June 22-24th weekend

MISSISSIPPI RIVER STATE PARK, MARIANNA ARKANSAS 36177252_10156310069257988_6904830583168303104_n

June 22…

Friday was a hot day. In Arkansas, summer days are usually hot and humid (which makes a 80 degree day feel more like 95 degrees). Friday was no different. On days like this you never know if a thunderstorm will drop in on you. My camping weekend got started late because I rescued two dogs on this day. One from a hoarding situation in Mississippi (a dachshund named Charlie) and a beagle mix on the way back (abandoned at a truck weigh station) named Birdie Bee. Here are their sweet pictures….

Friday afternoon I drove SPIRIT to my favorite spot at Mississippi River State Park. I was able to get everything set up before my Mom arrived later that evening.

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Of course Abby would rather stay in the air conditioning! 🙂36176453_10156310068777988_344136157262512128_n

On Friday evening some of my friends came to visit. Love seeing these little kiddos. Abby loved seeing them too. It is always nice being able to hang out with friends outside in nature.

It was a beautiful day!

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Saturday was a peaceful morning with a cup of coffee and a crossword puzzle. It was an overcast day and the temperature was in the low 80s. The breeze was nice too. 36188154_10156310069412988_1322959487488753664_n

The morning was spent with Abby. I got to sit in solitude reading a John Grisham book “The Whistler”. We also walked around and enjoyed being outside.

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Later in the day, Mom and I rented Kayaks and enjoyed the view from the water. Kayak rentals are $40 per night or $20 per day. I think I am going to invest in two kayaks of our own. The breeze was blowing and the weather was beautiful. I didn’t even sweat that much (which is unusual for a June afternoon). The cold Yuengling Light was also good! I am so happy this is something Mom and I got to do together. There is nothing more priceless than spending time with family. Mom also kicked butt in the kayak. She stayed ahead of me the whole time. She was cruising!

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Except when I had to get a selfie of us both! 36276959_10156310069762988_7493985192919433216_n36188345_10156310069807988_8018439556330160128_n36256142_10156310069837988_6711938443649220608_n

This is where I was singing Elton John “Tiny Dancer” fairly loud. I had Pandora going on my phone. Mom finally told me I needed to let Elton John sing. haha 36087282_10156310069932988_6630011676190048256_n

What was really cool is seeing SPIRIT from the water. I realized I am truly blessed to be enjoying a day on the water and being able to RV on the weekends. SPIRIT is my home away from home. My happy space. There is nothing like feeling wrapped in God’s beauty while outside. Enjoying all the little things. Enjoying the #rvlife

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Saturday night we enjoyed a steak dinner. It was SO GOOD! THANKS Mom for being such a great chef! Steak, salad, and sauteed veggies.

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Mom enjoying the end of the sunset…

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We did have some storms during the night. I was able to catch this lightening strike across the lake around midnight.

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The next morning began with a beautiful sunrise. I had to thank God for such a beautiful masterpiece. I am always grateful to be alive each day that I wake up. We made Belgium waffles with coffee for breakfast! These were so GOOD!

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After breakfast, we went kayaking. We had to burn off those waffle calories! haha. It was windy today with some blue skies. It was starting to get humid and warm back up.

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I absolutely loved kayaking. It was a great workout. It was a freeing feeling to be out on the water away from all the troubles and stress of the world. It was so peaceful and beautiful. I know I am going to invest in two kayaks so no matter what lake we visit, we can explore from the water.

The funny part of Sunday morning was trying to walk past the geese to our camp after kayaking. We were scared they were going to chase us. A nice fisherman helped us get by them unharmed. They were taking over the beach and the swimming area this weekend. The swimming area was actually closed.

A few more random nature pictures from the weekend.

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White walking back to the RV, I looked at this sweet face. She has been with me for nine years. She has been loyal and loving through the years. I am so glad she gets to enjoy these trips with Mom and me. This face always makes me smile.

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And then it was time to go home. Back to reality of life.

Until the next trip,

A happy camper and her dog

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xoxoxoxo,

Leslie and Abby Galloway

#happycamperandherdog #rvlife #spirit #survivor #getoutdoors #kayaking #mississippiriverstatepark

June 1-3rd… A weekend with friends and family.

June 1st..

Friday is here! And this is the day my nephew Gray arrives. It is also the day that my friends Dustin and Sara join us.  Dustin also just got an RV and will be camping next door to us.

This is a morning view with Abby. 34075977_10156252671797988_1951036680014135296_n

Today was spent hanging out with Abby and relaxing. A day of solitude.

 

I kept lunch simple today. These are so good!

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Not much to tell about the afternoon because it was nothing but rest and solitude…

Mom and Gray arrived around 4:00.. The first thing he wanted to do was drive Spirit. He loved exploring the RV and the outdoors.

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Over the weekend, we met this amazing couple from Indiana.. Andy and Brandy. They were traveling back home from their trip to Galveston. They had two little dogs traveling with them also. Abby got to hang out with Bo Joe. They were traveling in a class A which was really cool. It looked just like the inside of a home. They spent Friday night and left Saturday afternoon. We had a great time getting to know them.

