About JanetA

I am a nomad and adventurer. I used to travel for work now I travel for curiosity and fun. I started this blog when my husband of 21 years, Jim died of cancer on his 60th birthday. I started it because I wanted to have an easy way for my friends and family to follow me as I started a new adventure living in a small B class RV. I have a delightful little Roadtrek that I live in full time. It continues to be quite an adventure.

Woody the Cat Tells His Tail

Hi, I am Woody the cat. I am new to this experience of telling my story. Janet says that Elsie, her kitty, would write on here and I decided to try.

I live with a really nice person. Her name is Mandy. I also live with a rather rambunctious dog, Rocky. I like living with them. They let me cuddle and visit when I want to. If Rocky gets too much for me I go to my private retreat, under the bed.

Mandy likes to travel in her “Roadtrek”. It is a big, well to me, a really giant house on wheels. When I look out the front window I see another one that is not quite as big in the driveway. Mandy has gone on holiday. She leaves and then she comes back. I have no idea where she goes. As long as she comes back I am good with that. I am also glad I don’t have to ride in it, I am not sure about this riding in a moving object. Rocky goes with her. Phew, I have some dog-free time to do what cats do, sleep, eat, sleep, get brushed, sleep, and snuggle and cuddle and sleep. I am good at snuggling and cuddling.

I am resting

When Mandy goes away I often go to Scott’s and Megan’s house. I like being there but I don’t like having to be caught and put in a tiny box and driving in a car to get there.

Guess what? This time when she left, I got to stay here. I am really happy with this arrangement. The day before Mandy left, Janet showed up. Ooh, I have heard she likes kitties. I don’t know where she came from. I have no idea how long she is here. No one ever tells me anything. Maybe it is because I don’t care. I am a cat.

Janet says she is house sitting and cat sitting for me. I am good with that. And…I get her all to myself. She is really nice to me and I get my needs met and a little more. I am good with this arrangement. I sleep with her every night. She lets me snuggle by her head or anywhere else I want. I get petted and sometimes she carries me around. She also feeds me and gives me treats. What else can a cat ask for? Well…I would like to go outside but she says no, even though I tell her it is OK. Sigh.

Look at the tail. My pride and joy.

Before I go take a look at my tail. My tail is beautiful and I carry it proudly. It goes straight up and then curls to my back. It is a fine feature and one of my best. All kitties should be so lucky.

It’s nice to meet you and I might just write again. It depends on when I can get to the computer. It depends on whether I am sleeping.

Mouse Zero, Janet Won, Again

I have owned my Roadtrek since 2013. I have had many interesting and unique experiences with my tiny home on wheels.

One of the more unique experiences was discovering wet tar on my tires in the middle of no-where Wyoming. I spent half of a day slowly peeling the tar off my tires so the tread would be visible and work again.

In the past six months I have had a new encounter and situation dealing with little creatures in my rig. I encountered a desert mouse while I was in Phoenix. It decided that my rig was going to be a good home. I did not think so. I was able to successfully live-trap it and send it back to the desert.

I am in Salinas, CA for a month. I am taking care of Woody the cat and house sitting for another fellow Roadtreker and friend while she is off exploring the California desert.

I left San Diego, five days ago and did a rather quick meander up the coast of Southern and Central California. I spent two days on the Big Sur Coast camping within a stones throw of the Pacific Ocean. My Campsite was prime. The sunsets were amazing. And…there was no cell phone service. I was in nature. Sometimes I need these moments to ground myself and find wholeness once again.

Nature comes with less pleasant sides. Mosquitos or ants come to mind. I am not a big fan of snakes but I believe they have a place in the wild and I can respect their presence.

My second night camping at the perfect campground, I had a visitor in my rig. Oh no, another mouse. This one was much smaller and of course I only found out I had this vistor after I went to bed and could hear this little field mice exploring in my only storage cabinet with a hole in it. It is funny how loud mouse nails can be when it is quiet at night.

I wanted to catch this little mouse and I wanted to catch it alive. I really wanted to introduce it to a nice wilderness to live in rather than my warm cozy rig. Since I left my live trap in San Diego my first stop was Home Depot. There were all types of traps, set to kill. Finally I found a live trap.

The Game was on. I set two traps, one on the floor and one on the kitchen counter and let it be for the night. Sunday morning arrived early. I went to the rig and there the mouse was, safely tucked into the delicious peanut butter trap.

