When looking for our next state park and trying to find one that was not too far from our sticks and bricks home (since we are praying and trusting God that we will get an offer on it any day!) we found that everything was full. This was a bit disheartening, especially since it was Easter weekend. I did a search for any state park that had availability for the dates we wanted to accommodate our size rig and the result was only one park. Lee State Park
I googled it and read, “Lee State Park is a gateway to the Lynches River, a designated state scenic river. The park encompasses 2,839 acres of diverse habitat that includes a vast hardwood floodplain forest, numerous artesian springs, a millpond and sandhills. Visitor amenities include a campground, nature trails, equestrian facilities and picnic area. Park and campground is open year-round.”
It all sounded good, but let’s just say that the part about equestrian facilities really piqued my interest. I LOVE horses! I used to have a bay thoroughbred ex-racehorse, Chloe, and since she was a bit too much horse for me (she was 17 hands and I’m 5’1″ – if I stand up real tall) I sold her to someone she was better suited for and was then blessed with my favorite horse of all time, my golden palomino quarter horse, Goldie. Horses to me are heaven on earth. And since I know we will get to ride horses in heaven (read The Book – we do!) I know they are heavenly creatures.
I spoke with Greg and we promptly checked the T-Mobile coverage map for cell service and it passed that test as well. Book it, Danno! So I did, it was advertised as a 50 Amp, pull through, level site with water in the “equestrian loop.” What more could we possibly want? (Well, sewer would be nice, but no biggie.). When booking though I was met with a disclaimer that read, “Campers without horses may reserve sites in this loop, however be aware of possible equestrian neighbors during your stay.” YES! Let’s do this!
We have been here now for four days, and although I love this entire campground – I’m sad to say I’ve yet to see a single horse… Yet. I am still holding out hope. Not only have we not seen any equestrian campers, we haven’t seen many other campers at all! The sites are so large and the campers are so few and far between that this feels like boondocking… with hookups!
Located in the big ole town of Bishopville, SC (east of Columbia, west of Florence aka in the middle of nowhere) we have found Lee State Park to be a true treasure of God’s creation. Check it out… (By the way, if you click on any of the pictures below they will blow up. Not like explode, I mean blow up as in get bigger so you can see them better.)
Sorry no pictures with Elijah in it. He didn’t feel well Saturday morning and I’ll spare you the gory details but by Easter morning he was hit full force with the flu. He’s been a very sick sicko, which means unfortunately he hasn’t been able to explore this park yet… but he will when he recovers.
I will leave you with my final fun project. The family tree I’m working on for our hallway. We still need a photo of Greg and I to put somewhere on it, but here’s what I have so far.
What a weird name for a blog entry, eh? The truth is, there’s more to that title than meets the eye. Today is my very first true “sick” day here in our tiny piece of 5th wheel heaven. I am relieved and happy to report that I have an excellent, private, comfy area to recuperate in while Greg can still work in his office and Elijah can read and/or play video games in his room (or in the queen loft, or outside, or wherever). So I feel like I can get the rest I need without putting anyone out or negatively affecting their daily activities.
So what. Who cares?!?! Well, the fact is, I do. I have some fairly significant health issues, so when I get sick, I tend to go downhill fairly quickly and I also tend to take a wee bit longer to recover than most.
Just a little cold… But you see, I have multiple sclerosis. This means when I get any kind of a sickness, even a minor cold, my body always takes full pleasure in sending me spiraling into a full-on m.s. flare up. Fun, fun. Granted, it’s what is generally called a “pseudo flare-up” which means no long term/permanent negative health implications result from it for the most part, but it’s a miserable flare-up nonetheless.
So, a little cold turns into a little cold accompanied with numbness, tingling, body pain, facial pain, back pain, vision issues, and a whole host of other symptoms that I won’t bore you with. In summary, it makes me feel as though I really need to be admitted to a hospital and drugged out of my misery… I.V. NOW, PLEASE! I digress… The fact is, I am an anti-medicine, anti-hospital kinda gal so I choose to suck it up and rest big time and let my body heal itself. I’ve learned over the years that it’s very good at that – but only if I don’t pump it full of chemicals.
