Arriving & Departing

Two weeks ago I arrived in San Diego. It was hot, like really hot. Even though I don’t mind camping in all kinds of weather….the heat did me in. I lasted a day. I don’t care if I have air conditioning in my rig, I don’t care if my little home on wheels is super comfortable. When it is over 100 degrees at 7 pm, I give up.

I know I have told all of you this before but….here it is again. I have wonderful friends. They are caring and loving and giving. I feel fortunate. My dear friend Pat rescued me from the heat and took Elsie and myself into her home for most of the two weeks. I feel so fortunate and grateful to her. I got to sleep in a comfortable bed with air conditioning. Elsie had a large space to romp about in. Pat and I had ample time to catch up and enjoy each other’s company. I am grateful to Pat and to those treasured shared moments in time.

Entering into San Diego this time was hard. I had a busy agenda. Most of what I needed to do is complete. I am signed up for Medicare. The next step of my dental work is complete. The rig is ready to roll. Once all that was done I had time to visit with friends. It was a busy couple weeks.

Emotionally I have been all over the place. Coming to San Diego really triggers all kinds of emotions and feelings for me. I feel vulnerable. I feel strong. I feel sad. I feel joy. Sometimes I am close to tears, more often I am not. Man those emotions really bounce around. I wonder sometimes if I don’t feel a sense of displacement when I arrive here. It is not unusual to have friends welcome me home and yet I am not sure this is my home. I am beginning to feel a longing to figure out where home is to me.

I don’t think I stayed here long enough. It felt rushed. I think when I return in November or December I will stay at least a month. Maybe I can find a rental and Elsie and I can settle in and see how it really feels. I don’t think I will spend all winter in San Diego. I have a longing to winter up north, somewhere in the Monterey Peninsula. That is a changeable goal. Everything is changeable. Life is change. I am certainly learning that and yet I  need to be reminded.

The view from close to where i am camping.

Tonight I am camped on Mission Bay in San Diego and am enjoying the temperate ocean breeze. Tomorrow morning I am heading inland. Elsie is going to visit a friend of mine in Colorado for about two weeks. She has been to Deana’s before. Deana and her sweet pup are going to care take Elsie for two weeks while I head to southern Utah and adventure off with my good friends Mary and Linda.

We are going into the back country of Canyonlands National Park. I am excited and looking forward to this next adventure. It is fun to have met others who like to do the same things I do. Some of this adventuring is a bit daunting on my own. When I am with others, it becomes a grand and fun adventure and less of a challenge.

The full package of who I am follows along with me each day. I am grateful to have friends I can call and share deep felt emotions with. I am grateful for friends to have fun with, share a dinner, share a movie or just sit and talk. I keep seeing and feeling the phrase in my mind “all we can do is walk each other home”. I am glad to have those around me who are willing walk the journey with me.

Tonight I am feeling so grateful and every other emotion in between.

 

 

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Totality


fullsizeoutput_8201My extended summer vacation is drawing to a close. I have had an adventurous and good time in Idaho and Montana. I can’t thank my friends, Linda (for her “cabin”) and Mary (including me in her adventures) enough. It has been a fun.

The finale to my time in Idaho and Montana, and a little bit of Oregon was watching the Eclipse in totality, with new friends. We were in Unity, Oregon. The eclipse was every cliche or phrase or word you have ever formulated for amazing. I had told myself that I would not take photos. I was just going to watch it. Well the best laid plans can go awry. I did get one good shot of totality. It was fun to take pictures of the people and the shadow, and the sunset. Yep it was downright awesome.

And to think, I almost missed it. What?, you may wonder. She was planning to do this since last spring. How could she almost miss it?

I have been out in the back country for most of the summer. I have hiked and biked and kayaked and more. I have spent a lot of time alone. When the news started coming in that they were expecting close to a million people in Oregon for the eclipse, I hesitated. McCall Idaho was expecting up to 100,000 people. People were worried about traffic. There was concern that gas stations would run out of gas. The more the reports came in, the more unsure I became. I was not sure I wanted to be around all these people. I have seen one other eclipse. I could easily head south and avoid the masses.

