Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Gift of Coincidence, Strange Connections Made

The Queen Herself with a NEW NECKLACE!
I am so blessed to have a great assortment of vintage seed beads, I bought a tote full of them more than 15 years ago from a good friend that was selling out her shop to live Full Time on the Road. 

I hadn't thought about this until I started working with the beads just this week.

At the time I bought the beads, I was still a highly successful Full Time Graphic Designer at a large publication firm in the Midwest.

There was no thought in my mind at that time of ever leaving my chosen occupation and traveling down life's highway and I remember being curious about the Lady's intentions of giving it all up and just traveling. I couldn't conceive of it and thought the Lady was a bit crazy to give up her home and supposed security to do so.


Bad Boy beaded Pendant
Funny how things have a way of catching up with you, as I worked on this "Dark Pendant" last night, suddenly that occasion came flooding back into my mind and I had to chuckle at myself.

There we stood in the driveway filled with this Woman's last possessions being sold off a piece at a time, including her small garage shop Bead Business.

Her motor home was in the process of being fitted out for adventure. She told me her husband had been recently ill and she was going to take him on the road to see those places he always wanted to go but never had time to before his illness.

I marveled at her commitment to her Spouses happiness and her bravery to just pull up and go regardless of the personal risk. I never thought I would do the same, and yet, here I am! 

Now our lives seem eerily parallel, the same thing happening to me that happened to her, my husband too became very ill, just when we thought everything was stable and would remain so through retirement. His illness changed everything and suddenly we didn't give a rip about security and possessions.
 
At the time, her situation never came to mind but unconsciously I chose to walk her path and become what she became. I have lost track of her through the years and I wonder if she is still traveling with her husband and enjoying the things they discover together. I hope she is. Maybe she'll even read this a seek me out, who knows? Stranger things have happened!

Another strange coincidence is the necklace I am wearing in the photo, I had been wanting an amber necklace for some time and had been watching various auctions and shops. Amber is supposed to be good for arthritis and has a calming beneficial effect to the wearer, (if you believe in that sort of thing), when Doyle came strolling into the RV and dumped a bag full of amber beads on the table in front of me!

Seems he had grabbed a few totes of some personal stuff form storage before we left and had just got to sorting it out, he had forgotten he had some old beads in there and thought I might like to use them for one of my necklace projects. Forgot Them! He has more nice stuff hidden in corners than I have ever owned in my life!
 
No way is this necklace I strung up going up for sale, they are the loveliest set I have ever seen and was more than I could have afforded to purchased on the net. He didn't know I was looking for amber beads so this is just another example of things coming to you when you need them!


Many Shell Tops, so Little Time!


This isn't kismet our anything, just a reminder that if you ask for something, you better be ready to get it! I asked Doyle if he could make me some shell top pendants from some of his rougher stock, as you can see he made me a huge heap on them! There is enough there to fill my beading requirements for several years I think! What a Guy!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Shell We Talk? Fun Goofing Off at The RV Park...

Our Lot
Here's where we have been hiding out most of the Winter when we haven't been at Events, it's Scrufty's Riverwood Park in Georgetown Florida.

We've been here three years now and we still end up here even after checking out many other places. It's within an hour of the Atlantic, (St. Augustine) and right up against the  Ocala National Forest and other places we have an interest in.


The Dock on The Bay....
This is a quiet, out of the way place we simply adore with a backwoods feeling and just plain Good Folks.

It's not most RVer's Cup O' Tea since stores and services are minimal, but it gives us a chance to sit back and forget about the road for a while.






Herself making calls, All I can hear is the SEA!
Here is a Gag ad I made about Cell Service here, you can forget about making calls, but the wifi more than makes up for it!
Conch Shell Pendant
 In our spare time we have been making goodies out of our shells and putting them on our Etsy store.

I'm not going to go on about it too much here, this is not the place I want to talk about business, but if this stuff appeals to you I wouldn't mind you checking it out...


Here is a Conch shell pendant I beaded up for the shop, I just love working with natural materials and making something different!

As I said, this isn't where I want to sell stuff, but I thought you should see what incredibly talented people we are, (If we must say so ourselves!)



These projects won't make us rich, but it gives us something to do and a way to get rid of the totes full of shells we've been hoarding on board!


Necklace made form Doyle's Be

Doyle has his own things going on, besides making Conch shell pendants he's making all these beads I string up into nice little necklaces, if your interested in how he does this, I just wrote and article on our "Earth Goods 4 the Spirit" Site, which is for showcasing our projects and how we made them.

