Birthdays, Breast Cancer, & This Time of the Year

As October winds down, I am feeling relief. Relief that this month is done.

Every year since I had breast cancer (I was diagnosed February 2010), this month has been a bit hard for me. I don’t like pink, never have and never will. I feel kind support for those who walk for breast cancer, who shout about being a survivor, however I am not one of those people. I have found nothing to be grateful for, for having been through the experience of a breast cancer diagnosis. Mostly I find I have residual anger, residual PTSD, and residual everything surrounding this diagnosis. I am grateful to be alive and I would like to see this event take its place in the far reaches of my memory. As you might tell, I am still working on it.

Each year at this time I worry a little bit. Is my mammogram going to be normal? Will my surgeon and oncologist find anything? Is that weird pain in my hip cancer? Ay Yi Yi Yi.

Jim

Jim, my husband, died from cancer 6 years ago on October 17. Shall I mention that this is the day after my birthday? He went into the hospital the day before his 60th birthday (October 10) and died the day after mine. Well there is something to get through. I have not enjoyed celebrating my birthday in big bang up way. I like to be quiet now and contemplative.

I describe those three and half years between my diagnosis and his death, like a deck of cards. They were thrown up in the air the day of my diagnosis. Just as I was beginning to pick up the cards, boom, the next event happened and the cards flew into the air again. I have been slowly picking up the cards ever since. I still can’t find some of them, ergo, I remain living in my RV and drive to the next destination hoping to find another card. This has been an adventure, a painful process, a lonely one too, times of great fun and exploration and everything in between.

Here is what I am appreciative today.

  • My kind and wonderful friends from all over the world who call, email, text and contact me through social media. When I need someone to talk to, out of the blue one of these friends will call. They have saved my day, my life, my moment more often than I acknowledge.
  • I am financially comfortable. I could buy a cute and fancy RV and move in. I can afford the repairs (they don’t come often), the gas and everything that supports this nomadic lifestyle.
  • I am alive and able to go on grand adventures, both small and large.
  • Elsie the cat-what would I do without her? She is one of the most adaptable and loving companions I could have. We are into our fourth year of adventures together. She remains a delight.
  • I am glad to be able to see the sunrises and sunsets. Each day I wake, is another day to be grateful for everything.
  • The doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturist, massage therapist, myofascial release practitioner, and all those other health care workers on the broad holistic spectrum that keep me tuned up and moving.
  • My friends and acquaintances that offer me a bed in their home, whether it is a visit or house sitting. Sometimes I need a respite from my little living space.
  • I appreciate everyone waiting and giving me room to figure out what is next? No-one else is judging me. I need to stop judging and being hard on myself. You know that saying, “It is all about the journey, not the destination”-I still need to learn this.

    Jim & I flying to Baja for a week on a deserted beach.

There are three days left in this month. I don’t count them down anymore. I feel I have made progress in acknowledging this month and not feeling quite as sad or out of sorts. One of my friends asked me this month, how I felt about the “whole Jim thing”. Well there is a loaded question. Each moment of the day the answer could be different. I believe I have come to a softer acceptance of this month, of the events that transpired six years ago and I still miss by dearest and best friend. Jim saw things in me that no one else has ever seen and I will always miss this about his love for me and mine for him.

I bid farewell to October, thankfully doing a bit more than just getting through the month. I embrace and welcome November. I embrace and welcome each day I wake up in the morning and am able to figure out what small adventure I will take myself on that day.

Today I am grateful for all of my friends, acquaintances and all of the followers of my blog,  who send me messages of support and encouragement. Today I am grateful for people.

It Is All About the Journey

A little over four years ago I began a journey in a little white Roadtrek, Rv. Little did I know it would become my permanent home, for now. It has been quite a journey for me and Miss Elsie the Cat.

As I reflect back on the beginning of this blog, yes I do go back and read entries, I recognize how far I have come. Some of those first entries were pretty raw. That is how it was during that time. Today I may still not be sure where I am going or what I am doing with the “rest of my life” yet I am out there experimenting and trying out my new wings that had to sprout after Jim’s death.

I don’t know if any answers have arrived to the many questions I had and still have today, yet I do recognize that I have grown and matured, well maybe a little. Grief is not easy. Some get through it in less time than others. I thought that three months after Jim’s death I would be done with it. I was wrong. I am able to recognize the steps I have taken. Most have been so small I don’t recognize them as they happen. I have to ponder on it and then there is this little tiny aha moment where I can see the change.

