4 Things That Add Fun To Winter Van Life

When I am talking about winter van life, I really mean winter in the Pacific Northwest. That means rain in many places and wet snow in others.

1. Slippers

In the Pacific Northwest, mud is an entire situation in itself. It adds another dimension to cold and wet winter socks!

Honestly, I am not much of a slipper person myself but when it comes to traveling in the van, I am fully onboard with slippers. Here are the reasons why!

We like to hike. We get on our rain jackets, boots, and rain pants inside the van. As soon as we step outside, there is no going back. So here we are, hour after hour in the mud and rain. The rain never seems to slow down enough to leave the van door open, take off our wet clothes and get inside.

It never fails that rain pours inside the van when we try to sneak in. With the rain, comes mud.
Even when mud is not an issue, there is the standard issue of cold toes in the winter. My kids have really opened my eyes to all of the ways that snow can get inside your boots! I had no idea!

CD’s love for “camping socks” inspired me to try “van slippers”! It was a win for sure!

2. Camp Chef Stryker Stove

Hot chocolate? Tea? Chicken noodle soup?

I can whip up hot chocolate, tea, or even soup in just a few minutes and from the warmth of the van. We don’t have a formal kitchen in our van and this product has been a game changer for sure! It is really best for heating water fast but when in a pinch or when I just can’t be bothered to set up the stove, I have made mashed potatoes and gravy, soup, indian food, and rice all in the Camp Chef Stryker. I don’t recomment counting on it for meals but it is good to know it is possible if you find yourself 1000 mile days and on a tight time schedule.

I recommend keeping a bag of marshmallows on hand to really impress the kids when they show up after a tough day of sledding and skiing!

3. A griddle

Earlier this winter, I hit the wall of what to cook on our camp stove. Then a camp stove griddle came into my life. Hashbrowns, perogies, grilled cheese, quesadillas, fajitas … The list goes on and on! This was simple solution to a boring camp stove cooking and added to the options for the next afternoon tailgating at one of Oregon’s sno parks.

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4. Snow Tubes!

This has winter fun written all over it. Great for day trips but probably not very practical for longer trips as they don’t exactly pack small! After a hand full of broken plastic sleds, the snow tubes are where it is at for sure! The more air you add, the higher they bounce and faster they go. My only reservation is that I worry they are TOO fun! They can really catch some air and pick up speed, especially on highly trafficed sledding runs! In any case, go for the snow tubes to bring your winter fun up to the next level!

Whether you are hiking around in the rain or heading to the snow for some sledding, these four items have made our winter days much better!

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Explore Canada

December 27, 2019 was the last time I went through customs between the US and Canada. This is very unusual for me as I typically cross several times per year. Here are some of recommendations for the next time you get to explore Canada.

Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton Lakes is directly North of Glacier National Park in Montana. Together, they are the Wateron-Glacier International Peace Park. Whether you are looking for hiking, biking, wildlife, boat tours, backpacking, restaurants, or classic hotels, this is one spot not to miss! Click here for more details!

Drive British Columbia Highway 6

Highway 6 connects the Okanagon and Nelson via the Needles Ferry. You won’t be disappointed!

Stop by Cranbrook

If you are looking for somewhere out of the way and more quiet than Banff, Cranbrook may be a place to check out. The town has a classic small town feel and the anticipate of being on the edge of Fernie and higher mountain passes can be felt! Slow down a bit, grab some lunch and enjoy!

For more information, check out this blog post!

Drive the Trans-Canada Highway

The Trans-Canada Highway through British Columbia and Alberta offers views, nice roads, minimal traffic, and adventure. Some of the highlights are Revelstoke, Banff, Yoho National Park, and the most amazing railway tunnel that I have ever seen. You won’t be disappointed!

Click here to learn more.

These are just the hot spots on the West Coast. When the border opens again, I will start here as I head towards the parts of Canada that really hold my heart, Ontario. Cheers to 2021, hope for normal times, and the chance to explore Canada!

