Wednesday, November 30, 2011

From the ridiculous to the sublime

Finally, just two days before Thanksgiving, I found a garage that would let me stay on board while they did the repairs. I really had no other option--finding a motel, renting a car, figuring out how to move RV, car, cat & me from place to place became a headache I could not work out.  Not to mention the expense.  The brake job took all of two days--and a huge chunk of money--to complete. The free night in the garage helped a little.

Sigh Me and I slept in the RV in this great metal building--all alone and just a wee bit scared.  Do you have any idea how much noise a metal building makes when it is cooling?  The owners of the garage--a very nice couple--reassured me that the doors were all locked and there were cameras everywhere so I was not to worry.  "But whatever you do," they said,  "Don't touch the doors!  The silent alarm will bring the police right away!"  So if I should be attacked by a big burly man with a fu manchu mustache and a skull & crossbones tattoo--then I'm reaching for a door!

I woke up at midnight, 1 AM, 2 AM, 3 AM and finally got up at 4 AM and crept outside the RV to take these pictures.  Even Sigh Me was spooked--she stayed curled up next to me all night.
But, Hooray!  I now have a really good set of brakes!

Craig Waterman--These pictures are for you and thank you so much for suggesting Santa Rosa Beach.
This area of the Florida Peninsula is so beautiful.  The sand is blindingly white and as fine as sugar.

Late Wednesday afternoon I pulled away from the auto garage, stopped in a local fish market and picked up a shrimp salad and a loaf of French bread for Thanksgiving dinner, then drove to  Fort Pickens campground on Santa Rosa island just before dark. As luck would have it they still had a space available for the following two nights.  I did not realize how many people would be out in their RV's over the holiday weekend and most campgrounds were full.

The water sparkled an emerald green.   And the beaches are so expansive they feel almost deserted.

Okay!  There were 'no-see-ums' in the sand--so paradise isn't perfect.

Gulf Shores and Foley, Alabama

I am back to the Gulf again and checking out the tacky side of life....
There are no end to the T-shirt stores.
I don't know what these guys sell....maybe they just took a wrong turn in the Gulf.

Anyway it is a great place to stop and check the map for a place to spend the night.

Enough, already!
The Gulf Shores National Park is absolutely beautiful.  The barrier islands are easy to reach with a choice of many bridges from the mainland to the islands.

The day was overcast and slightly chilly so there were no sunbathers on the beach--I had it all to myself!

I parked for lunch then took a short nap while listening to the occasional gull and the waves lap the shore.  If I get any more relaxed I will just float away.

I drove into Foley for dinner and cousin, Jamie, recommended this restaurant.  I trust Jamie to know the best restaurants from coast to coast.  Besides--my maiden name is Lambert.

But any restaurant whose motto is "Home of throwed rolls--four generations and throwing" is a curiosity worth checking out.

And they really do 'throw rolls'!  That young man with the oven mitt on his hand came out of the kitchen shouting "anyone want a hot roll?"  When hands would go up in the air he would lob the most delicious hot and fluffy roll you can imagine right to your eager hand. I tried to catch one in motion with my camera but too many people were jumping up in the way.

Can you tell I'm having a ball?  Besides the delicious rolls I took home a doggy bag that was enough for the next two meals.

Foley, Alabama is a small town but the flowers and decorations were lovely.  The following pictures are for you Aunt Pauline....

As I was driving through Alabama I began to notice a scraping sound whenever I touched the brakes.  Before long the scraping was joined by a thunk, thunk that just kept getting louder.  I started looking for a mechanic but they were all way too busy or unwilling to take on a big job right before Thanksgiving. I avoided the freeways and downtown Mobile for fear the brakes would quit altogether--but I was getting desperate.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Life on board Halcyon II

A friend recently asked that I show a little more from the inside of Halcyon II.  So here you are, Sharleen.

It is morning and there is a soft motor noise coming from that blanket on the bed.

Ohhh...Someone raised a shade!

Ugh!  I hate mornings.

Sigh Me usually has her own bed but when it is very cold she insists on getting under the cover with me.
The view from our rear window was beautiful with the sun coming through the fall colors.

