Rocking A Rainy Day

Today has been an interesting, albeit mostly wet, weather day. If I had been in the house, I doubt I would have picked up on the subtleties of these weather changes. I would’ve just thought, “Rainy day” and left it at that.

But sitting in the RV, where the first patters of rain on the roof are instantly noticeable, patterns become more distinct. The large windows nearest where I often sit also offer a front row seat to the action, being only feet from the nearest trees.

This particular rainy day pattern caught my attention before I even got out of bed.

I had been listening to raindrops on the roof just minutes before – having enjoyed waking to the sound of the light rain from the warmth of my cozy bed.

Opening my eyes, but not wanting to disturb the silky lump of sleeping fur pressed tightly to my side, I had reached carefully out to slide the shade up on the big window by the bed, enjoying the moment as the rain stuttered to a stop and all was silent and peaceful in my world.

It was then I first noticed the total stillness of the glistening, wet leaves outside my [RV] bedroom window. It was almost unearthly still, like a painting, even though it had been raining only minutes before. Not a leaf moved. It was as if the world had paused mid-breath.

I lay there, eyes searching in surprise for even one quivering leaf, when a sudden gust brought all the leaves back to dancing life.

As I sat up in bed, causing Ronni to groan and burrow deeper under the covers, the first fresh plop of rain landed, followed in quick succession by its cohorts. Plop, plop, plop.

Leaves continued to dance as the light patter picked up … a sprinkling of rain. Pause (silence, the breeze falling off), then the patter began anew. Patters increased, building to a drumming rain, then it POURED for a couple of heartbeats, then dropped back to patter, patter … and silence.

Repeat.

This periodic silence, then breeze and sprinkles, building to a pounding cloudburst, then quickly dropping back to sprinkles followed by a waiting stillness, repeated itself all morning and into the afternoon.

Rhonda was happy to join me once I turned the thermostat up to what she considered tolerable. We had breakfast together and watched storm clouds scudding by, dropping their periodic wet payloads from the comfort and warmth of the motorhome.

I was extra happy for my mug of hot coffee and toasty lap-warmer (both the fluffy dachshund-print quilt and the real dachshund under it) on such a blustery day.

It seemed a perfect day to sit and spin, letting the sounds of nature provide a counterpoint to the steady treadle-beat of my spinning wheel, pausing occasionally to marvel alternately at the quiet of the damp woods or the fierceness of the pounding rain.

Spinning in the [relative] quiet of the motorhome has been one of my special joys, whether on the road or parked in my own front yard. Today has been particularly interesting, as I witnessed each small but lively storm-front pass by.

Rhonda doesn’t seem the least bit fazed by the sometimes really loud rain on the fiberglass roof. As long as she has a chew-toy and/or a lap, she’s a happy camper.

Then again, have you ever tried to spin with a dog in your lap? It’s an acquired skill and not as easy as it might look.

Rocking Rhonda …

Oh! And she’s happy as long as I time her potty breaks for in between the bouts of rain. 😉

Happily, as the afternoon has drawn on, the breeze has picked up and the clouds are now drifting off over the mountains. Patches of very welcome blue sky have burst through the gloom, and yes, there is sunshine sparkling off the still wet leaves.

There is plenty of day left to enjoy, so I guess I’ll stop here and go be about it! Have an awesome day, whatever Mother Nature brings your way.

Raindrops On Dachshunds

🎶🎵 And whiskers on kittens … 🎵🎶 Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens … 🎵

Oh wait, this is not The Sound of Music, and I’m definitely not Julie Andrews!

More important; dachshunds (or at least my dachshunds) do NOT have any fondness for raindrops landing on their heads! Personally, I find the almost musical patter of rain on the roof soothing, but agree with the dogs about wet heads.

Of course, the preferences of dachshunds were not taken into account when Mother Nature chose to drench our little corner of the world yesterday. Rain, rain, rain, rain and more rain. Even with foul-weather gear on, the long-dogs were not impressed. Wet heads! Wet ears! Wet tails! Wet feet! What wet wusses!

Baxter says, “Don’t make me touch the wet stuff!”

On the bright side, I’m guessing the fire danger level in Alaska is fairly low right now – it seems to be raining pretty much everywhere. Can’t we direct some of it to British Columbia and the western US?

