Tag Archives: travel

Travel Time

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Travel Time

I remember when I used to love flying. I admit I still love the joy of take-off and landing, and the part in the middle is great for a siesta. It’s the before part and the layovers that have become more tedious as the years go by.

As a foreigner boarding an international flight, I am never able to check in online. The lines at SeaTac are usually ridiculously long although it can be amusing watching people pulling items out as their bags are overweight. And then the TSA lineups! I used to allow three hours and frequently it actually took that full amount of time.

I’d also take the Wenatchee Valley Shuttle out of Peshastin to SeaTac which added another two and a half hours.

Thank you Alaska Airlines for adding an afternoon flight from Wenatchee to SeaTac. Travel time to Seattle now reduced to just twenty six minutes.

Pangborn Airport…..you are now my favorite airport. In under twenty minutes, I checked in and went through TSA and arrived at the departure gate. When is the last time you flew out of an airport that had only one departure gate?

I had just over two hours in Seattle, plenty of time to catch the train to the other terminal and grab a much appreciated beer along with dinner.

I slept on the flight to LA. This is always an overnight layover, but not long enough to go to hotel and then start up with TSA all over again in the morning. But it was a perfect time for a Candy Crush marathon on my tablet.

I attempted to sleep on the flight to Guadalajara but the friendly staff on Alaska were determined that I remain hydrated. Then there were the customs and immigration forms. And a reminder to about a health questionnaire that I had already completed online.

My bag arrived well within Alaska’s 20 minute guarantee. Minutes later I had my 180 day visa in hand and was in a taxi headed for Central Nueva for the last leg of my journey to Aguascalientes by bus. And I did sleep for most of that two hour bus ride.

Raul picked me up at the bus station and drove me home to Las Flores. Shower and sleep time in a real bed!

The pandemic continues with all the new variants. However I was much more relaxed traveling now than I was a year ago when I finally made it out of Mexico and got to Washington. I’ve been vaccinated, for whatever protection that has to offer. Where I’m living in Mexico, masks, sanitizing mats and temperature checks are the norm. I even hope to do some traveling in Mexico in the next few months.

No, I am not afraid to travel. So are millions of others judging by the full flights I experienced. Life is too short to live in fear. Life is for living!

Last Post From Washington State

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Last Post From Washington State

Three days until I leave. I’m actually very organized, other than the last minute stuff that just can’t be done beforehand.

I’ve been here for almost a year and am more than ready to head south except for the fact that I’ll be missing fall here. I won’t see the leaves in their fall splendor as they change color. The view along Highway 2 in Leavenworth is spectacular. I also won’t be able to meander through Cashmere admiring the glorious fall colors, especially my favorite red maple.

Wednesday will be a busy day and I won’t be posting. I fly from Wenatchee to Seattle to Los Angeles. Then on Thursday I fly to Guadalajara and grab a bus to Aguascalientes. I’ve done it before but that was before Covid. My masks are ready.

I said goodbye to my life group on Wednesday at a barbecue. Last night I had intended to bid farewell to my friends at the Senior Center, but the activity was canceled due to the rising number of Covid cases here in Chelan County. On Friday Joyce and I had spent the day together in Wenatchee and had one last lunch at Olive Garden. Joyce and I also taught our last fitness class together on Tuesday.

This afternoon Linda and I will have one last movie afternoon. We’ve been hibernating indoors on Sundays due to the smoke. Her husband Gene is an amazing chef and pampers us with a variety of tantalizing dishes.

There will be more goodbyes to more friends in the next couple of days. Each fall it gets harder to leave here as relationships grow. And I have been especially blessed this year as Debbie and Paul have provided me with a wonderful home for the last few months.

Although I am excited about a winter without snow again this year, I do look forward to returning to the mountains in the spring. This prairie girl will always be enamored by the beauty of the Cascades.

