The adventures of Pioneer Girl travelling with enthusiastic Camper Barn Owl Guy

Started as a blog about my trip from Pittsburgh to California in a Ford Pickup, hauling a 30' refurbed trailer/camper. Ah, California Dreaming, 'n all that. Found that adventures can be long distance or in your own neighborhood... I look for my own twist on local sites, don't take the known for granted...and always find something new. It's easy, just open your eyes..

Monday, December 20, 2010

Beyond the Bottoms, there are Ferris Wheels??

McKees Rocks Bridge Ramps
Good afternoon, Pioneers! Saturday December 10, 2010

This morning, yours truly reported from The Bottoms in McKees Rocks, and Brunot Island in particular. Contrary to what the photo says...we did not STOP at all.   Further along in the day, GPS coordinates tracked us heading along West Carson Street,  crossing the West End Bridge, through  Allegheny West and into the North Side area of Pittsburgh located to the north of the Allegheny River and the Ohio River.  The North Side used to be known as the City of Allegheny and was annexed  by Pittsburgh in 1907 and became known as North Side. It is made up of a collection of neighborhoods and has seven hills, (Troy, Spring, Observatory, Monument, Seminary, Fineview, Mount Troy).   I never realized that before, and I had lived on Spring Hill for quite some time...just never counted.

Bethesda Church of God, North Charles St.
First stop  on this gloomy day was an errand to pick up some fresh rolls from Pittsburgh’s own, Breadworks, snuggled between North Charles and Brighton Road.  Breadworks fresh crusty breads and rolls can be found in many local stores and restaurants, but getting them fresh from the bakery is great.  Best to get there early before they sell out.  

But as I was exiting the bakery, fresh whole wheat raisin rolls on board, I spotted the Bethesda Church of God on North Charles Street, and jumped on this photo.  Quite an intriguing, somber-looking structure adjacent to the Charles Street Rowhouse Historic District (a small 25-house area that used to be known as Pleasant Valley.)

Buena Vista Street, North Side
The historic Mexican War Streets are located in central North Side.  I head down Buena Vista Street to see the beautifully preserved Victorian rowhouses.  The Mexican War Streets were named by General William Robinson, Jr. upon his return from the Mexican-American War in 1848 which annexed Texas and California.  I read that he was the first “non-indian” child born in the City of Allegheny. Feeling excited and patriotic, he named four streets after the war’s battles, and three streets after military leaders during the war.  Robinson later became mayor.   

Adjacent to the Mexican War Street area is Allegheny Commons, Pittsburgh’s oldest park, dating to 1867.  It was originally created to provide a “breathing” space in the City of Allegheny, which was dirty and sooty.   It’s a beautiful park, also known as West Park.  Today Lake Elizabeth, only three feet deep, offers kayaking with great views of Pittsburgh.  Hey, and no sooner did I start kayaking at North Park Lake, they closed it and drained the lake, so this year, I promise to kayak at Lake Elizabeth...and possibly hit the river.

Quite a few important and famous individuals lived on our North Side, including artist, Mary Cassatt , writers Willa Cather (a personal favorite) and Gertrude Stein.  Stephen Foster was born and raised here, where he wrote “My Old Kentucky Home."   And I was very excited to discover a connection to my previous blog about Brunot’s Island.  I discovered that Felix Brunot, the French doctor who owned Brunot’s Island, lived in a mansion on the North Side on Stockton Avenue and is said to have once been a station on the Underground Railroad, where fugitive slaves from the South stopped for food and shelter. 

And, heck, if it hadn't been for North Sider,  George Washington Gale Ferris who invented the, what else?....Ferris Wheel, poor Dan Weaver here would not have been impaled by an 8 ft, 3/4 inch thick iron bar which was dangling off of his ferris wheel in Ohio in 1978.  It exited his back just missing his spine, pinning him to the metal base like a butterfly on a board.  He looked over at his fellow workers and said "Hey, boys, time to get me outta here."  

They had to use a circular saw to release him and had to leave the iron bar in until they could get him into surgery at the hospital.  No mention of what childhood nightmares the children on board still suffer.

Yikes, this blog sure went somewhere I hadn't intended, but then again, I never know what Pioneer Girl will discover in her travels.  I try not to get too detail oriented, so there are probably significant details missing in the historic element,as I prefer skimming over a ton of information..  But in PG,  I try to keep my segments short and simple and try to wrap things up neatly.  

Keep the pioneer spirit, and peace on the highway...PGxoxo

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pioneer Girl: Bottoms Up, McKees Rocks...Saturday, December 11, ...

Bottoms Up, McKees Rocks...Correction: Sorry! Correction. As I was lying in bed last night, for some reason it popped into my head that I posted the McKees Rocks, Brunot's Island photo and said it was a pic of Pittsburgh skyline in the background...duh, I was so excited I guess. It's not the Pittsburgh skyline in the background at all. From the angle of where I shot the photo, the skyline in the background is Mt. Washington which overlooks Pittsburgh. Brunot's Island is blocking the view of Pittsburgh, but hey, the spot was not about Pittsburgh, right?! Sorry for the mistake, folks.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pioneer Girl: Bottoms Up, McKees Rocks...Saturday, December 11, ...

