Once we decided it was time to head home I drove quickly through New Mexico and Arizona, stopping in Las Cruces, Tonapah and Joshua Tree.

Even the rest areas are beautiful
El Dorado Hot Springs, a Hippie Boondocking spot, rejuvenated us as we soaked and watched the sun set. An eclectic, creative, funky find with chickens, ducks and a pig sparked our old hippie values and reminded us of our casita living in Sebastopol.
Joshua Tree National Park is so beautiful with its sensuous rocks, sweet short hikes and gorgeous sunsets
Split Rock Hike
This was an unintentional photo but I love Glenn’s expression
Arch Rock Hike
Cooking up pancakes for breakfast
Soba noodles with broccoli and peanut sauce- one of our favorite and easy dinners
Boondocking at Food Maxx

We decided to head to Victorville where Glenn’s mother Louetta reportedly is buried but neither cemetery in town had a record of her. The road there was uncrowded, an easy drive and we were excited to end up in Tehachapi where we’ve camped before. Arriving at the park, just in time for cocktail hour, we checked the weather and saw it was going to snow that night so we pressed on, driving down the mountain in the dark ( no fun!) and ended up in Bakersfield at Food Maxx. Walmart no longer allows campers but the manager there tipped us off to go to Food Maxx.

420 60th Street
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I have no photo of our night in Winnie Texas except for this beautiful hyacinth which Glenn’s sis gave to me. We plug it in outside of Bessie. A man tipped us off at our last campsite about free camping in Winnie, Texas at the county park. There were several other RV’s parked for the night.
We definitely feel we are in the West as we cross Texas
Our days at Guadalupe River State Park relaxed us. We arrived early in the day and took a hike in the afternoon and another the following morning. The ranger gave us the best site in the park. During our hike an armadillo raced in front of us across the path. It was so startling and very exciting because I had never seen a live armadillo before, only dead ones in the road.
The River is beautiful. We saw cardinals along the bank. The next night we slept in a picnic area and watched the sun set.
We’ve been lucky to find so many beautiful free camping places. Rarely being sure of just how far we will go each day we use different apps to find our stopping place.
I learned a new word, one I had probably learned before in a geology class-karst. This rock is an example of how it is made, looks like Swiss cheese because water eroded it.
Canyon delphinium in Big Bend National Park. We spent three days here. It is an amazing diverse NP, with the Rio Grande, mountains and desert! Wish it were easier to get to
One of the Big Bends
We took a hike to window Rock, Laguna Meadow, Boquillas Canyon and to the hot springs
View from the saddle of the Laguna Meadow Trail
That’s Mexico across the River in Boquillas Canyon. There were several men across the River singing Feliz Navidad. Along the way little tiendas were set up with wire insects, embroidered items, pottery and walking sticks. The River is so low here that the Mexicans can come over and set up their wares. We were instructed by the ranger not to buy anything because they want to discourage this activity. It is so sad to me that our policy with our Mexican neighbors is so wrong.
The foundation of the bath house built in the 20’s. It was fun to swim in the Rio Grande after soaking in the hot spring. A family was across the River selling tamales and other items. I left money on the bank for them and their son walked across to retrieve it.
Our last night in Marfa, Texas famous for mysterious lights. The Tumble In RV site was a funky place with a community kitchen and several trailers with full- timers there. The Texas sky is so dark with tons of stars. I saw a couple of meteors but no “mysterious” lights. Although there was an amazing sculpture of lights.
I need to research whose work of art this is. Every one was different. in the morning we found the best bakery of the trip called Aster. Amazing pain au chocolate and homemade bagels.
In New Mexico tonight at a KOA, which we used to make fun of, yet they come in handy. But it is so odd that most RVers stay inside the whole time. We decided to head to Joshua Tree for a couple of nights and then home. I’m missing home, family, garden, persimmons and the rituals of the season.
The Legacy Museum and Pannie George’s Kitchen

My sister told me about this museum and we are so glad we went out of our way to Montgomery Alabama to see it! I highly recommend going there but be ready for the intense emotional experience which follows. My book group read Bryan Stevenson’s book JUST MERCY, some of you may have seen the movie by the same name, which is his account of getting folks off of death row who were unjustly accused. EJI, the Equal Justice Initiative is his group which started and supports this museum. Beginning with the first slave ships leaving Africa and continuing into the 21st century, the multimedia exhibits expose the racial injustices of our country.

No photos allowed inside but out in the Memorial Garden the sculptures offered many photo ops.
Here are the metal sculptures representing the 4000 lynchings committed in our country. Kern County California’s two lynchings, like the others, were never investigated and no one was ever held responsible.

