A snapshot of our gifts from 2021.

This has been quite a year, hasn’t it? Peter and I have been blessed to be able to travel safely from Florida where we were last Christmas to Las Cruces, New Mexico where we are now and where we will spend this Christmas. In between the late-April departure from the east coast to today, we stuffed in one airplane flight back to Tampa at the end of May for Liz’s in-person graduation ceremony at Saint Leo University and then took a quick flight to New Hampshire. There, we visited Liz’s 98-year old mother and joined a family celebration in Keene with our oldest granddaughter who received her undergraduate degree from University of Vermont the very same day that Liz received her Master’s degree in Florida.

Marking history, Liz donned her academic hood (Theology is red) to pose with our oldest granddaughter, Isabel, a Fulbright scholar, who graduated with honors from the University of Vermont.

In July, Peter had an unexpected total knee replacement in Las Cruces, making this his third joint replacement and officially earning him the moniker “bionic guy” in our family. Peter spent the better part of seven weeks in focused rehab and rest (a tough balancing act) before we departed for a long-planned trip through western Colorado, the Tetons (staying at Gros Ventre Campground), and then west to the Pacific Northwest. This was both vacation and a purposeful trip to drop off T2, our Airstream, for updating in the capable hands of Ultimate Airstreams in Clackamas, Oregon. We unhitched T2 on October 4 at Ultimate and traveled around Washington state, exploring Mount Hood, Mt. Rainier National Park, the Paloose of eastern Washington, and the Columbia River Gorge. We visited the spot where the Snake River flows into the Columbia at Sacajewa State Park and tried to capture bits and pieces in the pictures below. We stopped to visit a friend in Albany, Oregon, traveled down the Pacific coast through the redwoods, and then spent time with friends in Windsor, California. From California, we turned toward New Mexico, landing a camping spot one night in Joshua Tree National Park and then turned east through the saguaros of Arizona back to Las Cruces.

On December 30, we will mark our seventh anniversary of living full time on the road. Our 2015 Airstream has been refreshed over the years as we discovered what we needed in order to live comfortably and efficiently in our aluminum tiny house. Back in 2017, Ultimate reduced the long couch we did not need, upgraded the cushions, and installed an essential built-in cabinet. That year we also added a comfortable lounge chair, trimmed down the width of the dining table, and installed a combination gas cooktop and gas oven.

This time we wanted to refresh the interior and improve the efficiency of the kitchen work area. I love the 2021 interior design of new Airstream kitchen cabinets, the deep side cupboard access, the rectangular stainless sink and the lightness of the color palette in the beautiful Globetrotter. Ultimate was able to bring the dream to life for T2, changing out the entire kitchen installing new countertops in a light color, changing out the dining table to butcher block, installing a new countertop on the built-in cabinet, adding a spice rack next to the cook-top and switching out the bathroom countertop. I am going to share pictures which will reveal the entirely new look of our living Christmas gift to each other.

The round kitchen sink and the dark green countertops (shown below) were the original design. The new sleek cabinet, undercounter storage, and drop-down shelf next to the sink completely changed the look and feel of T2. The butcher block dining table inspired a new collection of textiles in pillows which bring rich textures to our lives. We love the overall effect.

The next two photos show what the bathroom looked like when we purchased T2 in 2015 – no window, white walls and the original dark green countertops. Now (the window was added in 2017) we have light countertops which work beautifully with the grass paper and paint which we put in earlier this year.

Our current plans are to stay here in the southwest through April and then take to the road heading east for our annual maintenance work at the mothership in Jackson Center, Ohio and then drive to New Hampshire to visit family in June before turning back west in early summer. We have new dreams and new ideas and we get restless for the road after a few months, so we’ll see how 2022 unfolds. Be well and take care of one another. Peace.

Liz and Peter are continuing their pilgrimage to here in their Airstream, enriched along the way by the gifts of friends and the continued discovery of beauty in everyday life.

The pandemic, Easter, and the seeds of hope.

From 2020, Peter as Koreshan Unity founder Cyrus Teed and Terry Mirande as the Unity co-leader, Victoria Gratia.

As I sit in our metaphorical Easter garden of hope and spring renewal, I am surveying the state of our symbolic little plot of ground. What is sprouting this year?  It’s an understatement to note it has been a transformational year.  Peter and I marked the one year anniversary of the pandemic a few weeks back on March 13, 2021. We picked this date because it was March 13, 2020 when we learned that our beloved Koreshan State Park was being shut down. I remember the day so clearly because the president of our volunteer organization called to tell me that the balance of the Women’s History Month events were cancelled.

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Eastbound via Tulsa, Memphis and Montgomery.

From the sunlit interior of T2, I am taking in the view of the serene lake here at our winter site in Estero, Florida. You’ll see part of the view below. We arrived here just before Thanksgiving and I am going to highlight three important stops along the 2,122-mile trip from Las Cruces, NM to Florida.

It was hard to leave New Mexico after six months because the place really touched our hearts. We’ve been blessed to have tripped on a rhythm that appears to be working with short bursts of long travel sandwiched between extended stays in a seasonally sunny and warm place. It’s what you may have heard me call “chasing 70 degrees”. In March 2020, we had booked a place in Estero, Florida thinking that we would be back at Koreshan State Park for our fifth season. And then COVID happened. While we had a place in Estero, the park was shuttered down and our beloved programs were cancelled – no cooking program for Peter and no special tours and Women’s History Month for Liz. The limited option we had was to be docents roving the historic settlement with no access to the historic buildings. However, then we learned that masks were not required for visitors to the park because Lee County has no mask-mandate. We decided it wasn’t safe or wise for us. We have become “those people” who won’t go outside our home without a mask and wear one any time – even when outdoors – if we are going to be within 6 to 8 feet of others. Period.

