I had a fabulous, warm and sunny winter in Mexico, wearing shorts every day, taking long walks with my dear old dog Cheyenne. I love my motor home and the serene, peaceful life we have at the beach, beautiful birds everywhere, nearby winter camping friends, my active Rotary group, community activities with good food, lots of hugs and happy times. When I got home in April the lake was still frozen solid.
It was a good summer in Alaska, even though it wasn’t very warm and there weren’t a lot of sunny days. I think it only got up to 70 degrees two or three times all summer. Son Peter and Grandson Janek arrived from Germany late in June for the commercial fishing season, and then until mid-August Janek was with me nearly every day and night. This was our sixth summer together and over the years we have developed a sweet friendship and had a lot of fun together. In fact, he undoubtedly knows me better than anyone else in the family. It was a busy, hectic household, and I was grateful again that I still have a house big enough for a family. It was tiring but fun. Although I don’t keep up this journal very much while I’m in Alaska, I will add some of my favorite photos from the summer.
By the time I was preparing to head south in October, it was freezing again and the lake had a skiff of ice. It had been a beautiful fall, but the last month was very hard, as Cheyenne’s health began to suffer and she died on October 7, the day before my 71st birthday. There were some days when she seemed like her old self, was always eating, drinking, happy and eager to walk, but then rough spots that culminated in a terrible last day. What a good life we have enjoyed together and she was almost 15 years old which is elderly for a lab, so I remember her with joy. It will be strange for her not to be traveling with me, and walking every day, any more. It was good that she lived until Peter and Janek had returned to Germany, and I had a couple more weeks after she was gone to recuperate before leaving myself. Since I want to travel longer and farther, I won’t be getting another pet. In fact, I don’t really want anything to take care of, not even a plant!
I had some important things stolen while I was traveling — my laptop computer, my camera, and binoculars… so I gradually got them replaced. Unfortunately my homeowners insurance wouldn’t cover anything.
It was good to be back in the motor home, preparing for a winter in the sun. I started out in Arizona, cleaning everything up and readjusting for a few days at the Escapee Park. Unsurprisingly I needed to buy a new battery for the car, since it had been necessary to recharge it more than once last winter. Then I drove up to Nevada to visit my older son Grey north of Las Vegas at Indian Springs. He fixed the driver’s door handle on the Acura, but never got to the other things like the generator repair or servicing the swamp cooler. In fact, I spent five nights parked there, and he spent the last day angry, so it was time for me to leave. As the old saying goes, “House guests are like fish… after three days they start to smell”. That still goes, even when you bring your own house! I did get to see my only great-granddaughter, Ava Rose, who is already a year and a half old!
I spent a couple weeks regrouping in Pahrump where there are always many other solo RVers. One of them, Michael, worked on the generator for me, replaced the spark plugs, the fuel filter and cleaned out the carburetor, but it still wouldn’t run! Oh well, I’ll get it to a real repair shop someday, but since I hardly ever use it, I don’t really care. The weather is perfect for me, in the 70s during the day and the 40s at night. Of course people here think this is freezing cold and are all dressed in winter clothes. It is a great place to walk, since the town is mostly level. Sometimes I even got 11,000 steps, which is good for me. I was able to attend a huge American Native Pow-wow, and got to meet the dancers from San Miguel de Allende who came up from Mexico!
I helped fix Thanksgiving dinner for nearly 200 people at the Moose Lodge. It was really fun, especially since I am a member of that Lodge. It was pleasant and easy there, I even had electricity instead of boondocking with no services like I usually do. I could vacuum and clean up years of dog hair. I could walk every day and then attend happy hour at the RV park where the Solo group was staying. But then it was time to go!
I am so glad that I lived long enough to experience this beautiful and peaceful life at the beach in Mexico. The weather is glorious, the birds from big water fish catchers to little flitting sparrows and even tinier hummingbirds, they are my companions. People who visit my shaded patio say that this place is like living in a garden. And yet it is actually an empty spot of sandy dirt with one scraggly tree-like bush and some scrub on the ground beside the water. Across my little pond is a ridge of dune and beyond is the gorgeous Sea of Cortez. Sometimes I have neighbors camping in their RVs but not too close. If I get crowded I become rather grumpy and they keep their distance. But I have made great friends of those who come every winter and love this place as much as I do.
I don’t hear often from my grown sons and hardly ever from my daughter. They have busy lives of their own and rarely think of me, much less worry about me. I suppose I can’t do anything that would surprise them. After being a working single mommy for 25 years, I began long driving trips away from Alaska, then went cruising on a sailboat in Mexico, finally returning to the Arctic to finish my retirement, joined the Peace Corps when was 60 years old and lived in Eastern Europe for almost three years. Suffice it to say that I’ve been an unpredictable and somewhat restless vagabond. Curious, is what I call it.
This little town is warm and comfortable, a gringo community on foreign soil and just a few miles from a real Mexican city, and a few hundred miles from a huge and amazing country full of endless adventure if I want to go find it. But I am content to spend most of my time right here, working on Rotary projects and reading books, attending my book group meetings, practicing my Spanish, taking cooking classes, sometimes writing. Every day I walk a couple of miles with my dog partner Cheyenne, even though she’s aging and gets tired before I do.
I wear shorts and sleeveless tops every day, only put on sandals to walk on the road or go shopping. Recently my friends wanted to take me to dinner so I got dressed and they picked me up. We were all the way to the restaurant before I realized that I was still barefoot! I forgot to wear shoes! What a laugh, enjoying a nice restaurant with bare, sandy feet.
We don’t get much rain, but my friend Wendy took this photo just before a storm. I’m the last one in the back.
I think of my home in Alaska, now it’s April and there’s two feet of snow on the yard, temps below freezing every night, and I wonder why I feel the urge to go north. It’s time to go but I relish these last days in the sun, with my birds, my little solar fountain, and feel a little sad that all the birdseed is gone and I really shouldn’t mix up another batch of bird suet. I can’t live here forever, squatting on beach property that doesn’t belong to me, but I can’t imagine being confined between walls of a house in a neighborhood of houses far from the water. I already have the best of all worlds and adore this minimalist existence, with just the possessions that I need or love around me. I am blessed.
And I do not suffer dementia, like my sister who is in a lock-down facility for the infirm, I am free to be lazy or busy as I wish, social or solitary, I can cook and bake and share food with others, browse the internet or listen to my podcasts as I putter with my little projects. I have supplies and tools for more projects if I get inspired, and who can ask for more than that?
My life is wonderful, and I lived long enough to know it. My periodic aches and pains are nothing to this fabulous experience of living.
Here are my favorite hummingbirds and some other neighbors. I may post more photos later.
But I have to admit that we had some thefts this winter, when doors were left unlocked. That includes me! My new laptop was stolen, also my camera and binoculars, and a bag holding just tissues. Fortunately I did bring my old laptop computer so I could still get online. We sure learned to keep everything locked up! For this reason I don’t have many pictures to share, but it made me appreciate even more my happy peaceful life. Cheyenne was home when it happened, and was undoubtedly happy to have company! She’s sure not a guard dog!!