Friendly Floridians

I think it was inevitable that I would get sick during my travels, but even though you know its bound to happen it still SUCKS.  I had not felt well for about a week, so decide to suck it up and go see a doctor.  We spent 4 hours in the walk-in clinic in St. Augustine….boy, that was fun!  Fortunately, there was a little girl waiting with her mom and grandmother that kept the entire waiting room entertained, otherwise there may have been some violence!  Turns out I have “”Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo”….Yes, it is official….I’m DIZZY!  For the past several years, I thought that I was having ear infections, but according to this doctor, I do not have an ear infection.  So, He does the “Epley Maneuver” to try to fix it, which is basically flinging you backwards with your head tilted to the side to induce an episode of vertigo. It was like being on Mr. Toad’s wild ride without being in a teacup. It was supposed to re-adjust the crystals that were in my ear canal.   So far….nothing.  It’s not that I’m dizzy ALL the time, it’s just that I don’t feel….right and if I looked up or  bend down…or look in a different direction very quickly, then I have horrible vertigo and almost fall down.  It probably looks like I’m drunk.  Maybe I should just get drunk and stay that way until this passes!  I’m hoping this will run it’s course soon, because it’s exhausting.

**Last night, my eye was itching so I rubbed it.  I got up and my mom looked at me and said “Oh, My GOD, what just happened?”  I’m not sure what happened or what bit me but my  eye swelled shut in 3 minutes flat.  Mom had to run to the drug store and get some eye wash and eye drops that were recommended by the pharmacist.  I swear to god, someone has a VooDoo doll with my name on it.**

Despite my vertigo affliction, we have been roaming our new location.   we went to the Jacksonville zoo two days ago.  I have a love/hate relationship with zoo’s, because I still find myself wanting to see the animals.    When you are a kid, seeing exotic animals that you normally only read about or see on TV, was such a big deal.  It was a thrill.  When you are little, you don’t understand what being in a zoo is possibly like for the animal.  I remember going to a “zoo” here in Florida one time and we thought it was funny because there was a chimpanzee going crazy in this tiny round cage.  At no time did we think “Oh how horrible for that poor animal”.  Now as an adult, I still get thrilled with seeing wild animals, but it’s also difficult  to see them in these small enclosures and cages.  Some of the exhibits were pretty large, but most of them were really small and some of them were dismal.  The Bonobo exhibit was really, really crappy.  Most of the zoo left me feeling sad. (There was a turtle humping another turtle…that was pretty funny, but otherwise…it was sad.)

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Today we went to the Castillo de San Marcos, the fort here in St. Augustine.  Another place I visited when I was little, but do not remember the least little bit!

It was interesting but I imagine that when I was little, that all I probably wanted to do was go to the beach.  Actually, I was wishing that I was at the beach this time too!

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One thing that both my mother and I have noticed here in Florida is how friendly people are.  The day we spent in the walk-in clinic, we met a woman who was with her mother and her 3-year-old daughter.  (This was the little girl who entertained the office while we all waited.)  We learned that the young woman was pregnant, when her due date was, that the Grandmother had just moved in with them and she had run out of her medicine, which no doctor seemed to care about.  Her little girl, Jazzilyn, was incredibly friendly and immediately gravitated toward my mom and wanted her to read her a book. Then, last night at dinner we met a woman, her brother and her mother.  Her mother was 90 years old, her brother had a horrible car wreck 20 years ago in which the doctor’s told them that he would never walk again.  Surprising everyone, he was walking.  His wife left him after 5 years and he now lived with her.  It seems that everyone we have met here are VERY interested in sharing their life stories.  Some people might find this annoying, but I actually find it fascinating.  I don’t believe that I have ever been in a doctor’s office back home and someone’s child interacted with strangers the way this little girl did.   And I certainly never went out to dinner back home and had complete strangers tell me their life stories.  I’m sure not everyone in Florida is like this, but so far, we’ve been lucky enough to meet some pretty nice people.  Maybe it’s all of this sun.  Maybe the farther south you go, the friendlier the people get!

