Spoonie Retirement — Life, Love, and RV living in the time of Covid

Greetings fellow Spoonies, not Spoonies, and various other sentient beings (yeah waaaay too much SciFi around here). February is the month of love and Paula’s got the February Love Me Challenge going which is awesome. Today I’m loving my RV lifestyle.

Living full time (and by that I mean 24/7/365) in an RV can be a challenge. It’s also a lot of fun. In 2019 we made the decision to “come off the road” which simply put means we sold our motorhome and replaced it with a small 5th wheel which stays at the RV park year round. The membership park to which we belong offers a moving service, as well as both long and short term storage for the times we’re off site. Now we take vacations (well not so much this past year … stupid pandemic).

So here we are still “livin the dream.” The views and openess of Hart Ranch RV resort are awesome. You don’t get this kind of views in a house, well not one we can afford anyway. This week we’ve worked hard and overcome several challenges. The temperatures have been below zero farenheit for over a week and we are living in an RV none of which are designed for long term use. The inside stays pleasantly warm with our propane furnace, electric faux fireplace and a couple of tiny space heaters.

We lost running water sometime last week. Keeping fresh water running in arctic temps is difficult at best, so when the line freezes we disconnect the hose, bring it in to thaw and run on fresh water tanks until things begin to thaw. Generally, our heated water hose keeps us going as long as we stay somewhere near or above zero. Yesterday, our reserve tanks ran almost dry, so we bundled up, hooked up the hose and refilled the tanks. The next problem is the “black tank” yep, that’s the sewage holding tank. We drain twice a week and the problem in these temps is to keep the drain hose and the valves from freezing. To that end we have a small outdoor space heater (milkhouse heater) under the RV skirts which warms the underbelly enough to keep the drain hose running.

All of this requires outdoor work. A friend who spent 6 months working in antarctica told us it took an hour to don 25 pounds of clothes and gear, to go outside for 20 minutes and another hour to get out of said gear and was worth every minute of prep spent. So, we spend 20 minutes donning 15+ pounds of layered clothing and proceed outside to do 30 minutes of work. As Spoonies, we are acutely aware of the dangers presented by hypothermia, we stay out for 5-10 minutes then come inside, warm up, and go back out to finish. Wind chills are particularly dangerous. Extreme cold can exacerbate symptoms of autoimmune disease and both of us have neuropathy in feet and hands. Even clearing a path to the car can take waaaaay longer than expected. But … we adapt (we are Borg, we will adapt, yeah OK definitely too much SciFi).

So there you have it, a day in the life of two almost cryogenically frozen Spoonie SoDaks (South Dakotans).

 

Til next time ~bundle up, stay warm, stay safe ~JP

Animas Forks Ghost Town – from Silverton Colorado

There is adventure to be found everywhere even in the alpine tundra of Silverton Colorado. The town itself starts out at over 9,000 feet and goes up from there. A few years ago, we took an interesting “jeep” tour from Silverton to Animas Forks Ghost Town. We started our adventure in what I lovingly refer to as the “Swiss Army Butt Cruncher.” An old Swiss army transport truck, not comfortable on the hiney but a great climber which came in handy.

riding a swiss army butt cruncher

Continue reading “Animas Forks Ghost Town – from Silverton Colorado”

Simplicity – Part 2 — simplicity without deprevation or all I have is all I need

IMG_0986 (2)

There is no scarcity except in our souls.

In the first two months after our decision to become full-time RVers, I quit my job cutting our income effectively in half. I went through everything in that house and garage saled, e-bayed, sold, gave to kids, donated to charity, and just plain threw out most of what I had accumulated over all my years of grown-up life and child rearing. A few family heirlooms and things I just wasn’t ready to part with yet were stored in my father-in-law’s attic. Last year when he passed away, family members offered to store those items for me, but it was time to let them go. A small box of old treasures came home with me but for the most part, they once again went to kids, friends, and a big garbage can. Continue reading “Simplicity – Part 2 — simplicity without deprevation or all I have is all I need”

Simplicity — all you need is all you have.

serenity shot of the week

The simpler we make our lives, the more abundant they become. Sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? It’s one of those sayings you hear but don’t really comprehend until you start to live it. Superhubs and I have become “noodle folk” we are simple people, eat simple, live simple and our lives are so much more abundant that I ever dreamed possible.

In our former life, we lived in a 2000 square foot stick house, both held full-time jobs, were empty nesters. Sounds nice doesn’t it? Underneath it though, I was drowning in stuff and clutter. Not just clutter around the house (although there was plenty of that to go around) but clutter of the heart, mind and yes soul. Simplifying down to a minimalist life can be daunting, if not downright terrifying, but for me it was oh so worth it. Continue reading “Simplicity — all you need is all you have.”

