the mechanical saga continues

so, my camper was at a shop in portland getting a new clutch.

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while i waited, i sat by the pool, and had some really great food. here are a few highlights of the meals!

rose foods was a primo breakfast, and lunch spot. i went there twice!

the other fabulous place i went was the honey paw. my friends from detroit had just been here, and recommended it. i loved it!

a week later my camper was ready. i walked in to pay, and the guy behind the desk said ” it’s a little hard to get into gear, but it will loosen up as it breaks in”. i thought okay. i paid the 1100 dollars, and went out to get going. it was a little hard to get in gear, but i got it in, and took off. i have since learned my lesson! i was going to katonah, ny again to stop by david’s for one night on my way home.  i was driving on the highway, and the camper seemed fine, but every time i got gas, or paid a toll i felt like it was getting harder to get in gear. ugh! this was beginning to be a nightmare. i finally got to katonah, and at the last light could not get it in gear at all. new yorkers were honking at me which added to the stress. i finally stopped the engine, and put it in gear, and popped my new clutch into gear. i pulled into his drive, and was exhausted. at this point i cried a little. i was really disheartened! i was ready to junk it and just go home! i talked to my friend lisa in detroit, and she talked me off the ledge! i started the problem solving. the toyota motorhome facebook pages by this time had A LOT to say. the fellas said take it back, and make the shop  make it right! well, even with my free 200 mile tow with triple a, (it was 280 miles) it would cost $500.

i decided to start over. i found an rv shop that i could tow it to after the weekend for free with my triple a. they seemed nice when i went there, but at this point i felt i couldn’t trust anyone.

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they did have a lot of rvs in the lot, and even some old ones. well, i went back to david’s, and we have a few days of fun, and small projects. i hadn’t heard from the shop, so i called to see if they had started. they had ordered parts, and were starting to get it done! i had asked them to adjust the carburetor also. i got a call from the mechanic craig, and he said “i need to give you a tune-up before i can adjust the carburetor”. i said to go ahead. it was ready for pick-up on thursday. i went to get it and craig took me back to talk about everything he did. i asked how much it was, and for a tune-up, a new slave cylinder, a new master cylinder, a new accelerator cable, and some small electrical fixes, it was right around $400! wait, what!? he then took me for a test drive, and i was amazed! it had so much power! he recommended new front shocks, and a couple other small things the next time i had it worked on. i liked him so much that i decided to leave it one more day for him to do all that work.


that is craig! he is at transatlantic rv and auto in peekskill, ny. i fully intend to visit my friend, and take my rv back to craig periodically. he is one killer mechanic.

on the way east, i was doing 45 mph up the mountains in third gear. on the way home i passed a semi doing 65 mph up a mountain, in fourth gear. i never had to downshift all the way home up in the mountains!  he is a miracle worker! i would only drive 4 to 6 hours a day as it was so stressful, but i can drive 10 hours straight with no problem now. amazing! i once again love my camper!

i was relieved about the camper, so the fun continued!

david and i went out to eat at an awesome restaurant called the farmer and the fish. it was in a cute old house, and the food was great. it was a farm to table, with the farm right behind the restaurant!

we also cooked a bunch since the boys were there for the weekend.

i made crispy beef, lasagna, and a kind-of eggplant parmesan. we had food for days!!

because i didn’t have the camper for awhile, i stayed in david’s guest room. the dogs were getting quite comfortable at his house. in addition david and i got the pool maintenance down perfectly, and the pool was looking amazing!


my time was coming to an end in katonah, and without david’s help i would have never gotten through the third mechanical issue. i was so fortunate to have a wonderful place to stay! he was a super host, and we certainly had fun!

david’s friend ed was coming to house sit for a week on my last day, and we picked him up at the bus station, and had a super fun last night!



so, after my second fun filled week in katonah, i was off to detroit.

until next time…


the road north

i was excited for my next stop . i had gotten a site at an oceanfront state park in massachussetts. horse neck beach state park. sounds nice doesn’t it? i didn’t get a site on the water, but it was close, and i knew i would be able to smell the salt air. the drive in was nice, so i had hopes…

