Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
June, 2019 - Mount Denali, Alaska

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

White Sands National Monument

About 60 miles east of Las Cruses, New Mexico is the White Sands National Monument. It’s a 275 square mile area of white sand dunes. What an amazing site! White sand as far as you can see. Those spots in the left center of the picture are actually cars.


The sand comes from gypsum rocks in the surrounding mountains. Since there is no river to carry the run-off out of this valley, the rocks eventually crystalize and break down to create this amazing place, the largest gypsum dune field in the world!

There is an 8 mile road that takes you through some of the dunes. These pictures reminded me of Wisconsin with the sand blowing across the road and the plows creating piles along the side of the road. Except it’s 80 degrees. I like this kind of snow!



Lots of people were sledding down the dunes. There was a group of school buses at the picnic area. These kids were having a ball sliding and playing on the dunes.


Each picnic table has a metal shade structure built over it. The sand is incredibly bright. Sunglasses are a must!

There is an amazing amount of plant life growing among the dunes. I’m always so astounded how plants and wildlife can exist in the most brutal environments. There is no water other than occasional rainfall.

The Yucca plants grow fast enough to stay ahead of the sand. The higher the dune gets, the higher the plant grows. Once the dune moves on, the plant is so top-heavy it collapses. Even though these yuccas at the top of the dune look like they are only a few feet tall, their roots are actually 30 feet down at the bottom under the dune. Amazing!


Bushes grow this complex system of roots. When the dune moves on, the plants hold onto some of the sand and create little islands to stay alive.


The Visitor Center is this gorgeous adobe building. It looked practically brand new. I was surprised to learn that it was actually built in 1936 during the depression by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), an organization similar to the CCC.


We stayed at an awful campground for two nights near Las Cruses called Western Sky's RV Park. It is a Passport America park. Last week they quoted me $16 a night on the phone, but then charged $19 claiming they had a rate increase. Most sites were occupied with old run-down trailers and appeared to be permanent residents. It was noisy from interstate traffic, dogs barking and an overabundance of doves that never shut up. We would definitely not recommend that place! I can’t imagine anyone actually paying the full price to stay there.

Today we traveled about 180 miles north to Bernardo, New Mexico. We’re staying at Kiva RV Park and Horse Motel for $13 a night, the Passport America rate. There are a lot of dogs roaming around, but so far they have not been a problem. I think the camp host owns five of them. There are a lot of birds at this park, too. I think the New Mexico state bird should be the dove instead of the road runner. We have yet to see a road runner, but we sure have seen and heard plenty of doves :)

The key to success is having dreams. The mark of success is living them. ~ Unknown

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rock Hound State Park

We spent the afternoon yesterday at Rock Hound State Park.  The state parks in the southwest are certainly different than we are accustomed to.  No rivers, lakes, grass or trees with leaves on them.  However, beautiful in a different sense.  Desert scenery with mountains for a backdrop.

The park has a very nice campground with large sites and water and electric hook-ups at some of them.  The cost is $14 a night and they waive the $5 daily entrance fee.  If we had known that, we would have probably stayed at this park rather than where we are now.  No two mile dusty gravel road to travel down.

Here’s a picture from the entrance to the park.  You can see the campground on the left.  The mountains are called the Florida Mountains.


A very unique feature to this park is that visitors are allowed to take up to 15 pounds of rocks with them.  We hiked two of the trails totaling about 2 miles.  I couldn’t believe how quickly I got out of breath.  We climbed about 4,000 feet in elevation on our drive from Phoenix to Deming, and I definitely was feeling it as soon as I started climbing uphill.  Supposedly, you can find the thunderegg rocks in this park, but since we didn’t know what we were looking for, I have no idea if we saw any :)

Next, we drove a few miles to Spring Canyon State Park.  This is a day-use park with some picnic shelters.  We hiked about another mile on a trail in the canyon.  Here we are at the start to the trail.  No animal sightings.  But there sure were a lot of flies on all of the trails!  What’s up with that?


As you drive around this area, you see quite a few orchards.  I couldn’t imagine what type of fruit trees they were growing out here in the desert.  It turns out, they are pecan trees.  Did you know that the pecan tree is the only nut tree native to North America?


This area has lots of agriculture including cotton, pecans and red and green chili peppers.  It’s all about the irrigation.  I am so amazed that there are all these crops growing in the desert.  I sure have learned a lot these past few months.

