A&A Challenges Of Mobile Living (660 Days)
End of Week #94
Arbor Terrace RV, Bradenton FL > Boondocker's Welcome, Hernando FL > Crooked River State Park, St. Mary's GA
Miles traveled since last week's post = 292 miles
Total miles traveled to date = 12,495 with trailer
We have officially made our way to Georgia! This is a new state for both of us and we are excited to see what it has to offer. We will only be on the coast this time around, but we will likely be back again through much of the state this fall when we return to Florida.
Right now we are at a State Park in the town of St. Mary's, just inland from Cumberland Island. It feels really good to be back in the State Park system, as they tend to be our favorites with their usually huge sites, amenities, and awesome places to check out. It's kind of funny at this one though, because of course since we are back on the road again challenges have to just come out of nowhere for us. Today we lost water for most of the day due to a water line break, and also have been dealing with smoke and ash from prescribed fire burns going on in the forest right at the park. It's never a dull moment when you are on the road!
CHALLENGES OF MOBILE LIVING - 660 DAYS
I used to preface a lot before making these challenges posts, that by no means is this an opportunity for me to speak negatively about the life choices we have made to go nomadic. I am absolutely not implying that we are unhappy in our situations or that we wish for things to be any other way. I like to continue to write these posts every 2 months to keep it real with you - to shed light on the ups and the downs of full-time travel, living in a smaller space, and navigating life on the road. (Especially over the past year of this pandemic.) When it comes down to it, I do not have any complaints at all. I simply have before me, new opportunities to learn and grow in new places, while continuing to fine tune the lifestyle of my dreams.
With that being said, let's dive into the 660 day marker!
Rahja the Bengal Cat
It's like we have just switched up the star of the show for these challenges posts, as now the focus has transitioned from my lovely Roscoe boy to my beautiful Rahja girl. We had a bit of a scare last week, upon arriving to our Boondocker's Welcome host location in Hernando, FL, as Rahja immediately started going in and out of the litter box, all night long. I swear she went into the litter box about 50 times that first night, last Wednesday, and I was trying my hardest not to get too worked up about it. This same behavior happened with her last December while we were working the Christmas Tree Lot, and my panic gave her an overnight stay at a vet clinic, only to be told that she was likely stressed out, acting out, and may have had some crystals in her urine. I was doing my best to see if it would subside on it's own without me having to figure out a place to bring her...
By Thursday we were gone much of the day, but while we were home she seemed to spend more time sleeping and less time in that darn litter box - or so it seemed. By Friday she was right back in and out of that thing, and come Friday night I noticed drops of blood were accompanying her trips to 'the box'. I basically spiraled right into full blown panic mode, googling up a storm, trying to look for vets in a rural area, looking for emergency vets, looking for remedies and advice - you name it. I even called one of the emergency vets in a larger city north of us, Ocala, to describe the situation to them and see what they advised. They told me that since she was still eating and drinking no problem, that she would likely be fine for the night and I could wait to try to bring her somewhere the next day, so that is what we did.
I definitely did not get a lot of sleep those few days, as I was up all night because I could hear her going in and out of the box, and I also was very worried about her and what might be going on. So we got up Saturday morning and drove to Ocala to take her to that same emergency vet I had called the night before - run by the University of Florida vet students and doctors. This was my only option to bring her as all other vet clinics in the area were either not open on weekends, or they had no openings for Saturday.
Thankfully we arrived to this vet early, as the emergency waiting room filled up a lot by the time we came back to pick up Rahja. I was not allowed back with her and the doctor, but I was allowed to bring her inside, and the doctor and the student both talked to me on the phone several times while they were with her. I can only imagine what that situation was like, as Rahja can be a bit aggressive when she is around strangers, and I'm sure there was a lot of hissing and growling! Regardless, everything I felt and had already researched seemed to align well with this vet, and we both agreed that a lot of the urinary related testing and procedures we could pursue would be unnecessary costs for me at this time, and not any extreme need for Rahja... yet. I did agree that it could be helpful to have a uranalysis done to help confirm the PH level of her pee - which then helps tell you what is the cause of her issue, however they were not able to get any urine sample out of her. This is actually a good thing though, because it means her bladder was empty and she did NOT have any blockages, which was a huge fear of mine, as that is a very quick and efficient way for a cat to die. Instead, we talked about a plan to get her well again, that included a lot of water, primarily wet food only, and the supplements I told them I had already ordered. A lot of vets only immediately try to get you to buy a prescription cat food, like the vet did in Naples when I took Rahja in last, and unfortunately that food is just not something I feel comfortable feeding either Bengal, due to the extremely poor ingredients in it. I have instead ordered health supplements for her, that are the same components in the food, just isolated in their natural form.
Upon leaving the vet they told me what I already knew - this is an extremely common issue in cats, unfortunately, and a lot of the issue is likely caused by the stress of our travel. They told me that it can take a few days to clear away, but if it does not get better soon then it would be the right thing to take her in for all those other tests we declined earlier. Essentially, this will be something ongoing with Rahja for her entire life, and will definitely be escalated while we are traveling frequently. They also prescribed her Gabapentin, just like Roscoe has, to help aid stress and pain. Cats stress very easily (I mean you remember all my Roscoe stories, right??) and all that stress immediately translates into health issues for them. I have to stay on top of my game in making sure she drinks a lot of water and has supplements to help support a healthy urinary system.
I am happy to report that as of now, Rahja does appear to be doing a whole lot better. She is only using 'the box' a few times a day, as normal, and her pee globs are a lot bigger now. I have started her on her new supplement regime and I will definitely closely monitor her for the next several months while we are traveling.
