wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Surf’s Up

After the blizzards of the last few days, the sun came out for a few minutes, just long enough to bring the whole city out to the grocery stores and create desperate parking lot jostling and unprecedented lineups at the tills.

That all changed overnight when the wind switched direction and brought strong winds (littering our yard with branches large and small) and plenty of rain to help dissolve the snow.

Notice the larger branch that came down next to the woodshed and the smaller bits all over the rest of the ground.

I looked out at the water this morning. Our usually sheltered bay is a wee bit rough today, but … “Surf’s up!”

I’ll take a wet and windy day any time over the freezing snow blizzards we’ve had.


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Skywatcher

I’m becoming a skywatcher. Who would have thought mid-winter clouds could be so pink without a real sunrise? The cloud was a blanket over the hills. The cold snow under the blanket was turning blue.

What struck me was the contrast between the pink cloud and the cool blue snow.

The picture is not touched up. These are the weird colours of the morning sky. That’s why I ran for my camera.

The day turned stormy with a complete blanket of gray clouds scooting past only to be followed by more of the same. High southeast winds did nothing to blow the clouds away and reveal blue sky. Clouds just kept coming. I was surprised the winds were not from the north, so icy were they.

It was a weird day, weatherwise.

Winds SE 52 km (32 mph), gusts of 67 km (42 mph) later in the day.


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Changing Skies

A southeast system of wind and rain at the lower levels and snow at higher elevations is moving up the coast and then inland. The owners of ski hills are ecstatic.

Just look at the turmoil in the sky. The uppermost clouds are dropping moisture fromĀ  those sweeping misty fingers.

A streak of heavy cloud sits like a skinny blanket, trying to decide whether to go up or down or continue north like a long train along the middle of the hillside.

Right in the middle of the picture, just above the level of the bay water, a low snaking cloud is following the Trent River to its mouth.

 

After a few minutes I go outside to take another picture as the clouds darken, and the hillside falls into shadow.

The layers of clouds have begun to separate and the lower ones seem to be churning in confusion. Where to go next?

Right now I’m happy to have the rain at sea level and the snow up higher where the skiers can enjoy it. If it keeps on raining, ask me in a week how I feel about it then.

And if it’s a rainy day, it’s perfect for reading a good book. I’ve written five of them for you. Just check out my web page at www.anneli-purchase.com to find out more about them. They make perfect Christmas gifts.


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Lookout Pass

Still dodging ice clumps that may or may not have rock-like centers, we are nevertheless, making progress in leaving the snow behind.

We pass the small town of St. Regis, near our Exit 16 refuge, where we will stay the night again.

Then another climb awaits us up into the hills to the Montana/Idaho border at Exit 0, Lookout Pass. The good thing about this pass is that it is about 2000 feet lower than that last one we went through, and less likely to be snowed in.

By the way, notice that “Lookout” is spelled as one word, as in “viewpoint.” I had started to think of it as two words (look out) like “watch out,” but its elevation is not nearly as high as MacDonald Pass so I must get this two-word definition out of my head. It’s just a pass with a gorgeous view from the top. The photo below is from 2015 (no snow). We didn’t stop to photograph the view this year.

Sure enough, the roads are fairly clear, in spite of snow hanging onto the trees right down to the level of the road.

Once we were over that hump, the rest of the crossing of the Idaho panhandle brought us ever closer to fall weather as we knew it.

We felt as if we were truly getting closer to home. Our next stay would be in Omak, Washington. I want to call it “Oboy!” instead of Omak because of the mini dramas that happened to us there. I’ll tell you all about it soon.


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Winter’s Frosty Breath

It’s only October, but this farm scene would make a perfect Christmas card.

The shrubs in the distance have a frosting on them that is making the little ground squirrels living under them shiver.

Here is plenty of fuel to keep someone warm – someone far away, wherever this train is going.

The clumps of sagebrush and other grasses have been coated by winter’s frosty breath, giving them a designer look.

Did you ever mix up powdered laundry soap and water with an egg-beater and then dab the “snow” you made onto your Christmas tree? Then the decorations would be hung once the soapy snow had dried. These trees reminded me of doing that as a child. (I apologize for mentioning Christmas so early.)

The wintery air brings out the elves

They wait for dark or fog

So they can better hide themselves

Behind a nearby log.

The head elf orders laundry soap

The powdered kind is best

They spit in it and then they hope

That this will pass the test.

The soapy snow must be so thick

That it won’t dribble down

It must be right so it will stick

And give the tree its gown.

With sagey brush, like tiny brooms

They paint each branch with snow

The night is short, a new day looms

And all the elves must go.

If I’d been passing by last night

I’m sure I would have seen

But I’d have given them a fright

And I can’t be that mean.

And so I’ll just admire their trees

That look so pure and white

The elves are happy when they please

And know they’ve done it right.


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A Cool Trip – Part 4

The snow kept coming sideways and we talked about cutting our day’s drive short. We had planned to go as far as Fort Benton where a friendly RV park always awaited us, but Fort Benton was down a big hill along the banks of the Missouri, and we had seen pictures of how the town had fared in the September snowfall a week earlier. Did we want to be trapped in this valley town with snow covering the steep roads in and out of town? For that matter, could we even make it that far if we wanted to?

We had to get off the road or end up in a lonely prairie ditch. But where to go in Great Falls?

I remembered a Wal-Mart across from the town’s famous smelter and refinery, and that’s where we pulled in.

Wal-Mart Customer Service told us we were welcome to stay for three days. They had all the groceries we might need, a water supply, and a relatively safe place for us to stay. Three other rigs were already parked there and would remain there until after we left.

Wal-Mart even had Wi-Fi but it didn’t reach out to the parking lot.

Generally I prefer to be in an RV park or a place like Exit 16’s park, since public parking lots can be a bit risky if you’re camping overnight alone, but we had no choice by this time and were thankful for the relatively safe haven as the snow began to cover us up.

It would have been foolish to continue traveling, as the many accidents that day proved.

However, we were quite frozen in this place with -17degrees Celcius, feels like -23 (1 degree Fahrenheit, feels like -9F). In the morning, the windows had about a quarter of an inch of frost on them (on the INSIDE!), and the holding tank was frozen at the outlet, as we found out when we tried the next sani-dump we came to. We also tried to add water to our potable water tank – to no avail. The pipes leading to the tank were frozen.

We had a furnace, but running it all night might run our battery down and as luck would have it, the trailer battery was very low in the morning. The Captain ran the Honda generator and brought it back up. Everything was a struggle, and we were getting worn down.

The second night, some drug-crazed kids did a kick boxing display near our rig on the parking lot (yes, in that very cold temperature)! The driver even kicked the lid of his own car’s trunk. (The Captain said, IF it’s even their own car.) Then they tore out of the parking lot at 90 miles an hour.

After two nights there, if we continued north and then east as we had planned, we would be driving into more blizzard and heavy fog in extremely cold temperatures. We were only one long day’s drive from our destination, but there didn’t seem to be any point in going on, even if we could have done that safely. But could we safely go back?