Small Town

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors, Uncategorized

One of the best things about living in a small town is the “community” feel to it. The parades, festivals, outhouse races, etc. are all big events in a small town and everyone comes out to play and have some fun. Even in bad times people help each other out to get through. That’s what it is all about.

Tonight, as in many small towns, where I live they closed off several blocks in front of my building for “Trunk or Treat” for Halloween. It was a cool family gathering in the community, and you could set up a booth, table, whatever, and hand out candy. There was barbecue, popcorn, and lots of smiling families. It was GREAT people-watching!

The weather is perfect to be out milling around – about 45 degrees, clear, and still. I saw many interesting costumes and most were pretty clever. It really was a good time and I got lots of exercise in while walking around. I didn’t eat ANY candy either!

Speaking off candy, the local dentist office had a booth set up…HANDING OUT CANDY! I busted them; I pointed at the bowls of sweets and said “WHAT”S THIS?!?! Oh, job security I see!”. That got a lot of laughs from the staff, the dentist, and the people there with their hands in the bowls.

I need to go out and move my truck back in front of my building; they had everyone move their vehicles to clear the streets for tonight’s festivities. I like my truck parked close to keep an eye on it.

It was a nice, relaxing evening after some of this past weekend’s events. It was great to see everyone and I got to get some things done. I ended up not sleeping but about 2 ½ – 3 hours last night and then getting on a plane before the ass-crack of dawn this morning. It’s only 7:20 here and I am beat and ready to go to bed already. That is pathetic – I ain’t THAT damn old!

It Was a Year Ago Yesterday

Adventure, Just things, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

It was a year and a few days ago I had flown back to KS to see my mom and drive the Avalanche back home to WA.

When I left on the 29th, I knew deep down it was the last time I would see her. It was a very tough drive home, and it always will be one of the worst moments of my life having to leave right then. The drive back home is a long trip – three to four days depending on how long you want to drive – and that is with minimal stops and decent weather. I was trying for three days since I not only had some personal business that I needed to attend to, but my plan was to turn around and go back to try to see my mom again after taking care of what I had to take care of.

I was rushing to get home to get done and get back, pushing the driving into an endurance test just to get home. The first night I stayed in South Dakota, and the second night, the 30th of October, 2016, in Missoula, MT. That’s where I got the call at about 9:10 PM local time.

She was gone; our family forever changed.

This past week I went back to observe that one year anniversary and to visit the cemetery and see the new headstone. My dad picked it out and it has just been installed.

The headstone he picked out looks really nice – he did a great job choosing it and setting up everything on it. I drove him and my sister to the cemetery Saturday to see it and we all thought it turned out nice; it was the first time any of the three of us had seen it. Unfortunately it was a cold and blustery day so we weren’t able to stay there for very long. Chelsea and Emery and I went back yesterday so she could see it and we got to spend some time there.

I helped my dad work on the house a little bit while I was there – putting up a new light fixture for my sister in her room and getting on the roof to install leaf guards on all the gutters with lots of help from my assistant Emery. He tends to do things he maybe shouldn’t, like being on a ladder, so me working on the gutters kept him on the ground and out of the hospital. He has had a serious fall or two in the last year and doesn’t really need any help from gravity and especially the additional gravity a roof has to offer.

As I arrive back home in Washington this morning, I still struggle with some aspects of closure over the loss of such a large presence in the family. It really sucks. Having lots of time off and being able to get away for long vacations is something I need badly and I plan on taking advantage of having the winter off starting very soon – like later this week. I am scheduling any appointments I have two weeks apart so I can take make the most of my time off and can be gone for a good length of time when I decide to hit the road. My mom always liked to travel so I guess I come by that honestly. It’s why she wanted me to have and use the Scotty Hilander trailer she loved so dearly.

October 26th, 2017

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors, Travel, Uncategorized

I am now officially on vacation for the next 4-5 months! Woo-hoo!

I’m very excited to be done for now. Yeah, I’ll sure miss those paychecks but I have a lot of things I want to do (and a few things I need to do) during the down time. Since I don’t have many expenses I can get by okay but that doesn’t stop me from having fun!

With any luck, one thing is I hope to be able to sleep past 5:30 or 6 every morning. That will probably happen around the time I have to start work again in the Spring next year with my luck. Traveling is more important than sleeping late though!

