Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Just a random pic of the Pacific coast.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Driving Hwy 1

Driving Highway 1 was pretty difficult in the bus. A 34 foot motor home is just not made for sharp curves!

Monday, December 28, 2009


We drove the Blue Bus over 2 mountain passes today. The first one took us by surprise; the GPS sent us on a "shortcut". It was 7 miles of climbing 6-7% grade and then 4 miles of similar descent. For anyone who is familiar with it, the old Rainbow Bridge in BC is 3% and 1 mile long. We dropped down to 15 mph with the pedal to the metal! Since it was only a one lane road the people behind us were mad! What could we do? The way down was also stressful while Chris tried to slow this 12 ton bus! The brakes will overheat and fail if you just stand on them. We sucessfully completed that mountain pass and discovered another one up the road. This one was only 4 miles of 6% and had 3 lanes of traffic.
We are relieved to know our rig can handle those kind of roads and now we're in a great full hook-up spot in Paso Robles, CA. This place is the center of central California wine country. There are literally a hundred wineries within easy driving distance and one we could walk to from here. They also have a tempting olive press in the area with tasting and several gourmet food shops around. I would love to stay and play here awhile but we are low on funds and I can't trust myself to visit those places and not buy some wines and food! Besides, I have a job in Big Sur to get to...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Made it to the Pacific!

