On a Roll

Miss Elsie the Cat and I decided it was time for an adventure. This morning we packed up and headed north and west. The coolest thing is that for once, I timed the traffic right in Los Angeles and rolled through that major traffic jam without a hitch. Whew, thank goodness.

My goal is Pismo Beach, on the west coast of this nation. There is going to be an informal Rally of Roadtreks for four days. We are gathering at an RV Campground and doing something. I am not sure what, but I am going. It is time to walk away from stress and decision making for a few days and have some fun.

The funny thing with a diagnosis of cancer, I immediately am sure that I am not going to live to see tomorrow. I wonder  if it is a bit of let down to see the sun rise the next day. I just don’t think so. A brief update before I move on to brighter and better subjects. I am putting a puzzle together. As each piece fits into place, my decision gets closer to being complete. I have all the pieces but one. May 15th, I have a second opinion at the Moores Cancer Center in San Diego. Hopefully, the visit to the Moores Cancer Center will give me the last piece of the puzzle, for now. The decision I need to make is: Am I comfortable with delaying surgery and the radioactive iodine treatment until fall, or do I have it done now? What confuses this decision, a good friend of mine and I have a two month trip to Africa coming up in July. Although everyone has told me to go and have the surgery in the fall, I am still needed a bit more confirmation. I have had a lot of indecision around this and finally saw a therapist to help me sort it all out. So stay tuned.

Steve, Debbie, Lynn, John

Meanwhile, back at the beach…..I have decided that I do not want to drive long distances any more. I want to have enough energy at the end of my day to enjoy a walk or a bike ride or a hike. I don’t condone exhaustion anymore. Once I was through LA, I thought I would head into the hills, ah the beach was calling and the hills will have to wait. There are these funky campgrounds between the railroad and the ocean as you drive from Ventura to Santa Barbara. I have always wanted to stay at one. Tonight is the night. Our view is the ocean. Yup right out the back door of the RV. I am not sure Elsie is as happy with this situation as I am. She takes a few looks and then heads to the front of the RV. Silly cat.

 

Tonight I met Debbie, Steve, Lynn and John, newly retired and testing out the RV lifestyle for two years. They are jovial and fun and have offered me dinner. Well yum. I enjoy meeting other people. I did the whole camping experience this evening. I had a burger with all the fixings and S’mores for dessert around a campfire by the ocean. I am still needing to give myself encouragement to interact with those I don’t know. I have struggled with this since Jim, my husband, died. It is fun when others make the first move. I am then more comfortable chatting it up and enjoying dinner and companionship.

Currently Elsie and I are bundled up inside our warm and cozy home. The ocean is our backdrop this evening. Hopefully the waves crashing just below me will lull me to sleep. If not, I will enjoy lying here listening to them.

Tomorrow will bring another day of wonder.

I am thankful today for good and kind people.

I am thankful today that I woke up.

 

I’m Sorry-Revisited

Sunset Cle Elum

After spending four really good days catching up on over 20 years of conversation, my visit with my friend Lori in Cle Elum, WA came to an end today. We hiked, toured and lord did we talk. I got to explore the Cle Elum area with a long time resident. Lori was a great tour guide and I am thankful for her giving me the time to visit and tour

 

Elsie the Cat and I are “on the road” in Washington state. We are slowly heading west.

Today I drove back into the hot somewhat barren country of the Columbia River Plateau. It is really not barren. There are major crops that grow out here. The land, however is yellow and treeless and hot. I kept thinking about trees. When I saw this campground it is on a river and there were trees. That was inviting enough for me.

I am camped along the Methow River. I am in an RV park for the night. My first night back on the road is often easier when I still have amenities, laundry, shower, electric and water. What more can one ask for in life.

It is busy in the campground. This weekend is the Winthrop R & B festival. People are pulling in. I was lucky to get a site for one night. I am always thankful for small miracles. Tomorrow I will head for the National Forest and higher, cooler climes.

I tend to say “I’m sorry” often. I apologize for things that are not even close to being my fault. If something happens in the world well I may as well just apologize for it. For goodness sakes it is so past time to get over this behavior. It is hard to break old habits.

Tonight I received a lesson. The man in the RV next to mine must have apologized to me several times since my arrival.

  • I am sorry that my air-conditioning is so loud.
  • I am sorry but I have to empty my black and gray water tank. I apologize ahead of time for the smell.
  • I am really really sorry about the smell. (there wasn’t any)
  • I fixed the air-conditioning but I am sorry that you can hear it.
  • I live in western Washington and it so hot here that I have to run the air-conditioning. I am sorry.
  • I am sorry, I am sorry, I am sorry.

I kept telling him, it is OK. Then he would apologize again. I thought to myself, is that what I sound like when I apologize for everything under the sun? It didn’t sound good. I kind of felt sorry for him. What if he had just come out and said hi, I am your neighbor, welcome to the park. I think we all get it, when we live in close quarters there is going to  be sounds and noise. For me it is one night.

I am going to try to catch myself when I get in an apologizing mode. Maybe, just maybe with practice I can stop before I apologize and ask myself, silently, is this really something I need to apologize for? Practice can change habits. I also promise not to be hard on myself when I slip. It is life and these habits are slow to change. They are very long and ingrained habits.

Tomorrow I ascend into the northern Cascades for the weekend. Up I go and down goes the temperature. Elsie and I will be looking for solitude and quiet for the rest of the weekend. I am excited I have never been here before so everything is magical and new. I am ready to get on my hiking shoes.

Next Wednesday El and I are going international and heading to Canada, Vancouver Island. I am anticipating a month, maybe more exploring the island from the south to the north and back again. Any suggestions besides Victoria and Buchart Gardens?

