Saturday, June 6, 2020

Weerolling My Life Away - Amid Chaos in the USA

6/4/2020

It is Thursday,  I only have a quick moment to write before I get ready to go to a birthday gathering.  I am excited to tell you all about my first trip in my Weeroll. 

But this afternoon a group of neighbors with whom I have been having COVID-Style happy hours is going to celebrate one of our member's birthday.  This time, however, the birthday gal wants to have our gathering inside her house, on her chairs, eating a shared cake.

Yes, keeping our distance inside.   I am not sure it is safe if one of us happens to be sick and doesn't know it. That is the big thing about this illness.  You can be sick and contagious and not have symptoms and spread it around to quite a few people, just by talking, sighing, laughing.

But, hey, enough is being said about the turmoil in the world without me reminding anyone.  Instead I will insert a link to a video of an interview of the Dali Lama on how he deals with fear and change.  You may find it a nice reminder to turn away and chill a while.

So back to our birthday gathering.... I will go, and stay a little while, and wear my mask so I don't infect anyone else.    How do you eat cake and wear a mask?  Maybe I will take my cake home...


Alzheimer's and Brain Health Awareness Month


In June, the Kindle/ebook version of both books are on sale.
ONLY $2.99

 

Weeroll Update


I just got home a few hours ago from my first excursion in the Weeroll.

I am really glad I did this shake-down cruise the way I did.  The first night I drove over to Debra's.  She was having me and friends Connie and Jerry over for dinner on her screen porch.

I had loaded up my Weeroll with everything but food and clothes earlier in the week.

I was proud that I was able to pull the Weeroll curbside on my dead-end street to do the final load.  My neighbor Jerry said that I could have plugged in the fridge and left it over night in the street in front of my house instead of testing it the first night in Debra's driveway.

Ok, now I know... but what is the fun in that?  I liked my plan better.

When I arrived at Debra's I again was proud of my backup job.



I was glad to do this test only three miles from home because it turned out the extension cords I packed were two-prong and I needed a three-prong plug.  I used one Debra had and then I decided to bike home in the morning and get my own three-prong extension cord.


At dinner, I sat my six-feet away and used a TV tray.   I had made salad, Connie had made upside-down cake, and Debra had made a pasta-veggie dish with Alfredo sauce.  It was all yummy and Connie and I kept saying, "It's sooo good!".

Debra said there was a rule for the dinner.  We can't talk about COVID, racial injustice, murders or politics.  We had a great time and a very refreshing break from all the changes and stresses.
 

**********
I just took a break from writing this to run to the Birthday gathering.  Only no one was there.  I then remembered getting a call from Angel telling me the time was later.   I don't remember what time she said.   Sigh... life at 66 in the midst of stress and changes.  I must write things down.

**********

Debra shared a pineapple hard seltzer with me.  Then I drank two glasses of wine with some of the seltzer.    Since I don't usually drink that much, it wiped me out.  When we closed up dinner at 7:30, it felt strange not to help Debra clean up, but we weren't entering her house yet due to COVID.

I left the party and climbed into my Weeroll and left both the back doors and the side door open.  The magnetic screen doors kept the bugs out. 

Yippee!  I could run the fan and the refrigerator at the same time!  I had been told I might have problems with 15 amps of service.  I used the 12 volt battery that my friends Bill and Christine had given me to charge my phone.  There is a little plug for the DC next to each electric outlet in the Weeroll.  In the dark, the cigaret-lighter style plug throws a lovely blue light up on the white wall.  It makes a nice nightlight.

With all the drinking, I didn't stay up much longer, and I didn't even change into my PJ's.  I lay down, thinking I would just rest awhile.  It was hot, but the fan and open doors really helped.

The drinking also added to my ability to fully test out my pee system.  It worked well.  I will take pictures and explain it in a future post.  My friend, Charlotte, used to spend a lot of time on a sailboat and in a tent and a camper.  She shared with me how she deals with pee when she is camping and I am copying her system for night-time wee-wee.