On the road again
We have officially begun making our way north, heading towards upstate New York, where we will spend the summer workamping. The entire journey will take about 7 weeks and include around 15 campsites to stop and explore. Most of our route has already been planned, and I only have a few more cities to solidify reservations for. We have more than plenty of time to get up there so we are not doing a straight shot, but instead hugging the coast a bit to start, then heading inland for some National Parks, mountains, and a visit to the Hart-T-Trees Farm, before making our way back to the coast again.
Along with being back on the road again, comes a whole multitude of other things - including: moving every 3-4 days, possibly not having all the hookups we would want, being busy with exploring new places and not a whole lot of down time, navigating new areas we have never been to, possibly no cell service, spending a lot of money on gas and campsites, and entering a lot of new climates and environments. We have been in a relatively flat area for quite some time now, so once we start to encounter hills and mountains again it is definitely going to be a change! Plus, as we continue to make our way north, the weather might get a bit cooler than what we have been predominantly used to. For this reason, I am doing my best to ensure an electrical hookup wherever we go, but it can get tricky when I start using Boondocker's Welcome host locations, and even some State Parks do not offer it.
As we make our way north, we will also have to again be cautious of weather - in terms of both snow, and even possibly severe weather and tornados. Right now there seems to be a whole mix of everything going on across the country and a lot of it is not anything we want to be caught up in! Travel months are the time when anything can happen, and everything can stray off plan, so it's best to remain calm, positive, and always be prepared for anything.
Other NEW challenges:
Saying "see you later" to Florida... Oh man, I can't even tell you how sad we are! I think the only thing getting us through this one is knowing that we WILL be coming back before the year is over. Round two of winter in Florida begins early November this year! It was definitely a glorious 4 month oasis escape, and we still have so much we want to do and see in there. We will miss you Florida!
Mail... Let's just label this one a reoccurring challenge, as it has it's ebbs and flows for when it seems to be a problem! Now we will go almost 2 months without an address and our only way to ship anything will be via Amazon lockers - when the product is small enough to fit in one and there is one close by. My poor mom already has a few things that have been sent to her that I'll have to have her hang onto until we get to New York.
Heading into unknown territories... Everywhere we are going the next few months of travel will be completely new to us both, and that is something we haven't really had much of for awhile! Sure, a lot of parts of Florida were new to us, and some places on the way down were, but for the most part - we didn't go to any new states in 2020, they were just repeats as we made our way back south from northern California. The east coast is going to be a completely new adventure for us both, and we have no idea what to expect - but we are excited!
Getting back into workout/healthy eating mode... I'm not going to lie, we have been a bit indulgent the past few months, or even all of 2021 so far, and it's time to tighten things back up. This applies to my workouts, our outdoor hikes and adventures, and our making healthy meals at home. It will be a bit of a transition for us after how things were in Florida, but I think we are both ready to drop a few of those pesky pounds that made their way to us!
Things we ongoingly continue to work through:
RECYCLING, missing friends and family HARDCORE, being away for celebrations-birthdays-deaths-milestones-dinners-holidays, being away from people we know and people in general, being away, etc….
Solutions to some previous 600 day challenges
Roscoe the Bengal Cat... Ok, you might be just as excited about this one as I am, but my Roscoe boy is finally pooping solid again! It has honestly been since November (or even before that) since he has pooped SOLID, and I'm so happy about this right now. All the supplements and apothecary remedies, and food changes are paying off finally. I can only imagine how much better this is for him too...
Previous 600 day challenges, that are STILL a challenge
No schedule right now... Travel months are busy, but just like stationary months, you really don't have much of a schedule. The only thing pretty concrete is travel days, in terms of what time you should get up and all that has to get done. Everything else is kind of willy-nilly and depends on what there is to do in a particular area or what I have my heart set on experiencing. In general, travel months are just purely busy, and all the days start to blur together. You start to forget when you did what and what needs to happen next. Thank goodness for calendars on our phones where I can set all kinds of reminders to myself!
Spending vs. saving... We are starting 2021 out with a bit of a long stretch of spending, versus saving, but as soon as May hits that will all change for the rest of the year. We just have to get through about another month and a half before we will be back on a dual payroll again and can rebuild the nest egg that we once had. With all of our upcoming travels, this time just calls for a lot of budgeting, planning, and rationalizing - when it's possible!
The Bengal Cats... I know I keep on saying this every few months, but I really hope my precious fur babies do not need to make any kind of appearance in the next challenges post, unless it's to mention all the solutions we have created! I really don't need them to be the star of this show anymore, and my heart definitely can't take anymore surprises or health scares when it comes to our Bengal babes. Although, I can't recall when/if I mentioned that Roscoe does have a lipoma (fat cell mass) on his shoulder that I have my eye on removing... I have just been rebuilding the rest of his health first, but this will likely still be something I pursue this summer.
Things that are still NOT a challenge another 60 days into it
It's time for some reviews coming your way, hot and heavy! Right now we are spending time near Cumberland Island, Georgia, but I also owe you guides on RV camping in Florida, the best Florida beaches, and the area we just stayed in with all the springs. Not to mention, by the end of the week we will already be making our way to Savannah too... Oofta, I better get by butt in gear.
I have recently become affiliated with Amazon, through the set up of my own storefront page. Here I am able to list and link all of the items I have purchased through Amazon and would recommend for various needs. I have lists set up for fulltime RVing, camping in general, traveling with cats, health and wellness, and even curly hair! Plus, as an added bonus, I will make a small commission on any items purchased through my link.
If you want to check out more of my storefront page, here is the link: Spark Fire Swan's Amazon
I will continue to add items as time goes on, as we are always finding something new on there that becomes quite useful to our lifestyle or for our feline friends. As a rule of thumb, I only ever link things we have actually purchased, kept, and use on a frequent basis!
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