South Carolina Campground, God story, Georgia Firefighters – October 2022

I left Maryland and traveled south and stopped at South of the Border in South Carolina, just past the border. I parked in the parking lot for the night, then stopped for several days at a campground in Waltersboro, South Carolina, called New Green Acres. It was really a nice campground with lots of pine trees. It also has a nice fenced in dog park with obstacles for the dogs to play in. I arrived on a Friday afternoon. When I got up on Saturday morning and opened my back door I smelled gasoline and I didn’t see anyone or anything around me that would cause that smell. In I think it was 2016 or 2017 when I was in Albuquerque at the Balloon Fiesta I smelled gasoline and when I looked under the camper van I saw that gas was dripping from the fuel line between my gas tank and generator which runs off the gas tank. One of the other campers took me to an auto parts store and I bought some clamps and about 18″ of fuel line and he replaced the leaking fuel line. I kept the extra rubber fuel line and clamps. When I looked under the camper van, sure enough, there was a pretty steady drip of gasoline. I called my fire chief friend to confirm my thought that it would not be good for me to drive with gasoline leaking. I walked through the campground and saw a couple sitting outside and told them what I found. It turns out they knew another camper who had the number of a mobile repair man so I called him and he came out about 90 minutes later and was able to replace the fuel line with the parts I had. Once again, God shows me that I will be taken care of. I stayed in this campground for another few days, then headed south into Georgia to see some friends.

After I left the campground, I drove to a friends in Ludowici, Georgia, where I had two days visiting my friend Tina who I met a few years ago when I was in this part of the state. It was a nice visit and she and her family have a beautiful pond with four Canadian geese that reside there, and a lemon tree in their front yard. Tina drove us on a 4 wheeler through some land her family owns, part of which they are digging out a 50 acre pond that is going to be spring fed and stocked with fish. One of her dogs came along with us and he loves water and was swimming through the deep water on the road we drove on where the spring water was being pumped out of where they are digging a 50 acre pond. There are several springs in the hole and it needs to still be dug out more so water is being pumped out. Part of the road we were driving on in a 4 wheel vehicle was flooded by water being pumped out of the pond. One of Tina’s dogs loves swimming and was having fun swimming in front of the 4 wheeler. Tina and her family have 3 small goats which were really cute, and there is a lemon tree in the front yard. Her family has lived on this property for generations and a few buildings are over 200 years old.

A few days later I drove to Madray Springs, Georgia, a neighboring city where I am staying for about a week visiting some firefighter friends I met several years ago and we had a cookout the other night, it was lots of fun, family, and fellowship. Chief Ashley Dent, and Assistant Chief Kevin Altman (who is also the Fire Chief in Odum) have stayed in touch with me since I met them in July 2013. There are several stories and lots of pictures of my visits here to see them, and also in July 2013 when then came to south Florida to see me. You can search my website and find the stories. Search perhaps Georgia Firefighters, or fire equipment, or the words fire department.

About 2 days after I arrived here at the fire department we had a cookout and many of the firefighters and their families came to eat with us. It was lots of fun, and of course good food and fellowship. One of the firefighters works at a hibachi restaurant and he did a great job cooking the food. It’s almost 10 years later and they still have the equipment I bought for them and use it often. It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years that we know each other. The guys here are so thoughtful, helpful, and offer to help me if I need anything. One of them came over and helped me to wash Molly my camper van.

Chief Dent wanted to be sure I could use their WIFI so he moved the WIFI box into the bays where they keep the fire trucks so I would get a strong signal. It turns out when they put the metal doors down the signal was blocked, so he is leaving the door open behind my camper. I was concerned about someone coming and stealing things with the open door but he assured me it will be safe and so will I. I am parked behind the station. It looks like we are going to have another cookout tomorrow, not sure what day I am leaving here yet.

These guys are so creative and experienced in not only fire fighting and rescue, but also building and creating new vehicles, parts they need, and much more. The rescue truck in one of the pictures is a truck they built from an old utility truck they found. They also got a lot of yellow fire hose that another department was going to dispose of because they bought some new hose. This department found out about it and went and got the used hose that was recently pressure tested and is still good. It saves them lots of money to do these things to keep their fire station operational.

The second weekend in November is the Native Rhythms Festival in Melbourne, Florida. It’s a Native American flute festival that I do my best to attend every year. I did go last year but for some reason didn’t make time to write a story about it or post pictures. There are several stories about it from my other times attending that music event. I have lots of friends that are the performers and vendors that I have met at Native Rhythms and other similar events. So, it’s great to not only hear great music, but to also see my friends and what they had created. Check out http://www.nativerhythmsfestival.com/

Here is a link to some of the pictures I took related to this story https://photos.app.goo.gl/zvBPeYCXNq8ifNc89

We had another cookout last night and it was at Chief Ashley Dent’s house which is about a mile from the fire station. It was so much fun and several of the firefighters and their families were there to have a meal and fellowship with us. Everyone brought something and I showed Lindsay, Ashley’s wife how to make brownies my special way which everyone I have ever given them to loves. I may have posted the recipe in a previous story, but in case I didn’t here is how I make them. Get two boxes of brownie mix, any kind you want. I use an 11″ x 15″ pan, but you can use any size pan. The first box of brownie mix, add 1 extra egg to whatever the box says. I mix the eggs, water, and oil together, then add the dry mix. pour into the baking pan. Then mix the second box exactly like the instructions say. Then pour this batter all over the top of the first batter. What happens is that the first box with the extra egg makes the brownie cake like so it is a bit dryer and more firm. The second box is more fudgy and I think too soft. Making it this way makes it like a firmer bottom with a fudgy center. When you cut the brownies you can ever see the difference in texture and color. If you want you can add chocolate chips, nuts, marshmallows, etc. to the second batter.

