The Start of Our Winter 2018 Travels


Connect this to our last map. We arrived from Dillon, SC to the Jacksonville area, first stop over New Years Eve long weekend at Sunny Oaks mobile home and RV Campground, then Hanna Park & Campground for two weeks, to Jellystone RV Park, Madison for one night to Topsail Hill State Preserve Park, where we’ll stay for two weeks..

In our last post, we said we may talk some about what is ahead for us for 2018. We only dropped a hint or two and to be honest, we don’t really know what is ahead for us! I recently read the blogs of two couples we have been following since we began on the road: The Lowe’s – what we love about their blog is their details about all of their hikes – which we also love to do; and, Wheelin’ It – they give such practical advice and great tips for the full – time RV lifestyle. The Lowe’s just posted their 2018 travel map and plans – which we all know is always subject to change, but at least they know their general direction. As for Wheelin’ It – they usually do the same! But their current blog tells us why they are not this year and that they are selling their motor home, car and all that goes with it – to move to Europe and travel there. If you want a fully decked out rig with all the latest and greatest plus a car and hitch, check out their blog! Be sure to mention you learned about it from us and we can split the $150 “referral fee.” LOL

So it is with a little envy we read others exciting travel plans.  It seems we are now in a routine and so far, our travels aren’t changing much from last winter.  We enjoyed our time this year (January 1 – 15, 2018) in Hanna Park and Campground, we planned to write a post about it. But never had time! We did write a bit about it some last winter, first here where we discovered it, and then here, when we stayed for a week last March. We (Debbie) vowed to return! Bill, not so much since he’s the one who drives the motor home and was concerned about taking a tree down – or it taking us out. Anyway, there isn’t much to add to the two posts, except one thing. And it is still that slice of heaven we found last year! The only difference is the sustained freezing cold weather here – but then the whole east coast and probably the midwest are in the same freezing boat. 😱 That wasn’t the one thing, btw.

The year 2017 was a game changer for us. Bill had to learn how to live with heart disease. He has done exceptionally well and his doctor is his biggest fan (next to me, of course) and knows he can continue on. What it has meant in addition to how he eats and exercises is how he manages stress. Now that’s been a battle, especially when things happen he can’t control like two flat tires on Interstate 95 (one of the busiest highways on the east coast). Actually, he did much better than he did with our first blowout on a state road in Florida – but also a busy highway. And now with sustained freezing cold weather – since we LEFT Virginia on December 26 – when we thought we were fleeing freezing cold weather. Actually it just hitched up to our bumper and has followed us. ❄️❄️

This new life style has meant we had to change how we travel – more or less! We had decided before hand, we prefer to only drive the motor home roughly 200 miles between stays and to stay about two weeks. This is most desirable. But there are times it isn’t feasible. We have to balance our travels with our budget and still try to keep our nightly stays around $20. We learned if you stay a week or two, you get a good discount – thus our desire for that as well as we want to get to know the area and see all we can see.

But this past year, we seemed to be consumed with our exercise routine and cooking fresh.  So we aren’t sightseeing as much as we once did – although we hit a home run in Wisconsin this past summer. It’s ideal to be able to get in his “mandated” walk of five miles a day straight out our door. We did that beautifully in Hanna Park – and we do that at Pirateland. And then we still remember how disappointed that Wilmington, NC won’t be our future home when it is time to get off the road. We continue to obsess a bit over it….so that means while at Hanna Park, we had a revelation.

The beach at Hanna Park is every bit as good if not better than Myrtle Beach! And like we did at Myrtle Beach, we decided to look up the beach to see if there isn’t a place we could call home. We did look down to the south and decided that lifestyle wouldn’t fit us. So what beach is up the coast? Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island:

Fernandina Beach is on Amelia Island at Florida’s northeast border. Fernandina Beach hosts the popular Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival and is known for great golf. Downtown Fernandina Beach also offers boutique shopping and a range of scrumptious restaurants. With 13 miles of pristine beaches, abundant wildlife and clear, calm waters, Amelia Island with its quaint charm has been a beloved destination for generations. Its upscale resorts and world-class spas combine with a charming collection of bed and breakfasts, historic sites and captivating festivals for an experience that’s uniquely Floridian. Come experience why Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island have consistently been among Florida’s highest-ranked island destinations. 

