Archives for posts with tag: single female camping
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!
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Mountains surround this valley

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This lake is huge!

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Mountains in the background hugging this lake filled valley.

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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!
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Running with the Big Dawgs!

YEEHAW!

 

Happy Trails…until we meet again!

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Anyone who “knows” me knows I love to “spank” an area with color. It’s the art training and my DNA that creates this process which I find myself in at this writing. I’m in the process of “spanking” my Wolf Pup Travel Trailer into being Gypsy ready! All the browns and tans in it are depressing to me so I’m taking everything marigold and red I have in my home and spanking the heck outta my new soon-to-be home away from home.
 
This is the “before” part. It’s okay but horribly boring to this artist, writer, traveler, wanderer, gypsy spirit!
2017 WolfPup BeforeScreen Shot 2017-09-04
 
First, I added memory foam to both the queen bed and the lower bunk and topped them  off with marigold and red as well as hiding some of the offending colors with Ava’s belly dancing scarves, a gauze drape from yesteryear and some favorite prints.
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I framed my favorite red and yellow Toulouse Lautrec, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’keeffe and Matisse prints and hung them all over the cabin. After all, this next journey is all about writing “the book” and I must keep the energy flowing inside and out!
 
I’m still pondering where to hang the last picture taken of Carl (my son), Ava (my daughter) and me taken in 1984 right before Carl disappeared. Gotta have the three of us together to get this book written properly. They both have already come to me in this past month tutoring me on how, what, where and when.
Carl Ava Me 1984

The last picture taken of the three of us in March, 1984. Twenty-eight years later, Ava was gone too in that same month.

 
Not to be left out would be a picture of my dad’s mom who joined Jenni and me on a part of our trip through Utah. She’s the one who insisted I go West to write this book. She said to head for the desert to write. Well, that was her thang. Mine is more prairie or canyon lands.
Grandma Irene was quite the renaissance woman who continuously re-invented herself as an actor, Deputy Clerk of Fulton County Superior Court, nurse, health magazine writer and writer of books of tales of the Old West from interviews of actual cowboys, outlaws, gold and silver miners and a free spirit outliving seven husbands! Reckon I know who Ava and I took after! 
Hattie (Harriett) Irene Friend (grandma)
Still need to find a place to put a picture of Montana as no trip is possible without her. I’m thinking of printing the one I took from the Canadian side of Niagara Falls soon after Ava died with the three rainbows behind her (although you can only see two in the photo below). Seems right now that she’s crossed that “rainbow” bridge and all.
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Montana had to have her picture taken with the double rainbow too!

As I don’t know how long I’ll actually keep this travel trailer, I am only making temporary modifications even though the desire to eradicate ALL the tans and browns slaps me in the face every time I walk inside. I will, however, refrain…maybe!

 

Happy Trails and Tales…until we meet again!

What a change! NW Nevada looks like the craters on the moon with some scrub growing. And, as soon as you get going east on I-80 it changes and changes and changes as does Utah. I ran out of juice on my camera battery by the time I hit Wyoming because I’d taken 150 pictures which all boil down to these.

In this never-seen-by-me stretch of Nevada, I’m trying to show perspective of the same view as I pass by it or to show the perspective of a panaramic view and how it changes all within the same line of vision from stark and craggy to lush and green.

Check out the scrub grass on each side of the road as I approach this mountain range.

And now this grassy area next to the ever-changing mountains and hills.

Then, suddenly, this craggy Monument Valley look.

Then snow-covered mountains, which, btw, I’m heading right toward!

LOVE this perspective! Looks like everyone is driving INTO the mountain!

Up close and personal snow-covered mountain!

Doesn’t it look like I’m flying? LOL

Fell in LOVE with the pinkish peak in the middle of this picture. Now, watch it change!

Pink marble look?

Going East on I-80 about 4’ish…watch what happens to the light next…

What my pink rock sits next to…then

cool shadows appear on the neighboring mountain…

making stripes across it enhancing the vegetation color changes

THEN, I cross the UTAH state line and the whole terrain CHANGES instantly like I’ve gone to another part of the world! It was crazy how it went from this last photo to huge SALT beds. These next pictures were taken in sequence from 3:59 PM Ava Specific Time (a/k/a Pacific Mountain Time) until my camera ran outta’ juice at 7:04PM…just TWO short hours!

