Archives for December 2014

Welcome To The Farm

As I look around from side to side of the road, I am humbled and amazed.  The cold, precarious drive south instantly became worth it once I headed down the long dirt driveway towards my new winter digs.

Woods with palmettos and moss filled hammocks; pastures and cows and fields. Welcome to farm life!  There is no beach here, that’s for sure.  I follow the narrow farm road.escape42

A rugged, tattered, one story wooden building stands at the end of the road; the Welcome Center.  There are several cars in the small parking area.  I park and walk up to the open door.  No one is there.  I walk through the small, rustic building, noting the walls are lined with shelves of honey, and toys, and other items for sale.  It feels like history here.  It feels like the salt of the earth here.  It is a quaint, sweet, homey place I instantly connect with.  They believe in the honor system, indeed…..I cross through to another door that leads the way out to an area where people are congregating.  Visitors are looking at the chickens.  Chickens?  I approach and watch along with them.


Oh oh.  I am hooked.  Totally hooked.  I love chickens.  This place has chickens.  Look at the babies!  Mama is teaching them how to scratch and hunt for food!  Look at that beautiful rooster!  How will I ever be able to leave?Welcome3




I meet the woman in charge:  Lanie.  With her hair tied back, clad in cowboy boots, dungarees and a worn, plaid cotton shirt, she is clearly a woman of the earth.  From this earth. She greets me, and we discuss where I will be staying.  It’s back down the dirt road I just came in on.  We spend the next hour trying to get me and the Toy Hauler turned back around.  There’s not enough room for me to turn around.  A white truck slowly approaches.  Charlie, the living legacy of this property, leans out the window and says “why don’t you just have her circle around through the cow pasture?”

I have been in some ‘situations’ with this Toy Hauler of mine, but I can’t say I’ve ever driven it through a cow pasture.  Now I can.  They open a cow gate across the road, just about 10 feet wide, and I pull through it, heading towards the cows, make a wide circle, and come back out, now able to get back down the driveway in the right direction.  I feel like a true country cowgirl somehow.  Laney hops in and we head to the “Learning Center” area.

A large, rustic one story screen house with a commercial kitchen attached, the Learning Center is just that, a place for people to gather and participate in learning programs.  Laney lives on site across the yard from it in an adorable little trailer she calls “The Tiny House”.   I pull up into the event parking area.  We get out and look at the options for where we will park me for the winter.  Tomorrow she will have her guy make it happen.  For now, just rest, renew, relax, and get comfortable.  I take the kids for a walk to get a peek at the place.

I am home!  This place is exactly where I am supposed to be!  I am so blessed.  I feel overwhelmed with gratitude.  I feel overwhelmed with peace.  I feel overwhelmed with joy.  I feel overwhelmed with….

OMG, what was that?

OH!  What was that noise?

I peer into the thick moss and palmettos.  Alligators? Nothing.  Hmmm.  I wait.  Jack is all ears, looking into the brush with me.  We wait.  Listening.  I hear something again. Welcome4 I look up to discover oranges hanging from a moss filled tree.  What?  How cool is that?  Then I catch a flicker of movement.  Suddenly a deer busts through the brush and off to the left.  It is catching up to—it looks like—catching up to another 4 deer.  But wait, I see yet another 3, no, 4 deer.  I can’t get a firm count, but it appears there is a herd of perhaps 10 deer right in front of us.  They carefully step through the woods in front of us.

Oh oh.  I am hooked.  Totally hooked.  This place has deer.  Many deer.  This feeds my soul, even if I cannot hunt them. And look at the fruit trees! How will I ever be able to leave?

We continue on, following a fence line.  I look out into that field and spot two horses.  WHAT?   Oh oh.  I am hooked.  Totally hooked.  I love horses.  This place has horses.  I am instantly reminded of days gone by with my sweet Precious, and Sassy Girl.  I miss having a horse so much.  This place has horses.  How will I ever be able to leave?

Welcome1We continue on, ending up back at the Welcome Center.  Poinsettia is growing in front of their wrap around deck.  The chickens are milling around.  Jack is getting anxious and pointing them.  The girls spot the chickens and are curious.

This place is fantastic!

