Monday, September 4, 2017

Turning life upside down

I wanted to leave a blog post of apology and explanation. No, I did not give up on my blog. My life just seemed to get a bit crazy. We had always planned to move from our Southern California home after my husband retired but, we were not sure where that would be.

My husband and I decided to use our motorhome adventures to find our happy place. In the past three years we have traveled across the country three times. It turns out that our happy spot is clear across the country. For so many reasons, we love Western North Carolina.

This is when life really got nuts! How exactly do you leave everything you know and love? Family, friends, routines and your stuff? First step was preparing to sell our house by fixing any dings and boo-boos. Next step was to choose a realtor and put the house on the market. We had no idea when the house would sell but we thought it might go fast. Fast was an understatement! We had our first offer in four hours. Three days later the house was off the market with a 30 day escrow. We were naïve and thought 30 days would be no problem. Turns out that the buyer has 17 days to change their mind, secure their loan, inspections, etc. All of that time we could not do a thing because the sale could fall through and, we will be back to square one. Yay, the house sold. We now had less than two weeks to pack and move out.

Now, what to do with our stuff? Do we have a shipping company pack it all up, put it into storage and ship it to us when we find a place? That option was very expensive! So now we thought that we would radically down-size. However, to store and ship a small amount of our stuff was equally as expensive. So now it gets even crazier! We decided to pack up the motorhome with whatever we could and get rid of the rest. We divided our life in the three piles. What we could not live without, what we would get rid of, and what we would like to keep only if it fits.

We worked nonstop hours. My husband became a superhero, magician and wizard. He packed, did repairs, cleaned, shopped, canceled utilities, did last doctor appointments, shredded years worth of documents (5 boxes) and took care of old prescription drug disposal. The stuff that we couldn't take with us we either gave away, donated to charity or, sold at an estate sale.  Everything was made even that much harder because, we lived in a place where the motorhome had to move every three days.

Next, we had the final visits to our favorite places, our friends and family.... sadly, there's never enough time for everything.  After taking care of our personal, financial, medical, and legal obligations, we were ready to start our next epic adventure… A BRAND NEW LIFE.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Arches National Park



We only stopped for one night in Moab/Arches. It was a great place for a layover between Breckenridge, CO and Bryce, UT. We arrived early enough to spend a few hours in Arches National Park. For me, this was more than enough as my eyes become visually over stimulated. Spend an extra day or two here if you want to explore more.


Arches is located in Eastern Utah(adjacent to the Colorado River and 4 miles north of Moab, Utah). Wind, water and underground salt beds have created the most incredible monuments. Definitely a must see. After you see it you will be left saying to yourself " What did I just see?" 





















Cost to get into the park is $10 per car but with a National Park Disabled access pass, the fee is waived. You can view much of the park from your vehicle. A few scenic locations have wheelchair accessible trails to view even more spectacular sights. There is so much to look at and the road is constantly turning, so if you're prone to motion sickness be prepared. There are several designated stops along the way to take beautiful pictures. Other activities in the park include hiking, biking, backpacking and climbing. My recommendation is visiting in the spring or fall because summer temperatures can become quite brutal.

I do not have an RV park to recommend. The place we stayed at is going out of business. There were a few other RV Parks in the area to choose from.

 







Another fun thing to do in this area is shopping and eating. The city of Moab, Utah is flat with tons of shops, restaurants and bars to choose from. We ate at, La Hacienda. It was really good!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Breckenridge, Colorado

Breckenridge is located in the state of Colorado with an elevation of 9600 feet. The population is about 4500, but they are mainly part-timers with vacation homes. Breckenridge is mostly known for snow skiing. However it's pretty popular for outdoor summer activities… Mountain biking, hiking, fishing, etc. Being in a wheelchair I wasn't sure what I would find, but I knew my husband would have a blast.



               We stayed at:
      The Tiger Run Rv Resort
             85 Revette Drive
      Breckenridge, CO 80424
              970-453-9690


 
Amenities include;
Full RV hook ups
Extra large sites
Chalets (cute log cabins)
Wi-Fi (that actually worked)
Indoor pool and spa
Tennis court
Volleyball and basketball
Game room
Kid and dog friendly
Laundry and showers
Etc.…



This place is beautiful. Well-maintained and beautifully landscaped. Each spot seems very private. Some of the RV sites are up to 60ft. deep and 20ft. wide. All of the sites are privately owned and at times owner occupied  All have picnic tables and some have much more.  ** they do not allow truck trailers, pup pup trailers or anything under 20ft. in length or more than 20 years old. If you want to give the RV a rest, the cabins are a wonderful alternative to a hotel. The cabins come stocked with all of the basic necessities and room for four adults. The only problem I have with this RV resort is that I am now forever spoiled.

