My Heart is a Big Red Dot

February 24th, 2014

We have met a lot of colorful people and characters since we’ve been on the road. Often, I remember them much more vividly than the places. During a conversation about quilting tonight, I was brought back to one of our early adventures in the camper. It was the one where we tried our hand at “stealth boondocking” for the first time. I think it was this day.

Being in central FL, we decided to head to the beach and stay the night in a nearby neighborhood. We drove around for a couple of hours and never found a place we felt comfortable staying overnight. Finally, and way late a night, we just pulled into a Lowes parking lot. I heard every car that drove by that night. We expected to be rousted at any minute. Thankfully, it never happened.

All that is still in my mind somewhere, but what really stuck out the most was our first real interaction with another traveler. While having the hardest time trying to maneuver the camper in the extremely full, tiny beach parking lot, we saw a woman with a trailer so small it was hard to believe she could lay down in it. On it’s side, in plastic roadside marquee letters, it read “My Heart is a Big Red Dot”.

The woman, who was a bit forward for this conservative southern girl, beckoned us and told us of her travels. She said that, as she goes from place to place, she helps people deal with the grief of a passed loved one by helping them make a quilt from said loved one’s clothing. I must admit, I found it odd.

Her camper was dubbed “The Mantra Trailer”. She asked us what our mantras were. She told us that she had a recording studio inside of the trailer where she records people speaking their mantras. She invited us in. We declined. Apparently we weren’t the only ones. Later I found her blog and, it seems that she hadn’t had much luck with getting Floridians to open up and come inside.

I think back to that day and who I was. The road has really changed my perception of things and people.

mantratrailer


This image is from her blog. You can see the cab over of our camper behind her trailer. Her trailer had a recent someone’s mantra on it.

On the nature of campgrounds

July 7th, 2008

We just finished up a week long stay at a commercial campground with Jenn’s family. The entire week was a blast. There was good food, good company and plenty of kids to keep things interesting. However, after spending the prior month in the middle of the national forests, we had a bit of culture shock coming back into ‘the city’.

It started as we came into Pigeon Forge, which is about as big a tourist trap as Myrtle Beach. Six lanes of traffic, giant signs on both sides of the street and lots of useless shops and attractions. Thankfully, we got out of the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg areas and back into the National Park lands for the last few miles.

However, as soon as we arrived at the campground, we ran into the owner who quizzed us about pets and whether or not we were planning to ride our moped in the campground. She then pointed us at the site we were to occupy; it was, in fact, next to the creek, but the creek was very low. It was also thirty feet from the entrance to the campground and as close as you can get to the road. At least, we had three sites together, so that we only backed the truck camper in halfway, turned around the pop-up camper on one side with the class A on the other and had the creek to form the fourth ‘wall’ of the compound.

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When animals attack!

June 8th, 2008

We’re currently about eight miles from even a small town in the Smoky Mountains. Believe it or not, we’ve managed to completely escape ubiquitous cellular service. We’re heading into Highlands every few days to check voice mail and email, but we’re spending more time hiking, reading and relaxing than hanging out on the internet.

Until we get some of our latest pictures ready for perusal, I’ll leave you with some goofiness from the Myrtle Beach area. There was quite an array of giant animals attacking everything from buildings to vehicles in the Myrtle Beach-Surfside area.

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The only thing between Columbia and hell is a screen door.

June 6th, 2008

We have finally left Myrtle Beach. We stayed a lot longer than we had anticipated. Staying longer gave us a chance to order and mount a new front hitch for the scooter. But, after 2 days of 100+ degree heat indexes, it was time to go!

We had planned to head to the smokies where we hope it is cooler. We didn’t quite make it that far. Since we didn’t get out of Myrtle Beach until the late afternoon, we wouldn’t have made it until well after dark. We are not big fans of trying to find a boondock spot in the dark. So, we stopped over in Columbia and met up with Johnny’s brother, Bear. He took us to a Bluegrass show at El Burrito in Five Points. They were pretty good, would have been better if there was a banjo, but still very good. After the beer ran out, the college kids all left, and we were able to hear the music. We had a great time. It also reminded me that we need to make plans to hit the Bluegrass Festival in Yeehaw Junction, FL this winter.

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How many MPG does YOUR house get?

May 28th, 2008

Well, our house gets about 14 mpg on flat land such as Florida. We got more in the neighborhood of 12 mpg in the Virginia and North Carolina mountains.
I know everyone has been screaming about fuel prices lately, and I’d rather not get too terribly sidetracked other than to say that in less than two weeks while we were at the Bike Rally, we watched fuel prices go up 12% across the street from us.

I know these prices probably look low to many of you, but we are currently in one of the least expensive ‘fuel zones’ according to this map over at gasbuddy.com. The last I heard, diesel prices in Mexico are about half of the prices here in South Carolina. I guess it pays to be a country that is exporting oil and have state run petroleum companies. Hopefully we’ll make it into Mexico in the next year or two and brush up on some very rusty Spanish.

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