Vacay preparation.

peggy

Tuesday.

The last of my research away from home days before vacation begins. Meaning, really, no more time for the library in the next few days.

The shift begins.

Though I have a few spot locations to go to and more actual research to do…the library is done for for a few weeks. I likely won’t enter another for two weeks and two days time.

I kinda do need that break…never thought I’d hear myself say that.

The fun part is that much of my vacation wraps into Stuff To Do For My Work in multiple ways. So travel and work get combined, vacation and work intertwine. Pretty much always for me.

After this two week Vacations, though, we will actually be off to new and next adventures. I won’t be researching anything for work for a good minute. Actually…I do take that back. Because work for me is not only ever a book in progress but also articles from whatever to whatever and also travel and food and music and art and politics…a lot of politics. And a lot of whatever. So, I do take that back. But the bulk..the bulk of research for the big projects is coming to a close with a few months of none of that left to do. For me…a huge chunk of time to other things (perhaps actual writing, which I also still do now for no less than three hours a day on this one project alone but…still..huge chunks of time spent doing Other). Because of the slow down of the holidays, however, the after-vac month of work until the next vacay begins is still to be research.

I know….it sounds so terrible and all. That my research is being buried in books, archives, newspapers, walking streets and cities and towns and neighborhoods with a camera and a notebook in hand, museums and talking to locals and historians. Among so much more. Terrible…it is not. I know. I know. But mind boggling and at times incredibly emotional it is. I am not complaining. Hear the pure tease of my tone.  I mean…lord knows how much I hate books and old photos and architecture and the like.

I tease, really. I love it all. And still I look forward to an actual break and vacation of two weeks. Time where I may read a LOT but actually research less. Time where I will still take photos and explore but without the pressure and with companionship of Joe who will be home and who is actually really fun to do these things with…though I need my time alone for it even more, the change, balance, difference and company are still an enlightenment for a couple of weeks.  At least I talk to my pets less…or rather not…but to a human a little more. And not just strangers and librarians and archivists.

I am excited for this trip. I have been missing the guy whom I actually do share my life with. Though we have text and email and phone calls, it isn’t the same. As much as I will likely utterly complain that he does everything wrong, I will bask in the warmth that he is. As much as I am ready for him to leave I am always just as ready or more for him to come home. And he makes my coffee first thing when he wakes up.

We’ve been talking a lot about this trip and our next coming up and have a lot of plans and things to do.

However, it is about time to put away books and about a truck load of notes. Fold away my laptop. And do a little laundry and deep cleaning to get it all out of the way for vacation time. I will have planned To Do lists, details, plans, and grocery lists, too…all of which I will lose or forget to use altogether or look at and wonder what the hell I meant by that.

Joe does have a Honey Do. A leak to fix. Light bulbs to replace. Taped to the fridge which he will completely ignore. Aquarius. They like to do things. But never actually tell them to do it. Except if you live with me. You pretty much do as I say.

Do I have any chick shows I wanted to watch before he gets home? Do I have plans or reservations I have forgotten to make yet? Do I have enough books on my bedside and the couch side that don’t have to do with work related reading?

Have I still forgotten to break out the Christmas present I bought us for some of our adventures? And where the heck DID I hide them? Do I have clear camera cards and have I backed up the computer and what is it that I feel as if I am forgetting to do?

This is my brain right now.

Ahhhh, vacation…the before moments. You’d think it would be different when you don’t have that suitcase packing to do which you have completely until last minute put off doing. It is not.

thelookingglass

Four States and Seven Days.

 

Peggy J Davenport
I had to run up to the office and came back after having coffee with the lady up there (this is the south, you don’t run in and rush out- you sit and have a chat and a coffee). When I come back he has the bed made (very important to me) my coffee made, the pets cared for and has George hanging outside with him while he is fiddling with the jeep. My heart is warmed.
We are sunburned, tired, have been to every boat dock in four states on the coast just in the last week, six beyond that so far, and more in the coming near future, and often in the bays. We have had long days and walked a million miles under the beating hot southern sun in July. Boat docks, btw, are like walking the damn desert with all their glare from white boats to hot decks both wood and cement and glistening water. The morning may at times begin overcast and cloudy and soft on you but the sun will make up for it with a vengeance when she does decide to wake up. Between walking and standing on hard ground a lot and a lot of driving and a lot of boat time and heat and sun our bones are tired and long days. We feel 80 in our 30-something bodies by the end of the day. But we hold hands and smile and say to each other “I am happy” with a satisfied smile.
I am becoming quite the expert (nowhere near it) on sport fishing boats and yachts and Joe, in the falling into it, in the moment, the people who love to show off their boat and a good sailing time and because…boat people are the most welcoming, is learning sailboats, quite by accident. Though we are in search currently of the sport fishing boat/yacht for live aboard and south islands fun, moving from RV to water, the sailboat is a future project dream of mine and where my expertise lies, so we are both learning quite a bit about the other, we call these his project and my project. I loved the old seaman who whispered to me “once he gets used to understanding sailing he will be much more comfortable with it and fall in love and you will have no problem with him on them” Sailing people get me. Joe worries about me alone…out there, the times that he will be away.
We are looking in the lines of the Hatteras 50 (a yacht would be nice but harder to find especially in price range and a sports fishing is actually live aboard super nice and bigger than our RV now) but open to good and bad, project redo and pretty well done and other boat names depending, but in the idea of. Being so open means more possibilities to look at. This will take us months. I only wish I could combine the interior of the Viking with the exterior of the Hatteras and I think my favorite boat would be born. This is about as far as my knowledge for them goes so far. Though listening to the engine talk…I somewhere in my dreams might be able to draw a very good diagram of them now.
We have had gelato slash book shops open for us on a day it was closed completely for the entire day with a lovely man in long graying dreadlocks and inviting smile waving us in and we realized it was closed and began to walk on. Who gave us samples and then free gelato to go, though we ate it up while conversation began and took awhile before an end. They have the right idea with their Old Fashioned gelato, based off of one of two of my favorite drinks, though I do believe it might be more my winter drink while the Pimm’s Cup is my summer. We found and discovered Indie bookshops slash coffeeshops with grand displays of southern authors (the Mississippi book festival is next month) Pass Christian Books and Cat Island Coffeehouse and and I hear the tongue of many when they say the name of their town like silk falling off a woman’s shoulders. I drink up the accents and speech of some, of many, of all, from the harshest to the most delicate, and tuck it away for my own book writing. I find that that this is a place where Jesmyn Ward and many like her have come to read and been supported and where I am invited to come soon. I buy the last two of her books I have yet to read. (I have so far read and LOVE Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel and Where the Line Bleeds: A Novel.
so I picked up, The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race and her memoir, Men We Reaped: A Memoir And I still have her other book I will soon get,Salvage the Bones: A Novel. Not only because she is long an author on my list, an amazing author to read, btw, but also because I am in my Deep South Five writing project currently and currently reading books by authors and in the setting of New Orleans and of the deep south, as well as the movies I am currently watching.
I learn that the gelato shop owner is the same as the bookstore/coffeeshop owner and we discuss literary south, authors, readings, book events, and the scene. That they have no shortage of literary events and readings and authors and are half a year booked in advance and busy, they do not give up and lay dormant like one indie bookshops I met did and who had saddened me greatly at their defeat of a literary scene only a few cities and the same state down. Joe has an understanding here that I have listened to talk of boat engines enough to not rush us to an end.
We stumbled into an antique shop in the middle of the beautiful (and one of my newest favorite places) Mobile Alabama. Historic buildings…this one in particular has seen better days. I am more saddened while traveling through New Orleans and Mobile and other like smaller places from Miami/Hollywood Florida to Texas how little Galveston Island actually does put the effort in to preserve what should be even easier. I am more saddened that the Hughes building there is no more. And then here I see so many…so many and never going away and so much harder work put in and so much more they have gone through in hurricane and storm and flood and yet standing so gallantly. And as much as I love the island and thought once they did well I see how little is really there, left, and standing and how flat the peoples efforts really are and yet once had so much more potential but so much of it is already lost…gone. I even see so many other states with so much preservation effort put into the nature side of it and know that there is about one lone woman who works so hard to do all that Galveston offers in that aspect. Without her they don’t care and even with her the city itself is one of her main enemies and with whom she battles against their destruction. I see how other places take care of their tree’s…from San Antonio to Florida and I know another woman who places her work there but when you leave the island you find that you have missed trees, and funny enough, it is so far the least of the boating community for which we both love and felt we were missing. I am not done there with dreams I have built but I am glad I am broadening these horizons. I honestly don’t know if there will be enough left for me when I come back, able to put in myself. For those who put in…keep it up, you are the islands saving grace. For the city, I ask you to visit San Antonio, New Orleans, Mobile, Alabama and Pass Christian, Mississippi, Hollywood, Florida and Miami and a few conservation and state parks along the way and all in between and too many to count for both city/town and nature conservations and economy and …life, for a few suggestions of how to do better. Funny enough for resources you have much more at hand than some of these do.
In Backflash Antique in Mobile Alabama only a short few blocks away from what is now the Malaga Inn that was in the 1940 census the address of my great grandparents and two of their four daughters, one of which was my grandmother, aged 10, I discover the perfect camera bag (thanks to Joe’s good eye) that I have been in search of for months. And I hear the most beautiful name I have ever heard…Charlana, added to a combination with a last of exactly the kind of name amazing people are born with, Charlana Quiovers. And a gentleman there, meek and quiet and a love for antique and history who was amazing at tour guiding us through to exactly what we would like to see. He got us immediately. We aren’t the typical RV’ers. We don’t do it for the BBQing and pools. We do it for the exploring, the history, the learning of the people, the architecture, the discoveries, the antiques and art and literary and music and the food…oh…the food. We exhaust ourselves with the miles we put our feet to in walking all around a town or city, and when in the right place and time, the mountains and hills of the nature a place has to offer, and now even, by boat more often, the swamps with a rest upon our feet but a sharpness for our safety, and our senses. Birds and nature and animals and trees upon the cool waters in the warm air underneath the shade of these grand ancient moss laden trees. But the walking…It is the only way to stop for hours on end in an afternoon and have perfect conversations with perfect strangers. And at times be invited upon a boat for the next several hours and taken out into the open waters, sails unfurled. If you never hear from us again, we likely died happy.
In seven days and four states I haven’t taken one picture. I have simply enjoyed it all. Good thing my storytelling is in words…..more coming on all of that. Within the binds of a book and a story of a character.

