Rylie

Rylie
Rylie

Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie

Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie
Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sanibel Island

Me and Dad on Sanibel Beach

While my parents were visiting, we took a little drive to Sanibel Island. Sanibel has beautiful beaches, cute little restaurants, and a wildlife drive where you can see tons of birds. We saw spoonbills, anhingas, white Ibis, great egrets, cormorants and even an osprey. There were some others that I couldn't identify.

Spoonbills


Birds on Wildlife Drive

Rylie's Notes:

As you can see from the photo below, the Grand Staff is pretty fond of me. They didn't seem to figure out where the treat cupboard was, though. They usually like to give me treats when we visit. They did manage to slip me some leftovers, so I guess I'll forgive them.

The Grand Staff and Their Favorite Dog

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ahhhhh

The weather has been gorgeous in Southwest Florida this week, with highs at or near 80 degrees. My parents are visiting from Minnesota, so they are in heaven. We're having a really nice time. We went to Sanibel Island and Captiva, and we all enjoyed that. No time for posting photos right now, so you'll have to wait.

In case you didn't see my latest article on Examiner.com, here is the link:

http://www.examiner.com/x-35849-Ft-Myers-RV-Travel-Examiner~y2010m1d20-New-Orleans-A-fascinating-temptress-for-RV-travelers

Rylie's Notes:

The year is off to a great start. So far I've had visits from The Junior Staff, and now the Grand-Staff. It's just too bad that The Staff tries to hog all of their attention. Doesn't she know that they came to see ME?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My New Writing Gig

This week I started my first official writing gig, as an RV travel writer for Examiner.com/Ft. Myers. This is an online newspaper of sorts, with editions all over the country. I will be writing at least several articles per week on a variety of topics related to RV travel. Here is the link to my first article:
http://www.examiner.com/x-35849-Ft-Myers-RV-Travel-Examiner~y2010m1d14-RV-travel-to-Big-Cypress-National-Preserve--another-alligator-hangout.

I hope that you will all become subscribers. There is no cost to subscribe, and it simply means that you will receive an email notification when I write an article. I get paid based on subscribers and page views, so I appreciate your support! They also have a referral program, so if any of you are interested in writing for this publication, please tell them I sent you. They are always looking for writers on a huge variety of subjects, and you can choose several. They have an application link on their website.

I am excited about this opportunity, because I think it will be good experience and discipline for me. It's going to keep me very busy!

Rylie's Notes:

Great, now The Staff is going to be spending even more time on that *@%! computer.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Lunch Gang at Nav-a-Gator

Yesterday was my birthday, and I celebrated with some new friends at Nav-a-Gator, in Arcadia, Florida. Nav-a-Gator is a funky fishcamp-style restaurant located on the Peace River, and they also offer riverboat tours and kayak and canoe rentals. They had a good band playing, so we had great music. That's me at the far end of the table. Never mind how old I am. I think I'll stay in a holding pattern for awhile.

This group of friends is part of a larger social group that I found on Meetup.com and has a lot of fun activities going on. Meetup.com is an online community that has different groups in each city where you can meet other people with similar interests. It's not a singles group, although sometimes there are singles groups within the Meetup community. Most of the groups are open to singles or couples. In some cities there are tons of Meetup groups, and others don't have much of anything going on, like Beaumont. I have been to several lunches already with this social group, and the people are nice and a lot of fun. Some of the group goes to swing and salsa dance lessons, so I joined them for that last week. I had a great time, and it was good exercise too.

I also found a writing group, and met with them last week. There are other Meetup groups that I could join, but so far I'm keeping pretty busy with the ones I've already joined.

Rylie's Notes:

Dogs have meetup groups too. They're called dog parks. You have your ball chaser groups, your groups that chase the dogs that are chasing the balls, and the ones who spend the entire time marking their territory. That's my group.





Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Manatees

When Cammie was here we took a boat tour to see the manatees on the Orange River in Fort Myers. When the water temperature in the Gulf of Mexico gets below 68 degrees, the manatees like to come into the rivers, where the water temperature is warmer. They especially like where the power plant releases warm water into the Orange River.

