Beach, Birds, Rehab, and … Plans

IMG_7535We are on the road again and just getting back into the sweet rhythm of travel.  But it was not entirely easy to leave St. Simons.  Unwittingly, we put down a few root tendrils in our three month stay that had stubbornly taken hold.  It was a good interlude and we will be back.

St. Simons was not new to us, but this extended visit gave us a new perspective.  I became almost addicted to the winter beach.  It changed–sometimes dramatically–from day to day and, on days when I did not walk its full length, I felt as if I was missing something.  Few ventured out on the bitter cold days, giving me miles of solitude with nothing but waves, sand, birds and sky–always different, with constantly shifting sands and tidal cuts.

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When I wasn’t walking the beach I was bird-stalking–mostly along the marsh.  I am not a birder and have no life list.  But I love to watch and listen to birds and to try to capture them in photos.  St. Simons was a birdy feast.  I never knew what I was going to see from day to day, but felt I got to know some of the resident egrets, mergansers, and herons.

20141203_162428In fact, the birds were so varied and interesting that the second part of this post will be bird photos only, allowing those of you tired of the birds an easy bypass.  IMG_7650

The St. Simons’ people, both locals and visitors, were some of the friendliest I have ever encountered.  We enjoyed our quirky neighborhood–between the King and Prince and the Village–full of old houses, cats, and enough dogs to hold a neighborhood dog parade in their honor.

King and Prince Hotel--good beach access here even at high tide

King and Prince Hotel–good beach access here even at high tide

The Crab Trap, neighborhood restaurant for 40 years

The Crab Trap, neighborhood restaurant for 40 years

Shrimp boat seen from Village pier

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Shrimper

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Cats on a roof.

Dog parade

Dog parade passing by our front door

We made friends.  I came to know the 89-year-old woman living around the corner, her yard man, the oil company guy on the beach, the shell-collecter who hated the cold, the mail lady, fellow kayakers, three different couples from Maine, and a wide variety of people from yoga classes.  After months on the road, where interpersonal encounters are necessarily transitory, the people of St. Simons were an unexpected pleasure.

Spring was trying hard to rear its lovely head just as we were leaving.  The first blooms were zapped by a hard frost, but new blooms kept coming.  With the spring came more people.  Too many for us–we would not like the St. Simons’ summer crowds.IMG_6789

IMG_6810IMG_4484IMG_6929IMG_6782We were ready to leave and fortunately George’s shoulder healed quickly and well.  We lucked out on his surgeon, whose aggressive approach to rehab allowed George to be lifting some weights within six weeks of surgery.  He now is able to do most everything, has good range of motion, and little pain.  We are very glad that we took a break from travel to have the surgery.

That break also gave us a chance to think seriously about where we want to go from here. Originally, we had intended to be on the road for about a year, until May.  After deciding on surgery, and a three-month break for rehab, we continued to think that we would head out west afterwards and travel into the summer.  But, at some point in our down time, we decided instead to head up to Maine and buy a house this spring.  We want to have a place near some water with a little land to indulge in gardening, beekeeping, woodworking, and other long-on-hold interests.  We will take the trip out west whenever we feel like it because, after all, we are retired and can come and go as we please.

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Zoe learned to handle the surf.

Zoe learned to handle the surf.

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Car transport behemoth ship in the distance

 

Last beach walk--beautiful light.

Last beach walk–beautiful light.

We are working our way up the East Coast to arrive in Maine later in the spring.  We will continue to travel, but now with a new home base.

 

21 thoughts on “Beach, Birds, Rehab, and … Plans

    • Thanks so much. We had heard some nightmare stories of rotator cuff surgery, so were a bit apprehensive going in. It’s always nice when something goes better than you expect!

  1. Great news about George’s shoulder. And your photos and commentary have motivated us to travel to St. Simon’s sometime. But darn about not coming out west this trip. You two must love cold weather to want to buy in Maine 😄. Next winter, when it is minus something there, come on out to our 70 degree winter weather. (Of course it would probably be freezing and pouring rain!).

    • It wasn’t easy to give up the western portion of the trip but it’s a good time to buy and we are ready. We will be making a long trip out west this winter or next, and we definitely will be stopping to see you. In the meantime, come visit us in Maine!

  2. Pleased to hear George’s shoulder has healed so well. I agree a good compromise is to have a home base and do shorter trips in different directions. That was the decision we made after the mammoth round Australia trip. It is a more relaxed way to go and gives down time between trips to catch your breath.

    • Although we really enjoyed this long trip, we cannot go without a home indefinitely. There are too many things that we love to do besides travel (boats, gardening, weaving, woodworking, fostering dogs … the list goes on)–and now that we are retired, we have the time to do them. Also, we like having a home to fix up and to be part of a community. We are excited about putting down roots in a place totally new to us. But we will continue to travel, with the trailer, and overseas.

      • Current priorities. Right now, we would like to be closer to family, which means the East coast. Maine has beautiful ocean (with abundant seafood), lakes, hiking, good gardening, summer sunshine, a farm/food culture, reasonably progressive attitudes, and good real estate prices. Plus, it just felt like it fit us well. Winters are cold (this winter was brutal), but we can travel during the cold months. It’s a new place for us, so we’re quite excited.

      • I think so. I only intended to blog to keep family and friends updated on our travels and to create a journal of the trip. I didn’t anticipate connecting with bloggers all over the world. It has given me the same pleasure that I had from writing to pen pals when I was young. We’ll see!

  3. A house?! I’ve read before Maine is a wonderful retirement state. We almost had a host gig there and after so much study I was so anxious to go there. I hope you continue to write of your journey, gardening, house hunting etc. And your future travels. St. Simmons on our list and so glad shoulder doing so well. Nice to have your driver back I’m sure. 🙂

    • Yes–sticks and bricks!! A concept that is anathema to many RVers, I know, but we love to have a house and some land. We like to farm, build, and boat as much as to travel, so our perfect life is a little homestead AND an RV. Maine is lovely and will be new territory and a new adventure for us.

      We love St. Simons, but there are no RV parks there, unfortunately. Jekyll Island has an RV park (which looked crowded), but that’s the closest you can get to St. Simons. Thanks for your good wishes. I will continue to blog–at least for a while! Happy travels and stay warm.

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