Saturday, October 24, 2009

Toad, Trout and Spilled Milk.

Our stay in Anacortes was short - we boogied south down I-5 towards our old stomping grounds in southern Oregon.

We found a vehicle just across the border in California. It was all set up to tow behind and RV - the RV crowd calls towed vehicles Toads. So, we have a green Jeep Toad. It is nothing fancy but we will be able to drive around now after we get the RV all set up. It will get us to many beaches and hiking areas and today I learned about geocaching so we may just have to try that. I really had never heard of it but all it takes is a google search! Wow!!

Cool Vintage Motel Sign in Yreka, California

Mt. Shasta at 65 mph

It's great to be back in southern Oregon - we lived here back in 2001-2003 when we bought a great place out in the country near Cave Junction where I learned to garden and preserve. Work and life called us back to Alaska but it was a great escape while it lasted! It felt so inviting driving into this area after our long drive.

Some friends generously offered us refuge on their vacant property and it felt like being home again. I didn't' realize how much I missed the night sky here. The stars can make me dizzy! We really do love this area and may very well wind up settling down here after a year or two of traveling. It will be our home base, that's for sure.

But while it is great fun out in the country, getting reliable internet is tough! I have been out of touch for a few days because of it. So, we moved closer to town are parked in a friend's yard in Grants Pass. And now that we have our Toad, we plan to rent a space for a week or two in an RV park close by. It's nice to stay with friends but having the proper power plug-ins, wi-fi, cable tv, water and sewer makes life much easier. RV Parks are so very convenient. There is a lot to learn about full time RV'ing and we are totally green. But we already know we usually learn things the hard way so we are prepared for some trying moments on occasion as we learn the ins and outs of life on the road. The folks we bought the Toad from were full-timer's and I had more questions about that than about the vehicle we were buying. It's certainly a much different lifestyle than what either of us know. But so far, we are meeting some really fun people and are enjoying the freedom of what we are doing.

So while we are here, regrouping in familiar territory, I'm trying to put together a few workshops. With only short notice they will be small but that's a great way to start out. There is definitely interest wherever we go - I met a puppet maker named Trout who was quite intrigued with my needle felting - he had never seen the medium. It is so thrilling to be able to open a new world of possibilities to creative people like Trout.

So there we have the Toad and the Trout but hold your tears for the spilled milk. Never cry is what I have been told but sometimes that is tough. We made it 3000 miles without any problems but as we were rounding the corner to our friends' house the refrigerator popped open and out spilled a 1/2 gallon of milk -and not on the wood floor, but it bounced into the bathroom and spilled all over the carpet. It ran under the walls and soaked everything. We had to pull carpet because I cannot live in a small space shared with the smell of rotting milk in the carpet. We are still letting the floors dry out and will be replacing the carpet soon. The joy of living in a moving house!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

We Made It!!!!

We made it safely and happily through Canada and arrived in the US early this afternoon.

Our day started with a bit of a chuckle as we pulled out of the RV Park we stayed in. The other name had been removed from the sign. I guess that relationship didn't work out. Personally, I would have removed both names but perhaps Micheal is holding out hope for a new name to put in the slot.

The trip through the Frasier River canyon was stunningly gorgeous. The road is narrow and winding so I had to take all of the pictures while moving. Finding a place to pull over at a moments notice is tough.

(what in the heck is Crackers up to?)

We stopped in Hope, BC for a little breather before crossing the border back into the US. Hope is such an quaint town in one of the most dramatic settings imaginable with towering mountains on all sides. So beautiful!!

Bald eagles certainly reminded me of home.

We are settled in for the evening in an RV park in Anacortes, Washington. It is so nice here we just might stay a few days. I just can't seem to take in enough of the amazing Pacific Northwest smells. I step outside and breathe deeply - it is just so lush and green here. I realized that I have spent nearly every winter of my life deprived of the smell of the great outdoors. When everything goes into a deep freeze, nothing smells; except for car exhaust and smoke from wood stoves.

We are having fun watching people's reactions to my dolls in the windows. They are bringing smiles to many faces and are quite a conversation starter when we pull into an RV Park. We are really going to have fun!

More tomorrow!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Still somewhere in Canada

I'm not even sure of the name of the town we are in. But today we had a very pleasant day of easy travel. The roads get MUCH better the further south we go.

And I discovered that I really love driving into Autumn, leaving old man winter far behind.

We started out our day with a scenic drive out of Fort St. John along the Peace River into the idyllic town of Hudson's Hope.

We stopped at a most glorious lookout to see the farmland far below us with the Peace River far below that. The fog was lying thick down there but the sun was shining on us.

