December is here and Christmas is right around the corner. Even though I love to wander, when Christmas comes I still want to be with my family and friends. Living in my Roadtrek has not changed that.
When I had my house, dinner would be at my place with Christmas everywhere. I love the lights, the tree and most of all that warm Christmas feeling. Every year for as long as I can remember our family has had the tradition of cutting our own tree, followed by hot chocolate and tree trimming. The trimming comes when the tree did not look that big in the field but now it is filling the house. Lol. My daughter Tanya still continues that tradition with her family. Although now we only get one tree it is still a fun filled day finding the “perfect” tree.
This is my 5th Christmas in my van. Although my tree is not alive it is kind of flashy. Is it different? Oh absolutely. I miss the excitement of decorating and getting ready for everyone to come “home” for Christmas. Now we gather at my daughter’s home and she carries on the tradition. It is wonderful having both of my children together and listening as laughter fills the house. Watching my grandkids excitement as presents get handed out from under the tree and their glee as they see what Santa brought fills my heart with warmth that cannot be surpassed.
Presents are another issue. Stuff in the van. Right now as I type I am sitting on my bed because my couch is filled with bags. I cannot wrap until I am done shopping because I forget what I have bought. Lol. I know, make a list, and as great a thought as that is. I never do it. One more tradition that is an unintentional tradition is the misplacement of at least one gift. Every year I misplace one gift. Sometimes I will notice as they are opening them and sometimes not. My kids would bet on who was going to get the surprise gift. It was always something small that I had put in a different place for whatever the reason was at the time. Do I still do it in the van? Yes, yes I do. Lol.
Although I am always “home” for Christmas, I love that I now can experience Christmas in different places. Last year was my first just before Christmas adventure.
Off to Florida to my friends Museum of Vanning Christmas Party. Of course not straight there. A little “dilly-dallying” as my Dad used to say, would be in order. Down through Illinois with a stop at Dave’s to hug the girls and pick up some supplies then turning south. What a fabulous roadtrip that was. My first stop was the home of Superman in Metropolis Illinois.
I learned a lesson here…I am not Lois Lane! Walking through town looking at the fun attractions of the adventures of Superman the sidewalk had a little curb and yes you guessed it, I fell. Scrapped my knee and twisted my ankle a little. Where was Superman at that moment? Home enjoy tea and cookies I am sure. No superhero flew into save me from hitting the pavement and I was in his home town! A nice lady rushed over and asked me if I was ok. Which proves Superheroes do not always wear a cape.
I continued my trip south down through Kentucky, then into Tennessee. I have been to Tenessee before and loved it. There was one place I wanted to see as I passed through. Jack Daniel’s Whiskey has always been a favorite of mine. I do not drink often but if I am going to drink I prefer a Gentleman Jack straight up in a whiskey glass with three ice cubes, slightly chilled. Lol. A little particular I know but sometimes I am like that. I had always wanted to go on the tour of the Jack Daniel’s facility in Lynchburg Tennessee. I am so glad I did. What a great experience. You can read all about it in my feature travel blog A Chipmunk Tour: Jack Daniel’s Distillery. If you are in the area do yourself a favor and get the Angel Share Tour. Maybe you will be lucky and the angels will share.
Down through Alabama and a stay at a great place Jackson Lake Island which I spoke about in last week’s blog. I decided to travel down the Gulf side of Florida. Panama City was beautiful, with long sand beaches and Palm trees dotting the landscape. As I drove along the coast I noticed the houses were built on stilts. For a visitor on such a beautiful calm, sunny day it is hard to imagine the volocity of hurricane winds.
Everyone told me to watch out for alligators as they know I like to explore but no one said anything about the birds. I quickly learned that early mornings on the coast of Florida was very foggy. Usually by 10 am it was gone. I set out one foggy morning with the plan of stopping at a Dunkin Donuts for coffee and a coffee cake muffin, while the fog dissipates.
As I was driving down the highway I saw something coming towards me in in my lane. What was that? I slowed as I watched what looked like a drunk pelican landing in my lane. If he had not been coming right at me it would have been comical. Luckily the car coming towards me seen what was happening and slowed right down. The pelican swerved to my right and I swerved to my left and we just missed each other. OMG! I was almost hit head on by a drunk pelican!!! Explain that to my insurance company! Lol.
Apparently they are not the only clumsy bird I would come across. Walking down a path in Homosassa Wildlife Park I noticed these big black birds in the trees. They were vultures and they were everywhere. As I walked the path through the trees I heard branches breaking above me like something falling through the trees. Looking up it was one of those big black birds. OMG I am going to get “falled upon” by a bird falling out of a tree. Luckily he caught air beneath his wings about 3 branches above me. People walking towards me yelled “look out” as I ducked and ran thinking I was about to get slammed by a large bird. I emerged from the tree and saw the bird take flight. I actually felt the swoosh of the wind on my face as he winged his way upward. I immediately started laughing. The people also laughed, probably because I was laughing so hard and told me they were a clumsy bird. Not the first one I had experienced on this trip. Lol
Christmas in Florida was different and delightful. Warm and sunny with lots of Christmas lights. It was funny to see the Palm Trees decorated with ornaments and lights. It was fun celebrating Christmas with my friends in Florida.
Back up through Georgia to meet up with my friends Jim and Jill Bulger for dinner at the Marietta Diner. This was a cool place. Boy do my friends know me well. They all know I love cool. This diner reminded me of a steel fifties diner. The food was absolutely fabulous and the company divine. It was so nice to see them both.
A beautiful ending to a wonderful roadtrip at my friend Dave’s with his two girls Molly and Maggie. It was fun to walk through the Christmas Light display in their little town.
Then a call came that my grandson Cassius had decided that he needed to be here for Christmas. One month early. Now it was a scramble to get back. Lol. He did not wait for me but was a beautiful Christmas present. He turns a year old this year and is a healthy happy baby who is on the move.
This year for a few reasons I decided to stay close. That is the nice thing about vanlife. You can come and you can go.
From my home to yours I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!
Thanks for coming along on my Chipmunk Adventure. I appreciate each and everyone of you! 💜
Next week is Christmas Day so there will be no blog. Look for a Year in Review in 2 weeks! It was a busy year and so much fun.