LIVING THE DREAM, Part 19: “Back in the Driver’s Seat”

Hiawassee, GA.

June 5, 2018

Since May 25, 2017, when we bought the Ford F350 pickup for pulling our fifth-wheel RV, Jeff was its only  driver. I knew that, if push came to shove — like if I had to outrun zombies after an apocalypse —  I could manage to drive it. Still, the idea of wrangling with the “beast” was intimidating. So, when we sold our fifth-wheel, we sold the truck, too.

On May 12, when we arrived at Appalachian Campground, in Hiawassee, Georgia, all we had to get around in was our motorhome, which would have been cumbersome for  grocery-store runs. So later in the same week, one of the campground owners drove us to Blairsville to look for a “runner” to drive to the grocery store, etc. Although we were looking for a junker to get us by until November 1, we revised our plan when we  saw the metallic grayish-green and gold 2002 Subaru Legacy Outback on the lot of Blackwell Automotive. Because of Subaru’s reputation for being one of the safest cars on the road, I knew we’d want to hang onto this baby long after we moved onto the next camp, wherever that would be. When daily rainstorms made the roads slick, I was in no hurry to brave them in any car. That is, until today, the second day we have had clear skies.

Invigorated by the sunny, yet cool, day, I struck out for a long-awaited pedicure at Julie’s Spa Nails in Hiawassee.  Well, my luxurious pedi was over entirely too soon, but I was still too revved up to go home. So I swung by the Towns County Library to inquire about doing a book-signing.  Although the person with whom I spoke didn’t hold out much hope for such an event,  she did suggest the Mountain Regional library in Young Harris for such an occasion.

Well, who would have thought that my li’l ol’ junket to Hiawassee would turn into an out-and-out quest! After grabbing a single-meat Patty Melt at The Huddle House in Hiawassee to silence my growling tummy, I struck out for Young Harris. After all, it was just “down the road a piece”. Once again, the librarian at Mountain Regional Library sent me to the next stop in the road to the Union County Public Library in Blairsville where I was able to schedule a book-signing for August.

Chest puffed as I walked back to my car, I was bursting with self-confidence.

What did I tell you, back in Young Harris, Kim? You can DO this!

As soon as I buckled myself back into the car and  pulled out onto the road, my moxie melted. Yes, I had been to Blairsville plenty of times, but  only with Jeff driving.

Now, in spite of the dubious guidance of “GPS lady” (on my iPhone X)  directing me with her whispery voice and rapid but poor enunciation, I  wound up at a garage with a bunch of junked-up cars. I half expected mutant mechanics named Bubba and his other- brother Bubba, in their overalls, to attack me with monkey wrenches oozing grease.

C’mon, ol’ girl, I hissed. Get a hold of yourself.  The same GPS who threw you off track can just as easily lead you home.

So,  I was once more back on track and driving out of Blairsville when  a light on the dashboard caught my eye: the “Check Engine” light. As I clicked off the miles, I ticked off the reasons it could have come on:

  • that the ‘safest car on the road’ would self-destruct with me in it
  • that the dealer where we bought the car had programmed the light to pop on so we would bring it in for a check-up to make sure it was safe.

Clinging tenaciously to Reason Number-Two , I drove the rest of the way with bated breath until I finally pulled up to the safety of our humble but cozy motorhome, reminding me of the last line of an old Nineteenth-Century song:

“Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.”










LIVING THE DREAM, Part 15: “Leaving the Comfort Of Comfort”

Comfort, Tx

Sometime around four p.m.

Monday, March 7, 2018

After much exasperation, consternation, and other “ation” emotions that we dealt with during the previous week, the big day we waited for was finally coming to pass. When the moment arrived, it was bittersweet. For although we were excited about blazing a new frontier in a new motorhome, we would be trading in the cramped but cozy fifth-wheel we cut our RV “teeth” on.

We would also miss our friends at RV Park USA in Comfort, Texas. Friends who knew we were leaving crowded around at our slot to see if they could help. After handshakes, hugs, and promises to “see-you-later”, we hitched up our Wildcat to our truck and headed down to the Evergreen RV dealership in New Braunfels, Texas. During the past ten months, Jeff and I and even Russet, had become so comfortable in Comfort.

But despite the friendship, the weekly Bingo games, occasional bonfires, and monthly luncheons with our tribe, it was time to move on to the workamping job awaiting us in Georgia.

As we pulled through the gate of the Evergreen RV dealership, almost an hour later, I was relieved to see our 1999 Newmar Dutch Star waiting for us at the front of the building. When the buyer of our pickup ran into a six-day delay that caused our own plans to veer south, I worried that someone else would strut in and slap down a check for the full amount to buy “her” outright, even though the unit had sat on the lot for five months. Finding our Class A cleaned and air-conditioned for our arrival reassured us that “she” was, indeed, ours. After we parked and went inside, the sales manager got someone to pull the fifth-wheel alongside the motorhome so that we could start moving our stuff from our old home to our new one.

At least, I thought that was the plan.

As it turned out, Jeff and I learned that we could not move our stuff in until we paid for it. Knowing there was nothing more we could do until we met the buyer at his bank, the next day, we spent the night in a New Braunfels motel.

The next morning, after a quick breakfast at McDonalds, we drove to San Antonio to meet the buyer, Paul, at his bank. The check, he assured us, had already been cut, so all we needed to do was sign our names in the presence of the loan officer and take the check to our bank. We were giddy with excitement about driving away in our new-to-us Dutch Star before the end of the day.

