A Travellerspoint blog

Winter

Why does it exist?


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For those that know me, know that I think winter is terrible. I detest it every year and actively try to avoid interacting with it. I know that there are those out there who frolic and revel in the winter season. I think if you don't have to go outside ever, that is perfectly acceptable. Anything below 60F (new low for me..most of my life it was 70F) is wrong. After living in an area that has winter every year for the last 6 years, I decided to start trying to figure out why I hate it. And the crazy truth-- I run hot. Now some of you may be scratching your heads saying "Well, wouldn't you like winter since you are hot natured?" You know...that does make potential sense. However, even the hottest person needs to to wear protective clothing when they are outside. And that is the crux of my problem. I wear all the proper things to keep my body from freezing and instantly start to sweat. So by the time I arrive anywhere, I'm all hot and sweaty and can't rip off the layers fast enough once inside. So its torture. Winter is terrible.

With all of that in mind, I've been fairly successful in not having to have a lot of winter this year (success!!), but even the best planning will get you in the end. I headed up to Colorado to see a good friend and winter found me. Thankfully I was staying in his house and with another dog for Milo to play with and a fenced in backyard, I didn't have to interact with winter a whole lot. We did manage to go hiking one day before it was too bad and I finally got to see the Red Rocks Amphitheater.

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But being me, once back at the house, I had to shower because I was sweaty...in 30F. So, winter is terrible, but being with friends is good.
Another bonus of being stationary at a mail-able address was KING CAKE! Since I couldn't bake my own this year, I ordered one to share with my friends and they did not complain.
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My friends very much spoiled me this week, with daily trips to Starbucks to homemade meals every night. It was quite a nice break for once to not have to make decisions about food or bathrooms.

Pandemic Delivery

Back in the beginning of July, I was inspired by another friend who had bought roller blades for her 40th. I thought..you know I love to skate, I should treat myself to some nice skates for my birthday. At the time of ordering them, there was an 8-10 week production window since they are custom made. This was a perfect time line and I placed the order. Since then, I've received several emails from the company with apologies for delays. I guess I wasn't the only one who wanted to skate during the pandemic. Fast forward 6 months...and they were finally shipped!! Had to call to get them re-routed since my mailing address was no longer accurate and TA-DAY!! SKATES!!!!

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I didn't take them out for a real test, other than adjusting them since...winter...but cannot wait to be in warmer climate to break them in well.

Remember I mentioned that Milo had a friend for the week? He had such fun playing with his big friend. She also really liked me and would check on me throughout the work day. I've since had my friend text that she still goes downstairs after the daily coffee run to see where we are :(
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After a thoroughly relaxing week, I had some decisions to make (which I now regret). Which path to take to get south? I had pretty much decided I didn't want to go through Texas. I've lived there twice, visited countless times and I'm sure I'll be back. I just didn't have a desire to drive through it. So I opted for the more northern route of through Kansas and Arkansas (never been to either). Thought it would be fun to go to new places. After consulting my personal meteorologist (everyone should have them)/ friend I was staying with, we decided that was the better route with the impending snow storm. I would drive on Saturday, stay in place for 2 nights to let the storm pass and drive again on Monday to get to Hot Springs.

Kansas

On my drive through Kansas, I decided to take the detour to visit the geographical center of the lower 48. It was only a couple of extra hours, why not?
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So now I can say I've been there but didn't stay long. The temps were below 0 and refuse to give them credibility by labeling them. So snapped my pics before running back to the warmth of the car. I really wanted to go into the little downtown area, but the side streets weren't plowed, so I waved, looked for Springsteen and kept going.

I stayed in Wichita since it was about halfway to Hot Springs. Decided that was a good decision. I celebrated Valentine's like every year, with pizza and action movies and watched the snow fall.
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Hitting the road Monday, I felt good. We had little issues getting back on the interstate, but once there everything was cleared enough to travel safely. I opted to stay on I40 longer, rather than heading down smaller highways to Hot Springs. And that proved to be at least initially a good idea. I arrived at the exit to Hwy 9 which I would wind down for the last part of my journey when everything went to shit.

