Uh Oh-Camping Trip Interrupted

After a brief visit with my Ohio sister, Ruth and my great nephew, Ward, my New Jersey sister, Ginny,  and I left for a camping trip to the east coast and her home.

Well that camping trip did not last long. We camped for one night on a beautiful reservoir that border Ohio and Pennsylvania and then…..being sick happened. I was hit first. We instantly made a decision to head to I-80 and head for home.

 

Here is what I know today.

  • I love my sister, for doing the five plus hours of driving. She never flinched, just got behind the wheel and rolled. (80 on 80 she says). I don’t even want to know.
  • I love the fact I was in an RV. I disappeared to the back and was able to crash on a comfy bed.
  • I love the fact that said RV has a bathroom.
  • I love rest stops on the interstate.

A day later Ginny succumbed. By then we were home and she could retreat to her comfy bed. Then a day later her husband, Frank, succumbed. Ay yi yi. We are all in recovery mode and life is looking a little brighter. Food is beginning to look and taste good and we have survived another sickly adventure in life.

Being sick is no fun. Listening to what my body needs, takes a little attention and agreeing that I don’t need to be strong. There are times that the best thing I can do is crawl into bed and feel sorry for myself and sleep it off. Sometimes it is OK to let others help you out. As a proud and independent person, this is not always easy to admit.

A good thing about family is that we can push past the barriers that one sets for oneself and help each other out. Ginny helped me when I was at my worst. Frank and I helped Ginny when she was at her worst. And the two sisters were there for Frank when he was at his worst.

The real bottom line, here, is IT IS NO FUN BEING SICK. Yet when it does happen it is good to have family and friends close by who are more than willing to jump in and help out.

Hmm, I am getting hungry.😋

Sisters

Traveling solo in my RV can, at times, be a lonely existence. There are days that I grow weary of my own company. I miss companionship. I have discovered over the past few years how fun it is to travel with others. There is more laughter and definitely more talking. I have enjoyed the times when I have traveled with others.

I am on my way to northern New Jersey, to my sister’s home. Miss Elsie the Cat and the rig are going to spend the summer there, while I travel to South Africa. Miss El and I know how fortunate we are to have a place that is safe and secure and loving to go to. 

A week ago I texted my New Jersey sister, Ginny, and suggested that she fly to Ohio, where my other sister, Ruth and my niece and her family live. She could then ride back to New Jersey with me. I totally expected her to say no. And, I would have understood. It was a last minute kind of thing. 

You know what she said? “I am already packed!” Woo Hoo! I was immediately surprised, excited and happy. We are going on a road trip. Ginny and I have done road trips together before. There was that time in Maine when we got so mad at each other, we had to pull off the road so we could yell at each other. By dinner we were friends again. 

We have explored the West Coast, the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce together. One of our last trips was to western Massachusetts and New York State. I was doing a “Fam” trip (familiarization trip). I was exploring the area before I took a tour group into the area. We have discovered interesting places together. Near St Johnsbury, VT we were guided by a local retailer to seek out the Dog Chapel at Dog Mountain.

Dog Mountain is set on 150 acres on a private mountaintop spot. The grounds are always open to people and their dogs. Stephen Huneck and his wife, Gwen, bought the property in 1995. They turned the barn into studio space. Stephen was a hand wood carver. During a serious illness Stephen had a vision to create a space for dogs including The Dog Chapel. What an interesting find. the whole area on the top of a mountain is dedicated to dogs. Inside the chapel the walls were covered with photos of dogs who have passed over, others that were sick. We added a picture of one of our favorite kitties, Wally. It is important to encourage diversity. Stephen and his wife, Gwen, have both died. A foundation continues to run and manage Dog Mountain.  There are hiking trails and a dog agility park. All dogs and their humans are welcome. Yes I would encourage you to explore this unique find when you are in the are

Tomorrow, all three of us sisters will be reunited, however briefly near Columbus Ohio. I look forward to seeing both of my sisters and my great nephew, Ward. My niece and her husband are out of town. After a good visit, Ginny and I will get in EmmyLou the RV with Miss Elsie the Cat and we will venture the backroads to northern NJ. I am looking forward to the company. I am looking forward to what we might discover.

Hopefully this will be the beginning of others, and you know who you are, joining me for long or short trips in my RV. I will treasure the company. My world appears to be expanding.

 

 

 

 

On a Roll

Miss Elsie the Cat and I decided it was time for an adventure. This morning we packed up and headed north and west. The coolest thing is that for once, I timed the traffic right in Los Angeles and rolled through that major traffic jam without a hitch. Whew, thank goodness.

My goal is Pismo Beach, on the west coast of this nation. There is going to be an informal Rally of Roadtreks for four days. We are gathering at an RV Campground and doing something. I am not sure what, but I am going. It is time to walk away from stress and decision making for a few days and have some fun.

The funny thing with a diagnosis of cancer, I immediately am sure that I am not going to live to see tomorrow. I wonder  if it is a bit of let down to see the sun rise the next day. I just don’t think so. A brief update before I move on to brighter and better subjects. I am putting a puzzle together. As each piece fits into place, my decision gets closer to being complete. I have all the pieces but one. May 15th, I have a second opinion at the Moores Cancer Center in San Diego. Hopefully, the visit to the Moores Cancer Center will give me the last piece of the puzzle, for now. The decision I need to make is: Am I comfortable with delaying surgery and the radioactive iodine treatment until fall, or do I have it done now? What confuses this decision, a good friend of mine and I have a two month trip to Africa coming up in July. Although everyone has told me to go and have the surgery in the fall, I am still needed a bit more confirmation. I have had a lot of indecision around this and finally saw a therapist to help me sort it all out. So stay tuned.

