Onward eastward

I took 15 days to get to Michigan.  If I drove a long ways one day, I would park for two days. If a short day, I only stopped overnight.  This worked pretty good for the 3 of us, who haven’t traveled in the RV for over a year. It really was a most enjoyable trip east. The weather was no where near as hot as it was last year and no smoke. A delight!  I was even impressed with North Dakota, as the last time I traveled thru there, the areas west of Bismarck appeared to be destroyed by all the oil drilling and extractions.  It was a major improvement to see it almost look normal.

In Minnesota – it was a simple joy to be back in familiar territory. I stopped in Paynesville, trying to find the home of my cousins. Did not.  Then just kind of roamed around. Funny, I remember more of my time with them up in Lake of the Woods in Province Ontario then I do of them in Paynesville, St. Paul or even in Anoka. Nonetheless, it was neat to be back in the area of my teen years.  Lots of fond memories. Wish I could have connected with any of them this trip, but none responded to my quest for a meet up.  So onward.

I should mentioned, I started seeing a wee bit of Fall colors in Minnesota, then in northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Beautiful reds.  But no images yet.  In UP MI, just east of Wakefield, my GPS took a major dislike of a detour, and sent me down a logging road.  Luck will have it, a guy was mowing along this road and I said I was lost and could he help me?  He informed me that about a mile down the road was a turnaround for snowplows.  Off I go, only to discover I had to disconnect my car to turn around. No big deal!  But… I could not, for the life of me, get the bolt out of one arm, got the other one without issue. All the tricks I have learned on this towing business failed this time. I was stuck!!!  Called Coach-Net. But how do you tell someone where you are when you don’t know?  As luck will have it, the mowing guy got concerned when I had not passed him by once again.  He eventually got the pin out, but had to hammer at it to get it to budge. Weird.  He asked if I needed help getting the RV turned around and re-hooked up the car. I smiled and he looked at me, and said “oh! Just honk on your way out!” and he left.  It wasn’t difficult to get turned around, but as I was in the process of re-hooking up the car, I heard a rustling in the woods not far from me.  All I could see was something black moving toward me. Untangled myself from the tow bars and got into the car quickly. It was a black bear cub. The cutest darn bear, would loved to have picked him up like a teddy bear – but where was his Mom?   After 5 or so minutes, the cub ventured back into the woods, still no sign of a Mom bear. Whew

So back to finishing the connection. Drove out to where the mower was. He was standing along the road, looking very much as an undecided fella (should I go back and check on her or not kind of look). He was so relieved I came back by. Learned his name was Wayne.  Nice, nice fella.  And off I went on thru Michigan.  Michigan has the worst roads, jarring affect and no way to escape it.  Unbeknownst to me, the rough roads disconnected my drive/tow switch on my car, plus disconnected the Invisi Brake System wire under the hood. And I had a dead car on two mornings. What the heck?  Turns out I needed a new battery, as it no longer holds a charge.  Made it to my friends place in Schoolcraft, MI.  Their oldest son, fixed my wiring issues, replaced my battery and didn’t charge me anything. Lucky on that one.  It was hot in MI – days in the high 80’s and nights not cooling off at all, staying in the 70’s..  Great seeing them, so might stop back in on my way west to see them again.  Great friends.

Onward to New York state.  No Fall colors in upstate NY yet.  It was quite warm when I got here, but the night was a delightful 49º the first morning. I can live with this. More on this leg later.

In a nutshell

Its been a long while since I last posted, but since I’m heading out on a big road trip soon, I wanted to give you a “in a nutshell” version of things up to now.

