Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Remobilized, Re-Dolphinized, and Other Happy News

 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.


  1. Looks like Sonja is fully charged and ready to travel! ;->

    Virtual hugs,


    1. I have been keeping our travel plans a secret from the cat so far, Judie, but today I will begin informing her. She doesn't like the motion part of travel, but always seems to enjoy new sights and smells when we arrive somewhere. This year I have purchased a large collapsible travel crate so she can have her bed, food and litter box all in one place while we're on the move. And I won't have to worry about her making an escape when we stop for a quick lunch or photo op.

  2. So great! And, I'm so pleased to have witnessed many of these wonderful things! The fact that you crave motion in Solveig is a good sign that she's just right for you.

    1. Thank you, Roxanne. I feel so at home in Solveig and can hardly wait to get going. As you know, the virus I got on my way home from China has delayed our departure, so it's been slow-going. But I am finally able to start getting serious about packing today.

  3. I love the interior of your new Dolphin. Those Dolphins are nice little rigs and get such good gas mileage. Everyone I know who has one loves it. I l ike your idea of putting a larger RV year-round in an RV park, then going where you want in the smaller rig. The best of both worlds, right? The photo of Sonja - her eyes look like lights. Very cool. :)

    1. Yes, this arrangement is working out perfectly for me, Barbara. I like the convenience of a small rig, but the comfort of a larger one sometimes.

  4. Just signed up to follow your blog Sue. Thanks for inviting me into your world. I really appreciate that you approached me that day in the Passion Pie. I have gotten so much fantastic info from you. Hotel breakfast in Tempe was fun. I'll be glad to run into you again, whenever that happens. Cheers!

    1. Glad you found me here! And, yes, we've had some good times and there are definitely more to come.

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