Opposite Ends

RVingLast month we attended a beautiful outdoor wedding held at the bride’s parents mountain home.  We only knew two people in attendance at that event; our daughter and the bride.

There was a time in my life when I was considered ‘shy’.  Ok …. all of you fellow bloggers and RVer’s out there that have met me, you can stop laughing – I’m serious, I used to be very shy!  That said, there’s something about this RVing lifestyle that brings most people out of their shells.

So here we were at this wedding mingling.  It was time for dinner. We entered the reception area somewhat early and picked an empty table.  There was open seating; no assigned table for us to sit at.  About fifteen minutes later, a party of five approached and asked, “Do you mind if we join you?”  Hmm, interesting accent I thought as I said, “Please, do”.  This family of five were relatives of the groom from the country of Holland.  There was the dad, his daughter and her Italian boyfriend, the dad’s sister and her daughter.  They all spoke English very well.

Shortly there after another couple joined us filling out our round table.  Polite conversion ensued over dinner and drinks.  In some circumstances, hubby and I will circumvent the subject of us living in our RV full-time. We had the best of intentions to keep that tidbit of information to ourselves that day, but the Dutch daughter and her Italian boyfriend had so much interest in traveling around America that they kept asking us questions.  Finally we admitted, “We live in our RV and travel full-time”.

living a dream RVing
Home sweet home – boondocking in the Arizona desert

I thought the young Italian guy was going to fly out of his seat upon hearing this.  With extreme exuberance and out stretched arms as if to embrace us, he proclaimed, “No way …. you are living my dream.  Seriously, you are living my dream”.  The young couple began bombarding us with questions all the while sporting huge smiles and an excited tone they just couldn’t keep contained.

my backyard RVing
This was my backyard for 2 weeks near Moab, Utah

Somewhere during this cheerful, excited exchange, the gal sitting to my right asked, “Did I hear you say you live in your RV?”  I happily responded, “Yes, it’s been a year since we moved into the RV full-time”.  With a sympathetic look she said, “Oh, I’m sorry.  Did the economy get you?”  I’m well past feeling a need to defend my lifestyle and politely responded, “No, it wasn’t the economy – it was a desire for adventure, a desire to live that lead us to moving into the RV full-time”.

Canyonlands Utah
Hmm, do I look unhappy?

Talk about opposite ends of the spectrum.  One minute we’re ‘living the dream’, and the next we’re ‘living a nightmare’.  Both comments seemed to make me cringe because I feel I’m not living either.  I’m merely living life ……. my way or rather OUR way (hubby is living it too LOL).  There are days it is a dream and days it is a nightmare, but most of the time it’s somewhere in between.dreamy lifestyle

When the stars are aligned it’s a dream;

  • camping among stunning scenery and wildlife
  • no trouble finding a beautiful spot to call home for a while
  • plenty of room for us to park at no fee or at least a reasonable fee
  • good road conditions
  • no neighbors or wonderful neighbors
  • each day is a new adventure
  • agreeable weather  …..    I think you get the idea


Lake Powell
One of my favorite places. Can you see my home?

But what about those days that just seem to fall apart?  Nothing seems to go right. This lifestyle can easily turn into a nightmare;

  • Blown tires or other roadside break downs really suck and can be quite scary
  • Full campgrounds …. no room at the inn.  Oh dear, wherever shall we park?
  • RV Parks that have you packed in like sardines and charge exorbitant rates
  • RV mechanical issues – water lines, heater, jacks, slides, leaks, etc.
  • Medical issues – when I got severely ill last February, I broke down and just wanted to go home.  I had no home to go back to.  I was ‘home’.
  • Learning new towns – Always in search of shopping, Laundromats, restaurants (this is not a negative for me – I embrace the search)
  • Being away from family and friends (hehe, this one could also fit under ‘dream’)

Yep, this is life whether one lives in a sticks n bricks home or in a RV.  Living the full-time RV lifestyle is not one big long vacation, some panacea.   Although that sure would be nice?  Bills still need to be paid.  There’s still household chores that need to be addressed.  There’s still plenty of pros and cons and it’s not for everyone.

Am I glad we embarked upon this journey?  Absolutely!  For us it’s working just fine so far, but we did sample the lifestyle before jumping in full-time. Plus, Al and I have always bored easily and embrace change.  We’ve always had a sense of wanderlust and could never image ourselves living in the same house or neighborhood for years and years even though we grew up that way.  We love exploring new territory and meeting new folks.

living life to it's fullest
Yep, this is one happy camper!

