Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Life in the RV Lane ... part 1...

This is our third year at this site! Site Number 3 at Playa Del Rio on Perdido Key. (this shot was from year 2)

This morning is gorgeous here on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico on the Florida panhandle as it joins 1/2 mile away with the Beaches of Alabama! I am compelled to share a few insights about life in an RV parked for a time away from home.

One meets so many people on the road. Some stay with us, as lasting friendships are formed. Some one hopes to never encounter again (thankfully these are few and far between!). Some have an eccentricity that one cannot help but notice. Some expect more from the campground that one would reasonably do. Campgrounds are a community and as such, folks need to get along and there is an essential balance to be struck between the community and the service provider that is predicated on trust and fairness.

Campsites come with services that are more or less the same wherever you go; Internet access, Cable TV (which I could easily do without except for HGTV! :-) ), water, sewer, power, and land mass. One can survive for some time without any of these, except for the land mass; it is of course, essential to have a place to park. For Richard and I getting adequate space to park is our first priority to get the truck and Airstream out of harms way. We have a generator so wherever we are we can power up the trailer, But if we are parked for a long time it is very nice to have sewer, water and power so we do not have to move the rig to address those issues.

We have been having some issues with Internet here at our campground that could be remedied for the higher paying sites with a third router up at this end of the campground. Internet is VERY important to us, I have a need to skype with my grandchildren and right now I have to walk down to the clubhouse to get a good signal! That is just not acceptable for me. Also, since I am working on my business as well, consulting is difficult without solid and continuous access. So we are going to get a solution that can travel with us while we are here in the US to de-couple us from our dependence on the adequacy (or inadequacy) of the parks internet services. Having said that I am ready to hit the showers and get ready to visit Verizon and AT&T today ... unless my state of relaxation compels me to unwind and enjoy the sunshine for another day!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to All...

Well it is Christmas again and Richard and I and Rudy and Reggie are enjoying some warm weather at the Beach. It is always hard to miss family at this time of year but they all know our hearts and thoughts and spirits are with them. It is a busy time for everyone and we often do not get time to sit back and relax and just enjoy the scenery, whether it is palm trees and rolling oceans, Christmas trees and crackling fires or southwest sunsets and cactus flowers. As you enjoy this holiday season remember to think about what is truly important in your lives and be thankful for all the blessings you have.

One of my facebook friends wrote this morning "may you be filled with the meaning of the season, be with those who matter, heal the relationships (where needed) and give voice to the love in your heart" and I could not have said it better myself. Life is so short and the time flies by whether we like it or not!

My message for my daughters and son-in-law and my grandchildren is that I love you all and every day you are filling my heart with joy! Have a blessed Christmas and enjoy all the time you have together this holiday season with family and friends. In the photos selected for this post, I just wanted to show the grandkids three things: Reggie as a Reindeer, my smiling face.. :-) and that Santa goes to the Beach to sun himself before he makes his rounds! Merry Christmas...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ottawa was Cold, Snowy and Windy!

Madison happy to see me home for a week...

Payton and Brooklyn came for a sleepover together...if was fun.

Rudy held down the fort at the Airstream with Richard and Reggie.

Because I came home for a visit before Christmas it was essential to get a little tree....It was little but charming and Brooklyn and I both loved it.

The weather was snowy, blowy, freezing rainy and cold the whole time so we spent lots of time indoors keeping warm. I was able to get the contract in place for the next work I am involved in so that was very good. Next time home will be for a while longer.

Returning to Pensacola was very nice, the temps have been around 60 to 65 during the warmest part of the day. About four weeks ago we ordered a new la-z-boy for the Airstream and it arrived early. Very nice addition to the interior!
There is a Christmas party tonight at the Park complete with a Santa exchange and lots of good food and company. I may not be able to go because of my cold but we will see how the day evolves...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cooler Days In Florida...

Rudy likes that he gets to cuddle up under blankets when it is cold. He is such a sweet dog. His face is getting a little grey!
Happiness is a good friend...Reggie and Rudy spen hours sleeping on the couch on an old wool blanket from the Mill at Blythe, Ontario. These blankets never seem to wear out!

This morning the temperatures had gone down to 29F overnight and the wool socks Richard brought down feel good on my feet. Trouble is they are hard to wear with my flip flops! :-) I am headed for Ottawa for a week tomorrow morning and so if I think this is cold....well I guess I will see....

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chilly Morning On Perdido Key...

The beach is just over the hill and beyond a gulley and the weather is cold this morning. It was 37 F overnight and right now, at 08:00 am it is up to 38 F (3 C) . today it should get up to about 60 F (16 C) here on the beach.
Our new friends, Donna and Duane from West Virginia left today after a month here at Playa Del Rio. They are headed for Emerald RV Park near Navarre Beach just about 45 minutes from here. Their big 5th wheel had 4 slides!

