Saturday, September 14, 2013

Fastest 5K of the year

This year has been a real challenge for me. March 14 was the beginning of what turned out to be quite a decline in my running. That was the day I slipped while getting out of a bath tub and broke three ribs. It was 3 weeks before I was able attempt a run. I was just getting back in condition and on April 26 I had to stop running due to severe bronchitis. Once again, I missed a significant number of days of running.

Once I got over the bronchitis, it just seemed like I had lost all motivation to train. I was in poor racing condition and I really was not motivated to attempt a come back. My ribs still hurt and I just did not want to work hard at running.

That was my mental and physical state when we left home on June 20 with a plan to be on the road with our travel trailer for 2-3 months. It has been my experience that it is very difficult to train while on the road. That is when I made the decision to just enjoy the trip and run when I could. I did have a goal of getting back a solid mileage base. I accomplished that and along the way I did a 5K and a 10K race. Both were much slower than my usual times, but I just enjoyed the races and figured when I got home I would get serious.

After 10 weeks on the road, we arrived back in Hattiesburg on August 31, my first race was a 5K on Labor Day. My only goal was to not walk. I was successful, except I was still very disappointed with the 9:51 pace. I tried not to be too down and I continued to work my training plan. This typically consists of 22-29 miles a week, with speed on Tuesday and either a long run or a race on Saturday. Last week I did a 6 mile run so that is my starting point for the long run and I will attempt to work up to an 8 miler so that I can race 10Ks.

Today I raced a 5K with a goal of being under 30 minutes. I thought I might be able to get under 29, but that did not happen. My time was 29:07 which is a 9:22 pace. I am OK with that and I will continue to work my plan. Over the course of the next 4-6 weeks, I'm not sure when I will be racing. I have to go to Atlanta for a week and I'm having a hard time figuring out when to race and when to do the long runs. I'll think more about it for a few days before I come up with a plan of action.

In the meantime, I feel good and I will just keep on taking those baby steps as I get back in racing condition. As I told someone today, a couple of weeks ago I was in 1.5 mile race condition and today I felt like I was good for 2.25 so I am making progress.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Toe injury did not stop me

Last Friday I did a yoga class which was quite challenging. Toward the end, I was not paying attention and when moving from one pose/position to another, I did not lift my foot enough and when stepping back, I drug my foot. This resulted in the nail on the second toe of the left foot being pulled back from the toe bed. It hurt like Hell! I knew right away that it would be quite sore in the coming days. Sure enough, by evening it was throbbing with pain.

If you have been reading this blog, you know that I am really trying to get back into actually training and my plan called for a 6 mile run on Saturday. I figured I'd just get up early, probably have to drain any fluid from the swollen/painful area, and go ahead and give the run a try. When I awoke on Saturday, I was surprised that it was not as swollen and painful as I had anticipated. There was no fluid to drain. I headed to the Trace for my run. Although I had some discomfort, the only pain I experienced was when I walked a bit at the turn around and when I stopped for water. Running did not really hurt and I did the 6 miles at a 10:53 pace.

So far, the rest of the week as been good. On Monday, I got up early and ran 4 miles @ 10:43 before going to a yoga/Pilates class. Tuesday is usually a speed day and since I am trying to get back to the basics, I did what I call "introduction to speed" which involves doing 4 x 100, 3 x 200, 2 x 300 and 1 x 400 at 5K race pace or faster. I did them at just over a 9 minute pace with equal distance jog recovery.

One of the things that I really like about living in Timberton is that I can easily walk/run to the Family Y. From my front door, if I take the direct route, it is 3/4 of a mile. If I want to make it 3.5 miles or longer, there are all kinds of things that I can do to add distance. What I did was to go down Timberton and then left on Bonhome and then left into Tatum Park. I ran for 3 miles at 10:25 pace and walked on to the Y where I did my weights and then walked home.