** If you rely on GPS make sure you look at the route it wants to take you on. Ours had us get off the freeway and drive up and over a steep mountain road (above the tree line). Only to find out, that if we stayed on the freeway until the next exit we would be right at the entrance of our destination..

Breckenridge has a lot of outdoor activities. In the winter of course there is skiing. The rest of the year is for bicycles, hiking and fishing. There is a paved trail that leads all the way to Vail, Colorado. A motorized wheelchair or scooter would have no problem on the trail. This is just a beautiful place to be outside.


The actual town of Breckenridge is NOT wheelchair friendly, at all. The streets and sidewalks are in rough condition. The curbs are high and most of the parking is not close by. We look for a restaurant, but everything way found was up a flight of stairs. In all fairness, this is a high mountain ski destination. We were also visiting during Oktoberfest. Because I didn't want to completely miss out on the celebration, I had a beer and bought a beer stein.



Close by is the town of Frisco. Frisco is extremely wheelchair friendly. The streets and sidewalks are mostly flat. Shops and restaurants are easy to get into. If you like pizza you're in luck… It's everywhere. We ate at Kemosabe Sushi. It was delicious!


Saturday, November 5, 2016

One scary night in Kansas


We were driving from Nashville, Tennessee to Colorado. Due to a heat wave across the South we decided to take the most direct route and cut straight through Kansas on I70. After we crossed into Kansas my husband asked if I knew anything about the state. Jokingly I said, "No, except I've seen The Wizard of Oz". I70 from the Turnpike to Topeka would be our first ever toll road. Who knew that this day would be our first for a whole lot of things.

As we drove on the wind started to pick up. Drizzle began to fall in the sky got darker. We saw the most spectacular lightning display in the distance, across the horizon. Our only concern was trying to capture the perfect photograph. The rain and the wind got very intense, and the sky went dark. At the end of the toll road there was a note on the toll booth that read, " No Toll. Find Shelter". We explained to the kid battening down the hatches of the toll booth that we were from California and understood earthquakes, but had no clue what to do in a tornado. He gave us a quick tutorial, and said we would have no problem because the tornado was behind us. Wow... was he wrong. All of the weather conditions became worse. We could not see where to go.  Driving speed was now down to about 20 mph. It seem like we were the only ones left on the road. There were very few buildings and nothing but open space. Not even an overpass. Our radio and the cell phones were going crazy. "Tornado Danger – Get Low! Flooding Danger – Get High"!!!

Suddenly, we saw light off in the distance. My husband said, "That is where we are going". It was a small truck stop filled with more trucks then I have ever seen. The trucker that we pull behind said something that I will never forget and actually made me cry, "You are safe now, my truck is not moving until the morning". Eventually we were packed in like sardines, and I never slept better.

The morning was quite surreal. The sun came up and birds were singing. We saw the trees that actually blew up from the lightning strikes. We saw the freeway signs that were twisted like pretzels. There was a semi truck that was mangled in the ditch. And then there was someone on an overpass waving and American flag, because oddly enough it was the anniversary of 9/11

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Nashville, Tennessee pt.2

 

Nashville was a convenient place to stop and have a little fun on our way back across the country. We stayed at the Nashville KOA.









2626 Music Valley Dr.
Nashville, Tennessee
(615) 889-0286

This RV park is really nice! On our first trip to Nashville we stayed here, and had no reason to try anything else. They have tons of amenities...
Full hookups
Wide level spots
Patio furniture w/ fire pit
Pool, Jacuzzi and sauna
Playground for the kids
etc...

There is a shuttle available that will take you into downtown Nashville. However, the shuttle is not wheelchair accessible and does not have a lift. On my first trip to this RV park my big complaint was that I couldn't find the trashcan. This trip I figured out how it works... Each morning your bagged trash gets picked up from your site (how great is that).

Downtown Nashville is NOT wheelchair friendly. The city is built on sleep hills and the sidewalks are in poor condition. I did find that C Street is definitely manageable. It's mostly flat with restaurants, bars and plenty of shopping. This is the place to go.



The Country Music Hall of Fame should not be missed and is definitely doable in a wheelchair.… As long as you get dropped off in the front of the building. The best parking for this is at a close by church parking lot. It will cost you about $7 for the day. In different areas throughout the city there is underground parking around $15.

