Pages

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Coach, Car, Plane & Trolley Car

Well, I've been absent for a few days, my apologies to my loyal readers! 

I've been winterizing the coach in preparation for a trip to Phoenix --- to fly to San Francisco for a few days --- then back to the coach to my early winter options.

With that being said we'll start with winterizing.  Not much to it, just getting all of the water out of all of the places that the water is stored.  The one place that I forgot was my flower pitcher on kitchen table.  Of all the help that I received from fellow rver's in the process, no one mentioned that vessel! 

The coach is officially in storage for the next two weeks. Colette, my sweet friend and park receptionist,  asked if I was planning to stay with them on a monthly basis when I returned. I am undecided.  Yesterday I woke to the first hard frost of the season, fresh snow on the mountain tops, and the thermometer's mercury continues to fall. I'm not sure that my warm-blooded Phoenix body can handle that much crisp mountain air continually oozing through the coach's nooks and crannies.

Colette began living out of her coach on December 1st of last year.  Brave and crazy soul.  She invited me to join her and several others who live at the park through the winter.  She offered lists of tools and supplies I would need for winter months: skirting, heat tape, window film, insulation pieces to cover the upper vents, and a crock pot.  Regular pot luck dinners cure the intermittent cabin fever that the neighbors experience, hence the crock pot suggestion. 

Hmmm.  I knew I was in for an adventure with this coach life. Once again, I'm being stretched by reality's definition of "adventure".  Am I up for this one.  Only Scarlett O'Hara's response comes to mind, "I'll think about that tomorrow."

In the meantime, Cat and I made the drive down to Phoenix late last night.  She was irritable nearly the entire trip, which has never happened before and can only mean one thing.  She misses her coach, and prefers it to the car on these long trips.  Paarrrrdon me!

Friday Henry and I will join his cousin Danny, and girlfriend Julie in San Francisco (via plane).  We'll visit all the sites --- Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, Nob Hill, Union Square, Sonoma, Napa, Muir Woods & beach, and of course ride the trolley cars.  What a great city San Francisco is!  I look forward to seeing the sites, eating the food, drinking the wine, and laughing continually as the four of us typically do together.

I'll keep in touch, maybe not daily, but check in for sights from the city and what can be seen from outside the motor coach! 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday Morning

Some of you are familiar with the TV program called Sunday Morning.  It includes segments on various subject matters interspersed with commentaries and opinions.  Today's Blog's title is inspired by that program with a casual twist.

Several of you have written to me and asked questions, so here are the answers:

How am I liking it, and is it getting old yet? 
I am loving it!  I'm really enjoying the simplicity of it.  Everything you need and nothing you don't.  A few epiphanies that I have had:

I cleaned the entire coach, front to back, bathroom, kitchen, even vacuuming and it took me a whole 40 minutes!  Fantastic! Much better that a whole day of house cleaning!

I can sit at my kitchen table and reach books on my living room couch without taking a step. 

The kitchen counter doubles as an end table for the living room, no dusting required.

Are you cooking or eating out?  Doing dishes or disposable everything?
Since I've been at the Soup Kitchen quite a bit, I eat once a day there. (There's always plenty and it's great to sit down to listen to people's stories.)  I've had dinner with Nick and Kristen at their home almost every night since I have been here.  Sometimes I cook for them, and sometimes they cook for me.

Last night I cooked dinner here in the coach for the first time. Once I found where, and how to light the oven's pilot light, -- after referring to the Owner's Manual . . . again --- the meal was a snap to prepare, and delicious.

I have to admit that after dinner I thought about loading the dishes in the dishwasher to get them out of sight as soon as possible and chuckled to myself when I realized how silly it was of me to think of a dishwasher in my confined space.  But, since there's not much to mess up, there's not much to clean up!

I have paper plates and disposable cups with me, but prefer to use my sterling silver flatware, plates, dishes, and cups as much as possible -- even it I'm cooking up a quick batch of oatmeal in the morning.  It brings an element of civility to what could be a pretty primitive eating experience otherwise. Flowers on the dining table brighten the entire coach and add to my dining pleasure.

What about laundry?
Anticipating my needs, my darling daughter-in-law was quick to offer their machines for my convenience --- complete with treated water so my digs in the coach are soft to the skin and static free - not bad for "camping".  I'm sure that I'll have to use a Laundromat at some point, so I'm appreciating their facilities greatly right now.