Florida. The Art-Deco Heaven.

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So the travels have begun with a long (very long) drive to Florida from Galveston Island. In Joe’s little car with no A/C. So much for my start back to life on wheels after five and a half years of car-free living. Florida is a place that I have been in and out of a few times for equestrian related things in my long ago past but I never really got to see it and never have I been to Hollywood or Miami where I’ve been able to go this Spring/Summer.

We started here to pick up the RV that Joe and I will begin our American Road Travels in, as well as to visit, while there, some of his family.

I was also getting to see Florida with the new eye’s of a traveling tourist rather than work or mission.

And I’m in love.

Art-Deco ANYTHING is my favorite…my love…my choice in all. And so of course the houses, the cute little motels all over the place…even the frickin trailer parks have grabbed my heart here.

Joe thankfully is all about the get out on foot travel and that we have done. But the sun shines very bright and the heat itself isn’t felt long before the sun exhaustion is…so we also end each day rather tired…simply worn out. Even our feet hurt, but we’ve had so much incredible joy walking for hours and hours among these buildings, these houses (many mid-century as well so a double whammy of perfect love.)

The water here is blue blue blue and the way much is built for walkable living….the artistic community…the food trucks and oh. my. gosh the most amazing food and restaurants and so unbelievably cheap but GOOD….ok, the list grows of why I have played with the idea of just staying here. In any case….I will forever have Florida on the map to come back to…and we haven’t even done the Keys yet! Not even Hemingway’s house yet! There is so much more to do!

On this trip I have lost about half of my pictures sadly but as I said, there is still more time and so I hope to be able to recapture some of those as well as much more new.

I have been utterly fascinated with Cuban food (Can’t wait for an actual trip to Cuba) and the fact that Florida is SO preserved! The historic Art-Deco entire cities and the houses are in great shape, and for such a hurricane hit state, too. I mean, coming from Galveston, this is a big deal. I truly think that Galveston should check out the preservations processes here.

Another item I have been absolutely in love with and just can’t get over is all the greenspace and trees and grass area’s and the lay out of places, such as Miami beach. Ok ok, I am comparing Galveston a lot but seriously…the beach, the park space, the baordwalks, the restaurants, shops, hotels and the houses are laid out in such perfection that this is truly a city to take note and example of. PEOPLE. Especially in the size of space and amount of people…this state really knew how to build for the people and for growth while keeping comfort and beauty.

Hollywood is very much a mix of Burbank, California and Galvesto Island, Texas in a way.

The one thing I see a lack of and am pretty surprised at is the bike community, but much of it is car-free still. Where I am staying, in Hollywood, I am smack dab in the heart of Down Town and there are about a hundred restaurants at my feet. I’ve eaten three meals out daily and have yet to be able to have bee to all of them. And the gelato is not helping bikini season at 500. There are parks and grocery store and library all in walking distance and the beach is less than a mile and a half away but an easy walk or a hop on the trolley (bus style…again, Galveston take note for the bringing back of the island trolley) take care of that, too.

http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2015-02-20/10-great-art-deco-cities-you-might-not-know-about/1 Doesn’t even name Miami in this top 10 list but it is apparently the largest area of Art-Deco in America. On the list I have been to 5 out of 10 and it is a pretty good list that I hope to finish the next five of but in the meantime I am super happy that I decided to come to Florida and see a state that I seriously never had given thought to…and was very very wrong to have done so. Especially in my love of certain types of architecture. Not to mention food. And art…and….oy. Florida.

I will talk much more but in the mean time…here is a thousand words in each picture of simply gorgeous Art-Deco architecture.

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Florida. Livable Community.

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So my travels have begun with Florida. Florida is a place that I have been in and out of a few times for equestrian related things in my long ago past but I never really got to see it and never have I been to Hollywood or Miami where I’ve been able to go this Spring/Summer. Btw, anybody know any ideas on natural safe sunblock? I can’t stand slathering cancer causing chemicals on my skin only to prevent cancer but even staying covered up my skin is needing it here.
I am meeting family and playing tourist and living the food, art, walkability, of the community.

