Thursday, February 26, 2015

Look What Followed Me Home

I've been looking at options for travel for some time as hitching and lifting have become more difficult for me.  I love the charm of my vintage trailer but moving it on a daily or near daily basis is more than I can do.  No matter which way I go there are compromises to make, advantages and disadvantages.  Am I ready to make those compromises?

 1996 RoadTrek 210 Popular

I want a rig that is self-contained and small enough to navigate easily in traffic as I am hoping to make a cross country trip this summer that will take me through major cities.  If it doesn't come oozing with charm, I can infuse some charm as I outfit it and dress it up.  So I have been looking.....

Class B's seem to fit the bill for me at this time.  

I was concerned that it might be to small......Till I got in.  
It is 21 feet long and every single inch is usable from the driver and passenger seat that swivel around to the very back door.  Lolita has 13 feet.... so this is quite a bit longer.

The other thing I love about this Road Trek is that it really lives up to its name Versatile

It can be set up with a table in the front or back or both as there are two tables.

There are three rooms...... :)   

The front cabin area has 4 captain seats 

The entire midsection has a drop down floor which easily accommodates a six foot adult and has a vinyl floor and drain in the middle to allow for the shower when the shower curtain is attached to the ceiling snaps.  The

The midsection contains the kitchen...
tiny but sufficient, with a microwave, toaster over and 2 burner stove.

There is air conditioning and a newly rebuilt generator with 2 new batteries.
I also have a portable solar panel that will be helpful to keep the batteries charged when boondocking.

 Opposite the galley kitchen is the bathroom and closet.

 This coach has 2 showers, one outside.

I'm thinking of using stacking vinyl draws on the step to the right of the marine toilet instead of using this space as a place to hang clothes.  The clothes hamper will ride on top of the potty when driving and on the floor in front of the passenger seat when parked.

This is my favorite sleeping arrangement.

I call it a modified twin set up.

It is the king set up in the back with the feet cut out which allows access to two drawers below the beds for shoes.
It is wide where you need the width at your shoulders and hips....narrow at the feet.

The little nightstand shown between the pillows is moveable and can be used anywhere in the cabin for a little extra counter table or in this case a nightstand.

It takes less than one minute to turn this sleeping area back to two couches and a table.  I'm not sure that I'll be needing to change back and forth very often and it will be nice for me to be able to lay down when my back needs a rest.

The thought and engineering that went into the building of these coaches is remarkable.  I still keep finding new little hiding spots and cubbies for storing more gear.

I don't think I will sell Lolita, just yet.  I want to be sure that I will be happy rolling down the road in this new little home.  I have lots to figure out.

If you are interested here is a short  video that shows a Roadtrek similar to mine.

LOL, I even learned a few new things watching the video!

Hmmmmmmm.... What shall I call my new Home Sweet Rolling Home.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

While Time Marches on......................... There are Changes in the Wind

If you are looking for cheery...todays post may not give you what you are looking for.  But it is where I am at today.  
We all face diminishing abilities along with aches and pains as we get older.  Muscles that don't want to do what they have done effortlessly in the past,  declining physical abilities and increasing medical 'conditions'.  We all face it to some degree, it seems to be an inescapable truth. I didn't give this much thought until well after I turned 50.  In fact I payed little attention to subtle changes in my energy level and muscle response to exertion. But day by day, I observed my declining abilities creeping into my daily life.  

Some like me fight it, others may whine, while others may rail at the universe as time marches on stealing our abilities one little piece at a time.

After Christmas, I started physical therapy, to work on the increasing pain in my back caused by a significant fall three years ago on ice. (See there is a really good reason we ALL should be wintering in warm climates)  It was followed by breaking my ankle the following fall.  The inactivity and time on crutches added to a declining fitness level that I have tried to address on my own.  Increase the Activity.  Push through the pain.  Strain another muscle.

Imaging revealed a vertebrae, T7 had collapsed (in the front) onto T8 forming a wedge.  The three discs above and below the vertebrae are a bulging narrowing mess.  The longer I am upright during the day the nerves bundles are being irritated by the pressure that radiates across my mid back area and the feeling that my spine is not holding up straight on my left side.

