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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Being Thankful...

I was thinking this morning (Thanksgiving) about how thankful I am for all the people we have connected with since we became full time nomads.  Our first stop after leaving California on this journey for what would ultimately be over 21 months, was Mesa, AZ where spent 12 days parked on the street in front of the home of our good friends, Tom and Darlene.  Tom helped me over that time with several electrical and air suspension issues mostly at night after he had put in a long day at the office.  Darlene helped us fix an issue with our awning that required the use of one of her heavy duty sewing machines.  We left Mesa reluctantly 12 days later with a deeper friendship, and a more road worthy Newell.  With Tom's help and encouragement I became much more confident in my ability to fix things as they broke.  Since our initial visit with them we spent over a month traveling with them in South Dakota, Montana and Alberta.

From there we headed directly to Tyler, TX to spend time with in-laws on TLE's side of the family.  Just after we finished parking our coach and trailer in TLE's sister's (Phyllis) gravel driveway our water pump failed.  Although I spent portions of the next 8 days fixing the pump we had a wonderful time visiting with Phyllis, with Gary (TLE's brother-in-law), and with Read and Shannon (TLE's brother and sister-in-law).   I like all of TLE's siblings, and it was so nice to spend time with them with no time constraints for a change.

We next headed to Austin, TX where TLE's sister Laureen lives with her husband Glenn and their two adult children, plus our very good friends Michael and Georgia Day (Newell Owners).  We spent about 8 days in Michael and Georgia's driveway with a view of Lake Travis having wonderful evening meals together, and just running around town.  We hung out with Laureen and Glen wandering around Austin, and getting to know the city better....it is now one of our favorite cities.

From there we spent a few weeks by ourselves exploring new territory along the Gulf Coast from Corpus Christi all the way to Stuart Beach, FL.  Along the way we stopped off in Cedar Key, FL for the first NuRVer convergence.   We met so many interesting people in just a short 3 days.......Chris and Cherie, Dennis and Jeanette, Maria and Brian, Bill and Debby, Pat and Cindy.....and the list goes on.  Our connection with these people, and the wonderful community of Cedar Key brought us back just after Christmas of the same year to spend 5 weeks at the second NuRver convergence where we got to know these folks better, and met many more amazing, interesting people from all walks of life, and backgrounds.  Our lives were forever changed, and enriched.  Since then we have hooked up on the road with many of these people, some more than once, and look forward to meeting up again.

Then we traveled across Florida to the east coast and spent about 10 days with our good friend from College, Ernie and his wife Carol.   We had such a great time reconnecting with them that we went back again the next year for another week.  On our second visit to Florida we hooked up with TLE's cousin Gail, and her husband Jimmy in Ft. Meyer, as well as TLE's aunt Evelyn, and spent a wonderful 3, or 4 days with them.  Then on to Biscayne Bay to reconnect with a high school friend, Patty, and her husband Phil for a few days....we had a fantastic time reconnecting with them, and meeting their neighbors.  While we were in the Florida Keys we reconnected with Maria and Brian, who we had just seen a few short weeks earlier in Cedar Key.....I helped them with a few electrical issues they were having in their Class C RV, and we shared a couple of meals together.....great conversation, great food, and a couple of great sunsets.  On our way north to see Ernie and Carol again we stopped off to visit another of TLE's former workaday friends, Lilliana, her husband Todd and their two daughters in Boca Raton.

When we left Florida the first time back in March of 2012 we headed north to spend a week with my sister Jill, with whom I had just reconnected after years of estrangement.....we stopped off in Heflin, Alabama to visit with Diane, a college friend, and her husband, Paul for 3 days, then as we were heading north we were invited for an overnight stay with  Larry and Vanessa (Newell owners) who provided a 50 amp hookup, and showed us the town, and local eateries.  Our time with my sister and her husband, Elliott, was magical, and a great time of healing, and reconciling our relationship.  Things went so well that I traveled back up there after the INDY 500 to spend a few days with her while TLE was in Oregon.  While we were visiting my sister Jill in Michigan the first time we met, and became great friends with Krash and Karen, who had been following our blog.  We would stay in touch over the next months and reconnect with them in Cedar Key, FL where our friendship was really cemented over many meals, walks, campfires, etc.

After another couple of weeks of being by ourselves we landed in South Jordan, UT where we spent a fun week with my brother Dwyer, his wife Lori, and their two adult children Ingrid and Arthur.  Lori took us all over creation, and as always, we had a wonderful time with them.

Next up was a 5 week stay in Spokane at the home of my sister Hilary visiting with her, her husband Bob, and two daughters Stephanie and Caroline, plus time with my mother Virginia.  Our time there still stands out in my memory as a highlight of our travels. We also spent 5 days with old college friends George and Brenda.

