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.



Everyone has dreams, big or small. Dreams are important to the dreamer.


My dream was to trek in Nepal. Back in the late 80’s that dream came true as I hiked for 19 days in the Solu-Khumbu region of Mount Everest. It was a life changing experience for me. For many years after that trek I spoke of events before Nepal and after Nepal.

Riding the River

Riding the River

About ten years ago Jim and I did a 15 day river raft down the Grand Canyon. It too was a life altering experience and really fun. It certainly was another dream that found fruition. We often spoke of events before Grand Canyon and after Grand Canyon.

Cat & her Canine Companions

Cat & her Canine Companions

I would like to introduce you to my friend and fellow adventurer, Cat. I first met Cat when she was biking across the United States. She was towing her dogs and all her gear and was hoping to make it to the east coast. Unfortunately the trip ended in New Mexico. Not one to be defeated, she bought a travel trailer and now she and her pups call it home.

Cat is about to begin one of her dreams. She is bicycling, with her two dogs, the Pacific Coast Route from Vancouver, BC to Mexico. You can follow her blog by clicking the link below.

The Silver Hooligan and Her Hounds

Cat is not without some physical issues, yet she is determined to complete this route. Because she was concerned about riding the route alone, she asked if Miss Elsie the cat and I could be her “sag wagon”. The timing was perfect as I really wasn’t sure what to do after the house sold.

I met up with Cat a couple of weeks ago. We camped for four nights in Crescent City, CA. A day later we met up in Medford, Oregon. She joined the adventures of Mary and me, exploring the Medford and Ashland area.

Two days ago we left Mary and Medford behind and began the journey north to Vancouver. It was a long drive through some beautiful country. We crossed the border last night and after a drive through the city of Vancouver, camped outside the city. Today the adventure began. While Cat biked the 10 miles to the port, Elsie and I moved the Roadtrek to the Ferry.

The Team

The Team

What is my part of this adventure? I am not entirely sure. Here is what I consider to be the many facets of my part in this epic adventure.

  • Make sure that Cat and her dogs stay safe while out there riding.
  • I am carrying  her tent and other supplies. She will be hauling a lighter load.
  • Making sure that she is hydrated and that we both eat healthy.
  • I have medical supplies on board if she needs them.
  • Create a place to rest, when she needs a break.
  • Elsie and I are her cheering section, routing her on. “Go Cat, Go!”
  • I have my bike with me. I plan to ride and meet her some days. We can then ride in to our camp for the night, together. That will be really fun.
  • Enjoying each other’s company on her rest days.
  • I am sure this will be a continuing role of discovery as we develop a routine.

While she is bicycling I will have the opportunity to discover new places. My camera will not be far behind. I will share highlights of this epic adventure as it unfolds. Our goal is to be at the Mexican border by late October.


Crossing on the Ferry.

Today we traveled by ferry to Vancouver Island. Cat covered about 16 miles today. We are staying in a lovely campground right on Nanaimo Bay (Horseshoe Bay). it is a beautiful site. Tomorrow while Cat rides I will have the chance to explore the area between our camp tonight and the camp tomorrow night.

It is an honor and a privilege to be invited to share someone else’s dream. I love the fact that I can meander along short stretches for a whole day. It makes it fun to come into the campground and share experiences with Cat at the end of the day.

Tonight I am grateful for Cat. Her adventure is giving me direction. I felt a little loss after the house sold. Now I have a purpose and it is fun to watch someone else dream unfold.




I Am Still Here

Janet in The Slot Ready for desert season

Janet in The Slot
Ready for desert season

Wow. I just realized how long it has been since I have posted. Where does the time go? Well we all know where it goes. Life is busy and sometimes I procrastinate. there always seems like there is something that needs to be done first. I am back and my journey continues.

I made it through the holidays. I don’t do much celebrating and haven’t for years. I like the holiday lights and the music. Many years ago I gave up  giving gifts. It certainly took some of the stress away. I have to admit I am glad that the holidays are behind me.

Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona

Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona

Christmas found me traveling with a group to Sedona and the Grand Canyon. I love to drive distance. I find it a great time to be reflective let my imagination run wild. Riding for 13 hours across the California desert with a group of people was a whole different story. Our morning started early and we got to Sedona around 8:30 in the evening. Whew, long day. The saving grace was that we stayed in the same hotel for the whole 4 nights we were there. It was fun to spend Christmas day on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. At the end it was again a long drive back to southern California.

Here is what I learned from this trip. Even though I have enjoyed the last 13 years of travel, I am done. I am done with stressing about these trips. I am done being tired and not sleeping during the trip. I am truly done with people evaluating me. What does this mean…well, I retired from AFC Vacations last Friday. If I make a commitment to do an over-the road trip now it will be because I really love where I will be going with each company that asks me to do a trip. Change continues to be the theme of my life.

I am still working locally as a tour guide. I love doing the close-to-home work. After 6 hours I can go home to my quiet house and yard. Miss Elsie is waiting. I can get a good night sleep. Life is good.

one of my accomplishments, a new berry lattice

one of my accomplishments, a new berry lattice

For the last few days I have been thinking about the phrase “random acts of kindness”. I love reading about people who give unselfishly, often at a moments notice, frequently without waiting for thanks or acknowledgement. Not only do the recipients feel good and special but so does the giver. I also feel good after hearing of these moments in time. Then I began to wonder about why we can’t give ourselves those special moments. Would it feel the same? Sometimes I feel like I want to thank myself or acknowledge my own job well done. It is good to take the time for each of us to feel good about ourselves by acknowledging ourselves. I know that each time I accomplish something around the house that Jim would have done, I feel so warm and special and happy. Usually there is no one around to say good job well done, so I say it to myself and I allow myself to feel warm, proud and happy. Even months later when I remember that moment it still feels good. It is a little harder, I feel, to figure out how to give myself a random act of kindness. Even as I write this I am not sure how to do that. This will require a little more thought. What a fun thing to think about.

Sharon & David with David Jr, Judith and Taylor. September 2014

Sharon & David with David Jr, Judith and Taylor. September 2014

For those of you who have been following me I want to end this post by giving you an update on my friends in Southern Utah, Sharon and David. At the first of the year my long time friend, David finished this earthly journey. He had been sick for some time and after a short time on hospice he moved on. It has been a unique and hard experience for all of us who loved him so. He lived a long and good life and was a mentor to many, including myself. I am so glad that I had a good visit with him when I visited in September. I value him in so many ways and he will be missed. Sharon is doing OK. She has a very strong community of friends to support and love her. And her adult children are amazing. I have been honored to know him for more years than I can count. I ask you to wish him well wherever he is now. Soon it will be time for me too load up the Roadtrek and go visit Sharon.

Happy New Year Everyone.