It’s quite windy again today.  When we arrived, we asked the camphost if it is always this windy.  She said only in March and April.  We’ll be in New Mexico for two more weeks.  I guess we’ll find out if she was right.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Windy New Mexico

Yesterday afternoon as we neared the end of our drive it got quite windy.  The campground we are staying at is off of a county road, an unpaved road.  After driving the two miles on a gravel road in windy conditions, our truck and camper are super dusty!!!  Luckily, the wind died down in the evening so no problems sleeping.  The winds have picked up again this afternoon.  Hopefully, not all night!

We’re staying at El Rancho Lobo RV Park.  It’s a nice little campground, just a dusty two miles to get here.  We’re paying $11 per night plus 12 cents per KW hour for electricity.  That’s the Passport America price.  This is the first time we haven’t had to pay for our camping at check-in.  They said they’ll collect when we leave so they can just add the electricity.  Don’t you just love small town trust.

We’re parked in the short-term area which is a row of FHU pull-through sites with 50 amp service.  The sites are gravel, but very nice and level and there is free Wi-Fi.  Here’s our spot with our dusty truck and camper.


Today we ventured into the town of Deming which is about 10 miles from the campground.  We visited the Luna Mimbres Museum.  This is one of the nicest small town museums we have been to.  They had two floors of interesting, well laid out and well marked exhibits. 

Of particular interest to us was the display of thundereggs.  The museum has one of the world’s largest collection of these rocks.  They are egg shaped rocks which come from lava flows and have agate, quartz, opal or jasper inside of them.  They were beautiful.  I would definitely recommend a visit to this museum if you are ever in the area.

For lunch we stopped at Dairy Queen for a Blizzard treat.  It’s been over a month since I’ve had my DQ fix, so it was time.  Korey, dad says thanks for the gift card.  I second that. Awesome gift!

On the way back we stopped at the St. Clair Winery Tasting Room. 


It is New Mexico’s largest winery producing over 85,000 cases a year.  The grapes are actually grown about 50 miles from here at an elevation of 4500 feet.  The hot, sunny days, cool nights and rich sandy soil make for perfect growing conditions.  Who would have thought grapes grow in the desert.

After tasting five varieties of sweet wine, I decided I liked the PlumLoco the best.  It is a grape-based wine with plum and cherry juices added.  Delicious.  So, of course, I had to buy a bottle :)

So, we enjoyed our first day in New Mexico.  Tomorrow we will explore a nearby state park.  Stay tuned for more adventures!

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

We’re on the Move

We left Buckeye this morning and are on our way to Deming, New Mexico.  We enjoyed our stay at Leaf Verde RV Park.  The rates were very reasonable, and it was a nice place to spend a month.  Our electric charge for the month was only $31.  Quite a bit different from the $115 in Yuma.  Granted it was colder at night in Yuma, but they still charged far too much for electric; almost double what we paid at Leaf Verde.  Just my two cents worth :)

I must admit that I am baseballed out.  We attended 9 or 10 games in a four week period.  I enjoy baseball, but Kevin is the true fan in the family.  I’m sure he enjoyed every minute of it!!

I also must say that I’m disappointed in the “desert bloom”.  Everyone kept telling me how beautiful the desert is in spring.  Maybe this is just not a good year for it or we’re in the wrong part of the desert.  I haven’t seen any blooming.  The only blooming I’ve seen is the oleander bushes at the resort.  Most resorts in the desert use oleanders as privacy hedges.  There is a large row of them along the edge of the park.  They are just starting to blossom.  They are very pretty, but not the desert bloom I was anticipating.  So far, New Mexico isn’t blooming either.


We didn’t do much this week.  On Monday we had tickets for a Brewers game.  Believe it or not, it actually started raining Monday morning, and it was only in the 50s.  Brrr!

I called the ballpark, and they said the game was still on.  Since we had tickets already and it was a bobblehead giveaway day, we drove over.  We got our bobbleheads and waited a little while.  When it started raining harder and they rolled out the  tarp, we decided to call it a day.  The game ended up being cancelled.  Our tickets can be exchanged for any Spring Training game in the 2012 or 2013 season.  Good deal.  Thanks, Brewers.

We just stopped at the New Mexico Welcome Center.  I am now loaded up with brochures.  I’m sure I’ll find plenty to keep us busy for the next three weeks before we make the final trek to Wisconsin.

