Life on the Open Road

Life on the Open Road

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Come Rain or Shine: Some Perks of Rain as an RVer

I'm parked in a lot filled with stores and restaurants in a very heavy rain storm. A drive was appealing so I've headed down a road I'd been curious about for a while. What better time to explore than in a downpour? Obviously this is a popular opinion as you can see by the view from my dashboard:

There was more traffic in the intersections and town areas. There were also trucks which are fairly common to see, carrying trees from the forest along here. 
I thought I was heading North and it turns out it was South! Anyhow there are many benefits to the rain from my perspective. You really can't rain on my parade in the proverbial sense because I love it. Aside from the hydration for the land and such, here are some of the reasons I appreciate it as an RVer: 

  1. It washes the RV! Especially the sand from being by the beach, or the dirt or leaves or what have you when in other places. 
  2. It's a great way to check for leaks. No need to freak out if you find water inside at a window or fan vent. Make sure they are fully closed tightly because the wind and rain can make its way in if they aren't. 
  3. It cleans the under body to drive in the rain and have the water splash up.
  4. It's likely cool enough to cook in the daytime. 
  5. It's cozy and comfortable inside and I can watch the drops moving along the windows and hear the various sounds of it hitting the fiberglass and metal and glass and other parts, all creating unique and beautiful sounds. 

I mentioned recently that from the warm location point of view, it's a pleasant change to have a stormy day amongst the usual sunshine. Part of why I enjoy it is because it is different than the norm. There's so much about the rain I love and throw in these wonderful claps of thunder and brilliant flashes of lightning and what a great time it makes for! 

As I've sat here, I've heard some funny sounds from people dashing in and out of their cars. I also fixed lunch for myself. It'd been a long time since I'd had a burrito and this was easy: tortilla, cheese, pinto beans, mild sauce. One cast iron skillet and a few minutes later, I was set. Yum! 

The forecast suggests the storms will continue for hours. Come rain or shine, you know I'll enjoy it! 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

One Pot Meal: Chili Mac and Cheese with Vegetables

I recently got a campsite at one of my favorite state parks. That night, I decided I would use a bunch of the foods I had and, upon considering what was on hand, I had an idea to make chili with mac and cheese. A quick search online where I found a recipe of just that gave me further satisfaction with the idea and a rough guide for how to prepare it. I also decided to add some vegetables to it. I only took pictures after I made it and will simply say it was very tasty and I would make it again! It’s a great option for a camping trip as everything can be made in one pot. 

Here’s what I used:

1.5 teaspoons butter
one vidalia onion, chopped
1/2 pound ground turkey 
taco seasoning (I used up what I had, probably 1-2 teaspoons) 
one can of black beans, drained
30 ounces of water
1/2 cup or so of frozen mixed vegetables 
one box of mac and cheese 

one 3 quart pot
one paring knife
one slotted spoon 
a 30 ounce tumbler for the water

Here’s what I did: 

  1. Brown the meat with the butter, chopped onion, and taco seasoning. 
  2. Add the black beans. 
  3. Add the water and frozen mixed vegetables. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add the pasta from the macaroni and cheese and cook until the pasta is ready, usually 7-9 minutes. 
  5. Turn it off and stir in the cheese packet. 

Mine ended up a bit more like a soup, however, I loved it like that and just used a slotted spoon to drain it when I put it on a tortilla with an added slice of cheese. I’d totally add more cheese in the future. It would work to use pasta and cheese, not the boxed mac and cheese, for even more flavor as well. This made multiple meals for one person and I’d say could feed at least four people with these measurements. I froze some for a later day, too. Delicious! 

The tortilla was good with it, however, I ate it plain, too and liked it just as well. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park in Palm Coast, FL

When I was registering for my visit at Anastasia State Park, I was given a BOGO ticket for the nearby (about 30 minutes south) Washington Oaks Gardens State Park as well. This was awesome! I had previously driven by it and opted not to go in. On my last day's stay, I drove down with just over an hour before closing to check the park out. I am so glad I did!

First of all, this park is much bigger than I thought and I actually only visited the garden side, not knowing until I was leaving that I could cross the street to the beach side. I know for the next time and would love to visit again, perhaps for an event even, and I definitely feel this park is worth the entry fee either way. 

It was the honor system upon entering and no ranger was there. I decided to drive around the park, to get a sense of things and decide how to proceed. I'm also glad I did that. I saw there are trails and there is a large picnic area. What I was most interested in was the formal gardens so that is where I focused. 

The park was given to the state by Louise Young and had been her home, along with some family, prior. There is a distant relation to George Washington. The visitors center along the path of the historic gardens area is the old home. One section has information set up like a mini exhibit and the other is set like a living room may have been back when she lived there complete with an old fashioned TV playing a likely dated movie about the grounds(it was Florida nature related, at least.) I looked at the old books on the shelves, recognizing that my family had some of the same series. There are also bathrooms here. I like how they made use of the house like this. 

