Six Months in a Nutshell: November 12, 2015 to May 7, 2015

November 12, 2015 to May 7, 2016: One week short of six months, over 4000 miles, and hundreds of photos later, we have returned to Wallace, Idaho. It was a memorable six months, not only because we traveled so far, but for all the places we saw, the places we camped, people we met – family, old friends, new friends, and angels in disguise.

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Terry at Sunrise in the Sonoran Desert National Monument, Arizona – our furthest campsite from Wallace, Idaho

I took photos every day, sometimes only a couple, but most days lots of photos; almost every day I posted a journey post on FB with photos, sharing the journey with all who cared to join us in this way. I hardly ever missed a day in spite of power and internet restrictions that accompanied us most of the time. I suppose it would have a more relaxed trip had I not set this as a goal for myself, but seeing the world – what is most beautiful or most meaningful – is what I do. Seeing a beautiful sunset or morning light on a mountainside or hoarfrost on pines is not just a neat experience for me alone; it is an experience that demands to be shared.

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Sunset at City of Rocks State Park, New Mexico – an Experience that demands to be shared

Clifford studied, researched, or worked on research papers every day that we were not actually traveling. He acquired sophisticated portable scientific instruments to compliment the portable lab. His dedication to his work did not waver, even given the limited space he had to work in.

Once we returned home, I saw that for many people the last six months were same-o-same-o, little ups and downs, nothing really different, nothing outstanding. For me, the last six months were filled with ups and downs, also, but they were Big ups and downs, events and experiences that gave depth and quality to my life. I am enriched by having done this journey, not knowing from one short time period to the next what we might encounter: beautiful weather – or snow and cold; great photo opps camping and hiking – or only a few shots through the tinted window of a moving vehicle; being well – or not being well and having to deal with it; spending days and days with no one but Clifford – or meeting people: some just passing through and some whose lives will intermingle with mine onward; beautiful camping spots where I’d love to stay forever – or a Walmart parking lot where I have to pick up trash just to be okay with being there. It wasn’t always an easy journey for me, but it was a good one. Living in an 8 x 16 foot space with someone day-in and day-out means some compromises, but it also makes me much more appreciative of what’s comfortable and convenient, and more accepting of what’s not. Things are less about good or bad, like or don’t like, and much more about It Is What It Is, and being grateful to be a part of the process. Of course, for a very long time I’ve had the intellectual understanding of the importance of being appreciative and accepting, but now it is a deeper part of my being; it is not so much something that I have to work at as something that I am: Happy for No Reason – not all the time every day, but on a more on-going basis than I’ve experienced before.

Things that stand out:

  • Snowy as we leave Idaho with Blazer and Pony (our small pop-up), our departure from Belgrade, Montana is delayed by several hours due to snow, more snow changes our itinerary by time we reach Wyoming.

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    Postcard pretty, snow in Belgrade delays our departure after visiting son Tye and his lovely family.

     

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    Crossing eastern Montana, snow forces us to change our itinerary.

    Mid-Wyoming snow storm and cold temps at Glendo State Park provide photo opportunities that are exciting for me, but also contribute to both of us becoming sick. Clifford recovers in a few days; it is weeks before I fully recover. Daughter Becka and a friend from Santa Fe provide warm dry lodging when I needed it the most. Thanks!!

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    Snow storm in Wyoming with Pony (our pop-up tent trailer)

     

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    Hoarfrost on PInes
  • Heading south: several inches of snow at Three Rivers campground north of Tularosa, New Mexico, but it is great being here until Goliath (the news-worthy blizzard on December 26th) comes raging through, nearly wiping us out.

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    Sunset on the Sacramento Mountains

     

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    Sunset on the Sacramento Mountains

     

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    Goliath Approaches

     

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    A day later, Goliath begins to abate and we are still in one piece, more-or-less.

     

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    Goliath has gone, leaving both destruction and beauty in its wake.
  • The search begins for a hard-shell RV, not an easy task given our restrictions. We go all the way to Phoenix, Arizona, to get Terry, an older, but sturdy RV that falls within our budget, weight limit, and floor plan. We narrowly escape a near-disasterous incident before we even get out of Phoenix, but back at Colossal Cave outside of Tucson where we are camped, we set up home in Terry and sell our much-loved Pony.

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    Terry: a 19-foot older RV is a great find.
  • Desert camping: Colossal Cave, Arizona – having been here before, we knew we liked it.

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    Arroyo at Colossal Cave running with rain water

     

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    Special treat while at Colossal Cave: visit from Katie and her kids

     

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    Campsite at Colossal Cave surrounded by saguaros

    The Sonoran Desert National Monument southwest of Phoenix looks bare and desolate as we approach, but I fall in love with it: two weeks of solitude with long walks and campfires to warm the chill morning air.

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    Falling in love with the Sonoran Desert National Monument

     

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    Campfire in the Desert

     

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    Rock mosaic made from Sonoran Desert rocks gathered on daily walks

     

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    Sunset in the Sonoran Desert National Monument
  • The Carnicom Brothers Reunion in Tucson, Arizona.

  • Cochise Stronghold, another place I fall in love with, as well as feeling a special connection to this rock mountain. I become friends with the camp host and others with whom we stay in touch.

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    Morning Light at Cochise Stronghold in the Dragoon Mountains of Arizona

     

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    Sotol in the Dragoon Mountains

     

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    Hiking in the Dragoon Mountains
  • City of Rocks State Park, New Mexico – what a really cool place to camp for two week.  While there,  I meet a woman who has become a special friend – I expect we will meet again on the road.

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    Cook’s Peak from City of Rocks at Sunrise

     

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    Sunrise at City of Rock, New Mexico

     

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    The Moon Setting at Sunrise in City of Rocks

     

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    Blazer and Terry – Camping at City of Rocks

     

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    Great Horned Owls at City of Rocks at Sunset

     Leaving Arizona, Percha Dam State Park, New Mexico, is the first campground where we have plugged into electricity.  We catch up on projects that need power and internet.

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    The once powerful Rio Grande is but a shadow of its former self – Percha Dam State Park

     

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    The mesa on the far side of the Rio Grande, seen from Percha Dam State Park at sunset.

    The journey northward begins: Camping at Cochiti Lake, New Mexico, waiting for better weather around Santa Fe, and hiking in nearby Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.

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    Giant Fairyland – my favorite rock formation at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
  •  Villanueva State Park east of Santa Fe, New Mexico, bypassing cold weather at Santa Fe, (or so we thought),…..

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    Pecos River at Villanueva State Park, New Mexico

    followed by camping in the mountains north of Santa Fe at Hyde State Park, …..and more snow.

     

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    Hyde State Park north of Santa Fe – Snow Photo Opportunities in April

     

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    Snow on Aspens at Hyde State Park

     

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    I was delighted with the snow; everyone else in the campground seemed to think I was nuts, being all excited about taking photos of snow.
  • Two weeks at Santa Fe visiting friends and working with our webmaster, Kaylee, to construct a new website for me.

  • Leaving Santa Fe, we stay at Villanueva again to wait out another snow storm – 20 inches of new snow right where we are headed in Colorado.

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    Pecos River at Villanueva State Park: New leaves on trees adds color to the scene.
  • After visiting friends in Colorado, the journey is comprised of one-night stands in Walmart parking lots and rest areas, and brief visits with more friends and family once we reach Montana.

  • And finally, back to Wallace, Idaho. It is good to be back AND we are already planning our next outing. More adventures await!

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6 thoughts on “Six Months in a Nutshell: November 12, 2015 to May 7, 2015

  1. I have enjoyed many of the stories and pics of your adventures in places I have not had the pleasure to visit. Thank you for sharing your adventures and allowing myself and others to take a part in your wonderful journey! I too have learned and grown with you,,,

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. That was what I was hoping to accomplish my sharing this segment of our lives with those who would follow along. Carol

  2. This is a fabulous synopsis of your trip! The pictures and narrative are inspiring. Thank you for sharing all of this with the rest of us. I am honored to have met you and to be part of your friend circle.

    1. It was hard to decide which photos NOT to include because I had so many that were representative of the journey. It was a delight to meet you at City of Rocks and I look forward to seeing you somewhere down the road! Take care, be well.
      Carol

  3. Carol, Your documentation — your writings and especially your beautiful photographic images– of a modern day epic-like “Journey of Freedom” has provided me some solace moments in my troubling time. Thank you for sharing what are essentially private slices of your (and Clifford’s) life. May you both stay healthy of body & Spirit for many years to come.

    P.S.- “If only one wild river runs…
    Still sweet-watered so true with you
    While overhead robins smile, laugh under the Sun
    Doing loop-dee-loops so joy-filled in the azure blue, …”

    From my poem “Pearl River (A Valentine’s Day)”

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