I’ve often told my daughter that life is like a rollercoaster. It’s filled with lots of ups and downs, twists and turns, plus plenty of thrills, fears, and unknowns. Since moving into a house and selling the RV, an RV that we called home for eight years, my life has definitely felt like a rollercoaster. Although we chose the change of lifestyle, I found the change challenging at times.
However, if I’m being truly honest, I think like so many others, the challenges started during the pandemic but personally were exacerbated by our move.
This blog has always been about lighthearted fun, photos, travel, and adventures. I’m not one to write about anything too serious especially anything that might come across as being a Debbie Downer. That’s just not me, but life happens, and we all go through difficult times so I’ll leave it at that for now. Nonetheless …
When I realized I hadn’t picked up my camera in over a year and hadn’t written a blog post in almost that long, I noticed the things I loved turning to for enjoyment and using as an escape from the-every-day had been ignored. I had allowed my mental and physical health to get the better of me. Personally, I don’t feel comfortable talking about the subject of depression other than knowing it firsthand. There are far more articulate and knowledgeable people out there on that subject.
Perhaps, in future posts, I’ll share some of the physical issues I’ve been dealing with … nothing overly serious, more annoying than anything. Ah, the art of aging! 🤪
Suffice it to say, I am in a much better place these days. Instead of mourning the years of yesterday, I’m embracing the todays and the tomorrows. Hey, when you’re in the fourth quarter of life, every tomorrow is a gift and should be celebrated. Am I right?
In an attempt to snap out of it and pull myself out of that dark hole, I joined the local camera club. I started attending meetings, and classes, and last week went on my first camera club outing.
AND I bought a new camera!!! Well, new to me anyway. A Panasonic Lumix GX8 with a couple of lenses. My beloved Lumix FZ300 had been used and abused and developed some glitches. So, this new camera has ignited a spark.
With a newfound passion for photography, I’ve been out and about in search of subjects. I find myself struggling with photographic compositions, but I’m working on it. After traveling full-time for so many years and encountering in-your-face photo ops, it’s going to take some practice to focus in new directions. I’m feeling up to the challenge and enjoying the new camera more with each outing.
At the end of the month, the photography club is going on an architectural tour in downtown Phoenix. I’ll let you know how that goes.
A couple of months ago, WordPress congratulated me on 11 years of blogging. Eleven years? Really? The best thing that has come out of starting this blog is the friendships forged over the years. The first blogger I met in person was MonaLiza and that encounter was right here in Phoenix, Arizona, at Cave Creek Regional Park back in December of 2012. Mona and Steve were in their first year of living in their RV full-time and Al and I were getting ready to sell the house in Colorado and join the community of full-time RVers.
Over the years, ML and I shared numerous RV adventures together including bird photography along the Texas Gulf Coast, and just a couple of weeks ago, we got together for a wildflower photography hike. Who knew back in 2012 that both of us would end up settling down in Arizona, selling our RVs, and remaining friends all because of a thing called a BLOG.
ML was just the first of many friendships formed from blogging. Last week I was included in a gathering of bloggers, and even though I’d taken a hiatus from blogging, I’m grateful this lovely group of gals reached out. This luncheon reminded me of why I enjoy blogging and perhaps it’s time for me to jump back in and reconnect with all of you.
Can you believe 2019 is coming to an end? I don’t know about you, but this year really flew by. I’m actually sad to flip the calendar. We had a fantastic year shared with friends new and old and saw sights that were also new and old. Returning to some favorite stomping grounds in 2019 was definitely one of several highlights for me.
This past month, Al and I have been spending time with friends and family and loving every moment. As we get older, the holidays are a sharp reminder of those no longer across the table from us. And although their laughter is truly missed, the loving memories will remain forever in our hearts.
However you celebrate the light in your life, I wish you the very brightest of holidays. Al and I raise a glass to you and yours and wish you another year filled with fun adventures, memory-making, and lots of time spent with family and friends. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Gosh, I hope I haven’t missed anyone. The past couple of years, I’ve slacked off on my blog posts and don’t always share the amazing people we meet living this RV lifestyle. My goal for 2020 is to do better 😏. I’d also like to mention the fine folks out there that don’t blog yet have reached out to us via email. We are always grateful and humbled by complete strangers opening their homes to us.
I love my cyber community and every time I toy with the thought of ending my blog journey, I’m reminded by the amazing friendships that have been forged via this medium with bloggers and non-bloggers alike. Nope, I think I’ll keep writing and sharing my photos as long as you all continue to stop by.
Thank you for visiting and thank you for your friendship ❤
Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!