Pioneer Girl: Bottoms Up, McKees Rocks...Saturday, December 11, ...: "photo 12/11/2010 @ The Mounds Good morning, Pioneers… Today GPS coordinates tracked me down in McKees Rocks, PA, in a section calle..."

Bottoms Up, McKees Rocks...Saturday, December 11, 2010

photo 12/11/2010 @ The Mounds

Good morning, Pioneers…  Today GPS coordinates tracked me down in McKees Rocks, PA, in a section called The Bottoms on this beautiful early winter morning.  Although my mission is not clear, I leave that to fate, see what I see, and learn what I learn.  And I was not disappointed. Sometimes what I think is my mission, in the end is completely different, it unfolds as I go.

Pioneer spirit  drove me to explore The Bottoms as a historical site and, in particular the McKees Rocks Mounds.     Crossing the McKees Rocks Bridge, and exiting on Helen Street, we enter into an interesting mix of industry, row houses, tattoo shops, abandoned asphalt lots, and beautiful churches. This is quite a beautiful area.  Passing the “Bottoms Up” saloon, which has gone bottoms up, by the way, I find my way down Sproul Street to an area where the Chartiers Creek meets up with the Ohio River.  The Historical Marker tells the story in a nutshell, and I finally found it inside a playground and softball field called Roger’s Field.  But was this really today’s mission?

As I was following River Road, I could see  mysterious Brunot’s Island with a beautiful Pittsburgh skyline in the distance and I had to pull over to take this moody shot.  This 129 acre island is formed where the Ohio River splits briefly  before making it’s way back to join the Ohio again. It is owned by Reliant Electric now and home to some sort of power plant generating station and that is it.  There is only a railroad bridge and a walkway across the bridge for workers’ access to the island, there is no plumbing or drinking water.  That’s why it seems to mysterious, one can only view it from a distance unless you are a kayaker or boater.   But, I don’t know, maybe it’s better that way.  Herr’s Island is now home to condominiums and boat launches  tennis courts and walkways, maybe leaving this natural and mysterious is nicer instead of fully harnassing it.  There are actually deer and various other wildlife on the island.  People have said they have seen deer actually swimming (?), crossing the channel to the island. 

 I learned that In the early 1900’s there was a one-mile dirt oval race track on the island, wealthy industrial types raced horses there, and eventually cars but it was demolished in 1914..those were the days when there was a ferry that took people back and forth on the island.  It is named for Dr. Felix Brunot a French surgeon who practices in Pittsburgh during the American Revolution.  He bought the island for $2,800 in 1787.  Actually Meriwether Lewis of Lewis  and Clark famed, stopped at the island  (and that turned into a fiasco too long to indulge in) first on his way to St. Louis to pick up “Clark” to begin their frontier journey.   Ahh, so this is how I tie into my pioneer theme today, I knew it would work it’s way out.

This past summer, a fisherman came upon a badly decomposed woman’s body  at Brunot’s Island floating in the Ohio River.  She had no id on her, but was wearing a zippered sweater with the word “Freedom” on it, a “Citizens for Humanity”  jeans, and (among others) 2 tattoos with the words “God’s Child” on them.  She was later identified by her tattoos, a young 24-year old girl named Sidney from the North Side.  They never released what the cause of death was that I could find.  Rest in Peace, Sidney, I feel I passed your spirit today…  You could have been at the exact spot where I stopped for the moody lonely photo….your messages left behind on your corpse fascinate, for I too am a Freedom lover, a Citizen for Humanity, and Gods child, sister.
Well, that wraps up this pioneer segment….scout and I had a few other interesting sitings today, and as usual, I will have some fun reporting them.   This little trip definitely unfolded a little differently than I had anticipated, but this PG is always open to change and what the universe opens up..

More about McKees Rocks to come, but until then, peace on the highway, friends… Pioneer Girl xoxo

Monday, November 22, 2010

Apollo, PA is a Palindrome

November 21, 2010.  Greetings, fellow Pioneers.  Today's GPS coordinates find me in Apollo, PA located in Amstrong County, northeast of Pittsburgh in a former coal mining region  With scout as my guide, I traveled the 35 mile drive, north on Route 65 following the Allegheny River and across the Kittanning Bridge.   Apollo got it's name from the former mill and foundry located in the area named Apollo Iron & Steel.

As a side, the owner of the company, hired a firm to design a town for all of his employees, as a way to keep his non-union steel workers loyal and productive and that model town became known as Vandergrift.  That's a pretty interesting story in itself

But it's true, Apollo, PA is a palindrome....spelled the same frontwards and backwards!  Something new I learned on my little journey.

