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My Fab Five – Inspiration On The Road

Long before I had my Airstream, over thirty years ago I was sitting in Powderhorn Park at In The Heart Of The Beast’s May Day Parade. The Twin Cities are known for their puppet theater artists, especially Powderhorn Park. Thousands of folks would flock in from all over. For me it was a birthday tradition. The first weekend in May I’d get a fabulous cake from Wuolett’s Bakery, invite friends to park at my house and help me eat cake and then walk down to the park for the parade. It was one particular May Day Parade where events would unfold that would have quite the impact on me. I didn’t know it then but I would be introduced to the first of my Fab Five. I would begin on a journey, learning the importance of the people we meet along the road.

Portfolio page for Artwork By ElisaMG is here in Word Press. Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tiny_adventures_of_elisamg/

Fab Five….. in chronological order…..

It was at a May Day Parade, where an elderly man in worn out coveralls appeared on the horizon, just a tiny speck among thousands. For some reason I noticed him. He was bee lining it directly towards me. It took a bit for him to reach me, but when he finally arrived, he looked me in the eyes and very matter of factly asked “Are you an artist?” You think this would be a simple question, I mean I did have a Visual Arts BA and a minor in communications so I should have been able to articulate some sort of coherant answer. Yet I still didn’t claim my Artist self, and would go on for years ignoring it, or bringing creativity into every job I did, but not allowing myself to really dream and play. However, in that moment, I sat up tall and straight and confident, looked him in the eyes and said “Why yes! I am.” To which he quickly responded “Well then you need to read “The Artist’s Way.” After which he turned on his heels and left the crowd and park as quickly as he had entered. Well, of course I immediately went out and bought the book!

For a little fun reading on Puppet Artistry in the Twin Cities, check this out…. https://www.twincities.com/2015/04/29/in-the-twin-cities-a-special-puppet-love/

Check out Julia’s Instagram https://www.instagram.com/juliacameronlive/

Years later after one copy of the book was eaten by my Great Dane, another sat collecting dust on the shelf, and I had been in and out of several Artist Way groups both live and online from Minneapolis to LA, I finally had the opportunity to meet Julia Cameron, the author of The Artist’s Way. I had the honor of spending a whole weekend with her at an intensified day in Santa Fe, New Mexico at the first of its kind ever, Gathering Of The Creatives. This is where I jumped all in and seriously start creating. Julia’s lessons and workshop helped me to see past my perfectionism and overthinking, to put into practice some daily practices, like the Artist’s Date and Morning Pages, which on the surface seemed simple but in all seriousness proufoundly changed me for the better. The things she taught me became a sort of prayer and meditation practice for me, and magic started to happen. So Julia is one of my first “Fab Five”. Thank you Julia!

I should preface this to say there were so many who influenced, inspired, encouraged me along the way including, my mother who is also a painter and instilled in me a love for the arts at a very young age, my friends who pushed me to sell my art, strangers who were moved by my works and I knew were not just being nice because they knew me, jobs that were an uncomfortable fit but necessary to build the strength in me to move on, bad match boyfriends who I never married and thus always had “A Room Of My Own”, and a Pandemic leaving me completely isolated that gave me the gift of time to reflect on what was really important to me and allowed me to commit to myself and my art. Of course their is my friend Traci who markets wines for a vineyard using social media and encouraged me from the beginning to use all of the media tools available to get myself out there. All of you who follow me and read my writing also count in the group that goes way beyond the Fab Five. But this post is dedicated to my “Fab Five”.

Follow Flora on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/florabowley/ Check out all Flora has to offer at: https://florabowley.com/

Flora Bowley, out of the Pacific Northwest, is next on my list. If there ever was an artist that I have met who truly is a giving soul, not attached to ego at all, and truly gifted, it is Flora, an all around beautiful person. I journeyed through many of Flora’s classes, learning the process of Intuitive Painting and so much more. Intuitive Painting is freeing. You take all thoughts out of your head and just center yourself present in the moment. You let go of control, you set aside any pre-conceived notions of what you want to paint. You might set some intentions ahead of time. Flora taught us the importance of creating space for our practice. We learned to create an invironment that called us to creativity. She taught us how to feel what we were creating, how to play and dance and have fun with it. She even shared her own painting playlists, which I love to listen to while I paint. Flora taught us to enjoy our creations but not get attached, as in life joy comes to us and goes making room for new joys. She encouraged us if we were copying her style and coached us to find our own styles. During the pandemic she has been one of my lifelines as she reinvented herself and held virtual conferences where we could meet artists around the world and spend time in the virutal studio together sharing, being vulnerable about our process and our techniques, where we get stuck, where we see ourselves going, and we could gain feedback, and grow. Flora’s books and classes were well worth the investment. Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, consider joining one of Flora’s classes! I know you will find it to be a real treat! Taking courses, as well as attending the creativity conference were investments in myself. Thank you Flora!

