It's choice, not chance, that determines your destiny

This is my blog about life - travel - new experiences - growth.
Please join me in my journey.......

December 28, 2010


We left Ozark on Monday, traveled roughly 350 miles or so and spent the night in Denison, Tx at the Walmart. It was the first time I actually spent the night at a Walmart without ever stepping foot in the door. I noticed a sign the following morning while walking Cooper that said trucks were not allowed to park overnight in the parking lot. I looked around and about 5 trucks were parked around us so I guess they don't enforse the rule, which is great, because "no trucks" probably means "no motorhome" as well.

We left this morning around 8am and headed south toward Dallas. We only had a little over 60 miles to go to our destination of Lavon Lake in Wylie Texas so it was an easy day, except I got separated from mom and dad at a stoplight in Allen, Tx and had no idea where I was going. Luckily I had my GPS, which has gotten me out of a few sticky situations. I finally realized I wasn't going to catch mom and dad, they must have turned somewhere that I was unaware of, and I didn't know where I was or where I was going. I was able to punch in the town of Wylie on the GPS and then, once I got there, the name of the RV park, and it took me right there! (sometimes that works out great - other times not so much trust or not to trust your GPS - that is the question) I always seem surprised when it actually gets me where I need to be!

It was pouring down rain when I got to the park and I still had to dump my holding tanks, fill with fresh water, unhook the car and hook up the motor home. I was soaked in the end- good time to take a nice warm shower! Felt great - I'm thankful for the small pleasures of life!

A little later we drove to a neighboring town of Rockwall to see some friends of my parents. They were so nice and friendly. One of them was in the process of moving out of her long time home into an active adult community and the other friends, who were from a different part of Texas, were helping her prepare for a large estate / garage sale this weekend. With all they had going on, and as tired as they must have been, they were still so hospitable, which is so the Texas way!

On the way back to the RV park we spied a Costco! You'd shake your head at how excited we were to go into a Costco - $100 later for me - $200 later for dad -aahh, yeh....that's Costco for you! Dad was so impressed with my little Garmin Nuvi's talent for finding ways out of sticky situations and even talking to you through it (annoyingly at times, ie: re-calculating, re-calculating...) that he came out of Costco with his very own Nuvi!

Now... let's see if it can get us to Padre Island tomorrow!!

Ozark Outings With Cooper

While staying at Ozark RV Park I developed the routine of taking a daily jog or walk with Cooper. We found a nice walking path and trail where I could let Cooper off leash so he had the luxury of running to his heart's content and I could also walk or jog in a more relaxed manner while listening to my I-Pod!

We caught the trail about 1/2 mile from the RV Park. The first part of it is a nice dirt trail that winds it's way through the trees. It follows the Finley River and I hardly ever see anyone there, which is nice. Summer may be a different story but every day that I was there it was cold or windy - no wonder I chose to jog most of the time - it was the only way to get warm!

The second part of the trail is a concrete path that also winds it's way along the river. It's called the Finley River Greenway Project, completed in 2007, paid for by Ozark Tax Dollars!! Too bad they didn't have enough in the pot to complete it all the way to the park - that would be nice. I hear the Ozark Park had a nice Christmas light show but we never made the trip to see it.

I did take a couple of different walks around town but in most I had to walk along a road without shoulders and with hills and it was difficult dodging cars that may or may not be able to see you. So in the end I preferred to walk a trail without cars and where Cooper could run to his heart's content.

Okay, I know you see sunshine but it's cold I tell you!!

A Limestone cave - there is a LOT of limestone here

A little patch of blue sky!

All good things come to an end!

....but you get to enjoy the local artwork!

Cooper playing in the leaves

December 26, 2010

Twelve Ozark Observations

I've been in Ozark, Mo for a month now and I've made a few observations:

 1. Southern Charm is real - everyone is nice.

 2. Cigarette butts line the roadway like confetti after a celebration.

 3. People still flick their cigarettes out the window - one of them almost hitting me as I walked.

 4. They still ask you if you prefer smoking or non smoking when being seated in a restaurant.

 5. There are a lot of churches here, some of them are huge; most are Baptist.

 6. There is a lot of talent in my brother's family and in their church - maybe in all of Missouri!!

 7. My sister-in-law makes a great Christmas dinner and the kids all pitch in - from cookies to clean up.

 8. It's cold here and the wind blows most of the time, bringing the temp down another 10 degrees

 9. I had to buy another space heater to keep my pipes thawed out, but then my black/gray valves froze.

10. There was a great walking trail for me and Cooper, thank God, because the roadways don't have shoulders or bike paths.

11. The McDonald's across the street always has a line at the drive-through ~ even on Christmas.

12. My brother's family is kind, smart, talented and growing up fast.

Christmas Dinner - 2010

December 09, 2010

I'm Here Ya All

...... in the Ozarks – and I haven’t posted anything since the Outer Banks in early November!

