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About gailandcor@yahoo.com

  • Birthday 09/22/1930

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Between Maine and Colorado
  • Interests
    Photography and writing; painting; rocks; people; all things bright and beautiful (especially dogs and food.)
  1. PREPARE FOR LANDING! Hard or soft? Sooner or later? Where? When Cor and I opted for a life on the open road; we envisioned roaming the US at a leisurely pace, pausing long enough to savor the essence of north woods, prairie mountain, mesa, and bayou. Arrival at new campgrounds was exhilarating: so much to learn about the area. There were chutes in Ontario, fossils in Wisconsin. The first sight of the Rockies’ ridgeline at sunset was breathtaking. We had loved meandering by boat; so why not by RV. At least we won’t sink. Marina life buzzed with excitement, meeting new people, learning of their ports and sometimes storms. So it was with our early campgrounds; neighbors gathering by the fire, singing songs, exchanging stories. Keep moving, keep learning. Reality set in when the stock market dove. Weekly, even monthly rates were not going to be sustainable. We decided to try the season in Venice, FL, our old hometown. Camp Venice was delightful, under the shade of live oak trees, along a shoot of the Myakka River. Visits to our former doctors kind of alerted us to what lay ahead. Mine sent me off with the admonition that falls are the biggest bugaboo to the elderly. (I’m beginning to accept that term.) Cor’s doctor wanted him to return for balance problems, but Cor forgot the appointment. We began to write our customary lists of “Pros and Cons.†We love our very comfortable National Dolphin, but it takes dexterity, stamina, and strength to set up, take down, maintain, and maneuver -- especially when you realize you aren’t 60 anymore. As Cor has often said, “If others knew some 90-year-old geezer were tooling down the highway at 70 miles an hour in this beast, they’d probably head for a ditch.†What are the criteria for a landing site? First -- friends, but they, like you, are getting older and can’t be “forever.†Family: We have two families (his and hers.) The majority live in New England -- CT and MA. Another lives in FL and the one we thought we’d be settling near, moved to CO. Somewhere along I-95 would be good for most. Climate: We tolerate cold (in front of the fire) better than heat. Access to medical facilities: Face it! We need them now and will need them more in the future. A town where we could get around without a car. A town with some action, be it music, library, senior gatherings, or just plain sitting in a park to watch the squirrels and listen to the birdies sing. Now to find this town of our dreams. Where do we start? Since all our furniture has been stored in Lebanon, New Hampshire, (to be accessible to the daughter who promptly moved to Colorado) and our car and motorhome are registered there, we looked for a campground to take us for the summer while we searched. Ever-reliable Google turned up Exeter Elms, nestled along the banks of the Exeter river, a heavenly mix of hardwoods, evergreens, ferns, chipmunks, and songbirds. Even in this Spring of rain and cold, it provided a serene haven in which to once again “get organized.†Within a week, we began to appreciate what this town has to offer: exquisite architecture (my college major,) a first class hospital, central “downtown,†new library with large print books, senior center (never thought I’d need one,) good supermarkets, walk to many parks as well as the riverfront, an active bandstand, theater groups, concerts, farmer’s market -- you name it! Everybody smiles here. Amazing! Again online, we found an apartment plunk in the center of town on the main street overlooking all the action (we’re great watchers now.) We even enjoy the weekends with a steady stream of motorcycles cruising through town on Rt. 27 -- who would have thought? If there’s a message here, I guess it is to THINK AHEAD. While you are enjoying your rambling (especially full-timers who have given up a home) keep your eyes open for a good place to land. Make a list of your presumed priorities (they may change with time.) When you are in a town or city, take note of the shopkeepers and people on the street -- are they smiling and helpful? Are drivers pushy, or do they signal for you to enter? You will be calling this “home,†so make it happy. We still have the rest of the season at the campsite, but our apartment lease started July 1, so we’ve moved our stored “stuff†down from Lebanon to Exeter. We are taking our time emptying the cavernous bays that carried more "stuff" -- will we ever learn? Now to do the final cleanup here. If anyone is interested in the perfect full-time motorhome, and a prepaid site on the banks of the Exeter River through leaf-peeping season, take a look at our website. Never underestimate the power of the Internet! We found our apartment on Rent.com; found the campsite on Google searches once we’d picked a state to live in; checked out all the tax consequences and medical facilities on various state sites; and still keep in touch with friends and family on Facebook. Call me a wired junkie, all thanks to my Verizon Air Card. It has allowed me to get online almost everywhere. No more eating a hamburger just to get a few free minutes of access at MacDonald’s. Click here for photos of the motorcoach at Exeter Elms Campground LIFE IS AMAZING, ISN'T IT?
