Travels with Joshua…

There are many reasons to camp out in the desert, but one is that you get sun rises and sun sets, equal. We have had a wonderful week over in New Mexico, finding some amazing rocks, enjoying the solitude of being alone in the desert.  We are an odd couple, apparently our “signs” Leo and scorpio do not match, we approach everything from a totally different angle.  When we arrange to meet anywhere… something always goes wrong and we interpret differently. Despite all of this, politically when something comes up, we are both totally in sync.  We are both very well read, and have been for a very long time, and I love that.  WE CAN learn from history, if only we remembered the details. 🤔 And then there is Josh whom we always have a good chin wag with as well.

Phoenix airport has an area called the call phone call area where you wait for someone to land, and we could actually watch the planes come in from that spot, so we knew exactly when he landed

Josh is flying down today  to spend a week+ with us. He has expressed an interest in seeing the desert.  I had to help him find out where to get his covid test … and arrange it, yet he already knows that there are 11 IN-n- Out burger joints in Phoenix.  And before heading off into the desert with 2 vegetarians, he is going to In-N-Out……So I guess that will be the first thing we do. 

Fairly brief ….. and TO the point menu…..

OK moving on, 5 days…. Been to the In-N-out and ??? Not sure any of us saw the attraction.   The menu was pretty darned basic, however Josh claims that there is a “secret” menu?? 🤔. He ordered animal fries which were not on the menu and pretty gross…. HE did not even eat them

It is quite different traveling with Josh, I sit back at the table and it is more like being on a train.LOVE IT.

We went back to Alamo Lake and did some heavy duty 4x4ing, trying to find a way to the other side of the lake, we did eventually get to the other side of Bill Williams River, which flows out of the lake, and is quite small right now. Things got much too difficult to get further.

dust a foot thick……. hard on the sinuses….
not quite sure what happened to this bus, ….. or even how it got here in the first place 🤔. We struggled to get there in our jeep.

We were out the other day gathering agates, large and rough, commenting that in another 10,000 years these rocks would likely be the pretty small agates on a beach in Oregon.  (Much like the ones we have found there that likely took 10,000 years to get there).  THAT being said…. The place we were in New Mexico was just over the continental divide, so perhaps THOSE agates might flow to another sea.   Apparently every continent has a continental divide, which divides which body of water the creeks, rivers flow towards. It DOES change from time to time, which is a problem for a store that claims to sit on the continental divide.

Turns out there is a continental divide trail coalition, and you can hike the continental divide. travels with Joshua, our son, started by picking him up at Phoenix airport and we are making our way to Las Vegas Airport to drop him off at on the weekend.

Today we made it to the Turtle mountains, we tried to go in there ??5 years ago with the old motorhome before we were towing the jeep, ….. Got stuck and in the “getout” part… destroyed the muffler. Today it was nice to just park the Motorhome by the road and just take the jeep in.

all and all having a great time. We have had a great “cultural exchange” with Josh. The night he arrived we were camping at a casino, so we took him in for a bourbon in the casino…. he had never been. Then the next day on the way out of phoenix Josh said we MUST stop at a dispensary….. So I googled dispensary … cannabis. We ended up out on the very edge of the city and the area was extremely fun down, we turned off on a road that we took to the end…. I was beginning to wonder what we had gotten ourselves in to. Tons of cars pulling in and out of this house in the middle of nowhere. But I was pleasantly surprised. First off was evidence of the covid restrictions, and the 6 foot signs were formally painted onto the sidewalk, I was impressed. The first room (check in room), was a bit sleazy looking, but once we got past the “green door”, it was strictly business. Josh helped me through my purchase…. CBD oil for sleep.

My OH my…. nice sleep on half suggested dose.

Interesting ad…..

Bye for now, much love Janet, Ken, Tucker AND JOSHUA

Rabbits, Tucker and warning, I might mention the war.

When it comes to rabbits, Tucker is relying too heavily on his sense of smell .  I have witnessed several instances where he was sniffing around the front door of the rabbit house and the rabbit exited the back door and Tucker was none the wiser.  These rabbits are fast, which is why I have no photos of them and have no concern that Tucker will ever catch one of them.  We leave all our composting out in the desert, so that the rabbits will get a smorgasbord. So I feel that in a small way, we are paying them back for tolerating Tucker.

