Friday, October 14, 2022

Help Grinners and Spinners and Sisters with Hurricane Recovery

What are you up to today?

I am  enjoying blessed connected but alone time in a beautiful location in Georgia.

Hurricane Ian Left a Mess!

Before I fill you in on what's been happening and my visit with Terry F. in Tennessee, I need to tell you about the Grinners and Spinners and hope that you or someone you know can join in the fun.  Because we hope to make it fun, productive, and just a darn good thing to do.

I mentioned to Steve I was thinking of using my trailer now that I can survive without water and electric hookup for a few days to help with the recovery work from Hurricane Ian.  Steve right away said, "If you do that, let me know.  I will do it too."

Steve used to be a lineman on a crew.  Which means he is a great asset to our team with the experience of trimming and cutting downed trees and branches and working in the elements.  I am excited to have him be the first to join the team.

I went to to find organizations and projects in which I/we could volunteer.  Then I needed to find a place to put our campers that wasn't far from the action.  Bingo!  I remembered I had met Linda S. in Hayward, WI at a Sisters on the Fly event.  She invited me several times to come park my trailer this winter at her horse farm she just bought near Fort Myers, FL.

I texted her.  She has tree damage but it appears no building damage according to her neighbors.  "It looks like a war zone."   She has electric too and water (probably not drinkable).

We have a place to park and a mission to help her first and then move on to help other Sisters in the area.  I am already in touch with the Florida Sisters on the Fly effort. 

The team will also help the Lions Club as part of the recovery effort unload trucks with building and food and water supplies on a couple days.  We will be staying six days starting November 6th when we arrive. 

Do YOU have a trailer you can stay in a few days without hook up?  Do you have a saw or trimmers a rake or a good back?  Please join the Grinners and Spinners.  You don't have to be a Spinner (Bicyclist) but it would help if you grin.

Text me or contact me through the blog contact form with any questions or to join our team.  I am putting my phone number in code here to avoid the spambots. Two 6 Too - Ate for for - 8469.

I am close to Florida!

I am excited to have six days on my own to catch up, reach out to you, and have access to city amenities nearby.  I am at a really lovely Corp of Engineers site near Augusta, GA.  For those of you without good Georgraphy knowledge like me, Augusta is on the border of South Carolina and Georgia, east of Atlanta.

I have access to electric, water, showers, cell, Anytime Fitness, Aldis, parks, art, quiet, and more.  It is heaven.

I was on my own last time I was able to write to you.  In Bristol, VA where I went to Anytime Fitness, rearranged my packing, and did some hiking.  The Virginia Creeper Trail was calling to me, but I decided I can't do it all and sometimes I need to take care of business.  Maybe in the spring on my way up north?

After Bristol it was a short drive to Smokemont Campground in the Smokey Mountains.  No cell service but a lovely park and location.

I went for a few hikes.  Once I saw a momma bear followed by a cute little baby bear walk swiftly across the trail not far in front of me.   I stopped, my heart pounding wondering if I should turn around.  But after I didn't hear her coming back I realized they had probably heard me coming and were running for cover.  I began to sing to just make sure I didn't startle her and continued on.

My one full day at Smokemont I met Suzanne H. for lunch, a hike, and some Elk education.  We originally met in April and early May when I was at the Suwannee Bicycle Association event and my van broke down (remember that!).  She was a real blessing, giving me companionship and support while I was searching for a vehicle.

The dot behind the orange cones is an Elk.  They were reintroduced to the area in 2017 and now the herd is up to about 250.

She took me on a walk near the visitors center where the Elk hang out during rutting season.  There they were during the day in the woods right next to the trail!  Suzanne said to keep a tree nearby to hide behind because when the males chase each other they aren't looking to avoid you.

Suzanne is a volunteer helping to protect the Elk and the tourists from each other.  She had a hard time not instructing folks that were getting too close with their cameras.  She had put that pink T-shirt on over her official volunteer shirt because she was off duty.  But her knowledge and commitment weren't so easily disguised.  Ha ha.  

The town of Cherokee and the reservation were in the area and there were kiosks along the trail with some of their traditional stories as well as nature education.  "Mountains are the wellspring of more than 80 percent of the Earth's surface water."

The next morning I left Smokemont and met up with Suzanne again for breakfast.  Some of the other  Suwannee Bicycle Association women I met in April/May were there too!  It was fun to hear their histories, but the noise of the restaurant had us yelling to hear each other.  When I get back to Florida I will get my hearing checked again.  It is time.

I Meet Terry!

Now I was driving back north about 100 miles.

Cove Lake State Park a few miles north of Knoxville, TN.  There I was going to meet Terry F. for the first time.  To remind you of Terry, his cousin and my friend from the Dementia Diva days introduced us via email.  We had been emailing, texting, and calling daily at first and then later every few days.

He had lost his wife a year and a half ago and had the urge to go traveling in his truck.   He had already made major changes, selling his farm in the North East and moving to Tennessee near his daughter. 

While we were communicating he bought a condo in a resort community near his daughter.  He fixed up his truck and headed out to Sturgis for the Bike Week that goes on there.  It was a whirlwind tour where he didn't know where he was going after Sturgis but just kept going.  He slept in waysides and at Cracker Barrells and motel parking lots.  A very different kind of travel than what I do.

But he wants to do slower travel he just thinks he needs someone to do that with.  He doesn't like seeing stuff and not sharing it.  I agree, but I have YOU!  I am always thinking I can share stuff with you.  But of course I can't.  There are too many pretty views and neat happenings to share them all.  

