she begins…yet again

adventure: “that which happens when your intended route suddenly takes a totally unexpected detour” grasshopper💛

( dad, mom, diana, rick and i in the late sixties..road trip to baja…this explains my wandering roots)

As I mentioned in my last blog post…plans are meant to be changed…well that’s been my experience anyway.

Traveling thru southern California , I spent time in Death Valley and enjoyed the hot springs in Tecopa. Made my way to Joshua Tree. I spent a very long day driving fully intending on spending a few days hiking and exploring. The park was full. I drove thru and arrived at a boondocking spot we discovered a few years ago. I thought it was so cool to see all the rigs…free camping and seemingly caring for the land. I spent one night and headed further south venturing around the Salton Sea and the crazy, strange destinations of Bombay Beach and Salvation Mountain. It blew my mind that just an hour or so away from the extravagance of Palm Springs there existed these two places.

Bombay Beach nestled along the shores of the Salton Sea. To say I was a little nervous cruising up and down the streets is an understatement. Dirt roads lined with mobile homes, completely thrashed and trashed…totally disrespecting their places of residence, or perhaps, I don’t really know, they had no trash service?Another rig similar to mine was rolling down the streets..they pulled me over and we chatted. A super cool couple from Bend Oregon…we decided to meet up in the zany locale of Slab City , home of Salvation Mountain.

A sign welcoming you said something like…” the last free place to live in the US”, “welcome to east jesus” and “welcome to lawless slab city.”

First off, Salvation Mountain..Leonard Knight a visionary created this”mountain” as a tribute to God. The mountain is fifty feet high and one hundred and fifty feet wide. Built out of clay, with the Sea of Galilee at the bottom rising to the cross at the very top. Painted very bright lively colors. The locals maintain this place …little children running around, unkempt, dirty and seemingly very happy!

Slab City is an unincorporated area whereby squatters reside. There is no trash service, no law , yet from the outside looking in, it seemed peaceful yet overflowing with trash. I was told though that drug abuse was rampant. Streets were dirt, and art of all kinds were displayed. Some, down right junky, others quite creative and whimsical. My new friends had warned me though not to leave my rig and walk around as breaking in was commonplace. I was dying to roam and take pictures…I did for a short time, but then it felt a little unnerving. I wondered who chose to live here and why.

From there I traveled down to Borrego Springs and enjoyed the wild flowers. It was quite windy and sand storms prevailed. There was some kind of off road convention and the dust was flying. I found a great dispersed campsite though where many others were camped. I met a totally cool couple from Iowa that have been living on the road for three years. They were such happy people living their dream. They were young and adventurous and totally willing to chat and share story as well as tips for the road.

Traveling further south heading to Pipe Organ National Monument which was very near the mexican border. I was so tired by the time I got to the established campground but it just wasn’t my cup of tea…I began searching for the 4 site dispersed campground I had read about. Retracing my steps I found the turn-off. Down a dirt road 3 miles nestled amongst the cactus and red rock. It was delightful. One problem, no availability. I circled the area three times, parked and approached a guy setting up his tent. The sites were huge. I asked him if I could share his space. He was from Chicago, flew out for three days for an escape…he was super kind and let me share the space!

I settled in. It was so peaceful. The sun setting into the desert is quite a lovely sight and tranquility filled my being. I planned to stay 3-4 days, as my new friend said I could stay as long as I wanted. I slept so peacefully that night, eager to arise and explore the trails.

A beautiful sunrise greeted me as I took off for a run. Signs saying to watch out for illegals from Mexico didn’t deter me. I have never had a problem before. I happened on a flowing river , in the desert!So delighted , I stripped down and immersed in the cool clean water. Feeling really hungry I ran back to camp, had a delicious breakfast and prepped for a longer hike. Then, I got a phone call.

Gina, my dads wife called to say she really needed support as my dad had been rushed to the hospital the week before. I packed up, drove the 4 hours into Tucson where Michael was stationed in a campground for the winter. He offered to babysit Fitzroy and I left on a jet plane for Maui. I am so grateful he was willing to stay with Fitz…or I don’t know what I would have done.

Hence my definition of adventure.

Here now in Maui for the past four weeks. Dad is home now, improving daily. I will be resuming van life in a week, flying back to Tucson and hitting the road.

While I was here in Maui explored Iao Valley ,where I remembered my late husband Michael as he had been gone fifteen years March 28. It is a very spiritual place and I immersed my body in the healing waters of the Wailuku River.

Life is so unpredictable. This year started out and what I expected didn’t come to fruition. Everything changed , and I feel so very blessed that I have learned to embrace the concept of impermanence.

