November 24th, 2020

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

Clouds draped over the Olympics

It was a beautiful morning, but when it decided to rain it came down pretty good. I was out doing some errands this morning, and when I got back it started to rain and the winds started picking up so this afternoon it was inside. Right now the stars and moon are shining on a cool night with a few clouds in the sky. It’s a very calm, peaceful night. Such a nice thing to have right now – peace.

I started looking and contacting some places about a secure place to store the trailer today. One company owns about 10 different places so I covered all that with the one e-mail to them so I just might have some luck. After my eye appointment tomorrow I’ll come back home and look some more if I need to but I hope something comes through with the one email. It’s a whole lot like shopping and I am not a big shopper. I am getting into the new place in a week and with the holidays the time is cut shorter. Gotta get something found soon.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”.

I saw this saying paraphrased on a bumpersticker today while I was out. It really made me think and I wanted to know who said it originally. First, the part that was paraphrased was the first eight words; I was surprised to find out that it was not only longer with more meaning, but it also is attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt. Thinking about it more it is actually a pretty profound quote. It is simple, yet says so much.

Whenever I see things like this it makes me think about what it says and ponder things in my life that may fit. I think at times in our journey we all ask ourselves questions about what we are doing with our lives, thinking about some of the decisions we have made along the way. I freely admit I do and I think it is good to do that to keep you centered.

Feel free to philosophize amongst yourselves…

I have been getting some more good airline deals lately. Montreal, Tokyo, Cambodia, and Dublin to name a few. Dublin was a screaming deal and it is so tempting to book one since they are all refundable. I would still have a hard time being on a plane with all those people for a non-stop (or a 1-stop) to Europe. It’s a hell of a long time to wear a mask for another thing, and that’s not including being in the airport masked-up. Not much other way to go unless it’s by boat or beamed by Transporter.

I have begun to start thinking about a timeframe to go again and start looking for travel partners. I know my daughters are itching to go so I think it’s time to start considering when to go. I have been in January and February so now I’d like to go during a different time of year. Not summer and the crowds. No thanks. Perhaps we will see some advances with fighting the pandemic so I will not be booking anything until I see some progress in fighting it and countries I want to go to open up. I have resigned myself to the thought it may not be until 2022, but we will see. I still want to go to Montreal so that would be a good short flight to a place that is different than the rest of Canada.

In the meantime I can dream (we all can!). I have been thinking about ink and getting more done. I have ideas for the beginnings of my left arm sleeve (to go along with my “Slainte” tat). I want to get my left arm done when I visit different places, but I am gonna need to practice getting one or two here to see the precautions being taken. I still think it is safer than a haircut (and I STILL have not gotten one!). I hope to get several tats done at different shops while I am in Europe next time. I feel certain I will be going back to most countries I have been to for at least a few hours so that is long enough for ink.

So things are falling into place as the year winds down. I don’t think that I will be doing a year-end summary going forward. You can always go back to read the posts if you want to see, and feel free to go all the way back to the start to see how this adventure has unfolded over the last 8+ years. It’s all in there.

November 13th, 2020

Adventure, Just things, Music, Outdoors, pictures, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

Outside my door…this view certainly doesn’t suck!

I finally got to where I was headed. The weather cut me a break for a day on Wednesday, which was what I was planning on, so I made a run for it. It’s a good thing as that was the only day it was okay to travel. There have been snowstorms before and after so the timing was perfect. Glad to be far away from that nonsense.

I got things set up and found a heated storage unit close by so my extra groceries don’t freeze. I try to keep stocked up on things like canned goods same as I would if I had a house – I just have to store them elsewhere. It also helps keep things like repair stuff (tape, caulking, etc.) from freezing as well. It’s nice to have all the stuff out of the truck and trailer and I can have room to move around now. Plus, the extra weight in the truck doesn’t help with the already low gas mileage.

I’ll be looking into re-doing the cushions in the trailer pretty soon. They are starting to break down and need new foam; on top of use, it is also 13 years old and foam doesn’t last forever. I can do this myself if the covers are still in good shape and they look to be fine. It will be pretty nice to have new, comfortable cushions to sleep on!

