Roadtreking & Friends

I have owned my Roadtrek since 2013. It has been an adventure like no other. My Roadtrek and I have been a friend magnet.

It all started with a blog. I know, you think it was this blog. No, it was another. After I wrote my first post on my blog, I was contacted by Mike the owner of the former Roadtrek Lifestyles blog. He asked me to become a guest reporter for that blog. Little did I know what this exposure would do for my life.

People from all over the United States and Canada followed my travel adventures via the Roadtrek Lifestyle blog. It took about a year before I started posting to meet the first fellow Roadtrekers at San Simeon State Park on the Big Sur Coast of California. Appropriately enough we met at the “Dump Station”. That is where we empty our black and gray water tanks. Although they knew me and Miss Elsie the Cat I did not know them until that moment in time.

Then it started to happen more often.

Linda & Pancho & Mary Z
  • I pulled the front-end bumper off my rig in Crescent City, Oregon. No, I don’t want to go into details. I had to go to Medford Oregon for repairs. When I mentioned it on my Facebook page, Mary Z responded that she lived in Medford. She opened her home to me for a week while the rig was in the shop. Mary and I have been friends since that week. We meet about once a year, minus the Covid years. I have been on grand adventures with her with more to come. She owns a Roadtrek.
  • Through Mary, I met Linda, who lives in Boise, Idaho. She is married with a grown son. When she is in need of Linda time, she travels solo in her Roadtrek. The three of us were hiking in the desert when I fell and broke my ankle. Ah, yes the adventure continues. Linda and I have been friends ever since that desert meetup. I stayed with her in Bosie. I have spent a summer in her mountain cabin, staying remote during Covid 2020. It is a great place in the mountains with nearby lakes. I have pet sat for her and she pet sat for Elsie the Cat.
  • I am currently house and cat sitting for Mandy. Guess what? She owns a Roadtrek. We met at a rally and camped together with Ann (she owns an RT too) after the rally was complete.
Sunset Over Puget Sound
  • Sandy and Jim used to own a Roadtrek. Today they own a high clearance B class RV. They own a home on Whidbey Island, Washington. I house-sat for them last year and am returning in about nine days for a second round of house sitting this summer. They are a lovely couple and have a prime spot looking west over Puget Sound. It is fun to turn a virtual friendship into a real one.
  • I met Pat and George and their two Basenjis at a parking lot on the Oregon Coast. We had lunch and have shared stories and time together.
  • In the winters I head to the desert. For two seasons I have met Jim and Rhonda and Cricket at the Fountain of Youth Spa and RV resort. Yep, they own an RT.
  • Mary B and I met in southern New Mexico. She was traveling with Frank the Cat and Roxie the Dog. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Mary had to sell her RT and move to Apache Junction outside of Phoenix. Frank has passed on to kitty heaven. Mary’s two new kitties, Boo and Buddy, and Roxie the dog remain good friends.
Phoebe the Cat
  • Campskunk & Sharon are so well known in the Roadtreking community. They live full-time in their rig along with Miss Phoebe the Cat. They spend their winters in Florida, start to head west at the end of winter, and finally reach the Oregon coast in July. Campskunk has helped me with my rig. He knows a lot about the workings of these machines. Thanks to him, my latest adventure was fixing leaks in my side windows. Thanks, Campskunk for the suggestion of Captain Tolley’s Creeping Crack Cure the leaks are gone.
  • Pat, Mary, Linda, Dorothy, Jim and Cindy, Helen & David & Percy, Lela, Cory, MaryEllen & Sue and so many more. These are not just passing acquaintances. Most of these relationships have turned into friendships. We plan meet-ups. I house and pet sit for some. Others took care of Elsie the Cat when I ventured further afield, Alaska comes to mind.

