Tag Archive: Traveling


Traveler

I’ve been long remiss from this blog in the non-wandering life. Death, changes, issues, socializing, persistent sinus trouble, dental surgery and the joy of Jeana’s puppies.

Here will be more of the photos I took on my Southern cross country drive and if I can find them, my trip to Sequim Washington where I went to bred Jeana. Jeana is a Lagotto Romagnolo and she has three sweet newborn puppies. Come January (although my dental work will take at least until next summer) we will all pile in the van to continue exploring. Am planning to attend the RTR (Rubber Tramp Rendezvous) The location for 2020 is still being decided. I will seek travel companions, maybe it would be a good place to find them; van travelers and overseas travelers although I’ve decided I am willing to continue to travel alone and to go further, I’ve joined a group for international solo women travelers over 60. Can I afford it, who knows, probably not, but this is life, it’s here and I want to, need to live it, to fill life with more love, more adventure, a lot less fear and anxiety.

So I will post photos, not much text. Enjoy them or not at least they will be here to remind me of why I need to be on the road.

For the van travelers out there my transmission failed at about 172,500 miles on the engine. My camper got me home, I consider it a bit of a miracle since the transmission gave no warning of imminent demise. The dogs and I might have been stranded at some dive hotel in the baking California heat, if I could have even obtained a tow that would allow all my dogs in the cab and if I could have found a capable mechanic. The morning after I returned (and once reverse failed) I drove without stopping on hope that my van would keep going forward, I started for my mechanics, Frans was following me, good thing, as I had just entered the freeway when my camper failed. Would not start, would not run so I still needed a tow, thank you AAA, but was not too far. My mechanic sent out the transmission and it was completely rebuilt, all that remains is for me do a test drive which will happen in January. Perhaps it’s up for another long trip? Can I trust my van to make the Northern / Canadian – US route to the northeastern shore?

Sunlight through the windshield, rain on my dogs backs, wind blowing, thunder booming, surprises around the next corner. The lonely road is where I am least lonely, the long long vistas where I feel the most found.

Cherokee, North Carolina

Yep, WINDY, as always. We were warming up a bit from our night in Amarillo. It’s time to have the door seals replaced on the LTV! When it’s cold enough and windy enough it feels like an arctic blast pouring in around the side doors.

Checking out the dam at Santa Rosa Lake State Park, there was a campground here. Didn’t stay.

How do you get a lake in the desert? Build a dam.

I stopped in to see the Blue Hole in Santa Rosa New Mexico on Route 66 halfway between Amarillo and Albuquerque. What was I expecting? It wasn’t what I found, didn’t look like the picture on the Internet or in my mind. Maybe it was the wrong time of year, the entrance gate was closed. No one was there as really there was no reason to be there. There was some water, and it was blue and round. That was it. I thought about taking the dogs over to it but it was windy and cold and the water level at the entrance was low and steep.  It had that deep deep look. I think it’s 60 or 70′ feet down and nearly 200′ with the caves at the bottom.

I was unimpressed with the reservoir, Santa Rosa Lake, probably fine for fishing or boating, likely a nice family outing. It would be quiet and have stars but no view of the lake from the RV sites. Probably wrong time of year although there were a few, a very few campers. In the right circumstances with some warmer or less windy and drier weather it could be fun but it wasn’t it for me. Being alone, if it doesn’t suit my fancy or doesn’t seem right for my dogs I don’t need to stay.

Old Town Albuquerque and the Pawslinger Gang! Hey, guys the snake went that way! 

Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Pawslinger Gang hanging out thinking about their next caper. We were missing our big mamma boss, she was back in Northern Cal.

 

Gallup NM, Route 66

OK everybody, hold still and it’ll look like we’re part of the street art.

