Oh what a time!

As we wind down the trip, we have learned many things and had a wonderful time. We so appreciate all the lovely comments and having you “along” for this ride.

As we wrap this trip and look to the future, stay tuned to this site as the journey might not be over.  This trip was a test and it looks like we passed.  We didn’t hurt one another, we enjoyed the freedom of the road, and we came away with an interest to try this again. So this is not the end but the beginning as we start an ongoing series from the road.  In the meantime, here are thoughts as we wrap up this trip.

  • As we reach empty-nesthood, Barry and I DO still have things to talk about, other than our children and, by God, we truly like each other.
  • You miss the small things at home  – like two-ply toilet paper that comes off a holder nailed to the wall instead of a hard-to-reach pocket to keep it dry from the shower.
  • Public showers are really not that bad,  just don’t forget your shower shoes
  • When traveling in a camper, it is best to stay more than one night in one place – it is a beating to unhook and level nightly!
  • Small towns offer some interesting perspectives and fun non-chainstore shopping
  • Waze calculates ETA based on the speed she thinks you should travel, and does not take into consideration the speed you are traveling, despite actually showing  your current speed
  • The difference between a queen and king sized bed is enormous, especially when there is only one way in. Barry seemed to enjoy that I had to climb over him to get to my “side” of the bed
  • Barry has skills I didn’t know and can dump a camper without mishap, thank goodness

As as we approach home, I am looking forward to a few things like:

  • Wearing different clothes and shoes than what I packed
  • Taking a long shower, or maybe even a bath, just because I can
  • Having wifi that I can count on (we have become so spoiled!)

20171030-1470But I will miss…

  • Stars that seem brighter and more abundant – and noticing them
  • Hikes in mountains and beautiful natural settings
  • Exploring new places
  • Feeling totally free of schedules, yet able to stay connected

So stay tuned and thank you again for coming along for the ride.  We are blessed!  (By the way, if you hit follow on this site, you will be sent an email whenever we post so you can stay tuned easier.)



Route 66

Route 66

For a lot of our trip, we were near or on the historic Route 66. A lot of it is gone now, but pieces remain and some spots are even thriving. We started seeing part of it as we passed through Amarillo and the famous buried cars. Barry shared his experience in Winslow, AZ in a previous post. And when we drove through the Painted Desert, they had preserved a piece of Route 66 which used to pass through that area. They even had a stamp for my National Parks Passport of Route 66.

As we made our way home, we travelled for a while on it. Starting in Flagstaff, which has preserved some of it, we stopped and walked around. They have a cute downtown shopping area with a mountain town atmosphere. The people seemed very laid back and super friendly, with a certain quirkiness in their dress and shops to add that fun element. We enjoyed exploring and Barry was able to find a spot showing the LSU game while we ate lunch.


Along the way, we took a side trip off Route 66 to Navajo Nation, which is officially not under the federal government.  This area was settled by the Navajo, which I learned call themselves, Diné.  We saw a memorial dedicated to the Navajo Code talkers and an incredible rock formation where they had settled called Window Rock.


I spent several days in Albuquerque while Barry flew to San Francisco for work (can you believe he left me?!?!) and stayed in an RV park on old Route 66. They played up the history with a few adorable throwback campers you could rent for the night and some 1950s cars on display.

Enchanted Trails_0573

We didn’t stop in Gallup which has some famous Route 66 history and a landmark old hotel where movie stars used to stay when shooting westerns. Maybe next time. I had to promise Barry we would make our way out that way again as we also missed a town called PieTown, named for its famous pies!

Maybe one day we will take it all the way to California!

Cooking with Gas

You learn a lot when you live in a camper. One of the more interesting adjustments is learning to cook and clean up after in a space the width of my kitchen sink at home. We had a small sink and two burner stove with about one inch of space between the two. To have enough room to prep food, you had to cover the sink so we learned to clean food first, then cover the sink, use that area for a cutting board, then start preparations over the stove. Dirty spoons and dishes were placed in a pile until we could uncover the sink. Clean dishes or needed ingredients were staged on the bed, which was directly next to the sink, until needed.20171107-1645

Mastering the stove was the other hurdle. The first time I used the stove, I was sautéing onions and set off the smoke alarm.   Lesson learned, always cook with the window open! While we didn’t take a grill on this trip, many folks use those and cook outside – that is one way not to set off the alarm. I also highly recommend Instant Pot, which did not heat up the camper and made tasty, quick dishes.


Cleaning was another challenge. With such a small sink, washing and rinsing the same dish was hard and the drying mat had to be placed over the stove. Here was another way that the Instant Pot came in handy as it allowed me to use the stainless steel pot for washing with rinsing in the sink. I really missed my dishwasher though, not for washing the dishes, for storing them out of the way until we were ready to clean them.

