More than half way

What a fun week.

The highlight of the week was probably that the status of getting my plane back in the air is more than half way there! It’s going together nicely and many of the structural upgrades are going to make a huge difference. There was a lot bent, twisted, and cracked. I have some new instruments, the new landing gear goes on soon, and I have bargained with Ray to buy his super cool 26-er tires for Charlie Mike.

Tires for CM – Sweet!!

I skied, ran, mountain biked, and even drove to Spokane this week. I saw a lot of deer, a track that Jerry says is probably a bob cat, and I survived some of the coldest weather yet. Twelve degrees is a bit outside of my comfort zone. Thank goodness for my big down jacket!!

Bob Cat?

Next week I’m heading to Seattle to get some papers out of my basement. I hope to ski on my way home. It’s a good opportunity to unload some things I brought that I should have left and to pick up some stuff I forgot. Still in the shake down mode for sure. Then, I’m off to Vegas! More on that next week!

“The Hill We Climb”

Amanda Gorman

When day comes we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade? The loss we carry, a sea we must wade. We’ve braved the belly of the beast, we’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace and the norms and notions of what just is, isn’t always justice. And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it, somehow we do it, somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished.

We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president only to find herself reciting for one. And, yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect, we are striving to forge a union with purpose, to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.

So we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another, we seek harm to none and harmony for all.

Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true: that even as we grieved, we grew, even as we hurt, we hoped, that even as we tired, we tried, that we’ll forever be tied together victorious, not because we will never again know defeat but because we will never again sow division.

Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree and no one should make them afraid. If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in in all of the bridges we’ve made.

That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb if only we dare it because being American is more than a pride we inherit, it’s the past we step into and how we repair it. We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it. That would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy, and this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can periodically be delayed, but it can never be permanently defeated.

In this truth, in this faith, we trust, for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us, this is the era of just redemption we feared in its inception we did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour but within it we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves, so while once we asked how can we possibly prevail over catastrophe, now we assert how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us.

We will not march back to what was but move to what shall be, a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free, we will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation, our blunders become their burden. But one thing is certain: if we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.

So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left, with every breath from my bronze, pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one, we will rise from the golden hills of the West, we will rise from the windswept Northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution, we will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the Midwestern states, we will rise from the sunbaked South, we will rebuild, reconcile, and recover in every known nook of our nation in every corner called our country our people diverse and beautiful will emerge battered and beautiful, when the day comes we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid, the new dawn blooms as we free it, for there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.

Rising above
The light shines through

Owls, and Eagles and Rivers, Oh My!

What a fun day today! I wandered my way from Chewelah to Colville to Kettle Falls (SalishShonitkwu, meaning “roaring or noisy waters”, browsing through thrift stores along my way.

Where are the falls? Well, the history is very interesting and very sad and you can read about that here. The falls are long gone, buried under water created when Grand Coulee Dam was built.

My search was for a hot pad and some hand weights. Anyone who has tried to buy hand weights knows that they are extremely scarce because of Covid. I didn’t want to spend much, and only need them for a short time, so I thought the more “rustic” the thrift store, the better my chances.

I first stopped at Colville Goodwill. I found a lovely chartruse 100% suede leather jacket I REALLY wanted to buy for $12.99 – but resisted! There were no hand weights. I forgot about the hot pad.

Next, instead of going back south, I continued North to Kettle Falls. On the edge of town was a small thrift store called “Thrift Ministry N Mind”. There were lots of books on religion and a pink hotpad–for .29! I only had a $20 dollar bill, so I went ut to the car to find some change and when I walked back in, (without any change), I saw two handweights just inside the door! Perfect. Cost on the hand weights? $1.99! Holy cow! Success on both fronts.

From there, I thought I would try to find a trail to run, so I went on to Kettle Falls State Park. It is right on the Columbia River or Lake Roosevelt for this stretch. Scott and I camped in this campground once in the Westie. I think we were on our way to Red Mountain. There were mostly pickups with boat trailers in the parking lot. Apparently folks were out fishing for Trout.

I found a really nice trail that wound through the park. Along my way, I had birds watching over me. First was an adorable Owl.

Not far from the owl was a larger, more threatening bird. I can’t help but wonder if the Eagle knew about the owl.

The trail emptied out into a huge “meadow” called Colville Flats on the map at the Ranger Station.

Maybe the river fills this is in the summer. This is where I turned around. Soon after, I spotted this huge immature Eagle. Must be lots of good food for them here.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

A Job While Retired?

Yes, I officially left the workforce on Jan 1, 2021. I re-joined on Jan 14, 2021. That was a very short retirement! My new job is helping out Ray – the guy overseeing the work on my airplane. His business is booming and he has a million small pieces of paper, with illegible notes scribbled on them, to keep track of what comes next. It’s no longer working….so we are setting up some systems. Poor Ray. This is painstaking for him. So many details! So many small pieces of paper! So much to fill in.

Today, we added up real numbers to determine his profit margin on his most popular products. The relief on his face when I told him the numbers made the past two days of data entry, price searching and list making all worth while.

The most important part of this new “job” is that it’s super flexible. When I was delayed finding a trailhead today, I just texted him and told him I would be about an hour and a half delayed. His reponse was the best “Ok, not much chance of you getting fired!”. Hilarious – and the only way to work, while retired.

I was able to find a trail head, which is not that easy in this area. I trail ran (and walked) up Quartizite Mountain. Straight up for a mile, then a bit easier for another half mile. I parked about a half mile or so from the trailhead to avoid the solid ice on the roadway and that gave me a bit more mileage. Amazing views from the top. I need to figure out how to get up some of the other peaks near by. A peak a day? So far I am 2/2.

