Saturday, September 26, 2009

It’s your lucky day – if you’ve been waiting for a blog entry

September 2009 adventures

As you probably know, I’m not much of a “sit-stay” person – especially when it is not my idea. And today I’m somewhat forced to sit-stay. At least I’m home in Prescott Valley with books, magazines and Internet to keep me amused. What’s up? You might wonder.

When I was here in early September, I decided to explore my new neighborhoods – on foot. I alternated long (4-5 miles) and short (2–3 miles) walking days, leaving each morning at 5:45. The terrain is hilly, the streets are asphalt and I’m a pretty brisk walker. After two weeks of walking - with absolutely no warning - I finished a 4-mile walk and later that morning walking was painful. I suspected shin splints and knew the “fix” was occasional ice packs and minimal walking. To complicate things, I was just two days from leaving on my New Mexico trip – impossible to just sit and put my feet up.

My painful shin/foot was my right one – necessary for driving, so no rest except when I could be on cruise control. For a long time I had been anticipating camping at Fool Hollow State Park (near Show Low, Arizona) because other campers had said it was a beautiful campground in the pines.

I left at noon on Sunday, Sept. 13. My route took me through Arizona ranching country – heading kind of diagonally east on highway 260. It started raining a bit and the closer I got to Show Low, the harder it rained. I finally pulled into Fool Hollow, skirting the lake until I found a lovely campsite. It had stopped raining and as I stepped out of Jeremiah to get hooked up to electricity, I savored the ‘just rained in the pines’ fragrance. And except for my leg saying “no walking” I would have immediately set out to explore the park. Bummer!

(Remember you can double-click photos to enlarge them - and perhaps brighten them up a bit.)

Monday was another driving day and I arrived in Rio Rancho, parking Jeremiah at friend Jesse’s driveway. On Tuesday, Cat went to spend the week with friend Hilda. Cat seemed happy to roam Hilda's house, although she did look longingly out the windows.

Daughter Sue and I found plenty to do – not much sitting around. Even some rain didn’t keep us from activity. One must-do outing was the New Mexico State Fair. I have such fond memories of this fair – in the early 1960s, we were living in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and I was immersed in leatherwork as a hobby. I entered a tooled belt and took a second place ribbon for my handiwork! Hubby Rick and I took our two youngsters and a red wagon to spend a couple days at the fair in Albuquerque.

This fair never fails to excite me, always giving more than expected. I took photos of my three favorite things – a “backyard circus” performance and parade, a “cowboys and kids” stick-horse rodeo, and an awesome mime who kept the street audience mesmerized. And yes, lots of walking through animal barns, exhibits and the vendors areas.

Another highlight of the fair was seeing son-in-law’s project – his company produced all the fair banners and even wrapped the trash cans.

And no rest on Saturday, either. Friend Hilda hosted a “Friends of Carol” Happy Hour at her house. A dozen or so friends came by and the afternoon and evening was spent in laughter and talking. Toward the evening the gathering moved outside and I decided that Cat could come out with us. When everyone had gone home, we discovered that Cat was missing. I called and walked around the neighborhood (yes, I'm not supposed to be walking much) looking for her. No luck., and I was beginning to wonder if she would reappear. After a bit more than two hours, she arrived at the back door. Whew! Even though I love my Arizona home, it is difficult to leave good friends.

Rest on Sunday? Nope. Hilda and I met friend Viola for breakfast and then it was time for Cat and I to get back to Jeremiah. Sunday’s destination was Hidden Valley RV Resort just east of Albuquerque where RV friend Carol Rayburn was camped. Monday morning I left for Navajo Lake State Park in northwestern New Mexico.

I stopped at the park ranger office at Navajo to check site availability. As I was talking to the ranger, I saw what I thought was Cat coming through the propped-open door. How did Cat get out of the motorhome? Turns out the cat was not mine, just one that looked fairly identical!

One reason for staying at Navajo Lake State Park was to explore the possibility of adding this park to my volunteer opportunities. I met with Park Supervisor Doris Goode.

During the next two or three days I was determined to spend a lot of sit-stay time at Navajo Lake, and was fairly successful. “The Wizard of Menlo Park kept me interested and sitting still. Besides, there’s not much walking to do in a motorhome. In his time, genius inventor Thomas A. Edison was hailed as ‘the Napoleon of invention. The book, by Randall Stokes, “… excavates [Thomas Edison] from layers of myth-making and separates his true achievements from his almost equally colossal failures.”

I especially like Edison’s work goals:

"Having one's own shop, working on projects of one's own choosing, making enough money today so one could do the same tomorrow: These were the modest goals of Thomas Edison when he struck out on his own as a full-time inventor and manufacturer. The grand goal was nothing other than enjoying the autonomy of entrepreneur and forestalling a return to the servitude of employee."

On Wednesday, RVing friend Kurt rescued me from isolation. We explored along the San Juan River below Navajo Dam – talking with fishermen, photographing petroglyphs and the stunning sunset and a delicious green chile cheeseburger at the Sportsman Café. Along the way as darkness was settling in, we spotted a trio of raccoons crossing the road in front of us. By the time I got my camera ready, they disappeared into some brush – and then one turned and looked at us.

It was time to head toward home on Thursday. At Winslow, Arizona, I stopped for the night. The RV park, located just off I-40 was the first one I ever stayed in on Christmas day 2005 - nothing fancy, just a safe place to spend the night.

It was here that I saw my first motorcycle-pulled RV. Amazing! I met the camper – a 6-foot bearded guy called Bear. He proudly let me look inside – when set up he could stand up and the bed was just a bit more than 6-ft long, giving him a comfortable sleep. Talk about fuel efficient travel!

I arrived home about 11 a.m. on Friday, quickly unloaded necessities and got my mail. Then I promised myself to sit-stay the rest of the day and the coming weekend. That brings you up to date.