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i got to the park, and a young woman was at the office, and got me my pass for the site. she informed me it was right behind the office at the “Y” in the road. i knew that was bad because there would be a lot of traffic. i still had the beach though. i drove to my spot, and it was right at the junction of two roads, and it was essentially in the middle of a grass field. on this field were about 30 other sites all filled with families with children everywhere! ugh! my dogs were going to bark non-stop! oh, well. i took the dogs for a walk down to the beach. i was just wearing my flip flops, and once the dogs see water they pull really badly. i got to the beach and is wasn’t sand, but tennis ball sized rocks! now remember, i am in flip flops! the first thing that happens is tilly starts running and pulling, and i hit the rocks and fall down! now imagine falling down onto a sea of rock hard tennis balls…not fun!

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anyway, the beach was nice.( besides the tennis ball sized rocks) the water was beautiful, and the campsites right on the water were nice. it was about 3pm, and there were some empty water sites. i thought “you don’t get what you don’t ask for”, so i decided to go back to the office. i asked the young woman if there were any spots on the water. i was there for two nights. she had a spot available for one night…yea!! that changed everything! the view was awesome, and the backdrop was a low dune.

the dogs and i settled in. there were no hook ups, and i was not sure what i could do without power, so i used my lights very sparingly. i had a great dinner of some housemade sausage from katonah new york, and even gave some to the dogs.


the sunset was beautiful that night, and i could see it right from my bunk!

the next day i decided to explore the area, as i didn’t want to hang out at the park. i found a sweet little coffee shop nearby and had a nice breakfast.


i had gotten in touch with one of my college professors, and he lived right near where i was camping, so i made a plan to visit him, and see his studio. i stopped by and caught up for a little bit. it was great to see him, but of course i didn’t take any photos! argh!

i was heading north, and decided i didn’t want to stay at the bad state park another night, so i ventured back to the park, cancelled my night, and dumped my black water tank and moved on.

i had a hard time finding a campsite, so i made it to portsmouth, new hampshire, and got a motel. it was great!! a real shower, a/c, and cable tv. i also ventured into town for dinner, and had my first buttered lobster roll of the trip! i had heard of and had a cold lobster roll…lobster, celery, and a little mayonnaise, but a hot lobster roll was new to me. it is warm with just melted butter…whoa, it was great!!


the hotel was a motel 6. they are great for the dogs. the fellow at the desk even asked if i wanted two beds so the dogs could have one! my dogs adapted quite well…



we had a restful night and started toward maine. i had been lucky enough to get a campsite for three nights at acadia. i hit the road early…it was still dark. i was using my lights for the first time. they seemed to be fairly bright, and i got to see the sunrise that morning.


maine was starting out to be beautiful! the roads were nice, lots of trees, and charming small towns. i stopped a couple times and got gas, and coffee. i took a really nice shot of the camper in a parking lot.


then it started…my mechanical bad luck. my brakes started grinding. man! i stopped at a gas station, and asked about a shop nearby. there was one just up the road. i walked in, and asked if they would work on old vehicles…yes, how about a camper…yes. well, this sounds good! when? the lady at the desk opened her book and said maybe next week…oh, well. do you guys know anyone else? 20 miles up the road on the way to acadia is a place called dave’s. okay off i went…carefully! i pulled  into dave’s, and talked to the guys. they said they could look at it and order some parts. it was wednesday. i was about 30 minutes from my campsite. we ordered the parts, and the mechanic, aaron said i could go camping, the damage is done, just be careful. so, off i went to acadia. i got my spot, and it was awesome. i was in a new part on a penninsula, not the usual campgrounds. the rangers were really nice. my parts were coming in on friday, so i was cancelling one of my nights there, so they were really nice and refunded me. okay, onto camping, and stopping the stress of brakes!

the dogs and i wandered a little, made dinner and settled in for the night. i had one full day at acadia, but wanted to leave early the day after that so i could be at the shop when they opened.

the next morning, the dogs and i went for a hike. it was a short trail down to the coast…wow…it was amazing! the quintessential maine coast!


