Monday, December 9, 2013

Like a Bad Country Western Song

Last week I was planning to take the tow bar that my friend Brian had given me to the mechanic, have him install it, and then I figured I'd zip off to Arizona within a few days.  But it didn't go exactly like that.  

"There was a hitch in my travel plans, and I'm chained to the place I am."

Twang-twang!  Sing it, Sister!

It's all gonna be fine, though.  It turns out that the base plate that was already attached to my Tracker fits the Blue Ox tow bars.  So I checked into buying one of those, decided to buy a used one from an online seller, and should have it here by FedEx today...or tomorrow...or whenever.

In the meantime, Steve heard the anxiety in my voice while we were on the phone one night, and now he is here to help me with the details of getting the Beluga and Tracker road-ready, and he'll be making the trip back to Arizona with me.  Yay!  

It's a good thing he's here, too.  I seem to have a mental blank spot when it comes to adding water to my various batteries, and everything was down and problematic when he got here.

Maybe another verse?  

"I'm powerless to leave this town, because I let my battery levels get down..."

I also found out that I needed to have some wiring done in both the Tracker and on the back end of the Beluga to get the lights set up for towing.  I mentioned in my last blog entry that I was working with Travis at Pit Stop here in Truth or Consequences, NM.  He's been doing really good work for me and has helped me a lot, so here's another pitch for him and his new business.

"I'm getting wired to travel, and so is my tow,
When everything's done, I'll be ready to go..."

Friends ask me when I'm leaving, and I am glad I've learned to be comfortable in the unknowing.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Gearing Up to Tow My New Toad

I'll be leaving Truth or Consequences within the next week or so.  I'm not picking the date of departure yet.  I'm trying to get a bunch of stuff done by the end of the week, and then I can leave whichever day I feel ready to go.

On Thursday, I'll take down my solo art show that I talked about in my last blog post, and my friend Janice and I will be hanging a group show in its place.  It's an annual Postcard Show.  All of the pieces are 4 x 6 inches, but they can be any media.  It will be interesting to see what people contribute.  The prices will be moderate (nothing over $50) and the Happy Belly Deli takes a reasonable commission.  So we're all hoping that there will be some impulse holiday gift purchases  made, and that all of the artists will make some money.

 I'm punctuating this blog entry with my own postcards, which are acrylic on canvas board.  

 I don't need to stick around to take this show down--Janice will do that in January.  I also left about 10 of my own paintings at Grapes Gallery to be shown for the next couple of months.  

The biggest news for me in the past couple of weeks is that I bought a toad!  This was not something I was planning to do immediately.  I had a 1998 Ford Windstar minivan that I'd been keeping here in Truth or Consequences as my getting around vehicle, and I wanted to get it sold before I leave for Why, Arizona, for the winter.  But I did not expect to replace it so quickly with a smaller vehicle that I could tow behind the Beluga.  I figured on buying a toad in Arizona sometime over the winter.

But, lucky me!  I saw a nice 1992 Geo Tracker parked on a nearby street with a "for sale" sign on it, and I managed to get the van sold quickly to a friend.  So now when I leave for Arizona, I'll be driving this big honking Class A motorhome that I'm not yet altogether comfortable driving yet, while towing a car, which I've never done before.  Oh, boy!  

The Tracker already had a base plate, and my friend Brian gave me a tow bar which I'm having installed tomorrow morning.  I also went to buy a hitch for the back of the motorhome today.  I've met a nice mechanic here in TorC, Travis from Pit Stop on Date Street, who has been super to work with on several things lately.  (That's a recommendation to anyone who needs work done while in this area!)

I had a very nice Thanksgiving with friends, and I'm relishing my last few visits to coffee shops, thrift stores, book shops, etc., here in Truth or Consequences. 

That's all the news from me for now.  After staying in one place for nearly half a year, I'm pretty busy stowing things away and wrapping up business here.  


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Long and Satisfying Stay in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

 Sonja, helping me pack for our winter migration to Arizona

When I haven't blogged for a while, it kind of feels like entering the confessional.  So many reasons and excuses, or, as my friend Janice says, "Blah, blah, blah, Sparky."

I guess what it comes down to is that I haven't gone anywhere for a long time, except short trips to Las Cruces to take a friend to a medical appointment or some other errand.  I've been here in Truth or Consequences, NM, for about five months, staying at the Artesian Bath-House and Trailer Court.  Sometimes I don't think I have anything to say unless I can show you pictures of where I've been.