It was nearing sunset and I followed the map and read the various markers. What a lovely place to have lived. An interesting thing was that, as I made mental connections, something seemed familiar... then I saw an old photo and I knew it! This woman is featured in a book I read when I was younger. I hadn't heard of the gardens back then and it began to come together more. Louise Young became a millionaire by 19 in the early 1900s with her business. A photo I saw here was like the one on the cover of the book. I was more familiar with her story and this place than I'd remembered. 

The gardens and property are nice. The history and things that were done here were cool. From art to citrus production and more, it seems like it was a lively and charming place to dwell. 

They were setting up for an event the next day. Alas, I had just the right amount of time to visit the gardens and do the self guided tour and then leave by closing(8:15 that night.) One could easily spend hours here, if walking the beach and the trails, packing a lunch, touring the gardens and visiting the shop which was closed when I was there. 

I'd recommend it and I'd go back! 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Favorite Place

I'm so thankful for this grey day. As I lay here, listening to the sounds of the wind through the trees and with a sense of how it feels to have it brush upon me, I'm once again appreciating the contrast. So many warm and sunny days abound here and I absolutely love it. I love the sunlight and the warmth and the ease at which I feel being in it. I have found a place that is so easy to feel good and be happy at. 

It's raining now and being in the RV when it rains is lovely. The sounds of it hitting various parts, the relief from the heat and humidity, plus the added bonus of a wash to remove the sand and make the exterior sparkly clean is all enjoyable. 

I posted the above picture today on IG with this:

"So where have you been and what have you been up to the past 5+ months?"

"Oh, here, there, traveling and exploring. Mostly, I've been at the beach. "

And it's true. I can be content anywhere and I can especially be content at the beach. Even someone who loves traveling and new and different places and experiences can have favorites and this is one of mine. In fact, I've hardly been in woods in comparison as the beach is just so enticing. It has been and continues to be. 

Depending on where along the coast I am (traveling mostly along the Central to Northern coast of Florida these months), there have been noticeable variances. I've shared about this throughout my posts and I continue to like the similarities and differences I find. The textures, the objects and creatures, and what have you. The beach is a lovely match to me when I'm already happy and feeling good and a place I go to realign with happiness and feeling good if I'm out of sync with that. It's truly one of my favorite places. 

I want to open this post to comments because I would love to hear from people where their favorite place to be is. Where are you happy to return to and happy to be? What is your favorite place? 

There are some thoughts and things we can think of that immediately evoke good feelings. Beach
walking, for me, is top notch. I love it. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Raw Feeding a Cat: Making Raw Cat Food in My RV

I recently made a batch of raw cat food and took some pictures to show how I do it. 

First, when we've been in an area where I can find it, I have bought premade frozen raw cat food. My cat likes the Bravo burgers which are easy and convenient to feed. Thaw a burger and feed about half of one a day(for my cat; it depends on age, size, weight, appetite.) She also sometimes eats Primal's nuggets. Same deal except you take out however many nuggets from a bag full of them. In this respect, Bravo is a bit easier. 

I wrote about feeding freeze dried and dehydrated foods here as well. In sticks and bricks or if you have a set address you can schedule it to, I recommend Darwin's Pet which is shipped directly to you every however often, according to how much your cat eats and how you want to schedule it. My cat liked the turkey food they made and I would purchase it for her again. I also have a premix to add to raw meat and make fresh food for her myself. On the road, making fresh raw cat food with the premix is a pretty simple thing to do. Here's how I do it:  


Here's what I use:

a bowl 
a spoon
freezer bags
food scissors  
raw chicken 

I don't always make a full batch at once so I just follow the directions and alter the amounts as needed. I eyeball it since I've got enough cooking and baking experience to confidently do so. 

1) I put the premix into the bowl and add water. Sometimes I whisk it but a spoon seems to do fine. 

2.) In this instance, I bought chicken breasts that needed to be cut so I cut it directly into the bowl. You can use different kinds of meat, my cat just loves chicken. 

3.) I stir it all together and add a bit more water if it seems thick. Cats generally stay hydrated by the food they eat.

4.) I then portion a day's worth of food into each bag. I freeze them and either keep one day's in the fridge or keep the bowl with a meal or day's worth in the fridge because my cat will gladly eat from it. I actually like to make this before feeding her so she can have a meal and lick the bowl clean. :) She displays such happiness and satisfaction after eating it and I have less to scrub off the bowl! 

5.) I usually take a bag out of the freezer and place it in the fridge to thaw overnight. That's all there is to it!

A little tip, your cat may be inclined to take the food out of the bowl or off the dish to eat this. My cat tends to do that and I feed her on my fiberglass floor so it is easy to clean the floor after. Some people feed on towels or a place mat that is also easy to wipe down. I recommend feeding from a flat dish if possible. 

The premix I used here is called Better in the Raw. I find it easy to use for single meals or making a batch like this and my cat likes it. She really likes another brand called Feline Instincts as well. I have bags of both currently and would recommend either. If you're interested in trying Feline Instincts, I think you need to go right to their website to buy it and, if I recall correctly, it's made in Florida. If you're interested in trying the Better in the Raw or some other raw options, feel free to check out the link on my website to my Amazon store where you can shop as usual and I get a bit of extra cash from you doing so at no additional cost to you and check back at my other cat posts for more on traveling with a cat if you like, too.