Saturday, April 14, 2018

Where In The World Is ... Not Carmen Santiago

Traveling to our next destination and on a mission of sorts to GET there I forget where we are. It's the end of the season and our summer plans are in New Hampshire but we wanted to spend a week in Florida seeing friends and family. Roger reminds me I'm living the dream, we are, but I think next adventure do it a bit different. Stay a few weeks here and there then move on.

So after Van Horn, Texas  we traveled to Junction, Texas.  Nice campground on the South Llano River and not many people there. The night before we left we all went to town and had Texas BBQ. Well, I had turkey, not a big BBQ eater and I will say the plate was loaded and it was yummy.

Lums BBQ

We have been staying two nights before we roll off again but there are times I wished we would stay three. The winds have been strong out on I 10 East. Roger gets tired but I will say he's been driving fantastic across the country. 

Our next stop was Alleyton, Texas. Small park right off I 10 and unless you sat on their porch, no strong cell signal or internet. At least for my Chromebook. However, the saving point was looking our my dinning room window and seeing the golden Palomino up in the next field. I grabbed my camera and ran up to say hello. He popped his head right over the fence for a few pats then went back to eating. I'm sure it was.."No treats? I'm outa here".  One of the small things that makes travelling special, along with hearing that train at night. Love it.

Off we go again. This time to where we are now, Kinder, Louisiana. Quiet Oaks Rv Park. It seems these small parks are for full time people working near by on the oil rigs or plants. They leave early in the day and come home around 5:30 or 6:00 P.M.. Beer, laundry and bed to do it again the next day.

A storm came over last night, the huge clap of thunder waking us at 4:10 A.M. then me watching the tornado warnings that were just beside or above us. Needless to say we're fine. 

Got to remember to feed the girl!! 

When ever we arrive Sammy jumps up into the drivers seat. He's been getting us from town to town throughout the adventure.

I loved the way the bridges criss crossed. On our way towards Houston then we went 610 around the city. (along with 6000 of our closest friends..😆) It did finally thin out.

I'm not a fan of bridges and I saw this one from a distance and all I could say was "Oh My God" It looked like it went straight up to a peak then straight down on the other side. Usually the side "wall" is much lower but as I peeked with one eye, saw that it actually had a nice fence. So I took the photo and shut my eyes again for the ride down.

I have painted BlueBonnets with Labs sitting so lovely in them but have never seen them in person. They were allusive but I did see them and got the photo as we were screaming by on the highway.

A lot of road construction going on through Texas. We actually made it past everyone of those cones!! Some were a breath away from the side of CiCiBlue. If she had fingers we'd own some of those big cones now. Our friends said that one truck knocked one down then with his rear tire up righted it again. That's impressive!!

When the road is smooth, Lola sleeps calmly. The highway leaving Texas into Louisiana was pretty lumpy. Not much sleeping and a lot of stress drool.

We get our Louisiana State sticker on our travel map now!!

I think this photo represents how we feel right now. It's an adventure I would not have missed for the world. We will stay on the east coast next winter but then... maybe pick a state or two that looks interesting and travel around. But then we never say never.  I have looked at parks along the Gulf..Love being near water. 😉 The adventure will continue....

We leave tomorrow, Sunday and head to Mississippi. Then Florida and settling at our campground for a week.  Have a great day and we'll chat later.. 


Saturday, April 7, 2018

A Night In Van Horn

We left Demings, N.M. yesterday morning around 9:00 A.M. and started on our continuing journey Eastward. Left, left, right and left and we were on the road.

I knew I'd have to check the dolly straps before we entered onto I 10 so we pulled over and I tightened them yet once again. Then we found the entrance to the highway blocked so back to the west we drive to the next exit then proceeded on the bumpy interstate, on our way. We were heading to Van Horn, Texas, elevation about 4000 feet. Not sure if I told you but CiCiBlue doesn't like thin air and since I've had a tough time adjusting I'm thinking we may be related.  She was doing great then Roger said, oh-oh, our generator just shut off. 😐

We travel now about 60 MPH, saves fuel and it saves my sanity. Rigs pass us going 75, 80 and my thought is always if you have to stop short or that insane burst of wind hits you from the side are you prepared? Yesterday a spider dropped down in front of Roger's face as we were going and yes I'm still laughing, inside though.

