Archives for posts with tag: faith

Living in a sixteen foot travel trailer definitely qualifies as “tiny house” living believe you me! You MUST be comfortable with being organized and well oiled in order to get from one section of it to another as well as packing and rearranging your belongings.

I have always attempted to live in organized chaos. Raising two very challenging children alone made it a necessity because, although Carl, my son, leaned toward neatness, even he had his moments of scattered squirrel syndrome! My daughter, Ava, on the other hand, never had organized chaos. She preferred the purity of chaos out of fear of throwing something away which might be important…even junk mail…which I was to learn was a A.D.D. tendency. Ava’s father had that tendency as did my mother. My A.D.D. takes on other characteristics of the more “squirrel” variety…easily distracted by fast moving or shiny objects! However, living in this small space MAKES me stay focused because I could break my neck if anything is left on the floor or the frustration of never finding my pliers if I’m not diligent about vigilantly watching and putting things back every single time in the same place.

Therefore, I’ve developed a system of plastic removable varying sizes of drawers placed inside the cabinetry for dishes, seasoning, kitchen towels, silverware, etc. Having traveled the back roads of USA for ten years, I’ve learned you can’t predict the weather you’ll face so I’ve also developed the plastic tub way of packing for winter, spring, summer, shoes and miscellaneous needs. I use stacking baskets for immediate food needs combined with under seat storage for food supplies. And, although I got most of my organization right during my initial packing, I found the need to do a little tweaking each time I landed somewhere for more than an overnight stay or where I’d put new items when I bought something. At home, I have the rule that one new thing in means one old thing must go out. Not true here. Yet.

2017-12-8 CabDraers

Well, that rule ain’t working so well for me here as I’ve been lucky enough to hit up on some amazingly talented women here at the RV park in Bullhead City, Arizona who had true art for sale and I ain’t getting rid of nothing at this stage of the game.

2017-12-8 Quilt 1

This is a throw that Linda made. She creates beautiful Southwest Art machine quilting!

2017-12-8 Quilt 2

I asked her to make this wall hanging for me and she added some embroidery in places!

2017-12-8 Quilt 3

I’m so in love this “table cloth” which will never see any table top! I love each of these!

Also be prepared to scale down your needs to just the necessities. I decided not to bring any pots or pans as my cooking, even at home, mostly consists of frozen meat nuked to perfection atop salad. In Utah for a month quickly taught me I’d over packed dishes, glasses and cups and winter clothing. But, in my defense, I’ve hit some pretty crazy weather these last ten years where I wished I had winter clothing handy. Note to self: Don’t pack a whole tub of it!

However, I do insist on making this trailer my home with my favorite things and I’ve done that with prints of Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, Toulouse and Matisse art on my walls next to pictures of Carl and Ava and their own art hung with those Command hangers. I have adorned my vent hood with Ava’s favorite refrigerator magnets and repurposed my shower to be my closet with sturdy adjustable, spring rods and a plastic hanging clothes organizer, now horizontal, on the shower floor to hold my immediate- needs clothes and shoes.

2017-12-8 ShoweCloset

And, as this is the first Christmas since 2007 I’ve been excited about decorating, I bought an eighteen inch $5.00 tree complete with decorations at the Family Dollar store when I was in Utah. I added a Wonder Woman skirt which I embellished with glitter glue, made Wonder Woman ornaments from the same fabric and coated local rocks with glitter glue to spank it all up with something local and fun.

2017-12-8 CmasTree2

Wonder Woman Christmas Tree

 

As for driving through the Mohave Desert, don’t let the fact that most of it is on Interstate let it lull you into thinking there will be service stations or anything, for that matter, for miles and miles and miles! So, my rules are: watch your MPG average; fill up IF you see an exit with gas and hold on tight! I believe I’ve covered this before, but it’s worth repeating.

Also, don’t let the 70 MPH speed limit on these very straight expressways let you think you can drive any speed you want. If the winds 30-40 MPH winds with 60-80 MPH wind guts don’t slap you back into reality then the police will! The police may just not be where you think they should be! Just sayin’! Also, take plenty of water and food with you in the unlikely event of being stranded in one of those canyon vortexes where cell service just disappears when you need it most. I prefer to play it safe than sorry.

