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.

Friday, September 23, 2011

36th State: Illinois - Lake Shelbyville (9/23/2011).

Leaving Illinois today, I crossed to the Western side of the mighty Mississippi River.  Yahoo… I’m in the West again… sort of.
Had a really great visit in Indiana with my sister’s three sons, Paul, Kris and Rob and their families.  Talked a lot of genealogy.  Some of all that was great, except for the five smokers, seven dogs and three cats I had to do battle with to stay healthy.  Sure would have been more enjoyable without the battle.
Paul – Freeland and Associates, Arcadia, IN. (Paul’s family)
Kris – Freeland Paint and Drywall, Cicero, IN. (Kris’ family)
Rob – Works for Menards near Gosport, IN. (Rob’s family)
From there I headed to Illinois to find some water to kayak… and found Lake Shelbyville.  Nice four hour paddle, lots of birds.  Unremarkable otherwise.
I’m feeling particularly unattractive and tired with that tooth missing and mouth hurting.
Ahhh… much better view… nice little marina.
I found a fossil along the shoreline.
Then I headed up to the Chicago area and met and visited with my third cousin Kathy and her husband, Curt.  Our grandmothers were sisters (Olive and Laura Carlton).  We talked genealogy and compared notes.
Cousin Kathy
the grands – add photo later.
My grandmother and one of our great aunts both worked in the photography business.  Kathy had a stack of negatives which I was able to scan and digitize.  Some wonderful ones of our grandmothers when they were kids.
When I arrived at Kathy’s it was with tooth-in-hand, the second time this crown had broken off in three months.  I had to see a dentist and found one in Schaumburg, IL.  I knew the news would not be good and learned I needed an emergency root canal and a temporary crown just to get by and continue my trip.  Did that yesterday morning and it was really hard on me.  But he was a great dentist… especially to work me in that way.
Ahhh, my holey smile has been fixed… still hurts though.
This morning Kathy and I said our goodbyes and I headed west, and in some ways feeling glad I had “family genealogy visits” behind me.  Really getting sick of genealogy… something I NEVER ever thought would happen.  When I crossed the Mississippi there was a feeling of freedom that overcame me.  I enjoyed the drive through Western Illinois and saw some wonderful old houses… but I was happy to cross that river… like a real milestone.

Tonight I’m in DeWitt, IA where I had hoped to visit with a Vandweller but have been unable to make contact yet.  Tomorrow I’m heading out early to meet a couple more vandwellers not far from here… and where I might get a little work painting at a house.  That will be nice, as the co-pay portion of the root canal work has eaten up my month’s gas money… and there will be no more until Oct. 21.  Tooth falling out on payday… what a bummer. 

I will also be picking up some more portrait work in South Dakota when I get there, so that will help, but I need to get to AZ a.s.a.p… the plan was Oct. 1, but lack of gas money may prevent that from happening.  But there is family in SD, in NE, and others along the way… thank goodness.

O.K. now, tooth, you got not root so stop hurting now.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Recent Art Work…. sketches for gasoline money!

Here is the recent work I have gotten… and I want to share it here in hopes of getting more jobs.  I can’t make the kayaking adventure work otherwise.


If you would like to order a sketch as a Christmas gift, please email me a high resolution photo of the subject and I will give you a quote.  Prices begin at $40 plus $7 shipping and handling (or one or more sketches-one price for shipping).  I prefer to do portraits only, but will consider other subjects.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Whose There? In Hoosierville (Carmel, IN)

Below is an email I just sent out to my high school classmates, asking for help.  Thought I might as well share it here as well.

Sept. 2, 2011

My computer hard drive has crashed.  Updates that were in progress to this page - - might have been lost.  About 10 hrs of very intense updating.
I am trying to get someone in Carmel Indiana (I'm passing through the area and spending a few days visiting cousins, nephews, great-this and great-thats...)  to fix the computer so I can save all the massive work I was doing on the class website.  I am unable to local my disks for the Macromedia program Dreamweaver which I use to edit the website.  All the travelling and downsizing, who knows what became of the disk.  If I have to repeat all that work, I won't be doing it in html code alone and will need that program or one that works like it does, allowing me to edit while in a WYSIWYG view.  If you have the Dreamweaver program and will allow me to load it to my new hard drive, I would be appreciative. 
I am also hoping to find a copy of Photoshop 6 to load, I have ALL my other Adobe programs and disks, but where is the Photoshop disk?  I have Photoshop Elements and it isn’t adequate to do the photo editing and retouching I do (which does bring in a little gas money). I don't care about anything else on that hard drive except the copy of the web page with all our photos and all the new updated information I was in the process of adding.
Also if anyone is in the Carmel area and you want to "do coffee" or visit a bit, let me know as soon as possible.  I will be continuing on my Kayaking adventure as soon as I resolve the computer issue, one way or the other, and as soon as funds come in for more gas.  I have kayaked 35 states now and need to be in AZ by Oct. for classes I will be taking this winter.  I need to keep moving and want to kayak four or five more states on the way to AZ.
One thing I am doing to come up with income is doing sketches for people.  Have a look.
These make great xmas gifts.  If you want a sketch, just think, you can be part of making this Adventure become reality.
If you find this email offensive, let me know and I will remove your email address from any future notifications.
Charlene Beaty Swankie

Also, I went by and found my mother’s old house today and then up the road and found her grave.

IMGA0356IMGA036435 5th Ave, Carmel



I drove around a bit and found my mothers old house at 35 5th Ave and her grave up the road on Rangeline at a little Cemetery on the left side of the road right before Rt.31. This time there was no poison ivy all over it, which I was grateful for. Hot/heat index is very high. Anyone in the Carmel, IN area???

Who is Swankie?

My photo
Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
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? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.