Mary & Janet waiting for Totality

What drew me to Unity to see the eclipse was my friend, Mary. I had made a commitment to her to share an RV site. I had made a commitment to be there. I like my friends and I really don’t want to disappoint them. I don’t break commitments very easily. So with some hesitation on my part, I drove to Unity, Oregon.

And the result? 

I had a great 4 days. The group I was with were delightful and easy going. The day before the eclipse we went to Unity Reservoir and mucked about on the water. Everyone got along. The town and the townspeople were welcoming and helpful. We had a great big grassy area to sit in, the morning of the eclipse. Other people outside of our group joined us. Everyone was having fun getting to know each other. There were no hoards of people. We left on the August 22. There was no traffic. We had no difficulty driving or getting gas. The trip to Medford Oregon was long yet easy.

 

I am glad I stretched myself. I am glad I pushed myself to step out of my comfort zone and mesh into a fine group of people. I believe that it is important for me to be a bit uncomfortable from time to time. The emotionally scary experiences help me to become more-more human, more whole, more of everything. I know several posts back, I spoke of fear. Fear has been pretty much a part of my day to day existence since Jim died. I can let it drown me or I can make it my ally. The trip to Unity is a good example of asking fear to be my ally. When I support this part of myself and push forward to a new experience I grow and fear becomes a tiny bit more distant.

Sunset in Totality

I am driving south. I am going to be in San Diego for two weeks, starting this Sunday. I have to visit the person I have an ongoing relationship with for another six months or so, my dentist.😁 I have to sign up for Medicare. Good heavens, I am 65 this October, how did that happen? The rig is getting checked out and serviced. It is time to get my eye exam and order new glasses. It will be a busy two weeks.

I am hoping to see all my San Diego friends. I have missed my major support group, since Jim’s death. You all know who you are. I hope to see each and every one of you in my two weeks in town before I adventure out again.

Tonight I am at the beach. I have missed the ocean and have felt a draw to the west to say hello to the Pacific, and Jim (he was buried at sea). It is time to get my shoes on and take a walk. It is time to say hello to the wide open ocean.

 

 

The End of the Bicycling Journey

Cat and the pups

Cat and the pups

The day prior to the election, Cat completed her bike tour of the west coast. She and her pups completed the Pacific Coast Bike Route. Although there were several issues with her bike along the way, mostly the tour was without incident, and on a sunny and warm southern California day she arrived at the Mexico border and went on to Rosarito for a couple of days of R&R on the beach.

She cut her trip short. She felt a strong need to head to northern California after the election results. Cat is now at a friend’s house in Yreka, before she starts her new adventure.

I made it back to San Diego in time for Halloween. After a successful post on Facebook, where I had six unique and different offers of places to stay, Elsie & I are in temporary residence with a good friend, Pat. I feel blessed to have remet her last winter. She has welcomed both of us with open arms. Thank you, Pat.

I did not realize I needed some recovery time after almost three months of pretty constant travel. I was road weary and a bit emotionally done.

Cat’s and my goal was realized. We both wanted to get her safely to the border of southern CA. It was very successful. She rode the last distance from Cambria to San Diego, almost totally unsupported. I was there if there was an emergency, otherwise she was on her own. I tracked her on my Find Friends app. We did text quite a few times to help her negotiate LA. When she arrived in San Diego we met up and spent a few pleasant hours together at the KOA in Chula Vista putting some finality to the trip. My last siting of her was from the San Diego airport car rental building as she and her two pups headed  north in a rented SUV.

Would I do this type of trip again? I am not so sure. Am I glad that I did this trip with Cat? Yes. Were there issues along the way? Yes. It wasn’t always easy. We arranged how we did this journey with each other about 4 times. There is a lot that goes into traveling with someone, being the sag wagon, dealing with each other, two dogs and one cat. One of her friends told her that she had given us about 2-3 weeks. We proved her wrong.