2016-6-4CA15

California Mohave Desert

2016-6-4CA142016-6-4CA132016-6-4CA112016-6-4CA7

2017-12-8 Mojave 1

I’m seeing, getting to know and meeting so many wonderful Wonder Women on my adventures this whole year! I’m also meeting some amazing Super Men, too! I’ve been trying to put together my story of meeting these Wonder People but their stories are too deeply layered to synopsize. It just wouldn’t do them justice. For starters, I can say I visited a new BFF in Victorville, CA who randomly invited me to join him and a friend of his to attend a grief group meeting. When they started sharing their stories, I was amazed at how diverse their grief was. The woman who started this group did so because she couldn’t find the right group twenty years ago so she created one! Losses were as long ago as decades (like my son’s death) to as recent as six months ago.

It was very special sharing my crazy journey with both Carl and Ava and discussing the subject of “the” book predicted twenty-five years ago which “we” are writing now. As it has always shown me, helping others find hope helps us. Too many were in deep depression and guilt over their grief struggles. I reached out to each with my cards for both this Blog  and Ava’s Corner, Inc. in the hopes they could find encouragement in either website and for them, with this loving reminder, to send me an email to let me know how they’re doing.

And, because I don’t believe in coincidences, the fact that the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” happens to be playing at this moment in time means I need to sign off and watch my all time favorite Christmas movie. When my sister and her daughters came to visit Mom’s, I made them sit down and watch it with me! I hope it’s a warm, fuzzy memory for them as it is for me. Yup. It is a wonderful life and I’m just starting to feel alive again and that ain’t bad. And, to think last year I thought I would never get out of being depressed over all the lost loved ones; the death of Montana, my Service Dog; or my future without all of them but this year I found those voids filled with love from existing and new sources! Praise God!

Happy Trails…until we meet again!

Advertisements

The minute I read about an outdoor market being open today, it was immediately declared my day off from writing. I’ve been to a million of these markets over the years and even sold my hand painted shirts and jewelry at functions very similar to this trying to find enough money for food, shelter, clothing and the likes for my daughter and I during my self-employment years. It was always fun meeting people and seeing what others were doing so I jumped at the chance especially knowing I could see some great red rocks in the mix!

2017-11-11 TuacahnMkt1

Tuacahn Market sits at the foot of the Amphitheater.

2017-11-11 TuacahnMkt5

Flowing Water divides the walkway. Nice toucht!

2017-11-11 TuacahnMkt2

Mother Nature’s version of Mount Rushmore!

2017-11-11 TuacahnMkt4

Mother Nature’s own carvings.

The layout was very nicely done, not crowded and had some boring stuff and some interesting things as well. Yeah. There were a couple of those venders who said, “My family makes these” but stopped short of “in China.” But, all-in-all, it was so worth the views, meanderings and entertainment!

And, as I was about to turn back toward the car, a Southern accent over the microphone stopped me dead in my tracks. I’d heard the young man singing and thought he was good but it was his story about how he was inspired to write his next song when he was invited to try some homemade peach moonshine! And, seein’ as how I happen to be familiar with that southern nectar, I had to turn back to hear more.

Turns out Tom Bennett hails from Conyers, Georgia, and is a young man who writes and sings a sweet southern blues! If you look closely at the picture of him below, you’ll see he plays a suitcase drum with his left foot, tambourines with his right, has a harmonica around his neck and Lord only knows what else he does up there that I hadn’t witnessed yet. He and his wife travel around doing gigs. He also writes a travel blog. I bought his album, “Tom Bennett One Man Band,” produced by Sweet Salt Records. Check him out at http://www.tombennettonemanband.com!

2017-11-11 TuacahnTom1

Tom Bennett One Man Band!

2017-11-11 TuacahnTom2

If you like the blues, you gotta buy this album!

Still hungry for a decent hamburger, I dug around on my cell Chrome and found a place called “Painted Pony” in historic St. George, Utah. And after driving around and a’ hollerin’ out at folks next to me at redlights about its whereabouts, I finally parked and started walking in the general direction they was a’ pointin’ to. Even that wasn’t easy because the reflections on the glass doors kept me from being able to read their sign but I barged right on through…tired, hungry and fed up. I done the right thang! It was all worth it.

2017-11-11 St.GeoPaintPny1

Painted Pony Menus

2017-11-11 St.GeoPaintPny2

Their Grilled Tenderloin Burger hit the spot and so did their ambiance.

Back to writing again. Had enough of that getting lost stuff for awhile. Now it’s time I got  lost in this book!

Happy Trails…until we meet again!

Got a little stir crazy from sitting too long trying to ignore screaming of electric tools from the guy next to me build the next Taj Mahal or totally refurbish his travel trailer so I hit the road. Why oh why are they allowing this? Guess I’ll have to ask but, in the meantime, I took the road less travelled to Zion, Kanab and Jacob’s Lake to revisit some memories.

