Anniversary Celebration Year #2 Living on the Road

Two years living in 400 square feet and we're still married and loving life.

We loved to travel while happily living ever after in a gated golf community in Central Texas. One daughter lives in Chicago, another daughter + family and a son + family live in Montana. And we love to be on a beach in the winter. Hence, we were causing serious wear and tear on our vehicles during our treks cross country. And we didn't travel lite. We carried camera equipment, golf gear and all additional props for the activity of the season. So, it seemed only fitting that we tour while living in a MotorHome.

So, two years ago we bought one and sold or donated everything that wouldn't fit in our new home on wheels. We made a commitment to stay with it for at least three years but now believe it will take perhaps ten.

We started year #2 in Montana with kids and grandkids and meandered down to Moab UT.

My happy place.

We visit Yellowstone National Park every year and it gets better every trip.

We drove thru the foothills of Idaho and into Utah. Moab and other scenic vistas - Island in the Sky, Monticello, . . . - continue to amaze us.

Next path: farther south and east into Colorado where we settled in at Durango. Who could pass up a day trip with the Silverton Railway?

And wander thru the downtown historic district?

Our route from Durango CO was Pagosa Springs CO, Santa Fe NM, Truth or Consequences NM and then Texas.

The leg from Durango to Pagosa Springs was filled with excitement, not in a good way. Our MotorHome stalled on an uphill blind curve with only one lane each way and no shoulders and no cell phone service. Process: set up orange safety cones; disconnect tow car; drive 4 miles for phone service; call roadside assistance; I couldn't answer their mechanical question; drive back to ask Rob; drive 4 miles again for cell service; call 911 for assistance in directing traffic around us; call roadside assistance again; no help there; call tow service. Whew!

Oh, and it was Saturday after the mechanics had left for the weekend. This isn't the first time we have spent the night in a repair shop parking lot.

What to do when you're stranded in the city that's home to the world's deepest geothermal hot spring. Well, I soaked.

Fortunately, the malfunction was a loose wire, somewhat difficult to determine but easy to fix.

And finally, back on course to Santa Fe. I'm contemplating life and counting our many blessings.

We stop often to smell the roses and enjoy a view of the city.

We caught the Rail Runner from Santa Fe to Albequerque for a day trip.

Best. Bargain. Ever. $10 per senior round trip.

Then a trek across the wide expanse of West Texas. As luck would have it, we parked on a cutting horse ranch just west of Fort Worth where Rob transformed from an Indiana native to a Texas cowboy.

The best part of being in Texas is the good times we create by hooking up with our siblings and home town friends.

Our route from Ft Worth TX was to Fort Meyers FL for another winter of sun and fun at the beach.

We don't drive straight thru from one destination to the next. Our standard MO is to leave an overnight stop by 9AM and park at the next by 3PM.

Rob's already a happy camper.

My favorite stop this trip was in Homosassa FL where I got to swim with the manatees again.

We met new neighbors and BFFs Cindy and Mark Smith from North Carolina. Cindy is on a mission and she is my inspiration.

We explored Snook Haven and hooked up with last year's neighbors and now life long friends Sherry and Tom Thorne.

We strolled the waterfront and enjoyed a romantic lunch.

We met Rob's siblings Donnie & Sandy Smith and Viv & Bill Puetz for gatherings. They live in Indiana but have been spending winters in Florida for more than 10 years. Lucky.

Fort Meyers is an RV haven where Rob lusted after this 600hp road monster.

Lois & Steve Schultz, home town BFFs, flew in for a week of golf, pickleball and all things Florida.

A most exciting day: I got to follow The Owl Lady and view burrowing owls.

And I got to spend some time with the resident bald eagle family.

We headed back to Texas for Rob's not-so-minor dental work, his back surgery and a Jeep recall - nothing unique to living in an RV. We're both anxious to get these behind us and get back to exploring.

Another overnight stay in the parking lot of a repair shop, nothing serious.

We made time for golf.

And lunch aprés golf with family Penny & Pete Puetz.

Now I know why the ducks were quacking at my door.

I visited with two golfing BFFs - Connie Hundley and Dimp Bancroft. These ladies are full of wisdom, grace and joy.

I flew to my happy place in Montana for a short visit. Sunshine and shorts this day. Six inches of snow the next.

All went well with Rob's dental implant + crown, his back surgery and our Jeep recall. We're back on the road and in exploring mode heading to Montana.

We had a short layover in Colorado Springs and parked at Cheyenne Mountain State Park, 2,700 pristine acres overlooking the city. There you'll find a visitors' center, camper services, 20 miles of hiking trails, abundant shower and laundry facilities, rustic sites for tents and full hookup sites for big rigs.

The park boasts home to deer, elk, black bears, cougars, foxes, . . .

We packed a lot of exploring into 72 hours in Colorado. We toured Manitou Springs and caught the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, all the way to 14,114' elevation.

The train stops here. Note to self: it may be 90° at the foot of the mountain but plan for 48° at the summit.

A show of wildlife on our descent from the summit.

We weren't the only tourists on the rail.

First stop in WY: Cheyenne and the beginning of Frontier Days, largest rodeo in the world, so we hung with the big guys.

We were serenaded at breakfast by the resident vocalist.

By all accounts it's a dude ranch. Since Rob was recovering from recent back surgery we rode the train instead of joining the trail ride.

The highlight of our tour: feeding the bison.

Terry Bison Ranch is 27,000 acres stretching across Colorado and Wyoming.

Crafted by the hands of Mother Nature, Ayers Natural Bridge near Douglas WY crosses over LaPrele Creek. It's one of only 3 rock arches in the nation that crosses over water. Yep, that's me at the top. Was a tad bit treacherous getting there.

Sheridan WY is one of our favorite stops. What's there to do you ask? Our favorite digs are both on Main Street downtown. Kings Saddlery is a complete Western tack store offering made-to-order ropes, saddles and more. Walk to the back of the store and you'll find Don King's museum, home to over three decades of the King family's collection of Western memorabilia including 500 saddles.

But this visit we decided to venture further out and Big Horn National Forest did not disappoint. First the wildlife.

Then we were temporarily detained by an early morning sheep jam. It's free range livestock in some areas and fortunately the first 900 sheep had already crossed.

Wyoming is suffering from severe drought conditions and there were two active fires in the forest. Here's the Helicopter base that serves the immediate region.

There's just something about fishing in the high country.

And we love the roar at Shell Falls as the water cascades over 120 feet of granite rock.

Two years total miles traveled in our MotorHome: 25,312; additional miles travelled exploring in our Jeep: 56,225; US states visited: 22.

🎶 On the Road Again 🎶 by Willie Nelson. It's a new year!

Created By
Sue Puetz
© 2016 All photos by and property of Sue S Puetz

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