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.”