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The Journey Begins! 

Thanks for joining us as we travel across the U.S. from southern Arizona to Connecticut. We're so excited to have you traveling along with us. First stop is Petrified National Forest National Park and the Painted Desert in Arizona.  Please feel free to send us suggestions of what you'd like to hear more about and questions you'd like answered. Also PLEASE forward this newsletter to anyone you think might be interested.

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The picture below is Maeve at the Route 66 turnout in Petrified Forest National Park

From Benson, AZ to Petrified Forest National Park

It was definitely time to go! The temperatures were way too hot for us to be in the Maevemobile (our eco-campervan that DOESN'T have air conditioning unless we're driving). The temperatures in Tucson the last couple of days had been well over 100 degrees. Benson, where we've been based this winter was a bit cooler -- high 90s. We had spent the last couple of days in Tucson getting last-minute maintenance and repairs done and Sibol (my emotional support cat) had to be left behind in the air-conditioned park model in Benson. Sibol stays in the well insulated and ventilated van 24/7 when we travel and can handle hot, but the Tucson temps would have fried her in short order if a repairman had accidentally closed a window or turned off the solar powered ventilation system.
 I wasn't completely packed and ready, but then again, I never am. There were too many things to do and not enough of my attention and energy to cover them all. I picked the most critical tasks (empty the fridge, close the shades, turn off the power) and will deal with the rest whenever I happen to return. If I waited till everything was done and done right and done perfectly, I would never get to live the wonderful parts of my life. So, on to wonder and to hell with the petty details!

Termites Beware . . . 

There is no wood in these logs! Petrified wood is fossilized -- all the cellulose has been replaced by minerals from the volcanic ash and sediments in which they were buried. We walked among them in several areas of the park. These logs are as old as the dinosaurs that were fossilized here at the same time. 

Other than Traveling . . . 

Whether I'm staying in one spot (as I did this winter) or traveling non-stop for months, I work on my recovery plan and help other people with pysch disabilities. Here's what I've been up to lately:

Regulations Proposed by the National Park Service

The new regulations proposed by the National Park Service in regard to animals have at least two provision which discriminate against people with disabilities who use service dogs. Anyone can comment on the proposed regulations and I've been writing my comments.

Note: while some of what I'm against in these regs sounds quite reasonable and common-sense, it really is discriminatory. In the bad old days of the 1950s it was quite reasonable that "white" people shouldn't have to sit next to "colored" people in a restaurant or share the same water fountain because "coloreds" could transmit diseases or be criminals (as if whites couldn't) --- this is much the same as the health and safety concerns of the National Park Service about service dogs. There are safety and health concerns, it's possible some service dogs could cause a problem, but other people and/or their dogs could cause the same problems. The difference in treatment is because one group stands out and is more noticeable and because it's easier to impose restrictions on a small group of people. That's discrimination and it's illegal, not just under the Americans with Disabilities Act (which does not directly apply to the NPS), but also under a civil rights act called the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (which DOES apply to federal agencies like the NPS). You can read my comments and find a link to the full text of the proposed rule in my blog post

Recovering from Stress

I've been progressively getting healthier and healthier since I went on the road full time in 2011, at least until this winter. I went into the season stressed (I had to serve as an advocate for an acquaintance who was illegally committed and the commitment upheld by a judge for illegal reasons; my mother suddenly decided to move into an independent living complex under circumstances that were quite suspicious) and then more and more stressful things started to pile up. Worst of all I had to make a decision to change the lifestyle that had served my recovery so well.  My recovery plan worked -- I adapted and didn't have any crises, but I still ended up taking steps backward in my recovery and my physical health. Now that I'm back on the road I'm working to advance my recovery and bring my physical health and fitness back up to my former standards. As you follow me through these newsletters you'll hear about the techniques I'm using to manage my health.

Outreach, Education, and Advocacy Regarding Emotional Support Animals and Psychiatric Service Dogs

I continue to provide free, direct education and mentoring to people with disabilities through the Contact Us page at 

Ancient Graffiti?

No one knows for sure what petroglyphs mean or why there were inscribed on the rocks of the southwest. It's possible some of them are just an ancient form of "Kilroy was here!" or "Danny loves Susy."

On line resources for this issue:

Learn more about Petrified Forest National Park

Coming Attractions! In the next issue:

Colorado, here we come! Cliff Dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park and wildflowers in San Juan National Forest -- cool pics!

How an electronic wristband is helping me manage my bipolar symptoms

How mindfulness / attention training helped me to find a biofeedback method that has reduced my migraine frequency by 86%

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Copyright © 2014 Joanne Shortell, All rights reserved.

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