  2. 1. Make a list of all prescriptions, including dosage and have it laminated (Staples) to fit in your wallet. 3. List an emergency contact in your cell phone under “ICE†stands for “in case of emergency†-- speedy help if you are in an accident. 3. Go Digital and carry your memory stick with you. 4. If you will need regular monitoring tests (protime, PSA, sugar, etc.) have your doctor give you plenty of prescriptions to carry with you. 5. Same goes for prescription refills -- or use a national drugstore chain and be sure you are in their computer. Now for the nitty-gritty. Maintaining your health on the road falls into a couple of categories. If you are moving around constantly, it’s best to check your insurance coverage well before you go. Some companies only pay if you use their doctors. Not all doctors accept Medicare, which means they will treat you, but their fees are not limited to Medicare’s schedule. If you find yourself wanting to see a new doctor away from home, you will find most require an initial visit. You will likely be sent to a walk-in clinic, which is not bad: one of my nicest, brightest doctors was at an “Urgent Care Facility†in Venice, FL. Even my own Doctor from about seven years ago, required I have an “initial visit†to catch up with all the routine tests. The first appointment I could get was 6 weeks away, so I was sent to the aforementioned clinic. We were staying put for the season, so the timing was possible. Finally, when all the usual tests were done -- full blood work, bone density, neurological, ad infinitum, he offered to put his notes on my computer’s memory stick. A great idea. I now carry all that base information with me for use by any doctor anywhere. Suggestion for seasonal campers: If you know where you will be and you have a doctor or dentist in mind, make your appointment as far ahead as they will allow. It’s easier to change one than miss out. Bring notes regarding any interim treatments you may have had between visits. If you are staying a few weeks or more someplace, read the local papers for any special screenings they are having. When we were in Santa Fe, NM the local hospital was giving free mammograms; did that. A supermarket was doing free cholesterol tests: did that. Take advantage of these. You never know when something will turn up. Besides, this being such a small world, you may meet some very nice people, maybe fellow campers, while waiting in line. Dentists? That’s another world. Being stellar manufacturers of plaque, we’ve been advised to have our teeth cleaned at least twice a year, sooooooo when we got to Venice, we went to one of the UHC approved offices. By the time the dental “sales lady†tried to talk us into periodontal work, dozens of x-rays and 4 crowns for each of us, we decided to carry the plaque with us, back to Burlington where Champlain Dental knows and cares for us. I’m hoping a viable market will be found for tartar. Eyes? Usual old-age problem -- need stronger glasses. Saw former doctors in FL, now have prescription for “executive bifocals.†In case some of you with retinal problems don’t know (I didn’t) “executive†means the correction extends wider across the lens eliminating the problem of missing letters and/or numbers at either end of a sequence. With numbers, this can be interesting -- making thousands into hundreds, and other costly errors. If you feel you need extra medical advice and are near a major clinic, take advantage of it. My eyes still are “not right†and I have just made an appointment to see a retina specialist at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, about an hour away. Maybe they can help my depth perception and I’ll stop pouring the orange juice behind the glass. I’ll just mention one other personal medical situation, only because I’ve run into many people who have the same problem and were thrilled with the initial solution. For years, at night my right arm would be numb and hurt like crazy, sometimes right down to my waist. My neurologist (I have one because of post-polio) suggested a wrist brace. Eureka! Instant help. EMG tests were done (nasty, they are) indicating carpal tunnel syndrome, so while in Burlington this spring, I had the operation. Not only did the symptoms disappear immediately, but the numbness and pain in the other wrist has not returned either. Go Figure. I hope this will encourage any fellow-sufferers to seek help. I can get a full night’s sleep now. For a less expensive test, get a cheaper adjustable wrist brace at a drug store and try it out. OK, that’s a lot of yakking, but I hope you’ve found some bit of new info. And speaking of yakking, I have finally learned how to get to an “agent†when confronting a voice-activated system. Apparently, I don’t e-nun-ci-ate properly. Now I ignore the lady who says, “I’m sorry I didn’t understand that. Let’s try again.†To her, I say, “Now is the time for all good men to go to the dogs and I don’t know which dog, but as long as you go ....†About now, she (the machine) breaks in and says, “I will now connect you to an operator.†Whew! That works for Verizon help too. Am I having fun yet? Between itinerary planning, doing taxes, writing this blog and our Gypsy Feet website, playing Scrabble on Facebook, experimenting with making sugar and fat-free very dark chocolate drops, Yeah! I’m having fun. This is a great life! Should have started sooner. Stay healthy! And eat dessert first.
