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Day 14

Day 14. Driving through this countryside brings up feelings of nostalgia for the charming decay of old Americana – drive-ins, diners, crumbling barns, weathered farm houses and country churches. Many are just ghosts of former times and the lives that were there. There are miles and miles of apple and cherry orchards on the east side of the state where the climate is more arid, perfect for the fruit trees to grow and thrive. Fruit packing plants are the dominant feature in each small town, and tightly woven around them are the migrant worker communities. Authentic Mexican and Salvadorian food is easily found. Yum.

We’ve put down a lot of miles of driving while looking at the area and properties for sale to see if it feels like a good fit and could be called home. I’ve fallen in love with a property in the mountains near Brewster. Brewster is a small town, not much to speak of, but still charming in it’s own way. The property is 10 acres of land in the hills, at the top of a long, windy dirt road (which is snowy right now). The view of the surrounding mountains is incredible, and it feels like being on top of the world! The Cascades foothills are off in the distance for as far as the eye can see. It was breathtaking. I didn’t love driving on the snowy dirt road, but I could see us calling that place our own. With power and water already there, we could pull the bus right up and start building our bath house while living in the bus. There seems to be a like-minded community in the neighboring properties. Almost all of the homes are tiny style – smartly built with steep, angled roofs to shed the snow and south facing windows for passive solar.

But I think I loved the property more than Brad, so we will keep that one in our back pockets but continue the search. It’s important that it feel right, to both of us.

For outdoor fun today we drove up to a ski resort that has closed for the season with the intention of skinning and skiing with the whole mountainside mostly to ourselves. Some other skiers said the gate was going to be closed in a couple of hours, so we went up the road to a ski park instead, and skinned up the network of snowy roads. The snow is really thin already. Spring is here, and it’s been so warm. We are going to have to try harder and harder to find enough snow to ski now that spring is here and the snow is all melting.

The ski back to the car was ridiculously slow because the roads weren’t steep – they were designed for cross country – but it was so good being in the mountains breathing in the fresh air. Most people are going stir crazy from lack of social stimulation right now. We, on the other hand, are going stir crazy from lack of contact with snow!

Apocalypse Tour – Day One

Day one of the apocalypse avoidance tour. We made it to Stevens Pass. The RV lot has been emptying, and now we have it almost to ourselves. We couldn’t figure out why it was still so bright out well after 7 pm… then realized it was daylight savings last night. That explains why we slept in so late this morning! We are opting out of night skiing tonight in favor of a movie. I’ll ski tomorrow during my lunch break.

Exercise and Fresh Air

I’m probably being dramatic, but it feels like life is passing me by while I recover from this ankle injury. It’s been five weeks, and I’m ready to get back out there and start having fun again.

Brad found some back country tracks near Mt. Rainier that lead up to these cabins and a yurt. Skiers and snowshoers can warm up there during the day, or you can rent the cabins at night if you want to stay longer. They keep some of the roads groomed for the skiers, which is such a luxury!

We went out for the day to get some exercise and fresh, mountain air. It was exhilarating! I felt fine for the first couple of miles of skinning, then my ankle started swelling and was painful to the point where I could only hobble a couple of inches at a time. I wasn’t sure I would be able to ski back to the car… Despite it being extremely painful, it really was so much fun getting a ski day on a quiet and peaceful road in the mountains.

But now I’ve had a set back because apparently I wasn’t ready for that yet. I just don’t know what I’m going to do with myself. Patience is not my strong suit!

Had to take my foot out of the boot and elevate it for a while. Brad threatened to pack it with snow to bring the swelling down. No thanks!

Broken Ankle

Well, I broke my ankle. I’m slowly coming to terms with how plans for the immediate future will have to change. Brad has been amazing and supportive. He has been exactly where I am right now, in fact he broke his ankle in exactly the same place two years ago. I’m so lucky that he is upbeat and adaptive – he tells me that things aren’t screwed up, they will just change and be different for a while. I’m mostly just disappointed that I won’t be able to ski for at least a couple of months… I see an orthopedist next week, and hopefully the news will be good and we’ll have a good plan for recovery.

Check out the kick ass cardboard splint that ski patrol made for me! All Macgyvered up with tape and everything.

Cheating at Life

We got winter tires on the bus, so now the real adventuring begins! We are staying out the week at Stevens Pass, which amazingly has RV overnight parking with shore power! It’s a luxury not having to scrape snow off the solar panels.

So we’ve been skiing all day, and coming back to the bus for cuddles, naps, and warming up by the fire in the wood stove. The bonus is having yummy stew slow cooking in the instant pot all the while… Then, in the evening we do more night skiing, then cuddle some more and binge watch Netflix on the projector. It feels like we are completely cheating at life.

Green to White

The landscape of our world has turned from green to white as the snow continues to dump in the mountains. We spent yesterday skinning and skiing at Mt. Rainier. It was a physically hard day in mixed conditions, very different from when we went a month ago. But it was an incredible workout, and I’m so happy the ski season is finally here!

Stupid Happy

Words can’t express how stupid happy we are after a day of skiing at Rainier (our first ski of the season)! We’ve been stir crazy since moving to Washington and needed to get out into the mountains. This is why WA is so great! We can ski in October, how cool is that?

Tilly Jane

There is a very fine line between overheating to the point of stripping most of your clothes off, and freezing your buns off… We had an amazing time skinning up to the Tilly Jane A-frame cabin. The snow wasn’t great, mostly frozen over, but that’s life in the backcountry. We didn’t get to summit, conditions were too bad.

Skiing back down with a heavy pack was a new experience for me (we call that Type II fun – not fun in the moment, but super fun in recollection). But near the bottom we came across a perfectly groomed ski run that took us right down to the road. It was such a bonus and we ended the trip on a high!

Avalanche Gulch

Yesterday was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of a day! We skinned up Avalanche Gulch at Mt. Shasta (aptly named), where there was a massive D4 avalanche last weekend. The debris field was spectacular. You can see the incredible force it would have taken to bring down trees in its path, and the snow was as hard as concrete. It’s good to be in awe (with a healthy dose of fear) of these forces of nature.

We mostly had the mountain to ourselves. It was a good day for some backcountry skiing in variable conditions, away from the stress of the world.

Birthday Week

Day two of my birthday weekend at Mt. Hood, we got turned away from Timberline because parking was full. So we spent the whole day backcountry skinning and skiing, which was amazingly more fun (and more of a workout) than the resort would have been. I can’t remember the last time I worked up such an appetite! The only thing missing is the Cuddlebus parked at the trailhead to come home to – with a fire in the wood burner, hot food, and a movie. Soon!

Balance is Everything

Took a day off from the bus to go skiing. We’ve been feeling burnt out a bit and need to remind ourselves why we are building out the bus in the first place. It’s to facilitate our lifestyle of climbing mountains and skiing and being happy in the outdoors. Those are our stress relievers, but we’ve created new stress with the bus and not had that outlet. Even a single day skiing some tough runs was enough to get jump started again. Balance is everything!

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