I mentioned I signed up for an online culinary class, a whole food, plant based SOS (no salt, no oil, & no sugar) course thru Rouxbe Culinary class thru Forks Over Knives. An awesome course to take. It was a fabulous lesson of basic info on up to layering of flavors, dressings, batch cooking, etc.  Some of the photos I had to turn in for my assignments are above.  The broccoli one – was a doozy.  I went thru probably 4 lbs of broccoli before I finally got the results I was required to get.  The “mise en place” is something we were taught to do before each and every dish we made.  The advantage of prepping each ingredient for any given dish and have it in front of you – is super nice and easy. No dashing around looking for the missing ingredient. Its all there in one place, ready to go. The lessons on layering flavors was mind-blowing. Such as we fixed 2 tablespoons of cooked brown rice in each bowl (4 total).  The first one was just the rice, 2nd one we added chopped fresh tomatoes, 3rd was with Kalamata olives and the last was with coconut aminos.  We were to taste each bowl and write down what we tasted. Separate they were boring, bland, too salty, too sour, but together it was awesome combo. I was shocked. The other layering of flavors lesson was with lemons. Oh my, I had to repeat it twice as I did not believe my results. Wow!    So I have learned so darn much. I’ve been cooking since I was a child, but I still learned many things new.  Wonderful experience and I graduated, and have been invited to do the Professional whole foods plant base course. Haven’t decided on that…but I can tell you, it was nearly impossible to do this course in my Lazy Daze RV, altho I got thru it, there were some lessons I neither had the room on my stove top, nor refrigerator space. It was frustrating, but the chef’s were quite lenient on those situations.  Wonderful experience all in all.

This missing a decent size kitchen to cook in got me looking at park models. Its a 400 sq ft home. Never dreamed I would ever live in a house once more. I missed it immensely, but a girl can only do what she can do and that is live in my RV.  So for me to look at these little park models got me excited. Went to one dealer in Port Angeles, started bargaining with them. Over a course of 2 months, I got what I thought was a great deal, I arranged for financing and the day…the very day, I was going to go put some money down to order one, a park model became available within the park I have a lot in. They had literally just announced it, and I thought it won’t hurt to go look. Fell in love with it on sight. Made an offer, she accepted it and it was mine! It really helped to have done all that research about park models before I saw it, had more then a couple people look at it – all agreed it was an excellent deal!  It was costly to move it from the 600 row to the 300 row, but far less then if I had ordered a new one.  They moved it the first of April… pinch me, I’ve got a great new-to-me home!  Just tickled pink with it all.  So unloaded my RV – gosh I carried alot of stuff in my rig…laughing at that discovery, as my RV was never overweight.

Sometime before winter returns, I will have skirting put around the park model and I am desperate to get stairs built.  Am loving my new digs.  So weird tho, I can’t find anything – I knew where everything was in the RV, can’t figure how to organize all this space!  Laughing at the thought that 400 sq ft is so spacious!

So I’m in the midst of reloading my RV, as I will be heading out soon.  What a nuisance reloading is!  Once I get it reloaded this time, its staying put.  How do part-timers do this – they must keep there stuff in there like I planned to.  But am happy to say I am no longer a full timer in my RV. Never dreamed I would say that!  I have thoroughly enjoyed my years as a full-timer, and who knows, I may one day return to it. But for now, I want to enjoy my new home.

So what’s this big trip that I’m heading out for?  I’m heading to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Hope to catch the New England fall colors as well.  So the next posting will be somewhere along the road to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

 

 

Life

Its been months since I wrote to my blog. Life has been exceedingly busy.  I did do the Fall trip to the midwest. It was a horrendous trip to Colorado – as temperatures were 106-108ºF the entire way, with thick smoke from all the wildfires. My heart goes out to those battling those blazes.  Considering I do not go south in the summer for these temperatures, never in my wildest dreams did I think September would be that bad in the northern tier of the country. It was HOT and there was no way I could boondock in those temps. By the time I got to Idaho, I headed north to Pocatello vs taking I-84 south to UT.   Got onto Highway 30, which was so refreshing to be driving in the country once again – it was also much cooler then the 100’s.  So stopped at Montpelier, a nondescript town and took a much needed break from hard driving.  I eventually made it to Colorado and was shocked to see blue skies, no fires and warm, on the day I arrived.