Living in a trailer in 18 degrees

This morning when I woke up it was 18 degrees outside. I was warm and cozy in the trailer. A little worried about everything freezing……but I think all is fine.

I was questioning my sanity in brining so much bedding, but this morning it all made perfect sense! I have an electric blanket, then a feather bed, next two sheets and on top of those, two down comforters. It’s rather heavenly, and rather pink!

I was determined to ski up the 49 Degrees North ski area today after being shut out yesterday. When I arrived in the parking lot it was 21 degrees. My Denali down parka was pretty hard to remove when it came time to head up.

The skin up was beautiful, though the “snow” was ice. I had to boot up the last section because it was so icy I kept falling, and of course my ski crampons were in the car……

The top was FAB!

Nice place to hang out at the top of the highest chair lift
The view East

The ride down was slow and on a cat track. That’s how bad the snow is up there. They need lots of new before I will go back, but what a great start to my Thursday!!

Now I am off to my new part-time job…..more about that tomorrow.

The drive back

Yesterday, I left Winthrop and drove back to the trailer. It was so fun to ski and hang out with Lynn and Eric in their fabulous home on the river.

The drive was so fun! I decided to take a “low” route so that I was not driving in snow for four hours. This took me over Loup Loup (not low), through rolling wheat fields to Grand Coulee Dam.

Grand Coulee Dam

I received a call from my bank, and had to do some address change work that was not going well, so I stopped by the Electric City Airport to use their wifi. I love that place. Scott and I started camping there shortly after 243CM was flying, so around 2001. They now have an outhouse down by the campsite and they are wiring the pilots lounge with fiber. That area is growing! Houses have sprung up everywhere. It’s no longer a secret…..

Electric City runway and taxi-in campsite (the big tree is where you camp)

It was almost warm there (40 degrees) with no snow on the ground. Seemed like a great time to go for a trail run. At the GC Dam visitor overlook, there was a notice about a trail I had not run. So, I thought I should go there.

Hike to old homestead

It was beautiful! Running along an old road for awhile, then onto a trail through a swampish area, finally coming out to a big meadow with a house, and several outbuildings. Along the way you run under the high walls of coulees formed over the eons. It’s spectacular!

Steamboat Rock to the West

Back on the road, I went through Wilbur and remembered when Scott and I took Bob and Janet (his folks) there. I passed the Wilbur Motel where we stayed. I then meandered my way past the rolling wheat fields, The Columbia River, Lake Roosevelt, and then over a VERY foggy pass.

That four hour drive, per Google, took me about eight hours. LOL. Lot’s of stops, a run, and slow driving in the fog. I am surprised at how many people are moving to this side of the state. The times, they are a changin.

Ski, ski and more ski

I am still in Winthrop skiing every day. The weather has ranged from 20’s to mid 30’s and the snow is good. I am a pretty terrible skate skier, but still have put in some miles. I need serious lessons…..

Skating for 24K on this day. Whew!

Heading up.
So fun to hang out with Lynn!

Heading back to the trailer tomorrow. Will be working on the plane, getting it back in the air. Can’t wait to fly it again.

Skate Ski

Today, while Lynn waited for her contractor to show up (it’s 4pm and no word yet), I went for an 8 mile skate ski.

Only 4 other cars in the parking lot, and the temperature 19 degrees. Perfect. The cord-d-roy grooming, pristine. The sound of my skis against the grain convinced me I was cruising. The air is clean, clear and crisp. The sky is peaking out blue. I love retirement!

I did the easy trails, which were not that easy for me. It’s been a long time since I was last on skate skis and not running for several months has really put my cardio into the “needs improvement” category.

Still, I did 8 miles and stopped wanting more. I was hugry, it was after mid-day, and I headed back to Lynn’s to grab a bite. I was hoping she would want to go out again, but she is still waiting for Brad the contractor. I sure hope he shows up. Tomorrow we are going to downhill at Loup Loup. No more waiting for Brad.


Made it to Winthrop to ski with my friend Lynn. There is a lot of snow here! I left the trailer parked, and drove Hwy 20 over several passes to reach this ski haven.

We did a quick run up “Owl”, a small peak not too far from town, on backcountry skis. The snow was wet, heavy and deep. Luckily turns were not too difficult. We only did one run due to the conditions. A good warm up for the rest of the week.

Upon return to Lynn’s house, while she was off doing some contractor stuff, I jumped into the hot tub with my book. She lives along the Methow river. While I was in the tub, I saw a hawk fly through the trees and an eagle was calling out warnings. A rather glorious top off to the day.

The plan for the rest of the week is to remain on skis as much as possible. Skate, classic, backcountry and downhill. I sure get why people live here.


Day two started with a full blue sky and not a cloud! Oh how the warmth of that sunshine fills my soul! I was heading East and then North with a windshield full of that dazzling, round, yellow orb!

I first checked out the natural history site in the park, which talks about the ice age dam that burst eons ago in Montana, carving the special natural features of the potholes area. It’s a phenominal landscape, well preserved by the Columbia Wildlife Refuge.

I found a place along the dam to pull over, and trails going into the refuge. I put on my running shoes and headed out to Soda Lake. There were a few fishers or hunters driving through, but mainly it was just me and a few birds. So beautiful. So refreshing. I feel like I can breathe.

Tomorrow, I am off to Winthrop to ski with my friend Lynn. I am not taking the trailer, will stay with her at her new home. My plan is to ski hard, and spend lots of time in her glorious hot tub on the river.