Why is an un-incorporated town, which consists of one gas station, one RV park, one community center and one restaurant.  If you blinked on your way to the Organ Pipe Monument, you missed the town.  It is the place where two highways meet – 85 & 86. If you had a triangle and Why was on one spoke of the triangle, the other two (equal distance from Why) are Phoenix and Tucson.  That sums up the town.

I am outside of the town, in what I refer as glorified boondocking campground. One must have solar to stay here. Running generators is frowned upon, they suggest you go into Why for full hookups if you need that much electricity. Love that!  This is high desert camping, we are surrounded on 3 sides with mountains, cactus, creosote is the normal landscape. You see organ pipe goods on surrounding hills. Wild burros, coyotes are frequent visitors. Lots of hiking, bike riding, etc. So why do I call if glorified boondocking? There are 4 dump stations, 4 shower houses, clubhouse with computer room, craft & office), laundry with clothes line available.  There are spigots of water available all over the park, but if you want one on your lot, you need to pay for a year to get it.  Whoa!  There’s no way I’d be here in the summer time… the cost for the year includes a shed you can add as well.  How much? $550.00 per year. Or a monthly rate is $130 or a daily rate of $9 a day.  Being self-contained – this is an awesome place to park it for the winter.  Tons of solar panels galore and people do more here then in other campgrounds I’ve been at.

Grocery store is found in Ajo and they build up stock for all the RVer’s that play down here for the winter.  The store also has an ACE Hardware store attached to it.  Nice feature. So rarely need to go to the cities for anything, which is even nicer. There a great organic grass fed hamburger joint in Ajo…the best tasting burgers I’ve had in eons.  I’ve not eaten at the restaurant in Why, will have to try that out sometime.

Since I’ve been here this year… I have added two new solar panels.  I really thought I needed to get new AGM batteries…could not hold a charge for love nor money.  Well, the solar folks around here proved me wrong. After doing all the required testing (took 4 full days around the clock) and them adding an extra battery charger to my batteries, full sunshine and the generator running 3 hours in morning and 3 hours in the evening – my batteries finally got fully discharged. That term still confuses me – didn’t they just charge all this?  Anyway, once this was accomplished…another 2-3 days of testing and sure enough, I need more panels to make the batteries work better.  Now since this hasn’t been happening since I bought the rig… the batteries are definitely showing signs of being tired. The lifetime for AGM batteries is 5-6 years, I’m on the cusp of needing to deal with them anyhow, but… I’m using this time to test thoroughly on the cloudy days, partly cloudy days, full sun days.  So I got the new solar panels right before Christmas and its night and day difference. I stand corrected, glad they made me go thru those detailed tests (they drove me nuts! – no comment from the peanut galleries now!!!).  So I still have the 2 panels on my roof, that don’t tilt up. And the 2 new panels, they made me a PVC stand to support them to set at an angle on the ground. They fold up and I can move them easily enough.

This next week, I’m getting a Xantrex 2000 inverter installed too. I’m excited about that…  Its going to be fun to see what I can run on that. So much that I wanted or like to use, I have left in WA in storage, as I can’t use without running a generator and I hate to run my generator – noise pollution is a major taboo.  So with the inverter, this will change, life will get…what? I don’t know, guess I will find out.

A follow up note on protecting my tow car. A friend of mine, when I visited her in Sutherlin, OR before I came south, said “Melinda, having a car is a fun thing to have, but if you have to struggle, you aren’t having fun”.   She pointed out she had 2 mud flaps on her rig. One set immediately behind the rear tires, the other about 1/2 way out to the rear bumper.  I can’t get mud flaps right behind my tires, as my tanks are in the way.  But I do have the mud flap 1/2 between rear tires and the rear bumper.  So I started paying attention to fellow RVer’s as I came south… almost all of them, have no protection on the car or between the rig and the vehicle. None!!!  No damage to the tow either. All but 2 had two mud flaps on the rig. I managed to talk with one of the 2 about towing with only one mud flap. They have been doing it for 14 years – zero problem! In fact, they had tried the Protect-a-Tow and had the same issues that I encountered. So from Phoenix, I took off my $400 cover, and towed to Why. Zero problems. Was it a waste  of money to have gotten the full hood/window cover?  Yes and no. I will use it when I next go to AK, because I don’t have 2 mud flaps.  But its now being stored in my car.  I won’t put it on again, in fact, I can’t put it on by myself. I don’t have the hand strength needed to put it on.  Oh the things we learn…

I’m alive

And kicking…  I have had about a half a dozen followers comment that I have not been doing my job of keeping up the blog. Well… no I haven’t.  Been busy, but that’s a lousy excuse.  The big reason is I don’t have much in the way of photos, just don’t think about taking a photo when I’m out doing things.  So will try again for this winter to keep it up.

