Slow Travel: Freedom To Roam – Or Not

Sangre de Christo Mts. Colorado

Change of plans. My son’s grandma is dying. Quickly. We are finishing out the winter in Colorado, after all. Minimizing our life into a 28 ft. RV and a 14 ft. vintage trailer has given us the freedom to be able to be here with her and grandpa. Slow travel means we can stay here as long as needed and postpone our planned trip to Texas until fall or whenever. Our income does not depend on us being in a certain place at a certain time.

Yak and ma at Gator Farm 

Homeschooling/roadschooling means Yak is not tied to someone else’s schedule or agenda. He does his assignments when he chooses, as long as he gets them done. If he doesn’t, he knows he will be doing them before anything else, the next day. This frees him up to explore the grandparents’ homestead and visit with his aunts, uncles, cousins and older brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, as they filter in and out, paying their last visits to grandma. Now that the weather is warming up, we are also able to explore more of the local area – field trips for Yak; caregiver breaks for his dad. Who would ever look for sand dunes (Great SandDunes National Park) or an alligator farm (Colorado Gators) in the Rocky Mountain State?

Yak and pa at Sand Dunes

Slow travel allows us to find community in the local Catholic Church. The ladies of the Catholic Mothers Society come over to pray the rosary with the grands a couple of days a week. This gives them great joy. To see the smile on grandpa’s face with his family and friends praying around him, the peace in grandma’s eyes and her joy at having her friends come to see her is a great relief to the brothers and sisters who are staying on to care for their parents. The parish priest sends Holy Eucharist home for the grands with whichever son or daughter makes it to 8a.m. Mass; sometimes he brings it in person.

 

Pretty Ms. Susie, soaking up the sun

Not having to confine our travels to 2 or 3 weeks out of the year and the odd weekend, we don’t have the stress of trying to see everything as fast as we can. Living tiny forces us to reduce the clutter in our lives. Cooking and cleaning are done quickly. There is more time to play music, walk the dogs, and laugh at the cat trying to catch the laser pointer. With no set time for getting up or going to bed, we can stay up late to stargaze and sleep in the next day. Or we can get up to enjoy the sunrise and get back in our jammies right after supper.

We are most blessed to be able to be available to our families when they need us.

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The Organic Peddler, Del Norte, Colorado

Weeks of repairs, packing, repacking, driving, caregiving and settling in to a new routine will wear anyone down.. We decided it was time for a day trip. So we piggy-backed a little bit of fun onto a trip to pick up the central heating unit for the RV from the awesome repair lady, Debra at Holiday RV in South Fork, Colorado.

About 60 miles away from our current home base is the town of Del Norte, Colorado. It was early enough that we took the scenic route on the way, picking up State Highway 15 and winding through farms, ranches, homesteads, and the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge, nestled at the base of the Sangre de Christo and San Juan Mountains. The road turned to dirt for a few miles, but we traversed it with ease, as the lack of recent snow and the abundance of sun had dried it out nicely. Around Monte Vista, we picked up Highway 160 and took that the rest of the way to Del Norte. We passed some huge cattle ranches and one charming group of horses, sharing their feeder with a very fat little burro.

We had several targets on our list. The first – a dairy farm where I hoped to get some raw milk, looked deserted, so we passed on. Our next stop made the whole trip worthwhile. Colorado, strangely, considering the amount of farms here, has a dearth of organic products in the grocery stores. Big cities like Denver, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins have their Sprouts and Whole foods markets, but the nearest to us is 120 miles away in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In spring, there might be local produce stands, but until then? I’ve been soaking and scrubbing the produce in a vinegar solution and eating oatmeal.

So The Organic Peddler was a great find! I was delighted with the large selection of organic coffees, teas, spices and fresh produce. I was hoping for more bulk grains, as I have not had my fresh, homemade bread for awhile. I’ll call ahead, when I get ready to tackle baking in the RV or trailer oven, and make sure I can get enough flour for a couple months. The savory aromas wafting in from the attached cafe were so inviting that we had to go in and have a little lunch. Besides, it was a warm escape from the 20 degree temps outside. 

The Peace of Art Cafe, built with cordwood and recycled bottles, serves a tasty portobello burger, homemade shakes and custom burritos, all made with organic, local ingredients when possible. Entrees range from $5.95 to $11.95 and an Espresso Bar and Juice and Smoothie Bar are also on site. There is so much more to The Organic Peddler that I have to recommend their website. Dine outdoors in the summer, then take a liesurely stroll along the dog walk/sanctuary by a small creek. The Great Divide Bicycle Route also passes by here.

Last on our list, was to check out the honey farm. Haefeli’s Honey has a large store right downtown in Del Norte. Run by 5th generation beekeepers, I found their prices to be quite competitive, the availability of raw honey, a definite plus. Bee pollen, which I take regularly for its “bee” vitamins, is also available for a decent price. I found the price of their beeswax to be fair, as it is already cleaned (I currently clean my own). 

The result of our outing was a renewed sense of calm, a day of fun and found organic and raw honey resources. The change of scenery was pretty nice, too.


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