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!

Artsy

Well, it has been a fun month traveling with Ruth. Today, I had to say good-bye, for now that is.  I suspect, we will get together down the road some day.  In the meantime, she is catching a train westward and I will head southward once again.

The whole time Ruth traveled with me, she was knitting this crazy blanket – that you see above. I wanted to buy it from her, but we traded instead. She got one of my handwoven towels in trade. Its way too hot to be using that knitted blanket at the moment, but can think of many times in the future that I will greatly appreciate having it.  Then Ruth found out that I love bracelets and necklaces, never owned a beaded one before. So was very pleased and tickled to be given these two, pictured above. I love autumn colors, and this fits it to a tee. They are gorgeous and I said as much to Ruth. So lots of laughter, lots of teasing, and then more laughter is now stashed in our memories of this past month. Thanks Ruth, if you are reading this… really enjoyed our time together, despite the initial challenges (on both of our parts). See you next summer!  I will bring your red Why hat, tahini (if anything left by then), and I can guarantee the chocolate bar will not make it to Alaska… laughing here. Told you, you would forget something…smirking here.  Thanks Ruth!

So I got the handwoven towels off the loom, washed, hemmed & pressed. My very next project is a kit from a Karen Selk workshop I had taken years ago. 100% silk. The biggest yarn is Bombyx silk 30/2 and the smallest is Tussah silk at 120/8… for ye lay person reading that… its makes sewing thread look huge!  Due to its wee size, I need a whole lot of heddles. I have 800 on my loom and I need 1187. So as we speak, they have been ordered and I will hopefully have them in my hot little hands by the end of the week. I am so jazzed about getting this project started. It will be a fun one to weave, but a challenge, like all shadow weaves can be.  Pictures will be posted as I get going on this.

So while waiting for the heddles… more bike riding is in order… and I suspect some much needed spinning will be started.  I am moving within the park I’m at. I found a little landscaped (if deserts can ever be landscaped) area big enough for me and my rig. It is a little closer to my neighbors then I have been doing, but this little patch of landscaped desert has a couple of trees to block the heat of the day. 80ºF needs some shade in my humble opinion.

But first, I am parked at Sanderson Ford Truck in Glendale for the night, with services being done in the morning. I swear by this Ford dealer – they have saved me money in many occasions, and well…just been real good. Besides, its free parking with security, electricity, even water – though the latter is next to impossible to hook up to, so I don’t try. It is worth going out of my way to get my rig into them, so I do it when I am in the vicinity…will sort of in the vicinity.

 

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.

Summer Hots!

I say Summer Hots, as this summer has been the rage in music, dancing, soaring temperatures and a whole new world of friends.  Love, love the unexpected perks that life throws my way.  It is never boring, can be very distracting, but it is alive in wonder of it all.

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Pete & Brad

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Pole Marina

My 6 week class on East Coast Swing was finished at the end of June. What a hoot!  With that, had the grand opportunity to take a workshop with Ari Levitt, a pro dancer out of Seattle, to fine tune all the moves, plus learn several advance moves. Danced for 3 hours solid that night and my feet were screaming – as my mind said: I have got to get new dance shoes!!!  So I limped out of the workshop, not complaining my feet hurt, just delighted to have taken the workshop. Wow, what an education!  And for those that did not realize people wear special dance shoes… there are, but you can get by with duck tape on comfortable shoes as well. I foolishly bought cheap dance shoes on Amazon… they barely lasted the 6 weeks. All a learning experience.

Music galore in Port Townsend, Sequim, Port Angeles, even in Seattle if one wanted to take a boat ride. Port Townsend is overflowing with enough music to keep me happy for a long time. You find music just about anywhere… as I listened to a man playing a cello put on a concert from a park bench one day.  He got some money from me. But there’s the fiddlers, banjos, guitars, etc. all playing what they do best. Then theirs the Concerts on the Dock – wow!  Or Fiddle Tunes at Fort Worden. All kinds of music in the various bars too. And via new friends, I have made contact with a local group that is giving us two free gigs to play at Evergreen Coho SKP, the first one is next Friday, July 17th. This first one they are playing bluegrass and some old time music.  Can’t wait to hear them.

Last night, was the first of 3 dance classes here at Evergreen Coho SKP on East Coast Swing. Taught by Jeff and Carol. We had a great turnout, lots and lots of laughter, all learned they did not have two left feet and could dance. Truly was a special evening by all that attended.  There’s a request for Jeff and Carol to come back to teach Country 2 step… we are going to get a sample of this after our Swing classes, leading up to Coho Days. We are having Buck Ellard for Coho Days… so everyone wants to be ready. Then in August, after Coho Days, they may give us more classes.

