August and September 2023 Fun Life Happenings

I was hoping to take a trip in the camper van for a few months but it didn’t work out for that to happen. The generator in the camper van decided to not work and it took a while for me to find someone local to fix it. Since it’s mounted underneath the van it’s not easy to get to. After going to many mechanics, etc. I finally through someone recommending me to ask a motorbike place, which I didn’t think would be able to help me, the owner gave me the name of someone he knows that works on small engines and generators. I went to that shop and a nice man named Oliver who owns it took the generator down and serviced it so it now works great. It takes a few tries to get it to stay running, but it then works well. I didn’t want to take a trip without the generator working to recharge my batteries that run my lights, fridge, microwave, etc.

But it worked out great being home because some of my friends I met online were visiting nearby and I got to meet them in person and a good friend from Toronto came too and we got to go to the beach and walk in the water, take pictures, and go for ice cream with him and his friends. We also had several meals together and on the day my Toronto friend was leaving we went earlier in the day to Morikami Japanese Gardens in Boca Raton. I had not been there before and it’s really beautiful and peaceful. I took lots of pictures so I will post some soon in an album.

I’ve been doing a bit of baking again and trying new things. I found a recipe for copycat Cheese-It crackers and they came out really good and I found an easy bagel recipe using only 2 ingredients yogurt and flour and they too were good.

Next week I am planning on going to Naples, Florida on the western coast of Florida to meet some friends for the weekend and then come back home and meet some about 20 minutes north of me the next weekend. I love getting to meet people in person that I have met online but never in person.

Today, September 8th, I went to a free watercolor class at a local County library. The lady who was supposed to teach the class wasn’t feeling well so we were on our own to paint whatever we wanted. Some people, especially one lady that seems to be a serious artist painted a bouquet of flowers from a picture in a book and it was really good. I just painted some abstract designs and one of the volunteers liked one of my paintings so I gifted it to him. He said he’s going to hang it in his apartment. It was fun to paint and it was sort of an underwater scene to me.

When I was going to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta I put the bumper stickers in the back window of the camper and over time they have fad ed, so I bought some fabric I liked and attached it to a piece of cardboard and put it in the back window, it looks really nice now.

Here is a link to some of the pictures I took related to this story.

I will have to make time to upload more pictures to my laptop and then add them to the photo album.

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June and July 2023

It’s been a while since I updated my website. Mostly because nothing new or exciting or interesting has been happening. I am still at home and I am hoping to begin another trip in mid August and going west to Texas, Oklahoma, and maybe Colorado and Arizona. I am praying about it and starting to plan for the trip. I have a doctor appointment the end of July and will see if the doctor wants to do a scan or if it can wait until I get back in the late Fall.

It’s been really hot and humid here and we have had lots of rain almost every day. God is so powerful, it can be sunny then we get a thunder storm with wind and rain then it might be sunny again. I had my camper van and car washed and waxed today and almost every time I have it done it rains that day a while afterwards.

I haven’t done much cooking or baking the past few weeks. The air conditioner in my apartment stopped working about 3 weeks ago so I am minimizinA g doing anything to make it warmer in my apartment. A new air conditioner unit is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow so that is a good thing and it should be installed in a few days. I do have another wall unit in my bedroom so I have a fan trying to blow air into the other room but it is not doing too well. I moved my containers of chocolate candy into my bedroom because it was melting in the living room where it is between 80 and 88 degrees. I have a small fan next to my laptop and me in the living room so it’s working pretty well.

Just bought a new tablet and it was a bit of a challenge getting it set up and transferring my digital books onto it. I am considering whether or not to change phone providers and there are a few choices and it’s a bit unsettling to consider the pros and cons and whether or not to change. It might be for the best, and then again I don’t want to mess things up and take a risk of the service not working where I will be traveling to. I am fairly good with technology, but this hot spot thing is not working between my current phone plan and my laptop and I know it could be because of the speed the carrier provides. I have a grandfathered plan from when Sprint went to T-Mobile and if I cancel it the monthly fee for something similar will be about double my current cost. I am considering getting a different provider and having another phone number to use so I can have a backup phone. I am praying about what the best thing to do would be.

That’s about it for now. Guess I need to start planning and putting things together for my trip which might happen in about a three or four weeks.

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May 2023

Time has been passing quickly. I looked at my website and realized I have not added any new stories since February. To be honest, not much has been happening. I haven’t taken any new trips or done anything exciting in the past few months. I mostly stay home and chat with my friends around the world through technology on my laptop. It’s wonderful to have friends all over the world.

I have been in the apartment I am renting for 10 years and due to health conditions I didn’t think I would be here 1 year, let alone 10 years. I moved in with only some clothes and a few kitchen items. Everything I owned fit in my camper van. Over the years, and mostly since Covid, I have accumulated lots of kitchen items because I make almost everything I eat from scratch. I bought more clothes, and many other things. I have accumulated way too much stuff so I decided to give away and donate a lot of things. So I contacted some friends and homeless shelters and gave away lots of things. Still, I have lots of things so maybe I will get motivated to do some craft projects.

I gave away my sewing machine, but I still have fabric and batting material. Maybe I will start making some quilts again. On one of my early camping trips in my camper van I was at a campsite and a group of women were making quilts. I told them I always had wanted to make one. They told me if I went and got fabric they would teach me how to sew one. So, I drove about half an hour to a store and bought fabric, thread, and needles. They taught me how to make a simple quilt. Since I seem to overdue things my first quilt was a queen size one that was all hand stitched, and that is how I seem to make quilts. It’s not hard, just time consuming. I think there is a picture of my 1st quilt, it is a purple square quilt, in the story I wrote last fall when I was visiting my friend in Maryland who I gave the quilt to. She had it on the bed in her guest room.