(Thank you for using my affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. The price remains the same. I really appreciate your support ❤)
What started off as a one to two-week visit to Page, Arizona, ended up turning into four weeks. Yep, an entire month! Changing our travel itinerary on a whim is a wonderful thing and since we didn’t have our next RV Park reservation until May 1st, we took full advantage of the freedom to roll at will.
After a month of exploring around the Lake Powell / Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in northern Arizona and southern Utah, one might think we’d seen it all, but such is not the case. Although, we did manage to see and do a bunch of things, I know there’s still much more to discover. Guess that means we have to come back!
Our first week whizzed by as our adventures were shared with friends. We hiked a slot canyon with friends. We enjoyed a back road 4×4 excursion with friends, and we also spent a week boondocking with friends. Sharing our adventures made our time in the area that much more enjoyable and entertaining. That week was filled with hikes, campfires, laughs, and beautiful scenery.
Camping with friends
Al and I arrived to the Lone Rock Beach area a couple of days ahead of our friends which gave us the opportunity to scope out the lay of the land.
Once our friends arrived, the four of us found a level spot to call home for the week. Faye and I began to gather rocks and set about building a fire ring. I recall there being a lot of laughter, especially when she and I decided to build some trail cairns to aid Dave in finding his way back to the RV from the campfire 🤣
Our friend Mona Liza had heard about our antics and expressed concern. Not to worry Mona, we broke no rules gathering the rocks and no rocks were harmed for the sake of our entertainment. All rocks were later returned to their original home …. leave no trace 😁
Unfortunately, our friends had a travel schedule planned and after a week they moved on leaving Al and me to our own devices. No problem …. I had formulated a list of things to see and do over the coming weeks.
Dining at Lake Powell
Our first stop was the Antelope Point Marina. Al and I enjoyed a very tasty lunch at the recently opened Jádi To’oh Restaurant. Great atmosphere and good food. After lunch, we walked the docks looking at boats … boats or yachts?
We enjoyed the atmosphere at the restaurant and the food was good
Yeah, some of these boats were huge and Al and I had fun visualizing the owners, or most likely companies, that own these floating beauties. Walking up and down the docks served as a great way to not only entertain us, but also get in some exercise.
Next up, was a visit to the Wahweap Marina and the Lake Powell Resort. The views from the resort are beautiful and I would highly recommend a visit here. Al and I stopped by for happy hour and enjoyed drinks and a sandwich in the bar area.
But the dining room …. oh my, what a view! I’d venture to say, it might be worthwhile enjoying breakfast or dinner here in the Rainbow Room (no lunch service). I can’t speak for the food or service, but those views are amazing.
Dining room at the Lake Powell Resort
beautiful spot for a wedding – Lake Powell Resort
While strolling around the Lake Powell Resort, we stumbled upon a wedding. Wow! What a great spot to get married. “Hey honey, wanna renew our vows?”
Hiking, hiking and more hiking
What can I say about the hiking possibilities around northern Arizona and southern Utah? …. Toadstools, slot canyons, mini waves, a rim trail, a hanging garden, and Horseshoe Bend …. and those are just the few trails we hiked. There’s many more.
When it comes to hiking, the slot canyons around here are the crème de la crème and a photographers delight. Folks from around the world travel here to experience one of these slots – Antelope Canyon being the most popular. Since the majority of these slot canyons are located on Navajo Indian land, permits and/or guides are required.
We hiked two slot canyons during our stay in Page. First was the Waterholes Canyon and second was Wire Pass Canyon. Both canyons had obstacles to negotiate, and this is when team work came in handy for me. I could not have hiked either canyon by myself, but I did discover several non slot canyon hikes that are easily doable solo.
New Wave trail – The newest trail around Page, Arizona, is what’s called the New Wave and although it doesn’t come close to the real Wave, these mini waves are made up of the same Navajo sandstone with extensive fine detailing and cross bedding.
the trail to the ‘mini wave’
Petrified wood seen along the trail
Rimview trail – This 10 mile scenic Rim Trail loops around the town of Page. Hikers and bikers can access the trail at any number of locations. I hiked this trail several times during my visit, BUT fear not, I never completed that ten mile loop. Nope, not me! Instead, I made my own much shorter hike. I parked at a small parking area near the Lake View Primary School, and by hiking this northern section of the trail, I was able to take in the sparkling blue waters of Lake Powell below me.
At the trailhead near the school
a favorite hike of mine
The Colorado River gorge can be seen
Blue waters of Lake Powell
Wahweap Marina in the background
Beautiful scenery along the rim trail
watching a dock being moved from one marina to another
beautiful scenery in all directions
Horseshoe Bendoverlook – No trip to northern Arizona would be complete without a visit to the Horseshoe Bend overlook, but be forewarned, it’s a crowded tourist attraction that brings in bus loads of people from around the world …. literally, tour buses filled with tourists.