Flying Curls Jeana

 

Familiar Rest Stops Route 66 Trading Post. The shops here were having clearance sales, at the junction of New Mexico and Arizona, the rest stop is just ahead. There’s a row of  Native American souvenir and gift shops…  touristy.  Up on the hill there are replicas of wildlife. I remember traveling as a family in the 1960’s how thrilling it was to spot REAL animals! Elk, pronghorn antelope, bears, bighorn sheep, bobcats, mountain lions, fox, beaver, javelina, porcupines. All I’ve seen are rabbits, deer, squirrels and of course birds.

 

We’ve been at this rest stop  too quite a few times lately… approaching Flagstaff.  Flying Curls Jackson.

Road song about traveling west:
Ballad of I-40 West ~ Kevin Brennan and Wavelength ~ original song

What a sweet place for a picinic lunch. I learned to eat by the roadside back in the '60s ...  Mom always packed fixings for yummy roadside lunches.

What a sweet place for a picnic lunch. I learned to do this back in the ’60s … Mom always packed lunch to eat along the road.

Sleeping Beauty Land…  starting to enter the land of fantasy, from wide valleys to tree studded icy peaks amid lakes, rivers and gaining elevation. If it hadn’t been too costly to take the Inside Passage Ferry from Bellingham, WA with my little LT, I would likley not have been on this road. Some years ago I’d toured the Ferry Station looking longingly at the dock remembering the family trip to Alaska…  I’d wanted to go again, the feeling so strong I almost broke open my wallet to see if I could gain passage. The office was closed or who knows, maybe there would have been a cancellation and the dogs and I (at that time Olympia and Mason) might have hopped on board. As things were where I was, troubles were industriously laying themselves in my path, even weary, achy, tired and sad I didn’t know yet that I would cancel my passage. I was determined.

A walk at a rest stop

A quiet walk at a historical marker and lake.

Spent the night in Terrance at a truck stop after rejecting the Walmart parking lot. Some idiot started a huge bonfire of heavy smoke in the nearby provincial campground…  seemed the entire woods were sputtering in a noxious plume. I can’t breathe that stuff esp since the time my father’s house exploded in the Oakland Hills, CA fire.  I’d foolishly gone to explore the ruins (there wasn’t anything left but a bathtub and the foundation,) apparently doing so damaged my lungs and sinuses …  my head ached, sinuses throbbed, ears went on strike, I was tired, thoracic outlet painfully cramping my fingers adding worries about permanent damage ….  I was weary. I wanted easy joy and laughing fun; instead I was failing at biting my tongue, trying to keep silent or  making a panacea come out of my vocal cords; no matter how I tried the results made things worse. Guess I’m not good at focusing.

Carpets of Yellow

Near Frasier Lake, Fort Fraser Post which was later absorbed by the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Along with Smithers there were lots of beckoning waysides. I considered a side trip to Fort St James National Historic Site but as with the majority of attractions it would not open until June 1st. Different circumstance I would have seen more; this trip was about the road which I enjoyed and things close to the road.

The Bark Beetle  Please take a look at this link and the attached research pages!  Dead trees are everywhere! By the time you see an evergreen turning yellowish-orange brown, that tree has died. I have read that distressed trees give off  a certain distinctive scent (maybe a use for my Truffle Hounds to search these out?) http://www.avtreefarm.com/insects/barkbeetles.htm

Mountain Pine Beetle

Mountain Pine Beetle

It’s not drought alone that causes a distressed forest. Lack of water is only one factor; pollution, heat stress, altering seasons and other causes exacerbated by rapidly changing climate give opportunity for explosive outbreaks of the beetles and sometimes fungus as well.  This is nature at work. How will this massive tree die-off effect the balance of life? Should nature be left alone to change and adapt, should forest management be intensified? In whatever way you feel, dying trees are an indicator. Look around you, the environment is changing at a rapid pace. Take a walk in your neighborhood and places you visit; listen, look, observe and study. What action will you take? How will you adapt? How will you teach your children? How will you interact with your neighbors or the cries of those far away? Will you mourn silently or not at all? How will you be with food and water increasingly expensive or not available? fires? rough weather? unrest? diseases? Is it time yet to stop arguing and start working together…  yes? If not, then when?