I've stayed busy! When I posted in August, I had just hung a Mostly Mandalas solo art show at the Happy Belly Deli.  That show was well appreciated--the walls at the Deli were freshly painted a sunny yellow and my work was all very cheerful.  Most everybody seemed to like it on the Deli's walls, though, rather than their own walls at home.  

People are showing more monetary appreciation for my latest show, though!  I spent a couple of months painting and collaging works for another Happy Belly Deli solo show that went up this month.  It is called Entree:  Mixed-Media Images About Women and Food.  In today's blog, I can show you pictures of where I've my head:

 Hot Mama, Mixed Media on a Bamboo Tray
 Cut Out Yo-Yo Dieting
Mixed Media on a Brass Tray
 Home Economics
Mixed Media on a Metal Tray
 Kitchen Shiva
Acrylics on a Tin Tray
 Ranch Dressing
Acrylics on a Tin Tray
 You Look Marvelous, Darling!
Mixed Media on a Mirror
 She Asked for a Sign (with close-up)
Acrylics on a Tin Tray
 Three Sisters
Mixed Media on a Bamboo Tray
What'll It Be, Hon?
Acrylics on a Tin Tray

In between painting these pictures (among others that I didn't photograph), selling vintage designer scarves on eBay, and hunting up antiques to sell at January's, I have had a very active social life this fall.  My ambulatory Anatidaen friend Roxanne visited TorC for several months, house and cat sitting for Annie Whitney, a local salvemaker.  While Roxanne was here, there were many games of Scrabble and Quiddler to be played and much food to be eaten and many cups of coffee to be drunk at both Passion Pie Cafe and Black Cat Coffee & Books, often in the company of Janice and a new friend, Tina, who is another adventurous woman living the dream in her RV.  Sometimes we went outside, too.

Another time-sucker this autumn was finally getting the Guppy sold.  The plan to sell to an online friend did not pan out, so I listed the Guppy on eBay.  There were not very many bidders who were interested in driving to the Middle of Nowhere, New Mexico, to pick up an old RV, but I did manage to get her sold to a lady from Texas at a few hundred dollars over my rock-bottom price.  Next time I'm selling an RV, I'll drive to San Diego and get what it's worth there!

A matter that took a great deal of emotional energy this fall was my mom's death.  She was 95 years old and had needed around-the-clock care for the past nine years due to Alzheimers.  My sister Sharon was Mom's caretaker all these years and did a marvelous job of being compassionate and kind, often in difficult circumstances.  Mom finally let go in September, and my siblings and I gathered in Minneapolis for a memorial service in early November.  I didn't drive my RV up there--I thought about it, but with my various art show commitments here, it seemed smarter to fly up for just a few days. 

Now that my Entree show is hung, I am spending November getting geared up to finally leave TorC.  I'm listing lots of scarves on eBay, because this is the best time of year to sell 'em, and I'm using my new sewing machine to make fun patchwork pot holders (pics in my next blog post) to sell at January's for the holiday season.  I'm also working on getting my minivan, which I've used here in TorC for the past couple of years, sold so I can replace it with a smaller vehicle to tow behind the Beluga.  I'll get to celebrate Thanksgiving with my friends here at the home of Misha, the most fabulous choclatier you could ever hope to meet.   

I'll be heading to Why, Arizona, to spend most of the winter with Steve and his coyotes and wild burros.  As much as I enjoy my more active social life here, I'm also looking forward to the quiet.  I have committed to doing three solo art shows in 2014 and it will be good to have lots of uninterrupted time to work.   

Just in case you've always wondered where lost socks go, here is the answer, which I painted for a Space-Portal exhibit at Grapes Gallery:

The Planet of Lost Socks
Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 inches

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Art Show, Art Show, Art Show--Geshundheit!

 My "Fantasy Road Sign" Series (plus a few mandalas)
hung at the Remix show at Grapes Gallery

I get busy when I stay in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.  

Steve and I returned here early last month to try to sell my old Toyota Dolphin, the Guppy.  For the first couple of weeks, I agonized about putting it on Craigslist and talking to a bunch of strangers and risking getting scammed.  

Then someone on my women's RVing online group said, "Hey, nobody's posted lately; what is everybody up to?"  So I replied that I was about to try to sell my old rig.  And it turned out that one of our RV wannabe members had been looking for something like the Guppy!  

