Featured

7 DAYS Till Freedom

As I write this there is only 7 days to our take off date. When this posts the countdown will say 5 days. We will be ready. We have reservations at our first campground on February 4. Eris the lowrider camping hound and I have been adjusting well to my retirement. Mike is finishing up one last job and then we will be moving his shop up to our part-time homestead. We will have to make a few trips up and back to get the job done. But we are thinking the last possible night in St. Pete will be Monday. Maybe earlier but we do have a few trips to the cabin to make for his shop.

We will be down to one vehicle as I am sitting here watching my Kia get it’s last oil change from me at least and she will be going to a new home on Thursday.

Another surreal feeling is that this Wednesday will be our last “run” night from 3 Daughters at least until November. Prior to Covid we used to run with Fit to Run the last Wednesday of the month. We would meet with our friends. After the world stopped spinning that was one of the big things we missed. So our friends, who we were quarantining with, would meet us at 3D and we would walk and do nearly 3 miles every Wednesday.

Another thing we will miss is our family nights held each week at my uncles. Of course these all started after it was safe to get together in small groups. Our last one will be on this Thursday until at least the end of November.

This month started with a mini trip to Atlanta to see Shan and Christian and went up with Jes and Chris and grand pups. While up there we celebrated Jes’ 30th birthday and went sightseeing of course. Went to Helen, Anna Ruby Falls, Nora Mill Granary, Fernbank Museum and Atlanta Botanical Gardens. While the weather was cold, it was beautiful out. The gardens were beautiful and I can only imagine how beautiful it is in March/April when everything is in bloom.

Needless to say we are getting excited. No more alarm clocks and new adventures coming our way.

Enjoy the pics below…

Until next time,

Hope

HAPPY NEW YEAR- WELCOME TO 2021

Featured

As I reflect on the year that none of us will forget, 2020, all in all it was mostly good for us.  Let me get the bad overwith, in March I lost my job, which I got another job quick enough, then in March we all know what plagued the world.  While speaking to someone on the other side of the country we were all doing the same thing, praying nobody we knew or that we wouldn’t get Covid.  All the while we were moving forward with our plans for our 2/1/2021 departure date.  In January I wrote in my dayplanner that on December 28, whereever I am working, to put my notice in (I actually wrote it that way).  The rest of the bad is that my father in law, a sweet, sweet man, became sicker and was in a hospital bed (at home-thank you Hospice) since July and passed away at age 98.5. He is missed but we all know he is in a better place.  My uncles got Covid but thankfully made a speedy recovery.  That’s all I got for the bad, while I miss hugs of my family and while masking up  is a pain, I do it for the better good.  

Christmas we spent our last year as homeowners in our backyard with family. It was great. Didn’t have as many people as we normally have but it was great just the same. Honestly it was the most relaxing year I ever had. We did a hobo dinner cooking over an open fire. We kept the fire going for warmth. It was a chilly year. Shan and Christian came down so the only ones we were missing was my son and daughter-in-law.

We picked 2/1/2021 as our shove off date so we could go to Mardi Gras, that of course as I write this is cancelled.  That’s ok we will plan on it for next year.  This year while we have our reservations we will just have fun in New Orleans anyway. We plan on heading west, stopping and seeing our besties,  who spend the month of July in Washington and a stop in Yellowstone and finishing in Savannah to do a half marathon in November, (assuming it will happen), spend the holidays with family and then back out.  

I started 2020 with a project of 52 Weekend’s to remember-well that took a hault because of Covid, which gave us more time to work on the cabin, camper or the house. We continued with our plans, spending most of the time working on the cabin, camper, or the house. To make it easier to work on the house we moved into the camper, started to box up, get rid of and get ready for a garage sale. I think it was somewhere in August that our kids came over to help us with cleaning up the Irma tree (huge tree that was toppled over during Irma) as we were preparing to put our house on the market, when they showed interest in purchasing the house. Which we finally closed on December 28, 2020, the same day I quit my job.  I have 3 days (including today) and I will be retired.  We will eventually have to go back to work, which will look different then what we are doing now, we are planning on doing some workkamping and have already applied already to Yellowstone 2022.  

