July 16th, 2021

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

I had no idea she moved here to The Colonies!

I got out for a real hike today; nearly two miles of forested trail with hills. I got a pretty good workout in and I really felt it plus I got to explore some new areas and trails where I went walking. Even though it was a cool and cloudy day I still managed to work up a sweat so I was working hard.

Even though I have been walking a lot every day (most days) it has all been level ground. Last week’s cardio rehab on the treadmill was on an incline and at a brisk pace, then it was on to the stationary bike for a short but intense (for me) “ride”. I definitely felt it and have decided that I need to do my flat walk in the morning with my landlady (helps her after knee replacement surgery). After that I’ll take out for some hills to help get the cardio and stamina levels up.

It’s gonna be a busy weekend around here with the tourists so it’s an early morning run to do laundry and hit the store then come home for the day’s first walk. After that it’s going to be a snack and kick back for a few then go hit the trail. Then it’s back to working on the trailer again. Today’s chance of rain ended up being zero so at least I won’t need to let anything dry out before I continue to work on it. I’m getting faster and neater at doing the caulking. One window came out kinda sloppy (the cloth rag I was using had something in it that came off in the caulking) so I don’t know if I can remove the excess caulking without screwing up the paint. I’ll ask around at one of the RV places.

I need to get a little cooking done soon too. I did some meal prepping last weekend but I want to do some more. It will just go in the freezer so I’ll have stuff to take in the trailer when my plans get a little more real and less tentative. I can’t wait!

Prepping and weighing portions makes it easier for keeping track of for my diet but I will still need to take my kitchen scale to weigh anything else that hasn’t been weighed and labeled.

It’s now looking like Canada may open up in the next few weeks. I am not planning on going driving up there for a while and I don’t know if I would do the train or a ferry yet either. It’s going to be absolute chaos. I have places I want to visit up there in areas that I have not been to yet. It’s been this long so a little while longer will be fine. Not much longer though…

That’s all for now.

June 24th, 2021

Adventure

Woo-hoo! I just got an e-mail that my new passport is on the way! It’s not like I am going anyplace I need it anytime soon, but I am glad to have that taken care of. Things are opening up so you never know! I should have it by the end of the month. I am glad they return the expired one – it is a great souvenir and is pretty cool to look at while remembering all the fun and great times on those first two trips.

I was having an issue with my truck running rough again, but without going into much detail I got it fixed. I simply replaced the gas cap and it fixed the issue and cleared the error codes. That was a relief to spend only $17 on this repair. I saw it could be that and thought I would try it since I wanted to get a locking cap anyway. Fixing this is a big relief so now I feel I am going to be able to travel and not have to worry. And my gas won’t get siphoned.

The trailer is hooked up to the battery trickle charger and it really needed it since it has been on there for a day and a half. I got the blankets and pillows put back in the trailer and the sheets will go in after I wash them this weekend. The fridge has been tested and it is working fine except for the freezer door. I think the springs in the hinges are broken and the door will not stay closed. I need to get that fixed and will be getting the door out and looked at in the next few days to hopefully get it fixed. I may try to redo one of the windows this weekend since it will be warm. I have not done this before so it will be a learning experience for me. Once I figure that out (with the help of YouTube) I will do all of the windows.I guess

Speaking of travel and my truck, I hope to be getting my Interagency Pass for all of the Federal lands tomorrow. I plan on making good use of the pass to see some more National Parks soon. It is well worth getting one of these passes since it can get expensive to pay entrance fees at every place you visit – especially since you may only be at a park for a day or two.

It is going to really damn hot here the next few days – high temperatures that I don’t recall seeing in this area before. It is going to be pretty miserable. I was hoping to get away for a few days but I start a cardiac rehab program on Monday so I cannot get away very far.

I will find out how beneficial this rehab will be for me. Since I am already on a diet, have lost weight and walk several miles a day I may not need to go very long. It is weekly for 12 weeks (but I can stop when I want) so that could end up interfering with travel all summer if I did the whole program. My health is priority and I will do this as I need to, but travel is my therapy and that is really important too. We’ll see how it goes Monday and go from there. They do a group discussion but, as I told the coordinator, I am not into the Kumbyah stuff but I will keep an open mind and try it. I may learn something and perhaps I could help someone else.

It will be busy here this weekend. I am sure that with the hot weather moving in there will be a lot of people in the area. In fact, for some reason it was ridiculous at Costco this morning. I was going to pick up a few things before the weekend crowds but there were so many people the parking was almost full. On a Thursday. I don’t know why. I guess I will either go back tomorrow morning or wait until Monday.

That’s it for now.

June 13th, 2021

Adventure

I had a cardiologist appointment last week and everything was pretty good. I will be continuing my blood thinners until early next year. That means no new tattoos until after I stop taking those. Bummer. But, if it helps my health that is a better option and it hopefully won’t be permanent. I guess the timing will work out fine for a return to Europe to get more ink over there. With full flights and the crazy arrogant assholes on those flights it is just as well to wait until the stupid calms down. At least in the meantime I can pack up and go someplace…it is even possible this week! I guess we will both be surprised.

