RSS

Monthly Archives: August 2017

Again with a Photo Dump …

dHere are most of the photos I’ve taken during the last month or so of our Vagabond Journey. Most are photos of our setups at various spots, but I’ve thrown a few others in there as well.

As an aside, we’re in Kentucky right now. Saw the eclipse yesterday. I’ll touch on that in the next couple of days. We’re leaving tomorrow for a short stay in Saulsbury, TN and will update once we get there.

Rochester, MA

20170804_190330

Want to see my Princess Leia impersonation? Huh? Do ya??

We didn’t really take any photos of our setup here. You’re not missing much! We were smack dab in the middle of a bunch of bungalows. There wasn’t another RV in sight! It worked out okay, though. The site was pretty nice sizedand we still had a decent amount of trees all around us.

As you can see from the photo, there wasn’t much grass around. Friend didn’t like that very much. So aside from when the kids next door came over to say hello, he had some extra free time. I mean, grass and shrubs always smell more inviting than dirt.

One morning, I happened to glance up at him sitting right in front of me. I thought he was wanting to get up on my lap, but he was evidently just looking for an opinion on a new look he was trying out. I think you have to give him credit for originality … going with a Wookie look would have been the more obvious route. But Frank’s never been one to follow the crowd.

Lisbon, CT

20170811_171225

The Ross Hill Campground … a magnificent place!

Frank was happy, because we were finally back on grass again, after being on nothing more than dirt for the previous month! Plus, he was ecstatic with all the attention he received. It wasn’t just a chance to be scratched and rubbed by so many people. He got a chance to visit with quite a few canine buddies, too. Frank is definitely not someone who shies away From attention!

Frank was also pretty happy about having another chance to take a swim. I’ve included a short video  below that shows him testing the water.

As I mentioned in the last post, there were all different varieties of teardrops and other small campers attending the tearjerker gathering. Here are a few of them…

20170811_171334

A Casita … No back galley hatch on this one. The kitchen is inside.

20170811_171130

This is a wonderful example of a home built trailer. Towed by a classic Model T Ford, no less!

20170811_171258

Here’s a classic pop up camper. Owned by another Beagle lover, I might add!

20170811_235735

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks! (Lighten up Frank. I’m not talking about you. It’s a saying!

Oh yeah, something I don’t think I’ve mentioned before. I figured out a way to protect our camp table during rain. When we were in Maine, I picked up a lightweight drop cloth and cut it so that it covers the gaps between the bottom of the canopy and the top of the insert. It’s worked out pretty well, except for my chosen method of attaching it to the canopy – clothespins! Someone mentioned that I should get some heavy duty binder clips and I will do that the next chance I get.  By the way, the white strips on the plastic are Velcro. The velcro helped a little bit but I’ve since replace the canopy and  still need to add velcro to it, too.

This is really coming in handy! It’s worked more than “okay” …  except for wind. it’s raining as I put this post together in Kentucky, and the canopy is set up into the wind, so the clothes pins aren’t holding that well. Hopefully those binder clips do a better job.

IMG_7498

The New England chapter of Tearjerkers, 8/11-8/13

One of the traditions at the Tearjerker Gatherings is to snap a group photo. I have to say, this was a truly wonderful bunch of people. Frank and I were extremely grateful that they included us in as if we were lifelong members.

20170822_182655Frank was at my feet in this photo, by the way. He did not want to be seen. He muttered something about a collie in Hilton Head looking for him and then, “Don’t ask …”

Here’s our award for traveling the longest distance to attend, too. I still say we only drove about 90 miles from Rochester, MA, but we sincerely appreciate the recognition, regardless.

Manheim, PA

20170813_182616We arrived at the PA Dutch Country RV campground late on Sunday. We didn’t even set up camp like we normally do. I just pulled everything out of the Nutshell  and set it outside next to the wheels. Frank still had plenty of time to claim another picnic table in the name of beagledom … although he was infatuated by something up in the trees. I never did figure out what it was.

Of course, Mother Nature had other ideas the next afternoon, when it started raining. So we quickly set up the canopy and stayed underneath it for the rest of the afternoon and into evening. The rain actually lasted all night.

One thing I will say, it was definitely quiet! We had that entire section of the campground  almost entirely to ourselves. And after that long drive, the peace and solitude were definitely appreciated.

20170814_150049

We managed a quick setup of the canopy in the rain.

20170814_090701.jpg

Now that’s what I call solitude!

20170815_093342

Even Frank was exhausted after that long day of driving!

Park City, KY

If Frank thought it was a long day of driving getting to Amish Country, he hadn’t seen anything yet!