Plus, I’d had an unrelenting desire to revisit a bit of my last camping trip with Ava from  June, 2011 this past weekend. We’d left Vegas and headed straight for Zion where she spent a couple of days hiking some marvelous trails while Montana and I explored the few paths which allow pets. Our next stop was the North Rim of the Grand Canyon where Ava was determined to hike down the North Rim, spend the night at Phantom Ranch and hike back up the next day to the South Rim. Let’s just say it was one of our most eventful camping experiences. We spent that night in a cabin at Jacob’s Lake taking a much needed respite. Ava had hiked most of the way down the North Rim when her knees failed. They were going to helicopter her out of the canyon but she had other plans. She hiked back out escorted by Rangers.

I had just closed up the popup to head toward the South Rim when a stranger called me first saying Ava was fine and wanted him to tell me to stay at the North Rim. She was coming back up because of knee issues. Montana and I paced frantically for hours at the top of the trail asking anyone coming toward us if they’d seen her. Too scary to say what I was thinking that whole time but when I saw her, there wasn’t a happier mother around! We got the last available cabin at Jacob’s Lake and regrouped.

I felt compelled to go back. I think it was because we’d left part of us there and I needed to put it back into my soul before I could write again.

So, it was only natural for me to focus on rocks first. They help me get outta my own head. Plus, they’re strong but vulnerable and, I sure love me some rocks and how the Mothers create and scar them!

The force of the Mothers (Nature and Earth) are never more apparent than at Zion.  These mountains show signs of Mother Nature’s etchings on their surfaces as the winds carve their way through the sandstone mountains. She drops water into their crevices, then quickly freezes it over and over again to weaken that link to its parent in order to loosen huge boulders enough to cause them to crash below creating thunder throughout the canyon and land atop of the eroded soil at her feet.

2017-11-6 Zion1

Approaching Zion from Hurricane

2017-11-6 Zion2

Etchings from the Mother

2017-11-6 Zion3

Amphitheater created by Mother’s determination to break free pieces of the mountain.

2017-11-6 Zion4

Erosion at the base waiting for more from above

Mother Nature blows her seeds in the wind and sprinkles them like a condiment  into those same crevices. Some germinate and grip for the rest of their lives to the precipices of the rock fighting forever the changing wind, rain, snow, freezing and warming temperatures the Mother sends their way. The larger they grow, the larger the crevice becomes and encourages the huge boulder upon which they cling, along with the Mother’s help, to join the other large boulders below.

The light changes here as rapidly as the temperature and weather. I take a picture one minute and in the next, different hues appear. It’s this marvelous discovery by those artists of yesteryear who fell in love with that very dynamic…the effects sunlight which…Vermeer and Impressionists captured in their paintings and focused on by painting the same scene over and over again in varying light (i.e, Monet’s many paintings of Notre Dame). At some point, the word spread far and wide that Carmel, California held some magic light there. I believe that “magic” light is in the desert here in Utah.

See what you think about my drive to and from Jacob’s Lake.

2017-11-6 Jacob1

Trying to capture the Vermillion Cliffs and the White ones too

2017-11-6 Jacob2

Light changes rapidly especially on cloudy days like yesterday

2017-11-6 Jacob3

These three were literally taken only minutes minutes apart while sitting still.

2017-11-6 Jacob4

Money shot!

The other two parts of this adventure were to visit a place Ava and I had always wanted to visit but never found the time to do so…Best Friends Sanctuary (a non-profit) facility in Kanab, Utah of National Geographic’s “Dogtown” TV show notoriety (https://bestfriends.org/sanctuary/visit-our-utah-sanctuary/places-stay).

For those of you who knew Ava, she rescued cats…and dogs…but mostly cats. Ava rescued   a paraplegic cat, Murmur, from a Vet who was moving and who would no longer keep. Ava took Murmur and lovingly nurtured her until the little animal passed away. Ava  would have loved to have lived and worked at this place (if they could have incorporated opera), so I it was only fitting for me to take their tour while I was in the neighborhood and donate to their wonderful cause in her memory.

Yup. It was hard but it was what Ava wanted me to do yesterday so I did it.

2017-11-6 BestFriend1

Best Friends Welcome Center

2017-11-6 BestFriend2

Where “Dogtown” was filmed for National Geographic (https://bestfriends.org/sanctuary/explore-sanctuary/dogtown/series)

2017-11-6 BestFriend3

New Veterinarian facilities

2017-11-6 BestFriend4

Cat  World HQ

2017-11-6 BestFriend5

One of many outdoor fun for their Sanctuary Cats looking for their fur-ever homes! 