He also seems to have decided to take it upon himself to provide for proper burials for all the dead critters he finds. He will come up to us with a bone ….looking quite sheepish… and then comes back a few minutes later with a very brown nose. …..and no bone…   Or perhaps he is planning for future visits, like a GPS marking.🤔

Alamo Lake…

We are currently in New Mexico, splurging at a campground. The first time we have paid to camp in over a month.  Our solar/battery system is working pretty well, but still not quite enough to completely relax about it. Ken has a CPAP which runs all night and often the furnace is needed at night, and although we have managed thus far, it is always a bit of a concern, so Ken is constantly reading up on how we could eke out a few more amps of sunlight/electricity per day.  Perhaps we need another panel to fully charge the batteries.  So tonite it is a luxury ……. Not having to worry if the phones are charged before the sun goes down.

Out in the boonies at Round Mountain.

We have been “boon docking” (dry camping) in some rather remote places, and sometimes my imagination gets away with me and I worry, but then I tell myself….. WE LIVE in a rather remote place where there is no one around, so that makes me feel better.  HOME SWEET HOME.  It IS more fun when you are camping with friends.

Of course we ARE out rockhounding every day, and finding lots of rocks, and learning more about rocks all the time.

Unusual nodules we found at Round Mountain.
What they look like open…..
Great rocks…
I sure wish my pictures turned out as dramatic as what I can see.
An awesome bit of graffiti has appeared just off city road by @mydogsighs CARDIFF

And then there is the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.  A week of negations with NATO (the US), very slim details by western media. Putin (apparently) feels that if the Ukraine is allowed to join Nato, that that WILL be a threat to Russian security. I guess US could move the nuclear weapons even closer to Russia….than Turkey? Hard to say, but the US clearly said NO to any  limits to the expansion of NATO. It seems given the stakes they could have tried a little harder , knowing that Russia would invade Ukraine if they did not agree to limit expansion of NATO, which is exactly what happened.  I wonder if Russia had said we WILL bomb NY city if you do not limit NATO expansion…..whether the US (nato) would have done anything differently….perhaps tried a wee bit harder to “negotiate”. It just seems that Nato has thrown Ukraine under the bus…..the Russian Bus.

We feel for the Ukrainians, Ken’s mothers family escaped from the Ukraine. So Ken is a first generation Canadian, his mother was born in Ukraine. But we also feel for Iraqis, and Palestinians and Yemeni.

I try hard to think of all people the same, and equal. Russians, Ukrainians, Americans, Canadians, Palestinians. AND judge their actions equally. The western media does not. I watched as hundreds of Americans protesting the Iraq war (in DC)were arrested. The media did NOT “cover the war”. AND when Chelsea Manning shared photos of what was going on in the prisons of Iraq to journalist Jullian Assange, they both went to jail (in the long run). They were just Iraqis fighting for their country. The world did NOT cut of the USA’s finances, perhaps if they had, the war in Afghanistan and Iraq might not have lasted as long. The rest of the world did not impose sanctions on the US for the illegal war in Iraq. The same is true for the illegal actions of Israel with regards to Gaza. My own prime minister, Trudeau, said that Canadians supported the rights of Israel to “defend itself” while they bombed the shit out of Gaza last year. US weapons, US funding. HOW ironic. Now they are talking war crimes and the international crimes court, but the US, and Israel do not recognize this court.

It is possible to grieve for the people of Ukraine, but also wonder if Nato did not exist, if any of this would happen. Grieve for the daily killing of innocents in Gaza, Yemen as well.

So now I shall get off my soap box and wish everyone adieu. We are in New Mexico, Demming now. We watched a ?herd of Antelopes wander by last night, brought to our attention by Tucker, who was fortunately indoors.

Much love, Janet, Ken and Tucker the lousy Rabbit hunter.

Just HOW dry is the desert?

‘How Bad Is the Western Drought? Worst in 12 Centuries, Study Finds.”

Fueled by climate change, the drought that started in 2000 is now the driest two decades since 800 A.D. The megadrought in the American Southwest has become so severe that it’s now the driest two decades in the region in at least 1,200 years, scientists said Monday, and climate change is largely responsible.The drought, which began in 2000 and has reduced water supplies, devastated farmers and ranchers and helped fuel wildfires across the region, had previously been considered the worst in 500 years, according to the researchers.’ NYtimes Feb14/22

It is quite an understatement that the desert is dry, but this study shows that it is dryer than it has been in a VERY long time.  We have noticed evidence of dead cacti everywhere out here.

