I’m ready

Yes, I’m ready to go home.

Yes, I’m ready to think about another trip.

Bob laughs when I tell people, “this is it, then we are staying home all summer”. Well not quite, HE is staying home all summer (projects!). I’m packing up in July and heading to Zion with my nieces for a week. But mostly I’m staying home all summer. Picture my husband rolling his eyes.

The truth is, I enjoy planning our travels as much as going on them. I spent a good share of time this morning reading the ins and outs of where we can go outside of the US, and what covid restrictions are etc. There is only a small window of time left in 2021 where I’ll be able to convince Robert to squeeze in one more trip. You see we have projects for the months of June/July/August …. then OF COURSE we will go west on the elk hunt for the month of Sept. — the window is October … then back for November hunting at home, and my favorite holiday season (that’s a lie).

Bob’s remark, “I suppose we can’t go home from this trip until you have the next one planned”. Well … kind of.

We have spent the last couple of days just chilling here in Anacostes, Washington. It’s about as far Northwest as you can get in the US – close enough to the Canadian border that yesterday my phone dinged to tell me I was now roaming on a Canadian cell tower.

It’s a great little sea town. Reminds me of Door County a bit – not quite that touristy.

We are staying in an AirBNB “Loft” – that is one of the best we’ve been in. It has been decorated by someone with Jacki Johnson skills … the books on the coffee table are a 100% color match with the paint on the wall. We have 2 little decks to sit on, although the owners dog barks at us when she spots us on the back one. The owner is a flower gardener that spends all day weeding – the results are remarkable. It’s a beautiful little sanctuary.

“Nutmeg” keeps a close eye on the new visitors (us)

Ooops… forgot to add these pictures to the blab. This is the place we stayed at in the Cascades. A nice hike near the river just outside our door. And a chapel for our Sunday Service.

Our past couple chill out days have revolved around hiking, drinking wine and stuffing ourselves with seafood — not much “story” to tell. The pictures tell the story. It’s quite beautiful here.

I can just imagine the grandkids scaling up one of these giant trees!

And … that’s it. Today we head back to Seattle. Quick stop at the seasoning/spice shop in Pike’s Market – and to admire the flowers there, then off to the airport hotel for “packing”. I barely have any plants or rocks considering its been 2 weeks, but there might be a few things making the trip back to the Rose.

See you all soon. Peace Out!

Lucky

We have spent the last 2 days on the outskirts of North Cascades National Park. Prior to our visit, all signs of being able to see the entire park were “not happening”. Record amounts of snow in the cascades this past winter meant “the pass” would take a long time to dig out.

Without the open pass, our visit to the park would be limited to the Visitor Center (closed for 2 more weeks) and a short trip to Diablo Lake overlook.

But we are lucky and for that I am grateful. The pass opened on Wednesday and yesterday my DMD (Driver of Miss Daisy) took the 80 mile trip up and over the pass. (and back). WOW – just WOW.

We started with a hike through the woods. It was very pretty with a few spring flowers poking out. Saturday, so it was crowded and we found out later some “car parade” of those little noisy cars with the spoilers on the back happened to be going on at the same time we were hiking. Imagine trekking thru the beautiful forest with a really loud “zoom zoom” shifting of 100 cars noise. What the heck? We didn’t understand (or see) until we finished the hike and caught up with the line up of them at the top of the hill.

We opted out of the “parade” and got ahead of them for our trip up the pass. We found snow! At one overlook we parked the car, climbed over the gate and started walking up the driveway. It turned out to be about a mile in (and uphill) and I was wondering if it would be a bust because there was so much snow.

They’ll still have snow here in July !

At the top we found the buried sign pointing toward the overlook, climbed up onto the top of the snow bank and walked thru the woods (on top of the snow pack). It was funny to see the guardrails (just the tops) buried in the snow. Safety third. We finally spilled out onto the overlook – Very cool and worth the trek.

Get your shovel

This was quite the snow chewing machine – would have liked to see it in action!

On the other side of the pass we visited the little town of Winthrop, WA. Touristy – BUT they had a magnet and postcards (mission accomplished!) . The valley outside of it was beautiful. After lunch we returned back over the pass. What a day!! Thanks again to my driver 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day to all you momma’s out there!!! Peace Out !

Outside of our cabin door! So full of blossoms!

Top 5!

Bob likes to say that our trips to the National Parks are “all about the magnet”. That’s not true entirely, but yes, the magnet collection is important.

Yesterday we made it to the North Cascades National Park in northern Washington state. Close to the Canadian border. I was expecting snow. They just opened the highway 20 pass across the mountains on Wednesday. It’s closed each winter due to avalanche risk.

This is the 4th park of this trip. How many are there you ask? Currently 63 total. We are at about #40 on the quest (I’ll need to check my list for sure when we get home). There are 8 in Alaska (and we’ve only seen 1 of those) … our remaining 23ish are the tougher ones – but not impossible!

Snoqualmie Pass

We got an early start, and drove in the rain. Seriously this is the only bad weather we have encountered in the past 2 weeks – so feeling very fortunate! There was a small amount of slush when we passed over the Snoqualmie Pass, otherwise just wet. Whew. My driver was excellent and I stayed calm. Perhaps it was the 2 cups of coffee with Bailey’s I slammed before we took off ?

