From Wild Open Spaces To The Land Of Trees and Lakes

I say an emotional good-bye to Fred and Colleen, and head east, slowly.

IMG_2182A rainbow out at the farm.

While at camp sites I keep busy planning my journey, figuring out where I’ll stay over the next few months, and making reservations.  I’m late doing it, so some of the places I’d like to stay on Lake Superior are filled.  I do manage to get a few (5 actually) lakeside nights in July, AND they are pull through!

FullSizeRender.jpgHere is Colleen and Fred’s, Daisy, wearing lilacs in her lilac colored collar.

I must say, I’ve never seen so many lilacs.  I’m in the right place at the right time for them.  They are one of my favorite flowers, and the fragrance sparks memories all the way back to my childhood.


At the KOA Kampground in Bismarck, ND.


We are in Minnesota now, and the landscape has changed from the wide open prairie where you can see for 30 miles, easily, to trees, and trees and more trees, and water…lakes and rivers that are full.

IMG_3846A really nice trail in Walker, MN.

We are actually at the very eastern edge of Minnesota, and the vast Lake Superior lies before us, as we take the North Shore Drive near Duluth.

IMG_2199Foggy morning on the Lake Superior shoreline.

The past few days have been cold and blustery with rain and drizzle.  That’s the way spring is though, and I’m just trying to be thankful for the rain.  Wish I could share it with Colleen and Fred, since western ND has been on the dry side this spring.

Once again the beauty and diversity of this earth amazes me.  Gazing out at Lake Superior in the fog is mesmerizing.

Most of the first half of my life was spent in Michigan and I’m looking forward to spending time there this summer…we are almost there…Monday we should be entering the Upper Peninsula!

I’ve lacked good connectivity for some days now, and haven’t been able to post.  Even now, I had to take a drive to send this blog out.  But we’re still here!


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North Dakota Friends

First I just want to say thank you for the caring comments I received after the last post.  I appreciate your support, prayers and kindness.  We are doing well, and couldn’t be in a better place than here on the farm with Colleen and Fred.  Just a note, I met Colleen and Fred in Arozona at Caballo Loco Ranch, and they have been kind and helpful from Day One.  These are GOOD people.  Folks don’t get much better.

We blew in here with the big winds over a week ago now, and had no trouble finding the place due to this….


welcome sign out by the mailbox.

We are waaay up here in….


where the scenery is often….

IMG_3737like this….

FullSizeRenderand this.  It’s wide open spaces everywhere you look.

Fred and Colleen have a farm/ranch up here, and this property has been in Fred’s family for 75 years.  Spring is a busy time, but they have invited me here to spend time together, show me the sights, and so I can have some time to…get my head together.


Wandering Spirit is parked around back, where we are living in the house, but WS is just steps from the door.

IMG_3778View from the front.

IMG_2151Sunrise out my window.

IMG_3759There have been fences to repair. (Daisy and Fred.)

IMG_3793And the food garden to plow.

IMG_3787Cows to care for.

IMG_3791Joy and Shiloh have a healthy respect for the turkeys.  They have adapted well to being farm dogs!

IMG_3779The windmill.

IMG_3697The Cannonball river runs through the property.  Here it is at sunset.

Fred and Colleen helped me with some target practice.


IMG_3745Not bad, eh?

We saw the Bad Lands at Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

IMG_3764Colleen and I.

IMG_3770Wild Horses…also at TRNP.

And the Missouri River near Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park.


During this time I’ve been getting my balance back, so to speak, and trying to make decisions.  I’ve kept busy while I think, with all of the above, and I’ve washed and waxed WS and JR (Colleen helped).  I’ve taken everything out of WS including the bed, and cleaned.  Fred put a new TV support up for me, because the last one broke.

We’ve had some Margaritas, watched some movies, I’ve gotten my NCIS fix, and we’ve done lots of visiting. The days have been full!  As far as I know I’m going to continue with my previous plans and go on to Michigan.  I’m losing some of the anxiety and fearfulness that had been gripping me for awhile there.  I’ll try to take one day at a time, as much as possible, and keep listening to my heart.

Joy is hanging in there.  Her legs are weak, but so far she is managing, and enjoying her life.  She has a strong spirit.

IMG_2148Another day begins.  I am thankful for each one.

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Wandering and Wondering

Yes, I wonder as I wander.

