Archive for the ‘RV lifestyle’ Category
We took a short break from our US Hwy 191-a road less traveled research to get Fred’s laptop fixed. While doing that, and enjoying some time with our daughter and her family in Ennis MT, fire broke out to the south (the Eureka fire), to the east (Paradise Miner Complex fire), and most of Idaho started burning! It only took a day for the towering mountains to be disappear in a gray fog. After a few days, folks started to bail from the campground, looking for someplace with less stuff in the air.
Now, I have COPD. You know that problem in the advertisement with the “elephant-sitting-on-my-chest”. Well, with all this smoke and soot in the air, there are times when it feels like the elephant has grabbed my ankle and is dunking me deep into water. There is a sense I’m not getting enough oxygen into my body. I feel achy. My head hurts and eyes scratch. My mood isn’t great. And there ‘s a slight panic lurking at the edge of my mind.
We are returning to our research and, after being blessed with a couple of afternoons of rain showers, hope the fires have been “tapped” down. Clear air makes for much more attractive photographs and a happy co-pilot <G>.
Been hearing a lot about “Buy Local.” Well, I did just that during our time in Canyon de Chelly.
Here are my treasures:
Our time in Navajo Land was amazing. Not only were the sights beyond description but interacting with a different culture eye-opening. First, we must remember that any Reservation, including Navajo and Hopi, is a separate and sovereign country unto itself – we are guests and should behave accordingly.
Eye contact is a major difference between Navajo and European-American cultures. While eye contact is consider appropriate and polite among member of the European-American cultures, it is perceived as impolite among people of Navajo culture. It is not unusual to observe two Navajo people deep in conversation, standing side by side, looking straight ahead and not at each other. In other words, do not expect eye contact when talking to a sales person. This lack of eye contact does not mean you do not have the other’s full attention but a sign of respect.
Another glaring difference between cultures is the easy of striking up a conversation. From childhood, Navajos at taught not to talk too much, be loud, or “forward” with strangers. This is not the case among family or friends when Navajos are exuberant and jolly.
Physical contact is very limited among the Navajo people. Generally, the only physical contact you will see is handshaking. Note, a firm grip is interpreted as being overbearing and impolite. A light touch is seen as most appropriate.
Individual Navajos do not own the land upon which they live but families do hold traditional use rights under tribal customary law. Nearly all land on the Navajo Nation is part of someone’s traditional use area.
Sheep, goats, cattle and horses are important to a way of life for many Navajos. Much of the Navajo’s land is open range and small herds move about freely, crossing roadways with little thought to the danger of fast moving cars. Use caution, especially at and after sunset. Also recognize dogs are used to protect livestock. If you come in contact with a free ranging dog, do not assume it is someone’s family pet
Four is a sacred number to the Navajo culture. There are four directions, four seasons, the first four clans (Harris, our Canyon de Chelly guide, cites his first four clans with their numbers and other data without a moments hesitation), four colors that are associated with the four sacred mountains which border the Navajo’s land. These mountains are Mt. Blanca, Mt. Taylor, San Francisco Peak, and Mt. Hesperus. The color associated with each is White Shell, Turquoise, Yellow Abalone, and Jet Black respectively.
Last week, Dani was drinking gallons of water and panting constantly but it was miserably hot. She was sleeping most of the day but we were in our motorhome, driving, alot. But most concerning, Dani wasn’t eating. For a Golden Retriever to pass up food is a rare thing so we took our girl, immediately, to a Vet (Dr. Gostlin of Dog & Cat Clinic of MoaB) in Moab, UT. Fortunately, he accepted walk-ins plus he had had a Golden Retriever (his grown son is now the keeper of Goldens).
The doctor probed, poked, and did all those doctor things to Dani and couldn’t find anything immediately wrong. Dani has a thyroid condition so that was the next thing to consider. Our vet in Bisbee faxed up a bunch of test results and it was decided we should run a blood test for her thyroid. Sure enough her thyroid was off kilter and her medication needs to be adjusted.
The point of this story is to remind you, if you travel with a pet, bring along their medical records. Our vet in Bisbee, AZ was super to fax all those old test results so the Moab vet could have a baseline. If we had digitized those records they would be with us and a solution would have been reached sooner.
So next year, besides a digital file of our own medical records and we’ll have one for Dani and one for Ralf. Again our thanks to Dr. Gostlin for his immediate and thorough care of Dani.
Trading posts have, since the first white man stepped foot on this continent, been a primary place for native people and those from Europe to interact. Trading posts were a center of commerce, of social interactions, and culture. A stone’s throw from US Hwy 191 in Ganado, is Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site, a well preserved example of a Southwest’s trading post. It was very much the Walmart of its day. Everything you could want, need, or dream of was available at many trading posts, including Hubbell.
While there were many trading posts scattered throughout the Southwest, Hubbell Trading Post was the oldest continuously operated trading post in the US. Established in 1876, the Hubell Trading Post was a place Navajos would meet and socialize in the days before the advent of the automobile as well as obtain “modern” objects.
Wandering the grounds it becomes clear, Hubbell wasn’t some shoe-string operation. The Hubbell Trading Post is a cross between a compound, ranch, farm, and commercial operation. It must have a little town with the hustle and bustle of many individuals coming and going. Just how many might be illustrated by the quantity of bread baked in their dinner table size brick oven out behind the main house – a reported 500 loaves each week!
