Well, I threatened to do it and now it is done.
In May I finally said goodbye to friends in Orlando, loaded my shuttle-van from stem to stern, top to bottom, and headed up my favorite Ocean route for the North Country. It was an unremarkable trip until I reached the last rest area on the Garden State Parkway. Returning to the van from the facilities I noticed that the right front tire was low. Mainly, it was flat on the bottom! I called my tow service, and within a half hour the wrecker arrived. The driver announced that to get the spare tire to descend from under the vehicle he needed access to the rear double doors to reach the pulley mechanism (News to me!) The only problem was that I have a cargo carrier mounted in the trailer hitch, and it was packed with a huge container carrying all my kitchen gear and microwave oven. Lashed atop were two ladders. It all had to come down into the parking lot!
Tire changed, I crossed into New York on the Tappan Zee Bridge on onto rough roadways with potholes like foxholes. Not the best feelings of confidence with a new and untested spare tire. All went well, however, and in Cromwell, Connecticut I stopped for what was left of the night in a Super 8 hotel. In the morning I turned onto I 91 and cranked it up to sixty. Almost immediately I heard and felt a huge clanking from the self-same right frontwheel.
I limped off the expressway onto US 5 and proceeded very slowly, attempting to keep the horrendous noises to a minimum, and through the light Sunday traffic of church-goers until I reached E.Springfield, Massachusetts. There I found the Firestone garage that I’d scoped-out on line. They’re open for business on Sunday, and it was determined that I had burned out a wheel bearing.
They got right to the work but couldn’t get a replacement rotor overnight, so I left it and checked into Howard Johnson’s until Monday. Repairs complete ($600. later) I resumed my journey and arrived at my daughter’s place in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
I’m still there, but looking for a place on the Massachusetts North Shore where I can resume my studio painting.
I am hoping to move back to New England in the new year, to be closer to family, and to paint with my new-found friends in the plein air groups in New Hampshire and Maine.
My extensive RV traveling days are greatly curtailed now that I am more-or-less permanently settled, and am painting from a fixed location. Trips up and down the east coast will be replaced by monthly sojourns and overnight trips to paint the changing landscapes of New England and my favorite marine locations.
I first came to Florida in 1960. From 1976 onward, I have spent the winter months here with few exceptions. I love Florida for many reasons. There are reasons to despise it, as well. But let’s not get to politics at this time. Having established a studio in Orlando, painting daily without the hassle of packing up and moving my RV continually has been a real change. I am not fully adjusted nor resigned to it yet. I long for the open road continually. But sacrifices must be made as considerations of time and space intrude.
I am committed to the change of scene and to the opportunities that lie ahead in a new, but familiar clime. I’ll be writing more, and developing this blog so as to share experiences with all my new friends.
Happy New Year!
YOU HAVEN’T MISSED ANYTHING…I’VE BEEN PREOCCUPIED WITH OTHER STUFF
Took a road trip from central Florida last October for final observations on my wrist alterations.
First, as readers of this blog might remember, I had a wrist-replacement procedure at NE Baptist Hospital in Boston. Unfortunately it didn’t work out very well, and several months later I had to have all that hardware removed and a temporary fix put in place. Then I returned after the second surgery healed for the final, and originally unwanted, solution…I had my hand/wrist/arm locus permanently fused. The Carpal bones were joined and two Stanley Pins were inserted at my knuckle area, and extended through the Ulna to about mid-arm. I cannot bend my wrist to wave ‘goodbye’ anymore, so don’t leave. But I can still rotate my wrist to open new doors!
All this has affected the gestures I’ve used in executing my paintings; my right hand has been dominant, but I am adapting. Most of my work has been on more detailed scenics; landscapes and seascapes from my travels in the various RVs in decades past.
I have now sold my Class C Dodge motorhome, and shifted to a smaller shuttle-bus vehicle. The plan is to utilize this vehicle in moving to show locations, and to do more in-studio painting. I can take advantage of a more permanent set-up of easels and an array of works-in-progress….I like to work on many things at the same time. RV living with a rear studio set-up has always had a drawback (pun intended) ; working ‘on the road’ was the main reason I’ve worked in acrylics on hardboard. Space and drying time have been paramount.
Although I still employ that media and base for my paintings, I can go to larger pieces and broader brushwork as a way of living with the new physical restrictions.
I am about to drive my Class C RV to storage. In what seems like an eternal quandary, my interests have a national scope, as this post will make evident. Summer will be the usual over-heated, humid season in Florida, and I generally depart for more moderate climes before now. There are things I need to get done in my “home” state of Massachusetts; doctor visits, mail pick-ups, friends and family considerations are what have me heading north in my car…leaving my mobile house in Orlando.
It’s the price of gas which has dictated the course of action. It would be better if I had a tow-hitch behind the RV so as to tow the little car north. I have not yet decided to weld a hitch onto the RV structure, but it now is becoming more of a practical decision to do so. As it stands, I will drive the 1600 miles (the Saturn gets a phenomenal 40-45 miles per gallon!) in a quick trip to Massachusetts and New Hampshire. If I drove the RV (it gets 10-12 miles per gallon) I would pay an additional $450. in fuel.…based on a proposed June average of $3.75 per gallon. I can drive round-trip for $150. LESS than that one-way cost in the RV.
At the latter part of June I will either leave the Saturn and fly back to get the RV, with the prospect of staying in New England until early Fall, or drive the car back to central Florida to swelter through until September, preparing the RV for a longer journey west to Arizona/Nevada. I want to spend the Winter in the Southwest, and plan on living half of the year there, rather than Florida, parking the RV when sojourning.
Quandary: Do I weld the hitch and pull the Saturn, or drive them separately? Do I fly back to New England for visits, or do I drive cross-country when necessary? I have been wrestling with all of this for more years than I care to think about. Living in the West is easier and less expensive in an RV. And there is room to breathe! The open panorama and big skies have been beckoning for a long time, and this time I want to do more than just visit.
Cannot wait to get back into my RV to move down the road some more !
But in the meantime, I am recouping from wrist surgery in the Granite State. With dense woods, quiet roads to walk, streams to meander and waterfalls within earshot, it doesn’t get much better.
My cast will come off and the stitches will be removed next week, Then I can begin the rehab and use of my new metal parts. I’ll be grabbing my steering wheel like “Jaws”.
When you are attended-to the way I am, by my daughter Andrea, it makes this whole episode a lot less harrowing.
The surgeons have been great and the entire staff at The New England Baptist Hospital has been friendly and cheerful. A truly remarkable experience all the way through from last December when I first learned of the possibility of relief.
I had a capacious single room with bath, and a room service menu to choose from. Four pages of really good selections for every meal…and breakfast all day! This was not at the Ritz Carleton, downtown, but at NEBH Room 554 !
I had a wonderful view of the Boston skyline, however, from atop Parker Hill. Andrea and I have had some memorable times in The Hub, though less auspicious ,and we will probably have more before I get back on a flight to resume my RV lifestyle and travels.