After a few days of traveling through Georgia and discovering some cool little towns, we’re now in Western North Carolina until mid-September. We had a few bumpy moments right out of the barn, but I think we’re gonna make it.
So, How’s It Going?
You would think after seven-and-a-half years of traveling full-time that we would slip easily back into this life. But after 18 months of being stationary, there’s a definite learning curve to getting back out on the road. For one thing, we’re all learning how to live together in our 27-foot trailer, which is approximately 250 square feet. Our screened porch at home in Florida is 400 square feet. No wonder we’re all feeling a bit cramped.
We’re still juggling things around, trying to accustom ourselves once again to this small space, and trying to not step on Magnolia, who is also doing her best to adjust to her new life on the road.
The Traveling Part Is The Most Challenging
Magnolia is not especially thrilled about riding in the truck. We tried to make her as comfortable as possible, with a cushy bed in the backseat and her stuffed catnip squirrel to keep her company.
She was restless and meowing when we pulled away from home, and we thought she was just expressing her unhappiness at being taken away from her happy place. And then, I unfurled the Georgia map only to discover it was soaked with cat pee. Dumb us. She was trying to tell us, but we didn’t understand.
Magnolia has an interesting relationship with her litter box. Every time we clean her litter box, she runs to it and uses it. Even if she’s in a dead sleep, she hears the sound of the scoop in the litter and comes running. Even if she’s JUST stepped out of the litter box and we start to scoop, she gets right back in and scratches around. We’ve decided she’s practicing Zen gardening. She carefully rakes until she gets the litter artfully arranged into a pattern that she finds pleasing.
We realized we could use her habit to our advantage. Before we get in the truck to travel, we scoop her litter box, even if it doesn’t need to be scooped. She gets right in and does what she needs to do. No more pee-soaked maps!
It’s Going So Much Better Than We Imagined
Honestly, traveling with Magnolia is going so much better than we expected. One of my biggest worries was our sleeping arrangements in the trailer. She has her own room at home, so until this trip, we didn’t have to deal with the nocturnal nature of cats.
She has plenty of choice spots for sleeping in the trailer, including her cat bed and her cat tree. She puts them to good use for cat naps during the day. But the first night, she hopped up on the bed and curled up by our feet. We thought she might need some comfort after a stressful day of travel, so we let her stay.
But lo and behold! Other than biting my toes through the blanket the first couple of nights (she thought it was a critter, LOL) Magnolia is a peaceful sleeper. She is now officially allowed to sleep with us.
The only bad part so far about traveling with her is—you guessed it—the dreaded litter box. Right now it resides in the bathtub, but we have to move it a couple of times a day for showers, and we have to make sure the door is open so that Magnolia can get in when she wants to Zen garden. It’s a pain. I have a plan, and Eric is willing to execute it, so stay tuned.
Traveling through Georgia was a necessity of getting to our destination of Western North Carolina. Little did we know just how beautiful our drive would be, and how charming the towns would be along the way.
Our first night out was just 150 miles from home at White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Georgia. It’s a sixth-generation family farm that practices “radically traditional farming,” with an emphasis on sustainable land management and farming. We’ve been having their grass fed beef and pastured pork shipped to us over the last year, and thought it would be interesting to visit the farm.
There’s a new RV Park at White Oak Pastures. The park has full hookups, great internet, and a pastoral view of cows grazing in the pasture (and a faint smell of cow poop wafting through the air, depending on which way the wind is blowing). There’s also a general store and restaurant with a menu focused on what the farm produces. I wish we had been there on a Saturday for the farm tour. We also didn’t get there in time for dinner at the restaurant. (Yes, yes, I know. We only had a 150-mile drive. But we didn’t manage to leave home until 5:00 p.m. Sigh. It took FOREVER to finish all of the last minute tasks associated with leaving home! We are very out of practice.)
But we did pick up fresh local vegetables, eggs, and cheeses from the farm store…and for some reason, I bought a jar of pickled quail eggs. Note to self: You are in a trailer now, with limited refrigerator space.
Hard Labor Creek State Park
Our second stop en route to North Carolina was at Hard Labor Creek State Park in Rutledge, Georgia. We spent four peaceful nights here and enjoyed hiking the trails and exploring nearby towns—along with reorganizing the trailer and closing on the sale of our home in Oregon. Whew!!
If you ever camp here, try to get site #20. It has water, electric, and mostly non-existent Verizon connection. But it has dark night skies, peace, and this is the backyard:
There are miles of mountain biking trails that are also good for hiking. And in the lush forest, we found a bumper crop of chanterelles that we sautéed for dinner.
