Posts Tagged With: camping

Colorado… land of dreams…

It was the back to school dance of 1980. I (Lynda) was starting my sophomore year: Erick was starting his Junior year at Goddard High School in Roswell, NM. That was when it all started.  Erick had seen me during the school year but I was going steady (remember that term) with a friend of his named Frank. Frank and I broke up over the summer and I was a single girl… until that Back to School dance. Erick wasted no time. He immediately asked me to dance and we danced all night together. Yes, he asked for my phone number and with much excitement I gave it to him.

When he called the next week (he was genius) he said that he was taking his younger sister to the circus in town and would I like to go. How could mom say no to that? He was such a gentleman. He, of course, met my parents and promised to have me home right after the circus. He opened my door and did all the things that a young man is supposed to do. Oh, and he cleaned up so nice. I was so proud to take his arm and hold his hand and walk next to him. Little did I know that 22 years later when I took that hand again it would take our breath away. More on that later…

As we began to get more and more serious in our dating he gave me a Promise Ring. It had our names down each side and a tiny diamond at the top. We talked about where we would go after we graduated high school. I had moved to Roswell in the summer of 1979 between ninth and tenth grade. My freshman year, 1978, was spent in Colorado Springs; CO. Colorado was greener than anything I had ever seen at the time.

My parents moved there from Oceanside, CA where I went to seventh and eights grade.  Oceanside was ok but it was a rough time for me and I was thrilled to leave. Colorado was different. I had always lived in the desert, never where the scent of pines filled the air and there was snow.  And yes, I had to walk a quarter mile in the snow to wait for the school bus. We had 3 acres just outside of Colorado Springs and we could look out over the city lights at night and see the tram lights as they went up the side of Pikes Peak. Under a full moon the snow on the mountains would glisten and reflect the moonlight. Twinkling stars were everywhere.

We decided after graduation we would move to Colorado and buy an A-frame house and grow old together. We talked about living in Colorado; what it would be like and what we would do.

Well, he had difficulty with a certain vice-principle in school. It was clear that Mr. Lair was going to do everything he could to see that Erick didn’t graduate. Erick knew he couldn’t support me without an education so he went to speak to the recruiters. He would have liked to join the Air Force but poor vision and glasses deleted that option so instead he enlisted in the Marines. He knew I would talk him out of it so he didn’t tell me until right before he left for boot camp. I was angry. No, I was Livid! But there was nothing I could do but let him go and promise to be here when he came home.

He came home after graduation from boot camp. OMG did he looked good. He walked taller and straighter than I had ever seen anyone walk. He was no longer a high school kid, he had become not just a man; he had become a Marine. He was home for about 15 days and then he was gone again. He had become a Marine, but I was still just a high school girl whose worth is measured by whether she had a date to the prom. Long story short, I lasted through boot camp but I didn’t have what it took to wait for him to come home again. So our romance ended with a letter.

It was 10 years ago; November seventh, 2003 when I got the email that said, “Is this the same Lynda Smith?” When he later asked, “What are you doing?” my response was “leaving a bad job and a bad relationship” He said, “Why don’t you come up to Alaska?” and I did. We knew that we had unfinished business. He met me in the airport with twenty-two red and pink roses (one for each year we had been apart) and a fur coat – it was winter in Alaska.

When we saw each other we both started running. he was trying to video me but dropped the camera to his side as the microphone of the still rolling camera recorded “oh my God.” We embraced, in the middle of the isle until security asked us to move. We gathered our things, I donned the fur and we walked – or should I say floated – outside to the parking area. Just like in high school he opened my door, helped me in and as I shook off the cool night air, he appeared in the driver’s seat of the Land Cruiser.

As if there had never been a day missed, our hands met on the console and our fingers interlaced. The moment our fingers found each other, we both gasped for air. The feeling of our hands together took both our breath away. Apparently every handhold for 22 years was unconsciously compared to that handhold. It was as though our hands found home. Once we found our breath, we kissed again. It was a long, hard, welcome-home kiss.

Now thirty-two years later as I type this we are traveling in Koko (our home on wheels) to set up in Breckenridge, Colorado for the ski season. He just asked me “how do you like our A-Frame” my response… “I think I‘ll adjust.” No, Koko isn’t exactly an A-Frame, I think maybe she is better.

