I just took my first refrigerated “Live Typhoid Capsule” from Switzerland on an empty stomach with a full glass of ice water. After skipping two days, I take my second of the series of four. Enclosed, was a orange wristband reminding me to “remember oral typhoid vaccine!” I slipped it on an A&W glass filled with water in plain view in my fridge.
Two emails arrived recently!
One was from Orbitz…a slight change in my itinerary on my flights. Should be good to go, still! Included were my seat assignments. I went on their site to give them my current phone #.
The other email was from a recent nation-wide contest I had entered. I won one of the second prizes, which may be a DSLR camera with lenses valued at $500. Just what I would wish for. Awesome! I hope it arrives in time for my trip!
Lots of changes!
Today, I had been invited to go out to a friend’s camper to chill at a lake, then enjoy a mellow “Girl’s Night Out!” We were going to Zorbas in DL for pizza, but no word from her as of yet, so I gather that the plans are off. So, I’ll just have a cleaning day at home.
I called to visit with my mom, who is in her late seventies, who had always wanted to become a nurse, and travel to Norway. She sends her blessings for my journey. I’ll share my adventures with her upon my return.
The days are counting down very quickly now! Starting Tuesday, I work ten days on, three off, four on. From that day, July 20th, it will be get ready, visit my grand-daughters, Charlee and Layla, and fly! July 26th, my 56th birthday! Greetings, World! Hello, Libby!
Postscript; Friend called, I’m staying home to save my pennies, after-all!
Well, not always sensible, went to visit friend. She was craving a “Zorbaz Tai Pizza!” We also visited a friend of her’s who plays guitar. Relaxing in her camper by a lake. There was a huge, beautiful moon over Detroit Lake last night!
Last week, a healthy me donated two units of B+ blood, since it would be a year after travel before my next qualifying donation.
This week, I worked a double shift after being down with a cold two days and nights. I had way too much cold medicine and very little to eat or drink.
My international shot appointment was this morning after the overnight shift, yet I persevered so I could, “get ‘r done!”
First of all, they want to know how you are going to pay. A list of costs and administration fees, a letter of explanation, and questionnaires were sent via email. Questions such as; “Do you sleep well at night, or do you have reoccurring nightmares?” and, “Where are you traveling?”…”Main tourist areas, or off the beaten path?”
The nurse read through pages and pages of recommendations, which were repeated on a video on the computer as I waited for my shots and pills. Don’t swim in fresh water. Don’t walk with exposed feet. Don’t touch animals. Use insecticides. Don’t eat raw meats, prepared salads, or open market foods. Drink only sealed beverages. Eat fruit you peel yourself.
Basically, “universal precautions,” like washing and sanitizing everything.
I wonder if NASA has a leftover space suit I could borrow for my trip?
Finally, I received a couple shots in my left arm as my eyes focused on Australia on the world map on the wall of the examining room. I felt dizzy and queazy from the prospect of the shots, the lack of sleep, compounded by the previous days of weakened, medicated illness, yet, yeh, I “toughed it out!” I was SO focused on finally being done, and heading home to my “empty nest,” I almost walked out without paying. The receptionist tallied the bill and I dolled out the cash, and cautiously drove home. I stopped at a convenience store for pomegranate tea, Sprite, a bag of Cheetos corn puffs, and a Special K bar, to settle my queasiness before a day-long nap.
As I had left the receptionist, I said, “One less!” meaning one step closer to my destination!
We wove in and out of the braided streets of Seattle until we merged onto the highway exiting the city. We began our eastern trek home. We stayed a night in the panhandle of Idaho, before continuing into the massive, mountainous state of “Big Sky Country” in Montana. I drove virtually the same route back that I had taken a decade before with my older three children, excluding Yellowstone Park, since we had already caught that, and Minot, since my other brother no longer lived there. Each time, there is less unsettled wilderness.
