This is where Kaye posts her stories and commentary on our adventures and the people we meet. These stories were first published on her blog at Wondering Journey.
Beach-walking – Thankful Thursday Sept. ’14
Late news flash.
After I typed this, my husband came back from his bike ride to inform me that he had discovered a beach that had not disappeared and was still walkable. So that’s where I went to walk on the beach today. Yippee!!!
Life on the Road, Life at Denali June, 2014
Location: Rainbow Village RV Park, McKinley Park, Alaska
Outside: Raining. Again.
Miles traveled: None today or this week. We are just parked behind the shops along the boardwalk.
Walked: Here and there and everywhere in the canyon and in the national park
Hubby is: typing
- Two weeks ago today we arrived at Denali
- Four weeks ago we were camped by the ocean in sunny southern California just heading out on this middle stretch of our epic journey
- Six months ago we were starting to move into the RV and preparing for the big trip
Recent happenings: Copious amounts of rain resulted in mudslides and flooding yesterday. One slide here just above the canyon brought a tree down on power lines cutting off the electricity all along the boardwalk for 3 1/2 hours. Flooding in the national park washed out chunks of the road leaving tourists and staff stranded in buses at the end of the remote highway until helicopters could rescue them
Unexpected: so much rain and such cold temps. Not sure why this surprised me – except that it is late June
Other surprises: Lots of snow on Mt. Healy
Discoveries: the General Store that carries lots of little necessities – for a price!
Makes me smile: Hearing the train as it comes through the canyon
Makes me sad: Such limited internet access
Makes me drool: pulled pork at the Black Bear
Blessings: my winter coat found in the cargo hold – which makes a great raincoat, our cozy rig, close proximity to the Black Bear where I can get internet access AND see my daughter
Reading: History of Alaska – Land, People and Events. (Thanks, Karina!)
Watching tonight: Probably nothing much. Maybe a little channel surfing. My excitement last week about finally having TV reception after four years without has quickly dwindled into disappointment at the lack of anything worth watching.
Considering: whether to make the two-and-a-half-hour drive to Fairbanks for supplies or just get by with what we can get here in the canyon and give up an arm and a leg to pay for it.
Accomplishments: I finally took time to find the addresses and write little notes on that pile of postcards I’ve been collecting. AND I took them to the post office!
Lessons: People are often more interesting that they might originally seem.
Looking forward to: Stacy coming in two weeks!
Camping Along the Pacific Coast Highway May 28, 2014
What a cool place to camp! On our right side is the ocean and on the left is the Pacific Coast Highway – just inches away. So close that passing trucks cause this rig to sway like crazy. Actually even a small car going by gives us some pretty good sway. Basically we are parked on the shoulder of the road – albeit a nice super wide shoulder with painted lines to mark the parking/camping spots. Our rig fits site #56 perfectly without having to unhitch – with barely inches to spare. The front bumper of the truck is about two inches from the line and the spare tire on the back of the trailer might be hanging over the line by an inch. Just a few feet beyond and above the road are the railroad tracks – where Amtrak trains come by every so often. Above the railroad a few hundred feet is the busy traffic of the 101 – the major thoroughfare between west Los Angeles and San Francisco. How cool to have most of the traffic sounds drowned out by the sound of the surf.
For the five months we have lived here in southern California, we have been fascinated by this phenomenon of campers lined up for miles along the PCH and have wished we could join them. Well, now here we are! Yet another unexpected gift!
(From Wondering Journey)
Milepost 4-22-14 Fillmore, California
Does California Have Seasons?
Having lived my whole life in Michigan with its four distinct seasons, I may have had the impression that southern California had only one season – summer all the time. So I didn’t know what to expect this spring; therefore I have been delighted by the sights and sounds and smells of spring.
Sure enough, things have been greening up around here. The grass at the park is looking good. As more leaves open up, the trees are getting thicker and the woods are filling in. We continue to be amazed at how green the mountains are getting. The orange blossoms are glorious. How cool to see orange trees bearing both mature oranges and blossoms at the same time. I didn’t know they could do that.
One house on our street has a very cool flowering tree spilling over the fence onto the shoulder of the road.
The avocado trees are covered with huge bunches of blossoms and already seem loaded down – so it’s hard to imagine how they will be able to carry the added weight of more fruit. No wonder the farmers prop up the branches with 2×4’s! Rose bushes climb the chain-link fence to hide the avocado groves from sight.
And then there are the flowers! I was happy that were lots of flowers before, but I keep being surprised by new ones here and there. The red geraniums are multiplying and have now been joined by pink ones which were new to me.
Numerous clusters of ground cover produce a myriad of tiny delicate blossoms. Yesterday I learned that one type of “poor man’s orchids” blossom for one day – and yes, I was introduced to them while they were blooming.
While talking about the sights of spring, I must include the small brilliantly orange bird that flew out of the orange grove this morning while I was walking past. I wonder what he is.
Spring is not only to be seen, but can also be heard. Yes, there seem to be new sounds – although I am ignorant of the time table for all of the sounds around here. One of the first that I noticed this spring came from the bees. Oh, the buzzing of the bees. As I walk through the park I keep hearing the hum of yet another swarm of bees overhead in the live oak trees.