I can say I’ve been lazy, which is true.

 I can say I haven’t really done anything exciting, which is also true. 

Both are excuses however, and something I’m trying to rid myself of, so whether I have anything important to say – or not – at least you’ll know I’m here  - and well – and not doing anything exciting!

 This is Wildlife Woods RV park, where we stayed in Troutman, NC
Okay – to update you a little bit. We drove from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to Davidson (just north of Charlotte). Davidson is where my brother and his family live.
 The view of Lake Norman from brother's condo....nice!
One day we walked from their condo on Lake Norman to the farmer’s market downtown. What a quaint & lovely college town they live in. We had breakfast at this great little café and then walked around the market.

All I bought was a bone for Cooper but they had a lot of great produce (lots of greens) and meat, fish, chicken (even livers). And it was the end of the season. I think I would be down there every Saturday during the summer growing season, cloth grocery bags in hand, filled with organic produce! Davidson even had a great Natural Food Market, where I bought some bulk oat bran to make muffins and some almond milk. Natural Food Markets and all things organic are sometimes hard to find in this part of the country. I am very spoiled living in Oregon, where "Organic" and "Natural" are common terminology!

We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner at my niece’s house – and I mean ORGANIC made-from-scratch awesome tasting food– and she’s only 23! 

I was far from that at 23! Impressive – so impressive. 

 Unfortunately, or maybe it was fortunate in some twisted way – I wasn’t able to eat all that much because I was still trying to kick a flu bug. I think it was the first Thanksgiving ever that I ended up hungry at bedtime!! It’s not that the food didn’t taste good because it was terrific – it was the 'intestinal protest' after eating that was the kicker! Enough said!

After leaving North Carolina we traveled east through Tennessee, into Kentucky and then reached Missouri. We ended up just south of Springfield in the town of Ozark, where my youngest brother and family live. We’re at a small RV park (which is really just another parking lot) but with full hook-ups and Cable TV!! Now that was a bonus! Not that I watch a lot of TV but to have it, even for abstract company is pretty nice!

I wasn’t sure if I’d like this particular spot but turns out I really do! My main requirement is being able to get out and walk. While I do spend too much time inside the motor home (more about that in a minute) I really do like to take a long walk/jog in the morning with Cooper. The last places I’ve been in haven’t been great places for walking, unless you just circle the RV park again – and again – and again. While I’ve been here I’ve been able to take various long walks around town.

Today for example, I decided to walk down this country road to see where it ended up. About 2.5 miles into it I entered a housing development in the hope that I could cut through to another development in the general direction I knew I wanted to go. No luck. I finally exited the neighborhood to the main street again – looking left and wondering if I just went that way instead of heading right to back-track the way I’d already traveled – would it circle back to where I wanted to be – or would I be 7-8 miles into it and then have to turn around after all?

This is when a GPS comes in handy - which i didn't have with me.

No guts….I went back the way I’d come – and partly because I’d received a call from mom wanting to know if I wanted to drive into the town of Branson with them. Since I hadn’t been to Branson for 8 years, and there was new stuff to see, of course I wanted to go! Unfortunately they had to wait on me to get back but they were patient and understanding!

It was a good thing I walked so far because dad treated us to lunch at Panera Bread. 

Yummy deliciousness! Turkey and artichoke Pannini Sandwich and French Onion soup (for me). I'm proud to say I ate every bit of it and even had dessert - only later - with a cup of hot tea.

When I got back to the motor home I had to do motor home chores in preparation for the upcoming 22 degree high temperature (with 50mph wind) fore-casted for Sunday.

The weatherman said it will seem like “the siding is just ripping off your house” – and that’s supposed to make me feel better living in a tin box? Should be quite the ride....!!!!

The reason I spend an inordinate amount of time inside the motor home? A space heater.....a nice - warm - space heater!! A good book and my knitting don't hurt either!

The adventure continues –

Stay tuned! I'll try to be a better poster!!


We’ve been on the Outer Banks (OBX) in Rodanthe for 4 nights. Tonight is our last night before we head west toward brother Jim’s house in Davidson, NC, about 350 miles or so.

The weather, until last night, has been near perfect– sunny skies, warm ocean breeze. Last night however, a storm blew in off the Atlantic - it may not be as dramatic when you’re in a big house but inside a 24’ motor home at midnight it becomes a bit magnified. At least that’s ‘my’ perspective on it! I was envisioning puddles of water all over the floor this morning or my motor home washed into the bay in front of me, but it came away unscathed, except for a small leak around the shower skylight.

I can deal with that…. really!