We have spent 4 days at Alamo lake, which has become a “do not miss” for our future trips. It is an ATV Mecca, as well as bass fishing. (well… and lesser known rock hounding🙄) 

 The lake is actually a reservoir formed from a dam blocking the Bill Williams river.  You would never know a drought was going on as the ATVs, after zooming around the dusty desert all day feel the need to wash off their vehicles before heading back  into the dusty desert the next day.  Although I guess we are biased…. We never wash our vehicles.

We have sat each of the past evenings and watched the moon just pop up on the horizon… as if the curtain was opening for a show.  I only wish I knew how to get  a good picture of the moon that looked vaguely like it looked to me.

We have been on an 4 day search for the elusive petrified palm root, which is known to be scattered over the hilltops overlooking the Santa Maria valley.  To begin with it took awhile to figure out which one was the Santa Maria valley, vs the date creek valley and the Bill Williams valley.

The first 2 trips out we followed the map which was quite confusing as the “roads” are just ATV roads and all it takes is about 10 atvs going over a new path to make it look like a road.  On the third day I discovered that THIS book included a GPS coordinate.  It was easy to get to the GPS coordinate, but we found no petrified palm room and we were miles from where the map had “led” us.

On the fourth day we decided to take the difference between the GPS and the map and bingo we found lots off what we THINK might be palm root petrified. Then again we are going by sketchy pictures we have found online

sketchy online picture

Oh and we are back in Burro country. From where we are camping we can watch a large herd of burros wander down to the lake.

The Alamo lake campground is filling up today as we are leaving. We had not noticed that it was Presidents day weekend, but good timing. Apparently this is the weekend that all those who live in the area come to dirt bike and ATV. The way it was explained was that instead of all the grey wave touring the area in side by sides, this will be the younger crowd and moving MUCH MUCH faster. So good time to leave.  We never know when you reach a peak where you cannot see the ground on the other side….. 🤔🤔How DO you know that someone is not coming up the other side?

a side by side parked next to us…. WOW named after our grandson 😀🤔

When we were in Quartzsite, some friends took us on an adventure to see a watering system out in the desert for the wild animals. Large panels of corrugated metal with some sort of drainage system and a huge tank, and then a watering trough.

I think this means…. don’t shoot the animals who have come down for a drink.

Sadly the trough was dry when we were there. dry dry dry.

Another stop we made was to see “bowls” in the rock, likely the indigenous way of grinding grains and corn.

We are having a great winter down here.

Thanks for reading… Janet Ken and tucker….who are somewhere between Phoenix and Tucson in a wind storm right now

Castles in the sky…and on wheels

When “white” Americans first reached the Castle Dome mountains in the early 1860s there were already signs of previous mining activity.  It is felt that Native Americans had mined in the area and backpacked the ore to a processing site ono the Gila River. Remnants of adobe furnaces can be found there.

Mineral deposits discovered on the Colorado river in the early 1860s led prospectors to discover silver in the Castle Dome mountains.  I am thinking it is  like finding a little bit in the river…… then more in a certain area and essentially following the money.  I am sure it is WAY more complicated.

So Castle Dome Landing was developed on the banks of the Colorado river as a shipping point for the ore getting to California for smelting. 

Castle Dome (the DOME) is maybe 40 miles from the Colorado river, so a town developed closer to the mine, and was originally named Pitoti (which was the name of a weed in the area) The name was eventually changed to Castle Dome City.

not hard to see how the town/mine and landing got their names

We went to the museum a few days ago, which was about an hours drive from Quartzsite. Although much that is IN the town has been brought from elsewhere, it IS an interesting site. There were 300 mines in the Castle dome mining area and the area is the longest worked mining area in the state. The artifacts found in the buildings in the town were found when the mines were explored back in the 90s. The mines closed in 79. The buildings there were brought together from an area of about 300 acres around. There were 5 pubs….OUR KIND OF TOWN!!

This was an interesting spot with all the purple glass. Apparently the natural colour of glass is green, but since people wanted it clear, in 1918 they started adding magnesium to glass to make it clear. BUT in time glass made with magnesium would turn purple. They later on used Selenium, to turn the green glass purple, but in time THIS glass would turn yellow.

a couple of pale ale please….
who would have thought there would be so many vintages of barbed wire

The townsite was quite scenic and it is said that a few more noteworthy gun fights and this town would be up there with Tombstone in “sights to see in Arizona”

As always we are on the look out for ideas for decorating our house.

One of the very cool things about this “museum town” is that we got to take tucker with us, one of the LESS cool things is that OTHER people got to bring their dogs as well, ….and well Tucker never does well greeting other dogs at the end of a leash. But he did not have to sit in the car. It DOES say on several tourist info sites that dogs are not allowed, BUT that was not accurate, because he was welcomed in to museum.

