Only a couple of days remain before I head back to Alaska for the summer. It is with mixed feelings that I clean the motor home, pack up electronics to leave here or take home, spray 303 protectorant on my tires and all the rubber gaskets in windows and doors, clean the solar panels for the last time, defrost the freezer and clean the fridge, sit beside my last campfire, and try to sort paperwork for storage, disposal, or travel. I have arranged for RV and car storage which will be outside this time and not under cover. I have doubts about this, but since my damage fears last year were misplaced, I want to find out if uncovered will work as well as paying extra to have a roof over everything.
I love traveling and this lifestyle suits me perfectly, at least for now. I am extremely reluctant to dive into all the sorting of possessions that I will face in the Alaskan home I’ve had for over 30 years. I should have sold it 20 years ago when I first realized I should, instead of being influenced by my grown children who had moved far away but wanted me to keep it, and of course by my own attachment to this beautiful house that I designed and had built so long ago. Now it needs expensive repairs before being sold, work that I can’t afford. I’m embarrassed to confess it makes me feel weak and even stupid that I am so late to downsize and simplify my life. With few exceptions I am not really attached to possessions and think the easiest solution will be to invite people inside to make offers on anything they want to carry away. And finally sell the whole place.
I am thinking already about where I’ll travel next winter. The Bead Week workshop at the Escapee park in Congress, Arizona, this month was so fun that I’d like to do it again next year. Here’s my favorite teacher, the work room, and a couple of the things I made.
In September when I start traveling again I want to head northward to the Grand Canyon, visit friends in Flagstaff, see the Utah National Parks of Moab, Bryce, Zion, and maybe even go back to New Mexico to see friends again at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta and at the NM State Parks. But for sure I will go to old Mexico for an extended time next winter. Something in Mexico has felt like “home” to me since I first went there in the 70s. Even I can recognize the peace and calm that others notice after I’ve been there for a while. I’m thinking about traveling down the western shore of the Sea of Cortez during the first months of winter and then back around and down the mainland coast in January. I want to stay healthy enough to make lots of travel plans for my coming years. It’s time to go to Munich again, to see my grandchildren in Germany. They ask every time we talk when I will be coming. I’d love to travel around Europe in a motor home too. I have friends who are doing that now, and even have dear friends who live in countries that I can visit on a rambling journey. As here, that means avoiding snowy seasons, which in turn means that I need more freedom. At this stage of life, not having a schedule or itinerary is my most important goal.
I’ve had visitors come to see me! At the beading workshop, my longtime friend Katie from Alaska came to visit with her granddaughter Candace. We were both surprised to learn that we were only an hour apart and I was delighted that she made the effort to come and find me. I also had a fan of my online journal come to meet me in person one day. Mary is a widow who is determined to travel by motor home, and I’m sure we’ll meet again somewhere. This week my friends Candy and Jim came to visit, we met in Mexico last year and are determined to stay friends for life. This couple feels just like family to me, and it was like that from the first time we met. They are RVing to Alaska this summer and I know they’ll enjoy visiting. Also the German couple I met in Mexico, Martina and Norbert, will be bringing their big overland rig to Alaska. I love all these people! Here is a photo of my new friend Mary who found this journal online.
Cheyenne has been a dream travel companion. She is the best dog who ever lived, always trying to be good, friendly and obedient. But she still sheds handfuls every day. I have learned to live with it and hope she is healthy and thrives for a long time to come. But I also dream of the day when there isn’t dog hair on everything. The other day she met a snake for the first time, and as usual she thought they could be friends… NOT! At my campsite a baby dove fell out of the nest in a tree just a few feet from my front door, and the parents were frantic. Cheyenne thought they could be friends, too. The interest was not mutual.
At several places this winter I have shared a gas campfire ring, and it was nice. I finally got one of my own, so now I can have my campfire anyplace I want, to share or enjoy alone for as long (or short) as I want. I never thought I could enjoy it so much. Here is the last fire I sat beside with friends before getting my own.
