Summer is Winding Down & New Adventures are on the Horizon

Two days ago my house-sitting gig on Whidbey Island came to an end. I have fallen in love with the little house on the bluff. I will miss it. I will miss the sunsets. I will miss Birdy Boy. I will miss my neighbors, Tom and Robyn. I will miss the comfort of my temporary home.

And, I am ready to move back into my RV and get on the road.

But not so fast. On Monday of this week, I moved up Island to the charming town of Coupeville where I am house and dog sitting for a week. Yes, the animal and house-sitting adventures continue.

Lela’s Place

One of the things I like about owning a Roadtrek is the true friends I have made since I bought EmmyLou.

Lela had a Roadtrek that she sold about a year ago. We met when I first came to Whidbey Island in 2021. She lives on this island. We have been friends since. We kayak together, meet for outings and music festivals, eat dinner together, talk, and have fun.

Lela has two dogs, well she had three, Abbe went to Doggie Heaven a few days before my arrival. Ellie and Ace are still here and going strong. They are my charges for the week. Are they cute and personable? Yes! Can they be whiney? Yes. They are dogs.

I now have two dogs that sleep with me at night and follow me around the house during the day. They are cute. I love how they look at me like I am the best person in the world. They get me out and walking a couple of times a day. They love their walks. I have become a dog poopy bag carrier.

I also continue to have the most amazing sunset views. I love looking west.

After my week here I am changing it up. I am joining three other adventurous women and we are heading for the backcountry of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon for a few weeks. These trips make my soul sing. I will share more of this adventure as it unfolds.

I am moving south. Fall has arrived here, even though it is still summer. Right after Labor Day, the weather shifted and I could smell fall in the air. The days are growing shorter and it is cooler now. Today I woke up to heavy fog over the Sound and the house but not me. I still have to take those doggies for a walk.

I will miss many things about island living, the ferries, the sunsets, my friends, being so close to nature, kayaking, and the quiet and solitude I often experienced here. My nomadic life has not come to an end, though I admit I look at the real estate ads from time to time.

I feel blessed and honored to be asked to take care of people’s homes and pets. I have been able to experience parts of this country more in-depth than just spending a week or two in each place. I have made friends. I have seen so many lovely places. Now I am ready to see some more.

Sandy’s & Jim’s Home

Today I am thankful for Sandy & Jim who have let me live in and caretake their home for two wonderful summers in the Northwest. Maybe I will be back again. I am thankful for the friends I have met and kept. I am thankful I discovered a lifestyle that complements me especially when I was feeling lost after Jim’s death.

Today I am thankful.

Now, it is time to take the dogs for a walk.

Roadtreking & Friends

I have owned my Roadtrek since 2013. It has been an adventure like no other. My Roadtrek and I have been a friend magnet.

It all started with a blog. I know, you think it was this blog. No, it was another. After I wrote my first post on my blog, I was contacted by Mike the owner of the former Roadtrek Lifestyles blog. He asked me to become a guest reporter for that blog. Little did I know what this exposure would do for my life.

People from all over the United States and Canada followed my travel adventures via the Roadtrek Lifestyle blog. It took about a year before I started posting to meet the first fellow Roadtrekers at San Simeon State Park on the Big Sur Coast of California. Appropriately enough we met at the “Dump Station”. That is where we empty our black and gray water tanks. Although they knew me and Miss Elsie the Cat I did not know them until that moment in time.

Then it started to happen more often.