50% there … now just need the magnet

We stopped at the place I have reserved for the next 2 nights. It is under new ownership, and there weren’t any recent reviews (last one was 2019) so I was a little anxious about what it might look like. A guy covered in sawdust jumped out of his truck and unlocked the office door. He fumbled around, took our credit card and handed us a key to cottage 21.

Apparently the winters get pretty long. We laughed (and admired) all the pieces of furniture constructed from birch limbs. Tables, chairs, the bed. Someone stays busy!

Bob’s a sucker for a nice fireplace!

We dumped our stuff off at the cottage and did a hot lap up into the park. Much to my surprise the gate for the Visitor center was open. Web site says they aren’t opening for the season for 2 weeks yet. We just keep driving and when we stop at the Visitor center I see an old guy dragging boxes out of the back of the building. I approach with a combination of cheerfulness and wimpering/begging …. “Any chance you could locate one of the little park brochure things? I collect them”. He tells me, “the visitor center isn’t open for 2 weeks”…. I rally with “I came allllll the waaaayyyyy from Wisconsin ..(wimper, wimper). ” He goes inside and sends out a young gal who happily gives me the brochure. SCORE!!! It’s the little things that make me happy. I am waving it in the air and smiling from ear to ear when I meet up with Bob who has parked himself on a bench out front. He has firmly stated that he doesn’t want to be part of my breaking and entering, or bribing, or whatever it takes to achieve my goals … His reply, “but did you get a magnet?”. NOT YET. I’m assuming that I will locate a magnet – we’ve passed a few stores on the ride up, I’m not worried and I figured asking for a magnet at the closed for 2 more weeks visitor center was probably pushing it.

We drove through about half the park. Got out for a few short hikes, a few over looks etc. It was still rain/wind, with an occasional sunny moment. Cascades reminds me a lot of Glacier National Park. It’s beautiful, and as I think it Bob says, “This one deserves to be a National Park”. I couldn’t agree more.

We are heading back in for some longer hikes today, but here’s a start of some of the beautiful sites.

I’d like a barn quilt, but Bob doesn’t want one…. if we ever did get one – guessing it would have an elk on it like this!

The internet is giving me trouble this morning, so we will leave this post as is for now. Peace Out!

Woof Woof

Today’s blab will begin with some thoughts about dogs. Yesterday as we traveled to Washington, we stopped at a wayside overlook with a 300 foot cliff. I had to laugh at this sign, and the dog sitting in the truck next to ours staring at it. I swear the little dude could read, just look at the expression on his face!

It made me chuckle a bit to have the kid and dog warning on the same sign.

As we visited Bend, OR we observed that most everyone has a dog – or 2 dogs … or more. We took a nice hike up to see the Tumalo Falls. The forest road was closed, so we needed to walk about 2 miles on the gravel driveway and noted that it was decorated with little plastic bags of dog poo. On the way TO the falls I thought to myself, “they bag it up and will grab it on the way out — makes sense, vs. carrying it to the falls and back”. On the way BACK from the falls I realized that NOBODY will pick it up. Ponder this for me… if your doggy needs to crap, why not just walk him off the driveway into the woods and let them crap – and leave it for natural decomposition? No, instead you bag it and leave the bag (which will never decompose). Because I am the litter bug police this just pissed me off. I inquired with Michelle (native of Amherst, but now living in Bend, OR) – “Am I correct in my observation?” … Yep – that is the practice, bag it and leave it for the poo fairy to clean up. PEOPLE!

Rant over. The falls were beautiful and the walk was good for us old farts that have been riding in the car for a couple days.


Oregon is on Covid high alert, so all dining is outside. We lucked out with a sunny side table for breakfast in the big town (not) of Crescent OR.
God Bless the business owners that do what they can to stay afloat (and feed us)

In Bend, OR – we stayed at a fun little hotel called “The Campfire Hotel”. Good location, and fun attitude. They also have a great pool / hot tub (sign up for a time); and a fire pit (no time needed, sit as close as you want it’s not in the Covid guidelines for hotels).

On day 2, we hiked the city. It’s really well done. Lots of trails (hike/bike) to get you most everywhere safely with out needed to mix with traffic. We managed to visit several breweries, had some good beer, wine, food, whiskey and still managed to find our way back to the campfire! Ha ha .. we did you a lyft driver for one leg of the trip.

Testing out our new HOKA tennis shoes. OMG, we are turning into twins!

Yesterday (Wed) we left Bend, and headed north into Washington State. We are spending 2 nights in “Cl Elum”. Our AirBNB is cute as hell, with a nice porch (which I’m sitting on now enjoying coffee). After a long day in the car getting up here we just chilled last night, Bob built a fire and we watched a movie. It was 60 degrees outside so about 10pm, I woke up and it was 85 degrees in the upstairs Bungalow. Bob had mentioned that he missed the sauna at home earlier in the evening – so I guess he was trying to recreate it. No fan, except the bathroom exhaust it took until about 2am to cool things down. We won’t make that same mistake again tonight.

Our little hot box “nest”. They don’t allow shoes but provide fuzzy slippers !

Dog suicide canyon

Today we will take a short hike, then check out the local towns. I’m cooking breakfast right now (nothing fancy! my hubs just likes it plain).

