My oh my where has 2018 gone. It was October of 2017 that we moved into Graybeard full time. We sold our house divesting ourselves of some 20 years of accumulated artifacts and treasures. Some stuff was sold, some was donated, a lot of it went to our kids. At times it was heartbreaking and the source of a good deal of friction between Barbara and myself. Yet we did what we had to do and have since learned that stuff is not what really makes one happy.
In November I had my left knee replaced. While I was snug as a bug in a nice warm hospital for the first part of November, Barbara was enduring perhaps the coldest winter on record in New Jersey in Graybeard. I would soon join her and together we discovered that winter and an RV are a poor mix. We layered the clothes on. We piled the blankets on the bed at night. We went through tank after tank of propane running the furnace and trying to keep everything from freezing up. Right then and there we vowed never again – we would always spend the winter months from then on where there would be no freezing temperatures and no snow.
The end of December we were on the road headed to New Bern, North Carolina and what we thought from past experience would be warmer weather. First, we had to get across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Christmas Eve we spent shivering and trying to keep warm in the parking lot of the visitor’s center. At dawn’s early light we pulled out and when to the toll booth only to be told due to high winds we would not be allowed to cross. Eventually, they opened the bridge and we were on our way. Mind you this is the first time, the very first time I had every driven Graybeard for any length of time. Cross winds terrified me. Narrow lanes the likes of which were in both tunnels made me turn white. Clutching the steering wheel, my knuckles as white as could be across we went. Today, many, many more miles under my belt I laugh when I think of that day. No, I wasn’t laughing then! As for that warmer weather in New Bern? They had their first major snow storm of all time in January of 2018! Go figure.
Throughout the year there would be many more memorable experiences. There were campgrounds or should I call them resorts that were memorable for many reasons. The one in Virginia were once I got Graybeard leveled the front wheels were 6 inches off the ground! The park in Maine where you awoke each morning to a dazzling sunrise on the bay seen through the front windshield. The park in New York where I almost lost the patio awning due to a gust of wind. The park in Vermont that looked like someone had forgotten to build the last half of it. This was also the park where we witnessed the most spectacular fourth of July fireworks we had ever seen before. Put on by the campground owners it lasted for over 45 minutes and would give the Macy’s fireworks a run for their money. Who can forget Schoodic Woods in Winter Harbor, Maine. That was where I walked outside the one night and realized how many stars there are in the nighttime sky. And the list goes on. There are some that I would one day love return to again.
Then there were the people we met along the way some of whom we still keep in touch with today. There is Hogie and Max who we met over a dead battery. Dennis and Pam who befriended us when we first arrived in Sumter Oaks. Of course, there were also those who wanted us jailed for infringing on their campground space! People just too numerous to mention all who have come in and out of our lives and enriched our lives immeasurably. Along the way they have taught us that life is not really about what you have or what you get but it is really all about personal relationships.
As for experiences we’ve had and the sights we’ve seen. It’s hard to know where to start. We had the delightful experience of seeing history come alive. We’ve visited places like New Hope Cemetery with its intricate statues and headstones for instance of a husband and wife in bed for the night that has to be visited to be believed. We’ve cruised across Bar Harbor. Been as far east as one can get in the United States. We chased some really weird granite statues on The Maine Sculpture Tour: An outdoor exhibit of 34 sculptures spanning over 273 miles along the coastal region of Downeast Maine. We got drenched on the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls. The Antique Boat Museum was another special stop. So were the Cole Land Transportation Museum and the Seal Cove Auto Museum. I know I’m forgetting so many more.
Halfway through the year I adopted a new philosophy of life. I entered our first year with the thought ringing in my head things are going to happen, things are going to go wrong. After all you’re living in an RV. So, I was living always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Forget that. I now live with no such expectation. I simply take it day by day and when and if things go wrong then I deal with them. Life is so much more enjoyable this way. When things go wrong, well we’ve always been able to find someone who can help us when and if necessary. Oh yes, the good Lord has been our ever present but unseen copilot for this past year.
As of now I’ve finally had my right knee replaced and I’m getting back to full mobility. I’m looking forward to my first hike. Maybe in the future getting a bike. Sure would like a kayak. Time will tell. I’m just grateful to be able to finally be able to walk in a normal fashion. Walking, something we probably take too much for granted until we can’t.
Where are we now? For us the glass remains half full. We look forward to a new year with eager expectation. In a few weeks we become workcampers for the first time. Yup, back to work for a short period of time. After that so many new places we plan to visit. A new winter home in the state of Arizona. Getting there is we are sure is going to be half the fun. After all the journey is as much a wonderful part of this life as is the destination.
How about you? What do you have planned for the coming year? Whatever it is, I hope it includes lots of joy, love, and fun. Happy New Year to all of you.
These are the voyages of Graybeard and it’s occupants, four paws and two humans. Our continuing mission: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have not been before
See you on down the road
One thought on “December 31st, Monday – Where Has 2018 Gone?”
You and Barbara have melted into this RV life quite well. Yes, we don’t need all the STUFF that we think we need to be happy. Glad you aren’t waiting for the next shoe to drop. Life can’t be enjoyed living like that. We were blessed when meeting you both, over a dead battery. 😊 We wish you both good health and many days of sunshine as you travel our amazing country. HAPPY NEW YEAR!