Tag Archives: travel

It’s Smoky Out There

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It’s Smoky Out There

The featured image for this post is a photo my daughter sent me from Kelowna last year when they were evacuated. But there are areas in Washington state that look like that today. Highway 2 is closed due to the fires raging at Stevens Pass. That’s about one hundred miles away from where I live, but the smoke is thick here in East Wenatchee. The mountains have all but vanished. And it may be time to once again start using a mask.

In Cashmere on Sunday the turnout for the 9/11 service at Spirit of America was much lower than in past years. The air was thick with smoke. Combine that with the extreme heat warnings and it was definitely not a good day to be sitting outside. But it was a very moving experience for those of us who did attend.

I still haven’t booked my flights yet. I know that I’m going back to Aguascalientes for the winter. But right now I need to decide which airport to fly into. Last year I flew into Guadalajara and was happy I did. It’s hurricane season now on the west coast and flying into Puerto Vallarta could be tricky. I’ve flown in there before in the aftermath of a hurricane and it was not a good experience. Likewise for Mazatlan. Flying directly to Aguascalientes means going through Dallas, not one of my favorite airports. Okay, Alaska Airlines. You’re my favorite airline so I’ll check out the connections through LAX.

Tomorrow is Thursday and it’s our last binge with Virgin River to finish off the season. When I’m in Mexico I only watch TV in Spanish. English is reserved for my time here in Washington. Speaking of Spanish, time to get back to Duolingo. I’ve taken a break over the summer.

Interesting the impact of Queen Elizabeth’s death on some of my American friends. In all honesty, it had more of an impact on some of them than it did on me. And I’m Canadian. I still have haunting memories of singing God Save The Queen back in elementary school. But her death marks the end of an era. And she has definitely left her mark in history.

That’s it for humpday today. Hope you have a good one.

And I’m Still Here

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And I’m Still Here

We came out to the lake and I do have Wi-Fi this time. So I am able to post today after all.

It’s official. Photo day is August 10th. Then I can finally head home to East Wenatchee. Calgary and Kelowna just aren’t happening on this trip.

I went to Old Navy, not the one I usually go to at Valley North in Wenatchee. It’s interesting shopping in Canadian dollars again. I haven’t done that in years.

We took Cooper for a run along the floodway the other day. I think I appreciated the walk more than the dog. Walking in downtown Winnipeg is a dangerous place and not conducive to the long walks I usually take. So it’s nice to be out in the burbs again. Saw lots of hay bales and canola fields on our walk.

I spent an hour with my computer guru familiarizing myself with my new laptop and Windows 11. But I have close to 3000 photos to organize on my Seagate and Passport. And I need to get my WIP onto my laptop from my tablet. Laura has the patience of a saint which is greatly appreciated.

Tornado warning out last night for a change. It missed us here in Lester Beach. Decided to touch down elsewhere. Got to love Manitoba summers.

Happy Humpday!

Dear Delta,

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Dear Delta,

Dear Delta,

Thank you so much for all of your texts and emails you’ve been sending me since I booked my trip to Winnipeg from Seattle via Minneapolis. I especially enjoyed the twice daily reminders to use FlyReady so that I could check in online. Too bad that was just an exercise in futility. Because I was traveling to Canada, I was unable to do this even though I sent you a photo of the code on my ArriveCan app.

And then there were the texts and emails regarding flight delays. The first one came in just before I boarded the shuttle from Wenatchee to SeaTac. The flight to Minneapolis was now leaving at 1:30 am instead of 12:30 am.

Okay. I got to SeaTac, went through TSA, had a leisurely dinner and had my tablet to amuse me. Hmmm. If we’re leaving at 1:30, it’s 12:45 and we haven’t started boarding yet. Needless to say, my fellow passengers and I were beyond annoyed.

It was interesting how Delta staff at the airport were so misleading in their communications with us. And more than one passenger challenged them in quite an ugly manner.

At 1:45 am I received a text and an email notification that the flight was no longer leaving at 1:30 am. Oh! It was now leaving at 2:20 am. Meanwhile Delta staff, live and in person at the podium, were telling us that they still hadn’t located the crew for the flight. And they had no idea when we would actually take off.

We finally did take off, closer to 3 am. It appears that close to half of the passengers missed their connecting flights in Minneapolis due to the delay. Fortunately I was able to make my connection to Winnipeg.

