Showing posts with label Grace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grace. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Freedom Tour

Over the last few days I've seen America the Beautiful. The Columbia River from Vancouver east: moody, foggy, mystical; 

Bridge of the Gods;

Highway 30, a picturesque road leading to Hagerman Fossil Beds in, um, Hagerman, where Grace wanted in on the picture;

and to Balanced Rock;

and Balanced Rock Park in Buhl, Idaho, where I boondocked one night and still can't believe that not only was I allowed to stay there, I had the park to myself when the day trippers left. That's Grace in the background. Again.

And then I hit Utah. There's a reason one of the license plate choices says UTAH!. I've traveled some here and there and I have never seen a more breath-takingly, heart-achingly beauty than in Utah. Have you ever experienced depthless beauty in whatever form - music, art, a brand-new baby, a spiritual awakening, looking into your lover's eyes - that has so filled, filled, filled your heart that you almost can't stand it, that if you look or listen or stay in that moment for one second longer you know your heart will burst with joy? I hope you have.
It is transcendent.
It is unforgettable. 

I drove up a long, steep road into Arches National Park the other day and thought my heart would explode with the joy of the magnificent loveliness everywhere I looked. This sounds pretty darned flaky but if you have ever been overtaken by this powerful awareness you know exactly what I mean. I will never forget how that place made me feel. I was, most simply, touched by grace. It was elevating, humbling, exhilarating, and bittersweet. I knew I would have to look away but I also knew it would stay with me. It was one of the most power-full moments of my life. 

No photo I could ever take can do the place justice. That night I boondocked in Manti-La Sal National Forest, down a dirt road a couple of miles off the freeway. Nothing there but me, total and utter silence, and a night sky flooded with stars. It was a very good way to end the day. 

The next morning I stopped at Newspaper Rock,where the only other visitors were a man my age and his teenage son, from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

I followed them to another place down the road, an unmarked trail a person at their hotel told them about, and we set off on foot to find dinosaur tracks and supposedly better, older petroglyphs than were on Newspaper Rock. It was rough, rocky country. We were climbing at what felt like a 45 degree angle and at an elevation of probably 5300 feet, and me in slippery-soled sneakers. I made it, though not without thinking I'd break my ankle any time now, and we saw some spectacular art. 

That's a dinosaur footprint, or so we told ourselves.

I questioned myself at the start if I was being an idiot, going off into back country with these two men, but I felt no danger at all. They were just two nice people who let me tag along. We then hop-scotched our way down the road to Canyonlands National Park, where they went their way and I mine. Here's Grace again. What a camera hog.

I've met wonderful folks even early on in this trip, people who've extended kindness, offered any help I needed, and engaged in conversation. The freedom in the title of this post means a lot of things to me. One of them is the freedom to talk to people and to learn a little about who they are without the uncomfortable awareness of an I'll wait outside impatience or an all-purpose distrust that have been in the background for years. I lived with that. I accepted it! What an fool I was to compromise my self to keep someone else happy, which never worked anyway. No more.

I may have had this different life imposed on me with unending shards of cruelty, but I will now admit to the world that I was done a favor. I was given a gift I would never have given myself. The divorce was, from the start, all about him despite the words he said, but I am surprisingly feeling like the winner (she said with quiet satisfaction) and life is looking good.

Thought for the day:
There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect. (Gilbert Keith Chesterton)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Meet Grace

She needs a bath. You can see past the dirt, right?

First, obviously, the outside. She's 20 feet long and about 8'9" high, which I need to remember for parking garages. I like the extra windows up top. They can close off with a curtain but I like the light.


The "kitchen." I'm bummed because there isn't an oven, but I don't use the fancy convection oven at the house, so I wonder who I'm trying to kid. I'll wait a year and if I think I have to have one, I'll take her somewhere to have a convection microwave installed. There's a small microwave to the upper left here already. So there's the two-burner stove with a solid cover to close it off when it's not being used, which gives a flat surface. A tiny sink to its left with the cover in place, and under the sink is a fridge the size of a shoebox. The freezer is the size of a matchbox. I won't be using ice cubes.


At the back of the van is the bed. Grace isn't really listing like this. I swear every picture looks straight when I take it. I put beach towels over the benches to help save them from cat hair. There are panels under the cushions to put in the space between the benches, then the cushions fold origami-like over the panels to make the bed. I haven't done that yet; I've been trying to get used to sleeping on one of the benches. Not working yet.

The hole in the floor is where a pole goes to hold a table top. Haven't done that yet either.

The purple string is the end of a yarn ball. All the money I've spent on toys for the felines and they go for a ball of yarn and an empty box.

To the left in the foreground is the end of the bench that I'm forced to use for storage. The black bag is most of my camera gear and the white bag behind it is my library. I'm restricting myself to that many books or I'll end up like Lucy in The Long, Long Trailer. Thank heaven for e-books.

Since this was taken I've added a small folding table under those two bags, to be used when I'm dry camping and there's no picnic table available. And a folding beach-type umbrella in its carry case. I swear, that's all that's going back there.


The TV, a little thing but I guess a bigger one would make me blind at the distance I'll be from it. There's a DVD player in the cabinet behind the TV. The TV pivots out to face forward so it can be seen from the captains' chairs up front. Speaking of DVDs, I just bought Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo in the 3-D version. I have simple viewing tastes.


Across the aisle from the sink and fridge is the bathroom, if bathroom can be defined as a toilet. That's the door. Yes, you sit or whatever you do with the door open. There are doors that swing out to the left and right to close the space off completely if you're of a delicate nature. The cats don't care and neither do I so we're good.


This is the ceiling in front of the bathroom door and that's the track for the shower curtain. You shower in the aisle and when you're done, the curtain goes back into the toilet space. There's a drain in the floor directly below, and everything is neat and tidy. A problem: Grace didn't come with a shower curtain. I went online to find a replacement and the only place to get one is from a Roadtrek dealer. The clips that hold the curtain to the track come in two pieces and are 45 cents each piece. OK, not too bad. The curtain, a shower curtain, plain, one purpose only, not even seen when not being used, is $205. I kid you not. I'm not stupid, there's no way I'm paying that! When I told the woman who took my order for the clips I would pass on the curtain and jury-rig something from Walmart, she warned me it might not work as well. It's a show-er-cur-tain! It does one thing! I think I can figure it out.


Looking forward. The cats' scratching post in the ridiculous hope they'll leave everything else alone, a couple of storage cupboards, and the part that gets me from here to there. Grace is just old enough that there's no MP3 jack and what a bummer that is. The seats pivot around to face the middle of the van and there's another small table that's on a post like the one in back that goes in front of them.


Last picture. This seat is wasted space for me so it hold my spin dryer, my yoga mat, and a yoga block. This dryer is described as "mini." Pfffttt. I think not. For as much space as it takes, it had better be worth it. And that's my brand-new Tilley hat hanging above it. I'm in love with my Tilley.

Grace is so small I had to get a little creative with placing things. In my last, bigger, motorhome, the litter box could go in the shower. My shower here is in the aisle and that's obviously not a solution. It sits in the foot-well of the front passenger seat, actually a good, out-of-the-way location, with the only drawback being anyone looking in can see I travel alone.

So that's Grace, named for my mom, a remarkable woman.