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

Monday, October 29, 2012

Driving across Texas

Which way should I go?
Where do I camp for the night?

Saturday, October 27th
Lost an hour, time zone change, and needed a break from driving, so I did not go as far today.

When leaving Tucumcari in the morning, I headed south on 209, then 268 until it met up with Highway 84.

I stopped in the town of Clovis, NM and walked around for about 2 hours, window shopping and picking up a few small items.  There are a lot of "antique", resale and thrift stores here. For me it is a diversion from driving, I only spent a few dollars and I was able to get out and walk around and stretch my legs. Not much I need to buy, but I can pick up used magazines and books for 50 cents or a dollar. There was a craft store that advertised a restaurant that I planned to have lunch at, but when I arrived the sign on the door said the restaurant was closed this week. Oh well, I ate lunch in the RV.

I left Clovis and headed east on Highway 84, this road is in terrible condition, there was some chip sealing going on west of Clovis, but east of Clovis and into Texas and halfway to Lubbock it was just terrible.  Washboard, teeth chattering, the chip sealing had worn away and created ruts. I drove at least 40 miles like this until it finally smoothed out with real paving on the highway.  All along this highway are cotton fields and smelly cattle feed lots, I will never drive this section of Hwy. 84 again. I should have stayed on I-40.

Saturday night I stayed at the "Mesa Verde RV Park" in Wolfforth, TX.  I inquired as to why they called it Mesa Verde, and the person working in the office did not know.

There are no mesas here, this is flat, windy, high plains prairie.

~     ~     ~     ~     ~     ~     ~     ~     ~

Sunday, October 28th

Central time zone, the sun didn't rise until 8:00am.  I have a long drive today but I waited until the sun warmed things up before I unhooked the water this morning.

I pretty much drove straight through to my next campsite, stopping only for gas and to rest for a few minutes in an empty parking lot. I traveled on Hwy. 84 again, but this stretch of road was in much better condition.

I then traveled on Hwy's 153, 83, 87 and 71 through central Texas, these roads were in good condition - the speed limit is 70 on most of these roads. I always hear about the back roads being the slow, lazy traveling roads. Not here.

A few of the small towns looked interesting, but it didn't look like anything was open on Sunday, so I just kept on driving.

Drove past a lot of wind turbines, hundreds, no - actually, there had to be thousands of wind turbines (some very close to the road) and more cotton fields today. 

Sunday night camped at the Llano River Golf Course and RV Park. This is a very nice city run park along the banks of the Llano River. There is a day use area, no one was in that area of the park today, I'm thinking Fridays and Saturdays are probably busy here.

I walked all through the park along the river when I arrived and again at sunset.  

This is a park that I would be happy to stay at for more than a day, it is only about a mile to town, an easy bike ride or walk.

Site #12 said there are no
river view sites, I could see a little of the river
from my windows - but the trees are blocking the view

I am only about 2 hours from Camping World (I have a service appointment Tues morning) and I'm nearby family in San Antonio. I will be in this area for a couple of days and then head down to South Padre Island.

Sunday - drove 317 miles
fuel @ Post, TX - 3.499
fuel @ Eden, TX - 3.499

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Driving Across New Mexico

I only have 10 days between jobs and it's 1200 miles from Mesa Verde to South Padre Island.

I decided to do some sightseeing along the way and to stop at roadside RV Parks and not at destination type parks - like state parks. The state parks are never close to a highway and that would add extra miles to an already long drive. 

Thursday, Oct 25th
I left Mesa Verde around 9am and headed to Farmington, NM.
I did some shopping in Farmington and then went a few miles east to Aztec National Monument.

Aztec was one of the "great houses" of the Pueblos,
standing three stories high
and having about 500 rooms.

There is a short self-guided tour of the Pueblo houses and Kivas.  I was able to walk through some of the buildings. All of the rooms had connecting doors.

The doorways are very short, the tallest coming up to my shoulder. I wonder if each family lived in only one room. There were several kivas on this site and one very large kiva that has been restored.

From Aztec, I drove southeast on Highway 550 to Bernalillo, NM. This is a very scenic route with a gently curving, newly paved road. I would have loved to take some pictures of the hills and mesas, the colors and shadows were stunning, there was no place to pull over on the highway.

I made a quick stop for fuel and tamales in Cuba, NM.
I stayed overnight in Rio Rancho, NM

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

Friday, October 26th
I picked up a brochure yesterday describing the "Corrales Scenic Byway" and headed that way in the morning.