As I sit here on my last Wednesday of my career I am looking forward to a healthy, happy and adventuresome  2021 and that I wish the same for everyone.  

The first picture is my wonderful father-in-law, who is missed but is in a better place.

The balance is Christmas.

Next week I will be back on to location and places to see blogs.

Until next time,

Hope

Get ready for Part 3 of Pinellas County Parks-Fort Desoto

Let me start but by apologizing for the tardiness of this blog post. I have previously blogged about Ft. Desoto but as a campground review. Now let me tell you why I love this park. The campground not so much (ok just management) anyway the rest of the park is beautiful and my fav beach always, always has been and always will be.

Since I was a kid we would go to Ft. Desoto on the boat and spend the day. Also, many family gatherings would find us there. Seeing relatives that we would see here at Ft. Desoto and at the annual New Year’s party at my parental’s home. Relatives would come up from Sarasota to go to these family gatherings. As a teenager I would go and do teenage things. As an adult I would take my children there weekly to go to the beach. Now my daughter takes her pups to the dog park often and probably more often coming up as our plans involve them as well. More about that in another blog post.

There are picnic areas and miles and miles of white sand beach.

In about 1000 to 1500 A.D. the land was once the home of the Tocobaga Native Americans. Construction of the Fort began in November 1898 and was completed in December 1906. The post was active from 1898 to 1910. Not surprisingly mosquitos were (and still are) a constant problem in the summer. In May 1923 the fort was officially abandoned. In September 1938 Pinellas County bought the area for $12,500. What an awesome deal for residents and visitors. On December 21, 1962 the toll road was completed and it enabling island visitors to go by car. The park was dedicated on May 11, 1963.

It is worth the trip if you are in the area and is mecca for outdoor activities.

Beautiful beaches

Let me tell you about my home town/Part or should I say Park 2-John Chestnut Sr.

Featured

This is another great Pinellas County Park that should be on everyone’s bucket list. There is a lot of wildlife to be seen. Deer, alligators, racoons and many birds call this beautiful park home. This 255 acre park is situated on Lake Tarpon, it has a boat ramp and canoe launch and landlocked canoe trails. It has miles of nature rails, including many boardwalks. This park was built with cooperation of the US Army Corp of Engineers and it is located near Palm Harbor and Tarpon Springs. There is plenty to do in this park. Between the softball fields, the 13 picnic shelters, dog park, horseshoe pits, boatramp, canoe launches with a canoe trail and and two playgrounds, nature trails and of course the chance to see deer, alligators and birds, and many more wildlife and foliage you will not be bored.

The location of your next adventure is 2200 East Lake Rd., Palm Harbor, Florida, bring a picnic lunch and plan on spending the day being surrounded by beauty and if you are lucky you may spot a deer. So be sure that if you are in the Tampa Bay area to add this location to your bucket list.

Until next week,

One of the beauties

Hope

Let’s Me Tell You About My Home Town/County Parks…Part 1-Florida Botanical Gardens

Featured

Pinellas County is the location of my home town, St. Petersburg, Florida. I’ve been calling St. Pete my home town for 44 years now. St. Pete was put in the top 10 of large cities ( even though I would consider it medium). Pinellas County consists of many towns/cities and 20,000 acres of parks and preserves, 4 preserves, 2 botanical and historic parks, and 15 county parks.

Shortly we will be on the road and have really cool locations and experiences to talk about, but while I’m still here I should talk about the beauty of what exists in the place I currently call home. While I can’t wait to leave I realize that we have some of the bests all within miles of our home. We have some of the best breweries, the best bicycle friendly city, a great rail trail, the best city and county parks and the best beaches, of course I’m a little biased. However, hopefully this will spark you to check out the places I talk about or maybe add them to your bucket list.

I’m gonna start with Florida Botanical Gardens. This place is so beautiful and I can’t believe I haven’t been there before. I may have been there before but this was the first time going with friends to just take photos.

Florida Botanical Gardens is 182 acre garden. The address is 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo. The hours are M-F 7-5. They have annual events of course this is 2020 so some may be cancelled. There is a gift shop and visitor’s center, however they are closed on the weekends. Dogs are welcome. While we were there there was quite a few.