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Sprinter Camper: 10 Upgrades That I Love!

Our Sprinter camper conversion benefited from the pandemic lock down. Here is a list of my 10 favorite upgrades!

1. LED lights

We added four lights. 1 goes on and off as the door is open and closed. The other three click on and off via one of two dimmer switches. One switch is over the bed and the second is behind the driver’s seat.

2. Guitar storage

Finally, a reasonable way to travel with a guitar! It hangs under the bed and over the kids bikes. Easy access and never in the way!

3. Trekking pole and kite shelf

Poles and kites run the length of the van and next to the kids bikes. They are easily removed via the back door.

4. Fishing pole holder.

This was a last minute addition and a surprise for the kids and I. I couldn’t be more happy!

Our three poles run the length of the van, on the driver’s side, over the bed.

5. Food and kitchen supply storage boxes.

You may have already seen these as they are part of our second bed set up but CD improved the efficiently of these as well. The lid of the box has recently been cut into two pieces so that I may access food at one end while sitting on the other end. Amazing!

6. Cabinets at eye level.

Check this out! We have two cabinets at eye level. One is on the driver’s side and is used for kitchen supplies. The second is on the passenger side, over the bed, and used for PJs and other daily use items. Both are secured to 8020.

7. Wood paneling.

Cedar tongue and groove gives the illusion of being in a cabin. Don’t underestimate the power of wood paneling!

8. Bike storage in our Sprinter camper

The kids bikes attach to wood and a metal bracket to slide under the bed easily. It takes less than 5 minutes to get them out and I have yet to encounter a peddle stuck in spokes or any of the other problems that I had prior to storing the bikes upright. Thank you high roof Sprinter camper!

9. Maxxair fan

Again, you may have heard us talk about this already but we installed the fan last year. Now that it is framed in, it not only works great but looks great too!

10. Rear AC wood paneling

CD framed the rear AC unit and vent with the Cedar tongue and groove. I don’t know how he did it but I am glad he did. It looks amazing!

Please join our blog!

https://ramblingfootsteps.travel.blog/2020/06/12/5-tips-for-starting-your-sprinter-camper-make-over/ https://ramblingfootsteps.travel.blog/2020/05/23/sprinter-roof-rails-self-installation-12-easy-steps/

Traveling During A Pandemic: 8 Things to Consider.

We drive from Oregon to Ontario and back each summer. Typically, we spent several weeks on the road and explore everywhere from British Columbia to Colorado. This year is different. We are in Colorado, halfway to Michigan. Here are some reflections from the first half of our trip: 8 things to consider when traveling during a pandemic.

1. Camping is more complicated than usual when traveling during a pandemic.

The first night on the road: Campground #1 was closed. The local Walmart did not allow overnight parking. Campground #2 was full but we drove in anyway and the camp host pointed us towards a spot that was open due to a cancellation. We felt so lucky! In the morning was drove to the day use area and it was pretty much full. We were able to snag a spot to the side and hike in an area away from the river.

Tumalo State Park, Bend, Oregon

The second night we were in Utah. I cannot speak to the situation at Utah State Parks because we arrived in Ogden around 10:30 and Utah State Park campgrounds close and lock gates at 10 pm.

We broke one of our own unwritten rules and ended up at a KOA. Again, we were lucky! It was barely occupied, clean, spacious, and had affordable tent sites for our van. It was pouring rain and we were lucky to be self sufficient.

The third night we opted to stop driving at around dinner time. We were at Dinosaur National Monument and stayed at the campground. It was easy and great. The hosts came over to welcome us, which would have been great if they had been wearing masks. Overall, it was still a hit!

Dinosaur National Monument

2. Be prepared to be amazed and scared.

We left a highly mask and social distancing compliant town in Oregon in order to travel and see our families. It turns out that the rest of the world is going on with their lives and not necessarily very compliant.

