Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cal Expo

Coming back from the dog walk this morning I heard the sound of a cow mooing. Yep, I know a cow when I hear one. I'm getting sort of used to seeing horses all around this area, but a cow seemed unusual, so I checked on the current events being held here besides the harness racing: they include Log Home & Timber Frame Expo; Dream Wedding; Sacramento Home & Garden Show; and the Gun Show. These take place up until March 9, and I can't picture a cow being part of any of them, unless the Dream Wedding is held outdoors under a gazebo at the farm.

I'm going to try to post some pictures later today, after I take them of course. I walked a little farther than usual this morning and found a different view of the RV park and racetrack.

You may notice that I now have a map of my RV travels. I have made the decision to include all states that the 5th wheel passes through, not just the ones where I stop overnight. (I have actually been to all but 5 states plus two Canadian provinces, but won't include them on this blog.)

I've also added a picture of my 1st grandson and 2nd grandchild, Owen Michael. His twin was stillborn and he only lived 7 months. He is shown with his parents, Joe and Sarah. We will always miss him.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Getting Ready to Move

I have been ignoring the fact that I must move from Cal Expo on March 2nd. That is just three days from now, and many of the things I vowed to do while here are not going to get done. Since the sun in shining, I will empty the tanks today and clean & put away the hoses. I plan to try the trick of adding a bit of Dawn liquid to the tanks and let it slosh around while moving.

Monday is Steve's birthday and Tuesday is Mike's birthday, so I always have a lot to be grateful for at this time of year. Then in November my Joe and Jeannie celebrate their birthdays.

Nothing new or exciting this morning, and I would sure love to just go back to bed. If my shower doesn't wake me up and get me going, I will hit the sack!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Today looks like a good one

I got out of bed this morning and had no pain in or around my eye, so it must have been something to do with sinus. Whatever the doctor gave me sure worked quickly, but I'll keep taking it for at least a few days more. I am SO relieved it wasn't anything more serious. When you get a sudden terrible pain you immediately begin to think of the worst things it could possibly be. I thought what a bummer it would be if I couldn't continue as a fulltime RVer because of some health issue. I'm back on track anyway, and look forward to the rest of my life!

I cooked oatmeal for breakfast this morning - porridge as it is called in Ireland. I always felt a little like Goldilocks when I ate my porridge for breakfast there - waiting for the 3 bears to burst in at any moment!

And speaking of Ireland, there is a whole long list of words and expressions that are different there, as well as in England I suppose. I catch a few of them when I read the blogs of our Canadian RVer friends. I assimilated back into life in the US pretty quickly once I returned for good, although I still catch myself once in a while going to get into the wrong side of a car. Wrong side is relative, of course, and the Irish always thought it was pretty funny when I mentioned I was in the wrong side of the car and driving on the wrong side of the road. It was right as rain to them!

I returned to the US in April 2003, and about the only thing I really miss is the friendship I had with so many women there. The Irish women are the friendliest and funniest of any I ever knew, and when getting together with several of them you knew your sides would be hurting soon from laughing so much. I always enjoyed sitting at a table in the pub with some of them. We would be cackling with laughter, while the men at the bar would just try to watch us out of the corner of their eye, scowling because they probably wish they could sit with us and share the joke. I'm sure some of them worried the joke was on them.

Yesterday Steve drove me over to the RV park in West Sac where I will be moving on March 2. I filled out the paperwork and picked the site I wanted. It is right in the middle of everything, but at least it's only a few sites away from the laundry. It will only be for a month and then I'll move 100 miles north.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Eyes OK!

I just got back from seeing the eye surgeon. My eyes are doing great, but I possibly have a sinus infection. He gave me several different medicines, nasal spray, eye drops, etc., and if they don't help I may have to see an Eye-Nose& Throat specialist. But the vision is coming along just fine. I have another follow up in 7 weeks.

The eye clinic is in Rancho Cordova, about a mile from where I used to live. In the 80's, it was jokingly referred to as Rancho Cambodia. Now it could be called Russian Cordova! There are Russians all over the Sacramento area, but especially in RC. The little old ladies coming to the eye clinic all wear babushkas tied around their heads, the long coats and black boots. The middle aged women who accompany them dress more modernly. While they wait they read newspapers printed in the Cyrillic alphabet. In stores and businesses throughout the area you are as likely to hear Russian spoken as English or Spanish, and you can tell that the now grown-up children of the immigrants work in these stores and serve as interpreters as well. The Spanish are the same. It seems to bug a lot of people that immigrants don't speak English when they come here, but their children will, and in a few generations the old language will be forgotten with the exception of a few phrases. My great grandparents came from Germany in the mid 1800's, and my grandmother never did speak English and what did it matter. All of her descendants do. It has always been the American way and we shouldn't forget that we are a nation of immigrants, plenty of whom were illegal when they arrived on our shores.

My new sunglasses arrived and they are wonderful! The copper lens improves vision for driving, especially. I just wish I didn't have the other pain - sometimes it hurts with every step I take. As long as I'm very still there is no pain. I can hardly move around less than I do now - the housework is getting way ahead of me, and that is bad because it doesn't take all that long to clean & straighten up 275 sq ft!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ho-Hum Day

There isn't much to write about today, except that my eye is bothering me. The pain comes and goes all around the eye and I have no idea what it could be. I've taken a couple of Tylenol/codeine tablets, and I guess they help somewhat. I see the surgeon at 8:40 tomorrow morning, so I will just wait til then to find out if it's normal. I haven't had a bit of pain until now, and it isn't even in the eye itself. Bright light bothers me a lot.