Mandy and I took a short drive this morning and delivered the mouse to nice riparian area along a small river in the Salinas Valley. Once again it was free to explore. And…hopefully my RV is now free of little creatures. Just to be sure, the traps are set again tonight.

I believe I am ready to get down on my hands and knees and begin to explore entry spots in my rig. It is time to make it harder for little grassland and woodland creatures to enter my rig and set up house.

RV and small house living continues to give me new adventures and experiences. The challenges help me grow and become stronger and surer.

Today I am thankful for new plans and adventures. Today I am thankful for a little field mouse living strong and independent in the wild.

House Sitting Adventures Continue

Where has the time gone? I have been in San Diego for over two months. All my medical and dental care is done and I am ready to venture out. Am I going to the desert? That is where I usually go in the winter. Change is in the air. I am departing later this week for Salinas, CA.

I have another house and kitty sitting adventure for a month, while a friend of mine goes off in her Roadtrek to visit with friends and plays in the desert.

Salinas is near Monterey and the Pacific Ocean. I am looking forward to kayaking and biking opportunities. It is good to explore new places. The ocean becomes more rugged as one adventures into northern California. I love to be around wild water.

I am so excited to be around kitty again. Mandy tells me that Woody the kitty is very friendly and will most likely sleep with me. Ooh, I am thrilled! I am ready to enjoy a cat. It has been over two years since Miss Elsie went on walkabout. It will be so good to be sharing space with a kitty again.

After being stationary for a while it takes a bit of organization and planning to get ready to get “on the road” again. My rig has been washed, waxed, and detailed. I have had the opportunity to fix small things that needed fixing. She has been cleaned and is ready to go.

All things that have been moved inside the home where I am staying, thank you Cynthia & Ward, have to be moved back into my tiny home. Everything has to find its place. All the details of moving again can be a bit overwhelming. I find if I move things into the RV a little at a time it becomes more manageable and things find their places easily.

I have to figure out where I will be camping. That is not as easy as it used to be. Due to Covid more people are camping now and finding reservations at state park campgrounds and even private campgrounds is more challenging. Thankfully I have Harvest Hosts and Bonndockers Welcome memberships. I really enjoy these alternatives to campsite competition. I usually meet delightful people on these camping adventures. Sometimes I get to sample wines when I stay at Vineyards for the night.

I want to take a moment to thank Cynthia and Ward for their continuing hospitality. Cynthia and I started as friends. During the first year of Covid, they lovingly took me in. We spent almost nine months living in the same house together. Our friendship grew and when I finally departed it felt like I had left family behind. This year they were giving me a place to stay while my rig was in the shop. What started out as a week’s stay became two months. I will miss them when I depart. I appreciate their ongoing hospitality and loving support. Good friends are indeed a treasure.

As I prepare to move, I invite you to join me in the unknown adventures that lay before me. Please, come along for the ride.

Today I am thankful for friends, my little rig, and opportunities that continue to be offered to me.

I am Getting Ready to Roll.

Still…Memories

When I sold my house five years ago, I was not ready to let go of all of my “things”. Emotionally I was not ready to let go of the physical memories of my time with Jim, my husband. Jim died of cancer in late 2012.

I rented a storage unit and moved the things I wanted to keep into this space. It included two sixteen-foot kayaks, a dresser, desk, entertainment center, and more. I have a 150 cc scooter that lives there until I visit San Diego. Every year on my return to the Southern California area I visit the locker and relish my brief time with these treasured items. I especially love looking at my watercolors. Yes, I used to paint.

Each year I return I review everything in the unit and decided what to keep and what needs to go. One year I sold the kayaks to a friend in San Diego. Another year the dresser went to another friend who loves the Mission Style furniture. The computer desk and file cabinet went.

This year I sold the desk that Jim had bought for me. It is a beautiful cherry wood desk. Although I knew this was the right move it brought forward emotions I did not expect. I like meeting the people that buy these items. I like knowing it is going to a good home. When the sale was finally made I felt sadness and a bit of regret to see it go. Melancholy is a good word for this set of emotions.

Jim has been gone for over nine years and although all things around his death and my life transition have gotten easier, I am surprised when these emotions pop forward again. It is bittersweet, and I feel the emotions of loss once again. I am thankful that the emotions are softer and mixed with sweetness now. I treasure these memories. I am grateful for having been given the gift of such an amazing relationship with a very good man.

