In the book “Adventures of Slim and
Howdy”, the author writes:
“People seem to settle for so many
things in life. They settled for things that were easy and adequate
but not perfect – and told themselves they loved it because perfect
took too much work and even then there were no guarantees. And all
too often they end up one day looking back at a decision and
thinking, 'why didn't I hold out for something better than that'?
Many people are miserable and have no one to blame but themselves,
because they settled for something less than what they really
Sumner Lake State Park
With three weeks before a commitment in
Rio Rancho, New Mexico State Park Volunteer Coordinator asked for my
services at Sumner Lake State Park, a 2-hour drive away. Always happy
to help out, I loaded Jeremiah with groceries and headed east and a
bit south. The Pecos River feeds this lake and thanks to rain and
runoff, the lake is pleasantly full of water and boaters. It is a
The park rangers and summer seasonal
workers do a great job there, leaving not a whole lot of stuff for me
to do but greet and chit-chat with campers. And what interesting
people I met. A single lady and her hairless cat were there in a
A variety of wildlife entertained me
including, deer, turkeys, lizards, gopher-snakes, rattlesnakes,
ground squirrels, toads, cottontails, and jackrabbits. Birds included
barn swallow, western kingbird, mockingbird, curve-bill thrasher,
lesser goldfinch and towhee. The barn swallows and western kingbirds
were actively sitting on just-made nests during the time I was there.
Those three weeks flew by and I drove
back to Rio Rancho to house/dog sit for my friends Jesse and Sylvia
while they traveled. Max the Dog is no trouble at all. He sleeps in
the house; I sleep in Jeremiah. In the morning, I give his a dog
biscuit and let him out in the large fenced backyard. At dusk, I get
Max in the house – bribing him with another dog biscuit and giving
him his daily meal. Done and done. The days are for reading,
shopping, visiting friends, going out to lunch – basically loafing.
When Jesse and Sylvia returned, I drove
to Santa Rosa Lake State Park to continue my serious loafing/reading
there. I was there a week and then returned to Rio Rancho to
house/dog sit Snoopy, daughter Sue's dog. They will be gone two weeks
– out on a brief sailing adventure and a well-deserved vacation
from work. It will be more reading, loafing and time with friends.
One activity with friend Hilda was the Unser Racing Museum.
Books I've read include: The Thief and
Polar Shift (Clyde Cussler), Clarence Thomas' Memoirs, Walk Across
America (Peter Jenkins), Telegraph Days (Larry McMurtry), Uh-Oh
(Robert Fulghum), Sycamore Road (John Grisham), Walking with the Wild
Wind (Stoltz), Adventures of Slim and Howdy (Brooks and Dunn), Calico
Joe (John Grisham), and Highway Signs and Wonders (Cobb). I am
currently reading Cussler's Bootleggers.
Planning my next adventure
The last week of July was time spent at
home in Prescott Valley – eye checkup with my ophthalmologist,
lunch with sisters Elaine and Susan, and visiting neighbors and my
card-playing friends. And I studied maps for an upcoming 6-7 week
adventure in Jeremiah. With loose, flexible ideas, I would travel in
Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and ???.
Flexibility rules this trip –
On August 3, I headed north.
I like the serenity and solitude of
driving on little-traveled two-lane roads. Highways 89, 160 and 163
were delightful, taking me through Navajo lands and into Utah. What
beauty! Colorful reddish hills and open spaces.
Goosenecks State Park – southern
Utah – August 3
With a goal of staying in state parks,
I located Goosenecks about 20 miles over the Utah border. As I drove
I wondered how/why the park name was chosen. As I drove up to what
initially appeared to be the 'edge of the world', found a campsite,
and got close to look over the edge – wooo! My stomach did
flip-flops and I quickly backed up several steps. It was a long WAY
down and I don't do heights!
I was able to see the San Juan River
winding its way below. Not just one or two curves – a lot of them.
In fact, the park brochure said that six miles of river is compressed
into 1½ miles as it flows west into Lake Powell.
It was a busy park during daylight and
deserted at night. I was a long way from any civilization and the
park is not staffed over night. And on top of this, the night I was
there it was stormy – lots of lightning, thunder, rain and wind! A
restless night for me. Sure was glad when daylight arrived and I
continued on my way.
My initial plans were to drive north on
Highway 261 – that was before I read that this northbound highway
would include almost a dozen miles of gravel switchbacks with up to
10% grades! That sounded like too much adventure for me. Instead I
took Highway 191 to Blanding and then headed northwest on highway 95.
The 'Oh Wow' increased. I was driving
in canyons with tall, tall, tall rocky land – reddish with cliffs
and huge boulders above me that looked like they could crash down at
any time! Those “watch for rocks on highway” and “falling
rocks” signs did nothing to comfort me. The road was well-deserving
of the scenic designation. I crossed the Colorado River. The nature
of the roads and the fact that no photo I could take would or could
really show the beauty of the drive, means no photos for you today.
August 4. At Hanksville, I took
highway 24 west into Capitol Reef National Park. Enough driving for
today. I located the camping area and settled in to a primitive
campsite. No Internet, no telephone, no utilities. And I slept well!
August 5. Today's drive was on
highways 24, 28, 89 and ended at Deer Creek State Park just north of
Provo, Utah. This basically goes through a fertile valley with farms
and small towns along the way. My trusty Garmin took me through Provo
- right down University Avenue and past the University. I was glad to
have electric hookup after two nights of primitive camping. A
pleasant drive but hardly with the 'wow' factor.