Today will be a Pilates class, followed by 2 miles at an easy pace on the treadmill. Tomorrow, I will do a yoga class and on Saturday I will do a 5K race. My goal for the Labor Day 5K was not to walk. My goal for this one will be to get under 30 minutes, with a more lofty goal of being under 29 minutes.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Making Progress

On Tuesday I rededicated myself to my effort to get back into racing condition. For this to happen, I need to lose a few pounds and get back to a training plan and so far I am doing OK. It always amazes me how quickly my weight can go up and how slowly it comes down. Oh well, I am happy for any loss and will try not to complain about he slowness.

Back on August 22 my weight was 127.78. Then, the wheels came off. For a couple of days, we visited a friend who is a very good cook. Then, I had some other social eating challenges. By that I mean that we attended a couple of parties where there was a wonderful variety of very tasty foods. 

Those of you who have known me for any length of time know how much I love Blue Bell ice cream. I don't often buy it because if it is in the house, I will eat huge servings until it is gone. Monday evening I knew that I would be starting my "improved fitness effort" the next day. So, I figured I would go ahead and get it out of my system and have an ice cream fix so that I would not feel deprived as I entered my effort. I ate until I nearly made myself sick, but on Tuesday I was ready for the battle of the bulge and my return to training.

When I am involved in such an effort, I have to weigh each morning and keep track of my trend weight---a formula that involves smoothing of the weight curve instead of worrying about each day's weight. On Tuesday the trend was 130.25. Today I am at 129.78 so I am making progress.

I feel good about my exercise program. In addition to running the past four days, I have also done 2 Pilates and 1 yoga class, as well as two weight lifting sessions. I am getting back into the routine.

I am also wearing a pedometer and trying to keep my steps above 15,000 per day. Today, since I'm not going to run, will be hard to get that number.

Tomorrow will be a 6 mile run. I am actually looking forward to that!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My Return to Training/Racing

The 10 week road trip is over and now it is time for me to return to training/running. If you read my recent entries, you know that I continued to run while on the trip. I also was very good about posting details of our trip, but there came a point when I was having so much fun that it became a chore to take the time to write an entry. Another issue was that we often did not have internet service or electricity so I just kinda gave up on the blog.

Now I am home and am getting back my discipline for training. Before I start the specifics of my plan. I need to give you a bit of background. I'll try to be brief, but I think this is needed s
o that you will understand how important running and competing is to me.

Back in 1969, I was a heavy smoker, heavy drinker with a heavy body. I had always been very athletic, but with the birth of our daughter, I was not as active and I just let myself go. The smoking and drinking really did not concern me as much as the fact that I was about 20 pounds overweight. Hollie (my husband) was a runner and he suggested that I try running as a way to lose weight. I went to a track and ran/walked a mile in 12:45. I was so proud---until I told him my time and he said, "I could walk faster than that."

I was pissed! So, I started going to the track every day and I would sprint as hard as I could and then walk until I could sprint again. I timed every workout. I kept doing that until I could run a mile continuously and then I worked on adding another and then another mile. I did that for several months until I got to where I could run 3 x 1 mile. At that point, I entered my first race---a one mile turkey trot. I was the only female and I won a turkey. I was hooked. The rest of the story is that I have been running and competing since then---nearly 45 years.

I like to tell people that back in my "previous life" meaning when I was much younger, I was quite fast with PRs of 19:52 for the 5K, around 42 for the 10K and 3:20 for the marathon. I trained and raced very hard and after all these years I still enjoy running and racing. I have had my share of injuries, mostly hamstring/piriformis which do sometimes limit my ability to train. As I have aged, I have had to make modification to my training, but I still love competing.

That takes me up to my current return to running/racing. For many reasons, I am not in very good condition. Early this year, I slipped in my daughter's bathtub and fractured 3 ribs. A couple of weeks later, I had severe bronchitis. Just as I was getting back into training, we went on this 10 week/12,000 mile road trip with our travel trailer. It was very nearly impossible to train, so I eventually reached a point where I decided to just enjoy the trip, run when I where I could and get back with my progam when I returned to Hattiesburg.

