What’s The Buzz?

When I hear the word Apostle, I cannot help singing Andrew Lloyd Weber’s lyrics from Jesus Christ Superstar, “What’s the buzz, tell me what’s happening?”

The buzz at the Apostle Islands is that the fly in the ointment is back.

Arrival day was actually seamless! The drive from Baraboo to Bayfield Wisconsin was strangely pleasurable. There was minimal traffic and the highways were well maintained. No white-knuckles. Yay!

I managed to get some laundry done before heading into Bayfield. We managed a quick walk around town, but because we had Gypsy in tow, we were limited as to what we could do. We headed back to the campground and discovered that, right across the street, there was a brewery that featured live music. Because we believe in supporting local businesses, particularly pet friendly establishments, we stopped to have a beer and listen to some tunes. We are just filled with noble intentions like that…

DAY 2:

An insect, probably a spider, bit my ear. I have one ear that is twice the size of the other. It’s bright red and it itches like hell.

We have a vacuum flush toilet system in the RV. When you step on the peddle, the vacuum creates a huge WHOOSH, and voila, the bowl is emptied. I stepped on the peddle. No whoosh. No nothing. You can survive in an RV with minor mechanical issues. A non-flushing toilet is not one of them. We sought out the help of the youtube Gods, to no avail. We searched for mobile RV repair. We called the Service Department at our RV dealer. We were fairly certain that we were doomed. The RV manufacturer sent us a link to the toilet manufacturer’s product guide. I read the troubleshooting chapter and discovered that there is a fuse that governs the vacuum flush. Naturally, we did not have any extra 15 amp fuses, but we “borrowed” one from the tilting bed, and miraculously, after lots of angst, our latrine issues were solved.

So, my husband, my dog, and I (with the extra-large right ear) headed out in search of adventure and 15-amp fuses.

We found an absolutely amazing hike at Meyers Beach. I wish we could have ventured a bit further than we did, but we noticed that Gypsy’s leash was frayed and completely inadequate for a puppy who was more than willing to fling herself off the side of a cliff. To say that she was making us nervous is a bit of an understatement. We dragged her back to the trailhead safely and decided to find a dog-friendly lunch spot.

We found, in Cornucopia, WI, The Fat Radish, a Fido-Friendly, lunch spot with a live band and Lake Trout Tacos. It was a good place to decompress after spending the morning with a suicidal Labrador.

The evening was spent on a tour boat which cruised the Apostle Islands and gave us an overview of the geography and the history of the area. I am astonished by the resiliency of the people that can weather these cold climes. Fishing, quarrying brownstone and cutting lumber were profitable, and thus, brave souls settled here.

Day three was an absolutely wonderful diversion from the tourist traps. My dear friend and former coworker, Amy, and her husband Jim, purchased an acreage in nearby Port Wing, WI. They invited us to their unconventional homestead, and we immediately fell in love. The outbuildings were converted into a home that is a veritable, visionary arts museum. The outdoor space boasted multiple seating areas. The property had a magical, Zen-like quality that made it difficult to leave. I am so deeply grateful to have spent time with true, kindred spirits and to have had the opportunity to see firsthand, the fruits of their labor.

Day 4 included a ferry ride and a lunch stop at the Inn At Madeline Island. Not at all a bad way to wind down an incredible four-day stop on the journey.

Tomorrow, off to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, ya’ betcha, don’tcha know???

Stay tuned…..

Heavenly Devil’s Lake

A three night stay gives you time to decompress, to explore the surrounding area, and to avoid highway hell. It would seem that Devil’s Lake would be an odd choice for escaping Hades, but I assure you, it is not. This State Park, near Baraboo, Wisconsin is expansive, picturesque, unblemished, peaceful, AND it has ice cream!

Wisconsin Dells, the waterparks capital of the world, was just a few miles from our campsite. I love a good water slide as much as anyone, but because we were traveling with a puppy, it would have been an impractical choice for an activity. We opted, instead for a ride down the Wisconsin River, to check out the lower Dells. It was raining, but we had rain gear. Gypsy has a semi-waterproof coat and we have learned to almost welcome the smell of wet dog. Puppy Love will make you tolerant in ways you would never expect.