It was love at first sight – or actually a re-look. We did visit Amelia Island years ago. It didn’t really strike us as a future home. For whatever reason, this time, after we really checked out the beach, did we see the potential. GRANTED, it is way too far from our daughter and her family. We do still hope and dream they will see the light and move to Florida….

Our first view approaching Amelia Island from A1A. We approached it from a different road when we came a few years ago. What’s not to love?

Then we began to drive on a beautiful road like this – with a walking trail next to it the entire length!

We saw the sign for this, so looked it up on the web. Looks fabulous, but we want some place realistic….This is “just” a resort!

Of course, we had to hit the beach! We didn’t see this when we came before….didn’t really know what we missed.

We could easily walk five miles on this beach. And like Atlantic Beach at Hanna Park, the tides didn’t really affect the times of our walks.

We talked to a resident of the area. These condos are each a cool million or more! So much for that lifestyle….

uh oh, what are we doing? This neighborhood is in our price range….

I won’t elaborate any more except to say, we are now going to look at more places up and down the east coast, in South Carolina and Georgia, as potential places to eventually settle. We think we have now ruled out North Carolina. While it will be farther than I would prefer, Bill just can’t handle continuous freezing weather. We’ve acclimated but it’s just been one miserable winter.

And now, back to our plans for 2018? Not that we feel we need to have that exit plan in place should we need to get off the road, let’s just say it has a less stressful feel to it to think about it. For now, we just hope to enjoy each place we visit – which now seems to be more for a purpose than just “adventure” – although we still think life is nothing but full of adventure!

Next up, we’re back in Topsail Hill Preserve State Park!

“But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6

Our 2017 Travels Reviewed and What’s Ahead for 2018?


We are starting 2018 on the same route as we did in 2017! It’s “Trip One” to start our warm winter travels! Fredericksburg, Virginia to Dillon, SC to Jacksonville, Florida.

It’s that time of the year, so Happy New Year! We enjoy reading a snapshot of others’ year end blogs so hope others enjoy ours as well. And writing ours helps us keep our travels in perspective. We are still enjoying our lifestyle in spite of the challenges we’ve had this year. But that’s why it’s even more important to look back.

First, it helped us to look at what we wrote last year (click here if you missed it).WOW, our start this is is the same as last year. Once again, we started the New Year fleeing freezing cold temperatures in Virginia. We forgot how bad it was last year when we tried to close our slides to leave Fredericksburg. The slide toppers were frozen with a sheet of ice! This year, we had the slides pulled in for over two weeks to stay warm which we have never had to do before. The winter storm Benji arrived ahead of any other storms we’ve fled from in these four years of traveling. Continue Reading

Bill’s One Year Anniversary


Bill went to bed after we logged his 364th day of food, exercise and weight losses (and gains – he went up a pound or two here and there). We used the Lose It App and recommend it. Very easy to use once you get the hang of it!

It’s hard to believe it was a year ago when Bill received devastating news: He was at risk for a massive heart attack and/or had heart disease. WOW, what a shock since he was asymptomatic. I guess that’s why it’s called the silent killer. We’ve written a number of posts about the diagnosis and how he’s learned to live and THRIVE with it. The “Table of Contents” is found here if you missed the posts.  I wrote about it in my personal blog as we tried to keep this one for our travel adventures….but then, this was an adventure, just a different type!

I decided to “interview” Bill for this post – after he said he didn’t want to write it! 

What’s the first thing you thought of as you approached your one year anniversary? “I’m alive!”

Hallelujah! That was our goal and he’s hit a home run!

But maybe he didn’t understand exactly where I was coming from. I asked him, “Remember when we started this journey and I asked if you could do this (eat a heart healthy diet, exercise more vigorously, and manage his stress) for the rest of your life? You replied, “Ask me in six months.” I did ask him at six months and he said there was no turning back. But now at a year, I wanted to know more.

