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 dogs...in 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.

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"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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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

Bourbon Mash and Birthday Bash

Getting myself down from the skinny green branches of the “tree” that is New England did not come easily to me.  As I sat on the edge of Maine’s Long Lake pondering my next move, I changed my mind almost hourly as to which direction I would take.  My overwhelming urge was to make a B-line back to the comfort of the Great Southwest as quickly as possible…almost as if I felt guilt from two-timing on a summer fling. Continue reading

“October”

Continuing on south down Hwy 100 through the long sliver of the state of Vermont, October begins to redeem itself.  For all the autumnal splendor that Montpelier and Stowe were lacking, I find in the Green Mountain National Forest of southern Vermont.  Seems the further south I drive, the more beautiful it becomes…completely contrary to my expectation for New England. Continue reading

Chlorophyll Climate Confusion

I’ve often read “If you want to learn about yourself, TRAVEL!”  But it seems the opposite is true for me.  I learn most about myself when I am immobilized.  Sitting stationary at my friend Deb’s beautiful lakeside cabin for a month spending mornings watching the waterfowl and evenings sitting on the dock listening for loons brought about a lot of introspection…a little glimpse of what my life would be like if I were to ever stop my perpetual motion.  Continue reading

Hut to Hut with the Presidents

During my years living in New York, I always felt like my life as a Manhattanite was a little different than others.  But then that’s what makes Manhattan so great! EVERYONE is “a little different.” 😉 Unlike most of my friends, my closet contained more camping and hiking gear than it did designer shoes. That should have been a clue.

I was also a proud card-carrying member of the Appalachian Mountain Club. Continue reading

At Home with the Loons

First and foremost, thanks to everyone for their very kind comments regarding my “Canadian Summer Series.”  There is nothing so gratifying to one who loves writing and photography than for someone to say “You took me there.” Every last one of your comments were a welcome companion as I charted my solo course through unfamiliar territory.

On a recent visit to the local Chinese Food take out joint, I received an amusing question in my fortune cookie Continue reading

Maritime Wrap-up: New Brunswick

So at last….it’s finally here. After thirty blog posts of my summer travels up, down and around the Atlantic side of Canada, this is my last installment…My final stop before crossing the border into Calais, Maine.

Of all four provinces visited this summer, I spent the least amount of time in New Brunswick. I feel like I slighted it in my haste. But have no regrets, for in doing so I dedicating the most time to Newfoundland. Although filled with beautiful spots, New Brunswick didn’t feel all that different than Maine. Continue reading

Maritime Wrap-up: Prince Edward Island

As I see it, there are four areas of interest in visiting Prince Edward Island. First, they are known the world over for their mussels…any seafood restaurant or raw bar worth its seasoning will at some point feature “PEI Mussels” on the chalkboard as a special of the day. The second reason is for the long expanse of beautiful red sand beaches, some of which make up PEI’s one and only National Park. The third reason to visit is if you have an odd curiosity about potato farming, as PEI produces 25% of Canada’s potatoes. And the fourth reason would be “All things Anne.” For those who may not know (myself included up until now) the 1908 novel, Anne of Green Gables, which sold 50 million copies was based on Prince Edward Island. A large museum complex bears the title. I had mild curiosity, but no one attraction was calling to me. Okay, well, maybe the mussels. Continue reading

Maritime Wrap-up: Nova Scotia

I guess it’s a “given” that leaving a place like Newfoundland is certain to bring on a bad case of ennui. After a month of glorious solitude, scenic coastal roads, and serendipitous encounters with wildlife on “The Rock,” Nova Scotia didn’t really stand a chance. Like going on an arranged date with a preppy, plaid-clad provincial boy after a painful break-up with that long-haired “bad boy” from summer vacation. Continue reading