Gypsy Tour – Medina, Ohio for Nate Vermote Run To Freedom

This year Dan and I made it a priority to be in Medina, Ohio for the 4th Annual Nate Vermote Run to Freedom. Four years ago Nathan, my stepson, joined his best friend, Kurtis Tolley, Kurtieto bring awareness in an attempt to end human trafficking. Nathan’s passion was felt deep in his heart in his fight to stop this heinous crime. Sadly, two months after his first very successful marathon event Nathan took his own life. I’ve talked openly about Nate’s suicide in hopes the mark of devastation that is left for those that love Nathan will give people struggling with depression encouragement to seek help.
Because of Nathan’s passion to fight this trafficking war, the Medina County Coalition decided to rename the benefit walk to Nate Vermote Run To Freedom so Nate’s dream will live on with every step that crosses the finish line, every smile that is shared among the registered walk/runners, and in the smiles among all the volunteers, like Nathan’s mom and sisterMonica and Jessica. The proceeds go to help awareness and to help those rescued from this awful situation obtain the help needed to become emotionally/physically well again. Ohio has the highest human trafficking incidents in the country. Along with Nate and Kurtis’s dream to end this, I hope we can all join in the effort. It doesn’t matter if you walk, run, have four legs,
Dogsor if you are old or young …this benefit is for everyone.
As parents, we will do anything possible to keep our children safe, but this epidemic continues to be a problem. Anyone who has lost a child – there is no age limits to this crime – will attest to the pain and anguish they feel trying to get their child back. KidsIf they are lucky enough to see their child again it takes extreme counseling to undo the damage and that takes money. This event helps fund those needs. It takes a lot of work to put this event together, and a lot of people, but even at the end of a long morning you will see nothing but smiles. Brandon and Mer
Dan and I hope to participate every year if we are able to be in the area. But if we can’t we will be there in our hearts – and I have no doubt Nathan is watching and is proud to be an inspiration to everyone in fighting this terrible crime. Thank you, Nathan and Kurtis, for starting this fight and letting us carry out your dream. Thank you Hermes Sports & Events for your hand in making this possible.
Information is key, so I hope parents will take some time to research and apply suggestions that may help keep their children safe.

Gypsy Tour – Escanaba, Michigan

I’ll admit I might find myself star struck if I had a chance to meet Sandra Bullock, J.A. Jance, or President Trump to name a few. But I was truthfully more excited to meet the Meierotto family from Alaska. Marty and familyI’m not a snow person, but I do have respect for the tough lifestyle of a lot of Alaskans live. Especially Marty Meierotto and his family from the History channels’ Mountain Man series. Dan and I have followed their life over the past six seasons. Marty is a trapper in Alaska and supports his wife and daughter with his trapper lifestyle. He’s the first to say this lifestyle has kept his family in financial ruins, but regardless, it’s a good life and he has a wonderful family to share it with. Dan and I had the pleasure of meeting and having dinner with this nice family during the National Trappers Association Convention in Escanaba, Michigan. Dan was born and raised in upper Michigan and has river property in Cornell. We worked out our schedule to be on the property when the convention was going on so we could enjoy this event.

After dinner, Marty graciously did a Q&A for us. He answered questions ranging from how he was approached to do the show to what he ate for breakfast…which, as it turns out, are pancakes – every morning. As the story goes Marty wrote for a trappers magazine and was approached by a writer from Field and Stream who was interested in having him be featured on the Mountain Man show. From what I gleaned it wasn’t the quick “sure, I’d love to do a show” that the Field and Stream writer was hoping for, but an agreement was eventually made. Mainly because Marty was motivated to show trapping in a more positive light. He now has one to two cameras following him around a few weeks at a time during his trapping season. I may not have all of my facts down pat, but you get the idea.

