Farewell Mexico-Hello United States

Ah, my adventure into a small section of Mexico is coming to a close. Tomorrow a small group of us will caravan to the United States Border and just like that this trip to Mexico will come to a close and become a memory.

It has been a fine two and a half weeks. I have seen a lot and relaxed even more. I visited two areas of Mexico, San Carlos Guyamas and Alamos.

One, San Carlos, is on the beach and the other is in the Sierra Madre Mountain Range. The beach was a place to have fun, kayaking, walking, and biking, birding, and more importantly, visiting with the people I traveled with.

The other town, Alamos took me more into the interior and I got a taste of life in traditional Mexico. The town is old and what I would expect to see in Mexico. There is a lot of art and culture in this place. One night we went to the former actor, Rip Torn’s home for a benefit dinner. The house was fascinating and the food, all vegetarian, was amazing. It was an eight-course meal.

The restaurants in Alamos were delicious and enticing. I was able to experience a more classic Mexican cuisine. In ways, it was similar to what I have tasted in the United States yet there were dishes that I experienced here that I have not experienced in my country.

The eight others I traveled with were a delightful mix of couples and solo travelers. We meshed well. Bobbi was our leader in the arts. We painted rocks, shells, and seed pods. Many became great works of art. There was singing, yoga, and more. As a group, we meshed well. I am leaving richer for meeting and knowing these people.

I have learned that when I need time alone, I take it. Having traveled solo for most of the past ten years, there were moments when I was done being social. My rig and my bike gave me a way to leave for a while so I could return and be social again. This group supported all the members of its community. I like a loosely formed group. I like that others can support each of our independence.

What is next? I am not sure. It is a bit chilly north of the border currently. I am going to try to find a place where I don’t have to winterize my vehicle. Winterizing has to be done when it gets below Thirty degrees Fahrenheit. It is not hard to do but it is time-consuming and I guess I am inherently lazy.

Until tomorrow, I am planning to enjoy my last day “south of the border”. I have already been kayaking-I got up early so I could take advantage of the tide and the wind or the lack thereof. I have been birding. Now it is time to get myself ready to cross the border.

Until I return to Mexico again, Via con Dios.

A Healing Time

On a warm winter morning in Alamos, Mexico I was practicing yoga with a friend. We were talking occasionally as we stretched and meditated and woke our bodies up. I told her that everything that I do helps me heal.

Since Jim, my husband and friend died, on October 17, 2012, I have experienced so many emotions and states of being. It wasn’t until this morning that I put my life, since his death, into words. I am healing. When I feel joy, I am healing. When I feel grief, I am healing. When I experience anger I am healing. Laughing-healing, Crying-healing, Sharing a comfortable time with friends or strangers-healing. This is my life. Healing means growth. I am growing with each moment that passes. I am working my way towards a wholeness that I lost with loss and grief. Little moments in time guide me toward this state of being.

This also is a physical state. I treat my body well-healing, I don’t treat my body well-I am healing, Dancing-healing, Walking-healing, Cycling-healing, and Spending a day resting-healing. Physically, Mentally, Spiritually, and Emotionally I am always healing. Even when I don’t know it I am healing toward wholeness and becoming more.

Healing is a lifelong project. Not only am I healing from grief. I am healing from all those other wounds that I have experienced as a part of growing in years and knowledge. Healing is my responsibility and I can’t expect to heal unless I try to unravel the wounds both consciously and subconsciously.

With this knowledge today I have felt vulnerable, and strong, and…everything. Today I have been resting or taking a Siesta. As this knowledge is being absorbed I needed time to rest so I can absorb it in every aspect.

I will continue to walk with strength, stumble, and pick myself up to continue to move toward a wholeness I have not experienced before. Healing, like grief, is ongoing. As I acknowledge this it frees me up to be more of everything.

Today I am thankful for this moment of awareness. Today I am thankful for healing, myself, others and the world. Today I am thankful.

A Week in Mexico

San Carlos, Mexico

Thursday I will have been in Mexico for a week. Yes, I finally took a deep breath and crossed the southern border of the United States.

The hardest part was crossing the border. I have been across the border before but I have EmmyLou with me this time. I have my home with me. I have to make sure I can take care of her.

It was good to be with others who have done this before. Out of the nine of us, four have been doing this for years. I am thankful for Mary, Mike, Sky, and Bobbi. With their guidance, we made it through the process of entering a different country. I don’t mind a little hand-holding and guidance. First, we crossed over. About twenty-one miles south of the border we stopped to get our Visitor’s Visa and Temporary Import Permit for EmmyLou. It was a process, not quick. Once again I remembered to breathe and be patient. And when it was done I was in Mexico.

