Let’s do it!

Ah life, it continues to be busy in some of the most unexpected ways. My last post, I had spent time at the beach. But I digress a bit… let’s swing back thru the summer here before I move forward.

In June, I met a kindred spirit… we have spent many, many, so many hours talking about everything and anything. We discovered we have mutual friends and it is entirely possible we have crossed paths more than once over the last 40 years. It is uncanny, almost unnerving to encounter such a person, but what a blast!  Now this person, who I shall call “BDS” – who I have not asked permission to post name, images or much else (which I do with anything I post on my blog), has come and gone since June. In fact, has gone again since the first of November. Won’t see BDS for a few months now. That’s ok, we both need our space.

So in early September, went to the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend. Oh my, what an unique experience!  Some of the photos posted above, but I have so much more.  One of my highlights was going out on a schooner, a historical schooner at that. Beautiful!!! Absolutely loved being back out on the water. I haven’t done so since the 70’s, so it was as special as one can gets at this time.  The Wooden Boat Festival was just a grand affair and will try to make this an annual affair. Wonderful time!

I introduced BDS to the RV life. BDS had never traveled in a RV. How do you explain this amazing life? You can’t. So I invited BDS for a short trip.  We hit 3 different volcano national parks – not one picture was taken, can you believe it! Well, not without us in the images, so nothing to show.  We also headed down to northern California to the Feather River White Water Festival. Oh my… I learned how to judge a gate in the race, nothing fascinates me more then learning something new about all this. I have never done competitive rafting, little lone do white water rafting to the degree in which we witnessed. This was Class II-III rapids… I was glued to all the action, even tho I did not fully understand what I was seeing. But the helpful rafters, taught me what they were doing, what maneuvers were necessary to what they were called.  Wow!  I want to go, I want to experience this. Think I will have to wait, but a girl can dream.  As for RV travel, BDS was quite simply hooked with the whole concept. We had a blast.  Having always done the driving, it was a neat experience to let BDS drive, until we got to the mountains roads in Lassen Volcano National Park. Egads, I did NOT like the virtual drop off to no man’s land from the passenger seat. It had nothing to do with BDS’s driving skills, my fear of heights just reared its ugly head.  We were up there to see the Super Moon and I flunked.  So have asked for a repeat in the future, to do Lassen again.   So that was an eye-opener. I wonder if I was driving would the road bother me as bad?  I don’t know.   The Crater Lake road from North to South was a scary one and I was driving. So… these things – you either learn to deal with it or not do it.

In the midst of all this fun, I had two different medical board exams for this VA compensation thing. Both came back 0%, not good, not good at all. Then when I thought I was all done with this, I met with a senior representative from the Seattle American Legion office. That changed my perspective in an instant. They found out things I did not know and highly recommend that I go for it.  So my task at hand is to find a doctor to evaluate my various levels of disabilities. Even some of the stuff I would never have dreamed was important, such as scars.  The problem I have encountered now, no doctor will see me (not in this area, Mayo Clinic, etc), I can’t get in for appointments unless I have something to be treated. I have managed to get 2 appointments under false premises. One, he flat out refused to fill out the forms. The 2nd one comes next week. Time will tell.

This leads me to tell you… I am heading out of here in January. So on that note, Merry Christmas everyone.

Travel back to lower 48

Looking across bay at Haines

Wow! Its been awhile since I’ve posted. Sorry about that.   I’ve been in Washington a week now. My traveling companions and I headed straight to Panorama Point Park (National Forest CP), north of Concrete, Washington to see Jimbo, who is the Camp Host this summer. Beautiful park!

Guess what they see across the Chilkoot River?

