Going on a Holiday From My Holiday

Canon Beach on the Oregon Coast

A week ago I returned To Washington from a week on the Oregon Coast. I took a holiday from my holiday.

Last summer a group of us who own Roadtreks decided it would be fun to meet up on the Oregon coast. It started with the three of us, Mary, Linda and me. We have been friends for years. We rented a group campsite at a state park near Florence, Oregon. As we began to plan, we started to think of others. Campskunk and Sharon spend their summer on the Oregon coast so let’s ask them. What about Pat, who lives on San Juan Island? She was invited. Oh, let’s ask Dorothy, and she came.

Six Roadtreks came and seven people. We had such a good time we decided to do it again this summer. This year we met at Cape Perpetua, another group campsite. Some of the original group could not make it this year so we invited others. Those who could not make it were missed.

Pat and I left three days early so we could meander our way to Oregon. Both of us are less inclined to drive for hours on end. We had shorter driving days and more time to explore. And our campgrounds were good, some were really good.

Our View Willapa Bay
  • Bruceport County Park is located on the south side of Willapa Bay. There always seems to be a spot to camp. This time we got the best site. It had an unlimited view of Willapa Bay.
  • The Blue Heron Creamery in Tillamook, Oregon is a free Harvest Hosts site. It is surrounded by farmland and open to many RVs that come for the night. For those who can indulge, shopping for the wonderful cheeses in the store is a plus.
  • Beverley Beach State Park is further down the coast and is one of the many State Parks on the coast. A short walk will end at the beach. The Oregon Coast is so pretty.

I would like to say that it is easy to get ready to travel, yet it takes a bit of planning to get my RT ready. That means getting EmmyLou, my rig ready for the trip. Two days before departure the refrigerator is turned on. She got a bath and I did some minor detailing. And just as I think everything is ready to go my engine battery died. Thank goodness for Roadside assistance. She now has a new battery, the DEF fluid was added and she was purring and ready to roll.

It was a delight to meet up with my friends again. This year there were three dogs and one kitty that joined the menagerie. We camped, and talked and caught up on each other’s lives. I got some precious kitty time with Phoebe the Cat. On our one full day, a subgroup of us hiked to Thor’s Well, a natural phenomenon on the coast. We shared stories, food, and more, and then, just like that it was over and we all departed for separate destinations.

All friendships are special. I like how friends can meet once a year and it is like we have seen each other yesterday. The company is good. The stories are great. And especially in the past few years, it is wonderful to physically meet up with others, see their precious faces, and hear their tales.

The Roadtreking friends’ adventure was not quite over for me. I returned to Washington, stopping before I left Oregon, for a morning kayak north of Waldport, and then returned to Tillamook for another free camping night. After one more night of camping, I joined my friends, Jean and Jim (they own a Roadtrek too) at their lovely home on the Salish Sea, in Washington. I slept in the driveway and enjoyed the view from their home above the water. This part of the Sound faces east and south. In the far distance, one can see the skyline of Seattle. I arrived in time to witness Jean giving Jim a haircut. It bought back memories of Jim, my husband. I used to cut his hair as well. Jean and I talked our way through the afternoon and evening.

And then, just like that my adventure was over and I returned to Whidbey Island and the land of the amazing sunsets.

Buying my Roadtrek RV has been a game changer in my life. I bought it on a whim. It has seen me through so much. It helped me drive through the initial grief of the loss of my husband. I have seen some marvelous places and met good and kind people. Mostly though, it has been a friend magnet. I continue to meet such wonderful people. We become more than people passing on the road. We become friends. How wonderful is that?

Today I am thankful for my Roadtrek, EmmyLou, and the amazing people that are now my circle of friends.

Ah Yes, Today I am Thankful.

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.

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.

The Bumps & Dents of RV Ownership

The places we have been

A month after I bought my sweet little Roadtrek I had my first incident. What made me decide to back the rig into the driveway of my home in Santee is beyond me. I was still learning how to drive the RV forwards. Slowly I backed into the driveway only to hear a loud pop. I dented the rear passenger-side door and broke the glass. I was devastated. I felt like the worst RV owner in the world. How could this have happened? Oh, the shame!

