There have been a LOT of changes and it's hard to know where to start.
After Hurricane Irma struck the Keys and destroyed our fifth wheel, we decided to hold off on putting another RV there. There are some issues with the county and permanent rv's, so we're waiting to see how that all plays out. With no rv there, we are able to rent the lot out when we are not there. If anybody wants to spend Christmas in the Keys, let me know.
We decided to purchase a small trailer that we could easily tow and find campsites that we would fit. We purchased a pre owned Forest River Rockwood Mini Lite. It's only 21 ft. It has one slide, a walk around bed, ducted AC, a sofa instead of a booth, two door refrigerator and dual axle. All the things that we had been looking for and all the things that are hard to find on a rig that size.
The new trailer fit just fine on our Keys lot. We spent 3 weeks in the Keys in the little trailer, which we have named "The Dingy" We were surprised at how comfy we were. It turns out the layout was perfect and very liveable. We now know that we could easily spend months in it. It looks tiny outside, but is surprisingly roomy inside.
During our Keys trip in April, we finally got the boat in the water. It was the first time we had been able to take it out on the water after the hurricane, and we wanted to make sure everything was ok. We found a few issues with the trailer, but Progressive was great about adding a supplement to take care of the additional damages. The motor ran fine and we got out to do some snorkeling.
Last January, we lost our live in caregiver for Mom, but we finally ended up finding someone else who is working out well (knock on wood). Between her and the ones provided by her long term care insurance policy, we are covered which allows us to travel some.
While searching for a new caregiver, we stayed in Tampa for several months we took the opportunity to do some Florida camping in the new "Dingy." We spent a few days at Rainbow Springs, where I picked up a few very tiny ticks. Apparently, I missed one because a few weeks later I found one embedded in my skin with the bulls eye mark of Lyme Disease. I went on antibiotics for 3 weeks for that. Fortunately, I have had no further symptoms.
With the new caregiver in place and settled in, we headed back up to Blairsville, GA (where we had 2 rv lots). The Dingy was parked at our rental rv lot and we moved back into the Cameo which we keep here.
This is Old Federal Campground which is a COE campground on Lake Lanier in Georgia. We stayed there on the way back to Georgia. We decided we really like the COE campgrounds, plus the 50% discount is nice. We planned on doing some traveling during the summer but that didn't happen.
While in Blairsville, we decided to take a look at some houses for sale, just for kicks. We love the north Georgia mountains the city of Blairsville and knew that we would end up here someday. We especially love the area where our RV lots are because we have the nice country back roads where we can ride our golf cart and "bear hunt". Plus it is a great area for walking and there are wonderful hiking trails (Appalachian Trail is 3 miles away). We didn't want the house to be up a long twisty road with a steep driveway, no neighbors, or an area with no building restrictions and dumpy places next door.
It turned out that one came up for sale right next to the Rv park and ended up buying it. It has a long driveway with a big parking space behind the house, which is perfect for us to park the little trailer.
The cats love their new house. We still have our big boy Baxter and our old boy Chatty, who is going on 19 and has end stage kidney disease. We never thought he'd be around this long, but he's doing ok.
During the summer, someone dumped a pretty little female cat and of course we ended up with her. We didn't want another cat and didn't plan to keep her but she had a terrible skin condition, no one wanted her. She had some sort of skin condition and was losing her fur. With the help of our friends and neighbor who is a Veterinarian, and plenty of medications and care, she improved after a few months. She had to be kept isolated from the other cats so she lived in our cabin during the process. It was a process of elimination and we didn't know if she had ringworm or demodectic mange. We didn't expect our old guy would still be around so we figured we could take in another one. Which we did.
So, on Halloween, we closed on our new house. The house backs up the the Nottley river which is behind the RV park, making us close to our friends there and have all the benefits of the the area we love. It made it much easier to move all the STUFF we had in the fifth wheel and TWO cabins!
It seemed strange at first living in a house again. So much room. A little clutter doesn't trash the entire place like in a Rv. You don't know it's raining unless you look outside! It's easy to stay warm even with the cold weather we have now. We never missed our house while living the last 8 years in our rv's, but now that we have one again, we really are enjoying it. Of course, it's cold outside, the grass is brown now and there are no leaves on the trees. We are anxious to get outside and plant a garden and some flowers.
The front porch looks out over Brasstown Bald which is the highest mountain in Georgia.
Our good friends and neighbors Heidi and Suzanne and their three sweet little dogs. Heidi was our hero taking care of Nottley (the cat) for us!
We had a very rare Piebald deer around this year. Isn't she a beauty? It's a genetic mutation but still beautiful. I hope the hunters don't get her.
We had some bear sightings this year. We expect we will have bears in our yard here in the house. Our neighbors had one in their garage during the daytime.
We are still here in Blairsville and have experienced snow a couple times already. We really need to get back down to Tampa, but are dreading it. We are so enjoying our new house.
This is Brasstown Bald from our porch with the help of my camera zoom.
This is Nottley, our new kitty. She had to live in the cabin for a few months until we cleared up her skin issues and make sure she wasn't contagious. We didn't have much trouble introducing her to Baxter and Chatty, but she does like to pick on both of them. It's ok if she picks on Baxter. He can take it and defend himself. He weighs 18 pounds to her 6, but Chatty is too old and frail, so we don't like her attacking him.
She is young and agile, and likes to explore. We caught her on top of the cabinets in the laundry room. Al had to help her get down.
This time she was on top of the door to the laundry room. We made her find her own way down this time.
We were under a winter storm warning. Nearby Clayton, Ga and Asheville NC got a 12-18 inches of snow but we only got a little which was mostly slush. We were hoping for a nice thick fluffy snow like they had here last year.
This is the view of our snow from our front window.
We have no snow shovel and Al was afraid the slush would freeze, so he used a plastic lid to scrape the thick slush off the upper part of the driveway.
Hey, we're Floridians, so snow is a big deal to us! We took a drive up to Brasstown bald to see more snow.
It was a beautiful day, but freezing cold with the wind at the higher elevations.
The plan for now it so head back to Tampa before Christmas. We will hang around there a while then take the dingy out for some local camping trips and then to the Keys mid March when our renters leave our lot in the Keys. We may make a trip back here to try and see some snow. Despite the very cold weather here in Blairsville, it is very hard to want to leave this year.
So, that about catches us up. I think it's time I find a new picture and delete the one of the destroyed RV after Hurricane Irma. I can't seem to remember how to change the header photo. Any tips would be appreciated!