Nellie Bly
My next Pennsylvania Historical Marker was located on a narrow side street at 500 Terrace Place.  A marker  honoring the birthplace of fellow pioneer, Nellie Bly.  Born as Elizabeth Jane Cochran, she was an extraordinary, obstinate pioneer of investigative journalism.  It's been fascinating learning about her.  Given her first shot as an anonymous writer for the Pittsburgh Dispatch, she moved on to New York became a foremost writer of undercover reports. She took on the name Nellie Bly as her pen name (made famous by another Pittsburgher, Stephen Foster, in his song Nelly Bly.).  She was a pioneer of investigative journaling and also crusaded for social change.

Nellie's journalism focused on women's rights issues, exposed abuses in politics, employment practices, and negligent hospitals and prisons.  She actually went undercover as an insane woman to get  into a lunatic asylum and get the scoop first hand and exposing the terrible conditions.  And she was young at the time..eventually married a man who was 72 when she was 30, and retired for a while until his death.  Then she traveled abroad and became the first woman in WW1 to depict war news on the front.  Amazing...and here we have Diane Sawyer and many other women, and don't really give it another thought.   Nellie Bly, Nellie Bly, you go girl!

      "Nelly Bly, Nelly Bly....bring de broom along...we'll sweep de kitchen clean, 
       my dear, and hab a little song...." 
A pretty amazing woman.... oh, and as an a child, she had quite an unusual nickname in those days because of how her mother dressed her, instead of the drab grays and calico's, her mother dressed her for success in pink starched dresses, ......and she shared the nickname of a current "radical" pop star and fellow Pennsylvanian, Alecia Moore, also known as...


                                                                             but Nellie Bly was the first....
So, therein was my trip to Apollo, PA, the Palindrome of Western PA.

I saw a sign that read "Peace on the open road," so may your travels be peaceful.
......Pioneer Girl...xoxo

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bathtubs and Android

November 16, 2010. Today I decided to try something new and test out the Google Chrome button BLOG THIS! I'm not sure that I will be using it it or what for, but boy technology keeps getting more and more confusing to me. So today's Blog is brought to you by BLOG THIS.

Well, Pioneers, it's not live I've gone anywhere on a journey today, but my journey is learning to use my Android2 that I just got from Verizon. I'm torn, I loved my Blackberry, and had just gotten it down pat, set up exactly the way I wanted it, and could switch between applications with ease. But as my Blackberry was perched upon the side of my bathtub as I was awaiting a call from my landscaper, I accidentally brushed it into the tub. Yes Yes, I immediately retreived it, dried it, took out the battery, dried all posts in front of the heater vent. But that damn red button was a red as red could be.

Went to Verizon and asked if they could possibly have pity on a poor pioneer girl who dropped her cell phone in the bathtub, and they both shook their heads in unison...looked like a loud NO to me and since I have no insurance, I had to buy a new one. So decided I'd look at the Android. At the end of the half hour, I walked out with this new phone that has me so confused, i'm getting stressed out. Wondering if I should go back and exchange it for a Blackberry.

Will decide soon, .... PG xoxo

Monday, November 15, 2010

Harmony and WWII..and Mom

Greetings Pioneers!....Today, GPS coordinates track me in none-other-than Ambridge, Pennsylvania, which is about 20 miles downstream from the fork where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers meet  to form the mighty Ohio river.  Traveling west on PA Route 910, of which is part is the Orange Belt, and then the Red Belt at Sewickley Creek Road, I wend my way to work through a rural community passing by a Blue Herron Rookery, which is quite a sight to see in the Spring.  Although, I reside in this town about forty hours a week at my job as a lowly network administrator, sometimes I believe I need to open my yes and marvel at the history that was made right here where I stand.  So with pioneer spirit in mind, I take us to the historically famous Ambridge.

Way back before the town of Ambridge was formed, lots went on here!  A branch of the Iroquois tribe known as the Mingo's lived and thrived here under the  leadership of of  Tanacharison, who appears in history beginning in 1747.  He claimed his father was boiled and eaten by the French, but I think that may be a complicated, and distasteful story.

George Rapp House
And then in 1825, a religious community call the Harmony Society settled here at the site of Old Economy Village where they farmed, and  created quite a successful a village of commercial and industrial activity, and the faithful were given assurances that the Son of God would arrive in 1829 order to prepare them for the kingdom of heaven.  But that didn't happen, the place went into crisis, split up, and eventually the Harmony Society dissolved in 1905.

Long story short, but that is where I am today, at the Old Economy Village, which is under renovation right now.  The Village located at 14th and Church Streets, is being renovated right now, and so I was not able to tour the site, but it does offer an education  glimpse into the daily lives of the Harmonists, including blacksmithing, weaving, and there are about 80 Harmonist houses to view.  The village is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania. I was able to walk about, peer through fences and windows.... I love this stuff...