A week ago Sandy and Pat from Cool, CA came to Salinas for a visit. We usually meet in the desert but this year we kept missing each other. It has been over two years since I have seen them. They own a Roadtrek. When they arrived they took over the driveway in their home on wheels. They came in and out of the house as needed. It was fun to cook with them in Mandy’s great kitchen. When I was busy they took off hiking. When I was not busy we headed for Elkhorn Slough for some kayaking time. We were completely amazed at the plethora of wildlife on the Slough. Pat had to wait patiently while Sandy and I stopped to take frequent photos. It was so much fun to have them come and visit for five days. It was good to catch up and expand and grow our strong friendship. I am so honored to know them.

If I haven’t mentioned all of you who I have met through Roadtreking and RVing, you know who you are, and please know you have enriched my life in so many ways.

I no longer blog for Mike. His direction has changed and so has mine. It has been several years since I last posted on his RV blog. The Roadtrek Lifestyle blog, my blog, and a few other events have drawn me into a strong and wonderful community of fellow travelers and friends. I never cease to feel blessed to know such wonderful and kind people.

Today I am thankful for my Roadtreking friends who have loved and supported me, no matter what.

Today I am thankful for my cute little Roadtrek and the lifestyle it has introduced me to. Today I am thankful for friends.

Cricket the Dog Comes for a Visit

Hi, I am Cricket the dog. Guess what? I was Janet’s first overnight visitor in her Roadtrek. Yep, my people had to go somewhere and they were concerned about me because it was going to be hot. The next thing you know I went next door to Janet’s rig. Then my food bowl arrived, and my bed and most importantly, my treats.

I really like people. I really like people who pet me and put me at the center of their world. My peeps do this routinely. I expect no less. Janet did the same thing. I like that. She took me for long walks in the desert and around the Fountain of Youth Spa and RV Resort. I love walks. I love walking far. I don’t even mind being on a leash. I like sniffing and exploring and prancing along.

When Janet and I were in her RV I got to lay on the bed with her. I also got to thoroughly sniff her house on wheels. Crumbs on the floor are always of interest to me. They don’t remain there for very long. Hmm, I wonder where those food scraps go. ūüź∂

While Janet prepared dinner I got to sit on the front passenger seat and watch her chop and chop. There was a very interesting smell of meat. I stayed alert just in case she dropped something or offered me a tidbit. That tidbit was good. Lipsmacking good.

At night I slept curled up next to her on the bed. I like being next to humans. I am just a small dog and sometimes I get cold so I like sleeping close to humans. It keeps me warm. And I like being loved by peeps.

After a day, only one of my people returned. I am not sure where the other one went but Jim promised me I would see her again. To make sure I slept on her pillow when I returned to my own house on wheels. Jim is good, really good, but Rhonda is the best there is. She spoils me, a lot.

When you see this post I will be on my way east with Jim. We are going to meet up with Rhonda somewhere in Texas, whatever that means. It is just important to see Rhonda again.

Cricket & Rhonda

I am a little dog that goes on some very big adventures, really big. I love seeing so many new things and smelling new smells. Us dogs really have good sniffers.

I loved being a part of Janet’s life for twentyfour hours. I now find I am comfrotable to bound into her rig whenever I want. I have another home. How about that?

A Week in Phoenix

Phoenix

I don’t like big cities. There is too much traffic and often there is a lack of courtesy for other vehicles on the highways. I avoid these large cities when I can. I can only endure the busyness for a length of time before I need to disappear into my little home on wheels and shut the door.

A week ago I arrived in Phoenix, Arizona. With a population of 1,660,272, Phoenix is the fifth-largest city in the United States. It can take over an hour to drive from the west side to the east side. There are freeways and highways going in all kinds of directions. It is busy.

I began to fuss about going there on my drive south from Washington. I think I may have even whined a little. Sometimes I am my own worse enemy. 

Why was I going to Phoenix? 

