Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Crazy Unpredictable Weather

As you all know the Traveling Hillbilly loves the Land of Enchantment. A lot of people think of New Mexico as just desert, but it's so much more than that. It has so much to offer and I especially love being in the mountains of New Mexico. The higher elevation keeps the temperatures much cooler than many other parts of the state.  I mean here it is August and the morning temperatures can be in the 50s! Almost every morning we wake up to beautiful blue skies and within the hour, the sky is shrouded in dark clouds and a thunderstorm  might move through, we might have hail, or we don't even get rain and in another hour, we are back to startlingly blue skies.  It's really crazy and unpredictable.
View of the ski mountain under a clear blue sky
 ski mountain,shrouded in a rain cloud, 10 min later

In the two weeks I've been here, we've had temperatures in the 50s up to the high 80s. We've had beautiful days with clear blue skies, we've had hail, we've had thunderstorms, we've had fog roll in and you half expect it to start snowing! Sometimes, all this happens in the same day, or even in the span of a few hours. It really is crazy, but the Traveling Hillbilly loves it!

I am certainly not missing the humidity of the south.
360 view from blue skies to thunderclouds
I'm hoping to stay here with this crazy unpredictable weather until the fall weather hits the south.

Nature's Gym

During this extended time-off, I'm trying to get back into a morning work out routine. I used to ride my bike to the YMCA in the mornings for a work out before heading in to work. Then I moved, started a new job. The new job requried me to be at work an hour earlier than my previous job and it was often still dark when I left the house for work, so the morning work out routine fell by the way side.

But now I'm in these beatiful mountains where the sun rises just after 6am and most mornings the Traveling Hillbilly is waking up to clear, bright blue skies. It's hard not to be motivated to jump out of bed and get the day going. Plus the temperature is nice in cool early in the morning, making it beautiful weather for a morning walk or even yoga on the deck.

When this is your gym, how can you not want to work out?

Monday, August 12, 2019

More food? Time to Cook our Own Meal

How could we possibly eat another bite?  But it was time for our cooking class at Casa Jacaranda.   We met up with our chefs, Beto and Jorge at the Mercado Medellin to discuss our menu and buy ingredients.  After we aligned on the menu, Beto shopped while Jorge gave us a tour of the market.

After about 90 minutes at the market, it was time to head to the kitchen and start cooking.   
We made tortillas, mole, empanadas and a couple varieties of salsa all from scratch.   After a couple hours of chopping, sauteing, mashing and mixing, it was time to enjoy the results of our efforts.   Jorge made us delicious cocktails to enjoy with our food.

Just when we thought we were done, we were told to head upstairs, where there was a lovely rooftop deck set up for lunch.  It was time to enjoy our mole.  But apparently we had all forgotten about the empanadas we made.
What a great time we had!  We all truly enjoyed the family style cooking.  It was an intimate group and Beto and Jorge felt like old friends.  The traveling hillbilly highly recommends this experience.

Perfect Life or Lazy Life?

Woke up shortly after the sun had risen and realized it was going to be a beautiful day.   I enjoyed the stunning view while letting the dogs out. 

Back inside and as the hounds ate their breakfast, I threw on some gym clothes.  Wanted to take the dogs for a morning walk while we still have the nice cool morning temperatures.    We headed to the path that loops around the golf course, figuring some of the mountain trails would still be too muddy from the recent rains.   After about a mile with the dogs, it was time to take them home and come back for another loop at a quicker pace.   With temperatures only in the high 60's, with limited humidity, it is perfect weather to get those daily steps in. 

Came back home to do some stretching with a little yoga on the deck, enjoying the nice cool breeze and of course the view.   The morning work out was followed by a nice bowl of fresh fruit. 

As I'm sitting on the deck eating my fruit, I'm thinking this is the perfect way to start the day.  The Traveling Hillbilly got a morning workout in, got to enjoy the beautiful surrounding scenery without feeling rushed and even had time to stop for a coffee.  Why can't every day start like this?  Why is it we only get to move at this pace when we are on vacation? 

Then I thought is this too self indulgent?   Should I be hopping out of bed and rushing to start my day?   Should I be crossing a bunch of things off my "to do" list?   I start to feel bad.  I start to wonder when should I stop enjoying this quiet time on the deck and start getting some work done?  What is the right balance between being productive and taking time to enjoy the beauty in the world?   It certainly doesn't seem that 2-3 weeks of vacation a year to enjoy this pace is the right balance.   But it would be hard to do this everyday without getting up at 4am.   We all work so hard and so much, we often don't have the time to stop and smell the roses, but we should.   And we shouldn't have to wait until we are retired to do so.

Wonder if there are people out there that have figured this out?   People that have, and take, the time to enjoy the beauty of life, while also working and being productive?   If so, the Traveling Hillbilly would love to know how they are accomplishing this balance on a daily basis.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Traveling with Hounds

Even though I had a very long journey, luckily I had two great road companions with me, my two crazy but sweet dogs.   These two are used to road trips by now and have probably traveled across the country more than most people have.   For the most part the  hounds slept on this long journey, only groggily waking when they felt the car slow down to stop for gas.   Once my  dogs feel the car start to  slow down, there's no going back.   They  know it's time to get out and stretch their legs.  They start getting quite antsy and vocal.   

For those of you who travel with your dogs, you know there is no such thing as a  "quick stop" with them.  They have to go for stroll, do their business, stroll some more, then get some water, say hi to any one who might happen by.   And they like to take their sweet time doing all this.    So every stop adds at least 15-20 minutes to the journey.   But I much prefer traveling with them than without.   

I will admit though, it's much easier and pleasant to travel with them  outside of summer.  Traveling with them this time of year, can be challenging due to the extreme heat in a lot of places.   I'm constantly worry they aren't staying  cool enough in the car when we are driving.  That worry grows significantly when we have to stop for breaks.   After they've done their business and are back in the car drinking water, I run quickly to take my own potty break and am always afraid they are going to get too hot in the few minutes I'm gone.   I much prefer traveling with them when it's cooler vs. when temps are 90+ degrees!

Almost 15 hours in the car...Ugh!

I did a major detour on the way to New Mexico.  I stopped to visit some family for a few days.   I knew it was going to be a long drive from there to New Mexico, but thought it was just under 14 hours.  Imagine my surprise, and disappointment, when I plugged the New Mexico address in to my Nav system and it showed three route options, with the quickest being over 16 hours!   The other two options were 18 and 19 hours .  Boy this detour had turned out to be bigger than I expected.  

Funny thing though, when I plugged the address into my phone on google maps, it was just 13 1/2 hours!   Now I prefer to use my car's navigation because cell service can be very spotty on these long drives across the country.  However, I decided to try and follow the cell navigation.   At this point, knocking even an hour off the drive would be great.   My goal was to arrive before it got dark.

I have to say, this was not the prettiest of drives.   Driving through Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas can be so desolate at times and doesn't always have the best scenery.

Toggling between the cell and car navigation, I was able to knock at least an hour off the original estimated travel time and arrived about 15 minutes before it got dark.  Whew, what a long day.

But now I get to wake up in my happy place to amazing views!