Archives for posts with tag: Woman Baby Boomer camping alone

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!

2017-10-09Trailer

A little gypsy is a good thang!

2017-9-4 WolfPupQnBed1

And more is mo’ bettah!

2017-10-10BigDawgs

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)!

2017-10-11 OkBBQ1

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

2017-10-11 OkBBQ2

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

2017-10-11 OkBBQ3

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!

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

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

Even though both my children are deceased, the mothering instinct, although weak at the beginning for me, became stronger than death through the daily practice over forty-six years of hands-0n caring, nurturing and loving another human being. It’s become so involuntary that it spews from your soul in turrets-like spontaneity directed at strangers and loved ones alike. I refuse to apologize for it. It is what it is.

With her beloved big brother, Carl. They loved each other so much!

With her beloved big brother, Carl. They loved each other so much!

I loved both of my children in their uniqueness. Both of them had a wonderful sense of humor, loved to have a good time, had an innate artistic talent which still baffles me and possessed a sensitivity to the world which made it hard for him to stay around long.

Carl loved to fish better than anything and Ava loved her brother more. Here's Carl with his prized catfish.

Carl loved to fish better than anything and Ava loved her brother more. Here’s Carl with his prized catfish.

Ava loved animals more than anything else. She even saved spiders from the bottom of my shoe. If she knew I was in hot pursuit of a spider, she'd run in, collect it and set it free outside.

Ava loved animals more than anything else. She even saved spiders from the bottom of my shoe. If she knew I was in hot pursuit of a spider, she’d run in, collect it and set it free outside.

Did I screw up in my raising him? Absolutely. Did I learn from those mistakes? Absolutely. Would I do anything differently? Absolutely. Will I love him forever? Absolutely. He was my son and there will never come a day when hearing someone talk about “their son” doesn’t cause me pain in my soul because my boy is gone. So gone that I don’t “hear” from him any more. It’s been 28 years with a count in a million seconds since he disappeared.

Although it’s been only a year since Ava left…it’s counted in milli-seconds. After all, we were connected at the hip from her birth to her death. We had an umbilical-telepathic connection which I’ve only felt with one other person in my life…my mom. We’ve been able to communicate transatlantic, transpacific or trans-life. Although she’s been quiet these last few days, I know she’s still around because when I ask Montana, “Where’s Ava?” she always looks toward the same corner (usually over my right shoulder) toward the ceiling where she first “appeared” a few months ago when my daughter-by-another-mother, Stacey, was up here visiting.

I still see her in her Rainbow Bright costume for her “Moving to Vegas party” in 2008 because she was such a fun-loving, child-at-heart blessing in my life.

Ava Rainbow Bright 2008

Ava Rainbow Bright 2008

I’m working hard on staying focused on my 92+ year old mom’s day but couldn’t help but digress into my own space while she napped…watching “Guarding Tess.”

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Trails!

Today was so full in such a short period of time! It took four hours to drive less than a total of 40 miles! When I found yet another dirt road to explore, it was a “no contest” kinda’ decision and off Montana and I went to see hidden groves of redwoods. We went down Howland Hill Road and found some amazing views. Apparently, parts of Star Wars was filmed in these woods or some close by and I can certainly see why!

I can so see this tree in Star Wars!

Now this is what I call a tunnel of love!

Perspective!

I could have driven my truck through that tree! The tree was quite larger than it looks. Crazy!

Only one in five seeds actually becomes a redwood. They regenerate themselves in so many ways, one of which happens to be through the dead ones on the ground or through burl which provides a whole new eco system for them to sprout up out of the dead logs!

Another whole world inside the base of a fallen tree!

There’s something up in that tree, grandma! I just know it! (Myrtle Grove)

We went hiking up a trail with lots of wild flowers blooming everywhere! Looks like rhododendron to me! Ours don’t get that big at the cabin!

By making a wrong turn, I found the Smith River again! I lost it 15 years ago! LOL

Glacier water…as green as an old Coca Cola bottle held up to the sun!

spectacular!

Then it was off to introduce Montana to the beach! Boy, did she ever have a blast running circles around me. I never saw a dog so happy! We both had been cooped up too long either in the house, the truck or the camper! It just felt so good getting out there. I couldn’t let her off the run but I’d taught her dressage as a pup so she could get enough exercise. I hold up my arm and she literally runs circles around me as I walk. It draws quite a crowd and she gets the exercise she needs. After jumping in and out of the water and laughing like a kid for about a mile or so, she started to calm down a little. It was so cute seeing her be so happy. Dogs are great that way!

