Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Friday, July 30, 2010

Test Results

I don't have time this evening to write a regular entry, but I did want to share my test results. Everything was just about perfect, and I still can't believe it. Maybe my lightheadedness is due to not eating enough nor at regular intervals. I can't think of anything else.

The real shocker to me was my total cholesterol level. All my life it has hovered around 240 and usually above that. Last year it came down to 192 and I was thrilled. Anyone want to take a guess what it is now? 156 !!! Since I eat anything I want (although I have just tended to get away from red meat but still eat it once in a while), I don't use anything called lite, lo fat, or lo cal, but pour 1/2 & 1/2 into my coffee, use real butter, cheese, etc., so I can only attribute the gradual lowering of cholesterol to the fact that for the past 5 or more years I have taken 3 fish oil capsules a day, 1000mg each. I use Kirkland brand which I buy at Costco although I have used other brands when there has been no Costco nearby, such as when at Savannah last year.

For those who are fighting cholesterol problems and think they must do without decent tasting food, maybe you should try the fish oil capsules. Drugs such as Lipitor may work a bit faster although there are side effects that I've never experienced with the fish oil. Of course my experience is my own and others may not derive the same benefits, but I'm sure happy about this reading. I am in no way trying to give medical advice, but just to share what I've encountered. YMMV (your mileage may vary).

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Baby shower this weekend

Wednesday, 7/28
I went with Jeannie this evening (Wednesday) to Babys-R-Us to shop for things for the upcoming baby shower we're having for Megan, Steve & Baby Liam this coming Saturday. I'm always totally amazed at how this industry has grown since my kids were babies, and it's fun to look at what is available now. I'm just glad I wasn't faced with the high cost of things today.

Tomorrow morning I am going to try to see the doctor at Urgent Care, after talking to my sister who is a nurse about my possible potassium deficiency. She convinced me that I shouldn't self-diagnose or self-treat in this case, so I will bite the bullet and see the doctor. About 3 years ago I needed a doctor while in CA and went to Urgent Care, which happens to be less than a mile from Jeannie's house. I really liked and trusted the doctor there at the time, and a google search for him showed he is still at that location. Maybe I'll get lucky and find him on duty tomorrow.

Then I will get all the ingredients I need for two dishes I'm going to contribute to Saturday's festivities. I haven't made either of them since I was still married to Bill and living in Cincinnati, which would be before 1983, and I just hope I haven't lost my touch. They were sort of specialties of mine, which hurts double when you can't make the grade any longer.

My heart sank when I arrived home about 10 pm, as the guy next door and the couple upstairs were all outside talking (loudly) and obviously sloshed. I figured it would be a rowdy night ahead, but miraculously an hour later I don't hear a thing. I hope they've all passed out for the night.

I started this blog tonight and will pick it up tomorrow. It's much easier to type it as it moves along than to try to remember what happened.

Thursday, 7/29
Jeanne was off work today so we spent the day at Costco and other stores, shopping for the last minute food items for the shower. I brought my ingredients home and am now making tons of little meatballs in a chili sauce/grape jelly sauce. Many of you will remember this old standby - it always went over big when I served it and I'm hoping the magic will be there still. Tomorrow morning I'm doing a cream cheese ring topped with chili sauce and crab meat. I haven't made the meatballs in years, and Bill always wanted to help. He was great in the kitchen and minced the onions much finer than I would have had the patience to do it. We always got along great while cooking and traveling - otherwise we had a tough time which was probably the fault of both of us.

I went to the Urgent Care center this morning promptly when they opened. The doctor I hoped to see wasn't on duty today, but the one who was there was equal if not better. He took lots of time to chat with me, including talking about my difficulty in finding a doctor since I've been traveling. He wrote out a paper with the name of a local doctor who he thought I would like. He understood completely that I needed someone to call "my doctor" even though I was not living in any one area most of the time, so I think he must feel the recommended doctor will be the same.

