Sidelined For Now…

We have had an incredible year. Since our last post, we’ve been dealing with health issues that have prevented us from traveling as we’d hoped to do.  Most of our trips have been to doctors and hospitals, although, thankfully, we have had a few opportunities to spend time–happy time–with friends, enjoying great meals, or seeing movies we’ve enjoyed, or spending a great New Year’s Eve out with friends, or just “hanging out” at home with each other.

All of that came to an end on Saturday, March 10, 2018 at approximately 8:15 a.m. when Frank’s earthly life suddenly came to an end.  It was truly unexpected.  There were no real signs.  We saw no warning.  We’d spent an incredibly wonderful evening in Tampa, FL at The Straz Center. We shared an absolutely scrumptious meal at Maestro’s Restaurant and then got to see the fabulous production of “The Color Purple”. An awesome evening.  Frank loved every minute of it.  Raved about it. He was so excited. So animated. So happy. And he talked about planning our next trip there to see “Hamilton”.  Who knew that it would be his last evening? Certainly not either one of us.

Although I am heartbroken, I am so grateful for the almost three years we had of our retirement and travel together. We saw some beautiful places. We met some extraordinary people. And we settled down in the best community ever–Travelers Rest Resort and Golf Course–for all of our neighbors not only welcomed us and immediately made us part of the family, but they have come to my aid and have been so loving and supportive during this difficult time.

It was an honor to love Frank in life. It was an honor to hold him in my arms as he transitioned quickly and smoothly from this world to the next. My memories are too many to count and they surround me with each passing minute.

Perhaps the time will come when, once again, I will be living our dream…., on the road. For now, I will remain sidelined. There are many small trips I can make. Many beautiful places still left to discover in Florida. And, he’ll be right there with me, as he continues to reside in my heart. Love never dies.

Rest eternally in peace, my love…, until we meet again.

Advertisements

Amazing Tennessee

We are in absolute awe as we continue on our journey in Tennessee. The mountains here are so beautiful and I am beyond thrilled to be able to drive through them, over them, around them, without the anxiety that I felt last year during our stay here. We’ve been blessed to travel around/through Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Cosby, Dandridge, Bristol and Lenoir City with intimate views of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains. They just take your breath away.

 

This year’s stay has been a bit rainy, and when the rain comes, it is heavy. For the first time since embracing the full-time lifestyle, we’ve had to move from a site to higher ground because of flooding at the campground. We have been safe and have had very few issues, although we are investigating some leaks that we’ve discovered. As we head back to Florida to take care of some health matters, we’ll stop off to have “Little Mama” checked out, too!

 

Because this is a holiday weekend, Soaring Eagle Campground, our current location, is totally full. There are full-timers, weekenders, singles, families, tenters abounding. Some of us are parked on “higher” ground, while others are lakeside. Storms, possibly dangerous, at times, have been predicted, but the sun is still shining, so we’re all keeping positive thoughts.

 

Our dash cam has decided to “go on strike”, so we’ve begun “negotiations”, re-reading the owner’s manual in hopes of doing some reprogramming so that we can share some of these beautiful sights with you.

 

Stay tuned….

Update….

We’re giving a very special “shout-out” to Smoky Mountain Mobile RV Repair Service”. They came out to Shadrack Campground here in Bristol, TN, and fixed the nose of our camper. Seems that there may be some water issues that opened up part of the seam leaving the possibility of water getting in-between the outside and the inside. They replaced some screws and then caulked the seam. The cost of the repair was minimal and the repair team was great–friendly as well as helpful!

There are a couple of other things going on, including some health concerns, so we’ll be heading back south to Florida when our stay here in Bristol concludes at the end of the week. Hopefully, once we get some things taken care of, we’ll be back on the road, headed north, again, to see our family and friends.

As usual, stay tuned….

So, Here’s What’s New…

In my last post, I talked about the issue of my anxiety, being debilitated by a panic attack and my desire to “return to the scene of the crime” as a means of overcoming the issue.  I am happy to report that a return trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with me in the driver’s seat, proved to be a success!!! Accompanied by my husband and our friends, Chris and Cherie, I was able to drive us from Sevierville, over some winding roads and elevations, to the park.  Once there, we started the journey up the mountain, about seven miles, and took the scenic route on the Cade’s Cove Loop.  It was an absolutely amazing experience with incredible views of the mountains, as well as the historic sites in the valley.  Because it was Mother’s Day, we found many families choosing spots in the area for family picnics.  But what was best for me was the fact that I had absolutely zero anxiety while driving up and down and around the one-lane mountain road. My prayers were answered!

Further evidence for me has been our trip from Sevierville to Bristol, TN. The road we drove was parallel to the Cherokee National Forest and the park in which we are presently camped is just next to Holston Mountain. There have been no further issues and I’m really enjoying my time here, just learning how to relax.

Of course, everything cannot go perfectly in life. We woke up this morning to a very heavy rainstorm. Although brief in time, it rained enough for me to discover that we have a leak in our roof. Further, I took a look at our 5th wheel and have noticed what seems to be a slight separation on one side of the cap. We’re not sure of the cause or if there is any major significance, but we’ll wait for a mobile RV service tech to give us an idea and take it from there.