It’s still rather windy this morning – perfect for Para-sailing, which I’m watching from my front window. I really should go out and take a picture – hang on, I’ll be right back……
 The other day we drove to the end of Hatteras Island, about 25-30 miles from where we’re camping in Rodanthe, to take the free 40 minute ride by ferry to Ocracoke Island. In the 1700’s it was host to a famous pirate – Blackbeard, who was killed in a naval battle with the British on November 22, 1718.
We had a great lunch at Howard’s Pub and Raw Bar– oysters & scallops for me and mom, which were cooked perfectly, by-the-way and a Colorado Burger (with chili & the works) for dad. We ate all of it, including a pitcher of North Carolina Amber beer! Even though I didn’t get my soft shell crabs (May is the season for them) I did end up eating some good seafood here.

I love the houses on the OBX, most of which are huge and, at this time of the year, for rent. Rather than organized neighborhoods, these houses are just scattered haphazardly on the land and if not covered with traditional (and weathered) clapboard siding, they are painted bright colors, like pink, yellow, orange, lime green. At this time of the year, most things around here close down for the winter. It would be fun to see it during the ‘on’ season. I get the feeling most houses are summer vacation homes which the owners try to rent out for the winter to those who prefer more solitude. Just to give you some idea:
 This particular house is the one that's featured in the movie "Nights in Rodanthe" with Richard Gere and Dianne Lane.

We seen some spectacular sunsets while we’ve been here. Each night puts on a different show for us. Wow…more Para-gliders outside – be right back…..
 Couldn’t resist…..every time I come in, some glider sails right by me and does something spectacular and I want to run back out there again with my camera!

   What a better way to end this than with a sunset!


Tucson to the Outer Banks

This here’s Cooper, the new Co-pilot. The first co-pilot had to fly home and go back to work and now I am top dog of this operation. It is my job to make sure my mom walks me and feeds me and doesn’t forget to have some serious fun now and then! Everyone thinks I look stellar behind the wheel of this rig!

We have some serious catching up to do – traveling across country without a journal entry is beyond reprehensible – it’s downright negligent. Okay, enough badmouthing my mom-after all, it’s she who holds the spoon that feeds me!!

On November 1 we left Tucson and traveled to Las Cruises, NM where we spent the night before traveling to Fort Stockton, where we spent the night before traveling to San Antonio, TX where we spent two nights. The plan was to go downtown to the famous River walk but we never made it – something about having seen it before and needing to save money – but whatever – I had fun walking around the campground instead. Let’s see….after San Antonio it was off to Beaumont, Tx to spend the night before arriving in New Orleans, LA. For two nights.

Mom was soooooo excited because she LOVES New Orleans. Since she left me home I can’t really comment on it but she seemed pretty satisfied when she got back, although she said she didn’t eat near enough Cajun food – just a shrimp po’ boy, which was mediocre at best – found on the infamous Bourbon Street at the Déjà Vu Cajun Restaurant. The New Orleans Saints were playing football and the game was on TV and of course everyone who loves New Orleans loves the Saints so there was a lot of cheering going on – the Saints won big time so no wonder!

Of course for dessert a Pina Colada Daiquiri, found on almost every street corner and the nice thing is you can carry it around with you – everyone does that sort of thing in New Orleans! The General Store on Decatur was closed on Sundays so no Muffuletta sandwich this time. She finally found some Boudin to take back with her for later and of course a few (only a few) pralines. One can get carried away with the pralines, you know.

After New Orleans it’s off to the Gulf – Gulf Shores, AL at Gulf State Park. What a pretty park although it’s on a lake instead of the Gulf. The actual Gulf of Mexico is across the way (as the crow flies) but since I don’t fly, it was a 2-3 mile walk and then across the Beach Hwy and then we see this sign that says “NO DOGS ON THE BEACH”! Well, mom certainly doesn’t go where I can’t go so no playing in the gulf and for that matter, no playing in the lake either since there were signs all over the place warning us to beware of alligators in the water….like I’m going to go in there after seeing ‘that’? I may like the water, but even I have my limits!

The Beach Pavillion.

Beautiful white sand beach

The lake in front of the MH at sunrise, 5:30am

 Leftover destruction after Hurricane Iven.

After we left Gulf Shores it’s kinda a blur…..over 1200 miles in three days…..let’s see…..overnight at Wal-Mart in Kingsland, GA. We were going to stay in Jacksonville, FL but mom missed the turnoff. Now we’re heading north on I-95 instead of East on I-10. After Kingsland, it’s another 400 mile day to Dunn, NC, which is north of Fayetteville – another night at the Wal Mart! The next day was an easy 280 miles or so to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Mom finally had to exchange shorts for long pants, as I think we’ve finally hit autumn weather. The trees were beautiful to look at along the route.

Okay….today is a beautiful day and it’s about time mom took me for that long walk she promised me yesterday so I’m whining at the moment just to let her know I mean business. She’s just gonna have to write more about the outer banks later – ya know? Some things just take priority over email and that’s ME! 

I’m just having a woofin’ good time on the road – it’s a dog’s life, after all!!

Love Cooper
and Sherri