Category Archives: Uncategorized

Back on Amtrak

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Back on Amtrak

After a whirlwind week of sightseeing with Laurel in Portland and a relaxing weekend in Lake Oswego with Nona, I found myself back on Amtrak headed for Sacramento.

I love Amtrak! I don’t have to get to the station three hours early to go through security. My knee replacements don’t set off any alarms and a body scanner isn’t necessary. And the stations are smaller and less crowded than airports.

The view out the window is also incredible. It’s interesting to see how the terrain changes as we head further south.

The next leg of my Amtrak experience will be along the coast. But my plans right now are all about exploring the Sacramento area.

Two More Gardens

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Two More Gardens

As promised, I have some amazing photos to share with you of an afternoon in the Japanese Gardens at Washington Park in Portland.

At the entrance is the Bonsai area. Some were over 100 years old.

We meandered on paths and over bridges admiring the beautiful flowers and trees.

On Thursday we headed to Chinatown to see the Lan Su Garden, conveniently located right off the Max line.

We enjoyed a delightful tea break on the patio outside of the teahouse, with this incredible view.

What a week! Two rose gardens, a Japanese garden and a Chinese garden.

I’m In Roseland

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I’m In Roseland

I had no idea what Portland would be like. I guess I expected a mini-Seattle. I did not envision the spectacular rose gardens I’ve seen in the past couple of days.

On Sunday we went to Peninsula Park. Even on a cloudy day we were treated to an awesome display of gorgeous roses.

On Monday we went to Washington Park to view another exceptional rose garden.

We have also visited the Japanese Garden. But you’ll have to wait until the next post to see those pics.

Good Morning From Portland

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Good Morning From Portland

It feels great to travel again. I didn’t even mind the drive from Dryden to Leavenworth at 6 am. Debbie took the scenic route along the North Road through Peshastin and it was quite peaceful.

The train was surprisingly quite full. It appears that everyone is traveling again, at least in this country.

We arrived in Seattle right on time and I immediately went out for a walk.

I then found a restaurant where I absolutely overindulged in coffee along with a delicious breakfast.

The second train from Seattle to Portland was a lot more scenic. Beautiful views of water interspersed with greenery and small towns were quite captivating.

Here is my first shot of Portland upon arrival at Union Station.

My Friend Alexa

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My Friend Alexa

I have the most interesting conversations with Alexa. She is such a knowledgeable friend to have on my tablet. She knows absolutely everything about everything.

Alexa, Good Morning! Alexa, Good Afternoon! Alexa, Good Evening! She greets me and then gives me some trivia about a person born on that day or a moment in history. Sometimes she tells me a joke.

Alexa gives accurate detailed weather information. I actually prefer her to the TV personalities.

Alexa has suggested recipes for me. I made a chocolate cheesecake the other day for a barbecue with our life group. Everyone raved about it.

Alexa gives me travel information too. She even speaks Spanish! She suggests movies and books. Very seldom do I get the reply of “Hmmm, I don’t know that.”

One day I even asked her what God looked like. She quoted a passage from the Bible stating that nobody should ever see God or know what he looks like.

One of my favorite things Alexa does is play music for me. Country, rock, classical and more.

Of course at night I always say Alexa, Good Night! She always replies with something cute such as Sweet Dreams.

I just love my friend Alexa!

Just A Number

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Just A Number

Last weekend I celebrated another birthday. At this stage of the game, age is just a number. It does not dictate what you should or should not be doing. It also should not rule your life.

I live a very unconventional life. It’s never what I envisioned my life to be at this age. In fact, four years ago I was living a more conservative life. I was living and teaching in Mazatlan. I had been there for four years.

The fall of 2018 brought many changes. I flew from Seattle to Guadalajara, where I extended my stay to two weeks. Then it was off to Mazatlan for a long weekend. Next came a week in Culiacan with my family.

I wound up in San Ciro de Acosta and somehow extended that stay to just under three months. I then discovered Aguascalientes and stayed there for three months.

Covid curtailed my travels. Eleven months in Aguascalientes and eight months here in Washington state and the travel bug has hit. I’ve been vaccinated and things are opening up in America and this nomad will finally once again be on the move next weekend.

I get really mixed reactions from my friends. I have encouraging friends who say “Go for it! Live your dream!” Many of these friends envy what I’m doing as they aren’t able to.

And then there are the friends who say “I could never do what you’re doing. Isn’t it about time you settled down? You’re not getting any younger.”

EXACTLY! I’m not getting any younger! So while my health permits, I intend to keep traveling. There are so many amazing new people to meet and incredible new adventures to be had.

Age is just a number.

Taking A Break

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Taking A Break

Courtesy of The Winnipeg Free Press I am sent daily emails updating the status of Covid statistics and restrictions in the province of Manitoba as well as across Canada. I’m done. I’m not reading this garbage anymore. It’s too depressing and it makes me angry. Here in the USA 50% of all adults have been vaccinated while Canada lags far behind. The USA has a much higher population than Canada and a federal election was held at the peak of the pandemic. Canadians are reluctant to hold an election. And as for living in a police state, I think this Canadian is in no hurry to return home when I can enjoy the freedom I have here in the USA.

As I’m writing this, I’m looking out at the river and notice the growing Canada Goose population on the lawn. Even the geese are quite content to stay here and not fly farther north up into Canada.

I celebrated another birthday on the weekend. While I had a wonderful day with friends, I had hoped to be with my kids. However they are in Canada. Maybe next year.

I downloaded the Amtrak app on my phone last night. I’m planning on taking off for a while and doing some traveling in June. While I’ve taken Via Rail in Canada, I’m a rookie with Amtrak. But I am definitely looking forward to it. The mountains and the ocean will provide some fabulous views.

