A Visit with Mom’s Friend

After an awe-inspiring trip to Death Valley National Park, we reluctantly bid farewell to this incredible national park. February 2012 – Today’s destination is Mesquite, Nevada. The main reason for our visit to Mesquite is to connect with long time friends of my parents. The two couples met during their RVing days via their regular winter excursions to the Texas Gulf Coast. Even though both couples sold their RVs due to health and age, they still managed to maintain their close friendship regardless of distance.

We had met these friends previously during one of our Texas vacations visiting my parents at an RV Park on Mustang Island. Bill and Sigrid are a delightful couple that were currently splitting their time between their ranch in Montana and a Park Model in Mesquite. Even though they had sold their motorhome the previous year, they weren’t totally done with RVing and had recently purchased a little travel trailer for an upcoming trip to Alaska which I was particularly interested in hearing all about. This would be their third and final RV road trip to Alaska, and they were a wealth of information. Considering such an RV adventure was on my radar at the time, I was eager to soak up as much knowledge as they were willing to share.

Our route from Death Valley NP to Mesquite, Nevada

From our campsite at Stovepipe Wells, we headed west via Daylight Pass Road (Hwy 374) toward the town of Beatty, Nevada. In Beatty, we picked up Hwy 95 and headed south toward Las Vegas.  Once in Las Vegas, we picked up the 215 beltway east to I-15 north.  The trip took us about three hours including a stop for gas and lunch.

Finding a place to stay in Mesquite

Mesquite is a small town about an hour’s drive north of Las Vegas, Nevada, with a population of less than 20,000. We had lived in Las Vegas in the 1990s and kept this town on our shortlist of possible places to retire. So we were curious about our current feelings toward this community.

With only two exits off of Interstate 15, we chose to exit at the first one and stop at Walmart to stock up on supplies. Before turning into the Walmart parking lot, we notice a banner hanging on some fencing – RV Resort with an arrow.  Once our Walmart shopping trip was complete, we decide to check out that RV Resort on the banner. The Solstice Motorcoach Resort had only been open less than a year and was an absolutely beautiful facility. Considering it was so new, there were plenty of empty sites. We decide to spend a week and focus on ridding ourselves, the dog, and the RV of dirt and sand. I’m sure we were carrying a few extra pounds of weight in sand alone from our stay in Death Valley.

We enjoyed a beautiful RV site at Solstice Motorcoach Resort

The Park sits high above the town of Mesquite offering a beautiful night view of the lights.  No dark sky around here! The folks at the RV Park were extremely friendly, helpful, and made this stop perfect to tend to chores, relaxation, and a couple of fun visits with family friends.

Enlightened by seasoned RVers

One of the things I enjoy most about the RV lifestyle is the people we meet. There’s something about RVing that connects folks from all walks of life … age, economic status, race, religion, etc. doesn’t seem to matter as much as our common interest in RV travel and getting into nature.

We visit with Sigrid and Bill a couple of times throughout the week and our conversations flow freely. We talk about their plans for their upcoming Alaskan RV road trip. They bring out maps and The Milepost Book. They share photos and tales from previous trips as well as impending details of their upcoming trip. We are enlightened and soak up the information.

Eventually, the conversation switches over to photography and Bill brings out his new camera. He has owned many cameras, both DSLR’s and Point & Shoots, but really loves this new Panasonic Bridge Camera. Hmm, a bridge camera? … more enlightenment on my part. He shares the pluses and minuses of a bridge camera as well as some recent wildlife images taken with the new camera. I’m impressed and make a note for future reference. My little Point & Shoot camera was definitely limiting and I was getting ready to upgrade.

Before bidding farewell to this engaging couple, Sigrid and I turn our attention to her relationship with my mother, especially since this was the week of my mom’s birthday: Feb. 26th. Mom and Sigrid were particularly close and Sigrid and I bond over tears as we share tales about my mother and how much she is missed.

Life can be fleeting, and little did I know at that moment, but a month later, Sigrid would pass away in her sleep from a brain aneurism. 😥

Moving on

Our week in Mesquite was very relaxing and productive. We accomplished some chores, visited with family friends, and engaged with other RVers at the RV Park. This last week in February, the weather was still a little chilly so it was time to move on in search of warmer weather. As much as we enjoyed our week-long stay, we decided Mesquite was no longer on our retirement shortlist.