We left Manheim  about 8:30 in the morning on Wednesday, after spending an extra day there for some additional recuperation. The original plan called for us to stop somewhere in eastern Ohio on Tuesday night and arrive in Kentucky on Wednesday afternoon. Truth be told though, I was totally fried! I think that’s the first time I drive had really gotten to me since we came back from picking up the Nutshell early last year.

I called ahead to the Diamond Caverns RV campground, our next stop, to see if it would be alright if we didn’t make it there until Thursday. they said it wouldn’t be a problem … just call ahead mid-afternoon to let them know that we wouldn’t make it. But I decided to plow on through. We arrived just as the sun was going down and had just enough light to set up the canopy. Once again, I just pulled everything out of the Nutshell and set it next to the back wheel. After a sound sleep, we got everything set up the next morning. Granted, it took another couple of days of additional recuperation time before Frank and I felt okay. Fortunately, this Is a great place to do it in!

20170818_080958This is going to be another of my favorite Thousand Trails campgrounds. We have a great site here – it looks out onto a huge open area, dotted by a few trees and shrubs. The Campground filled up where is Eclipse viewers. Evidently everyone had the same idea I did. But even with that, our you stayed pretty much the same all week. There were just a few tent campers that came in and set up underneath the trees for a couple of days.

We’re also set up at the end of a row, so we only had neighbors On our port side, while we set up on starboard.

20170818_080925

Our setup at Diamond Caverns RV campground, Park City, KY

Once again, we have been blessed with some wonderful neighbors, though! Phil and Judy are also full-time RVers out of Texas. Seal came out and introduced himself as I was sitting at the picnic table, getting my bearings after the 12-hour Drive and preparing to set up the canopy. He offered to help, but setting up a canopy it’s just one of those things that I figured out how to do easily. And sometimes it’s more work to get someone else involved in those type of things. Nevertheless, we’ve spent part of each day visiting and I really enjoyed their company.

I’m going to leave things here for now. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, we’ll save the eclipse viewing for it’s own blog post.  Compared to the last two trips, we’ve got a relatively easy 3.5 hour drive ahead of us tomorrow. That’ll be a snap, right Frank?

I will leave you with one final picture of the two Vagabonds testing out there ISO approved eclipse glasses. Anyone up for a 3D movie?

20170817_184756.jpg

 

 

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 22, 2017 in Travels

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Go West, (Not-So) Young Man!

Westward Ho!

Tonight, Frank and I are enjoying a quiet campsite at the PA Dutch Country RV Campground outside of Manheim, PA. That wasn’t the original plan. We were supposed to be sitting in a Walmart parking lot somewhere in Ohio about now. But we both woke up this morning a bit groggy. Frank gave me a look that said, “Do we have to spend the entire day in the car again?” We’ve gotten to the point where we can read each other’s minds now, by the way. His sense of humor isn’t quite as dry as I first thought it was. He’s more of a practical joker. But that’s a story for another post.

Anyhow, we are still recovering from a weekend of revelry followed by 10 hours in the car on Sunday. So we decided to spend one more night here. Tomorrow morning, we’ll head out pretty early. I don’t know that will make it all the way to our campground in Kentucky, but I called ahead and they were okay with us coming in a day later … just so long as we let them know in the early afternoon whether we’re going to make it tomorrow or not.

I’m really kind of embarrassed about feeling exhausted. I mean, we’re really not doing anything to feel exhausted about! I guess the only defense I can put up as it we’ve been moving around a lot more frequently of late. In a fit of self-justification, I looked back at our itinerary this afternoon and sure enough -From January 1st until mid-June, we moved 13 times. But over the last two months, we’ve moved 10! That’s a lot of driving, setups and teardowns compared to what we had been used to. So I’ll take that excuse, even if it’s only a pretty weak one. : o)

Unfortunately though, Frank is going to have to suck it up because those frequent moves aren’t going to stop anytime soon. In actuality, we’ve got at least 9-10 more moves will have to go through between now and October 15th! It won’t be until then that we finally reach a place with a month-long stay to look forward to.

Not only that, we’ll be driving halfway across the country, with a couple of north/south zigzags thrown in to boot! Who came up with this itinerary, anyhow? That’s rhetorical, by the way … and don’t let on to my Chief Navigator who it was, please. He’s already asleep in the Nutshell and I’m not sure what he would do with the information.

But anyhow, back to this past weekend …

Frank and I left Massachusetts about 10:30 Friday morning. But not before some sad goodbyes. We’ve been camping next to a cabin where a family had been staying for the last week. We had a little girl that for whatever reason was just infatuated by Frank and me.

