Saskatoon to Mesa – Fall 2014




Took me till Tessier to stop talking about my Retirement Party. My last day of work; dressing up for Hallowe’en. Was trying to look like a little boy golfer. Felt like an elf. Forgot to wish manager congrats re 37 years with SGI so left him a message. Now having a beautiful sunny day and I’m realizing how tired I am. Lots of pent up emotion. Eleven above. People said I look so happy. I’m ready for a nap. A chunk of rock fell off a gravel truck; hit the pavement and we’ve got a stone chip; maybe more; getting bigger as we look at it. That woke me up.

We stop in at a Rosetown Collision Centre. I’m looking at the morning paper as Bob goes inside and it is a funny feeling when I next look up to see a man has started the vehicle and we drive out onto a road and around to the back of the shop. When I say it’s a funny feeling to have some strange guy driving me away; he said they haven’t stolen any customers yet. Saw how a stone chip is fixed. Had about 15 minutes of great conversation with the guy; him explaining why he likes the smaller town life of Rosetown compared to Saskatoon; saying his vehicle doesn’t get the frost off and he’s at work. Sitting in the sun; could see the sandblasted windshield.

$25.00 along with the 15 minutes and we’re on our way. Fall migration. White birds cover the landscape. A rider flag sits atop a gravestone. A lot more water and a lot more oil. Fields have been put to bed; waiting for their blanket. Fifty shades of taupe; trying to decide if the colours are brown, yellow or beige with some green thrown in. Before we head down the Sask Landing Valley; see a white church in the middle of nowhere and lamas or alpacas lying down with their heads up in the air. Soft green grassland with the sun pouring in as I listen to the voice mail saying my niece’s baby will have surgery tomorrow.

We are behind a semi driver who may be falling asleep. Bob in awe of the long freight train with two engines up front and one pushing from behind. Reread some of my retirement wishes and had a little snack on our way. Have song in my head about being connected to all on this planet. We’ve made it to the Hat and at 5:30 am the next morning; am in my brother’s rumpus room. I am journalling. Hard to think about what he looked like when we got here last night. A starving man who has lost 40 pounds since January. Pancreatic cancer diagnosis last week. He has a sharp fierceness; focused piercing directness in all he does and says.

I’m having a cry as I desperately think of ways myself or others could help. Thinking of the Sharing Secrets picture I got and the phone call I made to my brother when my memories of abuse came back. Talked last night about affairs being put in order; and what that entails; told him about a woman who told me had no passwords after her husband died; wondering now if it helped to talk about it.

Last night sitting at the table with him and his son; told them of my experience of seeing Mother Theresa after she died; the helplessness I feel right now are what the tears are all about. Everyone has their own journey but the connections run deep. Hoping the worst part is over and when he has his surgery next week; life will be easier.

Realize I need to let go of bitterness, anger and resentment that still lurk. It sure tells me that nice house, golf course, TV; none of it matters if you’re sick. A sea of FOG as we drive away; we’re still talking about it; ‘totally whipped’ and ‘played out’ are the words Bob used to describe how my brother looked. We got another rock in the windshield; wondering if we are learning some things come at you that you have no control over. It’s 0 degrees. Gary saying as we were leaving, “Hit a few balls for me.”

The aerial is whipping from the frost build up. Alberta people are not using their vehicle lights. We are behind U Hauls, Horse Trailers and slow vehicles with no lights on a curve, who pull over to let us by. It’s still foggy but there are gorgeous prairie grasses underneath the fog. Saw feedlots before I smelt them and then they went on and on. Just before the border, it’s starting to clear. See bale piles in the fields. Keeping an eye on a vehicle that speeds up behind us, pulls back, passes us, weaves a bit, slows down, lets us pass.

I had border anxiety for about 5 miles before the border. A 25 minute wait and no issues; good to go. Its eight above now and lots of blue sky ahead. Can see far on this Montana horizon. No sense in checking the weather ahead; a lot bigger than us anyway; and will deal with it as it happens. Noon on Saturday; finished the buns, cheese, muffins and orange juice. Read some more cards from co-workers. So beautiful. I am soaking it up; the sun too that is pouring in. Now 14 above.

Heading towards a mountain range that may have rain. Bob saw a coyote that blended in so well I didn’t see it. We see 100’s of antelope right beside us as we go by First People’s Buffalo Jump State Park. Pretty picturesque.

The rain moved out of our way and the sun kept shining. A harvest picture of greens and golds and then see a combine finishing up the barley. We are in a valley or foothills to the mountains we are now climbing. Snow fences are piled up in different places along the road. Meandering along a river valley. Rowboats. Fishing. Part of cottage country life. Guess here you would read, watch TV, boat, fish or hike. It’s actually the Missouri River in Montana. Huge eagle nest on top of a power pole. Next town sign: Gates of the Mountains. Here the snow fences are up but no snow. Yeah! Lots of scotch pine forests.

