Freedom! That’s what it felt like after Nomadfest. For the first time in a long time we had no plans on the horizon – no set destination for a few months – we were free to go anywhere we chose!

So we decided to get to warmer weather – destination desert southwest. We found out our friends, Mark & Patsi, were in New Mexico, so we made plans to meet them at Valley of the Fires in Carrizozo.

We overnighted on the way in Littlefield, Texas, because Tom wanted to see the birthplace of Waylen Jennings, but we arrived too late in the day to go to the museum. We did meet some interesting and kind people at our camp spot at a city park. His name was Tom too, and Tom thought he looked like Bill Murray, so I took a picture of the Toms.

We arrived at the first come park on a Tuesday and ended up at a very nice spot overlooking the lava beds (that can be seen from orbiting satalites). IMG_9136Finally, we had some time to relax. We had been moving a a pretty busy pace since July, and it felt so good to be able to stay as long as we wanted (up to 14 days).

We had really beautiful views, and the storm that greeted us there passed through quickly.

We had time to re-group and figure out where we wanted to go in 2019, so we began looking for places to work. We didn’t get anywhere. After some soul searching conversations, and after a very detailed look at our budget, we decided that working for Southeast Publications was no longer a good fit for us. So we quit. In our minds anyhow, we still haven’t made an official split with the company.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, and it cost us very little to try it out. We stayed eight weeks at RV parks for free, met some great people, enjoyed (for the most part) the job of selling, and made some spending money. But after a lengthly review of how we want to travel and produce extra income, that job didn’t seem like the right path. Trying to plan a route six months in advance and knowing that we’d need to keep on the same circuit every year didn’t mesh with our fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants travel style. (If you know Tom, you’re laughing right now.)

Still, we were tired of commitments. We knew if we stayed with the company we had a lot more to learn and would benefit by going to their annual convention- near New Orleans in March. And that just seemed like a long distance back from the way we came. So all in all, after doing our list of pros and cons, we decided it would be just as easy to slow our travels and tighten our spending than to invest in a new career.

After we made our decision, again it felt like total Freedom.  We could relax and enjoy the area and time with our friends with no deadlines or decisions looming over our heads. Whew!

So we played. Tom played with crystals, and I played with fairy houses. And we even got a few chores done – like I finally replaced a broken shade string.

We went into the ski-town of Ruidoso one evening for beer & pizza, and did a bit of hiking around the lava beds with our friends.

We all toured around the tiny town of Carrizozo and talked with a few of the colorful locals while visiting their renowned art gallery. The town looks like it’s drying up but has a very artsy feel – and they love their donkeys!

One day, we drove to Three Rivers and enjoyed the beautiful weather while hiking around the Petroglyphs.

There was even still snow on the mountains (looking towards Ruidoso) from the recent storm.

We all went to the nearby old mining town of White Oak to attend a halloween party at the No Scum Allowed Bar. We played some horseshoes before the sun went down.

Tom and I weren’t prepared with costumes, but Mark & Patsi were! Some of the locals went all out.

We enjoyed visiting with everyone there, and listened to some great music by Bobby Luster.

During our time there, we had some great happy hour and fireside visits. One nice night we even had our own version of a drum circle. Fun times! And we enjoyed some really amazing sunsets.IMG_1648IMG_1579IMG_1552

We kept extending our stay at the park, and ending up almost staying the 14 day limit. With a cold front coming in, we decided to head south on the thirteenth day.

It was sad to bid goodbye to our friends, but we didn’t want to follow them to Carlsbad (where we had already been earlier this year). We were headed down in elevation and in latitude towards Alamogordo which was only about an hour away.

Which turned out to be a very good thing, because as we were hitching up the jeep we discovered a leak in the radiator surge tank.

It’s always something.

After some discussion, we figured we could make it down the road and find a patch kit to apply at our next stop. So that’s where we’re at now. Trying to find an auto parts store open on a Sunday here in Alamogordo on our way to camp at Lake Holloman BLM. Stay tuned!

Happy Travels,

Peace & Love, Joy