We made the big trip across the Pacific last week from Sydney to Portland Oregon and went from 29C to 29F – a bit of a shock to the system! I think we have become weather wimps – I have forgotten how to dress for this kind of cold weather.
The trip was not too bad, despite the broken collar bone. Dave played linebacker/forward, making sure that no one could bump me. The airports were the worst – everyone is in such a hurry, walking as fast as they can while they talk on their mobile or send text messages.
We spent a few days in Portland seeing family and have now decamped to the family cabin near the coast. It is always a nice place to de-stress – no TV, no mobile reception, no internet. The temperatures have been very cold, but once we get the wood stove loaded it is warm and cozy inside. It snowed yesterday and again overnight – a relatively rare event for this area as it is close to the ocean. The local deer have appeared, hanging out in the front yard, nuzzling through the snow to try to find something to eat. Fortunately for us they do not appear to like the daffodils that are popping up through the snow. Six deer just walked up the driveway and are standing out in front of the house as though they expect us to come out with cookies and tea!
This morning I discovered another bit of wildlife – as I was collecting kindling from the front porch to start the fire I uncovered a tiny little bat that had hidden itself in the woodpile. He was very still but moved a bit so I think perhaps he was hibernating – or at least sleepy from the cold. He was not more than two inches long. We transferred him to the covered woodshed where we have seen them previously during the warmer weather. He screeched and stretched and unfurled his wings a bit during the transport so hopefully he will be okay in his new digs.
Our trips to the cabin are usually full of hard work. There are always tons of chores to do – wood to chop, blackberries to cut, grass to mow, repairs to make, etc. We usually leave here with many scratches and bruises and lots of sore muscles. This is a completely different trip, for me at least, as I cannot do much yet with the arm. So, we are being forced to relax and make this trip what all trips to the beach should be – relaxing, reading books, listening to the radio – a trip into ‘town’ is the big event for the day. Stop at the coffee shop and head to the local library to use the internet. Dave is not so successful at being still, so he continues to dig around for chores that he can do without my help. I am doing my best to keep him away from the more dangerous chores as I won’t be able to catch him with one arm if he falls off a ladder or something!
I always forget how quiet it is here. Perhaps it is more pronounced to us now after the city noises of our Sydney apartment, but particularly at night here it is so quiet – you feel like you are the only person on earth. We cannot see any other lights from the cabin and with cloud cover it is pitch black. It can be a bit disconcerting at first (particularly if you are reading a murder mystery!), but it is quite nice once you get used to it. I think it appeals to the hermit in me – Dave would much prefer to be somewhere within walking distance from the coffee shop.
I saw the orthopedic surgeon before we left Sydney and things seemed to be going well. He thought I should be fine to ride by April but it would be a bit longer before I could carry a heavy pack. So we plan to hang out with family in the US until the end of March (extending the trip by about a month) and then head back to Sydney. After another checkup with the doctor, assuming all is well we will start riding from Sydney in early April. We hope to work in the hike along the Bibbulmun Track when we have made our way to Perth on the bikes. So, for now the focus is to get the arm working with daily exercises and try to keep some fitness by taking walks. Though, that takes a bit of convincing when it is 29F and snowy outside….