  3. P.S. I failed to mention that hitting something that jumped out at Cor and bent the rim has complicated our problem. The new tire is only money; the rim is time; time is money and so, as I used to say in our Coastal Crjuise website, we had three mottos: First - "Oh my God!"; second - "Boy were we lucky" and third: "It's only money."
  4. Thanks for your sympathy, but one of my reasons for telling this drama was to push the "This too shall pass" motto. Fortunately, Cor and I both have the attitude that "someday" we will be able to laugh about this...so we just laugh now. Anybody seeing us, sitting in the dark, talking and laughing must surely have thought we were daft. Perhaps we are. In our combined 160+ years of experiencing the good and the bad, it's all relative. We pinch ourselves in the morning, feel it, then know all is OK.
  5. So Much For The Rabbit, or This Too Shall Pass! In England, it’s “White Rabbit.†I’m not sure where or when I picked up this superstition, but probably in college. The first word you utter upon waking the first morning of a new month should be “Rabbit†if you want the following days to bring you health, wealth and wisdom. I’ve been a dedicated utterer Lo! these 50-plus years and have succeeded at indoctrinating two husbands. Until now. May 1, 2009, started like any other first of the month. Soon after saying “Rabbit,†the refrigerator repair man at Pete’s RV in Burlington, Vt., arrived at our door. The fridge had quit mysteriously two weeks earlier – as soon as we’d put 50 miles between us and Rivers RV in Jacksonville, Fla. We had stopped at River’s because the LED display on our thermostat wasn’t working. Diagnosis? Thermostat’s fine, but your microwave’s out. It took GE repair over a week to put in a new control board, so with unleashed joy we continued our journey north. On our website, (gypsyfeet.net, fully chronicals our trip from during the two weeks between leaving Florida and May 1. But here we are now -- a new month, a new Rabbit, and all is about to be fixed so we can continue on to our summer spot, backed up to the Exeter River in New Hampshire. Oh, are we blessed! Peter comes in, takes a quick look, then goes to the outside board, presses the reset button, and all that frozen food we’d thrown out became a bad memory. As we chatted with Peter, Cor happened to flip on a ceiling light switch. The light went on, but so did the ceiling fan and the automatic hatch mechanism. Turning the second light switch turned off the light, the fan, and shut the vent. Now Peter really went to work. Diagnosis? Bad ballast, causing all of our electronic problems. It is apparently easier to just change the whole light, so while we waited for new ones we managed to get some personal maintenance work done: both to the dental hygienist for semi-annual cleaning, and I to Dr. Tranmer at Fletcher Allen Hospital to have my carpel tunnel fixed. Amazing op – immediate relief of pain and numbness. The Rabbit was really doing its job! On May 15 we sailed down Interstate 89 to West Lebanon, N.H., where we got our annual inspection stickers affixed. It didn’t seem so bad that the RV needed an axle seal replaced, or the Pacifica needed some warranty work done on an oil leak. After all, the problems were found, fixed, and we were on the road again by noon. A loud “Boom†changed all that. First thing Cor knew, a man was gesturing towards the rear. A blowout! At 5:00 on Friday afternoon, of course. It was the right rear outer dualie, so he could limp to our campground only a few miles away. We hooked up, then began to get settled in when the fridge started its familiar beeping – “no co.