Then, just for me, I had to go back to Rocking V Cafe (http://www.rockingvcafe.com)  for one of their amazing pork chops. I’d had one of their pork chops this past summer and couldn’t stop thinking about it…so I did what a girl had to do…go back and order it again!

Pork chop

YEAH, BABY! Pork chop at Rocking V Cafe! Way to end the day!

2017-11-6 Kanab1

Rocking V Cafe, Kanab, Utah

2017-11-6 Kanab2

Cozy Inside with nice art for sale on the walls!

Happy Trails…until we meet again!

A dear friend of Ava’s (my daughter) came up to visit me in Hurricane this weekend and it was perfect…but that’s as it always is when we get together! Yesterday, we just couldn’t find that sweet spot about how to spend our day. Somehow, we couldn’t quite settle on whether to hike Zion (which we’d both already done) or revisit Snow Canyon. As neither of those “felt” right, we headed for the one book store we did want to visit which  happened to be in meander the historic part of Hurricane, Utah! We found lovely items from yesteryear lovely shops and great people, too!

Our first visit was in “Mercantile Gifts and Consignments” on State Street near Main Street. It’s a plethora of wonderful items to try, view, explore and purchase! Their “sister” entity is just around the corner called “Gypsy Emporium.” We just had to go in there! I’m so glad we did because I met a young kindred spirit who works there, Sarah Jane! Don’t forget our pinky swear!

IMG_20171104_124211812.jpg

Mercantile Gifts & Consignments on State Street. It’ a great place to explore!

IMG_20171104_124546442_HDR.jpg

GYPSY EMPORIUM just around the corner from Mercantile!

 

And found the Hurricane Pioneer Museum where we met this lovely man who had been the voice of some interesting early cartoon characters! His ancestors were part of this towns beginnings and is well versed in its history.

IMG_20171104_134738758_HDR.jpg

HURRICANE PIONEER MUSEUM

Our new friend from Gypsy Emporium recommended Main Street Cafe for our lunch and I’m so happy she did! Thanks, Sarah Jane!

IMG_20171104_150850261_HDR.jpg

MAIN STREET CAFE on Main Street! Go Figure! Great food!

And along the way, who would have thought we would come across such a magnificent display of roses trailing along the sidewalk of one of the first houses built in Hurricane in 1906? We stuck our noses in every single one of those beautiful roses! I think we were responsible for cross-pollinating some of them!

IMG_20171104_151459950.jpg

Roses in the desert? Yup!

Our new friend at the Pioneer Museum had told us to go see where the canal was built to bring the water to the newly formed town of Hurricane. We decided it might be fun to drive down that main road a little farther and look what we found…and, yes, it did involve a u-turn!

IMG_20171104_161714766_HDR.jpg

Convergence Overlook! Several Creeks come together here. It looks like a great hike but not on this day!

IMG_20171104_161725048_HDR.jpg

Beautiful canyon and mountain views!

IMG_20171104_162010140_HDR.jpg

And, look at those rocks!

We had such a great time making u-turns to find those “right” spots to explore whether it was a shop, canyon or food! I highly recommend finding this historic area and playing there for the day!

Happy Trails…until we meet again.

It’s the wonderment of Mother Earth and her ability to expand and contract in all sorts of ways which takes my breath away. And, last night when I decided I needed to get out and hike to get a fresh perspective and to also get out of this 16-foot trailer for the whole day, the only place I wanted to see was the place I picked to stay…my favorite volcanic site, Snow Canyon State Park. Even though it’s a small park, I never get bored seeing its geologic fabulousness.

I really can’t add to the adventure much but will explain a little under each photo, but, other than that, words still escape me. I’m breathless. Swept away by its beauty and power. Enjoy.

2017-10-29 SnowCany-1a

If you’re interested in the volcanic history of this place (from 27,000 years ago), then read this.

2017-10-29 SnowCany-1b

Lava rocks are sprinkled like peppercorns all over this landscape.

2017-10-29 SnowCany-2

Views are too majestic and regal to reduce to words. It’s so very quiet here.

2017-10-29 SnowCany-3

Layers of Petrified Sand Dunes of all colors!

2017-10-29 SnowCany-4

Petrified Sand Dunes

2017-10-29 SnowCany-5

Lava rock capped petrified sand dunes.