We found a perfectly pet-friendly boat. By the time we left the dock, the rain had begun to subside. The sun began to flirt with the clouds and soon the mist gave way to the rays of light.

The Greatest Show on Earth

In 1875, the Ringling Family settled in Baraboo, Wisconsin. In 1884, five of the seven Ringling Brothers began a traveling circus, which later merged with the Barnum and Bailey Circus, to become The Greatest Show on Earth.

The Circus World Museum, in Baraboo encompasses several blocks, and is a tribute to the era of the traveling circus.

After a day of being “Griswold” vacationers, and visiting the top tourist attractions, we needed to get back on our feet. It was time to explore the bluffs and to hike around the lake. If you have been following along, you know that I am still nursing a badly sprained ankle back to health. This was going to be a true test, as the trail included lots of rock and several elevation changes. I tightly laced up my hiking boots, grabbed my hiking poles and moved onward. It was slow going, as I was uber-aware of every footfall. I did take one, minor tumble when my boot became wedged under a crag. I sat for a moment, realized that there was no snap, crackle or pop of the already strained ligament, and thankfully, stood up without pain. I passed the test. I did not get an A+ but I was happy to get a passing grade.

Oddly, once upon a time, there was an effort to pave this entire trail with asphalt. It was an ill-conceived idea. Time and weather have eroded much of it, and tree roots have buckled it, making the footwork rather tricky. I’m not sure if this was the brainchild of the CCC. It probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but now it is a bit of an eyesore.

“Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow? And did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind?” – Robert Plant

This particular stairway to heaven had 300 rock-steps. The pattern of boulder-strewn staircases is repeated regularly throughout the hike. The ascents are actually much easier than the descents. Yes, it is a benefit if your cardiovascular health is good, but the climb was not too strenuous and well worth the minor struggle.

The topography of this gorgeous place is a gift of the ice age. Glaciers moved across this area, building mountains, carving valleys, and creating lakes.

Imagine. A stop without that pesky fly in the ointment…

He’s bound to reappear. Stay tuned…

On the Road Again….

My favorite part of each leg of the journey is the part when you pull into the next site. Most of the actual highway experience has no real appeal to me. Yes, there are some well maintained, wide-enough roads that wind through a panoramic paradise, but this is not the norm. More often, you find yourself on overcrowded highways, in work zones or on narrow, twisting country roads with no shoulder.

Room to Breathe…

After our cramped quarters in Ohio, it was a relief to pull into a generous, sequestered spot at Potato Creek State Park near South Bend, Indiana.

We traveled from Marblehead, Ohio to South Bend on I-80. Interstates, in less populated areas of the country, can offer fairly stress-free driving, UNLESS they are under construction and down to one lane for endless, endless miles.

There were orange barrels lining the highway for as far as the eye could see (and considerably further). We were shifting from left lane to right lane while squeezing between concrete jersey barriers. I hold my breath when I am wedged between walls. I had a distinctly blue pallor for many, many miles. Here is my insider stock tip for the day: Invest in a company that makes traffic cones. If Biden sells his infrastructure package, you will get rich quickly. Already, I am marveling at the number of cones that I nearly knocked over while doing the ‘Lane-Change-Lindy-Hop’ through the great state of Indiana.

Potato Creek is a large, beautiful park. It has an expansive swimming beach, a tree-lined bike trail and numerous hiking trails. We attempted a hike upon our arrival but soon discovered that we needed to reroute due to trail blockages. There had been tornadic activity in the area 24 hours prior to our appearance. Large branches and trees were down everywhere. The park rangers told us to expect chain saw noise the following day but we were up and out of there before the buzzing began.

“It’s not easy being green.”
– Kermit The Frog.

So, back on the road again. This time from South Bend, Indiana to Baraboo, Wisconsin. This particular leg of the journey included driving near Gary, Indiana and Chicago, Illinois. There are a lot of people in this area which translates into, a lot of cars and a lot of eighteen-wheelers flying down the four-lane highways, many of which are also under construction. (Buy stock in orange barrels.) Truckers own the road, and I frequently found myself, going 70-miles-per-hour with a truck on the left and a truck on the right. This creates a bit of a wind tunnel that rocks the RV and jostles the nerves. Already my knuckles were white from the death grip on the steering wheel when it became obvious that a gas stop was unavoidable.

