Tag Archives: Rocky

One year ago…..


I turn over and take a peek at the clock. It tells me, “Not time yet.” It is 4:00am and I had set the alarm for 4:30am. I lie here with emotions of excitement, anticipation and a smidgen of apprehension as I think about my day ahead.

I know I won’t fall back to sleep, so I quietly try to sneak out of bed; with my two four-legged friends close by, hearing and watching my every move and a hubby tuned into every stir, there is no sneaking. Okay, everyone up!

I get dressed, enjoy my send off filled with encouraging words, gather my gear and out the door I go. Out of my subdivision, I turn right!

Right!  It is rare, especially in the early morning hours before sunrise, that I would turn right and head up into the mountains. Alone.

On this morning I do.

The narrow, winding road is two-lanes, so I need to pay close attention to my driving. I turn on the radio thinking it might help me relax, but after a few minutes, I turn it off. I want to think about my day. I don’t hurry, but I need to be in Estes Park at 6:30am.

I enjoy the ride into the mountains; as darkness zips past my window, I feel the known landmarks passing by, more than I see them. The closer to Estes Park I get, the more my excitement increases along with my smidgen of apprehension. I arrive at the prearranged meeting place right on time. The golden arches are smiling down at me, I smile back.

I park so I can observe the activities in the store, carefully watching the occupants. I tell myself, just go inside. I leave my gear and purse inside the car and head into the McDonalds. As I am looking around, a man walks up to me and asks “is your name Sheila?” I look at him directly, willing his eyes to tell me his character.

He has kind, friendly eyes so I shake his offered hand and tell him yes. He then leads me over to another gentleman, whom I recognize from a photo and I am finally introduced to the person I drove into the mountains to meet. After a few minutes of conversation, I tell them, “I will be right back, I need to call my husband.”  They look at each other and looking back at me ask: “To tell him you are okay?” I reply “exactly.”

We eat breakfast, while sharing with each other tidbits of who we are. Then the man I came to meet asks me: “What do you want to learn today?” I open my iPad, and tell him what I had carefully thought about and jotted down. He listens carefully and then asks to see my photographs and offers his critique. I listen carefully and with an open mind.

After breakfast we load my gear into their vehicle and head into Rocky Mountain National Park. I am on my way to a new experience, one that brings me out of my comfort zone (remember my smidgen of apprehension) into a new life adventure and one that brings me such joy it is hard to describe. Excitement and anticipation are still with me, but apprehension seems to have faded along with the dark sky.

A full day of instruction, with a successful, professional, wildlife photographer and his business partner, whom captures a darn beautiful image himself, Begins!

After an enjoyable morning, photographing wildlife in the park, we break for lunch, then head back into the park for afternoon lessons. The afternoon lessons are different, because the lighting is different, and we have fun adjusting to the mountains’ array of moods.

At the close of this day, September 24, 2012, one I will treasure always, I leave them, standing under the golden arches, with hugs, appreciation, admiration and friendship.

As I head down the mountain, I look forward to sharing my day with hubby. I learned a lot, built a strong foundation of confidence in my abilities and realized “no matter” I will enjoy, my passion, this hobby, always giving my best and continuing to learn each and everyday.

Hurry up and …….wait

September brings inviting, cool mornings; multi-shaded, golden colors; beautiful, migrating birds and a slow, buildup of excitement in both of us.

Rockhound State Park - the Little Florida Mountains in the background.
The Rambling Rose parked at Rockhound State Park – the Little Florida Mountains in the background. Last year early in our trip.

This excitement starts off with a slight tingle of anticipation and builds until we speed up in the merging lane to enter onto the interstate, with the nose of The Rambling Rose pointing south. Upon merging onto the interstate our excitement mellows after huge sighs, then pure joy seeps into our daily routine.

Today forward, we can start to count down the days before we head south for the winter. Two months, maybe less, before we get back On-The-Big-Road.

As time approaches, for our departure, we are ready to experience different scenery with longings to explore new places. Some of our travel plans we outline, some will include whatever whimsy desire we might want to pursue at any given moment.

We usually don’t schedule all our days, because we just like to take our time, stay longer in a place if we like an area and leave if we don’t. I am not one that needs travel  plans laid out with reservations from point to point. We are more of the go-with-the-flow type traveler. However, we do make reservations when needed and around holidays. For one nighters, I will make a reservation the day before wanting to arrive or while traveling down the road the same day.

I think we are both getting excited!

Hubby’s fifth summer, contracting back to work with the company he retired from, will soon be ending at the end of September.  Fifth and last! Yeah! I truly can’t complain about him working these past five summers (not too much!), they needed him, he must have needed the challenges and it certainly helped buy things we needed or wanted.  Like this year before we leave, we need six new tires for The Rambling Rose! Whoa!

His time at work, during these summer months, also allowed me time to pursue my interests. For future plans beyond this winter, since hubby won’t be working during the summer months any more, we are planning on doing a lot more traveling. West, northwest here we come, but first we head south!

So we have to wait until sometime after September to leave and we will have to hurry up and get things ready.  There is always a lot to do! 

I think you are lucky if you get to store your rig at your house! Since we live on a hill we can’t even bring our coach to our house for loading and unloading, much less storing it at home – no room with too much of an incline.

Our coach is stored about ten miles away from our house, which isn’t too bad. We arrive from our winter trip in early spring so we need to winterized it, because we still could have cold temperatures and even snow like last year. In addition, we have to leave the coach winterized until almost time to leave, because we could have cold temperatures and snow. The year before last we got a huge snow storm days before leaving; power was knocked out, tree limbs fell and business were shut down. It was a mess.

Looking for Berries
Looking for Berries
Snow storm earlier this year.

We usually bring the coach to a local RV park, for two days or so, to clean her, load her up and to check systems, making sure they are in working order – hoses, heater, diesel burner, refrigerator and the list goes on.

Since we don’t have any hook ups at the storage place we unload everything at the end of our winter trip and then reload again. It is daunting to think about, but offers excellent cleaning and organizing opportunities and I now have the tasks down pat. Thinking about what needs to be done is sometimes worse than doing what needs to be done. Most of the time anyway.

So we are going to hurry up and get done what we can; make our lists and check them twice; drive The Rambling Rose to the tire store for her brand new wheels; use our home exercise room as a staging area loading it up with items we want to bring with us;  promise ourselves not to bring too many clothes (as we don’t ever use them all, but always bring too many anyway) and finally just enjoy the remaining fall days at home.

There is still some fun to be had here in beautiful, colorful Colorado! Plus, the fall is my favorite season with spring being a close second. These can flip first and second places very quickly! A photo trip or two, to Rocky Mountain National Park are just absolutely necessary.

A couple more annual doctor visits; one more dog grooming schedule; a few last minute maintenance items on the house and coach to complete – then we get to wait a little longer! October is coming!

I will be sharing more of, our get ready experiences , with you as they happen.

I bet you can’t wait!

Tamias minimus - Chipmunk
Tamias minimus – Chipmunk in Rocky Mountain National Park