Author Archives: Susi

On the road again

2013 dawns on an RV packed with 250 canvases, gobs of camera equipment, and a few computers as we embark on a nine-month journey through the USA and Canada. “That’s a long time,” you say. “How the heck did you come up with that plan???”

Last winter in Tucson, our Habitat friends Terry & Sue asked us about island hopping with our RV through the Inside Passage in 2009 on the Alaskan Marine Highway ferries. We happily related the stories, and darn if we didn’t get so excited that we not only talked them into going this year, but we convinced ourselves to join them!

Susi also registered for the Second Annual Plein Air Convention that will be held in Monterey California in early April, so that seemed like the logical place to begin our Alaskan adventure. We’ve heard many rave reviews of the beautiful coastline of California, Oregon and Washington, and this would give us a chance to see it for ourselves.

Then, in early October, our plans to lead a Habitat trip to Nicaragua fell through, leaving January and February wide open. “Soooo….,” Susi asked sheepishly, “isn’t Tucson on the way to California? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to re-connect with our friends at Rincon West RV Park and Habitat Tucson?” Thus came the crazy plan to drive to Tucson in January, fly home in March to do taxes, visit with family & friends, and finish some studio pieces, and then fly back to Tucson in early April so we can pick up the RV and head to Monterey.

Today, as we begin the first leg of our journey in our RV on the way to Tucson, we look forward to working a bit with Habitat for Humanity, making paintings and photographs in the desert, and re-connecting with the new friends we’ve met in the past few years. Yesterday we shoveled away winter’s first snow storm and packed the rig with the clothing we’ll need from Arizona’s deserts to Alaska’s mountains. We’ve hugged family, friends and neighbors goodbye, but we hope to stay connected with all of you via cell phone, Skype, email, and our blogs throughout the year.

A fantastic HfHI Carter Weekend!

We almost threw away the original Habitat invitation to the April Carter Weekend, but decided to RSVP  “yes” because we were very interested in learning more about the many new and collaborative programs that Habitat has initiated in the last few years. Imagine our surprise when we learned we were included in a small group of about 50 of HFHI’s top corporate and individual donors as well as national and international HfHI staff for a 3 day conference! Read on

We’re Off and Running!

Ritz Carlton 2 We’re approaching the end of our first week here in Tucson on Sunday – and having a blast!  As my Dad stated, “I guess we’re as busy as we want to be” . Opportunities abound at Rincon – which I call a retirement community on steroids – for all kinds of physical exercise groups, art and crafts, games and fun events – not including the work we will be doing with Habitat for Humanity Tucson or exploring the city and surrounding  national and state parks.  Although we cringe at a boring blog entry of “what we did today”  – I’ve done just that to share why we chose to return to Tucson. Caution – read at your own risk… Read on

“Make new friends, but keep the old…

…One is silver and the other gold.” This old girl scout song does highlight one of the pleasures of this trip for us. Rarely have we been interested in returning to a travel spot we have visited before, but our experiences at our Rincon and HfH Tucson made it easy for us to want to return. Read on

Here’s $4 – Let Me Feel How Hot That Cord Is

Jerry & I obviously were labeled – newbie RVers at our first camping site – and rightly so. Did you know that an RV can hook up to either 20, 30, or 50 amps at a campground? Based on Dave’s recommendation, we asked for a site with 30 amps which was cheaper than using the 50.  But our check-in gal insisted on assigning us to a 50 amp because she was concerned where the rig would fit. Read on

“Call Anytime You Have Questions”

Dave probably regretted that last comment after he got the 4th call from Jerry & I on our first day out – that’s in spite of all the  “how to” and checklists that Dave prepared for us: we have a departure list, the arriving list, the hour before arrival list, checking the tires and batteries lists, connecting water and electricity lists, appliance manufacturers list, toad (the term RVers lovingly refer to the car towed by an RV) hook up and toad detach list, and a few more he threw in just in case we needed them.

Although Dave’s brother, Jerry, is a quick study and ready to help any way he can, this journey without Dave has emphasized how much of a team we are and how many things Dave was doing on our journeys that I had no clue he was doing.

So, even though Jerry & I chuckled at the list that began with, “Wash the windshield, if necessary”, thank you Dave,  for all the details you’ve given us to keep us rolling down the road!



On the Road Again

Dave has been working hard to get the RV ready to roll – unfortunately he is not coming with me on this next journey! He stepped in to fill a Habitat house lead position and is working 5 days a week to get the house ready for the Elmi family to move in. Luckily, his brother Jerry was very willing to hop on board to visit the Badlands National Park, Custer State Park, and Yellowstone on the way to Teton National Park where I’ll attend a  workshop at the end of August. Read on


Shale has 5 children, ages 29 to 7, and 2 grandchildren that live with her. She is a single mother who travels to Gaborone to work about 1 week a month as a maid. Shale says that she hasn’t been able to find work in Molepolole and relies on her eldest  daughter, Moiponi, to help with expenses.

The 600 pula she earns a month is not enough to pay for rent, electricity, food for 8, and school expenses. In fact, it costs Shale about 2000 pula a year to pay for the school uniforms and supplies!

Shale is looking forward to moving into her Habitat house the second week of August because it is bigger than the one she is renting and will be hers once she pays off the mortgage.

Back Home and Planning the Next Journey

It doesn’t seem that long ago that we raced out of town ahead of the next snow storm last January to head down to Bay St. Louis! We have had a blast working for Habitat through the winter in Mississippi and then were thrilled to fulfill our dream to explore Alaska and Northern Canada from April – September. We will treasure the memories of  our many new friends and fantastic scenery we explored!

Our intent was to sell the RV as we hit Colorado on the return – which we did – but we enjoyed this form of travel so much we  bought another RV that provided us with much more living space without increasing our length!

So, for those of you who have visited this site in 2009, we’ll be back on the road this coming January – headed to work for Habitat for Humanity in Tucson, AZ – I always wanted to paint the desert!

You can also check out our summer 2010 plans to lead 2 Habitat Global Village teams to Botswana. Although we won’t be floating across the ocean in the RV – we look forward to learning how Habitat houses are built in Molepolole and Mahalapye!

Blessings for a happy holidays – Dave & Susi

Ode to Our Nephew Kevin

As Dave & I sat in another Wyoming traffic jam, we chatted about how relieved we were that Kevin survived the experience of being squeezed between two semis with little more than a scratch.

Although road hazards here in Wyoming aren’t quite as large – we do get the idea of how intimidating it can feel to be surrounded on all sides by the local traffic. So, here’s a little video to let Kevin know that we empathize with him, and are glad to hear that he and his banged up car are back on the road.


Accessibility of the Rockies

Mountain Goats Drinking Hanging Glacier We have really enjoyed our visits at National Parks in both the Canadian and USA Rockies – in large part due to the accessibility of park exhibits and views. The Icefield Parkway in Canada and the Highway to the Sun in Glacier were both excellent examples of providing opportunities for people of all abilities to explore the parks at their own speed. Read on

A Rainy Day = New Blog Posts

Reflection of Icefield Parkway Mountain We’ve finally got a rhythm to our travel days. If it’s a “photo morning”, i.e. brilliant sky, I drive so Dave can hang out the window and take way too many shots along the way. My second job is to give occasional composition suggestions if (when!) he “needs” them. Read on