2017-10-29 SnowCany-6

Closer look of Lava rock capped petrified dunes.

2017-10-29 SnowCany-7

Layers of petrified dunes eroded away by wind and rain.

2017-10-29 SnowCany-8

Hiked up to see the Pioneer Names Trail.

2017-10-29 SnowCany-9

Pioneer Names Trail takes you to see where pioneers wrote their names & date in axle grease dating back to 1881!

2017-10-29 SnowCany-10

Hiked next to Jenny’s Canyon.

2017-10-29 SnowCany-11

Jenny’s Canyon

2017-10-29 SnowCany-12

Had to go back, of course, to the Snow Canyon Overlook. This was to the left of where I was standing.

2017-10-29 SnowCany-13

Yep. Had to take another pic of it. I couldn’t delete one!

2017-10-29 SnowCany-14

Got a decent selfie of my back overlooking the overlook without getting vertigo. It only took about 7 tries!

Now, back to work.

Happy Trails…until we meet again!

As a woman who always enjoyed smaller homes, I’m so loving living the rambling’ life in my trailer. It suits me to a “T” for the writing journey I’m on. It began right after Jenni (Ava’s friend) and I visited Snow Canyon State Park in St. George, Utah in the summer. It was that pivotal moment of my remembrance of “soaring” which Jenni caught in a blink of her camera’s eye.

MeFlyingSmall

In that second, I remembered my reoccouring dreams of yesteryear of being an eagle soaring over these lands. It broke me free in a way I’ve been praying for all these years of healing. I’ve continued the metamorphosis over the weeks that followed while I worked to make my return happen with a trailer. My idea was to return to the canyon lands; however, my grandmother won out in the end. She’d “told” me I’d need to go to the desert to write. But, I wanted to be in the canyons…not the desert. However, it turns out that the canyon lands get too cold in the winter months and there was only one RV space available in a warmer climate…yep, the desert. I snapped it up embracing the fact that Grandma always wrote in the desert and to not fight the forces that be.

Hattie (Harriett) Irene Friend (grandma)

Yeah, that grandma!

Over those few months, every place I planned to go visit on my way West got hit by Harvey, Irma, Jose, raging fires, drought or an earthquake! Well, to be honest, there was no way I was going to Mexico City! All else was true. This caused my trip to get accelerated to the point I was able to get to where I am now so I could write sooner than later. Again, don’t fight the forces at work!

2017-10-22 Trlr-4

Ready to write! This is one class act RV Park with Cable TV, internet that actually works and clean facilities!

2017-10-22 Trlr-1

Facing toward the back with another one of Ava’s belly dancing scarves hanging over the window and the bunk beds on right in the back. 

2017-10-22 Trlr-2

Ava’s Belly dancing scarf serves as a privacy screen over my bed. Oh, and that’s the puppy my girls Stacey gave me after Montana passed when I said I wasn’t getting another dog! Yeah. I had to bring it.

It took me about three days to re-organize my trailer from just “get ‘er packed” mode to “get ‘er ready for living.” I hung my prints of Matisse, Georgia, Frida and Toulouse along with my pictures of Montana, Carl and Ava. I’ve made it home. It’s what I do.

I’ve already had a visiter (Jenni) in my digs and she’s coming back soon! And, thanks to Jenni, I now have a Warrior Eagle Donna Mama writing pen! It sits right beside me all day long!

2017-10-22 EaglePen

And, although I got a little writing done while I was Boulder, today was the first real day I’ve written since landing this gypsy caravan in one place for more than a few hours! It felt good to stretch my brain. Tomorrow I want to fit some real physical exercise in and more writing. It’s great to be in the here and now…alone…connecting to those who write through me.

Happy Trails…until we meet again!

 

WOW! I left Green River, Utah at 9:30 AM today headed West on I-70 to drive 237 miles which, under normal driving, would have taken just a little over three (3) hours with the speed limits generally ranging from 75-80 MPH past the major inclines.

I did decide as I took off from Green River that I’d take the time to turn off on “Scenic Views” if and when I saw something interesting. The name “Black Dragon Canyon” pulled me right in. I didn’t have the time or inclination to hike the trail to see the drawing but if you Google the name, you’ll see an interesting pictograph painted on the walls of the canyon by ancient ones of what looks to be a flying dragon, which, by the way, isn’t black! The view, however, was marvelous!