A few years ago when they bought all the acres, Ashley planted about 600 pecan trees and they are now producing nuts to harvest. I was really impressed with how many trees there were and how they are all in straight lines. I told him and he said he used a 300′ tape measure and string to get the rows straight. I was told they have deer that come out of the woods surrounding the property, but I didn’t see any last night. It was raining when I got up in the morning, but then the sun came out and we had a really nice evening for the cookout. Ashley went to a meat market and bought some really good steaks which were tender, and flavorful, and cooked on the grill which is something I have not had in a long time. We all had a great time talking and they took a picture of me with the firefighters that were there last night. Firefighters have a special place in my heart. My dad was a volunteer firefighter when I was young, and being a city clerk for most of my career and knowing how dedicated firefighters are, especially volunteer ones that do it for the love of being of service, since they don’t get paid, and don’t usually get sufficient funding, they still show up and serve their communities. The people in this department and a few others have an extra special place in my heart because we have stayed in touch for the past nine years. When I travel in my camper van, at the end of the day of traveling, I send a text to about seven people letting them know where I am, or approximately where I am and what direction I will be traveling the next day. This way in case anything happens they will know my last location. Chiefs Dent and Altman from this station are two of the people that I send my location to. To tell you how special these men are, a few years ago when we were getting a hurricane that was expected to be a category 4, they offered to either come meet me partway and drive my vehicle the rest of the way to them, or they would meet me a a train station near them if I wanted to get on a train near where I live and come up there. They also said if I didn’t want to drive they would even drive all the way to where I live to come get me. I thanked them and told them I was going to stay home, and thankfully, the hurricane wasn’t as strong as anticipated and I was safe at home.

I went back through some of the stories I wrote and the pictures I saw from my previous visits here and it brought back lots of fond memories. I also got to remember things I forgot like when Patti brought a baby alligator for us to hold. She and Gene her husband trap alligators when they are a nuisance somewhere and they try to relocate them if they are able to do that. Usually she said they have to be under four years old, otherwise it stresses the gator too much and they die from the transfer.

At the dinner last night, one of the firefighters who also flies a helicopter for medical transport surprised me with an insulated tote bag with the company insignia, and in it was a t-shirt, and pens, and an adorable little teddy bear who is my new traveling companion. This little bear has an imitation leather helmet and jacket with a pocket and zipper and it’s fleece lined. It is so cute. I have a small wall on both sides in my camper and I have lots of things I have collected over the years or that people have given me, like at a pow wow my friend Becky who is a vendor gave me a little stuffed turtle. My friends children in Texas made a hot air balloon picture for me with some beads I gave them. I also have buttons from my six years at the balloon fiesta in Albuquerque when I volunteered there.

Patti and I went to lunch in Jesup one day and ate at a bistro that had brick walls inside and had good food. Nearby the restaurant was a thrift store and it had a prayer tree and a basket with cards and envelopes that people could write prayers and put them in the envelope and hang on the tree. For this time of the year the local businesses and the city create these really adorable scenes with hay bales, stuffed bodies portraying different activities or representing their business and they are all along several streets. It’s really kind of unusual and really a great idea. I plan on being here a few more days. It’s nice and quiet and relaxing and I have internet so I can update my website, read books on my tablet, talk with my friends, and go to online meetings. In one of the stores there was an old push button telephone, I had not seen one of those in years. I added pictures of our downtown Jesup adventure to the album in this story.

It’s hard to believe it’s already the beginning of November. I am still at the Madray Springs, Georgia, Fire Department. They have been so nice to me here. The Wayne County Fire/EMS/Sheriff Chief came to visit me the other day and he gave me a t-shirt for his department. I love t-shirts as many of you know. He also thanked me for the equipment I not only bought in 2013 for many fire departments in his county, but also for some equipment I bought for the county that allows their dive team to communicate under water. He said they are still using it and used it recently to recover a gun that was used in a murder and thrown into a dark, murky, lake nearby.

The day before Halloween, the assistant fire chief Kevin, and several of the firefighters took the ladder truck and another fire vehicle to the church down the street where there was a carnival with games, food, and petting zoo areas. It was lots of fun to see the costumes. I was surprised that many of the children were dressed as firefighters. One lady had a 10 day old baby that was so small and cute and even had the baby dressed in a costume. The firefighters gave out candy too and quite a few children wanted to sit in the drivers seat so they lifted them up to do that so pictures could be taken. I rode to the church in the passenger seat of the ladder truck. It was a big step for me to get into and out of it but it was a really cool experience. There was an old Model A vehicle and an old tractor that someone brought. I thought it was interesting looking at how simple things were on old cars, and how the windshield opened at the bottom. I loved the little boy with the costume of a Dalmation fire fighter, he was so cute and full of energy. It was not easy to get pictures of him until I asked his mom and she posed with him to keep him still long enough for a picture.

I will be leaving here in a few days and heading south to visit a friend near Jacksonville, Florida, for a few days then going to a Native American Flute Festival in Melbourne, Florida, that I try to go to every year. Check out Native Rhythms Festival to see that event, there are also stories and pictures on my website from previous years there. I was there last year, but didn’t write a story or post photos for it for some reason.

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Maryland friends, produce stand, landscapes, grocery store, my favorite recipes, etc. – October 2022

The weather today was really beautiful, it is sunny and in the 70’s and no rain which is great after having several cold, rainy days.

Vanessa and I took a trip through several surrounding cities today and it was so beautiful and peaceful driving past farms, lots of open land, and some really beautiful and unique houses. We stopped at a wonderful roadside market where there were so many different types of pumpkins, gourds, vegetables, and the way they arranged them was very creative. I never knew there were white sweet potatoes. I love apples but can’t eat them because they have too much fiber and would cause problems with my remaining intestines. There are lots of apple farms in the area and this is the time of year for them. I bought some different types of potatoes, some garlic, tomatoes, and a few other items.

