Last I wrote to you I was just ending my trip to Sanibel Island and the Everglades. I was debating whether to downsize or cheapen my Florida living situation and travel half the year.
As usual in these tough decisions, I have gone round and round. I was talking with a friend who is building a house. She said once she has made a decision, she just goes with it. But her husband loops through the decision they have already made. He goes through the decision-making process over and over again. Second guessing, double checking, he is like me in that regard.
I remind myself to be grateful that I have choices. Sometimes in life, and in so many lives less fortunate, there are few choices other than to be negative or look at the bright-side.
Before I get into some decisions I have gone through recently, I have to share this bright sunset picture with you. Last I wrote you I had a Halloween picture and song lyrics by my Wisconsin friend, Mark Blackman. Well this week I got this lovely sunset picture in my email.
Wow it is bright... and orange. Mark wrote about the fire spitting dragon in the picture. I had not seen the dragon (or dog) until I read his note. Now I can't UN-see it.
The morning I left the last campsite at Alafia State Park, it was still dark so my van's headlights were on when I was hitching up and the bugs just swarmed and piled up at the base of a flashlight I set out and at the base of my car headlights. The tiny dead... (Mayflies?) were still laying in front of my headlights when I arrived home.
One decision I made was to sell The George. For those of you who just started reading my posts, you don't know what The George is unless your read my second book, The Journey Continues: Alzheimer's Trippin' with George.
The George is the tandem trike with electric assist that George and I rode as his dementia progressed. It consists of two Greenspeed delta trikes hooked together. (Delta means: two wheels in back and one wheel in front.)
I took pictures of the trike and posted it in our Withlacoochee Bicycle Riders newsletter. I have not gotten any nibbles, so next I will post it on Facebook marketplace. Then I will start lowering the price. If you are interested, let me know.
I am selling the red trike with electric assist that I rode. Cindy, who donated her trike to the project, is also selling her yellow trike, so if one person buys both they can hook them together like we did and make a tandem.
After I got back from my trip, we started watching Hurricane Eta. First it blasted into Central America and then it went back into the Gulf and zig zagged. I have never seen anything like it. They should have called it Sue the way it couldn't decide which way it wanted to go.
At the last day it looked like it was going to go right over us as a category one hurricane. I brought all the pots and patio furniture into the screened porch.
It ended up going north of us, we got a little rain, a little wind, but not enough to down any trees or hurt any buildings that I could see. The storm made me glad to be in a brick building instead of a mobile home.
I moved everything back out to the patio and sprayed the lanai because there were palmetto bugs in those pots of dirt! (Palmento bugs are called roaches in Wisconsin.)
While I was out traveling, Jean Hawks arrived in Inverness. If you recall I met up with her and rode with her in Mississippi both on my way north to Wisconsin in July and on my way back south this fall. She lives in my neighborhood.
When I told her I was thinking of selling my house and buying a cheap trailer. Why have a big home when I was only going to be in Florida a few months each year for the next few years while I travel with my Weeroll? Jean was ... disappointed. She likes having a trike friend in the neighborhood. It is nice to be liked.
Yes, well, it is nice having friends close by and I do have several in the neighborhood.
I got a call from a woman I had contacted to tell her if she thought of selling to call me. She said she was ready to sell. I set up a time to go see the place on the inside. It is in a mobile-home park where I would own the trailer but pay rent on the land. Rent is $380 per month, which is more than my HOA fee in my current home, but then I wouldn't have taxes or such big insurance.
The morning I was to go look at the trailer I walked from my house to the trail and down the trail to the lake. Someone had recently stuck some blossoms on the bridge railing.
I went to look at the trailer. I was grateful to have Cindy and Regis, Diane and MaryAnn meet me and help me look at the place. I am so blessed! Thank you.
The thing with trailers is - if the water flows toward the house, it isn't a big deal, because it just flows under the trailer and out the other side. The porch entrance was at a low spot.
My friends said I could take up the carpet and paint the cement underneath.
