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HIT IT! The Road That Is!

My new book is out and I am so excited!!!  HIT IT! The Road That Is! The book is a resource for RVers and those interested in RVing. Book ...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Rest in Peace Richie Havens

One of my warmest memories of my life was listening to Richie Havens a few years back from the lawn of a Tucson venue on a warm summer evening. It was magic. I love his soul. Here he is singing Here Comes the Sun. http://youtu.be/VBbXKsKXyNU

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"This Restless Life" CONTEST/GIVEAWAY

Levonne Gaddy: "This Restless Life" CONTEST/GIVEAWAY:
Win 2 nights at San Francisco Petaluma KOA and a one-day tour of the wine country or a $400 Amazon.com gift certificate. 2nd and 3rd place prizes also.

Levonne Gaddy: "This Restless Life" CONTEST/GIVEAWAY

Click for more information Levonne Gaddy: "This Restless Life" CONTEST/GIVEAWAY:

•First prize winner will receive 2 nights free in a lodge at the San Francisco Petaluma KOA and dinner for two at well-known restaurant in the area. (Right in the heart of Sonoma County, California. See more about SFP KOA at http://koa.com/campgrounds/san-francisco/snapshot/)

•Second prize winner will receive a choice of author's available orginial wall art or wall print. (See some of the art at http://www.etsy.com/shop/LevonnesArtandSuch.)

•Third prize will receive a thirty-minute video phone call from the book's author.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Carnies/Carnival Came to Us!

On Monday morning a few weeks ago I sat at the dinette table of our thirty-foot Jazz fifth-wheel trailer and meditated with Oprah and Deepak Chopra. The night before had been a rough one at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds RV park as John's and my sleep was interrupted many times, but especially between 3 - 4:30 a.m., by the sound of loud diesel engines, banging and clanging metal, men talking with one another, and rolling doors being slid one way and then another. Our cavalier spaniel's warning bark at each loud crack emphasized it all.
Fear filled me as I meditated alone there in our traveling home of the previous three years. John had left for work a couple hours earlier. I felt fear for my safety. Carnival workers crunched the graveled ground outside as I breathed deeply with eyes closed and palms open. I heard myself say silently in my mind "Please God help me." (Or was it please "Mommie" help me?)
The View of the Bunkhouse from my Window
The day before, John and I watched as eight long white trailers were hauled into the park and set up in the row directly behind us. A few of the trailers had many doors. Others had only one or two. The multi-doored trailers reminded us of bunkhouses. But there were no people other than the drivers of the trucks to occupy the trailers and they left once their job was complete.
John verbalized concern for the rest of our otherwise peaceful Sunday about the prospect of being surrounded by carnies, thieves and meth heads. I told him that he was expecting the worse and to let it go. He wondered over and over why the camp host had put us in a location knowing that the carnie bunkhouses and trailers would be next to us. He feared that the carnies would be up all hours of the night talking and drinking and going on. I reminded him that there is a 10 p.m. quiet rule and tried to soothe his concerns with calm words about taking things as they come.
I did not want to be afraid. I wanted to go with the flow. Deal with what was when it was there to deal with. I did not want to anticipate the worst.
We decided to watch a movie before bedtime. "Master" had a talented cast who acted out the journey of one lost soul's struggle with some hidden inner demon that he himself did not know existed. He instead focused his talents and skills on making beverages that contained anything and everything that he might mix and turn into a cocktail - paint thinner, radiator water, elixirs, fine or cheap rum or vodka, whatever was around.
Carnival Workers Making Use of the Space Beneath the Bunkhouse
The Master and his cult followers tried to cure the lost soul through hypnosis and compulsive exercises designed to tear him down then build him back into a better man. Maybe they succeeded because by the final scene of the nearly two-and-a-half-hour movie, he was able to connect in the biblical sense with a real woman, though she was a stranger. And as he related with the stranger woman, he spoke the same tremendously seductive talk to her that the Master had talked to him.
Both John and I felt dismayed by the paucity of change in the main character from beginning to end of the movie. He started out as a alcoholic looser and seemingly ended the same way. Regardless of our dismay, we both felt the movie was extremely well-acted by Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman Jr. I tell about the movie to set the tone for our previous day's ending and our night's beginning before being awakened in the wee hours of the morning by the carnies as they set up their camp.
Before meditation, I drank coffee and watched through the tinted windows of The Jazz (that served as a one-way mirror due to the absence of light inside and the dim drizzly light outside). The carnival people reminded me of a traveling troupe of group home residents. Young men with tics smoked cigarettes and adjusted their over-sized pants. One thin man in a forest green jacket with its hood pulled over his head walked past within inches of my window. I could not see his face and decided that he had something to hide.
Older men gathered. One had the appearance of someone with a mouth absent teeth. As he clinched his gums, his lips protruded so far as to look like a duck bill. A fat man with a mid-calf-long black t-shirt that exposed bare ankles and flip flops walked by as casually and comfortably as someone strolling down a beautiful beach, until he harked and spit. One man with a dirty bandana tied around his head rushed by with a double dog food bowl. Maybe to fill the one- liter plastic Seven Up bottle that sat upside down in the bowls' water hole. Cigarette smoke wafted up into the moist air toward the overcast sky. A skinny woman, no man, no woman with long stringy hair under a dark blue baseball cap carried her backpack over one shoulder toward the bathhouse. I observed adults of every age and most races. I heard quick choppy Spanish that sounded familiar after decades of living in the west and southwest.
All this I watched before I found the recorded meditation on my computer, hit the play button, settled into my seat with eyes closed and open palms. With eyes shut, my fear and the noise from outside seemed to intensify. I reminded myself to return to repeating the mantra silently each time I became distracted by what occurred outside and inside my body.
I asked myself ’Why do these people frighten me? Because they live minimally? Am I worried that they will want what I have? Take something from my car, my RV? Maybe steal my dog? Maybe take my money?' I feared the thought of taking Gingee out again and being amongst them. What is my discomfort with these apparently poor souls? A part of me reasoned that the people outside were probably harmless, maybe some even kind and friendly. They do work in the hospitality industry after all I reasoned.
Concluding my meditation session, I reminded myself that this is the life of a fulltime RVer. Sometimes we find ourselves in common places encountering not so common humanity. Sometimes we are forced to dig deeply within ourselves to know that we are safe although the environment is foreign and conjures fear-filled thoughts and fantasies.
In that moment I was grateful for contrasting experiences. For I knew I would feel so much happier when I returned from the difficult to the familiar. When I was to be back environed by that which evokes beautiful and peace-filled thoughts, my happiness would seem that much grander.
(Reflection: Upon returning to our safer-feeling little campground, I was out walking Gingee one morining and it occured to me that I'd let my fear win again. My fear kept me from knowing the experience of the carnival workers. There was a world that I knew little to nothing about and I let it all slip past, or better said I hid from it. What an adventure it could have been had I been able to overcome my fear and meet some of the carnival workers and get a closer look into their lives. Everyday provides a test to overcome something as a writer and photographer and a fellow human being.)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Here's my list of how to survive in the little box with a man and a dog...

