The Wunder-Lusters Origin Story – Epilogue

Read part 1 HERE, part 2 HERE, part 3 HERE.

In the immortal words of Sophia Petrillo, ‘picture this’ … Kamloops, the summer of 2022, the middle of summer 2022. We’re sleeping with blankets and hot water bottles. It was bloody freezing!

A bit of authorial musing ..,

… what started out as a simple recounting of the path of our Wunder-Lusters Adventure has ended up including so much of what has gone on throughout the entire world over the last handful of years. Political, climactic, environmental, metrological, virological, social, etc.

But these are the times we live in, the times we have to live through, probably for the rest of our lives. The butterfly effect of our appetites has turned into a cyclone, sweeping all up in its path, will-we-or-nil-we, and to not acknowledge that, even within the confines of the story I’m telling, feels inauthentic, perhaps even dishonest.

Our world is a beautiful place, full of terrible wonders and beautiful dangers…

And so, to continue my weather report of the past handful of years.

It wasn’t until the very afternoon before we were due to leave Kamloops we found our next camping spot. Turns out campgrounds throughout the length and breadth of British Columbia fill up very quickly when a long weekend is nigh. Who knew? (I think Mrs Widds and I were too knackered at that point to pay attention to such minutiae)

The very last campground on our list of ones within a reasonable (4 hours max) drive had a spot available.

We hitched up ol’ Bessie and off we pootled.

For the next two weeks we called iRVins RV Park and Campground in Valemount, our home.

Two cold, glorious weeks.

Glorious, because I could see snow-capped mountains everywhere I looked, and cold, how cold? One morning we discovered that our ‘city water’ hose had frozen overnight.

We figured two weeks, (where at the very least it wasn’t raining all the time) was long enough for us to rest and gain an appreciation for what we’d actually accomplished, rather than just be so fucking exhausted that we could barely put one foot in front of the other at the end of the day. After we’d done that, we estimated a few days at the most, (hah!) we’d take a look around Valemount and see what we might see.

It wasn’t until about day 3 that I noticed how long I was sleeping each night and realised how far into total exhaustion I’d pushed myself. I was ready for bed by 7pm, sometimes earlier, and I wouldn’t wake until well after 9am. I averaged thirteen hours sleep for almost the entire time we were at iRVins (that’s how they spell it) Even when I was up and moving around, I had so little energy that walking across the campground each day to have a shower took all the strength I could muster. (if you’ve ever tried to have a decent shower in a very tiny ‘shower’ in a very small RV then you know why I made that trek)

Throughout our last days there, we reevaluated our priorities.

Our dreams of those early years, to travel the country, perhaps the whole of North America, and beyond, had crumbled beneath the harsh realities of the Covid pandemic, an on-rushing climate crisis, and a culture, a society, of increasing scarcity, that inexorably polarised (to the point of violence in some instances) on just about any issue, real or imagined, and more and more, we felt held no place for a couple of old woman nomads. (although, the nomad community is far more accepting of ‘oddballs’, like us than than the ‘traditional’, one) We had to find our own place, make our own place.

So, what to do, what to do?

We certainly weren’t going back. We’d come too far and struggled too hard to leave, to even contemplate that option.

We couldn’t stay where we were. (for longer than our allotted two weeks) Valemount in the summer of 2022, was defined by snowcapped mountains, (which I absolutely adored) and a complete and utter lack of housing options or long-term camping due to a natural gas pipeline construction running the entire length of the Southern Yellowhead Highway and soaking up every site it could for its workers.

There was only one thing for it then. North, Miss Teschmacher. (gold star if you get the reference. I’m looking at you, Admiral Hutson)

Prince George was our first stop, a mere three hour pootle up the road, (Hwy 16) where we restocked our supplies. They had a Costco – our favourite store!  … and a Nissan dealership, which we desperately needed because of ongoing brake issues with our trusty steed. (the truck) That fix took longer than we anticipated, and along with other time-devouring delays that sucked up the very last of our contingency funds, we decided to stay in place for a wee bit longer than we’d initially planned.

Enter the BeeLazee RV Park and Campground, run by an octogenarian couple who’d owned the place for the last fifty years. Once upon a time it would’ve been a showcase, but time and wear-and-tear catch up with the best of us eventually, and the old gal was showing her age. There’s a charm in run-down rustic, and in contrast to the almost sterile campground in Valemount (not counting my beloved snow-capped mountains, of course) it was a welcome change to the senses.