I found out on way to Colorado, that I would not be housesitting, so that freed up my time there. Met up with Vivian & her husband in Fort Collins, and it turned out there was no place for me to park my rig at their house as they thought.  Then a scramble to find a place to stay. Colorado is anti-RV and anti-tourist. All campgrounds are booked out years in advance – no joking here. Its impossible to find a week, heck if it included a weekend – absolutely could not book.  So if I wanted to stay, I would have had to move every day.  This included all private campgrounds, as well as national & state parks.  It was the most ridiculous discovery. Even the locals complain about it. I did eventually park on their cul-de-sac for a night or two on the street, but my stay in Colorado was too damn short.

As luck will play into changed plans…my water pump died. Could I find anyone in Colorado that would do this – I even had the replacement, so did not have to order parts.  No takers, I couldn’t even make an appointment. Thankfully, I was carrying extra water this trip!  That and no place to park as the temperatures rose in Colorado (they dropped to the 50’s after I left, of course!) – I headed out. I meandered the back roads, thru miles and miles of farm land until I found my way to Goodland, Kansas.  Egads, I have not been in this town since the early 1970’s – it hasn’t changed a bit.  It is here, at a towing company, that replaced my water pump – at no charge.  I was getting ready to pay and the fella behind the counter said “a single woman traveling alone, boggles my mind – and you had the replacement, its on me”. He was smiling, it made my day! Wow!

Onward, on I-70 to Salina. This was stop planned to possibly meet up with some long ago high school friends – one lives in Haven, Kansas and the other lives in Abilene, Kansas. Once I got settled, I made a call to Janie to let her know I had arrived. I had spent time at Janie’s home 3 years ago and it was great to see her then. Still not knowing if she could come though. Surprise – she could and she came and picked me up to go have some lunch. An even bigger surprise was that Darlene could make it as well, I have not seen Darlene since we graduated. Wow! We talked, chatted, ate some, but chatted some more and talked and laughed and laughed some more. What a blast from the past seeing these gals!!!  It was fortunate the place we met, they allowed us to hold our table for hours. What unexpected fun!!!

Onward to Kansas City, Kansas to Norma and Fred’s home. Norma & I were classmates in nursing school. We have stayed in touch, but had not seen her until they arrived in WA 2 years ago – for a surprise visit.  So the brick wall in the pictures above was the side of their house. I was fascinated, for some reason, by how the bricks were laid and the rough side was out vs the smooth side, which altered the colors between the shade and sun. Funny how my mind works on this stuff.  Norma is mostly blind, but one of the most capable people I know. It was a real treat to get 30 amps, water at their home. It was hot there as well, more 90’s and 100’s and home cooked meals daily. Wow!  I stayed with them for nearly 2 weeks.. got caught up on our lives.

I was due into Fort Scott, Kansas – but it was way too hot to park at my friend Marianne’s house. So stayed at another town about 21 miles away. Did that for about 1 week, then the temperatures started cooling down into the 80’s, so I moved to the street next to Marianne & Steve’s home. Its one of those beautiful big old homes. 3 stories high and they have upgraded and maintained it beautifully.  It was such a treat to be there, to see Marianne, spend time with both of them – lots of laughter, lots of talking and a whole lot of attention from Suki, a doodle dog of some kind. Marianne was one of my high school friends as well, as we haven’t seen each other since we both went off to nursing school.  The picture of the brick street above, is looking down the street from their house. All the streets in Fort Scott are brick, ere that’s not quite accurate. The old part of downtown and the residential areas are all brick streets. The new section – shops, roads, etc are not brick.  I really miss being there… it felt like home in so many ways, altho I have never been to Fort Scott until this Fall.

As it happens to me on the road so often these last 3 years – the VA wants me prompt and center. I have to get back to Seattle.  I can sit in Washington for months, thinking I will get called and nothing happens. As soon as I hit the road – the call comes in when I am not near anywhere. So I have to head back earlier then planned.

From Fort Scott, I did a bee-line to South Dakota & I-90, as I will take the northern route home. This is potentially a stupid move on my part – it is October, after all. The weather changes on a blink of an eye in the mountains at this time of the year. So to add an additional element to this – my propane detector quit working. Do you know how obnoxious that sound is?  Well, your propane detector needs to be replaced every 5 years (or so it says in the manual) – well its been 7 years on this one. I figured out how to turn off the sound, but now I have to be super careful.