Now that my urgent medical stuff is taken care of (he said, knocking on wood…) and I get my truck back tomorrow, I am now freed-up to get out on some local trips. I am getting the trailer closer to ready to go. I am re-mounting the spare tire on the trailer tomorrow; I took it off to save a little weight but the tire just takes up too much room inside my truck and it really limits what I can carry inside or in the truck bed. The dog’s crate is plastic and doesn’t fold down so it takes up most of the back seat; it won’t fit in the trailer door either, which is all well and good since the trailer is small. I am going to have think about getting a collapsible one for the road to save some room.

I know, buddy…I’ll be there to get you soon…

Once I get some trips out of my system and we get into drier weather I will take the shower apart after I work on sealing the windows. I have not forgotten…just too many things, like rain, a heart attack and heart surgery, that kept me from doing it yet this year when we had the nicer weather.

I still have not unboxed and put oil in my new generator for a test so that is on my agenda too. Right now I cannot lift it with my surgery restrictions but I think in another month I will be doing that. With the popularity of “camping” now I think campgrounds are gonna be jammed with people and I hope it won’t be difficult to find a spot in the forests to park for a few days. That is my preference but in this area even those spots are sometimes hard to find and I find that safety issues can be a real problem these days.

It’s been odd getting back into some normalcy. I can travel again, I have no appointments until next year, but since I believe in real science and facts I am still taking precautions from the ‘rona and will for a long time to come. It’s hard to change some of those habits, like not being able to do much, lifting restrictions, no dog, and no real travel. Between the pandemic and health issues I have been really locked down and now that I am able to go places and do things within reason I have had trouble thinking of destinations. Yeah I went to Montana in March but it was a fast trip. I was a little concerned with not just the weather but also I had just had a heart attack and was waiting for surgery. There are some vast areas of nothing along the route so that was in the back of my mind.

But now I see the future getting brighter and it’s really very uplifting and positive for me. Working on and in the trailer is getting me excited to go hit the road. Even though I will not get on a plane yet I have been bingeing quite a few international travel shows and that is getting me excited to go overseas (or even just up to Canada) again. I just know not to get my hopes up quite yet as things are changing constantly. I am starting to think about places I want to visit and will begin a list of where I want to go, knowing it may be a while yet. At least I would have that part done.

As I watch these travel and food shows I keep finding new things to add to my bucket list. Adding a few new entries to that list the other day I noticed I am really getting quite a collection of domestic things to see and do and places to eat. I will be figuring out how to make it to all these places too. I am still intent on getting the last three of the 50 states and most of the bucket list things I want to see and do are along the way. I should be freed up to be able to do that trip now. If Canada is not open yet when I get up there well it looks like I am staying “local”.

That’s all the dreaming for now…

February 8th, 2021

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors, Road Trip, Travel, Uncategorized

It was a year ago today that I made my second trip to Europe with my two oldest girls, leaving Kansas City on a Saturday morning to go to Dublin, Ireland. I know my first trip over really was a complete assault on the senses – foreign country, different foods, languages, using public transit, plus experiencing how life is for others with which we share the planet. I remember pulling into Amsterdam Centraal that first trip in 2018, seeing all the trains and tracks everywhere, thinking “Oh shit…what have we gotten ourselves into…”.

Even though I had been there before, this trip was still a life-changing experience for me in several different ways. Seeing the castle where our family started out was incredible and getting to see it with Chelsea and Angie on their first trip was such a cool thing (you’re next, Meghan!). Of course there was all of the great food we ate, the things we saw and did, people we talked to…much like the first time all over again.

I was in a weird headspace for many reasons. I hated the prospect of having to leave. There was also an accumulation of the previous five years of loss and the other BS life put on my doorstep in a flaming paper bag. In Amsterdam we took time on our last day there to go different ways and explore. I was lost in thought just getting lost in the city. I got myself into a much better headspace before my adventure and everything in life was calm & peaceful as I wandered around, looking at some familiar places and finding other places I had never seen before. It really helped me in ways I cannot describe, and it was badly needed.

Right now it would be nice to have the opportunity to do that again, venturing out into unknown areas of a city that is nearly half of a world away. No map of any sort…just walking; no matter where you go that’s where you are. Everything is new in every way and you just kinda say “WOW” inside. I would even settle for someplace domestic; how nice it would be just to be able to wander around Seattle on foot like I used to do on occasion.

A steamed BBQ pork hombow from the Chinese bakery at Pike Place Market would be delicious right about now, as would breakfast at Biscuit Bitch and a burger, cheese curds and a pint at the Five Point or a pizza from Serious Pie. There are so many places to wander around checking out and so many things I have not made note of yet. I do still update my bucket list for things and places of interest, and there are more places in Seattle on that list I have not been to but want to check out when it is safer for my health to do so.

I always keep an eye out for interesting places everywhere and I put them into both my bucket list and Apple Maps so I can have directions ready to go if I end up someplace on a whim (which does happen often). I still have plenty of things to see and do in Amsterdam yet, and both Ireland and Iceland are islands of so many things to see and do. Beyond that there is still a lot more of the world I want to experience.