I was lucky to visit during a lull in tourism – spring break was over and ‘the season’ hadn’t yet begun. During spring break, I saw the line of traffic stretch dangerously down Highway 89 and there was no way I was going to join those masses. Currently construction is underway to improve access and parking.
The hike to the overlook is about 3/4 of a mile one way in a sometimes sandy trail and is uphill on the return to the parking lot.
on the edge – watching the sunset
Lull in tourism – this is a fraction of the people normally seen here
the return hike to the parking lot is uphill
Hanging Garden Trail – This is another short and easy hike not far from the Carl Hayden visitor center (Dam). The trail leads to an interesting rock overhang where vegetation grows out of the rock, but the real fun here begins with a little off trail exploring. Fascinating, perplexing and colorful rock abound with more wave like action.
the alcove/rock overhang can be seen in the distance
vegetation grows out of the rock in this dry and arid land
heading into the landscape off trail is an experience
supposedly each line/ridge represents 100 years
If hiking isn’t your thing, how about a scenic drive? We enjoyed two back country 4×4 excursions. Our first outing was to the most amazing scenic overlook known as Alstrom Point, and second was a drive via Cottonwood Road through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
We didn’t need four-wheel drive on either excursion, but found the high clearance on the Toyota Tacoma was helpful, even though not necessary. Also, the weather was very agreeable for both excursions … meaning it hadn’t rained in quite sometime and the ground was extremely dry.
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Without the Glen Canyon Dam there would be no Lake Powell, and Lake Powell is obviously the star of northern Arizona, and the Grand Canyon, of course. The Carl Hayden Visit Center is perched on a ledge overlooking the Glen Canyon Dam and the waters of Lake Powell and the Colorado River.
The visitor center offers an impressive view
The visitor center is a great place to stop and gather local information, pick up a trail map, take a tour of the dam, or walk the Glen Canyon bridge. Walking across the bridge to take in the sight is a must do, but I’ll admit, I wasn’t a fan of the bridge vibrating when semi-trucks crossed 😮 The bridge and the dam are an engineering marvel, especially amongst such challenging terrain.
The above photograph was taken at a scenic overlook located on Scenic View Road near the Wingate, Baymont Inn and Sleep Inn. The overlook requires a short downhill stroll over sandy slick rock. For the more adventurous, hike around the ledges and bluffs for impressive views in all directions.
Lodging in Page
There’s no shortage of hotels around Page with more being built to accommodate the influx of tourism. However, there is a shortage of available RV parking (in my opinion) especially on weekends which is why many end up boondocking out at Lone Rock Beach or Wallie-docking at the local Walmart.
If money is no object, consider staying at the exclusive Amangiri Resort. No lookie- loos allowed beyond the gate …. sorry, I tried. Perhaps, it’s understandable that if guests are paying upwards of $3,000 a night, that they’d like their privacy. Can’t imagine why they wouldn’t allow this hiking clad RVer into their luxury abode for photo-ops 😏 I don’t think they believed me when I told them my Louboutin’s were back at the RV 👠🤣
Time to move on …
After having more fun in Page – northern Arizona, than we ever imagined, the time has come for us to lift the jacks and move on. It’s what RVers do 🤗 It was a memorable visit …. one we hope to repeat!
“I could never live in a RV full-time because I’d get bored living on hot dogs and hamburgers”. Al patiently listened to this comment. Then in a somewhat perplexed tone, he looked at the guy and asked, “What are you talking about?” The guy quickly responded, “Isn’t that what you eat when you’re camping?”
With a chuckle, Al quickly responded by rattling off a list of meals he had enjoyed that week – all lovingly made by his dear wife …. Chicken Marsala, Shrimp Pasta Primavera, Fish Tacos with homemade guacamole, T-bone steak topped with sautéed mushrooms, Chicken Enchiladas, and of course, Hamburgers, but not just any old hamburger, a Hatch Chili Burger.
Then hubby went on to list a few delectable treats that he had the pleasure of devouring (also made by the love of his life). The guy was in total shock and exclaimed, “Wow, if that’s how you eat, I could live in a RV full-time. As a matter of fact, can I move in with you?” 😆
The bottom line is, if it can be made in a sticks and bricks home, it can be made in a RV. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some challenges to overcome cooking in a RV. First and foremost is the size of the RV which dictates the size of the kitchen, the size of the appliances, and the amount of storage space available. But with good organizational skills and thoughtful planning, anything is possible. Just ask my family and friends.
Last month I baked a delicious birthday cake for my daughter, and all from scratch. No box mixes that day. Her millennial girlfriends (non RVer’s) were surprised this was all done in an RV.