From Mesquite, Nevada, to Davis Camp Park in Bullhead City, Arizona

During our stay at Lake Havasu, fellow campers had shared some of their favorite campgrounds with us … particularly places in the desert southwest. One such place was the Davis Camp Park located along the Colorado River and right below the Davis Dam in Bullhead City, Arizona. We were in the process of working our way back to Phoenix and decided the Davis Camp Park location was perfect for splitting the distance between Mesquite and Phoenix.

Upon arrival, we were allowed to drive around the campground and pick out a site before paying and filling out the paperwork. After driving all around, we finally decide on a waterfront campsite with no hookups.  Ah, let the entertainment begin! I stand at the rear of the site to help direct Al in backing up into the RV site.  I begin to wonder if he even pays attention to me and my direction other than when to stop.  I ponder … perhaps I should get some of those orange wands ground crew use to direct pilots.  Maybe then, just maybe, Mr. former Airline Pilot would give dear wife more credibility.  Probably not!  I’ll just continue with my usual hand gestures, or as Al likes to call it “my song and dance routine”.

These two RV newbies continue to be stressed whenever arriving at a new campground and needing to back into a site. In addition to the normal everyday stresses of learning this new RV lifestyle, the extreme wind that was blowing all around us was another stressor and concern. The wind was so incredibly bad that the RV swayed from side to side. This former Illinois gal has seen first hand the devastating destruction caused by extreme wind.  I immediately have a fear of our RV being flipped onto its side by a gust of wind. I quickly extend the slides thinking perhaps the slides would act as outriggers. Al laughs at me, but in my defense, the RV did sway less with the slides extended.

We really enjoyed our great waterfront campsite … wind and all.  And no, we never did come close to toppling over. This was merely the first time we had encountered such extreme wind in our new RV, and this was just another lesson in our long learning curve.

Davis Camp Park
We loved our waterfront site but hated the wind.

The town of Laughlin and its Casinos are practically within walking distance from the campground, and Bullhead City is bigger than we originally thought with lots of amenities.  Although we liked our campsite, the warm weather, and the area in general, after three nights, we’d had our fill of the winds and were on our way bound for Phoenix. 

My Blog Plan for 2021

My Blog Plan for 2021

Are you new to blogging or do you consider yourself a seasoned blogger? No doubt, I fall into the latter group. I started this little blog of mine nine years ago – January 2012. On one hand, it seems like just yesterday and on the other hand, it feels like a lifetime ago. Time can be strange!

We all have our own individual reasons for starting a blog. Mine started out strictly for personal reasons as a means of documenting our travels and keeping family and friends up to date on all our new happenings. What transpired was the building of a community and a group of new friends. Friendships were forged and physical meetups were arranged.

Many of my original blogging friends have since sold their RV’s and found new places to settle and call home. Most have stopped blogging altogether. Some connections were strong enough that our friendship continues to this day while others have moved on. Life continues as new chapters are started, and as I reflect on the past nine years, I cherish the friendships and memories created.

How to preserve those memories?

What will happen to all our blog posts … our tales … our stories when we decide to deactivate our accounts? Say it isn’t so! No, I don’t plan on shutting down my site anytime soon. I still plan on being around here for a while and I hope you will be as well. I truly appreciate you stopping by, reading, liking, and leaving comments, and for that, I thank you. I love this blogging community and every time I take a break, I miss it … I miss you.

I know there will come a time when I will deactivate this account, but not before I find a way to preserve some of these memories and tales documented here on my blog. This has been my online journal, and I’d sure like to preserve it in some structured way. Thus, the idea of a “blog to book”. What a great concept. The first time I heard about this possibility was several years ago, and since then, there are now numerous platforms to choose from to do just that … turn my blog posts into physical books … books that are intended for my purposes only.

Cringe worthy writing!

I love the idea of creating a hard copy of select blog posts that I’ve written. BUT have you ever gone back and reread some of your original posts? Eek! I don’t know about you, but mine make me cringe. I mean, I literally want to hang my head in my hands in an embarrassing kind of cringe. However, if I look on the bright side, over the years my writing and my photographs have improved… at least I hope. I guess that would be known as progress. I’ll take it!

