Laura Fortune

I'm on a boat!

Laura Fortune1 Comment

August 12

Back in Austin and back with my uncle and aunt.  It felt most like a homecoming than I might feel anywhere.  When I was last here they helped me so much to build my display.  At the beginning of my trip, I arrived after a 24 hour day of my Jeep breaking down and having a new van rental.  I feel like a totally different person than when I was here on July 2nd.  I am a different person.  Unplanned, I drove close to 9,000 miles all over western side of the United States and into Canada.  I took it day-by-day and never could have imagined I would have the experience I did.  

Seeing them again and their enthusiasm for my adventure was so sweet.  It's nice to have people that realize what an undertaking it has been and feel excited for this moment in my life.

We packed up and went out onto their boat at Lake Travis and had a wonderful day and evening floating in the lake and sailing with their friends and just enjoying all being together.


Carlsbad and Big Trucks

Laura FortuneComment

August 11

I drove further east in New Mexico to Carlsbad Caverns.  I arrived in the afternoon and walked 90% of the caverns for 2.5 hours.  I love sunrises and sunsets and seeing rain showers in the distance and night skies.  The phenomena of a cave and how it is formed over time is fascinating, but dark, cold places don't inspire my deepest feelings.  So I was more like, Holy Crap this place is just crazy, like fake-looking crazy.  Also impressive about Carlsbad Caverns is that it was discovered in the 1930s.  That is just so recent and I think of my Grandma who was alive and loved nature and maybe heard of this amazing discovery in New Mexico.


I left Carlsbad and began the final leg of the drive to Austin, TX.  There was no sign that indicated that I had entered into Texas.  But there was a long stretch of a single lane road, leading me to I-10 where I noticed, EVERY automobile was a huge truck.  Not just work trucks, but giant pick-up trucks.  I had never seen such a continuous succession of truck after truck after truck.  Out of 100 automobiles, I saw 4 cars.  I am still baffled by this.  I stopped at a gas station and there were 20 pumps and each one was in use with a giant pick-up truck.  I looked at the map and I was well into Texas.  Inside the gas station I found men and women that looked like the truck was probably the most expensive thing they owned and it may be nicer than their home.  I'm amazed by this very American sentiment.  These huge automobiles and the need to have them.  But I digress, and all I could think was, everything is bigger in Texas.  Very true.

White Sands

Laura FortuneComment

August 10

I left Tucson around 7am and headed east.  There were two places that were suggested, for me to see, on the way to Austin.  White Sands National Monument and Carlsbad Caverns.  As I looked at the map, I could stop to see these places and split my 13 hours drive to Austin into two days.  With the chance to see more, I was sold.

I messaged the friend who suggested White Sands (which I had never heard of), to tell him I was on my way, and he immediately said, "backcountry camp there if you have a tent."

I arrived to White Sands at 1pm, and in my experience with campsites, nothing is ever available after 10am.  Knowing there are only 10 backcountry campsites available, I was expecting to be told it was full and I'd move on to reach Carlsbad that evening.  

I went into the Visitors Office and asked if any sites were available, and she chuckled and said, I have 9 available.  I was taken aback and had to take a moment to think about it.  I'd never backcountry camped alone on this trip.  I had thought of it, but it seemed a step into ever riskier territory, hiking everything in and being totally alone.  

I called my brother.  He was at work and immediately looked up websites to inform me of the meteor shower that was close to it's peak, and he said, don't even sleep in a tent.  He encouraged me and I secured Site #8.

I packed up what I needed and hiked in a mile to find my site.


The sand is bright white and pure, fine and soft.  It's actually made from gypsum that has been tumbled down by the wind over time.  It's bright, but it's not hot and I walked barefoot for my entire time there.  Site 8 was surrounded by shrubs and plants and so I found a spot nearby that seemed a little softer and I set up my tent.  I walked around on the dunes nearby and sunset was on it's way.



I was totally alone, a few other campsites were used, but I was by myself.  The night never seemed to darken as the stars filled the sky very quickly, and it was by far the most stars I have ever seen in my life.  I saw shooting stars and moving satellites and the Milky Way so clearly.  A bright light appeared over the horizon it was the moon rising.  Once it came up in the sky the stars faded a bit with the intense light that lit up the area around me.  I didn't need my tent.  I took my sleeping back out at one point early in the night and laid high on a soft dune and fell asleep looking up into the sky.  It was one of the most incredible nights of my life.  And I woke by the morning to see the light of the sunrise and the soft colors of the morning that reflect all over the white sand.  I packed up and hiked out after the sun had fully introduced itself to the sky.



Keep It Light

Laura FortuneComment

Somedays I just need to "keep things light" and see the humor around me. Take a deep breath, smile and it just happens. My surroundings are light and I inevitably meet people that I have a little laugh with. I am thankful for this.

Today was a day like that, and on top of it all, I was equally thrilled to find that Tucson has a radio station dedicated to playing my favorite music, Classic Hip Hop. 97.5 FM, thank you. I needed that too.

As I cruised around this place, here's some of what I saw today...


Miracle Mile.... 


Bathroom in the Historic Corbett House (thanks for the tour, Bonnie!) 




Decoration at the Mexican Dentist


A Sweet Treat

Vegas to Tucson

Laura Fortune3 Comments

August 8

It's a 7 hour drive. I'm not sure any drive under 8 hours will feel long to me ever again. I arrived in no time, it seemed.  


I'm here to visit my uncle and aunt again and to go to the dentist the following day, in Mexico. 

The dentist office called to confirm my appointment and I asked the question that had come to my mind this week.  

"Will this procedure be fully completed tomorrow?"

"No, you will need to come back for the second part of the procedure in 2-3 months."

Well, damn.

And with that answer, I began researching having a single dental implant in Portugal.