Winging it Buffalo NY Style

If there is one food that my Handsome Chauffeur must eat at least weekly is hot wings! When we lived in Kansas for 19 years most every Wednesday we would go to a local watering hole to enjoy adult barley and hops beverages, friends and WINGS! At the time we started the tradition wings were a whopping 10 cent per flat or drumette! The prices these days are much higher for the same deliciousness, but we still enjoy them.

We referred to our group of wing connoisseurs as the “Wing Nuts”. We had nicknames, such as, “Grill Marks”, “Flamin HOT” and “Naked On The Side”! When we decided to hit the road our weekly meeting of the Wing Nuts was one of the things we truly missed. Just because we were on the road did not deter our weekly consumption of wings. It became one of our missions to try wings at every place we call home… after all it’s part of our journey as WE BE WINGING IT!

It only stood to reason that as we made our way to Western New York one of our MUST stops was Buffalo, New York to the bar where Buffalo Wings were first created!

As the Wing legend goes….On a Friday night in 1964, Dominic Bellissimo was tending bar at the now famous Anchor Bar Restaurant in Buffalo, NY. Late that evening, a group of Dominic’s friends arrived at the bar with ravenous appetites. Dominic asked his mother, Teressa, to prepare something for his friends to eat.

Teresa had a bunch of chicken wings that she intended to boil to make chicken broth…. That evening she deep fried the wings and tossed in a “special sauce” and served them to her son’s friends. The wings were an instant hit! The treat known as Buffalo Wings was created that evening are now a global hit.

We were certainly glad to try the original wings and get the history. I have to say that over the years of our sampling wings all around the USA we have perfected our own recipe and enjoy them often!

One cannot go to Western New York and not see Niagara Falls… and we are no exception. We did plenty of reading about the Falls and saw reviews about which side was more spectacular… USA vs Canadian. CoVid again foiled our plans to see both sides as we were unable to cross the border. I guess that it means we will have to go back someday..

The sights we did see were amazing and LOUD!

The Maid of the Mist

A few fun facts I picked up from our damp adventure:

3,160 tons of water per second go over the Falls! There are some fluctuations depending on time of year or day. June, July and August see the most water fall.

There are actually three falls that make up the beauty. The water comes from four of the Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan, Ontario, Huron and Erie.

Niagara Falls produces large amounts of electricity. It’s first Hydroelectric station was built on the Niagara River on 1881. In the 1890’s Nikola Tesla harnessed the energy made from Niagara Falls creating alternate current electricity which gave electricity 21 miles away to Buffalo! Here I thought Tesla was only a name of a car😜😆Just kidding!

The Niagara State park was the very first state park in America established in 1885.

A view from the park

And last but certainly not least Niagara Falls was the popular honeymoon destination back in the day!

Our “home” for the week in Western New York was situated on the shore of Lake Ontario. We met tons of great folks who are seasonal campers at the park. They were a great resource of what sites to take in and things to do.

One of the surprises to us both were the TONS of vineyards. As we road our Harley around we were astounded by the sizes! Many of the vineyards were growers for Welch. In fact this area is known for the Concord grapes and covers 1,300 acres! That’s a lot of juice and jelly! There were also many vineyards that produced there own wines. Tons of options to stop and sample.

There were amazing Apple orchards as well. Lucky for us as well there were lots to of vegetable and fruit stands along the road sides selling their bounties! We were in heaven with all of the selections available.

Another stop for us was the Erie Canal

The Erie Canal is a 363-mile waterway that connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean via the Hudson River in upstate New York. The channel, which traverses New York state from Albany to Buffalo on Lake Erie, was considered an engineering marvel when it first opened in 1825. The Erie Canal provided a direct water route from New York City to the Midwest, triggering large-scale commercial and agricultural development—as well as immigration—to the less populated frontiers of western New York, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and points farther west.

The canal has 83 locks. As we enjoyed an ice cream cone we were able to watch a few boats go through the locks. My Handsome Chauffeur actually serenaded the Lock Operator with his rendition of the song Low Bridge, Everybody Down. I am uncertain if the Lock Operator was impressed by the vocal talents of this tourist or thought he was a bit of his rocker! I bet My Handsome Chauffeur’s grade school music teacher was smiling down from heaven though!

Too soon our visit was over in Western New York. We will miss the sunsets on Lake Ontario, the gorgeous landscapes and the folks we met! As we often say when we like a spot on our travels ..”ITS A DO OVER” … Indeed WNY is a DO OVER!

Family and Familiar Stops

As we headed out for our 2021 travel extravaganza , CoVid was still on the fore front. This year making reservations was a bit tougher as it appears many folks became stir crazy with the lock down and took up camping to get out! The numbers for recreational vehicles sold was record breaking. I know that we absolutely love our life style and even during the pandemic we were able to travel and feel safe in our own home. I guess the secret is out and more folks are hitting the road regardless that fuel prices were climbing by the day… Thanks Joe… NOT!

As we headed north we stayed on a familiar path visiting friends and places we had called home previously in the Panhandle of Florida.

Our first stop was just a resting spot for a day at Tyndall AFB. The last time we stayed here it was lovely. Unfortunately, Hurricane Michael hit the base shortly after we left and the devastation can still be seen in the area. What was once beautiful trees were now gnarled and trying to come back to life. We were only staying for one night and were glad of that fact. When we called to see if the base had an open site for the night the host said he can “squeeze” us in. He was not over stretching the truth at all!

Oh my GOODNESS were we EVER squeezed in! I sneezed in our RV and I heard our neighbor through the closed windows say “God bless you” This was too close for my liking, but it was late and storms were brewing so we decided to weather out the night.

Not long after we got set up and ate the skies turned ominous. The winds started howling. The leaves were swirling in the air. Then came the tornado sirens! All the neighbors, kids, cats, dogs were running for shelter. We had a decision to make … risk being in CLOSE contact with people in a one room hut in a pandemic or stay put and pray for our safety in our own home. There really wasn’t much time to weigh out the options as it was a FAST moving storm. We decided to stay put and take our chances. Our prayers were answered. The storm came and left in a rapid fashion.

Our next stop was Destin, Florida. We made this area home for our first 2 winters in our early Nomad days. It is like going “home”. We are blessed to have “framily” (friends who we consider family) live there too! The beaches and water are amazing. The sunsets spectacular!

Sooner than we knew it was time to head further north to Alabama. We stayed at an amazing state park right near the water. My Handsome Chauffeur traded his steering wheel for a fishing rod. What made our time in Alabama even better was our dear friend from Kansas brought his fishing boat and stayed a few days with us! While the guys fished I sat on the shore basking in the beauty and catching up with some reading!

As we headed further north we spent a few days riding the mountains of Arkansas. We stayed in Eureka Springs plenty of times when we lived in our sticks and bricks home. The beauty of the hills and lakes always fill our hearts!

Not many miles further north we made Branson, MO. our home for a week. We were blessed beyond measure to have our kids and grandkids join us for this leg of our adventure!

The little ones rode roller coasters for the first time. Their joy and laughter while we spent hours riding rides was music to our ears!

We had the privilege of having our Pretty Princess spend a few days with us in Branson by herself. We had a BLAST swimming, going to the Butterfly Palace and eating ice cream!

We are not sure who had more fun …us or the Princess😉💝!

People often ask us how we determine our route each year. Most of the time there will be a celebration we want attend. This year was no exception. We made our way to Kansas City area not only to spend time with our kids that live there, but we had a graduation to attend which was a great family reunion as well!

It had been nearly 2 years since we held our daughter in our arms due to CoVid and lock downs! We were thrilled to have this BEAUTIFUL gal make the trip to Kansas City to celebrate as well

Being all together never felt better!

We spent two months in the Kansas City area catching up with family and friends. Did our fair share of fishing with the kiddos

Had some art projects completed and heated games of cards. Never a dull moment and we wouldn’t have any other way!

As Mother Nature started to heat up the Prairie lands we started our engines and rolled further north into Wisconsin. The area we have spent most of our life returning to after finishing high school. There too we were able to see our parents that make Tucson, AZ home. It had been nearly 2 years since we were together due to the pandemic. Oh my what fun we had. There was work involved as well. Our Dad had spent many years living in Lake Michigan aboard his boat enjoying the coolness of living on the water and relaxing in the summer months. As with all things this era of living aboard the boat was over. He sold the boat while we were there and we helped them clean out and pack up their belongings into their car to make the voyage back to Tucson with a number of stops through the north seeing sites and visiting friends and family!

It has been said the happiest days of a boat owner is the day the boat is bought AND the day it is sold. Our “Captain” felt those feelings for certain! There is a season for everything under the sun. The boat was his “Princess” for many years and we all hope it brings the new owner as much joy and happiness!

Kissing his Princess farewell

Next stop was also familiar. We made home outside of Green Bay, WI. The great part was we had family stop by as they were making their way further north to the Upper Michigan to see our parents who make home in God’s country!

While we were in Wisconsin we began to notice that our RV would not stay level. Our Mobile Condo uses air bags as a leveling system not jacks. The air in the bags fluctuate with temperature changes. We began to notice when getting up in the morning we were walking like a drunken sailor and we were on a ship that was listing to the starboard side! This First Mate entrusted her Captain to trouble shoot the issue which led us to a big rig repair shop. The diagnosis was one of the air bags had a hole and needed to be replaced. Of course they did not have the time or air bag to replace it there in Wisconsin so we took off to our next stop in Upper Michigan.

Once we settled into our new “home” for a few weeks my Handsome Chauffeur was able to find a shop to help him determine the correct type of bag to purchase. In no time he was able to find the air bag and it was delivered. We made arrangements for the bag to be replaced on the day of our departure. For 2 weeks we were off kilter in the Mobile Condo, but we were glad to know it would be fixed soon.

We had a blast spending time with our parents, riding our Harley along Lake Superior, golfing and soon it was time to hit the road south after our repair

The repair went without a hitch, BUT there was also a bit of bad news…. The shop that we got the repair done informed us we had ANOTHER bag that was leaking!! Ugh… it’s always something! The challenge we were now facing was that we were going to be moving every week and had to secure an address to send the bag to! We made the arrangements for delivery and it would be another 4 weeks before it could be repair! We plugged along adapting to our new “normal” listing to one side not letting this stop us from our plans.

We headed south over the Mighty Mackinac bridge. This wasn’t our first time over it… one would think practice makes perfect and the jitters wouldn’t be so bad, but not for this Nervous Navigator! As we neared the bridge Mother Nature decided she needed to release moisture from her clouds and the wind to pick up!

We slowly made our trek the distance of 26,372 feet at 20 mph! Windshield washers on high. I kept trying to forget that we were 199 feet above the water AND that the depth of water below was a mere142 feet 😳😢! As we finally made it to the shores of lower Michigan the sun popped out! We have made the trip across the bridge three times and EACH AND EVERY time Mother Nature was in a snit. Sending wind and rain just to keep us humble and me to be praying like crazy!

We had one of our shortest stays during this travel season in Lower Michigan at one of our favorite campgrounds. Actually it’s a BEAUTIFUL RV COMMUNITY that we have made friends with others over the years. We also had a great visit with friends that live in the area. It was kinda like being home!

Next stop Ohio! We fell in love with Ohio many years ago when we were roller coaster fanatics. Cedar Point was a must stop, but not this time. Our roller coaster adventure in Branson showed us that our minds are willing, but our old bodies say HECK NO! Instead of riding roller coasters we spent time on Put In Bay an island out in the middle of Lake Erie! It’s a great place to hear live music , people watch and have adult beverages at the LONGEST Bar.

The Island has been referred to as the “Key West of the Midwest”. It is VERY true! We highly recommend both Put In Bay and Key West for your bucket list!

Another must stop of ours every few years in Ohio is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

We get goosebumps every time we enter! There are always new exhibits mixed in with the ones we have seen before. Even those we have seen we STILL see something pop out we hadn’t noticed before! I especially like seeing the hand written lyrics to songs and the back story about the song.