Most mornings, she would come out and say hello to us before breakfast; one morning, she hollered down from her upstairs bedroom window and offered to read me her story book. She was absolutely precious! But she had a hard time saying goodbye.

She and her brother came over with their father as we were leaving and it was obvious she didn’t want Frank to leave!  As soon as Frank saw her come up to the driver’s window, he jumped on top of me and was straining to get out to give her one final goodbye. They were at equal eye level, and as soon as Frank noticed the tears in her eyes, he just started licking away!

After that, she broke the news – “In 5 more days, I’m going to be 6 years old, and I told my mommy and daddy that I want a dog just like Frank!”  I took her father’s rolling eyes as a good signal that it was time to leave, so I just wished her a happy birthday, told her it was time for us to get on the road and mouthed, “Sorry,” to her dad. He just grinned and said that she had been asking for a dog for a while. I’m grateful he let us off the hook a little bit.

It wasn’t long before we arrived at Ross Hill Park, near Lisbon, CT. I have to say, this was a magnificent campground! Compared to the last couple of campgrounds we were at, our space was ginormous! We had a beautiful view of a river about 75 yards away and could see a number of other teardrops that had already arrived for the annual get-together of the Tearjerkers’ New England chapter.

We were sitting at the picnic table, getting our bearings when Barry and Nancy, the chapter chairpersons, stopped by to say hello. Talk about being made to feel welcome! They knew who we were just by way of Frank’s smile. But then, pretty much everyone knows Frank by now. We were greeted with warm hugs and handshakes and spent about 15 minutes with them talking about our journey.

We finished setting up and relaxed for a little while before dinner. We had been invited over to have dinner with Theresa, another of the chapter’s organizers. I have to say, I don’t go all out on my cooking. I do what I need to do. And the chicken fajitas that Theresa prepared were beyond delicious! I’m going to have to step up my game a little bit.

After dinner, we all gathered around the community campfire. As stories were being swapped, I joined in a little guitar picking session with Darrell and Rory. Meanwhile, I noticed Frank, whose lead was connected to my chair, going from person to person. He would sit directly in front of them and give them a look that was akin to Oliver begging for more food. He was trying to convince anyone who would look at him that it had been eons since he’d received any attention! Fortunately for him, everyone was more than happy to oblige. He was pretty funny –  as they would reach down to pet him, he would lower his head so that they could scratch the back of his neck. And I would catch him grinning as he was getting stroked. “Heh, heh, heh, bagged another one!”  What a conniver he can be at times!

The next day, we all got together for breakfast, with Frank following up his with a brief dip in the river. And after that came the famous Tearjerker crawl, where everyone went from campsite to campsite to learn about everyone else’s rides. There were some very cool trailers in camp, I have to say. A pretty good combination of manufactured, home-built, antique restorations and the like.

Later on, we all got back together for a pot-luck dinner and more time around the campfire. There was a group photo and an awards ceremony, too. People were recognized for things like “best home-built teardrop,” “best galley,” “best decorated campsite,” and the like.

Frank and I received an award for coming the furthest distance to attend the gathering. I tried to convince them that we’d only just come from Massachusetts, but they wouldn’t hear it. So as a result, I have a beautiful plaque that will be displayed prominently in all my future campsites.

Unfortunately, we had to leave the campfire a bit early. There was rain in the air and Frank had one of his uncontrollable shaking sessions. So we hurried back to our campsite so that Frank could get under his magic blanket in the Nutshell and feel some relief.

Our Sunday was spent entirely in the car. We started out fairly early, but I wanted to stop somewhere in New Jersey to pick up some corn and tomatoes. Now those of you who aren’t familiar with Jersey corn or Jersey tomatoes might think that’s crazy, but if you haven’t tasted them, you have no idea what you’re missing!  they are incredibly sweet, almost like eating candy!

I found a farm stand off I-87 but didn’t have any place to park, except to pull off on the side of a narrow road. I was able to catch the eye of a high school kid that was working there and he came over to the car and was more than happy to pick out some produce for us. A really nice kid – he even protested when I told him to keep the change from the $15 I had given him. But he laughed and relented when I told him that I’d sic my vicious dog on him if he said anything else. Of course, Frank was just looking at him with a big grin on his face.  : o)

We wound up with four ears of corn, three tomatoes, and a pint of blueberries. I wish I could have figured out how to bring back 4 dozen ears! Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be.

After that, I made a quick phone call to make sure he was home and then stopped to see an old friend, Eric, with whom I had worked for a few years while living in New Jersey. Eric had tried to come up to our campground in the Poconos in late May, but just couldn’t work it into his schedule. So we stopped by for a quick visit so he could meet Frank … then we were on our way.