Off they go leaving site number 1 vacant again and returning a view of the horizon to us from our site 3. We will see them again soon since we are planning a day trip down the coast to Destin, Florida.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rainy, Windy Day in Paradise!

Reggie braves the wind and the weather for a little constitutional....
Rudy braves the weather from his spot on the couch, head on the pillow, blanket overtop...don't bug me attitude goin' on !

The view from the Airstream door, you can see the ex FEMA trailer on the left, that is one of 6 that are here , probably for the winter....
Tornado watches and water spouts on the Gulf...I love the sound of the rain on Airebella's roof top!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Turkey Day Tomorrow - Thanksgiving USA!

Today is absolutely gorgeous with not a cloud in the sky and we are giving thanks American style here at the beach! It is a lazy fall day and the little salamanders are running around the rocks and back fence behind the Airstream. The breeze is moving the greenery around just enough to give the illusion of crisp coolness outside. But it is HOT. I am not complaining , the alternative is the Canadian winter and snow!
Tomorrow I am cooking one of the turkeys for the Thanksgiving feast here at the park. It will be in addition to the smoked one Larry is doing right now, and the two deep fried ones that Steve and Ann are doing....seems like a lot of turkey, but the park is expected to be full tomorrow with about 26 sites occupied.
Rudy and Reggie love the smell of turkey cooking and I will have to cook one for them too! Today is a good day to do that ... Rich and I are headed for the beach in a while for a little sunshine. We miss everyone at home, but I will be home to Ottawa a couple of times this year to see everyone; the first trip back is in two weeks! Cannot wait to hug everyone! :-)
Bob and Debbie, Torrey and Pebbles, I do hope you are on the road to Arizona and have "fair winds and following seas" for the maiden voyage of the new Class A...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Checked the Beach Behind the Crab Shack Restaurant

We have had a bit of a stormy day yesterday and the winds are fairly brisk today. The beach view behind the restaurant that is about a mile east of us was spectacular with the waves crashing the beach. As you can see, even after the storm, still not many shells (if any) washed up. The sand looks very clean!
One of the fellow campers was telling us about the clean-up activity here over the summer that involved BP hiring locals with boats for $1400 per day for 12 hour days worth of work at clean-up out in the Gulf. Big job, big, big job!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Airstream Surroundings - site number 3...

Richard decorated the tree outside Airebella with beautiful lights and captured this picture on his night walk with Reggie.
The Airstream as seen from the lane...

Beautiful flowers in November...this must be Florida!!!

Post Oil Spill Disaster Beach Views

Yesterday I took a little walk by the beach and enjoyed watching the birds playing at the water's edge. They were clearly finding tasty tidbits there and were seemingly oblivious to the disaster that fell upon the Gulf this spring and summer.
The vehicles in this shot are part of the group of about 50 workers that are combing the beach for debris and any indications of the oil spill. We cannot see any evidence that oil came on shore, likely because of their hard work here. The sun is blazing down on them as they sift by hand and by machine.

The birds still play but for those of you who have followed my posts from this location last year and the year before, there is one obvious difference. The absence of shells is clear when you look at this shot. Where the birds are was once teaming with Heart Cockles, Choral, Scallop shells, Lettered Olives etc. This time of year was the best for beach combing and there is nothing! Nothing rolling in beyond the waters edge either.
The worker's dune buggies drive back and forth along the beach now...where in prior years the space was deserted!
It is important to keep up the work on the clean-up for sure but it does change the peaceful landscape that I am so fond of. The manager of the park told us that the park was nearly deserted all summer, a time when the beaches are normally acutely alive with children playing, water craft and sun bathers. The area around us seems to be suffering from the lack of tourists as well. Locals are afraid of eating the seafood from the area, some even worried about stepping into the waters of the Gulf where dispersant had been used to battle the oil spill. I myself have ventured into the waters of the Gulf up to my ankles and thorougly enjoyed the local shrimp that a fellow camper prepared for our first pot luck!

Monday, November 8, 2010

We Have Arrived in Perdido Key ...

We left snow one week ago....
And found sun and clear skys yesterday!

Ahhh the joy of unhooking Airebella, cranking down her stabilizer pods and unlatching the awnings for another long rest in Perdido Key. We arrived yesterday afternoon to the smiling faces of old friends welcoming our caravan of one into it's place - site number 3! This park is tiny, with under 30 sites and it is flanked on one side by the Ole River and a cute little marina and on the other (across a small road) by the majestic, though wounded, Gulf of Mexico.