It's much more difficult to get a good photograph of a manatee, because they don't come out of the water as much as whales do. They mostly pop up to the surface for a quick grab of air, so I don't have much to offer in the way of photos, but I'm posting the best of what I have. Below is our boat captain with Manatee World Boat Tours, who did a great job of locating the spots where these creatures congregate. There were a lot of them there, but I just couldn't seem to snap the photos at the right times.



Below you can see a manatee under the water, and then a manatee diving back down.


I'm afraid that's it for the manatee photos, but I did spot this lovely creature on the boat (Cammie):


Rylie's Notes:

I don't mind missing out on the boating adventure, but I did mind that The Junior Staff didn't stay home to give attention to ME. Whenever she comes to visit, The Staff is always taking her out to do fun things without me. What's a dog gotta do to get a little attention around here?

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

I'm wishing all of you a healthy and happy 2010. Remember to follow your dreams, and if you haven't figured out what they are yet, what are you waiting for?

For me, 2009 was a year of malfunctions and broken things, some of which I could fix myself, and others I could not. I had problems with my bike, car and motorhome tires; light, door lock, water pump, water heater, skylight, vent lid, electrical cord/system, GPS, open door latch, a car accident, numerous malfunctioning parts on my car, and a broken heart. Frankly, I'm glad 2009 is over. I remember thinking as I was facing the year 2009 that it wasn't going to be a very good year for me. Maybe that was a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I have a really good feeling about 2010. Things were already turning around toward the end of the year, and I'm feeling really happy about being in Florida. There is so much to do and see here!

2009 wasn't all bad. I had some wonderful times with family and friends, old and new. I visited some places that I really enjoyed, including Tucson, Yellowstone National Park, Auburn, New Orleans, and of course, Minnesota and the Bay Area, where most of my loved ones are. I visited some other places that I didn't like quite as much, but still met some fun, nice and interesting people.

Back in 2006, I set out for what I thought would be one year of fulltime travel in my motorhome. That year has turned into three and a half years, and I am still amazed that I have been so fortunate to have this experience. Traveling alone might not be for everyone, but it has been life-changing for me, and a time of tremendous personal growth. I have made new friendships that I really treasure, gained confidence, had the time to get to know myself better, found a new appreciation for nature animals, and all of the the wonderful places that this world has to offer, and regained a passion for life that I had lost sight of for awhile; as well as a sense of hope and optimism. I also lost weight, and that's always a bonus. I found a lot of clarity about what is important to me and what I want for the rest of my life. Travel will always be a big part of my life, but I think I'm ready for a home base again. I plan to settle down in 2010, so this will be my last year as a gypsy, unless something remarkable happens to change my mind.

I have learned that wonderful things can happen when you face your fears and take a leap, that we really don't need all of the STUFF in order to enjoy life, and that happiness seems to come easiest to those with lower expectations, the ones that can enjoy the simple pleasures.

As I have been traveling around, I have been looking for places where I might want to settle down some day. I have found many places that I really enjoyed for certain parts of the year, but couldn't imagine living there year-round. California remains the frontrunner for me when I consider climate, beautiful scenery, job opportunities, and variety of things to do. Most importantly, Cammie is there, and I would like to be closer to her, and also to my friends. I think my parents would enjoy living there, and I'm hoping they can move there too. My favorite area is the Central Coast, but I wouldn't rule out the Bay Area, either. I also like Florida and Tucson, but don't think I could handle the hot summers; and Portland, but don't think I could handle the dreary winters. Most likely I will end up back in California, but you never know what surprises might be waiting around the next corner.

I think Rylie might be ready for a home base too. One with a little more room and maybe a yard to supervise. I think he gets to feeling a little cooped up in this small space sometimes.

Rylie's Notes:

I think The Staff is ready to rejoin the pack, and so am I. I need to check up on The Junior Staff more often. Running around as lone wolves has been a wonderful adventure, but I think that soon it will be time for a change.