For starters, I had a wonderful time in September with the Lazy Daze group, got entertained everyday by the ukulele folks, that now play at most of the gatherings. Mighty fine entertainment. Good to see old friends and make some new ones.  The buck seen thru the railing…was begging for apples, but I was sad to see several feed the wildlife. Not a good thing to do. I had to walk away, even tho I tried to stop them. Just cause they eat your apples off of your trees at home, does not mean you should give them apples. Too frustrating to witness.   PLEASE DON’T FEED THE WILDLIFE!!!

Back on the Chimacum front… I was so darn busy getting the VA claim paperwork in, that not much else was being done. Got it all turned in on October 1st and truly thought I could just sit back and wait for the results. NOT!  Spent all of October, trying to get one more evaluation that the American Legion team wanted me to pursue. No results.  So on the 8th of November, I headed south.  Somewhere between Reno and Hwy 58 on Highway 395, the calls started coming in. I do not answer the phone when I’m driving, I pull over when I can to see what’s up.  Well, the non-VA examiners that started this process in 2015 was calling to tell me I had an appointment in Bremerton within 2 days. There was no way in hell I could make that appointment, find a place to park my rig, get some cat sitters, fly back up in that timeline. Absolutely nuts.  Well…their little threat, if I did not show up for that appointment, I would lose my rights to file a claim with the VA.  Stress factor climbed quickly.  Disregard I was trying to stay ahead of a winter storm, nothing was open on Hwy 395 after November 1st (I forgot that). Egads!

So what’s this girl to do… I had to contact my team at American Legion in Seattle, to help on this.  Dozens of phone calls, tons of time sitting on hold, frustrated, I just wanted to keep moving down the road. Finally some results. Guess what, they have a place in Phoenix (Scottsdale actually) for me to do the examine. They told me I had to do this in less than 2 weeks. Now I knew this was workable, just give me a date! That was more phone calls…As it turns out, its not until the 5th of December. Egads!  So all my plans got shuffled around, some delayed, some canceled, other goodies added…typical, isn’t it?

By the time I got close to my destination, I knew I could not go on. I was one exhausted puppy… a complete zombie the first day, semi human the next and I realized I just couldn’t wrap my brain going anyway for awhile. So I parked.

It has been nice, if not downright refreshing to have all this alone time. Nothing I had to do, no responsibilities, just kick back and enjoy my boys, listen to good music. Life is good, really good.


Work continues

The above images show some of the damage to my car windshield from using the Protect-A-Tow.  The window is spotless clean after they fixed 4 major chips.  What you now see is a bunch of white spots.  Those are the obvious dings, to run your hand over the windshield one would feel a mass of pitted glass.   I should have replaced the whole windshield and I may still do so.  Am trying to find a more safe and suitable solution to protect my car when towing. Or towing will cease and desist.

I can’t remember what I wrote last, so this may be a repeat.  I have replaced my Dometic freezer door and added a fan to the back of the unit.  It is night and day different from the previous life with this freezer.  I have in fact, for the first time, been able to turn the level of cold down to 2.  Major improvement.

I had gaskets replaced around the bottom of my side door. Am still looking to find the foam-like gasket that surrounds the frame of the screen door.  I had a luxury item done – had someone else wash and wax my rig – pure unadulterated delight!!!  And a few other little tidbits to maintain my rig.

In between working on the rig, the bikes – I’ve made trips to Seattle – learning the lay of the land without wanting to.  I have a short trip coming up – which I am looking forward to then and only then I hope I can slow down, relax before I head south for the winter.


Mini Update

No images to share, but wanted to give a brief update. I have been hibernating due to the heat. We, who are from the north, find the heat intolerable.  Nonetheless, I have been busy.  It took me awhile to unload my rig. Had to delivery all of Irene’s stuff back to her and all the stuff of my friend Cheri that I brought down for her.

