Remember that when you leave this Earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given, a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. -St. Francis of Assisi

Wednesday, September 26, 2012



For many years we would travel from Chicago to Denver on Amtrak.  It was the easy, stress-free way to travel to visit our daughter during the winter.  No worries about driving during the snowy, white-out conditions on I-80 or I-70. 

Christmas 2006, the Denver Airport was closed down, stranding passengers for days. Parts of I-70, I-80, I-25 and I-76 were closed. Looking out the train windows, we saw abandoned trucks and cars all along the route, but the train made it through to Denver.

Chicago Union Station

Chicago railyards

I love traveling on the train, but it is not for everyone. You need to have the time to travel by train, its 15 hours from Chicago to Denver about the same as driving. You have to be able to relax and not worry about schedules or delays. Hopefully, you can sleep through the rocking and rolling, the trains travel faster during the night. Most trains show a movie or two each evening in the Lounge Car. Three meals a day are available in the Dining Car or at the Snack Bar.

Omaha, NE
more than halfway to Denver
sometime after Midnight

Omaha Station

sleeper car

The first long train ride we did was in 1989 from Chicago to Las Vegas. At that time the train station was behind one of the Casinos. Now you have to get off the train in Salt Lake City and take a bus 7.5 hours to Las Vegas.

Between 1999-2009, we rode the California Zephyr between Chicago and Denver more than a dozen times. A few times, for a change of scenery, we would ride on the Southwest Chief, from Chicago to Trinidad, CO or Albuquerque, NM. I actually prefer this route, but it was not as convenient as the California Zephyr into Denver.

In 2001, we rode from Chicago to Washington D.C. and  from there we boarded another train to Orlando, FL.  There was a layover of several hours in D.C. so we toured some of the "Mall" while we were waiting.

 In April 2011, when I purchased my RV from a dealer in Seffner, FL, I took this same route from Chicago to Orlando and then rented a car to go pick up the RV.

The train is not a perfect way to travel, the trains and tracks need to be updated, but I hope to still travel occasionally on the train. I'm thinking if I go back to Illinois to visit family and friends I may take the train and leave the RV in storage somewhere. I think it would be cheaper than the cost of fuel and RV sites to travel from the western states to Illinois and back again. I have a lot of Amtrak "miles-points" for free travel, similar to air travel miles and I should use them up before they expire.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Lost your marbles?


Slang - normal rational faculties; sanity; wits; common sense;
to have all one's marbles; to lose one's marbles

“Common sense is not so common.” 
- Voltaire

"The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are,
 first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” 
-Thomas A. Edison

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lifestyle Changes

There have been many posts in blog-land about changing diets and eating habits - a lifestyle change.

The only change I have currently adopted is a wheat free - gluten free diet.  This was necessary because of extremely itchy skin. I have been totally gluten-free for only a few months and have seen a big improvement.

I was starting to eat gluten free when I lived in Illinois and while traveling. Then I arrived at my job at Mesa Verde and I was eating the free or discounted pizzas, sandwiches, etc. that they offered to us during orientation and training and when we worked in the park.

I was frustrated with the itching and scratching and decided I had to go back to the gluten free diet. I do not believe I have Celiac disease and will not spend the money to be tested.

This one change has made a big difference.  I no longer have itchy skin, no more scratching, no more marks on my skin. I could have chosen to go to a doctor and receive prescriptions (again) for cortisone and steroids and who knows what else. But long term use of these RX products will cause other health problems.

Did you know that a lot of shampoos and lotions and hair products contain wheat?

-     -     -     -     -     -     -

I read a blog post today that is good news for anyone suffering from diabetes. This is a link to information about a plant based diet helping to control diabetes.

Although I have not adopted a totally vegetarian diet, I do eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.  I have read a lot about vegetarian, raw and Paleo diets.

How do you determine what is the best for you?

I don't think it is one size fits all.

There are unhealthy vegetarians eating processed fake foods just because they do not contain animal products.

I think the important thing is to reduce the amount of processed foods that we consume.

There are a lot of gluten free processed foods and I am trying stay away from them. I look at the package and see the high sodium and/or sugar grams and decide I don't need it.

Eat only real food.  Not from a box or can. Reduce sodium.

