People laugh at me to be heading to Alaska in January, but for me it’s just going home for a while. I didn’t even bring a warm coat with me while I was traveling in the Southwest, so fortunately my son Grey loaned me a ski parka to wear for the trip north, until I could get inside my house where I have lots of warm clothes. I needed it, too, because passengers must walk outside at the Anchorage airport to board the small plane to Kenai, and it was so COLD!. In fact, when I got to my house it was 18 degrees below zero, but fortunately my house-watcher Guy had turned up the heat for me and it wasn’t bad inside. Thankfully we had a tailwind from Las Vegas to Anchorage, which allowed me to make the very tight flight connections, so I could get back to our local airport the same night. I was prepared to wait for hours, as we all have had to do on occasion, from a late night flight arrival until the first early morning flight the next day. Fortunately I didn’t have any checked baggage to claim so I could fast-walk across the terminal and board the last plane. (I’ve sworn that I would never run through a terminal again, though, and was glad I didn’t have to do that!)
I’m about halfway through my three weeks here, and soon I’ll go back to my cozy life on the road. I’ve been surprised about how much I miss my dog! It seems like the house is very empty without her. I think this is the first time I’ve ever been here without my dog since 2005 when I adopted her! We haven’t always traveled together but whenever I was here she was too. On the other hand, I do enjoy this beautiful house. Sometimes I’m surprised that it really belongs to me, although I’ve owned it since I had it built 30 years ago.
The weather warmed up soon after I got here, and has been in the 20s for the past couple of weeks. That’s just right for Alaskan wintertime. At the same time much of the United States was suffering the below-zero “Polar Vortex” and was really freezing and snowy! But unfortunately now our forecast is to warm up and next week we’ll get freezing rainstorms with wind. Rain is the worst thing that can happen here in the frozen north, because that means ice on top of snow, so we all worry about falling down. I’m always glad to leave when the weather is bad, though, because it’s difficult to go when it’s pleasant.
I’ve enjoyed very much being home, to get my mail and magazines, to see friends, attend the book group to which I’ve belonged for 17 years, get a few things I’ve needed for my travels, and just relax and catch up with projects. I was able to see my cardiologist and hear that my post-heart-attack medications are all working just fine and I won’t need another appointment for six months. I do need to exercise more, though, and find that I walk much more often when I’m on the road, making my dog Cheyenne very happy.
I was shocked when I called my friend Lucy yesterday to confirm our book group meeting in the evening, and she reminded me that three months ago I had agreed to have it at MY house! I completely forgot about it, and also that the discussion would be about my own book selection! That meant I had to tidy up all the stacks of stuff on the dining table that I was preparing to take south with me, cook some quick snacks, and prepare the book presentation. Just as well… I was forced to get organized, do some cooking (olive tapenade, chocolate brownies, shrimp dip) to go along with the goodies that others would bring, and to be more sociable for a change. It was a very nice evening with old friends.
Now I’m packing things to take with me, doing my last visits, getting my last supplies, and will be ready to leave again next Sunday! My friend Shar from Seward came home to Alaska before me so she could spend the holidays here with her boyfriend, and she will leave tomorrow to pick up her motor home in Casa Grande, Arizona. I will get back to my motor home in Blythe, California, a week and a half later so we can meet up in Quartzsite or other BLM free-camping areas nearby in Arizona to spend some time together again. I guess it’s not surprising that it’s harder to meet here in Alaska in wintertime, even though we only live 90 miles apart. The drive on winter highways wasn’t something either of us wanted to do.
It’s so nice to relax in my own reading chair, in front of a lovely fire, to watch the news on television or a video movie, to have email and internet from my beloved Millenicom connection (Yes! It does work in Alaska for those who have wondered about that — not 4G in this area, but good enough for me to cancel my expensive DSL internet service. But best of all it works almost everywhere in the USA, and it fits in my pocket!) I am determined to downsize this year and simplify my life and possessions, but for now this is just lovely.