Survival With A Man and Dog in a Three-Hundred-Square-Foot Box

Posted by Levonne Gaddy on Apr 17, 2013
One of the most-often-asked questions of me from non-fulltime RVers is “how do you stand being that close to your husband all the time?” John and I have shared life in the three-hundred-foot fifth wheel trailer that we affectionately call “The Jazz” for over three years...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Please SHARE - ebook giveaway

Please SHARE - ebook giveaway: "This Restless Life: A dream chased through California parks in an RV" ebook giveaway starts this Wed., 4/17 through Sat. 4/20. Bo...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

John's top 10 survival tips for small-space living with another person...


I interviewed John (my husband) the other day to find out what his survival tips are for a couple living in a small space (such as a 300-square-foot Jazz fifth-wheel trailer). He's an expert. We've been doing just this for over three years now.

Here's what he said:

1.  First of all, before going into the small space with another person, assess for compatibility. Focus on attitude. Is the other person flexible, adaptable, mindful of the other, willing to change set habits if called for, willing to learn new things? (This is like the management philosophy of "Hire for attitude and train for skills.")

2.  Living in the small space must be a dream or part of a dream for both parties. Otherwise it's not an advisable lifestyle to adopt.

3.  Share responsibility for engineering the small space and the associated equipment. We both searched together for the right RV before we hit the road. And all alterations to the interior were discussed and agreed upon before changes were made.

4.  Patience. One must wait often. To use the one bathroom. To get to the trashcan under the kitchen sink when the other is busy with meal preparation.  And so on...

5.  Let the small stuff slide. Living in a small space fulltime with someone intensifies personal differences. There is much to chose from when it comes to the battles one can fight.

6.  Work as a team on everything with a fairly clear and agreed-upon division of labor.

7.  Have lots of outdoor time.

8.  Let the other person know what really bugs you about what s/he is doing and ask him/her kindly to change a behavior. For instance, John has asked me kindly many times during our big adventure to please refrain from slamming the RV door when I exit. He want me to close it gently. It jangles his nerves and hurts his ears when the door is slammed. This is where that willing to change behavior comes in. I had to become mindful that I was "slamming" the door and consciously do the door closing differently. It took a while to get this skill down and I still forget sometimes. But John just kindly reminds me again. (Side note - the "kindness" helps with my "willingness.")

9.  Sense of humor. Laugh at every opportunity!

10. Shared division of and responsibility for ongoing upkeep of the lifestyle - necessary resource gathering (shopping, earning money, etc.) and ongoing maintenance of the interior and exterior of the RV and vehicles.   

