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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Unexpected: Fall Colors in Late November

Morning lakeside view, near our November 29th campsite.
We took a fall foliage tour in late September, headed East from Florida, returning to Florida in late October. Still catching up on those posts.

We didn't plan on the trip we're taking now, but seeing this fall foliage so late in the year provided an unexpected delight.

Location Location
Still a mystery, for now.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving from Transitionville

Shiva, chillin' for Thanksgiving in our new-to-us RoadTrek 190 van.
More than ever, we are grateful for the many kindnesses extended to us by friends, family, and strangers.

When we decided to sell our home in 2008 in the midst of a recession, our friends Ron and Tricia tapped us to house-sit—for a year! 

When we decided to quit the rat race and go sailing, Milltown Sailing Association in Everett, Washington, Northwest Women in Boating and Tightwads on the Loose: A Pacific Odyssey author Wendy Hinman shared their wisdom and offered their encouragement. Our financial planner, Aaron, helped us make it possible and continues to keep us on track through our transitions even now.

Along the way, when we sailed from 2012 - 2017 the support of the boating community and folks we met along the way kept us buoyed in more ways than we can possibly mention, though special thanks go to the many kind folks from the Pearson sailboat forum.

When we sold our boat in Australia in 2017 Heather De Villiers gave us the documentation we needed to take advantage of the fair trade act savings. My friend Bertie in Jacksonville introduced us to her friends Helene and Stephen in  Brisbane Australia who hosted us twice found a friend to buy our Land Cruiser we needed to sell before we left the country.

When we returned to the US, homeless, lost, unemployed, culture-shocked, and depressed, Wayne's dad and his wife Gunnel provided safe harbor for longer than any of us intended. Then our friends Larry and Nancy gave us their boat, which we lived on for three years. 

My friend Kate gently guided me through my last week with my mom. A friend and former colleague of Wayne's landed us in Florida where I could be there for my dad in the last of his golden years. 

Our friends James and Ellen frequently gave us a place to crash whenever we needed to in Portland as did Peter in Seattle. We loved catching up with Steve and Patty who generously put their stuff in storage to welcome us aboard in the San Diego area.

We bought our last sailboat, s/v Gallivant from friends Maryann and Don. While in the process of selling it, Julene let us house-sit, where we fell in love with her foster kitty, Shiva, who we since adopted. 

On our recent fall foliage tour up the East Coast (still working on catch-up posts), Wayne's friend Steve put us up in Asheville, we caught up with cruising buddies Scott and Kim in the same area, and Ann Gates graciously hosted us for a week at her place on the shores of Lake Ontario.

When we returned to Florida, we lived in an RV loaned to us for free by "Farmer Rick," whom we'd never even met.

When our Florida flirtation ended suddenly, we needed a van quickly and badly, at a price we could afford. Maynard, who had a strong emotional attachment to his van, sold it to us after years of holding onto it. We feel humbled and will do our best to honor his lovingly cared-for van and take it on new adventures in the spirit of him and his wife Carol's memory.

Our friends Chris(topher) and Chris(tine) never fail to offer excellent advice when we need it most.

These are but a few of the pivotal points in our lives in the last ten or so years where we found our way forward only through the grace of others.

The list is far longer of those who've earned our eternal gratitude. Thank you.

We hope to find ways to pay it forward.

May you find someone there to catch you when you fall. If not today, sometime soon, let them know how much of a difference they made in your life. 

Happy Thanksgiving.

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We are on the road. Today we shared Thanksgiving with a pleasant group of strangers who do not know and will not know of our recent travails. It's exactly what we needed.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Vacating Area 51: The Next Adventure Begins

This is where we were, Sunnier Palms, Lot 51.

 While we didn't plan to stay at Area 51 into 2021, we did plan on settling in at Sunnier and calling it our first home base since 2009. Alas, it was not to be. That's a story for another day.

Our new-to-us adventure-mobile.

We're hitting the road—again.

It takes a little bit to get ready, so tonight we're in a motel—
which Shiva is making her own personal playground.

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Where we are going? 

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Ka-Boom! We Interrupt this Broadcast . . .

Watch out! Mt. Yassur, Vanuatu.

While there are still posts to put up from our recent East Coast fall foliage road trip, we experienced a radically unexpected change in plans where we thought we'd settle in Fort Pierce, Florida.

More soon once we settle on our short-term what next. That needs to take priority over my "regular" posts for the moment or even answering questions about it. Action first.

Thanks for your patience. Our life is many things, but dull is not one of them.

The photo is from our time in Vanuatu, and specifically my solo trip to Mt. Yassur, Tanna, where you can walk the rim of a live volcano (and I did, and took the photo you see here).

Wish us luck. If there's one thing we learned better than anything else cruising, it's adaptability.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Follow Your Heart, Even When It Doesn't Make Sense

You may try to control your future, but fate has her own ideas.
Photo by Gantas Vaičiulėnas from Pexels.
When we took off from Fort Pierce Florida for our long-delayed road trip up the US East Coast, we left a little piece of our hearts behind in the form of a blue-eyed furball named Shiva. We were smitten by a kitten who's alternataty cuddly and an insatiably crazed play fiend whose sprints, slides, leaps, sommersaults, and spectacular falls made me laugh so hard I wet myself.