"As the site of irrigated agriculture of over 1300 years and with evidence of pit houses dating back to 700 AD, Corrales has been a working village since before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock.  The past still resonates in local architecture. Casa San Ysidro was built in the 1870's on property that was a portion of the Alameda Land Grant in 1704. Tours are by appointment only. It is no surprise to find that San Ysidro, the patron saint for Corrales is also the patron saint to the farmer. Corrales is a rich agricultural community."

The road is a narrow, two lane and has weight restrictions. Luckily my rig is underweight. If the road was wider with a bike path, this would have been a great place for a bike ride. There are many farms and places to stop and buy apples and pumpkins, I saw a few signs for wineries. As you head south, you come into the town area. I parked at the little grocery store to pick up a few items and asked if it was ok to leave the RV parked there while I walked around. I walked over to the quilt shop and to a thrift shop. I purchased some 50% off fabric, to use in the RV remodeling and I purchased a book at the thrift store. I also bought fuel in this town, as the prices were cheaper than what I paid yesterday on Hwy. 550.

Beautiful Blue Skies and Cottonwood Trees


Corrales is on Hwy. 448, I continued south until I met up with I-40 and stayed on I-40 for the rest of the day. There is absolutely nothing on Interstate 40. When I drove through New Mexico in March, I traveled north on Hwy 285.

I wanted to take a different route this time and all that was along this route was the same tourist stop, "Clines Corner" at the Intersection of Hwy 285 and I-40. I did not stop there today.

I did stop at all 3 highway rest stops, once to eat lunch and the other times just to take a break from the road.  The scenery is nice, but there are no homes, and hardly any animals.  I did see what looked like a ghost town along the road near Cuervo.

I drove along Route 66 between Santa Rosa and Tucumcari and there are a lot of vacant, run down buildings. I know that some people think this is the romantic notion of Route 66, but I do not like the way it looks.  I think that the cities should invest in fixing up the facades of the buildings.  If they don't want to tear them down, they should be fixed up.  Someone must own these properties, I don't understand why they are being left as is.

Because of all the hype, I thought there would be more to see along Route 66. I stayed overnight at an RV park in Tucumcari, NM.

Saturday, October 27th
Heading into Texas............ Sunday will be a long driving day.

Mileage and Fuel Prices (mid grade, 88 octane)
last fill up before leaving - Saturday, Oct 20th: Cortez, CO - $3.929

drove 255 miles on Thursday, Oct 25th: Cuba, NM - $3.909

drove 200 miles on Friday, Oct 26th: Corrales, NM - $3.569

drove 188 miles on Saturday, Oct 27th: Tucumcari, NM - $3.529
(time zone change, I lost an hour on Saturday)

I hope the prices continue to go down.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Free Camping

Lazy Days RV Center in Florida sent me this email yesterday, not sure if any spaces are left.  If you are going to be in Florida - this may be a good deal for you.

5 nights free camping
Check in October 30

Talk about freedom! We’re in a great spot right across the street from the Daytona Speedway’s Turn #3 and we’ve got 200 primo campsites just for the asking!
You can stay with us for 5 nights and play with us for 6 days. Each day will be filled with Lazydays expert advice, entertainment and everything RV. We will have over 40 motorhomes, travel trailers and campers on-site, including many pre-owned RVs from top manufacturers such as American Coach, Redwood RV, Pleasure-Way, CrossRoads RV, Monaco Dynasty, Entegra Coach, Lance and more.
Don’t wait – there’s only 200 sites at our Lazydays Freedom Rally in Daytona, so call 877.406.1799 today to reserve yours. Express your freedom by choosing the best RV dealer in the nation.
Get up and GO - For a chance to win a Sylvan Sport GO

Tampa: 877.406.1797 I Tucson: 888.247.4045
Connect with Us
Connect with Lazydays on Facebook
 Connect with Lazydays on Twitter
 Connect with Lazydays on YouTube

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Good Bye, Mesa Verde

Today was my last day at work.  It's time to move on........

I have totally enjoyed my experience here.  This is the first time I've worked a seasonal/workamping job. It is sad to leave my new friends behind, but new adventures await.

I am very thankful that I was hired for the accounting position instead of the retail job that I applied for.  Someone knew better than me that I should stay in the accounting field.  I didn't think I wanted to do accounting again, but have come to realize that it is what I know and is what I should be doing.

I am leaving just in the nick of time, the weather is changing fast. There is snow in the higher elevations, the temperatures are dropping, its time to head south. 

It will be at or near freezing temps tonight, I have already disconnected the water and sewer and just need to unhook the electric in the morning.

Everything inside is stowed away ready to go. I have 5 days to get to the Camping World in New Braunfels, TX for an appointment and then I will visit with Diane and Karl on South Padre Island.