Peace Out!

Kristy – I think the guy with the rock down the road from you should grow these pines in his yard to match.

Crater Lake, OR…ahhh

Short blab. Mostly pictures.

Photo credit to Bob, who is patient and in general takes better photos!

Started our day in Crescent Beach, CA and ended it in a sleepy hollow of Crescent, OR.

It took about 4 hours to get to Crater Lake. We stopped in ?? and had a nice breakfast on the porch of the restaurant. No heat. It was chilly and so was your food if you didn’t eat fast. Oregon is a county by county and week by week state with regard to Covid. Right now – no eating inside, anywhere. You can sense the frustration of the business owners – they’ve had enough of “just trying to make it work, and keep their places open”.

We comply. Luckily we have all of our winter clothes along and can just bundle up.

En route we were held up for a “wreck”. There is something funny to me about that word. A sign stated, “wreck ahead”. It was a pop up type of sign but made me wonder – how long ago did this happen?

Turns out the highway is known for wrecks, and apparently are prepared very well to respond.

I’m certain based on my drive-by incident investigation these people are DOA

As it turns out, (because I needed to know), they didn’t die.

https://kobi5.com/news/local-news/osp-investigating-single-car-crash-on-highway-199-149874/

Guessing you’d like a road report from the backseat of our rental. My driving-miss-daisy husband has been doing a great job of driving and I barely have a fingerprint on the oh-shit-handle.

Just outside of Crater Lake we make a stretch/pee stop at the Rogue Gorge. It was nice, a good little hike. The pictures don’t really do it justice.

What can I say? The stars aligned and we had a beautiful view. The snow was packed fairly hard from other visitors, so we didn’t need snowshoes – just slipped on our hiking boots and did a little climb up to the top of the snow bank.

A few “ask the Ranger” facts about it: 1943 feet deep, makes it the deepest lake in the US. Deepest volcanic lake in the world. All of the water in it came/comes from rain and snow, there are no springs or rivers feeding it. Fish in the lake (rainbow trout & kokanee salmon) were planted there between 1888 and 1941. Very rarely does it freeze – last time, 1949. Crater lake formed when Mount Mazama volcano blew its top. It was 12,000 feet tall prior to erupting 7700 years ago. They believe the volcano erupted again (under the water) 4800 years ago – and is not extinct yet.

And just because I enjoy people watching so much … here was my favorite “snow climbing” outfit of the day…..

Nice tatoo’s …. I guess that was the point of the shorts?

It took us about 2 hours from Crater Lake to get to our hotel. “The Woodsman” is an interesting place to lay your head. I was greeted by a young lady with a baby on her hip, who quickly said, “You don’t have to wear a mask – and if you don’t have one on, I don’t have to wear one either! We had the shots”. OK then.

Our room is comfortable, but hilarious. They have every inch of the walls covered in pictures and “country clutter”. 5 lamps, plus 2 overhead lights. They have power strips for the power strips. Apparently fire inspections don’t happen very often in this “city”. They also have one of the oldest TV’s still in operation. It’s bigger than the last one I complained about but the picture quality is laughable.

It feels a little “crowded” in this room!

We crossed the street for dinner at the Big Foot Tavern. Again, outside seating in our winter clothes. Good burgers in the “Beer Garden” and home to the casa to watch the life story of Macho Man-Randy Savage (Bob’s pick).

We only have 50 miles to our next destination, Bend OR. Going to spend a couple days there checking out the sights.

Peace Out.

This way and that way

I wasn’t going to write this morning, thought we’d have an early start on the day…. but my driver is still slumbering despite all the noise I am making.

Perhaps he is tired from driving 200 miles thru the mountain pass that twisted back and forth about 1000 times. Seriously, my arms were getting tired just watching. From the passenger seat, it was a beautiful drive. Just outside of Redding, we saw the remnants of the “Carr Fire”. Several acres of burned everything. It was a few years ago, so as nature does – things were greening up and it was quite pretty.

The lupine flowers are great! Also many trees in bloom – whatever they are! The air smells sweet, and the pollen had us both sneezing all day. They even have lilacs blooming already!

A very nice park, lots of people (Sat.). The Redwood trees are huge and really something to see! It turns out, I don’t think we have been here before! Glad to stop.

They have a large population of Roosevelt Elk. Pretty tame “park pets”. Only saw one that was starting to get horns. My elk hunter was unimpressed. I tried my best to talk to them, but they seemed uninterested in chatting.

Our stay last night was Crescent City, CA. I had booked “Ocean View” …. well – here’s the view, and in comparison the picture on the rooms wall. It made us laugh. Do you think the junk boat outside our window is meant to be decoration?

The town was nice. We had a great meal of fresh halibut at the marina around the corner.

We found a little wine bar that had the Brewer game on. Listened to “Ted” our new BFF that played on the minor league team for the L.A. Dodgers back in 1960 something. He was a friendly, “I’d like to talk non stop about myself” kind of guy. Game headed into overtime and we headed out. I was happy to see later on the phone the Brewers managed to beat Ted’s team.