As much as my early posts make me cringe, I’m still very glad I jumped in and just wrote. My original intent, which continues to this day, is to write as I speak … minus my Chicago accent.😆 I want my blog posts to sound as if you and I are having a cup of coffee, or happy hour cocktail, together. My goal has always been to sound casual and inviting but without grammatical mistakes. Thank goodness for Grammarly. Where were you when I started this blog?

With that said, I’m not comfortable archiving many of my posts into a book format. Ah, what’s a gal to do?

My solution!

Since Al and I aren’t traveling like we used to and with this virus still hanging around, I find myself at a loss of blog material, a loss of inspiration, and at a loss of what to write about. Thus, I have decided to repurpose AND rewrite older blog posts, posts about our earlier travels with the RV. I also plan to add some new content to these tales … personal content and memories that I’d like to pass down to the next generation. After all, the whole point of turning my blog posts into a book is for the preservation of our travel memories … our life in an RV.

Hopefully, my images and writing will be somewhat less cringe-worthy and acceptable … acceptable to the level that I’ll feel comfortable turning those pages into a physical book; a book that will only be found on my shelf. Notice, I didn’t use the word professional. Yeah, I’m a realist and have no inclination to try and write professionally. Even my rewrites will still contain enough faux pas for an English teacher to have plenty to redline, and I’m ok with that.

So that’s my blog writing plan for the new year … to take you back in time and relive some of our travel tales and adventures. I hope you’ll stick around as I go down memory lane.

Struggling with Motivation

Struggling with Motivation

Another week, another day! It’s Saturday as I sit in front of my computer staring at a blank screen. I usually put out a blog post every Sunday morning, and at four o’clock Saturday afternoon, I still didn’t have anything ready to post. Oh, I have lots of ideas floating around in my head and even have some blog post drafts with paragraphs already started, but I can’t seem to find the motivation to complete any of them.

Why I’m not motivated

I don’t know about you, but I’m about over it … over this new normal, new reality, new whatever we want to call it. I’m tired of cooking. I want to go out to a restaurant (carry-outs don’t count). I want to be able to go shopping and not just for groceries. I need a new purse. I’d like to visit friends face to face and not just via computer or Facetime. I think we’re all ready for this pandemic to be over especially our heroes on the frontline who are surely exhausted.

Last week my spell check and Grammarly crapped out on my computer and I put out a blog post with a typo in the title. Yep, a typo in the title! 🤦‍♀️ Thank goodness for loyal readers/friends who aren’t afraid to DM me and point out my faux pas. Oh, how embarrassing. I reelly am edumicated.🥴

One way shopping aisle – who would’ve imagined?

This whole new world order has me oscillating from being an efficient, organized, productive human being to a total blob on the couch who can’t remember when she last showered. Thank goodness Al’s allergies are bad and he can’t smell a thing 😆. However, I am living in a desert (Phoenix, Arizona) where water is a precious commodity and should be conserved for the greater good of mankind. Therefore, I’m doing my part to conserve water. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

Skylight finally getting replaced. The white duct tape worked wonders on the cracked skylight. Me removing screws.

What I have accomplished

In reality, the past couple of weeks, I’ve cranked out a few projects. So my time hasn’t been totally wasted binging things on TV or the computer. Al and I tackled some RV repairs on the roof. We replaced a skylight and two vents. Those projects were long overdue, but hey, that duct tape worked great until we could get around to replacing the broken items.  Next week, we’ll replace the final vent and get the RV closer to being ready for our summer journey to Wisconsin. That stay at home order better be lifted by June 1st or my RV and I may melt. This week temps in Phoenix will be in the 90’s (Fahrenheit) and by June they’ll be hitting the 100’s. But it’s a dry heat!

I also helped my sister-in-law paint two accent walls in her home. I can’t believe she’s never painted before, but after my excellent tutelage (LOL), she’s ready to tackle her next project; a bedroom. And since she and her husband just moved to Phoenix from Denver and were still waiting on the moving truck to arrive, I fixed them a couple of meals that they could just heat up … pulled pork and a lasagna.