At the conclusion of our interview, I realized that John and I have many of the same things on our "survival tips for couples living in a small space" but there are some differences too. I'll share my list in the near future. What are the top two things on your list?

 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Levonne's Top Ten "Comfort" Movies

You’ve heard of “comfort” food? Well, I have a list of “comfort” movies. Some of my favorite movies are over a decade old. I’ve seen all of them more than once and some as many as five or six times. Viewing one of these favorites can make for an enjoyable evening when John and I are traveling from one place to the next and want to just relax and to be comfy and cozy at home in The Jazz. How many of them have you seen? (published today at <RVT.com>)

Cocoon is a 1985 science fiction film directed by Ron Howard about a group of people who all live in the same senior housing complex and who become rejuvenated after swimming with alien “eggs”. Don Ameche, Maureen Stapleton, Steve Guttenberg and Jessica Tandy are among the talented cast of the movie filmed in Florida. You can’t help but feel good about aging after watching this beautiful, love-filled adventure.
A River Runs Through It was made in 1992. It was directed by Robert Redford and was one of Brad Pitt’s early movies. I remember thinking that both Redford and Pitt were such heartthrobs. This movie is a period drama during the Prohibition era through the Great Depression. Nothing compares to those Missoula, Montana fly fishing scenes that are sprinkled throughout the entire movie. If you love fishing and Brad Pitt, you’ll love this movie.
Walk the Line is the 2005 gaze into country singer Johnny Cash’s (played by Joaquin Phoenix in an Academy Award-nominated role) transformation to music icon. From his beginnings as an Arkansas farm boy to a Memphis’ Sun Studios legend, his story unfolds perfectly. Reese Witherspoon won an Oscar for her portrayal of Cash’s wife June in this film. Whether you like Johnny Cash or not, it’s one great story.
Fargo, the 1996 American crime film by the Coen brothers which stars Frances McDormand as the pregnant police chief (she won an Oscar for her performance) is a classic. William Macy plays a car salesman who hires two criminals to kidnap his wife. Everything goes hay wired from there and you got to love those Dakota accents as much as the story about the murder investigations itself!
The Sixth Sense is a 1999 American supernatural horror film. Frankly I don’t usually like supernatural or horror films but this movie was fabulous in every way. Cole, a troubled little boy is able to see and talk to the dead and a troubled child psychologist (played by Bruce Willis) tries to help him. What a powerful story of overcoming one’s fears and losses along with being a phenomenal ghost story!
On Golden Pond is the1981 drama with Henry Fonda, Katherine Hepburn and Jane Fonda. Jane’s character is the adult daughter of Henry and Katherine’s characters. The aging couple spends each summer at Golden Pond. The daughter leaves her stepson with her parents at the lake while she and new husband take their own vacation. Watching Henry Fonda’s character struggle with his own mental and physical decline as he makes a remarkable relationship with his estranged daughter’s unhappy stepson makes for a fabulous, tension-filled and inspiring story.
Forrest Gump is the 1994 epic romantic comedy-drama starring Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise and Sally Field. We follow slow-witted Forest Gump (Hanks) through several decades of his life – 1994 to 1982. Filmed in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, the movie oozes southern culture. Forest’s sixties experience dominates the movie along with all the sixties music that makes the soundtrack. If you love anything Vietnam era, you certainly will love this movie.
Shawshank Dedemption made in1994 is the drama starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. Both men are fabulous in their roles as prison inmates. Their friendship and making their way successfully during through their stays in the prison is a journey well worth taking with these two great actors. I love this movie!
I saw October Sky when it came out in 1999 with my young niece and nephew in my home state of North Carolina. The film was set in East Tennessee and was the best film imaginable for us to see together. Jake Gyllenhall, Chris Cooper and Laura Dern gave performances that not one of us has ever forgotten. The movie is based on the true story of a coal miner’s son who was inspired by the launch of Sputnik 1 to take up rocketry. The father was against his son’s interests but the son went on to become a NASA engineer. A great family movie!
The 1985 film A Trip to Bountiful stars Geraldine Page, John Heard and Rebecca DeMornay. Page as Carrie Watts is obsessed with returning to the home of her youth before she dies. Her son and daughter-in-law whom she lives with during the 1940′s are absolutely opposed to the idea. If you have ever longed to go “home,” this movie will touch you heart deeply. It is truly a timeless piece.
I hope my list is helpful and I hope you’ll see some of these if you haven’t already. What are some of your favorite movies that you try to keep on hand in your RV? When is your favorite time to watch movies?

 

PGAuthor Levonne Gaddy's book "This Restless Life: A dream chased through California parks in an RV" chronicles her and her husband's relocation adventures from the southwest to Central Coast California during the Great Recession of 2008-2009. They encounter many twists and turns including a dead body found near their camp hosting camp site, problems finding work and multiple threats of floods. @Levonnegaddy