Thursday, October 30, 2014

Catching up!

Hmmm....I wonder how many times I've used this blog title! To catch you up to speed - we had a wonderful visit with my daughter, Lauryn. She did my hair and we went to an AA meeting with her to celebrate her 1 year sober birthday. She spoke at the meeting - actually led the entire meeting and spoke for 25 minutes. She was eloquent, thoughtful, funny, emotional and I was (and AM) so very, very proud of her. The support in that room was overwhelming. Afterwards people shared - some about what she spoke about and some about themselves and their journey. One younger girl said "I want what you've got." And it struck me that I remember Lauryn saying the same thing early on in her recovery. She's in a good place, has a great job, is working on a second career as a personal trainer and has surrounded herself with really good people. PHEW!

My sister, Joanne, my mom and my nephew's girlfriend.
After L.A. we drove down to Dulzura, very, very southeast San Diego, just a hop, skip and jump from the Mexican border at Tecate, where our friends Jeanette and Dennis were hanging out. We had a much needed few days of R&R and Dennis helped me figure out a few things with my computer. We cooked together, sat around the campfire, got some work in, did some laundry and had the master suite to indulge in after all of our tent camping adventures. It just wasn't long enough, but my sister and her family, from Nome, Alaska, were visiting my parents and my brother had planned a family dinner - so off we went to join in. There was no room to stay at my mom and dad's house with my sister's family there so we went to stay close by at my Uncle's house, which was empty. 
With my brother, Richard, a great chef, who made
us a yummy vegan meal!

We went to Living Waters Spa to celebrate our 5th anniversary and spent the night there, for the first time. We indulged in one of their signature couples massages and just lounged around - taking a break from the October 15th tax deadline I was working against. We went back to Palm Desert for about a week and then set out to camp for a few days in Joshua Tree. My parents have had a home in Palm Desert for 25-30 years and even before that, they rented down there every winter and not once had I ever been to Joshua Tree - it was time!
Our wedding, 5 years ago on top of Round Hill, Stateline, Nevada
We scored a great campsite (good to go mid-week) at the Jumbo Rocks campground and did a couple of long hikes. The weather was perfect and we ended up meeting a great couple on our way out. 

About a week prior to this I woke up one morning with a start, realizing that we couldn't just go down to Mexico whenever we wanted, if we wanted to stay until the end of April - on a tourist visa you are limited to 180 days. Add into that the 4-5 days travel time to get up and down the peninsula and we only have 170 days! Time to reschedule and extend our leave date! By this time we had moved into my parents home and quickly realized we could not stay there another week. Bill was doing some searching on the internet for rentals and other options in the area while he was also playing around on Facebook. All of a sudden he noticed an ad for the Armed Forces Vacation Club - don't you just love how they know EVERYTHING you're doing?! Usually those things totally creep me out, but this time, we scored! Got a great condo, in a super area for $299 for the week. So off we went, moving, once again. We got a lot done in those three weeks in Palm Desert - I finished off tax season and got a couple of other work related things out of the way so that by the time we left I was done with work for a couple of months.
One of the two tent sites at Fiddler's Cove in Coronado.

We left Palm Desert and headed south to San Diego where we camped for 4 nights on Coronado in the newest  military campground. On the way there Bill asked me to check in with Glenn at the RV Connection to see if we'd had any interest in our RV. It had been almost a month since it had gone up on his website and we hadn't heard a thing. Well, guess what?! That was a timely email as they were just getting ready to take it for a test drive with a very serious buyer. Glenn only lets you test drive his vehicles if he knows that's the last step in the buying process - no lookee-loos for him! So we've got a deal in the works, we extended our stay in San Diego a couple of days to get the paperwork all signed. Timing is everything! Had we already left for Mexico this would have been a very difficult process. Today he is wiring the money to our bank to pay off the loan and Friday I believe we will be officially homeless, for one day, as our rent on our little casita starts Saturday, November 1st!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

On the road again....

Loaded and ready for....