Linda & Pancho & Mary Z
  • I pulled the front-end bumper off my rig in Crescent City, Oregon. No, I don’t want to go into details. I had to go to Medford Oregon for repairs. When I mentioned it on my Facebook page, Mary Z responded that she lived in Medford. She opened her home to me for a week while the rig was in the shop. Mary and I have been friends since that week. We meet about once a year, minus the Covid years. I have been on grand adventures with her with more to come. She owns a Roadtrek.
  • Through Mary, I met Linda, who lives in Boise, Idaho. She is married with a grown son. When she is in need of Linda time, she travels solo in her Roadtrek. The three of us were hiking in the desert when I fell and broke my ankle. Ah, yes the adventure continues. Linda and I have been friends ever since that desert meetup. I stayed with her in Bosie. I have spent a summer in her mountain cabin, staying remote during Covid 2020. It is a great place in the mountains with nearby lakes. I have pet sat for her and she pet sat for Elsie the Cat.
  • I am currently house and cat sitting for Mandy. Guess what? She owns a Roadtrek. We met at a rally and camped together with Ann (she owns an RT too) after the rally was complete.
Sunset Over Puget Sound
  • Sandy and Jim used to own a Roadtrek. Today they own a high clearance B class RV. They own a home on Whidbey Island, Washington. I house-sat for them last year and am returning in about nine days for a second round of house sitting this summer. They are a lovely couple and have a prime spot looking west over Puget Sound. It is fun to turn a virtual friendship into a real one.
  • I met Pat and George and their two Basenjis at a parking lot on the Oregon Coast. We had lunch and have shared stories and time together.
  • In the winters I head to the desert. For two seasons I have met Jim and Rhonda and Cricket at the Fountain of Youth Spa and RV resort. Yep, they own an RT.
  • Mary B and I met in southern New Mexico. She was traveling with Frank the Cat and Roxie the Dog. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Mary had to sell her RT and move to Apache Junction outside of Phoenix. Frank has passed on to kitty heaven. Mary’s two new kitties, Boo and Buddy, and Roxie the dog remain good friends.
Phoebe the Cat
  • Campskunk & Sharon are so well known in the Roadtreking community. They live full-time in their rig along with Miss Phoebe the Cat. They spend their winters in Florida, start to head west at the end of winter, and finally reach the Oregon coast in July. Campskunk has helped me with my rig. He knows a lot about the workings of these machines. Thanks to him, my latest adventure was fixing leaks in my side windows. Thanks, Campskunk for the suggestion of Captain Tolley’s Creeping Crack Cure the leaks are gone.
  • Pat, Mary, Linda, Dorothy, Jim and Cindy, Helen & David & Percy, Lela, Cory, MaryEllen & Sue and so many more. These are not just passing acquaintances. Most of these relationships have turned into friendships. We plan meet-ups. I house and pet sit for some. Others took care of Elsie the Cat when I ventured further afield, Alaska comes to mind.

A week ago Sandy and Pat from Cool, CA came to Salinas for a visit. We usually meet in the desert but this year we kept missing each other. It has been over two years since I have seen them. They own a Roadtrek. When they arrived they took over the driveway in their home on wheels. They came in and out of the house as needed. It was fun to cook with them in Mandy’s great kitchen. When I was busy they took off hiking. When I was not busy we headed for Elkhorn Slough for some kayaking time. We were completely amazed at the plethora of wildlife on the Slough. Pat had to wait patiently while Sandy and I stopped to take frequent photos. It was so much fun to have them come and visit for five days. It was good to catch up and expand and grow our strong friendship. I am so honored to know them.

If I haven’t mentioned all of you who I have met through Roadtreking and RVing, you know who you are, and please know you have enriched my life in so many ways.

I no longer blog for Mike. His direction has changed and so has mine. It has been several years since I last posted on his RV blog. The Roadtrek Lifestyle blog, my blog, and a few other events have drawn me into a strong and wonderful community of fellow travelers and friends. I never cease to feel blessed to know such wonderful and kind people.

Today I am thankful for my Roadtreking friends who have loved and supported me, no matter what.

Today I am thankful for my cute little Roadtrek and the lifestyle it has introduced me to. Today I am thankful for friends.

The Desert

“It’s strange how deserts turn us into believers. I believe in walking in a landscape of mirages because you learn humility. I believe in living in a land of little water because life is drawn together. And I believe in the gathering of bones as a testament to spirits that have moved on. If the desert is holy, it is because it is a forgotten place that allows us to remember the sacred. Perhaps that is why every pilgrimage to the desert is a pilgrimage to the self.”   

