Archive for January, 2014

Life in the slow lane

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

We have been hanging out in the desert sand near the town of Quartzsite.  We have been here many times and every time I ask myself WHY?  There is lots of dirt, retired people, dirt, sunshine, dirt, junk to look at, dirt, RV stuff to buy and dirt!  Quartzsite, Arizona,where you can spend days just looking at the stuff others have brought to sell here.  It is a garage sale on steroids which is not my favorite thing to do, besides I live in a space that does not allow a lot of extra things.  We come here to catch up with people we have met along the way because Quartzsite in January is where lots of RV clubs and groups converge.

We spent our first week here at a Rally, that is what they call these get togethers in the desert where we found several couples that we have met in our travels.  It was very nice, good music and food for 2 days.  We also went to Blythe, California for the Blythe Bluegrass Festival.  It was a beautiful day and one that was good for catching a little Vitamin D while listening to groups playing their music.

fiddle, bango, base fiddle, acoustic guitar and mandolin

fiddle,banjo, base fiddle, acoustic guitar and mandolin

We listened to about 5 bands while enjoying to fresh air and a bit of people watching! This festival was definitely a relaxed day!




We moved in the desert to a different section of dirt, this one we pay $40 for 2 weeks for the priviledge of having somewhere to dump our trash and get fresh water if you are willing to wait in line.   Here we have 4 rigs of friends from San Jose and we hang out, read books, play cards, watch a little TV, walk, and sometimes we go into town and check out some of the junk! I even took some time and built a puzzle.

1000 pieces, actually 998!  I lost two pieces from moving it about in the RV!

1000 pieces, actually 998! I lost two pieces from moving it about in the RV!

Thrifty ice cream is the treat of Quartzsite.  There are several spots to get a scoop and it is so good.  I am not a big fan of the desert but I always look for the bright spot and this 2 weeks in the desert and seeing friends, making new connections and that scoop of ice cream is it for me!

Paul is still talking about this!

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

We made it to Arizona, or at least we have been there!  We are parked along the Colorado River in California across the river from Arizona.  We have to drive to Arizona if we want a loaf of bread or even a beer!  Weather is great, life is great, blah, blah, blah!

On the advice of friends and people we just met we decided to drive to the Desert Bar which we were told is down a dirt, desert road for 5 miles.  Sounds crazy to drive 5 miles in the dirt for a drink, but OK,  I’m game!

about 2 miles in this is what we see - miles of desert and lots of cars going to the bar!

about 2 miles in this is what we see – miles of desert and lots of cars going to the bar!

This is definitely out there!  5 miles off the highway and nothing in between except an occasional cactus and a couple worn out RV’s near a shooting range!  Yeks! Finally we find this place.  It is only open from October thru April on Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 6 pm!

There is no cell service, they do have a well and lots of solar panels!

There is no cell service, they do have a well and lots of solar panels!

I was thinking more a shack!

I was thinking more a shack!

The place is totally self sufficient and you can’t tell!  There is live music, people from all walks of life and they pour a mean Bloody Mary!  You only need two!  The restrooms are very interesting.  The women’s has an amazing view and the mens is a one room cave!

Not sure what the buckets were for!

Not sure what the buckets were for!



The stalls are made out of solid sheets of steel and the back wall is the mountain!

We spent a couple hours visiting with some new friends and listening to some fun music and then it was time to take the trail back to civilization.

On our way back to California we see signs that say watch for the Burros and we saw a couple!

Check this out!

Check this out!

Good thing he has a girl picked out!

Good thing he has a girl picked out!

Paul saw this and had to stop!  He says it was touching the ground.  Paul is so impressed he will probably be talking about this in July!





Can you believe it???

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

I keep checking my calendar and reviewing my dates because it just doesn’t seem possible that 5 years ago we walked away from “normal” and into this world of roaming about the country.   Is it what I expected in 2009?  What is my favorite place?  What do you do all day?  How long are you going to do this?  are some of the questions that I get asked often and mostly I can’t answer them.

Where are we today?

Pretty nice place to call ‘home” for a few days!