And I said I had planned on re-doing the floors and painting anyway. But I wonder what caused the yellowing of the linoleum.
And part of the decorative wood is pulling away from the ceiling. The man next door to the trailer is a handy-man and said to let him know what I needed to have done. That is pretty convenient!
It appears the air conditioner is older, but still working.
The list of work that needed doing was a bit overwhelming, and there is no guarantee that the land owner might not decide to re-purpose the land to something else, and then I would be out of all the work and money I put into the home.
What was most attractive was the trailer sits on an end lot and the screened patio faces some woods.
When I got home after the tour, my place was looking pretty darn good. I called the owner of the trailer and told her I had decided not to buy it.
I think I told you about the neighborhood in Inverness where a bunch of recumbent tricycle riders have moved in from all over the country. They had met each other while riding over the years and just one by one chose to retire on the Withlacoochee.
I have called them the Texas Trikers because the first few couples moved here from Texas. But there is also couples from Main and Vermont and Minnesota and elsewhere. I have called their neighborhood Trike City and Trike Town.
They have shirts that say Citrus Cyclepaths. So I guess I will call them the Cyclepaths now.
I bring them up because I am pleased to be invited to join them on their rides. Recently a few of us rode down to Floral City to see the Zebra there. As we were winding through the neighborhoods I saw this forward and backward bicycle. I stopped to take a picture. The owner dashed out to talk. He made it himself.
Malotte is a fun-loving woman (in the yellow t-shirt). She bravely got on the back and let the owner take her for a ride around the block. It is, I imagine, pretty scary to be pedaling forward while moving backward. I was content to sit firmly in my trike seat and watch. Which, I observes as I sat, was not who I was a few years ago. Years ago I might have been that woman on the back of that bike. Certainly I would have been engaged in the conversation and wanting to try it.
In the back of my mind was the worry about falling and broken bones. I got my bone scan back recently and I still have Osteoporosis. So I have to really get serious about weight-bearing exercise (which I already do), supplements (which I have done half of the time), and making an effort to build my bone density. Osteoporosis is often the reason for broken hips in older women. Guess what, I am now an older woman with thinning bones.
Since bicycling is not a weight-bearing exercise. I have taken up more walking and I am going on shorter rides.
I took a ride in the Withlacoochee State Forest this week. Before I got out of the car, I texted Debra to let her know where I was and what I was doing. I told her I would text her again when I was done. Some safety when hiking by myself, especially when hiking in a new place.
I am going to try different trails until I find one with some nice rolling hills and maybe some rocks to climb.
Bike Racks and Letting Go
One day while out riding I saw this inventive trike rack. I had thought about modifying one of these trailer-hitch luggage racks that you can buy off the shelf. I was stumped because I don't have metal-working equipment and I am not a welder.
This is how you can do it if you work better with wood than with metal.
Speaking of bike racks. One of my Diva friends moved into my neighborhood! I helped Diane unload a pod along with a few of her other friends. Diane and I wore masks, the other friends did not. Hmmm. I hope our passing in the garage isn't a spreader event.
Anyway, piling all those boxes into her new home reminded me of how much work moving can be! All the decisions of what to keep and what to get rid of! All that packing, moving, unpacking, deciding where to put things. It makes me glad (at least for today) I decided not to move into that trailer.
But, speaking of bike racks, the former owner of Diane's home was a biker and had a nice Yamaha - roof-top carrier. I took it, not for me, but to share with someone who needs/wants a bike rack. I will post it in the next Withlacoochee Bicycle Riders (WBR) newsletter. Maybe for a donation to the trail or to the Alzheimer's Family Organization.
I started thinking about how much I have and I really don't need that much stuff to live and be happy. George had a set of China he bought while he was in the Navy. He told this story every time we dined on the china. He was in Japan, bought the 12-piece serving set for only $18. Then had to pay $32 to have it shipped home.
I only use the set when I am having a big party. And of course it has been almost a year since I have had a big party. And hosting big parties isn't as much fun without my partner. George would chop the onions, clean the bathrooms, set the tables, greet the guests, and clear the tables and fill the dishwasher. Once I had served I would just relax and chat with folks.