I am still surprised not to see much of a biking community here (In Hollywood area mostly) though the traffic, round abouts roads and such are a little scary. Though Miami Beach and St. Augustine, Florida are listed on Wikipedia as car-free communities in the world. And I have found Hollywood and Miami Beach to be incredibly walkable with a decent pubic transport. The grocery is easier and closer to get to than Galveston for me and the sidewalks and safe neigborhoods give me no reason to see why you couldn’t live car-free here.

The Street list’s Miami as a car-free place to retire.
But not everybody likes the Heat either.
I am a huge fan of both mid-century and art-deco architecture and living by the water. The water ways here are so awesome and the way it is but and laid out is just really…well thought I think. There are more yachts then boats and the amount of sailboats has me swooning.

I have lost some of my pictures from this trip but will take some more. Frankly I can’t get enough. It is so sunny and pretty here and the entire state seems to well thought out. From living young or retired to vacation and tourism to shops, Entertainment and restaurants and parks and greespace and on the water life and fun.

The food is very affordable. I have been really surprised, though Joe keeps reminding me that I live on what we call “Island Prices” back in Galveston. In one other comparison is how different the menu’s are from restaurant to restaurant and in a two bock radius there are no less than forty restaurants. The island really offers very little in type and then on top of that the problem there is that each place has the same menu…and usually even the same cooks who have rotated around to each place. Small town living. Sigh. I am not trying to bash but there it is.I love it. Sometimes I want to fix it. Like a bad relationship.

Joe and I have loved it here and got really interested in the thought of investing in a home here. We are still looking into that and I am still trying to figure out why so many homes are in foreclosure but also something about not being forced to move once you are? Not sure so if anybody can shed some light that would be great. Aside from foreclosure we are finding beautiful homes for half the price they would be on the island. Not bad at all…and swoon…many mid-century or art-deco ! And pools!

I’ve been a bit surprised by having read that a lot of people say that there is no diversity here….as in no Asian or Indian, very little African-American or black and mostly Spanish. I have found a wide variety of Spanish from all kinds of places (Cuba being only one) and a lot of Jamaican and Thai and even Indian (maybe not as much in restaurants is all.) Though Spanish is probably the heaviest of all of those it seems pretty even with white. Of course for me I change and travel to a lot of places and each place will be heavier in one or two than another so it doesn’t freak me out or even bother me. It just seems to be a heavy topic when looking things up about Florida on the www and an observation.

And how I love the Cuban’s for the food….my heart belongs to the Cubano sandwich.
BTW, a really cute recommended movie is the Chef , but be ready to be hungry is you watch it. It’s on Netflix.
I AM very pleasantly surprised at the huge artistic community that Florida offers, especially in the Hollywood area. There are Artwalks here and not far there is a (soon to be visited) Artist Lofts of Artspace. The parks and greenspace really blows me away…and the tree’s ! It’s very family friendly here but seemes a very bend of young and single, older and retired, lower and very upper class, family and children, business and art. I am still hunting out some live local music spots that aren’t about and for the tourists.

We haven’t headed to the keys yet and are actually planning to come back in winter for that and head up to Chicago before snow weather happens. But there is still so much more to see in Florida and cant do it all in one trip.

The trailer home parks and tiny old motels still fascinate me. The historic preservation . Especially in a hurricane hit state.
The colors…oh my…the colors.

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Florida Living. Food. Library. Coffee. Trees.

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I have lived in Galveston for six years and one of the things that brought me there was the architecture (more of the industrial and Down Town than the Victorian), and now it’s onto other travels and adventures and my first place, Hollywood, Florida, has really offered me a lot on the architectural front.

Not only that but the preservation that amazes me and the mid-century and art-deco that are my favorites. The city lay out (Hollywood, Miami especially which include the greenspaces, parks, trees, restaurants and shops, outside seating, bike boardwalks at the beach, a large spread of beach (and wash off systems and public bathrooms at the beach, which if Galveston took a lesson means that people will actually come off the beach to shop and eat at restaurants), the fact that they have recycling bins at the beach (eh hem, Galveston, stop making me compare.) And they have a more set up trash system at the beach which I see working for keeping it clean and making people care more than what I have seen in Galveston.

The boating, houses on water ways and the waterway/canals are so awesome and everything…traffic to boats to parks to beach to Down Town all seem to blend so easily. The bright and clean look of it here strikes me (on stucco and in the humid weather), and the art, and the recycling at the beaches, show that the city and the people put a lot into the beauty of Florida. There is seriously no dirty here. Everything is shiny, colorful and bright, and clean.

There is much to explore, and here I am absorbing it all.

The street art, artistic community of Hollywood, Florida, and the parks built for art are really awesome. The Art Park has an event just about every night and is only a bock away from where I stay, it’s beautiful with the most amazing huge trees by day, great picnic and reading. Classic Car shows, a Food Truck night, food and wine festivals, an Artwalk and more, every night. They have an entire gallery and stage building built just for glass blowing and have live shows as well as “make your own”. The city obviously puts a lot of money and focus into the artistic community and it’s a great blend of retired, young adult, families, and artists, and business. There are also a lot of art galleries and studios around here, too.

I’ve lost some of my pics but will try and replace/retake.

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Travel Life. RVLife. Bruises, Bumps, And Bugs.

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Bruises, Bumps, And Bugs.

Such is the way of traveling life so far.

During preparing our Mammoth for the road after it’s sleep and the getting used to a different location. The elbows and head received plenty of bump, as did the legs, knees from scrubbing, and more. Add on then moving out of our loft, climbing three stores of stairs up and down, carrying books and a grandfather clock, the bruises only added up. My legs by the end of it (which bruise easily anyway) are far from sexy in a pair of shorts, yet the Florida and Texas summer, even at end, had me not caring in the least.

Since being settled in a spot on the river, I’ve been unpacking, organizing, and continuously bumping into anything that could possibly be bumped into. I believe some bruises are simply from sitting at my hard picnic table when I write, others still even from how I lay one leg over or across another. My legs always have bruises easily…touch them and they bruise. Bags of groceries bumping into them from car to RV, bruise.

I suspect many have come from my hikes, swims, bike riding, and other adventures as well. But if it’s hot, I am still wearing shorts.

Joe got some nasty looks, that kitten, when stopping at a gas station once. That is how terrible they really do look.

It was like this around horses, and so I guess in my RV life this will be something to live with now, too. The days of dresses and skirts and shorts perhaps be gone.

As far as bumps, there is the bumping of my head. Joe and I are tall people, scooching back to sit in bed and read means a bump on the overhead cabinets. When I bend over the dashboard front area doing any number of things, even taking off my shoes, and forget to pay attention when I stand back up, my head will be bumped where the front TV is. It isn’t small, for us, in here so much as different, change to adapt to, awkward. My elbows bump less since my first days, thankfully. For awhile my arms hurt so bad and tingled so much I nearly broke down for the hospital. The bumps left by the bugs after walking through tall grasses or sitting out at night or going for a run very early are another kind of bump to help my legs look even better. Mean little red ones.

The bugs out here! Oh My! I’ve Googled more than I ever thought I could. Some I still cannot identify. But between the bugs and the birds it’s become a game. I take pictures when I can, because to look and study them later in such a way because they are still fascinating (from afar) is much easier to do than in the moment of being flown at, buzzed around, or climbed upon…as I squeal and wave my hands about. But the spiders webs in the early morning…such incredible and calm beauty from such a creature many of us find ugly. The amount of different spiders is so vast I can hardly keep up. The little electric green one so far wins for the “Oh, so you are interesting” comment and close study I gave it. I laugh because of how much Joe hates spiders….send a man to war, but don’t lock him in a room of spiders. He didn’t spend much time here before leaving out, so I wonder how well he will do when he comes back and we hike and kayak together. I’ve found the ‘shell’ of other odd bugs and played with close angles of my camera. I’ve found many others that have me Googling to identify, and wondering if they might be poisonous, stinging, or biting. I take a study of my bites after my showers to be sure all is well. This makes me wonder “When did I become quite so City?”

