Monday, October 26, 2020

Alignment

 For those of you who have hooked up trailers to pull, you know that there are two satisfying sounds.  

The first is when the cup receiver on the trailer slides down onto the ball of the hitch on your towing vehicle.  At first it was a scary sound for me, but after a few times the sound was cause for a mini-celebration, a pat on the back.  

The second sound is when one pushes the latch into place.  There is a latch that slides under the ball to prevent the trailer cup from bouncing off the ball.  Sometimes I have gotten the first sound (the receiver engaged with the ball) but I couldn't get the latch to move into place.

That has required me to wind the trailer back up off the ball in order to free the latch and try again.

I am telling you all this technical stuff because this morning I thought I heard both good sounds.  I thought I saw that the ball and receiver were engaged.  I guess I was relying a bit more on the sounds because it was still dark out at 6:30 this morning when I was hitching up Lilac to my van.

I woke up at 2:30 and couldn't get back to sleep.  I was excited to be going on a trip again.  This time I was planning on meeting up with some fellow trike riders to ride Sanibel Island in Southern Florida and then the Everglades for a moonlight ride on Halloween.

I think I was also a bit nervous.  Because folks have been asking me how my summer went in the Weeroll and I had nothing bad to say.  It  was a wonderful time, I did over 6,000 miles and didn't have any problems.  I keep telling them how wonderful it was and then I say, "knock on wood."  Not that I am superstitious...

I know that no problems isn't how things will continue.  Life usually has a few lessons and bumps along the way.  

After trying to fall back to sleep, I gave up at 4:00, made coffee and started packing up the trailer.

It was still dark out when I pulled away from home and headed out of town.  I was at the last light in town, waiting for the green and thinking about something.  When the arrow light had the cars next to me moving out so I moved out, only to realize the light was red.  I stepped on the brake and "BAM"!

I thought maybe someone ran into the trailer, but there was no one close enough.  Then I thought that maybe the electronic brakes needed adjusting.

For those of you who don't haul a trailer, there is a set of  brakes on the trailer that are wired to the brake in my van.  When I step on the brakes both the car brake and the van brake engage.  I have some controls inside the van so I can adjust how vigorous the trailer brakes are.

When the light turned green I went on, listening.  The next time I had to stop at a light, again the BAM!

I made it all the way to Townsen Park, which is about 16 miles by bike.  I had stopped at Townsen because  I planned to get rid of my kitchen scraps by feeding them to the goats near there and get a little walk in before I spent hours in the van. 

When I pulled into Townsen the trailer made the noise again. 

 

I have a nice little dent in my bumper now.  

It took me a moment to figure out how to fix this.  Then I wound down the post to lift the trailer receiver off the van.  I could inch forward the van to get the ball back under the receiver.   I wound down and lowered the receiver onto the ball.

Then the lever (latch) wouldn't latch!   The cure for this I had already discovered.  I wound the pole back down to lift the receiver off the ball and release the lever which was stuck up on top of the ball.  The next time when I lowered the receiver it fell into place and latched like it should. 

Which reminds me, I told Debra the pole is getting rusty.  She said it is aluminum, it shouldn't rust!  I don't know, but mine is rusting.  She said to make a list for the Weeroll factory and take the trailer back to the factory to get stuff fixed before the one-year warranty expires.

As I started walking toward the goats I could feel the crack in the sole of my sandals.  It is almost all the way across the ball of one foot and almost through all the layers.  I had ordered a new pair.  I got the new pair, but for some reason I didn't pack the new pair.  Sometimes my thinking is off...

I hope my sandals make it through the week until I return home!



The goats were glad to have treats.

Speaking of "what was I thinking?" moments.

While packing my trailer with stuff from my fridge I was shocked.  I found a piece of pizza I had put in the fridge and forgotten about.  I NEVER forget about pizza!  That is a sure sign I am either under stress or I am losing brain.