LST launching in Ambridge, PA
Closer to home, historically, in 1905 Ambridge was incorporated, and  got it's name from The American Bridge Company, which dominated the area for quite some time.  Thousands of immigrants came to work here. American Bridge was a pioneer in construction of river barges, leader in fabrication of suspension bridges, like the San Francisco-Oakland Bridge, also Empire State Building, Sears tower and 3Rivers Stadium and Civic Arena right here in Pittsburgh.  American Bridge built the LST (Landing Ship, Tanks) during WWII which was sort of like a "mother ship," carrying assault boats to places like Omaha Beach during the Normandy Invasion.   A lot of women came to work as welders and such during that time, when the men were off to war.  And the BEST FEMALE WELDER IN THE US, MY BEAUTIFUL MOTHER, came from Donora, PA to work as a welder at that time.  Coincidentally, right in the exact same location as I current work now.  So my Mom joined a lot of women as pioneers, working outside the home in jobs that were created for men.  Isn't that a coincidence!

Well, that's my pioneer story for today.  Who know where scout and I may end up the next time.  I've taken a liking to the little historical plaques along the side of the roads and highways that no one reads...

Keep the pioneer spirit going....ciao, Pioneer Girl xoxo

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Otis Redding and Day of the Living Dead


Greetings, Pioneers!  Although I am at home in the Burgh, I am trying to keep my Pioneer Spirit alive, and experience new and varied things.  I am going to do this on a weekly basis, and blog to help me to remember and relive my experiences. I'm linking this to FB once more, but I'm not certain that I will continue that. I'll be blogging here if anyone ever wants to check me out.  I love to write, so write I will.

Here lies Nicholas Kramer
Today, GPS coordinates tracked me down in Evans City, Pennsylvania.  Scout and I decided to check out the creepy Evans City Cemetery, on location where in 1968 the legendary, The Night of the Living Dead was filmed.  The undead guy.freaked out poor Barbara (above) as the zombies attacked her brother, leaving her in a catatonic state for the rest of the movie.  She clutched the tombstone of poor, real dead Nicholas Kramer. What an interesting place and I could almost see the zombies walking across the graveyard.  Not that it's one of my favorite movies or anything, but hey, it's  local.  Only me there (and Scout). Got my exercise in too, walking the cemetery looking for Nicholas Kramer's gravestone...   and uh huh, I did find it, as you can see.

I was a solitary Pioneer, albiet the siting of a strange guy wearing a yellow tossle cap on horseback.  Seriously, it's true.  He reigned the horse in on the side of the road when we left so I KNOW he was real.  Got a good look at him.  Wish I could have snapped a picture

Otis Redding
I love walking around in cemeteries, looking at names and dates, some so worn and forgotten, some all jazzed up for Halloween.  It was cold and windy, dead leaves floating around, and I kept thinking:   "Poor Otis dead and gone. left me here to sing his song..pretty little girl with the red dress on, poor Otis dead and gone".  Did you know, Jim Morrison's a cappella to that song, Runnin' Blue was added as a tribute for Otis Redding, who was recently (at the time) killed in a car crash?  "Running away, back to LA, got to find the dock of the bay..."  I heard on NPR one day that Jim Morrison loved Otis Redding.   The Soft Parade was my favorite Door's album.

Well, so that was my day today, among other mundane things.  But I'm glad I went, it was campy and fun.  So Pioneer Girl was a zombie girl today. Now I need to lighten up, bout to pour a glass of wine, roast some veggies for dinner, and watch The Girl Who Played with Fire.

Happy adventures..over and out.. PG xoxo

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pioneer Spirit n'at

Good Morning, Pioneer Friends...  GPS coordinates tracks me in Pittsburgh, PA, home from my pioneer adventures for the time being.

The last leg of my journey, was spent in a cramped window seat on Southwest Airlines, with a layover in Las Vegas.  So, including Nevada as an add-on to my trip, this Pioneer Girl, stopped in 14 states in a 10 day period.  I can only say, that I would not have changed one thing about the trip, mis-adventures, troubles, squabbles and all.

One thing that I was loathe to mention  So picture this:  Camo pants, Steeler shirt, Bodie Hat, Crocs.  Now picture a beat-up truck with two Mexican workers coming to a quick stop.   Okay, now picture all of those things and yours truly sprawled out in the middle of a two-lane black top somewhere outside of Bakersfield,  Oh yes, I did.  Scraped elbows and hurt my rib pretty bad. BOCG had stopped and gone into a fruit stand across the street  to ask directions and I decided to get out and buy some fruit.   All is well, rib still hurts when I cough, laugh, or just get up, but with some pain meds from my doctor, I'll be better in no time.

My leaving California, and leaving my love, was very hard for both of us.  I'm still digesting things and sorting things out. Who knows what the future will bring, but we are both spiritual seekers and know that ones purpose in life always wins out when you are open to it and willing to take on its challenges.  Am I?

All in all, and I know I can be corny and dramatic at times, but we really did see America the Beautiful, amber waves of grain, purple mountains magesty and fruited plains (well, dusty and windy plains, but you get the drift.  haha).

