Hiking around the Indian Mounds

One Hello World!

Recently, my husband and I took advantage of the lovely spring weather in southwestern Tennessee, where we are currently camping, to get out in nature. I laced up my hiking boots, and we loaded up our dog, Chewie, and headed to Shiloh National Military Park near Savannah, Tennessee.  In addition to Civil War history related to the famous battle fought there in April 1962, the grounds of the battlefield also encompass the mounds that remain from Native Americans who lived there until about 800 years ago. You can read more about that here.

Hiking boots on and ready to go

Hiking boots on and ready to go

Jim and I have enjoyed this park several times, so today we went there specifically to hike the Indian Mounds trail, which is a little bit over a mile loop. Here are some of the beautiful shots we got while out and about.

Jim and Chewie in front of Interpretive Building for Mounds

Jim & Chewie in front of Interpretive Building for Mounds

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Scattered along the trail are this signs that help explain the people and the sites seen.

One of the smaller mounds near the largest mound

One of the smaller mounds near the largest mound

We're making our way up to the larger mound

We’re making our way up to the larger mound

Now, here are some shots from the view from the top of the largest mound, built on the high banks of the Tennessee River. We had to climb a set of stairs, located on the southeast side of the mound, to get to the top.

Information at the top of the largest mound, riverside

Information at the top of the largest mound, southeast and riverside

Looking across the top of the mound toward the river

Looking across the top of the mound toward the river

On the northeast corner of the mound, it drops rapidly and almost straight down to the Tennessee River.

Looking down from the northeast edge

Looking down from the northeast edge

Looking to southeast corner of the mound from northeast

Looking to southeast corner of the mound from northeast

We were about half way through our hike here. The three of us enjoyed the walk through woods and over bridges back to the starting point. By the time we were done, it was getting warmer, and Jim and I had both worked up a sweat.  We stopped briefly at the book store; Jim wanted to see if they had a book on a subject of interest to him. They did.  Here we are – tired (and I’m flushed) but happy – heading home.

Angela, Chewie, and Jim (L to R)

Angela, Chewie, and Jim (L to R)

BTW, I forgot to mention that not too far from the Mounds hiking trail is a tree with a family of bald eagles. That is something else one can enjoy viewing at Shiloh.

 

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We Took the Road Less Traveled

Hello, World!

The changes in our lives the last year and nine months have been huge, and as I reflect upon them today, in some ways it seems like it has been a much longer time. The 5th Wheel is so much home now that it is hard to believe we haven’t been living in it longer than we actually have been.

Three years ago this month, my husband and I listed our house for sale; it sold to the second family to view it. Within a few weeks, and much faster than expected, we downsized from an almost 2,700 sq. ft. home with a two-car garage to a 1,150 sq. ft. two-bedroom apartment in Metro – Nashville. We enjoyed our time in the Nashville area, but we kept looking for “what’s next.” My husband unexpectedly getting laid-off from the company for which he had worked 10 years was the push we needed.  Jim had been thinking for years about going out on his own in the consulting field, and this was the push he needed for that. While he was working a contract (thankfully) in Nashville and looking for the next “gig,” we hit upon an idea: We could buy and RV and travel together from job site to job site. (You see, that one contract was the only one in 14 years as a traveling consultant that he’d had a job in the state of Tennessee, and it was well-timed for him to have a job locally, so we could shop and plan for our next adventure.)

outside house kitchen front room den

 

The last day of September 2014, we signed the papers to purchase our 5th Wheel Trailer, and about two weeks later, we had our tow vehicle.  The time between the end of September and the middle of November, we continued to downsize, putting items with which we were not yet ready to part into a 10 x 10 climate-controlled storage unit. The temperatures dropped rapidly, and early for Middle Tennessee, so to keep from having to winterize the camper for three days, we began moving into the RV on the 13th of November; Jim would finish his contract the next day. The next five days, we wrapped up our move out from the apartment and got situated as best we could in the camper, which was parked at an RV park near the dealership from which we purchased the RV. We were then living in a camper with 321 sq. ft. when slides were out.