According to my daughter, it seems I may have redeemed myself from last years mess of a birthday cake.
And no, I won’t be sharing a photo of that cake, too embarrassing, but she sure had fun re-posting the photo of it on Facebook. Last years cake was one of those failures in crafting – “A” for effort and “F” for execution.
(This post contains affiliate links) This years birthday cake was a tasty Black Forest Cake with aGame of Thrones inspired theme and actually turned out cute and tasty. My daughter is a huge Game of Thrones fan and loved the beanie baby Dragon on top. (FYI – Black Forest Cake = chocolate cake covered in chocolate frosting with a cherry filling between layers – oh, yum indeed!) Yeah, I did good creating this birthday cake, and I had fun doing it and all in the confines of my little RV kitchen.
I’ve talked many times before how social RVing and blogging can be. We’ve developed some fabulous friendships these past several years between RVing and blogging. Usually the meet ups are centered around food and beverages. Either we meet at a restaurant or preferably at someone’s home which could be a sticks and bricks or an RV, and everyone brings something to share.
Many of us, whether we live in a traditional house or a RV do not have family close by, and this can bring on a feeling of loneliness and even more so during the holiday season. We love and miss our family during the entire year, but especially during the holidays. Al and I have lived most of our adult lives far from extended family and have learned to adjust. We turn to friends during those times when we aren’t near family for the holidays.
Holiday journey …
I recall, the first Thanksgiving Al and I ever spent together. He was a Pilot and I a Flight Attendant for a small regional airline based in Chicago, Illinois. It was the second time we had met and worked together, and we were on a three-day trip over the Thanksgiving holiday. During those three days, we found ourselves bouncing between the cities of Chicago, New York, Omaha, Kansas City and Philadelphia.
By the time we landed in Philadelphia on Thanksgiving Day, it was around 4:00 in the afternoon. The entire crew was famished after a very long second day of this three-day trip.
We scoured the airport for food, but everything was closed except for a cafeteria which was also in the process of closing down. Our only choice …. Phillie cheese steak sandwiches. We’ll take’m! Not one crew member complained as we sat in silence filling our growling bellies. This was just the beginning of a blossoming romance between a Pilot and a Flight Attendant ❤
Many years and two kids later, we were living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. With extended family more than a thousand miles away, we decided to head to the mountains for the Thanksgiving weekend. I booked a hotel room in Dillon, Colorado, so the kids, who were about 12 and 14 years old at the time, could enjoy opening ski season.
Armed with walkie-talkies, we turned the kids loose on the slopes at Copper Mountain while Al and I enjoyed the comforts of a roaring fire at the base of the mountain accompanied by hot toddies. (Al and I are certified flat-landers who have never been bitten by the skiing bug, but we encouraged our children to ski. After all, if you grow up in Colorado, you have to ski. It’s a rule 🎿😄). Less than two hours later, we were greeted with a hysterically crying twelve-year-old daughter, whom I might add was dressed quite adorably by moi with her powder blue ski boots, matching jacket, headband and bouncing French braided pigtails … so cute, but back to the crying mess …
Through all her hiccuping cries, we had trouble understanding a word she said. She didn’t seem hurt and her hysterically laughing brother following behind her lead us to believe it wasn’t serious.
Once the crying and laughing subsided, we were briefed on the kids faux pas. You see, when they got off the chair lift, they took a wrong turn and found themselves going down a challenging slope with moguls. Those two young novice skiers didn’t even know what the term mogul skiing meant, let alone know how to navigate that slope. To make a long story short, there were a few wipe-outs and somersaults involved, but no injuries. Something to be thankful for!
To stem the hysteria, we gave the kids the choice of where to eat for our Thanksgiving dinner and they unanimously picked pizza at Old Chicago in Silverthorn. Another turkey saved. Fun and memorable times!
For our family, it isn’t so much about the food as it is about making memories, spending time together, and being thankful. We’ve always opened our home to neighbors and friends and we’ve continued that tradition in our RVing life. Full-time RVing finds most of us many miles away from family, and this is when we reach out to our RVing and blogging community.
I’ll never forget the toast friends of ours made before sharing a Thanksgiving dinner together, “You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family. Cheers … here’s to picking us”.
Whether you’re spending the holiday by yourself, or sharing it with a partner, or with extended family, or even with a friend made the day before, remember to make your own holiday tradition. There are no rules …. well …. except for one ….. apple pie. For an American Thanksgiving meal, dinner can be the traditional turkey with all the trimmings, or a Phillie cheese steak sandwich, or even pizza, but you must have apple pie … it’s the American thing to do 😆
Easy apple pie recipe …
As I mentioned earlier, cooking and baking in a small kitchen like a RV can be a challenge. When we lived in a sticks and bricks home, I always made my apple pie from scratch, including the crust, but I have a counter top space issue in my RV, meaning I have very little room to roll out a pie crust …. sigh!
