Sunday, January 31, 2016

Hellooooo Sunshine!

In the last riveting episode of High Altitude Gardening... I was bragging up the fact that I'd rented out my home to vacationing snow lovers. (I live in a ski resort.)

I, in turn, rented a desert oasis in Cave Creek, Arizona, and I was champing at the bit to say good-bye to all that.

"That" being the cold and the snow and the boots and the gloves.. not to mention the trudging, relentlessly, through deep drifts to exercise my rambunctious little puppy, aka the energizer bunny.

We went from this ->

To this! In the span of two days.

But... before that...!!!

I worked my proverbial fingers to the bone, preparing to vacate my home sweet home. It's easy to rent the place. Not so easy getting it in tip top shape for the renters.

We painted kitchen cupboards, stained 14 wooden doors. Made sure to hide the valuables! Oh, wait a minute, I don't have any valuables... tried desperately to organize and decorate in a way that would make me happy, and visitors feel at home... once they arrived.

Then I tossed everything into the car 
~ including the cat ~ 
He's valuable. (Sort of.)
And off we went!
Charlie, consoling Pete the cat, on his first ever road trip.
It's slow going because there's no direct route, or happy interstate, between here and there. Though, the scenery is quite spectacular. And, it makes you kind of giddy ~ watching winter slip-sliding away, with every mile you drive.

My route takes us over the Navajo Bridge, and past the north rim of the Grand Canyon. (Not necessarily in that order. )

I can't begin to tally up the number of times I've gotten pretty darn close to the Grand Canyon. And, it's always closed. :) Because I'm always traveling south in winter.

'Round about sunset, on this 55 mph single lane highway... you reach the last bastion of civilization. Or, so they say.

Kanab, Utah is the film location for lots of movies, including Raiders of the Lost Ark.
'Tis here, in Kanab, Utah, 4 whole miles from the Arizona border... that everyone feels obligated to grab an over-priced hotel room vs. braving the unknown on the other side of that last, big mountain.

There's better digs an hour farther south. Here's a photo of my lovely hotel room at the Cameron Trading Post. I've been here many times, too. I absolutely love this Navajo decor.

Cameron Lodge is a sweet little spot in the middle of freaking nowhere:
Road Tripping with the Kids.
The following afternoon, we arrived in the land of perpetual summer. Cave Creek, Arizona - a far north village, in the sprawl that is called Greater Phoenix.

And, I checked into my rental home for the month of February:

Be still my heart! My vrbo rental has an orange tree in the backyard!
Cave Creek is a well-established horse town. You know how they have those golfing communities? Well this, here, is a horsie community.

You can go anywhere on horse back, including riding your pony down main street, tying said horse to one of the many hitching posts, reminiscent of those wild west, Gun Smoke days, and grab yourself some lunch!

How cool is that?!?

* This 'Running Away for the Winter' is an experiment for me to see what life would be like living some place else for part of each winter.

On the right, Ms. Gracie Girl!
** I didn't bring a horse. But, horse folk stick together. I found friends with horses the moment I arrived and this pretty lady, on the right, is my loaner horse, Gracie Girl.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Peaks and Valleys

Fab House ~ Perfect Location!
That's how I listed it on Airbnb.

Ask anyone who knows me ~ in the real world ~ and they would probably say: Well, she’s had a pretty tough year. (Haven't really gotten into most of it on the blog.)

The chilly view from my deck. That's a ski resort in the distance.

And, they’re right. With the loss of humans and pets overshadowing pretty much every highlight that came my way.

This gardener is in desperate need of... Perpetual Summer.

So, if it was such a rotten year... why am I so happy?

Well, for one thing, it’s over.

Isn’t that the beauty of a brand, new year? Clean slate. High hopes for happier days?

Superdog! Braving the elements.

Plus, there’s something hugely exhilarating about being homeless.

Uh huh. Homeless.

2015 Horse Highlight #1: Racing across the White Sands of New Mexico in April.

I could say that I don’t know what got into me but that’s not true. I know exactly what got into me.

The deep, deep desire to see this snow covered life o' mine disappearing in the rearview mirror. 

If only for a little while… 

As a freelancer, I can work from anywhere. All I need is a high speed internet connection.

So, I started shopping around on Airbnb (vacation rentals by owner website) for a nice warm spot in Arizona - where I could escape the cold and snow for the month of February.

I was a bit flabbergasted at how much they wanted for a crappy apartment. Me, being on a budget and all.

Neighbor, Sandy, is delighted that I'm leaving. She gets all of my flowering plants!

But, then it hit me.

Wait a second... I’m doing this all wrong! 

If THEY can rent their houses temporarily, why can’t I?

2015 Horse Highlight #2: Riding Monument Valley with our Navajo Guide. (That's me in the middle.)

So, last Sunday - on a whim - I took 3 photos of the house and posted them on Airbnb. I didn't show the bedrooms because I hadn't made the bed!

2015 Horse Highlight #3: A trip to the Faerie Forest, High Uintas. (Gotta love those spotted Appaloosas!)

I just wanted to see what would happen. Got my first booking in less than an hour. Two days later,  I had rented it for the entire month of February! Which pays for my rental in Arizona, with a wee bit left over for fun in the sun.

Can you believe it?
I’m outta here!
Arizona here we come! :)

Here's hoping you all had a bright & merry holiday season!