Monday, August 18, 2008

Gosh Darn It!

Greetings everyone...sorry to hang you up, or leave you in suspense, but I have had company coming and going for over a week and started the "exhaustion" again...NOPE, not too much activity or too little naps. Last week I had my doctor start up my diuretic because my eyelids were so full of fluid they were starting to flop over themselves. Yesterday I was so tired I just want to lay down...kind of gets tiring being so I checked the prescription and did some thinking which resulted in taking my blood was quite low and made my husband a bit pill for me today and no continuation for you! Hopefully, I'll be back to myself in a day or two and continue transcribing my journey.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Big "O"...otherwise known as Sunday

Me and the campfire...see Dad? I really needed that hoodie sweatshirt you sent me!
Walking the art fair that lined the church yard.

It's 11 o'clock and we are disconnecting the RV...FINALLY we are actually only minutes from arriving at our destination...the Georgia O'Keefe museum! We do the fiddle with the air filter maneuver to start and we're off! The gal in the RV camp office showed Mel where we could park the RV in downtown Santa Fe and then walk to the museum.

Interesting enough we encounter Bobcat Crossing signs on the road. I did not see any, but I could see why the sign was there...perfect Bobcat territory!

We arrived at the RV parking area which is behind the Basillica De Francis de Assissi (the garden saint) and parked under a tree, closed the curtains, gathered our stuff, including the wheelchair and were off!

I actually used the wheelchair as a shopping cart, holding all our various bags, bottles of water, etc. Santa Fe is supposedly the oldest town in the United States and the cobblestones and narrow sidewalks make riding in the chair a nightmare! I tried it, only to literally jump out and refuse to be pushed until I hollered "uncle" about rough! The walk felt good.

After much map turning and silent bickering (one should have only one navigator) we finally found the museum. As we entered Susan stood me in front of the exhibit poster and started taking pictures! This was a big No No! There were signs posted: No photographs, cell phone usage, etc. The guard approached and told her to stop and delete the photos-she did not, she quickly snapped another and shoved her camera deep down in her bag-the guard (who was only doing his job) continued his No No mantra and I guess because I looked like I was about to cry (and I so seriously was) he backed off and started talking into his walky talky thing...we get in line and get our tickets (he's still talking) I can just hear him "group of four; one baldy in wheelchair, has cane-possible weapon, one with big bag that won't listen, one beautiful woman with short, short hair, one teen who has a texting problem about to enter museum...BEWARE!!

Yes! We were constantly followed throughout the exhibit and gift shop! But we had met our goal and I was somewhat satisfied...with the largest collection of O'Keefe paintings, I expected floors of art work...this exhibit, while incredible, was not exactly what I had expected. It was an exhibit of Georgia O'Keefe and Ansel Adams...I love them both and the display of each of their work was well worth the trip...but somehow I had it in my mind that I would see more of a collective display of her the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam (one of my favorites). I am in no way complaining here...I just craved MORE!

I bought Jay's kids a non-fiction book in the gift shop, and called it done.

We stopped and asked a vendor where we could eat that was casual but tasty...she sent us to the Burrito Factory (I may be wrong on the exact name) It was fantabulous!! I had been having "taste" problems the entire trip and was very happy with my veggie burrito!

Back in the RV (we never really decided on a name for the hotel on wheels) we headed back to the campsite, built a camp fire, and roasted marshmallows!

A beautiful ending to a beautiful day!

At some point before bed, Mel and Susan had the road Atlas out again and surprised me by telling me that we were going to Ghost Ranch! I was see what she saw, walked, painted...her beloved ranch! Goosebumps! So, I went to bed very hyper and very much looking forward to the morning!

Saturday continued

Just prior to the Bluewater Outpost there was a portable flashing reader board on the side of the highway, this is what it said:

100 more days
Cops everywhere!

Evidently there is a campaign going on about increased surveillance or patrols...billboards picturing 100 cops. My question is, is it working? Maybe there's only 2! The area didn't look like it would have a force that big. Maybe everyone is a cop. Anyway, we didn't stop anywhere around there...I wasn't up to a cavity search.

By the way I saw something I had never seen before when we stopped at the Sky City Rest Area. There was a ballot button on the wall next to the door of the restroom, a yes, and a no. I was first of all confused as to it's function and kept going in, removed my sun glasses, and let out a miserable groan...I wasn't hurt or anything...just appalled at the condition of the rest room!! Each and every stall was covered with paper, used and otherwise; it smelled awful...I wasn't going another foot inside...I turned and almost took out Mel as she was coming through the door, she gasped and we all went out and pounded the NO button...we used the RV, for any of you wondering.