We left the highway and entered a Mobile Station that did not have diesel fuel. The parking lot was not huge but we could carefully maneuver our way out of it, IF we entered the adjoining parking lot that clearly posted NO TRUCKS ALLOWED. So, we drove our rig into an area in which it was prohibited. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do, even if you are (only slightly ?) breaking the law. We had to reenter the highway and find another gas station, which we did, but not before having to circle through the parking lot of a private business to find the entrance. At this point, having made it to the pump, you would think that we would be relieved. Not so. If I was going to exit the gas island without side-swiping the pumps with the tow vehicle, I was going to need a wide turning berth. This was not possible because a bus was parked in a spot that was posted NO PARKING. There were no occupants and I began to panic. My husband was irritated and telling me to pull forward so that he could fill the tank. In the meantime, two burly guys in uniforms, with holstered guns, were walking towards the bus. I was afraid to move. I sensed that perhaps they were prison guards, and the bus was for inmate transport. They got in the bus and were intending to drive away, so I was waiting for them to make their move. My husband continued to be annoyed, telling me to “move forward”. I opted to stay still. My husband was angered, but those other guys had guns. I waited until they left. It was a lose-lose situation. <sigh>

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts…”– Anthony Bourdain

Ahhhh…. pulled into our site at Devil’s Lake State park near Baraboo, WI. From our cursory walk through the grounds, it appears that this will be a worthwhile stop. We have plans to visit area attractions, but may have to forego some activities due to current inclement weather. The rain shall pass, and we will resume our endeavors….

Stay tuned…

Rain, Rain, Go Away

I love scenic, spacious state park campsites. East Harbor State Park near Marblehead, Ohio, does NOT offer the site privacy that I have come to love. The sites are far from commodious and seclusion is out of the question. In fact, the crowded sites create the ‘good-ole-boy’ ambiance of a pick-up-truck, parking parade. We are packed in like sardines, as the saying goes.

However, most campers are aware that beach destination campgrounds tend to be overcrowded, so this did not come as a huge surprise. Unwelcome, but not unexpected. The park, itself is quite large. It is clean and the trails are well marked. It is situated right on Lake Erie and boasts a nice swimming beach.

The surrounding area offers a major amusement park (Cedar Point), multiple water parks, ferry rides to various islands, fishing expeditions, a safari wildlife park, boating, wineries and breweries. We opted to take a ferry to Put-In-Bay.

Don’t bring about a cloud to rain on my parade.

We explored dog-friendly options in the area, because Gypsy is the queen of our caravan. The Miller Ferry welcomed furry friends, so we opted to boat out to South Bass Island. The ride was smooth and comfortable and we were excited to explore the isle. We should have paid a bit more heed to the increasingly ominous skies.

My dear friend Lynn has remarked that we always seem to encounter that “fly in the ointment” during our adventures and she is, once again, correct. We got to the island, and for the sake of expedience, rented a golf cart. Gypsy does not always walk well on a leash. It diminishes the pleasure of the journey if you have to drag her for miles. We managed to drive through a portion of the town before it started to drizzle. Our golf cart had a roof, so we were only a little bit wet. We made it to the Commodore Perry Memorial, which commemorates his victory on Lake Erie during the war of 1812. Then, the skies opened up, pouring pails of cold water. Next came the thunder and the lightning and the wind. Now we were a LOT wet and had to seek cover.

If you’re going to be dripping wet and chilled to the bone, you might as well do it with a Margarita in your hand. This delightful spot, with a covered porch, let us take shelter. They welcomed our four-legged friend and our server (Jasmine) even gave me her jacket when she noticed my goosebumps and blue lips. We had to order a drink. It was the right thing to do. We’re conscientious like that.

When there was a break in the clouds we headed back to the RV to plan our next junket.

