Travels with my doggies

Time for my annual flight from the winter cold in the MidWest to my home in sunny SW Florida.  I’ve been planning this for a month.  Anxious to leave, but first one thing then another seemed to delay me.  Family activities --- a BBQ, high school football games, and band competitions for me to attend.  Then, the car wanted attention. 

At last!!! Flight to warmer climes in just a few days!!!  Here’s the opportunity to just be rolling along. It gets my blood flowing – almost a euphoria of excitement.  I just love to travel.  Destination isn’t as important travel itself. 
 Rolling south out of MO, I made a sight seeing detour into St.Francois county, MO.   I'm fascinated with the conundrums in life.  this farmstead is probably at least 150 years old.  No one lives there at present it seems, but it was inhabited not long ago - note the TV satellite dish on the porch roof.  ha, ha.  Maybe they were still using the outhouse, but then can watch ESPN.

Have you ever read “Travels With Charlie” by John Steinbeck?  What I’d read of Steinbeck in college was so gloomy.  Not so this book!  I could really relate to his experiences as he drove his self contained rig through 40 states with his dog Charlie on the passenger seat.  There is the way he describes what he sees and the way he uses words, that alone is a pleasure to read.  Here’s a section I really liked ---
If one has driven a car over many years…nearly all reactions have become automatic…This being so, a large area of the conscious mind is left free for thinking…I myself have planned houses I will never build, have made gardens I will never plant, written long detailed letters never to be put to paper, much less sent….And how about the areas of regrets?  If only I had done so and so, or had not said such and such – my God, the damn thing might not have happened.  Finding this potential in my own mind, I can suspect it in others…

I once read some research by grad students indicating some people have born-in wanderlust.  They thought people with Plains Indian backgrounds seemed to have this factor more than others.  Well – in the alphabet soup of my ancestry I do have some American Indian – Choctaw and Cherokee.  Cherokee were an Eastern tribe.  I doubt they traveled beyond their mountain home except at the demand of President Andrew Jackson.  But Choctaw are Oklahoma plains Indians.  So perhaps that explains why I don’t stay in one place long.  A couple of years max and I’m ready for different scenery.  Having my own RV is a bit more sophisticated than a tee-pee, but just as easy to move around.   ~pam


change of place & seasons

Mornings have been dipping into the upper 30’s.  My Florida thin blood has me bundled up with hat, mittens and coat.  My doxie/chichihua mix needs her sweater and stays under the quilt when inside to stay warm.  We’ll be headed south in just a few more days. 

Beauty knows no climate.  Ragweed makes me sneeze, but it’s beautiful on foggy mornings covered with dew.  The horse in the next pasture looks surreal as he watches us walk by.  

 One thing about staying so late in this climate is the remembrance of autumn.  It’s not so evident in a zone 11 climate.  Here, it’s a #5 Agricultural Zone.  The big hay rolls from summer have faded to grey/brown.  Sumac and sassafras are already coloring.  Squirrels have been very busy with the acorns.  I have to be extra careful for invading spiders and mice that would rather spend the winter in my RV safe from the elements.   


Don’t I wish I was sitting on a Gulf Coast beach in Florida right now!  Instead, I’m still in the Midwest waiting for a few more family events before I can return to my adopted home of SW Florida.

It would be hot there.  But - it’s hotter here in the midwest.  But as anyone knows there are different kinds of hot.  Both locations would be sunny and humid.  But the still, windless days of August in the Midwest feel hotter than the same temperature and humidity with a nice salty breeze off the Gulf. 

The change of seasons are more subtle in the deep south.  Here, early signs of fall are seen in the woods and fields.  One of the first to turn into fall color are sassafras trees.  The green of the other trees are a tired, worn out looking green.  Summer itself seems to be tired.  The fencerows sport scarlet patches of sumac and brown dried grasses.  I’m seeing Monarch butterflies and birds are beginning to gather into flocks, practicing for their return to their winter home.  I make my morning coffee while it's still dark. 

In just a few weeks, this snowbird will happily return to SW Florida - to my home of winter sunshine.  I always like to make note of the first palm tree I see on the drive.  One year, I saw them in Montgomery AL.  Of course they were intentionally planted as part of the landscaping in front of a expensive hotel.  No matter!  It meant I was getting close to home!  ~pam