Saturday 18

Aloe taller then me.. haven't seen this big since Hawaii!
Aloe taller then me.. haven’t seen this big since Hawaii!
Saturday 18
After a pretty good night sleep, we were up to a crisp cool morning.  The temperature stayed in the 50’s all day with a chilly breeze that made us appreciate the warmth of the sun when we were able to bask in it.  The crowd didn’t appear slowed by the weather and remained a steady stream until about two in the afternoon.  Our first two sales of the day were surprisingly our new coral rocks to couples who lived within 50 miles of our home in Kentucky.  We had to laugh as we’ve had very little luck selling sea inspired items at shows close to home.  
We had some promising conversations with several individuals and a large sale of Scot’s eagle to be delivered to Palmetto on Monday.  Talking with other artists found that sales were the normal range of a show.. some wonderful, some less than expected.  For us, the show has been very promising.  Bill Kinney of Paragon Events does a great job of organizing and advertising for the show. 
The farmers market was open until 1, so I made a quick trip up there.  Snagged some fresh oranges, pineapple, baby watermelon and avocadoes for later meals, looking forward to some good eating. 
Wow, love these!
Wow, love these!
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Evening brought a cold wind, but we ventured out to Bill Kinney’s home for some BBQ.  Gave a ride to some fellow artists from Texas that do a fabulous job combining photography and painting to create some awesome works of art, Fushion Painting is what they are called if you want to look them up.   Talked a lot to them about shows and what they attribute their 22 year success too. 
Bill’s house is about 7 miles away from the event.  He puts on a lovely spread for the artists as a thank you for doing the show.  The food was great and the hospitality wonderful.  If you do this show, make plans to attend his dinner.. it’s worth the trip.  Thank you Bill for the invite!   We didn’t stay to long because it had grown quite chilly and none of us were dressed for it.  

Friday 17

Up around 8, made breakfast. Buckled up the camper for travel and took Bitty on a long walk. Headed to Sarasota. Got to the check in site about 10, we thought the paperwork said you could drop your campers in a lot around noon, but the show organizers say not until 6. Still like most shows people are here ahead of time. The RV lot is right behind our booth site. I’m going to count that as a super duper blessing. Went ahead and pulled into it and unloaded everything. Just set up the tent over the top of the stuff, because we won’t be able to put it out in the street where it will go until six. Lucky for us there is space behind our tent to do that. Some booths don’t have that. We are just hanging in the RV lot hoping that no one says move it. The organizer says we are good, as long as the police or city doesn’t say move. So we are crossing our fingers.
After we got everything out of the truck, I ate some food. Apparently I’m not making the usual I can go without food thing, because I’m getting totally grouchy when I get hungry and I’m so wiped. For Scot’s sake I’ll try and keep my food intake regularly so I don’t bite his head off.
Scot is now out socializing and I’m just relaxing trying to talk my back out of freaking out. UGH!
It’s now all most 5. We were able to set the camper up. Will have to move the truck into a bigger space and then set up the booth at 6. Go, Go, Go..
Well it worked. The camper got set up right behind the booth and we started setting up the booth. Of course it’s gets dark early and street lights were far apart it was a little bit problematic as evening went on. But I for one was so so happy about setting up the day before it didn’t matter. We got permission from the show organizer to spread out across from our booth, so space won’t be an issue. Finished set up around 7:30, took the dog a long walk and then crashed in the camper.
We are still trying to figure out the generator thing, what it will and will not run at the same time. But slowly we are getting it. Tomorrow begins our first show at 10! We are excited, hopeful and nervous at the same time. Really want to sell some big stuff so we can have some space!

Thursday 16

Slept in until after 8, can’t tell you how good that felt. No cats waking me up at 3 am with a hair ball or paw on my face to get up and let them out. Yep, I totally love the fact Bitty likes to sleep in, probably could have slept another hour before he asked for breakfast or to go out. Life is good!
Made our way slowly out into the real world and got some groceries. Scot wants WFI so we checked out some services before finding a Straight Talk hotspot service at Wal-mart. You buy the hotspot and activate it and then just buy your data usage. It eliminates the need for a contract; most places require a 2 year contract. It was $80 for the hotspot, then data starting at $15 for 1G. We thought this would be more versatile for us as we can use it whenever we are traveling and just buy more data. I’ll let you know how it works.
Back to the trailer, unpacked some art work to clean up and few things we couldn’t finish before we left, but are attracting enough attention that it is slow going. Despite my long rest, I feel the need for a nap. Guess my body is already in vacation mode.. I won’t say it’s working… but we are attempting it!
It’s cold here.. like in the 40’s-50’s! I know that’s nothing like it is at home… but BRRRR! I was thinking I’d be breaking out the shorts and t-shirts, but instead I’m thinking flannel and sweats. Yikes!
So I took Bitty on a late night walk. I think we are both freaked out over the watch for alligators signs, because he heard something while walking and for the rest of the walk we were jumping out of our skins at the slightly noise. Guess my imagination is crazy because I keep watching the ground expecting some hissing gator to come out of the bushes… Totally need an early night..

