Where Oh Where is Birdy Boy

Birdy Boy Visiting in a nearby bush.

When I returned to Whidbey Island, the land of amazing sunsets from my holiday on the Oregon Coast,there was no lovely little brown bird to greet me. Where was my friend of more than a year, the charming and enchanting Song Sparrow, Birdy Boy?

Around this time last year, a lot of the small birds disappeared from the feeders. They were gone, into the bushes and trees to complete their molt. I knew this would happen again, yet I felt sad. I missed my little bird friend.

About twenty-four hours after I returned, there he was. And….he was not alone. He and another sparrow, I am assuming the female, were in the bushes by the feeders and they were feeding other sparrows. OMG, he has a family. There were two or three young ones all pleading to be provided for. He greeted me with a short song and then the whole family disappeared into the shrubbery on the hillside.

I did not see them again for a week. Again, I worried, what if he is not coming back? What if our friendship is over? What if? What if? What if? Oh, the turmoil I put myself through. It is hard to see things leave, that one holds dear.

Sunday the family arrived at the house early. They fed at the feeders and on the ground. Birdy Boy took some time out to sing and talk to me in a nearby bush. As it was last year, he is now more distant. There is no more sitting on my legs or arms yet he comes close and chats and sings to me. Once again my heart is glad.

I know house sitting is a temporary affair. I am not sure where I will be next summer, but when I am here in Greenbank, WA I hope that my little friend will return and we will once again chat and visit like good friends do and I will feel joy.

Those Magic Moments

My husband, Jim and I always looked for interesting and different adventures when we went off exploring. One year we climbed an old-growth Douglas Fir and camped two hundred and fifty feet off the ground. (Did you know that there are no mosquitos after one reaches twenty-five feet above the ground?) We rode horseback to camp in the high Rockies of Colorado and attempt to fish. Another horseback riding adventure took us into Canyon del Muerto (a branch of the Canyon de Chelly complex in eastern Arizona) to camp on Native land and explore the cliff-dwelling ruins and hike. Oh my, so many magic moments.

I have continued to explore the unique and unusual in my travels. It keeps me alive and fascinated by life. It often brings the wonder of a little girl to the surface.

Last night at 10 pm, I went kayaking with a small group thanks to Whidbey Island Kayaking. We were on an adventure to see the bioluminescence.

Bioluminescence occurs when a chemical reaction in an organism emits light. Humans typically see bioluminescence that’s triggered by a disturbance, like waves or a boat moving through the water. Organisms can also emit light responding to an attack or to attract a mate. Although bioluminescence is found in many marine animals, one of the most common causes is from plankton being disturbed at the water’s surface. This was what we kayaked to see.

What I discovered last night is that often this bioluminescent light is subtle. As it became darker the light in the water became stronger. When I would swirl my hands in the water, sparkles of light bounced off my hand. It was like seeing the night sky in the water.

As we started to kayak back to the marina, one of the guides told us to kayak closer to shore. There was a gray whale coming toward the marina. What???? There has been an adolescent gray whale that has been staying near the ferry. He comes over to the marina at Langley to feed on ghost shrimp. We did not see it but heard his sound as he blew. This sound encounter with this gray whale upped the magic factor of this trip. How could this experience be any better? Yes, a whale made this evening truly magical. It was too dark to see it but we could hear its blow and it was close. It was soooooo…..cool.

This evening reminded me that we are not alone out there in the world. We are part of one larger system. The whale blow, the bioluminescence, and a quiet night on the water reminded me immediately of the wonder of nature and the magic I experience when I discover that for a brief moment I am in the center of this universe.

This is an experience I will remember for a long time. I love magic. I love being in the center of magic.

I am thankful for taking this moment out of my life to breathe and experience the magic.

A Farewell to the Original South Whidbey Island Recycling Center

I love places that encourage me to bring my camera and photograph them. Last year, 2021, when I arrived on Whidbey Island, my neighbor Tom, introduced me to the South Whidbey Island Recycling Center. This place was not only a place to recycle, it was an open-air art studio.

What a fantastic place. This was not an ordinary recycling center. A lot of thought, joy, and laughter went into decorating this place. Teddy Bears resided on the roofs, teapots lined other roofs, and an elephant on another roof. The area where I dumped cans and bottles was supported by a row of toy trucks. I could write about this place in detail yet I would rather you sit back and take a look.

This year with great anticipation I prepared to go to the “Recycling Center” or “The Dump”. I had friends visiting and I had built up their anticipation about a trip to the dump. As I turned into the site my mouth dropped open in surprise. It looked like any other recycling center. There was nothing to explore. Everything that had made this center so special was gone. There was nothing to get excited about, I just dropped off the recycles and left. My friends, Sandy and Pat never got to experience the pure joy of this place.

The original owners have retired. When the current recyclers, the Island County government, took possession, most of the items that made this place unique were scrapped. No longer can I spend hours wandering around looking at all the items and discovering lost treasures. No longer can I look for Elvis or Maryland or JFK. Now I just go and recycle and leave. People don’t stand around and chat. It is all just business. Sigh.

I am glad that I got to see this place before it became just another stop on a Saturday. Finding unique and special places is part of the fun of travel. My hopes are still high that this recycling center may be a creative place again. When I spoke with one of the people who worked there, they said that they are going to try to bring it back in some form. Unfortunately, when the government steps in there are more restrictions and rules set in place.

Today I am thankful to have discovered this center in its former form. Today I am thankful for small town and rural living. Today I am thankful for “The Dump”.

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.

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.