Is it what I expected?  I don’t know because I am not sure what I expected.  We were at an interesting part of our lives, I love to travel, our kids were off in college, Paul worked 80 miles from home and the economy was going to Hell!  I do know it was the right decision and I have no regrets.

What is my favorite place?  This one is the hardest because “home”  was/is a pretty amazing place.  It is a big city with lots of congestion, people from all walks of life and political problems but the weather is spectacular and that is where my kids have chosen to make their lives!  So, home will always be San Jose but being able to visit all these other amazing places is an experience I cherish.  I love the south for the amazing food,  I love the northeast for the beautiful nature, New York City is an amazing place to just hang out,   the northwest is very peaceful.   The southwest can’t be beat January- March.  The beauty of this lifestyle is that I don’t have to choose because my home has wheels and Paul will drive me anywhere I want to go.

What do you do all day?  Hmmm….  walk, read,  sit in the sun,  watch the birds, play fetch with Duke,  laugh, write this blog, take pictures, sew, crochet, play games on the computer, watch tv, clean house, make dinner – mostly what everyone else does except I don’t go to a job.  We have done some jobs on the road but mostly I enjoy life without being especially productive.  Of course we do some amazing thing but there is so much more to do.

How long are you going to do this?  The original commitment was 5 years but within the first year we both knew that was not going to be enough.  There is just so much to see – we have been across the USA twice and will be working on our third trip this spring, we have traveled to the northwest twice and into Canada,   we have spent several winters in the warmth of Arizona, seen many NP’s, swam in the Great Lakes, climbed tall mountains, driven on some beautiful roads,  but we haven’t seen every state or everything in most states so we are now thinking we will stop when we are tired of seeing and doing new things – maybe never but who knows!

So after 5 years the questions are still unanswered but there are some things I do know:  I love being able to discover new places; take a walk at 11 am, sleep until 10 every day or wake up at 6 (that doesn’t happen often other than to pee!); decide to move to a new area whenever I want;  I need to see my girls often and as soon as I leave I miss them even more;  my friends will always be there for me and seem to enjoy seeing me as much as I do;  life is simple, the stuff in it makes it hard; I don’t have to be busy; two people can live in 350 sq. ft and not kill each other – it does help that we like each other!;  and I don’t have time to clean this house anymore than I did a big 22oo sq. ft one!

This year is the first year that we left San Jose and don’t know exactly where we are going.  We have a sketch but only a couple commitments so I am thinking we will see and try lots of new things this year.  Currently we are in Parker, AZ – actually across the river from Parker in California!  The weather is beautiful and my view is amazing.

When things start thawing out in the rest of the country we will head east where we have tickets to Charlotte Motor Speedway for Allstar week and then we head north to cooler temps for the summer where the girls will join us for a week in Old Forge and then it is to Maine for the fall.  After that we think we may try Florida for the winter!  See, it is a very busy lifestyle!

It is a different way to live and once you start it is hard to even think about going back to “normal” so for now this is my normal and  I look forward to another 5 years.



It’s very popular

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Sunshine and warm temperature makes for a very nice day to take a hike.  This one turned out to be more of a walk than a hike and was very popular. The Historic Railroad Tunnel Trail is a beautiful walking trail along Lake Mead towards Hoover Dam and is about 3.7 miles one way.

1 of 5 tunnels along the trail

1 of 5 tunnels along the trail


Some have been reinforced

Some have been reinforced

railroad trail2

Over 25 ft wide and 300 ft long

And the views of Lake Mead are spectacular

lakemeadWe walked 2.6 miles to the first stopping point, making it a nice 4.5 mile walk on a beautiful afternoon.  The next day, our last in Las Vegas we headed downtown to check out Fremont Street.  A vibrant mix of Las Vegas Glitz and San Francisco craziness!  We saw characters from disney shows, a guy preaching to us, a woman with huge breasts dressed as a pirate and lots of people walking, enjoying the sites!  They have music stages with one that is dedicated to dance with one lonely girl on stage dancing it up for the audience.  The audience was definitely dancing and some of the moves!!!

Paris?  Might be as close as I will get!