He asked if he could accompany me to my first campsite after visiting his area.  He would bring his truck/camper and we would just hang together.  

Friends I love, cling-ons aren't welcome.

We had good times during our time together!  

We hiked to a waterfall by Cove Lake which I didn't think he could do because he had busted up his ankle a year ago and is still adjusting.  But he is up to walking six miles on a flat surface and we did two on a very big-rock trail up to the falls and back.  He tried out his new propane fire pit that he bought for his patio and for camping. 

He does scrap art.  He showed me his pumkin and his new condo, and we sat on his back deck.

My next campsite was Davidson River near Ashville and the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

I was nervous about meeting Terry in person and nervous about camping with him.  I didn't think we were compatible as life companions, but could we be friends that sometimes travel together?  I have become ok with being on my own much of the time.  And what if he wanted more than that? 

 We chatted about the women he was meeting that may be great companions for him.  I was still getting signals from him that I interpreted to mean that I might be one of those women.  To make my intension clear I told him to think of me as his gay cousin or his sister that he never had.

I over heard him dictating a text to one of those women that was worried about my visit He told her that we had agreed to be like brother and sister.  He told me she was relieved.  

I said if we camp together again he should bring her (or someone) along. (I would definately be more relaxed, I think.) 

I only had two nights at Davidson River.  I was lucky to get the reservations during the leaf changing season. 

Our one day at Davidson River was a lovely full day, very full of activity.

In the morning after I took a short walk we drove a loop up into the Blue Ridge Mountains.  It was cold and breezy 40 degrees on a Monday.  When we parked at the falls a bride in her sleeveless dress and her groom without a coat were getting ready to say vows in the cold mist of the water falls.  

The minister had a license plate that said ELOPEAVL.  As we departed another couple (woman in sleeveless gown) were getting ready to decend to the base of the falls for their turn.

I had made an appointment with Connie M.  who had been a full-time traveler for five years and recently bought a home in an Audubon neighborhood near Davidson River Campground.  She was going to come pick us up at noon and we would buy her lunch and then see her house and neighborhood. 

Lunch was at a really cool deli across from the entrance to her neighborhood. Connie was introduced to me by Regis and Cindy.  I kept thinking how they would love the coffee shop and the visit and the Audubon neighborhood tour. 

After a hike on one of the many many trails in and around her neat neighborhood where it is deeded to keep natural yards instead of mowed grass. She drove us to a beautiful waterfall.  We were lucky, she said, to get there late in the afternoon when the crouds had thinned.  It was a very popular place.

To get perspective on the size of the falls, the picture below shows a few people sitting near the bottom of the falls.

Connie dropped us off back at camp and already it was time to get ready to meet up for dinner with someone Terry had met in Deleware who had invited him to get in touch if he was in the area.  I think he sold the guy a sawmill when he was selling stuff off before his move. We left camp early so we could use the better cell service in town to touch base with our friends and families.

The couple was very nice and had their two lovely children with them.  They must have thought that Terry and I were a couple because they bought my dinner!  I didn't explain.  That is the trouble when two people of the opposite sex hang out, people assume things.

Terry hopes to continue creating scrap art for people in his retirement.  If you want to order something, here's his info.  And he has pictures of stuff on his Facebook page.

Coming Up

Near Augusta, GA, I am loving where I am at right now.  

Next stop will be Hunting Island, I think it is on the coast north of Savannah.  There I will have a few days to explore and then some very busy days enjoying Sisters on the Fly and volunteering for Pledge the Pink, a huge, multi-day fundraiser for Breast Cancer education and research.

Oh!  I heard from Jann that said she and her husband might come ride Jekyll Island with me.  They can't make it.  But the good news is that Steve has decided to depart NY earlier and join me for a few days of camping and riding.  No, we are not a couple.  But we do like to do a lot of the same things and share the same political views.  So I expect and hope we will be doing mucho together.  

Steve has inspired me to do 10 pushups and 10 dips a day.  (He is doing 100 pushups a day for 100 days as a challenge)

I forgot to tell you, the rechargable handwarmers I bought to help keep warm when I don't have electric work great for warming up the bed before I get in.  I like them!

They are good to keep in my pockets when I am hooking up the trailer on a cold morning. Instead of taking gloves on and off as I try to do stuff, I just stick my hands in my pockets and warm them up briefly every few minutes.

Your Invitations Still Stand

And the invitation still stands if you want to join in for the Jekyll Island rides.  

After that it will be Florida!  Inverness for a week and then Grinners and Spinners will be in Fort Myers trimming trees and shoveling sand.  

Please consider joining us as we do a little to help those impacted by Hurricane Ian.  If November 6th doesn't work for you, maybe you could do it in January or February or March?  Let me know and I will keep you posted on future dates.


  1. Wow. You have been busy, moving around to different places, hiking, biking(?), and meeting with interesting people. You also are the most giving soul we know. You will be helping so many desperate people when you are in Ft. Meyers with your “Grinners and Spinners”. Our new, smaller trailer is not designed to be away from 30 amp service for more than a few hours - and I doubt Fred would be willing to drag it to Florida. After you have gotten some experience down there, perhaps you will have more suggestions for how we could help. I look forward to your next post.

  2. You two are also known for your intelligence, tolerance, and giving souls. Hugs! And see you in December or January.


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