Another Picture Goes Up

I hung up the second of my three big pictures today.

This is a print of a wax pastel drawing of Alcatraz Island. I picked it up for a song my first night in San Francisco and discovered many days later that Alcatraz truly is that beautiful.

I hung it over the ‘sofa’ where the useful cabinet used to hang. The cabinet will be relocated to the other wall.

Drew Barrymore’s RV Trip

Croft ‘Roof Ripper’ Randle won’t feel so bad about his RV misadventures when he hears Drew Barrymore’s harrowing tale of RVing across the US of A:

As I side note, I was coming out of the Max Factor building in LA, which houses the Hollywood History Museum, when I ran into a tiny woman who looked extremely familiar. I apologized and she said “No worries, I was daydreaming!” No fewer than four witnesses came up to me to say “Do you realise that was Drew Barrymore?!”

After this clip, I believe it!

Siren’s Call

I remember staying at a friend’s apartment in San Francisco’s Russian Hill and being unable to sleep because of the fog horns. Tonight is my first foggy night in Campbell River and a fog horn has been going off every few minutes. It’s very loud and it’s irritating the cats, but I’m hardly bothered by it and know it won’t stop me from getting a good night’s sleep.

RVing has really enabled me to block out and even sleep through noises and lights that I never used to be able to before. I’ve stayed in such a variety of locations, from loud and brightly lit Walmarts to pitch black quiet highway turnouts. I find it amazing that I’ve been able to adapt to such a variety of circumstances, but am still unable to become a morning person!

Travels Without Miranda, #2: Alcatraz Island, California

Alcatraz Island is breathtakingly beautiful in a barren and desolate sort of way, architecturally graceful ruins blending in perfectly with scrub grasses, trees, and various flowers. Birds abound and, in fact, most of the island is white with guano. It is a stark, foreboding place, but truly beautiful. Some might think me crazy to find that place so pretty, but it is if you like ruins that blend in so thoroughly with their natural surroundings that you could not possibly imagine one without the other, then Alcatraz is the place for you.

I spent a sunny day touring the ill-famed Rock. Even though it houses one of the most notorious US jails and was the site of native protests, today the island is a peaceful bird sanctuary that belies the supposed horrors that went on between the crumbling walls of the prison.










mint green on the exterior

mint green on the exterior

interior sampling of the mint green and baby pink colour scheme

interior sampling of the mint green and baby pink colour scheme

those marks on the floor are bullet spray from a shooting during a hostage crisis

those marks on the floor are bullet spray from a shooting during a hostage crisis

inmates had a lot of time on their hand (the knitting alone provides an interesting image, but the hot pink yarn is too much)

inmates had a lot of time on their hand (the knitting alone provides an interesting image, but the hot pink yarn is too much)

sample menu

sample menu


The architectural details of the place are striking, showing an aesthetic that belies the purpose of the building. Add the surprising mint green and baby pink colour scheme and Alcatraz does not even remotely look as you would expect it would.

As it turns out, the prison’s reputation was not entirely warranted. I learned there that inmates actually tried to get transferred to Alcatraz as it was a more comfortable prison with some of the best food in the penal system. This is not to say that some of the stories that have come out of Alcatraz are not true; it was a brutal place housing hardened criminals, but there was a softer side to the Rock.

I had expected that I would return from my day on Alcatraz completed drained rather than refreshed, and instead learned that I should never assume anything, a lesson I applied during a humbling visit of the town of Banff.


I’m home. It’s fabulous to have a life now that I feel is worth coming back to.

My flights went smoothly. Air Canada is definitely the only way to fly. They absolutely rock. Just as we were boarding at SFO, I heard my name being paged. The reason was that I was currently seated next to an infant and they wanted to move me as far away from it as possible. Would I mind moving up to the first row behind first class (more leg room and quicker to deplane) and have it all to myself? Then on the Calgary to Ottawa flight someone goofed and I wound up with a free meal which was a step up from tuna and carrots (surprisingly faboo veggie stuffed panini with a side of tortilla chips and salsa).

The last two weeks (okay, thirteen days) are already starting to be a bit of a blur, but I have to say that my favourite thing about the whole trip is something I haven’t mentioned yet and something that is going to sound absolutely inane:

My last name is fairly common there.

Every place I stayed or made a reservation, I got a strange look when I started to spell my name, as if I was telling them how to spell Smith or Jones. Even people whose native language is not English knew exactly how to spell the name. How refreshing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The best part of coming home was, of course, Tabitha’s reception, followed by coming back to a keyboard with accents. My French correspondents are going to be thrilled. 🙂 And French, of course, I can’t wait to go run a few errands tomorrow, if anything’s open, just to hear my mother tongue again. Running into French people twice in SF and then into a group of quĂ©bĂ©cois in LA.

Speaking of quĂ©bĂ©cois in LA, the best part of the whole traffic jam on Friday was coming onto a station that boasted that it plays every kind of music imaginable and began to list it: hip pop, hard rock, classical, country, rap… on and on and then… “And quĂ©bĂ©cois! ” I couldn’t believe it!

*glances at the clock* It feels like only 21:45 while it’s 00:45. I think the jet lag is going to be pretty brutal since I don’t imagine myself in bed for a couple more hours!

Great trip and I’m thrilled to say in full honesty that, when I tally it all up, the best part was coming home.