A Most Unusual Home

Leslie wrote a blog titled “Where is Home” as we were heading out of Sanford to start out trip back to Seattle. When we go somewhere and people ask where home is we frequently get into a long discussion about living fulltime in an RV and our “Home” is where we park it.

Since we left the Seattle area in November of 2010, we have parked our RV in all kinds of places. Some of them have been wonderful like the state parks in PA and others have just been a place to park while we explore an area we wanted to visit (like the country fairground outside of San Francisco). Over the course of our travels we have come to see that just because we park our home somewhere – that does not really make that location our home.

For a location to be home it needs to feel familiar and safe. Obviously the Seattle area feels like home, Sanford, Florida feels like home, of course most of the Walt Disney World feels like home. I also think of parts of Portland, Oregon as home. Now this is not to say that we have not had a wonderful time in many areas of the country would go back and even park our RV in the same place. We actually visited Indianapolis twice and stayed in the same place. We had a wonderful time (OK so we were there for GenCon, how could not have a great time) – but we do not consider Indianapolis home.

Today we turned the corner on 4th Avenue in Red Bay, Alabama and started the drive thru the small downtown area. We passed the McDonalds, the Chinese food  buffet, the
Pigly Wiggly and then turned onto 4th Street to head to the Allegro Campground and the Tiffin Service Center it hit us. We felt like we were coming home.

This was very strange and more than a little perplexing. We do not like being in Red Bay. There is nothing to do or see in Red Bay. The campground is an old landing strip with the RV’s lined up in rows. And yet we felt a sense of comfort and calm as we pulled into the campground.

Well it might feel like home –but we are reminded of the Franklin quote about guests, like fish starting to smell after three days. We hope the winds continue to blow the dog food smell the other way and we can get out Red Bay in 3 days and continue our trip to another one of our homes – the Seattle area.

One Day in Atlanta

The dual-pane windows that Tiffin used for a few years lost their seals and fogged between the panes of glass. Tiffin has been really good in working with their customers regarding the bad windows – they give the windows for free and charge half of the labor to replace them.  Since our plan is to head to Seattle and we are not sure when we will be back in the southeast we figured we should head to one of favorite places – Red Bay, Alabama and have 5 of our windows replaced under warranty.

Our original plan was to leave Florida and spend a couple of days in the Atlanta area before heading to Red Bay. Well we needed another day at Disney and getting ready to move took a little longer than we planned so we ended up with only a single day in the Atlanta.

We left Sanford Friday and drove about half way to Red Bay, which put us about 90 minutes south of Atlanta in the Twin Oaks RV Park a very nice Passport America Park. We never want to make dinner after a day of driving our house down the road so we used UrbanSpoon to find a place for dinner – Steamers Seafood Grill and Oyster Bar. We started with the fried mushrooms. I had the combo of clam strips, scallops, and shrimp while Leslie had the shrimp. We each had the fries and cole slaw. The fried food had a very light breading and was very good. The cole slaw was excellent, but the fries were fair at best.

Steamers Grill

Steamers Grill

Today we got up and headed into Atlanta to visit the Jimmy Carter Museum and Library.

Carter Museum and Library

Carter Museum and Library

We started the tour watching a short movie that gave an over of Jimmy Carters life before, during and after his presidency. Jimmy Carter was a graduate of the Naval Academy and was planning a career in the Navy. When his father passed away he left the Navy to take run the family farm and peanut business.  We spent a few hours looking at the exhibits that detailed his early political career, the campaign for the White House, the various programs and positions he put forward, along with all the work the Carters did after he left office.  Of course one of the many things that Jimmy Carter is known for is the brokering of peace between Egypt and Israeli.

Egypt Israeli Peace Accord

Egypt Israeli Peace Accord

This is our second visit to a Presidential Library and look forward to visiting some of the others as we continue our travels. Here are a couple of pictures of the replica of the Carter Oval Office.