  • While I was house sitting in Washington State, I learned that the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience. It was going to be in Seattle. I delayed buying tickets. When I finally got around to buying a ticket, they were sold out. Where else could I see it? It was going to be in Phoenix, Scottsdale to be precise.¬†
  • I have a good friend, Yvonne, that lives in Goodyear (the West side of Phoenix). I gave her a call asked her if she would be interested in going to the exhibit. Yes. I began to plan a visit to the big city.¬†
  • After the above plan was put into action I discovered another good friend, Leslie, from Anchorage, AK was in the lower forty-eight. After visiting in San Diego she was going to Phoenix to visit family. After a short discussion I decided to come into the area a few days early so I could meet up with her before she flew home.
  • My friend Mary lives with her menagerie, 2 cats and a dog in Apache Junction (the East side). It has been four years since we have seen each other. Another planned visit took shape.¬†

Phoenix was not as bad as my fussing about it was. It is a big city, sitting in one of the richest deserts in the world. If you get tired of the rushing and moving about, in twenty minutes to a half-hour you can be in the desert, kayaking on a lake, or hiking into the mountains. When things get too rushed one can disappear into nature and breathe. This is a very good feature of this large metropolis.

My two night stay in Cave Creek

Upon my arrival to the greater Phoenix area, thanks to Boondockers Welcome, I found a lovely driveway to camp in for two nights. I pay an annual fee to this organization. It allows me to contact hosts wherever I might be traveling and stay in their driveway or back yard for a few nights before I move on. I have had good experiences wherever I have stayed. My first two nights were not disappointing. I stayed at Cave Creek Botanicals. Joni and Bill were the hosts. Their yard was lovely. It was a mix of cactus and sculptures. Joni is an artist and one can see her artwork throughout the yard. On my last morning, I sat and had coffee with them on the front porch. I now have places to stay in Nevada and Alaska.

Cave Creek put me in a good location to meet up with Leslie the following morning in Scottsdale. It has been several years since we have seen each other. We spent half of a day together and I feel that we barely had begun before it was over. A small amount of time, if done right, can be just as valuable and treasured as weeks together. I am glad for this brief meetup with Leslie.

Yvonne lives in Goodyear on the west side of the city. She lives in one of the many fifty-five and up communities that are spread throughout Phoenix. She has lived there for about a year. twelve or more of her relatives also live in the metro area. When one has a choice between North Dakota or the desert Southwest in the winter many choose the warmer climes of Arizona. I got to meet some of her extended family. I also got a personal tour of Pebble Creek. She was an excellent tour guide.

One day we went to the Desert Botanical Gardens. The Gardens were so lovely. They have been there since the 1930s. It always amazes me to see the diversity of plant life in an arid and warm environment. We strolled through the gardens in the morning ending at the Butterfly Pavilion. Oh, those butterflies!

The Immersive Van Gogh exhibit was amazing. If you get a chance and it is anywhere near you…Go! It was interesting and beautiful. The music enhanced the exhibit. I stood in a room full of color and Van Gogh paintings. They swirled around me and reflected off the floor. It was definitely worth a visit to the city.

Next stop, Apache Junction on the east side. Another Boondockers welcome host awaited my arrival, just a few miles from my friend. Mary lives within view of the Superstition Mountains. These are rugged desert mountains. When you go into them there are many canyons one could disappear in and never return. There were lakes and hiking and biking trails. It was fun to be with another adventurous soul. It had been four years since Mary and I met while traveling in our Roadtreks in Southern New Mexico. We have remained in touch. Meeting up with her was just like yesterday. And…she has cats!!

Buddy
Boo

After a morning in the mountains, we returned to Mary’s home, picked up Roxie the dog, and drove to the Salt River, a favorite place of Mary’s. The day was perfect. The temperature was just right and the sky was an amazing blue. And there, just as we got to the river, were a band of the Salt River Wild Mustangs. Did you know I love horses? Oh my, I love horses. I really love the wild ones. I have always wanted to own a mustang. These horses were eating eelgrass growing in the river. This was a perfect ending to my week in Phoenix.

Everywhere I have traveled and explored has been unique and interesting and, well, different. My week of adventure in a big city reminded me that there is something the city has to offer the intrepid traveler. I love art and museums and culture that can only be found in larger populated areas. Like most large cities Nature is not too far away. It can be in a Botanical Garden or in the rugged terrain that often surrounds these larger metropolitan areas.

