Can’t Get Much Closer, The Final Leg

IMG_2839

My previous post had us six siblings at the wonderful, Cowichan Bay. From there we drove the paved logging road across, Vancouver Island to, Port Renfrew. A never visited destination for all of us.

Port Renfrew, has less town than I expected, but it makes it up with scenery and tranquility.

The online pictures of our accommodation made it one of my anticipated stops this trip.

We reserved a two bedroom, log, row cabin, at, “Wild Renfrew Seaside Cottages,” and one word describes it, “Wow.” Gorgeous, peaceful, or cozy would work too.

I’ve never stayed this close to the ocean. (Even on the cruise ship, the water was farther  away.) At this seaside cottage, high tide waves almost lapped  at our deck’s support beams.

The shoreline at the bottom of our few deck steps was by far the best part for me, a sea-glass hunters paradise. Every chance I got I combed the stretch out front of our room.

Until this trip, the most pieces I’ve found on a holiday was, nine. I left this cove with a cup full. Without an actual count, I’d guess in 7 different colors.

Wild Renfrew’s staff was great, Martin K. in particular. He checked us in, looked after our needs (the precious extra coffee and condiments needed), and suggested places of interest in the area.

He deserves a special thanks, for the courtesy of emailing us that the brother-in-law left something behind, and then for taking time to package and mail it to his home. Many places wouldn’t bother doing this, and it was appreciated.

Some may think I’m strange for this, but I chalk it up to being a mother. No cell phone service in most of, Port Renfrew, took a little getting use to. It’s not that I’m addicted to my phone, but I relay on it for accessibility if the kids need us. The cabin had internet though, so we touched base that way.

The cabin also had satellite T.V., which we didn’t really watch, but it was usually on when the guys were inside.

In mine and Mister’s almost forty years together, I could probably count with my fingers how many places we’ve stayed without television. Most of those were not by choice. Mister is not an avid watcher, but he has said, “Roughing it even while camping, is not having satellite T.V.” I guess regarding televisions and cell phones, him and I are creatures of habit who like the comforts of home. Smiley face.

Back to Port Renfrew and this holiday. We ate a big, tasty lunch at the pub, therefore that night we opted for a simple hot dog supper cooked in our cabin’s kitchen. There was a campfire area and wood available but we were lazy. Oh, another great amenity at, Wild Renfrew, is propane fire pits on each deck. The men made good use of ours, whether outside soaking up the view or avoiding a house full of women, who knows, but it kept the October chill away.

All six of us stayed the first night in one cabin. Space wasn’t an issue, but one bathroom was a little tricky. Older bodies and hide-a-bed sofas don’t always get along though, so the sister and her husband moved to a cute studio suite for the second night.

At the other end of town from where we stayed is, San Jaun Beach. Probably a busy place during the summer, but other than the few fishermen, we were the only ones strolling it on our daily visits. This was my sister’s favorite spot for soaking up sunshine while searching the sandy beach for small driftwood pieces for a wreath she wants to make. A great place to let the sound of rhythmic waves wash away your cares.

Martin K. also suggested we do the short drive to Jaun de Fuca Provincial Park to explore Botany Bay and Botanic Beach. He said low tide was the best time to go because it’s when you can see the marine life in the tidal  pools. Lucky for us low tide was at noon the next day, and that’s when we went.

Our group is plagued with age related issues and aches, but by taking our time we managed the hike down from the parking lot, and back up, I might add. Worth the effort, and a highlight for Mister and I.

After roaming the rocks the others started back up the trail. I had been trying to capture a picture of a big wave as it splashed over a certain rock, so Mister and I stayed behind.

While I stood positioned, concentrating and waiting for the perfect shot, Mister scanned the open water. He soon reverted my attention to something far more interesting though.

We spent maybe a half hour longer at the beach than the others, and with patience, and persistence, I got a good number of pictures of off shore whales and their water spouts. At one time we counted five water spouts.