I feel so bad at an incident that happened this morning. Mandy was making "getting sick" sounds so I immediately took her outside. I didn't even bother with the leash because she never goes far away from me, and because I thought she would just get it over with and want to come back inside. Although blind, she must have seen movement across the parking lot - a man was walking three little yappy dogs - and she started toward them. She wouldn't stop when I told her, and I ended up running after her and catching her just as she got close to them. The man was very upset, and of course I apologized. He yelled that his very tiny little dogs have been attacked by big dogs. Mandy is not exactly a big dog, and while Lady (80+#) will hold her own against a large dog, she is terrorized by little poodles, yorkies, and the rest of them. When he was walking away he yelled something about keeping my dog leashed. I called to him that she was getting sick and I brought her outside so she wouldn't get sick inside the rig. I told him again I was sorry, but he is probably still furious. I try to be so conscientious about keeping the dogs under control and picking up after them, and I'm really sorry and embarrassed about this incident. Nothing would convince that man, however, and I'm sure he thinks I did it on purpose. I would be angry if I was him, so I might as well try to forget it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I don't have my night vision back--YET!

I drove over to Steve & Megan's for dinner last night. At least I started out before dark, and the rain wasn't too bad, but coming home at 9 pm wasn't so easy. I can see everything except in places it is almost impossible to follow the lines that mark the lanes. Also, when making a left turn on major streets there is usually a concrete island and it is always hard for me to see and clear it. When there is no traffic turning with me I just try to swing wide, sweet chariot! Fortunately for me there was very little traffic, and where possible I just tried to follow another car that I hoped had a driver who could see where they were going! There are those reflectors they put into the street that divide the lanes, but once in a while you can't see them until you are right on them, and I wish the white lines were painted with a reflective paint. I had a nice evening and it's good to know I don't have to be a prisoner in my rig at night, although I really prefer to not drive.

I have been so lucky to have come in contact with many other RVers, via various forums, RV-Dreams Chat Room, etc. One such person is Charles, aka Roz from RV-Dreams. When Charles found out that I would be working at Fort Pulaski near Savannah this coming December, he sent me a couple of books including one about the haunted side of Savannah. There is nothing nicer to do on a rainy afternoon than to sit and read in a nice warm and comfortable RV, which is what I did. I just know I'm going to love being in the Savannah area, both at the Fort where I will be workamping, as well as visiting the beautiful city of Savannah on my off-time. I'm hoping to spot a ghost or two!

Donald programmed and set up my car speaker this afternoon and it seems to work well and the speaker sounds fine. I may run it through the FM radio speakers if necessary, but for the time I'll just leave it alone. You have your choice of languages with this unit, and it comes programmed with UK English. We switched it to American English and it is the screechiest American accent I've ever heard - don't know how long I'll put up with it before I switch to a foreign language. I think I could understand the Mexican Spanish if I had to, or even the Italian.

I don't know why but my eye is bothering me today. It hurts all around the eye as well, and I may end up taking a tylenol/codeine tablet if it gets any worse. I should probably go take a short nap and see if it helps. I did notice that even though it was raining today while I was driving, my eyes feel better when I'm wearing sunglasses outdoors. I'm anxious to get the ones I ordered that have a lighter lens for driving. Well, now I am going to nap!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The rain is back

After a few beautiful sunny days the rain began falling during the middle of the night. It kept me awake for a while as it seems rain and wind are amplified when you are in an RV. This morning I was able to take the dogs for a quick walk between the downpours. Of course my sunglasses protect my eye from any stray ultraviolet rays that might have been floating around, but also they keep rain water from getting into my eye. Maybe I should wear them in the shower - so far I've done ok although I know it's a risk every time I wash my hair.

I took a look at my bluetooth car speaker last night. The instructions are written in such fine print it's difficult for me to read them, so I went to the company's web site. Why in the world must they put music to the installation instructions! To begin with it isn't music that I care for, plus all I can think of is "bandwidth". I don't know for sure that music on a website takes more bandwidth than straight text, but I wish they would just forgo the videos and music, or at least make it optional. The bottom line is that I'm going to ask Donald to install the system for me, even though I'm pretty sure I could do it myself, but it would take me longer and add to the list of things I get frustrated with.

I'd like to go buy a newspaper but know I would get really wet in the process. The news is never good because good news doesn't sell papers (or attract people to watch it on TV). I don't need to see the Sunday ads because there is probably something on sale I can't live without but can't afford. If only I could find a book of NY Times Sunday Crossword Puzzles, I wouldn't need a newspaper for a month of Sundays!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Getting Legal

I bought a Bluetooth Car Speaker Kit at Costco today. It was on sale, plus they were offering coupons for $20 off that price, and I couldn't pass that up. I guess that just about every state in the union now has a law against holding a cell phone while driving and I always feel a little guilty that I don't have a hands free device, so when I get it installed I will be legal! It doesn't look difficult to set up, unless possibly if I want to run it through my car stereo speakers, but I will ask my son in law to do that if I decide I need it.

As of Jan. 1st this year, it is illegal to do text messaging while driving in the state of California, and I wonder if that would also make it sort of illegal to enter an address into the GPS while driving. It isn't an easy thing for me to do because I need glasses for close up work but can't drive with glasses, so I have a hard time deciphering the GPS screen. Usually I either wait until I'm stopped at a traffic light, or I pull into a parking lot. Oh the perils encountered by aging eyes!