Where we entered the garden we started out on the boardwalk and the first thing we said was how we couldn’t believe that we were still in the city. We continued on to a bridge going over the water with little overlooks. There are sculptures that are pretty cool.

One of the many boardwalks
One of the sculptures
The priceless moment when you get to hang with your besties:)

The weather on the day we were there was one of those perfect days, the ones that sells real estate in Florida. There was a yoga class happening in one of the gardens. What a zen place for that. There are benches all over to relax and take in the views and to ponder life. While we don’t have geysers there were a few fountains in the most beautiful setting.

Nancy chilling in one of the beautiful areas.

There are some fun areas as well. Trees decorated with faces.

Fun trees

Gardens wouldn’t be gardens without flowers. So enjoy seeing what I saw through my lens.

I hope you enjoy my view of the gardens and add the Florida Botanical Gardens to your bucket list. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, it is totally free.

One more thing if you like the article it would be appreciated to like it and subscribe to my email list and you will be notified of my blogs as they come out.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for next week where I will show another local park.

Until next week,

Hope

The Freeing Feeling and Not Having an Achy Breaky Back

Featured

Let me tell you it is so freeing to get rid of stuff. While downsizing is difficult we are getting closer. That’s exactly what we did when we had our garage sale we downsized and it was so freeing. While it was a lot of work and I personally don’t even like garage sales we had a successful one and then donated the leftover stuff to Goodwill.

Garage sale- a success

Not too much else happened except while we (Joyce, Vince and I) were selling our belongings in the front, Mike, Jes, Chris, Nick, Mark and and Nya were in the backyard breaking up the floor of the shed and cutting some more overgrown brush. I sold the couch so now the living room is empty. We only have a few larger items left to sell and if we don’t we will take to the property. Our poor pup is confused and nervous about what is going on. We haven’t been staying in the house since the beginning of August but she would stay in there while we were at work. Now poor thing has to sleep in our old bed. Now the room is completely empty except for the tv which will go to the property maybe this weekend.

Moving into the camper fulltime brings me to my next point- my achy breaky back. The mattress that came with our camper mmm how should I put this… was pure crap. Every morning I’d wake up with a sore back. So we ordered and received a mattress from Mattress Insider. It is so nice to be able to sleep through the night and to wake up and not be in any pain. One of the best upgrades. Thank you Mattress Insider.

Beautiful new mattress
Old garbage mattress in the living room, on it’s way out the door.

Thank you everyone who helped with the garage sale and the backyard and thank you Mattress Insider for a good night’s sleep.

Check out next weeks where I will be talking about some of the Pinellas County Parks.

Until then take care,

Hope

Just a quick update…..

This past weekend was a rainy, crappy day, what we wanted to was sit in the camper and just watch the day go by. But what ended up happening was we decided to get ready for this weekend’s garage sale. we spent hours in sorting stuff between garage sale, giveaway, and trash and pricing everything. How does one accumulate so much stuff?!?It was a very satisfactory day and we felt accomplished and productive. So hopefully, everything goes this weekend and what doesn’t will mostly get donated.

That’s all I got for this week. Have a great week and I’ll see y’all next week!

Hope

The way we wanted to spend our day!
The way Eris wanted to spend the day!
The way we spent our day… getting ready!
The end of the day, Eris a little stressed and needy!!
Featured

FINALLY SOMETHING FUN FOR THE WEEKEND TO REMEMBER PROJECT-WEEKEND 36-QUICK TRIP TO ATLANTA

Quick trip to Atlanta

We had a camping trip planned for Labor Day weekend. However, we are so very close to getting the shop completed we did the adult thing and cancelled it. Weekend’s are dwindling down and we are running out of time.

While I was sad to doing the adulting thing we made plans to make a trip to Atlanta to surprise our youngest, who had just celebrated her 26 birthday.

Atlanta is only 4 hours from the cabin so we figured we would just deliver her and Christian’s (her boyfriend, whose birthday is a couple days before Shannon’s) birthday presents.

