Saturday, September 28, 2013

Miami is SICK!

Noel was feeling somewhat better, so we got a few hours of driving in.  The weather was terrible and we saw quite a few accidents, including someone pulling a trailer similar to ours.  We got off the highway near a town called Mimms, and found a small campground called Crystal Lake.  It was small, but looked clean and the owner, Wendy, was a sweetheart.  She and her sister recently purchased the place and were making improvements and renovations.  She made us feel welcome and we parked under a small orange tree and called it home for the night. 

To my delight, there was a sandhill crane just walking around the campground and didn't fly away when I got close to take a picture.  Wendy said he hangs around the campground daily (she named him Joey) and loves to be fed bread.  So I fed him a slice of bread and he took it right out of my hand.  (I know, I know, bread is bad for wildlife, but come on, when do you get to see a sandhill crane up close??)

The following day we finished our trek to Miami and made our way to a KOA in Davie, Florida.  What a dump!  The hookups were on the wrong side, the grass needed mowed and was full of sand fleas (which my feet and ankles are still itching like crazy from), the shower house ready to fall in.  We unhooked, but the more we looked around, the more we said we just couldn't stay there, so we hooked back up and were pulling out of the drive.  KOA can keep our $44 deposit and their sand fleas.  The campgrounds in and around Miami are pretty slim pickin's - guess most snow birds avoid Miami, and rightfully so. (the traffic here is RIDICULOUS!)  I found a place called "Paradise Island RV Resort" about 20 miles up the road, so Noel drove there.  This place is no paradise and no island, but the showers are clean, the pool is nice and the price is reasonable.  Home it is.

So now Noel is feeling better, but still have some intestinal issues (Kaopectate cocktail anyone?) and I have a terrible sore throat.  We did get to see Jason and his girlfriend for dinner (a great place called Rosie's Bar and Grill).  Mostly we've been resting and drinking Nyquil.  We were excited to find that the library is less than a mile from our "paradise island" [sarcasm], but for a non-resident of Broward County they charge $50!!  We were so disappointed because we've both been reading a lot, and I can't seem to get the Dayton MetroLibrary's website to work with this wifi, so I can't even get more books for my Kindle!

I was sitting outside today (napping) when I was awakened by a lot of squawking.  A flock of about 50 birds (I thought they were parrots) were in the tree just outside the trailer.  How fun!  Turns out they are Blue Crowned Conures!  (by the way if you click on any of the pictures in this blog, it will make them bigger)  There were at least 50 of them! 

Also, when we were tearing down in Savannah, Noel saw this adorable frog!  He was only about an inch long and blended in with the sand so well he was really well concealed.  Noel said he was up on our water hookup pipe.  Awwww - I wuv him!

I also went to SuperKutz for a haircut.  It looks a bit like it was cut by Edward Scissorhands and its WAY too short, but at least it's out of my eyes and it will be cooler.  The humidity here certainly lives up to what they say about Florida - yikes!

Tomorrow is Jason's day off and we have plans to go to the beach with he and Katie.  Saltwater is supposed to be good for a sore throat, right?  Here's hoping!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Historic Savannah

Friday brought us down to Savannah, Georgia.  This was a place I wanted to make sure we visited, because anyone that I've known to visit Savannah has raved about it.  We arrived to the Savannah South, KOA in the late afternoon, so I took some time to stretch out in the pool and took a walk around the campground.  There is a large lake on the grounds, with lots of geese and swans, and its nicely shaded, which is good, because its very hot here.

The weekend forecast was sunny on Saturday and rain Sunday, so Saturday we drove to Tybee Island.  We had a hard time finding parking, but at last found some metered parking on a side street not far from the beach access.  There were the typical beach houses, vacation rental homes with board walks out to the beach.

 The water was much less turbulent and the perfect temperature, so it took me no time at all to kick off my shoes and head for the water.  Noel was a little slower to get in, so when I looked back to see if he was following me, he was still only ankle deep.  I waved, he waved.  I got into a conversation with some local kids, so in a few minutes I looked back to the beach to see if Noel was making progress in getting into the water.  He was walking back to the truck.

