Friday, February 19, 2021

Journal Keeping - You Don't Need to Write Well

 February 12, 2021

Today was the final day of the annual Caregivers' conference put on by Coping with Dementia.  

This morning I was part of a panel of three authors talking about keeping a journal.  We had all been caregivers for someone with dementia, we had all kept journals in some form.  Vicki Veasey started out keeping her journal in calendar form.  This helped her keep track of her parents' symptoms, appointments, happenings.  By keeping track on a calendar she was able to see that her father experienced symptoms around the time of the full moon.  That realization helped her be prepared to deal with those symptoms. That's interesting! 

The other panelist was Linda Burhans that does a regular radio show dedicated to caregivers.  

Journal Writing 101

I write on paper and I write online.

You don't need to commit to every day.  I don't do commitment.

With a journal it can be private for just your eyes.

You don't need to write full sentences.

You can do just one of the following...

just write

one word

name three emotions

name a few of today's memories

make a note or observation.

write down things you are grateful for right now.

rant and rave

just record an event

put the pen down on the paper and see what happens

go with what moves the pen without judgement

observe what is happening around you right now, ie: sights, sounds, feelings against your skin, where you are sitting

If you hate to write you can record your thoughts into your phone or a recorder.

Your recording options are wide open.  Just start, the rewards will come over time.

***

February 19, 2021

Celebrity!

Linda Burhans has invited me to be on her radio show for Caregivers on February 20th at noon ET.  Here is the link for the live show on Youtube.

And my other fellow panelist, Vicki invited me to be a guest in her newsletter to Caregivers.  She hasn't set a date yet.

There was an article in our local paper about the conference.  I will give you the link, but you only have a few chances to view an article from the paper before you have to pay.




I also had a Letter to the Editor printed in the Chronicle about the impeachment trial of the former President.  

All this attention has sparked the drive and joy that I had set as my intention for writing Book III.  And I am happy to say it is working.  I am making a little bit of progress.  More than before I set my intention, "I intend to have drive and joy carrying me on my journey through writing and publishing book three."

Natural World

I have been riding each week with the bike group and on our rides south I visit the goats, which are now mostly sheep.  I think there is only one goat left, though many of the baby sheep look goat-like.  

Jean has discovered the joy of the baby lambs and goes with me sometimes to feed the babies.  Some of the pictures below are those she took.


This male sheep just sniffed the the bottom of a female.  I guess he was investigating if she was in heat.  We got a few chuckles out of the face he made.  

 


Yesterday there were nine Monarch caterpillars on the milkweed in my front garden.  On Facebook I call myself the Proud Monarch Momma.  


Speaking of nature, we are living through some natural history.  A huge winter storm is covering most of the country.  There is snow and freezing in parts of Texas that never see snow.  There are major power outages and places without water.  The New York Times explained that the Artic weather normally held in place by the Gulf Stream is now occasionally being released due to changes in the Gulf Stream due to changes in the climate. 

We in Florida are having a few cold days and some really warm days, but nothing real unusual.

Planning and Dreaming

In my last letter to you I mentioned that I would be camping in February.  The first trip I had planned was in mid-February.  It was canceled.  My friend, Maria, fell and hurt her shoulder, so she canceled.  Since she was the only one I knew of that was going to be there that was single and since the campground wasn't that far from home, I just canceled.  I am glad I did.  The weather turned cold on those days.

I have another camping trip coming up at the end of the month.  I am going to St. Augustine, FL to camp with Debra.  Frankie is going to share her camper with her!   What fun!  Frankie is a load of fun and she makes me laugh.  Frankie and Debra together is a recipe for a great time.

Though Debra's new dog arrived just yesterday and she is so cute, that I got a feeling Debra won't be able to tear herself away.  Whatever happens, I am going.  After St. Augustine I am not coming directly home.  I have two other campgrounds I will be visiting.  


 Hart Springs is up near the Nature Coast Trail and the Suwannee River about two hours NW of Inverness.  And then I got down to Hillsborough River State Park to meet up with about 32 other RV women.  I see from the pictures that most of them do not wear masks during COVID and do not distance.  If that is the case, I will be spending most of my time with a few that can respect the safety precautions.  