Cooking is actually pretty easy.  I have learned to keep it simple and try to fix only one thing at a time.
I have a microwave, toaster oven, two burner gas stove and a slow-cooker, plus a refrigerator.  Counter tops slide out from the cupboards and give me lots of prep surface.

Now, don't cringe!  Those white containers are kitty litter jugs with the tops cut off.  And of course they were well washed out--besides the kitty litter that was in them was not used kitty litter.  I removed all the staples from their original containers, put them in ziplock bags and packed them into the jugs.  What is in each jug is on that slip of paper on the front so I don't have to dig through each one to find anything.  Last night I made a chocolate cake with no problem finding all the ingredients. I also can trim the litter jugs to fit the shelf they are on.  This works so well that I recommend getting a cat if you don't have one already just so you will have some jugs.

Ron made this spice rack for me.  If you look at the picture up above you will see how nicely this is hidden when not in use.

Well, this looks like a disaster--but it's not.  This table folds back behind the driver's seat when we are underway but works as additional counter space when I'm cooking.  It is also a great place to sit and work on the blog. The passenger seat revolves around pretty easily but I leave it like this most of the time and just lower the back when I'm driving so I can see out of the side window.

This particular morning outside of Vicksburg is where I am parked.

I am all by myself here--It is too cold today for people to be out hiking or camping.  And it looks like rain. I don't mind a bit.  The gas heater in the RV works like a charm.  I also have an electric heater when electricity is available.

This scenery makes morning walks easy and interesting.

These pictures are for Aunt Pauline--I couldn't find any flowers blooming.

Finally, I am back on the road again.  Cane fields have given way to cotton fields.  Sorry this picture is so blurry--it's what you get when you try to drive and take pictures too.

From Alexandria to Vicksburg

Aunt Pauline and mega-cat, Talon, taking their afternoon nap....
I couldn't resist this photo--besides it shows another of Aunt Pauline's great quilts.

I spent a night out at Uncle Joe's place and saw the leaves changing.  I really am beginning to feel the winter coming on.  We had two nights in a row of 31 degrees.  I was planning to go north into Arkansas and Missouri but it is already freezing up there.  I decided it is not wise to take the chance of freezing all the pipes in my little house.

Uncle Joe with his great grandson, Jake.

This little guy was sure proud of his muscles.

With Louisiana in my rearview window I spied the Mississippi River bridge at Vicksburg.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Departing Louisiana

It was finally time to say 'Goodbye' to cousins, Jamie and Linda.  They have been wonderful to me in every way.  The best part of all is that I really got to know Jamie better.  When we were growing up he fit in as one of the 'younger pesky ones'--like my little sister, Mary, or cousin, Cheri. He had his buddies and mostly they kept their distance from the girls.  And Jamie was only twelve when I got married and moved away so our relationship has been from a distance ever since.  Living in this RV and having the time to really spend with family is so valuable--and Jamie, you are my example.  I've seen you lovingly watch over your grandchildren, saw you preen over your airplanes, listened to you tell wonderful tales of Louisiana, your friends and your in-laws, and witnessed a really caring relationship with your wife.  I thank you both for sharing all of that with me.  But look out!  Now all the other cousins know what great hosts you are and they may start appearing in your driveway en masse.  If that happens then just jump in your RV and join me somewhere along the way.

While heading north one last time to say 'Goodbye' to  Aunt Pauline and Tinker,  Uncle Joe and Aunt Doris,  I spied this sugar cane processing plant.  For you Yankees the above picture also shows the sugar cane in two stages--the taller is ready for harvest to go to the plant and the newer crop will be ready next year.
That is a mountain of chopped sugar cane in the background--waiting to be loaded on trucks to go to the mill.  It looks like bamboo when it is growing but when cut & chewed it is distinctly sweet.

It is loaded onto the conveyor belt to begin the cooking process of conversion into cane sugar, molasses and cane syrup.  Yum!

I am camped for the night on this little bayou near False River.  This may be my last bayou as I head further north towards Vicksburg, Miss.

When I see a tiny deserted house like this I always wonder at the history  the family that lived here went through.

I stopped for a haircut--sorry to subject you guys to this picture but .....I'll try to stick to pretty scenery from here on out.

Erica was the person that cut my hair.  She was such a lovely young lady I just had to show her handiwork.