My traveling companions? You wonder.  Two couples who traveled together up to Alaska for the summer, as they came thru Haines on there way out, we connected briefly to set plans, then I met them in Teslin, Canada a few days later to travel south with them.  John & Linda had there trip detailed plotted and planned out from start, so I just kicked backed and enjoyed the trip out. Seriously folks, what a joy! They are far removed from my whimsical style of traveling, but I learned alot on how they travel – got alot of great pointers, and I didn’t have to worry about where to stop for the night either, etc. I was on vacation, in a way, and it was a delight.  And that was for the trip down the Cassiar Highway, a very remote place to travel.  Beautiful, beautiful place.  Things changed up a bit when we hit semi-civilization…

My camp at Boya Provincial Park

And our next campground.. at Kinaskan Lake Provincial Park:

And then onward to Stewart/Hyder:
Bear Glacier on way down to Stewart, Canada

Momma & baby

When we made it to Highway 16, the differences between our traveling styles showed themselves. When I need to shop for food, etc – its done when I stop for the night or on a non-traveling day, not when on the road. Its the way I learned from my fellow full timers.  So when we stopped in Smithers at a Safeway store for them to pick up a “few things” as they were out of food – I never dreamed I would still be there 2 hours later.  If I had known, I would have left them and traveled on to our next campground. Then the 4 of them informed me they needed to stop in Prince George to go Walmart and Costco shopping the next day. Later in the day JC told me he & ZC needed 3-4 hours to do this and they would then take 2 extra days before entering the States again. Whoa…  its another travel day, not a shopping day for me. At that point, I informed John & Linda that I would meet them in Washington. So we parted ways… 

As it turned out… they were only a hour and a half behind me that day – obviously JC did not need 3-4 hours to shop. But I had no idea… and the next day… we apparently arrived at the border crossing within an hour of each other. – therefore they did not stay an extra day in Canada. Go figure! They headed straight to Panorama park, I stopped to get email.  Despite it all, I really enjoyed traveling with them. The conversations around the campfire at night or over the CB radio were most entertaining. Lots of chuckles.  Although, I think traveling with a set schedule is hard, therefore another full timer would be a better choice if I ever go this route.  But what a fun trip, all in all.  Thanks John & Linda, JC & ZC for letting me tag along on your adventure.
Panorama Point National Forest Campground – awesome place!  Only 2 negatives… not enough sun to power the solar, due to heavy tree canopy and the other campers. They are partiers…  But I stayed an extra 3 nights after my friends departed.  Of those days… the first was noisy with the campers as they drank the night away and laughed themselves silly in the day swimming in Baker Lake. I really did not mind it. The last day – I had the campground to myself. Pure joy!  Even Jimbo wasn’t around.  
My spot at Panorama Point

Baker Lake

So what to do… let see, I could not work on my loom – its too dark to see colors, threads and such. Had zero connectivity to the outside world. Had no desire to take a hike. So I picked up my Kindle and started reading. I haven’t read a book in over 2 years and I found myself so totally engrossed with the “Fifty Shades of Grey” that nothing else existed. Oh my!  I have since read the trilogy. Awesome!

When I realized my solar just wasn’t being recharged, I decided to leave a day earlier. I parked the night at a KOA near Concrete, WA – $22/night campground. Who has ever seen a KOA that cheap!!! It was a Thousand Trails campground too. Beautiful place, but $22? But only one night, dumped tanks, refilled water and I headed for Anacortes.  I had an appointment at Frontier Ford for my rig – oil & filter change, fluids checked, etc.  Then onto Whidbey Island’s Fort Ebey State Park to stay the night, then hopped on the ferry to Port Townsend the next day.  And I have planted myself at Escapees Evergreen Coho SKP here in Chimacum.
I had a great opportunity yesterday to meet a gal who has followed my blog from the start. What a blast! We will get together again next Tuesday…she’s going to show me around the area. My boys loved her! Thanks Ilse for taking the leap. 

Soggy in Haines

Since I returned to Haines, it has rained.  None of the drizzle stuff, this is the drenching rains where there’s no turning back….no matter how you try to skirt around it.   Well… July is raining season around here, so you just deal with it.  Interesting enough, fog has been added to the mix – a taste of Fall?  Not going there.  But oh do I love the sound of the fog horns, the symphony of horns out on the water. Each ship is a different pitch. Add a hot cup of tea, curled up with my cats and a book. Quite content, thank you very much.