We left the cabin at 7:30 and got up to Atlanta by 12:15. (of course we stopped few times). The first thing we noticed when getting out of the car it wasn’t disgustingly hot and that Georgia isn’t taking Covid as joke as opposed to feeling in North Florida, where they apparently must think it’s a “hoax”. Reader boards on the highway read to keep your distance, keep groups small on the holiday weekend. Restaurant’s won’t serve you unless you are wearing a mask and most don’t have dine in, outside service. We also went to REI who are keeping the crowds down to 25% and are counting how many people are inside. It was impressive and it is apparently working.

When we got to Shan’s house we had to sneak in behind another car. We were coming up with ideas on how to surprise her. We were standing outside the truck and as I walked around to the other side of the truck, at that exact moment Shan decided to check her mail, when she saw us she had a confused look on her face. Then she was happy to realize it was really us. We took her to lunch where we saw Christian and then to REI.

We had a great quick trip and seeing them was the highlight of the weekend. We got back to the cabin at around 9. It was a perfect day and perfect way to spend weekend number 36.

The rest of the weekend consisted on working on the shop. We have one more weekend scheduled for the end of September to finish the shop. Meanwhile, next weekend we are finishing the yard. Then we will be working on remodeling the inside of the house. Garage sale coming up soon… everything must go.

See you next week!!! Maybe there will be some fun to be had…

Hope

A TON TO TALK ABOUT—-NO JOB IN JULY, GOT JOB TO START IN AUGUST, MAKING PROGRESS FOR OUR FUTURE PLANS, OPENING SHOP WITH ETSY AND BECOMING AN AMAZON AFFILIATE AND WAS ASKED “WHAT WOULD MY DAY LOOK LIKE IF I COULD DO ANYTHING”? AND MY ANSWER…

I lost my job over a month ago, applied for unemployment and have the head hunters looking for me, but while I have this time off I figured that I might as well do things that aren’t easy to accomplish when working 40 hours per week, Indeed works and I got a job and start in a couple of weeks. I have emptied out one of the bedrooms, sold some stuff on market place and have been adding to the get rid of pile almost on a daily basis. While not working it is easier for us to leave to head to the property to continue doing the needed work up there. We have now completed the addition of the bathroom and have started the shop, which at the time of this writing is almost done. On the home front besides downsizing, we have started cleaning out the backyard and have found the shed and the chicken coop, which we have decided to leave up and one of the bedrooms is ready to be painted and the wallpaper in the living room is gone and also awaits painting.

While I have had this down time, I took advantage of it by reopening my Esty shop, where I am selling prints of my photos and cards. Check it out at the link below, I will be adding new items often.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/hopeforfreedom/

I have also decided to become an Amazon Affiliate. If you buy from Amazon, please consider using the link below. It will not cost you any money but we will get a small amount of money from each purchase.

https://amzn.to/2F5Ci3G

Look for some future posts with some links of some of our favorite gear.

A couple of weeks ago I was asked the question of “What would my day look like if I could do anything”? I think my response was I’d go for a morning hike, I would come back do a little yoga and have breakfast and site see if we were someplace to site see, work maybe a couple hours on my virtual job and take Eris the Low Rider Camping Hound on another hike or two, then head back to the camper, which will not be in St. Pete, and edit my photos from my beautiful morning hikes.

This weekend while up at the cabin we had some visitors. They were a bunch of turkey’s. It was fun and funny to watch them. They obviously belong to someone because they were very friendly. Didn’t freak at all at the noise of the compressor, nail gun, us or even the dog. Eris wouldn’t hurt them, I was afraid of what the males would do to her. She did after all have a pet chicken or two that she played with.

Since the 52 Weekends project is on hold because life has been well repetitive and boring (like I am sure most of you) we are making some forward progress. To recap, lost job, reopened Etsy shop, opened an affiliate account with Amazon, making progress on the house, shop and downsizing and dreaming of my “perfect day” and finally, I got a job at a large law office, that starts on August 17th. Until next time….and be on the look out for a review or two…..

Hope

A sample from my Etsy Shop

A turkey visitor

Lots of turkeys