Tag Archives: travel

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.

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.

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!

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.

Mother’s Day Memories

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Mother’s Day Memories

My earliest memories of Mother’s Day date back to my childhood in the form of handcrafted cards created in the classroom. Friday afternoon after recess out came brightly colored craft paper and crayons. Of course there was the obligatory verse to copy from the blackboard.

I also recall getting together throughout the years with grandparents and other extended family members to celebrate this special day. But then things got complicated. I got married and now there were two sides to the family. Naturally I wound up hosting these holiday dinners to keep the peace in the family.

I never really felt special on Mother’s Day until my son Kyle was born. He was just over five months old and I was now actually a mother. Here is a four generation photo taken with Kyle, my mother and my grandmother.

In 2021 I had hoped to be with one of my kids on Mother’s Day. But somehow plans just never seem to work out, which is why I despise making long range plans.

I’ve spent Mother’s Day in several different places in the last decade……Culiacan, Tlaquepaque, Tototlan, Mazatlan, Puerta Vallarta, Aguascalientes, Winnipeg, Leavenworth, Cashmere and Wenatchee. This year I’ll add Dryden to the list.

Four years ago I was still in Mexico and had this really deep gut feeling that I should go back to Winnipeg and be with my son on Mother’s Day. And I’m glad I did. I haven’t seen him since then and I am long overdue for a visit. My alternating visits to my kids were thrown out of sync when my daughter had a baby. But even now with Covid it’s been almost two years since I’ve seen them either.

My laptop packed it in last spring in Mexico and I still haven’t replaced it, but thankfully I do have access to some of my photos on my phone. Here is one of my daughter and I on her wedding day.

Here is my favorite photo of my mom and I on my wedding day.

The featured photo on this post is my kids on Mother’s Day in 2016. They were at a Blue Jays game in Toronto and texted it to me in Mexico. It was a beautiful gift knowing that they were together that day. My son lives in Winnipeg and my daughter lives in Kelowna so it’s quite difficult to get us all together. But I can always hope that maybe next year we may have a family reunion. Maybe it won’t be on Mother’s Day……but it will certainly make this mother’s day.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone! Enjoy your day!

My Long Range Plans

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My Long Range Plans

I have no long range plans. My short range plans never seem to work out. So why bother with long range plans? I can’t even blame it on Covid either. If anything, I can thank Covid because these days I don’t think any of us can really make long range plans. So my friends have stopped bugging me about what comes next in my life.

I actually do have a few things in mind of what I’d like to have happen. Whether these will come to fruition or not is up in the air. Just for fun, I’ll share them with you. If nothing else, this post will be amusing when I look back at it some time in the future.

It’s a given that I’m not ready to settle down yet. Since I arrived back in Washington state in September I’ve lived in Peshastin, two different homes in Leavenworth, Wenatchee and I’m now in Dryden. I have done some traveling but before I leave the state in about a month, I hope to go on a couple of short train trips.

Then my travels get longer. I have friends in other states that I’d like to visit. In all likelihood, I’ll be returning to Mexico sooner than later unless things change drastically in Canada. I want to see my kids and my granddaughter. But right now that seems like an impossibility.

My friends marvel at how I thrive so well in a continual state of limbo. In the beginning, it was more an issue of survival. But as time goes on it has just become one great adventure after another, and has given me more of an appreciation for wherever I may find myself living or whatever I may find myself doing. And isn’t that what life is all about?

Perhaps I should change the term “long range plans’” to “long range dreams.” But I don’t even think that’s an appropriate expression. Somehow the word “ideas” may be a better word. It offers far more flexibility.

Open? Closed?

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Open? Closed?

When I talk to my friends in Canada I feel like I live in a completely different world. Yes we still have Covid here but we have a lot more freedom. I enjoy a quality of life far superior to what I’d experience if I were back in Winnipeg.

I know we’re far from out of the woods yet. However it is encouraging to hear that 80% of seniors in the USA have been vaccinated. And almost 30% of Americans have been vaccinated. Perhaps herd immunity is on the horizon.