In the meantime, we’re just going to stay in “relaxation mode” and continue living our dream…., on the road.

We’re Back!!!

Interestingly, one year ago today, while in Sevierville, TN, we began a trip to Bryson City, NC to take a train sightseeing excursion. Leaving Sevierville took us, unplanned, through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, to its top. Totally unprepared for that adventure, we discovered that I have an incredible fear of heights—one that caused a full-blown panic attack. As irrational as it was, there was no convincing me that I was not going to fall off the mountain into the abyss below. Frank worked hard for the twenty minutes that it took to convince me to get out of the driver’s seat of our truck so that he could drive us back down to the bottom of the mountain. Little did we know that I would be adversely affected for the duration of the months on the road from Tennessee to Vermont and back to Florida. Any mountain, or hill for that matter, that we encountered was the cause of tremendous anxiety. We thought that it would be the end of our life on the road. It certainly caused us to rethink and subsequently cancel our plans to caravan to Alaska, at least for now. Further, it stopped me from writing and keeping up-to-date with our blog, because I just couldn’t write about the experience and anytime I wanted to write, the memory of the fear would come rushing back.

 

Well, we’re back in Sevierville, TN, and I am determined to overcome this issue. So far, things have gone pretty well. I drove through some of the area that caused an issue last year, and with the help of our friends Chris and Cherie, we drove over one of the many mountains here. Although a bit nervous, the anxiety has not yet returned. We’re actually going to do another test by returning to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in the next couple of days.

 

So…., stay tuned, my friends.

We’re Back…., On Line, That Is!

It’s hard to believe that so much time has passed since last we communicated.  So many things have happened, that, in truth, I became a bit overwhelmed.

For those of you who know me, you are aware that it’s very difficult for me to “keep still”.  If I’m not doing something,  I get “antsy” and “fidgety”. We were involved in all of our activities here at the park – Frank with his boating and pet lovers club, me with my sewing and singing – and that was great.  That kept us quite occupied until everyone at the park started getting sick with colds that turned into flu, or upper respiratory infections, or stomach viruses, or, in the case of Frank and quite a few others, pneumonia. And the “TR Crud”, which we fondly named it, just didn’t want to go away, lasting for weeks. On top of that, I began to suffer from insomnia. I just couldn’t sleep; couldn’t turn my head off at night. Couldn’t stop thinking about “stuff”. Is our house back at home ok? Is the family ok? Are things going smoothly at the school district from which I retired? Did I forget to tell anyone anything that they need to know? Is everyone doing okay without me?

Well, finally, everyone started to heal, and, finally, I was forced to learn how to rest and take it easy. After much prayer and conversations with friends here and at home, I came to the realization that none of the issues I was worrying about were in my control. My job was to be retired and enjoy my new life.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing for this past little while. Working on getting it together. We planned out a summer travel and in the next blog, you’ll hear about our first trip out. Then, you will, hopefully, be able to follow us as we continue our travels throughout the summer.

This new lifestyle still has me in awe. There are so many beautiful places to visit, and so many absolutely wonderful people to meet. Admittedly, there may still be some times when we seem to be a bit quiet. That may be because of internet issues, but it may also be due to the fact that we’re just taking a moment to take it all in.

Stay tuned for more of our adventures – living our dream – on the road.

A New Year…, A New Dynamic

Amazing! After some really fun holidays, enjoying our new home, new neighbors, a new lifestyle, we’ve begun a new year. How strange it seemed to hear and sing Christmas carols, while enjoying the warm temperatures of central Florida. Instead of pine trees, we’re looking at palm trees and citrus trees. Instead of boots and overcoats, it’s flip flops and shorts. Two years ago, we’d have said “no way”! Now it’s “what took us so long?”

As the new year rolled in, so did many of the park residents. It’s great to watch the place fill up. And it’s truly enjoyable to watch as old friends reconnect, sharing hugs and kisses as they run into each other at the post office, or the ice cream social or the morning coffee social. The more than 100 weekly activities on the calendar are now in full swing. Because we’re “newbies”,  easily identified by the red dot on our name badges, we are warmly greeted and overwhelmed with invitations to join the many clubs and activities. We’re making every effort to be “team players” while finding gracious ways to decline, when necessary, without offending anyone. If we were to say “yes”to every invitation, we’d never sleep until April when the season ends!

So far,we’re taking a digital photography class together. While Frank is now part of the Sailboat Club, the Power Boat Club, and the Car Racing Club, I’ve joined the Quilting Guild, the TR Lady Builders (preparing for a home build with Habitat for Humanity), and the Travelettes (a senior women’s choral group that brings musical entertainment to neighboring nursing homes and veterans facilities).  Not to be left out, Snowball is also becoming very well known as she gets the opportunity to run and play at least 3 times a day in our puppy park with a group of puppies as well as older dogs that have developed a friendship of their own.

We are predicting that the next few months here are going to continue to be quite entertaining as we become more and more acclimated to the park as well as to the surrounding area and all the things that are waiting for us to experience before we hit the road for our summer of exploration.  Stay tuned for there will be lots more to come.