The End of This Chapter

It is with mixed feelings that I post today….Our travel adventure ends today. On May 20th, 2014…two years, seven months and 10 days ago, Kendra and I left Morehead City, towing a camper, headed for Texas, and into a lifestyle neither of us knew anything about…the life of a gypsy….living out of a camper, Kendra working in six different ER’s all across the country.

We have lived in Texas, Florida, California. South Carolina and in the desert of Arizona. We have been through every southern state in the US, twice. We have been to the border of Mexico, seen the redwood forests, walked the path of the Earp brothers and Doc Holiday, met life long friends, done just about everything from wading in the Pacific Ocean to getting tattoos in the southern most tattoo parlor in  Key West to riding out a hurricane in a camper ….we have done so much and been to so many places, and we did it together.  People ask if we got on each others nerves, living in a small space like a camper.  I can honestly say, no…not really. Has there been some moments?  Sure…just like any marriage.  But I believe this experience…our being together all the time, has solidified our relationship, brought us so much closer together. When you are 3000 miles from family and home, you learn to totally depend on each other and I cannot think of anyone I would have wanted to take this adventure with other than Kendra…she is my soulmate. She has truly been one that I could lean on, and did so many times.

I would love to list all the places that  we have been and everything that we have done…but it simply is not possible. What I can do is put up some pictures we have taken during the last two years and and ten months.

This has been quite the ride and I would be lying if I said I’m glad it is ending…but, the one constant thing about life is change…and this new change is necessary.  So, I close this chapter with one of my favorite quotes from Mark Twain,

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Starting out, First Assignment-Conroe Texas

Second Assignment-Bullhead City, Arizona ( and places visited while there).

Third Assignment-Ukiah/Willits, California (and surrounding places)

Fourth Assignment-San Antonio, Texas


Fifth Assignment-Daytona/Ormond Beach

Sixth Assignment-Laurinburg NC/South of the Border SC

PS….I said I was closing the door on this chapter. I think I’ll leave it open a bit…just in case…..

Until then……

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Happy Thanksgiving-Merry Christmas

Short post this time…not really much going on.  Kendra is still doing ok…but this hospital has it moments…as they all do.  She had to work Thanksgiving Day, so we left that night after she got off work and drove to our home in Morehead City.  We spent most of that time painting and turning our spare bedroom into her LuLaRoe Room. Her LuLaRoe business is part of the reason we are putting a hold on traveling for a bit…she needs the room and a more stationary place to operate out of.  Some of you want to know…it looks like we’ll be pulling out of here on December 30th and headed for home, on a permanent basis.

Me?  I’m just hanging around the camper when she’s working.  I’ve taken up a new hobby…carving and making walking sticks and canes.  I am no professional…not at all, but I have done some wood carvings over the years.  Here is my first…not quite finished yet.  It’s a diamond willow cane with a “T handle”.  I tell everyone it’s for me…hopefully it will be many years before I need it.wp-1480724034913.jpg

I also make lamps out of wine bottles and old whiskey bottles…the lamp kits I buy on line or at Lowes Hardware, or at WalMart. The bottles can be found just about anywhere…I’ve even gotten my bottles from dumpsters.wp-1480724536269.jpg

I spend most of my day doing a little cleaning, cooking, and keeping the camper maintained.  People think there’s nothing to keeping a camper going…not so.  It has to be washed and waxed and that takes a good bit of time.  The axles and suspension needs to be checked before it is moved every time, so I do that as well.

Because of Kendra’s schedule, it looks like we’ll be spending our Christmas here at South of the Border, SC…we may make a day trip up to Winston-Salem, but not real sure of that.

That’s about it…just wanted to touch base…and tell you we hope you all have a Merry Christmas!!

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Dingbatters, once again….

Wiktionary defines “Dingbatter” as a “dialectal North Carolina term meaning  uplanders who come Eastern North Carolina. It is used by residents of eastern North Carolina, including those of Beaufort, to refer to anyone further west than Morehead City. I’ll get to that later.

It’s been some interesting times since we last posted. We’ve been back to Morehead City several times, mostly for me and my docs. I’m doing ok…just need to get my meds regulated, and I’ll leave it at that. Kendra is in her last contract, working up until the last of December…I think she is looking forward to the end of this contract, and I’ll not say more about that. Her LuLaRoe clothing business continues to grow, and we both like that.

