I've been living in an RV, traveling around the US for 414 days now. I have no plans of stopping anytime soon, however, there are little things that're getting old.
Having so much crammed into small spaces. The pots and pans, Tupperware, etc are a pain in the ass to get out sometimes. I knew this would be a thing... it's just something I have gotten used to.
Then there's the weekend warriors at RV parks who don't respect the RV park etiquette. My daughter once said "mom, I worry this will make you hate having neighbors even more." There have been some great people we've met but many loud obnoxious ones as well.
It is what it is.
We've been in the Sedona area a little over a week. Our park has actually been nice and quiet (until last weekends neighbor). We had gotten spoiled and weren't prepared for loud talkers. 😆
Sedona is absolutely beautiful. It is all you've heard (except there are SO MANY people). We haven't gotten to explore as much as we would've liked because I've had some work to do but we still have a few more days.
A few days ago we got up early to do a sunrise hike. By the time we got to the Bell Rock parking area, it was bright enough to not need the headlamps. There were a handful of people on the trail but all were quiet. As we trucked along, through colder temperatures than were used to, the birds started chirping.
Good morning birds.
Continuing further, we climb the Rock and I am immediately hit with a dizzy spell. Almost enough to sit me down. I look down and there's a tiny rock sculpture. Perhaps someone else did have to sit here for a bit.
We climbed higher and got to a spot in the trail where we either needed to go left or right. Jordan's gut said left...I remembered seeing people on the trail to the right. At the point, we know we took a different path than typical.
"Your path is your own" plays in my head.
A young man with green hair comes walking up from the left. He claims he's hiked to the top of bell Rock before. He says that going to the right leads you to the top. Both Jordan and I are skeptical but we go his direction.
"Your path is your own..."
We follow him until he points out a small bell looking rock across the way and says "there it is" (he was pointing at a formation on Courthouse Rock) then starts to scramble off Bell Rock. Straight down the side.
Both Jordan and I decide that is not the way for us to go.
However, now we're doubtful that we've even climbed partially up Bell Rock.
Frustrated, I pull out my GPS. GUESS WHAT, those get all out of whack when you're near a vortex.
We were led astray.
We did get to see the sunrise from Bell Rock but I did not get to sit and meditate as I planned.
The sunrise though.... it was glorious seeing the first light of the day work its way into the red rocks. Giving them a magical glow. Feeling the sun hit my skin while standing on Bell Rock I felt an overwhelming sense of peace.
Then we continued on our path that was not our intended path to the top of Bell Rock.
It was an odd morning.
We did see Hot Hair Balloons in the distance. Really it was beautiful and my disappointment arose from expectations that were not met.
They're always the bane of happiness.
We're going to check out Winslow Arizona today. I must get going. In another post, I'll tell you about my cliff jumping experience. 😁
Have a wonderful day! And get rid of those damn expectations!
Days 399 - 402
Rolling over Hwy 550 was a breeze. We visited Mesa Verde National Park then hit the road again.
We're now traveling through Arizona for the next few weeks.
National monuments are closed sporadically (we couldn't go to the 4 corners). There are trails or natural wonders we want to see that are closed.
It's frustrating for sure to constantly have to change our plans.
But such is life.
Our current RV park has people squeezed in like sardines. It reminds me of Boyd's Key West... without the island vibe.
We are ready to move on to the Sedona area where we'll be free to hike the natural wonders of the area.
We DID visit the South Rim of the Grand Canyon yesterday. It was a beautiful day so there were thousands of people there. We were still able to keep our distance though. But holy cow... the massive amounts of people talking and sometimes invading your 6 ft bubble is getting frustrating.
Those from other countries have been the worst, but I'm sure they feel that way when we visit their countries.
We are just trying to live our best life. Creating a life many dream of. All the people exhaust us.
If they weren't so rude, it wouldn't be so bad. Thankfully, there are still some people on the planet who renew our faith in humanity. If there weren't, Jordan and I would happily become hermits. Although, I think he'd get quite bored only having me to harass. 😁
It's been an odd ... and wonderful ... adventure thus far. With multiple truck problems along the way (we both thought yesterday - OK girl, if you don't knock this shit off, we're trading you in)... we've had our share of frustrations and moments of thinking "what the hell is going on."
