Arrival in Las Cruces, New Mexico

Today we left Tucumcari, New Mexico and planned a short drive to Carrizozo. Once we arrived there however, we changed our minds and simply continued South to Las Cruces.

New Mexico

We knew we were cutting it short, planning to arrive in Las Cruces just as the sun was setting (never really ideal), but it worked out perfectly.

Today’s drive was better than any movie. Between the mountains and the clouds, it was simply breathtaking. I took a few photos knowing that nothing could replicate what I was seeing, and this is the best photo from the day.

Beautiful Day in New Mexico

I look forward to learning about the area, it’s history, and exploring the landscape!

A Quick Glance: Columbia, Missouri

Today it was rainy and overcast in Columbia, Missouri, but in between a grocery and fuel run – we did manage to check Columbia out just a bit!

We’re both tired and run down, but we drove by Stephens Lake Park – so of course, we HAD to stop so I could take some photos! I’m so glad I did!

For one thing, I saw for the very first time ever in real life, a Little Free Library! Well hello Columbia! What a nice way to greet me!

Little Free Library

Stephens Lake Park is a beautiful place. There were people walking, running, and biking, and a few folks were there to walk their dog.

Stephens Lake Park

From the perspective of traveling with a dog, it is an excellent place to go hang out for a bit with Fido (or in our case, Frodo)! The park has a great sidewalk (super handy after a day of rain!), and trash containers never too far from reach. I didn’t notice any doggie-bag stations if they have them, but we always have those with us anyway.

The park not only had trash cans sprinkled about, they also had recycle bins! Lots of them! In fact, I noticed there were also recycle bins at the gas station, as well as clothing donation drop-off bins. Yay Missouri!

In case you are wondering, yes, Stephens Lake Park does in fact, have a Lake! A sign mentioned something about boating and fishing…

Stephens Lake Park_The Lake

What a nifty place to take in the Fall colors!

Stephens Lake Park_More Lake

Just a quite note about the grocery store. I shopped at Hy-Vee, a grocery store chain I have never heard of before and I thought it was important to mention what I found. HEALTHY FOOD! I’m adding those note so I’ll remember, but if any of you out there have dietary restrictions, this store (at least the one in Columbia) had great real food options. So if you are one who cooks from scratch, or reads the label carefully on anything that comes in a package, be sure to check out Hy-Vee, you may find some great snack options!

That’s all from here! We hit the road again tomorrow. Cherrio!

Just Passing Through: St. Louis & Columbia, Missouri

Today we drove through St. Louis, Missouri. Wow, what a city! St. Louis is on the top of my list of places to visit and spend time. It was a very unique city to pass through, more so than any I have seen. I didn’t get a photo of the arch, but I did catch this:

Mississippi River at St. Louis

This photo was taken just as we were passing over the Mississippi River (St. Louis, Missouri). I am very happy I was able to catch this – the road was really bumpy, and our windshield was full of dead bugs. Note to self: clean windshield asap! I am always impressed when I can take a photo from a moving vehicle, given the bumpiness of the ride, this photo is quite impressive!

Columbia, Missouri

Tonight we are resting our heads in Columbia, Missouri and hope to be able to grab some photos of the area tomorrow. This is a beautiful area, however, it is expected to rain all day tomorrow. We’ll at least have to make a grocery run so I will take any opportunity I can to get some photos.

I look forward to the part of our travel when it becomes true travel and not rushing from one point to another. We’re almost there though – the light at the end of the tunnel is near!

Just Passing Through: Clarksville, Tennessee

Clarksville TN
Clarksville, TN

 Yesterday we arrived, tomorrow we depart, so there hasn’t been much time to do much besides take a quick breather and do some planning. We’re heading to South Dakota to get our Driver’s License as part of declaring SD our domicile state – and we’re in a hurry. Winter is Coming.

