November 20th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Travel, Uncategorized

My eye was a little better this morning and the appointment went good. Some of the things calmed down as I slept so that was a real relief. If I am looking at something at arm’s length I can read somewhat. I came home last night, took my glasses out of my pocket, and I put them in a drawer until I can get them replaced. It will be about a month then I’ll go get a new lens prescription for reading. It is so weird not having glasses on for the last 24 hours. I’ll be curious to see how I see tomorrow morning.

I made a stop at Trader Joe’s while in the area. I had left early in case of traffic so I thought I would swing in and kill a few minutes grabbing some snacks before the appointment. After the appointment I needed to kill a few more minutes since the dog was still getting groomed so I went BACK and got a few frozen things. I think the frozen section is interesting as they have not only a great selection of interesting items, they are also smaller portions and that is a welcomed change. One thing I bought the second trip in was some frozen Hasselbeck potatoes. Thin-sliced potato, crispy on the outside and the inside is oh-so-velvety-smooth. These bad-boys are worth buying in multiples.

TJ’s is a European-owned chain (one of the two Aldi companies owns it) so perhaps that is why the smaller portions/packaging sizes. I like both Aldi and TJ’s but I do wish we had an Aldi close by. I do like smaller physical stores like these two chains have, and along with that is that with the store-branding you are not overwhelmed with choices and it’s not really a bad thing since the items are all really good.

I picked up the dog and I guess he was a bad dog at 4:30 this morning and dealt with the wrath of the groomer lady. I knew he would learn who is boss from her; she’s been doing this a while and don’t take 💩 off of any of the animals. She also had to lay the law down with him when he was getting groomed as well.

It’s been a busy few days recently but I have nothing on the calendar for tomorrow morning so I can hopefully sleep in some. I will probably be calling about storage for the trailer to get that off my to-do list. I’ll be pulling some things out of the trailer since I have nothing else here for kitchen, etc. than what is in the trailer. There is some stuff there so I will see what I need and figure it out. Obviously the less I need to take out the better.

It will be odd having that much room and being in a place again. Things change so it is time to adapt and I need to think about the future and the things going on. I still have Colorado on my mind but I have things here I need to do. It may just end up that I will go back and forth between here and there. Staying put for a bit is fine and it gives me some breathing room for the time being to sort out a few things. I was doing good for a little while, but I think I am now up to 17 or 18 different addresses since 2012. Being fairly stationary the last few years was kind of nice I will say, but I did get to where I was ready to travel and I did take some trips (but you know that).

I just finished watching the series “Long Way Up”. It was just like the other two series but this time it was on electric motorcycles (except the cameraman on a V-twin Harley) and with electric support vehicles. They rode the tip of South America all the way to Los Angeles. It was a good series, but of the three I like “Long Way ’round” the best. It was the first one and they went to some cool places. I think the thing with it was the newness of everything they were trying, especially on a personal level. But in all three series they are going through several foreign countries on one trip, seeing so much and meeting so many along the way. Makes me ready to pack my pack and head to the airport.

I see that the clock says it is now tomorrow so I think I will go to bed. TTFN!

November 18th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Uncategorized

Yakima River

It has been a really busy couple of days and there’s more coming up.

I got up yesterday and went to have the tires rotated on the truck. After that I had an early afternoon hearing appointment. As expected, my hearing has gotten worse and my hearing aids are at the end of their lifespan so I got fitted for new hearing aids. I did a test fit and they made a big difference for my hearing. After that I went and picked up an insurance reimbursement check from my towing bill last week. Then I came home and binged on “Scrubs”.

Today I got up to go check out a place to rent. It’s a studio set-up built in one side of a garage. It’s in the country, it’s nice & quiet and it has room – much more than my trailer. Staying in the trailer full-time in campgrounds while stationary can get expensive, and if I am spending that kind of money to just stay put I might as well rent a place and just make some trips. It has wheels for a reason! I think with the pandemic (and the politics) really heating up it is probably the smartest thing to do. Along with that many of the forests and campgrounds are closed now so there’s not much free camping available at the moment unless I went to the Desert Southwest.

I then took Rider to the boarding place for a few days. It’s weird to not have him around but I get my other cataract out tomorrow and need to have some peace and quiet. Friday is a follow-up for that surgery, then I will pick him up on the way home after he gets a bath and his nails clipped (good luck to the groomers). Sunday I’m picking up my new hearing aids, then another cataract follow-up next week.

I came home and did the laundry. I have a few more things on the calendar in the weeks ahead I will need to do. It’s certainly a relief not having the hand surgery, but then it isn’t. It will have to be done at some point perhaps but it’s not worth it to me right now. It IS one less thing to have to worry about, though.

I have not eaten much today and decided that after the laundry it was time to crack open the cheddar smoked sausages that are in my fridge. Can anyone really think of a better way to heat them up than over a wood fire on the grill? The rains came, but I did not care. I was grilling, and it was awesome – even in the rain. I grilled ’em all and ate three. I might use the others for making an omelette or breakfast casserole. They are great in scrambled eggs with some cheese and veggies.

Speaking of grilling in the rain, it’s been raining a lot here. It is not that unusual, but it is definitely quite a bit different than the weather where I have been the past few months, and even last week. We had some winds here yesterday but it has mainly just been gray and rainy. Being farther north the days are also noticeably shorter. Sunset is around 4:30 and it will be getting dark around 4:00 P.M. when Winter Solstice rolls around.

I think I am headed to bed. An early and big day tomorrow.

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 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.