Monday, October 30, 2023

The Day After

 When you are having the 28th of October and you are living in the Maritimes of Canada, you won't expect to have summer temps. Instead you would have night temps near freezing and single digits C as day highs.

But October 28 was indeed a summer day at 23C with warm southerly winds and a general appearance as any good day in August.

But, naturally, it was the last day of such summer weather.

As we woke up the next day, temps had dropped to where they would usually be this time of the year. A cold northern wind blew across the island and made me choose my new winter jacket, before we headed out for a morning walk with Dixie. The beach was completely empty and due to the full moon, with the high water marks almost to the top of the sandy area. However, I discovered deer tracks. What is the reason for deer seeking to the beach? The seaweeds? Or do they lick the salt of the rocks? I don't know, but the tracks were the only sign of life that morning. Well, now I forgot the Cormorants which had placed themselves on top of the poles of the herring weir, some of them spreading their wings to dry the feathers.

Dixie was sniffing up the beach treasures, finding a couple of empty plastic bottles which she, due to her habits, carried along until a suitable spot for burying them in the sand was found. 

When we turned around I was facing the northern breeze and had to zip up my jacket. October had almost come to an end and in just a few days we would be rolling down I-95 towards warmer areas.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Ding-Dong Telephone!

For those of us who haven't been born into the digital age, we may experience the digital revolution as confusing, hard to understand and when problems occur, we can easily feel lost and without help. We have seen it in our direct neighbourhood, how seniors are struggling to understand their smart phones (that is if they have one). 

And even though we personally don't feel as seniors (but, of course,we are)  we are experiencing problems with our computers and phones. 

A good example may be Bea's Motorola phone. One morning she restarted her phone and it wouldn't connect to the internet, while the phone part was still working. After trying and retrying without avail, she jumped in the car and drove 60miles to the telecommunication store where I had bought her the phone about 18 months ago.

When she got back she had spent USD250 on a new phone but was told she could return it within 2 weeks.

Meanwhile the company would attempt to find out why the internet problem existed.

One evening a phone rep called and told us they had found the problem and she should return to the store to let them fix it.

Today was that day. The technician installed the SIM card into her old phone, and it didn't work. Finally he called for backup customer service. There he was connected to the wrong department 4 times. After finally getting the right person on the phone he tried another way, restarted the phone but nothing would re-establish the internet connection.

Then he came up with the last resort: A factory reset, which wipes out all of the clients data.

After spending 1hr. in the store, this last resort solution got the internet working again. He then returned the $250, Bea had paid earlier.

Of course, we could have done a factory reset ourselves, but it is the knowledge about how to solve problems in the digital world we are missing.

Interestingly, the lasting failure of connecting to the internet has now happened 3 times. 2 of these phones were mine, the last one still under warranty.  They gave me a new phone. Now, I wonder what a factory reset would have done.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Enjoying The Last Days On The Island

It is always the same before we are hitting the long, long highway to the south: Our thoughts are circling around the plethora of "must-dos" and "don't forgets", and both of us have different tasks through the days prior to departure. And today I tackled what always is one of the biggest tasks, which is removing the 4 rows of passenger seats from our 1t. Chev van and replace these with a huge box where we are gonna store all the weighty items without which we cannot go.

But before I got to that I had a rather unusual thing to tend to. Our terrible RV-couch was to be replaced with my very own couch variety - built from scratch. 

The couch which came with the trailer was a dysfunctional heavy monster which usually started hopping through the trailer when going down the road. Not only is the new couch much lighter but also more comfortable and it can be made into a bed bigger than what the old one was.

This summer we have been blessed with a seemingly never ending flood of tomatoes from our greenhouse. 

And today the last fruits were harvested - another 5lbs. Many of them still green, but they will ripen inside. Last night we had frost on the island and that usually spells the end of garden harvests, mind you our busy tomato plants still had blossoms! Over the summer months we have supplied neighbours and friends with both tomatoes and cucumbers. 

