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10: ...whatever the weather...

Updated: Feb 27

Dear Friend,

How are things going in your world today? What is next on your to-do list, or, maybe you have torn that thing into a million pieces and you are at rest in the midst of the confetti?

I hope that you have good things happening – safe and secure things, and also new and adventurous things.

If you think back to the last time your day didn’t go as planned, you probably don’t have to look back very far. But some of our best memories are due to unexpected happenings. You know, like when you are telling someone about your weekend and your story starts off with, “I had no idea that something like that could happen… you can’t make that stuff up… it was so strange, so serendipitous…the timing was uncanny!”

Do you have any recent stories like that?

It seems that every spontaneous event creates opportunity for troubleshooting, problem solving, or duck-and-covering… and there are so many different ways of handling such surprises.

Take the calendar, for example. Sometimes I look at all the little squares full of tasks, events, expectations, and I’m glad that I wrote in pencil and that I have a good eraser. Appointments get moved, events get cancelled, weather happens.

Last week at this time, Frank and I were on a walk at our campground in Marana, AZ. While we were exploring, we discovered a campsite two miles away from our 1st camp that made a lot more sense for us. The scenery, especially, was shockingly beautiful, perfect for Frank’s photography. (Please pardon this wide angle shot I took from my iPhone... the saguaros weren't really leaning like that).

We moved to this new site that afternoon and were happily situated. We had everything we needed in order to stay there for at least 4 more days, and planned to take a trip into Marana to do laundry, and pick up some more water on Thursday or Friday.

Our calendar indicated that we needed to be in El Dorado County, CA, on the 8th of March. We figured that it would take a couple of days to get there, so we planned to leave on Sunday, the 5th, (which happens to be today), and make our way up.

At this point in our truck-camping career, we have yet to tackle the issue of keeping dry on a rainy night when getting in and out of our bed in the back of the truck. This is a solvable problem, we just haven’t had space and time to work on it. We’ll need a couple of dry days (with all of our tools) to make some modifications to the truck, and all will be well-er.

Meanwhile, we’ve been fortunate throughout our adventure. Though the temperatures have dipped well below comfortable, the rains have been light. And technology has been helpful. We check the weather several times a day so that we’re as prepared as possible. We try to keep from having unnecessary obstacles, we try to avoid setting ourselves up to fail, we do our best to make good and safe decisions. But weather will be what weather will be. And, as you know, weather has been quite something so far this year.

As we checked Wunderground (a weather app) and road conditions on Monday morning, February 27th, we realized that we were facing a real conundrum. Though the forecast was favorable for where we were in Marana, AZ, snowstorms, heavy rain and high wind events, along with temperatures in the low 20s and high teens, were ahead of us on our travels up to El Dorado County, (remember our commitment to be there on March 8th).

Initially, we had hoped to camp our way up from AZ to CA but swiftly realized that the freezing, stormy weather would mean that we would be staying in hotels. To complicate things, the main highways were already closed due to major weather events. Travel would be tricky.

But, there was a window… weather was expected to clear 2/28, 3/1, 3/2, (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday). We studied the map and determined the best route, gambling that by Thursday or Friday, Highway 80 would open and allow us to get through to El Dorado County, CA, from Nevada.

So, we left our campsite in Marana on Tuesday, February 28th and drove up to Kingman, AZ, surrendering to the fact that we would need to do a major weather-proofing on the truck before we could camp in winter-storm-blizzard-conditions.

On the way to Kingman, we stopped at Sunset so that Frank could get some shots of high desert beauty!

We arrived at our hotel room in Kingman that evening and were glad to be indoors. Icy wind gusted the whole night.

An unexpected morning breakfast memory maker: The waitress told us that the pancakes are the real deal. Sadly, we will never forget them.

Our next stop would be Beatty, NV, with more beautiful photo opportunities along the way. This was Las Vegas on March 1st, 2023.

Blizzard conditions and high winds were forecasted for overnight and the blizzard began as we ducked into our hotel room that evening in Beatty, NV. Our hotel, the Death Valley Inn, was great: clean and warm! By morning, the sun was out and the wind was all that was left of the storm. We ate a quick, complimentary, continental breakfast and headed toward Fernley, hoping that we were right about Highway 80 opening soon.

On our way out of Beatty, we passed by at least 6 overturned big-rigs and camper-trailers. Emergency crews were still on scene at a few of the situations... it looked like a couple of the trucks had been flipped as recently as that morning. The wind was gusting and, in that particular corridor, the conditions must have been horrific the night before.

Snow was beginning to build in drifts along the road as we stopped off in Goldfield on our way to Fernley, NV.

Frank braved the 23• morning wind and took his camera out on a walk, through town. As he approached the main road, he ran into a Goldfield resident, Sharon Artlip, a local store owner who invited us in to take a look around her shop. Meeting Sharon was a pleasant unexpected happening and I’m glad to tell you about it. This is the outside of her shop, which is not usually covered in snow.


How do I begin to describe what Sharon does? Here is a pic of her business card:

Sharon is incredibly knowledgeable about the history of Goldfield, NV, and has compiled, edited, and produced a library of books and pamphlets about Goldfield. She has quite a collection for sale in her store.

I purchased her book, Domestic Economy, “An Illustrated Journal of Mining, Popular Science and Progressive Industry” Recipes from the Mining and Scientific Press Between the years 1865 to 1874. Complied and Edited by: S. Sirnes Artlip

I’m looking forward to trying some of the recipes and food processes described in the book, specifically, how to make “Unfailing Sponge-Cake,” and “The Perfect Apple Pie.” The descriptions in the compilation are a reminder of how things used to be, as evident on page 114, How to Cook Potatoes, “...They should not be allowed in the pen oven the moment after ‘done,’ there to shrink, as if protesting against delay; neither to be sent to the table to wait five or ten minutes the movements of some tardy husband and children...” Oh, my.

Sharon is a Heating and Air Conditioning expert, an electrician, and is a huge proponent of alternative energy. She produces compilations of historical literature that substantiate the early (1800s) inventions in technology, and the importance of such things as Wave Motors.


Another amazing thing about Sharon is that she has a lifetime of involvement in Search and Rescue. Inside the cover of her books, she always places the following:

Sharon treated us to a tour of her gem shop and told us all about what not to miss the next time we visit Goldfield such as: The International Car Forest, the Gem Field, the cemetery… though she recommended that we wait until the snow has thawed to visit those sites.

We’re so glad that we had a chance to spend some time with Sharon. She’s one of those people that inspires others to learn along with her every day. I hope that you'll stop in to visit her shop if you’re ever in Goldfield, NV.

We said goodbye to Sharon and learned that highway 80 had opened! Yay! And besides seeing many beautiful sites along the way, like snow in the desert, (see opening photo of snow-covered Joshua Tree in the desert between Beatty and Fernley, NV), our evening in Fernley was uneventful.


I will recommend the Best Western Hotel in Fernley, if you need a place to stay for the night, it is a lovely and clean choice.

We left early the next morning and made it to the very snowy El Dorado County in the early afternoon. The road was clear enough, the drive was picturesque, (as always, Thanks, Frank, for driving)… and now we’re safe and sound at our house/dog sitting home in El Dorado County, with Miss B.


Where's the ball?

There it is!


We made our commitment, (albeit nearly a week early), in-between storms; now we’re here to stay with Miss B for a while, whatever the weather, currently surrounded by snow … and we’re very grateful - for it all!

Please know that you are in my Thanksgivings every day. When you have some time, please let me know how YOU are doing.

Gently Be,



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