Showing posts with label ACX. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ACX. Show all posts

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.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Liberated Widow's First Date and Other Ramblings

Sunday, 1/12/2020


The last time I wrote to you I was just writing about the books and not about what is going on with me.  Sorry, that is what happens with a passion and project that needs to be spread to have an impact.

So, what IS happening.


OK.  In the video count-down to launch of kindle version of THE JOURNEY CONTINUES, I mentioned that I got a call from a guy a week after Thanksgiving wishing me, "Happy Thankgiving".  He stuttered and was nervous (or pretended to be) and I engaged him in conversation a bit to kind of ease the tension and show him I wasn't going to bite.

I didn't know what to think about this interest in me.  It is over a year and a half since George passed.  Some friends asked me if I would ever want a relationship with a man again.  I told them, "NO!" pretty fast and pretty decisive.

But then this guy called and showed an interest and I started to run through my head the pros and cons.

The guy eventually invited me to dinner and I said I would meet him for coffee so we can get to know each other.

I wanted to meet him at the coffee shop or walk to the shop together.

He refused telling me he wanted to drive me, he was a Southern Gentleman, he said, and that is what he does.

My guess is he doesn't walk that far (1.5 miles).  He lives in my neighborhood and I never have seen him walking, not even to the mailbox.

I wanted to cancel then.  Two alarms went off in my head.  1) I have no interest in a man who is not active as a biker or hiker or weightlifter or whatever.  2) He is making this feel like a "DATE" and I don't want it to feel like a date because I know nothing about the guy.

We bikers are the "young-old" and this man was most likely among the "old-old".   But I thought what harm is it in making a new friend?  Who knows, we may both like x or y or z and be able to enjoy that together.

The day before our coffee meeting, he called to confirm.  Again I tried to get him to meet me at the coffee shop.  He didn't know where it was.   I said, "I don't know you, I would feel more comfortable meeting you there."

He said, "I don't smoke, I don't drink, I don't swear.  I don't like women who swear."

HA!  I thought, "I have an out!"  I debated about swearing up a streak right there and then on the phone, I really did!

The night before he was to arrive at my door and pick me up I was tossing and turning and cussing up a storm.  How dare he push down my every protest.

How dare he deliver his book to me and encourage me to read it, and then when I offer to give him one of my books he says, "Oh, I don't have time right now!" and then never ask about my writing, my book, my life, my passions.

"Chauvinist, narcissistic pig," I tossed and turned and ranted on.  (His book was awful, by the way, in desperate need of editing.)

The morning hours before he showed up I worried that he would show up with a button down shirt and flowers.  So when he showed up in t-shirt and shorts I threw up my arms and cheered.  Ha ha.  Later he told me he had planned on a sport coat and his daughter advised him on what to wear.

We went to coffee, we had NOTHING in common... except we both drink coffee.  He doesn't exercise, he hates all people of a faith different than Christian, and he thinks that the Mayor (or was it a governor) that criminalized homelessness was a hero.  I didn't mind debating with him because I really didn't care.  So we had a nice civil discussion.

When we got done he wanted to graduate to a dinner date.  Had I disagreed with him too gently?

I said, "No, I am content with my life and I don't wan to date."  He respected that and said he would not call me again and would leave it to me to call him if I ever wanted to go out to dinner sometime.


Except that now I am wondering... if there really was a healthy, active, person out there who wanted someone to kayak with or walk with or travel to places with...  No sex, I am done with that.  Hormones are kaput.

Which makes me think that in younger years it was all about the attraction.  In my 20's I didn't care if we had anything in common.  In my 20's if I was attracted to them, that was the decision maker.  Back then I might have molded myself into the person they desired.

Whew... I like it better this way!  I love feeling strong about who I am and what I like.  I may be wishy-washy about a lot of decisions, but push my women's-liberation button and I rise up to fight.


In 1920 women got the right to vote in the USA.  100 years later it is time to celebrate and re-educate the girls of today.  My friend Beth and I are going to meet up with the local League of Women Voters and march with our Suffrage sashes in the Martin Luther King walk on January 20th, 8:45 in Liberty Park, Inverness.  If you have the inclination, come join us!  You don't need a sash to show you support civil rights no matter the color of your skin or your gender.