Elizabeth Blackwell
Thank you to all my pioneer  friends who traveled with me, hopefully found my blog enjoyable, and kept me company along the way.  And thank you to those of you who conversed with me with encouragement and just plain fun. It was exciting.

And you know there are so many ways, we can all be and have been pioneers in our lives, blazing trails in every aspect of life.  In closing, I quote Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in the United States:    "It is not easy to be a pioneer - but oh, it is fascinating! I would not trade one moment, even the worst moment, for all the riches in the world."
 Over 'n out for now.. Pioneer Girl  xoxo n'at

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Barn Owls and Butcher Birds

Good Morning, Pioneer Spirits...  Saturday, October 30, 2010, GPS coordinates track us in Elk Grove, California at It's a Grind Coffee Shop, where we have finally found free WIFI.  yayyy!

Got the trailer into the vineyard down dirt roads and creek crossings, next to a huge old barn that has barn owls galore.  We are situated next to a plot of merlot grapes and the vineyard manager took us on a tour of the entire vineyard where there are patches of chardonnay, patches of pinot, and others.  This vineyard in the Lodi wine growing area grows various types of grapes and sells them to major wineries, such as Mondavi and other wineries. 

Butcher Bird
The area where we are parked is very remote. We enter through a gate that is locked both before and after we pass through. Last night was so quite except for barn owl screeches in the middle of the night.  We had the windows and curtains open to soak in the atmosphere as we slept.  We are anxious to hear the coyotes at night, and we understand there are bobcats and also a mountain lion.  There are signs of butcher birds along the barbed wire fences.  The butcher bird is a loggerhead shrike, and they impale their victims (little birds or insects, like grasshoppers) on thorns and barbed wire. They leave them there as a cache to save for eating later, now and thens.  I thought this was pretty fascinating.

For Barn Owl Camper Guy and myself , life is good, and so is merlot.  I have two remaining nights here, until Pioneer Girl becomes Airline Girl for 7 hours on my return we intend to make the most of it.  Will post another update as to what is happening.  Will be seeing my little bro, Jeff, and bee-utiful Bee today or tomorrow.  Can't wait!

Thank you to all my friends who came with me along this trip.  Ciao.. PG, xoxo

Cowabunga California

Good Morning, all Pioneers!  October 29, 2010 -  WE MADE IT!  GPS coordinates track us…uh huh…in, NewBerry Springs California!  Sitting at the camper kitchen table blogging and looking out at desert, traffic, trains, and blue skies and a pond with one duck splashing around.  California dreaming has become a reality.  
BTW, I hope Willa Cather didn’t mind my using her book, O Pioneers, as my opening greeting for my travel blog.  I think she won’t.  Great classic book by the way, in fact it’s on my reading list after I finally finish The Girl Who Kicked Hornets Nests.
Today, we are heading towards Bakersfield, where we plan to stop to do some hiking in Kern Canyon. 

Best made plans?  Nixed Kern Canyon,  and headed north on Route 15 to Calico Mining Ghost Town in Yermo, California.  It was an old silver mining town that was prosperous for a while in it’s time but was abandoned in 1904.  Built in the absolutely most beautiful area, nestled in amongst the brown and tan hills.  Personally as a Pioneer Girl, I loved it.  Some of it was schmaltzy but looking past that you can see how the folks lived their lives, and a lot of it was in the silver mines.  Barn Owl Camper Guy got kinda restless after a while…not his thing, but I was having so much fun.  BOCG guy said that when I am having fun, I’m kinda wagging my tail.  I thought that was pretty funny.
Took 58 West towards Barstow, passing Edwards Air Force Base, passing arms of reaching Joshua Tree Cactus and low creosote bushes.  There is an old creosote bush in Lucerne Valley, CA that is 11,700 years old!
Bakersfield was a disaster for us, our first big squabble.  California is not so great with highway signs, and long story short, I had him jig instead of jag.  I ended up having a bit of a breakdown, high tension and emotional uncertainty once we finally reached California and our trip/adventure was almost over.  Guess I am a sensitive pioneer afterall.
Here we are in Pixley, California, having some margarita’s, steaks, and zucchini.  You know, I think there is pioneer spirit in all of us at times, and I’m so happy that I got to be a pioneer girl for a while.  I used to be an Annie Oakley girl, but that’s a whole  ‘nother story.
Until tomorrow…guess who, Pioneer Girl  xoxo

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Twin Arrows and Two Guns

Greetings, my Pioneer friends - October 28, 2010.  Leaving Grants, New Mexico and setting our sights on Arizona and beyond.

We have been experiencing such varied topography in northern Arizona.  I wish we could have stopped at Phoenix to see a friend and also Sedona, as it's been about 10 years since I've been there, but we are anxious to put down our feet in California and do some HIKING, and WINE TASTING. 

