Time to Add Some Memories to Our Dash!

I decided to put together a quick post to introduce you all  to our newest addition … the 1975 Six-Pac truck camper you see in our new header and in the pick below. But then I realized I haven’t posted in close to a year! Yikes, WTH?? Time  truly does fly!

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Yes, we have catchy names for our rig, truck and camper. LoL

So, I will back to the introduction post about the truck camper and our summer plans, but first I think I should fill you in on some of the highlights from the past year.

First and foremost … I became a Memere last year at this time!! My son Nick and his fiance Bri brought this gorgeous little girl into the world on June 22, 2015. Sarah Annabelle Sautter is absolutely perfect in every way. Being on the road I don’t get to see her as often as I would like. But thankfully modern technology let’s us keep in touch and I get to keep up with her milestones. Love her!!!

tinkerbelle 1st birthday

Then in September we decided to bring our own “baby” into our HOW … a fur baby that is! This is “Sterling’s Sherlock Holmes Estelle-Bialek”! We just call him Sherlock. LoL

September 2015

September 2015

And here he is now at 1 Year Old … and about 85 pounds! LoL

Ready for Graduation from Hightest Kennels Obedience Training June 2016

Ready for Graduation from Hightest Kennels Obedience Training June 2016

He has been such a wonderful addition to our little HOW! There’s just something magical about the unconditional love from a dog. So far he’s only traveled from Rio Vista, CA north to Anacortes, WA. But this summer this pup is going to get some miles in! 🙂

Unfortunately, we also had some tragic news over the past year. Joe’s Mom passed away unexpectedly in November of last year. I know we never really expect the loss of our loved ones, but getting the news and being 3,000 away was without a doubt the most stressful, emotionally draining event we’ve had to navigate through since we hit the road four and a half years ago. She was a wonderful mother, grandmother, wife and friend and she is missed by many.

July 2015

July 2015

Mom Bialek was always up for an adventure and always,always initiating conversations with perfect strangers wherever she went. So much so that during her funeral service the Navy Chaplain who officiated focused on “Living Your Dash” … the little ” – ” between the dates on headstone showing the year people were born and the year they passed away. The concept isn’t new, I’ve heard the phrase “living our dash” before. But this was the first time I actually reflected on what my dash has been so far and as a team, what we want our dash to look like for the rest of our time together.

With thoughts of making the most of whatever time we have left (hopefully it’s several decades! lol) we took two steps toward seeing even more of this amazing country of ours and filling up our dash. First, we decided in order  to do that  we’d need a little more disposable income. Rather than have Joe sell his left nut (which we joked about back when we thought maybe we’d like to live in a loft on Mulberry St in NYC) I’d try to get on a turn-around or two with him if there was an opportunity; thankfully, there was!

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And that brings us pretty much up to speed!

So here we are today, planning our summer excursion in The Cabin!! If there’s one thing that we’ve learned, or maybe just been reminded of over the past year, it’s that life is short and there are no gaurantees. We love our life and our lifestyle. But it’s been way too long since we’ve been on vacation. I know that probably sounds funny to some because we live in an RV (recreational vehicle). But the truth is, our life revolves around work, just like pretty much everyone else we know in this age bracket. The only difference is that we choose to work the grind in a nomadic fashion.

Anyway, the point is this – It looks like we’re going to have some down time and we plan to make the most of it by adding memories to our dash. Not in a flashy, swanky, once in a lifetime, secluded island resort (although a little beach camping might be in the plan!) type of vacation. But rather a once in a lifetime, coast to coast, low-rent, gypsy vacation!

Here’s a little peek at what our accommodations will be for our trip. Ummm … yes, rustic to say the least! LoL

Here’s the kitchen …

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The dining room …

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The bedroom … (Yes, the sleeping bags zip together to make one! 😉 )

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And that’s about it! So now it’s time to start planning out the next two months of Our-Time … of our Dash.

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We’re planning to be posting quite regularly, no really! LoL We’re also hoping to incorporate some videos into our routine. This is a fairly new media to us so we’ll be on a learning curve for a bit. I usually use my phone for all pics and what few videos I have done. But Joe has a GoPro he’s itching to put to use.

If you’re still here, thanks so much for sticking around! We’re glad to have you and we’d love to have you continue along with us on this next adventure!!

Me and my love

~Cheers~

Don’t Like Your Neighbors? Move!

I’m pretty sure you’ve all heard the old saying “If you don’t like your neighbors, move!” especially in the world of the full-time RVer’s out here. But I can honestly say that in the past two and a half years that had never happened to us … until recently.

Now, I know this sounds like it’s going to be a rant, but stick with me here. It’s really an RV park review in disguise. 😉

Let me set the scene if you will. The Boss and I pulled into a very cute little hide-away in South Carolina called Keowee-Toxaway State Park.  The park is nestled into the very northwestern part of the state and is a beautiful spot to take in the majesty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Jocassee Gorges.