A tiny bit of improvement was noticed today, speaking of eyes, but I'm still not where I hope to be in the near future. I ordered two pair of sunglasses today - a 2 for 1 offer that came with the glasses given to me by the eye surgeon. I really like how they fit - they have a contemporary look but actually fit so that no sunlight leaks in. One of the pair is a copper tint lens that is suggested for driving and provides improved depth perception. I'm not expecting miracles but I ordered them with anticipation of being able to do better in sunlight than with the extremely dark glasses, though extremely dark is always good in the intense California sunlight.

While at Costco I picked up two more corned beefs which I will keep in Jeannie's fridge until I use them. I will cook three of them for St. Patrick's Day and it will be my offering for the once-a-month family get together for a meal. I will have the meal at Jeanne & Donald's house as they have so much room for everyone there. I didn't get any other food items at Costco today although I was tempted by the food devil, a little imp that appears to me whenever I walk into that store!

Oh, I nearly forgot, but I have just about decided where I will go in April and possibly May. Those of you who love the resorts should probably stop reading right here. I will need to be in Sacramento in March for medical appointments. Then I am going to go up to Orland California, about 100 miles north of here. There isn't much there, Black Butte Lake (a Corps of Engineers lake) and a very small town. That part of California (northern Central Valley) is mainly devoted to agriculture, and olive groves seem to be the only product. There are several companies in the area that offer tasting rooms and sell gourmet olives and olive oil. I may just give all my family some tasty dipping oil for Christmas! You may wonder why anyone would want to spend a month or two in a little farming town in Northern California, but I am ready to get out of the city. While I love being able to see my kids and grandkids, the only other thing to do is shop. I am not really a shopper and I don't want to be one, but the temptation to acquire things I don't need as well as the few things I do need, can be overwhelming. (But the readers who are really sharp will pick up on the fact that I am already doing my Christmas shopping at the olive oil store). I was raised in a fairly large city and liked living in cities and enjoying the fine things in life until I began having my children. That is when my attitude toward life changed, and my world was wrapped up in my kids and what was best for them. I simplified my lifestyle and tried to not expose them to consumerism at its worst, and I'd say I halfway succeeded. It's time for Gypsy to get back to country living where I can walk into town, meet and talk to folks, and enjoy the peace and quiet. It will be a good transition to the wilderness I hope to find at Lassen.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Another Camper in the Family

In an earlier post I mentioned that my son, Steve, was itching to get a camper. He's been looking on Craigslist and a few other sources, and yesterday evening he and Meg went to look at a 1979 truck camper for sale. This afternoon she came home for lunch (he mostly works from home) and wanted to sit on the porch for a few minutes. Soon Steve recognized the guy's truck pull up with the camper van. Meg bought it to surprise him for his birthday (March 1) and asked the guy to deliver it, which he did. I just came back from his house because I just had to check it out! It will be great for them to vacation in - still has the 70's decor, but Meg has already figured out where she will be doing a little decorating, and of course Steve has his own miles of plans. It is really nice and they will both add to it to make it a very fine camper. I think he is planning a trip to Sly Park tomorrow to check it out. He wanted to start out small - something he could use with his F-150, and this is it!

It has a 4 burner propane stove, with oven, a small fridge, and small water tank. He thinks they will mostly be doing boondocking, and in fact we've talked about it often. I think they've already decided to take it when I move to Lassen in June. It will be nice if they have some vacation time so they can enjoy the park before returning home, and it will be a good break-in period for me as well. I count on him for so many little things, and he just knows what is needed and how to set it up or fix it, so I should be in good shape for the summer. So now we are both looking for screen tents - maybe we can find a "two-fer" deal.

So camping runs in our family, except for the fact that Mike gets his fill of camping when he has military duty. He is a captain in the Army (MP) Reserves, is up for promotion to Major, and served a tour in Iraq. He loved camping when he was younger, but I think the Army has changed a lot of that! When his boys get big enough he will have to either reconsider, or to let Grandma take them on a little camping trip! I guess I could scrounge up a tent somewhere. Getting in and out of it would be the problem for me.

Another granddaughter

I got the news from Jeannie yesterday. She had an ultrasound and it is determined that the baby is a girl! Donald, the daddy, has said all along it will be a girl, but I thought it would be a boy. Even the nurses all had said it had more of a "boy heartbeat". Ara, Autumn and A-??? They haven't announced the name yet but it will begin with "A".

It looks like another sunny day coming up. The air is so much warmer in the sun, but you can notice the difference as soon as you step into the shade, or into the rig, where it tends to be cool. I wonder how it will be in hot weather. It looks like my campsite is covered by trees, and I'm hoping to get by without the A/C. I'm on the lookout for a screen tent to set over the picnic table area, and want to buy a nice camp chair that reclines.

I returned a few minutes ago from the morning dog walk. Twice in the last 12 hrs I've had someone compliment me on my dogs and their good behavior. Yesterday several people came riding by on horses and I just pulled mine as far over as I could. They just stood watching the horses and didn't make a move or a sound. A man was walking by with two dogs who were straining at their leashes, barking and trying to lunge at the horses. I couldn't figure out why he stayed right in the middle of the road rather than move to the side and just stop until the horses were past. The last rider pulled over to talk to me about how nice my animals were by comparison. He was the most handsome man I've seen in a long time - obviously Mexican, with a big Mexican style cowboy hat. He looked like a movie star from one of the old westerns! This morning a man was locking the gate to the parkway - it is patrolled by security and there are always maintenance vehicles going in and out. He began to talk about how nice looking and well behaved the dogs were. We chatted for a while and he told me he had to have a cataract removed soon. He was Hispanic as well - my informal poll is that the Mexicans and other Hispanics are the most friendly to me! They have brightened my day more than once, that's for sure.

