Here, There & Back Again-Adventures Along the Way

The View From Whidbey

In the third week of June, I left my house-sitting job on Whidbey Island and resumed my nomadic lifestyle. I traveled to southern Utah to celebrate my dear friend, Sharon’s, ninetieth birthday. I was surrounded by family and friends. I reunited with her family, one I have known since I was a young girl. I made new friends and enjoyed all those that I do not know at all.

The following week I traveled north through Utah. I kayaked lakes and rivers, biked along the byways, and kept my hiking limited due to an ongoing ankle injury. Utah never disappoints me. There is always magic there and it draws me back time and again. I waved to Salt Lake City as I drove by. This city was my first real move away from home in 1976. Yes, I have almost always had a nomadic tendency.

I gradually made my way into Idaho. After exploring the City of Rocks National Reserve in southern Idaho I stayed in Boise with good friends for two weeks. Linda and I are like sisters. We hike and walk together and even tube the Boise River together. It is so much fun to have friends that have a sense of adventure.

When I left Boise I returned to Donnelly, ID, where I spent my 2020 Covid spring, summer, and fall. This time I was there for ten days. It was long enough to see one of my favorite chiropractors, go to the Farmers Market and kayak a section of the Payette River. It was an action-packed ten days. I would have stayed longer but I had a plan.

Linda, Mary, Phyllis, Janet

Mary Z, Linda, and I became friends back in 2016. I met them on that fateful desert trip. I ended the long weekend, breaking my ankle, delaying the sale of my home, and my imminent departure into my full-time RV life. The three of us have remained friends. Our last great adventure was traveling the White Rim in the backcountry of Canyonlands National Park. It has been a while since the three of us have been together.

A Gathering of Friends

We decided to meet up on the coast of Oregon. After some quick decision-making, we reserved a group site at one of the campgrounds near the town of Florence. With that one decision, it became a gathering of friends. We invited a few friends to join us for this group camping adventure on the coast. There were six Roadtreks(our RVs) and seven people. Two dogs and one kitty also joined the laid-back festivities.

Since I bought my Roadtrek in 2013 I have met wonderful, interesting, and unique people. I had no idea how this single purchase would change and enhance my life. I have traveled with some of these people. Others I meet in the desert during the winter months. Sometimes it is purely by fate that we meet at all. Recently while I was making my way to Boise two Roadtreks passed each other, we waved and there were my friends from Michigan. And, as with the Canyonlands trip, sometimes we leave our Roadtreks behind (safely watched over) and head to the backcountry in high clearance vehicles and camp, once again, on the ground. Almost anywhere I travel there are people who are waiting to have me join them for a day or two or more.

Linda, Mary, Pat & Pancho the Dog-Hiking during the Coastal gathering

People who RV are a welcoming, adventurous, and fun lot. I have become friends and or acquaintances with many. When I travel cross-country, I usually have people to visit, places to stay, or others to go camping with. When traveling distance it is so joyful to break up the monotony of the drive, by meeting delightful people. I have learned of unique and interesting places to explore. There is laughter and catching up to do. Sometimes serious and heartfelt conversations help relieve the stress of making major decisions on my own. I treasure my RVing friends. I treasure my friends. My Roadtrek may have been the catalyst to meet others yet several friendships have gone beyond the RV. I treasure all these friendships.

Today I am thankful to have discovered a lifestyle that has opened my world. Today I am thankful for good, good friends. Today I am thankful for by-chance meetings that create change in my life. Today I am thankful for my Roadtrek, for my friends and for a sense of adventure.

Summer & the Living is Hot & Easy

Being on the move in the summer can be fun, frustrating and hot. So far I have avoided the frustrating, but I am not able to avoid the fun and hot part.

Kolob Area of Zion National Park

The west this summer is experiencing extremely high temperatures earlier than usual. When I arrived in Southern Utah the third week of June it was already reaching the “100’s” in Fahrenheit. I was fortunate to be able to plug into shore power (using the electricity from my friend’s home). It gave me access to my air conditioner so I could be comfortable sleeping at night.

Willis Carrier

I have decided that Willis Carrier, the inventor of air conditioning really needs to be recognized and honored. God bless that man’s genius. I have been south and now am making my way back to the northwest. Everywhere I have been it has been “Hot”. Being in the low 90’s and the low 100’s has been common. And there is no rain in site.

I spent two days on Utah Lake south of Salt Lake City. It is a large, shallow fresh water lake. The state park campground is lovely. I secured a campsite next to the lake and enjoyed the beautiful sunsets each evening. I also was able to launch my kayak and kayak on the lake and up the Provo River.

Utah Lake

What do I do when it is hot? How do I maintain my sweet little home on wheels in this heat?

  • If I am active, I will either get up early or wait until later in the evening to be physical. Early morning kayaks or bike rides are a great time to see animals. This was even more important when I was traveling with Elsie.
  • Siesta time is in the middle of the day. This is my time to read or work on the business of my life (balancing the checkbook, etc).
  • I prepare my rig for the heat of summer or the cold of winter.
Reflectix
  • Reflectix is my friend. Reflectix is a reflective insulation that looks like silver bubble wrap. It’s commonly used in attics as insulation. It reflects heat. I have a Reflectix type of material for each of my windows in the van. When it is going towards hot or cold, weatherwise, Reflectix goes in each window. It is amazing how much that will keep the interior cool.
  • On hot days if I turn my Superfan on and with the windows shielded from the heat the temperature maintains at a very comfortable level.
  • My awning is opened, allowing less direct sun to reach the RV.
  • The back of the refrigerator is facing the outside of my van. I try to park the rig so the side of the van is shaded from the heat of the day. I am not always able to park it how I wish so creating a shade of awning to protect the refrigerator from the sun.
  • After the heat of the day is over, I open the windows and doors and let the cooler air in.
  • When all else fails it is time to visit friends or find a hotel room. I have never needed a hotel room. I am always thankful for my friends. They greet me with open arms and share what they can and it is always more than enough.