Another thing that we have noticed is that everyone we meet in the campgrounds automatically wonder where “the husband” is.  Yesterday, when I was getting some things out from under the camper, a man walked by and said “I noticed you are the one doing all the work around here, where’s your husband?” I told him that I was traveling with my mom and he said “Were did you learn how to do all of this stuff?”  First of all, what the hell?  Is it 1950? Seriously, every couple we have met have asked those types of questions.  Today mom was talking to a couple and they wanted to know, if it was just the two of us, then who was driving the RV?  Like, surely a WOMAN is not driving that thing!  Mom explained that I was driving it and they were both  shocked.  And They are not the first ones we have met that expressed that sentiment either.  I’m not sure I understand what’s going on here.  Surely, I’m not the only female that drives an RV?  I also  know that no one wants to hook up the sewer hose, but how hard is that?  You can read how to do all of this stuff on-line!  That’s where I’ve learned to do most of it. The next thing you know someone will ask me where I learned to read!   Maybe I should start a single, female RVer’s web site for those of us that are apparently….surprisingly competent.

Happy Trails to all the competent females out there!

 

I thought I’d died and gone to Hilton Head.

Last week, we stayed in Hilton Head Island.  I had never been there and I got the chance to learn the difference between a campground and a motorcoach resort.  OMG!  That place was AWESOME!   Our camp site at the Hilton Head Motorcoach Resort was a completely bricked patio with a deck overlooking a lake, complete with a chiminea and patio furniture.  The resort was beautifully landscaped and had fabulous pool, tennis courts and bike paths to the beach.  We were so spoiled.  We spent the week exploring.  On 10/26 we took a drive to Beaufort South Carolina.  It was named one of the best small towns in America by National Geographic.  It’s a small, quaint town right along a river and it was very pretty and had a lot of big beautiful old southern houses.  We walked along the river and ate lunch and watched the people go by.  On 10/27 we went to Savannah.  Another city that I’ve never been to.  We got in line at Misses Wilkes Boarding House for lunch.  The people start lining up in the mornings and we got there about 10:30 and there were about 25 people already in line.  By the time they open at 11:00, the line was all the way down the street and around the corner.  They only serve until 2:00pm, so I guess if you don’t there early, then you will not get served.  They take about 10 people in at a time and sit them at big tables and serve you family style.  We didn’t have to wait long until we got to go in.  They had an entire table full of food waiting for you….Fried Chicken, green beans, collared greens, creamed corn, baked beans, cole slaw, squash, potatoes, okra, pulled pork, mac and cheese, cabbage, corn bread…etc.  There was a LOT of food and then you got a small dish of banana pudding for dessert.   It was good food, but I don’t know if I would’ve waited in line for hours for it.  Then when you are finished, you have to take your plate and glass to the kitchen.  That was weird, but I guess it’s tradition.

After lunch we took a tour of the Mercer Mansion.  The house from the movie “Midnight in the garden of good and evil”.  The sister of the person the movie was about, now owns the house.  They tour guide didn’t talk about the murder that happened there, just about him being an art dealer and how he was responsible for the restoration of 70 of Savannah’s old mansions.  I imagine they are not allowed to bring that up.   I loved that movie.  You should rent it if you’ve never seen it.  There were pictures of the owner with Kevin Spacey all over the house.

After that we took a tour  of the city.  There are a lot of parks and a lot of big old beautiful mansions here.  It really is a beautiful place, but of course we only see the nice parts.    We went on a ghost tour at night on one of the local trolley’s.  We met a couple from Ohio on the tour.  The husband swore that everywhere he went he got pictures of orb’s and he also said that he saw a ghost in Gettysburg!  His wife just laughed at him and he said that he was surrounded by skeptics at home (head nod in her direction).  He also told us a story about him seeing his dead grandfather when he was little and his wife just rolled her eyes, but I told him that we were going to stick next them him because he seemed to draw ghosts to him.  Unfortunately, we didn’t see any ghosts or any orbs at all.  I thought is was a fun tour, but I start giggling and people get really pissed when they think you are making fun of the ghost hunting thing.   I took this picture of mom and started cracking up and had to work really hard to make myself stop laughing….look at this….is that NOT funny?DSCN0390

She was pointing at the couch because the tour guide said a ghost was always seen sitting on that couch.  I said “point to the couch where the ghost sits”….