I laughed when I received a survey from Delta asking about my flight experience. But I decided to fill it out anyways. Never in my life have I ever filled out a survey with so many “poor ratings” or “would not recommend.” And I hope I never have to do it again.

I want to make something crystal clear. Delta, your communications always begin with “Thank you for choosing Delta Airlines.” I DID NOT CHOOSE DELTA AIRLINES. Unfortunately Alaska Airlines does not fly to Winnipeg. There was no choice here.

And as far as all the texts and emails apologizing for the delay….well, Delta, you know what you can do with those.

Last Post from Washington

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Last Post from Washington

This is my last post from here for a while. On Monday I take the Wenatchee Valley Shuttle to SeaTac to catch the red eye to Minneapolis. From there it’s on to Winnipeg.

ArriveCan info is submitted. Have my confirmation. Now if only Delta would recognize it. So much for checking in online.

All my clothes are packed. I love the packing cubes I bought at Marshall’s. I should have got some years ago. So easy to organize everything now.

I will miss the Leavenworth ladies in my SAIL class. We’ve been together for six years. But I’ll be back before I head to Mexico this fall. And I’ll be teaching some new classes here in East Wenatchee.

A Matter of Balance classes ended on Friday. When I return in August I’ll be doing training to coach in the program. I’m looking forward to that as well.

Leavenworth Summer Theater has three productions this summer. My plan is to be back here in August for at least two of them, The Sound Of Music and The Music Man.

Time to sort through documents, the tedious part of traveling. And to pack my carry on. Mainly devices, chargers and meds. No backpack this time. Just a smaller and hopefully lighter bag.

It’s very different packing for a one month trip than a six month trip. Can’t remember the last time I did that. Hmmmmm…..maybe about five years ago, the last time I was in Winnipeg.

Travel Time

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Travel Time

Monday morning was way too busy. I’ve been procrastinating about going to Canada and it was finally time to make some plans. First decision was when I should go. Health blip was taken care of and the fitness classes end next week. Guess I can go by the end of the month.

Next decision was how I go seeing as I am not flying on my broom. My first choice was Amtrak. But it got rather complicated when it came to crossing the border. Guess I’m flying.

Flights were tricky to book. My favorite airline, Alaska, won’t get me to Winnipeg. Air Canada flights and connections were a nightmare. Would have to claim my bag in Vancouver when going through Customs and recheck it. Guess it’s Delta.

Now I have to get to SeaTac. Best option is Wenatchee Valley Shuttle. And it will get me there late at night in time for the Red Eye to Minneapolis. One less hotel to book.

A long enough layover in Minneapolis before the flight to Winnipeg so that my cane can remain collapsed in my carry on. Another advantage is that leaves only one stop with one airline to misplace my bag. And it will go right through to Winnipeg hopefully. Inevitable delays in Customs will not result in a missed connection, just my friend Lise drinking way too many cups of coffee waiting for me.

Then there’s health insurance for the remainder of my time here in the USA. And settling the bill with Confluence for the health blip. And booking that last hair appointment at the salon. And a few other last minute phone calls and texts to get organized. And the obligatory FLIGHTS BOOKED announcement on Facebook.

Not bad. I started at 8:30 am and was done by 12:01 pm. Not even thinking about packing yet, although I did pick up some packing cubes last week. I guess I have to leave something for next week.

Let’s Go

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Let’s Go

Ok. I’ve been in areas and experienced tornados, hurricanes,thunderstorms and blizzards. I’ve seen hail the size of golf balls and have been caught up in flash flooding. But on Sunday I added mud slides to the list. From sunshine to rain to flooding to mud slides in a matter of minutes. Power outages affecting traffic lights and even shutting down Walmart and the movie theaters. Wenatchee was a mess!

Yesterday I was in Ellensburg. It was a gorgeous, hot and sunny day. The drive over Blewett from Leavenworth was beautiful. I never tire of driving through the mountains in Washington. The scenery is spectacular.

When I write I always have music on in the background. The latest added to my playlist is some Marianas Trench from about ten years ago. Don’t ask me why but Celebrity Status has always been one of my faves by this Canadian rock band.

The other day we went exploring at a Coastal store. My friend is an avid equestrian and showed me all kinds of saddles, chaps and other paraphernalia associated with horses. My favorite area was all the cute baby chicks in cages. Coastal also has clothing, kayaks, wood burning stoves,cowboy boots, toys, feed, outdoor furniture and so much more.