An Inkling Of What Traveling Used To Be Like
While we were camped at Hard Labor Creek, we visited some nearby towns in North Georgia. We’ve been cautious during the entire pandemic, and although we’re vaccinated, we continue to wear masks indoors and avoid crowds. We really didn’t know what to expect being back out on the road, but we knew it wouldn’t be fun if we weren’t able to experience some of what makes each place unique.
Food is part of that experience. We were delighted to discover the delightful City Pharmacy in Covington, Georgia, where we sat on their outdoor patio with a big fan stirring the sultry (but cooler than Florida) evening air. And we enjoyed one of the best meals we’ve had anywhere in our many years of traveling.
On another day, we took a little trip to Athens to visit the University of Georgia State Botanical Garden. With over 300 acres of gardens and trails, there’s a lot of lush beauty to explore.
When we came across giant hibiscus, I said, “Wow, those are the size of dinner plates!” I looked them up on the sometimes useful internet and discovered that they’re actually referred to as dinner plate hibiscus. Although I think of them as tropical, they’re hardy as far north as Michigan. Maybe we’ll plant some in the yard in Eastpoint. I hope they like sand and salt air.
These little outings are what help me feel like we’re really traveling again, and that it’s worth all of the effort.
I LOVE that photo of Eric and Magnolia plus I’m glad things are going well traveling with a kitty! Hope your plan for the litter box works out! While in Billings, Montana last week and strolling with my friend Kelly, we ran across some of those dinner plate hibiscus–amazing!
Now for a “girl” question–where did you get those cute dresses?? And I too don’t color my hair–stopped long before the pandemic and now I get more compliments on the hair than I ever did before!
Love reading about your travels, so glad you are back on the road if only for a month!
Janna, I’ve been living in those simple dresses ever since we landed in Florida—they’re perfect for hot weather. I’ve bought at least a half-dozen from Amazon (they’re called “Amazon essentials short-sleeve scoop neck t-shirt dress.”) They’re a blend of cotton and rayon, and are super comfortable and inexpensive! As far as hair, I’m glad I stopped coloring mine, although I’m still not used to having gray hair. You don’t seem to have hardly any gray!
I love that photo of Eric and Magnolia, too. :-) And guess what…we’ve decided to extend our travels by a couple of months! It was so darned much work to get out here, we figure we might as well enjoy it.
You probably never thought you would be selling your Oregon house when you originally started out. Probably a good decision, though. It’s mighty far from your new home in Florida and I can tell you that these last few summers in the west have been both scary and uncomfortable. Things are definitely changing.
Our little female cat, Callie, is just like magnolia about the cat box! As soon as Odel approaches the box to clean it she jumps right in. What’s up with that? Sounds like you will be using it to work in your favor though.
I’m glad you’re on the road again and look forward to reading your blog. Safe travels!
Laurie, you’re absolutely right. We never thought we would sell our Oregon home! Our decision was solely based on the smoke and wildfires. :-( It’s really bad in the Rogue Valley.
That is so funny about your kitty Callie! It must be some kind of territorial thing, but it definitely works to our advantage. Just like Callie, Magnolia tries to get in the box while we’re scooping it, which obviously doesn’t work, LOL.
Thanks for your good wishes!
So enjoyed this read, especially the part about how Magnolia is adjusting and adapting to being on the road. It’s so interesting how cats have such strong personalities! You certainly are clearly both very devoted cat owners. She is very adorable.
I do love your natural hair ~ what a time and money saver it is to stop coloring… It’s been over a year for me now and I’m enjoying seeing how my hair is evolving and growing AND in so much better condition than it ever was when it was constantly being dyed.
Those dinner plate hibiscus flowers are quite incredible! I don’t think I’ve ever seen such huge ones! Too funny about the name :)
So great you are both back on adventure again, even if it takes a bit of time to get back into the groove. So enriching to have both lifestyles available for you to dip in and out of. Best of luck as you continue and looking forward to reading more!
Thank you, Peta. It’s surprising how rooted we became in Eastpoint. We’re happy to be out adventuring again, but living in our trailer is definitely an adjustment after being in the house! And of course, having Magnolia as part of the crew now requires even more adjustments. It’s a good practice in flexibility. :-)
I remember when you took the leap to shear off your long hair to free yourself from coloring your hair. You’ve looked fabulous throughout! And you’re right, giving up hair coloring is a huge money and time saver.
I wondered just how much cooler it would be in Georgia and surrounds than in Florida. I figured the humidity would be high. So glad you are finding it cooler. Looks like Magnolia is going to do just fine! I would like to suggest you investigate the Tidy Cat Breeze Litterbox system. It uses pads that need to be changed weekly, and pellets that last a month as long as you clean poops as they appear. No more litter being tracked through the house. Our kitty Chloe used it and we really liked it. Anyhoo, so happy it’s all going well for you!
