Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Lightening Up in Cholula Red

One of the things I love about living in the motor home is the lessons I learn.

All my life I have been a pack rat. I've never questioned it, I just accepted that I like having a lot of stuff. Then about ten years ago we discovered eBay. I've always had the ability to find wonderful things at great prices, so when eBay came along, I decided to try my hand at selling. With my ability to "pick" special items, I had no trouble finding an unending supply of merchandise and for years, we did quite well at this endeavor.

In fact, we did too well and before I knew it the house was overflowing with merchandise. As a lifelong pack rat, the clutter didn't bother me till it got REALLY out of hand.

When we decided to start traveling in the motor home, one of the things we discussed was, would I be able to live in such a small space? I'm happy to say that this has proven to be no problem at all.

In fact, I find living in a small space to be liberating, in a way I never expected.

As any Lazy Daze owner knows, the 30 foot model has the least CCC (cargo carrying capacity) of any model. We knew this going in and decided that one way or another we would learn to live within our approximately 1,200 pound limit. This number assumes that Terry and I are the only passengers, and that we travel with one third tank of water, empty black and gray tanks and a full gas tank (which changes constantly).

So this leaves us 1,200 pounds for food, clothing, tools, bedding and every other little thing we want to carry in the rig.

And how do we do? Actually we do pretty well. Our first eye opener was at the Lazy Daze Golden Caravan last summer, when we got weighed and discovered we were several hundred pounds overweight. Using this as a touchstone, we decided to tighten our belts and see if we could do better.

We started with a free table at the Caravan, getting rid of lots of extras that we carried totalling about seventy five pounds. Then we took a good hard look at our food. Even though we tow the Tracker, I find it hard to remember that we can go to the grocery store at any time. I call this the Costco mindset, the idea that we have to buy in bulk. This is something I have been working hard to learn. In addition to teaching myself not to buy more than we need for a week, we have started carrying some of our heavier foodstuffs in a plastic container in the Tracker, more weight gone from the rig.

We also have set up two small boxes for our books and one for our magazines. We also have one box for maps and travel guides. When these get full, it's time to cull, and we've become very good at this. I have learned that I don't have to keep these items, there are always more where they came from. I find I enjoy passing these items along instead of carting them all over the country in our rig.

For the last couple of days, I've been continuing this ongoing process. I've taken a bag of clothes we no longer wear to the Goodwill, taken excess books to the used bookstore, gone through my cupboards and discarded outdated food and several pieces of kitchen equipment we really aren't using.

So what does this have to do with lessons?

I have been learning that I like living in a small space. I'm learning that I like living with less, when for the first fifty five years of my life, I thought I wanted more. I'm learning that I like being in control of my immediate environment. And I've learned the pleasure of small things.

Today, I cleaned the refrigerator and defrosted the freezer, not a big deal. But when I was done, I was able to look at my kitchen and know that it was in order. And that made me happy.

And while this may not seem like a big deal, for a lifelong pack rat such as myself, it's a true epiphany. While I've always heard the phrase, simple pleasures are the best, now I understand in a way I never guessed.

Appreciating small things is good, and my life is good.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

What a Wonderful Day We've Had!

For starters, everything I'm referring to happened on Saturday, March 24, and because I'm getting so lazy, I didn't get around to posting it till Sunday night!

Regular readers might remember that we attended the Grand Ole Opry Show at the Deming Performing Arts Center last month. After the show, we noticed that there was going to be a bluegrass show, and yesterday was the day.

And what a day it was!

This show featured the Bost Family, and what a family they are!

There are the parents, Jeff and Pam. Jeff sings and plays banjo and Pam plays the stand up bass (with baby Will, aged two) strapped to her back, what a site.

Then there are the children. Brooklyn, aged 17 plays guitar and sings backup. This is her on the right in this photo.

Micah is next in line. At 15, he plays an amazing mandolin and sings harmony and some solos. He will be getting his learner's permit in the next few weeks and was the object of much good natured ribbing by the rest of the family.

These two girls are next, and are they ever pistols!

Both have incredible voices. On the left is Faith, who is just 13 and as been playing the violin for a scant three years, but you'd never know it to hear her play. Liberty (in the center right) is just 11 but, boy howdy, what a set of pipes.

These two have wonderful harmony and are pretty amazing. In speaking with them, they said they hope to continue with music, and I believe they have what it takes to make it.

Next are Felicity (age 7, on the left) Charity (age 4, on the right). When not performing, they sit quite contentedly at the back of the stage.

When we went to this show, we knew it was a crap shoot. This is, after all a very small town and we try to keep our expectations low, so as not to be disappointed, but this group is as tight and professional as any I have ever seen.

They have a wonderful unity on stage, working so well together, it adds so much to the show. And they are all excellent musicians, not a slacker in the bunch.