The Beacon with our besties...when and where will we meet next?!
Lunch, al fresco, at Daniel's
(our old house)
I believe I've used this title more than once, but it is just so fitting. Our last week in Tahoe was filled with a frenzy of lasts - last dinners and happy hours and storing all those yummy hugs for our many months away from loved ones. We finally caught up with Virginia and Skip, the newlyweds and had a wonderful vegan dinner at their home in Incline; last Thai meal at Orchids with Jen, Brown, the Harts and Marc; last trip to the Beacon with Maria and Brian; and last dinner with my son, Jacob. We bid adieu to our home for a couple of weeks, generously provided by our friend, Suzanne, and Daniel made us a yummy lunch bowl on our way out of town. We'll miss Tahoe and the wonderful people there, but know we'll be back in a blink.

Bill had made reservations to spend the night in the lodge at Sierra Hot Springs. We have been there many times - for the day and for camping, but we have never stayed in the lodge, so that was a real treat. They have a community kitchen there - you can use their fridge and they have little cubbies you can label to store your non-perishables. We also brought our cooler in and left it there for easy access. They have two complete oven/stove/counter/sink workstations so several people can prepare their meals at once. It's a lovely place we keep coming back to, over and over again. The meditation pool was our first stop and we closed our eyes in the lovely pool under the setting sun, just enjoying the simple bliss. Bill surprised me the next morning with a 90 minute, much-needed massage before we took off for Spencer Hot Springs, our next stop.

Spencer Hot Springs is just outside of Austin, Nevada. When we started full-timing, back in July 2010, this was our first stop after we left Tahoe Valley Campground. Amazingly enough it was almost 4 years to the date of our last visit. This drive, in our truck, was just a bit easier, over the 7 miles of washboard road, to get there.

Only one night here as we had coveted reservations at Benton Hot Springs. We had wanted to spend 2, or even 3, nights there, but they were completely booked on the weekend, which meant we had to cut our stays short everywhere else - but it was sooooooo worth it!! The Inn at Benton Hot Springs has been around a very long time - it is a B&B, but after being there I'd say the only way to go is camp! The camping sites each have their own private hot springs tub, a picnic table and a firepit. Ours also had a creek running through it that flowed with the same hot springs water. Once we were there we REALLY wanted to stay longer, but alas, no last minute cancellations appeared so we needed to move on.

The drive down hwy 395 was pretty tough, even in our truck. Bill was fighting 30mph head winds and then, cross winds. Before we left Benton he checked the kayaks to make sure they were on tight and was quite dismayed to see we had a major fail with our new rooftop carrier. The forward, passenger side mounting bracket had jumped the roof rail. Luckily I am married to a very handy, man who pulled out his tools and in an hour or two we were all set to go.

Tent camping is quite a bit different than life on the road in Bebe!! Especially these one night stands, they were getting old fast and we were both pretty near exhaustion at this point. The frenzy of emptying our old home (Bebe) and sorting through everything we own to pack up for our next adventure (we didn't know where), coupled with more physical labor of camping had taxed us. As we traveled down the road with no idea where we would stop next Bill suggested that we get a ROOM at a convenient mid-way point between Benton and L.A. - Independence it was! I found a cute little 5 room motel, Rays Den Motel, that proved to be the perfect spot. Right off the highway, with little road noise, a mini-fridge, microwave, coffee pot, free wifi and a desk for me to get some work done.....ahhhhhhhhhh. As I looked around the room, the next morning, I had a fleeting thought that I could actually live here! Homeless and living in a tent on the road does some crazy shit to your mind!!

We packed ourselves up AGAIN and headed south "to where?" we asked each other! Hmmmm....we knew we were going to L.A. to celebrate my daughter's first sober birthday with her, and had received invites from several family members to stay at their homes, but they were all for one night - we were staying 3, and couldn't park on the street or in a hotel parking garage, because our truck was so loaded down we were worried about either theft or the clearance in a garage. I remembered that our full-timing, burner friend, Vaike, was staying at the Thousand Trails (TT) campground about an hour out of town and the idea of spending three nights at one place, even if we had to drive back and forth to LA, sounded And with full hook-ups we'd have electricity and water right at our site. Our TT membership was still good for three more days so we got a reservation, and for the total of $9 we set-up and stayed for 3 glorious days. These days were also filled with friendship, support, warmth, and a tarot reading that lead to quite an attitude change, on my part.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to Vaike and her gracious hospitality!!
Vaike's electric furnace she loaned us for
those chilly nights!
Vaike and Bill around her awesome propane firepit!

Early morning, warming up in the adult clubhouse, replete with pool tables!