The past twelve months have flown by faster than any other that I can remember. It is hard to believe, but it has been a year since I left New York City that cool rainy day in March. And now I am here in Nevada basking in the sun. I once again drove out onto the Mormon Mesa to find a tranquil spot to soak up the sun and to read. Unfortunately, I left my book at home (check out www.matriarchsthebook.com by my friend J.D. Fox. A legal thriller for a good cause). Fortunately, I brought pen and paper.
Overton is a very quiet place; however, up on the mesa it is even quieter. I am looking over this big flat covered by sage brush, creosote and other desert shrubs, no humans. The desert is starting to turn green with lots of new growth. I am surrounded by mountains, the Virgins, Muddy and Mormon Mountains are the large ranges.
Last February I was in the final stages of getting everything organized for this journey. I was going crazy. Overwhelmed by everything I felt I needed to know about the camper. Dealing with insurance companies was another big headache. One company for the truck and my apartment, another one for the camper. Who would insure what? The homeowner’s insurance or the camper policy? I got as many different answers to the same question as people I talked to. It was a nightmare. That on top of figuring out how many watts my inverter would need to run my computer on the camper’s DC power. Watts, volts, amps, AC or DC power, all very confusing. If you are drawing a blank here, then you know how I felt.
I drove a little over 25,000 miles in the past twelve months. I haven’t done much driving since I returned to Overton from my southern Nevada excursion in January. 25,000 miles of very different terrain. I don’t remember every road I took, but when I look at my maps and especially my photos (11,000+) I do remember little details, the smell of the Juniper trees up in the Dalamar Mountains or the smell of celery near Oxnard. There are not too many countries where you can drive that many miles and never really see the same thing twice.
I haven’t written anything in detail about what I did or where I was in October. Most of the time was spent in southern Utah. It is one of the most amazing places I have seen so far. The area is “littered” with National Parks: Canyonlands, Arches, Bryce and Zion in addition to magnificent landscapes in between. I hiked almost fifty! miles throughout October. It gave me a very different perspective from just driving through. None of the parks were crowed at that time of the year, especially on the trails that were more than one mile long.
Every time I left one park I asked myself how could the next place possibly get any better. Amazingly they always did. The geology in this part of the country is fascinating. Parts of Utah, Nevada, Arizona and Colorado were covered by water millions of years ago, that combined with volcanic eruptions has made for an incredible landscape.
What is my favorite place?
I have seen the beautiful beaches of Alabama, the pancake flats of Texas, the Pacific Ocean coastline, the mountains of northern California, the
rainforests and desert of Washington State, the spires and hoodoos of southern Utah and Arizona and much much more. It is very difficult to name one place. I did like Etna in northern California a lot.
Etna is situated in the Scott Valley and has a population of less than 800. Surrounded by mountains and golden fields. When I visited the fields were harvested and the colors were stunning. To me the town just had a very nice feel to it.
But if you ask me what will I remember the most, it will be the kindness of complete strangers; like Kate in Texas who runs a Bed & Breakfast. She prepared lunch for me despite the fact that she does not serve lunch and that she is not allowed to sell food to people who are not guests. We spent almost two hours talking and eating. I made a donation. Or Kinsey, a fellow traveler in Montana, one of only two solo women travelers I have encountered, who left fresh tomatoes and some potatoes at my door before she headed out. The campground manager who gave me scallop squash and cherry tomatoes because I couldn’t find any veggies at the small supermarket. The store keeper in Augusta, MT, who made me a cup of hot chocolate (with milk) on a cold and rainy day.
The RVers in Oregon who first watched me put my camper back on the truck and then invited me to dinner. My neighbors here at the campground who invite me over and always make sure that there is at least one non-meat dish for me.
The couple who invited me to Christmas dinner, Henry and Tyann, who have become friends and had me over for dinner several times since. They have made sure I don’t run out of my special dark rye bread which they bring back from Mesquite. They even have given me a ride to Whole Foods in Vegas so that I could stock-up on some good cheese. My hiking buddy Ron makes sure I have enough fresh coffee in the house. You have to know there is only one supermarket in Overton. Which is fine for all the basics, but they don’t carry things like good cheese or a wide variety of produce. Vegas is sixty plus miles away and Mesquite forty miles, ONE way.
Never mind all the friends and friends of friends who let me stay with them. Some I hadn’t seen in decades.
It is these and many more encounters that I will cherish the most.
Thank you all!!
As much as I was frantic and crazed before I left New York, I am now panicked that I have to be back in New York City by June. It is not so much that I will be back in the big city, I do love NYC, it is more that I have to sell my truck. As mentioned in a previous post, NYC rent plus truck payments on a minimal part-time job are just not feasible. I am still hoping for a miracle.
Maybe now you understand why I want to continue traveling. There are so many more people to meet and places to discover. I have only been to twenty three of the lower forty eight states and some I only quickly drove through.