I came out of the Center walking on a cloud, as if a great weight had been lifted. They drew blood for numerous tests, including a metabolic panel and others I can't remember. I should get the results by tomorrow evening or over the weekend. The Urgent Care Center is open 24/7, so I can call them to find out the results if I haven't heard anything by late tomorrow.

It is ironic that although I am bone tired this evening and will be even more so in the next 24 hours, I feel great! It's a matter of having a purpose and being enthused about something. It probably has a lot to do with looking forward to finding a doctor who I trust to diagnose what has been causing me problems, and then helping to fix it. I must have been in quite a fog lately, because several readers have recommended seeing a doctor but I still wasn't convinced. It took my R.N. sister (Julie) telling me in no uncertain terms what I should do. I'm 18 years older than Julie and I normally don't take telling what to do from many people, much less my siblings, but for some reason all the voices came together and I'm glad I was able to listen. So I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Fair and other things

First of all I need to address the comments I've received about turning on my a/c. It is 12:30 pm as I'm writing this, and 72F inside my apartment, 73 outdoors. It won't begin to get hot outside until around 3-5 pm, and usually reaches the peak at 6:00 or later. This morning it was 51 and I was actually cold when walking Lady. My apartment almost always stays cool the entire day - it's when I need to go outdoors that the heat just kills me, and that would be exacerbated by coming from a/c. Unfortunately, it's when I have to walk the dog around 4 pm that I really suffer. Also, the outside temp keeps me from wanting to go anywhere, and having a/c on in the house wouldn't help much. I simply could not bear it at night, although the noise would help block out the upstairs shenanigans. Unless you've ever lived in Sacramento in the summer you can't imagine the difference between day and night here, with the coolest being in the early morning hours, and that's when I open the front door to catch as much fresh cool air as I can. Normally I can leave the windows open throughout the house, and if I can feel heat coming in one of them I merely shut it.

Yesterday was the first time I've been to a state fair since the 1970's/1980's. We tried to go to the Ohio State Fair every year, but oh, how different it was then. We started off with the sheep & goats, dairy animals, swine, cattle, and horses. Each of those had its own huge building plus outdoor exhibits. The highlight for Bill and me, and of course the kids, was that each building featured a mother with babies. The little piglets were probably the cutest, but they all were mesmerizing to watch.

We usually took in a commercial building or two, sat in the Niagara chairs, stuck our hands in the Calgon soft water exhibit, and listened to the incredible product descriptions. Believe it or not, I found some of the best products I ever tried right there at the fair. We first heard of and bought a T-Fal skillet that lasted nearly forever. And a kitchen knife demonstration convinced my husband to buy it, and although it was an ordinary knife to me, he loved it. In fact, when we were separating in 1989 and dividing the household goods, Bill first called the knife. I don't know which of the kids has it now, but they will no doubt pass it on to their children for sentimental reasons.

We never went near the rides. The Massey Ferguson exhibit was enough to keep my kids happy. They were in their teens before they ever heard of a Midway! They still can't figure out how I steered them clear of it. Bill was enough of a kid to probably want to go to the Midway, but he never said a word - I led the family through the maze of buildings, exhibits, food stands, etc., just like a dictator, and no one ever argued with me!

California's fair has a lot of food stands, some of which are plain disgusting. This year's new hot item is chocolate covered bacon, and I can tell you the two aromas don't mix well so I can only imagine the taste. There are lots of stages set up with live entertainment, and the downside of that is the huge speakers which are designed to ruin your hearing, if it hasn't been ruined already. The upside is that big fans are everywhere with misters that spray a fine mist of water, thus keeping things a lot cooler than they would otherwise be.

Here is a picture of Autumn's ballet group - she is about 4th from the left, with the yellow tutu. I think it is so funny to see that these little girls are all doing something different and facing in different directions.

Here are the tap dancers - this time Autie is about 4th from the right. They did a Shirley Temple number - "Baby Take a Bow".

