Life on the Open Road

Life on the Open Road

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Food for the Fridgeless: The Cat Food Edition

Each Sunday during the month of April, I have been sharing posts on living and traveling without a fridge in the series, "Food for the Fridgeless." Today is a special last edition focusing on feeding my usually raw fed cat.

I have mentioned before that I raw feed my cat. Without a fridge, this simply could not be maintained the way it usually would be. Therefore, my cat has been eating a variety of some raw and some wet canned food while we’ve traveled. With our new, fully functioning fridge keeping things perfectly cold, I can feed her primarily raw food again. I still like to have some canned on hand to mix it up and have as back up.
I had a $10 coupon for Camping World and used it to buy her a pet bowl and placemat earlier this year.

Four options you'd currently find in the RV for her.
I've long given her a mix of fresh and pre-made raw food. This includes freeze dried and dehydrated raw foods. They are lightweight and easy to store, shelf stable, and generally make up a good amount of meals. You just add warm water and serve. Here are a couple of the ones we've tried and she's liked best: Feline Natural's Chicken and Lamb and Primal's Turkey. (Feline Natural has changed the ingredients to including some canola oil and she hasn't had this newer recipe yet so I'm not sure if she'd still go for it. I'd guess yes, though.) Stella and Chewy's is pictured here and she has generally not cared much for their products other than treats.

Freeze dried treats of meat or organs are good and, while some may suggest refrigerating after opening, many of them do not say that. We've been fine. I just make sure the bag is sealed. A cool thing is how I've spotted local brands of these across the country at grocery stores. I love it. She has also enjoyed Fresh is Best, Bravo, and Pure Bites.

I have two different kinds of premixes that I can mix with raw meat for her. Without a fridge, I sometimes would buy a small package of raw chicken and add the powder for one serving. Better in the Raw, as pictured, balances with the raw meat and some water and is easy enough to make in the RV as a single or multiple portion recipe. I'll probably do a raw food post in the future, so check back if you're interested in that.

When I was able, I got her Petguard canned cat food of Premium Feast Dinner. This is what she loved to eat as a kitten, before I switched her to raw, and I have bought several when I find it in a store. At one point I contacted the company about where I could find a local supplier and they sent us a box of samples! She mostly didn't care for the other varieties, still that was awesome.

The main thing I've found is that my cat likes some consistency with her food. There are certain kinds she will always eat but when I tried a variety of wet food, it just seemed far more to her liking when I kept getting her the same kinds. Being a traveling cat, there is a lot of change in her life. She does extremely well. Still, I like to be consistent enough with her food and her cat litter so that she is comfortable and feels at home. That said, in addition to a few store brand canned foods she will eat that I have been able to find across the region, I started feeding her Sheba's Perfect Portions cat food. I didn’t even read the whole label. I saw they were on sale for 39 cents on clearance at a store, bought several and she loves most of them, especially the cuts. They are convenient, she is happy, and that was what mattered. I got a lot at once so she'd have the same kind steadily and have since found they are commonly stocked at many different stores.

I have just learned some clarification that I am not allowed to link to my Amazon astore in email. Therefore, this post is void of links and images I'd have shown you, HOWEVER, please feel free to visit the astore via my website to see a bunch of the cat food items I recommend and am talking about in this post. There are far more items there and I included many from among her favorites. If you shop from there, even if it isn't an item I linked, I can get some extra cash in my travel fund at no extra cost to you. It's a win win! Thanks for looking and check back, if you like, as I'll be adding more to it as we go.

This concludes, "Food for the Fridgeless" and, as I am happily with a fridge again, I've been cooking and preparing more fresh food so more food posts are to come! 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Tomoka State Park in Ormond Beach, Florida

I've spent a lot of time at beaches the past several months yet still enjoyed exploring the surrounding areas and traveling up and down the coast some. One of the places I don't recall visiting ever before was Ormond Beach. I had heard of it yet never been until this Spring. 

Along A1A there are numerous pull offs to park with easy access right on the water. That's great! I will note, however, that this is largely restricted with signs that clearly state, "No RV Parking" and, while I normally take that to mean larger RVs that take more than one spot, I only briefly parked at one(right by a large RV actually.) I had found a beach side park that sounded good so went there instead. It was beautiful! 

