Thursday, January 23, 2020

Bridget's 2019 Wrap-up Courtesy of Google

I've been pondering this post for a couple of weeks. A yearly wrap-up for a full-time RVer is no small task but last week I got an email from Google giving me a lot of information. Yes, big brother is watching because my location history is turned on with Google. 

This map shows many of the places Murphy and I went to in 2019. 
 We visited 35 states. I still regret skipping North Dakota. 

This made me chuckle. Some days it felt like I was driving around the world. I bet Murphy would agree. 

We visited these National Parks and Monuments in 2019.

Acadia National Park, Maine
Arches National Park, Utah
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Devil's Tower National Monument, Wyoming
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
Saguaro National Park, Arizona
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming and Montana

I'm sure 2020 will be just as exciting!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

South Florida for December? Yes, Please

December is a rugged month for me.  I knew when I choose to leave behind my family and travel all winter, there would be some hard days, and there were. 

December 4th was the moving day. I left The Keys and moved north about 130 miles to TY Park in Hollywood, FL. 

There are several Broward County parks in this area with campgrounds. I have now visited them all and stayed at three of them. My favorite is Topeekeegee Yugnee Park. Everyone just calls it TY Park. 

TY has a lake, swimming pool, tennis courts, miles of walking paths, and a lot more. 
The first weekend I was here, Ralph took me to meet his parents and then out for Cuban food. If you've never had Cuban coffee, you must. 
My tiny Christmas tree.
My reservation at TY was from December 4th through the 17th. That meant I'd have to move on my birthday. That made me so sad because I LOVE my birthday.  Fortunately, I snagged a couple more days and relocated on the 22nd, the second anniversary of Rob's death. That move kept me busy on an otherwise difficult day. Ralph was off work, so he helped me get moved and set-up. 
Murphy is such a trooper. He's almost always calm and quiet. Until there's a squirrel or some other wildlife. Then he uses his strong, 80# body to move me to wherever he wants to go. It's a challenge, to say the least. 
We got Bridget wedged into her tiny, back-in space at Easterlin Park and prepared to wait out the next few days. They were predicting a lot of rain. I had another reservation lined up at TY Park starting on Christmas Day.  

When we woke up the next morning, nearly the entire campground was flooded. It rained so much overnight there was water everywhere. The only dry spot was under the trailer. As you can see, my portable satellite antenna drowned that night. It's that white dome by the truck. This day would have been Rob's 65th birthday. 
Instead of walking Murphy that morning we went wading. Everywhere we tried to walk ended abruptly in deep, standing water.

It took a full 36 hours for the water to recede enough for a dry walk. However, the mosquitoes were relentless. 

Christmas Day! We got to move back to TY Park. It was a busy day but I had planned it that way. Staying busy keeps the sadness at bay. 

After moving I had a long video chat with my family and watched the kids open their Christmas presents. Technology is a beautiful thing. 
Ralph got Murphy a gnome for Christmas. He loves it!
I moved yet again on New Year's Day. I like this park very much too. I'll write more about it next time. This is the view from my door. 

Friday, January 10, 2020

November in The Keys

Here I am in sunny Florida. I planned to come here during my trip this winter, but I had no idea I'd be spending such a long stretch of time here, or I'd have made additional reservations in advance. 

You see, last July, I met someone and we are dating. (Don't get excited, it's early.) His name is Ralph, and he lives here in the Miami area. He has asked me to hang around for a while. It's been quite a task getting campsites during this time of year, and I've had to move several times. 

I arrived in Port Saint Lucie, Florida, on October 29th. I had a couple of days to kill before moving to The Keys on the 1st of November. On my way through Miami, I stopped and picked Ralph up at his house, and he came along to help me get set-up and settled in. Having help with things has been a real treat. 
The view out my window on the day of our arrival in Marathon.

The Keys were fabulous. Ralph took Fridays off for the month of November, so he had four day weekends all month. It gave us time to spend together, but I also had plenty of time to do my own thing. 

Murphy felt it necessary to share my lounge chair with me whenever possible.
We ate dinners out often, did some grilling, and sat outside to watch some incredible sunsets.  