†It would not reignite, either on AC or LP. It was cold outside, so Cor hooked up the electric for some heat. No electric. We discovered we were supposed to have established an account with the electric company, and of course this was Saturday. LP ? Same thing, but worse. We’re nearly out and they won’t come here, we have to go to them, but with a blown tire, we’re stuck. And it’s getting colder! As we wrapped our shivering selves in blankets, grabbed a peanut butter sandwich, looked towards the black TV screen in the gathering darkness, tried to remember ghost stories from our youth, and were generally miserable, we realized we’d been duped. (Photos to follow) And that is when we dumped the Rabbit! But all you RVers know, This Too Shall Pass! As old boaters, we can thankfully say, “At least we won’t sink!â€
  6. gailandcor@yahoo.com

    Park Pics

    Candid photos taken around assorted campgrounds
  7. If only I had thought of this sooner! The untimely return of polio symptoms has left me unable to walk around parks, casually visiting neighbors or doing the daily "power walks" with the ladies. I do have an electric cart though, so I am mobile, but this is quite different from the slow stroll that allows you to meet and greet your new neighbors. Quite accidently, I came upon a way to satisfy that wish: Canine Candids! Camp Venice, where we have spent the winter this year, is rife with dogs of every size, shape, and color. Why not print a "Rover Roster" so they could all be greeted by name? Accordingly, I set out, sheepishly at first, asking neighbors if I could photograph their pet for inclusion in a scrapbook of pets. I don't know why I was surprised at the response. "Of course!" was the usual reply. At whch point, Rover would get a quick brushing and would be led to the nearest sunny spot, usually in front of a potted plant or two. One enthusiastic man even came down from his roof to make sure Bailey was "among those present." That's Bailey, the gorgeous black lab (female) in the upper left corner of the collage. This collage is not complete; just what I was able to do in one short afternoon. I have posted a note next to the collage on the bulletin board advising any I missed to bring their dog to our site for the final effort. A bonus was the ability to ask people their last names. We knew the first names of all the folks around us, but once you've been friends with someone for several weeks, it's kind of awkward to say, "What's your last name?" This made it easy, "What's your dog's full name?" Or, admit it: "I'm embarrassed to ask, but what's your last name?" An amusing aside: I mentioned to one woman something about my husband, Cor. She said, "Oh, I thought his name was Fred." I answered, "No, Fred's the dog." Well, she had heard everyone call out, "Hi, Fred" as my husband took him for his morning walk. Fred has gone to live with some friends in Venice, FL. Those same walks became too much for Cor's lower back and it showed no signs of improving. I've known the couple a long time. They have fenced in a yard for Fred, have two cats he has become great friends with, and they take him to the PawPark often. We miss him terribly, but as one neighbor put it: You've done two things right. "First you saved him from the dog pound that couldn't keep him any longer, and two, you've found him a good home." In the collage, he is the handsome chocolate lab sitting in the first mates' seat. So, without further ado, here is the first draft of my ROVER ROSTER - March 2009 Make your bark worse than your bite.