*****
And now we turn our attention to the Cat:

Is Cat is enjoying her new home?
Cat has proudly taken on the attitude that I purchased this rig for her very own comfort, enjoyment, and pleasure.  Similar to a home anywhere else she has lived (or visited), she has found a warm soft spot to curl up for napping any time of the day. She has also discovered the private deck in the front of the coach (aka, dashboard), designed specifically for her viewing pleasure as she is able to sit well above most of the activity that she is observing, and she can display her superior demeanor to passers-by who happen to catch a glimpse of her should they raise their heads high enough to see her.

Currently the shower stall has been converted to her very own private lavatory, complete with wall-to-wall carpeting underneath her box, with an additional throw rug in the hallway to catch the sand that she loves to toss around the entire coach.  (Again, no big deal, since the clean-up is no big deal.)

She has a scratching pad in the bedroom, directly in front of the heating vent, which she adores after she comes in from her multiple trips outside to check on the very latest happenings in the park. She quickly learned that her soft meow can be heard inside the coach which signals to me that she would like me to open the door for her.  Apparently something scared her at some point and she has adjusted that signal from a meow to a pounce on the metal step just outside the coach door, which initiates the same response from me, her doorman.  She stays fairly close to the coach, and always seeks shelter from any threats by hopping up on one of the wheels under the coach in the even that her doorman is off duty, or away from the property.

Quite amusing to me, she has learned to follow just a few steps behind me when I go for walks around the park.  Maybe someday I will be able to lead her on a leash if we keep practicing this interesting routine.  One day we walked to the back of the property where an alpaca was tethered to a tree, grazing.  It stunned her and her response was so intense that I had to laugh out loud at her.  I don't think she's ever seen large animal before, because the horses in the pasture beyond also seemed to instigate the same curious response.

Does she mind the movement of the RV while you are on the road? 
I think she's fine with the movement of the coach while on the road.  The only time I see or hear from her is when I stop the vehicle. She walks out of the bedroom and meows, maybe just to remind me that she's back there and would appreciate some stillness.  She's so used to traveling now that when I take her anywhere in the car with me she sits on my lap and her nose is practically glued to the window checking out the scenery passing by.  She's become my lap kitty. 

******
And now, a thank you to my readers:

Thank you to all of you who are reading "The Blog".  Just like you, I'm not sure how to use this new technology, so if you did figure out how to "become a follower", congratulations.  However, apparently, according to my dear daughter-in-law, I have to link my followers back to me.  Since I'm not sure what that means, and how to do it, bear with me a while longer and I'll figure it out in the coming week.  All of us "techno-sauruses" will learn together. 

Continually learning ---- on the coach, on the internet, something new every day!

That's it for now, I'm headed out of my tin-dominium for a Halloween party tonight.  More to come tomorrow. 

For now, I leave you with views of my humble home.

How about this for an efficient kitchen!
Table for 4


My delightfully comfy and cozy bedroom!

The Living Room & "Bridge"


Just one of many favorite places.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Quiet please

Should I share with you the splendor of the cottonwood trees in their majestic autumn gold foilage,

or the sweet smell of the river valley before a rain,

or the calming comfort of a night sky painted with greys, the clouds giving way to the moon's nearly full glow?

Oh how I wish I could. 

You'll have to excuse me, I'm going to listen to the pitter patter of a steady rain tonight. 

It's a treat that this gal from the desert craves, and it's long overdue.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

They're Not Ax Murderers

Last Friday, after a week of enjoying a mini-vacation in Durango, I decided to seek out someone who might need help.  (After all, that is part of the travel plans.)  I stopped by the Soup Kitchen and committed myself to a week of service which began yesterday. ---- More on that later.

Anyway, after my shift today my neighbor knocked on my door and ordered me to come over and "talk rv" with him and his wife.  Before I had my thongs on he was not headed back to his rv as I expected, but rather to the opposite side of mine where he quickly openend all of my utility compartments.  By that time his wife was introducing herself and looking over his shoulder, commenting to each other about my set-up.Without hesitation he began undoing hoses and cords and pipes and reconnecting them through the appropriate lower openings.  When he got to the waste pipes, he offered the lead to her, and as she adjusted the fittings, she turned to me and proudly announced that she is the "Potty Expert"!

I had met him the day before while we were both having our propane tanks filled. In the RV Park, the local gas company truck circles the driveways between the motorhomes like an ice cream truck jingles through the neighborhood, looking for kids standing at edge of their yards waiting for the truck to the arrive.  Soooo, we're a little older, and it's heat, not ice that we're waiting for. Nevertheless, we're at our curbs, flagging him down. 

