Home ?

Wednesday we left Lost Dutchman State Park and headed to a RV Park in Goodyear.  Lost Dutchman and the Superstition Mountain is a magical place….a spirital site….a location Al and I will be sure to revisit.  We barely touched or explored this glorious area and look forward to a return in the near future.  We weren’t ready to leave.  We experienced first hand the extreme weather changes and its impact on the character of the Superstition Mountain.  The changes in shade and color.  The change in personality.  The unique draw to explore this mountains’ nooks and crevices.  Obligations beckon and we leave Superstition Mountain with the fondest of memories.

We arrive at our RV Park.  Level up the Rig.  Take note of our surroundings.  After a week at Lost Dutchman, this is definitely a let down.  No offense to the RV Park, but there’s just no comparison….no views.  It’s a fine place to crash for a couple of nights.  It’s close to the Phoenix International Raceway, home to the Good Sam Rally.  We wanted to stay somewhat close to the location but not at the Rally.  We always have Bears’ needs to take into consideration and we didn’t want to be too far away from him or the Rig.  The Destiny RV Resort was an easy 15 minute drive from the Rally location.  Thus, we could spend all day at the event and return to the Rig for lunch and a dog walk if necessary.

Destiny RV Resort

Thursday morning we head off to the Good Sam Rally.  We looked at dozens of RV’s and visited booths in the Tent.  By mid-afternoon, we accomplished our goal and head back to the Rig.  We even manage to squeezed in a short visit with some folks we met in Mesquite earlier on our journey.

Al and I originally planned to return to Colorado nice and leisurely, wanting to take our time and spend a night or two in Tucson and parts of New Mexico.  Unfortunately, responsibilities require us to head home directly.  I’m sure Catalina State Park and Elephant Butte will still be there in six months.  That bucket list continues to grow 🙂

Friday morning we head north on Interstate 17 to Flagstaff.  With a son living in Phoenix, we routinely travel between Phoenix and Pueblo, Co…..last year five times.  So we have this route pretty well memorized.  Flagstaff can be a tricky location and we are always sure to check weather and road conditions prior to embarking on any drive.  Weather looks good, construction so, so.  We make it to Hwy 40 with no problem.  When we’re pulling the Rig, we take the drive in two days.  When we’re driving just the truck, we’ll take it in one day.  So since we’re pulling the Rig, our destination will be Albuquerque.  We like to stay in the Sandia Resort and Casino parking lot.  They have a great restaurant, bar, and friendly staff.  This is one of our regular stops whenever going through Albuquerque and one of our favorites.

Sandia Casino parking lot

The drive between Flagstaff and Albuquerque is fortunately uneventful and Al and I help the time pass by listening to an audio book.  I like to go on eBay and purchase audio books to help break up the drive.  My favs are romance novels and my favorite author is Johanna Lindsey.  Al and I are duly entertained and we arrive at Sandia in an energetic, good mood….dinner and drinks were yummy.

The next morning we pull out of Sandia before the sun rises and make the easy five-hour drive from Albuquerque to Pueblo West.  As we pull into the driveway, Al and I look at one another.  Home?  We feel detached.  We’re not happy to be “home”.  Why?  We’re tempted to turn around and head back out.  Where too?  Doesn’t matter.  Hummm, are we ready to go full-time?  Mentally and emotionally…YES.  Obligations and responsibilities still bind us, and thus the Full-time RV lifestyle will need to be postponed for a bit.  We now have a goal, a plan, and a timeline.  Too be continued!

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Our Education Continues…

Oh, what shall we do today?  The Group (Escapees – Boomers) have a few different things planned for today.  Some folks will be hiking, some geocaching, and some attending a little class.  We decide we can never have enough information on Solar panels and batteries, and thus attend the get together and discussion on solar.  The couple leading the discussion have been full-timers for fourteen years and are a wealth of information.  We had an immediate connection with this couple from day one and know we’ll stay in touch and rendezvous with them back in Arizona in the fall.

The class/discussion on batteries, inverters, and solar panels continues for two plus hours.  I take notes, plenty of notes.  Some of the information is a repeat of info we’ve heard before but confirms our knowledge, basic knowledge that is.  We’re getting smarter and feel more confident of what and how to set up our Rig for future  trips.  Our biggest problem and thus our first purchase will be batteries.  I’m glad we didn’t make any changes to the Rig prior to this trip.  We most likely would have ended up needing to redo any changes.

