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Sliding in to Home!

home sweet home

From the Gulf stream waters to the Glacier mountains, this land was made for you and me….

We did it, we did it! Twelve months on the road.

Wait… What’s that you say? You haven’t seen a new blog post since– gulp–JANUARY?!

Whattheheck??

Hmm… I would like to blame it on sub-par RV-park internet service… But, yeah, you’ve probably caught me on various social networks and such, and therefore would just call foul on that one…I’ll just fess up.

I forgot.

As you can imagine, I have a TON of stories to share. Would you care to sit down for three or four hours and take a listen while I present a stellar slide show?

No?

Okay, how about this…. We” do a time travel shtick!

Hop in the travel-tube with me and let’s head back to January (Lake Placid, FL). We’ll start there and slowly move through the trip one more time. (Unless I forget again!!)

(More to come next week!!)

Lake Placid

Florida, that is… Not New York! 20150107_150133-1

You  didn’t really suppose Benj and Honey Jayne would head to some frigid northern, winter wonderland, did you?   Of course not. You know us too well by now.

This little village, nestled in South Central Florida amongst acres upon acres of orange groves and dotted with dozens of lakes is quite a cozy little gem.  And outside of my delicious New Year’s appetizer, I haven’t spotted one gator! gator tail

The town itself boasts 42 murals on the walls of local businesses, ben and train murala clown school (oh, yes, it does), and is the caladium capital of the world, (It says so on the sign. So yeah.)

 

heathermural

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, and speaking of oranges…. (were we??)

These  juicy, colorful orbs, packed with Florida sunshine, beckon to me from their leafy dwelling place every fruit’n  time I take a sunset drive along the  lazy back roads. 20150107_144053

To be honest, these groves bursting with citrus galore, spring up so close to the road, I could reach my hand out of the truck window and literally pluck my own delicious snack….

but apparently I’d get arrested.

Yep, sadly there are no U-pick farms nearby because of something called citrus canker.   BUT, luckily our local fruit-gal, Shonda, has an in, and we are contentedly slurping back bag upon bag of heavenly  Honeybells.  20150107_150546

So besides eating oranges, we’ve also got quite the pickleball setup here, folks. (For those of you unfamiliar with this sport click a pickle to learn more)

Ben and I have enjoyed endless hours of play-time, (followed by pool time)

And, yes, yes, yes, OF COURSE, we’re still working too,   😉

Wish y’all were here!

Where’d they go??

Well, let me tell ya, it was a….

Very Bedouin Christmas.

After packing  a mega-monstrous suitcase and cramming that bad boy, along with a few totes of winter gear, into the back of our truck, the gypsies headed north… sans fancy trailer.

There we were, just two lonely saps driving along the cold, dark highway looking for a place to lay our greasy little heads with visions of Christmas-past filling our dulled conscious.

But, alas,  we were blessed with Christmas miracle upon miracle when a bevy of charmingly charitable family and friends embraced us with hugs and hot meals, warm beds and soft pillows. And, harken to Santa on his sleigh, (but with a one-ton, B-A Rufolph) we meandered through our now very familiar 5,000-mile-loop:

Florida –> North Carolina –> Ohio –> Illinois –> Virginia –>North Carolina –> Florida.

How about a few shout outs:

Ma & Pa Nelson: For days of family fun and nights filled with delicious cuisine and family reflection.  20141128_213612

 

 

Jose and Jackie: For walks on the beach,  coffee clatching, sweet laughter, whiskey shivers, and…. GRODEN! 20141128_224635 20141129_145729

Leissa: For whispers and giggles only a sister could understand. 20141201_134550

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crystal and Daniel– For a meal fit for royalty and shopping extravaganza t’boot! (Dang, those were some good cutout cookies!)20141206_093115

 

 

 

 

The Gyllecks– For endless hours of sweet fellowship, sharing in God’s Word, popcorn dinner and Christmas celebrations,20141225_13561520141216_192542

 

not to mention an entire apartment to hang our hats!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Viv20141222_144528For keeping it real, fashion advice, shopping, snuggles and snickers… 20141207_145048an AH-mazing Vespers concert, and my reason for heading to the cold, dark, Great Lakes region. 20141207_165100

Mom and Dad Letto: For love, laughter and, oh-so-much food!! Not to mention, the best smelling pillows ever! 20141207_132235

Gale: For inviting us to share the Christmas message at Manor Care!

