Don’t ever pass up places like Markleeville on CA Highway #89 that follows the west side of Lake Tahoe. At the General Store, I talked with Dave who watches the place when the owner is gone. They are open all winter. He said they had less snow than usual this year. It is beautiful country and apparently I wasn’t the only one to think so. Dave and his wife moved from the San Francisco Bay area and have lived there for ten years. I wandered around the fascinating old store and since the car was already jammed with supplies, I only needed a post card to send to a friend who is more or less homebound.
The mountains and valleys of and between the Sierra Nevada and the Coastal Mountains were the kinds of green areas with tiny towns and friendly people that make me want to move there. But then again, I was “born under a wandering star” so I moved on.
I followed Highway #299 to the ocean above Eureka, California, then headed north along U. S. Highway #101, stopping frequently to visit “My Ocean,” mine by virtue of having driven it so often over the years that certainly my possessive feelings were 9/10 of the law. Patrick’s Point State Park put its foot out and wouldn’t let me go any further.
Surrounded by bushes to hide my camping inexpertise, I was happy as a clam until I discovered a path and a sign about 12 feet from the edge of my campsite that said, “Danger: Area Closed. Stay Back. This entire cliff area is in immediate danger of collapsing.” I might be swimming by morning.
It was then I heard this voice, “Hi there, Silver Gypsy. How are you doing?” He didn’t look familiar so I knew he got the name from my license plate. “I’m fine, and who might you be?” “I’m the Tinkler Winkler Man,” he answered. Uh huh, I thought. He told me he collected driftwood wherever he goes and makes them into all sizes of wind chimes called Tinkler Winklers. He sells them at shows and on the Internet but lives in Olympic, WA. He also until recently had a place in old Key West, Florida selling his chimes under the roots of a huge Banyan tree. That reminded me of the tree house art gallery our family had visited many years ago.
We talked a bit and I told him about my books and camping trip and he eventually brought over a box of Tinkler Winklers and asked, “May I give you a chime?” I said I’d love one but only if I could trade him my RVing Alaska and Canada book. He seemed quite pleased. As Escapees often do, when he left I hugged him. He hugged me back rather tightly and I had the feeling maybe he didn’t often get hugged.
God Bless until next time.
– Sharlene Minshall
At 45, Widow Minshall began 20 years of solo full-time RVing throughout Alaska, Mexico, and Canada. Sharlene canoed the Yukon, mushed sled dogs, worked a dude ranch, visited Hudson Bay polar bears, and lived six months on a Mexican beach. She lectured at Life on Wheels, published six RV-related books and wrote a novel, “Winter in the Wilderness.”