Sometimes it was easier to prep on the table

Despite the small space, we managed to make several lovely meals. For being on the road for several weeks, we really only ate out a few times and two of those were “date nights.” With a refrigerator traveling with you, lunch is easy to grab. Just pull into a parking lot, make a quick salad and eat.  And plus, you often have lovely options for meals al fresco!

Bon appetit!

Sedona Photography – Part II

When traveling with a professional photographer, you get a bit spoiled, knowing he will capture great memories of your travels.  And when you are traveling in a place like Sedona with so much natural beauty, it is hard not to stop photographing.  One thing I have learned though about photography is that it isn’t about capturing just one perfect picture.  It is about capturing a lot of images to find that perfect picture.  One day, Barry took over 400 images, then culled it to a mere 150 or so.  We will not bore you with all those (unless you come to our house for a slide show),  but wanted to share some of our favorites.

Cathedral Rock
Church of Holy Cross


Oak Creek at Cathedral Rock


Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock on right


You will notice a few of these are from above.  Barry splurged on a helicopter ride so he could capture some special angles on these amazing canyons and rocks.  We hope you will enjoy them.

Spirit of Sedona

The rocks tell stories, the crystals heal, and the people proudly discuss their connection to the earth.  Sedona is a town well known as a place for great spiritual awakening and attracts many people for this aspect of its history.  I was excited to open myself to these possibilities and explore the many aspects of spirituality here in Sedona.

Outside a chapel in Tlaquepaqye

Perhaps it is the strong Native American influence and history in this area or the documented vibrations of the vortexes, but this town openly shares their spirit side and touts it with shops, tours, and retreats.   On my own spiritual path to a greater connection, I decided to openly embrace these different views and see if any fit.

My first priority was a vortex tour.  From my reading, I knew where to find the main vortexes and as documented in our hiking blog, I meditated at several of them.  I never felt transported or the swirling energy that some describe, but my energy during meditation was deeper and easier.  I certainly felt a strong connection to many of the rocks,  seeing many guardians and images in the rocks, thought sadly none had a message to give me.

The spirit of nature is so alive here. Even the trees inspire you with their tenacity to live.

One day, I took a tour with Crystal Starrweaver.  With that name, you know that she is deeply connected and trained in the Native American ways.  She took me to several special places where you could not help but feel the calm, the history and the clarity.  One spot overlooked the Seven Canyons and is well-known as a place for those on spiritual journeys.  Here were various guardians of the valley as well as prophecy rock, where Native American shamans would receive messages.  Trained in the Native American medicine wheels, Crystal walked me through the messages of the sacred stones in the wheel, then led me through the quadrants and ceremony of  setting intentions, facing obstacles, releasing fears and gathering the abundant gifts of this world.  It was very similar to the work I am doing through my coaching training.

Several of the Seven Canyons

Another wonderful aspect of Sedona is the deep embracing of the earth and its gifts.  I especially enjoyed the stories and seeing the beauty of the many crystals sold throughout Sedona.  While I purchased several, I did find one particularly seemed to resonate with me.  It is said to assist you in your meditation to connect to universal energies and I definitely feel a greater quiet in my monkey brain when I sit with it in my hand to meditate.


Along with crystals, there is great discussion of chakras  in this area.  In one store, they offered chakra alignment, which helps to clear blocked energy or chi so you can have greater health.  Having had a stiff neck and shoulders for a couple of months, I was curious to see if this might assist me after two people has suggested that I was holding on to a burden that needed releasing as part of my healing.  Of the things I tried, this connected the most with me physically.  I definitely felt my energy increase and a letting go of tension as she worked on me.  At one point, there was a definite feeling of swirling energy from my knees to my head.

Interestingly, as I talked with various people or tried the various techniques, I often got a similar message.  This is a time of great transformation for me and I first need to relax and restore as I wait for my next step.  Clearly, this advice makes complete sense to me and seems to dovetail well with our current plans as we turn towards home.

The mantra I was given, I like the part about playing!


Art of Sedona

As you can imagine from a city surrounded by natural beauty and very spiritual energies, the artist scene is a key part of Sedona.  In fact, there is one section, Tlaquepague, that was built and curated specifically as an artists’ haven.  It was built to resemble a Mexican village and has beautiful architecture with lovely fountains in its many square.

We spent a good part of a day wandering the maze of unique galleries and shops in Tlaquepague.  We found dazzling natural wonders, a lovely Christmas shop (where we found our traditional trip ornament), and several lovely art galleries including an amazing photography studio.  One gallery made us think of our son, Drew, who is fascinated by Asian culture.  The artist, born and raised in Seattle, was greatly influenced by his father’s travels to Asia.  He eventually studied with Japanese masters and achieved the distinction of Honshin, a master artist.