My Fab Five person number three is Sandy Garcia, a Folk Artist out of Claremont California. Sandy like the others has a huge, giving heart and a playful creative brain, backed by incredible talent. She loves community and found a way to build that among artists. I owe it to all of my Fab Five, and especially Sandy for all of the artist friends I have made along the way. I first met Sandy at a workshop in downtown Pomona California at this wonderful little coffe shop/used book store/ community gathering space. Two teachers who were going to buy a house, instead created this wonderful space to escape to for play and creativity. Sandy taught us some of her techniques and methods for making bold bright art influenced by Mexican Folk Art. We were painting La Virgen De Guadalupe. I went on to enjoy many more painting days with Sandy and her artist friends. She taught me to let go of being judgemental, to experiment with different colors, to embrace the imperfect and let go of perfectionism. She opened her home for many workshops where I collected ideas on all of the different mediums one can make art on, and held sessions at her friends’ local vineyard at the base of the mountains. I’m not going to lie, the wine and cheese were pretty darn good too. At every workshop I met new folks, grew my art network and got to improve my painting skills, play and have fun. If you are in the Southern California area, I highly. encourage you to find Sandy and see what opportunities she might have, or check out her art. I know you will love it! Sandy, also helped all of us through the pandemic. When folks lost loved ones or were struggling with something she rallied us all to send art to that particular individual. She promoted other artists and their creations and shows, and she hosted several online art shows, keeping us creating and connecting in a time when we were so isolated and alone and connection was so desperately needed. Thank you Sandy!

Check out Sandy’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pintalos/

My next Fab Five is Loree Harrell, from the Troutdale Art Center, along with all of the other artists there who welcomed me as a guest artist with open arms. When my trailer landed in Troutdale, I thought I had died and gone to heaven as I walked out of either end of the park to find art galleries and The Troutdale Art Center. How could it be that I would be gifted with so many resources and opportunities all around me. Of course I snooped through everyone’s websites and I was really taken by Loree’s work so I took a risk and reached out. Airstream travels teaches you without a risk there is no adventure! I reached out to her on facebook and she welcomed me right in to the Troutdale arts community. Loree was encouraging. She took me in as a guest artist, and being around her I learn something new everyday. I’ll get a new tip on running my business, or marketing my work, or creating just by being around her and watching her work. She then invited me to showing my art at the Troutdale First Fridays Art Walk this summer right in front of her studio. She shared her tent and gear I woudl need to do that and helped me make connections to apply and participate in the upcoming jurried Fall Festival.

There are still so many places here for me to explore in Portland and thanks to Loree, I’ve just begun discovering the opportunities here in Troutdale. Loree Harrell is incredibly giving, thoughtful, creative and smart. Recently retired, she brings years of successful hotel management experience and work ethic into her work as an artist. I’ve learned to be a successful artist you not only have to make art that people like, but you have to run the business, sell the work, market yourself, present things in a professional way, participate in community events and fairs, figure out the ins and outs of packaging and shipping, engage with people and make it fun. Little details count! Tags describing your work, how you wire your paintings and hang them, community resources such as where you make your prints, how you store your quality photos are all important. She gives great attention to detail on making folks feel special. Watching her I see that the long hours fine tuning and organizing what one does really pays off. She also makes her art accessible to all. She showed me how she gets her art onto purses, shoes and other merchandise. She even creates earings with tiny prints of her art.