i was really glad i got up early and hiked, because as soon as we got back it poured. i mean it POURED! it rained all day and night. i stayed in the camper, watched game of thrones, napped, and cooked. it was a very relaxing day. the next morning we pulled out early. back to the real world and my brake job. the parts came in, and we put the camper up on the lift, and the parts were wrong! UGH! okay, now i needed a place to stay for the weekend…this is challenging with two dogs.  i found a small hotel in ellsworth. it had little cabins, and would take the dogs. i booked it for the weekend , and told doug the owner that i may need it for longer. i checked in. the place was from the 1950’s i think. it was a little worn, and didn’t have any a/c, but it was going to be home. the tv was an old tube tv, but they had basic cable, so i watched some tv, and basically rested. there wasn’t really a good place to walk the dogs, as the road was really busy, but somehow we muddled through. i did have my own little cabin, and the owners doug and rachael were sooooo nice, and very interesting.  i was happy to have a bed, and a decent shower.


back to the brakes… we had ordered 1/2 ton brakes, because while i had the rear axle switched to a 1 ton axle, the truck originally was a 1/2 ton. well, come to find out the front brakes were 1 ton brakes. we ordered more parts, and i paid a huge amount of shipping to get them in by monday afternoon! they came in, and were the right parts. they had them on by tuesday evening. aaron and houston at dave’s auto in ellsworth maine are two of the nicest, most competent, and fun mechanics i have met. aaron even adjusted my carburetor, filled my air shocks, and taught me about my brakes! he rocked! i left them an extra $100 for their lunch fund i was so appreciative!

okay! new front brakes, adjusted carburetor, i am feeling good! the camper seems great. it is the 4 of july, and i am heading back to katonah to spend the night, then pittsburgh, then HOME! i had decided to go home for a couple weeks before i head out west.

then it starts 100 miles from ellsworth…am i losing power? i can’t get going very fast…uphill i am barely making it. shit! i think i am losing my clutch! i have got to get close to something big! i try to make it to portland, maine. damn…i get 4 miles from portland. seriously just after my brakes! are you kidding me? it is hot as hell too! i get the camper pulled over, and i get out to call triple a, and my dogs escape! holy crap! this is on a small highway, but it is still a highway. honeybee comes right back, but of course i have to chase tilly down! she lets me get close, and then runs! she is a total pill! i am completely stressed now. finally i catch her and get her back in the camper. what am i going to do on the 4 of july? i call triple a, and they ask where do i want to tow it to? i don’t know…this is where triple a is awesome (this time). they find a shop that works on big trucks, cars and rvs. i wait to have the tow truck sent, because i need a car for the dogs. i uber to the airport ( the only rental place that is open on a holiday) and rent a car. i drive back to get the dogs, and wait for the tow truck. the truck driver is really nice, and tows my camper to the shop.

my rental car is a wrangler, which is what i have at home, so that is awesome!!


now i need a place to stay. i could stay in the camper, but it has no a/c, and it is really hot, and there isn’t a good place to walk the dogs, so i decide on a motel 6 again. this one was not near as nice, but the staff was awesome! i got a room on the second floor. i started hauling my stuff up leaving the dogs for last. neither of my dogs had been on an elevator. it ended up being fine, but every time i had to walk the dogs we had to go in the elevator…what  a pain! i stayed here two nights, and found a place nearby that would take dogs for $20 more a day. the room was more expensive too, but it had a pool. i switched. i got a first floor room, and they had a beautiful courtyard i could walk the dogs in. it was a great improvement, and since this was taking a while to get my clutch done i decided to treat myself! i had the pool to myself almost everyday!


i had decided i would try to have some fun. i found out i couldn’t take the dogs to any beaches in maine, which was a drag, so i needed to find a good place to walk them. i found a path in a neighboring town that was along a river, and not too far from my hotel. it was pretty awesome.

i had the car, and it was really hot (95 degrees), so the dogs and i did a lot of exploring in the car. i also was able to go to a lot of restaurants, and portland had a pretty decent food scene! this was an expensive stop, but at least it was proving to be interesting!

this stop ended up being a week, so i will continue the mechanical saga in the next post.

