Friday, February 14, 2020

Back in Virginia

Posted: February 14, 2020                                      Previous Posts:
About:  May 2019          Last Days in Florida: Rainbow Springs and Gamble Rogers
                                                                         March and Early April 2019

I’ve heard that readers have been getting confused about the posts I’ve put up since I resumed blogging.  I began this new blog, On My Own, at the end of my old one, Direction of Our Dreams, when my husband David died of Multiple Myeloma after a 7 year battle.  Each subsequent post on this blog has been about the months following that.  At some point I hope to be posting in real time.  This post talks about the month of May 2019. 3 months after David’s death.  I hope this isn’t too confusing.

May 2019:

Back in Virginia I began the dozens of telephone calls to deal with the medical bills I have received for David’s treatment his last few months of life.  I’ve learned not to bother with them for months until the insurance company works it all out and sends me at least two notices that they have paid all they are going to pay.  My vehicle registration stickers have never shown up so I have to call about those.  There is so much “business” and I hate every bit of it.

Lucky me, in early May Carrie, Celia and Colin came to visit so Carrie could attend her high school reunion.  We had a wonderful time as always but Carrie and I were both really missing David.

This was the first time we’d been back at the house without him.  No more cherry pie, no more BIG farm breakfasts, no more fun playing games together.

It makes me very sad that his grandchildren may not even remember him.  Colin certainly won’t and Celia will only be 3 later this month.


The internet signal is extremely weak here and the temperatures in the mid 80’s in the middle of May are unusually hot and humid. 


We keep a car and a truck at the farm as well as a riding lawn mower.  All 3 batteries were dead when I returned.  That has never happened in 9 years on the road now.  OF course it hasn’t.  This makes getting the nearly knee high grass mown very difficult.  I have someone who is supposed to mow it.  Looks like he’s not very reliable.  Although the buttercup filled yard is very sweet and  Celia and I can make out the brick walk as we bring in boxes to use in the clearing out Carrie has come to help me do.

Colin helps by being his cute self although he is quite the distraction and interruption in the progress.


My musical family at play.



I wait until they have gone home to clean out the RV. I don’t want to ask Carrie to have to help me with her Dad’s clothes, hats, medicine.  It’s all very very difficult.  And so incredibly sad.  He was so alive, so young really when I think of my 99 year old father.

His favorite hats


So much medicine.  How he kept it all straight was amazing.  Taking some in the morning, some mid day, some at night.  I return it all to UVa Hospital where they dispose of it for me.  Not sorry to see it go but very sad all the same.  He tried so hard to fight this terrible disease even knowing it was ultimately a losing battle.

David was a well known pack rat which was another reason we didn’t sell the farm at first when we went fulltime.  First we weren’t sure we would like RVing having been serious and rather snooty tent campers for years.   When we loved it, luckily we didn’t come back and take the time necessary to clean everything out and sell it.  It would cut severely into the time David was able to spend traveling.  We were always going to clean out and sell “next time”.   Then came the diagnosis and we were afraid to sell in case he could not continue to travel at some point.  His doctors had said he had three to five years. 

He wanted to stay on the road as long as he could which turned out to be forever.   But now I’m left with all the “stuff”.  David’s sister Robin comes to help with some clean out and takes these wonderful old metal toys from their family with her.

Among a myriad of other boxes and drawers we went through, we found this match collection.  The matches too old too strike having been kept in humid Virginia.  I later learn there is a market for these.  I don’t have the energy to deal with it even if I’d known before throwing them out.  He had several clear mushroom shaped jars full of these old matchbooks. 

I get the yard mowed finally after having days of trouble with the mower.  I took this picture as a “before” shot as I started to use the weed eater to get the grass off of the brick walkway.  

I take another shot some days later when I am “almost” finished with the walk clean up.

David also keep filing cabinetS full of papers.   Two in the house and two in a shed outside.   My friend Pam graciously spent an afternoon going through them to take out anything with social security numbers on it so I could shred those papers and recycle the rest.  What we found was just amazing and she kept me laughing rather than crying with her wry comments. 

Thank you Pam for making a tedious chore actual fun.  What a great friend you are!

I think even David would have had to laugh at some of what we found.  Like parking tickets from 1988 and a hospital bill for physical therapy he had for his back in 1971 before I even knew him.   How could these possibly be needed?   I’d give anything to be able to ask him and hear what funny response he would give.  

I miss you so David, packrat and all!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Last Days in Florida: Rainbow Springs & Gamble Rogers

Posted:  February 12, 2020                                          Previous Posts:
About April 2019                                                           March & Early April 2019
                                                                           February & March 2019: Missing David

20190408_123947I stayed in Silver Springs State Park through the ACC Basketball Tournament so I could watch my team, the Virginia Cavaliers, win the NCAA.  Finally they have a terrific coach, Tony Bennett, and a great team.  David and I have followed ACC basketball all of our lives together and loved to watch the games splitting our loyalty between UNC our first ACC Team and UVA our longest ACC team.  The last picture I have of him he was watching the Cavs play.  It breaks my heart that he didn’t get to see them win the National Championship after following both the men’s and their women’s teams for over 30 years.