We arrived at our Campground just before 6 p.m. and it was all I could do to empty the trailer so that we could get inside to sleep. And this is where we’ve been for the last couple of days.

This blog post was started kind of late and it needs to get it posted before heading to bed. There won’t be any photos in this one, but I have a number of them to share from the weekend and our short stay here. But we’ve got a long day of driving ahead of us tomorrow, so I want to hit the sack as soon as I can. I’ll post those in the next couple of days.

Good night everyone!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on August 15, 2017 in Travels

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Little Late …

I’ve never been good at accepting accolades. They’ve come at times in the past … at work, at church, as a volunteer with a few charitable organizations, etc.  

A good portion of my uneasiness his had to do with unrealistic expectations I put on myself. After all, how can you accept kudos for doing what you are supposed to be doing in the first place? Whatever you do, you are supposed to excel. It’s expected!

The other part of my reluctance has had to do with guilt, and what someone sees when they look at themselves in the mirror. If you’re of a mind that none of the good you do will make up for all your shortcomings and mistakes, then you’re always fighting the urge to say, “Yeah, but …,” when someone acknowledges something good you’ve done.

Quite honestly, I thought I had come to terms with all that stuff. After all, I’m finally happy and at peace. I’m enjoying the time Frank and I have spent on the road way more than I ever expected to. And I’m grateful for the opportunities we’ve had to touch other people’s lives.

So I was pretty surprised by the anxiety that came to the surface a couple of months ago by a comment that was left on our blog … something that came completely out of the blue!

In the time since, I’ve struggled to make a few blog posts. I guess it’s sort of like what happens when a batter, who has been in a groove, suddenly starts thinking too much. He starts second-guessing pitches, or worrying about whether he’s dropping his shoulder, or bringing his hips out too early. And all of a sudden, the hits aren’t coming anymore.

In any event, I’ve spent a lot of the last few weeks in meditation. I’ve even brought the old workbooks out and have spent time back doing some writing therapy. Funny thing though … I was working on the wrong thing! Instead of focusing on getting back in the groove, I should have been working on my manners!

In the middle of this morning’s meditation, a sudden realization interrupted the silence. An epiphany! “Dude! How rude!”

Yes … I’ve been rude to someone who went out of their way to acknowledge our blog. Irrespective of groove, or blog updates, or whatever, that needs to be addressed.  NOW!!! So …

bloggerrecognitionaward

Back in June, “Frank and Jeff – Two Old Vagabonds” was nominated for a Blogger Recognition Award. My manners to the contrary, I’m shocked and humbled by this recognition. Quite frankly, I’m just happy people have decided to follow along on our little journey! I never really expected anyone to actually like our story!

What is the Blogger Recognition Award?

Here are the rules;

  • Thank the Blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Write a post to show your award
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started
  • Give some pieces of advice to new bloggers
  • Select other bloggers you want to give this award to
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

The Thanks

Our nomination came by way of vagabonds-to-be Kelley and Michael. They made the decision a while ago to follow their dream of traveling around North America in an RV. In between shake-out trips here and there, they’ve been working on renovating and selling their home; downsizing their stuff; and planning their Adventure. So far so good – they are on target for lift off at the end of this month.

They’ve been chronicling all of their preparations at 2heartsand2wheels.wordpress.com.  I encourage you to visit their blog and sign on to follow them as they hit the open road!

Kelley and Michael, I’m sorry that it took so long to thank you. I’m touched that you have enjoyed reading about Frank and my travels and look forward to the chance of meeting somewhere on the open road! Thank you for our nomination, from the bottom of my heart!

Brief Story

The vast majority of you know our story. If you don’t, you can learn about where we started, and how far we’ve traveled … in terms of both geography and psyche … by visiting our “About Us” page.

I used to think that I was the brains of this outfit and Frank had the good looks. I’ve since come to realize that he only lets me think I’m the brains. I had help with that from an unexpected source.

A little boy, whose family camped next to us at Myrtle Beach State Park this past spring, probably did the best job explaining my role as it stands today. He had been talking excitedly back at his campsite about playing with Frank that afternoon. His mother noted that he knew Frank’s name, but wanted to know, “ who does Frank live with?”

Oh, he’s just the man that takes care of Frank!”

Yep. That’s me.

New Blogger Advice

If you’ve already decided on a format, great! Stick with it! People aren’t visiting you because of bells and whistles or fancy widgets on your page (unless, of course, your blog is all about bells and whistles and fancy widgets!) Put your energy into telling your story.