We are learning so much and appreciate all the help and information from all the seasoned RVer’s we’ve met.  In a few months we will hopefully get’er all set up and properly outfitted for boondocking.  Speaking of “boondocking”.  After lunch, we had another little get together to discuss boondocking.  Topics included; how to conserve water, finding boondocking sites, dealing with gray water and black water, and an exchange of personal ideas and tips.

In the evening, I choose to have a little solitude and cuddle up with Bear while enjoying a glass of wine and reading a couple of magazines.  Al, the social butterfly, joins the group around the campfire.  All is well !  Tomorrow we’ll be heading out.  We have a reservation at a RV Park in Goodyear.  Thursday we plan to attend the Good Sam Rally and start heading home on Friday.

Beautiful Day…

It’s going to be a beautiful day.  Bear and I are on our morning walk, and yes it’s about 6:30 a.m.  Same time every morning.  That boys internal clock never fails.  The sun is still behind the Superstition Mountain.  There’s a lovely coating of snow near the “Flat Iron”.  Bear and I enjoy a nice, leisurely walk this morning.  Yesterdays walks were way to short leaving Bear well rested and full of energy.

"Flat Iron" - Superstition Mtn

Over coffee, Al and I decide whether or not to join the group on a hike.  We decide to opt out.  Early on in our trip, at different times, Al and I both incurred minor injuries.  Thus, curtailing our hiking abilities.  Not wanting to embarrass ourselves or hold the group back, we make our own plans for the day.  I’m super excited to take some photos of the rare coating of snow in the distance.  Al and I decide to take a quick drive to Canyon Lake and have lunch in Tortilla Flat.

We head out for our drive shortly after breakfast and find some scenic stops along the way….stops we did not make on our previous trip to Canyon Lake.  It’s a gorgeous day…amazing blue sky, light breeze, upper 60’s…can’t get much better!  We take our time and enjoy the scenery and the day.

Canyon Lake

There’s definitely more traffic today than there was a week ago when we took this same drive.  We assume it’s because the weather was so nasty over the weekend.

Dollar bills decorate the walls

We get to the little town of Tortilla Flat, population 6, just in time for lunch.  This “little” town resembles a long ago western town.  The restaurant is already bustling with activity.  We’re seated at a table to the rear.  The walls are plastered with dollar bills.  The bar stools are saddles.  It’s a fun little place and the burgers are very tasty.  They’re grilled over an open flame outside.  Service was quick.  Al enjoys a light Beer on tap brewed specifically for this restaurant at a local brewery in Phoenix.  I visit the restroom before leaving…..darn, wish I had my camera in here….way too funny.  Amusing paint job on the stall doors.  You’ll just have to visit and see for yourself!

Tortilla Flat

After lunch, we step into the gift shop and look around.  We head over to the ice cream shop.  We had heard they have fantastic ice cream.  I try to avoid dairy and opt to try the fudge while Al enjoys the ice cream.  Yes indeed, Al attests the ice cream is very good.  As for my fudge…yum…Mackinac Island, you have some serious competition.  We walk around a bit more and allow the sun to warm us and our food to digest before heading home.

Gitty up...

If you’re in the Phoenix area, I highly recommend a visit to Tortilla Flat for a relaxing and scenic day. The most enjoyable part is the drive getting there…very pretty.  If the weather were warmer, we might even consider renting a watercraft of some sort on Canyon Lake.  The Marina offers a variety of boats to rent including wave runners. 🙂  We return to our Rig and take Bear on a nice long walk around the campground.  Lost Dutchman State Park is one of my favorite places and not just on this trip.  We look forward to returning.

Lost Dutchman State Park

The group has returned from their morning hike and interested individuals are invited to try out WII Fit at one of the couples RV’s.  Fun… Al and I decide we MUST get one.  Entertaining and good for us.  So after we all play around, the group heads out to the Organ Stop Pizza.  Al and I have been there a couple of times before and are still immensely entertained.  The food is pretty good too.  I highly recommend this place, even if you’re not a big pizza eater.  In addition to pizza, they offer a salad bar and some Italian dishes.  This is home to the largest Wurlitzer Organ in the world and even if you’re not a fan of the Organ (that would include me) you need to see this place at least once and experience it for yourself.  It can’t really be described.  The Organ Stop Pizza is located in Mesa just off US-60        OrganStopPizza.com         A must see when your in the Phoenix area !

