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 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.

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 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.

Going on a Holiday From My Holiday

Canon Beach on the Oregon Coast

A week ago I returned To Washington from a week on the Oregon Coast. I took a holiday from my holiday.

Last summer a group of us who own Roadtreks decided it would be fun to meet up on the Oregon coast. It started with the three of us, Mary, Linda and me. We have been friends for years. We rented a group campsite at a state park near Florence, Oregon. As we began to plan, we started to think of others. Campskunk and Sharon spend their summer on the Oregon coast so let’s ask them. What about Pat, who lives on San Juan Island? She was invited. Oh, let’s ask Dorothy, and she came.

Six Roadtreks came and seven people. We had such a good time we decided to do it again this summer. This year we met at Cape Perpetua, another group campsite. Some of the original group could not make it this year so we invited others. Those who could not make it were missed.

Pat and I left three days early so we could meander our way to Oregon. Both of us are less inclined to drive for hours on end. We had shorter driving days and more time to explore. And our campgrounds were good, some were really good.

Our View Willapa Bay
  • Bruceport County Park is located on the south side of Willapa Bay. There always seems to be a spot to camp. This time we got the best site. It had an unlimited view of Willapa Bay.
  • The Blue Heron Creamery in Tillamook, Oregon is a free Harvest Hosts site. It is surrounded by farmland and open to many RVs that come for the night. For those who can indulge, shopping for the wonderful cheeses in the store is a plus.
  • Beverley Beach State Park is further down the coast and is one of the many State Parks on the coast. A short walk will end at the beach. The Oregon Coast is so pretty.

I would like to say that it is easy to get ready to travel, yet it takes a bit of planning to get my RT ready. That means getting EmmyLou, my rig ready for the trip. Two days before departure the refrigerator is turned on. She got a bath and I did some minor detailing. And just as I think everything is ready to go my engine battery died. Thank goodness for Roadside assistance. She now has a new battery, the DEF fluid was added and she was purring and ready to roll.

It was a delight to meet up with my friends again. This year there were three dogs and one kitty that joined the menagerie. We camped, and talked and caught up on each other’s lives. I got some precious kitty time with Phoebe the Cat. On our one full day, a subgroup of us hiked to Thor’s Well, a natural phenomenon on the coast. We shared stories, food, and more, and then, just like that it was over and we all departed for separate destinations.

All friendships are special. I like how friends can meet once a year and it is like we have seen each other yesterday. The company is good. The stories are great. And especially in the past few years, it is wonderful to physically meet up with others, see their precious faces, and hear their tales.

The Roadtreking friends’ adventure was not quite over for me. I returned to Washington, stopping before I left Oregon, for a morning kayak north of Waldport, and then returned to Tillamook for another free camping night. After one more night of camping, I joined my friends, Jean and Jim (they own a Roadtrek too) at their lovely home on the Salish Sea, in Washington. I slept in the driveway and enjoyed the view from their home above the water. This part of the Sound faces east and south. In the far distance, one can see the skyline of Seattle. I arrived in time to witness Jean giving Jim a haircut. It bought back memories of Jim, my husband. I used to cut his hair as well. Jean and I talked our way through the afternoon and evening.

And then, just like that my adventure was over and I returned to Whidbey Island and the land of the amazing sunsets.

Buying my Roadtrek RV has been a game changer in my life. I bought it on a whim. It has seen me through so much. It helped me drive through the initial grief of the loss of my husband. I have seen some marvelous places and met good and kind people. Mostly though, it has been a friend magnet. I continue to meet such wonderful people. We become more than people passing on the road. We become friends. How wonderful is that?

Today I am thankful for my Roadtrek, EmmyLou, and the amazing people that are now my circle of friends.

Ah Yes, Today I am Thankful.

Roadtreking & Friends

I have owned my Roadtrek since 2013. It has been an adventure like no other. My Roadtrek and I have been a friend magnet.