We pushed hard to make it here. We've spent 7 days including Christmas in Quartzsite. We left there on Saturday at noon. We stopped at a Flying J in Blythe, Ca to get fuel, propane, and we tried to dump our wastewater there but this was the first Flying J we've seen that did not have a dump station. So we tried to stop at another Flying J on I-10 near Indio; we stopped at the stoplight where there was a homeless lady selling oranges. We were shocked to see someone throw change at her face! That's when we realized that California is not all puppies and peace signs. The way was not well marked for the station and we ended up on the road again. We decided not to turn around for a city like that. Traffic got heavy pretty far outside LA. We had planned to stop for the night at a rest stop in Beaumont, Ca but that was closed. It was getting on towards dinner hour and we were getting into heavier traffic as we continued. We found a Camping World about 70 miles out of LA and stayed the night in their parking lot. We were both all nerves all night; it was a loud business district. After sleeping about 2 hours we started on the road again at about 3:30 in the morning. We really wanted to pass on LA traffic right after Christmas! LA was a city that never ended. Talk about huge! All of its surrounding cities are like satellites. We finally arrived at Carpenteria State Beach on the coast at 6:30 AM. We were exhausted, our batteries were extremely low, our septic full, and low on fresh water. And neither of us had bathed in 3 days. We decided to use their honor system and check ourselves into a full hook-up site for the exorbitant price of $50 daily. We checked the reservation board, paid the iron ranger, and got settled into our spot by 7:30. At 8:30 the park host stuck a "ticket" on our door saying we had to move because our rig is too big for the space. Admittedly, we were a foot over the front edge of the parking space, but we had our back tires on the curb. I walked to his site and said ok, we will move, but where should we move to? At first he didn't even come out of his trailer and then he just told me he didn't know where we could move to; we just had to move. So we drove to the ranger desk where we were told that 1.check-in time is 2 pm and 2.we will have to stay in a no hook-ups site because everything is reserved. We negotiated that since we arrived much earlier than check-in time our money we had paid already would stand as a day and a half rent on a boondocking spot (which are usually $35 a day). We still have low batteries and very little fresh water. We did get to dump the septic. We will get to watch the tide roll in and listen to the waves all night long. Now we are looking forward to a good night's sleep and we can't wait to get to Big Sur!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Trip to the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon seems like the most classic place in the world to escape your troubles. If you are stuck in a cubicle all day and always feel like you are cramped in too small a space then the Grand Canyon is the place to run to. It's all about the wide open spaces. It has miles of breathtaking views, dangerous precipices, soaring heights, and a history of millions of dreamers gazing into its depths. I've always wanted to run away to the Grand Canyon. So here we were in Arizona and still haven't made it there! Well, we decided to close up the RV and take off in the Jeep for a trip to see those breathtaking views. Chris has never seen snow so we were excited to check the forecast and see that they are expecting to have a foot or so of accumulated snow. We made reservations at the Bright Angel Lodge which is right on the rim and splurged on a room with a view of the canyon. We planned to drive up Tuesday the 22nd. We would spend just one night in our warm hotel room watching out the window as the snow fell over the edge of the canyon, play in the snow a little, and then drive back to Quartzsite on Wednesday. Apparently these plans were not in our destiny. Here is the story of the adventure to the Grand Canyon.
We left Quartzsite, AZ at 7 AM Tuesday morning. We turned off all of the appliances we could, gave the cats a big dish of food, and jumped in the Jeep. Now we knew we were on a timer. We had to get back to the rig before the battery drained dead. Even though we had turned off as many things as possible there are still some items that suck energy. So we knew that if anything happened to delay us we could come back to a dead rig (not to mention some very upset kitties)! According to Google Maps this drive should only take about 4 hours. The first leg of the drive was through the most desolate desert highways you have ever seen. Two hours of nothing but sand and cactus. The few "towns" we came across didn't even have so much as a stoplight or a Shell. Suddenly out of nowhere a mountain loomed ahead. I swear this mountain is the most surprising thing ever. How does a mountain sneak up on you? No foothills, nothing. The road just turned up at a 45 degree angle and we started to climb these switchback mountain roads, winding in a hundred and eighty degree turns and always climbing. The conditions limited us to about 25-35 miles an hour most of the time (in the Jeep!) After climbing for about an hour we finally came to the picturesque city of Prescott, AZ. This was the first real city we'd seen and it was time for fuel. So we filled up and headed on our way. We drove straight out of Prescott and started winding around the mountains some more. A light snow began to drift down, sometimes snowing, sometimes raining. We drove through several tiny towns - one was called Skull Valley. The roads twisted and rose and fell for another hour. Then we came into Prescott again... We had taken a wrong turn!!! We just drove a hundred miles around in the Weaver Mountains and made a full circle! Apparently there is a right turn to stay on Hwy 89 in Prescott which is not very well marked. Oh well, we said, and continued on our way to the Grand Canyon. Once we were past Prescott it started to snow.
This was a thick snowfall with the snowflakes clumping together as they fell. It came down so hard you could barely see the road and the snow was accumulating fast. It was freezing on the windshield. The land around us was turning into a winter wonderland and we started watching for ice on the roads. Chris was very excited to see real heavy snowfall! We were approaching the last leg of the drive which was I-40. As we got to the highway, we saw red and blue lights flashing...the interstate was closed! The whole eastbound side of I-40 was closed. We stopped at a gas station in Ash Fork, AZ and carried in the old Rand McNally. The map showed a couple of back roads (gray on the map) which might get us to the Grand Canyon. The locals at the gas station said yes there is a back way, but do you have four wheel drive? Well, as a matter of fact, we do! There was a lady driving a Frito Lay truck which she had nicknamed "The Beast" who said she was going to try the back way and we told her we'd follow her. The directions were: follow Ranch Road AA until it forks and then take the right fork. It's 24 miles to Williams, AZ, and the roads are all mud. Sound like fun? We followed the Frito Lay truck for several miles. With the snow still falling it was getting hard to tell where the road was, everything was covered in snow! And this road had some pretty bad rocks and ruts in it. We could only drive at about 10 miles an hour. After about 20 minutes the Frito Lay truck turned around and told us, "I'm not sure if we're going the right way. I'm turning back." So we turned around also. The interstate was still closed and when we tried to ask the cops about an alternate route they told us to "Just go." So we started heading south again. There was another possible route, a mystery road on the Rand McNally (gray again) that heads through Drake, AZ. We found the road through Drake and turned off the highway. The road passed some factories or plants and quickly turned to a dirt road. At least the snow had stopped at this point, so we started down the muddy road. The Jeep was throwing up mud in every direction, the road was soft and slippery. In some places the Jeep would start to slip and we'd slide until the tires caught again. We kept thinking this road has to go somewhere! We saw other traffic on the mud road. We actually drove down this mud road for about 45 minutes and made it about 10 miles. It had started to snow again. The mud road didn't seem to be leading anywhere. The Jeep was so dirty you couldn't see at all through the layer of mud on the windows. We are starting to be suspicious of gray roads in the Rand McNally! We finally decided that the Grand Canyon didn't want us. Sometimes you just have to believe in fate; apparently we were not meant to make it to the Grand Canyon today.