We didn’t plan out this adventure years in advance. We didn’t purchase our RV with the intent of living in it full-time. The events quickly evolved.  Al and I made the decision to sell the house while spending the 2012/13 winter snowbirding.  We found ourselves embarking on the RV full-time lifestyle 4 months after deciding to so and we haven’t looked back.living in a RV

Do I miss having a sticks n bricks house?  Not yet.  Besides, I’m not sure where I would want that house to be located.  I guess that’s why we’ll keep traveling and see if there’s some place that ‘feels like home’.  For now, ‘home is where we park it’.whooping cranesTo move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to gain all while you give. To roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to LIVE – Hans Christian Anderson

Picnic at Ascot 2 Bottle Insulated Tote, Black
1,000 Places to See in the United States and Canada Before You Die, updated ed.

No Room at the Inn

The Hilltop RV Park in Stockton, Texas proved to be a great spot to overnight.  We could’ve saved ten bucks by staying at a Passport America park but that place was literally next to the interstate.  The Hilltop RV Park, aptly named since it sits high above the interstate on a hill, was convenient and quiet and even offered a view of a lovely Texas sunset.

speed limit in Texas
Everything is bigger in Texas and faster – speed limit 80 mph

Texas is a BIG state…..How big is Texas

It’s December 29th and we’re anxious to get to our next location to stay long enough to ring in the New Year.  We hit the road shortly after sunrise knowing we have about a 5 hour drive in front of us.  Our destination is a Corps of Engineers campground at Canyon Lake just northeast of San Antonio, Texas.  We first heard about this place from fellow blogger Donna and a nice comment from her had us calling the COE to double check for vacancy.  There were three sites still available at the Cranes Mill Campground.  Potters Creek was full.

Having commitment issues lately, Al and I decide to roll the dice and not make a reservation.  By the time we arrive at the Cranes Mill Campground around 3:00 in the afternoon, we are politely turned away….no room at the Inn.  What? And no overflow lot for boondocking?  Really?  You snooze, you lose!  Plan B.

Five minutes away is a private RV Park called Rio Raft or Rio Guadalupe Resort.  They accept our Passport America discount card and we pull into a very nice pull-thru site for $17 a night with full hook-ups.  The park sits along the Guadalupe River.  We pay for one night and the next day pay for another.  Gosh, we’re indecisive.  I love it!

Guadalupe River
Guadalupe River

I had all these grand plans to explore around the Texas hill country and visit the San Antonio River walk.  Susan’s blog has been providing me with oodles of information on the area.  The cold humid air chills Al and me to the bones.  We’re just not used to this kind of weather anymore.

So these two wusses wimp out and travel on the very day they vowed not to travel….Dec. 31st.  We arrive at our Rockport, Texas destination 5 days early in some attempt to circumvent the inclement weather.  BUT just because we made it to south Texas does not mean we averted the “polar vortex” that has engulfed most of this country.  Nope, we’ve been graced with freezing rain and 25 degree F overnight temperatures.  Oh, joy!  The adventure never ends.  Thankfully, fairer weather is on the horizon.

how big is Texas
no end in sight!

Random Texas facts…

  • The bowie knife is named after the Alamo hero Jim Bowie (1796-1836).  His brother designed the hefty weapon.
  • It is still a hanging offense in Texas to steal cattle or to put graffiti on someone else’s cow.
  • It is illegal to indecently expose or swear in front of a corpse.
  • In Galveston, Texas, it is illegal to have a camel run loose on the beach.  Camels were imported into Texas in the 1850’s by the U.S. War Department in the belief that they would be handy animals to use during the Indian Wars.
  • Oscar, the Academy Award statuette, was named for Texan Oscar Pierce, whose niece worked in Hollywood for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.  When she saw the gold statuette, she reportedly said, “Why, that looks just like my Uncle Oscar.”
  • At 268,601 square miles, Texas is the second largest U.S. state.  Alaska being number one.
  • Texas is the second most populous state.  California is number one.
  • Charles Alderton (1857-1941) a Waco, Texas, pharmacist, first created Dr Pepper in 1885.  The oldest working Dr Pepper plant is located 94 miles west of Waco.  Oh and there is no period after the “Dr” in Dr Pepper.
  • Each year Amarillo, Texas, hosts the World’s largest Calf Fry Cook-off.  “Calf fries” are bull testicles.
  • John Wayne and Chuck Norris are honorary Texas Rangers.  The Texas Rangers are the oldest law enforcement agency in North America with statewide jurisdiction.
  • The world’s largest and oldest rattlesnake roundup is held every March in Sweetwater, Texas.

AND on a final note……….here’s a photo of my friend snorkeling in Minnesota

snorkeling anyone?