Last vestiges of Nevada in the foreground and Utah state line behind it!

Amazing blue sky and HUGE, ENDLESS salt beds on both sides of the road!

Salt in the front and then God threw in some purple mountains for a back drop.

and more salt

on both sides of the road as far as you can see…left and right!

and then some more purple mountains miles, mind you, from the last ones!

Then let’s paint in some water on each side of the road in this massive salt invested area…some really pretty turquoise water!

Then let’s screw with everyone’s head and bring back the salt beds and throw in some really pretty green vegetation covered mountains!

And, 5 minutes later, we’ll remove the salt beds and add some ground vegetation and greener mountains..

And then let’s turn the corrner and find this HUGE lake…could it be Salt Lake?

Then a totally different lake in a totally different environment just minutes down the road from the last one!]

And yet another minute passes and look what I find now!

Then we’re back to the craggy rocky mountain look just when you thought you were in vegi heaven!

And the last shot de jour of Utah looks like the spine of a huge dinosaur!

So, that’s it for today’s adventure! No hiking…only driving…but I hope I’ve shown you a side to Nevada and Utah you’ve never seen before, or, if you have seen it, I’ve given you a whole new perspective of what you saw. After all, as an artist, the first thing they teach you about drawing is to forget everything you think you know about what you see making you focus on seeing in a fresh light.

Tomorrow is my favorite place. This will be the fourth time I’ve gone there. Flaming Gorge, Utah/Wyoming. But, this time I’m dropping back down into Utah to travel through the area south to north as it will totally give me a new experience. I find that traveling west through Zion is so much more interesting than traveling east through it. Just saying.

Happy Trails!

 

 

I left the redwood area, reluctantly, today only because I knew I had some wonderful adventures ahead of me taking roads through Oregon and Nevada I’d never before traversed. What a change of scenery in just seven hours! I have determined that Oregon is schizophrenic…it can’t decide if it’s a coastal state, rain forest or arid, bleak lands! Here, let me prove it!

Hwy 199 out of California into Oregon.

Then it starts to change to a more arid terrain.

Then fertile fields…

now with snow-capped mountains…

rolling hills meeting majestic mountains

Back to arid again

Oregon starts to look like northern Nevada as Highway 140 turns southward

Must be getting closer to Nevada but this place is so dessolate so I don’t really know!

Nevada is getting closer…

And…there it is! Nevada looking like a huge meteorite crashed into the middle of those mountains. Wish you could see it better in this photo.

Beautiful colors only Nevada has…

Mountain peaks which look like ocean waves crashing into each other.

I came around the corner from all that arid terrain to think I was seeing a mirage…which turned into a lake in the middle of it all!

Then more change in the mountains…beautiful change.

So, my friends, there you have my case on Oregon. I didn’t show you what I’d already witnessed yesterday on Hwy. 199 of the Smith River area that’s more rain forest than anything else but you’ve already seen that post, right? Sure you have!

Happy Trails!

Pacific Coast Highway (PCH a/k/a Hwy. 1) at its best is just above Bodega Bay all the way up to where it meets Hwy. 101. WOWSER! But first let me tell you about this little Mom & Pop restaurant in Petaluma. Last night, I was hungry and cold (still had my Vegas clothes on) and didn’t want to hike around late at night so I found a place that would deliver to my fav place to stay, Motel 6. It was called the Round Table and, as always, I ask THEM what is their special. When they told me it was a garlic sauce pizza with vegis and meat I had to know more. Tomatoes, green onions, cheese, sausage and mushrooms on pizza dough. Hmmm. He said it was simple but really very good. Well, don’t ya’ know you always go for what THEY say is their best item even if you never eat pizza but have driven a bazillion miles, are cold, tired and hungry! It was delicious! I saved the other half to heat up in the microwave tonight and it was still very good after riding in the car eight hours being thrown around in the box all that time on switchback roads!

Wait. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s get back to how beautiful the drive was just outside of Petaluma on the way to Bodega Bay…so quaint and pastoral…happy cows everywhere!

Beautiful countryside just outside of Petaluma on the way to Bodega Bay via Hwy. 116.