We drove back to Prescott, AZ and found a hotel room at the historic St Michael. We had a great dinner at the St Michael's Bistro and met some nice people at the bar. We played in the snow at the city park, threw snowballs and made snow angels. We had some drinks on historic Whiskey Row. What an adventure! Maybe another time we'll actually get to the Grand Canyon!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The new view

This is the view at Hi Jolly camping area in Quartzsite, AZ. There are no campsites here, just a big flat desert that everyone pulls into. There are probably 50 rigs in this camping area right now but we are spread out so it doesn't feel crowded at all. At night it is so quiet here that we can hear the propane regulator squeaking.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


We're boondocking in the desert in Quartzsite, AZ. This town is known as a mecca for RVers. Tens of thousands of RVers come here every winter to enjoy the warm weather, cheap (or free) camping, and the communal atmosphere. There are miles of BLM lands here as well as many commercial RV parks. There are RVs parked all out in the desert. There are places in town where we can dump and take on water for a minimal fee. Downtown looks like a giant garage sale/ flea market event with motorhomes parked alongside sales areas. Everything you can imagine is for sale here and most of it looks homemade. The picture here is of a rockhound's sales area; he had minerals, geodes, and rocks of all shapes and sizes for sale!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Don't feed the strippers...

This was a sign in the visiter's center here at Lake Pleasant. :)

The new view

At lake Pleasant near Phoenix, AZ. We came here to brush up on our diving skills, the water was exceptionally clear. We found a 4 ft catfish and our first glimpse of an invasive species called a zebra mussel.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lake Pleasant

We're now at Lake Pleasant which is north of Phoenix. We're looking forward to doing some diving here. The water looks nice!

Monday, December 14, 2009

A trip to Mexico

Since we are so close to the border we decided to make a little day trip to Mexico to see what its like. I don't think either of us were prepared for the crazy harrassment in the border shopping district. We couldn't walk 10 feet without getting stopped. "Come visit my store!" "What are you shopping for?" "Will you call my wife in the US for me?" And "Hello, rich Americans!" We got overwhelmed very quickly and sought a quiet place to dine and sit for a while. We found a nice restaurant and had dessert and drinks and then got in the line to head back to the states. I don't think they could understand that some Americans want to visit Mexico without shopping! I'm sure we'll visit Mexico again but now we know the border town area is not our forte.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Our most remote spot yet

We are boondocking, living without hookups, in the desert on BLM land. BLM is the Bureau of Land Management and their land is essentially undeveloped public property. It's free to camp here! The view here is simply stunning; the photo doesn't do it justice!

Monday, December 7, 2009

I'm your huckleberry.

We went to Tombstone, AZ today to see a piece of the Old West. It's a small town that still has some individuals mining silver for a living. We got to see the area where the OK Corral once stood and the spot where the famous shootout took place. It was fairly quiet being out of tourist season and the middle of the week.

We walked around the cemetery at Boothill. Melissa's standing in front of the graves of the Billy Clanton and Frank and Tom McLaury. (The three Cowboys killed in the shootout.)


Sunday, December 6, 2009


Today we visited Saguaro National Park in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. Here are miles of desert and cactus every direction. The desert is framed by mountains silhouetted against a gray sky in the distance. You don't realize until you are here just how huge these cactus really are!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

We're alive!

