Home Sweet Home on Wheels
They met when she was 16 and he was 18. This year they will mark their 48th wedding anniversary.
Dee Dee and Don Buechler arrive in Navarre, Fla., in October and don’t venture back to their home state of Wisconsin until April.
They consider themselves part-time residents of the Gulf Coast and they take advantage of Navarre’s central location to make day trips into Pensacola, Destin and other nearby communities to shop, dine and take advantage of the many events that are staged throughout their six-month stay.
“We discovered Navarre because of family who live nearby,” Dee Dee said. “And we had some friends who were work campers.”
The Buechlers are retired full-time RVers. Dee Dee worked in customer service for Time Warner Cable for more than 30 years and after an eight-year military stint, Don worked in maintenance.
With three grown children and eight grandchildren scattered from the West Coast to Wisconsin, their lifestyle allows them to spend time when and where they want. Each year they reserve the same space at Navarre Beach Campground – in the center where they can entertain and easily access the park and amenities.
Six years ago the couple bought a gently used motorhome and have customized it to fit their personalities. They brought along treasured artwork, framed family photos and other decorative touches. The interior features a plush leather sofa and comfortable swivel captain’s chairs.
Dee Dee loves to cook and their kitchen is outfitted with the pots, pans, cutlery and dinnerware needed to prepare the Italian feast the couple put on at the park each year.
“We make our own pasta, raviolis, calzones and, of course, cannolis,” said Dee Dee whose closely held family recipe for the tasty dessert is a big hit each year.
They added homey and inviting touches to their RV site with three outdoor seating areas, including a screened gazebo, fire pit, bistro table and table and chairs near their grill. His metal art is prominently featured.
One of their favorite things to do on full moon evenings is to take the drive along the unspoiled Gulf Islands National Seashore between Navarre Beach and Pensacola Beach where they can view the moonlight dancing off the Gulf of Mexico. Don also enjoys fishing off the Navarre Beach Pier and at Fort Pickens.
This year the Buechlers will spend part of their stay in one of the park cabins while Don recovers from an accidental fall that required extensive surgery in December. The independent couple learned just how important their family and friends are when Don had his accident. Their three children and other family members arrived to help Don through his hospital stay and to give Dee Dee support.
They had immediate offers of help from friends at the RV park and many who hadn’t yet arrived.
“People were calling us from all over the country,” Dee Dee said. “There is a family of origin and family from heart.”