Friday, May 6, 2011

The Opposite Corner of the U.S. from Whence I Came

Finally, I "caught" some seafood, at Rouse's Grocery in Biloxi, MS

Holt, Florida--Friday, May 5th, 2011

Let’s see, when I last wrote, I had a dragging back bumper, and everything that required electricity in the cab was kaput…no headlights, horn, radio, turn signals. Lots of unsafe potentiality there. Whenever I was on the freeway, I was really scared that the bumper would fall off completely and drivers behind me would be injured.

I’d tried to get some help in a couple of towns, but it was fruitless. I finally figured out that it is a bad idea to start a conversation with “motorhome” and “electrical problems.” Nobody wants to deal with that. But there are lots of good old boys (GOBs, as my friend Roxanne calls ‘em) who can weld, so that’s the place to start.

I began to have better luck near Biloxi, where I spent a couple of nights at Martin Lake RV Park, just outside Ocean Springs. The RV park staff referred me to a welder who fixed my bumper and then referred me to a shop that specializes in automotive electrical problems. All of my problems got solved for a total of about $200, which was a relief to me, having run into much more expensive problems earlier on my trip.

I loved Biloxi and really want to return to it sometime when I'm not running around getting my vehicle fixed, like for a vacation. Beautiful beaches, fun casinos, historical sites—oh, and the food! When I was out running errands one day, I stopped at Rouse’s grocery and bought some fresh shrimp and crabs that they’d just boiled up and had a fantastic picnic lunch in my Dolphin.

I still have to get a little follow-up electrical work done, but I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal. Now the radio works, but I can't hear it because I only have one speaker which fell off the door after hanging there by a wire for a while. So I think getting a pair of working speakers hooked up would be great and I'm looking for just the right GOB to help me out with that.

I’ve never actually had the desire to listen to the radio much while I’ve been traveling. I keep myself plenty entertained, just looking around at things and having my own sometimes lucid thoughts and singing a lot and making up bad cowgirl poetry and blues songs about my experiences on the road. But I also have some audiobooks and a Spanish Berlitz course along with me that I’d like to try out, and listening to local stations can be very entertaining, too.

Oh, the thrift stores in the South! They are everywhere, just like up in the Pacific Northwest where I used to have no problem acquiring enough vintage crap to furnish half a dozen antique mall spaces. I can see the potential of doing some picking at some point in the future. A truckload of the good wicker and other cottage style stuff that's available around here would turn a fine profit up north. But…getting back to present reality… these days I only buy small items for resale on eBay, and I’ve found a treasure trove of vintage designer accessories over the past few days, stopping at thrift stores I’ve just happened across.

After leaving Biloxi, I headed to Mobile, Alabama, where I stayed at a 1200 acre preserve called Chickasabogue Park. It was a beautiful setting, and I had no Verizon cellphone or Internet for a few days. I took some hikes, got stuff ready to sell on eBay, and sewed a lot. I am creating some pretty wild quilts using vintage fabrics. It is a process that is very similar to my mosaic art. I don’t make a complete plan before I start a quilt. I gather materials that I think will look good together and then I just start piecing. The process is like an active sort of meditation or perhaps a manic episode, and the results are very satisfactory to me as an artist. I get to pull texture, color, shape, and all that together, just like I do when I create mosaics. My creative mojo is really cranking out work these days, and it’s a lot of fun. It also makes me realize how much I am looking forward to staying in one place next winter so I can get back to smashing plates.

My sewing machine broke at Chickasabogue (see, bad cowgirl poetry and blues songs practically write themselves), and I despaired over taking the time to find repairs. Then I found out that I could replace my machine cheaper than getting it fixed, so today I picked up a Singer Simple for $89 at a Walmart in Pensacola, and now I am about to get back into action at tonight's campground.

It is just incredible to me that I am now in the opposite corner of the U.S. from where I started. I mean, it's no big surprise, really. I certainly took my time about getting here, almost three months. But still and all, it is quite an amazing thing to me.


  1. I love the blue vintage looking fabrics in the last are doing improvisational or "liberated" quilting. The quilts are fresh and fun.

  2. Thank you, Bridget. No wonder it is so much fun to do.

  3. Love the vintage quilt tops. Sounds like you're having fun in spite of all the rig issues!

  4. Great attitude!

    The photo of the seafood from Rouses's is a reminder that I live in a part of the country (South Louisiana) that allows me to enjoy boiled seafood at all times. It is my favorite food. I usually buy some shrimp, crab, or crawfish and take it with me to the local State Park beach. It's my favorite picnic food. I could never live in a section of the country where I didn't have access to fresh seafood.

    I love the blue quilt.

  5. Oh I'm glad you got the bumper fixed! It is no fun having your mind fixed on things that are broken while traveling, so I'm sure that's quite the relief. The quilts are gorgeous! A friend of mine does the ebay thing too, she too sells vintage ties, scarves & designer handbags. In her case, it helps pay the rent! Yum on the seafood too :-9

  6. Hey, MFS Sue! I have Mom's sewing machine that you can take when you come to Minnesota this summer. I think it has a little more one it than your new one, but maybe not.

  7. Sue ... I just love reading your blog ... Do you remember my Daddy is/was from Mississippi Coast ... When it flooded in Reno (in the old days), he would just pack us up and say ... we'll come home when the River goes home ... turned the horses loose across the road and hoped for the best. Drinda

  8. Thank you for all of the positive comments, friends and family!

    Bridget, I love the terms "improvisational" or "liberated" quilts.

    TexCyn, your friend and I sell the same stuff on eBay, and I make my living from it, too! I used to sell all sorts of antiques, collectibles, vintage household goods, etc., but have really been able to make a business out of eBay since finding a niche.

    Sharon, I can hardly wait to see you!!!

    Drinda, I don't think I knew that your dad was from the Mississippi Coast...definitely one of my favorite places along the way. Love what your dad had to say about floods--what a great attitude!

    Love to you all!