We had an interesting chat with a fellow at our hotel in Redding. Worked for this company that uses drones to inspect power lines. They had something like ??? shit , now I don’t remember – but miles and miles of lines they were inspecting. I wonder – has WF started using this technology for inspections on thinks like our stacks and other roof mounted or hard to reach (unsafe) equipment? Bob commented, “He would have been a cool guy to chat with longer”. Agree!

https://thecyberhawk.com/

Lastly … let the song “we made love in my Chevy van… and that’s alright with me” roll thru your heads a few times. The driver/passenger of this vehicle were about our age and we along with others on the patio had a good chuckle watching “mom” hoist herself up into the seat.

Peace Out!

and we’ll have fun, fun, fun …in the California sun

South Lake Tahoe. My last visit was 20 plus years ago. A whirlwind trip with my ex-roomate and his sons. Ryan was maybe 10, and he’s ?? 30 something now. We flew into San Fran, drove to Sacramento, went white water rafting, drove to Lake Tahoe and skied 2 days, flew back from San Fran. As I recall this was a Thur-Sunday trip. Oh to be young and in such a hurry as to not burn up your vacation days!

Flash forward. Lake Tahoe the lake has not changed at all. It is magnificent, clear, calm, blue as blue. The once sleepy little ski town is now a full grown city, crammed with the Californian’s at play. I laughed to read the KISS Gene Simmons and wife just bought a 12,000 sq ft. shack here to get away from the crowds of Beverly Hills. It must be really crowded in Beverly Hills.

We spent our full day making the trek around the lake. About 70 miles. It was very scenic and the drive was nice. Bob has assumed his “Driving Miss Daisy” roll and I have my usual firm grip on the oh-shit handle.

Our first stop was at the closed Visitor Center. We just parked on the road and took a stroll past the locked gate. The boardwalk that I had read led to bears fishing in the river was under water. So the closest we got to a wild life experience was to see a couple mallards, and the destruction of the busy beavers in the area.

I did find a few fabulous pine cones. I mean they are huge!!!

and this tree … what is not to love? any tree that makes me look skinny is a keeper!

Our money maker (aka financial advisor) suggest the “Gar Wood” on the North shore for lunch. It was really pretty and the people watching (and eavesdropping) kept us entertained. A lady at the table next to us stared out on the lake and asked, “What direction is that?”. duh. Bob mumbled, “Next she’ll be asking what lake this is”.

After lunch we took a stroll out on the pier. Tragedy!!! My very favorite buff/neck gator thing fell out of my hair and into the water. SHIT. It was floating, so I yelled out to a couple of ladies kayaking to summon assistance. Luckily they swooped it up with the paddle and with Bob’s help it was retrieved. Big drama of the day!! What can I say, it’s been a lot of places with me, I’d hate to leave it in the lake!

Alp Court neighbors!

and just in case you haven’t watched TV on the smallest hotel TV ever ….. Bob : “We need binoculars to see that stupid thing”. Just about.

Lake Tahoe was a good start. I’m not sure I’d need anymore time there tho. Unless you like gambling – they do have a Harvey’s, a Harrahs, and a Hard Rock Casino. We didn’t even go inside so I’m not sure what the status of them is.

Up early we set out north. Retracing the previous days drive, we didn’t need to stop often. We made it to Lassen Volcanic NP by noon. 89 degrees, but the park road was still closed for snow removal. We were able to get as far as the visitor center (magnet) and then to the “sulfur works”.

She looks ready to blow to me!

The park office offered an alternate way to get to the north part of the park. We laughed. It was a scenic cow path, but it did indeed get us there! A “short cut”. We enjoyed the winding road, stopped and made a sandwich. Picked up garbage left behind by the FFFF ing litter bugs, sat on a log filled with fire ants. You know. The usual Kim/Bob itinerary 🙂

As we have found ALOT this year – masks … everywhere . LITTER. It’s disgusting. But not quite as disgusting as the litter we found lying beneath the beautiful bush (above). A used rubber. This is the “Battle Creek” overlook. Off a main highway. One must just stop and ponder the origin of this condom. Seriously? Let’s just pull the car over and take a quickie, leaving our DNA for the next visitors to see? YUK. and if you are wondering … NO, I don’t pick up every piece of litter I see. That one is still waiting for the next tourists.

Our day ended in Redding, Ca. We are staying at a nice place downtown. The downtown looks really nice. New. Empty. I’m not sure if covid cleared out all the business or what? It was almost eerie. Friday night with no people. We found a sports bar to watch the Brewers (playing LA dodgers). Of course it was not available. It’s hard to be a fan when they don’t let you watch the games!

Wondering out loud if anyone can decipher this sign for me….

Fictitious Business Names? WTH ?

Our evening ended with a glass of wine on the patio of our hotel. Our entertainment was a homeless very crazy and/or on drugs guy that was acting as a “greeter” to the cars coming thru the Taco Bell drivethru. He did cartwheels, he bent over and showed a little crack, he talked alot (mostly to himself). We don’t get this kind of entertainment on Alp Court so we soaked up what we could. Poor fella, when the manager finally came out and chased him away I half felt like going and buying him a taco in exchange for the show he had put on for us. I didn’t and now I regret it. So the next homeless person I encounter, I’m going to be nicer too. Scouts honor.

