Solveig ("House of the Sun"), my new-to-me 1985 Toyota Dolphin
I can hardly believe it's been six months since I last wrote a blog post. Ever since I got back to Truth or Consequences, NM, in September 2014, I've been on the run. Well, no, since my total knee replacement about nine months ago, it's more like I'm walking a little more briskly every day.
I'm feeling so much better now. I can walk a few miles, do some outdoor chores, go out and enjoy beautiful sights, and have more fun.
Consequently, I am back to traveling, and I've made some decisions.
The Beluga, my Class A moho, and my HHR in its carport, on a snowy day
I love the Beluga, my Class A motorhome, as a home, but not so much as an RV. It's so big! I know a lot of people who enjoy their big motorhomes, but neither Steve nor I have ever become very comfortable driving a 35-foot bus.
So, when I moved the Beluga to a very nice little RV park, the Launching Pad, in TorC this past fall, I decided I'll keep the big RV there year-round. Now she is parked in a nice site with a carport and yard, and I have had a little shed built which I'm using as an art studio.
I'm enjoying having a home in TorC, where I like to spend some time every year. I have friends here, and many opportunities to show my artwork. I get some of the benefits of home ownership without the headaches of big repairs, paying property taxes, etc. I have great neighbors and the RV park owners are really nice folks. And the park is in town, close to everything I enjoy--restaurants, galleries, grocery store, hot springs spas, etc.
So, now that I've beached the Beluga, what should I use for travel? I thought about the possibilities--a tiny trailer that I could pull with my Chevy HHR stationwagon? Maybe another motorhome?
I was checking Craigslist throughout the Southwest. Remembering how cramped it was living in my old Guppy, I test-drove some larger Class C's. Nothing felt right.
Then I ran across a Craigslist ad for a 1985 Toyota Dolphin, the same size as the Guppy (22 ft), but with a much nicer floorplan and in better condition. For the past five years, it had belonged to an acquaintance who I knew had taken excellent care of it. This one resonated, and I bought it. So, I am happily re-Dolphinized, and thank you, John Rogers, for coining that word.
The fabulous rear dinette floorplan with nice big windows
I can't find adequate words to express the joy I feel in having a small rig again. I felt like I would never be able to become independent driving the Class A. But with the new little Dolphin (which I've named Solveig, a Scandinavian name meaning "house of the sun" or "path of the sun," and pronounced Sol-vee with a nearly silent G), I can go anywhere, anytime, by myself or with Steve, or with a friend or my son, or whatever the situation may be. I am delighting in every camping experience, whether I camp alone or with friends. Since I bought her about five months ago, I've been to Tucson to get her registered, Elephant Butte State Park (twice), Leasburg Dam State Park, Caballo Lake State Park (three times), and back home to Why, Arizona for Christmas. Solveig has solar, so I can camp anywhere, with or without electrical hookups.
"God As Explained By a Four-Year-Old," a large acrylic painting
from my Faces of God show
I've spent a happy fall and winter mostly in New Mexico, where I had several solo and group art shows. The most significant was a solo show I called "Faces of God," which ran for a couple of months at RioBravoFineArt Gallery. I explored ways of looking at one's Higher Power. It was a lot of fun and a great growing experience for me personally and artistically.
Steve and me, traveling by rickshaw to a delicious lunch in a Chinese family's home
in the hutongs of Beijing
I have just recently returned from a whirlwind tour of eastern China. Steve and I ran across an unbeatable deal on TravelZoo and took the plunge. We are not tour people, by nature, being too independent and slow-moving to be herded here and there by bus. But we had a wonderful time, anyway, seeing things we had never thought to see in this lifetime and meeting lovely people in our tour group whom we hope to get to know better in our upcoming travels.
I would like to share pictures of everything I've addressed here, but then my blog would be many pages long, so I've only inserted a few. I will start writing more often, starting with our upcoming travels. On Sunday we head west in Solveig for a trip of indefinite length, up to six months perhaps, up the West Coast, with plans for another roadtrip to Florida in the late fall. Stay posted.
My cat Sonja has about 15,000 miles of travel experience and will gain
perhaps another 6,000 to 10,000 in 2015.