In any case, as I sit here this evening, listening once again to the patter of rain on the roof, I find myself hardly able to believe it is already August.

How quickly summer has flown by. Although the trees are still vibrantly green; the raspberries are ripe for picking, fireweed stalks are tall and in full bloom, and the August rains have arrived in fine fettle.

You can’t fool me. All signs indicate that summer is sliding into third base and turning for home. The game’s not over yet tho – oh no! There is still time! Where’s a good short-stop when you need them? Stop that runner! I need more summer!

Plan (dream); With Canada actually open, I could head for the border at Tok the first week of September and still make it down to the lower 48 before snow. Probably. I could go straight to Tom & Cheryl’s in Oregon to rest up and visit for a bit (hopefully,they still have space and a hook up for me.)

Then, depending on weather and camping availability, I could mosey across the middle states, possibly dipping south if snow is forecast, in time to visit with my son, Dan, and family in Wisconsin. I’d LOVE to do the Great Lakes tour, but following the fall colors south is my best bet. It would be October by then.

At that point, unless horrible storms or other weather got in my way, I could try to find my cousins Jim & Sue, somewhere in the mid-west, and then head to Texas and Arizona to visit family and friends there. Hmm … if I did that, I might have to stay for a bit. 😉

With ANY luck, I would then follow nice late “shoulder weather” all the way back up the west coast to Oregon, where I would hope to visit my son and his wife, my multitude of grandchildren and great grandchildren some more, then have my son Tom help me winterize “Roada”, leaving her in his capable hands while Rhonda and I reluctantly board a plane for Alaska for the remainder of the winter.

Wait. You didn’t think I’d even DREAM about a trip of this magnitude without at least one furry, 4-legged navigator, did you? How silly.

Or … I could stay home and get knee replacement surgery. 😱 Sigh.

Vacation Ponderings

Things I learned while on vacation with my husband.

Lesson #1: Men don’t do well sitting in the passenger seat, mentally twiddling their thumbs, while the woman drives around small towns in a 27’ motorhome following GPS directions that start with “Make a U-turn at the next signal” [and go back the way you came, you idiot!].

In spite of a few minor moments lacking in total trust and harmony, we did successfully maneuver through the back roads of Soldotna and eventually found ourselves parked at the lovely “Cusack’s On the Kenai“ lodge.

This spectacular lodge, on the bank of the majestic Kenai River, is actually a Harvest Host location, where we, as HH members, were able to stay overnight (in our RV) for free. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ They earn a 5-Star rating for views, level lot with 30-amp electric hook-up and hospitality.

Lesson #2: Day two of a six-day vacation. How do you tactfully tell your husband that there will be no more TV on this trip because he fell asleep with it on – using up ALL of our Verizon Hotspot usage for the month? Sigh.

Lesson #3: Day three of vacation. Quick, decisive problem-solving is key! Husband; “What do you mean – I can’t start the generator at 5:00am to make coffee – and toast to go with my eggs? I always get up at 5!”

I spoke to the campground host and managed to get us moved from an awesome ocean-front (but dry) campsite to a more crowded site a row further from the beach, but with electric hook-ups. No generator needed. 👍🏼

We still had access to the beach – and some stellar views of Kachemac Bay once we got there.

Lesson #4: Men need to be entertained when deprived of TV. Walking the dog on the beach in Homer, AK, is not considered entertainment.

I sent him off to the harbor to watch fishing boats coming and going (and before you ask; no, I couldn’t talk him into a half-day halibut charter. I tried!)

We walked the quarter-mile to the tiny shopping and dining mecca on the spit, where we perused quaint shops, sampled homemade, artisan gelato (the caramel with sea salt was remarkable), and lunched on fresh halibut at Captain Patty’s restaurant, mainly because the place Jer had wanted to stop was closed.

A chilly ocean breeze came up in the afternoon, so we mostly stayed in the RV, entertaining ourselves by watching newly arrived tent-campers assemble tents in a rising wind. Wheee!

I pulled out DVDs for evening entertainment, and even got Jerry interested in helping me assemble another of my tiny, wooden owl puzzles while watching “Second-Hand Lions”.