Not to get into my whole health saga (cause that would take several entries and would bore us all to death!) but I also have two spinal cord injuries, one of which is pretty precarious and resulted in me being declared “permanently disabled” back in 2004. That only means that I have to be very careful with what I do and when my back goes out (which it does way too often, IMHO) I have to spend even more time than usual in “recovery” mode. (Aka horizontal). And, of course, when my back goes out, guess what my body’s reaction is… You guessed it… it always gifts me with a lovely pseudo m.s. flare-up. I think you are starting to get the picture.
I’m not complaining, but all this is to give you some background and to better explain why my little cold today, and my “view” on my sick days are more important to the success of our full-time lifestyle than one would think at first glance. Frankly, my health played a huge role in our making this decision to be full-timers now, and adamant about not waiting until we retire. More on that in a second.
Anyway, here is my view today, my first sick day:
As I mentioned above, a HUGE part of the reason that we chose to do this was for my health. I thrive on sunshine (Vitamin D!!!) and every winter my health takes a nose dive and each spring it seems to take just a few more warm days than the previous year to get me back to my optimum. The best way for me to get exercise is to walk and in the winter between the cold (which kills me) and my inability to get out and walk (due to the cold, which kills me!) I can’t get my walking in so for the most part I spend my entire winter getting absolutely no exercise. The more I walk, the better I feel; the less I walk, the more I feel like an old woman with multiple sclerosis. It’s a good cycle or a bad cycle, as the case may be.
First and foremost, Greg and I have made it our goal to use our travels to always try to go/be where the weather is optimum for my health. Already I am walking 2.5-4 miles every day on average. (Not today, of course, I said “on average”, people!) I want to get my average up to 5 miles every day. Wouldn’t that be awesome!?!?! Although we have been full-timing for just over a month now, this is my very first sick day. That’s a testament to the benefits this lifestyle is already having on my health.
Secondly, our cute little “tiny” home is only 410 square feet. That requires a LOT less cleaning and maintaining than our previous 2,600 square feet. Less cleaning and maintaining means more rest and relaxation and more time to walk! In our old house I was always on the go, I could never truly relax because I always felt like there was stuff I really needed to do… and there was! That simply is no longer the case… And I like it!
Finally, we decided to do this sooner rather than later because with multiple sclerosis regardless of how I am doing today, we simply never know what health crisis tomorrow may bring. Honestly, none of us are guaranteed good health or even another day of life for that matter. We have made a conscious decision to live each day FULLY, while it’s still today. Neither Greg nor I ever want to look back years from now, when it’s too late, with regrets. “Why did we wait?” The only thing that surprises me is that so many people do wait until they “retire” to embark on the life that they truly want to live. They spend their entire adult life working and raising kids while dreaming of the day they retire when they can travel, or sail, or go on adventures, or whatever. Why wait? Too often they retire and are too old and feeble to truly enjoy it. Or, like my Dad, who talked of traveling in an r.v. after he retires only to get cancer and die at age 62. He worked like a dog his entire adult life and dreamed about retirement and travels that he was never able to experience.
All this to say, we have decided to live life as fully as possible today and thank God for every single moment in the process. We make our plans, and to our amazement and gratitude, He continues to truly and lovingly direct our steps. I will end this with the words I always say to Greg when we are once again blown away at God’s blessings and provisions for us (because it happens so often!) and those words are: “Jesus loves me, this I know.”
We have declared our Fridays to be Field Trip Friday for several years now. We try to do some sort of field trip every Friday, or most of them anyway. Since today is our one month full-timeiversary, we decided to celebrate by getting back into our Field Trip Friday routine. We didn’t want to go to any of the expensive, touristy spots, like Ripley’s Aquarium (which we’ve already been to in Gatlinburg anyway) nor were we interested in any of the other tourist traps; but Elijah and I both love zoos and aquariums so we went searching to see what was around. I googled and found there was a zoo called “Waccatee Zoo” right here in Myrtle Beach. Their website was minimal and cheesy and I couldn’t really find any reviews about them, so I called yesterday just to make sure they were actually open. Indeed they were, so we planned that as our main event for today, figuring it would be small, but okay with that.
We honestly weren’t really expecting much, and to say we were pleasantly surprised would be a major understatement.
It turns out that this zoo consists of 550 acres of land with tons of nature paths meandering through it. The animals have huge habitats, with a few exceptions. I didn’t like the lions habitat, nor the habitat they had for the Bengal tigers but I spoke with one of the owners about it and she said they had a larger habitat behind their “cages” that they are let out into frequently. She said the bears were born there and are very happy. I would have liked to see them have a more realistic habitat, but hopefully the area we saw them in was the exception rather than the rule.