I don’t try to hide these emotions, I can experience them and know they will settle once again and I will be off to discover as much joy and adventure in life as I can. When I experience these emotions it brings me back to the now. It is good to be in the moment. I am reminded that each breath is precious. I am reminded that each moment is precious. I am reminded that nothing is permanent. It is OK to release and let go of treasured items.

Today I am thankful for impermanence. Today I am thankful for such lovely and warm memories.

Next Up

Does anyone want to buy a Mission-Style Entertainment Center?

Still Moving Forward.

Those Tiny Blessings & Magic Moments

Happy New Year. It has been another odd and interesting year. Already I hear people saying, “Whew I am glad 2021 is over”. There are reasons that we might want to see this year go and welcome another year to try again.

It is so easy to reflect on the negative things that happened over the last twelve months, they were so in your face. I wonder how I might reflect on the year that has ended if I took a moment to remember some of the small moments of magic that helped 2021 not look so bad after all.

  • Kayaking on the North Fork of the Payette River, Idaho, early in the morning and seeing a mother moose and her baby, wading through the shallows. No one else around just me. Just me and nature.
  • Hundreds of snow geese flying around and over my rig. It was so amazing to hear their wings and feel a bit of the wind they created as they flew.
  • Seeing the first sunset from Jim’s and Sandy’s home, where I house sat on Whidbey Island. After a month I thought I would not have to take any more photos of sunsets and then I would turn around and there was another sunset that required another photo.
  • Long walk on the beaches. One day I watched a large flock of seagulls diving in to the water over and over again as they fished in a school of fish.
  • One day, one walk on a beach on the west side of Whidbey Island I almost walked right into an eagle who was standing on the beach. I was looking at birds out in the water and didn’t see him right in front of me.
  • Flowers, oh the iris, daffodils that transitioned through to the season of lilacs, rhododendrons, dhalias and more. It has been many years where I have seen so many wonderful flowers.
  • My friendship with a little brown bird, a song sparrow, that lasted for six months. He discoved me one day in the spring when I was playing a sound on one of bird apps, trying to identify his song. He would come every day and sit on my ankle, knee, arm and eventually made his way to my shoulder and head. He provided me with hours of entertainment and outright joy. As the seasons progressed towards fall, I saw him less. Every few days he would show up in the yard and we would greet each other like long lost friends. I am glad he still has his wild bird life and I am so grateful for his adventure into my life. I will never look at a little brown bird the same again

Click on this photo of my brown birdy and see him on my Head.

  • Friends, I am blessed with such wonderful friends. Thanks to vaccines and masks and cautiousness, I was able to see some of my friends in person. For a long weekend this July seven of us, all owning Roadtreks, gathered at a State Park along the Oregon coast to visit and hike and reconnect. It was a delight.
  • Some of my friends appeared on my doorstep while i was house sitting on Whidbey Island. It was a welcomed reprieve from spending so much time alone. I treasure my friends.
  • I had neighbors on Whidbey Island, Robyn and Tom who quickly became friends. I enjoyed being invited to small gatherings at their place. I also joined them for a movie night at a local theater in Langley. Tom was my go to person for anything I needed help with. I am grateful for my connection with them.
  • I visited my friend Pat on San Juan Island. She and I are both photographers. One day we discovered the foxes of the island. It was so exciting to see them and share that moment with someone who was as excited as I was.
  • Amazing Boondockers Welcome campsites in the Phoenix area. I met such lovely people and the sites were lovely to camp in.

Now I know I could go on yet I think you get the idea. There was a lot of magic out there in 2021. I don’t think any of us had to look far to see it. We just had to acknowledge it when it showed up.

What were your magic moments and tiny blessings from this past year? Take a moment and reflect back, I can almost guarantee you will find at least one moment that enriched and changed your life.

Today at the start of the New Year, I am glad to have had a chance to review the moments from 2021 that make me smile, knowing I have changed and grown because of them.

I am thankful for this past year and with excitement and wonder, I am moving into this New Year waiting to see how it will unfold.

Changing it Up

I have been blogging for several years. I finally decided to change it up and create a new look for my blog. Hmmm, sounds easy, doesn’t it?

I started working on the “New Look” on Christmas day. Although it is almost finished, I am still working on it. It was not such an easy process. What did I have to do?