Otherwise, I have been home and staying in touch with friends, cooking and trying new recipes, and resting. This past week I somehow got a virus in my inner ear and have Vertigo. That has not been fun, being dizzy and having to move very carefully. Guess God wants me to slow down and take it easier than I was. I have two old fashioned lava lamps and two salt lamps and weren’t using them. About a week or two ago I decided to use them and put the large salt lamp in the living room dining room area, and the small one in my bedroom and leave them on because it is supposed to release negative ions or something like that. At night when I go to bed and read I turn on both lava lamps, they are different colored ones, it’s nice to look at. Somehow when I turn my light off and go to sleep I seem to sleep better. Is it from the lamps? I don’t know but they may help.

The other thing that has been happening is that I had dental work done and had six crowns done which was a long process. Not sure it’s for the best because it changed my bite and it feels different, but guess like other things in life I have to get used to something being different and adjusting to it.

It would be nice to take another trip this summer and fall but I have to see how things unfold. My landlady wants to sell the apartment I am living in and I don’t want to purchase it, so it depends who buys it whether or not I can stay here or if I have to move, and if the rent will increase. So many unknowns. A few months ago I was looking at options whether to move, or where to go, etc. I have lots of options. I kept praying to God to bless it or block it for the actions I was taking. God blocked the places and gave me other thoughts so for now, I am staying where I am and giving things away so it is not so full in my small apartment. It feels good to be able to once again give things to people and places that can use them. I had lots of hand crocheted baby blankets I made. Before Covid I donated hundreds of them to the NICU at a local hospital, but they closed that part of the hospital so I donated them to the homeless shelter with the other items like clothes and art supplies, etc. It will be a blessing if a child that is scared and homeless gets a nice soft handmade blanket to cuddle. That’s what I like to envision, or children coloring with the crayons, colored pencils, and coloring books I gave them.

I feel so beyond blessed and grateful for the life that I have been given and worked to have through actions that sometimes I didn’t want to take but that were suggested to me over so many years. I have a Higher Power that knows what is best for me and if I invite myself into God’s day, and not God into my small limited human day, my life is so much better.

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February 2023 WOW!!!

It’s 2023, and time passes quickly. I didn’t realize I had not added another story since November 2022. On the way home from my trip last fall, I went once again to the Native Rhythms Flute Festival in Melbourne, Florida where I get to listen to wonderful music and see my friends who are performers and vendors. It was mostly sunny this weekend for the event. Some years there was lots of rain. We did have some rain but it was not too much.

I hope to upload the pictures and write the story soon. Not much happening here. Mostly baking, reading, and doing daily tasks and talking with friends on the phone or computer.

My hopes are that all of you have a wonderful year filled with abundant blessings, even though sometimes they feel like challenges. We get a chance to be either a victim or hero in our life story. I also invite myself into God’s day where anything is possible. I don’t invite God into my small limited human day. Have had many God stories and unexpected things happening. Some have been fun, and others having me make choices and decisions that have been a bit challenging.

A few days ago I was walking to my car and noticed that someone hit my car and did quite a bit of damage to the front bumper and lights and didn’t leave any information about who they are. So I went to the auto body that repainted my car last year and they repaired it so it looks like new again. I am praying for the person that caused the damage and didn’t let me know by leaving a note or waiting for me.

I am also having dental work done, I have cracks in several teeth so I am having six crowns done on my front top teeth. I believe in being proactive not reactive, even with vehicle maintenance, and other areas of life. It will all work out the way God wants it to.

So many events in life happen and I feel blessed to get to experience them and have these experiences to share with other people and that God keeps showing me how big God is. God has been showing me so many miracles and unexpected things unfolding not only in my life, but also in the lives of people I connect with in many ways.

Today, I baked some bread, pumpkin chocolate chip cake, the Doubletree chocolate chip cookies, and make one of my favorites… chocolate, chocolate chip cheesecake cupcakes. I will give most of it away, but usually I keep the cheesecake cupcakes to myself and freeze them to snack on.

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November 2022

I arrived back home after a wonderful two month trip visiting friends and exploring many interesting places in Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, and Georgia. I drove about 3,000 miles on this trip. There are several stories and lots of pictures in previous stories. My last stop was at the Native American Rhythms flute festival which is held the second weekend in November in Melbourne, Florida.

Lots of wonderful entertainment and vendors, many of whom I have made friends with over the years. I will post a photo album and add to this story sometime hopefully soon. I just bought a new computer and I am adapting to using it. It’s the same brand, but for some reason the camera, or settings or something is different and I am trying to get where I like the color, brightness, contrast, etc. to look good, especially when using online meeting platforms. My older computer was working fine and the computer place copied my files onto this new computer. Something happened because my old computer would not boot up this morning and after spending time at the computer store, had to leave it for them to try to resolve and reinstall the operating system I think it is. If it doesn’t work, will have to make decisions as to what next. One step at a time to figure it out. I am not thrilled with the video looks in the online meeting platform but may have to sacrifice something to have this newer technology.

Anyway, since being back home and getting into a routine, I started baking again and have been giving lots of cookies away to places and friends. I am so grateful for so many blessings, friends, and experiences.

I hope to add the pictures of the music festival and story about it soon, is the website if you want to see the event I attended. There are stories on my website from previous years I went to this music festival.

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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

Here is a link to some of the pictures I took related to this story

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.

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.

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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 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.

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. Here is a link to pictures I took at Antietam with my phone.

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. Here is a link to pictures I took with my phone.

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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