20141225_141320Fred, Patty and Broeden: For sharing the high, holy day with us!

 

 

 

 

 

Amber and Adam: For the bestest holiday surprise!!

We love you all! Not only were you the ones who kept us warm on the chilly nights, but the givers of the gifts we still hold in our hearts.

 

Now, in true, Honey-Jayne spirit, I’ve fashioned a little ditty to summarize our five week-Bedouin Holiday.  (Of course, sung to the Twelve Days of Christmas.)

 

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

Twelve-plus hours to Chi-town,

Eleven gallons of Starbucks,

Ten separate Santas,

Nine days of darkness,

Eight Days of FOX news,

Seven Honey-Ham hunks,

Six seconds of sunshine,

Five!

Christmas!

Dinners!

Four perfumed pillows,

Three close calls,

Two new truck tires

And A Bedouin Christmas filled with family and friends!

Amen and goodnight!

20141128_142001

Bimontennial Celebration!

So, we’ve been on the road for just a little over two months now…

We’ve hiked, biked, kayaked, and swam (swimmed? swum?) pickle-balled, and had the pleasure of dropping in on  some family and friends. (Waving to family and friends!) We’ve seen God’s majestic handiwork stretching from Carolina to Dakota and down to Florida’s best kept secret. (Shhh…. if I told ya, I’d  have to kill ya…) 20141024_123539

So, how have we adjusted to our new digs while living large? Well, let’s start by squashing that particular misnomer. Truth is, we’re living small… Very small… 400 sq. ft. small.

We’ve perfected the Rocky Kitchen Shuffle. (A new dance including varying degrees of scooting, bending and ducking from random cabinet swings, as well as the occasional thump ‘n bump.)

Tandem teeth cleaning is nightly battle for the sink–loser gets hallway. (And ample time to slurp back a mouthful of minty foam.)

Dragging dirty laundry past a host of inquiring RV’s (before counting out stacks of quarters) has become one of my favorite weekly pastimes.

And, although Honey-Jayne is designated trailer chef, Benj holds his own in KP duty as well. Both herald dishpan hands as God’s witness. Speaking of cooking… Good News Report: After living sans oven and utilizing the BBQ to grill pizzas, bake cookies/biscuits, the microwave for baked taters/squash, and crockpot for brownies, our oven is once again operational!  Woo-hoo! (Thanks,  Wanda!) Turns out it was user error. (Don’t even….)

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CELEBRATORY LASAGNA!

We’ve made the acquaintance of gaggles of fabulous, friendly, folks as well as being blessed to worship with hundreds of new brothers and sisters in the Lord (from a myriad of denominations).

As a matter of fact, outside of our jumping and jiving St. Louie Baptist Church experience, last Sunday’s Church may just qualify as the most unique thus far. Right off the dunes of the  Navarre beach… (oops… I think i just told you Florida’s best kept secret! Dang!)

20141026_090320Anyway, from the pulpit of a pimped out trailer, in the beach parking lot, Pastor John and his scream’n guitar led us through a rock’n worship and then the salty air of the Gulf reverberated his message for anyone with ears to hear. It was sunny. Breezy.  (Maybe a little cheesy?) But done in the name of the Lord and for the purpose of the kingdom..

I give it two (or one giant) thumbs up!

thumbs_up_steve_lp

brainstorming

 

So, while brainstorming over ways to celebrate this bimontennial, we thought it might be fun to field some of the questions posed to us along the way. Here goes….

