Archives for posts with tag: southwest
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!
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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.
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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!

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They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. I hope these wet your whistle enough to get you out on our country’s backroads to find me some more treasures to discover!

Here’s one of my top two…Flaming Gorge, Utah. The turn off to Flaming Gorge overlook is at the Red Canyon Lodge marker. This is where Montana and I stayed in one of their cabins last year with the “not much snow” (by their measurements) of six inches! It was cozy and I’ll come back  for sure!

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RED CANYON LODGE

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VIEW BEHIND RED CANYON LODGE

This is what awaits you when you drive past the Lodge and boy is it worth it! Majestic!

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FLAMING GORGE (GREEN RIVER) TO LEFT

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SNOW CAPPED MOUNTAINS PEEPING OVER THE GORGE

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ME HOLDING ON FOR DEAR LIFE!

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FLAMING GORGE UPSTREAM (TO RIGHT)

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PERSPECTIVE: GORGE IS 4000′ WIDE & 1700′ DEEP. THESE TREES WERE ON A LEDGE JUST ABOUT 2O’ DOWN FROM ME. (STRAIGHT DOWN)

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GOING DOWN THE MOUNTAIN 

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SHEEP CREEK GEOLOGICAL TURNOUT IS A MUST!

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SHEEP CREEK

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SHEEP CREEK

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SHEEP CREEK

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SHEEP CREEK

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SHEEP CREEK

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AND MORE SHEEP CREEK

We took our time through the park driving the Sheep Creek Geological turn out (you must look closely for the sign) because I just gotta have my rock fix! Awesomeness!

We grabbed a late lunch in Green River, Utah and headed for Idaho for the night. Of course we took the back roads to Pocatello, Idaho and it’s a road worth taking again. Who knew Idaho was that lush with green pastures, cattle, horses, goats, sheep and huge ranches? Too dark for any of my pictures to turn out but it was magnificent.

Tomorrow? Virginia City, Ovando and, finally,Missoula where my husband lives…COSTCO! We gotta get more water and healthy snacks for hiking Glacier National for three days!

HAPPY TAILS, TAILS OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

Montana with me last year at Flaming Gorge with her happy tail! Dang, I sure miss that crazy lil mutt!

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There’s no greater thrill to me than to have someone as special as my daughter’s dearest friend with me on this healing journey. She has been with me on this adventure of pain, sorrow, grief, recovery and healing now for 5+ years. I love her dearly and our bond of friendship, understanding and trust grows as we help each other find peace with Ava’s decision to leave this planet. Thank you, Ava, for giving Jenni and I each other to share these most intimate of grief moments with each other and to help pull each other out of the mire.

For me, I always felt traveling was an important part of my retirement years; however, after Ava’s passing, I couldn’t even leave my house to get groceries until last year when I forced myself to go West to visit my favorite people and places again. I’d promised Jenni I’d take her on a trip to see the redwood forest where God lives and we did that very thing last year. This year, I’d promised to take her to all my favorite National Parks with the best for last…Flaming Gorge, WY and Glacier National Park, MT. and that’s exactly what we’re doing and loving every second of the backroads drive!

Today, we started at Bryce Canyon (not one of my favorites) because it’s not far from where Jenni lives and she needed to see what beauty was in her own back yard.

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Rainbow Overlook (last stop)

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Great geologic anomalies unique to Bryce

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Caves?

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Depth of the view is breathtaking

Then came the heart pounding part for me. I was most excited to share this with her just knowing she was going to feel the presence of a higher power and glory in these backroads headed for Flaming Gorge through Ashley National Forest and beyond where the roads continuously seem to disappear and reappear magically with every turn; where terrain, vegetation and geologic wonderment are around every bend in the road.

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Roads appear to disappear

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And come back with a BANG!

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Then leave again

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Wonderful little towns with surprises like this family rending a caboose for a vacation in the middle of nowhere!

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Then changes

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Jenni & I were so excited to find this view around the bend!

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Pretty magnificent!

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Then back again!

Tomorrow? Flaming Gorge, of course, and I can’t wait! It’s in my top two! I’m saving the best for last!

HAPPY TAILS (Montana is certainly with us on this trip), TALES OR TRAILS!

 

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Montana sure enjoyed being in the mountains! 