The lady at the welcome desk was extremely nice and her daughter was learning finances and took our funds. The lady is with her husband and 3 kids whom they are home schooling, and living in RV year round. They are in this area doing this job until April. She said that her husband’s work, was taking him away from home and he was putting in long hours and not seeing his kids. So they just packed it in and because full time RVers. When you look at the situation that way, it seems like a great alternative.

There are a LOT of people we come across each day here who have done sometime similar and are living in their RV. One guy said that after living in an apartment for 15 years the owners had sold suddenly and he could not find anything he could afford. Many different stories, much like the stories in the movie “Nomadland”. Many people here are “full timers” and spend the winters here in Quartzsite and then in April or so when it is too hot here, they move out to other areas of the country for work or just for better climate. Earlier in January the big RV show, which is a huge tent filled with hundreds of booths selling anything an RVer might be interested in……..flagpoles, batteries, solar, and a multitude of gadgets. Anyways…. there were booths there to recruit these full timers to other places and jobs… such as Amazon, or other states parks dept.

It costs 180 dollars to camp here for entire winter. For that you get to camp anywhere in the massive area designated. OR 40 bucks for 2 weeks. For that you can use the Sani dump and water fill station and bins for garbage. I took this video on our way to the Sani this morning, just to give an idea of what the long term visitors area looks like. It stretches out for miles in each direction. I would guess that each camper gets a half acre to full acre of space. There are plates from every state…. VERY few Canadian plates, which apparently is quite different.

And this is where we are.

home sweet home

Notice anything new????? new booties

So that’s us for now…. thanks for reading, much love from Janet, Ken and Tucker in (these boots are made for walkin)

WARNING: some discussion of Canadian truckers…

We have been down in Quartzsite for almost 2 weeks now. I gather that Arizona never had a mask mandate, because almost no one wears them here. Ken and I have had so many holidays ruined by illness, I feel fortunate that is at least “acceptable” to wear a mask.

From Kofa mountains

Years ago~1999, I trained for months to run the Maui Marathon and picked up a gastro bug on the plane and was unable to run the race….. 7 years ago Ken and I went on a bike barge trip in France, where you sleep on the barge, and cycle between spots during the day. It was a small barge, and someone boarded with the flu. Gradually each day someone else succumbed to the illness. Ken and I finished the trip free of the flu, but with in 24 hours we were both very sick. It was a real drag to be in France, sick. We went to Spain 5 years ago to hike the Camino trail, and one night after a particular long day, we slept in the common sleeping area (Alburge) and someone clearly was coughing…… a day later I had to quit the Camino 70 KM short of our destination because I was coughing and very wheezy. (the next day I fell and broke my shoulder). I also know of people who have come home early from european trips because of sickness. It is just NOT FUN to be sick and any time, but worse when you are somewhere away from home.

Kofa mountains

It seems that they are lifting mandates all over the place, but in crowded indoor places I am going to continue to wear mine (for now) …. I never wore it because it was a mandate in the beginning … I wore it because I was trying to prevent illness. And at the beginning, there were no masks… I had leftovers from the fires/smoke in BC. I felt extremely lucky to have an N95 mask back then.

Look up from my boot…. HUGE grasshopper..

We are having a great time down here wandering the desert looking for rocks, rarely a soul in sight for miles. We really are set up such that we do not need to go into crowded indoor places very often. Sadly the pub here that has the most selection on tap, is very crowded, and no masks. It has been awhile since we found a good brew pub. I would suggest for this area… to BYOB..😊

Ken and Tucker…..Kofa mountains in background

It is also getting quite depressing that a trucker/car/RV “convoy” of vastly smaller numbers than are reported in some news outlets, are occupying Ottawa, to “protest vaccine mandates” Ken and I have been to our share of protests, mostly protests against war…..(protests against needless killing of innocent vulnerable individuals). THESE protests in Ottawa and other large cities and border crossings are essentially in favour of needless killing of innocent vulnerable individuals.