I went up to Alaska with one bike and came back with two bikes. The new-to-me bike had to get into Ben’s Bikes in Sequim for a major overhaul.  Just got that back. My platform bike rack holder that secures the bikes on its platform, literally rubbed the paint off of both bikes. On my older bike, it rubbed the casing off of the brake wire, but the brake is still intact.  Not at all sure how I will overcome that situation, but will eventually figure it out.

Sitting around a table a while back relating my story… I learned I just joined the ranks of all the other crazy stuff RVer’s get into. A ton of laughter of the shared stories.  I still said I don’t want to repeat what I did…

Today, I went to Eric’s RV in Sequim to be evaluated on adding an awning to the driver’s side of my rig to shade my refrigerator vent.  Well, Eric suggested we evaluate the fridge first and what needs to be done will be cheaper then putting an awning up and it is finally addressing the problem I have had from day one with this RV. Wow!  So I need to replace the freezer door. Dometic – if you need to replace the gaskets then the whole door needs to be replaced. Most ridiculous thing… but we are also going to add a fan on the external side.  I should have a much better working fridge by the middle of this week. Once all done, I do not need to shade the vent. If I was camping in 90-100ºF weather, then they suggest shade. I will move before that happens..

So we had a beautiful cooling yesterday & today – gots lots of cleaning done.  Next set of cooler days, I will start reloading my rig.  Got things to do, places to go. Have a great day!

The Story…

The story… that a few of my friends wanted me to share on this blog.  Sit down, grab a cup of tea, beer or what-have-you and read about my trip out of Alaska this time. You might want to grab a map to follow along.

I have driven the Alcan Highway to and fro for years. I love the trip, but will now say, not in the summer time.  I set out from Haines on a cool 50’s Friday morning, around 10-ish, after seeing friends. Headed up the gorgeous Haines Highway, it was clear and the mountains were just gorgeous. My tentative goal was to reach Teslin, but I stopped just south of Whitehorse. It was just too hot (92ºF) to push it. Acclimating to hotter temps doesn’t come easy for me. Left in the wee hours the next morning and had a steady day of driving, saw one female moose, more then a 5 porcupines as road kill – sad, as one included its baby. Made it to Rabid Grizzly Rest Area, just north of Dease Lake, where I normally stop. This time it was smack dab in the middle of major construction zone. Gravel and dust beyond dust everywhere, but I was just too tired to continued. It was 89ºF. It was still 89º when I laid down to attempt to sleep.  My non-RVing friends need to realize, I have no electricity when I am dry camping. I just have windows, vents open in a tin box. I do have a 12 volt Fantastic fan, that I parked right next to my boys – gave them a bag of ice to lay on or near to keep them cooler.  Must tell you, doing the night when I was still tossing and turning…I looked out at the sky and was blown away.  I haven’t seen dark in over 2 1/2 months and to see the sky in all its glory – multi milky-ways, constellations and the mighty aurora borealis… it just brought great peace to me, it was so incredibly beautiful. Alas, this place offered up a 40 degree spread in temps – it was 49ºF when I awoke to a heavy dewed morning. That heavy dew turned all that dust into a wet brown paste of dust on everything. Ah life on the Alcan.

Left in the wee hours again – in hopes of getting out of the construction zone before the worker-bees started and to have cooler temps for just a little while.  I pushed thru to Kitwanga, as I knew it had a good place to stay.  It is here, that I discovered a major blunder of mine.  I needed to re-run thru the cycle on my car. I didn’t need to unhitch, just run thru the cycle of the gears, etc. Well… I couldn’t. It was deader then a door nail. It, the car, was so dead, I couldn’t even open the back doors. Shit.  While getting the battery recharged, I discovered I had not engaged my disconnect switch that turns off the fuse – so  this would not happen. Duh! Felt downright foolish to discover that, as it is WRITTEN in capitals, bold print on the laminated instruction sheet I keep in the console. Oh good grief! That won’t happen again, let me tell you.  I stayed there for 2 nights. A good break in all this heat.

I next, normally, stop at Beaumont Provincial Park, just west of Vanderhoof. So many cars were going in and out of there, I changed my mine and kept going. I then pushed on to and thru Prince George. I stopped just south of Prince George at a campground I know has good shade… with electricity.  It was a long day and was glad to get the shade.