Site #7 at Keowee-Toxaway State Park, SC

Site #7 at Keowee-Toxaway State Park, SC

After a little bit of masterful maneuvering, (we were right about at the max length for this particular site) we got the H.O.W. into a spot with water and electric. We marveled at the solitude… nobody to the left of us … nobody to the right. 🙂

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We were so happy to find this quiet little gem, we got our earthy, crunchy vibe on and decided to get our couch potato butts out of the rig and down onto one the great hiking trails (by great I mean fairly easy for us out of shape Zen seekers). The trail we took winded its way down to a nice boat launch with a private sandy beach.

Sweet! I think we should stay an extra day and get out float on tomorrow!

Sweet! I think we should stay an extra day and get our float on tomorrow!

. .Too bad we didn’t grab the kayak when we left Connecticut … darn!

Boat ramp Keowee-Toxaway State Park, S.C.

Small launch – Keowee-Toxaway State Park, S.C.

We also stopped to take a look at the cabin the park has available for rent. It was occupied at the time so we didn’t get to peek inside. But it was plain to see from the outside in was in an awesome spot and had some nice amenities, like a private dock and nice outdoor living space. 🙂

As is my usual habit I stopped to take some pics of the bathroom facilities and dump station set up. We didn’t use either one, but they seemed to be about average for state parks.

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They did have an unusual garbage policy. The park has a pack it in/pack it out policy for any trash that isn’t recyclable. I think this is the first time we’d been to a pay for use park without dumpsters. Thankfully, visitors seem to be taking this rule to heart and there wasn’t any left behind trash scattered about.

The park has 11 RV sites including a pull-thru or two and 14 tent sites. The tents sites are nicely arranged with a raised pad for your tent and communal water spigots.

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All in all it’s a really nice little state park. We liked it so much we decided to stay that extra night after all. We were fairly sure the day was going to clear up so we could check out the Blue Ridge Trail and mountains tomorrow. Yay!

Good news – site was available!

Bad news – as soon as I got back a tribe of 8 chain-smoking, foul-mouthed, noisy people with a fetish for lighter fluid moved into the empty site next door. 3 of them may not have been chain smokers just yet, as they are of the 2-legged little screecher variety.  If that wasn’t bad enough (and trust me it was) the entire time I gawked and spied on them through the window (Call me Gladys Kravitz if you must)  they never once picked up after their 2 dogs that seemed to poop non-stop. Uggg!

How the hell do they even get that many people and two dogs in there?!?

How the hell do they even get that many people and two dogs in there?!?

Thankfully our house has wheels. So after watching the show we decided to pack up and hit the road. It was probably the quickest pack up and go we’ve done! LoL I have to admit I felt a little snobbish or rude just up and leaving the way we did. But we would have been miserable listening to the neighbors from hell all night and our R&R time is way too precious for that nonsense!

So we hit the road shook it off and before we knew it we were happy campers once again! 🙂

Happy Campers!

Happy Campers!!

Even though we cut our stay short we still recommend Keowee-Toxaway State Park, (108 Residence Drive, Sunset, SC 29685 Phone: 864-868-2605) if you’re in the area. Really… we do. 😉

How about you? Do you have any nightmare stories about neighbors from hell?

~Cheers~

P.S. For those of you too young to get the Gladys Kravitz reference, no it’s not Lenny’s granny. Think Bewitched! 😀

 

Thanks Google Images!

Thanks Google Images!

 

 

Remembering Dad…

My Dad on the left

My Dad on the left

This is the third year in a row now that I’m not able to be home to visit the cemetery and it still isn’t getting any easier. It’s so hard to believe he’s been gone for over twenty years… because it seems like just yesterday I got the call.

There are certain things I’ll never forget about the day he died.

~ I remember it was a warm day for the March 27th. We were all supposed to go to a home show at the Connecticut College Arena. I postponed the plans until the next day… I wanted to take advantage of the nice weather. I planted bulbs in the yard.

~ I remember getting the call from my brother saying that I better get to the hospital quick because Dad had just had a heart attack. I did the speed limit the whole way there because I kept telling myself he would be all right; they could fix him. But they could not.

~ I remember being lead into the emergency room cubicle and seeing him on the gurney, the tube from the ambu bag they had used in the ambulance to try to save him still sticking out of his mouth, the bag itself nowhere in sight. His eyes were taped shut. He was gray. His lips were blue. When I kissed his forehead it was cold.

~ I remember my aunt saying that the pastor from our church would be there shortly. I remember thinking who cares?

~I remember seeing my mother crying. I had no way of knowing what the pain and sorrow of losing two husbands in one lifetime could do to a woman. Thankfully I still don’t.

~ I remember wondering on the way home from the hospital how I would tell my oldest son Robert, who was named after my Dad, that his Pepère was gone… and wondering if Nicholas, my youngest, would remember him at all.

Yes, I remember like it was just yesterday and not more than two decades.

But as the time passes I remember so many more things about him – the great things, the happy times, the life lessons. I remember the things, that to me, made him the most amazing Dad… that he didn’t have to be. You see, my biological father passed away when I was less than a year old, leaving my mother with my pre-teen brother and sister and me.