The coastal drive from Port Renfrew to Sooke is pretty and one we would like to do again but would allow more time for stopping at beaches next time. One place we stopped at was, Sheringham lighthouse. We didn’t hike all the way down to it, but got pictures of it non-the-less.

We spent a night at Best Western, Prestige Inn, in Sooke before heading on to Victoria and the Days Inn on the harbor. These were both waterfront hotels and the last before we had to head inland and home.

Would watching whales be worth a hike for you?

Are you a patient picture taker?

Advertisements

Everyone’s Favorite, Part#2

IMG_2741

Us six siblings and our two vehicle caravan drove off the ferry at Little River terminal, Vancouver Island. Continuing our ocean-side holiday, we crossed the city of Courtney, to Kingfisher Resort and Spa. Because of our short stay, I booked partial-view rooms here.

To our surprise, partial-view meant that a beautiful landscaped and manicured lawn was between us and the building which offered the full-view rooms. The unique part was, that building was terraced into the bank, so from our particular patios we could still see the ocean over it.

The next day we drove to the west side of Vancouver Island, which is open to the Pacific Ocean. A region with spectacular views and well known for wave watching and surfing.

Long Beach, is one of my favorite on this side. It’s ten miles of sandy shore and rolling to roaring waves depending on the day. The best part is, you pass right by it going to Tofino, our night’s destination.

All of us had been to Tofino before, yet Mister and I had never stayed there because it’s a doable day trip from across the island. Oceanfront accommodations at this end can be pricey, but this time we all splurged for rooms at the seaside, Best Western Tin Wis.

Tofino’s weather can be wet, but we went prepared. Our packed rain-gear came in handy when we walked the Hotel’s beach that afternoon and the next morning. (This beach is pictured in, “Pre-Book Accommodations or Wing-It”.)

The sister-in-law fulfilled her dream to waltz in the ocean with my brother. Even though, her mid-calf rubber boots filled with icy water in waves that splashed higher than their knees.

The town offers many small interesting shops, and there’s no shortage of fantastic seafood restaurants. There are also whale watching tour companies based there.

Before heading back to the east-side of the island, we also visited Uclulet where we walked the scenic Pacific Rim Trail and of course shopped a little.

Our next stay was at, Beach Club Resort, in popular, Parksville. The long wooden boardwalk out front of this resort is great for those who want to stroll and not get their footwear dirty. For shell pickers the shallow shores mean a huge beach becomes exposed when the tide is out. (Pictured in “Watching The Tide Roll Away”)

Since our last two accommodations were at busy, touristy spots, I searched for a, off the main path, but still on the water location for our next two nights.

When the GPS had us exit the Trans Canada Highway onto a road that wound down through about eight miles of country side, I began to doubt my travel agent skills.

The road hadn’t reached sea level when the town of Cowichan Bay started and we arrived at the parking lot of our accommodation. It was so unassuming that if we had been winging-it, we may have passed it by.

We took no pictures, and neither Mister or I can remember exactly what it looked like from the front. I vaguely recall a simple earth-tone two story building with little to no windows, other than the glass lobby doors.

But, walk through those sliding doors and beyond the reception counter there is a sitting area, furnished and cozy like a living room. The eye catching feature though was the wall of windows where we got our first view of the bay and marina.

Oceanfront Suites at Cowichan Bay ended up being a little piece of heaven we all enjoyed. A place each of us say we would re-visit in a heartbeat.

I booked kitchenette suites in case we felt like cooking a meal, (which we didn’t). The suites were spacious with separate bed and living rooms, both areas had patio doors which opened to the bay. (The picture above is from our room.)

From our couches or beds we could watch Sea-Lions swimming in the marina and I saw on the news that shortly after we left there, Killer whales came right into the bay. Too bad we missed that.

When we went down to the swimming pool level, and stepped outside we were shocked by the size of the place. It didn’t match the impression we got from the front parking lot.

DSC02516

It isn’t new but was clean, well-kept and updated. We encountered friendly staff and great food from both its restaurant and the pub next door.