About thirty miles outside of Albuquerque we started encountering rough crosswinds, dark skies, and thunderheads building fast. The landscape did not support much more than low sage and scrub oak. Natural "washes" in the landscape intrigue me. I secretly want to step into the damp wrinkled mud and squish my toes around. But it would be a shame if we came all this way and I died from a snake bite while doing so. So I keep my secret to myself and stare out the window.

The Big A - Albuquerque! Yehaw!, the Santa Fe turn off...17 miles...we're climbing nearly even with the mesas...I can't explain how excited I was...LOL...there's a sign Exit 267, WALDO...I am cracking up here, a very good friend of mine and VHPA member is named Waldo...I refer to him as my rake and he calls me his wench...a good sign!

I see it...Santa Fe!! It's been a very long day, it's nearly seven...we are tired and road weary but oh so excited!

We did our routine RV set-up and Mel opened the freezer and it literally exploded it's contents! She pretended she was an airline person and went into the spiel about overhead baggage moving about and proceeded to save our food...the bag of chicken that had been marinating smelled really bad...TRASH IT! With that done we decided on microwave wasn't all that good but it was hot and filled the void.

Tomorrow Sante Fe and the Georgia O'Keefe Museum!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Day 3 Otherwise known as Saturday

Sorry! Just found this draft and wanted to get it in before I got any further, it's taken me twenty minutes to determine where I left off and started again (come on! I survived brain surgery!) The following is Saturday morning, which occured BEFORE the post that read "Saturday continued" , which is how I caught my flub...continued from what? DUH! Anyway, try to make sense of it.

Packed up and back on the road it's 11:48 and the Welcome to New Mexico sign sends shivers throughout my body...not because I'm cold but because we are almost there! Duly announced, Mel answers with a hardy Ya *&^%$ Hoo! She and Gen had been playing Yatze, so I'm not sure if that was actually an answer to our announcement or one of their rolls.

After a short stop at the visitors center where Mel and Gen ran in and then out with arms filled with brochures (somewhat like a Chinese Fire Drill) we continued on our journey. With eleven miles to Gallop we watched the thunderheads build, it was a magnificent sky scape!

Once in Gallop we stopped at Cracker Barrel for food (it's one of Susan's favorite places). I ended up putting in my earplugs (over stimulation of light and noise make my brain tumors angry) I ordered the tortilla soup, it had way too much chili in it for me. I went into a coughing and choking fit, scaring Susan, Mel and Gen. Not one person from the restaurant approached me. In fact, in my opinion, they all ran. I suppose I can't blame them. I ended up eating one of Mel's biscuits and getting a little cranky. We finished up and headed out...this time to Wal Mart.

Don't get me wrong but for my own reasons I am not a fan of Wal Mart's. I had choked on my lunch, ended up not eating, was hot and cranky...I opted to stay in the RV and lay down for a while. After a bit of discussion, and pointing out that the flippin' parking lot was full and that meant they were all in Wal Mart and I was exhausted and ready to flip out entirely (I will use my cane for protection or to pound my point across) from the Cracker Barrel experience they allowed me to stay, securing the door as they left. I don't think I really slept, just closed my eyes and enjoyed the quiet. Gen was the first one back...sent ahead to be sure I was okay. I was not, I had gotten up and used the facilities and as I was getting back into my seat I hit my head, very hard, on Gen's bunk (it was over the driver/front passenger area) It sent me reeling and I grabbed onto the chair and just sat down...all I could do was hold my head and cry. Gen reacted fast and furious...dropped her keys, grabbed a baggy with one hand and the ice cube tray with the other, she ran over to me and placed the ice on my "owie". Good job GenRose!! Susan and Mel followed with bags of stuff for the rest of the trip, including some propane for the new BBQ, and some pots and pans (just in case).

We hit the road again...after Susan got on the wrong highway ramp...we went to the next exit and turned ourselves around...Mel said,"oh, Crapper Barrel...potty humor!" It was pretty funny being that she has never partaken of the potty humor (well, it's very rare!)

Heading east again with a full tank of fuel-there's no stopping us now...omg, more detours, down to one lane again. I may have spoken too soon! Thinking positively, I concentrate on the beautiful red hills with a smattering of green-majestic-we follow the highway around this gorgeous mountain and there is a refinery at it's base on the other side...Ugh!