We turn around and head back to the Toy Hauler.  It’s been a long day.  Feeling like I’m in a dream, a very happy dream, I get everyone settled and fed, and we turn in for the night.  It’s 60 degrees.  I open the windows and look out to see a little vineyard. A vineyard?  This can’t be for real!  A VINEYARD?  I’m in heaven.

Welcome to the farm, indeed.

Life is an adventure!  Are you waiting for an invitation to experience an amazing life full of adventure, or do you just go make your own?  There are lots of inspirational stories under my blog category, “PRs Amazing Outdoor Adventure Update”.  If you find yourself not doing what you love, I invite you to contact me for help to create your own, amazing adventure.  Please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in exploring the possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures.




Banana Boats

What’s an evening bonfire without Banana Boats?  A simple, delicious camping treat—or any time treat for kids and adults! BananaBoat1

8 Bananas (one per person)
4 Hershey Chocolate bars
1 bag Jumbo Marsh Mellows
  1. Hold a banana in your hand so it curves upwards.
  2. Carefully slice across the top of the banana all the way down almost to the bottom peel, without cutting through the peel, from end to end of the banana.
  3. Gently pull the sides of the banana “meat” apart to create a “boat” look.
  4. Take one marsh mellow and cut it into thirds, placing the pieces inside the boat.
  5. Place one Hershey square between each piece of marsh mellow (4 total)BananaBoat2
  6. Wrap the banana in aluminum foil, making sure the foil closes on the curved top of the banana.
  7. Repeat steps 1 – 6 for all of the bananas.
  8. Place the bananas on top of hot coals in the bonfire –curved side up.
  9. Cook on the fire about 5- 8 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat and distribute one per person.
  11. Open up foil, using the foil as a plate, and eat Banana Boat with a spoon. BananaBoat3


Sound yummy? If you try it out let me know what you think! Check out more great recipes under my Killer Cookin’ blog category, and please feel free to share with others who may find interest and value in PR Brady AdVentures! 



Countdown To A Sub-Zero Escape Part 4

Countdown To A Sub-Zero Escape Part 4

Crossing the Florida border is like entering a new galaxy.  The truck runs better, the Toy Hauler pulls easier, the dogs are calmer, and I am so excited I can’t stand it!  Our journey across the panhandle is far from scenic; simply freeway and lots of speeding drivers.   Hello Florida Speed Demons!  Good grief, I need a sign to paste across the back of the Toy Hauler that says ‘Heavy Load, Moving Slow, Turning Wide’.  Seriously.  I will drive to the very last rest stop before hitting I75 south bound.

It’s 11:30pm and the traffic is insane.  I pass a traffic sign that says “Heavy traffic ahead, find alternate routes”.  Taking a break until most drivers are off the road is a great idea.  I have no problem napping until 3am.  I see massive flashing lights closing the gap behind me as I pull off I10, heading up the rest stop ramp.  As I pull into a parking spot, I watch10 speeding squad cars, followed by half a dozen police motorcycles, then a string of 8 beautiful, streamline, metallic gold coach buses with gold running lights on the sides, flying down the highway, with another cluster of squads and cycles bringing up the rear.  They are in one helluva hurry to something!  I grab the dogs, jump in the back, and am out cold in a matter of minutes.

My alarm goes off at 3am on schedule.  No.  Really?  Ugh.  Snooze…. Snooze……Snooze……. Snooze….4am…Snooze….4:30….Snooze…..5am….ohkay, ohkay…okay…… and then we’re back on the road.

Thank the Gods we are heading straight south, or it would be a real challenge to deal with the sunrise.

There are virtually no cars on the highway.  Sunday—the day of rest!  A couple more stops, a couple more hours, a little bit of construction, and soon, I see familiar territory from last year.  My heart races as I pass familiar exits.  I am filled with anticipation as I get closer to Sarasota. We are almost there.  Almost to paradise.

Oh I just know this place will be amazing!

My exit is coming up shortly.

We take the exit.  It is away from the gulf, the beaches, the action.  We are being directed into the bush.  The rural.  The farmland.  The “old” Florida landscape of jungle and ranch land.  There are canopies of old trees loaded with Spanish moss across the narrow roads void of shoulders or maintenance.  Ranches, and horses and cattle stretch across the land as far as the human eye can see. escape41 And within 25 minutes of leaving the interstate, we are here.