As I was exiting, I was eyeing the snow berm in front of me caused by plowing of the main road. I thankfully had a yield sign and figured if I just kept going I would be ok. I was wrong. My little 2-wheel drive hit the berm and gave up. No amount of rocking back and forth helped. A 70ish man stopped to offer help and only after he did, did anyone else. They got me pushed into the first gas station where I decided to reassess my life. I looked down this twisting, not well plowed road and thought...not worth it. There was a hotel across the street...up a hill...

After filling up my gas tank, I eyed the snow berm heading out of the gas station and the other one heading to the hotel...up the hill. I tried to gun my little car as much as possible checking for a clear spot, but the berm defeated me again. Thankfully a different group of locals pitched in. One who drove my car successfully, with a few others pushing across the street and up the first part of the hill where it wouldn't go anymore. By this time a guy was walking out of the Waffle House parking lot (shared by the hotel) and called to the driver of my car. Great thing about small towns in the south...everyone knows each other...and someone will have four wheel drive and a tow strap. Waffle House guy was that guy. He hooked up the tow strap and his lady partner drove the truck pulling my car and trailer up the hill...and semi-parallel parked along the side.

Before I tried leaving the gas station I called the hotel. I know not all hotels take dogs and I didn't want to make the effort of getting over there only to be turned away. They didn't answer the phone.

I walked in asking about a room..they had one..no dogs though. I looked at the lady and asked where I was supposed to go. Didn't she see that I was towed in here? Milo is a good dog, won't make noise, won't chew on anything and won't have any accidents--he's better than most toddlers. She asked me if he was a service dog...without flinching I told her he was my Emotional Support Animal (to be fair, I do not have a letter from a doctor stating such, BUT I do have depression and honestly feel my life would be worse off without him and I am a doctor...). She gave me a WTF look over her glasses, but mumbled that if anyone saw him I should say he's a service dog. And to only use the side entrances....not the main one. Sure, sure anything you say, please let me have a room. I booked for 2 nights hoping that would give enough time to fully clear the roads and let me escape down to Louisiana.

After being stressed out, I was now exhausted and hungry. I didn't eat lunch while driving (I do this sometimes) and with Waffle House just a few feet away, got a burger and hash browns (diced, capped and covered) to go and settled in for the night.

Change in plans

Now remember I said I regretted my decisions earlier? The regret was not staying in CO with my friends. Now to be fair, I don't like to overstay and he was stressed for his job and hadn't thought through the next week implications. So decisions were made, I'm now in BFE Arkansas. Hindsight and all that.

He texted me Tuesday morning telling me that leaving the next day would be a bad decision. Another storm system would be moving through and if it was possible at all to just stay put until Saturday. This was not the news I wanted to hear. I didn't want to be stuck in this hotel that allows SMOKING in some rooms, but not dogs. Where my only easy food option was Waffle House. But after accepting that my safety would be at risk, I was able to get groceries delivered to the hotel to live out dorm life for a few days. Room did have a microwave and refrigerator so I stocked up on canned soup, tuna and crackers. I will make this work. Managed to do some stress therapy after work and started my new sewing project. I was living in a hotel...and not in an exotic location.

MG (Meteorologist guy) was spot on. I watched the snow all day knowing it was going into the early morning the next day. But thought I would share a few more musings from my time stuck.

Waffle House

Before you get started on how racist it is...unless I wanted to take my life in my hands and go down the hill, cross the road, up the other hill to the McDonald's or Subway with no visible sidewalk and only a sort of visible road, Waffle House was going to be dinner. I've been to Waffle House a handful of times since undergrad where it was a very common 2am visit. Ms. Dixie was the best waitress in my college town. She didn't put up with any nonsense from the drunk frat boys. So I have fond memories of WH. However, being an actual adult now, I recognize they do not have anything remotely healthy and eating there for many days would be terrible. Thus dorm life food. But I wanted to point out the wonders of WH. Like the fact that their cooks are probably the only people in the world who can multi-task. How many of you can cook one order, while listening to another one and start on that? At any given time having 3-7 orders going. I have always been fascinated watching this. Loud drunk people yelling to their friends, but a clear voice ringing out, "Drop half, smothered, covered and diced, drop half bacon...." and more. Watching the cook move spatulas and crack eggs and never miss a beat or an order. Its a talent I will never have. I also appreciate that on the WH application (hopefully still there, haven't looked in recent years) there are math problems. So the question of when will I ever use this? from that obnoxious student in math class--to work at WH. Where honestly, young man, that would be ambitious for you--better stick to scraping gum off of the floor for a living.

