Two Tunes

I’m citing two songs from the 70s (am I really THAT old?) to help me explain: Big Yellow Taxi, by Joni Mitchell (although I was never a fan) and Welcome to the Hotel California, by the Eagles (big fan – witness my accomplishing my bucket list achievement of standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona).

My fractured ankle and 6-week recuperation under a roof and rules that were not mine helped me realize just how good I had it. Don’t it always seem to go, That you don’t know what you got ’Til it’s gone. As a direct result, I am so very glad to be back under my own power and on the road. But first I want to emphasize the kindness and generosity of my family. Each Kramer family member made an effort to accommodate me. My older nephew gave me the more convenient bathroom, causing him to take his life into his hands in the dark of night, navigating a narrow channel through an imminent collapsing wall. My younger nephew slept outside on a deck to be present for an early morning family departure because I was occupying his room. My brother took my dog on long walks in the mornings he was home, and my sister-in-law, who is not an ardent a dog lover, allowed Missy to remain with me. She (my sister-in-law) also took me to doctors appointments and dropped me off in commercial areas while she ran errands nearby. My son came over once a week, usually on weekends, to chauffer me to mundane destinations such as hair cut salons (Hatchets R Us) and PetSmart.

As I’ve recently mentioned to friends and family, I’ve been traveling throughout the United States and seen many beautiful cities and towns, camped in gorgeous national parks, visited state landmarks, and driven along coasts and rivers. My favorite state? California. Best part? The Bay Area. Most beautiful national park? Yosemite. Landmark? Golden Gate Bridge. Most extraordinary drive? Highway 1 along the Pacific Ocean around Big Sur.

I have been creating a soundtrack to my travels, usually featuring a song associated with the state I’m in. Georgia on My Mind. Sweet Home Alabama. Southern Man. Born on the Bayou. And for California, the song that absolutely nails it. [music icon] You can check-out any time you like, But you can never leave.

On the topic of states, a sign along a southern interstate highway sweetly stated, “Thank you for keeping Georgia on your mind.” Traveling the interstate into South Dakota, I wasn’t sure I had crossed the state line until I saw a handmade billboard that urged, “Eat meat. Wear fur. Carry a gun. It’s your right as an American.” I figured I had arrived.

One commonality among all the states is their radio stations. I’ve created labels for the types of program I can tune in. No matter where I am, be it along the Missouri River, in the Deep South or the middle of the Arizona desert, I can always find God and Mexico. As I approach urban areas, I can find hip-hop, bubblegum, and NPR. Unfortunately, I don’t care for hip-hop or bubblegum and believe it or not, every time I tune in NPR, it’s a fundraiser. I wish I was kidding about this. I’m not.

After my recent hiatus, I feel as if I’m starting all over afresh, but with three years of experience behind me. As so many of my people have done, I am heading Florida for the winter. I’m going to one of the few (actually, perhaps the only) RV park for singles. It turns out it makes a tremendous difference whether I’m surrounded by “we-we’s” (those whose conversations start with, “We went here; we do this; we did that”) or other singles. Hey. I heard you mumble “Duh.” Anyway, I’m surprised to find myself looking forward to morning water aerobics, afternoon card games, 4 pm cocktail hours and — be still my heart — Early Bird Specials. Eating at 5 pm is starting to make a lot of sense to me.

I’ve not infrequently (use of double negative is deliberate) lamented that I do not have a permanent address, but something interesting happened during my recuperation when a friend of my brother and sister-in-law came over for dinner. This woman also is single and retired from a career she enjoyed. She has an active social life, participates in interesting community volunteer activities and travels. In other words – she’s the me I would be if I settled down. But listening to her I realized I actually prefer my gypsy life. I experienced a tremendous feeling of relief when I realized that sure, I may feel forced by circumstances to wander, but given a choice I would likely be living this lifestyle anyway.

I’m beginning to think it wasn’t the broken ankle or injured shoulder that’s had this effect on me. I think I probably also banged my head and knocked some sense into myself.

Since I posted photos of my RV interior last time, I’m including pictures of the outside this time. You’ll see I’ve got a thing for chandeliers. I actually added one (it’s very small) over my desk. The stickers on one side of my RV are in what I had envisioned as a circle indicating the four seasons. I’d add a fifth sticker to make the circle complete, but am at a loss to figure out what I to show, given there are a limited number of seasons.  Note, too, the update to “Not all who wander are lost.”



I’m Back

I’m Back

Back by popular demand. Plus this blog gives me an opportunity to write, which I enjoy. My goal is to entertain.

I began this adventure 3 years ago June (2013-2016). Not all of the adventures were what I would call entertaining. But that has more to do with me than with the situation.

I plan to visit the past in the future, but for now I just want to catch you up for the past 90 days. I was finally travelling with a group of singles who I liked (the name of the organization is Wandering Individuals Network, or the WINs) on a caravan through the interiors and coasts of Oregon and Washington. The Pacific Northwest is one area I definitely want to explore. (Interestingly, I must be the only RV’er I know who doesn’t have Alaska on her Must Do list. I reserve the right to change my mind).