After the zoo we had lunch at Chipotle and then walked the mall, wrapped up with Elijah getting a new book to read at Books-A-Million. We had a full, fun day, yet were surprised at how happy we were to return back “home” to our Exodus.
I can’t believe it’s only been a month. It feels like home and like it’s been home for much longer than a month! Life is good.
While I sit here attending to our four loads in the laundry room machines; I wanted to share with you some of the gorgeous pictures we (mostly Greg) took here at Myrtle Beach State Park.
We have already determined that South Carolina has some absolutely beautiful state parks and that we are the type to prefer the natural beauty and wide open spaces and more privacy of state parks (and I’m sure federal parks as well) compared to other campgrounds. Even the resort style ones like the Thousand Trails one that we recently stayed at in NC. While we liked that campground quite a bit, I doubt we will be joining Thousand Trails anytime soon. The state parks are more our style. In my humble opinion, you simply can’t compare God’s creation to man’s. We have already booked our next campsite at yet another SC state park! I will post more about that later, but here’s a hint 🐎.
Meanwhile, we are stoked to be here for a full two weeks. (All SC state parks have a maximum camping stay limit of two weeks). We are truly enjoying every minute of it and I seem to be pinching myself daily. Being that we are still working, homeschooling, and all that jazz, (we are not here on vacation!) staying a full two weeks gives us plenty of time to experience it all over the course of our stay, without feeling pressure of having to see/do it all in only a few days.
We are just a couple days shy of completing our first month of full-timing and this lifestyle seems to be an absolute perfect fit for all three of us. I have no words to describe how thankful I am that we didn’t give in to the fears and uncertainties along the way. Change, especially such a huge change as this, is scary and often intimidating. There’s nothing worse than the fear of the unknown. But, everything takes sacrifice and nothing worth having comes easily. And for us, this is SO worth having!
Although I’d rather blog about our awesome backyard right now (Myrtle Beach!!!) I must honor my word and finish my post about organizing and decorating.
We have homeschooled for 22 years, but I am down to my last kiddo so our homeschool storage needs are not too severe. But again, organization is key to making sure our homeschool day goes smoothly. Greg has his office set up in our master bedroom (more about that in a bit) so we homeschool on the dining room table. I have everything we need easy to access and yet easy to stow away again when we are finished.
Greg has organized his office in the master bedroom and it all stows in the bed when he’s not working.
Finally, two things other things that are important to me are earrings (especially dangly ones!) and essential oils. I purchased these hanging jewelry holders from Amazon.com and I have them hanging in our master bedroom closet. Check it out….
As for decorations, today I only want to share our latest find:
That’s all I will bore you with. I could post pictures of my bathroom storage, more dishes, even my junk drawer! But that’s just too crazy… Who in the world organizes their junk drawer?!?! ☺️
So over and out from our backyard to yours. Oh, did I mention that we are in Myrtle Beach right now?
My top two concerns when contemplaing this lifestyle were: “How in the world can I fit everything I need, especially everything I need for all my cooking and baking, which I love?” and “How can I make an RV look and feel like home?”
First let me address that making everything fit is an issue. How do you make it all fit? Well, you don’t! We have been paring down for months and are down to only the things that we actually need in addition to some things that we just really wanted to keep. Which is still a lot of stuff, more than I thought we could take. I have learned through this process that if you really put in the effort up front to mindfully organize and utilize every inch of your space, that you too can easily fit everything you need into a tiny home; Be it a 5th wheel like us, or any RV, sailboat, or even a tiny sticks and bricks home.
I am going to use this post to show some of what I’ve done to organize our space for two reasons. First and foremost, to show my friends and family how I actually was able to fit everything the three of us need to live comfortably into our new tiny house. Secondly, to share ideas with others who may be dreaming of hitting the road, or the high seas, or those who have already done so but are running out of space!
Finally, I will share a couple of the ways I’ve decorated our new home as well. Although that will be a continual work in process as Greg and I didn’t want to use too much of the same decorations we used in our old s&b house in our new one. We want to decorate with new and meaningful items we find in our travels. That said, I want it to look homey in the meantime!