                  Terry Tempest Williams

A rare storm in the CA desert

The desert is hot and dry most of the year.  There are many things that can poke, scratch, and hurt quickly. Many of the creatures also have the ability to hurt. There is little water. When it does rain much of the water runs off into arroyos, ditches, and gulleys. The ground does not quickly absorb the moisture. Everything that lives in these places has figured out how to conserve water and find food. Desert Big Horn Sheep only need to drink every three days when the temperature is above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

In this southern California desert, it gets confusing. Here it is hot, it is dry, and yet thanks to the Colorado River and rich soil, Imperial County (in the California Desert) is a breadbasket for this country. The ranchers grow iceberg lettuce, leaf lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, cantaloupes, honeydews, dry bulb onions, processor onions, carrots, sweet corn, spinach, spring mix, and watermelons. During this trip, I have seen fields of hay and flowers.

All this growth makes it hard to comprehend this area is a desert. When you get away from the fields everything goes back to dry and hard land. There are still more surprises in this desert. I went for a hike yesterday and found an oasis. There were palm trees and other riparian plants growing in this one small area. As I got closer I found water and signs of deer, desert bighorn sheep, and other animals. Life is busy where there is water. Animals, amphibians, and birds know where this water is. It is their lifeblood.

Yes, the desert is hard. I discovered the desert when I moved west in 1976. The wide-open spaces, the silence, and the ruggedness drew me to the desert. The flat land is rugged and so are the mountains. I found I loved to explore this landscape and get to know it. I understood that I had to come to the desert on its terms. Its silence and beauty awakens me in a way that no other place can. I need to be aware of so much here. This awareness lets me relish being in the moment.

The Chocolate Moutains

I came to the desert after Jim died so I could grieve and the desert understood. There were times that I became hard and brittle like this place. I had to confront all sides of myself and I walked out alive. That alone is an accomplishment.

I return to this environment each year to remember and explore and let myself be absorbed in this amazing place once again. Yesterday’s surprise was a small oasis, teeming with life. The next time it might be another slot canyon or a dry waterfall that demands me to climb it. I have learned to lift the rocks and stones away from me when I want to see what is under them. I have learned to walk carefully and be careful of the Catsclaw ( a very thorny shrub that has destroyed more than one pair of hiking pants and a tent). I am still learning about all the spikey, pokey things. I am careful of the animals and creepy crawlies. Respect is taught in a place such as this.

My time is quickly drawing to a close. It is getting too hot for me and I am beginning to feel parched. The dentist is also calling me back to San Diego. Hopefully, I am at the end of this dental event.

I will return to this rugged formidable land again and again. I love all the deserts that I have seen. The California desert is amazing. Yet, have you ever seen southern Utah and northern and southern Arizona? Each area is so different and so desert. I am grateful to have been introduced to this land, to this amazing landscape, and to the desert.

Today I am thankful for my time near the Salton Sea. It has been good to be reunited with friends. It has been good to reunite with this rugged, wonderful environment. The Desert.

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.

Enduring Friendships-Getting Ready…

Have you ever had friends for what seems like a lifetime? I have.

I first met the Hatfield family as a young girl. My two older sisters and I babysat their three children. I was around twelve when I first joined the cue of available babysitters. On longer than one day assignments I would join a sister and take on the Hatfield kids. They were wonderful and very rambunctious children and it often would take two of us to actively babysit for them.

As we grew up the Hatfield family moved away. First, they moved to downtown Wilmington, Delaware (I grew up in the suburbs), and then halfway across the country.

As we, my sisters, and I grew up we got active in our own lives, and eventually, we lost touch with the family, except for the catch-up Christmas Cards every year.

Fast forward to 1975. I became a Vista Volunteer in northwestern Wisconsin. As the only nurse in the local program, I was sent for special training for disaster emergencies. I went to Milwaukee for a two-day training session. I knew the Hatfields lived nearby in Mequon, thanks be for Christmas Cards with return addresses. On a whim, I called them, and at the end of my training, now as a young adult woman, I reestablished my friendship with them.