Check her out. Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/loreeharrellart/ https://www.loreeharrell.com/ as well as the other artists at TAC…. https://www.instagram.com/troutdaleartcenter/ http://www.troutdaleartcenter.com/

Then there is the fabulous Sasha Loriene! Founder of Black Girls Who Paint, Sasha inspires me by her seemingly endless energy and passion for her work as an artist and an artist who supports other artists. I don’t know about the rest of you but my college classes never had anyone who looked like me in the Art History books painting or doing creative endeavors. I know this had a lot to do with why I had so much doubt about myself and think, wow, what if I had jumped in at twenty. So, when I came across Sasha, a Black female artist, on Instagram I was thrilled! I was thrilled! Sasha reminded me the importance of giving back to the community, going all in, having a vision and goals, and keeping balance between the business and simply enjoying the fun of creating. Yes, the business, because I now have an LLC. I’m official! Anyhow, Sasha created BGWP for the very reason I mentioned. She wanted Black women and girls to know there is space for us in the art world. She wanted to share the expertise she was learning from the New York galleries she had worked with and to connect artists to opportunities around the world. Although she will say she is bad at technology, she definitely upped my game in the world of technology. I went to workshops, met gallery owners and learned how to talk to press. I grew my collectors (those who buy original art as an investmeent, gaining value over the years), and I grew my artist connections. I made weekly calander commitments to show up to events online and push past insecurities, fears and self doubt and participate, and be a part of. We just finished the “Feminity Defined” online art show taking a look at non-traditional images representing the feminine. I was thrilled Sasha gave me the opportunity in an online forum to be one of five featured artists in a preshow with gallery owners, art administrators and the press for an audience. She helped me fine tune my skills in talking about my art in front of big and influential strangers. Sasha has thrown international opportunities our way and ways to connect live with other Black female artists across the country on a regular basis. She also reminds us to embrace, nurture, cheer on young Black girls aspiring to be artists. Sasha is so inspirational. I look forward to working with her and the BGWP team on whatever opportunities they invite us to down the road. Also, I encourage you too, to connect BIPOC girls who are interested in the arts with Sasha’s resources, as there are often opportunities and scholarships for them. Thank you Sasha!

Check out Sasha’s work: Instagram https://www.instagram.com/sashaloriene/ https://www.instagram.com/mahyuestudios/ https://www.instagram.com/blackgirlswhopaint/

Thinking back on the Gathering of the Creatives, everything I got there has stayed with me. Everyone I met at the Creativity Conference, I still am connected to, influenced and moved by. One big take away was that we are all creative. We are just not encouraged to put it to practice. Also that if we all engaged our creativity we really could heal this world and make it a better place. I truly believe that and at a time of feeling isolated and disconnected as well as having a deep dispair over our state in the world, this was a little light of hope. So if any of this inspires you, don’t hesitate, get out your paints, or camera or join that improv team or whatever medium lights your fire. And a huge shout out and thank you to my Fab Five!

Some themes in my Fab Five… I met every one of them because of social media. Yes, for all of you social media skeptics, real connection on social media can lead to great friendships, colleagues, community and opportunities. Living my trailer life as allowed me to move about and expand on those opportunities. Building up those around you and having a giving heart is key to success. I support other artists so I buy Julia’s books, Flora’s classes, Sandy’s workshops and Loree’s artwork. What ever one’s dreams are, finding like minded people, sharing your gifts and supporting each other is so rewarding. It’s the same in my trailer travels, and everywhere else, the more we support each other, lift each other up, share our gifts the greater this adventure called life becomes! So cheers to my Fab Five and the hundreds of others who have influenced my travels!

Once again readers…. Thank you for following me. If you would like to follow me click follow at the bottom of the page and add your email. Then check your email and confirm that you chose to follow me. I promise you will only get an email from me when I post after that.

“Do You Carry A Gun?”

Folks ask me all of the time, “Aren’t you scared traveling solo as a female? Do you carry a gun?”

My answer is a combination of, although I did enjoy growing up shooting for target practice on the family farm, I’m not a huge fan of guns plus I  feel very safe way out in the middle of nowhere. And the RV/Trailer community is the most friendly group of people I have met. Plus, I did carry bear spray once and it ended up falling in my dish water and going off inside of my trailer, so I have no business carrying a gun.

However, this road trip did start with a lot of anxiety. Unknown to me, I needed four new truck tires which altered my budget and plans. I had to ditch my boondocking plans for Alabama Hills due to 70 mile an hour trailer rolling winds and almost a foot of snow. And several things started to not work and break down on my fancy Airstream. So after a late start I ended up going further up the 395 where the weather is a bit cold and propane is expensive. Now my my trip is back on track. I landed in one of my favorite small towns, Lee Vining, which overlooks Mono Lake.


I thought I was an ocean girl, but those mountains! Those mountains!