Steve, Debbie, Lynn, John

Meanwhile, back at the beach…..I have decided that I do not want to drive long distances any more. I want to have enough energy at the end of my day to enjoy a walk or a bike ride or a hike. I don’t condone exhaustion anymore. Once I was through LA, I thought I would head into the hills, ah the beach was calling and the hills will have to wait. There are these funky campgrounds between the railroad and the ocean as you drive from Ventura to Santa Barbara. I have always wanted to stay at one. Tonight is the night. Our view is the ocean. Yup right out the back door of the RV. I am not sure Elsie is as happy with this situation as I am. She takes a few looks and then heads to the front of the RV. Silly cat.

 

Tonight I met Debbie, Steve, Lynn and John, newly retired and testing out the RV lifestyle for two years. They are jovial and fun and have offered me dinner. Well yum. I enjoy meeting other people. I did the whole camping experience this evening. I had a burger with all the fixings and S’mores for dessert around a campfire by the ocean. I am still needing to give myself encouragement to interact with those I don’t know. I have struggled with this since Jim, my husband, died. It is fun when others make the first move. I am then more comfortable chatting it up and enjoying dinner and companionship.

Currently Elsie and I are bundled up inside our warm and cozy home. The ocean is our backdrop this evening. Hopefully the waves crashing just below me will lull me to sleep. If not, I will enjoy lying here listening to them.

Tomorrow will bring another day of wonder.

I am thankful today for good and kind people.

I am thankful today that I woke up.

 

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.

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.

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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.

 

A Quick Update About My Busy June

Ultimate Alaska

Whew, what a whirlwind the early part of June has been. June first I left for a small ship cruise to Alaska’s Inside Passage. it was a great opportunity and an amazing trip.

Upon Returning to Boise I turned around in a day and headed north to the Roadtreking Rally on the east side of Glacier National Park (over 70 Roadtreks from all over the the country). My down time has been minimal. I want some time to recover and adjust to life on the road with Miss Elsie the Cat.

Glacier National Park

 

Due to some minor mishaps with my Roadtrek I am in Kalispell, MT for the next few days, waiting for a part to arrive, so my Roadtrek can once again look whole and pretty. The nice thing about having to sit still is that I am finally having the time to regroup and figure out what is next. The other nice thing, I get to interact with the local community.

  • Last evening I went to a special event at the Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell. Earlier in the week I met Deborah McAllister plein air painting near Many Glaciers Lodge. She informed me of an event that was culminating last evening. Several artists spent last week painting in the park. Last evening was the opening exhibition and sale. I put on my somewhat nicer clothes and went to the opening. there was food and wine and live music. It was a delightful evening.

Plein Aire Painting in the Park-artist Deborah McAllister

  • Today I went to yoga. Tomorrow I think I will return and experience aerial yoga. It is a nice community yoga center.
  • Now I am at the local coffee house waiting to get my nails done. I will almost be civilized.
  • After all this I am off to the visitors center to discover what else is happening in the area.

Where am I going to travel off to next? I am not sure. That is what regrouping is all about. My intention is to continue to head west to the coast. Hopefully over the next week this picture will become clearer.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

A Sight Seeing Day

Late last week I said a regretful farewell to my sister, packed Miss Elsie and me back into the Roadtrek and began to meander west through northern Pennsylvania. It has been a pretty ride.

I wandered to State College to visit some other Roadtrek people. Mary Jane and Toby were delightful. They gave the whole front of their home to Elsie and me. People are so kind and generous. This was the first time I met them. I was given a wonderful tour of the town and the campus of Penn State. Mary Jane and I spent most of the time talking and enjoying each other’s company.

Today I began to head south and west again. I did not get very far. I became distracted by one of those familiar brown signs on the side of the highway, which usually indicate something of national interest. This time it was a sign that said Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site. Well, I just had to see what it was so I exited and took a tour, self guided.

At the top of the incline there was a train barn.

Pennsylvania, it seems was concerned about losing population and business to New York, so they decided to build a canal, east-west, across Pennsylvania. It just so happens that the Allegheny Mountains got in the way, so, if you can’t go around them, then darn it you are going over them. As part of the canal system they built a railroad system of ten inclined planes, five up and five down. They rigged up a fancy pulley system, put the boats on the rail cars and hauled them over the mountains. It was a part of the canal system. With the completion of the Mainline Canal they could move goods and people across the state in five days instead of almost a month.

Skewed Arched Bridge-the trains went through this

Now, I love trains and I had no idea of this history or this site. It was a fascinating morning and worth the stop. I spent time in the visitor center before I hiked to see all the areas that remain of one of the inclined planes. It was well worth the stop.

When I was finished with this tour, I move southwest a little more and visited the Flight 93 National Memorial. Whew-what a touching place. I debated whether I wanted to go there or not and I am glad I chose to go. It was very peaceful and very well done. I along with many others left a little prayer for the spirit of the place. I am glad they have done something like this in our country to remember the events and the people involved of 9/11.

This is the entrance to the visitor center. The black walkway indicates the path of descent of the flight.

A 1/2 mile walk from the visitor center is this wall with the names of the passengers and crew etched into it.

 

 

Now I am camped on a beautiful lake and trying to figure out my day tomorrow. Elsie and I took a walk after we arrived here but she got nervous about the water so I carried her on most of the walk.

I find after I have been visiting with others I enjoy the quiet of the evening alone. It is my regrouping time. I know I need keep moving west. Pennsylvania is another big state and I could spend a lot of time here. Everywhere I go there is so much to see.

Tonight I am grateful for another day on this earth.

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.