Well, the night before leaving McHood Park south of Winslow AZ, of course I didn’t sleep well. Never do before a travel day. Woke up seriously early, had coffee & read email/blogs etc. Had to make myself NOT go outside for the final packup before it actually got daylight. Nevertheless, I was on the road shortly after 7am. Stopped at the Flying J for gas & dump my tanks. That took at least 8 tries backing up, pulling forward, & trying again to get close enough to the dump for my sewer hose to reach. OK – got that accomplished finally & I was on the road again.
I pulled out on I-40 heading east to Gallup right behind a semi truck. He was driving between 60 & 65 mph – perfect for me, so I just followed him all the way to near Gallup where he had to present himself to the Weight Station. That stretch of I-40 is a dream. So smooth, only one construction area, not a lot of traffic, no big hills (up or down), & very little breeze (from the west at that). I just plodded along, listening to the music recorded on my thumb drive thru the truck’s radio. I had started feeling pretty lonely at McHood Park, probably because Jeff & I had never been in the area. Returning to the Wolf Sanctuary where we visited last year was just another reason to want to hurry up & get there.
I topped off my gas tank in Gallup & headed south on Hwy 602 for the hour’s drive to the Sanctuary. A little hilly, but smooth & wide, eventually following a valley south. It ended at Hwy 53, & I turned east. Still a pretty good road without too many curves or hills, & very little traffic. Five miles or so east of Ramah (the closest big town to the Sanctuary), I turned south onto Indian Service Road 125, still blacktopped, drove the 15 mph (strictly enforced) speed limit thru Mountain View & finally arrived at the 4-mile badly wash boarded gravel road of Indian Service Road 120 that goes by the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary. Whew – I was ready for a final destination!
I arrived right at noon & was lead to the campsite I’ll have for the next 3-4 months. It took some time to figure out how I wanted to situate the trailer amongst the trees, but it’s a huge area that can accommodate more than one RV. After meeting with Sanctuary staff & having an orientation, I finally got set up.
I love hearing the breeze blow thru the pine trees (Ponderosa & possibly Pinon). And then there’s the wolf howls numerous times a day, especially dawn & dusk. Kira has finally started noticing & barking when they howl. Although most of the country is having an early Spring – it’s not necessarily here at 7,500’ elevation. We’ve already had a storm blow thru that brought rain, sleet, snow flurries, below freezing temps, & lots of wind. I had to dig out my actual winter coat finally, after all these winter months around Quartzsite.
I worked a couple of hours the first few days to get familiar with some of my new duties, first correcting or deleting newsletter addresses no one’s had time to do for months. Everyone is super friendly & helpful -- although most are in their 20s & make me feel slightly grandmotherly. The whole group really does function as a pack or tribe. Besides me, there are two other RVs in the campground area, both long-term volunteers. The Sanctuary has grown a lot in the past few years & is working diligently to get better organized & more efficient. Nearly everyone here is a volunteer, but they need more since there are always more projects to work on & not enough time or energy. For the volunteer RVers, they only ask for a 12-week commitment in exchange for an electric only RV site, relaxing amongst the trees. There’s a comfortable shower house & water spigot. There’s not an official dump station, but I’m going to truck my filled-up blue boy over to the porta-potty to empty it every few weeks. There is a company who comes by weekly to empty the other RV tanks & porta-potties, but I’m trying not to spend much money (since I’m not making any). My only issue is the slow, sometimes non-existent Verizon cell fon signal. It takes forever to read email & blogs on 1X or 3G, & since the signal is so weak, my phone usually doesn’t even ring. If you call me – leave a message & I’ll call back asap. And I actually have a mailing address to use. The top flew off my new propane tank cover months ago (didn’t secure it, duh) & a few other things I want to order. There’s a lot more activities around here than I’ve discovered yet, so stand by for more info. If anyone would like a slow, comfortable, useful way to spend part of their summer in an RV in the NM mountains, let me know or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s been five months now since Jeff died, & for the most part, I’m doing OK, emotionally, physically, & financially. I still have some teary moments (usually when I least expect it) but I’ve accepted (& am even excited) that I’ve moved to another chapter of my life. (Gee, what do I want in life now?) I’m still uneasy tho about returning to Branson where we spent so much time. Not sure how those ghosts are going to feel. Since I believe that I’ve already had the love of my life, I’m not wanting another male partner again. Jeff was my playmate. It was easy being with him. We laughed, loved, played, & worked hard together. I don’t have that kind of stamina nor energy anymore. Nor tolerance! I like being alone in my little trailer & making my own decisions about food, travel, sightseeing, entertainment, & shopping. The memories that make me saddest tho are at least 2-3 years ago before Jeff started having more serious physical problems. I wouldn’t have ever left or abandoned him (I’m so loyal, I should be a dog), but I’m so relieved to not be a witness nor caregiver anymore. I’m learning to ask questions & determine for myself if what I hear is useful or makes sense for me. Mainly, I just don’t ever, EVER, EVER want to watch someone I love so much & depend on for everything to fail, suffer, & die again. I’ve got to get comfortable depending on myself.
The irony is I keep meeting – befriending – men who seem to have amorous ideas. What part of ‘I’m not interested’ am I not getting across? I like to talk to people – men & women – & just cause I’m single doesn’t mean I’m needy. Teach me how to take care of the technical stuff with my rig, but GEEZ, don’t be putting any moves on me! First off, I’m not ready now, but lastly, I probably won’t ever want to walk that road again. And I’ve talked to several men already in a relationship who talk about how they don’t want to be alone. Seems like most of the women I’ve met are totally content being solo (or wish they were). I guess there’s a lot more to this aging thing than I ever realized. I always wondered how widows could continue on with their lives happily for 20 years or more after their husbands died. I understand now.
OK, so rant is over. Tomorrow I start my normal Tues-Sat, 4 hour, 5 days a week volunteer job (on Mountain timezone daylight savings time) of helping out several overworked & overwhelmed volunteers. I like the idea of diversity too since I get bored quickly. And I’m looking forward to visiting & photographing the wolves again.