Believe me, I’ve tried every possibility including the table and even my desk, but in all cases it was a huge pain, not to mention a mess, to try to roll out a pie crust. Don’t even get me started on trying to roll out Christmas cookies. Ah, that’s another story and another sigh.
So onto plan B which includes a store-bought frozen pie crust. Hey, when you live in a RV full-time, some sacrifices are needed, but I still insist on making as much from scratch as possible, and this pie still tastes better than any store-bought version.
Hope you enjoy this super easy apple pie recipe, and be sure to let me know if you give it a try!
For the crumb topping;
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 Tablespoons butter (softened)
Whisk together flour and sugar then cut in butter with a pastry cutter/blender forming crumbles. Set aside.
For the Pie and filling
1 frozen pie crust (defrosted)
3 large tart apples, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Place sliced apples in pie crust. In a measuring cup add 1/4 cup sugar and mix in 1 to 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, depending on how much you like cinnamon. Combine well. Pour sugar cinnamon mixture over apples. Top apples with crumb topping
Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 40-45 minutes.
Recipe by Ingrid @ LiveLaughRV.com
Apple pie, a bottle of pinot grigio, good friends, and an amazing sunset …. things to be thankful for. With that said, I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful Thanksgiving. How and where will you be spending Thanksgiving?
A few of my favorite items that you might find handy especially if you decide to make your own crust … note: these are affiliate links Bamber Wood Rolling Pin
What’s the best thing about living in a RV full-time? Ah, that list is long, but if I had to choose one thing, that thing might come as a surprise. I know it came as an unexpected surprise to me; a pleasant one at that, I might add.
One of the most popular questions about full-time RVing, seems to revolve around location(s); what’s your favorite place, a must see spot, most memorable scenery? Somewhere toward the bottom of that list of questions might be, “Do you miss family or friends?”
Of course we do! We always miss our children, which is why you’ll find us traveling in and out of Phoenix, Arizona on a regular basis. And although we keep in contact with our non-RVing friends, the biggest surprise, and most fun, has been all the new friendships we’ve forged along this journey.
So back to that question …. What’s the best thing about living in a RV full-time? It’s the community of like minded people and the forging of new friendships that makes this RVing lifestyle so special and so much fun.
Sure, the discovery of beautiful places is always a delight, especially to anyway who enjoys photography as much as I do, but the making of new friends, genuine friends, still tops my list of one of the best things about the RVing lifestyle.
I’ve discovered, the mobile life can turn even the most extreme introvert into a social butterfly. That’s not to say, there isn’t an abundance of solitude. RVing is whatever you want it to be, but know, that you’re never alone and there’s always someone willing to lend a helping hand or share a smile.
Over the past several years of RVing, we’ve developed a core of friends; the kind of friends that would drop what they’re doing and travel miles to come lend a helping hand. We treasure that kind of friendship and do not take it for granted.
While staying at a RV Park in Prescott Valley this past June, we developed an amazing friendship with a couple from Lake Havasu City, Arizona. They had just purchased a new to them Motorhome and were having problems with their television. We offered to take a look and help these folks trouble shoot the issue. To make a long story short, this was just the beginning of our ensuing friendship.
These new friends were on a quest to find a small summer home to escape the extreme summer heat at their home in Lake Havasu City. Once the Prescott area was ruled out, they moved on, much to our chagrin. However, we stayed in touch regularly as their search continued throughout Arizona.
In early August, we received a phone call from them informing us that they had found their perfect summer get away and they couldn’t wait for us to see it. They urged us to come visit, which I assure you didn’t necessitate any arm twisting.
We left the RV behind for the first time in four years, and took a four-hour drive to the White Mountains in eastern Arizona. It felt like we were on vacation. Our friends purchased an absolutely adorable Park Model in Pinetop, Arizona, and refer to it as their little cabin in the woods. It’s so cute and perfect for their needs.
After our two night visit, they insisted encouraged us to come visit them at their home when they returned to Lake Havasu City. The mere mention of the word boating, quickly got my attention. Sure, twist my arm some more!
In mid September, we pulled into their place in Lake Havasu City and were quickly directed into a parking spot. Al and I incorrectly assumed we’d be staying in our RV while parked on the property. Instead, they had the Casita in their backyard all set up and ready for us.
So not only did we have a free place to park the RV, we were given a free studio apartment for our extended stay … for however long we wanted to stay. Now, that’s some serious friendship!
Keeping my mom’s saying at the forefront of our thoughts, “Guests and fish begin to smell after three days“, Al and I didn’t make a commitment as to how long we’d stay. We didn’t have anywhere to be until October 1st, but we also didn’t want to over stay our welcome and accidentally damage our friendship.