John Lennon’s lyrics for Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds !
Prince’s set list from 1984

Our trip to all things familiar and family had come to an end! The Mobile Condo was heading to new places and experiences. We are always up to more adventures and making loads memories! Stay tuned😉

Pandemic vs. Nomads

Long time no blog Eh? The world as we knew it prior to March 2020 seems so different. When we became Professional Nomads we thought we would travel happily without actually having firm plans or reservations. Little did we know at the time as “newbies” that living in a 42 foot RV TOWING a full-size 4 wheel truck we would find it hard to find places to accommodate our needs at a drop of the hat. We hoped that we could “wing it”, but through the years we found it better to plan ahead with a charted course and RESERVATIONS.

When we arrived at our winter destination of Tampa, FL in October of 2019 we started planning our route of travel starting in April of 2020 through October 2020. We did our due diligence researching places to see heading up the east coast and made all our reservations. Our travel calendar was completed by January which NEVER happened before. THEN COVID HIT! The country locked down! Our phones started ringing with callS from most of the campgrounds we had reserved stating they were not going to be able to accommodate us. All of our hard work and planning went POOF over night!

We were in shock as most of the entire world with the news of the pandemic. We watched the media. Daily it was changing. Fear had gripped the world. We were given an extension to stay on the Air Force Base longer than the allowed 180 days which was a relief. There was talk on the news that people were not going to be able to travel from state to state in order to prevent the spread of the infection. Life as many of us had known was turned upside down in a matter of days as we watched further developments.

As we watched, the heat was getting unbearable for these Nomads… and claustrophobia was setting in! The heat and fear of the virus were keeping us locked up in 400 square feet. Then we got a call….Our kids in Kansas were told to work from home AND our grandchildren ages 5 and 2 were at home as well. The call was sort of an S.O.S. and a blessing to us. They needed help keeping the kids so they could work AND we needed to get out of the heat of Florida. We made a break for it heading north!

Were we a bit fearful??….you bet we were. Fear of the unknown. We feared not being able to cross state lines, feared getting the virus and bringing it to our kiddos, yet our faith overcame our fear AND our kids needed us. I think most red blooded grandparents would have made the leap of faith as well in the same situation.

The beauty of our living arrangement is we are self sufficient. We had water on board, our cupboards and refrigerator was full AND we were stocked up with all the toilet paper and Clorox wipes we could hold😜! The only reason to get out of our Mobile Condo was to refuel. We made a break for it! Three Wal-Mart parking lot stays from Tampa to Louisburg, KS and we were there!

It was eerie traveling to say the least. There was virtually no traffic on the roads with the exception of the Hero Truckers that kept the country going with all their deliveries. No cars in parking lots of malls, churches, or restaurants. Our fears of not being able to cross state lines was never an issue thank goodness. We were able to get through big cities with no problems of traffic jams.

We were welcomed to Kansas with open arms of family. We were able to spend quality time with our grands and help their parent’s with a bath remodel project. We saw our granddaughter catch her first fish, our grandson take up golfing and relax while the world was still in turmoil.

Soon the weather in Kansas became as warm as it was when we left Florida. It was time for us to head further north! We meandered through Wisconsin. It was early July and a few campgrounds had opened back up. We noticed that there seemed to be many campers given that there was a Pandemic going on. I think people were just trying to get out and enjoy fresh air and perhaps a bit of “normalcy”. Every where we went people were respectful of space and wearing masks. Although you couldn’t see their smiles.. there were lots of friendly waves.

There were many celebrations that were canceled due to the Pandemic. We had been planning a BIG CELEBRATION for my parents for over a year. They were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary and deserved to be celebrated. Due to precautions and limitations on gatherings the celebration wasn’t as large as we had originally intended, but there was a party indeed!

There was swimming, boat rides, fishing, golf cart driving, card games, bonfire and s’mores galore. Twenty of the twenty three immediate family were able to attend along with some close neighbors, friends and relatives.

We appreciated being together as a family and celebrating in spite of the world events taking place.

Although most of our plans had changed we were able to continue with our plan to spend a month in North Carolina riding through the gorgeous Appalachia’s! The weather was picture perfect.

We stopped in a small town that happen to be on the famed Appalachian Trail. Blocks were marked in the sidewalk to help guide the Hikers that may be traveling from as far from Maine to Georgia! The trail is maintained by volunteers from 31 hiking clubs, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Services, and other federal and state agencies in fourteen states.

The trees started to change colors in the mountains which was a clear sign that these Nomads needed to head further south to our winter home of Florida. On the day of our departure the “Smoky Mountains” we’re living up to their name.. it was extremely foggy

This Nervous Navigator was on edge for sure! Fog and going through the mountains is not one of my favorite things to do! Soon we were down the mountain and in the bright sunshine heading south.

Another travel season under our belt. CoVid was still plaguing the world. We were waiting to get clearance to go back to our winter home of MacDill A.F.B. We were told that due to the virus they would have to limit the amount of folks allowed to stay there. Wellllll that was a VERY stressful wait! Florida is a popular place for folks to spend the winter. We were concerned that we would literally be on the road for the winter as well due to the fact of places being booked or worse yet cancelling reservations. Thankfully, we were given the call we had waited for saying we were allowed to keep our plans and make MacDill home for the winter! Wow what a relief! Of course this stay also came with restrictions and limitations due to the virus, but we were so thankful to be able to stay put for six months. Traveling for six months is fun… and a bit of hard work ESPECIALLY with a pandemic happening!

As we settled in for our long winter’s rest. We reflected back on the changes in our travel plans.. We were thankful to have been with family, seen some really cool places and remained healthy throughout the season! CoVid is still a threat to many. It makes us appreciate our lifestyle even more.

Through our winter stay we had a few visits from friends and family. The highlight of the winter was our beloved Kansas City Chiefs made it to the Super Bowl again AND it happened to be played in our “backyard” in Tampa! Such excitement through the city as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were also in the Super Bowl! The city did a fabulous job hosting the event! People were excited! We all took precautions to prevent CoVid and still enjoyed a bit of “normalcy”

Alas, our Chiefs could not pull off a back to back Super Bowl Champs😫! Maybe next year 😉

CoVid changed the world as we know it. We are thankful to have been able to do as many things as we did in the uncertain times! We started planning our travel for our next season. Reservations were easier to come by and NO cancellations were made for 2021 season. With our health, our map and plans for the future; these Nomads are grateful and ready to see what memories are to be made!

More Mountains to Climb

Where do I begin… oh wait let me start where I left off from our last Blog post. A quick refresher if you have not read our post Going Up and Over…we had experienced some engine difficulty going up the mountain on I70 on our way to Glenwood Springs.. the engine QUIT! We made an appointment to have it assessed at the nearest Cummins Coach Care on our route which happens to be in Salt Lake City, UT a mere 368 miles away. Needless to say this Nervous Navigator was OVER THE TOP Nervous about our travels. My Handsome Chauffeur was a wee bit as well, but what were we to do except start heading that way and prayed that we would make it!

Off we went. The Mobile Condo gave us no indication that we would have any trouble, but then again it didn’t give us any indication the first time either!!! We decided to be optimistic and tried to enjoy the journey. My Handsome Chauffeur guided us over more mountains My heart began pounding a wee bit quicker with every site of the majestic mountains we were coming upon, not only with anxiety of breaking down, but the BEAUTY of the terrain as well! We chugged along doing our usual 65mph even though the speed limit was We are like a turtle….slow and steady we go. We have no problem with people flying by us. We are in no hurry AND with the unknown diagnosis of our previous engine failure we were not going to over tax the engine by going 80 mph.

I am happy to report the 368 mile trip went without any further trouble. We breathed a sigh of relief as we pulled into the Cummins parking lot. We made it! Although our home would be a parking lot for the next few days the views of the mountains was a nice treat.When we called to set up an appointment for service we were told it was a first come first serve basis. We arrived on a Saturday afternoon. They would not be opened until Monday at 7a.m. We would most definitely be the FIRST in line as we were the ONLY coach there waiting! So wait we did. Sitting outside in the parking lot enjoying Father’s Day

Monday morning at 6:55 a.m. my Handsome Chauffeur and the Cummins technician started the diagnosis. The technician used a code reader to see what the computer read. It was a code that stated our engine was “beginning” to get hot. No kidding it was getting hot… it was climbing a steep grade fully loaded with all of our worldly belongings, towing a full-size truck with a full dressed Harley in the bed! The best answer the tech could give us is that “perhaps” it was a safety feature to shut us down before it overheated. Well, I guess we could be happy for that, BUT…..not having a definite answer didn’t set well with me. He also told us it is hard to diagnose things when they happen intermittently. We would most likely have to wait for more symptoms or BREAKDOWN! For now we could just continue on our journey as there was nothing to fix at this time. WOWZER… good news bad news I guess! Nothing major wrong with the engine. It has been running fine since the breakdown. I guess we just wait for the other shoe to fall??? So off we head to our next home for the summer Hill AFB, UT. the shortest trip ever 31 miles!

When we were planning our journey for 2019 we agreed we would not do it on our previous fast and furious pace. We were exhausted by the end of our 2018 journey once we got back to Florida. We made reservations to stay at Hill AFB for 2 weeks. We had never been to this part of Utah. Years ago we did the southern portion …Moab, Bryce Canyon and Arches. We were looking forward to exploring the mountains surrounding us and The Great Salt Lake.

We were able to see the Great Salt Lake off in the distance from our campground. It’s the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River. On average the lake is 75 miles long by 28 miles wide, covering 1,700 square miles. It is only about 33 feet deep. The size and depth vary greatly with seasonal evaporation and precipitation. The lake has no outlet; water leaves by evaporation and because of this it leaves high concentrations of minerals (sodium, calcium etc.)left behind.

Due to the high salinity there are no fish in the Great Salt Lake. It is however home to brine shrimp, brine flies and several types of algae which make a feast for the millions of migrating birds. As we rode along the shores of the lake it was really stinky too!

I was curious about what exactly brine shrimp were. I may be dating myself, but when I was a kiddo and read comic books there were always adds in them to buy “Sea Monkeys”I found out that the “Sea Monkeys” are actually Brine Shrimp! Who knew?!

We rode around Antelope Island State Park which is the largest island in the Great Salt Lake. We had amazing views of the lake, free roaming herds of bison. Unfortunately, we did not see any pronghorn antelope for which the island is named.We did tour a ranch that was established in 1848. It was a working ranch until 1981. The Adobe home that was built to be the home of a Mormon pioneer Fielding Garr a widower and his nine children. Their “Mobile Condo” was also on displayI can ONLY imagine what difficulty they must have endured going up and over the mountains! Again, I give thanks to the Good Lord above that He saw fit for me to be born in the era of Diesel engine power AND paved interstate!

As we toured the barn filled with antique farming tools we spied a sign with familiar vernacular it was cool to see something from Kansas!

We spent many days touring the beautiful sights of Utah on the Harley. The mountains are our favorite places to ride. One of the rides took us up to the Cache National Forest up to 9000 feet in elevation. There still was snow and it was much cooler. Not near the amount of snow we came upon in Colorado, but then again we were at 3000 feet less in elevationThe area a bit down the mountain is great for ATV and there were trails everywhere. We were on the search for bear. Unfortunately, we did not see any, but there were deer! Thankfully they were more interested in grazing than darting across the roadway in front of CrAzY humans on a motorcycle. The snow was melting and the waterfalls were flowingWe enjoyed days of golfing at the beautiful course on the base. The backdrop of the mountains and the fairways were like playing on lush green velvetWe have been living at a higher elevation this summer. We thought walking the course would be great exercise . Indeed it WAS!!! It proved more of a workout than we had anticipated, but we made it! We don’t walk up many mountains golfing in Florida😉😎

Our stay in Utah gave us lots of opportunity to ride the Harley through mountain towns. There were beautiful ski resorts all around. We took in some music on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at a ski resort The Base hosted a country concert for the troops with Easton Corbin and Thompson Squared that brought near to 3000 people. It was a carnival like atmosphere with free music and food! The best part was that the festivities was they were right next to our campground. We were able to listen to the great music and not fight the crowds while sitting in our own front yard!It clearly was NOT front row seating, but the music sounded great😎😉We have fallen in love with this area of Utah and will most definitely be back again. My Handsome Chauffeur is so enamored with the area he made it sound like we may someday spend a LOOOOONG time here!