Chris fixed the rig and we're on the move again! We're pretty sure now that the problem was the gelled fuel. We still have to change the fuel filter after we find a parts shop. We will never make that mistake again; from now on if there's even a hint of freezing weather we are using the anti-gel additive!
Arizona, here we come! :)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Stranded in NM.

Well, with the low temps last night and today we were unable to start the motorhome to move to our next destination in Arizona. Apparently the diesel fuel "gelled" due to the cold. We've put a fuel additive in the tank that's supposed to turn it into liquid again. Tomorrow morning I'll have to put a heater under the engine and then change the fuel filters to get us back on the road again. Thankfully we'll be heading into warmer temps as we get into Arizona.


City of Rocks

New Mexico's City of Rocks State Park was very interesting with its hundreds of monolithic rock formations. We drove the Jeep over and spent a day just wandering around the park and hiking through the giants. These are remnants of a prehistoric volcano here; the rocks have been carved by water and wind into the shapes of today. With a little imagination you start to name them: That one looks like a monkey! That one is Jabba the Hut!...We will definately bring the rig here to stay for a while sometime when the weather is warmer! We actually had a dusting of snow here in Deming, NM tonight. Wind chill is 19 degrees! Brrrrr!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The kitchen view

We've moved to Deming, NM. This is an Escapees RV Park; Escapees is a club we belong to which is awesome. I can't say enough good things about the Escapees; all the people we have met in this club are super nice! We're just going to stay here a couple days to do laundry and chores, then we are headed to Arizona!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Welcome to December

And here is a picture of snow on a cactus to prove that it did snow in NM (barely!)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Under a brooding sky

The temperature has dropped dramatically overnight as the clouds rolled in. We're expecting one to four two to eight inches of snow here and we're hunkering down to wait it out. Looks like a good day to stay in. I've come down with a nasty cold and I'm not feeling like doing anything energetic anyway. Luckily Chris just repaired our TV antenna yesterday! We'll likely spend the next couple of days vegetating and watching the winter storms beat down on the desert.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

An Untraditional Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanskgiving dinner at a State Park includes paper plates, cooking in tin foil, and washing bakewear between courses so you can re-use the pan. On the plus side, we are eating outside on a beautiful day with the most amazing scenery; mountains peer down upon us and the birds are chirping underneath a sunny sky. Our meal icluded turkey basted in a molasses-jalepeno sauce, cranberry-pecan dressing, baby lima beans, jalepeno cornbread, and apple crisp. Everything was made from scratch. These are the joys of living a peaceful, quiet life. And the best part about eating on paper plates? Washing dishes!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The new view

We've made it out of Texas and we are settling in for a few days near Las Cruces, NM. It took 2 days to drive from Austin. We stayed in rest stops at night. Now we've got our Thanksgiving dinner started and we're looking forward to a few days of R&R! While we're here we will also drive over to White Sands National Monument; this was one of our favorite stops last time.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Racing the sunset

We're eager to cross into New Mexico today. We've made good time from Austin yesterday. Slept at a very quiet rest stop last night. As we drive parallel to the Mexico border there are eerie fires billowing smoke up to the setting sun. West Texas is downright desolate. We'll be sleeping at the New Mexico welcome center tonight.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Texas Hill Country

Seeing Central Texas again made us realize what a beautiful area this is! We're at Pedernales Falls State Park. We went diving in Lake Travis while here and we caught up with a few friends we've missed. Thanksgiving is coming up and we will celebrate on the road; thankful for our amazing new life. Visiting Austin has been great but we've only just begun our adventure!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Getting back into the swing of things