And the fact that they are a family adds so much t the show. They work together, sing together, play together and the result is truly inspiring.
Once again, my pictures don't really do the show justice. I just can't seem to get the speed I need when people are moving across a less than ideally lit stage. That said, these pictures serve to remind me of a wonderful afternoon, so I'm including them here.

I loved this shot of Pam, with baby Will on her back looking out at the audience. Several of us women commented that this woman must be a saint. After all, she has SEVEN children. And did I mention that all nine of them travel in a bus conversion, and the children are all home schooled?

I loved this shot of the two little ones.

I also thought this was a lovely shot of Faith. She is just at that enchanting age between child and woman, and I liked the way this shot captures that.
This show was really great and I can't recommend this family enough. Not only are they musically accomplished, but the family love and unity that they present, both on stage and off is inspiring.

Both before and after the show, they mingle with the audience and they are all as delightful off stage and individually as you could hope. I spoke with Jeff, the Father and he said that they had been touring for two years. I asked about how the kids became so musical, and he said they started each of them on instruments at around age 3 and just continued with their musical education.

He also spoke from the stage about the importance of family and all I can say is that these folks are doing something right.

If you get the chance, I strongly suggest you see their show. Their swing and bluegrass is flawless and you will have a terrific time, I guarantee it.

After the show, we came back to a yet another incredible sunset here at Rockhound. I took several pictures and couldn't decide which one to post, so I'm just including them all.

Remember, you can click on any photo to see an enlarged version.

These colors are true, this is really what this sunset looked like. I was fascinated, as always.

New Mexico is honestly the Land of Enchantment and our Life is Good!

Friday, March 23, 2007


We woke up to a gorgeous morning, kind of surprising after yesterday.

Spring is really starting to happen here, unfortunately, our twenty one days is up next Friday, I sure hope spring happens before we have to leave. Here's a shot I took of the meadow (well, desert with some flowers . . .) in the back of our rig. This shot looks much better if you view it full screen.

We decided to go down to Palomas today so I could get a new pair of glasses. It's just thirty miles to the border and we thought this would be a good day for a drive. On the way down, it started to cloud up. I love the huge horizons here in New Mexico, you can see the weather for miles.

We got down there and discovered that we had both left our checkbooks in the rig, so we ordered my glasses and headed back home, planning on coming back next week.

On the drive back, the weather was definitely taking a turn for the worse, but it always seemed to be ahead of us. I was happy Terry was driving as as I could just sit and watch, fascinated by the clouds. I swear they looked like some kind of special effect from a Hollywood film. Here's a shot of the clouds, just kissing the top of the mountains.

When we got home, everyone told us we had missed quite the downpour and even a hailstorm! In a way, I wish we had been here for the storm. We have such a beautiful view of the valley, I'm sure it was something to see. Oh well, there's always tomorrow!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thursday . . .

An interesting morning, we woke up to dark skies and the threat of rain. It made us really happy to be in a motorhome instead of a tent! The weather pretty much dictated the tone of the morning, a good one to stay indoors.

Then John and Priscilla pulled into Rockhound in their thirty foot twin bed Lazy Daze (2004). We first met them at a get together in California and again at the Golden Caravan. We see so few other twin beds, it's nice to see the changes others have made.

After they set up camp, the sun broke through and we all decided to go into town and do a bit of grocery shopping. Tomorrow will be Johns' 65th birthday and he wants to prepare a feast for everyone, so who are we to argue?

By the time we got back, the weather had once again turned dark and was rapidly getting colder. The birds seem to be multiplying daily and today we saw our first cardinal.

A closer shot of the fellow above, I thought he was really beautiful.

And one more, closer still. This little guy seemed quite happy to pose for me for quite a while!

As we took our afternoon walk, I was struck by the dark clouds. While kind of ominous (there was even lightening in the distance) I love the clouds.

And here's a shot of my Hunny Bunny Terry, waving from the front of our campsite.

Life is Good.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

the Princess and the King

Every time I look at this picture it makes me smile.

I took this photo at TinkerTown, a WONDERFUL spot outside of Albuquerque. I have tons of photos to share from this unique spot, but for noew, I'll just whet your appetite with this one.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sunsets . . .

You know, if I wasn't careful I could probably post a sunset every day, they are that spectacular here at Rockhound.

We've had a fine couple of days. You're probably sick of hearing that, but it's the truth!

Today we've made some new friends. Norman and Peggy had found us on the Datastorm Users Group, then started reading the blog, emailed us and today they pulled into Rockhound.

For me, this is one of the best parts of this lifestyle, that we can immediately bond with people and make new friends so easily.

Life is Good.

Please, just enjoy the photos. The sunsets here are truly spectacular. The first four are mine, and the last two belong ot Terry. Remember that you can click on them for a larger imaga.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Lipizzaners!