Our 5th Wheel Trailer and Tow Truck

Our 5th Wheel Trailer and Tow Truck

Then, we headed out to try our hand and RVing by going to Lake Guntersville, Alabama, for a three-day stay. Then, we moved to a campground just off I-65 near some of my family; we stayed there five weeks, really just shy of five weeks since we left for five days to take the camper to Paducah the week of Christmas 2014 to visit Jim’s side of the family.

Our view from the site at Lake Guntersville at sunset

Our view from the site at Lake Guntersville at sunset

It was so cold the winter of 2014, and Jim had no contract yet, so he suggested we go toward the Gulf Coast; we did, and I was so glad. We stayed in southern, Alabama slightly over two months. Then we moved to the Mississippi coast for another month. While in these two locations, Jim worked a 5-week contract – mostly remotely – for a hospital in Colorado; he then worked a 3-week contract with a hospital in Massachusetts while I hung out in Mississippi. Jim flew back and forth, so we got to get play in the warmth of the Mississippi coast together over the weekend.

Entrance to campground where we stayed in MS; the Gulf Coast is across the road.

Entrance to campground where we stayed in MS; the Gulf Coast is across the road.

His next contract, and the one he is still working, was in Corinth, Mississippi, which is in the most northern part of the state where it borders Tennessee. The nicest RV park within a 50-mile radius of Corinth is located in Tennessee between the city of Savannah and Pickwick Dam, so this is where we’ve stayed for a year.  He will wrap up this job this summer, so we are excited to know that we will be traveling again in July as we’re going to make our way to Vermont to attend the Escapade at Essex Junction where we’ll get to visit with other RVers, many of whom will be full time and working on the road like us.

Our current site south of Savannah, TN

Our current site south of Savannah, TN

This is not the road of traditional Americans; it is the road less traveled, but I’m so glad we took this path.  Jim and I look forward to many years and adventures living in our camper and traveling to wherever the jobs take us. We are living and loving life after 50 and feel like kids again living the traveling lifestyle.

Be true to yourself and have a blessed day!

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Thrive Market May Be a Help, Especially to RVers

June 24, 2015 (by Angela)

One of the things with which I’ve struggled the last 7 or 8 months while full-timing in an RV is in locating organic products for our household, both food items and household items. Time has been spent, more often than not, in locations where it is hard to locate such items, and if they are found, the cost can be more than that to which I am accustomed.

For the past month I’ve been trying out (30-day free trial) Thrive Market, and after two orders and using many of the products, I am going to subscribe. RVers who either know they will be in one location long enough to receive an order, or who know exactly where they will be when the order is to come in (thus has a good address to use) may find this very helpful, especially if you are concerned about any of the items listed below:

  • Organic
  • Non-GMO
  • Fair Trade
  • Family Business
  • Made in the USA
  • Gluten Free
  • Paleo
  • The list goes on with areas of concern being clearly address – I can’t remember them all

One of my new favorite things is Dr. Bronner’s Organic Peppermint Castile Liquid Soap because you can use it for almost every soap need from washing hands to dishes to laundry to keeping bugs off your plants. It is concentrated, so though I paid $10.95 (no tax and no shipping charges with $49 order) for 32oz, it is going to last for a good while, and I can use it for most everything. This morning, I filled my soap bottles for hand washing (part soap and part water to dilute it) and then used the little bit of run off from the bottle (which was actually too much) to wash dishes.  The camper smells amazing, the dishes are squeaking clean, my sinuses are open, and my mood is enhanced.

IMG_1192  IMG_1193

This is only one of the many products I’m enjoying, and I don’t have to run from store to store (brick and mortar or online) to find these items; the come to my door. It eliminates the needs to have several refill bottles in the RV for different things since this soap is good for most all of your soap needs, and it weighs less because it is concentrated.

Click here to sign up for your trial membership.

Folks, it is worth signing up for the 30-day trial period.  Customer service is great, and you’ll not get any hassle if you decide not to continue with the subscription (similar to that of Amazon but much cheaper). I know because I tried to see what would happen.  As it is, at the end of my trial period, I’m a paid subscriber. Click on the link above if you want to give it a go.

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Time to Celebrate

From http://www.ajhomeontheroam.wordpress.com

April 20, 2015 (by Angela)

Jim and I a very proud of our children, our children through marriage (also known as our children’s spouses), and our grandchildren. There is a litany of things we could share that makes us proud of each member of our family. At this moment, however, there is a special celebration in the plans for the weekend of May 9th, which is also Mother’s Day weekend (It should be Mothers’ Day since more than one “mother” is honored – any way, I digress.)