 

 

  • So… are you tired of this little charade yet?  HONEY-JAYNE: Nah, definitely not! But I do enjoy perusing the local real estate ads when we stop for more than a few days.  (I had to whisper that because when I talk real estate, a strange moaning sound usually erupts from nearby….)  BENJ: Charade?  Am I in a charade?  I’m having fun and enjoying life on the road.  This is the “new” normal…and it’s challenging just like the “old” normal was.  The only difference is I’m being challenged in FLORIDA!   Woot woot!
  • How long do you plan to continue traveling?  HONEY JAYNE: Until I can convince Benj to buy this awesome condo I just found here in Florida. BENJ: I’m eager to fulfill the 1-year plan (and prepare for the 2nd year!)…I have a desire to be in Maine by August 2015 (I guess I have a secret desire to chow down on a fresh, reasonably priced lobster).  But I’m sure that will get cold quickly and we’ll want to scurry down south come Sept 1, 2015.
  • Alright, truthfully… are you sick of each other? HONEY-JAYNE: Benj is a pretty quiet, low-maintenance guy. As long as I keep his belly filled, he’s very amiable. And seriously, dragging him around on my silly adventures is a hoot! Getting him out of his recliner, however, can prove a little difficult. All in all, he’s my BFF, so it’s like a forever sleepover party! BENJ: I am so blessed to have my trailer partner!  I will not get sick of her this month, this year, or in the millenia to come!
  • Where to next? HONEY-JAYNE: If I told ya, I’d have to kill ya. 😉 BENJ: I plan on moving about 2-feet to my left and give my wife a peck on the cheek.  I’m told I have some really sweet moves 😉
  • Oh… you two are maddenly cute. Seriously. What cringe-worthy deed(s) have transpired in the last two months? HONEY-JAYNE; Okay… I’ll fess up first. It was just yesterday as a matter of fact. I was sitting at my computer  minding my own business. I looked to my right and noticed Benj was missing. “Hmmm,” I thought, and then continued on with more pressing matters. Next thing I know Benj rattles into the trailer, hoisting our power-washer overhead. I froze. “Now, Honey-Jayne,” he said, “I’m gonna need your help for about ten minutes.” I remained frozen for another blink and then slowly nodded my head. “You see,” Benj continued, “I’m gonna shoot some high power water down the toilet, and I want you to go watch the clear waste tube outside.” I swallowed hard and shut my eyes. “Just holler when you see any large packages float by.”  I did it, folks. I did it out of love. (and that’s all I’m going to say about that.) BENJ:Watching my wife inadvertently try to crush our cute (and brand new) wind chime.  I’ll let her elaborate if she so desires. (Honey-jayne: No comment.)
    Well, that’s all folks! Stay tuned for more adventures of Benj and Honey-Jayne, the traveling gypsy nerds!
    2014-10-25 18.35.05

Hot-Diggity-Lanta!

Land of the Brave(s), home of the (nightmarish) freeways.

And just a little east (and a smidge north) of the big city, lies Stone Mountain Park where rolling hills dappled in the greens and golds of early autumn surround a pristine lake… and the big Stone Mountain.

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Now mind you, this stop had its fill of rainy days and business obligations, yet Benj and Honey-Jayne still managed to hike this bad boy.. twice! 20141015_181630

The stone trail leading to the 1800 foot summit IMAG0428is a mile-long trek filled with rock-hops 20141015_174726 and plenty of super-steep, oxygen-robbers. IMAG0425

And beneath our feet, as we climbed, were hundreds of really cool etchings, lovingly crafted by those who had gone before us. 20141015_174754

Oh yea… 20141015_175132 and a few tree trunks littered with…. (A-B-C) gum chunks!

Besides the fact Atlanta marked the last stop before our final Panhandle destination, this southern city brought to us some anticipated excitement (as well as a few bonus highs!)

Anticipated…  Back to the Future Trading User’s ConferenceBTTFT, a group of tireless marketing and trading geniuses, are responsible for bringing Benj’s brilliant software into the lives of only the most fortunate of day-traders. By now, I ‘m sure you’ll agree with me that Benj is all that and a bag of chips, folks. However, I fear the world may missed-out on The Flux had the guys at BTTFT not come along and raised the banner. This year’s BTTFT Atlanta User Conference knocked it out of the park!

Shout out to the boys at BTTFT!!