2017-10-20 UT1

Now, go back in time a couple of days to recall that horrific 40-60 MPH wind gusts I faced going through Denver toward Boulder? Well, I guess somebody upstairs wanted to prepare me for today because it took me 6 hours to drive that 3 hour distance because of that same situation except include 8000′-foot elevation mountains (up and down), dust flying from undeveloped prairies and NO gas stations for a hundred miles on a tank that’s only gave me 7-8 MPG today! The good news is that the only cows I saw were in holding pins and not in front of me in cattle trailers!

After driving almost a hundred miles without the whiff of a gas station, I broke my normal rule of easy on/off gas stations at the exits and decided to exit at Emery, Utah  as the next town was 35 miles away. It was one of those gut instinct moments because only after exiting the expressway was there a sign that read “Next Gas 35 Miles.” Needless to say, I gladly drove the 24 miles roundtrip to get to the sleepy little one-gas-pump (literally) town to fill up.  I would have been so screwed if I hadn’t!  All these years of driving the back roads (and especially this summer’s adventures in Canada) reinforced my instincts to fill up at every chance.

The few times the winds weren’t beating me up, I was able to catch a few shots that were so magnificent that I just had to try and capture some of the wonderment of this region. It feels like “home” to me except for all the winds!

2017-10-20 UT2

2017-10-20 Ut3

2017-10-20 Ut4

2017-10-20 Ut5

I finally made it to my next stop for the night glad I booked in advance because all these RV parks fill up quickly! I need the rest from those blowin’ winds. I got this baby anchored down for the night which is something I don’t normally do on hit-and-run stays. I don’t normally mind being rocked to sleep but I’ve had enough of that bucking bronco rodeo for today! I need a trophy that reads, “Buckin’ Bronco Road Warrior Rodeo Champion!”

So, Happy Trails…until we meet again!

This past week has been a whirlwind of seeing family with whom I really haven’t been able to have a direct connect with since after Ava’s death in 2012. Yes, I have “seen” them but haven’t had “quality” time to spend with them for a myriad of reasons and this visit has been wonderful!

Gosh, I’m so in love with ALL my Chirrens of blood and by adoption! And, now after this trip to Boulder, I have two more! One of whom I met at the Cork Restaurant in Boulder! Hey there, “G”!

2017-10-18 Bldr Cork

The Cork Restaurant in Boulder, CO.

I guess I should start by saying that although Boulder isn’t a city I’d visit if it weren’t for my loved ones living there because it’s just too busy, too residential, too many bicycles EVERYWHERE, it is very clean and perfect for raising children in a safe environment. It’s just not my cup o’ jo. I like dirt and lots of it.

However, I do love those snow capped mountains once you escape suburbia and a  little town not terribly dissimilar from my own called Nederland, Colorado. It’s tucked in the Rocky mountains. Like my town, Nederland has a very small residential population but have several festivals every year which can bring tens of thousands of visitors. I had a hard time visualizing where all those people would go…or even stay, for that matter…and still do!

2017-10-17 Neder-1

Yup. Small town, Nederland, CO

But for the festivals, I could, for a moment, see myself living in this little town because of the wonderful people I met there! Here’s a shout out to Winston, Chris and all the other people we met while we were there. It’s worth a trip there but check out their  it’s festival schedules first!

2017-10-17 Neder-RenWoman

Of course I had to go into the Renaissance Woman store in Nederland, CO. I told the owner all about our Atlanta Little Five Points area and their annual Halloween Parade!

2017-10-17 Neder-Wings

When my sister and I were traveling the turquoise trail, we ran into a similar shop like this so it was only fitting for her eldest daughter and I to go into Wings of Lace Boutique, Nederland, CO and do some shopping! Hey, Chris!

2017-10-17 Neder-Solta-Mark?

Remember what I said about bicycles being EVERYWHERE! Here’s proof! This is Solta Restaurant, Nederland, CO and the young man behind the counter looks like a young man Mark’s twin. Mark was like a son to me and chose to leave us way too soon and has been on my mind a great deal this month.  Both were from Austin and moved to Colorado! I almost fell out! 

After seeing all the mountainous terrain of I-70 West of Boulder, CO to Green River, UT via I-70 from studying Google, I was quite apprehensive if not anxious about driving it. However, my niece’s husband, who is extremely familiar with this highway, talked me down out of the tree with some good info. And I’m so very glad! The trip West was marvelous! My favorite park was driving through the river gorge, but that is always my favorite part of any drive!

See what you think!

2017-10-19 I-70-1

I-70 West – First snow capped view!

2017-10-19 I-70-2

Mountains galore!