The dance studio teaches ballet, tap, jazz, and gymnastics, ages from about 3 to 22, and the hour-long program featured some of the best I've ever seen in young folks. The gymnastics was saved for last, and boys and girls of all ages went through the most incredible demonstration of agility and grace. It was also refreshing to see the older kids perform classical ballet, to honest to god music fit to hear. I get more rock and rap than I care for, and it was nice to hear some classical music as well as to see the kids enjoying it. I'm very glad I went, and it was not easy for me to drive over, park the truck and then try to find my family, with the worst being the loud music you could hear throughout the park.

There was also a building that had an exhibit of art work done by ages from approx. 9 to 18. I am stunned by how talented some of them are, and again it's a look at some of the best of youth, which we often forget is there.

California State Fair

I went over to the State Fairgrounds at CalExpo this afternoon, as my granddaughter's tap dance and ballet class were featured on one of the stages. I am too tired to write a blog this evening, so I will cover it tomorrow.

Also, I realize there are a number of comments I've recently received on my blog that I need to respond to, and I promise I will get to it as soon as I can. There will be a baby shower for Steve & Meg and baby Liam on Saturday at Jeannie's house, and I will be trying to help with that, so I expect this week is going to be pretty much taken up with family stuff.

I have been having an awful time with my internet connection lately - it takes forever for anything to load, and it is usually pretty fast. I don't know if it's something in the atmosphere or in the computer, but it's driving me crazy.

I'll catch y'all tomorrow.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Some online research leads me to think I may have a potassium deficiency, so I was off to Costco early this morning. It turns out they don't sell potassium supplements OTC. While I was in the store I bought a cushy kitchen floor mat, reasoning that if I am more comfortable standing in front of the stove, I may be apt to do more cooking. It sounds like a good idea anyway.

I then made my way to a store that I know carries a lot of supplements and found what I wanted. They only come in 99 mg tablets, which the label says is only 3% of RDA. I bought a bottle and when I got back home I did more research which informed me that the government doesn't approve anything higher than 99mg so that's the strength they come in, while requirements can be in the range of 3500 grams a day! I will start out by taking 2 with every meal, and then I plan to see a doctor when I'm in NY, and possibly get prescription strength potassium, if in fact that is what I need. The list of deficiency symptoms covers a lot of what I've been noticing, especially leg cramps throughout the night.

Further research shows that a banana contains about 450 mg of potassium, and I try to eat them several times a week but I still have problems. So I really do need to get something that is prescription strength.

Now I need to clean the kitchen floor so that I can use my new mat. While I doubt I will love it to the extent of wanting to slave over a hot stove all day, I think I will like standing on it, and it certainly will give some pizzazz to my kitchen.

I'm going to go back to my map studying. I've already altered the route somewhat to get me off a long stretch of interstate. Thanks Sandie for your recommendations. This is almost as much fun as the actual trip, but only "almost".

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Noise Reduction Problems

I think I'm having difficulties from using the earplugs to minimize the night-time noise here. (The TV upstairs was still on at 5 am, although at low volume. But if I can hear it, it isn't low enough.)

Nearly all day yesterday I had quick dizzy spells and sensed a loss of equilibrium. A google check indicated that dizzy spells aren't usually life threatening, but can be from a couple of different causes, including vertigo. I have never had vertigo but I don't think my symptoms matched it. What I was feeling could have been due to allergy problems which are rampant now (my black truck is yellow from the pollen ) and possibly something to do with the inner ear.

I tried a fleece headband that is among my backpacking gear, but it doesn't work. There are sound-reduction headbands available but they seem to start at around $60. I'm going to try the plugs again but not insert them very far into my ear, and see what happens.

At one point I thought about going to the emergency room, but decided against it. I have to be pretty convinced that I'm dying to go anywhere near the medical profession. Things are better today, so I'll just wait and see.

I know some would suggest I complain about the noise, but look at it from my perspective as well as how everyone else here would view it. An older woman complains about the stereo and TV of 20-something neighbors. You know where the sentiment would lie. I hope I wasn't this inconsiderate when I was in my 20's, and I fervently hope this isn't payback.