 

The road I traveled

The road I traveled

Poem by William Stafford, Atavism

This trip has been the focus of my energy and hopes for well over a year; actually longer, much longer as I first saw Alaska on a family trip in the late 1960s. My Mom likes to remind me how she rented a cabin for both me and my brother on the Alaska Ferry and neither of us used it! I remember that very well as I was being flirted by a handsome blond stranger and I happily accepted the invitation to sleep on the deck with the other seasoned crew. I longed to see the perfectly formed miniature trees again, the huge humpy bears and the surprisingly warm at 60 deg everlasting light days. When I was young I thought Alaska was a fairy play ground, nature shaping her creatures and plants with a creative flare best suited to mystical beings. I felt at home there and I wanted to return.

After loosing several days travel time to RV repairs and rescheduled flights, I was more than anxious. So much to think about, would my dogs behave, would my 20 year old LT be able to handle the long grind, would my heart be big enough to take in and keep memories, images and dreams to refuel my future? I wanted to know the folk-lore, the history and the mystery of what makes Alaska so special and abundant with her volcanoes, earthquakes, glaciers, powerful wildlife, abundance of birds, high waves, huge forests and her native people. I am a kinesthetic learner; first hand experience is my pandemic, ok not a disease but a driving force.

I am not in Alaska as I write this but in the US struggling with wifi, my air conditioner is going and heavy drops of rain are making music on my RV. How can it be so hot and still rain with this thick heavy wetness like clumps of normal raindrops glued together? This is love to me, the air electric, the unexpected half clear sky, sun, puffy clouds and me in the center of the concert hall.

The first night was a quick sleep at a rest stop near Red Bluff and the next day a stop at Mount Shasta for shopping at the Berryville Natural Grocery and nice little lunch after I’d mistakenly taken the turn up the mountain for the town of Shasta. Not at all the same thing. The second night landed in an RV Park in Salem, the Hee Hee Illahee RV Resort owned and operated by the Siletz tribe, the name means, “A Fun Place to BE,” very cool. I badly needed the hot tub as my Thoracic Outlet Syndrome had flared badly and the pain was nauseating and intense. The jets weren’t working I wanted them to but you know how that goes.

Hee Hee Illahee RV Resort in Salem, Oregon

Hee Hee Illahee RV Resort in Salem, Oregon

Passed this gorgeous lake in OR; there used to be an RV campground nearby… sigh, it is no more. So Beautiful.

A beautiful lake in Oregon

A beautiful lake in Oregon

Had a lunch stop the next day in Olympia. I’d liked this town last time I visited and I still like it.

Olympia, WA

Olympia, WA

 

 

The End of the Oregon Trail

The End of the Oregon Trail

Desert

Camp that night was at the Cedars in Ferndale, A Holiday Trails Resort.

I asked for a quiet and dark spot and got it!  :)

I asked for a quiet and dark spot and got it! 🙂

A Little Friend

A Little Friend

Saw this on my walk

Saw this on my walk

 

Passing though Seattle, just no time to stop.

Passing though Seattle, just no time to stop.

Passing Seattle in a hurry

Passing Seattle in a hurry

 

Then it happened, the first big event!!! The Border! It was early and the line went quickly. I had to give away my half-carton of expensive organic eggs I’d just bought from Whole Foods as a precaution against the Bird Flu. I thought that was ridiculous but I wasn’t going to argue.

The Canadian Border

The Canadian Border

In all places that Pines grow many were dead or dying, rivers were running low, mountain snow was either absent or way too high up for early May. I saw this everywhere, it didn’t matter if the grasses were brown or green, the diminishing effects of water and ice, the alteration of weather patterns of air currents and reflected heat were screaming to anyone listening.

Next up: First Days in Canada