Click on any photo to see it larger.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

July!  A life changing month for me. A month I won't forget.
4th of July, one of my favorite family days.  Kinda sad that the older kids have outgrown the excitement of fireworks, but the little ones did not disappoint with their thrills.  This year we added in a celebration for Joshua's graduation. It was about the only chance we had as a whole family to celebrate his big day.  He didn't care about making a fuss over it as much as we did, but he played along and made us all happy. It was the first big outing for my parents since the quarantine began.  We were all anxious to see them take part in something normal, even though it made us all nervous.  That is the crazy thing about this whole COVID thing.  Nobody knows what we should or should not be doing.  But we all stayed at a distance, stayed outside and we used paper plates, and sanitized before we served up our food with individual serving utensils.  I counted down the 14 days afterwards, just praying that they didn't get sick from attending our event.
Lina seems to spend more time doing cartwheels than walking.
When the quarantine began, Wally decided to plow up a garden space and told me I should plant a garden with him. Everything sprouted right up!  But even with a crazy idea of putting up a little fence, those bunnies ate off everything that was there.  The only thing that survived was Wally's onions.   
  The girls thought it was hilarious to get me on their trampoline.
Mom and Dad celebrated their 65th anniversary.  We went over after their romantic dinner and had some champagne with them.
Two missed hair salon appointments.  I finally went in.  Arianna has requested that I let it grow out and be gray.  I decided to try it, so had a really light brown put on to make the grow-out less noticeable.  I took this shot to show the precautions being taken to do what we never worried about before, the mask, and the sanitizer.
I gave my old Jade a new home.  She now lives with son John. I have had this plant from a tiny start for 40 years!
Some last shots of MY mountain.  It has been a hard month of emotions for me.  I tried my best to keep busy and not overthink things.  But it is sad to leave a home, always, my house of 25 years, I still miss and I know I will never have THAT view again.
I have never seen a bug like this before. It showed up outside while we were packing up. I found out it was a ten-lined June Beetle.
It was a month of 'lasts'.  Last time watching the sunrise, sunset, last time mowing, weeding, trimming, last everything. 
I spotted this heart waiting for me. It had fallen from the tree above.
I hated it that I had to leave Bazzel behind! 
Then after weeks of packing up a room at a time, moving day arrived.  The car was sold to our neighbor's friend, the truck was sold to Jessi for all of their kayaking and camping.  We had a final picnic in the front yard.  Lindy brought over a little farewell gift for me. After I had been doing so good at holding it together, it was what finally broke me. I was able to hold on until she left and then the tears broke through. 
I don't know if it was a plan they made, but each of the neighbors made sure to say goodbye individually.  Each of the families we have met and had in our home or to our neighborhood gatherings in our front yard, stopped over that final week, one by one, they spent time wishing us the best and telling us how much we will be missed.  

Change is hard.  Even when it is a good change.  This is a change full of so many unknowns. Good thing is, I know if we don't like traveling around, we can go back home anytime.  There is no timeline on this adventure.
The clematis gave a good show this year.  So full of blooms, and then there is that lily in the bottom left.  It was full of blooms and I was hoping so much to see it explode.  Sure enough the day before we left, it showed its stuff!

And then the last of the 'lasts'
Last time dressing in my house.

Escrow showed up at our place and we signed the final paperwork right there in our 'new home'.
And we are off!

It is exciting to be off, but so sad to leave everyone behind.  We will see the kids in a week at the beach before we hit the road.  And we have tickets home to see Arianna celebrate her birthday at the end of the month. 
Jessi took a little video of us driving away.  I could see their faces as they watched us leave.  And hear Josiah's words..."I can't believe they really left..."  It still gets me.
First camping spot.  It was so perfect!  Right on the edge of the lake.
There was a little issue when John pulled into the park, though.  Yep!  Right over the seagrass.  I was on the deck of the office with the manager when he rounded the corner.  I was saying, "oh no!!"  and she was saying "Great job! I HATE that grass!" When I signed us in, I saw that they had us down for a 24' trailer, ours is a 38'.  She said, "well, you have 'N', drive on through and if you don't like it, just keep on going!"  Luckily, we fit.  I am not sure where we would have gone.
First night dinner.  Steak for him, salmon for me.  I have been asked how meals are going.  So far, I have been cooking the same meals that I cooked in my house.  Smaller space, but not a big deal. We are not camping, we are living.
First and second mornings at the beach, what a difference.
John has decided to get himself back in shape.  So we have been hiking/walking as much as possible, doing about 5-8 miles a day. I used to do about 3-5 by myself, so this just might be what I need to get back in shape too! 
A jellyfish heart I found on the beach.
This is a view of the campground from the other side of the lake.  I loved our spot, but my initial reaction of the place was pretty negative.  Since we booked so late, there were no places to be found.  When I called this one, and there was space, I grabbed it without even checking reviews.  After we were settled, I saw on the reviews that the woman who owns this park helps out the homeless.  Behind us were rusty old 5th wheels that were parked there permanently.  The only vehicles were broken down.  I read over and over comments by people she had given a home to that were so full of praise for her help in getting them back on their feet.  I felt bad for judging when we first arrived.
The first camp only had space for a few nights, we wanted to be there the following week when the Veras family was camping at Ft. Stevens.  Ft. Stevens had no room. So we moved to another park that was closer to them.