Gloomy skies…

It’s Sunday and we’ve said our good-byes to the “Superstition Square Wheelers”.  What great folks!  It’s cold, at least for Phoenix.  In the 50’s.  It’s raining and the Superstition Mountain is taking on yet another look.  We sit by ourselves in the Group Camp Area at Lost Dutchman State Park waiting for our group to arrive.

Lost Dutchman State Park

It’s actually starting to snow at the higher elevation on Superstition Mountain.  According to the locals, this is a treat to behold and many are extremely excited.  Snow?  Snow?  Really, people?  I left Colorado to get away from the snow.  However, I must admit the transition that occurred through-out the course of the day was breathtaking.  We sat in the RV with the most spectacular view out our back window.

View out of our rear window -

The rain, hail, and snow continues most of the day.  I call my dad, who lives in the Chicago suburbs, and let him know where we’re camped and tell him about the weather.  My dad can barely contain his laughter as he briefs me on the sunny blue sky and 80 degree temperature he is enjoying.  Wait, how can that be.  It’s mid March.  I’m sitting in the Phoenix area bundled up and he’s in the Chicago area in shorts.  We have a good chuckle and I promise to email some photos.

Bears’ walks are quick today.  He misses being able to lay outside.  We stay inside most of the day reading and catching up with paperwork.  Watching the weather and the mountain change has also been entertaining.  Shortly after noon, the first of our group starts to arrive.  This is our first event we’ve attended with any Escapees group.  We brave the elements with each RV arrival to introduce ourselves.  We keep it short and sweet and rapidly return to the dry and warmth of our Rig.

By late afternoon, our formerly empty Group Camping Area is nearly full.  In the evening we have get togethers in a few of the RV’s to get to know one another.  The plans for the up coming days are discussed and posted.  Should be a fun few days!

We have neighbors!

10 mph….

How is it we’ve driven over six hours today and still have over a half a tank of gas?  Trust me, it’s not the gas mileage! It’s six thirty in the morning and Bear starts to pace back and forth.  “Come on mom.  I gotta go.”  Al’s still sleeping.  I roll out of bed gently, trying not to wake him.  I throw on the clothes from yesterday and put on my sweatshirt.  Off we go for a brisk morning walk.  The sun isn’t up just yet and the Superstition Mountain takes on new shades of color.  The colors seem to change with the movement of the sun.  What a sight to behold.Lost Dutchman My neck is a little stiff this morning.  I had a somewhat restless night for some reason and am not in the mood for an all day activity.  When Bear and I return to the Rig, Al is up and has started the coffee.  Ummmm, love my coffee……oh, and Al too.  Al would like to check out Roosevelt Lake today.  There’s three ways to get there from Lost Dutchman State Park.  Al has it all planned out. *****************************************************************************************************

Roosevelt Lake

Theodore Roosevelt Lake

Al’s plan is to head north to Highway 87 toward Payson.  Catch Highway 188 south.  Hwy 188 runs all along Roosevelt Lake, allowing us to check out the campgrounds and any boondocking possibilities.  We’ll continue south on Hwy 188 until it ends at US 60.  We catch Hwy 88 and return to our camp at Lost Dutchman.  On this route, the roads are paved and access is not an issue or a challenge.  But oh no, Ingrid can’t just agree and go with Al’s plan………… *****************************************************************************************************  Hubby’s plan would be an all day trek and we would take a cooler with food and drinks.  I’m just not feeling up to the whole day thing and suggest we just go to Canyon Lake and Tortilla Flat and then return home.  This would be a short morning excursion.  Al, always the gentleman, acquiesces.  We forego the cooler.  Take a couple of bottles of water for us and big jug for the dog.  Since we’ll be back for lunch, we forego taking snacks/food.  (yeah, dumb move, I know…one should always carry at least a power bar, etc.)

