St. George Island, Florida, U.S. 29.66013302873015 -84.86978287027401 – I haven't accurately tallied it, but my guess is that we've spent nearly two months on St. George Island over the years. Enough time anyway, to make it feel a little like coming home when we get here.
Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia, U.S. 30.730813688628597 -82.53927583057352 – From Edisto we took a few back roads through the low country, headed south and west. We were headed for the middle of nowhere, but it was further than we wanted to go in a day. So we spent a night at the mouth of the Altamaha River before heading on to the middle of nowhere. Or the edge of the Okefenokee swamp. Same thing really.
Edisto Island, South Carolina, U.S. 32.509299424657236 -80.30565018047915 – We woke up on our third day to cloudy skies and predictions of a massive storm. Seemed like a good day to head up to Charleston, do some laundry, run errands and check out the city.
Edisto Island, South Carolina, U.S. 32.508647989854175 -80.3035902439571 – We avoid interstates and even divided highways for the most part, sticking to the county roads, the thin gray lines on the map known only by local names, no number at all. We follow the river, more or less, down out of the red Georgia mud into the Carolina coastal plain.
Raysville, Georgia, U.S. 33.63195904692882 -82.47742409070177 – Our original plan called for us to hit the road on the first day of spring. In reality we finally got going, fittingly enough, on April 1st. Not that we went far, but hey, the road is the road.
Watson Mill State Park, Georgia, U.S. 34.03350040134611 -83.07300323795661 – In which we get fancy RV stuff, like propane and running water. The new carburetor I ordered is nowhere to be found, but hey, new wheels and new tires. Plus, did I mention we can cook indoors now? Luxury living.
Watson Mill State Park, Georgia, U.S. 34.034211686271625 -83.0760931427401 – starting out is like being in that weird moment where Wily E Coyote has merrily run past the edge of the cliff and managed to keep going out of sheer blissful ignorance -- until he looks down. Starting out is that moment when you look down and realize the edge of the cliff is well behind you now -- you're on your way down.
Fort Yargo State Park, Georgia, U.S. 33.96861504910654 -83.7242972308598 – A couple weeks back we thought we had a buyer for the house but it fell through last minute. It was enough, however, to get everyone excited at the prospect of actually hitting the road. And then that hope was yanked away. To make up for that we decided it was time to do something of an exploratory trip, to test out life in the bus with a two night trip to Fort Yargo State Park
Athens, Georgia, U.S. 33.958221674854826 -83.40821499175449 – To close out the year I thought I'd post some images from all the work that I've done on the bus over the last 12 months. It's not finished yet, but here's some pictures of what she used to look like, along with some of the damage I uncovered and repaired.
Athens, Georgia, U.S. 33.958711117373646 -83.40825790709812 – I've always found it a little curious that so many people, myself included, who don’t otherwise practice the Christian faith, choose to celebrate Christmas. Winter solstice makes far more sense as a holiday to latch onto if you want an excuse to celebrate this time of year.
Athens, Georgia, U.S. 33.95917830987785 -83.40837592429536 – November came and went. The ginko down the street buried the still green grass in a blanket of brilliant yellow. The maples at the park had a banner year of blood red leaves. Even the oaks seemed brighter than usual.
Athens, Georgia, U.S. 33.95815048298076 -83.40810770339355 – A dozen years ago this week I was at an Iraqi restaurant in Paris. It was a tiny place near the cross roads of two very forgettable avenues, an unassuming door, a small menu board of the kind you see dozens of on nearly every block. I have no recollection of what drew us in, maybe just hunger. The only other people in it were the owner and his wife. To this day I would call it the best meal of my life.
Athens, Georgia, U.S. 33.95636176760647 -83.40707773513215 – Every Halloween I complain about how hot it is. I'm not sure where I got the idea that it was cold in Georgia come Halloween, but reviewing some pictures from the last half decade or so very clearly shows me wrong. It's often quite hot on Halloween and probably always will be from here on out.