I was almost immediately shocked by the lack of masks compliance. We haven’t been in any stores or even gas stations but I have been watching people go in and out of places as we drive through. We spotted 1 mask the entire time we were in Utah. Eastern Oregon was the same. Steamboat Springs and Summit County Colorado were a bit better but, overall, I was horrified and a bit scared.

3. Bring more food and drinks than usual.

I packed food and drinks for weeks. This includes snack size bags of chips, M & Ms, Diet Coke, Gatorade, and all the provisions that you would usually run into a gas station to pick up. We have not been in a gas station or store and do not intend to change that.

4. Consider a camping conversion that includes a toilet.

Again, we have not been into gas stations, campground bathrooms, stores or restaurants. This is probably self explanatory.

5. You may feel guilty at times.

I find myself feeling like I need to justify why we are traveling.

During a remote work meeting while on the road, I felt the need to explain why we chose to travel and every precaution we are taking. I did not do that but I still want to call the people in that meeting and tell them all about it.

It is easy to find myself reviewing these points in my own mind in order to justify this trip.

6. You may find yourself judging others while traveling during a pandemic.

I find myself judging other people behaviors which is kind of funny because they could be judging me as I drive by with my out of state plates.

A playground full of mask-less adults and kids without social distancing while driving through Salt Lake City had me judging them for sure. I am aware that this is neither appropriate nor helpful.

7. Empty parking lots are more appealing than ever before.

CD and the kids spent two hours in a National Forest Service Parking lot in Utah. I was on a phone call and they set up hammocks and cooked lunch. They were happy.

Traveling during a pandemic

I cooked lunch on a our camping table in the parking lot of an abandoned department store in Idaho. We ran laps to the lamp post and back. It wasn’t our usual picturesque lunch at a park or splash pad but it was okay.

8. You will wonder if traveling during a pandemic was the right choice.

This is impossible to know. We will just do our best to keep clear minds and hearts.

Please like and follow our blog!

https://ramblingfootsteps.travel.blog/2020/06/20/dinosaur-national-monument-5-things-to-know/ https://ramblingfootsteps.travel.blog/2020/06/14/packing-for-a-pandemic-road-trip/
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New Mexico: Brief Travel Series

The first time that I went to New Mexico, I was in my fifth year of college. I drove from Buffalo to Chicago, flew to Albuquerque, spent a week hiking and camping, flew back to Chicago, drove to West Palm Beach for spring break, and drove back to Buffalo. I can’t really explain the itinerary but must have made sense to my twenty something self.

In any case, that was also the first time I was enchanted by New Mexico. Started in Santa Fe on a warm and sunny spring day, three of us stood on a street corner without talking or crossing the street. We just stood there for seconds or minutes. There were many colors to see, people to watch, and so much energy.

Gila National Forest

At a hot springs in the Gila National Forest two of us walked back to the car ahead of the others. Through a window crack, we unlocked the door and set off our car alarm. The canyon echoed with the alarm as the sun was setting in the canyon. It continued until our travel partners hiked out and gave us the keys.

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

Truth or Consequences local convenience store offered soda and a pay phone. My parents were excited for our call and asked if we heard about the woman that escaped a kidnapper in the same town that day. We didn’t see anything unusual and hadn’t watched the news.

Guadalupe Peak, Texas

Crossing into Texas, we hiked Guadalupe Peak at sunrise. Forgetting sun screen, we ended up with the remarkable sunburns of tourist. Skunks woke us up at night as a mother and her liter spent some time ransacking our campsite. Disaster was narrowly averted.

The Trinity Site

The Trinity Site wasn’t even on my radar but we found ourselves there on a random day that was open for tours. I learned more than I wanted to know and left with more questions than answers.