We got home on Saturday, August 31. knew I was not in race condition, but I went ahead and entered and ran the Labor Your Legs 5K on September 2. My goal was not to walk. I achieved that, but I was very, very slow. That got my attention and made me evaluate my current lifestyle. I am vowing to make some changes which I hope will result in my regaining my speed and being competitive. Mostly, I will be competing with myself. I have reached the age where many of my competition have either quit racing or passed away. I can usually win my AG just by showing up, but that is not good enough. I want to strive to be the best runner possible and that means I have to make some changes.

I don't want to share all the details of my plan. Those will come out as I make this journey. I have no specific goals except to run faster and longer. Some steps in doing that involve losing weight, increasing daily activity level, lifting weights, stretching, and doing Pilates and yoga.

I will try to post each day, but that will probably not always be possible. I would like to ask for your comments and feedback. That makes me accountable and it feels good to know that someone is reading what I am writing.

Here's my summary from the start:

9/2 - Labor Your Legs 5K @ 9:51 pace
9/3 - Pilates class, 3.5 mile Fartlek on treadmill @ 11:58 pace, weights & stretch
9/4 - 5 miles @ 11:14 pace on Longleaf Trace and then I stopped at the Y to do hamstring/piriformis rehab/preventive weights and stretches

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Hiawatha Trail

August 4 - Hiawatha Trail

Sunday was the big day! We finally did the Route of the Hiawatha that is a nearly 15 mile “rails to trails” consisting of a gravel surface starting in Montana and ending in Idaho. The beginning elevation is over 4000 feet and the first thing you do is go through a tunnel that is 1.7 miles long. Since we had previously experienced that tunnel, we decided to start at a point just past it which made our trek about 12.6 miles. We had never actually done the entire trail so this time we wanted to do the parts that we had not done before.

The first time we did the trail, we were both on bikes. It was on Memorial Day (opening day) about 8 years ago and the temperature was 34 degrees with sleet. We both had lights on our bikes (the tunnels are not lighted), but the lights were barely adequate. As soon as we entered that first dark, wet tunnel, I started having a panic attack. Not only was my light not good, but my glasses fogged up and with not being able to see, combined with water dripping all around us, I just about lost it. As soon as we made it out to that 1.7 mile tube of darkness and Hollie saw my mental condition, he came up with a plan. We would ride slowly, with him in front and my light would focus on the reflective strip of his jacket. That worked fine---until he disappeared. I just kept going and when we got out of the tunnel, he eventually arrived. He had crashed. He was dirty, but not hurt. So, that was our first experience. We then continued down the trail for a total of 7 miles where we then took a shuttle bus back to the lower end of that 1.7 mile tunnel. We were lucky that there was a large group of riders with very good lights and they got in front of us and we made it back to the top without me having another panic attack.

A couple of years later, we were in the area and I wanted to do that tunnel again, just to prove to myself that I could. Our experience was nearly as bad, just not the same. Our plan was that I would walk that first tunnel and Hollie would drive to the next trailhead and I would run/walk down about 3-4 miles and then back up to the trailhead to meet him. Everything was going fine until I got to the trailhead where he was supposed to meet me and he was nowhere in sight. I waited and waited, not knowing what to do. I did not have my cell phone with me and we probably would have not had a signal, so I just waited. After awhile, I concluded that I just needed to wait until he showed up. There was an empty shuttle bus parked at the trailhead and I got in it to stay out of the cold and sleet. Eventually, he came walking through the tunnel. He then told me that when he had tried to drive to the trailhead, the road was blocked by a wall of snow so he had driven back up to the starting point and came walking down to find me. We then walked back through the tunnel to get to the truck. On the trail that day, we were the only peole out there.

