Saturday, April 28, 2012

Z is for Zee End!

It's zee end of zee A to Z Challenge, my friends. I have to say, I'm glad it's over, because it was a real challenge to post daily during this crazy month. I have realized that April (and March too) are always my most stressful months. Last year, my mom died at the end of March and in April I was a juror on an intense trial. I don't know why I did the challenge during that crazy time either.

This year of course, we embarked on this new RV adventure and it was probably madness to do the challenge again. But it's done, and I'm so grateful for your daily visits and comments. They were actually very comforting during some of the most stressful times this month.

I'm mostly glad that it's over though, so I can return to a more sane posting schedule and spend more time visiting with YOU! Between this transition and not always having wifi, it was all I could do to get a post up. But I miss all your words, wit and wisdom, and I can't wait to make the rounds again! I think I'll take some days off and then come and see what you're up to.

Lots of hugs to you all!

Y is for YogaSource

YogaSource has been my "home" in Santa Fe almost from the moment I arrived here five years ago. I was so worried about finding a good yoga studio, but I needn't have been, because you can't find better quality yoga instruction or a more wonderful atmosphere for a yoga practice.

This is a picture of Wendelin and Amy, the owners of YogaSource

Aren't they beautiful? All the people at YogaSource are this beautiful, believe it or not!
This is Ginna on the left, and Jenise, who had the terrible car accident. They are both yoga teachers.

Jenise is doing very well - this was her first social outing since the accident.

This is Amy's daughter, Rae. She's
five years old. She's in the crabapple
tree, because she planned a "Blessing"
for me, in which she shook petals from
the tree down on me.
 It's the sweetest thing I've experienced in ages!

This is me, after Rae's Petal Blessing Ceremony

And here are more pictures from the party:

Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for Xi, the most annoying word you can play in Words with Friends

That pretty much sums up my post! Xi is a desperation word that people play in Words with Friends and it's so annoying because it hardly seems like a word at all, yet it's worth lots of points because of the "x". I myself have used this word, especially if I can place the "x" on a double or triple letter square. In my defense, I never fail to feel guilty when I do so. It's a letter of the Greek alphabet and it's also the name of a river, but no one in Words with Friends cares about that - it's all about the points!

My friend Karen Walker posted X is for Xena, Warrior Princess today, and I like that a lot because I need to channel some Xena energy these days.  Please go see Karen HERE.


We are planning to head out of Santa Fe to begin our road trip "for real" tomorrow. We're going first to San Antonio, Texas. It will take us four days to get there.

We had originally planned to leave here on Tuesday, May 1st, but we are packed up and ready to go (as ready as we'll ever be), and there is no real reason to stick around. We learned on the first jaunt getting back here from Indiana that we need to allow more time to get from Here to There. And, the winds in Santa Fe have been crazy - last night on the the news they said that the winds were hurricane force - and they sure felt like it. I did feel quite cozy and safe here in our little traveling home, but winds like that are scary. So the other thing we have to take into account is weather and it looks like the winds will settle down today. RVPainter doesn't want to drive again in the kind of winds we had on the way here, and I don't blame him!

I am sad to leave the friends and family I gained here in Santa Fe, and this phase of our life. The Santa Fe phase was a VERY good one indeed. But I've come to believe that it was meant only to be a resting place - a safe place where we could heal and grow, and that it is now time to move on. Believing that, I also believe the next part of life's adventure is equally important, and I am ready to go out and learn what I need to learn. Part of it I already know is learning to be more comfortable with the Unknown, and taking each day one by one.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for "What if?"

What if
we woke up
that the new day

What if
we believed
that all our dreams
come true?

What if
we believed
that someone
for us today?

What if
the answers
all our
were already
in our

What if?

The other day, we went looking for an air compressor. Sears sells the one we wanted, but it wasn’t it stock. We went to Home Depot. Nope. Ace Hardware. Nope. Last stop Kmart. In my head, I was saying, “We found exactly what we were looking for and it was on sale.” Yup. Kmart had it. One compressor – only one, the very last one.