Actually, the folks who manage the office here at Cal Expo couldn't be nicer and more friendly, and why not, they are Hitchhiker 5th wheel owners!

I don't know how to spend my day today. If I start repacking all the overheads and cabinets, I might be ready to move out by March 3. Whatever has happened to my organizational skills? I think I left them back in Texas or New Mexico!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Blog problems

I recently created two new journal sites, one in webs.com and the other in blogspot. Every time I post a new entry to this RVing blog, it shows up in my other blogspot site and I don't know how to correct it. I will probably just re-create it in webs.com. If I hadn't put so much effort into this site I would move it as well, and may eventually do just that. Amazing that it's what most RV bloggers use, and yet it is not easy to understand or work with from my experience. I did the Appalachian Trail website in a few hours and am satisfied with nearly everything about it. webs.com is so much more intuitive and user friendly.

Ok, enough grumbling for today. It is a gorgeous day here, sun shining, mild temps, and I need to get out for a while and drive! I should drive to a few more distant RV parks and check out something for to rent beginning March 3, but I just can't get interested. I think I will go over to the place I'm not crazy about in West Sac, just for a month, and get some things done such as my March appointment with the doctor, get my generator checked out, clean up the rig, and a few more jobs, and then take off somewhere for a month or so.

I am trying to think of a destination, but the places I come up with are really too far to travel at this time of year, or else would require driving through mountains which are probably snow-bound. I don't want to take any chances with my rig.

I had a couple of Eggos last night as a bedtime snack, and am fixing a couple more for my breakfast this morning. At this rate I'll be buying another box of 60 in no time! Now if I could just find some black raspberry jelly to smear on them I'd stock up on it. Black raspberry is about as scarce as hen's teeth in Northern California. When I lived here in the 1980's I sometimes traveled back east on business, and always brought several jars back as I could never find it here.

As I wrote the previous paragraph I was toasting my Eggos but forgot, AGAIN, that you can't toast while the electric heater is plugged in. I hate it when that happens!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Behind the Wheel Again!

Last night Steve & Meg drove my truck back, and we went out to eat at Chipotle. Great food but very filling. Today I decided to get behind the wheel for the first time in over a week. I needed to do laundry, so drove up to the campground main building with my laundry basket and detergent. I seemed to have no problem with depth perception while driving with the dark glasses on, so I then drove the few miles to Costco. Never go to Costco, or any grocery, when you are hungry. I know this rule, but didn't pay heed.

I bought a box of 60 Eggos, which anyone with an RV size fridge/freezer can tell you is going to be a tight fit. I ended up having to discard the box - there are 6 separate packages of 10 each, and they just barely fit. I had to rearrange everything else in the freezer, including getting rid of the box that held the taquitos. They are also wrapped in a plastic bag and I just about got them in.

I love corned beef and cabbage, and used to make it in the crock pot when the kids were younger. I rarely cook it any more, but when I saw the display of corned beef in the meat department I just couldn't resist. Don't ask me how I am going to be able to eat the whole thing - I will have to share it with someone. I was thinking that I may, in fact, go buy one or two more and do the monthly get-together meal for the kids, so long as I can cook it at one of their houses. I wouldn't have room to serve them all here in the 5ver.

I bought a pair of running shoes that I'm wearing right now. They feel pretty good and Costco's price is right. I don't have enough of the right kind of socks to wear with them, so I bought a package of 6 prs of socks as well. Then I replenished my supply of some of the supplements I take, for example ginko biloba, which is said to improve one's memory, calcium tablets, and glucosamine/chondroitin for my arthritis. I spent about $200 for approx 13 items ($10 of which was tax), but at least I have a good supply of organic diced tomatos on hand - a box of 8 cans should last me for a while. I need a Costco fix every once in a while - I love that place! I did show some restraint though, as there were lots of items I thought about buying but didn't know where I could find room to put them.

To round out my day I checked the propane gauges and emptied the waste tanks.

It is so nice to see the sun today, although I think we will be having a lot more rain during the coming week. I wouldn't mind the rain, but the wind was really blowing it around and I could do without that.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Another journal

This morning I've been working on creating a site to publish my Appalachian Trail Journal and Living in Ireland journal. I have tentatively completed the AT site: http://www.freewebs.com/gypsy97/
For anyone reading it, if any part of it "doesn't work" please let me know. Thanks.

I tried to break it up in sections so it won't be as difficult to read, and the photos won't be published for some time - when I can retrieve them from storage in Asheville. I am upset with myself for leaving them behind, but can't do anything about it now.

It has rained just about most of last night and all morning. I would like to do some laundry, but since Steve hasn't brought my truck back yet I will just wait. It's too heavy to carry down there, especially in the rain.

Steve called to tell me about their weekend. At one point up in the mountains, there was a checkpoint to ensure that all vehicles without 4WD had chains, properly installed. Evidently they were closely checking all vehicles and there was a long line. When it was his turn, the officer just waved him through - no doubt about that big Ford being able to make it! They had a good time and visited several springs - a couple were too hot to sit in, while others were perfect.

I'm anxious to be driving again. I still haven't settled on an RV park for next month, and there is one more I want to see before making a decision. It is way more expensive than it should be, but it's KOA and I'm not totally surprised at that. I tried another KOA in Shingle Springs but was told they do no long term rentals except for people who are temporarily working in the area. The one I can better afford is not my first choice. Something will turn up.