until next time…




katonah ny

my next stop was in the hudson river valley area about an hour north of nyc. years ago i had met david at burning man, and we hit it off, and became friends. we do not see each other often, but every couple of years he would pass through detroit, and we would talk a mile a minute and share a meal or two. he just bought a new, large house in katonah, ny. it had a lot of property, so i knew the dogs would love it. he also had two boys, winter, and orion, that i had never met. i pulled up to his awesome house, and david and his boys walked out. it was great to see them! he put me in a primo parking spot where i was level, and i could plug in. it was right next to his huge off road van!




he gave me tour of his house, and the woods around it that he owned, and then the pool!


it was a stupendous piece of property!  after the house tour, we drove around the little town for a bit, which was very charming! it was a small town with some cool old houses, a few restaurants, and the sweetest old fashioned hardware store that we frequented over the next week!

i got the dogs settled…tilly tied out, but honeybee is so good she could just be loose. we swam, and made plans for things we could work on. he had just moved, and had lots of projects!

the first project we tackled was an outdoor shower inclosure. david has gone to burning man for a million years, and likes to build things with what he as on hand mostly, and . that makes it really fun! so, we got to it. we got the project finished, and the boys seemed to especially like it. they showered in it everyday!

after our project we took a day to explore. we ventured to the farmer’s market on saturday. it was super cute, but again, coming from the largest one in the country, it is hard to truly appreciate the small ones now!


the market did have a really cool food truck that had a wood burning pizza oven in it, and it was on the grounds of an estate, so there were some awesome gardens!



we did a lot of talking about projects around the house…it is his first, and he is learning all about owning one. we ate, we cooked, and swam, and hung out with his kids. once again lots of great food was had!

later in the week david’s mom veronika came from nova scotia. we immediately hit it off. she is amazing! she was a dancer, and lives alone by the water, and takes care of most everything herself. she worked like an ox in the garden and yard while she was visiting. she is just like what i want to be, and i just loved her!


while i was in katonah i also decided to work on the exterior of my camper. i got some supplies, and used rubbing compound and wax on the entire outside. it took me a good four days of hard work! it came out great however!

the paint went from chalky, to very shiny and smooth! i felt like i got alot accomplished!

a few days later orion had a teen pool party, and we cooked a bunch. there were so many small activities that i can’t even remember them all! it was an epic stay, and i got to know david and his kids much more! i hope to go back soon, and also visit veronika in nova scotia. hopefully next year!

now i am heading north to maine. until next time…

washington dc

so, this was going to be a great stop, with many things to do. not only was  i going to be visiting a good friend and her daughter, but there were so many things to do in dc. amy and cora were foodies too, and had a long list of places i had to go to eat!

the first challenge was parking the rv, let alone driving it in to dc. amy lives on capitol hill, so it is the center of everything! i got there okay, and amy and a neighbor had staked out a spot for me right near her row house. perfect!!

she was in!





amy’s place was beautiful, and the lower level had an entrance through the back yard, so the dogs could play. of course, the first thing they did was hop the fence into the neighbor’s yard, and we had to get them back! i did manage to set a blockade on the stairs up, so they couldn’t get over again.  we lived in the lower level, so the dogs could stay inside with me and away from her two cats. i had my own bathroom, and bed, so it was perfect!

i got there on a weekend so we could all hang out together. we had an epic breakfast at a place in eastern market. the market is an indoor market with butchers, cheese places a couple places to get food, and other things…super cute!


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amy had to work, and cora had school, so i was off on my own for the day. i was really  excited to hit the national mall, and see some of the classic dc sites. i was really wanting to go to the natural history museum, and the botanical garden. i did those first. on my way i passed the capitol. that building is amazing! i am always in awe of how beautiful it is. needless to say, i took a few pictures of it.



i was planning on walking the whole mall…well, that was a fantasy! i made it to the natural history museum, and the botanical garden, and a little farther, but that is it. i made it maybe a third of the way down. the museums were great, and i saw a live butterfly exhibit also. the amount of kids were the one thing that made me eventually leave.

i am so behind on this blog that i don’t remember the order of events any more, so this will be documentation of all things visited and some things eaten!

amy and cora (who is a teenager mind you) are foodies. we ate some amazing food. i walked up to union market, which is like eastern market but the hipster version. it had some cute shops, but mostly food! i had an excellent fresh juicey tonic thing, and a ham and brie crepe for lunch the next day. delicious!