We stopped to see one of the few actual, visible, physical evidences of Lewis and Clark’s expedition. It is east of Billings, at Pompey’s Pillar. “W. Clark” signed into the stone with the date,”July 25, 1806,” almost 200 years before my son and I. There were clay slab replicas and mugs in a gift store at the site, geological and historical information related to the Native Americans and early settlers in the region. We had a few more stops before arriving home. Our journey was successful and memorable. My son, Josh, now 19, still wishes to repeat our journey someday, again. If fate doesn’t allow us to do so, I’m sure he will in the future with his children.
Our journey continued. We explored the quaint coffee shops, souvenir shops, and sales in the region. We discovered a beautiful Carousel! We bought postcards, seashells and starfish. There were shops filled with spinning kaleidoscopes of color transposed into windsocks and kites. We went north as far as we could in that misty, seacoast region, then south again to hook onto a highway to go eastward while charting our highlighted map to the next destinations.
Sailboats, windsurfers, and a variety of watercraft skimmed alongside us as we drove to our crossing on the Colombia. We crossed over a bridge heading northward into Washington state.
The traffic became challenging as we drove beyond the state capital into the “Sea-Tac” cities. I purchased a more detailed local map. Yes, no iPhone and no GPS, a mere eleven years ago.
Seattle!! I fell in love with this city years ago! In movies, on tv, through visits, the water, the lakes, the bay, the mountains, the curving network of streets, bridges, and underpasses, the monorail, the diverging cultures, and the city scape! I love it all! My daughter has since re-discovered this city and lives there now, enjoying all the Northwest has to offer.
Back to the journey, Josh always had an affinity for “space-themed” items. His room at the time resembled a “Space Aliens” restaurant. His built-in cupboards and closets were doorless and backlit. They held creatures and characters ranging from E.T., Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear, to Darth Vader and beyond! His walls were painted a dark “Walmart” blue and held a variety of space-themed movie posters and puzzles in silver frames. “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Star Wars,” “E.T.,” etc. When he first learned to read, I caught Josh holding a flashlight under a blanket on his bed reading thick Star Wars and Star Trek books. The books and movies have since evolved into a fascination with video games such as the “Halo” series. A subscription to XBox Magazine further expanded his curiosity as his reading ability grew quickly into higher grade levels.
Seattle’s Space Needle, therefore was a real highlight for our journey. Built in the early 1960’s for a World’s Fair, this landmark completes and defines the skyline of Seattle. I took a photo of Josh standing on a platform in front of the “dwarfed” needle.
To be continued…
We rode up the elevator to the top of the structure, what a view!!
I purchased a coffee mug from “Sleepless in Seattle,” a thimble, postcards, and a miniature space needle for Josh.
It was a hot day, so I let the energetic eight-year old run and prance around soaking up water in the huge “sprinkler” fountain. He looked like the dancing boy from London as he jubilantly celebrated his youthful energy with unrestrained abandonment.
Josh sun-dried as I planned our exit from the metropolis for our return trip east.
Throughout the passes to Mountain Home, Idaho, I rode my brother’s rebuilt Moto-Guzzi, no windshield, helmet, and sharp inclines throughout. My brother followed me driving my car with my son until we stopped at a gas station. The shifting with a foreign motorcycle through such drastically changing altitudes was a difficult, yet exhilarating experience. I was proud to have achieved what I did. My brother, on the other hand, had developed an attitude that day towards Josh and myself, so we parted ways at a fast food place. I think Yosemite was beckoning him. Go figure??
So…Josh and continued our trek. We strove across Idaho and crossing Evil Knievel’s Snake River stopping at the beautiful town of Boise.
Heading into Oregon along the Colombia River gorge we discovered the falls including Multnomah Falls. I found a hand-painted ceramic thimble of the falls. The photos of Josh…he pretended to wash his hair under the backdrop of the magnificent double dropping waterfall with an arched bridge crossing above the second drop. All this wonder was enveloped between the cliffs.
We next descended towards Portland on our way to the nearest Pacific Coast. We wove through the trees as the sun was setting, finding a turnabout and monument on a beach where Lewis and Clark had supposedly set foot. We then found a safe place to park and slept.