Soggy nature of things brings to a complete halt my task at hand.  I wanted to hire some kids to pull the contents of my storage unit out and then reverse it. Why?  So I could finally access the back of my storage.  Not going to happen. So canceled the kids.  They were raising money for their senior trip next May.  So still wanting to help out, I offered up my rig to be washed and waxed.  Got to stop raining for that to happen.

Recently… I went to put some acquired stuff into storage, I was not a happy camper by any stretch of one’s imagination.  On my Mother’s wheelchair and her walker and a few of my boxes was mold.  There was no mold the first year, so why now? I don’t know, but pulling stuff out is not a viable solution at this time.  Need to go back on a sunny day and look at the situation better.

So I’ve been busy, the initial days back in Haines, I was parked at Ft. Seward in a campground called Chilcoot Campground.  It is the cheapest place in town at $25 per night for water and electric. There is no dump, no trash barrels, no internet – extremely slow with Millenicom, wi-fi only if you get up early enough… up late doesn’t help.  And this is really a tent city nestled into the roots of all the trees. Its so dark under the canopy, no picture can be taken in broad daylight.   I parked out on the edge, but had to wait a day, as the hookup sites were full of tenters.  Think there are 7 sites with hookups and two of those sites did not work.  Not really complaining here, as my site was level and I was close enough to the bay to hear the fog horns. A good short stay place.

Looking down to bay

Looking up to hotel, a part of Ft. Seward

Please note the brown building in the above picture. Do not know what is on top, but the bottom is the worst laundry facility I have ever seen.  Out of order was most common thing.  This and the campground is owned by the Hotel Halsingland, in Ft. Seward, shown in background.  They have not put any money into this campground. Too bad.  Tenters love this place… they can park their tents at many different tiers, lots of tents.  The plus – its not far from town, fast ferry, fairgrounds, brew fest, and some good eateries.

I worked on my new (as of April) e-spinner today.  I had sold my well loved Majacraft spinning wheel last year, so that I could buy this Hansen Mini e-spinner.  Much more doable size for living in a small spaces. But today was my first chance to actually spin on it.  What a joy!  This e-spinner has both electric as well as 12 volt ability, and I may look for a battery backup when I’m away from my rig. The wheel, manuals, cords, tools all fit in a shoebox, a boot box may be too big for all of it. And it has its own burlap tote bag.  I’m in love with this.  Didn’t think to take a picture when I had it out, but will for my next posting.

Palmer visit…

Before I forget for the umpteenth time…

Recognize this?

Recognize this?  Several of you should …. Ed and Carol have shared there love of this and recently I sent the recipe to them to make a new batch. Does anyone else need this? That is, if you forgot.  Just curious.

Ah Palmer, my former home town.  It was a whirlwind visit this trip… talked with many friends but only able to see two sets.  It is summer after all… the busiest time of the year for all Alaskans.  I parked in the driveway of long time friends and former neighbors (in Adak).  It was a good choice to spend some quality time with these two, but sad too.  They have battled many health issues over the years that is really showing the wear and tear of it all. This is the first time I wondered if they shouldn’t move into senior housing sooner than later.  Phyllis is a master gardener – her flower gardens were her joy for years, now she can barely keep up with it.  John is still showing signs of his stroke from a few years ago, unsteady gait and delayed speech – but one still finds him mowing the lawn, playing in his greenhouse full of veggies.  In a way, they are an inspiration, yet its sad to see this change. So it was a bittersweet stay with them.

The closing on my house was finally done on the 3rd of July!  What a great relief.  Then I promptly went to the bank and paid off my loan on the RV – I now own it free and clear and that… my dear friends… was the best news of the day!

I had tried to leave Palmer before the 4th, but just too many details to tie up before I left and I still had not managed to see my best friend Connie.  I got my second wind, found a spot to park the night and went and had dinner with Connie and her family.   Slab of fresh red salmon, fresh fruit salad, garlic bread and apple pie rounded out a great time with them. Yummy!