I have been traveling, this time, since early September. I have been exploring the southwestern United States. I have seen some beautiful places and amazing natural things. Nature has been at my beck and call or really, I have been at natures beck and call. I have wandered through Utah, sleeping in a tent, again, for part of the trip. I enjoyed the ruggedness and beauty of the back country. I enjoyed the company of two good friends, Mary Z and Linda, who willingly tolerated my sensitivity and stumbling. It was a good trip and one I am glad I took on.

I spent about two and a half weeks on my property in southern Colorado. The biggest decision of this trip took place while camped on the land. I have decided that 45 acres of property was more than I could take on. I was able to camp on the land and mourn the passing of this part of my life that was really Jim’s and mine.

Remember to click on the pics. It will enlarge them.

When I get back to San Diego and get the paperwork together, the land will go on the market. I am glad I spent the time I did on the property. When I made the decision to sell it, I felt relief and a sense of rightness. It makes me sad to see it go. I hope that someone else will care for it and love it as much as Jim and I did.

After Utah and Colorado, I started to visit places I had never been to before. Even more than the amazing places I have seen, the second part of this trip has been about friendships, new and old. I have met some really fun and interesting people since my arrival at Big Bend National Park. In other posts,  I have told you about a few of them.

Amazing 

&

Beautiful

                                        Places

Since Jim’s death I have withdrawn from people to a certain degree. I have learned that being around people can be exhausting. Even more than that is the fact many feel that it is time I leave my love and caring for Jim behind. But I have learned something – I can move forward in my life and bring my memories and love of Jim forward with me as I establish myself in my world as it is today. I can meet someone new if I want and the memories and love will only enrich any type of relationship I have from this moment forward. I have been forming new friendships with depth and meaning and fun. I am thankful that I am a more whole person for those memories. Will I continue to carry memories of Jim with me as I move forward? You bet. Will this stop me from forming all kinds of wonderful relationships? Nope.

Since my arrival at Big Bend I have been having fun. It is an easy and wonderful kind of fun. I thank the women and couples,  I have been meeting for helping to bring that part of myself forward. Peggy, Mary and I are all living full time in our rigs. Each of us is doing it in our own style. One designed her rig so she could sleep on the streets and no-one would suspect that it was an RV. Another travels with her dog and cat. She stays in one place for longer. I have been learning from these ladies and am very glad to have met them and the menagerie of animals that accompanies all of us. I have laughed more. I have enjoyed the easy company of these women. We all meander and we have been having fun.

Mary, Janet & Peggy * Roxie the Dog*

There are all kinds of relationships in this life. I really don’t mind having to work hard at relationships. If the relationship is good then it is worth the effort. I have been discovering the joy of easy relationships. I like the pure joy of discovering that people like me just for who I am. I can laugh easier and talk more profound with easy acceptance. I am rediscover joy. How cool is that?

Now I am getting ready to return to San Diego, for a little over two months. Elsie and I are going to move out of the RV and into a studio rental for this time period. I am looking forward to it. Although it is only a studio it will seem a bit large to the two of us. We have been living in a very small space. I am looking forward to this with excitement and a bit of fear. Ah, there it is, my friend and ally, fear. I feel that it is time to see how this feels. Is San Diego suppose to be my home? I don’t know. Staying in one place for a little while may help that knowledge to become clearer. Or, it may help me to acknowledge that I really like this lifestyle for now. I am preparing for a new part of the continuing adventure of life. It is going to be so nice to visit with my friends who have been such a major support in my life, before and since Jim’s death.

And so the journey continues. I look forward to it with anticipation and just a wee bit of trepidation. I am human. I am glad for my side kick Elsie. She is getting braver too. We reflect each other. I will continue to take you on my journey as it unfolds. Today the desert, in a few days, San Diego.

COME ON ALONG.

Mountain Dulcimer

Mountain Dulcimer

Do you know what a mountain dulcimer is? I didn’t know what one was, until the day I walked into a gift shop and the owner was playing one. I fell in love with it. He told me that if I bought it and could not learn to play one tune, I could bring it back and my money would be returned. I took it home, learned to play Twinkle Little Star, and I kept this beautiful instrument.

Little did I know that chance encounter would change the direction of my world. I was in my 20’s, just graduated from nursing school and was looking for adventure. Every two to three years I would move to a new area of the country, get a job and explore the place I temporarily called home. I took that dulcimer with me every time I moved.