Another journal

This morning I've been working on creating a site to publish my Appalachian Trail Journal and Living in Ireland journal. I have tentatively completed the AT site: http://www.freewebs.com/gypsy97/
For anyone reading it, if any part of it "doesn't work" please let me know. Thanks.

I tried to break it up in sections so it won't be as difficult to read, and the photos won't be published for some time - when I can retrieve them from storage in Asheville. I am upset with myself for leaving them behind, but can't do anything about it now.

It has rained just about most of last night and all morning. I would like to do some laundry, but since Steve hasn't brought my truck back yet I will just wait. It's too heavy to carry down there, especially in the rain.

Steve called to tell me about their weekend. At one point up in the mountains, there was a checkpoint to ensure that all vehicles without 4WD had chains, properly installed. Evidently they were closely checking all vehicles and there was a long line. When it was his turn, the officer just waved him through - no doubt about that big Ford being able to make it! They had a good time and visited several springs - a couple were too hot to sit in, while others were perfect.

I'm anxious to be driving again. I still haven't settled on an RV park for next month, and there is one more I want to see before making a decision. It is way more expensive than it should be, but it's KOA and I'm not totally surprised at that. I tried another KOA in Shingle Springs but was told they do no long term rentals except for people who are temporarily working in the area. The one I can better afford is not my first choice. Something will turn up.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A visit with Natasha & Boris

I had a lovely visit today with Mary & Paul, aka Natasha & Boris. They were on their way back to the Bay area from a rally north of here, and stopped by to see me. Here is a picture of them as well as one of Natasha and me.

I went to their beautiful Class A which they parked outside the Cal Expo gates and we got acquainted, and then they accompanied me over to the RV park and my 5th wheel. I really appreciate them taking the time and trouble to stop, especially in light of the certainty they will run into traffic on their way back to the Bay. It is great to finally meet in person someone you've met in the chat room, and can put a face to the name. Thanks for stopping guys, and I'm sure we'll meet on the road again.

Yesterday Jeannie, Donald & Autumn came over to visit. Donald makes an incredible pizza - dough and sauce from scratch - and brought some to cook here, as well as various snacks. I was entertained by "Autie", my gorgeous, intelligent, and very funny 2 yr old granddaughter. Autie was fascinated with the toilet in the RV and had to go quite often, mostly because she wanted to step on the pedal to flush it!

I can see so much better with my right eye today, not perfect yet, but it gives me confidence that I will soon be back to normal. I can complain about having to use 3 different eyedrops, 5 minutes apart, 4 times a day, and to wear dark glasses outdoors even in rainy overcast weather, and to constantly have to remember to not lean over - but I can see the daily improvement as well as the benefits of getting my good vision restored. I should try not to complain so much, but that is a downside of being single, not having anyone to complain to! I don't need someone to actually listen or respond to my complaints, but just to provide a sounding board. The dogs also wish I had someone else to put up with me!

I got a comment to a recent post from someone asking me if I had kept a journal while hiking the Appalachian Trail and also while living in Ireland. The answer is that I did, but they are in Word documents, and are not in individual posts so the days are just shown one after another. The difficult part of incorporating them into a blog is that I would like to show the 1st day first, 2nd day after that, etc., since I won't be adding to either of them. So it is different than the format of most blogs, where the most recent post is "on top of the list". If anyone can tell me how I can upload a Word document I would appreciate it.

The Ireland journal is incomplete. I lived there for 3 years and during that time I tried to write about events, people and places in my daily life, and about once a week or so I would send the handwritten accounts to my mom. It was a way of keeping in touch with her and she seemed to enjoy them. When she died, my sister gave me a box of envelopes containing the journals, that my mom had kept. Eventually I set out to transcribe them, but realized there were many of them that were missing. I left the box of originals back in my storage in Asheville so I can't check, but I don't think I transcribed all of them that were saved, so it will be a while before I get back to them. Also, my pictures are in storage there. Still I would like to try to set something up and link it to this blog, and the same for the Appalachian Trail journal, the pictures from which are also in storage. Suggestions/comments gratefully accepted and appreciated.

It is nearly doggie walking time and I need to decide what I will have for supper. I thawed chicken and wish I could grill it outdoors but haven't yet bought charcoal. I left my little Smoky Joe grill back in Asheville, and Natasha and Boris graciously and generously gave me theirs. I can't wait to use it - I prefer charcoal over gas any day - and the small size of the Smoky Joe is perfect for me. Hopefully I can use it at Lassen without attracting every bear within 100 miles, but better a bear than a mountain lion! Hopefully Natasha and Boris will visit me while I'm there and I can cook them a meal on it. That invitation goes for any readers who might be able to make the trip to the Northern California wilderness!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wind and rain!

I nearly got up in the middle of the night to pull in the slides because the rig was tossing and turning, but it was just too cozy under the down comforter. I thought it might be cold when I went out with the dogs, but it was just super windy. I was glad I have to wear sunglasses - even though I look ridiculous on a cloudy morning in dark glasses - they offer good protection from the wind and whatever dust particles it might stir up.

My sister stopped by for a visit yesterday afternoon, and my daughter & granddaughter will come by today. I'm usually the one driving to see the family, and it's nice to have visitors come here. I will make a list of things I might need before I get my truck back, as Jeannie is usually up for shopping. The last time we went shopping for pants for me to wear to work at Lassen, her sharp eye kept insisting I try the next size down. It turns out I've been buying pants 2 sizes larger than what I need. I've been wearing what fit me back in the 1990's when I was about 15 pounds heavier.