The town of Cowichan Bay, offers a candy and ice cream shop, a general store, a bakery, a whale watching tour company. These and more little shops, and all just a short walk from the hotel.

If you’re planning to visit Vancouver Island, and you don’t mind staying minutes from city conveniences, we highly recommend Oceanfront Suites at Cowichan Bay.

Its location on the coast is great for doing day trips to many of the popular tourist places. Or, if you’re looking for a comfortable and quiet place to relax with stunning bay views, this place should be a serious contender.

This is post 2 of 3 on our Vancouver Island trip.

Have you ever stumbled on a hidden treasure like this when you’ve pre-booked an accommodation?

Ferries Not Fairies, The Start

IMG_0455

Brilliant yellow and orange leaves colored central Alberta’s trees, yet we woke to branches sagging under the weight of fresh overnight snow. It hadn’t accumulated on the roads and would probably all melt by later that day, but we didn’t stick around to find out.

For this October road-trip my brother and his wife joined Mister and I. We left shortly after sunrise for a scenic three B.C. Ferry, instead of the usual one, venture to Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Our first day goal is always to make miles, put as much distance between us and home as we can. So after 10 1/2 hours in the van we arrived at Clinton, BC. Not as far as our younger selves would make in a day, but we also have more time now, since we’re all retired. (Gorilla Tape Saves The Holiday, talks about a morning mishap that delayed us.)

Clinton nestles in the hills of BC’s Cariboo region, and we were glad the historic Cariboo Lodge we booked was unharmed. The town was one of many evacuated during this summer’s devastating wildfires.

The next day we traveled highway #97 to #99. A pretty drive they say once it nears the river. A little high, and exposed (as in no guardrails) at times for me, but more so for the sister-in-law who has a height phobia.

Familiar with many roads, Mister or I, try to remember to have her sit on the side of the van which will be on the inside of the road when we’ll on a picturesque section like this. Where our heads were this particular morning, who knows.

Both us girl sat on the passenger side which offered unobstructed views across the narrow shoulder, off the edge, and into the valley far below. The men, being the boys they sometimes are, seemed to enjoy our muttered curses. Don’t get me wrong, I have faith in Mister’s driving. He did nothing crazy, but sometimes on roads like this it’s hard not to sweat and apply pressure to my invisible brake pedal.

At Lillooet’s Tourist Information/Museum we met one of my sisters and her husband and they joined and followed us for the rest of the trip.

The section of highway #99 leaving there needs a mention. If you have a tendency to get car-sick from side to side cornering motion, or travel in a large RV, be prepared if you head this way. Make sure your cupboards and fridge doors are latched, and you may want to have something handy if you’re prone to seatbelt rash on your neck.

Mister and I, do a lot of back-roads so we’ve been on many windy and even hair-raising paths, but this was a top five windiest road ever for us. It’s a pretty drive, just be aware. The good part was it isn’t as high and open as the previous stretch.

After lunch in Whistler, B.C. the Sandman Inn at Squamish, was our stop for the night. Another without ocean-views but we were within minutes of the first Ferry terminal.

In the morning we boarded the Horseshoe Bay ferry which goes to Langdale.

My advice if traveling on multiple B.C. ferries is to check into the, B.C. Ferry Experience card, it saved four of us in the one vehicle a hundred dollars overall.

Once across to land again our first stop was in, Gibsons. A small charming town some may have heard of because of the Canadian television series, “Beachcombers.” Filmed there from 1972-1990. It made the still operating waterside restaurant, Molly’s Reach, a well-known place.

Our next ferry departed further north on the Sunshine Coast highway 101, so after exploring Gibsons, off we went. This path goes through one of my favorite spots of the area, Sechelt. Unfortunately, on this trip we didn’t stop there or at any of the beaches along that stretch. All I’ll say as to why not, is communication skills were not 100% between Mister and I right then. A rarity but it happened.

We continued to Earls Cove for the ferry to Saltery Bay. From there it was a short drive to Powell River, and the first of our 11 ocean-side accommodations. Beach Gardens Resort Hotel, is older but with nice rooms and balconies facing a marina on Malaspina Strait.