Well, our two and a half week visit flew by and both couples agreed it felt more like a mere weekend stay and none of us were ready to bid farewell. Fun times!
I’d say it’s safe to assume, regular visits to Lake Havasu City are in our future.
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Upon entering the park for the first time, I was met with a diverse flood of thoughts ranging from eerie to beautiful. The land appears stark and foreboding, but if you look close, a vast array of life can be seen.
I was lucky to visit Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve at the very beginning of wildflower season, and since arriving in Arco, Idaho, in early May, I’ve been dropping by the park regularly to keep an eye on the status of the wildflowers. With each visit, more and more delicate beauties were popping up.
In early June, I was able to share this strange and scenic place with friends, Faye and Dave.
I believe the peak of wildflower season is suppose to be in mid June, but we thought our timing was darn good and were overjoyed with the abundance of blooms everywhere we looked during our early June visit.
Dave and I were going crazy with our cameras trying to capture the gorgeous periwinkle color of the Scorpionweed.
Since I’d had a few weeks to explore Craters of the Moon before Faye and Dave’s visit, I knew exactly where to find an abundance of wildflowers to photograph up close, but that would require a bit of a climb… a climb up the inferno cone.
With less than a half mile up and back, this large, black, barren hill is worth the 160 foot elevation gain. Once at the top, there are views in all directions and a surprise bonus of wildflowers. We were also able to observe the spatter cones from above.
What exactly are these cones? A cinder cone, like the inferno cone, are formed when gas-rich volcanic froth erupts high into the air then falls back to earth forming a huge mounded pile of cinders. Spatter cones are miniature volcanoes that form when thick, pasty globs of lava plop up to the surface, piling up in the shape of a cone.
The volcanic nature of the park, creates a lunar like terrain. So much so, that NASA routinely uses Craters of the Moon NM for research and development. In 1969, Apollo Astronauts prepared for their moon mission here at Craters of the Moon.
Next week, the Mountain View RV Park (our work camping home this summer) will be hosting a large group of NASA scientists/engineers, which will keep all of us super busy for a two week period. All hands on deck!
After Faye, Dave, and myself hiked the inferno cone, it was time to explore another interesting geological feature – a lava tube. Lava or magma? Hot, molten rock from deep within the earth is called magma. When magma erupts onto the earth’s surface, it’s called lava. A lava flow that hardened on the outside while the lava still flowed within, creates a lava tube.
There are several lava tubes in Craters of the Moon that are accessible for exploring, but most are geared toward those familiar with caving. Since we didn’t fall into that category, we opted to hike the Indian tunnel cave/tube which is clearly marked and offers enough daylight to explore without a flashlight. There is one short section though where I thought the aid of a little artificial light was helpful.
There is a fair amount of rock scrambling involved in this hike, especially at the end of the tunnel where we exited out of a small hole.
Before embarking on any lava tube exploring, a permit is required. The permit is free and is simply a matter of answering a few questions at the visitor center regarding any previous caving. This is for the health of the bat population and to stop the spread of white nose syndrome.
I have to admit, the first time I hiked the lava tube, I was extremely uncomfortable. This time around, I knew exactly what to expect and was familiar with the general area of the trail. Thus, the second time around was much more enjoyable. Oh, and entertaining company always helps 😉
Although the caving was a fun experience, those wildflowers were calling. And several more stops were in order. Over 600 different types of plants have been identified growing in Craters of the Moon.
We stayed on the road to photograph the stunning display of wildflowers. These delicate plants have to overcome a lack of moisture, meager soil conditions, and surface temperatures that can exceed 150 degrees Fahrenheit. The thought of accidently stepping on one of these beauties, was not an option. Respect and admiration for these tough little things were at the forefront of our minds as we took in the amazing sight.
Equally as striking were the carpets of pink produced by the Dwarf Monkeyflower. If there was any open space, the Monkeyflower was eager to fill it.
Thank goodness for digital photography or I fear Dave and I would’ve easily run out of film. Eventually, we returned back to camp where Al was eagerly awaiting our return. While we were having fun, he was busy building picnic tables and seems we all had worked up an appetite.
We enjoyed a healthy meal of grilled chicken, baked potatos, steamed broccoli, followed by my somewhat healthy carrot cake cupcakes. For my carrot cake cupcake recipe, click here.
I’m sure as the summer progresses, I’ll continue to visit Craters of the Moon, but up next, Al and I take a vacation!