There are many things one plans ahead for, thinks about, looks forward to, has a knowledge about. And then there is much you simply learn by doing and failing at no less than once. I have a feeling that RV life, Road Travel, and reaching outside my well known and comfort zones of America, city or nature, have many lessons to teach me.

Florida, Art-Deco in Miami.

 

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So the travels have begun with a long (very long) drive to Florida from Galveston Island. In Joe’s little car with no A/C. So much for my start back to life on wheels after five and a half years of car-free living. Florida is a place that I have been in and out of a few times for equestrian related things in my long ago past but I never really got to see it and never have I been to Hollywood or Miami where I’ve been able to go this Spring/Summer.

We started here to pick up the RV that Joe and I will begin our American Road Travels in, as well as to visit, while there, some of his family.

I was also getting to see Florida with the new eye’s of a traveling tourist rather than work or mission.

And I’m in love.

Art-Deco ANYTHING is my favorite…my love…my choice in all. And so of course the houses, the cute little motels all over the place…even the frickin trailer parks have grabbed my heart here.

Joe thankfully is all about the get out on foot travel and that we have done. But the sun shines very bright and the heat itself isn’t felt long before the sun exhaustion is…so we also end each day rather tired…simply worn out. Even our feet hurt, but we’ve had so much incredible joy walking for hours and hours among these buildings, these houses (many mid-century as well so a double whammy of perfect love.)

We have had some amazing food and found some incredible little streets, nooks and places tucked away in corners. Many times I have’t even broken out my camera but instead enjoyed the moment. The entire trip really was about living in the moment. I hadn’t even taken a photo the first three days in Hollywood. We would stop for a coffee and enjoy people watching, taking a break in the shade and some time off our feet.

My Florida souvenir hunt is for flamingo’s. Even tacky. When I travel I won’t just get a coffee cup from every place I go or whatnot (I’d have a million and am one of those my favorite cup kind of gal’s) what I do is choose something that strkes me about that place….for Florida from movies it’s “Tacky” (no offense) and “Flamingo’s” that had come to mind and so my hunt is for fun Flamingo something…that perfect thing. Any idea’s?

The water here is blue blue blue and the way much is built for walkable living….the artistic community…the food trucks and oh. my. gosh the most amazing food and restaurants and so unbelievably cheap but GOOD….ok, the list grows of why I have played with the idea of just staying here. In any case….I will forever have Florida on the map to come back to…and we haven’t even done the Keys yet! Not even Hemingway’s house yet! There is so much more to do!

On this trip I have lost about half of my pictures sadly but as I said, there is still more time and so I hope to be able to recapture some of those as well as much more new.

I have been utterly fascinated with Cuban food (Can’t wait for an actual trip to Cuba) and the fact that Florida is SO preserved! The historic Art-Deco entire cities and the houses are in great shape, and for such a hurricane hit state, too. I mean, coming from Galveston, this is a big deal. I truly think that Galveston should check out the preservations processes here.

Another item I have been absolutely in love with and just can’t get over is all the greenspace and trees and grass area’s and the lay out of places, such as Miami beach. Ok ok, I am comparing Galveston a lot but seriously…the beach, the park space, the baordwalks, the restaurants, shops, hotels and the houses are laid out in such perfection that this is truly a city to take note and example of. PEOPLE. Especially in the size of space and amount of people…this state really knew how to build for the people and for growth while keeping comfort and beauty.

Hollywood is very much a mix of Burbank, California and Galvesto Island, Texas in a way.

The one thing I see a lack of and am pretty surprised at is the bike community, but much of it is car-free still. Where I am staying, in Hollywood, I am smack dab in the heart of Down Town and there are about a hundred restaurants at my feet. I’ve eaten three meals out daily and have yet to be able to have bee to all of them. And the gelato is not helping bikini season at 500. There are parks and grocery store and library all in walking distance and the beach is less than a mile and a half away but an easy walk or a hop on the trolley (bus style…again, Galveston take note for the bringing back of the island trolley) take care of that, too.

CNTraveler Doesn’t even name Miami in this top 10 list but it is apparently the largest area of Art-Deco in America. On the list I have been to 5 out of 10 and it is a pretty good list that I hope to finish the next five of but in the meantime I am super happy that I decided to come to Florida and see a state that I seriously never had given thought to…and was very very wrong to have done so. Especially in my love of certain types of architecture. Not to mention food. And art…and….oy. Florida.

I will talk much more but in the mean time…here is a thousand words in each picture of simply gorgeous Art-Deco architecture.

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Goodbye For Now Old Friend.

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My Galveston, My Dear.

I’ve not left you for good. I don’t hate you. I haven’t given up on you. I just need a break. I want to explore and travel. I got a little bored and sometimes distance makes the heart grow fonder…I left California in much the same, no hate at all there, all on good terms, but it felt it was time to move about a bit.

I came to the island after moving to Texas from California (where I’d lived for six years). I was married then. We had some dreams and hopes as all the stories go….but ours went in other directions…mine went in many many directions.

I’d fallen in love with the island I had not been to since a child when I came back listening to live music and bringing my dogs to the beach. After the hurricane and restoration began, new people, new heart, and a lot of project beckoned to me. The history. The feel. The grittiness of it called.
A particular building still holds my heart, I am sad that my life took a curve and has yet to be able to accommodate the plans I still wish for that building. Such is life. Such was not the timing.
That marriage dissolved almost as soon as we moved to the sand…it began nearly the day of and over the next eleven months fell apart like delicate lace in harsh weather.

I was sad then but resolved to move on under all circumstances of a failed marriage of abuse and affairs. Small town gossip withstood.

I went through legal problems, again and again. Humiliation and the neck ache that keeping my head up gave me through it all. It is a story well known. Small town gossip flashes like a grease fire atop of it. It is what it is.

I dated, newly single again. The island doesn’t give you choices it would in all other parts of the world. Some where just plain bad. I am usually appalled at even my choices by some. Others interesting even if not good. Still others held my heart regardless. What is life without regret? What is life without bad choices? What is life without a hurt heart? These answers do not only cover the category of love but all aspects of life.

I even spent seven months in your jail…that little B&B with hard cold beds, serving moldy baloney…Galveston, your hospitality ranges greatly. This is far from hidden truth I do not deny.

What can I say about my time in Galveston?

Well, a lot really. It was not all of the bad, sad, heartbreak, and dashed hopes and dreams of the lines above but really and truly I embrace the island still…as I leave it the sadness is the nostalgia of my love for it. My good memories.

I’ve had, at times, good friends and laughter and good conversation and shared feasts.
I’ve bicycled all over the island from stem to stern, explored nooks and crannies, enjoyed flying along the seawall on my bike with a wind to my back (or cursing with the wind against me). I’ve explored the fallen and forgotten spaces. Mansions and homes and crumbling brick buildings with walls that told a sorry if you listened to their whispers.
I’ve spent much time along that beach at sunset, the colors painting across the sky in ways that never matched the next and always took your breath away…even on the lazy days.
I’ve gardened in your soil. I’ve sunk my feet into your sand. I’ve dipped my toes into your waters. I’ve surfed among your waves. I’ve swam with your dolphins. I’ve read underneath your sunniest afternoon skies.