No really, winter REALLY is coming and we’re heading north Beyond the Wall (according to Dave, I-40 is THE WALL). All right, I’ll stop making references to Game of Thrones…

During the day we’ve had gorgeous weather, but it’s dipped into freezing temperatures the last few nights here and at our previous stop. We made a last minute run out tonight to Home Depot to create some make-shift insulation to add to our large bedroom window. If it works, I’ll explain in detail what we did. If it doesn’t, well, let’s just hope it works. I’d like to sleep through the night and not feel like there is a Dementor trying to sneak in beneath the window.

We only have one more week of total craziness with our fast travel pace, and then we will finally take a much needed rest. After we complete our tasks in South Dakota, we haven’t decided where to go next. Apparently though, it will need to be some place warmer! We began downsizing in July and have been moving at a rapid-fire pace since then and I am exhausted. Dave is exhausted. I don’t really care where we go after South Dakota as long as we can stay there a week and catch up on some food, sleep, and rest.

Though tiring, the last few days have also felt like breath of fresh air. I love being near the ocean. I love being in the mountains. And I LOVE a wide open big beautiful blue sky! As we left the mountainous area of North Carolina and Tennessee and entered flatter land and open views, it felt amazing – like a weight was being lifted from my shoulders. Apparently, I love change. Me?! It’s fun learning things about yourself at 40!

Camp Crashing

October at KOA Asheville West
The view from KOA Asheville West – October 2015

Have you ever crashed a wedding? Hmm, me neither. But lately I have been cramp crashing! Specifically, I’ve been living at a campground while we wait for our house to sell, surrounded by other people who are truly camping. It’s an interesting experience, and apparently a life-hack.

Feeling stressed? Tired? Worn out, and in need of a vacation? Surround yourself with others who are on vacation and the vibes carry over. Maybe it’s just walking past people’s campfires at night, but it’s a pretty neat trick! I don’t know what it is about campfires, but they seem to create happy, relaxed feelings. Is it just me?

This morning I awoke feeling stressed about work, and the remaining things we have left to remove from the house before we transition to completely full-time RV living. And then, I opened the window shades in our Airstream and remembered. I’m at a campground, and it’s a holiday weekend! Our “neighbor” has festive lights hanging from his RV awning and I remembered where I am and what I’m doing here. And I smiled. Life is really good. As Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Life Lesson: Take Time to Play

As we go through the process to downsize all of our things to fit into an RV, some things have caused us to take a moment. Things like toys. Toys have to be played with after all, even if they’ve been sitting in a closet collecting dust.

Engineer Play Time

The helicopter enjoyed the fresh air. Frodo enjoyed the helicopter.

Wanna Play

Frodo really enjoyed the helicopter. He thought the tail was tasty.

Tasty Tail

As always, he loved the chance to run around. And the toy helicopter has been re-evaluated, it appears it will be a great travel toy and additional method to wear out Frodo!

Frodo

Best Dinner Ever. Seriously.

Sometimes dinner is pretty darn good, and sometimes it’s “knocked it out of the park, hit a home run, 5-star meal good”. In other words, our dinner tonight was the best meal I’ve had in ages.
Black Bean and Yam SaladI’m not the cook in our house, but I’m usually around when the cooking is happening, so I can comment about meals and say if it was quick and easy, or, not-so-quick but definitely worth it. You know, I creatively interpret the chef’s grumbles into workable explanations.

Tonight however, Dave made dinner while I napped on the couch. Yes, I admit to it. Frodo curled up with me and I fell asleep, and napped while Dave slaved away in the kitchen. I do know this recipe took quite awhile to make, but oh. My. It. Was. Amazing.

Pictured above is a Black Bean & Yam Salad That is to Die For. Only you won’t die, because it’s very good for you. Dave followed the recipe from this site and only made minor adjustments to our taste. For example, he substituted the cilantro and used parsley instead. Also, he used half quinoa and half wild rice instead of all quinoa. Really pretty minor adjustments.

For the “taco-style seasoning” he used:

  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 3/4 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Chipotle Chile Powder
  • 1/8th tsp Black Pepper
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Onion Powder

The magical forces worked in my favor, and while I slept… Dave not only made dinner, he noted the adjustments he made to the recipe so we have them for the future (thank you Dave!). A miracle occurred here tonight!

And, we have tons and tons and tons of left overs. Tons. We are going to eat well this week!