Early in the misty morning, we woke up. We went to Canon Beach as the tide was changing. We ran along the water, the waves, as they sifted and shifted through the sandy shore. The same beach I had seen as a young child, my youngest child now danced upon. We picked up a cache of fragile “sand dollars” before the water and sand chipped away at the smooth circular edges.
We explored Haystack Rock and it’s tidal pools of starfish and sea-life, as the water levels rose and abated. We took photos of our discoveries, and placed our names and footprints in the sand, saying, “MOM & JOSH.”
After camping at the KOA and enjoying burnt, gooey marshmallows sandwiched in chocolate bars and graham crackers…”S’mores!” we visited other traveling “vagabonds” in the campsite, finding out where they came from and where they were heading. Sometimes, we exchange emails and reconnect…sometimes not…yet it is always interesting.
The Bear-tooth Mountains are spectacular! Some vehicles have trouble downshifting while climbing the higher pitched inclines and altitudes. At a look-out point we visited with a large expensively-geared group from Germany riding new VMV motorcycles from California to points eastward.
We entered a campground in the north-eastern portion of Yellowstone Park near Mammoth Hot Springs region of the park. After pitching our tent, we put on our suits and swam in the natural hot springs. It was like sitting in a natural, rock-lined, hot tub.
Some of our camping “neighbors” invited us to their cookout, sharing hot dogs and burgers.
The next day, we hiked the trails, looked at the streams and wildlife, including; chipmunks, elk, and bison. We studied the spastic geysers and bubbling, hot pools. We also witnessed the ever-reliable, hourly, gushing display of “Old Faithful.”
We left Yellowstone National Park exiting the west exit/entrance towards Idaho. Traveling further, we went through Arco, noted to be the “first community in the world ever to be lit by electricity generated by nuclear power,” starting on July 17, 1955.
The campsite we bedded down in was in the “Crater of the Moon National Park.” There were ashen lava rocks covering the entire area, and caves to explore. At night, the bats flew everywhere on the way to the restroom, which frightened Josh, especially since a few years earlier he’d been bitten by a bat and underwent a series of rabies shots.
He was probably safe, yet it was frightening to him at the time. He did think the lava scorched park was cool, though. It looked pre-historic to him, and reminded him of a cross between “The Flintstones” and “Jurassic Park.”
The next morning, we drove to see the progress on “Crazy Horse” a huge rock sculpture honoring the Native American culture and spirit. Nowadays, anyone worldwide can research this undertaking on the internet.
Heading into Wyoming, we stopped in a small antique shop. On the wall was a large photo print of American soldiers on motorcycles in France during WWII. The shop owner’s dad was one of the young men in the photo. he said for years his dad was silent about the war. Recently, the old soldier, in his twilight years, had begun to tell his tale. They had been captured and hidden in the concentration camps and were marched endlessly throughout Europe as POW’s. Much of the reason the old soldier had been silent was because many did not believe the stories of their hardships and suffering, nor did anyone really care to hear or listen to their stories during the postwar celebrations. I gave the shopkeeper some good contact information for him and his dad, of people interested in hearing about the experience from a living surviving veteran POW.
Our next destination was the Devil’s Tower. Remember “Close Encounters of the Third Kind?” This was the natural site in the film Richard Dreyfus obsessively tried to sculpt out of his mashed potatoes and mud!
I purchased a couple limited edition drawings by a local artist and a “Close Encounters” t-shirt for Josh. I had him posed on the back of Elsie, pretending to hold the side of the tower. Josh became a “Junior Ranger” as we studied information and walked around the circumference of the Devils Tower. We observed the rock climbers and discovered the different textures of the rock, as well as, the flora and fauna in the vicinity of the natural phenomenon.
I realized how curious an eight year old can be when faced with an unusual site.
After refreshing our thirst, watching the prairie dogs bop their curious heads in and out of their earthen holes, resembling a game at “Chuckee Cheese” restaurant, we continued westward to our KOA campsite and showers.