From there we traveled into over to Whidbey Island where we spent 2 weeks at the home of Bob and Karen, old college friends, then on to Oregon to visit with TLE's good friend from her workaday life, Cathie where we parked on her property for over 2 weeks, then on to Vancouver, WA where we reconnected with a college friend, Lee, for a week.  Wherever we have gone we have been treated like visiting royalty, and Lee and his wife were no exception.

As we continued our trek east to Campbellsville, KY (Amazon.com) we stopped off in Rawlins, WY to visit college friends Ben and Mary Pat for a few days.....we hadn't seen them in almost 40 years, but it was like no time had passed.

As we continued eastward we were blessed to hook up with Matt and Connie (Newell owners) at Flaming Gorge NP....we had a great time getting to know them better, and count them as good friends now.  Then on south into Colorado where we hooked up with college friends, Tom and Jeanette near Lakewood, CO, and then David and Denise (former Newell owners) in Denver, CO.....we first met David and Denise in Austin, TX at a Newell Rally back in April of 2009, and quickly became friends.  We extended that friendship again when we met up with them at the next Newell Rally in Creede, CO, and then again a a year later in Santa Fe, NM.

Of course there was another visit near Muskogee, OK where we met, and became good friends with Jeff and Pam (Newell owners) who provided full hookups right next to their swimming pool, and then on to Arkansas to visit with another college friend, John, his wife Cathy, and son Dakota for a few days....while there we had the honor of meeting Jack MacCauliffe, the father of modern day micro-brewing.  Next we stopped in St. Louis to visit TLE's brother, Creig and his wife Kay, as well as TLE's niece Heather (daughter of TLE's sister Phyllis), her husband Ron and their kids.

When we arrived in Campbellsville, KY to work at Amazon we never imagined we would connect so completely with new friends, Jim and Sharon, Rich and Pat, Michael and Liz, and Jim and Jacque....without them the experience would not have been the same.  Since we left Amazon we have visited the homes of Jim and Sharon, and Rich and Pat down on the west coast of Florida.  We also were able to visit Jim and Jacque......we loved our time with all of our Amazon friends, and continue to remain in contact with all of them.  We are still trying to hookup with Michael and Liz....I know lady serendipity will make that happen someday.

Of course, as I have mentioned, we returned to Cedar Key, FL in late December to meet up with Krash and Karen, Chris and Cherie, Bill and Debby, Forrest and Mary, Sam and Tracy, Pat and Cindy, Shaun and Erica, Forest and Cindy, Pace and Kylie, Jay, Ann, Elliott and  and probably a few whose names escape me right now.  On our way north from our second visit with Ernie and Carol, we stopped off in Melbourse, FL to have lunch with Chris and Cherie who were visiting family in the area.....they were on hand to support us when we had our gasoline instead of diesel incident....we were so thankful they were able to drop what they were doing and come over while we figured out what had happened.   We next stopped off for a few days in St. Augustine, FL and hooked up for dinner and some brews with Sam and Tracy who were in the area. When we headed north out of Florida we spent a week with Elliott and Ann at their home in Southern Georgia...we first met them in Cedar Key....we are proud, and pleased to count them as friends.  Next on our list was Savannah, GA where we spent 12 days.....during that time we visited with Katie, our niece, and the daughter of TLE's sister, Laureen....she is attending a local arts school...this was our second time through Savannah, and spending time with  Katie...she is an exceptional young woman, and we always get a kick out of our time with her.  And as serendipity would have it, Krash and Karen stopped off for two nights in Savannah on their way home from Cedar Key.   From there we stopped off in Huntington, WV to visit with long time Newell friends Richard and Rhonda, plus their son Tyler.  Richard spent some time helping me with my tachometer problem, took me mountain biking, and both of us on a day of hiking in Kentucky.  We shared many meals with them, and had a wonderful time.

Our next stop was Washington D.C. where we spent time with our nephew Jonathan, and his long time girl friend, Shari.  Once again, except for this nomadic lifestyle, this visit probably would not have happened, and we would be the poorer for that.  And thanks to Miss Serendipity, we hooked up with friends John, Cathy and Dakota while there were in town for a few days.

As you know we spent a month in Indianapolis working at the INDY 500....we met and became friends with several people....most notably, Rick, Deb, Joe, and Linus.....we still maintain contact with Rick and Deb, and hope to see them again when we return to the INDY 500.  Additionally while we were there we had the pleasure of meeting Chris and Jeanne who had been following our blog, and had recently become nomads themselves, and are traveling the country from job to job in their Prevost.  After we left the Sugar Beet harvest in late October we stopped off in Bozeman, MT for two days to spend more time with them.