The El Paso Road Runner

My job now is to stand up and hit the generator button to see if it will stay on. After about 5 times I googled and saw that it just may be low oil. Off to find a Pilot station. We are traveling with friends so were we go or where they go we are there too.  Checking the oil level we found it to be low so into the basement to find the oil and funnel but alas, when you need it it hides. Into Pilot and out comes a new gallon of oil and a funnel, a short stemmed funnel for an oil "hole" that's way in a small compartment in the front of CiCi Blue. First, the jug doesn't fit and second the funnel is so far's a disaster waiting to happen.I'm not a mechanic, yet, but I had an idea. Roger came back out with one of our plastic drinking cups. Voila'!!! Three cups and oily hands later I had the baby filled. Start the generator. The thought that entered my head as we were going through El Paso was I'll never get a DVT in my legs because I was up, down multiple times turning it back on but each time became a bit longer that it ran.

Quick thought about El Paso...bumper to bumper traffic, hot and CiCi wasn't happy but we got through and I'm pretty sure I could see Mexico from my passenger seat.

Did the generator ever continue to work? Yes it did! We had our refrigerator and A/C working just fine.

A Stop Along The Way

Border Checkpoint on I 10 East towards Van Horn, Texas

We had been through checkpoints before but this one was serious. Not that the others weren't but since we are closer to Mexico they seem to be on high alert. That yellow sign with the dog on it tells people to restrain your dog since there is a working dog on site. As you know, Lola loves looking out the front window as we slow down and at the last checkpoint she barked at the dog. This one I need to blindfold her. I had her turn her back to the window and prayed we wouldn't be detained as long as the previous RV had. "How many passengers do you have on board?" "Two", Roger answered. "Are you both US Citizens?"  "yes".  He then waved us through. During this the working dog was sniffing around the basement of our coach.  What you will see along I 10 is large areas on the road that a car went up in flames. Huge burn marks. Wow, it was hot and someone forgot to put oil in their car? After seeing about 10-15 of these burn areas we knew what was really happening and a new reality set in. 

The time keeps changing as we travel so Sammy got us to Van Horn at 4:00 P.M. Central time though our body clocks thought it was 3:00 P.M. Mountain time. It was at any time, happy hour. We take the kids out then hook up electric, water and sewer, lower the rig , put out the slides and take all the "stuff' out of the shower and off the bed. Then grab a glass of wine and go sit with our friends. 

Ok, this is what the blog was really about. The train! It runs parallel to I 10 and the campground and I can see it out our bedroom window as it passes at night.  When I was young my Dad always brought my sister and me to see the "puffers", steam engines, come out of the round house in Allston, Ma. (We lived in Brighton) We stood on a bridge as they passed under, breathing and puffing as they went. Dad would have us step back so we wouldn't get the soot in our eyes or clothes but it was so exciting. Then when the diesel engines came we would go to the train station on Cape Cod and wait for him to come down from Boston. Trains have always been close to where I've lived and needless to say I love them.

You can see many trains traveling across the country as you travel. And yes, I have many photos. 😂

Last night I opened the window and listened for every train that came. I could hear them getting closer and knew that they would blow the horn as they came past the town and cross ways and every time I jumped with surprise then laid there with a stupid grin on my face until about 11:00 P.M. and they stopped for the night. My Dad loved the West but never got here except for books so every train is for him.My night in Van Horn!


Saturday, March 24, 2018

In Search Of...

Finding an art community while traveling is sometimes difficult and after almost a year, I was feeling drained. My husband Roger went to the Coronado National Monument in Hereford, Arizona to take photos and saw a flyer at the Ranger station announcing a Field Journaling Workshop with Linda Feltner and I knew I'd be there. Her work is amazing and I knew it's exactly what I needed. So off I went.

Linda's enthusiasm alone is healing to an emotionally "starving artist" and then she brought her journals and sketches and watercolor studies. She did a show and tell about how she packs her sketching kit, what watercolor pencils she has and watercolor charts that she does and places them in the cover of her watercolor boxes.  At this point if we never sketched I was feeling the healing taking place.

I can be a perfect hermit, working on my own and being happy but every once in awhile its wonderful and necessary to connect with like minded people. Thankfully I have an artist friend I do text or call as my life line but this was hands on, right in your face therapy. I'm hoping Linda didn't mind me hugging her before I left and thanking her for a great two hours of learning and observing.

I did want to join an artist group while we were in Black Meadow Landing but their meeting were always at night and I chickened out since it meant driving back home over the incredibly dark twisty mountainous road but I'll be back in Florida for a week before we head North for the summer and I'll connect with art friends then.

A few photos from my time at the Park.

I sat away from the crowd and some children that became restless after drawing and started to concentrate on the bark of an Emory Oak. (I didn't know until I asked Linda) It's then I realize that what I do everyday is so etched in my psyche that I can do it blindfolded. A good thing? In one way but then in another, have I lost something? For one thing, it wasn't what I'm usually doing so my brain right brain was telling me that it was boring. Isn't there a dog I can draw? There was actually but I didn't. lol  Sheila....just do it.  I mentally complained through the entire session. Ugh..the pencil is wrong, I'm smudging it everywhere, oh the white gel pen isn't the right size, and I lost my place on the tree to I really think I dislike this tree, maybe I should have sat over at THAT tree.