  8. Full-Timing was an easy choice. It was the only choice if we wanted to enjoy winter sun in the South and summer's cool breezes in the North. We had burned our bridges behind us. There are no regrets, only vibrant memories of spending our days on the water, then touring on land to new horizons. Not only did we have to consider our ages, but also there were unknowns. Then, at 88, how long would Cor be able to renew his driver's license? How long would my eyes hold out? Or, should I say "eye" as I'm down to one good one, and I am being tracked for a "freckle" on that one's retina. Like the motorhome, the several boats we've owned are affectionately known as "Wasting Assets." One is rarely able to make a profit on either. It was necessary to assume the Dolphin we were admiring would probably be ours for life. We didn't feel we could start small and work our way up because of dropping trade-in values, and that was pre- the current state of affairs. Planning our Get Away took upwards of three months. First order was figuring out exactly what would fill our meager space in our National RV Dolphin motorhome. Beginning at the back of the bus, bedding was needed. The unit had a perfectly presentable innerspring mattress. We gave that to Pete’s RV to use on another used rig. Why? We were very happy with our new 3†thick memory foam topper. This was suggested by my doctor, who informed me the hip pain I was experiencing each night was caused by pressure. Eureka! The topper was totally successful, so it must go with us. The combination of that and the original mattress was too thick to fit under the closet when we pulled in the slide. We needed something thin to go under the king-sized topper. The built-in queen-sized platform is a ¾†plywood board; thick enough to hold us firmly, but more stuffing would make it truly comfortable. Thus began the wild goose chase. We checked out out futon mattresses, but found they are very thick these days. Finally, we remembered Willy D’s, a great discount furniture store in Colchester, VT. Willy told us he had discarded a mattress in the back of the store. It was lying in the snow waiting to be hauled away. We found the wild goose! Wielding my favorite carving knife, while Cor pulled the pillow-top away from the mattress, we hunched over in shin-deep snow and triumphantly performed the separation, all the while praying none of our “normal†friends spied this cannibalization. The exercise was successful – almost. We did need a couple of blankets on top of the board. But that was a good place to carry the extras. Incidentally, have a bad back? This is a great cure – flat but soft. Worth a try. No sagging. Moving forward to the bath compartment, we found plenty of space to store most of our toiletries; soaps, toothpaste, prescriptions, first aid supplies, ad infinitum – much too much as we had belonged to Costco and bought ridiculous quantities of everything from Hydrogen Peroxide to Irish Spring soap. We’re learning to live like the French; go to the store often and buy only what you need…an admirable quality. When it came to cookware, I did practice what I’d learned from living on boats – less is more. We found a nice camp set on sale at Eastern Mountain Sports – two pots, with two pans that doubled as lids. The removable handle is interchangeable. One caveat: when tipping a pan full of food, the handle tends to twist its way out of the bracket. Solution? I found a great 12†heavy teflon-lined frying pan at Goodwill for $2.50. At Page Hardware in Guilford, CT, I found a neat little navy-blue-with-white-speckles double boiler. So much for saving space! But a cook’s gotta have what she needs, right? I regretted leaving my favorite china bakeware in storage, but between space and breakability, they had to stay. One of the things we liked about the Dolphin was the microwave-convection/gas cooktop arrangement. It left us more drawer space, important when we’d be here full-time. I needed all my spices, custard cups for popovers, mini-chopper, egg slicer, whips and ice cream scoop. You know – essentially unessential, but When I Want Them, I Want Them. I don’t like the oven. It is too easy to burn the top of anything you bake as the heat is so near the food. And I can’t broil. If I store the baking things in the oven, we have to remove them every time we just want to microwave a cup of water. That’s where the bed comes in. Maybe that counts as exercise. Moving on, the dinette would be fine if we could find it. Right now, it’s beneath the printer, a bowl of fruit, last week’s mail, five or six road maps, a bottle of Nasonex, two boxes of Baker’s dark chocolate and the molds to cool them in. Cor read the greater the percentage of cocoa in chocolate, the better it is for you. Put another way, enough cocoa and you can rationalize your daily fix. So, he now makes his own chocolate disks using Baker’s, Equal sugar substitute and a little bit of butter. Without the butter, it sticks to your teeth and palate, forcing you to make funny faces. I don’t know how long this will continue. I must go sample his latest batch, so I’ll leave you for now - Arrivederci! I love Italian. We named our first sailboat “Andiamo†- the dinghy was “Derci†and thus, endeth the lesson.
  9. I enjoyed reading your blog entry. You give me something to look forward to in life. Our family has been Rv'ing for ten years. We have done it with our two children who are now 13 and almost 10. We spend a month on the road each summer traveling to national parks and have gone to British Columbia too. May you be blessed with good health and safe travels. Thank you for sharing.