 While physical therapy has strengthen my core muscles and provided for better posture.   
(Stand up straight, Shoulders back, Pull up the cord on the top of your head)  
 Still therapy has done nothing to resolve the pain that increases through out the day.  The only thing that helps is laying down. 

This is not how I intend to spend my SENIOR YEARS.   Do intentions count??

Butter cup - First wild flower of the northwest

My mind has begun to wrap around the possibility of the reality there may be no easy solution.  If pain is to be a part of my daily life I will need to alter some of the more demanding physical aspects of traveling.  My mind goes there in the middle of the night.  Giving up my dream of travel is not on the table.... just how I travel.   Less lifting.  Keep Going. Less pushing. 

  In the mean time it is time to explore all the options to make life easier.

  It is also time to check in with spinal specialists and see where we go from here.  

First Flower in the yard

Facing mortality is never easy, nor is acknowledging the changes we go through as we march into our senior years.  

Friday, February 20, 2015

Good Times, Good Food and Memories, Old and New

It's been a whirlwind week with my daughter, son in law and kids visiting this last week from Connecticut.

 They flew out for a typical Western snowy winter complete with a mini snow ski vacation.
Ha, there has been absolutely no snow while they were here.  While instead reports from there home is one of the snowiest in history.  It defies planning.

 The Spokane River is at Spring high levels during mid February (the normal run off for May)
It is currently  running at 160,000 gallons per second.....Now thats a lot of water. 

There is nothing like the activity level of 3 boys to turn your world topsy turvy with spontaneous busyness.   We tried to alternate visiting with active pursuits, but there is never enough activity for kids.

If we couldn't have snow for the kids to enjoy, the sunshine the  was a welcome reprieve from the gray skies that we have been experiencing.

Two of my daughters and my the boy cousins (my grandboys) spending time together 

We visited the house that Melissa grew up in and showed the kids.  It sits abandoned, vacant  for a year now warning people to stay out.  I'm sure there is a story behind it's gradual demise but we don't know what happened.  But it is in terrible shape.  Kitchen torn apart, junk everywhere.  It will take quite a bit of work to get it ready for anyone to occupy.  

Sad to see it in such dire state.....

  I think I'll keep the memories I have of our time there.

The backyard looked like a park when we lived there..... not now!

Two Sisters, Melissa and Stacy

Frank's Diner is one of the best Breakfast spots in Spokane.


There is nothing like the charm of an old train.
Great food too!

It was a hit with the boys.

Good times, good food and memories shared

Visits are far between due to the distance we live apart. 
There is never enough time, or hugs.....but some new memories were in the making.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Free as a Bird in White Bird, Idaho

Finally, the planets aligned, the Gods gave their blessings, the weather cooperated and school schedules came together so we made a quick get away to our winter home, White Bird, Idaho.

With the promise of sunshine, I picked up Hailey from school on Thursday and we made a bee line to warmer temperatures above freezing in central Idaho.  It is amazing how my spirits soar as I slide behind the wheel leaving on a new adventure.  We eat dinner on the way in the truck and arrive at out destination for a weekend visit to our little home.  It doesn't take long to get the few essentials we brought along put away and we settle in for the night.

I stopped by a video store and purchased Season Two of Alias, an old TV series which is our entertainment for the evenings which still get dark early in the river canyon.  Since we actually have electricity at Swift Water we are able to watch the Big Screen (24inch) TV rather than the portable DVD player. We turn on the electric fireplace and are soon toasty and we can use as much electricity as we need. Bring out the snacks.....we enjoy a relaxing evening all to ourselves


We woke up to morning fog that burned off later in the morning revealing a bright blue sky.  Oh my gosh, it has been so long since we have seen a cloudless day, with a blazing yellow ball streaking across the sky.  A perfect day for a hike in a day with temperatures rising to the 50's.  We are located at the bottom of the White Bird grade, just outside of the tiny town of White Bird with the population of 150 people.  After breakfast we, packed a lunch and headed out for a hike to the White Bird Battlefield Site.

White Bird Battlefield is one of thirty-eight sites that make up The Nez Perce National Historical Park.  The primary visitor center is located at Spalding and is approximately seventy miles north of the battlefield on Hwy 95. The center is open daily from 8:00 to 4:30 (in the summer 5:00PM)  the visitor center has displays,  a movie and pamphlets available to explain the significance of the Nez Perce Historical Trail. 