Linda, it’s a bit cooler in North Georgia than in Florida. The thing that makes the most difference is that it cools down at night there! Florida is like a blast furnace in the summer. Now that we’re in North Carolina, we haven’t been running the air conditioner at all, which is a blessed relief.
Thanks for the Tidy Cat Litterbox suggestion. You can bet I’ll be investigating that! Litter is SO obnoxious!
Good Morning! So delightful to ‘hear’ from you and happy trails as you regain your travel legs!Must be bittersweet to sell OR, and opens a new level of freedom for the 3 of you— enjoy! Love the pandemic changes, suits you.
Leah, you know I love your hair, and I remember you telling me that I could just let mine go natural. So thanks for the suggestion several years ago!
Yes, it is very bittersweet for us to have sold our Oregon home. This seems like the right decision for now…I’m looking forward to hearing about what your plans are!
So glad you enjoyed your visit to my home state of Georgia! You discovered some great places. Although we’ve never been to Hard Labor Creek, many of the state parks we camped in had similar large, beautiful campsites. Come back and explore the rest of the state any time!
Beth, I was thinking about all of the places in Georgia that we’ve visited and loved…Savannah, Jekyll Island, the Okefenokee Swamp, Cumberland Island…it’s a very diverse and beautiful state. We really enjoyed our brief time in North Georgia and plan to return for more exploration. I’d love to know more of your favorite places!
Congratulations on selling your Ashland home-it’s been horribly smoky in Ashland for the last week-another ‘normal’ summer in SO OR, I’m afraid.
Wishing you great adventures from your new home base.
Thank you so much, Deborah. It was a very difficult decision for us to sell our Ashland home. Honestly, if someone hadn’t approached us to buy it, we probably wouldn’t have been motivated to sell! But the smoke and wildfires have concerned us for several years. So as much as we will always love Ashland and our community of friends there, this seems like a good decision for now. I appreciate your encouraging words.
Hurray! It is good to be out and about again.
Thanks, Deb! I’m looking forward to reading about where your travels take you next.
Beautiful! Thank you! Welcome back to the road!
Miss you as my neighbors.
Oh, David, we miss you, too!! You were the BEST neighbors anyone could ever wish for! We’ll come visit, and we hope that you two will be inspired to make a cross-country trip and come to visit us in Florida! Hugs to you and Sue.
So good to hear from you on the road again. I was really chuckling (alright, guffawing) as I read about the feline adjustments. It reminded me of our former traveling mate, Woody and all the letterbox and other modifications.
We too were amazed at the beauty we found in unexpected places, like Georgia, and the kind people that we met there.
Looking forward to your next post.
Haha, the delights and challenges of kitties!!!!! It sounds like you had some similar adjustments traveling with Woody.
As you said, one of the great gifts of traveling has been finding beauty in unexpected places. Thanks for continuing to follow along on our adventures, Nancy…we love having our Ashland friends with us in spirit!
Congrats on getting back out on the road. After sitting idol for merely six weeks, we always feel like newbies, but then a day or two later, it’s life as usual. I like the new hair … you and I are sporting the same color 😁 My parents grew the most beautiful and HUGE hibiscus in northern Illinois. I bet they would grow well in FL.
Ingrid, from a recent photo I saw of you, your hair looks fabulous! I’m glad you understand about how we’re feeling being back on the road…it’s definitely an adjustment. I miss counter space, and just more space in general! At the same time, I’m really happy to be resuming our adventures. So, onward!! (And I’m going to try those hibiscus in Florida :-))
It always feels like we’re tripping over each other the first day back out on the road, so I can imagine how you felt after been stationary for so many months. I’m glad to read that Magnolia is settling in and am curious about your plan for the dreaded litter box. White Oak Pastures looks like a spot we’d enjoy, as does Hard Labor Creek SP (what a beautiful site!). I’ve only been to the airport in Atlanta, so it’d be fun to explore Georgia someday. Congrats on closing the deal on your house in OR! I had to laugh about the hibiscus. Living in San Diego for 20 years, I only knew of the tropical variety. When we moved to Nebraska, someone gifted us a Dinner Plate Hibiscus plant. It took me a while to appreciate their unique size and beauty.
Your hair looks beautiful!! Think how many hours a year you’ll save not having it colored. :)
Les, I stopped coloring my hair because I didn’t want to spend time indoors at a salon during the height of the pandemic, and now I’m so glad that I won’t have to spend time doing that ever again! I used to get so fidgety sitting in the chair for two hours, LOL!