Further along, the formations are starting to resemble castles, people, animals...a truly amazing and breathtaking time for me...I just stared and took pictures through the windshield...I have photo shop...I can crop and enlarge, remove the windshield divider and wipers...keep the shape and color of the mesas and the color of the plants.

Once again, there's rain ahead of us. The mesas are increasing in number and look like red loaves of bread baking in the sun...they increase in size also, which for some reason excites me. We're about to enter the weather cell we've been watching just as we hit the Continental Divide. The rain is heavy.

I miss Oregon's rain. Who would think of missing rain?

Day 2 in photos

Here are a few photos to go with the last favorites are Gen and I after our much needed shower and of course, the one of Mel driving the RV.

Geronimo! If only I had a voice I would have been screaming it out the window!

Mel first time behind the wheel!

Here we are fresh and clean! I think I dribbled toothpaste down my shirt!

Day 2 continued

It's 2:15 pm and OMG! Susan just asked Mel to drive! (She had asked Susan to teach her to safely drive the RV during this trip so she'd be able to drive it confidently in the future...but NOW?!!!)

She takes the wheel, starts it up and pulls out and onto the highway...she's staying in her lane, she's whooping and hollering like a six year old who just had the training wheels removed...first merge is successful, first semi's her virgin voyage. You should see the smile on her face! I was too busy watching to remember to take pictures! We are now 25 miles outside of Williams and Mel is still going looks like rain ahead of us...Flagstaff turn off has light rain and Winslow is 57 more miles. Mel says, "Look Ma, no hands" flinching either! Holy moley! She did good...she'll do fine...she overcame her fears and really did a fine job...didn't even knock over any of those orange comes!

The flat red rock formations are starting to be apparent in the landscape...this is one of the reasons I've come here; to see the rock formations, take photos of them and possibly paint them when I get home...I want to feel the warming sun on my skin and watch and study the changes in light and shadow!

The rest stop we pull into has a huge mound of red rock behind it...I can't climb it and walk around it. No wheelchair use since we got started...using my cane exclusively and a helping hand when the seats/benches are too low!

We're at 5,000 feet, with a fast decline ahead...every mile or two down feels a degree or two higher. MESAS!!! GERONIMO!!! There's a teepee on the mesa ahead! We're definitely getting closer to our goal! (I'm sure that most of what I saw along this stretch of highway was advertisement hype, but it certainly set the mood).

At 4:45 we arrived at the Holbrook KOA (I highly recommend the KOA) Showers, a store, a pool, free movies, and affordable!

Showers are a joy! GenRose and I headed out to the showers as Susan returned...what a sight! We not only carried our personal necessities; but a bath mat, so I wouldn't slip; and a shower stool, so I could rest if necessary...this was a big responsibility for GenRose, she was in charge of her grandmothers safety and welfare. She was very attentive, making sure she helped me set up the mat and stool before she left me some privacy for my shower.

All showered and refreshed, we start dinner preparations, or until Murphy reared his ugly head-news: the BBQ does not, I repeat, does not run off the propane tank we had filled in the RV; we also have no connector! Oh well, sandwiches again! Thanks Murphy!

GenRose picked Happy Feet as our movie for the night but I'm too tired and anxious about tomorrow...I head to be thinking about Georgia O'Keefe and Ghost Ranch.

Friday-Day 2

We wake up and pack up the beds, get ourselves organized and the RV won't start! It's Murphy, I know it, he's hiding somewhere! Crap! Susan is cranking the key and Mel and I are going over the "are you sure you did this" list.

Gen and I head to the truck stop to pimp ourselves for information...we found a trucker (stood by the door that had a sign that read "truckers only beyond this point). I used my pathetic voice (all I had at this point, barely a whisper), Gen by my side, looking lovely as only a thirteen year old can do! He informed us it was the air filter of water pump, especially if anyone flushed the radiator recently (uh-oh, Abuelo did that last night or the night before) We thanked him and rushed back to the RV to tell Susan and Mel of our success and the RV was running! Mel-Gyver had solved the problem! (I think Mel called her Dad) It had something to do with a butterfly on the manifold and was about to become a ritual each morning...oh well, we were having fun, weren't we?

It's hot @ 10:55 am...Santa Fe here we come!

We climbed up the mountains of Arizona, through GREEN (oh how I miss the many different colors of GREEN!) Rock formations a plenty! We had to slow down to one lane due to highway construction. The landscape was full of scrub oaks, ponderosa pines...datura, salvia, sage, and sunflowers lined the highway was spectacular!

Ranch lands, pastures of hay or wheat, fence posts made of windfall branches. These were actually called Wilderness Ranches and were going for $175.00/month...yep! I'm not kidding you, you want room, don't care to hear your neighbors? My notes say Jolly Road, Exit 40...LOL!