By the time I set off on a trip my new maps are going to be pretty dog-eared. I sat out in the cool morning in my lounger and looked longingly at my planned route as well as the state maps to see where I might be able to switch to some of the back roads. There seem to be a lot of unpaved roads in Montana, and I'd like to steer clear of those if I can, although my F-350 would certainly be up to it.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A New Friend, and Triptik arrived!

What a day this is turning out to be! This morning Susan (What's up with Susan and Company) and I met at The Bistro in Fair Oaks Village, where we talked non-stop for 3 hours! Susan is in the process of researching and planning to be a fulltime RVer, and it turns out that she lives only a short distance from me. Thank you Judy (of Travels with Emma) for noticing and getting us together.

When I got home I checked for mail, and to my delight my AAA Triptik had arrived. I have given it a quick glance through and am beyond satisfied with it. Together with the Regional and State maps, plus my GPS, I will have a wonderful trip around the country assuming I have something to make the trip in, such as a nice truck camper, T@B or other small trailer. I've even seen a small Airstream that I could envision myself traveling with.

As always, it usually doesn't matter what my plans are, whatever I need will unfold when the time is right. Too bad my patience falters all too often.

Again I would like to thank the readers of my blog for hanging with me, and especially to thank those of you who comment on what I write. Often a comment will make me go back to read what I wrote and I am sometimes surprised at the way I came across. I try to be aware of what readers might think, but don't always realize the different meanings that can be gotten from a paragraph.

As a case in point, I wrote that I am unreasonably tired and lethargic, which is true except for when I have something to do. I also think back to my workamping jobs at Lassen and Ft. Pulaski last year, and I certainly had enough energy to spare. I am beginning to realize that a big part of my problem is not having anything to do, or not being needed. It can also be just plain boredom, which can open a tiny crevice through which depression can work its way in. And as I have said previously, the heat is getting to me, and I don't have the desire to cook so I often don't eat enough to keep up my energy. I just don't know what to do about that.

I have been an optimist at the core of my being for nearly all my life, and I just hate it when life's situations can sometimes make me forget who I am. So thanks again for all who stay with me through the good times and not so good times, bear my rants and raves (you can always just opt to not read a post) and rejoice with me at the very high points of my life and travels.

And for all my complaining about Sacramento, mostly the summer weather, I have loved being so close to my children and grandchildren here. And now, after just getting the latest portraits of my two grandsons in NY, I can hardly wait to see them in a couple of months. So I know that travel in some form or another will be what I live for, as long as I can do it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Assembly complete, well nearly

I managed to get the main part of the patio storage box put together, but can't get the hinge straps attached. The whole thing was made difficult by the fact that the plastic pieces bowed slightly, I guess from sitting in the box, and it wasn't easy to make all the ends meet properly. Everything just snaps together. I wish I could say it looks good, but my opinion is that it looks like a piece of crap!

I probably have put way too much stuff in it already - two tents plus poles (heavy); two air mattresses, coleman stove and lantern, and a bunch of things I've already forgotten about. I still have a few items sitting over in a back corner that I just don't dare add to the box. It is so flimsy that I'm sure the bottom of it will buckle eventually, and I imagine I will have to toss it in the trash when I move from here. But right now, it holds a lot of camping gear out of sight.

I say this every time I buy something that has to be put together, and that is "I will never again buy anything with assembly required".

The heat is really getting me down, and it isn't nearly as hot as it has been (93 right now). For some reason I'm really feeling it, and the dog seems to want to sniff everything in the hot sun - never anything under a shady tree! She needs a good brushing since she rolled around in the dry grass this afternoon - her favorite thing to do - but I'm just too tired.