I did replace the roof vent covers and sewer valve before I left. I had decent weather and the time to do it so I got it out of the way. The sewer tank was empty so it was the perfect time to do that before I started using it again. It’s less stuff to haul around too. With it being windy today I notice it is much quieter with the new vent covers installed. It may even be a bit warmer too as I did notice a few days ago when it was so cold that the heat came on a little less frequently.

It’s odd to be sitting still again and not being at Meghan’s house . I will be stationary for a while probably, avoiding pandemic hot spots and winter driving with a trailer. Now that I am not quite as hesitant to stay in a hotel if I need to go someplace I can still go; I’ll just grab the cleaning stuff, the dog and my suitcase and head out. But I will be doing that sparingly.

It feels like I should be doing something but I have most everything done I needed to do so I guess I will just need to relax! I need to go set up a hearing aid appointment and grab a few things but I think I will wait since it’s Friday and the stores will be pretty busy. That’s fine since I have plenty of time.

I might even find time to take a nap today!

November 9, 2020

Adventure, Just things, pictures, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

It has been a sleepless few days. Bright lights all around and train tracks across the street from the repair shop. Sunday night was tough. I’m not sure why my trailer battery doesn’t seem to charge but at 3:00 a.m. I woke up pretty damn cold – probably in the mid-20s F inside the trailer. The battery ran out of juice so no furnace. I got up and had to go out and try to charge it from the truck. I just replaced the trailer battery but no idea how long it’s been since it’s had a full charge.

An hour’s worth of charging and I got one cycle of heat. Then it went dead again so I said “well, okay then” and slept cold for about 90 minutes. I said something else along the same line as before (actually it was “F THIS”) and got up out of bed to go get coffee and something warm to eat.

I went for a drive to kill some time while waiting for my trailer. I decided to go to Roslyn, the shooting location of Northern Exposure. Great show if you’ve never seen it but you gotta like quirky. I was here maybe thirty years ago and mostly it looked the same. It is a cool old mountain town on the Historic Register. I did niot get out and walk since most everything was closed still so I went back to check on the repair.

Trailer was repaired right before noon and they asked about checking the other side. I said I had thought about it and it’s a good idea so go for it. He said the other bearings were fine and now freshly repacked. I am glad to be getting it done for peace of mind.

Getting a late start as the days get shorter is not good. Too many deer on the roads and I don’t really want to drive at night. I opted to come back to the campground I was in a few days ago and will leave earlier tomorrow morning after the frost clears. It’ll be nice to have some time to regroup and not be rushed.

I had to buy a heated water hose to keep water flowing into the trailer. I’ll need it in other places anyway so now seemed like the time to buy it since it may get cold tonight. I won’t be getting cold though!!! Got electricity so the electric heater is plugged in. Plus I did find my electric blanket right before I left and that is pretty awesome to have with the nights getting cold.

As for now, it’s a double espresso of Sumatra coffee, then a cup of dark (or as they say “Intenso”) and some relaxing in the warmth after a couple of interesting days. Might even kick off my shoes.

I got a few bundles of firewood to have a fire later tonight and an obligatory adult beverage or two. Then a nice, albeit abrupt, hot shower before crawling into my preheated bed. That sounds awesome.

You can’t look away…

It’s a really good night for a fire. It’s 32° F and some clouds to hopefully hold some heat on the earth tonight. The fire pit is an old heavy truck wheel so it really heats up and dissipates the heat nicely. The wind is a little breezy and at 32° it is chilling.

I discovered earlier that instead of a carton of pineapple passion fruit cider I actually bought a carton of seltzer. Never really been a big seltzer person but I gave it a try. As expected, it was nasty – tastes like that “go-juice” you have to drink a gallon of the night before a colonoscopy.

Fire is going out. Looks like it’s time for bed. Been a long day and I am tired.

November 7th, 2020

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

I write this post sitting in the parking lot of a repair shop on Washington. I’ll be here until Monday since they are closed on Sunday.