Here is what was successful and good about this trip.

  • The scenery I drove through and explored was amazing.
  • Waking to the sound of waves or looking up into the redwoods was such a peaceful and calm experience.
  • Cat and I got to explore our relationship. I know that since this trip I can define a little bit more about who I am in this universe.
  • I visited with my friend Kat, in Corvallis. After 13 years of little communication, it was such a joyful and good reunion.
  • img_0012Elsie the cat continues to surprise me with her adaptability.
  • Traveling 40-50 miles a day gave me such a wonderful chance to explore areas, either hiking or biking. I did not have to move every day because of the short miles.
  • I met or saw so many people on this trip who were kind and good. I also stayed with several. It firmed up some new friends and reaffirmed some of my long standing friendships.
  • When I sent out a plea to hear from friends, I received wonderful e-mails and phone calls. It definitely made me feel a bit less lonely out on-the-road.
  • Being rescued by Mary, a good friend, when I had an “incident” with my RT.
  • Being happy with my pics.

Here is what Could have been more successful on this trip. This is definitely from my perspective.

  • Cat had to continually stop at bike shops on this trip. Although it gave me time to explore, it was a often a delay. I could feel Cat’s frustration.
  • Traveling with someone else so closely for so long was, at times, stressful. I don’t think we always communicated clearly with each other. Clear and frank communication is so important. I still need to work on this. I believe this will be an ongoing issue through out the rest of my life.
  • Later on in this trip I found myself frustrated by the lack of acknowledgement for my role in this trip. I know, I know, I should not need this, it should be about the journey. I discovered this was part of the journey for me. I hope, some day, I won’t need this recognition, but for right now, well, I am human. It would have been nice to have Cat tell other bikers my true role on this trip. Sigh.
  • I have discovered that it is hard to have dirt in my RT. I was continually cleaning and I am not so fond of cleaning. I am proud of my little home on wheels.
  • My accident in Crescent City. On the good side is I got to spend a week with Mary in Medford, Oregon.
  • A computer screen that needed to wait until I got to San Diego to fix.
Ruby Beach

Ruby Beach

Any trip I do has the good and the not so good parts in it. Sometimes the not so good parts become the story one tells of a trip. There were special moments on this trip that I will remember for a long time to come. My morning on Ruby Beach, WA is one I can think of immediately. A beautiful beach, low tide, star fish, anemones, starting in fog and ending with a blue sky and brilliant sun.

I am in San Diego until after the New Year. It is good to be reconnecting with long time friends. I even had some work, which gave me time to see all my fellow tour guides, and friends.

Now that I have had a few weeks here it is time to figure out where Elsie, the RT and I are heading when we get ready to head out again. As long as it is warmish and without snow I am good.

Any Suggestions????

House For Sale, Adventure Awaits

 

imagesA while ago I mentioned in one of my posts that my goal for 2016 was to fix up the house and get it on the market.

Guess what I am in the middle of? Yes, you guessed it. I am in the middle of completing  some major interior and exterior projects on my house. Last week I had a cracked slab repaired, a new sidewalk with drainage on both sides installed, and a new driveway put in. It looks snazzy.

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Driveway drying

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My new sidewalk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is more to come. I have to get some drywall work done and then the interior will be painted. I am hoping to complete this by the middle of March and then if all things go according to plan the house will go  on the market.

Here is what I know about this process so far. It is stressful. It can be very stressful, at times. I feel that I have done pretty well dealing with the stress of it all. Oh wait I almost forgot I am getting over a cold but that is not stress related (who am I kidding). Every once in a while my not so favorite friend, anxiety, rears it’s ugly head. I try to remind myself that I am halfway through the repair and fixing up thing. It helps that Barbara, my friend and realtor is willing to listen to me. She asks the right questions too.