We went out on The Marathon Lady, a reef fishing boat, one morning and caught somewhere around 15 fish. I can't remember exactly how many there were. 
Part of our catch is shown in the box below. Tasty little buggers. 
We took our catch to Sparky's Landing, one of the local restaurants where they will cook your catch. So good!
And just like that, it was December and time to move again.

Friday, November 22, 2019

South Carolina and a Stop at an Historic Church Ruin

After leaving North Carolina, we ambled South another two hundred, fifty miles ending up in Yemassee, South Carolina. When I'm looking to see what interesting sights are in a given area, I use Pinterest. 

When I looked for interesting things to see in this area of South Carolina, I discovered there were three church ruins fairly nearby. The closest was about 15 miles away, so I decided to go and take a look. 

This ruin is called Sheldon's Church. 

The church was burned by British troops during the Revolutionary War in 1779, Rebuilt and burned again years later. 
The ruin and the grounds are absolutely beautiful.
Ferns are growing here and there beneath the tall oaks and between the bricks on the ruin itself. 

You can walk among the tombs of the Bull family who owned the bordering plantation. 
I was able to take Murphy along. He enjoyed it as well. 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

West Virginia to North Carolina and OOPS!

Because I wedged a visit to the lunatic asylum into my travels, I felt the need to make a beeline for my November destination in The Florida Keys.
I had eight days to make the 1200 mile trip, but part living this lifestyle is accepting the fact that things happen and can derail your journey in the blink of an eye. It's always a good idea to give yourself extra time. 

Well, I did have an oops but not a trip altering oops. West Virginia is extremely hilly, and once you leave the primary interstate system, the roads are winding and very narrow. 

After a harrowing drive with some less than helpful guidance from my usual navigation system, I decided to download a navigation system for large vehicles such as trucks and RVs. 

I was traveling on a major interstate, minding my own business, but needed to fill the gas tank. I got off the interstate and filled the tank, but when I tried to get back on the interstate, I realized there was no interstate reentry going the direction I had been traveling, so we had a little detour. 

Suddenly I was in a "lesser of the two evils" situation. I could choose a street that looked unpassable to me or a steep incline into a gas station where I could turn around. I choose the gas station. 

I know I made the right choice, but the incline was steep enough to drag the back end of Bridget on the pavement. Ugh! 
Under Bridget's rear bumper, there are two very heavy-duty, sacrificial metal fins designed to protect the Airstream from this very situation. The picture above shows how they are supposed to look. 
They have now been sacrificed. 😥 Nothing else was damaged at all, so I guess they did their job. 


I don't think I even unhitched the truck and Airstream in North Carolina. We just spent the night and hit the road again the next morning. 
I have my own personal rule about adding a state to my visited state map. I have to spend at least one night in the state in Bridget to get the sticker. 
It's a good rule because it keeps me from traveling long distances in a day. 

Next stop, South Carolina!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

My Visit to the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

Please note; this was a voluntary visit. 😂
I was perusing my route mapping app one day and saw this place. It was way outside my route, but I really wanted to see it, so I worked it in. 
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is located in Weston, West Virginia. It dates back to 1858 when construction began. The original design was supposed to accommodate 250 patients, but in the 1950s, it housed over 2600.  
The layout of the main building. 

The asylum closed in 1994 and sat deteriorating for many years. 
In 2007 the asylum was purchased by a private party and is being restored. The proceeds from the many tours they offer are being used for the restoration. 
The tour I choose was the first-floor history tour. They offer tours of all four floors and ghost tours which are held at night.  
Some of the first floor has been restored. It's bright, sunny and feels more like an old hotel than an asylum. Apparently only the most well-behaved patients were housed in these areas. 
The restored areas are at the front of the building and are what you see in the photos above. Some are used as museum rooms.

The museum rooms display all sorts of medical equipment and therapies used over the years. 
The main staircase near the asylum entry.

We also toured areas of the asylum that have not yet been restored. 

The patient rooms are painted in many colors. 
I love this fire door. When the rope catches fire the angle of the track allows for the door to slide shut. 
This area was built after the civil war to house additional returning soldiers. 

There are bars on the windows overlooking the courtyard behind the building. 

The building is still beautiful from the outside. 

Behind the main building is the Medical Center building. 
Inside the medical center, they had a beauty shop. 

I took a lot of photos. There are far too many to post here but I'll add a few more here. 
I loved this tour!