I’ve lived in a Down Town artistic place of restaurants, coffeeshops, and galleries. Artwalks and music, voices that inspire, paintings that make your fingers twitch and readings that keep you up at night. I’ve been an observer and a part of it all…often walking through most unnoticed, always noticing it all.

I’ve sang in your night winds, danced underneath your stars, warmed myself by a fire upon your beaches, been kissed on your beach under full moons, and been fed by your fruits.

Most of all Galveston. In all of the good and in all of the bad, I have been fed, inspired, grown, changed, molded. I have created, found my place in life, found many answers and the questions of which to ask for them. I’ve written many things, much of my works as well as many chapters of my life here with you.

Sometimes you made me cry. Sometimes you bored me to tears. Sometimes I wanted to run away. Sometimes I embraced you, loved you, celebrated you, cared for you as I felt you did for me.

I never regretted you. Not once. Not now. Not for a second. I am not leaving you forever…as plans go though who knows? I just have more I wish to do (small town gossip still flying, but infamous or famous, love me or hate me, it is what it is.) I have more I wish to see. But in these travels I speak of you fondly…like a love left who’s nostalgia is fully seen only through the rose colored glasses of time and distance.

Really I don’t leave you at all, I will be back for sure. And I take many stories of your along my travels. I let people know your name. You are a part of my regular conversation. “Where do you come from?” Is answered with “Galveston Island” along these roads and to these people. I encourage them to visit, to meet you if they have’t, or haven’t for a long time. I even saved a stack of Galveston Monthly and Coast Magazines, unable to part with those collected over the past year and a half time. They have room on board even as I wittle down much, including books. I have pictures of you to look at and be reminded should your image become fuzzy. And I have a map that will lead me back if ever I feel the need to dip my toes into your waters again.

They say once you live on the island, you never leave. And if you leave, you always come back. Perhaps. I would love a little cottage there, or to maybe fulfill the dream of a particular building. But for now I trade your potholed roads for the open roads of the American country side…you know…that place just across the causeway.

With all love, no regrets, chapters written, and love and lived fully; Goodbye for only now, my dear Galveston.

Yours Truly,

Peggy

And Our Travels Begin.

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Ducky RoadTravels. Explorer. The Mammoth Beast Awakens.

Our big time came with excitement and maybe a little stress mixed like sweat and dust of a hot summer day with the fear of the unknown, the anticipation of change, and the weariness that all moves bring no matter how much for-the-good and fun adventures ahead you are doing it for. The emotional leaving of the island for good, at least for now not holding an address there any longer to call home, brought a sadness that did not surprise me and yet I was ready to go. I had been here too long and I missed traveling more, craved exploration of other, I even missed California more than ever these months, wondering often why I stayed in Texas. I had explored every inch of this island by foot, bike, boat, and more and I was bored. I needed time away to remember how much I enjoyed it. It wasn’t about Galveston so much as the explorer in me. We sought exploration, both of us did, and it found us.

This all came about because I’d wanted to travel and made plans for over a year to do so, hoping to remodel an airstream…that seemed to move off a bit more in time but in the meantime Joe and I were offered a good deal from family on an amazing RV. We both wanted to hit road travel before eventual other kind of travel, as our friends are having babies we wanted adventures. We took the opportunity.

I had packed everything we owned here on the island, not much since my own rebuilding of only a year and a half after my “loss” and Joe’s not much since leaving most to his old roommate and more still left in storage for over three years in another state before moving to Galveston. Not to mention when you list it all the other items he has in nearly every state at this point. But even when you don’t have much to pack, so it seemed, the work seems more than the amount that comes out of it. Windowseals and baseboards scrubbed, the nooks and crannies left clean for the next tenant and I realized I was leaving my little tree house I had called home for the past almost year but more so an entire island I’d been at home at for over six.

Let me go back a bit….Start at somewhere near the beginning…and yet not at all, to keep it short. Which if I know myself, won’t be short at all.

It’s the end of summer. I’d come back to Texas to tie up loose ends, pack our loft and clean it, preparing for an entire life change. Not my first by far and I am sure far from my last but I’ll admit that in my experience not all or many of them had been in my control or by my choice. This one was and it’s a feeling comparable to buying brand new towels as an adult…the good ones. How big of a life change, however, that is still just now setting in as I sit in some small Texas town on a Sunday evening with barely it’s own name with a busted hose that cools the engine of a 26,000 pound vehicle I now call home, but a home with no address and no mailbox attached to it…

That sets in a little deeper.

I am getting ahead of myself again here…..

A little background; The past two weeks; Joe gets off the work on the river, drives back all the way from way almost nine hours above Memphis back to Galveston Texas, crossing that ferry over in the dawn of morning with bloodshot eyes wide with fighting sleep. I’m at the loft packing the last items to be ready to go, up with yet another pot of coffee.

With a sleepy smile and embrace seeing each other for the first time in two months, we crashed out hard until what we thought would be the late morning of the day but rather was only a couple of hours past the full rise of sun.

Over coffee we pulled out our map even though we needn’t for the can do with your eye’s closed path of cross the Boliver ferry to I-10 to 75 down the middle of the state of Florida drive we had ahead of us. Bags loaded into the car we set off for our second twenty hour drive of the same rout this year. This time we would come back with the prize.

A nearly 40 foot RV previously named Ducky.

They say that you won’t know if your relationship will last until you’ve traveled or better yet, road tripped together. Well, I can’t give any guarantee’s (too much experience there, and neither of us the conventional types) but we have both survived several six hour and now two twenty hour with no A/C in hot months or sleep for either of us and a lot of grouchiness, sometimes having to survive without coffee, now add on yet another trip of about 1,600 miles on the road with our own home on our backs like a turtle, worry and stress of the new that everything is one second from breaking and again somehow no a/c wondering if we made the right decisions, for the start of this trip and and a total lack of sleep, a lot of physical work, moving out of a three story stairs only loft with a lot of leg work, arms sore, and hurt backs making us growl like tigers and about a million things not going according to plan and even discovering we can’t find a place to stop and eat at where we fit with our new bulk from time to time and we have now covered a pretty decent test of all time. I still don’t lay the bets but I’ll admit that if this guy is still here and hasn’t left me standing on the side of some highway out in the middle of nowhere (though threats in jest from both sides have been plenty) after the absolute over tired, body hurting, hangry or no coffee moments, and simple moving stress asshole that I have personally been I have no complaints. I also have very few comments on the completely solid quiet and even tempered man who is the Captain of this ship. What I learned most on this trip, I’ll admit? I am a complete asshole.

