Monday, May 23, 2016

The Adult Children of Full-Timers Are So Lucky!

We are in our third week of purging Mom's house of almost thirty years of stuff. 

This is not my first rodeo.

In '93 it was my dad's small house and two-story, three-car garage. Three weeks in July in Quartzsite :-(

'01 my godparents' home, and four storage units. Six weeks around a six-day-a-week job.

When mom passed in '07 she had downsized a lot to a one bedroom apartment. She slept in the living room and the bedroom was storage. So.....still stuff.

This time, for the first time, there are two of us doing the work. Much better, still a lot of work.

Our parents lived through the Great Depression and learned to save what they had, everything they had. It is understandable. It is not a surprise. When a widow, or widower, lives alone it is very, very hard to let go of the things that have so many wonderful memories.

If we had stayed in our sticks and bricks we would undoubtedly be adding to our own years of accumulations. Even though growing up in a time of abundance, or maybe because of it, we also had a lot of stuff. Eventually our kids would have to do the work of purging all of it.

Except that they won't.

Because we already did!

So if your kids ever tell you they don't support your choice to live on the road, or think you're crazy for selling your house and all your stuff - tell them about all the work they're going to miss :-)

Not only no purging, but no presents. We don't have the space for stuff, so we've told them all not to get us anything. We like the idea of them spending their money for other things (hopefully not stuff they have to store later).

Our kids (six between us) are SO lucky!! As are the kids of other full-timers living the simple, stuff-free life. 

There's so much we want to leave for our children. None of it is stuff :-)))))

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Three Years in the Blogosphere

May 16, 2016
Roswell, NM

May 16, 2013.....27 Months Isn't Really That Long

Many of us start blogs to keep track of our travels. I was so excited about those travels that I started this blog when we began serious planning and preparation. Those early posts are still some of my favorites.

Looking back I'm surprised at how smooth our transition was, because I still remember some pretty stressful moments!  I also remember that writing about it, sharing with others who had already been through it, or were planning too, made it a lot more fun. The milestones, the counting down, the "lasts" in anticipation of the "firsts", I'm happy I captured it all. 

And I'm happy that I've stuck with it.  Just the other day I was telling my BFF how happy I am we have this journal of our wonderful adventure! Sometimes because I'd never remember where we were two weeks ago......

......but mostly because of the nomadic community we've unexpectedly become a part of. Through that initial planning period, traveling full-time, and writing about it, we have met fun and genuine people who we look forward to seeing "down the road" when the opportunity arises again. And there are those we haven't met yet who I am very much looking forward to meeting for the first time. We all come from different states and jobs and families, and still we have this great big exciting life in common. 

I continue to be inspired by these wonderful people.
"Reading each other" is an amazing bond I never anticipated :-)

Looking back is great fun, but not nearly as much as looking forward. What will another year look like?????

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Family First

May 2 - 6, 2016
Page, AZ - Roswell, NM

Our first sunny morning in Page, AZ, and we both wake up not feeling well on Monday. It (whatever "it" is) doesn't go away until evening so we sleep most of the day.

Staying at home gives us time to figure out what is our best next move. Bill's mom is still in rehab, and has decided it's time to move into assisted living when she is released. This is a huge relief for the whole family, as at 91 years old her needs have changed quite a bit in the last few months.

Rather than Bill flying to Roswell to make temporary arrangements that would still require us spending a few weeks there "eventually", we decide it's best to turn south once again and take care of everything now, and together.

So close to a new state for us, but Utah will have to wait awhile. I'm sure it will still be there when we're ready.

Arriving in Flagstaff mid-day on Tuesday we stay at Black Bart's again. Although not a place we particularly like, it is easy and reasonable, and we know how everything works.  This time we take advantage of the steakhouse and live entertainment on site, leaving the Jeep hooked up.

Humphreys Peak welcomes us back with a new mantle of snow
Casual entertainment from our serving staff - talented kids!
Our sights are on Holbrook, AZ, but with high winds in the forecast we push on through to Gallup, NM. We're still cleaning the dirt out of crevices in the motorhome from our last time in Holbrook. If nothing else, maybe the dirt will be a different color in Gallup!

I'm pleasantly surprised by the nice USA RV Park in Gallup. Long, level gravel sites with a few trees, FHUs, and far enough from the interstate to avoid road noise. Very nice staff, clean and convenient. The municipal airport is nearby so there is small plane noise periodically. On this Wednesday the park fills completely not long after dark! The sites are long, but not wide, and it's "snug" when every space is full.

Historic downtown has a series of lovely murals
We think about staying another night, but again the predicted winds over the weekend have us up and on the road early. Instead of Albuquerque, we opt for a new route, taking us southeast, picking up Hwy 25 in Las Lunas. Hwy 6 is a pretty two-lane road with minimal traffic, but the first 15 miles through the Hopi Reservation are washboard rough! 

At Socorro, NM, we stop for the night. All the RV parks here are some guy's name: Tom's, Luis's - we stay at Casey's place. It's a beauty salon with an RV park as well.....a first for us! Several permanents and a few other travelers have crowded into the FHU rows so we take a W/E site and have the whole row to ourselves. Unlike Gallup, this park doesn't see another arrival while we're here. 