I haven't published the posts yet, they should be out in the next couple of days, (you women are going to hate me for giving your husbands new ideas to make a mess!).




The Cat is in hiding and does not wish to be disturbed... she is getting old now and it's a task in itself just trying to find her, she comes out for food and her daily scratches, then it's off to some nest for the day in a closet or in the bedroom loft.

She's been rather reclusive since we got the kitten we rescued last year, who isn't feeling photogenic today so I think I'll just leave her picture out...

Any way... thanks for all your support over my last post about dropping the fiver on the truck, I feel so much better about it, I guess confession is good for the soul!

You'll never know how much it means to me to have the truly serious Full Timer, and Future Full Timers pulling for us, only you Folks really understand what we go through day to day.

It's been a bit sad this week watching everyone pull out and head North, we will be leaving in a couple weeks, dragging our feet as long as we can before facing the traffic, headaches and inevitable adventure of migrating North.

I'm sure we will get into the "mode" and get excited about it soon, but I think I'll make an ice tea and sit out under the awning for a bit, then fire up the barbeque for some great gluten and MSG sausages we found that are out of this world!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Our Fiver Hitch Fails Or Did We? A Lesson Learned

This was one of those stories I was never going to write.

To admit you perhaps failed big time is a hard thing to do and invites all sorts of criticism from all sorts of Folks, and admittedly, we deserve it.

But to not admit to ones mistakes when living Full Time on the road is not the reality we wish to relate, it's all well and fine to document the wonderful places we go and the great people we meet, quite another to show an aspect of our life that may reflect badly on our way of life and on ourselves...but, (taking a deep breath), we would not have you ignorant about the reality of on the road life and the bad things that can happen when you don't take every precaution to insure your and others safety on the road.

Thinking we had properly attached our fifth wheel RV to the truck we began to pull out of our slot at a campground and turn the corner when BAM! The most sickening sound a person can experience in a towing happened.

The trailer slipped off the hitch and landed on the box of the truck. We were in total shock. We had thought we had properly double checked the pin, and still claim to this day it was in place when we went to move, but it obviously wasn't and so it fell on the bed rail of the truck.

We were immediately joined by everyone in the RV Park, who had heard the commotion and came to our aid. They helped us block the wheels and brought over timbers to place in the bed of the truck so we could jack up the pin and lower the legs. There was a general feeling of shared despair at what had happened, and no one stated the obvious or gave us a hard time about what had happened. We thank and bless these good people to this day for their help and support.

We immediately called our insurance company and reported the accident, we also insisted on taking the truck to a nearby RV repair center to have the hitch checked for failure, as we are still not sure to this day we didn't hook it up right, the pin having jumped from its socket somehow, even though it was supposedly locked down. It was tested hundreds of times by the Techs and did not fail even once, but it was checked again and again to make sure.

We then turned our attention to the truck itself, having it inspected for twists, frame failure and such, which it remarkably did not have any structural damage, a credit to Ford Engineering, we have heard of disengaged Fivers flattening the bed and destroying the frame of some vehicles.
 
After being assured that the hitch was safe we went back and had the trailer checked out. It was remarkably uninjured, just a small chip in the fiberglass cowling where the nose hit the side of the box and everything checked out to being true, straight and integrated.

We were relieved and satisfied that all was well, but we had a terrible feeling in the pit of our stomachs as we hooked up and carefully pulled the Fiver out of it's spot that lingers to this day every time we begin to move. It has taught us to triple check everything and then check one more time before we move. We do an insurance backup to be sure the pin is seated and the pin lock is firmly in place.

A hard lesson to learn, even when we thought we knew better and had taken all precautions against this type of tragedy. You can never be too safe, or in too much of a hurry to check once more.

We are especially grateful this happened in the park on a 10mph road and not on the highway at 55mph. The odds of us getting out of the park before it failed was a long shot to be sure, but it would have been an even greater tragedy to have parted company with our home on wheels at speed and in traffic. The results are too horrific to contemplate.

We share this story to remind others that if you think you have checked everything out, please take the time to check again. we have since hauled over 1,000 miles since the incident and every one of those miles was haunted by our experience. Did it make us want to quit the road altogether? Yes. Did we? NO.

We are grown up people who have to face our mistakes and errors like adults, to take on the mantle of blame when appropriate and to get on with our lives after correcting our blunders.