Mono Lake is three times saltier then the ocean, and breathtakingly beautiful

Ending up a relic lost in the landscape is something I don’t care to have happen to my rig.

The other night I thought I heard a trailer pull in next to me but there was nothing out there, and then later I heard the noise again, I felt a lump in my throat as the following scene unfolded. My bedroom is closest to the hitch and truck. I heard the noise and Dudley seemed to also, but he had already curled up for the evening and seemed unconcerned. It was after all midnight. Something told me to peek out the front window. My mouth dropped as in the pitch black I could make out a large figure kneeling on top of my truck cover working on undoing the lock. 

I flew out of bed in nothing but my nightgown, grabbed my keys, turned on my side outdoor light, slammed the trailer door, locked it and headed right at the very bold intruder. When I came around the front end corner and they were still up there working at the lock, I couldn’t believe it! I let go of a spew of cuss words and threats, that I really can’t write here, calling the intruder way outside of their name. They jumped down on the other side of the truck. As I stood silent I could not hear them run away so I started to worry that they were not planning on leaving. Fear replaced my anger and I ran back into the trailer asking myself “Where did I put that darn bear spray?!” I grabbed my flashlight and found the spray, added pants and boots to my wardrobe, slammed the door again and locked it and set off my horn on my truck a few times. 

Then I crept around the other way to the front by the truck. The intruder had left. I noticed they had successfully torn off the top rubber cover of the lock on the truck cover. Anger returned and I marched out further into the darkness swearing some more horrendous threats, letting them know they better keep on trucking. Ok, yes, I do have a little cray cray in me. Maybe that’s why they left. 

Thinking to myself, they will be back. How bold! I looked around for any trailers with lights on, since my cell phone has no reception here. Breaking the rules of trailer park etiquette I started knocking. The first trailer ignored me. Then I met Terri from “Myrtles Meanderings”. She actually opened her door, helped me call the police, and brought out blankets to stay warm while we sat out until the police got here.

(Dudley did courageously take on this bear in town earlier in the day. And he picked up the scent of the real bear the next day. As for the cover on my lock, I think I will just reattach it with duct tape. I’ve tended to like the little dents and bruises along the way that represent our Tiny Adventures.)

Once the police arrived, you may have guessed it, we discovered, it was not a person at all. It was a bear that had been trying to break into my trailer. It was a bear that I chased after cussing out and came within a couple feet of. What an amazing, agile, strong, smart, graceful creature. And ironically silly me had my dog food in my REI bear canisters in the back of my truck. We found the prints on the sides of the trucks. I was sure it was human as it was working at the lock. I guess it’s that time in the Eastern Sierras where the bears are waking up and hungry. 

While I got my canisters into the trailer, the officer stood watch. But she knocked over the can of bear spray which went off, sending us both hacking and coughing, and later laughing. I told her she would have a great story to tell about the dumb camper with the bear canisters of dog food that attracted a bear that she ran after in her pjs, and then how she caused the officer to get sprayed with the bear spray instead of the bear!

(Yep, the intruder was not human. Bear prints on the back of “Beast” my truck.)

I will say, I was incredibly relieved to know it was not humans trying to break in. Humans can be a lot scarier than bears. I stick with my beliefs that things are pretty peaceful and safe when you get out further into the wilderness. And now I am not as scared of bears as I was when I first hit the road. 

I’ll be leaving camp to head further north on the 395 just in time to miss a whole bunch fishing opener folks. Then the peace and quiet will really be gone.

In my next post I’ll try to share a little more of this beautiful area where I’ve been parking just north of the Tioga Pass which leads into Yosemite. 

“Nomadland”, “Blue Highways”, & Tiny Adventures

You know by now when I am getting ready to hit the road, I am not as cool as all of those other bloggers and YouTube travelers. I get anxious as heck. I spend a lot of time planning, although the more I do it, the easier it gets. Routes become familiar. Travel tools become second nature. Still, there are so many things that could go wrong and my budget is only so big. However, the reality is, when I lived in a sticks and bricks a lot could have gone wrong at any one time. Whether it’s a health care issue or loss of a job as so many folks experienced during COVID, we are all a couple paychecks away from relating to Fern in Nomadland. 