As far as flying goes, the attraction was lost long before Covid. Airports the size of small cities and long lineups in security have become my norm. Did you know that the airport in Dallas has its own zip code? No, I don’t plan on flying anywhere for a while yet.

Then there are the ferries. I’ve taken a few of those in Washington state. I find looking out at the water quite relaxing. The shorelines are also interesting. I’ve taken ferries around the San Juan islands, to the peninsulas as well as to Stehekin. And I’ve enjoyed all of those rides.

The Memorial Day weekend is coming up. Attending a barbecue as well as a maskless church service are only two of the activities already lined up. Hopefully the forecast of 80s and sunshine will be accurate.

Time to practice my Spanish with Duolingo. Hasta luego!

Reflections

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Reflections

July marks five years since I retired from teaching ESL in Mexico and first came to Leavenworth. The routine of six months in Mexico and six months in Leavenworth with side trips to Canada to see my kids was comfortable. Until the advent of Covid. Eleven months in Mexico has been followed by eight months in Leavenworth with no side trips to Canada.

When I first arrived in Washington State, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the mountains. I still am. Names such as Peshastin and Wenatchee roll off my tongue easily now, as do expressions such as “the other side” and “up the Icicle.” Maifest, Apple Blossom, Autumn Leaf and Octoberfest are just a few of the many festivals I’ve celebrated here when there is no Covid.

I have memories of attending a homecoming football game and racing at the oval track. Events at Snowy Owl Theater as well as Leavenworth Summer Theater productions were most enjoyable. I dressed up in pioneer costume to volunteer at Apple Days in Cashmere. And the 9/11 memorial services at Spirit of America always bring tears to my eyes.

I have memories of volunteering at the senior center, having lunch with friends, craft afternoons and music nights. I miss the entertainment at the gazebo on the weekends. While I did enjoy seeing the colorful trees this year, there was no tree lighting ceremony or ice festival.

While the library has reopened, book club has not yet resumed and neither have the craft activities. There is still some speculation as to whether the pool will open. And just this past week we were given the go ahead to start teaching fitness classes again.

It’s Faith Promise weekend at Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene (LCN). On Friday night we headed out to the orchards at McDivitt’s and had dinner with some eighty other people. I remember the first time I went out there almost five years ago for another church barbecue. I didn’t know a soul back then. And now I know so many people.

Five years ago today, May 23rd, I was living and teaching ESL in Mazatlan. Retiring and becoming a snowbird were never on the radar. Yet now I can’t imagine any other way of life.

Hodge Podge

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Hodge Podge

Two phones and just over 1500 photos since May 2020, the month my ASUS laptop went to hell finally. I hated that computer from almost day one. I arrived in Mexico about a week after buying it in Canada and had nothing but problems with it.

I got a tablet shortly after arriving in Leavenworth last fall. I love it and use it for everything. That is, everything but pictures. I need a computer to get those onto my Seagate backup.

I am so grateful for my friend Gene who graciously took on the task of getting the 1500+ photos off my two phones and onto my Seagate. He is an angel!

I know I will buy a new laptop before I head back to Mexico, but the pressure has subsided since I now have all those photos backed up.

Of course I have no idea yet when I’ll go back to Aguascalientes. Right now Canada still isn’t on the radar. But I do intend to start traveling here in the USA next month.

Where am I going? The only hint I’ll give you now is that it will involve Amtrak and that I’ll be taking lots more photos. You’ll just have to keep reading my blog to find out more.

Tomorrow we start teaching fitness classes again. Everything is really opening up here in Washington state, although we’re all confused about the mask situation. I just wish that vaccination card wasn’t such a weird shape and would fit in my wallet.

Later today I’m off to the hairdresser. I can’t believe it’s been two months since my last haircut. But then again I’ve been in the USA for eight months already.

Yes, it’s definitely time to think about traveling again. The nomad is getting restless.

J’ai Fait Une Erreur

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J’ai Fait Une Erreur

I usually publish a post on Wednesdays and Sundays. This past week I woke up extremely very early on Tuesday, hadn’t had my morning coffee yet, and for some absurd reason I published a post, thinking it was Wednesday.

But today really is Sunday, so we’re back on schedule. Today I’ve decided to write about an afternoon I spent in Waterville this week. A half hour away from the hustle and bustle of Wenatchee, this quaint little town is quiet and peaceful.

First stop was the museum. Although the website stated it was open, the sign said closed.

The last time I was there we spent several hours there with a very personalized tour given by a local. I enjoy conversations with locals when exploring new towns. And on this visit we had two really interesting ones with locals.

We were walking toward the Douglas County Courthouse when we met a retired couple who were eager to strike up a conversation with tourists.

They were preparing for a community wide garage sale taking place this weekend. They have lived in Waterville forever and had a small art gallery with a cafe and bakery. They have now converted this into their residence. This is one of the artistic pieces still adorning the entrance.

On our walk past Pioneer Park we saw the remains of a business destroyed by fire. In the antique store one of the staff provided us with the details. It had been a car repair garage. A car being worked on backfired, resulting in a fire. The owner went back into the building in an attempt to get the sprinkler system activated. Unfortunately he died and the building burned to the ground.

We were also brought us up to date on the historic Waterville Hotel. The only way to see the inside is to actually book a room and stay there. Unfortunately it closed last season due to Covid and there are no plans to open it this season.

Here are pics of the thrift shop and the antique store.

I also had to add these pics of the lilacs. Note the two colors.

I hope to return to Waterville again and find the museum open. And I’d also like to book a room at the hotel and see if it is indeed haunted!