We are near the loop left of the center

The history behind this battle is all to familiar in Native American history and early settlement of the West.  Treaties were made and then broken when the hint of Gold or available land caused a press to develop the Western Territory.  When the treaty was broken,  the Native Peoples began moving to Lands far from their Peoples had lived.

looking down at the battlefield area

Five Native scouts waving a white flag met a surge of soldiers in this place. Shots rang out from the soldiers and the battle soon began.  I can't help but wonder, what if the soldiers hadn't fired......
What if they had just talked?

The terrain factored in the battle as the gullies allowed places for the Native people to hide in safety.

The areas the Nez Perce peoples lived in a hundred years ago is still to this day not highly populated.  What if they had been left to their Native Lands?

 We watched birds sailing overhead and landing on the cliffs.  Finally we were able to get close enough to discover that they were a family of pigeons.

The culture of the Nez Perce believes the peoples of the Earth are one with the Mother Earth. You do not own the Earth.  You come from the earth and one by one you are returned to the earth of your forefathers.  To leave the place of your forefathers was unfathomable. 

This place is a place of quiet serenity and reflection.  You cannot be here and not feel the presence of those who have gone before.

There are no buildings or artifacts in the area only a few distant ranches.  Only the legacy of what happened and what might have been and this statue.

After our hike we traveled farther up the old Highway 95 to the top of White Bird Pass.  I had heard harrowing stories of travels up this grade and decided today was the perfect day to travel its winding climbing way.  From 1915 until 1975 it was the only Highway connecting North and South Idaho.  This is definitely not a highway for the faint of heart nor those pulling a trailer. 

Looking from the new highway that was completed in 1975 to the winding old highway, you can see some of the switchbacks winding to the top.

The following day we took off for McCall Idaho for the Winter Carnival.  I am generally not one to attend festivals due to the large number of people..... the the lure of ice sculptures was to great as I have not seen anything carved from ice and snow.

We were shrouded in fog most of the drive to McCall and when I saw something worthy of a closer look....of course there wasn't a place to pull off and check it out more closely.  Such is the life of a wanderer.   Up, Up, Up we went.......

During our arrival we were caught up following a local bus..... on to a parade route.  We came to view the snow and ice sculptures and instead got caught up in a parade.  Trust me, everybody was there along the parade route.  Every where we looked there were people.  We were close to the last vehicle driving the parade route before the parade started,  So what were we to do..... We waved. We eventually found a parking spot and walked to the parade route to see what all the fuss was about.

Every vehicle from around the area was there and I suspect in the parade.  Some of them not designed for road travel.


                 Even a few green aliens!!

Nothing like a small town parade....everybody embraces the parade.....literally it is difficult for the parade floats and participants to make way through the crowds.   They literally become one.

Shopping cart drill team

The theme was Mardi Gras so watching carefully and ducking from flying candy and beads was necessary.After we had our fill of watching the parade we made our way down to the waterfront and

People watching is the best fun!!

After we had our fill of watching the parade we made our way down to the waterfront and

Hailey did some foot skating on the lake.

We walked around town to get a couple of pictures of ice sculptures.  We weren't able to get to some of the best sculptures but did find a few to satisfy our curiosity. 

  My favorite was of course a bit of vintage charm.

                                      Hailey's favorite was Olof in a tribute to the Movie Frozen.

 After the parade was was like a tidal wave of people.....everywhere, milling around like ants.

Suddenly all the police and security guards were gone and it was literally a free for all.  People where cars should be....Scotty Beam me OUT of Here!!  When I was feeling a tiny bit of road rage, I decided it was time to go before before I plowed my way through the lingering crowd.

Ants, Ants I say......Everywhere!!!

We saw a couple more cute ice sculptures on our way out of town that we could photograph.

We had planned on eating in town before we traveled back to our trailer......
A quick change of plans....sandwiches made in the truck and a fast exit out of town.


The peaceful drive back to the trailer through along a nature filled highway was restorative and I was calm and at peace as we arrive back at our little home.

 All too soon we need to return to our city home.... but will soon be planning another getaway !!