Category Archives: General Commentary

We Said Goodbye to Our Best Friend Today


We said goodbye to our best friend today. Hank died peacefully at home and faced his euthanasia the same way he faced everything he ever encountered in his entire life and the only way he knew how – Head on and WITHOUT FEAR.

We were his rescuers and trainers, but Hank taught us far more than we ever taught him during the last 14 years.  About seeing the beauty in every new place. About never letting fear stand between you and anything. About unconditional love and loyalty.  About living, aging, and dying gracefully. And most importantly about how to live in the present moment and to be happy all the time no matter what!

Hank loved to walk, hike and retrieve more than anything and he could do it for hours and hours without getting tired. He was just as happy and confident navigating around broken glass in a rundown city neighborhood park as he was leading the way to the top of a 14,000-foot mountain in a pristine national forest in Colorado or strutting down the beach with the star’s dogs in Carmel, California. I can’t even to begin to guess the number of miles we logged around City Park in Denver which was probably his favorite place on earth. He was also about the fastest runner of his size that you could imagine, and watching him snatch a tennis ball or frisbee out of mid-air in stride was truly something to behold!

He also really loved to swim. Hank got to swim in the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and in countless, swimming pools, streams, lakes, and catfish ponds in between. In fact, I like to think Hank is probably locked onto and treading full steam towards a floating tennis ball right now!

If you ever encountered Hank you probably remember his infectious spirit and love for every single person he ever met, even if the same could not be said for every single dog he ever met. His adopted brother Rufus was the unwavering exception. He will be missed by us all and our hearts are broken more than words can say.

If you have a good boy or girl at home, give them their favorite treat and tell them that one was from Hank.

Time at Home in Colorado and Finally Back on the Road

It has been a while since our last blog (well over a year!) and an eventful and non-eventful stretch it has been. We have been stationary for about 15 or 16 months and since this is a travel blog, we didn’t feel overly compelled to keep it up. For those that don’t follow our Facebook site, we had to make a slight change to the end of the 2016 snowbird journey. We were dealing with multiple pet issues including 16 and 17 year old cats with health in general decline. Having pets on the road is tricky but having geriatric pets and having to make five trips to five different vets in five cities in about six months was more than tricky, and as tough on us as it is on the cats. In addition, our old man dog Hank, now 14.5 years old, was having more and more mobility issues including a blown CCL (knee ligament) suffered while hiking in Flagstaff in spring of 2016.


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Life on the Links and the Farm – Part Two – Harvest Hosts

In the previous blog we introduced everyone to the two clubs that we joined that provide a network of locations that allow overnight RV parking at a business. Part one goes into a little more detail of both programs. Upon leaving the second of two RV Golf Club overnights we still had a few nights to kill before our reservation at an RV park in the Bay Area. We decided to try out our Harvest Hosts membership by staying at a few wineries. Per the policy of Harvest Hosts we are not going to publicly review each specific winery but rather share our overall experience and pictures in a general way. Once you join the club, which we highly recommend for RV’ers, there is a map/list with all of the actual locations across the country. You can research each one to read reviews from other members, what they offer, who to contact etc…  This post will be more of a review of our experience with the program overall.

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A Tale of Two Deserts – Part One – Boondocking in Kofa

By far the most common question that we get as full-time RVer’s is “What is your favorite place that you have been?”. I know from other full timers that we are not the only ones that get this question and not the only ones that struggle with it. Our answer is usually something like “It is not one place or type of camping that we like the most but the variety of places that we get to live and diversity of experience that we like the most”. Although that does exactly explain how we feel that answer usually seems to leave people a little disappointed. In this blog we will attempt to use “A Tale of Two Deserts” to better illustrate where we are coming from with this answer. Continue reading

We Got Solar!

We finally got around to completing the Solar portion of our RV power upgrade and it actually works! I have placed a dedicated page to cover this modification here.

