Shoestrings

I’ve finally made it through my backlog of emails … and come across something rather special and unexpected.

Financially speaking, we are doing this on a shoestring. Even our shoestrings have shoestrings, and some of you have very wonderfully contacted me and offered to help ease the shoestring shortfall.

We’ve talked it over and decided to accept these true-hearted gifts.

So, if anyone wants to, it can go through my paypal account. The email address to use is … widdershinfirst (at) gmail (dot) com.

All amounts large or small, one-offs or regular sendings, will be received with love and spent wisely.

Now, on with the Adventure …

First an ‘around-the-world’ video of the mountains surrounding us.

This one’s for Meeks … Just a bit of a look at where we’re staying at the moment.

But it does get a bit chilly after sunset, or if the sun disappears behind the sort of lowering clouds that love to hang around mountain peaks, and we had a bit of drama the other night. Apparently there was a late-night problem with the water, and the campground hosts disconnected the water from all the RV’s on our bit of the watermain.

The essentials, water, electricity, and drainage ... and dandelions

The essentials, water, electricity, and drainage … and dandelions

We didn’t hear a thing but as I went to do that first flush of the morning, as one does … oops no water.

After a hurried perusal, we discovered the disconnected hose and the ice therein.

Almost June and it's cold enough to freeze the pipes at night

Almost June and it’s cold enough to freeze the pipes at night

We had a lovely chat with the campground owner, (** waves to ‘P’**) who informed us that because all the other Seasons have been hiding behind Winter for far too long, the snowpack is about 150% more than it usually is. The rain that falls here is snow a hundred meters or so higher up. It makes for some very dramatic panoramas.

That grey mass of cloud came down from those heights in a matter of minutes

That grey mass of cloud came down from those heights in a matter of minutes

We are as snug as can be in our little be-wheeled home. Teas and coffees are being sipped and a soup is in the slow-cooker. All is well in our world. I hope it is in yours too.

792 Meters (In Elevation) Later

Hello!!!

I’m back!

It’s so nice to be here again.

After I post this I’ll get to reading and responding to all your comments on my last post, and the emails that have accrued in my inbox.

Audrey? Has it stopped raining on the coast yet?

There’s a reason I, somewhat facetiously ask that, because after we had finally finished at the house and sent our landlady our final video of the entire place, we pootled up the road – completely exhausted, to the campground we’d stayed at in Agassiz in 2020, the rain had not stopped.

After 10 days there, where we hoped to dry everything out, including our soggy selves, the rain still had not stopped. We did manage to catch an hour-long sunbeam here and there, but those dastardly clouds kept rolling in and letting us know their thoughts on the matter of sunbeams sneaking past their ramparts.

Next came the Coquihalla Pass, a very sane if a little steep, 4-lane highway, that takes one at a steady pace, up fourteen hundred meters from the Lower Mainland to the Interior (of British Columbia)

At least it used to.

After the horrendous floods of last Autumn/Winter a good many parts of the road had been completely obliterated.

The emergency repairs that enabled this major corridor to open within a month, I think it was, are slowly being replaced with something more permanent.

Unfortunately this required many sections of road to be one lane only, in one direction at a time. White-knuckle driving at its finest!

Nevertheless, we persisted … and arrived at our next campground that Mrs Widds sister had arranged for us, (** waves to the Melodious One**) in Kamloops. where the very few raindrops that fell were frozen ones.

It was only after our two-day stay there that I had the energy to even remember to pick up my phone and do a bit of visual documentation.

Cold and Windy, but no rain.

'Tea & Pee' Break

‘Tea & Pee’ Break

Yeah, that’s the natural gas pipeline going in. It accompanied us all the way here, in varying degrees of completion.

With apologies to Credence Clearwater Revival, this shot is from another ‘tea-n-pee’ break, looking out the door, at the North Thompson River, tearing along southwards, at a tidy pace.

Lookin' out my front door

Lookin’ out my front door

Next came my favourite bit …

Snow!!! ... and a long and only slightly winding road

Snow!!! … and a long and only slightly winding road

Which brings us up-to-date-ish with this final ‘out my front door shot’ from our campground here in Valemount.