Santa Fe

Fast forward a few years to me living in Summit County, Colorado. We enjoyed several mud season weekends at La Posada and indulged in all the resort had to offer. We drank wine and shared appetizers with other guests while local artists gave guided tours of their work. The Tunnel of Trees from Northern Michigan was my favorite painting. Proximity to restaurants, art galleries, hiking, and my all time favorite consignment store are the best features of La Posada.

Taos, New Mexico

Since New Mexico consistently treated us well, we tossed Taos out as an option for our annual friends ski trip. The opportunity to check out the Earthships tipped the scale and we headed to Taos.

We stayed at the Burch Street Casitas. They offered a great downtown location, were locally owned, clean, and spacious. I would stay there again for sure.

Taos and Green chili

We took advantage of being able to walk to town by immersing in the local food scene. Our meals looked like this: Green chili beer, green chili bread, fried green chiles, green chili smothered burritos, pork green chili, vegetarian green chili, fresh lime margaritas, wine tequila margaritas, more green chili beer …

The drive to the ski area was easy and relatively brief. The skiing was good – I think – or at least the hiking and skiing was nice. The wagon shuttle service from the parking lot to the base area was a bonus.

The next day was cloudy and we were lazy. We looked to the Earthships for inspiration.

Earthships are built with natural and repurposed materials. You really need to go there to understand the architecture and commitment to sustainability. The tour left a bit to be desired but the purpose of the community was obvious. I felt equally inspired and conflicted.

A wall built with glass bottles.
https://www.earthshipglobal.com/visit-us
Tires were a common building material. I not sure how I feel about living in a building made of tires, however.

The next day, on the way out of town, a friend wanted to buy some green chiles. CD asked the gas station attendant. An unusually long amount of time passed and he returned confused and empty handed. He had asked about buying green chilies and was offered a hook up of the family stash. In the end, he was pretty sure he was not longer buying green chilies and he walked away from the deal. We left empty handed, conflicted about living in an Earthship, and still loving New Mexico.

Please check out our other blog posts!

https://atomic-temporary-169313545.wpcomstaging.com/2020/04/21/throwback-blog-series-a-tour-of-utah/ https://atomic-temporary-169313545.wpcomstaging.com/2020/05/10/10-clues-that-your-husband-was-a-thru-hiker/

A dead van battery and relief from social distancing.

Its 2020 and CD has been working on the van while social distancing. It was half taken apart but still put together enough for a day trip. I decided that today was the day that we would break out of isolation.

I woke up and quickly packed snacks, jackets, and even travel games. CD put the head liner back in the van and used the shop vac to touch up the interior. The kids were buckled in and I was choosing our road music . Then, our battery was dead.

We don’t know why it was dead. The interior lights had been disconnected while CD was working. Does anyone know if the electric step could drain the battery over time? In any case, we don’t know why it was dead. We tried to jump it with our mini van but didn’t have any luck.

Mary’s Peak social distancing.

We changed our plan, put everything in the Sienna and headed to Mary’s Peak. We were sure it was closed and it was. The road was gated 5 miles or so from the peak. There were 4 or 5 cars parked at the trail head near the gate. We felt good about going for a walk here in terms of social responsibility in the face of the pandemic and opted to avoid the trail and duck the gate.

It was a great choice. The road was empty. We walked for a couple of hours. The kids smiled more than they have in weeks. They kicked rocks, raced imaginary dogs, built pretend fires, and fetched sticks for each other.

social distancing. Mary’s Peak, Oregon

This was a day like I used to have when I was running fifty miles per week. There were endless things to see that I never noticed from my car. Everything was interesting and new. An owl seemed to be hiking with us. We didn’t see it but its calls were unmistakable. The trees were greener, the sun was warmer, and even gun shots from the shooting range sounded nice.

We started our hike on the road at about noon. When we returned at nearly 3:00, the parking area was overflowing with cars. As a health care worker, I immediately felt guilty about going out during these times. Then I remembered that we haven’t gone out since this March 12, 2020 when we went skiing.