Temperatures in Western Washington have been blistering hot. 90ºF or higher is too damn hot for my cats in the RV. So have been forced to figure out my A/C.  I have pretty much converted it into winter mode of dress with the a/c and fan (to blow cold to rear of rig) on. Its dark in here. And my boys do NOT like a/c. In fact, since I got my a/c to cycle on and off, Norm (orange tabby) howls of major discontent. But what am I to do? Let them roast?  Today, clouds moved in and cooled things down, but we are not to the hot part of their summer yet.  Just thankful we have a break from the heat.  So all the Reflectix came down off the windows, opened them up and let the sound of raindrops sooth their souls.  And life goes on.

Just being cute

Are you staying home for a change???

Its hot!

Its hot! Norm is telling me!

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Playing cello

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Beautiful kayak coming in!

Stretch of North Beach

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People flying kites at North Beach

Journey continues

Chilkoot Lake

Chilkoot Lake

Chilkoot Lake

So we took a trip to Chilkoot Lake one more time before I left Haines. Had heard the bears were out early (they were late going into hibernation – crazy winter for the bears too!). But we saw no bears.

View from Oceanside RV Park

Looking at this photo from Oceanside RV Park, seeing how green it is… is hard to believe that this is in February. A land without snow.  Its going to be a bad summer for fires with no snowpack.

View from Picture point

View from Picture point looking toward Skagway

View from Picture Point toward Chilkoot

Its so strange to see no snow folks. It is really strange.

Brigid, Evelyna, Suki (dog) & Cheri

Great friends in front of ferry terminal to see me off.  As they were posing, a lady walked up to Cheri saying “Cheri?”. I did not get the whole conversation as I was laughing with Brigid and Evelyna. But as small worlds happen when you least expect it… the gal knew Cheri from when they were in Anchorage years ago. Love small worlds…  I will see these three down the road.  Evelyna is going to weave me two small rugs for my rig – I am so excited about that!  Cheri won’t weave me a double weave shuttle holder – laughing here, as she wants me to make my own. Ha!  And Brigid is just fascinated by anything weaving… but does not weave. Yet! Great friends.

My ship

It was a great trip south on the ferry.  Totally relaxing. Girls and boys basketball teams were in route to various games between Haines and Ketchikan. After they all left… it was so quiet, it was almost eerie.  Very soothing… watching the beauty before my eyes on each passing mile.  No sightings of whales or swans – still a little early for either.  I was just mesmerized, so relaxed on this trip. Happened to strike up a great conversation with a commercial fisherman out of Petersburg, then met his wife – an amazing basket weaver. Had long conversations with both, lots of laughter, shared contact info and I will see them again down the road.

Head of the line on ferry to Port Townsend

Onward to Port Townsend

If you double click on the above picture. You will see a boat. Behind the boat is a steam/smoke stack. That is just south of the ferry terminal in Port Townsend. Its the Olympic Mountains in background. Very little snowpack. They have the same fears for the approaching summer as Alaskans do.  Let’s hope it doesn’t happen.

Well, the trip was great and on arrival at the Escapees Evergreen Coho RV park – went about the task of putting water in my rig and get this jump started. Well… not so fast. Filled the water tank. Went to purge air from all the faucets – nothing happened. Dang. Oh jeez Melinda, I forgot to turn on the water pump. Silly girl. Did that. Nothing happened. Turned if off. And what do I hear? Water running. Double dang (trust me, that’s being polite). A split second later, water is flowing fast out of the cabinet below my kitchen sink. I scramble trying to find anything to sop up the water. I’m drenched kneeling on the floor trying to unload the cabinet to see what is going on. When they de-winterized my rig in Haines (or perhaps when they winterized it), they tampered with my water filter…somehow. As turning on the water, blew out the bottom of the water filter.  Normally, this is a no brainer task to getting the container out of the bracket to replace the filter. Except this time it will NOT BUDGE.

I gave up that first night. Went for a walk around the park in the dark, came back and went to bed. I was too tired to articulate what I needed to do.  Got up this morning. Again tried to get the thing out of the bracket. Tried tourniquet, tried banging it, tried twisting nothing is budging this darn thing. The bottom just won’t screw back in while in the bracket.  So no water…. talked with a few folks, got a recommendation for Blue Sky Mobile RV – but he doesn’t work weekends. So I’m stuck until Monday. Ho hum…

So I spent the day, doing laundry, unloading my rig into my shed. Trying to call to rent a car – they are not open on weekends either. Tried to remember to grab a towel to go take a shower… was sidetracked all day… gave up on that. Hate being discombobulated… but find myself laughing over this whole darn thing. Welcome back to full timing Melinda. hahahaha. And the journey continues.