I’m sure glad it’s not real windy today.  There are warning signs along this portion of Highway 10 regarding zero visibility due to dust storms.  They have signs that say “don’t stop in travel lanes”.  I’m thinking that’s very good advice :)

Our drive today is about six hours.  That’s longer than we normally like to do, but there really wasn’t anywhere between Buckeye and Deming that we wanted to stay.  We’ve found Passport America campgrounds to stay in for most of our trip back to Wisconsin. So, Kevin has a longer than normal driving day today :(  I know, you’re crying for us.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Luke Air Force Base Air Show

Today we attended the Luke Air Force Base Open House which included an amazing air show.  The base hosts this event every other year, and we were lucky enough to get to see it.  The weather couldn’t have been better.  It was overcast which kept the temperatures in the 70s and made it easier to look up into the sky.  It wasn’t too cloudy to see the planes perform.

They estimated that about 200,000 people would attend.  The event was free, but parking was very limited so there was little choice but to pay $10 for parking.  After quite a long walk, we got to the runways where the show was held.  There were many planes on display to look at and tour.


The airshow started at 11:00 am and lasted until 4:00 pm.  We brought our little stools to sit on and found a place close to the main viewing area to sit.

Sixty year old Chuck Aaron is the only pilot licensed by the FAA to perform aerobatics in a helicopter.  I would have never believed a helicopter could fly upside down and do rolls.


This is an F-22 fighter jet.  Wow, was it loud!


They called this the Heritage Flight.  It represented planes from different eras in the history of the Air Force.


P1010712The Army’s Golden Knights Parachute Team put on quite an amazing demonstration.  It’s unbelievable that they can land on a small x on the ground.  They jump out of the plane at 12,500 feet where it is zero degrees and winds were 50 mph.  They fall at about 120 mph until they open their chute.  What a rush that must be.  No thanks!!





But, the highlight of the show was definitely the Air Force Thunderbirds.  The precision of these pilots is incredible.


P1010724Here are a few shots of them in action.  I didn’t get the best shots.  They’re so fast!











On Saturday we attended a baseball game between the Brewers and the LA Dodgers at Camelback Ranch Park in Glendale, AZ.  It’s a huge facility where the Dodgers and White Sox train during spring training.  It was built 3 years ago.  It was the biggest crowd we’ve seen so far with over 12,000 in attendance.  The game ended in a tie after 10 innings.  After that, they quit playing.


They had some very interesting landscaping around the park.  There were many stone walls all around made out of chain link fence boxes with rocks inside.  I’ve never seen that before.


I’ll leave you with a picture of Saturday’s Super Moon.  It was party cloudy so it wasn’t the best full moon I’ve ever seen.  However, since the media hyped it so much, I have to put in a picture.  After all, the moon won’t be this close to earth again for another 18 years.


This quote was in the RV Workers on Wheels Newsletter today.  It made me think of all the people who told us they could never do what we’re doing because of all the what ifs.  What if you get sick, what if it doesn’t work out, etc. etc.  As I told them, it’s a calculated risk we’re willing to take.  We refuse to live in fear.

Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem more afraid of life than death. ~ James F. Byrnes

Friday, March 18, 2011

An Evening Game

On Wednesday evening we went to Peoria Park to watch the Brewers beat the Seattle Mariners 5-4.  It was another nice ball park.  Most spring training games are played during the day, however this was a night game.  Since it was also spring break this week, there were tons of kids there.  Right before the game started, we witnessed yet another fantastic sunset.



On Thursday we watched the Brewers beat the Chicago White Sox at home by a score of 4-0.  It sure looks like the Brewers will have a great team this year.  Hopefully, their regular season will be as successful as their spring training season.

Thursday was a “Thirsty Thursday” game.  For $20 you get a reserved seat, a beer and a visor.  It also happened to be St. Patrick’s Day.  There was a large crowd at the game.  The Brewers really went all out for the event. 

The players wore green caps, and a leprechaun led warm up stretches.


They were serving green beer, and even the logo behind home plate was green.


It was another hot day, and we were glad to be sitting in the shade.  After the game, we went to Fatburger for supper.  I had never heard of the place, but Groupon was offering a special so I purchased it.  Since it was my first purchase on Groupon, I got a $10 credit which made the entire transaction free.

Fatburger is a fast food restaurant made to look like a diner.  They serve hamburgers, a chicken and a turkey sandwich.  We each ordered a sandwich with onion rings, Kevin had a soda and I had a shake.  The total bill was $23, but it only cost us $1.92 because we had the coupon. 

The food was decent, but definitely overpriced for a burger joint.  I didn’t really care for the breading on the onion rings, it was a bit too crunchy and dry.  The best part of the meal was the banana shake.


Today Kevin watched NCAA basketball and I did some virtual assistant work.  It was a good day for Wisconsin teams, they both won.