Phoenix was not as bad as I had imagined. I am glad I went. I am very glad for a visit with such good friends and enjoyed what this metropolitan area had to offer.

Today I am thankful for pushing myself out of my comfort zone, just a little to enjoy my week in Phoenix and connect with good friends.

On to San Diego. Oh Lord, another big city.

 

Getting Ready-Heading South

After so many months it seems a bit strange to say I am “getting ready to roll”. Yes, the owners are returning to their lovely home on Whidbey Island. My time is up and I am heading south. I am ready for a bit less rain and warmer temperatures. It has been raining a lot lately. One week it rained for almost a whole week straight before the blessed sun returned to the sky and everything dried out.

I have enjoyed my stationary time. Well mostly stationary. I have made a few excursions to the Oregon coast to meet up with friends. After a week away I returned to Whidbey and the house. I also have been to the Olympic Peninsula twice. I love exploring our national parks.

I have lived full time, well mostly, in my tiny RV for more than five years. Staying in one place has been a new experience for me. I have had plenty of time to explore. I have experienced the changing of seasons in the Pacific Northwest. I arrived at the beginning of spring and am leaving halfway through the fall.

For the first time in years, I have experienced changing of the seasons. It started rainy and blustery. As the spring progressed the rain stopped and everything came alive. I discovered when the rain stops in the spring everything greens up and flower season begins. After living in southern California for almost thirty years I thrived on the green here. There are so many tall trees. Walking in the woods smells wonderful. It really helps when that walk often ends at a beach.

This year I got to watch the progression of flower seasons. When I first arrived Daffodils and Tulips were everywhere. I was able to meet up with a good friend and enjoy tulip season in the Skagit Valley. It was breathtaking.

Tulip season folded into Rhododendron season. There was color everywhere. I discover private and public gardens to explore on my walks and bike rides. The east coast lilacs I grew up with competed for attention with the Rhodies. I love lilacs and it was a joy to have them in vases in the house. I would walk downstairs in the morning and smell the lilacs as I entered the living space. What a wonderful smell.

As the season rolled into summer the flowers faded, replaced by green, sunny, warm days. I got my fair share of kayaking, walking, and cycling in. Except for a few days, the temperatures were mild. It was good to be outside.

The flowers made a reappearance this fall when the Dahlias stepped forward to fill the flower void. Oh my, there were dahlias everywhere. They were on display at roadside stands, farms, yards, and even my front yard. I love dahlias. 

I have also seen a progression of birds as the season’s change. Hummingbirds were here and then they were gone, while they raised their young, and then they reappeared. Recently the crows who have been around all summer have disappeared. Where have they gone? I have seen eagles, osprey, sparrows (golden-crowned, song, white-crowned), finches, and flickers. My joy this summer was seeing Harlequin and Pintail Ducks for the first time. I have treasured the birds and the time I have to enjoy them.¬†

And then, of course, there is my special little brown birdy, who has made me feel so important, special, and unique. I see him every few days. He always acknowledges me. I enjoyed the times that he seems particularly thrilled to see me, flying over to visit and sitting on my foot or leg. I will miss him. I also know he is OK out there in his birdy world. 

I have made friends on Whidbey. One of them, Lela is going to join me for part of the trek south. She owns a Roadtrek RV as well. My neighbors, Robyn and Tom have been such a great resource and a delight. I am glad to have met them. 

All in all, it has been a very good way to spend another Covid summer.

Thank you Jim and Sandy for loaning me your beautiful home with the drop-dead gorgeous sunsets. I will always be grateful for this opportunity. 

Now the days are shorter. It gets dark early in the afternoon and stays dark later in the morning. I find I am longing for the sun and the warmth. It is time to go.

Today I am feeling thankful for the opportunities that present themselves to me. Today I am thankful I can recognize them. Today I am thankful for life.

 

The Adventure of It All

Northwest Sunset

I enjoy an adventure. I like to read about others’ adventures. I like to watch documentaries of adventure. I am a closet big wave surfer and high altitude climber. I like to be in the middle of adventure.