2017-10-19 I-70-3

River Gorge driving just shivers me timbers!

2017-10-19 I-70-4

Golden trees everywhere!

2017-10-19 I-70-5

I be comin’ ’round the bend!

2017-10-19 I-70-6

This just doesn’t do it justice but…

Well, this travelin’ woman is just about done in for today so, Happy Trails…until we meet again!

Eagle Nest, New Mexico is so wonderfully peaceful that I drove out of my way for my R&R. The lake is nestled in the bowl of these wonderful mountains. The town is small and quaint and affords one of the activities I enjoy the most about my travels which is meeting and getting to know locals. And, it was this pristine, magical place that helped me prepare for what came next!
2017-6-4 NMEagleNest3

Mountains surround this valley

2017-6-4 NMEagleNest2

This lake is huge!

2017-6-4 NMEagleNest1

Mountains in the background hugging this lake filled valley.

2017-6-3 NMCimCanStPk1

Cimarron Canyon State Park was the prelude to Eagle Nest.

Driving from Eagle Nest, New Mexico to Boulder, Colorado just about did this ole Road Warrior Eagle in! The wind all along I-25 was as challenging as Texas but instead of 18-wheelers (of which there was NONE), I was faced with getting behind open cattle trailers with every excrement known to a cowhand flying onto the front of my windshield  coupled with crazy California-type drivers jumping lanes. Add to that 30-40 MPH winds slapping me around all the way up to just outside of Denver. 
 
So, I stayed in the far right lane to avoid as many of the Cali-type drivers as possible opting for the cattle excrement!
And then…the 40 MPH crosswinds came. Just like Texas…cattle trailers and all. I fought the whole scene for hours…and then Denver. There are almost as many aggressive, inconsiderate, rubber-necking drivers in Denver as LA based on population ratios. Their rubber-necking would put Georgia’s to shame. FIVE MILES of traffic was backed up going both north and south because of a truck on the side of the road being loaded onto a wrecker! For real!
I thought that, once past the clog, all would start to flow again especially now that the cattle trailer had exited but I was so wrong. It was start/stop, cut in front of me all the way into, in and past Denver. Silly me, I’d forgotten this type of I-25 insanity from my 2016 trip to Boulder or else I would have found another route. Yup. Will remember this one, won’t I! LOL
However, this ain’t the good part yet. This 30-40 MPH crosswind stuff is what makes me a Road Warrior. It was the turn off toward Bounder onto Highway 157 with 60 MPH wind gusts that broke me down. I was tired before I got there, but like the ole barn mule, I could see the barn and smell the feed in the bucket. My family was close now so I fought onward.
That wind was BRUTAL and unrelenting. I thought it was going to flip the trailer over. I’ve driven about 150,000 miles on the backroads and expressways on these trips since 2008 and this was the first time I experienced the “full” monty of white knuckling, gut wrenching, orifice puckering driving. When I pulled up at my niece’s house, tears ran down my cheeks and my whole body was shaking. None of these Chinook-type winds was predicted on any of the three weather websites I checked right before leaving Eagle Nest.
Understandably, I have no new pictures from this last leg of my episode but I’m still standing, I have my truck, my caravan and reservations for the next legs of this amazing trip. So, I’ll repost my own reminder that I’m running with the big dawgs!
2017-10-10BigDawgs

Running with the Big Dawgs!

YEEHAW!

 

Happy Trails…until we meet again!

It’s interesting and pivotal, at this very specific time in my life and in history, for PBS to air the Ken Burns 10-part series on Vietnam.
Donna Woodward Friend SrPic 1965