The Peace River valley is one of my favorite stretches of this trip. (This is my 5th time down the Alaska Highway.)

From there we pushed into Chetwynd and were delighted to find the first fruit stand of our trip. We purchased our breakfast of delicious BC apples, plums and pickled asparagus. I know that sounds like a strange breakfast but it was sure yummy. We ate the whole jar of asparagus!

We continued into Prince George following the Frasier River. We had dinner in the town of 100 Mile House and found an RV Park wherever it is we are now.

View Larger Map

And I don't have any wildlife shots to share - I had my camera at the ready all day but only saw a few deer.

Tomorrow we will arrive in Seattle. We hope to purchase a car to tow behind us once we get there. I am starting to adjust to the fact that we have our home with us wherever we go. Ethan is sprawled out on the couch watching a movie, unwinding from his long day of driving. The dogs are cozy in their beds and I am busy on the computer. And house cleaning only takes a few minutes! And besides a couple of meals at restaurants, we have eaten in for every meal. That is saving us so much money. I'm getting pretty good at this RV cooking in a tiny kitchen. I love to cook and I was worried I wouldn't be able to function. But it's not too bad at all.

The coolest thing is that I am finding it very easy to needle felt while going down road. I didn't even break a needle or stab myself! I have table that pulls out in front of my seat. What a great studio with an ever changing view. I completed my Li'l Donald Trump doll with pics to come tomorrow. He is genuinely creepy!

And now, I do believe it is bedtime - Goodnight friends!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fort St. John, BC, Canada

Well, it's been fun, rough, scary, gorgeous, tiring and exciting! Since Friday, we wound our way through Yukon territory and across the Northern Rockies. I spent most of Friday crying my eyes out. Pathetic, I know, but what a well of emotions came out about our big adventure as I faced anxiety from the trials and tribulations of driving the Alaska Highway in the cold, snow and ice. By Saturday, the sun was out and the roads were much better. By Sunday, as we crossed the northern Rockies, the weather was incredible and my excitement about what we are doing is back.

Entering Canada at Beaver Creek in the Yukon.

Frost Heaves - you can see them - they are much worse than they look, the motor home handled them well, thankfully.

Wood Bison near Liard Hot Springs. These things were everywhere!

Oh-oh!! They spotted the Wood Bison.

The Sign Post Forest, Watson Lake, Yukon Territory, Canada

The best sign ever! The black symbol means frost heaves. These Polish tourists had a great outlook!!

Little tourists in The Signpost Forest.

Stone sheep in the northern Rockies.

Licking the salt from the road.

So many new things to sniff!!! The dogs are great travelers.

Here I am soaking away the day's worries at Liard Hot Springs. This pool was 9 ft deep and way out in the snowy woods. The water was about 100 degrees F and I loved every minute of it.

A freezing river. In another week or two, this will be frozen solid

Caribou in the Rockies.

View Larger Map

Tomorrow we push south. We hope to make it into Washington!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Holy Frost Heaves, we're in Tok, Alaska!!

We had a beautiful drive north out of the Matanuska Valley today. We made it safely to our planned destination of Tok, Alaska: about 100 miles from the Canadian border. Today we drove past the mighty Matanuska Glacier, the awesome Wrangell St. Elias mountains, we spotted a coyote, a couple of bull moose, had a near miss with a small herd of caribou and encountered many dreaded frost heaves. For those of you in more temperate climates, the ground heaves when it freezes and plays havoc on asphalt. But, our motorhome seemed to handle it splendidly!!!

Wrangell St. Elias Mts

Crazy Felt Alive dolls watching the world go by!

Look out for Caribou!

Are we there yet?

Tomorrow we head into Canada with a plan to make it to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory by nightfall. But tonight, it is cold outside, 10 degrees F so we are bundling up and cranking the furnace up to comfy! Good night friends!

View Larger Map

We are on the road!!

Well sort of! One of the things we needed to do before leaving was to sell our truck. We were pretty disappointed that we were all set to go but had not found a buyer and still had this truck. A truck we are making payments on that is too big to tow behind. We had made arrangements to leave it with a used car dealer and were going to drop it off on our way out of the state. Minutes before we got on the road, someone called that wanted to look at the truck. The good news is that he is buying it. The less than good news is that it delayed our departure for two days. We are meeting him at the bank in a few hours and leaving town from there. Minus one truck payment!! Yay!!!!!!!! It feels like good Karma.

And we are experiencing an unusual warm spell for October that reaches up into Canada where we will be traveling. So, we should be on the road this morning and nearing the Canadian border this evening.

I will update with pictures soon!!