Driven by the View

I didn’t think I would blog again.   Once I stopped and looked at it from “the 30,000 ft view,” it seemed like just more social media servitude that seems to have taken over much more of my life than I like to admit.   I began to question was I still being honest with myself that I blogged solely for the sake of preserving memories?   Or had it become a social crutch to keep me from feeling isolated in my chosen nomadic lifestyle?    An excuse to spend time on the laptop that could be better spent outdoors or reading a book?

When's the last time you stuck your head out the door to find a peacock??

When’s the last time you stuck your head out the door to find a peacock??

This guy's transportation is a wheeled cart behind two sled Arizona.

This guy’s transportation is a wheeled cart behind two sled dogs…in Arizona.

I brake for hot springs...

I brake for hot springs…

Nature abhors a vacuum, so stopping the blog did not stop the social media addiction.  Instead, I filled that gap with hours on mind controlling Facebook, combing political activist groups reading up on the train wreck of the day, and adding to my growing list of blogs of others going to places I wish I were instead.   I bought myself a Kindle thinking I would read, but I’ve started more books than I’ve finished.  I memorized the nightly line-up on the evening news straight through to the last Late Show.   So time gained from not blogging did not exactly turn into time wisely spent.

Beautiful Superstition skies.

Beautiful Superstition skies.

A fine specimen of the chain fruit cholla.

A fine specimen of the chain fruit cholla.


"Praying Hands" rock, Superstition Mountains.

“Praying Hands” rock, Superstition Mountains.

My Winnie View stayed parked on the Texas farm just one week shy of five months.  It was a challenging winter.    Winds where the number of mph exceeded those on the temperature gauge made for some brutally cold nights and blustery days as the Winnie shook from the wind, and I shook hoping my winterization technique had been sufficient.  And then the record setting rains came, necessitating wading boots just to get from the Winnie to the house.   In weather like that, I can barely find the motivation to write a check, much less a blog post.

Prospector Trail, Lost Dutchman State Park

Prospector Trail, Lost Dutchman State Park


Back lighting of the sun makes the cholla glow...

Back lighting of the sun makes the cholla glow…

Mom got a bad bout of pneumonia just before Christmas and spent seven stressful days in the hospital.  She came out with more problems than she had when she went in, as steroids caused hallucinations and staff caused restless nights.  A phantom doctor came in the middle of the night with an erroneous diagnosis of kidney failure.   Was he in the wrong room?  We’ll never know.  But tests and treatments continued round the clock, night and day, when all she really needed was rest.IMG_3878

Sunset over the Superstitions

Sunset over the Superstitions


As Mom got her wind back, the Winnie seemed to “catch cold.”   New tires led to failing valve stems.  The routine 70K mile service led to new brakes.  The Tracker rag top began to leak while the brakes began to squeak.   And then there was the tow bar replacement from the failure I had in Oklahoma last October.  I stopped adding up the cost of getting back on the road when I hit three grand.   But still, the Winnie remains both the most economical house I’ve ever lived in, as well as the most comfortable, so I should hardly complain.

I adore the full moon, so I signed up for the ranger-led Sunset/Moonrise hike in Saguaro National Park.

I adore the full moon, so I signed up for the ranger-led Sunset/Moonrise hike in Saguaro National Park.

Another day at the office for the NPS staff...

Another day at the office for the NPS staff…

Seems as if he is dropping his arms to rest in the cool nighttime desert air.

Seems as if he is dropping his arms to rest in the cool nighttime desert air.

"Blue moon, You saw me standing alone, Without a dream in my heart,Without a love of my own..."

“Blue moon, You saw me standing alone, Without a dream in my heart, Without a love of my own…”

So to all the friends and family who wrote kind notes of encouragement or concern over my five month hiatus, I thank you.  Your newsworthy updates, kind words, compassionate stories, or just a simple note to say “miss you” helped to brighten my day in a place where family is my only outlet.

Just in time for Easter.

Just in time for Easter.

Brown Mountain

Brown Mountain


I am finally back on the road in southern Arizona, late to the desert party.   But the one thing I missed while spending 2017 back east was the desert southwest.    Many times, I longed for the cool, still nights and warm sunny days, the orange and purple painted sunsets, the high wispy clouds and the wide open boondocking spots.