I lived in Durango Colorado for almost two years. Fort Lewis College, the four year school in town, offered a semester in, yep you guessed it, the Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer. I took the semester and learned to play reasonably well. Our teacher had the class perform at different events. It was fun. I made new friends and was introduced to folk music and dancing of all kinds.

During this semester we had a guest teacher come for a few days and help us improve on our skills. I was rather shy about playing in front of someone who could play so well. I would sit off to the side and play very quietly. Every time Neal, the teacher would come close I would stop playing. I don’t remember exactly what happened but he gave me a 6 string dulcimer to “try out”. What I remembered later is that the six string instrument was louder and he no longer needed to come too close when I played.

Enter the second dulcimer in my life. I now have a three string traditional dulcimer, made by Clifford Glen in Boone, North Carolina and I have a six string made by Blue Lion from California.
Even more important than the instruments, Neal Hellman, the dulcimer teacher became my friend.

Neal and I have been friends since the early 1980’s. We never lived close but we traveled in the same circles. He taught at music festivals and I attended them. The two of us would catch up over dinner or if time was fleeting I always took time to sit behind his sale table, and find out what was the latest happenings with my friend. I always enjoyed our encounters. E-mail also helped us stay in touch.

Neal and I are not too much alike. I think that may be what makes me like him. He is the only person I know who is able to make a full time business out of music. He plays, he records, he produces for other musicians and he sells a wonderful selection of music. He is the owner of Gourd Music. (click on the link to see his web site). He is funny and smart and fun to be around. He is a kind soul.

When he is on stage or teaching he is gregarious and entertaining. He makes everyone feel like they are the best musician in the room.

Over the years we stopped communicating. There is no reason for this, it is what sometimes happens with friends. Our lives move in different directions. Yet even though that happens, when friends get together again it is like we just saw each other yesterday.

Neal & janet

Neal & janet

Neal lives in Santa Cruz. Three days ago I reconnected with Neal. We visited, rode our bikes to Wilder Beach State Park, had dinner and watched the DNC that evening. I camped in his driveway. It was a great moment on this trip. I love seeing my friends. I especially loved seeing Neal after all these years. I have no idea why friendships happen and it really is not important to know, but I am certainly glad that he and I became friends. I am glad we remain friends still.

Friends support each other. I think they can bring out the best in each other. We can laugh together, share sorrow together and grow together and just have fun together. A lot has happened in both of our lives and I am glad we have had time to catch up. I am glad he is my friend.

Neal sitting on his deck in the Redwoods.

Neal sitting on his deck in the Redwoods.

And…You should see his yard. He has three redwoods in the yard. I am kind of enthralled by these trees.

Since this post I have been meandering up Route 1. When everything east of here is pretty darn hot I don’t mind being along the coast, in the redwoods and it maybe is 70 degrees. I am now camping near Crescent City, CA. It is near the Oregon border. Tonight I am meeting up with another good friend. No more solo camping for me, for a while. A new adventure is about to unfold.

Today I am thankful for friends, new and familiar. I am so glad Neal and I connected once again.

Serendipity

SerendipitySerendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. An easier description is that when you least expect it really cool things happen.

When my friend, Nancy and I travel together we try to be aware and take advantage of serendipitous moments. We welcome them. It is not always easy to catch those moments, I find I need to pay attention, stop when I was planning to drive straight through, talk to people and enjoy that very moment in time.

We are both members of the Nature Conservancy’s Legacy Club. Once a year they offer us an opportunity to learn about one of their projects in California. We hike and listen to the specialists talk about the projects in the area we are visiting. This year was a bit different yet still very interesting.

IMG_6736

Oso Flaco Lake with the Dunes

We explored the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes near Pismo Beach. This is not an active project, instead we were able to witness what a mature project looks like. It is open to the public and has some lovely hiking trails. One crosses Oso Flaco Lake, a fresh water lake just on the other side of the dunes from the ocean. It was a birder’s paradise.

We opted to leave a few days prior to the Conservancy hike and explore some areas that we had never been to before. Jalama Beach, 14 miles west of Lompoc, CA, butting up to Vandenberg Air Force Base was our first destination. It is a classic wild California coast line. If you need a lot of things to keep you busy, well this is not it. At the beach there is the campground, a store and grill and…that is about it. I love walking the beach. It is a great spot for sunset photos and checking out the surfers in the early morning. I loved it there. I am already planning a return trip, for a longer stay.

