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

Saturday, February 25, 2017

New Moon - New Path

My blog is my journal, more than a travel blog, a place to record where I have been and the journey I am on. 

I believe that blogs are a great way to preserve family history.

A place to record past, present and future - our history, hopes and dreams.

Photo copyright: Stump
I have several blog posts written and scheduled to appear over the next few weeks - this is a busy time for me - Corporate tax returns are due on March 15th, many will probably get an extension, but I want to complete as many as possible before the deadline.

My daughter sent this link to me today.

This article spoke to me, so I decided to post this now, so that I can refer back to it.

This article seems to correspond with me starting to write in the blog again and writing about the changes I plan to make.

Click on the above link to read the entire article, I have copied parts of it below:

Therefore, in the days before the eclipse, we can expect to sense these changes in the atmosphere and we will notice our emotions, thoughts and feelings reacting (and overreacting) until they find a harmonic balance. We will remain in this transformational energy phase for approximately six months until the eclipse season comes to an end on August 21st.

Eclipses are doors that swing open wide so that we can enter a new, cosmically-charged, higher dimension. They signify the closing of the previous chapter of our lives and the beginning of a brand new one.

Pisces is the sign of surrender and release, which means we should try to resist the desire to control and manipulate events and instead breathe deeply with faith that the universe will safely guide our souls on their way.

Pisces rules the oceans, so during this New Moon we will feel as though we are swimming in refreshing, renewing, cleansing energy. It is a reminder to go with the flow and to stop trying to fight against the current.
The overall message during this solar eclipse and New Moon: If we courageously open our hearts and choose love, despite our fears, our past has the chance to heal, and the universe kindly rewards us by offering us more opportunities to give and receive love.

It is recommended that intentions for new beginnings are set within 24 hours of the New Moon so that they can be carried with the momentum of this intensified universal energy.
written by Alex Myles

You may or may not believe in the "energy" that surrounds us, but it is still interesting reading.

Do you read astrology or numerology, have you experienced Synchronicity?

For Scorpios: The solar eclipse will arrive February 26 in Pisces 8 degrees. This is a new moon on steroids, and so very supportive of your water-sign. It is also possible you will begin an important new creative project, something dear to your heart that you can’t wait to begin work on.

When I am busy, I use my iPhone more than my laptop.  I have not finished researching the problem with my photos yet.  Another problem I have - is commenting on other blogs, while using my iPhone. iPhone defaults to Safari and I think I may need to use Google on my phone, before opening the blogs, then I should be able to comment.  It is frustrating when I type a comment and then it just disappears, without an explanation or warning.
Wonder how an Apple product will like me using Google as my browser???

Any techies out there that can shed some light on these issues?  I'm thinking I need a book "iPhones for dummies". 

Friday, February 24, 2017

At the Fair - Mother Earth News

October 22-23, 2016       Topeka, Kansas

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the "Original Guide to Wiser Living."

I now subscribe to the magazine via my Kindle.

The Mother Earth New Fair was centered around more than a dozen stages, inside and outside, with the speakers changing every hour or two.

There was no way to listen to all of the speakers in 2 days.  I do not have any interest in livestock and I wasn't planning on setting up my own sawmill,  I could cross those off the schedule.

I circled one or two speakers for each session and would decide later which ones to sit in on.

There were a few authors that I recognized and the author of a blog I follow, and I knew I did not want to miss those.

Subjects I listened to over the 2 days included:
herbal medication
healthy eating
organic gardening
making a living off your land
tiny house building
no-tilling soil management
attracting wildlife to your yard
sustainable communities

There was a huge bookstore in the center of the exhibition hall, I looked but I did not buy any books, hoping to find used books while I travel, or read them on my kindle or get them at the library. I was tempted to purchase the thumb-drive loaded with many years of back issues of the magazine, but decided to wait until I actually owned some property.

My purchases were organic basil and sunflower seeds and herb tea blends.

As with any fair or trade show, there were many vendors and many freebies.
I went home with these free items 

Food is always part of any fair or gathering. Several of the vendors offered samples - I sampled Coconut Bliss Ice Cream, Vegan burgers and breakfast patties, salad dressings, kombucha, elderberry syrup, and blender soft serve fruit "ice cream".

There were several food trucks outside, many of them offering up organic and/or vegan food. I chose some items from a food truck and walked back to the RV to eat lunch and take a break. 

I had purchased a 2 day fair pass, so I had plenty of time to see everything at the fair.

Around the Fair
 view of the State Capitol from the parking lot

ExpoCentre building / looks like a Tornado Shelter

Art Deco Building at the fairgrounds
The earliest recorded event on this site dates back to 1871. A small, local fair quickly grew to be the largest in the state. Just nine years after its inception it became known as the Kansas State Fair, featuring a wide variety of exhibitions. Fairgoers saw the newest farm equipment and the best agricultural exhibits in the state, as well as the finest livestock.