Anyway, back to today.  They continued my lessons with how to fill my traveling water tank, how to empty my traveling water tank, and how much water to keep in my traveling water tank while traveling to get the best gas mileage, and still have all the comforts of home readily accessible.

Then we were on to practicing maneuvers with the awning.  They shared the story of how they lost one on the highway one time --- which apparently is a fairly common occurrence since the guy that sold me my rv told me he had the same experience in his previous rv.  They were impressed by the Harley jewelry he had attached to my rig for added security, but suggested that I still purchase some velcro straps to hold the awning frame close to the vehicle during those windy days on the highway.  (Sounds like a design problem to me!)

Finally, after assuring them three times that I didn't need help with anything else, they invited me to their rig. I knew it was going to be nice -- 4 pop-outs and shinny new (2-3 years old), it was beautiful inside.  I hardly felt like I was in an rv --- cherry cabinets, flat screen tv, as wide as a standard hotel room.  Even the steering wheel was disguised with a cloth covered table where photos of the grandkids and an antique lamp were displayed.

Well, we talked about the best clubs to join, the best ways to learn about the rig, and road travel, and places to stay, where they had been, sharing our common interests (including garage sale-ing), where we were both going, and notes on local restaurants.  We exchanged cards and promised to keep in touch.  They're "pulling out" in the morning to head back to their home in Denton, Texas.

Sweet, sweet people.. . . . not ax murderers.  I have a feeling there's going to be many more of their kind along the way.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Notes on an evening walk

Bayfield, Colorado 

Incorporated in 1906
Population:  2,087
Land Area:  1.08 square miles

Oh, I'm so sorry I didn't have my camera for my evening walk tonight. I walked from one end of Bayfield to the other.

I saw a couple cruising Main Street. . . . on their horses.

I saw a winter's worth of firewood stacked on the front porch of a house.

I saw a black and white goat in a front yard, "mowing" the lawn with it's front teeth.

I saw two young boys in a front yard, trying their best to load a bike on an old rusty red wagon.  They saw me walking by and spoke a little more loudly to each other, "We sure could use some help, couldn't we?"  And the other replied back to his friend, "Yep, sure could!" 

Aah!  That's my cue!  I helped them load the bike. As soon as it was done (taking all of 30 seconds), their little cherub-like faces turned up towards me with clearly spoken thanks.  Sweet little angels!

Boys at that kindergarten age are so precious. Moms want to hold on to them forever.

But from the time they are born, it is a constant stream of letting them go.  They learn to crawl, we have to let go of holding them all the time.  Then they walk.  Soon they're off to school, spending time with friends, sport, and new interests.  Before we know it they're dating, and preparing for adulthood, leaving home for school, or a career, and a family of their own.

The deck is stacked against us.  The more we try to hold them, the more they must, and do resist our grasp. 

Just as the neighborhood boys appreciated my help, and just as I was blessed with the gratitude expressed in their innocent upturned smiling faces, my relationship with my own sons is nourished by similar brief moments shared --- by invitation only.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

New Normal

Today was a typical Saturday.  Get up and clean the house, do a little home repair and improvement, and take the afternoon off.  It's probably the closest to normal that I've been since I purchased this home. When it's not on the road, Coach Life is pretty much the same as permanent home life. I even have wireless internet service and cable tv service --- and, actually more channels that I get at home. 

Since I've been close to Durango, CO, I've been visiting with my son Nick, and his wife, Kristen.  That's normal. I visit them regularly on weekends throughout the year. We enjoy each other's company. It's easy to think about staying here close to them, but that's not part of the plan. 

I'm in a process of blending the old normal with the new normal.  Spending time with Nick and Kristen is part of a day that also includes formulating the next trip leg, researching another income lead, learning something new about the coach (today it was the propane system), or visiting with fellow campers and RVer's.

It's one thing to say I'm going to travel around in an RV and help people, it's totally different putting it into action.

I must find some way to help someone here before I move on.  And, I must move on.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Daydreamer

So many people that hear of my adventure tell me that they wish that they could do it, or think it's great to have such freedom. . . and courage. . .

I had to chuckle today when a friend told me that years ago she thought I was just day dreaming when I would talk about traveling in an RV.  Yes, I was just day dreaming then. 

Our minds are amazing machines.  Just like guided missiles, our brains are set up to hone in on a target (goal) and decipher the path to get there.  A series of events occurring in precisely the right order, all at precisely the right time created the opportunity to transform my day dream into reality.  It's as simple as that.

Well, that and a heaping lot of prayers!

So, what is your day dream?  I'd love to know. .. .