The thunderheads are starting to build above the hills, this has been typical monsoon stuff here according to the weather reporters.

I just saw a sign that said "RoadKill Route 66"...oh no! We lost the air conditioner-the generator went out climbing that last hill. We open the windows and get a warm yet comfortable breeze.

We are now passing Ash Fork Exit 146...Kabib National Forest. The terrrain is changing again...I see grass! Green grass!

Williams is only five miles further. We get our first trucker toot just outside Williams. Founded in 1881...we're talking horseback, walking, or covered wagon transportation here. We contemplate the reality...mutter things like, "I'd shoot him" and head to the Route 66 Diner (Mel loves this spot).

Day 2 to be continued...

Outside McDonald's the first night...Mr. Creepy came out right after Susan took this picture.

Ta da! I actually think I am now caught up and can start Day 2! I rock!

This is me after walking across the street where we were "service station refugees" who parked their sorry butts at a table in Jack in the Box for several hours. We did have drinks and I think GenRose ate something, so we weren't really invading the space, we were customers!

This is the lovely Sue Ellen and Mel sitting outside of the service station in Needles...they are used to it, the heat, not sitting outside service stations...I'm not sure who the lady in the pink is, must be asking for directions...Sue Ellen thanks for your hospitality! You made a negative experience into a positive one!

Trouble starts! Murphy!

Here the trouble started...bad tires! We girls were a bit whiney off and on but this poor guy had a wet towel and a bottle of water! Remember, it was 120 degrees when we pulled into Needles! Thank you Mr. Tire Guy!

This is my friend Susan, I mention her off and on and she is the reason I blog. I assure you this is not how we looked when we met thirty plus years ago outside the Community College Day Care...she keeps promising me old college photos, but I have yet to see them...hurry up my friend, I have brain tumors!!! Let's not be selfish or lazy! (Long time friends are allowed to talk to each other like that)

And of course, Norm the Gnome...he's Mel's and travels whenever he gets the chance, or remembered.

Hummingbirds and Dragonflys!

I left to warm myself on the back porch and watch the hummingbirds. I cleaned and filled the feeder, and Langdon rehung it-brain tumors prohibit climbing and dangling from a log porch post-unless I want to land in the flower bed, of course.

I refilled my cup with the last of the coffee and grabbed my pimped out cane and headed to the porch. I set down my cup and turned my head only to be staring at Mr. or Mrs. hummingbird staring at me! I slowly back into my chair, it's actually Lila's chair, but that's another story...

So, the hummingbirds feed and I sip...they rest on the electrical wire that runs to the shop, and they SPIT! Yes, they shoots in a stream! I guess they eat as much as they can hold and then spit out the excess!

About two minutes later this huge bright blue dragon fly enters the vicinity and both hummingbirds are intimidated by it...they slide down the wire using their tiny little feet, they fly away and come back angry, they are chattering away! Mr. Dragonfly is not impressed and simply stretches his wings out to dry in the breeze and sunshine!

The hummingbirds by this time are quite angry that Mr. Dragonfly has entered their feeding area and start flying at him and then swerving when they get close. He stretched again then seemed to arch his body.

After about three or four of these "scares" the hummingbirds flew to the orchard area and Mr. Dragonfly flew away.

It didn't take long for the hummingbirds to return (I think they were watching). I sat there watching them resume their feeding and they chattered at me as if it was my fault their meal was interrupted!

Must go research now!

Pictures of our pilgrimage!

I promised some pictures of the adventure, here's some from day one...more to follow...the sun is shining and there are humming birds to watch on the back porch.

Me, Norm, and Lou...husband number 1, Mel and Jay's Dad, he's exhausted from working on the RV day and night so we could make the trip...thanks Lou!

Me, Norm the Gnome, Gen Rose, "Bug" (Mel's youngest), Mel, "First Born Child of My Loins"

Monday, August 4, 2008

Gosh Darn It!

I didn't put the pictures in the last post...realized I need to put them through photo shop first so you're not staring at one inch of my bald head and Mel's eyeball! I promise to get that done and some photos from our first day up tomorrow, if not later today...I'll use my brain tumor card here...sorry!

Three generations in an RV!

Okay, here it goes...take your imagination and back track to July 15th, I believe. Susan, (one of my longest friendships) arrived in Las Vegas late afternoon to visit and be the official driver (she drives school bus in NYC) of our RV trip to the Land of Georgia O'Keefe.