During the last decades of the 19th century the original grandstand was erected. However, it was not until 1909 that funds were appropriated for the building of permanent structures.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

I am really happy that I decided to take this detour and attend the fair.  It was good to take the time to learn more about something that I have thought about for a long time.  I love to travel, but I really feel that having a place to grow food and flowers has a stronger pull on my heart than the love of traveling.

Leaving my home state and traveling in the RV is/was all about discovery. Who am I after a major life changing event? What is it that I really want to do with the rest of my life? Where is the best place to have a homebase, if any?

There are still so many places that I want to visit. Alaska is still at the top of the list, along with the east coast - Maine, Boston, etc. I have not been to the Pacific Northwest yet or to the southern parts of Arizona.  If I purchase a piece of property, then a "camper van" may be in my future, so that I can continue to explore around the country. 

I can't imagine "retiring" and just sitting around.  I started my 1st business when I was around 26 years old. Before that I sold handcrafts at craft shows in my neighborhood. I was always busy making something, growing something or traveling somewhere.  I suppose I will always be a tax preparer, also. I stepped away from that for a few years, but went back to it - it's part of who I am.

Everyone has a "calling" or two?  What is yours?

I've recently read that there is a trend with retirees wanting to stay in urban areas, with convenient access to services and entertainment.  A walkable community with a good public transportation system.

I would like to attend this event in 2017
but I'll be at work doing tax returns.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Topeka, Kansas

October 19-21, 2016

Texas to Topeka, KS - over 800 miles in 3 days

Had a hitchhiker when I left Texas.

I was washing the exterior of the RV a few days before I left and saw these little frogs on the outside of the door
Guess they wanted to go to the fair.
Usually, I take my time traveling, stopping every few hours along the way, but I wanted to make sure I arrived in Topeka for the opening of the fair.  I left the gulf coast on the morning of the 19th and drove as far as Salado, Texas, 237 miles. 

I was following Google's advice to go straight north, up to I-35, big mistake.

I ended up paying an expensive toll and getting into a construction zone on I-35 and it was difficult finding an RV park, north of Austin, that wasn't full -  probably with highway construction workers.

I stopped for the night at TranQuil Gardens RV Park near the highway and started early the next morning to get some more miles in.

Salado, Texas

Thursday morning, I got back on I-35, but the construction and traffic was terrible and I was driving north into a storm that was headed south.  The skies looked terrible.  I exited the highway near Waco and took the side roads northeast towards Tulsa, OK. I avoided the rain and wind and even had some sunny weather. I stopped for the night at Tulsa RV Ranch in Beggs, OK (407 miles today) - there were some tolls on the Indian Nations Turnpike, but not anywhere near as expensive as the toll near Austin. 

I would not recommend either of these RV parks, except for an overnight stay. I know that many of you would just park up at Walmart for the night.  I like to arrive early enough to a site to walk around and stretch my legs - even if it's not a very scenic RV park. The Tulsa RV Ranch complex has a seasonal rodeo, steak house and grazing longhorns. There was plenty of room to get out and walk around.

I pushed myself today, so I would have a shorter drive on Friday, only 231 miles left to go.

Friday October 21, 2016

An easy, uneventful drive from Tulsa to Topeka, just stay on Hwy. 75.

After I exited the highway, I stopped at Walgreens to pick up a few snacks and then headed to the ExpoCentre.  Just like at most exposition/fairgrounds, they allow RV parking on the grounds.  Many of the exhibitors arrive with RV's, trailers or horse trailers.  
The parking is convenient at a reasonable price.  Some of the sites had electric and I saw a dump station at the end of the parking lot. I didn't ask if there was water available. 

When I arrived, I checked in with security and picked out a site, they needed to unlock the electric box and tag the site.

The Mother Earth News Fair was held at the Kansas ExpoCentre. I did not visit any other areas of Topeka during my time here. Everyday, I walked around the neighborhood, a hotel and a wedding venue share the parking lot.  There are some older, Art Deco style building, that may have been the original buildings of the ExpoCentre.

A suburban-like area has grown up around the center, I wonder if it the center was originally "out in the boonies", surrounded by fields.  

Home for the weekend, a nice corner site.

Techie Question: I use my iPhone for all photos.  I have 2 small cameras, but do not like to carry them around.  I am having problems with all of the photos that I took during the last few weeks of October.  I can not "share" them from my phone.  I get an error message and then I have to take a "screen shot" of the photo, crop it and then I can email it to myself.  When I copy all of the photos from my phone to my laptop, it skips those dates. 

Did I accidentally turn something "off or on" on the phone???

I notice now that these photos have an exclamation point a corner of the photo.