Life continues…

Wow! Its past my bedtime, but wanted to try to get some photos onto the blog.  The towels I finished has transformed in front of my eyes. When I first dressed the loom, all three colors – off white, light green and dark green appeared to be one color.  Seriously.  100% organic cotton darkens when exposed to heat – it does not fade.  But I try to hold off exposing it to heat, so that the person I give the towel(s) to can see it change.  This was a fun one to weave.
The green is more of a sage green, not grass green as this photo shows

Yardage after washing, but before cutting apart 

With the towels done, the next task was to remove the loom to my shed for my trip north. Well… the loom had other ideas.  This particular loom folds up, similar to scissors.  I got it into the rig, I should be able to get it out, right?   I could not get it past the door frame.  So had tried to get the strollers/wheels off. At this point, I need help – cause nothing is working.  So called Bernie & Caroline.  Of course, this had us starting from scratch of folding it back up higher with Bernie’s strong arms. Still could not get it out the door.  So in this picture below… Caroline is on the floor under Bernie’s legs – they are working as a team to attempt to get the wheels off. As they puzzled thorough the loom mechanism – I offered to take them to lunch for their attempt to help.  So after 4 1/2 hours, we put the loom back in place and went out to eat.  Crazy stuff.

Bernie & Caroline

So I will have to leave loom in my rig for the winter.  It should be ok, but I really did not want to leave it in the rig.  It is what it is and will just go with it.

I’ve been so very busy here…  really great people here at Evergreen Coho.  I haven’t laughed this hard or this often in eons.  Have thoroughly enjoyed my stay here and am looking forward to returning.
Now back to work, ere sleep.  I’ve got a full day tomorrow… hoping to get it all done. Then have a laid back type of day on Sunday, as I head out on Monday.
Looking ahead to the first of October – all the provincial parks, and majority of RV parks close by the end of September in Canada.  I had hoped some might have been opened… but its not meant to be.  So will have to deal with it like I did when I traveled in April in Canada.  Hopefully, it will be warmer in October then it was in April – but time will tell. But it will be awesome to have the road to myself once again.  More later.

Alive and busy

Sorry, no photos this time. Can’t get them loaded…

I am still at Chimacum’s Escapees Evergreen Coho SKP park.  Initially, just meeting all the people, learning of the happenings, remembering the meetings for leaseholders and going. I haven’t used a clock or watch in 3 years and they expect me to remember all this! Laughing at this new challenge.  Lots going on and have quickly learned I need to set boundaries or I will never get my own stuff done.

So it dawned on me… there is no reason I need to carry the contents of this rig up to Alaska, only to have to haul it inside for the winter, when I could just as easily leave it here at Evergreen Coho. Interesting enough, this was/is far harder to do.  I use what I have with me, do I want to not have it with me?  Oh the questions that prompts.  So far, the only things I will definitely leave behind is my floor loom, outdoor mats and my sun oven.  I’m still working thru that process…

Leaving the loom prompts me to finish weaving off the towels on it.  I want to donate one of them to the NW Lazy Daze GTG auction they are having.  I always try to donate something…  So the task at hand is finding time to weave.  I wish I could upload one of the images, as these are beautiful towels, if I say so myself.  Hopefully in my next post.

Lo and behold… I get this email – “Melinda, are you at Evergreen Coho?” from some friends of mine. I had met Bernie and Caroline at Pahrump’s Escapees park two years ago. We are both from Alaska and we have stayed in touch all these years, but had not seen each other.  So I responded – “Yes, where are you?”  Nothing, for hours, no response.  This is nuts.  So I went walking all over the park, looking for the name pallet they always hang on their rig.  They must be in the park.  They have a 5th wheel but beyond that I have no clue what brand or make it is.  Having walked the almost the entire park,  with just one last row to go. Wa-la! They are here, yippee!!!  But they are not home. Bummer.  So I texted Caroline with my lot number and waited… and waited… and waited.  It turns out, they have been in the park for 4 months and they had visited my rig (parked in both places) several times only to find no one home. Told you I’ve been busy.  They were equally frustrated not connecting with me.   Its been great catching up with all their news. They wanted to surprise me in person, not text or email me. That didn’t work. Laughing here.

After connecting with them, I was doing laundry one day… and another person tapped me on my shoulder – “Hey Melinda!”  oh my goodness, I got a bear hug of a welcome from Bill and his wife Jean – I met them at Benson’s Escapees park sometime in my travels. Bill is a fellow fiber artist – but he weaves with copper, steel and other metals – fascinating stuff.  Absolute joy seeing both of them here.

Speaking of weavers… Have discovered another weaver, a new resident of Evergreen too, and what a delight!  She knows of the art scene in this area, pointers of places to go, guilds to join and who not to join, juried shows, workshops, etc.  Truly exciting to get the scoop on all this.

So that’s it for now.  Just wanted you to know I’m still alive and kicking and having fun too.