Rapid City, SD – Rapid Creek Trail in Spring

With the Summer heat, I find myself reminiscing fondly of Spring. Ah Spring, that golden time of year here in the Black Hills when after the harshness of Winter, Spring’s gentle warmth and greens is as refreshing as her warm breezes. OK, yeah that’s totally euphemistic garbage. Winter here is harsh and cold, Spring is wet, soggy and storm riddled. But euphoric recall doesn’t quite work that way so, I thought I’d share a few Spring shots with you from a lovely day in early May on a trip to Rapid Creek, Founders Park trail here in Rapid City, SD.

20180502_061844 (2)

There is just something about the moon in daytime that I find so incredibly entrancing, unusual and somehow magical. Like a clandestine lover on a secret visit, so lovely and yet so unexpected.

4.29.18 budding trees (2)

Shrubs and trees everywhere are budding with life. Barely containing the excitement when they will burst forth in glorious blooms.

20180505_112107 (2)

And, of course, birds everywhere. Look hard and you’ll see the little woodpecker atop the light pole. He was hammering away at the metal end cap with such fervor that I feared for his beak!

20180505_111227 (3)

And or course, anywhere there’s green grass to be found, the ever present bane of gardeners everywhere, the bunny rabbit. Such a graphic reminder of Spring.

20180503_194255 (2)

Till next time ~Peace ~ JPP

 

Sylvan Lake – Black Hills SD

Held within the confines of Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota, lies a mesmerizing little body of water known and Sylvan Lake.

Sylvan Lake

Popular with tourists and locals as well, it’s a lovely little oasis during the heat of summer. We took the trail around the lake and found it well worth the walk. There are fascinating geological sights like this “narrows” part of the trail between two mammoth boulders, watch your head.

trail or tunnel

Or the tiny waterfall hidden in a crevice.

tiny waterfall

Then there’s the stairway to heaven, or maybe just back to the road.

rock stairway

And, as always life and beauty in the oddest places, just waiting to be noticed.

Life everywhere

If you find yourself in the Black Hills area, visiting Mt. Rushmore or Sturgis, take a few hours and explore Custer State Park and by all means, take the perimeter walk at Sylvan Lake. Til next time ~Peace JPP

Thoughts for a busy holiday

I love John Muir’s writings. Always have. He touches my heart in a way few other writer poets have. So, for this Wednesday, while those of us in the US are off making our party plans, cooking and celebrating I offer this.

Take a moment, close your eyes, breathe deep, listen to the sounds, feel what the air feels like. Open your eyes and see, really see, the world around you. There is beauty there, there is beauty everywhere, you have only to open your eyes to see it.

Crater Lake (2)
Crater Lake, Oregon

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul” ~John Muir

redwoods (2)
Redwoods,  California

“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.” ~John Muir

Til next time ~Peace JPP

Earth Day at Custer State Park

Custer 4.22.18 1
Custer State Park Fire Damage

Custer Fire damaged tree 4.22.18
Half burned Tree Custer State Park

custer 4.22.18 2
Lone Buffalo

custer 4.22.18 3
Man and Beast

custer 4.22.18 4
Grass coming up through a burn spot

custer 4.22.18 5
Buffalo Crossing

In December 2017 the Legion Lake Fire swept through the Black Hills near our summer landing spot. Although we had already departed for warmer climes, the impact was pretty horrific. When all was said and done, nearly 54,000 acres burned including nearly 50% of our beloved Custer State park. Today was the first time we have been back up there since the fire. Continue reading “Earth Day at Custer State Park”

The Joy in the Journey

I continue my new relationship with snow and ice and cold weather. Today was beautiful, sunny, warm (well warmer), albeit windy. These are icicles that formed on our RV from the melting snow, then as the sun came out, they melted away from the RV and stood like tiny stalagmites supported only by their own frozen molecules. For some reason, I found this delightful and I’ve been smiling about it ever since. I’ll probably continue to smile long after they have collapsed back into puddles of water, ever reminded of their stubborn tenacity refusing to melt in the mid-day sun. Continue reading “The Joy in the Journey”

Stuck in Colder Weather

3.26.18 My view this morning (4)
“I want to see you again, but I’m stuck in colder weather.  Maybe tomorrow will be better.”           ~ Zac Brown Band

We hear it a lot, “how do you keep from freezing in an RV?” Well, for the most part, we do what most sane full time RVers do, we head south for the winter to warmer weather. Of course, every once in awhile, mama nature throws a curve our way. Like now, it’s mid April here in the black hills and the “normal” highs are in the 50’s lows in the 30’s. No worries. Unfortunately the pineapple express (weather front blowing in from Hawaii) has thrown everything off kilter this year. It’s been way colder than normal for the nearly 3 weeks we’ve been here and today we’re having “blizzard conditions.” I mean, really? BLIZZARD! in the middle of APRIL?!? No use complaining about it, weather is what it is and it does what it does, regardless of plans, wants and desires of certain snowbirds. Continue reading “Stuck in Colder Weather”