Get a feel of the road here. Pastures on both sides of the road. See those happy cows on the left?

Gorgeous, lush pastures

Great road!

Then, when I thought I was already livin’ the dream, I came into Bodega Bay where the Bay meets the Pacific Ocean. Dreamland. Pure Dreamland.

Bodega Bay is a cute little village community.

Bodega Bay

Bodega Bay meets the Pacific Ocean!

Now the trip triples in delight as I drive up Hwy. 1 along the coast with the Pacific Ocean crashing against huge boulders stranded a million years ago from volcanic eruptions and held captive by the unrelenting force of this powerful body of water.

Wind surfers! Wind must have been 30-40 MPH!

Small rocks probably broken off from the boulders

Pacific Ocean Majesty

Views just kept getting better!

…and better

And then the road turns inland…

…where past generations established their boundaries by planting trees along the road. Each of the villages had trees planted along the roadway. Quaint. Homey.

The vegetation was so lush and full of so many varieties of green and more wildflowers of every color!

So many rivers that feed all this vegetation to cross as they stretch toward the ocean. (left the side mirror in for effect!)

stretching toward the ocean

The road turns inland again for a hair-raising switchback road from hell where Montana and I both got queasy from the turns even going only 10 to 20 MPH which the sign said was only 22 miles but I think it was for 122 miles! And, right when I didn’t think I could stand another turn in the road…there they were! My first grove of redwoods! I cried. Ava was supposed to see these trees with me.

And then….there they are!

They aren’t as pretty or as big as the ones I’m going to re-visit tomorrow after a 15 year absence but they were redwoods and God knows I’m a tree hugger from way back and these particular trees talk to my heart like no other.

I just love the texture and color of new growth on young, healthy evergreens. There was a bunch of it to see, too!

Well, guess that’s it for today’s Great Adventure.

Happy Trails!

This part of my trip is just too good to skip over so I’m dedicating this post just to the beauty and wonderment of Flaming Gorge, Utah located in Ashley National Forest. I was so excited that I took this 14 photo sequence of my journey into the park and going back out. These photos have not been published in this blog before. I hope these images sends to you what I felt as I drove into this wonderland… awe, respect, quiet, wonderment, excitement, joy and about a million other emotions. Enjoy the journey.

#7 of 14 in sequence

#8

#9

#10

#11

#12

#13

and, last but not least, #14:

#14

You can visit other photos taken that day of Sheep Creek, the cabin I stayed in and other great views in my earlier post named “From Wyoming into the arms of Utah” published 5/17/11.

Happy Memories!

We’ve had the best time in this sleepy little mountain town visiting friends and getting to know the quaint town of about 150,000 they call home. Roanoke Virginia is a mixture of mountains, valleys, old buildings and houses with some new blood.

Yesterday, we had breakfast at Thelma’s Chicken & Waffles (www.thelmaschickenandwaffles.biz 540-343-8888) in downtown Roanoke. Not only was the food amazing but the lady who served us made the whole experience that much more wonderful. The sparkle in her eyes and the smile on her face framed her fabulous energy. The cost was reasonable. Because it was Sunday morning, the place was packed and we ended up being there longer than planned but it was all good.

Issac’s Mediterranean Restaurant (theisaacsrestaurant.com) is one of the best of its kind. I haven’t had better Gyro… ever. The meat was fresh,tender, tasty and juicy. The sautéed kale was the best as was the Vegi Plate. Big recommendation.

Next, we stopped at Local Roots (localrootscafe.com) to try their Cherry-Tini martini-type drink made with fresh squeezed cherry juice, vodka and other good stuff.

The last stop was to see “Midnight in Paris”. The theater reminded me of a mini-Fox Theater in Atlanta. Nice atmosphere and a not-t00-complicated movie with great company.

We headed home via the Blue Ridge Mountains down I-81. The lush vegetation was a pleasant relief to all the vast arid areas I’d just been in for the last month. My daughter and I felt like our skin was sucking up all the moisture in the air like a fish gasping for oxygen when it’s outta’ water.

Blue Ridge Mountains I-81

GREEN!

Then you get into North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Mountains come alive!

North Carolina Blue Ridge View

North Carolina

As my home is nestled in northeast Georgia between North and South Carolina, I’m a little partial to the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountain views. Just sayin’!