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i wandered dc looking at the amazing architecture. there is alot!! the row houses alone are amazing to me never having lived in a city so full of them!

on another day i figured out how to ride the circulator, which is an inexpensive bus that goes around the national mall. it is one dollar!! yes, a planned city, and public transportation meant to work!! i picked it up at union station, and took it to the end of the mall to see  the mlk monument, the vietnam memorial, the korean war memorial, and the lincoln memorial.  it was a great ride down the mall.

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amy and cora and i went out every night to eat. they love asian like i do, so we had burmese, japanese, asian fusion, and then some plain old seasonal farm to table. needless to say we barely scratched the surface of the food in the dc area!

the food that gets showcased however is southeast asian ice. this was new to me. i have had snow cones in my life, even hawaiian shaved ice, but this was different. the place was called snocream. the texture was so fine and smooth, and it came in many flavors. there were all sorts of toppings, and drizzles. i got black sesame sno cream with captain crunch, mochi, red beans, and condensed milk drizzle!! whoa , it was amazing. we even went back a second time!


my time in dc seemed like it couldn’t get any better, and then amy got us tickets for cirque du soleil! i had never been, so i was super excited! it was really fun, and i had to get cotton candy! of course, the pictures don’t do it justice.

so far my trip had been good, but my luck was running out with the camper. i had a dead battery, so i called triple a. they jumped me, but it died right after, and the guy gave me another jump, but then informed me i should call a tow truck, and left! jerk! i decided to call a mobile mechanic. wow! i got an awesome guy who said my battery was bad. he then told me it would be cheaper for me to change it, and he knew that i could do it! he told me where the auto supply store was, and even what size wrenches i needed. he also advised me on a couple small things. he was awesome!

amy took me to the auto supply store, and i got a new battery. i put it in, and with a couple hiccups i was on my way again. i am getting a little more used to the stress associated with travel with an ancient vehicle. little did i know what was ahead for me on this road!

washington dc was an awesome trip, and i loved staying with amy and cora, but now on to the north!

until next time…


i arrived in durham. i was visiting a good friend from high school. bonnie was in the process of moving to dc, so i was visiting her at a rental. i had never been to the house. i arrived before bonnie and her daughter ella had gotten home. i decided to let the dogs out in the yard. i parked the camper in the driveway, plugged into the outdoor outlet, and let the dogs out. i hope i had the right house at this point!


i  hand’t seen bonnie for a year , or maybe more. we had been best friends at interlochen arts academy, our high school. we hadn’t seen each other for many years , but had reconnected a few years ago. at that time we spent a lot of time reminiscing about high school, and days gone by. i was looking forward to spending some more time together! we were also  both foodies, so there was going to be a lot of food in my life this week!

it was memorial day weekend, and because i am on the road, and basically oblivious to the calendar, i couldn’t get a campsite. bonnie saved me! she was taking a trip to washinton dc to move some more things and see her husband richard, so she offered me the house for the weekend. awesome! the dogs were allowed in the house also. it was getting extremely hot, so the thought of a bed, and air conditioning was epic! the icing on the already delightful cake was that they were flying up to dc, and i could use her car! after losing the scooter, i had bad fasciitis on my heel, so walking was getting hard. a car was going to let me really explore the area.

what should i do first!?

bonnie, ella, and richard had made me a pretty comprehensive list of coffee places, restaurants, and generally interesting places.

saturday i hit the farmer’s market. it was very charming, but of course, coming from detroit, and the largest market in the country, i was spoiled. none the less i bought some things.

then i went to a noodle and dumpling place bonnie had not been to. i got a selection of items that were excellent. i had two kinds of bao, a bahn mi, some spicy pork noodles, and some spicy dumplings!


the next day was proving to be very hot and humid, so i decided to take the dogs out to some water. i found a nearby town that the magic window (my phone) told me was a great place for dogs to swim. it was in the town of hillsborough. the town proved to be a sweet little historic town. the trail was nice enough, even a boardwalk in some areas. getting to the river was another story.  i finally did find one spot where the dogs could take a little dip! i did come across a cool vine art piece, and an awesome mason bee house too.

now onto dinner. i tried a couple places, and couldn’t get in, who knew durham was so busy! i went to a mediocre place. i had a drink, and decided to try their fried chicken. it was supposed to be pretty good. it looked good when it came, but wasn’t that great.

