Friendship & Social Media

This is me at Graduation

I was a new graduate out of nursing school in 1973. I worked for a year in a big city hospital in Philadelphia to gain experience. Boy did I ever gain experience, charge nurse on a 40 bed sub-surgical specialty floor with 2 nurses aids, on the night shift. What????

After a year I decided it was time to spread my wings and leave home. I had always wanted to be a Peace Corps Volunteer. When the application came and I realized how far I would be from my family, I was not ready to commit.

I was too young. 

I decided that I would stay state side and become a VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) Volunteer. After a week of training in Chicago, I traveled north to my assignment for the year, in a little town-Glenwood City, Wisconsin. I worked in a West CAP program (Western Wisconsin Community Action Program). Although I really never had a job description, I worked for the all the programs the office housed. 

There was a young woman who worked in the office, Melissa. We soon became fast friends. We did so many things together and it was fun. Through out the 1970’s we stayed in touch but gradually we went in different directions and lost touch. 

Enter facebook. Melissa and I reconnected about a year ago. It was such a delight to connect with her again. We have followed each other on Facebook. It has been almost forty years since we have seen each other. How could that be? I am not that old.🤔

Melissa & Me 

Last Tuesday Melissa and I met. Elsie the Cat and I have been camping in her and her husband, Will’s driveway since last Tuesday. It has been so nice to re-meet her. She and I have a lot of years to catch up on. We have been busy talking, a lot. It is interesting to see what she remembers and what I remember from our past.

Here are few things we have quickly found in common.

  • Yoga, today it is more mainstream than when we first took classes.
  • Contradance-we love to dance and we both met our husbands dancing.
  • Our political beliefs are similar.
  • Embracing our joy for life is similar as well.

This has been a wonderful meet-up with Melissa. I had no idea that we would actually visit with each other and still have so much in common. We even think we still look the same. I feel blessed. 

On Monday I will be driving south into Oregon. I am planning to meet friends there as well. I feel so grateful today for all the unique menagerie of friends that are such an important part of my life. 

I am feeling thankful.

Moments of Pure Joy

 

IMG_8385Have you ever experienced a moment of pure joy? You know, the moment I am talking about. You see something or someone and you feel true happiness or delight in what you are seeing, hearing or doing. The joy can be so overwhelming you may even giggle or laugh right out loud.

Last Thursday I left Port Townsend and began to travel south along Kitsap Bay. My destination was Suquamish, not too far from Seattle and yet isolated enough to avoid the busy-ness of the city. I am visiting with Jean and Jim who I met through the Roadtrek (my RV) community. Currently I am sitting on the deck looking out over the bay and enjoying the sailing regatta in the distance away.

iu

A View of Port Gamble

On my way to Suquamish I discovered the town of Port Gamble. The community, originally known as Teekalet and later renamed Port Gamble for the bay which gave it access to ocean commerce, was founded as a company town by Puget Mill Company in 1853. The town is a U.S. National Historic Landmark. The community has a wide range of shops from antiques to a tea shop and an old-fashioned general store that is a popular tourist destination

As I was walking around town I discovered the post office and a whole garden filled with the most delightful dahlias. It was one of those moments of pure joy. I looked at all those flowers and laughed right out loud. They were beautiful. Out came the camera and for the next half hour I reveled in this beautiful garden. Those flowers made my heart glad. Dahlias were one of my father’s favorite plants and it immediately brought both my parents to mind. Such a delight.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Enjoy the slideshow of these beautiful flowers. Maybe these photos will bring about your own moment of pure joy. If this is not your moment, go out and find yours. It is often waiting in the most unexpected of places.

 

Changing It Up

Sunrise near Tofino

I attempt sometimes to post my latest trip news. Somehow when I read it, it does not seem real or honest or me. I am not a travel journalist or writer. I am not sure what I am when it comes to writing but I don’t think I am the above. It feels phony.

What is it that I write about? And, why do I keep writing? I am not sure of the answer to that question. Yet, write I will until I don’t feel like doing it any more.

When I first started this blog, my intention was to keep my friends and family informed as to my where abouts, as I traveled the United States and Canada in my cute little RV. Here I am five years later still writing and still sharing my feelings and adventures in my life.

After a month on Vancouver Island-I arrived there late in July-I am once again state side. I have been in Washington for a few weeks and am exploring all these new places I have never seen before.

A Month on Vancouver-Slideshow

My month on “the Island” was good. I met very nice people and did a lot of fun things. The smoke hampered my activity a little but, not much. By the time I left Vancouver at the end of August there were at least five hundred fires burning in British Columbia. Smokey, Smokey, Smokey. Fire in the west is what it is. It makes me feel sad for the people, animals, birds and more that get caught in its path.

