Dropping Anchor

The Happy Camper, Kiki the Kat and I have been snuggled behind my brother’s house for a week as I have been contemplating my options. I’ve been looking at houses, and apartments so I can put the camper in winter storage before I freeze and blow her pipes!

God Bless Greg and Cindy for their generosity.

I am going to change my status from Full-Timer Camper to Part-Timer which is a step up from Week-Ender Camper. I know, that’s stupid.

I feel too detached from civilization not having a home base. I had no anchor. I have come accustomed to that floating sensation, but I also understand the emotions it creates. I know it would be a different picture with a spouse or a travel mate, but “it is what it is” as they say!

My solitude, my travels, seeing the country from a different perspective has given me a whole new clarity I have never experience before. Walking naked into the world (metaphorically speaking) and doing a 360 is mind blowing. Like the ghost of Mr. Scrooge, to step in and observe a world I am not really a part of was an experience not to be missed. I have a whole new appreciation of life and the people of this country. America.

What I am trying to say is women of a certain age, and probably men too, become invisible in our society. We are there on the street, walk in and out of shops, and no one pays much attention. Traveling from town to town and not staying long enough to become familiar lends a certain amount of anonymity and invisibility. I could walk in and out of situations, chit chat, ask questions, have discussions and disappear. Like a puff of smoke. At the campgrounds, I knew they remembered me only until the next camper took my place. All I left was a paper trail.

Creepy! Especially if I had been “an evil-doer!”

So for now, I am going to settle in to a new home (whatever that is going to be), get my bearings, and chart some new adventures. I want to spend time enjoying the traditions unique to my family, watch the seasonal changes, and look forward to spring. I’ll be downsizing my home so I can continue my Camping. So no fancy addresses for me!

Have a beautiful Thanksgiving everyone!!

Fort Pillow

I told my daughter the other day that I didn’t know if I could go back and live among humans. Most of my locations have been so natural, and peaceful, and so good for my soul.

At Echo Charlies Marina Resort, near Eddyville, Kentucky I was pushed way back into the woods, but near a road. Other campers were parked around me, but they were empty. I seldom saw people unless I wanted to. But there was one little couple from Evansville, Indiana, he was a retired Cop, they would pass by in the evenings until they packed up for the season and left.

I could sit at my table and watch a Mother Nature parade past. I loved it.

But it was time to push on because the weather was getting colder, so I took off toward a little Park, Fort Pillow Historic State Park, just north of Memphis that looked like fun. As always, my 2 hr. 56 min drive dragged on for many hours more. It seems once I get close to a destination I can’t get to it. This time, MapGuest sent me in the wrong direction, but for a good reason I have figured out.

I had called several hours prior to getting there just to make sure I had a place to stay, the conversation went something like this:

“I was wondering if you had any open campsites for the evening.”
She gave a little chuckle and said, “We have 32.” Her chuckle made me curious.
“How many do you normally have?”

She gave me basic directions but all I remember distinctly was, “Just remember we’re way down at the end of that road.”

Yesterday was cold, rainy, and 4 hours into a drive, I am pretty tired. I was seeing cotton fields, way sooner than I would have imagined and it is pretty woodsy getting down into this area. I turned on Chamber Lake Road like MapQuest told me to, and I think I stepped off the end of the earth as I know it.

On and on I drove, past Kudzu that looked like mourning giants, smoothing out the countryside, consuming trees and barns, then the black top turned to gravel. Not gray gravel, but red brown muddy looking stuff. And on and on I drove, past a swamp right out of Legend of Boggy Creek then along side a lake. Warning buzzers are deafening inside my head, but there was NO place to turn around. I keep thinking she said, “Just remember we’re way down at the end of that road.”
Really?? This far?

Finally, a pick up approached and I rolled down my window and flagged him down. It was a Hispanic dude, with women and children. Murders and rapist don’t take their family along normally. Do they?

“Is there any where up ahead to turn around?”
“Yes, yes, turn around!” Did he know what I said, or did he just agree?
I kept thinking “Just remember we’re down at the end of that road.”
The more desolate it got the more determined I was to turn around and find a Walmart!

Mapquest tells me I have reached my destination, but it is a sign by the road telling me about the wildlife management project involving The Nature Conservancy, and the State of Tennessee . . . . CRAP.

If I had a rock I would have hammered my phone. But I was too scared to get out of the truck!! Chit. Chit. Chit.

I keep going and emerge on the edge of a spans of flat farmland, dotted here and there with patches of trees. I begin to notice similar machinery to what I see in the White River water management area and it all makes sense. This are is where the mighty Mississippi spreads across the plain and they manage the water levels, for farming and wildlife habitat. But it is still freakin’ scary.