Our two weeks flew by and soon it was time to hit the road again. After being stationary for 2 weeks we spread our stuff all out so packing up took a few days we kinda felt like We finally got everything back in order and hit the road. Next stop We have friends who had made the journey and recommended we stay in Arco, ID. The town is small and quaint. We were looking forward to rest and relaxation along with a bit of touring. We would be part of the community over the 4th of July. A true slice of AmericanaNot much happening there right now, but it can be a busy place when NASA comes to town as our camp host informed us!

Just a few miles away was the Craters of the Moon National Park. NASA does some training in the park because the terrain is very similar to the Moon.There are 3 lava fields and miles of sage brush steppe grasslands that cover 1,117 square miles of land.

Many lava flows are present on Earth’s actual moon, but the astronauts confirmed that most of the craters on moon are a result of meteorite impacts not from volcanos. The craters we were seeing in the park were most definitely caused by volcanos.

NASA’s Apollo Astronauts Alan Shepherd, Edgar Mitchell, Eugene Cernan and Joe Engle learned basic volcanic geology here in 1969 as they prepared for their moon missions. Now NASA is also training in the park for Mars missions.

Although the park appears to be barren there were surprisingly some delicate flowers popping through the lavaWe had just missed the explosion of annual wildflower blooms that peak in mid June. I bet that is spectacular to see!

Our home of Arco, ID is famous as it was the very first city to be powered by Atomic Energy!On July 17, 1955 all the lights in Arco were successfully powered by atomic energy! Not far from the town was the 900 square mile Idaho National Laboratory the birthplace of our Nuclear Navy and EBR-I Atomic Museum. We took the tour and learned the history of peaceful use of Atomic Energy. It was really interesting for my Handsome Chauffeur as in his previous career in the USAF he worked with nuclear missiles. For me it was interesting, but WAY over my head. As the guide was explaining things and other tourists were asking scientific questions, I felt like the character Penny on the Big Bang Theory sitting there trying to make sense of what Sheldon and Howard were talking about and looking for a glass of wine 😉😊

After touring and learning we hopped on the bike to head towards Sun Valley, ID. The area is known for the rich and famous hanging out. This was more my speed than learning about atomic fusion and energy. The ride was beautiful nestled by mountains. The city of Sun Valley is surround by beautiful ski resorts. I can see why people flock there. My head was on a swivel searching for the likes of Clint Eastwood and Bruce Willis who we were told make the area their home. Alas, we did not run into any of the famous, but I am certain we were hob knobbin with the RICH. All the shops were high end retailers and boutiques. Quite a busy little town.

Our time in Arco came to an end. We enjoyed the little town. Met many interesting people and learned a thing or two. We had spectacular sunsetsbut it was time to head further north…. next stop Henry Lake State Park, ID just outside of Yellowstone.

Because of the size of our Circus Train we have found that many state or national parks cannot accommodate us…. not so with this JEWEL of a park! We felt as though we were dropped into heaven!We were again surrounded by mountains and on a pristine lake where we saw moose, Trumpter Swans, and reports that there may be bear in the area as well. We were hoping to see bear, but from AFAR for certain.

We were only 13 miles away from Yellowstone. It had been over 20 years since we visited the park. This time we would be enjoying it full 360 views from our Harley. We only had a few days in the area. The day we rode to the park was only 56 degrees and partly cloudy. That didn’t stop us! We donned all our leathers, gloves and neck warmersBRRrrrrr it was COLD, but the majesty of the landscape was warming our souls We kept our eyes out in search of bear, but no luck. We did get up close and personal to a BisonThe photo is not doing itself justice. The Bison appears to be further away than it truly was. I had learned that Bison can run at a speed of 40mph when charging. All over the park were signs telling tourists to beware of wildlife. Welllll my CrAzY Chauffeur thought it would be great for us to get close to this guy. I was less than pleased! He kept encouraging me to get a picture and assured me the bike was in gear and we would be faster than the Bison. UGH! Not even a week after we left the park the viral video of a poor little girl getting tossed in the air by a not so pleased Bison!!!! Man, were we lucky that this guy was more interested in chowing down on the grass than the stupid humans on a motorcycle!

I never tire of seeing the beautiful sunsets and the one we had on our last night at the park was beautiful In all of our travels we have seen beauty that we store in our mind and hearts. This area of the country has certainly left its mark on our hearts. As Arnold Schwarzenegger says in his Terminator movies… “I’ll be back”

As we prepared to head further north and west to Missoula, MT. I began to think about going over more mountains and my heart started to beat a bit quicker. As you have read I absolutely love living amongst the mountains, but ABHOR riding over them in the Mobile Condo! As I took a peek at the atlas I saw indeed we would be climbing them once again, but the prize at the end of our travels would bring us to visit with friends who we were neighbors with when our home was in Kansas as they had recently relocated to Missoula. I was ready to climb those mountains and prayed that our Mobile Condo was equally as ready😬AMEN ..We made it without any difficulty.

Missoula is surrounded by mountains and is lovely! We had tons of fun riding and exploring. We were still on the hunt to see a bear. I heard that there was a great place to see wild life .. primarily Bison, Elk but the person had seen bear as well and had photos to prove it! So off we go There was a slight problem in that I didn’t research fully… because of the free roaming animals AND because most of the roads are gravel through the range they do not allow motorcycles to travel through the park 🙃😞… a liability issue we were told. Sooooo we took the ride through the mountains to a park in search of bear and only got to see the parking lot and a pyramid of antlers 🤣Our goal of seeing a bear was not fulfilled in Montana but we DID get to spend time with our dear friends.We can see how happy they are in Montana! We shared our stories of what has happened since we both left Kansas and how Kansas will always feel like home. Miles may separate us physically and our hearts were filled just being with them!

Missoula was as far west as our travels would take us this year. Too soon it was time to say “see you next time” to our friends. We are turning the Circus Train in an eastern direction. One more beautiful sunset from the Big Sky Country!Back to climbing more mountains and crossing the Continental Divide one more time!

Next stop North Dakota to check another box on my list of states I need to visit! No reservations are made… We Be Winging It!

Going Up and OVER

WOWZER we are celebrating being Professional Nomads 5 years this month! I can honestly say the time has FLOWN! We have been to most every state crisscrossing across this BEAUTIFUL country! I personally am only lacking 2 states, North Dakota and Vermont 😎. North Dakota made the list this year, Vermont will be next year God willing and the Creek doesn’t rise😉.

Before we became Nomads we made PLENTY of trips to Colorado. We love the state and it has been a destination/pass through for 4 of our 5 years on the road. This year we were heading straight west through Kansas to Colorado. Usually, we are heading east from our adventures out west. The beauty or monotony of the flat land of Kansas is both comforting and boring unless there are straight line winds pushing us around. After the tumultuous weather we experienced in Kansas before we left we were pleasantly surprised by Mother Nature. She gave these travelers sunshine and virtually no wind! What a miracle! The perfect weather conditions gave this Nervous Navigator a chance to change titles for a bit to “Cautious Chauffeur”. Yep, I put my big girl panties on and got behind the helm of our land yacht! It was not as difficult as I had perceived. My Handsome Chauffeur was sooooo comfortable with my abilities he took a quick cat nap. Flat land, familiar surroundings and no wind was just the boost in confidence I needed. As we approached the mountains though I was GLAD to turn over the reins to my oh so experienced better half to get us safe and sound to our home for a week… Colorado Springs Air Force Academy.

The beauty of the Springs never ceases to amaze us. Nestled amongst the pines is one of my favorite places to be. Last year when we called this area home we were so impressed with the entire grounds of the Academy, especially the chapel. We were told last year that they would be disassembling it as there were so many leaks and the reassembling which would take years. Much to our surprise on our arrival we saw the chapel was still standing where we last saw it a year ago. We were informed that the funds that were appropriated to repair the chapel were now being used to rebuild Tyndall AFB in Florida that had been destroyed by Hurricane Michael last fall. We have seen the devastation of Tyndall AFB first hand last December when we traveled through the area. The funding would rebuild housing for active duty families and restore hangars for the planes. I am certain the funding for the chapel restoration will be raised. For now I am thankful they are using the funds for Tyndall AFB families.

We hopped on the Harley to explorer areas that were familiar and headed to new areas we have not explored. The sun was bright, not a cloud in the sky as we left the Academy. A ride through the Garden of The Gods is never a disappointment. The beauty is astounding. Soon we were headed north towards Breckenridge.

Riding the curves with snow covered mountain tops on the horizon it was time to put on our jackets and gloves as it was getting colder as we climbed. Another thing we noticed was rain clouds in the distance. Mountain weather can be tricky. Storms blow in and out on a whim. With our eye on the sky we felt we were going to be spared the rain…. at least for a bit that is!We stopped at a visitor center and met a fellow motorcyclist who encouraged us to take a quick 50 mile scenic ride on a county road to Jefferson, CO. He told us the ride would spectacular and an added bonus …there was a great little diner that had the best burgers! Always in search of beautiful scenery AND yummy burgers at the end we were OFF….next stop Jefferson!

As we were told the ride was amazing, BUT the sky grew darker as we went towards the goal of burgers. Rain was eminent! The winds picked up as well. Not just a bit windy I am talking COLD WIND GUSTS! I was frozen on the back of the Harley! Teeth chattering, nose running cold!!!!! My driver was bent down to try to get wind blocked by the windshield. It felt like we were getting nowhere at all.

Back In the 90’s the movie DUMB AND DUMBER was a movie our kids watched. We would quote some of the lines. At this very time we were living out our own Harry and Lloyd moment !!!We finally made it to the diner. Unpeeled ourselves off the bike and headed for the comfort of the shelter and the deliciousness of a well earned burger.

As we ate and warmed ourselves my driver opened up his weather app and watched the radar as the storms blew through. Soon it was time to hit the road again as Harry and Lloyd. This “Lloyd” added another layer of protection.. my rain suit. The only thing worse than being frozen on the back of a Harley is being WET and FROZEN! My ever optimistic “Harry” said there was no need to wear rain gear as he was assured by his radar we would stay dry. Not that I didn’t trust him, but I was a Girl Scout years ago and I am not above “always being prepare”. Plus the added layer kept me warmer!

Down the “hill” we went from 9000 to 6000 in elevation. Guess who also had our route? Yep, good ‘Ol Mother Nature and her stormy self! My oh so smart driver/weatherman would throttle down and drive slower watching the storm. Soon we took shelter again at a gas station as the sky was turning black. A delivery guy asked if we were headed down the “hill” to Denver and if so he said to be careful as there is hail in the storm along with tornado warnings. We decided to wait out the fast moving storm under the cover of a gas station. Again, my weatherman watched his radar intently and soon it was “all systems go”. We made it down to the comfort of our home at the Academy and much to my handsome weatherman’s superb weather reading skills we did NOT get wet or pummeled with hail! He is AMAZING!

In the course of our travels we spend about 50% at military campgrounds and the other 50% in the civilian sector. Military campgrounds are comfortable in the respect of being amongst a fraternity/sorority. No matter what branch you served, there is a comradery. People share their stories of serving this great nation and recommendations of other adventures to seek. It’s familiar and I have a sense of security living amongst retired and active duty.

Our visit to the Academy came to an end, but not before we were able to visit with a friend we had served with while we were all active duty all those years ago. Years can pass between visits, but we can, and do pick up right where we left off at our last visit without a hitch.

We hit the road bright and early headed further west up very familiar mountain climbs. The over powering and BEAUTIFUL scenery does not help this Nervous Navigator’s tummy from flipping. My calm cool collected Chauffeur assures me we have nothing to worry about as he has driven this plenty of times and for me to sit back and relax while enjoying the beautiful creative work God has provided us to see out our over sized windshield.

Chuga-chug we start our climb. My driver using his lower gears and air brakes to navigate the terrain. My mind starts to wander as it often does of the Pioneers in their Covered Wagons making this trek without the aid of gears and air brakes. The GOOD Lord knew I was not cut out for that particular era of time!