It was an ordeal to drastically change how we lived, ate, worked out, managed stress – while not thinking you could drop dead any minute! But he did it and is THRIVING! Continue Reading

Installing Slide Toppers – By Yourself (almost)


Cougar

October 11, 2014, Midland, Georgia

Bill realized the value of slide toppers when we had our Extra Lite 5th wheel. It seemed no matter where we “parked” it, the three slides were covered with leaves and/or other debris. He is a keen observer. He’d see what other people had on their RVs and what tools they used. One thing we quickly learned as new RV owners and avid travelers, you have to clean off your slide tops before you bring them in. Otherwise, you bring that debris into your RV and/or jam up the processes as they come in. We asked for an estimate to have them installed on our 5th wheel – the price was way too high. So Bill just bought a light-weight leaf blower someone else used as well as a 5′ lightweight ladder to climb up to blow the slide tops off before I brought them in. You’ll see the ladder he used to get up there in a later picture as he still uses it. Continue Reading

Update on our TOAD – 2013 Cadillac SRX


The start of our journey in our new to us motor home with our new to us toad! Read the linked post about how long it took us to get it hitched up and how many miles I had to follow Bill.

Our six weeks in Myrtle Beach are coming to an end. As we mentioned in a previous post (or two), we had declared we wanted to see lots more new places. Thanks to an unexpected surgery, it turned out this was the place to go after all – great area to heal! And for those who know about Bill’s heart health journey, he is to live in a low stress environment. You’d think that was what we have been doing here, right? Nope, we’ve been consumed with a few issues, the main one was what to do about our TOAD?

That’s the car towed behind our motor homes, affectionately called TOADS, short for tow-ed. Some even call them their dinghy. We wrote about our decision making process in selecting our Cadillac SRX here. So how has that worked out for us? Read on…..

As a recap, we didn’t have much time to make a decision on what car to buy to serve as our TOAD.  Our truck had been totaled while we were in the midst of the selling of our 5th wheel and the purchase of our motor home (affectionally called Tiffany for our precious ‘tween dachshund 1982-1999) . When we started our research, it looked like the two main options for us were various Jeeps and the Honda CRV. Continue Reading

We Really Wanted to Love It!


From Google Maps

A sweet, quaint college town on the coast! Near several beaches. Mild Climate. Low (sort of) taxes. An airport. Shopping. Health care. Not much traffic. Only five hours from our daughter and her family. That’s all we are looking for.

That was our vision about Wilmington, North Carolina. When it is time to switch from our dream life traveling in our motor home, we are dreaming about the perfect little dream town to settle down. How we hoped it was Wilmington. It has been on our radar for years, we just never could get there. A few times while here in Myrtle Beach, we thought about running up there. We thought it was only an hour or so away (in fact it’s 80 miles and took us nearly two hours). We just never could justify leaving this beautiful beach….Yes, we are still in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Until the horses returned to the beach for three days last week. That means, no walking on the beach as it’s too trampled and people and horses don’t really know how to share the “beach” to our satisfaction. You can read here our write up about it last time we tried to share the beach and one “hot dog” challenged me! We pretty much vowed we wouldn’t be here at the same time. Even if it is for a worthy Continue Reading

What does it take to “live the dream?”


IMG_6329

Sunrise, 7:00 am at Myrtle Beach State Park Pier taken on our daily walk

While trying to think about our next blog post, we reviewed our year (and then our past four years on the road). People have asked if this lifestyle is cheaper than living in a “sticks n bricks” house. The general guideline is, if you are like us, it’s about the same cost. If you want to live cheaper, there are ways (such as installing up front expensive solar panels and then live cheap “boon docking”) but that’s for others to write about. We know those ways weren’t for us. Our basic budget is about the same now as before we hit the road. We are striving to live at the same or slightly cheaper lifestyle while traveling full time. And just like in a house, RVs need major repairs. You hope to spread them out! Continue Reading