WIND! A gourmet meal …

Just a scent away. Well, at least for a Dachshund.

Ronni catches the scent of something good … a rabbit, perhaps?

The wind outside my bedroom window last night was a steady counterpoint to the thoughts swirling around in my head. Doctor appointments, laundry, shopping lists, finances, future travel plans, dog training classes … there was no rhyme or reason. Thoughts rambled through, pausing only long enough to interrupt my sleep before giving way to some other figment of imagination. I don’t tend to sleep well when it’s windy, and the weather front last night blew in with a major barometer change, dropping temperatures and rain mixed with sleet. Anyone who understands Fibromyalgia will know that barometer changes play havoc with autoimmune disorders. Ack. So while the rest of the household slept, I tossed and turned. Rhonda, under the blankets near my knees, occasionally grumbled and moaned as my movement caused her to stir – briefly. She is a SOUND sleeper.

This morning, with the wind still dancing briskly through the leafless trees along the hillside and dead, copper brown leaves sodden under a light layer of icy pellets, I decided the best way to wake up and get moving would be to take a walk. Baxter and Abby both politely declined my invitation after one look at the gray skies and damp ground. Rhonda, on the other hand, ran to the edge of the porch where she could get a good whiff of the wind and all but danced with joy!

WIND! A gourmet meal for the nose, just sniffs away! A long walk or an outing in the pasture on a breezy day is one of this scent-loving dog’s favorite things. So much information, all available in a sniff. Nose into the wind, she was eager to be off on an adventure. She is one BUSY little girl!

I’m glad I had taken the time to layer with a sweatshirt and my down jacket. Ronni and I were outside for nearly an hour as she investigated each smell and sound. The 32F temps weren’t bothering her at all – maybe the wind chill is not so bad close to the ground? She was too involved in chasing scents (Rabbit? Mouse? Vole?) to care about much else. I have to admit, Ronni’s enthusiasm and enjoyment of the same weather I was so cranky over an hour earlier helped to clear my head and give me a better start to my day. Thanks, Rhonda!

Still no snow here in Alaska, but I’m betting it won’t hold off much longer.

Why buy an RV … at my age?

Quite a few people have asked this question, and I’m sure even more have thought it and refrained from asking. The short, flip response is a slightly defiant, “Because I could”. But more to the point, it was because I feared the deep regret I would feel if I didn’t take this leap of faith simply out of fear of failure or fear of the unknown.

I’ve LONG wanted to travel the country by RV. I’ve always envied those who did, including my parents and both my sisters. Mom & Miles started out in a small Class B back in 1999 (I think?), then moved up to a travel trailer, then into a gorgeous 5th wheel trailer. My Dad & Bev had a beautiful Class A for many years, as did my sister, Kathi and her husband, Jack. My younger sister, Julie, and her family have a big truck camper, with which they pull their ski boat, creating memorable family adventures. Living in Alaska, I never had the opportunity to join them on vacations, but I followed them on Facebook and continued to dream …

My own first taste of camping as a child was mostly tent camping. Ahh, Bass Lake and the Salton Sea – great memories. Nightly campfires, hikes in the woods, swimming, water-skiing, cooking on a Coleman stove and eating around a picnic table. I had a great childhood!

As a young adult, my [then] husband and I had a small truck camper for a while. One outstanding memory from those days was a camping trip with our two small kids, Tom and Dan, from southern CA up through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada, seeing majestic Yosemite, vast and wildlife-filled Yellowstone and so much more. How we managed it, with two small, active boys and a large dog, amazes me now. The details of the trip have sadly faded with time, but the sense of deep enjoyment of that type of travel remained.

Jerry and I had planned to travel when he retired (if not sooner), with the mode of travel never quite settled on (I wanted to RV, he preferred travel by car and staying in motels), but life threw us a major curve ball before we ever started, when Jer suffered a severe TBI in September 2009. Yes, that will be an entirely different blog post … eventually. You know how they always say not to put things off, because you never know what will happen?

Traveling with Jerry after the TBI has been challenging at best. He still wanted/wants to travel, and we made several attempts at flying to visit friends and family over the past 10 years, but he is most comfortable in familiar surroundings. Travel makes him anxious and anxiety makes him cranky. They were, for the most part, not relaxing trips. We seem to do best at this point when joint RV trips are kept short and/or he has plenty to do outside of the RV. *Note; our current plan when/if I manage my hoped for trip “outside” is for him to join me, traveling by plane, when I get to an area he wants to visit or has friends, travel with me for a week or so, then fly back home. I think that might work. 🙂

Jerry and Abby enjoying an overnight outing to nearby Matanuska River RV Park in Palmer, AK 2019

So … back to my story. When I hit 65 a few years back, it hit me pretty forcefully that I wasn’t getting any younger. The old saying, “If not now … when?” started playing a tune in my head. But I was busy working a steady, if not fulltime, office job and teaching K9 Nose Work classes, my dogs were enrolled in weekly classes and practices and I had a home to see to. Plus the not small consideration that we are not exactly rolling in cash. Jerry has a decent retirement income, but my monthly contribution from my part-time job has been a welcome addition, allowing me to do the dog sports and classes my pups and I so enjoy.

Travel was on the back burner; something I wanted to do, but not something that looked likely anytime in the near future. But wait! Really … the NEAR future? I was already in my mid-60’s. I needed a mind-set adjustment. I REALLY wasn’t getting any younger. I could continue as I was, not unhappy with my job or my life, but wishing I could fulfill at least a few things on my life-long bucket list – or I could step out of my comfort zone, retire from my job, fly without a net for a while and just DO IT. GULP.

There’s more to it, of course … but now I think I need to figure out how to move this over to my “RV Adventures” page to continue, so I’m stopping here. No clue where within my blog this post is going to pop up – you can find out with me. Tune in for more. 🙂

Good evening from Alaska!

They say you should start as you intend to continue. So, here goes.

It’s November in south-central Alaska. Would you believe we have ZERO snow so far this winter? Much as I’d rather be out RV’ing, my 2016 Winnebago Minnie Winnie 27Q motorhome, affectionately referred to as “Roada”, is winterized and parked for the season. So sad! Honestly, I’m thinking I might’ve jumped the gun on that. Although temps are definitely chilly (in the low 30’s at night and upper 30’s/low 40’s during the day … with no snow, I could have kept camping. Darn. Still, this just means it’s time to start planning for SPRING and dreaming about adventures to come.

If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough. – author unknown

I’ve chosen to blog publicly for two reasons. First, family and friends have been urging me to share my stories for years. I used to write for my own pleasure and for a while as the Alaska Editor for BellaOnline, an online magazine. I stopped writing ten years ago after a traumatic incident. That will be another blog post. It’s past time to start again.

Second; I have so many stories to tell. I want to get them down on paper while I still can. I EXPECT the next couple of years to be fodder for yet more stories as I continue my RV travels. For now, I’d love to share all the (sometimes funny, sometimes painful) ups and downs of just STARTING my RV life.

The Wrangle-St. Elias Mountain Range, as seen from the Glenn Hwy, heading towards Tok, Alaska.

Please check out my companion pages for lots of fun stories and info about my dogs and my long-term love of spinning. And be sure to comment below if you are enjoying this page!

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