…every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

HI!  I know it’s been a while since I added a post to my blog – sorry about that!

As I type I am sitting in the laundry room of an Extended Stay America hotel in Mishawaka, IN.  We are here b/c our rig is having repairs done, remember I told you back in August about Bill losing a fight with the pin-pad at our (then) CG home?

I feel bad b/c my poor pets are so confused.  They have no idea what is going on, only that we brought them to this strange place and here they are in unfamiliar territory.  We are on the second floor b/c they had no pet rooms available on the first floor.  This morning, I went to take Cocoa out and I had to hold her by her collar to keep her head up b/c she wanted to sniff, which after being in all night, meant she has to “go”.  Didn’t want that to happen on the hotel hallway carpet.  She barely made it down the elevator and out the front door to the little plot of grass near the door.  Poor dog!  Callie spent the night under the bed – I coaxed her out at one point when I woke up and brought her up on the bed and pet her a while, but she just wanted to get down and hide.  Raskal mostly takes it is stride, believe it or not, but at some point, he woke us up with his meowing for no apparent reason.    My biggest fear is that we will leave to go do a bit of touring and Cocoa will bark and we will get a call to come back.  We might have to test that and if she barks bring her and leave her in the truck.  Thankfully it isn’t going to be hot at all this week, actually it is going to be chilly, so leaving her in the truck (which she doesn’t mind at all) might be the best plan.  It isn’t like we would be out for the whole day, we mostly wanted to go for a Heartland factory tour to see how they are made.  Probably a couple hours at most.  Guess we will see.

my poor kitties - being treated like luggage!
my poor kitties – being treated like luggage!
looking toward the kitchen area from the living room
looking toward the kitchen area from the living room
the kitchen - not bad for a hotel
the kitchen – not bad for a hotel

When I left off last time, we were still in Pittsburgh.  We spent our last day with Michelle at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium.  It is small and only took a few hours to see the whole thing, but a nice way to continue our visit and be outside in the beautiful “pre-fall” weather.   Afterwards we got some food and then dropped her off at her new apartment and said our goodbyes.  I HATE goodbyes!  HATE them A LOT!   As soon as Bill put the truck in reverse, the tears starting flowing down my cheeks.

Pittsburgh 2 (1)

Pittsburgh 2 (10)

posting this one for my Mom, she loves giraffes
posting this one for my Mom, she loves giraffes
aren't sharks creepy
aren’t sharks creepy?
this cheetah wanted me to post her pic, so she posed pretty for the camera
this cheetah wanted me to post her pic, so she posed pretty for the camera

We left Mountain Top CG the next morning and made our way to Brandywine Creek CG in Downingtown PA.  We took a wrong turn and had to find a place to turn around and go back, so by the time we arrived we were both pretty frazzled.  Bill took a few deep breaths and the CG owner, Carmen helped him back into our spot.  She put us right next to our friends, Cori and Greg, which was very nice.  It is a nice CG, small with some seasonal spots, some for those of us passing through.  Cori and Greg have been there since they got back from the April rally, and will be staying through the winter.  Don’t envy them that.

The next 2 weeks were mostly quiet, thankfully.  I have a morning routine down to a science, take the dog out, make the bed, feed all pets, scoop the cat box, do a bit of dusting, maybe wipe down the bathroom and vacuum the rig.   The internet at Brandywine Creek is a bit spotty, as is the Verizon service (although better than at Sun Valley), but Cori was nice enough to share their hot-spot password with me, so I was able to use that to at least get some banking done.   That is partly why I hadn’t posted, I didn’t want to use her data for my blogging.  I did laundry at the CG laundromat, which was less costly than at Sun Valley.  Only $1.50 for a washer and $1.50 for a dryer.  Not too bad at all.

I have done a bit of visiting lately, going to spend time with my sister, who lives in Lewes, DE.  I was glad that my nephew, Andrew, was around also, it’s been awhile since I have seen either of them.  Shannon treated me to lunch at a local place, Arena’s.

Shannon and I
Shannon and I

I also went up to see my cousin, Cindy.  She lives in Sterling, PA.  She did my hair for me, which Bill was VERY glad about, as now he doesn’t have to help me with that for another 5 weeks.  Cindy is more than a cousin to me, more like an older sister.  I am the oldest in my family, with a younger brother and sister, Cindy is the youngest in her family, with an older brother and sister.  The trees were already starting to change color up that way and I snapped a few pics.