We enjoyed beautiful sights, and it’s where the pictures for this post were taken. My brother’s candid shot of me and one I took of him the morning we left to board our third ferry, the one to Vancouver Island.

There are two places on the island where we stayed that deserve mentioning more than just their name so stay tuned to find out which they are and what made them special.

Have you been on a ferry?

Was it the large multi deck onewith restaurants and gift shops or the one open car level type?

These three we were on are the large type, but open ones travel between the many smaller islands and Vancouver Island.

I would also like to wish all my American readers

Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy!!

Watching The Tide Roll Away

DSC02508

For those who don’t know, I can get a bit obsessed with walking shorelines in search of my favorite beach treasure, sea glass. I’ve set an alarm and been out long before the morning sun, and I’ve been out late in the evening, depending on tide schedules.

I’ll stroll the same beach as many times in a day as our schedule allows.

I’ll wear or use whatever Mother Nature requires, a raincoat, umbrella, rubber boots, earmuffs, and I’ve even needed a flashlight. I always pack these options.

This post’s title is a line from, “The Dock of the Bay.” My recent holiday’s theme song.

As soon as I got to the water’s edge this tune played over and over in my mind. Its melody, the salty sea air, and the lapping waves put me at peace and kept me company if I was alone.

In October, one of my brothers and sisters, and their spouses did a road trip to Vancouver Island, British Columbia with Mister and I. All of us had been to most of the places we visited, but never together as adults, and the others hadn’t been on the island in years.

Those interested in joining Mister and I were warned that I had an agenda for this trip. Being a coastline journey I was going for ocean-views every night or as often as possible, even if the cost per night was higher than normal rooms. Everyone was game.

I did the route planning, online research and reservations. The family refers to me as their personal travel agent and guide. The pay sucks, but it’s a hat I enjoy wearing as long as things go well. I lied, their smiles are pay enough.

Something I’ve learnt during previous travels is many coastline accommodations are private motels and hotels. Owning such prime real-estate means they remain successful and rarely sell out to the big new chains. We enjoy the uniqueness of these often older places, but I rely on reviews when checking their condition and upkeep.

Either I did a good job booking, or this group was easy to please, or they pretended to be, because I heard minimal complaining. Rooms were clean, had comfortable beds, and a few exceeded our expectations.

Out of fourteen nights away, 11 had water views.

They were steps from the ocean’s edge. Some rooms overlooked marinas, (my brother and I have a boat fetish) others had open coast lines, some with sandy shores, and some with rugged rocks.

For me, it’s hard to top waking up to these views.

Something odd happened though, I’ve never slept so much and done so little exploring on a trip. Typically, I’m a let’s go here, let’s do this kind of traveler. I have a hard time sitting and relaxing when I’m somewhere other than home.

We had a busy summer, so perhaps down-time was needed to recharge or maybe the cold I caught on day two and the medicine I took affected me. Whatever it was, wasting hours which I could have spent, even if just, enjoying the scenery unsettled me. Yet, I usually went to bed long before my normal time and slept later, often missing the sunrise.

The main goal for the trip was for the six of us to spend time together, and this we achieved. We joined each other for meals, and sometimes for beach walks. Of course no trip is complete for females without some clothes and other shopping. But, we weren’t the only ones who purchased items.

The group liked to snoop through local shops, which we did wherever we were. That resulted in a few found treasures, the biggest (literally) being the large wooden sail boat ornament my brother bought.

Since we all live in Alberta, having fresh seafood was a must on the list to do. By the time we got home some complained they were getting, chowdered-out, as we called it. Not me, fish was my main food source while we were gone, and I miss it. But, not as much as I miss walking the shores.

Do you prefer privately owned Motels or Hotels or large popular chains?

Are you an Explorer or Relaxer while on vacation?

The next two posts will have tips for those who may find themselves traveling on our same path.

Pre-book Accommodations or Wing-it?

IMG_2622

Mister and I use to wing-it for accommodations when traveling, we didn’t like to schedule the exact where and when.