This morning Dick tried using the compressor, but had trouble. I immediately thought, “Oh NO! PROBLEMS!” Then he asked the owner of the KOA to help him, and within minutes, all was working fine.

While Dick worked with the compressor, I organized our personal stuff inside the RV. I found the beautiful scrapbook that my friend Deirdre gave me a long time ago. It's one of the few "luxuries" I'm bringing in the RV - with luxury defined as anything that isn't absolutely essential. To me, this little book is absolutely essential. In it, I’ve pasted pictures of places I love, cards from dear ones, inspirational poems and quotes.

On the very first page, I had cut out and pasted this quote:

“There is only one way to happiness,
 and that is to cease worrying about things
which are beyond the power of our will.”

I don’t have the attribution for the quote – if you know who said it, please share that. In any case, these are the words I needed to hear. The funny thing is, I already had them, pasted into my little book some years ago, waiting for me to need them again.

What are your "What if's"?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

V is for Vegas, but not the one you think...

Those of you who have known me for a while may remember that, during the A to Z Challenge last year, I was an alternate juror on a very emotional trial here in Santa Fe. It was a vehicular homicide case, in which a white Jeep Cherokee, driven by a very drunk man, slammed into a red Subaru driven by a sober teenage girl on the Old Las Vegas Highway in Santa Fe, New Mexico at 12:10 a.m. on June 29, 2009.

Four teenage passengers in the Subaru were killed instantly. Their names were: Rose, Julian, Alyssa and Kate. The driver of the Subaru, Avree, was badly hurt. The driver of the Jeep Cherokee, Scott Owens, was not injured. Three hours after the crash, his blood alcohol level was .16. Avree's blood alcohol was zero.

As an alternate juror, I sat through the entire trial thinking I would be on the jury and would be part of deliberations. But after 10 days, the attorneys rested their cases, and the judge called out my name along with three others and dismissed us. I felt both deflated and relieved. The jury deliberated for two and a half days before finding Scott Owens Not Guilty. I was stunned.

The trial, the verdict, the deaths of those four young people, have haunted me for the past year. During the five years I lived in Santa Fe, I had never had occasion to drive on the Old Las Vegas Highway. It's one of those two-lane roads that used to be the main road, but which now runs alongside Interstate 25 like a ghost highway.

This week, we are staying at the Santa Fe KOA. It's on the Old Las Vegas Highway. Today,I glimpsed one of those roadside memorials of flowers and crosses, and it took me a minute to realize what it was. It was for the kids, the ones who died. My kids, as I think of them.

I have been amazed at how everything about my time in Santa Fe seems to have come full circle. I had always meant to find the spot of the accident, to see it for myself. But I never did. And then, by chance, I find that I am spending my last days in Santa Fe here on the Old Las Vegas Highway, driving over the accident scene and past its marker every time we come and go from town.

My last bit of unfinished business, falling into place all on its own.

Kate,  Julian, Alyssa, Rose

U is for Upekkha

Upekkha is a Sanskrit word that means "equanimity." It's one of the four great virtures: Compassion, Kindness, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity. With all the changes in our life right now, equanimity is the hardest of these for me. So I'm working on it. All your supportive comments have been helping so much. I just try to come up with mantras, like, "just be here now," or "all is well." RVPainter's new saying is, "I'm not worried about it." I've tried this one, and it's actually quite effective!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

T is for Transitions and Time

I don't find transitions easy - I wonder if anyone does? Some people seem to jump at the chance to try new things. I have never been one of those people. I see the people who go on Survivor or The Amazing Race, and I think how brave they are.

Looking back over my life, I think it would be fair to say that I've been pushed or dragged into almost every "new thing" I have done. Yet, also looking back, I can see now that those new, strongly resisted experiences form the largest core of good memories.

I didn't want to go to summer camp. When I finally did, I loved it. I didn't want to go on the trip to England with my family when I was 14, but to this day it is one of my fondest memories. I hated starting new jobs, but they were almost always better than the old ones. I was afraid to teach yoga, but once I did, I loved it. I was afraid to write, but when I finally did, it brought me joy and great satisfaction at being successful at the one thing I always believed I was meant to do.