Today, we only saw one other family walking on the road and we hugged our respective edges when we passed. We didn’t get near anyone in the parking lot. We ate snacks in our car. I would have felt horrible if we had been on a single track trail walking past all of the people that arrived in all of those cars.

We were lucky. Walking the road was a great choice for us and we were able to enjoy it while still feeling like we were doing the right thing.

social distancing

Back to working on the Van.

Tonight, as I write this, the Sprinter battery is charged and all is well. We had been trying to jump it using 12 gauge cables and we needed more power. When we got home from Mary’s Peak, our neighbor tossed us his jumper cables from a socially responsible distance while standing on his homemade pickle ball court. By the time the kids and I sat down for dinner, CD was busy drilling holes in 80/20.

I look forward to taking the Sprinter the next time time we break out of home isolation.

Yosemite, Camp 4.

Do you dream about sleeping among the granite rock walls of the Yosemite valley? Have you heard of Camp 4?

Yosemite is impressive and beautiful.

We arrived in CD’s Honda civic. We had come from Colorado via Utah, Nevada, Southern California, and Highway 101. The mountains were a welcomed site. We were road weary and our legs were begging to hike all day.

We rolled into Camp 4. I can’t remember if we were seeking Camp 4 or if we just needed somewhere interesting to camp.

Welcome to Camp 4, Yosemite

Camp 4 is a campground and a community. It is a lifestyle choice than a housing choice and this is obvious when you are there. It is a famous home base for climbers.

The cost was $6 per person per night. There are 30 some walk – in sites. There are rocks for bouldering, granite mountain sides for climbing, and trail heads for hiking.

We were greeted with a list of rules. You must remove all food from your car and place in designated lockers. Camp 4 is loved by bears almost as much as by climbers.

We followed all of the recommended procedures. I cleaned the car, used the bear lockers, kept a clean campsite, and properly disposed of my dish water.

Camp 4, Yosemite

I convinced CD to use our largest tent. Who knows why we packed this way but we had CD’s sleeping tarp from the PCT, a new backpacking tent, and my old six person tent. It seemed logical that I would be less likely to be mauled by a bear in a six person tent than in a two person tent. CD didn’t agree but was kind enough to go a long, however.

camp 4, Yosemite. It is quiet in the afternoon.

Bears and Messy Campsites

The bears showed up at dusk, right on schedule. You could hear the classic: “hey bear” and “get out of here, bear”. Neither the bears nor the campers were particularly concerned.

The campground was relatively rowdy and a bit messy. Chip bags and beer cans were rolling around. Nobody really cared. Everyone was happy. I admit feeling a bit judgmental of the other campers food storage habits.

We passed by tons of climbers on our way to the trail.

A few hours later, the climbers from Camp 4 were below us and this was the view we found.

The view is spectacular, as you can see

Ultimately, I slept with one eye open but still felt rested. I reaped the benefits of being surrounded by free-spirits. They were having fun and it showed.

It is unlikely that I will stay at Camp 4 again since they don’t allow sleeping in the parking lot and the sites are not accessible to our van. If we sell the van, I will likely be too old and spoiled to sleep on the ground in Camp 4. I guess you never know.

As John Muir said: “And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul”.

Please check out our blogs for other National Park adventures.

https://atomic-temporary-169313545.wpcomstaging.com/2020/04/21/throwback-blog-series-a-tour-of-utah/ https://atomic-temporary-169313545.wpcomstaging.com/2019/11/28/sleeping-bear-dunes-bike-swim-repeat/

New Mexico: Brief Travel Series

The first time that I went to New Mexico, I was in my fifth year of college. I drove from Buffalo to Chicago, flew to Albuquerque, spent a week hiking and camping, flew back to Chicago, drove to West Palm Beach for spring break, and drove back to Buffalo. I can’t really explain the itinerary but must have made sense to my twenty something self.