Lost near Wileys well in California

The protests we have attended over the years have not been funded by wealthy individuals, but somehow they have managed to provide toilets, food, and emergency facilities. There is a million nurse march in Washington DC in May, which I am sure will be vastly better organized. These Trucker “protesters” have been defacataing in peoples yards…… then again, when you gotta go you gotta go…..disgusting.

not sure I have said how much I LOVE the Kofa mountains…

Another main difference with the protests we have attended, is that people actually get arrested if the stop the flow of traffic. It seems that THIS protests GOAL is to stop the flow of traffic. Why does one law apply for anti war movements and another for truckers who are afraid of needles. Right now they are actually blocking the border crossings basically stopping their “fellow truckers” from doing their job. Most truckers in Canada are vaccinated. Why should truckers be exempt from the same rules that the rest of us have to comply with, in returning to Canada from the US. The actual point is to stop the spread of disease….🤔🤔. Its not like Biden and Trudeau stopped truckers from crossing the border unvaccinated….just to mess with their “freedom”. If it had to do with freedom, you would think they would have protested when they had to have a passport??

OH AND BTW, there IS a big possibility of a war right now, that would involve Canada and these stupid truckers are taking the limelight of the news when journalists SHOULD be doing a better job of explaining what exactly is going on in Russia/Ukraine rather than skimming the top.

I must say I was disappointed that Trudeau would not meet with the protesters “because he disagreed with them” I gather that he would also not meet with a group of anti war protesters, since he is so het up sending troops to Ukraine.

Sorry to have ranted here.

I did want to close with a video of Tucker trying to wear booties in the desert to keep from getting cactus thorns in his paws.

Much love to all from Ken, Janet and Tucker the dog with booties

Please wear a mask if you do not like being sick.

Afton canyon, the Mojave (grand) canyon.

Ken and I are finally in our element. We have been camping(boon docking) at Peggie Sues diner just east of Barstow, California.. And we are going hiking in the mountains just west of Mojave desert, the Afton Canyon each day. Afton Canyon is actually a few canyons opening into the Mojave river. The Mojave river is interesting in that it flows underground for the most part and this is one of the few areas it flows above ground.

Satellite view

Afton Canyon is ALSO interesting in that it(they) were formed when Manix lake drained 25000-13800 years ago.

“The lake formed about 500,000 years before present, when the Mojave River left the Victorville area and started to drain into Manix and Lake Harper. The lake did not immediately include the Afton basin; its integration occurred only about 190,000 years ago, most likely due to a catastrophic flood. Lake Manix lasted until 25,000–13,800 years ago, when Afton Canyon formed, either through slow downcutting or a large outburst flood.”

So the Afton Canyon is known as the Mojave…..grand canyon. We have not seen the Grand Canyon, but find this canyon so impressive. I only hope our pictures do it justice.

The lake was about 91 square miles and…” Yermo, together with Dunn and Newberry springs, are present-day towns whose locations would have been close to the shore of, or submerged beneath, Lake Manix.”

at bottom of canyon
at top….

We went back hiking in this canyon for 3 days, took picnic and wandered all day up there.

avocado and home made hummus on homemade bread.

Tucker just does not like these areas where there is no shade. The rocks are not hot, but his feet get sore on the rocks and he has very short hair, and gets hot easily… so we brought an umbrella for him. The temps were around 18 C….. not too hot.

I guess this is where I will just let a picture say a thousand words and just leave it at that.

Beautiful place, we always seem to find amazing spots where there are no other people… while we are looking for rocks. We did find rocks, but nothing like the views.

I am being a slow writer and we are now in Quartzsite, so more on that later

Much love

bye for now much love from Janet, Ken and Tucker the HOTDOG…..

Those were the days..

We are now in southern Oregon.  We have spent an amazing 2 weeks catching up with friends and visiting old haunts. 

Just north of Depoe Bay.

We spent 13 years living in Oregon and they were pretty significant years in our lives. Our kids grew up there, and we experienced some of the most amazing years  in our lives.  I remember even thinking at one point, “these WILL be the best times of our lives”.  It is an odd thing to think, or to even quantify, but somehow I knew. 

Siltcoos trail near Florence

Ken and I decided early on when we moved there that we would take the same day off each week. We took off every Friday. Ken would cycle and I would run.  Initially I ran the highways and he cycled the trails, but there came a time when I decided that  running on the highways would eventually catch up with me, both the hardness of the path and the risks of cars. I used to sometimes run from our house in Bandon to Fred Myers in Coos bay, it was just a marathon 26.4M. My own little marathon.  Once we settled on trails, Ken and I had a loop we did that was a 21 mile loop we did every Friday.  It is hard not to imagine how great these years were.  To be THAT fit💪🏻

The Iraq war broke out, we started organizing protests and found an amazing group of friends, and one day I was quite upset about the invasion, I started writing songs.  We had a band, we traveled around for events, DC, Texas, Missouri, California etc etc…. We made 5 CDS!!!  They really were amazing years.  Then in February 2009, I was diagnosed with an advanced form of endometrial cancer and somehow all of that ended.   Looking back it did not necessarily need to end, but I guess the momentum was gone.  After all the treatments were done we moved back to Canada because the insurance was so costly for me in the US, and we did not know where things were going with my cancer. (THAT chapter ended too).