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February in Joshua Tree National Park

IMG_5705 (1024x576) The real reason we were in Twentynine Palms in February was to visit Joshua Tree National Park. It was Robin’s birthday weekend and although we have had some pretty nice dog walking we had not done any real hiking in a while and she was looking to get out. Continue reading

Living a Life Less Ordinary – Moab, Utah

After Glenwood we continued west to another RV Resort in Moab, Utah. We sadly exited Colorado for the year, but we looked forward to exploring a neighboring state that neither one of us had much experience with. Continue reading

On the Road Again – Glamping our Way West

We are back on the road. After the always exciting extraction of our home from the top of the mountain 9300 feet up, we started with a quick few nights at the beautiful Glenwood Canyon RV Resort . This was a great but pricey park just off of I-70 in a scenic mountain location just outside of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Continue reading

No UFO’s found in Roswell’s Bottomless Lakes State Park

Written by:  Robin

We headed up to Roswell for a week on our way to Albuquerque.  I was full of anticipation to check out what I remembered from my childhood as a unique funky town.  I had announced my intention to visit the Roswell UFO Museum and hear what “really happened” with the mysterious crash of 1947 as well as hear the conspiracy theories about the alien autopsies that were allegedly carried out at the Roswell base.  FUN!!!!   As we drove through the town to make our way to Bottomless Lakes State Park, I quickly felt my anticipation fade to disappointment as I realized that what seemed cool to me as a kid…just felt cheesy now. Alienneonsign_edited-1 UFO museum2As we drove out of town we realized that the park was a bit further from Roswell than we realized so I decided that I would just let it go…and would not likely be venturing into town to explore much anyway.  I was driving this time, and my disappointment soon turned to anxiety as our GPS became confused and the directions I got when I called were making less sense the further we drove.  Wondering if there were mysterious forces messing with me because of my disbelief, we made our way down the very sketchy, narrow road that seemed to be heading to nowhere.

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Happily, after 7 miles of white knuckle driving, we saw a beautiful bright blue lake and some RV’s, so we knew we had made it.  It was starting to feel better already.  e were greeted by the campground host, Deb who upgraded us to a nice big pull through spot because they were first come, first served…and we were early!  As I began to look around at the beautiful area, I decided that maybe I should adopt Jeremy’s philosophy of the natural attractions being the ones we seek out, rather than the man made.

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This state park quickly became one of our favorites.  Here are some reasons why…

Geology….This was the first state park in New Mexico, established in 1933.  Apparently these “bottomless lakes” are actually an ancient limestone reef that formed caverns (not all that different from Carlsbad where we had just visited).  The nearby Pecos River eroded away the rock which collapsed the caverns and formed the 9 small but deep lakes, which are actually cenotes. They are fed by underground water percolating through the rocks. IMG_4760 (1024x683)

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This makes most of them salt water rather than fresh, because of the limestone.  This was GREAT news for hank, who loves to swim but breaks out in hives from most fresh-water environment.  Swimming was a regular activity for him that week.

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Rufus wasn’t as excited about the swimming, but Puperoni’s and some coaxing got him in the water a little bit!rufus almost swam (1024x768)

 

History….They are not actually bottomless, but range in depth from 18-90 feet.  They got their name because the cowboys who named them were trying to figure out their depth and tied two or three ropes together and drop them into the lakes to try to reach the bottom. The ropes were not long enough, so they thought the lakes were bottomless! The greenish-blue color created by algae and other aquatic plants also added to the illusion of great depth.  There was lots of great hiking around the lakes.  Deb even told us about a “buffalo killing field” that we could hike to.  We decided to stick to the lakes!one of the lakes (1024x683)

 

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Mystery….other tall tales and folklore abound.  There are two lakes called the Figure 8 lakes, that are side-by-side.   One tells of a horse that fell into one of these lakes, drowned, and was pulled out of the other. Also, numerous objects  have been reportedly lost in the lakes, only to be retrieved later from Carlsbad Caverns or even the Gulf of Mexico! There are stories of strong underground currents that suck divers and swimmers deep into the bowels of the Earth, never to be seen again! Just when you thought that was enough intrigue…the Bottomless Lakes also have stories of monsters that are said to be giant turtles that lurk in the depth!  So…there…who needs UFO’s and aliens anyway!