I pull over on the side of the road just short of the driveway and take a deep breath.

Subzero Escape to Paradise is achieved!



Life is an adventure!  Are you waiting for an invitation to experience an amazing life full of adventure, or do you just go make your own?  There are lots of inspirational stories under my blog category, “PRs Amazing Outdoor Adventure Update”.  If you find yourself not doing what you love, I invite you to contact me for help to create your own, amazing adventure.  Please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in exploring the possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures.




I Am Jack –Part 2—One Crazy Human!

Hi!  I am Jack!  I am a good boy!  I am a Pointer, and I am very well trained!  I am an excellent hunter! This is my first chance to write to you again—my human has been keeping us very busy.

About my new human…

She is one crazy human.  Can you believe she took me away from that wonderful, perfectly warm and comfortable house to ride in a kennel in her truck in cold and snow?  Even though my kennel was in the back seat, I could not hear anything about where we were going.  She did not say a word.

I thought she was taking me somewhere to give me away.

I was so scared.

But she took those two hairy females along, and all four of us rode for days and days.  For the first few days it was very cold and wet.  Every time she stopped, I thought; “this is it, she is giving me away!”  And I was very sad.  But it never happened!  She brought us into this very small building on wheels, attached to her truck, to eat and rest every day.  It was like a kennel for humans, but it is not a place to pee.  Those two hairy females were very protective of that space.  They didn’t hardly let me move, so I stayed close to human Patty and that seemed to make them even more upset. Especially when I wagged my tail.  There just isn’t any room to wag my tail in that kennel place.  She calls it a “Toy Hauler”.  Where are the toys?  I like toys!

The weather got warmer and warmer each day.  And then it got hot.  We stop many times.  Each time I think; “Is she stopping to give me away?”  I am scared.  I am a good boy and I want to stay and win her heart.

We stopped where there was a whole field of green grass.  My human took me for long walk on it, but it wasn’t grass like at home.  It smelled different, and wasn’t so soft. Is this where she will give me away?  I am scared and apprehensive during that whole walk.

That was 16 days ago.  I have not been in the kennel in the truck since.  She did not give me away.  Now we live in that building on wheels in a very mysterious, exotic place like I have never known.  There are some other humans that live here and visit here.  The human in charge has three, yes, THREE female canine!  Two of them are tiny and timid and bark all the time.  The other one is a little bigger and bosses me around constantly.

I am surrounded by two and four legged females.  Maybe this is what hell is like?  But there is at least one male human that comes around every once in a while.  Does he understand this hellish situation?

Sometimes human Patty lets me stay outside while she goes somewhere for a long time.  There is not a lot to do when she is gone so long.  I don’t know why those rugs, and garden tools, and that thing that hangs from the pole and makes noise when the wind blows are all so important that I can’t “relocate” it all to somewhere else.  Every time I do, she comes back and is mad at me, and says “why do you keep doing this?  I leave you for 30 minutes and this is what you do?  No, Jack!  No!”

Well, because it’s been so very log, it’s there, and I can, and it’s entertaining.   What does “30 minutes mean, anyway?

There are many animal smells here that I have never smelled before.  There are birds here that have legs and necks that make them much taller than me! I have pointed many birds and suspicious smells out to human Patty, but she is always saying “no Jack, no bird”. escape43

But I am certain those freshly dug up dirt piles on our walk that I smelled need her attention.  I just know that they were made by a danger to our pack.  But she says, “no, Jack, we don’t hunt the armadillos.”

What is an armadillo?  She is one crazy human!  She should trust me when I find these concerns.  I am a Pointer!  I am very smart, and I am well trained.  And there is a flock of chickens that I just know I could help with.  And a flock of turkeys, too!  And there is something out there in the thick exotic brush that I can’t quite figure out yet.  Why won’t she let me help?

Armadillos?  What ever they are, we need to eradicate them.

But she keeps saying “no”.

We play ball every day, and go for walks in the exotic woods and visit the animals behind the fences. I cuddle at night with my human and watch TV.  I get to meet new humans all the time.  They say things like I need to eat more.  Don’t they know I am perfect the way I am?  I am a Pointer!  I am a very good boy, and I am built perfectly.  My new human Patty gives me everything I need, and more.