  10. We survived YEAR ONE and learned a lot in the process, including some "Don'ts" and plenty of "Dos." This blog is directed toward people who have said to us, "I wish we had the courage to do that." To do what? To realize that time plods on and if you have any unfulfilled desires, you'd better act on them. For better or worse, we did just that. Our timing was classic. We bought a used 36-foot National RV Dolphin LX. Within weeks, National went belly-up. We planned to drive to Denver to check out my daughter's new digs. Gas topped $4 a gallon. But, back to the start. Cor is my husband. We have been married 11 years. Between us, we have seven children, 23 grandchildren and five greats. We spent the first five years together plying the Intracoastal Waterway between Venice, Fla., and Colchester, Vt., on first, a 40-foot Irwin cutter, and then a 36-foot Albin trawler -- so we KNEW how to live in small spaces. This was useful in selecting the right size motorhome. In 2003 we realized the spring necessary for jumping from dock to boat was leaving our legs and the dexterity needed for quick line-handling was waning. We had also seen enough days of meandering through the southern marshes and swatting green flies. Time to come ashore. We settled on a senior living community in northern Vermont. It was lovely; nice view of Lake Champlain, great food, wonderful people. But we were used to moving around, meeting new people, seeing new sights. We escaped to a downtown apartment in Burlington, right on the bike path and next to the waterfront park. Lots of people, lots of dogs, lots of fairs, boat and bike races, fireworks, action! And don't forget Church Street, the five-block-long brick walkway filled with boutiques, restaurants, strollers, galleries, musicians, skipping children, peppy dogs and benches for whiling away the afternoon. It was heaven ... for three-plus years. Then the nagging gypsy blood started to work its way through our veins. Cor was 88 and I was 9+ years behind. Would we still be sitting here five, six, seven years from now, wishing we had ventured some more, but unable? And that's where our life in a motorhome began. I write this blog for those who are thinking, Should we take this leap of faith? Should we really cut the strings and free-wheel it for a while, for a couple of years, forever? I can't say what our timing will be. Right now, it's great, but the specter of diminishing health, eyesight and money is everpresent. When do we drag everything from the storage locker and settle down to watch the sunsets? So, to those who see yourselves here, let me say what worked for us (so far.) We were stuck with a leased car for two more years; no towing allowed. Buying it out and/or buyng a truck were out of the question. That eliminated fifth-wheels and trailers, so we concentrated on motorhomes. But what model? The first one we saw was a neat new Class B Lexington with three slides. (Slides were new to us -- boy, were we newbies.) Not only was it out of our price range, but when we got down to reality, it would not do for full-timing, our only choice. Enter the 36-foot National RV Dolphin LX, a used 2004 model on the lot at Pete's RV in Burlington. I didn't like the dark Victorian decor or the pungent smell of cigarette smoke, but I was won over by the four-door fridge, the turn-around captains' seats, one-piece washer/dryer, the amount of storage space and the seat in the large, glassed-in shower. We hedged a lot; I could handle the upholstery (covered it with a blanket we bought in Santa Fe), but the smell was BAD. Pete's got to work washing, spraying, etc. It still smelled. Finally, after we had installed a dozen open boxes of baking soda, they tried one last measure -- fogging! It worked! An aside here: during this process, I had taken two cushions home to work on. I used Clorax. I buried them in snow, then left them to dry in the sun. I sprayed with Fabreze (which to me, by the way, smells as bad as the smoke). When we were done, the motorhome and furnishings were fine, but the cushions that I had taken home still smelled. A year on the road has cured that now, to our relief. We were pleasantly surprised by some of the Dolphin's features: solar battery charger for one. Cor commented there are so many exceptional quality items, it's no wonder National went broke. Ahead: What to store, what to take? Simple itinerary planning. "What does that sign say?" for less than optimal eyesight. Driving in tandem using Bluetooth. Updates on our search for the perfect cinnamon doughnut. Quick and easy overnight stops. Medical help en route. How to get cash without being hit by fees. And then we added a dog! Are we nuts?
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