It all started with a blog. I know, you think it was this blog. No, it was another. After I wrote my first post on my blog, I was contacted by Mike the owner of the former Roadtrek Lifestyles blog. He asked me to become a guest reporter for that blog. Little did I know what this exposure would do for my life.

People from all over the United States and Canada followed my travel adventures via the Roadtrek Lifestyle blog. It took about a year before I started posting to meet the first fellow Roadtrekers at San Simeon State Park on the Big Sur Coast of California. Appropriately enough we met at the “Dump Station”. That is where we empty our black and gray water tanks. Although they knew me and Miss Elsie the Cat I did not know them until that moment in time.

Then it started to happen more often.

Linda & Pancho & Mary Z
  • I pulled the front-end bumper off my rig in Crescent City, Oregon. No, I don’t want to go into details. I had to go to Medford Oregon for repairs. When I mentioned it on my Facebook page, Mary Z responded that she lived in Medford. She opened her home to me for a week while the rig was in the shop. Mary and I have been friends since that week. We meet about once a year, minus the Covid years. I have been on grand adventures with her with more to come. She owns a Roadtrek.
  • Through Mary, I met Linda, who lives in Boise, Idaho. She is married with a grown son. When she is in need of Linda time, she travels solo in her Roadtrek. The three of us were hiking in the desert when I fell and broke my ankle. Ah, yes the adventure continues. Linda and I have been friends ever since that desert meetup. I stayed with her in Bosie. I have spent a summer in her mountain cabin, staying remote during Covid 2020. It is a great place in the mountains with nearby lakes. I have pet sat for her and she pet sat for Elsie the Cat.
  • I am currently house and cat sitting for Mandy. Guess what? She owns a Roadtrek. We met at a rally and camped together with Ann (she owns an RT too) after the rally was complete.
Sunset Over Puget Sound
  • Sandy and Jim used to own a Roadtrek. Today they own a high clearance B class RV. They own a home on Whidbey Island, Washington. I house-sat for them last year and am returning in about nine days for a second round of house sitting this summer. They are a lovely couple and have a prime spot looking west over Puget Sound. It is fun to turn a virtual friendship into a real one.
  • I met Pat and George and their two Basenjis at a parking lot on the Oregon Coast. We had lunch and have shared stories and time together.
  • In the winters I head to the desert. For two seasons I have met Jim and Rhonda and Cricket at the Fountain of Youth Spa and RV resort. Yep, they own an RT.
  • Mary B and I met in southern New Mexico. She was traveling with Frank the Cat and Roxie the Dog. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Mary had to sell her RT and move to Apache Junction outside of Phoenix. Frank has passed on to kitty heaven. Mary’s two new kitties, Boo and Buddy, and Roxie the dog remain good friends.
Phoebe the Cat
  • Campskunk & Sharon are so well known in the Roadtreking community. They live full-time in their rig along with Miss Phoebe the Cat. They spend their winters in Florida, start to head west at the end of winter, and finally reach the Oregon coast in July. Campskunk has helped me with my rig. He knows a lot about the workings of these machines. Thanks to him, my latest adventure was fixing leaks in my side windows. Thanks, Campskunk for the suggestion of Captain Tolley’s Creeping Crack Cure the leaks are gone.
  • Pat, Mary, Linda, Dorothy, Jim and Cindy, Helen & David & Percy, Lela, Cory, MaryEllen & Sue and so many more. These are not just passing acquaintances. Most of these relationships have turned into friendships. We plan meet-ups. I house and pet sit for some. Others took care of Elsie the Cat when I ventured further afield, Alaska comes to mind.

A week ago Sandy and Pat from Cool, CA came to Salinas for a visit. We usually meet in the desert but this year we kept missing each other. It has been over two years since I have seen them. They own a Roadtrek. When they arrived they took over the driveway in their home on wheels. They came in and out of the house as needed. It was fun to cook with them in Mandy’s great kitchen. When I was busy they took off hiking. When I was not busy we headed for Elkhorn Slough for some kayaking time. We were completely amazed at the plethora of wildlife on the Slough. Pat had to wait patiently while Sandy and I stopped to take frequent photos. It was so much fun to have them come and visit for five days. It was good to catch up and expand and grow our strong friendship. I am so honored to know them.

