heaven every day
… or “being on vacation”.
Well, the main headline isn't far from the truth, which is why I composed the picture above featuring Gunlaug and a rose from our own back yard. They go extremely well together, me thinks…
When going to, and staying in, the US, or for that matter anywhere in the world outside Norway, Gunlaug and I are traveling as tourists. We follow a set of rules and regulations as visitors in another country, and carry our Norwegian passports as IDs.
However, as we live here in the US for several months at a time at a place of our own, we both observe and experience all the usual ups and downs and whatever, the same as the other locals do. We may be on vacation, but we do have a place to keep and all the other trivial things to do in our local community here, as we do back home in Norway.
This is of course different from how those tourists who come over to stay for only
a few days/weeks, live while in the US. Staying at hotels or with family and friends for an
entire visit, may have its advantages in that you mainly pay for everything and do not have to
worry about much beyond what you have planned for.
This is however not how we want to spend our time (and money) while on vacation, as 1) it would not provide us with enough personal freedom, and 2) we would not get to know how life really is for those who live here.
We do of course also stay at hotels and motels for a few days now and then, while driving around
to see places and visit friends in other states, and while attending a selection of music shows.
When traveling around in the US, we behave pretty much like other tourists, maybe apart from that we are not all that attracted to the ordinary dime-a-dozen tourist-magnets. We both like it quiet, and prefer real life experiences over made-up ones.
Most of our time in the US, is spent in and around our very own home in Central Florida though.
Regarding this as our second home, we like to keep life here both comfortable and close to the
standards we are used to.
Here we use our own hands and follow our own minds to the degree possible, including doing nothing at all for days on end when that pleases us. That, is what we call “vacation”.
mostly sunny days…
Pictures show our quiet street being “invaded” by the local water and sewage
maintenance people one day in February this year, as they had to increase water pipe
dimensions to our neighbors across the street.
They dug a big hole at the edge of my front lawn for the mole they used to dig under the street, but once they had finished the job for the day we could hardly see that they had been there – real professionals.
we have roses…
Above: a near perfect specimen of “another” red rose. The bush was planted in December, and was up and running in no time. We love having a real, flowering, garden in winter-time.
… and fairly warm days in winter / spring…
Thermometer on picture shows 74°F one morning in early March, which is fine for us Norwegians. The above 85°F that we have around noon now in April, is like what we may have on the warmest days in summer in Southern Norway, and a little on the high side for comfort.
The (pictured) “hanging plants” I installed alongside the house's
front entrance, are automatically drip-watered each night.
The simple drip-watering
system I installed this winter, provides all new and old plants around the house, and also
some indoor plants, with the water they need. The system actually uses very little water, which
is an important point in an area with permanent water-use restrictions.
I have disconnected the sprinklers for my lawns, as using them within the current
restrictions – being allowed to water lawns only once a week – doesn't make much
of a difference to not using them at all. (Doesn't look like all my neighbors respect the
imposed restrictions, but that's their problem.)
It does rain here from time to time – quite heavily too at times, and over time my lawns seem to have adjusted well to “infrequent natural watering”. In the summer, when it rains the most and we are home in Norway, we rely on our gardener to look after things and keep the lawns from overgrowing.
… but also chilly nights that kill plants.
Two nights in a row in February with temperatures well below freezing as a cold-front from up north passed our area, did some damage in our flower-beds. Not too bad though … nearly all plants survived and will be back in full force later in the spring.
rest is important…
Icecream tastes good under Florida's sun, and combining refreshment with rest while on the road makes perfect sense.
We stayed in Central Florida the entire winter, as we preferred the weather down here over
what they experienced in the states further north.
As is more or less the norm in the US, we do spend quite a bit of time on the roads down here. Back on the highways after having spent time on smaller roads to see “real life in the countryside”, stopping at Rest Areas is practical.
Some back home in Norway wonder if we have been to Disneyworld since we live only about an hour and a-half away. The answer is that “no, we haven't, as there isn't much of interest for us there”. Legoland is even closer, but we have no plans for going there either.
As mentioned earlier, we generally avoid tourist-magnets. One reason is that there isn't much of interest for us at these places, and another reason is that Gunlaug cannot handle busy and crowded places well – her brain damage easily makes “mental overload” a real problem.
heading west … the journey
Writing March 2015, and it was about time to cross the northern border between Florida and the rest of the US. Being at a larger steel guitar show was on my agenda, and most of those are held north of us.
A trip across to Dallas, TX, takes time, and when infrequent stops for resting along the route are included it takes even longer. We started off from home in Weeki Wachee at around 8PM on Wednesday, and arrived at the intended end-point in Dallas a little after 4PM on Thursday – roughly 21 hours on the road (time-zone crossing included).
Driving while sleepy is not recommended, so we had a couple of hours sleep in the
back of the car.
Anyone wondering why I drive a Buick mini-wan? When “reduced” to a two-seater, two people have plenty space for short naps in the back there.
Most of the Rest Areas along the US Highways look quite nice even at night.
I do wish we had this kind of standard on Rest Areas along the major roads back in Norway, as that would make traveling up and down our long-stretched country much easier.
bridges over muddy waters…
A stop at a Mississippi Welcome Center, after having driven across that
state from east to west.
Been a while since those big guns seen near the lower edge of the picture above, was used in anger. Now they are just decorative pieces, that remind visitors about the original purpose of the old fortification along the Mississippi River the Welcome Center is a part of.
“they serve coffee inside”…
We were served coffee and stories at the Mississippi Welcome Center, so we stayed a while.
almost ready to go…
Just before leaving Mississippi, to drive cross the bridge to Louisiana, towards Dallas, TX. Looking forward to many more hours on the road – I like driving…
texas, here we come…
We were in no real hurry, but stopping at these Rest Areas for anything but to use the restrooms would be unnecessary waste of time now that we were so close to the end-point for our journey – the TSGA Jamboree 2015. So we drove on…
quite an ordinary collection…
Now and then I want to share, and write about and around, some “ordinary” pictures. Most of what goes on in most people's lives is after all quite ordinary, and, after having thought about time past for a while, I have concluded that the “ordinary” in life seems to have produced most joy and happiness in the long run.
So, that is why this posting consists of several, somewhat loosely connected, ordinary events and subjects, instead of what one might call “extraordinary events”, etc. Whatever you may think of it, this is real life storytelling.
Weeki Wachee 06.apr.2015
07.apr.2015 - added images to main headlines.
07.apr.2015 - testing a text hang-out.
08.apr.2015 - added picture of watering system. Revised text.
09.apr.2015 - added second paragraph in main article to clarify our "tourist" status, and revised the following paragraphs. Expanded on text here and there.
10.apr.2015 - added a paragraph about Disneyworld and Legoland - with links. last rev: 09.apr.2015