New Digs on Wheels

Now for something new. We did it, we purchased our third motorhome. It is fueled by diesel and has the bells and whistles to fill my husband’s dreams and mine too.  Actually, it has more bells and whistles than we anticipated, but we will just live spoiled

Now we face saying goodbye. Difficulty in letting go of dear ones, pets and possessions that have made so many fabulous memories possible is universally hard for us human beings.  Inanimate objects, in this case our 8 year old South Wind motor home become old friends.  Like us, it has more than one hundred thousand miles under its hood. It is time to renovate or trade it away. 

To ease the parting blues , I remember so many adventures with joy. We have become intimate with the southwestern desert, seeking desert wildflowers, critters caught by surprise, rock climbs, sand dunes and traipsing over blazed and not so well blazed trails. We have encountered birds galore, bison, elk, caribou, bear, foxes, bob cats. Phew, and so much more.

Basking along the shores of the ocean. I remember getting soaked, fully clothed by the turbulent surf, running on the sand with the surf pounding in our ears, hiking through pine forests, redwood forests, Alaskan tundra, Canadian forests, getting lost and finding the trail leading to breathtaking waterfalls and photographing the glorious mountains and lakes, cities and towns and parks along our way. Kayaking, bird watching, picking berries, food adventures, cultural discoveries, historical perspectives, learning, doing, forever wide-eyed with wonder.  

People are the keystone in my collective memory-gathering. What surprises have appeared through the windshield of the rig; revelers in costume at county fairs, boy scout rallies, lines of people on bike tours, cheese artisans, boiled peanut vendors.  In one town there were 50 Abe Lincoln impersonators standing on the steps of the town hall. 

During a stop in a National park we shared the snow remaining on the tow car with a young ranger who had never before encountered snow.  The people we have met along the way remain friends. There are many friends we have visited on repeated visits, folks that drive long distances to meet us at an appointed place. The stories we have heard will never fade. Their stories, our stories, collectively, broach the subject of letting go over and over again. Loved ones lost, lost dreams, new opportunities, change, letting go. The act of letting go is a theme through out life. It seems insignificant in the course of the wide picture, but we will hand over our coach with some hesitation and pause. 

On to our new coach. It is fun that it is branded Phaeton, defined as a touring car, or open carriage led by horses. Indeed, our coach will be led by powerful horses, thundering into the future with wonder and discovery blazing through the windshield.  

Ann Carol Goldberg

Mountain Bald

Credo; “Learn something new everyday”.  Such a rich way to live. What could be better than hiking in the mountains on a clear, brisk and windy day. The hike of the moment–Craggy Gardens along the Blue Ridge Mountains, a bit north of Asheville, NC.  We were about to wander into a strange habitat, noted as globally unique to this area. This geological feature is labeled Mountain Bald.

A bald is defined as “a treeless area located on or near the summit of a predominantly forested mountain.” Furthermore, Balds may be grassy-covered with a “mix of grasses and wildflowers” or they may be covered with low growing vegetation or “communities of of varying plant life, often including rhododendron, mountain laurel, blueberries, and flame azalea.”  The Craggy Garden Balds fall under the latter category.
Their unique features are based in the “5,500 foot elevation, severe weather conditions harboring strong winds, ice storms,and a short growing seasons.” This dwarfs, twists and stunts the development of the trees. We hiked past gnarled hardwood forest of beech, birch, buckeye, and mountain ash. Most noteworthy though are vast forests of rhododendron and mountain laurel.  I have never seen such dense collections of these trees in one place. The buds were just forming.  The scene was still clothed in winter browns with bare trunks, dwarfed, twisted, gnarled and stunted, as promised.
In June, the site description foretells of the vibrant blooms of the rhododendron, azaleas, mountain laurel and wildflowers with berries and mountain ash blooming into the fall. We learned that no one cause forms Mountain Balds.  They most likely exist due to a combination of forest fires, era-long climate change, and severe weather conditions.  The chance to trek along this trail filled with new knowledge and a heightened appreciation for our earth made the cool temperatures, high winds and subdued colors tolerable. I pulled the chin strap of my hiking hat tighter and jaunted down the trail. 
Ann Carol Goldberg

Haute Couture Breaking News

Haute Couture is not my usual thing but it is time to fashion a new line of clothing. Bullet proof! The line would offer the range from underwear, day clothing and outerwear and be available from infant sizes to full-grown. With all sorts of new materials available the clothing would be comfortable and appealing, not old fashioned chain mail armor (just for fun check out, for city walking, hiking in national parks, picking up your kindergartners, or any school age kids, on the playground, big box shopping, or going to the neighborhood 7/11.

Yes, anywhere you go the person next to you may harbor a gun. A gun is, after all, a potentially deadly device with bullets that can maim and kill. While it seems redundant to have to say that, why are so many accidents in the news. Many people may be responsible and fully believe the heat they pack is for self defense only. But gun laws, shoot than think laws, gangs with guns, drugs, bad tempers and other vendettas threaten our safety at all times. It is obvious from daily news reports that being in the wrong place at the wrong time is becoming epidemic. Innocent people caught in the cross fire, gunning down in schools, gunning down in the workplace, drive by shootings, violence outside the 7/11, and racial profiling being a particularly bad virus. 

So, my line of clothing will help protect and ensure our freedom to wander wherever we like, not keep us captive for fear of a shooting. Perhaps, I will be prevented from making millions on this venture if gun laws did not allow anyone and everyone to pocket a gun. Whatever happened to the old adage, “love thy neighbor?” Don’t kill him. 

Ann Carol Goldberg