One happy puppy!

No wonder they call it “Pebble Beach”!

And the grande finale!

Well, we’re off to Boulder to see Mandy and family! I can’t wait to get big hugs from my oldest daughter! Love her so much!

Happy Trails!

Entering His sanctuary

As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, I’ll let this beautifully preserved part of the Jedediah Smith do all the talking for me. It truly is where God lives.

Burl is caused by a fungus which causes abnormal growths to form. They’re amazing as you will see.

Gaining some perspective…

it’s all about perspective, isn’t it?

And your little dog, too!

Perspective

and more…

Precious – posing…see! she is trained! LOL

I have a picture of my niece, Mandy, standing on this exact same stump from 15 years ago!

Faces in the redwood burl. What do you see?

Faces. Lions, tigers and bears? Oh no! Turtle? Oh yes!

or trolls?

or octopi?

or ME & Montana! Surprise! Nice guy from Tennesse took this!

Burl heaven!

See Ava? She’s up a tree!

Ava – close up

Same path we all took 15 years ago!

more perspective w/ Montana as we walk down the path

more faces in the burl…look closely toward the left

and the grand finale

Right after taking this picture, Montana and I continued down the path as I remembered there being a beautiful meadow just a little further down. But, as we walked on, Montana started getting jittery and wasn’t showing a whole lot of interest in going further. I heard some stomping or heavy walking which gave my heart a start. You’re in complete silence so every noise is magnified. I stopped and waited to hear more. Montana turned to go back toward the truck but quickly looked over her shoulder in a nervous, quick jerk. “Hmmmm, I said. We’re in Sasquatch country…don’t wanna be his woman! What say we get outta’ here post-haste?”

Back safely in the truck, I remembered seeing where an elk had pawed the ground so it probably was notifying me I was getting a little too close to the meadow. If you were raised in the city, don’t go to the forest without someone who knows what to look for and listen to in order to be safe.

Now that my camera is all charged up again, I’ll go check out more of the area as recommended by Rod this morning here at the KOA. So much redwood history…so little time!

I want to give a shout out to the KOA owner Joan Fallon fo Crescent City Redwoods KOA. She booked my stay here the other day and took care of me putting me right next to the restrooms in a pull through site. I was pleasantly surprised to find this KOA site to be very small and homey and not crammed packed with pavement and people. I was also impressed by the video they had playing this morning during breakfast which told about the redwood forest history and eco system. By the way, there is NO pavement in this KOA but there IS a redwood grove where the tent section is! The personnel here are so friendly and helpful plus they make a mean pancake breakfast (all you can eat for $3.50 which includes coffee) which charged me right up for the day! They’re at 4241 Hwy. 101 North, Crescent City, CA.

Now off to see the Crescent City Lighthouse!

Like I say, “It’s Motel 6 or KOA for me!”

Happy Trails!

Numa (Ava’s husband) and I decided to head for Tonopah, NV where my son, Carl, used to have a gold mine. My dad owned quite a chunk of land there and every year Mom and Dad would take Carl out west for him to work his mine. I’d tried to find my son’s old gold mine before but ran out of road and time. This time, Numa and I were going to find it and we almost did! All we needed was a 4-wheel drive to get to it!

We stayed in my pop-up camper over night. The last thing Numa said before he fell asleep was that he hoped the winds didn’t pick up. Well, talk about foreshadowing! I thought we were going to end up in Kansas in those early morning hours! We did a little more exploring to find a ghost town called Belmont. When I looked at the lady’s map, it sure looked simple enough to me. No need to write anything down or get more details, right? WRONG! We did have fun driving too fast over a crazy road to that DOESN’T go to the ghost town of Belmont giving me screams! He thought it was funny flying through the air leaving my heart in my throat and Montana throwing up in the back seat! The road really wasn’t that bad but I get butterflies going over little knolls too fast and he, a person who loves a good thrill, thought this was a cake walk! It was awesome!

I left Tuesday morning, taking the back roads, of course. What an amazing drive! It was just what my broken heart needed to see. Some of this country’s beauty to help me through today. It was two months ago today that my girl, Ava, took her life.

I got momentarily excited seeing how diverse our country’s landscape is and how quickly it changes from alien lands to canyon lands to river basins to lush, fertile farm lands. These next few pictures show you some of that diversity I saw in a few short hours yesterday.

Alien lands north of Tonopah, NV. Large fields of sand butting up to craggy mountains. Surreal.