Finally, I call the Park again. She tells me once again how to get there, and once again, I second guess her directions, and drive around lost for another half hour. So, I call again, this time she realizes she’s dealing with an idiot. But I get there, and he Ranger meets me, leads me to the campground and helps me back the camper in.

What a sweetheart, he sounds like LaSalle on NCIS New Orleans. He proudly tells me about the Campground. They have never had trailer hook ups before, in fact, they just opened this part last Friday!! And guess what!! I am their very first camper, ever!! (I’m hoping to get a plaque or something, don’t you think I should??)

Everything is brand-spanking new! Virgin fire pits, virgin charcoal grills, virgin water hookups, virgin electrical boxes, you get the picture! Even picnic tables with no one’s initials carved in the wood. Very thoughtfully laid out ringing a bathhouse, with handicap sites closest. One site across from me sits on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi river! Sweet!

LaSalle, aka Ranger Robbie, says he will make one more pass through in about an hour then he will lock the gate behind him until morning. Night sets in, the rain tippy tapping on the roof, and an insecure feeling of security falls over the Happy Camper.

Thank you, Lord, for my Facebook friends who kept me entertained until sleep finally overtook me. They made me laugh, and verbally held my hand. Thanks guys!!

BTW – MapQuest couldn’t direct me correctly to the campground because until Friday, it didn’t officially exist.

The Tennessee State Park website won’t tell you about the Fort Pillow Massacre, but here is a link to more information:


What a splendid day, in the middle of breakfast I watched the camp guys with the honey wagon pump out my black water tank and I didn’t even puke. I did however, throw the rest of my breakfast away. That is all camper-speak for they brought a wagon around and pumped the poo out of my camper’s tank because it was full.

Shortly after that a stranger walked up to my door. He was wearing only grey sweat bottoms and bedroom slippers and looked like Frank on American Pickers . . . . I met him at the door, my Rossi 38 in hand. He asked for a glass of water, said his girlfriend had kicked him out, with only what he had on and he was walking to exit 40 to get a ride. Hhhhhmmmmm. Sad story.

I called the campground hosts, they intercepted him and after he mentioned he had bipolar disorder (twice) and they gave him a ride to the Interstate. But I am going to be on the look-out for any Frank look-a-likes for the rest of the week!!

Battling my compulsive tendency to take my camera everywhere I go, even to just go sit on the picnic table and read. (Ladies, you know the way we feel when we suddenly realize we don’t have our purses on our shoulder? That way.) I finally, won and went to sit first on the table, then on the tailgate of my truck (the view is different). And by DAMN if a fawn didn’t walk up to the road just across from me and munch on the grass. DAMMIT. DAMMIT! Dammit!

Then I remembered I had my cellphone in my hip pocket!!! teeheeeheeee

Another River City

Paducah, Kentucky what a tantalizing place! Snuggled right up against the river at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, its history parallels that of Clark and Floyd Counties.

As I pulled into the public parking lot up by the river, I see they have converted the concrete flood walls into a giant mural canvas showing the history of the region. Each mural has a story outlined on a plaque in front and are also lit at night. Lewis and Clark have left their mark on the area as well as many of the men whose names are familiar in county and landmark names around Kentucky.

As I have done all along, I let fate, or Karma or the hand of God lead me as I wonder shops and streets. That is how I met nice people I will always remember like Roberta’s Daughter and her friend Cindy, or Junell in another shop in another city. This approach served me nicely today as I took to the first street I came to.

I deny lots of things on here and I deny I currently have any republican leanings, but when I saw Donald Trump pins for sale for $2 in the Republican Office, I had to go inside. I have a campaign pin from John Kennedy, a Ferraro (first female to run for Vice President) and Mondale button, and a “Donald” would fit nicely in my collection!

My Mama taught me right, so I was nice and they put me on to a nice barbecue sandwich and delicious pie shop a few doors down. Here I got my first education about BBQ in the area. A BBQ pork sandwich is just a layer of pork on bread toasted. When she brought it I thought it was a grilled cheese sandwich! No bun, no pickles, no onion slices, no slathering of sauce. Dry, chopped pork on toast. . . .but it was pretty tasty none the less. The coconut meringue pie more than made up for the shattered expectations!!

Wandering along some of the streets reminded me of New Orleans. The doors were tall, with long low glass, some still wavy and wiggly from the old times. The columns between the doors and windows decorated, the tops of the cornices ornate as well. Cobble stone roads, and street artists, no buskers but musicians playing from stages and pavilions. If there were drunks carrying hurricane drinks I would have sworn I had stumbled through a portal into NOLA!!

At PAPA’s (Paducah Area Painters Alliance) Gallery I met Jan Farley, who was painting a horse in water colors. A skill I could never master. Jan also knew everything about the area and had been everywhere! Somewhere in our rambling conversation I asked her about a sports outfitters sign I had seen on my way about Bow Fishing. Huh? How does that work??

