Climbing the Rockies, Physically and Emotionally

The last several days and weeks have been event-filled and dramatic. After I last wrote, I made my way up to the Olympic Peninsula where I stayed with friends in Port Ludlow, on the northeastern side. A beautiful area, lots of water; we stayed at the home of Jane’s friend, Lynne. She hosted Jane, Michele and I for several days. Lynne graciously padded us around in downtown Port Townsend, and encouraged us to walk along the beautiful beach.  The best part was seeing dream group friends and having down time after experiencing quite a lot of bad luck with the van. What great fun this was!

 

Lynne

Jane at Lynne's, WAMichele:Lynne's.WA
Lynne, Jane and Michele

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Me!

I had just purchased my truck and trailer when I arrived at Lynne’s and stayed in it for the four days. When I left the gang, I moved just a couple of miles to the resort area of Port Ludlow where I could get to know my new purchases.

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Port Townsend marina

 

PortLudlowRV:creekPort Ludlow RV Park/Resort Creek

From Port Ludlow I traveled just south to Port Orchard where I met up with my friend, Amy. This was a lovely campground next to lots of good walking, and a history of the fort that never was. (Manchester State Park)

Amy and I spent some time in Seattle, the Library and of course, Pikes Peak. Snuck in the recesses of the street below was Bubble gum alley. 

IMG_0455It seems every time someone comes, another wad of gum is laid on to the wall. There are even names made out in gum. You’ve seen the bridges where locks are there to indicate lovers and their pledges of love forever? There are even locks with gum on them! It smelled sweet and disgusting. But, Amy and I managed to get incredible fish – smoked salmon and halibut sandwiches in the market. Unbelievable.

IMG_0441Seattle Library

The Sculpture Garden was incredible and wonderful to be outside. I have noticed that other states and countries honor the outdoors and it is so evident in Washington and Oregon.

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IMG_0471Dale Chihuly

As Amy and I left for Vancouver, BC, we again needed help to set up the hooking of the two vehicles. All along the way we encountered wonderful people to help us, especially for the rig hookup. But, we also needed help with directions, and ultimately to back out from a parking lot. But, that’s not all! The door to the trailer would not open and thankfully, one of the women who were helping us to navigate Canada’s highways, also had to climb in and unlock it from the inside! At the next campsite in Vancouver, we called a roving repair person. He was great, it worked and it was very inexpensive considering the time spent: 1.5 hours at $35.00.

However! When it was time to break camp a few days later, it would not close again after I had connected the two vehicles for towing. I duck taped and strung the door closed and waited until the next campground to again get help. I am now in Kamloops, BC and the minute I got settled I called the repair guy and he came and within an hour of phoning, he had it all repaired. Cost: $60! And, that was after he lowered it from $100 because others were coming over to ask for help and that meant it was worth his effort to be there and so he gave me a discount.

Not a great camp, but on the way to Calgary where I will again meet up with a friend, Laurie. With a week in between my whirlwind time with Amy, I am grateful for a place to stay for a few days. She researched wonderful places to visit like the Butchart Gardens, BC Museum of Anthropology on Vancouver Island, and transportation!

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When Raven Met People, by Bill Reid, Haida native (Museum of Anthropology, UBC)

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Drums from Papau New Guinea

In this photo some of the many artifacts the museum holds are shown – a trend called, ‘open storage,’ which allows the public to view many items without the museum actually having to curate it. Though, many pieces had signage and you could also look in the hundreds of draws available.

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Butchart Gardens, Vancouver Island; these two pictures don’t do the gardens justice. They were beautiful and immense. In the top picture you can see a person at the lower left to give you an idea of the scale.

This visit coincided with the anniversary of my sister’s passing in 1984 and also the day I found out about Tom’s cancer. (It also has a happy connotation: my nephew, David’s birthday!) But, it was poignant to recognize that it has been the exact number of years she lived on earth as the amount of time she has not. Unbelievable. Am missing both so much now.

My friend Laurie has introduced me to the gratitude practice of writing to each other several times a week what we are grateful for. This has allowed me to mourn in a more conscious way, the passing of my father. This month also marks his passing in 1986 at the age of 59. I recently spent some time with his brother in Healdsberg, CA, and it was wonderful to hear more stories and information about my dad that I had not known. For example, he disliked camping and he took us every year! You would have never known that was his feeling by how he gave to the experience. (I think the four kids always thought it was because my mother really needed a break.)

And, how is Lympia doing, you ask? Just fine. I took her on a wonderful hike today in Kamloops, BC at a park called Kenna Cartwright which is a long park that hugs the mountainside.

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Lympia – without a leash! She had a blast.

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Kenna Cartwright park in Kamloops, BC

Only 1100 ft in elevation, it was quite a different story getting here. My GMC held fast and I am falling in love with the power of her. I really thought I was a lot higher in elevation, but no.

What do you think of the name, Mamacita for my rig?

Nice to leave you with a wonderful picture I took today – at the top of the mountain. This is big sky.

