An Amazing Adventure


Well hey there. It’s been over 6 months since posting on this blog.

So as is due, a quick catch up and then on to some reflections.

When we left off last June, we had arrived in Idaho to our rental house which had been trashed and defaced.

Although I could write a book just on that summer experience, let’s just say, that after being on the road for so long, we actually enjoyed our summer stay and all the hard work. We set up our camp inside the house (after lots of initial cleansing) and put our energy into creating something Beautiful from something that wasn’t.

Thinking back a few years ago, one of our initial goals when we set out on the road was that we wanted to travel for long periods, then to temporarily stay put in a community for a few months or so to get to know the local favors. Then this past summer we were forced into doing that very thing which we desired. Funny how the world works.

Now here we are into 2016 already!

Blessed with a new grandson in November, we are spending the winter months back in California, where we can be around the new baby and new parents, as well as enjoying the rest of our family.

We’ve had two house-sits to break up the winter, (and our van-stays) which were fantastic, both times taking care of lovey homes and lovely pets for wonderful people.

But really, it’s always so cozy to return to our little van home.

At years end, I spent time re-visiting this blog, and going through literally thousands of photos I’ve taken over the past two years.

I am amazed! And feel so blessed. And so unbelieving of all the incredible places we’ve traveled to, and all the beautiful experiences we’ve had traveling around in this little white van.

I have so many fond memories of gorgeous sunsets, amazing wildlife, ancient cultures, strange trees, bizarre inclement weather, solitary vistas, interesting people of so many different sorts, balloons in the air, red red rocks, birds of all colors, mile high camping, prehistoric looking animals, and on and on.

I think I could ramble on to eternity here, but I’ll spare whoever is reading this for the moment, and just say it’s a life worth living!  The times of feeling homeless, and worries of where to sleep for the night, well yes, there are challenges. But life is a challenge meant to be met head on, conquering fears, daring to be different, willing to try new experiences.

So thankful for the opportunity to make these choices. So thankful for all that has come our way these past few years.

In honor of those memories and a longing to make more in the future, I’m reposting some of my favorite photos of some of my favorite places.

Thanks to those who have traveled along with us through this blog. Hoping that there will be much more to come in the future.

Peace and Good Cheer as we roll along into 2016!


Bryce Canyon Amphitheater, Utah


Into Alberta, Canada


Waterton National Peace Park, Alberta, Canada


Jake at Grizzly Encounters in Montana


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Yellowstone River In Hayden Valley, Yellowstone National Park


Walking among the geysers in Yellowstone


Where else? But Yellowstone


Beartooth Pass over the Absaroka Mountains, Wyoming


Sunset in the Grand Tetons


Grand Teton Magnificence


Enjoying the Local Wildlife


The Amazing Pia Dog


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Finally a Moose in Colorado


Bosque del Apache, New Mexico


White Sands National Monument, New Mexico


Camping Keevan Style – Alabama Hills, California


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With Family Along the Coast, California


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Into the Pacific


birds of Lodi 4
The Beautiful & Majestic Sandhill Cranes


More Coastal Splendor, Why do we Like to Camp Here?


Showing Off for the Ladies. Elephant Seals at Las Piedras, California


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Solitude at Lake Mead, Nevada


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Wild Horses of Nevada


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Ancient Bristlecone Pines, Bishop, California


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Folsom Lake, California


Yellowstone – The Wildlife

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It’s a spectator sport in Yellowstone…wildlife spotting.  It’s like winning the jackpot in Las Vegas when you actually get to see the big ones.

Some people set up and wait hours in lawn chairs for an appearance. Others are willing to stand out in the rain in complete gear and huge cameras with their own rain suits  covering the glass.


Cow Elk


Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle


Gotta Scratch - Young Bison
Gotta Scratch – Young Bison


We were lucky, observant, and always searching. We didn’t stand in the rain, or set up our chairs. Fred’s an awesome driver…and doesn’t mind pulling over, turning around, or even dropping me off and later retrieving me if there is nowhere safe to pull over.  We take the roads least traveled, and stop often.


Napping In The Warmth Of Hot Springs


Bull Elk
Bull Elk


Killdeer Among The Hot Springs
Killdeer Among The Hot Springs


We are very respectful of the animals, and super aware of our safety.


Trumpeter Swan
Trumpeter Swan


Dripping From Drinking
Dripping From Drinking


The Van sits up high, and I often shoot out the window, using the half rolled up window to brace my camera. Or I can stand on the door step to get some extra height.


Grizzlies Sharing A Bison Kill


Sometimes we have solitude, sometimes there is madness. Even with these chaotic traffic jams that do sometimes occur, all in all, it’s an awesome sport, and everyone wins sometimes.


Behind The Scenes
Behind The Scenes




Yellowstone – The Geysers

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A supervolcano!

That’s the story of Yellowstone. While driving and hiking around exploring, it’s hard to imagine that we are actually inside of the caldera of a volcano. The expansiveness of it is too much for this simple brain…but the impressions, colors, and incredible fairyland images were so fun to capture.


