostinged Halloween cupcake.


All I want for Christmas is my four front teeth!


Fun Halloween cupcakes.
Cream puffs and cheesecake.




She wouldn't eat it until we took a photo.
Right next to the bakery parking lot were beautiful murals on the wall. (We saw quite a few murals as Jim drove us through downtown New Braunfels.)




New Braunfels was originally a German settlement so there is quite the German influence in town. However, Texas being so close to Mexico has also inherited a Mexican imprint. Jim drove us by Huisache Grill and said we need to go there to eat (and shop). There are some shops on the property that you can peruse either before or after your meal.

Other interesting stops in New Braunfels are the Railroad Museum, Sophienberg Museum and a Children's Museum. It was too late in the day to go to a museum and all of us were happy with the park on this beautiful day. So, baked goods in hand, we parked ourselves at a picnic table at Landa Park to eat while we watched Karli on the playgrounds.

Just a lovely day hanging out with friends. Saturday in the park. (By the way, today's title is courtesy of Bob. Thank you, honey.)

Travel Bug parked in the 5er now. Enjoy your weekend!







Friday, October 26, 2012

Brrrr! -- Fri., Oct. 26

When Bob went jogging yesterday, the temperature was 93 degrees around 6:00 p.m. In the middle of the night it poured rain for a little while. When I woke up this morning it was 58 degrees, windy, and the temperature dropped a degree even though it usually warms up during the day. Today's high is supposed to remain at 57 F. with wind gusts to 23 mph and a chance of thunderstorms before 1:00 p.m. Brrr. Time to turn on the heat. Our low tonight will be 49, tomorrow night 43, and Sunday night 44. That's getting downright cold for south Texas. 

The thunderstorm and rain hit at 11:00 a.m. Temperature dropped to 51 F. Love that booming thunder! 

The kitties and I are hunkered down:
"Big, scary storm. Good thing we gotz each other."

"Political ads...quick change the channel!"
It's now 1:15 p.m. and the thunder, lightning and rain let up, still breezy though. The temperature went down to 49 F. (That's supposed to be our overnight low tonight.) Guess the temperature won't be climbing much.

Today I had chicken noodle soup for lunch. Very warm and comforting on this chilly, rainy day.

Tomorrow, we're having lunch with our friends Jim and Peri of Tales from the Camping House. Looks like after lunch will be a museum day. Too cold for a walk.

Now that the dentist has given the all-clear to travel with broken teeth, I can stop worrying and finish the rest of my "to-do's" before our trip: hair, nails, job interview, packing.

Hello to E Squared and Mui of Two to Travel's Phaeton Journeys who are about a month out from retirement/full-timing and are up to their elbows in packing. They are no strangers to travel, having just returned from Turkey (Mui's homeland). They "talk Turkey" in a blog dedicated just to that...you can find it by clicking on a button on their home page.

I called the travel agency where there is a possibility of a part-time job starting in January. The owner wants to talk to me about working there. She is not available before our trip as she is out of town until Tuesday. I will call her in December. 

Not much else planned today. Just taking it easy. 

Travel Bug out. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

All I Want for Christmas is My Four Front Teeth -- Thurs., Oct. 25


I went to the dentist and the verdict is in. I do not have any abscesses, BUT it is too soon to do anything with my teeth. So, we are going to do nothing at this time. (I had a part in this decision.) I will be going on vacation with four (or more) broken teeth. 

Actually, I'm relieved. Now I know what's what in my mouth. I don't have to hurry up and have anything done. We are going to let my teeth and jaw continue to heal until mid-December, then the dentist will know if I need a root canal or if crowns will work best. He said he could put in crowns now, but if I develop a situation where a root canal will be needed we would have to take out the new crowns. That sounded like an option that's not like me. It's wait and see time. 

The dentist did say that sometimes root canals are needed and sometimes they're not, but it takes a while to know for sure. He pressed hard inside my upper jaw and pressed hard on the top of my front gums. There was no sharp pain. He said that's a good sign. So I'm hopeful. 

He told me it would be a good idea to take pain pills to Australia just in case. We have some strong ibuprofen we can pack. If my jaw gets re-injured for any reason in Australia, I will need to see an Australian dentist. I told him that's good because they speak English and they have good dental and medical care there.

What this means for our vacation is: I can only eat soft foods and even those I have to cut up in small bites and put in the back of my mouth to chew. I cannot even bite into a banana or a sandwich with my front teeth. So sandwiches will also have to be cut up into small pieces. 

Looks like new front teeth are on my Christmas wish list!