Off I go on another adventure. It has taken me since early May to reach the west coast. I am looking forward to seeing the ocean, saying hello to Jim (his ashes went to sea) and exploring a new place. And I get to take at least one ferry ride. I love ferries.

Anyone want to come along? Company is always welcome.

Separating Ways-Almost

Cat solo

Cat solo

 

Saturday, Cat (cycling the coast with her pups) and I, chose separate paths for the rest of her trip down the 1 and the 101. She is strong and has been cycling on her own for several days in a row for over a month now. Saturday I decided, since I was not needed any more, I would like to venture off in my own direction. I want to explore some of the area around central California on my own time and schedule.

I am still carrying the gear she does not need. She loaded up the rest of the dog food and other essentials and now is totally independent as she finishes her ride down to the Mexico border. I am still there in case of emergency but that is it. We will meet up in San Diego after her ride is complete and sort out the gear.

I hope Cat can appreciate what we have done for each other. At the beginning of this trip we had several long conversations about the “what ifs” of this journey. I asked her if she would have pursued this trip without me and she said, she did not think so. I am honored to have been a part of this adventure. I am glad I could more than, get her on her way and help out when I was needed. I imagine that many of the through bikers would have appreciated the support that I was able to give to her. It is a hard journey, physically, emotionally and more. Now it is time for Cat to fly solo and for me to figure out what is next.

This has been an interesting two plus months on the road. I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned what I can tolerate and not tolerate. Whoa, I am only 64 years old and I am just now figuring this out. Mostly what I have learned is that I want to be appreciated, not more than necessary yet appreciated none the less. I guess I really want to appreciate myself and I am getting there. I didn’t always feel this appreciation on this journey of two. Because of the long days, Cat did not always have any more to give at the end of her day. This trip truly tested us both in many different ways.

I was the one who instigated our separation. I felt like a mother who was seeing her sidekick fly the coop. I am glad to know she is strong and continuing her journey down the coast. I am proud of what she has accomplished and what she will accomplish still. It will be good to meet at the end of her trip.

img_6158 img_6167Meanwhile I am in the town of Atascadero this morning in a sweet little coffee house, typing like crazy. I spent last night at a Harvest Host site near Paso Robles. The Rio Seco Winery is a small family operation with an interesting history. It was used as a film set for the 1987 movie “The Junkman.” The barn, where the tasting room is today was also part of a major drug bust. It was used as a growing house for marijuana. Today it is a lovely small winery specializing in red wines. The sunset was gorgeous from my small house on wheels.

Today I am not sure where I am wandering off to. Wander I shall. I think I am going off to look for those twisty little back roads that I love so much.

Please continue to follow Cat’s trip. After more than two thirds of her trip was over, her bike is now in good shape. She is riding strong.

Elsie, the Roadtrek and Me are riding strong, too.

RT in the Redwoods

RT in the Redwoods

Janet in the Redwoods

Janet in the Redwoods

Elsie the rave

Elsie the Brave

Friends & Wine Anyone?

img_3431Last Monday I took a break from the coast and route 101.

Have you ever had one of those forever friends? You know the ones I mean, you may not be in touch for years, but suddenly, one day you are back in touch. Not too long after that an opportunity arrises to be able to get together and catch up. It is like yesterday. I have one of those friends in Corvallis, Oregon.

Last Monday after I made sure Cat was good to go, I departed the coast, drove one hour inland (east) and met up with Kat and her husband Charlie. We figured 2003 was probably the last time the two of us physically saw each other. It has been almost that long since we have spoken. Thanks to Facebook and her daughter (we are FB friends) Kat and I got in touch. The first phone call was hours long.

I spent this past week in their home. Elsie and I had the downstairs apartment. I think Elsie was glad for a bit more room and so was I. Initially I was suppose to leave and head back to the coast, today. By the second day of our visit, we both realized we needed more time. I extended my stay until a week from today.

Kat, Charlie & Kat

Kat, Charlie & Janet

I am having so much fun. Kat is a spinner and loves to explore genealogy. With hikes mixed in we have been catching up. One day we spent immersed in my family’s genealogy. She has promised to help me dye some wool and go home with my own yarn. It is so much fun. I am also enjoying Charlie, her husband. We all get along very well and I am so glad to be back in her company. It is truly a delight. I am getting to see a part of Oregon that was not on my itinerary.

There was one glitch in the plans, in regards to spending a second week. This Sunday they have family coming into town to spend the night. I have my sweet little Roadtrek the RV. This afternoon I took off to go camp for the next two nights.

12249836_925564227523865_4050253941871400085_nI am a member of Harvest Hosts. They are an organization that works with different attractions all over the United States. For my $49/year I can call ahead to different attractions (vineyards, farms) and spend the night. Tonight I am at Emerson Vineyards in Monmouth, Oregon. I am camped behind the barn for the night with Miss Elsie the Cat. It is so nice here. I am out in the country. It is quiet.  While it is raining outside I am sitting inside writing this blog. 1614519_10152171414074326_1764785442_o

img_4527-2

Tom, owner of Emerson Vineyards

Emerson Vineyards is a small family run business. I have met Tom the owner and investor. He is very laid back and nice. Not only is he knowledgable about the wines he also was a wealth of information on the local area. I went to a wine tasting this afternoon and now have 3 bottles of wine and a bottle of yummy port sitting on my countertop. I like this type of camping.

I am so glad to know I have friends, similar to Kat all over the United States and Canada. Often my visits coincide with my need to be social and be in other’s company. My visit with Kat is very well timed. We have known each other for so long, there is an ease between the two of us. We share a history and it makes it easy to be in her company. Right now I am enjoying that ease.

Today I am thankful for organizations such as Harvest Hosts that add adventure to my life.

Today I am very thankful for my forever friends. They bring such joy to my life. Today I am thankful.