adventure, Five Shots of..., five shots...., nature, photography

5 Shots: Kruger National Park, South Africa

According to Google, the Kruger is 7,523 mi²  and about the size of Israel, slightly smaller than Belgium, and about a third of the size of Ireland.

Baie Dankie (Buy a donkey=thank you) for our personal safari. Hosted by Hein, our Afrikaner son, and daughter Ronna, it will be unnecessary to visit a zoo anytime soon. No sightings of lions or rhinos, but plenty of other wild animals to ooh and aah over. Here are several shots of what we saw in the Kruger last week. Which one do you like best?

Blue Wildebeest
Impala
The extremely shy Wild Dog–Hein said this was a rare treat to see a pack of them.
Zebra
Zebra up close
Giraffe
Young Elephant
a herd of Elephants
Try zeroing on the leopard.
One of the Big Five–Cape Buffalo
Wazu, the Yellow-billed hornbill
a pair of Guinea fowl
Mama Baboon nurse feeding
We spent ten hours in the Kruger traversing many roads quite happy with all that we saw. It would take weeks to explore the whole area. Have you been?
2020s, adventure, nature, photography, travel, Virginia

Goodbye, Arizona

You might be aware that Jim and I have spent the last eight months preparing to cross the country by heading east to Virginia. My family prods me to make a post chronicling the adventure before we forget. Are we nuts? Some people think so. I can’t complain I’m bored!

September 2021. I daydreamed of living on a high hill overlooking a gorgeous view. For the past few years, we vaguely discussed returning to Virginia. Daughters and sons bore babies, four under the age of four. My son relocated to South Carolina, and his son is a toddler. Five grandsons. That’s the reason for moving back to the east coast. A new generation to watch grow up. Jim said to me, “Yes, let’s go.” So began our adventure.

October 2021. Taking advantage of the housing market, we sold our townhouse far above what we paid for it. In two days. Yes, crazy! Three estate sales later, ninety percent of our stuff was gone. I loved discovering what truly mattered to me. Donating/selling the clutter was like downing a detox drink. Clear and absolved, we tucked away our emotional treasures in a storage unit.

November 2021. The closing arrived a day before Thanksgiving. Where will we live until the end of my teaching contract? Jim happened upon an excellent 2003 Monarch Class A motor home. Should we pay cash for it and sell it at the end of May? Or, rent an apartment for several months? With a dog, that’s hard. Rent rates are astronomical here. We chose to purchase the motor home. We happened upon a great RV resort on a hill overlooking Sedona Red Rocks. An effortless solution.

December, January, and February. I needed a job before we could buy a house. How many times did we love a potential house only to give it up because I did not have a contract to prove I’d pay the mortgage? Researching towns. Researching areas. Shrinking the region of southern Virginia, until one day, I got a job offer at a high school in Lynchburg. I found a house on the edge of a neighboring town on a quiet cul-de-sac abutting a hilly cow field with the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding us.

Jim and I learned a lot about ourselves. We wanted acreage for a garden. We wanted trees and a view and a fireplace and a garage. After compromises, we bought a house with more square footage than we’re used to. It sits in the middle of half an acre. We’ll have to plant some trees and bushes and flowers. That’s fine by me. Jim gets his garden. I get the location at the edge of town with a view.

March 2022 We bought the house unseen! That’s crazy. We used live-time technology to walk around the grounds. We found a marvelous real estate agent, employed an inspector, and Jim’s son did the final walk-through making sure all was in order. Emotionally, it was painful to rely on others to ensure we were not buying a lemon. What about the town? The neighborhood? My mind was in Virginia while my body was carrying out the responsibilities of my workday. Split time is painful. Anticipation sucks. I kept my complaints to myself, for the most part.

Backyard view on top of the cow field courtesy of Jim.