We started the next day with a morning trip to the dog beach. We needed to wear Gypsy out so that we could put her in her kennel for a few hours. We wanted to do some biking on the North Coast Inland Trail and our puppy still needs training wheels. She would have to forego this excursion. The dog beach was the ideal spot to tire her out. She ran into the lake, chased sticks on the sandy beach, and frolicked in the marsh grass. Other than the fact that she has an affinity for disgusting, dead fish parts it would have been a perfect morning. There is nothing quite like grappling with a dog for slimy, scaly, smelly carcasses.

We did manage a 25-mile bike ride that wound through pristine, private farm land. The path was asphalt and the grade remained fairly flat throughout. We did have to battle some strong wind gusts that pushed across the wide, open fields. The trail was lined with blackberry trees. Did you know that groundhogs like blackberries? They kept sneaking out to gobble them off the trail but would scamper as the bikes approached.

I wish I had a bit more time to explore Kelly’s Island, or perhaps go to Cedar Point, but the road trip continues .

Indiana wants me…. Stay tuned.

“Adventure is worthwhile.” – Aesop

I’ve always wanted to do this. I have always wanted to jump in a vehicle and drive across the USA. Now the time has come. I am excited but confess to being a bit apprehensive about the length of the trip. Six weeks is a long time. I feel like a kid, grasping for my security blanket, but knowing I have to leave it behind if I am going to venture out into the world.

I have been working since I was 15-years-old. I have not had this amount of time off since having summer vacations from school. I am not sure how to exercise the freedom that comes with retirement. I guess I am going to learn quickly. I suspect I will learn to love it.

We began our adventure in the rain. We had blinding downpours as we headed west through Maryland. The rain was pounding, making lots of racket but above that din we heard another loud rattle. I thought perhaps a cabinet had come open, and was slamming open and shut. It was not quite that simple.

We have this really great feature in the bunk above the cab. There is an awesome retractable window that allows you to gaze at the stars while you drift off to sleep. At least it is awesome when it is on the track, and not working its way loose. The retractable cover was dangling off the track, right above the driver’s seat. It was bouncing, bumping and barely hanging onto the track, threatening to decapitate me. My poor husband had to crawl up there and jam the thing back in. It was not perfect but it stayed in place until we could properly address it at our destination.

In spite of the rain and the malfunctioning window we made it to The Outflow Recreation Area in Confluence, PA. It is an Army Corp of Engineers campground that is located on The Great Allegheny Passage bike trail, which meanders along the Youghiogheny River and into Ohiopyle State Park. It is a must do for bike enthusiasts.

I was blessed with a visit from my sister. We walked the trail, lounged on boulders in the river, talked about old times and about what the future might bring. It was a great way to launch the voyage, and made me miss my “blankie” a little less.

Next Stop, Lake Erie.

I was looking at a map that covered the next leg of our trip, and realized that our midway point would be very close to North Lima Ohio. So, we took a very slight detour to visit my adorable, octogenarian Aunt. She reminds me so much of my mother. I could not stop hugging her and laughing with her about bygone days. It filled my heart to spend time with her.

We have arrived safely at East Harbor State Park, near Sandusky, OH.

A new adventure is on the horizon.

Stay tuned…

A June Jaunt

It was in beautiful Lum’s Pond State Park (DE) that we made a few discoveries. First, if you wrap a sprained ankle tightly, and securely lace up your hiking boots, you can actually hobble several miles without pain; slight discomfort, but no pain. We also discovered that a 3-1/2 month old Lab has more stored energy than uranium or plutonium. We were worried about a long hike being “too much” for our pup. It turns to have been an unfounded concern. Gypsy has an endless ‘get-up-and-go’ capacity. Finally, we learned that our pup’s webbed feet are in stellar working order. She can swim with the big dogs! She found herself in-over-her-head. She thrashed around, wildly waving her front paws until she settled into a paddling motion.

If you are a dog-lover, I highly recommend checking out the Dog Park at Lum’s Pond. There are long, leash-free trails, fields and beaches for the pooches to explore. I am a huge fan because I have learned that a tired puppy is a good puppy.

