A Year of Highs and Lows

Hot Air BalloonsIt’s a new year…..time for resolutions and reflection….

The last week of 2013 had us rolling down the highway.  Yep, after three months in Arizona, it was time to hit the road and move on to newer pastures. For this two month excursion, we left my little red truck parked in our son’s garage in Phoenix, thus allowing Al and me to sit side by side for our 1,200 mile journey.

The more than eighteen hours of driving time to our destination was spread out over a 6 day period.  All this time sitting side by side in a vehicle gave Al and me plenty of time to talk.  It also gave me plenty of opportunity to change my mind on where to stop. I’ll leave a woman’s prerogative for my next post. For now I’d like to share some of our 2013 reflections.

As Al and I discuss the events of the past year, we’re reminded 2013 was a year of highs and lows.  It was an emotional year.  It was a rollercoaster of a ride; some good, some not, but never dull or boring……

January started out with us snowbirding in the desert southwest. We were indoctrinated to boondocking in the desert and the big RV event in Quartzsite, Arizona. The majority of folks we met along the way were living full-time in their RV’s. We found ourselves ever more intrigued by this lifestyle and started talking more seriously about selling the house. We had felt lost and emotionally drained and felt perhaps a change was in order.  The past two years had been challenging.

Quartzsite Arizona
Boondocking in Quartzsite, AZ

Allow me to back pedal a little so you might better understand our mindset in early 2013. Starting in 2011, we began to lose loved ones. We lost three out of our four parents within a two-year time period which had us traveling from Colorado to Illinois numerous times.  A very sad two years and the mourning carried into 2013.

Within a three year period we helped our son move from Boulder, Colorado to Phoenix, Arizona.  We helped our daughter in Colorado move twice.

Within the past three years, we personally moved three times…from a large custom home into a rental house while building a smaller home.  We moved into the newly constructed house, then 2 years later we moved into the RV. After deciding to go full-time, we closed our business. And in the middle of moving into the RV, we lost our dog of fourteen years. It was a physically and emotionally difficult time.  I’m exhausted just recalling all of this!

Tucson AZ
Gilbert Ray Campground, Tucson, AZ February 2013

So back to RVing at the beginning of 2013……After a fun and enlightening January, February found us meandering around the state of Arizona and talks of change were in the air. One day we were selling the house and moving into the RV full-time and the next day we were keeping the house and RVing part-time. The emotional rollercoaster continued with so many unanswered questions. We still needed to produce an income, but how? How long would it take to sell the house? Our RV was never purchased with the intent of living in it full-time, thus would it be workable? What to sell? What to keep? What to take? Yes, the emotions were running rampant. Somehow with all the emotional drama, we still managed to enjoy some sights as we explored parts of Arizona and New Mexico.

Tucson AZ
A rare snowstorm in Tucson, AZ February 2013
Elephant Butte
Watching the sunset – Elephant Butte Campground, New Mexico   Feb 2013
Loretto Chapel
Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe, New Mexico

With a questionable future looming, we ended our four-month trip and arrived back at our house in Colorado on March 1st. It was a beautiful house, not quite 2 years old with all my favorite finishes picked out by me. Off the rear of the deck was an unobstructed view of a snow-capped Pikes Peak. To the south, one could see the Spanish Peaks. The house was situated on an acre of land located one block away from the State Park entrance.

Pikes PeakUpon our return from our winter excursion, we pulled the RV in the driveway along the side of the house. Al and I sat in silence before opening the garage door. We weren’t ready for our RV trip to end. When I finally stepped into the house, my first thoughts were, “Yes, it’s a lovely place…. shows well”. Wait – shouldn’t I have said, “Feels good to be home”? As I stood in the entryway, Al joined me and asked, “Are you thinking, what I’m thinking?” “Yep, this isn’t home. Our home is in the driveway”. Decision made! Up until that point, we were still undecided about whether or not to sell the house.

March and April had us preparing for life in a RV. Trips to Chicago, Denver, and Phoenix ensued as we rearranged our furniture and belongings. I won’t lie…..this wasn’t easy and self-doubt was ever-present.  Yard sales ensued.  Letting go of ‘stuff’ I liked for pennies on the dollar caused a tear or two.  The house went on the market mid May and within 48 hours it was under contract. Our beloved Bear passed away two weeks before closing and by the end of June 2013 we were officially “full-timers”.

Mt. Evans
Spending time with our daughter in Colorado

Our first few weeks of living in the RV had us visiting our daughter in Denver. Then we headed west and the rest of the summer was spent exploring Colorado’s western slope. My favorite part of the summer was reconnecting with my brother and his wife. Life and responsibilities have a way of monopolizing one’s time putting relationships on the back burner. The mutual love of the outdoors and RVing had us reconnecting in a very special way…..laughing, living, and creating new memories!.

Grand Junction
hanging with my brother – special family moments
Western slope
Exploring the back roads in western Colorado
Interstate 70
Heading west on Interstate 70 – Colorado

September rolled around and it was once again time for our winter migration south. A stop in Utah had me going through film…..Ok, this is an inside joke between Al and me. He always asks me, “Do you have enough film?” and “How much is that film developing going to cost me?”…. I just love digital photography – so yes hon, I have plenty of film.

Utah was so much fun that we plan a repeat in April.Moab Utah

Delicate Arch
Delicate Arch – Arches National Park, Utah

October, November, and December had us parked in a RV Resort in eastern Phoenix. With the exception of a little 5 day jaunt over to Lake Havasu, our travels and explorations kept us in the Phoenix Metro area. We felt a little down time and R & R was badly needed. And, indeed it was…..we needed a low-key break to decompress.

Lake Havasu
Lake Havasu City, Arizona

One of the most enjoyable aspects of remaining parked in one location was the ability to connect with other people; to socialize and forge new friendships, to meet up with fellow bloggers and Escapee members. It was fun receiving emails from folks wanting to meet for lunch. These luncheons had the conversation going strong for hours. We had the pleasure of meeting an array of people from all walks of life and backgrounds.

Socializing with like minded folks is always fun!

As the calendar flipped to December, we found ourselves feeling refreshed, relaxed, and energized.  The beginning of December had Al and me starting to feel that itch. That itch to move on. Although we were paid up until the end of December at the RV Resort, we were ready to move on. We spent Christmas day with our son and said our goodbyes hitting the road the day after Christmas. Goodbyes are always bitter-sweet. So our year ended as it began – travelingour sonTo all the folks whom we’ve had the privilege of meeting this past year – thank you, it has been a pleasure.  We cherish these new-found friendships and hope our paths cross again soon.  Wishing you health to spare, love to share, and friends who care.

Here’s to a new year filled with fun, adventure, and love….. cheers!laughing

Merry Christmas!

Sending holiday greetings to my blogging family……holiday message
Tis the time to hug,
And stay warm and snug.
Time to ice skate over the frozen lake,
And for the sugar cookies to bake.
Children get snow days,
And go out to play on sleighs.
On Christmas day it is fun,
There are just clouds and no sun.
christmas cookiesYou open your presents,
Which your family sent.
The kids just rip the wrapping,
And can’t stop laughing.
Kids get toys,
Specially made for girls or boys.
Teens get phones and games,
And call their siblings lame.
The kids go out to make angels in the snow,
Running through the cold air that blows.
No one wants the day to end,
So some decide to share gifts or lend.
The families take off their bootlaces,
And get warm by the fireplace.
Christmas is when your family comes,
And when they all love.
Poem found on the internet –

Wishing you and yours a warm and Merry Christmas!holidays