Marty flies a very small plane to his trapping areas. There have been moments watching the show that I was likely more nervous than Marty as he flew his plane in weather I wouldn’t even want to be walking in. Though when I hear Marty say “crap” I’ve wondered how that episode would end…but so far so good. He’s such an experienced pilot there is no doubt he knows what he’s doing, but Mother Nature sometimes tries to throw him curve balls that have made me close my eyes and hope for the best. There have been times on his snowmobile where he has found himself stranded in the snow and cold. And though he keeps extra parts and tools, it can be hours working in such cold conditions I can’t imagine tolerating. Of course, Marty has no choice but to push forward with any situation thrown his way. Dan, a lover of snow machines, asked which machine Marty preferred, his new one, or his old Tundra II – and as Dan suspected he likes his Tundra II over the newer model. Likely because he can strap the body of the machine under the belly of his plane, pack the rest inside, and fly his machine wherever he needs it.

Originally from Wisconsin Marty still considers himself a “cheesehead.” Another fun fact is when I introduced myself to Marty, his wife, Dominique, and his daughter, Noah, I told them my name is CJ which was short for Cecily Jane, Noah smiled saying her middle name was Jane too. And Dominique said it was her mom’s middle name as well. A simple common threads that will always make me smile. Noah was two days shy of turning twelve the day of the dinner and was excited because her birthday present was a trip with her dad for her first Dall sheep hunt. Not what most twelve-year-olds I know would be excited about, but this is the lifestyle she is happy to learn while she is young and can carry through her life. According to the shows I watch Alaska is a lot about hunting, trapping, and surviving the brutal weather…and this young lady is ready to learn.

Marty continued to answer questions ranging from how he traps wolverines to trapping martins, which are his bread and butter. This family came all the way from Alaska to share their life with us and did not accept a dime for there time. They are sweet, humble and kind people, regardless of having to live in the limelight. If you watch the show I can guarantee Marty’s laugh is as genuine off camera as it is on. What a treat it was for Dan and me to meet such a wonderful, down to earth family.

To my surprise, after dinner, they had a prize drawing and I won a photo of Marty, Dominique, and Noah with Mt. McKinley in the background, which all three graciously autographed for me. Marty also gave us a personal autograph. It’s a memory we will treasure forever. Our travels have given us opportunities I never thought I’d have, and they just keep happening so I’ll keep capturing these memories as long as possible. Thank you for letting me share them with all of you.

Gypsy (half) Tour – Portland/Canada

Wow…where has the time gone. After Sav’s graduation, Dan headed off to Michigan where I’ll meet up with him on the 23rd, so the Gypsy Tour became a man down. I stayed so I could scoop up more family time. My daughter, Kristin, two of my sisters, and I headed off for Portland to enjoy the Portland Saturday Market. When we got to the hotel it was so loud we were struggling to hear the desk clerk. Found out we picked the weekend that the Waterfront Blues Festival was going on…right across the street from the hotel we were staying…yep, two events to fill our weekend.

Friday night we were all pretty tired from our road travel so we opted to find a nice…quiet…restaurant and have dinner. It was worth the walk (which we needed after being in a car all day) to enjoy such fine cuisine.  It was fabulous. From the wine to the dessert my palette was very happy. The next day was spent enjoying all the items the artists had on display. This is my second time visiting the Portland Saturday Market. I have such an appreciation for the heart and soul artists put into their craft. Everything from decorative wood boxes to some of the finest jewelry your eyes can take in. But the adventure didn’t stop there. After a rest and another good dinner, Kristin treated us to the Waterfront Blues Festival so we were able to enjoy the experience first hand. What an amazing evening.  I really enjoyed one of the blues singers, Ruthie Foster. Her voice and energy were so great I purchased two of her CD’s, which she autographed. I decided to ask Ruthie Foster if she would take a picture with me, so here we are… – she was so humble and sweet. If you get a chance, look up her music and take a listen. After a full day Saturday…happy and exhausted we headed home Sunday morning back to Washington. It was an amazing weekend. Of course, when you are with such great ladies how could you not enjoy your time.