In 2004 I had to have a stent implanted in a blocked artery, and I have never felt the same since then. I used to be a fireball of energy, always having to be moving and with a very high metabolism. Now I want to do very little, or just take a lot of naps. I get plenty of sleep at night (especially since I discovered earplugs) so I can't understand why I need a couple of naps during the day. I'm sure it's not going to get any better; the surgery went well and did what it was supposed to do, but I'm wondering if any readers has experienced this. I'm too young to feel this worn out.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What if?

Today I decided to amuse myself by pondering what I will do for the future in the event my 5th wheel doesn't sell. It's still early days as I signed the contract on June 4, and it runs for 120 days, renewable at the agreement of both parties for another 120 days. But I can't avoid the fact that I might be stuck with it, so I decided to consider if I would ever live in it again.

I came up with a resounding, "NO"! There are a number of things I would have to get if I went back into it, including 3 new tires, plus all the hoses and connectors. I tossed everything when I cleaned it out, including disposing of all hoses. I thought at the time maybe I should keep some of them as they were fairly new, including a lexan connector for the waste hose, which can be handy. But I decided I never wanted to deal with a hose again, so I threw them all out.

If I get a truck camper I will obviously have to get hoses, and use them, which is why the idea of throwing camping gear into the back of my pickup truck is so appealing. I think I could get used to showering at a campground shower, but whether I would want to do that all the time in all weather is another question. When I've been at CalExpo I notice a lot of RVers leave their luxury motorhomes and 5th wheels to use the campground showers. Maybe they just don't want to get their waste tanks dirty, and maybe they don't want to deal with the hoses. I don't know, but I've used CG showers a few times and haven't found them objectionable. If I came across one that was dirty and yukky looking, I simply would wait until the next one I came across.

But it isn't just the plumbing system that makes me certain I don't want to go back into the 5th wheel. I never did hitch and unhitch a lot to begin with, because I simply hated doing it by myself. I disconnected it was when I was at a workamping site and knew I would be there for several months. I loved the workamping experiences I had, and can't help but looking now and then to see what is going to be available that's in a location I would like to be in for a while. I'm not sure I want to do it anymore; the downside is that I grow tired of it after about two months so I have a month left to work when my heart isn't always in it and I'm thinking more and more of the road calling to me. The upside is the free rent and utilities while committed to a job, plus meeting some very nice people. I don't mind being alone, but I'm better off having contact with people which I've realized since I retired.

I'm still fairly confident the 5ver will sell in the next month or two, and that the dealer will extend the consignment for another 120 days if it doesn't sell. That would give me breathing room to figure out what to do when my lease is up. I really like the apartment and location; I really don't like summer in Sacramento; the place was fairly low key and quiet until the woman who lived upstairs moved and was replaced by the current couple (and they aren't all that bad most of the time--just from about midnight on for a few hours, and the earplugs are a good compromise for my state of mind.) Note: The problem is that my living room is in front, whereas their bedroom is in front and over my living room. My bedroom is right under their living room. Nobody can help that, it's just the way it's set up.

If it doesn't sell I might just try to find a dealer who will buy it outright.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sacramento musings

As I've mentioned before, I don't go out very often. Maybe it's a good thing I don't because today when I was driving 2 miles to the grocery I thought for sure I would witness a multi-vehicle accident resulting in more than one death. I was traveling on a busy 3-lane road, and around me sped two vehicle, car A in front of truck B. The truck wanted to pass the car, but every time he started to move to the right or the left, the car would move to block him. On a couple of occasions the truck had to swerve into another lane in front of other cars just to avoid a crash but nearly causing one.

I immediately dropped back in traffic thinking it was going to get deadly. Truck B finally got around car A, and darned if he didn't pull the same stunt. Where are the police when you need them! I was happy to turn off at the grocery and let these two jokers play their games.

Thank goodness I bought some earplugs because I have to use them nearly every night. The young couple upstairs seem to be very nice but they keep strange hours, and I'm not sure if or when they work at regular jobs. He came home at 11:30 last night and I had to laugh because I could hear him hiccup and then belch all the way up the steps and after he got into his apartment. He is a slight young man but must walk with a heavy foot, and he clumped around the apartment until the girl came home about midnight.