IMG_20180525_200334the greens and potatoes were good, but the chicken breast was boneless, and in my weirdo book, that is just wrong! the breading came off in large pieces…another wrong in my book. the flavor and juicy-ness was good though.

anyway, back home to the ac. the dogs were definitely enjoying the cool house also!

bonnie and ella came home, and the food exploration was really going to start now!

we had pizza one night, and i got some excellent coffee, and breakfast a couple mornings. there were just too many places to go!

the big dinner i was waiting for was M sushi. it was supposed to be the best in the raleigh durham area, and bonnie and richard thought it was great too! an ultra glowing review!

bonnie had made us a reservation! way to think ahead!! the two of us went, and it was just as i had expected…stupendous. i need raw fish on practically a weekly basis…







we had an octopus appetizer, dumplings, eel bao with crispy salmon skin, a house special roll, and sashimi…and of course a cocktail each. it was awesome!

during the day ella was at school, and bonnie was teaching school. i still had use of the car, so i did some exploring. i wanted to go to the science museum, but got there too early, so then i decided to go to raleigh to their museum of natural sciences. i drove into town, and drove around and around, and could not find a spot to park. i checked out some architecture, and headed back to durham.

i still wanted to check out a museum of sorts, so i checked the magic window again. i found the duke homestead. it was a small free, museum. duke university is in durham, and everything is named after a duke. it is like detroit, where everything is named after ford. well, this was my chance to learn something about duke. i didn’t even know who he was! well, the museum was charming in the old, small museum kind of way. i loved it! i was the only visitor, and a man asked “do you want to go on a tour?” “sure!” i said! he came and got me after  about 10 minutes. a few others had wandered in, and off we went. duke was a tobacco baron, but really is a rags to riches story…

the museum contained some very interesting old cigarette makeing machines, spitoons, and even the liberty bell made from tobacco! another interesting fact i learned was that duke’s son started putting pin up cards in cigarettes, and when asked to remove them by various town officials, changed them to ball players, and essentially started  baseball cards.

the homestead was a collection of buildings, and even a field that was being planted with tobacco as we toured!

it ended up being a great stop! i spent another day or two with bonnie, but was then off to dc to visit her sister. i was worried about driving the camper in dc, and amy lives on capitol hill, so right in the middle of everything! well, another personal battle i suppose!

until next time…



okay, for all who are following this, i stayed in virginia after durham, not before! i have been on the road about 6 weeks, and i have gotten behind on the blog, so i am totally confused as to when i stayed where…first world problems for sure! i will try to do better, but by no means a guarantee!

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first landing , va

i decided durham was a bit of a drive, so i made a reservation at first landing state park on the coast of virginia. i could get a little beach time in and swim!  the road there was really nice. since i was in flat country again i decided to take two lane highways.


i passed the great dismal swamp. i wanted to stop, but sailed right by. i got a picture out of the camper window though!


the swamp made me decide to stop for a short hike to see this swampy area. i saw a sign for a state park. i headed to it. the dogs and i were again rewarded with some fun stuff, including a large turtle cruising the edge of the parking lot.

next stop for gas i needed some lunch. i asked some folks that were talking to me about the camper where i could get lunch, and they pointed me up the street. i was in a tiny town, and the restaurant was an old diner on the main drag. while the food was okay, the place was one of those crazy, small town, steps back in time.

not sure what dedit is but they don’t take it!! it was a pretty interesting experience, to say the least! on to virginia, and the beach! it was getting hot, and my camper doesn’t have air at all, even i the cab!

i was worried that the site would be in full sun, but when i arrived it was partially shaded, sandy, and a nice walk to the beach. excellent!


i took the dogs to the beach to cool off. the beach was almost empty. i even asked the one woman there why no one was around. she didn’t know…hmmm. the dogs loved the water, and i was surprised how warm it was!