The following Tuesday, my sister, Marianna, and I headed for Canada for a little more sister time. We spent two days in Chilliwack visiting our sister, Erica, and then on Thursday the three of us headed to Hope where we met Fred (Erica’s boyfriend). It was great getting to know Fred and to see life in the Hope area.  Low-and-behold, Jamie Davis, the owner of the towing company from Highway Thru Hell – one of my reality favs, is just down the road.  And to top it off, Fred is the key person that was responsible for having Rambo filmed in the area. We ate lunch in the pub, Silver Chalice, where filming was done. The movie also featured the Othello Tunnels…yes, I’m wearing my “fan” hat right now…but, hey, it’s pretty cool…right?

Today I spent a nice afternoon with my sister-in-law, Judy, niece, Amanda, and her new husband, Terry. Catching up on the post-wedding news and enjoying the peaceful river environment. My last week will be filled with busy times of visiting more friends and overnight stays at my sister’s…so it will continue to fly by as if time doesn’t know how to stand still…and I love every minute of it.

I’ll be leaving on the 23rd, and will miss all my family and friends so much, but I’ll be off on another adventure with Dan so that is always a positive. A big thank you to everyone that made this home visit so special. I’ll be back in a few months. Until then…love to you all.

Gypsy Tour – Washington State aka Home :)

Imagine it’s September 24, 1999. I’m at work and I get the call that my daughter, Kristin, is in labor and on her way to the hospital. Hours later…and I do mean hours…I get the honor of holding this little bundle in my arms.  My granddaughter, Savannah. Unlike this photo, she was wide awake, not crying, just awake…and as I held her she studied me as I talked to her. It felt like I was being studied through the eyes of an old soul. Clearly, she was connecting my voice to my face.

I knew she was special when I watched her organize the movies on the endcaps of the local Blockbusters – she was less than three at the time. Those early years of watching and enjoying her great imagination and her love for infomercials continue to make me smile. There were the times we’d be camping and using my walkie-talkies while we engaged in a sci-fi exchange. I loved playing into her made-up a world that others might not understand.  Savannah has shown me two distinct sides of herself through the years. One that is so filled with imagination she is almost hard to keep up with – the other side so serious and insightful you would look to see if it was her speaking or some adult that had taken over her body. I remember driving her to daycare one morning when she was four-years-old. We drove along quietly, and then I hear from the back set, “Poor choices give the enemy power.” What child makes that connection at four? Or when she was five-years-old and she spends our travel time in the morning explaining how she had plans to create a fossil fuel from corn. It was way over my head, but she sure sounded like she had it figured out. It has always been as if she was an adult in a child’s body.

As time went on, and with a lot of pleading to doctors and others by her mother, the right doctors diagnosed Sav with ADHD and autism. Because she is high-functioning autistic, Sav uses her voice to help bring awareness to others in order that they might understand autism and try to reduce the stigma attached. Savannah is an amazing, complexed, beautiful, and great young lady. But that greatness comes from a lot of hard work, and it equally fell on her mom’s shoulders. Kristin spent years educating herself while her daughter learned to work alongside the rest of the world. Kristin has always made sure she fought to get Savannah every opportunity for training, counseling, and any other tools Sav might need to be a success in life. Special-needs children take special tools, and none of it comes without frustration, time, patience, and determination…on both the child’s and the mom’s end, along with family’s love and support. And now, today, Savannah has become, and not surprisingly, a huge success in her life. 

Life, like a book, has many chapters. And as Savannah ends the chapter on her last year of high school, a new chapter will begin. Soon she will be on her way to college. I am beyond proud of all her accomplishments. Her intelligence (SAT score of 1210), her creativity that she transforms into amazing drawings, and her sweetness. Her striking blue eyes and dark brown hair with blonde tips peaking out here and there will light up a room.  I know Eastern is going to be getting a wonderful student. One that will truly take learning seriously, and excitedly…well, as excitedly as learning can be…lol.

However, this new chapter takes her away from what is familiar, and into the unknown. A huge step for any young person going off to college, but even more so for any level of autism. New sounds, new people, new food, new routines, new textures, and new smells…even down to the bed she will rest her head on every night. Though we are all so proud of her and excited for her next adventure…as you can see from her sister’s enthusiastic jump… and other family photos filled with smiles, she will be missed. She will no longer be hanging out on the couch binge-watching a show or having weekend DND (Dungeons and Dragons) marathons. My treasured memories of having her spend the night to binge-watch all the episodes of Big Bang Theory. Instead, she will add chapters to her book as she continues to grow emotionally, expand her knowledge, and venture into adulthood. 