This state park is a nice campground
with lousy showers – absolutely no dry place inside this tiny room
with a s-l-o-w drain. Sure enjoyed the magpies and their distinctive
A short driving day turns into a
long one – August 6
My goal was Bear Lake State Park in
northeast Utah. Good thing I am flexible! Arrived at Bear Lake
camping area to discover they had no open spaces! The reason? It was
Raspberry Festival weekend. As I continued into the Idaho portion of
the lake on the one-and-only road, I found out that a parade would
take place later and the small towns were crowded with people. I was
glad to get through the festival area before it became congested.
I continued into Idaho, keeping an eye
out for an RV park. After a few tries, I lucked out and found
Massacre Rocks State Park just off I-86. It is Thursday. I had full
hookups and got the old-lady weekday deal of $19!
Aug. 7. With the weekend here, I
needed to settle down early on Friday in order to get a campsite.
After a short drive, I arrived at Three Island Crossing State Park at
Glenns Ferry. And no deals this time – Friday and Saturday nights
came to $68 with electric and water hookups. Finally an entire day
off after five driving days. The park is nice – lots of tall trees
and green grass – and full of families enjoying nature. The park is
near the Snake River.
Time for solitude and reading Current
book is “Uh-Oh” by Robert Fulchum. A passage that grabbed
my attention said, “Not everything can be the way we like it all
the time. Criticism and harsh words rarely bring about a lasting and
peaceful cooperation or fulfillment of our desires. Patience and
kindness on the other hand do.”
While there, I had a text from friend
Newell (co-host at McDowell Mountain Regional Park in Phoenix). He
was in mid-Oregon and I was headed sort of in that direction. We made
plans to meet up at Bully Creek Reservoir in western Oregon on
Sunday, Aug. 9. This camping park was mostly deserted –
peaceful and lots of green grass and trees. We enjoyed getting caught
up on travels, mutual friends. We went into the nearby small town of
Vale, hoping for place to eat; but nothing was open that Sunday
August 10. Monday morning we
went separate ways – Newell went east; I went north and drove Idaho
highway 95 to Ponderosa State Park (Idaho). As its name says, the
large and popular camping park sits amid ponderosa trees. Being a
popular/busy park, they do not give senior discounts at all. Reading
John Grisham's “The Appeal”.
August 11. Continuing north, I
found Winchester State Park in western Idaho – a good two-night
Was awakened the next morning by three
siren wails – a call to firemen to report to the station to fight a
wildfire in a canyon east of the park. No need to leave the park,
according to the ranger. As always, I'm glad I fill Jeremiah's gas
tank before arriving at a park; can make a quick get-away if needed.
August 13. Two days later I was
on the road again, this time north in Washington and settled into
Peaceful Pines RV Park. This morning's reading included, “Some
people complain that God put thorns on roses; while other praise Him
for putting roses among the thorns.”
August 14-15. Two delightful
days with nephew Peter and his wife Carlene in Spokane. Always a
pleasure visiting them. Smoke from the Idaho fires was in the air.
August 16 – 21. Drove south
and west, spending the night at an RV park in Vantage, Washington.
Then a night near Yakima and three nights at Maryhill State Park on
the Washington side of the Columbia River. Interesting “wildlife”
– thought this was just a dry leaf; looked closer and saw it was a
Loved this park – day and night train
traffic on both sides of the river (Yes, I love trains) and barge
traffic on the huge river. And more smoky air!
August 21 – 23. A super
weekend with niece Kim and her husband Andy in Portland. They showed
me around the area and we took a short road trip to Multnomah Falls.
Aug. 23 – Get me out of this smoky
My original trip plans were to head
back through the top of Idaho after visiting Kim and Andy. Then I
would drive into Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and back to New Mexico.
Getting “out” meant driving south
to Lakeview, Oregon near the Nevada border. I spent three super
nights at Junipers RV Park – in the midst of a working cattle
ranch. I was serenaded by a herd of black cattle who hung out along
the fence not too far from my campsite. This is one of my favorite
campgrounds – I've been here three times. It is clean, tidy and has
wonderful restrooms and showers. No push-buttons or slots for
quarters for wonderful showers. And no smoky air!
Aug. 26 to 29 – awesome days
with sister Linda and her three boys in Gardnerville, Nevada. Great
visiting included a drive to South Lake Tahoe and a family dinner at
nephew Tim's home. Linda's three boys – Richard, Tim and David (and
David's four children) made for sweet family time.
On August 30, with a goal of
arriving at Navajo Lake State Park on Sept 1, I boogied my way east
across Nevada (Highway 50), Utah (Highways 50 and 70), south through
western Colorado (Hwy 550) and into northwestern New Mexico. It was
drive – camp a night in Delta, UT, drive – camp a night near
Ouray, Colorado, drive to NLSP.
And now – THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT
With lots of solitary driving time, as
usual I did a lot of thinking – and that led me to my big life
change – time to sell Jeremiah. Time for a new chapter in
Carol's Adventurous Life!
Time to live where I don't have to make
out a couch/bed each night, shower without having to push buttons or
feed quarters into a water meter. I have been motorhoming 10 years
and have traveled a bit more than 100,000 miles! I've seen lots of
the USA and connected with a lot of people – family and friends,
and made new friends, also. It's time! Jeremiah is still raring to go
– so I will sell this magic carpet and let someone else enjoy the
travel. INTERESTED? Call and leave a message or text; or email
and put “Jeremiah” in the subject line.