Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Of Storytellers and Goodhearted People

 Getty ready to leave Space 10

After fighting the bugs all week we ended our stay at St. Joe Peninsula State Park on a fabulous note.  We had to leave space 100 in the Shady Pines area and move to the Gulf Breeze area space 10.  Oh thank the wind gods-there was a wonderful breeze as we manuevered Ruby into her new home for the night.  After setting up Jim started to take Hailey for walk and never made it further than our next door neighbors in space #9-Johnny and Marcia from outside Gainesville.  I only wish we would have been camping next to them the entire time ! We were quickly joined by Chuck and Michelle, Tallahassee residents and the current occupants of space #8. Chuck and Michelle are the kind of visitors you love to see coming-huge smiles on their faces and hands loaded with Pina Coladas for everyone .

We sat around for hours sharing drinks and stories and I have to tell you-Southerners are the most hospitable people I have ever met, along with being incredible storytellers.  Between Johnny and his stories of their property adventures, including the hysterical account of trying to build their own island on their first piece of property to Chuck and his stories of alligators,water moccasins and bears, I thought I would fall out of my chair laughing the night away. And we won't soon forget the story of people who clip their stringer loaded with fish onto their belts as they wade out into the Gulf -oblivious to the fact that sharks do swim in the Gulf.  Or the story of a water moccasin chasing their fishing boat trying to get up into the boat to get to their fish . The stories went on and on-just a perfect evening of laughter and new friends.

Sunrise as we were leaving 

This is what we both love about camping-you meet the best people in the world-down to earth,good hearted people. They might not show up on our Facebook pages but they will always be in our hearts and memories.

We left quietly in the morning, sad to say our goodbyes but taking with us a whole list of restaurants to try out in Florida-thanks Johnny!  And Chuck gave us some advice we will always remember with chuckles-if anyone ever says " Hey watch me or Hey look at this", step back a few feet to a safety zone,grab your video camera because there will be something so riduculously stupid happening that it will garner a million hits on You Tube !!

I hope we run into these couples again while out on the road-wishing you good friends , good times and Happy Trails along the way.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning

The bugs have pretty much curtailed my bike riding activity around the campground-no matter how fast I peddle they find a way to catch up and cling to me while sucking the blood out of me like the vampires they are.  Either that or I'm ducking a gathering of love bugs, hoping I don't swallow any as I bike faster to escape the no see ums ! But there is a way around the bug battle and that is to head to the beach-especially in the wee small hours of the morning when no one is around.

I can see everyone is still asleep in the campground as I head out the boardwalk-that's a good sign-means the beach will be deserted. Seriously with the humidity, heat and bugs the campground looks deserted most times of the day until everyone dashes out of their campers and runs to the beach or everyone returns from the beach and heads for the showers !

So far it looks promising-no one else is here yet.  I snuck out about 5:30 leaving Jim behind while he was making coffee.  Hailey looked at me as if to say "You want me to leave this air conditioning to go out there "?  So I was off by myself.  I love this time of morning-there is a light blueness tinged with pink lighting up the sky and a cool breeze coming up off the Gulf Waters.  The waves are so quiet this morning-waking up from their night time sleep and gently lapping against the shoreline.  The white sand is so cool on my feet-I'm wishing it could stay that way all day. I start to wander up the beach and see some movement up ahead-oh what a treat-a single heron standing guard.  

I'm afraid to go any further-I don't want to scare him off.  I slow my pace and move further into the water so that he can see I'm giving him his space.  He trusts me and while he keeps a careful watch over me he's decided I'm harmless and he stands his ground-seems as though there are two of us now enjoying this beautiful spot and this early morning hour.

The sun is starting to peek over the sand dunes, just barely illuminating the waves as they come into shore.  I should start back-coffee is probably ready and it's starting to warm up with the rising of the sun.  

There are no foot prints on the beach except for mine and the shells lay strewn about-soon to be discovered by beach walkers.  It's so peaceful-I forget the bugs and the heat and realize how lucky I am to be here with my feet in the sand. This is the best moment of my life, right here right now. And later today when I'm chasing bugs I'll take a breath and remember the cool breeze and the cool sand and my friend who shared this early morning walk with me.

Here's wishing you peaceful beautiful mornings and Happy Trails to my fellow travelers.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Changes in Latitude

Sunset on our last night at Bring Back the Magic

These changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes,
Nothing remains quite the same.
Through all of the islands and all of the highlands,
If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane
Reading departure signs in some big airport
Reminds me of the places I've been.
Visions of good times that brought so much pleasure
Makes me want to go back again.
If it suddenly ended tomorrow,
I could somehow adjust to the fall.
Good times and riches and son of a bitches,
I've seen more than I can recall
I think about Paris when I'm high on red wine,
I wish I could jump on a plane.
And so many nights I just dream of the ocean.
God, I wish I was sailin' again.
Oh, yesterdays are over my shoulder,
So I can't look back for too long.
There's just too much to see waiting in front of me,
and I know that I just can't go wrong
Jimmy Buffett

We are getting ready to make some more changes in latitudes.  If you remember our original plan was to start heading towards the West Coast -but like John Lennon said: "Life is what happens while you  are busy making other  plans."  Since my little ladder/pacemaker episode we decided not to wander too far from home-I'm 100% okay just getting use to my little pacemaker/energizer bunny taking care of my heart-okay so I'm not as brave as I thought I was-still getting over the scare of everything that happened.  I try to concentrate on the positive-I'M ALIVE AND KICKIN !   Honestly, I feel like I won the lottery-first of all my sweetie pie and family-I could not have made it through what I did without them; then all my friends and new neighbors-their love and support kept me grounded; and finally a sweet little nest to come home to for my recovery.  And don't let me forget Hailey, who stayed by my side like my own little angel , once I got home.  

 Are you listening Baby ?  Yes - you were right that we needed a place to call home no matter how much traveling we planned on doing !
And now I'm ever so grateful to be back on the road again-currently at St. Joe State Park, just 6 miles up the road from the condo-we wanted to be close to home the first week out-you know just in case of emergencies.  Then we will head south to Manatee Springs and then work our way gradually up the East Coast to Cape Hatteras. I'm pinching myself again-ever so grateful for our lives,our family and our friends.

I'm covered head to toe with Deet and going out to brave a bike ride through the Love Bugs and mosquitoes and no seeums-really life is good  bites and all !  I'll have more pictures and maybe some cooking surprises later in the week..until then Happy Trails and love to all of you .