We're slowly getting back into our swing as we head west through Texas. As usual, we travel slowly and take time to enjoy each stop. We went to the Renaissance Festival with friends for the weekend. Camping on the fairgrounds was a trip. On Sat night the campers were all partying. The air was thick with smoke from a hundred campfires. Everywhere you turned there were people playing instruments like flutes, drums, and bagpipes. Some danced, some wore costumes, and lots of people were letting off steam. There was a blacklight tent complete with a blacklight flower garden. Ravers with neon glow tubes danced around the ring of fire. There was a tribal style chant with dancers stomping around a bonfire and drums beating a rhythm. The firelight glistened on sweaty bodies, smoke hung in the air, someone blew a horn and the crowd watched from the edges. There were people everywhere having fun. On Sunday night the fairgrounds were completely different. Almost everyone had gone home and the grounds were deserted and empty. The silence sounded hollow after the singing and whooping of the night before. The morning found the area littered with trash bags and hundreds of buzzards circling the campgrounds. The remaining campers were straggling slowly towards the exit.
Next we travelled to Bastrop State Park to meet Melissa's parents for a couple days' visit. The pine needles cover the ground here and soft golden Fall sunlight filters in between the trees. This was a lovely park with great hiking trails. If you ever get out this way check out the drive down Park Road 1C. It's a winding country road through thick forest for about 10 miles. The nights are getting cool now and we spent each night sitting around a glowing fire and drinking hot chocolate.
Next we'll stop in Austin and visit our storage facility. We now have a good idea of what we need and what we do not. I have a stack of stuff that can go into storage and we won't miss it at all!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The wedding champagne

We've toted this bottle of champagne around for five years. It was a leftover from our wedding on November 13, 2004. Its been through an apartment, our house, and in the RV. Now it's missing half its label and the day I saved it for is here! We're sitting in this hot tub in the rec room of Allstar RV park in Houston. I'm working on the champagne and Chris is having a brew. A toast - to five wonderful years and many more to come! :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Repairs in Beaumont

We've completed a lot of repairs while we've been in Beaumont:
-installed alarm systems for propane and carbon monoxide leaks
-installed a battery monitor for electricity status
-killed off the ant colony that was taking over the kitchen
-fixed the rusty ding in the Jeep
-adapted our TV to run while boondocking
-rebuilt the levellers
The levellers were a Big Repair. And 3 of the 4 had completely failed. We couldn't get level anymore which meant when we parked we were sometimes at a weird angle - not good for using the sinks and shower! We actually had a leveller fall while we were driving down the highway once! That was scary so we had wired them up.
So now we are road ready again! We'll be heading to Houston tomorrow and our 5th anniversary is Nov the 13th!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cave Diving

Sorry we haven't written to the blog lately; we've been underwater and under several dozen feet of solid rock! When we heard our friends from Austin were planning a trip to cave country in Florida, we realized we were so close to the TX/LA state line already that a trip to Marianna would only be about an 8 hour drive. Compared to our recent driving marathon, eight hours just seems like nothing! So we decided overnight to jump in the Jeep and drive to Florida. Our friends already had a place reserved and offered to let us stay with them for the steep price of a 6 pack of cerveza. An offer we couldn't refuse! We left Beaumont on Halloween morning and arrived in Marianna just after sunset. We spent 4 days diving Jackson Blue on the Mill Pond. I worked on increasing my confidence in cavern and cave diving, venturing a little further into the cave with each dive. Flow was down, water visibility was crystal, and the days were sunny and clear. Brian completed his Cavern Diver course, Ian and Chris had a great dive together, and I got to a point where I could relax and check out the millions of fossils in the cave. We never did make it to any of the other caves on the Mill Pond so next time we're out that way there will be plenty more to explore!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Our New Location

We've arrived at a new location. We're now 5.1 miles from Marianna, Florida. (30.7844, -85.1600)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Our New Location

We've arrived at a new location. We're now 3.0 miles from Beaumont, Texas. (30.02885, -94.05691)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Just wanted to post to let everyone know that Dad's doing really well. He's working a full day at the office today after a morning Dr.'s appointment.

I've completed some repairs but between the weather, work, and getting sick I haven't been able to get as much done as I had hoped. We're bringing the motorhome to a hydraulics shop in the morning to have the levelers pulled off and rebuilt, one of the major repairs that we had scheduled to take care of while in Beaumont. I still have several electrical upgrades to make and one electrical gremlin to shake out.