I’ve started researching my travel to Canada. Winnipeg is not the easiest city to get to from East Wenatchee. By the way, East Wenatchee and Wenatchee are two completely different cities. The former is where I live and is in Douglas County. The latter is in Chelan County.

Back to travel. Shuttle to SeaTac and two flights or an Amtrak out if Wenatchee and hope someone wants to pick me up in Grand Forks and drive me across the border. Like I told Lise the other day, maybe I should just fly there on my broom! LOL!

After Plan B Comes C, D, Etc.

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After Plan B Comes C, D, Etc.

Life. A sequence of events where unplanned by far outnumber the planned. And when you get to Plan Z, you start over with Plan AA, Plan BB, Etc.

March was when I arrived back in Washington. I expected to go to Kelowna in March but Canada still had too many Covid restrictions. The next plan was May but that isn’t working out either due to my daughter’s work schedule. Another plan was May in Winnipeg but a minor health issue got in the way. I thought maybe June but there’s some fitness training all month that I really want to do here in Wenatchee. So now it looks like July in Winnipeg. There is always another plan.

https://youtu.be/M7wYyVi1ugo

I hope you check out the above link. It’s an old John Denver song I came across the other night. And I can’t get it out of my head. It really takes me back in time and I realize now that none of my plans back then have ever come into fruition. And that’s okay because there is always another plan.

So…….why make plans at all if they never seem to work out? I’ve come to the conclusion that long range plans don’t work for me. Even short range plans don’t always come about. But I still continue to make plans because I have learned to become extremely flexible. I don’t stress out when plans fall through.

To quote John Lennon, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

My plan for today is, hmmm, that isn’t going to work out either. Oh well!

What We Do

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What We Do

Today is May 1st. Today marks two months since I arrived back in the USA. Then why does it feel like I just got here? And what have I been so busy doing? I think it’s called Life or Living. I’ve had my fill of traveling for a while after my trip to Seattle via Tucson and Los Angeles after leaving Mexico. And then there were the five moves until I settled down in East Wenatchee.

Last night I was talking to a friend in Toronto who is off to Bali in a few weeks. She isn’t looking forward to the 32 hours of travel time and the cost of flights is astronomical post Covid. But this has been her dream for quite some time now and I’m glad that she is finally doing it.

I was talking to another friend in Toronto earlier in the week. She is a travel guide and is happy that business is starting to pick up post Covid despite the escalating cost of travel.

I have a friend I met in Guadalajara a few years ago who is on a mission to check out every major league stadium in the USA as well as other historical areas throughout the country. Recently he has traveled throughout Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee.

I have other friends traveling through Central and South America right now. Several friends are still in Mexico and are on the move there as well, both within the country as well as those snowbirds who are returning home.

On a sad note, the USA just issued advisories against travel to Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta. I wonder what the situation will be like in the fall. Those cities have my two favorite airports in Mexico.

Okay. I admit it. I’ve been in East Wenatchee for over a month now and haven’t even made it out to Lake Chelan yet. The only commutes have been to Cashmere and Leavenworth. But I am beginning to think about traveling again. My eyes are set on Winnipeg in June.

But first I have to get through May. Fitness classes, library programs, plays, fitness training, medical appointments, a consult with my attorney, writers’ group, church, art and research regarding a character in my WIP. My visual voicemail still isn’t working and I haven’t even found time to go to AT&T yet. I’m staring at library books I checked out three weeks ago and still haven’t read.

I did find time to go shopping the other day to buy a much needed pair of New Balance. I discarded a pair in Mexico and the ones I brought with me are falling apart. I live in New Balance and sandals, and do not even own a pair of ‘shoe’ shoes.

But paramount is the time I spend with my friends here. This is my seventh year here, and although I only come for six months, I am blessed with more than a few close friends who I view as family.

I also keep in touch with friends by phone and Facebook. Many go back more than twenty or thirty years and a couple more than fifty. The older I get, the more important these friendships become.

This is what I do.

What do you do?

All About Me

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All About Me

I’ve written hundreds of blogs posts but have never done an “All About Me” post. I’m not sure just why I haven’t, but a friend called me on it the other day. So here goes.

I go by a variety of different names depending on which country I’m in or which website I’m on. I prefer to just stick to “Karen.” Here in Washington my friends have me in their contacts as “Karen Mexico” or “Karen Canada.”

