Tuesday, September 11, 2007

a Hoosier home again

Despite my LONG silence (no good excuses), the last year or so has been a string of (allora, aspetta!) adventures. Meeting my Love, living in Italia for almost a year, and attending a graduate school where "studying" meant, mostly, eating and drinking were just the magical background for all sorts of good stories. I should have been writing all along and trying to summarize it all now seems too daunting a task. So instead, I'll beg forgiveness and just start over...

Happy belated Birthday to Jackie! Bella celebrated her birthday and arrived in Indiana just as I was leaving (but still thinking of her). Hope you had a wonderful birthday, Jack. I'm really sorry to have missed you and...I miss you!

I was leaving Indiana around Jackie's birthday to begin the long drive to Santa Monica, California. Bowden's family lives there and we aimed to visit them and lots of country along the way. Some car troubles made the return trip far from what we planned, but overall it was an amazing experience. His family is friendly and very dear. The Southwest is dramatic and incredible diverse. There is never a good time for timing belts to wear out.

So, as a Hoosier home again, I'm having fun reacquainting myself with Indy and thinking over the last month on the road. Here are a couple short lists to help record our journey...

Campsites: We enjoyed the state parks for their more affordable camping fees, splendid amenities (like free showers), and convenient and scenic locations. (We would have liked to add more to the list, but those car troubles kept us in unscenic but cheap hotels in San Jon and Tucumcari, New Mexico; Shawnee and Roland, Oklahoma; and West Memphis, Arkansas.)
Clinton Lake State Park, Kansas
John Martin State Park, Colorado
Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
Buckboard, Manti La Sal national Forest, Utah
Horsethief BML Campground, Utah
Escalante State Park, Utah
Bryce National Park, Utah
Snow Canyon State Park, Utah
Kartchner Caverns State Park, Arizona
Brantley Lake State Park, New Mexico
Ute Lake State Park, New Mexico
Nolin Lake State Park, Kentucky

Non-bird Animals From the Trip: Bowden kept up the bird list, making several new additions to his "life list," but here are some of the non-bird species we saw along the way.
desert and/or mountain cotton tails
Kaibab or Abert's and golden mantel squirrels
prairie dogs
prong horned antelope
mule deer
Vinta chipmunks
coyote (actually, we only heard them)

Some lessons we learned along the way: Things we'll remember for next time.
1. Stake the tent whenever possible. We returned from a hike in Pine Valley, Utah, to find our poor tent blown over and pinned (thankfully) under the picnic table at our site in Snow Canyon State Park.
2. Take advantage of camping in state parks (see note above).
3. Think before packing the car. We learned to use valuable car space by packing like items together and in order of frequency of use.
4. Bring a dishpan for gray water. Some campsites requested that water used to clean dishes (aka "gray water") be dumped in special drains.
5. Have plenty of 10s, 5s and 1s on hand to pay for camp site fees. Self registration is a popular method in many of the parks we visited. Exact change is required.
6. Bring a calling card. Some of the camp sites had courtesy phones available and cell phone service is hit or miss on the road.
7. Rent a car to drive across country. It was the second of three mechanics we met on the trip who shared this bit of advice with us. If we don't rent a car the next time, we'll definitely have the timing belt checked.

~ Corrie


At 1:17 PM, Anonymous Lisa said...

It's great to hear from you! Drop me an email sometime and let me know what you're up to. Miss you!


At 5:49 PM, Blogger Stelle in Italia said...

Ciao Lisa!

Great to hear from you, too! I've been peeking at your blog from time to time, trying to keep up with your textile, medic, and household adventures. What adventures!

Will write soon. Miss you, too! love,


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