Just Passing Through: Barstow, California

We’ve been in Pahrump, Nevada for the last few days, mostly just as a resting point and time to plan. Before we left Lake Havasu City, Arizona, the temperatures were sky rocketing above 90 degrees, which was a bit difficult for us to handle. The AC in our coach definitely gets our van cooled off fast, but at those temperatures as soon as it turns off – it turns right back on again, so it basically has to run non-stop during the heat of the day.

I had a brief moment of panic after my camera wouldn’t turn on (which is stored in a heat sensitive place). Thankfully, all is well with my camera, it had just over heated. And with that, we knew it was time to leave. However, we still didn’t know where we were going! If you haven’t read the last post, it explains why our plans were still up in the air.

Today was a typical travel day for us. We got up before dawn, worked for several hours, walked the dog, disconnected from our spot in an RV Park, got fuel, got groceries, had lunch – and THEN hit the road to travel for several hours (and will work more once we get settled). I often fall asleep at some point during our travel time (obviously, Dave is driving) and I feel bad about it when this happens. For one thing, I feel like I’m abandoning Dave, and for another, I miss out on half the fun! But, with the way our travel days go, I can’t help it sometimes.

I’m starting to accept the idea that our method of travel doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. If I fall asleep, it’s okay. Well, mostly. Anyway, moving on…

We arrived at our overnight stop in Barstow, California and I took a few snapshots while we walked Frodo. I was so tired I didn’t think I’d take photos, so these were all taken with my iPhone. Note to self: ALWAYS bring camera. Always!

I love wide, open blue skies. I always have to stop and stare (and take photos).

Blue Sky

For some reason, I really dig overnight stops. Everyone is simply, “passing through,” and the owners we’ve encountered have always been really friendly. It almost feels like a step back in time to when people were always courteous and friendly, and stops like this just have a really good vibe to them. Small towns are awesome.

Shady Lane RV Park

This is the craziest tree I have ever seen…

Crazy Tree

All right, we’re all tucked in for the night, with another travel day ahead of us tomorrow.

Van Tucked In

G’night!

2015 Year in Review: 3,872 Miles Traveled & 53 Books Read!

If I had to describe 2015 in one word, I’d probably call it busy. If you grant me two words, I’d say life-changing. Can I have two words please?

We kicked off 2015 as new residents of Asheville, North Carolina. Not long after settling in we experienced the Asheville Snowmageddon 2015. It was fun… at first. Much better after we got a snow shovel. Though, I have to say the Fall of 2014 was a lot more fun – especially for Frodo.

Asheville 2015 Pisgah National Forest

We experienced the joy of living in a National Forest, definitely an experience I’ll never forget. This also included fighting a little bit with the creatures that lived near our house. There were the birds, and the spiders. And Dave protecting our house from critter invasion…

Dave on a Mission

I finally had a chance to photograph our bedtime routine with Frodo. Yes, we still brush his teeth every night. He loves it, and so do his teeth! You can tell from the photos he has a good time.

In May, we watched a life-changing documentary, and have been vegans ever since. It’s been almost 8 months now and I only wish we had made the change sooner.

Early in July we decided to take our life on the road, and began the process of downsizing our belongings. In a few short months we sold most of our stuff, our house, our car, and purchased a truck and a travel-trailer. It was a whirlwind of activities.

We hit the road October 17th, officially house-less, beginning our journey as nomads. After leaving Asheville, we traveled very quickly to South Dakota to get our driver’s licenses. On the way, we stopped through some pretty areas I look forward to re-visiting. Columbia, Missouri was gorgeous! 

Stephens Lake Park_The Lake

Rock Port, MO had a lot of character. I wouldn’t mind going back for a few days, especially during warmer months.

We were only in Amarillo, Texas for a short time, but long enough to see some interesting things. Like a donkey. And an emu.

And then, we got crazy with it. It was at this point we further downsized and sold our truck and travel trailer, and switched to a van. Once comfortably settled in our new van, the race was on to get somewhere warm. We headed to Arizona, yet at the same time, experienced a month without hot water. Go figure.

Now we are wrapping up 2015, living in a van, living a vegan life-style, and currently chilling out in Lake Havasu City, Arizona – while we recover from the whirlwind that this year has been. And it’s been a doozy. With only traveling the last portion of the year, we still managed to cover 3,872 miles. The speed was purely insane and I hope to never need to travel that far at that pace ever again! But, we managed to get our domicile squared away, improve our travel setup, get our van repaired, and… rest in the quiet of the southwest. I’d say the travel part of this year was smashing, though speedy. But, it was worth it. Every crazy minute of it.

2015 - 3872 Miles Traveled

There’s still one aspect from 2015 I haven’t had a chance to address yet, and that’s my reading life. I set out to read 52 books, and did it (read 53 books actually), and though some were good, and some were great, many were fantastic. I figured I would highlight my favorites from this year and tried to narrow down my selection to a Top 5. I couldn’t.

Out of the 53 books I read this year, here are my Top 8 Favorites:

2015 was a great year, and 2016 will be even better. I wish everyone a happy, healthy new year!

Lake Havasu City, Arizona is Nature’s Etch a Sketch…

Lake Havasu City in Arizona has to be one of the most beautiful places in this country. The appearance of the sky changes continuously all day long and is a bit like nature’s version of an Etch A Sketch.

