The adventurously awesome travel blog of a woman, her dog, and a punk cat.

nomadic travel, photography, insights along the way

Gulf Shore

Just a quick video shot on my phone. Sorry about the crappy camera work. I didn’t really plan on posting it, but Buddy insisted.I made a typo in the credits. It says ” staring Buddy” instead of “starring” oh well…The next video will be better.

Update From The Road

I am currently in Summderdale Alabama, which is a small town just 20 minutes from  the Gulf Coast, and 30 minutes from Mobile. I haven’t explored much as I arrived late on Thursday, and yesterday was errands, a mountain of laundry, and just a little exploring around town. I am surprised how hilly Alabama is. I thought being close to the coast it would be rather flat like Edisto, and Charleston, SC is, but its pretty and hilly. Driving along rural routes you pass farmlands  with horses, cows and homes with goats in the front yard. In many ways this part of Alabama has ghe look and feel of New Hampsire.

One big difference I have noticed in the people I have met so far is they are more reserved, and not nearly as friendly as the people I met in South Carolina. I found this a bit surprising. It’s not that they people are not nice, they are very nice but they just don’t chat you up like they way they do in Edisto. I guess I had just gotten used to that.

The campground is a Granny and Grampy campground, but it’s ok, because I don’t plan on hanging around much. I will say they have the best showers, and plenty of steamy hot water which is awesome! I also have the best TV reception that I have every had from my digital antenna, 31 channels, but I am in the bible belt, so half of those channels are telling me that Jesus still loves me, thanks big guy. I was able to take the camper off the truck yesterday which made me very happy. The month in Edisto the camper was on the whole time, and let me tell you it sucks having to bring the camper everywhere you go. I am looking forward to getting out today to explore by myself. Mobile looks like and interesting little city, and they have Mardi Gras too, and claim they are the be the original Mardi Gras not New Orleans. I love Buddy and Phoenix, but they are two of the neediest pets ever, and being with them 24/ 7 is a bit much especially in such a small space. I need a little alone time, so I am heading into Mobile tonight with my camera.

My thoughts on the RV life and travel at this point… I am really glad that I am making this journey. It’s surprising how content I can be in such a small space most of the time, and my camper is super cozy. There are moments when the smallness makes me nuts, but overall I am pretty content. Homesickness creeps in, and then back out again… I am missing the snow, and the New England accent. Southern accents get on my nerves after awhile, and I like snow what can I say… but I still am having fun, so I will keep calm and RV on. In fact I am already dreaming on a newer and bigger truck camper. Little things like clean sheets on the bed are a huge comfort thing now, so laundry services at the campgrounds are essential, as are bathrooms and showers. Finding familiar stores like Whole Foods, or Trader Joe’s is also a huge comfort. Buddy is much calmer and seems to almost be enjoying the traveling to different spots now. His favorite spot so far was Edisto for sure, so many sights and scents, and a quiet beach to run on. My favorite places where Asheville, NC, and Edisto Island, Charleston, not so much snobby and expensive as hell. It’s pretty, but the snobby vibe kind of ruins it. Where to from here? Most likely New Orleans if I can find a sight. If not I will probably head to Austin , TX, but not before exploring Mobile and the gulf coast with my camera.

A Bit Of Southern History

South Carolina is rich in history with many interesting places to see, which I have only just begun to explore. The beauty of the low country is as captivating as it is mysterious, and a bit dark at times. Much this areas history is rooted in plantations and slave trade, and few places I visited I could only stay for a few minutes because the energy of the sites were so dark. One such place is the Chapel of Ease, Saint Helena Island, SC. The building of the chapel commenced in about 1740 using Tabby construction. Tabby is a form of concrete made from lime, sand and oyster shells. The area was once heavily populated by Native Americans, who ate oysters by the boatload it leaving their shells heaped in great piles around the island. Oyster shells don’t decompose rapidly making them an abundant it was resource for this type of building material.

