Tag Archives: physical therapy

Have You Ever Met a Bear?

In Bend the skies were blue, the sun was shining and the mercury had risen. We were both suffering from heat exhaustion and migraines from the sun. I fear there will be no pleasing us as we discovered that local roads in Bend can be snowed in from mid-September to mid-June. That puts both ends of the temperature spectrum at an extreme for us. We have sadly crossed the attractive town of Bend off the list of possibilities of a perfect place to live and gone back to chasing after National Parks.

“We need to have another mishap . .”


“ . . so I’ve got something to write . .”


“ . . about.”

“No! No! No! No! We do not need anything else to happen to us. We’ve got enough to cope with as it is.” Jimmy’s leg had not improved even with physical therapy and daily exercise. He was annoyed with it and impatient for the nerves to heal.

“I can’t write, ‘We drove to Bend and that was nice. It was hot, but it would soon get cold. We went to Crater Lake National Park and it was very beautiful. Then we went to the Newbury National Volcanic Monument and saw the Big Obsidian Flow, which was quite something and then drove to the top of a lava butte.’ I don’t know how to make it interesting unless something goes wrong.”

“No-o-o-o! You’ll just have to think of something. Make something up.” I didn’t.

Whatever is his problem? We’ve only had a trailer tire catch on fire on the interstate, had a con man take a wheel off the trailer, got caught in a microburst, raced the floods in Palm Springs, hit a bollard on I95 ripping our awning off, were scared witless on the narrow lanes of the George Washington Bridge in NYC, took all the skin off our knuckles with “house”hold chores, deafened ourselves with the trailer alarm, narrowly missed being sliced in half when high winds brought down trees in a state park we’d just vacated, sprayed ourselves with sewage, nearly had my soul stolen by a creepy woman in Kentucky, risked losing a finger or two to a snapping turtle, played chicken with an alligator, got caught up in a Border Control incident, sat in the Keys waiting out a tornado watch and towed the trailer into San Francisco by mistake, got lost and ended up on the Golden Gate Bridge.

We moved on to Glacier National Park in Montana. Perhaps a black bear would step out in front us in the park. Now that would make riveting reading.

I’d like to meet a bear. We have a lot in common. According to the National Park Service website “Individual bears have their own personal space requirements, which vary depending on their mood. Each will react differently and its behavior can’t be predicted. All bears are dangerous and should be respected equally.” Gee, who does that sound like?

We did meet a bear. She did run in the road in front of us. Jimmy kept hold of my shirttail to keep me in the car so my photographic efforts amounted to a picture through the window of her rear-end as she dashed off in pursuit of her cubs. Ten people have died from bear attacks at Glacier in the last 100 years. Isn’t it sweet that himself doesn’t want me to be number 11?

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Here are few of our uh-oh moments:














There are more. Enough already!

Spare Tires, Bingo Wings and Welsh Castles

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Back from a trip to the UK, we were no further forward. To complicate our already fuzzy plans, Jimmy had come down with shingles. Nerve pain, numbness and weakness in his leg forced him to walk with a stick which seriously curtailed his activities.

Should we continue? Could we continue? Could I take over the heavy process of hitching and unhitching the trailer? Desperate not to give up on our grand plan of seeing the contiguous 48 states while looking for the perfect place to live but considering Jimmy’s infirmity, we did the obvious. Nothing.

Look! Sunshine! 4th of July parade, Steilacoom WA
Look! Sunshine in Washington! 4th of July parade, Steilacoom WA

Blessed with sunshine in May and June in Washington, a state of great beauty but often dubious weather, it was a perfect excuse, if we needed one, to do nothing. In late July the weather reverted to wet with grey skies and cool temperatures which forced our hand.

We considered moving one state south to Bend in Oregon and to dither there for a while. It was on the list of places we were considering as a home port so it would be a constructive move, even if not in the right direction as the plan had been to head east.

One benefit of staying put for several weeks had been the convenience of swimming regularly. It gave me the opportunity to boost my sluggish metabolism and to try to lose a few pounds.

“Your arms are looking good,” himself told me.

“How do you mean?”

“You’ve got muscles.”

“You mean I’ve got big arms?”

“No, you’ve got nice arms.”

“Just bulked up.”

“Well, yes.”



“I’ve been swimming to try to lose some flab around my middle. Not only have I put on weight, I’ve gained shot putter’s thighs and now you tell me I’ve got weight lifter’s arms.”

“What I said was that they looked good.”

“I guess there are worse things,” I said, making my bicep twitch a little while trying to work up some pride in my new sturdy physique.

“Yes, there are worse things, like bingo wings.”


“Well anyway, (after a pause where he’s thinking I wish I’d never said anything) I think you’ve got lovely arms and thighs and this bit too,” he said, poking his fingers three knuckles deep into my stack of spare tires.

I sighed in defeat. “I’ll just have to eat less.”

“You eat like a bird as it is.”

“Birds don’t have three glasses of Chardonnay with their dinner followed by ice cream and then chocolate before bed.”

“True.” At this point and before I could respond, his attention was totally riveted on the TV with the lowered brows and jutting chin that says, Don’t talk to me. I’m trying to listen to this.

It was Sharon Osborne on America’s Got Talent. He can’t stand either.

I know your game mister but I’ll let you off. I hadn’t much cared for our conversation anyway.

“So,” I began on a new topic, “shall we stay or shall we go?” That got his attention away from Sharon.

We went.

Next installment – Bend and Crater Lake.