This place is very confusing.  I like it, even though I hear “no” all the time.  I don’t think human Patty will be giving me away here.  She may be one crazy human but I think I have won her heart, and she will not give me away.  I am happy that she brought me here, and I try to show her all the time.

Yeah, my tail does get to be a problem….

You can read all about the adventures me and my new human PR are going to have together in the outdoors… I will write lots of stories under “I AM JACK” in her blog category, “Words From The Wild” I will be careful not to have many typos.  I am a good boy!  Please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in our journey together, and PR Brady AdVentures.



Countdown To A Sub-Zero Escape Part 3

Happy Thanksgiving—we’re almost to Des Moines Iowa! What a bummer to be so far behind schedule.  But the sun is up, the roads are wet, and we are getting back on track.  The bitter bitter -8 degrees actually feels more like -14 below.  It’s hard to believe there was a time I would gladly throw a 60 pound pack on my back and snow shoe out into “God’s Country” in the middle of winter and pitch a tent.  A trucker at the truck stop offers to look at my propane problem.  He determines that my tank is empty—just needs to be switched over to the other one, and makes the switch.  Everything seems to be working now!  He also checks my lug nuts to make sure nothing is getting loose.  I’m all set. Oh how I love to stop at truck stops!

Today’s goal is to drive until there is no more snow.  Try to make up for some lost time.  Maybe get to Missouri?  All I know is, we are heading to DESTINATION WARM!!  As we roll down the highway I can see the slowly melting road kicking thick, dirty slush up on my leveler legs through the outside mirrors, coating the whole front of the Toy Hauler.  It becomes habit to keep checking the mirrors, using the slush as my temperature gage.  As the sun climbs up the cold sky, we pass exits for Ames, Bethany, Cameron, stop a few times for gas and finally work our way around the outskirts of Kansas City.

The icy slush stuck on the trailer is completely gone.  It’s mid-afternoon. Temperatures are in the 40’s!

I want to keep going. Try to get back on track.  I target Columbia Missouri for our next rest stop.  There isn’t one.  We continue on and stop at a truck stop just outside of St. Louis around 8 pm.  The atmosphere in the building is uncomfortable.  Eye contact is uncomfortable with everyone.  My attempts to be friendly are met with silence and stares.  I quickly make the decision to keep driving, I fill up and we pull out of there.  By Sikeston I can’t keep my eyes open anymore.  We are far, far away from Ferguson now, so I pull into a truck stop to sleep a few hours.  I open the Toy Hauler door to a flashing red light on the propane detector gage, and the check fridge light is on.  The problem wasn’t fixed.

Once again I try to get the propane to kick on, so the fridge will work.  Why the propane smell?  Why isn’t anything working?  I push every button I can find.  Check the propane tanks.  I don’t see anything obvious.  A trucker comes by and attempts to help.  He checks the tanks and says one is empty and the other is almost empty, and turns the dial.  Exactly the opposite of what the other guy did….but it seems to have worked.  I thank him and scoot the kids into the Toy Hauler for some sleep.

Four a.m. I wake up to the propane alarm going off – I panic and toss the dogs out of the trailer, with me trailing behind.  WHAT THE F????? We all huddle together in the dark, staring into the trailer door.  I usher the dogs into the truck and try to figure out what is wrong with the propane.  The red light and alarm is quickly eliminated with the push of a button.  Is this Toy Hauler going to blow up or WHAT?  I am beyond nervous.  Ticking and alarm buzzers and flashing lights—I resign myself to shut everything off and take my chances with all the perishable foods.  Now that it’s Friday I may be able to find a repair shop.  With just a couple hours rest we are back on the road.

Thank goodness the rest stop in Blythesville is open!  I go in looking for information on RV services.  There isn’t anything close.  Realizing that I am still very tired, I take a much needed 4 hour nap and exercise the dogs for an hour in the sunny 50 degrees day before continuing on.  Armed with special directions for the most direct route around Memphis, I continue southwest down softly rolling hills and beautiful green landscapes, farmland.

