Sunday, December 19, 2010

God Loves Nomads! Can you see Jesus in a Roadtrek?

I happened to be reading the end of 2 Timothy in the Bible last night, when at some point Paul’s lines of well wishing to folks that he had left in this city or seen in that city, and his instructions to bring his coat he had left in another city melded into my world. My world, which always includes seeing so & so in this or that city, remembering to give items left by so and so to somebody else when I see them again in yet another city and giving regards to this person from another person as we hurry to get south before winter. The names may have changed. I don’t know any Carpus’s in Troas or Erastus’s in Corinth but I do know a Bill and June headed to Texas and a Pat and Mike that just made it to Florida for the winter.

I got to thinking a little more about Paul and some of the other major biblical figures and you know what, none of them appear to have stayed in one place much. Paul seems always to have been on a journey, unless, he was in prison. (For some of us sitting in one place too long kind of equates to prison on some level.) Some estimates say that Jesus spent almost three years of his life on the road. David definitely got around while being chased by King Saul and Moses, well, we all know about his 40 years wondering in the desert. These were all ‘go-to guys’ for the Big Guy and none of these guys were nesters. They all had what I would call ‘nomadic tendencies’. I had a well meaning friend tell me that I needed to rebuke the ‘gypsy spirit’ in my life and that God’s will was that I stay in one place and settle down. Really!? Paul wrote most of the New Testament and I don’t think he ever had what many would consider a ‘real’ home. In fact, I can’t recall any scriptures that say ‘stay in one place your entire life”. I think Jesus said, “GO and make disciples of all men”. The key word of course being “GO”. Genesis says Jehovah told Abraham to ‘hit the road’.

So why is it that people think of us modern day nomads , out roaming the highways and heading south before winter, as odd ducks? I am thinking we are the ones getting it right! Ecclesiastes says “There is nothing new under the sun” and indeed people have been nomadic throughout history. I am convinced that if they had RV’s back in Biblical times that Paul would have been in a motorhome, Moses would have had a Toy Hauler, so he could haul those tablets around and I peg Jesus as a Roadtrek kind of guy. RV dealers back in the day would have made a mint off all the ‘gypsy’ Jehovah lovers. So to my road loving friends I say, don’t be swayed by the nesting naysayers in your life, remember all God’s go-to folks were Nomads too! Keep those wheels turning!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sisters on the Fly

Too good of a Rving story to not pass on!   Seeing stuff & having fun .. that's what it is all about.  These gals rock!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

FAQ on Full-time RVing: Question #1 How can you afford to do this?

Probably the question that I have been asked the most during the past 6.5 years I have been Full-time RVing is "How can you afford to do this?"   A lot of people planned and saved and/or receive retirement income in order to spend their golden years on the road.  I did not plan or save and being I haven't reached my golden years yet, I don't receive any retirement funds.   I sold my home and all my belongings before the housing market collapsed.  With the proceeds from the sale I bought my RV and spent my first two years traveling. Being that my 'plan', albeit conceived a couple of _days_ before I bought the RV (story here) and started full-timing, was to spend a year traveling and then go back to the real working world, I had to start rethinking things when one year stretched to two years.

Working on the Road
When I realized I might be doing this a bit longer & may need to work on balancing some income with the outflow, I tried my hand at Work Kamping, which a lot of full-timers do to help with expenses.  Most Work Kamp positions involve staying a season at a campground and working 15 - 20 hours a week.  Some work in the office, some park RV's, clean bathrooms or whatever needs to be done.   In return you get your campsite & usually your electric free.  No cash exchanges hands.  I spent a summer working in Yellowstone National Park which isn't a traditional Work Kamp job since I received a hourly wage and did have to pay for my site.  This has been my only 'Work Kamper' experience, it wasn't the best of stints for me because I had to work more hours than I wanted and I didn't have input as to the scheduling (I guess that kind of makes it a 'real' job :) ), although I  loved being in Yellowstone for 5 months.    I also did a short stint working in my field and now I still work in my field but as a part-time consultant.   I can set my own hours and work from where ever I am.  It means that I am limited to staying where I can get wifi but I am okay with that.   This summer I also picked up a flexible part-time job in a tourist town close to the RV park I wanted to spend the summer at.  There are lots of seasonal opportunities in tourist areas if you are not particular about what it is that you do.  One of the benefits I find by working, besides the income, is that it helps you to connect to the area better.  I learned a lot by connecting with the rangers and other workers in Yellowstone and did the same this summer.  So even though I had visited the same area in Colorado for many years, I learned all kinds of information that I didn't know just from talking with my employer and co-workers, who were locals.  So working can have benefits besides just putting gas in the tank.