This year’s experience was relatively uneventful. On the previous two visits, we had done that first tunnel a total of 4 times, so we figured we didn’t need to do it again, but we did want to cover the remaining 12.6 miles. Neither of us have been training for such a long run/walk, but we considered ourselves to be in good enough condition to make the distance. We did just that, with me walking and running and Hollie walking. I would run until I got to a tunnel or trestle and then I would wait for Hollie and walk some with him. I ended up running a little over 7 miles. The highlight of the trek was when we were on the highest/longest trestle (230 ft high and 850 ft long) I looked down and spotted a deer and her fawn grazing near the creek below us.

There was one strange thing that happened while we were on the trail. One of the trail monitors stopped us and wanted to know why we were not wearing helmets. I just laughed and said because we are not riding a bike. He then told us that the US Forest Service requires that everyone who uses the trail has to wear a helmet and we then had to sign a waiver. Can you imagine how funny I would have looked running down the trail, wearing a helmet? I guess this is just another case of a silly government regulation.

Once we got to the bottom, I discovered that I had lost one of our shuttle passes for the bus that would take us to the top. I had to convince the driver to let us both on the bus. 

I would highly recommend this trek. It is very beautiful and he experience of 1going through 10 unlighted tunnels and over/across 7 high trestles make it well worth the effort. As for me, I have now done the entire 15 miles (over the course of 3 visits) and I will probably not do it again. I can now mark it off my bucket list.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Whidbey to Spokane - Monday to Friday

I am way behind with this blog, mainly because we have not had internet connections for long enough time. So, this will take you from Monday, July 29 to Friday, August 2.

We were on Whidbey Island for a total of four nights, at a very nice campground. We enjoyed spending time in Oak Harbor, looking in the various shops in the historic district. The highlight was when we stumbled upon an auto restoration place. The place was also a storage facility for vehicles that they had previously restored. One was a 1958 Pink and Black Edsel station wagon that is owned by the wife of a Microsoft executive. The restoration guy told Hollie the name, but since Hollie is not “into” computers he was not impressed enough to recognize the name and relay the information to me. I am curious who owns it as the guy told me she comes down every couple of months and piles her kids into it for a drive around the area. That car was about twice as long as current autos. Interestingly, it had black red and white interior that one would have thought was not the original color combination. I asked about that and was told that everything on it was original and fully restored. It was beautiful

Monday – we left Whidbey Island. About a mile from the campground is Deception Pass and each day while we were here, every time I wanted to take pictures, we were fogged in. Sunday night I did take some, but they do not capture what had to be a very difficult engineering project. This bridge is very, very high and was built during the early 1930s.

This bridge is very narrow with a steel cable to separate auto traffic from foot traffic. Sunday morning while we were in the campground, we heard lots of sirens and observed lots of emergency vehicles passing. When I went to take the pictures, I saw evidence of some sort of crash. About half of the cable had been totally wrecked. I hope there was no one standing in the area when it happened.

Tuesday – Leavenworth, WA

Several people had told us about this place. It is a town that was once in dire economic circumstances and decided to rebuild itself in the form of a Bavarian Village. They rebuilt homes and businesses and all new construction in that design. It is hugely successful with many shops and restaurants with the Bavarian theme. The town is located on a river and is also a beehive for water sports such as swimming, tubing, rafting, fishing and other non-motor water sports.

I had been told that there was a running/walking trail that ran along the river and since the temperature was 92 when I decided to workout, I knew I needed to do one of my walk/run exploration workouts. It turned out to be very difficult since the trails were actually a maze and very hilly. I did manage to run/walk a total of about 6 miles, but I felt terrible and had to stop once and soak my head and drink water in order to cool off. Needless to say, I really did not realize how wonderful the weather had been for us as we made our way up the OR and WA coast. Leavenworth is in the hot part of WA.

