Once Upon a Time I Had a Blog

Well, it has been almost 6 months to the day that I last blogged! And I have missed it! I am starting fresh on a new blog home today. I have wanted to switch over to a WordPress format for awhile so I figured this was as good a time as any. So switch your bookmarks and feed readers to melsuniverse.wordpress.com or www.melsuniverse.com or subscribe on the sidebar for email notifications.  Here we go:

I have been nostalgic over our RV trip and was reading through some of the old posts. I finally got around to printing some of the photos recently and I know I need to finish up the last 10 days of the trip! As you can imagine, there is a direct correlation between how busy I am and how much I post here… I am finally settling into this crazy real estate market and now I am trying to find some time for my creative outlets. I need a little bit better balance. I am setting some personal goals to remedy that. Including getting this blog back on track. I have not worked on my Project Life all year. It makes me sad so I am doing something about it. I refreshed the look here. I am cleaning the real estate stuff off my craft table and using is as intend, for crafts darn it!

And to update you here is 6 months in a nutshell:

  • Return from Epic Road Trip and try to find some motivation to work.
  • Plug back into work  and play catch up after being gone for a month (did I mention it was hard to get back to work?)
  • Crossed a few more things off my life list
  • Celebrated the Holidays
  • Finished up 2012’s 52New Project (I owe yall a few posts here)
  • Set some crazy 2013 professional goals
  • I have almost figured out the shift in the real estate market from normal to sellers market and having to react to everything in minutes
  • Traveled to: Lake Tahoe, Seattle, New Orleans, Dallas, San Antonio, Gulf Shores
  • Formed our own real estate company and got my broker’s license. We are still with Keller Williams but there is a whole accounting side I am figuring out now.
  • Remodeled my master bath
  • Discover Instagram might be the downfall of my blog and Facebook. So easy, so quick, and so fun. Follow me at instagram.com/melsuniverse and there is a little feed over to the right —>

So… the moral of my story is that I am going to try and get back in here and do some updates on last year. I have lots more RV tripping to discuss. I may even try a new post here and there.  Wish me luck!

RV Road Trip Day 22: Washington DC Area

Day 22: Washington DC Area

Basic Details: 157 Miles from Gettysburg KOA to Pohick Bay Park Campground, VA

to follow our
route and stops in close to real time check out my google map:
2012 RV Road
Trip Map
or my Picasa
More Photos of our RV Adventures

DC is one of my BIG to do travel places… We knew this trip would take us close but also knew that this was not a DC trip. What I mean is that museums, sites, restaurants were not our destinations on this adventure. When you are driving a house on wheels getting in and out of places can be quite a challenge. State parks, drives, scenic vistas were the focus. Yet, I still was thrilled to be heading that way. West Virginia was covered in 2 feet of snow so we headed southeast from Gettysburg to drive through the big city. Just a glance at all the monuments was enough to thrill me and makes me want to go back sooner rather than later. We did stop and visit with Ryan’s aunt Lesa. Her and Bob were nice enough to take us to dinner at one of their local favorites: Hard Times Cafe. And I did manage to get in a manicure. Hey, I am not a roughing it kind of girl. 30 days is a long time. 
Bob and Lesa
Here is a peek at our peek:
Washington Monument, Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, White House
And I am going to share a little secret. Look how great the Lincoln Memorial looks. Like we were up close… nope. Just a little creative cropping. This is the original photo:
And it was taken across the RV with Ryan’s chin in the frame. 🙂 I am excellent at taking moving photos now.  

RV Road Trip Day 21: Gettysburg, PA

Day 21: Gettysburg

Basic Details: 38 Miles from Roundtop Campground Gettysburg to KOA Gettysburg  

to follow our route and stops in close to real time check out my google map: 2012 RV Road Trip Map

So technically we are back home  and I am waay behind catching up on the trip but I do want to continue to update the blog on our adventure. 

After hiding out fron Sandy and then driving 400 miles we were ready to see some sites. When looking at the map we decided Hershey PA or Gettysburg. History won out over chocolate. After seeing Lexington and Concord Gettysburg felt like a huge site. In fact it is. Miles and miles of battlefields. 100s and 100s of markers commemorating lost lives and significant milestones. It is amazing how much more the stories you learn in school come to life when you can stand where events occurred.

While I knew Gettysburg was a bloody battle I didn’t appreciate what that meant. Over 3 days there were over 50,000 casualties. As I recall about 8000 died in battle and the rest were wounded or missing. The thing that struck me is that after the 3 days of fighting the war moved on. The people of Gettysburg were left to care for and bury the remaining soldiers. I can’t even imagine. Every home in Gettysburg was basically turned into a hospital. The devestation must have been overwhelming.