I thank God often for the blessings He has given us and this travel day I am really thanking Him as we chug our way up the mountain. All of a sudden on the climb we LOSE ALL POWER! The Mobile Condo/Circus Train has Q U I T! We both stared at each other speechless as my Calm Chauffeur coasted us to the shoulder near an exit ramp. We had ABSOLUTELY NO WARNING what so ever that we were in trouble. All of our gauges were within normal limits except that the temperature was rising a bit which is expected when going up a grade such as we were. In fact, the gauges STAYED at all of the readings they were showing right before the engine quit! 35 mph, tachometer 15 etc.. WEIRD!!! After we are safely on the shoulder my Chauffeur goes out to inspect what our trouble could be… a belt possibly?? As he was inspecting I was having yet another talk with God! Thanking Him that we were safe and asking for His help and guidance. As I was having my talk with Him I spotted a small white feather on our floor…one of our guardian angels was right with us. I had no doubt as she has left me signs of feathers in the past. I took this as a sign that we were not alone. Soon my Handsome Chauffeur returned from his inspection and found NOTHING amiss! Now we really were perplexed! After a few more minutes he decided to give the ignition a turn and IT STARTED RIGHT UP like nothing EVER happened! HOLY HOLY HOLY was I ever praising God!

So off we go again Chuga chuga… we get into the Eisenhower tunnel and all of our gauges go WACKY kinda like being in the Bermuda Triangle, but the engine continue to run! Praying was incessant! We traveled this area plenty and the knowledge of the grade we would encounter and climbs did not give me ANY sense of peace! I saw a mile sign that said we were 92 miles from our next destination.

I was on my phone typing like a mad woman in Google to search for truck stops that may have diesel mechanic because my Handsome Chauffeur said that right as the engine quit the dash light check engine soon displayed NO DUH! I was batting a big fat ZERO! My Handsome Chauffeur began to wonder if our trouble was fuel or electric in nature and decided to press on to our destination of Glenwood Springs as everything appeared to be running smooth at the time. We would address the issue in Glenwood Springs when and if we made it there.

Going through the Glenwood Canyon is breath taking ….that is if you’re not holding your breath as I was doing at the currently. Traversing the roadway through the Canyon following the river that was roaring due to the melt off of the mountain, I was dry as a bone. All of my saliva was GONE. I sweat through my shirt and my hands were ringing wet. We FINALLY arrived at our campground. I think we both sighed a HUGE breath of relief.

Immediately we started searching the internet to see if any others who have RVs had experienced what happened to us. They all pointed to electrical issues like a ground wire problem. MacGuyver manned the phone and made calls to the manufacturer asking them to email an electric schematic that he could possibly study to discover some lead that may help diagnosis. Much to his dismay he was told when the manufacturer of our coach was bought recently by another manufacturer the new company “threw away ALL that stuff”!😡🤯The only recourse we have is to bringing it into a shop that can look at what code the engine threw when it said service engine soon. In the mean time he started nosing around the battery compartments etc doing his best to try to make some sense of our current situation. Soon he was over investigating the issue. We made plans to have it checked near our next stop. Not much he could do here and there was too much exploring to be done on our Harley. He closed the compartments and decided to have fun and worry about it another time. Me …. on the other hand knew it was 396 miles to go to get it checked out…, I was a bit more concerned, but if he was OK with the decision I would just put another pair if my big girl panties on and not worry until there was a need and keep having my many conversations with the Man Upstairs… after all it’s ALL in His hands anyway!

We absolutely love taking jaunts on our Harley to explorer. There is nothing like it in the mountains. On our first trip out we headed towards Aspen and Independence Pass. The fresh mountain air was magnificent. The sun was shining, Lilac Bushes, Redbud trees were in full bloom and the Aspen trees were leafing out.We got yet ANOTHER chance to see Spring blossoms… was good. There was still a bit of snow evident on the ski slopes in Aspen. The town was a buzz with lots of tourist shopping and enjoying the beautiful day

We had climbed from 6000 feet in elevation to 8000 and had 4000 more to go as we made our way up Independence Pass. As we climbed the snow depth increased. The Aspens had no leaves on them and the waterfalls were flowing with gusto from the melt off the mountains There was evidence of an avalanche.. trees broken like toothpicks Independence Pass, according to Wikipedia is a Pass between Twin Lakes and Aspen at an elevation of 12095 ft in which they try to get open by the Thursday before the Memorial Day weekend. It is the second highest paved crossing of the Continental Divide. It offers excellent views to the east of Mount Elbert, Colorado’s highest peak and the second highest mountain in the contiguous United States.

July 4,1879 a group of prospectors from Leadville struck gold in the upper Roaring Fork 4 miles below the Pass. They established a settlement and named it Independence after the holiday on which it was established. It is said that within 2 years of settling there they produced gold worth $190,000 ($4.93 million in modern dollars)!! As we climbed we saw remnants of the buildings which was once the settlement now a ghost town. I can hardly imagine living in Independence back then. The snow and being so far removed from civilization it’s hard to know how they survived. I guess the gold fever kept their spirits high.

The road is paved but very narrow in areas. At times it was impossible for cars to pass each other in opposite directions. We came around some blind curves to meet up with a vehicle and I was so thankful our Harley doesn’t require that much space on the roadway.

The snow became deeperWe finally made it to the summit. The sun was brilliant gleaming off the snow. There were quite a few backcountry skiers and snowboarders having the time of their lives. It was AMAZING!

As we came back down from the summit we saw loads of rock climbers working their skills along with folks on surf boards surfing the waves and fury of the fast moving rivers. What fun they were having.

We too were having our fun enjoying the scenery, and smells of fresh air. As we came into downtown Glenwood Springs the air was filled with a beautiful fragrance. The downtown is decorated with HUGE planters and hanging baskets of Petunias. Not only did they smell amazing, but their bright colors were gorgeous!We took advantage of the Hot Springs for a rest and relaxation kind of day. The therapeutic spring waters called Yampah which means Big Medicine by the Ute Native Americans have been bubbling from the Earth’s core for million of years. There are 15 minerals found in the waters of Glenwood Springs. Besides relieving aches and pains the mineral waters help release toxins from our bodies. There are 2 pools. The largest is 495 ft long by 100 ft wide and holds 1,071,000 gallons of water that remains around 90 degrees F* and a smaller pool that is 100 ft long containing 91,000 gallons of water which is kept at 104 degree F*. Let me say it was a slice of heaven on earth for these Nomads! I absolutely love our life and our Mobile Condo. The only thing I really miss about our sticks and bricks home is my big soaking tub. A day floating in the therapeutic waters surrounded by mountains on a sunny day was good for my soul!

We aren’t the only ones that found relief from the healing waters. Glenwood Springs had a famous resident in 1887 by the name of John Henry Holiday aka Doc Holiday the sharp shooting Dentist. Famous for his part in the gun fight at OK Corral that left 3 members of a cattle rustling gang dead; Doc was avoiding the legal trouble in Arizona and was suffering from Tuberculosis. He made his way to Glenwood Springs to experience the healing waters. Unfortunately, the waters did not heal his tuberculosis. On November 8, 1887 he died at the age of 36 in a hotel downtown. He was destitute. As he lay dying he asked for a shot of whiskey. His last words were “This is funny” as He fully thought he would have died in a gun fight not sick in bed

We enjoyed a libation at the local watering hole named for the famous resident of Glenwood Springs and got educated about the manWe took the journey to pay our respects to the famed gunslinger at his final resting spot. Climbing the rugged dirt path 1/2 a mile straight up!or at least we THOUGHT we were paying respects to him. It appears that when he died he was to be buried in Linwood Cemetery which was located on a hill above Glenwood Springs. However, the hearse was unable to make it the muddy hill. So they buried him at the bottom of the hill fully intending to move the body later. The cemetery records have been lost…, by all accounts he was never moved and may be in someone’s backyard DOWN the “hill“we just climbed to pay our respects to a marker bearing his name😳. At least we got a work our climbing the “hill” that felt like a MOUNTAIN!After a day of hiking the mountain to see Doc we hopped on the Harley to explorer an area south of Glenwood Springs in search of yummy barbecue that was recommended by a friend of our’s we saw in Kansas. First stop Redstone, CO. “The Ruby of the Rockies”This quaint village is nestled among the red colored mountains is home to a population of about 130 people Swiss Chalets homes painted brilliant colors stand out against the red colored rock of the mountains. Most of these homes are on the Historic Registry. The town was developed by a man named John Cleveland Osgood as part of a coal mining expedition. The dominant feature of the village is the “Redstone Castle” a 42 room mansion that Osgood built for his wife that is now used as resort inn. Across from the town we saw what appeared to be HUGE bee hive-like structuresWe stopped a gal walking through town and she enlightened us about these curious structures. These “beehives” were actually coke ovens built in the 19th century. According to Wikipedia there were actually 200 built because the coal in the surrounding mountains was ideal for refining into coke. At their peak they were producing almost 6 million tons a year. After they were no longer used for coke, years passed and it is said “hippies” made them their homes. As far as we could tell they were abandon structures that were being restored as a historic landmark.

As we left Redstone riding the highway that mimicked the flow and curves of the Crystal River we came upon BEAUTIFUL waterfallsMy Handsome Chauffeur was “thirsty”We passed fields of spring bloomsSoon we can upon Marble, Colorado. A quiet little hamlet with a population of around 131 people. There were chunks of of white marble along the winding road as we came into the town Soon we came upon carved statues in yards through the town. We stopped and visited with a local artist who gave us a bit of a history lesson about Marble. The same John Osgood of Redstone entered a block of the marble stone into the 1893 World’s Colombian Exposition in Chicago and the judges ranked the marble among the worlds finest marble. The marble from this area is part of the Capital building in Denver and was also used to make the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier along with parts of the Lincoln Memorial in D.C. Artists from all over the world come here to carve the beautiful stone. The mine is still being used to this day.

After our history lesson from our new friend we made our way to the center of town and enjoyed a DELICIOUS lunch of barbecue that our friend in Kansas had recommended. The barbecue was as good as the barbecue we eat when in Kansas City and a wonderful way to end our adventure for the day. This little town of Marble, Colorado is a special little place.. beautiful marble, friendly locals and delicious food.. what a great way to spend the day.

We are HUGE hockey fans. My Handsome Chauffeur and Son have each spent time lacing up their skates and spent hours on ice over the years. Our Grandson is named after one of our son’s favorite Chicago Blackhawks goalies. Hockey is big for us. Our time in Glenwood coincided with the Stanley Cup Play off and “MY” St.Louis Blues were playing for the cup! We were so excited as we watched them make their way to the finals. Only one problem … we were nestled in the mountains and we were unable to get any air antenna reception on our TV which how we receive network channels. We have satellite TV, but not able to get network channels as our satellite is based out of Florida. Oh and this was the game was aired on a network channel. Nomad struggles🥴! This game was important as the Blues could clinch the victory and the cup. My goodness this was a dilemma… that is until My Hockey Dude figures a way to watch the game on the satellite…. only problem was it was a reeeeealllly little screen shot. 😎This guy stood in front of this little screen on the upper left corner the entire game🤣! Unfortunately, the Blues were not victorious that night and got to play again in a few days. We made plans to go watch the game in town on a much bigger screen! The big screen and watching it with a group of Blues fans was AMAZING… especially because “MY” BLUES won the Stanley Cup!! What a celebration it was!!!!Our time in Glenwood was coming to an end. We had a great time and both said that we would be back! Before we left we took one more ride through the canyon. This time on the Harley. The ride was MUCH more relaxing than when we came through the canyon a week before worrying if our Mobile Condo was going to make it. We truly got to enjoy the beauty.

We are packed up and heading further west… next stop a Cummins Diesel shop for our Mobile Condo to get checked out. Praying that our 396 miles is uneventful. It’s never a dull moment being Professional Nomads and we wouldn’t trade our lifestyle for anything. The places we get to see and the people we meet along the way are worth the hiccups we have experienced or will in the future. We are still smiling and living the dream!

April Showers bring May….