This is a beautiful area, but there was a forest fire south of us and we were in the middle of that smoke which obscured the views. We did manage to find a very nice county RV park where we had electric and water and could have AC in order to cool ourselves. Here is the view from the park:

While in the park, as I was walking down to the river, I did have a very emotional experience. Near the camp host home was a very nice vegetable/flower garden with a very creative scare crow. It reminded me so much of my recently deceased friend, Mary Ruth Middlebrook. She always had such a nice garden with beautiful sunflowers.

Wednesday – Leavenworth to Spokane

The early part of the route that we took had fruit orchards all along the way. We saw peaches, grapes, cherries, apples, apricot, oranges and some other that I had never seen before---can’t recall the name. I later learned that these fruit orchards are the result of the irrigation water made available by the construction of Grand Coulee Dam. We took a side trip to see that. Having seen Hoover Dam, it was not quite as impressive.

We arrived in Spokane early enough to find a Y where we got in our workouts and showered and then found a Walmart that allowed overnight parking. That is where we have been the past two nights and will be there again tonight as we wait out the rain which we have had for the past 12-18 hours. This is the only bad weather that we have had in the entire 6 weeks that we have been on the road. It is supposed to clear in the morning and we will head over to Idaho to walk/run the Hiawatha Trail. I’ll certainly post on that when we are done.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A very nice run

Today is our last day on Whidbey Island, WA. We have certainly enjoyed the weather with lows of about 55 and highs of 70-75. It has been nice to be able to run at anytime during the day without having to worry about the temperature. I *am going to die* when I return to the heat and humidity of Hattiesburg, MS.

For today's run, I did not feel like fighting the hills and traffic or risk getting lost so I went to the track to zone out. I started out with a mile walk on the sidewalks surrounding the school and track. There was a sign posted on the track welcoming the general public but asking that we use lanes 6, 7, and 8. That was fine with me because I could just rely on my Garmin and run how I felt.

Surprise! Surprise! I ran 3.5 miles @ 9:54 pace. That is the fastest non-race pace that I have had in a very long time.

After broken ribs, severe bronchitic and two of the slowest 5Ks that I have run, I have not been feeling very good about my ever getting back my speed. We have been on this road trip for almost six weeks and I have really increased my mileage, but have only done a couple of speed sessions. On Saturday I did a 5K race at a respectable 9:22 pace and after today's workout, I am motivated.

We will continue on this trip for at least 2-3 weeks and I am going to  to work on getting my weekly mileage up to 27-30. I will also try for a weekly long run of 6-8 miles and one speed session.

Now is the time that I need to be careful. I do have a tendency to ramp things up too quickly and the old hamstring/piriformis issue returns. I hate to even write about that for fear that I will jinx myself.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Recovery/Discovery Run and Breakfast

Yesterday I raced a 5K @ 9:22 pace and I knew that if I were to run today, it needed to be very slow. That fit right in with where we are now located. We are at an RV park at Deception Pass on Whidbey Island, WA and if any of you have ever been here, you know the beauty of the area.

The Deception Pass bridge is about a mile away and directly across from us is the state park. On Friday I had walked/run in the park, but I had taken the right turn that had lots of hills and not any views of the water. So today I took the left turn and was rewarded with beautiful views and not too many hills. I had a very enjoyable and very slow 3.25 mile run and I also walked 1.5 miles.

The highlight of the day has been the breakfast that we enjoyed at the Oak Harbor VFW. We like to partake in these community meals and although we had to wait quite a long time for our food, today's experience was very good. For $4.00 I had hot tea, scrambled eggs, a thick slice of ham, hash browns, and biscuits and gravy. 

This afternoon we are in Oak Harbor where Hollie did a long bike ride and I walked around the historic area and the marina. Later, when we get back to the RV Park, I plan to walk down and across the bridge. Hopefully, I can get some good pictures to post to the blog. 

Hollie Ran The Entire 5K

Hollie and I ran a 5K in Anacortes, WA this morning. The race started at 9:00 am with the temperature about 60-65 degrees. Since his severe ankle injury (now has 2-3 steel plates and 10-12 screws), this the first 5K that he has run the entire distance. I'm not sure of his time, but if they had age groups, he would have won. 