Mrs Widds fell in love with it immediately. Me, not so much, I was still grieving my snow-capped mountains … and it finally had warmed up enough for the mosquitoes to come out of hiding and do what they do best – try every way possible to drain me of blood, to which they were more than moderately successful.

The strain of living in the RV, getting in and out of it, and generally moving around it, had taken a grievous toll on my knees as well. That coupled with the strain I placed on them during the move meant that I could manage a hobble, leaning heavily on my cane, on a good day. I came to appreciate the tiny shower in our RV. At least there was always a wall close at hand for me to lean on.

-oOo-

Summer, such as it was, (cold-and-rainy with a few sunny-and-warm days here and there) was slipping through our fingers like fine-grained sand.

The thought of not having a home base to over-winter in, in a region where the snow depth can often be measured in meters, and winter temps well below freezing was not something either of us found at all attractive. Even if we did find a campground that stayed open all winter, our little RV would turn into an RV-cicle at the first hint of snow.

We would have to find a place with four walls instead of four wheels.

Enter Craigslist.

Mrs Widds found our home on Widder Island via a Craigslist ad so we were cautiously hopeful that the odds were in our favour this time too. (they were – but that’s another story) Which was just as well because La Nina, that pesky Pacific weather phenomenon, (she who had kept summer at bay until well into July) was forecast to smack us with a Winter colder and longer than usual, once she’d finished chilling the ass-pidistra out of Spring and Summer.

-oOo-

And so, our great Wunder-Lusters Adventure has come to a close for the season.

We have no idea what the future holds, but here’s what I do know …

I estimate that I’ve probably taken five to ten years off the lifespan of my knees. Time to find an orthopedic surgeon.

Mrs Widds and I are far stronger and more resilient than we ever thought we could be. (we had inklings but now it’s confirmed)

Always carry duct-tape and a roll of wire, and a water bottle, at all times.

People are far more willing to be of help when one is ‘travelling’. It’s the nature of our species I suppose when we encounter those outside our ‘tribe’, to offer assistance, and help them on their way.

For all the stress and tears, laughter and awe, for every kilometer we travelled, and didn’t travel, for all that the world is irrevocably different now than when it was when we first conceived this madcap idea, I wouldn’t’ve missed a moment of it.

-oOo-

40 comments on “The Wunder-Lusters Origin Story – Epilogue

  1. It probably hurt – but YOU DID IT! You two did the traveling thing together and are still speaking – and traveling again.

    I really doubt I’ll get the chance, but if I do, I’m grabbing it. Even a couple of weeks would put a cap on wanderlust – instead of it remaining an unscratched itch for the rest of my life. Illness s*cks.

    But there must have been an almost continuous stream of things that HAD to be done, food, transportation, communication, food, laundry, heating and AC, exhaustion, food…

    I’m so proud of you two.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ian Hutson says:

    Mush! Miss Teschmacher, mush! Happy days. It’s been a while since I last donned my own lycra onesie and cape, but I asked my tailor to include expanding Velcro gussets, so it may still fit. North to Alaska, Whip crack away, she’ll be coming around the snow-capped mountain when she comes, and other mixed phetamoricals. I still have Superman’s dog-tags. Also his slippers, pipe, and best dress merkin.

    I remember well when living in a caravan (trailer), that peculiarly fascinating -13°C (8Fs?) sensation when the shower tray froze solid beneath me, even as the hot water trickled down my ankles. It is amazing how the danger of being frozen into the shower until spring – or gnawing one’s own feet off to escape – can persuade one to curtail a shower…

    Mind you, tell the youth of today that and they just won’t believe you.

    Mush! Miss Teschmacher, mush!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Suzanne says:

    I like the honesty of this. I too have been finding the world a very different place to how it was pre-Covid. There is a craziness to life (and some people) now that can get downright scary sometimes
    I’ve been evicted from this little house and have till the end of October to move. The rental situation is dire. Nothing out there that I could imagine living in at present – some of the places don’t even have stoves! Sometimes I wonder if I should just put everything in store and hit the road in my tiny Nissan hatchback. Your post tells that is a truly bad idea. I am far too old to sleep in a tent for months on end.
    I hope you find a place to hole up in for the winter. For me, it’s about finding a place off the coast and away from all these rich people moving here from Melbourne and pulling down all the old holiday shacks to build massive apartment blocks. Fingers crossed we all find somewhere safe, warm and dry to shelter us during the coming storms of climate change, food shortages, violence and craziness.