When I heard the buzz about the movie I had to see it. Although the main character is a favorite actress for me, I was a little disappointed in the movie because it over simplified those of us who live and travel full time in trailers. I know there are plenty of Instagrams and YouTube channels that over glamorize this life as living the dream, but in Nomadland, they went to the extreme opposite viewpoint, making the choice not really a choice but more of a desperate sad last hope to survive. It also seemed to be more of a statement about the health care system and the economy. One major health issue can put anyone under financially, and small towns dry up and disappear all of the time. After seeing the movie I realized I had bought the book, by Jessica Bruder, early on but picked up on the negative view of Nomad life a while back, which is why I had set it aside.

On the other hand having lived in the desert near Quartzite I also think the film captured some of the beauty of living in the desert. It painted a picture of loving one’s life, and loving one’s own company, something many of us had to face being isolated in the pandemic. It made statements about not needing the big house with the picket fence, the marriage and material things to be happy. Fern had a chance at romance but chose to enjoy her time with herself. Or possibly she was still grieving her husband she lost to cancer. She says if she doesn’t go back to those areas that they had lived in it is as if her husband never existed.

When I went back and started reading the book I have to admit it was fun to hear description about areas I lived and worked in. Their descriptions of Lake Arrowhead area in the mountains north of San Bernardino were fun to read about. I confess I have not finished the book, but I plan on it. The book seems to delve more into multiple characters rather than just focusing on Fern. Although it still portrays nomads as desperate and down trodden rather than living a life they chose because it is fulfilling. 

As you know, jumping in a van or trailer and hitting the road is highly popular. Nomadland shows one very slim sliver of the pie of folks who have chosen a nomad life. There are folks who still own their big beautiful homes and rent them out. There are folks who have a couple of trailers. There are those who travel around the globe and rent trailers to live in. Some of us are still working jobs in a city or town. Some of us work from the road. It’s true some of us are retired. And sometimes, since retirement is a fixed income we pick up a work camp job or camp host. For me it was bartending for a bit to raise a cushion for travel funds. Sure, it’s not a ladder climbing, title seeking career move, but it definitely was fun to just do a little work for some extra cash that has nothing to do with politics, or breaking that glass ceiling. For me, bartending was simply fun. And of course, as in any segment of society, there are some who fit the image portrayed in Nomadland.

After the film I accidentally stumbled upon another portrayal of van/trailer nomad life. Well in all honesty it put me to sleep a little at first, until I realized that is what it was about. It follows a guy in the late 70’s who is living van life, traveling the country. “Blue Highways” by William Least Heat-Moon touches on many of the things we experience living mobile. It is fascinating to comparing van life back then to van and trailer life today. I relate to both Fern in “Nomadland” and William in ‘Blue Highways” who question what their lives are about and focus on simplifying what they need, having a smaller footprint on the planet and focusing on what is really important to them. They both leave employment and face the end of a big relationship delving into a life that requires learning to love their own company, gaining courage to face the unknown, and letting go of future outcomes. They live in the moment and focus on what is important. In “Blue Highways” we also learn a lot of trivia about the history along the road which is something I love.  

When I have the typical things happen that can create stress like having to buy new tires for the truck, changing road trip plans due to weather, learning how to navigate vehicles through the mountain passes, and handling things on a small budget I sometimes find myself full of anxiety. Then I think, am I that sad character in Nomadland? For just a flash, I doubt myself. But I quickly realize no. Living this life has its stuff to deal with just like living in my old sticks and bricks home. I’m just living my life. And I feel so fortunate for all of the experiences I have had thus far.

At my next destination on my 395 trip I’m reminded of my answer when people ask me “Aren’t you afraid for your safety traveling alone? Do you carry a gun?”  I appreciate the follow!

Glamping…Tent Camping – Airstream Inspection Time

From a year and a half of pandemic desert life I’m finally hitting the road again. Living full time in my trailer makes things like doctors visits, vet visits and annual trailer inspections and maintenance a bit of a challenge. So, my first stop will be back in the LA area for lots of self care appointments.

Having a few family connections in the northwest area of the country, and having gotten a taste of the beauty of that area on my first towing trip,  I decided to make my next destination Portland. If I could make it through extreme heat in the desert,  I should be able to handle winter camping, that is pending I like it there and decide to stay put awhile. I had passed up an opportunity to work camp at a beautiful park right in Denver because I wasn’t sure if I could handle the cold in a trailer. Portland seemed like a more gradual introduction to cold and snow.