RVing Wisely
In addition to working part time, I also try and watch my costs.  I rarely ever stay in an RV park for a night unless it is a park that accepts Passport America, Camp Club or has another discount program.   Daily RV rates are always the highest.  I figure if I am only gonna be there a night I can just as easily stay at Walmart, a Truck Stop, Rest Area or where ever.  I usually do a weekly or a monthly rental.  The per day rate is then a lot less.   It's nice not trying to cram every area highlight into a two days period.  If I think I want to be in an area for a bit and haven't stayed in an RV park there before, then I will pay for a night before paying for the month, just to be sure there are no trains, planes or other major noise makers that aren't readily apparent upon check in.   I avoid KOA's if at all possible because their rates run on the high side.  I lean to parks that offer Passport America or another discount program because their monthly rates are usually lower.  The highest rate I have paid for a month is $625.  I try and stick with parks that aren't more than $500 a month.  When I started you could find nice parks for $250 a month, times have changed.  I just can't seem to justify the $600 plus a month parks too much.  You could pay a house payment at that amount and I am bringing my own house with me.   You can also find vacation rentals in a lot of areas that are fully furnished for around $600 a month, so why pay much more than that to park your RV?  The more park prices increase the more that I lean too changing my set-up to boondock more.  Boondocking which is staying free on public lands or other places is another option that many people choose.  I like the conveniences of the electric, water and sewer and meeting people in parks.

I have found that by making good choices on where I stay, staying longer and working part-time I can cover my expenses and enjoy exploring whatever area I am in until I am ready for a new adventure in a new area.  Everybody does it differently, but if you don't have that nice pension payment or social security check coming in .. know there are still options if being a full-time road warrior is what you want to do.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My First Experience with RV Park Age Discrimination!

Welcome to California .. Oh by the way, you aren't 55 so you are not allowed to be here, make sure you give security your pass on the way out!   And so it went as I tried to take care of my paperwork to move into the Rancho Casa Blanca RV Park in Indio, California, where I had hoped to spend the winter.  My mother was welcome and I would be welcome as long as she would be there everyday that I was there.. which wouldn't be the case, as I am the full-time RVer who wants to stay put and she comes and goes as she pleases.

So what happens at 55?  Am I  going to be more 'grown up' than I am at 46???  Less active? More active?  Does my money become greener?  Do I enter a special club??   I have stayed in many "55 and over" parks without a problem.  I never tried beat the older folks at shuffle board or anything like that.  I did play in the '55 and over' Softball league, (on the Rec team) and that did end up to be a problem.  I blew out my knee and had to have the over 55 guys carry me off the field and then had to go to India to get it fixed, but that's another story.

I have been full-time Rving since I was 40 years old.  In some areas the majority of the parks have been "55 and over" or Adult Communities but thankfully I have always been welcomed with open arms.  Most say they have to allow a percentage of people in who are not 55.   Apparently, Rancho Casa Blanca in Indio does not.  I am not questioning the legality of their decision.  Their rules are their rules.  I do question the wisdom of their decision.

Most parks just want to keep it quiet and not have kids bouncing their baseballs off the sides of folks rigs.  I get that.  I am old too and don't want a ball through my windshield or a kid playing hide and seek under my rig.  I get the point of Adult Communities.  I don't get not allowing a single 46 year old and her sometimes resident 68 year old mother a spot for the winter.  More and more people are retiring younger and traveling.  More too, with the advent of the internet, are just taking their jobs with them as they travel.  The result is that there are more and more 40 somethings, with money to spend, that are heading to places like Yuma, the Rio Grande Valley and Palm Springs, the places that have traditionally catered to the over 55 crowd during the winter months.  I have a couple full-time RV friends younger than me and many more that are between 50 and 55.  We need places to stay too.  We might prefer 50's music over the 40's Country and Line Dancing to Square Dancing, but I have met a whole lot of over 55's that do to!

