Hippie Van Travels: Camping on St. George Island

Remembering a wonderful stop along our Hippie Van Road Trip — St. George Island in the Florida panhandle!

Click on Pic for more…

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A Visit With Santa On The Strand in Galveston

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Yesterday, we finally broke-away from the remodeling chaos, and took Baby down to the Strand District…here on Galveston Island.  It was her very first ‘Claus Encounter’, and it went really well.  But…I think Daddy might’ve embarrassed her just a little.  ;  )

It’s a rarity these days, for us to get out-and-about–I hate to admit–and just see the sites that our new hometown has to offer.  The cost of such an afternoon?  Nada!  Which is about all we have to spend after Christmas shopping.  Still, I have to say, our little tour of Downtown Galveston, and the Santa Claus photo shoot with Baby and Gypsy Vin Rose, was a huge success!

Next  year, Santa…we’ll see ya again!  Same time…same place!  And we promise, we’ll be good in 2014.

Blessings to All this Christmas…New Years…and Always!

.V..

Ringing in the New Year…on the Sands of Time

Memories of one New Year, spent on the Sands of Time.

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The Difference Between Conchs and Whelks

A Conch by any other name…is probably a Whelk!  Click the pic to discover the difference in the two!

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A Place To Call Home

Cozumel Caravan

Cozumel Caravan

Sometimes we take the smallest things for granted in life, including ‘life’ itself.  But in the end, if a lesson has been learned, we find that the simpleness of living is priceless.  This is what I’ve come to find since we up-rooted from my hometown of Fort Worth, and relocated to Gulf-Coastal Texas.  It has been a long road to plow (as my dear Mother used to put it), but I find now that our ‘garden’ (the garden that is life) is beginning to come-in quite nicely. 

It all began the day we pulled out of Jamaica Beach RV Resort; happy to be leaving the paved-but-posh confines of the best RV park on Galveston Island.  (Our opinions…and we’re sticking to it!)  I have to admit, our past experiences with campgrounds has left us with a bitter taste for such surroundings.  JBRV would have to be an exception…if you ask me.

Either way, and even though we would miss the hot tub, laundromat, pool…playground, and the charming little Seven Seas Grocery just across the road, we remained hopeful that we’d be well-on-our-way to actually gaining a semi-permanent address on Galveston Island.  The Blessings we’ve been met with since that day have been abundant.  We have been at our island home ever since; being lucky to have a very understanding landlord who knows what it means to start from the bottom and work your way up.  He has become somewhat of a friend since we’ve gotten to know him better. He has also taken Nico under his wing by teaching him a trade that my husband had never-before learned.  It brings to mind a saying I hold close to my thoughts: We never stop learning until we are no more. 

So there we were– we had a place…but not entirely.  Our very understanding landlord had taken a chance on us–renting us a lot, even though I know we appeared a rogue bunch.  We had made a deal that if we could rent the place ‘temporarily’, and set up Camp Peniki, we’d be hard-at-it to find a better-suited living quarters…to keep up appearances mostly, since we’d live in our old Campervan full-time if society allowed.  Had it just been us (Nico and I), we would still be out there…giving in to Wanderlust.  But most vandwelling souls with little n’s find out the hard way–like we have–that we really aren’t free after all when it comes to the way we are ‘allowed’ to live or be. 

So…we had a limited time to find a larger place to put on our really great lot…with a priceless view of the sunset…out over the bayou.  I set to work searching and combing the internet, selling everything we didn’t need in storage to raise the money for our new home.  Two weeks later, with half of our belongings sold and our storage half empty, we were on our way to get our new/old place: a vintage caravan in major need of some love.  Perhaps it was the way I had called and called the man to see if our ‘home’ was still there (I had already claimed it in my mind).  Maybe it was the desperation in my voice (I’ve never been very subtle with my emotions).  I guess I’ll never truly know.  All I do know is that he (the seller) took pity on us and ended up knocking $200 bucks off the price when we showed up with cash-in-hand.  It’s a very good thing too, cause without that extra money…we wouldn’t have made it back to Galveston with our new place. 

