Saturday, June 28, 2014

Back to Where I Started

Here we are, back to where I started. 

A little more than a year ago, I started my full time solo adventure in Lolita with my three furkitties spending time in this gorgeous exact campspot at Lake Spokane Campground...

The excitement of a brand new chapter in my life was indescribable.  I had no idea what the coming months would bring yet I yearned for adventure and travel.  I worked incredibly hard to downsize most of my worldly possessions, sold my house and prepare Lolita for a journey to unknown destinations and adventures.  And in this place it began....

Returning to where we began - 2014

The view here is still drop dead gorgeous.



 The birds are still singing their lovely morning wake up song.

Wildflowers are blooming and this year there are even new ones that weren't blooming last year.

The sunrises and sunsets are still stunning and I seem to never tire to share in their splendor.


An yet much has changed.

After six weeks on the road full time I received a call that I was needed at home.  Family concerns and needs is one variable that is difficult to plan for.   So home I went.  Over the course of weeks and months  it became clear that my Granddaughter needed me and so my solo journey became a duo.  While many families combine home schooling and travel my social butterfly is well grounded with friends and longs for a normal high school experience.

So acknowledging the fluidity of life, and my reluctance to abandon my plans, we charted a altered course incorporating all the things we love with as much time as we can muster.

We have put down temporary roots during the school terms and embraced travel for the rest of the year combining the best of what we both need and want.  We spent a glorious trip in Utah in April and are getting ready for a circle tour of the Washington State in all its diversity.  We will visit  of Mt Rainer and Mt St Helen's and Olympic National Park and travel across the North Cascade Highway.  We will visit ocean shores and visit the San Juan Islands and experience the  carved desert scab-lands.   (Here is where I break into song about Mountain Majesty.) 

So as I sit here in this place I am reminded that  so often people wait for the perfect opportunity, the perfect time, the perfect rolling home saving for the money needed.  
But life is always full of unanticipated twists and turns.

Even in a repeated place, new adventures await.

Training missions took place with us as an audience next to our campsite.  Only in America can a helicopter land next to you without somehow fearing for your life and wondering where you could hide. 

And this rare treasure for me..... My best bird picture to date!

An osprey guarding the babies near sunset

I ask of myself... and I share with you. Do not constantly look back for what you dreamed or constantly grieve for what you once had and now is lost.... look forward to what is possible and make it the best you can live.  Life is to short to spend it looking over your shoulder at lost opportunities.
  Dream new dreams, and live them with vengeance.

Just me..... looking forward to new adventures!


~ Happy Trails ~

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 and New Adventures Ahead

Since retiring from a regular work schedule and career and foster care my life has been in a state of  rebuilding.

I have been building a life that combines both my love of travel and outdoors and family needs.  One of the realities that have come my way with living my life with these terms is that I can't always travel when I would wish to as my teenager is still in school.  I am certainly aware that many family home school on the road but they do miss out on some of the 'normal' activities of high school life.  So for now the compromise means we are stationary during school month. Compromise always involves tradeoffs and we certainly have had trade offs. I miss the travel during the school year and Hailey misses her friends during the travel months.

But it is what it is.

The past couple of months, I have been watching an online source of local activities.  It is called Meet-Up.  (Located at  It is a web site that helps groups of people with shared interests plan events and facilitates of line group meetings in various localities around the world.

You type in a location, and then are able to view on line groups and the activities that they sponsor in your area.  If you are interested in joining in their activities you make an online profile and are able to join their activities.  Full time travelers might find it as a way to locate great hikes in an area or join up with others in a area they are visiting.

It has been a great source of places to go and activities in the area that I might like to participate in areas of interest such as hiking, and kayaking.  I have found several other places in the area that I haven't been aware of by reading about upcoming adventures.  I have found also that I sometimes avoid going on a hike in an uncharted area for safety reasons.  It is one thing to go hiking 'alone' in a national park where there are droves of other hikers that would find you if you ran into trouble but another to hike in the wilderness with rare visitors.  Some of these activities I would be less likely to participate as a solo out on my own.    Lastly, it is an opportunity to build a network of people who share some of the same kinds of activities and passions.

I certainly have my social issues to conquer as I also tend to avoid social settings but I certainly have had some positive outcomes to bolster my courage to continue trying new activities.