The bottom line is that at 46, it doesn't feel really good to be denied a site because you are too young.  An adult is an adult.  I had spent couple weeks pouring through sites at Rancho Casa Blanca park, contacting owners with lots for rent, working deals for a seasonal rentals and so on.  I was quite disappointed to be turned away but as so many things go, I think that it has all worked out for the best.  I found a welcoming 55 and over park.  The people have been very friendly.  I had a concierge come check on me the first two days to make sure I was comfortable and finding my way around.  I have found several other 40 somethings here as well.  The first dance here had a guy playing 50's, 60's and 70's music. I knew all the words!  I don't know if I will still be RVing when I am 55 or not, but I do know that I won't be staying at parks that turned me away at 40 something.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dog Discovers Facebook & Twitter!

Left the Computer alone for just a minute. Came back to find Dog had joined Facebook and Twitter!!   Just what I need _another_  Crackberry in the rig!

All fun aside Golda, aka Dog, has leap into the 21st century social networking waters to offer some light hearted humor  and tips to the world from a four legged perspective.  Not necessarily just for the fun of it but because I have penned a couple of Children's books about her Adventures that I hope to have published.   If you, like Dog, have succumbed to the social networking craze and are on Facebook or Twitter please give Dog a Like or a Follow.  We both would appreciate your support!

On Facebook, you can find her at

On Twitter, you can follow her at @GoldasAdventure

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Million Dollar Highway - Ouray to Silverton, Colorado

On a map Highway 550 looks pretty innocuous and maybe even a good route to take between Durango and Ouray, Colorado... in reality its more like a thrill ride through nature.  It has twists, S-turns, curves, drop offs, climbs, rivers, sheer rock cliffs, lakes, old mines, red mountain tops and more.  It’s fabulous!  They just don’t make roads like this anymore.  This particular road, at least the 8 mile section of it between Silverton and Ouray, that is referred to as the MIllion Dollar Highway was blown out of the side of a mountain in the early 1920’s.  Some people say the Highways name came because it cost a million a mile to build, some say it’s the value of the gold tailings in the road, and some because of its million dollar views.  I’ll go with the views.

I have driven this road at least a hundred times but have yet to drive my RV on it.  I don’t recommend driving an RV this route to others either.  What would be thrill on a motorcycle or in sport’s car, in this case, becomes more of a white knuckle experience when you are 36’ and towing.  

People do drive their RV’s on this road, most that I have talked to only did it because it looked like the best route between Durango and Ouray and they didn’t know any better.  I followed a 5th Wheel on one drive that kept dropping its wheels off the road on the sharp curves and came within an inch of scraping his rig on the rock walls. 
The best way to enjoy this road is in a car, jeep or on a motorcycle on a beautiful Colorado blue sky day.  There is plenty to see along the route and the tourist towns of Ouray and Silverton make nice bookends for the trip.  The fall colors are fabulous along this route the last part of September.  If you get to the San Juans in Southwestern Colorado, I highly recommend taking a ride on the MIllion Dollar highway.  It’s a scenic route that you _will_ remember!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Truth in Broadcasting .. ???

I frequently flip channels as I watch the local news. As I watched this evening, I happened to catch the same story on three different major network channels out of Phoenix, Arizona. The problem was that each of the channels told a different story on what should have been a very cut and dry event.. the tornado touchdowns in Northern Arizona. The first report interviewed a National Weather Service person, which explained there were 4 tornadoes, 2 of which hit the Bellemont area outside of Flagstaff. One of those hit a Camping World store. The 2nd station did report, 4 tornadoes, 2 in Bellemont but said it hit a Mobile Home park. Camping World is not a Mobile Home park. The 3rd station reported that 4 tornadoes touched down _in_ Bellemont! I had to turn off the news at that point! How could a Phoenix station not even get where tornadoes touched down in their own state correct!?

