May 29, 2015


“Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.”  Charles Dudley Warner

Carol writes:  As we left Santa Fe, we headed east to Clovis, New Mexico, for a much anticipated visit with our daughter, who had just undergone outpatient knee surgery the previous day.  Over the next few days, it was sort of like slipping back into the very early days of parenting as we helped out with meals and did household chores, all the while hovering close by until we were sure she had smooth sailing climbing stairs on crutches.  That’s what parents are for, right?

Like much of the United States, May turned out to be a rainy month in Clovis, with record rainfalls and extensive local flooding.  Many times during our stay in Clovis we heard that with a change in weather comes illness; sadly, our experience was no different.  First Al got sick, with body aches and a nasty, relentless cough.  Then, Carol had a horrible night of unexplained nausea and vomiting.  Over the next few nights we both had turns testing out sleeping on the living room sofa.  For a while there, the Galus Family was a sorry sight—daughter Megan on crutches, Al unable to get through 5 minutes without coughing, and Carol with sore ribs from ‘giving back’ her meal the previous night! 

Eventually, Al needed to see a doctor.  So--much sooner than expected--we had our first real test of how medical issues could be handled on the road.  Fortunately, Clovis is also home to Cannon Air Force Base and, as a military retiree, Al was able to get an appointment in Family Medicine.  Within 2 hours he had seen a doctor and was fixed up with a handful of prescriptions.  We owe much thanks to the men and women of the 27th Special Operations Medical Group for a job well done.

As you might expect, much of our stay in Clovis was spent recuperating, but we also had time to check out the commissary, health clinic and library facilities on base, plus we had time to enjoy catching up with our daughter by means of conversation and family time during several dinners together.

To be truthful, Clovis really is out in the middle of nowhere--and that is phrasing it kindly.  The nearest decent shopping mall is almost 100 miles away in Lubbock, Texas.  One day, during a break in the rainy weather, the three of us made an all-day excursion to South Plains Mall in Lubbock for a visit to the Apple Store.  We even got “treated” to a Texas-style dust storm on the way home!  I can state that without a doubt this part of the country will not be in the running for the next place we will call home!

By the end of our stay, Megan was crutch-free and driving once again, so Al and I spent one of our last days in Clovis exploring the real reason Clovis has a spot on the map.  Fans of archeology may wonder if that reason has anything to do with a simple but elegant little arrowhead called a Clovis Point.  Well, yes, it does--it was discovered in Clovis, thus acquiring its name.
The tiny but well-explained Blackwater Draw Museum tells the ancient story.

The nearby once spring-fed Pleistocene lake site, with its fascinating trove of ancient tools and animal bones, was a truly revolutionary find in 1929, for it pushed back the archeological clock by more than a millennium to 13,500 years ago as the date of the first human activity in North America.  Archeological artifacts unearthed at the site (and displayed in the museum) have documented that this ancient Clovis culture hunted mammoth and Ice Age bison.  So…while present-day Clovis may not be a very exciting place to live, its place on the map will forever be secure as one of the most fascinating archeological venues of recent times.

We seldom pass up an opportunity to visit a state park if one is in our path because, after all, each park must have some unique feature to justify its creation.  Since Oasis State Park was right next to Blackwater Draw, we dropped in for a visit.  The lake walk was a scenic stroll through some of our favorite desert landscape, with flowers in bloom courtesy of recent rains.  Arty camera pics practically snapped themselves.

The lake shore provided an irresistible backdrop for a selfie of the two of us in our new complimentary, super-nice Spartan Chassis jackets. 

FYI:  Our Entegra RV is on a Spartan chassis.
The state park campground was nicer than we thought it would be.  A brief stroll provided some excitement when this little critter slithered by as we were having a chat with the campground host. Quickly assessing the situation, the campground host recited, "Black touches red, feel no dread; red touches yeller can kill a feller."  I wasn't totally reassured.

As I write this, I can say Al and I are definitely on the mend health-wise, but we would really like to get out from under this prolonged unsettled and rainy weather system.  We have a good friend from Al’s teacher days who plans to spend the Memorial Day weekend in Ruidoso.  Knowing that we have 11 weeks to hang out in the southwest until our August rendezvous in San Antonio, it makes no sense to head east as we had planned.  It looks like we will have one more summer to savor the desert southwest that we love so much.  Heading to Ruidoso, NM to hang out with our friends over the Memorial Day weekend seems like a great plan.
As we round out our two weeks in Clovis, daughter Megan’s medical issue with her knee has not been repaired yet, but the diagnosis has been made and a good plan is in place.  We will meet up with her once again in San Antonio, Texas, in early August, for her definitive knee surgery.  We will be her helpers in San Antonio as she rehabs and recovers, then assist with getting her back to Clovis.  We are so thankful our lifestyle allows us the flexibility to be there when family needs us.

“The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.”  George Santayana

May 25, 2015


"To me old age is always fifteen years older than I am."  
Bernard Baruch

Carol writes:  For newcomers to our blog who are not familiar with our two previous experiences on the road, by way of a short summary, here is how it went…

Chapter 1 on the road was done for a year as a family after Al retired from the Navy in 1989.  As we traveled throughout much of the western United States and the two western provinces of Canada, we homeschooled our two kids for 3rd and 4th grade.  Life for a family of four in a 29-ft travel trailer with two cats was certainly adventurous for that era, whereas now, full-timers, who are usually retirees, are a very common sight in many campgrounds.  Eventually, in 1990, we settled down in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where we bought a home, raised our family, and finished out our careers for the next 25 years.

Chapter 2 on the road took place recently from March 2013 to March 2014.  It was just Al and me this time, and the adventurous part was we did our year on the road in Western Europe in our Class-B Pleasure-Way motorhome.  Many readers have told me that the archived stories in my  “Catching the Trade Winds” blog provide rather entertaining accounts of that adventure.