I have many excuses as to why I did not run faster. I did not taper. I haven't been doing consistent speed work, I did a speed session on Thursday. I could go on and on. But the reality is that I m pleased with my time. Since fracturing ribs early in the year and then having severe bronchitis, it seems like it has taken me forever to get back my usual fitness base. I do still have pain in the rib area, but that does not impact my running. It does prevent me from doing some of my usual weight lifting.

Enough about all that. I am happy to be racing! I would have been 1 or 2 in the AG with a time of 29:07. I really wanted to get down into the 28 something, but the course had a couple of 1/4 to 1/2 mile segments on sidewalk that had some unevenness which caused me to be slower (cautious) on those sections.

There was a 62 year old youngster who was faster than I so if it were 5 year age groups, I would have won and would have been 2nd if they had 10 year age groups. There were over 200 in the 5K and I'm not sure how many more in the 10K and Half Marathon. I'm guessing there were 500-700 total racers.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Aberdeen, OR to Port Angeles, WA to Port Townsend, WA

Aberdeen to Port Angeles to Port Townsend

I was more than anxious to leave Aberdeen. As I previously wrote, this town was a bit scary with lots of panhandlers, run-down neighborhoods and a general feeling of having seen its better day. I have since learned that Aberdeen was once a very thriving community and was a major area for wood/lumber processing. For various reasons, the large operations moved to other locations and the town went bust. It does seem to be making a come back with many buildings being rehabilitated and more attention being paid to parks and other public use areas.

It probably did not help that we were boondocking in the Walmart parking lot. All the state parks were filled and we were too cheap to pay the unrealistic prices for shabby campgrounds.

On Sunday, after leaving Aberdeen, we drove to Port Angeles, WA. The last part of the drive took us around Crystal Lake which is a very deep glacial lake with the typical colors that we had previously seen in the fjords of Alaska.
When we arrived in Port Angeles, we were surprised to see so many big ships. We soon learned that Port Angeles is a huge center for exporting wood. In my previous blog entry, I wrote about that.

We did enjoy our three days in PA. There was a very nice trail that ran along the waterfront and I did one of my “discovery” run/walks. PA also had a very nice Family Y and we did our weight workouts and showered there. They also had a nice WI-FI Hotspot where I was able to catch up on Facebook and email.

On Tuesday we took the ferry to Victoria for the day. Basically, we spent the day in Victoria touring BC Parliament and walking all around the town. In my previous blog entry, I wrote in detail about this trip. Now, I am including some pictures.

Wednesday we drove from PA to Port Townsend. We are so impressed with this place that we made a change in plans so that we will now stay here two nights. This is a beautiful city with a wonderful old downtown and lots of very beautiful old homes. We are staying at the county fairgrounds which has an 80 site campground. It’s nothing fancy, but we do have electric, water and showers.

Yesterday afternoon I did a 7 mile “discovery” run/walk. I had planned to stay within the downtown area, but there were so many people and cars that I ended up running in residential areas which were very hilly. After we finished our workout, we went to the Wednesday Farmer’s Market and enjoyed looking at all the local produce, baked goods, cheeses, etc. We purchased some cookies and apple cake and went to the Safeway Starbucks for our post exercise refreshments.

Today at 11:00 am when we went out for our workout, we were greeted with fog rolling in over our campground. It quickly dissipated and a few minutes later we had a cloudless day with the temperatures 70-75 degrees. 

There was a nice track that was almost exactly a mile from the campground. We walked there for our warmup and then did a speed workout. I'm not sure what Hollie did but I ran a total of 4.5 miles, including 4 x 600 @ 8:48. I am pleased with that, because my day to day running pace has been so slow, I had my doubts that I could maintain anything under 10 minute pace. 