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Not long after Gray arrived, we had a nasty storm. The RV started rocking, the winds were tough, and there was waves on the water.

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But Gray didn’t mind, he just watched his movie… While I kicked back and had a cold beer. haha

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Dustin and Sara arrived in their class C RV. It was really cool to have some friends drive up and hang out doing the RVing too. This was a maiden voyage for them as well. Even though Dustin has been camping most of his life with his family in other types of campers.  We enjoyed great company, cold beer, and for supper Dustin grilled some steaks and veggies.

 

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Friday night sunset..

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This was our patio and view for the weekend…. Amazing! 34386179_10156258151612988_1869795058622922752_n

Friday night ended with Gray sleeping with me. Let me just say, sleeping with a 2 year old and a dog on a futon is not easy… Not much sleep! 🙂 The futon was comfortable with a busy toddler kicking all night. haha.

 

June 2…

Saturday morning sunrise, beautiful early morning scenes, and a crossword puzzle.

Life is good.

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Starting my day off with peace and quiet while Gray is sleeping. This is the best part of the day. A cup of Hazelnut coffee and a nice breeze off the water. It was foggy this morning but cleared up. About 80 degrees but heating up! Its gonna be a hot day!

Abby stayed cool in the baby pool!

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Dustin and Sara helped Gray catch a fish today. He loved it!

 

Random pictures from the day! Enjoying the little things is what makes life so much better.  Kids will always remember the fun times spent with them.

 

Gray loved the lights!

 

Saturday night we ate with Dustin and Sara. Dustin cooked hamburgers and hot dogs and grilled veggies. YUM!

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We hung out and enjoyed the company, good food, and hot weather.

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But the night wasn’t over…

Around 12:00am the weather channel alarm went off on my phone saying we were under a tornado warning and to find shelter immediately. I woke mom up and we took Gray and Abby to the closest rest area where we waited out the storm with 9 others. All scared. The park rangers did a great job alerting everyone to take cover. They also checked on all campers during and after the storm. We finally got to bed about 2am. The threat was over. I think Mother Nature broke us in good on our first weekend RVing,

Some of the wind damage in our camp.

 

But the next morning, God showed his grace and beauty…

We thanked God for the new day. It was 70 degrees, breezy, and beautiful.

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Gray and I spent time walking around with Abby Sunday morning.

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Gray loves Dee Dee hugs and kisses! 34382064_10156258143877988_2557871853351731200_n

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Our cell phone service was out so we decided to come home before lunch. We didn’t want Gray’s parents worried about him. We had such an amazing time at Mississippi River State Park. This will definitely be a frequent place for us to camp since it is so close to home and easy to drive to. We met so many amazing and friendly people. We made memories with family and friends. And honestly, that is the best part. I hope Gray always will remember his camping adventures with his Dee Dee and Aunt Essie. We loved having him be a part of our first weekend RVing. I also loved having my sweet fur baby with me.

So… time to go home.

This is where Abby rode part of the way home. She is not a fan of riding on long trips.

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Time to close this first chapter of our RVing life.

Until the next great adventure..

xoxoxo,

a happy camper and her dog

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The Maiden Voyage..

May 31st… The Maiden Voyage.

This was the first day of our great adventure in SPIRIT. As I am typing this on the first full morning, I am looking at the most serene and peaceful view. It is about 75 degrees now. Here is a my view…

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But let’s begin with yesterday… My first time driving a 31 foot RV anywhere.

Her name is Spirit.

We are camping 30 minutes from home at the Mississippi River State Park. It has been recently renovated and is beautiful. It is a hidden gem. But in order to get here from Helena, I had to drive through road construction with those orange cones very narrow on the road. I was laughing that I was being tested at my driving skills on the first day! Speaking of driving skills, I was able to back Spirit in her narrow spot on the first try! Yes! I was excited about that.

Here is Spirit in her spot..

The first day was restful and learning how to operate Spirit and hook things up and find out how easy (or difficult) camping can be. So far, it has been very enjoyable.  Here are some pictures from the first day.

 

Mom and I are on this adventure together. And who can go camping without eating fish? My brother in law Sam and sister Amy caught some crappie and we got to eat a delicious meal last night. Thanks to my Mom’s amazing cooking! Crappie, homemade fries, and slaw. And of course my favorite beer… Yuengling Light.

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For most of the day, we sat and admired the water and view. In peace. No outside noise. No phones. No anything but nature and its beautiful sounds. The sunsets here are amazing. Here are pictures of the first night at sunset.

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These are the moments when I talk to God. When I thank Him for his love and grace. When I thank Him for all the beauty and little things. I am happy to be alive and free of cancer. And when I get to see sunsets like this, I am truly blessed.

The first night came to a close with Mom and I watching a movie on our smart TV using my cell phone as a hot spot for wifi. (We will need this when we have a 2 year old boy tomorrow in the heat). Here is Abby, on the futon bed that we slept on last night. It was very comfortable. And Spirit was very cool last night. AC worked great!

