Monday, July 18, 2011


What is it about mountains and waterfalls that engross us, capture us, draw us into a moment of awareness and awe? Is it because they have been here for millions of years before we saw them, and they will be here for millions of years after? Is it because they are so solid, and comforting? Is it because for a moment all our petty problems seem so very, very small?

The pulsing of a waterfall. It doesn't really fall at all. It stops and starts and stops and starts and stops and starts ad infinitem. It pulses with a rhythm all its own, whether I am watching it or not. Whether I am here or not. It all goes on, with or without me. Changing, eroding, flowing.....

It makes me feel so small, and so brave at the same time.

Nature. It heals me. There is a sense to it. A huge sense. Comforting.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

mysterious comings and goings

Saturday July 16.....

Left Omak around 10am.....about 25 km before Spokane (4 hours later), the MIL light went on. WTF! But the console says "System ok". Well, clearly someone is lying. So we get to Spokane around 4pm....did I mention it's Saturday? Service departments aren't open on Saturday. So, we fruitlessly drive around for an hour looking for a service department and decide, oh well, let's go get some groceries, go get a camping spot and deal with this on MONDAY!

On the way to the WALMART Brian turns off the truck, goes pee (I know too much information), and then turns the truck back on. Guess what? The MIL light has now gone out, and all systems are normal. GRRRRR!

So, we decide to head further east, and are camping just past Coeur d'Alene in Idaho. Nice Lake. I had a nice swim in a very cold pool (cause you aren't allowed to swim in the Lake), and a wonderful hot tub. There were even jets on my feet!

So, now I am heading to bed with Leo (Tolstoy, that is), and tomorrow we are heading for Missoula (there is a Dodge dealer there so if we get that stupid light again we will have a Dodge dealer not too far away.) So, Roger, if you are reading this, I will say hello to Missoula for you!

Weird how we went all the way across Canada and back last year, three months on the road, and no car trouble at all. However, we are still Yellowstone bound. How bad can it be if we get stuck in Yellowstone?

AND, a bottle of the wine I like only costs 5.97 here! 5.97! I bought two! They even had some pinot grigio for 2.77 but Brian warned me not to go there. 2.77? Gotta love the USA!

The scenery is beautiful. We drove through two rain storms, and saw some dust devils beside the highway. No wildlife yet, but lots of horses and cattle. Oh, and we stopped and admired the Grand Coulee Dam. Pretty impressive!

I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Friday, July 15, 2011


The day started as they all seem to when we camp. Up at the crack of, my lawn chair, coffee, chasing the sun around the campsite. But, then the day loomed. Another day no truck, and if it wasn't to be fixed today a weekend ahead. So, needless to say I was out of sorts.

I am reading Anna Karenina, by Tolstoy, and although I am enjoying it immensely, still I felt restless. So off to town to get a haircut, peruse the used book store, and even try a Huckleberry ice-cream. The haircut and book store ftw, the ice-cream - not so much.

Only a few minutes after I returned to the campsite the dealership called and the truck was ready! We picked it up and took it for an hour drive. All good! And free! Our warranty covered a bill that was easily over 3000 dollars!

So back to the campsite to load up the camper. This is not always an easy task, but today it seemed to be. Then a good dinner, and a glass (or two) of red wine, and although we are both exhausted from the worry and weight of our delay, we are ready to head out tomorrow to continue our holidays.

So, thanks for all who were talking to their angels. It helped!

Let the adventure continue!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Well, here we still are. In Omak. Another part needed. Another day delayed. I have to ask myself, why? I am sure there is a lesson in all this. Something to be learned. An encounter that must be made. A crossing of paths with someone or something. But, what?

Perhaps I won't know tomorrow, or the next day, or even on this trip at all. Perhaps it is just the lesson to take each day as it comes and to forget the what-ifs.

People have been very kind. Offering us rides into town, or telling us about good restaurants to have lunch at. Or just stopping to chat and offer the moments to pass the time.

Passing time is such an odd expression. We shouldn't pass time. We should use it wisely. We have met many people in this campsite who are only a bit older that we are (well, than Brian is), and they have had, or are having serious health issues.
Time is not to be wasted, not to be wished away.

