Oh, all right! Enough already! I’ll start writing again…No more nagging though, deal?

After being away for so long, I may just be writing to myself now. But at least my sister will quit hounding me about not writing anymore! Internet connection is still a challenge and will be infrequent at best but I will start writing about my travels and adventures.

I’m callin it quits

I have been working on 4 drafts of my travels from October as I left Colorado to Moab Utah and all the wonders of the Canyon Lands up to November when I reached the Coastal Bend of Texas. Every time I work on them, they get more screwed up and now they are all pretty much trash. As much as I would like to share my adventures with you, it has become such a source of frustration and stress to me that I’m calling it quits. I don’t need the stress that dealing with computers brings me. I’ve never liked them and never will…. they win and I concede.

I will always chronicle my travels and thoughts and experiences on paper with a PEN and will capture photos and videos on places and people I meet but if you want to share in them, then I suggest finding my campsite and spending a spell with me.  How could you find me you ask? Best chance, and it’s slim, is to roam around Colorado asking if anyone has seen a slighty crazy woman driving a white van called Moonbeam that’s piled high with all kinds of stuff on top.

Thank you all for traveling along with me. It’s too bad you couldn’t have been there and experienced some of the things I have over the last few years. I had high hopes this blog thing would work out but it’s not in the cards I guess. As long as I can continue to fund my travels and both mine and Moonbeams health continues, we will wander in search of new places, new people and new adventures.

I leave you with this:

“Years from now, you will be more disappointed in the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.   Explore, Dream, Discover.”

Mark Twain

Take care and safe travels….

Rachael Kelli Darland

Rejuvinated by Radium and moving on to ?? (Oct 1, 2011)

As I recall, I left  off in my last post as I was limping down the steep hill into my camp at Radium nursing a wounded knee. (Nothing to do with the battle in South Dakota) As I descend down the steep grade, I watch a car pull up next to Moonbeam and park. Ut- Oh, trouble I think. Watching from too great a distance to even yell a threat to leave my stuff alone, I watch helplessly as this car moves here, then there, scootching closer to my camp then repositions yet again. What the heck??? Then I see whats going on… This blonde lady gets out and starts setting up a tent! By the time I limp back into camp, she has set up her tent and is gathering firewood. I welcome her to the neighborhood and introduce myself. Her name is Leslie.  She is all of 24 years old, starting her doctorate degree at CU and is an extreme water kayaker.  Time slows to a crawl as I rewind back…and back…and back, to being 24 again. Holy crap, not much to compare to. Hell, I’m not sure I can remember being 24!! Anyway, as we stand there in a light drizzle not long before dark, she asks me about the hot springs and where it’s at. I hope my face didn’t show what my mind was thinking at the moment. Are you crazy??!! It’s raining, nearly dark and the springs are over a mile hike away! Gawd I so admire the boldness of youth!

I watched in amazement as she nearly sprinted up the steep hill to the springs as I put a bandage on my scraped knee. I told her that I would have a warm fire going and to join me if she wanted opon her return. Later we put together some things for supper and talked late into the night watching the embers of the fire dance a quiet waltz under the watchful eyes of a million stars. These are the moments that can only happen if you open your heart to people. I often see too many people in too many places that are always moving in a circle that is small and constricted by lord only knows what. Let it go…relax and expand your boundaries. Let life intrude a little!

The moon by now has made its appearance and dips behind the western mountains when we say goodnight.  Still not sleepy, I walk along the little stream in the remaining moonlight. Just me and the night…these are some of my most precious moments.  With limited sight I find my other senses are awakened. I hear more, I feel more.  The smell and feel of the dampness along the stream seeps through my skin as I open up to the night world around me. There are sounds of bats swooshing through the night so close I can feel the air move from their wings. Looking up into the near moonless sky makes me dizzy as I try to focus on the thousands of twinkling light above. As I continue to follow the stream picking my way through the darkness, I am over whelmed by how small I am in a Universe that’s so grand and diverse as the one that surrounds me here, in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere.  My answer to those who wonder why I am compelled to do what I do is to sit here with me tonight. It will be self-evident I believe.

I awake early and make breakfast for Leslie and myself. She plays her guitar for me before she packs for another day of white water rapids. Two souls meet for a moment in time and both leave richer from a chance meeting when their life circles crossed. Before leaving she tells me; “I can only hope that when I’m your age I can be just like you.”

Whow. I leave it at that. 