On March 16th I left San Diego to adventure north. After spending time in Oxnard, California, and Point Mugu, getting the last of the rig repairs completed I headed north. Destination, Whidbey Island, Washington. On an adventure, I seldom go right to the beginning of the new experience. I decided to give myself time to wander through California, Oregon and finally Washington.

Oceano Dunes

The Oceano Sand Dunes are located south of Pismo Beach. The Dunes area¬†is recognized by scientists, conservationists, government agencies, and the public as the finest, most extensive coastal dunes remaining in California. The Preserve offers rare opportunities for on-the-sand activities‚ÄĒyou can¬†camp on the beach and in the open dune area, go horseback riding,¬†and¬†drive right on the beach. In fact, it‚Äôs the only California State Park that allows vehicles to do so (four- or all-wheel drive recommended). I did not camp on the beach. The fee to be towed if one gets stuck in the sand is quite a bit. I camped in a private campground that allowed direct access into the dunes.

This is my third visit to the dunes. I know I will return again and again. There is something special about standing in the middle of these rolling dunes and seeing no one except the little animal tracks at my feet. These dunes are what I expected every desert to look like when I was a child.

The Dunes

Being close to Hollywood, several movies have been filmed here. The most noted one is “The Ten Commandments”. When filming was complete, rather than dismantling the set, it was coved with sand and left. According to an article in the LA Times, “Hollywood discovered Guadalupe Dunes decades ago“, pieces of this set continue to be found by amateur and professional sleuths.

I found the dunes attractive for the opportunity to take photos in the ever-changing light. The light was shifting moment by moment. It would have been easy to take a photo of one object again and again. the light changed before my eyes.

This is a place I know I will return to again and again. And if you are wondering….The dunes are packed hard so walking is easy in most places. Be ready for that soft spot though.

I pushed myself north a bit faster than I would have liked but I knew there was an empty house in need of attention at my final destination.

Mary Making Bagels

I did take a few days off to visit with two close friends, Mary & Wanda, who have created their bubble. All three of us have been vaccinated. It felt safe to visit. What does one do when there is no room in the house to sleep? I slept in my rig on a quiet street in Medford, Oregon. Oh but I had access to a bathroom to shower. Sweet.

It has been almost a year since I have visited anyone closely except Ward and Cynthia, part of my bubble. It was good to see other people who I knew were consciously taking care of themselves. Mary introduced me to her new E-bike. Oh my goodness I could do some damage with that. It was fun to ride. For now I will stick with my road bike.

Since I left the bay area it had been rainy and gray. When I got on the ferry to Whidbey it was gray and a short time later I drove off the ferry into the sun. About forty-five minutes later I arrived at my temporary home for the next two months.

It has not remained sunny. On Sunday the weather changed, a cold front came through. There was hail. There was the wind. The temperature dropped. Then Monday arrived and the sun has been out ever since. I was told that I have seen the worst of the weather.

I am beginning my adventure on Whidbey Island. I will be here until mid-June. I have been exploring beaches and taking photos-lots of photos. I will add a link to the photos with my next blog post. I am adjusting to being solo again. It gets pretty quiet without anyone to talk to. It is life and I am slowly settling in. The view and the outdoors are helping assuage the quiet.

My Current Home

My adventure on Whidbey Island is just beginning. I hope you will come along for the ride, walk, hike,…

Today I am thankful for people who entrust me to care for their home. Today I am thankful for a cozy home with an amazing view. Today I am thankful for the opportunities that are offered to me. Today I am thankful for recognizing opportunities.

My Bounce Around Month-The Challenges of Personal Growth

Sunset on Squaw Lake

After spending two weeks in the desert I once again have returned to San Diego. No, wait, I am in Santa Barbara. I call this month my bounce-around month. I am moving about the southern California area to finish this visit for the year.

Why am I bouncing around.