There are always things I forget, like the picture of my nephew and his mom, Cindy.

David n Cindy

Cindy and David

Cindy and me

Cindy, me

 

So much love to you all,

Elizabeth

 

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Whew! New Digs!

Whew!! It’s finally over! I am now securely fastened in my GMC 2015 Sierra truck (with an 8’ bed!) and writing from my 2011 Cruise Lite Salem trailer from Forest River. Things are beginning to look a little different now. I think I was in a real slump for a couple of weeks prior to this transition. I loved Big Mama, wanted her to work out for Lympia and me. But, she was just too high maintenance. Too much money got poured into her and still things did not work.

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SalemCruiseLiteTrailer

On to the new! Last night I slept in a real bed, there’s a real fridge, an oven and a truck I can disconnect from the trailer, which I did with great satisfaction yesterday when I pulled into my favorite camp in Lincoln City, OR (Wapiti RV). In the morning, I went into Salem where the work of putting on sway bar, brake controller, etc., was done because I needed to learn how to do the hooking and unhooking. I had tried in vain, with so much physical effort that I again felt, omg, what have I gotten myself into now? (A repeated theme throughout this just about 7-week journey.) A very nice (and gorgeous – he should really be a model – very distracting! I really wanted to take a picture of him!) man patiently helped me figure out how I was to do this task – not how others might. It turns out my legs are the secret ingredient to this process. I used my thigh to snap into place the bars that get chained to the truck. I have NO upper body strength to do this!

I shopped for groceries which I put in the perfect-sized fridge with ice cream (Breyers natural vanilla) and corn tortillas! It’s so exciting to be in an environment that is pretty and comfortable and the vehicle is reliable. My truck is a lot of truck, parking is a little tricky, but I am so happy for the power to aid in bringing me up those mountain passes!

The man who helped with these purchases also will be helping me to sell Big Mama. (Maybe I should stop referring to IT in a familial way so as to not get too attached?!) This was a huge relief as I would have had to derail my trip by possibly weeks in order to offload It.

So, what have I and Lympia been doing all this time? Not much, actually. I spent some great time in Bend, with an in-law who was so nice to take me around and show me the town. I loved it – but not the winter snow.

Bend, river in OldMill town

Bend – the Deschutes river Lympia and I hugged as we walked. So beautiful!

And, I checked out Corvallis and Albany – loved Corvallis. Will probably look closely into moving there. Dog parks, fretting (major fretting – for those who know me, this was epic!), and enjoying some of Oregon’s beautiful green spaces.

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Mary Young State Park. A major dog park near Oregon City, Or. This is just a small part of what was available for dogs- and not fenced in! Fantastic. There was also a place to bring her down to the river and let her go free. Wonderful.

I also got a chance to spend some time with my good friend, Renee in Portland. It was wonderful to connect with her and feel connected to my life in the Bay Area. We had a blast!

PowellsBooks, Me

We especially enjoyed Powell’s Books – Renee is a major reader and I love books too!

Renee:VoodooDoughnuts

Pigged out on great doughnuts, but did not get their specialties: it seemed a bit too much.

And, at the famous Rose Garden:

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In addition to Renee visiting, my sister-in-law also came and visited her son, David. This was particularly fun because we went into parts of Portland I had not yet seen: Forest Park in northwest Portland. Beautiful; we picked some blackberries, David ran with Lympia a bit, and it was wonderful to reconnect with Cindy again. Got some good pics, but for some reason they did not get emailed to my computer. Next time!

What became clear to me when I knew I was settled in the new digs (what to call these two vehicles?), was how this whole ordeal has been a great distraction to my grieving. That’s not so terrible. But, it is interesting how it doesn’t just go away; it’s lurking somewhere in my heart and is so easily tapped into again. Or, so easily shows itself to be present. Still, I go on. I feel in my heart, that to live is to go on loving and enjoying what life has to offer. In whatever form that takes and however difficult that might be. I am being shown many forms – especially all kinds of people to appreciate. Even Trump supporters (!). That’s been very interesting – to speak with a different part of society I rarely come across. (Being from the Bay Area, not many of my friends were Republicans, but there were a couple!)

I love it! It’s been an education to learn about how people are scared and worried. But also about how some are so angry. I remember when Bush W was about to be president, me and some of my friends all thought we’d move to Canada, because how could we accept what was about to happen to our country? How mortified we were. Then we found out Canada wouldn’t take us in. And, here we are years later, and the country really hasn’t changed that much. At least not for me. The jobs report seems positive, unemployment is kinda low, yes there are real issues, but generally around the same ones that were here in 2000. So, I am not gonna worry! I am not gonna worry about Trump! (Really, you ask?) No, not really. He’s pretty scary. But, I am seeing this with the perspective of ‘we (I) are gonna be ok….’ No matter what. You can lose a husband, your love of your life, your best friend, and be ok.

Much love and blessings to you all, Elizabeth

Tried publishing this 5 days ago – no go. Hopefully, you can now read it!

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