We have been staying on the beach along a bay near San Carlos on the Sea of Cortez. This is mainland Mexico. It has been a week of relaxation and fun and community. There is a lagoon nearby so I have had some great kayaking and birding adventures. I am very thankful for my kayaking experience. I was able to go off alone and feel comfortable on the water. Yes, I did have all my safety gear with me. When one travels alone one needs to be prepared.

In the afternoons we have been having fun with art. I have been painting rocks and shells. It is fun to allow my artistic side to come forward. It has been many years since this side of me has come out to play. It is fun to paint with little expectation of the outcome. This is called folk art.

Brown Footed Boobie

The sunrises have been amazing and the sunsets breathtaking. It is not unusual to see pods of dolphins swim by, close to shore. The birding has been good. There is this island approximately two miles off the shoreline, Isla de Pastel (Cake Island). On a glassy, quiet day on the water, I kayaked to the island to see the birds. It was not disappointing. There were cormorants, pelicans, all types of gulls, and the Brown-Footed Boobie.

The island was interesting as well. There was one cave I could kayak into. The water was spectacularly clear. It was quiet in the cave as sunlight dappled the walls. There were smaller rock outcroppings to explore. I ended up circling the island twice. There was so much to see.

The people I am traveling with are delightful. Currently, there are nine of us. There are three couples and three are solo. We get along well. This is a very fluid group. People come together to visit and talk. Then some will go off to do something they are interested in. There is little pressure to join in if solo time is what one needs, yet the door remains open if one wants to join in on an adventure or sit on the beach and chat.

Slowing down and relaxing have been good for me. I needed this quiet and peaceful time in my life. I have not been to town. The wilderness and sea have called to me more than exploring town. Tomorrow that will change. Saying farewell to the coast is hard. We are heading to Alamos. I have read about Alamos and have heard much about it from Mary Z. It will be another type of experience. For a while, I will need to say goodbye to the Pacific and the coastline and head inland to experience another side of Mexico.

You are most welcome to come along on this journey with me as I delve deeper into Mexico.

Today I am thankful for a relaxing and peaceful time in my life. Today I am thankful for this beautiful Mexican land and sea. Today I am thankful for those who surround me now. I am thankful for new experiences that open me up and give me the opportunity to continue to grow and explore.

Curious Minds Want to Know

After closing out a quiet Christmas and New Year with my friends Cynthia and Ward, I am on the road.

Through the end of December, I worked on my rig. I made lists, and I completed tasks. Some were easy and some were a bit harder than I first imagined they would be. Come January first, we were ready to go. With a fond farewell to my San Diego friends, I headed east into the desert. I took my time driving east. The desert greeted me with a beautiful rainbow.

After spending time with the Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese at the Sony Bono Wildlife Refuge, I ended my first day camping next to Squaw Lake on the California/Arizona border. This is quickly becoming a favorite stopover or destination. It is remote yet close enough to larger towns to make it an excellent winter home base. This time I stayed for a night.

Squaw Lake

You just might wonder where I am heading. I am on my way to Mexico. I have good friends who travel there every winter with the exception of the Pandemic Years. This year Mary invited other mutual friends from Michigan and me to join them. We meet up south of Tucson tomorrow and on January fifth we cross over into Mexico via Nogales.

What does one do to prepare to go “south of the border”?

  • Make sure that my Passport is up to date. It was not so I hurriedly filled out the appropriate paperwork and sent it off to the Federal Government.
  • Make duplicate copies of everything. (driver’s license, vehicle registration, passport)
  • Buy auto insurance for Mexico. Have a paper copy in hand.
  • EmmyLou my rig went off to Mercedes for a check-up.
  • Exchange money, Mexican Pesos are a must.
  • Check my credit cards to make sure there are no foreign taxes to use in other countries.
  • What about my phone plan? Verizon has me covered.
  • Learn a little Spanish.
  • What does my bathing suit look like? Ach, time for a new one.

And the list goes on. I am a bit nervous about this trip. I have a tendency to worry since Jim, my husband died. I have fussed about this adventure quite a bit. I am never clear as to why I worry but worry I do. I have found, like fear, if I make worrying my ally it can help me. Then I can develop a clearer picture of why I am worrying, or not and move on. I remind myself that thousands of people do this every year. I am not the first to venture into Mexico.