The plans for this summer's big camping trip are taking shape.  Marie is supposed to accompany me on my way North, but her plans might change due to her injured shoulder.  We don't know yet.  I will still take the same route and enjoy the journey.

When George was ill with Dementia, a friend wanted to make sure I met her friend Joan.  Joan is single and likes to travel on the cheap.  She likes to camp, hike, kayak and bike.   Since we first met we have become friends, I visited her last year on my trip north, me in my campsite and her driving out to dine at the other end of the picnic table to stay COVID safe.

Anyway, she loaned me a book about the Allegheny Passage Trail that goes from Pittsburg to DC.  She wants to do it with me, but only if I haul my gear and camp along the way.  Which is the best way to do it.  But that means buying yet another tent and some equipment and fixing up my two-wheel bike for the trip.  The surface of the trail is rough, I would be miserable on my trike.  I am thinking on it.

When Joan stopped by to pick up the book we sat on my front porch chatting and petting Josie (my house-mate's dog).  Joan mentioned how she would like to get back to Alaska someday.  I said, "Ooooo, I have that dream."  

She said, "Let's go!"

We said we would plan on going in the summer of 2022, me in my Weeroll, Joan camping in her car.

This is exciting!!!

COVID Update

So many of my friends are getting their appointments for the vaccine.  I still do not have an appointment, though I keep checking the websites.  My friend Cindy gave me a phone number to call that is automated.  They are to call me back with an appointment.  I called two days ago.  I am so glad that people are getting the vaccine.  It gives me hope that we can start gathering safely in groups again, I can find a few pods of friends where I can get hugs and dine with.  I am soooo looking forward to that!  

One of my Wisconsin bike friends died recently after contracting COVID.  He was part of our couples group that would go to different trails each month and spend a weekend.  We had so many laughs and rides together.

Stay well!



Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Free Virtual Dementia Caregivers' Conference

 Hello!

 I have not written to you in a while.  Sorry, procrastination happens. 

 Maybe it wasn't procrastination as much as the anxiety or weirdness of the political unrest. (For you reading this in the future, on January 6th, 2021 there was an attack on our US Capital with the crowd chanting to hang the vice president who was about to certify the election results from the 50 states.) 

The events on top of a year of the rise in cases of COVID19 has many of us anxious and I didn't want to write anything about it and add to our anxiety.  But how could I write and not mention it?  Families and friends are torn apart by not just differing opinions, but deep beliefs in what is the truth.

How do you prove what is real when someone insists that every source you site they don't trust.  Every fact you site they believe is false. That is some of our experiences during these times.

Anyway, that isn't what I am writing about.  

What I wanted to let you know about is a free virtual conference for caregivers happening in February.  No matter where you are, you can attend as much or as little of it as you want.


 Here is the link to register.  https://conference.coping.today/

 I am thrilled to be invited to be part of an Author's Panel discussing the power and benefits of keeping a journal. 


If the dates and times don't work for you, no worries, the whole conference (except Teepa Snow's presentation) will be recorded and available to view after the conference.   Pretty cool!

Thanks to Coping with Dementia for putting on this conference.

What else is happening?

Carolyn has returned!  She rented a room from me last year and it worked out very well.  She is quiet, nice, clean and she rides a trike.  What's not to like!

This year she has a puppy with her, Nine-month-old Josie is cute and well-behaved and likes to play fetch with me.  

Debra and Glen's dog died.  So they were anxious to come over and meet Josie.  They have a fensed in yard so one day I took Josie over to play and they were thrilled to sit in the yard with me and play with her.   Their new dog arrives in early March.

 I am excited!  I bought an inflatable paddle board and it arrived yesterday.  I thought it would be something I could take with me traveling and do some early morning floats while the water is like glass.

I am hoping to test it out this week before it gets cold again.  We have had three wonderful days of warm weather this week so far.

Today our bike group biked the Van Fleet Trail.  It was a great turn out with over 20 people riding!   It was wonderful to hear the chatter as we glided down the trail and pointed out the gator at the bridges.

 

When I got home from the ride there were men up on the roof of my building.  All four households have agreed to get a new ridge vent put on our building.  My tile roof has leaked four times in the four years I have lived here.  I hope this puts an end to it.  It's a relief to see something getting done.  They said they found quite a few rotten boards they had to replace today.