While I was out today I decided to get rid of my cabin fever. I shopped at Costco for four items, went to visit Bob and meet people he works with, and stopped at Hobby Lobby to buy 11 more peacock feathers for kitty toys while we're on our trip. I'll have the petsitter give them new feathers a couple of times per week.

That about did me in for the day.

Travel Bug out.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tonight There's Going to Be a Jailbreak -- Wed., Oct. 24

"Tonight there's gonna be a jailbreak..." We heard this Thin Lizzy song playing on the radio on the way back from the maxillofacial surgeon in Corpus Christi. Bob said, "Hey that would make a good title for your blog today." 

Yeah that's right my tongue escaped from my wired shut mouth. My tongue and jaws have been freed from jail! I no longer have metal digging into my inner lips. 

Dr. Cutbirth informed me that my jaw is healing very well. My teeth are aligned nicely in the back. He is amazed because of how badly smashed in my face was when he first saw me. He thinks my temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is healing nicely, although the left side hurt when I opened my mouth and chewed. I hope that feels better soon. I have to stay on soft foods for another two weeks, but that will put us in Australia.

Tomorrow, we'll see what the dentist says about my teeth and upper jaw after he takes X-rays and we have our consultation. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he can fix my teeth before we go (like this week, so my mouth/teeth have a few days to heal before we go). 

For dinner I had scrambled eggs. It was so good to put solid food in my mouth. My jaw is still a bit tight so I had to relax my jaw as much as possible to get the fork with food loaded into my mouth.

We had a nice mellow evening. I watched "Survivor: Philippines," and "CSI," though I kept falling asleep during "CSI." Getting the wires removed was traumatic for me. I had to keep breathing deep because I have a tendency to want to hold my breath when something hurts. It took me a good hour to relax on the drive home. So tonight my body needs lots of sleep.

Bob watched the first game of the World Series and played with Bowie.

Travel Bug out.

Monday, October 22, 2012

We Are All Connected -- Mon., Oct. 22

Beaver Ponds hike, Yellowstone N.P.--Bob, Jim, Peri
"When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass and so, we are all connected in the great circle of life."
~Mufasa, The Lion King


“Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules, are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life. So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically. That’s kinda cool! That makes me smile and I actually feel quite large at the end of that. It’s not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us.”
~Neil deGrasse Tyson
"But I'll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you'll come to understand that you're connected with everything."
~Alan Watts

What brought up this topic in my mind today is an article Bob showed me in The Huffington Post about friendship. The article is titled "Why Friends May Be Your Ticket to Living to 100" by David R. Hamilton, Ph.D. He makes the point that genetics only accounts for 20-30% of our longevity. Lifestyle accounts for another portion of how long we live. 

But new research done at Brigham Young University and an Australian study both indicate that something has been left out of the equation: friendships, connectivity, social contact. I highly recommend you read the entire article and his accompanying links to understand the full impact. 

In the past couple of days, Bob and I had been discussing how we'd like to make more friends while we're on the road and how to go about doing it. Isn't it interesting when an idea or problem comes into your consciousness, the answer shows up somewhere, somehow. Amazing we should see this article today.

Here is a quote from David Hamilton, Ph.D.'s article:
"We are wired for social contact. Our health thrives when we connect with each other and suffers when we are lonely. It seems that at the heart of all things, being connected sustains life.

"So one of the secrets to longer lifespan may be to get connected. It might mean having more regular contact with family or friends. For some, it might mean joining a club, taking up line dancing, or even starting a language class. It can mean making more of an effort to chat with neighbors or inviting friends around for dinner. It might even mean going out of your way to help others in need on a regular basis.

"There are many ways in our lives that we can improve how much we connect with others. When we do, we do ourselves a favor, but we do our family, friends, or anyone else we connect with, a favor too."
How about you? What do you do to meet people on the road? We came up with these ideas:
  • Walk around the campground and talk to people
  • Sit outside, talk to people who walk by
  • Meet blogger friends when we're in the same area
  • Hang out at the pool more
  • Go to social events at the RV park
  • Invite people over for a meal
  • Invite fellow bloggers/RVers to go walking or hiking 

The other idea that Dr. Hamilton suggested above is particularly relevant to me, "going out of your way to help others in need." I have been the recipient of truly awesome help and friendship after my fall. In my heart I want to "pay it forward" to others who may be in a similar plight.

I do believe we are all connected in ways we may never truly understand. I like thinking about it and then acting on it. Let's make our RV family even closer. I'm game. Are you?