With both Joe and I driving through the day and night and switching off (sleep never really came for either of us). My own self could not sleep on my own turns, funny since I usually can sleep anytime, anywhere when in a moving vehicle since being that baby that a moving car had been magic for, now my eyelids dropped shut but my mind would not slow. Still in the dawn we drove East…new rule, don’t drive East at sunrise.
McDonalds coffee had to do, but I was tired enough to be chugging down oil and not have noticed. Yet we managed to perk up enough with a wave of energy as we got closer to the mossy covered tree’s and family waiting with big hugs and lots of food, stories to tell me about the family of the man I love and a lot of good hard work and pure elbow grease to prepare Ducky for the road, planned since early this year but the poor creature had slumbured like a mammoth for two years, the beast was still worth way more than we were paying, more than a brand new in all comparison and a summer of research and agreement we have found of fellow RV’er experts…even those who have later helped us off the side of the road. All seem to be somewhat in awe, even when they themselves own some McMansion priced home on wheels themselves. We woke our woolly mammoth which was a little green with Florida swamp moss, near the water, and after years of slumber the engine still purred like a kitten after only a slight woken rumble. We moved to a shady spot near the house for us to work over the next several days…from cleaning off the green grown moss and algae to the settled dust that two years anywhere of sit brings inside to checking over engines with fine tooth combs and making list upon list of To Do’s and Need’s. Hind sight was often 20/20 with all we should have could have done prior to this fit it all in a two week period we now found ourselves in.

I am comforted by the words of Miss Jackie, RV expert of a small local town and part rescue team on the Sunday evening we had broken down (another RV rule we immediately made ourselves and learned is an actual RV’ers rule; Don’t travel on Sunday, everything is closed) “With RV life, something always breaks down. Two months off the lot in a brand new, one of our five had also broken down. Just plan on it breaking and you will be less surprised.”

The travels have begun but more adventure then yet just travel I suppose and many adventures with an RV life come in the ways you don’t plan for, expect, or even sometimes want. Joe keeps asking me, as I keep asking him “Are you still ok with this?” To which after answering Yes the other says “Good, because it’s kind of too late now.”

Even though we plan that we can always change our minds…but those plans we make….

With all that has happened it’s been hard to write until I have finally, as now, stopped for my month of aloneness, Joe gone off back to work, a worried mess leaving me alone in this thing by myself, more worried I suspect of what I’ll break than what may break me.

I’ve managed some few and far between notes in between hard work and visiting family & friends, stolen most likely with the only moments of aloneness being in short seconds of bathroom breaks. Much of what you read may have, or may not have, I won’t tell you which, been chicken scratched hurriedly in my notebook in a bathroom of Galveston, Florida, or a Cracker Barrel restaurant, or even an odd one of an RV. I take my moments of alone when I can. But I now have my time to catch up, breath a bit for the first time in three weeks and I can laugh, as I thankfully did even through tired tears, at much of the stories this adventure has already brought us and it has barely even started…

Joe and I did get a chance to spend some decent, though still not enough, time for the third short visit this year with his grandparents, retired snowbirds who are now permanently in Florida. I truly give that state credit for it’s set up for retirement. His grandmother makes beautiful quilts and both have taken very good care of Ducky, so named by them with their own story to tell. We had good work, good conversation, they survived politics between Joe and I spitting at each other over the table, his poor grandmother looking back and forth a moment before setting the matter to rest for the time being. Joe and I have decided upon saving of a relationship and not adding to enough other reasons to come near killing each other on this trip to table politics for this moment, though they have flared up from time to time. (I wish I remembered the writer of the article I enjoyed of the Florida newspaper that one particular morning.) We had good meals, plenty of food provided, even an RV freezer stocked before we left and quite a bit of getting to know each other. Good people, this I can say….Joe’s grandfather is an insight to what I’d be getting in the future when Joe himself gets a little grey around the temple…I’ve yet to run though, but I love the rapor between that couple. I am pretty sure I got a slight full insight to my entire own future, his grandmother sure as hell holds her own.

Joe and I had to go and buy a new mattress for the boat on wheels we were about to make our home, we received help from a friend of his grandfather driving his pickup truck, and Joe and I had the fastest pick a mattress moment in the history of mattress shopping. I am naturally either a think for a VERY long time on something or a very in and out buyer. I don’t dawdle much and frankly we didn’t have the time. Downsizing from a king size to a queen already had us both in a state of all other quality nearly didn’t matter. But since my back ached plenty already and for the past weeks I’d suffered from a condition of my tendons pulling away from my hip joint (causing pain all up my side and back) and after a long car ride already I at least picked what I felt was best, also considering that complaints that we did harbor for our current too soft mattress. Otherwise it was a whirlwind of the two of us jumping from one mattress to another, rolling side to side, trying a few positions…I kicked Joe out once of one to get to one position, while the salesman and two men retired long ago watched on at what must have looked like a couple of crazy people.

Our time in a hot by day and cool by night Florida and visiting family (not to mention yummy breakfasts made daily) and amazing lightening storms that nearly put Texas to shame ended all too soon as did the expertise for this machine we were about to put everything we owned, including our own lives, into. And Joe and I hit the road…cut off from those who had answers to more questions than we yet knew how to ask.

We drove covering an amazing amount for several hours of time, stopping to eat at what would eventually be the only kind of place we would soon learn was available to us to eat at, until we tiredly looked for a hotel room at night, too late at ten pm to find an RV park and too tired to even attempt messing with the set up it would take. We had not known where to make reservations ahead since we weren’t yet sure where we would be and when or when we would finally call defeat and need to stop. Crankily (that would be me) we searched hotels as we approached Mobile Alabama, half way back already in a day, and finally tipped out of the decieving state of Florida when driving I-10, neither iphone navigation was giving me fast enough or clear enough answers as I hurriedly searched while we kept an eye out for the right exits in the dark and unfamiliar places, having to be more aware of where we did with such a large vehicle than if simply in an easy to turn about car.

Finally we pulled off but soon discovered that we ended up on a dead end road of three hotels of each having the tiniest parking I’ve ever seen of a hotel and no way for us to turn around, we were stuck. But we managed to back up (for the second time that day actually) and find a space at one big enough to accommodate us, who allowed us to stay with no problem and of which we backed out of the next morning. By the way, backing this thing is actually a piece of cake for this guy but nearly impossible to do on this type of vehicle overall. When you are towing a vehicle…well, add that to the imagination. I at this point was so tired the bark was happening purely and I offended even myself…poor Joe. But it was good that we stopped and that the hotel we chose accommodated us and as as soon as we stepped into our room the sleep fell over Joe and the man could have slept standing straight up…we’ve now called this “Joe has no yellow…he has red and green, stop and go….but no slow down.” We added to our list of what we could and could not do with the 40 foot boat on wheels and much more planning was involved, not so much quick and convenient decisions and even the natural planner that I am had to learn a few lessons already in this. RV’s take planning….RV parks have to be called and reserved and gotten to in certain hours or arrangements made and thought to where to pull off and how to drive around, get to, get in, and get back out all well planned and thought through. This would come to us many times more and I’ve a feeling we aren’t out of those woods yet.