Unlike St. Augustine Beach which has a lot of shells and such mixed in, the sand here was all so soft along where I walked and as far as I could see, even when it was wet or darker near the water than the bright, dry white. There was far less on the beach other than some sort of seaweed, too. It was an interesting difference to find. Also, there are lifeguards! Another difference I appreciated. 

I was able to back into a perfect spot at the park itself and spend the afternoon. After this, I drove south to Daytona as I don't think I'd been there before either(if I had, I was a kid or baby and don't recall it.) Not my cup of tea at this time but hey, I've seen some and got a feel for it. 

I decided to spend a night at Tomoka State Park. I absolutely love walk up sites which are non-reservable. That means that I can decide each morning up to 14 days to spend another night. With the state park system, after 14 days you need to leave that park for 3 days before you can come back. I had a sense I'd stay longer and as soon as I got to the hot showers with excellent pressure, I was sold. I walked around that evening and went back to pay for more nights. 
So scenic, I love this shot. This is part of why I love state parks, the natural beauty is preserved and the campground is in nature, with a lovely mix of privacy and community.
This park is really nice! There is a statue: 

An area with info on the indigo that had been produced here and a tombstone. There used to be a small museum right by these and now the building is an open space rented or used for various purposes. 

You can walk along the water (fresh water - the beach is nearby but the park is situated on the river) and a trail plus there is a shop and you can rent kayaks or canoes or bring your own boat. 

I loved watching the sunset by the water. I got some shots of the moon and the sun in the sky. All my photos shared here have been from my phone, by the way. 
If you look, you can make out the moon up there, too. It's overexposed but you get the idea. I used pano for the shots and this one appears clearest to me. 

I greatly enjoyed my stay at Tomoka and would return to this park again. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Revisiting Familiar Locations: Lake Eola, Downtown, and Free Museums in Orlando, Florida

Lake Eola is one of my favorite parks. It is beautiful, in the heart of downtown Orlando, and diverse. I love walking there. It was a Sunday morning when I arrived and got a parking space right along the park outside for free (they don’t meter in a bunch of street parking areas on Sundays.) There was a farmers market and all sorts of people out and about. 

I also decided to walk a few blocks around the park to see more of the area. The houses and this park were nice. I could see Orlando being a fun place to live for a brief while.

Last year I had taken advantage of the Museums on Us offer from Bank of America, using my credit card for free admission to some of the many participating museums in Orlando. There are several and I got to a couple and enjoyed them. I figured I might revisit them, then I learned of one that was also right in downtown Orlando, maybe a half mile from where I was parked! It's the Orlando History Center in the old historic courthouse. I missed the talk they had that afternoon, however, once I was there, I was so enjoying the visit that I decided to stay and go through the whole museum, skipping a return to the ones I had already been to.

There was a sports event of some sort going on nearby outside of the museum. The second picture here is artwork that was in the museum and the bottom is of Lake Eola. 

Click to enlarge. Courting with candy pulling! Hadn't heard of that before. :)

What is a Florida history museum without mentioning citrus? It was brought over by the Spanish, BTW. 

The museum has a lot of Florida history and I really liked the exhibit on tourism where I learned about tin can tourists and what seemed to be the start and progression of RV and tent campgrounds in the state. The part on Disney was cool, too as he had big ideas, many of which came to manifest, and reading some quotes about how he kept them somewhat private until he was ready to reveal them was awesome. I think it is a great way to do it and one that many "successful" people use- keep your excited ideas to yourself and in focus while you form and create them so you can better maintain your confidence and clarity without external input until you are ready for it. And by "ready for it" I mean what others think or say won't matter because you're solid in your knowing. I’ve been doing that a lot and feel the many benefits of it.

I saw these polar bears that had been famous at a storefront in the 1950s and 1960s.

They had an exhibit on plastics and I felt they did a really good job of showing the many uses and developments with them with little judgment. I’m sure my perception is part of that as is always the case. I really liked it though. The wall sized Lite Brite with dye in water bottles was neat. The toys through times were, too.

In addition to all of this and a children's area and a courtroom and local history with earlier history of the people and land I didn't take pictures of plus more, they have local artists' work in an exhibit. This was a really great free day at a museum! And an excellent and quieter time to visit with a small number of people walking through when I was.