The farther we go, the more tranquil and content I become.  We have escaped the frigid north.  It’s Saturday morning.  I start thinking about the propane situation.  Maybe something got too cold with my hoses and such on the Toy Hauler.  Surely everything is all thawed out by now.  I try again to get the propane to kick on and run the fridge.  The loud clicking noise is a good indication there is still something wrong.  All of the sudden, there goes that alarm and red light.  The smell of propane is overwhelming.  I scramble to stop the noise, and quickly air out the trailer of all smell.  Could the Toy Hauler blow up or WHAT?  I am beyond nervous. Yup, I need help.  This stretch of highway is void of anything that looks helpful.  Even the gas stations are few and far between, and set up with minimal service.  I stop at a rest stop near the exit for Dothan and fire up the computer to google RV Services.  I could get to the Tallahassee Camping World in a couple hours. I call them, and start by saying;

“I think my Toy Hauler is going to blow up—I smell propane in there.”

They don’t have service staff because of the holiday—and from the rest of my lengthy description of what’s been happening, they are certain the problem is a big one.  I would need to be there for days for them to get parts.  They can’t even promise to look things over today, as I would get there too late.

NO!!!!! Really???????   The tech on the phone suggests I try another Camping World. There is one much closer to me in Benton.  Just try them, tell them he said to go there.  Maybe they can at least troubleshoot and identify the problem today so we know what we are dealing with.


I call the Benton Camping World.  They are only 15 minutes from me.  They agree it sounds like a major situation but will have someone look at it.  By the time I pull into their giant RV lot it is almost noon, and they have a technician standing by, ready for me.  The girls and I wait under some trees in the parking lot, and Jack stays in the truck, comfortable in his kennel.

Two hours pass.

The Service Manager calls me over to discuss what they found.

They checked all the gas lines and connections.

I have one empty and one partially full tank of gas.

They found one of the lines was plugged, cleared and tested it.

Everything works perfectly now.

They also checked the temperature gage, and electric connections to ensure everything was working properly.

They checked the tires, added some air.

I am good to go.

“What do I owe you for all this?”

“Don’t worry about it.  It’s on the house today.  You managed to get all the way here from Minnesota with 3 dogs?  Happy Thanksgiving.”

OH my goodness, how can I be so blessed?  I stare, dumbfounded, at the Service Manager, soon blinking away tears.

“Thank you so much!”  I give him a cash tip for the technician’s time, and drive past two long rows of brand new amazing looking fully loaded RV’s on Holiday Sale at Camping World.

We are all set to go now—within an hour I am crossing into Florida, honking the horn to celebrate!  It’s 65 degrees!  Within a few minutes we arrive to the official Welcome Center Rest Stop.  With only a few hours until dark, I decide we will rest here for a while, and tackle the last leg of our journey at night when there is less traffic on 10, and especially on 75.  The dogs are thrilled to be able to run around in the warn sun and stretch out on the grass.  I cook up some Turkey Chili, take a big breath, and smile.

We are so close—almost to destination paradise.

Life is an adventure!  Are you waiting for an invitation to experience an amazing life full of adventure, or do you just go make your own?  There are lots of inspirational stories under my blog category, “PRs Amazing Outdoor Adventure Update”.  If you find yourself not doing what you love, I invite you to contact me for help to create your own, amazing adventure.  Please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in exploring the possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures.



Countdown To A Sub-Zero Escape Part 2

My beloved Toy Hauler is once again, parked safely in my driveway, thanks to my dear friends and neighbors, June and Randy.  With 3 days to get everything else in order to leave, I am scrambling to get it all done.  People to see and say goodbye to.  Dogs to shampoo.  Items to pack.  Errands to run.  Details to wrap up.  The days burn away quickly.  Now here we are, almost ready to peel out of town with the Thanksgiving crowd.  The plan is for Randy to come over with his big truck, hook up and pull my trailer to the shopping center first thing in the morning, where we will hook up to my truck and level it for the journey.

Then I catch a glimpse of the forecast as I sprint past the TV.