A couple of weeks ago, my brother-in-law, Dean, asked if I’d like to go to Oak Island and have lunch with my old friend and former sergeant, Jeff S., and some of Dean’s old trooper buddies.  It is over a 2 hour drive from Dillon SC to Oak Island, and I told him I may not be able to do it.  He said it was only an hour by air. Dean is a private pilot and owns a 1961 Piper Colt 2 seater plane. He offered to fly down to Dillon County Airport and pick me up. I has been several years since I’ve been up in Dean’s plane so I jumped at the idea.

At first, we thought we were going to have to postpone  the trip because Dean’s plane wouldn’t start. But after an hour, he found the problem….loose wire on the starter. Tightened it up, and he was in the air. He landed here in Dillon, picked me up, and we were on our way to Oak Island. It was quite a bumpy ride…windy, but it was a nice, clear day.  You could still see some standing water from the hurricane/floods. We landed in Oak Island with 7 to 14 mph winds, but it was a smooth landing, none the less.  It was good to see Jeff again, he lives in Oak Island. Even though we talk occasionally via phone, we haven’t laid eyes on each other since 2012 when we both retired from the police department.  Here’s some shots of the trip.

The first one is me and Jeff, second is something Dean took a pic of…I believe it’s solar panels. The third is Jeff and Dean in front of Dean’s plane. The fourth is the old Rockingham Speedway.  It was a great trip, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Now, for the dingbatter stuff.  When we first  moved to Morehead  City, we found out we were dingbatters….that’s what the “Down East” people called us. There are other names like “did-dots” which means basically people from anywhere other than Down East who can’t understand the Down East dialect. We’ve been there long enough to where we can understand it some.  If you want to know what I mean, click on this link Down East Brogue, and listen to them talk. This dialect is spoken from east of Beaufort, up through the Outer Banks area….but generally stops north of Hatteras Island, as north of Hatteras…Duck, Currituck, etc., have been taken over by the rich and famous.  This post  is in no way meant to make fun of the Down Easters….they are a hard working people, who (for the most part) are honest as the day is long. Most have been there all their lives, as well as their families, for generations.  If you want to know anything about fishing, or boat building, you ask the Down Easters.

I said all that to say this, we’re becoming  dingbatters again…we’re hanging up the traveling shoes, parking the camper, and moving back to Morehead City on a more permanent basis. Kendra has accepted a position in the ER at the local hospital there. We decided this for two reasons…I needed to be near my docs for a while, and her business is expanding and we needed more room…there is definitely more room at home, than here in the camper. I may post from time to time on what we are doing, but there won’t be as many updates as there were. I do appreciate all the followers and comments…this has been quite the journey.

I’ll let you know, closer to the time of leaving here where we are, exactly what is happening.

Until then….


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Hurricane Matthew

Hello from soggy eastern North Carolina.  I have a lot to catch up on so this one might take a bit. First, the hospital has asked Kendra to stay through the end of the year and she has agreed….we’re just waiting on a contract.  Nothing is set in stone until that contract is signed.  The hospital has also agreed to let her work 3-day stretches as much as possible so that she’ll have 4-day stretches off. That gives us much better control on how many times we get to come home.  Again though, nothing is set in stone until there is a signed contract. She is still doing well in her clothing business, so well that we are doing an in-home party this weekend.

We are currently in Morehead City now…I had to come home for my doctor appointment.   It seems I have Relapsing Polychondritis, an auto-immune disease that attacks the cartilage.  My doc seems to think it will be easily controlled with medicine, so for now that is the plan…no big issue there.

Now for the storm news. Living on the coast, we expect hurricanes and tropical storms. But still, I keep an eye on the forecasts because that determines so much of how we prepare.

From the get-go, Matthew grew into a large and powerful storm, at one point a Category 5…strongest hurricane that you can get. We continued to watch it as it crossed Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas, and on up to Florida’s coast. Watching the news of how the Florida coast was getting hit with a Category 4 storm made us glad that Kendra’s contract got canceled and that we weren’t there. (If you remember, we were in the Daytona Beach area.)

It looked more and  more like Morehead City was going to be spared the worst of the storm and to be honest, there really is only so much you can do with your permanent home. So, my preparations geared more towards our “Mobile Mansion”, parked at Camp Pedro only 60 miles inland from Myrtle Beach. As  the storm progressed, it appeared to take a more easterly track and was predicted to turn out to sea, wp-1476458055043.pngjust as or right before it would make landfall with Myrtle Beach. It had also decreased to a Category 1 storm, making it weak in wind power. Still, I had packed up the campsite and was ready to hook up the RV and move inland if needed, but it looked like we wouldn’t need to.  Winds in our area were predicted to reach 35-40 sustained, and we had been through winds that strong, in a camper, in Arizona.  This was clearly going to be more of a water event.