It looks like we'll be leaving the Beaumont area and starting to head west again on the 12th or 13th of November. We're planning on spending our 5th anniversary (on the 13th) somewhere nice and then we may head to the Renaissance festival for that weekend. After that we'll be moving straight through Texas and New Mexico on I-10 heading to Arizona.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

A new view

We decided we'll go crazy if we don't move at least once a week. We've moved from Beaumont to Nederland which is about a 20 minute drive. We're really close to Chris's parents now. This area has a lot of construction work going on in the refineries so most of the RV parks are full.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Our New Location

We've arrived at a new location. We're now 2.2 miles from Nederland, Texas. (29.99984, -94.01876)

Friday, October 16, 2009

The race

Getting to Beaumont was the hardest we have drove the motorhome. We left Albuquerque at 1:30 Monday afternoon. We stopped to fill up on fuel and took turns driving till 11 pm. We ate on the road and we stopped at a rest stop to sleep. On Tuesday we again drove all day, stopping only to fuel up; cooking and eating in the motorhome. We didn't really cook, we just fixed sandwiches or cut up salami and cheese. We stopped at 10 pm and slept in another rest stop. The RV was at such a severe angle that walking down the hall was crazy!
On Wednesday afternoon at 1:30 (after 48 hours on the road) we finally arrived back in our hometown. We had decided to try to park the motorhome in Chris's parents' yard. So we drove up to the house and skinnied the RV into the yard between the telephone pole and the bayou and promptly got stuck. The ass-end of the RV is sticking 10 ft across Grandview Street and the wheels were just spinning in the mud. Oh, crap. This is a 24,000 pound vehicle. It's not like just calling for a tow. Hauling this thing requires an industrial tow truck. We tried shingles under the tires to give it some grip. The tires just ripped the shingles through and spit them out on the other side. We tried pouring cat litter into the mud. We were starting a rocking program (driving in a rhythm of forward and reverse to build up the momentum) when a guy in a F-150 drove up and offered to help. With the combination of Chris gunning the motorhome engine and the truck pulling us we managed to get out of the mud and back onto terra firma. We left some pretty nasty ruts in the Peterman yard!
Long story short, we tried 2 other RV parks in Nederland before giving up. One was full, the other had the electricity blocked and did not answer the phone when we called. It was so hot! We were sweating buckets by now; heat index in Beaumont was 104! And we'd been driving so hard we hadn't showered in 3 days. Yuck! We needed to find somewhere to park the RV and get to the hospital to see Chris's dad. We drove back to Beaumont and shelled out the bucks for a week at the RV park we stayed at last time we were in Beaumont. We can't afford to stay at this place the whole time we're in Beaumont but we were exhausted and had reached the limit of our endurance.
Now Chris's dad is doing much better. We're getting discharged today!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Our New Location

We've arrived at a new location. We're now 1.2 miles from Beaumont, TX. (30.00234, -94.18534)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Amarillo by morning

One good thing about driving your home around the US is that when you are needed somewhere, you can go. Chris's dad had a quadruple bypass this morning and we've decided to turn and head to Beaumont. We want to be there to help our family and luckily we have the ability to do just that. And we'll have our home and our pets with us so we won't have to worry about that stuff; we can focus on what's important.
The blogs will probably slow down for a while but I'll keep y'all up to date!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Glowdeo cancelled :(

We went to Albuquerque last night for a second trip to the Balloon Fiesta. On Thursday we saw the morning program and this time we wanted to see the night show, known as the Glowdeo. We spent the day running errands around town and then went to Balloon Fiesta Park. We paid our parking fees and entrance fees and watched several balloons getting the baskets hooked up and inflating the balloons. We could tell they were having a hard time holding the balloons in check on the ground. They had to cancel the event because of the high winds. So at least we got to see first hand how they set up the balloons and we ate a really yummy funnel cake!
We got home early to prepare for some diving at Blue Hole in NM the next day.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

International Balloon Fiesta!

