Our last post (did you miss us?) had us leaving beautiful but very cold Maine, and making our way to beautiful and very warm Islamorada in the Florida keys to work on a yacht for a bit.
And now the country is in turmoil, something about a pandemic and what the hell happened to our election? Interesting times for sure.
The little yacht work in Islamorada turned into an intensive 6 months of mostly 7 days a week and 10-12 hours per day managing and rebuilding a 20 room 7 acre oceanfront resort and small marina in paradise. Remember The Beach Boys song Kokomo? That is where we were. You should have visited us!
Although the work was interesting, and the location amazing, the combination of our love of travel with the rigors of managing a hotel provided huge impetus to reclaiming our traveling life.
We have trained our replacements, and hope that the open door to return offers possibilities in the future.
So we are back on the road meandering from one side of Florida to the other through friend’s houses, state parks, wineries and beaches on the way to see the boys for some holiday time.
Our loose plans are Thanksgiving in Valdosta, a few more weeks wandering around, then a trip up to North Carolina and back through Atlanta for Christmas before heading back westward again. We still have to get Shelly up through Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming country.
Enjoy the video! I highly recommend watching it full screen! We will have another update soon.
Our goal this week is to go from the dead of winter (7 degrees when we left Maine), to Spring in the Carolinas, and right through to summer in Islamorada, Fl in one month!
Although the skiing at Sunday River Ski area in Bethel was fun, and teaching people how to ski (or get better at it) is rewarding, and playing music once a week to an appreciative crowd is awesome – I miss shorts and flip flops.
Time to get on the road.
For the last couple of weeks we have been tearing down the mud hut, removing the skirt insulation, and digging out from ice and snow to pull out in early March. Saying goodbyes to new friends is always a bit sad, and answering the inevitable question “Will we see you next year?” (probably not!); but all sadness is easily replaced by the anticipation of the ‘road’.
With family stops is Marion, NC, Atlanta, GA, and Valdosta, GA as well as business and friends stops in Jacksonville and Sebastian FL – the 2800 miles will not be so hard to take.
Shelly is very much looking forward to working with our newest service dog in training Gunner where she is outside in something warmer than 10 degrees and ice everywhere! Coconut palms and beaches are sounding really nice about now!
We are working on the next video and will have it up shortly!
Winter is officially here in western Maine. The temperature dropped down to the 4 degrees the last two nights. Yesterday the wind was gusting over 50 mph and the wind chill was down around -15. Kinda chilly to be teaching beginners how to ski!
Be careful what you ask for!
It’s all good.
We are all settled in for the winter with a “mud room” built under the 8×20 awning and insulation everywhere I can add it inside and out. A couple of extra space heaters, a jury-rigged awning “garage” for the truck and we are snug a bear!
While I am out on the mountain teaching (Sunday River Ski Resort), Shelly is home training and doing what she does (blogging, taking training classes, helping other nonprofits).
We just wanted to put out an update and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and hope that your holidays bring joy and happiness!
They say behind every cloud is a silver lining. Our silver lining is For The Love of Goose – For The Love of People dedicated to Training Their Own Service Dogs…
He was an amazing dog who raised awareness and money for people with all types of disabilities.
Did you know a highly trained dog can:
* turn on the lights and wake someone from a nightmare? *detect low blood sugar levels? *assist someone during a seizure, laying across them to keep them safe and going to get help if needed? *interrupt bad behavior? *and so much more…
We did not know! Not until Goose taught us.
During our time with him we learned the power of dogs and the tremendous power of service dogs. We want to keep this going!
Shelly has trained hard to get certified as a national trainer/facilitator with Atlas Assistance Dogs.
Currently, we have an 18 month old chocolate lab (Daisy) in training and will soon be getting an 8 month old Golden Retriever.
Another crucial fact we have learned along the way is that training a service dog is not a sprint – it’s a marathon and costs a lot of money.
In honor of Goose and all he stood for and accomplished – we decided to start For The Love of Goose Foundation. Our mission is to train dogs to be placed where needed as best we can. Many who need this help cannot afford it. You can help offset training expenses so we can place dogs with people who so desperately need them in their lives.
We really like this area a lot! Bethel, Maine to our surprise was just named one of the top ten ski towns in all the USA! Who knew?
People are super friendly and welcoming and very laid back. The area is absolutely stunning with the Androscoggin River running through the valleys and mountains headed to the Maine Coast only 90 miles away.
The RV is all settled in with a new mudroom, insulated skirt, additional 100 pound propane tank, as well as extra little heaters and light bulbs in vital areas to help prevent freezing of pipes and tanks. Good thing as the weather forecast is calling for 18 degrees in the next ten days!
We left you in early October heading for Gettysburg on our way to Sunday River Ski Area and our ‘winter quarters’. So let’s catch up! We ended up traveling 2800 miles from Sunday River back to Sunday river in about a month! Whew!
Gettysburg was awesome. Even Shelly who has seen enough forts, battlefields and historical sites to last her a lifetime was suitably impressed. You have to imagine a 3 day battle neither army wanted where the Union army brought 125,000 men and left 24,000 on the field dead and wounded and the Army of Northern Va brought 75,000 and also left 24,000 dead and wounded on the field.
And they left those men there in the rain on July 3, 1863 for a town of 2400 people to care for. You can feel it as you walk around. Staggering.
If you are a history person at all, you have probably seen the image of the Confederate sniper in the rocks that was staged three days after the battle. It was awesome to stand in that same spot!
We were able to camp in a park right across the street from Little Round Top. Daisy and I ran through much of the park each morning we were there by ourselves before it opened. I do not have the words to convey that experience.
From there, just up the road is Hershey PA so of course we had to visit. It was a bit anticlimactic after Gettysburg but worth a quick visit.
With trouble brewing in the slideouts we decided to punch on up to Bethel and get some work done and settle in before the advent of weather – which has been beautiful until now.
Apparently we brought with us the most beautiful fall colors seen in these parts in years! So now we are spoiled and will never be able to appreciate the Maine/New Hampshire/Vermont colors again!
See for yourself in the video.
At the end of the month we make the 2000 mile round trip to Marion NC for family Thanksgiving, then back for the start of ski season December 6. Hard to imagine really since it has not snowed yet! We are hoping the boys come visit after Christmas if possible.
And Shelly is going to pick up another Golden Retriever puppy to start training for hearing alert for a friend who lost their dog lately.
The Goose video is done and will be out very soon. That continues to be a hard thing for us but crazy Daisy helps take the sting out somewhat. Your thoughts, emails, texts and prayers on the loss of Goose have been extremely touching and we are very appreciative.