It has been several months since I updated I still have one or two blogs to write to wrap up our trip to Alaska. We exited Alaska on the Top of the World Highway in mid-August, going through Dawson City to Whitehorse in the Yukon province. We drove the Stewart-Cassiar Highway south and took a sharp left to head back to Jasper National Park in Alberta. However, our “final” destination was Gary, Minnesota, so that Carl could start his seasonal work camping job as a truck driver for Skarud Grain Farms by the end of August.

Our stay in Gary was not without family and weather events. I flew to North Carolina for follow-up doctor appointments and spent time with family. While I was there, Carl’s mother passed away within a couple of days of contracting double pneumonia. Although sudden, we are grateful she didn’t suffer. She was a lovely lady who lived a beautiful and long life and is missed. Since she was living in Davenport, Washington, outside of Spokane, it was a scramble for Carl and his brothers to get flights to attend her funeral. Our daughter, Madeline, managed that for her dad with her calm, take-charge demeanor. My sisters-in-law and I were saddened that we couldn’t attend, but we were glad our spouses could be with their extended family.

We left Gary on November 4, heading west. We would have left sooner, but our Airstream and location were covered in snow and ice, and the sun did NOT want to come out to melt it away. We finally had a couple of days of sunshine that melted enough of the ice on our Airstream, and we were able to leave.

Driving through Montana was stunning. We got stuck in mud in the dark (at 5:00 pm) at a Harvest Hosts location in Missoula, which was quite an adventure. We visited Carl’s family in Washington for a few days, then went to Redmond, Oregon, where our daughters and their partners came to spend Thanksgiving week with us. We shopped in downtown Bend, visited the last remaining Blockbuster, enjoyed a belated 60th birthday celebration for me by going to a couple of wineries, drove to Mt. Bachelor to check out the snow, took hikes/nature walks, and worked on a couple of 1000-piece puzzles, among other things. It was wonderful spending time with these awesome people!

After Thanksgiving, we drove further west to Florence, Oregon, on the coast. The highlight was renting a side-by-side OHV to ride on the sand dunes. Although it was chilly, we had so much fun!


We then entered California, driving along portions of the coast, through the Redwoods National and State Parks, and into wine country. We rode the Skunk Train in Willits and visited a couple of Bed & Breakfast locations and wineries—Francis Ford Coppola Winery being one—with our friends, Sharon and Joe (@r_venturers). While in Palm Springs with our friends Dennis and Mickey, we went to Joshua Tree National Park and drove to Bombay Beach (along the Salton Sea) and Slab City to see some art installations. We spent the holidays in Palm Springs and rang in the new year with Dennis and Mickey.

We now find ourselves outside of Yuma, Arizona. We made one trip to Algodones, Mexico, for dental work ($360 total for a cleaning, two fillings, and a pulled wisdom tooth), and we are planning one more before we leave the area. We will be bouncing around various parts of Arizona until mid-March, revisiting some places and hopefully exploring a few new places.

In the meantime, Carl has been repairing our refrigerator (long story…) and working on our spring and summer travel plans (we will be in Colorado in May! Yippee!!!). I have updated my website,, and resume, hoping to get part-time freelancing work. And we are trying not to get restless while waiting for the weather to improve in parts of the country we want to explore!

We hope this new year brings you health, contentment, and joyful adventure. Keep it riveting (in a good way)!

Imperial Sand Dunes

Plank Road Historic Site