  • First I had to pick a theme. Easy, right? Not! WordPress has hundreds of themes to choose from. I tried out several themes before I chose the final design. Whew, I am glad that is over.
  • How many pages do I want? Each page represents a part of the finished blog. If you want to contact me, all you have to do is click on contact and just like that there is the form. I need to create that contact page. I needed to create a Bio page. Pages, pages and more pages. These all help to create a clean and complete look.
  • What fonts do I want to use? How large do I want them?
  • Links take you to other places. What links should be included? This part I have not finished yet I am not sure what links are of value to my readers.
  • I had to create a link to my Photography website, jarnoldarts.com. Don’t look too closely at this site. It is my next project. I plan an update.
  • All parts had to be done correctly so that when you as the reader click on any part of the site the correct information shows up.

WordPress has representatives that, via chat, will gladly guide and answer questions. I really like this service. Each time I fumbled or could not figure something out all I had to do was go to a representative and ask questions. Not only did they give me written answers, but they also sent me short videos to watch. The videos were created by the representative on the spot. These people know what they are doing.

This morning, four days after the process began, I have a new and updated page. I hope you enjoy it. Even if I was frustrated at times, I am pleased with the results and hope you as the reader will be also.

Any suggestions? Please do not hesitate to speak up.

Today I am thankful for perseverance and updating my Blog.

Desert Rat-2 : Janet Won!

I have been very fortunate with my RV. Shortly after I bought my Roadtrek, I had one incident with a small creature and took care of it quickly. I blocked holes so it could not get to my food and quickly it departed. Since then I have been critter-free, until recently.

When I first arrived in Phoenix I stayed at a marvelous Boondockers Welcome site north of the city. It was rural and wildlife was plentiful. It was warm in the desert, so I decided to leave my front side windows open. I have screens to put over them. No longer traveling with a kitty I decided the windows could stay all the way down. BIG MISTAKE!

No sooner had I climbed into bed than I heard scurrying sounds in my rig. What the heck was that? Then I felt something running down my legs, on top of the covers. Arrgh, stop already! I got up turned on the lights and of course, there was nothing there. Feeling gullible I decided I had scared whatever it was off and returned to bed.

FAT CHANCE! So began the saga of Janet and the Desert Rat. First I put all the food away. Nothing remained on the counters except the bananas. The next morning there was a bite out of one of the bananas. This was war! I love bananas.

The next evening I did a double-check and everything was put away. That little mouse was quite ingenious and I could hear it scurrying up the wall between the interior and exterior of my van. Oh no, it was making a home. I knew it was time to get serious about getting rid of this invader. Oh, but it is so cute, well at least the pictures on the internet are.

Now going on close to five days I had not been successful. I started with “Fresh Cab Botanical Rodent Repellent – Environmentally Friendly, Keeps Mice Out”. I placed it what I thought were strategic spots. It added a pine scent to my RV but it did not seem to deter the determined rodent.

I decided it was time for the big guns. I was going to buy mouse traps. Did you know there are many kinds of mouse traps? There are the ones I grew up with that just snapped and hopefully killed the mouse when it reached for a piece of cheese. Now there are ones that look like a little house. You still bait them but when they go inside the deed is done and all you have to do is throw out the trap. There are sticky papers which I think are kind of cruel. Live traps are also an option. If you research mouse deterrents the choices are plentiful.

Round one-a live trap. I really did not want to kill anything. If I could catch it alive that would be the best solution. The first night I set it out I had no luck. After hearing it crawl up and down the wall that night, I decided that I was going to have to be a big girl and get a kill trap. I bought a couple of the house-type traps. On night seven I set out the live trap and two of the house traps. I could hear the darn thing as it got braver and braver in its wanderings.

Ah, there it was, the sound of something catching a cute little desert rat. I could only hope. I turned on the lights and there was the little culprit caught in my live trap. Ah-ha, I had prevailed. The mouse was still alive, I could only hope it was the only one. I duct-taped the ends of the live trap and put it outside until morning.

When morning came I took a half-mile walk into the desert and once I felt I was far enough from the rig, I opened the trap and the little rat ran into the desert to create a new home. I went back to my rig and got out of there before it could find its way back. Now I had to hope it was the only one.