In my experience with television reporters, I know that they edit what you say to make it more sensational. Radio and print tend to do the same thing. I have done interviews for newspapers and even national magazines where what they printed didn’t at all resemble what I said. The TV spots were edited just to one or two sentences that weren’t necessarily in context.

Most of what is printed or reported has more to do with sensationalism than truth. Consider the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ that is neither a Mosque or at Ground Zero, but the media billed as the being both, so now that’s what the general public believes. A person with a radio or TV following can suggest that Obama is not a US citizen or a Christian without a shred of proof and millions of people blindly accept that as fact. I constantly get the ‘OMG the sky is falling and Obama is going to kill your grandma’ type emails that get passed along like wildfire without anyone ever taking the time to check the facts. I was in a church in St. Louis where the pastor suggested that Obama was not a Christian because he didn’t go to church on Christmas. He got a lot of amens and applause from his large congregation. Last I checked the New Testament, there was no requirement to go to church on Christmas to be a Christian. I did see that verse about judging your neighbor though.

Some where along the line we have become a fact-less nation. It is one thing when the media takes my story and embellishes it in the local newspaper with a circulation of 25,000 people. It is quite another when major news sources and public figures are allowed to broadcast untruths and half-truths without ramifications. Does it matter if viewers think the tornado hit a Mobile Home park filled with people in their homes rather than a Camping World with mostly empty RV's and a few RVs that had people in them ? A Mobile Home Park certainly has more of the 'OMG factor'. Does it make a difference whether viewers in Phoenix believe that there were 4 tornadoes in Bellemont when there were really two? Maybe not, but what else is being reported inaccurately? Don't we deserve accuracy in reporting? We as citizens need to do our part in educating ourselves on issues, but should it be that difficult to get an accurate tornado account? I think we should be able to have some level of trust that major media sources are reporting truthfully and accurately. Unfortunately, we aren’t there yet. Maybe our News outlets should carry disclaimers at the end of their broadcast saying "This Broadcast may contain fictional characters, events and stories. We make no claims to the truth or accuracy of anything we have just said".

Friday, October 8, 2010

Up, Up and Away! - Hot Air Ballooning in Colorado

On this clear, cool, crisp Colorado morning our pilot pulls the handle above us and the large flame fills our balloon with hot air to lift us off the ground. We head straight for a tree! I ask our pilot, Gary, how long he has been flying these things, as we grab leaves off the top of the tree. He looks at his watch and responds, “Oh, about 1 minute 45 seconds” .. he stalls .. “And 20 years”, he says with a smile. Our pilot, the owner of San Juan Balloon Adventures, is certainly a charming fellow with lots of stories to tell. As we rise higher over the town of Ridgeway and gain sweeping views of the Sneffels range of the San Juan Mountains, Gary points out some of the individual peaks and shares some of the history of the the town of Ridgeway.
My basket mates today are a young couple from Denver. He had just proposed and then surprised his bride-to-be with a Balloon ride. They are as wide - eyed as I. Our flight is an hour long but seemed to only take 15 minutes. The views of the mountains and the Ridgeway valley are fabulous. When the balloon isn’t being filled with more hot air, the silence is grand.

Apparently flying the balloon is NOT the hard part. The hard part is finding a suitable place to land. In our case, finding a friendly landowner, a suitable place and getting the wind to cooperate are the challenges. We find a friendly landowner and avoid landing in the back of a pickup with a little help from the landowner and a rope. We avoid their barn and land safely in their field. What a RUSH!

After packing up the balloon and heading back to our launch spot, we celebrate with a Balloonist prayer and champagne toast. We enjoy some snacks as Gary gives us the history of ballooning and more information about the local area.

I am not much of a morning person and our adventure started at 6:45 am, but I would certainly do this again. Great views, great trip, great pilot .. well except for that first tree thing!

My trip was booked by Switzerland of America Jeep Tours in Ouray, Colorado.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Tenting We Shall Go ...