Colorado Rocky Mountain High

Colorado Rocky Mountain High

We will spend the majority of the winter here in Breckenridge with our Epic Ski Pass. The Epic gives us access to several ski resorts in Colorado but also 2 in California and four in Europe – should we choose to go there. The month of December we will fly down to Belize where we will SCUBA dive the Blue Hole, tour the Mayan ruins in Guatemala, go hiking, cave tubing, zip lining, you name it.

And then? In January back here to finish out the ski season before meandering our way to the Florida Keys for more SCUBA diving.  We couldn’t do that sort of thing if we had a traditional A-Frame. So yes, I think I will adjust to our “A-Frame”

This dream took 33 years to bring to fruition. Let’s create another one that is 32 years in the making. But this time, lets enjoy all those years together. I love you, Babe.

Categories: Adventure, Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Camping, Downhill Skiing, Hiking, Hot Tubbing!, Living Passionately, Love, Reconnection, RV Travel, Scuba, Ski | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

And we are off

Well, a few weeks into our road trip FOR a lifetime, and the fun we have had.. and some interesting learning curves… We started off by enjoying the Hudson family reunion in Grand Junction, Colorado,

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followed up by our start with Ouray, Colorado,

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Then on to Salt Lake City where we picked up my nephew, Garrett Taylor.. (Mike Taylor and Ellen Taylor, we cannot thank you enough for letting us have him for some quality time)…

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Then we descended on Yellowstone where we spent a 3 day 2 night back packing trip in Hell’s Roaring River area, and also did a few other spiffy hikes in and around Yellowstone.

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and of course, “Butt Pucker Creek” where we forded the river to get to the other side for our camp site.. wondered if any of us were going to go swimming with our packs… and on that note, we did learn that if you are going to cross a swift moving river, unclip your waist strap and your upper harness in case you have to release your pack. (Thank you forest service video BEFORE we went on our backcountry hike).

We had our own beach for the day.

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and after a nights rest, we hiked back to our truck… two nights, three days, and it was fun

After that we trekked on to the Tetons

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Found some nice day hikes around String Lake (thanks Danny) and found Hidden Falls trail… not so hidden as it was loaded with people. and we discovered that if you want to get away from the people, you are going to have to do a 20+ mile hike to do it. There are some GREAT trails there, but you are talking 4 day jaunts that we didn’t think we were up to.. Day hikes are nice, but busy with people.. I think we enjoyed Yellowstone more than the Tetons.

We sat around and discussed what we wanted to do and Garrett thought that Mt Rushmore would be cool, so off we went. We stopped by Devils Tower, Wyoming, and wow, incredible country side and the Tower itself was very impressive.

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The day hike (1.4 miles) around the Tower was very cool.

Now we are in Spearfish, South Dakota so I can catch up on some maintenance on the rig, and so Lynda can do some work. We found a park here in Spearfish managed by the city, and it is gorgeous.. cannot recommend it enough. On one side note, the Sturgis rally is about to kick off. and bikers are converging on every town near Sturgis.. should prove to be interesting.

Now, all the side notes to things learned. We replaced our tires in Salt Lake City and I discovered that they did not replace the stem core’s in the stems. and crap often gets loose inside the tire (dust and whatnot) that makes the core jam and leak… so if you get your tires replaced, plan on replacing stem cores.. not a big deal, just a learning curve

Next item. we are still scratching our heads. We pulled into a gas station, filled up and Lynda hit the ignition… nothing. nada. zip, zilcho… and we noticed the transmission shifter flashing odd numbers. Well, Lynda the logical one digs through the Allison Transmission manual and we discover that our oil in our transmission is too cold.. WTF? that makes zero sense… but that is the code that is flashing… So after a about a half hour of trying to start the rig, we gave it 15 minutes hit the ignition and WALLA! we have engine roaring… So I checked the oil level and it was low.. not critically so, but low just the same… so figured out how to add oil to the tranny and we were off again.

We pulled into Spearfish and I have figured that is the time to do minor maintenance stuff… so here we sit, having an absolute ball, and our nephew is enjoying the time… Never, let me repeat this, never in a gazillion years did I ever see this coming… Sometimes life smacks you between the eyes… and sometimes it hands you a dream…. As we have been handed both over the past decade, never did I think that it would be better than anything I could have imagined…..