It has been a blessing, profound and wonderful as I established a friendship with all of them that has endured over the years. They have loved and supported me unconditionally. Sharon, the mom, has been my mentor, teacher, astrologer, friend and so much more. In many ways, she has helped me shape my life. When I think of Sharon and her family my heart is full. 

When we were still babysitting for the kids, Sharon was an early example of an independent, strong, honest, and loving woman. We thought she was cool because she worked for Planned Parenthood, played the guitar, and had all the Joan Baez and Bob Dylan albums. For a mom in the 60’s she was cool. She was outspoken and voiced her opinions and beliefs without hesitation. As I look back to this early connection I realize now that she was shaping my life, even then.

Eventually, we met up, again, in Minnesota. I lived in the Twin Cities and they lived in Marine on St Croix, east of the cities. I would go visit when I needed to talk to someone. I would go visit when I needed to feel love. I would go visit and housesit while Sharon and David (her husband) traveled the western part of the USA. David was a hospital administrator and with his help and support, I was able to get a job at St Paul Children’s Hospital. Specialty jobs were hard to come by for nurses at that moment in time.

After a few more moves around the country, Sharon and David retired to Rockville, Utah, just outside the west entrance of Zion National Park. The “kids” were grown and had established themselves in different parts of the country.

Over the years all the kids and I have stayed in touch, at least through Facebook.

So why am I telling you this? My friend Sharon is celebrating her ninetieth birthday on June 23rd. They are having a party in the park in Rockville. Friends and family are coming to celebrate this milestone. Truly I think everyone is coming because they love her. She has shaped many lives with her honest and giving nature.

When I first received an invitation to join the celebration I said no. It is a thousand-mile drive and blah, blah, blah. Then I stopped and thought if this was eight years ago and I had just bought this rig, would I hesitate to go? Well, No. I would hop in my rig and hit the road.

I changed my mind. On June Ninteenth I am on the road. I head south and east. First stop, Pendleton Oregon, where I will join David Jr and his daughter and we will convoy to southern Utah. I am as excited about this meet-up as I am about the party. David is Sharon’s oldest son. We have had our own adventures over the years, getting stuck in a blizzard in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, northern Minnesota in the middle of the winter being one of them. He helped outfit me for my first backpack and along with a friend from Vermont introduced me to hiking and camping the backcountry. I could go on but I will not.

I am telling you, this family has helped shaped my life.

We will head south in my rig and his car. His daughter Taylor Rose will ride between the two vehicles and keep everyone company. I will have time to catch up with them as we stop to rest and spend one night at a hotel. Them in a room and me in my rig.

As the time draws closer (8 days today) I am getting excited to have a new adventure to head towards. My rig is ready. My refrigerator is ready and I too am ready.

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by the idea of people as I have been pretty secluded over the last year and a half. It is good to have my RV, If peopleing is too much for me I can disappear into my very own space and even shut the door. The party is set up for social distancing and I am sure the mask will come out. This is the first chance I have really taken in a long time Yet, How Could I Miss This Celebration.

Adventure awaits and I am going to embrace it. Adventure awaits and I am walking into it with my arms and heart wide open. Adventure awaits and I look forward with excitement and love to seeing Sharon and her family again.

It is Exciting. Life is An Adventure.

Finally!! The Desert!!

Tonight I was texting my sister and I realized I have not blogged in a while. I also realized that very few people know where I am or what I am up to.

After a month at the RV facelift hospital-my rig is minus some major dents and bumps and is back where she belongs, with me. It was a good time to get some of this work done as I had a place to stay (thank you Cynthia and Ward). EmmyLou is home and looking spiffy.

I usually spend every winter wandering the desert southwest. If it is too cold in one spot I move to the next. It is a good way to spend the winter. I usually find interesting and unique places to visit and meet interesting people.

This winter was a bit different with the RV in the hospital getting a makeover. I had to stay a bit more stationary, sheltering in place during this Covid time. My annual medical and dental appointments seemed to stretch out more than usual.