We're completely surrounded by mountains just like this one

We’re completely surrounded by mountains just like this one

Here’s a close-up, and if you can spot it, right at the top of the peak is a cellphone/satellite tower!

Right there, framed in the tree branches

Right there, framed in the tree branches

The very slow start to the Spring/Summer season means lots of snow for Yours Truly, and temperatures that are 10 degrees below the average for this time of year. Thankfully we brought all our hot water bottles along.

That’s it for now. I’ve taken up the campground’s wi-fi for long enough. Emails and replies to comments tomorrow.

P.S. that 792 meters in the title, is how far we are above sea-level, compared to only a week or so ago, when we topped out at 4 meters above sea level. The air up here is spectacular!

The Last Summer Tree

Taken first thing this morning in the first beam of sunshine that came along

Taken first thing this morning in the first beam of sunshine that came along

We as packed up as we’re going to be.

The Rv’s as loaded as it’s going to be.

The bloody rain has FINALLY stopped.

This is it!

Videos and posts and pictures as we go.

Thank you all for your wonderful support. I will miss you for the little while we’re out of touch.

Big hugs for you all.

Widds

Mrs Widds And The Solar Panels

We decided we needed another week to finish off all the projects that the inclement (and I use that term with no small amount of irony) weather delayed. Lawns to mow that required at least one day without rain, and other assorted outside final maintenance tasks, that sort of thing.

Lo and behold, today was the 2nd day in a row without rain. We don’t count showers anymore. There’s no point.

I mowed the front lawn for the last time, ever! I’ve been mowing that lawn every Spring, Summer, and Autumn, for ten years. If I never have to mow a lawn again it will be too soon.

And Mrs Widds … remember that video I did a little while back where we tested our solar panels? … and we had a power outage immediately after?

Well, today was the day she installed one of them on our RV roof!

I think she likes it up there ... however, note those looming dark clouds

I think she likes it up there … however, note those looming dark clouds

She did an absolute bang-up job, and I love her to bits, and back together again.

The view from the roof

The view from the roof

Our new departure date is the 7th, and although rain is forecast from now until then, we’ll be able to finish everything in spite of it.

And I’ll never have to mow that lawn again!

The Home Straight

We’ve just finished the absolutely hardest weekend of this entire adventure, moving all the white-goods and large items that will only fit on a U-Haul utility trailer, into storage.

What we left behind can only be imagined … but, I took some pictures anyway.

The kitchen's a disaster

The kitchen’s a disaster

The bedroom doesn't exist any more

The bedroom doesn’t exist any more

But no matter how much you pack and tidy …

After the party's over there's always one guest that ends up like this. Whoever said that dead gas-lifts for office chairs were easy to remove, LIED!

After the party’s over there’s always one guest that ends up like this. Whoever said that dead gas-lifts for office chairs were easy to remove, LIED!

Even Winnie-the-Pooh is up to her eyeballs in boxes!

Even Winnie-the-Pooh is up to her eyeballs in boxes!

Just when we thought we were getting some clear spaces, Mrs Widds spotted these two beauties with a sign on them saying ‘Free’ …

A little careworn, and showing their age

A little careworn, and showing their age

Probably all the original interiors too

Probably all the original interiors too

They're heavy bastards but look at this beautiful metalwork

They’re heavy bastards but look at this beautiful metalwork

So, they’re in the storage unit as well, awaiting their time to be refurbished and have their moment in the sun.

The carpets have been shampooed, all the indoor plants have been sent to their future homes, and our trusty steed (the truck) is up-to-date with her shots. What’s left now it getting all the ‘stuff’, we want to take with us in our travel trailer to actually fit into our travel trailer.

I suspect further culling will be required.

I’ll probably get one more post up here before we leave, and then I will be at the mercies of cell-phone coverage, wi-fi, and other assorted means of getting an interwebz signal, to keep you updated.

We’re both exhausted beyond measure, but, relatively speaking, doing well.