I stayed in the water a while and then made my way back to the beach to bask in the sun.  I had received a text from Noel.  "Something stung me on the top of my foot.  Hurts like hell.  I'm fine in the truck.  Take your time".  Only Noel could be stung by what we later figured must have been a jellyfish after two minutes in the water.  When we were in Hawaii, he had taken 5 steps into the water and stepped on a sea urchin.  I'm beginning to understand why he's not a beach person.

I on the other hand, had a great time soaking up some sunshine and breathing in the salt air.  Afterwards we had an overpriced, mediocre lunch in one of the tourist trap bars while catching the outrageous score of the OSU Buckeyes!  O-H

On the drive home we stopped at a National Historic Site called Ft. Pulaski.  It was built during the American Revolution and last used during the Civil War.  It was very well preserved, and the craftsmanship to build it was amazing.  It was quite educational...


 There was even a zombie pigeon!

Sunday we drove into Savannah and took the Old Towne Trolley Tour through the historic district.  It was a well narrated tour that you could get on and off of, giving us time to explore things we wanted to see more close up.  Like Paula Deen's restaurant, Lady & Sons.  We had the lunch buffet for $15.95 and the food was very good, but nothing so special that I would go back.  It was typical southern fare - fried chicken, collard greens, creamed corn, lima beans, fried cornbread, etc.

Maybe we should have eaten at "Anna's"...
 The homes were beautiful - the architecture true artwork, but what really made the area special were the 22 "squares" that Savannah is famous for, and the gorgeous live oak trees dripping with moss.

My favorite was the John the Bapist Church....
By the time we got back, Noel wasn't feeling well and we were both really tired.  By 10 pm, Noel was feeling really bad, and by midnight we knew he obviously had the flu.  He was too sick to drive today, so I caught up on laundry and housekeeping and we both slept and rested all day.  Hopefully he'll be well enough to drive tomorrow and we should be seeing my darling baby boy, Jason, by the end of the week.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Traveling with Fibromyalgia

Several of my fibro buddies on FB have asked me how I'm faring under the stress of traveling and not being in my usual "home".  To them I say - its been a bit of a struggle at times, but anything is possible when you are a stubborn Hungarian!

Before we left on this trip, I purchased a memory foam mattress topper and a pillow top mattress topper and added them to the top of the mattress in the camper, which is a good Serta.

I brought my walker along, as well as a cane.  When in large places that require a lot of standing around, like at the Holocaust Museum, we rented a wheelchair and Noel pushed me, or I scooted along using my legs, but remained sitting down.

I have a "bed buddy", one of those "bean bag" type things that you can heat in the microwave.  I also have a heating pad and ice packs.  I use earplugs at night if its noisy, and a sleep mask to block out light if its too bright.

In the truck, Noel covered the passenger seat with a 1/2" memory foam pad, so that has really helped provide extra cushion, and I have a small pillow in there that I use to pad any pressure points, like my elbow on the arm rest.

We've tried to stagger the days so we drive one day, do a quiet activity like the pool or the beach one day, then an active day, so I always have time to recover from the active days.

When I know we are going to do a lot of walking on concrete, I wear my Z-Coil shoes, which really take a lot of the pressure off my back.  If we are hiking, I wear my gym shoes.

My pain management doctor would not prescribe the pain patches I am on for more than three months at a time (called Butrans), so for months I have been using them for 8 days instead of 7 so that I have an extra supply to take me out for several months.  When I run out, I will try to go without them, but if I find I can't, I guess I'll either have to find a local doctor, or fly back to Ohio for a few days.

I also can take Norco (like Vicoden) for breakthrough pain, and I certainly have needed it more than usual since being on this trip.

So all in all, its been manageable, and there have been a few times that we cut a day short or missed some of the things I had wanted to see or do because I was either too exhausted, had too much pain, or both.

Any questions?  I'm happy to share my tips of RV living with chronic pain, RV living in general, fibromyalgia in general, or whatever else you want to ask!

Planes, Trains and Spiders

Wilmington, South Carolina is an awesome city!  It was really scenic, with lots of interesting history dating as far back as the Revolutionary War, great old buildings and homes, plantations, water, beaches and much more.  It is definitely going on the list of possible places to settle down and buy a home. 