So that's my ode to WH. Their workers are fascinating at the level of handling multiple things. I've been a server at a few different places and I can say with absolute confidence...I have forgotten orders..or at least part of an order. And I've blamed the cook. Unfair, but the cook is always in the back where no one can see and can take the blame and protect my tip. WH servers don't have that luxury. So they are the stars of the serving world.

Fingers crossed after two full clear days, the roads will be cleared out so I can continue my trek onward south.

Hope you enjoyed the view,
Ocean

Posted by Oceansview 22:10 Comments (0)

New Mexico


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Heading further east, I landed in White Sands, NM.

New Mexico has some pretty strict restrictions for COVID (yay! good leadership!!) that prevent out of state people from reserving sites at their state parks. So I landed at a KOA. To be fair, all KOA folks that I've met are wonderful folks. I just prefer to not be in a parking lot if possible. Oh well.

White Sands/Alamogordo

I decided to give myself permission to relax for a few days. Every day in Arizona, I was running off after a full day of work each day to take in the sights. While that is one of the goals of my trip, I also need to have days that I'm not running around. So despite being in a place on a weekend day, I relaxed more and didn't go see things right away. Instead, decided to give you an update on camper life.

Camper Life

My friend gave me a gift before leaving Compton of a little egg souffle maker. He thought it would be good since its so small. And let me say, IT IS! I don't make eggs every morning, but its really nice to throw eggs in a device and not have to watch it.

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I use my inductive stove top a lot for my various one pot meals (I'm getting to be quite the expert), but I also use the single propane burner every day to make coffee. I found this great collapsible pour over thing that has made having fresh coffee every day possible.
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I also boil water at night to wash the dishes. Having only a small sink with a direct connection to a hose (if available) doesn't allow for hot water. So twice a day this is my view.

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I mentioned I'm getting to be a fairly good one pot chef. Key is to just put things together that taste good even if occasionally you have to remove to cook a different part of the meal. Chicken sausage and sauerkraut are some of my favorite go-tos.
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Another fairly easy classic (and bonus of only needing to keep one of the ingredients in the fridge) is chili. I use ground turkey for my meat and the rest is canned goods and onion.
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However, it has now been zero days since a red sauce incident. At least with this one, Milo could help clean up.
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Lincoln National Forest

The first couple of days I was in the area, weather was not the greatest, which probably contributed to me be lazy. After work on Monday, I decided to drive through the Lincoln National Forest.
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The snow was beautiful and as typical, Milo could care less that a strong wind was blowing and freezing. He is also NOT scared of heights if a good smell is involved.
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There aren't many photos because the road didn't have many pull over spots. There were also some not cleared parts, so driving was the priority. I'm glad we went through because it was a beautiful drive.

Bloomfield

After a week in White Sands area, it was time to move up north. On the drive up I stopped a 2 of the 3 Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument sights. These are Spanish Mission locations that built these sites in partnership with the Pueblo people built in the early 1600s.
The first place I stopped was Gran Quivira.
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The churches were the main part of the community and the biggest building.
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Underground kivas, usually circular were allowed to remain even though they were used for dancing for the Pueblo peoples rituals.
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The second location was farther north and I had a chance to stop into the visitor's center. I've been excited when National Parks are open so I can get my official stamps. And I was able to get THREE here! You get the general one from Salinas and then one for each sight you visit. The third site was in a different direction so I didn't make it to that one.
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The different brick colors were rather interesting. Even though they are not very far apart its apparent of the different materials that are available. This one was also a lot larger and had an area for inquisitions. The Pueblo people were not ever tried for an inquisition, but they could act as witnesses.