Headed out of town on the 4th, turned out to be a wise choice, as there were very few on the road. The following 3 pictures were taken along side of the Glenn Highway, heading out of Palmer.

Along Glenn Hwy between Sutton & Palmer
Another view off of Glenn Hwy between Sutton & Palmer
Matanuska River is almost at flood stage here

Matanuska River is a braided, glacier fed river.  That being said… the glacier is at milepost 125 on Glenn Highway and its one of only a few glaciers that one could walk on.  But looking at it this time, its receding big time.  One would have to go down and see if its still possible.  It was rather unnerving a few years ago to discover the trail in which one is walking on was indeed solid ice – what they call a moraine.

On the 4th, I was invited to park at my realtor’s home up at Milepost 90.  The next few pictures are of her house, critters and her million dollar view of the mountains…

German/Dutch origins in design – lovely home!
female llama

The llamas would have nothing to do with me… laughing here. The male llama watched me constantly though, as the ever present guardian of said homestead.  The llamas keep the wildlife at bay too. My hostess does not use the fiber from these critters, they are her pets.  Fun pets too.

Male llama

The day I arrived offered up this great view… the clouds and rain moved in while there, but felt I was given a brief treasure in this view.  In years past, the sheep would cross from one mountain range to the other in the summer feeding grounds, as where I’m parked is on the side of another mountain range.  Elevation is around 4000 feet above sea level… not sure that’s correct, but you get the drift.

Hay and feed barn for llamas
Beautiful view from my rig
I spent 3 nights at this homestead in the mountains… then onward.  Stopped at Tok for one night, tackled the frost heaves in the rain – not recommended if you can help yourself. Then a night near Haines Junction. Then I hopped onto my favorite highway…the Haines Highway.  Saw 2 black bears and one porcupine on this highway, which brings to a grand total of 5 grizzlies, 2 black bears, 2 porcupines, one caribou and zero moose on this trip…  Where have all the moose gone?

Lazy times continue

Pavilion to access email


My self-imposed down time here, just south of Glacier National Park, has been a welcome change of pace for me.  The lack of cell and very limited internet has only been missed a couple of times. I thought I would miss it more… but am ok with it.

Wildlife has been fun to watch. Bull elk made a showing last night, but earlier had seen a a Mom elk and her baby. Too far away to get pictures, but great thru the binoculars.  Also, moose around here are so much smaller than our moose in Alaska. Its hard to explain the differences, but they are smaller.  Now I have heard, but have not seen that a grizzly sow and cubs have been cleaning out the grease in the fire pits for the RVer’s back in the woods.  Not too many birds tho.

So I’m quite the attraction at this park due to my license tag.  I would say 90% of the people passing thru here are heading to Alaska from Montana.  They thought they would get into Glacier National Park before heading north, only to discover it “might” open by June 28th, if lucky.  When they hear I’m heading north, but not from Montana – the questions start.  So have had lots of ongoing conversations about the trip north, what to see, etc, and a few more curious about the Lazy Daze.

My sis-in-law is not joining me on the trip to Alaska, due to changed plans.  But with a surprising twist, another friend is.  Lois, one of my Alaskan friends, who I have known since my years working at University of California Medical Center in San Francisco.  She is visiting someone in Spokane, where I will pick her up.  So the trip to north of Seattle has been canceled until I come back down in late summer/early Fall.   You know… I can’t plan these twists and turns, but I’m always amazed how things work out.