For those in the future, 2020 is a bit if a stressful year for us all.  Why?  Well, because of ... well let's see:

COVID and its social and economic impacts;

A country that seems divided.  

We have numerous countries and hackers and spammers interfering in our elections by spreading false news, luring people onto false voter registration sites, and messing with our electronic voting systems.

The unprecedented things that our current President says and does makes many of us nervous. (Like he tweets a several hundred times a day, runs up a seven trillion dollar deficit, threatens to not leave the Whitehouse if he loses the election, and he seems to not condemn the actions of some folks that tried to kidnap the Governor of Michigan).  Everyday he tries to shock us some more.  He is a showman and a salesman and he is quite successful at that.

The Senate just confirmed Amy Barrett to the Supreme Court while over 60 million people have cast early ballots and the election is less than nine days away.  Folks are predicting the Supreme court will vote away our health insurance shortly after the election.  

California, Oregon, and Washington and now Colorado are still burning with lots of fires.

Louisiana is about to get hit with a hurricane for the third time this season.

What am I leaving out?


Signs of Dementia

But it could be my brain is fading, it could be.

Which reminds me a friend asked me what are the early signs of dementia.  WOW, there are so many signs but someone could have one and not others.

You might notice a personality change.  This could be that the person loses interest in something they used to have a great interest in, or it could be a nice person turs mean or a trusting person becomes suspicious. 

Becoming quieter or talking a lot more.  George started to stutter as his brain tried different neural pathways to find the rest of the word, (the old pathway had died/disappeared). 

George started to sway on his feet, he began to stumble.

Of course memory loss, usually short-term.  Sometimes people develop false memories.

Here is a list of 10 signs the Alzheimer's Association has listed. 


Good News

The good news is I fixed my hitch and didn't have any more problems on my trip to Perriwinkle Campground on Sanibel Island near Fort Myers, FL.

I got a text today from Jeanne Clayton who I met via Facebook and biked with her in Southern Illinois on the Tunnel Hill Trail.  I had presented her with The Journey Continues: Alzheimer's Trippin' with George.   

Here is what she said:

"Just wanted to let you know that I fisnished [The Journey Continues] Alzheimer's Trippin' with George this morning.  I started it yesterday morning.  I laughed and cried throughout.  What an awesome book..."


 
The campground is pretty cool.  Just behind my site there is a pond with a wide variety of ducks.  There are cages with many kinds of birds and a cage of Lemur monkeys and Squirrel monkeys.


It is less than a mile to a big long beach for walking, wading, swimming, and just experiencing.

 



Shortly after I arrived a couple pulled up to ask about the Weeroll.  It turned out they are from Wisconsin and are full-time RV'rs.  They own a peice of land in an RV park in Florida and then travel in the summer.  They don't even own a storage area.

They bike, and said they might come to the Everglades and join us for our full-moon ride on the Shark Valley trail on Halloween.

I am still wondering if that full-time is for me.  I certainly love my house but feel so much more like my life "fits" me in my little Weeroll.  

I looked on line at stories of tiny-houses.  What I have heard is that they are not allowed (nor is a parked RV) on land in Citrus County, FL.   Where are they allowed?  Do I want to move away from the Withlacoochee and my Withlacoochee family?  I don't think so, but this COVID has changed things so much!  There is more research and thinking to be done.  No hurry... except I am not getting younger.

The trikers I met up with are old like me.  So it isn't late nights of partying.  At least not this crowd.  We will be up early tomorrow though.  Will from Polk City is leading a few trikers on a tour of Sanibel starting at 8:30. 



Friday, October 9, 2020

Days of Reflection and Rest

 It is Friday night, October 9, 2020, and I am sitting at my little TV tray-desk in my little Weeroll drinking a little glass of red wine... or purple wine.  It is the last of the wine from the bottle that Jeannie Clayton gave me from the Purple Toad Winery in Paducah, KY.  It is Black and Bruised Red Wine.  It is sweet and potent, as I sip my writing might get silly.  Just warning you.