As I have not heard anymore moving up and down the walls, I have gone back to my slovenly ways, leaving a few nuts, and fruit on the counter and so far nothing has touched them. The other day I was looking at my water pump which is hidden under a compartment inside the rig. I found little pieces of cloth and threads in there. I recognized what they belonged to. I cleaned those out, made sure the Fresh Cab was in place, and closed the compartment. Those pieces of thread and cloth certainly indicated that the little desert rat was making a home somewhere in the walls.

One day I was cleaning out one of the cabinets where my food is. There was more evidence it had been in that cabinet. It had bitten into the uncooked rice and chocolates. Chocolates! If I had known that earlier, the war would have escalated sooner. That cabinet is the only one with a hole in it. I moved all my canned and glass goods into that space and all other food moved into a cabinet with no entry points.

I think I have been successful.

Living this lifestyle presents unique challenges. I have to consider things I would not usually think about. It allows me to be creative in a thought-provoking way. It gives me a chance to meet up and win a challenge with a determined yet cute desert rat.

Today I am thankful that I was able to catch and release this little rat instead of killing it. Today I am thankful the rat is gone.

Another Year

Fall represents a time of coming in. The harvests are in and hopefully, people are celebrating a bounty. The daylight hours shorten. It is a time of coming in, physically inside, inside the heart, inside the mind.

When October arrives I begin to brace myself for the journey through Jim’s birthday, October tenth. Jim (my husband) died in October 2012. The day before his birthday was his last hospital admission. Then my birthday arrives, October sixteenth. October seventeenth in the early evening hours, my husband of twenty-one years died. On November seventeenth we took his ashes to sea on a glorious San Diego morning.

Each year I wonder what this period of time will look like. Will I want to be with others? Will I want to be alone? Will I celebrate my birthday? It took me two years after his death to celebrate my sixtieth birthday. Will I be sad or grateful for this time in my life?

This year I found myself wanting to be alone and settle with my heart. It was a quiet day on Whidbey Island, where I was house sitting. I decided I really did not want to take phone calls. I was in a good and quiet place and I wanted to savor that time and the contentment I felt.

I still have a small amount of Jim’s ashes, ready to be given to the Rocky Mountains, when I get there. Three weeks before my house sitting gig was finished on Whidbey Island, I took two teaspoons of the ashes to Callahan Firehouse Glass in the town of Langley and had a memorial pendant made. I did not want a pendant for my neck, I wanted something larger so he could ride on the mirror in my rig. I gave them my order and told the artist to be creative.

Just before I left Langley I picked up the pendant. The woman who creates this artwork was at the store to give me the pendant. She told me that she does ceremonies around each pendant she creates. She spoke with Jim while blowing the glass. And remembered the stories I had told to the woman who had taken my order.

The pendant is beautiful. The blues in it match his eyes(light blue) and his Modern Morgan Kilt(darker blue). The white that sparkles through are his ashes. Now Jim gets to see my world. When the sun hits it just right there is a diamond flare of light that hits the bottom or top of the glass. I think it is Jim winking at me.

This feels like another step in the continuation of moving forward and embracing my life. This year there was a settling in, a feeling of comfort within myself that has not been there since he left.

And, speaking of Jim…Today is Giving Tuesday. When Jim died, with the help of Grossmont College where he worked most of his adult life, I created a scholarship in his name, the Jim Fenningham Memorial Scholarship. These scholarships help students afford to attend college and create careers for themselves. I have met a few of the students and each semester the college sends me a letter that the student who was awarded the scholarship writes. When I read these essays it gives me hope for the future no matter what the age of the student

If you would like to donate to Jim’s Scholarship today or any time please do so. Here is the link to the Change Makers site. Change Makers are students that achieve if supported. If you donate today the scholarship will receive double the amount of your donation. I already did my yearly donation earlier in the day. In the memo section type in Jim Fenningham Memorial Scholarship so that the donation will be directed to the appropriate area. It is a good time to donate. Remember that tax season is right around the corner.

I am feeling grateful for another year. I am glad that I allow myself to adventure into my feelings, good or bad. Each year I see my own growth and am thankful. I am thankful for the time I had with Jim. I am thankful that I am still here and growing. Today is a good day.

A Week in Phoenix

Phoenix

I don’t like big cities. There is too much traffic and often there is a lack of courtesy for other vehicles on the highways. I avoid these large cities when I can. I can only endure the busyness for a length of time before I need to disappear into my little home on wheels and shut the door.

