Good morning. The temperatures here have managed to rise to an amazing 18 degrees and the sunshine is bouncing off the snowbanks into my office window. Beautiful. I managed to complete my collages last night for the year after much agony about just what to include. When I take sooo many photos, it’s an amazing exercise to decide just what might work for a summary. I challenge you to try it.
Surprisingly, a few have commented about enjoying this format, so what I thought was a purely personal exercise has turned out to be a bit entertaining as well. The collages will enlarge to original size if you click on them, so be forewarned. If anything catches your fancy, of course the Picasa website listed on the left side of the blog will take you to my photo albums. On to the next third of the year.
We spent most of early May in California, finalizing the sale of the manufactured home I had lived in while working on the soil survey for Tuolumne and Calaveras county area. I learned a lot during those years, and met some wonderful people, especially some of the great young men and women who worked with me and for me. We packed up the last of my belongings into a truck and trailer and traveled home May 14th for the final time. During the time I lived there, I counted nearly 40 trips back up I-5 to Klamath. Let me tell you, I am a bit tired of that highway!
Even though I actually retired in January, and had a small get together in Sonora for my “retirement party”, I thought it would be a lot more fun to host a long May weekend retirement/camping party at our home in Rocky Point for friends and family. I learned what a great group of friends I had, with many people coming from California and Oregon to celebrate with me. The burning ban held off until May 31, and we had big outdoor campfires every night with lots of good food. We laughed, talked, ate, went kayaking and many guests spent time touring around the area, with the late spring snow at Crater Lake an especially big hit. Mo and I actually went out to the MoHo for a bit of a reprieve while we turned the house and guest cabin over to kids and friends. It was a wonderful time, and I so appreciated the friends and family who came to celebrate with me.
By June, the the flowers were beginning to bloom and the lawns started to green up beautifully. I love the flowers and flower beds, Mo loves her gorgeous green grass, so she manages the lawns and I do most of the planting and playing with flowers. We took out a sweet gum that couldn’t handle the late hard spring freezes, and planted a flowering pear that hopefully will. We thrilled at the growth on all the trees Mo planted when she built this house in 2001. I learned that in order to garden in Rocky Point, I need to adjust for the extremely short season, and to buy some kind of super powerful deer repellant.
We took a break from all the gardening with a fabulous trip to the Oregon coast for camping and kayaking. One of the high points of the year for both of us was the magical, rainy day that we slipped into the Little Salmon River and slid quietly past some seals to land on an ephemeral tidal island of sand at the river outlet. It was one of the special moments of the year that stands out among all others. Later in the month, one of Mo’s army friends visited us from Texas and gave us the opportunity to play travel guide for a lovely trip to the still deep snows of Crater Lake. We don’t often think to go there unless we are showing guests how lovely and magical it is.
The collage for July was the most difficult to create, since we had such a fabulous time doing so many different things. The Princess cruise to Alaska was the highlight. Our tour was just 7 days, traveling as far north as Juneau, and stopping in Skagway, Ketchikan, and Victoria after a Seattle departure. It was an amazing experience and only whetted my appetite for more. Mo traveled the ALCAN back in 1974, in a scout when the roads were still unpaved. We have a trip to Alaska on the ALCAN on our big lifetime list for the MoHo, but aren’t quite sure just yet when.
In spite of the grandeur of our cruise, the camping trip to gorgeous and pristine Waldo Lake in the Cascades was another highlight. We have wanted to camp on that lake for several years and have never managed to get there. The mosquitoes are legendary, and they didn’t disappoint us. The water was pure and perfect and the kayaking was thrilling. We had the entire campground almost to ourselves, probably because of the mosquito reputation for that time of year.
We ended the month with several days camping at Mo’s brother’s place in La Pine for their annual family reunion and gathering. Mo’s family is big and active, and golfing and kayaking were major activities for the weekend. It was another wonderful time of good food and great conversation and Mo’s brother Roger and his wife Nancy were incredible hosts. I learned that paddling upstream can make for some very funny moments. We paddled about an hour, passing campers waving in a campground, only to fly past them in about 10 minutes going back down the Deschutes River. I can’t wait to try out our new kayaks on that river to see if the light weight makes any difference going upstream.
If I thought making the collage for July was hard, that was because I hadn’t yet tried to tackle some kind of summary of our six week cross country trip in August and September. I took more than 4,000 photos on that trip and learned some very good lessons about photo management and storage. I also met some folks from the RV blogging community, including Laurie and Odel, who I have followed for years, not realizing at the time that there is a big world out there of RV bloggers. My participation in this amazing world increased exponentially during this trip.
Mo and I sat in the hot tub on New Year’s eve trying to capture the moments that stood out for us. It’s nice to try to do that sometime without the photos to trigger memories. Random moments that stand out for me, in no particular order: Looking a little black bear in the eyes as I paddled a creek in Killarney Provincial Park. Seeing the Colorado Rockies in full aspen glory for the first time. Standing on the Maid of the Mist at the base of Niagara Falls. Watching the wildest waves and wind I have ever seen on Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks. Walking across the Mississippi at Itasca. Climbing 85 steps of gorgeous canyon at Watson Glen New York. Spewing out the first taste of a box of “dry” red table wine from the Finger Lakes District. Eating perfect walleye on a rainy day in Duluth. I can’t summarize this trip at all, actually, it’s all back there in the blog. Thank goodness I wrote about it as it was happening, but then that’s why we blog, right?
Tomorrow I will attempt the final episode of this year in review. I guess it seems to be the thing to do. Everywhere I turn on the news, someone is listing the top ten, or the worst ten, or the year in review, or some such thing. My favorite list among those out there is the one that talks about what has become obsolete in this last decade. That one really makes me wonder how things will change in the next one. Mo and I figure we should have ten good years of travel ahead of us before we need to slow down a bit. In reality, any day could be our last, so my goal and my learning this year is to stay in the moment and appreciate every single tiny one.