We drove through some really beautiful countryside towns and passed lots of horse ranches, including Sagamore which is really large and has lots of interesting buildings. We saw several other ranches and stopped to take pictures of horses grazing, and some church buildings that were old and interesting, also the trees are starting to change color and the reds and oranges are so bright and vivid. In another few weeks there will be lots more color. That is a few things I miss from when I lived in New York state and northern New Jersey, seeing mountains and seasons changing. I don’t really miss the cold weather and having to drive in snow and ice and clean it off the cars. In Texas we really didn’t see change of seasons.

We also went to an amazing grocery store called Wegmans. It is almost like a few other groceries I have seen in other states, but it is my first time at Wegmans. We had lunch there and bought some groceries to have at home. They had foods of all types that I had never heard of before. Of course, either Vanessa or I always find something to buy while in line at the checkout counter. She bought some type of cashew mix the other day with raspberry and it was delicious. I bought Hi-Chew candy and Vanessa and Brian loved that and had never had it before so we are all learning about new things to eat.

I still can’t post pictures in the stories like I used to with them coming out in a row rather than vertical so I am just posting a link to an album of pictures for these places. Click here for today’s pictures of our adventures and the outdoor produce market. https://photos.app.goo.gl/AJw7PPxbem4YtUVn6

It’s been lots of fun hanging out together and catching up on life. We have been doing lots of cooking and baking and I have been teaching and showing them how to make different foods like pasta, naan bread, cinnamon raisin bread, crackers, cookies, biscotti and a few other things. We passed interesting buildings on our travels in the area. Here is a collage of pictures I found interesting and of some foods we made.

There are lots of fields of corn, and feed corn, and other crops. As we passed a few there were some with brown flowers on top and Vanessa wanted to know what it was. It sort of looked like corn but we knew it wasn’t. I told her I think it’s sorghum which I saw when I was in Texas at Homestead Heritage in Waco. They grow it and harvest it around Labor Day and it’s sort of like sugar cane and the stalks get pressed and the liquid is cooked and becomes sorghum syrup. My friends at Homestead Heritage harvest, cook, and bottle it and I got to watch the process and taste the fresh cooked syrup and watch it change color and consistency. It’s sort of like molasses. You will see the picture of the sorghum in one of the albums of the links in this story. There are two albums, one is pictures from my camera and the other from my phone. I don’t know why but for some reason even when I click on add photos in Google photos it doesn’t add them to the existing album, so I created a new one. Seems that often the camera on the phone takes cleared pictures. The only thing is with the sun on the display on the phone I don’t always see what I am taking a picture of, I just guess and hope it’s a good picture.

While I was looking at pictures to post in this story I saw some I thought you might like to read. When I started out on my long travels in 2011 when I retired a friend gave me this guardian angel which is on the dash board of Molly my camper van since our first trip in 2011. I bought the stained glass pixie on the left at a craft show in Fort Lauderdale many years ago, and a few years ago when I was visiting my friend Clark in Texas he made me the pixie on the left. He does stained glass work and had a pattern book with pixies and he let me pick out the glass I wanted for this pixie.

I think I wrote in a previous story about the first quilt I made and that Vanessa has it on her guest room bed, so I posted some pictures of it in this album. I also took pictures of most of the different foods that we cooked, and Brian even helped me make biscotti the second time we made it. They love this biscotti. I have posted some of my favorite recipes in the album. Feel free to use and/or share them. The sour cream cookies and the cheesecake recipes are really old, as is the Wonderful Gooey Cake and a few others. I remember being about 4 or 5 (that would be about 1954 or 1955) and making those cookies with my mom. When it was cold outside we put the dough outside to chill, we lived in NY state when I was that young. When my mom died in 2017, I made several batches of the sour cream cookies for the memorial service. I love being creative decorating them with all types of sprinkles and toppings. Sometimes I mix in or top with a little Nutella or use toffee bits or Butterfinger pieces. Vanessa has a work thing she’s doing on Saturday until a little after 1:00 so maybe while she’s at work I may be making some chocolate, chocolate chip, cheesecake cupcakes to take on my trip we already ate all the ones we made the other day.

The cheesecake recipe I got when I was in my early 20’s. A guy I was dating made it to take to a party we were going to. It surprised me he could bake and it’s one of the easiest, best cheesecake recipes I have made and loved. I also sometimes put fruit topping on it when I eat it. The cake I call Jack’s Wonderful Gooey Cake is also good and it can be made using different instant puddings. I like using white chocolate pudding mix sometimes instead of chocolate. In fact, for my 50th birthday party I made a large sheet pan of this cake. Half I used instant chocolate pudding mix and the other half I used white chocolate pudding mix. I was at a party and loved this cake and was talking to my friend Jack and said I want to find out who made this cake and get the recipe. He said he made it. I said sure you did. If you knew Jack you would not have believed he made it either. I said, okay then what is the recipe and he told me knowing it by heart. That’s why I named it like I did. I have made this many times and always love it. I also sometimes freeze this and also the Texas Sheet Cake which is like eating fudge.

In April 2022, I had Molly repainted so she would look better and it would help her to stay in good shape. I bought her in Phoenix in November 2005, she had 25,000 miles, and on as I got into Maryland, she now has a little over 108,000. Even when I am home and not traveling I drive her every few weeks to keep her running in good condition. I had the front license plate that says Live Your Dreams made shortly after I bought her when I was on a trip to Tybee Island. They had a store that made airbrush things and I asked the artist to create something for me with this saying, and this is what he made.

