We’re getting set to take off on our annual boating vacation. We have a wonderful housesitter who seems happy when we leave as it gives her, what she calls, a “vacation in the country.” I’ve stocked up on cat food, as neither of us have the stomach for a litter box at home … or at sea. Meanwhile, the minute we start packing up the boat, the dog will get weird; that is until I tell her that she’s “going on the boat”. (When she has to stay behind? I use the word “home”. The tail drops and she carries herself into her doghouse. Yep, it’s pretty pathethic.) But where are we going? With two children living in Portland, Oregon, the Columbia River is our first stop – it’s a great American waterway. After that? The jury is out because of the terrible wildfires plaguing the west. We had planned on cruising Lake Chelan in Washington but who knows what the air quality will be. At this point, we are in “wing it” mode and that’s just dandy. Mostly, we’re just counting our blessings that we have a home and it is safe. Boating seems like small potatoes when I think of what is happening to countless families and firefighters throughout the west.