I have a note book, as I sit along in my comfy recliner of a co-Captains chair. For one thing, new rules keep building which we note, me with notebook in hand. The first made was that I am not allowed to navigate. Never Never Never Let Peggy Navigate is how it reads. I’ll admit…there is much room for growth on that one and it was a rule I had not made (I make most of them) but could not argue with. Another was don’t test odd buttons while in odd tunnels…thankfully the time that Joe (who can’t resist buttons) chose to test the air horn out was on a side of a long stretch of empty freeway with not even cows to annoy for the nearly fifteen minutes it took to get it shut off (through the engine at that.) This button had to be done once again for inspection, poor guy was standing nose to nose with the mammoth that time, I gave him props, he didn’t flinch, bat an eye, or look the least bit phased by it as he made his note. Many rules are building even on just the small beginning of this adventure, each makes us laugh, thankfully, we feed off the amusement rather than be brought down by it as the lessons pile up. We’ve made rules as to how long to drive “even when we feel fine to do it.” Rules of not driving East at sunrise and West at sunset….these, as all, were lessons learned in the moment of the doing. When the windshield in front of you is the size of a broad side of a barn and you are navigating the beast to stay fit snugly into your own lane through places such as Down Town Houston during rush hour, your eyesight becomes that much more important to you, which also made another rule….no driving through large cities like Houston during rush hour. I gripped my seat and pressed my imaginary passenger side break the entire time through that one while holding my breath or shouting my backseat driving instructions. Other new rules included which side of the mammoths underbelly to store the tools on, so when pulled off onto the side of a freeway with each passing car or big rig sending our tall home into waving shivers we had them at hand on the safe grassy side (where the door on and off also is) rather than the try not to get smashed side of our rig. Again, rules come as they are learned first hand the hard way.

Along with rules listed we also had Lessons Learned lists compiled….we learned that one can not just simply stop anywhere we want to eat or get a Starbucks coffee in the morning, once we pull in, we might be able to pull out, some we can’t even pull in and the one we couldn’t do either we learned the hardest of ways as we also had no choice in the matter of either. Find RV friendly places to eat was on the list and Cracker Barrel quickly became our breakfast, lunch, and dinner along the long open road that cut through the deep south. The best of the best places to eat won’t be missed in later explorations with our unhitched smaller in-tow vehicle to take around town but better planning was a definite must. When trying to get from point A to point B in a short amount of time this was not yet the choice. Thankfully though we come along with our entire own kitchen at hand. I could damn near fry an egg while flying down I-10….but would be like trying to cook breakfast during a big earthquake in a high rise in California so I really didn’t go for that and decisions settled on making a sandwich. The getting used to along with rules and lessons is a part of this game…not hitting elbows and heads is another. The space is large but two people have to learn a special dance to make it really work, I suspect over time it will come even if neither of us (I really mean Joe) can dance.

The other fun part is that when you suspected you didn’t have much, lived in a small loft and the RV had WAY more cabinet space than said loft, you still find yourself walking over to the dumpster of your first RV camping park making several trips. You really learn that suddenly you don’t need a whole lot of things…or simply have to do without. We had plans to carry some pieces of furniture tucked away oddly to combine with Joe’s other storage but quickly learned that pieces had to be left with friends and scattered along the way as some didn’t fit in at all and others made life much harder than expected. And when you think you have a lot of cabinet space…you don’t. Such as plans go, though. And more and more stuff gets wittled down. Which by my opinion Joe needed anyway and my own…well, it happens. The books having to be toned down was the one that hurt. I gave Joe The Look when he said the words and told him that he, too, took up a lot of space. And yet, I managed to go through and thankfully we readers always have that pile we have no idea why we bought to begin with or might never read or the pile of already read that we didn’t have much of a good review for…..the beloved ones being held onto…a pile was given away with a few tear stained pages. Joe said Kindle…I threatened a collection or two of his own could be left on the side of the road, but even that was all more grouch of tired and sore body still talking…so is my story which I’ll stick to. I will admit, the piles of magazines had to go. And I do love my magazines but they also are a part of my work…for which I already do but must do more to depend upon the internet for. But then the internet connections or access or signal in all of the places I have been in only this time make me realize that life is much less convenient in some places than others and we forget what life is easily with out the ease of all wants and needs at not just hand but immediate hand. Not just FAST, but NOW and exactly how we want it. However I do hope to take advantage of that by spending more active times outdoors as well as actual writing rather than researching and reading. I will also have time to catch up on some yet unread pile of books before giving (some of) those away, too.

I am past those weeks of craziness for now and the nights get quiet now and the sleep tries to come early, the dark has already begun falling at a smaller hour and I found myself ready for bed at only 8:30pm the other night, tired and needing to catch up on sleep and it was my first opportunity to do so I took it but only to be wide awake at 2:am. I am having a slight Henry David Thoreau silence and solitude in the woods moment here, an adjustment of my brightly lit loft with plenty of wide room, big widows and everything in its place, and Netflix, not to mention Down Town, or the Cuban music and food and people filled Down Town I’ve had this year… Believe me, this new found quiet time will end up having me better for it and is a bit needed after a hot summer and Netflix at hand. I just might get a little more writing done. Probably a lot more editing. And the sunset and view, water, and bald eagles make for much better than TV any day.

Quiet is heavily sought when not had but very loud when forced.

So, back to other aspects of RV life, the new way for us. We’ve driven this beast from halfway down Florida, which is a very decieving state along I-10 from west tip of Pensicola to the middle when you hit 75 and head from East to south or visa versa; All the way over the long bridge in Liousiana, through a tunnel we held our breaths through, not for the reason people do in tunnels but because we weren’t sure how this was about to go even as we watched the semi-trucks around us do the same…and also crowd us to the wall. We drove in the dark just past sunset of Boliver island and somehow managed to make the ENTIRE trip with a clean windshield but now on this last leg we felt we’d been declared war upon of some bug that came thick as a wall, large as a bird and left us blind and unable to see through the windshield at all. I suppose if you care of bug life and soul and are not the kind to ever smash a bug than driving an RV is not the way of life to go for you, I later had to scrub them off. We drove onto the Boliver ferry, seeing our island we called home, learning to do things like turn the propane off for the ferry (I have since learned of all the places this must be done, such as Houston Ship Channel tunnel, and ferry to Alaska on which the tank is not even allowed) the little ferry was used to our kind, though and we managed that beautifully, touching back onto our own home so for what would be the last time for a long time, and would we ever again call Galveston home? Both of us have those plans, but as plans go….with a tired sadness the realization of a place we both love dearly settled in. We pulled up alongside our loft, our first home together, our little tree house of a home, the sunshine filled place I spent four seasons writing my novel, and walked in and slept soundly in our own old bed in our own old home for the very last night, boxes packed all around us but the location of everything even still more familiar to us in the dark once the light was turned out than the RV had yet to become.

The next morning I woke with moving anticipation, Joe rolled back over and pulled the comforter to block the sun, I made my coffee and went about my routine one last time. Nostalgia already somewhat setting in. I smiled as I remembered the flowers Joe had set up before I’d ever entered when we rented here. They had been an Autumn bouquet and now this Autumn our live was beginning a new course. I thought deeply about my six and a half years here. What great and strange changes my life had taken. I sighed. I loved it here, but I was ready to go, just maybe while not completely letting go. Joe, with even less time, felt the same about this little strip of island in the Gulf.

The day finally awakened and the moving out began. We didn’t have much to move and yet with three stories of stairs not much becomes a whole lot. I moved books and books and Joe mentioned we might need to tone them down for the space they take, to which I mentioned that HE sure took up a lot of space. He stated it was time I turned toward a Kindle, it hurt my soul a little, as if I’d been slapped. My books boarded passage. I had packed a great deal of soft things, such as clothing and linens, into the five hundred bags from the Navy travel Joe has, I threw them over the balcony to save a few trips on the stairs, it was only coincidence that he happened to be standing very very near where they landed when I did. We had to find a home for a sentimental piece of his furniture with a friend as we discovered that we could not get it on board, even for the temporary move we had had planned for it to combine it with another storage, we stored a grandfather clock that nearly took my back out (So much for doctors orders of rest for my hip tendon issue) that later was left with another friend rather than a faster trip up North as well. Joe is now spread a little bit all over the states really. Well, his things are, the man is himself still somehow intact after all of my grouchiness. The move finished faster than we had thought, I had done enough stair runs to make up for a summer of too hot to work out/Netflix and my arms felt as if they would fall off…better yet that I wished them to. We looked at each other and said “alright, lets go then, shall we?” And off we went…both realizing it was our last time seeing a sun lower here as we drove off over the causeway. We don’t plan on goodbye, just see you later…but as the best of plans go. I very much felt as if I was saying goodbye to an old friend who I had been through many both good and bad times with, none of which I regretted.