I will say I loved the experience and so need to do more. (Maybe..with the right tree.;-)

Leaving I pulled over in some pullouts on the road out of the park.

Definitely references for paintings. !!! What a country!!!!

Thanks for stopping by..heading East in a week and a half..not sure how I really feel about leaving this beauty. The expanse and solitude really calls to me, as long as Amazon can deliver my art supplies and I can connect with artists every so often to re-energize.

What an adventure!!!!!!! 


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Bisbee, MOH's , A Birthday Then Wine Country

We try and do a fun thing once or twice a week to see the area we are staying in. The other days I'm painting. The decision was a town named Bisbee. An old town similar to Tombstone, being a mining community during the 1800's then closing and then once again opening in the 50,s before closing once again. They did strip mining for copper and since I love painting on copper this was cool to see one of their mines.

The mine is surrounded by a chain link fence with areas cut out so one can take photos. I first saw the cactus and loved that, then, saw how deep this strip mine was and water waaaayyyyy down below. The access ore was dumped on the surrounding hills which gives them the bright orange shade. It was getting cloudy and my cell phone didn't quite get the intense color but it was beautiful.

Then we drove along the road into a town named Lowell. The main street has been left as if it was the 50's. Stores are empty but the store windows still show what was happening back then. 

It had to be in black and white! Not sure really why space ships seem to be on signs around this area, I'll have to look it up but maybe they are suggesting that aliens took everyone from that town in Lowell. LOL.

One of the windows was a showcase  of old Harley Davidson's. In an "other life time" the person I was with had a '58 Pan head. I had to take this photo. The one I rode on was a red and white and I could actually kick start it which was always a fun thing because back then only the "guys" did that. 

From there it's a short hop to Bisbee itself. The entire town is on a hill and stairs going up are everywhere.  Bisbee  Quaint with fun shops along the "main drag" . First stop was of course, a restroom. Then, lunch.

We chose the Copper Queen Hotel Saloon for our first stop. It's known as the longest operating hotel in Arizona and has legends of ghosts through out the hotel. Built between 1898 and 1902.  I kept the image as dark as it was in the saloon so you get the whole feel. You gave your order up at the bar and after you ate, dropped your dishes there too. Food was good then we were off once again.

We are close to the Mexican border so seeing Border Patrol everywhere is quite common, along with check points every so often.

The shops in Bisbee are eclectic to say the least. I love vintage shops and Bisbee has quite a few. We were there on March 14 and since my birthday two days off, I found this and Roger got it for my day! 

March 15 was Moh's surgery for a basal cell carcinoma on my neck. The word, cancer, is scary but thankfully basal cell is easily treatable and not an invasive metastasizing cancer. It will, if left untreated, grow deep roots and enlarge so that treatment is a bit more invasive on your body.  Moh's was named after a general surgeon in 1938 who invented this surgery that is microscopic taking the least amount of good tissue and is done in the office in one day. One leaves knowing you are cancer free. Totally numbed from my ear to my shoulder I never felt a thing but you are looking at one tired puppy. I came home, crawled into bed and slept soundly for hours.

So, we catch up to present day and yesterday our adventure took us to a completely different view on Arizona! We drove over to Elgin, AZ. and the wineries.  All the wineries  We went from desert land to hills and mountains and sweeping plains. I totally fell in love. For fun I looked up the price of homes in that area last night... deer in headlight look here.. 500 hundred K to above. Now that's a lot of paintings! We did learn that many films were made in this area one of them being "Oklahoma". Who knew?! 

Stopped for lunch here. The chef is remarkable and the food was amazing. 

Looking across the street this is what you see. Awesome.

Earlier, around 11 A.M. the wineries open so on our second winery was Kief-Joshua Vineyards. Kief-Joshua. We were having 6 tastes at this particular winery and then my attention switched suddenly.

I know...tasting wine or playing with dogs...I think for me it was chugging the sample then playing with dogs!! The owner was delightful and informative of their grapes and wines as well as chatting with me about the "kids". Yes I can paint them...happiness is.. 

Then finally, a friend from the U.K. asked me if I could paint her grandson. I'm not a portrait painter, or so I thought, but I'm willing to give anything a try. This is an 8" x 8" watercolor and gouache on 300 lb watercolor paper. And yes, happy to say it's going across the pond.!!

Well I'm off to paint now and get my day going. It's in the 80's today so we are getting a feel of the Arizona heat. We are noticing more and more people are starting to leave the park heading to other places that will be cooler. We leave the Wednesday after Easter but before then there will be other adventures!! 