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June 1st…

Sunrise…

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Again, thanking God for His glorious masterpiece. I don’t think this could be any more beautiful. This is from our camp site. Right outside the door. Isn’t this just amazing?

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And here is my happy dog (but still have asleep for picture) Abby…

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So we are caught up to now.. It is around 75 degrees and overcast.

First morning, just relaxing and watching the water and fishermen go by on their small motor boats. The rain is lightly falling as I type. I love to take pictures, eat, listening to music, play with my dogs, and write. So most of my blogs will be about all of these things. I want to keep all of our journeys in this blog. Just like someone would do with a photo album. Except in the time of technology, we can now to things like this instead.

Did I mention I was here with my amazing mother? These are the times you wish you could just freeze the moments… I am truly blessed to have her as a mother. She has been with me through a lot. And I thank God for her each day.

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Today is Friday and we have friends coming today that will be camping in the next lot. We are going to cook out and enjoy the kiddos. My two year old nephew Gray will be joining us this afternoon for the rest of the trip. I can’t wait to see him and see how he enjoys camping and the outdoors. I always think kids raised outside tend to be so much happier and connected to life. This will be so much fun!

Meeting RV people at the nearby camps today has also been really cool… Will post more about that in next blog!

Day two of blog for Mississippi River State Park June 1st weekend will be tomorrow.

Hope you enjoy our reading our adventures as we begin a happy camper and her dog journeys.. Please comment below and say hello!

xoxox

~Leslie

 

April 30, 2018- A Survivor and her Spirit

Today was the day I have been waiting on for over 20 years! I bought my first RV!

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She is a 2014 Itasca 31 footer. She has 28,000 miles. She is in great condition. 

Her name is SPIRIT! How fitting! A breast cancer Survivor and her SPIRIT! 

She has two slides, a bunkhouse, a sleeper above the cab and a bedroom in the back. Here are some pictures of the inside at time of purchase. 31659539_10156181881712988_3529668982153936896_n31671556_10156181881702988_4742213020900392960_n31518165_10156181881767988_7744883339672158208_n31681472_10156181881937988_5345752073126281216_n31673012_10156181881927988_3610944031275614208_n

I have found exactly the layout I am looking for. Of course, if you know me and my love for decorating, she will be painted on the inside and some minor upgrades before we begin our journey. I want her to feel like home! 

This has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. After cancer, you learn to embrace life and learn how precious time is. Time is truly priceless. And good health is also priceless. 

As we were leaving the dealership, Dreams by the Allman Brothers Band came on the radio. I knew then Dad was smiling down on this decision. ABB was his favorite band and we grew up listening to them. 

“Just one more mornin’, I had to wake up with the blues, pulled myself out of bed, and put on my walking shoes. And went up on the mountain to see what I could see…”

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I was smiling and singing Dreams loudly as we drove away with SPIRIT. 

I am wanting to see the world with my mom and Abby, my 9 year old shih tzu. Both have been with me through breast cancer in 2015-16 and the death of my Dad in 2011. If you don’t know me, I had breast cancer stage 3 three years ago. It was a tough battle. 8 rounds of chemo, 33 rounds of radiation. Losing my hair, being sick, having a hysterectomy after that… you get the message. The lesson here is to enjoy life and be grateful for health and happiness and family. And thank God for all his blessings. 

I am spending the next couple of weeks organizing and getting things ready for the first camping weekend. We are going to camp close to home so we can make sure everything works on RV and we practice learning how to use everything on it. There are a lot of things to learn! 

I am also learning how to blog. This is my first one! I am looking forward to taking many scenic pictures and traveling to some cool places. I hope to write and photo all the places I go and share my RV adventures with you. This blog will be a work in progress until I learn everything about blogging as well. I hope you will follow all of our adventures of the open road and seeing new places. I am making a list of places I want to see… Colorado, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Redwood Forest, Maine, Connecticut, etc… So many places to see! 

A little about me…. I am 46 years old, single with no kids but have 10 dogs at home! I am a Christian and love photography as a hobby. I also love to cook and eat! (I will be posting food pics as well on this journey). I am a mental health therapist and a dog rescuer. Both jobs can be difficult and stressful at times. But I love doing both. I have been a therapist for 18 years. And I founded Meals on Wheels for Helena West Helena Dogs around 8 years ago. It is a 501c3. You can find us on Facebook. This is a true passion and I also feel it is a calling to do this type of work. There will be trips in Spirit transporting dogs to forever homes during the year as well. I will blog about those dogs when we travel with them. 

But I will be taking breaks during the year from work and rescue work and traveling in SPIRIT with my dog and my mom to enjoy travel and adventures. 

SO.. stay tuned… I am getting SPIRIT ready for her first trip! It will be a local trip to either Bear Creek in Marianna Arkansas or Horseshoe Lake near West Memphis Arkansas.  The next blog will be about our first adventure! I am so excited that we are almost ready for traveling. 

This HAPPY CAMPER AND HER DOG are READY for the RV LIFE!

xoxo,

Leslie and Abby