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.

We Are Still Floridians

May 20th, 2011

Highlands Hammock, FL

Highlands Hammock State Park

I posted the following in response to the comments I received on My You’ve Got Mail post. I decided to make a post out of it, in addition to the comment, as it will most likely get lost otherwise.

Wow! Seems like, if you are going to get a South Dakota address, MyDakotaAddress is the way to go. Not a negative review in the bunch. Thanks to everyone for your feedback.

After running all of the numbers, we have decided to remain Florida residents. For us, it all boils down to the points noted below. We calculated the following figures using American Home Base as our Florida address and MyDakotaAddress as the South Dakota address.

  • It turns out that our $1000ish a year auto/camper (Florida) insurance would only be reduced by about $80 a year in SD. Not the 1/2 price reduction everyone else experienced

  • Our registration would go down significantly. It is currently $185/yr in Florida. It would be $75/year in South Dakota.

  • We would have to find a new health insurance provider. Humana doesn’t do business in Madison, SD. None of the comparable plans that with providers that do service in that area were any cheaper than our current ones.

  • Our mail service, while HIGHLY recommended, would cost us $36 more per year.

  • We would have to travel to Madision, SD sometime within the next year.

So as of right now, the $230 savings are not worth the hassle nor the 1400 mile trip from our current location to Madison. If/when we do pass through South Dakota, we will most likely make the move.

Thanks again to everyone for your input. I am sure this post will be helpful to others in the future as they contemplate making the same choices.

You’ve Got Mail

April 26th, 2011


An unusual mailbox in Miami, FL
I have always been a resident of Florida. I had always planned to be. That is, until I realized how much I could really be saving as a resident of South Dakota. Turns out, my car/house insurance could be cut in half. Neither Florida nor SD have state income tax or yearly vehicle inspections so that’s a wash, but it would cost half as much to register my truck each year in SD. Unfortunately, all the stuff we heard about health insurance being cheaper doesn’t seem to hold true. The prices were comparable to our current plans in Florida (which btw have gone up 50% in the last three year w/o any claims.).

We have been pretty happy with our current mail forwarding service. They are only $15/mo for up to five mailings a month whether they are scheduled or on demand. They discard all junk mail and only send us items that are first class or higher. We can also call and see what mail they have for us at any time of day. We are bit leery of switching to another. As far as I know, there are seven mail forwarding services to chose from. So, now we get to the true point of this post: Are any of our readers residents of South Dakota? Do any of you have experiences or opinions on the mail forwarding/residency services in South Dakota.

Rained out and loving it.

June 22nd, 2008

Well, its a another rainy day; which is good, because the streams are pretty low here. But today, I’d planned to finally finish up that hide that I have been carrying around with me. A year ago, I fleshed it out and mostly worked it soft while I was at Rivercane Rendezvous.

pisgah-rainy

I didn’t mess with it again until we were out of our stick and brick home. At that time, I pulled it out of the freezer and finished the softening stage. I couldn’t make a fire to smoke it at that campsite. So, I put the hide back in a bag and stuffed it into outside storage.

Since we are talking about staying in this great campsite until my family gathering at the beginning of the month, I thought it would be a great time to finish the hide. So, yesterday, I gathered up some rotten wood to smoke with, some nice (fallen) trees to make a tripod, and started sewing up the hide. Johnny was so excited about the prospect of not having to smell my brain tanned hide when he opened that compartment anymore that he offered to erect the tripod. Such a nice guy. Thanks hun! Nice work.

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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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