Home Again

4,322.9 miles 2014 Summer Road-trip:

“A trip of lifetime,” said Walt, in Florence, Oregon. Walt was referring to our summer road-trip and he was absolutely correct. It was a trip of a lifetime. Hwy.1/101 has been on my travel list for many years. Twelve years ago, Beth and I travelled from LA to Monterey,CA. The northern half of this adventure was even more memorable. Although we had to gear-up for weather at times, we enjoyed the scenery of the Pacific NW greatly. The twists and turns, the sun and fog, the ocean and the mountain peaks, the wildflowers and the redwoods. And, who could forget the Oregon Country Fair? Not ME! All of the wonderful friends/family that we visited along the way added zest to this road-trip. Starting with Ray & Sue (Palm Springs, CA) Kerani, Jorg and families (Oakland, CA), Andrew & Jean (Napa, CA), Jill Clark (Oregon Country Fair), Walt (Florence, OR), Jill Clark (Port Angeles/Olympic National Park, WA), Jo, Tom and the Seiser/Brown families (Copper Creek/Mt. Rainier, WA), Jackie Francish and Coco (Las Vegas, NV). My mind is filled with many sights that continue to play on my inner reels.

July 25th, 7:05 pm, we rolled into Prescott, AZ. Dark skies, on/off rain, lightening, a rainbow and three streaming rays of light graced our day of travel. When I left Prescott a month prior, it was 80+ degrees. My first stop was Palm Springs where it was 103˚. Oddly enough, Las Vegas was our last stop and it was 105˚ when we arrived on the 24th at 9:30 pm. From one desert to another, we sure had BIG FUN in between.

The rain in Prescott was actually the heaviest rain we experienced all summer. At one point, the lightening temporarily blinded us. Our trip provided various weather conditions, but overall, it was fantastic.

During the Prescott storm, I sat on my front porch, protected from the elements. I gave thanks for our health and safety along our journey. A few close calls with drivers, but we managed to slip by unscathed. NV 93 was our route after we left I 84, all the way through Nevada; the mountains, ranches, farms, sin city, and the desert; completing NV 93 on Friday. It was the scenic route. There is vast open land in NV. At a distance we witnessed a fire along NV 93, as well as avoided an accident along Rt. 6. NV 93 became our lucky number.

They say all good things come to an end. I’m not so sure. Beth and I have so many great memories from this trip. I think we will keep this one alive for some time. If we were fortunate enough to spend time with you this summer, thanks for the memories. If not, maybe we can plan something soon. Time is tickin’. “Cheers to the summer of 2014” and to all that I learned, shared, saw, did, and experienced along the way. Be well… Nancy T.

Living in a Treehouse √

I am sitting in my treehouse overlooking the Washougal River in Washington. It is raining steadily, but I am high and dry. With a “Summer Ale” to my right and the river flowing below, I smile.

I used to climb trees as a kid. Limb by limb, branch by branch, I’d make my way to the top. Today, I held onto a rail as I ascended a spiral staircase. This is no kid’s treehouse, this is equipped with a bed, fridge, microwave, tv, and dvd. It’s a cozy little spread.

The Washougal River weaves its way downstream. My eyes absorb green, a color they have grown accustom to seeing in the Pacific NW. A small rapid stirs to my left as rain pelts the tin roof. A flock of geese fly by in formation. Although I wish it were sunny so that I could play in the water, I am happy sitting here. This has been a “go” trip. Being idle has been put on the back burner. I think I will just sit in my treehouse and enjoy the sights, the sounds, the gifts that are presented. I like my treehouse. I guess I will check it off my bucket list. Be well… Nancy T.