I will be looking into some domestic road trip options as well, adding more to that section of the bucket list. When things calm down I will be traveling locally more so I should do something unique, like visiting all of the state parks in Washington. I have been to almost all of the National Parks in the state so there are a couple of those left I want to visit; not because they are on a list, but because I want to visit them.

I will hopefully be going to MT soon to get my stuff, but want/need to get my vaccines first. I don’t want to miss out on getting it in fear of not being able to get it if I do miss out the first time because I am gone. The weather, being another factor, has not been bad there, but I don’t need to take a chance with that either since I would be towing a cargo trailer back.

The past year has been tough for everyone but in hindsight getting to go to Europe was a big help to get me through the year. We have talked about it often and relived our experiences both separately and with each other numerous times ever since we returned. I hope at some point in the next year we can all go together.

That’s all for today.

February 17th, 2020 – Day 9: Amsterdam, The Netherlands to Kansas City, MO USA

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

IMG_0221

On the way to Schiphol Airport from Amsterdam Centraal Station

I woke up at 4:30, an hour before our alarm was supposed to go off. I laid there in the darkness, contemplating our trip during that time; all the things we saw and did and the fun we had. We have a 9-hour flight to ATL then a couple more hours to MCI.

It was such a great trip and after getting back home I am still thinking about it all. For me returning from this trip was much different than the first time over; having been there I already had that initial excitement of being in Europe. I also knew what to expect for not just going to Europe, but parts of the trip (Köln and Amsterdam, and a little bit in Dublin). I really had no idea what to expect about being all over Ireland and that’s the part I am still having trouble processing. The people were so wonderful and friendly. Everywhere we went in Europe everyone was friendly and helpful but Ireland has the overwhelming feeling of belonging. Galway (and the areas around it) was an even more comfortable place to be…not surprisingly, a feel of home given the centuries-long family history in the area.

The adventure of travel – domestic or international, be it by foot, transit, air, sea, or land –  is so fun and amazing. It is also what you make of it and to be self-reliant in a country where you are a visitor/outsider gives one pause to think about that a little deeper (at least it should) when they return home.

You must get out of your comfort zone to actually learn things and have great experiences when and where you travel; it’s not just about taking pictures of the same famous things like everyone else has posted online. Get in the alleys, go in a coffeeshop or a smart shop, do something you wouldn’t normally do, go someplace where your language is not spoken primarily, eat foods you cannot pronounce, try to have conversations with a local. I guarantee you will have some amazing life-changing experiences and countless stories and memories that last a lifetime.

This trip also included my first stay in an Airbnb property (Landsmeer) and I think that its a great way to travel now that I have done it. I will be looking into doing that more on my own – it’s a great way to get the local flavor of where you are and a great alternative to the same old boring chain hotels here in the States. Being retired, most of my travel will probably be with the trailer but there will one times I need to fly someplace and need a place to stay.

A few thoughts about Amsterdam – it’s a fun, easy city to be in but it is so overrun with cannabis tourists and all of the businesses play it up pretty well – to me it is really overblown and gaudy. I can stay home for that without the commerciality but Washington is overrun with people as well, especially the Seattle area.

I do feel really bad for the residents of Amsterdam; it is tough enough just living in a tourist area but what they deal with is pretty bad. Many tourists don’t care about or respect the locals and that is bad – trust me I know firsthand, having lived in touristy areas since 1996. We avoided being in the city on Friday and Saturday night and waited until Sunday to walk around at night.

I will probably be back, but will stay in the outskirts since I not only want to minimize my impact on the city but I also have other places I want to see in The Netherlands. I really do like Amsterdam’s progressiveness (which some call “freedom”…but only if it fits into their own morals). If you have a closed mind Amsterdam is just not for you.

…and some more thoughts about Ireland – I will definitely be going back to visit this beautiful place, full of some of the friendliest people I have ever met in my life. Dublin is fun and there’s a lot of history there that I still want to explore. There is so much more of the island I want to see. I had a lot of fun driving the car and really enjoyed the challenges and the differences (but not the Dublin traffic madness) and I will definitely get a car every time I go there. There is so much more to see and do in Ireland and I have to see and do it. For me, Galway has that indescribable special magic I feel when I am in the mountains.

In all we walked a total of about 58 miles in 8 days; not counting the day we left that’s an average of 7.25 miles a day. Some days were more – I know one or two were 10 miles a day! Pretty good amount of exercise! The girls did great figuring out the public transit and they fit right in. The only issues we had were the mapping apps not updating like they should (slow data speeds on our free international plans) and sending us in the wrong direction for a bit almost every time we wanted directions.

It was their first trip abroad and their first trip carrying everything around on their backs in a backpack and they did fantastic. They really adapted to this new style of travel really quick and they looked like experienced travel pros from the moment we left. To share travel with someone else makes it even better. When it is with someone you care about it is even better yet. I am so glad we got to go.

Thanks for a great trip, girls. I am looking forward to our next adventure!

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The End!!