In truth, Savannah has amazed me from her early years and continues to amaze me today…I have no doubt she will always leave me speechless and smiling at whatever she is accomplishing.

Congratulations, Miss Savannah Overby…job well done…love you forever and a day 🙂

 

Gypsy Tour – two this round…Nevada and Oregon

Ahhh…Reno, Nevada. The glitter and lights, the noise of coins as the machines go clink-clink-clink…but gambling was not our focus in Nevada. It was my son, Mikey, my daughter-in-law, Silver, and our four-year-old grandson, Cameron. Other than Skype or Facebook messaging, I haven’t seen my son and his family for four years. I’m sure you can imagine how it felt to wrap my arms around my Mikey, and then to hug his little guy, Cameron, the first night we were there in Reno. My daughter-in-law had to work, and with her schedule, we didn’t see her until Sunday. It was a whirlwind weekend, filled with laughter, and fun. When I looked into my grandson’s beautiful brown eyes, it was like looking into my son’s eyes. It’s the connection you feel that melts hearts together. Over the weekend, we walked to the Truckee River with Cameron letting us know when it was safe to cross the street. He even stopped another lady from crossing before the light…safety always his first objective. We tossed rocks into the river, letting the simplicity of life engulf us. There were the bikes you could rent that Cameron was so excited to see every time.  On Sunday we checked out of our hotel and spent the afternoon at their home outside of the hustle and bustle of Reno’s gambling world. It is, beyond words, difficult to leave my family with the knowledge that it could be a year before I see them again. But I can’t think about that now. All I can think about is the wonderful memories that fill my heart, and the smile on Cameron’s face when he looked at me with those eyes…eyes filled with so much love, happiness, and charming personality. Grampa Dan easily brought out his young innocent laugh that was so contagious and sweet.  I miss them all already. 

To my son and family…I am blessed to be a part of your life. You make my heart so happy. You’ve made a beautiful family home. But it’s the happy child in Cameron that truly marks your love for your family. Cameron is a true joy and a wonderful reflection of the best of both of you.

After many tears shed leaving Reno, we pushed through to Redmond, Oregon where we met up with friends we made in Kanab, Utah. Colleen and Mel were gracious enough to host a lunch for us as we enjoyed the view from their amazing home overlooking the river. It was fun catching up with the two of them and meeting their sweet daughter. This is a family that is filled with artistic talent…be it writing, quilting, furniture making, or hot glass art. My intent is to have one of Mel’s pieces in my home someday. It was a great having time to enjoy their company. Colleen and Mel, you truly make your home a pleasure to visit and I hope next time will be longer.

Next, Washington State (aka home), but that will be another blog all its own since it is a monumental event…stay tuned. But before I sign off, I want to add a well-known piece of advice…and that is to believe in yourself. Sometimes, we simply need a reminder that life is filled with possibilities. Mike and Cameron stand tall in this word. So, BELIEVE anything is possible. 

Gypsy Tour…Colorado – Round Two

There are times you can’t avoid a situation that needs to be addressed. We were getting ready to leave Utah (which I loved) when Dan told me he was concerned about the injectors in the truck. Now, if Dan’s worried, it’s time to get on board with him. So, we had to make the tough decision. We could either continue west 500 miles to Reno to see my son and family or go 500 miles east and get the truck up to snuff for the rest of our travels this year. As much as I hated to do it, we made the sensible decision and postponed our Reno stop. If we don’t take care of our ride, well, the cost of towing a truck and travel trailer could put a lot of traveling on hold.

Once we were back in Colorado, we pushed forward to have the truck checked out. Dan needed to change out a few things, but thankfully he’s got that mechanical talent. We also had some medical items to take care of…not fun, but having your driver, i.e. my husband, sick isn’t either. Needless to say, the amount of time in doctors offices, mechanic garages and auto shops has pretty much gobbled up this past month. The bad news is the truck, and my husband, are getting older…the good news is both are fixable. Just takes time, patience, and a whole lot of TLC.

It wasn’t all “not-so-fun” stuff. I did get to spend some time with my favorite 8-year-old granddaughter, Ember. As luck would have it Noodles & Co. is also one of her favorite lunch spots. It didn’t take us long to agree on where to eat that day. 

The best way to get a little R&R from life’s little issues is to head for the mountains, and that is just what we did. A few days at Henderson Mines in Clear Creek County, Colorado is just the place. The mine is a large underground molybdenum mine. I had to look it up, so here is what molybdenum is – “the chemical element of atomic number 42, a brittle silver-gray metal of the transition series, used in some alloy steels” – so there you have it. It is an old haunt of ours that Dan introduced me to when we got married.  We’ve camped there in the summer, hunted there in the fall, and snowshoed there in the winter. Even our new road companion, Wally, loved the camping trip. Such a goof, he decided he not only wants to be a cowboy, but he needed a feather in his cap. 

Colorado feels like a second home to me. Between family and so many good friends, we stay very busy and love every minute of it. The weather keeps us indoors a lot right now because of the heat, but the evenings are cool enough to enjoy hanging out on the patio while you listen to the rumbling of thunder from the lighting that fills the sky. There has been a few really good soakings, but it turned what was brown and drab in April when we were here last to a lush green beautiful state.

We will wrap up this trip with an evening of movie and dinner, our treat, for my stepdaughter, Shannon’s, 33rd birthday celebration. Then in the morning, we are heading west for a long-awaited visit with my son and family. I’ll post some shots from our camping trip over the weekend, too. Again, we didn’t get to see everyone, but we’ll be back through on our way to Michigan in July.

Gypsy Tour – Utah

We had two main stops planned in Utah – Zion National and Bryce Canyon. Neither disappointed us. The rain came in the day we planned to hike around Zion, so we did a drive-thru instead. It is a magnificent display of rock cliffs that will strain the best of necks. There were spots you could see the lava rock as it formed layers.  Luckily, the rain stopped long enough for me to get some photos, but by the time we got back to the RV park, the rain was in full force.

The next morning we woke to beautiful sunshine. While I was getting ready for the day I could hear Dan outside talking to our neighboring RV owner. Apparently, they had a leaky sink, so Dan stepped in to help them out. If you know Dan, you will know he never turns down the chance to help someone out, and traveling has not changed that quality. Once introductions were made all around, Mel and Colleen shared information on where they planned to stay in Bryce so I could call and reserve a spot. I love having a place recommended…kind of leaves that “risk” factor at the door. For the next two days, the four of us spent some time together enjoying dinner, shopping, and getting to know each other. We have gained lifetime friends. Another befriending of Dan’s was this little guy.  He was so used to people, all he cared about was a little nibble of food.

The first day at Bryce Canyon, Dan and I were able to get a couple of hours of hiking in before the last shuttle left.  It was amazing, to say the least. The next morning we decided to drive to St. George and Hurricane to see what it had to offer. Our possible two-hour round trip turned into four, but that still gave us time for another hike. We started at Peekaboo and worked our way through Navajo. For anyone who has done this hike…good for you, because it kicked my you-know-what. This shot is from the top of the Navajo switchbacks that about did me in. Unfortunately, I still had more climbing to go, but this will give you an idea. Yes, those are people below making their way up the path. By the time we finished the hike and were back up on flat ground, I spotted the bus and we lucked out for sure…it was the last one of the day. Trust me when I say I did NOT want to walk all the way back to the RV park…God had his eye on me and clearly took pity. All-in-all we did the majority of the hikes available, and two days later my calves are still a little sore, but I am glad I did the hikes. For me, it will likely be a one-time event…lol. Unlike the young couple who take endurance to a new level. They flew into Los Angeles from France and had ridden their tandem bike all the way to Bryce Canyon. Their plan is to ride throughout the United States…wow, now that is taking biking to new heights. I’ll be following their blog to see how they do.

Our final couple of days were spent with my stepdaughter, Jessica, in Salt Lake City. She came in for a work project, and the three of us were able to squeeze in some time together. We visited the Bonneville Salt Flats and Temple Square. Both had so much history and beauty to enjoy.

Utah did not disappoint in any way…it’s truly beautiful and so was the time we had with Jessica along with the people we met and spent time with while visiting. Thanks, Utah for all you had to offer.

 

Gypsy Tour – Arizona

Funny how it seems I just get comfortable and it’s time to go, guess that’s life on the open road. Since I don’t always have WiFi, I thought I better get this written and posted. Anyhow, here is the scoop to follow the last two sets of photos from Arizona I posted to Facebook. As we made our way to Arizona, we traveled to the Petrified Forest National Park. I don’t know where the wind was hiding the day we went to Sky City, but it popped it’s little-old-self back out and tortured us for the day. Did I let it stop me from taking pictures…heck no. But I’ll admit by the time we were done driving through the park my hair was a sandblasted sculpture of something…not sure what though. Dan was able to keep us on the road, thankfully, and we found a dirt parking lot in Tuscon next to Walmart to hold up for the night, thanks to my sister, Robi, and her directions.

We spent the next three days being spoiled with great food, wine, and vistas as David and Robi showed us what their city and surrounding areas had to offer.  We did a four-stop wine tasting with David, Robi, David’s sister, Chris, and her husband, Buster on Saturday finishing with a yummy roast David had prepared with all the trimmings. Sunday was a full day of driving to the peak of Mt. Lemmon, and back down. It blows my mind when I see the saguaro cactus forest and the rock formations. Then you get to the top and you are looking at pine trees that suddenly put me back home in the PNW. Okay…so not as dense a forest, but it did bring me home a bit.

My last full day near Tucson was spent with my sister, Robi, having a sisters’ day in Tuboc. It is an artsy little town filled with all types of art that will blow your mind. The colors, designs, and creativity were amazing. Robi and I had a wonderful lunch at a Mexican restaurant that was delicious. That evening Dan and I went back to their house for another great dinner.

Next stop on our agenda was Spring Valley and the little town of Mayer to visit family members of Dan’s good friend, Steve. They greeted us with open arms and had us set up in their family mini RV camp they named “Flood Park” and rightfully so since last year they had a flood try to take out everything in its path. The mountain behind had been ravished by fire leaving nothing to stop the rainfall from rushing down the hillside and overflowing the river and into their backyard and beyond. They have repurposed the land beautifully and we sure appreciated the campsite for a few nights. This was my first time meeting them, and we quickly became friends. Chrystal and I will always stay in touch, and I can’t wait to spend time with her and Bob again. Hospitality is their middle name.

Next stop was Grand Canyon. I will forever remember the emotions that rise to the surface when I first laid my eyes on, as Dan would call it, the big hole in the ground. The air was smoke filled at Grand Canyon due to the fires, but I’ll eventually clean the photos up more, but wanted to share a few with you. Here I am pretending to fall off the ledge at Grand Canyon. There is a place you can hike down to where there is no guardrail to protect you. I knew this might be my only time at the park, so I didn’t hesitate to make the hike. I’ll admit it’s a little scary both ways, and you are very conscious of the fact it would be the end if you aren’t careful. But it was worth it. I did scare this young couple, who apparently thought I was really falling. I felt bad, but it’s all part of the adventure.

The next day we traveled to the lower area of Antelope Canyon…what can I say other than it blew my mind.  The lower tour is not for people that get claustrophobic or have aversions to metal grate stairs. You go down about 120 feet below and then you work yourself back up to ground level. Of all the places we’ve visited, this park takes top billing so far. I can’t say enough about the amazing sights. I have enough photos to make a full-size travel book…lol. I loved all of it. This shot, if you look, is called Seahorse…can you see it…can you see it?

So, now you have the scoop on a few fun places to hit if you travel to Arizona. Again, I am in awe of the beauty this state has to offer. A big shout out thanks to family and friends that made this state shine…love you all and we’ll see you next time through.

 

Gypsy Tour – New Mexico

I was out of WiFi range and my hotspot isn’t what its cracked up to be. I used my phone data sometimes just to be sure there wasn’t an apocalypse going on I wasn’t aware of…thankfully, that isn’t the case. I wasn’t quite sure how I would blog these travel adventures, but as I’ve gone along I have decided I’ll try blogging state by state. I was excited to travel into a state I’d never been to, so when I saw the “New Mexico” sign, I was pretty stoked. Our first stop was Santa Fe, but only long enough to grab a coffee and find a campsite for the night. We struggled with the corners getting into McDonald’s, but coffee was calling Dan’s name. Thankfully, with a little imagination, we managed to find a place to park. And it was worth the stop since a nice customer took time to help us with our navigational questions. After the gentleman gave us some insight into his city along with other helpful info, and with coffee in hand, we were soon on our way to our chosen spot for the night.

Since being self-inducted into the world of RV’ers we have (hopefully) learned our lesson when it comes to picking out campsites. This place gave us back our confidence. It was clean, safe, and friendly. We enjoyed a quiet night once we stopped, possibly due to our road-tired bodies. Dan, someone who never gets the flu or virus, picked up a bug and needed rest. So, we settled into a movie night and then a good nights sleep. Santa Fe will be checked out a bit more next time through since it appeared to be a lovely place.

The next day we hit the road and headed to Albuquerque for a couple of days. The drive to Albuquerque was beautiful. The terrain changes from one point to another as you come into the valley. The next RV site – Enchanted RV Resort was going to be our destination of choice for the next couple of night. Again we chose right. It turned out to be clean, friendly, and a welcome site.

But wait, there’s more…as soon as we pulled into our slot, we noticed another tire that looked, as Dan called it “soft” – his term for low on air. Sure enough, it had a screw in it and was leaking air, so off to the tire shop we went…again.

While we waited a couple of hours for it to be repaired, we drove to Los Lunas to visit friends from Denver, Roy, and Carol. They had recently moved to a beautiful community in this little city. It was great seeing them again, and hearing about the adventures they encountered while having their new home built. Since they had been there long enough to know the back roads from Los Lunas to Albuquerque they guide us back. Thankfully helping us avoid the traffic issues west bound due to construction.

The following morning we had plans to visit Sky City, but the wind kicked up to a point it wasn’t safe. There were times I thought the wind was going to pick us up and we’d find ourselves in Kansas…it was insane. Sometimes it would slow down enough that I only worried it would start skipping our home on wheels down the road, but everything held tight to the ground. The wind, however, had a sister-in-crime…the sand. Because of the sandy terrain, the outdoors became a dust bowl like I’d never experienced. If you went outside your eyes and bare skin were pelted with sand. When you escaped back inside you had to drink water to wash the sand out of your teeth. I can’t help picturing the sand we breathed into my lungs and only hope it won’t have a lasting effect.

Luckily by morning, the wind stopped and the weather was great. As we traveled to our tour spot for the day we took in the blue skies, warm sun, and friendly people. Sky City had been a friends’ recommendation, and we were not disappointed. The Acoma Pueblo consists of four villages, Sky City being one of them. It is built high on the ridge overlooking the valley. We were taken by bus up the hillside where Steve, our tour guide, provided the history of the village and its people. I didn’t really know what to expect, but what I found was that I was overwhelmed with the emotion history can evoke. Maybe I’m partial because when I was twelve my boyfriend was Native American and we were madly in love. But truly, the village is beautifully rich with its Native American history and I highly recommend the tour. I learned so much listening and absorbing first hand about the Native American culture of this Acoma tribe. I love that everything has a meaning…whether it is a design, a bead, or mother earth. There is a purpose for everything, and everything is given the respect it deserves.

The next morning we packed up and headed down the road to Arizona. All in all, I loved New Mexico. It is beautiful and filled with history I truly enjoyed. The topography is different than my past travels, even Colorado…so it’s like traveling to a new world. I didn’t get to see everyone or everything, but it was a fun adventure I’ll always remember.