I  really liked this museum and my return visit to Orlando. I am certain I will be back. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Food for the Fridgeless: The Many Uses of Soft Tortillas

Each Sunday during the Month of April, I have been sharing posts on living and eating without a fridge in the series, “Food for the Fridgeless.” Today I am highlighting tortillas!  

Despite temperature or location, I have found soft tortillas to be an easy food to find and use in virtually any situation. I like the versatility so wanted to share some of the many uses I’ve found for them so far. Some of these ideas I’ve had noted for a while and are easier with a fridge but not impossible without one, especially if you can go to the store to buy the fresh ingredients to use that day. You can see in the pictures that I buy the smaller sized ones. 

Quick, no cooking necessary ideas: 

nut butter butter alone or with jelly, banana or other fresh fruit
chocolate peanut butter  
premade bean dip or chili, canned or otherwise 
Mexican layered dip (can often be found at a grocery store in a small, ready to eat container)
hummus with grape tomatoes and avocado 
tongol tuna and celery
canned chicken made into a salad 
in place of bread with various sandwich fillings 

It makes a fast wrap and is a filling snack.

Tongol tuna and celery. 
Here, I found it fits perfectly on the cover of the Bistro salads I love!
Santa Fe Style salad plus tortillas. Mmm.

Fresh cheese, sweet peppers, and avocado!

Cooking Ideas:

egg and veggies: I like to buy the frozen vegetable blends and cook them right with the egg on the skillet. The egg can be scrambled or not. Throw it in a tortilla, add sauce or sour cream or cheese if you want to, or just eat it like that and you’re good to go! If you haven’t got a fridge and are solo, some stores or farms sell eggs individually or you can get a half dozen. If you get a half dozen, consider boiling the rest for use later. You can use fresh veggies instead, or get a smaller frozen mix and cook it all for a filling meal. 

Tacos and burritos are obviously a good fit for tortillas. If you want to add meat, you can get just the right amount at a butcher counter so you won't have extra to refrigerate. Here, I just used black beans. A small jar of salsa could be swapped out for some fresh ingredients so you can use it up. 
A basic quesadilla is another obvious choice. Yum! 
Tortillas can be used instead of flat bread or a wrap for melts, too. If you have a skillet to heat them on, you can also cook them to be used more like tortillas chips!

Believe it or not, tortillas aren't a staple in my diet and I get them when I'm in the mood, which varies and isn't all that often, however, they really are a great choice when traveling or when a quick and easy meal is best. With so many filling options from simply preparing to one skillet cooking, plus being shelf stable even after opening, they're a solid choice for food for the fridgeless and food on the road. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Revisiting Familiar Locations: Disney Springs, Altamonte Springs, and Sanford, Florida

One day I awoke ready to roll so I hopped into the driver seat and off we went… to Disney Springs! It was a perfect time and day to be there as a fairly quiet and off peak weekday. I enjoyed walking around.

This helium balloon goes up and down for roughly 10 minute rides all day from opening until late at night. 
In the evening, after having returned to the RV some for the afternoon, I headed back out in my PJs for a late night walk nearing midnight. It was just as pleasant to walk around then, too. 

I learned that Cirque du Soleil has a free rehearsal viewing a couple of days a week. If it had been that day, I’d have liked to see it. Maybe another time. What they can do with their bodies is awesome to see. I’ve seen a show live and a few of their films as well. 

I made a return to Altamonte Springs where I visited the San Sebastion Trailhead. This is a really nice path for walking or biking and the parking lot I went to was peacefully in nature off a busy main roadway. There are picnic tables and such and, if you cross the bridge and walk some, you’ll find a park with fields and whatnot. I walked a stretch of the trail back and forth a few times. It was pretty. 

I also visited Sanford where there is a nice downtown and riverwalk. I found a park with a dump station to use as well.

This is by a marina on Lake Monroe in Sanford. 

This is at the park. There is a campground here, too. 
While I don’t recall having known of Sanford previously, it seems like a neat area. Disney Springs and Altamonte Springs were locations I was revisiting and I enjoyed some new and familiar experiences at.