It’s currently 20 degrees.  Snow.  Cold. Winter storm warnings, exactly the direction I am headed.  Then I glance outside to discover it has just started snowing.  Seriously?  And it will be several hours before my neighbor gets here.EscapeP21

I call a friend who works down south for a “real life” weather report.  He says it’s looking pretty bad and if I don’t have to leave today, I should wait.  I ponder this notion for a few minutes.  Wait?  What would that mean?  The temperatures get even colder up here Thursday, and windy further south….it would mess things up worse for over half the trip for sure.  I ponder some more.  Now there is 3 inches of fresh snow on the ground, still falling. Ok.  I jump into the Toy Hauler and start pulling out everything I just put in there that I didn’t want to freeze.

I watch the clock.  It’s almost 11:00 am.  The dogs are anxious.  I am second guessing my decision.  Someone peed by the back doorway and Jack rearranged everything in the kitchen he could reach—again.  After cleaning up and picking up I catch a weather update.  Looks like the storm is moving slower than expected.  I could still make it.  I could skirt past it before it hit highway 35W.

I’ve got to try!

So I rush to re-load everything back in the Toy Hauler, toss the dogs in the truck, and shower while Randy hooks up the Toy Hauler to his truck, and straps my gear in tight.  After one last look, I lock up the house, say goodbye, and we head to the shopping center.

Escape22Hooking up to my truck has become a snap as I get more proficient, but doing it in the cold and snow is a whole different matter.  Still, we got it done, Randy filled my airbags to 80 pounds which “almost” got me level, and by 12:15 I was hugging him goodbye and pulling out of town.

Who knew there would be bumper to bumper traffic at noon on Wednesday?  I did.  This is why it was so important to leave early in the morning.  Oh well.  We chugged along the highway through the south metro, finally reaching 35Wsouthbound where the traffic seemed to disappear.  I am pulling one heck of a heavy load, so I stay in the right lane and keep it to 55.  Sure, there is a little slush on the road, but nothing major.  But the further south we get, the thicker the slush.  Soon, we are in a convoy of slow moving vehicles.  It has started snowing hard again.  The slush is thicker, too.  We just passed two cars in the ditch, and one in the median; things are degrading by the minute.

The road conditions changed drastically over the next few hours.

Yes, on a scenic, snowy trip pulling my 28 foot trailer south on 35W from Minneapolis to just past Mason City Iowa I witnessed 67 cars in the ditches (most heading north) and 3 semi’s rolled (two in the median heading north, stuck together side by side). Escape23 Although I left home at 12:15 I didn’t reach the Clear Lake (Mason City) exit until 7pm.  That drive would normally take less than 3 hours!  The fastest I’ve drove was 40mph.  Most of the way we crept along at 15 or 20mph.  I finally made it to the next rest stop, and knew I just couldn’t go any further, it was too scary!

Things could have gone much differently for us.  Even in the best of conditions, there’s nothing worse than pulling a huge, heavy load slowly and having impatient drivers zoom up from behind, dart around you to pass and zip right in front of you.  It’s a completely white knuckle-harrowing experience to manage it in a snow storm!  Have to give a HUGE THANKS to so many of the drivers out there that were being careful and respectful of weather, speed, and distance, it truly helped!

Up ahead I see an exit with a truck stop—thank the Gods, we are pulling in!  The truck-stop was surprisingly quiet.  I pulled into a double stall, grabbed the dogs, and tried to convince them it’s “potty time”.  Never saw them pee so fast and run to the Toy Hauler door.  I let them in and went into the building to try to get some information.  The wind is picking up, the roads haven’t been closed “yet” but there is a solid layer of ice down now.  Best thing would be to wait until morning when the plows have come through, and the sun hits the roads.  Good thinking.  We are safe now, and can just curl up in our toasty warm house on wheels and wait it out.  But wait, why isn’t the propane furnace turning on?  What?  WTF?  Why isn’t it turning on????  Everything is frozen, including my dinner.

So, here we are, stuck spending the night in the trailer with no heat.  Then we wake up at 5:00 in the morning to -8 degrees, with blowing snow and ice on the road.  Back to the blankets until sunrise!


Life is an adventure!  Are you waiting for an invitation to experience an amazing life full of adventure, or do you just go make your own?  There are lots of inspirational stories under my blog category, “PRs Amazing Outdoor Adventure Update”.  If you find yourself not doing what you love, I invite you to contact me for help to create your own, amazing adventure.  Please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in exploring the possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures.