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Camping in Quartzsite

Camping in Quartzsite

I am back to my blog!! Yes, I have been absent for too long.

In my last posting, I was in Quartzsite for the winter and it was another good time in the desert. I attended the RTR in January and met up with some friends from previous years and discovered new friendships. It was, as always, a great time. Another highlight in Q was the Big Tent RV show where I accepted a job to be a camp host for the summer in Washington on Baker Lake. I am looking forward to a beautiful summer meeting new people and experiencing a new adventure.

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Port Orford, OR

At this writing I am in Port Orford, OR visiting with my friend, Becky, and enjoying the coast. When I left the desert toward the end of March it was getting pretty toasty in the 90’s, and what a joy to be here with cool 60’s and ocean breezes. I will be leaving here within the next two weeks and making my way to the campground for my job. Part of that meandering will include a few days in one of my favorite cities, Portland. I fell in love with Portland years ago when I worked as a pharmacist consultant and made frequent business trips to the city. Some of my favorite stops include Powell’s book store (the mother ship for a book lover!), the Saturday Market, Voodoo Donuts, The Grotto, and all of the coffee shops.

Some of my rosaries

Some of my rosaries

After Portland, I will be in Lacey, WA for a visit to the St. Placid Monastery for a personal retreat. It is a beautiful place and the sisters are so welcoming to visitors. On a personal note, I became Catholic four years ago and one of my latest missions is making rosaries and giving them away. While here in Port Orford, I gave a bunch to the local priest who will be taking them to Nigeria to give them to local people who cannot afford to buy one. I also give them to anyone who asks for one. It is a special blessing to be able to do this one small thing.

Enjoying a Ren Faire in AZ

Enjoying a Ren Faire in AZ

My teardrop life continues to be one of great freedom and beautiful places along with the opportunities to meet some of the nicest people I could ever imagine. If any of you are wondering “should I do something like that?” The answer is “Yes!”

 

Back to the Desert..Quartzsite

After a year of adventure, I have returned to Quartzsite, AZ for the winter. I love this quirky town for reasons I can’t explain. I have met people who have driven through the town and did not stop or contemplate a visit where others return year after year. I fall into the latter category.

Beautiful Sedona

Beautiful Sedona

Prior to arriving back to the Q (as it is affectionately known), I was camped in Camp Verde, AZ and during that time my friend, Becky, visited. We had a

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A glimpse of Jerome

great time being tourists in Sedona, Cottonwood, and Jerome. I had been to Sedona several times in the past and to Cottonwood, but not Jerome.

Oh Jerome…What a cool little town! It was a mining town like so many in Arizona and produced buckets of minerals and money, but it has additional layers of history. After its heyday of mining and having become another ghost town, it had a rising from the ashes moment when it was occupied in the ‘60’s by the hippies from California and beyond. While there was the accompanying drugs, sex, and loud music, there was also the creativity of the young arrivals. Many of the hippies left and some stayed and ended up creating an artistic village that remains today. The result is a place with beautiful artwork, breathtaking views, and a vibe that sang to my youth.

Now I am out in the desert and I do mean Out…this year I am unplugged and boondocking for the winter. I have my solar panels (135watts) bringing in all of the power I need for lights, music, watching an occasional movie, and charging my phone or laptop. I have access to water, garbage disposal, and a dump station down the road so all of those chores require going to them vs having them attached in a park. After being in parks practically all of the year and a half I have been traveling in my teardrop, I can say I am more than ready to camp this way. There is a sense of freedom and self-sufficiency unparalleled to RV park life. Maybe there simply comes a time in RVing when open spaces call louder than concrete parking pads and learning new skills of self-reliance become more enticing than conveniences.

This will be a wonderful winter with time for friends in the desert, family in the city, and open space to embrace nature’s beauty.

This was once a hospital in Jerome, now a haunted restaurant!

This was once a hospital in Jerome, now a haunted restaurant!

In Quartzsite

In Quartzsite once again

Changes and Plans

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Cumbres & Toltec Railroad…Such Fun!

Summer has left and fall has arrived. This is my favorite time of year and while I associate it with a cool snap in the air, the smell of wood smoke, and the falling of golden leaves, my current desert location (Camp Verde, AZ) still feels like summer. I left Chama, NM over a week ago to relocate here until November when it will be time to move on to Quartzsite, AZ for winter.

Chama is a lovely little town and well worth a stop if in the vicinity. A highlight of my time there was a ride on the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad. The train (an 1800 style train) takes passengers up into Colorado through beautiful landscapes, stops for a great lunch, and returns to Chama. It is about a 6 hour tour. I would suggest to pay extra and ride in the parlor car…it is worth it!

During my summer camping I had the opportunity to meet many lovely people and to tour many different RVs. I also gave a lot of tours of my teardrop, in fact, I think I averaged at least 1 tour a day! My trailer is almost always the smallest rig in any given park (including my current park) and people are attracted to it and just have to see what is inside.  This summer I had the chance to see several pick-up truck campers. In fact, I spent time online and considered the switch out to such a set-up! My attraction had to do with the further simplicity of some of the campers (ones with no slides) and no towing. Before any of you say “OH No! She can’t get rid of the teardrop!” I came to my senses (ha-ha) and decided I can’t bear to let the Jeep or

Rio Chama RV Park...Lovely!

Rio Chama RV Park…Lovely!

teardrop go, at least not now.

I do love setting up my campsite and having the Jeep to tour around an area. Also, for Tito and Lulu the little trailer is a perfect climate-controlled environment for them. I think all of us have a little bit of “grass is greener” syndrome when we see different rigs and set-ups. All you have to do is go to an RV show and you will be so tempted to drive away with something. I suggest placing something short of casts on both hands so you cannot sign any contracts!