  • I really wanted some time in the desert and two weeks was all I could find this year to venture to the east.
  • I received my second Pfizer vaccine on March 1 in San Diego. I am doing well.
  • My rig, EmmyLou is getting things done. First, she had the outside fixed. Now we are working on the inside. ¬†RV’s need check-ups. Today we are in Santa Barbara to meet up with Dan Neely. He is one of the Roadtrek Gurus, traveling up and down California to make it easier for his customers to meet up with him.
  • I have to return to San Diego as I have a few more tests to finish up my first post-year thyroid check-up. (I had thyroid cancer a little over a year ago) Oh and I am getting old, I have to have my left eye checked for a cataract. But I don’t feel old!

Rope Canyon & Peggy

Ladder Canyon & yours truly

My trip to the desert was grand. I camped and hiked and biked and kayaked. Although most of my friends were not in the desert this winter, a few were. Peggy and Roger have managed to figure out how to be in the desert and social distance this year. Peggy took a few nights to come and camp with me. It was good to meet up with her. We did some amazing hikes-ones that challenged me. The most rigorous one was when we took an early wrong turn in the Mecca Hills and ended in Rope Canyon instead of Ladder Canyon. After we tackled the first rope in this beautiful slot canyon we decided we were in the wrong canyon and hiked back out. Then we decided to tackle Ladder Canyon. It was a challenge but after Rope Canyon it was definitely easier. It is a beautiful place in the desert.

Squaw Lake Kayak

I met up with Cori another Roadtreker at Squaw Lake, a dammed lake on the lower Colorado River. There are several lakes just north of Yuma that is part of the Imperial Dam Water District. This is a great place for boaters, fishermen, and other watersports lovers. The lakes are gentle and easy to navigate. We also kayaked to the River and went up river first so we could float back down to the lake entrance. It was a fun adventure with Cori. We hiked and kayaked for two days before I needed to return to San Diego.

My adventures in the desert were not always fun. Friendships can be hard as well as rewarding. I sometimes wonder if I know how to communicate as well with others now that I have been on my own for so long. I tend towards introversion (yes, really) and since I have been staying away from people I wonder if I need to break into the world of others more carefully and slowly.

I have learned a valuable lesson on my desert trip this year. Being respected is important to me. I try hard to respect others and I have grown enough, now to count on others to appreciate me. When that doesn’t happen then it is time to leave and regroup. I also need time to remind myself that I am a good and worthy human being and worthy of being appreciated.

Argh! Growing is hard and challenging. I have a friend who turns 90 this year who told me once that I will still be growing when I reach 80. When growth is easy, it is fun and exciting. When growth is not so easy, it is challenging and hard. It is often the challenging steps that are the most rewarding.

A Santa Barbara Sunset

I will be in the lovely town of Santa Barbara for two more nights and then will head south. I am staying in an Airbnb in a quaint section of the city. I am one block from the beach and it is quite beautiful. This morning I dropped my rig off and then bicycled the 13 miles back to my residence. This afternoon I will repeat the process to pick her back up.

The adventure of life continues. I am grateful for the challenges that come my way. I am grateful for my friends who love and respect me. I sometimes grudgingly appreciate those who challenge me and help me grow. I am thankful for the mechanics and others who help my tiny home of wheels stay in tip-top shape. I am really thankful for my tiny home. Today I am thankful for a blue sky, classic sunny southern CA day.

 

Today, I Graduated!!!

The year was 2010, and I had no idea that my life would change, once again. In February of that year, ¬†I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I found the lump. The radiologist and my surgeon confirmed what every woman never wants to hear, “You have breast cancer”.

I proceeded to follow the recommended course of treatment. I had two surgeries, followed by six weeks of radiation. The following fall there was suspicious activity on my mammogram and so I revisited the hospital for more tests before confirming everything was OK. I was followed closely with mammograms and MRI’s for one year. After the first year, I graduated to annual appointments and mammograms.

I was on a non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor, Arimidex, for five years to suppress most estrogen and progesterone production in my body. At year five I celebrated not having to take that little pill. Another graduation moment.

The annual visits continued. I have been followed closely, by my medical team ever since.

