Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Another two year milestone

Back in 1981 when I first met Mike and I talked myself into moving to California with him because I was head over heels in love and already a big fan of travel,  I told myself and my parents I would go to California for two years - for the adventure of it all. I was a Michigan family girl and the idea of leaving forever was not digestible at the time. 

As it turned out, Mike and I were good together and after two years, instead of going home to Michigan, we decided to get married.

That was a life changing two year milestone!

On December 4, 2018, in the midst of getting to know my 2nd grandchild and discovering the lovely town of McMinnville, OR, I had no choice but to experience another two year milestone.  Mike is gone. I took a few days off to let the tears flow and the memories, joys and regrets bubble up.

For two years I’ve been through an astounding and intense range of emotions that I could never have predicted - being the “strong” person that I was during his illness.  

I now understand I have reached a fence in my journey through life. 

I am on a course blocked by this life changing fence - the loss of my partner. After two years I have one leg lifted up over the top of the fence and resting on the ground on the uphill side looking forward to the future. 

My other leg - the one that currently holds my weight - has not started over the fence yet. Not ready to leave the past. 

My past will be with me always.  I treasure it. I’ll continue this travel blog so I can communicate and remember my whereabouts.

My future is a work in progress and I am starting a different blog to write about it. The posts will be regular, short enough to read in a minute or two (yes, I know, I’ve been sharing the long story and I realize a shorter post will be easier for you, my reader, to digest) and different than just a travelogue.  
In addition, being the open person I am, I will be sharing deep thoughts about life in general as I make my way past the fence and into whatever life has in store for me. 

I’m writing a book and sending you all the preview excerpts in SHORT story format as it develops.  

Happy reading. Find this new blog at:


I can’t wait to see what happens next!


19.01.01-13 On the Road again McMinnville to San Diego

I was so sad to leave McMinnville, that I did NOT leave on Jan 1 after my monthly rent ran out at the RV park.  Instead, I packed up and drove 1/2 mile to the parking lot of Evergreen Aviation Museum 

which is a very large property next door to the RV park where I've been walking for fresh air and exercise regularly since I moved in on November 1.  I've often noticed RV's parked in the back lot, with some of the aviation pieces, so I knew it would be OK to park there for just one night on New Year's Day.

One reason to stay an extra night in town was I did not like the idea of driving on Jan 1.  Another reason was to have a proper goodbye with the kids since I did not want to do THAT last night at the end of New Year's Eve.  They were taking Sergio to the Portland airport when I dropped in for one more Mateo hug.

Finally, on the morning of Jan 2, it was time to drive away from a really nice place, and from my family in Oregon and head south to my next adventure.

I like to drive no more than 200 miles during any driving day - that is a comfortable time and distance max,  which leaves time for a relaxing lunch or a walking break or errands along the way.

My committments and visitation choices were a consideration when planning my overnight stops.   I need to be in San Diego north county on Sunday, Jan 13, and I want to attend a PEO meeting on Jan 8 with my good sisters/friends in Auburn, so here is what my travel logistics planning came up with:

Day 1: 224 miles to Grants Pass.  I parked in a WalMart parking lot and connected with Guy for dinner.

Guy is a camp host friend who I met camp hosting at South Beach State Park this past October when we were both neighbors of Linda and Rory.....

Day 2:  172 miles from Grants Pass to Redding.
     Along the way I stopped first in Yreka, just over the California line because MT's registration was due and paid in October, but I needed a smog, and could not do that in Oregon.  I got the proof of SMOG in Yreka and the tags will come in the mail to me in Carlsbad.
    My next stop was in Mt Shasta where I had a DMV appointment 

so I could get a replacement driver's licence.  It was a piece of cake going in to a small DMV office in a small town with an appointment - I had my temporary license and was on my way in less than 30 minutes..Yeah!  

That left enough time to drive the rest of the way to Redding before DRK and take a sunset walk along the Sacramento River.  

Tonight I parked and slept in a Lowe's parking lot in Redding.  I was a little worried I would get scooted along, since when I called Walmart to ask permission, they said the city does not allow overnight parking in their lot.  I parked alone on the center of the parking lot and luckily the only bother I had during the night was a very loud street sweeper cleaning the empty parking lot in the middle of the night.

Day 3: 175 miles from Redding to Thunder Valley parking lot.  Mike and I stayed here numerous times when we were passing through and I have stayed there alone since he left a couple times.  It is a  really comfortable  lodging spot. Lots of big rig trucks and other RV'ers stay in the back lot and receive shuttle service to the casino, with no charge to park overnight.  I like to walk the perimeter of the entire casino property - is is big like the Evergreen Aviation Museum and an interesting walk.  I went into the the casino after my walk to people watch and do some communication.