And guess what? Even Honey-Jayne was met with a little business surprise when informed of an invitation to a local Atlanta T.V. talk show.  So on our last day, I yukked it up with the gals at WATC-TV.(Show airs 10/28 @ 4:30 p.m.  For those of you who aren’t in the metro Atlanta area, just click here on the 28th and watch online!)

Aaaaand, another shameless plug! —> IMPERVIOUS front cover

Did I mention, Atlanta was our last top before our final Panhandle destination?

Well….

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We made it…20141018_182518

We see Tennessee!

Woo-hoo, Nashville!

grandoleopry… the pride of Tennessee.

Okay, confession-time, folks. Honey-Jayne is not a fan of guided tours… of any kind. As a matter of fact, if a venue includes a gift shop, I will find most likely find it offensive. (Butterfly house excluded…). And so, I have this to say about the Grand Ol’ Opry:

“zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….” (Sorry, Blake… I know you tried.)

See the gal in the picture with Ben here? The only reason she’s smiling is because… well, she’s standing on stage getting her picture taken. Yes, I know. I’m a big, ol’, fat, baby. Whatever.

Benj, on the other hand, really digs tours. He hammed it up with Minnie Pearl,20141001_163311

pondered life in the father of the Opry’s (Roy Acuff) dressing room, benopry

and can probably recite for you all of the interesting tid-bits shared by our very enthusiastic tour guide. (Go ahead… drop him an email.)

Of course, whilst in the ville of Nash, we headed down to “The District” for Boots & BBQ, which put a shiny smile back on my face. 20141001_184803(and, thanks for the hug, plastic Elvis!)

Unfortunately, when Benj saw the price tag on Mama’s boots, I believe he lost his giddy Opry buzz. Luckily, I spied an ice-cream shop across the way, and after plying him sweet treats, everyone was happy again. Nashville? I’m giving you a seven out of ten.

So, then we choo-choo’d a little further south, and… I love Chattanooga!

This quaint river-town, nestled in the foothills of the Smokies is just too cute!

It boasts:

A 24-mile (round trip) river walk (which I prefer to think of as my personal bike path). Beginning in the heart of the city, it winds through some cheeky neighborhoods, moves out past UTC, through well-manicured parks, and keeps on trailing all the way to the damn (and they are working on expanding it even more.) 20141004_133639

We also happened upon the city during a blue grass festival! (Chattanooga, you get extra credit for that one.)

20141005_141401 20141004_155125                        scultpure                      20141004_155228

They have a wonderful art district, old buildings, new buildings, hipster cafés, and plenty of gluten-free fare, including a cupcakery that won my heart. (Click on the gluten-free-chocolate-cake, peanut butter frosting deliciousness for info!) 20141005_143049

Oh, and, look… from way up here on Lookout Mountain I can see seven states! 20141007_174045 (Unfortunately, they aren’t outlined in black…I guess I just have to trust….. sigh)

Two Rocky updates:

1) Spices are finally organized! 20141006_170205

2) Trailer Pudd’n

Now, before y’all go thinking this involves another stinky-slinky, let me clarify…

Because I can’t house an enormous supply of groceries in my cozy home, I often find myself running out of this and that. Needless to say, when cooking, I’ve been employing a ton of mad creative-cooking skills of late. (Credit for such skills given to Chopped and my Mama.)

Yet, God love, him, over a mish-mosh breakfast the other day, Benj insisted, “Honey-Jayne, this breakfast is so good, you should share the recipe on our blog.”

“Hmmm. What should I call it?”

Benj sat up tall and without missing a beat, declared, “trailer pudd’n!”

So… well, here it is…. Trailer Pudd’n

Whisk together four eggs, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup coconut milk, and three hard shakes of cinnamon.

Rip apart two leftover gluten-free hotdog buns.

Chop up whatever dried fruit you have in the snack drawer (mine was three apricots.)

Shake out the dregs of the pecans from the dilapidated ziplock baggie.

Butter a glass 8×8″ dish, and toss in the hot dog buns, nuts, and fruit. Then pour the egg mixture over your dry stuff.  (I mushed it around a little, too)

Microwave on power-level-7 for five minutes. Then, microwave on full power for an additional five minutes.  (an oven would probably work great at this step, but mine was out of order…)

Cut into squares and drizzle with butter-syrup (recipe below).