 

Road trip FOR a lifetime…

Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines, sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover.

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Drop off the map.. and go where the winds of the heart blow

Well, 56 days, and we launch into our new lives. This new adventure is approaching fast, and as life does, it throws a curve just to get your attention. As you may remember, Lynda underwent surgery for her intestinal stricture. The doctor gave her a thumbs up, and a warning… “There will be ups and downs”. and off we went, full tilt boogie, back to her “normal diet” which includes some damn strange dishes… But fun all the same.

At least until the night before last. Her stomach locked up, and we were just about freaked. She was in considerable discomfort, and we pulled out all the stops as we had done before. Better living through pharmeceuticals, hot bath, and finally, a Vicodine.

Well, she slept through the night, and woke the next morning and all was well. But it spooked the hell out of both of us. She called the nurse at the surgeons office, who was a bit taken aback by Lynda’s rather brash and fowardness. But she passed the info on to the surgeon who doesn’t usually return calls. He returned this one.

Remember those “ups and downs” I warned you about? “Yes, this was one of those”.. We felt a bit foolish, and much relieved, and Lynda is back to going and blowing… Our plans are still on track for the road trip for a lifetime. and we are moving with purpose…

We have made some minor adjustments to our plans, as we are picking up my nephew, Garrett Taylor July 12 at the Salt Lake City airport and will have him join us for a month or so out on the road. We will meander through Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming before bringing him back to Salt Lake City so that he can return to Oklahoma City where he can get back to school and his friends. (This is an OLD picture of him, but what I have)

Kauai

During that time with us, we have some plans of hiking trails, maybe some rafting, will see how it spins out… and Garrett gets to pick some spots we will visit, as this is a collaborative adventure… hehe.

After we are through wearing his butt out, we are going back to the Wind River area in Wyoming for a NOLS backpacking trip. 6 days in the backcountry for an executive leadership course, followed up by going across the US to the east coast and down with the leaves. At that point, the idea is to setup in Colorado for the ski season, then return to San Diego for some work I have to do for Websense Inc.. (who just ROCKS) and return to Colorado when done.. My boss, Cathy Young, is working with me to set dates for the return work… Once complete, back to Colorado, ski our butts off, then head to Florida for some diving… after that?

Pick up my sister Daonne, my nephew (again provided he even wants to come along) and maybe my other sister Ellen for a week or so,  and go to Alaska via the west coast….. Stay tuned… Adventures are on the horizon, and coming up fast!

Ellen and Daonne

Categories: Adventure, Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Love, Reconnection, RV Travel, Scuba | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Epiphanies and such…

Well, Lynda and I were sitting at the table, and we were discussing her family reunion.

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Let me start from the beginning. Lynda and her family back in the 80’s discovered that the only time the entire family got together was during funerals.. and the senior members of the family found that unacceptable. So, they started having annual family reunions around fathers day.. Just a time when kids were out of school and everyone could make time to be somewhere for the Hudson family reunion… (This was Lynda’s Mom’s side of the house)

Each year they rotated through who was going to host the family reunion, and if you weren’t there, you often were selected as the site for the next reunion. (teach them not to make it to the reunion) Then, if you were a spouse and didn’t make it for two reunions?    You were OUT. GONE.. Asta La Vista Baby. You can’t make a family reunion? Den go swim wit da fishes…

So we have been going to those family reunions since 2004. and in that it started me thinking that my family needed one, so we have done our best to follow in kind, having a Carpenter family reunion each year, usually during the summers in Alaska. However, Lynda and I started talking about doing something different. Something that would fit our bucket list, and make the Carpenter family reunion fun and exciting….. 

With that in mind, we came up with “Christmas in Belize”.. get the Carpenter and maybe Smith family together and go diving and hiking and such in Belize..  We have the bucket list that inludes the Blue Hole, and we think that with some effort we can all go diving together in Belize… for Christmas. The dives there can be shallow and lively, and provided they haven’t had a hurricane in the season, the waters are crystal clear.

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I pinged my siblings and Walla! Everyone is in.. Big brother, Danny, will consider it… (planning is not his forte’, so I asked Kristin, and they will be there)… He truly hates to plan that far in advance, so we will throw it out there and see if it sticks.. HA!