Ok, I don't want to preach, because I don't know what is right or wrong. 

I just wanted to share the link above for anyone that is suffering from Diabetes.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


On a bright, clear day in 2007
 downtown Chicago

View from the top of Sears Tower
(now called the Willis Tower)

looking North

corner of Sears Tower

Sears Tower
223 S. Wacker Dr   Chicago, IL

108 story    1451' tall skyscraper
When completed in 1973
it was the tallest building in the World
and held this title for nearly 25 years

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Good Morning Sunshine

When you arise in the morning,
think of
 what a precious privilege it is
 to be alive
to breathe
to think
to enjoy
to Love
-Marcus Aurelius

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

Yesterday's Mystery Photo is a paper towel tube.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mystery Photo

What is this?

Still sorting through all of the digital photos and some scanned photos that were not digital. My hard drive is too full and I need to copy photos to an external drive. I've also uploaded some to Picasa Web Albums.

For the next few weeks I will be posting some of my husbands photography.


I was sorting and organizing photos on my hard drive and came across this photo that Stump created, probably in 2008 or 2009. I was thinking that I wanted to use it on the blog and was trying to come up with a blog post.

"There's always one in the crowd"

I found this quote to go along with the picture.

A person who is envied because
 they are a fabulously unique individual
 that can kick a**
and has no need or desire
to follow the flock.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bear Creek Trail

This weekend is the perfect weather for camping and hiking.

On Friday morning, I headed towards the San Juan National Forest. I had to stop for propane and gas, and then picked up a few things at Walmart.

I stopped in the town of Dolores for a couple of hours, walking around the town and checking out some of the shops.

If you are ever passing through this way, you should stop at the Dolores Grocery Store.  It has a great selection of organic, local produce and other organic and gluten free foods.  They have a refrigerator case full of freshly prepared foods and I picked up some items for lunch. I plan on going back on Sunday morning, on my way back to Mesa Verde, to do my weekly grocery shopping.

Bear Creek Trail (FST 607) Starting elevation 7,960 Ending elevation 11,200
Trail length one-way: 12.5 miles        Difficulty: moderate

From Dolores on Highway 145, travel east for 22 miles.  The trailhead is clearly marked on the highway and begins approximately 1/4 miles east (upstream) from the confluence of Bear Creek and the Dolores River.  The trail traverses the entire length of Bear Creek, all the way to the headwaters where it intersects the Sharkstooth Trail.

I was not going to walk the entire trail.  It was almost 3pm by the time I reached the trailhead. I decided to hike for about an hour before going on to the campground for the night. I only walked 1.6 miles in that hour.  The beginning of the trail is very steep with many switchbacks and I was stopping to take a lot of pictures (110).

The beginning of the hike is mostly Aspen Trees, beautiful - even though the leaves had not turned yellow yet.

As I am typing this, I can hear the soothing sound of the Dolores River in the background. I am camped alongside the river.

I am hoping to do a longer hike on Saturday.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Indoor RV Park opens.....

Did you read this article? (see below)

This is in North Dakota, so I understand why someone would want to create a place like this.

I would not want to live at an Indoor RV Park, but I am curious about it.

If you are a construction worker or oil company worker and travel around the country but just happen to find a good paying job in a cold climate and don't want to rent an apartment and buy furniture or buy a house only to have to sell it when you move on to the next job, I guess this is a good idea.

Check out the website for pictures, looks like storage units.

Another website is

What about fumes?  What type of ventilation do these units have?

Would you want to live inside a garage?

I thought RV'ing was about being in the great outdoors.

So, the rent is $1300 month x 240 units = $3,744,000 gross per year.   Hmmm, maybe something to invest in? And they are planning on building more units.