We will have much to celebrate as our family gathers that weekend. Heck, to have so many of us together, traveling from several states, is a reason to celebrate alone. We tried to get all of us together last spring – one event for my side and one for Jim’s side. Unfortunately, Brett (son by marriage to daughter Amanda) was unable to attend due to a previous commitment with the U. S. military.

My side of the family gathering on St. Patrick's Day in 2014 (hence all the green)

My side of the family gathering on St. Patrick’s Day in 2014 (hence all the green) near Clarkesville, GA

Brett (who missed out on the last family gathering)

Brett (who missed  last family gathering)

Jim's "crew" as we celebrated Clarissa's  (Ctr in black and white) graduation from Shawnee Junior College in May 2014

Jim’s “crew” as we celebrated Clarissa’s (Ctr in black and white) graduation from Shawnee Junior College in May 2014

All going as planned next month, we will have all the” kids,” their spouses, and their children from my side of our joint family present together for the first time in years. This is a huge reason to celebrate!  Most of the ladies present will be mothers, so we’ll celebrate that. There are three birthdays in our combined families that week, and two of those having birthdays will be present, so we’ll celebrate birthdays. The biggest part of our celebration, unlike birthdays and Mother’s Day, will be for an event that doesn’t come around each year. It is something that for many may never happen, and it is something that can be celebrated because two young people have sacrificed and worked hard to achieve their goals.  Our son Nathaniel and his wife Rachel will graduate on May 9th, which is also Nathaniel’s birthday, from Armstrong Atlantic with hard-earned degrees. Nathaniel will receive his Doctorate in Physical Therapy, and Rachel will receive her Master’s in Education in Special Ed to go with her teaching degree in Art.

Rachel and Nathaniel with Jim and me - 2014

Rachel and Nathaniel with Jim and me – 2014

Thinking outside of the box, these two would like to be able to purchase a home in the town where Nathaniel has accepted his first career position in physical therapy, so they’ve set up an online account hoping family, friends, and anyone else who may feel led to do so will help them celebrate their achievements by facilitating the attainment of their next goal: to purchase a home.

Nathaniel and Rachel -  November 24, 2012

Nathaniel and Rachel – November 24, 2012

If you wish to help them celebrate goals achieved and move toward attainment of this new goal, you can click here and make a donation. No gift is too small and all will be very much appreciated.

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Apologies for the Absence and an Update

Hello Again!

I’m so sorry it has been a good while since I posted to this blog.  Quite frankly, I’ve really been living and loving life Home on the Roam with my hubby. It has kept us hopping, and if you want to read about our experiences traveling full time in an RV, pop on over to our joint blog ajhomeontheroam.wordpress.com.

Just yesterday, as I was running errands and also enjoying the beautiful weather along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I realized it is time for me to get back to my personal blog. After four months of full-time RV life, I think we are about into enough of a routine that I can re-focus on posts here as well as helping with our travel blog.  We will move again next week, and we’ll stay in an area of about 30 miles around the city of Corinth, Mississippi for the next 15 months. While we will not spend the full time in any on RV park, we will be settled, more or less, while Jim works a long-term contract there. I hope to find a job for myself for the stay, and then if all goes well, we hope (or so hope) that we can take the last half of 2016 to travel freely and fully!

We both are enjoying the lifestyle change, living and loving life after 50 and on the roam in our rig, SyGul.

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Moving Fast Toward Moving

Two weeks from today, my husband and I will spend our first night in our 5th Wheel Camper and begin our traveling adventure.

About twice a week for the last couple of weeks, we found ourselves taking things to the camper. Another couple of days each week, we have taken items to the storage unit, and we are also dropping off items at one of the three non-profits to which we have been donating things about twice a week, also. This will continue this week and next, and then on the 15th of November, we have movers coming to help us move all of the furniture that we have decided to keep and store.  All other furniture remaining at that point must be sold or given away.

Both of us are extremely excited and nervous, too. If you want to follow our joint travel adventure blog, it is Home on the Roam. Check it out.

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WOW! What a Week

In the last three days, things have been moving rather quickly for us.