But back to the PNW. By way of background information, I’ve developed a hobby of identifying wildflowers. As I made my way toward the California-Oregon border to meet up with the WINs caravan, I followed the southern part of the Volcanic Highway. Everywhere I stopped or parked I got out my trusty wildflower app and dead-tree wildflower book to note the particulars of the find. While in the Burney Falls area near Mt. Lassen, I developed a second hobby of hiking the Pacific Coast Trail. Every time the road I was driving intersected with the PCT, I got out of my car and made it a point to walk along the designated trail for a few yards. I also took photos to prove how far north I made it! (I tried for selfies with the sign but haven’t mastered the technique. If ever there was a candidate for a selfie stick, it would be me.) So the entire time I’m making my way from the Bay Area up the State of Jefferson, I’m stalking wildflowers. When I meet up with the WINs I continue to pursue my wildflower hobby and ask members to point out anything they find. That’s how I found the relatively rare for California Cirsium arizonicum (Arizona Thistle). You know where I found it? Smack dab in the middle of an uneven, dusty parking lot used by RV’ers like us and homeless people at Lake Shastina outside Weed, CA.

So people come and go with the WINs and some of us start to form cohesive groups. Small town gossip is generated (my all-time favorite topic would have to be Are they ‘together” or are they just friends? There’s the guy, widowed not 6 weeks before when his wife, with whom he RV’ed full-time, dropped dead as they were walking along the street. Aneurism. So now he’s flirting with a sister RV’er, going over to her rig every day to help fix things. And then — wait for it — she actually LEFT HER DOGS in the RV to go out to dinner with The Widower.  This is a woman who did not participate in most activities because she dare not leave her two dogs. Ever.

Anyway, it was on one of these days about 50 miles south of Portland, Oregon (I use the state to distinguish it from the other Portland, in Maine, which I’ve also visited, she bragged), when I made what turned out to be a bad decision. But what I was thinking at the time was: I really should do something different than wildflowers today. I’ll go on the 3-mile round-trip hike up to the waterfall. I really should play with others. So armed with a hiking stick, which I think actually contributed to what happened next, and footed in my good hiking boots, I fell. Hairline fracture of my right ankle (yes, that’s the knee replacement leg) and possible rotor cuff injury of the left shoulder. I mention these injuries only because I think the hiking stick, which I used to help steady me on the right side, pushed me forward and over onto my left shoulder, causing my right ankle to twist around as I fell and went boom.

To make a long story short — and I may have mentioned this before: I am the ONLY person I know who really CAN and WILL make a long story short — my brother, Gary, flew up to Portland and drove my RV towing the Smartcar (in RV parlance, it’s a “toad”) all the way down to Oakland, a trip of 650 miles. My son, Michael, agreed to let me park my RV next to his house in Pleasant Hill in the east part of the Bay Area. His acquiescence was almost certainly a sign of gratitude that his uncle and aunt were taking me in so he didn’t have to. I lived under Gary and Faith’s roof and house rules for 6 weeks. My shoulder injury seems to have been exaggerated (it hurts a bit when I move my arm in certain directions but I can live with it, literally). I was recently released back into the wild and am in an RV park one block away from the coast in Grover Beach/Pismo Beach. I arrived here Wednesday around 6 pm and have spent the entire four days working on the RV interior. My intention is to introduce elements of feng shui into the RV.

BTW, I learned that prosperity is represented by an aquarium. Well no wonder I’m not rich. I HATE aquariums. My dentist had one in his waiting room so I associate all that bubbling sound with pain and suffering. I mean, the man almost drowned me when he first started using a water drill. Water. Gurgling. Not gonna happen in my personal space. Even the fish that are supposed to go into a mere fish bowl give me the willies. One, the arowana, looks as if it’s sheathed in snake-skin; the second, koi, is simply ugly; the third, goldfish, brings visions of a thin black trail excreted behind it as it swims through the murky (and now we know why) water. I also found out that according to the Western Bagua, my love area is the shower. Talk about my chances of romance going down the drain!

I’m including some photos of my highly customized RV. As for my decorating abilities, let me state for the record that I like my RV very much. Just be aware that upon looking around, a close friend of wealth and taste turned to me and asked, “Just what were you hoping to accomplish here?”

I’m off for the next several days to the Second Annual Cousins Reunion Without A Funeral. Now THERE’S an event that should offer plenty of material. Not that I can use any of it, though.


Shown above: Sleeping loft; sofa, curtains, and throw pillows; my hat collection; 
looking from the front toward the back (bathroom is behind the closed pocket door;  
desk created using dinette bench backs; silver wallpaper and "tile" separating 
galley from the bathroom; white "tiled" wall in bathroom; bathroom wallpapered in "wood"and 
"wood" and feng shui elements to separate it from the galley; my favorite poster.