So I get to South Dakota it was in 80’s on this early October day and I have another planned meet up, this time with Vicki – she used to live next door to me, when we both were quite young (grade school, I think?). She was in my brother’s class. Wow! Again, its like the years apart did not happen. Lots of life has happened for both of us, but its like we just talked yesterday.  Wish I could have spent more time with her, but the deadline to get back to WA was hounding my brain.

It was a beautiful trip back West. I had cool, to cooler, to cold temperatures before I got mid-way thru Montana.  Northern WY I was surprised to see vivid blue skies, no smoke and no remnants of fire. Hmmm, so this area did not burn?  The same held true up around Billings and then onto Missoula. Where were all those massive Montana fires?  I never saw the end result of what had been deemed the worst fire season. Obviously, it was not along I-90.  But the big blue sky was prominent. Gosh it was gorgeous in all its Fall glory!  The nights were frigid (below 32º), but the days were an awesome 50-60º weather – I was back in my element. I had to stop and wait out a Fall storm in Missoula. It produced lots of wind where I was at, but first snows of Fall hit the mountains.  As soon as I was able, I headed out.  I couldn’t take photos while driving thru the snowy mountains, but it was gorgeous!  At one rest stop, I took the wee bit of snow picture above.  On into Washington, it was good weather, but you could still see heavy smoke south of where I was at. At least the heavy, choking smoke I went thru around Ellensburg on the trip East, was gone.  I really wanted to just stop and take a few days break at this point, but the weather forecast for Snoqualmie Pass for the next day was worrisome.

So on my final day of road travel… I left at the crack of dawn and headed for the Snoqualmie Pass. It was sunshine on the East side, but it was dark clouds on the West side. My hitting the pass so early saved me, as the storm moved in 2 hours after I went thru. It closed the pass down that night.  Made it back, set back up, called the VA and I made it to the appointment 2 days later. Cut it close, but it worked ok.

Since then, been to the opera twice, been weaving and I signed up for a culinary cooking course.  And now you will have to wait for the next story.

Rumple strips

Prior to leaving on my present road trip, I decided to re-acquaint myself with my weaving equipment, get the looms ‘dressed’ and ready to go for when I get back.  Well, its been 7 years since I’ve seen my big loom, trying to find the parts, get it together, etc has presented more of a challenge than I had expected, but found enough to put a warp on. Alas, I decided to put on my Horoscope Color project.  Years ago, I had my horoscope read by a fellow weaver. Its based on the planets, houses, and the colors that is associated with each of those planets and houses based on my birthdate.  Wildly random order of Bamboo yarn – was a super challenge to follow. My good friend Cheri read the precise order of the colors as I added the yarn to each 2 inch section (upper left corner).  It took us over 6 hours to get this onto the sectional beam. Whew!  But wow, its absolutely gorgeous!!!

Once it was beamed, I let this all sit, as I was packing for my road trip. With Cheri’s intense curiosity (probably equal to mine), she threaded the heddles for me as I zoned out in a chair from packing that day.  Can’t wait to get out on the road but I am beat!  Then Cheri & I threw a pansy color and an emerald blue color strands of yarn across to see which one to actually weave with.  So many of my friends wanted the purple pansy, but it was too large of yarn, as they company sent the wrong size yarn. But will use it in the future when I get the correct sizing.    As you can see in the bottom 3rd picture, I wove with emerald blue yarn.  This will be a quick weave as its in plain weave, any other pattern would be lost in all that color. And that loom will now have to wait until I get back.

The little floor loom, only one 2 inch section got dressed before I left.  I am putting on a variegated green and white cotton yarns on for kitchen towels.  This will be a technical challenging weave structure of Shadow Weave, I love working on these as you can get a 3D affect. Alas, it will also have to wait until I get back.