Monday, we signed the paper work on our new (to us) 5th-Wheel RV. This is Sydney.

2010 Keystone Outback Sydney

2010 Keystone Outback Sydney

We also turned in our 60-day notice at our apartment complex.

Tuesday, we found our truck to pull the RV; Dad is selling us his Dodge Ram 2500 with a Cummins diesel. (No picture at the moment.) We will call the truck Gulliver, and the 5th-Wheel and truck together will be called Sygul (Sydney + Gulliver).

Today, Jim sold his 1970 Plymouth, Shannon.

Outside of 1970 Plymouth Satellite

Outside of 1970 Plymouth Satellite

Now we are ready to sell Reba, the Ford Mustang. Tomorrow, Jim will list this 2008 Mustang that has only a tad over 51,000 miles on it.

2008 Ford Mustang Slightly over 51,000 Miles For Sale

2008 Ford Mustang
Slightly over 51,000 Miles
For Sale

What will happen tomorrow?  I have no idea, but it seems that everything is coming together for us, and we are extremely excited!

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1970 Plymouth For Sale in Preparation for a New Adventure (Sold)

The HH and I have decided to sell the Plymouth (and eventually the Mustang) to purchase a good, used 5th-Wheel and a good, used 1-ton truck to pull it, and we are going on the road.

If you, or anyone you may know, is interested, please contact Jimmy ASAP. Contact information is below.

Outside of 1970 Plymouth Satellite

Outside of 1970 Plymouth Satellite

For Sale: Partially restored 1970 Plymouth Satellite $10,900: engine is a 340 Barracuda, floor pans replaced, heads redone, new cam, new carburetor, new headers, new wire harness, rebuilt transmission, new starter, new tires, new Cragar wheels, new brakes, new interior (carpet, door panels, headliner, re-upholstered seats with roadrunners on all seats and Wiley Coyote holding a stick of dynamite between the back seats).

Interior

Interior

Engine

Engine

The car will need a paint job and some dashboard rewiring. There is some rust in the wheel wells and rocker panels, but the metal is straight. Additional parts are in the trunk as well as a car cover. Service Manual on CD and all repair documentation will accompany acquisition.

Contact Info:

Jimmy Johnson

931-624-7390     

jimmyjohnson2261@gmail.com     

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We Never Saw It Coming

About two months ago, the HH and I returned from our big American Road Trip, and I expected to have written many posts sharing the travel experience and stories about what we saw and did by now. Instead, I’ve written nothing. Before we could get through all of our mail, buy groceries to fill our empty frig, get the dog settled back home, and more or less once again return to a regular routine, we got blindsided with unexpected news. The HH was furloughed from his job with a company for which he had worked for ten years without any hint that such was going to happen; just under four weeks later, he was officially laid off.

Needless to say, when we received “the call” at dinner the Friday night after our return from vacation, long after business hours, we knew it was something we did not want to hear. Instead of taking the call then, my husband told his boss that he’d call back after we had finished dinner. Of course, a sense of dread stayed with us as we finished our meal and headed home. It was as bad as we thought, and actually, worse.

Knowing that he’d receive only one more paycheck, not even a full one since we had just used almost all of his PTO, was only helped by the fact that we’d have medical insurance for another four weeks (it turned out to be a day or two shy of four weeks). Instinctively, we new that at the end of the four weeks, there’d be no severance package. We had to “circle the wagons” in preparation of the battle of unemployment. Except for my tutoring and the little bit of weekly unemployment the HH would receive (even the max payout in Tennessee is very small), we would have no income for who knows how long.

As of this writing, despite both of us applying for jobs, neither one of us are working save for my tutoring jobs.  By the time the shoe dropped, it was almost time for school to begin, so I knew that applying for teaching positions was a very long shot; all positions would be filled or in the process of being filled. Finding a job in the HH’s field at or near his most recent rate of pay is not easy.

Despite all of this, we have been making it pretty well, and I have to believe that whatever comes to pass for us as a result of this surprise event in our lives will be for the best.

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Welcome to a New Blogger: My Funny and Cynical Hubby

Blogger world, watch out! A new blogger is on the lose, and he is going to be fun to read.

Check out jimmysbriefcase@wordpress.com, and you’ll not be sorry!

Jimmy Johnson, my HH

Jimmy Johnson, my HH

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