That's about it for this morning. See ya later.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Steady Improvement

I can notice a difference today in what I can see out of my right eye. If it continues to improve just a little each day (before I go crazy with all the rules), I will be ok. I still forget and lean over sometimes, and when I do I quickly turn my head toward the ceiling, as if that will make a difference! I washed my hair this morning, very carefully, in the shower. I held my head way back and really tried to not get any water near my eye. I don't think I've shut my eyes so tight since my first kiss (which was so long ago I can't even remember who it was with!)

Steve and Megan want to go to one of the hot springs in N. CA for the weekend, and he wants to drive my truck. That is fine with me, but it's now 11:00 am and he still hasn't come by. He was going to leave his car here in case I need it. I don't complain about it anymore and just accept the fact that Sacramentans don't go anywhere early. If I was going somewhere for the weekend you can bet I'd be up and out with the dawn!

I need to visit the recycling bin - they have dumpsters everywhere, but no recycling in this part of the park, and I have to walk way over on the other side. The only bad thing about beer in bottles is that the empties "clink and clank" when going into the bin, and I wait so long to take them it sounds like a lot. If Steve would hurry up and get here I could get him to drop them off!

Friday, February 13, 2009

At home

I'm at home getting better by the minute! In actuality I have a long way to go, but I'm going to be positive about it, if not patient. I think I'll be able to drive soon, if Steve isn't having too much fun driving my truck around.

I called an RV park in West Sacramento and find that they have spaces available. My electric will be metered and I have no idea what that is going to run, but it will give me some good practice in conserving the electric again. The spaces there are all back-ins and I had hoped to be able to get some practice backing the rig up before I needed to do it. With what I'm going through right now I will be glad to have Steve do it, but I know I could if I had to.

Steve is getting the bug to buy a camper, although he hasn't narrowed down yet what kind he will get. He's been looking at pop-ups, trailers & truck campers on craigs list. A lot will be determined by what Megan will agree to him getting.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Technological frustrations

I don't know why, but anytime I need to access something online, such as air card bill (AT&T), cell phone bill (Verizon) or even some of the RVer forums, I have problems logging in -- my user id doesn't exist; it exists but doesn't match the password entered; on and on and on..... I am SO sick of dealing with this issue of userid's and passwords, and I even keep a Word document with each and every id & password I use. I'm to the point where I'm going to start using profanity for passwords! I have always been able to access and post to the Escapees forum topics, but lately I can't because they have no record of who I am. So while the forum has been extremely valuable in terms of information I've gotten from it, I'm removing it from my Bookmarks. Does anyone but me have the same rotten luck with computer id's & passwords?

I am finally back home and very happy to be here. It is just so much more comfortable being in your own home - I can make a mess in the kitchen, for one thing. I also have two thirds of a pkg of Oreos calling my name. Steve brought the dogs and me home, but will bring my truck back another time. I don't feel like driving it yet as the dark glasses I have to wear outside cut down on the clarity of vision. I actually see well at a distance but that is because my left eye is still in pretty good shape. Reading is still a problem. He also gave me a choke collar for Lady, and I think I'm going to use it because I could get hurt if she pulls on the leash hard enough.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The day after

I can't read much of what I type, so this will be brief. I saw the dr this morning and he removed the patch from my eye - it was driving me crazy! He is very pleased with what I could read on the chart, and said I was probably a couple of weeks ahead of schedule. I'm surprised, though, at how little I can do yet - I knew within a few minutes of the patch coming off that I couldn't drive or be alone, so I'mgoing to stay at Steve |& Megan's house for another day.

Thanks to everyone for their kind thoughs and prayers, and I'll be back online soon.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday's Quick Entry

I'm not going to write much as I'm getting ready to go have my hair cut. Yaay! I currently resemble a sheepdog.

I am so frustrated with the bedroom overhead cabinets and I just thought I'd whine a bit about it. On the side wall opposite the bed, there is a nice row of drawers with vanity top -- six spacious drawers in all. The part I hate is that there are three overhead cabinets above, and I invariably close one of the bottom drawers, straighten up, and hit my head on the overheads. It's even worse when I have forgotten to close the overhead door. I am going to knock myself silly one of these days, or worse.

So with that, I'm going back to my usual happy optimistic self today, and wish you all a pleasant day. I probably won't be back until Wednesday, when I will be SO glad to have this over with.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sleeping in today

I bought four pairs of pants and a belt yesterday, so I have just about everything I need for work this summer. Jeannie got some new maternity clothes, and we also shopped for a few other things.

Joe & Sarah hosted the dinner last night - steak, potatos & asparagus. I haven't had a steak for quite a while and really enjoyed it. It was cooked to perfection! Just being together is the best part.

This morning I walked the dogs and came back and crawled into bed again. I got up once in a while to drink another cup of coffee, and now I'm going back to bed! I haven't taken this lazy of a day for quite some time. I've been using the eyedrops in preparation for the surgery on Tuesday. I may add more today but if not, I'll be back tomorrow.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Eye surgery coming up

My eye surgery can't happen fast enough to suit me. I received a call from the doctor's office confirming the date, this coming Tuesday, and reiterating some things I have to do, such as take no aspirin from now until Tuesday. I also decided to just get the regular lens implant, rather than the one that is for distance & close up vision. Most of the time I don't use glasses to read as it is right now - I see the computer screen and just about everything except very small print.

I wanted to get my hair cut before next week, but haven't been able to find a walk-in salon. My daughter just called me from her hairdresser's salon and told me she had a cancellation on Monday at 10:30 if I wanted it. Perfect! It will cost me more than I paid in Asheville, but I skipped a haircut since the last one so it all evens out.