Last Friday night we went and saw the amazing Lipizzaner Stallions and what a treat it was!

Before I start writing about this, I do have to apologize for the quality of the pictures. The lighting, the movement and the HUGE head of the guy sitting in front of me all seemed to conspire to defeat my best efforts at photography. That said, I am writing this blog so I have a diary of our travels and since these are the best of a pretty bad lot, I wanted to include them here. That way, when I'm too old to remember such events, I'll have this blog to look back on!

All right, enough apologies, on with the story.

In case you don't know about the Lipizzaners, they are an amazing breed of horse. They have been trained in Austria for hundreds of years. I first became aware of them from the 1963 Walt Disney film, the Miracle of the White Stallions and was really excited to finally get to see them in person. I wasn't disappointed at all.

My first surprise came when we arrived and saw the horses being groomed outside the arena. Everything I've ever heard led me to think all the riders would be men, but I saw this woman grooming one of the horses, and in fact when we saw the show, half the riders were women.

Here's one more shot of one of the horses outside the arena.

We had great seats, first row of the second tier. The first rider came into the arena carrying an American Flag, and then galloped the stallion around the ring. While this picture is quite blurry, there's something about it that appealed to me. While many of the pictures are blurred, they serve to remind me of the speed and fluid movement of these beautiful animals.

This next shot is of two of the riders, saluting the audience. I love these uniforms and particularly enjoy the fact that they work equally well on men and women alike.

This next shot is just of a horse and rider posing, but I liked the way the shadows played in all four directions.

The Lipizzaners are famous for many things, one of them being their ability to rear up and walk or hop on their hind legs. This movements is called the Levade. While I didn't catch the horse at the full rise, this should give you an idea.

These horses were originally trained for battle and they have the ability to jump up and kick out with both their front and rear legs. It's truly an amazing thing to see. The movement is called the Capriole, and while this picture is blurred, all four feet are off the ground and it was the best shot I got of this incredible maneuver.

This horse is an Andalusian that performs with the Lipizzaners. He comes out and actually dances to swing music, very beautiful. At the end of the number, he takes a graceful bow.

During World War II, the Lipizzaners were in danger of extinction. The school was closed, the mares were moved by the Nazis into Czechoslovakia and the stallions were in danger of being disbanded. Thanks to General George Patton and the US Army, the horses were saved and reunited. This is a story that's included in the show and it's a moving tribute that everyone in the troop seems proud to share.

In the final part of the show, six horses and riders come out and perform in unison (sort of like the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall!). It's really impressive and I wish my pictures were better, but what can I say?

The evening was so enjoyable, I highly recommend this show. In fact, I just heard that the Spanish troop (we viewed the American arm of the school) will be touring the US in 2008. I have already marked my computer calendar to remind me when the tickets go on sale. It will be in May of 2008, in case you want to mark your calendar as well.

Friday, March 16, 2007


This morning Terry called me out to look at a quail, and while we see lots of quail here in the desert, this one was sitting on a bush, a pretty rare site.

Usually they are running around on the desert floor, or pecking for food, kind of like chickens. This fellow sat for such a long time, I took another shot.

Then we went for our walk, where I tok these shots. The spring colors are so subtle but at the same time so beautiful, I hope they come through in these shots.

And here's a patch of purple we watch enlarge every day. A few days ago it was non-existebt, but look how it's growing . . .

Tonight we are going to see the Lipazzaner Stallions, I'm really excited, so I'll close with a shot of last nights' sunset.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Spring is Here!

The morning started with a walk and we realized that Spring has definitely arrived in the desert.

This is a shot we took this morning.

We have set up a small dish as a birdbath outside our window and we watch the birds every day. These two are here twenty to thirty times a day, and we feel like, for a while at least, they are "our" birds.

Then we took a look in the corner of our casita and realized that this pair is building a nest.

"Our" birds are building a nest using the small yellow flowers we see all over the park. All the other nests are brown and plain, but our pair is using flowers!

I was so intrigued I set up the tripod and took pictures of these guys all day long. In the end, there were over two hundred and twenty five pictures. Please understand that these shots were taken from about twelve feet away so they are not the clearest, but I wanted to remember this day, so here are the best of the lot. Also, remember that if you click on a picture, you can see a larger image.

This is the male of the pair. He lit on the top of the Lazy Daze and I got this shot.

Here is the female bringing some fluff into the nest.

And here she is with more flowers. Unfortunately most of them fell off before she made it into the nest.

I think this is my favorite shot, the female just seems to have so much attitude!

In this shot, I liked how confortable and happy with herself she looked.

At the end of the day, a green Lazy Daze pulled into the Campground. I went out to meet them and we now have new friends, Lee and Diane, who have a 2004 26IB.

Beautiful flowers, amazing birds, temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s and new friends.

Does it get any better than this?