Southern California has been our base this winter, although with so many trips, both for business and pleasure, we haven’t had as much time as we would have liked to really get to know this beautiful part of the country.
We left Dallas in mid-November, stopping in Alamagorda, New Mexico, where some friends had kindly offered to take care of the RV while we drove on to Colorado to spend Thanksgiving with Ben and Jennifer. We didn’t want to risk towing in icy conditions over those steep mountain passes!
Thanksgiving is a very special time of year (even for these British folks!) and it’s such a joy to have the freedom to spend time with family. In fact, a card I received recently from Ben read “Thank you for having the lifestyle that allows us to see so much of you. We truly are fortunate….. May God continue to bless you in your travels.” Obviously we haven’t yet outstayed our welcome!
Unfortunately, they had several inches of rain in New Mexico that week, and when we returned to collect the RV we found that the hard ground we had parked on resembled a quagmire and we were well and truly “stuck in the mud”! It took a lot of manpower, kind neighbors and ingenuity to get us out. What’s more, the rain was still falling and we now had Sacha and Chelsea with us. Once again, I had broken my cardinal rule for RVing, “no kids, no pets!”, but Ben’n’Jen were moving house and we had offered to “dog-sit” for three weeks until we returned at Christmas.Actually, I have to admit we really enjoyed having them with us. With the beautiful Californian climate, they spent much of the time outside and were really no trouble — except when the occasional cat strolled by!
Escondido RV Resort quickly became our “home away from home”, and comes highly recommended. It’s an exceptionally well-maintained park, has very friendly staff, a beautifully furnished lounge, even a heated swimming pool and a hot tub. What more could one ask for! It was also great being so close to Norma, Jan, Kim and many others associated with our business who have become good friends over the past few years. They really treated us like family and made us feel so welcome.
We had been there only three weeks when it was time to turn around and head back to Colorado for Christmas. Thank goodness we left the RV behind, parked on Norma’s ranch. We drove through severe winter weather with temperatures dropping as low as -23°F. In fact, it was so cold that the windshield cracked!
Christmas is always a special time of year, and this time was especially wonderful. Our younger son, Kevin, flew in from Austin, Texas, so it was a real family reunion.
We’re beginning to love skiing and are finally showing signs of improvement! Buying ski boots really helped.
We spent a lot of time on Vail mountain – another spectacular place on God’s earth.
One of the awe-inspiring sights from the top of Vail mountain is Holy Cross; to us this is a constant reminder of the person of Jesus Christ to whom we are eternally indebted.
One of our goals while exploring the country is to decide where we want to eventually settle down, and Colorado is certainly near the top of the list. So we took our time driving back to California.
The drive south from Grand Junction is amazing!
When we reached Ouray (a really quaint alpine town), and started up over Red Mountain Pass in the San Juan Mountains, it reminded us so much of the Swiss Alps. Having survived the “white knuckle” drive (thank goodness we weren’t towing!), we spent a couple of nights in Durango at the Country Sunshine B & B. The area is truly magnificent and seems to be a well-kept secret.
We visited the incredible cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde, which are so fascinating that we are determined to return and spend days there instead of hours.
We next stopped in Sedona, Arizona, to do some sightseeing and then hiked in the Grand Canyon — something we hadn’t done since 1987!
We had to be back in Escondido by January 9th as my sister, Ann, was arriving from England “to see what this RVing lifestyle is all about”. We had a good time, maybe in part because Mick had arranged a business trip to Seattle for a few days, leaving us girls together. Three’s definitely a crowd in an RV! We did the usual things — exploring San Diego Old Town, Coronado Island, the shopping malls — but the highlight of her visit was the day we spent sailing in San Diego Harbor.
Just imagine the feel of the wind in your hair and the clean salty air in your lungs. We took turns at the helm, sailing right out to sea and actually saw some California Gray Whales. What an unforgettable experience!
Ann finally flew back to England, Mick came home, and a few days later we were on a plane bound for Dallas to attend the “Texas Twister”, a week-long series of health and wellness seminars. Having organized this event in past years, we really enjoyed being guests from out-of-town. This trip also gave us the opportunity to visit Kevin, now living and working in Austin.
Back in Escondido once again, the next two weeks were filled with training sessions, appointments, and the inaugural “Health Night” hosted by the Shoemaker Health Group. Several prominent, local healthcare professionals shared the importance of taking control of your health, with specific reference to the role of nutrition — a tremendously successful evening.
And now finally, it was time for the trip of a lifetime — another dream come true. But that’s another story…