After being stationary for 6 months it was nice to be on the road again!As our journey began north bound from Florida we made our first stop in Dothan, AL boondocking overnight. We hit a wee bit of a challenge when our inside lights went out. It had been a long day so we decided to go to sleep and address it in the morning. Much to our surprise our slide would not come in either.. RUTRO Houston we most certainly had a problem! Alas my oh so smart and Handsome Chauffeur revved up our generator and the slide came in without a hitch and we had lights! He determined that at least one of our bank of 4 batteries was dead. Guess we would be shopping for batteries in our near future! Our 2 starting batteries were good… at least for now😉.

Next stop Huntsville, AL. Redstone Arsenal. We try to follow 70 or 80 degree weather and we were not disappointed. The weather was fabulous. We soon found that not only were we following the temperatures that we liked, but we were smack dab in the middle of following the pollen zone! The air was thick with yellow dust that accumulated on EVERYTHING! Nothing that a bit of allergy medicine couldn’t help. We started taking rides on our bicycles through the woods to explorer and exercise.Redstone Arsenal was established in 1941 during World War II mainly to serve as a chemical weapons producing center. The area is now used by the Army’s missile and rocket programs. It’s a very busy place. As we rode our bikes around there were many areas that were Top Secret which did not deter my VERY curious Handsome Chauffeur from asking people donning security badges we met along our ride what was behind the razor wire in the buildings. He of course knew he would not get an answer aside from “Its Top Secret Sir…I cannot tell you.” But that never stops him from asking!

1960 NASA established the Marshall Space Flight Center at the Arsenal. From 1960-1970 the Army’s lead rocket engineer, Wernher von Braun, made monumental strides forward for our country’s quest to explorer space. Towards the end of the century Marshall Space Flight Center also was instrumental in the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station!

Last fall our my Handsome Chauffeur, Son and Grandson made a trip to the space center next to the Redstone Arsenal..He wore his Astronaut suit and was thrilled to see the REAL BIG rockets! You never know….we may have a future engineer or astronaut in our family! Now we were calling this place home for at least a few days.

Before leaving Huntsville area we hopped on the Harley and explored around lakes and part of the Appalachians mountains. The trees were leafing out and we started seeing pops of color in the forests from Red Bud and Dogwood trees! Spring had sprung!

Next stop was Jonesboro, Arkansas as they had the BEST prices on batteries! My Handsome Chauffeur aka “Procurement Specialist”spent time researching when we weren’t touring Alabama and negotiating with battery stores… it’s what he does😉…. always searching AND FINDING a deals! He also is the King of Efficiency so as he was negotiating he was ALSO charting our travels and found that we could and WOULD be going to Jonesboro to procure the batteries as they had the best deal! So off we go to Jonesboro! We are now proud owners of 4 new batteries and Boondocking is ON….

Next stop Eureka Springs, Arkansas!Before becoming Professional Nomads we would make trips to Eureka often. The landscape is amazing for motorcycle rides. It had been at least 5 years since our last visit and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The winding mountain roads, the beauty of the Red Bud and Dogwood in bloom along with the fresh air filled our spirits. All the visits we made over the years we missed stopping at The Blue Spring. WOWZER this is a MUST see if you are ever in Eureka Springs! On the beautiful Spring day it was STUNNING! I wish the photos captured its magnificent beauty.The spring is 70 feet in diameter at the surface. The actual opening of the spring is 25 feet below the surface and 10 feet across. It is shaped like a funnel. They estimate that the width of the fissure in the Rock opening that allows the water into the spring is only 2 1/4 feet! The temperature of the water remains 54 degrees year round. The landscaping throughout the area is spectacular! So very peaceful. What was even cooler is we had the WHOLE place to ourselves it was like our own little piece of paradise.

We had planned a week of riding the familiar backroads of Arkansas, but Mother Nature had other plans. The rains began and never let up enough for us to make any more rides. Thankfully we were spared severe weather, but it was raining everyday which kept us confined to our Mobile Condo. This was such a disappointment as we were looking so forward to reliving memories and making new ones. The bright spot as we waited out the rainy days ..we were getting closer to our next stop KANSAS!

Mother Nature could keep on raining, for soon we would be with our personal rays of sunshine! There were snuggles to be given, bedtime stories to read and eggs to dye for the bunny to come.We were thrilled to be back with family, friends and familiar surroundings. Our time Kansas was packed full of celebrations…. EasterCarnivalswith Easter Egg huntssleepoversand a trip to a farmWe celebrated a wedding and a graduation! Along with a visit from Aunt Molly Oh how happy we were to be “home”.

Mother Nature continued to be a thorn in our side.We had far more rainy days than sunny ones. We lived in Kansas for 20 years prior to becoming Professional Nomads. April and could be rainy, but this was ridiculous. In fact the entire Midwest was being plagued with record rain fall which included flooding in many areas.

The flooding didn’t only remain in the outdoors… we got “flooding ” in the Mobile Condo due to a pinhole leak in a water tube for our refrigerator! Thankfully, we discovered is quickly AND we were planning on cleaning our carpets…BUT when the humidity is high outdoors and cool enough that air conditioners were not needed we had to get “creative” in drying the carpet out… enter MacGuyver😉 He found anything useful to elevate the carpet.. including my kitchen spatula! The man never stops to amaze me with his ingenuity!

While we are “home” we are blessed to have friends who live in the country where we can pull in the Circus Train and do some larger maintenance projects on the Mobile Condo. What a luxury to have any tool imaginable known to God and man along with a workshop to get projects done.

Mother Nature was still up to making challenges… rain, rain and tornadoes! As many times on our journeys I have clicked my ruby red slippers and thought there was “no place like home” I blacked out the tornado factor! Thankfully when we were in the path of this monster tornado we were staying in a home with a basement!We quickly gathered belongings, flashlights, filled oil lanterns and headed to the safety of the basement….that is I headed to the basement. My Weatherman Wannabe and our gracious hosts stayed upstairs watching the storm on radar and in REAL TIME head our way. When they saw the herd of cattle start to stampede towards shelter in our neighbor’s farm field, the winds start swirling AND heard the freight train sound classic of tornadoes did they join me in the basement! When we felt as though we were in the clear we made it upstairs and saw only a few limbs were down off of a few trees and a small tree was snapped off at ground level. We certainly were thanking God we were spared. We were without electricity and natural gas. So my Handsome Chauffeur and our host headed out to the Mobile Condo, started the generator and got updated from the weatherman on TV.

Yes, we had been spared, but our neighbors just 5 miles east of us were not. The tornado had been 1 mile wide and classified EF4! The classification states winds were between 166-200 mph and caused devastating damage! These photos do not capture the devastation! Trees were snapped like toothpicks, mattresses in trees, and RV’s turned completely upside down in a ditch! There were belongings from those affected found 50 miles away! Thank God there was no loss of life! Homes can be rebuilt.

As devastating it was to see the damage, our hearts were warmed to see SO many people from the community come out and help people in all ways! There were multiple trucks out repairing electrical lines, tree removal, Red Cross handing out donations of water, providing food, clean up tools etc. and people continuing to bring donations to replenish the supplies. The entire communities surrounding those affected by loss were ready and able to help. Truly, we saw the hands of Jesus in action through all of these people.

The tornado was devastating as I said and a heck of a bon voyage from Mother Nature, but as our time “home” in Kansas came to an end we reflected on the WONDERFUL aspects of the Midwest. Sure, the weather was not the best, yet we had our hearts filled with love of family and friends. We celebrated new beginnings and we saw the tenacity and BEST in people helping out their neighbors… this is why we are so very proud to tell folks on our journeys that we are from Kansas….Usually when we tell folks we are from Kansas the first thing they say “Wow Tornado country”(thank you Wizard of Oz) Sure there can be BIG storms, but the love of fellow Kansans and their hearts to help each other out weigh out anything Mother Nature can cook up…. and we are proud to be Kansans in our hearts!

The wheels on the Mobile Condo are rolling further west…. Rocky Mountains here we come😊

Back In The Saddle

Returning to our winter home in Florida was a breathe of fresh air. As much as we love our travel season we were equally excited to be stationary for roughly 6 months.

Before we headed south to Tampa we spent a wonderful week in the panhandle of Florida. We had wintered there for two winters and made amazing memories and friends. Sitting besides the Bay each evening was refreshing. Too soon Hurricane Michael decided that He also wanted to come to the panhandle of Florida which was NOT part of anyone’s plan.

The beauty of living in a Mobile Condo is having wheels to get us out of the way of Michael. We quickly made an exit plan with the help of our weather radar. We headed further inland to try to avoid Michael’s fury. We were successful to avoid the wrath of Micheal but not the wind and rain that He produced. We watched and prayed for all those in the path of his destruction. He made landfall in areas where we have spent time Tyndall AFB and Mexico Beach, FL were destroyed. Such heart ache.

We arrived to MacDill AFB for our Winters restIt was wonderful to see familiar faces of friends and neighbors we have had in the past winter seasons. We were “home” and it felt GREAT! Soon we were hitting the links We kept busy golfing, riding our bicycles and actually did some traveling via truck, hopping a few plane rides and on our Harley.

Our first adventure was to Tucson, AZ to celebrate an 80th birthday and wedding. It was fabulous being with our extended family in the breathtaking surroundings of a working horse ranch making memories!Christmas took us to Orange Beach, AL. to spend with our parents. We are HUGE Kansas City Chief football fans and our season was going pretty well. What fun was it to watch them play with our parents who are SUPER FANSWe have chosen to be Snow Birds.. snow is not part of our plan, but when the opportunity to fly to Kansas in January to see our kids new home we jumped on it. We dug through the recesses of our Mobile Condo to find coats, hats, gloves and squeezed our feet into socks and shoes. Kansas City here we come!It was also weird to pack a suitcase. Living in the Mobile Condo we very seldom have to pack a bag as we bring all our worldly possessions with us at all times in the Mobile Condo. Then fitting winter stuff into a carry on case was a challenge we met with ease😉🥴

Although it was bitter cold and our blood has thinned;our hearts were warmed with the hugs of our kids and grand babies. Our Grandson was especially thrilled to have snow while we were visiting. He built an amazing Snowman with his Mommy. My Handsome Chauffeur and I cheered them on from inside where we were bundled up in layers of clothing trying to stay warm. Our blood had CERTAINLY thinned and we were freezing! No snowman building for us… we prefer Sandman!

We returned to Florida with a tons of memories made. It took just a few days for us to completely thaw out.

It has been years since we took a long ride on our Harley. Since becoming Professional Nomads we use our Harley to take day rides to explorer our surroundings once we park the Mobile a Condo. We decided to take a LONG ride to Key West from Tampa. We loaded up the saddle bags and headed south!The sunshine and sand between our toes was amazing! Riding over 400 miles on the bike we were ready to walk around exploring. We walked around Key West several times over the 5 days we were there and had HUGE blisters on our feet to prove it!

We heard great music, danced to our hearts content ,enjoyed amazing food and libations! It felt GREAT to be on a vacation! Away from our home, eating out and relaxing! Too soon we hopped back on the bike and headed north back home. Our feet were happy to not be walking, but other parts of our body were not so happy to be back in the saddle for 400 miles😉. The weather cooperated and soon we were back riding along Alligator Alley counting them as we zoomed past them. Wow, the road is named correctly. We saw MANY Gators lounging in the sun along the canal and equally as many beady eyes peering out of the water.

We had just a few weeks left in Florida. In January we started planning our Spring/Summer travel plans. We made the decision of our direction with the help of family visits, graduation ceremony, a wedding and places in this great country of ours we have yet to have explored. Our travels this year will take us as far west as Montana then heading east across the northern part of America hopefully chasing 70 and 80 degree temperatures. Then heading south again to our winter home.Phew… looking at the ENTIRE route mapped out on an atlas I am both so excited to see the sights AND tired! I have not totaled all the mileage but from the route perspective there will be A LOT of windshield time. The beauty of the country and the amazing adventures we will enjoy will taking the “sting” out of our fuel purchases.

So here we go Back in the Saddle … on the road again… living life and putting joy into our journey!

Great times around the Great Lakes

As we arrived in the furnace otherwise known as Kansas in July it was apparent that we have lost our patience for high heat and even HIGHER humidity! Colorado spoiled us in many ways. The air was drier and the temperatures were just as we like them in the 70’s!