So we are looking at cheap ways to get to Belize.. 4 airlines fly in there from the US. We can use Alaska Airline air miles to get there, but there are those damn black out dates.. so how do we work this? What can we do…. and the epiphany struck… By that time we should be on the road. It won’t matter if we are there in Belize or here in the US. (other than cost of staying in Belize). Why don’t we see when we CAN go? hmmmmmm research….. research…. research……

December 11th to the 9th of January.. a MONTH in Belize.. Holy Mother of God…. that is a LONG time, but wait… wait… let that sink in….

Lynda looks at me and says “I have NEVER in my life taken a vacation for that long”… and my response? “Why not start now?”  The light in her eyes when the fire lit was beautiful… I think we are both starting to understand the implications of being able to go where we please when we please…. The quandary?

Where to leave from? So which airport do we choose? Dallas Fort Worth is looking like it might be on the hit list. Decisions, Decisions, Decisions… This nomadic lifestyle is sinking in. for both of us.

Road Trip FOR a Lifetime…. to be continued…

And continue it does.. three days later (From when I started this post) and yet ANOTHER ephiphany…

We have some items that need to be wrapped up prior to our launch date. And we have been churning those over and over. Then, yesterday, I get an email from Lynda at work, saying: “Hey, met these guys through Toast Masters and they want to know if we would be interested in joining them on a backpacking trip”.

In August. In the Wind River mountains of Wyoming. As I have never been there, we have been told that it is some of the most beautiful country God ever created. So here I sit, looking at a group of folks that are going hiking for 6 days in some back country, and realize that if we do that, we are going to have to go straight from California, to Colorado for Lynda’s family reunion, to Wyoming for this backpacking trip. and my second thought?

I’m game.

My first thought? My usual stick in the mud. “We can’t do this, we have too much we have to do before we can….” and that was as far as I let my little voices get.. I told them to shut the **ck up and let’s do this. Let’s go!!!!  We can do the family reunion, AND go backpacking, AND do our Road Trip FOR a Lifetime.. if not now? when? So we are gonna do all we can to push it. A line in the sand has been drawn. June 28th, we begin.

There are a couple of showstoppers that I will not discuss here, but the likelihood of them showing up are about zero.  Instead, the likelihood of us launching on June 28th? About 90%. and that just tickles me silly…

In the meantime? My sister and I have a marathon to run in June. (She does the full 26.2, I do the 1/2 13.1) I run as Elvis as seen here with a running pack of Elvii I am in the lower right in the white outfit. and my sister? She just shakes her head and laughs.

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We also need to get our Advanced Open Water diving in if we are going to dive the Blue Hole in Belize… that is a bucket list item, so we need to push that up the line a bit.

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Top that off with some camping this weekend to shake out our camping gear and Walla! Another day seized.

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Categories: Adventure, Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Love, Reconnection, RV Travel, Scuba | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

And launch date is moved up a tad…

For those following this rather lengthy blog and insanity that we call our world, WELCOME… Lynda and I have been living in our RV for about 6 months trying to get everything lined up for taking off on our road trip for a lifetime.. And with that, had to come up with a way to earn a living while traveling, and to get health insurance as well.

These were our last two items and we suspected it would take until 2015 to pull that off.. Hmmm as Gomer Pyle used to put it..

Surprise

Turns out that her friend Trish Claussen has a connection with a firm that just happened to be interested in Lynda’s services as a business coach. And our friend and financial advisor, Barry Todd (shameless advertising for his firm, BDT and Associates) needed her services as well. So the way things are looking, she may have her 10 clients by June. No later than October. And I am looking into health insurance coverage for us both, out of Florida. And that is going very well..

Now, tie in the process getting our vehicles registered in Florida, and it is looking pretty damn good to be on the road a year earlier than we expected. We still have a few bumps to get over, but all in all, it is looking VERY good for the home team. And with that, when the time comes, I will put forth a proposal to my current employer that I would be thrilled to work for them remotely at a much reduced rate, lower than what contractors normally charge, and less than what a fulltime employee would make.. An offer that I hope will be hard to refuse. If not, I will give my boss, Cathy Young, all the advanced notice I can, as she has been incredible to work for.

So the energy is ramping up, and the Carpenters are preparing to launch… and we are SOOooooooo ready.

Stay tuned, this is gonna be a RIDE!

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Categories: Love, Reconnection, RV Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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