Ready to go. We continue west to the Pacific ocean today, and the Redwood Forest NP. I swear we have been there before, but I have ZERO proof of it. No magnet=No proof. We will see how familiar it looks ! Peace Out.

“Jeffrey Pine”. They are fabulous!

All work and no play…

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is a proverb. It means that without time off from work, a person becomes both bored and boring. The exact origins of the phrase remain unclear, though it was recorded as early as 1659.

I mean… who wants to be boring?

Friends have often commented on the fact that we built a house that we don’t live in … traveling the world while it sits in the care of our house sitters instead of us. So here is the truth. When we are home, we don’t just “hang out” and smell the roses very much. We work. “We” have “projects”. A lot of them. My very driven husband has a list a mile long in his head of things that HAVE TO GET DONE! I tease him that I HAVE TO plan vacations just to give my body a break from his never ending project list.

Case in point … the most recent projects completed prior to leaving on this jaunt. (1) brush removal on 3 sides of our back field. It took us about 2 full weeks of sun up/sun down chain sawing, brush hauling, and after 6pm (of course) burning. Do you know what buckthorn is? I DO. It’s pokers have penetrated my gloves more than once. It gives me great pleasure to throw that crap on the burn pile!

Completed we have added several acres back to usable land in the back field. I”m sure the deer population will be very happy.

Project #2. A carry over from our last trip. Remember the weight machine from the NFL player in Ohio that we dragged home? Well after a careful engineering survey was completed by you-know-who… it was determined that to set up the machine up in our loft a platform would need to be constructed to disperse the weight so we didn’t end up with cracked drywall. Those of you smirking at this point … well – you’ve met my husband – right? I heard mutterings of this platform and had an idea of what it would look like … imagine my surprise when the final product was revealed.

My non-engineer head still has a question mark above it wondering how a five hundred pound platform (yes true weight) is helping the weight problem of the machine??? The day before we left the fellas from Carpet Craftsmen/Wild Rose, old high school and college buddies of Bob’s completed the job with carpet installation.

Our new karoke stage….. it’s built to last!

The real question of course if whether or not Bob will remember how to put the 4 station weight machine back together?

I know my faithful readership is wondering ….. How about the pond? What’s going on with the pond? Also on the project list we have a new strategy for 2021. It has temporarily pumped dry. Yes – a pond without water.

The final goal is to have a crystal clear swimming pond. You know, the kind other people have called “swimming pools”!!! Yes, in hindsight that sure would have been cheaper … but you know – we like to have projects!!! So we left it – bone dry. It’s staying that way until all the things that make it not crystal clear are no longer a threat. Oak leaves, pine pollen, and toad reproduction activities. Upon our return from this trip we will sweep/rake/pick the leaves out, inspect the liner and refill it with fresh and clean water (along with a brew of chemicals to keep it that way). Come join us for swimming this summer – although a major pain in the ass – it is quite beautiful.

I’m also happy to report that after living in our house for 3 years, we finally hung some pictures up! 28 of them according to Bob who was the hangar upper guy. He dressed special for the occasion as you can see. My little builder Bob.

Also got this new chair! Another “fun” chair that rocks and swivels…. it’s the little things.

One of my pre-vaca projects was to get my garden and planter boxes ready. This included a trip to the neighbors for some free cow poo shoveling (Thanks Dopp Dairy Domain!). We also got the apple orchard re mulched, and sprayed for bugs … and the anti-deer application (multiple applications) of that god awful smelling deer fence stuff.

I sure hope I live long enough to enjoy these apples some day!

Enough then about the work at Alp Court.

Now we shall play.

Yesterday we hopped a plane (actually 3) and hauled ourselves out to our first stop of this trip. Lake Tahoe. Seriously, I was just giddy with excitement. I miss staring out a plane window. Once a very frequent activity – it’s been too long.

It was the last day of the covid – nobody in the middle seat offer on Delta – so we sprawled out and enjoyed every bit of extra space!

Our flight left @ 6am from Appleton, so we had an early start. Bob got his usual bonus security screening despite advising the kind officers of his metal shoulders ahead of time. It always ticks him off, despite my chant of “it’s for our safety!”. They went the extra mile triple scanning his suspicious (I guess) tennis shoe.

Belt off, hat off, shoe off ……

When we arrived in Minneapolis I had a voice message from Appleton airport. Someone (not me) left their passport laying on the seat in the gate area. My brother Keith was good enough to go and retrieve it, commenting “That’s a rookie mistake, maybe he should travel more”.

Appleton to Minneapolis ; new plane …. Minneapolis to Salt Lake City; new plane …. SLC to Reno – plane ride #3. All flights arrived early, 2 checked bags were waiting for us in Reno. Less than 10 minutes to get a rental car. All the stars aligned. Travel tip – get retired and travel mid week … it’s a nice experience!

Looking south over Park City Utah .. Wasatch Mountain range (I think).

Polygamy Porter … yum

The drive over the mountain pass from Reno to S.Lake Tahoe is pretty. The mountains. ahhhh.

Feeling a little punchy from lack of sleep we check into our Inn and take a walk to the main drag for some lunch.

Corn/cheese dip was good. Note the little cast iron pans – WF picnic gift idea perhaps?

After lunch we took a much needed nap, then ventured out for the hotel happy hour by the fire, and dinner down by the lake.