If I haven’t mentioned all of you who I have met through Roadtreking and RVing, you know who you are, and please know you have enriched my life in so many ways.

I no longer blog for Mike. His direction has changed and so has mine. It has been several years since I last posted on his RV blog. The Roadtrek Lifestyle blog, my blog, and a few other events have drawn me into a strong and wonderful community of fellow travelers and friends. I never cease to feel blessed to know such wonderful and kind people.

Today I am thankful for my Roadtreking friends who have loved and supported me, no matter what.

Today I am thankful for my cute little Roadtrek and the lifestyle it has introduced me to. Today I am thankful for friends.

Cricket the Dog Comes for a Visit

Hi, I am Cricket the dog. Guess what? I was Janet’s first overnight visitor in her Roadtrek. Yep, my people had to go somewhere and they were concerned about me because it was going to be hot. The next thing you know I went next door to Janet’s rig. Then my food bowl arrived, and my bed and most importantly, my treats.

I really like people. I really like people who pet me and put me at the center of their world. My peeps do this routinely. I expect no less. Janet did the same thing. I like that. She took me for long walks in the desert and around the Fountain of Youth Spa and RV Resort. I love walks. I love walking far. I don’t even mind being on a leash. I like sniffing and exploring and prancing along.

When Janet and I were in her RV I got to lay on the bed with her. I also got to thoroughly sniff her house on wheels. Crumbs on the floor are always of interest to me. They don’t remain there for very long. Hmm, I wonder where those food scraps go. 🐶

While Janet prepared dinner I got to sit on the front passenger seat and watch her chop and chop. There was a very interesting smell of meat. I stayed alert just in case she dropped something or offered me a tidbit. That tidbit was good. Lipsmacking good.

At night I slept curled up next to her on the bed. I like being next to humans. I am just a small dog and sometimes I get cold so I like sleeping close to humans. It keeps me warm. And I like being loved by peeps.

After a day, only one of my people returned. I am not sure where the other one went but Jim promised me I would see her again. To make sure I slept on her pillow when I returned to my own house on wheels. Jim is good, really good, but Rhonda is the best there is. She spoils me, a lot.

When you see this post I will be on my way east with Jim. We are going to meet up with Rhonda somewhere in Texas, whatever that means. It is just important to see Rhonda again.

Cricket & Rhonda

I am a little dog that goes on some very big adventures, really big. I love seeing so many new things and smelling new smells. Us dogs really have good sniffers.

I loved being a part of Janet’s life for twentyfour hours. I now find I am comfrotable to bound into her rig whenever I want. I have another home. How about that?

A Week in Phoenix

Phoenix

I don’t like big cities. There is too much traffic and often there is a lack of courtesy for other vehicles on the highways. I avoid these large cities when I can. I can only endure the busyness for a length of time before I need to disappear into my little home on wheels and shut the door.

A week ago I arrived in Phoenix, Arizona. With a population of 1,660,272, Phoenix is the fifth-largest city in the United States. It can take over an hour to drive from the west side to the east side. There are freeways and highways going in all kinds of directions. It is busy.

I began to fuss about going there on my drive south from Washington. I think I may have even whined a little. Sometimes I am my own worse enemy. 

Why was I going to Phoenix? 