She speaks in a very loud voice and must have been in the bar last night also. I usually can't make out what they are saying, nor do I want to, but no one could miss the fact that the lady drops the "F" word constantly. Now I really don't find the word objectionable, but I honestly think it shows a lack of creativity and good language skills if you use it more than 5 times in a sentence. Back to the couple upstairs, they turn on music or the TV very late (like 1:45 a.m.) which usually wakes me up, and I just pull the earplugs out from under the pillow where I keep them, and the peace is maintained.

And finally, it's gettng to be a joke to see my spam folder, which fills up daily with offers to buy rolex watches and most of all, drugs. If any readers feel slighted because they don't get these good offers, I can send you some. I have never erected anything except a tent or a screen house, and I don't need drugs to do that.

Tomorrow I am going to tackle putting together a storage box I bought at least a month ago for the patio. I re-read the instructions today and I think I can deal with it except for the hinged lid, but I will go as far with it as I can.

Lastly for today, I have to tell you that I have a humingbird who visits my feeder and who is the biggest show-off in the hummingbird world. When I'm sitting outside he will fly up and perch on the edge of the feeder, then back off and hover with his wings ablur, and he really puts on quite a show for me. As soon as I aim my camera he flies off, but will come back as soon as I set it down and go through the show all over again. I know I'm being teased, but by a bird?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dogs and the heat

I love my dog but she can be aggravating. Here is what I faced this morning when I walked into the bathroom. She got nosy when I came back with the camera, but originally she was completely stretched out and her head blocked the front of the toilet. Sometimes in the middle of the night she is there, and sometimes by my bed where I can trip over her, but I have learned to be careful and look for a large dark spot on the floor.

A word about comments, sometimes I get comments I'd like to respond to by email, but I can't obtain the person's email address. If I've ever corresponded privately with readers, then the comment can be responded to privately. I get a notification via email of all comments to my blog, but in most cases the email is from
"Commenter's name noreply-comment@blogger.com" I think if I just reply in the normal way, it won't get back to you. Often I will try to go to your blog, if you have one, and look for an email address there, but in most cases there is none. I even went to my own blog to see if my address was posted and I can't find any evidence that it is. For anyone who wants to write me personally, my email is:
gypsy97 at gmail com. Hopefully you know how to edit this address to send me an email.

Speaking of comments, I've had several recently urging me to use my A/C. Living in Cincinnati, Ohio for many years, I know about high temperatures together with humidity. When we had our first central a/c installed, the tech told us to let it run 24/7 because it could take 24 hours to remove the excess humidity from a home, but if you turned it off at night and opened the windows you were letting humidity right back in. Your a/c had to work harder and you had to pay more.

In California the humidity is very low in summertime. Sacramento is usually blessed with what they call the Delta breeze, which is very cool air coming up the Sacramento Delta from San Francisco Bay. If I have my geography a little wrong, I will stand corrected if you'd like to comment. All I know is that it is very cool and dry overnight. The temps may reach 100 during the day, to drop to 60 at night.

Because of the layout of my small apartment it usually stays fairly cool, even during the hot part of the day, and I've never experienced it going above 80 degrees. Yes, I could turn the A/C on and set it to 70 or 75 when it is 100 outside, but I'd be afraid of my health going out to walk the dog, with the heat hitting me like a ton of hot bricks. It's much easier and just as comfortable for me to stay relatively still in an apartment that is 20 degrees cooler than the outside temp. Now if I did much housework or other physical activity to speak of, that would be another story, but I don't work up much of a sweat looking at or typing on the computer.

Now this is just my experience and opinion - we all have to keep ourselves comfortable to the best of our ability. If it ever gets too much for me, I will crank up the old A/C.