So I am off on a Fall trip. Its a quickie compared to my other journeys. This road trip has challenged me in ways that make an unhappy camper out of me, as I have had to depend on a/c due to high 90’s as well as up to 108ºF, therefore RV parks… Other then getting a/c they offer me nothing and I lose money.  I’ve become such a cheapskate, I guess.  So where are the Fall temperatures…you know warm days and cool nights?  I found a cool night (42º) last night up off of Highway 30 in Idaho – that was a quality night of sleep, but it was the only night in this past week.  Egads Mother Nature!  At least the further east I go the less smokey it is.   That picture on the bottom right corner, was taken from my rig at the Mountain Home RV park in Mountain Home, Idaho. The 2nd best RV park I have ever been in. The first was Nellis AFB back in 2011. Both parks are manicured to a T, level paved spots, well organized electrical, water and septic and both cheap, spotless showers too.  Well, cheap for this trip… as I have had to pay up to $55 for one night in a roughed in pit-run RV park. Horrible place.

Soon, I will be connecting with friends, wishing for cooler days and despite my grumpiness on the hot temperatures, it is so good to be back out on the road.

Odds

Odds are good that I don’t have much to talk about. Laughing at that.  And these two odd pictures seemed to round out the odds.  Laughing a bit more at that. I have some friends, who reach out and want to stay in touch – thinking the best way is thru Facebook and that is the worst place to see what I’m up to in life.  They claim they read my blog, but I haven’t been doing it lately – they are so correct.  So this posting is about the odd things I do.  Apparently my routine is not so mundane to others.

So let’s address the draft photo.  I’ve been weaving since 1994 and I recognized that that draft/pattern was for a lift plan for a dobby loom.  I don’t have a dobby loom, so have always ignored these patterns. Well lo and behold, I have just learned how to read them and I am just floored at how easy it is.  I won’t bore you with what it says, as I would lose you long before I finished explaining, but I am so jazzed by this new discovery.  But I’m not using that to dress my looms, so will translate at a later time.

And this orange fruit!!  This is an Orange Watermelon. An outstanding watermelon. My mouth just waters thinking of how good it was and hoping they have another one when I stop by the fruit stand today.  The texture is a cross between a watermelon and a honey dew melon, but the flavor is not similar to anything I’ve ever tasted, but it is so darn yummy. A delightful surprise!   They also had a yellow watermelon, I found it way too sweet compared to regular watermelon and this orange watermelon.

The zoo of people heading to Oregon for the eclipse, postponed my leaving WA. Still not sure if I’m giving enough leeway to escape the mass of people traveling, but time will tell.  My timing is also indicative of the Labor Day weekend, I hope I will find some hole in the wilderness to hibernate in for that holiday weekend between here and where I’m going. An unusual feature of this adventure for me is that I have a deadline, an expected date of arrival.  I am giving myself ample roaming time to get there, but its still an oddity for me to ever do a date imposed trip.  That is the big difference between full timers and part timers, and I will take the full timers method of travel hands down no questions asked method every time.

Interesting enough, that deadline is less now then when it was first decided on. I was heading to friends to house sit/dog sit/cat sit while they go off to Belize for 10 days or so. They felt bad that they dumped that job onto me, considering we haven’t seen each other in decades, so they gave the job to another. But I was looking forward to doing it, alas… now I am freed up to go as soon as they leave.  Problem is, the rest of the friends aren’t available… so where do I go play until then?  Time will tell..  Now this is something I can sink my teeth into… go explore the unknown.

Prepping

Life is good and busy, as it normally is. No drama, no unexpected surprises and its almost boring!  Except, I’m rarely bored, so what’s up with that?  Its called prepping. At this stage, I just want to hit the road, be done with it all.  I’ve actually evaded this leg of any given journey, then later regretted that I did not take the time to do it right.  What am I talking about?  Its called re-organizing, packing and making sure everything is in good shape and then load the rig. This is the time one double thinks, makes lists, double check this and that – I have long since learned, you don’t wait until the last minute, not even the last week to do this basic stuff.

My break time was sitting back and watching my neighbors swap rigs and move all their belongings back and forth.  Both rigs are 5th wheels, now how did they get that one into that parking space the wrong way?  I will have to wait and see.  I finally remembered to caption the photos, so hover over them with cursor.