The chapel served the plantation population well until they received news of a union soldiers invasion in 1861, the church never regained its stature. Some stories relate that union soldiers used it for services during the war, as well as northerners who came to the area after the war to educate and train the former slave population. The chapel was destroyed by a fire in 1886. The shell of the chapel still stands today, and walking around the property is a bit creepy . I had a huge knot in my stomach the whole time I was there. It is said to be one of the most haunted sites in South Carolina. Stories range from sightings, to hearing names beings called out in the woods. Another story surrounds the vault, built as the resting place for Edgar Fripp and his wife Eliza, prominent island residents.

Chappel Ease1-2

The vault, which is still in pretty good condition and standing on the property today . Apparently it was opened by union solders hoping to find treasures during The Civil War, and left open for many years. At some point it was decided to brick up the entrance. According to the story, workmen did a journeyman’s job of sealing the vault, only to return the following day to find the bricks removed and neatly stacked beside the vault . Convinced that the supernatural was afoot, in part aided by police assurances that no one had been in the area the previous night long enough to complete such a task, the job remained unfinished. Today the vault is empty, the door half-sealed by bricks, and one finds the experience of looking into its vacant is more than a bit unsettling to say the least.

Apparently, there is another spot just up the street which is quite haunted called the hanging tree. It is at this sight where where runaway slaves were hung, while other slaves were forced to watch as a warning. I didn’t feel the need to visit the sight. This is such a sad part of American History. According to the story if you find yourself here after dark, and park beneath its branches, turn off your headlamps and wait for the Land’s End light. It begins in the distance like a single headlight coming down the road towards you, but as it grows closer you realize it’s much larger and not nearly as bright. Some say as it speeds by it leaves you charged with static electricity. Proponents of the supernatural insist it is the spirits of the souls hung in the tree, others claim it is the spirit of a confederate solder. No one agrees on what the cause for the light might be, though it’s pretty much agreed upon that the light is real, and even somewhat reliable. Some even claim the light appears every night.

I want to leave you with a more positive piece of South Carolina’s history, and a sport which I really enjoyed spending some time. The Angel Oak Tree is a massive, and I mean massive Live Oak which stand 65 feet tall, and whose branches stretch out in all directions. According to my neighbor here when she was a kid you could climb on it, but sadly the tree became victim to graffiti and the bark of this beautiful tree was carved into. At some point the city took it over, gated the tree off and overtime the tree healed from the damage. To be in the presence of this tree is nothing short of amazing. You just want to run up and hug it because it gives off such an amazing energy. It is unclear exactly how old the tree is. Some sources claim it is over 1,500 years old, others say it dates back to Columbus. I read that attempts to “officially” age the tree have been unsuccessful. Regardless of the age it is really worth the visit. So …I will leave you on this note. I have more exploring to do in South Carolina, so there will likely be another post, before I head to my next destination, which it TBD

Love, Lois Buddy, and Phoenix

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Carolina

I’ve been in South Carolina, Edisto Beach State Park for almost a week now, and I have done a lot of nothing. Edisto is very isolated which is a good and bad thing. The laid back pace of the Island just makes you want to relax and spend time strolling the beach; which is really beautiful, or just relax at the campground and kick back with a book. My site is surrounded by palm trees, and the beach is a quick 30 second walk. It hasn’t been exactly beach weather, but that fine with me. It’s still warmer than home. I am able to get enough channels on the T.V. using my digital antenna.  I was really surprised at how many channels it picks up, and how clear they are. I was able to watch the Golden Globes last night which made me very happy. The campground staff could not be more friendly and helpful. The other campers are pretty great too. Most people are   or travels like me. There are a few people from Maine, and one couple from NH, so I still have a bit of the New England accent around to make me feel at home. The locals are quite nice too. I had an issue with a tire, and the guy at the hardware store went way out of his way to help me. Another couple saw I was traveling alone and gave me their number just incase I got in trouble and needed help. This sort of thing would never happen in Boston!

There are a few downsides to Edisto. As I mentioned, it’s pretty isolated, and your choice of food shopping is BI-LO. They have beige tomatoes, and wilted vegetables at BI-LO. I bought some, but they just made me sad… I am probably a bit spoiled as I’m used to having Trader Joe’s, or Whole Foods which never carry beige tomatoes. All is not lost though as a Whole Foods, Harris Tweeter; which is sort of like Whole Foods, and a Trader Joe’s all in Charleston. Charleston is about an hour away, so I will combine weekly shopping with some exploring.