This past spring was hard for me. I was sad and lonely. By early July I gave up and increased my antidepressant dose. I was on a minimal dose and decided to increase it, a little, to see if that would help. Amazingly it did. One of the young woman I had my hair cut and colored by, told me she is on an antidepressant. She said that if taking a small pill every day for the rest of her life allows her to enjoy her husband, children and her life, she is willing to take a pill to help her do the above. I think of her often and after she said this, I decided that I was going to give the increase dose a try.

I also decided that I was going to change up how I traveled in my rig. I suspected that if I was around people a bit more, the loneliness might lessen.

I belong to a couple organizations and I have not really accessed them the way I could. They are RV lifestyle organizations. One organization is Boondockers Welcome. If you are a host, you offer your driveway or yard to people traveling through your area by RV. Some of the sites are a driveway and you must be self contained. Others offer electric hookups and/or water. If you really lucky you may even be able to dump your gray and black water tanks. As a visitor you contact the people via the website and request a stay. The hosts can accept or refuse. It is not personal if they refuse, sometimes the hosts just have other things going on.

I started to access Boondockers Welcome when I was in Idaho. My first visit was under the tall pines. It was quiet and lovely, next door to a state park and near a small town on Lake Pend Oreille. The home owners and hosts were lovely. We spent an evening sitting in the driveway, exchanging stories and meeting the neighbors as they walked their dogs. It was delightful. They were delightful.

Since then I have been to several hosts homes and each one has led me to meet kind and interesting people. I love the socialization. I have perked up. I am glad that I listened to my inner voice that guided me away from the isolated lifestyle, I have chosen to lead over the past few years. Now I mix it up. I spend days on my own and when I feel the need to socialize I will look for a home site near me and park in the driveway for a few days. The hosts understand that you need time alone, yet we also make sure to visit and exchange RV’ing stories with each other. Sometimes we share a meal. And sometimes I end up making a new friend who hikes and explores their own home territory with me. Other hosts,  I am planning to meet again, “on the road”.

When things are not working for me it is certainly time to change it up. Thanks to organizations like the one mentioned I have the  choice to change it up. It is a healthy lifestyle choice for me. I am glad I could recognize the need within myself to try something different.

Tomorrow I am on my way to the Seattle area. I am going to be staying with a couple who I have met through the Roadtreking : The Group,  Facebook page. They have a full site across from their home. I can easily catch a bus to the ferry and take the ferry into Seattle. I am enjoying ferry travel this year. Another new adventure awaits. I am looking forward to meeting them and exploring a rather large city without having to drive my Roadtrek into the heart of it all. I am looking forward to meeting this couple and changing it up.

I think that will be my new mantra “Change it Up”.

 

 

 

 

 

The Legs Have It

Recently I have been thinking about my legs. It is interesting to recognize how often I take so much of myself for granite. Every day I walk on my feet and legs. They carry me over hill and dale and back again. They peddle my bike and kick while I swim. And they dance. My legs hold me up, literally and figuratively. 

Why have I been thinking about them? Several years ago (2010) I was hiking in the Grand Tetons with a good friend. About a mile to the trail head I stepped on a rock, went down and thought I sprained my right ankle. A thousand miles later and a visit to the doctor confirmed I had broken my ankle. Into the boot I went for five and a half weeks. Pretty soon I was back hiking and biking and being active once again.

Fast forward to 2016. I was working in my former home, was standing on a chest and started to fall. I took a quick leap off the chest landed on my feet, standing. I thought I had gotten away with it-no pain-wait-ten minutes later I was crawling to the kitchen to get ice for a very sore, knee and leg. No broken bones, the doctor thought I had generally sprained my whole leg. 

Just as I am healing from this, I was hiking in the desert with good friends, slipped on some scree, went down and I knew immediately that I had broken my right ankle again. Oh No!!! This time my ankle was broken in two places. After seven weeks of non-weight bearing and two weeks of the boot, and physical therapy I was up and moving again. The doctors didn’t feel it was necessary to pin it. I think it may have been because I dance and hike and walk. My legs were in good shape prior to the injury.

Here is what I know. 