Late last year I visited my surgeon for the last time. And today, I graduated from the oncology department. I had my last visit with my oncologist, Dr. Raja, this morning. It was a bittersweet moment as I  have grown quite fond of her and the nurses and the receptionists who have been so kind and supportive to me. I will miss them.

I also continued with alternative therapies so I could continue to heal and thrive. Along with my western Doctors, I incorporated monthly massages into my routine, along with acupuncture, chiropractics, counseling, and more. I have a background in Holistic Health Education and recognize the importance of incorporating all health modalities into any healing scenario.

Today I graduated. What does that mean for me? It means I will need to step up a little more and not rely on my annual visits. I will be responsible for my own breast exams. I will be responsible for having body awareness and recognize when things are not quite right. I will be responsible for scheduling my mammogram, annually. I will be responsible to schedule an annual visit with my primary physician. (I just found out yesterday that she has taken Scottish Dance lessons) I will be responsible for my health care. I have always been responsible for this, now I need to advocate for myself, knowing that I am the primary person responsible for all health care issues.

I will continue to be an advocate for my own health care. The words self-advocate sounds so easy but it is work to be an advocate for myself in this huge health care system. I believe in being an active member of my team. My team regarding breast cancer has now shifted to my primary physician and as always, myself.

Having gone through this experience, I have grown. I have made many new friends, who I treasure dearly. It is good to be with others who are having a similar experience. I learned to make hard and difficult choices. Life lessons are usually not very easy. And I have learned to look forward to each new day with a wee bit of joy.

Janet, Terry & Zoe do DC

¬†I want to thank everyone, and you know who you are, who have supported and loved me and guided me along the way. Some of my friends have died from this dreadful disease. I love them still. They were often my guide through the whole process. Without Goldie, Zoe and so many more I would have felt more alone and lost in this process. We were all a part of a website that, although still on the web, is not active. When I was going through this process we would often meet nightly in the “chat room” and discuss hard and difficult things and then laugh and tell jokes and share recipes. Three of us even planned and executed a weekend visit in Washington DC.

Today I will take time to notice this life shift. I will do a little happy dance. I may even celebrate, safely during this pandemic time.

TODAY I GRADUATED!!

 

 

Eight Years Ago


Jim, my Husband died on October 17, 2012. On November 17th that same year, good friends and family and I took Jim to sea, scattering his ashes out in the Pacific Ocean on an amazingly beautiful morning. There was no planned ceremony we were friends and family who had gathered, one more time, to send him off in an intimate and loving ceremony, to wish him well.

when this anniversary arrives I set time aside to reflect and remember him, before cancer, before death. I treasure the moments I had with him. We were together for 21 years. The time was too short. The time with him was valuable. The time was fun, happy, loving and complete. I miss him.

This year, for the first time, I made it through Jim’s birthday (10/10) my birthday (10/16), and his death (10/17) with little sadness. I was staying with good friends in Boise and despite my insistence to not celebrate my birthday, we did anyway. I had a red velvet cupcake. Yummy. It helps to be with friends. It helps to feel loved and acknowledge that I am cared about and valued. It really helps to be with others.

Each year when I return to San Diego I make time to dip my feet in the Pacific Ocean and say hello to Jim. I know he is not out there, yet this is the last place I put him, so I go to greet him and visit. I think of him often. I still look upon our time together as a valued gift. I loved him for twenty-one years and I love him still. I know I can carry him forward into my future. He and our relationship has shaped who I am today and it will continue to shape who I am tomorrow.

All love is to be valued and not taken for granted. This love, this relationship-Jim and I-will never be taken for granted and it certainly was about love and understanding, laughter and friendship.

Happy Birthday to me. Happy Birthday to Jim. And hello to another year. I am still moving forward. Today I am grateful for Jim, a good twenty-one years, and the continuing love and support of so many good friends. 

 

 

 

 

 

How Plans Can Change in a Moment

This morning I drove to McCall to pick up my groceries and run a few errands. Everything was fine. I began the return trip to Donnelly and all of a sudden my rig wouldn’t go over 45 mph. What!!! I had trouble getting my sweet girl to get up the minor hills. I was glad to get her back to the house.