Peggy Hiking Into a Slot

I really wanted to get to the desert, even if the time was limited. A week ago I departed for the closest desert I could find. Here I am in the California Desert. I started in Anza Borrego State Park near Borrego Springs. Most of my friends did not come to the desert this year due to Covid. Two of them did. I met up with Peggy and Roger who have been safely distanced camping in the parking lot of a church. It was fun to see them. Masks up and all. Peggy came and joined me for a few nights. Two little rigs parked together at a boondocking campground. We had some girl time and did pretty cool hikes. It is exciting to see people.

Now I have left the State Park and have moved on to the Salton Sea. It is rather a unique and unusual place. I come here because of birds. I love birds. I love to take photos of them and watch them. The Salton Sea is a major migratory stop and wintering ground for over 400 species of shorebirds and other birds. Today the Snow Geese were the stars of the birding experience. At one point there were so many coming in for a landing on the water, you could hear their wings. It was so cool.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am here for a few days and then will move on to the Squaw Lake, part of the Colorado River, to get a little bit of Kayaking in before I have to return to San Diego.

I will be returning to San Diego on February eighth to get my second vaccine. After a few recovery days, I am off to Santa Barbara to get some interior work done on my rig.

Dan Neeley the owner of Dan Neeley RV Service specializes in Roadtreks. He travels from San Francisco to Los Angeles. He is really good at what he does and I am thankful he comes far enough south that I can reach him. Now that EmmyLou has had an outside job, it is time for the RV part of her to be checked. Once that is done I bet you think I will be hitting the road.

Not so. I have to return to San Diego for a little over a week so that the final part of my post thyroid cancer screening can be completed. So far everything looks good and I expect that these tests will look good as well. I still get nervous and wait anxiously for the results. After these results come back I can take a deep breath, inhaling and exhaling, and be ready for another year of adventure.

I think that covers it. I have been learning to rest and relax. I am thankful each day for wonderful friends who continue to love and support me in whatever way they can. I am thankful each day that I can venture off for a hike, see delightful and awesome birds, and catch a good sunrise or sunset along the way.

 

Did you know that if you click on any picture it will enlarge?

Did you know that if you click on the different colored words that are underlined, it will take you to the web site?

Coming Full Circle

Idaho Summer

Last June I left San Diego and traveled north. I spent most of the spring living with two good friends, Cynthia and Ward. I initailly moved in to help Cynthia after elective surgery. I ended staying with them through the emergence of Covid and our country in some form of lockdown. I sheltered in place with Ward and Cynthia from early March until I headed north, in June,  for a summer in Idaho.

Every year I return to San Diego to get my medical and dental work done. I get busy with appointments, doctor visits, a mammogram, and lab work.

This year I headed south driving ahead of cold weather. Eastern Idaho, nope, too cold. Northern Utah, nope, too cold.  When I reached Nevada it became much more tolerable, despite the high winds. Eventually, I made my way into San Diego and after almost two weeks at my friend, Pat’s house I have moved back in with Cynthia and Ward. I will remain here through the end of the year.

La Mesa Sunset

It is really good to have such kind and wonderful friends. I feel so honored to be part of such a good network of people throughout this country, Canada, and further. Like attracts like.

When I stayed in La Mesa I had amazing sunsets and I was close enough to walk to the “Secret Steps of La Mesa” (489 steps). It is a workout. There are actually more than one set of stairs. I would climb one and return on the other set, completing a loop back to the house.

La Jolla Shore

Bay Park (I am here now)  is close to Mission Bay and not too far from the Pacific Ocean. I can walk to the Bay. It is only a few miles away. I can hop on my bike and complete a 15-20 mile ride from my current home without a problem. Today I drove the short distance to La Jolla Shores and walked the beach at low tide. It is nice to be near the water.

I am back sheltering in place with two other people. After spending five months mostly alone, it is nice to be with others again. I enjoy the company and hope they do also. We got along well when I was here in the spring and I am sure that will be the case this time. It is nice to move into a place where I am wanted. The nice thing is if we get tired of each other, I can go camping for a few days, come back and everything will be fresh again.