Because their driveway and whole yard is on an incline and I have to be level for my fridge to work right, Brian helped me to get level. I thought I’d have to keep trying to get up on boards like I did before he got home from work. But, that wasn’t what happened. He has a hydraulic jack that he hand pumps and he just jacked up each corner of my vehicle we put boards under the tires until my levels which I have on every side of my vehicle showed it was level and that was it, very easy. But I can’t just drive off the boards the front one’s about 6 inches or so. So I can’t just back off it so we’re going to have to figure something out on Sunday I may have to park at the bottom of their driveway Works a little more level and then just not be plugged into electric for a while breathing overnight depending on when I leave. It’s been really nice being plugged into electric it makes it easy to make my smoothie in the morning, have to use my little space heater because it was cold several nights.

Some of the other pictures are ones I took as I drove, or was a passenger recently. A few days ago, before the several days of rain, there was a beautiful sunset. I love how God creates beautiful, colorful skies. These three pictures were taken within a few minutes of each other. Earlier that day on the tall metal tower we saw an American Eagle, we had to use binoculars to see it and then we saw it and the Red Tail Hawk both flying in the sky. Evidently, they both come often. The hawk was eating some sort of small animal, not sure what it was. We went to a feed store for dog food and they had several types of small animals besides cats and rabbits. There were hamsters, rats, and mice, and several others like small snakes, lizards, etc. Most of the mice had babies that looked newly born. I never saw any this young. It was really amazing how small they are and that they are pink and some had the beginnings of white fur.

I think I wrote in a previous story about how when Carol and I were driving towards Antietam we passed a pumpkin patch and stopped to take pictures and noticed right next to it was a corral with cows and as we were looking at them and saw the shed we noticed the sign that says Maternity Ward and started laughing. Another car stopped and the woman got out and also started taking pictures. We all thought it was very creative of the owner to put that sign up.

Pictures matching the above story and some of my favorite recipes are on this link. https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZgwjLaMAa6GftEWQ9

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Davey Crockett State Park, Antietam and Gettysburg Civil War Sites and other travels and experiences on my trip Tennessee and Maryland – September and October 2022

I have been having lots of fun traveling and visiting friends and exploring several state and National Parks. I left home and stopped a few times to spend the night while I drove north to visit friends. My first official stop was in northwest South Carolina to see one of my fire chief friends and another friend David. I spent a few days with them and David let me stay in his mechanic shop garage at night where I was safe and plugged into electricity. I left there and drove over the Smoky Mountains which was a really beautiful experience however, not sure my camper van engine and transmission liked it very much. I also drove through some severe heavy rainstorms. I then headed towards Tennessee, but drove through part of North Carolina to get there evidently since I saw a welcome to North Carolina sign.

I stopped in Chuckey, Tennessee near Johnson City and spent a few days with my friend Glenn and his wife Jane and it was really nice to have time with them and watching the beautiful scenery from their back porch and eating fresh figs we picked off their tree. I also got to go to a picnic in Tennessee that Glenn told me about where I met lots of his friends and got to share my story at their picnic. Nice to share and have an in person experience. Jane and I drove around to do a bit of hiking and we also went to Davey Crockett State Park and saw the cabin he was born in and the area surrounding it. We walked along the river and in the sand above the stream we kept finding small shells in the sand which was about 30 feet from the water and on higher ground. Also, it reminded me of when I was a young girl I loved Davey Crockett, I had a brown outfit with brown plastic fringe and a fake coonskin hat, and a white towel with Davey Crockett on it and I remember singing the song about him. So it was a nice memory to be reminded of. Also, as we walked along a different stream in the park we saw lots of Canadian geese standing in the rapids enjoying the water and wind. Here is a link to the pictures I took with my camera at Davey Crockett State Park https://photos.app.goo.gl/u6fdsqj7gbuVfjVU7 For some reason I am not able to add pictures to the album so I created another album with the pictures I took on my phone. https://photos.app.goo.gl/xapjdFH5yM7pBS2q6

Next I stopped in Kingsport, Tennessee, to see my friend Stephen at his office. I left there and headed towards my friend Vanessa in Maryland. I wanted to see a few others in Virginia on my way to Maryland but they were busy so maybe another time. I eventually go to my friend Vanessa’s house and parked in their driveway which is on an incline. I tried to get level on some boards but I wasn’t able to get it level so we decided to wait until her husband Brian got home. Brian helped to level my camper van but he did it the easy way. He has a hydrolic jack so he jacked up each corner and slid boards under the tires until all sides were level. I would not have been able to get it done any other way. Each tire needed a different number of boards to be level. Then we plugged it into electricity which has been great. It has been chilly and rainy for several days and my body doesn’t like 40 and 50 degree temperatures, especially when it was raining. Thankfully, I can use my little space heater at night to stay warm and also I have warm clothes and blankets. Vanessa and Brian offered that I could stay in their guest room but I felt better staying my camper van where I have everything I need and since I am up late I don’t want to disturb them since they get up early for work. Years ago, I gave Vanessa the first quilt I ever made. It’s queen size and entirely stitched and quilted by hand and it’s in different shades and patterns of purple. She has it on the bed in the guest room and it looks really nice and it’s warm since I used a special batting inside for warmth. Will try to post a picture of it when I attempt to add pictures to this story.