Close to the Nashville KOA is the Grand Ole Opry. I wanted to visit The Opry but it was very expensive, so I chose to go downtown instead. In hindsight I wish that I had spent the money, because downtown was extremely difficult... Maybe next time.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Ranger

In loving memory of Ranger. 

1-2000 to 7-2016

I feel blessed to have had Ranger in my life at for 15 of his 16 years. He was a smart, loving and kind Labrador retriever. He had a huge personality and could always make me smile. He was sweet but definitely the alpha dog in the house. We adopted him from Pet Orphans in Van Nuys, California. They found him at a local animal shelter. One of my favorite memories of him will always be… During our adoption home check I showed them our dog doors and the dog-run where he would go potty. I was told "that dog will never do that". I said , "give him 10 minutes ". I was wrong, it only took him 5 minutes. I really can't take any credit for that. Ranger was scary-smart.

He was a known escape artist who love to explore. If we weren't careful, when a door would open he would wander out. Luckily he loved people and people loved him. Neighbors would escort him back home and strangers would call us after reading his tags. His wandering spirit never stopped.

After we started traveling in the motorhome, Ranger could not have been happier. He got to travel and explore with his family. He got to visit many state and national parks. He left his mark in countless forests, lakes and trails. Truck stops and rest stops were equally fun. He traveled in and out and through so many different states. He clocked in an estimated 20,000 miles.  Definitely, a life well lived!



I will forever miss my love puppy.
Rest in peace, Ranger. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Brevard, North Carolina


While staying in Asheville, we stumbled across another treasure. From that point on we found ourselves making daily trips. Brevard is located approximately 20 miles south of Asheville,  Even though the population is under 8000, with the exception of downtown, everything is pretty spread out. I recommend a good road map and an idea of what you want to see each day. To say this city is beautiful would definitely be an understatement. Brevard has gorgeous green mountains, forests, lakes and waterfalls. In fact, Brevard is known as The Land Of Waterfalls.


  
The DuPont Forest is located here. To be precise, Dupont is southeast of Brevard, between Hendersonville and Brevard. Officially, it is The Dupont State Recreational Forest. This is where scenes from the movies, The Last of the Mohicans and The Hunger Games were filmed.

DuPont is loved for its miles of hiking trails, mountain biking, horseback riding, and swimming etc. If your a wheelchair user (like I am) there is no reason to feel left out. When you present your Access Pass to the ranger in the main office, you will be allowed to drive through the park. Triple Falls, High Falls and The Bridge are set up for wheelchairs. They all have parking, a picnic areas and wheelchair accessible Andy Gumps. Be warned… I could see everything and should've been perfectly happy, but I thought I could get a closer look. My front wheel got stuck in a rut and I took a tumble out of my chair. A lot of people came running to give me a hand. No harm no foul… Except for my ego nothing was hurt. After my husband finished giggling, he told me that on the previous day both he and two of his friend fell off their bikes in the same area. I became a proud member of the "I wiped out here club".










  







Also adjacent to Brevard is The Pisgah Forest. I think this is one of the most spectacular places on the planet. Every moment took my breath away. I literally felt like I was living inside a beautiful oil painting. The lush forest is full of high peaks and cascading waterfalls. Most of the sites have areas to pull your car over and take pictures. Also, pack a lunch because there are picnic tables everywhere.

 
On Highway 276, as you enter The Pisgah National Forest you will find Dolly's Dairy Bar. This is a MUST STOP for great ice cream. 


A little further up 276 is the Ranger Station and Visitor Center. Continue up 276 and you will see Looking Glass Falls, Sliding Rock Falls and a Vanderbilt hunting cabin. 
You can see Looking Glass Falls from the road. There is an accessible overlook for a better view. Stairs go down to the bottom of the falls but they are not very accessible.


Sliding Rock is a fun activity spot. For just $1 per day you can actually slide down and play in the waterfall. This is not an accessible activity, but the viewpoint is.




 



One of Vanderbilt's hunting cabins still stands.







Topping 276 is The Blue Ridge Parkway with several accessible overlooks.


Downtown Brevard is relatively flat and touristy. There are many fun little shops, restaraunts and a retro movie theatre. While you are there I recommend eating and Millberry's café.



 


The co-ed movie theater is a retro experience with first run movies for only $7 during the day and $8 at night.
The popcorn is pretty great, also!



 





* Sidenote… Another reason that I love this place could be because my favorite holiday is Halloween, and Brevard is the County Seat  of Transylvania county.