We tiredly went to visit friends, in the dark directed by them, and set up too exhausted to move. The next morning we woke to a huge lake right in front of us. For a couple of days, somehow ahead of schedule, visiting friends and enjoying an almost rest (which really was no rest at all but more time to ourselves alone without other people there for the first moment which in itself, loved and all, can be exhausting when you are very much the type of people both to love being alone and having all of it on top of other work that took our sleep and exhausted our bodies, constant other people can be draining.) Our company of each other is a much more comfortable and less tiring by now for us and we sighed a little sigh and began pulling our stuff apart and deciding what we could or could not live without and how better to pack it and find a place for everything, and put everything in its place. Basically we had moved from one home to another so the actual “un-packing” still had yet to be done rather than the “shoving wherever you could find space” that had happened.

But on a late Sunday we set off for our next destination driving through beautiful country and fully engaged in some deep good conversation, only to be broken down shortly enough after. We had the best of the AAA service for an RV but we really wanted it to be longer than two weeks before we needed to make use of it. We were leaking something like an oil but not from our oil, or our transmission fluid and we couldn’t figure out where it came from as we shook and waved with each passing scary beast of a fast moving vehicle and the cows watching in calm amusement at the humans who made life harder than it had to be. We finally found one more odd plug into an odd drum with a lot of hoses and saw the leak came from that…the question for even two people who know machines well was What Was It? We nose dived into our books on board with diagrams of the engine and heard a voice ask us what the problem was from outside our door. That gentleman understood immediately the issue by our sad and lacking explanation and walked off with a “well that’s not good” but he came back with a phone talking to a friend explaining our hydraulic hose busted issue….We Have A Hydraulic Engine System??? Who knew?! For me with my experience I don’t have any with diesel to speak of and for him with his diesel experience of boats this machine was a whole other animal to deal with…and to admit that we had spent days preparing for the road is only to admit that those days were not enough for all of it to be covered.

We quickly learned as practically a whole town turned out for us in the next twenty four hours, however, that we had done nothing wrong and that ignorance meant a lesson learned and that no matter how brand new the RV the things still break. We also learned all about our entire hydraulic diesel system up close and personal. Somehow I never did get a picture of Joe covered head to toe in grease but the sight it did make and the grease all over the inside he did leave (which made for new rules). However the couple that stopped were well versed in not only RV’s but the who who of the town and plenty more, helping us get the beast to a nearby RV specialty shop that we had just happened to break down nearly on top of, I had just happened to see the oil on the back camera right away which saved the issue from becoming much bigger and much more costly, and even with loss of power steering Joe discovered it had as he managed to U-turn on a freeway and get it down a steep hill into this shop on his own and we were saved by a phone call to the towns and one of the countries best RV specialist mechanics who came out that night and again the next morning. Everything was of course closed on the Sunday evening so securing location, issue, and safe place to sleep (our own RV plugged in and all as this shop was actually set up for such occasions) and then later food for the night was the important thing.

The next morning came the work. Not only did we break down in the best location, have the best couple stop to help out for on their Sunday drive, call the best mechanic of RV’s out who people bring for work from all over the country, have an RV shop that was more than hospitipal to us and more tips and information we had yet to find on the internet in months but we also had people come out simply just to help as well as to admire the big guy we had brought to their town. Apparently we had a keeper on our hands, nobody was surprised at the issue at hand, our break down cost us more than we needed for the moment but much much less than could have been and muscle and knowledge and tools and parts to get the job done, in fact just up the street was an actual hose and fitting specialist for just such things….location could not have been better and small town kindness poured greatly to this young couple among the retired who were traveling the US roads in one of the best RV’s out there.

Along our travels so far people have stopped us plenty amazed that we are under fifty and doing such a thing…especially IN such a thing, when we tell people we are RVing they figure tiny little pickup truck camper or some sort…and I did even have one gentleman say the same for my name “You just don’t meet many as young as you….” This we get about our traveling often at every stop we make, and more among the elder than the young at all. For it we feel privileged, blessed and appreciative greatly. Not only the opportunity but all of the help that came along even when all of our best laid plans went amuck.

Miss Jackie said we were both being exceptionally calm in all of that particular situation and well, we had the best of all the help we could not even have asked for. There will be much to stress about…this was a moment for calm and acknowledgement of safety of not only ourselves but our mammoth as well….it all could have been much worse and we are still on the path to much better. In all of it we’ve still laughed a lot (and cried a little) and even though yelled a lot (that would be me) and have a notebook full of Lessons Learned, New Rule, To Do, To Buy, we also have a lot of memories, even in a short amount of time….it is incredible at how much we still accomplished and I am not even fitting it all in here really.

Now I sit here in the calm with a view over water and a sun that has set, deer nearby and knowledge that a bald eagle is somewhere here and I have a time to write and work with an office outdoor in the month of October in a new place for my stirring spirit and I am really really good with this idea.

Which is a good thing since it’s a little too late for a changed mind.

This website has pretty much been our RV Travel bible.

Car Free: Florida.

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Heat & Cold This is an article from another who has done the car-free thing in all types of weather, where I have only done Southern California, Texas, Spring and Falls only in NYC, and Florida as well as other countries in full car-free life. The extreme heat and the extreme cold are both great challenges for the car free person.

Miami made it on the list here for best cities.

Though from this writers time growing up in Hollywood, Florida perhaps much as changed since this is where I am and there is a great “trolley on wheels” as well as bus system and though I am in the heart of Down Town and hundreds of great eateries, night life , art galleries, parks, Monday night food truck in the park and much more including parks and library, I am a less than two mile or a trolley ride away from the beach and a just few bocks from a grocery store. I have walked through a lot of the neighborhoods and O.M.G. I love these styes of architecture…but also everything seems very close, there is more sprawling area and passsings of particular highways that can become the areas of problem but I personally haven’t met with an issue yet. There is also a train system. The traffic here is INASANE and a four minute car drive can take forty so I much prefer the walking…plus really there are round abouts and cross walk weirdness and as a driver I am more afraid of an accident or running someone over. But as a walker I am fine (I do suggest sticking to cross walks here as a pedestrian and since some cross walks don’t have stop lights be VERY careful….but those cars have to and will and do stop in my experience.) But the link link here has a bit about this area as well as others they actually live car free in now and some really good information and taking points of car free living.

Retiring or heath reasons not to drive are another to hit on…there is the saving money part as well as, like my own mom and eventually myself, the lack of eyesight. But not the lack of get out there living and social life.

Tampa Finding a realtor who can help with your type of lifestyle is a really good moving move. Car Free in Orlando .

Other sites to check out. This really is a talked about and lived in real life topic:

Best Cities

No car – No problem.

Urban Car Free Projects.

Even Vacation can be Car Free.