Speaking of connections, we have new followers: Paul and Marti of R Sanity RV Adventures. Isn't that a clever blog name? They have been full-timing since December 2011 and have been all over the U.S. Paul is retired Coast Guard and Marti retired from being a nursing home administrator.

Kitty cat connection photo follows. Tune out now if you're not into the kitty pics.

I emptied out all the water from the case and put the empty container by the door for recycling. Bowie connected and walked the empty case all over the kitchen floor. Crazy cat!


"I have conquered the new thing."
Travel Bug out.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Rodriguez -- Sun., Oct. 21

The movie Searching for Sugar Man rocks. The documentary of a 70's rock star captivates in telling the story of a man who had no idea he was a star. You see, he made two albums which flopped in the U.S.; however, connected with youth in Cape Town, South Africa during apartheid. 

In South Africa, Rodriguez was more popular than Elvis! Somehow, the royalties never found their way to Rodriguez, so he continued on in his unassuming life UNTIL...da da da DA...some people in the music and journalism fields in South Africa decided to solve the mystery of the rock star no one in the United States knew about. South Africans heard he committed suicide on stage.
 
Bob and I were riveted by the story on the screen. The tale unfolds gradually, solving the mystery as you watch. Amazing to learn all the details. Highly recommended. If you watched 60 Minutes a couple of weeks ago, you learned some of the story. The movie goes into much more detail.

The theater where we watched the movie is the Santikos Bijou Cinema Bistro at Wonderland Mall. 



Very upscale. You can order dinner and drinks which are delivered to your seat before the movie starts.

More new followers: Terry and LuAnn of Paint Your Landscape. Welcome! LuAnn and Terry started full-timing in August 2011 via Sedona, Arizona and Yellowstone National Park...fellow outdoors people. They are currently in the Alabama Hills of California with some other wonderful bloggers, Nina and Paul of Wheeling It. We have been following Nina and Paul's journey for months and loved their exploration of "our" home state, Oregon. Such a small world. Six Degrees of Separation? Perhaps.

I'd also like to say "Howdy" to Just Wandrin' and Garea51, however I don't have names and/or websites. (I have to wonder Garea51, is your name Gary who is into Area 51? Just curious. Currently you're "alien" to me.) Please introduce yourselves.

TravelBug out.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

One Year Full-Timing Tomorrow! -- Sun., Oct. 21

Happy full-timing anniversary to us. One year ago tomorrow, our house closed and that exact same day was our flight out of Honolulu to Portland, Oregon where we started our full-time adventure. Being that we couldn't afford to retire, we have been workamping along the way, but still manage to get our travel fix in. Here are links to how it all happened:

Life is a Big Adventure!  October 10, 2011
Tying Up Loose Ends Day: October 12, 2011 
Odds and Ends of Moving: October 18, 2011
Cleaning, Outback and Real Steel: October 19, 2011
And So It Begins: October 22, 2011
Pride of Ownership: October 23, 2011
Autumn Freedom and Sunny Skies: Oct. 23-28, 2011

And that, my friends, is how it all began. It was hectic, it was exciting, it was funny, it was scary and it was--and is--a complete adventure. We had sorrow (saying good-bye to friends and co-workers, parting with our three wonderful cats--Captain, Rama and Oreo, moving from our beautiful home in Hawaii), pride (our new truck and 5th wheel), joy (seeing family and Oregon friends, starting a new adventure in life), sense of accomplishment (for all we did to get to this point), and wonder (how on earth did we do all that in such a short time??, and look where we are now!).

Captain, Rama and Oreo (our cats in Hawaii who we could not afford to fly to the mainland...they went to the Humane Society):

Captain--flame point Siamese
Oreo--feral cat who adopted us as a wee kitten.
Oreo under Christmas tree.
Rama thought all flowers were for her.
Rama, the Princess. This was her spot on the kitchen counter.
Captain--18 lbs. of Siamese. He loved to hang over my shoulder.
Captain packing himself.
Oreo, AKA Harry Potter cat. (See the lightning bolt?)
Welcome to new follower Sarah Joy, no blog address given. It's good to have you on board!

Also, a warm welcome to Lisa and Hans from Metamorphosis Road. They love to get out and hike, bike, walk, travel and basically enjoy the outdoor life. Their house sold in July, 2012, and they have been full-timing since September! Drop by and check out these two active folks. (Lisa, do you know about Volksmarching? If not, check out ava.org and click on Locate Walking Events. You can find walks all over the U.S.--cities, parks, festivals, national parks.)

And here are Sunnie and Bowie, our current fur-kids.
Bowie ready for a new trip.

Sunnie and Bowie.
Travel Bug out.