It’s so interesting that you had a Dinner Plate Hibiscus! The arboretum in Athens is the first time I’ve ever seen one. Georgia has so many beautiful places, I know you’ll really enjoy visiting when you make a trip to the South. And you can come to visit us in north Florida. :-)
So good to hear about your travels! You found some great places not too far from Eastpoint! I’m glad you were able to get away from at least some of the FL summer heat!
Your hair looks adorable on you! You look amazing! Can’t wait to hear more soon!
Hi Barb! We’re having fun discovering new places, and as you said, not far from Eastpoint. The landscape and climate is so different just a few hours north from the coast. Getting ourselves out of town was a challenge, but I think it’s doing us good to have a change of scenery.
Thanks so much for your kind words about my hair. You know how much I love yours! Do you think our five-year-old selves could ever have imagined us with silver hair?? OX
Your locks look fabulous. And you nailed the dinner plate hibiscus. Congrats on the sale.
Thank you so much, Kathryn. As difficult as this past year-and-a-half has been, it has also brought some unexpected gifts…everything from our new home in Florida to letting my hair go to its natural color! I hope you’re doing well.
Although we’re just two hours from Northern GA, we have not taken advantage of the great camping there. We prefer Linville and Cherokee, NC, but now that you have introduced us to some campgrounds, I’m ready to do some exploring. You will love western NC–If we hadn’t just landed in Knoxville after four months, I would love to join you. Looking forward to reading about whatever you dig up…like chanterelles! Yum!
Joe, we’ll have to find out your favorite places in Linville and Cherokee. I don’t know anything about those areas. And we really want to spend more time exploring North Georgia. I didn’t expect it to be so beautiful.
Although we’ve spent time in Asheville, this is our first time in the Lake Toxaway/Brevard area. Lots of adventures to come! Hope you’re enjoying being home after your wonderful trip. If you get restless, come on down here! We’ve decided to stay into October. :-)
Better be careful what you ask for–we will be in NC in September. The “downtown” of Linville is small, charming, and famous for Christmas tree farms. There is a wonderful campground there called “Down by the River” with big, grassy sites and a lovely creek flowing through it.
Downtown Cherokee is charming as well, but a bit more touristy. Smokemont, and Deep Creek Campgrounds, both located in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, are within a few miles of Cherokee. Deep Creek has some great hiking trails. If you’re feeling lucky, Cherokee Casino is a fun place to hang out. We often call on the day of our arrival and get our rooms comped. Enjoy, we’ll be in touch!
Well, cool!!!! It would be great to see you two! I’m going to check out your suggestions. It’s so helpful to know someone who is familiar with the area. :-)
First of all, I love your hair, it looks lovely on you! I’m so glad you’re back on the road for a bit, it’s nice having a home base but it’s also nice to get out and explore new places. Not many people are lucky enough to be able to do both!
I had to laugh at Magnolia’s clean litter box obsession. Our horses had the same need to leave their “scent” in their newly cleaned stalls. It used to drive us crazy (after lots of time and effort spent making their home spotless, filling it with a nice deep layer of fluffy shavings and then standing back admiring our handiwork) but you just can’t stop a one ton beast when they need/want to “go”! They always reminded us that it was THEIR home after all and it was our job to make them comfortable.
Sue, how interesting that your horses did the same thing with their clean stalls that Magnolia does with her litter box! I never thought about her behavior as a way of marking her territory, but that makes perfect sense. And yes, apparently it is our job to make our critters comfortable, LOL! Honestly, I can’t imagine being in a stall with a one-ton beast! Magnolia only weighs about 10 pounds but she’s strong!
I appreciate your kind words about my hair and your encouragement for us getting back to our travel adventures. As you said, we’re very lucky to have a home base and the ability to travel.
Yay! Back on the road and doing allllll the fun things! I ADORE the pic of Maggie in the truck and I love that she peed on your map and you used it anyway. That is the mark of true pet lovers. Looking at the disaster, shrugging, and saying “Ah well… whatever.” :)
Looks like you found some charming towns, pretty campgrounds, and fabulous food along your route. You are back in the swing of things and it’s great to see!
As for your hair, I think it looks terrific and there’s a lot to be said for simplifying your life.
Hope you guys keep having FUN!!!
Haha, I am such a picky person, but when Maggie peed on the map all I could think of was how awful we were for not realizing that she had to go. Good thing we only needed the map for a few days, because it started to stink, LOL. Yes indeed, we do love that cat.
We’re still adjusting to our small space and the three of us are alternately snuggling and elbowing each other out of the way. It’s worth it for all the fun things, as you said! Thanks for the encouragement, Laura!