****

COVID

Covid cases continue to grow, along with hospital stays and deaths.  Our place in history.

The health department has started giving the Covid vaccines to those 65 and older in Florida.  The vaccine is given in two does 28 days apart.  Debra and Glen got theirs already.  I have yet to get an appointment.  The grocery store pharmacy is giving them, but it is only able to provide so many before they run out of appointments or supply.  I go online and try to get an appointment, but they sell out quickly, so I have not yet succeeded. 

President Biden signed an executive order giving war-time effort to the elimination of the virus.  This will increase the supplies needed to test, treat, and distribute the vaccines.

****

Writing

I finally started the long journey to book three.  My sister has a friend that does a blog called If it Brings You Joy.  

One of her posts was setting your intention.  Write it down as an intention, "I intend ..."  So I wrote down that I intend to have drive and joy carry me through writing and publishing book three.

Each time I would try to start writing I would get stuck on something and end up not moving forward.  So I gave myself permission to just let the drive and joy happen when they happen.  

The other day I did yoga and took a walk, I weeded and watered the garden, I started a jig saw puzzle, and I played with Josie and still managed to look at and edit some of my old journals for the period of my life I want to write about next.  What I realized is that I can still make progress.  Maybe it is the pushing, the I must, that is keeping me from moving forward.  And since I am one that values my freedom, allowing myself the freedom to do it in my own time, might be just the ticket to get the creative juices flowing again.

We will see.

Coming up

In February I go on a couple camping trips in my Weeroll. 

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Locked Out or Unhinged?

 Sunday, December 20, 2020

 

I did it again.  Some days my mind is just not in the moment and somehow I lose track of important stuff.

I was looking forward to this trip.  I was traveling just two or three hours to the coast east of Orlando, FL.  I was excited because I would be spending my holiday with some up-beat and active friends.  We were to be camping in an area where there is water for kayaking, lots of nature for birding, and a trail for biking.

 But this morning as I was packing I was in a foul mood.  My neighbor, Mari, commented, "Sue, you are frowning!  You should be smiling, aren't you excited?"  

I hadn't even been aware I was in a foul mood, but then I realized that the thrill of going just wasn't in me.  I felt frayed... is that a feeling?  I felt like my brain was a bit scattered.  It wasn't working as sharp as normal and I was having to work extra hard to concentrate and make sure I didn't forget anything.  Mari reminded me I had a packing list for trips.  But I had not used it.

Instead I had spent some of my morning signing up for another camping trip.  This one is in January with the Sisters on the Fly Sister Corp.  The trip will be a working trip, helping someone on the coast of Louisiana rebuild or clean up after the area was hit by two hurricanes this summer and fall.  

And as I ran upstairs to turn the thermostat down to save on energy while I am gone, I remembered that in a week or two Carolyn will be arriving to rent a room from me and share my home with me.  Wow!  Time is moving so fast.

Maybe I was scattered because I was watching the neighbors' Labrador.  I walked it before I started packing up.  


 I finished packing and I hooked the trailer up to the van.  I did my walk around to check that everything was ok.

Now that I had the trailer packed gave Ellie the dog one last walk around the block.  It started to rain.  

In the van I began the drive east in the rain.  After a picnic stop, the rain stopped and the temperature rose to the high 70's.  

It was 2:30 when I checked into Manatee Hammock campground and backed into my site.  It is a roomy site with trees, I can walk to the inter-coastal, it's all good.

I go to unhitch and I reach in my pocket for the trailer keys.  

No keys.  I pat myself down, no keys.  I search all the jackets, the back pack, the purse, the console, under the seats, the floor, between the seats.  

I paused and tried to calm myself and think.  

Can I do this week of camping without my trailer keys?

1) I can't unhitch the trailer because the hitch is locked.

2) I can't plug in my fridge/trailer because I don't have access to my cord which is in the toolbox that is locked.  My water hose is there too.

3) I can't get in the trailer because the trailer door is locked. 

I walk back to the campground office to see if I dropped the keys there.  Nope.  