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The Tetons, a wildfire, and snow.

Our vacation destination, the Grand Tetons of Wyoming.

On August 27, we left Las Cruces for a vacation away from the triple-digit heat.  Our plan was to head north about 1,200 miles, landing in Kelly, Wyoming on Monday, August 31 and then head up to Bozeman, Montana to visit some friends, returning to Las Cruces by September 20.  Many of you already know of our three-decade-plus love affair with the Tetons and Moose, Wyoming.  It was there, at the Triangle X Ranch, where we would re-unite with our dear friends, wander on horseback through the Bridger-Teton National Forest, along the Snake River, and up to big aspen groves, repeatedly falling helplessly under the spell of the breathtaking natural beauty of the Grand Tetons.  The ranch was the place where, over the years, Peter and I made some of the most significant decisions of our lives, moved to a clarity that we found nowhere else. Continue reading

It may be 102, but it’s a dry heat…

Our site includes a cottonwood tree and lots of blessed shade. The sunscreen we put up helps to keep the sun off T2. I love the potted plants that Peter created which we enjoy both inside and outside.

Las Cruces, New Mexico is working out well for us after seven weeks.  With so much uncertainty in all of our lives these days, just being able to write that feels like a gift.  Top of mind for us is what we call our “COVID lives” and we are both healthy and hopeful even as the cases spike here in recent days.  Dona Ana county, where we are, has seen an increase in COVID infections. Here in our RV park, the owner came by on July 3 to remind us of the need to wear masks, and to socially distance as we used the laundry, the common areas or the bathhouse. Continue reading

Cross-country quarantine trip, part 2.

Here’s the route we ended up taking.

When we left Airstream in Jackson Center, Ohio on Sunday, May 10 we were aware that we would soon be leaving the eastern third of the country, excited to be heading straight west, to New Mexico.  We got onto I-70 and headed over the border into Indiana. As other full-timers have reported, the Indiana section of the interstate is in terrible condition, rough and uneven like a washboard.  I imagined that the inside of T2 would mimic the mayhem of Lucille Ball’s experience from the classic on-the-road cult 1954 movie, The Long, Long Trailer.  Fortunately, there were no boulders stored under the couch to roll around, as in Lucy’s escapade.  The by-pass around Indianapolis on I-465 was eerily jammed with tractor-trailers, a scene unlike any we had witnessed since leaving Florida. Continue reading

Six states and our mobile COVID 19 quarantine unit

Exhilaration being on the road again, here heading north on I-75 in Florida.

A good journalist once said that when telling a story, focus on the personal stuff if you want to engage your reader.  After our first week on the road, here’s some of our personal shutdown story.  To re-cap, we left Estero, Florida on May 3 because we had a specific place to go (first Airstream in Ohio, then New Mexico) and felt we could safely travel there.  The day we left we were completely giddy with the sense of freedom and the joyful change of scenery.  Traffic was very light on I-75 north and we sailed along to our first night outside of Gainesville, Florida.  We reserved at a KOA and upon arrival, were met at our truck by the host who was wearing a face mask and gloves.  He led us to our site in his golf cart.  He did something we’ve never seen before: he wiped down our water, and electric connections at the site.  It was an immediate confidence booster.  He said the restrooms were open though we didn’t plan to use them.  The great curiousity in the campground was the one large family with six kids, two dogs and an inflatable wading pool who were in a tent set up near the restrooms.  Aside from that, everyone else was in an RV or trailer.  This random tent siting would turn out to be a complete anomaly in the nights ahead.  Every other place would have a ban on tents. Continue reading

Our lessons of grace in the shutdown

The past two weeks of the pandemic shutdown in Estero have brought some new challenges, surprises, and accommodations.  First, the challenges.  Last time I mentioned the record-breaking heat that we were experiencing the week of April 13. We wanted to have our air-conditioner checked because the heat was really oppressive and we were running it nearly all day and into the night.  We had made an appointment months ago for our annual Airstream service, but that was off since the factory in Ohio was on shutdown. Continue reading

T2 updates from Estero, Florida

Sometimes we feel like we are living in a Petri dish here in Estero, Florida. Is the universe conducting some great experiment in human adaptability and flexibility? We are finding ourselves called to perform daily course-corrections that might test even the elasticity of Gumby.  There are two variables at work here.  The first is the new reality of COVID-19 which continues to color our lives now affecting many of the scheduling details from shopping trips, to food planning and prep, to our morning walk, to the search for the essential face mask. It’s an influencer, but it’s not the only one. Continue reading

Moving on down the road, 2.5 miles

It’s remarkable that my last post was just two weeks ago because so much has happened in our lives.  As noted last time, we had gotten an OK to stay in the park and finish up our respective programs, even though the park had officially closed. The week of March 23, we started doing administrative stuff and began to feel like things were heading into a good direction for the interim. One week ago, we decided to look into renting a spot in one of the planned communities in the area since we decided once we left the park, we did not want to get on the road for a couple of months.

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