Zion is one of my favorite national parks but I think that this time, after seeing it no less than 6 times, I’ve had my fix. It’s majestic, entertaining, whirlwind of rock-ology to satisfy any amateur or professional geologist with the whittled and whirled carvings wind and  water have done to the different sandstones in both checkerboard and dancing swirls across the sides of mountains. There’s also the Virgin River which flows through Zion with it’s flash flooding impact on vulnerable boulders, trees, river banks and visitors, adding different elements such as erosion, landslides and chaos.

Do’s & Don’ts: I highly recommend not coming in the heat of the summer. It was hotter than hot (107 may not sound so bad but add altitude and dehydration and you won’t like it). Don’t wear flip flops or open toed shoes if walking in the sand in this heat is what you plan to do because your feet will be burned like fire. Don’t forget food and water. Don’t bring children under 25. I saw way too many miserable babies with equally miserable parents with condo’s attached to their backs to carry the little ones. Don’t rely on cellphone service for communication with family members if you aren’t at a lodge, Visitors Center or a neighboring town.

Do bring comfortable walking clothes and shoes. Do take the Zion Shuttle from the Visiter’s Center. Get to the park early to get a parking space for under $20.00. Do take your time driving through and read up before going because this is really a cool place to visit but knowledge about the park will help you enjoy it even more.

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Driving into Zion from St. George, Utah

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The topography is constantly changing.

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When Jenni and I took the Shuttle, she decided to jump off to take on the mighty Angel Falls hike up (and I mean UP) a switchback trail to see what she could see. I, however, took the low road and opted for a casual stroll by the river, aptly named “Riverwalk.” Neither was easy in 107 degree heat with 6000 foot elevations. We came back exhausted, dirty and thirsty but very happy!

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Riverwalk by Virgin River

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Riverwalk trail has much to see and it’s easy hiking with right clothes and shoes…which I did not have on!

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more Riverwalk trail

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and more Riverwalk trail

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and more Riverwalk trail

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HUH? A herd of Mountain Goats? Really?

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Leaving Zion going toward Kanab, Utah

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And there it is! The money shot!

As we left Zion, we felt we must be in the middle of nowhere because cell service wasn’t great and neither was the internet but some people who live here think it’s in the middle of everywhere! I kinda think they might be right because Kanab, Utah is East of Zion, South of Bryce and North of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and I’d swear that when Ava and I came through here in 2011, it wasn’t this hot nor was it this as developed!

Kanab is a quaint town bursting at the seams. Big chain hotels are popping up everywhere here, but the coolest place to stay is The Parry Lodge (“where all the movie stars stay”). It’s clean, reasonable, comfortable and includes a breakfast buffet! Can’t beat that, now can ya’!

The other charming element of this town is “The Rocking V Cafe” owned, operated by a most engaging and entertaining proprietor by the name of Victor Cooper. He goes around from table-to-table making sure everybody is happy and full. Looks like he enjoys his work! (rockingvcafe.com)

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Tomorrow? Bryce Canyon drive-thru and haul a$$ to Vernal, Utah to see Dinosaur National Park and hit my very favorite Flaming Gorge, Wyoming the next day. Cowboy country coming up, y’all! Yeehaw!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

I had the best of times meeting so many wonderful people on my journey thus far. I think Ava is directing me in their direction. I don’t go into a shop unless I’m “pulled” into it. I don’t talk to strangers unless I’m drawn to them. Most of them, so far, I have to admit have been other southerners. I seem to have radar for that. But, tonight, as I walked up to the Hostess desk at the local Cracker Barrel in St. George, Utah, for seating, a young woman ran up behind me and said, “Excuse me but we were first!” I laughed and said to please go ahead! I thought she was a southerner! She was from Arizona and I told her that was okay and I wouldn’t hold it against her for not being southern! We kept talking as I waited and she was guided to her table with her party. She now has my card and, I hope, she’s going to follow me on my 2017 Great Adventure and create some of her own!

Yes, I digress, but it’s all good. As for the wonderful people? They range in age from three months to my age; vary culturally from Taiwan to Native American; but all with the resounding common thread of being amazing communicators who actually connect with their eyes when in a conversation! They turn off the ringers on their phones; they don’t stay connected to the news or the TV; they are independent thinkers; very well educated (even if self-taught) and appear to know exactly who they are and where they are going! This gives me great joy. I’ve been worried. Now I’m not so much…on this level, anyway.