Sara’s Crack :-)

Sara’s Crack :-)

hiking ArizonaWe really enjoy the hiking around Lake Havasu, Arizona.  The trailhead to some really great hiking trails is located in “Sara Park” at the very southern end of Lake Havasu City.  The website I found gave us information and directions to approximately seventeen different hiking trails in the area, many of which intersect.

I brief Al on a few of our options and wonder if he’ll choose my preference.  I usually do the planning, but today I want him to decide the days activity.  There’s one trail I was particularly looking forward to hiking; “Crack in the Mountain Trail” other wise referred to as “Sara’s Crack”.

After describing the various trail options with sights and mileage, can you guess which trail Al picked?  Yep !  You guessed it…….”Let’s go check out Sara’s Crack!”hiking Arizona

The trails are clearly marked and color coded.  We take the yellow trail which follows a soft, sandy wash.  Its pretty much flat the first mile and eventually leads into a canyon.  As we continue, the rock walls narrow turning into a slot canyon.  We have some super easy bouldering to traverse until we come to the dry waterfall.hiking Arizona

slot canyon
dry waterfall in the slot canyon – there’s even a rope to assist with the 7 foot fall

I’m ready to scramble slide down this 7 foot high slick rock until Al puts the kibosh on my fun by asking the time.  We’ve been hiking about forty-five minutes before arriving at the “crack in the mountain”.  Remember when I commented in my last post about our time in Lake Havasu not being long enough?  Well, case in point….we were not able to complete the whole 5 mile hike due to time constraints and commitments.  But hey, we did make it to the crack …. Sara’s Crack 😆

Arizona hiking
Al standing in ‘Sara’s crack’

Oh, how I wanted to continue this hike, but that meant we needed to allow ourselves 3 hours total to complete.  We knew that was not an option today as we had already scheduled other plans in the afternoon.  Thus, we returned the way we came, enjoying an hour and a half hike.  Although the hike was easy, the next day my calves and glutes were feeling the effects of walking in the soft soil.

Arizona hiking
‘Crack in the Mountain Trail’ follows a soft sandy wash. DO NOT plan to hike during or after a rainstorm. Flash flooding can occur!

We returned to camp at Cattail Cove State Park for a quick lunch and shower and then met our friends for some afternoon socializing.

We started with a little scenic drive heading south on Highway 95 then crossing over the Parker Dam into California.  It’s very pretty. There are sand dunes, RV Parks, day-use parks, golf courses, and wild Burros.  Since our friend Don was driving, I restrained myself from asking to stop for photo-ops.  Somehow, I think that was Al’s plan all along.  He knew if we drove, our usual frequent stopping may not only have Don and Nancy (hubby too) rolling their eyes but take twice as long to reach our destination.  And Happy Hour was waiting!

Ah, but we did stop so I could visit with the wild Burros on one of the golf courses.  I may have found these guys to be way too cute but somehow I don’t think the golf course maintenance crews find them very adorable.  Nope, picking up after these guys is probably never ending 😉

After the Burro stop (s) we continued south a short distance before turning east across a bridge into the town of Parker, Arizona.  We then headed back north on highway 95 where we find the perfect place for Happy Hour…….Parker Arizona

What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?

Arch, bridge, window, hoodoo, spire, tower, fin……these are all names given to sandstone rock features.  I sure have been spending my fair share of time among some of these amazing, wind created rock formations.

Sand Dune Arch
Sand Dune Arch
Balanced Rock
Balanced Rock

From the Colorado National Monument to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, I’m awed by the shear beauty created by Mother Nature….. I might even say “awed by Mother Natures wrath” after the repeated sandblasting I received.  While enduring short hikes in whipping wind conditions in Arches and Canyonlands, I’m sure I’ve ingested my daily allowance for minerals….at least that’s what the grit in my mouth is telling me.  And don’t even get me started on all the other places I’ve detected sand 😉

So what’s in a name?  To qualify as a stone “arch”, a hole must have an opening at least three feet (1m) long in any one direction and is created by wind.  It doesn’t matter if it’s width or length.  Some arches are small and some are HUGE!

Landscape Arch
Landscape Arch….visitors are no longer allowed to stand beneath this spanning Arch. It could collapse at any time or not for the next 50 years…no one knows!

A natural bridge is formed by running water and spans either a present or former waterway.  Arches National Park has very few natural bridges as the majority of arches are formed by wind and not water.  Natural Bridges National Monument in southern Utah is loaded with natural bridges…..evidenced by the name 😉

Double O Arch
Double O Arch

Then of course there are the names given to some of these unique rocks.