Left again early the next morning. Now I was most concerned by the forecast of 90-100’s degree temperatures south of Cache Creek. Its a long, long haul when its that hot.  Do I make it a long day of driving, or do I stop?  I decided to let the road dictate what I would do. As it turns out, it was in the 70’s and cloudy with spotty rain at Cache Creek. Wow! How can I be so lucky? But here is my opportunity to get thru the Fraser Canyon area in cooler temps.  Yes, the total trip for that day would be 7-8 hours long, but it would save me from dealing with that heat as I would have dry camped.  It was cloudy all the way down to Chilliwack and I arrived around 2:30 pm when the hot sun re-appeared.

Chilliwack, a place I normally just drive thru to get to the border.  This time, I stopped to get gas. I turned the wrong way coming out of the gas station and… promptly got lost. Shit. For nearly 2 hours, I tried to find a place to turn around, to even stop and get unhitched to turn around, anything that would get me back to Highway 1. Streets were too narrow for a RV, little lone one pulling a car. I finally came across a day use only park, found one car and asked for help. I have to say, I am beyond tired at this time…but I really wanted to get across the border. So they (a family) had me follow them back out to the highway.  Got to Sumas border crossing, sat for about 20 minutes in the heat, so wishing to shut my eyes for a few minutes.

I picked up Highway 9 (a rural country road) to take me down to Highway 20 that would take me to Anacortes. There I would go onto Whidbey Island via Deception Pass.  I had already called and learned there was absolutely nothing available in RV parks, State Parks or even the military base for me for the night. So where do I go? I headed for the ferry terminal., thinking I could get across to Port Townsend sometime tonight. Alas…there last run was at 8 pm or something. Now what?  I went to the day use only area, right next to the terminal. I pulled in, thinking if I could just snooze for 20 minutes then figure out what to do.  I won’t write here what I said next, when I realized I could not turn around.

So it is on the dark side of dusk now.  I can’t turn around, I am now illegally parked in a day use only space.  So I set about unhitching my car. I could get one tow arm, but for the life of me I could not get the second one undone.  I tried everything everyone has told me on this unhitching business..I drove the car forward, backward – to try to release the tension. Turning the wheels, nothing worked.  So I decided to drive the rig up on a little rock strewn berm, in hopes of straightening out the car. That did not work, but I discovered I had not released the tension on that 2nd arm.  So glad no one was around in the dark to see me brow beat myself. 2nd arm popped off, moved the car. Went back to the RV…drumroll… I am royally stuck!!!

Come on Melinda!!!  You can get this rig off the berm. Silly girl!  I managed to rock her rear end into the gravel road. See image above. I could not open the side door of my rig and even more unnerving…when I got into the driver seat, the whole rig rolled very uncomfortably.  Now what?

Well, I start calling tow companies. No one in Coupevdlle or Oak Harbor would come to my rescue.  So next in line was from Freeland, somewhere south of me on the island.  They arrived within about 30 minutes. In the middle of all this… my credit card company called to tell me they suspected fraud on my credit card. Say what?  So while I am following the instructions of the tow driver on turning the wheels, I was answering security questions for the credit card. Egads!  It turns out my travel thru Canada was setting off the fraud system within the credit card company.  It is all ok now, but in the middle of my being unstuck?  Geez…  The tow guy was awesome tho, and he did not charge me the full rate. No damage whatsoever to the RV or to the car.  He said it was “an easy job”.  Damned if it felt easy.  But glad he left at 10:20 pm.  I closed up all and struggled to get into bed. Alarm went off at 7am.. I needed to get reservations for the ferry.

By the way, it was the world’s best place to awaken to a sunrise over wet lands on one side and the ocean on the other. The sounds…a beautiful, peaceful symphony played before my ears.  My soul needed that breath of fresh air.  But had to get moving, car re-hitched up and get to the ferry.  I was heading back to the SKP park.

And that is the story and I’m sticking to it.


Rafting trip

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The work is done and the play begins.  Now this is something I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time.  My good friends Cheri and Joan, joined me on this spectacular day for a rafting trip.  Spectacular, as the forecast was for clouds, but no rain and we got sun. It was probably in the low 60’s, and just a beautiful day.  It was a common statement throughout the afternoon – we “wished it lasted longer”, we “wanted to continue”… just a great day.