Early Saturday morning, the wind and rain started, and begin to increase as the day progressed.  Kendra had to work that day, so I told her I would take her.  As we got in the truck and headed out of the campground, this is what we saw…

The entire front half of the park, and the only way in or out, was  under water. All these sites were full of evacuees from Myrtle Beach campgrounds, but they had disappeared…I found them outside the park, in the parking lot, on high ground.  No one told us the park was flooding.

We made it out of the park, with water up to the running boards on the truck.  We drove on out onto US501 north only to find half of it flooded at the I-95 interchange.  As we continued on towards Laurinburg, I was dodging downed trees and power lines. In several places there was running water crossing the roadway…as much as 2 feet deep. I made a command decision and told Kendra we were turning around…she was not going in to work that day…it was just too dangerous.

We got back to the campground and found that the water there had risen and was rushing across the park. It was pushing so strong against the automatic gate that it would not open. Kendra hopped out of the truck and had to push it open…when she got out, the water was up mid-thigh on her…a good 3 feet.

We managed to get back to our camper which was on high ground, outside the flooded part of the park.  I had planned to hook up the camper and pull it outside the campground to the parking lot with the other campers, but I knew when I got back to our camper, there was no way I could get it through that water…so we stayed put…along with about 25 other campers that could not get out.

We watched the water line, but it only got up to about 25 yards away from us.  Our power went out about 1pm, but we had battery operated lights and gas to run the fridge, stove and hot water heater.  I had bought some groceries the day before, so we were stocked up with supplies, so we had prepped as much as we  could.

The storm actually took a more northerly and westerly track than predicted so the eastern eye-wall came ashore in Myrtle Beach, SC. We got higher than expected winds, 40-50 mph sustained and 70mph gusts. The camper rocked a bit, but stood its ground. All in all, with the house in Morehead City, and our camper in a partially flooded campground, we did well…sustained no damage.

The flooding in the eastern area of NC and SC is quite another story.  When we drove back to Morehead City for the weekend, my usual route and back-up routes were closed in several places. I had to drive down to Myrtle Beach, and go home from there.   I won’t go into much detail about the flooding because it is on the news, but seriously…keep those folks in your thoughts.  The areas hit are populated with a lot of poor people who did not have much to begin with. Now all they have is gone.  They have asked that you not donate clothing, but donations of canned food, water, diapers, and money are greatly appreciated.  Help is appreciated as well.  I ran into a group of Baptist from Missouri wp-1476457822351.jpgwho were on their way to help with the recovery efforts…now that is a way to spread your religion around.  You can talk all  you want about how much you “love Jesus” but show me some action…that’s what people like to see.

Here are some shots in and around the Dillon, SC area of flooding and downed trees. The first picture is of Main Street in Dillon.


I didn’t take this picture, but it is US 501 at I-95, in front of the campground during the height of the storm. Notice the top of the flooded car.wp-1476457849808.jpg

When the power came back on, it was good to see Pedro lit up again, welcoming people to South of the Border.


That’s it for now. Hope you enjoyed it…this year has truly been an adventurous one, and I’m sure there is more to come…so stay tuned.

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Moving along…

We are now in the fifth week of this contract here, and it’s been quite a ride.  Kendra doesn’t say much about here work, but I believe this hospital has been the busiest. Kendra got called to the office last week. They wanted to know if she would extend into December…everywhere she goes, they ask her to extend, with the exception of Florida. She hasn’t decided about what to do yet, but we’ll let you know when she does.

She’s also been busy with her side business…she is a LuLaRoe consultant. If you aren’t familiar, with LuLaRoe, it is a clothing company….dealing mainly in ladies clothing.  The company is known mainly for its leggings, but there are also tops, skirts, and dresses. She does her business on line at LuLaRoe Boutique with Kendra, RN and she also has a van, jam packed full of product where she can go into houses and do “pop-up” in home sales. She does very well at it, and it relaxes her from the hectic ride of an ER nurse.   Here’s a couple shots of her modeling some of her clothes, and a shot of her van. The van also doubles as our “daily driver”.

On to other things. Among the other duties Kendra has, taking care of me is top priority…and she does it well. She is constantly on me about taking my meds, asking me if I’m ok, etc. I could not have asked for anyone better to have been by my side during this whatever it is I have. I have an appointment with the rheumatologist in October, so maybe we can get some answers and a plan of action. So far, pain has been minimal, but I’m on 2400 mg of Ibuprofen a day, too….that should knock out just about any pain I have. If I can maintain my current level, I’ll be happy and we can continue on down the road to new adventures.