This evening before I sat at the computer I hooked up Lilac and folded up my portable sink and horror of all horrors... I used the campground shower.  I have tried to avoid doing that because COVID might be lingering in the air from the last user.

Now I am all hooked up and ready ready ready for.... HOME!  Yes, I leave in the morning and drive to Inverness.  

Last I wrote I was feeling down about ending my journey, but the last few days I have stayed in one place on my own.  I have rested and reflected and thought about next spring and summer and fall.  Oh the places I will travel with Lilac! 

I have come to realize that this small simple living is in-line with my values.  In my house I have three toilets, THREE!! Even when I am not using two of them I have to flush them about once a week.  Each time I flush my toilet or the other two toilets I think what a stupid waste of fresh clean water.  Six gallons or more, woosh!  Gone.

I mean it isn't really gone, the planet has the same amount of water, it is just now dirty.  Most municipalities clean it up enough to dump it in a river.  Some have started to clean it up enough to water lawns or even make it drinkable again.

Speaking of water!  I drove all the way from Hattiesburg, MS (starting at dawn)  to  Nothern Florida SE of Tallahassee.  I am right back where I started this trip, Suwanee River Rondevous near Mayo and Live Oak, Florida.  



I eat healthier if I pack my lunch. 

I arrived at the Suwanee River Rondevous after dark.  That is the first time I have arrived at a camping spot after dark I think.  Setting up was interesting, I have a headlamp but didn't want to dig it out I guess.  The night was warm and muggy and the mosquitoes bit me all over.  I am still scratching and putting on anti-itch creams.

This time I reserved a spot in the upper campground because I almost got washed away in a heavy rain in the spring in the lower campground closer to the river.  I think the upper campground with full hook-up is much more expensive.  They are charging me over $48 a night.  I thought about cutting my stay here by a day, but I am glad I stayed the full time.

It was a loooong driving day to get here.  My first day I was content to rest much of the first day in this spot.

They have laundry facilities so I washed and dried clothes.

I found the Goo I had packed when I started this trip, so I fixed my lovely flowery sign.


I sat in the shade in listened to the mocking birds.  One made a cricket sound.  The mocking bird must have the two vocal cords like the brown thrush because they can make that pretty double throat sound.


I went down and waded in the spring but wasn't brave enough to go all the way in.  The spring is so much smaller.  In June when I visited it was so flooded we didn't even know it had a cement patio around it, and cement benches.



I rode my bike to Mayo to get groceries.  About 15 miles RT.




Back in the rural south there is no political balance it seems.  In my campground of maybe 50 campers there are two Trump flags, two confederate flags, and a multitude of Trump yard signs.  As I ride the roads to May and back I did not seen a single Biden sign.


The second morning I walked down to look at the Suwannee River.

And then I did exercises and yoga with youtube videos.  And I read!  I have been reading Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing!  And I picked it up to read a little and I read all afternoon.  I rarely RARELY do that.  It just goes to show me that this travel takes energy and it is good to stay in one spot a few days and just chill and recharge.

Oh dang!  As I was writing this, I have both doors open wide.  It is the first cool night here in Florida.  I was looking forward to sleeping without the hum of the air conditioner.  But my neighbor has decided to watch his outdoor TV and has it turned up like he is at the outdoor theater.  Deep voices, punching and Star Wars sword sounds.  I yelled at them twice, "Sure is LOUD!" I said.  

What makes people think when they are camping that they can do this?  I have been fortunate on this trip to have mostly quiet neighbors.  

Today was wonderful.  

Yesterday I almost decided to leave for home, I am so close, only an hour or two away.  But I made myself stay the full time so I can be ready to get moving when I get home.  There will be lots to do unpacking, dealing with the mail, cleaning and repairing and visiting and riding.