If we've managed to tire Shiva out, we've done our job.
Illustration credit: Emma Chavez on mixkit.co/free-stock-art/cat-playing-inside-a-packing-box-476

"I believe I've found Shiva a good home," Julene texted. Amazingly, we got her message while tent camping, 1,000 or so miles away in the Matthew Arm campground of Virginia's Shenandoah National Park. "Do you want me to keep her here instead for you when you come back?"

Wayne and I talked about it, again. 

I loved watching Shiva climb up onto Wayne's chest when he hung out on the couch, head bonk him, then tuck her head under his armpit, and go to sleep. Heck, I adore Wayne but take special pains to keep my over-sensitive schnoz far away from his pits!

But how could we drive to the Alaskan Alcan next year if we adopted Shiva? Or return to New Zealand, where cats require an expensive and lengthy quarantine (which we consider inhumane)? Besides, come December 31st, we have nothing in place for where we'll live once the RV we're borrowing in Sunnier Palms shifts back to its owner, who plans to re-inhabit it then. That uncertainty didn't seem like much of a life for Shiva; we don't know many cats who thrive in an unstable environment.

Illustration credit:
Tina Chan on mixkit.co/free-stock-art/the-word-journey-featuring-images-of-vintage-airplane-and-clouds-283/

That night I didn't sleep  because I cried over never being able to see Shiva again. Wayne, sleeping soundly in the sleeping bag next to me never knew; I'm far too good at hiding my emotions when I feel I need to.

After that, when I slept and remembered my dreams, they were about Shiva. In my dreams, she flew in to check in on me. I wished her hovering kitty spirit well and sent her my love. And cried more hidden tears.

Image from Pexels-Pixabay.

When we returned to Sunnier, Shiva was gone. We took heart that she found a better home than we could offer her. But it was bittersweet, both of us missed her terribly.

I missed when I got up to feed her first thing, wishing her a good morning and hearing her sweet little good morning trills back to me as she raced through the open door. I missed her welcoming us home by climbing Julene's lanai screen to give us a head-level hello greeting when we returned from our outdoor adventuresI even missed her annoying habit of trailing me throughout the house, even into the bathroom, where she loved playing with the sink water and sometimes mischeviously unrolling the toilet paper. 

Then I heard a rumor something went awry with Shiva's new owner. I told Wayne. We were both heartbroken. With Wayne's blessing, I started calling the shelters. 

"Oh, she got adopted two days ago," the woman at the shelter told us when we called the second on the list of local shelters. She told us how excited her new owners were to adopt her. They'd adopted an older ragdoll some years prior who died a year ago. Her adoptees showed the shelter folks pictures of their beloved kitty. I asked the lady at the shelter if she could let Shiva's new owners know we'd love to cat-sit if they ever needed a cat-sitter. Or to call us if things didn't work out. I gave her my name and number. She was pleasant but non-committal.

Once again, Wayne and I tried to console ourselves that this was best thing for Shiva. But we both cried. When the time is right for us to get a cat, I told Wayne, I want to get a ragdoll, like Shiva. She was the right cat, but at the wrong time, we both agreed. We've both been owned by cats before; Shiva was more affectionate and friendly than any other cat I've met.

"Why didn't you tell me how much you wanted Shiva?" Wayne asked. I told him because I knew it didn't make sense. Because I knew taking her in flew in the face of our plans.

Fifteen minutes later, the woman from the shelter called back.

Shiva in her super-kitty sleeping pose,
She's spayed now and bears the scar from the surgery.

"The folks who adopted Shiva have ad older cat who her didn't like Shiva's energetic play. Shiva's here. Do you want her?"

Thirty minutes later, we were filling out the paperwork at the shelter to take Shiva home, or at least where we are until January first. The shelter kept and gave us most of Shiva's goodies from Julene, though we needed to get bowls, dry food, a litter box, and cat litter.We got them our way home.

Shiva sporting her now luxiouriously fluffy tail in her new home,
but still snuggling happily in the 
awesome kitty bed Julene bought for her.

I put my order in with the great cosmic waitress of the sky, as my friend Lynne Smith long ago suggested, and the waitress delivered. It didn't make any sense to take Shiva in, but we figure because of how we found her, it must be fate; we belong together, our little family of three. 

We're not sure exactly how we'll do right by Shiva, but we'll give it our best shot, because we love her, and we trust that will be enough.

Shiva as she briefly came up for air after I fed her upon our return
from our first long day trip without her. Don't believe she was happy with us.
Gotta get some better pictures that show what a cute, loveable goofball she is.

Location Location

Dawn view of Sunnier Palms, just outside the borrowed RV we're camping in.

Sunnier Palms, Fort Pierce Florida, though there will be some more catch-up posts coming from our fall foliage tour north, all the way to upstate New York and back.