In the desert southwest, the sky is often the main attraction.

In the desert southwest, the sky is often the main attraction.

I recently downloaded the "Hiking Project" app. I like it because it often will have a "gem" noted along the trail, like this crested saguaro.

I recently downloaded the “Hiking Project” app. I like it because it often will have a “gem” noted along the trail, like this crested saguaro.

I never get tired of studying nature's work of art at the end of a hedgehog cactus.

I never get tired of studying nature’s work of art at the end of a hedgehog cactus.

Sabino Canyon

Sabino Canyon

I thought I wouldn’t blog again because I had run out of things to say.  What words could I sum up to describe the desert sky that I haven’t already written?   How many ways can one describe a stately slim saguaro defying all odds by supporting those long spindly arms?  Or the long shadows of the full moon the saguaro silhouette casts across the desert floor?

Blooming ocotillo in my back yard...

Blooming ocotillo in my back yard…

Waiting on the Blue Moon, peaking over the mountain...

Waiting on the Blue Moon, peaking over the mountain…

...while the sun drops behind me.

…while the sun drops behind me.


But sometimes the stark beauty of the open sky, or the feathery fuchsia bloom at the end of an unlikely inhospitable host is so inspiring that it makes it impossible not to pull out the camera for just one more photo…even when it seems like the same photo over and over again. And what’s the use in feeling inspired by the view if there is no place to share it?

So here I am again…driven by the View.


“Preserve your memories…they’re all that’s left you.”  ~ Simon and Garfunkel

64 thoughts on “Driven by the View

  1. Nice to hear from you, and to see more wonderful photos. We’ll start driving across Canada in early May in our little aging hatchback, headed for the Maritimes. I’ll be combing through your archives to get tips from your trip there.

  2. Welcome back! Although I enjoyed our communication off-blog, I’m glad you are back on the road and blogging, in that order. You are a very talented writer and many will and have benefited from what you write and the sharing of your travels. But in the end, it has to work for you. I hope it does. BTW, if you’ve read our blog, you know we bought a “base” in Quartzsite. Due to a couple of issues, we’re still here until mid-May. We have extra hook-ups. If you come this way, the welcome mat is out.

  3. You don’t know me (friend of Teri L. in NJ) but I missed your blog and hope you’re happy in your new wanderings. Thank you.

  4. As a travel blog writer myself who’s on a long hiatus in Texas (numerous maintenance projects $ also!) I completely identify with your angst about it all. Have wondered about your absence, but figured sooner or later you’d “share” because it’s fun to share eh? When I need to evaluate priorities of what’s fun and what’s not fun, I ask myself, “Is the dog wagging its tail or is the tail wagging the dog?” You’ll know the answer 🙂

  5. OMG, tears sprang into my eyes when I was notified via email of this post. I don’t know you, but your blog has been pure joy to read/follow and I was truly worried about you! You’re back out there and OK! I actually searched Facebook/Internet to see if I could find any hint of how you were doing just a couple of weeks ago. And no, I’m not some weirdo stalker. However, I hope you can take it to heart how much your blog posts/outlook on life/writing/photography inspires and brings joy to others. Your Canadian Maritimes travels were breathtaking. I can’t begin to tell you how much the time you devote to your blog is appreciated by a lot of us. You and your blog are truly valued and valuable. Thanks so much for posting and letting us know all is well. Photos, as always, are spectacular. Take care and safe travels.

  6. Yay!!! Suzanne’s back!!!!! ;-> Even though these have been my own stomping grounds for two decades, you bring out the very Best of the West with your stunning photos, and I am in awe of your prowess to do so.

    Please, please continue to share this great talent with your fans.

    Virtual hugs,


  7. Hi Suzanne – It’s good to hear that you’re back exploring. I loved the parks in Arizona – your pictures make me want to go back. I’m so sorry to hear about your Mom’s health issues. Hopefully we’ll get to do some sailing together someday soon and have some time together to really catch up!