On Monday April 8th, I pack up and move to Rainbow Springs hopefully for some more wonderful paddling.  Being on the water is really the only thing that takes my mind away even for an hour or so from the difficulty that is my life right now.

IMG_8885Although that didn’t really happen here on this river this time.  After the calming Silver River, the Rainbow was quite a jar.  Across the river from the park and all up and down are houses on the water.  Even  early in the morning there were saws, power drills, hammers at the houses lining the bank of the river opposite the park nearly all the way to the spring.

Would you like to buy some property on the river? Make your own building noise and disturb the quiet beauty?   Perhaps this red shouldered hawk is a resident.

Still, it’s a beautiful day on the river.  Just not a quiet one.


In addition to the noise from the houses,  there are motor boats and commercial scuba boats.


This female anhinga doesn’t seem to mind the racquet and is just trying to dry her wings on the pilings of a private dock.


The water near the spring is crystal clear.  The sand is white.  I wonder how many of the people who live elbow to elbow on this river come out in kayaks or canoes to appreciate the beauty.


IMG_9187Enjoy the blue eyes of this Cormorant while I whine about still having pain in my leg from injuring my back last week.   I’m spending most of my days on the river in the morning and on the phone after that with Social Security, the Virginia Retirement System, our medical Supplement from Blue Cross and our bank.  I call each multiple times to be sure my health care is being paid among other things.  It’s a big problem being on the road as several of these companies don’t have a clue and want to send me everything I need in the mail rather than allow me to access it on line.  I wonder what century they are living in.  The Virginia Retirement System is the worst. 

20190411_094456I have so much business to do in the aftermath of David’s death that it seems impossible.  In order to keep myself somewhat sane and out of the absolute pit of depression, I go out on the water early every morning for a couple  of hours.  From previous visits here I know there is a beautiful hidden channel with a cabin at the end with the spring head there.  I think it will be the perfect place to get away from all  the building noise on the river.

What a gorgeous little spring run.  It is shallow and crystal clear.  As it narrows, I can feel the pressure sliding off of me in this completely separate and magical universe.


IMG_9052But I don’t make it to the spring head and sight of the little cabin.  There is now a very nice fence blocking the way.  I’m so disappointed. 

I don’t blame the owner though.  It’s possible that there was vandalism or just that they are using the cabin more than in years past when I never saw any evidence of anyone there.   I could probably get under it but if I owned this beautiful spot I wouldn’t take kindly to invasion of my privacy.



I wonder how they can kayak their own waters?  I’d love to see how they open the gate while in the kayak or canoe.

IMG_9056I take a lot of pictures as I float back down on the current of the little spring.  It’s unlikely that I’ll come back here again out of understanding and respect for the owner.

I may not even come back to Rainbow Springs as it is now so developed that it isn’t as blissful as past visits were.   But that seems to have happened to a  lot of things in my time as a Full Time RVer.  There are so many people doing it now and reservations so hard to get nearly everywhere that it’s becoming more work than pleasure.  Or perhaps that’s just my sad mood being reflected on everything I see and do.




Back to the mouth,  the real world, houses everywhere.


IMG_9082The internet signal here is not strong and I”m having to go out of the park daily early in the morning to attempt to make reservations on line for next year’s winter.  I’m having no luck.  The advertising of RVing as the thing everyone should do is making it difficult, at least for me, to make reservations.  SO many more people.

Each day on the water I see wood ducks which amazingly are not as skittish as I have always found them.  Perhaps so many houses, boats and people has made them  less wary. 


After a week at Rainbow Springs, I leave and move across the state to Flagler Beach.

IMG_9344We always began our winter Florida stays at Gamble  Rogers and it is my final stop before heading back to Virginia to see what needs to be done there in order to have a memorial gathering for David at the farm.

I love Gamble Rogers and having a site that overlooks the ocean but the salt air is very hard on the RV and I realize I really must get something done about the rust.  I have so much on my plate right now it is hard to add anything more and I don’t really know how to get this taken care of.

This view though is what keeps me coming back.


IMG_9351While I am here closing out my Florida winter before heading back up the east coast, I find that I do not take many pictures at all.  Sunrises, sunsets, the gorgeous view out the window.  But I don’t go anywhere or do anything but business and a bit of reading on the beach.  I’m in a fog and just have enough energy to deal with the “business” of death.


Here is what a tornado watch looks  like over the ocean out my front window. No touch down near here thankfully.


But the winds were quite angry.  It was loud. There is a great deal of spray which can be seen a bit in the picture below.  I brought in my slides.  Too much wind.


During our last stay here, in January, the month before his death, David rear ended Ruby with Winnona going about 2mph inside Gamble Roger’s Campground.  I’m not sure what happened but clearly he was feeling worse than he was letting on.   When I put in the Geico claim for this and told them he had died they said my rates will go up now that I no longer have a multi-driver discount and don’t have two good driver discounts.  How to hit somebody when they are down and have just lost their life partner and half their income.


Sunsets have always seemed beautiful to me.  Now they seem sad and lonely.

This is all hard.  Very very hard.




At the end of April, I head North, back to Virginia and a lot more work.