Tuesday, September 24, 2019


Gypsy Rhapsody
(A 1977 Airstream that loves fame.!!!)

Who doesn't like being rich and famous...
Did I say "rich"? Well, rich didn't happen, but
we did get a little famous...in Questa.

The editor of the local newspaper in Questa, NM,
Lou McCall,
approached Vannie for an article
about our journey...how we started this
lifestyle...how we got to Questa...and more.

Vannie contacted our good friend, Douglas Cunningham,
about a picture he had taken of them standing in front of moi.
He emailed the high resolution picture...Lou loved it, and
she loved the article...

Sooo...here's what's going to make us rich and famous. 

photo by Douglas Carr Cunningham


By Vanette Harris

 My husband, David, and I are Airstreamers, Louisianans, Texans, Adventurers and Questanites.   When we approached retirement in 2011, we both decided to downsize and not have the burden of a home and yard to maintain.  We decided to become fulltime RVers.  This had not been a long thought-out plan.  It just happened.  We put our house in Lafayette, LA on the market.  We had lived there 42 years, so we had a bunch of stuff, but once we made up our minds, it was easy to get rid of most of it.  We wanted a simpler, less complicated lifestyle.  We wanted the freedom to be able to travel and to experience and live affordably in other parts of the country, for months at a time.

We located and purchased a vintage 1977 31 foot Airstream.  The trailer had been used as a camp and had a few “issues”, to say the least.  The plumbing was redone, interior seating reupholstered, new countertops, flooring, new convection oven and refrigerator installed, and along with a few other cosmetics, and in September 2011, it would serve as our home.  We had only owned a pop-up camper years ago, so we had much to learn.  We joined the Wally Byam Caravan Club International, the Acadiana Unit, in Lafayette.  We were taken under the wings of this fun-loving Cajun group and brought up to speed on all aspects of full-time RV living.  We named our trailer Gypsy Rhapsody.  We had both played this piece on the piano in high school, and the name just seemed to fit.   

We loved New Mexico.  We had been coming out west since the late ‘90’s.  During that time we had purchased a timeshare at the Caribel Condos in Red River. After about a year of retirement, we decided that a part-time job would be nice to cover extra travel expenses.  I called the manager of the Caribel, Angelique Gonzales (from Questa, of course), to see if she knew of a place in Red River that might need a couple of senior citizens to work a few hours a week.  She immediately said that she could use us at the Caribel…so our summer time jobs were born.  We work from Memorial Day to the end of September. The cool mountain air is a dream-come-true for a couple of South Louisianans.

Questa has become our home away from home. David and I park Gypsy Rhapsody at a beautiful shady spot by the river and landlady is awesome.  It’s just perfect.  The Caribel is only 10 miles up the mountain, and the scenery couldn’t be more beautiful.  We share a passion for hiking and touring art galleries. If we are around in the winter, snowshoeing is a must.  We have completed the Vistas de Questa trail three times so far this summer. Not bad for a couple of 73 year olds. We have fallen love with the people of Questa.  Everyone has accepted us and made us part of their beloved community.  Questa has become a way of life for us…as in the Questa Library, visitor center, grocery store, Dollar Store, Ace, Jay’s Thrift Store, Rael’s Coffee Shop, Frank’s, Bobcat, Post Office, St. Anthony’s, Wild Rivers, Eagle Rock Lake, the Chevron Station, Ocho with Barrie, Yoga Sala, the Wild Rivers and Questa Art Tours, Questa Del Rio Colorado News, and, last but not least, the Ancianos Senior Center.  We love driving up the hill to eat several times a week.  Mallie and her workers are wonderful and always so welcoming.  This is our 7th summer to live and work in northern NM.  What a blessing!!!

Being on the road so much, we needed a base-camp.  We are members of the North Texas Airstream Community located in Hillsboro, Texas, about 50 miles south of Dallas.  It is a 50 acre “gated community” that is open all year with spacious lots with hookups, custom built villas and houses.  They have a full time Office Manager and a mail forwarding service.  NTAC is within an hour or so from our daughter and her family in Austin, TX and about 6 hours from our son and his family in Lafayette. 
A couple of years ago, David and I decided we needed a smaller trailer to add to our family.  A friend in Louisiana saw a 1979 22 foot “Minuet” Argosy made by Airstream on Craig’s List.  We checked it out and discovered it was located in Austin about a block from our daughter’s house. It was in great shape, so “Minuet in G” came home with us.

Airstreamers are a group of RVers who share a community spirit because of their mutual love of the big silver bullets.  Airstream company founder Wally Bram began leading groups of owners on travels way back in the 50’s.  Photos taken of the trailers in front of many famous tourist sites were common.  This promoted a mystique which surrounded Airstreams and persists to this day.

To record and share our journeys, I write a blog, “the journey of gypsy rhapsody and minuet in G” which, is written in the voice of “Gypsy” or “MinnieG”…depending whom we are traveling with at the moment.  Check it out.  You can just google “the journey of gypsy rhapsody”.  Be sure to go back to the beginning.  It’s been quite a journey, for sure.

We have no regrets about following our dream…and are dreaming about more adventures ahead.

Questa and Beyond.!!!


Thursday, September 19, 2019


Gypsy Rhapsody 
(a 1977 Airstream that has owners that tend to over do the hiking)

Will they every learn?
Too much hiking at 73 might just cause a wee bit of pain.