Tlaquepaque  – They ring the bell on the hour as would a Mexican village church.


Each fountain was “dressed” for the season – I bet Christmas is lovely here.


On the other end of the spectrum for art and shopping was Son Silver, an unique shop that looks more junk yard than art gallery.  It was a fun walk through yards of typical Mexican artwork, pottery, yard signs, and wind chimes.  It also showcased its own vortex designated by a sign saying Vortex Here with an arrow pointing down.  This was a fun stop and provided a couple of great Christmas gifts.

Continuing the theme of architecture as another form of art in Sedona, there is a unique structure which provides beauty and spiritual comfort – the Chapel of the Holy Cross.  Envisioned and built byMarguerite Brunswig Staude, this beautiful church is built into the rocks of Sedona with its cross proudly standing out as a symbol of peace.  The site was chosen due to the nearby rock guardians, said to look like nuns as well as one that resembles the Madonna with child.


The larger singular rocks are known as the nuns or some say wise men.  The one to the left of those is the Madonna and child.


And of course, we also experienced art in the form of gastronomy with dinner at Mariposa, a Latin American restaurant with a beautiful view of Sedona mountains and stunning artwork.  I have become fascinated by crystals (more on that in a later blog) and this restaurant had amazing art using crystals.  In a moment of synchronicity, the artwork displayed on the walls, by artist Zee, was some that had captured our attention at a Santa Fe gallery.   And the door of the restaurant was stunning – a large slab of crystal with inlays of colored crystal and agate.

Debra's Door (1 of 1)
The entrance door to Mariposa.



Hiking Sedona

Sedona has beautiful vistas, iconic rock formations, and electromagnetic vortexes, which are said to have great energetic power. Many of the vortexes were located near the famous rocks, so we were excited to hike and experience both the sight and the energy.

Now, let’s also set the record straight – when I say hike, I mean going out with 20 ounces of water and a snack bar to walk trails for a few hours. We are not hardcore hikers, with strong compass, vertical hiking, or trail map skills.

The first hike was the morning of the ill-fated sunrise hike. This was at Airport Mesa, one of the key Sedona vortex spots. We arrived early and parked at the foot of the scenic overlook. Seeing signs for the Airport Overlook pointing up the trail, we decided to go higher up the hill to see if we could get a better view. Note the words – UP the hill.  So we hiked up hill for about a half mile only to find a larger parking lot right at the overlook.  Oh, well, it was good exercise!  While a great view of the town, it was crowded and not the feel we wanted so we hiked back down to a outcrop in the hill.

While Barry took some photos, I settled on my mat to meditate and feel the vortex energy. I can’t say I felt any sudden swoosh or swirling vibration, but I did feel a strong sense of calm, which could have been the vortex energy, the early morning quietness or the fact that I usually don’t fully awake until well after 9 a.m.


Next stop – Cathedral Rock, a vortex site said to have a more female or yin energy thus more soothing or calming energy. This site definitely brought me an inner peace with all its beauty and surrounding scenery.  Apparently though, our hike vibes were still off. We intended to hike Baldwin Loop around to the backside of Cathedral where Oak Canyon Creek runs to get a beautiful view of the water and rock. Clearly not reading the signage well and avoiding the steep climb straight up the rock, we took a trail that led us around but away from the Rock. While not our intention, we did get a beautiful (and fairly easy) hike as well as a different view of the Rock. In Sedona, the Rocks are living beings and as you watch the rocks, you see images, much like when you were a kid and would watch clouds. Clearly this is a common pastime in Sedona, as even the smaller rock formations have names based on the image seen in it.

Cathedral Rock from the front
Standing on the bottom of Cathedral Rock, nice backdrop!
Feeling the calming and warm energy from the rocks!


Our last “big” hike was up the Yavapia trail to a get a view of Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte in the setting sun. We got there right at the “golden hour” so they were spectacularly lit. At Bell Rock, there is another vortex said to have a more stimulating and healing energy. While we were not on the actual Rock, I will admit that this hike seemed easier despite being uphill and over rocks.  I enjoyed my meditation on this rock as Barry shot the sunset.  It was fun to watch the Bell Rock as the sun set.  There were clearly changing faces on it.  My favorite was as I watched the sun light up the opening in the side of the Rock.  I clearly could see a Native American woman, wearing a bear headdress, with her mouth wide open, laughing. Perhaps that was the playful energy I felt while meditating.

Look carefully, can you see the woman laughing?  The taller rock with the open “mouth”?

Hiking in Sedona is an experience for all and we highly recommend it, even if you have never hiked an inch in your life!