Traveling across Kansas was familiar in more ways than the flat scenery. The crosswind out of the south made the drive even less fun for my Handsome Chauffeur! His grip on the wheel was so tight his knuckles were white! The sun was beating on us through our 8’x4′ UNTINTED windshield gave us the feeling of the ants under a magnifying glass that someone use to do as a little boy… karma is real people….because we indeed felt like we were ants frying! Our dash air conditioners were unable to keep up with the heat and we were beyond uncomfortable! To add to the drama of the 600 mile journey was the SCREECHING noise that we “thought” had been repaired in Colorado was back with VENGEANCE. Needless to say, we were not only uncomfortable,BUT uneasy about what was wrong with our engine. We were incredibly HAPPY when we pulled into our dear friend’s driveway. Ahhhhh Kansas the land of familiarity and people we love!

First things first, we had to get our fix of wings from our favorite restaurant. We ate at this establishment most every Wednesday for the 20 years we lived in Kansas. This place was where we met friends, shared life and laughs with more times than we can count. It is where we came up for our Blog name We Be Winging it… not only because we thought we would travel without a plan BUT also to sample wings across this great nation.Our time in Kansas was filled to the brim with work for my Handsome Chauffeur. He spent hours investigating the internet, all the while having full use of a very well equipped garage of our friend. The guys were able to diagnosis where the screaming noise was coming from. The beauty of being in Kansas and having this challenge was that we knew where we needed to go and get the job done ….CORRECTLY this time! Off to Kansas City, Missouri to have the repairs done.

We spent an entire day in the Truck Driver’s lounge of a large diesel repair facility. To say the time spent with all these truck drivers was educational is an understatement. Oh the stories I heard!!! Living life behind a windshield ,working full time, these folks sure do have experiences!!

After six hours of waiting and being educated by my new found friends, our Mobile Condo had a new exhaust manifold gasket and she was no longer screeching! We began our northward journey towards Wisconsin and our first Great Lake stop on Lake Michigan!

We grew up in the midst of Lake Michigan. Thinking back we really didn’t spend all that much time on the lake. Now my Handsome Father-in-law makes his home upon Lake Michigan living aboard his beautiful boat 4-5 months a year escaping the HOT season at his other home in Tucson, AZ.

Not only did we get to visit our Dad and Judy, our kiddos from Tennessee flew to Wisconsin to visit us! We had a great time camping and making memories!Our visit to Wisconsin flew by. Soon it was time to follow the shores of Lake Michigan to our next destination near to the shores of Lake Superior.

The road heading north along the shore of Lake Michigan is very familiar to us as we have made the trek through Wisconsin to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan many many times in the past to see our family aka as Yoopers.

As we traveled the 2 lane highways along Lake Michigan enjoying the scent is of pine trees and the beautiful White Birch trees the coolness of the weather was so refreshing.

We took off on our Harley to explorer the back roads and many waterfalls with a stop by beautiful Lake SuperiorTime flew by visiting with family on the shores of Crooked Lake. Fishing for dinner and fires lakesideSoon we were on the road again to an area of Michigan we had never visited. Next stop St Ignace, Sault Ste. Marie, and Mackinac Island!

We hopped on the “scooter” and headed north.This is the closest I had ever been to Canada. Alas, we didn’t take our passports with us so we had to see Canada from the shores of the USA.

Sault Ste. Marie is a beautiful mariner city filled with history. We spent time at the locks learning the history and importance of the locks.

A ferry ride across Lake Huron with our bicycles in tow took us to the BEAUTIFUL Mackinaw Island. We rode around the entire island along with HUNDREDS of other bicyclists stopping here and there to take in the splendor of it all! Everywhere along the shore were cairns (stacked rocks) that people went to great lengths to commentate their trip to the IslandYou cannot go to Mackinac Island without a visit to the Gorgeous Grand Hotel!Built in the 19th century and famous for the world’s largest porch. The building and grounds were SPECTACULAR! After riding around the island we were ready to sit and enjoy an adult beverage. We made our way through the halls of this amazing hotel to the upper most bar to take in the majestic views while quenching our thirst.

Our visit to the Upper Pennisula of Michigan came to an end. We enjoyed the beauty of the lakes, the cool nights around our campfire and the rides through the woods. We were ready to start our journey south.

Southward bound would take us over the Mackinac Bridge. Oh the stories we heard about going over the bridge had this Nervous Navigator a wee bit distressed! The night prior to our travels I was praying for no wind or minimal winds and NO FOG! Wellllll this is the warning we were greeted with the morning of our departureOH MY LANDS! To say I was NERVOUS was a BIG understatement! I was terrified! The Mackinac Bridge is a suspension bridge over the Straits of Mackinac where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan come together. The bridge connects the Upper Peninsula to Lower Michigan. It is 26,372 ft ( roughly 5 miles). It’s the 5th longest suspension bridge in THE WORLD! The 4 lanes that move traffic both direction are a total of only 54 ft wide! Mid way over the bridge it is 200 feet above the water with the depth below water reaching 230 feet!

So we joined lots of folks heading south Flashers flashing per instructions traveling at 20 miles per hour it seems like an ETERNITY going across. I know I was holding my breath. My calm cool Handsome Chauffeur kept telling me to open my eyes, but I just couldn’t for any length of time FINALLY we were back on land in lower Michigan! Prayers answered and regular breathing resumed.

We had never really spent time in lower Michigan. We were excited to explore and meet up with some friends we made our first year out as Nomads who call Michigan home in the summer. We also were excited to see the town our Dad first called home when his family immigrated from Germany.

We spent time golfing, taking rides on sand dunes, riding our motorcycle and eating FABULOUS cherry pie!

One more Great Lake to see on this journey took us further south to Ohio and the shores of Lake ErieWe have made some fabulous memories on the shores of Lake Erie over the years with our family. Northern Ohio has lots to offer us. We not only love the Lake, but riding roller coasters and good old Rock and Roll hold special places in our hearts too.

First stop was Cedar Point to ride roller coasters. We had the time of our lives AGAIN! We spent 10 hours in the park and only got to ride 6 coasters. The lines were LONG! The rides were an adrenaline RUSH that lasted only minutes, but OH SO WORTH IT! We actually were a wee bit thankful to wait in line for the next ride as long as we did because it took a bit to get our equilibrium back from being tossed and turned. I guess our age is starting to show as we don’t rebound as quickly. Still our minds are willing and our bodies say ” do you know how old you are” by rebelling on the quickness of recovery between rides.

Another all time favorite place to visit in Ohio is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We have made 4 trips to this museum and EVERY time we get goosebumps when we enter. The day we visited this time was unfortunately the day Aretha Franklin passed away. It was a somber time. Her music was piped in everywhere. She held the distinction of being the very FIRST female inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The tribute was amazing

We also toured Johnny Cash’s bus. We also completely agree with his statement and feel the same about our Mobile Condo.Before we left the Lake Erie area we had the best time visiting with my Aunt and Uncle. Nothing beats spending time with family on the road.

We starting heading further south in Ohio to visit the Air Force Museum. This was such a great place… so rich with history. As a retired member of the Air Force, my Handsome Chauffeur truly enjoyed our time there. We especially enjoyed the exhibit regarding the missile system he worked with during his time in service.Another exhibit that really tugged on our heart strings was the actual Air Force One that was President Kennedy’s plane. We learned that this plane returned him to Washington after the assignation. What truly was amazing is that his Secret Service detail would not hear of his body being transported in the belly of the aircraft. They actually took saws and enlarged an area in the airplane that would allow his casket to be flown inside with his security detail and his wife sitting at his side.

As our 2018 travel season wrapped up we made a trip through Kentucky and Tennessee. Again traveling the back country roads on our motorcycle. While riding in Kentucky we came upon a huge Marina. They had amazing houseboats. These homes on water had been featured on HGTV. The builders were so gracious and gave us private tours. These homes are amazing! Who knows someday we may give up wheels for propellers on our home!One more beautiful waterfall before we left KentuckyOur hearts were fluttering as our travels were taking further south to Tennessee where our kids and grandbabies lives.

We spent days playing in the park, swimming in the swimming pool and just having tons of FUN.

Soon it was time to head further south to our winter home of Tampa, Florida. Our travels in 2018 took us close to 8000 miles in the Mobile Condo… hundreds additional miles on our Harley exploring areas. In total we made 27 stops in the 7 months since we left Florida. We went as far west as Tucson, AZ , as far north as the Canadian border and back south to Tampa. We had a glorious adventure. We were ready to be “planted” until Spring of 2019… to rest, rejuvenate and plan our next adventures.

As we reflect on our season and plan for the next we remind ourselves of how incredibly blessed we are…We are looking forward to what 2019 holds for us… more adventures await!

Captivating Colorado

Colorado has always held a special part of my heart. For years we made the trek across Kansas with our family to hit the slopes. Those were fast trips as work and school were a part of our lives. Most of our travels were along the I70 corridor with an occasional visit to the Colorado Springs area to visit friends and most recently north of Denver to spend time with family. We had never seen the southwestern portion of Colorful Colorado With the help and recommendations of our good friends we winter with in Tampa we planned the adventure last fall.

Our travel day from the Flagstaff area to our first stop across from Mesa Verde National Park was not so much fun for my Handsome Chauffeur. The wind was gusting at 45 mph with steady winds around 30 mph hitting us on the side of the Circus Train. It took all of him to keep us on the road! As we came uponwe contemplated on stopping, but I for one was ready to get parked at our next “home” and get off of the “rollercoaster” ride. It didn’t take much persuasion to get my Handsome Chauffeur to agree so I clicked a photo of the sign and we proceeded to our destination with the idea of coming back to see it another day.

We made it safely to our camp ground just outside of the National ParkSo thankful to be stationary and be able to call this beautiful area home for a week with amazing vistas for as far as one could see. Soon we hopped on our Harley to start exploring.

First stop Mesa Verde National Park Home of over 600 cliff dwellings made by Pueblo people from 550-1,200 AD. We joined Ranger guided group to explorer. Down very narrow rock cleftsDown approximately 10 stories to get an up close look at these spectacular architectural feats. It is AMAZING to think how they built these with rudimentary tools and the engineering involved! Once the tour was completed… what goes down must go up so we began our climb of several wooden ladders to the topI am not saying that we are in poor shape, but coming from the flatlands we certainly were sucking wind after the climb! It was all worth it though!

Just as in Arizona, Colorado was in a severe drought. No open fires, no charcoal grills and no smoking outdoors. While we could see snow on some of the distant mountain peaks the lower areas were dry and yellow. Many of the rivers were drastically low due to the lack of snowfall this past winter. We were told by the locals that depend on tourism with river rafting etc… many outfits were already closed down due to lack of water flow. Wildfires were breaking out just north of Durango which was a route my Handsome Chauffeur had considered taking to our next location. Many evacuations and major road closures were hurting the economy in huge ways. Thankfully, we were advised by locals to take a different route, not only due to the fires, but Red Mountain Pass was in their opinion not the best drive for our traveling Circus Train😉! Even Facebook was watching over us

While the fires were to the east of us we were able to take a ride and found beautiful McPhee Reservoir nestled in the San Juan National Forestthere too we could easily see how the levels of this reservoir were low due to the lack of snow. The campgrounds within the forest were like Ghost Towns. Just after we made our ride through, the entire forest was closed to people because of the extreme high fire danger and the 2 large fires already burning with only 10% containment.

As we left Mesa Verde area with our sights set on our next “home”, Ouray, CO. there was smoke visible everywhere!Our travels took us over Lizard Head Pass at 10,222 feet in elevation through the San Juan mountains. If this was a “better pass” than the Red Mountain Pass my Handsome Chauffeur wanted to take you could have fooled me. The steep climbs and the descending about gave this Nervous Navigator a heart attack!!

