Hopefully we have finished finding the little things we think we ‘need’. It feels like we have. I write this while looking over at the little palm in its pot, placed right next to the little lamp, both of which I felt we had to have. I always have my reasons (also read as justifications). But that’s the human way.
There has been an ongoing trickle of purchases for things like cleaning supplies, an occasional tool, a new squeegee with extender handle, and compostable Nespresso pods for the best purchase I ever made…a Nespresso machine. We have become very fond of our morning café Americano in our Yeti cups. The dogs like it too, because after coffee it’s their playtime at a beach or dog park.
We’ve settled into our second camp ground in Florida on the outskirts of St. Augustine. It’s a small camp ground with only 45 sites that takes all of 5 minutes to walk around. We have full hookups and access to a little laundry room. At first, I thought we wouldn’t like it in this spot, which was concerning since we had booked for 12 days. Although we have plenty of greenery in the form of tropical vegetation all around us, the traffic noise from Route 1 is constant and close (it’s literally right behind the shrubbery), but even that has faded into white noise. And we have settled in, set up the dog fencing, laid down the carpeting outside, and finally, with warmer weather on the way, have put out two camp chairs…ooh, big event, I know.
There has also been discovering what we can do without. I removed the small table that was attached to the floor and sat nestled into the L-shaped seating area. Reclaiming that floor space felt luxurious! I removed the cushioned backs from the L-shaped seating area and now the cushioned benches are WAY more comfy with a good 3 inches of seat cushion exposed the whole way around. I bought a couple of scatter cushions that are far more practical. I stored the cushion backs on the overhead bed over the driver’s and passenger’s seats. Also, with Alice sleeping on the couch at night, her dog bed was unused and taking up space, so it found its way up onto the overhead bed too. We have a fold up bamboo table for using outside. It can be coffee table height or standard height. When we want a table inside the RV we just use that, and we prefer it because it’s got so much more surface area to spread out on than the original nestled table I removed. So…the next trip will begin with us taking a few things out the RV before we load up.
The location here is perfect in that we are 12 minutes away from good friends and our all-time favorite dog park, 15 minutes away from beautiful Crescent Beach, and 20 minutes away from super dog-friendly St. Augustine. We also have trails within 5 minutes of our current home.
The dogs have been all over with us, including touring The Fountain of Youth and the landing site of Ponce De Leon. Alice is thrilled that there are so many people to pay attention to her, and Charlie, despite his anxiety with too much noise or activity around him, has shown confidence and flexibility when we least expected it. But he also has a limit, so we monitor him for the right time to return to the RV…usually when he starts trying to bolt at the sound of a car or a musician playing on the street. We are grateful that it often coincides with opening our eating windows (we are intermittent fasters), or if he holds out longer, with snacks and wine.
RV’ing has also made us aware of how we use resources. With gray and black water holding tanks that require dumping every few days, we have become acutely aware of how much waste and water we contribute/use every day. I haven’t often been cognizant of how much water is wasted by letting the shower run the entire time I am showering or brushing my teeth. And with only one medium sized garbage can, we are more aware than ever of how much garbage we generate. Even physical space has become something to pay attention to. If I were to bend over in the shower, I would hit my head on the wall before I made it 30 degrees. Hence the long waiting periods between shaving my legs…oh wait…there were long waits anyway. Hah!
Traveling with dogs has its own set of challenges. Sometimes it’s a hassle because going out to a restaurant for a meal would require finding a dog sitter, and so far we haven’t pursued that avenue. The daily dog activities like finding trails, beaches and dog parks is beneficial in that part of each day is taken up being outdoors and active, something we enjoy. We tour and visit places with poop bags, collapsible dog bowls, bottles of water and dog treats. It’s exactly like traveling with toddlers. In our time on the road we have been blessed by dog friendly family and friends. Our dogs have now visited 3 different homes, 2 of which had a dog. They did well and were excited to explore new places, but not without a mishap along the way. Last night we went to the home of friends to watch the Super Bowl. (Mind you we haven’t been invited to anyone’s home on Super Bowl Sunday since before we were married, so we were pretty excited ourselves.) Anyway, within 15 minutes of arriving Charlie had fallen into the unheated hot tub and escaped the enclosed lanai to run around on the neighbor’s lawn. For most of the rest of the evening Alice was begging for attention from anyone who looked in her direction, desperately hoping someone would invite her onto the furniture. But she survived just fine lying on the luxurious carpet. We are SO grateful for our dog friendly friends!
One evening we sat at the table with our Atlas open and iPad travel apps blazing, getting a rough idea of where we head to next and how long before we get to Arizona. This is a very big country!! We are appreciating that in new ways. With a rough itinerary sketched out, it looks as though we will be getting to Tucson at the end of February, where we plan to spend a bit of time. Along the way we will visit Gulf Islands National Seashore in Florida, Big Bend National Park in Texas and White Sands National Park in New Mexico. There will be other places too…those are the ones we have pinned for sure. And while our original plan was to travel as far north as Seattle, time constraints will likely have us turning around in wine country, just north of San Fransisco. Not to worry, we can soothe our disappointment with wine.
So, time moves on and we become more familiar with the details of RV’ing. We feel very much at home. I look around at the things that we have surrounded ourselves with; the palm, the lamp, the Mexican blankets, and the quilt from home. At a glance it would seem that these things make the space our home, but if you sit quietly in the space, you realize that those items are the outward expression of the home within us.
Travel on…home travels well.