As I got past this alien land, I got into a more remarkable area called Walker Lake. Talk about strange! A HUGE lake in the middle of no where with crumbling rocky mountains all around and no greenery!

Walker Lake just on the other side of Alien Lands!

Walker Lake with a touch of green!

Walker River Canyon just north of Walker Lake, NV

Walker River Canyon, NV

Walker River Canyon, NV

orange lichen growing on the side of this rock wall of Walker River Canyon made the whol rock look orange in the late afternoon hours. Pretty darn cool.

Mom kept telling me about raging fires in Arizona and I reminded her that I wasn’t going that way at all. Lo and behold as I come out of Walker River Canyon, I see fire in the distance and think, “Boy, am I glad I’m not headed for there!” Boy, was I ever wrong! My back road took me right past it! They closed the road and I begged the officer to let me go through so I could get to South Lake Tahoe for my prepaid Motel 6 room for the night! (Motel 6 rocks). Thank goodness they let me through but here’s a close-up of the fire with a touch of truck window thrown in for the heck of it!

What started out as a 1400 acre fire turned (at last I heard) into over 4000 acres maybe more. It was near Smith, NV

More fire near Smith, NV. I’d never seen anything like this before. It was a little frightening.

Cleared the fire and went through a little town called Wellington, NV. Cute!

Wellington School House 1898. Cool little town.

I made it from Tonopah, NV to South Lake Tahoe, CA in about four hours taking the road less travelled. Lots of little towns and beautiful countryside. Just what a soul needs.

Today, I’ll stay over to rest and catch my breath from the last two months before continuing on to the redwood forest where God lives. See, I’d been telling my daughter, Ava, about this place for fifteen years and this year she was going camping with me to finally see it. The local funeral director, Jeff who is now and forever my best friend, sent me a small urn with some of Ava’s ashes to me while I was tending to her final affairs in Las Vegas so she could come with me on this trip. Thank you Jeff. Your Mom-n-Pop operation sure has been there for me, first with Carl and now with Ava. You made a terrible and alien experience into a simple feat. You arranged everything from Atlanta so I wouldn’t have to worry about the arrangements after I told you how simple I wanted it all to be and my timeframe. Donahoo-Lewis Funeral Directors in East Point, GA were remarkable, loving and efficient.

I plan on writing more about my daughter as I move along this journey. She wrote of herself as being a “revolutionary woman” and that she was. More to come.

Happy trails!

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!

It definitely takes two whole days to see Mesa Verde National Park the right way  especially for the two of us. Ava took three of the more difficult Ranger  guided tours of the Ancestral Puebloan ruins where you hike down the  canyon, across the base of the canyon and up ladders into the ruins. While I, on  the other hand, took the easier tours via Silver (my truck) because  most National Parks are not pet friendly which means Montana would have to  stay in the car or the camper while I hiked. I would only hike short trails if I  could find good shade before it got too hot in the afternoon.  Needless to say,  Montana and I spent a great deal of time in the only areas she was allowed:  campgrounds and parking lots.

While Ava visited was Cliff Palace, Montana and I drove around Cliff Palace Loop and Mesa Top Loop to scout out the other ruins for Ava.

Mesa Verde Cliff Palace Sign - a multi-complex village.

 

Mesa Verde Cliff Palace had several different sections on each side of this main village.

Today, we explored the Chapin Mesa Museum, Cliff Palace Loop (includes the  two Ranger guided tours Ava took today: Cliff  Palace [above] and Balcony House) and  Mesa Top Loop.

The most impressive part of Mesa Top Loop for me was Sun Point View and Sun Temple built around 1250 AD.

Sun Temple sign explaining ruins

Sun Temple community had several "out" structures on each side of this main "village".

 

Sun Temple

window looking into Sun Temple

Navajo Canyon on Mesa Loop

There were so many of these communities in this one area that it was amazing. One right after another. These Ancestral Puebloans (formerly called Anasazi) were the direct ancestors of the cliff dwellers in Canyon de Shelly and Monument Valley south of the Four Corners in Arizona. The last one we looked at was Spruce House.

Spruce House

I have always been interested in the history of indigenous people of the  Americas. A Shaman told Ava and I we had lived as Anasazi in a past life. Who  knows. Maybe that’s why I’ve always been drawn to it. I’ve also been drawn to  European history and South American history and Russian history and so on.

It’s all good. Learning how our ancestors lived helps us be grounded. Go check  out an indigenous people near you.

Happy Trails!