It is not a fancy house. It is an affordable house that reminds me of my rural Illinois hometown. Bedford, Virginia is in the Southwest part of Virginia between the cities of Lynchburg and Roanoke (Virginia Tech University). I like it because the interior is redone with fresh paint, flooring, bathrooms, and windows. It’s waiting for our personal stamp. We bought a new fridge and washer and dryer. It makes me happy to enter my new home with the three appliances I use constantly. A house gift of sorts…

April 16. Supposed to have shoulder replacement surgery. The doctor canceled. I’ll have to take my bad shoulder with me.

April 28. Our four-year anniversary! I am grateful for Jim’s adventurous spirit and hard work ethic. How did you pack, store, unpack, arrange and make it all happen at age 72?

April 27. We sold the RV to a couple who saw our advertisement the day before. Yes, after one day, we sold the motor home 2k more than we bought it for. Crazy!

April 29. I moved into my daughter’s apartment (Vanessa and Milly) and slept on a blowup mattress. It was satisfying to discover we three girls had a harmonious time.

April 29. Jim escorted Ruby the golden retriever and the Uhaul while towing the VW Beetle. He set up the house while I completed the school year. Three weeks is my limit away from him. I don’t like being apart for that long. But, why make a mortgage payment and rent an RV lot?

May 27. It’s the girls’ turn to do the Rt. 40, 2,000-mile journey. Vanessa’s new job is the innkeeper at the Glass House Winery and B&B outside of Charlottesville. She starts on June 1st. I have a side job starting on June 1st, too, for a week grading AP history papers. We will leave Friday and arrive, we hope, by Monday evening.

Country roads take me home…

Stay tuned for new photos and posts after we settle in. Settle in? Did I tell you we’re going to South Africa on June 26? Jim’s daughter and family live by the Kruger National Park. Let’s go see the big 5!

Crazy? You bet.

2020s, adventure, family, Five Shots of..., five shots...., glamping, nature, photography, travel

Dear Friends,

Ruby on board at Sunroad Resort Marina, San Diego

Some summer breaks are uneventful for weeks at a time before an international trip happens. Weeks go by waiting for the big bang of adventure far, far away. Other summers, little trips happen–two days here, five days there–throughout the whole summer. This was my 2021 summer. You might recall a recent post at the beginning of June when Jim and I went to Cerritos Beach outside of Todos Santos, Mexico for a week. That was a great kick off to the summer.

Nothing eventful occurred until the end of June when I had rotator cup surgery which required three screws and nine sutures. Ouch.

Covid had kept our family members away from each other. A joy, then, to reunite with my daughter-in-law and grandson who stayed for a ten day visit. Whenever friends and family visit, we become tourists which is important. Seeing one’s neighborhood through the eyes of others is a perspective that keeps me grateful. Jim took his daughter on the Williams, AZ train to the Grand Canyon. We revisted Montezuma’s Castle, an ancient Anasazi monument in Camp Verde, AZ.

Ben and the Gene Autry Cowboy
Anna, Ben & Montezuma’s Castle

My son visited for a weekend. It had been a long time, so I tried something special and booked two nights at a Phoenix resort, so I could visit with my grandchildren and two sons at a fun location. We spent the days in the pool and had a blast.

My son, Paul, the accountant
San Diego skyline

Jim and I reconnected after the kids left, and we took Ruby with us to San Diego. We tried staying in a sailboat for a few nights at the harbor. What a fun glamping experience.

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

Atop a ridge overlooking San Diego on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other was a somber final resting place for veterans. It felt like visiting Arlington National Cemetery with manicured grounds and white marble headstones symetrically placed over many acres.

Ruby and Jim

Always ready to fish, Jim and Ruby spend the mornings in the ocean.

A Pacific Croaker
Inside the sailboat

It was pristine and quiet in the marina. Our boat was just right for two adults and a dog.

Ocean Beach, San Diego

After exploring several beaches on the coast, we headed back home to our Arizona desert. The water followed us as monsoons hit the Phoenix area with great force. Up north where we live, it has rained for days now. Our drought-suffering region needs it.

Crimped and tired, Ruby.

Now I’m done with summer adventures. The school year starts up on August 2. I did not write much in July. I’m hoping to spend the remaining week getting a chapter out of the way. Thinking kind thoughts of you all.

Love & Friendship,

Cindy