I know I’m just one of the numerous folks who believes that Blessings often come in disquise.  This was so true for us when it came to getting our caravan-home…home.   More than 24 hours later we finally pulled into our lot with what would become a full-time remodeling job.  As that day before had gone, we’d suffered a major blow out in Liberty, Texas…right in front of a church, where the pastor had just arrived, on Memorial Day weekend.  Due to the holiday and the late hour, no tire shops were open anywhere near the small town.  The nice preacher man Blessed us with the offering of allowing us to park our travel trailer there…safely in the church parking lot for the evening.  We all headed back to my Mother-in-law’s to stay the night, with hopes that we’d find a place to buy some spare trailer tires on a holiday Sunday.  It’s great to know people when you are in a desperate state to do business when everyone else is on vacation or just off work. 

Thank God we have good family to help us pull heavy things our old VW Van can’t; nice folks who know Nico’s family back in his home town; nice sellers on C List who don’t mind taking less and giving more to a family who was in need of a place to call home.  And even though it has been a steady stream of remodeling our badly damaged and neglected caravan, I can honestly say…”It sure is a great feeling to actually ‘own’ our home.  Bought and paid for; it may be small and not so pretty to some, but to us…it’s perfect! 

It’s all in how you look at things.  From where I’m sitting, this place is really coming around.  I’ll gladly be sharing photos of our remod when the time is right.  I hope it inspires some family…somewhere, to step off the crazy train of keeping up with the Jones’s, and live within (or below) their means.  We are so-very glad we made that leap! 

Blessings your way, from our Vagabond family to yours! 

.V.. (Peace),

GVR    

Key West Road Trip — Day 2 Trip Home

Florida Gulf Bridge

Leaving The Florida Keys

Three weeks had gone by like a blink of an eye, and our stay in the Florida Keys was coming to an end.  It was time to start heading back to Tejas.  Even though we would’ve loved to stay in the Keys forever, we had obligations with the coming of our first grandchild.  Sometimes life just works out that way I guess.

And while the anticipation of a baby is usually a happy time, our’s was bitter-sweet, as our grand baby’s father had been murdered when my daughter was just two months pregnant.  It was a traumatic experience for her, to say the least.  So, while we’d been gone for almost two months, we had known all along that we would have to be there for her in her last trimester.  She had been spending time with her dad and brother in the time we’d been gone.  She was safe–of this we were sure.

So…the morning came when we sorted through the belongings we’d somehow accumulated in three weeks’ time, and begun to rid our ourselves of the things we knew we couldn’t carry and were sure one of our new friends could use.  T.J. was glad to take the small TV we’d been using for Baby.

We said our good-byes after the van was packed to the gills, and headed back up Overseas Highway; hoping to make it past Homestead by nightfall.  I sat quietly in my ‘copilot’s’ seat until the tears began to fall.  I could not contain my sadness for leaving this place we’d called home for almost a month.  To me…it felt more like home than the place to where we were returning.  I was overcome with grief.  Nico held my hand, comforting me from where he sat.

The scene was always like a dream: the endless miles of beautiful aqua blue water, the historic railroad bridge beside Bahia Honda State Park, the old abandoned Overseas Highway that is now used more for a footbridge or for bicyclists.  I was in love with this place for its quiet calmness, peaceful waters, even the ‘sometimes stinky’ mangrove swamp.

We had bonded with Key West the evening we sang at the Sunset Celebration on Mallory Square.  I remember, as we walked to our first gig as Street Performers, looking down at the well-worn and weathered brick streets in Old Towne…thinking how I’d love to walk barefoot on them.  The pirates who’d come to Key West hundreds of years before had walked those same streets.  I was fascinated by the idea of walking in their same steps.  Hopeless romantic…I am!

One thing I know for sure — I will always treasure our time in The Florida Keys and the nice people we met, the friendships we formed.  There is a special place in my heart reserved just for Key West and Sugarloaf Key.  To me….they will always feel like home.  I pray someday…soon, the wind will catch our sails and we will find ourselves there once again.  A girl can dream…a girl can pray.

.V..