Besides the auditory signal of the bees’ presence, there is also visual evidence of them as well. I don’t know how the bees coordinate their schedule with our human calendar, but we are learning how to tell that it is “bee season” in the orange groves – when the white netting is put over the rows and rows of trees. Local growers have explained that they spread the nets to keep out the bees so they can produce seedless Clementines. Yum!
There seem to be more bird sounds recently although again I am not nearly an expert and struggle to identify bird calls. I do know there is one that for some reason makes me think of my grandson – maybe because I can imagine him mimicking it. There is even a rooster in at least one neighbor’s yard to remind us of life in the Dominican Republic.
The soft swishing sound of windmills can hardly compete with the slightly louder synchronized whine of the fans in the ends of the rows and rows and rows of greenhouses. In the quiet of the evening I often hear a familiar sound that is similar to those back home in Michigan – namely the low purr of tractors in the fields next door. A few small John Deere tractors are used in our neighborhood as well as an old Ford that reminds me of the one I learned to drive on.
Yes, there are new sights and sounds that seem to have appeared this spring, and there are also new smells. Oh, the smells. Driving home from town is like stepping into a room where the wood has just been polished with orange oil, but oh, so much fresher and more wonderful. Naturally the smell was the strongest when the orange blossoms were in full bloom, but it continues. It is hard to identify the exact smells. Once in awhile I can isolate the eucalyptus and often catch the scent of mature oranges but mostly it is just this sweet tangy potpourri all the time. What a tantalizing aroma.
Okay; I am convinced. California does have seasons, too. I love the fact that I can live this season of my life in such a place with delightful sights, sounds and smells of spring.
Milepost 5-23-14 Fillmore, California
If you’ve been here long, you know that I/we have recently tackled this downsizing and de-cluttering thing. I read about it often, I think about it AND I try to do it. I have much to learn about doing it better. So I keep trying.
Reading through yet another piece on the topic this evening, I realized that I was feeling a little… I don’t know… Maybe a little smug. I guess I was nodding my head and thinking “yep, yep; it sure is nice to live with less” – and I was probably thinking that this might not apply to me right now.
A year ago I was in the middle of a HUGE de-cluttering project. Way too big and taking way too long because I was dealing with a lifetime of piles and bins and boxes. But right now, I’m out here on the road on the other side of the country in our little casita with only the stuff that fits in this 29-foot fifth-wheel trailer! Yay! I don’t have to declutter this year because this place is so small that I have to keep things in order all the time, every day, just to stay sane.
In the midst of reading and nodding my head and feeling grateful that I don’t have to deal with clutter this month, I slowly remembered that little vertical shelf unit tucked in next to the refrigerator. It’s a great little space to keep my tote bags handy and my caps for sitting out in the sun… and a few other things that I want to have ready for heading out the door… and this and that. Yah, that cabinet. The one where the pile is getting precariously high waiting to topple over when I open the door. That cabinet.
And then there is the little cabinet above the bed that I’ve been noticing needs some sorting and straightening. Oh, and the under-bed storage. I was going to sort through that stuff and re-pack – putting things that I don’t need so often into the new bin I just bought that goes in the underneath cargo compartment. Yep, I need to do that before we hit the road again in a couple weeks.
Oh, dear; I guess I do have some de-cluttering to do. Too much to think about tackling after a busy day. Too overwhelming. Yah, that’s what clutter does to you.
But hey, I could do just that one little cabinet…
And so I did! Yippee!!!
(From Kaye’s Blog)
Milepost 12-20-13 Kingston, Michigan
Life on the Road: Preparing for Departure
Today: The Friday before Christmas and the day before Solstice
Location: All snug and cozy in the recliner where I can gaze at the lights of the Christmas tree
Outside: Dark, evidently freezing rain. Sounds like schools are closed – all over the place.
Miles traveled: Probably none. Hopefully we can stay put today.
Walked: Not today. No safe place to walk these days. But soon…
Hubby is: Sleeping
Recent happenings: Oh, my! So many things happening so quickly. So many decisions. So many plans coming together – and some still up in the air
Surprises: The fact that we will be living in southern California for the winter and spring.
Unexpected: The fact that my mom has decided to move into a smaller place.
Noticed: How weird it is that we have been down-sizing for three years and my mom is suddenly trying to do it all in a couple weeks. Even weirder that I won’t be around to help her with it.
Discoveries: My friends don’t all think like me and sometimes don’t agree with me. Yah, not a new discovery, just need to remind myself sometimes.
Made me smile: Kind words and good friends
Made me sad: Divisive declarations on Facebook, assumptions and allegations
Made me drool: That picture on Facebook of a “breakfast bake” made with refrigerator biscuits
Blessings: Oh, so many! One that comes to mind is the restorative power of sleep. AND an amazing husband! Amazing, I say.
Reading: No time to read. So sad. But soon. Very soon.
Watching tonight: Perhaps a Christmas movie. Or perhaps West Wing…
Considering: What I can choose to leave behind from what I’ve already packed
Working on: Packing up all our stuff – to take with us, to donate, and to put in storage
Accomplishments: Wrapping up the remnants of 40 years of living at Hidden Hollows. Nope, we’re not done yet, but we have come a long way and are getting close.
Lessons: I can only do what I can do.
Finish several packing projects
Clean the cabin. Again.
Pack things up for heading out for Christmas
Looking forward to: Hanging out with our kids and relaxing for a couple days before the final push and the big departure date
(From Kaye’s blog, Wondering Journey)