Happy Trails!

We’ve had the hammer down these last few days trying to finish up our trip to  Atlanta as Ava has music to learn before leaving for Austria, people to see at  home  and I’ve got 6 weeks of accumulated mail to dig through and grass to cut.  I’ll be  glad to be back home but I’m already planning my next trip.

As for this one, last night was scary. We were outside of Memphis by about 70  miles when we noticed quite a “light show” going on. The more east we went,  the  worse the lightning got; I’d never seen cloud to cloud lightning before and  this was  scary stuff. Strangest part of it was the lightening skipped across the  sky like a stone across water… barely hitting briefly down before showing up a  little farther down an imaginary horizontal line. THAT’s what convince me we needed to take action.

Ava, feeling the same way, whipped out her IPhone and went on Weather.com  while I tuned into a  local radio station to see how bad the weather was ahead.  After all, we were still in Arkansas and they’re known for tornadoes and hail.

That horrible ehhhhh ehhhhh alert was coming out of the radio at the same time  Ava found hail and storm warnings on her phone. That was it. The radio told us  to find shelter immediately! I’d remembered there was a Motel 6 in Brinkley,  Arkansas just west of Memphis from my 2009 trip. Ava pulled it up on Google  map and we got there without difficulty. We checked in and went to bed  unscathed. That was a close one.

This morning we drove to Knoxville to visit family and tomorrow we head for  Roanoke to visit a friend and then we head for ATL. Whew! 10,000 in 6 weeks.  I’m ready to go again.

I’m hoping to upgrade to a more unpredictable weather friendly structure to replace the pop-up by summers end and explore western half of Colorado.

In the meantime, Happy Trails to you until we meet again.

Ready for action - 5/13/2011

Ann (part owner of the Thai restaurant where we ate last night, Thai Cafe) had  invited Ava and me to her private 3 year anniversary celebration at Thai Cafe  today from 9:30 to 11:3o. After we broke camp, we drove into town where I  dropped Ava off and went to look for a parking space large enough for Silver (my  truck) with a pop-up attached. Good luck!

This is Old Santa Fe Trail (also Route 66 in some parts)

First of all let me say this about that. There is very little parking in Old Santa Fe,  the streets are very narrow and parking scarce.  It’s like New Orleans that way.  Finding street parking is because the “parking  Gods” are with you or there’s bad  weather! I understand they’re building parking  decks but that doesn’t  accommodate tourists in RV’s or with any kind of  truck/camper setup.

I proceeded to drive around and around. The good news is that Ava and I had  walked most of the area of Old Town that I was in the night before looking for  just the right place to eat (she won’t eat Mexican and I won’t eat Indian so we  settled on Thai). Fortuitously, I ended up at the Visitors Center where I found an  area marked “RV parking only”. Silver plus the pop-up certainly qualified as an  “RV” so I parked there while I went into the Visitors Center to tell them what I  was doing and why.

The woman at the Visitors Center put so many red markings of unsatisfactory  places of where to go on  the Old Town  map that I was totally confused by the  time I was leaving that I  pulled the “I’m a  writer” card. I told her I was going to  write about the parking  issue in my next  blog. She told me I could keep my car  where it was for a couple  of hours. So there it is; but there’s more!

I also told the woman at the Visitors Center that I was glad to have experienced  “dog friendly” merchants in Old Town the night before. She indicated the “dog  friendly” part didn’t extend to any other facilities. Great. Now I realize that I  won’t be able to take experience the two places I came to see: Georgia O’Keefe  Museum or San Miguel  because Ava was busy and I had nowhere to leave  Montana. Oh well. I’ll just have to come back when everyone else is at home (like the middle of the night) and when it’s not 100 degrees (like October) so I can leave Montana in the car and do it all.

San Miguel from the outside :={

They were repairing San Miguel with adobe bricks to match the ones used in  1610.

adobe bricks

Another church I’ll come back to see is Loretto Chapel.

Loretto Chapel

There are at least a million little shops in the old area of Santa Fe selling  traditional southwestern items for exorbitant prices.

Lots of shops selling everything southwestern

and…

rugs, baskets, turquoise jewelry, silver bracelets, etc.