Next week is still tentative but I hope to get over to Sequim and see some friends. I also plan to visit the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge that I worked at and go for a walk on the beach there. It has been a little over five years ago since I started there so it will be a bit of a homecoming.

The refuge holds (and will always hold) a special place in my heart for many reasons. The friends I made there, the sights and smells, the many, many experiences I have written about early-on in this blog…a tremendous beginning to the next chapter. One early morning as I went down to the beach and watched the Earth awaken it inspired one of the songs I wrote. It was a particularly powerful feeling that morning  – one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments that still makes me pause every now and then and think about it.

Before that, though, there are a few things to take care of over the next several days before I can get away and not have to rush to come back home. Those things will easily be taken care of and are not very difficult so no stress there.

Things are going to be VERY relaxed the next several months!

Not a bad position to be in.

Do You Know What That Means?!?!?!

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

What that means is…next week I am on the road!

I got the news today that I am officially through working for the season at the end of this week. Unless I take some other job during the winter, I will not be back to work until early April next year.

I have some preliminary ideas for some places to go, and something else came up today that could change my original ideas quite a bit. Don’t matter to me really. Just getting out is all that I crave.

We’ll just have to see what unfolds!



October 22nd, 2017

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

Tomorrow is the start of my last week of work for the season, and I’ll be off a few of those days so it will not even be a full week.

There are a few last-minute end-of-season things to wrap up and we will be done. During the winter there is mainly the maintenance on equipment and buildings needing to be done plus other projects that we are too busy to do during the summer months.

This will be my first winter not working (other than the time after my motorcycle wreck I needed to recuperate) so it is something that will be new to me. Having the time off to travel – a chance to go see some places and do some things.

I anxiously look forward to this time off and the opportunity to travel. I am in need of a reset right now and getting away is what I need. Working on the trailer yesterday got me fired up a little more to get my ass back out on the road for an adventure. Each time I go inside it it seems a little more real that it is mine now.

This year had some travel so it’s not like I didn’t get to go anyplace at all. I saw Meghan and Loran in Ennis, MT on the way to KS to pick up the Scotty from my dad’s house. I went through some nasty conditions but was able to dodge the weather for the most part. The only delay was the wind on the return tip across eastern UT, and that was three days in Fruita, CO waiting for the wind to calm down. I went to the San Juan Islands a few times for acupuncture and I drove to Meghan’s house in MT via BC and some beautiful Canadian National Parks. There were trips to Port Townsend and Sequim, the awesome MoPOP museum, downtown Seattle, Hendrix/Cobain road trip for Alexis with Angie, and a two-day trip to KS to be there when Rowan was born. So I guess I really went more than I thought I did once I start listing things off.

I do want to do some long weekends in a Seattle hotel downtown again – similar to our Hotel5 experience earlier this year. I can now ride the bus to downtown Seattle from home and that will make it much easier and cheaper so I could go a few times a month over the winter. Before that I have to take the trailer out and hit the road, ending up in places for a reason, or even for no reason at all. Just chance and the thrill of discovery. I am driving to MT in December when Meghan is having her baby. After I leave there, I may go someplace else before I come back home – maybe CO and /or KS. I probably will not have the trailer since I don’t really want to pull it around on the snowy roads. It sure makes for an expensive trip though, having a hotel every night.

Again, paying rent for a place tends to get into one’s budget a bit so I have to be careful and keep that in mind while traveling. It’s either drive to motels and dine at a restaurant 2-3 times a day, or take the trailer. You end up spending a little more on gas but MUCH less on lodging, and you can save $$ if you cook your own food or find a forest road to boondock on. I am trying to live as inexpensive as possible in some ways to enable the ability to take these adventures. Notice I say inexpensive and not cheap.

I don’t have cable TV; I choose travel and doing things over wasting my money on cable. I have internet and DVDs so I am good with video entertainment. The savings from not having cable is considerable especially given the fact I only watch two, maybe three, channels and that is it. It is not really worth it for me to have pay TV like that. I might sign up for Netflix in the future, though. It’s a cheap alternative with lots of choices.

There will be other things to do and see more locally so this winter should be exciting and lots of fun.

In case you were interested: Yesterday’s Italian chicken Instant Pot experiment was a success! It turned out quite good. It would be really good on a pita with some goat cheese – I guess that I’ll have to try that.