Peace…As it was early in the season the park was only half-full.  This made for many lazy afternoons in the sun, which we were really getting for the first time in about 4 months.  It was such a cold and rainy winter on the gulf-coast that we went a little crazy now that we had sun and warmth.  No distractions of a city or town…just the few of us campers nestled in the warm, sunny desert.  Ahhhhhhh…….

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Beauty….not only was this a great state park with HUGE spaces…it was very well kept.  There was an entire extra space in between each spot, so there was plenty of room to breathe!  Deb also told me about Pecos Diamonds, and gave me a map of where I could go to “hunt” them and a sample of her own so I would know what to look for.   Instead of visiting the UFO museum, one afternoon I set out solo to some remote land and went hunting.  She was right, once I learned what to look for…I couldn’t stop seeing them. (except when I got distracted by other pretty things…)20140325_140836 (1024x768)

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Character….Deb, what else can I say…excellent and kind campground host!  There were also others who are worthy of mention… a family who frequents the park, and sets up a MONSTER tent for 2 weeks at a time.  They don’t have an RV, but they did pull up in a big U-Haul, which carried their tent and the houseful of furniture and supplies they needed for two weeks…I felt like I was on the set of M*A*S*H!

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We met several friendly folk during our stay.  There was one, though, who we never met…who stayed in his BMW with the windows tarped, spoke to no one and occasionally emerged to take an hour trip to town or to walk to the restroom.

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Seemed creepy at first, but Deb assured us that they had their “eye’ on him…  We couldn’t figure out exactly what his story was…strangest camping neighbor yet…who knows, maybe I got to see my alien after all!

We enjoyed our week much more than we expected.  What a wonderful addition to our visit to the “Land of Enchantment”!!  It was actually hard to leave…but it was time to get back to a city so we could work, so off to Albuquerque we went.

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The Hangover – San Antonio, Texas

Written by: Jeremy

Our next main stop-over after Sam Houston Jones State Park was San Antonio, Texas and back to a crowded KOA. The place was full due to an upcoming Miley Cyrus concert and a WWE wrestling event at the AT&T center across the street. Both events made for great people watching around camp. I never really understood Miley’s popularity, but after watching a week of local news coverage  of crusty Texas state legislators trying, frantically to pass a ridiculous new indecency laws aimed at preventing kids from seeing the show, her popularity is much clearer to me now.

This is the first park to date where I refused the first site offered to us. It was on the side of a hill with several deep trenches that I just did not feel like battling for the relatively expensive park fee.We were given a different site that was acceptable but tight. This was a typical crowded KOA full of kids. On the up side, there was a wonderful bike path along a river for dog walking and we were right next door to a reasonable municipal golf course where we played a couple of fun (and dry!) 9-hole rounds.

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The other main draw was the proximity to the bus stop right across the street from the campground.  Most of the negative reviews for this park were due to the “bad neighborhood”. We found that claim to be ridiculous. Obviously just people that are not comfortable with a city. The only shady people we encountered were registered campers. We happily took advantage of the public transportation for a very fun day on the San Antonio River walk on the Weekend before St. Patrick’s day. They dyed the river green and we did a little St. Patty’s day drinking, Tex-Mex style.

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All in all it was a great day. I had been to the San Antonio River walk before, and it is definitely a recommended destination if you haven’t been. The highlight for Robin was when one of the water-taxi drivers spotted me along the walk and announced to his full boat on PA speaker “Hey, look at that guy with the beard. He looks like the guy from the Hangover!”  I realize I put on a couple pounds eating Po Boy’s in Mississippi, but Zach Galifianakis? Ok, maybe a little.

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We also got a chance to meet some new friends in the San Antonio area. Gary and Michelle from Changing States 2013 recommended a great restaurant/bar called The Cove and we spent a fun evening conversing with a couple of new friends that are about to do what we did a little over six months ago. The Cove had an impressive selection of Texas craft beer, good locally sourced, veg friendly fare, and even a dog friendly porch where Gary and Michelle’s three big dogs got all kinds of attention. Good luck guys. Hope to see you down the road!

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