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Jalama Beach Sunset

IMG_6660

Surfs Up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_6624

Walking to the surf Break

Bob Thomas was one of the Conservancy tour participants. He is also the owner of the Arroyo Grande Tortoise and Turtle Rescue. He offered a tour of the rescue facility the day following the Nature Conservancy hike. Serendipity??? You bet. Early the next morning we arrived at this beautiful 5 acre ranch that is currently the home to 300 plus turtles and tortoises. It was a great tour and it was led by Bob who has a passion for these creatures. Every day people bring him or send him their reptiles they cannot own anymore for various reasons. After more than an hour and a half our minds had absorbed more info on these creatures than our brains could hold. We saw big tortoises and little turtles and even a galapagos tortoise. It was a fascinating hour and a half. If you are ever in the area look this Turtle and Tortoise Rescue of Arroyo Grande and take a tour. Tours are by appointment only. They also had alpacas, goats, many birds and the friendliest dogs.

Tortoise & Turtle Ranch

Tortoise & Turtle Ranch

IMG_6824

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In our quest for free camping in the wilderness, yes there is still wilderness in southern California, we discovered Figueroa Mountain Road out of Los Olives. The road was extremely narrow, frequently steep with little shoulder room, and required cautious driving. There were pull outs in case you met a car coming head on. Thank goodness we did not have to back up, we met very few cars. What a grand ride it was. The views were spectacular and the road was “fun”. You definitely would not have wanted to take anything larger than my sweet little RT on this road.

camping among the oaks

camping among the oaks

After we crossed the summit of Figueroa Mountain we descended to Sunset Road where we headed north until we found a great National Forest Campground, Davy Brown, in the San Rafael Wilderness. Until late in the evening we were the only ones there. One other group came in and camped at the other end of the campground. Talk about quiet. We camped in the tall oaks and, in spite of the drought, there was a stream flowing next to us. The moon was almost full and it was so delightfully quiet.

The next morning we finished the loop by traveling to Happy Canyon Road. As we maneuvered the twisting road we drove by two large group camps of mostly young men. Shortly after we encountered cars parked along the sides of a steep down grade and more young guys sitting skateboards. As I drove carefully through them we stopped to ask questions about what they were doing there. The Gnarbara, first legally sanctioned down hill skate boarding event on this road, was about to begin. There were participants from all over the world. Most were young, teens and twenties. Many do not do tricks or jumps, they just like to go fast.

IMG_6930After driving the coarse, I parked the RT at the bottom and we hiked back up to the medical tent to watch some of the event unfold. Yes, you heard me right, the medical tent. It is not unusual to treat skin abrasions and broken bones. They had a walkie talkie connected to 911, in case they needed to make the call. Yow!!!!

There were several categories, professional, amateur, hands up (no hands onto the pavement what so ever) and more. Because of time constraints we could not spend the day. We were able to watch the practice runs and some impromptu races. By the time they reached the finish line (no one could quite decide where that was) they may be reaching speeds of 35 mph.

IMG_6952Here is what I have decided. You need to be young to do this event. They are all a bit crazy. If I knew of things like this in my teens and twenties I so would have been there. Now I think about broken bones and hospital bills. While the participants caught the bus back up the hill, we, unfortunately needed to head south and home to San Diego.

This event is the ultimate serendipitous moment. We could have driven by yet instead we stopped and got involved (as observers). We met nice people and watched something that I may never see again. All the young people were great to talk to. They reminded me a lot of surfers in their language and actions. Most of all I had fun. I took pictures and videos and talked to the parents of some of the participants.

Now I am back in San Diego, cleaning my RT out for the second time in less than a month. I am glad I have my small mobile house to see places in comfort and style. I will continue to drive the small byways of California and find the unusual and serendipitous moments with friends and alone. All these moments make me grow as a person. Many of these events make me laugh out loud. Mostly when I come across the unusual I meet the nicest people that care.

IMG_6850

Me & my RT in the San Rafael Wilderness

What a joy serendipity is. Got any moments to share?

Elsie At Home

Me & My Sheepskin

Me & My Sheepskin

Hi everyone. It took a few days to get to the computer when Janet wasn’t looking. It helps when she works 12 hour days. I am not sure what work is but she tells me that it keeps me in the lifestyle I am used to. OK, I accept that.

I now know what home is.

Home is:

  • where I don’t have to sleep under the sheepskin all day, although it remains close by in case of emergencies.
  • huge compared to the little home on wheels I have been in for the past almost 4 months.
  • where I can go outside during the day without a leash. Yes I do still have to wear my halter and yes I do have to come in before dark each night. I am not sure why I have to do this, but if it lets me go outside without a leash, I’m good.
    filled with windows I can look out anytime I want to.
  • stationary.
  • quiet. There are not as many visitors. A lot of people want to look inside my little mobile home. Then they stay around and talk. I don’t know why they all do this yet Janet seems to like talking to all those strangers.