Day of Disappointment

I got to Bloomfield and headed to the RV park. The owner had called me a couple days before to let me know that he would bring fresh water down to me since he didn't have a potable line. I thought..ok, its a slight hassle but its fine. Then as I was getting close to town he calls to check on when I will arrive. I was about an hour out. He said he would leave several jugs of water for me. I asked him to make sure to leave the bathroom unlocked. He then said he didn't have bathrooms. ... I told him his website indicated that he did. Oh yeah..he had port-a-potties but they had started freezing so he returned them. I asked exactly what I was paying him for since I could pee in the woods for free. Needless to say, I cancelled and found another park driving into town.

The next morning I got up excited to go see Mesa Verde. I have become more intrigued with the Pueblo peoples and how they were able to work with the land verses our current way of exploiting the land. The drive up had some icy areas, which I'm never a fan of, but made it to the park. Got to the check-in point and was told they weren't allowing anyone without 4-wheel drive or snow chains to enter because of the roads not being in great condition. So we turned around. I saw that there were some more Pueblo sites not far and headed towards those. Turning down a snow packed road, I got to enjoy the view of unblemished snow fields.
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When I was about 1/4-1/2 mile from the site, the road was no longer snow packed, but about 2 feet deep with a single set of tire tracks. I turned around again, disappointed. Now yes, I could have hiked along the tire tracks, but I did not bring snow boots with me.

I then decided to drive to Four Corners. Another landmark I have wanted to see. I knew it was not in the mountains so the roads should be fine. The drive was again beautiful with gorgeous formations.
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As I got to the turnoff, there were large signs saying CLOSED and a gate was shut and locked across the road. Four corners in located on a Reservation. I cannot blame the Native Americans at all for wanting to keep the white folks out. I mean we have given them enough illnesses and problems.

At this point it was mid afternoon. I was very disappointed to not have seen any of the places I set out to see. I decided to find a place that had Navajo tacos as something to not be disappointed about and was finally successful. Headed back to the RV park to enjoy my taco and do some more sewing. I am getting close to finishing my current cross stitch project. And I wanted to enjoy something after my very disappointing day.

Aztec Ruins and Simon Canyon

The next day, I woke up determined to see something! I had passed the Aztec Ruins sign on my way to Mesa Verde yesterday, so decided to try it out. We headed out early and I had a nice time with the park completely to myself. Milo wasn't allowed to explore so he napped in the car.
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The majority of the ruins have been maintained by the Park service and they reconstructed the main Kiva so show what it would have looked like when it was used. This would have been the main worship area.
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The remainder of the ruins showed a very community driven way of life and a very practical way to share resources. Living spaces were small connected rooms that shared wall similar to apartments. I was very impressed with the amount of original features that have survived the passing of time.
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The broom and mat were found with the original ruins and have not been moved.

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I stayed in Bloomfield for a couple of more days before moving on. It was nice and is now on the list to re-visit post pandemic in order to see all the things I want to see.

Taos

Several people have told me that I needed to see Taos, so I rented a small AirBnB to get out of the wind and cold for a few days. It was definitely the right decision as 2 of the nights I was there the wind was really ripping through and I'm not sure my little camper would have done well. It was also nice to have indoor plumbing again. Walking outside in the cold to go to the bathroom is not my favorite activity. I probably partially dehydrate myself in order to reduce the possibility of a late night trip. Anyway--don't need to worry about that for a few days!

The historical plaza of Taos was really cute, but also depressing. Many of the shops are closed (possibly permanently) and there were no people. I know its off season and folks are being careful, but to not see anyone out walking was sad.
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Taos will be another place that I come back to visit. I can see how it can have such personality.

Earthship and the Gorge

On my drive into town, I saw a little house built into the earth and thought--OH its one of those cool houses I've read about. Then as I drove a little more, I saw it was an entire community of eco-friendly houses!! I also drove over the beautiful gorge and knew those would be my first explored places. My first day after work, the weather was pretty crappy, but I drove out to Earthship. They have an entire Visitor's center set up to explain how everything works. From building the walls out of tires and adobe mud to the water system (used multiple times before going to the septic tank). It is such a cool concept and I can see building one or buying one in retirement. Living off grid with a low carbon footprint in any place seems pretty ideal.

