I think I’ve mentioned that I dubbed Arthur’s Chevy Tahoe SUV “the blueberry tank.” That’s the car I’m driving all over during the holidays, and tomorrow, I set out on my next leg. I’ll drive to just north of Denver, where my stepmother Wendy and stepsister Brenda lives with her family.
Today, Arthur and I had another VA appointment, and we ran some other errands and Arthur surprised me somewhat by deciding it was finally time to wash the car. So we took it to one of those fancy “hands on” carwash places and got it cleaned. It was quite dirty – the dust was caked so thickly that an ecosystem of moss was forming on the sides of the car.
Now it’s clean.
Tomorrow I drive. [daily log: walking, 3km]
Today was a hard day. I was at the dentist in the morning. A horrible dentist experience, as they always are for me. Pain and discomfort and feeling of being complicit in my own torture, and then having the privilege of paying for it.
I had a frustrating time with trying to get my computer (HP laptop) serviced too. If I want it to be serviced, I have to send it to the manufacturer. Which means being without a computer during that time – plus, it’s a bit complicated since I’m currently traveling around. I’ll probably just not bother. And that means the manufacturer has “won” – they’ve made the issue of warranty service sufficiently difficult and complicated such that I simply don’t bother, which of course is their money-saving objective.
On a good side, I got my tax returns for 2012-2017. That’s a feeling of accomplishment.
I have a lot of pain in my mouth. They had to puncture and drain an abscess above my molar. Ow.
When I got back, I told Juli I felt dead.
She gave me some “Dead Guy Ale” to go with my dinner, which seemed super appropriate.
Life goes on. Tomorrow will be better. [daily log: walking, 2km]
I had a busy day today.
In the morning, I had to go to the dentist. Rather than find a dentist in Southeast Alaska, I did what Arthur does, and found a dentist down here around Portland. Since he comes here every year, it makes sense. Dentists in Southeast Alaska are hard to get to from Craig – you have to fly to Ketchikan or Juneau.
This dentist thing is stressing me out. I like dentists even less than cancer. That’s the cold truth: I’d rather be in the cancer hospital again than sitting in a dentist’s chair. It stresses me out. Well, anyway – apparently there’s something that needs doing, in there. Hopefully it won’t get messed up as it has, times before.
In the afternoon I took Arthur in to the VA Hospital in Portland. This is just scheduled follow-up from his accident and treatment over the summer. Nothing particularly stressful or gruesome, more on the side of bureaucratic, if you ask Arthur.
Tomorrow, I return to the dentist for a second chapter, and also will meet my tax accountants, hopefully bringing final closure to my long, six-year period of non-tax-filing status. [daily log: walking, 2km]
I took a long walk with Juli, up the hill and down the river. Pictures.
We saw some turkeys in a field. These turkeys survived Thanksgiving. Juli said that they’re waiting for Christmas. [daily log: walking, 6km]
We observed Thanksgiving on Saturday, because for various reasons not everyone was able to make it on Thursday.
In the morning, Wayne and I took a long walk up through the tree farm – I went quite a ways farther up than I’d gone before. We took Walter, the dog, who posed for a picture, too.
Thanksgiving was a great feast in the tradition I’ve associated with the Brosing-Lecomte extended family since my own childhood in the early 1970s, when both families were based in rural San Mateo County south of San Francisco (which was truly rural at that time, and not the collection of high-tech-entrepreneurs’ mansions that it is these days).
Arthur did his small duty relative to the event, by roasting the turkey in the style he developed in Arcata in the 1970s too, using his self-designed rotisserie barbecuer.
There is no table at these gatherings – never has been one, because the number of people is too great. People stand or sit wherever, and eat.
Juli and Keith’s neighbor, who has horses, generously offered to let some the kids (and adults too) ride one of her horses. It was a first horse ride for some of the kids.
It was a good thanksgiving. [daily log: walking, 5km]
Today was the official Thanksgiving holiday, but we didn’t really have a major celebration. Many of the people coming to this year’s annual Brosing-Lecomte get-together and thanksgiving feast were unable to make it here today due to travel or scheduling issues. So the great feast has been scheduled for Saturday instead of Thursday. That’s when we’ll roast the turkey (Arthur’s specialty) and do the other celebratory foods.
For today, we mostly relaxed. Juli and I took a long walk, in pouring rain, up to the tree farm and then down along the river, after seeing the Lee Falls up the Tualatin River a ways.