In any case, that was also the first time I was enchanted by New Mexico. Started in Santa Fe on a warm and sunny spring day, three of us stood on a street corner without talking or crossing the street. We just stood there for seconds or minutes. There were many colors to see, people to watch, and so much energy.

Gila National Forest

At a hot springs in the Gila National Forest two of us walked back to the car ahead of the others. Through a window crack, we unlocked the door and set off our car alarm. The canyon echoed with the alarm as the sun was setting in the canyon. It continued until our travel partners hiked out and gave us the keys.

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

Truth or Consequences local convenience store offered soda and a pay phone. My parents were excited for our call and asked if we heard about the woman that escaped a kidnapper in the same town that day. We didn’t see anything unusual and hadn’t watched the news.

Guadalupe Peak, Texas

Crossing into Texas, we hiked Guadalupe Peak at sunrise. Forgetting sun screen, we ended up with the remarkable sunburns of tourist. Skunks woke us up at night as a mother and her liter spent some time ransacking our campsite. Disaster was narrowly averted.

The Trinity Site

The Trinity Site wasn’t even on my radar but we found ourselves there on a random day that was open for tours. I learned more than I wanted to know and left with more questions than answers.

Santa Fe

Fast forward a few years to me living in Summit County, Colorado. We enjoyed several mud season weekends at La Posada and indulged in all the resort had to offer. We drank wine and shared appetizers with other guests while local artists gave guided tours of their work. The Tunnel of Trees from Northern Michigan was my favorite painting. Proximity to restaurants, art galleries, hiking, and my all time favorite consignment store are the best features of La Posada.

Taos, New Mexico

Since New Mexico consistently treated us well, we tossed Taos out as an option for our annual friends ski trip. The opportunity to check out the Earthships tipped the scale and we headed to Taos.

We stayed at the Burch Street Casitas. They offered a great downtown location, were locally owned, clean, and spacious. I would stay there again for sure.

Taos and Green chili

We took advantage of being able to walk to town by immersing in the local food scene. Our meals looked like this: Green chili beer, green chili bread, fried green chiles, green chili smothered burritos, pork green chili, vegetarian green chili, fresh lime margaritas, wine tequila margaritas, more green chili beer …

The drive to the ski area was easy and relatively brief. The skiing was good – I think – or at least the hiking and skiing was nice. The wagon shuttle service from the parking lot to the base area was a bonus.

The next day was cloudy and we were lazy. We looked to the Earthships for inspiration.

Earthships are built with natural and repurposed materials. You really need to go there to understand the architecture and commitment to sustainability. The tour left a bit to be desired but the purpose of the community was obvious. I felt equally inspired and conflicted.

A wall built with glass bottles.
https://www.earthshipglobal.com/visit-us
Tires were a common building material. I not sure how I feel about living in a building made of tires, however.

The next day, on the way out of town, a friend wanted to buy some green chiles. CD asked the gas station attendant. An unusually long amount of time passed and he returned confused and empty handed. He had asked about buying green chilies and was offered a hook up of the family stash. In the end, he was pretty sure he was not longer buying green chilies and he walked away from the deal. We left empty handed, conflicted about living in an Earthship, and still loving New Mexico.

Please check out our other blog posts!

https://atomic-temporary-169313545.wpcomstaging.com/2020/04/21/throwback-blog-series-a-tour-of-utah/ https://atomic-temporary-169313545.wpcomstaging.com/2020/05/10/10-clues-that-your-husband-was-a-thru-hiker/

Throwback Blog Series: New Mexico, Truth or Consequences.

I was in my fifth year of college the first time I went to New Mexico. I drove from Buffalo to Chicago, flew to Albuquerque, spent a week hiking and camping, flew back to Chicago, drove to West Palm Beach for spring break, and drove back to Buffalo. I can’t really explain the itinerary. It must have made sense to my twenty something self.