Even today visitors can and do “trade” their cash for goods the line the Trading Post’s shelves. Toilet paper and hand soap to silver jewelry and Navajo dolls are available as well as some of the most beautiful Navajo rugs. In the Trading Post’s barn you might see bags of sheared wool separated by color that will someday be woven into a rug by a Navajo weaver and sold to a visitor from far away. At one time, the trade or sale of such a rug would afford the weaver a new cookstove or some such wonderful object for her home. For many Navajo weavers it the sale of their woven masterpieces still helps make ends meet.
During our time there, we were told, Hubbell Trading Post is still a focus of culture for the Navajo. Although not an everyday occurrence, festivals and special days are still celebrated in the parking area in front of the old Trading Post building. We were told not to be surprised if we saw a group of dancers, dressed in their customs, came walking onto the grounds.
While Hubbell Trading Post is right on US Hwy 191, there are other trading posts. Check DiscoverNavajo.com for a dozen or so trading posts still active in the Navajo Nation.
Beware however because many establishments that calls themselves a “trading post” is little more than a convenience store. Which is exactly what the community needs but might disappoint visitors from other places.
NOTE: Parking area can be a challenge for really big rvs.
Rather than hauling everything from your spice rack the next time you go camping, consider transferring favorite herbs and spices into empty Tic-Tac containers. Here’s how:
First you need some empty Tic-Tac containers.
It has been a busy and fabulous week that started in Canyon de Chelly and ended with time in the Moab, UT area. Here are some photographs from our week:
A local described Moab as “Hell in a Hole.” The temperature this week would suggest the accuracy of her statement but I doubt there would be so much fun stuff there. Probably different for someone who lives here. I would recommend Moab to anyone looking for a great vacation spot as long as they don’t mind heat. If they do, than they should drive up the LaSal Mountain Range to either Warren or Oowah campgrounds for an equally fabulous environment.
This is what 191 looks like just north of Douglas, AZ – open, dry, and more brown than green even after several flooding monsoon rains. Note the monsoon clouds forming on the horizon. It’s proper name is Sulphur Springs Valley but many locales call it “Suffering Valley.”
Elfrida is the “largest” town on the Sulphur Springs Valley stretch of 191. It even has a very nice public park with tables, playground, shade, and adequate parking for large rigs. (Note the wood bench but, according to the gentleman “nothing fits better than a stack of feed bags.”
North of Elfrida the landscape changes to fields of green growing stuff. There was pecan trees, corn, and maybe beans and hay. Guess if you have water you can grow something anywhere.
Basically, a playa is the bottom of an ancient lake or sea. This playa stretches for miles. The railroad track is on a bed established more than a hundred years ago when the now semi-ghostown of Cochise was built to support the train and its passenger.
The playa’s bare surface, plus the winds from the upcoming monsoon storm have hidden the massive mountains seen in the earlier photo. The rain held off until we got onto the I-10 portion of 191 and then it poured.
We camped at Roper Lake State Park and enjoyed a glorious sunrise.
Mt. Graham’s foothills have an alpen glow in the morning sun. Mt. Graham is hidden by the overcast sky but you can just see how the peaks tend to grab passing clouds.
Roper Lake State Park has a lot of great features but Dani and Ralf really liked the large, fenced dog park where they could run and play off leash.
Another wonderful feature of Roper Lake State Park was their “Hot Tub” fed by a natural hot springs. Delicious after a day in the car.
Fred says I am OCD about being neat. Whatever – I like everything to have a place. This seems even more important in an recreational vehicle (RV) where space is so limited.
I will admit one thing that bugged me for years was wires of electric appliances getting all tangled. One wire was always wrapped around something else making removing one appliance from the others a challenge. Than one day, while doing laundry at a public laundromat, the solution was suggested by a fellow RVer. All you really need is an empty toilet paper tube. (FYI: I used an empty paper towel tub cut to size for the following.) Here is how to solve the problem of a rat’s nest of appliance wires:
My hair curling iron with untamed wire.
Add a paper tube,
Re-enforce ends with some masking tape (optional), and
You have neatly tamed wires.
The majority of First Aide Kits I have seen in the stores focused on adult travelers. If you have young ones, say Elementary School age and younger, here’s my suggestions for a young family’s camping/traveling medicine kit:
1. Any medication(s) your child needs such as a EpiPen or antihistamine.
2. A fever reducer/pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen for children (check with family doctor for their recommendation).
3. Antibacterial cream to prevent minor ouchies from becoming infected. I like Neosporin but take what works for you.
4. Thermometer and hope you never need to use it.
5. Oral rehydration solution in powder form for easy packing.
6. Bandages of various sizes and shapes.
7. Hand sanitizer, preferably non-alcohol.
8. Sunblock – really important to use whether bright sunny or cloudy weather.
9. Insect repellent with a DEET concentration of 30%.
10. A pair of good tweezers to remove splinters or ticks.
Optional: Saline solution and nasal aspirator are suggested if you have a baby that tends to develop a stuffy nose.
A fine spray plant mister to help cool down over-heated child.
Post bug bite treatment such as AfterBite. I would moisten the bite with a little spit and sprinkle on table salt on my children’s bug bites (like what my mother did) but over the counter products really are more effective.
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