Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February 2013

A little background 1st:  About 22 years ago our next door neighbors in Lake Zurich, IL (Chuck & Lois Hughes) retired and left for a life of adventure on the road, living "full time" in their 5th wheel.  Before they left, they told us about a program with the National Parks/Forests/C.O.E. Lakes/Recreational Areas, that would allow them to volunteer their time and live on location while receiving "benefits", such as:  full hook up, laundry ect.  this seemed like a dream come true, live at places like Yellowstone National Park for a few months at a time, work a fun job, with fun people and live for "free".  We dreamed about it for 20 years.  In the spring of 2010 Bill FINALLY retired (Jan had been retired since May of 2003) and we began to dream in earnest.  In October of 2011 we purchased a 30 foot travel trailer and accepted our 1st "volunteer" assignment with "The Cradle of Forestry" http://www.cradleofforestry.com/site/things-to-do/forest-discovery-center/ in the Pisgah National Forest  http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/nfsnc/recarea/?recid=48114t.  In February, with our time to report to North Carolina looming in April, we decided to sell our home.  That plan evolved further during our time at "the Cradle" due, in no small part, to our new friends Lydia & Jim Decker, who had been "fulltiming" for about a year ("fulltiming" is defined as living full time in an RV).  The house sold quickly and we returned to Lake Zurich, IL in August, 2012, to sell everything else we owned (except for a few precious items now kept in storage).   As we pulled away from our old "hood", we were already sensing the new found freedom that was now ours, while, at the same time, missing our peeps.

After Bill's knee replacement surgery and a short vacation at Starrett Lake, Wisconsin (Suttie family campgrounds since 1932), we headed off to our 2nd assignment at Joshua Tree National Park  http://www.nps.gov/jotr/index.htm  as "caretakers" of the remote "Keys Ranch" http://www.nps.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/ranchtour.htm in Southern California.  Arriving there, we found ourselves 17 miles from electricity, phone, potable water and the internet, not to mention most days we saw more coyotes than people.  WE LOVED IT!!!  Going to return in October for another 3 month (at least) stint.

But, before that happens, we are now in North Carolina while I rehab from a shoulder surgery, and the start of this BLOG preceeds, by a few days, our tour of the lighthouses of North Carolina, where Bill has been comissioned (by my cousin Caron Andrus- http://www.andrusstoneware.com/   to create paintings of all the lighthouses along the North Carolina coast on hand thrown pottery plates.  We leave for the coast on Friday, March 1st, 2013.  We start the Lighthouse project at Oak Island http://www.oakislandlighthouse.org/ upon our arrival and work our way north, with a short trip to see Kelly in New York the weekend of March 22/23/24 (includes a quick stop in Chesapeake, VA to see Louis and Hank Boruch and Newport News, VA to see Tom & Linda Alford).

I hope you enjoy following our travels.

Jan & Bill Suttie

Mail: 110 E. Center Street
          Madison, SD 57042
Jan Cell: (847) 438-3332
Bill Cell: (224) 567-0682
Jan E-Mail: jansuttie854@gmail.com
Bill E-Mail BSuttie1043@gmail.com

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