I have explored a bit. I went to Botany Bay the other day, which is an old Plantation turn state park. The live oak lined roads are very pretty, but for me the highlight

is the beach area which is covered with shells that look like they have been there forever. It is also home to drift wood and just been taking long walks with Buddy worn trees that also look like they have been there forever. It was tempting to take some shells home, but there are signs that say $450.00 fine per shell if caught with them, same for drift wood… I’m not sure of the reason for this, but I decided not to chance it. Otherwise I have just been taking long walks with Buddy. I am here for three more weeks, so there is plenty of time to explore, and I have gotten a few suggestions from the locals of paces to see. Today I am off for a bike ride. Life is tough:)

A New Year Already….

New Years Eve came up quick! I love New Years Eve, not so much for the drinking and all that goes along with that, but a little can be fun:)  To me,  the new year is a blank slate, a time to put forth the energy that you hope will manifest throughout the year. For me, its also a time to let go and decide what things are important to carry with me, and what things no longer serve me, and so they need to go… I have some reflecting to do tonight, as I always do this time of year.

My travels,  have not gone as I thought they would thus far, but  they have taught me the importance  of traveling light physically  as well as metaphorically.  I have also learned the importance of going with the flow. There are places I planned to visit, but  due to El nino and the weird weather patterns  my plans may need to change .In the spirit of staying flexible, I plan to  follow the good weather, and see where  leads me. This could be interesting… maybe even more interesting than my original plans.

I am wishing a happy and healthy  new year for all friends and family both near and far. Travel light everyone:)

Love, Lois, Buddy & Phoenix

 

 

And We’re Off…

I spent the past month in a rental house in South Portland, and its going to be to tough to leave.  Being home and reconnecting with friends and family pulls at the heart strings, and as comfortable as my little camper is it can’t compare to the comforts of a home.  I think it will be an adjustment  going  back into the camper, but we will adjust  to life on the road again.

I am heading out probably on Thursday heading for  New Orleans, LA. I am very excited to see New Orleans and there is a very affordable RV park just a few miles outside the city. From there  I may head to South San Pandre Island, TX. That is almost in Mexico. I thought about traveling into Mexico, but since I am traveling solo, I thought better of that.  From the Texas coast I am heading to Austin, TX.  Austin sounds like my kind of town lots to see and do , and their motto is “Keep Austin Weird”, meaning artsy and anything goes.  Sounds like fun to me!

With the El Nino winter all these destinations might be subject to change, but its a tentative plan. My new obsession is checking the weather and reading maps.  I hope to be in New Mexico or Arizona for February. I would also love to go to Utah, but I will have to wait to see how the weather plays out. At this point I plan on being back in New England in the Spring.  Portland has a pretty strong pull for me. I don’t know at this point if I will put down roots when I return,  or if I will just spend the spring and summer here and then travel again. we’ll see….

Bye for now:) I will post again later next week!

A Maine Holiday

I’m back…Just a short break from my travels to take care of a few things, like renewing my license which I forgot to do before I left.  I renewed on line the last time, so this time it was a visit to the RMV in person. If you don’t have an AAA membership,  go immediately and buy one;  you can thank me later 🙂 Members can now renew their license including eye exams, and many other RMV transactions at select AAA offices. The day I renewed my license I was in and out in 5 minutes. I practically danced out of there!

I’m  sharing a rental house in Maine, not the one in the photos, ha ha.. I am using my  the time here to reconnect with friends and family, and make a plan for my winter destination. At this point I am leaning towards wintering in New Mexico, but I have also been reading about St. George, Utah. Apparently they enjoy mild temps all winter and cooler nights. St. George close to Zion National Park , and I would love to explore that, so we’ll see….For now I am enjoying  the comforts of a house,  and the beauty of the place I love, Maine. I plan to be here until Christmas, and then weather permitting I will head back out. fingers crossed:) Here some of my favorite shots form my journey thus far.  Happy Holidays!

