Ahh well, the flag is a bit fuzzy in this photo, do you think when I get that new DSLR I will have no more fuzzy photos??
It felt good to put up the American Flag this weekend, for many reasons, not the least of which is to show support for our troops and especially for my two grandson’s who have both served in Iraq. Patriotism means many things to many people, and each of us has our own definition. Looking at this flag flying in the spring winds reminds me of being twelve years old in the school playground, crying with emotion when they played the Star Spangled Banner and I saw that flag waving against the blue sky. Unencumbered by political discussions and partisan arguments, I loved my country, and was proud to be living in the United States of America. I still love my country, with full knowledge that it isn’t perfect, I would not choose any other. If you want to read an excellent story about the origins of Memorial Day, go to E-Squared and Mui’s blog here. You will also get to see an amazing photo of the American Flag to help remember the reason for this holiday.
(Most of you blog readers know that you can click on the photo to zoom in and see more detail)
The Alaska planning is moving forward in earnest. My daughter and her husband have done the highway in their big rig several times in the last year, and her one bit of advice was, “Take extra headlights”. Mo is attempting to offset the broken headlight thing with a bit of ingenuity, and hopefully it will help a bit. This morning she was looking through her photos of her last trip on the highway and found a shot of her last attempt and they never had a broken headlight. I think there was a lot more gravel on the road in 1974 than we will encounter this summer, but all it takes is one good hit.
We also have ordered the Protect-a-Tow recommended by Linda to try to offset some of the damage from flying gravel between the rig and the Tracker. There are several options out there, but this seems to be the favorite of many folks doing the highway with a toad. Rain, of course, is a given, even if we have some good weather, it is just about certain that we will have rain. Living in the northwest mountains, we already have plenty of fleece, boots, rain gear and flannel, so the trip should feel just about like the past few months of cold, wet springtime at home. I am especially grateful that we will be in the cozy MoHo, unlike Mo’s first trip in the Scout, hiding out inside with mosquito coils burning while it rained.
We do plan to have campfires whenever possible, but will not be taking any firewood. The "Burn It Where You Buy It” rule is in effect in most places in the western forests, and while I haven’t read the full rules yet, I would bet we couldn’t take firewood into Canada anyway. Instead we are packing plenty of firestarter and Mo is taking her baby chain saw to take advantage of whatever may be found locally en route.
And yes. Rather than borrowing my daughter’s very expensive professional Nikon equipment, I ordered my own camera, the Nikon D5100 with a metal mount 55 to 300 lens, which Al says will probably pull my arms out of their sockets. The 18-55 will hopefully get those great wide angle views that I will need in the vast expanses of the north country. I read everything I could find comparing Nikon DSLR’s and appreciated Al’s link to Ken Rockwell’s site, a truly amazing resource.
Of course, the biggest job seems to be thinking about and planning our route. I have played and adjusted and researched and am still fiddling with the thing a bit, trying to get an idea of the time we will need to really do all that we want to do and yet still leave some loose, unscheduled time to take advantage of whatever amazing moments choose to present themselves to us. According to the “Streets and Trips” plan, we are now up to 39 days and approximately 6500 miles for the MoHo, with some possible side trips in the Tracker that aren’t included. Since I am still working part time, I can’t have a completely open-ended trip, and besides, Rocky Point in summer is one of the best places in the world and we don’t want to miss all of it.
I have been sitting with the hard copy maps, Mo’s favorite, the laptop, and the 2011 Milepost, trying to get an idea of where we might stay along the way, how many miles a day we can expect to drive, and what we don’t want to miss. I really do love the planning part, and hope that all the planning won’t interfere with the spontaneous, wild moments I hope to experience as well. I’m following along right now as several RV’rs travel through Alaska, and it’s really interesting to see the different perspective of people who are even traveling together on the same route. I’m sure our trip will have it’s own flavor as well.
In the midst of working my regular job and planning for the upcoming trip, I have been gardening, planting goodies in the greenhouse, and watching tiny seeds sprout. The days are still about 20 degrees below normal, and when I open the door to the greenhouse, my glasses fog up immediately with warmth and humidity. At night it stays above freezing, even though we have had frosts in the more open areas of the property. I planted a row of new roses along the driveway to replace the sad twigs that couldn’t handle the hard winter. The new roses are a hardy shrub variety that are grown on their own root stock and are reputed to bloom with as little as 4 hours of daily sunlight. With our big forest, sunlight is always an issue for blooming plants. I also bought a killer 4 gallon backpack sprayer so that I can saturate the property with nasty smelling “Liquid Fence” to thwart the deer and rabbits. I’ll let you know how it works when the summer is over and the dry fall brings in those ravenous critters to eat everything in sight.
With snow in the mountains, 4-wheelers in the forest, and traffic everywhere, I am grateful to be spending this holiday quietly at home after an overnight visit from my daughter and granddaughter. For a couple of girls often plugged in to electronic stuff, a game of dominoes last night on the dining table was a bit different, and I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe with some of their antics. A bacon and waffle breakfast was just the send off for them to return home and enjoy a much deserved day off.
The sun does come out now and then, the grass is getting much greener, and I even spent most of the day outside yesterday enjoying the colors of spring.