The first half of Arizona were the tremendous red rock formations everywhere, and the BNSF trains delivering goods both east and west.  Such a fine sight to see.  We did a lot of climbing and the Barn Owl Express was like the little train that could.  chug chug chug up the hills at maybe 45 mph. 

Then we hit the Great Continental Divide.  So of course I had to look it up again on the net (I did that with so many places and things along the way, thank God for my Blackberry and the Internet).  For instance I learned again that The Continental Divide divides the water drainage across the America's from precipitation that drains to the Atlantic Ocean from the precipatation that drains to the Pacific...I forgot all about that.  See what a learning experience this has been for me.  Any question, any tree, any park we have a question about, God, here's the answer!  got us out of a near empty gasoline situation also.  GPS  location..nearest gas station!  Oh yes, the old pioneers would be amazed.

Flagstaff was high!  The San Francisco range off to the north,  As we were climbing up about 1,00 feet through the Cococino National Forest, we drove past my two favorite towns' names in Airzona which seemed fitting to me.  Twin Arrows, AZ and Two Guns, AZ.  Wish we could have visited.  Sounds all get-out western.  My Baby Loves the Western Movies.... Pchoo pcihoo  boinnggg!

Okay, so here was my attempt at being artzy, came up with a lot of creative things to do in a truck cab!  Forgot it came out backwards...haha, it may be too dark to see that I'm doing in the rear view mirror, and if it is,  aww forget it. 

So we were taking it easy and driving Winslow Arizona in a Ford Pickup Truck and having a blast.  Our country is beautifiul.

Until then... Pioneer Girl xoxo

Whiskey and Water

  Greeting, fellow O Pioneers.  October 27, 2010.  GPS coordinates track us at Grants, New Mexico and the Lavaland RV Park.

One may wonder I why I called myself Pioneer Girl.  I know I'm a little stsrange, but I've always  been fascinated with stories of wagons loaded with women, children, and promises of gold and a prosperous future in the west.  And their endurance as they traveled west over the plains, prairies, and mountains and settled in various locations therein.  So when we hitched up the Barn Owl Express wagon to the back of the Ford pickup, I was jokingly likening myself to the pioneer days.  So anyway, just a fun take on a trip I myself had never done. BTW, modern pioneer women do not wear the day bonnets of past, as you can see.

Anyway, we landed in Grants NM which really does have a lot of large patches of lava laying around.  Barn Owl Camper Guy got the trailer all hooked up, and as we ate our leftover Mexican food from the Lizard Lounge we heard a strange sound coming from the bathroom.  Being so tired and hungry, we continued eating until we realized that the clamps on hose in the bathroom had had burst because the water pressure was so high.  Can you say FLOOD?  Yep, flooded the bathroom and all the carpet and padding that BOCG had just put in.  What a mess!   So we did what anyone would do in this situation...  had a few schnookers of whiskey, and tomorrow is another day.  The whiskey really helped....

In the morning, we cut out the wet padding and layed it in the truck bed anchored down and let mother nature's air and sun dry it.  So we turned a bad situation into an okay situation.  All is well now,

Onward into Arizona, and then the big C.  See ya next stop, Pioneer Girl xoxo

The Road To Tucumcari

Greetings! O Pioneers.  October 26, 2010 ..  We left Lamar, Colorado and the Island of Dreams Triple J RV Park at 7:30am anxious to leave all of our tire troubles behind us.  We had to go to the Ace Tire Service for new tires that was 4 new tires, and a rotation for safety for our continued journey south.  Tires played a major role in our inconvenience thus far.  The road to Tucumcari was part deja vu for the first 30 miles until we passed the windmill farms where were spent a lot of the prior evening sitting on the side of the road.

We are heading towards Oklahoma, Boise City to be exact.  Just a small portion, and then through the panhandle of Texas, Dalhart. The road due south to Texas was beautiful and smooth, desolute and stark, hundreds of horned larks flitting about on the berms of the road.  I know they were horned larks because Barn Owl Camper Guy made sure we stopped and identified them.  Also saw herds of prong horned antelope , which I had never seen before.  All good.

Dalhart Texas is a cattle farm and livestock auction area.  Seemed like thousands of cattle on both sides of the road in pens awaiting their fate.  Upset me a  lot.  The cow poop smell was all so overwhelming.

On to Tucumcari, New Mexico, new terrain, and the groovy Pow Wow Restaurant and Lizard Lounge.  Kind of schmaltzy but fun and great Mexican food and a long awaited for MARGARITA! 

Leaving Tucumcari behind, we headed due west through Albuquerque and next stop Grants, New Mexico, and Lavaland. 

Sincerely, PG   xoxo

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Arrived Flagstaff 2;30pm at 7,000 ft. Can't wait to blog tonight!
Blog update later today, El Morro Monument hiking.
Oct Grants NM. Water hose in trailer broke last night so we r at walmart getting parts n such. No WIFI at camp last night. More delays! Need more time!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday October 26 - No WIFI at campsite. In Grants, New Mexico. Tomorrow Flagstaff and on to Calif. Details to follow! Good Night <3
Rolling into Boise City, Oklahoma. Someone from PENNDOT must work on the roads here.
10:30am - Welcome to Oklahoma!