Here I am for the holidays. Enjoying my semi-nomadic lifestyle, visiting friends and completing things that need to get done before I head east at the New Year and take up residence, once again in the desert.

Today I am thankful for good friends, beatiful places where nature abounds and my willingness to explore all of it.

 

 

Back in San Diego

Every year I return to San Diego for my medical and dental check-ups. On October 30 I arrived back in the city. I thought it was going to be a hard entry returning to a big city, with Covid still rampant in this country. It turns out that I had a much easier entry than I expected.

Cold weather spurred me southward. I am talking cold weather. One day in Idaho, it was in the ’70s and the next day I awoke to 14 degrees F. Well, brr…it was time to head south. By the time I reached northern Utah they were predicting single digits for the low, I kept moving south. When I reached Lake Mead in Nevada the weather was definitely more acceptable. I meandered my way south. I did a little hiking and some biking as I camped each afternoon.

Lake Mead

Hoover Dam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I met up with a friend, Peggy at the Sprouts Parking lot near Palm Springs. Practicing safe social distancing, we sat on the side steps of our rigs and chatted. Even if I can’t hug my friends I can at least visit and enjoy their company from a distance. Masks were at the ready if we needed them. It was a good visit.

As I traveled south I began to communicate with friends in San Diego. If I want to visit with my local friends I needed to let them know of my pending arrival. Pat is a very good friend of mine. We worked together, meditated together, and over time have become close. When I let her know I was on my way she offered me her San Diego home for a few weeks.  She and her sisters own a home in San Felipe, MX. As the weather cools off her family spends more and more time south of the border. She is there now and she offered me her house in San Diego. I am here until November 10. This house sits on a hillside and I get amazing views of the sunset every night.

A friend of mine said I am lucky to have such good friends who offer me their homes and other opportunities. I don’t know if I consider this luck. I believe like attracts like. I am offered these opportunities because I am a person of value and worth. My friends are people of value and worth. I am honored that people offer me wonderful and unique opportunities and their homes. I value each gift that comes my way. It makes me feel treasured and loved. I treasure and love those that are part of my life.

 

Each and every day I am thankful and grateful for my friends. I am grateful for their love and ongoing support. I treasure them.

 

 

Tour Guiding-A Stolen Bike & A New Bike

Guiding at Torrey Pines Golf Course

In 1997 I quit my career as a nurse. After taking a year off, going back to school and having fun,  I began a search for a new career. A small ad in the local newspaper guided me into a career that continued until I retired. For fourteen years I was a Tour Guide in San Diego and a Tour Director, taking seniors and other ages, on tours throughout the United States, Canada, Alaska, Mexico, and South America. It was a great job and one I was well suited for. Often I was the one who stood at the front of the bus with a microphone in hand, giving tours, maintaining a sense of humor, and guiding everyone to have a good time.

What makes up a good tour guide or director:

  • Knowledge. One has to be willing to research often on the places they guide. Guests expect you to know every rock, tree, flower, and more. In San Diego, I took avail of any local tours, refreshing myself on the local facts and lore. I read books and asked lots of questions. When I was planning an outbound tour, I was often busy for up to six weeks before a trip, preparing and refreshing my knowledge.
  • Humor. When all else fails a good sense of humor will push one through the roughest of patches.
  • Kindness and Caring. What made me so well suited for this job was the fact that I really cared about each person, even the difficult ones, on my trips and tours around San Diego. My goal was to make sure everyone had the best experience possible. I always hoped there might be a “wow” moment for each individual.
  • A willingness to lose sleep. Long after my guests were off to dreamland I was up studying for the next day. If someone was ill in the middle of the night, I was up with them.
  • Flexibility and no I don’t mean that I can touch my toes. When things go wrong on a trip or tour, a good tour guide or tour director needs to be able to change things on the fly.
  • Generally, we need to know how everything works. Where do we meet guests at the airport? Where can the motorcoaches pick up and drop off? How do we register these guests for a conference? What roads do I take to get from point A to point B? The list goes on.