This time here in Maui has brought me closer to my Dad and Gina. It’s hard though, seeing your parents ill. It transports me to other losses experienced . But my Dad, the stubborn Italian he is is coming back strong. While in the hospital he had all the nurses calling him, Mr Wonderful….his humor has stayed with him all this time.

I’m not sure where I am headed next. Chill for a few days and let Fitz Roy lead the way to new adventures.

With love as always

I wander on down the road….

embracing change

 

As life seems to do quite often…it changes and plans do as well. I have learned to embrace change as it truly is the one of the very few givens in this life.

I spent two very chilly nights in Yosemite. It was glorious. I avoided the crowds ( which there were many) and found the more intimate details in this winter wonderland that goes by the name of Yosemite. I was entranced with the water flow. The colors, the flow, the rocks….just stunning. 

I camped at a place called Indian Springs. What a mess it was, but there was no other place to stay. Because of the heavy winter there were downed trees, mud slides and 5 vehicles and RVs which were totally destroyed by the high winds and trees down. When I paid for my site the genteleman said,” we aren’t expecting winds, but to be safe, don’t park under any trees!”

Okay then! I had a meltdown that night. I am not in any way shape or form mechanically inclined. I need things repeated to me numerous times for it to sink into this brain of mine. I couldnt figure out how to raise and lower my table. I was under the table as it slowly lowered and almost blocked me into a very uncomfortable position, my back screaming. I swore every word I could think of, and then I cried. I thought, what am I doing? I cant do this van life thing alone. I eventually laid the table out into the sofa and it remains that way still!

I didn’t turn my heater on that night as I don’t like the noise, or the heat. That was a mistake. I awoke the next morning to ice inside my windows and a temperature reading inside of 30 degrees. Outside, a balmy 12 degrees.

I spent one and a half days wandering about the valley, with my camera gear on my back. There were so many people and buses of more people, I sought out trails and areas that looked less crowded. While walking among the trees and at the base of the majestic mountains of Yosemite, I felt blessed. The silence was magical, the snow was thick and quite lovely.

I have been landlocked in Santa Cruz for about a month. My plan was to try a new back treatment, which I was very hopeful for. My hopes were high that relief would be certain. The insurance company is making it very difficult for this to happen. I could stick around for another month, but reality is, the chances of this even working are slim. 

I have a healer in Santa Fe that did work on my back last year . He is one of the most compassionate beings I know, and I feel he truly cares about my pain situation. We spoke the other day and he truly thinks he can help me get rid of this pain that has been plaguing me for a number of years.

So the great thing is, I am hitting the road in less than a week! To say I am ready to give this van life a go is an understatement. I will head south, most likely following the California coast crossing over at Anzo Borrego as I hear the rains should be delivering a most amazing bloom. Then, head into Tucson, and to Sante Fe, where I will be for a bit in order to receive treatment on my back. 

Then, possibly heading into southern Utah, Colorado up into Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and then across the Pacific Northwest landing at my daughters in Northern Calif for the holidays.

With all that being said. Plans change. Circumstances change. I am okay with this. I embrace it actually. I am letting go of expectation and hope as I find it only brings heartache.

Part of the adventure is not really knowing. My plan was never to have a plan. I’m sticking by this. My one tentative plan is to see as many rivers that I can. I am hoping to do some kind of project involving Wild and Scenic Rivers and other in between. I have developed a fascination with water. I can sit alongside a rivers edge and get lost in its undulation, finding its way..

Which, I guess it’s what we are all trying to do…finding our way.

Thankyou for following along!

 

 

fitz and i….rollin down the roads less traveled…

 

we have traveled quickly through washington and oregon. the freezing temperatures in washington convinced me to come back at a later date for further exploration. i was also worried i might damage the hoses in the rig. the night we camped in a rest stop outside of Leavenworth with truckers and the like, the temps dropped to 6 degrees, persuading me that it was time to head to the desert. dont get me wrong. i really love seasons, but this season,here in washington…too flipping cold for this beach girl!

we drove the backroads , and state highways . it takes longer to get where one is headed, but oh the gifts…i would have missed the eagle hanging out on a rock in a pond, or the two old guys sitting on the front porch shootin the shit; houses with wrap around porches that all gaze out towards one of the many majestic mountains of washington, be it Rainer , St. Helens, Adams, or Baker…to name a few; i saw lovers in old beater pick ups sitting right next to each other and the romantic in me bloomed… i smelled the clear, clean mountain air.

i have spent my time getting to know fitz. i am not mechanically , nor anything auto inclined…so its been a real challenge. getting to know batteries, solar power, composting toilet , water pumps, gauges just to name a few. and i have to say its been a learning curve! then of course, there’s the space. its a tiny house…there are things that i am going to have to get used to..such as very minimal storage for clothes…and the tiny frig, but i totally dig it. you know, its similar to having a backpack on your back..we dont need as much as we think we do!