Day 4: All done traveling for the first half of my journey, I will be in my home base area for the next 4 or maybe 5 nights.  Today I left MT at Thunder Valley and went to the Roseville Public Pool 

for exercise and a shower before heading up to Lake of the Pines area to spend the night with Dollie and Richard.

Day 5:  I went to Sierra Pines for Sunday morning services, and got enlisted to sing in the choir with Dollie and Richard.  It was great to see the church family once again.  Later, I drove to Citrus Heights and spent the night with Laurie and Bob.

Day 6:  I moved MT from Thunder Valley to the truck service station where I submitted my well-running vehicle for routine maintenance because I want it to continue to be well running.  This time I went in for a transmission service and asked for their opinion on my tires.   Then I drove to Sacramento where I had a pleasant evening at Connie's house.  She cooked dinner and also invited Steve, Terri and Chiara, their exchange student for a nice family gathering. 

Day 7:  Tonight was the PEO meeting in the evening - I was lucky to capture half the room without making a big ordeal over a group photo -

and I spent the night with Marian and Robert.  It was really good to connect with all these friends.

Day 8:  The requested opinion on my tires came back - they are almost eight years old and need to be replaced.  I'd like to argue, but realize it would be just postponing the inevitable, and in this case, a purchase delay could be way more expensive if something bad happened while driving......  So I did some tire research and successfully arranged for an install tomorrow at the store that had my tires in stock.  Gratefully I had one day of driving flexibility - so it is being used right here in home base, leaving me with an opportunity to spend the night with Kelly, Jim and Glenda.

Day 9:  I left early from Rocklin to pick up MT from the engine repair shop ( transmission successfully serviced) and moved him to the tire shop where he got dressed with six new tires in time for me to drive 171 miles to San Jose and arrive just before dark.  I parked MT along the curb near Tom and Pat’s house and spent a pleasant evening - including a delicious dinner/dessert - with them. 

Day 10:  A had a leisurely morning and picked up another juicy bag of lemons 

from their back yard tree before continuing on the 2nd leg of my journey south.  I'm getting lucky with no rain even though it was in the forecast, and had an uneventful 163 mile drive to Atascadero where I like to stop for an overnight at the Elks Lodge RV lot.  Tonight after a Starbucks computer session, I went to a nearby cider house that I researched had live music. The place was filled with 20-somethings, and this couple, Pat and Bob, invited me to join them at their table for some pleasant conversation 

Day 11:  Today I had a 160 mile drive south on 101 from Atascadero to Camarillo.  Along the way I stopped in Santa Maria because I needed gas, which is a fairly big ordeal for me. I research for good price, then scout the station to see if I can get in with the Jeep in tow. This time the answer was no, so I disconnected the Jeep, parked it in a mall parking lot, then drove MT to the station for a 65 gallon fill. Ouch!
After this extra long break for gas, I drove through intermittent light rain ( the first rain of my entire trip while driving) and stopped for the night to visit with Roger and Michal
who are making good progress on a kitchen remodel. 

Day 12 -  I drove the last leg of my journey -150 miles through Los Angeles which is never fun - I get psyched up, pick a lane and stay in it as best I can. I had no issues, but drove with no audio stimulation so I could really focus on the road. Stressful!  I stopped in Orange County at a big box parking lot I spotted from the highway 

and took an hour lunch break to settle down before driving the last hour to my reserved spot in north county San Diego. 

I was pulling in right at sunset.  I’m so happy to be back in my home and settled in one spot again!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

18.12.31 December in McMinnville

McMinnville is in the center of the Willamette valley wine country, and I spent a fair amount of time early in the month getting to know some of the literally hundreds of wineries in the area.  My park ranger friend, Chonteh, came from Silver Falls for an overnight with me and we visited Pinot Vista, a McMinnville tasting room,  for live music at night, then went to Rexhall Winery together on her way back home.

I got invited for lunch to a home in Sheridan from a fellow RV traveler whom I met at another music venue a couple weeks back.  Jeanne 

and her husband, Carl are both artists and their home was like a living art gallery - unusual wall hanging made of natural materials, and beautiful/unique tile work in the bathrooms.  They left in their new trailer for a road trip to snow bird land in Arizona in mid-December.  I'm not looking forward to leaving here, but the idea of warmer weather is very attractive - I had to buy a a heating element to protect my water hose from freezing.