I treated my hiking boots with SnoSeal this afternoon - a waterproofing treatment - and they look gorgeous. I will be able to walk through creeks and keep my feet dry!

I stopped at a grocery this morning for a few items and broke down and bought a package of Oreos. I rarely eat snacks or desserts, but just once in a while I get a craving for something sweet. Jeannie and I are going to the Folsom Outlet Mall tomorrow morning and I'm sure we will have to stop by a frozen yogurt place that's been recommended to her. I am picking up some bad habits!

I am hoping to find some brown or khaki pants to wear as part of my uniform for Lassen. I also need a brown belt. I may have mentioned I left a beautiful brown leather belt back in storage because I assured myself, "I ain't never gonna tuck my shirt in again".

Every day I see another Nu Wa Hitchhiker coming or going into the park. I didn't see as many back in the east as I have right here in northern California. There are some beautiful rigs, as mine will be if I ever get it cleaned up.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The laptop is fixed!

I picked up my laptop this morning as the keyboard had to be replaced. I tried it out, and after getting reacquainted with my desktop, I don't like the laptop at all. It might be different if it had the Windows XP operating system, but I can't do anything with Vista. Somehow the icons were changed around, and the look of the Firefox page was also different. I am glad to have it on hand as a backup, as well as to carry with me this summer when I get to a town or someplace to access the internet.

I stopped at REI to check out hand held GPS systems. It has been suggested by my dear youngest brother that I might need to have one of these for when I hike the trails at Lassen. The prices are outrageous, and to be worth anything at all to me, the lower price models need map software added, to the tune of an additional $100. I have just about decided that since I carry a compass and can read a topo map I will do ok, although I am keeping an open mind to the GPS. I do like having one in the truck.

I decided to fix myself a bacon & tomato sandwich for lunch today. I had two tomatos on hand a couple of days ago and used one. When I went to get the remaining tomato from the fridge I discovered it was a tangerine, a big round one that was the color of a tomato. I ended up with a nice bacon sandwich!

I think if I have a shred of self-respect, I will get off this computer and do a bit of housekeeping! See ya later.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wednesday is Wash Day-No Day is Ironing Day!

I finally did laundry today. It's a job I never minded until I began living in an RV, but I don't think I would want a washer/dryer in the RV at that. I loaded up the basket and took it to the Cal Expo park laundromat. It takes about 30 minutes for a wash, and 45 minutes to dry, and I did come back to the RV for lunch while the clothes were drying. Now all I have to do is to put them all away and put the clean sheets on the bed.

Then I went to Safeway. My goodness, they have incredibly high prices. It is the supermarket closest to where I am now, and I only needed a few items, but I skipped half of what was on my list because of the prices. Most of the milk on their shelves was within a week of the "sell by" date. The employees were all super friendly and helpful, but I think I will shop at other stores from now on. My favorite would be the Food Co-op because everything is organic and fresh, but the parking is a problem, especially with the long bed and duallies.

I included a picture I took this morning, and hope it gets inserted in the right place in the blog. That is my 5ver, and you can see the grandstand of the race track further back and across the fence. Because of the direction of the sun, it isn't easy to get the photo that I'd like. I've tried on other days and different times of day, but I'm not satisfied with the pics. You can double click to make the picture larger and the grandstand more visible. Maybe it's the cataract, but I can't see much of the picture at this size, so please enlarge it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Propane is flowing again!

When Steve finally got in touch with me he was calling from somewhere north of here, where he had been today on business. I just decided I would at least remove the tanks from the RV and get them into the truck. I did that pretty quickly, and then made up my mind to go get them filled. I was able to lift one back into the truck, heavy as it was, and the man who filled them put the other one into the truck and I started back home. I got them out and sitting on the ground next to the RV, trying to figure out what to do next, when Steve drove up and told me how to maneuver them into the small compartment and to hook up the valves. He had to help me with the second one, but in essence I did most everything myself! I decided if I couldn't take care of this one, basic part of RV living, then I should sign myself into Assisted Living somewhere. But they are HEAVY!

I think it's like emptying the waste tanks - once you have to do it by yourself you see how it really isn't all that difficult. With the propane though, the gauges make the small space just that much tighter, but I will survive! I thought to myself, "Damn, I'm Good!!! "

Will I ever learn?

There is one aspect to RVing that I absolutely despise, and that is having to use propane. It's a dirty word as far as I'm concerned. After I spent $20 each for 2 gauges that work fine in letting me know how much is left in the tank, I have run out on both tanks. I think because I can't lift the full tanks up to the truck, and I'm not sure about lifting them up into the RV compartment, I wait until my son can take me over to get them filled. He does so much for me already and I hate to ask him. And now with the gauges on the tanks, it takes some maneuvering to get them in and out for refilling, so I'm even less likely to do it. I know I will have to do it myself at some point, but I'll deal with that when I get to it.

I have two 30# tanks; the tanks themselves probably don't weigh 20# apiece; I once carried a 50-55# backpack and hiked 900 miles up and down mountains with it. What is wrong with me now that I can't hoist a tank of propane. (Did someone just whisper "Old age"?)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Cooking in an RV

I wonder if other RVers have as much difficulty when they cook in their rigs. I seem to have so little space, although I have adequate counter space to look at it, but I have a real mess in no time. I made sopa this afternoon, a Portuguese kale soup. Not difficult, not a lot of ingredients, but when I rinsed the kale in preparation for making the soup I got water everywhere - the floor, the countertops, the stove top and on myself! Chopping the kale was another mess - those little bits get everywhere and I will be finding them for a week. The potatos didn't cause too much trouble, thankfully. What I have now is a wonderful pot of soup, and I will cut slices of french bread, slather them with butter, sprinkle parmesan & mozzarella cheese on them and brown them in my toaster oven. Soup and bread, and I might even have a glass of wine (which I will drink from a champagne glass). A meal for the gods! I cook easy and quick meals with mostly fresh ingredients, but if I ever try anything gourmet I will have to hire Merry Maids to come in and clean up after me!

