Coming home to Monkey Valley – September

Corner of Loon and DillardOn Wednesday, September 10, I came back to Monkey Valley. This might not seem remarkable to you, but it was a very exciting day for me.

You see, in November 2006 I went to Vancouver expecting to return to Monkey Valley in a few days. But there was a big snow storm, and VSA, the highway maintenance company, didn’t have time to plow my road because the snow just kept falling on the Coquihalla and the connector to Kelowna, and my road was not a priority. By the time they could get around to plowing my road, in late December, there had been more snow and a thaw and freeze, and it would take a caterpillar to break through the four feet of frozen snow! Estimated cost: $1,800!!

I decided to spend the winter in Vancouver, paying extra rent on my apartment there because I would be there full-time rather than part-time. Additional cost for five months: $1,500. I thought I’d rather pay the money to my friend Geoff than to VSA.

However, there were some hidden costs I didn’t realize at the time. Mail forwarding: $300. Tank full of propane, which was drained over the winter because I’d left a small propane heater running to keep the house from freezing while I was gone for “a few days”: $1,800. Cost to repair frozen plumbing, which occurred once the propane tank ran out: $500. 

Oh well! I had a fun winter in Vancouver, and even enjoyed a weekend visit to Monkey Valley when my friend Marvin and I snowshoed in. This was a 7.5 KM trek from the corner of Dillard and Loon to the house but, unbelievably, a couple on a snowmobile was driving by just as we were preparing for the hike in, and they gave us a ride! So we just had to trek out. 

That was in April 2007. In May I was able to drive in to Monkey Valley and pick up my camping gear. Then I was off for a summer of travel and training. I went to Boulder, Colorado for my graduation from Naropa University, and then did five vision quest retreats and trainings, and went to the Diamond Approach summer retreat, and went to a yoga teacher training in Mexico. By the fall of 2007 I was exhausted! But I also needed to look for work.

So this meant I decided to spend another winter in Vancouver. I prepared the house for winter as best I could, and said goodbye to Monkey Valley in November 2007. There were still some burst pipes the following spring, although I had done my best to drain everything! Plumbing is a big expense at Monkey Valley! Anyway, the plumbing was repaired over several trips home, with help from Nicola Valley Plumbing and Active Mechanical. Russ with Active Mechanical set up my solar hot water heating system, and he fixed that part of the system, while Nicola Plumbing repaired some leaks in the house.

But with looking for work and some more travel for training and retreats, it wasn’t until September 2008 that I actually was able to return to Monkey Valley “full-time.”

So it was a very happy day when I drove in to Merritt with my cat, Donald, and a car load of small household items that had found their way to Vancouver over the previous 22 months.

The first order of business was to cancel the mail forwarding. Once again I get to enjoy the thrill of going to the post office and checking my box for mail! Next, I went across the street to Interior Savings Insurance to pay for my annual house insurance policy. I stopped by VSA to ask for a quote on getting my road plowed this winter. I went to Fun-Key Enterprises to speak with Susanne and Tim about getting a new road sign made. Last year, my Starshine Way road sign was stolen a mere two days after my friend Eric and I had installed it! And finally, I went to Espresso Etc. to have a decaf and say hi to my friend Janet and her husband, Frenchie, to tell them the great news that I was coming home.

It Was a Happy Day!

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