Today we wandered on Route 66 from Moriarty, NM trough Albuquerque and on to Gallup, NM and then northward to Window Rock, AZ. We have gotten checked in and plan on an early evening so that we are ready for the Gathering Of Healers. I took plenty of pictures today and will just let them tell the story of an old road that used to be a mecca for travelers.
This morning started out wet and rainy. Luckily, we only had this for about an hour of our trip and then the skies opened up to blue and beautiful with lots of fluffy white clouds above us. We traveled through the oil fields of Texas where we saw lots and lots of oil derricks pumping. We also saw a beautiful vine that seemed to be growing wild along the highway, even though it looked like a squash or gourd plant to us. The electric poles also had platforms built on them for the birds to nest and we saw many hawks sitting in these nests along the highway.
We have traveled in many parts of New Mexico, however Roswell was not one of the areas that we had seen, so this is where we headed. After arriving in Roswell, we headed to a Mexican restaurant we had read about, called Martins Capitol Cafe. It was truly great food. Even though there was a line out the door, we were seated in less than five minutes and served very quickly. If you are ever in this area, you should check this restaurant out.
After eating lunch, we headed over to the Roswell UFO Museum. We had a great time wandering around the museum, looking at the exhibits, and talking with people who were visiting there. This area is definitely a place for us to return and explore further. There are many different things to see and experience here.
After leaving Roswell, we decided to take the scenic route to Moriarty, NM where we would be spending the night.We happened upon the historic town of Lincoln, NM and found an unkempt cemetery and stopped to wander through the old graveyard. It was a strangely beautiful and very peaceful.
Our next stop was where Smokey the Bear was found and rescued after a forest fire in 1950 near Capitan, NM.
We saw rainbows, coyotes, wild turkeys, hawks, ravens, wildflowers, pronghorn antelope, all among beautiful vistas as we wandered on the back roads of New Mexico past ranches that were hundreds and thousands of acres. We saw very few vehicles on most of our journey from Midland, TX to Moriarty, NM. Again, we had a wonderful, leisurely day as we head to Window Rock, AZ for the Gathering of Healers.
On Friday, we traveled from the Pathdrummer Homestead to Lake Jackson, TX where we were able to spend some time with some our favorite members of our family. We relaxed and hung out, chatted about nothing and everything and generally lazed around for 2 whole days. It felt pretty darn good!
Today we traveled from Lake Jackson to Midland, TX. We went on a road called the Devil's Backbone. It was a gorgeous ride up in the clouds overlooking beautiful valleys on both sides of the road. We pulled into the overlook area and saw this beautiful tree that stood in front of a fence that had crosses hanging all over it. We stopped and took one photo and then went on because there was a family there scattering ashes of a loved one and we didn't want to intrude on them. After leaving the picnic area, I looked up information on this beautiful road and found this awesome article on the ghosts of the Devil's Backbone. reportingtexas.com/devils-backbone-ghosts-hunting/
Continuing on, we realized that we would be passing by Luckenbach, texas. We hadn't been here in a few years so thought we would take a little time to stretch our legs and see if anything had changed. We drove up in the heat of the day and wandered around a bit, through the old post office that is now a store, into the courtyard where there was a gentleman singing and playing a guitar, and listened to the roosters crowing. It was pretty much the same as when we were there on our last visit and the visit before that, however we enjoyed ourselves for a little while and then headed on out toward Midland.
For the rest of the day, we wandered the small towns and back roads of Texas and enjoyed seeing only a car or two every few hours. It was a relaxing ride through the Texas Hill Country. We always enjoy visiting here. :) One of the best parts of the whole day was visiting Reagan County, Texas. It was a little strange to see my last name plastered everywhere.
This is the first day of 2016 and everyone is looking back on their lives during 2015 in retrospect and looking forward to their lives in 2016 with hope. I must include myself in this journey. 2015 was a life changing year for my husband, Thom, and I. We gave up our jobs with the non-profit we had worked with for several years in 2014, just six weeks shy of the beginning of 2015. By January 5, 2015, we had taken most of our belongings to a storage unit and packed a few items that we felt we would need immediately when we got to Florida. We have owned our property in the Blackwater State Forest for many years and had always said this was the place to which we would retire. So, we did. We had previously lived here in a tent and began clearing it by hand so that the natural beauty of this property would not be destroyed. We thought we would build a house here and then Hurricane Ivan hit. This changed our plans for many reasons, which I won’t go into now. (I am sure this will come up later when the time is right and as this blog progresses.) This property had no electricity, no septic system, and no house in which to live. It did, however, have an artesian well that did not require power for us to have water. It also had a couple of outbuildings that we felt we could utilize until we could get everything up and running.
Having a good sense of humor is what helped keep us going for the first few months because if something could go wrong with our master plan, it went wrong.
The day we left Tennessee, the sun was shining, however the temps were in the teens and it wasn’t going to get much better in Florida. It is hard to believe, but the first night we spent on our property in a tent, the low was 12 degrees and the high was 17 degrees. We erected our small backpacking tent inside on of the outbuildings and called it our “tent in a shed”. This was where we would live until we could get the power and septic out to the property. During this time, our plan was to find an RV to live in. After about a week, the temperature had gotten into the 40’s, so we were feeling much warmer in the day time. I will say this, though, the outside “shower” was not the easiest time on the planet! Our shower consisted of a turkey fryer with a large pot that we could heat water in and pour over our heads. Of course, since there was no electricity this meant that every bit of water that we used had to be hand carried up the driveway and to the “shower area”. We had brought a mattress so that we could sleep on something besides our backpacking pads, so in a few weeks we eventually constructed a sleeping area. We called this our “bed in a shed”.
I really anticipated that we would be able to find an RV within a month. This search went on for 9 months before we found something that was in decent shape and that would fit into our budget. During that time, the temperatures ranged from 17 degrees to over 100! Sometimes I felt like I was going to turn into an ice cube and other times, I felt like I was trying to sleep in Hell!
There were plenty of challenges in getting everything done on the property. First, we needed a physical address. So, in order to get an address, we had to have electricity. Of course, we couldn’t get electricity until we had an address, and around and around it went. Thom waded into the permit process and began to ask all of the questions and make all the phone calls. My part in this process was to continue to look for an RV and to write the checks when we were told to pay money for the (seemed like) billion things we had to purchase.
Lots of things happened along the way. We were given the wrong address, the cost of the septic tank doubled when the ground wouldn’t perk to the county’s satisfaction, and the engineer for the electric company retired in the middle of our project, to name just a few.
In the end, we lived through the challenges, we found our RV, we got our electricity, we relocated our small business from Tennessee to Florida, we have a septic system, we made new friends and reunited with old friends. So as they say, all’s well that ends well!
And we look forward to 2016 with hope…..
Today was a play day and we chose to spend it at the beach. You couldn’t have asked for a better day. 70 degrees, sun shining, small waves, and crystal, aqua water. Who would want to live in a gloomy, gray winter atmosphere when you can have that? Not that the mountains aren’t beautiful in their own way but for me, the water is what I need. Being able to look out and see nothing for miles and miles is the perfect way to spend the day. We wandered barefoot on the sand, waded in the cool water, felt the sun on our faces, watched the shorebirds as they went after food, and looked at the jellyfish that had washed up on shore. It was so nice to soak up the sunshine and listen to the waves as they crashed onto the shore.
After leaving the beach area, we went to visit a friend who was in from Ireland to attend her son’s wedding. We hadn’t seen Michelle in 4 years and it was so wonderful to get a big energy hug from her and hear all about what has been happening in her life. The last time we were together was in Monument Valley, UT on Thanksgiving weekend in 2010 with another friend. Our lives have all taken drastic turns since that wonderful time together. We are all traveling different paths that all seem to lead in the same direction.
As we sat by the bay, which was completely flat, we saw herons flying overhead and pelicans diving for food. By far, the best thing all day was the pod of dolphins that made themselves known to us by jumping and splashing in the water. They looked like they were having a wonderful time and I really wanted to have my kayak so that we could have been out in the water with them. Of course, I should state that we wouldn’t have gotten close enough to them to make them feel harassed. Just watching them play in the water gave us all a feeling of energy and joy.
As the day finished, we had to say good-bye to Michelle, who was leaving for Ireland the next day. We will miss her, however we know she is happy in Ireland so this makes us happy. Everyone needs to be happy with their life and where they choose to live. If not, then maybe some changes need to be made. I’m not saying that taking that step isn’t scary, because it is. You have to understand and accept the fact that at the beginning, it might be rough and there might not be much money to live on. In the end, you have to trust that when you are happy doing what you love and living in a place that makes you smile, it will all be fine.
Today is Thanksgiving.
I suppose I should write about everything that I am thankful for today, however, this is the accepted norm and I have never been accused of being “normal”. We have missed being with Greg and his family in Pennsylvania but we have felt quite blissful being on our property quietly enjoying the day. The sky has been blue and the sun has been shining, although the temperature hasn’t been all that warm, but warmer than some places in the U.S., so I am not about to complain! I have happily sat by the fire and read while Thom has “piddled” around DrumTopia. We have had our hot dog dinner on sticks held over the fire and we haven’t missed eating turkey one little bit.
I found out that an emu sounds like 2 plastic buckets clanking together, or at least that is how they sound to me. Who would have thought they would make that type of sound??? It’s good to know that many of the animals next door to us have been rescued…the emus, the macaw, the dogs, the little donkeys, and more.
Thom is happily playing drums by the fire and I am ensconced in the tent writing this blog. We didn’t really take any pictures today, so I am going to just put one up of the beautiful Blackwater River that we are fortunate enough to be near. We anticipate many happy days kayaking and canoeing here next year. You should come and join us!
I hope everyone had a glorious Thanksgiving and that everyone spent a moment remembering our military men and women and people who are volunteering their time away from home who were unable to be with their families this year. Thank you for being available to protect and help the inhabitants of the earth.
Yesterday was a slow trip from Knoxville to our property in Florida, although the weather was very nice and the traffic was pretty light for 2 days before Thanksgiving.
We are excited about getting back to our property and renewing the serenity that we once had on this little piece of acreage. There have been a lot of changes over the 8 years that we have not been able to be here very often. A natural gas pipeline company has cleared a couple of the acres so that they could put in an additional line and also to park their vehicles while it was under construction. This was not done without a fight on our end. It took them 5 years to get our approval and then only when we were threatened with court and imminent domain. As it was, we made them wait until they were sitting on the outskirts of our property and had to move forward. Did we get enough money for the destruction they caused? Absolutely not. You can’t place a price on hundred year old trees and nesting for hundreds of birds and mammals. Did we get as much as possible? We like to hope that we did.
Things have grown up in places that we once had cleared, so we will begin again with those areas. The things that matter, our fire pit, our well, and what is left of those hundred year old trees are still here and waiting with anticipation for us to return home permanently.
Sleeping in our small tent that is set up in our small room was pretty wonderful. The anticipated rain was just enough of a sprinkle to hear it on the metal roof of the building making for very pleasant sleeping. Our neighbors (who are drummers incidentally) have a cornucopia of animals and we listened to them this morning as they crowed, baaed, hee hawed, quacked, gobbled, oinked, and cackled. I don’t know what type of sound an emu makes (if it makes one at all) but I will listen for anything that sounds out of the ordinary.
We have spent this beautiful, sunny day cleaning up the fire pit and getting the restroom and showering facilities set up. Sadly, the shower has a mind of its own and has decided that today is a holiday so we are probably going to have to revert to the old way of bathing…a turkey fryer and a bowl…because it's just to cold for bathing in the river right now!
It appears that I may have tweaked my elbow and I sincerely hope not since this is the first day of 14 days here. I guess I will just have to wrap it up and suck it up! We have a lot on our plates for the 2 weeks getting everything ready for the move we have scheduled the first week of January, so I don’t have time to lollygag around with an injury.
It is time for rest.
It is time for happiness.
It is time for rejuvenation.
It is time for a dream to be fulfilled.