Kate makes guaranteed crap-free soaps, lip balms, salves, bath salts, etc., in Pennsylvania.  She sells in stores and at various fairs and events.  Having an RV will expand Kate's opportunities and will definitely suit her business model.  Did I tell you that her business is called The Vagabond Tabby?  She'll be out West later this month for an event in Colorado, so she'll swing down to get the Guppy first.  

Kate was concerned about not having quite enough money to buy my rig, but then she mentioned that she'd be selling her Saturn wagon.  Oh, my!  Just the sort of car I was thinking about, to tow behind my Class A, the Beluga.  So we made a deal that should work well for both of us.  She'll leave the Saturn with me, and drive off in the Guppy.  I have no idea how we do the paperwork on that sort of transaction, but we have time to figure that out.

 Grapes Gallery on Main Street in TorC

Another great reason for coming back to TorC was that I was invited to continue showing artwork at Grapes Gallery for another two months.  We're having a "Remix" show.  I took down a bunch of pieces that I'd hung there in May, and put up my new Fantasy Road Sign series that I'd painted while we were staying in northern Arizona.  This series has been very well-received and three of the pieces were sold before the show even started!  Wow!  I've had requests that I make cards and T-shirts from these paintings, and I will. 
 The most recent Fantasy Road Sign painting.  "Icy Conditions May Exist."
If you look closely at the mountain, you'll see that other things may exist, too.

July's Second Saturday Art Hop was super duper fun.  I spent time at Grapes, of course, because that's where my artwork was hanging.  People wanted to talk to me about my work while they looked at it.  I also visited a couple of other galleries and it looks like I'll have a couple of solo shows coming up in Spring and Fall of 2014. 

 Here's what our local theater looked like on Art Hop night.
I went to see "The Lone Ranger" the following night and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Critics are stupid.

I already had one solo show scheduled for November at the Happy Belly Deli.  I'm working on a new series of mixed media pieces, all done on various types of serving trays.  The theme of my show is women and food.  Women are nurturers who provide nourishment for others in so many ways, and women also have lots of issues with food.  So I have many ideas for paintings and collages.  My first piece is called "Make Peace with Food," shown below.

My friend Janice and I are also going to be coordinating a group show at the Happy Belly Deli for December.  It's an annual Postcard Show, and a Call to Artists will be going out for 4x6 inch pieces in any media, priced at no more than $50.  

Make Peace with Food  
Mixed media on 11-inch tin tray

Yesterday, I had a craving for a bagel, so Steve and I went to the Happy Belly Deli in the morning.  I admired their newly repainted blank walls and asked Miranda, the owner, what artwork was going up next.  She said she didn't have an August artist, and Art Hop is coming up this Saturday.  So I volunteered to do another show.  Fortunately I have about 16 pieces ready to hang.  They are "Mostly Mandalas," which seems like a great name for a solo show.  
 My friend Janice in her new red car

Art isn't the only thing that keeps me busy when I'm here in Truth or Consequences.  I've also been listing a lot of scarves on eBay and taking some antiques to January's to sell on consignment.  I'm subbing for January in her shops when she needs a few hours off here and there.  And my social life is always busy here.  I get to have coffee at Passion Pie Cafe with my friend Janice at least once a week, and sometimes we get together to play Scrabble or to share a meal or run errands or whatever. 
 My friend Jia, one of the co-owners of the glorious
Passion Pie Cafe

 My friend Virginia, who invited me over for coffee
and to meet her new puppy Gus.
Ruby Sue is on the right.
Virginia is in school to be a dog trainer.
Look how well her dogs behave!

We are still staying at the Artesian Bath House and Trailer Court, and it looks like I'll be here through early December, although Steve will probably leave for his place in Why, Arizona, in September.  I'll join him there for some part of the winter, when I'll take a break from showing artwork for a few months.  (Here, anyway--I plan to participate in "The Red Show" in Ajo, Arizona, in February.)  We had a site here at the Artesian that was close to the bath house, but we just moved to a larger site on the perimeter of the property which feels more peaceful.

 A view of Turtleback Mountain, taken from the Artesian,
on one of our rainy July monsoon nights

Since we're back at the Artesian, where I have lived off and on for over two years, I'm letting Sonja go back outside.  She was an indoor cat for almost two months while we traveled in Arizona, and she did okay with that, but needed much more interaction with us than she does when she can go outside.  Needy kitty!  Now she goes outside and has adventures.  