  • Given the chance and the support, a body will attempt, usually successfully, to heal itself. 
  • An adventurist life is not without peril. 
  • If I support my legs and lower body, they will support me. 
  • What ever I do, I will not stop hiking, dancing, walking and more. When I attempt to be lazy, things begin to hurt. It is just time to get moving again.
  • It is OK not to hike as far or as fast. This one is a hard for me to learn, but I am learning and it is OK to reset my limits. Some days I can go as fast and as far as I used to, other days I cannot.
  • Hike with hiking poles, always! I can hike faster and further with less impact. They certainly add extra support.
  • When I do injure myself, it is OK to give myself the time to heal. Eat right, rest and put my holistic health background to work. I believe that I can heal and return to my non-injured state if I allow myself time to heal. 

This week I am thankful for my legs. I like that I can get out of the rig and hit the trail. I can still go up and down hills. Maybe there are a few complaints at the beginning from my joints and muscles and tendons but soon, they get it and I am off. If things get sore I stop, admire the scenery and get ready to move on down or up the trail. 

I am thankful every day that I can bike. I am thankful I can dance. I have been dancing for close to thirty years and it remains an important part of my life. My legs and all the joints help me, every time I get on the dance floor.

There is a saying out there “Every step you take is a prayer”. I pray that each step I take will lead to the next one and the one after that. It has taken until this time in my life to be grateful for my still functioning body parts. 

This weeks I am extremely thankful for my legs. 

Traveling Vancouver Island

Deep Cove, near Sidney, BC

Wow, it is hard to believe that I have been on Vancouver Island for close to three weeks. Where does the time go? A question that I ask more and more often as each year goes by.

I have been traveling, not far and discovered today that I have only covered half the island. How is that possible? I have been seeing interesting and sometimes amazing things. I have been meeting really nice people. I have been having fun.

I thought that by coming this far north I might escape the fires and the smoke and for the first week and a half that was true. Not any more. I woke this morning to the smell of smoke. There are a few fires burning near by. Fire is inherent to the west. The last few years have been worse than usual, I believe.

I have changed up my plan on how I travel. I have found these past months that I have been getting lonely more often. So…I decided to intersperse traveling alone with staying with others. It has been working well. Each year I join two organizations. Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts.

For a small amount of money, as a member of Boondockers Welcome, I camp in people’s (Hosts) driveways or on their land. I meet the locals, get great suggestions on where to hike and tour. Often in the evenings my hosts will come and visit and catch up on what we have been doing during the day. It is very relaxed and very social. I stayed with Cathy and Dave for a few days, at Mesachie lake.  Cathy and I became instant friends. We hiked together and talked, a lot. I felt like I left with a new friend. All of this has been a game changer for me and I find I am less lonely and sad.

Harvest Hosts I have not used as much this year, though my friend Peggy and I celebrated Thanksgiving at a winery in southern New Mexico in 2017, thanks to them. Harvest Hosts is a membership program that provides access to a network of wineries, farms, breweries, museums and other unique attractions that invite self-contained RVers to visit and stay overnight. I have enjoyed the places I have visited with this organization. I am not sure how much I have saved because well I seem to spend money at the wineries and the cheese factories. It is fun and most places offer a beautiful setting to camp in. Elsie likes them a lot.

I have been working my way “up island”. I have been to beautiful places both inland and along the west coast. Here are a few of the highlights.

  • Arriving in Sidney, BC was a fine welcome. It is a very beautiful area right on the coast. I stayed three nights at McDonald Park. The campground hosts were waiting for me. Julie and Ron had contacted me through the Roadtreking Facebook site. They were waiting with maps and many good suggestions while visiting the Sidney area. I was able to ride my bike on paved paths to the Farmers Market and around the inlets. It was a fine welcome to the Island.
  • Although I was planning to stay out of Victoria, I ended up there more than once. They have a marvelous system of bike paths. It is an easy way to explore a busy city.

 