One of my friends drove about 90 minutes to come visit me and we went to Antietam National Park where the deadliest Civil War battle was fought. On the way there we passed a pumpkin patch which neither of us ever saw before. Right next to it was a fenced in pen with a lot of cows and there was a shed which had a sign over it saying Maternity Ward. We stopped and took pictures and I will try to get some pictures inserted into this story soon. I have to figure out how to insert pictures there was a change to how I update my stories. Here is a link to pictures I took with my camera at Antietam. https://photos.app.goo.gl/kwnXm9LyWkqgHmZH8 Here is a link to pictures I took at Antietam with my phone. https://photos.app.goo.gl/bNF8mWEVQkrHJsTD6

After visiting the Antietam scenic tour through the path of the war, and climbing the tower, and visiting the visitor center and National Cemetery we spent the night in a motel room and the next day drove to Gettysburg where my friend Brian drove down about an hour to spend three hours with us going through the National Park and museum, cyclorama which was amazing, and had lunch before he had to leave. Carol and I spent the night in another motel room in a different city and the room number was the same as the previous motel room. It was raining when we woke up on Sunday morning and drove back to Vanessa’s house. Here is a link to the pictures I took with my camera at Gettysburg. https://photos.app.goo.gl/2JvRwfiUm8Pf42mZ9 Here is a link to pictures I took with my phone. https://photos.app.goo.gl/QiisskDGbG8Rxvis8

I have been teaching Vanessa how to make homemade pasta, crackers, naan bread and other things. It’s been great fun baking and cooking together. They love the chocolate, chocolate chip biscotti that we made. We also made lasagna with the fresh pasta and another night we made spaghetti and made meatballs to go with the pasta. We have also made cinnamon raisin bread, wheat thin crackers, cookies, chocolate cheesecake cupcakes. I even got Brian to help with the biscotti, and I think he really liked learning how it’s made. The other day we went to the farm where Vanessa has two horses, and she goes twice a day to take care of them. We saw deer and gophers while there. In the back yard here one day was a red tail hawk on a log on the back property line. It had something it was eating, some small animal we think. Later that afternoon I went to see if I could tell what it was, but there was not really anything left to identify it, only a few bones perhaps a skull? Also, that day on top of a tower in the distance we could see an American Eagle. We used binoculars to watch it and later on we saw it and the hawk flying. Vanessa says the eagles and hawks come often, and we also see deer and some small animals like rabbits and squirrels which their dog Elsa loves to chase. She has a collar on that only lets her go so far so the deer and other animals are safe and I think they know it but still watch to make sure nothing comes close to them. The property is surrounded by woods and there are houses nearby and across the street, but it’s very quiet and private. Trees and woods separate the neighbors.

When I was in Albuquerque a few years ago, I got new sewer hose that was two 10 foot sections but never used it and it would not fit in the one section mounted under my camper van. I asked Brian if we could get something to mount underneath to hold these two new sections and he found some ready made specially made sewer hose cases and they will fit in the space where the one already is. He had to order a few brackets to do it but it will be nice when this is completed. Sometimes one 10 foot section is not enough to reach the sewer dump at a location.

As always, I pack way too much stuff. Most of it I don’t use but I never know what conditions I will be in, or if I will have electricity, etc. Being home for so long I got used to cooking almost all my food from scratch. So, I took my small Instapot, my electric skillet, air fryer oven, butane stove, induction cooktop, a few pots, and lots of other things like medical supplies, some food, tools, clothes for different temperatures, etc. Since space is limited I found ways to use unused space like on a wall inside my back door I hung a shoe bag with lots of pockets and used tacks to hold the sides to the wall since the 3 hooks at the top had a lot of weight on them and the bag was not attached to the wall except at the top with the 3 hooks. It seems to be working okay and holding. I have several long flat totes with other things I would use and have the no slip rubber shelving liner between them so hopefully they won’t slide much. I did have to make a sharp turn or two or go over some really bumpy surface and I had two landslides so I stopped and restacked the containers and so far no more mishaps.

I may be leaving here on Sunday or Monday depending on when Brian has time to install the cases under my camper and driving it to make sure everything is okay. I am hoping and praying that coming over the steep mountain ranges did not cause any damage to the transmission which is only a few years old, I think 3 years, but not driven much and in Florida it is on level ground, not really steep, high mountain ranges for long distances. Also, the weather forecast for the next several days is a low in the 40’s at night. The little space heater keeps it about 60 degrees inside but it takes a while to warm up because I don’t leave it on when I am not in it and I am in the house most of the day until late at night either baking or visiting with them. They seem to like watching movies and television so I have watched I think 3 or 4 movies or shows and they also played the first two episodes of NCIS which is the only show I watch when home. We did watch a sort of documentary I wanted to see which is based on a true story of a man who was a diver and an octopus and he became sort of friends. It was a really touching and beautiful story. We also watched The Shack which I had seen with some friends in Texas several years ago. It gives lots of food for thought and seeing things differently.

Yesterday, my friend Mickey from Delaware drove almost two hours to see me and we went to a really nice restaurant for lunch and go to have some time together. It was great once again to meet in person friends I have only met online.

I have pictures on my phone that I will download to my computer then add to the albums. Most of them are similar to what is already there.

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Traveling in my camper van meeting friends and having adventures September 2022

I left on a trip in my camper van and have been having lots of experiences. I stopped to see some friends in NW South Carolina, and then went to spend a few days with a friend in Tennessee and went to a picnic.

I drove through the Smoky mountains and then I drove through parts of North Carolina into Virginia. I’m in Maryland do one of my friends drove down to meet me and we went and explored Antietam civil war site and also Gettysburg civil war site.

A friend from Pennsylvania drove down to Gettysburg and we got to spend several hours together going through the civil war museum and seeing the cyclorama it was amazing.

I have taken a lot of pictures I’ve got to make some time and see if I can figure out how to upload them here and add some stories.

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September 2022

I decided to take a trip and meet some of my online friends and some of my friends that I’ve had for many years.

I had my camper van checked out and had some repairs done mechanically and bought new tires getting ready for the trip. I always take way too much with me.

I haven’t been anywhere for about 4 years so it’s nice to get away and have a change of scenery.

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August 2022

I am planning to take another trip the beginning of September and travel through the southeastern states to go visit friends. I’m in the process of having my camper van readied for the trip. I just had two new auxiliary batteries installed and this coming week I am getting new tires. Even thought the current tires only have about 10,000 miles on them they are five years old and I would feel safer having new tires. It will be nice to take another trip, it’s been several years since I’ve traveled due to the pandemic that started in early 2020.