 Obligatory cat picture.  What is a blog without them?

Friday, July 5, 2013

More Fantasy Road Sign Paintings, and a Change in Plans

 Dog Park, 14 x 18 inches, acrylic on canvas

When we left Truth or Consequences, NM, about six weeks ago, the plan was to be gone all summer.  And, less than a week ago, I wrote a blog post in which I was pretty excited about finding a couple more places to stay up here in the White Mountains of northern Arizona.

Well.  Stuff happens.  I got a call from the used car lot in TorC where I'd consigned my old Toyota Dolphin motorhome, and they were going out of business.  So my friend Brian Many Wheels went to pick up the Guppy and took it to another friend's house for storage.

I debated whether to cut our travels short and go back to sell the Guppy.  Then a potential buyer popped up--her family has previously owned Dolphins, and they want to take a look at mine.  So it seemed like a good idea to head back that way and see if this can happen.  If not this particular party, then we can do try Craigslist.  Either way, I will hopefully have some money to put towards paying off my new rig.

Now I'll be able to deliver my fantasy road sign series of paintings in person to Grapes Gallery in TorC, rather than mailing it.  And I can keep working on this series right up until the work gets hung next Thursday.  I have new ideas all the time, and friends have been contributing ideas, too!

Expect Delays, 11 x 14 inches, acrylic on canvas.  SOLD

I've been posting pictures of the paintings on FaceBook as I finish them, and three have sold already.  Two of these will be hung in the gallery with NFS or Sold signs next to them.  What fun it is to paint these weird things from my imagination and have them be so appreciated!

Right after I posted my last blog entry, I had the pleasure of a visit by Roxanne, who was passing through the area on her way to see her cousins in Flagstaff.  The visit was short, but sweet.  We took a little spin around the Lakeside-Pinetop area to look at various campgrounds where Roxanne could stay in the Spud, and I really enjoyed seeing Scott Reservoir, which is off the bus route that I've been pretty much limited to recently.  

Steve and I are driving back to TorC on Sunday.  So we're doing a few special things these last few days up here--dinner at Red Devil Pizza tonight, and I'm been asked to be the speaker at an AA meeting tomorrow.  Now that the decision has been made to head back to TorC, I'm excited about it and am looking forward to seeing my friends and returning to my activities there.     

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Older and Wiser, and Having More Fun All the Time

Grand Canyon, 16 x 20 inches, acrylic on canvas, SOLD

A few days ago, I celebrated my 58th birthday here in Pinetop, Arizona.  We are not towing a vehicle this summer, so we decided to go out to eat lunch someplace that was on the Lakeside-Pinetop bus route.  

We'd noticed an Asian buffet, but we really couldn't tell what it was like from the outside.  So we took a chance, and I'm so glad we did!  Sakura Buffet turned out to be very, very good.  Everything was fresh and delicious, including the sushi, which was much better than typical buffet sushi.  The restaurant was much larger than I would have guessed from the outside, and it was clean and tastefully decorated.  It was also reasonably priced, so we won't be waiting until another birthday or other special celebration to return.  If you get to the Show Low area, I'd say it's worth the drive down to Lakeside to eat at Sakura.

We have about another week-and-a-half here at Blue Ridge Motel & Cabins.  We can't extend our stay because they're fully booked for the rest of the summer, but we're also ready to move on, anyway.  I'm craving a little travel, new scenery, and a larger campsite.  So I've looked into a couple of RV parks that are part of the Passport America program, and we'll probably head to Clay Springs (about 30 miles away) next for about a week, and then on to Overgaard (another 15 miles) for another week.  We are definitely on the s-l-o-o-o-w tour of the White Mountains this summer, and I'm glad there are so many places to stay up here where it's cool (highs of about 90 degrees, while lowland parts of Arizona are hitting 115+ degrees this weekend!).    

For those who aren't members, I'd definitely recommend Passport America.  It is a 50% off campground membership program that costs about $50 per year.  So, if you use it for just a few nights, it's been worth the yearly fee.  Every campground has its own rules about PA rates.  They usually limit the number of nights you can get half-off, and they also often limit what time of the year or what days of the week as well.  But, if you take the time to look at the fine print and plan accordingly, you can get some pretty good deals.  

