Since purchasing our new rig three weeks ago, Mr. Bond II, we’ve been hovering around Phoenix to be close to the dealership in the event of any issues that may arise during the initial break-in period. In order to do this, we purposely planned a varied itinerary to test all the new bells & whistles. We left the comforts of RV resorts and opted instead for a 4-day boondocking stay on BLM land at the Painted Rock Petroglyph site in Gila Bend – ideal territory to check out how our solar panels + batteries would withstand a no-hookup situation over several days.
We also made a day trip (by car) to historic Ajo, an old copper mining town that reached its economic heyday in the mid-sixties and has since transformed itself in a snowbird refuge (both house dwellers and nomadic RVers) as well as an artistic centre. One can admire the street graphics art everywhere in ‘downtown’ Ajo, painted by young artists most of whom are in residence at the local historic Curley School. It was nice to observe this eclectic mix of locals working together to reinvent their community—students, snowbirds, along with descendants of early tribal settlers, the Hia-Ced O’odham. At the Copper Mine Museum, we met 88 years old Bill, one of the the museum curators, who worked at the mine for 40 years. In his gravelly voice, and twinkle in his eyes, this spry ex- minor regaled us with stories about the mine and Ajo, as a company town.
Next came 5-day camping at Picacho Peak, our first State Park in Arizona, located between Phoenix and Tucson. There are 28 State Parks in the Grand Canyon State. All are very popular in the high season winter months. We were lucky to get in – this park is absolutely beautiful and very well organized. With all of the recent rain (even snow as far south as Scottsdale!), the desert wild flowers were at their peak (pun intended), the birds were singing and earthy fragrances came from the usually scorched soil.
Ethereal moments to be sure.
A Teddy Bear Cholla cactus in full spring bloom for my teddy bear of a guy!
**See many more pictures from Gila Bend, Ajo and Picacho Peak State Park in the Photo Gallery tab
In these last few weeks, I couldn’t help but notice how much calmer and relaxed Mark and I have been; how it affects not just the easy happy times like when walking and hiking beautiful trails, but also how this sense of calm seems to seep through frustrating times too (indeed, living the dream demands a fair amount of leg work…)
Have we entered a state of mindfulness? A sort of Zen of RVing?!
I’ve chased this ubiquitous state all my adult life… you know, pay attention to the present moment, be non-judgemental, and yaddi yaddi yadda… Somehow, the noises of life and related stress have always prevailed over the elusive power of mindfulness. This recent epiphany did not manifest itself as a “Aha Moment”; no, no… it was more a slow, steady realization that for a state of mindfulness to endure, it must be innate, natural–a gentle practice that can’t be forced to happen on command. The feeling is akin to a dance, swaying rhythmically from the conscious to the unconscious and vice versa.
Living in nature 24/7 exposes that state of mind to oneself, makes it more familiar, easy to recognize and embrace. I used to catch glimpses of it when ‘on vacation’, but it wouldn’t last the minute I returned to work, emails and projects. As much as I enjoyed my job and my co-workers, the stress was always there, like a shadow.
So yes, I suppose it’s fair to say that we have slowly progressed mentally from being on vacation to fully living our new life – thanks the Zen of RVing.
Leaving you with a gentle breeze over Mexican golden poppies.
You only live twice…