Once the house sells I head straight into the unknown. I am not planning to buy or rent another place immediately. I am going to sell most of my belongings, put the rest in storage and Elsie and I will live in my Roadtrek RV for the next year. If I really like it I may stay in it longer. If I don’t like it I may not stay a year. This is my plan at present.

stress-article-2015Moving into my Roadtrek is way more challenging to my stress level than getting the house ready for sale. When I was younger, I would pick up on a whim, pack and move. Sometimes I had no idea where I would end up. I am sure there was stress and anxiety with those moves too. I have found, as I have gotten older, moving has become harder and harder. Now I am want to move out of traditional housing entirely. What????

Since Jim’s death selling the house has always been in the back of my mind. It has nothing to do with our life together in our home. If it did I would stay here forever. This is what occurs when one finds oneself in a good and filling relationship. Creating a fresh start is important to me. I find that if I have to start over, I want to start somewhere fresh and in a place that is mine to create.

My problem with finding a home and space that is just mine is, I don’t where it is. I have been on two long trips and I thought each one would help me define where I want to live. I have learned some important things by traveling, yet where I want to live is still a mystery. Here is what I know:

  • I will not live east of the Rocky Mountains again-unless my family needed me. I love the wide open spaces of the west. I love all the mountains and the broad forever vistas. When I first moved to the Rocky Mountains in the 1970’s I never looked east again.
  • I have ruled out two thirds of the country. That’s good.
  • The Pacific Coast is amazing. I love camping and traveling it. I have found that I have been inexplicably drawn to the Pacific since Jim’s ashes went to sea.
  • I don’t mind some humidity. The humidity back east and in the south is overwhelming.
  • I love the lack of bugs in the west. I will put up with mosquitos and those pesky ants. But I don’t have to clean the front end off my vehicles after I drive them once.
  • There is something amazing to me regarding the fact that on any given day, year round, I can walk out of my house and go exploring. I don’t usually have to wait until the weather clears.
  • My car stays in good shape forever.
  • I have good friends all over the country and beyond. I have very good, loving and supportive friends in San Diego. Their support, caring and love would make it very hard for me to leave. All my friends have gone above the call in helping me during the last 3+ years.

Here is what I don’t know:

  • Where Do I Want to Live??????

Until I know more of what I want,  I don’t think I will buy. I may rent, after the year in my RV. I plan to keep an open mind and let in all possibilities.

Miss Elsie and I are going to become the traveling duo. Where do I travel to first? Maybe the photo below will shed some light on this question.IMG_2569

Yep that is right. I am pondering the Alcan Highway later in the spring, depending on the sale of the house. I have a lovely friend, Cat, who has a fifth wheel who wants to caravan with me. I am feeling the slight undertones of excitement. We would make a good team, me and Miss Elsie, Cat and her two dogs, Dory and Bodhi.

2016 continues to be an interesting year. I promise I will keep you up to date as the mystery of this year unfolds.

And the Adventure Continues.

 

 

 

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?

What Am I Waiting For

Elsie hiding

Elsie hiding

OK, yes, I have been in hiding. This past spring has been hard for me. I decided this year that I was going to stay home and face my grief head on and find life again, not just a little bit of life but life full on. I am not there yet. I am getting closer.

One thing I have definitely learned, since I was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago is to ask for help. I have continued this theme in my life through all the broken bones and Jim’s cancer and death. Asking for help, I discovered, is a sign of strength. It also reflects a commitment on my part to find the strength to move forward.

My healing team includes Beth (massage therapist & friend), Gayle (acupuncturist & a little bit more), Dr Wright (chiropractor & friend) and the latest addition is Heidi (psychologist). I decided that I was just being blah for too long so I decided two weeks ago to go back into counseling. It is good to have an unbiased third party in my corner.

Heidi wants me to journal. I bet that none of you know how much I dislike writing. Over all my years of adventure and travel, I have often had people say to me “you should write a book”. Well that sounded horrible to me. I have always seen myself as more of a story teller and yet, here I am writing a blog. Hmmm…interesting.