With one phone call to Coach-net, my roadside assist, they gently and kindly took the decision making out of my hands. After a few conversations, they had contacted Mercedes Benz in Boise. After another conversation, I found that the towing will be included. It is 94 miles to Boise from here so I am thankful for the free tow. Did you know that if you have work done on your Mercedes within a year Mercedes will free tow your vehicle? Sweet!!! Coach-net told me the towing would be covered no matter what. Sweet!!!

Now I have an appointment with Mercedes Benz in Boise for the third week of this month. I am going to winterize my rig, just to be safe. Next week they will pick up my rig and tow it to Boise. My friend Linda and the owner of my summer home in Idaho is coming to pick me up next week. Together we will winterize the rig, and close the house for the winter. I have a home to wait in in Bosie while I wait for the rig. I have friends to visit and stay safe with. Maybe I will even get a cat, back on my bed.

Small town living has its bonuses. I called the Chamber of Commerce in McCall to inquire about rental cars. They guided me to the local small airport. They will have a car for me tomorrow. Since I don’t have a way to get to McCall they are coming to pick me up. Small towns are marvelous for personal service. I am feeling blessed. I am thankful for being in a small town where everyone will pitch in and help.

 

This afternoon I am thankful for so much. I am thankful that I was not on the road somewhere remote and distant. I am thankful I was able to drive my rig, slowly and carefully back to my summer home. I am thankful for Coach-net who took me into their hands and guided me to the right contacts. I am very thankful for Linda and Steve who are taking me into their home in Boise. First, they offer me this place and now their home. It is good to have such good friends.

Things can change at a moment’s notice.

 

Going Solo, Well Not Really

An Idaho Summer

Just before I arrived in Idaho this summer I had a text conversation with Linda, who has opened her and her husband’s second home to me. She was concerned about me coming to Idaho. Covid-19 was on ¬†upsurge in the state and she was concerned. Linda’s statement to me was she wasn’t sure I would have allies up here. I told her as a single or solo person I can’t rely on having any allies.

Guess who was wrong? Me. A week after I arrived in Idaho I got sick. I had a sore throat, it was really sore. After spending a weekend self-treating I decided a visit to the clinic associated with St Lukes Hospital was in hand. I was apprehensive. I worried that I had Covid-19. I was worried that I could have infected others. I was worried that things could get worse. I was disappointed in myself that I had exposed myself to this ugly virus. I was feeling alone.

I had a car appointment. I wore a mask and never got out of my car. The NP who saw me was gowned, gloved, and masked. My whole visit was conducted without moving from the driver’s seat. My heart rate was a little high and I received the lecture about drinking enough water at elevation. My throat was red and sore.

I was tested for strep which was negative and then for Covid-19. I was told I should self isolate until the results came back. Three days later the results were in and I was negative for the coronavirus. Yes!!! I am happy to report I am back in full working order and what was a scary moment in time is now in the past.

My friends came to the rescue. I notified Linda that this was happening. She immediately texted me and told me to hang tight. Over the next few days until the results came in we texted back and forth. Her support was a comfort to me and made me realize I am not alone. My sister, Ginny, was in touch and anxiously waiting for the results with me. Friends in Oregon, Mary, and Wanda, awaited the news and supported me via social media. Hmmm, I was not alone. I have allies.

Kayaking the North Fork of the Payette River

This event has made me realize I am never alone, not really. I have friends and allies all over the country and world who continue to love and support me and encourage me when I feel the most vulnerable and worn down. I have friends who support and celebrate with me when life is on an upswing. I have friends who make me realize I am not alone. I may be solo and adventuring out on my own but I carry all these people with me, in my everyday life. They are only a phone call away.

This summer I am up in the mountains. I am safe. I am biking, kayaking, hiking and taking plenty of photos. I am social distancing and wearing a mask. I am taking care of myself as best I can. And I am not doing it alone. I have allies.

Today I am thankful for my immediate family and my family of friends who love and support me, no matter what.