Tenting in the central Colorado Rockies. Kind of sounds like it might be fun, right?? An Rver getting back to the basics, seeing the back country, going places I couldn’t take my RV .. revisiting the girl scout within? That was the plan for our 3 day excursion., Within the first few hours I knew things just weren’t going to go as planned. First I was a little disappointed in the area where we were going to spend Day 1, so I moved on to Day 2 activities, which went a quicker than expected. The area that I had wanted to spend Night 2 in was closed off which forced me to keep driving over a gravel road further than I wanted to find a place to stay. After 6 tries at dispersed sites, I found a spot in a state park campground around 7:30 pm. I got the tent up and settled just before dark after dousing myself with mosquito spray. It was a nice evening but when I was making one of my last trips to the potty I noticed that there were some dark clouds over to the west and opted to put the rain fly on the tent in case we got a light shower.

As night fell the true adventure began...

9:30 - Convince Dog it is safe to go through the door of the tent while trying to wave away the mosquitos that were also trying to enter the tent. Apparently the waving confused Dog.
9:35 - Decide to read the trail books for the area.
9:42 - Bored since I can only drive a few of them and decide to call it a night, spend 2 minutes trying to blow out the candle lantern.
9:44 - Realize I can hear every word the girls in the campsite below me are saying and wonder when they are going to go to bed.
10:30 - They go to bed
11:00 - The folks at the Campsite in the middle of the campground have apparently started a game and are having quite a good time. I wonder why there is no camp host here to tell them to be quiet. Begin to ponder the differences between campgrounds and RV parks. Conclude I like RV parks and dispersed camping much better than campgrounds.
12:00 - As the hooping and hollering continues .. louder by the minute, I resist the temptation to threaten ‘going postal’ on them. The thought of them then wondering if I am really a psycho woman or not makes me smile .. I wonder about the deviousness of my thoughts ..
1:10 - They go to bed or are at least quiet. Ahhh.. sleep finally!
1:12 - The first flashes of lightening appear. Dog notices and begins to pant slightly.
1:20 - Distant thunder starts. Dog moves to lay next to me.
1:27 - A light rain starts. The pitter patter on the roof makes me feel like I have to pitter. The late nighters begin whooping and hollering yet again as the rain starts. I am guessing they didn’t have their rain fly on.
1:43 - 3 loud bellows from some kind of animal not too far away, have Dog & I sitting up looking at each other.
1:57 - A huge crack of thunder sends Dog into the moderate panting stage. I remember that I brought melatonin for her for just such a time as this. I realize that it isn’t going to do much good for her in the car where I left it. The rain picks up.
2:05 - I get Dog to lay down but she decides that ‘spooning’ is necessary. I think something is just not right with this situation and wonder what possessed me to think tenting was a good idea.
2:45 - Storm intensifies. Dog decides spooning no longer meets her needs and tries to lay on me! I _really_ need to pitter.
3:05 - Had apparently dozed off (I like storms), but was awoken with Dog whiskers on my face. I sit straight up, find the flash light & attempt to comfort Dog. I figurethe flashlight beam will detract from the lightening. It just highlights the walls of the tent blowing in and out. Dog is panting and salivating so much I am afraid she will have a heart attack. I consider a run for the car but am not sure this would be better. I do my best doggie psychologist impersonation and speak in happy, calm tones to Dog to try and comfort her. I, again, wonder about my mental health.
3:50 - One of my rainfly tent pegs comes loose which makes for more noise. I have a flash of sitting in a leaking tent on a mountain top with my brother many years ago and grab the flashlight to double check that I have no leaks. I find that water has indeed made it under the tent floor. The only wet spot in the tent is the spot below my 3/4 sleeping pad and thus the whole bottom of my sleeping bag is wet.
4:05 - Thunder moves off and a gentle rain continues. Dog goes back to the spooning.
6:00 - I am jarred out of my dream by an alarm! An alarm .. this is just beyond belief! Its my phone telling me the battery is dead. I had no signal, but was relying on it to tell me how little sleep I was getting since I don’t have a watch. Nice of it to wake me up and tell me it was off the job.
7:ish - The gals who went to bed early are now up and allowing their dog to bark. The rain has stopped. Dog is up as soon as I sit up .. I figure 'what the hell' at this point I will get up and take care of that ‘pitter’ matter and regroup with some tea. The dog continues to bark.
8:ish - I get out my trusty one burner stove to make tea. It engulfs itself in flames. I get the gas turned off and the base continues to burn. I attempt it again and the same thing happens though the base continues to flame even with the gas off. I pitch the stove after emptying the gas into the fire pit and almost blowing myself up.