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I then drove back over to the Gorge after a freezing rain and high wind event hit me leaving Earthship (that's why there aren't more outdoor pics). I arrived just in time to see a rainbow.
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The gorge is another amazing natural feature and has a nice hiking trail, but with the rain and the mud, we decided to pass.
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I enjoyed my northern New Mexico adventure, but was ready to not deal with rain/sleet/snow for a while.

Off to enjoy the next view!
Ocean

Posted by Oceansview 18:24 Comments (0)

Time to start east


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Hit the road early on Saturday to start the trek back east. Put another 528 miles on the car bringing the total to 8170 so far to end up in Winslow, AZ.
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Since I was there, I stood on a corner.
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Milo was also very happy that there was a dog park in town. He got to run around after being in the car all day.

The town of Winslow is a nice little stop along the historic Route 66.
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The world's smallest church, dedicated to veterans.
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Grand Canyon

The goal of this stop was to visit the Grand Canyon. Anything else would be bonus. The Grand Canyon has been on my bucket list for quite some time. And for all the hype....it lives up to it. Spent most of my first day in the area at the park. Went to several of the look out points along the Southern Rim starting from Mather Point and heading east to Desert View Watchtower.

The views along the way were magnificent and I wish the camera would do the colors and depth more justice...but alas I only use a cell phone.
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The Desert View Watchtower was built to look like a period piece but was actually built in modern times. The internal structure is steal while the outside was constructed in true form from the time period. No modern tools were used on it and the result is very authentic looking.
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Leaving the park, I decided to try and see a few more things while the sun was still up. I planned to stop at Route 66 ghost town, but ended up pulling over for Walnut Canyon. Its a smaller canyon that has some cliff dwellings. Sadly, Milo couldn't go down the trail to the dwellings, so we just looked from above.
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I was losing sunlight and wanted to hit the Meteor Crater and see what killed all the dinosaurs. Made it 45 mins before they closed. Sadly did not get to spend much time in the museum inside, but focused on being outside.
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Largest fragment of the original meteor found.

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Nice NASA contribution to the exhibit

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View over the landscape...nothing but flat for miles until the meteor hit.

It was a very full day and felt happy to see yet another National Park and continue to check off bucket list items. Heading back for the night just in time so see the true colors of the desert. When I think about the desert I picture brown with the occasional green tall cactus sticking up. However, spending time in the desert at sunset and sunrise allows all the colors to come out. There are pale greens and yellows that really pop against the light brown ground and other scrub brushes. I know it doesn't do it justice, but I tried.
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I was staying in a state park, Homolo'vi. It is the site of two native American villages of the Homolo'vi people that dates back to the 1300s. One of the oldest preserved sites. Was amazing to see some of the footprints of the buildings and even a partial wall.
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Staying in the park was really nice, but I knew it would be short term based on the temperatures. Both nights dropped below 20C and we would wake up to Milo's frozen water bowl.
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Monday morning, we got up to strike camp and get to warmer weather south.

Kartchner Caverns

I really like staying at State Parks over private campgrounds. Happy to find Kartchner Caverns State Park with the bonus of a dish washing sink. This may not sound like a big deal, but having a separate large sink with instant hot water to wash the dishes every day makes life a lot easier in the camper.


Tombstone and Fairbank

First day after work, decided to head to the nearby famous Tombstone. They've kept it "authentic" with a dirt road that no cars are allowed on and having several of the same businesses and other ones named after the infamous residents.
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The historic Courthouse had really nice lighting due to the storm that was rolling in.
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There were other parts of town that looked original but not maintained as well off the main strip.
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Thought it was amusing that there is even a fake Tombstone, in Tombstone...that's about the epitome of commercialization,
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As I left the town to head back to camp, I stopped to look over the landscape. It really made me wonder what type of grit it took to see this vast emptiness and decide to want to live here. Folks had to be pretty tough, sleeping on the ground and finding food and water. I don't think I would have made it considering my penchant for soft beds.
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As I drove back, I saw a sign for Fairbank, historical site and decided to pull in. I'm glad I did. It was a true ghost town that has been preserved for history.
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There was even a trail to the cemetery. Milo and I needed to stretch our legs, so off we went on the hike.
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This is probably the only cemetery I've been to that didn't have a single headstone. The time period of the town was 1881-early 1900's . It served a rail town closest to Tombstone, but after the mines shut down in 1886, the town declined.
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Walking along the trail, with no one around was a little haunting, but the blue sky was just breath taking.
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Saguaro National Park