This habit began way back when the kids and I would go along on Mister’s business trips. He didn’t always know how long or how many daily stops he would make so it was easier to wait and choose where to stay each night.

Plus, we preferred to see properties in person, rather than rely on phonebook listings or brochures which usually used out-of-date pictures.

Some may find this next detail hard to imagine and the concept may make some shutter.

The wing-it days I refer to started before the biggest world change I’ve witnessed in my life, so far.

It was back when people didn’t own home computers, laptops, iPads, notebooks, or cell phones with internet. Heck, back then we never heard of Google. A handheld GPS was better known as a, map.

Now, with internet at our fingertips, even-though you can’t believe everything on there, I feel with enough research and weeding through reviews you can get a pretty good idea about a place.

And so, we made a habit change for our last few holidays. I pre-booked accommodations for all or most nights we were away. The main reason was, a couple places were popular enough that if we hadn’t had reservations, we would have been hooped.

Unexpected upsides came with having nightly reservations.

We never pulled into a town or city tired and possibly in the dark and then had to search for a place to stay. We also never stopped too early because uncertain of what the next town would offer. Both these may sound trivial, but believe me, Mister and I have shared many cranky episodes regarding these points in the past.

Do we ever pass places we would like to stay at while on our way to one we’ve booked? Yes, but we’ve also driven through towns that if winging-it we would have been disappointed and moving on down the road.

Another bonus to pre-booking is becoming aware of local events that may mean places are full. I can’t count the number of times while winging-it we would arrive somewhere, towns or cities we had stayed before and knew they had lots of choices, only to find a concert or sport event had everything jammed.

Our trip planning starts with a basic route or a particular destination in mind. Using the internet, I research sights along the way and estimate the time it will take to drive and see the ones that interest us. Considering that information, I’ll check 2-3 towns or cities we would be near at about 2-5pm each day. I like to look for unique Hotels, or Motels but we have some well-known chains we like too. I’ll make my choice after reading reviews on numerous websites.

If the trip isn’t for a while, and it’s required, we always pay the couple dollars extra for, get this, free cancelation. Smiley face.

Pre-booking still causes me occasional trepidation, but there is also the excitement that we could stumble on a hidden treasure of a place, which has happened. By this I mean, an establishment that its curb appeal might have us driving past, but by reading reviews we’ve booked, stayed and have been pleasantly surprised.

Knock on wood, we also haven’t been disappointed to the point where we’ve had to move to a different premise.

For now we’re enjoying this new way of travel, but I’m also sure we’ll do a wing-it trip again. If and when though, I’ll use the internet to research and list possibilities along the route.

I’ve also tried doing reservations a couple days ahead while on the road, but this meant evenings were spent researching and booking, and I felt it took away from the trip.

Do you pre-book trip accommodations or wing-it as you go?

Do you prefer privately owned motels or big hotel chains?

What is the biggest worldly change that has occurred during your life, so far?

 

Gorilla Tape Saves The Holiday

IMG_2516

A recent fall journey began with an evening rain shower that turned to snow during the night. By morning enough white stuff accumulated to require a snow-brush and ice scraper to clean off T.C. (our van), but the roads were bare and all participants woke raring to go.

Taking a road-trip while the beautiful fall colors are out is so worth leaving shorts and sandals behind and packing bulkier and a bit more clothing. Mister and I love to travel at this time of the year.

The luggage stowed inside was for two siblings (myself and one of my brothers) and two outlaws (our spouses). Not to worry, there was more bags than what you see above by the time we returned. (Insert Smiley face here).

Us four have traveled together before. To Las Vegas and last summer we explored the Washington and Oregon coast. This time we headed to Canada’s west coast and Vancouver Island. Our numbers increased to six though on the second day when one of my sister’s and her husband met up and joined us.

The weather system that brought the overnight snow was small, so it wasn’t long into the drive before even the fields and ditches were bare again.

Unfortunately, the trip started like no other; it started with a bang, and not a good kind.