I'm not sure what the lesson is, perhaps we're both needing to learn more patience. Patience with ourselves...but REALLY patience with others.
There's a lot who are requiring our patience.
I had to remind myself yesterday that today is a new day. We can continue to carry the annoyances of previous days OR start each day fresh. Full of gratitude for all the things we have. Gratitude for all the things we get to do. Gratitude for one another.
That is the only way to get through these strange times.
I am thankful for you.
Much love and light out to all who need it. Talk to you again after a day or two in Sedona.
Days 394 - 398
We haven't gotten to do a whole lot during our stay in Ouray because once again, we had to get the truck looked at.
PLUS, the Unstoppable Influence Summit was the last three days. Which I'll get to in a moment...
Besides a drive the first day to show Jordan the area, then a great 4x4 drive after setting the mechanic, we stayed around the house.
We had about a month of laundry to do.
We didn't go on any of the epic hikes we planned.
So we'll definitely make our way back here, perhaps in the summer.
We arrived just in time to see the autumn leaves, it was absolutely beautiful.
So beautiful. I always feel like all worries (known and unknown) simply leave when I drive highway 550 ... it's so absolutely breathtaking (the altitude is too 😁).
I didn't get to visit with all the people I had hoped to see while in the area, but we saw a few (Uncle Willy, Aunt Chris, and Fetch) so it wasn't a complete loss.
COVID has created such a strange time. The trains didn't run all summer in Silverton... yet, as soon as they were out of lock down, business boomed. There were 600 people a day on ice lake trail... which isn't big enough for that many people.
The roads over Hurricane and California passes were extremely beat up from the thousands of atv and otv users. While it was definitely a boost for the economy here, the earth paid the price.
I understand wanting to get out...but please, PLEASE take care of our earth. She needs our love.
Now, the truck... this summer, I had taken her to my mechanic in Boise and asked him to get her ready for this next adventure. Well, simple things (the fuel filter and air filter) were not changed when they really needed it. Not sure why they were overlooked but they were. So a filthy and ill fitting air filter was the cause of the check engine light on Tuesday. At least we hope that is the end of the issues.
It's frustrating because you put so much trust in people (and I really do think my mechanic is a wonderful human) and little things like this are not taken care of. Not sure why the next people who changed the oil didn't catch that air filter either.
We are grateful for great service at Sunrise Auto in Ridgeway. One fellow there grew up with the Tookey and Willis families in Silverton, so as soon as they learned I knew all of them - they were my family for 20 years after all (some still claim me as family) we were treated as locals.
So, now we prep to roll our home over one of the most extreme stretches of highway. Please send all the good vibes that that air filter was, in fact, the final issue with my beautiful truck. She ran great over the passes on Friday afternoon.
That drive caused me to miss my favorite presenter of the UI Summit, Joseph Clough. But, we had to test the truck to be sure the check engine didn't come on again because if it had, we would have has to be back at the mechanic yesterday. So, it is what it is.
Saturday's sessions were what I truly needed. Breakthroughs occurred. I have not been very disciplined in my work since leaving Boise last year... really, since 2017 before things shifted for me. I have done meditation, hypnosis, affirmations, all the things to shift my mindset back into the productive artist I was then. But to no avail.
I discovered why. I still have blocks against discipline. I won't go into the why because it'll hurt someone I love dearly. But the awareness is the first step to solving the problem. So, here's to an amazing 4th quarter. It's time to go to the next level!
First, we have to get over the pass.
Much love to you all! Have a beautiful day!
Days 392 & 393
We are worn out from that 13 mile hike. We did drive around (and climb around) the viewpoints in Canyonlands National Park. Then, we saw a dirt road to drive while at the viewpoint near the visitor center. We asked the visitor center people and they said it brings you back to Moab on Potash Road.
So we did it. Took a bit over the hours but the views back there were incredible. It's definitely 4x4 and high clearance travel... there were some very sketchy spots as far as the bumpiness of the road goes but I just took it slow.