It is kind of nice being where we are. We are only 3 and a half hours from our home so on Kendra’s days off, we go home, even if it’s just for a couple of days.  I have missed sitting out on my deck, sitting at my bar and looking out at the water, or walking out on the pier in the evenings or in the mornings, watching the sun rise. Kendra and I have often talked of what it would be like to settle down and live in the many places we have visited over the past two plus years…but we both agree that, no place compares to the Crystal Coast. I mean, we live where people come to vacation.

That’s about all the catching up I can do right now…I’m sure more  will  come later.

Until then….

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South Of The Border, Camp Pedro

We are here in Camp Pedro…have been for about three weeks now, and finally getting settled in.  Kendra is in week three of her contract in Laurinburg, NC.  It’s a small, but busy hospital…but that’s nothing new to Kendra.  As with any hospital a traveler works at, there is good and bad. You learn to accentuate the good, and realize that if it was a perfect place to be, they probably wouldn’t be using travel nurses.  In any event, we are here for a few more weeks…and the beauty of traveling is, if you don’t like it where you are, there’s always the next contract.

Now about me…most of  you know I got sick in Florida, and really messed up our travel plans. Not really sure what is going on at this point, but I know that this has been the sickest I have ever been in my life. I simply do not get sick, and this has slowed me down  a bit. There are a couple of days while in the hospital I do not remember, and I don’t remember much about the ride up here from Florida.  When I got to the campground, I didn’t have the strength to attach the water hose for my camper. I have spent the last two years setting up and tearing down my camper, and to not be able to do that has been a hard pill to swallow. The Florida doctors indicated some type of auto-immune disease dealing with the joints…so, I have started the road trip to a rheumatologist.  We’ll see how that goes.  The good thing is, I have the best nursing care available…Kendra.

Now, for where we are. The nearest campground to the hospital that I could find, that had what we needed, was Camp Pedro, at South of the Border. If you have ever come down I-95 to 501 to go to Myrtle Beach, you know about South of the Border. Traveling down the road, wp-1471863142216.jpgyou start seeing signs about a hundred miles away…

…then you see the big, 200 foot tall sombrero, and you know you have arrived at South of the Border..

The complex here borders on eclectic and eccentric. There are several shops, restaurants, an ice cream shop, a reptile farm, a large motel and an RV park. To me it’s a part of Americana…a part that is slowly dying.  This place reminds me of some of the stops my dad made when he took the family on vacations….times past when The interstates were still being built, and you stayed at motor courts and motor inns…there were no chain motels back then. South of the Border has a different, and special charm.

The campground is very nice…quiet, and well kept…probably one of the nicest campground we have stayed in.  It rarely fills up here as it is used mostly for over night stays as a halfway point between up north and Florida. There aren’t many amenities here, but it has exactly what we need.

We had a special treat this past weekend. My daughter, Katherine and her husband, Brian brought their two kids, little Brian and Emma (my grands) down to visit. They have a camper so they were able to secure a spot very near us. They arrived on Friday past, the day that Tropical Storm Hermine was coming…they both (family and the storm) arrived at about the same time. Friday night…nothing but rain and wind, and of course we lost power….so no TV and no internet the first night. But we survived.

The next  day, the sun came out and for  two days, we all just relaxed and enjoyed the attractions offered at South of the Border. My son-in-law cooked several meals for me so I had plenty to eat. Here’s a few pictures of everyone enjoying this past Labor Day weekend.

I thoroughly enjoyed this weekend. I don’t get to see my kids and my grands much….we live so far apart, and we all have our own lives to live.  So when I do get to see them, it is a special treat. I hope one day that we can all get together and spend some time on a family vacation. Poor Kendra had to work every day….well, somebody has to keep me up…lol.

That’s about it for now. We’ll write more when the time comes.

Until then….


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“What a long, strange trip it’s been….”, Truckin’ by the Grateful Dead

….and surely it has been a long, strange trip.

First, let me apologize for my last post….I usually set up a  pre-scheduled post that shows up the day we leave a spot, so I don’t have to stop and take time to type one. Thing didn’t quite work out the way we planed them this time.  We were supposed to have left this past Thursday for Kendra’s new assignment, but I ended up in the hospital and we didn’t get to leave until Sunday. I’m not really sure what’s going on with me…started out as classic heart attack symptoms and has morphed into something that no one is sure of.  Three things I know for sure….my heart is ok, I have a hiatal hernia, and I’ve had a bad infection. There are other things going on, so it looks like some specialist will be on my list of people to see in the near future.