I wonder at the beauty all around me, and how amazing and precious nature is, and how I can hardly take it in sometimes.

Sharing it with you all, somehow helps.


I wonder about life here…and elsewhere, and what it all means.  “The universe is a pretty big place.  If it’s just us, seems like an awful waste of space.” (Carl Sagan)

I wonder about Spirit, and ‘religion’ and war and peace and how long the USA can continue on in its present political condition.

I wonder why dogs have so much shorter life spans than humans, and how I’m going to handle it if my Joy leaves me.



I wonder about compassion and kindness and love and indifference, and about the suffering of humans, and the needless suffering we subject animals to because we want to eat them.

My Wondering has caused me to imagine what this vast prairie land was like when herds of buffalo and native people roamed it and called it home …before there were electric lines and pipelines and traffic lines.  When the Wild grasses grew everywhere and nature ruled …before it became one giant feed-lot for mankind.  And womankind.  Oh!  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s still beautiful…heartbreakingly beautiful.  But I still wonder…

IMG_2073We saw some buffalo/bison around the Custer State Park area.  Wow.


I wonder why money and power mean so much and why peace and living in balance upon the earth mother , mean so little.

Oh, I could go on and on about the things I wonder, but I mostly want to mention my new Wondering, and those are the questions, how long do I want to continue wandering?  Am I still enjoying this like I did at first?  If I ‘settle’ somewhere will I be satisfied, or will I promptly want to go wandering again?

IMG_2105Honestly I’d be happy in a place about this size.

I envisioned doing this for a much longer time and there are still places I’d like to go, things I’d like to do, and people I’d like to see.  But right now I’m feeling insecure and a bit anxious.  Driving is making me nervous and I have a bit of a ‘heavy’ feeling, for lack of a better word.  I don’t know if it’s my natural insecurities raising their heads…because I have a lot of those…or if it’s my intuition speaking.

I think I need some time to get my head together.

I might be quiet here for awhile while I try to sort this out.

Right now we are in Piedmont, South Dakota, just north of Rapid City and on the eastern edge of the Black Hills.  In a few days we will be on our way to North Dakota to visit friends Colleen and Fred, who we met at Caballo Loco Ranch this winter…well actually we met them two winters ago, the first time we went there.

Since we’ve been near Rapid City we have visited The Mammoth Site, where over 100 mammoths drowned in a pit 26,000 years ago and their bones are being studied now.

{I’m having a lot of trouble with pictures right now, so can’t show you all I’d like to}

We’ve driven in the Black Hills near Custer State Park and watched the buffalo, explored Rapid City, Hotsprings, and Spearfish, and we drove through Spearfish Canyon, have seen Lead and Deadwood.

Its gotten cold…very cold, with nights in the low 20’s and days only reaching 40.  It has snowed too.


I’m ok.  I’m just questioning things right now and not sure, after my visit with Colleen and Fred, which direction I’ll head…east, or west.  I’m literally changing my mind from day to day…even from hour to hour.

When I make some kind of decision, I’ll be letting you know!


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Some Interesting RV Parks

We are taking he roads less traveled…at least somewhat less traveled…through mid-America, aka The Heartland.

We go from south to north, Through Texas and Oklahoma on Highway 54, then through Kansas and Nebraska on Highway 83.  The scenery is gently rolling hills, fields, some planted but most not yet.  I rarely see another RV though there are no shortage of big trucks and they are all passing me.  Yes, I mean ALL, as I travel 55-60 mph, which is below the speed limit but comfortable for me and within the safe range for WS.


Saturday night we stop in Guymon, OK, at the Corral Drive-In and RV Park.  Yup, there is a drive-in theatre here (not open for the season yet), and also an RV repair shop and a pizza parlor.

FullSizeRenderThe RV repair shop.


They’ve got it all!.  A nice young couple own the place.  They are RV’ers themselves and have made the sites nice and large ( but the trees are still small.)

Sunday we Arrive in Oakley, KS at High Plains Camping.  I get a nice site with a tree.  There aren’t many trees among the sites but there are only a few people here today.  Yes nice site, but the woman who owns the place has Attitude with a capital A.  I give her the benefit of the doubt…it’s Easter and she would probably rather not be working.  Later I meet her husband and he seems to be in the same mind set as his wife.  Maybe they had a fight?  Then as I read the handout they gave me with a map and rules, etc, I see that this attitude is the norm for them.  It mentions how they have cameras all over the park and will be watching everything I do!  Alrighty then!  I won’t be back!  No pictures, sorry.