The Gulf coast is showing signs of the Oil spill. The fact that people descend on the beach to pick up any oil when they see it does not detract from the amazing vistas and the fresh and soothing aroma of the salt air. Richard and Rudy saw some folks picking up bits this morning on the walk in the gully across from Playa Del Rio. BP provided visitors with an incentive to travel here in the form of three hundred dollars in American Express gift cards. Richard picked ours up this am at the Chamber of Commerce. This was a nice gesture and the $300 covers our fuel cost to get here. :-)

Since we arrived we have celebrated our friend Suzy's birthday with a trip to Vallarta's restaurant; we have done three small loads of laundry; we have vacuumed the trailer and shaken the rugs outside! The weather is warm(ish) (18degrees C) and sunny and glorious. Rudy and Reggie are so excited to be here. They recognize the surroundings, the sand and some of the folks here...

Good Morning David and Nancy!

Our friends, David and Nancy told me they check my blog every morning for news so I cannot help but say a special hello to them and their little dog Millie! Hope all is well in PA and that you can head south soooooon!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Very Familiar Route...

Saturn Rocket Exhibit at the Alabama Welcome Centre.
Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Images of industry in Ohio.

This year we are retracing our steps and it is very hard to believe that this will be our third year returning to the Gulf and Perdido Key. We came upon the little resort quite by accident and had not intended to stay, that first year, more than a few weeks. The lure of the sea air, the beauty of the pristine and quiet beach and the wonderful people we met there are compelling.

This year while driving south with the Silver trailer in tow, we travelled with two fewer companions, having lost our two cats to old age this summer just a few weeks apart. The roads travelled were familiar and as such I was not so compelled to pull out the camera at every new turn, rather I enjoyed revisiting the places, remembering how it felt to see them the first time. Is this our signal that it may be time to move on, to explore new places in the years ahead?

We crossed below the two smallest of the great lakes, travelling through wine country and remarking how blue, how cerulean blue, Lake Erie could seem on a sunny but cool fall day. Moving south into the heartland and seeing the vast expanse of the farmland of Ohio, dotted with industry, and city scapes, and with the swell of religion rolling across the landscape in waves, evidenced in billboards, sculptures, places of worship and rough hewn signs. Moving into the south through the rolling hills and beautiful landscapes of Kentucky and Tennessee, contemplating what it might have been like long, long before the Interstates were there, when trails consisted of two thin tracks from horse drawn wagons and when the early inhabitants hunted and fished in these beautiful forests and rippling rivers. When the crispness of the night sky and the multitude of stars were gazed upon by folks who had no idea about autos, or trailers; folks who would have laughed out loud if you told them that one day people would be uploading their musings to an invisible network for strangers to read and live vicariously through the writings of others.

Yes, I am looking at these familiar scenes with fresh eyes, I am allowing myself to think beyond the first impressions, to imagine the past or the future while I experience the present. It feels good. Familiar feels good.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

On the Road Again!

Richard and Rudy having a Walk at the Pennsylvania Welcome centre on the south shore of Lake Erie. Beautiful weather for travelling... We were having lots of laughs along the way. Rudy and Reggie are comic relief as we travel and they get us to stop often along the way to "smell the roses" and relax a little. It is so wonderful to have your home woith you when travelling - the bed is ours, the kitchen is fully equipped and the Airstream is such a dream to tow. Our estimate for fuel for the 1500 miles we will travel on our trek South is about $300 this year. The Cummins Diesel is a real gem!

Richard and Rudy!

Airebella having a break!

Lake Erie from the South, after having travelled through the Finger Lakes Wine country you reach the Penn. border with upstate NY. It is just a beautiful drive but the I 90 had some construction this year.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

September...October...Time flies

Brooklyn and Payton enjoying thanksgiving dinner at Nana and Bompa's house. Payton was working on a concoction of ice cream and whipped cream which she claimed closely resembled yogurt in flavour and concistency!
Oops Lisa leaned back and I did not get her in the shot but everyone else is in view. Louise, Matt, Derek and Lionel as well as Richard and the girls at the other end of the table. I promised Derek that next time I would seat he and Lisa at the other end of the table so that they could get a break from the feeding of the children! :-)

Brooklyn helped her Mom prepare two pumpkins and Madison looked on at the goo and the mess.

Richard's fishing yielded a catch of 5 Rainbow Trout. They were so good!

Madison at Payton's birthday party.

Brooklyn at Payton's birthday party wearing Louise's earrings and trying to hold them there by sheer will power!

Payton with her Dad and Auntie Louise at her birthday party with family. She was 8 on the 20th.

Home Home in September. Green, green still!

Flower bed in front with little fall blooms.

This month and last month have just flown by. We have been busy getting the house ready for the winter, advancing our agenda of getting it ready for sale. We had thanksgiving, Payton's birthday celebrations and Richard was fishing with his friend Bob at a lake near Ompah, Ontario.
We are looking forward to the winter warmth of Florida and are preparing for the trek south once again.