Sunday, December 5, 2010

Home Sweet Friggin’ Freezin’ Home

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Fortunately, our night at the Wal-Mart just south of Atlanta was quiet—no more truckers parked next to me!  But it was getting colder each night the further we drove north.  Thankfully, that only was a bother when taking Millie out for walks.  Inside the View, my furnace and hot water heater, and Reflectix insulated window covers kept things nice and cozy.  Something decadent about taking a nice hot shower in the middle of a Wal-Mart parking lot on a cold night…for free!   I love my View!

It was plunging towards zero by the time we arrived back in Chicago.  As I started warming up my house again, my furnace went out, so I had to repack a bag and head over to my mom’s house until the furnace guy could fix it.  Ah, so nice to be back home.  Why, exactly, did I not decide to spend the whole winter in Florida?

Friday, December 3, 2010

A nutty detour on the way home

We were leaving the Keys not a minute too soon.  A big cold front had moved in overnight and the highs would struggle to get into the 50s and with high winds the day we left.  So, best to get my tall vehicle off those long wind-exposed bridges in the Keys as soon as possible.

We had a long 4-day drive back to Chicago, and it was predicted to be below freezing every single night along the way (even our first night in central Florida!).  We rolled into Bushnell, FL about 9:00pm.  Mom and Dolores headed off to their hotel, while Millie and I boondocked in the Wal-Mart parking lot. 

There were about 10 RVs and Truckers parked closely together off on one side of the lot, and 1 small RV parked by itself on the other side of the lot.  Of course, I decided to park on the uncrowded side of the lot.  Got Millie walked, my shades pulled down, bed made, jammies on and crawled into bed by around 10.  Just as I was drifting off to sleep, a big 18-wheeler rolled in and decided to park right next to me.  Of course he left his loud diesel engine running :-) .  About 30 minutes later, I heard him put his truck into gear and drive away.  “Hallelujah!  For once, I’ve lucked out!,” I thought.

Uh, not so fast.

It seems he was just turning around so he could get his engine even CLOSER to my RV.  Argh!  Need to remember to bring ear plugs on these RV trips in the future! 

Our next day’s drive was through Georgia, and after the monotony of 2 days of highway driving, Dolores had a perfect diversion to recharge our batteries…a trip to Ellis Brothers Nut Shop!  The billboard signs dot the interstate for miles in Georgia saying '”We’re Nuts!”, so when we turned off a rural exit, I expected to find a tourist shack selling over-priced stale nuts.  Well, there was one of those right at the exit.  But one of Dolores’ cousins was a pecan farmer in Georgia, and told her to drive a few miles to the main store.  Wow, what fun.  We passed cotton fields and persimmon trees, and arrived to a store full of fresh, tasty samples of everything they sold, at reasonable prices too!   Yum!

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Backyard Kayaking

Usually, if I want to go paddling somewhere, it’s a major production to either put the canoe rack on my car and strap the canoe onto it, or take the 30 lb bag with my Sea Eagle inflatable kayak and then spend time when I get to the location pumping it up to be ready for use.

So what a luxury indeed to have my little kayak just sitting on the backyard patio ready to go every day whenever I felt like paddling!

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So I tried to get out on the water as many mornings and evenings as I could, but every time I’d leave, Millie would get a very concerned look on her face and start crying until I was out of sight.

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The Keys are very challenging for boaters as the reef comes up to make waters quite shallow in the areas between the islands, but that makes it great for kayakers!  The water was crystal clear and filled with fish!

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Finally back to the house.  You can see the View parked on the left:

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On our last night, I took Millie for a walk down to the end of the street to see the sunset.  No other dogs on this street…only a parrot who “barked” at Millie as she went by:

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Millie couldn’t resist one more quick swim:

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and then had to drench me when she shook off

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But it was a nice sunset and relaxing way to end a great trip to the Keys.

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