We stayed at Lake Aire Campground, which is not going on the list of places to go back to.  It wasn't awful, but the nearby train tracks were noisy, the grass was that prickly, burr filled grass with fire ants everywhere, and knowing that this GIANT spider was only a few feet away from where we were camped made me a bit nervous!  It was over 5"!  I googled it later and found it is a Golden Orb Weaver spider - not poisonous, but has a painful bite!  I'll bet it does!

In the morning, we did enjoy the different songbirds, which at least was more pleasant than a yappy dog and the blasted train, or the fighter jets we dealt with in Virginia.  Even if it was at the butt-crack of dawn!
We drove into Charleston and visited the Boone Plantation.  The drive up to the house was called "The Avenue of Oaks" and it was lined with gorgeous Live Oaks, dripping with moss.  It was this same driveway of Oaks that were used in the filming of "Gone with the Wind".  Simply stunning!
The house was no longer the original that had been built in the late 1700s; it had burnt down and replaced with a farm house type structure, but then when the property was sold sometime in the early 1900s, this house was built, but they used much of the old lumber, molding and chandeliers.  No pictures were allowed to be taken inside, but trust me, it was gorgeous! 
The slave houses provided for the "house" slaves were in front of the property, and each structure had an audio recording about slave history.  It was very educational.  There was also a demonstration of basket making, made from sweet grass, and this craft has a strong tie to the area and the Gullah culture/people, descendants of slaves that remain in the lowland South Carolina/Georgia area.

Row of Slave houses, all original

The front of one of them
Beautifully made sweet grass baskets
The plantation used to be a rice plantation, it is still a working farm.  There were beautiful gardens, butterflies and gorgeous old trees.
Lots of butterflies here, and everywhere we look in South Carolina
One of the trees here has been alive over 600 years!

Noel strolling the gardens before the house tour

From there we headed to downtown Charleston.  We visited the City Market, much like Dayton's 2nd Street Market.   It was a bit more flea market than the market in Dayton, but there was tons of jewelry, and you know that didn't make me unhappy!  There were beautiful fountains, interesting architecture and things to discover around every corner - including a bead store! :)

That pretty much wiped me out for the day, so I followed Doctor Noel's orders and took some pain medication and went to bed before the sun went down!  Next stop: Savannah, Georgia

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wilmington, North Carolina

Tonight we are in Wilmington, North Carolina.  We arrived Sunday evening, after a rather long day driving.  We drove US 17, rather than the interstate.  It took a little longer, but we drove through small towns and were able to stop in various places along the way. 

We stopped at the Great Dismal Swamp State Park, a continuation of the national wildlife area by the same name in Virginia.  We took a walk along the boardwalk, and I took this cool picture of the still water, where its hard to distinguish where the water ends and where the sky begins.


In Wilmington, we are staying at a small KOA.  Wilmington looks like a pretty cool town.  It's population is 108,000, but there is lots of history here and lots of great old homes and buildings.  Along the Cape Fear River, that runs through "downtown", there is a lovely boardwalk with various shops, restaurants and fishing tours.  There is a huge old cotton mill that has been turned into a shopping area, with unique little boutiques and coffee shops.  I even came across a bead store! Yea!

We found a cool used book store where we spent some time, and they had this cool, "literary jukebox".  We had to get a picture of it to share with all the library folks!

We spent 4 or 5 hours downtown, and we must be starting to think of the trailer as "home", because by 4 pm, Noel was asleep on the couch and by 4:30, I was in my pjs!  I guess we're ready for the early, early bird specials!

Today was a BEACH day!  We drove to Carolina Beach - while they advertise a boardwalk and shops, the boardwalk was just that - a walkway made of boards.  But there - in all its glory - was the gorgeous Atlantic Ocean! 

It was a gorgeous, sunny day, but it was also quite windy.  The surf was rough, with 6-7 foot waves and the wind was blowing the sand so hard that is was like having mother nature's dermabrasion - but it was a beach - and I was staying!  Noel's not much of a beach fan, so he went for a stroll and to read in the truck while I was getting my fix of sunshine and surf, but after about 2 hours - I had pretty much been sandblasted all over and even had sand in my ears, so now we are tucked in back at the trailer and preparing to head to South Carolina in the morning.