We started the day at the Museum which had more artifacts and information than we could have ever read. We also saw the Cyclorama and watched the movie offered. They were both well worth the time.

confederate and union uniforms

After the museum we were off to see the battlefields. We were advised to get the CD the gift shop sells and do the self guided driving tour. It was good to be able to go at our own pace and spend more time at the sights that we were more interested in.

North Carolina Memorial

Standing atop these hills you could picture the lines of troops and direction the battle took
Governor Warren statue at the top of Little Round Top

There were a number of lookout points you could climb to get a better vantage point. It was cold and windy so I passed on them but Ryan made the trek up. You can see the RV and me standing next to it for a bit of perspective.

Cannons are scattered all over the battlefields. This is a Napoleon Cannon which we learned all about. 

We couldn’t leave without a stop at the Gettysburg National Cemetery. It was a very somber environment with so many buried. And do many buried without names. You can imagine it was difficult to identify many of the bodies. After touring the battlefield and imagining so much devistation it gave me a new perspective on the Gettysburg Address.

Many of the graves are simply numbers.

There is actually a bit of uncertainty of where Lincoln stood when giving the address. There are a number of markers commemorating it but this memorial is supposed to stand on the site where the address was delivered.. The weather was fitting given the somber environment of so much loss.

We did end the day on a lighter note. Since it was Halloween we had dinner at the oldest building in Gettysburg. No ghosts but we did have some delicious soup and cocktails!
Dobbin House

RV Road Trip Days 18-20: Running from Hurricane Sandy

Day 18: Rhode Island
Basic Details: 96 Miles from Fishermans Memorial Park, RI to Brialee Campground, CT

to follow our route and stops in close to real time check out my google map: 2012 RV Road Trip Map
Ryan and I were both excited to spend some time in Rhode Island. Neither of us had been to this state and it looks much like Maine. We wanted some more lobster and to spend some time on the coast. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. The last few days we have been watching Hurricane Sandy and hoping she would turn back into the Atlantic as a couple models predicted.  We were still trying to decided where we would head but didn’t have to decide for a little while. We had another great dinner at a place called Charlie O’s and met some really fun people. One even invited us to park the RV at his home if we needed to. We also had steamers for the first time. We had to be taught to eat them but that was half the fun! Sunday morning we awoke and realized that our  RI coastal adventure wasn’t going to happen and we should probably head inland. Sitting on the coast in an RV with a hurricane approaching doesn’t seem like a very good idea. We needed to be a little bit further inland and we still had the problem that several places were closed for the season. Finally we found a winner: CT.
The park was pretty quiet with just a few people there. We felt like we were on high ground and about 80 miles from the coast so we should be pretty good for the storm. As the power went off, and then gasp, the cable, we contemplated the genius of the RV as a hurricane vehicle. I mean first off, you can drive away from the storm. Hello. Brilliant. We also have a fridge, generator, AC (or heat as it turns out you need for an east coast hurricane), and until a few minutes ago we had cable. We were going to be just fine.
Day 19: Connecticut
No miles…. Weathered the storm at the Brialee Campground
campsite number 2
Sandy is going to  hit today. It is a bit rainy so we will be inside all day. Since we needed something to do we moved campsites (so I guess technically we drove about half a mile). After all, this place is pretty much vacant and there are a number of trees around us. Just in case, we moved to a spot a bit more open. Then we commenced the movie watching and relaxing. I thought I would take this opportunity to show you a little of the inside of our home so you can better appreciate why being inside all day is a little tough.
There is no way I would show photos of how it is now.
These were taking before we rented it. It looks so much nicer without all our stuff everywhere.

View toward the bedroom, see the huge kitchen.

a couple of close ups
Day 20: Chasing Sandy
Basic Details: 409 Miles from Brialee Campground, CT to Roundtop Campground, Gettysburg, PA
After the brunt of the storm hit we decided it was now or never. I mean Connecticut was great but after almost 48 hours in a 200 square foot RV we were ready to be on the move. (Did I mention we didn’t have cable??) We planned an aggressive day of driving from Northern CT to Gettysburg in Southern PA. At about 40 miles an hour 400 miles is big. We made better time sticking to the freeways and interstates but it was a long day. We had a stop in a diner in NY to refuel aka get pie. At the diner counter (which has been featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives) we met some lovely people that were without power in their high rise but things went well for them during the storm. On our other side we met someone that was part of the Friends of Gettysburg group so we are well prepared for the next leg of our adventure.

RV Road Trip Day 17: Massachusetts

 Day 17: Massachusetts
Basic Details: 177 Beach Rose Campground, MA to Fishermans Memorial Park, RI

to follow our route and stops in close to real time check out my google map: 2012 RV Road Trip Map
or my Picasa Album: More Photos of our RV Adventures

When we arrived at the Beach Rose Campground in MA we were given a recommendation for a local lobster place. It was 3 miles away. After plugging in the RV unplugging, re securing everything to go a couple miles doesn’t seem worth it. So, we strapped on our helmets (safety first) and headed to Markey’s Lobster Shack.  