Athens, Georgia, U.S. 33.95799920005176 -83.40821499175449 – Normally when you move you just shove all that stuff you don't really acknowledge that you've been dragging around for years without using into a box and truck it on to the next place you'll live where you can happily shove it in the back of a new closet. When you're moving into a 1969 Dodge Travco with four other people and less than 100 square feet of usable space that's not an option.
Athens, Georgia, U.S. 33.9850879025932 -83.38062578983113 – I have a thing for solar cycles. I was born a few hours before the winter solstice. My wife and I were married on the summer solstice. My son was born a few hours before the winter solstice. None of that was planned. It's all synchronicity. Coincidence some would say, though I don't believe that synchronicities like that are coincidence.
Cloudland Canyon, Georgia, U.S. 34.8338921973676 -85.4818844250578 – I have a terrible habit of never going to obvious places that are right around me. For example I lived within 100 miles or so of Death Valley for 26 years and never once went. Then I moved thousands of miles across the country and finally arranged a trip to Death Valley. Except that it appears I'm getting better about these things. Maybe.
Athens, Georgia, U.S. 33.95793690700317 -83.40810770339355 – The bare walls are gone, the ceiling is in, but still there is still much to do -- even if we do plan to leave before it's completely finished. We need a floor and couch at the bare minimum, though I'd like to have the propane and sewage system working as well. Oh and then there's a cab area, which I really haven't touched. Miles to go before I sleep.
Athens, Georgia, U.S. 33.90329999583211 -83.33059998840027 – I want the bus to be The Best. But. as an article I'm fond of says, "the best means waiting, planning, researching, and saving until one can acquire the perfect equipment for a given task." On the other side of the coin there is The Worst. if you have to have everything perfect you're never going to go. The Worst just goes. Now. The Worst figures things out from experience rather than hopes and fears.
Athens, Georgia, U.S. 33.95701140490208 -83.40944880790045 – We've started telling people about our plans to live full time in the blue bus. After the eyebrows come down and the puzzled frowns flatten out, the questions come. Most of them revolve around some form of, but, but but... *what will you do without a house? What will you do when that thing breaks down? What will you do when...* Rather than answer everyone individually I thought I'd answer all those questions here, as best I can: ***I don't know***.
Athens, Georgia, U.S. 33.958194977909265 -83.4081398899018 – The Travco is not starting. I can see the problem in my head, but I cannot make it work. It has to be the fuel pump. I have spark. I have compression. The missing ingredient in the basic trifecta of the internal combustion engines is fuel. But seeing it and understanding it are different than actually making it work.
Athens, Georgia, U.S. 33.96708459770432 -83.38646227664735 – Neither the intense afternoon sun beating down on the concrete slab of parking lot, nor the humidity left over from morning rains convinced my kids to abandon the Jittery Joe's skate contest. We were there all afternoon, over four hours of skating, pulled pork and the occasional train rolling by. They never stopped loving it.
Athens, Georgia, U.S. 33.95784791685379 -83.40821499175358 – The longer you've been in one location the more stuff that's accumulated. As far as I can tell there is no real way to combat the detritus of the world seeping into your space, save cutting off all contact with the outside world. I imagine monasteries are generally immaculate; the rest of us get out the pick axes and clear the rubble.
Athens, Georgia, U.S. 33.88121959056056 -83.31667656250653 – This becomes a day like any other that is somehow different. Then another and another. Little things. The air feels brighter. The river is lower. Less practical footwear appears on the feet around you. The mornings are crisp and the pollen hasn't started yet. The trees still bare though the smaller shrubs turn purple and white. Everything feels fragile but possible again.
Athens, Georgia, U.S. 33.95794580601253 -83.40819353408179 – I tore the rear air conditioning unit off the back of the bus today. Afterward I stood back and looked at the Travco. All the clean lines and curves joined together again, no more air conditioning warts to interrupt the sliding smooth and unbroken swoop of white and blue. The big blue bus looked sleek and whole again.