Fixing a Hole

… where the rain gets in.

And, just like in the Beatles song, it stopped my mind from wandering. There’s nothing like getting out of bed first thing in the morning and having water squish through your toes to wake you up!

imageWe are good detectives and quickly figured out the general vicinity of the leak, and a temporary solution: close the slide! After drying it as much as humanly possible, we aimed a fan on it, and let it run all day and into the evening. The carpet finally dried out.

Days later, when it stopped raining, we discovered that the topper covering the slide was torn. I volunteered to climb up on the roof, bringing my trusty roll of duct tape with me.  In the end, it was all for naught… when we closed the slide again it tore my artfully arranged duct tape right off!

We drove our RV down to Houston last week, where we put it in the shop with a mechanic who comes highly recommended by our motor-home manufacturer. Besides the leaking slide, we gave him a “honey-do list.” He is a good-natured man, and took it all in stride.

He’s been keeping us updated; it should be ready sometime next week. We will pick it up, celebrate with dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant – El Tiempo in Montrose – then drive home in the morning to begin packing for a trip up north, which includes a detour to Lincoln, NE, then on to Wisconsin to see 2/3 of my sisters.

It was 91 degrees here today, and I am more than ready for some cool weather, autumn color, and apple cider!

What’s the weather like where you are?

XO Donna

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One Perfect Day

In eight days of staying in our motorhome and learning the ropes,  we had only one sunny day. And, woo-doggy, it was a beauty! It was warm, instead of scorching hot or raining cats & dogs. Fluffy white clouds floated across the sky in a checkerboard pattern, pushed along by a soft breeze.

This is the kind of weather we dream of down here in Texas!

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I took a long walk in the morning, and it was so nice that I did it again in the evening.  Then I pulled out my camera as the sun was setting, to document what was right outside my windshield.

One perfect day in a summer filled with rain; the fourth wettest August on record.

Lest all the campers in the park get any ideas that this is what Austin is like all of the time, (and make plans to move here) the next day was hot and rainy and gray again. I’m certain they were glad to pack up and get home. I hate to admit it, but I sure was.

XO Donna

Goldilocks Goes Big

For the past year I have felt like Goldilocks…trying to find an RV that is “just right.”

It seems like it ought to be easy,  but with so many choices we have gone ’round and ’round in circles over this. We started out believing that what we wanted was a motorhome. But we had to rule out a trailer, which included my dream of a shiny, iconic Airstream. I’m all for an Airstream, but after attending a few RV shows and wandering through a number of them, I understand the reasons my honey isn’t.

Then we thought a Toy-Hauler would be a good idea. They are “The Mullet” of motor-homes: all business in front – bedroom/bath/kitchen, and party in the back – a garage for motorcycles and all of their necessary gear. Some even have an elevated deck in back, although I don’t know why you’d need one when you have ground everywhere. We looked at a few, and came THIS CLOSE to buying one. But didn’t.

Early this month we returned to looking in earnest for a motorhome, but couldn’t find the right one: this one’s too small, this one’s too big, this one’s too gaudy. Seriously, some of these look like they were custom-designed for Liberace! It was a challenge to find one with just the right combination of esthetics, size, age, mileage and price.

imageBut we finally did!  Here is my new home-away-from-home. Beautiful, and a bit (okay, a lot) intimidating. But if little old ladies from Pasadena can drive these babies, I figure I can, too.

Now, off to learn to co-Captain this behemoth.

XO Donna

Last Leg

We left Terlingua after breakfast; another shockingly tasty meal accompanied by great coffee. We headed north to Marfa on our way to Alpine and the Holland Hotel, where we’d spend the night before heading home the next morning. The weather was great, the riding easy and beautiful.

We rolled into Marfa in the early afternoon, hungry. After trying two places for lunch and being told we were too late, we hoped we’d have some luck at The Capri, across the street from The Thunderbird Hotel. We’d missed lunch there, too, but we did have delicious cocktails and the guys had ice-cold beers.  When I remarked about the beautiful etched glasses our drinks were served in, the bartender told us a story about a person with no arms doing the etching with their feet.

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Turns out, the story is true. The company, Rose Ann Hall, is run by Charlie Hall, in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. They create glassware that’s both blown and etched on site with delicate floral designs. They also do traditional colored glasses and blue-rimmed glass. I learned that Charlie Hall does indeed seek out employees with physical limitations in order to give back to the disabled community that helped him.

If you are ever heading to Marfa, remember two things: Get there in time for lunch, or you’ll have to go hungry until dinnertime.  And stop by The Capri for a cocktail (I had a Hibiscus Margarita on the rocks) to support a place that supports artisans of that caliber.

Tell them you heard about their beautiful glassware.
XO Donna

Got to get away…

It’s funny how songs just pop into your mind and get stuck there, isn’t it?
All week long I’ve been humming an old song that visited me out of nowhere. And, when I say old, I mean really old…it’s a song by Canned Heat called “Going Up the Country,” recorded in 1968 and popularized the next year at Woodstock.

The lyrics will give you an insight into my state of mind after this week: Taxes were due. It’s been raining cats & dogs. Just when you think politics can’t get any stupider, Ted Cruz did…you really can’t make this stuff up!  As the final straw, we both had the flu…causing us to miss a much anticipated wedding.

What’s a gypsy to do?