Photo prompt – Mother Nature Earth

So, since my brain can’t seem to focus on writing, I thought I’d join a photo challenge. My friend, Terri, posts a “Sunday Still’s” photo prompt every weekend and this Sunday the theme is Mother Nature. Okay, I even read Terri’s prompt incorrectly. It should be Mother Earth and not Mother Nature. Yeah, my mind is total moosh lately. With that said, My first thoughts for the prompt were images of weather. As a full-time RVer and traveler, I’m well acquainted with Mother Nature’s diverse personality when it comes to weather, but lately, certain parts of the U.S. have experienced her wrath. Thus, I’ll turn my focus elsewhere.

desert image

Mother Nature can be defined as caring, nurturing, and life-giving and with that in mind, I’ve decided to share images of flowers which is perfect for the Mother Earth theme. After all, flowers need care, nurturing, and grow in the earth. Besides, they make me smile and we could all use a few extra smiles these days.

And be sure and check out my partner in crime, Teri over at Images by T. Dashfield. She takes amazing floral images and I’m counting on her to provide me with a tulip fix. Oh, how I adore tulips! Keep those photos coming, Teri aka Macro Queen 😀

How did your week go? (Grrr, my spell check still won’t work right. All I get is a red line indicating it’s wrong and no help to correct it. And trust me, I need all the help I can get.)

Every day you have a decision to make …Will you give up, give in, or give it your all?

(These are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you for your support❤ )

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Day Planner – Self Care Journal, Includes Inspirational Quotes
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Blogging Lessons Learned

We all start blogs for different reasons.  I started this blog a little over three years ago as a means to personally document our travels and keep family and friends up to date on our journey.  I’ll admit, it’s morphed into something much more than I ever expected.ButterfliesI never anticipated the social aspect of blogging and the making of some wonderful friends along the way…. what an amazing discovery.  Some of those friendships will remain cyber based while others have and will develop into more.  Thus, I’m very pleased I started the blog.

Botanical Garden
new friendships are forged – Nancy from Two Trails One Road and I enjoy a day at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ

The past couple of weeks, hubby and I have been doing some remodeling on our son’s home and having a lot of fun in the process.  I know, our son thinks we’re crazy too. While painting cabinets, my mind wandered as I thought about blog material.  “What ever shall I write about?”  I thought about how comfortable I’ve become with writing and sharing.  It sure wasn’t that way in the beginning.   It took me awhile to find my style, my voice, and learn some lessons along the way.  So today I thought I’d share a few of MY personal thoughts and opinions on blogging and a few lessons learned.

blogging 1011.  First off, there’s no right or wrong way to blog.  Blogging is personal.  Some folks blog as an outlet to express themselves while others hope to monetize their site.  Some of my favorite blog sites are the ones that are educational.  I’ve picked up great photography tips as well as discovered some ‘must see’ places to visit from other bloggers.

2.  Finding my voice.  It took me awhile to find my voice and style.  I really struggled with this in the beginning.  I remember watching American Idol years ago and the judges would always tell the contestants to make the song their own. That’s easier said than done, but in the end it’s all about being yourself, being honest, and true to yourself. There’s no need to copy or plagiarise.

3.  Writing has never been easy for me.  I can’t tell you how many times I stare at a blank computer screen with severe writers block.  It took me awhile to find what works for me.  I need to visualize.

bloggingAl and I went on a fabulous hike several weeks ago and I couldn’t wait to write about it, but couldn’t seem to find the words.  A friend of ours wanted to know all about the trail and whether or not he and his wife should attempt the hike.

As soon as I envisioned myself sitting across the table having a drink with Gary, the story of that hike made it onto the blog in quick order.  So now whenever I get stuck with that blank computer screen, I visualize I’m chatting over coffee with a dear friend.

4.  White space.  It’s important to break up text with paragraphs and pictures.  By breaking up the text it’s easier to read and less overwhelming.

5.  Speaking of pictures – always, always include a photograph, cartoon, or graph of some sort to hold the reader’s attention.  Think of an ad in a newspaper.  All ads have some visual content that draws the reader’s eye in.  It’s important to add that visual content even if your blog is writing based.  That visual aid will help tell the story and keep a reader’s attention.  It’s also extremely important to display the photo or graph large enough for readers to see it clearly.