I bet Magnolia is much less surprised that she’s sleeping with you :-))) She’s so adorable I would expect nothing else. Love her conversation with Eric at the table! The little farm market looks perfect. Eating at a pharmacy is unique in itself, glad you found scrumptious meals to enjoy. So wonderful to see you back on the road. Your hair looks wonderful!
Jodee, now that I think about it, Magnolia is probably not surprised at all that she’s sleeping with us! The house rules have pretty much gone out the window in the trailer. About the only thing she’s not allowed to do is get on the kitchen counter, which is only about three feet of space, including the sink. Other than that, she has free run of the place. It’s mostly all good being back on the road, and we’re looking forward to lots of adventures as we settle into the journey!
Your post always make me smile-thank you!
Aww, thanks, Rosemarie! I’m so happy to hear from you! I was wondering what you guys were up to. I just went and checked out your blog and it looks like you’ve been having lots of great adventures. I signed up again, because I wasn’t receiving notifications. Happy travels!
Haha! My cat did the same thing with her litter box. Good to see that you are on the road again and that Magnolia is taking to it well (despite the map mishap). We are traveling again too, although not with a trailer. It’s nice to be out and about again. Have fun and stay safe.
Janis, that is so interesting that your cat also had that same curious litter box behavior! We just thought Magnolia was obsessed, LOL. She’s actually doing extremely well adjusting to an entirely different life than she was accustomed to at home in Eastpoint. Basically, she’s getting us trained.
I’m so glad you’re traveling! I can’t wait to read about your adventures. Have a wonderful time!
Have you considered changing the name of your blog? Magnolia is quickly taking center stage but is not featured in the title or the header. Just sayin’.
Glad to hear that you guys are getting back into the groove of travel and finding cool spots — both with cool temps and fun to visit. Bring a hibiscus home with you when you return. You can definitely grow them here!
Shannon, maybe the blog should now be “Raven, Chickadee, and The Cat!” Life has unfolded in so many unexpected ways over the past couple of years. We certainly never thought we would be getting a cat, at least not until we stopped traveling. But here we are, muddling through as usual!
We’re happy that we decided to go ahead with this little trip to ease us back into RVing. And we’re also appreciating everything that our home base offers, including you guys right across the bridge! I know you’ll be happy to take off next summer. Meanwhile, enjoy those turtles and we’ll see you in October!
So happy to hear that Magnolia is adapting to trailer life. Dealing with the litter box in a small space is always a challenge.
We spent a lot of time in the north Georgia mountains when we lived in Pensacola. Such a beautiful area!
Hope tropical storm Fred doesn’t affect your house. At least you have already evacuated!
Gayle, if you have any suggestions for places to visit in North Georgia, please let me know. I certainly didn’t expect the beauty we found there, and the interesting little towns.
We’re watching Fred, and apparently it’s heading directly for Eastpoint…and then on to Asheville. So we’re going to get a LOT of rain here, too. I guess the three of us are going to be cooped up for a day or two—along with the litter box. Definitely not the best part of living with a kitty. But she’s worth it!
I love that Magnolia appears to be settling into a good traveling mode. She looks like such a great cat! The litter box thing in a small space is always challenging, curious to see what you decide to do. My Jeremy was exactly the same about a clean litterbox, he loved it! Would do the same whenever we cleaned it. I am sending you a photo of our solution, but yours may be more creative. This worked for us, keeping the mess to a minimum, with instant scooping when potty time happened. Still, the whole idea has kept Mo from letting me get another cat. Probably Ok since I know there will never be another Jeremy. Your travels through Georgia look very enticing, love the green and the lack of huge crowds that we seem to have out west. Reading about Sherry’s travels in Vermont and New Hampshire also seem to indicate a lack of huge crowds, as do the writings of Chris and Cherie as they travel through Georgia and the Carolinas. Looks like good times. Looking forward to more.
Sue, we feel lucky that Magnolia is such a sweet and fun kitty! But traveling with a cat definitely changes things a bit for us. We don’t want to leave her alone all day long because she’s still young and needs playtime. The litterbox is the most obnoxious part of having a cat, though, as you know. I’m interested to see your solution!
After watching the drought and wildfire devastation the past decade in Oregon, we certainly appreciate the lush greenery and abundant rainfall in Florida and now, North Carolina. We’ve not been encountering big crowds here, although I suspect that will change when we do some hiking along the Blue Ridge Parkway trails.
Did you bring the impossible pet pen (ha!) with you? If so, has it been useful? I hope your litterbox plan doesn’t involve cutting a hole in an RV wall or floor. Eric, if you’re reading this, don’t let her talk you into it!!