A week ago I arrived in Phoenix, Arizona. With a population of 1,660,272, Phoenix is the fifth-largest city in the United States. It can take over an hour to drive from the west side to the east side. There are freeways and highways going in all kinds of directions. It is busy.

I began to fuss about going there on my drive south from Washington. I think I may have even whined a little. Sometimes I am my own worse enemy. 

Why was I going to Phoenix? 

  • While I was house sitting in Washington State, I learned that the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience. It was going to be in Seattle. I delayed buying tickets. When I finally got around to buying a ticket, they were sold out. Where else could I see it? It was going to be in Phoenix, Scottsdale to be precise. 
  • I have a good friend, Yvonne, that lives in Goodyear (the West side of Phoenix). I gave her a call asked her if she would be interested in going to the exhibit. Yes. I began to plan a visit to the big city. 
  • After the above plan was put into action I discovered another good friend, Leslie, from Anchorage, AK was in the lower forty-eight. After visiting in San Diego she was going to Phoenix to visit family. After a short discussion I decided to come into the area a few days early so I could meet up with her before she flew home.
  • My friend Mary lives with her menagerie, 2 cats and a dog in Apache Junction (the East side). It has been four years since we have seen each other. Another planned visit took shape. 

Phoenix was not as bad as my fussing about it was. It is a big city, sitting in one of the richest deserts in the world. If you get tired of the rushing and moving about, in twenty minutes to a half-hour you can be in the desert, kayaking on a lake, or hiking into the mountains. When things get too rushed one can disappear into nature and breathe. This is a very good feature of this large metropolis.

My two night stay in Cave Creek

Upon my arrival to the greater Phoenix area, thanks to Boondockers Welcome, I found a lovely driveway to camp in for two nights. I pay an annual fee to this organization. It allows me to contact hosts wherever I might be traveling and stay in their driveway or back yard for a few nights before I move on. I have had good experiences wherever I have stayed. My first two nights were not disappointing. I stayed at Cave Creek Botanicals. Joni and Bill were the hosts. Their yard was lovely. It was a mix of cactus and sculptures. Joni is an artist and one can see her artwork throughout the yard. On my last morning, I sat and had coffee with them on the front porch. I now have places to stay in Nevada and Alaska.

Cave Creek put me in a good location to meet up with Leslie the following morning in Scottsdale. It has been several years since we have seen each other. We spent half of a day together and I feel that we barely had begun before it was over. A small amount of time, if done right, can be just as valuable and treasured as weeks together. I am glad for this brief meetup with Leslie.

Yvonne lives in Goodyear on the west side of the city. She lives in one of the many fifty-five and up communities that are spread throughout Phoenix. She has lived there for about a year. twelve or more of her relatives also live in the metro area. When one has a choice between North Dakota or the desert Southwest in the winter many choose the warmer climes of Arizona. I got to meet some of her extended family. I also got a personal tour of Pebble Creek. She was an excellent tour guide.

One day we went to the Desert Botanical Gardens. The Gardens were so lovely. They have been there since the 1930s. It always amazes me to see the diversity of plant life in an arid and warm environment. We strolled through the gardens in the morning ending at the Butterfly Pavilion. Oh, those butterflies!

The Immersive Van Gogh exhibit was amazing. If you get a chance and it is anywhere near you…Go! It was interesting and beautiful. The music enhanced the exhibit. I stood in a room full of color and Van Gogh paintings. They swirled around me and reflected off the floor. It was definitely worth a visit to the city.

Next stop, Apache Junction on the east side. Another Boondockers welcome host awaited my arrival, just a few miles from my friend. Mary lives within view of the Superstition Mountains. These are rugged desert mountains. When you go into them there are many canyons one could disappear in and never return. There were lakes and hiking and biking trails. It was fun to be with another adventurous soul. It had been four years since Mary and I met while traveling in our Roadtreks in Southern New Mexico. We have remained in touch. Meeting up with her was just like yesterday. And…she has cats!!

Buddy
Boo

After a morning in the mountains, we returned to Mary’s home, picked up Roxie the dog, and drove to the Salt River, a favorite place of Mary’s. The day was perfect. The temperature was just right and the sky was an amazing blue. And there, just as we got to the river, were a band of the Salt River Wild Mustangs. Did you know I love horses? Oh my, I love horses. I really love the wild ones. I have always wanted to own a mustang. These horses were eating eelgrass growing in the river. This was a perfect ending to my week in Phoenix.

