Health, Fitness & Fashion

    Camelback Scamble

    Chapter Four - #totheCamino


    To make it official, I’ve created a new hashtag #totheCamino to mark the beginning of our training. Ten months from now it is our goal to hike the 500 mile Camino de Santiago in Spain. Our training has begun here in Arizona.

    Arne mentioned the Camino as a bucket list item about three years ago. We started to look into the idea and from this first little idea sprung the life changing goal to travel around the world. Out of IMG_6816
    that first conversation about tackling this monumental hike came all the changes – retirement, selling our house and everything we own, and beginning the grand adventure. It all started when Arne said “we should hike the Camino de Santiago”.

    And we will. Our plan now is to begin in mid IMG_6805September 2017. We will allow six weeks. We will work hard to be in great shape and are hopeful we can do the entire thing. But if we can’t we will do as much as we can.

    Today we did the Camelback Scramble in Scottsdale. It was short but very steep and hard. The Camino will not be a hands and knees scramble, but today was still good training. Hard on the manicure but rewarding in the end.IMG_6812

    And so it begins – the grand adventure – the bucket list goal – making it happen while we are healthy and in our fabulous fifties. #totheCamino

    Family and Friends

    Betty’s Big Adventure

    Chapter Four - Day 37


    We have been in the Scottsdale Arizona area for the past two days thoroughly enjoying the weather and dessert scenery at McDowell Mountain Regional Park.

    I’d say this camp area is one of my favorites of the entire trip – right up there with the Grand Canyon and Lake Superior Provincial Park.

    I love hearing the coyote chorus during the night and honestly did you ever see so many stars in the sky? Amazing.IMG_6768

    But that said we are going to take a four-day break from Betty and enjoy a condo in Old Town Scottsdale. A full size bed, laundry, air conditioning and a toilet I don’t have to walk 30 yards to will be a nice break. For a while.

    I’m lucky to know a lot of people in this area and IMG_6766have already enjoyed lunch with some Gig Harbor friends and dinner with many high school friends and have plans all weekend with many other friends – including attending today’s WSU vs ASU game at Sun Devil Stadium.

    Last night we gathered with 20 people at the lovely Valley Ho hotel in Old Town Scottsdale.  It was by far the most people I have been around in ages.  Arne and I spend days and days not really IMG_6724interacting with anyone but each other.  We are comfortable with that.  But it’s also really nice to socialize with others.  It felt really good to just belly laugh last night with people I have known nearly my entire laugh.  What a wonderful thing.IMG_6732

    Arne and I think this area is a real possibility as a future residence so taking this week to get to know Arizona a little better is a great opportunity. And then we will be back on Route 66 next week – moving on down the Mother Road – Getting our Kicks on into California. But for now , the pool is calling…

    Health, Fitness & Fashion

    Thing That Are Grand

    Chapter Four - The Grand Adventure


    Things that are Grand –

    The Grand Adventure

     The Grand Canyon.

    Things that are Grand

    Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich when you’ve hiked down 3000 feet

    Cold beer when you hike back up

    Things that are Grand

    Hot Coffee on a cold clear morning

    Warm Scotch around the bon fire at night

    Things that are Grand

    A billion stars in the black night sky

    The sunrise through the trees

    Things that are GrandIMG_6668

    A blind woman with her guide dog hiking into the canyon

    Not a sound to be heard except the whooshing of the ravens wings

    Things that are Grand

    Reading the chapters of the Earths story as you descend into the crater, each layer a mystery

    Not getting into the car for three days

    Things that are Grand

    A hot shower

    Wool socks in bedIMG_6695

    Things that are Grand

    Fully enjoying our final days with Betty before we put the For Sale sign in the window

    No cell service

    Things that are Grand

    Pushing your body beyond what you think it can do

    Your  husband saying he is proud of you

    Things that are Grand

    The Grand Canyon

    The Grand Adventure


    And All the Rest

    Arizona Hey Won’tcha Go My Way

    Chapter Four


    We are leaving Route 66 for a bit while we are in Arizona. Don’t worry!  We will be back. But today we divert up to the Grand Canyon.

    This will be my third visit to the Grand Canyon, but not my last. Because hiking to the bottom and staying at Phantom Ranch will stay on the bucket list. Unfortunately I was not able to get a reservation to do that on this trip. I tried but…

    For the next three days we will be “roughing” it at a campground inside the National Park that does not have power. And the nighttime lows are supposed to

    It was very windy at Meteor Crater

    It was very windy at Meteor Crater

    be dropping into the 20’s. Brrrrr. If it’s miserable we won’t stay – we are flexible! Before we leave Flagstaff today we are gonna swing into Wally Mart and buy some sweatpants to sleep in!

    I don’t know if I will have cell service either. Might be a nice break from all the garbage on Facebook

    Old Town Flagstaff

    Old Town Flagstaff

    right now. Maybe we should just stay out of cell range until November 9th…

    But after the Grand Canyon we have reservations in Scottsdale where it should be sunny and warm. I’m looking forward to a reunion there with friends and

    The cool "Ghost Town" of Two Guns

    The cool “Ghost Town” of Two Guns

    some time by the pool. And hopefully morning runs again as this past week we have not run at all since we have been moving everyday.

    So it’s Arizona for the next nine days and then back to the Mother Road to the end. So much to see and do in this beautiful and fascinating state – hey wontcha Go my way?

    Travel Around the World

    Midway Route 66

    Chapter Four - Adrian Texas


    Yesterday marked one month on the road and we rolled on past 6000 miles.  I was thinking about Saskatchewan. It seems like a lifetime ago.

    But today we mark another milestone – the midway point on Route 66. Adrian Texas marks the middle at 1139 miles.