Some Days Are Hard

We’ve been packing and sorting like a couple of dervishes … deconstructed our tin shed, in an afternoon! … the one it took us an entire bloody summer to build. There were extenuating circumstances, but still.

Going - In spite of being in total darkness and under a layer of industrial rubber, the bamboo, still managed to get this far - my kinda bamboo!

Going – In spite of being in total darkness and under a layer of industrial rubber, the bamboo, still managed to get this far – my kinda bamboo!

Going-er - The amount of spider's nests we had to clean off the walls, even this early in the season, was ... well, quite terrifying really

Going-er – The amount of spider’s nests we had to clean off the walls, even this early in the season, was … well, quite terrifying really

Gone - As though it was never there, except for the disgruntled spiders and flat bamboo stems, of course

Gone – As though it was never there, except for the disgruntled spiders and flat bamboo stems, of course

Nuts and bolts - I think we even managed to find all the ones we dropped on the gravel as we worked

Nuts and bolts – I think we even managed to find all the ones we dropped on the gravel as we worked

We’ve reduced our kitchen possessions to only the things that will go in the RV with us, rather than our usual abundant pots-n-pans-n-dishes-n-spoons, etc. It’s a learning curve.

All the packing debris on the floors was getting a little ridiculous so I, in a fit of insanity, vacuumed it all up.

Then, because we had two consecutive days without rain, and the front lawn … segue – Mrs Widds and I have come to an agreement. Wherever we end up, there will be no lawn. Patches and paths of grass or some other soft-to-the-toes herb will be welcome, but lawns, and their idle, yet labour-intensive, ways, will be banished from the Queendom! … un-segue-ing … needed to be cut before it grew beyond the capabilities of our trusty little lawnmower, that started right up with nary a cough or splutter after it’s long season stored away with spiders and stray tendrils of bamboo for company.

Yesterday was, in fact, a maintenance day, and necessary because we still have to live here for another twenty-something days.

Today however … today, saw me tucked up in bed with numerous hot water bottles strewn about my person, moaning and groaning with some sort of tummy upset. Tucked up in bed that is, in-between bouts of sitting on the toilet, moaning and groaning just as loudly.

Two consecutive days, equally hard, for very different reasons.

I’m now going back to bed to moan and groan some more, and will spring forth renewed on the morrow. The packing of boxes and sorting of treasures, wait for no woman or an upset tummy.

Countdown

The great unveiling of 2022!

The jammies coming off

The jammies coming off

Nekkid!

Nekkid!

We finally got around to changing the locks on our trailer. Did you know that there are only just a few ‘master keys’ that unlock every door of ALL new RVs ?

Ostensibly, it’s so that dealerships don’t have to carry the weight of several keys for every RV on their lot. It does, however, make it dead easy for n’er’do’wellers to to gain easy access for their nefarious purposes.

Love a woman who knows how to use an adjustable wrench ... The sub-floor hatches ...

Love a woman who knows how to use an adjustable wrench … The sub-floor hatches …

And the front door - the only door actually!

And the front door – the only door actually!

We’ve been making decisions about how to store provisions, given that the availability of some foodstuffs will be uncertain for the foreseen and unforseen future.

Vacuum-sealing the good stuff

Vacuum-sealing the good stuff

Annnnnd packing …

Making space for the big items in the storage locker

Making space for the big items in the storage locker

Everything we do, at the moment, has an aura of surrealness to it. No familiar routines remain in place. The more we deconstruct our little cottage, the more vacant spaces show up, surprising us both with the absence of familiar shapes, light, and shadow.

The Berkey water filter used to be next to where it is now, on a wooden stand that filled that odd corner perfectly.

The Berkey water filter used to be next to where it is now, on a wooden stand that filled that odd corner perfectly.