I think lack of overall air space, not fridge space, is what would concern me about pickled quail eggs :D
I can’t believe you guys left at 5 p.m. — that had me rolling!!! Good thing you only had a few hours to go, and I can see why you wouldn’t have wanted to miss that meaty campground.
Joodie, I’d seriously forgotten just how danged much work it takes to pack up and get out of town! The packing and unpacking of the trailer was one of the things that tipped us over the edge into full timing in the first place.
Anyhoo, we made it. And yes, the impossible pet pen is set up (no problem setting it up…it’s the folding it back up that is ridiculous!). It gives us a good option for airing out Magnolia, LOL. And YES my litter box idea involves some cutting! But not in the floor or wall. :-) And the cute little quail eggs are delicious on salads and not stinky.
Ha, I didn’t mean the quail eggs were stinky, I meant their results can be!
Hahaha!!! So far, no problem…I’m always more concerned about the effects of beans on someone in this trailer (no names, to protect the guilty).
Good grief do you have a following. One day and I’m late for the party which already has two dozen people. I think you guys lead a charmed life. A gorgeous kitty follows you home. You close on your house in Oregon on the road. You find a basketful of chanterelle mushrooms almost in your own backyard.(chanterelles?? WHAT?). You just happen to be in a little town with a restaurant that serves one of the best meals you’ve had on all your years on the road and it had fabulous presentation (IMO), Whatever you are doing, you are doing it right.
Though I’m not sure I could do an afternoon in the heat even to see plate size hibiscus.
Good for you for dumping the hair color. It looks great natural. I did it years ago and it has really made my life easier which I love.
Sherry, thanks for all of your encouragement! It’s good to focus on the positives in a year-and-a-half that has been immensely challenging. I know you understand.
We’ve always enjoyed our travels and the many adventures that appear along the way. We’re really happy that we chose North Carolina for our first foray back into RVing. It’s not too far from home, but a true change of scenery and climate. It’s also good for us to not be moving every few days to give the three of us time to adjust. Staying in one place has definitely simplified our travels, and giving up low-lighting my hair has simplified my life!
It always seems to take a week or so getting back into the road tripping and camping groove after a hiatus. Especially during these times. Like you, we’re vaccinated but continue to mask up any time we are indoors or if we can’t social distance. When dining out, our preference is outdoors when possible. We found that going to restaurants during off hours made for fewer people and we felt much safer when we had to take a table indoors. Doesn’t seem to be fair that we have to continue to follow public health measures because so many can’t seem to understand that their stand against vaccines and masks hurts not just themselves but others as well. But it is what it is and we do what we can to keep ourselves safe.
Hard Labor looks like a great place to camp … if I can ever get Mui to cross the Mississippi to explore the eastern seaboard states. I love your backyard.
The silver hair looks good … welcome to the club. I used to add lo-lites to my hair because I went grey early and went entirely natural when we retired.
It’s definitely taking us some time to smooth out the rough edges in our traveling lifestyle, Erin. Part of it is that we haven’t traveled in 18 months, part of it is having our new crew member along, and a big part is the pandemic.
The uncertainty that has arisen with the Delta variant (and others arising) has made us wary of doing things that we would ordinarily enjoy in our travels. We’re happy that we’re able to hike—but we’re staying away from crowds. And we’re happy that we’re able to try out some wonderful restaurants, but only when we can be seated outdoors. It’s a sorry state of affairs that the people who won’t get vaccinated are also the least likely to wear masks. It’s a selfish point of view, to say the least.
Like you, I had gray hair early and low lighted it for decades! I’m so glad to be done with that.
Laurel ,Eric and Magnolia – So glad to hear you are out on the road again. Those cooking photos look delicious. Like you, we “camp to eat” and enjoy finding specialties along the way. It’s been about 100 degrees all week, several of them it was 105 here in Portland. No fun without air conditioning. Tomorrow morning we leave for 10 days on Lopez where cooler temps prevail. We’ll miss you on Spencer Spit and will say hello to the birds for you. Safe travels and good eating! – Tom & Georgina
Thanks, dear Tom and Georgina! We’re going to miss seeing you guys on Lopez Island. How fun that you’re on the way! You chose a perfect time to go to the island with the temps in Portland in the triple digits. That’s just crazy! Who would ever have thought you would need air conditioning in Portland? Summers were always idyllic there.
Have a wonderful time on Lopez and say ‘hello’ to our mutual friends. We have such great memories of sharing gourmet meals with you and playing music around the campfire! Big hugs to you both!
Interesting you are back on the road again, but hard to imagine you’re not coming back to Ashland eventually (whenever that is). We (Dave Cornell and I) will still check in to your wonderful posts and photos. Dave says you should visit Penland School of Crafts near Spruce Pine, North Carolina. He was a resident there in a “different life” in about 1969. Fun to see how you have accommodated your new feline family member.