After placing a very tired dog into her kennel, we ventured out to explore the C & D Canal Recreational Trail. The bike trail is paved and the scenery is unbeatable. The ride is basically flat, with very few gear changes needed. You can travel between Chesapeake City, MD and Delaware City, DE. Both are charming, waterfront towns that are worth a visit.

Kayaking Janes Island

Janes Island State Park, near Crisfield, Maryland is a kayaking heaven! There are numerous, marked, water trails and a magnificent beach that can only be reached via watercraft.

We got Gypsy fitted for a life vest and plopped her down in between us in a tandem kayak. She gave me that suspicious look, the one that let’s you know that her apprehension is in high gear. She has an intrinsic distrust where we are concerned. It is not totally unwarranted. She writhed and wiggled and let out a mournful, high-pitched howl or two. She thrashed and squirmed and tried to jump overboard. Thank goodness her life preserver came equipped with a handle.

She eventually settled in between my feet and resigned herself to the inevitable.

“What do dogs do on their day off? Can’t lie around – that’s their job.” – George Carlin

This dog romped and played and jumped waves. She tangled with tall grasses and got completely covered in sand. Lying around was not on the agenda.

Those of you who follow, or on occasion, read this blog are wondering why things are going so smoothly. Our adventures are typically tales of ill fortune. Once again, you will not be let down.

Escaping the Cicadas was something we hoped to accomplish. Our back yard is swimming in those suckers.

We did not have the incessant drone of loud locust, instead we were inundated with deer flies. They bite. It hurts. Campers that walked by our site were wildly waving and gyrating like those huge, wacky, waving, inflatable, arm-flailing tube men that you see in front of tire stores.

We bathed in DEET, which only helped a little bit.

So, we thought we would leave Janes Island State Park for the day, and would hike at nearby Pocomoke River State Park…

Welcome to the tick capital of the world.

Our brilliant idea to escape the deer flies, led us to lone star tick country. Yep, somewhere along the way, Gypsy stepped into a tick nest. We were perfectly unsuspecting until we got her back to the RV. I then saw what I thought was a tick on her face. I removed it, but then saw more on her ears, and her paws, and her belly, and her tail end. I wrestled with her, and carefully removed both adult and tiny, nymph ticks. The infestation was brutal.

I felt an urgent need to shower after that ordeal, and guess who discovered multiple embedded ticks when she disrobed? Yes! Me! No good deed goes unpunished.

Gypsy now has a new, stronger, vet recommended tick medicine and Geoff (who did not escape the tick invasion) and I are taking meds for the prevention of Lymes disease. <sigh>

Stay tuned for the next debacle…


The continued misadventures of May

Trailblazer in training

Finally, an opportunity for a weekend escape! We headed to beautiful Cooper’s Rock State Park in West Virginia for a weekend of fun and frivolity with family. With Covid vaccinations completed, we rolled, unmasked, towards our next great adventure. We had big plans for turning our 3-month-old Labrador into a trail guide, which we knew would be a tad challenging since, simply taking her for a walk, entails dragging her around the neighborhood. We got Gypsy settled into her soft-sided crate for a ramble down the road. (This actually worked quite well for making her feel safe, while containing her movement.) At this juncture we were carefree, cock-eyed optimists.

Our exuberance began to fade when we approached our campsite. The one-way streets within the camping loop made it impossible to approach our site at an angle that would allow us to back in. After circling around and narrowly missing a ravine, we were able to get situated well enough that we could begin to back in. As we engaged reverse, we could feel the tow bar spear the hill behind us. It was as if our motorhome was harpooning a whale. We had to disassemble the towing mechanism in order to back in to the site. Let me rephrase that. My husband had to detach the whole mess because I had to hold on to a puppy who was having intermittent bursts of insane energy while trying to eat gravel, twigs, pinecones, weeds and insects.

It was 90 degrees outside and the pollen count was out of control. My poor husband sneezed, wheezed, coughed and continually rubbed his red eyes. He went inside to escape the heat only to discover that the brand new, under original warranty, air conditioner did not work. He continued to grapple with his allergies, and Gypsy continued to chomp on charred wood and gobble up gravel.