The dinner spot was a bit of a disappointment. A large building next door prevented a sunset view from the restaurant and the food was … eh. Not to be repeated.

After eating we did wander out on the pier to say goodnight to the sun.

Good bye Wednesday sun ….. See you tomorrow! Peace Out.

A good deal ..is a good deal

After our surprisingly nice visit to Congaree National Park in South Carolina we inched our way north to Winston-Salem to hook up with my old skydiving buddies Karen and Marty. Shout out to Karen – it’s her birthday today!!! We had a nice meal, watched it rain, bunked at a sort of scary hotel for the night.

I felt very secure inside the hotel room

Thankfully in the morning we were in NO HURRY, because I had a giant headache. You know, the kind you get when you meet up with old friends and the restaurant is offering 1/2 off select glasses of wine!

So good to see our old friends!

Our next stop was in Durham, NC. My son Jake was running in the Mountain to Sea 100 – ultra marathon. What does that mean? In a nutshell, he runs mostly thru the woods on a trail for 100 miles. The prize? A shirt and a belt buckle…. well the physical prize is that. Pretty sure its not his running motivation to get another belt buckle!

We met with him and his friend and “crew chief” Chad for lunch, and then again for dinner. I feel spoiled to have that much time – as normally our lives are crazy and our paths don’t get to cross in person. The run, why he does it etc. is his story to tell. My story is that of just being insanely proud of him for his determination. It is fun to “crew” – which basically is running from point to point behind the wheel of a car. At each spot he crosses a road, or a designated area the “crew” lays out a spread of food/drinks and provides cheerleading, hugs, feet cleaning or anything else. (I mean within reason – we did make him apply his own “nut butter”) .. you gotta draw the line someplace. *think chaffing

The run started @ 5am. We left the hotel @ 4am. He completed the run after about 28 hours. YES – in motion all of the time with the exception of a couple “dirt naps” he took on the trail. Bob/I had one car, and when Chad decided to run along with Jake – we drove their rental car for a while too. There are a lot of cool people you meet along the way. Probably my favorite this time was a beautiful young lady named Veronica. I didn’t know that until the end, so her nickname was “long hair girl”. With her was “Long hair girls little boy (real name: Vladimir), and Long hair girls husband, and long hair girls other guy”. Funny you see these people back and forth for 24 hours – Long hair girl looked rough for a while during the run, but she finished too! Wow. Determination. We cheered for her, offered food and water). In the end when she crossed the finish line, I cried. Yeah, wierd, total stranger .. and yet not. Need a running coach? Here’s a link to her: https://www.sundrunkruns.com/meet-us

All in All …. 24 started @ 5am; 4 dropped …. 20 finished. Jake was #7 of the finishers. Yipee. Also linking to Jake’s next adventure – along with Chad and other runner friends they are managing a race of their own up in Wausau. It’s not 100 miles long, and will be fun, if you run and are looking for something a little different.

https://www.wausaultra.com/

Here is a video Jake made the day after his run….

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?height=314&href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FWausaUltra%2Fvideos%2F262970652152442%2F&show_text=false&width=560

Wearing our new Wausaultra shirts !!! (and all the rest of the clothes we have along to keep warm!)
Waiting for “our” runner …The chair warmer … looks a little like Bernie doesn’t he?

After the race we debated …. go back to our hotel (that we have hardly seen) and try to sleep a couple hours? or just get moving. What’s the rush you ask? Well … A good deal is a good deal ….

It all started back in Florida. Everyday when my girls and I loaded the cooler with beer and went to the pool, my hubs put on his workout clothes and went to the fitness room. After a couple days he mentioned that he really liked the equipment they had; had taken pictures … and started shopping for it. New it runs about $7200. Knowing that he liked it enough that the discussion wouldn’t go away I commenced a search on facebook marketplace for a used version. BING … found one – the exact model. Ohio. Recently reduced from $4500 asking price to $2500. I sent an offer of $2250 (10% less). Accepted!! When I told Bob the good news, he was ??? Surprised. How ? When ? So many questions. Way ahead of him, I already had the plan. On our way home we would pick up a uhaul in Ohio and pick up the stuff ; I talked to the owner – she had someone professional coming 3/22 to take it apart – 10am. Be there if you want to see how it came apart.

Durham (race) to Cleveland (weight machine) is a 550 mile trek. 8-9 hours driving. After just a couple “car naps” during the race we needed to figure out how to get our slightly giddy from lack of sleep selves there on time. We drove a few hours and about 2 pm, called it a day. The Badgers were on, we were whipped tired …. The right decision in hind site. We got a hotel in ??? (Beckley, WV) someplace off the freeway West Virginia … found a sports bar within spitting distance and made it in time for the tip off. The “sports lounge” was interesting. Ring a doorbell to be let in, Smoking allowed. Actually encouraged as each place at the bar had an ash tray. (YUK)

Note the frequently placed orange ash trays …. smoke em if you got em …

A local place, the bartender was nice. I mean where else could you go and within 15 minutes be offered a free shot in the middle of the day. The claim was this booze, plus whipping cream tasted JUST LIKE Vanilla Ice Cream.