It’s really hard for us to grasp that we’re not coming back to live in Ashland, JoAnne. As you can imagine, it was a very difficult decision. We still love Ashland and our community of wonderful friends…we just don’t like living with the drought and wildfires. We’ll see how this turns out living in Florida!
Thanks so much for the suggestion to visit the Penland School of Crafts. It’s almost 100 miles from here, so I don’t know if we’ll make it this time, but I’ll remember it for a future trip. Hope you both are doing well! Knowing you, I’m sure you’re having all kinds of wonderful adventures. Thanks for continuing along with us in our travels and other escapades. :-)
Wow, you are really fortunate to have that trick to get Magnolia to go before you drive! When we travel with Rosie in the car these days she is really out of practice and tends to spend the entire trip inside the litter box!
Looks like you are having lots of fun in some beautiful places.
Lisa, after Magnolia peed on the Georgia map we put a small litter box in the backseat (a plastic dishpan, actually). But she didn’t use it as a litter box. Like Rosie, she got in the box and stayed there. She looked so pathetic! And then we came up with the idea of using her obsession with her litter box to our advantage, LOL. Cats are so weird! And so wonderful! :-)
Your Arizona summer monsoons have made everything so beautifully lush and green! I’ll bet you’re thrilled!
Cats are such interesting creatures that most definitely have their own ideas. We had a cat when we made the decision to fulltime. The litter box was the biggest problem. But, the decision was made for us when Baxter had to put to sleep prior to our departure. While I was heartbroken, it was a blessing for our travels. Your Magnolia stories and photos are such fun to read and see. Sounds like everyone has settled into a nice routine:) Magnolia has you well trained!!
It does get much easier to take that second trip. The first trip take time to understand how to pack and move things to the RV. We use the laundry basket and our reusable grocery bags. I also bring my food storage baskets from the MH in to the house to unpack and repack. I makes it much easier to get the pantry items moved. Luckily, we aren’t into a lot of clothing so moving our clothes is the simpliest. We just take everything, which isn’t much since neither of us shops. We can now pack and unpack in less than two hours. You’ll have it down to a science for the next trip!
Looks like some very neat, quaint stops on your way to NC. Can’t wait to see what you find there.
Pam, I’m impressed that it only takes you two hours to pack/unpack your motorhome for a long trip! It was SUCH an ordeal for us to prepare for this trip.
Usually, the trailer has all of its own pots and pans/kitchen utensils/dinnerware/towels/sheets/etc. And then all we do is load food and clothing. But I had unpacked everything when we moved into the house. You are so organized! I like the laundry basket idea for transporting things. I probably made hundreds of trips back and forth from the house to the trailer, LOL.
I know you love cats, just as we do. We all know that traveling with them is less than ideal, mostly because of the annoying litter box. Magnolia is such a sweetie, though, that she’s worth the trouble. (But I have plans for that litter box!)
First of all, although I have only known you via the Internet, I am going to say that I love your hair! I noticed it right away and I think it is darling and looks fabulous on you. That was one good thing to come out of the pandemic!
Secondly, the adventures with Magnolia are so cute. We traveled to JAPAN with our doggie. Hours in a car, hotel rooms, airplane rides…it was so challenging. But…I couldn’t imagine being without our beloved hound dog. You are so kind to give your kitty the space and grace necessary to adjust. She is happier with you guys than without – I am sure of it.
Lastly, I love the little market/store. I am a huge salsa and popcorn freak and I make it a habit to find those cute markets in search of these things. It looks like you guys are off to a great start. Be safe you two!
Aww, thanks, Vivian! I’m still getting used to my hair. It was a casualty of the pandemic, and I probably wouldn’t have stopped coloring it if I hadn’t wanted to avoid hair salons for a year and a half.
That is amazing that you traveled to Japan with your dog! I’m assuming that was Junior? I loved your story about him on your blog! He must have been quite a character. I think you’re right that Magnolia is happier with us than without us. But she didn’t know the lifestyle she was signing up for when she adopted us, LOL.
I love browsing around little general stores/farmers markets, too. There’s always something delicious that calls my name!
We love the Brevard area. We were interpretive hosts at The Cradle of Forestry in America one year. We only used our a/c 2 times the whole 5 months we were there. Brevard has a beautiful farmers market. One of our favorite places was Braken Mountain Bakery. Chocolate Coconut scones are so delicious I dream about them. We just finished our 2 months volunteer gig at St Joseph Penninsula State Park. We enjoyed it but won’t miss the bugs! After a few days back home to regroup we head to Pennsylvania. We are looking forward to getting out of Florida also.
