Looking in to the Bitter Future Giftures

Kerry Kelley:

Happy New Year. Thank you Ben.

Originally posted on Ben's Bitter Blog:

BREAKING NEWS! This is your news anchor Captain Obvious! In what is unprecedented news, I’ve figured something out. We’ve done a calendar change and the year is now 2015. Do you know what that means? DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS? It means, Marty McFly and Doc Brown are going to be visiting Hill Valley later this year. That means we (meaning all of you) have a lot of work to do.  We need to get a sound stage ready that looks just like a small California town so when they show up, they think Hill Valley looks all futury. 3D images of sharks almost eating you.  Someone needs to make sure the Cubs don’t win the World Series.  Nike needs to make sure they have a prototypical self tying shoe ready.  Sports Illustrated needs to get on making a Sports Almanac that is from 1950-2000 with all the correct…

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The nuts and bolts of van travel (not for the squeamish.)

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For those of you perhaps wondering, there are a few things to be considered and dealt with regarding van travel, long term.

First, choose a traveling partner you can stand to be with in a cramped space for a long time with and make sure they have mad skills and patience. Key.

Next, let go of the frills. All of them. Now. You need to do without lots of stuff and you will soon realize you brought too much stuff. Plan accordingly for weather changes though. They will happen. Of course, you can always buy something you need in a pinch.

Make sure everything works in your van, and know how to use it. Seems like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised what you forget how to do when you haven’t done it much.

Get used to not having any private time, unless you plan it. You are in the van and together much of the time. Work it out kindly and give each other the space you need. You need it.

Plan on how to spend time when the weather is crappy and you don’t want to go out. We bought a portable DVD player and a UE Boom and watched a movie the other night rented from Red Box. We had dinner and a movie in the back of the van for small money and had a blast. (our computers are both solid state, so there isn’t a DVD player in them)

Sometimes, it just rains. And rains, and rains. You better like who you’re living with!

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Plan on having stuff go wrong. There, I said it. We noticed we were having issues with the water pump for the van (not the engine water pump) and bought one online before we left as a spare. Good thing. Less than a week out Peter was doing his thing with his mad skills switching them out one morning, I think it was in Charleston. Now it runs like it should. Got a nail in a rear tire, got it fixed today. Thankfully, it was only a slow leak and not a flat. The fellow fixed it right while it was on the van. Cool. And no charge! Thanks Pep Boys!

You do get into a routine. Like how to maneuver around in a tight space, as you do on a boat or camping. You learn to use less water to wash stuff. We don’t use the “fresh” water that is in our tank for much though, the van is from 1997 and we don’t trust the cleanliness of the tank for anything but the toilet water. We buy bottled water to wash dishes and make tea/coffee/drink. We found we only need to empty the holding tank (read toilet tank) about once a week. We try to use facilities in businesses we frequent (or not) to save on that. What really surprised us is the Propane. We use it for cooking (tea/coffee water really) and for the refrigerator (which also runs on electricity). It’s been so efficient! What a great surprise. We have a shower as well, however, we have not used it yet, it would add too much humidity to the interior of the van right now, so we stop in at YMCAs and various gyms and buy day passes to use the gym and showers.

So, what’s in that refrigerator you may ask? It’s about the size of a dorm fridge, Cream, butter, mayo, mustard, yogurt, bread, cold cuts, apples, cheese, chocolate, left overs (we love rotisserie chicken). We have cabinet space for spices, tea, instant coffee, Nutella, peanut butter, sweetener, almonds, pistachios, soups, pasta and sauce, tuna, etc.

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We also have space for our toiletries, clothes, books, pots and pans, plates, silverware and other of that sort. Peter built me a cabinet for my guitar and other music equipment, so those are safe and sound as well. We took out the third captains chair for that. He also installed 2 solar panels on the roof that feed into a sealed boat battery that is stored under the bed area. We have 2 folding bikes as well, that we haven’t even gotten to use yet.

We showed the van to several of our friends over the last few months and most of their responses varied from “wow, that’s so cool, I’m envious”, to “wow, I could never do that”.   Hey, it’s not for everyone.

So far, it’s been about 3 weeks and we haven’t killed each other or broken up yet. Nice, eh? I can’t wait to slow down on the driving soon and hang in one place for more than a few days so I can start working on my music projects again in earnest. Please head over to my website for the latest digital release. More, much more to come. And I’ll be spending a month in Nashville in Feb-March. Right now, we’re in West Palm Beach and it’s finally stopped raining. Ahhhh.

Thanks for following!  Love, Kerry

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Charleston, for Christmas. Nice gift!

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Our first view in Charleston, a sweet park across from the visitors center on Meeting Street. We walked into downtown via the back streets, a lovely stroll. The weather was persistently overcast and damp, but not too cold for our Northern bones.

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Everywhere we went there were parks and fountains.

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We went to visit the Sumpter Fort, (I’m a bit of a Civil War buff)

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The boat we took to the fort is in the background.

The boat we took to the fort is in the background.

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Dolphins escorted us back into harbor!

Dolphins escorted us back into harbor!

We also took in the Aquarium and Boone Plantation before leaving.

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Christmas eve was spent at The Blind Tiger with some new friends…the staff was in a festive mood. There was live music as well the a couple of nights before that, where I got to sit in with Tom Crawley for a couple of songs. We loved this place the most, the closest to a “local” feel establishment we found in Charleston, which can be quite toney and expensive. Good food and lovely hosts there.

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On Boxing Day we found an open laundromat that had not only free wifi, but also a great cafe for lunch! Nice!

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Time to bid Charleston adieu. On to Savannah next.

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Praline Paradise?

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Between Washington D.C. and Charleston, NC, we stopped the night in Fayetteville, NC for a sleep. We hit the road the next day and stopped at a gas station/variety/candy land and I found these beauties. Pralines. Pecans and sugar and butter, basically…they made them right there, along with fantastic fudge. Truly in the South now.

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Smiths, apparently a long time family business…yummy. Not to Peter’s taste though, so they are all mine. I love them broken up and added to vanilla ice cream. OMGoodness. Oh yeah, land of fireworks to!

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South Of The Border…In North Carolina?

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OK, heard about this place, total Kitch, had to stop in. Supposed to be the biggest tourist trap in existence. Pretty near to true, I’d say, and we didn’t even really scratch the surface.

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Did I mention fireworks already? Wow.

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A Capitol Idea

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Wow, it was cold, but sunny, in DC. Stopped by to visit the capitol and our friend Marea (who had just moved there). The metro trains are expensive, the museums and historic sites FREE and fantastic. We walked miles. Ford’s Theatre, Washington Monument, Lincoln Monument (the Mall is huge), Vietnam Memorial, 1st and 2nd World War Monuments, Congress (plus a tour), Library of Congress (tour as well) Botanic Garden, the White House. You can’t get a sense of the size and grandeur unless you actually go there. Totally overwhelmed by the beauty of the Library of Congress.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial at sunset

Vietnam Veterans Memorial at sunset

Botanic Garden

Botanic Garden

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

Reflecting pool and Washington Monument from Lincoln Monument steps

Reflecting pool and Washington Monument from Lincoln Monument steps

Congress

Congress

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Road Island stop over (yeah, I know how it’s really spelled)

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Just a short stop over in RI that I forgot to mention. Not a sleep over, a stop over. Providence is a lovely town and I found these incredible blown glass pumpkins there basking in the winter sunlight.

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