Carter Oval Office

Carter Oval Office

After spending a number of hours wondering around the museum we were both hungry.  We have a list of places to eat that we made from watching various programs on both the Food and Travel Networks. We have 4 places on the list for Atlanta – but could only eat at one. We chose The Vortex Bar and Grill and are extremely happy we did. We started with the Cheddar Balls O’ Glory. Let’s see fried balls of cheddar cheese served with jalapeno ranch dip – sounds good and it was. We then decided on two of their famous 100% ground sirloin burgers to split. We got the Yokohama Mama – this is burger topped with a teriyaki glaze, jack cheese, and a ring of grilled pineapple.  The other burger was the Big Bad Voodoo Patty which is a burger topped with a big helping
of their original chipotle cream cheese, 4 strips of perfect bacon, and sweet and spicy green pepper jelly. The burgers were amazing – some of the best we have had – ever.

Vortex Bar and Grill

Vortex Bar and Grill

When we arrived at the restaurant and there was a person in the parking lot charging $10 to park. When we inquired why he told us of the Inman Park Festival (http://inmanparkfestival.org/) which was a few blocks away. We wondered down to the festival and were amazed at the size of the festival and the number of artist.

Inman Park Festival

Inman Park Festival

It might have been only a single day in Atlanta – but it was great.

Steamers Seafood Grill and Oyster Bar on UrbanspoonVortex Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Where is home?

Living in an RV is a very interesting experience. As I sat this week planning our next move I started to reminisce about how much my life has changed and yet in many ways how it is the same. I have never lived anywhere for very long. My apartment in Bellevue, Washington was the longest. I moved in August 2004 and out September 2009.

Five years is a long time in one house for me so living light isn’t something new to me. To Bill it is an entirely different thing. The house Bill lived in when I met him he had purchased just at 20 years before. Living light is newer for him.

However, when I move I usually put things in boxes and pack everything up. When we move the RV we have to pack things away but it is an entirely different process and there are things I have to concern myself with that you wouldn’t have to worry about. I never get to really “start” over. You know how nice it is to move into a brand new house or apartment, right? No dust, no dust bunnies hiding in corners, fresh clean carpets, often even the windows are clean. The oven doesn’t have splatters, the stove top is pristine and sometimes even brand new! When we move the RV the dust that has settled stirs. I am not Molly Homemaker. Anyone who has ever been to my house can tell you that. I think cleaning house is a last resort. There are so many things in life that are so much more productive. Dusting… why? It’s just gonna get dusty again. Heh

Now dust in a house with wheels is a whole different problem. Think about leaving your car somewhere for months where it could collect dust inside and then think about what that would be like with the windows down. I swear if you are traveling down I-95 behind us we must look a little like Pig Pen from Charlie Brown. Okay maybe that’s an exaggeration but I spent hours this week cleaning dust and pollen. This year the pollen in Florida was HORRID! Thank goodness Sunny, the Jeep, was already yellow. I saw cars that were not yellow going down the street with a nice yellow tinge to them.

We always try to vacuum and clean as much as possible before we leave for an extended drive and with this drive being at least 4-6 weeks it needed to REALLY be done. Also with the last few months I had to make decisions like this:

Let’s see today I can go to Disney for the day or I could dust. (Or)

I could clean the kitchen today or I could go sit and snuggle with the Nugget (aka Harrison my four-month old nephew) and the Nieceling (aka Isabella the painfull adorable two-year-old).

NuggetAndNieceling

Nugget And Nieceling

So you see my dilemma don’t you?

Well now we are cleaned up for the most part and off to Red Bay, Alabama which of all the places we have traveled still remains my least favorite (and we got stuck in South Jersey for two weeks so that is saying something).

Red Bay, Alabama is the home of the company that built Serenity, the RV. We make an annual pilgrimage to Red Bay to have repairs done to the RV. As we are on the edge of the RVs warranty we want to make sure and have a few minor warranty repairs done while we are still on the East Coast, which won’t be for much longer. Then we will be prepared for the main part of our journey back to Seattle.

Now another thing about living in an RV is I can’t really say, “I am going home” when I refer to our trip to Seattle. While I consider Seattle one of my homes and it is the place we started this fantastic journey technically our home is where we park. I am, however, happy to be able to go “home” to see many of my friends and family and maybe even have a somewhat traditional holiday season this winter (we will see). While I love our RV life there are a few things about my old life I do miss and family at Christmas and more importantly Thanksgiving is one of them. We have an odd little family with Bill and his kids and his ex and me but we have so much fun being together and that is a big part of what I have missed.