Archives for posts with tag: west

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.

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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!

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

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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. 

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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!

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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!

 

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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”!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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I-70 West – First snow capped view!

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Mountains galore!

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River Gorge driving just shivers me timbers!

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Golden trees everywhere!

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I be comin’ ’round the bend!

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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!
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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!

I had such an amazing experience this past summer traveling the West, Northwest, Canada and Northeast that I decided to buy a travel trailer and “gypsy” it up a bit and get back on the road! Like my BFF says, “If you can’t run with the big dogs, get off the porch!” Well, I’m officially OFF the porch and running the the big dawgs now!

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A little gypsy is a good thang!

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And more is mo’ bettah!

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Running with the Big Dawgs!

Crossing Tennessee and Arkansas just about wore me out and that ain’t an easy thing to do! I got wind, rain, mountains, more wind and 18-wheelers by the millions trying to blow me, my truck and stuffed Wolf Pup off I-40 but I wasn’t going to quit! I made it safely to the lovely Ivy’s Cove RV Park in Russellville, Arkansas. If you’re planning on doing this kind of traveling, I recommend picking a place ahead of time to arrange for a spot as soon as you know what day you’ll arrive. It’s helpful to be specific with where in their RV park you want to be placed…near the bathroom and a pull through…etc.

As a GoodSam RV Elite Member, I have access to their wonderful website to get all the information I need to contact any of the parks (in or out of their system) to help me make my arrangements so I’m not stuck at a truck stop (like I’ve found myself doing back in 2008) sleeping in my truck. I must say that every truck stop where I’ve resorted such measures was years ago and great experiences as long as you tell them upfront you’re alone, tired and to look out for you. Now that we’re in the age of magical access to internet via our phones, there’s no real reason to have to do the truck stop thing, however, it is an option. I also hear Walmart still allows parking lot parking but I haven’t confirmed that.

I’m so very surprised to find that there is such a great demand for these RV parks! I noticed back in 2010 when I had my pop-up that there were whole families living in these places. I assumed, maybe incorrectly, they were forced to live there in travel trailers because of the recession. I’m thinking now that it’s more of a lifestyle decision as more and more families are home schooling their children to find alternative lifestyles and I’m loving that!

After getting over the giddy feeling of sleeping my my travel trailer for the first time around 1:00 AM, I rested better than I have in months! I was raring to hit the road again  to cross the rest of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

As for Arkansas, I love the fact that they have “Toad Suck State Park” and the most amazing Great Country station 107.3 which got me across half of Oklahoma. Yup. Willie, Hank Jr. and Sr., Johnny (Cash) and all the good ole’ boys from yesteryear had me dancing in my seat!

As I travel, I love to find “mom & pop” places to fill up both my car and stomach! I found I could do both at Exit 270 on I-40 West (and East) in Checotah, Oklahoma at Campbell’s BBQ & Country Store. Turns out they have 100% gas and the best beef brisket with sides of slaw and pork-n-beans! It kept me going all the way to Amarillo! Yeah, baby! Tell them “Howdy” on Facebook (Campbells Country Store)!

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Campbell’s BBQ & Country Store at Exit 270 West!

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Deal of the century and the best brisket West of the Mississippi! 

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And, then there’s the chair!

All I can say about Texas: brutal cross-winds, a billion 18-wheelers, intense gas-guzzling white-knuckle driving and exhaustion. I actually watched the needle on my gas gauge drop rapidly as I limped along toward Amarillo! I just barely made it to a truck stop with the gas warning light staring back at me for those last ten miles. It was weird. The best part of that day was pulling into the Amarillo Ranch RV Park and the wonderful people who helped me get registered even with their internet down and get me outta there this morning! Now I’m fully trained (compliments of them) in black and gray water disposal! Hahaha!

As I do, I jumped off the interstate onto the backroads at Amarillo and headed for Eagle Nest, NM. I do love me some New Mexico and the only reason I didn’t stay in the Santa Fe and Taos areas were due to inclement weather issues. I need to get to Colorado, visit some VIP’s and get back south before weather turns nasty. Heck, there’s still snow remnants in northeastern New Mexico! Anyway, next time I’m this way, I’ll find a place where I can stay for longer when weather is more appropriate for my rig! LOL

As for now, I’m in R&R mode and catching my breath before heading for Colorado.

Happy Trails…until we meet again!