“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
I wonder if Charles Dickens was forecasting the year 2021 when he wrote those opening words in A Tale Of Two Cities.”
My first winter in snow in eleven years was actually quite enjoyable. It’s much milder here than in Winnipeg.
In March the USA issued a Level 4 travel advisory not to go to Canada. I retained an attorney and began the process of obtaining an extended stay. Documents, documents and more documents. In April I provided the requested biometrics. But it wasn’t until July when USCIS officially notified me that the stay had been granted.
In June I went on my first Amtrak trip and visited with friends in Portland and Sacramento. The scenery along the coast was breathtaking and it felt so good to travel again.
Once again I’m thinking about travel. I’ve spent the past two days exploring options. It’s been nerve-wracking to say the least. And I’ve finally made a decision. And I’ve booked flights. But that will be discussed in another post at a later date.
Speaking of dates, September 20th is the date of the federal election in 🇨🇦, if the wildfires don’t burn the country down first.
My amazing train trip has come to an end. It appears that I have brought the Sacramento heat wave with me back to Leavenworth. Yesterday was a balmy 110 and the forecast for Tuesday is 115.
Lots of highs from my trip down the coast. The spectacular ocean view in California…..well, I just can’t come up with the words to describe this. It’s something you have to experience. Even the photos don’t do it justice. I’d love to do it again.
Other highs I’ve written about in previous posts included the gorgeous rose gardens, the beautiful Japanese garden and the Grotto in Portland, as well as the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento.
Two places that I’d still like to visit are Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. The view from the train was interesting and I’m sure there’s a lot to see in both places. Perhaps next time.
But there were also a couple of lows to this trip. It was quite depressing to see the extent of the homeless camps in every city I visited. They are everywhere and what upset me the most was the children who live here. They are surrounded by alcoholics, drug addicts and people with serious mental health issues. They live out of shopping carts and under tarps, and in tents if they’re among the more fortunate.
The second low was the ever present racial tension. Although this familiar logo was found everywhere, the damaged and boarded up downtown storefronts are reminders that the rioting and unrest are far from over.
My travels in the last three weeks have been memorable, but it is now time to think about traveling to Canada on my next trip now that quarantine restrictions have been eliminated for fully vaccinated Canadians.
I’m sipping a last cappuccino at Old Soul as I write this post. This quaint coffee shop not only has amazing coffee, but the food I’ve had here has been delicious as well. The air conditioning and WiFi are added bonuses.
This is my last day in Sacramento and I’m reflecting on my life. I am thoroughly enjoying my travels on Amtrak. The view out the window more than makes up for the lack of WiFi. I’ve seen towering trees, humongous mountains, tranquil lakes and charming small towns.
When this is posted, I will be on amazing train ride along the coast to LA. Can’t wait for those ocean views! I read about this particular train ride a couple of years ago when I was in Mexico. I need to pinch myself that I am actually taking this trip now. When Covid reared its ugly head I doubted I’d ever be able to do this. But here I am, on a train headed down the coast.
This has been an amazing and much-needed trip. I’m just not used to spending 11 months in one place in Mexico without traveling and then eight months in Leavenworth without traveling either. Covid has really slowed this nomad down.
I am determined to seek more adventures for as long as I can. I’m not getting any younger but I must admit that the knee replacements and the cataract surgery have definitely enabled me to do what I do. Life is just too damned short and the days fly by even faster as we age.
June 19th marked 25 years since my mom passed away. I wonder what she’d think about my lifestyle. She lived within 10 minutes of her kids and grandkids, and hated going away for the winter without seeing us for a few months, although we did visit her in Palm Springs or in Port Charlotte. I’ve been living in different countries from my kids for the last 11 years and only see my kids if I travel to them.
I think my kids want me to settle down somewhere. Maybe someday I will. I’m just not ready yet.
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.
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!
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.
This spring I had planned on taking the Coastliner from LA to Seattle on my way back to Leavenworth. But that will have to wait until COVID-19 is under control in the USA.
The one and only time I was on a train in Mexico was in December of 2010. This was the most amazing train ride I’ve ever taken in my life. El Chepe in the Copper Canyon area in northern Mexico is an absolute must for every visitor to this country. I did a four day three night excursion that included a variety of activities such as visiting missions, a cable car ride, spectacular mountain views and stays in beautiful hotels along the way.
My first train trip was from Winnipeg to London, Ontario when I was eight years old. I really don’t remember much about that trip other than the card games I played with my Dad. I also can still see the porters making up the berths at night. Their starched white smocks were in striking contrast to their dark skin. Back then I’d never encountered racism and just accepted that all porters on trains were black. The innocent eyes of a child.
My Mom and I took a train to Minneapolis to go clothes shopping once. Winnipeg really wasn’t known for fashion back then. And I must admit I still prefer to shop in the USA.
Another memorable train ride was back when I was in high school. This was a long trip from Winnipeg to Halifax, Nova Scotia. I participated in a student exchange program called The Young Voyageurs that was created as an event to celebrate Canada’s Centennial. A highlight along the way was spending a day at Expo 67 in Montreal.
The Prairie Dog Central is a train that goes from Winnipeg to Gross Isle and operates during the summer. It’s also a steam engine. I recall taking my kids on it when they were young. They loved it as most of their travels usually involved busy airports and crowded flights where they weren’t able to wander around as freely.
Another regular train ride in the summer was at Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg. This coal fuelled train went around the park and passed by the zoo and the cricket fields.
And then there are the trains at Bush Intercontinental and Sea-Tac, as well as Via Rail and the Go Train I’ve taken in Ontario. And the subways I’ve ridden in Toronto and Guadalajara. I can’t say any of these are my favorites but they are efficient.
Here in Mexico I’ve been on quaint miniature train rides in shopping malls and in town squares in Sinaloa, Jalisco and Guadalajara. I also went on a miniature train ride in Wenatchee.
Amtrak…..I hope to see you once it’s safer to travel again in the USA.