Windfarms and Tire Trouble

Pioneer Girl again...  So at Kit Carson, Colorado, we took 287 South towards Lamar, Colorado. 

Barn Owl Camper Guy started to note that we were not getting much power and it felt like the tranny was pushing too hard.  Granted we were at a high elevation on the Buttes even though it did not feel like we were high up we were at an elevation of about 3800 ft.  Having a hard time getting above 45 mph for a while, what the heck!   Then it happened...yes it happened about 30 miles south of Lamar, Colorado, we blew our first tire, and it was a tire on the trailer.  Called AAA, got a guy out here and changed the tire, problem onward we go. 

Such a beautiful area, dramatic skies and miles of windfarms and as we were marveling at beautiful skies, plunk....wobble...What the heck!  Stop again and here 2 more tires blown.  Called state police as it was nightfall by then on a narrow 2 lane road, with trucks barreling by, a little scary.  And damn cold. 

Well as I marvelled at the windmills and became transfixed on them, the state police and tire guy and barn owl guy were out there and $500 later, we are all fixed up, but had to turn around and go back to Lamar to the campsite we saw there...and here we are.....and now we go.

Pioneer Girl outta here.

Tumbleweeds and Tornado Alley

Good Morning, O Pioneers!  Tuesday October 26, 2010, GPS coordinates track us in Lamar, Colorado.

Yesterday was quite an eventful day.  We had to make a decision to go due west from our location in Kansas and to Denver and over the Rockies, or take the southern route.  We were told snow storms in Rockies so South we went at Oakley, Kansas.

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Wow, it was Tornado Alley,  Wind gusts up to 50 mph.   I spoke to state troopers before we went south on 40 and they said be sure to gas up as there are no stations for 100 miles, and it's 2 lane and desolate.  Not kidding!  Wind storm was dramatic, Barn Owl Camper guy had white knuckles, keep the entire truck and trailer ensemble on the road.  Only us and trucks barreling at us and passing us at a WHOOSH!  Nothing but grasslands and tumbleweeds, quietly stricking us from the right (my side, so winds were from the west).  It was quite scary for miles but also beautiful.  I could imagine being a tornado chaser flying down the highway chasing a twister.  or a twister chasing us..    I'll tell you what, if you stop, which we did, I could not get out my side of the truck, the wind said no way...  The wind also ripped off the canvas porch and one of the arms off and blew it clean away, we didn't even see it.

One little town, we stopped at the Green Chile Cafe for coffee and to lick our wounds.  I spoke with one local woman who was a rancher there, said she was born and raised there, had a ranch and grew milo (sorgham).  Used for feed and also in bird seed.  She raised her eyebrows when I said we came down 40 hauling a trailer... wow, girlee, be careful out there!  BTW they served no green chile at the Green Chile Cafe..  disappointed. 

More to come,  xoxo... Pioneer Girl

Monday, October 25, 2010

Taking southern route to avoid snow. Oakley, KS heading south on 40 to Tucumcari, NM. Rawhide filmed in Tucmcari. Old Rt 66 goes strait thru heart of Tucumcari
Left Russell KS at 10am, really seeing the land promised by OZ today. Last night it was nightfall and all we could see was ghostly arms of windfarms spinning

Plaines and Prairies

Good Morning, O Pioneers!  Today is Monday, October 25, 2010.  GPS coordinates track at Russell, Kansas.We had a hell of a time with time zones yesterday as we travelled wended our way across the rolling, rolling prairies of Indiana through Terre Haute (which means High Land)  across flat and monotonous Illinois,

Missouri and the plateaus of the Ozark Mountains was interesting.  As we entered Missouri (means River of the Big Canoes) and crossed the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri , our conversation went to Mark Twain and Steamboats. I missed a good photo of the Mississippi, darn it.  Then we crossed the Missouri River.  The confluence of the Missisisippi and the Missouri is near there somewhere, wish I had seen it. 

I was alwa;ys fascinated with that area and the Lousiana Purchase period in history for some strange reason.  I used to liken myself to either Lewis or Clark, or both.  Just the whole fur trapping thing (which I am against now anyway but that is neither here nor there), just what happened then.  Oh, Did not get to see the arches of St. Louis, we passed north of them.

Beelined straight to Kansas, Baby, and here is my picture of amazing Kansas.  I call this picture (in the spirit of my double titles, Windows and Windows.  Know why?!!  It was taken from the WINDOW of the truck and it looks like the startup screen for WINDOWS operating system.  haha  Kansas City through Topeka and killed ourselves to get this far, set up camp at night.  Always fun.