So enjoy the images above.   We saw eagles, but no moose or bear. Lots of tracks and of course the log shown was definitely bear activity.  And the end of the tour, we were served smoked salmon with cream cheese, rice crackers, granola bars, tea/coffee/hot chocolate and bottles of water.

A fun, fun day!

An update

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Have moved to my friends place – hoping to have had better connectivity, but it is fickle at best.  Verizon doesn’t want to work well this year, like it did in the past. Oh well… am too busy to be too concerned about. To write this blog, I have to sit in Cheri’s living room.

We have survived two major moving/garage sales… that task is now done.  She did very well.  Now people are picking up the stuff they bought, then the rest is being hauled off to the dump.  Breathing room is happening… but there is still so much to do, but she can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

And in the midst of this last sale… the rains moved in. It feels like Fall – way too early, but its downright chilly, windy and wet.  Have re-connected with some of my friends… everyone is so busy in the summer, but its neat to see them again.

My next step in the whole process, is to revamp my rig and car to see what else I can take for John & Cheri.  Just need it to stop raining.  In offering this opportunity to them, I’m forcing them to really “think” on what they are taking, as I’m heading south before they do. I have already tucked in all their old photos, that will eventually be scanned into their computer.  And a couple of bags of fiber – yarn and such. Not sure what else will go, but I need to disperse the weight for the trip south.  All in due time.

So I got itchy feet now, to get moving… but can’t go anywhere until after the election. That is the election at Evergreen Coho SKP.  They asked me to run for the board, so I did.  I did this last year and did not win. This year, if I get it, will put my best foot forward and do my best for the park, but seriously, I can take it or leave it.  Nonetheless, they have requested that I be reachable until after the election. OK… think I can stay busy until then.


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My trip from Palmer to Haines – it rained 80% of the time.  Nonetheless, it was typically beautiful, but no pictures until I got up into the Chilkat Pass, where I parked for a few days.  All above tree line, snow covered peaks and it was me and the elements – loved, loved it up there. Then dropped down into Haines, but was so reluctant to move on into town, I just parked out along the Chilkat River. Watched the eagles, and a few bears. No pictures of either one of those.  Sorry folks, it was eyes soaking in the sights.

I have been working pretty much non-stop since I arrived, helping Cheri pull everything out for her 1st House & Yard sale. It was a huge success. We had people pouring in before it started and still had people coming in after it was over and no lull in between.  Haines people loved this sale.  At first Cheri was going to follow right behind it and have a “Everything Goes Sale” this past Saturday, thankfully, she did not and is going to do that one on the 23rd of July.  I’m not doing as much as I did before the first sale, as now is the critical thinking of those that live there to decide what goes with them and what sells. I can’t make that decision for them..  Things are hopping over there. They have sold both boats, trailer, etc just this weekend.  Its impressive the amount of work Cheri has done in this short amount of time.

And so… I’m pushing for some play time this week. But first, I am moving my rig to Cheri’s house for the duration of my time here.  Her driveway… is short but steep and I am going to have to back down it.  At first, Cheri thought I could turn around down where they all park, but I just can’t picture it. So backing down is it.  Will take pictures once I get parked. My rig will be under a canopy of trees, some daylight – all is ok, they are letting me plug in.

A couple of observation worth mentioning. I am NOT impressed with Protect-a-Tow. My windshield on my car will have to be replaced, hundreds upon hundreds of small rocks pelted the car and the Protect-A-Tow acted like a netting to collect all the rocks.  I had to empty the netting twice a day, sometimes more often. The rod that stretches across up and over the tow bar, broke – it works but who knows what happened to the parts. The car… such a sad state of affairs. Will figure something else out after this trip.

Another observation. Did you know Canadians come to Alaska to get a suntan?  They are so funny… Lots of Canadians hang in Haines… lots of tanned Canadians this year.