Well, I have loved an entire winter of nice weather, sunshine and long walks. Now I am returning after six months to Alaska where there is still snow on the ground, my lake is still covered with ice, and things won’t be turning green until May. I can’t say that I’m looking forward to it. I guess I must be getting spoiled.
Every week led to the next one, and I just stayed where i was camping beside the Sea of Cortez. I slowly recovered from a bronchial infection, thanks to modern antibiotics and kind friends. I often felt lazy and unproductive but given a daily dose of sunshine and slow life, being busy or useful felt less important. Finally I set a date to leave for Arizona the last week of March and made flight arrangements to return to Alaska in mid-April. As the days counted down I decided to enroll in a Bead Week workshop for early April where I can learn new beading techniques at the Escapee camp north of Wickenburg. I already do my own version of beading embroidery but am sure I’ll be inspired by these incredibly creative people.
Every day I get emails from supportive friends in the States who are my “real” sisters, providing feedback and constant personal insights that take the place for me of having a human companion. My doggie companion has gotten more independent as we take our leisurely walks and she can visit with her Mexican friends. I love staying in one place long enough to make connections with local people, get hugs and kisses and share emotions and friendships more than fluent communication using language. One woman named Vicky (pronounced “Bicky”) and her family have a coconut and pina colada stand at the end of our road, we have established a barter system where she offers me free drinks and I bake her brownies and other treats. She started it, and now we both laugh heartily while we try to tell each other how much we enjoy sharing our lives.
I found a gorgeous map/satellite photo of the entire Sea of Cortez including Baja and the mainland which I have laminated and mounted on the bathroom door in my motor home. It is circled by a lovely poem in Spanish that I managed to translate, it is posted below. I personally sailed every mile of the outside Baja coast, then down the mainland and eventually back up the inside coast of the Sea of Cortez and over to San Carlos, have driven and camped along much of the land on both sides, and truly love this area. Sometimes I have been asked, and often wondered why I didn’t just move here long ago.
Here is the poem –
Mira al rededor y admira a este esena de casas de varios colores, .. creado y dotado con vida. Ellos hacen a nosotros quienes somos miserables para ver la luz entre las flores y canciones de los campos fertiles, ellos causan que nosotros veamos esas cosas, .. creado y dotado con vida. Ellos habitan en los lugares de la primavera, aqui entre los campos extensos, y solamente para nuestros ventajas el agua turqueza cae gotas rotos sobre la superficie del lago. Donde brilla hasta la ultima en cuatro rayes, donde las flores amarillas fragantes capullan, alli viven los Mexicanos, las juventudes.
Look around and admire the scene of houses of various colors, .. created and endowed with life. They make us, we who are miserable to see the light among the flowers and songs from the fertile fields, they cause us to see those things, .. created and endowed with life. They inhabit the places of spring, here among the open fields, and only for our benefit turquoise water drops falling on the broken surface of the lake. Where it shines to the last four rays, where the fragrant yellow flowers bud, there live the Mexican youths.
These are various photos from the past month. Exploring the coast was fun with my friend Sheila from Manitoba, and at times our quiet camping beach was crowded with weekend visitors. It’s been a very good life and I guess I am probably ready to return to the “real” world.
There was a big photo shoot the other day that happened down by the beach. There were photographers and several family members for the pictures, of a woman who is pregnant! She showed off her big belly, which is apparently become a very popular thing to do these days. Veronica from Vancouver Island says it’s really popular in Canada too. Here are a few snapshots…
Some camping friends, Martina and Norbert from Germany and their big overland travel rig, who are coming to Alaska this summer and we hope to see each other again up north!
And for friends of the Mexican seashore, here are some snapshots of hard-working peddlers and musicians on the beach next to my campsite.
View of my motor home during the crowded and busy week of Spring Break!