Hit a Bump

Posted January 20, 2020 – Narrated by Carmen
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Can’t slow down, not for the weather

   Won’t back down, I know it gets better

Too far now, if I can keep it together

   Won’t turn now for just a little

bump in the road

from Bump in the Road by Jonny Lang, from his grammy award album Turn Around

We’ve grown up since we began Living in Beauty.

From our first starry-eyed blog post in January 2016, we’ve learned that “home” is a concept that can mean anything from a ballgame, to a cooking style, to a place of origin or a military base and even a camping spot in a vineyard. We always kinda knew that, but it’s good to clear up any doubts.

Travel changes chihuahuas and their people – people for the better, chihuahua’s not so much.

From the universal chihuahua position where every incidence, encounter and object is a red-alert situation our security specialist, Pico de Gallo, has conditioned us to be responsive to All The Dangers, imminent or otherwise.

Well, he’s right. Life is a precarious situation.

Eventually, something’s gonna get us. So Pico keeps us ready for everything, except a nap.

When we began exercising our freedom to roam, we knew there would be bumps in the road, and we count on those unexpected set-backs, road blocks and detours to lead us somewhere amazing.

No matter what the road serves up, as long as we are traveling at our own pace then, at night, we can slip between the sheets of our comfy bed and thank the stars for a good day and look forward to the next.

But what we have not learned is how to keep our own pace even though we know precisely what that is. Jim’s 4-3-2 is the revolutionary theory for an active mobile lifestyle, but achieving it for more than a couple of months at a time is the challenge.

Our 2019 pace was so far off that we’re still feeling the G’s.

Weather, climate events, national holidays, social gatherings and seasonal campground closures top the list of the on-going disrupting forces that cracked the whip and collapsed our easy-going full-timing masterplan.

Around Thanksgiving, just before we completed The Cannonball Crawl, we thought we had mononucleosis. We weren’t exactly sick, but we felt whiny and lethargic. It took way too much caffeine to get our day going, and way too much ibuprofen to get through the day, and way too much cabernet to get to sleep.

We were pitiful.

All Jim wanted for Christmas was a shot of cortisone in his shoulder and all I wanted was for my teeth to stop hurting.

So, during our Thanksgiving break in Arizona, Jim booked appointments with the wonderful Dr. Laura Petrovich in Coronado – his new Medicare doc. After a thorough look-see, we were alerted to a bit of high-cholesterol and slightly elevated blood pressure – but nothing serious.

We came to the conclusion that we are just clinically pooped.

So, we made a pact to ease up on the eggs, eat more oatmeal, swear off caffeine again, take a cleansing break from alcohol and just slow down for some serious self-care.

But first, we had to accomplish the To Do List.

Then, Jim knocked off some important rig upgrades.

And then – just because we’re maniacs for self-punishment – we gave Beauty her bi-annual four-day spa-treatment complete with rejuvenating facial and mani-pedi.

Well, it was Christmas, so visiting with family and friends lightened the burden of those knuckle-gashing, knee scraping days and made a memorable San Diego holiday season.

On our last full day in San Diego, Dr. Audette at Town Center Dental Group in Chula Vista (where we’ve been happy patients for over thirty years) fitted me with Invisilign braces. Since childhood, I have resisted dentist’s pleas to straighten my teeth, but at last the cows came home and my stray teeth will be nicely stabled.

So, now we’re in therapy. Desert therapy.

Crooked plants help me to get my head on straight. There’s nothing like a good heart-to-heart with a creosote or manzanita to see the situation in a better light.

Truth is, we shouldn’t be here.

We’d planned to winter in Baja. We should be in Valle de Guadalupe right now. But, two days before we were to cross the border, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City contacted us with a dire warning of “heightened Middle-East tensions and security risks of U.S. citizens abroad.” They said we should “keep a low profile and stay alert in locations frequented by tourists.”

I cut my teeth on military chain-link, so the tone of this alert carried the weight of a certain chihuahua’s alarm – deadly sincere yet overzealous.

But, how are two very, very white people pulling a shiny silver Airstream supposed to “keep a low profile” when even Minnesotans give us double-takes? And, surely, as bloggers go, LIB would be small pickins for a retaliation project.

It was a tough call, but we packed our Mexico maps away for another winter and veered our rig toward more familiar SoCal digs.

But – due to this bad case of the mid-sixties – we’re kinda grateful.

From the beginning, we knew LIB would be an active lifestyle, but man we’re beat. As Scotty might say, “I’ve given her all she’s got Cap’n and I canna giver no more!” But we all know how the story goes … The lights begin to flicker, the languishing ship sputters signs of life as the impulse engines begin to hum and, at last, full warp.

Sure, quitting has crossed our minds.

Younger full-timers who reach this moment usually stop for a friggin’ break – and that’s great because most of them can start up again someday. But if we stop now chances are that our freedom to roam may not be possible in our future, even if health allows.

Anyway, something out there, maybe the collective unconscious, tells us to keep moving.

But walloped as we are, this bump in the road isn’t nearly as bad as the one we had thirty years ago when we were selling our house and business, moving and working new jobs, going to night school and having surgery and raising a homeschooled child all at the same time.

They say old age isn’t for sissies, but youth isn’t either.

We’re not stopping.

This is just a rough patch in our adaptation to mobile life. More seasoned full-timers might advise us to do the math and pull back on the throttle for those northern escapades. No need to quit. Just coast for a spell.

Whoa. There’s wisdom in that.

Our manifesto for 2020 is, Recalibrate: 4-3-2 or bust.

Meanwhile, we’re chill in this posh desert retreat where …

we throw a hummer party every day …

and mend our bones in the hot mineral springs where aches and pains melt like the orange creamsicle sun behind the mountains, and coyotes preen their pipes in a moonlight serenade, and Pico reminds us to heed All The Dangers.


Live long and prosper.

If you want to see our exact route, click here.

*photos in this post (unless otherwise noted) were taken and copyrighted by Living In Beauty.