Now that I have the rig ready for the extremes, what do I do to enjoy the lazy days of summer? Summer is a time for fun and joy. I find it kayaking, biking, hiking and walking, and being with friends. Currently, I am in Boise, Idaho, staying with very good friends in an air-conditioned house. With the temperature above 100 degrees most days I am truly enjoying my situation. Steve tries to get Linda (his wife) and me to go for walks at all times of the day. He is not successful and has to wait until 8 pm or later to urge us out of the house.

The Greenbelt

Yesterday I took a 17.5 mile bike ride along the Greenbelt of the Boise River. I started at 8:30 am and was done by 10 am. The Greenbelt is one of my favorite bike rides. It is relatively flat and is shaded and cool in the early morning hours. The full length of the Greenbelt is 25+ miles. The majority of the ride follows the River. There are opportunities to see all kinds of wildlife, although I have only seen deer and ducks.

Continuing the trend of an active day, in the afternoon, Linda and I decided to tube the Boise River along with many, many others. After the first emersion, the water was comfortable. We drifted along the shallow river. It took us approximately three hours to float the 7.2-mile distance. There were a few tiny tiny rapids that still caused me to gasp as the water washed over us.

Biking in the cool of the day, rafting the river in the afternoon, and walking later in the evening are a few examples of how I choose to spend the warm summer days. As I continue my return to the Northwest I am sure that I will discover more ways to enjoy these warm days. Meanwhile, maybe I will pick up a good book or take a nap.

Yes, the living can be easy on these warm summer days.

The Adventure of It All

Northwest Sunset

I enjoy an adventure. I like to read about others’ adventures. I like to watch documentaries of adventure. I am a closet big wave surfer and high altitude climber. I like to be in the middle of adventure.

On March 16th I left San Diego to adventure north. After spending time in Oxnard, California, and Point Mugu, getting the last of the rig repairs completed I headed north. Destination, Whidbey Island, Washington. On an adventure, I seldom go right to the beginning of the new experience. I decided to give myself time to wander through California, Oregon and finally Washington.

Oceano Dunes

The Oceano Sand Dunes are located south of Pismo Beach. The Dunes area is recognized by scientists, conservationists, government agencies, and the public as the finest, most extensive coastal dunes remaining in California. The Preserve offers rare opportunities for on-the-sand activities—you can camp on the beach and in the open dune area, go horseback riding, and drive right on the beach. In fact, it’s the only California State Park that allows vehicles to do so (four- or all-wheel drive recommended). I did not camp on the beach. The fee to be towed if one gets stuck in the sand is quite a bit. I camped in a private campground that allowed direct access into the dunes.

This is my third visit to the dunes. I know I will return again and again. There is something special about standing in the middle of these rolling dunes and seeing no one except the little animal tracks at my feet. These dunes are what I expected every desert to look like when I was a child.

The Dunes

Being close to Hollywood, several movies have been filmed here. The most noted one is “The Ten Commandments”. When filming was complete, rather than dismantling the set, it was coved with sand and left. According to an article in the LA Times, “Hollywood discovered Guadalupe Dunes decades ago“, pieces of this set continue to be found by amateur and professional sleuths.

I found the dunes attractive for the opportunity to take photos in the ever-changing light. The light was shifting moment by moment. It would have been easy to take a photo of one object again and again. the light changed before my eyes.

This is a place I know I will return to again and again. And if you are wondering….The dunes are packed hard so walking is easy in most places. Be ready for that soft spot though.

I pushed myself north a bit faster than I would have liked but I knew there was an empty house in need of attention at my final destination.

Mary Making Bagels

I did take a few days off to visit with two close friends, Mary & Wanda, who have created their bubble. All three of us have been vaccinated. It felt safe to visit. What does one do when there is no room in the house to sleep? I slept in my rig on a quiet street in Medford, Oregon. Oh but I had access to a bathroom to shower. Sweet.

It has been almost a year since I have visited anyone closely except Ward and Cynthia, part of my bubble. It was good to see other people who I knew were consciously taking care of themselves. Mary introduced me to her new E-bike. Oh my goodness I could do some damage with that. It was fun to ride. For now I will stick with my road bike.

Since I left the bay area it had been rainy and gray. When I got on the ferry to Whidbey it was gray and a short time later I drove off the ferry into the sun. About forty-five minutes later I arrived at my temporary home for the next two months.

It has not remained sunny. On Sunday the weather changed, a cold front came through. There was hail. There was the wind. The temperature dropped. Then Monday arrived and the sun has been out ever since. I was told that I have seen the worst of the weather.

I am beginning my adventure on Whidbey Island. I will be here until mid-June. I have been exploring beaches and taking photos-lots of photos. I will add a link to the photos with my next blog post. I am adjusting to being solo again. It gets pretty quiet without anyone to talk to. It is life and I am slowly settling in. The view and the outdoors are helping assuage the quiet.

My Current Home

My adventure on Whidbey Island is just beginning. I hope you will come along for the ride, walk, hike,…

Today I am thankful for people who entrust me to care for their home. Today I am thankful for a cozy home with an amazing view. Today I am thankful for the opportunities that are offered to me. Today I am thankful for recognizing opportunities.