Saturday, October 1, 2011

South Dakota Stranded Status (Oct. 1, 2011)

Well, if that don’t beat all… about the time I’m getting a bit of a handle on this darned situation, I realize my AAA coverage expired in Aug. 2011… I been out on the road with no road coverage.  Geez.  O.K. now I’ll ask for help… it’s about $100.00 or at least that was what it was in TX.  I’m going to check here in Brookings SD on Monday and see what it costs.

I might have a job here for a jewelry doing Photoshop work.  I will know about that at noon Sunday (Oct. 2, 2011).  It won’t be much, but right now every $ helps. 

I made up a flyer regarding seeking work… but don’t have the ink to print it.  A cartridge is $10… for black and I’m going to risk buying it though I only had $30 in the bank last time I checked.  Flyer below:


Retiree Kayaking America
NOW Stranded in SD

Due to an emergency root canal, I have run out of gasoline funds and am now stranded here in SD. I am trying to raise funds to continue my trip to Arizona. Not seeking donations, just work. I have many skills:

Ø 25 years of administrative/clerical work

Ø Advanced experience with Photoshop and Photo Restoration

Ø I am a portrait artist

Ø I paint walls (just did a stairway in Iowa)

Ø Professional Genealogist for DAR

Ø Professional Webmaster

Willing to accept any honest job and will work by the hour but probably better for you if I work by the task/job. Not as fast as I used to be, but I am very good. Will barter for parking place and electric hookup.

Email me at:

See samples of my artwork at:

End of Flyer.

I also plan to go to VFW and see if they can help a Navy widow with a parking spot with electric.  That way I can plug in my small heater at night and sleep better.  Maybe even get a shower in the deal? I will offer to do some work in exchange.

My mail package has returned from OH and is waiting down the road for me… but I don’t have the gas to get there yet.  She will send it up here (from Madison SD to Brookings SD) to Gen. Delivery if I want her to and pay for the cost, since it was her error.  My friend in OH had to pay to ship it back, and the Madison mail service who screwed this up in the first place is sending her a check for her postage.  I will need the package soon as my meds are in it.

I have faith that things will work out… but if anyone can help me with the AAA insurance, I’ll pay it back over the winter, or pay it forward as you please.   I am grateful and thank you in advance.

Like Brenda, I am getting a lot of flack for choosing this lifestyle without a huge nest egg… but just know, I had one before I rushed to be with my sister in FL who had cancer and was doing chemo… with a 13-yr. old son giving her fits.  By the time I left there (five months last winter) I was very low on funds… unfortunately, due to the emergency root canal I had to have the day after the Sept. payday… my funds could not get me through to Oct. payday.  So, please, I don’t need any more flack… I’m still hurting from the root canal (no root, no pain, RIGHTTTTTT!!!!) and my face and body(?) are all puffy from it???

Can anyone think of anything else I can try?

Thanks, friends.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

37th State: Iowa - Then got stranded in SD (Sep. 28, 2011).


 Sunset after my Iowa paddle.

As I was loading up my kayak, a young man came to me and asked to borrow a wrench.  Then he began talking to me about my kayaking adventure.  He noted I also had a bike.  He helped push the kayak into the trailer… then he said “Do you mind if I ask how old you are?”  He was genuinely flabbergasted that I am 67 years old.  So I told him about not being able to walk in 2004… and all that I had gone through to get this freedom and do all I do today.  He wanted to know if I’d be in the area awhile… I think he was going to “show off” his find. 

Flattering, really. But, believe it or not, my paycheck of 9/21 didn’t even stretch to the end of September… and I thought this was the month I could finally begin saving a bit of money and make it to Arizona in time to take classes in jewelry making (turning my rocks into something profitable).  Ha! 

I fell in Monterey CA a couple years ago (April 2008 I think) and messed up my face and broke several new crowns off… almost knocked a tooth out of my head… all resulting in thousands of dollars of bills not covered by my dental insurance.  Well, it turns out I broke another tooth off at the gum line when I fell in Monterey and broke my face(literally)... it just didn't fall out until I bumped it getting out of the kayak in TN.  Then it was sensitive.  I had two posts put in the tooth... and the crown glued back on, but there was nothing really to glue it to.  So last week it fell out again and the only fix was a root canal, a build up for crown prep, and prepping the tooth under the gum line to receive the temp crown.