  • While I was house sitting in Washington State, I learned that the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience. It was going to be in Seattle. I delayed buying tickets. When I finally got around to buying a ticket, they were sold out. Where else could I see it? It was going to be in Phoenix, Scottsdale to be precise. 
  • I have a good friend, Yvonne, that lives in Goodyear (the West side of Phoenix). I gave her a call asked her if she would be interested in going to the exhibit. Yes. I began to plan a visit to the big city. 
  • After the above plan was put into action I discovered another good friend, Leslie, from Anchorage, AK was in the lower forty-eight. After visiting in San Diego she was going to Phoenix to visit family. After a short discussion I decided to come into the area a few days early so I could meet up with her before she flew home.
  • My friend Mary lives with her menagerie, 2 cats and a dog in Apache Junction (the East side). It has been four years since we have seen each other. Another planned visit took shape. 

Phoenix was not as bad as my fussing about it was. It is a big city, sitting in one of the richest deserts in the world. If you get tired of the rushing and moving about, in twenty minutes to a half-hour you can be in the desert, kayaking on a lake, or hiking into the mountains. When things get too rushed one can disappear into nature and breathe. This is a very good feature of this large metropolis.

My two night stay in Cave Creek

Upon my arrival to the greater Phoenix area, thanks to Boondockers Welcome, I found a lovely driveway to camp in for two nights. I pay an annual fee to this organization. It allows me to contact hosts wherever I might be traveling and stay in their driveway or back yard for a few nights before I move on. I have had good experiences wherever I have stayed. My first two nights were not disappointing. I stayed at Cave Creek Botanicals. Joni and Bill were the hosts. Their yard was lovely. It was a mix of cactus and sculptures. Joni is an artist and one can see her artwork throughout the yard. On my last morning, I sat and had coffee with them on the front porch. I now have places to stay in Nevada and Alaska.

Cave Creek put me in a good location to meet up with Leslie the following morning in Scottsdale. It has been several years since we have seen each other. We spent half of a day together and I feel that we barely had begun before it was over. A small amount of time, if done right, can be just as valuable and treasured as weeks together. I am glad for this brief meetup with Leslie.

Yvonne lives in Goodyear on the west side of the city. She lives in one of the many fifty-five and up communities that are spread throughout Phoenix. She has lived there for about a year. twelve or more of her relatives also live in the metro area. When one has a choice between North Dakota or the desert Southwest in the winter many choose the warmer climes of Arizona. I got to meet some of her extended family. I also got a personal tour of Pebble Creek. She was an excellent tour guide.

One day we went to the Desert Botanical Gardens. The Gardens were so lovely. They have been there since the 1930s. It always amazes me to see the diversity of plant life in an arid and warm environment. We strolled through the gardens in the morning ending at the Butterfly Pavilion. Oh, those butterflies!

The Immersive Van Gogh exhibit was amazing. If you get a chance and it is anywhere near you…Go! It was interesting and beautiful. The music enhanced the exhibit. I stood in a room full of color and Van Gogh paintings. They swirled around me and reflected off the floor. It was definitely worth a visit to the city.

Next stop, Apache Junction on the east side. Another Boondockers welcome host awaited my arrival, just a few miles from my friend. Mary lives within view of the Superstition Mountains. These are rugged desert mountains. When you go into them there are many canyons one could disappear in and never return. There were lakes and hiking and biking trails. It was fun to be with another adventurous soul. It had been four years since Mary and I met while traveling in our Roadtreks in Southern New Mexico. We have remained in touch. Meeting up with her was just like yesterday. And…she has cats!!

Buddy
Boo

After a morning in the mountains, we returned to Mary’s home, picked up Roxie the dog, and drove to the Salt River, a favorite place of Mary’s. The day was perfect. The temperature was just right and the sky was an amazing blue. And there, just as we got to the river, were a band of the Salt River Wild Mustangs. Did you know I love horses? Oh my, I love horses. I really love the wild ones. I have always wanted to own a mustang. These horses were eating eelgrass growing in the river. This was a perfect ending to my week in Phoenix.

Everywhere I have traveled and explored has been unique and interesting and, well, different. My week of adventure in a big city reminded me that there is something the city has to offer the intrepid traveler. I love art and museums and culture that can only be found in larger populated areas. Like most large cities Nature is not too far away. It can be in a Botanical Garden or in the rugged terrain that often surrounds these larger metropolitan areas.