We are now out of Montana; sunshine, blue skies, 18 degrees. Coppery trees. Different elevation. Sign: “Where are you going? Heaven or Hell. Phone for the truth with a phone number.” People walking their dogs. Some are biking these Elkhorn Mountains. Coming up to Jefferson City. Chain up area 1/2 mile. Three helicopters above us.

A motor home did not make it up and over the pass. Being loaded by a tow truck. Like a race track going down at 70 mph. Semis slowed right down and some cars flying by on this four lane divided I-15. Three thirty this Saturday afternoon and through the continental divide; a five minute rain squall and then several sheets of rain where I say, “hold on to the wheel honey,” and Bob says, “it’s getting the bugs off.”

Ten minutes that seem like fifty. Drops from 17 to 7 degrees. Asked Bob what is coming and he says it’s a mountain. Very hard to see what’s ahead. Then the sun is out and I try to take a picture of the rainbow in the jeep’s rear view mirror. Opened the windows to the sagebrush air; a beautiful day and a magpie floats by.

Had a tour of Dillan. Beautiful town. Saw a Youth Confidence Builder; a challenge park where there are ropes, poles, tunnels and fun things I think would be worth having in every town for all ages. Gassed up and off again. Bob comments on how nice to fill up the jeep for $45. A fake buffalo on the hillside. Where the rocks were falling down last year; a wall has been put up. Bob has a good memory.

The 5 foot deer reflector signs on the side of the highway also have a 5 foot extension; red pole on top of them to alert snow plows where the edge of the road would be. This, as we move towards the highest; the Monida Pass. Dropped to 3 degrees. Light rain. Wind is blowing; gusty. Welcome to Idaho. 80 mph. Bob says that is 130 km/hr. Sign says Idaho is too great to litter. Over 6000 elevation here; clouds around us. Light ahead of us so hope we are driving out of it.

Spencer, Idaho; the Opal Capital of America. We pass it and a little 10 or 12 foot Bolar camper. Bob says “Wouldn’t you just love to spend the winter in that? I ask, “ Do you think we’d make it?” He said, “Probably”. We have another hour long conversation of what we think might happen re Gary.

The sun is out. Like after a storm. Beauty to behold. A farmyard with 8; maybe 10 combines lined up. Biggest Bin Yard I ever saw. Irrigating some kind of winter crop on the right side of the road. A fence with tumbleweeds bottom to top. A wildlife refuge but have not seen any. We’re discussing our upcoming dinner and my mouth is watering. Also discussing putting our Canadian credit cards away for the winter; keeping track of it all.

Now we have a pink and blue sunset; reminds us we are going to be grandparents again in the spring. Now we’re talking about food we’ll need when we get back to Saskatoon and how that will drive us crazy after the cheaper U.S. food prices. It is dusk as we come to Idaho Falls; passing cars with no lights and can hardly see them in the rear view mirror. We get 10% off the Best Western $80. hotel room. Jakers is still a great place for dinner. Ended with pumpkin creme de ble’. Had our scare of the night when came back to the hotel room and it was open. First thought my computer was gone. It wasn’t. Bob’s papers/credit cards/ money still there. It must have been us; not pulling the door totally shut. Scary!

A restless night. Still in shock over Gary. My dream tells me how great my life is right now; living in beautiful homes. Can’t find a pair of socks; didn’t pack any so borrowing a pair of Bob’s white golf ones. Hopefully, flip flops tomorrow. First hotel breakfast that had it all/ bacon/scrambled eggs/ hash browns/ boiled eggs/ muffins/ cereals/ cooked oatmeal/ cereals/ waffles/ fruit/ pastries/ toast/ on and on / all couples; probably all snowbirds.

I am wearing a pants haven’t worn for 2 weeks and when I wore them two weeks ago; were a little on the tight side; rolls around my waist area. Today after being at my brothers; I am totally skinny and like the pants want to fall off. I ask Bob, “what’s that about?”

Started our driving day in 7:30 am dark and drizzly rain. Two degrees. A semi turnover on the other side of the divided highway. Police have the place lit up like a Christmas tree; red lights set up for a long way back. As the sky lightens, see more birds and more fall colours all the time.

Listening to the world Ebola crisis update. Obama has doctors and nurses just back from front lines with him in the Whitehouse; same time as a nurse and military are being quarantined for 21 days with no symptoms when they come back.

Pocatello in the rain. Morman Church dominates the landscape till you look around and see the gigantic hills with few trees. Sagebrush looking clumps in the ditches.

