Thursday, March 26, 2020

Pandemic Flight and Home Again!

I made the decision to set out for home immediately after I finished writing my blog post on Tuesday, March 17th. 

Precautions were taken to keep as safe as possible. I tried to stay away from, or drive directly through large cities. When stopping for fuel, I never went inside unless I had no choice. I used hand sanitizer, and Clorox wipes after returning to the truck. I cleaned the steering wheel, grab handles, door handles, my wallet and credit card, and phone a lot! I also showered after I arrived at camp and got set up. I put on clean clothes after the shower and washed the clothes I wore that day. 

After checking weather forecasts and coming up with a tentative route, I packed everything and hitched up. We were on the road by noon. We did 333 miles on day one. 

Our first night was spent in Shreveport, Louisiana. After getting the utilities hooked up, the owner drove by and warned me there were tornado watches in the area and where to go in the event of a tornado. Fun times! 

We did our walk and went inside to wait it out. What a night. We had high winds, pounding rain, small hail, and very little sleep. 

Day 2
After checking the weather forecast, I decided we had to change our route. There was a big storm moving across the Rockies, and the chance of getting caught in a winter weather situation was a real concern, so we stayed south and headed across Texas. 

After driving 401 miles, we stopped for the night in Sweetwater, Texas. I can't even remember what the town or park looked like. 

Day 3
Continuing our southern route, we were headed for El Paso, Texas. 

We stayed at the same park I always choose when stopping in El Paso. They have long pull-throughs and a fenced dog run. We drove 431 miles on day three. 
Day 4
From El Paso, we crossed the border into New Mexico and again into Arizona. I had absolutely no idea what time it was that evening because we had two time zone changes in just a couple of days and then went into Arizona where they don't do Daylight Savings Time. 

We stopped for the night at a little campground between Tucson and Phoenix, AZ. We managed 349 miles that day. 
Day 5
We were headed into Nevada on day 5. Nevada is very remote, and unless you're on a major interstate, there are very few places to get fuel. With that in mind, I planned for a long day. 

We traveled 485 miles stopping in Beatty, NV. It was windy and frigid in the high desert.   

This was one of our rest stops that day. Plenty of social distancing and places for Murphy to run. 

Day 6
We continued our trek through Nevada. 
Two-lane roads with a lot of truck traffic were on the menu today. 

This rest area stop was beautiful. It was warm, and there was nobody else around, so Murphy got in a good run. 

As always, I was taking pictures of Max and Bridget. What can I say? Don't they look immaculately clean? Ha! Not so much. Buy silver vehicles people!

There aren't a lot of places to camp with hookups out here, so I decided to stop in Winnemucca, NV. I have family there but didn't make contact because I didn't want to endanger them. We drove 350 miles on Day 6.

Winnemucca is a small town and quite remote, so I thought this might be an excellent time to pick up a few things from the store as we were running low. This was the first time I unhitched the truck and trailer since we left New Orleans. 

After my little shopping trip, I hitched the truck and trailer again. I wiped all the groceries down with bleach wipes and put it all away. 

Day 7
Goodbye Winnemucca. During this trip, I had been watching news and websites and being told by family and friends what was going on in Washington and Oregon. Shortly after I left Winnemucca, I got a text from my son-in-law telling me Oregon was shutting down all RV parks in the state immediately. 

I waited until regular business hours and called the park in Oregon, where I had a reservation for that night. They were very unclear about what was happening but said they'd call me back. 

As it turned out, because I was only staying one night and the rule went into effect that night at midnight, I was fine and could come on in. Thank goodness! 

We spent the night in Culver, Oregon. Our drive on day 7 was 384 miles. It was COLD in Culver. Thank goodness we had electricity for the heat. 

Day 8
We were up with the birds! Today we will be home. I started looking at possible routes while enjoying my coffee. Things were not good. Every route I checked had a high mountain pass with snow and ice on the roads. 
In the end, I decided to go about 100 miles out of the way so I could avoid that mess. Our final day was 320 miles. We pulled into my brother's place at around 3:30 in the afternoon. They came out and helped me get parked and setup. 

Murphy is over the moon, happy to be home. He was a trooper, but it was a long, hard week for both of us. We drove 3,050 miles (50 hours) in 8 days. 