With no means to make tea or my lovely freeze dried ham and eggs, I sit at the picnic table, looking at my soaked tent and ask myself why in the heck I paid $10 for this experience. I got nothing .. I consider leaving a note on the tent that whoever wants to take it down can have it, but decide to head 20+ miles up the road to find breakfast and tea first. Of course, the one restaurant in that town is not open. Twelve more miles to the next town before I finally score my tea. I sit on a deck with my tea, watching hummingbirds fight over the feeders after a fabulous breakfast, dazed from the blur of the past 24 hours and ponder the credit card ‘memories are priceless’ commercials. I decide that next time I'll spend $20 more and make my memories at Motel 6.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Rafting the Uncompaghre River

Paddle forward two! Paddle, Paddle, .. dig deep ladies! Whew! Splash! Ohhh that’s cold! So went my half day rafting trip on the swollen Uncompaghre River, near the town of Ridgeway in Western Colorado. Our guide, a former Grand Canyon guide who traded the red rocks for the beautiful Rockies, managed to keep me and my 5 young cohorts safe as we navigated a stretch of the Uncompaghre river north of the Ridgeway Reservoir. Uncompaghre is a Ute indian word that apparently has several meanings, our guide says it means ‘muddy river’ or ‘red river spring’. The river was indeed muddy and swift. Our guide was a colorful guy who spends the winter teaching surfing in Costa Rica. He was very knowledge and I thought very humorous. My young high school cohorts didn’t seem to appreciate his knowledge and humor as much. They were into riding the rapids and ride the rapids we did. We also did a bit of ducking under low hanging branches and at least one bridge. The water which comes from the San Juan mountains was ice cold even though the air temperature was near 90 degrees. Luckily we all managed to stay in the boat.

I have rafted several rivers in Colorado. This wasn’t the clearest or the most scenic but with the spring run-off in high gear this river certainly didn’t disappoint. It did have the ‘thrill factor’ going on and left us all with smiles on our faces and wanting more. A great trip for the young and old alike.

My trip was arranged by Switzerland of America Jeep Tours. They are a one stop shop for all your adventure needs in this area.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Journal excerpts - Barrow, AK

I am transferring the Journal from my first year RVing to the computer and thought I might share a few Journal entries here and there. So here goes...

July 19, 2004

I flew to Barrow Alaska, the northernmost point in the United States. It was not at all what I expected. It was muddy, run down, all gravel streets, junk sitting out everywhere and the houses were on pilings. The ocean was very calm and pretty. The tour took us around the town, which only had one stop light by the school. We had local kids teach us some of the native american games and dances. We learned about whaling and the native way of life here and it was very interesting. I am not sure that I could live here though it is very isolated, gets 24 hours of darkness in the winter and is cold. We went to a weather research station and saw folks that had erected a plastic palm trees in their yard. Gotta love the humor of those folks. They keep meat in a hole dug down deep into the ground. They can lower it down in the hole but have ladders to go down to retrieve it. I guess you really don't need a freezer here, besides it's not like you can run to the nearest Sears store and buy one. There happened to be walrus blubber just sitting in a box next to the cellar with flies on it while we were there. Lots of the locals were selling their wares at the museum. I bought some caribou antler carvings and some baleen which comes from the Bowhead whales that they hunt here.

We had lunch at Pepe’s Top of the World Restaurant. They had a limited menu but it was good. All of the supplies in Barrow have to be flown in or shipped in once the ice has melted in the summer and a barge can get there. In the winter when the permafrost is frozen they can snow mobile something like 80 miles to the nearest town. In the summer they use small planes because there are no roads to neighboring towns. The plane we flew in on was half a cargo plane and half passenger plane. I have never been on any other plane like this. When we landed it was 38 degrees and very dreary but the sun came out and it warmed up to the mid 40‘s. This IS July and it has been in the 90’s in Fairbanks!