With the support of friends on Thursday I cross the border into Mexico. It is good to have friends that are willing to push me a little so I can find a new edge to my comfort zone.

Stay tuned, as I share my adventure south of the border with you.

Oh No, She’s Down…but not out.

There are moments in my life when I wish I had a “do-over”. Yesterday was one of those days.

I have a 150 cc Kymco Scooter. Jim and I have owned this scooter since 2006. Both of us were always cautious when riding it. Jim, of course, was always a little more cautious than me. When I am in San Diego I pull the scooter out of storage and enjoy a quick and easy way to get around town. Parking is a breeze. It gets 80 mpg. Most of the year it stays in storage.

Yesterday I had an appointment at one of the Kaiser facilities to have routine lab work drawn. I had this bright idea to ride the scooter. The roads were damp and drying. It had rained during the night. For just a moment I considered not taking it because of the roads but decided that I would be cautious and take it. The weather forecast was good.

I made it twelve miles to the parking structure for the medical offices without incident. As I turned into the structure I hit a wet patch of road and went down. The scooter slid and landed on top of my right leg. If one is going to have an accident having it in the driveway of a medical facility is a good choice. Within seconds two very kind men lifted the scooter off me and stood it out of harm’s way. After a few more seconds there were at least a dozen medical personnel surrounding me. I am sitting on the curb trying to control the need to throw up. When I looked up and saw the staff I asked Susan the nurse representative to get rid of all of them and she did. Within a short time, I had seen a Doctor, not in my plans for the day, and was whisked off for x-rays to make sure I had not broken anything (I did not).

When one lives alone logistics seem harder. I have to figure out many steps that would be so much easier if someone else is around.

I had my labs done, picked up a pain prescription at the pharmacy, and met up with my friend, Phyllis who helped commandeer my day. First stop was the Orthopedic clinic to be out fitted with a knee brace and crutches.

Obviously, I could not drive my scooter. What was I going to do to make sure she was safe and out of harm’s way? I did not feel comfortable leaving her in the parking structure. With the help of the Vespa Scooter Store, I was able to find someone to tow it safely to my storage unit. I felt accomplished when I had found a solution that did not cost me too much money and now I know it is safely tucked away until I can get to her.

My Scooter Getting a Lift

And then there are friends. I value all my friends. My friends have come to my rescue more than once. And then there is Phyllis. Phyllis and I met as nurses at San Diego Children’s Hospital (now known as Rady Children’s Hospital). Over the many years, we have remained strong and true friends. She and I have traveled to Africa and parts of the United States together. If I need someone to help me, Phyllis is my first call. When Jim was receiving chemo and ended up in the ER in the middle of the night due to a temp spike, Phyllis dressed and came to the hospital to support me. She has been in and out of the ER with me numerous times over the years. All I have to do is call and she puts herself into action. She is an amazing person and a tried and true friend. I consider myself extremely fortunate to call her my friend.

The medical staff, all of them at the Vandever clinic were top-notch. I was so impressed with their compassion and kindness and concern. From the moment I hit the ground, literally, professionals were there to help and assist with kindness and compassion, and concern. It reminds me of why I chose to be a registered nurse for twenty-five years.

I am safely tucked into my small rig with a lovely view of Mission Bay. I am doing what I have been told and resting. Leg up, ice packs every hour, and resting. I am thankful for this tiny rig where everything is within reaching distance. I don’t have to go far to cook, get a drink or use the bathroom. And now I wait, giving my leg and knee time to heal. Sigh.

Today I am thankful for not having a fracture. Today I am thankful for Phyllis a good friend. Today I am thankful for Kaiser, the medical staff, and all the loving concern I received. Today I am thankful for the opportunity to have future adventures. Today I am thankful for my little home on wheels that is giving me a safe and comfortable place to heal.

Today I am Thankful. Yes I would still love a do-over.

Limping Into my Seventies

For over thirty years I have been a dancer. Scottish Country Dancing-Check. English Morris Dancing-Check. New England Contradancing, English Country Dancing, Irish Dancing, International Folk Dancing, Ballroom Dancing, Ballet-Check. I love to dance. It makes me feel alive in a way not much else does.

I have also been a backpacker, hiker, walker, and more. I have trekked the Himalayas and visited one of the fourteeners in Southern Colorado. I have hiked in Southeast Asia, the Andes, Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands. Hiking is a part of my life here in the United States and Canada. I love to hike.