Leslie

"Beautiful Spirit"

Update from the ‘Third Coast’

Guardians of the Navigation markers

Mercy me, it’s been nearly a month since I’ve posted even a single word. For shame for shame. Those who know me personally are aware of my habit of ‘dropping completely out of sight’ trick. They seem to occur with random predictability, in other words, every so often. I’ll blame being effected by Lunar cycles as the cause knowing few will buy it. But that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Have you figured out where the Third Coast is yet? In the three years I’ve been hanging around here, I have noticed the big time frequency in which the term is found but it never made any sense to me. Duh… East Coast, West Coast and the third is the Gulf Coast. So maybe my Lunar theory has more effect on me than I thought, like my brain!

The problem with my van, Moonbeam, still persists. No better but no worse either. It’s like getting used to walking with a limp, you just learn to live with it. I’ve put the “Mechanic in a bottle” stuff in the gas tank and replaced the fuel filter but no improvement. I think now it might not be the fuel pump either. Updates to follow as the story unfolds. I can still get around so I’ll work on it when I get to it. I mean, why do today what you can put off until tomorrow, right? (rest assured after that statement, it will stop dead in the road next time I drive it!)

The first night back on the Coast I made the 4 minute ferry float across to Mustang Island and Port Aransas. Once there I met both old friends and new as we all gathered at Waves Coffee house. It was so good to see my dear friend Susan and Stuart Michael Burns, singer/song writer extraordinaire. Colorado Carolyn popped in as well as Captain Chester of the Stray Cat. My new friends are gals from the internet group “Women-go-solo” that have converged here for a get together. It was a very nice welcome to my winter quarters.

clockwise, Capt. Chester, ?, Susan, Stuart, & me sailing on Stray Cat (1/1/2011)

 The Red Tide bloom was going full-bore for the first few days back and it made visiting the shore unpleasant for everyone but the crazy crowd. It effects the respiratory system of most folks. My new friend Carolyn, not from Colorado, and I braved the Tide early one morning and enjoyed coffee and breakfast on the beach. I had forgotten the added culinary experience of anything enjoyed ocean side….sand!

Breakfast served sea side with a hint of Red Tide & Sand

A few days after arrival, I had a chance to take Carloyn sailing aboard the Stray Cat. When we arrived at the Marina, I found my great friends from Dallas, Doug & Trish waiting to join us on the water. Oh my what a time we had! Carolyn probably wondered what kind of party maniacs she was sailing with. She thought it would be just a three-hour tour. But instead, at dark thirty pm and eight hours later, we docked back at the Marina! Damn, now that’s how it’s done aboard the Stray Cat!

Stray Cat sailing with dolphins In the Gulf,

I’ll leave you for now with a few pics from Port A. Next time I’ll pick up where I left off as the summer was winding down and I continued my travels and adventures in Colorado and Utah.

Kemp's ridley sea turtle, on endangered species list

Sunset over the Dunes

Sunset Solitude

Harry Nilsson – Moonbeam

Nearly there, still lucky

I’m sure there are many out there tonight who wont be able to sleep worrying about Me and Moonbeam being broke down in the middle of nowhere Texas.

Rest well my friends as we are doing ok. Actually  Moonbeam is doing better than I am. Over a period of nearly 11 hours, we have covered 550 miles today.  Anything over 60 mph and the engine starts cutting out and getting weird so it’s slow and easy-does it.

My sciatic nerve pain is another issue altogether! I was a hurtin unit by noon and now I’m tempted to call 911! This is WAY over my usual traveling distance per day. Like by about 300 miles!

Whaaaat??? Can’t I whine just a little? Humor me please.  With luck, next post will have a picture of the Ocean and a dead fish washed up on shore killed by the Red Tide. Oh, did I mention last night along the Coastal Bend they a new overnight low temp record. Yea, I can hear you…. “Stop your whining”.

Later….

Next stop, Radium. Early Oct, 2011

According to Webster: Radium- A radioactive, metallic element found in some Uranium, which undergoes spontaneous atomic disintegration.

This doesn’t seem like a very good name for a town if you want to attract new businesses. I have a little concern just going there for a visit. I’m wondering, should I even drink the water?  Press on, it’s an adventure, right? As you might recall from before, I’m traveling towards Glenwood Springs on a dirt road called County Rd….something or other. Radium lies a few miles down an off shoot road and looks to be right on the Colorado River.

(Insert picture of Radium here)

I would have but the town is so small it’s not even a town that I could find. So is that what ‘spontaneous atomic disintegration’ might be? Radium must have spontaneously disintegrated into nothing. Yea, that makes sense, right? Anyway, it does have a nice open place to camp right next to the Colorado River and a great boat launching ramp.