Almost Heaven, West Virginia.

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” – John Muir

Gypsy did extremely well on the trails but much preferred being unleashed. Fortunately, the foot traffic was light and we were able to let her run free for a while. She leapt into streams, rolled in mud, and did her best Tazmanian Devil impersonation.

She was filthy, but a tired puppy is a good puppy.

I was determined to find the best hiking trails before my sister and my daughter arrived. We were going to spend the day in the great outdoors, getting some exercise and and enjoying the elevation changes, the vistas, and all of nature’s beauty. I laced up my trail running shoes, and a mile into my run I stepped on a rock and rolled my ankle. I knew when I heard the CRACK that the end result would not be good. I limped, gingerly, back to the RV, and immediately drove to an urgent care center.

On the positive side, we now have a new AC unit and (for the time being) the warranty work on Big Bertha is complete. The injury is merely an impediment. It may temporarily slow me down, but I will not be stopped. Too many roads to travel.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost

The Gypsy Life

Our 1st hike through Tuckahoe State Park

May 9, 2021

Happy Mother’s Day.

I’m a mom, a step-mom, and a grand-mom. Now, I am a DOG-MOM. My ‘dog-ter’ is an 11-week old Labrador, aptly named Gypsy because she is being raised to be a nomad. I have visions of a loving, cooperative, camping companion. I harbor fantasies of an obedient, spirited hiking hound. We are working on it but I have to become more pragmatic about my expectations. Let’s just say we have a long way to go.

Our motorhome (Big Bertha) recently had some “bugs” worked out, and after a service hiatus at the RV dealership, is back on the road. We took her to Tuckahoe State Park on Maryland’s Eastern Shore this weekend. The campground is beautiful. All sites are wooded and offer privacy, spaciousness and easy access to trailheads. Go, if you get the opportunity.

Little Pup. Big World.

Gypsy has a voracious appetite. She would do anything for food. This is good because we have an edge in the training department. This is also BAD because she will attempt to eat ANYTHING. I had to clear our site of sticks and holly leaves before tethering her, but it was impossible to remove all of the gravel. I screeched “leave it” at least sixty times per hour, and opened her little jaw every five minutes to remove pebbles, leaves and other unidentified debris.

My fingers look like the bottom of a colander. Puppy teeth are lethal. If you see her teeth, it looks like a porcupine has taken up residence in her mouth.

So far, leash training has been a complete bust. Gypsy has a pronounced case of ADD. She is wary of cars, bicycles, lawnmowers, large dogs, blowing leaves and most people. Staying focused enough to walk 10 yards at a time is taxing. I tempt her with treats, cajole her with compliments and lead her with (mostly) gentle tugs. Okay, sometimes I semi-drag her. Naturally, I was anticipating an aggravating 1st hiking experience. Surprise! Although she had to stop to sniff every, single tree, she eagerly pranced down the trail, managing a few miles without any strain. I was relieved. Maybe we will have that hiking hound after all.

Lake Trail at Tuckahoe State Park

Weather, at least for me, sets the mood for camping adventures. If it is warm and sunny, I am happy & eager to explore. If it is cloudy and cold, I am doing my best to endure. I will bundle up and hover over a campfire. I’m a good sport.

If it’s rainy and cold, my inner, malignant spirit can be tamed with a good book, a glass of wine, or a Netflix saga. At least that used to work. Now, I am the mother of a Nipsy Gypsy.

It poured this weekend. I mean poured. Rain pelted against the camper like machine gun fire. Gypsy added to the din. When placed in her crate she began to sing herself to sleep. It was a tune that was reminiscent of a record played at the wrong speed, or fingernails on a chalkboard. Plus, she still has a baby bladder. Taking her out at midnight (and 3:30 a.m.) in the rain, with a flashlight, through puddles was painful.

All things considered, night time rain is preferable to daytime rain. Books, games and TV shows are now limited to 3-minute intervals. Bertha is big, thus her moniker. Yet, she is not big enough to play hide-the-chew-toy for a prolonged time. Good weather = sanity.

Lap Dog Enabler

We did have some intermittent breaks in the weather. Thank God.