The last couple of days there spent enjoying the beaches and sights of Hilton Head Island, doing some camper maintenance and getting a much-needed haircut.  There is one end of the island that you have to pay $6.00 to just drive thru, which is ridiculous.  I think they just want to make sure that the riff raff that cannot afford $6.00, stay out.  Fortunately, there are other beaches on the Island and BOY do they know how to make beach going swanky!  The walkways to the beach have: restrooms, little individual changing rooms, covered decks with Adirondack chairs and swings, an area right off the beach with foot sprayers to wash the sand off your feet and even a long walkway that is made out of this mesh like stuff so that you can almost go all the way out to the water without getting sand in your shoes!  OMG!  Why have I never been here?    Probably because I am not rich.. Oh….yeah, damn it.  Oh well.  I guess my future will only contain beaches with none of these things and I’ll have to wash my sandy feet off with a common garden hose.   Boo Hoo.

We made our way to St. Augustine today.  It was not a long drive but the wind was so bad that I had trouble keeping the RV on the road.   There were wind advisories all the way down here and I was glad when we finally made it here, not to mention that I’ve had a bad case of vertigo for the last couple of days which makes driving interesting all on it’s own.   Our campground certainly isn’t the Hilton Head Motorcoach resort, but I like it all the same.  I actually like the sandy camp site because it lets you know that you are in Florida.  Finally!  We made it our goal to be in Florida by November 1st and here we are.  Unfortunately, it was pretty cold today….54 degrees.  We saw people wearing big winter coats and hats!  You can certainly tell the people who live down here from the ones that come from cooler climates because they all have shorts on.  We will be here for a week before heading on.  St. Augustine is another place that I came to as a child, but remember very little of.Photo(4)

I think I must be 3 or 4 in this picture. That’s me in the yellow and green swim suit with the giraffe on it.

 

We have been on the road for 1 month now and I’m always excited to see what’s next.  We have met some pretty interesting people, that all seem to have the same wonder lust that we do.  Some of them have been able to make their dream of traveling come true, while others are still in the planning stages.  I have yet to meet anyone on the road that has a negative reaction to our traveling plans.  Everyone one we talk to is very encouraging and supportive. It’s nice to have people encourage your crazy dream and tell you that you are NOT crazy.

To recap, we have been to:  Indiana, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire , Massachusetts,  Maine, Connecticut, Maryland, D.C., Delaware, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.   I may have forgotten some, but that’s the states that I can remember at the moment.

Not only is this a once in a life time trip, but I will also be turning 50 this month.  It’s the perfect set up for a little reflection, don’t you think?  It’s difficult to believe that all of the things that have happened to me this year have been a series of coincidences. Some seem to think that it is a little divine intervention. The big guy up there cutting me some slack maybe.    I’m not sure I know which one it is, but it is hard to wrap my mind around all of the things that have had to fall into place in order to put me here, in this place, at this moment.  I mean…think about it.  What are the odds that I would get laid off, sell my house to the previous owners son (that lives in Zürich, Switzerland), have no attachments, find the perfect RV AND be going thru a major midlife crisis all at the perfect times?  Either someone is looking out for me or I’m just lucky.  And I have to tell you, I AM NOT, nor have I ever been, lucky (except for that one time when I was 13 and won a room full of carpet).  After the previous year that I’ve had, I was beginning to truly think the opposite, that someone hated me and put a hex on me.  I had this black cloud following me around….a BIG BLACK CLOUD!  I’ve always been a ‘half glass full” kind of person, but last year…my glass was pretty dry….Sahara dry.   So,  What do you think?  Divine Intervention?  Luck? Did the Hex just wear off? Are we solely responsible for making our life suck or not suck?  So, many questions….I think I’ll leave those for another day.   Good night all.  And as always, Happy Trails.FSCN0328 DSCN0352 DSCN0335 DSCN0329 DSCN0324 DSCN0312 DSCN0375 DSCN0429