A Week From Now

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A Week From Now

A week from now at this time I will be landing in Guadalajara. I usually make this trip in late October, but nothing about this year has been usual.

When I booked my flights just over a week ago, my initial thought was to fly to Puerto Vallarta and spend some time on the beach. Thanks to Covid beach time has become more of a distant memory. But I opted to fly inland instead.

Flying inland seems to have been the wisest choice. Hurricane Nora tore into Puerto Vallarta this week, collapsing hotels and damaging bridges. Nora then made her way up the coast and caused extensive flooding in Mazatlan. It appears that once again my beach time has been put on hold.

That’s okay. I’m looking forward to getting back to Aguascalientes and seeing my friends. It’s been just shy of a year instead of the usual six months.

There has been so much talk of the new normal since Covid invaded our world. I’m trying to view it as the new usual. That seems a bit more positive.

In Case You’re Wondering

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In Case You’re Wondering

I’m into the home stretch. Saying goodbye to people and places.

My Tree. This spectacular red maple captured my heart back in 2016. Right now it’s still very green and I will miss the vibrant red leaves this year. I’m counting on my friends to send me pics. I know they will. After all, they visit my tree when I’m away for the winter.

Something else I will miss is the 9/11 service at Spirit of America. This is always a highlight of my time in Washington and sadly I will be far away in another country on September 11th.

The Chelan County Fair in Cashmere and the Autumn Leaf Festival in Leavenworth are two more favorite events I will miss this year.

Yes I will be thousands of miles away but I will be in time for Independence Day celebrations.

So now have you guessed where I’m going?

Made It To Humpday

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Made It To Humpday

“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.

Good Riddance To Last Week

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Good Riddance To Last Week

Last week’s emotional rollercoaster ride was far too intense. Glad it’s over.

In addition to the ever-present stressful dilemma of figuring out travel plans, my daughter was evacuated from her home in Kelowna. Thankfully she is back at home, albeit still on an alert.

I really need to stop following the news. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, wildfires….those are merely the natural disasters.

COVID-19. The Delta variant. The other variants. To mask or not to mask. To mandate vaccination in the workplace. This virus isn’t going anywhere in my lifetime. Traumatized children…..what is their destiny? I can only pray for my grandchildren.

Afghanistan. It was wrong to send troops there in the first place. Apparently nothing was learned from the fiasco in Vietnam. And now thousands of innocent people will die yet again.

The above song was released back in 1965. I guess not much has changed.

Lake Chelan

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Lake Chelan

On Monday Joyce and I went out to Lake Chelan for the day. Located about 30 miles out of Wenatchee, we enjoyed a scenic drive with beautiful views of the river and the mountains.

I’ve taken numerous photos of the town in the past, so I didn’t take many on this trip. I really love the grounds of this quaint church with these colorful flowers.

These guys always amuse me.

The water is what I find so calming and peaceful.

On past trips I’ve been out on a boat, basked on the beach and taken a ferry out to Stehekin. I also prefer the quieter weekdays as opposed to the weekends crowded with tourist traffic, although quite a few people were out on the water on Monday.

The Best Laid Plans

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The Best Laid Plans

Plans. We all make them. We try to follow them. More often than not, things don’t always go as planned.

I look at my life and wonder how everything got so convoluted. One year in Mexico has turned into more than a decade. But oh the incredible adventures I’ve had. I’ve met amazing people and traveled to fascinating places.

I had just settled in to a comfortable routine of six months in Mexico and six months in Leavenworth, with side trips to Canada to see my kids. When I headed south in the fall of 2019, I was returning to Aguascalientes. Yes I’d visited the museums and art galleries the previous winter, but I’d also made friendships and I had volunteer work planned. Needless to say traveling was also on the agenda.

The six months became eleven when Covid arrived. I watched way too many movies in Spanish on TV, colored for hours on end and found games to play on my phone that were quite addictive.