It was totally worth it!



What better way to spend the weekend before Halloween than with a trip to Salem, MA? The next morning we were up and on our way. What fantastic people watching Salem was! Costumes from period things to modern witch interpretations. It was a spectacle to behold. We happened on the play, Cry Innocent. It is the story of Bridget Bishop, the first “witch” convicted in the Salem Witch Trails. The play is acted out in the street and then taken into a Salem’s Old Town Hall. The play was interactive. We were able to ask questions and clarification. Turns out Bridget just may have been a smartass and probably a liar. Witch? Not so sure but in those days all it took was someone to call you a witch and some form of physical imperfection and that was enough to stand trial. We voted her to stand trial based on the evidence and what was required under the law.


the Ghostbusters came through the play

After the play we had to take in some of the relevant sites:
the Burying Point. The oldest cemetery in Salem. Established in 1637.

Rebecca Nurse was the first “witch” hanged. This is the memorial to the witch trials.

Witch House
The “Witch House” is the only surviving building in Salem associated with the trials. It was home to one of the judges. With lines down the block we decided to take it in from the outside.

Herbie and Bevo visit Salem
From Salem we decided to take in a little more history by visiting Lexington and Concord. Lexington is the site of the “shot heard round the world.” There wasn’t much of a battle here but it was fascinating to see the site of the skirmish and some of the buildings that still stand.
Lexington Green Battlefield and the Minuteman Statue

Jonathan Harrington’s Home
The story goes that Harrington was injured and crawled home to die in his wife’s arms on this doorstep. The houses around the green are all still privately owned.

fall color in Lexington

a rainbow above the Battlefield Green

Herbie and Bevo visit Lexington

After a drive through Concord’s sites we were on to Rhode Island.


RV Road Trip Day 15 & 16: Acadia National Park and Maine Coastline

Day 15: Acadia National Park, ME
Basic Details: 205 Miles from KOA Augusta to The Moorings Campground, ME
to follow our route and stops in close to real time check out my google map: 2012 RV Road Trip Map
(excuse my formatting again. i don’t know what the problem continues to be but i don’t have the energy to fix it. the photos are a little screwy)

We made it into Maine last night! Success. This was our first KOA- Kampground of America. But something tells me it won’t be our last. They have cable. And more importantly they were one of the only places in Maine that was actually open after Columbus Day. Man, this seasonal thing is starting to become a pain! Anyway, we started our mission to find lobster. And 2 strikes. Bummer. We had a drink at the restuarant recommended for lobster by the campground and then headed out in search on our own. We happened into the Old Goat and a great time was had by all. No lobster but friendly people and a surprising crowd for a Thursday night in Richmond, ME.
After a great nights sleep we were off to Acadia National Park. We debated a little going wondering if the coast line and other sites would kind of be the same as the park and we wouldn’t need to go that far north. Our new friends at Old Goat convinced us to go! And we finally found lobster on the way! Woohoo for Testas in Bar Harbor!

cadillac mountain view

jumping ahead….Herbie and Bevo enjoy sunset at Moorings Campground
crusing through Acadia


back to acadia…
The day was topped off by an amazing sunset from the Moorings campground. The new favorite spot. I mean, they had a fantastic restaurant onsite. What more could we want? Delicious clams, shrimp cakes and wine. One of the best days on the trip, Please excuse the excessive number of photos I will be posting now.

Hope and Mombo explore the beach for the first time

fun at Pappa Js

Day 16: Maine Coastline
Basic Details: 240 Miles from Moorings Campground, ME to Beach Rose Campground, MA

to follow our route and stops in close to real time check out my google map: 2012 RV Road Trip Map

Winding roads, rocky beaches, light houses and blue skies.


RV Road Trip Day 14: Vermont and New Hampshire

Day 14: Ben & Jerry’s VT & NH
Basic Details: 280 Miles from Shelburne Camping Area, VT to KOA in Augusta, ME
to follow our route and stops in close to real time check out my google map: http://goo.gl/maps/J60J6
Herbie and Bevo visit Ben & Jerry’s
After Niagara Falls, our next goal was Maine. We are on a mission for lobster. Good thing we have to go through Vermont and New Hampshire. 2 news states for us both! The highlight of Vermont was Ben & Jerry’s. I don’t know how I have missed so many of their flavors but I have. The tour was fun as you’d expect and their grounds were beautiful.

the ingredients
The flavor graveyard might have been my favorite part of the tour.

VT Foliage driveby style

Our New Hampshire visit was brief. It consisted of lunch and driving.
 Herbie and Bevo visit NH
and see what I mean about the blue skies? all the difference!
And I became obsessed with getting a picture of a cow in a field. Not just any cow, a black and white one. I think it is those Ben & Jerry’s marketing people making me want to see their cows. At last!
not bad for a drive by photo. i am actually getting quite good at them.