Other people say, "oh what a great adventure" and I think, I'd rather just stay home, thank you very much. I really dislike this about myself, because I feel like I often steal my own enjoyment by being such a worry wart. I've learned that it takes me about a month to transition to something new, and after that, it's easy. So I don't know why I still resist. I've had enough experiences now to know that this is how it will be - I resist, but I persist, and then, it is all right. I'd like to just skip to the "it's all right" part, but it's not how I am made.

It just takes time. And then, after a bit of time has passed, I wonder what I was so worried and scared about. I know this is how it works, and yet I can't seem to make the transition period any easier on myself. I've tried to think if there was something in my childhood that made me so wary of the unknown, but I can't come up with anything. I can honestly say that I've been this way as long as I can remember. So the best I can do is just manage myself on a day to day basis until enough days have gone by.

A while back I wrote a post called "Look or Leap?" And I talked then about how the times when I'd just leapt had turned out to be the best things I'd ever done. This post is meant to remind me of that. Again.

Friday, April 20, 2012

S is for Service

In my opinion, Corporate America's obsession with "customer service" is a total farce. It seems like the more they talk about how important customer service is to them, the worse it ACTUALLY is!

Isn't it the most annoying thing when you get that message that tells you how important your call is, but lets you know they are experiencing longer than normal wait times and your wait is estimated to be 14.5 minutes. In my experience, they are ALWAYS experiencing "longer than normal wait times."  Apparently, our call is important to them, but not important enough for them to hire more people to handle the calls, right?

I've got news for them - the only people who can actually give good customer service are ... PEOPLE! But companies control costs by controlling "headcount" - I know because I used to work in Corporate America and that's what it was always all about. My company would have ridiculous slogans like, "We're passionate about customer service," when in fact, our service was dreadful. The name of the Customer Service department was changed to "Customer Care," to show how much they cared. All the while, downsizing the department to cut costs. They wanted to give good service, but not enough to actually make it possible to do so.

This week, we had two distinctly different customer service experiences with regard to the fixing of the problem with our leveling system.  First there was Motley RV Repair in Oklahoma City. Those folks welcomed us, showed us to the customer lounge, offered us free sodas, and gave us Motley RV Repair coffee mugs when we left. But more importantly, the mechanic, Allen, kept us informed about what he was doing and how much longer it would take. He couldn't make the repair for us because it required the manufacturer to send a part, but he did the diagnosis and fully explained everything to us.

Then yesterday, there was Myer RV Repair in Albuquerque. The leveler manufacturer had overnighted the part to them, and we had to be there at 7:30am sharp to make sure we'd be first in line, or else they couldn't guarantee when they'd get to us. That meant a 1.5 hour drive down from Santa Fe pre-dawn. But we did it and we got there before 7:30.

We explained why we there and the service guy said, "Oh yeah, we've got the part. But we've only set aside one hour to diagnose and fix the problem." When he SAID that, what we HEARD was, "We're only going to spend one hour working on your stupid, annoying problem and if we can't fix it in that time, it's your tough luck."

We went off to do stuff while they worked on the RV. When we returned, that guy wasn't there, but there was a young woman at the desk who proceeded to play with her iPhone for several minutes before asking if she could help us. The RV was ready, and we asked to speak to the mechanic who had worked on it. We wanted to understand what had been done and what the problem had been. This was clearly a big inconvenience for the young woman, because she gave forth with some very heavy sighs and some muttering, but she did go to get him.

It was apparently a big inconvenience for the mechanic too, because he clearly didn't feel like answering our questions. We asked what the problem had been and he really didn't know, but he said he'd replaced the part and that the system was working fine. We went out to try the levelers ourselves and THEY DID NOT WORK. We went back in and asked the young woman to get the mechanic out there with us.

At that point, he started saying things about the system that showed he really didn't know what he was talking about. I got the manufacturer on the phone to confirm that what the guy was telling us wasn't right. At last, he made some adjustment that actually got the levelers working and we came back to Santa Fe. So far they are working and our fingers are crossed that they will continue to do so.