The window was easily fixed but the dent has remained an ever-present eyesore. I swore one day I would get it fixed.

Throughout the years of ownership, I have added a few dents and bangs to my little home on wheels. There was that one night, in the dark, when I took the corner too sharp into a campsite. There was another little dent in the rig. Trees are often my nemesis. I have gotten better driving it and the incidences have calmed down, except….I have met up with a few curbs that were not my friends. I can proudly say I have, with the help of Jeff Curry, learned how to fix the steps with a bit of fiberglass, sanding, and paint. I am getting good at these repairs.

Mary & Me in the Anza Borrego Desert

Then there was the time in 2016, I drove over a rock, well maybe a small boulder, in the Home Depot Parking lot in Crescent City, CA. When I backed off the rock I took some of the bumper off the front end. With the loving help of a local auto repair shop and two very nice RV’ers who stopped to help, we fixed it so I could ride into Medford, OR to a body repair shop. I was devastated and embarrassed. I also felt a warm glow for how nice people were to help me. The positive outcome of this incident I met my friend Mary, who put me up in her home for a week. We have been friends, ever since. We meet up, usually once a year to play in the desert or on the rivers. I don’t regret this side trip to Medford, not one bit, except the bumper. Sigh.

Right after the 2016 election, I was to pick up Cat at the Mexican border. Remember Cat? She bicycled the west coast of the United States that summer. I was her sag wagon. Elsie and I accompanied her and her two dogs on a summer adventure. The day I picked her up I was a bit upset with the election results and probably shouldn’t have been driving. I drove out of a parking lot and ran into one of those side arms that let you in and out of the lot. I dented the driver’s side of the van deeply. I finally had to admit defeat and contacted my auto insurance company. I was fortunate, none of the water or propane were affected. It became a repair of the body only. It was an expensive repair and boy oh boy did I feel bad. I felt so bad about this one that this is the first public admission of the above-said incident.

Driving down a Chicago alley

Two years ago as I was returning to the west coast I visited my friends in Rogers Park, Chicago. They let me park in their parking space, down an alley, and into a gated parking lot. I have successfully managed it in the past. In 2019 I was not so lucky. See, there was this garbage bin….I dented my side sliding door and up to this point I have lived with it. Each time I look at that dent I feel sad that I did that to my little home.

After I sold my property in Colorado I decided to take advantage of some of the income and fix my major bumps. I retained money from the sale to get this expensive body-work done. I have put it off. About a month ago my side door got stuck closed. At least it was closed. When I stopped by the Sprinter Shop they were able to open it, yet I was told that the latch might be off because of the dent in the door.

It was time. Today my sweet little rig has been in the shop for a week. The side door and the back door are getting repaired. I may be without it for up to 4 weeks. They are busy. I guess others have had the same idea since we are Covid restricted and are getting things fixed.

I have learned valuable lessons from the above incidences.

  • I usually drive three to four hours a day at the most.
  • If I am distressed about something then maybe not driving for a few days is a good idea.
  • Don’t drive when I am tired.
  • I take time to really look at campsites. It is good to get out of the rig a few times to make sure everything is free and clear.
  • The most valuable lesson is to admit I am human. These things happen. It does no good to berate myself and feel unworthy. These things happen! It is time to get rid of the embarrassment and try to do a better job the next time.

I am thankful today that I am staying with Cynthia and Ward so that my rig can be lovingly taken care of. It is good to have friends who love and support me and give me a room in their home.

Driving the Backroads

I am thankful that I have the money for these repairs. I know others who are not in this situation. It is a bit humbling to admit this when I know others are struggling to make ends meet. Hmm, maybe it would be a good idea to donate some money to organizations that are helping those in need. Yes, definitely a good idea.