Canyon Lake

Canyon Lake

Canyon Lake is approximately fifteen miles or so up Highway 88 from Lost Dutchman State Park.  The drive is very scenic.  I drive, which allows me to pull over anytime I see a potential photo-op.  I’ve been known to be rather spontaneous when I wish to stop, and although Al has tried very diligently to pull over and accommodate my whims when I yell “stop”…..well, let’s just say, it works best when I’m behind the wheel when I’m struck with a whim.  You know, martial bliss and all 😉

Apache Lake

Apache Lake

Canyon Lake is beautiful.  The sky is an amazing blue.  We stop here, click, click.  We stop there, more clicks.  So it’s on to Tortilla Flat.  This is a “little” western town, population six.  There’s a restaurant, ice cream shop, gift shop and post office.  It’s barely 9:30 in the morning and things aren’t open just yet.  Al and I decide to drive a bit further….maybe to Apache Lake.

Apache Lake

Hwy 88 northeast of Apache Lake

Tortilla FlatAh, this is when our drive gets interesting.  The pavement ends.  Remember when I said that there’s three ways to get to Roosevelt Lake.  From Payson to the north of the Lake head south on Hwy 188 or from Globe, head north on Hwy 188.  The third and most challenging route and NOT recommended by most is to continue on Hwy 88 from Tortilla Flat to Roosevelt Lake.  Guess which route we’re taking?   Another 5-10 minutes, not so bad.  We’ve been on much worse.  Oops, should not have said that.  Here comes the wash board, rocks and holes.  Two lanes wide goes down to one and a half wide then down to one lane.  We climb in elevation.  The lane and a half dirt road is cut into the side of the rock and earth.  There’s no room for error.  Some crazy sh*t is pulling a boat!

Fish Creek Pass

Crazy guy pulls boat! Fish Creek Pass

Fish creek pass turns out to be the most challenging of the entire drive.  There’s a thousand foot change in elevation as we go up and then back down.  The switch backs are tight, quite often single lane.  If two vehicles meet, one needs to back up so the other can squeeze by.  This occurred numerous times.  What happened to that “easy” trek I recommended?

Hwy 88

They call this road a scenic highway? Fish Creek Pass….Hwy 88

We get to Apache Lake and find a restaurant with an outdoor patio.  It’s 11:30 and we’re hungry.  I order a BLT and share my bacon with Bear.  The waiter also brings Bear a large bowl of water.  I believe an extra nice tip is in order!

Apache Lake

Bear goes out to lunch

Apache LakeWith our internal organs readjusted, after the jolting from the rough ride, and tummies full, we’re off to Roosevelt Lake.  There is no way in heck we are driving back the way we came.  As we continue on our journey, the road widens but the washboard is the worst.  Every time I try to accelerate and go a bit faster, we get jolted so badly the rear of the truck starts to fish tail.  I’m sure the extra long wheel base on our extended bed truck is not helping.  Perhaps a Jeep would be more appropriate.Tonto National Forest Finally, we make it to Roosevelt Lake.  We check out some campgrounds and find boondocking at the waters edge….perfect.  We make notes for next winters excursion.  This is part of the Tonto National Forest and thus the cost of overnight parking should be $3-$6. We’re traveling on Highway 188 along Roosevelt Lake.  The road is wide, ah, the road is paved, double ah.  The speed limit is 55.  I’m driving at 45 …..it feels fast.  I bring’er up to 55….wow, now I’m going super fast.  I routinely check the speedometer to assure myself I’m not speeding (I would never do that…yeah, right!….who said that?)  After hours of travel at approximately 10 mph, 55 feels like 85. We continue south on Highway 188 until it intersects with US 60.  We switch drivers.  I’m all photoed out and exhausted.  “Beam me up, Scottie”.  Oh, how nice that would be at this moment.  US 60 still provides scenic vistas and by the time we drive past the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, I am somewhat recovered from the arduous drive and am tempted to have Al stop for a photo-op.  Nah, it’s been a long day.  I’ll make a note for next years visit.

Superstition Mountain
A very tired boy –

  We left at 8:30 this morning and returned shortly after 4:00 this afternoon.  Upon our return, we each down a bunch of water.  Bear eats his dinner, gets a quick walk, then crashes into a deep sleep.  I’ll grab a bite to eat then head off to the shower.  The same dirt that turned our shiny blue truck into a dull tan color has left a similar layer of dust and dirt on me. Al and I are clean but exhausted.  Over a glass of wine we discuss the events of the day.  We agree it was a fun, exhilarating adventure and we would do it again in a heart beat……..in a Jeep that is!Fish Creek Pass

Oops!

