Winter Journey Part II — Getting There

Ok, so I’m not going to give you a travelogue blog, as you can tell by the absence of posts since October, almost exactly 3 months ago.  Equally obviously, I am still finding how I will use this blog.  Look for some posts on, or inspired by, anthropology. For example, this one. But today, I would like to fill in the gaps in the journey we started on October 28th (of 2015).

Cindy in the driver's seat of the Chevy, pulling the SunnyBrook 5th-wheel RV. Somewhere west of the Mississippi.
Cindy in the driver’s seat of the Chevy, pulling the SunnyBrook 5th-wheel RV. Somewhere west of the Mississippi.

Our trip was successful and adventurous without being overwhelming or presenting insurmountable disasters.  We visited friends in northern Ohio, spent a few days in the Lexington, Kentucky, area, and stopped for 3 nights in Chandler, Oklahoma, for Cindy to complete a few teletherapy appointments.  Then there was the Saturday in Amarillo, Texas, when we had to have a blockage in the black water drain pipe removed (for those not familiar with RV-jargon, think toilet waste).  Further details need not be shared.

Other “learning opportunities” presented by our older RV included replacing the power center (to keep the batteries charged) in Ohio, before we go far enough south to feel the warmth. And an older propane tank started to leak, so needed a new valve.  So we had a few days here and there where the equipment distracted us from the pleasure of the journey, but looking back it was still a nice way to see the country.

Tulsa as seen in passing
Tulsa as seen in passing

Our longest driving day was a little over 300 miles. This may not be much for some of you road warriors, but our goal was to move about 250 miles each day.  We learned that our SunnyBrook 5th Wheel RV (converted to a gooseneck hitch) is probably at the high end of the towing range for our Chevy Silverado 1500, so we headed south from Albuquerque, New Mexico towards Las Cruces. This allowed us to drive west to Tucson, Arizona, without crossing the higher elevations between Albuquerque and Flagstaff, Arizona.

Huevos Rancheros from Sofia's Kitchen
Hueveos Rancheros with red sauce, at Sofia’s Kitchen

It was a good choice, both for the truck and for us–we had never been through southern New Mexico before and found it quite enchanting.  We highly recommend Sofia’s Kitchen in Socorro, New Mexico!  Maybe it was just the change in landscape after driving through Oklahoma and Texas. But we enjoyed the mesas and canyons, and have put this region on our “return to explore” list.

The most sheltered of the 3 miniature dachshunds is, at times, the best traveler.  Although he, Simon, does have trouble not barking at strangers and strange sounds. Since both of these appear or occur frequently in RV Campgrounds, we’ve been practicing “not barking” quite frequently.

Miniature dachshunds on the sofa
Miniature dachshunds resting during the journey. L to R: Luke, Glory, Simon

We discovered that we do pretty well living small!  As Cindy says, I have learned to move more slowly and deliberately around the space, compared to strolling about a larger house. We were successful reducing our possessions, decorations, and clothing to just what we needed.  We were not successful disconnecting from the wider world via the Internet!  In every place we stop, the quality of the Internet connection is a top concern.  The budget stretched a bit to accommodate external antennas for the Verizon Jetpack and for the WiFi reception on our laptops.  We like to think this is a priority because we are both using the Internet to stay connected to our jobs, as a therapist and a website designer.  But we must admit it is critical for entertainment, too!  We do not have a TV in this RV, so web browsing, email, ebooks, and streaming video are important in our daily routine.

Our other favorite area, between western New York and southern Arizona, is the bluegrass region of central Kentucky. No surprise that as horse owners/lovers we would be drawn to this place as have thousands before us.  It is high on our list of possible places to settle when our rambling days are over.

Truck and RV at Harmony and Health Foundation Campsite
Arrival at Harmony & Health Foundation campsite; late afternoon, 11/11/15.

We made it to our destination! We pulled in to our campsite at the Harmony and Health Foundation’s land off of Ajo  Highway (west of Tucson) on November 11th.




SunnyBrook RV at campsite.
SunnyBrook ready for the desert.

This IS the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona, but we arrived just in time for a “cold snap” with night-time temperatures as low as 27 degrees and daytime temperatures getting into the 60s.  Still, there was plenty of sun and not a single flake of snow.  We were NOT complaining!


Looking east from our campsite at the Tucson Mountains.
Looking east from our campsite, over the tops of mesquite trees, at the Tucson Mountains. (The tipi on the right is the “prayer tipi” at Harmony and Health Foundation, erected under direction of a Native American artist.)

See Part III of Winter Journey, Living in a Mesquite Bosque.

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