One of the advantages of being retired is you are free to come and go as you please. So, if I missed a scenic road, and for family, I didn’t get to visit this round, I hope to come through again sometime.

Thank you to everyone who made our visit to New Mexico so wonderful.

 

 

 

Rolling On…But Wait

I thought I’d only be blogging our life once a month, but as it turns out I have too much to say, and I never know when I’ll have WiFi…so I hope you won’t grow too tired of my babbling. Before I get to our Colorado Springs events, I want to share the day Dan and I spent with his good friend, Tony, while we were still at my stepdaughter’s home. Tony became our “Senior Tour” guide for the day since he was familiar with the place. We headed out for a two-hour drive to the Pawnee Butte National Grasslands. I mentioned this on FB, but I thought I’d share another photo.  On our way to the Buttes, we stopped and took shots of the valley, and of an old abandon farm. We traveled on to the Buttes and though half of the travel was on a dirt road, it was well worth it.

On the way back we stopped at a local cemetery. The history was amazing as you read headstone after headstone of children and families that died from the Spanish flu in the early 1900’s. My heartstrings pulled even tighter as I spotted graves with only a piece of cement for a headstone, or just a bag of cement, now broken and hardened in the weather, because not everyone could afford a proper headstone in those tough times. Their devastation was a daily experience, and I couldn’t help but shed tears of sadness. 

We left the Denver area and headed to Colorado Springs to start our real travel adventure. First stop in Colorado Springs was the Garden of Gods. It is a natural rock formation park that will have you dropping your jaw. Unfortunately, the entrance we took didn’t sport the sign the other entrance did that specified NO RV’s etc…and let me tell you, between Dan’s F350 and a 30’ trailer we found ourselves trying to maneuver 50’ of metal around corners not designed for anything other than a vehicle. Our final nasty turn took out a tire…as we expected. So, after Dan pulled over the best he could and changed the tire our next stop was…you guessed it, a tire shop. But that is only the beginning of our “Friday the 13th” tale.

Next was finding a place to camp. We started calling RV parks, but one after the other was booked up. Finally, one gal gave us the number of another park she thought might be able to help us out. Thankfully, we thought, they had a spot so we made our way there a few minutes before he closed the office. Our eyes opened wide as we took in the view of a homeless community stationed along the sides of the driveway leading into the park entrance. I try not to stereotype people, but after the three break-ins to Dan’s truck in Washington, and the police telling us it is “homeless” getting what they can to sell…well, you can imagine our concern. However, we needed a place to park so we paid for two nights. Turned out the inside of the park was what we found to be more of a concern. During our stay, we witnessed two drug deals go down close to our camper. My upbringing gave me a lot of insight, so I know what I’m talking about. This told us we may come back from our day trip to find our tires gone…an expression I wasn’t too happy to hear come out of Dan’s mouth.

The next day we decided not to let our current living conditions stop our plans for our day trip. We took what might possibly have been our last look at our home on wheels, took a deep breath and headed to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. They have the most amazing giraffe exhibit I’ve ever seen. It is below ground so the giraffe’s heads are your level. People could feed them and even pet them, which I did, of course.   The zoo is built on the side of the mountain, and every exhibit is amazing. The reptile exhibit has beautiful glass art along with other art inside the glass cages. The whole experience made you smile. And bonus…since you are on a mountain, you enjoyed panoramic views of the valley below. I loved it all. Then we went back to the Garden of the Gods so we could pull into the different parking lots and take photos.  We entered from another side this time and there we found the notice about no trailers. Live and learn…lol.

Bonus – when we got back to the RV Park, all tires were still intact, and so was our home. The lesson we have learned quickly is that cities are not made to tow trailers around. That it is best to go outside the city to find camping areas, drop the trailer and enjoy the sights. Another lesson is to check all park reviews before signing up for more than one night, or any night at all. But the biggest lesson is to be patient with each other and to quote Sue Aitkins from Life Below Zero (one of my fav shows) “Don’t take it personal” – and she would be right. It’s simply a learning curve and it will get better.