Fellow Nomads gave us some sage advice… they travel on Saturdays as the traffic is usually better. No worries about hitting cities during Rush Hour and most folks are already at their destination by Friday. From our previous travels this advice seemed very reasonable to us….. until we were traveling on a Saturday over Lizard Pass! The winding pass with very few guard rails was a busy road filled with weekend drivers!Loads of cars, Fellow Circus trains AND Bicyclists!! Holy Cow, I cannot even tell you what it was like to come to a curve and meet up with a vehicle rounding the bend going the opposite direction AND a bicyclist on our side of the road with little to no shoulder! I wish I had a photo to share, but things happened so quickly there was no way to take a photo while holding my breathe, eyes closed and PRAYING all of us made it through the scene!

My Handsome Chauffeur handled the pass like he drove it daily! He often had to remind me to open my eyes and take in the glorious sights Indeed they were SPECTACULAR!

We arrived in Ouray and immediately fell in love with the quaint town. Our campground was situated in the middle of town and surrounding us by the San Juan Mountains… breathtaking!Ouray’s nickname is America’s Switzerland. Not only are there mountains surrounding the city, but they also are home of seven natural hot springs! A short walk through our campground brought us to the community hot springs pool that offers three different pools with temperatures of 88-105 degrees and miraculously no sulfur smell!!!The entire downtown is on the Historic RegisterOuray was originally established as a mining community. Miners chasing gold and silver. There are still mines in the area. We took a Jeep tour to get a closer look at the mines and the many beautiful waterfalls! What a treat for my Handsome Chauffeur!! He was able to relax and enjoy the beauty! I assumed my same white knuckle anxiety filled ride as we traversed single lane mining roads up, up and UP until we reached the waterfalland snow If the Jeep ride wasn’t enough of an adventure for my thrill seeking husband… we HAD to make the drive over the Red Mountain Pass (11,000 ft in elevation) aka as the Million Dollar Highway. Thankfully, we did the ride on our Harley which for some strange reason doesn’t create as much anxiety for me. It must be that we have more room on the road than when traveling in the Circus Train😉.

True to the description the road way is filled with narrow lanes, winding and hairpin turns. The side of the road is covered with yield signs that show not only vertical curves but horizontal as wellThere are a few theories of how the road got its nickname “The Million Dollar Highway”. The roadway was originally founded by Otto Mears in 1883 as a toll way for Miners and operated as such until 1920 then rebuilt. There is also rumor that when the road was rebuilt they used gravel from the nearby gold and silver mines hence the road was rich in ore which was worth a million dollars. My favorite theory is that a traveler had experienced such a bad case of vertigo from traveling the steep and hairpin winding road, he said he would have to be paid a million dollars to do it again … I think he and I are kindred spirits!

The pass is accurately named. As we wound through the turns Red Mountain came into view… Our journey ended in Silverton, CO. For as far as you could see the roads were full of ATVs. Many waiting to be rented. Yet, even though the air was filled with smoke from the fire, a few people were out for adventures. We also noticed many of the restaurants and shops were closed. We spoke with one shop owner that informed us due to the fires and road closures the once bustling town filled with tourists was virtually a Ghost Town. Many couldn’t afford to stay open due to the lack of customers. The town itself was preparing for pre-evacuation. Such a shame. The scary part was the fires still were not contained and they still were unsure of how it had started! We spent a good portion of the day touring the town’s museum dedicated to mining learning about the amazing dedication of the folks who settled the area.

Sadly, our stay in Ouray came to an end. The morning we woke to leave our windows were covered with “snow” from the enormous Cottonwood trees everywhere!It’s no wonder we had trouble with allergy symptoms. Between the smoke and the blizzard of cotton off the trees! Even given the CrAzY ride over the mountain passes, smoke, fires and mounds of cotton in the air …Ouray has stolen a piece of our hearts! We most definitely will be back! We hated to leave this little piece of heaven on Earth. Next stop Gunnison, CO!

The trip to Gunnison was also filled with narrow winding roads. You would think that I would get better managing my anxiety… alas I failed. I will admit it wasn’t AS bad, but I have yet to figure out how not to gasp LOUDLY as we make a curve around the mountain when there is a STEEP drop off less than 3 feet from my Navigator seat!

Finally the stunning Blue Mesa Reservoir came into view The photo does not show how really beautiful blue the water is! The Blue Mesa Reservoir is the LARGEST lake located entirely within the state of Colorado. It is a fisherman’s meca. It is filled with Lake Trout and Kokanee Salmon. Our home for the next week was located across the street from a portion of this beauty. In fact most of our neighbors were here solely on a fishing mission. They were gone by day break and home in the afternoon limited out.

While the Reservoir was beautiful we came across a snafu that has not happened in the entire 4 years of being Professional Nomads….. neither of us had cell phone service!! Rutro Houston we had a problem! We each purposely have different cell phone carriers to hopefully never be without communication. This area was a big FAT dead zone! I was a bit distressed. The campground offered free internet for emails ONLY! I immediately sent email messages to our parents, children and friends who knew we were traveling to let them know we arrived safely and would not be able to be reached for a week. The lack of ability to communicate was equal to being on a deserted isle! People often ask “How can you be away from family, friends and your precious grandchildren?” Which I retort .. “No problem as we talk often with everyone via text or FaceTime!” Well no instant communication ability with our family and friends about made me insane!

The beauty of staying near Gunnison there were wonderful Harley rides to take. Every day we set out to new location. First stop Crested Butte.The ride there was spectacular. The wild flowers were just starting to bloom. Pops of yellow, blue and orange peeking out along the mountain side. We were a bit early to see them in full bloom the locals informed us. I guess they are stunning the first 2 weeks of July. Maybe our next time out we will plan to see them! For know my eyes were peeled on the mountain tops in search for cell phone towers! Each and every time one came into view I would send family an update letting them know we were doing well!

Another day ride to the Black Canyon!At the rim we were 8,000 feet of elevation! Below the Gunnison River cuts through the mountains 1,800 feet below. When we entered the park the Ranger told us we should consider taking the ride to the base of the canyon. He told us the ride is about 5 miles in length filled with lots of curves and many folks on motorcycles really enjoy it. So off we went! What the Ranger left out was that the road grade was 16%!!!!! Oh MY GOODNESS… I get choked up and so anxious on a 6% grade when traveling in the Mobile Condo… this 16% grade on the Harley about did me in!!! AGAIN with the hairpin curves, no guard rails and steep drop offs I was BEGGING my Handsome Chauffeur to please turn around there was absolutely no need to see the bottom of the canyon! But noooooooooo we were going to see this! I believe he had bruises on his sides as I had a death grip on him! We are a team and if one of us goes over the side of the canyon we were for darn sure going together as my death grip grew tighter and tighter! Finally we reached the rivers edge safe and soundThere were a few folks fly fishing and picnicking. I was trying to compose myself and summon the courage that was needed to go back up the 16% grade from HELL! My mind was reeling with the thoughts that we had no cell phone service, our kids had no idea where were and they would never find us in the depths of this canyon…. but what a majestic place it was indeed! Finally, I got on the Harley and just like the Mountain Goats we have seen, that Harley climbed up the mountain and got us back up to 8000 ft in elevation! As we made our way back to our campground I kept my eye to the sky in search of cell towers to let our family we were still alive, but did not share our latest escapade we just did! Why worry them🤣!

It was time to head to our next destination Colorado Springs, CO. The next pass to conquer was Monarch Pass at 11,312 feet in elevation, 7% grade located on the Continental Divide. You would think this would be old hat for this Nervous Navigator, but sadly I was a wreck! You see there were a few mechanical things going on with our Mobile Condo that My Handsome Chauffeur had been working feverishly to figure out what was going on. Our Mobile Condo uses air pressure for her braking system. When we start up our engine to travel we watch our gauges to see the air pressure build up for safe travel. We also have a nice beeping noise that indicates that our pressure is too low to operate the brakes. Wellllllllll, the pressure was taking so long to build up the beeper must have gotten laryngitis as it stopped warning us! The first thing MacGuyver did in Mesa Verde ,at the advice of the folks who are professionals,was change the air dryer filterUnfortunately, that did not fix the issue. The air pressure DOES build up for safe travel, but takes longer than it should. MacGuyver has spent hours on the phone, reading our manual and has a better idea of what it could be, but his little red tool bag doesn’t have the tools needed. We were heading for “civilization” and He made a reservation for service in Denver area, BUT we had to get to Denver which caused me a WEE bit of anxiety. Not only do we have that pesky air pressure issue our fuel gauge went on the fritz and reads EMPTY even though we filled our tank.Often times we are asked by folks “What kind of gas mileage do you get in that thing?” My reply always is that we have no idea what mileage we get. That bit of knowledge would not change how we travel and would only put a HUGE damp rag on our party😉. Now that we have NO working fuel gauge that little mpg calculation would have come in handy!!!

After about 30 minutes of the engine idling, the air pressure gages were up to where we could be assured our brakes would work. The fuel gage still read empty and there was a screeching coming from the engine compartment that could “possibly” be an angry belt???!!? Off we head over Monarch Pass.Thankfully the air pressure held and we had no need for one of theseI had to laugh as they had a sign 2 miles before the ramp letting drivers know that it was coming up… or it was giving you warning that if your brakes went out you only had 2 more miles to gain excessively higher speeds due to the grade and to Hold on Nelly🤣….

We made it safely over the pass and down without incident. I was never so glad to see a flat straight away in my life!We decided to stop to top off the fuel tank as we had no earthly idea how much fuel we used climbing the mountain pass. To our astonishment we only could fit 6 gallons of fuel in! Holy COW!

It was hard to believe we only used 6 gallons of gas going over the mountain pass, but it was a pleasant surprise indeed!

Soon we arrived at our new home, The Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO! A sigh of relief from this Nervous Navigator! No more mountain passes, civilization, cell service and closer to repairs getting done! While we wait for our appointment day at the repair shop we hopped on the Harley to explorer The Garden of the Gods We took a long ride to the Royal Gorge. There were people walking a bridge across and zip lining! It all looked like fun, but we decided to spend our time taking the Gold Belt Scenic Byway back to the Academy. Riding through the mountains catching glimpses of Elk, Alpacas and cattle. The ride was not only beautiful, but breath taking with Pikes Peak in the distance.

We spent an entire day touring and learning all about the Academy. What an amazing place! The new group of Cadets were scheduled to arrive a week after we had to leave. It would have been fantastic to see that! We got a taste of what they would be going through by watching a video in the Visitors Center and speaking with the Docents stationed here and there on the campus. It brought us a sense of inspiration and a swell of pride watching the video of young men and woman going through their steps from beginning to end of their schooling then serving this great Nation. Pops made future plans for our 3 year old grandson to become a Cadet😉

One of the beautiful buildings on the campus was the Chapel.Stunning both outside and inside! We were so thankful to be able to tour it as it will be closed soon for the next 4 years to be renovated. Since it has been built, it has leaked water which was evident on some of the upholster and wood pews. When it was being constructed they were rapidly going over budget and made some cutbacks in not only the size, but what they used to put it together with. Sadly, it has leaked from the time it was built in 1962 until now due to inferior supplies. The plan is to completely dismantle the structure and put it back together. What an undertaking this will be!

The setting of the entire Academy is beautifully situated in the mountain side looking down onto the city of Colorado Springs. Founded in April 1954. It is home to 2 of the most beautiful courses we have played

The day of our appointment with the mechanic was upon us. We made a change in plans. Instead of service in Denver we chose to have it done at our next location of Loveland, CO. We have family to see in Loveland and IF we had to move out of our Mobile Condo while repairs are made we could stay with family. This sounded like a great plan except Loveland is about 60 miles further travel! The symptoms that we were experiencing earlier in our travels were there, but miraculously our fuel gauge was reading correctly.. so strange!

We made it to our appointment without a hiccup. The mechanic made the diagnosis. We were in need of a new alternator (the screeching noise), we needed a new governor for our air compressor ( air pressure for brakes) and we most likely will have to replace the fuel sending unit (for the fuel gauge to register accurately) and our radiator hose had seen better days! The next hurdle was to locate the parts! My Handsome Chauffeur changed his cap again to Procurement Specialist! It took an entire day for him to get parts ordered. The next day he drove all over to pick up the parts. Thankfully, the mechanic came to us at our campground to make the repairs. Four hours later my Handsome Chauffeur fires up the Mobile Condo… air pressure built up immediately, the screeching sounds was gone and our fuel gauge read accurately! Whew we are back in business.