I told the campground host I would have to drive all the way back home to get the other set of keys.  He said call "Pop-a-lock".

I walked back to my car and trailer and I called my insurance because I have road-side assistance.  But I couldn't get through.  They were busy, the recording said, and short-staffed due to COVID-19.

Then I called Pop-a-lock nearby.  The woman that answered said the locksmith was working on a job right now and would call me after he was done.  "It will be about an hour," she said.

I waited two hours.

As I was waiting I remembered that the back of the trailer has a padlock on the door.  I could enter in the back!   I started working to get the trailer set up to use

My friends came over and visited a while.  They said they heard the no-see-ums are bad here.  They helped me set up my CLAM screen tent.


 

They left and I called my sister to chat.  While I was on the phone, my friend Regis returned with his keys to see if any of them would work on my hitch or tool box.  None did.

I then told him if I couldn't get into my tool box I would need to hitch a ride from him to a store to get an extension cord and a hose.  That is the stuff I need from my tool box.

Regis left and returned again with an extension cord and a hose!



 

Yay!   

I called Pop-a-lock after waiting two hours.  This time the person that answered the phone said the locksmith in my area doesn't work on Sunday's and he will call me the next day.  Sigh.

Cindy has plans to ride the trail tomorrow and maybe visit the nature preserve to look for birds.  I would love to join them but that means I would have to haul my trailer.

Traveling with the trailer means I would have to strap stuff down again and move everything back to the floor so it won't fall and cause damage.   Another adventure, another lesson.

Regis gave me these words of wisdom: "Keep a spare set of keys hidden somewhere." 

That means not at home (which is where my spare set of keys is sitting).

It is raining again.  It is dark.  I have shelter, I have light, I have my computer, I have my bed, my fridge is plugged in and I can make coffee in the morning.  I am having a mini celebration.

We will see what tomorrow brings.

Books

I am listening to Untamed.  My sister had mentioned she was reading the book and was really pulled into it.  I love it.  It is real, it is poetry, it is inspiration and motivation.  

It makes my own simple writing style look... simple.  I shouldn't compare myself, but you know how we humans can be.

She said today as I was listening on the drive here that grieving is a kind of metamorphosis.  You snuggle down, feel the pain, get through it, and on the other side you are transformed.  Your old life doesn't fit anymore because you have changed.

I thought, oh!  I am searching for what fits now.  I am no longer George and Sue, I am just... Sue... and seeking a life that fits the new me, the changed me.  

I want a life with lots of moments when I know that I am where I am supposed to be and doing what I am supposed to be doing.  Those are moments of content.  The pants fit.

One thing I know that fits is this writing I do.  Because I just can't stop.  I think about just giving up and going a different direction, and I just don't want to do that.

The good news is that I am selling more audio books!  A friend let me know they were listening to both books just this week.  I told him others had told me the books made them laugh.

When he finished listening to them he contacted me again and said he didn't laugh so much as cringe.  Ha ha.  Yes, there was some of that too, mostly in The Journey Continues, the second book with the tandem trike on the cover.

 Speaking of The George tandem trikes.  They are sold and shipped to a man in Huntsville, Texas who is caring for his wife who has...  drum roll please... Alzheimer's Disease.

May you both get miles and miles of smiles from the rides on The George tandem.


Christmas 2020

Many families are still getting together for this holiday.  The numbers of Covid cases continue to rise and hospitals in California are running out of ICU beds.   The first vaccines have been given.  It is expected that it will take a year or longer to reach all those who will take it.  Can we then gather again in groups, put our heads together as we whisper, shout at each other over the loud music in a bar?

What do you miss most?  

Hope your holidays are enjoyable even with the safety precautions for COVID.    May your 2021 be full of peace and hugs.




 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Moving Forward... Maybe Not...

 Hello!

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 thought, I wouldn't have this lovely place to walk if I moved, but maybe I would have a different pretty place to walk.

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. 


Then I thought I would replace the fridge because it was rusted and old.


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.

Cyclepaths

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.


Pretty cool!

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 Trail

Yesterday 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?

 


 


Topping It Off In Wisconsin

 Hello, A special shout out to the three guys that advised me through the purchase of my Ford Truck in May, Jim, Bill and Regis. On July 26t...