We have lists everywhere, and everywhere is chaos … although, within that chaos the plan remains the same. (which is just as well, otherwise we’d be in big trouble)

Five Days To Go …

… until we give our 1 month’s notice to the owner of our little cottage here on Widder Lake …

I’m … fine …

We’re … fine …

Breathing … is … is … it’s happening …

A Bit Of An Epiph

One of our favourite pieces of music at the moment is on Brett Lenahan’s YouTube Channel, called ‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Grey Havens Ambience & Music‘. Truth be told it’s been a favourite for a while now, ever since I discovered his channel some time around the middle of last year.

The Grey Havens is a sea-port on the furthest edge of Middle Earth. From there the Elves, when it is their time to leave the mortal realms and go home, take ship across the sea to the Undying lands.

It was from there that, after all their adventures, both Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, (and eventually Sam Gamgee as well – for he was a Ring-Bearer – albeit for a short while, and the magic had claimed him too) left Hobbiton behind them forever. (but not in our hearts, for there they still dwell, enjoying second breakfasts, good company, and a warm hearth)

This morning, for no concrete reason, I was feeling, ‘whelmed’. (somewhere between feeling less-than-OK and completely overwhelmed) Nothing in particular was stressing me. Which, when I think about it, is a ridiculous statement given the world around us.

Mrs Widds and I relocated the last of our supply of dry pulses and grains from their glass jars into 1-cup-sized amounts in reusable plastic bags to go into the trailer. It was a comfortable companionable activity on a rainy afternoon. We chatted about this and that, and when it was done we treated ourselves to a celebratory pot of chai tea while we read and puttered around the house with the above mentioned piece of music streaming from my computer.

There’s a lovely image, a still from the third movie in the trilogy, that goes with it and I had it displayed on my wonderful wizz-bang monitor.

I paused in my pootling and sat with the image and what it represented (in the context of the movie – going home) and I felt a wave of tears rise and overflow.

I epiphed.

What we were doing earlier in the day, and indeed all that we’re doing now, preparing for our big adventure, feels like we’re going home.

I’ve never had a ‘home’, to go to, as such. The kind that families in the movies return to at odd times of the year, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. So the whole ‘going home’, thing never resonated with me.

I think the nature of my epiph caught me by surprise more than anything else.

I had a bit more of a cry and we had hugs, then went back to our ‘corners’.

Now, when I start to get stress about the enormity of what we’re doing, and what’s required to even get out our front door here on Widder Island, I let that ‘going home’, feeling drift through my mind, my heart, my Spirit, and my stress dissipates. Not completely, of course, that would require that I lie to myself, and I’m not very good at that.

-oOo-

P.S. Does anyone else get a cracker of a headache after they have a deep epiph-inspired cry, or is it just me?

Boxing and Unboxing

Our first load to the storage unit for this year …

It may not look like much but you'd be surprised many boxes and bags we squished in there

It may not look like much but you’d be surprised many boxes and bags we squished in there

… and then we moved more empty boxes into the house to fill up …

It may not look like much but you'd be surprised many flattened boxes we squished in there

It may not look like much but you’d be surprised many flattened boxes we squished in there

… and then …

… for a while now I’ve been subscribing to newsletters, YouTube channels, blogs, etc, created by people in the RV-ing community. The amount of things we’ve learned about RV-ing in general, maintenance and fixing things ourselves, how our travel trailer is put together and what we have to do to keep it together, has truly been an education worthy of a high-falutin’ degree of some sort.

One of those newsletters, RV Travel, has a weekly giveaway. I enter, just because I can, and let’s face it, if you don’t play you don’t win, and last week I won …

A box within a box!

A box within a box!

… an air fryer!

At this point I had no idea what an air fryer was …

Ok then, it's a plastic ... um ... thingy

Ok then, it’s a plastic … um … thingy

After opening up everything and removing all sorts of interesting bits …

Still none-the-wiser

Still none-the-wiser

Time to read the instructions … chop up a couple of potatoes, toss ’em in a bit of oil and herbs, into the pot-thingy they go … turn it on and see what happens …

Voilà! Widder-fries!

Voilà! Widder-fries!

They didn’t taste half bad either.

We’re not sure yet if we’ll take it with us or put it into storage, but we’re going to experiment with a few recipes over the next few weeks and see how it works out.