Face Rock Bandon

Going back to Bandon this time I was totally overwhelmed with the loss of THAT life.  Of course nothing lasts forever, and many of my friends from then have now passed on, so sadly.

What made that part of life so special?  I guess anything can be special if you put your mind to it, right?  Why did I stop running?  I did run ONE “marathon” after coming back to Canada,( I call them marathons but they are really just a 26.4 mile run 🤔)

Ken and I always thought that these Friday run/cycles were how we survived all  of the conflict at work. (and there WAS a lot of conflict at work). Small town hospital politics   etc….  The trails were difficult with roots and rocks and that is what levelled the playing field and he did not have to wait too much for me.  Ken would say at about 5 miles, “ I just got _so and so______ off my back” 

So can you go back?  Was I just on a runners high for all those years? 🤔  Well the first day back at the trails we walked one of our favoured loops, and the next day I ran it, and another one. It was so wonderful.  (not 21 miles, but a few…) Perhaps you CAN go back? We shall see.

…. a very poor picture of a very old map that WAS our life we lived every Friday

We had wonderful visits with friends, walked a few beaches.

We went to our favourite restaurant in Bandon, Bandon Brewing … (where they make beer and pizza.)HOWEVER…… despite a poster on entering saying that by the governors order masks were mandated, NONE Of the staff were wearing masks (and they seemed to have LOTS of staff).  Most of the customers were wearing masks though.  The last time we were in Bandon we went there 3 times, this time, just the once. 

Depoe Bay, coming down was quite an experience. There were “king tides” which are = “A tide just after a new or full moon, when there is greatest difference between high and low water” When these high tides are combined with very high swells, and lots of rain, they usually lead to flood situations AND large waves crashing on the beach (rocks etc). I guess when also combined with higher oceans the spray caused by these waves go much further, in this case across the highway and onto the stores on the other side of the road.

We hung around trying to get a good picture of water flying in the air, without it landing on me while I was taking a picture, …. and this was the best shot I got… but then we found a nice, warm, dry place to watch the waves…

Fortunately for us, we had brought our growler and so took home a jug of the great beer. The other customers were not so fortunate because the bar had no empty growlers, (because of the supply chain issue).

So Bye for now love Ken, Janet and Tucker the “svelte” beach dog….

hunkered down …. again

Well we have had a wonderful 3 days of exploring, rock hounding, and just taking in Vitamin D, but now we are once again hunkered down in a storm. 30 MPH winds with gusts up to 70 MPH. BUT what a great place to be hunkered down. Ocean swells of 20 feet combined with high tides of 10 feet.

Hunkered seems to be the operative word these days…. Hunkered down because of Covid, because of heat dome, because of fires, because of smoke, because of Covid, because of snow, because of COLD, and now a storm. I must admit, this must be my favourite. This was the day before.

We ARE at our favourite campground, the Sea and Sand, Depoe Bay, Oregon. It is the place we found our very first agates. It is also the place where the roof of our older motorhome’s roof disintegrated in a storm (?6 years ago?) It is unique in that you can just sit up on your perch and watch the ocean.

On the sunny days before we got here we had a wonderful hike in Lincoln City, at Roads End beach. Kind of cool all of that white veins cascading down, even making up the base of the beach.

We DID have to do a bit of climbing to get over to the next beach.

But it was well worth it… basically a beach to ourselves that was covered in Agates.

So shall not complain about being trapped indoors once again, doing Jigsaw puzzles, making bread, watching movies.

We feel very fortunate that we did not fly anywhere over the holidays, must have been quite horrendous for almost everyone.

I have been following all of the news and studies thus far released about the new Covid Variant, Omicron. Seeing the record breaking numbers of new cases, without the subsequent rise in hospitalizations and deaths, it certainly is a different disease. Apparently the reason is, that it does not invade the lungs, at least with animal studies. Another recent finding is that those who have been fully vaccinated and then gotten Covid, become “superimmunized”. Their antibodies become extremely high. It is felt that THESE people will likely be able to fend off any variants. It is with all of these findings put together, I believe that this Omicron variant might just bring about the beginning of the end for Covid. (at least among the Immunized) With the extremely high numbers of cases, we could truly achieve herd immunity. I hope, I hope, I hope…. that I am right. 🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻

New Years resolutions, to live life slower, to enjoy moments more.