I was so tired before we hit that dirt road... then once on it, I was wide awake and in my element. The more technical it got, the more fun I had. I love 4-wheeling!
One day we will get a RZR or something to really enjoy these roads (and not add unnecessary miles or wear and tear on the truck).
I highly recommend this road if you have the right vehicle! It was a blast. Then, once we got back into Moab, we stopped for dinner. We were thinking Mexican food so we went to the first dine in place we found, Fiesta Mexicana.
This, I do not recommend. The food was sub par, at best. The margaritas were the only good thing. We paid more here, for less food - and MUCH worse food - than we did at the Brewery. So, skip this restaurant for sure!
Day 393 had us back on the road. Jordan washed the truck and RV at the wash near our spot at Shady Acres RV Park. If you're in Green River, this is a great little park.
Now we're in one of my favorite places on the US. The San Juan Mountains. It's been 3 years since I was here last... so much has changed. Including a fire that took out half the block of shops in Silverton. Thankfully no one was injured.
The aspen trees are bright with color, the air is crisp. We're off to hike a bit. This is such a wonderful journey. I'm so happy to have someone who loves me to share it with!
BTW... if you're in this area in October. Set up base camp in Ouray. There's lots to do... and the pizza at the Mineshaft is delicious!
Days 389 - 391
Patience and the ability to be flexible are absolutely necessary in life. Especially in the life of a nomad.
Day 389 we decided to go back to Green River and use that as our base camp. Searching for a boondocking spot in Moab just didn't sound like something we wanted to do.
We discovered why on day 390.
The same thing happened with the truck when we tried to leave for Arches National Park. It turned over fine, but before I could put it in reverse to pull out of our spot... it turned off. Completely shutting the engine off. There's power, it'll crank, but there's no turn over.
Beyond frustrated because now we know we HAVE to get it to a mechanic, we are at least pleased that we are very close to the one that was recommended to us.
We actually walk down to the mechanics and Ken says "yep you get it here and I can take a look at it today." Little did he know, he was going to have an abnormally busy day. But,he still had time for it's.
I call insurance for the tow. After waiting over two hours, I give up and call a tow myself. Which arrived in two minutes (the owner is actually currently residing in our RV park until his apartment is ready... thank you Steele Towing). We cancel the roadside assistance with the insurance (although their system is mixed up and after the cancelation, I get a call that they found someone). Who I have to cancel. 🤦♀️
We get to Interstate America and Ken starts troubleshooting. Testing the fuel pressure in the lines, he thinks it might be the pump. The intake or the ignition pump. Hoping for intake because the other is a $3000+ fix.
Turns out though, even though the part came up in the list, my truck doesn't have an intake fuel pump. Chevy didn't put those in until 2017. So Ken chats with people who work on diesels all the time - they suggest replacing that 9 day old fuel filter.
We took the truck back to that mechanic that put it in and said it was taking longer to turn over. They checked the batteries (which were fine) and said "it sounds normal." I assured him it wasn't, that it was taking longer to turn over, and he assured me it sounded normal to him.
It was slow to start the very first time Jordan picked it up from them.
Well, Ken calls us back down to show us how to replace the fuel filter. It's something we can do roadside if we had to.
He pulls it off and boom, problem found.
The O ring that should be on the top is missing.
Ken says "it can happen to anyone" when I say I'm ready to call and chew out the other mechanic. You see, I called them when we had the issue in Goblin Valley and the receptionist said "it's not fair you're blaming this on us, it could be something else."
Well, it wasn't. They screwed up. Jordan called them because I was too fired up. They refunded our money. Good.
New filter on, truck is running.
So, after a day of staying put, we went to Arches FINALLY on day 391.
Oh my goodness. Absolutely awesome place. Definitely a must see. We weren't super excited about going on a Saturday but it wasn't too horribly busy. The trail head to the Devil's Garden was VERY busy but we were doing the long, difficult hike so we knew most of the people would not be doing that. And we were right. It was quiet on the back side.