It’s a new day.  I awake to Bear’s restlessness.  I look at the clock…exactly 6:30.  That dog’s internal clock is spot on…same time every morning, give or take five minutes at the most.  I throw on some clothes and take Bear for his morning walk.  I decide to head up the road toward the Archery Range and throw my camera in my pocket.  Yesterday on this very walk, I noticed a cactus with a pink bloom.  I hope to capture this blooming cactus 😉

It’s a brisk, calm morning.  As we head up the road, I take in the amazing array of cactus and vegetation as a bunny darts across the road.  I’m in my own little world…still waking up….day dreaming a tad.  Suddenly I’m startled by some screaming girls in the distance.  I know it’s spring break, but screaming girls this early in the morning?  Nope, that’d be coyotes!  Sounds like quite a few coyotes!!!  Bear and I swiftly return to our parking lot where his walk consists of a couple of laps around the lot.  Sorry boy, not in mom’s plan to come face to face with a pack of coyotes.  The flowering cactus?  Long forgotten as well.

Bear and I return to a warm Rig.  Al started the coffee…ummm.  We discuss the plan for the day.  We’ve learned the hard way, Phoenix in March is busy with snowbirders and spring breakers.  Thus the campgrounds are full.  Before hooking up and driving off, Al thinks it prudent to call Lost Dutchman State Park and verify they have room for us.  Al talks to the head Ranger and the Ranger informs him no group is booked in the “group campground” prior to our Escapees group.  Thus giving us permission to set up early in the “group area”.

Fifteen minutes after this phone call, we’re on the road.  Wow, we’ve gotten good at this RVing thing.  We arrive at Lost Dutchman less than thirty minutes later.  We check in….oops….the Ranger made a mistake and yes indeed there was a private group who reserved the area prior to the Escapees group.  Humm….what to do?

We head to the “group camp area” and set up in a corner and know we can stay in this spot for the night.  The next day the “Superstition Square Wheelers” start showing up.  If the group requests we move, then obviously move we must.  The Rangers left the decision in the groups hands.

The “Superstition Square Wheelers” are a local group of square dancers.  Not only do they allow us to remain in our camp spot, they graciously embrace us and include us in

our backyard!

their activities.  NO, this did not involve square dancing.  They reserve that activity for the hall.  Al plays cards with the guys, we enjoy campfires, and are invited to the potluck.  They share local information and make numerous recommendations.

What an incredibly warm and generous group of folks…..we had a wonderful time.  By Sunday morning, we were exchanging contact information and hugs good-bye.  Two of the couples have plans to be in Colorado Springs this June and we have tentative plans to meet for lunch 🙂  Sunday also brought some rather inclement weather.

Usery Reg Park…

We leave Lake Pleasant a bit reluctantly, but excited to be heading to a new location.  The campground at Usery Regional Park is full and we opt to stay in their overflow lot for $10 a night.  The lot is a paved parking lot located right next to the park entrance.  Umm….not sure I’m happy with this location, but with an open mind we lever’er up, unhook and settle in.

It’s early in the day.  The sky is a lovely azure blue.  The sun is warm and the breeze is light.  Al and I decide to pack a light lunch, drinks, and the dog and travel “up the road a piece”.  (This was one of Al’s mom’s little phrases that always brought chuckles)  Our destination…Saguaro Lake.

Saguaro Lake

From Usery Park we head north on Usery Pass Road (aka Ellsworth Road to the south) and head east on Bush Highway to Saguaro Lake.  On the south side of Bush Highway is a picnic area called Pebble Beach.  It’s a lovely area with picnic tables covered with red-roofed cabanas.  We notice all the RV’s parked there.  We drive in, note “Camp Host”, drive around….time to ask questions.  Al jumps out of the truck to talk to some

Salt River

campers who are extremely helpful and forthcoming with tons of information.  Turns out dry camping here is allowed until May through the Tonto National Forest.  It’s $6 a night….$3 for those of us with the Old Farts Card.  There’s access to the Salt River for fishing, vault toilets, and water spigots.  Parking permits and camp permits need to be purchased in town prior to your visit and can be purchased at most gas stations, drug stores, and Big 5 Sporting Goods stores.  Al and I contemplate moving to this location, but decide to stay at Usery Reg Park for the time being…..note to self for a future visit.