i took the dogs back to the camper and put my suit on and returned for a swim before it got dark. i had one more full day tomorrow, so i intended to spend the day on the beach.

i had a great day, as it was hot and sunny! i swam and read, and got rested for durham!


it was a great stop! now, on to durham.

until next time…

skidaway island, georgia

i was backtracking a little to go to an island off georgia. skidaway island was next on my trip. i was worried as it was getting hotter, and skidaway was lowlands, so bugs could be an issue too.

i was passing through savannah, and had never been, so i decided to stop. i wanted to see some squares, the trees, and some architecture. it was pretty hot, so wherever i go i would have to take the dogs. i settled on an old park called forsythe. it was a big green area with large live oak trees, a fountain, and a scented garden. it was also in an historic area, so i knew the houses would be special.

the dogs were getting good on the leash, so i decided to walk with them.


we were rewarded with some spectacular architecture, and gardens.

i got to the island and went to the park office. i waited while three rangers milled around and didn’t even acknowledge me. finally, a really cranky fellow asked me what i needed. i said i was here to check in. his response was “we don’t check in until one”. mind you it was 12:40. check out is at 10. curious. i left and drove around for 20 minutes, and went back. again, i waited for one of the three to say something. finally a pleasant woman helped me. i drove to my site. it was a great spot, and right next to the bathroom which i thought i wouldn’t like, but ended up being awesome!


the net day i decided to hike around a bit. there were some trails in the park that looked interesting. there was some damage from the hurricane, so one was closed. the trail i went on was great, and not too long, so the dogs went with me.

i was fascinated by the flora, and what little fauna i saw. there were some great patterns in the surounding forest too.

later that day i decided to investigate the bathroom. wow! it was really nice, and super clean! the final amazing thing was that there was a washer and a dryer! WOOHOO! my great friend sara had given me a cute little coin purse absolutley stuffed with quarters. it was time to use some! i probably did three loads. i would have clean sheets tonight! it amazes me how much time i spend cleaning the camper, but now i had clean clothes too! being close to the bathroom was great!! i also had it to myself. i guess the great thing about being in a campground with huge a class rvs, is that the people never use the campground bathrooms!

my next stop is durham, nc. i will visit a good friend from high school, so it will be great that the camper is clean!!

until next time…


hunting island

the coast! i have finally gotten to the coast! the drive here was great, as i crossed all the tidal shallows i could smell the ocean! i love that smell! i love lake michigan, but something about the sea, that makes really happy.

i pulled into the park, that evidently just re-opened after hurricane matthew. it had been closed for two years. the park used to have some really primo spots right next to the beach, but these weren’t open yet. the rest of the sites were just a short walk from the beach.

an older man greeted me at the gate, and checked me in. he was so nice, and gave me the basic layout of the camp. this site had water and electricity…very luxurious!

the camp seemed a little crowded and the sites were close, but when i got to mine it was in the back and pretty secluded. it was next to the bathroom, which ended up being nice!


my first objective was to get to the beach! tilly has never seen the ocean, or played in saltwater. we headed toward the beach. both dogs seem to love the water, and i could hardly hang on to the leash as i led them to the ocean. tilly took right to it even with waves.


this was the last picture my phone took, because next the dogs got really excited and tangled me in their leashes and took me down…with my phone! unfortunately i have experience with water and my lg phone. it is not good. even the slightest bit makes it not work. dang! i use it as a hotspot, and just to stay in contact…i need another. this will be number 4, if any of you are counting! mind you i had my previous brand of phone for years! well, i am going to wait 24 hours with my phone in rice to see….

the next morning my phone was still dead. okay, i can live without a phone for a day. i still had to address the fan belt before i could go anywhere, so that was stopping me now.

i was walking the dogs, and a fellow introduced himself. john from jersey (originally), and his companion laura. they were super nice, and said they would be on the beach fishing. i basically invited myself to join them! we ended up spending the whole day on the beach together. it was a blast!


the beach was beautiful, and the water was soooo warm. it was a great day. john also  let me take some pics with his phone, and helped me by looking up a phone store. he was awesome! we told stories and enjoyed the beautiful day!