Fortunately, after a career as a law librarian, I'm a planner and researcher.  I spent a couple of hours online yesterday figuring out why these two Passport America parks would work best for me.  Since I sell on eBay and we don't have a car with us, staying within bicycling distance of a Post Office is important.  Also, because I use Verizon as my Internet access, I like to know how good the signal is going to be.  Post Office locations can be found pretty readily on the U.S. Postal Service website under the "Manage Your Mail" tab.  And yesterday I found out how to locate cell phone towers, too.  I'm glad I figured this stuff out, because it eliminated several campgrounds I'd been considering going to next.  

I'm working on a couple of things as we finish our stay here in Pinetop.  First, I'm lowering some of my eBay prices.  A few months ago, I bought 1000 vintage scarves from a person who used to be known as "THE Scarf Lady" on eBay.  She used to list her scarves at very high prices and she had a lot of success.  However, it's been a few years since she did much eBay selling, and people just aren't buying stuff like they used to.  After buying her inventory, I initially tried pushing my prices up to the maximum of what I might expect to receive, but the result has been fewer sales.  So I'm going back to the kinds of prices I used to charge, and hopefully that means I'll get a lot more sales.  This has meant spending hours reworking existing eBay listings, but I think it's going to be worthwhile. 

Second, I'm working on my series of road sign fantasy paintings, which I'll be sending to Grapes Gallery in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, in time for July's Second Saturday Art Hop.  I'm having a lot of fun making these paintings, and so far the response to them has been very positive.  I've already sold two of the paintings before even getting them to the gallery, just from sharing them on my FaceBook page

Deer Crossing, 16 x 20 inches, acrylic on canvas

The older I get, the more comfortable I am with just creating artwork that springs from my mind, without having to edit myself or worry about how the work will be received.  The more fun I have making the work, the more my joy of life is reflected in my paintings, and the more people like them.  I currently have enough ideas to make art for years to come, and I'm just going to keep doing it.  

Today I'm looking forward to the possible arrival of my friend Roxanne, who will be passing through this area on her way to visit family.  Can't wait to see her!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Movin' on Up: Pinetop, Arizona

 Double rainbow over the RV Sites at Blue Mountain Motel & Cabins

In my last blog post, we were staying at the National Forest Service campground in Lakeside, Arizona, a few miles south of Show Low on Hwy 260.  But we were having problems.  We'd been counting on using our generator to run the air conditioning once in a while if necessary and to keep our batteries full.  When we tried the generator, it smelled like something was burning.  We tried getting by with the small solar panel we'd brought with us, and that just wasn't enough.  The afternoons were very hot, and there wasn't enough power for me to sell on eBay.

So I called around to find someplace we could stay that had full hook-ups.  Boy, that's hard to find in this area!  Most RVers that come to the Show Low/Lakeside-Pinetop area stay for the entire summer.  A lot of RV parks only accept reservations for the whole season, and some of those are very selective:  No RVs that are more than 10 years old, or even 5 years!  

Fortunately, we'd met somebody local who recommended Blue Ridge Motel & Cabins, which also has RV spaces.  They are pretty much booked up for the summer, too, but they happened to have one space available for a month, so we took it.  The price was right--$295 per month, which includes electricity.  We moved as soon as the site opened up and have been here about a week-and-a-half so far.

We're parked very close to our neighbors, but fortunately we have quiet folks on both sides.  We like the resort.  The owners are a nice family, and they keep the place very family-friendly, so there isn't any conspicuous consumption of alcohol or anything else.  Most days the only noise I hear from other people is the happy sound of kids playing.

We're also more comfortable temperature-wise than we were in Lakeside.  We're just a little bit higher in elevation, and we are on the front edge of Blue Ridge, where we get some nice breeze.    

We're still right off of Hwy 260, so we can still take the bus, which is handy for us, since we opted not to tow a car this summer.  We've been able to take the bus to the Post Office, to various grocery stores, and to take care of some business.  Since the bus runs on a circular route that takes about an hour, there's often quite a bit of wait time, but that's okay.  I just bring a book and find myself a cup of coffee.       

 A great almond croissant and cup of coffee at "Baked in Pinetop"

Some of my readers who have been with me since the beginning of my travels in 2011 might remember that, when I started out on the West Coast, I reviewed all of the almond croissants that I found along the way.  I ate them in several places in California, but then after I took a left turn and headed through the Southwest, almond croissants became very hard to find!  So I was sure delighted to find a really good one the other day at a little shop called "Baked in Pinetop."  It had just the right amount of almond paste inside--enough to taste really good and to be moist inside, but not so much to affect the lightness of the pastry on the outside.  I'll definitely be going back there again before I leave this area.