Do not expect readers to click on an image to enlarge it. Most folks don’t have the time or inclination to enlarge individual photos.  I know I don’t.  I will however enlarge a gallery when it’s displayed in a slide show fashion, IF I have time.  In many of my earlier blog posts, my photos were entered in the thumbnail or medium size format.  It was only after a couple of seasoned bloggers recommended that I post my photos in a larger format that I started doing just that.

wild donkey's
Are you listening? Yes, I’m all ears!

6.  Write an About page letting folks know what you and your blog are all about.  Before I decide to “follow” a blog, I always read the About page.  Not everyone is

blogging tips
I’m not afraid to show you the real me!

comfortable posting a photo of themselves, but I find a photo along with general information of residency to be more engaging – more relatable.

7.  Editing is a biggie.  I’ve learned to edit and then re-edit…..   proof read, reread, and spell check.

I try to do my homework on a subject by doing proper research before publishing. I do get it wrong sometimes and am never insulted when a reader enlightens me to my faux pas.  I also like linking to other sites giving my readers the option of more information if they’re interested.

Keeping my posts simple and under 1,000 words is my goal.  If I have a long story, I break it up into parts.

8.  And then there’s the social aspect of blogging; this has been the most fun for me.  Make sure your Gravatar is linked properly or other bloggers can’t visit your site. That is if you enjoy the social aspect of the blogosphere, and if not, that’s ok too.

I love receiving comments and responding, but every now and then a troll stops by…. you know, someone looking to pick a fight.  I can honestly say in the time I’ve been blogging I think I’ve only had 2 such encounters.  So embrace the positive comments and ignore the negative ones.lizard9.  Be a student….. as I read other blogs I pay attention to design, layout, ease of site navigation, and other details.  I also check to see how my blog shows up on different devices.  I use my hubby’s laptop to check how fast my site loads.  Some WordPress themes load faster than others.  You don’t want a slow site or you may not have many readers.

Design – Is the site easy to navigate?  Can a visitor quickly tell what the blogs purpose is?  What color text to use?  Black with white text versus white with black text?  A lot of blogs specializing in photography use a black background with white text.  Supposedly the photos show better.  My aging eyes have difficulty with the black background.  Thus, I personally follow only one or two blogs that use black with white text.  Give me a nice white background any day whether the blog’s focus is photography or writing.garden photography10.  Write for yourself first.  Remember this is suppose to be fun and we don’t want to make blogging feel like a job (unless that’s the intent).  Some say publish posts consistently and on a schedule. I say… post when you feel like it.

Oops, I’ve surpassed my 1,000 word count limit….. happy blogging!
BUT one last thought, my cyber friend Sue and I had a telepathic moment…. check out her recent post on “Getting more blog comments” – click here for more insightful suggestions.

WordPress For Dummies

Education Questioned…

As I admire my handy work, I also question my writing abilities.  You see, I just spent the last five days working on a scrapbook.  A scrapbook about our six-week journey.  A scrapbook on this blog.  By printing out or retyping my posts, it required me to reread all postings.  Eek!

I’ve never felt I had exceptional writing skills, and after reading these posts, not only have my feelings been confirmed, I now question my education.  I am appalled, embarrassed, mortified…..shall I continue…..  I detect typos, misspellings, improper sentence structure, overuse of punctuation, etc. etc.  I always read and reread prior to publishing.  Perhaps I should sleep on a posting before publishing.  Perhaps, the next day I’ll catch the error of my way.

I wonder…. should I go back,correct all mistakes, and update each posting?  I ask Al.  His response, “Why did you start a blog to begin with?”  Hum, why did I start this blog?  I started this blog as a form of journal, documenting our travels for our children.  My mom journaled, but her handwriting was almost illegible and in another language.  Therefore, we (her children) are unable to read them.  Oh, how I wish they were more legible.  Al and I visited several areas my folks stayed at during their RVing days. I would love to know more details of their travels.  I would love to visit the very spots they visited. And their photos?  Well most are in boxes.  I wish the photos were with a corresponding journal entry.  Thus, my blog was born!

So since my motivation is for personal reasons and not for monetary or notoriety reasons, I’ll leave the mistakes.  Yes, a flawed individual capable of butchering the English language.  We won’t mention my Chicago accent  …..da bears!

The embarrassment has passed.  I’ll continue to blog.  I’ll write as I speak, as improper as that may be.  It is what it is….flaws and all!