~     ~     ~     ~    ~     ~     ~

Indoor RV park opens

By Payton Willey Williston Herald | Posted: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 11:23 am
Just five miles north of Watford City lies the first-of-its-kind indoor RV park that will provide relief to those living in their recreational vehicles.
The $4 million complex is owned and funded by B & H Construction and about five individual investors, with Neta Property Management overseeing the project and taking care of finances.
Tyler Sperling, Neta Property manager, said that the idea first started when B & H Construction workers were discussing how they could make a future in North Dakota will living in their RVs.
The park will have 240 units available for RV owners to rent out. There are four lease options available: a year-long lease that costs $1,300 per month, a six-month least that costs $1,400 per month, a three-month least that costs $1,500 per month, and a month-to-month lease that costs $1,600 per month.
“If they’re looking for longer term, or if they need work and are coming here for short term, we can help them out,” Sperling said.
Accepted RVs will be fifth wheels and travel trailers. Spaces will not be rented out for campers. Currently, pets are not allowed, however there may be a pet building available in the future.
Sperling said the complex was expected to be completed by July, however due to construction delays and weather, the new time frame to get the complex completed is in November. Although the complex is not finished, tenants have been reserving units and moving in since Aug. 15. Sperling said that there is still good vacancy available.
The property will include a laundry facility, mail boxes and a common area with pool tables and cooking amenities.
Sperling said the concept for the RV park was to give people living in their RVs a sense of normalcy.
“RVs were made for camping when its hot out, not for winter and snow. You can’t bundle up RVs, and you end up out there changing propane tanks all the time, and it creates a major problem,” Sperling said. “We’re not only preventing (tenants) from having to fight with the weather, but we’re giving them everything their RVs need as well.”
The monthly lease prices cover all of the utility expenses including water, electricity, propane, and the removal of septic waste.
“It’s basically an all-inclusive, long-term RV storage facility that people can live in,” Sperling said.
Sperling said that no construction expenses were spared.
“It’s not your typical construction, all of these buildings are from quality materials,” Sperling siad.
The complex will also have on-site management. Security will include surveillance of the property and tenants will have keys to the locks on the door bays.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

World Birding Center Roma, TX

I am looking for a volunteer position or job for the winter near South Padre Island.  My daughter will be moving to South Padre next week and I want to spend some time with her.

I have sent applications to all of the National Wildlife Refuges near South Padre and have applied with the Texas State Parks.  I even sent an application for a workamper position to the KOA Kampground on South Padre Island.

So far, the only offer I have received is for the
World Birding Center in Roma, TX
(click on the link above to go their website)
this center is about 2 1/2 hours from South Padre.  If I visit with my daughter on my days off - that means 5 hours of driving and a lot of gas$$$.

I'm wondering if anyone reading this blog
 has any experience
with visiting or volunteering at this Center.

I have checked out the website and they have a lot to offer visitors.  I'm thinking maybe I could stay closer to my daughter from November to January and then see if I could volunteer from mid-January through April - before going on to a summer job.

Hope to hear some feedback/suggestions from some of my readers,  Thanks.

Roma Bluffs is currently offering:
  • Rio Grande Observation Deck
  • Outdoor Amphitheater
  • Canoe Trips
  • 1881 National Historic Landmark Building
  • Natural History Tours
  • Walking Trails
  • Bird Tours
  • Organized Classes
  • Exhibits & Gift Shop

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Where are you going?

If you don't know 
where you are going,
any road will get you there.
-Lewis Carroll

You are exactly where you should be.

What you deem a postponement

 may actually represent
an auspicious opportunity 
to prepare for what is yet to come.

If, however,

 you feel the universe is pushing
 you forward at too fast a clip,
you may be resisting your destiny,
-Daily Om

It is good to have an end to journey towards,
but it is the journey that matters in the end.
-Ursula K. LeGuin

It's getting close to the end of the season here at Mesa Verde National Park and I am spending a lot of time planning where I will be for the winter and next spring and summer. Everyone seems to be counting down the weeks until the Lodge closes (8 weeks).  The National Park stays open all year, but only one small cafe and gift shop will remain open after October 26th.  They do get snow here and I may see some snow before I leave.

I have so many ideas swimming around in my head, I just can't decide where to go or what to do.  I think I will put away all the maps and notes for a few weeks and wait and see what develops.  I am still going to fill out some applications for winter volunteer work and a summer job and then I will wait to see what happens.

Happy Travels - wherever you are going.

Drake Tax Software

Overnight stays in these states:

Overnight stays in these states:
It is the sandstorm that shape the stone statues of the Desert. It is the struggles of Life that form a person's character ~ Native American Proverb