Thanks for following...


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Sunday, March 11, 2018


Last Wednesday we all piled into Bob's truck and off we went to Tombstone, Arizona.  It's about 22 miles from where we are staying at the RV park so a short drive past vast, vast land covered in scrub brush or Mesquite trees. (Hard taking a good photo as one whizzes by in the back of a truck). But the land is vast! I know, I keep mentioning that but I think my brain just doesn't comprehend that amount of space.

We arrived in Tombstone and for the time, I just know I had my boots on with spurs a janglin' and my 44 hanging by my hip. (spaghetti western music heard here now)

So before you do get to town you stop first at the Boothill Cemetary. (It's the least expensive stop on your journey, $3.00 per person to enter.)

My Birthday is March 16 and I'll be 71, (52 in my mind though), so this door was kind of bizarre to me and I remember just saying, "Oh geez, really?". But the whole graveyard was "built" with a sense of humor because back in the 1800's with people being shot for looking the wrong way or killed by Indians they had to have a great sense of humor to survive.

For example, Tom Waters here. He was shot and killed because a fellow didn't care for the shirt he was wearing. He bought a blue and black plaid shirt that day and was being teased non stop and of course, liquor was flowing and a fight ensued and poor Tom was dead. Fashion police to the max! 

While others took pictures of the graves I wanted to see what the spirits see at night when they come out to wander. One thing that is mentioned as you wander through the cemetery and then you see it , is that it's segregated. One section for Jewish, another for Chinese.  Some markers have "unknown" listed, others a name and cause of death. Murder, hanging, one natural death, Killed by Indians, shot, and suicide.

One woman died from suicide. Hearing the history and violence of the town I felt bad for her. Was her husband a miner and away or drunk all the time? Was it the desolation and loneliness? Probably all of that. Then one man also committed suicide. Poor soul, and yes I did speak to them as I walked by.

Back into town our first stop was the Gilded Cage Saloon. They have not changed a thing in this establishment since it closed in 1889. Or dusted, but that adds to the authenticity. Up stairs on the balcony to the left and right are "cribs" for the working ladies. They charged $25.00 an hour and back then just think of how much that was.  The stairs to the left that go up, out of view, are worn and the top three steps are almost worn to the breaking point. Ah those men!!!

Hanging on the wall to my right and those infamous stairs going up along that wall is Fatima! "Little Egypt". Her given name was Fahreda Mazar Spyropoulos and she got her start at the Bird cage. An artist did this painting and sent it to the Bird Cage as a gift.

One of the many bullet holes in the frame. Not by a critic but a drunken gunman aiming at another guy. 

One gentleman thought Little Egypt needed a new belly button so climbed up and gave her one.

The more men drank and the drunker they became, it was said that one man thought Fatima was actually coming off the ledge and moving towards him so he shot. You can see the bullet holes in her skirt. Fun bar don't you think? 

Oh look, there's Virgil Earp. I smiled and said hello but he's a solemn man. He turned and walked to the entrance to a passage way and checked his...cellphone.  (Deer in headlights look dare he take me back to reality)

Oh oh, there must be trouble brewing...
That's Morgan, Doc Holiday, Virgil and Wyatt Earp heading down to the OK Corral. I think I'll leave town for a bit.

There's the stagecoach.

Tickets are $10.00 per person, they are authentic coaches and it takes you out of the main street and around the town showing points of interest. So and so was hung right there, so and so lived here and then died over there. If you ever saw the movie "Romancing the Stone', one of my fav's, there's a part where the mexican outlaw drives the characters around town trying to escape and shows them his favorite chicken and his cousins house. I was waiting to see Wyatt's favorite chicken on this ride.

We arrived back in town a little weary from our journey. It was good to be back.
 (I can't even imagine how bumpy it must have been driving long distances. We were going at a normal horse gait and bounced quite a bit. Exciting though)

Trouble at the OK Corral? We better get there!

A showdown over months of threats, romantic rivalries, stage robberies and arrests and after 30 seconds and 30 shots fired, Frank and Tom McLaury were dead as well as Billy Clayton. Ike Clayton was unarmed and ran away to be killed in another year. Doc, Virgil and Morgan were wounded by Wyatt was not.

It was time to eat so we had lunch in the once named Bucket Of Blood Saloon. It is now the Longhorn Saloon, good food, good atmosphere. Then after stopping at the amazing fudge shop we headed for home. 

What we didn't get to was the place that housed the rose bush brought from Scotland by Henry Gee and his wife Mary. They planted it and it grew in the desert soil and is now the largest rose bush in the world being in the Guinness book of Records.  We may go back..(yes for the fudge, of course silly gooses).

Have a great day and thanks for following our adventure. 


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