My backyard........    4/11/12 - 10/24/12

Friday, October 19, 2012

"home" remodeling

this is how the RV looked when I purchased it
Today, I removed the dinette (on the left side of the picture)

No turning back now....... the smaller dinette is gone.  Before I did this, I talked with the maintenance manager here at Mesa Verde to ask permission to put the parts in the dumpster, he said it was ok.  One of the other RV'ers is going to take the cushions.

I saved all of the angle irons and screws that were used to attach the dinette to the walls and floor, so that I could reuse them during the remodeling.

This thin piece of wood is the only thing protecting the wires for the outside outlet.
I see some water staining on it and now I wonder if the outside outlet has leaked.
I will have to check the caulking and keep an eye on this.

I originally created a bed out of the other, larger dinette, it is wider than a twin size and narrower than a double size. I had purchased a twin size memory foam mattress and I do not like the extra space between the mattress and the wall.  I do not like the tall sides of the dinette benches and the aisle between the dinettes was only about 20" wide.

I hope to have my son-in-law help me build a bed in this now empty space. I want a hinged platform that can be lifted for access to a large storage area.  One of the dinette benches had the propane furnace underneath it. I had the furnace removed last week, so that gave me the incentive to get going on this remodel.  

After my new bed is built, I will remove the larger dinette and create a desk area on the other side of the RV.  This will give me a larger open area in the middle.  I have been wanting to get back into doing yoga and currently do not have enough space in the middle aisle of the RV.

My fresh water tank is under one of the larger dinette benches, I am hoping that I can move the tank against the wall of the RV instead of the way it is positioned now.

Under the other larger dinette bench is an inverter, I think.  And the water pump.  I don't think it is a good idea to have these situated on the floor next to each other.  I will have to figure out where to relocate these items. 

I am hoping to have an "L" shaped desk and some type of lounge chair. I will have to find a small cushioned bench to use when sitting at the desk for sewing.  I will probably sit in the lounge chair with my laptop and not use the desk for the computer. I have plans to sew some things for the RV and need a comfortable place to work.  The dinettes that are built for RV's are not comfortable, I think they are intended for families that want to use the space as an extra bed.

My new bed will also function as a couch.  I will sew pillows to go all around it.  I tried to do this with the current bed I have set up, but the bed is too deep to be a couch and the pillows kept falling between the mattress and the wall.

The rest of the remodeling won't get finished until I get to Texas at the beginning of November.  At least the demolition is done and I have a clean slate to work with.

Tomorrow I will take a ride to the Resale Shoppe in town to drop off some more "stuff".  I have been full-timing for almost a year and there are things I have not used and do not need. I will also stop at Walmart to get some items to help keep my kitchen drawers organized, some small baskets or containers to corral all the little things in the drawers.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Planning my way south.......

I will be leaving Mesa Verde 2 weeks from today.

This is my first workamping job and there are mixed emotions with leaving.  I work with a great group of ladies, but I am getting anxious to travel and to visit with my daughter. The lodge at Mesa Verde closes on October 20th, there would be no work for me here anyway, so it is time to move on. And it snows here...don't want to stay the winter in a snowy place.

I will be starting a volunteer job in Texas on November 4th. I will have 10 days for travel, RV maintenance and visiting.  My daughter lives around 25 miles from my new job, hopefully we can coordinate our days off of work.

There aren't too many workamping jobs available near my daughters house and the volunteer job will provide a nice, quiet RV site in exchange for the hours I work in the Visitor Center. I am only scheduled to work for 2 months, but I am hoping they will have a space for me to stay longer. 

When I leave here, I will go east a bit, then head down into New Mexico. I'll go east across New Mexico and then cut across the panhandle of Texas and down into the Hill Country area of Texas.

I will probably be driving between 200-275 miles a day.

I'm making notes, on index cards, of RV parks along the route.  I make a card for each park that I would consider staying at. I list the address, phone number, rates, discounts and notes about any reviews that I have found.  Each day, during my travels, I make notes on the cards about how far the next set of parks are from my current location. No need to drag out the computer along the route.  I sometimes still refer to some apps on the iPhone, but usually the phone is too slow when I am in the "middle of nowhere".

I also make cards for places of interest along the route. I will usually note the addresses and phone numbers of "Travel Information" locations. I also make a card listing the mile markers of rest stops along the highways - this information is easy to find on the internet ahead of time.

Having these cards makes it easy to make a decision when I get tired of driving.  I can look over the cards at a rest stop and decide how much further I want to go. Sometimes I program the addresses of several parks into my GPS and then I just have to choose the location and I am set to go. If I arrive at a park and don't like the looks of it, I have more parks to choose from.  

We all know that the GPS can take us in the wrong direction. Having basic directions on the index cards will help me out when the GPS is lost.