We contacted Nexus - our RV manufacturer - to let them know that after talking with that mechanic we still didn't feel confident that the leveling system was really and truly fixed and that if there are any more problems with it, we'll want it taken out and our money returned.

The next thing I knew, my cell phone rang. It was the Sales Director from the leveling company calling to say that our guy at Nexus had called them. The Sales Director said that they would do whatever it takes to make this right for us. We told him about the abonminable service from Myer RV Repair in Albuquerque, and they are removing them from their approved list of repair shops.

We have POWER through our voices and our blogs to demand that we are treated with respect everywhere we go, and that people and companies perform their services properly and well. I'm not putting up with even the smallest degree of surly behavior or letting some mechanic get away with making stuff up just to make us go away, or letting companies not live up to the promise they make when we hand over our money.

I feel much better now, knowing that the leveler company will not just keep sending us to one repair shop after another in every city on our road trip itinerary if we have more problems with the system. If there's another problem, they will just replace it. These guys  are handling things just right.

Motley RV Repair in Oklahoma City knows how to give great service. But Myer RV Repair in Albuquerque - not so much, and I have no qualms about saying so. Besides which, I've got it all on video on MY iPhone.

So that's our story - have you had any really BAD or really GOOD customer service experiences lately?

R is for Rest

One of the nice things about being so busy with this whole lifestyle change is that I've been sleeping like a baby at night. Another way that I get rest is from yoga. Even though it's very active, I always feel rested afterward. This morning I went to the Advanced Class, even though I haven't done any yoga for 3 weeks and was worried if I'd even be able to do down dog. But it actually felt great! And I think that my body actually benefitted from the rest from doing yoga. I'm hoping to get to yoga classes almost every day now until we leave for San Antonio. I will SO miss the exceptional instruction at YogaSource - I doubt I'll find anything like it in my travels. But I'll be looking!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Q is for Quit

Boy am I late getting this Q post up! These days are so busy - when do we get to the part of this adventure when I am sitting in a beach chair with my toes in the sand??

Yesterday I saw a video online of a young guy who was going into businesses and quitting - even though he didn't work there! Did you see it? He'd go into a place and tell the person at the desk or behind the counter that he had to quit because he just couldn't take the way he was being treated. It was pretty funny. I don't think there is anyone who hasn't had a job where at some point they just wanted to scream, "I QUIT!!!" I know I've felt that way, but I've never actually done it. And of course, I've never tried to quit a job I didn't actually have!

I've left jobs, of course, but never in a screaming hissy fit. My very first job was my shortest - two days. It was at a small packaging plant. They packaged sugar and salt and pepper into those little packets you get in restaurants. My job was to stand at the end of a conveyor belt and pick up the packets and put them in a box. The days - all two of them - seemed endless, interminable, tedious, unbelievably BORING. I couldn't stand it. But after that, I stuck with jobs for years - I worked for a bank for 12 years, an insurance company for 10, a non-profit for 7 and at the yoga studio for 5.

So, I'm not much of a quitter. Over the past few weeks, with this huge transition in lifestyle, with all the traveling through crazy and scary weather, all the new things to learn, there were times when it felt overwhelming. A few times I've thought, this is just too much! I've thought that maybe it would be easier to just say, "maybe this was a big mistake!" But I know that everyone feels this way at the start of huge change, and that everyone who's done something like this was once new at it and felt overwhelmed. Already there's so much about it that is fun - I love our RV home, it's cozy and I love the simplicity of it. I love the campgrounds and I love the freedom. Each day we get closer to the fun part. So, no quitting!

Monday, April 16, 2012

P is for Pictures

Thank you everyone, for coming along on the first part of our new adventure. It has been a crazy two weeks! Since our road trip so far has been mostly just getting back here to Santa Fe from Indiana, much of what I've captured was taken right through the windshield of our RV.

Here's a selection of photos I took over the past two weeks . It's meant the world to me to come and read your comments at the end of these long days. Can't wait until we head out "for real" on May 1st - first stop, San Antonio, Texas.