There have been a few adjustments as we begun this, probably my biggest has been that he is there 24/7.  I am figuring it out though, morning coffee is awesome on my own outside. I have always liked alone time and I value it even more now.
INTERNET!  I didn't realize how much I depended on it until now.  Most of the parks we have been to have the worst internet.  Along with that, our cell phones don't have connectivity to get us online.  Before we left, I added on the biggest data plan so we could use our phones as hot spots for our devices.  But if you can't get online on your phone, then there is nothing.  It is hard to even send a photo in a text, let alone attaching to an email.  But we will work it out, I guess there are way worse things than not going online. 
Setting up the trailer is always a mystery.  Will it level on its own this time? So far, it has been half and half.  
But the hardest thing for us is that we have to plan so far ahead to have a place to park it.  We wanted to be more spontaneous, just go and stay as long as we wanted and then move on.  But with the COVID-19, parks are shut down, parks are booked up, parks are only renting every other space in order to be socially distanced.  The State parks require online booking only, no drop-ins.  When you go online, there is no space.  But I have a good app on my phone, actually 3 of them that show all the camps in the area you want to go.  We went to a McDonalds one day to get online to find camps.  I did the research and handed him a phone number and he made the calls while I went on to the next area and did the same.  We managed to get a few weeks ahead all booked up.  Oh, I forgot to add, we were at McDonalds, but they are not doing inside dining, so we hooked up to their wifi from our truck in the parking lot! Oh the things you have to do! 

 The guy in the shipwreck has taken personal protection to a whole new level!
This park was not on a lake, but there was a little pond on the side.
Josiah showed up with this lego truck and trailer he made.  It even had a sink and stove inside with moving doors and a black tank dump.
We took turns between our camp and theirs, eating mostly at theirs.  Jessi packed all the food and did all the cooking, so why not, right?



Two of them had a sleep-over at our place, followed by breakfast at our place before we all packed up and went our own ways.  It was a really fun time, biking, kayaking, hiking, fishing and spending some final time together before we REALLY hit the road. I even baked them cookies in my tiny oven! 6 at a time!
And then it REALLY got REAL!  Off we drove into our new future.  It is now the first week of August as I post this.  I finally can sleep through the night without waking up with a sick to my stomach feeling wondering what in the world was I thinking! 
God is good All the time!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

June just flew by!  As July has kept passing by, I kept thinking I would catch up, but days turned into weeks and here we are at the end of July and I just now am able to take a breath and relax and get it posted.  First off, we listed the house on June 1.  In 4 days, we had 6 people view the house and on the 4th day, we had TWO offers.  We ended up getting above asking price!  Last summer we had it listed for 4 months, had 6 viewings and zero offers.  Once again, God’s plan was just right.  So I set about packing up my things.  Good thing I sorted things out when we sold the house on Rugg Road 8 years ago.  The packing went pretty well, I did a room at a time and suddenly it was all boxed up.

On top of that, I located a 38ft travel trailer on Craigslist. It was bigger than I had planned on getting, but it seemed to have all the room that I would want if I was really going to move into it for a long long trip.  The plan is to go for as long as we can handle it and see all of the USA as we can.  Of course we will be back for birthdays and holidays.  We rented a 2 bedroom apartment to store out things and it will also give us a place to stay when we get back.

 It has been a month of ups and downs emotionally.  It was sad to be leaving, the view, the house, my chipmunks, but the whole idea of traveling to all the places in the USA that I have wanted to see, but never took the time, was so good.  I SWORE I would never do this!  When John first retired, that was the question that so many asked...are you getting an RV?  NEVER was my answer.  John's parents did this for 15 years!  I was not about to give up my home and travel like that.  I don't know what happened to change my mind.  I love my home, it is an amazing place, then there is the view...it can't be matched!  But here I am ready to go.  One thing I do know, it will be temporary.  I will see all I can, take the photos, make some memories, come home for visits and then I will be back and find a new house and settle back in.  I have to have a 'grandma's house'.



The hardest part of all was knowing that I would not be seeing the grandkids for weeks at a time.  There again, having had to quarantine for a couple of months last spring and only see them on Facetime, was preparation for what we were about to do.

The first night home with the new trailer, the kids spent the night with me in it.  We even made oatmeal pancakes for breakfast.
 I made sure and filled my camera with all the sights to remember this place by.  My flowers, the birds, the squirrels, the chipmunks, the bunnies and of course the mountain. 




June also had the normal events, Father's Day, 


and our 46th Anniversary...check out the photo bomber in the truck.  hahaha!!!
Because of this virus, Joshua didn't get to have the usual graduation passage.  We made him get his cap and gown on for some photos and had a nice dinner at their house the night it should have been.

One of the things that has had me worried, is what about Jimmy?  He seems to get agitated when we are out of town and causes problems for the staff and Jessi.  She volunteered to keep tabs on him for me when we are gone.  At first, I wasn't even going to tell him we sold the house, just that we had a new trailer and were going to travel a little bit.  But John spilled the beans on his last visit there, so now he knows.  Hopefully, the time will pass for him when we are gone and he handles it all ok.  Having the virus has changed the amount of time I used to spend with him, so he is already adjusted to not having me around constantly.