March of 2020 I had the camper packed except for food and medical supplies and was ready to take a trip and go north and was planning on going to see friends in states including Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, Vermont, and a few others. Then the pandemic happened and I thought it would pass in a month or so. We all know that didn’t happen. I didn’t unpack my camper until sometime in October. I was hopeful I would be able to travel but it didn’t happen.

So, now hopefully I will be able to travel. My health has been a bit rocky the past month but I feel confident that another trip is going to work out the way it’s supposed to just like other years. Since it’s late in the year and will be getting cold in the northern states, even ones I am planning to visit like Tennessee, NW South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and a few others I will head that way first and work my way back south into the Carolinas and Georgia as I travel towards home in south Florida. I love going to Native Rhythms Flute Festival the 2nd weekend in November in Melbourne, Florida so that is my target date to be back in Florida. However, my plans are flexible and written in sand so perhaps I will find other places to visit and have more time with my friends I will be visiting.

Deciding what to bring on my trip will be a bit more challenging this time because since I have been home for several years and not traveling I have been making almost everything I eat from scratch and that will not be as convenient because I don’t have room to take many things I use like my KitchenAid mixer and some attachments. I will take my Ninja container which will allow me to make my smoothies and a small amount of dough for bread or crackers. And I guess a rolling pin so I can hopefully still make some pasta and roll it out with a rolling pin instead of the roller attachment for my mixer or the hand cranked pasta machine. I have a small induction cooktop, and will take my small Instapot and a toaster oven so that hopefully will allow me to make meals and snacks. It will also take up a bit of my limited space and it will be a challenge to see how I can secure these items so they don’t break. I don’t have much cabinet space and they are small and not able to store these items. My medical supplies, clothes, and some food take up alot of the cabinet space. I bring some canned items since I am not always near grocery stores.

My intent is to visit a lot of friends in the southeast so I may not be in campgrounds as much as I usually am because in previous trips I didn’t have so many people I knew around the country. In the past 2 1/2 years I have made friends all over the world and I am looking forward to meeting many of them in the southeast. So, it’s well worth missing the conveniences I have been used to having while at home full time.

My friend Pam who set up this website updated it from a www to an https site a few years ago and it changed the way I add stories and pictures. I have not experimented with adding photos since she did that but I need to try soon so I will be able to add the ones from the past several months and hopefully some from this trip. I am also a few stories behind. Last fall I was able to go up in the Goodyear Zeppelin which is a lot different from the Goodyear Blimp I went up in during 2013. I have lots of photos I took during that flight and someday I hope to get them written and posted on my website. I also went to Arnolds Wildlife Rehabilitation Center last fall. My friend Sue Arnold has a horse and donkey rescue in Vermont and she closed the wildlife center in Okeechobee, Florida. She found good homes for all of the animals. I also went to Native Rhythms Festival last November. There are stories on these places on my website from previous visits to them, you can do a search and find the stories and pictures of these three trips.

I also have lots of interesting stories and places I visited on my website along with inspirational poems and stories, stories about my mentor Lois, pictures of jigsaw puzzles, National Parks, Reidsville, Georgia and a story I wrote about a talk with God I had when I thought it was the end of my life due to health issues, you can see that didn’t happen. God has plans different than what my doctor thought about my condition. I also wrote a story in October 2013, called Seriously, Really, You Would Rather be an Ostrich? It’s about the importance of having legal documents prepared and telling your loved ones what your wishes are. Life happens and so do unexpected events.

The beginning of August I unexpectedly ended up in the emergency room because I blocked my intestines by accident. I have had that happen a few times in the 30 years I have had my Illeostomy, it’s not fun. This time, even after 12 hours, then 15 hours it did not open up and the pain was too intense to handle anymore. After 6 hours in the ER they admitted me, gave me lots of IV fluids and thankfully it opened the blockage. They kept me for 4 days, 3 of which I had a tube down my nose into my stomach. Not fun!. On the 4th day they let me go home. No food for 4 days was not easy, when I got home it took about a week to get my body to feel like it was back to whatever normal is. I have so much to be grateful for.

When I was laying in the hospital bed in so much pain, I laid on my side and visualized God holding me and comforting me and wrapped around me like a cocoon and a blanket. It helped to ease the pain and allow me to relax a bit. I learned a lot during those 4 days in the hospital about tolerance, patience, self will, wanting my way, acceptance, etc. I also saw God working in the situation and the last day late afternoon when a nurse was taking the IV needle out of my arm and I suggested using an adhesive remover to take off the sticky bandage holding the needle in place, she was gentle and caring and we started talking and I was able to give her some tips to help patients with an ostomy like I have and I was able to give her some of my products to use to help others. We had a talk about God too. I would have missed that experience. My thinking was telling them I wanted to leave early in the day and I was going to check my self out of the hospital by noon, they didn’t let me out until about 6 p.m. I found out if I checked myself out without the doctors approval then my insurance would not pay my hospital bill. So, I had to wait and try to be still and patient. I had to continue to use the prayer I have used for about 34 years… God if it be Your will can I please not do things to hurt myself anymore. It works in lots of ways. Also, God if it be Your will please put me in the place I can best use my talents and God given abilities according to Your purpose for my life. I have to remember whatever I am experiencing is a lesson and experience I am going to grow through and use to share with someone else someday. When I can get to that I am peaceful no matter what is happening in my life.

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June and July 2022

Time sure passes quickly, hard to believe it’s halfway through July already. I am keeping pretty busy talking with friends, staying active online connecting with friends around the world and making new ones. I am still baking and cooking lots of foods and trying new recipes. l even make wheat thins and graham crackers and they taste lots better and are healthier than the store bought ones.