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

To Pass, or not to Pass

Wolf Creek Pass Summit, The Continental Divide
Today I took a scouting trip in the car over Wolf Creek Pass. For those of you unfamiliar with this section of Colorado roadway, check out the description, and the song lyrics written about one trucker's scarey drive over it at  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf_Creek_Pass.

I've been over it many times in my life. The first time was life changing.  The aspen trees that dotted the roadside were decked out in their autumn gold-guilded leaves, against a sky bluer than I could have ever imagined possible.  The Rio Grande River headwaters ran icy clear, trickling over boulders and massive tree trunks along the road's edge.  As the elevation increase, the river disappeared and my attention was drawn to acres and acres, and acres of aspens, pines, and rocky peaks.

Today was no different.  It was as spectacular as I remember it. 

And now, 30 years later, after massive improvements, expanded roads, and smoothed out curves, it still demands respect from the motorists that travel it.  Warning signs and Runaway Truck Ramps are still frequently in view, and carry heavy penalties to those who do not heed them.

It was a beautiful drive, a gorgeous day. One that won't be repeated behind the wheel of the coach... I'll take the southern route!


Rio Grande River, South Fork, CO


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Neighbors



They just finished kissing. . . really!

Now these neighbors are real dears deers, so tame that you practically have to push them out of the way to get an apple off of the tree above them.

What a beautiful day.  Blue sky, yellow aspens, and a babbling brook outside my front door.

Doesn't get much better than this.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Requests please. . .

Hey everyone out there ---- I need your help.

Already I have more stories that what I can put into a blog.  But I don’t want to bore you with the ones that you don’t care about.

I can tell you about how much I truly appreciated discovering that this RV park had shower facilities so that I could take a long, hot shower this morning.  (RV showers are not long. They are hot, but it is recommended that you rinse, turn off the water, lather, and turn the water back on to rinse again.)  Brrrrr --- not my kind of shower when the coach is 42 degrees because I didn’t turn on the propane the night before and so I can’t light the coach heater, OR the water heater until I go out and open the valve. And, that means no hot water for brewed coffee on the propane stove either. . . .

OR,

I can tell you about how I stopped at Window Rock Park on the way here, and how I enjoyed hearing the sounds of small bells as I slowed down to looked through the window of the rock --- only to discover that what sounded like a gentle wind chime was actually a loose chain on my car dolly.



OR

I can share my thoughts with you about how the Navajo Nation honors it fallen soldiers on the reservation.

OR,   

I can tell you how absolutely blissed-out my cat is in her new environment. 

OR,

I can answer any other question you might have about what this is experience like in this very moment --- just ask!

Home Repair Opportunities Abound

Today I am officially “hooked-up”.  I have checked in for the week at a gorgeous park along the banks of the Pine River in southwestern Colorado.

My mobile homestead has running water (hot and cold), plumbing, and electricity.  The camp host was extremely friendly, helpful and full of useful tips about utilities, seasonal challenges, and driving tips. 

He reminded me that in all matters, take the feminine approach --- use a gentle touch everywhere inside and outside of the coach. 

“Oh,” I exclaimed as he instructed, “there’s lots of potential to break things on this vehicle.” 

“Yes, there’s lots of potential to break things.” He echoed.

When he left, I went inside and figured out how to operate the blinds by myself. 

I opened the window quickly, . . . and was left holding the a piece of the window clasp between my fingers. 

My first first-hand experience with a broken thing. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I'm out!

 I’m finally on the road.  My first goal is to get out of the valley.
Not sure if you know or not, but Phoenix is in the heart of the “Valley of the Sun”.  It’s not apparent at first, but shortly into the drive you realized that you’re climbing a series of large hills that will bring you to an elevation above 6,000 feet in just over 2 hours. 

The highway is dotted with caution signs: slow down for sharp curves, steep grades, and my favorite -- particularly on a hot summer day--  “Turn air conditioning off to avoid over heating.”

I’ve traveled that road so many times in the past 20 years that those signs are a blur as I zip past at 80mph, my greatest fear is a high-priced speeding ticket.  

Today is different.  As I climb those hills the engine revs to a maximum speed of 45mph, and as I glide down them I am challenged to keep the coach at 45mph.  Cars are lined up behind me on the way up, and wizzing by me on the way down.

I’m an inconvenience, and I know it. 

I spend 5 hours driving what typically takes me about 3 ½.  Not bad considering my novice status.  My goal for today has been accomplished.

The day ends with a quiet campsite and an equally quiet sunset.  I will rest well.

Tomorrow's roads will be easier.