For the past two-plus years I have been dealing with foot issues. First, my left ankle became swollen and sore. The side of my ankle blew up and, for a while, I could not find my ankle bone. Finally with the help of Chiropractics, Physical Therapy, Active Release Technique, Acupuncture, and Myofascial Release I discovered my ankle bone again. The swelling and intermittent pain never went away and remains today.

A year later my right heel developed swelling in a funny area. I continued with all the above treatments and it made it better but it did not go away. On bad days I put it in a boot. Everything made it better but the underlying issue never went away.

When I returned to San Diego in November I decided it was time to talk to my internist. I decided to get western medicine involved. After a set of foot and ankle x-rays, I have a diagnosis. It appears I have chronic Tendonosis from over-use. Well yeah! They also found a type of bone spur called Haglund’s Deformity. It is an abnormality of the foot bone and soft tissues. An enlargement of the bony section of the heel triggers this condition. It frequently can cause bursitis of the soft tissue and swelling of the Achilles tendon insertion point. The doctor told me that it may be genetic and often starts as a bone spur.

How do they treat it? Well, it is something that I will most likely have to live with for the rest of my life. The main treatment is to treat the symptoms.

  • Wear Orthotics
  • Use Heel Lifts
  • Ice it once a day
  • Perform stretching exercises daily
  • If it is really sore stay off of it
  • I walk with hiking poles all the time now. It helps redistribute the weight and I am able to still get exercise.

What happens if all this fails? Surgery. Each heel would take about a year to heal. Sigh.

Here is what I do know. I will most likely never dance again. It will irritate the condition and make it worse. Oh, Huge Giant Sigh. I am able to walk but not distance like I used to and I am slower. When my ankle or ankles act up I take a day off and give them a rest.

I know that many of you may wonder why I am writing about this. I have been going through grief for the loss of a lifestyle. Yes, I do know there are many who are worse off than me. I get that and I understand. But this is about me and it is a focus of my life at the moment and I am worried and concerned. And I am sad. Things are changing and it is going to take me time to adapt.

I need to allow myself to grieve and hopefully, my friends are able to understand this is normal and support me in this process. I don’t need to be told that I am strong and will adjust. I don’t want my friends to blow this off as something minor. I don’t need people reminding me of how I used to be. Telling me that I used to be such a good hiker does not help me now. For me, at the moment in time, this is a major event in my life. And I am adjusting to change.

What can my friends do to help?

  • Love me just the way I am.
  • When friends and I go for a three-mile hike (with poles) know that you might have to hike slower and not go as far. Save your hard hike for another time and let’s enjoy each other’s company.
  • Don’t remind me of what I used to be able to do, I am fully aware of this.
  • Informing me that I will adapt, does not help.
  • Please don’t tell me the horror stories of others. Positivity is a plus.
  • Know that I am on it as far as deciding what will work and what will not work for me.
  • Be patient and be kind.

This is a good reminder for me to be gentle and loving with others. None of us know fully what others are going through unless we have the inside story and even then we may not know the extent of emotions that are running through another persons life. My feet are reminding me once again to be patient and kind and to listen, really listen to my friends and to others.

I am limping into my 70’s, literally. I am still a full and functioning human being with much to be thankful for. The limping could certainly go away and I would be so appreciative if it did. I am working on it and still moving forward. I mean what else can I do? Staying frozen in time has never worked for anyone. Even if it is with a limp, I will continue to move forward to whatever door opens next.

Today I am thankful. I am thankful for all those years of dancing and the joy it brings to me. I am thankful for hiking and at the moment I am really thankful for hiking poles. I am thankful for the doctors that can help me diagnose my lovely feet and ankles. Today I am thankful for acknowledging grief and being with it so I can move through this phase and move on to my next adventure in life.

Adventures Heading South

Sunset in San Diego

Every year in November I return to San Diego to get my annual medical and dental appointments done. I come south to visit friends and escape winter. I usually don’t travel directly to the city. I meander my way from wherever I have been.

I find it hard to be in large cities. Since I bought my Roadtrek and went full-time RV’ing, I have embraced rural and small-town living. I like the slower pace. I like the quick access to the outdoors. I would rather walk, kayak, or cycle than take too much time to get to my starting point. I like the sense of community that small towns and the rural countryside offers. People look out for each other. We help each other out. I don’t have to be alone unless I choose that option.

I have to prepare myself for the entrance into the city. This year after I left The North Rim of the Grand Canyon, White Pocket and southern Utah I headed south to Phoenix. If I want to practice being in a larger metropolitan area this city is a good one to approach. Phoenix is the fifth largest metropolitan area in the United States. I have two good friends that live in towns on either side of Phoenix.

