Posts Tagged With: road trip

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.

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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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Never… repeat.. NEVER a dull moment with the Carpenter Clan

Well, “Monday morning you sure look fine… Friday I got traveling on my mind” <sung badly and offkey>

Fleetwood Mac

Ah, have to love Fleetwood Mac.. and Monday of this week? What a day…

Originally I had posted that my employer, Websense, had agreed to let me work remotely, and in a PT basis where I could continue to draw my health insurance, and make a decent wage while traveling the US with my wife… It was a sweet deal.. Note the word “was”.

Monday we had a news release. Seems an investment company bought Websense for 1 billion dollars. All stock is frozen, and will be paid out at $24.75 a share, which is a GREAT deal for everyone (including me). AND they will take the company from being traded publicly to being a private company. Again, GREAT for Websense, as the requirements to be publicly traded are onerous… and I mean that. I have said many times over, if I were a CEO at a company I would NEVER go public..

sox

So what does that mean? Well, it means that Websense no longer has to meet SOX (Sarbanes Oxley) requirements. This was a law put in place due to the Enron and WordCom meltdowns.. to keep CEO’s and CFO’s from claiming that they didn’t know their accounting was skewed and avoid legal action… nor do they have to report to the SEC, and a number of other painful regulations that you have to meet.. It truly is costly in both time and money. and again, I would NEVER go public.

So what is the big deal? For Websense? a great way to focus on product development and delivery. For me? Remember that SOX thing? Yeah, that. I am a SOX IT auditor.. so no SOX?

No IT Auditor…

They may need a financial audit team so that should they every decide to sell the company they will be able to show an audit trail, but as far as my job? Well, as soon (or sooner) as the deal is inked, I will more than likely find myself gainfully UNemployed.

And truthfully? I am ok with that. This may allow us to spend our time focused on each other and unwinding from the stress over the past few years. When you ask what stress? Don’t ask, I can’t list it all here, but it has been a bit much. I feel I am in desperate need of some relaxing time. Some time with my wife and family and a chance to seriously unwind. Maybe some time with my toes in the water and ass in the sand.

Kauai

 

I cannot begin to thank Websense enough for the gig they gave me, or the support that I have received from them… seriously. great company to work for. For Lynda and me?

Happy trails.

happy trails

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

Websense Just Rocks

Well, my boss, Cathy Young, took my request up the chain of command here at Websense, Inc. and the CFO, Mike Newman agreed with my proposal of working remotely. I will be working 20 hours a week, allowed to keep my benefits, and work remotely. I will have to come back to San Diego to work on site with the external auditors, Ernst and Young  sometime in Oct/Nov until we have the SOx audit wrapped up. Usually runs about 3 weeks. I am still trying to digest this…

YAHOOOOOOO comes to mind. Then trying to figure out how to thank Cathy and Mike for this gift….

Lynda and I are leaving San Diego on the 28th of June. Our Road Trip FOR a Lifetime commences. In the meantime, life just got busier. We have so much we have to wrap up that it is just crazy.. Next weekend we head to Yuma for a solar panel install Starlite Solar has had some good reviews.. This will allow us to boondock without running the generator all day and night.

We also have to get our vehicles registered in Florida, as well as move our bank stuff to Navy Federal Credit Union. (Had that account since 1983). Knew it would come in handy… Move our car insurance from Allstate to USAA. Hate to lose Mark Silverstone’s support, he is an AWESOME insurance guy.. We CANNOT say enough about his support, his help and being just a nice guy… plus he likes good beer. and motorcycles. and has a hot wife.. anyhow… Thank Mark, for all you did for us.

The list goes on and on and the head is reeling, but the wife, being the logical woman that she is, we have a list, in priority, setup, shared, and ready to rumble…

The countdown has begun… our route? so far is listed here. look at the icons and it gives you an idea of where we are going this year.

From San Diego to Colorado, to Wyoming to the East Coast, back to Colorado/Tahoe for the ski season, then down to Key Largo for some diving… Then? Florida to Alaska via New Mexico and Oklahoma to pick up my nephew and sister for some bucket list backpack trips and some time in Alaska… again.

Map of our Trip

This is gonna be.. wait.. wait……
Already IS great.

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Fuckin A!

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

Shopping shopping shopping

Boy the more I look at this road trip the more I drool at the neato skeato “stuff” to have.. I just cannot get over how much RV’ing has changed since our trip in 2004… Technology is a wonderful thing.. and expensive.

  • Tire pressure monitors
  • Solar panels
  • AGM batteries!
  • Area rug to keep our carpet somewhat clean…
  • Shotgun for home protection…
  • Step carpets
  • Carpet to roll out when we camp
  • Plastic dishes versus our current ceramic jobs (weight savings)
  • Wireless printer/scanner/fax that has an autosheet feeder
  • Nortel wireless network instead of Verizon’s.. (20 gig vs 10 gig and cheaper per month)
  • Sky Ranger to pull in those weak wifi signals
  • Tire gauge that can read over 100PSI

Then there are the fun things I need to do like:

  • Wash and wax “Koko”
  • Wash and wax both cars
  • Check the air system in the rig to be sure it has enough hose to get around the rig and that it has the appropriate adaptors for the tires
  • Re-level Koko as it has been sitting for a couple of weeks
  • Start the generator and engine to run a bit
  • Learn how to change out fuel filters (including how to make sure I don’t get air in the lines)
  • Rain X the windshield

Then I can start drooling at the camp sites all over the place… and keep day dreaming about where to go first, and the things to do when we get there.. Hike, cook, swim, dive, meet new folks, have family join… Just puts a cheese eating grin on my face for the day…

Counting down to the exit…. hehe

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Koko when we bought her

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Lynda working on photo shop

E&L

And us in the UK last year… that I think started the whole damn road trip idea…. or helped it along

Categories: Adventure, Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Love, Reconnection, RV Travel | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Road Trip, Part Deaux

Traveling, the art of enjoying life while taking in what the world has to offer.

If you have read “About Us” you have an idea of what motivated us to begin this lifestyle change. And with that, our adventure begins. We are currently in the ramp up mode, saving money, working on ways to earn a living while we are on the road. And the downsizing..

Yes, major downsizing is still ongoing. We found it simply AMAZING how much crap we have accumulated over the years. and in that downsizing, some “landmines”. These are emotional landmines like a card from her dad who is now gone, or a plaque that her mom gave her. Or a picture of my first wife, or the myriad of little things that have nothing but sentimental value. It was a jaunt down memory lane, both good and bad, but interestingly enough, healing.

Now we are changing our mindsets, and after talking to our friends Don and Barbie who are currently traveling the US, we may change again. Our plan is simple. Go up the west coast in the spring time, across the US/Canadian border in the summer time, down the East Coast in the fall with the leaves, then over to either Utah or Colorado for the ski season. Then return to Key Largo for some diving… that in 2015. After that? Who knows. But the adventure is in a countdown.

Two years to setup financially, and gear wise. Our plan is to hike as many local trails as we can, and with that, we will begin training in 2013 with hikes with packs. At first, light pack hikes, adding as we go, learning what gear works well, what doesn’t.  Learn how to trouble shoot RV issues, and in that post those on line with video clips to show the problem, then the solution… (makes me think a little more logically knowing that there might be an audience).

This is a learning curve that never ends, but one we truly look forward to experiencing… so, stay tuned, this is a Roadtrip FOR a lifetime.

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