I was heading back out on the highway this morning and a problem arose. It was windy. I have driven in winds before but my trailer has never gone down the road crooked so when that happened I thought it was odd. The winds just weren’t strong enough to make it do that and it just didn’t look right.

Then I saw something that looked like smoke trailing behind me, but my windows were dirty so I wasn’t sure. Finally I saw it WAS smoke so I thought I’d best pull over.

Smoke was billowing out of the passenger side tire on the trailer. I had stopped in the nick of time. It could have caught fire, locked up and caused an accident…any number of things – and all of a bad nature. Wheel bearing is cooked and the wheel is sitting odd:

This tire SHOULD be straight up and down…

So, lemons and lemonade and $590 later I’m staying in the trailer in the parking lot since the lot is not secured. I just replaced the battery in the trailer so I should be warm overnight with the furnace running. There’s no shore power so I am boondocking for a few nights and charging the trailer battery from the truck. Even more fun is the trailer is not level; it’s nowhere near level. The ground was already sloped…and it’s up on a jack stand! Yes, I have supports out to keep anything from happening. I’ll be sleeping with my feet downhill (I guess if it rolled over I’d basically end up standing up). Just another part of the adventure.

Oh, the things that happen to me. I usually just shake my head at them in disbelief, smile a little, and go about my day.

So, anyhoo, I left a few days ago to come back over. It was odd leaving; it’s never easy leaving any of the kids and grandkids and it certainly wasn’t any easier after being there a while. I needed to move along and take care of some things. Winter was getting ready to have another go so I needed to scoot while I had the opportunity. I pushed my luck far enough and I’m not much for winter these days. I got into a few rain showers in the mountains on the way over but no issues. From the pictures I saw at Meghan’s house this morning I’m glad I left when I did.

I brought a few extra things with me so I don’t have any extra room be it truck or trailer. I’m constantly moving stuff around on and off the bed, but it’s just a temporary thing. I’m going to find a small storage unit when I get there and put a few things in there to help with the clutter. I did a little rearranging this morning and got a bit more room.

I decided to hang here a few days to let the rains pass. I considered going over to the Oregon coast but not sure yet so it gives me time to ponder. There’s not a way over there without backtracking a bit and I really don’t want to do that. I’d like to avoid Tacoma so I will weigh my options. Thinking back eight years, I actually went over to Astoria and went north. I drove down from Mt. St. Helens and went over through Longview. There’s two really tall bridges along that route. I also remember I got a speeding ticket down in that area too.

Winter on the coast can be stormy so that’s another consideration. I would love to see a storm on the coast. I am not sure if I care to be in the trailer out there during that stuff. It’s pretty vicious. I have seen big surf but nothing like what’s out there.

I don’t really have a major plan yet. I do have things to fall back on so I’ll be fine and I have a place to be. I don’t know how things will unfold but I always have a roof and a meal. Never an issue these days but it’s been a little, shall we say “interesting “ at times. Had a few rough times here and there but always made things work out for the best.

October 29th, 2020

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

Tuesday I returned from the northwest and another adventure. I went back up to Washington to take care of a few things and hopefully see a few people.

I got up fairly early to get some things done before taking off on this trip. I had to wait for things to thaw and have a little bit more daylight so I ended up leaving a bit later than I usually like to but safety is important. I am leaving a day early to get up there since the weather has been nasty yet unpredictable and I need to be there.

Yes. There really is a town in Washington called “George”

The forecast for the weather was bad and got worse plus the following weekend was going to be bad as well. I just did not feel the need to risk safety to pull the trailer over and back. On the way over the winds were ferocious; there were whitecaps on the Columbia River! I had to cancel my campground reservations due to the weather and it’s more than strange for me these days to stay in a hotel. But I am doing it.

I stopped at a hotel on my way; these days I’d rather make it more leisurely if possible. Staying in a hotel kinda freaks me out more than a bit right now to be honest, but it is getting better already. I got to thinking about it differently, trying to assure myself it’s gonna be okay. The logic I am using is that we were in Europe in all of this at the start. We were careful and avoided touching surfaces in public place with bare hands and were always very conscious of our hands. We were still elbow to elbow with people from all over in Amsterdam and on the trains in Germany and the Netherlands plus all of our flights. We all came back as fit as when we left, and it is because we were cautious.