Traveling is once again on my mind. In April I enjoyed a couple of short trips in Washington state. And I’m planning two more short trips within the state in May.

But my plans do not include travel to Canada at this time.

My American friends are appalled at what they read about forced hotel quarantines. “Just let them try that here” they tell me.

I’m not a big fan of FOX News, but I have to agree when they refer to the hotel quarantines as forced internment camps. There is no excuse for this violation of human rights and the deplorable conditions Canadian citizens are forced to endure.

Canadians were quick to condemn Trump for the mishandling of the Covid crisis. I think it’s time Canadians took a long, hard look at their own country and the disaster that has been created by Trudeau.

I not only worry about my family and friends in Canada, but I actually fear for them. There is something very wrong when sufficient vaccines are unavailable by appointment in Winnipeg, and here in Washington state people are encouraged to come by clinics as drop-ins to be vaccinated.

As much as I long to see my children and my granddaughter, I won’t be traveling to Canada under the current circumstances.

Two Down And Done

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Two Down And Done

Yesterday I had my second dose of the vaccine. Now to wait another couple of weeks until it’s fully effective.

A year ago today I was in Aguascalientes. Masks were not yet mandatory. Restaurants and parks were open. There were no temperature checks or health survey forms. Schools were open.

I wonder what life will be like one year from now. Will masks still be part of our wardrobe?

We went to Sage Hills Church in Wenatchee on Sunday. It reminds me of Church of the Rock in Winnipeg. But Washingtonians are rebels so no masks or physical distancing in this huge sanctuary.

Costco was a zoo on Sunday. However masks are required. Limited menu in the food area and no sauerkraut or onions for the hot dogs.

Now that I’ve been vaccinated I feel more comfortable about traveling again. I’m not used to staying in one place for such a long period of time. Last year I was in Aguascalientes for 11 months with only one side trip to Culiacan. In another week I’ll have been in Washington state for 6 months.

It’s a wait and see game as to when I’ll leave here and where I’ll go. I’d like to go to Canada before returning to Mexico in the fall. But with all the quarantine and other restrictions it doesn’t really appeal.

My Canadian friends envy me because I have been vaccinated already. They still have a long wait ahead of them.

I remember when the vaccines first came out. I was reluctant to be vaccinated. But I travel a lot, and it’s only a matter of time before airlines will require proof of vaccination for international travel.

Two down and done.

One Down One To Go

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One Down One To Go

I was vaccinated yesterday. The first shot went well and I will have the second shot in three weeks. I thank God that I am in a country where the vaccine is available now and that I don’t have to wait several months. God Bless The USA!

Wind back the clock to September 2020. It was now possible to leave Mexico and head up north. The pandemic was raging throughout the world and travel was greatly discouraged.

I’m Canadian. Returning to Winnipeg from where I was in Mexico involved three flights on three different airlines and a minimum of two days of travel through four airports.

My other option was to come to Leavenworth. Only three airports. A flight to Dallas with a connecting flight to Seattle. I left Mexico in the morning and arrived in Seattle in the afternoon. Only about a two and a half hour drive to Leavenworth. Definitely a better option.

Leavenworth is home to me. I may only be here a few months a year but this is where my friends and my support system are. This is where my life is. I usually spend the summer and fall doing volunteer work so my time this year has been spent very differently. It’s winter and Covid is still around.

In Washington state the vaccine distribution program is working well. Appointments are made on the internet. I made mine on Sunday. Yesterday, Tuesday, my friend Linda drove me to Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee, a designated mass vaccination site. I didn’t even have to get out of the car. A symptom check and the actual vaccination took under five minutes. I did have to wait thirty minutes after instead of fifteen as I have a shellfish allergy.

I was given a card with my appointment for the second shot. I had received an email reminder yesterday about today’s appointment. By the time I got back to Leavenworth I had received another email congratulating me on being vaccinated and it also included my patient record.

I also registered for the follow-up program. I receive a text daily inquiring about my health and any symptoms I might be experiencing. Very reassuring.

Thank you Washington state for your efficient handling of the vaccination process.