Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Western Navajo Nation Fair

What do people do at the Western Navajo Nation Fair? Ride the rides and eat fried food — just like at home!

The food is a little different. Instead of funnel cakes, cotton candy, and barbecue, they have fry bread, curly fries (spiral-cut potatoes), and other traditional foods.

At night, they have traditional dancing and "singing" (with drums) in the big tent.

Look at that rain coming in.

I enjoyed the festive atmosphere and elaborate costumes (my pictures are pretty blurry in the dark arena). But it was a chilly, muddy walk back to the camper at night.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Glen Canyon Dam

I hadn't planned to see Lake Powell. After the Grand Canyon, I simply drove a north to find the nearest RV park with electricity (for my heater and refrigerator), and that RV park was almost in Utah.

Although I headed south the next day for my planned destination in Arizona, I stopped briefly to visit the Glen Canyon Dam.

It's only 16 feet shorter than Hoover Dam and makes Lake Powell (which sounds like a beautiful place; people apparently see it best from boats).

I had just driven over this bridge. Doesn't that water look dark and deep?

I couldn't resist — don't you want to visit the Dam Plaza, with its Dam Outlet and Dam Bar and Grille?

I wonder if the Dam Security crews ever go there.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Grand Canyon

(Update for friends and family, Oct. 20: I was off-grid last weekend but am back in New Mexico enjoying electricity and cell phone reception. I'm working my way back east.)

Thursday, Oct. 15, I left the Scamp to fend for herself and made my way up steep roads to the North Rim.

I finally got the see the Grand Canyon! At least, a little piece of it.

I hadn't planned to go on any ambitious hikes anyway, but my legs were so shaky — possibly a little altitude sickness — I stuck to the easiest overlooks and walked very carefully. (There were a couple of ladies with canes who kept pace with me.)

Check one off my bucket list. I'm very thankful.

North Rim Lodge

Friday, October 16, 2015

I woke up here.

I drove through beautiful landscapes in Arizona, transversing the Navajo Nation on Tuesday. Only a few pictures, some through my windshield or out the window, as the car climbed mountains and came over rises to amazing views — but I have to drive first, and some of those views happened while coming down steep and curvy mountain roads.

Finally crossing the Colorado River at night, I couldn't see anything but the road. On BLM land, you can camp anywhere and they have pullover areas by the side of the road. In the dark, with tired eyes, I could barely find one. My gas heater didn't work, so it was pretty cold by morning! (and blazing hot in the afternoon at these altitudes). So I waited 'til sunrise before making coffee and stepping outside.

I woke up here Wednesday morning.

Roswell, New Mexico

I really liked New Mexico, especially Roswell. The landscape was greener than I expected, with lots of agriculture outside the medium-sized city. Of course I had to visit the International UFO Museum and Research Center! Very interesting.

Then it was back on the road, ever westward toward the Grand Canyon. I made a brief stop in Lincoln, New Mexico, where Billy the Kid made his daring jail-break (the courthouse is to the left in the picture).

I made it to Gallup after nightfall, getting a glimpse of the lights and fun of the famous Route 66, which led me to my next campsite.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Driving off into the sunset

Just a quick note to let everybody know I'm all right, as of Wednesday, Oct. 14. I've been driving most of the time, with little wi-fi and even less down time. I expect I'll be really off grid the next few days as I reach the Grand Canyon.


Driving into the sunset ain't what it's cracked up to be. You can't see! I'm very thankful for my new sunglasses. This must be why famous cowboys are all squinty-eyed.

Saturday was a long day, driving from eastern Louisiana to central Texas, finishing up on two dirt roads and a wooden bridge.

I spent Sunday with friends, including a visit to Waco, Texas.

Monday was back on the road. I made it to my next destination in New Mexico in time to relax a little and go downtown for a Mexican dinner.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Living it up on the bayou

I didn't plan on going to Florida.

I thought my cousin Michael lived in Birmingham, but he moved years ago to southeastern Alabama. After a good, but short visit, I headed south to catch Interstate 10. I don't know how Alabama got so short-changed on coastline, but somehow Florida got it all.

I drove all day across the panhandle of Florida, back into Alabama, a little bit of Mississippi, and finally into Louisiana. I was thankful for my new sunglasses and the sunny, warm weather. They're actually wanting rain down here, as the Carolinas recover from deluge.

I reached Cottonport just after dark, where my aunt and uncle greeted me with hugs and gumbo.

We've been relaxing for a few days. Unfortunately I woke up Thursday with an awful head cold; hopefully it's just allergies and all the weather changes.

Last night we ate a generous dinner with my uncle's brothers and family. (Yes, Debbie, they really do talk like that down heanh, um hmm yeah).

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

The first thousand miles

I've started to realize just how much driving this trip is going to take.

Saturday was the most grueling, with constant rain through South Carolina and curvy mountain roads at night in Georgia.

The reward was well worth it — a relaxing Sunday with my niece Christina and her family. We went out to breakfast, visited Barnes & Noble, and picked out pumpkins for Christina and her son Liam to carve. Naps in front of some football game finished out the afternoon.

Christina and I roasted veggies in the camper while Darren cooked on the grill, an excellent birthday dinner!

Darren has travelled the country on his motorcycle, so he looked over my route and shared tips about Arizona.

Monday morning I headed south to visit my cousin Michael in southern Alabama.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Getting excited!

I need a vacation to get ready for my vacation.

In less than two days I'll be on the road, fulfilling one of my bucket-list dreams of travelling across the country in my little camper!!

imperfect webcam photo
Earlier this week, I camped for one night with my sister and her friends at a local park. Between busyness and deluges of rain, I hardly prepared at all. I didn't put water in the camper tank, take chairs or even my camera. I did take my favorite pillow, a jar of good water, coffee and my coffee press. And a toothbrush. What else do you need?  :-)

I'm so excited I woke up at 3:30 this morning and couldn't sleep. Packing is far from finished, but I've accomplished major car maintenance and home electrical work this week, so my housesitter will be able to find the kitchen at night. Light is good.

My sweet coworker gave me a care package of road food today. I don't have any audiobooks so I might have to write books in my head or sing show tunes (aren't you glad you're not traveling with me?). Tomorrow is packing and errand day, despite the predicted monsoon.

Thanks to all of you who are praying for safe travels and good times.

What's that sound? *scratch, scratch* There's a fuzzy face behind the glass in my entertainment center. What's that, Amelia? *scratch, scratch* Amelia is reminding me to take an emergency DVD player. In case of rain.