Our first "on our own" hookup at the Elkahrt RV Campground

My husband Richard, aka RVPainter, enjoying the fabulous pizza at the Fat Tomato in Elkhart. The same owners have another restaurant there called the Chubby Trout.

An abundance of goodies at the bakery at the Blue Gate in Shipshewana Indiana

It's a little blurry, but that's me on the right, with Rhonda from Nexus. She handles the financing there and she also made me a very pretty pair of pink socks!

Our first "on the road" campground - the first time we just drove into a campground and said, "We'd like to stay the night, please." I can't even remember where it was!!

On the road in Indiana

St. Louis - Gateway to the West

Just past Amarillo, Texas on I-40. There are long stretches of NOTHING along I-40, as well as a lot of sights like this - the ghosts of towns now just decaying.

The name of the man who owns Nexus is Claude. I thought it was nice that they named an Exit for him.

Along I-40 in Texas

Lots of wind farms along this stretch of I-40. At least they have the sense to try to do something with all that wind!!

Here at the Santa Fe KOA - yesterday morning we awoke to SNOW. Not too much though.

And just because it's so pretty, a picture inside the cathedral here in Santa Fe

On the Horse Again

Well, our original plan on Saturday was to go straight to Albuquerque to retrieve our car from the airport, where we left it when we flew to Elkhart on April 4th. Can you believe that was 12 days ago already?

But the winds on I-40 were petrifying, terrifying, scary ... did I say petrifying? So instead, with great relief, we exited I-40 and came straight to the campground in Santa Fe. It was still windy and quite cold - even spitting a bit of snow. This is how Santa Fe welcomes us - when we first moved here from Scottsdale, Arizona 5 years ago, it was April 10th. And it snowed. I thought RVPainter was going to cry. He thought we'd made a Horrible Mistake. So it's only fitting that it should snow again to welcome us back for this brief respite before starting out on May 1st for San Antonio, Texas.

But I digress! Yesterday dawned still cold, still windy and still spitting snow. In a way, this was a relief, because otherwise we'd have been tempted to drive to Albuquerque to get the car. We really needed a day of rest, so I'm glad the weather decided for us. As the day progressed, the weather cleared - still cold, but less wind and YaY!! SUNSHINE! We ended up having a lovely and relaxing day - did our laundry, walked around the campground, rested and I even got a chance to read! I just started reading Leftovers by my friend Arthur Wooten - it's available now on Amazon (please check it out). Although we had to make do with stuff from the KOA store for our lunch and supper, we were Happy Little Campers.

Today, we must get back up On the Horse Again. There is no wind, the sun is shining and so we will head to Albuquerque to get the car. Having the car is like regaining your freedom - once you've parked the RV, you really don't feel like unparking it just to go the store! We'll go to storage and get some of that stuff we put in there, and then we'll go shopping for some real food. I think we're both a little nervous about driving the RV again after Friday's Perils, but it's best to get back out there and remember that You Can Do It!

Tomorrow - a few Pictures from along the road!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

M and N

Catching up again with two posts for the price of one. I'll start by saying that today was a great day, because I have lived to tell you about it! Otherwise, it was harrowing! Today the winds along I-40 were horrendous and scary, and we are very grateful to be safe and sound - finally - here at the Santa Fe KOA.

Yesterday morning we had to hang out in Oklahoma City for a while at MOTLEY RV Repair (M word number one). They were taking a look at our leveling system, which had a problem before we left Elkhart, Indiana and had supposedly been fixed. But no, there was still a problem, so we had to make this little stopover to visit with the folks at MOTLEY for about three hours. They were able to make a diagnosis, but the fix will require the replacement of a part that has to come from the MANUFACTURER (M word number two). Mind you this is a brandy-spanking new $2500 hydraulic leveling system folks, so needless to say we aren't "Happy Campers" about it. Anyway, these folks at MOTLEY were lovely and even gave us these nice MUGS when we left (M word number three). If you ever need RV Repair in Oklahoma City, go see them!

The man at the leveling MANUFACTURER  is calling ahead to a service shop in Albuquerque to try to fix this leveling system issue while we are in Santa Fe for the next two weeks. I know that they are honorable people and proud of their product, and will stand behind it and get the problem fixed. But I really do wonder sometimes why things can't get done right the first time ....