We spend Monday and Tuesday nights in North Platte, NE at I-80 Lakeside Campground.


I thought the dandelions were a nice touch! 😀

This is a huge park surrounding a little lake between the South Platte River and I-80, and yes you can see and hear the traffic going by, still it’s a nice place.    The young couple who own it just bought it last year and they are working hard to fix it up.  It’s a day use Park as well and there are picnic tables randomly placed all the way around the lake.


Joy and Shiloh went swimming twice!


I noticed in these pictures that Shiloh holds his tail out of the water and Joy doesn’t.


After the dips, there are the obligatory rolls.  Oh my, what a mess!


More dandies!  So pretty!



Joy rolled in dandelions and got yellow on her head.


Flowering trees in bloom!



Tonight, Wednesday, we are at Cabelas RV Park and Campground in Sidney, NE.  It’s first come, first serve, pick your own site and pay at the store.


More dandys!


My view of the side and back of Cabelas.

These RV Parks ran from $19 (Cabelas) to about $35 a night.  Weather has been windy and cloudy most of the time, but no rain.  Or snow. ☺️

Tomorrow if all goes according to plan, we should arrive in South Dakota!

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Let’s Talk About Octane…

And Other Things

Did you know that’regular’ gas is not the same in every state?

When I bought JR (my truck) back in 2012, I read the instruction manual!


It says right on page 397 (!) that for the “3.5 L V6 EcoBoost engine, regular unleaded gasoline with a pump octane rating of 87 is recommended.  Some stations offer fuels posted as ‘regular’ with an octane rating below 87, particularly if in high altitude areas.  Fuels with octane rating below 87 are not recommended.”

So I knew that, and have pumped mid grade gas in the past with an octane rating of 88 when I saw on the pump that what was labeled ‘regular’ was rated 86.

But recently, I goofed.  I needed gas badly.  I NEVER go below a quarter tank, except this time.  It was close to empty, we were in Durango, Colorado, and I filled my tank, not realizing I was using 86 octane Shell gasoline.  Yeah, I didn’t notice….until I was going up a hill…a long gradual incline….and it felt like I was going over bumps, but there were no bumps in the road.  And then the engine light started flashing yellow.  Oops.  The feeling of bumps….that was ‘knocking’.

On the down side of the hill the knocking stopped and the engine light went off, and things seemed ok.  It did happen again a few times, along with some backfiring!  Poor JR!  As soon as there was room in the tank for more gas I started adding premium with an octane rating of 91 or 90, depending where I bought it.  I’ve continued to do that and I think JR has forgiven me and her engine is ok, since we’ve been doing fine on hills the last few days.

I’m relating this story so you will be aware, in case you were not, or if you were aware you will be careful, as I was not.

Ok, change of subject.  Two days ago we arrive at the KOA in Tucumcari, NM and we get a nice site.


I have reserved one night but because of scary weather ahead on my route I ask to stay a second night and they are able to accommodate me.  The plan was to travel up into the panhandle of Oklahoma, but a cold front and a warm front are coming together close to my route and thunderstorms, large hail and maybe even a tornado is being forecast.

I enjoy the KOA which is one of the less developed ones…very laid back with lots of open space, and even some wildflowers.


Also there are bunnies everywhere.  Easter bunnies?  I don’t know, but Shiloh is highly entertained.

Me, who started out not liking KOA’s much, has stayed in them so often that they have sent me a VIP card, no charge.

We get quite a lightening show this evening….continual lighting of the sky in the distance, but not close enough to hear the thunder.  According to The Weather Channel, there was baseball sized hail and a ‘super cell’ that put out a number of tornados.  As it turns out they were not right on my route, but close…very close….and I’m glad I stayed put.


Very poor picture of lightening in the distance.

Today, Saturday, we proceed.  More bad weather is forecast for this evening, but it’s just a little farther east.  We make it safely to Guymon, Oklahoma, having passed through a tiny piece of Texas to get here.


It’s not often one can pass through Texas in a single day!


Plus spend some time in New Mexico and Oklahoma too!



Joy, Shiloh and I wish you a blessed holiday!


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Mesa Verde Museum (add on)

This will be short!