Saguaro Lake is extremely picturesque.  We enjoy a snack and drink overlooking the lake.  It’s days like this, I miss my wave runner.  Oh, what fun we could have here.  We decide to check out the marina, and yes they rent various watercraft.  Awesome!  Put that on the bucket list.  We drive around a bit more and admire our surroundings.

Saguaro Lake

Prior to our return to the Rig, we check out the Rio Salado Gun Club.  Al gets all the information he’s looking for.  Yes, sporting clays 🙂   We then head home for dinner.  Usery Reg Park is beautiful and the campground offers very nice sites and amazing hiking.  However, the parking lot is not working for me.  Al and I decide to move to Lost Dutchman State Park in the morning.  Our plans will take us there in a few days anyway to join an Escapees get together.  So, guess we’ll show up early!

Alas, it’s time to move…

It’s six thirty in the morning and Bear is ready to go out.  The sun is still tucked behind the mountains to the east, but will soon rise.  The winds have kicked up.  The waves roll in crashing a shore and reaching our fire ring.  Each morning we notice the water encroaching, swallowing up a bit more shoreline.  At this time of year, the lake is allowed to fill and soon our lake front property will be under water.

Knowing we will soon need to move due to the rising water, I glance up and down the shoreline taking in my tranquil surroundings.  This has been a week full of socializing, relaxing, exploring and discovery.  As much as I’ve loved staying here, it’s time to move on.  Time to explore and discover new surroundings.  I find so much joy and peace being near the water.  Perhaps it’s due to fond childhood memories spent near lakes.  I wonder, can I experience these same emotions without water?   I guess we’ll find out.

This little slice of panacea does have its pitfall.  It’s called the weekend.  Starting Friday afternoon the locals come to play at Lake Pleasant.  Most folks are nice and considerate but some are down right rude and ignorant.  There appears to be some unwritten rules or etiquette to boondocking.  First and foremost, space….space between rigs.  We boondock because we like our space.  We observed a motorhome pull in mid Saturday and shimmy his way between to vehicles, leaving approximately six inches on either side.  He had backed in between these vehicles, onto a bit of shoreline that jetted out a little more than other areas, and backed to the water’s edge blocking the view of the rig he had just squirmed by.   Oh, then started his generator a meer ten feet from a couple sitting at the shores edge.  Sunday morning the place starts to empty, and by Monday it’s a return to my little panacea.

With an itch to move on, Al and I discuss our options.  We’ve heard great things about McDowell Regional Park and Usery Regional Park, both located to the east of Phoenix.  Both Parks are booked leaving overflow parking as our only option.  Al would like to check out the Rio Salado Gun Club at Usery Park and I have an interest in the Cave Wind hike.  It’s unanimous….Usery Regional Park it is.

I Love My Dog!

I just finished downloading more photos onto my laptop and start to review them and do a tad bit of editing.  I notice a common thread amongst the photos taken this past week….Bear.  My little guy is in at least half my photos.

Bear has been a part of our family for over thirteen years and has provided us with so much joy, love, and entertainment.  Al and I question which of the three of us has enjoyed this past month of traveling the most.  It appears to be a toss-up.  Bear is having the time of his life.  He is a great traveler and can’t wait to explore our next location.  Al and I share in his enthusiasm.

At his age, Bear has his good days and some not so good days.  He has some minor leg problems and therefore we are extremely careful to control the distance and pace of his walks.  We’ve had some scary moments here at Lake Pleasant and thought Bear was declining or suffering from muscle spasms.

Al and I examined his paws and legs several times by running our hands up and down his legs, around his paws, between his toes and pads and found nothing amiss.  We decide perhaps a trip to the Veterinarian should be in order to make sure it isn’t something serious.

you deserve a treat

Bear is starting to look a bit unkept.  Prior to a Vet visit, I decide to trim him and clean him up a bit.  I wear my glasses (I hate getting old) to be sure not to cut anything that shouldn’t be cut or hurt my little guy in any way.  As I trim  his nails and the fur on his paws, I detect a large knotted fur ball in the center of his paw, the paw he keeps shaking.  I gently get the scissors in there to cut it out……..ouch……..it stuck me.  Oh my, the poor little guy had a thistle in there.  The guilt, oh the guilt.  What a bad doggie mommy I am!  This calls for extra treats for good little doggies.Al and I at different times and several times had felt his paws for just this kind of culprit.  This is the desert after all and thistles and thorns are plentiful.  Sneaky little thing.  There was so much fur matted around the thistle, it had felt like Bear’s hair until I started pulling on it.