It takes a long time to drive across Texas

I'm going to make an appointment at the Camping World in New Braunfels, TX. I'm planning a few updates and some routine maintenance for the RV. Having the appointment will help me to stay on schedule, but it will cut back on the amount of sightseeing I will do on this trip.

I have a head start on the RV maintenance today. The water heater would not stay on, it turned out the be the PC board. When the mobile mechanic was here to fix that, he also changed out the valve that was leaking on the water heater.

I asked him to remove the propane furnace and to cap off the propane. The furnace was too big for my small rig and it was noisy. I prefer my Eden Pure electric heater. Removing the furnace gives me additional storage space, too.

My extended service plan covered the water heater repair, after the deductible, of course. My extended service plan is through Cornerstone, this is the 2nd time I have used it without any complications or problems.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

On Being Content.......

"Faith is not demanding what we want;
it is trusting God's goodness in spite of life's tragedies."

Philippians 4:11 (b) 
for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.

Be thankful for all the troubles you don’t have.

There are two ways of being rich:
 one is to have all you want,
 the other is to be satisfied with what you have.
 Accept and appreciate things now,
 and you’ll find more happiness in every moment you live.

 Happiness comes when
 we stop complaining about the troubles we have
 and offer thanks for all the troubles we don’t have.

 And remember,
 you have to fight through some bad days
 to earn the best days of your life

Benjamin Franklin said,
“To the discontented man no chair is easy.

Being content gives you peace and when you are at peace,
 you have joy and it shows from the inside out.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bayfield Colorado

I had asked for a few days off work.  Our work week is Thursday through Wednesday. I switched my normal days off so that I could be off work on October 4th. Even though my job is in the middle of switching to a new accounting program, they were understanding and let me change my schedule.

I ended up with Wednesday, Thursday and Friday off.

Not too many pictures, this wasn't a sightseeing or hiking excursion. I just wanted a few days to think about where I have been and where I am going.

My destination was Bayfield Riverside RV Park, a beautiful place. The owners really take pride in this park, very clean and well maintained with flowers blooming everywhere. They say "welcome to our backyard" (36 acres) and tell you to walk around and explore as much as you want. There is really good internet throughout the park and my cell phone had a strong signal.

It was an easy drive, Mesa Verde is on Hwy 160 and so it this park....just drive 53 miles east.

I found a quiet place near the river to set up my chair and spent many hours just sittin'....

listening to the water.......

and staring at the clouds.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October 4 2009

October 4th - The Feast Day of St Francis

May 1976   San Diego

May 2009  Arches National Park

Today, October 4, 2012
You have been gone 3 years - I can't believe its been that long.
But sometimes it feels like I've been alone for much longer than this. 

*      *     *     *     *    *     *     *     *      *     *     *   

I've changed, I had to. I have to start all over again and create a new life. No one to talk things over with, I have to make all the decisions myself - right or wrong. We were total opposites and, of course, we did not always agree. But we managed to compromise and we had a lot of the same dreams for the future.

You know that I am doing some things that you never wanted to do.

But, I think that I could have talked you into some of this :)

So, where are you going to follow me to next - I know you are watching. Grand Canyon, Alaska, Maine.
Remember.....we talked about going to Iceland, that's still on my list.

Although I am traveling around, this new life is not always all fun and roses. I am still a work in progress.  I want to be happy - but without guilt and fear. There are so many opposing emotions in everything I do, in every decision I make. I am doing the best that I can and I will never forget you. You are always with me as I travel.  

~     ~     ~     ~     ~     ~     ~     ~     ~

When you asked me to take this photo
You said
"If you're not living on the edge,
You're taking up too much space"

Love you, always

I have to trust that God knew what he was doing, when you left this earth. It is not healthy to live with the thoughts of.....if only I could have, if only you would have....thinking that we could have controlled God's will.  I can't change the past, I can't have my old life back, I have to move forward. I have to believe that everyone has a certain number of days here on earth and that all of this is part of a greater plan.

I don't want to second guess our life together or the decisions we made.  I don't want to spend my days wishing we had done things differently, there is no guarantee that the outcome would have been different. I want to enjoy the memories of the years we had together.

"The death of a family member or friend is devastating. In fact, it can take five years or more for a person to adequately work through his or her grief, but because we live in a fast-paced society, we often sweep it under the rug or ignore it altogether. God has another plan." 

 Man's Way: Numb the pain  God's Way: Heal the pain
 Man's Way: Don't talk about it  God's Way: Share your pain
 Man's Way: Time heals  God's Way: Faith heals 

This blog post is part of the healing process.

There are a lot of good resources on the internet
for widows and widowers, share these websites. (based in Illinois)
Chera Fellowship

Hundreds of books about grief are online or at the local library.

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