The house shortly after dawn, on a rainy, drizzly morning.
The horses at the neighbor’s house were deeply unimpressed by our decision to go walking in the rain. They stuck to the barn.
Walter the charismatic dog was unconcerned about the rain.
We saw the waterfall. In fact, despite the pouring rain, the water level in the river is quite low for this time of year. The summer and fall have been dry, here.
We saw a giant log blocking the Lee Falls Road. Good thing we were walking. This is Juli standing by the log.
We had barbecued chicken for dinner.
Tomorrow some people might go into town to do some shopping. I have no interest in the so-called Black Friday. [daily log: walking, 6km]
I drove a lot.
I saw things.
Canada has a desert. It was cold, though – below freezing.
Proof that Vancouver is beyond hope.
I have arrived in Forest Grove, Oregon. I’ll add some pictures or more thoughts tomorrow – I’m tired and will sleep, for now. [daily log: walking, not much; driving, too much]
drive off the ferry, go through customs,
drive in the rain to Tim Hortons
drive to a rest area
drive up the river’s path
drive east to Prince George
drive through the snow
drive at night
My ferry arrived at Prince Rupert at around 2 am. I was the first vehicle off the ferry, so there was no waiting at Canadian immigration/customs. I rolled down my window, and a dour, mustached Canadian asked me if I had any firearms or drugs or alcohol. No on all counts, and
he asked how long I would be staying. I said long enough to be driving through. And that was the end of the interview – the easiest Canadian border crossing I’ve ever experienced. I think crossing as an “Alaskan” helps a lot – the Canadians are used to the fact that Alaskans need to go back and forth across their country for various reasons.
I got some coffee at a Tim Hortons, I got some local currency cash at an ATM, and I drove to the first rest area east of Prince Rupert, where I slept in my car until dawn. Starting at dawn, I drove east.
First there was rain. Finally the rain cleared, and I was in the snowy British Columbian interior.
I am now at a motel at Cache Creek, BC (the junction of route 97 and the Trans-Canada highway, AKA Route 1). [daily log: walking, 0.5km; driving, 1200 km]
When Arthur goes down to the lower 48 for the holidays each year, he has a routine to “winterize” the house. One issue: since power is unreliable (and therefore heat), he has to anticipate the possibility that temperatures will be below freezing inside the house. That means the water system in the house has to be drained, and the water turned off. He puts antifreeze down all the drains.
It’s a pretty complicated process, starting with turning off the water supply up at the water tank, and draining the house, and then opening all the spigots, emptying the toilet tanks and bowls…
I remember doing this once by myself when I stayed here in 2009 and left in November. It was a bit simpler, then, because it was before he built the main part of the house, so it was only the two “sheds” – but these had fully functional toilets and plumbing, so the concept was the same.
We got this done today. And now it’s like camping, because we have no running water. Tomorrow we leave for Ketchikan.
Last night, we had dinner with Arthur’s friends / neighbors, Jeri and Karl. They live down the road, and came up here and Arthur prepared his famous chiles rellenos.
Here is a pretty good picture of the three of them, in the kitchen here. [daily log: walking, 3km]
I may not have mentioned this yet. I am preparing to drive down to Portland for Thanksgiving. Yes: drive.
Arthur and I will take the ferry with the car to Ketchikan. There, he will get on an airplane, and meet Juli and Keith in Portland.
Meanwhile, I’ll put the car on another ferry from Ketchikan to Prince Rupert, BC. Then from there I can drive down to Portland for Thanksgiving.
Why are we doing this? Because that way, we’ll have the car down there. We evaluated the comparative cost of renting a car over the holidays down there, versus driving Arthur’s car down, and even accounting for the ferry tolls, the low gas mileage on his SUV, and the extra 1500 miles of driving, it’s still much cheaper.
And I used to do a lot of road trips. I think I’ll handle it fine. Once down in the lower 48 with Arthur’s car, we’ll be able to make use of it for our various intended visitings.
One thing I wanted to do to get ready to drive is make sure the car has snow chains and that I know how to attach them. That’s not because I expect to have to use them, but driving in the winter, some western states and Canada will sometimes require snow chains on vehicles for snowy weather, especially over mountain passes.
So I spent the morning practicing putting snow chains on Arthur’s car. It’s kind of unpleasant, in the rain on the gravel. But I got it done. [daily log: walking, 4km]