Thanks for reading Much Love Janet, Ken and Tucker, the hunkered down hound who is not happy about it.

a run from winter…..

We certainly feel like we are on the run from winter. We “hunkered down” for 3 days in Kelowna, with the warnings of large amounts of snowfall. On Boxing Day we went so far as driving down to Summerland, in the jeep, to get a first hand view of what the roads actually looked like, they were not bad. However the one campground in Canada in Osoyoos we knew was open. did not answer phone, or messages (christmas break) So we opted to head south on the 27th. The temp was down to -24C (at -40, calcius and Farenheit become the same)

Of interest, we went for dinner on Christmas Day at Ken’s cousins place, a friend was there who was a meteorologist. He gave Ken a lesson on predicting weather with an app, ands so we have been studying this app closely planning on how to get through Washington trying to minimize the extreme cold and the snow. The purple is the big, bad, cold monster, freezing everywhere in sight.

So we studied THIS map AND also the one that showed snow predictions, and it was clear that (1) there WAS a clearing on the radar of any snowfall.. on Monday (27th), and (2) we HAD to get to the coast of Oregon to avoid Snowstorms AND the cold.

We got as far as Wenachee, and the state park was open (yea) and they had electric hookups (yea), and that was all we needed. On seeing the campground, I immediately thought “we have found our people”. I assumed that these were all crazy Canadians desperate and enroute to find a spot of ground that had no snow on it….. But I was wrong, they were all Washington plates, which I found confusing. 🤔Wenatchee seems like a nice city, but hardly a winter destination??

What a cosy night we had. Finally on the road. Our first night camping in our new (to us) motorhome. We have not filled it with water and the pipes are not hooked up at all. We have big jugs of water and antifreeze in the sewer pipes. Our newer RV has double windows which do not seem to steam up and freeze, at all. (and this has been quite a trial for them). So we SHOULD be able to travel to more places with this rig, in the past we have avoided even the mildest dip below freezing.

The whole of Washington seemed to have a layer of ice on the top of the snow.

Campgrounds DO look quite different in the winter. No need to make reservations, and lots more open space and no little dogs to get Tucker riled up.

OH HERE are the OTHER Canadians who put off leaving a little too long…. Poor geese.

So thus far we have been traveling separately, out of concern for icy roads we figured having a tow vehicle would add to the risks of sliding.(or slipping) 😊

From Wenatchee we drove down in cold and windy conditions along the Columbia, which I wish I could have stopped more to take more pictures as the valley that the Columbia river has carved out is so incredibly beautiful all the way along. We stopped briefly to get these a picture -15 Celsius and strong winds.

We ended up crossing over into Oregon, and the crossing back into Washington to this great little campground, the Maryhill state campground. It was -2 Celsius (approx 30 F). ROCKS!!! (what we came for.) Unfortunately the only ones not covered with snow were in the water.

We could see Oregon from our spot 😊

as it turned out, we were the ONLY ones in the campground. which is a wee bit eery, but kind of nice too.

Well we awoke to 2 inches of new snow and lots more falling. So we got ourselves going quickly and got back to Oregon, heading west. I must say it felt a bit like we were in some movie trying to outrun some enemy. SNOW. So an hour of driving west we finally outran the snowstorm, which we knew was heading east. And here is Multnomah falls, strategically placed such that you see them from the pull off on the highway.

So we are now in Lincoln city OR, on the coast, feeling quite accomplished (and smug). We ARE going to stop driving for a little while. It IS hovering near freezing here, but quite a different story. We have tenters on both sides of us, with campfires. Thankfully there were a few spots that were still high and dry

So this is us last night. Ken has hooked up the water lines and we have filled up with water. Luxury. If you are wondering why our jeep door is a different colour ….. it was an accident I had with the tractor, I ran into the jeep with the bucket partly up.

Covid seems to be skyrocketing every where, with the new Omicron variant. I have been following the numbers very closely and recognize that the governments world wide are being extremely cautious in releasing any good news about Covid for fear that it might empower the antivaxxers. I DO think that these charts speak for themselves. The first chart is daily new cases in S Africa, and the second is deaths. What is not shown is hospitalizations, which is also down.