On April 28, 2015, we began Chapter 3 of our nomadic life on the road, but I guess you could say this time we were really serious!  Our timeline is to do this for as long as we are motivated and for as long as our treasured good health allows us.  We’re older now and we need a few more creature comforts.  I think our Entegra Anthem RV with 4 slide-outs more than meets that requirement…


The interior of our motorhome has all the bells and whistles that we could want (and some that we still don't understand):

A nice front living room space where we can relax with friends or watch a little TV.  Presently, Al has a nasty cough and cold and has already tested out the sofa overnight.  

Followed by a fully equipped kitchen...   

a big comfy bed mid-coach...not a young as we used to be...

and a great rear shower, because we have had way more experiences with sink baths and public campground showers than we would like.  The family rule is that the last one to use the shower has to use the squeegee on the walls and glass door.  Al always wants to go first...

Pretty sweet home on wheels.  We have truly traded "real estate" for "wheel estate" (not an original joke).

I will readily admit we are still rookies at this 'big rig' stuff.  Our motorhome is very high tech, and for us the learning curve is steep.  Thankfully, we have fellow campers who now and then are quite helpful, like our next door neighbor yesterday who tactfully pointed out to Al (as he emptied the tanks) that our sewer hose was going uphill on its support slinky.  

I had my own humbling experiece when that same neighbor's wife, upon hearing me say that our bed was not easy to make, suggested that I pull the mattress forward a few feet to make it easier to put on the fitted sheets.  Geez!  Worked like a charm.

We sort of figured out the U.S. Mail issue when we left home for a year on our European adventure.  The Internet has many, many mail-forwarding services to choose from.  We decided on a company named "Americas Mailbox" out of Box Elder, South Dakota. For a nominal monthly fee they forward our mail to any destination we would like, such as a campground address...or General Delivery at any post office of our choosing.  It also helps to have online bill-pay set up with electronic delivery of documents selected whenever possible.

How do we manage healthcare on the road?  We'll cross that bridge when we come to it, and I hope it is no time soon.  Routine prescriptions can be mailed, although it will be another month or so before I have tested that plan.

Why did we find it a necessity to give up our Colorado residency?  It had everything to do with TAXES! First of all, South Dakota has no state income tax. Secondly, we saved about 3% on the purchase price of the car AND the RV by being South Dakota residents rather than Colorado residents.  In addition, over the next few years, we will save thousands of dollars on yearly vehicle license plate renewals. These facts are no secret in the full-timer world, and that is why you see so many South Dakota license plates in campgrounds.  Lastly, Pennington County in South Dakota makes it really easy to become a resident--the county simply requires you have paper proof that you have been in the county for one 24-hour period.  That's what hotel receipts are for...

"The avoidance of taxes is the only pursuit that still carries any reward."  John Maynard Keynes 

May 12, 2015


"The greatness of art is not to find what is common but what is unique."  
Isaac Bashevis Singer

Carol writes:  Even though much of the U.S. is well-immersed in spring by late April, such is not the case in the Rockies.  Old Man Winter tends to linger in the Rockies, so it wasn’t hard to pick which direction to head out of Colorado Springs—and that would be south toward warmer and sunnier days.  We decided to park ourselves for a week in the lovely art colony atmosphere of Santa Fe. 

Southwestern-style architecture has always been a favorite of ours, and Santa Fe has southwestern charm galore.

Santa Fe Plaza is quintessential Spanish-American Colonial.  As they have for centuries, Native American jewelry artisans are still selling their jewelry along the ancient walls of the Plaza.

Among Santa Fe’s major attractions are the historic Palace of the Governors, the nearby Chapel of Loretto with its magical suspended staircase,


and the always popular year-round Saturday Farmers Market.

On a spectacular sunny day, we made a side trip to Bandelier National Monument, which is known for its wonderful archeological sites of the dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo People.

The 140-ft vertical climb up 4 ladders to the Alcove House sure gave the quads a workout,

but it was worth it for the special experience at the top.


From an historic point of view, the hike along the stream bed was fascinating…climbing up ladders to ancient housing,

gradually understanding the logic of location, and appreciating how the dwellings were constructed with post holes carved into the rock face to support the wooden beams.

Without a doubt Santa Fe has one of the most beautiful, unique and appropriately designed state capitol buildings of any we have ever visited.  Locals affectionately call their state capitol the “Roundhouse,”

and they are extremely proud of its New Mexico-themed art collection.  The fabric art quilt pieces made me realize I am only a rookie when it comes to quilt design and custom quilting.

How do they create incredibly detailed human hands or forest scenes…out of  cloth?

We took a quick peek inside nearby San Miguel Chapel, the oldest church in the continental United States.

One of Santa Fe’s claim to fame is its world-class art scene, best appreciated with a stroll into the dozens of art galleries along Canyon Road.  The galleries are situated in the old southwestern-style houses—fantastic venues for displaying art!

To close out our stay in Santa Fe, we took a day trip 50 miles south to Albuquerque to soak in some of the area’s oldest “art” that was created centuries ago on the basalt rock faces at Petroglyph National Monument.

Time to head on down to Clovis to spend some precious time with our daughter.  As we rolled out of Santa Fe, we felt our visit had met all of our expectations on what life is like on the road full time.  I had made an instant friendship with a fellow blogger in the campground and look forward to following her RV blog stories, perhaps crossing paths once again somewhere on the road.  We have decided that we will definitely come back to Santa Fe--when our route takes us west once again-- because it really was such a neat place to hang out.

"Art is the signature of civilizations."  Jean Sebelius