The view of the clouds over the mountains in the distance, the color of the sky, the shape of the clouds – it just never stops. It’s drawn, and re-drawn, and re-drawn, over and over again. I stare at the sky often and just feel better when I do.

And sunrise? It’s breathtaking. And sunset? Even more-so.

Lake Havasu City Sunset 1

These photos are from tonight’s sunset.

Lake Havasu City Sunset 2

And yes, it’s like this every day.

Lake Havasu City Sunset 3

Every. Single. Day.

Lake Havasu City reminds me of the movie The Truman Show. The sky seems too beautiful to be real, as though we’re witnessing a staged production all day long.

Lake Havasu City Sunset 4

And of course, Lake Havasu has more than just sunsets, there are really cool cars. There are classic cars everywhere here, and though this car doesn’t fit that description, it caught my attention. It has character, oodles of it.

Lake Havasu City Cool Cars

Someday soon I hope to capture some of the amazing classic cars here, but until then, goodnight…

Lake Havasu City Sunset at Dusk

They Say it’s my Birthday…

Life Level Up!Do you know what the best part of any game is? Leveling Up!

As you play a game you get to learn what works best to achieve your goal, maybe learn some hacks along the way to make things easier, and all in all, have fun.

Conversely, End Game is the most boring part of any game. You’ve finished the game – congratulations! Now what? Most people will start a new game and go through the same process all over, sometimes rushing through the leveling process again, forgetting that leveling is what it’s all about.

Just like life.

Life is a journey, not a destination. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Take your time. Enjoy the leveling up process. 

P.S. This photo was taken several months ago, by me, with a 35mm lens, camera held backwards. I’m having fun leveling up my Photography skills – no one said you had to do things just like everyone else!

This post is brought to you from Yuma, Arizona

Fun with Photography

Lately my camera has been resting much too often. It was time to take it out to play…

Because we chose to live in a 22′ van, we simply can’t have everything with us we want – like a tripod. This adds complexity to the fact that I really want more photos with BOTH of us in the actual photo. Challenge accepted.

I told Dave I could take a selfie with my 35mm lens, no problem at all. He had the nerve to doubt me.

Selfie of Sharon and Dave

Yes, I really did take this photo holding the camera backwards, composing it blindly.

Because I can’t just let things go, I wanted to further prove to Dave that I can focus where I want, such as in the foreground here:

Selfie Focus in Foreground

Or in the background here:

Selfie Focus in Background

For anyone curious, here is a behind the scenes photo taken by Dave (the boring way, with the camera facing frontwards).

Backwards Photography

And no photography outing is ever complete without a photo of Frodo. Though I think I prefer Arizona over California (so far), Frodo just can’t seem to hold still if there’s grass under his feet. He is really digging California for that reason. He must run and play!

Frodo likes to play like no one is watching… as he should!

Playtime

In all seriousness, it was great to get out today and play. I have my ups and downs with Gastroparesis and the last few days have been pretty rough and a bit painful. But today, today was a good day. And that makes me happy.

Today we are in San Dimas, California.

It’s a Beautiful Day in Tucson, Arizona!

We had a choice between struggling for warmth in Las Cruces, New Mexico – or getting to BE warm and comfortable in Tucson. It was an obvious choice really, and we are finally somewhere that will have good weather for a while so we don’t need to rush off anywhere.

Even though our race across the country has been at a much faster pace than we plan to travel for any length of time – it’s been an amazing journey. We have had a wonderful opportunity to preview areas where we would like to have extended time to explore. St. Louis, Missouri looks like a blast for urban photography, Columbia, Missouri will be a great place to relax, and New Mexico? Give me a month in New Mexico – or maybe two! There is so much to see and do and explore!

For now though, today we are in Arizona. And it’s gorgeous! I can understand why people spend their winters in Arizona. Who wouldn’t want to be here?

Palm Tree

Something screams H.P. Lovecraft about this plant. Maybe because it was larger than me!

HP Lovecraft Plant

The Tao of Dog says, a dirty dog is a happy dog. At least according to me. And Frodo. A dirty beard means lots of nose-to-ground time – heaven for a scent-driven dog!

Happy Dog Frodo

If an opportunity presents itself to reach out and grab something – do it.

Sharon Tucson Arizona Pull-up

But be careful around cacti, particularly when they are close to ten feet tall…

Southwest Architecture

Southwest landscaping is pretty nifty though, I’m quite drawn to it.

Southwest

And architects are smart to build in sun-shades where it is necessary.

Sun Shades

But one of the coolest things we saw today was the most unexpected!

Car Parade

Wait, are they slowing down for the camera? They are! See the wave?

Car Parade 2

This guy was awesome, he honked for us!

Car Parade 3

Reason #101 why you should always have your camera!

Car Parade 4

Resting in Tucumcari, New Mexico

Oh how I’ve missed this.

Dave Practicing Keyboard

Yes, we have downsized to living in a 30-foot travel trailer and a truck. But we haven’t given up everything.

With selling our house, moving into the RV, and racing to South Dakota to establish our domicile, then racing southward as fast as possible to escape freezing temperatures – this is the first time in close to three months Dave has had a chance to practice. He’s missed it. I’ve missed it.

We’re in Tucumcari, New Mexico where it is 82 Degrees and Sunny, with 15% humidity. Tomorrow we travel again (and face a cold font brining in colder temperatures). It was time to break out the keyboard and play a little. Life is good!

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!