So… where to put the stuff riding in my passenger seat.  That is the challenge at hand, as Lois needs the seat…  I will figure it out…

In the meantime, I officially hate my blinds!!!  Especially the one in the kitchen and the one bathroom – this will change this summer, hopefully. But what a pain in the a__ to clean!  I have targeted one space each day I’ve been here to clean thoroughly from top to baseboard and everything in between.  Now, the last thing to do is the floor and I wanted to share what I have been using for the last couple of years.  I bought my source at Mountain Market in Haines but I see you can order it from a variety of places, such as on Amazon : Biokleen-Bac-out-Floor-Cleaner.  This is so very safe with kids, pets, even yourself.  Spray it on, wipe with a soft cloth. No rinsing. My 32 oz bottle is finally at 1/2 full after 2 years and I use it all the time.  You don’t use much.  The floor cleaner works on vinyl, laminate, tiles – to name a few.  Awesome product!  Love no chemicals…   I have not yet tried the bathroom cleaner or the laundry soap, but I understand they are great too.

I plan to hang in the mountains until I have to pick up Lois.  But am leaving my little mountain haven soon, its been nice here.  Very quiet, great sleeping, great people, a great place to regroup.

Mountain haven

I found my place to stop for awhile… Its between milepost 190-191 on highway 2 in Montana.  I hopped out of my rig in a t-shirt – basking in the sunlight and immensely enjoying the crisp mountain air. It was 46ºF when I arrived yesterday.  Today, it has snowed off and on…   all this glorious cool weather brings zero cell and limited internet.  No complaints here.

Its a great place to be for a week or so…  the Glacier Park road thru the National Park, is still closed, so no tours thru there this trip.  No wildlife seen either, but I’ve got plenty to do to keep me occupied. Especially liked sleeping under the warm covers this morning… no up-and-at-it, it was sheer lazy morning over a cup of hot tea. Aaahh! The simple joys are such a pleasure.

Crazy traveling days..

From my last post, I mentioned I planned to get off of I-90 and head north to Rt. 2.  I took Highway 83 up from I-90.  Beautiful, beautiful road – rolling hills of ranches, grasslands all the way.  I had a chuckle in South Dakota, as I came into a wee town with a population of 89 in Mound City.  Laughing, as they had a post office. 89 people and they have a post office!?!  At the opposite edge of town, less than a city block length of town, I understood why they got a post office.  Mound City happens to have the County Courthouse of all things.  I guess anything is possible, but this just tickled the heck out of me.  South Dakota has the best all around road system – whether interstates or back roads – others could learn alot from them.

North Dakota, on the other hand, had horrible roads in most places. With the oil boom, they should have redone all their roads in this State. Gads, what a waste that it hasn’t happened.  I understand Highway 83 is good all the way up to Rt. 2, but I did not take it north from Bismarck.  I stopped in Bismarck for the night and the next morning on awakening at 5:30 am – discovered pea soup fog. Could barely see the rig next to me.  Went about having a leisurely breakfast, shower, etc. and the fog had lifted enough to go ahead and leave… or so I thought.  Got out to 83 and realized I wasn’t going anywhere fast. So found a grocery store and went shopping.  When finished, the fog had lifted a whole lot, but not from the north (83).  At this point, I figured I would make a short day of that day, and stop at Theodore Roosevelt’s National Park… 2 hours away. Theo’s park is a great NP, altho I have never been there in a RV, years ago did tent camping, hiking there. Just a beautiful scenic park. I’m hoping the buffalo are still roaming thru the campground like they did years ago. Time will tell.

So I got gas, and headed to I-94 and headed west about 8am.  It was foggy but doable. Just wish others would turn on their headlights… but all went pretty well.  My next best opportunity to head north was on 85, just past Dickinson.  Not the best or wisest choice on my part.  Remember my mentioning the oil boom in North Dakota.  For some ungodly reason, I thought it would be on Rt 2 at or in Williston.  If it is, I don’t know, as I did not go that way.  Highway 85 though, was disastrous.  It started out ok, even with seeing miles after miles of oil rigs spaced about a 1/4 miles from each other on both sides of the road, but the oil tanker trucks… all kinds of trucks for that matter, hogging the road to and fro with the combo of the fog… Not a fun place to be.

Then to see the damage to the fields, apparently getting more oil rigs in.. Did they buy out all the farmers? Or what?  Lousy work ethics, but guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  On one side of the road was the National Grasslands, which I could not see at all that day due to the fog, but they are awesome normally and across the road are oil rigs… none stop.    About 2 miles from the turn to the National Park, I pulled over to take a picture or two.