And another observation. A 30-something couple apparently bought all new camping equipment when they arrived in Haines. Tents, sleeping bags, cots, tarps, cooking pots, coolers, I mean everything one little old heart desires or what they thought they needed.  I watched them read the manual(s) for putting up the tent, putting the cots together, even the sleeping bags had manuals. I had a hard time trying not to laugh thru all this, but when they tried to set up their little propane cooktop, I almost jumped out of my rig to go help them, but didn’t. The manual didn’t help them there.  The best little entertainment I’ve had in a long while. Then other RVer’s came in and it because social hour. Interesting enough, this couple apparently didn’t know anything about cooking. They put on what appeared to be sausages right on the grill, turned up the heat and walked away to chat. I’m like, what are they doing?  It didn’t take long before flames were engulfing the stove, the sausages and beginning to char the stump it was sitting on. The guy was so into his conversation even when others pointed out he was burning… finally the gal noticed and yelled out at him.  They had burnt to a crisp sausages and a blackened cooktop, but they ate. I talked to them the next day. They had never been to AK, came from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. They came to fish but supposedly did not have money to stay in a hotel so they bought all this equipment. Ok… 😉  He was concerned about buying fly tying goods, such as feathers, hooks, etc, fearful that he would lose them at the border. This time I cracked up.  They were here for 4 days, it was a delight to hear about their experiences.

And my last observation for this post… In all the years I’ve driven to and fro Alaska to the lower 48 and back again, I have never seen as much RV traffic as I have seen this year.  That in and of itself it not the real interesting tidbit. None of the RV parks are full. None. By June and most definitely by July it would be next to impossible to get a reservation. Not this year. You do see alot of RV’s parked in turn-outs all over the State.


A brief one

Its been awhile since I wrote to the blog, in fact, just realized my last post did not publish. Its no where to be found at the moment. Nor can I post images – can’t upload or download where I’m presently parked and that is in Haines.  Heck, I can’t even use my cell. Its beautiful where I’m parked, but have to go into town to check emails.

Yes, I made it to Haines.  I have been working since I got here, helping my friend Cheri – sort, organized, pack, separate everything in their house. I don’t feel I have done as much as Cheri thinks, but am glad I am here to help her out. An unexpected surprised, but a delightful bit of news, they sold their house the Friday before the 4th of July. This takes everything into a whole new direction – in many ways easier, nonetheless overwhelming with the task at hand.

Plan to do one major play thing here before I depart Haines.  So that’s it for now.

Good friends

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Spent the entire day with friends.  I have such an eclectic selection of friends, its hard to know on any given day what to expect.  Today was no different.

Started the day at my friend Connie’s house. When I arrived Connie, her daughter and granddaughter were fast at work watering the gardens, pulling out trees and shrubs for a sale Connie’s sister is having. I immediately got to work, loading the trucks with the goods, labeling each with what they were, price to sell, etc.  When the first batch was loaded, pulled another truck around and started in again.  Connie’s granddaughter showed me her beautiful fairy garden she had made. Wow! What creative minds can do. A spider decided to add to the reality of the garden, by setting up a web at the entrance of the garden. But there were caves, fairies, fairies swinging on swings and climbing trees, a unicorn riding thru the tall grasses… she did not want me to take a picture, but what a joy to see it all pulled together. After a break of homemade lemonade – YUM! They took me around to show me the changes in the yard.  They lost the massive cottonwood trees from a wind storm a few years ago. One of which went thru their living room roof and windows. But it wasn’t until this Spring that they got the stumps out. Wow, that alone has opened it up.  Just fun catching up with them, their families and life in general.  Was invited to go deliver the goods, but I promised to see another set of friends this afternoon.

So off I went back across the valley toward Wasilla.  Long time friends Judy & Marv. Judy & I have known each other thru the world of weaving for many years. She is a production weaver and can really crank out the stuff.  Marv on the other hand…a man who claims he is retired is one of the busiest people I know. Artistic is an understatement. Over the years, it was etching (glass, then later on wood) and water colors, then carvings, then wood turning bowls, but Marv is known for making Navajo flutes. I wanted to buy one back in 2012 but just was not mentally ready to take it on back then.  But today… I am so ready and am so jazzed by having this beautiful Navajo flute in my possession.  Tonight, I went thru the first 5 lessons, but Marv had shown me most of this this afternoon. The 3 of us played together… me, very tentatively, but amazed between my coughing jags that I make beautiful music with little effort.  Oh, so much to learn, but what exciting opportunity. Marv just grinned and said “you have come a long ways Melinda!”.  Yes, I have.

Have more friends to connect with… almost wish I could stay the whole summer instead of heading to Haines. Hey, it will have to happen in another year.  But am loving seeing and being with my friends.