I’ve been hanging out in the St Augustine FL area for about 2 weeks now.
I really love this area!
Florida highway A1A and the St Augustine area is by far my most favorite place to hang out and explore.
Bella Needs A Doctor!
Bella (my van) was making a weird clunking/grinding sound when I turned the wheel.
I figured it was a routine maintenance item but I like to take care of these things as quickly as possible so I called to make an appointment.
The first available appointment was a week out.
Oh well… just another excuse to hang out in St Auggie!
Appointment Day Finally Came
I drove Bella to the shop and, as I suspected, it was routine stuff. The ball joint thingy’s needed to be replaced.
It was a procedure that would take most of the day so I made myself at home in the lounge.
The lounge had coffee, fruit, popcorn, computers and a TV.
I grew tired of playing around on the computer and testing the different flavors of coffee so I watched an episode of The Big Bang Theory that happened to be on TV.
A couple hours later, the door to the lounge opened and the guy I was working with walked through.
He headed in my direction with a somber look on his face.
As he wrings his hands, he explained that there’s been a snag.
Long story short, the bolts wouldn’t come out so they had to cut them. They had new bolts in stock but they didn’t have the nut that holds it all in place.
He said they had to order the parts from South Carolina and it wouldn’t be in until tomorrow.
That meant I had to find a hotel.
Finding A Hotel For The Night
I tried to convince the shop to let me stay with Bella because hotels can be too toxic for me.
They explained that insurance wouldn’t allow it – especially since Bella was on the lift.
Thankfully I knew of a hotel that I could (mostly) tolerate.
I made a reservation and the shop called their Chauffeur to take me to the hotel. They actually called him a Chauffeur.
The Chauffeur had an English accent and there were no silent moments during the 25 minute ride to the hotel. He was very insightful about the happenings of St Augustine and was inquisitive about my nomadic lifestyle.
The hotel (Beachers Lodge) was nice. I’ve stayed there before.
Beachers is one of the few hotels I know I can stay at and not have too bad of a reaction due to chemical sensitivities.
Beachers is actually a Condotel (condo hotel) which consists of condo’s that people buy and either live in or rent out. Everything is managed by a Property Manager.
But I missed Bella.
I simply enjoy being in my own bed.
The next day I was back with Bella by early afternoon and nomadic life went on, as usual.
Going Without A Refrigerator
It’s been cloudy here and the days are getting shorter.
When I first got to St Augustine it was warmer and muggier. My fridge ran a lot and with short, cloudy days my stored power dwindled faster than it could be replenished.
I could only go about 3 days before having to find a campground where I could plug in and charge the house battery back to full.
Now I have nothing against campgrounds. I enjoy staying at them but, right now, I’m working within a budget and needing to stick to it.
One way to stick to my budget is to be off-the-grid the majority of the time (meaning not plugged in at a campground).
How I Solved My Solar Power Dilemma
We always have a choice, no matter what. Sometimes we don’t realize what our choices are because we aren’t thinking outside of the box.
The way I saw it my choices were…
- Have a fridge; OR
- Be able to use my CPAP, charge my phone, charge my rechargeable batteries (for my portable fan), use my roof fan and charge my notebook.
I gave up the fridge to be able to do everything else.
Do I miss the fridge? Of course I do.
I miss having cold water, eggs and other perishable that needed to be kept cool.
On the other hand, it’s not been too big of an issue temporarily being without a fridge.
It’s funny when you realize what you truly can do without.
I suppose this proves that a refrigerator is not a necessity but, rather, a luxury.
Albeit a luxury I’m definitely keeping my fridge!
But its reassuring to know I can do without it, if necessary.
Eating Out Because I Have No Fridge!?
Not having a fridge does NOT mean I’m eating out more. I just make foods that don’t need refrigeration.
My rule of thumb for eating out is to pick one day a week to splurge – usually Sunday.
For the record, I’m in Publix territory now and I LOVE their deli so I’ve had a few turkey wraps this week.
But going to Publix was something I planned on. Actually, I prepared for it by setting money aside in my budget for it before I even got here!
I have to get my Publix turkey wrap/sub craving taken care of while I’m in Publix territory!
With Choices Comes Trade-Off’s
Trading the use of my fridge for the use of everything else is one I’m happy with.
I much prefer sleeping with my CPAP machine (I sleep much better with it) and being able to charge my items that need charging.
And, it’s only temporary.
Laundry Day at the Southeast Intracoastal Waterway Park
Alas, it’s laundry day!
Laundry isn’t one of my favorite activities but it has to be done.
When laundry day arrives I find an out of the way place where I can do my laundry in peace. I usually have all my doors open because it can get warm working in the van – especially here in Florida – and I’d rather not have spectators.
There are several places that I do laundry here and one of them is the Southeast Intracoastal Waterway Park on hwy A1A.
I was the only one at the Waterway Park that morning.
A few people drove in but they just drove around the circle and drove back out of the park.
The temperature was 68 degrees and the humidity levels had dropped recently so the weather was absolutely perfect (for me).
Having the doors open with a breeze flowing through made for nice working conditions.
I believe these birds (below) are called Heron’s but I won’t guarantee that I’m correct.
Whatever they are they hung around the entire time I was doing laundry.
Some of them let me get somewhat close.
Other’s flew away the second I took a step towards them.
Notice the bushes or trees in the back that look dead?
There’s a trail back in there.
I didn’t walk the trail today because my agenda was getting laundry done.
But, I walked the trail when I was here earlier this year.
When I walked the trail earlier this year it felt like I was walking through a thick, barren jungle. There was a path for walking but on either side of the path were thick, desolate trees and bushes that towered well over my head.
Since it was early morning I was the first one there. I encountered several spider webs that stretched across the pathway.
The further I walked the creepier it began to feel.
I was alone but I began to wonder if there were any critters hiding in the thick, lifeless brush waiting for their chance to pounce.
Reflective eyeballs appeared out of nowhere but (I think) it was just my imagination.
I grew tired of battling webs and my sometimes too vivid imagination so I turned back.
A HAIRowing Experience
I’ve been working on cutting costs that aren’t essential and I really thought I could cut my own hair. After all, other people do it!
To prepare for the event I watched several YouTube videos where lovely young ladies cut their own beautiful long locks and turned out looking fabulous.
Granted, their hair was long and my hair isn’t even shoulder length but I figured I’d just scale the process down.
It proved to be disastrous after I cut a big chunk of hair that wasn’t supposed to be cut!
How on earth could I have done that!?
I tried to fix it but only made it worse.
The ordeal ended with me going to Cost Cutters to have someone fix my hair.
The fix left me almost scalped but, on the other hand, I had another story to add to my memoirs of Silly Things I’ve Done And Won’t Do Again.
Scalped and feeling a tad silly, the only thing left to do was keep moving forward…