It was a lovely but long (10ish miles) and difficult hike - climbing and clambering over rocks. If you decide to take the primitive trail and do the whole loop, go right at the sign at the trailhead... it's much nicer to end on rocks than in sand... and all the crowds go left.
We completed it (it was quite hot towards the end, and I don't do well in the heat so I was slow ...BUT we still finished in 3 hours) and we drive up to the Delicate Arch trailhead which is not a technical path - labeled moderate - but it's 1.5 miles of very steep climb. And it was hot.
My heart rate was definitely in the red zone. We had to stop multiple times to get it to come down. But, we made it. Of course.
Neither one of us are quitters.
I took my shoes and socks off up there. We sat and relaxed for a bit but we were starving... and honestly annoyed by the screaming children and constant talking of everyone.
It seemed we were two of a very VERY small portion of people capable of just sitting and being in the moment in such an awesome space. People are so concerned about other things, they can't just BE.
I've never been much of a talker though. I'm perfectly happy sitting in silence. Or hiking in silence. Geeze, some women talked the entire hike in, the whole time they were there, and they were still talking on the way out.
It's time to listen to nature. Listen to the universe. You'll find answers, you'll find peace. If you'll just stop yapping. 😁
I had a wonderful time. Today, if we aren't too sore after yesterday's 13 miles, we want to check out Canyonlands. We shall see what the day brings!
Much love and light to you all! Remember, every moment doesn't have to be filled with noise. It's ok to sit in silence.
Days 386 - 388
Day 386 was a blast. We went into Goblin Valley State Park. The Valley of the Goblins is a big area with no designated trails. We hiked around for a couple of hours, meandering through the Goblins (hoodoos formed by nature and time). We hiked up and over them into another portion and explored until we found a dead end. We then decided to go back to find the trail to the Goblin's Lair.
Marked as a strenuous 3 mile out and back hike... it really wasn't strenuous until you get just outside the Lair where the trail goes up a steep incline to get to the cave entrance. The entrance then drops down into the cave. You must scramble down boulders to get inside. Legs and arms maneuvering you down the easily 40+ ft drop.
There is another way inside. To drop from the hole in the ceiling on a rope. Guess it's popular with climbers for practicing their repelling. There was one guy inside who was coiling his rope. Too bad we didn't get to see him come down, that would've been cool.
He did point out a little side cave that led under the entrance. He said he couldn't get very far in there because it gets pretty small.
It was small, we had to belly crawl to get back in it a ways. We went until we didn't feel comfortable anymore. Of course, I had to get a picture of my Gollum figurine in that small dark space... and I was able to crawl in further than Jordan... but it looked questionable not far after he had to stop.
After spending a bit more time in the Lair, we hiked over to Goblette's Lair. A VERY steep hike up to that entrance. Really nothing inside that cave... it wasn't even much of a cave. More of an alcove. There was one more trail near there leading to what looked like another opening, not as steep as the first two... and there was nothing to see up there.
By this point, we were getting a bit worn out so we headed back (which of course entailed a climb back up to the parking lot).
It was a lot of hiking our first day out... and we weren't finished because we wanted to see Goblin Valley in the dark.
9 pm...The moon was so bright it cast shadows from everything in the Valley. No one else seemed to be around even though there was one truck still in the lot when we left. It is a huge expanse to explore so it's no surprise we didn't find that truck's inhabitants. We did not camp inside the park so we only explored an hour at night (park closes at 10pm). I would love to see it when the moon isn't almost full. The stars must be amazing. It is a dark sky reserve after all.
We wandered and sat in the stillness of the moon. It was a magical experience for sure. And of course, Jordan had to climb and explore. Thankfully, no more thorns in his hand though (he tried to catch a lizard on our way to the Goblin's or Gobblette's Lair... it was hiding in a bush that is full of thorns...I picked them out the best I could as quickly as possible... his whole hand throbbed for a little while after... I took a picture before getting all of them out... we both laughed).
