home, home on the road

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Today, home is where the deer and the antelope play. We finished packing and moving on Tuesday, closed the sale on the house Wednesday and are spending day one of our new life on the road at Yampa River State Park, near Steamboat Springs, Colorado. There will be posts about downsizing, saying goodbye and life on the road soon. Stay tuned for more Tales From the Empty Nest!

this nest is going mobile!

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The empty nest is hitting the road!

The empty nest is hitting the road!

“Someday we’re going to sell everything and travel around the country in our RV.” That’s what we’ve been saying for years, and now it’s finally coming true. In about three weeks, we will head out for a year of travel and adventure. I’ll be chronicling the journey on this blog, so stay tuned here and follow me on Twitter (@EmptyNestTales) and Facebook.

In the meantime, here are answers to some questions that are probably starting to form. Continue reading

campground review: Fort Collins–Poudre Canyon KOA

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 The view from the Fort Collins - Poudre Canyon KOA

The view from the Fort Collins – Poudre Canyon KOA

Why camp here? Location! The name says it all; the Fort Collins – Poudre Canyon KOA campground is located about 10 miles outside of Fort Collins, Colorado, and right across the road from the Cache la Poudre Scenic Byway. In our case, Fort Collins is about halfway between our kids, so it was the perfect meeting spot for a Mother’s Day family weekend. (Except for the major snowstorm, but that’s a different story.) Continue reading

because I said so, that’s why

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Perfect weather for camping on Mother's Day.

Perfect weather for camping on Mother’s Day.

If you don’t think God has a sense of humor, explain to me why the teenage years and the first years of the empty nest so often coincide with peri-menopause. Talk about ups and downs. Face it: You’re going to make some illogical decisions based purely on emotions. Accept it, forgive yourself and move on.

I’m still working on that “forgive yourself” thing for a recent mandate that I was going to spend Mother’s Day with my kids, no matter what. We live in the mountains on Colorado’s Western Slope. Our kids are in Denver and Laramie. To save them the long drive home since both had been here at spring break, I decided that we would take the RV to Fort Collins, which is about halfway in between them. We booked the campsite and started planning. Continue reading

winter weekend at the grand canyon 

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View from the South Rim at Grand Canyon National Park

View from the South Rim at Grand Canyon National Park

For the second year in a row, we found ourselves headed to Arizona on Valentine’s Day. Last year, we spent the long weekend in Scottsdale and Chandler. This year, we decided to spend the weekend at the Grand Canyon for several reasons. Scott had never been there before, and the last time I visited was in 1969. The forecast was calling for record-high temperatures. And, the icing on the cake, admission to the national park was free for the Presidents’ Day weekend.

Cruiser's Cafe 66 in Williams, Arizona

Cruiser’s Cafe 66 in Williams, Arizona

The reason for the trip was in Phoenix, so we had a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner there and then set out for the Grand Canyon the next morning. We took a quick detour to Williams, Ariz., to visit the Grand Canyon Brewing Company. Unfortunately, it was closed during the off-season, so we walked around the town a bit and decided we definitely want to come back and visit when everything is open.

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arizona road trip, part 2: exploring chandler

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Happy hour on the patio at El Zocalo in Chandler, Arizona.

Happy hour on the patio at El Zocalo in Chandler, Arizona.

After a romantic Valentine’s Day in Scottsdale, Arizona, we headed to Chandler for a couple of days. Historic downtown Chandler is a gastronomic delight; if you’re dieting, you should not go there. The artsy area is just a few blocks long, but it’s packed with restaurants, pubs and specialty shops. Our intention was to have lunch and do a little window-shopping. We liked it so much that we ended up spending a good portion of our weekend there.

Pretzels and beer at the SanTan Brewing Company.

Pretzels and beer at the SanTan Brewing Company.

SanTan Brewing Company was founded in 2007 and is based in a renovated 1954 bank building. There’s lots of seating inside and out, but it was still pretty busy when we got there. I had a Sun Spot Golden Ale, which was light and refreshing. Scott tried the Sex Panther, because who doesn’t want to try a beer called Sex Panther? It’s a double chocolate porter that’s only available in early spring.

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arizona road trip, part 1: glenwood springs to scottsdale

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Looking for John Wayne.

Looking for John Wayne in Monument Valley.

Our second major empty nest road trip took us from Glenwood Springs, Colorado, to Scottsdale and Chandler, Arizona, for a Valentine’s Day getaway. It’s a lot of miles to cover in a day, but the topography and scenery vary so much that the drive doesn’t seem to take that long. Especially if you’re the passenger.

It was cold and wintery when we left our home in Glenwood Springs and headed west through Rifle, Grand Junction and Fruita. Our first stop was in Moab, Utah, which is beautiful anytime of the year. On this day, the magnificent red rocks had a coating of snow against a brilliant blue sky. Continue reading

a few of my favorite things

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A snowy Christmas Eve at the Pine Creek Cookhouse.

A snowy Christmas Eve at the Pine Creek Cookhouse.

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love everything about it: the music, the movies, the decorations, the hustle and bustle, even the bell ringers. I love the spirituality and kindness that spread throughout families and communities as people come together to celebrate and to help each other. I love the traditions and the memories it brings up of holidays past.

In addition to raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, here are a few of my favorite things about the holidays: Continue reading