Live life to the fullest. Don’t let the weeds smother out your flowers – unknown
After enjoying regular luncheons with my dad, it was time to give him a break and find someone else to chat with over lunch. It didn’t take long before fellow blogger, Ilex of Midwestern Plants, and I were setting up a time and place to meet. Ilex is anything but shy, but does shy away from posting her photo on the blog.
So once a time and place were arranged, she graciously sent me a photo of herself letting me know I wasn’t meeting some crazed old guy. Let’s face it, one crazed old guy in my life is plenty …. hehe!
After a mere three-hours (trust me, we could have talked longer), Ilex and I parted ways determining it would be a blast to camp together some day.
The next day, I met an old friend for lunch. St. Charles, Illinois, seemed to be a nice half point for us to meet. Brenda and I originally met at a postnatal exercise class 28 years ago.
Shortly after Brenda’s son and my son started kindergarten, Al and I (and our kids) left Illinois and moved west. Somehow Brenda managed to kept track of all my changing addresses. Over the years, I always looked forward to receiving her Christmas cards with the latest family photo.
We hadn’t seen each other in over twenty-some years and it was wonderful reconnecting and filling each other in on our lives and that of our children.
St. Charles, Illinois, is a quaint little town that sits along the Fox River. It’s located about 40 miles (64km) west of Chicago. I noticed the town is cutely decorated with foxes throughout.
Brenda was running late for our luncheon, which didn’t present a problem for me or my camera. I wandered around the town a little and slipped into the Hotel Baker, a historic landmark. After all, I’m always on a quest for blog material. And with my dear readers in mind, I proceeded to roam around the hotel snapping photos ….. that is until the manager interrupted me.
I had just completed taking some photos of this stunning event room when the manager approached me with a quizzical eye and stern comment, “Can I help you?” Being quick on my feet I responded with, “Why yes. I’m looking for a wedding venue for my son”. He didn’t seem to buy it and informed me that I’d need to set up an appointment with the gal at the front desk. His body language indicated where the exit was. Now I know how Julia Roberts felt in Pretty Woman.
A little factoid I did not know until I started putting this post together: Turns out Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg chose this historic hotel to celebrate their wedding weekend with family and friends. I’m sure we all care and wish them the best 😉 but that might explain the managers concern; perhaps I looked more paparazzi than Julia Roberts hooker. Reality; more like an RV traveler in a non-RV world.
Although the hotel is rather small, some of the historic details were quite interesting and beautiful. I can see that the Hotel Baker makes for a lovely wedding venue.
Well folks, I had a post all written and ready to go out today sharing the continuation of our travels through Colorado, but I’ve decided to hold that one off for a few days. Today I want to share the joy of forging friendships through the blogosphere.
Over the past three years, I’ve had the honor of developing some wonderful friends through the blogging world. Some of these friendships have developed into more than internet based relationships, which has been an unexpected pleasure beyond my wildest dreams. Coffee dates, hiking meet ups, and brew pub get togethers with fellow bloggers have turned into true and hopefully long-lasting relationships. Due to geography, most blog followers will remain as internet friends, or ‘cyber friends’, and that’s ok too as I treasure those friendships as well.
He and his wife, Rhonda, went full-time in the RV shortly before Al and I did, and we’ve been following each others blogs ever since.
Our comments flowed freely back and forth along with emails. Sometimes our emails were lengthy, especially when it came to subjects like best route to take or truck engine issues. Other times, the emails were short and humorous. Our last communications centered around food and the healing effects of proper nutrition.
Wayne was struggling with a terminal illness and was willing to think outside the box. Wayne was the impetus for me starting a second blog, a blog centered around healthy eating. He wanted me to share some recipes and ideas with his wife, and thus Dally in the Galley was launched.
The way in which our conversations flowed, one would think we had actually met face to face. Unfortunately, I won’t have that privilege as Wayne recently lost his battle with Pulmonary Fibrosis. I still can’t believe how quickly the illness progressed. Even after a dear friend shared the tale of the loss of her brother due to the same illness, somehow I hoped Wayne’s story would end differently.
And although we never actually met, I still viewed Wayne as a friend…. albeit a cyber friend and the loss saddens me greatly.
The day before his passing, Al and I were hiking near the town of Frisco, Colorado. The elevation was well over 9,000 feet. As we climbed in altitude taking in deep breaths, my thoughts wandered and I said to Al, “I hope Wayne is ok”. While I filled my lungs with air my eyes welled with tears. I was overcome with a flood of emotions. I felt a sense of unease, great sadness, and concern for Wayne.
On the other hand, I was thankful the thin air had little impact on Al and me and our ability to hike and breath. Any huffing and puffing Al and I did was no different from what we experienced in Arizona at a much lower elevation. I counted my blessings and was grateful for each contraction and expansion of my lungs. Breathing was something I didn’t take for granted that day. Thoughts of Wayne were ever-present.