  • I told myself I wasn’t going to Butchart Gardens and yet I ended up there for a half day of walking and exploring the beautiful flowers and gardens. On a very warm day it was a great place to sit in the shade. When I told the parking attendants that I had a kitty in my RV they found me a nice shady place for Elsie to stay. With the windows open and the Super Fan on she was quite comfortable.
  • The west coast of Vancouver Island is beautiful. It is filled with very tall trees, Douglas Fir and Cedar, to mention a few that reach the beaches. The coast tends to be mostly rocky and rugged. Even though the water looks inviting, it is cold. I got in as far as my ankles. I stayed at Provincial Parks (French Beach and China Beach. My favorite place on the lower section of the coast was Jordan River. I finally found a campsite right on the beach. I loved going to sleep to the sound of the very small waves crashing on the shore.
  • I met two delightful women while I was camping on the beach. I was included in a family get together and a walk to the coffee shop. I like being included.
  • I have stayed with three Boondocker Hosts since my arrival on the island. Each one has been unique and different and all of them have been a joy. I like including this in my travels.
  • When one hikes here, one hikes to beaches or waterfalls or both. I have seen many waterfalls. They still take my breath away.
  • I have done some special things. Everyone told me to go to Tofino Beach. I did. It was filled with tourists, a bit too hectic for me. While I was there, I did something I have always wanted to do. I took a seaplane flight. It was a half hour scenic flight. Mostly I wanted to take off and land on water. I did and it was so fun.
  • From Port Alberni I took the local mail and delivery boat for a beautiful cruise out the sound close to the ocean. It was interesting to see what this working boat does. At one person’s dock, they delivered a refrigerator. They stopped at a post office on a dock and delivered and picked up mail. We ended at the town of Bamfield. it was a small town at a point of land. You can get to it by boat, or seaplane or a rough logging road. It was pretty isolated. We docked at the coast guard lighthouse buildings. I hiked to Bradley Beach and then did the half mile or so walk along the boardwalk in town. It was a good day.
  • I am getting ready to move, tomorrow. It is time to move north and hope I reach the north end of the island soon. If I don’t make it, I guess I will just have to return.

It has been a good and interesting journey here. I am glad I came. When I leave here I am heading to the San Juan Islands for about 4 days, visit a friend and then I am not sure where.

I am finding I think more often about a permanent home. Is this the end of my wandering life in my small motorhome? I am not sure. The verdict is still out.

 

Le Chat Meows

It has been quite some time since  I last posted. I have been on some adventures. Janet keeps thinking of new places to go. Most of the time she takes me but some times she leaves me with friends. 

I did the stay with friends thing a while back. I had my safe place but I had to share my place with a dog, Poncho and two cats, Misty and Ophir. I remember the dog and Misty but Ophir was new to me. Here is what I have learned about dogs from Poncho. There could be a whole house full of cats, God forbid, but as long as the dog was the center of attention, he couldn’t care about the cats. He also likes to sneak the cat food when no one is looking.

Cats are a different story. The two cats mentioned above and I got along, by ignoring each other. Ophir likes to catch voles and mice. He would disappear for hours on end and then pretty much ignore me and Misty. Misty and I were on leashes when we were outside and we pretty much ignored each other too. By the end of my stay Misty was making overtures of friendship, though, I am not sure.

I liked to get up on the fence and walk the fence line. It was fun to be high and see the world. If I snuggled into the shadow of the tree no one walking by would see me. I liked that a lot. It is a big world for a small cat on top of a fence. I saw people walking dogs, these funny little birds with a feather bobbing on their head. They don’t fly very much, just run really fast on the ground.

After some time, Janet showed up and back into our little home on wheels I go. We drove into the mountains. Some nights we were alone and other nights we shared our area with other people. I like it better when I am alone because all those people kind of concern me. Janet says I am skittish. Maybe I am. It might help me keep my nine lives in tact.

We camped for what seemed a long time in a campground with many other campers that looked just like ours. Some were big, some were small and some didn’t look like my home at all. We camped with Linda and Steve. I was OK with that because they were my caretakers while Janet was gone and I knew them. Other people would come visit and leave. I finally decided that if I was going to get any outside time at all I was going to need to be brave and come outside while people were sitting there. I was good until any of them came up to talk to me. I would run inside. 

Since then I have seen mountains, rivers, and forests. I like camping in the forests the best. It is often quieter there. than anywhere else. I also get to find my inner beast and pretend I am a wild animal living in the forest. But, wait a minute, I like my Wild at Heart cat food too much. I guess I will remain domesticated. I like having my creature comforts too much to be truly wild. A cat can dream.

Now we are in someplace called Canada. I am not sure why it is called that and really it doesn’t matter. Although I am in the forest it appears that there is a lot of water around this land. I really don’t like water, except to drink. Have you ever seen a dog jump and play in the water? They have so little self respect and why would anyone want to get wet like that?

I titled this post in French as Janet says that is one of the languages spoken here. Meow sounds the same in every language.

Every day Janet and I go out “touring”. Well she tours and I sleep in the passenger seat. I need my beauty sleep. Janet always makes sure that everything is cool and comfy for me when she leaves to go walking. It gets dark and cozy in my house. The fan is gong and I fall asleep. She is a good pet person. I am always glad when she returns, although I feign indifference.

I think that sometimes, Janet is lonely, so I am glad to be there for her. She and I are never alone when we are there for each other. 

Well, time for another nap.

I’m Sorry-Revisited

Sunset Cle Elum

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyone want to come along? Company is always welcome.