we had a great day on the beach, but i was getting nervous about not having a phone. i decided to buzz into town to get a new phone. it was not too far, but i still had to tighten my fan belt. ugh! i was worried something bad would happen, or i wouldn’t be able to do it at all. my friend paul had tightened it at home, so i thought i wouldn’t be able to loosen it. as i get older, i get really nervous about the dumbest things! as i have said before, this trip is about anxiety, and terror. well, the phone is calling, so here i go. it is only two nuts, and i have a great set of wrenches. it takes a 12mm and a 14mm…that much i know!


i did it! it was really easy! it literally took three minutes! excellent!! now off to get a phone!

i drove into town, minus a fan belt screech, and got my phone. cool. back out to the beach i go.

it was pretty hot at night, so i resorted to my old damp towel and fan for sleeping. it works great. sometimes i even keep the towel in the fridge!

the next morning my new friends , john and laura were leaving. i hung out with them while they packed. i accepted some punks they offered me, and headed back to the camper. i had gotten a bunch of sun on the beach, so i stayed in the camper, and read, with a couple beach walks  with the dogs. we walked far down the beach, and witnessed the hurricane damage, and found a deserted section for them to really play.

the dogs were really adjusting well to this life, and becoming super beach dogs!

i was heading out with my new phone, and more sand in my bed, but this was a great stop! i love the beach, and meeting new people.

until next time…


dreher island state park

my next stop carrie welles spotted on the map. it sounded pretty cool, i mean an island in a freshwater lake! i took two lane highways to get there this time. the road was pretty much going down now, so the camper was fine. i pulled into the park, and after some hunting, found the office. i hoped they had a spot! they did! i got a spot for two nights. the young ranger suggested a site that had a sandy area near the shore for the dogs. i asked if there were alligators, and after hearing her say “no” was relieved.  i found my spot, and pulled in. it was awesome! right next to water. the dogs were gonna be happy!


being from michigan, i have to get used to the water around the rest of the country. one, the lakes are not real in the south, but dammed rivers. this makes them MUDDY. two , the water is brown. i am used to sandy lake beds, and blue water. it takes some getting used to, and makes for muddy dogs. we all went in anyway. it was really warm, and the edge was kind of sandy.  i swam for awhile, it was heavenly! a perfect way to cool off…it was starting to get hot! it was sunny, and i sat in my chair gazing at the lake. it was a super relaxing day.

20180519_131445 i finally figured out how to tie the dogs out. i did this so i could clean out the camper. i was tired of sleeping in mud, and sand! they seemed to enjoy it. tilly decided the fire pit was hers, and honeybee made a nest in the pine needles.

so, with the dogs settled, i decided to try to work on this blog! i was really getting behind. i started out in the camper, which was nice.


after awhile, i thought “why am i inside?”, and out i went. i had pilfered a board from my friend in detroit, and set it up as a desk for my lawn chair. it was perfect.


i even had room for my lunch! this campsite is awesome. i worked for awhile, then walked the dogs. i walked past another old toyota motorhome. i couldn’t believe it! i looked around the campsite, but there were no signs of life. i will wander back later…

i decided to really clean the camper, and washed out the astro turf rug, and even did some laundry in my manual laundry machine. we all had a great relaxing day.

later that evening i met jeff who owned the toyota. we had a great chat, and he showed me the inside. it was beautiful!! he had done so many amazing things inside and out, it was really a peach! so glad i finally saw another toyota on the road.


after i had a great talk with his wife, and ate some boiled peanuts, i headed back to my camper for dinner. tonight i was cooking some scallops from asheville’s raven! i had some leftover kale salad from a coffee shop i hit on the road here, so i was set for an awesome dinner!


so that is my dinner! woohoo, it was great!

jeff came by to check out my camper, and i showed him  my humble abode. he was surprised at how small it was…something i am really enjoying about it!  he gave me a couple awesome pointers, we wished each other well, and i settled in for the night.

i waved as i left the next morning with my fan belt squealing! i needed to tighten it, but i was nervous to do it…maybe next stop!

i was finally going to reach the coast.

until next time…