Hills near the National Park

View looking down where I was going

The turn into the National Park was on the left, and I was in the wrong lane to turn left. Trucks don’t particular care if you want to turn left, just get out of their way.  Immediately after that turn, its a steep climb back up. No turning back.  As it was, I am so happy I did not stay at the National Park on two very major points.  Considering I did that day on Memorial Day… I could not fathom doing the next 50 miles on a normal work day.  Major, major road constructions, truck traffic, dirt beyond dirt (or mud if it rained), everyone driving the fastest they could go over potholed roads beyond description. It swallowed cars frequently. Not good for RV’s.  I wish I could have taken a picture of even a fraction of this nightmare, but I was doing good just getting thru the mess. And the road construction at the Rt 2/ 85 exchange was unbelievable potholed mess.  Get me out of here!!!!

One highlight in that mess… near the town of Alexander was a ranch with very green pastures on hills, at the highest areas, were buffalo enjoying the grasses, just below them were cattle.  Nice!

On Rt 2, once I put a distanced between the mess… was good road.  As tired as I was from the day so far… there was no place to park, to pull over for a potty break, nothing.  So I kept going. I found a side road to pull off on to do a mini-break and to check for a place to stay the night.  Two places listed – could not find either. One was a city park, another was a casino in wee towns I drove thru. I arrived at Wolf Point, MT (280 miles from Bismarck) to Rancho RV Park. What a joke. On my Find a Friend app, it said I was parked at Moe’s Trailer Park.  Well, I’m happy to say its not that, it is a RV park with basic camping. I met Moe, man in charge, is one of the many Indians here.  He was a hoot, and had me park in the shade even tho I was dry camping.  I just wanted to crash.  I forgot to take a picture of the little corner of his park. It was green, soothing for raw edges, and quiet. Couldn’t have asked for anything better.  It looks like they took over an old motel… I have no idea if there were showers, laundry or anything else available. I took a nap initially, then went to bed at 7 pm.  Its still hot in the 80’s here, but with great relief, I am finally in dryer climes. 
The secondary reason I’m glad I did not stay at the national park, they got slammed with golf ball hail and 70 mph winds that night.  Tons of rain. Flooding from slow moving thunderstorms, which I happen to drive under as I got into Montana. Breathe of fresh air knowing I was not there then.
I had no desire to sit at Rancho RV park more then necessary, but I really would like to find a place to park for several days…  so I put another long day under my belt.  I am now at Shelby. I was going to stop in Havre… but found no place for RV’s to park, nothing I had listed in my various apps could be found. The road construction leading into town was one rough road as well. Did I miss a turn because of it? Not sure, but I found nothing else.  So kept going.
The constant road thru rolling hills and valleys, tons of grasslands, and hundreds of cattle was lulling me into a state I knew I had to change.  So the next available cell phone pull out, I would take and take a break. And it was an absolute delight.  Mountains. Honest-to-goodness mountains, snow covered mountains at that. It has been months since these eyes have seen the mountains and there they are… but they are on the horizon.  Oh I have missed the mountains… but this rejuvenated me. Onward.
So in Shelby… trying to find a gas station that my RV would fit in, that was working, was troublesome. But eventually found one right before my stop for the night – so hoped it would be a decent one.  You know, a girl can dream, but it doesn’t mean diddly-squat sometimes.
Glacier View RV Park…  is across the road from a train yard, a very busy train yard and behind a motel.  The following are my views. No glacier to be had.

White building on left is the back side of motel

Train yard… several tracks.

There are 6 parking places for RV’s, only one big enough for me. Yes, they have electrical, water and sewer – but I would not touch anything but the electrical.  No trash cans, no bathrooms, no nothing else. On two sides are alleys.  And I’m the only one here.  Not too comforting, but the next destination is 79 miles away… that’s the mountains… can’t wait!