Butter syrup: Mix together some leftover syrup with a dollop of mountain butter and microwave until you hear the butter pop in the microwave.

  trailerpuddinYou’re welcome.

Knock, knock…

Knock, knock?

Who’s there?

Corn.

Corn who?

Corn you believe this??

Oh vey! Illisouri

Harken this portion of our trip to wandering the world’s largest corn maze! Illisouri (Half Land-of-Lincoln, Half Show-me state) overfloweth with the muffiny, Chex-y, polenta-y, delight called corn. And as an extra bonus, the soy fields lie just across the way. If you’ve ever wondered, “what if the U.S. ran out of food one day?” I’d like to set your mind at ease. Even with obesity growing at an alarming rate, I assure you…

we’re good.

 

So, as I mentioned in my previous post, the reason for the southern Illinois portion mikeglassesof this trip was to hang with m’boi #2. vivonperkinsonDon’t worry… this gal won’t bore you with motherly anecdotes.

20140920_130702 I mean, that would be totally over-the-top, don’t ya think? 20140925_200510

 

And, then we had St. Louie…

Which wasn’t just for the sake of staying  in a lavish hotel that overlooked the Gateway to the West.

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As a matter of fact, after donning skirts and heels for the weekend, and acting all professsional-y this girl was dang-good-and-ready for a smattering trailer attire. (If you must envision fuzzy pink slippers, cold-cream and curlers, go right ahead…)

As a bonus, we visited the butterfly house! And by the way, Benj held it together very well during our walk through this enchanted greenhouse. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even know he had a phobia of fully-enclosed-butterfly-habitats until he muttered through tight-white lips, “I’m doing all I can to keep my hands pinned to my sides right now.”

You’re a trooper, Benj!

And, what timing! It looks like that guy is proposing to his girlfriend. 20140921_150609“Hey, Bro! Whatcha doing?”

 

Wait a second… I know that guy!

20140921_150316He’s my brother! Wooo-hooo! I’m gonna get me a new sister next year! Congrats you little love birds!! (Um… did they just sprout wings??)

Well, eventually, the party has to end.  bully_in_stlouis

BUT, not before church.

Of course, gypsies don’t have a home church, but if it’s Sunday morn, we’ll find us a house of worship. We’ve always been blessed to find a fellowship of believers who welcome us into their church home. Presbyterian, non-denominational, Church of Christ, Calvary Chapel… we’ve seen many and loved them all.

But this past Sunday, we were in the heart of St. Louie, folks! So, it just seemed logical that Benj and I would dress to the nines, strut from  our hotel and take a cab to the land where word the “church” takes on a whole new meaning (for us).

You see at Central Baptist, you don’t sit in a wooden pew, hands folded, just humming a hymn. Here, worship is a foot- stomp’n, hand-clapp’n, jump’n and jiving affair. And when the music stops, don’t bother sitt’n down… cuz worship aint done. All it takes is one “Hallelujah!” from the back of the room for the horn section to burst into another chorus of praise.

To my surprise, I discovered that even a voice as white as a bag of Wonder Bread can be heard in this congregation. Yes, ma’am (sir), at one point when the choir had finally ended the song, “He’s a keeper,” I heard a familiar voice to the left of me shout “He’s a Keeper!” And, bless his little heart, Benj’s proclamation brought the entire  congregation back to their feet, dancing and fanning themselves from the heat, as we all lifted our voices for another round.  “He’s a keeper… He’s a keeper!” happydance

It took us an hour to get through three songs.

It was an experience.

It was holy.

Thank you Central Baptist Church.

…And now for some deleted scenes…

Three cheers for Jakes Espresso Bar and GLUTEN FREE BAKERY! (click the delish muffin for their FB page)

pumpkinmuffin

Hey, Millikin Bronze Guy... whatcha reading?
Hey, Millikin Bronze Guy… whatcha reading?

Looking for the best burgers in the Southern Illinois? Enter through the blue door….

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I aint 'fraid of no bug!
A million cockroaches? Bring it on!

SpeedyB“Speedy B” at the go-kart races