Everywhere I have traveled and explored has been unique and interesting and, well, different. My week of adventure in a big city reminded me that there is something the city has to offer the intrepid traveler. I love art and museums and culture that can only be found in larger populated areas. Like most large cities Nature is not too far away. It can be in a Botanical Garden or in the rugged terrain that often surrounds these larger metropolitan areas.

Phoenix was not as bad as I had imagined. I am glad I went. I am very glad for a visit with such good friends and enjoyed what this metropolitan area had to offer.

Today I am thankful for pushing myself out of my comfort zone, just a little to enjoy my week in Phoenix and connect with good friends.

On to San Diego. Oh Lord, another big city.

 

Getting Ready-Heading South

After so many months it seems a bit strange to say I am “getting ready to roll”. Yes, the owners are returning to their lovely home on Whidbey Island. My time is up and I am heading south. I am ready for a bit less rain and warmer temperatures. It has been raining a lot lately. One week it rained for almost a whole week straight before the blessed sun returned to the sky and everything dried out.

I have enjoyed my stationary time. Well mostly stationary. I have made a few excursions to the Oregon coast to meet up with friends. After a week away I returned to Whidbey and the house. I also have been to the Olympic Peninsula twice. I love exploring our national parks.

I have lived full time, well mostly, in my tiny RV for more than five years. Staying in one place has been a new experience for me. I have had plenty of time to explore. I have experienced the changing of seasons in the Pacific Northwest. I arrived at the beginning of spring and am leaving halfway through the fall.

For the first time in years, I have experienced changing of the seasons. It started rainy and blustery. As the spring progressed the rain stopped and everything came alive. I discovered when the rain stops in the spring everything greens up and flower season begins. After living in southern California for almost thirty years I thrived on the green here. There are so many tall trees. Walking in the woods smells wonderful. It really helps when that walk often ends at a beach.

This year I got to watch the progression of flower seasons. When I first arrived Daffodils and Tulips were everywhere. I was able to meet up with a good friend and enjoy tulip season in the Skagit Valley. It was breathtaking.

Tulip season folded into Rhododendron season. There was color everywhere. I discover private and public gardens to explore on my walks and bike rides. The east coast lilacs I grew up with competed for attention with the Rhodies. I love lilacs and it was a joy to have them in vases in the house. I would walk downstairs in the morning and smell the lilacs as I entered the living space. What a wonderful smell.

As the season rolled into summer the flowers faded, replaced by green, sunny, warm days. I got my fair share of kayaking, walking, and cycling in. Except for a few days, the temperatures were mild. It was good to be outside.

The flowers made a reappearance this fall when the Dahlias stepped forward to fill the flower void. Oh my, there were dahlias everywhere. They were on display at roadside stands, farms, yards, and even my front yard. I love dahlias. 

I have also seen a progression of birds as the season’s change. Hummingbirds were here and then they were gone, while they raised their young, and then they reappeared. Recently the crows who have been around all summer have disappeared. Where have they gone? I have seen eagles, osprey, sparrows (golden-crowned, song, white-crowned), finches, and flickers. My joy this summer was seeing Harlequin and Pintail Ducks for the first time. I have treasured the birds and the time I have to enjoy them. 

And then, of course, there is my special little brown birdy, who has made me feel so important, special, and unique. I see him every few days. He always acknowledges me. I enjoyed the times that he seems particularly thrilled to see me, flying over to visit and sitting on my foot or leg. I will miss him. I also know he is OK out there in his birdy world. 

I have made friends on Whidbey. One of them, Lela is going to join me for part of the trek south. She owns a Roadtrek RV as well. My neighbors, Robyn and Tom have been such a great resource and a delight. I am glad to have met them. 

All in all, it has been a very good way to spend another Covid summer.

Thank you Jim and Sandy for loaning me your beautiful home with the drop-dead gorgeous sunsets. I will always be grateful for this opportunity. 

Now the days are shorter. It gets dark early in the afternoon and stays dark later in the morning. I find I am longing for the sun and the warmth. It is time to go.

Today I am feeling thankful for the opportunities that present themselves to me. Today I am thankful I can recognize them. Today I am thankful for life.