We logged about 1500 MILES (M word number four) getting from Elkhart, Indiana back here to Santa Fe, NM over the past five days. We have learned that this is too many MILES and that we will from now on never clock more than 250-300 MILES in one day. Once we get going on our trip, we will allow for plenty of time between longer stopovers, and be totally flexible about delays if weather or whatever gets in the way. It doesn't matter if we are "late" getting somewhere - we've got the time.

N is for NICE to be back in Santa Fe for a couple of weeks so we can get our stuff into the RV and hopefully enjoy getting acquainted with it better and just living in it in for a bit. After a day like today, that's all I got!

Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Learning

As kids, we learn constantly. But I think that as adults, we tend to learn in spurts, because we decide there is something new we want to learn about. I learned to be a yoga teacher at age 52, and then I learned how to publish a book at 55. Now I'm 56, and I'm learning all about how to live in an RV. I'm doing pretty well so far, but I confess that at times it seems overwhelming. I think it's because we're learning to live in it WHILE we are also driving it back to Santa Fe.

Honestly, the living in it is easy, but the driving is a bit hair-raising. RVPainter is doing all the driving and I'm the navigator. He's doing great and loves driving the RV, even on these bumpity highways with the trucks whizzing by. It works out because he would be a terrible navigator and I'd be a petrified driver - I'd have us in a ditch and he'd have us facing the wrong way!

We made it to Oklahoma City last night which was WAAAAAY too long a drive. But we wanted to get close because we need to have our Leveling system checked out at a service place here this morning. The Leveler is a hydraulic system that lowers these "feet" to the ground that then automatically level the RV. That all works fine, but there is an alarm that goes off if you try to drive and the levelers are down - and that is going off even when the levelers are up. That would be okay except that you can't turn it off, so it beep-beep-beeped at us all the way.

So hopefully they'll be able to get us squared away today. Next stop is Amarillo, but we're just going to go for four hours and stop, regardless. Skies look threatening, though, so if weather is bad, we stay put. It's a new way of living and I have to remind myself that it's actually okay if we don't "get somewhere" today. That's something I'm learning too.

Sometimes I think I'd rather stop learning for a bit and just have a rest! But we are always called to challenge ourselves in new ways I think.

I'll be really glad though, when we get to Santa Fe and can settle down for a few weeks. Then the learning can happen in a familiar environment, which always works best for me.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for Jamie and K is for KOA

Getting caught up here with a two-fer post.

J is for Jamie

I can't think of anything related to our trip today that is a J word, so I'm going with a brief, but nevertheless shameless plug for my book, The Christmas Village. If you're new to my blog, you can read down the left side to get a story summary and read some of the reviews. I'm currently working on the sequel, which should be out by the middle of next year. The hero is 12-year-old Jamie, whose wish to live in Grandma's magical miniature Christmas village comes true. Yes, it's set at the holidays, and yes, it's a children's book. But more than that, it's a story about family, friendship and forgiveness, wrapped up in an exciting adventure. Both the young and the young-at-heart are loving it, and it's a story that can be enjoyed at any time of year. There are reviews from both little kids and Big Kids over on the left.

I'm working on the sequel, which will be out next year. I'll be promoting The Christmas Village again this fall, and am looking for folks who would be interested in hosting me or reviewing the book in the September - December timeframe. If you would be interested/willing, please let me know. The book has done very well so far, but word of mouth is everything as you know, so help is greatly appreciated and will be happily reciprocated.

K is for KOA

KOA stands for Kampgrounds of America which is a Kute way of spelling campgrounds : - ). We are staying at a KOA tonight - this is the first one we've been at.  The first two were just privately owned campgrounds, and I have to say that so far, I've been really pleased!

We've got a nice spot (though RVPainter is not happy about all the trees). The nice thing about KOAs is that they usually have a store, and even better, these guys serve food - pizza, ribs, pulled pork, from 4 to 7pm. Since we're all set up here in our little spot (under the trees) and don't want to unhook to drive somewhere for food, we are happy that there will be food Right Here. We are just past St. Louis, Missouri, in a place that advertises Jessie Jame's hiding place in the nearby Meramec Caverns. That sounds pretty interesting to me, and if we were staying longer, I'd want to go check that out. I love secret hiding places!