None of the goods for sale were anything I could possibly afford. A young man  who was selling his art in one of the squares encouraged me to come look closer  at his paintings. I said, “Thank you but I can’t afford any of it.” His retort was,  “I haven’t told you any prices.” To which I replied, “When you’re on Social  Security and Congress only voted themselves a raise and not you, and you’re  2000 miles from home, you can’t afford it no matter how much it is.” True dat!

Because Ava needs to get to Atlanta, we decided to skip Albuquerque. Mostly, it  was me because I was going to have to come back to Santa Fe when the weather  gets cooler (a lot cooler) to see what I missed. I’ll enjoy Albuquerque then. And,  as for Ava, she’ll come back on her own as she’s in love with Santa Fe.

San Miguel from the outside :={

So much for the Santa Fe part and now for the I-40 afternoon!

The first part of my trip was cold, snowy and windy until I got right outside of  Las Vegas. Then, it was just windy for about two weeks until right before I left.  Then it got baking hot with only some wind. When I was in Utah and Colorado,  the weather was kinda’ hot during the day but nice and crisp at night.

That’s all gone now that we’ve left the mountainous regions and headed south  for Santa Fe. There? It was HOT! Thank goodness there was enough of a cool  breeze last night to keep the temperature in the pop-up fairly nice. I think that’s  over. I think the Vegas weather pattern is following me 2000 miles to home.  Mom said it was 91 degrees in Atlanta today.

We made it to Amarillo, Texas to camp for the night and it’s HOT! We’re going to do the Trucker Dew routine tomorrow to get as close Memphis as possible without killing each other. Trucker Dew, you ask? Well, you must be a newby. Last year when I was driving back from Vegas, I got hyped up on Mountain Dew and only ate Slim Jims with a side of cheese and drove for 36 hours to get home. I stopped only at truck stops to nap for a few hours before hitting the Dew again. That’s what I call pedal to the metal, trucker style.

Object of the game is to get to Maryville, Tennessee by early Friday afternoon to see my sister and her family and get into cooler weather!

Happy Trails!

Silver does Durango

Leaving Mesa Verde was difficult as we’d had such a wonderful time there and  it’s the longest I’ve camped anywhere so far this year because of inclement  weather, namely strong winds and snow following me all the way to Vegas! We  took Hwy. 160 east toward Durango, Colorado which was only about 50 miles  from Mesa Verde.

Ava and me in Durango Diner

It was there that we discovered the Durango Diner on Main Avenue. Now  THAT’s the way to serve breakfast. I had the best bacon strips I’ve ever had…  ever. The pancake was twelve inches in diameter and the egg cooked just right.  The waitress was wonderful and the whole experience very pleasant and  reasonably priced. Ava and I both fell in love with this little Colorado town.

With bellies full, we headed east for Santa Fe. The countryside was amazingly  gorgeous Colorado style. This is a sample of the views we saw along the way.

on the way to Santa Fe via Hwy 160, 64 and 84

And this one.

mountains, lakes, rolling pastures, cows and horses... oh my!

We didn’t get through setting up camp until after everything was closed in Santa  Fe so we went scouting. We found the two things on the top of my list: Georgia  O’Keefe Museum and the San Miguel church. The bonus was finding a gallery  with has some original photos of Frida Kahlo. What a bonus!

After walking around Old Santa Fe for what seemed a very long time looking for  somewhere to eat that we both wanted, Ava whipped out her IPhone and found  this amazingly authentic Thai restaurant called THAI CAFE at 329 W. San  Francisco St., Santa Fe (www.thaicafesantafenm.com  505-982- 3886). As Ava had traveled to Thailand, she could authenticate the food as  being excellent and traditional. Please visit our new friends Ae and Ann at Thai  Cafe next time you’re in Santa Fe!

Ava, me and Ann (owner of Thai Cafe in Santa Fe, NM)

Not only did Ava and I leave Thai Cafe satisfied with the service, the food and  the atmosphere, we both felt like we’d just made two new friends with Ann and  Ae. A big “Thank you” to them for making our evening so special.

Tomorrow, we go back to Old Town Santa Fe and to Albuquerque to explore it as  well. I was hoping to hit the road hard tomorrow but I have a feeling we’re  going to fall in love with Albuquerque as well.

Happy Trails!