Welcome to new followers John and Sandy and Nantucketbreezes.  We’re happy to have you join in our adventures!

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Heart Breaks

The images from Japan are just heartbreaking.  I can’t imagine the terror and suffering those people experienced.  And now, they have to worry about radiation.  It sure makes me appreciate our good fortune even more. 

So, I won’t complain that it is supposed to be 90 degrees today :)   We actually turned on the air yesterday for a few hours.  This desert sun heats things up quickly.  The nights are beautiful!

I think it’s about time to start heading north.  We’ll be leaving Arizona a week from Thursday and making our way through New Mexico for a few weeks.  I’ve been in touch with a former co-worker from Germantown, Maria.  She lives in Taos, and we hope to meet up with her and her husband. 

We plan to be in Racine, Wisconsin on April 18th to have some repair work done on the RV.  Once we’re done there, we will head to Derge County Park in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.  We will be camphosting there for the summer.  And, the good news is that Kevin has been hired by Dodge County to be the maintenance person at the park.  He will get paid 24 hours a week to mow the lawn and other projects.  So, we get our site for the camphosting and some income from the maintenance position.  Good deal!

I’m very much looking forward to spending Easter with my family.  It will be great to see them all again! 

On Sunday we went to the Litchfield Park Art and Culinary Show in the Park.  There were quite a few booths with some amazing art.  We didn’t buy a thing, but I love to see the works created by the talented artists.  There were also some cooking demonstrations by local chefs.  It was pretty hot, so we didn’t stay to watch.  I forgot my camera, so no pictures today.

The RV park is starting to empty out.  Only about half the sites are occupied.  Although, this week is spring break for school kids in this area.  We have definitely noticed more kids in the park.  It seems many of their families have off-road vehicles, so there must be trails near here.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

More Baseball

Last Monday we met up with our friends, Paul and Anne, and their son, Andrew, at Goodyear Baseball Park to see a game between the Brewers and the Cincinnati Reds.  Paul and Anne were in Arizona for a week’s vacation.  It was so nice to see them again.  I can’t believe how big Andrew is getting!


Both baseball teams from Ohio use the Goodyear ball park for their spring training facility.  It’s another very nice park. 


We purchased lawn seats again, and enjoyed sitting in the sun. It was quite windy that day.  The Brewers won 15-2 with 25 hits.  It was a great game.


On Wednesday we all attended a game at the Brewer’s home park at Maryvale.  The Brewers lost that game to the LA Dodgers, but we still enjoyed another beautiful day.  The weather has been absolutely amazing.  It’s been in the mid to high 80s every day for several days and the forecast is for more of the same.  It cools off so nicely at night, we don’t need to use the heat or the air.  Awesome!

On Wednesday Kevin and Paul went golfing in Phoenix and had a good time.  Other than that we’ve just been taking walks, riding our bikes, and hanging out.  I have been working a few hours each day at my online virtual assistant job.  It’s going pretty well, and it’s nice to be able to earn a little extra.

We’ve now attended six baseball games with a few more on tap next week.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Monday, March 7, 2011


Yesterday we headed about 30 miles north to the city of Surprise, Arizona to attend a game between the Brewers and the Texas Rangers.  Surprise is a newer city and looked like a very nice community.  There were great looking schools, neighborhoods, shopping areas and parks.  It looked like a nice place to live.

The ball park is home to spring training for the Rangers and the Kansas City Royals.  It’s quite a bit bigger than the park the Brewers play at.  I’m not sure I liked that.  The Brewers park has such an intimate feel to it.  You feel like you can practically reach out and touch the players.

We bought lawn seats for $7 each.  It was another hot day.  Luckily, some high clouds were overhead.  The clouds along with a slight breeze made sitting in the sun pleasant.  There was no shade available for the lawn seating.  That’s not a good thing.

Here’s the view from behind home plate.  We’re sitting on the grass behind left field under the scoreboard. 


Here’s the view of the stadium from where we were sitting.


Sometimes during spring training teams will play split squad games which means the team is split in half, and both groups will play a game.  Yesterday the Brewers played split squad games.  Only 3 starters were at the game we were at.  The Rangers were playing their full squad.  They were also in the World Series last year (although they didn’t win), so they’re a good team.  The Brewers lost 8-1.  Oh well, we still had a good time.

On Saturday we went to a Brewers home game at Maryvale.  It was Robin Yount bobble head day.  The first 2,500 fans received a bobble head from last season.  The attendance was almost 6,000, and the Brewers did not disappoint.  They beat the Los Angeles Angels 2-1.