But this post isn’t about me…it’s about the people around me, especially during this past week.  I have some thanks and appreciation I need to pass along.

I want to thank all the people who have called, texted, messaged and emailed me with their kind thoughts…I may not have replied to each one, but I did read each one. It gave me comfort to know that so many people were sending good thoughts to me and Kendra.

There are a few special people that I need to thank that helped so much this past week. Our friend Beverly (another travel nurse) helped so much by keeping Kendra company and by helping us  get one of  our vehicles from Florida to Hamer, SC were we are staying.  Beverly drove one from Florida to her next assignment in Hilton Head SC. Her brother, Jerry, drove it the rest of the way and dropped it off here at our campground.  That saved us a trip back south to pick it up…

Next, a special thanks to my in-laws, Doug and Cynthia. They came down last week on Wednesday to help out.  It’s a good thing…I was in no shape to drive and so weak that I could barely move. Doug hooked up my camper and pulled it to our next location. I simply could not do it.  And they’re hanging out in the area until we all get a little more settled. Doug and Cyn, I can never repay you for this.

But  the most thanks goes to my wife, Kendra.  This Florida contract has not been the easiest of contracts for either of us. First I had my gall bladder took out, then our dog got sick, then her Florida contract gets canceled causing us to scramble and come up with a new plan….and now my most recent sickness.  Through it all, she has been right by my side…even when I didn’t know she was there….Several days last week, I don’t remember…lol.   Kendra has been under so much stress, especially this past week.  But she is strong….she not only has a plan B, but a plan C as well.  She has handled and fielded so much stuff this week…way more than she should have had to, and way more than most people could have…and all this while starting a new job yesterday, at a new hospital, with new people to get used to. She is tired, but she is strong…..I wish I could make it easier for her…so I try to be good, take my meds when I should and stay in and rest as much as I can. I’m not sure I’d be here today, if it weren’t for her and some of the things she picked up on while I was in the hospital.  I wish I could do more for her, but right now all I can do is say, “Kendra, I love you and I’m so thankful you are here by my side. Stop worrying…I’ll be ok.”

I have the best nurse there is!!

That’s about it for now. More about where we are next time.

Until then….

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Goodbye Florida…

Today, we say goodbye to one of the prettiest places we have been so far….Florida. We say goodbye to our campground, Harris Village…one of the smallest and quietest places we have been, even though it is next door to one of the largest biker bars in the area. We say goodbye to all the palm trees.

We say goodbye to friends we’ve met along the way and to Bev, who has been our neighbor/co-worker since we arrived.  We say goodbye (for now) to one of our most favorite places that we have visited, Key West….left some memories there, but plan on making a  whole lot more in the future.

Lastly, we say goodbye to almost constant sunshine and one of the cleanest beaches I have seen in a long time, Ormond Beach.

So goodbye Florida…for now.  I’m sure we’ll pass this way again.


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Next stop…

I said last week that we got canceled here….and we were looking for another contract. Darren with ADvantageRN  hit the bricks and started submitting Kendra to other hospitals.  It ended up being between Corpus Christie Texas and Laurinburg North Carolina. Kendra settled on Laurinburg because it’s closer to home and closer from here in  Florida…not as far to pull the camper…basically a day trip.

We secured a spot to stay at South of the Border, in South Carolina. If you’re from NC and you were on your way to Myrtle Beach, if you came down I-95, you passed by South of the Border….big  complex with a restaurant, hotel, RV park, arcade, and a reptile pool. The RV park has good reviews…it’s a little farther than we wanted to be from the hospital, but it was the closest RV park that fit our needs.

So, on the 18th of this month, we’ll hook up and head north.  We’ll post more later.


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Slight detour….

Well, what every travel nurse hopes doesn’t happen, but knows inevitably will happen, did happen.  Kendra’s contract got canceled yesterday, out of the blue with no warning.  Personally, I think it was a little underhanded in how it was  done…no notice at all, but there simply is nothing you  can  do about it.  Her recruiter is frantically searching for a new contract somewhere within a ….couple days drive from here.

I hate leaving here. I love the beach…it’s so much like home….

Kendra’s  last day is next week, so sometime next week, we’ll hook up the “Mobile Mansion” and pull it to a new place…a place with new adventures.

We have no clue where yet, but I am sure it will be interesting….

Stay tuned!!

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