Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Freezin' in Florida

19°F   -7°C
Feels Like 8°F

The needle that registers cold on my burr factor went off the chart this morning when I woke up to a frigid 19 degrees that felt like 8 degrees!  I know that these temporary frigid Florida temperatures do not impress you readers huddled up in the unrecognizable frozen wasteland that is most of the country, but come on, I live in a tin box where cold comes through the walls like air through a fan.  "How is the insulation?" was not the first question we asked when buying our RV.  That being said, we do stay pretty warm with our trusty space heaters that we run all night so we aren’t woken up by the clanging propane heater.  And knowing that our cold spell will be over in a matter of days means I don't have much time to make cold weather comfort food.

Before heading to north-central Idaho in April, we bought a heated water hose.  Seemed like a smart investment as we wanted to be prepared for the Idaho cold.  Ironically, we never used it in Idaho and finally broke it out here in Florida!  Go figure.  But we can deal with the cold for a few days.  Especially since the white stuff we are dealing with is sand.

Yesterday, we met up with Tina and Ron Lorenz, a lovely couple that were blog readers and were camped just a short ways away.  We were so glad they contacted us and really enjoyed meeting them over pizza and clam chowder.  (I know those two food groups really don't go together but soup sounded good on a cold day.)  In no time, two hours passed but we hadn't even noticed as we were enjoying the conversation and laughs.  We look forward to seeing them again and hearing about their adventures in a seriously big rig - a 45' Renegade with three dogs . . . and soon to be four when Ron gets his new guide dog.  We love the fact that Tina is fearless about driving the big rig and the Jeep while off-roading.  

Ron will soon fly out to the Guide Dog for the Blind's San Rafael, California campus where he will meet his new four-legged companion.  As lab lovers and ones who believe in the power of animals, we were totally engrossed in his tales of how the program works.  He will spend two weeks on the campus getting to know his new dog and learning to work with him/her.  

Puppies are raised by volunteers who begin fostering the dogs at 8 weeks and work with them for a year to year and a half.  During this time, volunteers are responsible for socializing the dogs, teaching them good house manners, and basic obedience.  After that dogs return to a Guide Dog for the Blind campus for two to three months of advanced training and even learn "intelligent disobedience."  Dogs learn how to lead a person from one point to another, stop for overhead obstacles or changes in elevation (such as curbs or stairs), and avoid obstacles.  These wonderful trained companions allow visually impaired people to feel confident and assist them during their daily routine.  And the cost to the recipient of a guide dog:  nothing.  What a wonderful service that has been instrumental in changing peoples lives since the early 1940's.  

When I asked Betsy about being a puppy raiser she firmly said "NO!"  Spirit said, "YES!"  (Soft hearted Betsy just couldn't part with a puppy once she had raised it!)


  1. When I lived in upstate New York, I raised seven of those puppies for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. The hardest part was definitely giving them up, but almost all of them went on to help people who truly needed them.

  2. Guide dogs are amazing, a great program for those with sight challenges. I know I'd have a tough time giving a dog back, too.

    Welcome to winter. Got down to 7 degrees here in SC and even with the furnace heat on and drop lights in our two wet bays, we still froze up this morning. Thankfully, later in the day we thawed with no damage. Hopefully we don't get a repeat freeze tonight.

  3. We so enjoyed meeting you and Betsy! What fun, and yes the time just flew by. You gave an awesome report about how Guide Dogs for the Blind works as well. We're just looking forward to the next time we are in the same "neighborhood", wherever that may be, so we can share more absorbing conversation and BIG laughs! We'll stay in touch one way or another--and as you know, you are always welcome to partake of our full hookups in Yuma! Hugs until next time!!

  4. In our travels we met a man, Rick and his wonderful lab, Biscuit--we spent our one and only New Year's Eve in Las Vegas with Rick and his wife Judy then did some boondocking in the AZ desert. Biscuit is an awesome dog, she has the puppies and Rick does the initial training before they are sent off to become guide dogs. Rick was VERY instrumental in giving me the training hints which have made Emmi the well behaved dog she is for a small yapper type dog!


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