The following day we recovered. We had planned to go hike a slot canyon but we needed rest (Jordan more than me because he climbed a lot more than I did - one couple said he must be part mountain goat). Our bodies are not used to that much hiking. Plus, I had to figure out a better plan for storing the Words Matter portraits so I rearranged the studio space...twice. Taking everything out once and figuring out a different location and way to secure the Words Matter exhibit, the first one had all the weight to far in the back. It's a lot of weight back there so I tried to get it more centered in the space while still being able to move and hopefully work back there. There's a half bath back there with a swinging door instead of the typical pocket doors most RVs come with. That door makes things a little more difficult, but I THINK I found the good spot after the second time. The cats love it, anyway. There's a better play area for them. Hezzie kept sneak attacking me as I tried to finish up. 🤣
I smashed my fingers, stepped on a bungee cord which bruised the bottom of my foot, had things fall on me... it was not - by any means - an enjoyable day. I was not a happy camper, my patience worn thin by the end.
Then Day 388... we wanted to go check out Temple mountain and the petroglyphs ... so we loaded up, got partially out of the lot where we were staying and the truck just turned off. Completely off. No check engine light, nothing. Thankfully, we didn't have the rv attached.
It rolls easily out of the lot entrance (and out of the road). Eventually, after trying to start it a couple times, Jordan pops the hood (meanwhile I'm trying not to explode). We're both livid. We had a new filter put in from a new mechanic - we immediately noticed it was slow to start when leaving there... even taking it back to the same shop to have them check it. They said "that sounds normal" but we knew it wasn't because it had never taken that long to turn over.
Obviously, it wasn't ok.
We Google and find out that this can happen if there's air in the fuel line. Jordan's hands are too big to get to the fuel filter so I reach under, bleed it (which you do if you get bad gas... obviously not the problem this time). We try to start it, it cranks but won't turn over.
We call the roadside assistance that this mechanic gave us to guarantee the service. After explaining everything, the guy transfers us to dispatch "who will get the rest of the info for us to get a tow." The closest town showing 50 miles away. Well, we had to explain everything again to dispatch, then... after easily 20 minutes she informs us WE have to select the shop and she can't get that info for us. Our cell and internet is limited. We are quite annoyed by this service and hang up to find the necessary info. So, I call my insurance - offering roadside assistance and towing plus other benefits - and while I'm doing that, Jordan is able to find a mechanic in Hanksville- only 18 miles away. I stop the tow request and we call Dave at Rabbitbush wreckage and storage. He tells us how to prime the pump and release air. Which there was quite a bit of in the lines. He's in Price but would be driving by us if we don't get it running. Still, no turn over after almost an hour... just diesel fuel coming out of the pump eventually. So we wait.
Oh, also...an older couple pull in and come over to assist. He shows us the pump before all those calls. It doesn't work but he says he'll come back over after setting up. Good to know there's still good people on the planet. My faith in humanity has been tested lately and would continue to be as the day progressed.
After trying for the hour, our "neighbor" wants to help us take one of the air houses off so we can reach the fuel filter better. We decide against that... telling him we'll wait for the mechanic because he can certify his work.
Our neighbor offers a ride if we need to go get parts or food or anything. Very kind, indeed.
Dave comes, still no luck and I've primed the filter and pump accurately. He sends me in to google and see if there's a Schrader valve (we only have service on the phones inside the rv) and by the time I come out... the truck is running.
There was air in the lines but that wasn't the only problem. The fuse for the fuel relay had gone bad. So we now know how to change out our fuses.
What a day. We drive a bit to make sure all is well, then hook up and hit the road. Filling our fresh tank and emptying waste in Green River (the Sinclair/ Pilot has this btw) we pull into Moab around 6. MUCH later than we planned but it's a Wednesday so we figure we can still find a spot in one of the many campgrounds.
And I have a new dislike of tent campers who take up large RV spaces.
So, we will search again today. Hopefully people will leave and we'll find a spot. Otherwise, Moab may not be in this year's adventure.
Today is going to be a great day. I say so.
At least I'm with the man I love (even though he keeps harassing me as I try to complete this🤣).
I had a dream that I was traveling all over the world. In less than 6 months, I sold almost everything I own...bought a Toy Hauler (the "garage" is my art studio) and am now living wherever, whenever...just me, my art, and my cats.