Second, work on consistency. Try not to go for long periods of time between posts. For what it’s worth, I’m telling this to myself as much as you. It’s easy to get sidetracked. Don’t let that happen!

Lastly, write from your heart! That doesn’t mean you open up your editor and just start writing free flow. Rambling is never good. Write from your heart … whatever your topic, let the passion you feel for it come through the story. The rest will follow.

My Nominations

https://storyshucker.wordpress.com

I’ve been following Stuart Perkins for. about 3 years now.  In all honesty,  his blog is the standard by which I measure my own storytelling. From tales about his grandmother; to life lessons learned through encounters with everyday people; to stories about his friends and children, Stuart offers a wonderful perspective on finding the extra ordinary in daily life.

Stuart’s blog is one of my “must-reads”! Just seeing a notification that he’s made another post brings a smile to my face and I usually stop what I’m doing to go read whatever wisdom he is imparting.

https://travellingtheworldsolo.com

Ellen is a young Australian midwife who also happens to be a world Traveler. Her goal for 2017 is to report from all seven continents! Her blog includes some great travel stories and the most amazing photography.

https://theblondecoyote.com

As she notes on her “About Me” page, “The Blonde Coyote is my trail name, which I use to sign trail logs and summit registers. Like most good trail names, mine was given to me by a fellow hiker after many long, hard miles. The Blonde Coyote also pays tribute to one of my favorite non-human traveling companions: a deaf coyote-cattledog hybrid named Freckles who was a great ally in my desert wanderings around rural New Mexico.”

Mary has been living the nomadic lifestyle as a correspondent for Earth magazine for over 10 years and has the stories to prove it. Simply put, Mary is doing what I would do if I have the stones and the stamina! LOL

https://rvchickadee.com

Kelly has been on the road for about the same amount of time as Frank and me. She is one of the growing number of young people who have decided not to wait until retirement to see the country … while embracing a lifestyle that’s become known as “minimalism”. If only I would have understood, as she has, what things are important in life when I was her age!

Kelly works in the digital world and is accompanied by her four-legged companions, Trixie and Gizmo. You have any questions about the boondocking lifestyle? Well, odds are Kelly and crew will have an answer for you.


20170808_193612

Our new campsite flag

Frank and I haven’t really done that much since our last post. We’ve hung around the campsite for most of the last couple of weeks.

We’ve taken a couple of trips out to see the ocean. The last one was a little disappointing – a couple of days ago, we drove out to what was advertised on the web as a dog friendly beach. But on arriving after a 1+ hour drive, we discovered that wasn’t the case! So we had to be satisfied with smelling the salt air while sitting in the car for a while.

What we have been doing is getting ready for our trek westward.  On Sunday, we’ll be leaving the East Coast and won’t be back for quite a while. We’ve spent our days taking care of chores.

The Nutshell’s cabin is cleaner than when we arrived. We’ve done some preliminary testing on the power pack for our WiFi device and phone in preparation of a little bit of boondocking this fall. That’s gone pretty well. We’ve replaced the car battery, that was showing signs of dying.

We also had to replace our canopy. As it turns out, we can get about 7 – 8 months use out of one before the constant exposure to the sun weakens the material to the point that it becomes unusable. In setting up at our last campground in Sturbridge, the canopy split wide open along one of the sheaths holding a leg in place. Fortunately, we had a temporary solution until our new canopy was delivered to  our present location.

While we were staying in Maine at the end of June, I picked up a big sheet of thin drop cloth … something like 20’×12’.  With Frank’s supervision, I cut it so that we now have sheeting that covers the opening between the bottom of the canopy and the canopy insert. We no longer have to worry about rain seeping through and on to our camp table.

The leftover portion of drop cloth sure came in handy after that big tear in the overhead. We had enough remaining to simply drape it over the hole and then fasten it down with some clothes pins. It came in handy – we did have rain. What else is new, right?  : o)

Since arriving here, I cut another piece out of the remnantd to cover the opening between the canopy and the top of the Nutshell, where it angles over the door. So Frank and I are now more fully protected from the elements. If only I would have remembered to save the extra insert from the old canopy before tossing it in Sturbridge! That wasn’t very smart. Not one of my better moves!  : o)

This weekend, we will have a short stay in Connecticut with the New England Tearjerker chapter, after which we will immediately depart for Pennsylvania. Our plan is to arrive in Park City, KY on Wednesday, August 16th.

That’s it for now. Look for another post on Monday, our next down day. Over the month-and-a-half, I had two occasions to gain some closure on past chapters in my life, one of which happened last week. They’re worth talking about. Until then …

 
2 Comments

Posted by on August 10, 2017 in Musings, Travels

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,