First I washed my car and the bugs off the front of the Weeroll.  Then I went down to the spring and this time I went all the way in and floated a bit.  

While I was still wet (I use my biking clothes for swim attire) I packed my lunch and rode to Peacock Springs State Park which is less than 10 miles from here.

The park is dotted with sink holes where the underground caves collapsed.


 

There was a gator in the water foating about 30-40 feet beyond these divers.  My first gator siting since I returned south!

Here people were scuba diving.  I watched the bubbles rise from the rocks as the divers went down into the underwater cave.


I found a quiet spring and sat at the edge to eat my lunch.

I returned to camp and then took the car to Troy Springs State Park which is about 10 miles in the other direction.

Here the people were snorkling.  I suddenly remembered that I had packed my snorkle, but I don't think I have used it at all this summer.  I went to the car and got it.  I am so glad!  What an experience.  The water was cold, but then the bottom dropped away (one diver said at least 76 feet).  An even colder gush of water was coming up from the spring.

A couple that came to snorkle asked me to take their picture and text it to them.





On the far side from the stairs where we get into the spring is the Suwannee River.  I tried to swim over too it because I guess there is an old boat that used to deliver mail along the Suwannee that is sunk over there.  But each time I passed the cavern, the water got murkier and warmer and I started thinking this would be good gator water.  

I started seeing these orange sparkly clusters like Tinkerbell Sparkles and I began to wonder if I was swimming through fish poop... or were they spawning?  Anyway, I figured swimming to the boat wasn't important. I chickened out.

Well I have an appointment to bike with Debra, an appointment to dine with Regis and Cindy and Mari and Jerry, and in only two weeks I take off again to ride near Sanabel, FL.  Plus I have three women to call and discuss being housemates.  If none of them are interested, I may look for a peice of land with electric and water and just park Lilac and live in it... small and simple.  Less to maintain, less insurance, less taxes, less.








Monday, October 5, 2020

End of Travel Blues

Greetings from Mississippi.... Hattiesburg area.

I have had a great time this summer traveling and now I am close to home and feeling like I just don't want this great summer to end!  

I thought about canceling appointments and just keep going, but I need to stop and re-group and see all the wonderful folks in the Inverness area.

I thought I had a good excuse to just turn the corner and go somewhere else when Debra sent me a picture from the weather station reporting on a storm heading toward the upper Gulf Coast... the winds and definitely the rains could hit the area I am headed tomorrow, Blackriver State Park near Milton, Florida.

I had stayed there on the way up and enjoyed it and enjoyed a visit with my friend Joan.  Joan and I had just made a plan to meet and hike on Wednesday, October 7.  

Later today I checked the weather again and some of the storm could start hitting on Wednesday or Thursday.  It isn't just the storm I need to worry about.  It is people in cars trying to escape, lines at the gas station, full campgrounds.

So tonight I changed my schedule.  I called Joan and canceled our hike and she said it was a good move.  She said people are scared because they were just hit by Hurricane Sally.  There are piles of debris and un-repaired roofs still from the last storm.  Gas lines are already forming and it is just Monday.

I was going to map my way East and then South.  But when I looked to the map, I couldn't find any arteries going east and west, other than I10... which is south into the chaos.  

I kept one night at Blackriver State Park, but I will leave early on Wednesday and head East.

Then I will spend three nights at the park where I started this trip in June, the Suwannee River Rondezveaux.  Anyone want to join me???   I will be home by Sunday.   

Maybe I would feel better if I could hug folks when I get there.  Yes, I would feel much better about being home if I could hug Margaret, and Mari and Marylyn and Debra and so many...

*************

I had a lovely time at Davis Lake Campground near Tupelo, MS.  You know what else the park is by?  A bike trail.  The Tanglefoot trail is only 5.6 miles away!  I didn't ride, I wanted to take a day to get things done, I wrote to you, did laundry, enjoyed the  views.