One of these concoctions – (shared with Bob) was enough … she was right tho – it did taste like ice cream

While watching the Badger Men’s Basketball team suck and lose we met a quite a few of the locals. Afterward we took our smoky smelling clothes and hair and headed back to the hotel – to bed – 7:00 pm, lights out. Talk about sleeping like the dead! I woke up at 3am and started banging around to get my driver up. 5 hours ahead of driving – we needed time to get the uhaul trailer, and to find the house/weight machine. I ran to the gas station and filled up and got my driver coffee while he got his eyes open and his pants on. The roads were clear with little traffic making the drive easy (at least from my seat).

The story on our weight machine people. Karen is the person I was dealing with. When I made an offer, she told me that she was currently in Colorado skiing for a few days, that they had marked it down because they are moving to Maui…. and it needed to go – Now! or no deal. I sent 50% of the payment to her email via Venmo. EXCEPT … I missed one letter in her email. I sent it to KarenFike, I had been talking to “Karen” … but her email was KareneFike (extra “e”) – you’d have thought I’d notice that – I have a mother in law named “Karene” … not a common name. Well I didn’t , so zoom zoom – modern technology assisted ; I sent $1265 to a total stranger. It took a while to figure it out. Karen”e” asked for payment; I asked for confirmation … nope, nadda, WTF? Eventually she picked up on the missing letter. I sent a note to the “other” Karen asking for the money back. No response. I sent another. No Response. Karen”e” told me she had other mix up’s with this person, assuring me the “other Karen” was a State Farm insurance agent from Maryland. I called the office. She called back – nice enough lady – and assured me “it’s not me – I don’t even have paypal”. Karen”e” responded by texting me… “IT’s her!!! I know it’s her!!!” – Finally, I went thru the very time consuming and painful work of asking Venmo for assistance. I’d pretty much given up hope, when viola! the wrong email responded and said “I didn’t accept your money” – about the same time Venmo put it back in my bank account. whew! Lesson – Be Careful !

This morning, after renting our uhaul trailer at a local place, we pulled up to Karen and Dan’s. The house just sold and had been listed for $700K. It was nice. A small one in comparison to others in the neighborhood. It was garbage day and honestly, I could have scrounged up a whole bunch of curb side stuff for the uhaul! Bob wanted to see the equipment before it got taken apart. It was like new. My stalker mode told me that Dan was previously a Cleveland Brown. Interesting huh?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Fike

Karen and Dan’s shack
Bob checking out the Porche in the driveway … careful backing in the trailer !

Karen had been super patient during the whole Venmo debockle and I was anxious to meet her finally after so many texts back and forth. When we rang the doorbell, we heard talking … and we waited … and waited ? Finally a young guy looking like he just crawled out of bed (9:30 am), wearing a tshirt and boxer shorts (underwear) appeared. We introduced ourselves, and he led us downstairs to the weight machine, chit chatted and then said, “well I’m going to go get some pants on”. Huh. Where’s Karen?

Bob did an inspection while I went outside to pay the other half. Karen had sent a request for the money (good idea, to ensure I had the right person) …. when I hit “pay” I got an error message …. unable to pay – try again later. FFS.

I try …and try … I text Karen (because I think she is still skiing or somewhere else) – tell her I’m having problems. I contact Venmo — oh sorry … you are locked out of your account due to a security issue, I can’t help you … try our sister company “pay pal” … I hear a woman’s voice and Bob comes back out – she’s here. We meet, we play with our phones and eventually we figure out paypal. She’s a nice lady – and she’s busy – trying to get the rest of her stuff into uhauls to go to a “container” to be shipped to Maui. I can’t imagine. She tries to sell me a baby grand player piano. It’s beautiful. Paid $10,000 for it – willing to sell for $2000. Anyone in the market? and able to get to Ohio this week? I take note that she literally has fur coats laying in several places in the house – ready to be packed? That’ll be handy in Hawaii 🙂

The two professional weight machine disassembly guys arrive @ 10. Joe and Eric. They get work and tolerate my husbands many questions. I get busy and start hauling stuff up the stairs. Joe thanks me … wait a minute??? I ask, “Are you getting paid to haul this upstairs?” He says, “yep”. I slow down. Still helping, but no longer killing myself. These young healthy boys can earn their keep. Once it’s all up laying on the driveway the guys discuss the pack job for the ride home. It’s a lot of stuff and really looks that way all apart. Bob says, “If only we had some cardboard”. I do what I do best and go dumpster diving in the garbage can next to Karen and Dan’s garage. I find a reasonably clean Domino’s pizza box, and a bunch of heavy duty plastic bags. I pull the blanket, pillows, towels and sheets I had in the car from the Florida portion of the trip. We use tennis shoes and several items we have along and pack it all in good and tight. Last check it was still doing well 300 miles later. We pull out of the driveway at noon. Pretty good time. When I go in to say good bye to Karen I see Dan is home from his hair cut appointment and “get to meet him”. Laughing – pretty normal guy. They ask for us to send a picture of the machine re-assembled. OK ? Can do.

