Chapter 22 – Road Less Travelled

Wrongly referred to by many as “The Road Less Travelled,” the poem’s true title, “The Road Not Taken,” references regret. That’s by design. Robert Frost wrote it as somewhat of a joke to a friend, English poet Edward Thomas. 


I’ve been thinking about all of the roads that Al and I have taken. Chicago born, the roads we travelled were on streetcars, the El ( elevated trains) and buses. Al eventually got a car and travelled boulevards and ultimately Interstate Highways. Those were our roads and our modes of transportation. I learned to drive a car when I was 19, so new roads were ahead for me too. 


Airplane travel came when we moved to St. Louis Missouri, and of course we weren’t at the wheel. 

So here we are, many, many, years later, now living in the northwest. Everyone we know has a boat. BOAT??? We’re really land lovers. But on the second Christmas Eve, while tending his store, Al picked up the phone and ordered a Boat. A saltwater Bayliner 22 foot sport fisherman. The salesman (whose Christmas Al made perfect, with his late in the day credit card purchase) asked Al when he wanted to pick it up. Now that was an interesting question. Pick it up and do what with it? Al had no idea. This is not a road he ever travelled and for sure I hadn’t either. 


Al had him Hold the Boat for pickup. I signed us up for coast guard school. And after a six week course, we were now on a road never travelled. Well not exactly a road. A slough to Puget Sound. Talk about brave. Al can’t swim so this adventure was a big one on our journey on roads not taken.


I was in charge of charts, knots and crabbing (favorite bait chicken backs)  Al was in charge of the wheel. My favorite part of boating was the marina at La Connor, Washington, where we moored this boat. Oh we called the boat “The JJ.” If it were up to me we’d just hang out at the marina and never move the boat.


Leaving the marina and going through the slough was the very hardest part. The slough had very little water and was really hard to maneuver. But we did it. We had been brave enough to travel all around Puget sound, and do dungenous crabbing galore. I can’t say we fished cause we never caught one salmon on our fishing boat even though we tried


On one of our final trips, just before we were about to enter Puget Sound, we ran the boat aground. I would love to say that the boat ran aground?, but I guess I did it. Remember I’m in charge of charts. When the coast guard boarded our boat on foot, their question was

 “What are you doing here?” Al’s answer was simply put…

 “ If I knew, I wouldn’t be here! ”


We did love our retreat weekends but hated that Slough. So that event was basically the end of our boating days on Puget Sound. 


We took the boat out of the water, brought it to our house, and we trailered it to Lake Washington (10 minutes from home) where we’d put it in the water and eat at every restaurant around the lake. That was nowhere near as much fun as LaConnor and very boring. No big waves, no fun adventures, no fishing of any kind. We could see Bill Gates’ incredible home, eat at great restaurants and we got our son hooked on boating.  After two years of traveling around a lake in circles and trailering a boat, Al sold it to friends and went with them on trips in open water up to Canada. That ended my water travels. 

It’s now 1994 and we’re totally involved with the linen stores. On a rare afternoon away from the stores, we decided to journey to Weyerhaeuser Rhododendron and Bonsai Gardens, in Federal Way, Washington. They were having a bonsai show. What a treat. Great show, great gardens and Al got hooked on bonsaii.

On our way home, I spotted an RV sales lot, and asked Al to pull off. I needed to check this out. He told me I’d hate an RV. Al’s successful sales career was selling fabric to mobile home manufacturers, which made him an authority. He was definitely wrong. I found an adorable,  luxury 27’ RV. It reminded me of the boat, but this stayed on land. Now that sounded like a wonderful opportunity for adventures. 


We bought it and our first trip was to LA where we picked up our grandkids and had a great time “camping” Well it was really luxury camping. We could drive onto the beach, cook out in the fire pit on our state park campsite. But breakfast was cooked in the motor home and sleeping was all over the place indoors, no tent needed. 

A power outage in our Woodinville home, meant we could take the motor home to a state park with power and live out the usual 3-4 days of no power at our house. Living in it for 2 days, gave Al claustrophobia, and off we went to the closeby RV dealer and we traded it in for a 32 foot Southwind by Fleetwood

(Fleetwood was one of Al’s customers who also made mobile homes). What a difference 5 feet did make to Al’s comfort. And we went from a ClassC motor home to a ClassA motor coach. 


We travelled around state parks in Washington and British Columbia. Then came a return trip to the LA area and a visit to family. The new size made these roads we’re taking a little more traveled (no back roads, mostly highways). On the trip back up to Washington, the coach putt-putted it’s way up the mountain. I mean putt-putted. By the time we reached Coburg,Oregon, we pulled off the road and into the corporate headquarters of Monaco RV.

Yes That was a road we were not going to travel without a high powered engine. So we traded our 32’ underpowered engine for a 40’ high powered engine. Now we’re in a coach that is easy to climb mountains but no longer possible to camp on beaches and hard to park in state parks.


It was a beautiful coach and definitely could be lived in full time. Talk about a road less travelled. Think about it, I’m thinking of leaving a 4000 square foot home in Woodinville WA., and moving into a 40’ motor coach full time. 


Well I’ll leave the adventure there, because we’re still working and not ready to retire. But speaking of the Road not Taken…we’re taking them and it seems that every minute of our life  is on a new road. 


More good adventures will follow. And definitely New Roads will be Taken!


Please share some of your roads and travels. We’d all like to hear about them.

Jackie-Jacobson- artist




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