Tomorrow we continue on our journey back to Santa Fe. We may not get all the way to Tulsa, Oklahoma tomorrow, but we'll get as close as we can. It was a much better driving day today, with MUCH better roads and a lot less wind. RVPainter is a hero in my book, because I'd have been petrified to drive these past two days. He seems to enjoy it - I think he pretends he's one of those big rig tractor-trailer drivers! Hey - whatever works!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for Indiana

Sweet little pond at the campground we're at tonight.
Well, these little birdies finally had to get booted out of their safe little nest near our RV manufacturer in Elkhart today. We've started back to Santa Fe, which will take us until Saturday or Sunday. You have to drive slower in an RV, and it's best not to drive too many hours. Today it was so windy and you could really feel it. RVPainter was very brave and did all the driving. I'm not ready for prime-time driving yet - I need more practice.

We're just west of Indianapolis tonight, in a small campground that we just drove into. Stuff like that scares me - will they have a spot for us? Will it feel safe? What will we do if there's no room? I also am scared of getting lost - we missed an exit today, and at the same moment the GPS went out and I was a little panicky. Fortunately, RVPainter isn't fazed by those things. He is however, freaked out that little thingys are falling from the trees onto our roof. I hope he can sleep tonight because he has to drive tomorrow :D

Here are a couple of pictures - it's very pretty here:

RVPainter taking a picture of me taking a picture of him taking a picture of me. Our RV in the background.

Us parked under the tree that is dropping the little thingys on our roof and driving RVPainter crazy.

Also, we made our first stop for gas today. We pulled up to the pump, and in front of us two guys had collided and a fight was breaking out. There was all sorts of name-calling and blaming going on and the PILOT store manager came out and said she was calling the police. Already I'm trying to figure out if our RV is going to be able to pull out and make a turn to get out of there, when the cop drives up and angles his car right in front of us. After things seemed to be calming down, I asked the cop if he could move his vehicle so we could go and he said, "Oh, what, you need more room?" Um YES.

RVPainter did a fabulous turn and then I guided him backing up and we were out of there! We're on the not-so-much fun part of the adventure now, which is really just driving as much as we feel comfortable each day in order to get back to Santa Fe quickly. It's not a stop and sight-see or visit kind of road trip - that comes later.

Hope it's not so windy tomorrow!


Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for Home

I have always been a homebody. As a kid, I'd get homesick just sleeping over at a friend's house - couldn't wait to get back home. I was lucky - for me, home was a safe place, where I was loved and protected. I've spent most of my life trying to create a lovely home in which to live as an adult.

So to be doing what we are doing now - uprooting and making our "home" an adventure of travel in an RV - is a huge step for me. Never before in my life would I have been ready for this, but now, it feels just fine. I'm pretty surprised by it, actually. For a while, this comfy RV and a lot of beautiful places will be "home." Home will travel with me. And I guess that is the goal really, isn't it? To be at home with yourself, so you can be at home anywhere. I think that's why I can do this now, because I feel more at home with myself than I ever have. And too, connections like blogging and Facebook make it so much easier to feel connected. Family and friends are "home" too - and I will actually get to see much more of them on this adventure than I have for many years.

Tuesday, we start heading back to what has been home to us for the past five years - Santa Fe, New Mexico. It will take us until Saturday or Sunday to get there. We should get as far as Indianapolis tomorrow.

Monday, we went to Shipshewana, Indiana while they did some last minute stuff on the RV. Shipshewana is a delightful Amish town. Here are a few pictures from our day:

This rocker also swivels! Beautiful Amish construction.

The amazing lemon merangue pie at the Blue Gate Restaurant

RVPainter gaga over his slice of cherry pie

A few minutes later ...

My personal slice of the lemon meranque. Sorry to say I could not eat the whole thing!