I used up all my gel pens and markers. I colored every single page, including the title page, of a book I’d brought with me. I headed for the nearest papeleria and bought crayons and children’s coloring books, all that was available in my area.

I spent hours in meditation and prayer, a most welcome respite especially after dealing with INM and obtaining an extended stay when my visa expired. I must admit it was a much easier process getting that extended stay in the USA a few months later.

I arrived in Leavenworth in late September with the idea that I’d pick up my warmer clothes and head up to Canada. These plans changed when numerous restrictions regarding travel and quarantine were enforced. I must admit I quite enjoyed the mild winter here as compared with the brutal winters on the Canadian prairies I had experienced in the past.

It’s now August and I haven’t made it back to Canada yet. Yep, eleven months and counting. But a very different life than I had in Mexico. I can’t remember the last time I colored, although I did take out my acrylics and paint yesterday. Movies are now in English and I’m usually with friends when watching. No games on my phone anymore. They’ve all been moved onto my tablet lol.

Of course it’s also been a very different experience here in the USA this year. I used to wear a mask because of smoke from fires, not because of COVID-19. My volunteer work has dwindled down to teaching fitness classes. Lunches and activities at the Senior Center are mere memories, as are book club and programs at the library.

I’m constantly being asked when and where I’ll travel to next. My answer remains the same. I don’t know. Rules regarding travel change every day. I’ve given up making plans as they keep changing as well.

There is only one constant in my life right now. As the deadline of September 20th approaches, I will be en route to Canada or Mexico. If it’s Canada I don’t know where my destination will be. I have kids in two different provinces. If it’s Mexico I will definitely be on my way to Aguascalientes. To me these are all long range plans and I have more than enough trouble making even short range plans now.

For now, my plans are merely whatever happens to fall together. Extreme mindfulness.

Calmer Now

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Calmer Now

The Red Apple Fire was brought under control. But it’s sad to see the blackened hillsides.

We drove to Entiat the other night when the highway reopened. The fires had burned right down to the road and it was all black.

I opted to take more peaceful photos when we got to the camp. This tree was heavy with apricots just begging to be picked.

I also enjoyed some quiet time by the water.

One of the highlights of my summers here is the Leavenworth Summer Theater production of The Sound of Music. The venue is the amphitheater up in the hills. Maria actually walks through the surrounding woods in the opening scene. The Von Trapp family is up on a precipice in the final scene. The performance on Friday night was amazing and I’m so incredibly happy that I was still here to see it.

Yes, I’m planning to leave here shortly. I wish I could stay longer but it’s been ten months already and I’m anxious to see my family in Canada now that the ridiculous hotel quarantine has been lifted for fully vaccinated Canadians.

July 21 is the day when Canada will make an official statement regarding reopening borders. I’m also waiting to hear if Winnipeg will once again be an international airport. Too many rumors out there and I want to read it in black and white.

Three Wonderful Things

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Three Wonderful Things

Yesterday was a great day. The 100 degree temperature didn’t even phase me. And three wonderful things happened that day. You may not consider them so wonderful, but to me they were.

I was delighted to find the absolutely perfect backpack I’ve been looking for. I use a backpack as carry-on when I travel as it leaves my hands free. Because I travel internationally often, I carry way too many documents with me, many in three languages. Over the years, this collection has grown, most recently due to the extended stays in two foreign countries as a result of the pandemic. Throw in a laptop, jewelry, medication and a few books and it fills up quickly. I have outgrown my old backpack.

Wonderful thing number two was going to a theater to see a movie rather than watching a movie on Netflix. The big screen, the suuround sound and no masks! Just like BC….Before Covid. In The Heights is a movie I would highly recommend if you enjoy music and dancing.

Wonderful thing number three was the most incredible of the day. Back in March I had retained an attorney to apply for an extended stay due to the Covid situation. My attorney advised that he had received the official approval from Immigration. What a relief!

My mom always used to say that good things happened in threes. That sure was true yesterday.