So today I vacuumed, washed mirrors and windows, cleaned out the fridge, and washed the floor of the camper. I reorganized my clothes so I can find them more easily. I spent two hours working on some Grade 8 math questions regarding base 8, 5, 2, and 16. I read two books. We went for lunch at a lovely, kitchy Mexican restaurant. We walked into, and out of town. We made a good dinner and drank good wine. We spent time together. We didn't just pass it.

So, see? Maybe this is the lesson. It really isn't the destination, it is the journey. God willing we might be out of here tomorrow, or Saturday, or maybe not until Monday.

But, there is a reason.

I will have to spend some time figuring out what it is.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day Three and Four

Day Three

Well, we limped the truck to Omak, Washington, about 70 km from where we camped last night. Part way a warning message finally came on our truck information console saying "Exhaust System... Regeneration Req'd Now... Exhaust Filter 100% Full"

Well, that can't be good!

The repair shop took about an hour looking into things and then came to us with "Well, I don't have good news for you"..Eek!

It seems a part has to be ordered (2 or 3 days) and they need the truck sans camper.

So they direct us to the Stampede Grounds RV site, which although it is close to the city, is grassy, with huge maple trees to shade us, and wild bunnies everywhere. It is beside a river, although not a river you would want to swim in! The city is a short walk from here, so tomorrow we will walk in and explore a bit. The area reminds me of Vernon, and the town is like Vernon was in the 70's. I saw a community pool at the outskirts of the stampede ground, and although I can't go swimming yet (cause of the cataract surgery), it would be nice to go and wade around a bit.

We chatted away the afternoon with an older couple from the Okanagon, so that helped passed the time. We have electricity and city water, so I had a nice shower in the camper. See, when you are clean everything feels better.

I made us tacos for dinner, luckily we have lots of food with us, and my Kobo is full of good reads. So, although we are delayed for a few days, it is better that it happened within 70 km of a Dodge dealer and not in Yellowstone National Park. See, Bill? Cup half full!

Day Four

Well, sleeping last night was a fail. I just couldn't get to sleep until about 1:30, but then I slept more or less until 8:30. Up to make a leisurely breakfast since we couldn't go anywhere else..... I had a lovely chat with an elderly woman and her two sons from Penticton. They were pipers! The whole family, and traveled around competing. They also restore classic cars and are Elvis fans. Too cool!

Then another camper offer to drive us into town for lunch and so Brian could phone the truck repair place. They were a nice couple from Oliver. It seems like everyone camping here is from Canada! They all come down here to shop, or gamble, or go to the stampede. The woman was recovering from a stroke and would get herself in and out of there 3500 Dodge Ram. I will never complain about that big step again!

Anyways, couldn't get hold of the repair department so left a message. They finally called back around 5pm. First part they ordered had arrived, but it turns out it wasn't the problem. Now they have to order another part that won't get here til Thursday morning. So.......tomorrow is another day in Omak. Too bad the stampede isn't until early August! There is a place across the river called suicide jump that the riders take their horses over, then splash across the river into the arena. The pitch on that hill has to be at least 60 degrees. It would be crazy to do and crazy to watch!

Mary-Anne inadvertently made friends with a native guy who ended up hanging around our campsite for a couple of hours tonight. He was a little drunk, but quite sweet, and had some good stories....So, after he left we had a good dinner of spaghetti, and then walked into town.

Omak is small! One main street really, with mostly odd little thrift shops, and taverns, and a natural food store, so I might check that out romorrow. I have finished one book, and started a ghost story. That should help me sleep better tonight, don't you think.

So, we are still here, chatting with campers, and natives, and generally bumming around wishing our truck was fixed. It rained a little today, but it is nice and warm, and we have a good fan so the camper is cool.

Ok, not much to tell. Mary-Anne and Brian, stuck in Omak.......maybe I will check out the pool tomorrow!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Day two.....

It started well. Up early (well, early for us which is about 7:30am). Coffee and breakfast in a sunny, grassy campsite. Out by 9:30, which again, is uber early for us.
Groceries stocked up cause we were heading into the cascades. Check. Camping world to buy something frivolous for the camper. Check. Heading to Hwy 20, the slower scenic route. Check.

