To Pass, or not to Pass

Wolf Creek Pass Summit, The Continental Divide

Today I took a scouting trip in the car over Wolf Creek Pass. For those of you unfamiliar with this section of Colorado roadway, check out the description, and the song lyrics written about one trucker’s scarey drive over it at  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf_Creek_Pass.

I’ve been over it many times in my life. The first time was life changing.  The aspen trees that dotted the roadside were decked out in their autumn gold-guilded leaves, against a sky bluer than I could have ever imagined possible.  The Rio Grande River headwaters ran icy clear, trickling over boulders and massive tree trunks along the road’s edge.  As the elevation increase, the river disappeared and my attention was drawn to acres and acres, and acres of aspens, pines, and rocky peaks.

Today was no different.  It was as spectacular as I remember it. 

And now, 30 years later, after massive improvements, expanded roads, and smoothed out curves, it still demands respect from the motorists that travel it.  Warning signs and Runaway Truck Ramps are still frequently in view, and carry heavy penalties to those who do not heed them.

It was a beautiful drive, a gorgeous day. One that won’t be repeated behind the wheel of the coach… I’ll take the southern route!



Rio Grande River, South Fork, CO



Requests please. . .

Hey everyone out there —- I need your help.

Already I have more stories that what I can put into a blog.  But I don’t want to bore you with the ones that you don’t care about.

I can tell you about how much I truly appreciated discovering that this RV park had shower facilities so that I could take a long, hot shower this morning.  (RV showers are not long. They are hot, but it is recommended that you rinse, turn off the water, lather, and turn the water back on to rinse again.)  Brrrrr — not my kind of shower when the coach is 42 degrees because I didn’t turn on the propane the night before and so I can’t light the coach heater, OR the water heater until I go out and open the valve. And, that means no hot water for brewed coffee on the propane stove either. . . .

OR,

I can tell you about how I stopped at Window Rock Park on the way here, and how I enjoyed hearing the sounds of small bells as I slowed down to looked through the window of the rock — only to discover that what sounded like a gentle wind chime was actually a loose chain on my car dolly.

OR

I can share my thoughts with you about how the Navajo Nation honors it fallen soldiers on the reservation.

OR,   

I can tell you how absolutely blissed-out my cat is in her new environment. 

OR,

I can answer any other question you might have about what this is experience like in this very moment — just ask!

Home Repair Opportunities Abound

Today I am officially “hooked-up”.  I have checked in for the week at a gorgeous park along the banks of the Pine River in southwestern Colorado.

My mobile homestead has running water (hot and cold), plumbing, and electricity.  The camp host was extremely friendly, helpful and full of useful tips about utilities, seasonal challenges, and driving tips. 

He reminded me that in all matters, take the feminine approach — use a gentle touch everywhere inside and outside of the coach. 

“Oh,” I exclaimed as he instructed, “there’s lots of potential to break things on this vehicle.” 

“Yes, there’s lots of potential to break things.” He echoed.

When he left, I went inside and figured out how to operate the blinds by myself. 

I opened the window quickly, . . . and was left holding the a piece of the window clasp between my fingers. 

My first first-hand experience with a broken thing. 

I’m out!

 I’m finally on the road.  My first goal is to get out of the valley.
Not sure if you know or not, but Phoenix is in the heart of the “Valley of the Sun”.  It’s not apparent at first, but shortly into the drive you realized that you’re climbing a series of large hills that will bring you to an elevation above 6,000 feet in just over 2 hours. 

The highway is dotted with caution signs: slow down for sharp curves, steep grades, and my favorite — particularly on a hot summer day–  “Turn air conditioning off to avoid over heating.”

I’ve traveled that road so many times in the past 20 years that those signs are a blur as I zip past at 80mph, my greatest fear is a high-priced speeding ticket.  

Today is different.  As I climb those hills the engine revs to a maximum speed of 45mph, and as I glide down them I am challenged to keep the coach at 45mph.  Cars are lined up behind me on the way up, and wizzing by me on the way down.

I’m an inconvenience, and I know it. 

I spend 5 hours driving what typically takes me about 3 ½.  Not bad considering my novice status.  My goal for today has been accomplished.

The day ends with a quiet campsite and an equally quiet sunset.  I will rest well.

Tomorrow’s roads will be easier. 

The Coach

I have so much to learn about this new lifestyle.  Besides driving the RV, towing the car, operating the generator, electrical, and plumbing systems, how to park it, where to park it, there’s an entire language specific to RVers.

In other words, I’m entering a foreign country.

The first words I struggle with are the ones that identify my vehicle.  Is it an RV or a MH?  Do you call it by its brand name or model name?  By size, or by class?

Spending some time in the mechanic’s waiting room I learned the answer. All my anxieties were relieved in 2 simple words: “The Coach”

Wow! Sounds like I’m movin’ in style!

I am comforted with this revelation of simplicity.  It reminds me that all the fear that dwells in me now about driving the RV,
towing the car,
operating the generator, electrical, and plumbing systems,
how to park it,
where to park it
will soon be transformed into excitement through the magic of knowledge and experience.

I look forward to living in this new country.

Packin’

I’m in the final stages of preparing for departure.  Today I move one step closer to fulfilling my dream of living in a motor home.

Fulfilling a dream is never glamorous.  Already I have experienced great fear, unexpected challenges, and of course, monetary upheaval. 

And, preparing to live in less that 300sf is challenging the minimalism of minimalistic living that has become my daily routine.

I’m packing away personal items that I will not need in my travels. Each item is placed in the storage box with a thoughtful eulogy — where it came from, how much I enjoyed it, how much I will miss it, and will I need it on my journey?

WAIT A MINUTE!!  Will I need it???

The panic question that drives so much of our consumer-driven American way of life.  The words that cause our homes and offices to be stuffed full like Thanksgiving turkeys. 

So, . . . I pause . . . and take a deep breath . . .

Today “what if I need it?” is trumphed by joy in choosing the necessities that will comfort me in my new home.

After all, in life, as in the motor home, it’s the journey, not the stuff that’s important.