In any case, that was also the first time I was enchanted by New Mexico. We started in Santa Fe. It was a warm and sunny spring day. Three of us stood on a street corner without talking or crossing the street. We just stood there for seconds or minutes. There were so many colors to see, people to watch, and energy to feel.

We went from there to a hot spring in the Gila National Forest where two of us walked back to the car ahead of the others. We reached through a crack in the window to unlock the door and set off our car alarm. It echoed through the canyon at sunset and continued until the rest of our group hiked the several miles out of the canyon to unlock it with the keys.

We drank soda and used a pay phone at a convenience store in Truth or Consequences. We called my parents and they asked if we heard about the woman that escaped a kidnapper in the same town that day. We didn’t see anything unusual and we didn’t watch the news.

We crossed into Texas and hiked Guadalupe Peak at sunrise. We didn’t wear sunscreen and our sunburns were remarkable. I was concerned about snakes but we didn’t see any. Later that night, we woke up that night to a family of skunks scavenging our campsite. We narrowly escaped disaster.

We happened upon The Trinity Site on a day it was open for tours. I learned more than I wanted to know and left with more questions than answers.

Fast forward a few years to me living in Summit County, Colorado and CD working at Vail Resorts. We enjoyed several mud season weekends at La Posada (https://www.laposadadesantafe.com) and indulged in all the resort had to offer. We drank wine and shared appetizers with other guests while local artists gave guided tours of their work. My favorite painting ending up being The Tunnel of Trees from Northern Michigan. My favorite resort feature was its proximity to restaurants, art galleries, hiking, and my all time favorite consignment store.

Since New Mexico consistently treated us well, we tossed Taos out as an option for our annual friends ski trip. The opportunity to check out the Earthships (https://www.earthshipglobal.com/visit-us) tipped the scale and we headed to Taos.

We stayed at the Burch Street Casitas. They offered a great downtown location, were locally owned, clean, and spacious. I would stay there again for sure.

We took advantage of being able to walk to town by immersing in the local food scene. Our meals looked like this: Green chili beer, green chili bread, fried green chiles, green chili smothered burritos, pork green chili, vegetarian green chili, fresh lime margaritas, wine tequila margaritas, more green chili beer …

The drive to the ski area was easy and relatively brief. The skiing was good – I think – or at least the hiking and skiing was nice. The wagon shuttle service from the parking lot to the base area was a bonus.

The next day was cloudy and we were lazy. We looked to the Earthships for inspiration.

Earthships are built with natural and repurposed materials. You really need to go there to understand the architecture and commitment to sustainability. The tour left a bit to be desired but the purpose of the community was obvious. I felt equally inspired and conflicted.

A wall built with glass bottles.
https://www.earthshipglobal.com/visit-us
Tires were a common building material

The next day, on the way out of town, a friend wanted to buy some green chiles. CD asked the gas station attendant. An unusually long amount of time passed and he returned confused and empty handed. He had asked about buying green chilies and was offered a hook up of the family stash. In the end, he was pretty sure he was not longer buying green chilies and he walked away from the deal. We left empty handed, conflicted about living in an Earthship, and still loving New Mexico.

An ode to John Prine.

What a month. How much has COVID 19 already taken from us? Last moments. Last words. Humanity in the face of fear.

Here are 4 John Prine songs to pass the days and help us still be human as time goes.

  1. Spanish Pipe Dream. “Blow up your TV/Throw away your paper/Go to the country/Build you a home/Plant a little garden/Eat a lot of peaches.”
  2. Paradise. “I’ll be halfway to Heaven with Paradise waitin/ Just 5 miles away from where ever I am”
  3. Souvenirs. “Memories that can’t be boughten/ They can’t be won at carnivals for free/Well, it took me years to get those souvenirs/And I don’t know how they slipped away from me”
  4. When I get to Heaven. “When I get to heaven/I’m gonna shake God’s hand/Thank him for more blessings than one man can stand”