After our workout, we took a driving tour of the older area of Port Townsend. Some of these homes are amazing, having been built in the late 1800s and still having their original window glass and some even had lots of stained glass. I know for sure, I would not want to paint any of these. The wood detail and variety of colors would be very difficult and very time consuming to paint.

After the drive, we walked around the old downtown shopping are which is along the waterfront. Most people like the shopping, but Hollie and I are more interested in the history and architecture of the buildings. I did make one purchase---homemade donuts. We are now at a Starbucks enjoying those with our afternoon coffee.

We will be here until 11:00 am on tomorrow when we will take our trailer onto a ferry to Whidbey Island where we will stay for at least three nights.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Day Trip To Victoria, BC

We arrived in Port Angeles, WA on Sunday and have been checking out the sights, enjoying beautiful weather and running/biking the Waterfront/Discovery Trail. Once again we are boondocking in the Walmart parking lot and using the local YMCA for doing our weight workout and showering.

This area is a huge operation for shipping logs overseas. It has been very interesting to watch how they bring logs in on trucks, unload them, strip them of bark, reload on a truck and take them a short distance where they are then loaded on the ship. We were told that most of the wood from this area will be going to Japan for the tsunami rebuilding. I can tell you for sure that this is very dangerous work. It is like watching a kid operating a machine and picking up sticks, shaking them or dropping them and then picking them up until they have the load situated to their liking. If one log moves, the whole load moves. I guess they know what they are doing, but I bet there are lots of accidents.

Today we took the 90 minute ferry ride to Victoria, BC. What a beautiful city! The first thing we did was tour parliament. They were in session and we got to sit in the gallery and observe some of their discussions. This is a really beautiful building with beautiful architecture (designed in the late 1800s by a 25 year old young man) and wonderful stained glass. I took lots of pictures and will add these tomorrow.

After parliament, we walked all over the downtown, ending up in Chinatown which is the oldest Chinese settlement in Canada. Had it been later in the day or if we had been hungry, we would have eaten there. As it was, we probably walked 7-8 miles and my feet/legs were tired. Isn't it strange how I can run close to that distance, yet be more fatigued from walking?

Tomorrow we will be in Port Townsend, WA. On Thursday we will take a car ferry to Whidbey Island, WA where we will stay one night in a state park and three nights in a nice campground. I'm looking forward to the luxury of staying someplace other than a Walmart parking lot, although you can't beat the price.

Check back in a day or two and I will try to post pictures.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Boondocking in the Walmart Parking Lot

It's not the most desirable place to spend the night, but there are times when we have no other option or we are too cheap to pay for campgrounds. That has been the case last night and will be tonight here at the Walmart in Aberdeen, WA. We were in the company of 6-7 other RVers and it was fairly quiet and the price cannot be beat.

This is a big lumber area and is what is truly a "working man's" community. The area seems to be going through some hard times with more pan-handlers than I have seen any place other than San Francisco.

Our Family Y membership really came in handy yesterday and today. We could not find a path or roads where we thought we could safely run or bike, so we worked out at the Y both days. An added benefit is that we are able to shower at the Y. Since we are boondocking, even though we have a small shower in our trailer, we do not like to use it. We do have a gas stove and our lights can run off battery power. We also have a small toilet, with a holding tank that is adequate for at least 3-5 days (maybe more but we have not tried that) on any of our trips.

This morning we drove about 20 miles to Ocean Shores and I think we are very spoiled with the beauty of the MS and FL beaches which are so close to home. Although the wave action makes the WA and OR coast very beautiful to view, I can't say much for actually spending time on these beaches. It could have something to do with the temperature being 56 degrees here this morning.

Tomorrow we will continue up Highway 101. We may have slim pickings as far as state or Federal campgrounds, but if we can't find an RV park/campground, we can usually find a safe spot to just pull over and sleep. This type of travel would not suit everyone, but Hollie and I have worked out most of the issues that we face and we manage to have a great time simply exploring areas.