In the morning I made coffee!  I turned off the fridge, plugged in the pot, and when the pot was done, I unplugged the pot and turned the fridge back on.

My fridge is just a regular apartment fridge.  I put a bunch of containers with water and some ice packs in the freezer.  When I am driving, the fridge won't be working, but I will distribute the ice packs around the fridge to keep things cold.

The fridge sits on a cut-up old yoga mat so it doesn't move easily.  I then put some pool-noodles behind it when traveling to keep it from moving back and messing up the wall.  I have bungies and straps hooked to d-rings attached to the wall where there are structural bars for strength.  These keep the fridge door shut too.




There is an area next to the fridge that is a catch-all.  I have a box of little things I am not sure if I still need, and the coffee pot.  Hopefully I will figure out a better looking system by the time I leave at the end of June.

I pack my trike in the back of the van and my two-wheel bike in the Weeroll.



I texted Debra and asked if she wanted to ride before I took off on the rest of my test trip.  She said, "sure!". 

Cool.

We rode about 16 miles.  I stopped at home and got the right cord and some more ice packs for the trip.

I was to drive about an hour to Archer to meet up with Lois. 

When I got to Dunnellon at a busy intersection a woman pulled next to me in the right turn lane and gestured back at the trailer.   I looked in the side mirror and there was my side door on the Weeroll flopping open!  I was sure I had closed it good and locked it!

I pulled over as soon as I could at a gas station.  There are two locks on the door.  Kind of like a regular door.  A dead bolt and a latch lock.  I had locked the latch lock.  I pushed on the door and locked the bolt lock.

Just a few more miles down the road by Rainbow Springs State Park, I again saw the side door was flopping open.   I pulled over in the grass.  This time I opened the door and tested it while the door was open.  Both locks seemed to be working ok.  I then looked at the door and where they were supposed to go was all cut out, like there had been a problem before and they had cut material out to make it work.

I fiddled with it and eventually figured out that if I leaned hard on the door the bolt would fully engage.   I didn't have any swinging doors after that.  I had itchy feet though, I had met up with some fire ants in the grass at the side of the road.

I didn't set the GPS for Lois's address, I thought I had all the turns mapped out on a list of turns written on a tablet of paper.  But I missed the turn toward her home and ended up in Gainesville before I realized it.  I called her. 

"Don't drive back this way," she said.  We arranged to meet at a gas station in Gainesville.

Due to COVID we had no welcoming hug when she arrived.  We just had big smiles and she gave me a tuna sandwich to eat on the way,  Thank you, Lois!  She is always thinking of others.

We tried to avoid the freeways, but got onto a busy one in Jacksonville and I lost her.  Thank goodness for cell phones we found each other again.

Little Talbot Island State Park is NE of Jacksonville, FL.

**************
I went to the birthday party.  It was at 7:00 not 4:30!  I sat in the furthest chair well over six feet away from folks, which was the only chair that had such distance, so I was lucky.  I wore my mask and brought my cake home.  The mask made it hard for people to hear me.

Angel had this flower candle thing that she had bought on-line.  It opened up when she lit it, began to rotate around and play Happy Birthday.  So we didn't have to sing.  She used a candle snuffer to put all the flames out.  In the future we will look back and laugh that we used to blow our spit all over the cake while blowing out the candles.  We are living through all kinds of changes.

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

On the Little Talbot Island campground side of A1A highway is a tidal river basin, on the other side of the highway is a park and the Atlantic Ocean.


I really like the portable sink table I bought.  We had a hand-washing, dish washing, vegetable washing station.  I even used it for a sponge bath and to wash my hair during our stay.

What I realized is that I need to move it to the door side of the camper where the picnic table is.  It just makes sense instead of walking around the trailer all the time.

