Posts Tagged With: Scuba

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

Leaving San Diego

Funny how a road trip can change your perspective, your attitude, and your mindset.

Lynda and I truly enjoyed our 3 month excursion into Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and back to San Diego. 8000 miles all in all. In that time we became aware of many lifestyle changes that fell into place as we boogied about the US.

The first? We slowed down. A lot. We found that when we don’t have a specific pushing reason to get up at the crack of dawn? We don’t. We snuggle for a couple of hours, and that truly is priceless. I can remember being up at 0430, stumbling for the coffee pot, hitting the shower, and bouncing out the door to fly down the road at 70mph+ so that I could get Lynda to work, then get myself parked in front of my laptop at work for another day at the grind.

I remember standing up one day and looking over the top of my cube and had this pressing thought. “If today were the last one I would ever have, if I knew that time was up at the end of the day, is this where I would want to be”? and the answer to that thought was an overwhelming

NO.

The thought that stimulated this was the remnants of an experience from Alaska while working for Chris Pecci a good friend, at Unocal. There was a very well liked Vice President out of Houston who was known for working hard, many hours a week, great person to work for and with, and was held in high regard by all. He had a massive heart attack at his desk. He was dead before he hit the floor. After his services, several executives at Unocal quit. They didn’t want their lives to end at a desk. Funny how the loss of a human life can sometimes save others.

The idea of being a “gopher” in a sea of cubes suddenly became revolting. The funny memory of all these heads popping up when there was a loud noise in the ocean of cubes was chucklacious, but, the humor suddenly escaped me. The pay was EXCELLENT, and the people, overall, were good folks to work with and to work for, but if someone had stepped up to me 10 years ago after a wild road trip across the US with my high school sweetheart and said “You, sir are going to spend the next 10 years of your life in a cube farm”, I would have smacked them in the head and told them they were stoned.

The scary part? They would have been spot on. Lynda and I became wrapped up in the idealistic life that we had been sold on by our environment, and that environment being our parents, Wall Street advertising, blame it on whatever you want, but we had purchased the “American Dream”.. Lock. Stock. and Barrel.

Now, honestly? Working with Lynda in our wood shop at our home on Fairburn Street was beyond fantastic, we enjoyed it. and we were wholly responsible for the dream we created. We built our own furniture, fixed up our home, enjoyed days of putzing in the yard, it was truly, the “American Dream” and we did cherish it. Then a serious kick in the ass came in from left field. Lynda had been diagnosed with stage IIIA breast cancer. and our world melted.

Doctors, Surgeons, questions.. above all, questions… what to do? The standard way or what? and we began our trek through the wonderful world of really scary shit. We rode the roller-coaster from hell. But buried in that roller coaster, we both turned our thoughts to our beginnings, our road trip in 2004 from Alaska to San Diego, via Key West… That was our happiest trip, our best of our best times, and how do we do that again? How do we reduce stress and re-learn how to focus on living and less on chasing the almighty dollar?

Finally, we had our answer.

Just do it. Scrape your cash together, toss out all that you are willing to cast off, point the boat of our lives to uncharted waters, give each other a huge kiss, and set sail. We bought our motor-home, donated our “stuff”, tossed our “stuff”, cried about our “stuff”, laughed about our “stuff”, but downsized our “stuff” to what we had when we met each other again… and in that, learn to live for the moment, to enjoy the now, and let life be, while we create memories that last for our lifetimes.

And so far? Can you remember the last time you got up and actually looked forward to your day? Truly enjoyed a long snuggle with your soul mate? Spent the day enjoying your surroundings? Made wild plans for the week, the month? the year? and knew that you could change them on a dime and it would be OK?

We want to share our journey with our friends of whom we truly miss. That was our other insight… We may not care for San Diego, but we truly miss our friends, all of them. We love sharing our stories, and listening to what their lives have going on in them… In that loss, our hearts can often ache for the warmth of their company… please remember that as we share our current story, you truly are missed.

The story is far from over, and the journey has just begun, and it begins with a fresh perspective, new ideals, goals. Easy? Easier than we expected, but not without concern.. If you follow the theory of the “law of attraction” essentially thoughts are reality generators, and in that, what you dream of, what you think of? You create. So in your day, spend some time thinking of what YOUR life should look like. How you would like it to be. Then make it so. It is NOT impossible, may not be EASY, but not impossible. Dream it. Do it.

Our dream? Travel the US, ski the mountains, scuba the oceans, but to SEE America on the road for the next decade or so. Meet new friends, and share our lives with everyone who is interested in our tale. As this goes along, you will find that we are fluid, things change, goals shift, and the wind blows.. but our course is set, our smiles are wide, and our love is deep. Please enjoy our crazy path, comment, laugh, share.. and please share yours… our friends life stories are wonderful to us as we hope ours is to you.

So, if nothing else, the take away from this current rant? For all our friends, and anyone who stumbles across this blog…

Life can be a short run thing. I have heard that since I was a teenager from my brother and it stuck with me.  I have been fortunate enough to have made it this far with only a few close calls. Many of my friends were not so fortunate. I cannot count how many lives seemed to end before they should have.

So before a “close call” becomes a permanent thing? Get passionate about your life’s dream, whatever it may be, and reach for that dream. Never give up, never surrender that vision, if you have buried it? Dig your dream up from the grave it is buried in, give it life’s breath, bring it back to the world of the living and set it free. See where that vision leads you, perhaps the road less traveled, maybe even the one you are on. But pursue it like a man on fire running for a lake.

Mark Twain

“Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore

Dream

Discover”

~Mark Twain

Categories: Adventure, Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Camping, Downhill Skiing, Hiking, Hot Tubbing!, Living Passionately, Love, Reconnection, RV Travel, Scuba, Ski | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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.

Freedom B

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

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