Okay. Now for Utah! We made it to St. George Utah because my daughter-by-another-mother, Jenni, just had to see it, Zion, Bryce, Flaming Gorge, western Wyoming and Montana (mostly Glacier National Park). It was a must for me to show her my other most favorite places to go. Plus, I needed to check out how the cowboys are doing in that area since last year. I think there might be a round-up in Montana! Yeehaw!

If you didn’t know this about me before, you’ll know it about me after this trip with Jenni. I LOVE ROCKS! Being out West is like a fix I can’t get enough of! There are so many rock formations out here which photos just pale in comparison to the real experience. It’s like I’ve always said, telepathic communication is the whole package and verbal is archaic and leaves out so much. Kinda like the difference between the old silent movies and the new 3-D ones of today…or those crazy multi-dimensional game thingies kids are hooked on. Night and day, baby, but this is where the blood either starts pumping to get more or I lose you. It’s all good and really all about timing.

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This is what it looks like leaving Las Vegas going North on I-15 headed for St. George, Utah.

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Pretty exciting rock formations, huh? But wait for it! 

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Especially when you think about this whole area of our country was under the ocean millions of years ago!

Just as you enter Utah, you drive through the Virgin River Gorge. I always want to be in a convertible with the top down and let my head spin around like an owl’s! It’s mind-blowing. The driving is so precarious, there’s no way to get photos, so you’ll just have to drive it yourself to see what I’m talking about!

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Then comes Snow Canyon State Park! WOW! It consists of 183 million years of wind and water influences to shape what is called Navajo sandstone and what is the remains of the ancient desert sand sea which created petrified sand dunes. Cinder Cones erupted causing lava to flow down into these canyons filling them with basalt which redirected ancient waterways which carved the canyons. As we drove through, you can see the black lava rock “walls” sitting on top of the ridges which were once canyon bottoms. (paraphrased from the Snow Canyon State Park brochure)

Upon entering the park, you’ll first see some of the most realistic cast sculptures you’ll probably ever see in the “wild” on the round-about. Take your time and go around several times to get a good picture. Everyone is supposed to drive slowly (operative word is “slowly”) throughout the park.

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Then comes the good stuff. Lava flows (black rock), Navajo Sandstone (red rock), petrified sand dunes (both red and whitish), look outs and more!

For a quick trip, I highly recommend driving north on the park access road (ask for a map of the park at booth when you pay your $6.00) absorbing its magnificence. At the end of the park road, turn right onto Hwy. 18. Don’t go speeding off because you’ll totally miss the best part! Watch closely for a fairly quick turn to the right onto a poorly marked “overlook” sign which takes you down a narrow dirt road. Pull off to the left, park, turn off the engine and take a deep breath!

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Snow Canyon…see that black rock?

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That’s ancient lava flow!

 

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Wind carvings in sandstone

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The overlook! Can’t tell that this is a serious drop down from where Jenni is sitting at the edge, can you? See that pick up truck on the Park Road directly in from of Jenni?

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I had dreams of being an eagle soaring over this exact terrain up until I was in my early thirties when my life went kerfluey! I stood from this perspective, spread my arms and felt like I was soaring, once again, as the “Warrior Eagle Donna Mama” that Jenni calls me! I still am.

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Still standing at a guarded distance from the edge, but amazing nonetheless.

Please turn left out of the overlook back onto Hwy. 18 and drive back down the same Park Road. I love, love, love driving the same road back as the way I came to see it from a totally different perspective. It’s why I keep coming back from different directions to the same places and at different times to grasp the light changes on the surfaces of these magnificent reminders that we don’t even have a clue about all that we think we know…and that’s really okay. But what we should have a clue about is how precious this beautiful country of ours is and fragile Mother Nature, even with all her terror and forces, is really a delicate little flower which we have pilfered and damaged.

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Please reuse, recycle and reclaim! This planet might just be one of a kind!

Tomorrow? Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon and giddy-up time toward Flaming Gorge, Wyoming! YEAH, baby! Yeehaw!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

I’ve always loved seeing how the roads to/from destinations take on a different perspective much like how the Impressionists studied the same view in different light. Monet must have studied, drawn, painted Notre Dame 50 times for many hours to get the impact of the change in color and depth perception. That’s how I feel as I drive south on the I-15 to LA and back again. Wow! How the topography changes!