  8. I’ve followed your journeys silently, missing you in more ways than you’ll ever know. I’ve travelled along with you via your posts to places I’ll never see so I thank you for that and hope that we can continue our adventures together again.

  9. Hi Suzanne ,
    I’m so glad you’ve decided to continue your story telling about your adventures. I look forward to your adventures.
    Safe travels

  10. Thanks, Winnie, for bringing Suzanne back to her loyal readers. Hers is the pinnacle of blogs. No one comes close to topping them.

    Suzanne, I have gained so much knowledge from your entries. The wooden boat week and your Newfoundland trip were outstanding. I doubt I will ever experience either but at least I have them to read over and over, vicariously traveling with you.

    I sincerely hope Mom has mended. She will enjoy your newest entries along with us.

    Safe travels when you go “On the Road Again.”

  11. Suzanne: I’ve missed your blog more than I can adequately express. We have never met, and likely will never, but the kinship I feel is incredible. I’ve always feared you might think me a “weirdo stalker”, as a reader up there expressed, so that is why I did not pursue the question I’ve had about why you ghosted. Your absence in my life–the absence of your travel musings and photographs–has been felt often since your last blog post. I have truly, truly, missed your beautiful storytelling and gorgeous photos. No pressure here, huh? 🙂 I’m just so happy you are back, in whatever form and frequency you wish to share…And, in the spirit of Simon and Garfunkle:

    “April come she will
    When streams are ripe and swelled with rain
    May, she will stay
    Resting in my arms again
    June, she’ll change her tune
    In restless walks she’ll prowl the night
    July, she will fly
    And give no warning to her flight
    August, die she must
    The autumn winds blow chilly and cold
    September I’ll remember
    A love once new has now grown old” ~ Paul Simon

  12. I think the comments say it all…..Good to read you again. Maybe the break from blogging was good and gave you time to reflect. I think you like writing because not only is it a record of events but also because of the intellect process involved that allows you to communicate with us readers. F B is an easier process and less effort but does it give the same amount of personal satisfaction as writing the blog? For whatever reason Suzanne Its good read about your adventures.

  13. Yay…so great to see a notification about a new blog post. Echoing the sentiments of other comments…it’s so great to see your photos and hear your thoughts about family, traveling and the beautiful Southwest. It was so great to finally connect and hopefully that will happen again. Wondering if a future blog will tell of other AZ adventures and one that was a first for you?

  14. I’m glad you’re back! Checked about a month ago to see if I was missing your posts. Never get tired of reading your words.

  15. It’s all ok. Blog or not blog…. Obviously you have touched many lives, mine included. Your adventures are truly amazing and wonderful to read about. So happy to see you back in the blogosphere. When you hit that send key – POW! you touch the lives of many. You matter. We are enchanted with your View. -Maureen

  16. Woo hoo! You’re back! We never tire of your pictures and tales of adventure. If you feel like blogging, we’re more than willing to follow along.

  17. So nice to see you blogging again! I knew you would want to share your thoughts and photos once you got the View out of Texas. Thanks for the saguaro pics. I’ve been missing them since we left AZ.

  18. Glad to you are back and your fantastic photos. We all go through that “what’s left to blog about” and take a vacation of sorts. I now what you mean. Many of the questions you wrote about here I have asked myself many times. I also can relate the analysis to see how much time is spent on computers, internet, social media, blogs and whatever. That Southern Arizona is some really nice territory. I wonder what my hounds would think of thorns in their paw instead of ice in sub zero temps trying to walk ??? LOL

  19. I’ll join the chorus and say I’m really glad you’re back! I started to write several times but never got a note finished. I’ve really missed your way with words and beautiful pictures. Looks like you were just down the road at some point and didn’t call???

  20. Time is never wasted doing something you enjoy.
    Your photos are still amazing!
    And I am happy to see you back posting your adventures.

  21. So good to know you are back on the road. Glad your mom is home and doing better. I know you wouldn’t have left if she wasn’t doing all right:) Maybe, just maybe, you will be coming near Las Vegas before the end of May!!?? One can always hope. We will be here in Boulder City trying out our new house until the end of May. We then head east for a couple months. Let me know if you get our way. Welcome back to the road and blog world!