I have not physically sat down and started to journal. I was hiking in the mountains east of San Diego last Friday, alone. The whole time I was hiking I found I was journaling in my head. That was much easier. I saw myself coming home and putting all my thoughts on paper. Instead here I am blogging.

Hiking a Conservancy Trail

Hiking a Conservancy Trail

I made a statement when I was with Heidi that I felt I was waiting, not for Jim but just waiting. It was suggested that I journal about what I was waiting for. As I was climbing that trail this was what I asked myself about.

What am I waiting for?

1.  True Love. (sorry I had to start on a light note. The Princess Bride is a favorite movie of mine.)

2.  A big aha moment. Something that is going to define my life in it’s latest incarnation.

3.  I wait for someone to tell me what I should be doing next. (I know, I need to tell myself)

4.  Smaller aha moments would also be more than acceptable.

5.  I am waiting to feel the fullness and joy of life again. There are small moments but I want more.

6.  Hugs and recognition from friends and strangers. People who will take the time to ask me how I am doing and be willing to accept a truthful answer and then take me to a movie, go for a walk or play scrabble. (just a sampling of things to do)

7.  I am still trying to figure out  when to sell my house. This spring I have been very glad to have a comfortable home to hole up in. Seeing spring in my yard was a delight.

8.  Where is my next trip in my RV. I have not finished thanking my far away friends, although, right now it feels important to stay put.

9.  Sometimes I feel I am just waiting to figure “it” all out. What “it” is, I am not sure.

Engleman Oaks

Engleman Oaks

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Native Grasses

Cactus

Cactus

   More Photos of my Hike

artistsway-250x300There is a beginning of my list. I still plan to journal. I find the free form of journaling a comfort as I just write what my hand tells me to. Have you ever heard of the Book “The Artist’s Way”? This is a very good book that the reader needs to be involved in. I did the process of  journaling three pages every morning for weeks. It was  boring and insightful and I was glad when it was done. I find there seems to be a magic about putting your words down on paper, even when you don’t really want to.  Writing gave a different perspective to my thoughts and feelings.

This blog has certainly helped me see some truths that might have otherwise slipped away unnoticed. I also notice Journeys of Thankfulness helps me keep my heart and spirit open to the moment and is a heartwarming way to keep in touch with friends.

Journey On.

A Visit With A Forever Friend

Janet & Chris                                               San Diego Bay

Janet & Chris San Diego Bay

There are moments when friends show up at the right time. Since I have been back from Alaska I have been feeling kind of sad and have been holing up in my house. Thank goodness I like it here. Enter my friend Chris. If you have been following my blog  through my summer journey last year, you have already met her once.

Chris and I have know each other since 1974. We were both nurses working together at Lankenau Hospital, on the Main Line, in Philadelphia. We met in the parking lot, walking into work. It was her first day of work and I started talking to her. She has reminded me more than once how she thought I was kind of weird just talking to a stranger. We have been friends ever since. She and I have gone through many phases of our lives together. I am glad, even at a distance, she is my friend.

Chris & Janet

Chris & Janet

I have been teasingly bugging her for years to come and visit me in San Diego. A week ago she did. And…she showed up at exactly the right time, when I need a diversion and someone to talk to, soul to soul. She was here for a short time, three days but they were the best days I have had in a while. We talked, ate and I became her tour guide around San Diego. She was here just at the right time. For those days that she was here the sadness lifted and I had a marvelous time with a good friend.

“There are no accidents” is a phrase I have often heard over the years. When someone, Chris,  shows up just when you need them most it makes me believe there is validity in this statement. So I am thankful for Chris and her visit to me in San Diego. It was a really fine time.

 

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Janet & Chris Mt Soledad

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Sunset Jakes at Del Mar

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Glider Port La Jolla

You can click on the photos to enlarge them.

And…so no one worries, I am doing OK.