I decided on a whim to become a member of the Polar Bear Club of Barrow, which means I had to fully submerge in the Arctic Ocean to join! Wendy and Ray from Montana also went. Wendy is turning 60 tomorrow. We had lunch together and talked each other into taking the plunge to celebrate her 60th and my 40th. I liked her spunk! They were spending the night here and had extra clothes. I did not, so I bought a pair of shorts and stripped down to a t-shirt since they were gonna give me a dry one of those when I got out. A dead seal lay in the water along the shoreline close to where I did this. The water was quite cold and salty but I felt warm when I got out. Yes, that's me in the pic going "Holy Cow its cold" or something akin to that. :-) I got a t-shirt and will have a certificate mailed to me. I also got a lot of applause and shaking heads from the rest of the group that didn’t go in the water. You hear about folks in the Lower 48 being members of a Polar Bear club, but taking a dip in the Northernmost city, where Polar Bears really do swim, really gives it more meaning, if you ask me!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Earthly Treasures ...

As a full-time Rver, my earthly treasures are not many. I remember when I left college and moved into an apartment. I packed everything I owned into my car. A few years later it took half a semi to move my treasures. Moving from a 4 bedroom house to a 36' motorhome was a daunting challenge to say the least. I know this rig had to be over it's weight limit when I first started. But gradually I learned that I didn't need near as much as I thought I did. I left a trail of unnecessary items at dumpsters for others to take all across the US and Canada. Now, I even have empty and half full bins. What I do have, I use.

A few of my belongings were functional yet, sentimental. When my rig was broken into last month in Oklahoma City they got my 'functional yet sentimental' stuff. People say to be grateful more wasn't taken and your rig wasn't majorly damaged, which I am, but I would still trade everything else for those sentimental items. I think the fewer sentimental items you have maybe the harder it is to lose them .. then again maybe not. Maybe if you had a 100 items and lost 2 it would still suck just the same. I've thought about folks that are homeless and have to carry all their earthy treasures in a bag. About folks that have been hit by tornadoes, fire or by hurricanes and lost everything and I can hardly even imagine what they feel. It seems no matter how much or how little we have or how hard we try not to get attached to 'things', we just do and though they are 'just things' it still sucks to lose them!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bovine Adventures: Into the Pasture of Death

Half a league, half a league, half a league onward into Pasture of Death, City girl and Dog walked onward. Cows to the left of them, Cows to the right, Cows behind them .. mooed and 'thundered'. Dodging the cow pies of death, avoiding the drool from the hell, ... okay so it's 'somewhat' how I remember Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade". As Dog and I attempted yet again to dodge the hooved behemoth's to climb the ridge behind us, I was feeling Tennyson the whole way.

Dog & I have a ritual at this park. We stay here every year and several times a week we climb to the top of the ridge behind the park and enjoy the vast views of two mountain ranges. Great views and good exercise for me and Dog.

This year we arrive to find that our Rancher RV park owner has allowed a herd of cattle to graze in his fields. Fields we have to walk through to get to the ridge! Now City girl that I am, I don't know too much about cattle 'cept they are smelly, drooly, messy and BIG. Frankly, I am a little afraid of them. They know this! I know they know because they have been 'guarding' THE gate I need to get through to get to the ridge ... by standing in the gate opening just daring me and Dog to pass. We did get chased the other day after Dog decided to 'play' (cough .. chase. ) a couple of calves. So today, I am prepared. Shock collar on Dog, I am ready to watch the doggy do back flips instead of being chased. I wannnnt to make it to the ridge.