Song theme: “I did the best that I could,” in my head this morning. We are in a valley of farm and acreage countryside and rain has stopped. Moving into lightness. 9:00 am; the sun rises in the east from behind the hills. The police stop the guy behind us. The golds and greens of fall in Salt Lake City. Bob and I had to stop talking about our choices in how to keep being an incredible sweetheart and beautiful partner to each other as too much traffic.

On and off shower activity the hour through Salt Lake City and sky is different each way you look. We are travelling 65 mph and Bob estimates some are travelling 100 mph as they fly by. A lot of brand new Condo construction. $129,900. for one of them. Back to rain. Most rain we’ve ever driven in down here.

And just when I said, “thank goodness it’s not snowing.” It’s snowing. I had just talked about meditating or going to sleep. I AM NOT SLEEPING. It is a whiteout. We are high up. 0 degrees so not freezing yet. Now I can see a bit further. Cattle are standing out in a field of white snow. Hit the summit. 6600 feet. Icy rain. Better visibility than was. Going downhill. 6 degree grade; not white anymore. All okay. I tell Bob, “if I send this to anyone, hope I can call it a 6 page uneventful trip.”

Beaver, Utah: 1/2 snow, 1/2 rain. All of a sudden, cars all over the ditch. About 6 upside down. First sirens we’ve seen or heard and they come towards us for miles. Ambulances, fire trucks, state troopers.

Next hour is heavy shower activity; some snow flurries. We’re down to 5000 feet. Clouds are hanging around. Stopped for an all natural lemonade at St. George. The flowers are beautiful. Went up by 14 degrees; another rain shower and then up to 19. Sunshine takes us in and though Vegas. Notice in the Alberta cars, not sure why the people all seem younger than us. Are we getting older or what?

We stay in a motel in Boulder City where we know we will get awesome Mexican food and we do. I dream that night that I’m in a teacher’s home in a city like Prague where the living room is open to the landscape and he is showing me the relationship between the inside and the outside and how it affects each other.

I know I’m tired from the last few weeks and not real excited about nearly being there as there will be so much to do; but do have the rest of my life to do it. I will have all the experiences I need. My dreams will sort out what’s ahead; what has been; shows me the global possibilities of the writing/music projects. Songwriting could be a project.

I will never be the same

I’m always in constant change

Giving and receiving love again

I will never be the same.


And on to another topic. Will I send thank yous to so many? How long before I can, when all the groceries, organizing, this new life is jumping in? Bob and I talked about the five choices project and how to be a beautiful partner; an incredible sweetheart; so we continue to have an extraordinary relationship.

The Peruvian coffee this morning best I’ve had on this journey. Amazing stars in the sky as we leave. I am a good navigator. I say, “ Why is that car in the left lane? Oh, I think he’s turning.” We are in awe, as always of American infrastructure. The Hoover Dam area; the new pavement with reflective lighting. It’s beautiful even in the dark. We went through a bit of construction but none slowed us down.

The sunrise looks like a painting. Early Arizona morning colours with black mountain; and miles of desert. I’ve never seen amount, thickness and height of sagebrush type bushes. Must be from the amount of summer rains.

I’m trying to remember the five languages of love: Gifting/ Words/ Affection/ Acts and is it Time? Found our same restaurant from last year; Trading Post/ Gift Shop at Wikeup. Told the waitress; “I think he wants to buy me a gift.” A young man walks into the restaurant singing and sang me a song about one foot from my face. Such happiness in the morning!

Last gas up before Phoenix. Only at the reserve owned gas stations did we have to pay up front. Got an update on Gary. Do not think the stint is working. Surgery in three days; hopefully that will solve some things.

Mesa Mansion here we come. First Saguaro. Desert greener than we’ve ever seen. Another rock in the windshield demonstrates some things in life we have no control or is it, ‘stay off the road’ is my next thought.

Seeing lots of little desert birds and tequila plants. We talk about maybe going to Tombstone Arizona for an overnight trip when a hawk nearly joined us in the jeep. I see the first palm trees and Bob sees the smog from Phoenix. I’ve taken pictures most of the way. Will I learn to pick the top 10 for a slide show to email friends. Next thought; not many people email anymore; most text.

Getting hot! Went through 100 and 30 avenues from outside Phoenix at Surprise until Glendale. Freeway lined with flowers and silver willow. Past the Musical Instrument Museum, Scottsdale, past the boulevard where we’ve watched PGA Tour Golf. They are adding lanes to the 101. Now on the 202 going past the new Chicago Cubs Ball Field. It all feels familiar. A half house is the wide load in front of us at 60 mph. We pass and catch up to the other half. Freeway art has a southwest primitive design. Love it. Superstition Mountains and we are home.

Look forward to hearing from you!


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