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My Grand Adventure


Well, I've been busy and deliberately didn't post here until I had something new to say. Honestly, I've been a tad obsessed and when that happens, everything else stops, including housekeeping, writing, art, and other stuff.

What have I been obsessing about? Well, back in February I bought a little teardrop camper off Craig's List. The reason for this is that for twenty years we owned a "second home" on the coast, or lived in the mountains and commuted back here. But our married son now rents-to-own our second house in Edenton and until that purchase is confirmed I really didn't have a way to getaway for much needed R 'n R because I cannot afford vacation rentals. My corporate crisis and couples work in my home and the stress of a Mom with dementia makes regularly scheduled escapes essential for my sanity. But I cannot go far and usually cannot take a week off at a time. And with a husband who contracts as a soybean seed specialist for Monsanto and is gone most of the time six months out of the year (and prime vacation time...) I am on my own most of the time. I need salt air! I need ocean breezes!

You see the salt air gets in your blood. We'd owned a home in Morehead City for twenty years and sold it to buy the house in Edenton. We'd raised our kids there. It was my haven and writing retreat off and on between renters for years. I got used to the sounds of the surf, the smell of salt air, and the cawing of gulls wheeling in the sky overhead. I didn't realize I'd miss it so much. Without my sea "fix" I don't feel normal here in the flatlands of Johnston County, where the urban sprawl is threatening to overcome us like the kudzu along country roads. I love the community but it's not the coast or mountains for sure.

But that's another blog post.

So when I saw this camper for sale for $800.00, (exactly the amount I had saved up for a new adventure) I immediately knew I had to have it. I convinced my husband to spend a Sunday traveling to meet the owners down in Hampstead, N. C. just to make sure it was road worthy and to transfer the title. At that time I didn't know how to hook it up or drive it safely.

Thankfully we brought it home in one piece, where it sat in the yard for a few months while I waited for the spring thaw.

But it was a particularly grim winter, April before I could even get outside to work on it. In the meantime, I studied up on campgrounds and found items I needed to make the inside liveable. The Rock insisted on new tires, which he then put on (what a gem of a man!). A friend of mine who is an electrical engineer bartered with me for wiring it with electricity. Almost there!

Then I started decorating it. It took me awhile to decide how I wanted it to look. Ladybug, bee, or turtle? The shape lent itself to all three. But always the lover of miniature houses, the Hobbit stories, and whimsy I finally settled on transforming it into a little beach house complete with shutters, picket fence, and wildflower art.

The first task was to nail down the shingles, made from soft vinyl flooring bought at Roses for $20.00. I had just the right amount down to about only one foot left over. It was arduous cutting out the individual tiles and nailing them down, but the wow factor I needed. And of course, I had to put exterior oil paint on, then find the fencing at Lowe's Home Improvement. I put foam padding on the edges of the roof so that I can have shock absorption for my bright, green kayak!

My goal was to go camping for my 65th birthday, alone if I had to....I don't know, there just seemed to be something symbolic about declaring my freedom, taking care of myself, and overcoming my fears of doing things by myself. After all my husband is almost 70 and doesn't like to travel now much anyway. Who knows how long it will be before I HAVE to do things by myself. I don't want to be dependent on other people!

I didn't get the artwork finished but the basics were in place, so a few days prior to my birthday I struck out to Rodanthe, after securing a reservation at the Rodanthe Watersports and Campground site. This is a small village on the Outer Banks. You may remember the Nicholas Sparks movie shot there.

The campground cost only $25.00 a night and waterfront (the soundside) so that was the deciding factor and a jewel to be sure. And, most importantly, safe! After I explained to one of the young men working there that it was my maiden voyage and I might need some help backing in and getting set up, they promised their help. They were wonderful. I was in!

As you can see from the picture the view was breathtaking. Cool temps too, as there was a very high wind and we were on a bluff. I got settled in around 4 pm, ate the supper I packed, and enjoyed the setting sun, breathing a sigh of relief that "so far, so good" seemed to be an appropriate prayer of gratitude. That night I went to bed, rocked by the wind like a baby in the arms of angels.

Yeah, there were a few minor glitches and the first night I had to get used to the strangeness and too much adrenaline. It didn't take but a few ant bites to realize I should have immediately put the ice chest outside on the picnic table. Even if the food is packed in ice it will attract ants, but thankfully I had packed my safe, organic ant spray and caught the infestation in time. Lesson learned.

Then there were the four young boys camping in the tent next door, one with a potty mouth who seemed to want to talk about his private parts a lot. I could hear every word. But one motherly, stern word to the leader of their pea-brained pack and he was quiet the rest of my stay. Actually it was kind of funny. Anytime I was around they hung their heads in shame...;) I didn't tell them I was a marriage therapist, so I hear about private parts all of the time. ;)

Honestly, I was sad to go, but my kids had invited Rick and I to Edenton for the weekend to celebrate my birthday and Father's Day. I wish I could have stayed longer, especially after all the work of getting there. Two nights was just not long enough. But my kids fixed a wonderful dinner and then took us up to Carova for the day, another advenutre. The only way you can get to Carova is by 4-wheel drive on the beach. That sand was scary, but couldn't believe how many people were there and in the midst of it all--wild horses! I'd always wanted to see them and did!

But I have a confession to make. On the morning of my birthday I woke to two flat tires in one side of my car. I have NO idea how they got there. Thanks to my precious son who never complained a bit, he took them to a nearby farmer and used their garage to fix them. I think it was God's way of telling me not to get too full of myself. I still need a man every now and then. *grin*

But yeah, I've learned to hitch, lock, tow, and back up now along with the best of them. The comments I get about the "cuteness" and adorability factor of this little rig are so frequent I'm wondering if I should start a manufacturing business. Want one?

This week I've joined several Facebook groups dedicated to "glamping" as this seems to be all the rage. And I joined Sisters On the Fly (www.sistersonthefly.com) and the NC group on FB. We are already planning more adventures!

So the next picture you will see will be a picture of Bunny's Little Beach House completed. It makes me laugh just to think about it. Come on and go with me! All you need is your own camper or tent...

Are you smiling yet?

#camping #sisteronthefly #glamping

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