  22. Glad you are back on line blogging. When we can’t be on he road ourselves, love hearing about your adventures. They often lead us to great places when we are on the road!

  23. YAY!! I’ve been checking a couple times a week for months and finally, finally…. here you are this morning and I know now all is well, and I’m enjoying you thoroughly once again. Gracias a Dios, knowing you’re safe and well, and back on the highway. As to your perhaps not having any more to say – Darling I’l read whatever you write, I don’t care how many times you might have said it. I so love “going with you” on your adventures, I so love your voice, your photos, your style, the life you’ve carved for yourself. I live vicariously through you, knowing I’ll not get to many of the places you share. Yet you take me, in words, and pictures, and generosity of spirit. Mil gracias!

    Too, I am glad to hear your mom made it through a harrowing ordeal. So good you could be with her, and now so good you can be back on the road. Continued safe travels and happy trails!

  24. I would be so sad if you stopped blogging, as yours is one of my very favorite blogs. Yes, many post beautiful photos, with great descriptions of hikes to take and attractions to see, but it takes a writer to truly express the emotions a trail, the desert, a sunset, a cloud formation evokes. And that is you Suzanne. Don’t deprive us of that, ok?

  25. I am glad you didn’t completely stop blogging. But sometimes life does get in the way. I get that as I’ve spent the winter not traveling or writing about my home stay. I’m in Yarnell if you’re near by. Could even find a place for you to park. Keep collecting those memories.

  26. Finally on the move again! Question. How did you get to southern Arizona without going across southern New Mexico? As I recall, I was promised a spring visit! Hmmmmm…….

  27. So glad to see you back! I have quietly enjoyed your thoughts and photos so much. I had a similar incident with my 90 year old Mom last year. It took a few months but she fully recovered. I hope the same for your Mom.

  28. So nice to see you back! I’ve been remiss in keeping up, but noticed your absence. Please please please please: publish a photo journal. These pics are simply inspiring and gorgeous. Sending warmest and best.

  29. My heart is full of thanks that once again your words and pictures will be reaching into a special place in my soul. I don’t express myself well with words, but I really want to say thank you for re-entering My Life. God has blessed you with a gift of seeing the beauty and the unusual. I eagerly come to your blog and go away blessed as you express to us what you see and think and feel. Thank you, thank you

  30. So lovely to hear from you again! When the moment is right, the words come. Sometimes it’s hard to find that balance between blogging and life (I often fail!), and sometimes life itself gets in the way (I know that one too), but when times are right, sharing is a sweet part of the journey too. So glad to see you back in the heart is there..


  31. NO, you must not quit blogging. Look what happens to us and to you when you do.

    Your blog helps me in particular because you describe so many of the same experiences and thoughts that I’ve had. I feel less worried about myself when I read my life on your blog. For instance. Here are a couple of my thoughts you are expressing.

    Blogging as “an excuse to spend time on the laptop that could be better spent outdoors or reading a book

    I bought myself a Kindle thinking I would read but I’ve started more books than I’ve finished.

    And besides, your writing is fantastic, your pictures are gorgeous and I am trapped in the East and must have some way to dream of being in Lost Dutchman State Park or seeing the Superstition Mountains. And then there are the song lyrics – always something I know well and end up singing for the rest of the day while remembering the gorgeous photograph they graced. Blue Moon – what a song, what a picture.

    So whenever you think of quitting, think of me, longing to be where you are. Hoping someday to join you for a hike and being grateful for the dreams you inspire. Thank you for your posts.

  32. I am glad you have returned to blogging…no matter how long you continue to do so. I love your perspective, both in words and photos!

    We are parked in San Diego for the summer, house sitting for my dad. Let us know if you come through SD, we’d love to see you again.

  33. My husband and I must join in the chorus – we are so happy to see you have resumed your blog!! We started following several RV blogs after we retired in 2015, looking for inspiration to get on the road ourselves, and your blog has been a favorite among favorites. Following you on your journey has been a joy. Your blog is a perfect balance of beautiful photographic images, well-written impressions of the places you have visited and the people you have met along the way – and yes, there are even those wonderful musical references! Thanks for taking us along on the ride.

    Sharon and Jim

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