    Liked by 2 people

    • acflory says:

      Ugh. I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been caught up in the housing madness. The Offspring and I live on the Melbourne fringe, so your comment literally sent chills up my spine. I hope you find something suitable soon. -hugs-

      Liked by 3 people

      • Suzanne says:

        I’m on the Bellarine Peninsula. All the old holiday shacks are getting pulled down to make way for huge apartment blocks and two or three story houses. Finding rentals is very difficult.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Widdershins says:

          What’s even more annoying is all the ‘absent owners’, who buy properties as investments and only show up for a few weeks in the year, the rest of the time the place stays empty.

          Like

        • acflory says:

          It’s lovely there, or was. Is it because of the Air-BnB’s? I know they’re part of the issue we’re having with housing. 😦

          Liked by 2 people

          • Suzanne says:

            It’s very busy here now. A lot of people moved down when they could work from home during the pandemic. Houses are selling like hot cakes. Whenever an old one gets sold it is pulled down and an apartment block or huge house is built in it’s place. I don’t know whether they are for air bnb or permanent.

            Liked by 2 people

            • acflory says:

              Ah, I see. De-centralisation is probably a good thing, in the long run, but I can see the disruption caused by the transition. Economists talk in glowing terms about ‘market forces’, but those market forces are /never/ concerned with the collateral damage they do to lives.
              I hope you find somewhere safe and affordable soon. -hugs-

              Liked by 2 people

      • Widdershins says:

        It really is a case of the rich gobbling up all the resources they can, while they can, and be damned to the rest of us, and to the stewardship of this planet.

        Liked by 2 people

        • acflory says:

          Yes, that’s become horrible clear the last few years. I mean, it has probably been like that all along but at least there was a veneer of social responsibility. Now it’s like we’re all getting a huge ‘f-you’.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Widdershins says:

      That home insecurity of being a renter absolutely sucks, doesn’t it? … we’ve found a place for the winter, but I won’t be doing any more big adventuring until I can get my knees fixed.
      May you find a safe haven too, my friend.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Olga Godim says:

    Quite an adventure you had. I wonder where you’ll end up for the winter. I hope you’ll find something nice. BTW: it’s been hot in Vancouver for the past two weeks. The summer has finally arrived … in August.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Widdershins says:

      Yep, 30 degrees or thereabouts up here too. We’re staying here in PG, found a house, twice the size of our cottage on Widder Island and twice the rent! Interesting times, eh? 🙂

      Like

  5. Inspiring admiration. I didn’t get the gold star – so thanks for the video

    Liked by 2 people

  6. acflory says:

    Caught up in the romance of your adventure, it never occurred to me that there’d be such a steep downside. Please rest up over the winter so you’re physically and mentally ready to hit the road again once the weather warms again. Hugs to you and Mrs Widds.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Widdershins says:

      Yeah, it hasn’t all been sunshine and lollipops, that’s for sure. I didn’t put too much of it into the posts I did along the way, I was too much into the adventure as well. 🙂 … but doing this whole retrospective really brought the whole picture into focus. It’s been quite the Journey hasn’t it?
      Don’t know about next year though. It depends on the state of my knees by then. 🙂 … ah, so many unknowns. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Such a sensible idea to find a bolthole for the winter, Widds. So good luck with that. Good luck with your knees too…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I hope you find a winter abode and relief for the knees. The PG area isn’t quite the magnet for developers as other parts of BC, I’m thinking, so maybe… Let’s hope your adventures continue, come what may!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Widdershins says:

      Actually, PG is suffering from the housing ‘boom’ like all the major centers. There’s townhouses going up everywhere. There’s a bit of a controversy about developers buying up vacant land and/or parkland and building townhouse complexes. The housing is definitely needed, but there has to be green spaces as well … interesting times.
      We found a place for the winter … and as for next year? Who knows. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aargh! It’s everywhere! To be fair, I guess people are looking for affordable housing all over the province. Many are retired folks who have cashed in their house in more expensive places, or just families looking for “the house.” Can’t blame them, but I wonder why it’s so much harder than it used to be.
        Good to hear you’ve found a spot for the winter! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  9. quiall says:

    It is good to know that you are safe. And thank you for letting us peek in to your adventures. Maybe now you can rest and relax and perhaps write that book that has been niggling at the back of your mind…???

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What a wonderful epilog. “Mrs Widds and I are far stronger and more resilient than we ever thought we could be.” That’s one of the amazing discoveries of traveling. Congrats on the 2022 adventure. More ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

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