An hour and a half after we set out two animals appeared from nowhere, and as a pair they ran across the highway in front of us. Mister slammed on the brakes which gave the lead one just enough time to escape, but nothing could be done to avoid hitting the second.

Tears filled my eyes as I walked back to check the animal lying motionless on the pavement, knowing very well its state. I apologized to it and hoped death came in an instant so it suffered no pain.

Within seconds Mister appeared behind me and pulled the body out from the path of oncoming traffic. I’m not sure I could have done that.

No humans were injured. The van’s under shroud was ripped off, and a good portion of the front end was either cracked, or broken. Lucky for us though, the air bags didn’t go off, the headlights remained intact, and although the air conditioning radiator was dented T.C. ran fine. Damages were all cosmetic.

Nothing could change what happened, and with a highway not being the safest place to hangout we all got back inside and headed for the next town.

Mister and I stood in the mall parking lot while he made the appropriate phone calls. My brother ran into a store and bought a roll of Gorilla tape. It was needed to hold dandling and vibrating pieces safely in place, so we could continue on our way.

As a side note, this was our first time using Gorilla tape, and we were impressed by its strength and staying power through rain and winds.

My superstitious nature kicked in often during the next fourteen days as I worried about the, “Bad things happen in three’s,” theory. Then, I would hear my mother’s words, “Things happen for a reason.” Perhaps that delay saved us from a more severe incident, we will never know for sure. With us all safe at home now, I can report any other mishaps were minor compared to our start.

I intended to post sights and finds on my blog while on this trip, but the ocean always beckoned for me to spend my spare time strolling the shores.

Truth be known, I need little encouragement to do just that.

The only writing I did while on the road was in our daily travel journal. This is a practice I’ve done for years now. We enjoy looking back on the information, to reminisce, or use it to reference things when revisiting an area.

Do you keep a travel journal?

Can superstitions unsettle you?

Have you ever had a rough start to a holiday? If so, did you continue or turn back?

 

It Happened Again

IMG_2417

The Daughter spotted this little gem coming home on the school bus 20 years ago. Classic vehicles have always had a place in our hearts, so she could barely wait until Mister got home from work to tell him about the truck she discovered for sale.

It took little persuading to get the family to take a drive after supper that night, and that is how and when, the appropriately named “Blue” joined our family.

The kids and I kept him clean and polished while Mister looked after the mechanical end. A joint effort which resulted in him always running great and looking his best, whether at a Show and Shine, or out on a drive.

One of our favorite trips to take with this guy was the few miles into town for ice cream. Habits and laws changed significantly in the last twenty years. Back then it wasn’t illegal to ride in the box of a truck. So our family of four had different combinations of who was in Blue’s cab and who was in his box, the only constant being Mister always drove. I can manage manual transmissions, but I’m not a big fan.

After the daughter got her license, she asked Mister to teach her how to drive, a standard like Blue. The lesson ended in her frustrated because of the hill we lived on. She spun his tires, popped his clutch, and stalled his motor numerous times before, Blue, made it back up into the shop.

In typical boy fashion, when the son became old enough he mastered Blue’s three in the tree manual with fewer issues.

That’s okay, us girls were quite content being passengers.

When other kids at school wanted limos picking them up from their grade 12 grad supper, our daughter requested, Blue, for her ride home with Mister as the driver.

Over the years, lives got busier, and car show outings became none existent. Sadly, a couple recent summers passed without, Blue, even coming out of the shop.

Last month he made his first trip to our place at the lake, mind you he came by trailer. Having the original straight six engine means he really isn’t ideal for hours on a busy four lane highway at today’s speeds.

Why hadn’t we taken him before? Because we don’t have a garage here.

Why did we bring him this year? Because there was a Show and Shine nearby.

He’s won his share of trophies, and didn’t disappoint, winning “Best Truck” at that outing.

The reason for this post though is because, Blue, went to that show with a “For Sale” sign resting on his seat, and like, General, in my “Heart Of Steel” post he is now sold.