Only one cow is in the pasture today and of course it is guarding the gate. We approach slowly and I tell Dog to stay close. T-Bone backs off and we skirt the fence away from the herd and up the trail.
When we reach the safety of the Juniper's, I turn around to see that part of the herd has now moved through the gate and back into the pasture. Fear rushes through my mind, "Oh crap, I didn't think about getting back!" Dog and I trudge forward, my mind running a thousand miles an hour when I start to notice it is getting a little hard to breath. Man, I am not used to this altitude, I am not sure I _can_ make it to the top of the ridge! Better sit down under this tree and contemplate my options. Dog is happily pawing at lizards in the scrub brush. A hummingbird keeps zipping around her.. wait that hummer is buzzing her!! I think it thinks her bandana is a flower. Back to the cows, .... man this is a nice view here. The mountains are so pretty, exhale .. take a moment .......... oh yeah .. I am suppose to be 'figuring' here. Focus! The cows that went back into the pasture have moved away from the gate and the ones on the range are still a bit away from the gate so this could be a window of opportunity!

I head back down the trail and Dog dutifully follows. As we emerge from the Junipers to the open range a Big Bertha across the way spies us and starts mooing loudly. I watch her and start to angle towards gate. She starts moving and angles toward the gate as well. I pick up my pace and tell Dog to stay with me. Bertha keeps mooing and breaks into a trot. Alas, she beats me to the gate and goes to take a drink just inside the gate. The herd, alerted from her ruckus I'm sure, starts heading towards the gate as well. We take a step through the gate as she drinks and she quickly raises her head and steps toward us. Snot and drool, running down her snoot and off her lip makes my gag reflex kick in. I hear something behind us & turn around to see two baby T-bones in an all out run towards us. I scan our options. I am guessing going over the barbwire would hurt less than being trampled. Dog takes a few steps out towards the oncoming calves and they pull a 'psych' maneuver before they reach us, but there are a few bigs ones coming right behind them. Bertha is still standing her ground. I believe communication is the best problem solver so I decide to try that with Bertha. "Get going, get going, shoo, shoo", I wave my hands at her and the drool continues to drop from her mouth as she chews and stares. I muster my best cow voice, "MOOOooovvveeee!" (Oh yes I did!) Houston, we have contact! Bertha backs up and moves away. Dog and I move quickly through the pasture and through the lower gate. The herd has firmly entrenched their position at the upper gate now and we won't make it the ridge today. We ARE glad to have made it through the Pasture of Death and lived to tell about it!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Shhhh... Creak, creak, creak..

Ahhh, the sound of the WD40 and the keyboard keys being pressed again after such a longggggg time! It is hard to sit down and write after not doing so for so long, but I intend to get these keys moving again and keep them moving this time!

So let's catch up. I was last speed touring through Capital Reef, Bryce & Zion. I landed in Las Vegas which I may backtrack and write a bit about. Then was off to the Sedona area which I may revisit as well, then back to the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas for the winter. And what a cold, rainy, winter it was. You would think with all the nasty weather that I would have had time to write a bit but I did not.

Mom spent a lot of the winter with me. I also managed to get in a few Facebook training classes for the folks at our park and do a presentation on Yellowstone. I had seen a cool presentation on Ecuador that was done with Apple's Keynote software which inspired me to retool my Yellowstone Presentation. I found Keynote to be far superior than Powerpoint in features and ease of use. I think folks liked the presentation as well. Thanks to my friend Tom Sykes for the inspiration to make the change and helping me get started.

I also caught up with fellow Fulltime RVer and Life on the Open Road Blogger, Diana, for the first time when she came to check out the dancing in the Valley. She told me all about the WINS (Wandering Individuals Network), which I have yet to catch up with .. even though they look like they have a great time... One of these days! I appreciate her taking the time to meet with me since I have been following her blog for quite a while. I love her pics and the fact that she gets off the beaten path a bit more than I do.

I made several new friends over the winter and built on relationships from past winters. Spending 4 months in one place with a lot of the same folks each year really is nice. Having Social Networking sites like Facebook helps to keep connected to those relationships throughout the year and I appreciate that. Despite how much I love South Texas and my friends that winter there, I am looking to explore some new stomping grounds out in AZ or CA next year. A big change after 6 season in the same place but hey that's why I live on wheels, right!?

Okay .. I think these keys are starting to loosen up a bit here but the sun is showing itself on these Colorado mountains for the first time in days. I don't want to strain a finger my first day back.. so I better go catch a sun ray while I can.


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