Dixie, I am sure, has long since noticed our hectic activities, running back and forth like some scared rabbits. (oh boy, they did that last year too)

Our van has been checked out and got a new alternator, new brake pads (important) and our gear shifter had gotten a new linkage connecting it to the transmission.

In a few days we are taking indoor plants to a friend who is gonna care for them while we are gone. 

Our friends, (all seniors) are all sad to see us go again. The winter can be lonely...

The weeks prior to October 22 had still been very busy with cruise ships showing up in Eastport, ME (1 mile across the bay from us) and sending passengers into our sightseeing tours. 

But October 21 was the last day the Roosevelt Park was open and the last cruise ships will have to find entertainment for their guests in Eastport.

Waiting for the guests

Besides of our travel preparations, it is now time to take the dog and wander along lonely beaches and trails to enjoy the beautiful fall colours. We really like the weeks of fall when everything seems to enter a period of quiet time. Of course, temperatures mirror the approaching cold time of the year, but that's why we have warm clothes to wear, and Dixie enjoys the cool weather and has recently shown much more gusto during our walks.

Now, I am finding myself checking temperatures in places along our travel route and at our destination in California.

And they are in a pleasant range, which makes me continue counting the days.....

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Добро пожаловать в Киргистан

 Whoa...what is that? A headline in Russian?


No, we haven't abandoned our plans to travel to California this winter. But it doesn't hurt to get into top travel mood, and YouTube has helped me a lot that way.

If you click on the link down below you might also get bitten of the travel virus. It is part of a travel series about a very nice sympathetic young German couple (May-Brit and Niklas) 

who suffer of a serious case of travel virus. They simply left Germany in a 57-year old Mercedes truck, converted into a beautiful motor home and traveled through central Asia as far as Mongolia. Their videos, which are published once every week, are simply beautifully done with great photography and their narrative. Don't mind the German language, you will still be able to enjoy their travels. The latest link lets you join the couple when they travel through Kirgizstan, a former Soviet Republic.

What was most surprising for me, who has never been in Asia, was the modern infrastructure the main cities are showing. Super nice paved highways, futuristic high rises besides of beautiful historic architecture. Super markets which at least are at the same standard as in Central Europe and North America, and last but not least very friendly people. Their journey must be an inspiration to everyone who wants to see the world.

Not the Mall Of America but one of the biggest malls in Central Asia in Bishkek, Kirgizstan

The Happy Couple in their Mercedes motor home


"The Rig"

And here the latest video:

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Summer Is Officially Over And I Have The Hitch-Itch!

After the rainiest and foggiest summer in a long time, we are officially in the fall season.

The days are now shorter, the evenings longer. And I have been watching a couple of travel documentary series. Young people traveling through Central Asia with an old revived Mercedes truck, while other young couples are traversing the Andes Mountains in Peru with a Land Rover.

Watching stuff like that gets me into dangerous terrain. I am catching myself wanting to journey into uncharted areas of this globe. Actually, when I was young, those plans and ideas had taken up a front seat in my thinking. And it has led me leaving Germany behind for ever moving to Norway, and later to Canada. I should be all content now having seen so much and still doing so. But holy cow, the realisation that I got old over all of this is hurting, when the longing for the far-away horizon is still there living a hopeful life for an exciting future.

And then I look outside, and there is our RV, just waiting to get hitched onto the tow vehicle and hitting the highway. 

As you may recall, we are renting out our trailer through Air-BnB, and this summer's rental season broke all previous records. With the last guest leaving tomorrow, my excitement getting everything ready for a start into a warm winter season way down south is boundless.

October is just starting out and with that I am still facing the last  2-3 weeks of business pressing on. 

Once we reach November, I am going into overdrive. So many things must be done, and this time we will avoid to overload the trailer. For the first time, we will be traveling with a minimum of water in the holding tank. Instead, we will carry a few 5-gal. water containers in the van. Once we need the water, we will use a small battery-operated pump to transfer 5 gal of water into the trailer. And our wastewater holding tanks will be emptied as often as possible.

So, wait and see what's going to happen as we are gearing up for this winter adventure.