Cindy, that is so cool that you were interpretive hosts at The Cradle of Forestry. You must know this area really well! We went to the Farmers’ Market last week and loved it, and also got some goodies from the Bracken Mountain Bakery. But I must return to get a chocolate coconut scone!
If you have other suggestions in the area I would love to hear them. It sounds like we enjoy similar things. :-) We’ve been having a great time exploring. There are so many waterfalls, and trails, and cool little towns.
I’m glad you had a good time at St. Joe but I’m sure you’re ready to get out of the heat. Safe travels!
Ride the little bicycle trail in Brevard to Oskar Blues Brewery.
However I am betting you already have!
I saw my first Yellow billed Cuckoo
On that trail.
Also Food Matters is a nice organic grocery.
You’re right, we rode the bicycle trail…but visiting the brewery is still on our list! And Food Matters is a great grocery store! We restocked there (and at the farmers’ market) and were surprised at how much they have to offer and their fair prices.
My friend Connie runs the Piscah visitor center now. We hiked together while we were there. She knows the area very well and can tell you some good waterfall hikes that are lesser known so not as busy. So many beautiful views!
Oh cool! We’ve been doing a lot of hiking and it would be great to get some insider information on the waterfall hikes. Thank you so much for your suggestions, Cindy. Let us know if you’re going to be coming through Eastpoint/Apalachicola…we would love to meet up with you.
As always I’m late to the party, but I am excited for your back on the road tales. I think that Maggie will now be the star of the blog, such a cute and smart kitty! Love that pic of her as Eric’s navigator she looked so intense!
At least the sometime useful internet has given you a dinner plate hibiscus, ha ha ha.
I am still shy about leaving my hair uncolored, perhaps one day I will be brave enough.
MonaLiza, you’re never too late! I always love hearing from you. Even though there are challenges traveling with a pet, Maggie is such a sweet kitty. And she’s a very good navigator, haha!! We’re settling in to our traveling life and we’re happy that we decided to make this trip and get ourselves used to traveling again.
If you ever decide to not color your hair, I’m betting it would look great. But you look beautiful whatever you do!
Darn – Infostructure tagged your email as spam so I’m just now seeing this because I actually logged into their server while searching for mail that I knew was missing. Glad I did though! It’s always such a pleasure to read your blog!!!! And wow, you’re back on the road with Kitty Mag. Love those photos of her!
Congrats on closing on the sale of your Ashland home. Lately I’ve been perusing Zillow listings as I contemplate making changes in where we live. My sister-is-law has been considering the San Juans (probably Friday Harbor) for 5 years now. You’re ole summer stomping grounds, eh? And today I found myself looking at listings in Bellingham. I don’t know what I’m doing but I’ve finally informed my husband that we may want to think about letting go of our rental property and eventually our home….which means leaving a piece of hearts behind. I can’t imagine leaving here, but then I’m sure you didn’t either and look where you are now!
Thanks for posting and traveling and sharing your life. Big hugs to you and Eric and Magnolia.
Oh, I’m so glad to hear from you, Janet! I’m sorry our blog is going to your junk mail. Sometimes our blog goes to my junk mail, too, lol. I’m glad you unearthed it.
It’s a huge decision to even consider leaving Ashland, isn’t it? So many of us who chose Ashland did so because it was such an idyllic place to call home. It really has everything that we love in a town, including a wonderful community of friends. It was very difficult for us to let go of our home…but as you know, the unrelenting drought and the increased risk of wildfires pushed us into the decision.
I’m not surprised that you’re thinking of moving further north. Bellingham is lovely, and we also love the San Juan Islands (although probably wouldn’t live there year round). We’ve thought about Sequim for the future…your earlier-in-life hometown! Maybe we’ll all end up somewhere in that area one of these days! Hugs to you, too, my friend.
Laurel, I love your cat tales. Sweet Magnolia is one smart cookie – peeing on the map! ‘Ha, I’ll show them’! We love north Georgia, so many interesting places and things to do. That arboretum is pretty amazing. Didn’t realize Hibuscus grew that far north. We have tons of them in South Florida, but I’ve never seen one that bit. Glad you got a little taste of GA on your way to NC.
So many positives in this post – I’m smiling for you guys. Enjoy
Thanks for checking in on us, Suzanne! We’re loving our time in North Carolina and the three of us are settling in to sharing a small space, haha. Kind of like you guys settling in to your new living situation, right?
I’d love to hear about your favorite places in North Georgia. It was such a surprise for us to discover how beautiful it is, and how cool the little (and big) towns are. We really liked Athens and are planning to return to explore more than just the botanical garden—although I would also return just for that. I hope you two are doing well.