While we have hookups and fairly reliable Internet, I'm working on two goals:  To make some money on eBay and to get some paintings done.  I've started work on a new series of paintings inspired by my travels.  They're based on road signs and they are fantasy "what if" situations. 

 "Watch for Tie Dye Cows on Road"
16 x 20 inches, acrylic on canvas

Lucky for me, right after I started working on these new paintings, I got a call from Grapes Gallery in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, asking me for some new work.  So I hope to get five or six paintings done within the next several weeks, and I'll mail them to the gallery in time for the July Second Saturday Art Hop.  

Also lucky for me, my friend Bridget immediately bought the tie dye cow picture!  I mailed it to her yesterday at her little ranch in Guadalupita, New Mexico.

Okey Dokey Smokey
16 x 20 inches, acrylic on canvas

Steve had some sad news right after we moved here to Blue Ridge.  His friend Bob, with whom we'd stayed a few weeks earlier near Ramah, New Mexico, died of a heart attack.  We had just put the money down on our month here at the resort, and we decided not to go back.  Fortunately, Bob and Nancy's grown kids, as well as other family, friends and neighbors, will all be gathering tomorrow to celebrate Bob's life.  I'm glad Steve got one last chance to hang out with Bob.

We'll be here another two-and-a-half weeks, and then we'll head a little ways west, maybe to Overgaard.  We'll probably find ourselves another place to roost for a while in the White Mountains.  It's nice and cool here in the mornings and evenings, and it rarely gets hot enough for us to need the A/C in the afternoon.  There doesn't seem to be much reason to move very far or very fast.      

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Figuring Stuff Out at a National Forest Service Campground

 Approaching the White Mountains

Four days ago, we left St. Johns, Arizona, where we'd unexpectedly spent a full week at a pleasant private RV park.  It's a good thing we hung out there--the first prescription of antibiotics I'd been given at the local clinic didn't completely make me well, so I was able to get another round of stronger meds before leaving town.  Now I am really feeling much better.  

We drove only about 60 miles to our next destination.  We want to check out the Show Low, Arizona, area this summer.  This part of Arizona, also known as the White Mountains and the Mogollon Rim, has at least three contiguous National Forests:  Sitgreaves, Apache and Cococino.  All of these have established campgrounds, and all allow dispersed camping (boondocking).  There are also city and county campgrounds, State Parks, and many private RV parks. 

Entering Sitgreaves National Forest

Somebody told us a ways back in our travels to go to the Lakeside Ranger Station out by the Show Low Walmart and there would be a good campground close by.  Wow, they weren't kidding!  Right across the street from the Ranger Station is Lakeside Campground.  

This is a very interesting place to camp.  The sites are large and wooded, so you feel like you're out in the boonies.  However, just outside the campground entrance is a bus stop, where you can catch a little bus that drives all through Lakeside-Pinetop, two communities a few miles south and east of Show Low, as well as out to the Hon-Dah Casino on the White Mountain Apache (Fort Apache) Reservation.  So you can have the best of both worlds here--a spacious, inexpensive campsite that's close to everything you might need or want.  

We can also take the Lakeside-Pinetop bus to its northernmost stop (Walmart) and transfer to another bus that loops through Show Low.  We haven't done that yet.  So far, we've been satisfied with finding groceries, the post office, and a bookstore on the bus route that goes by our campground.  

In fact, a lot of stuff is within easy biking distance.  I've been needing a new bike, so we took the bus up to Walmart the other day and got me an inexpensive 26" ladies 18-speed mountain bike.  It's much easier for me to ride a bike than to walk long distances, because a bike has zero impact on my knees. 

 My new bike!

We are experiencing very good and somewhat disappointing aspects of staying here at Lakeside.  The good part is, as mentioned, the sites are big!  Even though we're close to Highway 260 (I mean, we can walk to the other side of the campground and eat pizza and wings at a franchise), it's quiet in the evening.  Last night we watched a great horned owl hunting for field mice. 

The Beluga in our lovely campsite.

What's not working for us is the lack of electricity.  We have a generator, but it makes a troublesome burning smell when we use it, so we're not using it until we find out what the problem is.  