All set up in Camp Verde, AZ

All set up in Camp Verde, AZ

I have decided to do some upgrades on my T@b after the winter. I thought about these before, but wanted to wait and be sure of what I wanted to do. The new upgrades will include swooshes of color along the sides of the trailer that match the color of my Jeep, a change-out of the couch for a proper mattress, a new diamond plate box and rack up front, a rack on back, and, possibly, a switch to a 12V fridge (Engel). I plan to spend more time off-grid and utilize those great solar panels I bought last winter.

Pictures will follow as my upgrades are done. Until next time…

 

a homemade "rig" in park, just when you think you have seen it all!

a homemade “rig” in park, just when you think you have seen it all!

My Summer Adventures

Eagle Nest Park

Eagle Nest Park

While summer is not quite over, the season is waning as travelers begin to turn toward home for back-to-school and returning to their home base. The RV parks are less full than in June and July and the crowds are thinner at events and popular places. For a full-timer like myself, I am no longer governed by the same calendar as many travelers, yet I do find myself aware of the season’s markers for change.

This summer has been one of new discoveries. I arrived in Eagle Nest, New Mexico in June and remained in the area until two weeks ago. During the time in the area known as the Enchanted Circle, I traveled to several areas of New Mexico including Angel Fire, Red River, Taos, Santa Fe, and, even, Roswell. I am now in a town called Chama which is in the northcentral part of the state. Each area I have visited could merit a blog post of its own; however, I will group them together as summer visits in this post.

A highlight of my summer was when my friend, Becky, visited from Port Orford, OR (where I spent last summer) and we traveled to the above mentioned areas of New Mexico. We had a great time visiting sights such as the Rio Grande Gorge, the Plaza of Taos, a Pow Wow in Taos,

Pow Wow in Taos

Pow Wow in Taos

Historic Santa Fe, including the mysterious staircase at Loretto Chapel, and the alien sights in Roswell. Everything is better when shared with a friend.

A couple of these sights do deserve a more detailed description, namely the Loretto Chapel and Roswell. The Loretto Chapel has a staircase within it with a fascinating story. The chapel was built in the 1870’s without stairs to the choir loft and the Sisters of Loretto who lived in the adjoining building prayed to St. Joseph, a carpenter for divine intervention. Nine days after the prayers, a carpenter showed up with a hammer, saw, and a T-square. He built the spiral staircase with two full 360 degree turns, thirty-three steps, no nails, and no center support. The wood was not from the surrounding area and upon completion, the carpenter disappeared without payment. Architects have examined the staircase and have no explanation for its design and there is no duplication of the design known anywhere else.

Roswell is another site with a story to ponder. In 1947 an incident occurred outside of Roswell that has led to many books and stories involving alien contact with Earth.

Who doesn’t love a good conspiracy tale and this is a good one! According to witnesses, a disc-like object crashed on a rancher’s property with four small beings aboard who had died. The rancher contacted the sheriff and then the military and the FBI became involved. The story was published in the local paper and retracted the next day saying the crash was a weather balloon, not a flying disc. The witnesses were supposedly threatened with death if they said otherwise. Many of the witnesses remained silent until they were on their deathbeds and they told their side of the story. It is a compelling mystery. My favorite line is when the rancher was told by an interviewer that maybe what he saw was a monkey since the space researchers used monkeys for trial runs in space. His reply was, “Dammit, they’re not monkeys, and they’re not human!”

It’s been a great summer!

Rio Grande Gorge

Rio Grande Gorge

The Loretto Chapel Staircase

The Loretto Chapel Staircase

UFO Museum Roswell

UFO Museum Roswell

I’ve Been Here and Here and…

 

 

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Antler Arch Jackson, WY

Since leaving Idaho Falls in late May, I have been to some beautiful places. I have also celebrated one year full-timing in my teardrop! Yay! That year flew by as they have a tendency to do anyway, but traveling seems to make them go even faster.

I spent a short stay in Jackson, WY. I can see why it is a destination for the rich and famous (especially for skiing). It is a beautiful and expensive little town with attractive shops, breathtaking mountains, and decent food. While I enjoyed the visit, it is way too touristy for a long stay. Of course, I have lived in Carmel, CA (twice) and it ranks very high on the touristy scale. And the constant crowds were one of the main reasons it was time to move along.

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The beautiful Grand Tetons

After Jackson, I continued on to the Grand Teton National Park. One word: Majestic. So far, this is my favorite National Park. The combination of such natural beauty and wide open space appealed to all of my senses. It was less crowded (early June) than some parks I have visited which allowed frequent stops to just sit and take in the wonder.

From Grand Teton, I traveled on up to Yellowstone National Park. This was a must-see simply because I have heard about it throughout my life and it is the first National Park. It is a gorgeous place too. Definitely crowded! It was fun getting to see Old Faithful, a lot of bison, and the Yellowstone Grand Canyon which are only a few of the many sites to see as you move throughout the park.

Leaving Yellowstone, I drove on to Cody, WY a great little town! The Cody Museum is well worth seeing and I found Wyoming to be a wonderful state. Again, it is wide open with stunning scenery. I would love to return to Wyoming at another time.

Lulu sees her first bison

Lulu sees her first bison

Upon leaving Wyoming, I drove down through CO in pouring rain on my way to New Mexico. Driving through Denver was harrowing with the traffic and the rain. I received an emergency alert for a flash flood on my cell phone while on the highway as the rain became several inches deep. That was a slow, white-knuckle drive and I was ever so glad to move on through the city. Once out of Denver, the drive onto New Mexico was easy and pretty.

I am now in Eagle Nest, New Mexico in what is called the Enchanted Circle. It is well named and feels enchanted.  I will say more about it next post.

Old Faithful

Old Faithful

At Yellowstone Canyon

At Yellowstone Canyon