Tuesday, December 19, 2017

More Campgrounds in Truth or Consequences, NM

Brownie parked behind Sun Gallery

I have just completed my last weekend of holiday retail at my art and antiques gallery.  Normally, Sun Gallery is only open for one four-day weekend each month, in conjunction with our Second Saturday Art Hop.  I do a month's worth of business in four days, which works because of social media, loyal customers, and the great stuff I have to sell.  But during the holidays, from November Art Hop until a week before Christmas, I'm open every weekend.  It's exhausting!  I've been going to bed by 9 pm every night and sleeping sometimes 9 or 10 hours, yet still dragging again by the end of the day.  So I'm happy to be done with retail for a while.
I've decided to open Sun Gallery the day after Christmas and price all of my vintage holiday items (creches, angels, etc.) at 70 percent off.  I'm hoping I won't have to pack up as much Christmas this year.  Everything else in the gallery, including my paintings, will be 30 percent off that day, if you happen to be in Truth or Consequences.

It was a successful season.  I made enough to cover a few months' rent, which is good, because I am leaving town for Arizona sometime after the first of the New Year. 

A collage by Chantel a/k/a The Rubber Tramp Artist now installed on my refrigerator

I'm heading for the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous in Quartzsite, where I will be heading up a new group within the RTR...RTArt Camp is a brainstorm that my friend Chantel and I thought up last year, and it is actually going to happen!  We were sitting at our Sun Sisters Camp doing a lot of crafting and artwork last year, and doing that with more people this year seemed like a fun idea.  So Bob Wells, the organizer of RTR, is giving RTArt Camp its own area so a bunch of artists can all camp and work together.  We'll start out with a Meet-and-Greet to set up a schedule of classes, open studio time, easy drop-in crafts, etc.  Each day Chantel or I will make an announcement at the main camp's Morning Meeting about what RTArt Camp has to offer that day.  

In anticipation, I'm gathering up free and surplus art materials.  If anyone who can help with this effort, I thank you in advance.  Just general materials--paper, colored pencils or anything else for drawing, acrylic paints, finger paints, probably just about any sort of paint--we'd use it.  A lot of the RTR attendees live on very limited incomes, so art supplies are a big treat.
A picture of me with a painting I sold recently

I'm looking forward to working with artists of all levels on this trip.  Some of the people who have stepped up to teach or paint alongside others are very successful artists.  We also will have activities for anybody who wants to come and do artwork.  Don't think you're an artist?  Come anyway.  Art adds value and wonder to lives, and I've been able to help people who don't see themselves as artists change their minds. 

Some members of SCCB at our first rehearsal

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  I wanted to let you know that the Sierra County Community Band is an actuality.  We performed twice at Old-Fashioned Christmas, a Mainstreet event in downtown TorC that was held on Friday, December 8th.  

Pictures from our first performance--sorry, the drummer and tenor sax are hidden

First we played outdoors at the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, and then we played indoors at a community center where Santa photos and a craft fair were also happening.  At the Lee Belle Johnson Center, we were actually up on a stage with a seated audience.  A real concert!  It was very fun, and we were pretty darned good, considering the group of seven players had only rehearsed once, the previous evening.
Remembering how to do this...

I was very involved with the band for this first performance, because my co-founder Joshua Frankel was really busy.  He was able to play in the band, but I find the music, set up the FaceBook page to find players, etc.  I even had to arrange some music because we didn't have alto sax parts, plus we needed the tenor sax to play the bass part.  I hadn't done any arranging in about 35 years or so, and it was an intriguing challenge to find that old Freshman Music Theory knowledge that was squirreled away somewhere in my brain.

So I handled that stuff for this concert, and now Josh will take over to line up a spring concert.  This is a perfect arrangement, since I'm heading off to Arizona and then will meander the Gulf Coast on my way to Florida after that.  I will arrive back from my travels in time to play my flute in the next concert.  If you are in Sierra County and are interested in playing in the band, Josh is the guy to contact.  He works at Sea Properties.

It's been over two months now since I downsized again to living full-time in a small RV  (Brownie is a 1984 20-ft Lazy Daze Class C, built on a Chevy G30 van chassis).  I no longer have an RV park site, but I can park behind my gallery and hook up to electricity whenever I need to.  I get very tired of being behind the gallery, though.  I look out on a lot of yuck in my parking lot, and I can't see the sky like I can when I'm parked somewhere on the Rio Grande.
My campsite at Quail Run

Between weekends, when I wasn't working, I escaped to a few nice spots, including spending three days last week at Quail Run Campground in Elephant Butte Reservoir State Park.  That was a campground with water and electricity hookups that cost $14 per night.  It is one of my favorite campgrounds at Elephant Butte.  It is a little more spread out on a loop, while some of the other campgrounds have the trailers lined up like a parking lot. 

Photos from the bank of the Rio Grande

I also got away a week earlier to camp with Chantel on the Rio Grande on free Bureau of Reclamation land just south of Williamsburg.  We had some nice meals together, and we both re-organized our kitchens.
Large spaces with shelters at Paseo del Rio/Damsite Campground

And I spent one night at the old Paseo del Rio Campground that used to be part of Elephant Butte State Park, but is now run by Damsite, a private company.  The camp is free for day use, and lots of people walk their dogs or just hang out there.  At night, I was the only camper at $10 and I enjoyed the peace and quiet very much.  

My grand total for "rent" so far since moving into Brownie on October 11th is $94, plus whatever extra electricity I'm using when I park behind the gallery.  More importantly, I am enjoying the freedom to come and go and land where I like.  Or, as one of my friends put it, "You really like sleeping around, don't you, Sue?"  Yes, I really do.

The only big challenge I've faced was mastering the cold weather.  I had to get a Buddy heater because the little wall heater that was installed in Brownie is insufficient.  It heats a small area that's about the right size for a cat to enjoy, but not big enough to get to the human being that is sitting another foot or two away.  With my new heater, I can get my kitchen and dinette quite cozy, although when I'm hooked up to electricity I use dueling or perhaps cooperating space heaters to speed up the process.

 My other space heater