That said, though, I sprayed the hell out of everything with industrial disinfectant the moment I walked in the door to both my hotels last week. Sure, it is a pain in the ass the first time for certain but worth the trouble sanitizing everything in the room. They can say whatever they want but I do it myself and I know it is done. Not saying anything about anyone in particular, but it is for MY peace of mind.

It’s a big jump for me personally. I want to go back to Europe as soon as I possibly can, but I gotta get past some of these phobias to be able to go and be comfortable and have fun. That way when things get a little better I can face it and go without hesitation. My dream trip is I want to go for 6-8 weeks. Many places are closed to US passports right now, so it’s either wait or cut back on the time and maybe get to go earlier to fewer places. Finding someone to be able to go with for that long may be tough, too, but I could piece it together with a few people meeting up in different places. That might be kinda fun to do but someone for the duration would be cool too. I got an e-mail today for cheap airfares to Finland. In January. Just imagine how damn cold that would be…

So no big plans while I was there. Saw one friend the day after I got in to drop off some hot sauce for him to try. We stood about 20 feet apart in his driveway. Almost all my friends are quarantining out of caution so I did not see anyone and I do respect that. Otherwise I just kicked back relaxing and taking a few drives based around my appointments. That was the plan.

Meghan ended up going over to a place south of Tacoma for some dog-related things. We decided it would be best for us to follow each other back given the possible road issues so we met up in Ellensburg and went on to Coeur d’Alene for a night in a hotel. Beyond there hotels are few and fart apart, cell service is spotty for quite a while and there are a couple of mountain passes to be concerned about.

We got up the next day and left. It is a real good thing we stopped when we did, though. A few spots were pretty nasty and we would have been driving through there as darkness fell. We have been through there enough to know the roads pretty well and when to not take chances.

We got back to the house and it was time to take care of a few things in the trailer. I was pretty concerned about my new Nespresso machine freezing after the heater shut off and things froze. Luckily I emptied the water before I left and it is working fine. The extreme cold stretched out a few of my canned goods but everything else seems to be okay – no fluids anywhere. With winter in the neighborhood I will have to be leaving here a little earlier than what we had originally thought. The electricity I need to be hooked up to for heat and keeping the battery charged is needed to keep the horse trough (and the hose to fill it) thawed out. Meghan won’t be working as much so it all works out good other than I will really miss seeing everyone here.

With all of this going on I am now in the stages of thinking about wrapping things up to leave. It’s a bit odd to think of after being here helping out for the last five months. I didn’t want to be here in winter; I lived in a house for six years at 10,500 feet with seven months of winter (one storm alone five FEET accumulated at that house – not including the gale-force winds), and after that it was a house at 8400 feet for ten years and snow often. I have had enough winter. I am no longer a fan of the snow like that after dealing with it living in the mountains for many years. If I want to drive to see the snow that is one thing, but I don’t want it coming to me. I certainly won’t miss these winds either!

I am not quite sure where I am going for the next few weeks yet but know where I am going after that. I have appointments next month I have to be at but I have the time to go someplace now if I want. This time of year is tough with the possibilities of weather challenges, and the pandemic adds another dimension. I was thinking of a few places to go but the ‘rona is really making me consider my options differently and more closely.

I’ll be heading over to get a few things from storage before I take off. With the trailer being only 15 feet long it is very limiting so I have to choose what I need to take very carefully while realizing I won’t have access to my storage unit for a while. I really don’t like not having my stuff scattered states away but for now it’s best to leave my storage here. Extra clothing this time of year is important and that takes up extra space. Luckily I have had the time to shake things down as far as needs vs. wants. One big thing was realizing that I will have to make more frequent trips for groceries. Not that I will have to go daily, but limits such as there’s only room for one box of pasta and not two without giving up room for something else. It’s been an adjustment (along with no freezer space for prepped meals) as I usually have well-stocked shelves.

That’s to0day’s update.