After RV check-ups, shopping, packing and doing what three generations of woman do we were finally ready for our departure on Thursday at 2 p.m.

Susan had preset her ipod to "On the road again" and we were off...headed to 215 east to catch 95! Yeehaw! Susan, Mel, her youngest GenRose and I were off. We had decided to get outside of Las Vegas for our fuel fill up and as things would go that did not happen...there was a motorcycle in flames at the gas station...quick maneuvering got us out of the turn lane and back on the highway! Hmmmm...we all looked at each other wondering if this was an omen.

We continued on to Needles, CA...thought we'd fill up the tank and throw the generator on so we'd have some air conditioning...the temperature outside was 120 degrees! HOT AS HELL!!! Mel made sandwiches and then went to pay for the fuel. The guy told her we needed all new tires...that ours were baked and just waiting for the opportunity to blow out. After a group discussion, and not wanting to get stuck in the desert if we did have a blow out, it was decided that we'd replace them. We were told it would take a couple of hours and they had an air conditioned waiting area inside we were welcome to use. Gen Rose and I headed in there and Susan spotted a Jack in the Box across the street touting iced coffee and where she promptly headed, Mel was outside eyeballing the tires and talking to the tire guy. She returned a short while later and her phone rang; it was Susan saying the Jack in the Box was air conditioned and not crowded, we should come over there for a while. Of course we did. For a long while! Mel got a bit impatient and headed back to the station to see what was taking so long...Needles is a small town and is one of the first off the desert highway...the station takes care of the gas, food/snacks, and's a busy little place! Mel is good at being friendly and getting things done and made friends with Sue Ellen, the woman running the food/snack part of the station. We wandered from the Jack in the box to the station several times and generally had a good time visiting with Sue Ellen and watching the comings and goings of others.
At 8:30 pm our tires were changed...we said our thank you's and good byes and loaded up our crazy selves and got back on the road again. We crossed the Arizona State Line at 8:38pm!
Susan and I used to refer to Murphy (as in Murphy's Law) as the one to blame when things would mysteriously occur while we were first friends in college...we were beginning to think he had reared his retched little self and was a stow-away in one of the compartments of the RV.
In spite of everything we left with smiles on our faces...especially GenRose! Sue Ellen's daughter (I think it was her daughter) came running out to catch us as were leaving and said her brother liked Gen and wanted her cell phone number! Mel said not today, maybe in the next couple of years and waved good bye.
On the road again...we went as far as was late, we were tired and was time to stop. We ended up at McDonald's where everyone but me ate (I rarely do fast foods and wasn't up to it)...there was a sort of creepy guy there that tried to strike up a conversation with me...started asking if my baldness and cane use was due to chemo therapy or radiation...when I just automatically answered, Mel gave me a kick under the table. We moved outside to eat dessert and sit in fresh air and he followed us. With dessert done we wanted to head back to the RV which we had parked near a Semi and were planning to spend the night in on the generator's power, after all we had a baseball bat, a golf club, and my cane to protect us! So, we headed out to the far parking lot and our home on wheels and the kind of creepy guy turned creepy! He moved over two tables so that he could see where we were going! Now the four of us were totally convinced to hurry and get inside and lock the door, which we did. As I was closing the curtains I got that creepy feeling you get when one is staring at you and looked up and realized that Mr. Creepy was following our movements...gosh it was scarey! Mel promised not to leave the trailer to restart the generator without the baseball bat, it had been shutting itself off for some reason and we desperately needed the a/c to sleep. She ended up going out three or four times during the night and once one of the truckers let her know that he was behind her so he didn't get bashed with the wasn't a restful night, but we did manage to get a few hours sleep. Friday morning greeted us with that hung over feeling from lack of be continued.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Hey everyone!

I thought I'd take a little time to tell you that I'm home again, in Estacada! I arrived home late Tuesday, after a two day drive with my husband...lot's of fun! I'll be writing about my trip with the girls to O'Keefe country and then the trip home in the next few days. My computer (with the pictures) is waiting to be reconnected here (I'm told that is a priority for tomorrow). I've been catching up on rest...six days on the road with the girls and two with the hubby, leave a girl very tired. I still don't have my voice back, but I think it's starting-at least that's what Di Dad still can't hear me on the phone...I imagine it is frustrating, but thank God for email! Oregon is chilly! I experienced a fifty degree drop in temperatures over night and this bald headed grandma is cold! My daughter-in-law, Christy, brought her three beautiful children over to pick blueberries this afternoon and have a short was raining, but we perservered and had a great time! Until later...