Bow Fishing is targeted (in this area) at the evil Asian Carp which is clogging the streams and creeks and killing the good fish. They are huge, and the DNR asks that if you catch them, harvest them for food or kill them. Do not put the fish back in the water. Whuuut? Jan explained the proper way to harvest and cook the meat, how high it is protein, and how much fun the guys have pulling these buggers out of the water.

Basically, for Asian Carp fishing, throw your cane fishing rod away. It will take two of you to catch one fish! One guy will need deep sea gear, like for catching tuna or marlins in the ocean, and something like a small grappling hook on the end of the line. The other guy will need a sophisticated bow, outfitted with a line connected to the arrows along with a laser site. At the fishing site, the guy with the grappling hook tosses out and snags a carp and brings it to the surface. The guy with the bow takes over and spears the carp with an arrow. Then the two of them drag the fish out.

I am told it is very physically demanding, because of the weight of these fish. These guys are 3 are 4 feet long, with lots of usable meat. Bow fishing must be very rewarding because you are helping to clean up the carp, it’s fun and you go with a buddy, so male bonding and all that. In the end you can harvest as much meat as you want for the freezer, so the “hunter gather” instinct thing gets to kick in! It sounded like a lot of fun to me!!

I hurried past a cigar shop that reeked, in and out of shops, then came to a Vintage shop playing German music, with a German lady on the phone who reminded me of Marlena Dietrich. I snuck a couple of shots of her displays;she had lots of fine costume jewelry!

I found a wonderful artist named Gay Speirbhain whose painting and sculptures were being featured in an exhibit at the Yeiser Art Center. I actually went in because they had a sign bottled water $1!! I am glad I was thirsty! The volunteer must have been in love with her because she took me lovingly around and talked about all of the paintings as if she was intimately familiar!

Speirbhain, well into her 60s (I think) is now learning to weld! Something I have wanted to learn for ages! And along with her paintings were sculptures made of rusted junk and artifacts. Here paintings and sculptures are commanding very high prices, and what wasn’t for sell were from her private collection or the collections of others.

There were three distinct styles around the gallery but the one I liked the most was the ones with an Albuquerque, NM flavor, with bright colors, depictions of Jesus and Saints, and angels. Some were painted on canvas, some door panels, and some on metal. Not only did she paint stirring, surreal primitive images of people and places, she often narrated the paintings along the margins of the painting, and on the backs. So once you look, and read, you have become involved with the work of art.

The last place I stumbled into taught me about energy/spirit orbs, photos of fairies, and fine tuning my body’s energy with certain frequencies. Loved it!! Sue Edwards is a Licensed Spiritual Healer, and I only wish she lived nearer to me. Basically, she uses a “Holistic Approach to Well-Being” and positive energy (something we could all use more of). Energy IS literally all around us; and after she “tuned up” my body’s frequencies I have to admit my neck has not hurt since I was in her shop! http://www.nicerockshop.com is a must see destination in Paducah!!

Oh, and I cannot forget – she showed me some orb and fairy photos that knocked my socks off!!!

Paducar, KY

Ok, I put on my big (really big) girl panties, slapped the friction sway-bar on the rig and bolted down the road today. Meaning, I overcame my discomfort of the interstate and headed south. Some people tell me that heading to Paducah, Kentucky isn’t heading south, but to ME it is! They even talk funny here. Humphf, so there!

Of course the problem with interstates is that you miss the ambiance of small towns. For example: Why is Hanson, Kentucky Historic? Or who was Chief Cornstalk? So now I have some googling to do!!

Kiki, who refuses to eat, drink or potty, kept up her marathon hold-out today, while I had to stop three or was it four times. At first, I am searching for a place that will accommodate the Happy Camper; then I realize I am dragging a freakin’ toilet down the road! What was I thinking! Plus, while I am there I can make a sandwich and grab a drink! Love it!

Conversation with Kiki today:

Me, “Kiki, you still here?”
Kiki, “Merwow.” (Translates as: “Yes, you fool.”)
Me, “Kiki, you OK?”
Kiki, “Meowow argk.” (Translates as: “Do I look OK, Asshole?”)
Me, “But we’re almost there!”
Kiki, “Erwow” (Accent on the “Er”.) (Translates as: “About Freakin’ time!”)

Now I am all hunkered down in an RV resort on the banks of Lake Barkley. Out the window, Kiki saw her first deer. We have been on the road for over four months and this is the first time we’ve had deer walk past the camper. Lots of trees again, no poison ivy insight but cell phone coverage and Internet.

Satellite TV is a bust. If I knew which direction was south, my dish still wouldn’t have a clear shot at the sky. I have three antenna stations, one of them is NBC so I can watch Jeopardy. Yippy!

It’s the little things in life . . . .