I have had some grand adventures on this trip. Did you know I got away twice? It was after dark and there was big woods all around. I would have really liked exploring but the first time I heard fear in Janet’s voice. Since I kind of like her when she called and clapped three whole times I ran into the RT. The second time it was really foggy and I could have gone far but a big truck drove up the road and scared me and I ran into the RV. That little home on wheels is one of my safe places.

Here are some of the highlights of my trip.

  • I stayed in two houses, and two hotels.
  • I saw lots and lots of water. Big water and little water. Some tasted kind of salty. Some had waves (that is what Janet called it). Waves scared me.
  • At the very beginning of my trip I saw horses. And…they were right behind my little house. I stayed under the sheepskin for almost four whole days!!!
IMG_6487

Oh no, more horses

  • I met three other kitties on this trip and three dogs.
  • I went to Canada where I learned to speak French, “juste un pue”.
  • I met a lot of wild life, birds and animals. They were all interesting and I really liked the ones that moved fast. I would have really like to have met some of them quite a bit closer but Janet said no. What a spoil sport.
  • On "The Land"

    On “The Land”

    I liked going out on my leash. Every place we stayed was different. I really liked the quiet ones where it was just us. One of the last places we stayed was on “the land”. I am not sure what that means. We were the only ones there and the grasses were super tall and I got to explore in them with my leash. It was fun.

  • Watching the fish in the water at the Lake in NJ was very entertaining.
  • Chippies…Squirrels….Birds…….well you get the idea.
  • I finally got to see a coyote. Janet says I can’t go out after dark because of coyotes. This one did not look threatening. She says they are wiley. I am not sure what that means. They have big voice and yip a bunch. I guess I better stay away from that one.

IMG_6475

  • Janet and I spent quality time together. I liked talking to her and snuggling up next to her on cool nights.
  • I liked riding on the dashboard. I got to see a lot. I tried to not be a back-seat-driver.

IMG_1629

  • I was in 22 states and 4 provinces. That is a lot for a little six pound kitty like me. Just call me, Miss Elsie-Adventure Kitty.

I like both my houses but the big stationary one, is still my favorite. The little one on wheels is also kind of fun and I like being on an adventure. The more I travel in it the more fun it becomes. And I like seeing all the places and animals and “stuff”.

Janet tells me my adventures are not over yet. Hmm, I wonder what that means?

Elsie At Home

Me & My Sheepskin

Me & My Sheepskin

Hi everyone. It took a few days to get to the computer when Janet wasn’t looking. It helps when she works 12 hour days. I am not sure what work is but she tells me that it keeps me in the lifestyle I am used to. OK, I accept that.

I now know what home is.

Home is:

  • where I don’t have to sleep under the sheepskin all day, although it remains close by in case of emergencies.
  • huge compared to the little home on wheels I have been in for the past almost 4 months.
  • where I can go outside during the day without a leash. Yes I do still have to wear my halter and yes I do have to come in before dark each night. I am not sure why I have to do this,  but if it lets me go outside without a leash, I’m good.
  • filled with windows I can look out anytime I want to.
  • stationary.
  • quiet. There are not as many visitors. A lot of people want to look inside my little mobile home. Then they stay around and talk. I don’t know why they all do this yet Janet seems to like talking to all those strangers.

I have had some grand adventures on this trip.  Did you know I got away twice? It was after dark and there was big woods all around. I would have really liked exploring but the first time I heard fear in Janet’s voice. Since I kind of like her when she called and clapped three whole times I ran into the RT. The second time it was really foggy and I could have gone far but a big truck drove up the road and scared me and I ran into the RV. That little home on wheels is one of my safe places.

Here are some of the highlights of my trip.

  • I stayed in two houses, and two hotels.
  • I saw lots and lots of water. Big water and little water. Some tasted kind of salty. Some had waves (that is what Janet called it). Waves scared me.
  • IMG_6487

    Oh No, More Horses

    At the very beginning of my trip I saw horses. And…they were right behind my little house. I stayed under the sheepskin for almost four whole days!!!