Paris? Might be as close as I will get!

Las Vegas has something for everyone.  We spent the week here and never lost a dime in a machine!  We did pay $2.00 for parking when we didn’t need to – that was our donation to the local economy.

Not much of a hike

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Red Rock Canyon is west of the Strip and an amazing place to enjoy some fresh air away from the craziness of this city!  We don’t gamble so looking for interesting things to do outside of a casino is our goal this week.  There is a 13 mile scenic loop through this area with lots of opportunities to get out and explore the desert.  We saw lots of rock climbers and chatted with a nice couple that explained how it all works!  While it looks amazing, I don’t think I have ever thought about climbing the face of a rock.

I did think we would get out and do some walking although most trails are pretty busy this week and not well marked so you can just walk in the desert which we try not to do as Duke seems to get stickers every time.  We did find one trail that was part of a creek bed of sorts and walked a short distance up it.


The Red Rocks are very cool.  In this picture in the far distance we could watch the rock climbers through our binoculars.  It seems very tedious but I am sure for a participant it is an amazing experience once you have completed a climb!



The color change of the mountain is beautiful to see.



Another great opportunity to make Duke pose when all he wants to do is pee on the rocks!


I don’t think everyone celebrated!

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

New Years Day I would expect everyone is either heading back home/work or sleeping off all the festivities, but when we decided to see an National Landmark I realized more people are with me than not!  MO, WA, OR, NB, IL, FL, UT, ME, NY, CO MI, NM, AK, WY, Manitoba, Alberta, BC Canada, Mexico and of course, NV, AZ & CA were represented in the line of traffic going in and out of the dam area!   This is our second time at  Hoover Dam so we were not planning to take a tour, only to see it again and see the new bypass bridge that has been built to divert traffic away from the dam on the way between Nevada and Arizona.



What an amazing structure

What an amazing structure

The dam is amazing to see and now this new bridge adds to the reasons to visit.  There were so many people here that parking was a nightmare so we made a couple quick stops and decided to let those that have not been take our place.  We drove over both spans and headed back to town!

Very specific!

Very specific!

Right above the dam, in Arizona is this explanation!  Just to be clear – slow down!

Lake Mead, just above the dam

Lake Mead, just above the dam

In Boulder City, Paul had read about a park where a herd of long horn sheep frequent so we decided to take a look.



    This is my photo of the week!

While in this park, which was a very nice neighborhood park just above Lake Mead we decided to have another look at a new past time we enjoy occasionally – Geo Caching.  Paul found one in the park and used his handy Iphone compass to help us find this small gem lying in the desert!  This is our 16th cache.

At the tip of my head?

At the tip of my head?

That is our New Years Day,  Here is to a very happy 2014 to you!





Happy New Year

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

We missed ringing in the New Year.  We had great intentions but sometimes habit just overtakes the sense of adventure!  We are in Las Vegas and what a great place to celebrate if you are interested in mingling with 350 thousand new friends.  We did head downtown thinking Fremont street would be less crazy than the strip but then found out you had to buy a pass just to get into the street on New Years Eve to hear several different bands, non of which I have heard of and the music overflowed into the streets.  It was very loud and not much to see from the outside.

We found an amazing place called Oscars Steakhouse in one of the casinos that had no available seating unless you had reservations however in the bar you could order dinner.  They had a couple of guys playing some Jazz and the bar was not too crowded.  Our service was amazing and the food was even more spectacular!  A homerun and we didn’t even know what or where we were dining.

After dinner we ventured into the streets of downtown and wandered through a couple of the casinos, finding one with an amazing outdoor pool area in the courtyard of all the shops and gaming tables, with an aquarium right in the middle of the pool.  And then it was time to decide should we buy the ticket to Fremont Street – probably not, or try to head to the strip – probably not, or go home and watch the festivities on TV – Yep!  We were home by 9 pm, just in time to say Happy New Year New York style!   I was able to watch the festivities on TV until sleep over took me about 11, next thing I know it is 7 am, 2014!

From our family to yours- Here's to 2014!

From our family to yours- Here’s to 2014!

Happy New Years to everyone!