As the country got a new President, I decided to use my afternoon to see more nature. I headed over to the Saguaro National Park so see some of the iconic cacti. One reason mastery of the English language is so hard...cacti, but octopuses. Anyway, there was a nice one way 8 mile loop around the park that afforded several pull off areas for photos.

Starting down the path, it was clear many cyclists used the trail, but clearly needed a warning for part of it.
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The different types of cacti also amazed me. Growing up ignorant of the dessert, I thought they were only green, tall with weird arms. They are really diverse and beautiful.
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Gilded flicker and Gila woodpecker excavate nest cavities in the cactus for a home leaving these holes. Other birds will use these spaces for homes after the woodpecker abandons it.
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It also became very clear that Milo had never encountered a cactus before. He kept trying to get right up next to them. Even after pulling out a couple of spines, he would still insist on seeing them up close.
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Coronado and Border Wall

The next day after work I decided to drive down to the border wall. I wasn't very far and I felt like I needed to see massive horrible structure. Driving down I made a quick loop into the Coronado National Park.
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Its very pretty, but the sun was starting to dip, so I didn't spend much time there.

I drove towards the border town of Naco and Bisbee. Driving right up to the last turn around spot before crossing the border I cried looking at it.
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As I left I took a few more shots from a distance. It just sits there like a giant scar on the landscape. Blocking natural migration paths for animals and destroying the land.
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Leaving the town did afford a nice backlit view.
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And I even got to see a road runner finally! They sure do blend in!
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Heading back to camp I decided to take a break from the same food I had been eating all week and got drive thru homemade quesadilla. Delicious. If you're ever in the area, make a stop at Camino Cafe.


Kartchner Caverns and Sky Island

The last full day in town, I finally got to visit the caverns. It was the only opening all week. Learning about the giant sloth that was found in the cavern goes to show how it changed over time. Unfortunately, could not take any photos inside but it was beautiful.
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I took advantage after work to do one last drive of the area up Mount Lemmon. Its called the Scenic Drive to Sky Island and allows you to travel from the desert landscape up to pines. The views were great and I mostly enjoyed the view while driving the winding road and only stopped on occasion for photos.
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Arizona was a nice place to visit. I highly recommend it and will be back since I didn't see everything.

Time to find a new view!
Ocean

Posted by Oceansview 18:17 Comments (0)

Compton Upgrades


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I was able to help out a friend and have a house to myself for 2 whole weeks. Win/Win
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He asked me as he was leaving...when was the last time I was in a house, by myself? The answer...since mid-Sept when I sold my condo. It has really afforded me a nice time to work on some upgrades for the camper and finish cleaning out the car and getting really organized.
I also "upgraded" the gate to his backyard, so Milo couldn't escape
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Upgrades:

Adding carpeting strips similar to Slim Potatohead's suggestion. However, let me caveat this with...the striping he suggests (called J-edge) is NOT that easily available. It was the main reason I hadn't been able to do this upgrade. Every hardware store that I would stop into since Wisconsin didn't carry it in stock. Apparently its for tile and not a popular model of how to do tile these days. Since I was finally stable long enough, I was able to order it online and get it delivered. Fairly easy to install with some contact cement and I just used the edge of the hinge as my guide to be "level."
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The carpet also proved a little tricky. I kept looking for carpet similar to his video that was cloth material on both sides. However, carpet usually has some sort of backing. I ended up just buying a rug runner from the dollar store and cut strips from it. Installation was fairly smooth once I got the hang of pushing in the carpet with the flathead.
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And thankfully my supervisor was around to help
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I then decided to use the rest of the carpet on the floor. I love my little turquoise rug, but it was just thick enough to cause issues with opening some of the doors. This fits perfectly underneath to not cause any problems.

