Plugged in & Getting Ready-Time to Head West

This morning after  a run to the post office, I returned to my sister’s, backed into my parking space and plugged EmmyLou the Roadtrek into shore power. Today was different though. Today I turned on the refrigerator. Today I did the wash. Today I began the prep for departure. Yes it is May and the west is calling.

Three generations. My two sisters Ruth & Ginny, Adrienne my niece and her daughter Quinn-just turned 2.

It is also good not to overstay my welcome. My sister, Ginny would never turn me away, but I also know it is time to go and give her and her husband and Kitty Lepore their home back. It has been a marvelous stay. On this trip east I have gotten to see all of my birth family. That is unique unto itself, especially when one lives in Florida, another in Ohio, and more in northern New Jersey. Oh and even though I sold my home in San Diego, I know the west will always be home. Like many in this large country we are scattered throughout and this is no small country.

I have no plans except to head west. Elsie and I will take it one day at a time. I am looking forward to meandering west rather than driving those long hours like I did to arrive in Ohio. I came across the south part of the country coming east. Going west, I will drive across the north part of the country as I head for Boise, Idaho.

Why Boise?, one may ask. I have been offered a wonderful opportunity. In early June I am going to Alaska for 2 weeks on a small cruiseship,  in the Inside Passage, southeast AK. The ship holds up to 75 people. I will be traveling with a friend of mine, Leslie. These ships get into places big cruise ships cannot. It is an active tour so there will be hiking and kayaking involved. I have always wanted to explore this part of Alaska more intimately, and now I have the opportunity to do just this.

Elsie cannot cruise with me. She is going on holiday in Boise with friends of mine, Linda & Steve. We seem to exchange animal sitting duties. El will be hanging out with Poncho the pup, Misty the, usually, invisible cat and Ophir who spends most of his cat time outside on gopher and mole duty. Although she may not be fond of the mix, she knows all of them so she will adjust for a few weeks while I am gone. And my heart is warm and glad that I can turn to this wonderful couple, my friends.

For the next few days I will be packing and putting everything into it’s proper place. Each time I stay somewhere for a while I find the need to nest again. There is usually a transition period, too. I get used to being around people and I find there is a period of adjustment that I need to make, when I return to my solo and nomadic life. This is an interesting phase of travel. When I was younger I consciously planned to be single my whole life. There was no need for a period of adjustment. I was happy and content. Then I met Jim. Since his death, over five years ago, being solo and single is different. I need to explore this period of adjustment, embrace it and allow it to be. Sometimes I get frustrated. I have been known to delay a trip by a few days, because I don’t feel well. I associate this with stress and needless worry and fear. I think it has gotten better. The first trip in 2013 I delayed by a week. Once I am in and on board I turn to enjoying myself as I explore new places. I really do enjoy my little home on wheels. Buying my Roadtrek was the best decision I ever made. I explore in comfort and at my leisure.

Time to pack.

 

 

Alaska Follow-up, Glaciers & Mountains & Ice Caves

Mount Rainier, WA from the plane

Mount Rainier, WA from the plane

If you have been following this blog, you know, that about 2 weeks ago I went to Alaska. It was great. As I reflect back on this trip, it was kind of a gutsy thing to do. I flew there on a whim, to meet a woman I had never met, and travel with her for a week. This could have turned out three ways; 1. We meet and click and have a terrific time. 2. We meet and get along OK but we will never be in touch again. 3. We meet, dislike each other on site and wonder how the heck we are going to get through the week. I am happy to report it was #1.

Machu Pichu

Machu Pichu

Jane and I had more things in common than we knew. We knew we had the deaths of our husbands in common (though each adventure into this arena is very different) and we both own small, very cute Roadtrek Agile SS’s (RV’s) and we love to travel. What we found out is that the last trip that Jim and I did together, May 2012, was a 15 day tour of Peru. Jane is going on the same trip, with the same company, this May. Small world.

Chena Hot Springs

Chena Hot Springs

We traveled together for a week, starting our trip in Fairbanks, AK at Chena Hot Springs. There are no bad hot springs in this world. Some are just better than others. This one was terrific. We had a very short walk from our room to these very nice outdoor springs. And since we were there we could use them any time we wanted. Not bad. It also did not hurt that the rest of the resort was exceptionally nice as well. Nice rooms, good dining and many trails to get lost on. I was hoping for a good Aurora Borealis sighting but it was just so-so. Now that being said, since I never see one in southern CA, it was great. I was expecting colors and waving lines across the sky and that just did not happen. I did, however, see them.