So it appears clearly that Omicrom is an extremely infectious variant, but not as deadly as the previous variants. All reports are that although the new case count is higher that it has ever been, it HAS become a disease of the unvaccinated, as they seem to be the only ones requiring hospitalization. The very sad thing, though, is that I am hearing of many fully vaccinated people dying of OTHER causes, because they are unable to be treated at a hospital,( as hospitals are full of unvaccinated covid patients). Who is to blame for these deaths? Our situation is so different from a year ago, I never EVER would have imagined this happening, after the frightful year we had last year.(before the vaccines were out there). How has our society come to the place where the personal agenda of the very few determines life and death of others?

I can only hope that the New Year might see a different direction for society. We certainly have seen the worst this year.

Much love to all Janet, Ken and Tucker.

Christmas travel…….

Ken and Tucker and I are officially on the road again. Although it HAS taken days of deliberation to finally take “the plunge” Plunge, that is, the trip down the hill from our house over snowy roads with our motorhome. We have been watching the weather reports, the road reports, and playing that all into our Christmas family plans and getting more stressed each day.

Although it is not clear from this, we have had about 3 feet of snow so far and Ken has been out plowing every few days to keep our “WAY OUT” open.

Ken has gone over the drive of the motorhome down the hill from our house, IN HIS HEAD, many many times. He was so relieved yesterday that he made it down the hill, and it went perfectly.

I have put a little house in to show where our house is 😊 It is not our REAL house, it is pretending house.

I drove the jeep down and we got almost to the main highway and he stopped and took off the chains.

Stepping out of motorhome into 3 feet of snow.

So even though there were warnings about snow, we decided to leave because there is a very cold front on the way, starting on Christmas Day (today) Forecast was for -24 Celsius / -11 Fahrenheit, and we were deciding which was worse, the snow, or the cold. Now, when it is very cold, the road conditions are actually better usually because the very cold pavement becomes more sticky for your tires. However we were just not sure how we can keep the motorhome warm at those temperatures. Once all your stuff is packed, you are more or less committed to keeping the rig above freezing for the trip.( or all of your liquids will freeze, your electronics will freeze and your musical instruments (well you can imagine)). So once you are packed up, you ARE committed. We ALSO decided that once we were down the hill we were committed, NO TURNING BACK. Quite uncertain if we could get back up that hill with the motorhome. So we left yesterday and got as far as Kelowna.

We have gotten a lot done on our house since our last trip. We have started to fill in the holes we left in the floor, …….with …rocks. So here is the hole in the floor that has had plywood over it for the past year.

So Ken put a layer of concrete down to (fill in) the base of the opening.

I started applying mortar to the backs of the rocks and cementing them to 1/4 inch cement board. As you can see, our cutlery comes in handy.. we DO wash them before we eat with them 🤔

….. then we put the cement board (with the rocks attached) down into the hole. Once we had cemented the cement board down we grouted. We WILL need a sign upon entering our house…NO Stilettos!!!

We decided that the pattern needed a break and so inserted some left over tiles in the centre and continued on to the other end.

The green spotted rocks we collected from the Olympic peninsula because they JUST SO HAPPENED to match my kitchen cupboards. (well sort of)🐚🐚

Other projects we have done,…… I tiled the area to the right of the stairs with some cool blue tiles we found at Habitat for humanity (and agates) and ammonites.

So as we work on these projects a massive home is coming up in front of our house. We CAN still see the lake, but had never dreamed that someone would do this. We have never lived any where near such a massive home, let alone one in front of us……..We SHALL be planting a hedge…..

With covid and all of the shipping issues…. our kitchen lights have taken 8-9 months to arrive, but they were certainly worth the wait. ( I wonder if we had ordered them and NOT liked them, would we have had any options 🤔) WE DO LOVE THEM.

We HAD started these windows last year, but got lazy over the summer… just cement board on either side of the windows.

Then….. with tiles we found at Habitat for humanity (Restore) we placed them around the lead glass window

We liked them so much we ordered more of them and put them around all of the lead glass windows.

So we are feeling QUITE accomplished about our house, although my pictures are designed to ONLY show the good stuff. We have plenty more jobs to get going on to really finish. But it was time to get moving. We tend to miss seeing the ground. Perhaps too many winters spent in places that did not get snow. We have both had 3 vaccines for covid, and have loaded up the motorhome with the fruits of our summer labours and hope to not spend a lot of time around other people. At least not a LOT of people. I am quite confident that this new variant of covid mutated to become much more infectious, but much less virulent. Maybe it will become the beginning of the end of covid. We can hope.🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻

🎉 🎉 🎉 🎉 🎉 🎉 🎉 🎉

Merry christmas from Ken and Tucker and me. MUCH LOVE. Thanks for reading.