I’m going up the country, babe, do you want to go?
I’m going up the country, babe, do you want to go?
I’m going to someplace where I’ve never been before.
I’m gonna leave this city, got to get away.
I’m gonna leave this city, got to get away. 
All this fussing and fighting, man, you know I sure can’t stay.

Twisty redwoods

XO Donna

 

Indecisive

In two weeks, it will be a year since we sold our house. A year since we down-sized like crazy. A year since we were going to purchase a motor-home and take off.

The other night we laughed at all the things that we still haven’t done: the stuff sitting in the stairwell that I haven’t taken given away, bags of books that haven’t gone to PhaetonrearHalf-Price Books, and one more round of Goodwill goodies that need to get gone.

A lot has happened, all of it good, but we are no closer to buying our dream home-on-wheels than we were. ..and our lease is up in three months!

Push has come to shove…stay tuned.
XO Donna

The world at my doorstep

As much as I love to travel, it’s pretty cool when things come to me!

We live right across the road from the Austin Country Club. For the last few months we’ve been seeing lots of work going on over there, and we’ve even spied on them with binoculars from our balcony. Turns out, they were getting ready to host a PGA golf tournament!

I don’t play, but my darlin’ used too. The closest I’ve been to a nice golf course is driving  along the 17 Mile Drive past Pebble Beach in CA.  I admire the beauty of the courses, the skill of the players, and have a lot of respect for the game. We just recently watched “The Legend of Bagger Vance.”

The closer it got to the day of the tournament, the crazier the traffic got around our place, and with all of that buzz, we wished we could go see just a little bit of it. After all, we can walk there!

imageOpening day. 7:22 a.m. My phone rings. It’s a dear friend, “Hey, could you two use two tickets to the golf tournament across the street from your house? They’re for today and we can’t go. I thought of you.”

We attended a PGA golf match! I got to see the bridge I look at every day from my 3rd floor, from down on the water. We walked the path along the beautifully updated greens. And we have some souvenir glasses and some  great photos, even though we were chastised for taking them.

Later on the news, we saw Tom Kite being interviewed. He welcomed everyone who’d come to visit Austin and attended the tournament. He told them to have fun, but NOT to move here because our traffic is already so bad.

We had a good laugh over that. Good thing we live close enough walk!

XO  Donna

A damned gypsy

My Mom used to say it lovingly, perhaps even with a touch of envy. Every time I’d say I wanted to go somewhere, she’d say, “You’re just like your grandfather…a damned gypsy!”

I didn’t know him very well, since we lived in New York and he lived in St. Louis, but I still remember what he smelled like – sweat from hard work,  Borax soap, and fresh tobacco.

Grandpa would sit beside me on the porch swing while he’d roll a cigarette and smoke. This was the early 1950’s. My skinny  little legs stuck straight out in front of me, his long skinny legs, stretched out before him, barely moved as he rocked us.  He’d talk to me, rather than at me, and he listened intently. I always felt important around him.

On one visit, Grandpa took me to the Five & Dime and bought me a toy gun and holster set just like my hero, Roy Rogers. And perhaps as an afterthought, a fancy pair of suede gloves with fringe just like Dale Evans.

imageHe worked on the railroad, so he traveled a lot and told me stories of the places he’d been. Between my Dad buying me a Lionel train set for my first birthday, and my galavanting Grandpa, is it any surprise that I grew up to be a gypsy ?

I think not.

XO Donna

 

Ojo Caliente

Finally,  a day here in Austin that actually feels like winter. It’s cool, damp, and overcast (yes, that’s what winter feels like here).  I put on a big sweater and made oatmeal with cinnamon and raisins.  Now the apartment is redolent with their sweetness (to me, that’s what winter smells like).

As I look out the window, all I can think about is Ojo Caliente, outside of Santa Fe. I haven’t been in hot water in so very long. Soaked in it, that is. imageOjo has been a favorite soaking spot since the early 90’s.

First time I was here it was shabby, but in a hippyish way. The screen door at the main building slammed shut when you let it go because the old, coiled spring had been adjusted to within an inch of it’s life.

The pools are the stars here: Iron Pool. Soda Pool. Lithia Pool, even Arsenic Pool. Once held sacred by the indigenous Native Americans who lived here,  and believed to have restorative properties, I think in our own modern ways, we recognize their sacredness, too.

They spring from the ground at the base of a large, protective cliff.  As I soak, I imagine scouting parties up on the ridge watching over the land. Signs remind you to “Whisper” so that all can enjoy the peaceful environment.

Hello silence, my old friend.  When mixed with a bit of arsenic and iron, blue sky and red dirt, you’ve got the recipe for bliss in the middle of winter.

XO Donna

All I Want

…to do is have some fun. Don’t get me wrong, I’m having fun. And I am so close to finishing my book, yet all I can do is daydream about a road-trip. Almost to the exclusion of sitting down and doing my work.

There are so many places calling to me, but the one that tugs hardest at my heart-strings is an old silver-mining town just outside of Santa Fe.

Madrid in snowMy heart is like a homing pigeon where the desert is concerned. Set her free, and she flies straight for the arroyos, mesas, and red dirt. It was just about this time six years ago that I went to the desert in crisis and returned with a clear mind and a sense of direction.

This time the desert will be my reward, the carrot on the end of the stick, waiting for me to complete my revisions. With my work done I can fly away for a while. All I want is to walk in the desert, hear the coyotes yipping, see the stars in a dark sky, and get some red dirt on my cowboy boots.
That’s what I call fun!

XO Donna