I am still on the Sprint network, with free roaming, I wonder if this has anything to do with it.  I am sure I was out of Sprint's zone during much of this trip and would have been switched over to Verizon's or AT&T's towers.

coming up:
-pics and info from the vendors at the fair
-visiting some of the Kansas Byways and Prairies on my way to Denver

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Texas State Parks - Dinosaur Valley

January 3, 2017

Abilene State Park to Dinosaur Valley State Park - 143 miles

"Long ago, dinosaurs left footprints in the mud at the edge of an ancient ocean. Today, you can walk in their tracks in the bed of the Paluxy River."

This was not a good time of year to visit the park, too much cold water in the river for dinosaur hunting.

"Dinosaur tracks are in the riverbed and are not always visible.  Trails may be closed due to wet conditions or weather"

With the wind and cold weather, I didn't want to stay outside, but I managed a few short hikes along the river and through the prairie. A few of the trails went down to the river - across the river - and continued on the other side.  I was not able to continue across due to the fast moving cold water.

I think this would be a great park, for a family visit, during the summer. The kids can splash around in the river and search for dinosaur tracks. At the entrance to the state park highway, you can stop at Dinosaur World with life size dinosaurs and fossil dig sites.

The campsites were large and I had a nice view of the river at the back of my site. 

If you will be spending more than a week in the Texas State parks, in a one year period, the State Parks Pass is a good deal.  I paid $70 for a pass, good for one year from date of purchase.  The pass gives you admission to all of the parks for day use and you will receive 4 discounts on a 2nd night in a campground.  Most parks average $20 a night and some parks have weekly rates.

Texas charges the daily admission on top of the campsite fee, so that is what makes the park pass a good deal.  I sometimes stop at the parks, without camping overnight.  The day pass rates can be up to $7.00 per car, per day. I use the pass on weekends when I am working at the tax office, there are 5 parks within 1 1/2 hours of where I am working.

Thanks for shopping with my Amazon link.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Texas State Parks - Abilene State Park

January 2nd, 2017

After leaving Copper Breaks State Park, I headed toward Abilene, TX to stock up on groceries and to look for a place to get my Texas Vehicle Inspection.

I forgot that some places would be closed on Monday for the New Year holiday, so I didn't get the inspection done. On shopping days I do not like to drive far between campsites, the drive was around 150 miles between parks. 

Since 2011, I have burned through 2 Garmin GPS units.  So now I plan my route online, ahead of time, and keep a paper map on the passenger seat, just in case I need to stop and check things out.

I will use google maps on my iphone. I do not keep the iphone app on for the entire drive, usually just at the end, when I need turn by turn directions.  I may occasionally miss a turn, but usually realize it right after going through the intersection and need to turn around and get on the correct road.

I use a sticky note on the steering wheel, with a list of the major roads that I will need to look for.

I also have an index card listing my route and the towns I will be going through.  It's easy to memorize a short list of town names and match them up, on road signs, while driving.

The cold weather, snow and ice were chasing me, so I would only spend one night at Abilene State Park, before moving south and east to get away from the winter weather.

"Abilene State Park is nestled around a beautiful grove of oak, elm and pecan trees along Elm Creek.
The thick canopies of trees are unusual for this part of Texas and provide a wooded oasis throughout the park. long before pioneers arrived, native americans, such as the Tonkawa and Comanche, camped along Elm Creek while hunting buffalo as the herds migrated through nearby Buffalo Gap. In the early 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps built the original stone structures. the masonry arches and intricate stonework of locally quarried red sandstone and native limestone are an enduring legacy"

"Eagle Trail, constructed by local Boy Scouts, wanders down to Buffalo Wallow Pond, a one-acre pond developed with children in mind."

 I arrived early enough in the afternoon to go for a long walk around the park and also went out for a walk the next morning before moving on to my next destination.

Posts for the next few months will be randomly posted, not by date, as I get pictures and info together, I will post what I remember.  I have a mileage log book that I update every time I stop in the RV, even if it is just a rest stop - this will help me to remember locations.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Mother Earth News Fair

Many, many years ago when I was a newlywed (1976) new mom (1977) and new homeowner (1978), I subscribed to the Mother Earth News magazine.

I always dreamed about living on a farm with a big red barn, I enjoyed working outdoors and growing things. What I miss from my house in Illinois are the gardens. I planted a lot of native prairie plants and also had a beautiful rose garden in the back yard.  Sometimes, when life wasn't too hectic, I would have a vegetable garden, too.

Many weekends I would drag my husband and daughter to look at an abandoned farm or small cottage, I wanted to move to the country. We lived in Chicago and would travel to rural areas of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.  In later years, our road trips took us farther away from home.

