May 25th, 2020 – Washington in the Rearview Mirror…

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

I left Washington nearly two weeks ago. It was a beautiful drive over and I did it in two days for a leisurely trip through northeastern Washington to see a few areas that I had not been to before.

Along US 2 east of Skykomish, WA
Rider posing for a picture along the Wenatchee River just east of Leavenworth, WA along US 2
Along the Wenatchee River just east of Leavenworth, WA along US 2
West of Republic, WA on eastbound SR20

As I drove through some of the areas I saw a few places I had, indeed, been to after all in all the miles and years of past travel. It was still a beautiful drive; slower but much more scenic than I-90.

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North of Spokane, WA along highway 395

I had hoped to find a Forest Service road to camp along since I had the trailer with me but I found no roads to do so (it is called “dispersed camping” and is free; be sure to check local regulations, as each forest – even within a state – is different). That meant I would be driving further than I wanted to so I could find a spot. It also cut back on my sightseeing since I was forced to go on. Ironically, that spot ended up being the same KOA in Spokane I just happened to stay at on my way to Washington.

I got up the next day and went on to my destination in Montana to get settled in. With restrictions and closures in place that I was unsure of it was really the best thing to do. I was only a half-day drive away anyhoo and I will get plenty of chances to explore soon. I have been around Montana in the past but am anxious to explore more of the mountains and forests while I am here. Having the trailer I can keep to myself and avoid crowds. The big tourist areas I have already been to and don’t need really to do much more than drive through them.

Traveling with the ‘rona has its challenges, but luckily I have my trailer to travel with and all the comforts of home are with me. Traveling here…that was the easy part. Gas pumps and gloves and stops to rest on the on-ramps to the highway. Montana has had one of the lowest infection rates reported, and from my trips to get supplies it looks like nothing has ever changed here. Crowded stores with people walking the wrong way down one-way aisles, and very few wearing masks. I cannot get the hell out of the stores fast enough and a few I will not go in again because of the lack of concern selfish people have for others and safety. I’ll be going to either the local market or food co-op to shop from now on.

Honestly, it has been very difficult for me to adjust after not only dodging the ‘rona on our Europe trip, but also while living in Washington where infections were high and I was quarantined for the best part of the last three months and cooked all my meals at home – no dining out since I got back to Washington. With all of that happening I have had an extremely hard time letting go of my newly-acquired covid-inflicted OCD. I am in a high-risk group so I take this very seriously, but at the same time I am trying to do better and temper some of that behavior now that I am in an area with lower risk.

I did get out for a much-needed mental health drive through the forest a few days ago and it did wonders for helping to clear my head. I saw some places I had not been before and drove about 40 miles on Forest Service roads. It was a pretty healing day I must say, and it was so good to be in the forest again.

Cabin in Helena National Forest
Stream in Helena National Forest
Old homestead cabin

I’ll be getting out more soon. I have to get new tires on the truck this week before I do any further exploring and I will definitely be getting the trailer out quite a bit this year. It has been an exciting year in many ways so far but I am really looking forward to more excitement and travels. I am really ready to start to finally enjoy this retirement thing.

That’s all for this update. Stay safe!

April 21st, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Uncategorized

I really needed to do something different so I decided a few days ago to make a few changes to help myself get through staying at home better and easier. As a preface to this post, I am REALLY trying hard to keep my political opinions mine in this blog. I have to say it is sure as hell not easy given what is currently happening in this country.

First and foremost, I quit watching the news and haven’t watched the news for the last 3-4 days; in fact, during this time I have not even had the TV on until late at night and that was to watch a movie (and having some beautiful weather here has helped in many ways). There is entirely too much negativity and misinformation along with the political lies and bullshit. That alone has made me feel SO much better and has helped rid myself of the bad moods and given me more energy. I really suggest trying it to see if it helps you feel better.