Just the Earrings

My summer tan is fading, which is kind of a bummer. It looks more orange than brown. I was hoping it would hang around a while and remind me of my summer fun. But now it looks more like a lingering bruise that goes from a good shiner, to various shades of ugly for a week or two.

I’ve never been much of a sun worshiper, especially after the indications of cancer and damage became fully known. I do however, get a beautiful farmer’s tan that thwarts the idea of a sleeveless top or evening gown. Spray on tans look stupid on me and I never think to start the season with sleeveless shirts while I am puttering around outside in the warm spring air. Plus, I have never had a pool to lollygag around in my bathing suit.

So that dooms me to wearing t-shirts and dresses with sleeves, and so much unflattering covers that mask my feminine wiles!!!

Which brings me to something that I have been talking about to friends this week. My feminine wiles. I don’t think I have any!!

I was always a rough and tumble kid as a girl, I did the things my big brother and his friends did because I didn’t have anyone else to play with. I’m not a dainty girl, I like being physically strong and not vulnerable but I am a girl nonetheless. Yes, during those prime girlfriend/boyfriend days of our lives, I worked harder at it, primped, loved the boy’s attentions. Eventually married, had a baby. But all of that girly stuff comes more naturally to some women than me.

As I grew older I saw through the gender wrappings, and since I wasn’t actively pursuing a man I began to choose more practical “female trappings”. For instance, who the F*** invented the spiked heel shoes anyway?? My feet were permanently damaged and I have the surgical scars to prove it!!

The whole world knew I was prematurely grey, who was I kidding by coloring and curling my hair?? (Which as most of you knows, loses its curl and gets straighter when it turns grey!)

I was never good at fixing my hair, so I wear it short. In fact, if you see me today wearing a hat it is because I am having a bad hair day!! If I can’t shove that clutch purse in my pocket to run to the store, why can’t I get a sensible billfold to do the same thing?

Don’t get me wrong, I cherish, no I revel, in the way my bulky body fulfilled its biological destiny, the way it did everything by the book when I was pregnant, and now in my later years. (Even though, it would be nice if it skipped a few of the chapters of THAT book!) Genetics has given me a strong healthy body, and it has done everything it was supposed to.

But dainty or not, I am a girl. I’m Heterosexual. I’m not gay.

Which is why I was disturbed this week when another woman propositioned me. At least I think it was a proposition. I’m not so good at that either! But I FELT like it was a proposition!

It has made for a good story, I’ve laughed a lot!!
“Maybe it is the haircut” someone said as she was laughing hysterically!!
“Oh, she’s so cute! You should be flattered” someone else said. No consolation there either!

Some years ago, I was out deer spotting with my camping buddies, late at night, I had a cap stuck on my head, probably wearing a t-shirt and jacket. An elderly man stopped to check that we were OK, not experiencing a car problem or anything, and as he departed he hollered, “You and the boy have a good evening.”

Stunned silence filled the car as his truck rolled away.

“WHAT!!??? He called me a boy??” I said.
“Maybe because you aren’t wearing earrings?” someone suggested.
“He called me a boy!”
“You should be flattered that you look young enough to be a boy”
“Your skin, it’s so smooth, you should be flattered.”
“You should always wear earrings. That’s why. He couldn’t tell you were a girl.”

Earrings have become the inside joke with this group of friends. “It will all look just right, if you are wearing earrings.” If I move my billfold from my front pocket to my hip does that look too unfeminine? “Not if you wear earrings, my dear.”

I don’t know if I had on earrings that day. I don’t know! But after pondering it, I am still going to laugh about it. I am still going to wear comfortable clothing, and use practical things rather than expensive foo foo girly things that don’t actually work.

But I might make an appointment to get my ears pierced six or eight more times.
What do ya think?

Corn, Corn, Corn

Looking out the Happy Camper this morning, my coffee in hand, my ceramic space heater humming at my feet, and Kiki the traveling cat is rolling around on the foot of my bed loving the warm tastiness of the camper. It has rained a lot over the last 12 hours, and wind has rocked the camper, temps were down in the low 40s last night, the morning gray and windy still.

Across the Ohio River, on the hill that makes this valley, the trees are starting to turn colors. Last week it was a few tree tops, now most of them are changing, but not at peak yet. Most, but not all, of the corn crops have been harvested, the naked fields tilled under for next year. Until the last few days, the machines in the corn and soybean fields stirred up a giant brown cloud of dust. I know the rain is a blessing to us all.

I have watched the whole cycle of the corn this summer, from tiny green sprouts in Northern Indiana and Central Ohio, to tall green stalks, then glowing golden at the end of their live cycle, brown rattling in the breeze, stubble in the harvested field and plowed under to rest for next year.

No, Carol Jamison, I will NEVER watch “Children of the Corn”!!!