Cindy Visit (1) Cindy Visit (6)

We had some visitors to our campsite also.  A childhood friend of Bill and I, Karen, and her family came for dinner and s’mores.  Bill and Karen and I grew up in the same town, had the same classes in the same schools, went roller skating together, went on class-trips together, graduated together, you get the picture.  When Bill and I moved to PA, Karen and I quickly realized that we lived only about 40 minutes from one another and we have gotten together for breakfast several times over the years, but this was the first time we met her husband and sons.  Her kids are much younger than mine at 14 and 10.  I have noticed that a lot of people our age have much younger kids.  Admittedly, we did marry young, but I never thought of myself as that young when I had Michelle – I was 2 months from turning 25.  Anyway, I am glad we got to spend some time together before we left town.

We’ve enjoyed a few campfires with our neighbors, Cori and Greg.  We have gone over there for dinner and we’ve had them over for dinner.  It is so relaxed and peaceful sitting around the campfire and making marshmallows, just spending time together.

Cori and Greg had a dead tree limb hanging over their rig.  Evidently it was keeping Greg up nights, worrying about if/when it would fall and do some (potentially serious) damage to his home.  I don’t blame him for being concerned.  One day he decided to take care of it and after hearing some weird noises, I looked outside and saw that he had moved his rig out and was setting this up:

Greg cutting the tree (2)

the offensive branch - it's pretty big!
the offensive branch – it’s pretty big!
almost done
almost done

Our latest dinner/campfire included rally friends, Jo and Craig.  They are in the area having Greg install solar on their rig, a brand new Lifestyles.  We had marinated chicken, which was expertly grilled by Greg.  We also had some potato salad, an Asian slaw and plenty of s’mores.  Jo, Craig and I had visited Shady Maple during the day, having lunch at the buffet, where we had our fill of all the delicious homemade food they offer.  Jo had her first apple dumpling and Craig tried their sugar-free deserts.   We checked out the basement area, where all the touristy type items are for sale.  Jo was hoping to find some coffee mugs, but no luck.  We then went to Goods, which is like the Amish version of Walmart, they were able to get a few things off their list there.  We finished off at the Farmers Market, where we picked up some produce and grocery items.  A visit to Lancaster County area isn’t complete without a stop at Shady Maple!

Jo, Craig and I
Jo, Craig and I

The highlight of the evening was a Black Forest Cake, which was topped with the words “FREE AT LAST!”, which was to celebrate Bill’s last day of work!  To reference the title of today’s blog – this is our new beginning – the “some other beginnings end” is Bill’s tenure at Crossroads Beverage.  What a MAJOR step!  He admits it is a bittersweet time for him, as he was employee #1, as in first hired (I guess that #1 could also mean he was the man-in-charge, which he was).  He got this company up and running from NOTHING and they now have 4 bottling lines up and running 24/7!  He hand-picked all the employees, hiring back a lot of the people who worked for him at Power Packaging.  He is very proud of the work he did there, but time to move on.  We are fully full-timers now, with no ties to anything in Reading, PA anymore.  Our kids are both still in PA, so we will be back for them, but we are FREE now to do what we want/when we want.  No more work schedules to deal with.  It is very exciting and scary, all at the same time!  I have absolute confidence that we are going to be very happy and love life so much more now!  Money might get tight, but we’ve had that before and gotten through.  I am just so proud of him!

this says it all!
this says it all!

Free at Last Day (2)

So, here I am, back where I started, doing laundry at the hotel.  We are hoping the rig is done early enough this week, either Thursday or very early Friday so we can take it to Heartland and have new slide toppers installed.  Seems the ones the dealer installed aren’t the right ones for our rig and the main slide topper had to be removed b/c it was damaging some trim.  John from Heartland is working with Dena (the owner of Crossroads Trailers – where we bought the rig) to have them warranty them so Heartland can install the correct ones.  Fingers crossed everyone!

Promise to do my best not to take so long to update next time!  Don’t know if any of you noticed, but I did add a new section: Campgrounds – Like ‘Em or Leave ‘Em.  I have 3 CG reviews entered so far.  I have also added a recipe and an Eating Out review.  As a reminder, you have to click in the top right corner (the 3 lines) to access the other sections of the blog.  I am hoping to get my “About” section completed soon.

Thanks again for following along!