The next day, I was getting ready to get in the car after packing up to leave Davis Lake.  First I had to soak up some of the beauty and take a couple pictures.  The sun wasn't up yet, and there was a full moon (or close to it).




I realized that within 28 days I would be watching the full moon rise over the Everglades!  Woohoo!

This was the only morning on my trip that I can recall when I ran out of coffee and had to drive to get a cup.  The gas station I stopped at had a cemetery across the street for Confederate Soldiers.




For a break from driving I searched on google for a park.  I chose one that looked like it might have some roads to walk.  It turned out to have a nice paved trail for walkers around a reservoir.  And on the far side of the reservoir was a huge lake, with a trail I could have walked.  It was 4.5 miles around the lake, I didn't take the time.    What a nice find and a nice break!




I arrived at the Paul B Johnson State Park near Hattiesburg, MS a couple hours before my friends arrived.  I went for a bike ride to see the place,   It is huge and has over 100 campsites and at least 14 cabins.



The road goes over the dam and the water on one side is held by wooden planks.  I was a bit nervous riding by bicycle across.  


I loved my campsite.

Jean and Keith arrived and we had a nice evening happy hour and decided the time and starting point for our ride tomorrow on the Long Leaf Trace trail.  We would start in Hattiesburg ready to leave at 9:00.

Keith told me that Ghandi walked everywhere and he often went on hunger strikes which caused him to have bad breath.    So he was a Super callused fragile mystic with extra halitosis.
 

You may remember Jean and Keith, I stopped to see them on the way up to Wisconsin.  Keith was the one that got me a new cord for my camper that delivers more power and allows my air conditioner to work at the same time as the refrigerator.

I had posted something on Facebook about where I was and one of my Facebook friends said that was where she lived!  I told her where we were going to start our ride and what time.  And boy was I surprised and pleased to meet Janet Webb in the flesh in the Hattiesburg parking lot.

 

Keith and Jean and I rode only 20 miles but we had a rolling conversation.  It was Sunday and the trail was busy with walkers and riders. 
 


In the evening we sat around the fire with Jean's friend Todd.  I opened the bottle of wine that Jeannie from Southern Illinois had given to me.  It was very good - sweet... and potent.  Thanks again, Jeannie!



We rode a different part of the trail on Monday.  Still only 20 miles.


We stopped at Fajita's restaurant in a small town.  It was yummy.  Keith insisted on buying!  Thank you Keith and Jean!




 

Jean and Keith spend their winters in Florida in my neighborhood.  When we parted we said, "see you next month!"

 

Book Update

 Hey, I sold another book in Australia! 

 

That is thrilling, I just started to advertise there via Amazon.

Alzheimer's Trippin' with George is available in paperback, ebook, and audio.

I didn't think I would like it at the beginning but it was great. It was a wonderful journey getting to go with Susan and George on their three month quest of living with dementia. Robin Siegerman did a super job on narration... the book was one I will listen to again.. Thank you Connie Higgins Audible Listener

 
To listen to a sample, click here.  To order click here.

AlzAuthors has started a podcast.  Marianne Sciucco who is also and author of an Alzheimer's book serves on the board and interviewed me this morning.   I will let you know when it airs.  She said maybe in January.

Room for Rent

A while back (last year?) I put the extra rooms in my house up to rent on Seniorhomeshares.com  For a long time I would rarely get an inquiry.  Then last week I got contacted by four persons that are interested in learning more. 

If I can't rent the house, I may sell it for a few reasons.  

It is too big for me, I am much more content with the size of my trailer.

Taxes and insurance money saved will help cover costs of travel or be saved for the future.

We will see what happens this fall.  Stay tuned.


Now keep your fingers crossed I not only avoid the wind and rain of the hurricane, but I avoid the crouded highways as people escape the coast.


Alignment

 For those of you who have hooked up trailers to pull, you know that there are two satisfying sounds.   The first is when the cup receiver o...