On our way to a Newell Mini Rally in Spearfish, SD we stopped off in Sioux Falls, SD to meet, for the first time, Todd and Dawn, who had just bought a 1984 Newell less than a year before.....Todd and I had become friends through the Newell Gurus website, and made plans to hookup when we came through Sioux Falls.  We had a few meals with them, and spent time working with Todd on his Newell getting it ready for the mini rally.  Tom and Darlene eventually joined us there to help work on Todd's Newell.  From there we traveled to the mini rally with Tom and Darlene.


This past June we attended the aforementioned Newell Mini Rally, which we helped organize, getting the opportunity to reconnect with those we were already friends with already (Tom and Darlene, David and Denise, Forest and Cindy, Jeff and Pam, Michael and Georgia, Richard and Rhonda, Todd and Dawn), and making many new friends.  We left there traveling with Tom and Darlene, and Forest and Cindy for over 4 weeks through South Dakota, Montana and Alberta, Canada.  Over that time we ate almost every dinner together, and saw some amazing scenery.  While in Alberta we spent a week in Cochrane, at the invitation of fellow Newell owners Jim and Gail, who were camphosts at the RV park we stayed at....what a delightful couple....we ate almost every dinner with them over the week we were there, and look so forward to meeting up with them again when they continue their travels in the lower 48.  Those 5 weeks together were an amazing time of bonding, and they will remain in our memories forever.  As we passed through Billings, MT on our way to Alberta, we spent an afternoon with Chris and Cherie at the diesel shop where their Detroit Diesel was being rebuilt, and later that summer serendipity arranged 4 days with them in Polson, MT on the shores of Flathead Lake.

While we were in Montana we parked the Newell at the fairgrounds in Missoula for four days and drove down to Salt Lake City to the wedding of our niece, Ingrid....of course it was wonderful spending time with family....Philip (my brother), his wife Jeannie, daughter Danielle, and her boyfriend Miguel were there....the first time we had seen them in almost 19 months.  Of course my Mother was there.  My son Tim, flew up from Ontario, CA to surprise us, and what a surprise it was!

Once again we were able to spend a month in the Spokane/Coeur d'Alene area visiting with my sister Hilary, her family, visiting our friends Bob and Karen again, and spend time with my mother before heading to our job at the Sugar Beet Harvest....we were able to connect with Brian and Heidi there.....I've been following Brian's blog for years now, and really enjoyed getting to know him better.  While we were in Coeur d'Alene we reconnected with George and Brenda (college friends) a second time.   We also flew down to Dallas, TX to a college reunion and spent four days visiting with a hundred or so old college friends.

On our way to the sugar beet harvest we were able to cross paths once again with Tom and Darlene (Fairmont Hot Springs) as they were heading south to their Arizona home....even though it was a short two days, we had a great time, as always.

As we made our way south we stopped off once again at my brother Dwyer's home for about a week where we had wonderful evening meals with him, Lori, Arthur, Ingrid, and her new husband Randy.

As we passed southward through Carson City, NV we were able to hookup with my Uncle Bob (my Mom's brother), his wife Jane, as well as my cousin Lois, and her husband John.  I hadn't seen Uncle Bob for over 10 years, and hadn't seen Lois for probably 45 years. We also were able to hookup with another old college friend, Terri, a couple of times.

Finally, as you know, we finally landed back where it all started.....Riverside, CA, and spent a few intense days hugging our kids and grand kids....there will be a lot more of that over the next 6-7 weeks before we hit the road again.

My point in all of this is to reconfirm that our journey has really been more about the people, and less about the scenery.  We feel so much richer for all the time we have spent with friends and family over the past 21 months, and it is what we are most thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day, 2013.  Thank you to all of you who had us into your homes, who spent countless hours sharing amazing times, amazing food, amazing sunsets, and a few sunrises all over this country......none of what I have related happens if we are not living this amazing nomadic life.  A special thanks to Chris and Cherie who have helped us in learning to find, and embrace serendipity, who helped us enormously in finding a lifestyle on the road that works for us, and for accepting us unconditionally into their nomadic community.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of these amazing people we have spent time with.....thank you for making our lives so much richer, and complete!  If we had never embarked upon this never ending journey many of the people who have become friends we would NEVER have met.....many of them if not for meeting Chris and Cherie who brought us all together.

Thank you for stopping by!

2 comments:

  1. What great experiences you have had with people all over the place. This written compilation is more indicative of your travels than a map!

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  2. I hope you read this entry after I had finished editing it just a few minutes ago.....I had neglected to mention you and Chris....thank goodness for TLE's good memory. We value the time we spent with you and Chris, and look forward to seeing you both again in the near future as you head southward.

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