Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I’m off on a 4 ½ month adventure

“Where ARE you, Carol” I was asked on an email recently. “Why aren’t you posting to your blog?”

Well, I’ve had good intentions, but ‘stuff’ keeps getting in the way. Here’s my must-do and sort-of-planned itinerary.

- Leave Rio Rancho October 1, travel to Pancho Villa State Park for one month of volunteer time. Well, that changed before I ever got out of the driveway. More on that later.

- After one month at PVSP, meet up with Carol Rayburn and Elizabeth Baldridge in Las Cruces, NM; each driving their motorhomes.

- Meander around south Texas for about a month.

- Be at Driftwood RV Haven in Fulton, Texas, by December 1. Here we meet up with Roberta Cox in her motorhome. We all have reservations so this is a “must do” adventure.

- Spend December and January at the RV park. Fulton is north of Corpus Christi.

- Leave Fulton February 1 and meander back to New Mexico.

Good thing I can be flexible!

A few days before leaving home for this adventure, I received notice from Victor Trujillo, the Pancho Villa State Park Manager, that I might want to stop off at Elephant Butte Lake State Park to attend the New Mexico State Parks annual awards banquet. He said I had been nominated for my volunteer work. I was stunned. And intrigued. There are lots of volunteers around the state, and I’ve only been a State Park volunteer for a total of three months so far.

Well, why not. I’ll have a chance to meet Rangers from all the parks and employees from the State Park office in Santa Fe. And I’ll get a nice banquet meal.

Well, I was even more stunned when I was selected “Distinguished Citizen” for the southern part of New Mexico – for my volunteer services. The MC had some awfully nice things to say about the things I’ve accomplished at PVSP. I was given a beautiful plaque – here’s a photo of me receiving my plaque from Darcie Schalip, State Volunteer Coordinator, and a photo with me and the PVSP park manager Victor. I am honored.

So, I had three great days at Elephant Butte in an RV site overlooking the lake. It is “off season” for this fishermen and boater’s favorite lake, making it a nice peaceful place. The evening before the banquet there was a fish fry on the beach provided by the Friends of Elephant Butte Lake State Park. Good food and delicious fish that were caught earlier that day in the lake.

I started reading a book recommended by my son Rick: “Don’t Stop the Carnival” by Herman Wolk. The setting for this novel is in the Caribbean.

Finally at PVSP

Then I drove on to Pancho Villa State Park to start my volunteer time. My first evening there my gift from God was an awesome sunset. I also was reading some stuff by Pastor Chuck Swindoll and gathered this gem: “Every day has sunshine.” My reminder about living life with a good attitude.

I arrived on Thursday morning, Oct. 4, in time for my 1 to 5 p.m. shift at the museum. Cat napped.

During the next few days I tackled some tumbleweeds in the early mornings. I like hoe-ing them. Just three tumbleweeds make a large pile – looks like I’ve worked a long time. Campers came and campers left – the first of the “RV club” groups that enjoy PVSP in October and November.

On Sunday I joined four other campers for breakfast at the Tumbleweed Café and church at Promised Land Community Church.

The highlight so far at PVSP was being “on loan” (sounds like a library book) to City of Rocks State Park about 60 miles north of here. I was asked by Darcie, state volunteer coordinator, to help at this park last Saturday. The park was having a concert – benefit of the State Parks Foundation. She needed a ticket seller. She wanted me so much, she was willing to come to PVSP to pick me up and then bring me back home that evening. It was a long day, but a good one.

A new park volunteer couple – Bill and Ruth – arrived, and another volunteer couple left. This called for pizza dinner at the Pancho Villa Lounge deli. Cat has enjoyed being here. She’s in her favorite site - #47 – where there are trees she can climb and lots of birds. We have a large crop of Gambel’s Quail. When they run, it is impossible to see their legs and feet. Watching them reminds me of the paper ducks I made in elementary school. I colored and cut out the duck body; then colored and cut out the “legs”. Actually four legs (think a clock – a leg at 12, one at 3, another at 6 and the fourth one at 9) Then the leg piece was attached by a device that let the legs spin. (It’s funny what we remember – that must have been first or second grade: about 63 years ago or so.)

After about a week, we did the “volunteer shuffle” and I moved over to space 44 (where I was this past July). This week (Oct. 15 – 21) the park is nearly full of campers. One large club, one small one and assorted individual campers keep us hopping. This evening – after dark – I noticed an RV driving around looking for a space. I went out and directed him to the volunteer that had the current “availability list” and help in finding a place to park.

I’ve made it down to the Pink Store twice so far. Bought a new bracelet, my eyedrops, and had great food.

Nothing really outstanding so far. Just having a great time surprising campers with superb customer service. I finished “Don’t Stop the Carnival” and really enjoyed it. Next I read another book recommended by my son Rick: a biography of the Wright Brothers and their challenges building the first airplane to actually carry a passenger. Now I’m reading “Golden Mirages” by Phillip Bailey (1940 copyright date). It also was recommended by Rick, and is about prospectors in southeastern California and southwestern Arizona. It promises to be a good read.

That’s it for now. It is my bedtime on October 17.