Monday, September 18, 2017

The Nature of Full-timing

When we started on our full-timing in April of 2015, we were of the mindset that we would be landing in one awesome spot after another.  Our excitement was overtaking reality!  We knew we had to pay bills along the way, but there's been medical stuff to attend to, annual visits to Texas for truck and RV registration and inspections, then we purchased our truck in NJ this spring and had to deal with that, and so on.  

Well, we have learned that in this nomadic lifestyle, we have very little control over what may or may not happen.  It could be health, weather, or some other factor.  For example, we planned a great route to Colorado, scheduling a departure over the weekend of September 8th.  However, it didn't happen.

I have a "bad back" that has plagued me since my teens.  It's been looked at a few times over the years, but other than physical therapy, nothing much was done for it.  As time has gone by, and due to my getting (a bit!!) older, my back has become more of an issue.  Add to this one three-year old hip replacement that pains me to this day and my other hip becoming painful, I haven't been feeling on top of my game.  Walking even a short distance often hurts, so hiking has been out of the question.  Needless to say, my mood goes up and down.  This all is pretty discouraging, so we finally decided it is time to do something about it.

We had been in Livingston for several weeks camping at the Escapees RV Campground, where we also experienced hurricane Harvey.  A luxury in that we we had full hook-up, electric, water and sewer.  But, it comes with a price, and we knew we had to find free camping.  So, we are back in the Sam Houston National Forest, at our favorite quiet and beautiful spot.  Upside: lots of butterflies and dragonflies, beautiful surroundings, and hummingbirds at our nectar feeder.  Downside: no hook-ups.  Therefore once a week we have to hitch the trailer up to the truck, and go into Livingston to dump our waste tanks and fill our fresh water tank.  The trailer battery is being charged by solar and luckily we are having bright sunny days.  Due to this we can watch a little TV or a DVD, use our lights, and the water pump (to pump water from the fresh water tank to the toilet and faucets).  But no air conditioning.  And it has been hot!

Pine needles everywhere after camping through Hurricane Harvey.

Looking out as 30" of rain fell!

More rain at Escapees RV Campground.

Driving into Sam Houston National Forest.

Because we have had some great weather, we set up our canopy and enjoy sitting outside.  To a limit.  There is a bug, known as a love bug, everywhere!  Mostly, they are mating as they fly around!  When in flight, they look like black confetti and they land on us and everything else!  They make me crazy whereas Michael deals with it pretty calmly!  We laugh that we are in training for the bug population we'll confront in Alaska next spring and summer!  Right now I am failing miserably!

Love bugs!

Not the prettiest pic, but evidence that the love bugs are here and plentiful!

A highlight of our stay is having our friends, Charlene and Alan with their dog Precious and their cat Cody, here with us.  They showed up about a week after we got here and we love having their company.  As an aside, this friendship began over a year ago when we met at the Escapees campground where they too are members, as well as full-timers.  It exemplifies how easy it is to meet wonderful people all over the country as we travel!

Charlene and Alan


Some of the highlights at the national forest:

Gorgeous beauty berry!

Meanwhile, I have found an orthopedic practice in Houston and am being checked over with an MRI of my back.  Fortunately, I don't need surgery, but do need 6 weeks of physical therapy.  So our travel plans have come to a halt for the time being. We are frustrated and disappointed, but realize it is only temporary.  We'll begin planning a new route for travel after Texas and head west and south rather than north.  Plus we will work on our Alaska itinerary.

So that's where things stand at the moment.  We watch the birds -- had three red-shouldered Hawks in flight above us, and lovely blue-gray gnatcatchers flit around the campsite!  We hear a pileated woodpecker regularly, but no sighting.  Butterflies are numerous: various sulphurs (orange, clouded, cloudless, and another small one we haven't identified yet), giant, black, and tiger swallowtails, checkered whites, and a really cool long-tailed skipper.

We believe this is a Texas green anole.

Not a good picture, but this was a small blue dragonfly with green eyes that we can't ID.

If you look carefully to the left of the red, there is a ruby-throated hummingbird there.

Michael birding:

The camera in my old IPad isn't the best so we are looking at a better set-up.  Thanks for bearing with me!

Have to share some cute camping cat pics!

Nevelle (white) and Rice having some interaction!

Rice loves being outdoors on a tie-out!

Curry chilling out!

Curry eyeing bugs flying outside the door!

Nevelle and Rice bonding!

Should I climb this tree??

We will touch base again soon with updates!