Wednesday 15th

Wed 15

Up at 6:30.. brrr!  Isn’t Florida supposed to be warm?  Lucky me!  Scot went out to start the generator, turned on the heat and coffee while I cuddled in bed with Bitty.  He was wore out from yesterday and happy to stay under the covers and enjoy some cuddles, even stayed there while I fixed his breakfast only coming out from under the covers when I pulled out the cheese to top it.  After a cup of coffee and a Bitty walk we started up on the truck and headed down the road.

Our plan is to reach Venice and a campground called Rambler’s Rest.  We will stay there two nights, than go to our first show- Sarasota Fine Arts Festival by Paragon Events.  We are looking forward to it, because we get to set up on Friday instead of the oh-my-sweet-heavens it’s early Sat morning set up that we will have to do for some of the shows here.  After the show we will return to Rambler’s Rest for four days before the next show.  We chose Rambler’s Rest because it’s close to our first two shows – Sarasota and Venice Arts and Crafts Festival and because they give a 50% discount for members of the Smart Club, which is a travel club for active duty military and retired military.  So sweet!

Well, we’ve arrived the campground Rambler’s Rest and set up until Friday when we’ll be off to Sarasota.  Unfortunately our spot was a little tight backing into and between Scot and I, we managed to catch the edge of the awning on a palm tree.  Great, something more to fix, but it will wait until tomorrow.  The other part of the set up plugging in, leveling everything and hooking up went fine.  Almost immediately we were welcomed by neighbors wondering where we were from and how long we were staying.  Scot and I were the “fresh meat” in the neighborhood.

The campground is very nice, lots of permanent trailers with lanais and sheds.  Seems that there are more of those then there are temporary RV’s.  Our greeters told us that there are many activities on a daily basis if we want to join in.  Scot being the social personality that he is has already met a good portion of neighbors and will no doubt find out about  these incredible activities on our stay here.  I can already feel the quiet contemplation that seems to hit me whenever we take this camper out and I want to spend my time somewhere between sleeping and writing while ignoring the outside world.

We took a long walk with Bitty after his dinner.  Walked around the campground and checked out the future spots they have us in on our trips back here the next two weeks.  One is nicer, easier to get in then this place and we will probably ask if we can stay there both weeks.  Though the neighbors are great here, so who knows?  Our biggest problem.. no WFI!  Wait that might be very relaxing..

Anyway, back to the water.  Pretty area, lots of Spanish moss and air plants on the trees and even some plants still in bloom and lots of places for sale, anyone want to buy one?  Nice ones range from $15,000-30,000+.  Only drawback is it will cost you about $500 a month to keep the trailer in the space that includes your utilities, water and sewer.  Hmmm, the weather is cool right now, but nice.  Still I wonder about hurricane season…

At the Myakka River we saw a gorgeous egret.  A group of people fishing and talking on the dock told us that it was an emperor egret. IMG_1485 Going to do more checking on that and find out; would make a nice bird to sculpt.  Walking back we had a real treat of seeing a bald eagle on the top of a tall tree.  Was incredible! I’ve never been that close to one before outside of a zoo.  We just stood and watched it for a while as it was watching us, probably eyeing Bitty!  Then it swopped down off the tree and flew away… I may have squealed a little bit inside as we were so close you could hear the sound of the wind rushing through his feathers.  Oh heck, so amazing.  The whole walk was great though I’m a little be trepidations about the watch for gators signs.  Say WHAT?!  Scot said we could lose our dog and get in trouble for feeding the alligators at the same time.. not good!

OH MY GOSH!
OH MY GOSH!