The red item in the picture above is an Igloo ice-maker.  I still have to decide if it is worth it to carry it.  It makes a handful of small ice cubes every nine minutes.  I only used it when we first arrived and then used the freezer in the fridge to make cubes.  I had bought it when I was camping in a tent.  I may still want it for making smoothies, since I won't be freezing much fruit if any.  

After we set up camp, we got our bikes and went exploring.  First stop was the river basin.  The tide was up.

There is a bike path on the other side of A1A.  We rode to the end and then back to the boardwalk to the Atlantic beach.

We spontaneously walked into the big waves of the Atlantic in our clothes.  We didn't swim long, but the dip rinsed off the sweat and made the rest of our evening cooler.




I stood under the clean-water shower on the board walk a long time to get my clothes and body rinsed off so I didn't need to go into a shower-room to wash up.


The second day we took a bike ride down A1A to Fort George.

It was closed due to COVID.   That was ok.  We had a lovely ride on the loop road leading to Ft. George.

When we got back from our ride, Lois rested, and I went down to the river bank.  It was low tide and there were three boys fishing with a net and poles.  I had fun watching them and the little crabs that would come out of their holes and wave their one big claw around either attracting a mate or scaring off the competition.  I think they are called Fiddler Crabs because it looks like they are playing a fiddle when they wave their one large claw.



There was a very muddy kayak on the shore.  I thought maybe the boys had drug it up, but while I was sitting there a man pulled up in his truck and and loaded it.

"Did you capsize?" I asked.
"I got stuck out in the mud and had to push it back.  It was awful," he said.
"Oh no, you forgot to check the time for low tide!"
"Yep," he said.

Yep, those of us that didn't grow up by the sea....
Live and learn. 




Our second full day, after a kayak ride ourselves, Lois drove me to Fernandina Beach for ice cream.  Oh my goodness was that good!

It has been a while since I shared a vehicle with anyone.  We wore our masks, and of course I got a tickle in my throat and wanted to cough the whole way.  It is the fear-of-coughing tickle. 

Back at camp we were sitting at the picnic table when I noticed something strange about the hub of the wheel on the curb-side of the Weeroll. It appeared the hub cap was missing.

I walked around to the other side to look at the other wheel to get a comparison.  It had a hubcap!



 
Oh, my, I had lost a hubcap already! 

Then I saw that something was flopping around inside.  Hmmmm, that doesn't seem right...  I sent pictures of it to a friend and then posted pictures on the Weeroller's Facebook page.   I asked if this was something I need to worry about or can I drive home with it?


 Tom, the manager/owner of Weeroll replied that all I have to do is remove the wheel and with a big hammer bang the grease cap back on.   Yikes, I wasn't ready to use a jack yet.  Lois suggested I call my road-side assistance insurance.

Instead I searched googlemaps and found a mobile rv repair place.  He came out in a couple hours.  New grease cap, added grease.  The wheel spins silently and well.  No damage to the bearings, I am relieved.  $300.  Tom at Weeroll said he would pay and to have the repair guy call him to get his charge card information. 


I don't know why I didn't do that.  A flaw in me, not to want to make people pay for stuff that happens. But hey, it is my first time out, it make sense that the manufacturer will pay for it.  I will send Tom the receipt and let him figure out how to reimburse me.


I think Tom was expecting $100.  Maybe Jax charged me too much for labor, but then, he had to drive according to google at least an hour just to get to the campground and back to his shop.  He warned me he charges $150 per hour when I called.  I didn't care, I just wanted it fixed!

Lois had checked the weather.  It was going to rain in the morning.  So we packed up as much as we could so we could leave first thing in the morning.  I even hooked up the trailer but left the lego-style leveling block under one wheel.  I have a handy level that measures levelness both front to back and side to side.  This was a pretty level site, I only needed one lift block.

I had not used the public showers yet.  I had used my outside sink to wash up a bit.  I walked down to the showers a couple times before I found it empty.   I did a quick shower.  I picked the handicap stall because it was bigger, leaving more distance between me and the next stall in case someone came in.

