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Posts Tagged ‘Pancho Villa State Park’

“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are. Take one step. Do one thing. Move, even if you don’t feel like it.” Katherine Misegades

Gypsy Lee parked among the cacti at Pancho Villa State Park in New Mexico

Travels With Maggie

I’m going into my eighth year of full-time living and traveling in Gypsy Lee, my 22-foot RV that I bought in 2004 when I retired and sold my home.

My rootless life has allowed me to get to better know my five grown children, who scattered far and wide when they left home, including Japan, Korea, Canada, Egypt and Hawaii. There’s no question in my mind but that they inherited my want-to-see-the-world gene.

Jobs and financial realities meant we saw little of each other before I became rootless and could visit them, although not too long at any one place so as not to wear out my welcome. I mostly spend winters in Texas, where three of my children and nine grandchildren live. Summer, however, finds me heading north to both escape the heat and for a little bit of solitude, which I’ve discovered I need as much as I need people.

Curved-bill thrashers were plentiful at the park. -- Wikipedia photo

One of the other things I’ve come to appreciate most about my rootless lifestyle the past seven years has been the changing, always scenic and educational view out my RV window. I’ve found something awesome everywhere I’ve traveled, even in a crowded, cement-landscaped RV park in El Paso that was located right next to Highway 10’s whizzing traffic roar.

This campground was the first place I stayed in which I thought there was no hope to feel nature’s presence. But then I looked out my window and saw a family of Gambel’s quail parading past. It felt like Mother Nature had turned into Santa Claus and could find me anywhere I went.

My traveling companion, Maggie, and I spent the next night 85 miles west of El Paso at New Mexico’s Pancho Villa State Park, where Mother Nature’s presence was expected. She did not disappoint either Maggie, who had lizards to chase, or me, who had birds to watch.

Quail, thrashers, red-winged blackbirds and doves twitted about the park’s historical ruins and large blooming cacti.

And before I left the next morning, I had also made a new friend, another wandering/wondering old broad like myself; had learned that the park was located where Gen. Black Jack Pershing had launched 10,000 soldiers to chase insurgent Pancho Villa back to Mexico; and had glimpsed a bobcat lurking under a picnic table.

I wonder what the sights will be out the RV window as Maggie and I continue into our eighth year of rootlessness? Wouldn’t you?

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 “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” — Mark Twain

Gypsy Lee among the cactus at Pancho Villa State Park near New Mexico's border with Mexico. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

The 114,500 miles I’ve put on my VW Vista RV, Gypsy Lee, the past seven years have been good ones. I bought her new in 2004 and she’s gotten me everywhere I’ve wanted to go, done it averaging 15 mpg of fuel, and never broken down on the road, well except for a blown tire.

Together – Gypsy Lee, my dog Maggie and I – have traveled from ocean to ocean and from the Mexican border up into Canada. In return for her faithful service, I’ve had her oil changed every 3,000 miles, bought her several new sets of tires, given her a complete tune-up at 65,000 miles, one new fuel filter, and one new set of brake pads. That’s It.

But now she’s in the shop getting a major, and expensive, facelift. This time when I had her checked out to make sure she was road ready, the VW technician – that’s what they call mechanics and grease monkeys these days – found some significant wear and tear. He pointed it out to me as I stood beneath her lifted body, which still looked pretty good he said.

Gypsy Lee got me to Canada so I would walk through a marsh in Point Pelee National Park in Ontario. -- Photo by Pat Bean

While a transmission service and new brake pads are the only things nearing an emergency breakdown, I opted to do all the work the technician recommended. The cost, while it hurts, is actually less than that of the new roof I put on my last home.

And Gypsy Lee is my home. Or she will be again when I get her back Monday. That’s my 72nd birthday by the way. And I can’t think of a better present than having my RV ready to hit the road again. Hopefully Gypsy Lee and Maggie will be up to the next 100,000 or so miles. I sure am.

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Photo by Pat Bean

 

Whose to say these mushrooms, which appeared to have sprung up almost overnight after a rainstorm aren’t as spectacular on a small scale as the Grand Canyon is on a large scale?

What small creation of Mother Nature do you find magical?

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  “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” — Robert Brault

 Travels With Maggie

 My first look, many years ago, out over the sprawling grandeur of the Grand Canyon dazzled my soul. More recently, my bow-front ride on the Maid of Mist into the mighty spray of Niagara Falls’ filled me with exhilaration. It is, I’m sure, the same reactions the majority of tourists have to these two wonders of Mother Nature.

The last three leaves on a winter tree suprised and amazed me. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 I’ve learned, however, that I can be just as dazzled and exhilarated by less grand things, for example three magical leaves. I use the word magical because against all odds they were the only leaves left on a tree that Maggie and I passed on one of our recent winter morning walks.

They reminded me of an O’Henry’s story, “The Last Leaf.” The tale is about a little girl with pneumonia who was determined to live until the last leaf fell from a tree outside her window. It never did – because it was painted on the brick wall behind the tree – and the girl never died.

 But my three leaves were not painted. They were as green as new grass on a spring day. And they amazed me. As did the colorful mushrooms that appeared in a city park overnight after a rain storm. And the one yellow cactus blossom on a plant with dozens of magenta colored blooms at Pancho Villa State Park in New Mexico. Or the Gambel’s quail that I almost missed because it blended in so well with its surroundings.

 Mother Nature’s canvases are both huge and tiny. While everyone may not be able to visit the ones we humans have identified as spectacular, everyone can see Mother Nature at work in the small things. You simply have to walk out your front or back door with your eyes wide open.

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