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.