Gotta stop shopping!

I have sworn off shopping, but fell off the wagon this morning. I went to REI and bought a very nice (and very expensive) topographic map for Lassen, which shows all the trails, roads, jeep roads, etc. in the park. I also bought a book of the Lassen hiking trails. While browsing the book in the store I glanced at the section on wildlife in the park under "Be Mountain Lion Alert". "Recognizing threatening mountain lion behavior" and "Do not approach a mountain lion" were two mesmerising paragraphs. You can be absolutely sure I won't approach a mountain lion! One of the suggestions in the event a mountain lion should be closer than 50ft, is to "look around for some sticks and rocks to throw". I always carry a cheap plastic whistle when I hike, and if a mountain lion gets too close to me I will blast his ears out! In reality, I might also freeze on the spot and turn, like Lot's wife, into a pillar of salt!

I also got some boot treatment for my hiking books, so I will get them all cleaned up and in order.

I received the volunteer handbook in the electronic version, and printed out the first section. I will have to ask them about wearing jeans as they don't mention it under the suggested pants to be worn. They will provide the uniform shirts though, plus hat.

Lastly, I bought a big bottle of Benadryl allergy tablets. I have just taken one - I'd forgotten that just about every season of the year there is something blooming in California, and if you don't have allergies when you get here you won't have to wait long for them to take hold. I wanted them in case I am stung by an insect while I'm at the park - you may remember that last summer back in Asheville I got stung on two different occasions - one sending me to the doctor in a hurry. At least I will have something I can take if I need it, and also have Benadryl cream from last year.

Everyone knows that planning and getting ready for a journey is sometimes as much fun as arriving at the destination. I think that must be the case right now for me, as I am absolutely in heaven in the planning for this journey, and I know I'm going to love it once I arrive.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

More on Lassen

When Steve came over yesterday to fix the fenderskirt, he brought mail for me from Lassen Park. It was a volunteer agreement that I had to sign and return, and then they will sign it and send me a copy. So now I am legit! They also asked about uniform items, and it seems I will get a shirt plus name tag and hat. I usually dislike wearing a hat but I know how the California sun can burn you in a hurry. Plus after getting a cataract removed I sure don't want to hasten the deterioration of the other eye, so I will wear the hat. And sunscreen!

I drove over to Jeannie's today to pick up a couple of packages that came for me - one is a set of Patagonia capilene long underwear from Campmor, which I probably won't use while I'm in California. Now I have two sets and can withstand the cold anywhere! I also got 6 pr of hiking sock liners from Sierra Trading Post. I know I packed brown & black shoe polish, plus a waterproofing for my hiking boots, but I have not been able to find it as yet. I'll need to go get some Nikwax or other treatment for the boots. I plan to wear them all the time as they are as comfortable as anything I own. Then when I come back to my rig and relax, the feeling of taking the boots off and putting on sandals is the greatest comfort in the world.

When Steve took the fenderskirt out of the box yesterday, he told me I should go inside. I asked why, and he replied, "I don't want anyone to see how easy this is." He had it done quickly and easily, and it looks so nice. Then he got the slide-out windows open for me. They just needed an extra tug and I just wasn't exerting enough pressure to get them open. We looked at the entertainment center and discussed how and where I could put the computer and printer. He was all for getting rid of the boombox until he hit PLAY on the tape that I had in the tape deck. He found the control for speakers and told me to go up into the bedroom - Jerry Garcia sang to me in all parts of the 5ver - the bedroom, the kitchen, I suppose there are speakers in every nook and cranny - enough to get me thrown out of an RV park! Steve decided I should keep the boom box!

I got him though, when I asked him to help me check the water in the batteries. I didn't know how much trouble it would be to get the caps off. He gave me this strange look when I mentioned checking water in the batteries, and said solemnly, "I don't know how". It hit me then - he only has had experience with sealed batteries (or whatever they are called) and doesn't remember the old kind. He was born in 1975, and I guess by the time he got to the age where he learned about cars they were using the newer batteries. So us "oldies but goodies" are good for something once in a while.

A little about Jerry and me - in 1985 my husband and I and the 4 kids all went to church one Sunday morning. It was a rare event because the kids usually liked to sleep in and go to a later service or the evening service, but we were all together this time. Driving home we saw smoke in the area of our street, and thought it was just a summer brush fire over by the river. We turned into our street to see flames coming out of our roof. Just about every item in the house was either destroyed by fire, smoke, or water damage, and the entire second floor had to be rebuilt. We stayed at my Mom's house that night, and the next day I was at our house to assess the damage and decide where to begin listing everything for the insurance claim. It was devastating, and I was at a low point in my life. On the drive back to my mom's I had the radio on, and the song playing was the Grateful Dead's "Touch of Grey", with the refrain of "I will survive". I knew then it was a message for me that I could handle whatever needed to be done. I've loved Jerry Garcia with all my heart from then on. And by the way, the only thing that made me cry about losing all the contents of my house was the thought of the pictures of all my babies. They were in albums in the living room guest closet, the only place in the house that was relatively intact from water damage. They survived!

Enough reminiscing for today.