Organization comes first, and since cooking is my first love (after God, Greg, the kids, the grandkids… uh… you get the picture), let’s start in the kitchen. I am not going to post everything, only some key areas where I utilized various organization tools to add space. I must point out that everywhere throughout my entire 5th wheel, on every bottom shelf surface and on every shelf I’ve added, in addition to in between platters, stoneware, and dishes, I have used Sure Grip shelf liner. Everywhere. I got it (tons of it!) at Big Lots for $5 for a big roll. I have literally used over 5 rolls of the stuff as I figure better safe than sorry. Did I mention that I used it everywhere? I feel like it’s been a crucial part of making sure items do not slide around during transport.
You get the idea when it comes to the kitchen. I have a lot more to share, our homeschool storage, the bathroom, our master bedroom (which is my hubby’s office), and our closets, but this blog post is getting too long and I am getting too pooped to post! I will post more organizational pictures within the next day or two, pinky swear.
I can’t totally sign off though without leaving you with a few pictures of how my decorating is coming together so far. As I said, this will be a continual work in process.
That’s all for now. I’ll do a “Part 2” within the next day or two… or three.
We have been living in our new rolling home for 2-1/2 weeks now, but we have been staying relatively close to our old “sticks and bricks” house during this time to make sure all was going to work well in case we needed to return to the dealer to work out any kinks. Everything has worked flawlessly and we have had zero problems (other than those caused by our own learning curve.) We are thrilled that all the great reviews we have read about the Grand Design brand of fifth wheels these past 6 months have rung true. The quality and workmanship of every aspect of our new home has been impeccable. Woohoo!!!
So today was the big day… We pulled away from our “s&b” for a longer trip and even crossed a state line in the process! We are GONE and barring some unforeseen circumstances, we won’t return until the old house is under contract. Although it was a tiny bit emotional, it was only a teeny tiny bit. I didn’t even shed a tear until we were getting ready to pull away and Elijah and I did a final walk through. When Greg saw me, he started to tear up too. We have had 10-1/2 wonderful years in this beautiful house, so it’s definitely a little emotional. Elijah has grown up in this house and it will always be remembered by him as his childhood home. But we are all three more than ready for our next adventure. We decided to take some final pictures to mark this special occasion.
We had an easy, uneventful 3 hour drive to Forest Lake campground in NC ,(it’s a Thousand Trails campground) and were again impressed by Moses (our Ford F-350 diesel dually) who pulls all 41″ feet of Exodus like it’s nothing. We arrived to a beautiful resort like campground and were lead to a spacious site with full hookups. Greg is a already an old pro at unhooking and leveling us; so we were stabilized, slides out and I was cooking dinner within 20 minutes of our arrival. Time for tacos! Life is good!
Until next time… Happy Trails & Sunny Sails!
P.S. For some reason my blog will not provide the means for you to post a comment. Ugh… I have set it all up to allow comments and it will on my other pages (About Us, and Our Rig) but for some reason, not on this page. I am still trying to work out the kinks. Some day you will visit my blog again (hopefully) and see a comments section down at the bottom. When you do, say HI!
Today was our VERY FIRST day doing our homeschool in our new home on wheels. I know most full timers call it roadschooling, but I am a bit too old school. I’ve homeschooled for 22 years and I just can’t roll with the new lingo. (All puns intended.) Anyway, I am very happy to report that it was EASY PEASY and according to Elijah, not much different than doing school in our old (huge) classroom. He first did his computer work, then we put the laptop away so he could utilize the entire table for his book work.
The red bins you see on the chairs hold our daily school books. His are in one and my teachers books/keys are in the other. When not being used, we store them behind the theater seats so they are out of sight, yet easily accessible. I store my plan book in the seat storage compartment of one of the dining room chairs and we have anything and everything else we might need nicely organized in the overhead bins.
Today we had a very productive school day and I even threw in a little unit study about the history of Paris Mountain and it’s role in helping Greenville become what it is today. (Hint, hint… water!)
It was a beautiful, short-sleeve 67 degrees sunny day, so after he finished his school we took our goldendoodle, Popeye, for a 2 mile hike.
On our walk, Elijah informed me that he was surprised that school in the fifth wheel was really no different than school in our old home. SCORE! Then he proceeded to talk my ear off during our entire hike. I just listened, smiled, and thanked the Lord for this quality one on one time I have been blessed with.
I must admit that I too was able to breathe a huge sigh of relief during our after school hike. Although I should have already known this, I also learned today that homeschooling on a fifth wheel is really not any more difficult than homeschooling in a huge classroom…. As long as you are organized, that is!