Ice Sculpture

Ice Sculpture

The adventure continued to Fairbanks to see the International Ice Carving Competition. It was so warm that day (42 degrees F) that the sculptures were beginning to melt and the organizers were praying for colder weather. It was really interesting and amazing to see these sculptures. How do they do that? I am not sure. The sculptures came from all over the world to compete in this competition. It was a marvelous thing to see.

Dall Sheep

Dall Sheep

The next part of the adventure was by rail. We boarded the Alaska RR in the morning and traveled for 12 hours south to Anchorage. It was a beautiful day and the scenery was breath-taking at times. This RR travels down through the Mountains along the edge of Denali National Park. I love mountains. One of the fun facts about this train is that if they see Dall Sheep or Caribou they stop the train so we can get our pictures and observe the wildlife. They did twice on this trip and it was to see the animals mentioned above. Now that is my kind of trip. I just love nature.

Ice Cave

Ice Cave

We spent a part of a day in Anchorage, and then flew to Juneau, AK. This is Jane’s home. It is the capital of AK and one of its larger cities. The one full day I spent there I went with one of her renters, Marshall to see the Ice Cave under Mendenhall Glacier. This was the culminating event of the trip. We hiked across a frozen, glacial lake over a section of the Mendenhall Glacier and into the ice cave. It was as if I was in a National Geographic special. I have never seen anything like it. It was even made more special because Marshall and I and one other person were the only ones there. It was one of those unique moment’s in time. It was snowing like crazy which only added to the mystery of it all. I would encourage anyone to go and see an ice cave. It was amazing.

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Baby Glacier

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Baby Glacier

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Janet With Mendenhall Glacier

Jane was a great tour guide. She had planned the whole trip and it ran like clock work. This is the kind of guide anyone needs. I enjoyed her company and we talked a lot because we had a lot to learn about each other in a short time. It was not forced, just very natural and easy. I hope that we continue being long distance friends and if she is ever traveling the lower 48, I would be delighted to meet up with her and go camping in those cute little RV’s.

Ice Cave

Ice Cave

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Ice Cave

If you would like to view all the photos from this trip click this link.

Alaska Photos

 

One of the hardest things when traveling is getting sick. I came home with a whopper of a cold. After a week of sniffling around the house I am back to a level of normal. I am not always sure what normal is but I am in there somewhere. I love going away. It helps me get out of my normal life and open up to adventure and experience. I find that in the grief process this helps me so much to lighten up and not have to make decisions, even if it is just for a week. I continue to feel my heart very close to the surface of my life. I am glad it has remained there although that presents its own challenges at times.

I thank all of you for your continuing support. I love that if I don’t post for a while I start getting Facebook or e-mail messages asking about my adventures. It makes me feel cared about. For all of you I am grateful that you are in my life, every moment of the day.

Alaska-Adventure Bound

Alaska Bound

Alaska Bound

Earlier this week I posted on Facebook that sometime I seek adventure out and sometimes adventure finds me. Well, adventure has found me. I am bound for Fairbanks, Alaska this morning and am spending about 10 or so days exploring Alaska when it is still cold and chilly outside.

How did I end up with this adventure? Last summer I started this blog “Journeys of Thankfulness”. After my second posting I recieved an e-mail from Mike who blogs for Roadtrek, FMCA and newspapers around the globe. He asked me if I would like to be a guest reporter, no money involved but he thought there might be a niche for others in a similar situation to mine (cancer survivor, and a widow) choosing to travel solo by B class RV. After some thought I said yes. I have been posting with this blog as well as my own since that time.

Ice Caves

Ice Caves

Enter Jane. Jane lives in Juneau, Alaska. We e-mailed each other our stories and became Facebook friends. A little over a week ago she posted a photo of the ice caves underneath Mendenhall Glacier. They are amazing. I responded with a comment that I wanted to see them. She said come to Alaska and, so I am.

Chena

Chena

Since then Jane has been a faithful tour agent and has arranged a trip we are embarking on together. Tonight we meet in Fairbanks. This will be our first face to face meeting. We are traveling to Chena Hotsprings, hoping to catch the Aurora and enjoy a soak. And then the adventure will continue from there. I promise to blog and send photos when I have wifi access.

At the moment I am feeling blessed. Blessed that I am so well loved by so many. Blessed for my health and I am in shape to adventure forth. Blessed because my heart is open for letting others love me and willingly support me. Blessed because Alaska is there, it called (thank you Jane) and I chose to be in the moment and go. Too much fun.