That night we stayed in Greenville’s city campground
Really sweet place
Spent two days at DeSoto National Forest in Alabama
Our Thanksgiving dinner-sausage from our tiny freezer with homemade tomato sauce ( two squishy tomatoes about to die), polenta from TJ’s in NC, salad of avocado, satsumas, green olives and red onions and fresh basil from our plant
She’s starting to droop and may not make it till we get home
Great hike through the turpentine Pine Forest in the Pine Belt of Alabama
Met up with Michael, Jessica and Max in Bay St. Louis for a stroll on the beach
Tried some Cajun take-out here in Louisiana. We are having a hard time finding oysters. Yesterday and today we drove 200 miles along the beautiful gulf coast and we did not find one place to get oysters. Big disappointment!
Almost all houses are on stilts
We saw lots of great blue herons, egrets, white pelicans, dolphins, plovers, hawks but no oysters!
Our ferry ride across the Calcasieu Ship Canal where the dolphins threw fish?

Made it to Winnie, Texas this afternoon. It’ll take us a week to get through this huge state.

My beautiful Cousins
In Sarasota we stopped at my Cousin Bobbie’s home for what we thought would be one night. We are leaving today after 4 nights in her beautiful, comfortable abode. The first night two of her sisters, Lola, (left) and Chip, (right) came for dinner. We so enjoyed getting to know them again and reminiscing about old times.
Glenn’s sister Gloria and her husband Steve in Punta Gorda

Linda, Glenn’s other sister arranged for us to meet there for lunch at the yacht club. Maria, Linda’s daughter also attended.

Linda, Glenn, Me, Maria, Steve and Gloria
It was Steve’s 75th Birthday and Gloria and Steve’s 50th Anniversary! Thanks to Linda we had plenty of cakes and she gifted Glenn and I some Anniversary presents as well!
It’ll be 48 years for us in May!
Having fun in the garage looking thru all of Gloria’s Precious Moments figurines, Pomeranian memorabilia and more
Waiting for Bessie to come down off the lift. We found a great coffee shop with delicious pastries

So when we first pulled into Sarasota we called our fabulous mechanics, the Patterson’s, to report and describe to them how Bessie was beginning to “act up.” They immediately knew she needed a starter as we suspected. We were so lucky to be at Bobbie’s who gave us the name of her mechanic Tom. We had an appointment on Monday which meant staying longer than we expected. We try to go by the adage that “guests and fish stink after three days.”

But Bobbie wined and dined us at her beautiful community where we saw an alligator (finally), anhingas and enjoyed walks. The Sandhills cranes did not show up for us this time😢
Saying goodbye this morning. On our way to Montgomery, Alabama. Stopped at a Rest Area for the night.
Goodbye Florida!

We found a National Park that I had never heard of-Congaree, one of the least visited in the USA

It’s a swamp or more accurately a wetland of International Significance, just like our Laguna de Santa Rosa which also bears the RAMSAR title. I’m not giving Glenn the Finger , just pushing my glasses up but what really caught my eye is the blue in the front of the pic. It’s the sky reflected in the water.
The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Especially as Waterfowl Habitat)
is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where the convention was signed in 1971.
Bald Cypress with “knees” for stabilization. Very different habitat- saw deer, wild pig, heron, praying mantis and fox squirrels
Our campsite at Poinsett State Park where many bold Fox Squirrels resided
Finally we had some time for playing. We stayed here two nights
Passed by cotton fields picked and waiting to be picked
Finally got the fried green tomatoes I’ve been jonsing for at Steffen’s in Kingsland, SC.
Our first traffic slowdown. Amazing after traveling for nearly four thousand miles!
Meanwhile at home in Sebastopol our new Satsuma tree is ripening those beautiful fruit, and the persimmons are ready for drying.
The Okefenokee Swamp on the border of Georgia and Florida is beautiful. We took several short hikes, some on boardwalks and another to an old homestead
Some of you may not know how much I love to sweep. These old brooms made of palmetto fronds were hanging on the porch and I just had to use one to sweep the sand off the porch.
I’ve always wanted to make a broom and this looked to me like a device used for such an undertaking
One of the walks ended at this lookout where we spied turtles in the mud
These gopher tortoises viewed through a telescope on the tower are a keystone species. We did not see one alligator but caught sight of a red-cockaded woodpecker, the egret, and a red-shouldered hawk.

Glenn took this beautiful shot of the lily pads.

It’s been very relaxing to stay here for two days. We are finally learning to slowdown after a month on the road. Tomorrow we head to Florida for our last “visits” with family. Then we will begin our journey west.