i am going through the realization that i did it! my past is inundated with plans made, and then plans trashed. with brilliant ideas that never got fulfilled. i was one who was afraid to commit to one thing, in the event i would miss out on another. but i am here, now. it is extremely empowering.

living in an rv for the past three years, i realized how much i loved life on the road. i learned so much about this lifestyle, so im not a complete novice. but to my benefit, i am not a perfectionist! i have truly learned to go with the flow…if i must go right and i intended on going left..well then the adventure begins.

traveling into oregon is always a treat. i stop in to visit my dear friends, Kirby and Justin. i met Kirby while hiking the PCT 4 plus years ago, and we have remained solid friends. we walked and talked, shared a couple meals and then i moved on, with promises we would meet soon in Death Valley.

the past two weeks have been in preparation for my year on the road. of course i have way too much stuff in here now, and i am missing some things i need. i am heading back to Santa Cruz after visiting my daughters. i will spend some time with mom, rick and diana…a few friends and then i will be rollin on.

 

i am fairly certain i will stay in the west for my first journey. i have become captivated with southern Utah, Colorado and setting my sights on Idaho( especially since i have promised my cousin i will come her way) Wyoming and Montana. im not committing to any one plan as i will go as the winds take me. i have new friends to meet. new mountains to climb. new rivers to kayak and paddle. there are many adventures awaiting me, and i awaiting them.

curiosity fills me. i know not what awaits me out there in the world. but i know i am a willing participant. my heart exposed, my arms wide open…

to quote my favorite poet, mary oliver

“you do not have to be good. you do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. you only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. tell me about your despair, and i will tell you mine. meanwhile the world goes on. meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. meanwhile the wild geese , high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting- over and over announcing your place in the family of things.”

i have a calling. a calling to life. i am called to experience those things that Michael, Diana, Wally, Jayne, Blair, Christian, Jacob, Zachary, and all the others cant experience as they are no longer here, or cant because of what life has put in their path. i have a calling…perhaps this is my purpose.

home

i have come to realize that home is so much more than 4 walls….

from the time i was 5 years old, i was running away. all through my sixty years, i have been searching, for something.

my friend, David once said to me…” i realized you havent been running from anything, but towards something.” that was said to me many years ago. i now realize, i was always looking for home, not realizing it was within. so, i wasnt running from you, or from this or that, but in reality I was running towards me.

i now know…home is when i am my most authentic self. the self that doesnt put on masks, titles, or expectations. that place where fear and insecurities dont exist. the self that is raw in every way. meaning, i am simply, who i am, in the moment. it is here, in this sweet revelation, that i have discovered home. no story lines. no needing to know, anything.

northern washington, snoqualamie falls

my intention in this blog post was to introduce you to my”home” on wheels. instead, i would like to introduce you to “Fitzroy”…the wheels that will fill my life with adventure. with new sunrises and sunsets every single day. the wheels that will encourage me to delve into my creative..that place where i am alive and amazed and wanting to share with you.

fitzroy

i have to admit i was scared to death to follow thru with this “vanlife.” thoughts swirling within telling me there was no way i would follow through. i typically don’t, allowing fear to win, and me to change course. i was always afraid if i did this, i might miss out on that…

what a crazy way to live.

i want to live for those who have passed. for those who are filled with disease of the emotional or physical types, that cant live life as they wish. i want to live for those, like my friend Karl who said once when i asked if he had surfed that day..his response” im too busy.” my response to him…”too busy to live?”

life is, in fact…so much more.

white river falls..tygh valley

mary oliver said,” instructions, for living a life…pay attention. be astonished. tell about it.”

i am here to tell you about it…with nothing but love in my heart… and a creative life in my soul

a new chapter

i begin again….

in a few days a dream that has been germinating for years will come to fruition. years ago as my late husband and i dreamt of seeing the United States in a RV, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. my father offered to help us in purchasing the rig, but reality struck and we realized michael just wasnt strong enough. the past couple of years my boyfriend , michael and i were living the dream, traveling in his RV seeing the southwest. as things do, we changed…he went his way, and i went mine.

i am headed to pick up my sprinter van, which i have named “Fitzroy”, after the majestic mountain in South America, which has captivated me ever since i laid eyes on it 5 years ago. with the help of freedom vans and michael (my ex ), i designed my home on wheels. my journey begins.

i have decided not to lay plans as plans so often change, but merely go where the winds take me. adventure, photographing and writing will have time to flourish and my heart to soar on the wings of freedom.

my heart is so alive when i am on the road, experiencing new places, new people, and new possibilities.

please follow along if you like. i delight in sharing with others in the hopes it will inspire you to follow your dreams. 

“tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one, wild and precious life?” 

mary oliver 

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