Superstition Mts. from my Campsite

Apache Junction and Mary are on the east side of Phoenix. The Superstition Mountains and the Lower Salt River are within twenty minutes of Mary’s doorstep. I camped at the Lost Dutchman State Park. This park sits at the foot of Flat Iron Peak. It is a popular hike for the locals.

At Mary’s suggestion, one morning I launched my Oru Kayak on the Lower Salt River and paddled downriver. Since I wasn’t sure how far I wanted to go, Mary and Roxie, her dog, would meet me at each pullout or launching site to see how I was doing. Happily, I made it the full ten miles. It was a beautiful and scenic ride down the river. The next time I am taking Mary with me.

I paddled by wild horses feasting on the eelgrass in the river. The Salt River wild horses roam the lower Salt River in the Tonto National Forest in Arizona. According to historical records, the horses have been living on the Salt River reservation before the National Forest was created in the early 1900s. The wild horses are watched over by the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group. They are protected and number approximately five hundred.

After three days of catching up with Mary and her animal menagerie, I drove to Goodyear to visit Yvonne. Goodyear is on the west side of Phoenix. Yvonne lives in a 55 and up community. This stay was more community-minded as Yvonne is very involved with the community where she lives. While I was there we went to a block party, a beer-tasting event, and more. The best part of visiting Yvonne is sitting in her hot tub every morning talking and planning the day. It is a good way to start the day.

After Phoenix, I decided I need to go rural for a few days before I arrived in San Diego. I spent two nights on the lower Colorado River, kayaking on Squaw Lake and the mighty river. It is quiet out in the desert right now. The Snowbirds are just starting to arrive. There were a handful of campers at the campsite. There were at least three Roadtreks there. After a day of kayaking, it was nice to sit outside with my neighbors and watch the sunset over the lake.

Currently, I am in San Diego. I have already been to a few appointments and visited with friends. It is nice to be back on familiar terrain. I am able to see what has changed in the last nine months. I know where to find my favorite Coffeehouses. The one thing I like about San Diego is camping on Mission Bay. Even though I am in a large city, I still have easy access to biking trails and the boat launch is only a short distance from my campsite. Well, that is convenient.

My winter plans are taking shape. I always know to expect the unexpected. I remember to breathe my way through my appointments and wait to find out the results of tests. There is a part of me that feels I have to wait to make plans until all the medical and dental appointments are complete and the results are in. Sometimes I get thrown a curve. I wait.

Today I am thankful for so many wonderful friends. Today I am thankful for my soft adventures. Today I am thankful for my health. I am truly thankful for a good first dental appointment. Today I am thankful for rain-it is raining in San Diego. (not a frequent occurence)

Today I am thankful.

A Birthday Party

October sixteenth is my birthday. Since Jim’s death, he died the day after my birthday, this has become an interesting time of year. Sometimes I want to be alone and find peace, other times it feels better to be with other people and friends.

This year, on my birthday, I was visiting with very long-time friends in southern Utah. I have known Sharon since I was a girl. We have remained friends over the years. Friends are marvelous to have. Long-time friends are to be cherished and celebrated.

When Sharon found out that I was celebrating my seventieth birthday while I was visiting, she insisted on making me a cake and a birthday dinner. Not only did she make me a cake but she made my favorite, a Red Velvet Cake with Buttercream Icing. We, her son Michael, Sharon, and I had a wonderful birthday dinner followed by the yummiest cake.

I felt like a kid. I know it was not a birthday party but it felt like it was. Joy bubbled up inside me. I felt young and happy and oh did I feel loved. As I went about my day I giggled to know someone was making me a birthday cake. I kept saying to myself that we were having a party.

It has been many years since someone made me a cake and made me feel important on my birthday. I used to make a chocolate birthday cake for Jim’s birthday each year. He was a Chocoholic. Because his birthday was seven days prior to mine often we were still eating his cake when my day rolled around. He always did special things for me throughout the year and we always acknowledged each other birthdays. Prior to our lives together it had been many years since I had celebrated my birthday.

It takes so little to bring joy into another person’s life. We don’t always know what will trigger that joy. It can be the smallest or grandest of things. Big or small it really doesn’t matter. What does matter, is the recognition by others that you are important enough to be noticed and remembered. Each little thing can make a world of difference in someone’s life. A Birthday Cake made a difference in my life this year.

Today I am thankful for joyfulness. Today I am thankful for Sharon, such a good and dear friend. Today I am thankful for a Red Velvet Birthday Cake.