Yesterday we took the plunge....we went out for an outing with local sportsman for a kayak paddle on Fish Trap Lake.

I was certainly having some issues as folks were beginning to gather.... 18 kayakers are a large number of folks to be gathering on the landing or on the water at the same time.  Yep, I retreated to the fringes..... 

It wasn't long and we were left in the dust.... or splashes of the faster kayaks.
Fishtrap Lake (196 acres) was named after the willow fish traps that the Indians used to catch Red Horse Suckers at its outlet creek. The lake is known for its great trout fishing. As with all the lakes in the Scab Lands the lake gets a lot of wind throughout the year so it  It is long and narrow at 2.2 miles long and 30' deep at its deepest. It is a long and narrow lake that at times resembles a river without a current.  The lake has only one point of entrance near the Fish Trap Resort.  No other buildings or dwellings are along the lake.   Luckily there is a public launch ramp right right next to FishTrap Resort.  From Spokane, go west on I-90 to Fishtrap Exit 254, then south 2 miles on Old State Highway to Fishtrap Rd. There is both a resort launch and public access launch. 

Wildlife along the way

One of the things I treasure about kayaking is the quiet and solitude that I feel out on the lake.  I soon had all the solitude I could want.  The birds were were swooping and singing.  It was heavenly.  I wasn't able to take any decent pictures of birds..... paddling and take photos are things I have trouble multitasking at.  We were blessed to see a bald eagle soaring overhead.

Basalt rocks form cliffs along the lake, leftovers from the Great Missoula Floods.  Water shadows and reflections dance on the cliff wall like butterflies.  Dozens of birds building nests along the cliffs dart in and out as if to shew us away from their homes. 

One of our group had a unique kayak.  Note she is not using her paddle.  Her kayak is pedal powered.  Her Hobie  watercraft really skims quickly through the water.  

I say this kayak is made in the shade!

This gal passed us up too.  Our inflatable kayaks had a difficult time keeping up with the other kayaks.  Their paddling motion seemed effortless compared to our effort and they glided swiftly along.

Hailey was dropping back farther and farther but I could still see her.  The farther she fell behind, the slower she progressed.  I circled back to rejoin her.  It seemed more important that she enjoy the paddle than for me to become competitive and speed up to catch up with the other kayakers.  I reminded myself it is about the journey not who finished first.

We had a opportunity to visit with the other kayakers as they reached the end of the lake and then came back down the lake on their return to the public access ramp.     

 Without road access the only camping along the lake is from boat access or brave souls who hike in with backpacks and climb down the steep cliffs.

 The west end of Fish Trap Lake

I always encounter a drive to see what is at the other end propels me to go farther.  Once I have reached the other end.... the return to the starting point is fought to overcome exhaustion.

At long last after 3 1/2 hours, we return to the access point.

We chatted with a few folks and loaded up and headed home.  Once again, I have pushed my social boundaries a bit.  Don't get me wrong, their are still times I will choose to go out on our own or continue at our own pace.  We will definitely join another hike or paddle trip.   

Full time travelers might find as a way to locate great hikes in an area or join up with others in a area they are visiting.  In any event it certainly is a way for part time travelers to connect with others who share the outdoor life they love.  It will be fun to meet up with folks we like and share activities we love.

I guess you can teach an ole gal new tricks!


Monday, June 23, 2014

Update on Trailer Repairs

Today is the day.... Loila is in the shop to get her axle replaced.  Due to the damage to the wheel well and tires we have been grounded for nearly two weeks waiting for the arrival of the new axle and then the installation.

So glad I didn't have to back the trailer into the service bay!
Have taken a leap of faith that the axle will be done and made reservations at Lake Spokane Campgrounds for three nights.  It is close enough to Spokane that I can get up there on Tuesday night even if it is not done till Tuesday during the day.

Axle off - ready for repairs

This week I had a neighbor help with restoring a wheel well that got mangled from the axle damage and tire problem.  We rebuilt the flooring supports, attached the wheel well to the new supports and caulked a good seal to keep out future water spray and dust.

Wheel fender securely in place

I also discovered yesterday openings around the wheel well on the other side.  It will be more difficult to repair due to cupboards above the wheel well on the floor.  What I discovered was duct tape bridging the gap between the well and flooring...... who does that????     