Getting goodies for the guys at the Nexus plant (they built our RV)

I know - it seems like it was all about the food, and it kinda was!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

G is for Grace

The older I get, the more I realize how much grace I've been granted - how often I've been protected from harm, from making poor choices, from getting what I thought I wanted, from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Every time I pass a car accident that has just happened, I realize that some element of grace kept me from being there in that spot at the time. And, hardest of all, I've realized that so often when I thought things were going wrong, they were actually going right. And then there are the times when I was put in exactly the right place at precisely the right time - that's grace too.

I have a quick example from our experience with flying from Albuquerque to Indiana this past week. I'd booked us on American Airlines flights some time ago. Our itinerary had us leaving at about 6:30am, connecting through Dallas with a short layover, and arriving in Fort Wayne, Indiana at 5:30pm.

About a month ago, American notified us that our itinerary had been changed. Now our flight out of Albuquerque wouldn't leave until 12:30, we'd have a four hour layover in Dallas, and get to Fort Wayne at 10:30pm. This meant we'd have to get a hotel room in Ft. Wayne, instead of being able to drive to Elkhart the day of arrival.

I was annoyed and told AA that I had paid for a certain itinerary and I didn't understand why airlines are the only business where you can pay for one specific itinerary, and it's perfectly okay for them to give you something completely different. The example I gave them was if I sold them my 40 inch TV for $1000, but gave them a 19 inch TV instead. And, I said, they caused me to have to incur the extra expense of a hotel room that first night. Someone in customer service acknowledged my point and awarded us some extra airline mileage. But the itinerary itself couldn't be changed, because AA had completely changed their flight schedule.

Flash forward to this past week. On Tuesday, tornadoes hit the Dallas area, cancelling flights on Tuesday afternoon and on Wednesday morning. The ONLY flight that went from Albuquerque to Dallas on Wednesday - our flight day - was the 12:30 flight we'd been moved to when AA changed our itinerary a month ago. Because of our later itinerary, the flight from Dallas to Fort Wayne left with no problems at 7:05pm.

Had we still been booked on the earlier flight, it would have been cancelled. Who knows if we'd have been able to get on the later flight that day? Or on one the next? The whole start of our RV adventure would have been discombobulated. The annoying itinerary change actually worked out to our benefit when the day of travel came. That's grace.

So, next time you think you've been inconvenienced, take a breath. Maybe you're really being protected. I'll try to remember that too - it's usually something you only realize in retrospect.

Do you have some examples of grace to share?

P.S. If you've been following our RV adventure and didn't see my F post, take a look - I've put up the first pictures of us in our new RV home.

F is for Firsts

I know I'm behind on the challenge, but I wanted to put up some pictures from our first few days with the RV, and bring you up to date.

First picture of the Dream Catchers logo on the back of the RV:

First night in our RV: Spent comfortably in the Nexus manufacturer's parking lot, hooked up to electricity. We were snug as bugs in a rug, had heat, which we needed because the night was cold, hot water, the works! The next day or two was spent with us running back and forth to Walmart and the Nexus folks making some small adjustments to the RV for us.
Our snuggy buggy bedrom

First time driving:

which one is the brake?

You've got to be kidding!! I can't drive this thing!

Well, okay, I can drive it, but not in traffic!
First set up in a real campground, on our own, all by ourselves. Thank heavens RVPainter knew (more or less) what to do:

I did it! I just hope I didn't confuse the water hose with the sewer hose!

My official inspection declares everything to be in order!
 First breakfast in the RV - this morning:

Another Ta Da! Moment

The Official Dream Catchers Crew T-shirt

Breakfast is served

When we first got to the Elkhart Campground yesterday afternoon, we got out our sewer and water hoses and paraphenalia so we could hook up. We thought we were doing pretty good. Then a nice fellow came over and said that if we needed help to just holler and if we didn't, to just tell him to get lost. He said he could tell we were Newbies by the way we were "Fiddle-farting" around with stuff. So there's another F word for you, feel free to use it!

It may be hard for me to post the next couple of days, as they are doing some more stuff on the RV tomorrow, and Tuesday we start to head back to Santa Fe. I'll try to post if I can!