  • I met three other kitties on this trip and three dogs.
  • I went to Canada where I learned to speak French, “juste un pue”.
  • I met a lot of wild life, birds and animals. They were all interesting and I really liked the ones that moved fast. I would have really like to have met some of them quite a bit closer but Janet said no. What a spoil sport.
  • On

    On “The Land”

    I liked going out on my leash. Every place we stayed was different. I really liked the quiet ones where it was just us. One of the last places we stayed was on “the land”. I am not sure what that means. We were the only ones there and the grasses were super tall and I got to explore in them with my leash. It was fun.

  • Watching the fish in the water at the Lake in NJ was very entertaining.
  • Chippies…Squirrels….Birds…….well you get the idea.
  • IMG_6475I finally got to see a coyote. Janet says I can’t go out after dark because of coyotes. This one did not look threatening. She says they are wiley. I am not sure what that means. They have big voice and yip a bunch. I guess I better stay away from that one.
  • Janet and I spent quality time together. I liked talking to her and snuggling up next to her on cool nights.
  • IMG_1629I liked riding on the dashboard. I got to see a lot. I tried to not be a back-seat-driver.
  • I was in 22 states and 4 provinces. That is a lot for a little six pound kitty like me. Just call me, Miss Elsie-Adventure Kitty.

I like both my houses but the big stationary one, is still my favorite. The little one on wheels is also kind of fun and I like being on an adventure. The more I travel in it the more fun it becomes. And I like seeing all the places and animals and “stuff”.

Janet tells me my adventures are not over yet. Hmm, I wonder what that means?

Where Have I Been?

 

Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario

Yes it is true that I disappeared for a while. I have been traveling in Ontario, Canada. One of the advantages or disadvantages, depending on how you see it, is that I had limited cell phone service and limited internet interaction.

Elsie and I checked in to the Radisson Hotel and took up residence for 5 nights in Kitchener, Ontario.

Elsie in the Radisson

Elsie in the Radisson

My Roadtrek disappeared to the Roadtrek Factory to have some work done. It was an interesting experience in patience on my part so that no one felt hurried and the work could get done properly. I went on a guided tour of the factory. No photos, please. There were all kinds of Roadtreks that were in some process of production.

What impressed me most about the factory was the sense of community among all the workers from the front desk to Jim Hammill, the CEO. There appeared to be a lot of support for each other. Everyone seemed to get along. And I was treated like royalty.

IMG_3019I explored a bit of Kitchener while I waited. It is a large Mennonite area. The drives through the country showed beautiful farms. It wasn’t unusual to meet horse and buggies while I was out and about. The Farmers Markets were delicious. I even got the chance to see the last covered bridge in Ontarion, the Kissing Bridge.

Friday morning, Elsie and I packed up the RT and drove to Penetanguishene. It is on the Georgian Bay just off Lake Huron. A couple of fellow Roadtrekers, Tim and Carol, invited me to use their driveway for weekend. For three nights my RT had a buddy and I got to know about Tim and Carol. I am slowly beginning to meet the people who are part of the Facebook Roadtrek group. We had a lovely weekend and I now have friends in the north country.

Carol & Tim & Ruby the dog.

Carol & Tim & Ruby the dog.

IMG_3077

Friends

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageI have been enjoying some long bike rides on this trip and am feeling thankful that I brought my bike along. Saturday afternoon I rode several miles along the Georgian Bay. It was a beautiful very sunny day. I really enjoy biking along the water.

Yesterday I did a nice drive to islands of the northern shore of Lake Ontario. Following Route 33 east a free ferry boat ride is included at no cost. It is part of the road system.

Now I have crossed over into the United States and am camped on the east side of Lake Ontario at Wescott Beach State Park.

Elsie is doing well. She still remains a surprise to me. Although she remains under the blankets during the day she continues to come out when we stop for the night and even asks to go out, on her leash. I am glad I brought her with me. She is a fun little companion and as Jim used to say, we are a team. Of course, I do all the work.

Tomorrow I will be arriving in New Jersey at my sister’s house. I look forward to seeing her and spending the Fourth of July on the lake. We spent our summers growing up at this house and the Fourth was always a fun occasion. I remember my dad setting off firecrackers in the morning to wake us up.

I t will be good to spend time with my family. I like being loved and taken care of. This visit also includes my niece’s wedding coming up on July 11. It will be good to stay still for a bit before I start to move again.

Tonight I am thankful for a clean and semi-private campsite. I am thankful for the long daylight hours. I am thankful for all things Canadian. I had a wonderful visit north of the border.

It is now two days later and I am happily set up in the side yard. Visiting with my sister. I am thankful for a beautiful spot to set up my cute little RT.