No wonder that the trailer was like a dust bomb went off in it after every trip on a dirt road!!

I understand not feeling competent to undertake some of the trailer repairs required to keep our little vintage babies sound but duct tape qualifies in my book as a stop gap measure to get you to a repair shop..... NOT as a permanent solution.    

So now I will be looking at getting the other wheel well repaired so we will be water and DUST tight.  Yes, not having a sticks and brick house relieves one a great deal of repairs, but trailers or motor homes have a whole slew of their own maintenance issues.

If this has sounded like a rant, please forgive me but I have tried to keep my blog accurate as to the pleasures AND the trials of vintage trailer life and travels.  It certainly would not be an accurate picture if I only painted a picture of one stunning vacation location following another.  There is certainly a flip side.

Just an update from me impatiently waiting to get back out there....


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fighting the Current

Recently, I spent time with my friends mother, who experiences Alzheimer's effects in her life.  How powerful is the grip of Alzheimer's on the daily activities of life.  I am impressed by her pleasure of life that is still so present in the moment.  What a struggle she is experiencing as the disease robs her of her independence and the essence of the women she has been, stripping little bits of her away day by day.

After I left my friends mother, I  moved to a camping spot along the river. As I sat along the river, swollen with winter snow run off and spring rains I was drawn in and stunned by the beauty and power of the mighty river.

I sit on a rock near the swinging bridge watching the waves crash by as they tumble along the rivers edge.  Before long I become absorbed in a drama taking place within the river.  I see a log, created by the all mighty, sculpted into a log cut by man.

In some events unknown to me, the log has made its way to the river.  It is now being tossed about in the torrents of the river, bumping along the shore of the river circling back and forth.  It inches along in forward motion trying to break away from the currents hold to move down the river.

The current grabs hold of the log pushing it back to where the log first came.  Again and again the log struggles against the power of the river, thrusting forward then drug back into the current, repeating the dance over and over again.

I am reminded of my friends mother, struggling against the disease that is robbing her of her today's and tomorrows.  She struggles, and struggles and in a moment she breaks free and is rewarded with a sweet memory.

Resting temporarily against the shore before the log is picked up by the current to begin the process again and again.


Then as it inches forward, suddenly it breaks free of the repeating pattern and is thrust forward into swift main river channel.  As swiftly as it moves into the channel, the current smashes it towards the shore into an opening within the rock formations.

There it begins the circle of escape moving within the currents of the enclosed water trapped by fallen logs and rocks. It is trapped again in a new reality as it circles and circles awaiting the moment when the moment of sweet release moves it on further in its journey.

We are all traveling our own journey, circling then plunging into new paths.  Some of our journeys are of our own design, some paths of destiny over which circles we have little control.

The river, full of mysteries and a reflection of our lives of turmoil.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Glamor + Camping = Glamping

Site of the Roslyn Vintage Trailer Rally

According to the final tally 130 trailers arrived at the 2014 Rally.  Obviously they would not all fit in this picture nor will I show pics of all the trailers.  But I do have some more favorites to share.

This post will be dedicated to vintage trailers where the owners took decorating license and made the wee home their own with style and pizazz.  I am not aware if the owners of these did the work themselves or had someone help with the renovations.  Enjoy!

My favorite of this rally of the fabulously decorated is a Field and Stream. 

It has similar lines as  the Holiday House of the last post but the decorating is definitely not a replica of the originals.



Some how I managed to miss getting a good photo of the kitchen area along the back of the trailer.

This tiny tin can was adorable!

Clearly she has glamping going on!

Many of these owners love their campers and spend time in them at rallies.  Others actually do some camping in them.
But these are not full time homes for their owners....  

There is no reason that functional items can't also be cute or represent a particular era or interests of the owner.   Often owners are extremely creative in combining functional use within a theme or color combination.

Groovy Baby!!

I have joined a number of Facebook Trailer groups.  Met people on line and we have shared ideas and learning technical information from one another about repairing our little doll houses.  It is fun to meet some of these folks and see their trailer passions in person. 

This restored trailer probably belongs in the last post as it is a restored rather than decorated trailer.  This trailer is probably my choice if I was going to live in one of the trailers.  It has classic lines,
      perfect for one
it's a back door model!

If you were going to decorate a trailer in a theme..... what would your theme be?