I watched my mother struggle to breathe while loosing her battle to COPD and I knew Wayne too was struggling for each breath.
I was saddened beyond words when a fellow blogger, another cyber friend, sent me a message letting me know Wayne had passed.
I extend my thoughts and prayers to Rhonda and the rest of the family for their loss. May they find comfort and peace knowing Wayne was well liked by many; those he met in person and those he met online. We all viewed him as a friend ….. a great loss to the blogging community.
Rest in peace my friend…. my cyber friend….. you will be missed !!!
Two deep-south states – Texas and Florida – are known for their amazing assemblage of birds and other animals. The “Sister States in Birds”, as they are sometimes called, share many of the same birds – even going so far as to both claim the Northern Mockingbird as their state bird.
Texas gets more western birds, while Florida hosts some Carribbean species and Atlantic sea birds. Both states have extensive birding trails throughout the state, and I’ve seen many birds here that were also present in Florida. But those are just some birding facts; today I’m writing about “human” sisters in birds, Ingrid and I.
This guy made sure we kept our distance from the water!
I can probably be most accurately labeled as a “wanna-be birder”, who just loves to photograph them. When two lady bloggers share the same interests they instantly become sisters – in this case…
One of the more delightful aspects to RVing is running into like-minded folks; folks that share similar passions. We first met Mona Liza and Steve a couple of years ago while camping at Cave Creek Regional Park just north of Phoenix, Arizona.
Mona Liza and I connected online via our blogs. This was the first blogger meet up for both of us and we had a great time. We’ve stayed in touch via our blogs and the occasional email ever since.
I’m not sure if Mona Liza’s interest in birding began around the same time mine did, but I will say she and I were both enamored with the Gambel’s Quail during our stay at Cave Creek in Arizona.
Although our travels have taken us in different directions, we knew we’d meet again some day. Therefore, it was exciting when we both realized we were going to be staying in Galveston at the same time this winter.
Reconnecting with fellow RVer’s is always fun and this encounter lead to several get togethers (spouses included). But the day Mona Liza and I were most looking forward to was a day of birding with our cameras and without our hubby’s.
We could go crazy snapping away without the obligatory comment from our husbands, “Don’t you have enough bird pictures?” “NEVER … no such thing!”
So these two bird crazy gone wild gals set off on a mission to photograph as many different birds as possible.
I picked Mona Liza up with the big dog (F-250 w/extended bed), leaving Al and Steve to fend for themselves.
ML enjoyed her own personal chauffeur (moi) and viewing platform. She served as navigator using maps and information she and I picked up at the Galveston visitor center a few days earlier.
It was a cold, blustery morning along the Texas Gulf Coast. At 8:30 in the morning it was 38 degrees Fahrenheit with 20 mph winds, but these birders refused to let a little wind and cold deter them from their mission.
We had a successful morning photographing lots of birds as well as sharing quite a few laughs along the way. Occasionally our exuberance would get the better of us and we would see birds in the distance only to realize it was a fence post, street sign, or piece of garbage. Hmm, wonder if more than one of us needs eye-glasses!
Mona Liza has an uncontrollable fascination with Roseate Spoonbills these days. It’s hard for her to contain her excitement when she sees one of these pink beauties.
Case in point; we were strolling along a trail near some ponds when she grabbed my arm. She was practically jumping up and down and exclaims in a hushed tone with pointed finger, “There, there… do you see them?” “No”, I calmly responded.
“Look right out there”, she said with almost a tone of frustration, but sense of excitement all at the same time. We kept our voices soft as not to startle any birds.
“Those aren’t Roseate’s”, I exclaimed. While ML says, “Yes, yes they are”, we simultaneously lifted our cameras to our faces and zoomed in our telephoto lenses for a closer look. With slumped shoulders and a deflated tone she whispers, “Kayaks” followed by uncontrollable laughter from both of us.
The entire morning was filled with mixed sightings…. the blind leading the blind you could say. We were equally mistaking foreign objects for birds. “Now, that’s an unusual bird in the distance and a big one at that. I wonder what it is”. “I do believe they call that one a street sign”.
But more times than not, we lucked out and it was indeed a bird.
The cold, the running around, and the laughter caused these girls gone wild to work up an appetite. We headed into downtown Galveston to find a place for lunch. “Oh joy! I get to parallel park the BIG Dog”.
I find a spot along a side street and line myself up with the curb. ML jumps out of the truck and starts providing hand signals to help me park. I’m sure to the everyday on looker they might find our antics unusual, but for these seasoned RVer’s it’s just another day in the life. I figured if she could direct Steve in parking a 40 foot motorhome, this 22 foot truck should be a piece of cake for her. And a fine job of directing she did!