Pacific NW ~ 1

With a wildfire near Harbin Hot Springs we rerouted to the Pacific Coast from Oakland. Going toward a wildfire, no matter how contained, felt foolish. I’m so happy that we chose to do the coastline right away. The Sonoma Coast is gorgeous. With no specifics in mind, we simply started driving NW. After meandering through greenery and farms we eventually hit the coast. As soon as I saw a sign for “Lucas Wharf ” I pointed. Beth hung a quick left. Oysters, a bowl of clam chowder, beet/argula salad, and a Boont Amber started us off right. We sat by the window staring out at Bodega Bay, named after Lt. Francisco Bodega y Cuadra who dropped anchor in 1775. In the distance, kiteboarder’s colorful sails zipped back and forth along the shore. Near the dock, a lone sailor let out his sheet and his small boat glided to a stop. Um, Bodega Bay, a good place to settle. Without prearranged accommodations, we inquired about hotels in the area. Once the prices registered, we opted to drive on. Fortunately, we happened upon Bodega Dunes State Park where a campsite was available. Beth and I easily set up our new tent, yeah! Once our home was prepared, we made a beeline for the beach and sunset. A Pacific NW sunset is very different than a Caribbean sunset. Wearing nearly all of our cold weather gear, we braced ourselves and moved forward against gusts of wind to reach the sand. With a bottle of wine (thanks Jorg) and camera in tow, we scoped out a few logs on the beach to block the wind and enjoy sunset. Once we arrived, Beth was off taking pictures. As I was decanting the wine, she turned to speak to me. All I heard was the ocean crashing against the shore. After I shook my head “no” to indicate that I couldn’t hear her, Beth went back to snapping pictures. The logs did little to block the wind, but they did support our spines. Fog covered the distant sea creating a wall of gray/white. Beth said, “So much for sunset.” I pointed to the west and said, “There it is.” A veiled orange hue was on display. “That’s no sunset,” she replied. Spoiled C’Bean girl. It was what we were given and I was grateful for the day that we had experienced. From the food/drink to the ocean and the dunes that filled my vision. Happy, happy, happy… ALWAYS! Be well… Nancy T.

Love is in the air

May 10th, I attended my first wedding of 2014. My eldest niece Cassie married Matt in Chicago. Cassie had been picturing the BIG event all of her life. I’m glad she found a good man to share her hopes and dreams. In typical south side fashion, a Catholic church ceremony joined the two in holy matrimony, a large reception followed. All of the family turned out for this one, including ten day old Evan Michael who walked down the aisle in his mother’s arms. Two year old Joshua held his parent’s hands as the family proceeded. Matt’s family who reside in Minnesota made the journey for the celebration. Aunt Nanc from Arizona. Cassie took a photo with me because people said we looked alike… that was funny to me. Cass is a beautiful girl so I’ll take it.

Chicago weather cooperated with warm temps, rain-free. No small feat; it rained much of my two week visit. I kept telling it to go to Prescott. The mild weather allowed folks to be inside and outside. Plenty of food and drink tempted guests. A cupcake and candy table kept sweet tooth’s happy. As music resonated throughout the building, joy floated on the cool night air. What a fun affair.

On June 28th, my friend Kerani celebrated a “Holy Union” with her beloved Jorg … Native American style in California. Through the Native American tradition, we shared our love for the couple, together and individually throughout the day and night. Sunshine in Berkley was very welcoming. A feast followed. It was a unique and healing experience. Being a virgin to the tradition, I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of heart-felt sharing that took place. People told stories, expressed love and shared how important Kerani and Jorg have been in their lives. Being an older couple, many people looked upon them as elders wisely guiding them through life.

A follow-up ceremony/party happened outdoors on July 5th with family and friends in attendance. Kerani created a mystical, magical setting in her yard. That morning, when I returned from a gorgeous walk, I was greeted by two angels at the back gate. The angel wings were “wedding wings” presented by Pam as a gift to the couple. As Kerani sang an angel song, she and Jorg danced around me, halos and all. I have never experienced that before and I probably won’t until I reach heaven’s gate. Ok, “if” I get to heaven.

Guests entered “The Tunnel of Love” where they were greeted by a fairy and then spritzed with essences by an angel. Flowers were given to guests to be placed at the sacred mandala which joined the masculine and feminine energies. The ceremony began with Jorg playing an Austrian love song on his violin to lure his partner. Kerani appeared on the balcony where she listened to the notes. When Jorg finished she sang to him on a wireless mic. She appeared at the steps of the patio where her 91 year old father Gus escorted her to Jorg’s side. Rose petals were scattered by Josie to pave the way to their life together. Abby sang a beautiful tune. In unique style, Kerani and Jorg chose people they have met along their life path to speak about them. Ceremonies for the ancestors, the six directions and the divine feminine followed. Welcome to Keraniville… always a unique and magical experience expressed through ancient traditions. A feast and dancing followed as the stars and the moon aligned.

Mount Rainier is our next wedding celebration. A three day event in nature will join Anders and Laura. I’m looking forward to how they create a special time for all.

Lastly, Patty and Scott. This one surprised me. I return to Chicago in August to witness my sister wed Scott. I’m not sure what to expect,but I’m certain there will be stories to tell.

Love is in the air… in Oregon it comes in mist. Be well… Nancy T.