Operation visit all the friends and see all the things has begun!
We had a nice two week stay in Mesa, not far from my mom. The RV resort we stayed at was a ghost town, because who wants to come to the Phoenix area in the summer time? Anyone? I don’t see many hands raising. So we had the pool (where Violet learned to swim underwater!), a dog park and the fitness center to ourselves. It was glorious! Leaving was bittersweet though. Spending the half year (more actually) at and near my mom’s made it hard to leave. When I was freshly an adult, barely 18, I left to see the big wild world, barely glancing back to see my mom that was probably a sobbing wreck. I cried then but the tears swiftly dried. I never once thought about how my mom was dealing with the change. I was ready to conquer and see and grow. Now that I’m older and a parent myself, I get it. Leaving this time around made me sad thinking about how in many years when our kids fly away and we too will be left with an empty nest. So Mom, if you’re reading this, know that I miss you and leaving you is the hardest part of this journey. Thank goodness for technology and being able to see those we love and miss even across the distance.
Taking this trip has been odd in that when we used to travel we could plow through miles and miles and hours and hours in a day. Now, we try to limit a travel day to 3 hours on google maps which normally turns into more because we can’t always drive the speed limit. Plus, if we have to dump because we boondocked that takes extra time. Plus bathrooms breaks, plus lunch, plus walking the dog, plus in and out of carseats, etc. So 3 hours is rarely 3 hours. We’ve had longer days, but they seem harder on everyone. Because of this, our journey from Arizona to the Midwest is taking weeks. Slow and steady my friends. Slow and steady. Aside from eventually visiting every state we want to go to as many, if not every, national park & monument. Also, we are going to visit any of our friends and family that lovingly take us in, be it letting us park in their yard, meet us in their town to show us around or hanging out for lunch. It has been absolutely amazing to be able to see friends we haven’t seen in eons and not be rushed with a visit.
We left the Phoenix area and headed to our old “home town” of Tucson. We lived there the past 9 years, grew a family there, became husband & wife there, owned homes there, started careers there so even though we didn’t grow up there, I claim it. Jeff may have a differing view 😉 We stayed in a new RV park that was conveniently located downtown. We met with friends for various meals, went to the zoo, splash pad, had raspados for the 1st time (seriously, how did we miss out on that before?), and got stuck in flood waters of the first monsoon rains of the season. Yay Tucson! See you next year.
Deming, New Mexico was our 1st stop after leaving Tucson. We recently joined a group called Harvest Hosts where participating small farms and vineyards/wineries allow RVers to stay over night for free with the assumption that in exchange, you will make a small purchase from them. So, it’s not technically free, but it’s a great experience and both parties are getting something in exchange. Our 1st Harvest Hosts experience was at St Clair Winery.
The tasting room was a little fancy, busy and I didn’t feel exactly at ease with the kids in there, but the servers were friendly and the wine was good. We tried interesting ones that were infused with green and red chilies. They took copies of our HH paperwork, IDs (which apparently isn’t common), we drank our wine, bought a bottle and retired for the night. The parking was nothing fancy; just a gravel parking lot where our door opened up to a field and we listened to birds sing a song as the sun set behind us. We could get used to this!
Our next stop was at Tularosa Vineyards in Tularosa, New Mexico. We were nestled next to pecan and pistachio trees with open views of the San Francisco peaks in the distance. This place was unpretentious, inviting, simple and I dare to say the wine was better than the place before. The woman who worked in the tasting room was very friendly and we chatted with her for a while. Plus, if you bought a bottle, your tasting fee was waived. There was plenty of open space for the kids to play, us to ride our bikes and not feel we were in the way. One evening we woke the kids to show them the mind-blowing view of the Milky Way. It was their first time and even through groggy eyes they were mesmerized. The wonderful folks at the vineyard let us stay an extra night which was fantastic as we wanted to go to White Sands National Monument which was not far away(another post will be JUST about White Sands). We checked out the historic town of Tularosa, explored a new park, the kids played on a teeter totter for the 1st time, and we had Sopaipillas smothered in green chile sauce.
Next, we went to see friends in Clovis, New Mexico. It’s off the beaten path and though the drive there was quite beautiful, I don’t see us ever going there again. Unless, of course, someone really rad in our lives moves there unwillingly. The roads were wretched, it seemed run down and not much happening except for shopping and chain restaurants. Of course though, we weren’t there long so perhaps we could have gained a different perspective but you know…first impressions. None of that really mattered because we were there to visit with an old friend of mine and her new family. We hadn’t seen each other since 2007. It was great watching our kids play together and catching up like years hadn’t passed. One overnight at an RV park, a breakfast date with them to say one last goodbye, and we were off to Texas. We weren’t expecting too much as we were driving into the panhandle of Texas. Flat, Amarillo area. Flat…we were sooooo wrong.
**Stay tuned for the next part of our journey**