The smoking Earth and Nature’s paint pallets reach out in all directions!

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Cavernous holes and eerie formations create mysterious landscapes.

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Earth Hues concoct impressive color combinations and saturations.

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And yes, We did watch the eruption of Old Faithful, the most famous of geysers, which on this day was erupting every 45-90 minutes. We almost turned back when we saw the masses of people and rows and rows of metal shiny cars and RV’s in the largest of parking lots.

I was afraid of seeing nothing but backs of heads, but we now learned travelers about these things, just walked right up past the grandstands, and like pro’s, sat on the edge of the viewing platform, with legs dangling over the sides with other photographers and serious science nuts, to get our front row seats.

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A little bummed that the sky was not a blue background sky, but all was still impressive, and the theatrics were beautifully  performed and synchronized.

Happy Pooches, Happy Van

Traveling with pooch

Hey, yeah we’ve been super busy.

Packing, storing, recovering, and organizing for living on the road takes a lot of energy.

pink cherry blossoms against a bright blue sky

I’ve been reading other folks’ blogs to get an idea of the weather and crowds in different parts of the country at different times of the year. Unfortunately it seems like everyone wants to be where the weather is perfect and the crowds are small. Hmm. I wonder why? Wherever you go, there you are…and so are others.  Well people, make room for our LWV, cuz we’ll be joining you.

Our main priorities when we leave are to go slow, relax, and keep Pia comfortable. Fred and I can handle the hot weather most of the time, but our “P-girl” has long black hair all over her body, so we will be focusing on keeping her cool, as she is 12 years old. (That’s like 84 in people years)

We recently had all the windows tinted on the van to help keep her and us cool inside and also to add an element of privacy without having to pull all the shades and curtains constantly. We’re really happy with the results. In addition to the tinting, I’ve adapted a pair of light blocking curtains to hang across the middle of the van. I’m still playing with those to make them look a bit more exciting, but they are really nicely lined and insulated. I’m adding another layer to the back, so the stark white lining doesn’t show from either side.

The plan is to mostly camp in places where dogs are welcome. Although I have a personal goal of visiting as many National Parks as possible, they are not always very dog friendly. Why go there, when the pooch can’t hike around with us?  Even though she is a great traveling doggie, and always content to go anywhere, we will not be locking her up in the van for the amount of time it takes to go on a nice hike. There are plenty of other campgrounds near lakes and rivers we can play at. So, for the time being, we’ll concentrate on those more pet happy areas, and just do some scenic drives through the National Parks we cross through.

Organizing Strategies

There is none.

I think I’ve re-organized the van on every trip we’ve taken and can conclude that there is no “perfect” way to organize it. That being said, every trip does get easier. And every trip is different, requiring a different game plan. So why not just add and subtract as we go along, which is part of the fun of traveling anyway. I know from experience that we will take things we don’t need, and need things we don’t take, so I’m not expending a ton of energy on this right now.

Still, I did buy two new little plastic organizing drawers. Mostly because they were this beautiful turquoise color, I was unable to resist!  I knew they they would fit perfectly in a couple of closets, and that the toilet paper and paper towels would fit majestically on top of and beside one of them fabulously.

Turquoise plastic drawer organizer showing storage options for life in a van

There you have it!

We will have food, clothes, a warm place to sleep, reading materials, a cozy little roof over our head, and two turquoise organizing drawer units.

Isn’t life simple?


A Textbook Delivery

alpaca riding in the back of a minivan
Are We There Yet?

Our alpaca that is.

Ashley was one of our very first two alpacas we brought home  22 years ago. She has been with us since she was 17 months old, and she was the last one of the herd to leave the ranch.

So it goes, with this change of lifestyle we are engaging in, Ashley needed to find a new home. A good home. A retirement home, where she could live out the rest of her life in happy leisurely grass eating, cud chewing days.

Her departure was better than we ever dreamed of. So much in fact, that Fred and I both wished for a retirement home as nice for ourselves.

From the moment we loaded into the van, to the mellow non-exciting two hour drive to our destination, to that magical leap onto new turf, she was the Queen of Alpacas, perfectly behaved, with manners and grace to make any mother proud.  And this my friends, is her new home.

black alpaca grazing on green pasture at a wild horse sanctuary

elderly retired horses grazing on green pastures at Wild Tender Horse Sancturay

horses graze on green pastures with ocean view in background at Wild tender horse sanctuary in Pescadero, CA.

Yes, that IS a view of the Pacific Ocean in the distance. Yes, all the animals in this bit of heaven enjoy that view while munching their morning breakfast.

Oh… to be a leisurely grass eating, cud chewing, oldster retired animal with a view like that.

Many, many Blessings to the wonderful folks at  Http:// who provided this wonderful haven for Ashley and Peace of Mind for us.  Please visit their website, they make a difference in the lives of many many animals.