Bear is all trimmed up, thistle remove, and ready for a walk.  With a new found spring in his step, nose in the air, pulling on the lease Bear is anxious to explore a new route and visit with the dog down the way.

We are so happy to realize nothing is seriously wrong with Bear and he will continue to bless us with his presence and unconditional love.  Bear and I go for a walk and all I can do is smile as I watch this special little creature loving life 🙂

Memories….

As I sit along the shore of Lake Pleasant, I reflect on the past month of life on the road.  Am I ready to head home or am I home?  I don’t have the answer just yet, but I do have a much better understanding of why my mom encouraged me to start Rving while young and healthy.

My mom passed away in 2011.  I was blessed to have had a week of concentrated one on one time with her before her passing.  We laughed, we cried, we shared stories with one another that had previously never been shared.  This was such a special time.  A moment I will always treasure.

**************************************************************************************************

My mom and dad are from Germany and had traveled all over Europe on their motorcycle before immigrating to the United States.  As two very adventurous souls, they either sold or packed all their belongings and took a ship to America for an adventure with a two-year old (my brother) in tow.

My father did not speak any English with the exception of some inappropriate phrases taught to him by American soldiers.  My father spent his eighteenth year in an American/French prison camp.  He had been a German soldier during World War II and had been captured by the Americans.

My mom being a bit more adept at picking up languages, knew enough English words to get by.  What guts and fortitude they had to leave their home, their family, their familiar surroundings and travel to a country….a country that had previously bombed and destroyed their homes and towns.  Their intent was to explore the United States for two years, go to Argentina for two years, and return home to Germany.  As we all know, life does not always happen as planned.  I showed up a bit more than a year after their arrival to America.  Thus, with two kids and all the responsibilities associated with a growing family, the travel they intended to do was slightly out of reach.

Summer weekends were spent at Chicago’s Lake Shore with the additional car camping trip to Wisconsin or Michigan.  During these explorations, my father developed a passion for fishing.  Summer vacations were soon spent camping in Wisconsin at various lakes.  My brother and I loved these trips.  We would spend hours swimming, making new friends, catching frogs, fish, grasshoppers and lighting bugs.  Television was never missed.

When my sister came along, a pop-up trailer replaced the tent.  My dad also added a boat, which was pulled by his fishing buddy and co-worker.  The guys would fish early in the morning and again late in the day.  I guess that’s when “the fish are biting”.  During the heat of the day, my brother and I learned to water ski.  Oh, how fun these vacations were, and I thank my parents for such fond childhood memories.  Yes, a picture as perfect as a Norman Rockwell painting.

I recall one summer in particular when the “Union” went on strike.  I didn’t know what this meant other than our vacation schedule was changed and extended.  My brother and I thought this strike thing was awesome.  It meant a month on vacation in Wisconsin instead of only two weeks.  We didn’t have a grasp of our parent’s increasing stress with each call made from the phone booth.  Obviously the calls were to check on the status of the strike.

Fast forward………three grown kids, empty nesters, and retired.  It’s finally time to see America, the whole reason for coming to this country so many years ago.  For over fifteen years and two motorhomes later, they explored the United States making friends from around the country.  This experience turned into the best years of their lives.  My mom’s face would light up just talking about their travels and the friends they made.  What incredible memories and joy.

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It’s January in Pueblo West and February is fast approaching.  My mom’s birthday would be at the end of February.  I really miss her and am saddened by the loss.  Thus, I start a discussion with Al about hitting the road.  Al briefs me on things we’re missing or lacking.  The Rig only has one battery, the Honda 2000 generator is adequate but having the Companion would be more ideal.  We won’t have TV while boondocking and we don’t have mobile internet service.  I view all of this as minor inconveniences.  We never had any of these things during our Boundary Water Canoe Area days….  backpacking and canoeing.

So in honor of my mom’s memory, we’re off on our first long road trip, exploring this marvelous country I was blessed to have been born and raised in.  Thanks mom and dad…..I love you……………..        miss you, mom!

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