Stopped for nap around 2:30pm. On the road again by 3:30 pm. Check.

Driving up the long, long hill to the pass, and.......suddenly, no power in the truck. We coasted into a trail head parking turn-off, and then the truck DIED!

Eek! No cell phone reception. A group of hunky hikers, but they didn't have cell phone reception either. We tentatively restarted the truck, and it started, and then made a horrible noise (death rattle?), but it kept running, albeit with the engine malfunction light on (no kidding).

So, we heading out onto the road, heading for the nearest town 35 miles away called Winthrop. Of course no Dodge dealer there, but a very cute, western themed town. Get it Dodge? Like in , Dodge city? oh, never mind.

Ok, so by now it is 6ish, Mary-Anne has low blood sugar (watch out!), and the 1-800 number to call for assistance from Dodge is a wait time of 38-58 minutes. Nope, don't think that will work.

We head for the lake campsite and decided to pay extra so we had internet and Brian could look up the closest Dodge dealer. Fortunately it is only about 70 kms. away, and on the same route we are heading. So the plan is to head there early tomorrow morning and hope that it is an easy fix. The truck is driveable, but not alot of oomph.

So, a quick dinner of hotdogs and caesar salad to get the blood sugar up, a glass of wine (or two) for Brian, and a cup of tea for me. We are fending off the mosquitos with Muskol, and a citronella candle, and listening to many, many birds singing.

I am happily reading a harlequin romance on my Kobo, and Brian is on the internet forum checking out stuff about diesel motors.

So, Day two, barely 24hours into the adventure, and, well, we are having an adventure. I am sure it will all turn out ok......but, if you are in the good books with the guy upstairs, a good word or two in our favour wouldn't hurt.

Oh, and the mountains through the pass? Amazing!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day one

Well, true to form, we didn't get onto the road until about 3:30pm, but we are now in Birch Bay, the sun has just set, Brian is playing the guitar, and I am heading to bed. It is only 9:30, but all the packing and going up and down the stairs of the camper many, many times has made me uber sleepy.

So, tomorrow, we head towards Yellowstone! How cool is that? Brian loved it there last fall, and is wanting to show it to me. Old Faithful here we come.

I love being in the camper. It is so cozy. So cozy that the duvet is calling me.

Night all!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mitzi and Gypsy

Yesterday we had to make the decision to euthanize our cat, Mitzi. Well, she wasn't really ours, but she lived with us for almost 3 years. She belonged to a friend of my son, but that friend has now become part of our extended family.

Mitzi was a character. She greeted us each morning yelling loudly for someone to turn on the bath so she could have a drink. Yes, she was a princess! She continued that habit for a year, until one summer my daughter announced that while we were on holidays she refused the requests, and Mitzi learned to drink from a bowl.

She loved water. Whenever I had a bath she would sit on the edge and drink the soapy, warm water. After I had a shower, she would hop into the tub to lap up the last drops. Once, while filling the bath she got into the tub, and only once the bottom was completely full did she jump out.

She was an old cat, probably about 14 or 15 when she came to live with us. When I brought her home she hid her face behind the fridge, but within a few minutes she was sitting on the arm of my husband's chair. A place she frequented for the rest of her life. She loved that guy. And he loved her.

He retired a year after we got her, and, he shared yesterday, through tears, that she had kept him company all those days when I was at work. I can just imagine them together, sitting companionably, squawking at one another.

The house seems so empty this morning. No squawking cat. The last week was not easy for her, or us. Although yesterday she sat in the sun all day, and even leapt up onto the porch railing for a last sit in her favourite place.

The three of us took her to the vet at the close of the day. We all knew why, although there was always that glimmer of hope that the vet would tell us she could rally. Of course, he didn't. He was wonderful and compassionate and caring. Jenna had got him when she was nine. At twenty-six she wept as she held her for the last time and looked into her eyes as she went to sleep. And we all cried.

And then, we went for a glass of wine to toast the life that was Mitzi's.

When I got home, I learned my brother's cat of 19 years had died that same day. So two more hearts are broken. Two cats, five hearts, and still, I know, there will be love enough for us all to go through it again someday.