I am determined to train this precious puppy to be a well behaved, obedient, sidekick that will share my love of exploration. My husband is intent on creating the world’s most spoiled (and largest) lap dog.

We survived our fist caravan junket with Gypsy. In two weeks, we will attempt another road warrior weekend.

Stay posted.

The return of Big Bertha

April 30, 2021

Big Bertha is back home! She is in the driveway, quickly developing a patina of pollen and amassing heaps of helicopter seeds. Although some warranty work still remains, the critical things have been taken care of. The cosmetic things will have to wait. We have some important work to do before an upcoming, short, weekend jaunt.

“Gypsies have no boundaries. They have primitive, untamed personalities and ‘that look in their eyes.”
― Karl Wiggins

If you have not, yet, had the pleasure, please meet Gypsy. We had an urge to share our love for a nomadic lifestyle with a faithful friend and hiking companion.

Gypsy is all lab. She is curious, energetic, mischievous, demanding, and the cutest ball of fur ever.

She is our love, our challenge, our entertainment, our exercise routine and our alarm clock.

In truth, we have been blessed with a pup who has proven relatively easy to train. So far. Maybe we lucked out, or maybe our planets just happen to be properly aligned at the moment.

  • We anticipated that there would be a hurdle or two in introducing Gypsy to the RV. Our housebreaking efforts have been miraculously successful. But this home has wheels, and it smells different, and there are no sliding glass doors to stare out of.
  • Introducing Gypsy to Bertha, early in the game, was necessary if we hoped to avoid messy accidents, chomped up chairs, damaged dinettes, and crunched-upon cabinetry.
  • Because we are insane, we conducted a trial run. Yes, we slept in the driveway with the dog. Our neighbors question our stability.

We believe in crate training and Gypsy already sees her crate as her happy place. So, we moved it into the RV, and voila! She settled right down and slept without hysteria, howling or havoc of any kind.

Granted, we were standing still. Next step is to actually drive the motorhome with her in it.

I envision a puppy slip-sliding-away all over the floor, feasting on the furnishings, or worse, a nipping, nomad bounding like a Jackalope into the truck cab. We are formulating plans for how to best contain her in comfort while heading down the highway.

I’ll let you know how that all works out.

We will soon both be fully vaccinated, and able to do more RV rambling. Until that time, we will busy ourselves cheering for the best ball players around…..

At idle…. 4/19/21

Biding Big Bertha’s return.

As the Redbuds bloom, and the days draw longer, I become more painfully aware that the RV is still at the dealership, undergoing repair work. Like with anything new, we are working out the ‘bugs’ and making sure that Bertha is ready for the next extended excursion.

I’ve heard that patience is a virtue. I totally lack such high-mindedness. I am ready to roll.

The devil finds work for idle hands.

— Henry David Thoreau

I’m trying to keep my hands and my mind busy. Lord knows I do not need to encourage the devil. He is ever present on my left shoulder. Restlessness defines me.

My husband and I have done tons of yardwork, including draining and cleaning the pond. Frog spawn is odious. Nothing like great gobs of gelatinous, mini-eyeballs running through your fingers. I am a guardian angel to future amphibians.

And still, we were sitting on our hands…

Retirement is an adjustment. We are both so accustomed to life’s frenetic pace that slowing down is strangely strenuous. We envisioned relaxation, volumes of good literature, leisurely strolls and outdoor adventure. What we got was excessive empty hours.

Covid-19 has interfered greatly with enjoyable outings or volunteering opportunities.

Since idle hands are the devil’s workshop, we had to find a way to make productive use of our time at home.

A puppy is the ultimate distraction. ~ Philip Rosental

Meet Gypsy, the newest member of our caravan. We now have a way to use ALL of our free time until we can get the traveling show on the road again.

A puppy will put almost anything in her mouth; shoes, mulch, rugs, drawer handles, furniture, mown grass, fly swatters, and leashes are favorites. She much prefers table legs to toys. I believe that it is entirely possible to say “no” and offer distractions 1,440 times per day.

We asked for it, and even with puppy teeth punctures, it is the best choice ever.