Sure enough, another person came in and chose the shower next to mine.  So much for social distancing in the shower!  The instructions on the walkway to the restrooms tell us to wait until the coast is clear. 


Continuing our efforts to concentrate on fun and relaxing things...

Naming the Weeroll

 Thank you to all of you who have suggested names for the Weeroll.

Here are some of my favorites:

Hamper (like Camper with an H, and Debra's granddaughter proposed that one. It's cute!)
Joy ("I packed Joy," "I entered Joy," "I took Joy with me."  Pretty cool, hey?  My lovely friend Margaret proposed that one along with Faith and Hope, which are also very upbeat and lovely.)
How WeeRoll which is the one I thought up but hasn't gotten great reviews.  I am not attached.
Silver Palace  came from a Facebook friend.  It is appropriate, especially if I leave it plain on the outside, plain and silver.
Cramalot makes me smile.  It is appropriate for sure!  Especially when I start packing for a three-month journey.  It came from my long-time friend, Bev.  I like it!
Lilac Debra's daughter, Lori, is visiting and she proposed LILA which is an acronym she said for "Life Is Living Adventurously".  We were chatting over at a happy hour and we all liked it especially when someone added a C for camper and made it Lilac.  "Decorate it with purple and flowers and it would be so you," Debra said.  I had been envisioning some decals of flowers and an orange butterfly (to represent my  George).

You know me and decisions.   I haven't settled yet.  What do  you vote for?

Downsizing

 When I got home after listening to the radio for a few hours I was ready to run away.  When times get tough, people like me get the heck out of the way.

I was ready to sell my house and store the little stuff and sell the big stuff and just go go go.  I started thinking when I die I don't want to leave a mess for my family to sort through.  Just lighten my load now.  

I was also going to give up Facebook.  Social media is so full of miss-information.  We all have made the mistake of helping to disseminate bad information.   There was a program on NPR about the bad actors that know algorithms and are pushing our buttons, fanning flames, and hurting our country and communities.  ARG!  I wasn't going to talk about this stuff!  

Anyway, as far as Facebook goes, I am still there.  Trying to learn how to navigate... yes, I am addicted to the easy access to friends and groups.

And regarding the downsizing... I am only 66, but things happen all the time.  Anyday my end could happen and I would be leaving a mess for others to clean up. 

Why do I have so much?  I gathered stuff when I was hosting parties (dishes and tables) and having guests (beds, dressers, bedding) and renting out rooms.  Then George and I camped in tent-cots and big tents and small tents.  I have stuff!

I announced at Happy Hour with my friends I was going to clean out and sell my house.  

"Where are you going to live?" Cindy asked.   She pointed out that even in my Weeroll I need a place to park it.  And with COVID cases still on the rise there may be a time they close the campgrounds again.  She knows several full-time RVers.  They have had to park in the driveways of friends and families.  Without a bathroom in my Weeroll, that might get old fast.

Sigh.

Ok, so I can still clean house and get rid of stuff.  I am starting to post things on Facebook market place.  And it is scary.  I am not a hoarder, but I get it.  It is scary to give up stuff because sometimes, after you give it up, you need it again.  You sell it for $5 and have to buy it again for $90. 

And while I am getting rid of stuff... I am shopping for more stuff... for the Weeroll.  I want:

  • Rugs to wipe my feet before I enter and after I enter;
  • Step (it's a doozy stepping down from the side door);
  • D-rings and bungies (more tide downs);
  • Straps to easily mount my patio umbrella over the side door for when it rains.
 
I will let you know how this downsizing is going, and prepping for my longer trip, which starts on June 25th.  In the meantime, stay safe, work for peace both world-wide, in your country, in your town, in your home, in yourself. 

And here is a dance video to give you a break right now.  It's long, I didn't watch the whole thing, but is pretty cool.  Enjoy!


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