Ten Years

Jim

Ten years ago on October 17, my partner, husband, best friend and so much more, died. He had just turned sixty and just like that his life on this planet was over.

it amazes me that it is ten years. There are times it feels like yesterday. Then I look at the ten-year mark and am amazed. Where did this time go? How can it be ten years? Wasn’t it just last year that I dove headfirst into grief? And how can it be ten years and I still miss him so?

I will continue to make a commitment to his memory and my grief and loss at this time of year. It helps me acknowledge one of the highlights of my life on this planet. It allows the grief that is often floating somewhere deep below the surface to be acknowledged and loved as a part of who I am as a whole person.

Jim was a unique and special part of my life. He showed up at thirty-eight years of age, at a time when I was sure I was going to remain single for my whole life. He turned that one around. We were a team. I never thought I would meet someone who I was so compatible with.

It is not that we didn’t have relationship issues from time to time, we were both stubborn. We wanted to make this relationship work and we knew that it was of value to both of us. It was more than of value to me. He saw me in a way that no other has ever seen me.

  • I was a person of value.
  • For the first time, someone thought I was beautiful and sexy. (ooh it is still hard to say or type that last word)
  • What I said mattered.
  • He encouraged my art and although I have changed art forms since his death, his encouragement has continued to push me forward to explore new mediums.
  • Jim allowed me to see that the whole world was open to me. I could do so much when I had his support and love.
Jim & Janet

Since his death, I have realized that our relationship was unique and special. There were not the struggles that many describe when they speak of their relationships. We laughed together, tackled the hard stuff together, and when we hit a roadblock (otherwise known as stubbornness) we sought counseling and support so we could grow and move on. And we grew so much together. As Jim often said, “We’re a team”.

Jim was a supporter of higher education. He devoted his whole working life to helping students achieve. To honor this part of him I started the Jim Fenningham Memorial Scholarship. He believed that all could excel in college and there was no better honor that I could give to him than a scholarship that was inclusive of most students. The scholarship changes per each annual semester, one semester it is applied to the Arts and Humanities and the next semester it is applied to the Social Sciences.

If you would like to donate to the Scholarship, no donation is too small, please click below and you can help another student realize their dream.

The Jim Fenningham Memorial Scholarship

I am blessed and honored to have been a team with Jim. I miss him still and I acknowledge how much richer my life is because of him.

As I manage my way through another October, I know that I have the loving support of so many. For each of you, I am so grateful for your ongoing presence in my life.Thank you.

A Fall Adventure in the American Southwest

I gave up my Roadtrek for 2 weeks and went camping, tent and sleeping bag in hand. 

Every few years friends of mine, Linda and Mary meet up for a trip into the backcountry of Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. This year we added a fourth person, Pam to the mix. 

Where have we been? We started remote on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, making our way to three different points, high clearance and 4 X 4 travel only. One point I could have driven into with my Roadtrek but why chance it? I have a new tent and a comfy sleeping bag and I am ready to remember the days when I did this all the time. 

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon was amazing. It was remote and a bit rugged. While we were there the sunsets were sublime and awe-striking. The sunrises were just as amazing. It would be sad to be on the rim and not witness both the sunrises and sunsets. There was weather; rain and thunderstorms. When there is rain at the Grand Canyon, either rim, often flash flooding follows. We were able to witness the amazing flash floods coming off the South Rim ending in waterfalls falling into the Colorado River. 

Once we were done oohing and ahhing over the Grand Canyon we moved on to the Vermillion Cliffs in northern Arizona. There are magical places in the backcountry of Utah and Arizona. It takes some effort to get into these places. Deep sand, rocks, and ruts make a high clearance 4X4 necessary. Anything less may make one dig deep in their pockets for rescue. 

We went to White Pocket. 

White Pocket is made up of layered sandstone made millions of years ago. Through time, wind, sand, and water compressed and hardened the minerals into rock. The different colors are due to various mineral deposits built up over geologic time. Much of the top layer is white, therefore its name. 

We camped for two nights so we could experience sunrise and sunset in the formations. We were fortunate this time to have water added to the mix. The Arizona monsoons have continued into the fall. 

I am now back in my rig and on my own. Although it was fun to camp out, I was happy to see my little house on wheels and sleep in my own bed again. I am always ready for new adventures yet it is good to be back to the familiar again.

Today I am thankful for the ability to get out and explore with friends. I am thankful to see things that not everyone gets to see. I am thankful for nature.