We have no plans other than to wait out this virus. Stay well, everyone!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Dilemma of a Full-Time RVer During a Global Pandemic

Every day this global pandemic seems to hit the US harder, resulting in new restrictions and closures by the minute. Yesterday I decided I need to leave New Orleans because if things really shut down and I can't move around, this is not where I want to be.
Ponchartrain Landing RV Resort, New Orleans, LA

So what am I going to do?

At this point, aside from moving closer to home, I don't know what to do. I'm 2,600 miles from home in Washington State. This is not a drive I can make quickly. Towing a trailer takes concentration, and being rested, and alert is absolutely necessary.
Oak Alley Plantation
My family has gently encouraged me to bee-line home. Some have even offered to come to me and help with the driving so I can cover more miles. I absolutely won't put my family at risk by having one of them come to me.
Oak Alley Plantation
Honestly, I'm not sure what is to be gained by running toward the hardest hit (so far) region in the nation.
Oak Alley Plantation
This morning, I heard one state had closed rest areas. Several have closed state campgrounds.
Oak Alley Plantation
My heart tells me to go home as quickly as possible, but my head tells me to go somewhere quiet and not densely populated and ride the storm out.
Oak Alley Plantation
There are so many factors to be considered. While heading home, what route is safest? It's still winter, so winter driving conditions are absolutely possible. Tornado season is in full swing, so watching the weather forecast in the heartland is mandatory.

I want to be sure to stop in places where I'd feel comfortable if I were to be stuck there.

I have just received a text lecture from my son-in-law Ryan. I assured him I'll be heading that direction. I love you, Ryan!

On a lighter note, yesterday I went to Oak Alley Plantation and walked the grounds. I didn't do the indoor tour because I was practicing social distancing. I didn't touch anything or talk to anyone. But, I did get some photos. It was beautiful. 
Be safe, and enjoy the photos!

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Finding Quirk in Coastal Alabama

My late husband Rob and I stayed in Orange Beach, Alabama, three years ago, and I loved it here. It's familiar, and sometimes that feels good. The park is new, large, and best of all, I haven't seen a single squirrel. 

We are only 1.5 miles from the beach and three miles from a great dog park. Murphy is a happy boy. 

The dog on the left is Blaze, an English Cream Golden Retriever. Murphy's father is the same breed and looks exactly like Blaze. That's Murphy on the right. 

The following photos were all taken in Elberta, Alabama.
I usually take a look to see what fun and/or quirky things are nearby. Today Murphy and I went on a trip to check out what I found. 

You might know I love a Stonehenge replica. Today we visited our third. The weather was pretty gray, but the temperatures were in the low 70s with a sprinkle here and there. 
Here is a shot with Murphy so you can see how big the stones are. 

Near the Stonehenge replica, we found a few other interesting sights. 

These dinosaurs could be seen from the road.

A bit further down the road, there was a marina. We found a giant spider there. 

The Lady in the Lake was my favorite find of the day. She's fifty feet long and built on a platform they can remove with a crane to keep her looking fresh and lovely. 

In a couple days we are off to Mississippi!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Our Last Few Days in Florida

We're hanging in the Florida Panhandle for now. 

Murphy and I left the Miami area just over a week ago. We stopped in Saint Augustine for a couple nights, but the weather was truly awful. It was so cold, windy, and rainy we didn't even venture out to the beach.  
I seek out dog parks for Murphy where ever we go because he has to be on a leash all the time in RV parks. Poor guy needs to run and play. 
Some are cleaner than others. This one resulted in a bath. 
We did go to Anastasia State Park. The oyster beds are abundant, and we saw some birds like this grumpy looking guy.
On the worst weather day, we had to move on. I checked to see if we could stay another night, but the campground was completely booked. 

The weather improved as we moved inland. We ended up at a lovely place in Marianna, Florida.

It was still cold. The first night there, the temperature with wind chill was 29 degrees. I adjusted to those warm, south Florida temps more than I thought. 

Our first morning there was absolutely gorgeous. It was cold, clear, and there was a beautiful sunrise. 
I think Murphy was contemplating whether to obey the sign. 
From the turtles sunning themselves on a log to the Spanish Moss hanging from the tree to the cypress knees, it all felt very southern. 

We are currently spending a week near Pensacola, Florida. Today is the first day we have seen the sun. It's cool, but we are going to spend the evening at the beach hoping to catch a pretty sunset.

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.