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North I-15 toward Vegas Baby

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North I-15 closer to Vegas Baby

The good news about my trip from LA back to Vegas Baby is that I, nor my car or TomTom, were abducted. It was smooth sailing out of town but I’ve left my heart. It’s okay, though, because it was never mine but belongs/belonged to others. JD has my heart and I’m so blessed to have his mama and daddy in my life for them to give me such a gift.

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JD – my beautiful, old soul, step-grandson (although I claim him as my grandson)

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JD & me. Wow. I miss him so much! And, yes, I’m very tired even after lots of sleep and relaxation. I guess I’ll get caught up when I’m home and that’s okay by me!

My beautiful, talented daughter, Ava, continues to bring new Chirrens to me. I’d met Kev in a Messenger long-distance way through Ava’s friend, Elisa Furr, who I visited recently in Branson doing her Celine Tribute performance at the Legends in Concert. Kev had a great deal to say to me that night from Ava. No great surprise to me, Elisa or anyone else who knows how vocal she’s been these last five years!

As Kev lives between LA and Vegas Baby, we’d planned a real visit. Boy oh boy! What a visit! He walked in with confirmation messages from Ava that only a very few of us know about…like the name I gave her at birth, that she and Mom called themselves the  “September Girls” because of their birthdays being in that month, that Edwin (my dad), Carl and others were all there in a great big family reunion!

Ava told him to ask about the rocks. I said I was a rock-aholic and Mom, Carl, Ava and I had always collected rocks. But Kev said she was now telling him about a stick or pole that stood upright in the rocks and it hit me! The Zen Memory Garden I built for Ava!

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Focal Point is the Heart-of-Pine standing tall with the help of the rocks Carl brought back from his mine 45 years ago.

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Kev said the “Pole” pointed toward a star. Yes it does! Sirius…the star which got my attention by tapping out morse code like signals to me each night that first year!

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Kev asked about the “beach” and shells. Well to the left of the triangle are the shells Mom, Carl, Ava and I had collected over many years of going to our favorite Florida beach.

I hauled no less that 400 pounds of sand and 600 pounds of pebbles up the hill to create this in her memory. All the pebbles scattered in her garden represent the love she has for others and they have for her. The space in the sand triangle is the time she and I had…way too short but amazing and precious forever.

And when I thought it couldn’t get any more amazing, Kev says, “Carl says, ‘I’m there too!'” Yes! Carl has a memory garden as well. Kev says, “It’s below Ava’s…like down a hill.” Yep! Nailed it again! It sits just below her garden down a the hill to his left just like in the last picture taken of us three.

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

But it’s all good because Christ has told us that (paraphrased) “in my Father’s house, there are many rooms, if it were not so, I’d tell you.” We’re not to know everything because if we were, we’d know more than just 10% of the brains function or more than 3% about DNA or the miracles of two cells joining to form children or pets.

I believe Mother Earth is a living, breathing entity which must be respected. When she exhales, we get volcano;, when she inhales, we get earthquakes; when she gets hot flashes, we get rising temperatures (not to discount our own donations to this very real reality). How do I know? Because if you study geology, history (ancient and more recent), you can’t help but see the truth. Plus, God has told us so. Every thing is precious.

Next, you may ask? Canyons and cowboys, oh yeah! Yeehaw!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS! YOUR PICK!

As I traveled through the middle of northern Oklahoma’s wheat fields into the lush mountains and valleys of northeastern New Mexico to finally stop in the arid terrain of Santa Fe in such a short period of time, is always exciting and underlines why I do what I do…the backroads of our wonderful, diverse country.

As an amateur geologist, I LOVE to see the result of millions of years of erosion which  emphatically defines the dynamics behind the peak formations of mountains…striations of different rocks forced in vertical, instead of horizontal positions. The drive from Albuquerque to Las Vegas is one of the finest areas to experience this natural phenomina.

The driver from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, however, defines a vastly different natural occurrence of underwater ocean beds of the dryest terrain varying from vast salt beds and desert to arid mountains and valleys.

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This what greeted me as I left the desert of Nevada and crossed over into California!