Bob’s new “jungle gym” already for transport to Wisconsin

Choices. 25 miles before our Uhaul experience we passed a National Park. Cuyahoga Valley NP. We would have stopped – but the visitor center didn’t open until 10 am. (it was before 8). Go Back? My driver, god love him was willing. One of the main “things to do” at Cuyahoga is to bike on the trails – so I suggest we wait until a different time when we have our bikes, and more time. Instead we point west with the goal of making it to Indiana Dunes NP before THAT Visitor center closes @ 4pm. We have the time change working in our favor. It’s going to be close – the phone says arrival @ 3:45 pm.

We both are ready to be home. If we can get the magnet today – that means we can make another early morning bolt tomorrow. Almost full circle on this run. It’s been a good one.

3/23/21 … Happy Birthday to our 2 Bruce’s today – Uncle Bruce, and Bro In Law Bruce. We did make it to the park visitor center before they closed yesterday (3:45 as predicted) . The staff was already putting things away and seemed perturbed to see us. I mentioned our early start all the way from West Virginia hoping for some slack. No. Don’t Care response. Postcards, magnet, a brochure … we left them to lock up.

I will say this was the worst National Park I have visited. It started as National Lakeshore, then was promoted in 2019 to park status (Same President as the one that promoted White Sand NP -my 2nd least favorite park – not a political comment, just an observation).

We took a drive – I don’t know what we missed ? Lots of crappy houses/yards. The park road is a highway. Adjacent to the NP is a state park that actually is on the Dunes/Lake. We took a stroll. Lots of neat rocks to pick up. They are in the process of building some type of ballroom/reception facility that in my opinion anyway looks terrible and not very “park like”.

This is technically in the State Park .. still looks crappy as opposed to the beach/dunes.
Nothing like some stinky factory stacks in the background …. The model is cute tho 🙂

So that’s a wrap on this trip. Left home 2/28, pulling in the driveway on 3/23…………… now we will stay home a few weeks 🙂 Peace Out.

National Park status? … I loved it!

After a couple of weeks of FFF – Friends, Food and Fun!! the car is packed back up and heading north. Yesterday we dragged all of our crap back from the condo down into the vehicle before sun up. Good roads and traffic we just kept on rolling until we hit Charleson, S.C.

Nice of them to provide carts to haul crap.

This of course included a quick plant stop – I couldn’t help it – there was room! When I pointed at a 8 foot grapefruit tree I was quickly shut down by Bobby. I still think we could have fit it … but I’ll just be happy with the 4 little guys I did manage to get through the check out line.

We started with Bob’s son Rob and his friend Tanya; they left, we washed the sheets and our Rose friends Kim and John joined us. A few days later we added Kristy and Tammy to the fun ….. Our last night – it was just Bob and I … and we missed our buddys!

Today we had lame hotel breakfast – meh.

Congaree National Park on the agenda. Honestly I had read about it ahead of time and wasn’t expecting much. The local weather was calling for rain and tornados – so figured it would be a “magnet stop”. MUCH to my surprise, the park was very cool.

I wouldn’t put it in the same status as my gold medal winner (Zion), but if you like plants, birds, water …. this is your place. It probably also helped that it is one of the least visited National Parks and we only encountered 1 person on the entire 2 mile walk. The park workers (2 of them) were over joyed to have company. I’d even go so far as to say that I’d go back if I found myself in the area again. Enjoy a few pictures.

3/18/2021 09:10 am

They claim the muck level is 8 feet deep, so a nice feature is the boardwalk (2 miles of it !) – Can’t imagine “free hiking” in this.

We did have a chat with the “volunteer Kay” prior to setting out, it might have been nice if she would have mentioned that part of the boardwalk was under water…. I had on teva water shoes … Bobby has a pair of very wet tennis shoes/socks as a result.

Still better than 8 feet of muck! (called Doravan muck)
The WESTON lake. Cool listening to all the birds, frogs and ??? monkeys?

The little pokey things are called ‘knees” .. excerpt from self guided tour pamphlet : The majestic bald cypress trees produce “knees” that rise up from the roots of the tree and can be seen throughout the forest floor. While their function is not entirely understood, it is believed that the knees provide the tree with extra structural support during floods and high winds. Bald cypress trees can live to be over 1000 years old. Bald cypress wood is rot and water resistant. The wood is often called “wood eternal” because it decays slowly and may remain in perfect condition after 100 years of use. Historically, the Catawba nd Congaree tribes used bald cypress wood for canoes, because it was easy to work with and durable. Bald cypress trees were logged in the late 1800’s and used for roof shingles, docks, bridges, cabinetry and more – which is why so few old growth bald cypress trees exist today.

Bob looked at the pokey things and suggested, “a rare water loving cactus plant” ?? They were pretty neat.

Loblolly pine trees can get up to 130 feet tall. They have a wierd “shag bark” look. Popular in the swamp.

The weather was right – it was cool and it never did rain on us. I can’t imagine what kind of breading ground this is for bugs as things warm up? Since one of the store magnets for the park has the picture below on it — well, I guess it gets pretty bad!
Glad to report a Bug free hike!

Now we are on the road heading north once again. Meeting up with my old skydiver buddies Karen and Marty for dinner in North Carolina tonight!

South Carolina is the “Palmetto” State …. Miniture palmettos grow in the swamp … Learn something new every day! Peace Out!

The Palmetto (miniture) … Bob asks, “Why don’t you have one of those?” …. I ask, “Why don’t you swim out and get me one?”…..