So fun getting to know Tara’s family better. We’ve been here for four nights. The first day we took a 3 mile hike in their neighborhood!
Here’s the rest of the family
It’s ridiculous to try and capture these autumn colors.
I did it! Hover boarding in the house, very slowly!
The Blue Ridge Parkway on the way to Black Balsam Knob
Here’s the knob
Beautiful Hike
That night we went to the kids Lantern walk. We do this at Tree House Hollow every year. So sorry I’ll miss it this year!
Who is this whacky woman? We went to a beautiful wool mill in Weaverville. I was trying on a fruit/veggie harvesting apron. This pic just cracked me up!
Today we made it up to Jane Bald on the Appalachian Trail . Windy but gorgeous.
Glenn’s been amazing hiking around- slowly, step by step, navigating over rocky paths and muddy trails.
Bessie’s doing great. One day coming down a very steep windy road from the Blue Ridge Parkway her brakes got pretty hot and she started pulling to the right. I was a little worried so the next morning we brought her into the shop but it didn’t happen the whole way there so the guy told us to drive her around all weekend and bring her in on Monday if it happened again. But it didn’t happen and we managed another mountainous drive today!

Loved this sign we saw at the mill. My philosophy exactly! Here’s the link to that mill. It was an inspiration to see all of the yarns and gift ideas.https://www.echoviewnc.com/?mc_cid=97e7672268&mc_eid=f61c366925

Bye bye Mountains, we are heading to the lowlands of South Carolina tomorrow!

Joyce and Danny were the last of the cousins visits in NJ. Just a quick visit but so great to see them both in Little Egg Harbor

Calling every RV place on Long Beach Island resulted in nothing. Since we hit NY we are finding the Season is over and many places are closed!

We watched the sunset in Holgate, went out to dinner and slept on a side street
Sibs, can you guess where we are?
This is the house our family has rented for years on Long Beach Island. Boo is the owner and we thanked him for suggesting we could use him as the reason we were there in case the police rousted us up in the middle of the night. We slept like babes!
Got up early to watch the sunrise at the end of our street.
Lots of surfers in Holgate. One of the surfers saw our van and it reminded him of a Chevy he once had and presented us with a piece of green beach glass. People are so sweet!
Walked to the Southern end of the island picking up clam shells for an art project later on in the trip. The Piping Plovers are a protected species here and this part of the island is closed from March to September so that their nests are un bothered. Can you see Atlantic City in the distance?
From Cape May we took the Ferry to Delaware. The sun was beginning to set as we disembarked and I was fading as the driver, so I stopped at a fruit stand and asked if we could spend the night. They obliged and here we are after buying veggies and more for our journey to Asheville.
The Sunrise this morning is awesome!

Lots of visiting these last four days

Cousins in Fairlawn-Nancy, Richie & Ron, who treated us to an amazing Turkish Lunch
Carol, my grade school friend, and Anita hostesses with the mostesses in Wayne, where I grew up. So fun reminiscing and eating!
Chicken Franceses and Linguini
Beautiful Autumn hike with Morgan up to Mountain Lake Nature Conservancy. So fun to connect with an old/young friend from Oakland
Our view of Manhattan from the mountaintop
Cousin Honey in Lambertville. Darn! I didn’t get a pic of our delicious dinner!
Amazing Hindu Temple in Robbinsville. Thanks Mo for the tip. BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
Nilkanth Varni later known as Bagwan Swaminarayan- wish I was standing in front so you could see how huge this is. I’d probably only be as tall as the platform.
This guy was so kind, he offered us a spot in his driveway!

Great visit with my sister, Bette and bro-in-law Tom! Many Food highlights…

My sister is a fabulous chef! Italian Soul Food-Escarole and Cannelloni Beans with Garlic Toast
Too bad Tom misssed this dinner-salmon, potatoes gratin, asparagus and red Kuri squash from our garden in California. Thanks Jamie!
Sweet babbling brook we can hear from our bedroom
Family photos-sweet memories
Making new memories
Beautiful waterfalls and bonus of seeing two bald eagles on the way home
Can you see the white head?
Their garden is beautiful
Hundred year old Japanese Maple in their yard
Really cool restaurant out in the country with delicious Tiramisu and Panna Cotta with mapled pears
Large cauldron fires
Sweet country store on the grounds and wood-fired pizza

Thanks so much for sharing your home with us! Next gathering in California I hope!

Today was the last day for the Fire Engine Tour and we made it here in time to experience it!

Notice Sparky looking out the window
Flat-iron Building

We toured through Old Town and learned a lot about the history of Portland. Then a fabulous late lunch!

Warm Lobster Roll-the best I’ve ever had
Fried oysters in Curry and Ginger
Grilled Octopus on a Bed of Heirloom Beans with Scallions and Parsley
Eventide Oyster Company

The food here was fabulous! We also had Damariscotta Oysters and Brussels Spouts with Tonnato and Bottarga- unbelievable!

We’ll be leaving tomorrow morning for my sister’s in the Catskills Mountains in New York about 4 and 1/2 hours away. Bye bye Kathleen and Miguel and thanks for a lovely visit!