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And this is when I knew LA was near!

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I knew I was getting close to LA when a pack of about thirty motorcycle gangers went whizzing between lanes on the expressway going about 90 MPH! That, and the insane expressway traffic of $200,000 cars pulling Speed Racer tricks in and out of lanes to get five feet closer to an exit lane confirmed (as if there was any doubt) that I was approaching LA.

As I neared my destination (45 miles outside LA), I was abducted by aliens. I’m sure that could be the only reason why my phone stopped working, my Bluetooth didn’t recognize  my phone, my GPS (Tom) sent me around in circles telling me to go in a direction only to have me immediately exit to go back from when I came and never got any closer than that same 45 miles to Rachel (my LA daughter-by-another-mother)! Tom never adjusted the distance to Rachel nor did my gas gauge change from a quarter of a tank during this time warp.

In all fairness to Tom (my GPS) has taken me close to 150,000 miles of backroads and interstates since I started in 2009 and this is a first. Finally, after being on every interstate, state road and street between me and Rachel for over an hour, I called her to find out what roads I needed to take. I admit to surprising the urge to throw Tom (my GPS) out the window. But remembering that he has a 99.9% success rate and I do love Tom, I realized his malfunction wasn’t his fault at all but the result of an alien abduction. After I told on him to Rachel, he straightened right up and got us on the right road.

When I finally got on the right road (I-10 W), Tom kept saying, literally every miles and a half, “stay in the left lane” over and over and over again like I was the one who screwed up! Humph!

I got to Rachel’s and my phone worked but my Bluetooth never recovered but I certainly did the minute I saw my special angel, Rachel. I’ve loved her from the first moment I met her at age eleven. I walked into her home full of angels! Rachel, her wonderful husband and baby are very special people to me. It’s a safe haven of acceptance, love and respect.

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Rachel, Noah and Itty Bit

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A loving daddy!

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My angels! See us in the mirror?

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The three of us!

I am truly blessed! Thank you, my loves, for being you!

Next? I go back to Vegas, Baby to pick up the Queen of Electra Brass (Jenni Lee) to take our annual trip to new and exciting places!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

Talk about sticking your finger into a light socket! I always got amazing electrical charges from Manhattan but nothing is like the energy in Vegas Baby! Part of it is, naturally, because Ava lived, loved and was loved here but even that part has finally tempered into not as many “triggers” for me. They’re not bolts of shock waves as I drive down familiar streets any more but more like little tingles of shock. Praise God and all those who live here who I love and who love me and Ava!

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These next pictures are the views that let me know I’m getting close to Vegas, Baby!

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Can’t get enough!

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Jenni Lee dreamt of this moment where she and other equally talented genius performing multifaceted ELECTRIFYING women came together. She named her group ELECTRA BRASS even before it congealed into this cohesive group of synchronicity and magic! I’m so blessed to have had and now have these women in my life! I’m in love!

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Vegas Babies Rehearsals

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How incredibly talented these Wonder Women are! WOW

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ELECTRA BRASS! YAY!

Tonight? Me, Photo shoot, video promo recording, these powerful women! INCREDIBLE!

More from Vegas, Baby tomorrow!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES and/or TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

Yesterday, my sister and I met a nice owner (C. G. Higgins) of a confectionary of the same name in Historic Santa Fe who convinced us to come see him for great coffee and quiche. Well, he was right! It gave us the much needed energy to absorb a wonderful permanent exhibit in the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

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Georgia O’Keeffe’s Home in Abiquiu, NM

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At home

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Shown with one of her abstracts

 

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Georgia O’Keeffe Research Center

As we complex women are, we have many shades to our many colors. She was a hardy outdoors woman and a femme fatal; an artist and a horticulturist; a brilliant artist and an adventurer. The parallels between Georgia O’Keeffe and Frida Kahlo were brought more into focus by seeing their exhibits back-to-back! WOW!

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Georgia O’Keeffe on the back!

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Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting “Bella Donna!”

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She loved to study the bones of animals she found in the desert and take those shapes found in them and nature to create her abstract art.

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Georgia O’Keeffe’s “mountain.” She said that if she painted this mountain outside her cabin enough, the it would be her’s forever…and it is here and at Ghost Ranch!