We have enjoyed spending time and doing life with our extended family who get to call Loveland, CO home. They were a soft place to land through all the CrAzY repairs.

As we close on our month in Captivating Colorado I have to pinch myself. I feel as though we have been dreaming for a month! The beauty we have seen, the people we have met on our way and even the challenges we have endured(and overcome) have grown our hearts and our faith in unimaginable ways! Yes, we will always have our memories of this amazing time and we WILL return to make more memories… you can count on it Colorado!

I am clicking my ruby red slippers as Dorothy did in the Wizard of Oz and quoting her “There’s no place like home.” We’re off to Kansas to start the next part of our journey seeing family, friends and “framily”! The road we traveled so many times over the years is a familiar FLAT route, but at the end of the journey we will be surrounded by LOVE! Kansas here we come💗!

Spring Southwestern Style

One of our desires when we started our Nomadic life was to avoid snow at ALL costs! Our hope is to follow 70 to 80 degree weather.. 70-80 degrees has been a bit of a struggle to achieve for the most part, but we continue to try!

As we made our way across the lower part of this beautiful country our next stop was Arizona. We arrived in Tucson the first week of April. Our campground was virtually a ghost town as the masses of Snowbirds who called Tucson home for the winter had flown the coop back to their homes up north. We were so excited to to be reunited with family who now call Tucson home! It had been too long since we had seen our Dad. The reunion was chicken soup for our Nomadic souls.

We had been to Tucson plenty of times over the years. We were familiar with our surroundings, but we had never been there in April OR for 6 weeks. Soon we found that our quest for 70-80 degree weather was a pipe dream! It became HOT and remained HOT for the entire visit!

After all we were in the desert what were we to expect?? Soon 95 degrees would be a welcomed relief as the thermometer was in triple digits for days on end. Our 3 air conditioners were running CONSTANTLY! Welcome to Springtime in the desert!

Even though the temperatures didn’t feel so Spring-like to us… Spring most definitely was in the landscape and air. All the varieties of cactus and trees were in bloom. Their showy blossoms were STUNNING against the earth tone mountains and This beauty also came at a cost to many of us. Not only was it hot in the desert, the winds were fierce. There were wind gusts upwards of 45 mph which filled the air with loads of dust, sand and pollen! On a clear day we enjoyed the vistas of the Santa Catalina, Rincon, Tucson and Santa Rita that surrounded the city.There were some days the winds blocked the views and the roadsides were filled with pollen that were reminiscent of snow after a storm in the Midwest. Thank goodness for allergy medicine as my Handsome Chauffeur was sneezing constantly!

Sunny HOT days were spent poolsidewhich was a welcome relief!

Another way we beat the heat was to take a ride on our Harley. The ride up Mount Lemon was a treat as we climbed to 8000 feet. The landscape changed from Saguaro cactusto deciduous bushes and treesthen to a Pine tree ski resort at the top Gone were the 90 degree temperatures! It was so cool we donned our jackets and gloves!The views were spectacular and the cool fresh air was so welcomed!

Instead of staying cooped up in the Mobile Condo under the roar of our air conditioners we took any advantage to ride the “scooter”. There were plenty of options to get off the beaten path. One day we made our way on the scenic route to Bisbee, AZ. situated in the Mule Mountains Bisbee was founded as a copper, silver and gold mining town in the 1800s. In the distance on the above photo you can make out the Copper Queen Mine.

The town is a cool quirky place that is supported by Artists with lots of history.It is said to be one of John Wayne’s favorite places too!As we headed back to Tucson we were waved through Border Patrol stations. We passed through Tombstone, AZ

We called Davis Monthan AFB home while we were in Tucson. The base is the home of the Aircraft Boneyard. Since after World War II it is the LARGEST aircraft storage in the WORLD! For as far as you can see there are all types and sizes of airplanes and helicopters Because Tucson’s low humidity (10-20%), and meager annual rainfall of 11 inches annually, altitude of 2550 and hard packed soil allows the aircraft to preserve naturally. It is a sight to behold!

We did spend a day at the Pima Air Museum that is next to to Boneyard.

Soon we were boarding an airplane ourselves headed to Nashville, Tennessee to spend quality time with our precious grandchildren. We unearthed and dusted off our suitcases buried in our “basement”. We couldn’t remember the last time we used the suitcases as we are somewhat like turtles…. we take our home and belongings with us where ever we visit. The trip via the friendly skies was a welcomed treat… it would only take 5 hours by air to cross this great country instead of at least 5 days of driving! 5 short hours and our hearts would be filled as well as our days creating “rocket ships” out of pillows baking cupcakes afternoon snugglesand just hanging out Too soon that big jet plane that took us to Tennessee was headed back west carrying two Nomads with heavy hearts but loads of fun memories made.

Our time in Tucson came to an end. The wheels on the Mobile Condo headed north to Scottsdale, AZ. Silly “blonde” me, I thought because we were heading north of course it should be cooler… NOT! Scottsdale, AZ is WARMER than Tucson because it is lower in altitude than Tucson and air cools as it climbs in altitude according to Wikipedia🧐🙃

So Scottsdale was smoking hot as well, but such a cool place to visit! Our landing spot for our stay in Scottsdale was a place called Westworld.This is not your “regular” campground. Westworld is 386 acres of desert at the base of McDowell Mountains. It is a multipurpose venue that is host to many events including assorted horse competitions and car auctions such as Barrett-Jackson Collector Car. While we were staying on their property there was a Reining Competition. We hopped on our bicycles and made our way to the stables to be educated.We met a few competitors who were more than happy to tell us about their sport. As we asked questions it became obvious we are “City Slickers”. We have ZERO equestrian knowledge. Our new found friends patiently explained their sport.

Reining is a western riding style where the rider guides the horse through precise patterns that include circles, spins and stops. To me it was like watching figure skating on horseback. The riders were dressed and the horses were groomed to perfection. This particular competition awarded the winners $40,000! Whoa..SO COOL!Speaking of Cool … we were in search of some cooling off so we hopped on the Harley and made a trip up the McDowell Mountain to the Tonto National Forest. While we enjoyed the scenery and the cooler temperatures our eyes took in the beauty of Bartlett Lake

Soon we our stop to Scottsdale was over. We had sights set on cooler temperatures so off we headed to Flagstaff, AZ. The trip would take us from 1248 feet of elevation to about 7000 feet! My Handsome Chauffeur at the helm we started our climb over mountains. Going up isn’t so frightening for this Nervous Navigator. Our trusty Mobile Condo handled it with ease. It is the 6% downhill grade for what seemed miles at times that had me holding my breath and clutching the metal bar next to my seat, which by now is custom fit to my grip😳

As we climbed the air WAS cooler! The scent of Piñon Pine, White Pine and Juniper was heavenly! Our home for the next 8 days was 10 miles west of Flagstaff at a small campground (only 14 sights) on a Arizona National Guard Base. It was a little piece of heaven as far as we were concerned after living in cities for the last 6 weeks.This remote campground came at a small price… no sewer connection! We had to be cognizant of our water use in order not to have to pack everything up to go “dump” out our tanks before we were leaving the campground for good. It can be done, but no matter if you move the Mobile Condo miles or just a few feet we have to secure everything etc.. aka HASSLE! Sooooo we were officially “Glamping”. Showers were taken at the shower house, laundry done at the laundry mat and we ate using paper plates more as not to have to do multiple loads of dishes which wasn’t such a bad thing as far as The Queen of the Mobile Condo was concerned! 😉

As we traveled we couldn’t help but notice the contrast of the green pines and the dry yellow grass everywhere.Arizona is in a drought and it was OBVIOUS just looking around. The Flagstaff area “only” got 100 inches of snow for the 2017 season. In 2016 they received 312 INCHES of snow. There hasn’t been any rain to speak of either. There were Red Flag warnings…. no campfires, no charcoal grills and no smoking outside as there fire danger was extreme! Our camp hosts highly recommended that we be careful setting up camp . They suggested just setting out the essentials as we needed to be ready to evacuate if there happened to be a fire in the area.

The next morning we awoke to a very brisk day. Just like the old adage says…”be careful for what you wish for.” All the prayers for cooler weather the past few weeks came to fruition when we awoke to find the temperature in our Mobile Condo was 48 degrees!!!!After we thawed out with hot coffee we set out to check a box on our bucket list… The GRAND CANYON. We had experienced the beauty of the Canyon from the window of an airplane plenty of times at 35,000 feet. Our visit would be a first for us up close and personal! The ride to the Canyon was through LOTS of flat yellow grass areas nothing to write home about. As we entered the park with the masses of tourists we saw HUGE Elk munching away without a care. Thankfully they were more interested in eating than crossing in front of us… that would have made for a really bad experience!

After securing a coveted parking spot (the “scooter” can squeeze into the greatest spots) we started to walk towards the South Rim. There are NO words that can express the first time you come up to see this AMAZING Creation of God! Photos don’t do it any where near what our eyes were taking in! We were in AWE!!!!There were plenty of people trying to capture its majesty. Some were crawling over the metal barriers to step out on cliffs. Not us!!! Although my Handsome Chauffeur did take leave of his senses to stage this photoWe took a tour through the park to find the hotel that was featured in a scene in the movie National Lampoon’s Vacation… of our ALL time favorite movies! Often in our travels it feels as though we can be characters played in the movie due to shenanigans that we find ourselves in😉. There have been plenty of instances that I referred to my Handsome Chauffeur as “Clark”!Northern Arizona aka the High Country has some of the best motorcycle riding we have experienced! We took a trip south of Flagstaff to Sedona,AZ along 89A winding our way through mountains along Oak Creek Canyon. It was a SPECTACULAR ride. The red rock against the greens of the forest is out of this world! Years ago we did a quick stop through Sedona and it captured my heart. One of the greatest sights was a church up on the mountain. We had to make the trip up there again as it is breath taking!As we entered the chapel and looked out the windows over the Canyon we were taken back by the majesty of the entire experience. One of God’s masterpieces!

Riding in the mountains I often wonder how in the world the trees and brush make their way through the rocks.I guess if there is a will there is a way when it comes to Mother Nature!

One last ride around Flagstaff we saw remnants of snow on the tippy top of the mountain. As we start our journey over the mountains in Colorado we sure hope we don’t come across any of the white stuff!

Right outside of our campground there was a National Weather Service office. My curious Handsome Chauffeur is very interested in weather. Some of his favorite apps are weather predicting and wind speed which are necessary tools when driving our Mobile Condo. The opportunity to speak with and get a tour of the facility made him a Happy Camper.

The office there is one of many through the USA. The meteorologists working around the clock are responsible for issuing warnings and alerts. The current drought and wind were a major concern at this time. Fire was on the minds of many not only in our immediate area, but wildfires were popping up all over the western states. Our hosts at the center were more than happy to show us some of the things they use daily to keep us informed. The day we were there they were keeping an eye not only in their region, but the first Hurricane of the season(Alberto) was about to make landfall somewhere in the southeast. The meteorologist was monitoring 4 computer screens that were each showing a different layer of atmosphere. So interesting!We were taken outside to see rain gauges, anemometer, satellites and other necessary instruments to help them with predicting weather.

Twice daily at 12 hour intervals they along with all 800 other locations around the world launch weather balloons into the atmosphere with this attachedThis gadget relays information back to the center regarding atmospheric pressure, temperatures, humidity and wind speed all the while being tracked by GPS. Two of these are sent up per day and unfortunately are not returned. It would be like hunting for a needle in a haystack trying to locate them. The information they transmit for the duration of their flight is valuable and outweighs the cost of the equipment which can be considered disposable. Wow, what an education we received thanks to our host.

As we packed up our belongings and reflected on our long stay in Arizona, off in the horizon we saw the weather balloon that was just launched head in a northeastern direction. We too would be headed that way in the morning. Arizona’s motto is Ditat Deus which means God Enriches. How very true! Our stay in Arizona DID enrich us in so many ways. We look forward to our next visit. The wheels on the Mobile Condo are rolling on to Colorful Colorado to make more memories!