Christmas season came unbidden and quickly as usual.  The kids were excited to have their first Christmas together in their own home, and enjoyed decorating.  The transformation was gradual and beautiful. The live tree, and living room lights came first,  and once Lupita arrived from Cancun on Dec.15, the hand made ornaments and corona ( Christmas wreath)  construction went in to full swing.  Lupita brought manger scene figures and used local tree branch cuttings to finish it off.

Lupita watched Mateo one evening so Eric, Clau and her brother, Sergio could come with me to the weekly open mike music session at Willamette Valley Winery tasting room.

The Friday night before Christmas, I hooked up with Chonteh again, this time in Salem with her friend Leon, 

and we went to a Christmas open house at the local textile mill heritage center museum where I got to try my hand at a loom,

and then we all went to a local cider house to hear a one man band McDougall share his original music.

Eric's birthday was a fun day - they invited three couple friends 

to a local brewpub where we had a large table in a quiet area for a birthday lunch on Dec. 22.

Christmas Eve and Day were quiet and delicious at home, 

with Mateo as the main attraction.

After Christmas, we took a two night road trip to the coast and stayed in a nice AirBNB house plenty big for all of us.  We played board and card games, and ate well, and had a nice hike through the woods

 to the beach on a beautiful sunny day.

And to the beach again on a not so sunny day. 

I learned that a high school classmate lives here in McMinnville, so I contacted him and we three had a nice get to know you lunch at Pura Vida in downtown McMinnville.  

One of the joys of travel for me is connecting with people alaong the way.  I have not had the high school crown on my list in the past, but after this pleasant lunch, I will think more along those lines as I move around in the future.

Lupita left when we returned from the coast, Sergio is leaving on Jan ! and I am heading south on Jan 2.   I'll leave you with some Mateo photos - he is SO CUTE!

First trip to the pizza parlor

First Christmas

With Abuela Lupita

Happy in the morning

And Mateo’s dad is pretty cute, too!  This is on his 33rd birthday.  We agreed that we will be sad to say goodbye, but happy that this lovely family time existed in the first place. 

Friday, November 30, 2018

18.11.01-30 McMinnville

I was sad to be leaving Newport, but enjoyed a trip to the commercial fishing dock area on getaway day....

where I had lunch with a friend and got to watch him at work activities packaging the fish 

caught by charter fishing boat guests when the boat came back to the dock. 

Bonus for me I was gifted a couple freeze packed meals of ling cod and a crab for cooking later. 

It is a short two hour drive from Newport to McMinnville, and I timed the drive to arrive just before dark.  Immediately I was reminded I don’t need to be at the coast to see a beautiful sunset 

Now I live in a beautiful RV Resort park 

only a 10 minute drive from Eric and Claudia’s house. Mateo made his first trip to grandma’s house my first weekend in town

and we went for a walk in my neighborhood - there is a huge air museum complex next to the RV resort which I enjoy walking for exercise on a regular basis. 

I go to their house on a regular basis as well ...for meals - this one was to celebrate Carletta’s birthday.  I made chicken piccata following her hand written recipe card, and her famous strawberry pie for dessert.
.....and to help Clau on her sewing machine by finishing up a couple projects that Lupita started while she was here but did not have time to finish before returning to Cancun because she was busy with newborn activities.

We had a quiet and delicious Thanksgiving together at home

where Eric has a hammock set up in the living room for all to enjoy 
And I get to cuddle with Mateo
Happy baby. Happy Grandma

Besides family activities, I’ve been having fun getting to know McMinnville and the surrounding area.  I go lap swimming in the McMinnville public pool 
and am finding places to enjoy live music in the downtown area on 3rd street

I walked the parade route when Santa came to town 

and tapped down some fermenting grapes during an open house on Thanksgiving weekend at one of the (literally) hundreds of wineries in the area. 
I met a new friend while enjoying music at a local restaurant and she came to visit me because she is on the verge of being a part-time RV traveler as well and wanted to see my set-up
I made one day trip out of town to visit an Art fair where I lusted after beautiful quilts
but am happy to report I continue to derive great satisfaction from my knitting - it is therapeutic and takes up less space at home - if you don’t count my large inventory of future project yarn:) - and  is more portable than sewing. In fact, I took one out of town overnight trip back to Newport where I had a nice overnight visit with Linda, my ranger friend from South Beach State Park

and spent the next day at my table at a craft fair and sold a good number of my knitted items. 
Future business?  I doubt it from a financial perspective, but being a traveling crafter makes good emotional sense!

Happy knitting to me!