What really made this job worthy of my time, especially on a local level was the sense of community among the local tour guides. Part of work, was meeting up with the other tour guides. I looked forward to seeing everyone I worked with. The tour guides in San Diego are a tight-knit group. We all know each other, we lament with each other, share the joys and gossip, and enjoy hanging out with each other. I love the local tour guides.

My sweet red bike

A few days ago my beloved road bike was stolen. Sigh. As with almost everything I own, it carries a story with it. It is a fast little red Jamis road bike.  Jim, my now deceased husband bought it for me. I loved that bike. I loved riding it with him. After he died I found that riding my bike was the type of sport I still loved the most. When my bike disappeared I was heartbroken and at a bit of loss about what to do.

I immediately discovered grief, again. I know I have to grieve for the loss of this precious bike. Life is about impermanence and this is being taught to me again. Sigh.

I know that I will get a new road bike. I love riding too much to be without one. Until then what was I suppose to do? I went on Facebook (yes I know some of you are not fond of social media) posted on my personal page that I had my bike stolen, and was wondering if anyone had a bike I could borrow until I could buy another bike. Within an hour, yes an hour, a fellow tour guide, Jay, posted on my page that he had a bike that was given to him by another tour guide, Bev, and he wanted to give it to me. I went to his house which is very close to where I am staying, took it for a ride, and came home with a Cannondale M300 mountain bike.

My New Ride

How incredibly cool is this? How kind and caring. The tour guide community in San Diego is strong. Even though I have retired from guiding, I still meet up with guides, catch up on all the gossip, and know that if I need anything at all, I can reach out to most of the guides I know and if they can help, they will. I want to thank Jay for stepping forward and being generous and kind and caring to my need. It is not unusual that people will step forward in a crisis (big or small). It brings out the best in most of us. It certainly brought out the best in Jay and I will be forever grateful for to him and to this blue mountain bike, currently getting tuned up.

In a few days’ time, I will be out on my new bike, learning the ins and outs of a completely different style of bike. It will help me gain new knowledge and skills. I am anxiously waiting to ride it around the bay. I am anxiously waiting for my first ride.

Today and each day I ride that blue Mountain Bike I will be grateful for Jay’s gift to me. I will be thankful for a job that gave me the opportunity to meet and know such fine people. Today and as always I am grateful.

Thank you, Jay. You are the best.

 

It Takes Just One Person-It Takes a Village

Today I went on a bike ride. This is my last day in Borrego Springs for a bit and maybe until next year. I decided to bike to Henderson Canyon Road to see what the flowers looked like. Were they there? Were they big? Were they small? And off I went.

When I arrived at Henderson Canyon Road there were paper napkins all over the road. It appeared that a crate had fallen off something and smashed and it’s contents, the napkins were scattered far and wide. The wind was picking them up and blowing them into my desert. How could that happen? I propped my bike on a sign and decided to take action. I was going to collect every single napkin. I didn’t care how long it took. They were not blowing into my beloved desert.

I knew it was going to be a chore, but I got started. A few minutes passed and another bicyclist rode by. He looked back, turned around, got off his bike and started to pick up napkins. Two more saw us, they got off their bikes and joined our effort. Four more came saw all of us, got off their bikes and started picking up napkins. Before I knew it, every single napkin was in someone’s hands.

What to do with those napkins? Someone had a bag and in they went. Others got stuffed into a day pack. The rest got stuffed into pockets. Except for the smashed wood bits no one would have ever known that a few minutes before there were hundreds of napkins on the road, blowing off into the desert. We picked up every single one.

When the first biker stopped, I laughed when I saw him start picking up napkins. When the others stopped my heart glowed. None of us talked very much, we just went to work. What a team. I enjoyed this moment in time. I truly had no idea this would happen.

One person’s action can have a chain effect. And that is why I titled this post “It Takes Just One Person/It Takes a Village. My action triggered everyone else and for those few moments, we became a village. It was companionable and fun. And when it was done, we thanked each other, mounted our bikes and left. I was proud and delighted.

If I hear someone say, “What difference can just one person make? What difference can I make?” I now know it can make a difference. It is a simple lesson with impactful insight.

It was a good day today.