Three Gossips
Three Gossips
Double Arch
Double Arch – look close…there are 2 arches.  Can you see the people in the bottom of the photo?  Gives scale as to how huge some of these arches are.
Fiery Furnace
Fins and spires of Fiery Furnace

However, sometimes the most entertaining aspect of exploring this area can be the shapes themselves…. do I see a face or thing?  Hey, doesn’t that look like…….

FYI:  We are currently staying at the Pueblo El Mirage RV Park & Resort in Phoenix AZ until the end of December.  I am experiencing some of the worst internet connectivity on our journey to date.  Sometimes I can’t even respond to emails….grrrh.  Please know that I am still reading your posts but may not be able to comment or even hit ‘like’.  Trips to McDonalds or Starbucks may be in my future 😉  Oh, and if you’re in the area, do stop by and say hi!

Exfoliation, natures way!

Exfoliation, natures way!

Al and I are off to a slow start this morning. Last night’s rain and wind made for a rather restless night. Although neither one of us slept well, I’m on a mission today. I pack us a picnic lunch, don the hiking boots and it’s off to Arches National Park for a day of hiking and sightseeing.

Delicate Arch
Hum….where have I seen Delicate Arch before? Looks so familiar.  Oh yah, Utah license plate!

I have a hike to a famous, well-known Arch all picked out for today’s adventure. It’s a three-mile round trip hike. Not too difficult but we’re told to plan 2 hours. I can’t wait. Arches National Park is truly unique and a one of a kind place.

Moab Utah
Delicate Arch as seen from the scenic overlook – opposite direction as featured on the Utah license plates.  So I guess you could say, my photo is backwards 😉

Last night’s winds have not let up, but I refuse to allow the wind to curtail my plans. Hubby, the practical one among us, recommends a few scenic stops before setting out on that hike. You know, to test out the weather first. Well, he didn’t have to recommend we stop along the way more than once, as I was eager to snap away at this amazing scenery.Moab Utah

Moab UtahAfter a couple of stops and battles with the wind, we arrive at the “Delicate Arch” scenic overlook. From this vantage point we see the famous Arch in the distance perched on a large sandstone rock other wise known as slick rock. We can’t hike to the Arch from this point as a rather huge canyon separates the overlook from the Arch.  The trailhead leading to this iconic Arch is up the road a short distance, allowing hikers to wander near and under this towering Arch.

Delicate Arch
Al, seen in the center with the burgundy colored shirt, waits patiently for me at the scenic overlook, while I hike around on slick rock photographing Delicate Arch

It’s a half a mile uphill to the top of this scenic overlook. The wind is whipping. I continue past the end of the trail hiking out on the slick rock in pursuit of the perfect shot of Delicate Arch. I’m being sandblasted by the ever-present red sand while hiking on sandstone. This isn’t the kind of skin exfoliation method one hopes for. This is anything but Spa like.  The sand whipping around is almost uncomfortable on my bare legs.  I should have worn pants.  Thank goodness I just so happen to have a pair in the vehicle.

Delicate Arch
Me climbing around in search of the best shot of Delicate Arch seen in the distance
Moab Utah
Scenic point – Delicate Arch in background

Al and I quickly return to the vehicle. We are duly impressed with our speed and agility as we traverse the trail downhill all in an attempt to seek shelter from the driving winds. I work to remove grit from my eyes before driving off.   As we sit in the vehicle enjoying a short reprieve from the blasting winds, Al in a rather chiding tone of voice asks, “So are we still going on that 2 hour hike?” Head slung and in a defeated tone, I respond, “No. Not today”. The wind wins!Moab UtahBut just because we don’t do the hike to Delicate Arch does not mean the day is ruined. Plan B; take in some other sites. We opt for short hikes with breaks from the wind back in the vehicle.

Moab Utah
Dramatic skies as weather rolls in
Arches National Park, Utah

The La Sal Mountains in the distance are getting hit with weather ….probably snow. The weather front adds drama to an already dramatic landscape.

La Sal Mountains
The La Sal Mountains in the distance receive a fresh dusting of snow

The winds do settle as the day progresses, but not without leaving in its wake some cool temperatures and a fresh coating of snow on the La Sal Mountains. Snow? Yikes! The thought of snow has us in the mood to move south. Arizona here we come!Moab Utah

Moab Utah
I may not have made it to Delicate Arch but I did make it to Windows. That’s lil’ole me standing under North Window Arch

The above event took place last week.  We are currently in transit on our way to Phoenix, Arizona.  Our short visit to the Moab area was indeed too short.  That said, I do believe a revisit is in order next Spring.  I know…. it’s a tough job, but I’m up for the challenge!