Phoenix was not as bad as I had imagined. I am glad I went. I am very glad for a visit with such good friends and enjoyed what this metropolitan area had to offer.

Today I am thankful for pushing myself out of my comfort zone, just a little to enjoy my week in Phoenix and connect with good friends.

On to San Diego. Oh Lord, another big city.

 

Getting Ready-Heading South

After so many months it seems a bit strange to say I am “getting ready to roll”. Yes, the owners are returning to their lovely home on Whidbey Island. My time is up and I am heading south. I am ready for a bit less rain and warmer temperatures. It has been raining a lot lately. One week it rained for almost a whole week straight before the blessed sun returned to the sky and everything dried out.

I have enjoyed my stationary time. Well mostly stationary. I have made a few excursions to the Oregon coast to meet up with friends. After a week away I returned to Whidbey and the house. I also have been to the Olympic Peninsula twice. I love exploring our national parks.

I have lived full time, well mostly, in my tiny RV for more than five years. Staying in one place has been a new experience for me. I have had plenty of time to explore. I have experienced the changing of seasons in the Pacific Northwest. I arrived at the beginning of spring and am leaving halfway through the fall.

For the first time in years, I have experienced changing of the seasons. It started rainy and blustery. As the spring progressed the rain stopped and everything came alive. I discovered when the rain stops in the spring everything greens up and flower season begins. After living in southern California for almost thirty years I thrived on the green here. There are so many tall trees. Walking in the woods smells wonderful. It really helps when that walk often ends at a beach.

This year I got to watch the progression of flower seasons. When I first arrived Daffodils and Tulips were everywhere. I was able to meet up with a good friend and enjoy tulip season in the Skagit Valley. It was breathtaking.

Tulip season folded into Rhododendron season. There was color everywhere. I discover private and public gardens to explore on my walks and bike rides. The east coast lilacs I grew up with competed for attention with the Rhodies. I love lilacs and it was a joy to have them in vases in the house. I would walk downstairs in the morning and smell the lilacs as I entered the living space. What a wonderful smell.

As the season rolled into summer the flowers faded, replaced by green, sunny, warm days. I got my fair share of kayaking, walking, and cycling in. Except for a few days, the temperatures were mild. It was good to be outside.

The flowers made a reappearance this fall when the Dahlias stepped forward to fill the flower void. Oh my, there were dahlias everywhere. They were on display at roadside stands, farms, yards, and even my front yard. I love dahlias. 

I have also seen a progression of birds as the season’s change. Hummingbirds were here and then they were gone, while they raised their young, and then they reappeared. Recently the crows who have been around all summer have disappeared. Where have they gone? I have seen eagles, osprey, sparrows (golden-crowned, song, white-crowned), finches, and flickers. My joy this summer was seeing Harlequin and Pintail Ducks for the first time. I have treasured the birds and the time I have to enjoy them. 

And then, of course, there is my special little brown birdy, who has made me feel so important, special, and unique. I see him every few days. He always acknowledges me. I enjoyed the times that he seems particularly thrilled to see me, flying over to visit and sitting on my foot or leg. I will miss him. I also know he is OK out there in his birdy world. 

I have made friends on Whidbey. One of them, Lela is going to join me for part of the trek south. She owns a Roadtrek RV as well. My neighbors, Robyn and Tom have been such a great resource and a delight. I am glad to have met them. 

All in all, it has been a very good way to spend another Covid summer.

Thank you Jim and Sandy for loaning me your beautiful home with the drop-dead gorgeous sunsets. I will always be grateful for this opportunity. 

Now the days are shorter. It gets dark early in the afternoon and stays dark later in the morning. I find I am longing for the sun and the warmth. It is time to go.

Today I am feeling thankful for the opportunities that present themselves to me. Today I am thankful I can recognize them. Today I am thankful for life.