We were a great team. When he could no longer do these things, hosting became harder on me and not as much fun. Even when I had great friends pitch in and do much of the work, it wasn't the same. If COVID passes and we can gather in big groups again, I can always use paper or have people bring their own dishes.
This week I decided to pick a few items from the set to keep and the rest I packed up and took to the thrift shop. It was uncomfortable. It was letting go of a bit of George, I think.
When I told Debra I had taken the china to the thrift store she said, "Oh, that rose George is buried under is curling up and wilting."
I told her that while I was getting into the car to drive the stuff to the thrift store I found myself arguing with George. We can't take it with us. It is time to let go. I could pass it on to the kids, but they already have their houses full of their own stuff. It is time to let go.
Gainesville-Hawthorne TrailYesterday I met up with the Cyclepaths again to drive up to Gainesville and ride the Gainesville trail. It was a cool and breezy day, but we had a great time riding and chatting anyway. Everyone had masks, but we pulled them down when riding, or for the photo taking moments.
What is neat about the Gainesville trail is it goes by the huge Payne's Prairie Preserve. There are tons of birds, wild horses, deer, buffalo. It is beautiful any time, but right now with the fall grasses it is especially lovely.
After the ride the group was going to one of my favorite restaurants. Satchel's Pizza is a place to display art made from junk and to have great pizza and salad.
I learned the group was not interested in walking into the Prairie. I like to do that every time I am here, plus, with this many people on a cool day, it would be hard to distance at the restaurant. I made the choice to walk into the prairie and skip the restaurant.
Every time I walk this board walk it is different. In the drought of three or four years ago, there were LOTS of gator. But now there is so much vegetation growing on the flooded areas that the Limpkin are able to walk on top in their search for the snails.
There was a Limpkin sitting on the left-hand railing. He/she was chattering away. I didn't know this sound. I always identified Limpkin with their haunting and loud call. This guy was doing a guttural clacking. He wasn't at all disturbed by my walking by, and kept aiming its eye either on the water or the sky... They look out to the side of their head, so it is hard to tell what he was looking at.
The wind was blowing quite a bit. There were Snail Kite Hawks and Vultures swooping over the pond and riding the wind currents up and up.
I got close to a Snail Kite that was working hard to remain on a weed that was really swaying in the wind. I was close enough to see the very sharp hook of its beak. It's feathers ruffling in the breeze. When it took off it showed me its white bottom end. Flashing me with its bird moon.
I saw a couple large gator sunning themselves, but not near the numbers we saw when the water was low and they had less places to hunt and hang-out.
Traveling to Wisconsin and beyond in 2021
I am already making my reservations for my trip back to Wisconsin for the summer. I am thrilled because Marie (who I met up with in the Everglades) is going to travel with me in her motor-home,
We are going to some areas in the Panhandle of Florida and then a couple of trails in Mississippi where Jean plans on riding with us near Hattiesburg.
Marie is going all the way to Des Moines, Iowa with me! (Yes, Ruth, I hope you will be around to ride and show us some trails the week starting May 22, 2021.) In fact maybe we can talk Regis and Cindy into joining in the fun.
There is quite a network of trails around the Des Moines area and I know Ruth and Bill, Kay and Jim, Pam and a few others that might be able to ride with us.
We will ride and hike and see what we can see all along the way, right Marie?
I have news! I just got an email from the ranger at Council Grounds State Park near Merrill, Wisconsin. They have a campground host position for me! I have some questions about hours and days required of me, but I am excited to have this opportunity to see what it is like to work for a free campsite. I will be about one hour from my sister's place. So I hope I will still be able to do a lot with her, like I did last summer. I have requested the gig start July 12th. We will see...
Today I skipped riding the WBR group and instead I attended a Webinar on advertising on Amazon. In an hour I will take off and meet up with Jean and Debra for a short ride. Then I will have time to walk and jump and build my bones with some weight-bearing exercises.
The only constant is change... what comes next?