This trip, will be all about the backroads. My goal was to actually not have to maneuver steep grades and mountain passes.  I’ll be exploring some of the sites along California’s 395 and then up through central Oregon where I’ll come in to the city along the Columbia River from the east. I look forward to some true boon docking in Alabama Hills, and some time checking out sites along the Eastern Sierras  from the perspective of living in a trailer. 

First things first, I packed a few weeks schedule full of doctors, vet visits, and trailer maintenance. I knew my trip to Airstream would likely be more than the usual in and out in the same day. I thought it important for them to inspect things like bearings, brakes, axels and wheels. I found it funny on my way in, how comfortable I was with sitting in six lanes of semi’s in LA traffic vs being way out in the sticks on a two lane highway by myself with nobody to help if things went wrong.  I decided I’d finally check out that tent I bought but had never used to allow the mechanics the needed time to do the work. I thought why not go to where it all started, Bonelli Bluffs. 

Normally, for trailer maintenance I stay in fancy hotels and treasure bath tubs and luxury. However, this time, my fancy hotel was closed down. Apparently it is being used as a COVID hospital. So much for all of those reward points. Camping was also hard to find. I settled for Bonelli which was the closest to where I needed to be, however they only had tent camping available Wednesdays through Sundays. I’ve learned to work with what I have in trailer life. It was actually a beautiful spot.  I had a water front view with shade and sun and lots of space. 

It was great being back and seeing all of my SoCal friends and visiting some of my favorite establishments. There are a lot of good places to eat in downtown Pomona and LaVerne, and it looked like they were still here. Even though I know we have been in a pandemic, it was still strange to come back and see the effects in my old neighborhoods, the masks, the distancing, the struggling businesses. It felt good taking care of me, my dog and my truck and trailer. And Bonelli, well, Bonelli is Bonelli! As much as I hate that they pushed out all of the full time folks who had been there forever, it still is one of Southern California’s more beautiful RV Parks. Plus it’s close to everything city. I did miss all of my old park neighbors though and wish California was more full time trailer life friendly.

My tent, from REI, the xxxx I absolutely loved! I have a front and back door with a “back porch” which came in handy. I had a lot of creature comforts to make my stay in a tent feel like home for a few days. My self inflating air mattress which blows up on its own with a turn of a knob and deflates when you roll it up was way more comfortable than the traditional blow up mattress that you plug in at home and refill half way through the night. I love my solar lights, which created a comfy ambiance in the tent. I had my Mr. Buddy propane heater just in case I couldn’t hang with low temperatures, but at 45 degrees at night, I was cozy and comfy under my down comforter and sleeping bag. I used my Wool rug from Peru for the base of the rest of the tent. My collapsible cooler was cool since it allowed me food for those days, and I can flatten it to store now that I’m out of the tent. I’ll also confess, I’m a plant smuggler. I felt like I had a back yard patio with my potted veggies and succulents. All in all my stay in my tent was a success. It was nice to live simpler than I do in my trailer, however, I think the next time I stay in my tent will be simply because I want to go camping.

Next blog I’ll share some of my thoughts on “Nomadland” the movie, “Nomadland” the book by Jessica Bruder, and “Blue Highways” by William Least Heat-Moon, which feature van and trailer life on the road. Thanks for the follow!

Random Thoughts Before Heading Out

As I get ready to launch once again it can get overwhelming with all I have to do. The more I do this, I get a little better each time at fine tuning the process. As a creative mind I am definitely random abstract in my thought process. What this means for both my art and my travel, I definitely need checklists, singular focus at any given time and the ability to say no as new sites, sounds and opportunities will always be on my path. So, let me see… what did I want to tell you? Squirrel!

People keep asking me if I’m all packed and ready to go. I used to save it all up for the last couple days and they stay up all night plowing through everything I have to do taking me back to that familiar stress of the j.o.b. which piled so much on everyone in any given day. This time I heard that little voice saying easy does it! I made a huge list of everything, and spread it out on my calendar, doing just a few things a day. It feels like growth being all balanced about my plans and preparation. Anyhow, I thought I’d share a random couple of my pre trip to do’s that are taking me to my departure date.