In April I had my camper van repainted and about 2 weeks later when I went outside I smelled smoke, it was a distinct smell miles around the area. That was on a Thursday. Friday I went to the camper van which is parked about a mile away and put new tire covers on the tires. Saturday it rained. Sunday morning I went to drive the camper van and there were black streaks and black spots all over the vehicle, there was some on the car too. But it would not wash off the camper van, it did wash off the car which was painted in October. I don’t know if it was because the paint was only about 2 weeks old, or a different paint, but it was not what I expected that it would not wash off. I took it to the body shop and he didn’t know why it would not come off either. He used some lacquer thinner and it came off. My friend who details the van had to use compound to get it to look white again, and then he used a paste wax on it. So now Molly (the camper van) looks almost like new again.

Physically, I am doing okay. Still have chronic pain and some days are more intense than other days. Every now and then I have a day that is almost pain free and I am so grateful for the reprieve. I was scheduled to have out patient surgery on Monday, July 11th. I went for the COVID test on Thursday and later that day the doctors office called and said the hospital overbooked the operating room and they are rescheduling my surgery for Friday, July 15th. Hopefully it will go smoothly and not be as intense and painful as when they took a tumor out of a different part of my back several years ago. This tumor is not as deep or as big and it’s not into nerves, etc. like the other one was. It’s in a sensitive spot on the lower part of my back just on the side of my spine. Last Thursday a friend who is a massage therapist came over and gave me a really good massage loosening my muscles, tissues, etc. I was so grateful for her. We had a nice visit catching up on life and I made lunch for us.

I know I still need to write stories about going up in the Goodyear Zeppelin, Arnold’s Wildlife, and Native Rhythms Music Festival. I have to download the pictures from my camera and phone and figure out how to add the pictures to a story since it’s different since my friend updated my website from www to http. Eventually, I will get them written.

I spoke with Sue Arnold who ran Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Okeechobee, Florida. She sold the land and found good homes for the animals. A few years ago she started a horse and donkey rescue in Vermont so that is her focus for the past few years.

I’m hoping to take a trip maybe in late August for a month or so to visit friends in the southeastern states. A month or so ago the building I am living in had hurricane windows in which is a blessing. I am on the 2nd floor of a 2 story building and my north windows were exposed and I didn’t have a way to put up hurricane shutters if needed. Thankfully, the past few years we have been very lucky and didn’t have any hurricanes. I hope it stays that way. Living through a category 5 and a few 4’s was not fun. Neither was living through tornadoes when I lived in Texas.

In October 2013, I wrote an important story called Seriously, Really, You Would Rather Be An Ostrich? You can search the word Ostrich and read it. It’s about the importance of having your legal documents prepared like a trust, will, DNR, living will, health care surrogate, etc. Since it has been a few years since I updated my documents, I met with my attorney the past few weeks and did what he called the Eighth Amendment which is a restatement of my trust. It consolidated all the amendments into one document and I updated the organizations where my money will be donated when I die. Since I don’t have children or a spouse, all my money is being donated to organizations and charities that are important to me and that use the money to purchase necessary equipment, preserving historical documents, and other worthwhile places. In 2013, when the doctor told me I would not live long I donated funds to rural fire departments to purchase equipment, wildlife rescues, and other places. There are many stories about a few of the places I donated because a few came to visit me or I went to see them. I have some special friends at several of the fire departments around the country.

On my website there are also lots of interesting things other then places I have visited and traveled to. There are inspirational poems and stories, pictures of jigsaws I did, stories about a mentor named Lois who had a significant positive impact in my life and helped me become the woman I am today. There are lots of stories about historical places I got to see like the Oklahoma Bombing site, a RV dealer in Amarillo who has a wonderful free museum with RVs and motorcycles from the 1930s to the 1970s, many National Parks, and lots more adventures.

There are also links in some of the stories to books I like like Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss, and the Real Story of the Three Little Pigs it’s the wolf’s version. Lois loved Shel Silvestein and we would read all of these books out loud in funny voices and laugh. I love reading books out loud. It slows my mind down, I remember more of what I read. I have learned over the years to believe in and trust a God that is my Higher Power and I invite myself into God’s day because I realize and have experience that anything is possible in God’s day. I don’t invite God into my small, limited, human day. Also, my God has a big eraser and makes frequent changes to the script of my life daily. I have so much to be grateful for.

Guess that’s about it for now. No promises but I will try to get some stories and pictures from last fall posted here.

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May 2022

It’s hard to believe it’s almost the end of May. Time seems to pass quickly. Not much is happening here with me. I seem to stay busy and talk with friends on the phone and do lots of things online to connect with my friends around the world. I also have been continuing to make all of the food I eat from scratch including bread, crackers, pasta, candy, etc. and I am trying lots of new recipes.

I had my camper van repainted about a month ago and she looks really nice. About 2 weeks ago I could smell smoke and the day after it rained and there must have been ash in the air because my camper van looked like a zebra white with black lines on it that would not wash off with regular car wash soap, even with elbow grease. So I am bringing it to another detail place in the morning and then have it waxed and hopefully prevent this from happening again.

Healthwise, have some things happening and still dealing with the results of many operations internally and other issues. But I have so much to be grateful for that the health stuff is a minor part of my life. This past week was 33 years ago that my mentor and a woman very special to me being who I am today died. Her name was Lois E. The things she taught me, and shared with me are what has helped me become who I am today. She has a significant positive impact on my life in the 10 1/2 months I knew her and I do my best to live life so that she would be proud of me. I still can hear her laughter and know she is watching over me and probably laughing still. I truly felt the meaning of unconditional love from Lois and I learned how to return it, not always perfectly, but I try to do my best every day.

Have some health things to get resolved, and I am still considering taking a trip in my camper van in late summer for a few months even though I probably will not have Internet/wifi much while traveling. I thought about going out west to the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque again since it’s their 50th anniversary but decided that is not a great idea for me with my compromised immune system. I would want to volunteer and there are thousands of people from around the world there and no telling what I could be exposed to.