Granted I still do get on the internet and do see things on there but I filter through said political lies and bullshit on there as well and don’t click on much news even on the ‘net. I am doing the things I am supposed to do (and much more) according to my state’s orders to stay healthy. I do pay attention to my local news to some extent so I am aware of what is going on close to home. As far as national politics I will be quite blunt –  I don’t fucking care.

Second, I am finding other more productive things to focus my energies on and spend time doing (other than mowing grass). I am looking at new recipes and making up a shopping list with new ingredients that I don’t have on hand (one recipe I really want is the cottage pie recipe from The Shack in Dublin, Ireland). I have an Instant Pot recipe magazine a friend sent me so I am looking through that along with some of the cookbooks I brought back from KS that my mom had.

I will be spending LOTS of time deep-cleaning my house starting tomorrow (supposed to rain so I will be in the house anyhoo) to get rid of the pollen that is all over everything in my house. It was so bad yesterday that I actually had to go inside – my nose plugged up and my eyes watered relentlessly just sitting outside enjoying the day. I am not looking forward to doing it but it has to be done and hopefully it will rain later today and tomorrow to clear the air. At least I got the yard mowed before the rain gets here. I have also been getting more motivated to do a few other things I need to do but have been low on my priority list.

It is easy to get wrapped up in current events but I am now approaching things differently and I feel MUCH better. I wanted to pass these things along in case someone needs some ideas.

April 19th, 2020

food, Just things, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

I hope everyone reading this (and your loved ones) are staying well through the pandemic and doing what they should do. We still have a long way to go but we have to be patient and do what we have to do (that means NOT what we WANT to do) to get this under control or it will just keep going and never get under control.

I have been staying home and making as few trips as possible. I may go for a quick drive once or twice a week just to get myself and the dog out of the house, even if it is for just 15 minutes. I have not been to the grocery store in two weeks and still have plenty of food. I don’t plan on going on another big grocery trip again for another week or two if possible. I am only eating at home and no take-out, drive-through or delivery. It may sound extreme but I am not taking any chances. It is also a good chance to learn how to cook something if I want to eat it bad enough.

Needless to say this is not how I envisioned retirement but these are extraordinary circumstances. I am good with taking drastic measures and not getting The ‘Rona. It sure as hell sucks not visiting with friends and family (my house or theirs) but we have to take the necessary steps to stop the spread of this virus. For that I am willing to do what needs to be done even if it means being alone and not traveling like I had planned.

I have been trying to find things to do other than TV and the lawn mowing has been non-stop. The grass has been going crazy so that has kept me busy. I planted some flower seeds and did a few more changes to the trailer interior – more reorganizing and installing a spice rack. I have been going through and finding more things to take out to lighten the load and declutter my storage in it – things not needed all the time like tools and my hammock – that do not need to be in there but can ride in the truck. I also got a storage unit to put some storage bins and other things in so that helps declutter my small house.

In hindsight we were pretty damn fortunate to get out of Europe without catching this stuff given what we now know. We were smart and took precautions cleaning, sanitizing and avoiding touching door handles and such, but we were on public transit, airplanes, and crowded city streets. The possibility was definitely there to pick up something but we never had any health issues (knocking on wood) after returning. Even with this I still dream of going back as soon as I possibly can, but that will probably be a while yet.

Tree pollen allergies are really kicking my ass. My eyes are swollen and runny like I have been watching Old Yeller, sinuses are stopped up, and I’m coughing. My truck is yellow with pollen and I have to dust and clean everything in the house again (I just did that) since I had the doors and windows open to get some (what I thought was) fresh air in the house. Oh well, what else do I have to do.

The weather has been beautiful otherwise. We have had blue skies, sun and 60+ degree days and I have been outside taking advantage of it however I can. Some rain is in the forecast and that will clear the air up nicely…it just has to follow through and rain. I heard a weather report that said we have had less rain that Las Vegas recently. That is unbelievable for the PNW.

That’s the update for now. Wish it was a bit more exciting! Stay home & stay safe.