I have to tell you a funny thing I overheard a young woman say.  My family has on occasion accused me of not having common sense.  I always tell them that extremely brilliant people often lack a bit of common sense :)

This young woman must have been extremely brilliant based on her comment.  As she walked by, she said: “It must be Robin Yount day.  That must be why so many people brought their bobble head dolls.”  Obviously, she arrived too late to get one, but come on.  Too funny!

Other than attending games, we’ve been taking it easy.  We road our bikes to the grocery store on Friday and did a little laundry.  I know, tough life :)

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ball Game Number Two

Yesterday we attended a game at Maryvale Park watching the Brewers take on the Chicago Cubs.  The final score was 12 to 5 in favor of the good guys. 

What a great day.   Our team beat the hometown rivals, and the weather was fantastic with sunny skies and a high of 79 degrees.  This time we sat on the grass on the third base side so the other side of our body got the sun.  About half way through the game, we actually moved to the shade.  That sun gets hot!

Here’s the lawn seating across from us on the first base side.  You can see how there is a huge area where fans can sit on the grass and enjoy the games for a great price and soak up the rays.  This lawn seating goes around the entire outfield.


I must admit, the people watching was quite interesting.  All I have to say is that some of the female Cubs fans had some very interesting outfits!

We have heard so much about the beauty of the desert when it is in bloom in spring.  I’m not sure when that’s supposed to happen, but so far I haven’t really seen anything that I would call blooming.  I did notice that after the rain last weekend, the desert seems to be getting a fine green carpet growing on it.  It’s nice to see this green out there rather than all the brown we’ve seen the past few months.


I’ve picked up two virtual assistant clerical jobs over the last few months.  So, today was spent working online and earning a bit.  Both of these jobs are still in the initial stages, but I see potential for growth.  We’ll see how it goes.

The key to success is having dreams. The mark of success is living them. ~ Unknown

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Great Day At The Ball Park

Yesterday we attended the Milwaukee Brewers Spring Training Opening Day Game at Maryvale Park against the San Francisco Giants.  It was a beautiful day with temperatures in the mid 60s and sunny.  When the sun shines here in Arizona, it feels warmer than the temperature indicates, as long as the wind isn’t blowing too strong.

The ball park sells lawn seats for $8.  A few years ago when we were out here, we learned that you can sit on a grass hill all around the outfield and get a very good view of the game.  We brought our blanket and thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the sun and watching the game.

P1010648 As you can see, there wasn’t a very big crowd.  We were actually surprised there weren’t more people for the opening game.  We’ve heard from other people, that no one objects if you go sit in the stands if you buy lawn seats.  Obviously, it would have to be an unsold seat :)  As it gets hotter, we may try sitting in some of the shaded seats if we get too hot.

For now we were happy to sit on the grass and enjoy the sun.  We sat behind right field hoping to catch a Prince Fielder home run.  No such luck this time.  This was a split squad game so half the team was playing at the White Sox facility.  Our squad lost.  Oh well, we’re going again tomorrow.  They play against the Cubs.  It should be fun!

Even the racing sausages were in attendance.  And my favorite, Bratwurst, won.


We had some coupons for a fast food restaurant named Weinerschnitzel.  We’d never heard of it so we gave it a try after the game.  They mostly serve chili dogs.  I had a polish sandwich, and Kevin had a chili dog, chili hamburger and chili fries  He shared some fries with me :)  The food was okay, but nothing to get excited about.  We won’t go back.  We actually prefer to eat at home.  I rarely have a meal at a restaurant that I think was better than what we make at home.  And it’s usually much more expensive!

Today we road our bikes to Wal-Mart.  It’s about a 3 mile round trip.  I have a carrying pouch on the back of my bike so we were able to buy a few items.  Such an exciting day.

Merikay asked about KW hours.  Here’s what we’ve learned.  Most campgrounds charge extra for electricity if you rent by the month.  In Yuma we paid 16 cents per KW hour.  Here we’re paying 9 cents.  Obviously, rates differ greatly.  If we run everything on electric including an electric heater, we use about 30 KW hours a day.  If we run the furnace and water heater on gas, we use about 12 KW hours a day.  Depending on the price of propane, it’s usually cheaper to run heating elements on propane.  Someone told us the formula to figure it out is that one gallon of propane is equal to 22 KW hours of electricity.  So, based on that we’re currently running our water heater on electric, but using the furnace for morning heat because it is more efficient than an electric heater.  Hopefully, that explains things.  It’s probably clear as mud :)

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!