Boat ramp at Radium, Colorado River

 Standing there watching the River roll by stirred my kayaking urge. If there would have been one for sale right then and there, plastic would have been thrown down and I would have been paddling in a flash! (Note to self; buy book on how to kayak) This entire region of the Colorado River is super famous for boating, rafting and fishing. There is a water type for every level of experience and expertise.

My bucket list increased by one. Learn to kayak and do this river. Although there were many camping spots open here, I declined because it’s a fee area. As you remember, I don’t do fees. Two or three miles back, I passed a BLM or DOW camping area that had open camping available so I opted for that.

As I pulled in, the best spot to camp was being vacated by its previous tenants in a great looking rig. Which by the way, matched these two beautiful women perfectly. Sorry, I digress. After introductions and small talk, I find out there is a hot springs over the ridge and down a ways and then follow the river a bit and there it is. They point to a steep trail across the road saying all you have to do is follow it.

My camp along the creek along the road to Radium

 This is great news to me. After being shunned at the last hot springs, I’m going soaking for sure. After setting up my little gypsy camp and eating a snack, I grab my Native American flute and head for the trail. Not only is it steep, its covered by loose gravelly rocks providing near zero footing. Darn it….thats going to leave a mark as I look down at my skinned up knee.

Trail to hot springs (steep)

 As I reach the top and hike towards the river, I notice there is foot trails and ATV trails everywhere and in all directions. Something my gals forgot to mention I guess. After many backtracks and wrong turns, I come to a bluff and there is the river below.  Far, far, far below!

Colorado River & yet undiscovered hot springs

Still having multiple choice trail options, I approach the edge and start climbing down. I’m thinking about now I really need to get around to writing that Will. And people actually climb down this thing?? Seriously! At last, I reach the river level but not a sign of the hot springs.  I thought by now it would be obvious. Maybe I should have been listening better to those gals and not doing so much… ok, I make a 50/50 decision of up river or down and I won. See that rock like looking thing in the river picture? That is almost to the hot springs. As you can see, walking along the river bank is no picnic.

At last the springs come into view. Cool, I’m the only one here. On second thought, I’ve been way over an hour getting here and no one knows where I am and it’s a bitch of a climb out of this river bottom…. Maybe some company wouldn’t be so bad after all. I wonder what time it’s getting to be?? Did I just feel a rain drop?? Was that thunder?? Oh crap!

The Hot Springs pool!

What?? were you expecting to see something more than this for the pool? The only thing that separates the “pool” from the river is the ring of rocks you see. Sitting over by them the river water seeps through quite a bit and the temp is cool. The other side is much warmer but nowhere is it hot. It is really pretty here regardless of what temp the water is! It’s super quiet and peaceful with the exception of approaching thunder. None the less, after getting this far, I’ll be darned if a few drops of and claps of thunder will chase me off. Off go my clothes reveling my multi-purpose bathing suit and into the water I slip. The rocks are covered with soft green moss that makes for a bit of cushion for the bare bottom of my suit. After soaking a bit, I feel the urge to play a song on my flute in celebration of the beauty of this place. The notes come easily and the soft tones of my flute echo off the rocks and float across the ripples of the river.

view of the river from the soaking pool

   My back is to the river and my eyes are closed as I dance my fingers across the flute letting fly songs of thanks for being able to experience such a place. It was as if I were in a trance and I was both the snake charmer and the snake…

Within a fraction of a second, I was violently jerked from my trance like state by a voice from nowhere!!! The voice of God in the wilderness??? Not hardly. I spin around to see a fishing raft a mere feet five from the pool edge with four guys in it.  “Hey, nice music!”, this one dude says.  So from this particular situation, where does one go with conversation? “Catch any fish?” didn’t seem right so I simply said thanks, wished them well and returned to my music. During my time there in the pool, several boats floated by and then for the grand finally, just one the other side of the river, a Am Track passenger train roars by. I could nearly see the flashes of cameras through the windows! My pristine quiet secluded little pool by the side of the Colorado River was much like soaking in a Wal-Mart parking lot! But a heck of a lot harder to get to.

Having enough, I decided to make the accent back up and over to camp before dark. I rationalized walking back in the rain that it would have done no good to have brought a rain coat since my clothes were already soaked as they laid by the pool.

At Last! Home sweat home!

Nothing like an adventure to keep the heart young I say! Man my knee hurts. Dang it.

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