I have not written to you lately because I have been so busy.  First I have my regular life (biking, house, friends, book clubs, yoga, gym, social media) and then I added on top of that some book launch activities and then on top of that I added a couple part-time paid gigs.

I have done some dog sitting.  One time I stayed at a friends home because her rescue dog would be more comfortable with me in the bed.  Sweet little dog and cat, it was an enjoyable stay.

I have a lovely lab that I have been walking.  The owners are snowbirds so this is a winter-only gig.  When my hip hurts me I have used my trike to walk the dog. (Speaking of the hip, I tried physical therapy and they have sent me back to get an MRI of my lower back.  I get that tomorrow.)  

The lab does very well trotting next to the trike and I keep my fingers on the brake because she still likes to stop abruptly and sniff or pee.

Then I got a part-time job helping "Ted".   I have changed his name to protect his identity. You probably won't be seeing pictures of him here like I posted of George. 

Ted has dementia and refuses to move to an apartment with assistance.  I am helping along with another woman to keep him fed and clean and as safe as can be in his home.  

The family feels this is the most humane way to deal with the situation.  Ted is still walking easily and even rides his bike wonderfully, though he has forgotten about the need for bike pants on wedgy seats, so we don't bike far when I take him out.  He stays close to home and the neighbors know where he lives so they help him find his way home.  

Yes, there is a chance he will wander off and we will lose him.  What is the best way to deal with this do you think?  Force him to spend his remaining years fighting for his freedom, or letting him be as content as he can be as long as he can be.

This situation reminds me of the woman named Carol (I think that was her name).  She lived alone, would walk with friends, they and the neighbors and the family knew she had dementia and had gotten lost in the past.  One day Carol just disappeared.  Search parties, blood hounds, no one has ever found her or any trace of her.


Coping with Dementia is holding its 6th Annual Caregivers' Conference on January 22nd.  They have invited me to speak about remaining positive and finding joy in living in spite of dementia.  They want me to show off THE GEORGE tandem.

I will have my books at this conference.  So I you live in the area and were hoping to get a signed copy, stop in!  While you are there around noon, take the dementia bus tour.  It will alter your perspective of the dementia patient.

The very next day I will be the 9th Annual Dementia Care Seminar at St. Francis Cabrini Church, 5030 Mariner Blvd., Spring Hill, FL, 9:30 to Noon.  My books will be there too.


It is NOW official.  The audiobook of The Journey Continues - Alzheimer's Trippin' with George is up on Amazon, Audible and Itunes.  

Now, you are probably already on the email list and are notified when I post to this website.  But maybe you can think of someone who would enjoy my books or my on-going journey (in this blog).

If you share this blog with them and they sign up to be alerted when I post a blog (get on the email list) in January, they will receive a free copy of the Audiobook, THE JOURNEY CONTINUES!  They can just click here.

Thanks for all of you who have left a review on Amazon and/or Audible.

Alzheimer's Trippin' with George has 42 ratings/reviews!  It is #4 in sales in one of its categories on Amazon!  Thank you for helping to spread the word.

The Journey Continues has 14 ratings/reviews!   It needs more reviews, and what I am hearing from readers and listeners is that it is better than the first book... except there is too much pooh.  Yes, I agree, too much pooh.  Which incident of pooh should I cut out when I do a second edition?

I am especially looking to get listens and reviews from folks in the UK.  So if you know someone over there willing to listen and give a review of either book, have them private message me on Facebook or Twitter @susanstraley  or email me -- susan_trikes at   I get a lot of junk, so they should put "Request for UK code" in the subject.  I don't want to leave them hanging because I deleted their email without opening it.


Be sure to join the fun in the group at Susan Straley Writes.  Find the post announcing the launch of the audiobook and share it.  I will send you a free code to download The Journey Continues audiobook.  It is professionally narrated in the clear voice of Candace Tuttle.


I did it!  I booked a trip on Southwest Airlines to Arizona.  I had (this fall) planned to fly my trike to Arizona to try that.  But when I was booking the ticket this month I thought I would rent a bike when I got there.  I will try to find something comfortable, maybe pack some padded bike shorts.