Having coffee in our little home in a darling campsite here in Russell, watching the little wild feral cats run around outside the window, and Barn Owl Camper Guy is out getting us ready to go.  He's going to be pushing me soon, and I need a shower bad!  Heading across the western Plaines (Great Plaines?) of Kansas soon.   We need to decide if we are going the Northern or Southern route now as heard there may be some snow in Colorado mountains. 

I really wanted to camp in Wyoming tonight, was hoping to hang out in a saloon  somewhere and actually talk to the locals, which I always loved to do.  so far, we've just been highway driving.   Been thinking bout a pair of red cowboy boots I saw a billboard for along 70West at Boot City. THAT would make an impression on those locals!

So once again, today my life is a highway.....but i am walking on sunshine.!   HAHA.  Barn Owl Camper Guy thinks i'm corny.

Over and out, xoxo  Pioneer Girl.    oh, saw a sign (okay another corny highway sign),says Peace on the Highway, friends.   (and thanks for reading my ramblings, if you are:)  The Prairies await.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Crimson and Cloverdale

Good morning, O Pioneers!  GPS coordinates track us in Cloverdale, Indiana at  7:49am.  We are heading due west to Illinois.  Beautiful sunset over the prairie lands yesterday evening, like the gates of heaven and it changed constantly forr about 20 minutes or so, culminating in a huge crimson red sun on the horizon.  Cloverdale is about 1/2 hour outside of Indianapolis.  rl

Yesterday was a learning curve for both Barn owl guy and myself.  Nerves a little rattled.  But westward towards Terre Haute and points west.  First night camping and exhaustion and some rain on the roof made for a good nights sleep.

Have to go, will update the post later when I find another WIFI spot,  I have a picture of the sun I'm anxious to post.

Bye, Pioneer Girl

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Freedom and Compartments

Good morning from Pioneer Girl!  GPS shows we are stil in Pittsburgh, PA.

Yes, our skeedaddle was skeedonkled by the Ford having some issues which got fixed late last night.  After the initial frustration, we decided to postpone until Saturday morning and here we are.  Ready to git On The Road.  We are currently in the process of locating, identifying, and sorting various required medications and sundry vitamins, etc.  Pioneer Girl is already organized in the little weekly container, S-M-T-W-TH-F-S, very organized as usual.  Mr Camper Guy, heretofore known as Barn Owl Guy which is more appropriate, Barn Owl Guy with some camper experience. Barn Own Guy had to run over to his house to try to locate a particular prescription, hopefully he has found it.  I hesitated about my blood pressure prescriptions but decided to drop it in the container anyway.  I'm thinking if my blood pressure is elevated because of work situation, then maybe being out in the open road with certain freedoms may improve my condition.  Afterall, I do work out, do yoga and pilates, (packed the yoga mat for early am yoga) am mostly a vegetarian with superduper green juicing skills.  (that is a whole nother story cause the food on the trip is not conducive to much vegetarianism, and i can't pack my juicer so this in itself may be stressful).  We furnished the trailer with ample canned items, tuna, a few steaks and yep turkey kolbassi.  We have it all organized...the entire living arrangement in the trailer is compartmentalized, literally.  Everything is little and tiny.

We are excited about getting the first leg out of town, the freedom on the road, hauling all shtuff in the little compartments in the house, and finding our next GPS location.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Leftover Wine

Camper Guy got some bad news at the mechanic this morning as he was getting the Ford inspected...uh huh, we're still in Pittsburgh.  Our skeedadle came to a screeching halt because of a bad muffler.   Here's the glitch though, Camper Guy left Barn Owl Express wagon locked.   I could have loaded all the the groceries and other sundry items  but alas our trip west is postponed most likely until very early in the am.    In the spirit of freedom and going with the flow, I await his return enjoying the golden sunshine with my sleeping Miss BBB by my side,  finishing up some leftover wine.   Tomorrow is another day, and should be a hard push to make up for the delay.    It's all cool..... but thank goodness for leftover wine to smooth out any leftover crankiness.
My home for the next 10 days..The Barn Owl Express...when we are all done with this, I'd like to turn it into a Martini Bar, but first things first....the Camper Guy must provide for the barn owls in wine country  He is doing a study on barn owl habitat effects on vineyards for organic rodent control.  The Camper Guy's website:

Full Moon and Broken Mirrors

Pioneer Girl and enthusiastic barn owl Camper Guy are bout to hit the open highway, California bound.  We driving a Ford Pickup, hauling a 30' camper/trailer from Pittsburgh to California through points unknown to me anyway.  Mr. Camper Guy has it all figured out.  I may be a bit apprehensive and may be a nervous nellie, but am anxious to get the adventure underway.  Today we leave, and on a good full moon event.  One strange occurrence this morning that was a bit disconcerting<  as I picked up my hand-held mirror to examine the back of my traveling hairdo, the mirror was majorly cracked...had silently self-combusted over night.  I've never blogged before so if I do this wrong please forgive me, I hope to be documenting the trip as I go cause I may never pass that way again.