If my children only knew what the first few days of this trip were going to be like, they would have stopped us from going. It wasn’t as if I had really thought it through, I just reacted to the crazy snowfall that landed on us in mid-November. It was an ordinary day on our property in West Kelowna. We enjoyed a lovely fall with warm days.
The weather report caught my eye because they were warning all of the coastal and interior of B.C. about a pending snowfall. When it arrived we expected a light dusting. But it started around one in the afternoon and just got heavier and heavier as the day progressed. It continued all night and into the next morning. Admittedly, we chose to live in an area that the locals call the “snow zone”. Last year was mild with only a moderate amount of quickly melting snowfalls. Well, this storm was different as it snowed 18 inches in one 24-hour period and then continued for the next few days bringing our total up to almost 3 feet. This was not acceptable!
I have to do all the shoveling that our snow plow couldn’t reach and am really starting to feel my 81 years. I said to my husband Dale, that we had to do something and as far as I was concerned we should just pack up our truck and our dog Bandit and head for Arizona.
We had stopped going south a couple of years ago and sold our 5th Wheel trailer because of Dale’s health. He has COPD and congestive heart disease which limits his activities.
“But what the heck,” I said, “I can drive the new truck, and handle the packing. We could stay in motels all the way down and stay with family when we can. We could rent a Park Model and just stay put and not have to struggle through the cold weather.”
It seemed like the perfect answer to our current problem. So we planed to leave in a week, forgetting that; we needed to have the truck serviced, I would need health insurance for the US, we would have to transfer some money, cancel Dr’s appts, make more appts in the US, get extra medications, get the dog his shots, notify the volunteer jobs were I serve weekly, and lastly, we had to pack for a holiday in a truck that we had never traveled in before. And we had to do it all in 6 days.
I’m sure you can imagine, it became both complicated and frustrating but we managed, just barely. We took off in good weather which held until we reached Spokane. All our friends had company so we stayed at Motel 6 which was cheap but that was the best thing about it. We had a heck of a time finding it which made us tired and hungry by the time we checked in. I unloaded the truck taking in what I thought we would need for the night, which was a lot more than I expected. Dale headed out to get us some food. But by then I was too tired to eat. Didn’t sleep well.
The next morning we reloaded the truck and headed for Butte, Montana. It was tedious and long and we switched drivers many times. The truck was acting up a bit and Dale’s oxygen machine burned out the lighter plug. It was a long drive with many stops for Bandit and Dale to take breaks. I tried to sleep but I was nervous about Dale being tired also so I stayed awake until he asked me to drive. I drove until we hit a snowstorm and then woke Dale up to drive. Fortunately, it was just a skiff and didn’t stick but it was getting busy and there are so many big trucks on the road. It was dark by the time we reached Butte so we went to the motel and then straight to dinner. There is a favorite place we like called Pete’e Garage which used to be a garage but is now a restaurant filled with old car memorabilia, in fact, there is an old car inside the entrance. We had a great waiter and a good meal.
The goal the next morning was Mesquite and the Virgin River Casino. We had an uneventful drive and arrived late afternoon. We tried a little gambling but got discouraged pretty quickly. We had a room on the ground floor so loading and unloading were a little easier. A young couple stopped me to ask if I had seen a young brown dog who was running loose. I looked up and was just going to say no when he came running down the sidewalk toward his family. I just said, “Do you mean like him?” They were so grateful they kept thanking me till I said, “It was nothing” and it was.
Next stop was Ogden, Utah where we stayed 5 days in Dale’s sister Pat’s vacant house. We hoped to rest up but when the word got around, we were invited out for dinner and a wedding, and lunch. So rest alluded us again, although it was nice seeing Dale’s family.
We did finally arrive at Casa Grande, Arizona a few days later. Our rented park model was nice although a bit small. The resort was quite large and was equipped with several dog walks and an enclosed area for dogs to run free. There was an inside/outside pool with a large hot tub. Like most parks in Arizona, ours provided a lot of entertainment venues. We settled in and I unpacked hopefully for the last time for at least 3 months. I checked out the Thrift Shops in the area and Dale found the Casinos. Thanksgiving was coming up fast and we looked forward to the celebration.
We had two days of heavy rain which was unusual for this time of the year. We took a drive out to the desert to see how it was affected. Many people don’t realize what happens when it rains in the desert, they expect the dry sand to immediately soak up the moisture. What happens is just the opposite, the water lies on the surface and runs downhill. There are many floods in low areas. I am including some pictures.
I thought things were settling down into a routine when one night one of my dental implants fell out into my hand. This was the third of 4 implants I had put in some years ago to hold in my upper plate. Recently I had contacted some kind of undiagnosed autoimmune condition. Within two weeks of getting this condition, two of my implants had to be removed surgically because they became loose. Now the third was gone. I found a dentist in Casa Grand and upon examining me told me I should go back to see my orthodontist in Canada as soon as possible. This news was discouraging, so after only a month in the sun, we headed back north.
The trip was divided into two by the weather, the journey as far as Spokane was reasonable but from there it was awful. The snow and ice made it dangerous on the passes. Although we drove very slowly we had an accident going down a steep switch hill outside of Osoyoos. We hit a barrier near a cliff but only suffered a broken tail light and a few scrapes. The 50-mile road along the lake was very slippery and slow but we made it home unscathed and happy to get into our little house.
More to come…