I can't put on my socks...
My hip hurts..
Oh, my sore knee...
My back is broken...
Get the ice pack...
Turn on the heating pad..."

See what I have to put up with.
That's all I've been hearing lately.
V and D...Do you think you might have overdone it a little?

Oh well...They have completed some phenomenal hikes this summer.
They are on the mends now, and they both said it was worth it.

The summer began with the Las Vista de Questa Trail to
the lower overlook.  
It's always a good one to start with, because it's
not quite as difficult as some of the others.
In fact, they completed it twice.
Once by themselves, and
then a second time with friends, Scotty and Brooke,
 from Youngsville, LA.

What you are waiting for...get going...

A good walking stick is a must.

Because of all the snow this past winter,
the windflowers were blooming like crazy.

Brooke and Scotty...from Youngsville, LA
A couple of flatlanders...younger than V and D,
but according to Dave...they held their own.

It's all worth it, when a view like this is enjoyed.

Yes...when you are an old hiker...praying is a given.
V and D always like to hike up to the Questa cemetery
at least once during the summer.
It is right up the road from where we are parked.

The road up is a wee bit steep, but doable.

Best summer for wildflowers.
They love showing off their glorious colors.

Never know what you might see on the trail...
a blast from the past...

See what watching too much TV will do for you.

Guadalupe Trail in the Wild Rivers Area
OK...look carefully...Do you see the "Big Foot" print
next to Vannie's boot?  Very Interesting.!!!!

These little blue bells are out of focus,
but so adorable.  Vannie said you
could almost hear the faint sound of a jingle.

This trail proved to be much harder than they realized it would be.
Lots of beautiful scenery
Lots of really rocky trails
Lots of sore aching muscles

These guys (big horn sheep) greeted Vannie and Dave
on their last hike of the summer...Pescado Trail.
Dave said it seemed as if they just stopped
and contemplated the thought of a couple of old hikers
invading their territory. 

The Pescado Trail begins at the Wild Rivers Visitor Center
and ends at the New Mexico Fish Hatchery.
The sign says...1.7 miles...one way.
Dave said he thought it was at least 10 miles...
maybe more.  lol

According to Vannie, the trail teases you at the beginning.
Seems like a breeze...

As usual, Dave is getting a little close to the edge.

There's the fish hatchery...a LONG way away.

Nature...So Amazing...

The Red River...They had to cross it to get to the Hatchery.
There was a bridge a little further down the trail.
Thank goodness.

The Hatchery
WOW...Hey...where's your fishing poles?

Now, time to start back up the trail...

"Dancing Trees"
Vannie and Dave didn't feel like dancing, but
were encouraged by these gems in the forest
to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Ouch...my hip...Ouch...my knees
Where did we put the Ibuprofen?
Do we still have some of that 2 Old Goats Lotion?

Well, maybe by next summer, V and D will be healed
and can try out some new places.

William's Lake
Mt. Whitney
On their bucket list...


Sunday, September 8, 2019


Gypsy Rhapsody
(a 1977 Airstream that loves being a girl)

It's be 8 years since I was rescued by Vannie and Dave.
They had a blast pulling out stuff and putting in stuff...
washing, cleaning, reupholstering, painting, and just fixing
their decorating touches on every inch of me.

A month or so ago they decided it was time to give me a new look.
I was all for it, because what girl doesn't love a makeover.

They put on their thinking caps and did a bunch of hashing out of ideas.
The one idea that kept coming back to the forefront was the French
gypsy wagons they had toured in the south of France several years ago.
Colorful...yes!  Showy...yes!  Gaudy...yes, again!   Vannie's vote...let's do it!
Dave's vote...Yes, Mam!

The biggest changeover was going to be in my main living area. 
         1.  Remove and sell the long side sofa.  It wasn't comfortable...so it had to
         2.  Vannie's Cousin Janet had given them 2 chairs.  They
               wanted to use those where the sofa had been.
         3.  Recovering the small sofa at the back would coordinate better with the
         4.  Paint the ceiling a pale blue would make me look a whole bunch brighter.
         5.  A small fireplace heater would be really cozy between the 2 chairs.
         6.  A new round rug was a must.
         7.  Something needed to be done with the light fixtures.
         8.  The curtains were way too plain.  Glue on fringe to jazz them up.
         9.  The bedspreads needed to be just a little longer.  Some braid, maybe.

I think you are going to be blown away with the outcome.
Oo-la-la...  I am feeling like a new woman.  

Move over, Ms. French Gypsy Wagon...
Mama's got a brind new bag.!!!

I'm feeling the love.

What girl doesn't like fringe.!!!

Dave found this perfect rug on Amazon.

Oh My Goodness.
Decorator Dave has done it again.
He actually ordered the strings of crystals
and created this with some glue and the crystals
and lots of imagination.

Mood Lighting...
That warm glow is so relaxing.
You can kinda see the blue ceiling in this picture.

The kitchen is about the same.
It is amazing what Vannie can throw together in this small space.
She can cook 8 loaves of banana bread that her convection oven.

Another chandelier in the bedroom???
Yes, indeedy.!!

The middle of this one was a Christmas ornament
that Vannie had won at a Sunday School
steal-a-gift party years ago.
It's amazing that she had held on to it. 

The bedspreads needed a little jazzing up,
so braid was added. 
Just the right touch.

The pictures don't do me justice, so whenever we are in your neck of the woods, come on over for a cup of coffee and a slice of banana bread. 
You will be glad you did.