I have finally come clean about my dinging adventures with this lovely little rig. She has over 100,000 miles on her. I hope it will put on many more as I live this lifestyle. Hopefully with fewer dings.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Rounding up the Wagon, Heading South

Tomorrow, Wednesday, I am reluctantly leaving Idaho for points south. Why? This weekend it is suppose to drop to the teens (F) at night and the temperature is also going to be chilly during the day. I don’t do cold and I don’t do snow. It is time to head south.

A Beautiful Fall Day

It is hard to leave Idaho. I love the country here, yet more importantly, I love my friends Linda and Steve. I have felt safe and secure in their borrowed home about 2 hours north of Boise. I have been in Boise at their full-time home for the past couple of weeks. I have enjoyed the company and the ease of our companionship. We have walked and hiked and talked a lot. Linda and I are both birders so we have been out searching for the birds and enjoying beautiful fall days.

Now it is time to venture south. Before I do, however, I will be heading east and to the Camas Wildlife Refuge to find the Sandhill Cranes. I love them. I follow those birds everywhere. The best part of heading four hours east is… Linda will be taking her Roadtrek and joining me. We are both photographers and bird watchers. It is fun to have company to explore a new area. It is fun to have someone to ooh and ahh with. I am looking forward to the company and the fun.

Sandhill Cranes

Friday I will drive south looking for warmer weather. By the end of the month, I will arrive in San Diego. I will get all my medical and dental checkups done, visit with friends (from a safe distance). No later than January I will head east to the California Desert and points east. It is desert season.

The adventure of my current lifestyle continues. I am getting ready to get on-the-road. I hope you will continue to follow along on my adventures. 

 

 

A Girl & Her Tools

When Jim and I were a team, I used to tease him about trips to Home Depot. He would walk into the store and immediately developed this glazed look in his eyes. He loved Home Depot and any other store that had tools and other items that he could dream about.

While I still owned my home, I began to appreciate his tools. I soon found myself walking into Home Depot and developing that same glazed look on my face. My first purchase was a battery-run drill. I love that little drill. It is in a cool orange case with different drill bits. I have added new bits as I have needed them.

Since then I have purchased more tools. With each one, I read about them and learn how to use them properly. I carry my tools with me in my rig. I actually find I enjoy looking at them and trying them out.

My second purchase was a riveter so I could replace the cabinet latches in my rig. When I first tried it out, I was so excited to see how easy it was to complete the job. The right tool makes it so much easier.

I recently decided to take Jim’s Dremel Tool out of storage and add it to the items in my rig. I really like the Dremel tool. I have used it with a diamond sander to repair my windows. They now fit so much more snuggly. There are no leaks and when it gets cold, down to the 30’s tomorrow night, my Roadtrek is warmer. The right tool for the right job, that is what I say now.

 

Two weeks ago I sold a computer desk and file cabinet out of my storage unit, in San Diego. The people who bought it were having trouble putting it in their SUV. We needed a screwdriver to take screws out of a shelf so there was more room to fit the two pieces in the car. Those screws were tight. I immediately said, “wait I have a drill” and went to my rig to get it out. Within a few seconds, all the stubborn screws were loose. Both the desk and the file cabinet fit into the back of their SUV and they were on their way.

More evidence to prove the right tool for the right job.

When I first purchased my sweet little Roadtrek, I told myself that if anything went wrong with it I was going to find someone to repair it. It is amazing how that has changed. Unless it is totally out of my league, I will attempt to fix it myself. It is not unusual to find me creeping under the rig to look around. If something is held in place better, with a few zip ties, out they come and the job is done.

I appreciate the encouragement other RV owners have given me to try solutions first. When something is new I ask for instruction, in person or on the web. If it looks doable and will not cause irreparable harm I will give it a try.

Being involved with repairs has helped me to learn more about my rig. I find I don’t panic as much when something goes wrong. I can take a deep breath, and see if I can figure out a solution.

What is fun for me is to be able to offer my tools to men and women in need. I can even tell them how to use them. I was proud of my little drill in the orange case the other night. I was proud that I could bring it along and get the job done.

I am proud to be a girl and her tools.