We will see.  I have about 9 days in AZ.  I hope to rent a room in a home near my brothers.  I did a search already and I did not find a member of Affordable Travel Club or Evergreen Club in their community.  So it would be an hour to two hour commute by bike each day to their place.  Not a good plan.  There is time.  The trip is in March.  Still time to figure things out.


Did you see that the world traveler by trike, Sylvia Halpern has changed the way she is traveling?  She got electric assist for her trike and loves it.  She can't fly the batteries for the trike to other countries, so she is stuck traveling on this continent.  The biggest change too is that she bought a travel trailer to live in and truck for hauling her trike to places she wants to explore.  You can follow her at Travels by Trike.  Mostly she does videos now on her youtube channel.

The other world traveler that I have found that lives on her trike and also does major cross-country hikes is Kathryn Mossbrook Zimmerman.  Her life too has taken a major turn as she goes through Chemo treatments to fight cancer.  

Change is the only constant.  What turns will our lives take next?  A friend of mine posted a sentiment that hit home.  Sometimes life is like an arrow.  It's got to pull back before it can shoot forward.... or something like that.

I hope you are finding yourself able to flow with what life gives you.  It is the resistance, I think, that makes us miserable at times.  Once we get past that, it's all good.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Empty Time Angst


I got back from my mini solo tour gone awry.  I was feeling ok about not going to Wisconsin.  I was already planning another trip to visit my sister and my son in September.  I had a wedding to attend so I had already had it on my calendar.  No big deal.

But -- I came home.  Most of my friends had left town.  Even those that don't go north for the Summer were gone for a few weeks.   I went a whole week without a social dinner... well, almost a whole week.  And for me that is something.  I felt funny.  I started questioning all my life choices.

Do I want to move?
Do I want to get a trailer and travel the country?
Do I still want to write and publish books?
Am I really any good or are my friends just being nice?
Maybe I should get a REAL job with a pay check.
If so, then I will have to move, right? Since there are no jobs that pay in Citrus County, Florida.
Maybe I need a house-mate to share this big space with me.

Wa wa wa... I felt tears in me, wanting to get out.  Just like so many days when I was caring for George and saying the long-slow goodbye.  What is that all about?

One of the things that was also feeding this crazy thought loop was that each day I would check the sales on my books and they had fallen to zero.  ZERO!!!  So much effort and ZERO.

I had heard that sales fall off after Amazon runs your kindle for free for a while.  I had done the free 3 days at the end of June.  Was that it?  They didn't tell me how long do the sales sag after a give-away period.

I don't know.  I even sat still for 20 minutes.  You know, meditated.  I should do that every day, I know.

Ok, so that was LAST week.


I started reaching out to plan social activities for my evenings.  Bam bam bam, stuff fell into place and I even got invites too.  So only one night this week is on my own.  Pretty cool.

And I made a new shorter video to use in a Facebook advertisement.  I am targeting non-fiction readers.  I added a picture that Gabriella took of me at my speaking event last month.  And a quote that Audrey left in a review or comment.  I like it so much.  I was hoping to show pictures of the trikes so the viewer would get an impression of the bicycle part of our journey in the first book.  They didn't show up so good.

Let me know what you think.  Each change I make is going to cost a bit for the artist to make the change.  But let me know anyway, in the comments.

I am interviewing Audio-book readers to turn the first book into an audio-book.  I don't know if I should.  But I am moving in that direction, investigating, learning.


We are having a lot of rain here.  Tonight I am going to meet some neighbors at a Mexican restaurant nearby.

And now I am feeling a bit better.  Each morning I am trying to re-write my to-do list so I can see all the things that were done that I don't have to continue adding to the list.

This morning I attended a breakfast networking meeting.  They were promoting a conference called Global Leadership.  I have signed up for a Woodstock event put on by the group I joined, "Sisters on the Fly".


For now I am NOT getting a camper, I am NOT moving.

I AM looking for a housemate to help share this 4-bedroom townhouse full of my stuff.  I am NOT polishing my resume but I am open to a summer job next summer.

OH!  And I am planning on trying to fly my trike again to some place this fall.  I am thinking I haven't visited my brother and his wife yet since he moved to Arizona.  Different airline this time, and definitely I will have a PLAN B in case they reject the trike.

Cold Camping In Florida

 It is Christmas morning and I am camping on St. George Island off the coast of the panhandle of Florida. I am snuggled under a folded over ...