Love,

Lois, Phoenix, and Buddy

Asheville

The city of artist, wanderers, and others. Asheville is a great small city with a peaceful vibe. The best way to describe it it North Hampton, MA, meets Harvard Square. It is a very eclectic city, and almost everyone you meet is from somewhere else. A few people I met while I was there came as tourist and stayed. There is a feeling of home that seems to resonate with just about everyone in Asheville. I left a piece of my hear there for sure…I didn’t get to shoot as much as I would have liked due to some pretty nasty weather, and my anxious dog, but here are a few of my favorite shots.

 

Glitches….

Well….I booked extra time in Wilmington, so I could explore. Then it rained and rained and rained…there were issues getting the camper back on the truck due to the slope of my site, and Buddy’s anxiety has made it impossible to do much. He nearly caused an accident by diving under my legs while I was driving yesterday. I am a little disappointed to say the least in this past week, but I made some new friends here, so hopefully we will keep in touch.

I am heading for Asheville, Nc this morning and expecting things to turn around….I didn’t get to shoot much all and not night city shots which I really wanted to get, but what can you do…Wilmington is on my list of places that I may hunker down for the winter, so we’ll see…The downtown area of Wilmington is very quaint. There are lots of little shops and restaurants, and bars. The buildings has a distinct southern look to them. There are two colleges so The area remains lively through the the year. There is a riverboat cruise along the Cape Fear River, and a river walk as well. The people of Wilmington ate friendly and helpful. I will say the southern accent gets a bit annoying after awhile…a little regional oddity I’ve noticed is when you you say thank you no one says Your welcome the just say mm-hum. It’s not a big deal just something funny I noticed. I will post more again in a few days bye for now!

Week two, full time RVing

I just passed my two weeks in the Truck Camper full time. It really feels like I have been gone a month or more. Here are my initial thought on full time travel. In terms of the truck camper, I love the ease of traveling with it; although if I fixate on the fact that I am hauling a 3000 pound box it can, and does freak me out. I have become the annoying person who drives too slow, but again, I’m hauling a 3000 pound box, so give a girl a break. The scariest, and most beautiful part of the journey so far has been the mountains of West Virginia, OK and maybe that road in up sate New York!

The camper set up is working out great, although two days of rain has it feeling a bit small…sunshine and warm temps are in the forecast for tomorrow, yay. The camper has a ton of storage, and am even using one of the storage areas for Phoenix’s’ litter box, out of sight out of mind. In terms of housekeeping, it amazes me that in five minutes the camper can become a hot mess, but then in five minutes it can be functionally clean again, so there you go. The annoying this about the truck caper are tiny sink, so I am constantly doing dishes. The oven cooks a bit too well, and if I forget to take the batteries out of the smoke alarm it goes of sending Buddy into a frenzy of terror thing he needs to rescue himself, and me every time….every single time…I have now put a sticky note on the hood of the vet to remind myself to take the batteries out, and one to remind me to put them back in. Making the bed is a PIA, mostly because Buddy either refuses to move, so I am trying to work around him, or of I do manage to kick him off he is immediately trying to jump back up. Speaking of the bed, I invested in a mattress topper, worth every penny! The thing I thought dealing with the black tank, and sewer hose would bother me q is really not a big deal. That shocks me as I was kind of dreading it…

Campground life is not bad either. I have been blessed with friendly and helpful neighbors at every stop. Phoenix has been a big the hit wherever we go. I put his harness on him, and let him out on the lead. He will spends\hours watching bugs, rolling around, and making friends. The place I am staying this week is mostly full- time travelers. I had a lovely conversation this morning with a couple from California who have been traveling sine July. We’ve bonded over “newbie” RV mistakes, like the time I realized I wasn’t close enough to the sewer hook up, so I pulled forward, and backed up to try and get a bit closer, and in doing so backed over my sewer hose crushing it. There I stood in the dark, staring at the pulverized sewer hose.  Luckily the campground sold them, so I was able to replace it right away. We talked about writing a book newbie Rving for dummies…

I think I am going to hang around in the Wilmington, NC area for the next few weeks. The campground is reasonable, showers have awesome water pressure, free cable, and you can even get mail here. No fire pits which is really weird for a campground, but unless things change, I will be here until I head home briefly for Thanksgiving.

Bye for now:)