As we meandered along the wonderful, flavorful streets of Historic Santa Fe, we talked of how we really had hoped to find an authentic Mexican restaurant. As luck would have it (or greater Devine intervention), we happened to go down Burro Alley to find just what we were looking for…Los Magueyes! Lovely people and great food!

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We departed Santa Fe to find new adventures along the Turquoise Trail (NM Highway 13) towards Albuquerque, NM.

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Turquoise Trail (NM Hwy 14)

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Turquoise Highway

The first little town on the Turquoise Highway large enough to make a stop to explore was Madrid.

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Of course there’s a cowgirl there!

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Great little village

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Sandia Crest National Park with an elevation at it’s peak of over 10,000 feet is just off the   Turquoise Trail on Highway 536. It’s worth the drive for sure! It has a great little gift shop at the top where we met another transported Atlantan!

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Sandia Crest Nat’l Park (10,000+ feet) off the Turquoise Hwy

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These “fingers” of rain which evaporate before reaching the ground are called “Virgo.”

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First on our agenda was to get the feel of Historic Albuquerque and we, of course, were greeted with lots of red chili peppers!

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Historic Albuquerque (Covered Wagon)

Eat? Heck yeah! Locals recommended Church Street Cafe. Great choice!

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Church Street Cafe

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Inside Church St. Cafe

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Inside Church St. Cafe

We were so very fortunate to meet other southerners, artists and kindred spirits on our “Friend Traveling Sisters Hauling A$$ Great Adventure,” We drove over 3,000 miles in a week and it’s been life altering for us both…something to embrace with laughter and BIG smiles forever. We have so many new friend from this trip who will be in our hearts and prayers forever! We are truly blessed.

I hope to stay in touch with each of you through email, travels, phone or telepathic communications forever! Each of you touched our hearts so there you’ll reside until we meet again.

Tomorrow? VEGAS BABY!

HAPPY TAILS (found Montana hair in the truck today), TALES OR TRIALS! You’re pick!

Wow! What a wonderful day packed with beauty, great people, amazing southwestern architecture, shopping, wandering and soaking up one of our country’s most beautiful and exciting cities. In 2011 when Ava and I were here in 2011, we both fell so in love with it so much so that she wanted to intern at the Santa Fe Opera House. I’ve wanted to come back here to create new memories last year but still wasn’t ready. Now I know why. I needed my big sister with me to help me walk through some memories with Ava and create new ones with her! What a great Big Thithter she is!

First on our agenda for the day was the “Mirror, Mirror” Exhibit  at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art containing personal photos of Frida Kahlo giving us newer insights of a woman my sister and I have admired for years. I believe that she defined surrealism but she said she used art to express what she felt and boy did she ever! As a young child, she had Polio. At the age of eighteen, she was in a tragic trolly accident wherein she suffered a broken pelvis, collarbone, legs and three displaced vertebrae which caused her a lifetime of excruciating pain wherein she had to endure long hospital stays, body casts, bed confinement and approximately thirty operations.

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Frida Kahlo had mirrors all over her house. I can only assume so she could paint her feelings no matter where she might be confined.

In Historic Santa Fe, we visited the San Miguel Chapel thought to be built by the Tlaxcala Indians around 1610. It is thought to be the this nation’s oldest active church!

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San Miguel Chapel built around 1610!

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San Miguel alter.

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Across from San Miguel. What shouldn’t be in this picture? LOL

A few blocks away, we entered the Loretto Chapel made famous by it’s “miraculous Staircase” to the Chapel’s choir loft. The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. An anomous carpenter is said to have fashioned the spiral steps in 1878 by using only wooden pegs; leaving without asking for material reimbursement or compensation.

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Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe Historical District

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Loretto Chapel Miraculous Staircase front view

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Loretto Chapel Miraculous staircase back view

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Loretto Chapel Alter

As we walked through Historic Santa Fe, art of every genre is found in abundance inside and outside the buildings. I’ve never seen so much beautiful art for sale permanently exhibited in courtyards and walkways. It made us wonder how all these high end  stores could possibly stay open without a great deal of tourists.

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And, to top off our day, we found this 1953 restaurant called “The Shed,” touted to have award winning red chile.

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Tomorrow? On the way to Albuquerque, New Mexico via the Turquoise Trail.

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS!