What a Year

Location: La Hacienda RV Resort, Austin, TX

03408500-E879-45BD-8E3E-F1A53632762DIt has been both the best of times, and the worst of times this year. We’ve traveled to some wonderful, and new-to-us places. We’ve spent time at places we love. I got to travel alone and have a crazy girls-week with my dear sisters. And almost all of our trips have been spent beside lakes and rivers… which for a pair of Water Signs is a pretty big deal, I’ll tell ya!

We’ve spent time with very dear friends whom we don’t get to see nearly enough to satisfy us. We have met some very nice couples as we’ve traveled, become friendly with great park hosts and crew… even went so far as applying for a job in Durango, which we didn’t get. Maybe next time!

But, even while we are out having adventures, life rolls along the way it always does. We lost some very dear friends this year: Michele, Dennis, and Kim all left this beautiful blue marble way too early, to go on the Ultimate Adventure.

My son has been ill, so we have stayed here in a “home-base” park for the last three months to help him. He’s feeling better, and now I am enjoying catching up with friends. I’m sure you’ve noticed that my writing schedule has been all messed up, but I’m certain you understand, right?

On the plus-side, we have worked out our wi-fi connectivity issues, and done both some preventive maintenance and repairs on the coach that would have been very challenging if we’d been elsewhere.

Lots of people told me they dream of “running away,” thinking that’s what we are doing… but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I believe that we are more fully and intimately engaged in Life. And we are even more determined to spend as much one-on-one time with the people we love as possible.

Wishing you all a wondrous Holiday Season… and a Happy, Healthy, New Year.

XO Donna

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A Flexible Life

I’m writing at my home-away-from-Home-office, Starbucks. There are 15 people in here, working.
Behind me is a woman being interviewed by a recruiter. I hear the word “over-qualified,” and the (over-used phrase) “let me reach out to her.” Continue reading

Frozen

Date: January 8

Location: West of Austin, TX

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As I write this, we are prepping for another 16 degree night at a park, “glamping” again. Why? Well, I’ll tell ya – we chose not to winterize our RV because here in Texas it can be in the high 70’s and then tumble down to the 30’s or 20’s in one day.

Continue reading

Run, Rabbit, Run!

I live in Austin, right smack-dab in the middle of the the state. The Heart of Texas. On a road trip it takes a whole day of driving to get outside of state lines, and when you’re driving westward, as we were on our way to Santa Fe for Thanksgiving, it can get flat-out boring after a while.

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Photo from GuerrillaGraphix.com

If you are squeamish, you may want to STOP reading now. There is no delicate way to put this, since there is no synonym in Webster’s Thesaurus for roadkill.

In my boredom, I began doing something I’d never done before; I whipped out my phone and kept a Roadkill Tally in the Notes.

I’m sure this isn’t a new car-game, but I think HASBRO could make money off of this. As I began adding things to my ever-increasing list, three things stood out to me:

1) There is a really wide variety of critters here in Texas.
2) The deer and rabbits disproportionately outnumbered everything else.
3) While there was a ridiculous amount of roadkill in Texas, there was a definite deficit of dead things in New Mexico. 

This came up, of course, over cocktails with our friends when we finally arrived in Madrid. Randy had noticed that too, “Why do you think that is that when you cross into New Mexico there’s no roadkill?” Truth is, it’s not something you want to ponder too much, so we dropped the subject, but not before I dropped the bomb – I saw a dead Mountain Lion!

I had wanted to turn around and go back when I saw it, not out of morbid curiosity, but because I couldn’t believe my eyes! I’d never want to run into such an amazing, yet deadly, creature if he were alive. In the end, we didn’t go back because it’s not easy to turn around a motor-home towing a truck.

My Roadkill Tally:
30+ Deer, 7 Coyotes, 8 Opossum, 9 Skunk, 10 Raccoon, 2 Cats, 40+ Rabbits, 1 Mountain Lion, 2 Roadrunners, 2 Fox, 1 Giant Toad, 1 Owl, 3 Ring-tail Cats, 1 Armadillo, 1 Turkey Vulture. (Mind you, this is not counting “the indistinguishable.” Remember, I’m not morbid.)

I hope that Mountain Lion now has  an endless desert with lots of prey, and no highways in his heavenly hunting ground.

XO Donna

 

 

*Note – Article title is respectfully filched from John Updike’s brilliant book.

 

 

My Three “Rs”

imageRun-down, Run-up, Run away!

As we prepare for our maiden voyage in the RV, these have become my new “three Rs.” How is it that something meant to give you the freedom to run away at a the drop of a hat, needs so many check-lists?

These lists are our version of “Zen and the Art of Motorhome Maintenance.” They will mean not having to worry as we head down the road, because all systems will be go! They mean when I’m hungry, there will be food in the fridge. When we offer our hospitality to friends old, or new, we will have something in the bar to serve them. And at the end of a long, exciting day we will be able to sleep well because we have pillows, sheets, and fresh towels. (and T.P. of course!)

When I was younger, I was always the most-prepared in my group, but I always up for an adventure, and always a good sport about whatever went wrong. All of the screw-ups provided great stories to tell, and retell.

Now, I prefer a bit more luxury and comfort. A tad more predictability…like knowing where I will sleep and that I’ll have coffee and cream when I wake up. I’ve gotten spoiled, I guess. I’ve also learned that we can’t plan for everything.  Life, on it’s own terms, is one hell of an adventure!

I will run-down my checklists. And like a good pilot, my partner will do his run-up on the RV and it’s systems. You can simultaneously be prepared, and still be open to synchronicity and serendipity. Running-away is so much nicer that way.

XO Donna

Independence Day

We are moving next week, in order to make our nomadic dream into a dream-come-true.  As a result, we found ourselves up to our asses in boxes, bubble-wrap, and packing tape with no plans for the 4th of July.

In the past we have been out of town with friends. Usually we have taken our motorcycles and headed northwest for a respite from the Texas heat. As we packed boxes, we reminisced about all of the “cool” times we have spent elsewhere, and the great fireworks we had seen. Or not seen.

Last year we rode to Telluride with our group, looking forward to a  small local parade and fireworks show like in the past. Unfortunately, Telluride had been “discovered” and the crowds were unexpected and unbelievable. Unwilling to stand in line for hours (seriously, hours!) we didn’t get to see the fireworks.

austinfireworksWe felt a little disappointed to be missing the fireworks again, when we heard the first cannon boom. We crawled off the sofa, and walked to our patio door – lo and behold, the country club across the road was having a fireworks display! There were hundreds of boats on the water below. What a sight!

We sat out on our third-floor balcony watching the fireworks as if they were our own private show, laughing over our good fortune! I hate to admit it, but sometimes everything you need is right in your own backyard.

XO Donna