This is a big change for the family, and we will all miss him, but just because he’s not up in the shop anymore doesn’t mean our memories of him will fade.

It’s time for someone else to enjoy this little treasure, and Mister and I felt good about the fellow who bought him.

Of course, there was sadness, but we were also surprised by something else we experienced.

We were reminded of one of Mister’s father’s favorite sayings, and how true it has become, “The more things you own, the more headaches you have.”

To the young or perhaps not retired this may seem exaggerated.

How can just owning something  be a headache or cause stress?

It’s hard to say whether it’s all money related or if a downsizing syndrome has kicked in, but decreasing yearly insurance fees and having less to worry about maintaining has brought us some peace.

So, as emotional as it was to part with first, General, and now, Blue, Mister and I feel it was the right thing for us to do.

Don’t be afraid of a, less is more, lifestyle.

For us the benefits have been similar to what is said about cleaning a cluttered home, and how it gives you a clearer focus and a more restful mind.

Have you downsized and found your stress has lessened?

Heart Of Steel

IMG_2322

His name is, General, and I teared up writing this post. He isn’t a horse, family dog, or a cat. No blood pumps through his veins, oils keep his heart of steel alive. To some, he might be just a heap of metal, but twenty years in our family, means hundreds of memories are attached to this truck.

Our family names their vehicles, and often when we talk of them, it’s like we’re referring to a person. Odd as it may sound, we even find these metal additions have unique quirts which give them personalities.

You know those multi picture frames people use for family photos, Mister has them for vehicles he’s owned since we’ve been together.

We even shared our wedding day with one of our classics. No, actually the customized 1958 Pontiac Parisienne probably starred in more pictures than Mister and I did that day.

General, is one of two we’ve owned the longest. The other is an antique only driven occasionally, whereas for years, General was the work horse. He pulled holiday, horse, or flat-deck trailers and hauled whatever daily life required. He took the family on tons of vacations and road trips, crossing borders and racking up miles, never once leaving us stranded.

He was the grandkids favorite to take for their driving test, labeled the lucky truck by the oldest who passed on her first try.

Mister got a new truck replacing, General, years ago. That’s when his duties and demands became less and less. He was our daughter’s daily driver for a spell and a back-up vehicle for the son from time to time. For about a year now though, he only started when the lawn beneath him needed cutting.

General’s mileage is up there, a couple patches of rust tint his white paint, and he has a few minor hail dints. Yet, his motor purrs, his oils stay level, and his interior shows little wear.

He still has life in him, so the difficult decision to sell him was made.

With our minds made up, Mister and I still seemed to put off advertising him but then I thought to send a niece a message. Her having a family of teens, I thought maybe one of her kid’s friends might need a faithful first vehicle.

It turned out their son needed something reliable to get to and from college.

As sad as it was to part with this truck his story has an interesting twist. The first family trip we took in, General, when he was new was to this young man’s parents wedding.

Him buying, General, made it a tiny bit easier for our family to part with him.

Items of sentimental value don’t have to be expensive heirlooms, jewelry, furniture, etc.

For some it could be a simple ticket stub, or a dried flower, the list is endless.

I believe everyone has a some kind of keepsake which holds a precious memory.

Does aging alter emotional attachment to things like keepsakes?

Does the whole space limited downsizing process change how a person views the importance of keeping items?

My answer is, with age comes wisdom, wisdom brings practicality, practicality has me realizing that the memories will remain with or without the physical object.

Have you been able to part with an item from your past that at one time you thought you could never get rid of?

How Are My Odds?

So far my hands are steadier, and I can concentrate far better than the last few days. Hopefully, the frustration trigger is buried deeper than it has been too.

I hope I don’t jinx it by saying so, but overall I’m doing better this time than I expected.

Will I be successful? I’m still uncertain.

Quitting is easy for some people, and maybe it depends on the reason behind why they smoke in the first place. 

For me it’s not social, in fact most family and friends don’t smoke. It’s not for the physical reason of keeping my hands busy. Cigarettes are my reward. I dangle them as enticement to get a project done, or I have one while gearing up to tackle something. Some of my best problem solving takes place on the deck while I’m smoking.