We had a really long day at the International Balloon Fiesta today, leaving at 6am to catch the Mass Ascension. There were probably over 200 balloons in the sky at one time and today was the day of the "special shape" rodeo. Some of the cool balloons we saw were: "When pigs fly", Darth Vader, Nemo (with buck-teeth), a beer mug, a Pepsi can, the Energizer Bunny, and tons more.

A picture to prove that we really were there.

The balloons heading off into the sunrise.

After the balloon festivities we went shopping and picked up a lot of RV items we've been needing (and a couple we were coveting.) Camping World seems to be the Wal-Mart of RV'ing, we just can't get away from them.

We're taking steps to move our way off the grid. It looks like we may have solar panels installed in November and may try to stay at super cheap "extended stay" areas with no water/sewer connections or electricity for several months this winter in California. Melissa's researching solar ovens, if you or anyone you know has used one let us know.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Rain in the desert

Its raining hard and hailing, too, at Cochiti Lake. We drove out to meet a satellite repair guy today and spent most of the day waiting on the repair. While hanging out I met a nice guy named Jim who drives the "Boonie Bird." Jim's been boondocking for 23 years! We talked about some upgrades we can make to the rig to extend our boondocking capability.
Chris and I are still working on a name for our rig. Today we thought of "Viva Nueva" as a good name. We know that this rig is taking us to a whole new kind of living. We're relishing life, unfettered and free. Plus I'm learning Spanish right now. The word "viva" in Spanish has a much larger definition than just "the state of being alive." It means living unencumbered, enjoying life, being active, intense, kindled, and pure. So that's why I like Viva Something. Comment if you have any other good ideas... We're still working on it.

Our New Location

We've arrived near Cochiti Lake, NM. (35.64395, -106.3304)

Our New Location

We've arrived near Corrales, NM. (35.20388, -106.5644)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The View at Cochiti Lake, NM

We're north of Albuquerque now. We will be going to the International Balloon Festival this weekend. Other nearby attractions include Blue Hole (diving spot), Santa Fe national forest, and Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. Also, I think we'll do some fishing in Cochita Lake.
Here's a weird factiod: when we drove into this park we were told that we are on Reservation land and in this territory it is illegal to POSSESS alcohol! We didn't throw the beer out but we won't be drinking it outside while we're here!
We also have to get a satellite dish repair while we're here. It should still be a warranty item since its a brand new dish! We'll see what happens.

Our New Location

We've arrived near Cochiti Lake, NM. (35.64394,-106.3304)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Riverbend Hot Springs

Truth or Consequences, NM has natural hot springs all over the place. Most of them are owned by fru-fru spas that charge an arm and a leg to use their "healing waters." Melissa tracked down a beautiful hot spring that was $10 per person for a public dip or $15 per person for a private spring. The water was 106 degrees and crystal clear. Our private terrace overlooked the Rio Grande and mountains in the distance. I've been constantly working since we arrived in Elephant Butte and it was nice to finally relax a little.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

The kitchen view

We've moved to Elephant Butte State Park in central NM. We're just off I-25 a couple hundred miles south of Albuquerque. When we drove through the town we saw a small festival going on so we'll probably go check that out tonight.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Playing in the sand

Today we went to White Sands National Monument near Alamogordo, NM. The dunes are up to 70' tall and the wind blows them constantly in an ever-changing landscape.

Melissa wrote her name in the sand and got this picture of me standing in front of the landscape. Check out the sandstorm in the background!

The sand is very fine and was actually really cool (as in cold) to the touch, even in 90 degree heat.
I got to bury myself halfway under the sand.
Looks like a snow angel but it's made of sand. We had a lot of fun here and will be going back in the next couple of days to play some more (we can actually go sledding! down the dunes), hike a bit, and do a sunset tour. This place is like a huge playground and made us feel (and act) like kids again. :)


Laundry and a beautiful sunset

New Mexico is known as the land of enchantment and I can see why as I watch the sun set here. Each night the setting sun is a masterpiece, and no two evenings are the same. I'm thankful to be able to enjoy a glorious sunset even as I do tasks as mundane as laundry.