I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and lived there all my life until 2010. My son still lives there. My daughter and my four year old granddaughter live in Canada as well, in Kelowna, B.C.

In 2010 I went to Culiacan, Mexico to teach English. A family there adopted me and I am now abuelita to four nietos ranging in age from three to twelve years old.

After a year in Culiacan, I taught briefly in Irapuato before settling down in Guadalajara for four years. I called Mazatlan home for just over three years and then decided to explore more of central Mexico. After three months in San Ciro de Acosta I discovered Aguascalientes, which has been my Mexican home six months of the year since 2019.

In 2016 a friend I met in Mazatlan invited me to come visit him in Leavenworth, Washington. My two week visit turned into four months when the snow chased me back to Mexico. And that was when I turned into a snowbird, spending the other six months of the year in Washington state.

While there, I’ve lived mainly in Leavenworth with short stints in other towns. This year I’m living in East Wenatchee with my friends Christina and Danny, who tell me that this is now my “forever home.”

As far as teaching goes, I officially retired in 2016, although I had worked extremely very part-time since 2012. Occasionally I selectively take on private students, but have not taught at all since Covid arrived.

This is my sixth year as a volunteer in the SAIL program in Leavenworth where I teach fitness classes to seniors that geared towards fall prevention. Both church ministry and volunteering at the senior center ground to a halt during Covid and are just now starting up again.

I enjoy traveling both in Mexico and the USA. Last summer I took an Amtrak along the coast from Seattle to L.A. I loved it and can’t wait to plan another train trip.

I’m taking a break from Duolingo but I have my gel pens, pastels and water colors to amuse me. And I have been doing a lot of writing lately. Fiction is a new genre for me which I am enjoying immensely.

I am especially blessed to have family and a wide circle of friends in three countries. The time always fly by all too quickly before I find myself once again packing a suitcase. My days are filled with adventure and making memories.

Other trivia……I’m a Gemini, my favorite color is green, I’m a chocoholic as well as a coffeeholic and I love country music.

All About Me

Today Is Moving Day

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Today Is Moving Day

Today is Wednesday and it’s moving day. This time it’s from Dryden to Peshastin. Will be pet sitting for a friend…a dog, a cat and fish.

I will still be on the river, but closer to Leavenworth than to Wenatchee. Temp will be a little cooler and a little more snow left on the ground although the rain the other day washed some of it away.

I saw this the other day.

I admit that this is something this free spirit rarely does. But I’ve started doing it this year. No, I don’t have paranoid friends, although I’ve accused them of this in the past. Maybe it’s approaching the almost seven decades of life. Maybe it’s Covid. Maybe it’s what’s going on in the Ukraine. But this year I have one contact in each of the three countries who always know where I am when I’m traveling.

I was contemplating a trip to Canada next week but have decided to put it on hold until May. The crazy and inconsistent regulations regarding Covid in Canada are raising my anxiety level, and I don’t need that when I can remain here in the USA and live a comfortable and relatively stress free life with a good deal more freedom.

Last week I was able to get a booster shot that had not been available to me in Mexico. While I was at Cascade Medical in Leavenworth, I realized how much at home I felt there. I’ve been there a handful of times in the past few years, yet I can no longer even envision the clinic I went to for so long all those years ago in Winnipeg.

I have friends who marvel at my lifestyle and I have friends who are very critical of it. In all honesty, sometimes I question it myself. But then I think of the amazing people I’ve met and the incredible adventures I’ve had and settling down in one place for a long period of time loses its appeal quickly.

So where’s home?

It’s true that I have called Aguascalientes home six months of the year for the past three years. But I don’t stay there all the time. It’s my home base for traveling elsewhere. Although it’s been more difficult traveling during Covid, this past winter I did get to Culiacan twice to see my Mexican family, celebrated Thanksgiving in Mazatlan, New Years in Jilotzingo and got to explore new places near CDMX and in the state of Hidalgo.

And it goes without saying that the other place I call home is Washington state. I have fond memories of my first visit in July of 2016. I came for two weeks and stayed for four months. The snow in mid November chased me back to Mazatlan. I have lived mainly in Leavenworth when I come to Washington, but that is going to change when I leave Peshastin next week.

Hint: Leaving Chelan County and moving to Douglas County.