IMGA0447[4]IMG_20110922_104756 Before                                                  After

Looks pretty good, but I'm really really sore, my eyes are swollen, and gums hurt... think I'm fighting an infection there.  Insurance paid 80% of the root canal, but nothing on the crown prep build up????   So that cost was over $350.  That was my gas money to Arizona.
Stranded in South Dakota Then yesterday (9/28/11) morning I realized my rear tires were loosing air... and that large chunks of rubber were falling off the tread.  Well, after what happened to co-vandweller Brenda (who rolled and totaled her van last week), I had to fix that too... so I got two used tires, balanced and mounted for $110.00 total.  I could not have bought one new tire for that and it will at least get me to AZ.  That was my food money for the next three weeks. I'm glad I'm not buying gas this winter while I’m parked in AZ taking classes.  What has made matters worse is getting here to my SD mail drop to pick up my mail and learning in spite of the HOLD on the mail forwarding order... two days earlier, she mailed my stuff to the address I was at in OH a couple months ago. 

Really discouraging... meds, new checks, my tabs for my van which expire 10/1... and new orders for sketches with cash and checks enclosed.  And I thought the Sept payday was gonna get me to AZ!  I guess I forgot about the sneaker plans of mice and men!!! But the gal at my mail drop has been really nice.  Then she had to rush off and teach a class... and directed me to a place she thought I could park for the night.  I told her I could not afford a campground.  So we parted with the plan to meet later today (9/29/11) to see about details of getting my SD drivers license.   I went off to check the place she told me about only to find it inadequate for my rig... too small.  Scouted out the area and found a public park, parked and began doing email. 

Then she called me up, said she had come looking for me and where was I?  I told her, she came and got me and took me to the State Park she uses (here you have to have a receipt from a motel or the park in order to prove intent to become a resident to get D.L.) and this morning she will call the Park and make sure they write the receipt out the right way so it will work for DMV.   She mentioned it only costing a few dollars for a tent site, but when we got here she paid for me to have a spot with electric next to a bathroom... on the water.   Right on the water and it's too dammed windy to kayak.  Nice and calm and sunny yesterday but too late to put in when I got here. 

So that's another $18.00 out of her pocket.  She really feels bad over all this... especially since I've been sending her customers... a new one just yesterday. Then I will have to drive another 30 miles to do that – get the Driver’s License.   But there is a Super Wal-Mart there and I believe I can park there until the mail returns from OH. So very frustrating.  I told her the only reason I drove this far north from the Iowa paddle was to pick up my mail and get the auto tabs, and get the D.L. etc.  So, no meds, sore mouth, no art work to work on... just a couple I have already been paid for that I need to finish.  Have plenty of food on board. 

Have a half sister and three nieces about 130 miles away... but haven't heard from them yet about my situation.  At the very worst I will have to stay put until 10/20... and then beeline it to AZ... the bad part of that is  missing three weeks worth of classes. And someone just sent me a $5 donation through this site to PayPal.  Thank you to him, and to anyone else who can help me head south.  I promise I will pay it forward.  My goal this winter is to learn as much as I can about turning my rocks into saleable items… and SAVE money so I don’t have situations like this in the future.

Today I will be looking for work on Craig's List, listing my services, getting my Driver’s License, checking local bulletin boards for odd jobs, checking with newspapers for the possibility of selling my story/???  Just following through with anything I can think of to get out of this jam and trying not to ask for help.

Photographic Restoration Services

I grew up watching my grandmother retouch photo and negatives and color tint black and white photos.  She was very very good.  Later in life I learned to do the same work only with technology… Photoshop.  Here are some samples of my work.  If anyone has photos they would like to have restored, I’ll send you a pricelist.  Another way I might get the funds to head south again.

See samples :

Thank you.

Who is Swankie?

My photo
Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
Visit me on In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles in Spring 2017. In training now for the hike.