Although we had expected to call Uber or rent a car back to Evergreen, we were in luck when Paul rode back to Bank of America with us. We were about to march in, deposit the check, and get a cashier’s check to pay for the motorhome when Jeff went pale.

”What’s the matter, hon?” I asked, as I saw him rifle through the pages of the notebook where he had stashed the check.

”I can’t find it. It was right here, but now —.”

After we had, like, a gazillion heart attacks each, Paul whipped out his cell phone and called the bank to see what could be done.

Fully expecting to receive bad news, we were relieved to see his face light up as he ended the call.

“They found it. And you’ll never guess where it was, or who turned it in. The Good Samaritan was none other than our loan officer.”

After back-tracking to the San Antonio bank and recovering the check, we hurried back to Schertz to the same Bank of America to deposit the check.

“When will the funds be available?” Jeff asked.

“In twenty-four hours,” said the teller. “You can pull out the money, tomorrow.”

Disappointed at having to wait and worried that we might have to stay another night in a motel, we held our collective breath when Ron asked Jeff to step into his office.

Uh-oh, I thought. This happens only when someone’s about to get bad news.

But when I saw Ron and Jeff come out grinning and shaking each others’ hands, I exhaled. So did Paul, who was good enough to stick around, in case we needed a ride to a motel.

“Hey, babe,” Jeff said, draping an arm around my shoulders, “We can start moving in our stuff!”

“And we can sleep in our motorhome, too?” I asked.

“Yep. So, c’mon, let’s get started.”

Seeing that we were set for the night, Paul shook our hands, thanked us for selling him the truck, and wished us a safe trip.

There we were, locked inside the lot until morning, but fully equipped with food, water, and bathroom access. After moving drawers of assorted stuff from the fifth-wheel to the motorhome until we were hot, sweaty, sore, and cranky, we decided to knock off for the night, eat a bite, and sleep one more night in the Wildcat since its bed wasn’t stacked up with clothing and drawers yet to be unpacked.

Before we dozed off, that night, Jeff and I looked into each other’s weary eyes.

“Remind me, again, I asked him. “Why are we leaving the comfort of Comfort?”


LIVING THE DREAM, Part 10: New Year, New Plans, Newer Adventures!

Comfort, Texas


Greetings from “ComfortableComfort” — still! Now that the holidays are over, our cypress Christmas trees  have been planted in the  RV park, and Yuletide trappings, packed away for next year.

Up ahead for 2018 come new plans, new chapters, and newer adventures.

First, we’re trading our rig — a fifth-wheel RV and Ford F350 pickup — for a pre-owned 36′-40′ Class A Diesel-pusher motorhome with a tow-bar to pull a Jeep or a Subaru. Two months ago, while winter rampaged outside our windows, we browsed Class As online in the comfort of our 2011 Forest River Wildcat. As soon as the sun came out, so did we, venturing to lots in Boerne, Kerrville, and an RV show in San Antonio to explore new and “pre-owned Class A motorcoaches. Although our present rig is cozy, we need more space. Now that we have  played Life by-ear for ten months, we are 99.99999% sure we want to continue our tee-shirt-and-flip-flops lifestyle until someone stumbles over our crunchy, upturned exoskeletons or — Heaven forbid! — our kiddos put one or both of us in a ‘home’. Since we both retired, our home-on-wheels satisfies our urge to roam. So far, we’ve browsed shops and eaten German food in New Braunfels, Gruene, and Wimberley, beachcombed in Port Aransas and enjoyed peaceful small-town Comfort.  In the future, we plan to return to the Texas Gulf Coast, Northeast Texas including the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, El Paso, New Mexico, and Arizona, and the Pacific Northwest, beginning with San Diego. From there on out, who knows?

Besides switching rigs, I’m promoting From Her Mother’s Armsand working on the first sequel, By Her Daughter’sHands, which is in the hands of beta-readers. As soon as I receive their comments and incorporate changes, I plan to jet it off to my publisher and Mothers, Daughters, and Others, the middle part of the story that I wrote during NaNoWriMo 2017.

After Amazon offers my trilogy as a boxed set  by Christmas, I intend to fine-tune my other works: Man After Midnight,  Crimson Feathers, and Suffer the Little Children, all previous NaNoWriMo projects, before launching into White Beaches, Black Ice, a Texas travel-guide mystery series which is yet to be titled, and a thriller set in an RV park with a redheaded author as sleuth.

As for my new ‘chapter’, I am now an author and editor since I  edited a book for a friend. With that project in the bag, I’m looking for authors who have new books  ready for editing for reasonable rates. Already, my new ‘shingle’ is on my author page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Craigslist is a future possibility.

Speaking of publishing, Jeff and I learned when From Her Mother’s Arms was in publication mode, that the publishing process costs money. Lots of it. Editing novels that are least 50,000 words or more at the rate of a penny or penny-and-a-half per word can really help defray publishers’ costs. Although I edit full-length books, I would consider editing shorter works.

Besides for posting ‘for-sale’ signs on our rig, we have also put it on, for only six more days. One couple drove out from San Antonio to see it, yesterday. More  are driving out, next week. Who knows what can happen after that?

We have had a great year beginning with a whole a new ‘chapter’. We have faith that a new rig and newer adventures are waiting for us up the road.