One of my preps, was to get my tapestry loom dressed before I go. I hope to sneak in an online class as a refresher before I leave, so it looks like I know what I’m doing – laughing at this, as its been several years since I attempted a tapestry. But this is the loom that will now travel with me out on the road.  All its yarns, accessories have been organized and loaded into my RV.  Yesterday, I also loaded my RV with my spinning wheel and fiber to spin up some yarns too.  That’s for the RV, but for the shed, we got the warping wheel setup (see picture above, lower left corner).

The warping wheel is my preferred method of dressing my floor looms.  Dressing a loom, is putting on the warp – the lengthwise of any fabric.  I use sectional beams and this warping wheel allows me the freedom to design within each 2 inch section, if I so choose. But for my small floor loom, decided to put on just 2 colors, alternating all across the warp. I love to weave Shadow Weaves, a 3D effect, and this will be for cotton kitchen towels. Do not yet know what shadow weave I will use, but once I get going, will post pictures of that.  On my big floor loom, I am really jazzed about putting on 12 colors in bamboo. I’ve not worked with bamboo so am excited with just that, but I had my horoscope read years ago and the gal that read it, is also a weaver. She designated each color based on the planets, positioning etc of my own horoscope. So this is a one-of-a-kind project and the first just for me.  You see, majority of the stuff I make tends to find homes before it comes off the loom. So this horoscope weave is just for me. I think this will be a scarf, but not sure. Again, pictures will be forthcoming. And I’m trying like crazy to get both floor looms dressed before I leave… nice little challenge as its been so blistering hot and there’s no a/c out in the shed.

So I need to get back to work. Have a great day!

Yippee!

The little 200 square feet of shed is DONE. As my normal, until it was done did I appreciate how much room I gained. I just couldn’t see it until then.

The very last photo on the lower right, is of my friend Cheri.  She was helping me put together my big floor loom. We had to make 3 trips to the main storage unit to find all the pieces. Why can’t movers put this stuff together on one pallet? Oh no, it can’t be that simple.  But I am beyond delighted to find that both of my looms have found a new location to call home. I have been working non-stop unloading the big storage unit and bringing the stuff to the shed.  Once inside, its a major re-organization in process. The bulk is my yarns and the equipment for this, but I must have a place for my RV stuff too.

I know, I know, I should have painted the inside walls before I moved in. The dry wall needs to be painted. I was just too excited about moving in that I put that off. Well, everyone that’s been inside – “Melinda, why haven’t your painted?”  So it shall be, but not until I’ve finished loading and reorganizing…probably in August. The responses though of those seeing my shed, or as some have said my weaving cottage.. is WOW!   I put down a cork flooring, which gives a nice ‘give-like’ feeling. Its far better than cold hard cement. I sealed the cement floor before laying the cork, so no moisture will work up thru the cement.  Insulated walls are primo, as I discovered on a few of our hot days here.  It was delightfully cool in there.

The last thing painted on the exterior, was the door.  The color is called “prague blue”, but depending on the light of the day is may appear as dark blue, spruce green or even as black.  Very interesting color.  I had no say on what the color of the shed could be painted, unfortunately. It is what it is. And I’ve added a screen door.

So having this wonderful weaving studio once again will be like going on vacation from my road trips. As I’m not done traveling. George, my builder, also built me a desk inside my Lazy Daze. In the area in which my small floor loom had resided, is now a wonderful desk. Am loving the new space, so am re-organzing some of the cabinets inside my rig. That will always be a work in process.

So will continue working inside the shed, so I plan to get both looms dressed before I hit the road. The big Fireside loom will get my Horoscope Weaving project – there are 12 colors and combinations that relate to my own personal horoscope. More details as I work on that one. And the small floor loom (my Baby Wolf) will get some kitchen towels. Instead of trying to figure out colors for that, I am going to do black and white towels in shadow weave – gives them a 3D affect.  Soon, will get started on both. Yippee!!!