We're not here for the view (from our front door)
Since it's Cinco de Mayo we decide to go out for margaritas. We stop at three Mexican restaurants - each one a bit weirder than the one before - and find no margaritas! Finally we find success at El Rancho Family Restaurant and Lounge.

Remember "lounges"? Dark paneling, brass-tack furniture, red leather bar, gold-vein mirrors, wrought iron sconces......yep, that's where we celebrate May 5th! And the margaritas are delicious, as is the food.

We love this crazy life :-)

The Lounge
Friday morning the sun is bright and there's a slight breeze. We're heading for the cute little town of Capitan, NM, in the mountains east of Ruidoso. 

The lava flows near Carrizozo are spectacular - tall, rugged, shiny black. The large valley is beautiful with green trees, and grass-covered fields. It looks so different here from other places we've been in New Mexico.

A few miles before Capitan, Bill checks the weather which is still predicting high winds for the next three days. We've been fortunate missing the worst of it by getting out early and then parking before it gets too bad. It's only 10:00 - with 90 more miles to Roswell, shouldn't we just push through and not have to worry about it?

We should.

In Capitan our decision is validated when a street fair has the entrance to the RV park blocked, with a major detour. We're not supposed to stay here this time.

20+ mph crosswinds welcome us about 15 miles from Roswell, and with the end of the trip so close it's very manageable. By the time we're set up back at Town and Country RV Park, the winds have increased, with gusts that rock the house. Dust turns the sky brown, which then turns gray, and just enough rain falls to turn the dirt on our home into a custom impressionism masterpiece :-(

We're glad we kept going each time, driving longer than our norm, and getting here a couple days early.

Our time here will be challenging and exciting and busy and quite a bit of work - but nothing is more important than family. It's where we need to be. It's what we need to be doing. Bill will see his mom on Mother's Day for the first time in decades.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

An aMayzing Day

May 1, 2016
Page, AZ

Although the weather shows no sign of improving on Sunday, we head out for the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, south of Page.

Going back down the side of the Echo Cliffs, the views of the cliffs and the river-carved canyons below begin a day full of OMGs!

Hwy 89 drops into the valley below through this narrow cut,
and looks out across this inspiring vista. Later we will be around the other side of those clifs
Hwy 89A takes us across the Colorado Plateau, where the Echo Cliffs curve south and the Vermillion Cliffs continue for miles.

West end of the Echo Cliffs
North end of the Vermillion Cliffs
We cross the Colorado River at the Navajo Bridge. There is an interpretive center here, and a foot bridge over the water. We continue on, planning to stop on the way back if there's time.

Not far from the river canyon stand these natural centinels
While vermillion is the dominate color, there are rich blues as well
Having gotten a later start we're ready for lunch when we find the Lees Ferry Lodge in the little burg of Vermillion Cliffs. A very rustic and quaint eatery and local gathering place, the food is good and the staff very friendly. They're hiring, and include housing and utilities :-)

Lees Ferry Lodge, Hwy 89A
A very sweet location
Wind-proof door mat
The only other "civilization" is Cliff Dwellers, where there are approximately a dozen homes, a small store with gas station, a garage and a four-star restaurant and lodge.  Just before the little community is the site of rock houses - in the rocks, with rock walls. Unfortunately there is no information on these interesting ruins. 

Vermillion Cliffs ruins
Didn't see it until I uploaded the photos.....
What came first....the house or the rock....
Natural landscaping
with balancing rocks and beautiful views
Turning a rock into a home with rocks
Information plaque written in disappearing ink
The vast plateau is as beautiful as the colorful cliffs. Sage green carpet goes on for miles. Although it's Sunday, there are almost no other people here. Each time we stop to take photos or read about the area or watch for condors, we have the place to ourselves. The overcast skies and the perfect quiet make for a most enchanting day. 

The viewpoint is laid out like a medicine wheel
Condor Viewing Area
While I only capture evidence in the camera, Bill sees a Condor in flight with the binoculars 
Not a Condor
The sun comes out as we turn around to head back
We make a quick stop to play among more balancing rocks.

As if the cliffs haven't been enough this first day of May, we take the short drive out to Lees Ferry and enjoy even more amazingness!! The small campground will accommodate a few bigger RVs, has flush toilets, no hook ups, dump station. 

An outfitters group is setting up for an early morning launch - 13 days to Lake Mead in large rafts. What a great trip. Fortunately the weather is supposed to be perfect for the next two weeks.

Lees Ferry
They're going to have so much fun!
The sinking sun turns the red to orange
and the blue to purple
Favorite view of the day
Still more balancing rocks
Two-headed dinosaur robot
Where the brown Paria River joins the dark blue Colorado
It's after 5:00 when we get back to the visitors center at Navajo Bridge so we keep going. I'm so glad we took a chance on a cloudy day to see this wondrous place. 

We had hoped to see Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend on Monday before making our way into Utah on Tuesday. However, none of that happens.

Everything is fine, and we're grateful that our home is mobile and our plans are written in Jello.