We do have a small solar panel with us, but it doesn't gather as much electricity as we sometimes need, given that I am not yet retired and need to keep up with my online business.  If it's cloudy for very long, I can't do my work.

We had been counting on being able to run the generator to have a little air conditioning during the hottest part of the day (it's about 95 degrees in the tin can...I mean, the Beluga right now).  We thought I'd be able to iron the scarves I sell on eBay while the generator was running, too, and maybe do a little sewing. 

So, much as we love this campground and the price (just $6 per night with Steve's Golden Age Passport), we did some research today and we'll be moving to a private resort on Friday, or possibly sooner if something opens up before Friday.  We're going to stay there about a month, which brings the nightly price down to about $10, which is a really good deal, considering it includes electricity, as well as some services we might not use, such as cable TV.  And we'll still have access to the bus, so we don't have to uproot our home every time we want to get groceries.  

So that's pretty much what we've got figured out in our nearly three weeks of summer travel.  We like driving a short distance and then staying a while, and we're enjoying the balance of woodsy camping and urban life.    

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Week of Relaxation in St. Johns, Arizona

 A castle-shaped rock formation on the Zuni Reservation

It's been two weeks since we left Truth or Consequences, and I just checked Mapquest--we are 257 miles from TorC.  Of course, we've driven more miles than that, because we went a little ways up north in New Mexico to visit our friends on the Ramah Navajo Reservation.  But after we left their house, we headed across the border into Arizona and then started south on Hwy 191, which follows the Arizona-New Mexico border and puts us closer to where we started.

 Red and yellow striped rock mesa

I mentioned in my last blog that I saw some pretty cool things on the Zuni Reservation, but I couldn't take pictures the first time through because I was scared spitless while riding shotgun on a narrow, winding, hilly road with no shoulders.  On our way to Arizona, we drove across the Zuni Res, but on a better road this time, so I was able to take a few photos. 
 A rural Zuni house made of yellow limestone from the area

We did not stop and pay to enter the Zuni Pueblo itself.  It costs about $11 per person, plus an extra $10 if you want to take pictures.  We've done similar pueblo tours elsewhere in New Mexico, so we passed this time. 

 A larger building made of sandstone in the town of Zuni, near the actual pueblo

We were in kind of a hurry to get to St. Johns because I wasn't feeling well.  I did some online research before we left our friends' place and found out about North Country Healthcare, a low-cost clinic with a sliding scale with locations in 13 northern Arizona towns.  I'd emailed the clinic director in St. Johns and got an appointment and the paperwork rolling for my getting a low-cost appointment.  

It all worked out great.  I got to see a wonderful nurse practitioner for over an hour, and she addressed all of my problems.  They are female problems, so I won't go into detail--suffice it to say that nothing is life-threatening, and I just needed some meds.  Getting the prescriptions was a good experience, too.  St. Johns Drug is an old-fashioned pharmacy where they stock lots of old-time remedies such as Bag Balm and horehound lozenges.  They charged me far less than retail due to my lack of health insurance.  

We are staying at Moon Meadows RV Park on the west edge of St. Johns.  We'd planned to stay only one night, but we liked the park--it has large lots with trees, and it's affordable, so we are staying for a week while I recuperate.  Most of the other residents live here full-time here in their RVs and are working on construction projects in the area. 

I definitely am getting better.  Sometimes I think the meds are worse than the underlying conditions they treat.  I have to nap a lot, and I'm kind of spacey.  Steve and I were sitting down to play cribbage the other day, and he mentioned something about not wanting to "take advantage of a stoner"!  Well, I made sure to beat him 2 out of 3 games.  Stoner, indeed!  He says he let me win, but I don't think so.

So here are some pictures of what the cat and I have pretty much been doing lately:

Sonja on her back, sort of
 Sonja on the Bucky, on the dashboard

Sonja on the--"Seriously, do you  have to keep taking my picture?!"

We haven't spent time exploring St. Johns.  It's largely a Mormon town, and the Udalls are all from here.  There are some historic buildings, because this is one of the first areas of Arizona that LDS pioneers settled in the 1870s.  

Steve has been riding his bike into town to get groceries, and he's been doing a great job of taking care of me.  We're paid up here through Tuesday night, so Wednesday morning, we'll be heading to Show Low, where we heard there is some good boondocking on Forest lands on your way into town.