So, I might just decide to take a shorter trip and go visit friends in Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, and that part of the country. I will try to decide after a doctor appointment the end of June. Lots of logistics to consider and coordinate when I travel.

Until then, I will continue to use online platforms to connect with my friends around the world, cook and keep trying new recipes, and talk on the phone with my friends, and read books to relax and/or learn.

I hope all of you are doing well. I still have stories from last fall to write and photos to add like the Native American Flute Festival I went to in November along with Arnold’s Wildlife, and going up in the Goodyear Zeppelin. Hopefully, I will get around to it soon. But there are stories and pictures from those events in stories over the years and if you do a search you will find them along with inspirational poems and stories that have helped me over the years, pictures of puzzles I have done, and a few books I like like Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss, and The Real Story of the Three Little Pigs, by A. Wolf. It has great illustrations and great messages of life.

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March 2022

I know that I have not written stories nor added pictures since last fall. There have been adventures and experiences I could have written about but just did not make time to write the stories and insert photos.

I am doing pretty well, still have the same health issues. Last August or September I got to go up in the Goodyear Zeppelin which is very different from the Goodyear Blimp that I got to go up in during the summer of 2013. I will try to make time soon to write the story and add photos.

In November 2021, I went to Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Okeechobee, Florida for a few days and then went to Melbourne, Florida for several days to Native Rhythms Flute Festival which I really enjoy because not only do I get to listen to great music, but I also get to see many friends who are artists and vendors at that event that I have attended for many years. There are previous stories for the times I went to these places and events.

So many prayers are needed for people and countries around the world, so please send prayers if you can.

In September I had my 2000 Toyota repainted and it looks like new. Last week I brought Molly, my 1998 Camper Van, in to be repainted. I am hoping to take a long trip this summer and fall. Still in the planning stage. I would like to go volunteer at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta again this year. I did it for 6 years, but not in the past few years. It’s about 2,400 miles one way and I would be dry camping for a few weeks there and I know from experience it can get really cold and I can’t run the generator a lot of the time.

If I am going to go that far west, I am praying about and thinking about if I want to drive out to California and Las Vegas before Albuquerque to visit friends there and then come back east to Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, and other places to also visit friends and plan my travels to see friends in so many other states on my journey. I know it will be a bit more costly than in previous years due to gas prices. In the past week gas is $1.00 more per gallon than it was last week. I’m guessing the further west I got it will be more expensive. When I traveled in 2011 and got to Oregon, I found it to be the only state where I was not allowed to pump my own gas. There was and probably still is a state law prohibiting it. I think it had something to do with ensuring jobs for workers.

As for food, I am still making almost everything I eat from scratch… crackers, breads, pasta, cookies, etc. I’m trying lots of new recipes and experimenting with different things too. Lots of new foods that I find I like.

That’s about it for now. Just wanted to let you know I am alive and doing pretty good.

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August through October Happenings

I know I am behind on writing and posting stories and photos to my website. I’m doing okay, some days are still physically challenging, not like some of my friends who have much more physical challenges than I do. Mostly, mine are pain in my abdomen from all of my operations and some in my left leg and foot from the lumbar spine degeneration. Once I am up and moving I get a lot better and the pain seems to decrease.

There are so many things I am grateful for that they override any other things happening with my body. Like a special woman in my life many years ago told me: stand up, take two steps, and say thank you God I can walk, talk, and breathe at the same time. She was not able to do that with her medical condition for about seven years. There were times it was challenging for me to do that after some operations. I try not to take it for granted that I can do these things.

Many years ago I read somethings that impacted my thinking a lot: Is today the worse day of your life? Then quit looking like it is. Another was: Live each day as if it’s your last, one of these days you are going to be right. A billboard I saw in Albuquerque said: Dream as if you will live forever, Live as if you will die tomorrow.

Being home because of this pandemic I have been doing lots of baking and cooking and trying new recipes. Giving away lots of home made treats has put smiles on the faces of my neighbors, people at places I shop, get my vehicles worked on, and many other places. Yesterday, I made my favorite treat… chocolate, chocolate chip cheesecake cupcakes. You can go to the Handle The Heat dot com website and find the recipe. I take a bit of a shortcut which works just fine. I add mini chocolate chips to the cheesecake filling, and pour about 3/4 batter into the cupcake pan and then add a spoonful of the cheesecake filling and then bake. I don’t add the extra chocolate on top after it’s baked. I make them as mini cupcakes and freeze most of them then eat frozen when I want a snack. I also use silicone cupcake liners which makes the cupcakes come out easy.

In September, I got to use the certificate I won in an auction to raise scholarships for students to go to college. It was for two seats on the Goodyear Zeppelin, it used to be the Goodyear Blimp, but the new Zeppelin is much better. There are so many differences that made it a much more enjoyable ride. In 2013, I got to go up in the Goodyear Blimp twice which was really fun and especially since I got to share it with some friends. My mom was still alive then so she and my sister joined us.

I have lots of photos and will write more about it hopefully soon. In the beginning of October I think it was, I went camping for two and a half days to Johathan Dickenson State Park and it was nice to get away and be with nature and in the fresh air. I was able to hook my hammock between two trees and read a book laying in the hammock which is one of my relaxing things I like to do while camping whenever I can find trees to use, which is not often at most campgrounds. Weather permitting, I am hoping and planning to go to Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Okeechobee, Florida, about 100 miles north of me for a few days. I love going there and seeing the animals and helping to feed them. Also, the camels like to let me pet them through the fence. There are several stories and lots of pictures of my previous visits there.

That’s about it for now. Hope to write more and write the story about the Goodyear Zeppelin ride and camping soon. You can search this site for my 2013 Goodyear Blimp experiences.

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