“Before” – Senior Picture, 1965

Why was watching this series pivotal for me? Well, in 1965, when many of my school chums were being shipped off to fight an unwanted battle on Asian soil, I was fighting my own “Vietnam” battle of being a pregnant 17 year old on the streets to fend for myself, engaged to the wrong man, met the right one who was MIA in Vietnam, married the wrong man and gave birth of my son, Carl. The other layer of the story was my father was so insanely angry at me for getting pregnant he came looking for me with a gun to kill me. Yes. Kill me, my fiancé and my baby.
Early that 1965 magical insane summer, my fiancé, Ray, joined the Army. That bitter sweet last night with him before he left for Bootcamp, held all the images of a tearful teen 1965 movie…pain, love, hurt, joy and mixed messages of a future with a scrambled past. We talked about what would happen if I became pregnant but neither of us truly believing it could/would happen. We, obviously, were delusional.
It was during the months after Ray left, that I started questioning my choice of a future and husband. I had a good job working part-time as a Legal Secretary for two general practice lawyers and going to Georgia State University while living at home. I wanted more independence so my oldest brother co-signed on a loan for me to buy my first car, “George.” It was a black 1960 Karman Ghia convertible. It had no heat if you weren’t moving forward but I sure loved dropping that convertible top on those waning summer days! That’s when I realized I just wanted to be engaged and not married. After all, I was in college,  working and feeling alive.
It was one of those wonderful summer nights when I was driving “George” around with the top down with a friend that I met Dave. Dave was a 6′ 2″ drink of well water who had a loving spirit, was well educated and in the Army. He was the catalyst for my break up with Ray. My time with Dave helped me further realize how I was cutting myself short in a more mature way…like a real future with a career and Dave.
And, although both Dave and Ray were in the Army, only one went to Vietnam.
And, again, I lived yet another, more painful last night…but, this time with Dave. He filled my heart with a future and a terrible sadness of loss later multiplied by my yet unknown pregnancy. It was a during those months that I later had an older friend tell me I might be pregnant. It was such a shock to think I might be! That’s weird, I know, especially knowing I was was raised on a small farm but I truly never connected the dots because I lived in a teen haze of invincibility as most do/did.
My letters to Dave (which numbered many) went unanswered. I was glued to the news to see what was happening 10,000 miles from home.
In the meantime, my first gynecological visit was to find out I was seventeen and pregnant. My life started falling apart at the seams at that moment (and hasn’t stopped in the 50 plus years since).
As soon as I got home from the appointment, I called Ray at the Base and told him of our predicament. We secretly plotted an elopement. He was stationed in North Augusta, South Carolina where one only had to be eighteen to get married without  parental consent. I was one month short of eighteen.
So, armed with a “doctored” birth certificate,  I drove “George” to North Augusta, SC, picked up Ray at the Base and immediately headed to the JP’s office to get married. Well, my fraudulent birth certificate  didn’t pass the muster of the Judge’s secretary. I came home pregnant, sick and worried out of my mind as to what was going to happen next. Ray went back to Ranger training camp.
It was that next weekend when my “Vietnam” started.
The next morning after I came back from my visit to SC, I woke up with sick. Dad guessed I was pregnant and immediately flew into an “Incredible Hulk” kinda’ rage.
Because our failed marriage attempt, Ray had gotten leave again to go to Atlanta so we could plot our next elopement steps. Mom came into my room and sat on my bed next to me and proceeded to tell me Dad was convinced I was pregnant. I broke down and said I was and that Ray and I had tried to get married that weekend but had failed because the the parental consent thingie. We cried and hugged. She asked if I wanted to get an abortion. I told Mom from some outside source, in an out-of-body kinda way, “This child is meant to be born.”
Mom then.told me about Dad’s rage and to pack some things and not come back until she told me it was okay. She said for me to call her later and, if Dad answered the phone, to hang up. She knew Dad and his rages all too well. What she didn’t know was that Dad  was already blowing a gasket much like Vesuvius. When I called, she answered. She said she’d never seen Dad this crazy and that he’d  gone to his arsenal, gotten a gun or guns, and was hunting for me and Ray. He was going to kill us both. Well, all three of us.
We hid all night in “George” in a parking lot behind some buildings on Fourteenth Street. I’ll never forget how scared and cold we were.
With the help of some older “Hippy” types who I’d just met, Ray and I had a place to hide for a few days. Mom, in the meantime, got the parental consent  paper signed I needed for Ray and I to marry.
I drove to SC again; Ray and I married on his nineteenth birthday.
I was seventeen, alone, pregnant, living with those Hippy folks near 14th Street in a run down apartment and working for those lawyers. Those Hippy folks took me in with open arms, fed me, gave me a baby shower and helped me find an apartment I could afford.
And, in all fairness to my siblings, they were living their own stories, living in other cities and/or were caught up in their own lives, nightmares and futures. I know Mom fought hard to keep Dad from killing me. She told him he’d better leave town until he calmed down enough to be a father and grandfather. He headed West and stayed there until right before my son, Carl, was born.
How did I survive the first of My “Vietnam” years? I truly don’t know because my part time job working for two lawyers as a legal secretary typing petitions and handling a two man law office paid me an astonishing rate of $.75/hour. It took every penny to pay the $36.63 car payment and $65.00 rent in my Hippy-ville apartment overlooking Tenth Street near Piedmont Park where I walked my leashed rabbit down to the park after work.
TO BE CONTINUED…