One thing you can be sure of, we will never move our home again without triple checking the hitch, it's probably the safest thing about on our rig now, to be sure. To quote my dear husband, "Well, at least we know we won't be making THAT mistake again".

I still grit my teeth every time we first start to move out, any groan or creek sets my teeth on edge and I have to do a bit of deep breathing, but I still don't want to give up our way of life and live with the certainty that we are much safer drivers now that we have had the humility of being fallible shown to us.

There are many bad things that happen to you on the road, you have to be in a self-defensive mode every time you set out. There will be bad things that happen to you that will cause to to reassess your decision to live this way. Hopefully you can learn from it and move on with your life. The key word here being "Learning" and "Moving On".

This was a tragedy that could have been prevented by proper safety checks, most likely and admittedly we must have failed in our procedures order for this to happen. It will not happen again if it is humanly possible to do so. We are properly chastised and made humble by our error.

Just don't let this particular incident happen to you. This is why we are confessing and opening ourselves up to criticism, we want to encourage you to triple check everything before you move. Lives depend on it.

Your peace of mind is priceless and one incident can end your enjoyment of travel forever. If it does happen that you have an accident whether caused by yourself or others, try to move on and remember why you are living this way and learn from it.

Allow yourself to feel the fear, shame and horror and after a time, get over it and move on with your life with a new found knowledge of how precious and fragile it really is to live the way we do.

The illusion of safety we had in living a stationary, sedentary life was misleading and tragedy must fall to all of us in our own time, regardless of the steps we take to insure our well being or how hard we try to stand still so nothing bad can happen to us.

The alternative of just stopping and hoping we will be safe is an illusion also. Living on the road is dangerous and nothing will change that but you have to just learn from it and keep going if this is your dream, (sometimes nightmare!).

Remember that you can wake up, start over if this is the life that gives you greater meaning and fulfillment, even if you make grave mistakes, as long as you learn from them.

We thank God for our Friends, Insurance Company and the Host of People and Mechanical Techs who helped us through this crisis, it shows that Gods greatest works are evident in his People who respond when there is a need for them to do so.

Nothing restores your faith in Humankind and Our Maker more than when at your worst moment someone steps up from the crowd of onlookers and puts their hand on your shoulder, asking what they can do to help. May God return a Blessing to your helping heart tenfold and send others of a like mind to your side in your time of need.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Where We Been? Having a Great Time, that's what!

 I figured I'd better get back to posting, it's been a couple of months and people are starting to message us to see if we are OK.

We have never been better, in fact, this has been the best Winter of my life in Florida, we have been on adventures everyday, or working on our favorite leisure pastimes.

Here I am making some bead necklaces, it's a challenge doing crafts in an RV, but if you stay organized and don't get too carried away with supplies, you can get a lot done in a short time!

Here are the necklaces I have put together, I have been collecting glass trade beads for years and it was either get rid of them or do something with them, so I opted to make some necklaces for presents and such...these aren't anything fancy, but it helps pass the time when the weather isn't letting us play outside.

Also, I have made three hide dresses this Winter, two for myself and one for a friend, below you can see my latest creation, we like to work on the messy projects outside, as you can see Doyle in the back round working on his shell carving.

We set our 10X10 Cabella tent up outside under the awning for better shade control, we sure have had a really nice warm Winter to play outside!


I'm sorry if we made anyone worry, and I promise to get back to posting more often in the future.

It's been wonderful to fully life life like there is no tomorrow, after Doyle's surgery last year we didn't know if we were even going to have a future together, so we've been living each day like it was our last and having fun while we can.

We've been all over Florida beach combing, visiting museums and doing historical research.

Below is a picture we took at Talbot State Park, just outside of Jacksonville. It's remarkable how a beach that is just five minutes out of town can be so primitive and beautiful!

One of the reasons I stopped posting is that my loyal camera of over 8 years has finally started to get glichy and fail me here and there, I have a new camera all picked out but am waiting for it to go on sale before I pick it up...also this time of year we really have to stretch the finances to sit around, so no new camera and if you look closely at my photos you can see there are a bit shaky...hate to let a loyal friend go after all these years...but I want to take the best pictures I can!

Here is the "Ole Man" sitting at his desk, working on carving a shell piece, he has really become good at what he is doing and is getting great advice from some really special friends who actually are famous for their work.

So I guess I've blathered on enough to let you all know we are doing great, loving our life on the road and every day is a new adventure we can't wait to check out!

See you on the road!
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