~ I remember the day he and my Mom got married. I was only three and half years old but I remember bits and pieces. It was July 19, 1969, the day before Apollo 11 landed on the moon.  Everyone said after the wedding my Mom was going on her honeymoon. I thought they were going to the real moon. I wanted to go! I threw rocks instead of rice.

~ I remember the family vacation to New Hampshire when my older sister lost the “pre-engagement” ring she had just gotten. It had fallen off in the lake by the dock. Dad got up before dawn to look for the ring with the morning sunlight, hoping to catch a glimmer on the stones near the shore. He spent hours looking – he found it.

~ I remember he always made the holidays special. There was always an Easter Bunny, Santa Clause, and a tooth fairy. He would dress up for Halloween and have as much fun as we did.

~ I remember he always went to every single school function and parent teacher conference and was always the one who showed up when I did something to get myself into trouble. He never yelled. That was my mother’s MO, which unfortunately for my boys, I inherited. 😉 He always took the time to talk about what happened and why it was wrong.

~ I remember he always told me to treat others as I expected to be treated myself and to be respectful of the rules. But he also taught me that there is right and wrong and not too much gray area in between. And that sometimes it’s not only okay but necessary to question authority.

~ I remember him telling me after my little sister was born that now he had three girls and a son. I never once felt like I wasn’t his “real daughter”.

~ I remember him reading the first story I ever wrote. I think I was about ten. It was a scary story about a girl getting lost in a haunted house. He didn’t just say it was good and stick it on the refrigerator like some Dads might have. He talked with me about it. He commented on the descriptive words I had used saying he could picture exactly what the house looked like because I had described it so well. He said I should keep a journal and write every day. I remember wishing when I got my first front-page, above the fold byline for the newspaper that he was there to see it. I still wonder what he would say about my writing.

~ I remember him always telling me I was special and I could be anything I wanted to be. Every once in a while I still believe him. I wish he was still here to convince me.

Miss you Dad

 

Does Blogging Bring Out The Best or Worst In You?

I’ll admit I chuckled out loud when I read today’s prompt. I mean seriously,  if blogging brought out the worst in you, why on earth would you keep doing it?

I suppose there’s an argument to be made for those bloggers who have grown a following with controversial topics, often snarky remarks and far right or left stance.

I’m not like that in real life so trying to write that way would be an uber stretch for me. And I certainly don’t mean to imply all hard hitting bloggers are at their worst. (Unless it gets me more followers and comments! Just kidding 😉 ) I’m just trying to wrap my head around doing something that would bring out the worst in me.

On the other hand,  I wouldn’t say blogging brings out the best in me either. In the words of Mr. G., I think it just is what it is.

Hmmm.. the closest I can come to finding a change at all is actually simple really now that I think about it.  Blogging was the catalyst to get me committed to writing habitually… for better or worse.

Am I missing the boat here? If there is someone out there who does blog because it brings out the worst in you, please let me know. I’d love to read your work!

~Cheers~

Posting Daily May Mean Getting Personal … just sayin’

Warning... you just might be exposed to more than just the tip of the iceberg here at Writing on Eight Wheels ;-)

Warning… you just might be exposed to more than just the tip of the iceberg here at Writing on Eight Wheels ;-)

It’s a rainy Sunday here, but the NASCAR race is on (Oops, is my redneck showing?) and it’s warm and toasty inside, so all is well. One good thing about the weather here is that the precipitation lessens my self-imposed guilt about not being outside doing something.

I’m spending the day in yoga pants a hoodie and slippers. I should be working on the body copy for this week’s assignment but instead I’m surfing on “the line”, looking for new books, blogs, etc. If Mr. G. happens to look over it looks like I’m working… sneaky, I know.

I’ve come across two things I want to share with you today.

Yesterday, Robbie Cox, of  The Mess That Is Me and author of Reaping the Harvestand Circle of Justice launched his latest book. A Confused Life , which he describes as The Mess on steroids. If this book is anything like his blog it will be getting five-star reviews in no time. I picked up a copy on Kindle today and put A Confused Life on the top of my to-read pile.

The other point of interest today is Blog Her. The site certainly isn’t new to me, but I spotted something today that piqued my interest. I signed up to participate in their NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). Yes, another challenge of sorts… don’t judge. 😉

The rules are simple. Write a blog post every day for the month of March and read as many of the fellow bloggers as possible. Sounds fairly easy, right? I mention the rules because I didn’t want anyone to wonder why all of a sudden I’ve gone from posting gibberish once or twice a week to daily.

Also, the need to post daily will most likely mean I’ll be letting you in on more personal stuff, instead of just the tip of the iceberg so to speak. I’ve sort of tried to stay away from too many personal musings here on Writing on Eight Wheels. However, being parked sometimes for as long as three or four months at a time can make true “travel writing” a challenge. Don’t worry, personal won’t mean “private” … eegads! LoL

We did get a chance to take a ride out to Oak Harbor and Whidbey Island yesterday. I’ll have some pics from that trip for you this week.

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend!

~Cheers~