Yesterday in the blog I got so carried away telling you about my first experience at the museum, I forgot to mention going there this time.  I guess that’s important to me because I was feeling a bit anxious about it.


I try to prepare myself mentally and emotionally for what I might see there.  What if I see ‘my’ pot again?

Yes, what I might see, but I don’t see.  Phew, I’m almost relieved, but also a little bit let down.  Well, it’s been about 27 years, and displays have probably changed 27 times or more.


‘My’ pot was very similar to the one at center top.

The following pictures I took just because the pottery and the designs are interesting to me.




Ok, that’s my little add on!  Heading back to Gallup today, and then east, simply to avoid towing WS through the Rockies while the weather is so unstable.

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I ❤️ Mesa Verde and Hovenweep

Years ago I visited Mesa Verde…at least I went to the museum and Spruce Tree House, because I was on vacation, and time was of the essence.  But it was enough.

Ok when I tell you this experience I had back then you’ll probably think I’m whacko…oh well, I probably am.

It’s maybe 1990, I’m alone walking through the Mesa Verde Museum when I see a small ancient pot, ( the place has many pots)  and the strangest feeling comes over me.  My thought is ‘That’s mine!  I made that!’  I’m instantly in shocked surprise and simultaneously feeling silly at such a thought and having a major emotional reaction.  I had to get out of there.  I hadn’t been much of a believer in reincarnation so I have no explanation of where the thoughts or strong feelings came from.  This is one of 3 strange reactions I had while I was on that vacation.  Returning home, that fall I signed up for a pottery class at the local community college.  I recreated that pot and I still have it among my meager possessions in Mary’s garage.  In class I found that I enjoyed making pottery with coils the most, and using the wheel held no interest for me.


Back in the present, it’s too early in the season for tours at Mesa Verde ( I wouldn’t go anyway, due to the dogs) but all the overviews are open and many are quite dramatic, such as afore mentioned Spruce Tree House and the Cliff Palace.  All in all there are more than 600 cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park, not to mention other dwellings which brings the total up to around 4000!  This was a heavily populated area 800 years ago!

FullSizeRenderSpruce Tree House.

FullSizeRenderI enjoy being here.  It just feels good.

FullSizeRenderNot sure of the names of the rest of these houses.  Notice the Kivas here?  The big round holes.  They used to have log ceilings.


There is a campground at Mesa Verde,not yet open for the season, and when it is reservations are needed.  I’m staying right across from the park and Hwy 160 at the Ancient Cedars RV Resort.  It’s nice enough, and a clean Good Sam park but RV sites tend to be tight, though there are some nice ones.  It’s not busy now so it’s not a problem.

There are many ancient dwellings in this general area, and I choose to visit Hovenweep National Monument as well.  One of the main reasons I choose it is because dogs are surprisingly allowed on the trails there!


It’s just over a 50 mile drive from where we are staying.  Many of the structures there are tower-like buildings.  The Square Tower group is the most accessible with the path starting right behind the Visitor Center, where I first watch an 18 minute movie, and then go get Joy and Shiloh to walk the trail with me.  It’s a 2 mile hike but we don’t do the whole trail due to Joys tolerance.  I think we cover about a mile total and I’m very proud of her for that.

FullSizeRenderTwin Towers.

IMG_3395Looking over the edge!

IMG_3399On the Square Tower Loop.


I’m in awe of the people who lived her…their strength, agility, architecture and farming skills, 800 and more years ago.  With our technology, we have nothing on them.  Really.

There is a small campground here with no hook ups and first come, first serve.  Some sites would accommodate a small RV.

We traveled to Cortez, Colorado via Shiprock and Gallup New Mexico and when we leave tomorrow we will spend the night in Gallup, then go a bit farther east before heading north for the Dakotas on the east side of the Rockies.  We will travel slowly, staying one or two nights at RV parks until we get to the Black Hills area of South Dakota.  Our path will take us into Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska, all places I haven’t been yet on this adventure!

*** If you are looking for Native American art such as jewelry, pottery or baskets, besides Hubble Trading Post mentioned a couple of posts back, I like Notah-Dineh Trading Company here in Cortez.  Of course there are MANY places to buy such art, and Gallup is filled with them.

IMG_3387This 12×18 foot Navajo masterpiece is on display at Notah-Dineh Trading Company in the museum there.


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