The wind really picked up during the evening, so a quick potty walk in the campground replaced our planned beach walk on our last night on the Spit.

Lesson #5: Don’t set your cell phone to “Do not disturb” mode (my normal setting between 9pm-8am) when camping at sea level, barely above the high tide mark.

I still don’t understand why NO ONE came and knocked on our door after an 8.2 earthquake along the Aleutian chain triggered a Red Flag Tsunami evacuation order for the entire Homer Spit and other sea-level communities!

We never heard the siren that night, and (since it’s sort of funny in hindsight), we realized the next morning that what we thought was the wind “really picking up” just after we went to bed was actually the 8.2 earthquake.

By the Grace of God, the tsunami ended up being less then a foot tall, and happened at low tide. With Cook Inlet’s 30’ tides, the wave probably wouldn’t have even reached the high tide mark. STILL …. yikes.

We finished out our adventure the following day with a lovely drive up the peninsula, lunch-time watching eagles play at Deep Creek in Ninilchik, and a peaceful, quiet night spent at Cooper Creek South Campground in Coopers Landing – well above sea level 😉.

Capping off our week was dinner at Two Brothers Roadhouse, walking distance from the campground. YUMMY melt-in-your-mouth pork ribs and delicious #5 Boxcar Porter.

All in all, my favorite sweatshirt sums up our summer 2021 vacation …

Windows of Opportunity

I arrived home from my most recent RV trip day before yesterday, pretty tired but otherwise feeling great.

Four days in Ninilchik had been fun and relaxing. The 3-day Barn Hunt trial that followed had NOT proved to be too much for my wonky knee. Yay!

I did wear my knee brace for added support – especially while actively working with Ronni during her many (4 each day) rat hunts.

Me and Ronni after a successful Masters level rat hunt! Photo courtesy of Marcia Dietrich Kardatzke. Thanks, Marcia!

As usual, I camped Sunday night at a campground only ten minutes from the trial site so I could be well rested before making the long drive home.

I know, I know … from Soldotna to Wasilla is only a 4-5 hour drive. But for me, coming at the end of the third day of a 3-day trial, it would mean pushing through the drive, tired and achy. No fun!

Since I have the time, it’s much more practical, and probably safer, for me to hole up at a pretty campground on Sunday night – and then actually enjoy the beautiful drive home the following day.

I was purely lucky to find a spot at this campground though. Being the height of salmon fishing season, this 300-site campground sitting right on the salmon-choked Kenai river was mostly packed solid!

The only sites available were in the less-popular, open grass field pull-through “over-flow” area. Fortunately, that was just fine with me. They were straight, level sites, and only lightly populated, since most campers preferred the woodsy sites with picnic tables and fire pits for their multi-day stays. Also, plenty of nicely mown grass for potty walks. Win-win for a quick overnighter. 👍🏼

Monday proved to be a nice travel day, with the added benefit of missing the worst of the Sunday evening rush of campers heading back to Anchorage.

It’s still July in Alaska, so plenty of cars and RVs on the road, but not as hectic as Sundays.

I stopped, as is my wont, several times during the drive home. My lunch break was at Summit Lake, where I was happy to walk Rhonda and then enjoy a sandwich and macaroni salad overlooking this vibrant view.

Do you recall my mentioning that the Fireweed would be blooming in wild abandon within a week or so? This abundant stand of Fireweed was already well over four feet tall and still growing. It sure made for a striking foreground to my photo of Summit Lake.

After lunch, I traveled down Turnagain Pass and headed around Turnagain Arm. Once again, the Arm’s infamous winds were in fine fettle.

Due to the high winds, I even got to witness a phenomenon I’d never personally seen before. You might need to zoom in a bit on this photo, but do you see what looks like mist along the far edge of the inlet, at the base of the mountains?

It was low tide, and those puffs are actually a dust storm of wind-blown silt stirred into flight from the mud flats. I really don’t know how unusual this is, but I’d never seen it before in my 24 years in Alaska.

Now that I’ve been home for a couple of days, I find myself checking the 10-day weather forecast for my list of possible camping destinations for my next outing.

I need at least a 3-4 day weather-window of opportunity. It’s a big state – there must be sunshine somewhere.

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