I'll be heading back into some colder temperatures, so also decided to add another layer on the main window to possibly help with insulation.

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I didn't follow the instructions because they recommend starting from the top. I can see how this would make sense for a normal window because the layers then fall down. But since the largest part of the window was at the middle, I started from there and pushed the plastic up behind the paper towel rack and then cut off the excess. Seems to be a decent job and it tightened fairly well with the hair dryer. Another thing I did was to seal it in 2 sections. I think the top section will stay firmly attached, but with the bottom having some screen and a not clear area to put the tape I'm not as confident that area will stay.

I got to take another outing with a work friend and Milo made another dog friend. We went to the Japanese Tea Garden in Kenneth Hahn park. We didn't stay on the paths too much, again..all the people.
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One thing I would never have imagined until it was pointed out to me, is how much of an oil state California is. I mean its super progressive and all for clean energy..except for all the oil wells. Everywhere...in parks, next to a Chick Fil A (I mean that's another reason to not eat there). Its CRAZY.
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I started checking the camper and getting organized a few days before I hit the road again and boy am I glad I did. Camper battery was totally dead. Brought it to an RV shop and they tried to slow charge it, but nada. Thankfully the warranty was good and I got a free replacement!

One last upgrade before hitting the road was for my wardrobe :)
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I've enjoyed my time in Cali, but it is time to start the trek east again.

Next view will be the Grand Canyon!
Ocean

Posted by Oceansview 23:04 Comments (0)

New Year's Getaway


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The trifecta

Yep...we pulled it off. 3 days and 3 National Parks. Death Valley, Red Rock Canyons and Joshua Tree. I do not apologize for the numerous amount of pictures.

Taking advantage of a three day weekend, my friend and I decided to hit up some National parks and even threw in the Hoover Dam and a drive through the Strip for fun.

Day 1

Death Valley--with our furry pals

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And of course some fine gas stations refreshment
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All of the landscapes were amazing. We drove through the "middle" route and also along Artist Drive.
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I had never spent any time in a desert and am just continually amazed at this country's beauty.

At the end of the day, Milo made a new friend.
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Day 2

Red Rock Canyon

I'm not sure what I was expecting for Red Rocks, but I probably couldn't have been prepared. From the stark contrast of the bright blue sky and the red rocks to the pink cactus....all of it was absolutely breath taking.
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Milo's favorite part was the slow drives through the parks where he was allowed to have window time.

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Furry friends had to stay in the car, because of other smaller furry friends in the park

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Hoover Dam

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Overview of Lake Mead on the way to the Dam

I would have liked to have gotten out of the car to explore more around the dam, but SO many dam people(that is a rare pun intended to keep my pun-friendly folks involved)! Crowded on the sidewalks, brushing past each other. Car view was good for me.
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The Strip!

We arrived during the last daylight hours and made an initial swing through.
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I was still amazed at the number of people out and about. We decided it probably wasn't even safe to grab something from a resturant so we did a quick off strip grocery store find and got food from the deli before returning to see all the pretty lights. I am clearly not a photographer ,but was pretty impressed at my quick searching to find how to make my phone take at least decent pics at night.

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On the drive back for the night, we needed gas. I found a place on the route and it just so happened that it was a place that some people seek out...

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Good to know, Aliens need love too.

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I was very tempted...but it wanted cash.

Day 3

Joshua Tree

Last day of many long days in a car. I'm also glad that my America the Beautiful Pass was actually paying off. I hadn't needed to show my pass until these parks and bonus was Red Rocks and Joshua Tree visitor centers were actually open! I finally go official stamps in my Parks Passport!!!
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Cholla cactus--very cute, even Milo appreciated them

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The famous Skull Rock

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I feel incredibly privileged to be able to see all of these wonderful places and have a flexible way to work right now.

Now, off to view Compton!

Ocean

Posted by Oceansview 22:01 Comments (0)

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