Karen's Blog

Let's take a walk through a brand new day.

New Beginnings


The Corona virus is a thief.

Covid-19 stole three big trips from me: Hawaii with my daughter, South Africa with my son, and Alaska with my husband.

The good news is that we are all healthy and the dreaded Covid hasn’t robbed us of our health or life. We are blessed.

My son, David, also thought that he had been robbed. His plan for 2020 was to hike the Pacific Crest Trail … a 2,650 mile trail that begins at the border of Mexico and ends at the border of Canada. But, officials told the would be PCT hikers to stay home. So, he did.

The PCT or Pacific Crest Trail map

Then in May, word quickly spread that the trail was slowly opening back up and hikers were welcome.

David got his gear together, invited me to head to San Diego with him, and off we went. We were a little nervous about the airport, the people, the masks, and social distancing but we believed in our ability to “be smart” as we traveled. The airport was a ghost town and so was the train. The airplanes were half full and impeccably clean! Food was given to us in ziplock bags and everyone wore face masks in the airport and on the plane.

We arrived in San Diego and found that airport to be empty as well. It was a strange feeling. We quickly adapted and began to enjoy the few days we had together before David would spend the next 5 months in the desert and mountains of California, Oregon and Washington.

We went to Coronado Island and had some excellent Mexican food at Miguel’s.

Miguel’s on Coronado Island

The beautiful Coronado Hotel

We were saddened to see that the fabulous Coronado Hotel which opened in 1888 and has been continuosly open for 132 years was closed due to Covid-19.

Heading back across the bridge into San Diego, we had some free time to enjoy some of the restaurants and breweries

One of the last times he will be well groomed for 5 months.

Then, on National Trails Day, with a loaded down pack and 5+ gallons of water, I dropped my son off in the little desert town of Agua Dulce. It was a small community with lots of horses on both sides of the canyon road.

The cactus in front of the sign says it all.

To get to the trailhead, it was up a gully washed rutted road that went straight up. Once there, I knew it was only minutes before he headed off into the desert alone to fulfill his dream of hiking the PCT. There was only one thing left to do…take as many pictures and get as many hugs as I could before I said, “Have a blast and hike on!”

The PCT marker which will guide his hike through three states.
That pack is heavy! I tried to lift it and oh my! It is loaded down with food and water.
But first….a selfie!
Checking on things one last time before hitting the trail.
And off he goes…

See that dot of blue headed into the desert? That was my final visual. It was a happy and sad sight all rolled into one. David living his dream. Me missing him already.

As I drove away, this was the first sign I saw as I stopped at the red light. I hope it’s a sign of good things to come for my first born and favorite son.

David Way

If you would like to follow his journey for the next five months, you can find his blog at www.rutteric.com.

If you feel like sending up some good wishes, prayers, or positive thoughts into the universe, they would be greatly appreciated.

“We’ve already bought the cheese and crackers!”

I’ve spent a lot of time in hospitals in my adult life. Thankfully, I was not the one in the hospital bed but rather the one sleeping in the lie flat recliner beside the patient. I prefer to call it my “Delta One Bed”. The made up name just makes the bed seem a little more comfortable than it really is.

I first had the experience of staying nights in the hospital with my mother since I was the daughter that could sleep anywhere, anytime.  After my mother passed, it was time to stay with my father and then later with my husband. It’s important, in my opinion, for someone to be there to pay attention to details and provide help or comfort when needed.
But, sometimes, it is the caregiver who needs comforting. And, sometimes, the caregiver doesn’t even realize that she needs comforting. (more…)

Marriage…or Not

Traveling to Cuba this past week had me thinking about all sorts of things from politics to religion to lifestyles. Traveling always makes me think. This time, a chance encounter in the beautiful blue waters of the ocean left me pondering an age-old question.

I was floating around in the ocean on my hot pink inflatable float (more…)

Mr. George

A recent visit to the Birthplace of Mardi Gras brought the usual… bands, floats, parades, outlandish costumes and BEADS! It was fun to watch the parade and be in the line of fire of the “throwers” on the floats who not only hit us with beads and trinkets, but also with rice, ramen noodles, honey buns, and moon pies! Mardi Gras is a grand time.  (more…)

There’s no place like…

Traveling in Southeast Asia was new experience for me and one I totally embraced from the minute I walked off the plane.  The smells were different.  The people looked different.  The actions were different.  The food was different.  Sanitation was different.  Even the toilets were different.  I embraced it all.  Well… maybe not the toilets. (more…)

Traveling is a Hassle!

I’ve been preparing for a trip this holiday and I’ve been reminded just how much work preparing for extended travel is!  Let’s just cut this commentary short and sweet and make a list: (more…)

Curiosity

Lately, I find myself very eager to learn new things and have new experiences. I am, by nature, a curious person. Not as curious as Isaac Newton, (considered by some the most curious human of all time), but curious just the same. I am curious about people, places, nature, opinions, emotions, reasons, things, mechanics, physics, chemistry, religion….and the list goes on. (more…)

Order among Chaos

As Hurricane Willa makes landfall near the resort towns on the Mexican Riviera, I am reminded of the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael in Georgia and Florida. So many friends were affected by power outages, fallen trees, destroyed crops, and mangled houses. But, thankfully, no friends or family lost lives. As I reflect on that powerful storm and my experience, I want to share my observation as I outran the hurricane by going west.

My cousin and I had planned a trip which was to begin on the Florida Panhandle and end in Baton Rouge. We realized on the day before we were to leave that Hurricane Michael was at sea and was possibly headed directly to the area where we planned to spend part of our vacation. Undeterred, we decided to go forth with our plans and keep tabs on mighty Michael. As luck would have it, Michael decided he’d like to land in the exact same spot we were to start our trip. (more…)

My heart is hurting…

Today was a gut wrenching day due to a mere 5 minute heartbreaking encounter. (more…)

Where is it?

“I can’t find it!”  “Where is it?” “How do I access it?” “Can I google it?” “Can you message me with it?”  Oh, the joys of technology… (more…)