    I am enjoying this drive tremendously – even though I once again wish we had more time. Driving on Route 66 our speed is rarely more than 45 mph. The parts of the original road or the second generation road that is still accessible is usually narrow and IMG_6174rough. But oh so fascinating.

    Often the road parallels the freeway. But not always. Long stretches of the road are straight, especially through Oklahoma and Texas. But other stretches IMG_6162are winding and rolling like in Missouri. Much of the road – both the driveable parts and the non-driveable parts are the original Portland concrete. It’s interesting when paralleling the interstate Route 66 is rolling up and down while the freeway has been filled in to be a constant grade.

    We were moving along on the original road today in the Texas panhandle when suddenly Route 66 IMG_6205turned to gravel. That was a surprise. This was the Jericho Gap. Famous for historically swallowing cars in the mud. Lucky for us it was dry.

    We’ve lost the road a couple of times, although the small brown historic way-finding signs are numerous and helpful. Until we got to Texas and they disappeared altogether. We got really lost in Tulsa because multiple versions of the old road crisscross the downtown.IMG_6014

    The maps I ordered online have been helpful in keeping us on or as close to the original “mother road” as possible.  And best of all the maps guide us to cool sites of importance from the old days: service stations, motels, diners. For the most part these cool sites are no longer operational. A few are. And a few have been restored by the Route 66 National Historical Association. Others are dilapidated and ghostlike – in fact some towns like Texola Oklahoma are entire ghost towns – lost in time after Interstate 40 went through. Just like in the movie “Cars”.IMG_6187

    I love old stuff.  I fully admit I have an active imagination and always have.  It’s one of the reasons I enjoy creative writing.  My imagination is on overdrive out here.  I imagine the thousands – probably millions – of people who have driven this road before me.  Of course I think about the Joad family and all those real people like them. I imagine post war convertibles, with a blonde woman her hair covered with a scarf sitting next to her husband who wears a driving cap. My mind thinks about a family in a station wagon, not unlike my own family in the 1960’s, on a summer vacation.  Perhaps heading west to the Grand Canyon or Disneyland.IMG_5821

    And then I think about the towns and the people who are the towns.  The lucky ones whose livelihood came from the road bringing guests into their community and their businesses. And then I think of the others whose world was shattered when the interstate killed their town and their dreams.

    As children we learned about Lewis and Clark, the Oregon Trail and manifest destiny.  To me the history I am driving on is just as important.  An IMG_5718important piece of American history – not just an icon or a piece of Americana but a significant part of the building of the America we know today – the development of cars, roads, technology, commerce

    I admire it, revere it, cherish it for it’s importance while my imagination embraces it and feels it and all those who have come before me.



    Travel Around the World

    Filling in the Donut Hole

    Chapter Four - OKLAHOMA


    If you’ve been a reader of My Fab Fifties Life for awhile you probably remember when I wrote about The Donut Hole of my life – Oklahoma.

    Feel free to read that blog again (link here) but basically Oklahoma has been the one hold out state that has eluded me all these years.

    Until today.

    Check! Today I can proudly claim that not only have I visited Oklahoma, I’ve visited all 50 states.image

    Accomplishing this, on Route 66, with pink Betty and my best friend and husband is a Fab Fifty moment to remember!  Worth stopping the car and being silly on the side of the road.

    Because it will never happen again. Oklahoma is fabulous!

    Go. Be. Fabulous!

    Family and Friends

    My Sixth Grade Memories

    Chapter Four - My 12 Year Old Self


    (Note- featured photo, my sixth grade class, Haddon Elementary 1972 Bremerton Washington.  Me to the right of the teacher)

    I’ve been delighted at the response I’ve received from people I know when I have told them we were going to swing through Arkansas on this road trip to visit my 6th grade teacher.

    My sixth grade teacher from 1971-1972.

    A long time ago, but not so long ago in my memory. Just yesterday.

    Everyone who hears this is first of all pleased but secondly fascinated that I am in touch with my sixth grade teacher.

    The miracle of Facebook.


    Some of my friends from sixth grade – many of them I am friends with today through Facebook.

    When you look back on your life there are periods that stand out more than others.  Luckily for me I have very few bad memories, mostly good ones – and 1971-72 is one of my fondest.  My sixth grade year. My favorite grade school teacher. All my friends together in the class.


    Getting together with grade school friends a few years ago.

    I often watch little girls today at that tender age of eleven going on seventeen going on thirty.  It’s sentimental to me.  Still children but on the edge of adulthood.  Still innocent, but pushing the boundaries.  I remember sixth grade like this.  So in the moment. No worries or cares. Full of joy, friendship, laughter, fun.  Full of hope and excitement.


    Having lunch with our sixth grade teacher Mr. Ragsdale a few years ago in Tacoma.

    I moved the summer after my sixth grade year to a new school district.  It took about a year but I eventually found my niche and enjoyed my junior high and high school years.

    But sixth grade is forever emblazoned on my brain.

    I remember the movie “Love Story”, The Osmonds and the Jackson Five.  I remember Mark Spitz and the terrorist at the Munich Olympics.  I remember Don McLean’s “American Pie”, Girl Scouts and The Brady Bunch. I remember Herbal Essence Shampoo and bell bottoms.


    Spending time with Ron & JoAnne Ragsdale this week in Arkansas

    And through all of these memories is the central figure of my sixth grade teacher’s kind and caring face.  His smile and patience and support not just for me at this launching point in my life but for each student in the class.

    And that is why we took a detour off of Route 66 the past few days to come to Arkansas and see him and his wife in this beautiful area they have retired to.

    Because it mattered.  And the memories remain. That year.  The year I grew up.