Yes, it’s unhealthy, and that’s the only reason I’m trying to quit, yet it doesn’t change that I enjoy the habit.

I started in grade school although it didn’t become a regular issue until I was in my late teens.

When I became pregnant, I quit and actually went 27 years as a non-smoker. The urge troubled me almost daily during that whole time though.

I know it’s an excuse, but when we had two near death scares in the immediate family both within the same week, the stress had me smoking again.

That was almost ten years ago.

Family laughs when I say, “I’m quitting.” They’ve heard it before.

I debated whether to publish this post because if the past is an indicator my odds to succeed are low.

They say to quit, you have to be ready, and it’s hard to know if you’re ready without giving it a whirl. 

I’m going “cold turkey” no pills, patches or aids other than a pack of nicotine gum if things get hairy. So far I have only had two pieces.

My dilemma is what do I reward myself with? I don’t want to use snacks.

Is it weird that I function on a reward system? 

Have I spent too much time training four legged critters?

Do you reward yourself after say, cutting the lawn or weeding flower beds?

To others who have tried to quit and have failed, it happens, and all we can do is try again.

P.S. – To those around me, I’m trying my best not to get grumpy and snappy but cut me some slack if I do. Sometimes, I just can’t help it.

Where am I? What day is it?

Early this morning as I waited for the red neon clock numbers to come into focus, strange thoughts popped to mind. Not like the nightmare ones that had me flee to the couch earlier this week for a fit of restless naps.

Today my brain jolted awake, for a moment thoughts came in short spurts and jumped from one thing to another. It made it difficult for me to answer my usual two morning questions. “Where am I?”, and “What day is it?”

For those who have noticed that I only published two blog posts in over a month, plus I’ve often only left a “like” on sites I follow, instead of commenting, here’s a brief explanation.

The last 41 days have passed with us busier than I can remember in a long time. I’m not sure if its scientifically possible but in plain and simple terms, my brain got far more tired than my body.

Creative juices left me. Lately, instead of writing and reading while we’re on the road, my iPad sat unopened in my purse while I zoned out with my “things-to-do list”.

I’ve experienced the complete opposite in my normal sleep pattern. Now, I have trouble falling asleep, and I sleep past sunrise.

The daughter swears that essential oil potions can remedy certain problems, and she suggested I try lavender on my temples before bed to help me relax. All I will say regarding this is, “I’ve become a believer!”

If you want to try a natural stress reliever, lavender might work for you.

As many others, my heart aches and my prayers go out to those living and contending with Wild Fires, Raging Storms, and Devastating Floods.

I feel guilty expressing my woes with what those people are going through, but everyday life for us has had its own chaos.

Mister’s been suffering with a neck and shoulder injury, and similar to the popular saying, “A happy wife is a happy life.” To that I’ll add, “A husband in pain is a wife in pain.”

We’ve also had a family milestone birthday, family illness, kids having medical tests and the waiting for results. Mister taking treatments 3 days a week for weeks. Hauling vehicles to-and-fro and hauling hay for winter. I’m on our Condo board and, silly me, I took on the chore of rewriting By-Laws for an amendment voting package. That involved extra meetings and computer time, followed by days of knocking on doors to explain, campaign and remind owners how important it is that they vote. On top of all this, we’ve been trying to downsize our assets, making life changing decisions, and are planning a house expansion renovation.

This morning was the first in ages that I didn’t have to get up and get ready to go or do something major. Once I figured that out, a flood gate opened. Thoughts for writing projects came faster than I could type, and I’m energized to get at regular daily things.

Oh, I’m typing on a new fold up travel blue tooth keyboard for my iPad, and loving it.

I’ll keep this short, but I hope to get back on track soon with my regular weekly posts.

As for the above picture, I’m enjoying the start of fall colors as life at the lake shifts into getting ready for winter. Summer flew by this year, and the sad part is I didn’t get out kayaking once this season.

Did your summer go fast?