I had to take one last trip to the local furniture store in Havasu to collect my paintings. To the artists out there, it has been an interesting alternative way to show my work, especially in an area that does not have a lot of creative venues for artists. Granted Las Vegas, Phoenix and Palm Springs are all within a few hours so there were plenty of options there. But Havasu Furniture wanted to show local artists rather than commercial art. I thought that was pretty cool, especially as a beginner. There is also an artists’ collective in town which I was in the process of joining only the pandemic hit. I would have had to be in the storefront studio for ten days a month so I backed out. My takeaways on alternative locations to show art. I am a true believer all efforts payoff somewhere down the road if you keep up the momentum. I love and support anytime a person is promoting local artists so kudos to the owner of the store. It was nice seeing my art in furniture setups and knowing what it might look like and I know customers like to see that too. I’m pretty sure I was not likely to sell the thousand dollar and up pieces, and that folks buying there were more likely to purchase limited prints verses original art and not spend more on their art then they did on their sofa. Leaving business cards near my art on a coffee table was another way to introduce myself to new fans and collectors. Interest in art, and specifically my art was established with folks who might not traditionally end up in a gallery and therefore would have missed me. Also, having my work on their walls, meant I had more room in my truck and trailer to do more creating. So all in all, it was a great experience. The store graciously said, even though I was traveling I could still leave my work there, but I decided to collect it all, have another “gallery walk” in my park and bring it with me to my next destination.

It’s April 1st here and we are switching seasons, so the travel trailers have all started their journeys back north in search of cooler weather.

I always think it’s a good idea to survey the place you have been and see if there are any last sites you want to see, or simply appreciate where one has been. The drive from here to Havasu is gorgeous on both sides of the Colorado River. There is so much to explore here, and so much to get inspired by. When I first came out here I didn’t know it existed. My first stay was here at ECHO lodge with lots of snowbirds from as far as BC, Alberta and Ontario as well as the Long Beach locals who owned little homes here and knew how to party it up and have fun. The views from either side of the river are breathtaking and it was amazing to have parked my trailer right on the beach enjoying the dreamy magic reflection of moonlight and stars on the river each night and waking to beautiful shimmering sunrises in the morning. The amazing sand dunes hold memories of hours of off road exploring in ATV’s where one gets lost in thought and feels the spiritual presence of the desert. I have a photo of my dog and I sitting on the sand looking down at the river from earlier on. That was before I knew the snakes like to hide under the sand. And just beyond the sand dunes, like all over the area there are endless amazing hikes to go on. I made it up to the high peak where the flag is on the far right as well as to an area back beyond know as the Canadian Rock Art garden. Along wiith Sara Park, London Bridge, and the Quartzite Gem show, I would defintiely recommend these off the beaten path sites.

Of course inbetween remembering the beauty that is out here and all of the great experiences I have gotten to have here, I have to do some of the mundane like fill up the tank with water. My actual water tank has been sitting half full since I arrived in the area. No matter how many water softeners and filters I was not going to put the local water into my tank as it seems to leave marks on everything and I wanted to be able to use my tank for drinking water again. So I figure I will give my tank a good clean bleach out once I get back to Bonelli Bluffs. So off to the water store I went to load up my five gallon jugs. I was really taken aback to see three water machines out of service. So on to other options. If you are ever out here and want to know where my special secret spring water is, which I enjoy for cooking and coffee, just send me a private message. They just ask that you donate a dollar. Seeing all of my water service centers out of water was a harsh reminder how fragile life is and how dependent we are on some simple things that we often take for granted. Luckily I found another source that hopefully proves to be just as good for drinking water.

And of course, since we are talking about water, you must make some friends with boats, kayaks and other toys and get out on the water. So of course I’ll take fun memories of the area from the offshore perspective! (Full Disclosure: The boat and kayak photos were all pre-pandemic) There is no view at the river like the view from being on the river. With a responsible driver, it’s fun to bar hop at the piers up and down the river, stop for a yummy burger at Big Bend park and pull over at random buoy spots for a picnic lunch. And if you can get a group together and kayak or paddle board, you will definitely feel the benefits the nexty day!

I realize I have totally detoured from the mundane writing of preparing to take off to a new location. That’s ok, there are plenty of blogs out there to give you the details on that.

I’m reminded daily how rich I am in health, friendships, landscapes, experiences, adventures, and opportunities. I am fortunate for the fact that I can throw in some nap times inbetween the hustle and bustle of getting ready to take off for the next destination. I get to enjoy one area and be excited for the next. I don’t move about every other week like some folks do, because I love connecting with the community and experiencing the off the beaten path areas. I also love that I get to share my adventures with you! I am full with gratitude.

Thanks for the “follow”!