On the way back, we decided to just fix some dinner and stay in for the night instead of going grocery shopping.  This might have had something to do with the fact I was starving and exhausted at the same time.  Not a good combination, by the time I made some rice and salmon, I felt like I would bite someone’s head off if I didn’t get some food right now.  We always joked about my oldest when she was younger that she could be hungry or she could be tired, but heavens forbid if she was both.  Guess I know where she gets it from… fortunately, I got food.  Now a shower and good night’s sleep and maybe just maybe I might be able to socialize tomorrow…  Night all!

Florida 2014 – Artship

Tuesday came way too early and soon we were on the road on our adventure to Florida.  I can only say adventure because a vacation would be to claim it all relaxation and a working vacation would state it as a known quantity.  So I will say it’s an adventure something like these are the voyages of the Artship Prowler seek out new art venues and new commissions to boldly go wherever the metal detectors take us.

So we are off and running, hoping that we return with not only brighter finances, but with a lot of relaxation under our belt.  Today is our big push day, drive until we drop.  Hopefully get below any freezing line, so the water in the camper won’t freeze and to let us relax a couple of days before we have to set up at an art show.  Yesterday the water pump wasn’t working in the camper.  Scot tried to trouble shoot it, but everything seemed right except it is not pumping water out.  UGH!  I had a long talk with the God, the angels and the universe about it last night asking if the bouncing on the road might just miraculous fix it somehow.  So I’ll let you know how that goes.

The weeks leading up to our trip were filled with some triumphs, failures and a lot of stress. Amazingly enough we were able to push through and get a lot more inventory done then I had originally thought would be possible.  Somehow loaded in the truck and camper are assortment of stainless steel and copper coral walls and rocks, assorted metal herons and ibises and a vast assortment of other metal creations we hope will peak the interest and bring out the credit cards and cash of crowds of the four art shows we are attending.

I personally had a moment of teary-eyed worry today as I hugged my oldest, Bethany before she left for work, kissed my son, Russel, who was still snoozing, reminding him that he would have to get up and let the chickens and ducks out when it was light and saying goodbye to assorted cats and the dog would be staying home.  Thought it would take me a little longer to miss them.  We will miss our youngest, Kirsten, first professional play as she plays Marianne in the production of Sense and Sensibility at the Phoenix Theatre.  I know that our children are totally able to take care of the home and animals while we are away, but part of me is still panicked about being some many states away especially during winter.  The conversation last night included a lot of these worries and the acceptance that I’m going to just have to have faith that all will work out.

This voyage is all about faith: Faith that things will be ok while we are away from home, faith that our creations will sell and the trip will be profitable, faith that Scot and I will be able to happily coexist in a 28” space for over a month, and faith that we will be relax and come back refreshed and ready to take on the next challenge.

With an hour of time and a Camping World, Scot managed to replace the water pump, so we now have water.  YAH!  Once again, I’m glad I’m married to a handy fellow makes my life so much easier.  Sure I can do a lot of things, I am the daughter of a jack-of-all-trades, but it’s so nice NOT to have to figure out some things. So soon we were back on the road with everything running.

IMG_1477

Ok, just a break off the serious conversation: What’s with the bacon grease in southern cooking?  We stopped for a really late lunch at a he-that-shall-not-be-named diner.  It was kind of a spur of the moment decision, it’s 2 o’clock and we are starving, so first available food and we stopped.  It was a buffet.  I have nothing against buffets except they encourage too many trips back.  But we were a little disappointed it was the typical Southern home cooked to death type.  Still beggars can’t be choosy and we got a plate.  That’s when I took a bite of the greens and the green beans.. ugh! Bacon Grease!  Don’t get me wrong, I like bacon and use it for favoring some times.  I even occasional cook with bacon grease or add a little bit for some flavor on a dish.  I know all you deep-down-true-to-the-bone Southerns will denounce me for the Northern that I am, but the secret to flavoring with bacon and especially grease is a LITTLE!   I want to taste the food not the grease.  Enough said.. just personal taste.

We have decided to drive all the way through to Florida.  After 13 hours on the road we pulled into the welcome center on the Florida border.  Started the generator, heated up a little chili, fed the dog, Bitty, who has the patience of a saint when we traveling and ate dinner. Then we turned off the generator, jumped under the covers and rapidly fell into a dreamless sleep.

PS: Scot says he froze his ass off because someone stole the covers, I had a long talk with Bitty this morning about not doing it again. <grin>