Saturday, November 21, 2015

Getting to Arizona

I had a relatively good meal at Applebee’s in Albuquerque on Veteran’s Day – but it was painful seeing all the other vets there & Jeff not sharing the experience with me. Maybe next year won’t hurt as bad.

I gassed up the pickup, picked up my mail from the campground, & parked the pickup that last evening so it was ready to hook up to the trailer the next morning. Of course I woke up WAY TOO EARLY (which is normal for a travel day), but by 7:30am (at a frosty 21° outside), I unhooked electric, stowed the satellite inside, & hooked the pickup to the trailer. Only took one extra try to get lined up correctly. I pulled out of the campground at 8:08am & zoomed down I-40 thru Albuquerque with a surprising amount of bare highway showing. Traveling south on I-25 was even uneventful since I actually had a tail wind.

I arrived at Cabillo Lake State Park, south of Truth or Consequences, shortly after noon, found an electric/water site & got settled in for two nights. The NM State Park pass expired last March, but $14/night for electric/water is very reasonable. Plus, Jeff & I had never camped at that campground before. My only problem was trying to change a setting on the TV satellite in Albuquerque & unknowingly telling it to look for another TV provider satellite. After two hours & two calls to the satellite company, I finally acquired the right satellite signal. One happy camper.

Emily, of Emily's Adventures in Retirement, picked me up at the campground the next day so we could have lunch at the Hillsboro General Store Café. I had a fantastic mushroom swiss cheese burger, & the old general-store-turned-café was very interesting & attractive, as well as the efforts of the old mining town to spruce up & attract tourists. Last year, Jeff & I traveled west thru Hillsboro, up & over the mountains to Silver City, so this day’s ride was bittersweet. As always tho, it was so easy & comforting talking with Emily who has her own challenges this year.

Since I didn’t unhook from the trailer, it didn’t take me long to pack it up & get moving early Saturday morning. It was sunny & calm & no cities to get thru so the drive was almost relaxing. I’m surprised at how interesting being the driver is instead of the passenger (bor-ing). I actually SEE more landscape, traffic, & signs. Wow, Jeff & I had a running joke about my inability to notice signs. I’m surprised how much better my memory & focus has been without him & how I’m paying much more attention to everything. Wow, did he ever spoil me. Time seems to pass much quicker as an active driver vs a bored passenger. Of course, the Casita is so aerodynamic, my Tundra hardly knows it’s there. And I’m comfortable driving (slowly) on interstates instead of wiggling around on local highways. Unfortunately, I don’t imagine I’ll be able to do much photography while driving unless I can find places to pull off the road.

After a stop for gas & a few things at Wal-mart tho, I finally drove into Arizona at 10:35am. Yee haw!! I remember having the same excitement last Jan from the same highway sign when Jeff & I crossed the state border. Another bittersweet memory tho, but at least it’s no longer like a mule kick in the gut.

I spent 6 days visiting a friend in AZ to perfect my boondocking skills & learn to use the little generator I got. The two 12v Interstate AGM batteries we got almost two years ago in Yuma weren’t charged up tho even from being hooked up to the truck while traveling nor from electrical hookups. They weren’t even taking a charge from a generator either. Bad words & dirty names!!! Thankfully (very, very thankfully), the Interstate dealer in Tucson was very helpful suggesting somewhere closer to take the batteries to have them checked. Both batteries were still good but needed a long reprogramming slow charge so they would get to full capacity. However, the little 2000 generator was showing overloaded when the trailer was plugged in, so apparently there is some sort of electrical drain or short in the trailer which might have been the reason we’ve had battery problems for the past 3 winters. Sheesh! At least I learned how to get the generator started by myself (think ANGRY thoughts). Talk about a back/abdomen workout! Just one more indicator of getting old & out of shape.

I totally LOVE seeing the mountain ranges’ pointy peaks in the distance, even with a dusting of snow. Well, except for that one night I ran out of propane for the furnace. At 41° the next morning, I was up & out at barely daybreak changing propane tanks. Another bit of learning curve. I may get a couple of propane gauges since I really don’t like surprises!

Finally picked up my 2nd recharged battery & headed to a Coast to Coast campground in Benson to plug in, regroup, be lazy, watch endless TV, de-dust, & try to track down my electrical/battery problem. I’ve had L-O-N-G fon conversations with friends working thru my feelings about Jeff’s death. Having projects, plans, & new experiences has kept me going but I want close neighbors while I “wait” for the full gravity of this loss to hit me. A part of me wonders if I just didn’t love Jeff enough since I haven’t fallen apart too often. Instead I think he simply trained me well & has given me his strength to manage without him. The most painful memories are of our first 18 years together (the last 2 full-timing) but I’ve had miles to relive the past 2 years & realize how badly & fast is health was failing. I still end up feeling grateful (while sad) for our 20 years of adventures & that his suffering has ended. And that I feel him with me.


  1. I know about loss. It sounds like you are doing fine in dealing with your loss and getting on with life. Gratitude for what is good in your life is essential. Thank you for sharing your adventures and experience. I am going going to start full timing it the first week in December. I too am pulling a Casita with my Tundra pickup. I will try to breathe some life back into my old blog,

  2. I can relate to traveling after losing your partner. It took me years before I could turn on the radio because music brought back so many memories. Now after 6 years, I can travel with the radio on and can enjoy traveling to new places. (It also helped to get a new RV where there weren't any reminders of the past.) Even though we all have a number of events that causes us to be angry, we all tend to think more positive about our partners as time goes on. You will be okay in time, time does heal.

  3. We can do this! Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Thank you for sharing, great post.


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