2008 Boone Forest, Kentucky

Last fall, I noticed an ad for the Mother Earth News Fair in Topeka, Kansas, the dates were October 22nd-23rd (2016). I would be finished working on October 17th and decided to take a detour to Kansas on my way to Denver.
Attending this event fueled my desire, again, for a small farm.  One of the goals of full-timing is to find a "home base".  I still have not figured out where that will be, but I plan on searching for a place while traveling this summer.

My work schedule is January 15th-April 15th and again from August 15th-October 15th.  This allows me a lot of time for visiting with family and exploring. Instead of working a summer job that requires a commitment of 6+ months in one location, I will work this split schedule and free up the summer months for exploring.

My property requirements are pretty simple:
No restrictions on parking an RV on the property
Utilities already in place
One to two miles from a thriving town center
I currently walk/bike for most errands and want to continue this
The town must have a grocery store, library and community center

A house is not necessary, I do not want to worry about leaving it vacant while traveling.

I will continue to travel in the RV, there are many places to visit, I am not ready to sit in one place yet.  It will take time to establish perennial plants and small fruit trees on the property, it will be a work in progress, a place to hang out and make plans. 

To be continued...
*Traveling to Topeka and "at the fair"
*More Texas State Parks

The Mother Earth News Fair will be in several states again in 2017.
Link provided on this blog post.

Mother Earth News, books, magazines and archives available on my Amazon link.

Thank you for checking out these links to Amazon!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Texas State Parks - Copper Breaks State Park

I have yearly tabs at the top of my page, I will update these pages soon.  The yearly pages give a snapshot view of where I have traveled in my RV.

I planned to stop at several Texas State Parks after leaving Colorado. I purchased a Texas State Parks Pass last summer and wanted to make sure I used my camping discounts before they expire.

I prefer state parks anyway, so much nicer than a typical "RV Resort" and the price is right, most Texas state parks average around $20 a night.

For a few weeks, or maybe longer, my posts will not be in chronological order. I have a lot of time to cover and lots of thoughts and ramblings about "where I am and what am I going to do with my life".

While traveling, I was posting some pictures on Facebook.  I have joined many Facebook groups - camping groups, widow groups, healthy eating and fitness groups. It got to be too much, so I took the FB app off of my phone.  I still belong to the groups and I still can check in when I am using my laptop.

I was concerned about the weather in Colorado and northern Texas. It may not have been a smart thing to drive to Colorado for the holidays. I was in Denver from October 27th  to December 27th.
I love visiting my family, I have 2 granddaughters now, but RVing in Colorado in the winter can get tricky.
After Thanksgiving, Denver had colder than usual weather and I ended up winterizing the RV and spending nights at my daughter's house. There was some snow but it melted before I left, they did get more snow a week or so after I left.

I was very fortunate and had good traveling days, no rain or snow and not too much wind, considering the high plains area I was traveling through. 

The high plains is a very scenic area, I feel "at home" when I travel through these areas. The wind can sometimes be a problem, but I love the open spaces and the feeling that I am driving up in the clouds.

Copper Breaks State Park near Quanah,  TX
Northern Texas not too far south of the Red River

Happy New Year to me, camping at Copper Breaks State Park. Copper Breaks is in a remote location with 10 miles of hiking trails. It is designated an International Dark Sky Park.

In the early morning hours of January 2nd, I opened the curtain next to my bed to wait for the sunrise and was treated to a spectacular starry sky.  The stars were huge and looked close enough to touch, I had never seen anything like it before.  And there were a few "shooting stars". No pictures, I was just taking it all in.  Not sure I could have taken a decent pic of this anyway.

 Copper Breaks takes its name from the gray green streaks of raw copper that band its rust colored mini canyons and arroyos. An ancient inland sea helped form the land into a broken badlands of gullies, mesas and juniper "breaks".

”The Big Pond, the camp host told me where to find the "stairs" to walk down to this pond, with a small sandy beach area.

                                                 Campsites overlooking the canyon

Bordered by the seasonal Pease River, this land was once rich in buffalo and other wildlife and offered protection and bounty to generations of native americans.

It's been awhile....

Where has the time gone?

I was cleaning out the closets in the RV today and came across a book of my blog posts that I had printed. The book is from the start of my blog and travels in 2011.

I was reading it and decided that I miss blogging and communicating with my blogging friends through comments.

I am still living in the RV fulltime. I am still working. I am in south TX working tax season again.

After finishing up tax extensions last October, I traveled to Kansas and then stayed in Colorado for the holidays. After Christmas, I headed back to TX.

I am writing this from my iphone, but I will put together some pictures and blog posts about my recent travels. I stayed at several Texas State Parks in January.

Ok, stay tuned, I will be posting to catch up to where I have been and to write about my plans for the future.

                                                                       Pretty in Pink!

                                          Not my photo - borrowed from a birding brochure

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