I'd like to grumble just a bit before I hit "Publish Post", and that is about magazines. Take your pick as they are all the same. Why do the publishers waste money on slick paper that is difficult to separate and turn pages. In my forwarded mail today was an AARP bulletin and a Trailer Life Magazine. I wish I could quit receiving both of them, but I noticed from the label that AARP will continue to haunt me with their magazines until Oct. 2013. I honestly don't know how that could be possible, because I never renew a subscription for more than 2 years at a time. I'm not going to tempt fate and pay for something I might not live long enough to use!

I have been receiving trailer life for about a year beyond my "last issue" paid for. They could save their money because I leaf through it once in a while and then throw it away. It sure leaves a lot to be desired, and I think it's a waste of whatever materials they use in the publishing of this piece of junk.

As far as AARP goes, I am definitely not interested in how celebrities deal with turning 50! I used to have my auto insurance with them and they assured me in response to several phone calls that if I sold my vehicle I would not be assessed a penalty. I sold my Jeep in late 2008 and darned if they didn't charge me $150 for cancelling in the middle of the term. They told me it was just tough that I got bad info from folks in their organization, but there was nothing they would do about it. So now I'm stuck with a reminder of my intense dislike for them every time I get one of their slick, dumb magazines!

End of rant.

Monday, July 19, 2010

"Come into my web", said the spider

For the past several mornings I have been able to see an elaborate spiderweb being spun between my patio fence and one of the bird feeders. Usually in the middle of this web is the spider, which is how I could spot it. She wasn't an ordinary black spider, but a huge, golden-colored beauty! I have room between the web and my lounger to stay clear of the web when I'm coming or going, and for some reason it doesn't seem to be there in the afternoons. It's almost like she rolls it back up until the next morning.

This morning I wasn't thinking and walked right through it. When I realized what happened I jumped to one side and the spider hurried to the other side of the web. I feel really bad about messing up her work, and hope I didn't destroy it altogether. I just wish she would rebuild it somewhere that it won't be in danger of me walking through it again.

You will probably have to click on these pictures to have any chance of seeing the web or the spider. Maybe if I'd had time to fool around with the camera or the angle I might have gotten a better picture, but I had a dog on a mission and I couldn't tarry for long.

I'm sorry that one of these pictures didn't get rotated properly. I've tried to go back and load it again after I rotated it, but it keeps going back to this version. I should probably just delete it, but oh well. As usual, the pictures show up much better if you click on them to enlarge.

The mornings here are so beautiful - around 60F. Then hell makes it's way to Sacramento and the thermometer climbs in the early afternoon. My front door is wide open in the morning hours to try to exchange the stuffy air from the day before with the cool morning air. So far it has been working pretty well.

Since I have such a problem wanting to cook (or to eat) when the weather gets very hot, I started at 10 am this morning fixing several parts of my dinner for tonight. I think all I have to do now is boil the corn on the cob, and I'm good to go. I put the dinner into the fridge to keep from going rancid so now I'll have to reheat it at suppertime. Now I just have to hope I can scrape up the energy to eat.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mostly staying home

I didn't think I would post an entry today, but decided to make this a short one. I spent late afternoon and early evening yesterday at Jeannie & Donald's house, celebrating Donald's birthday with the rest of the family. Most everyone got into the pool. As hot as the weather is I had no desire to get into the water.

It was getting to be the last light of day around 9 p.m. and I realized I'd better drive home while there was still some light left. I just about made it; there is a big difference in what I don't see in the dark! One thing I'm noticing is a very slight improvement in my eyesight, day by day, although nearly imperceptible. I'll happily take improvement in tiny doses, and maybe in 5-1/2 weeks the doctor will pronounce me fit to rejoin the human race!

The heat continues and the hotter it gets, the less I want to cook or eat. I should be eating more, but just can't stand the thought of having to cook anything. I'd even think about eating out, but the two trips I have to make outdoors with the dog every day are enough to make me run for the cover of my much cooler apartment. I'm still not having to use the A/C, and with temps of 101 the last couple of days, that is pretty good. It probably gets up to around 80 inside, so the 20 degree difference really makes a difference. I have to find a cooler place to live next summer.

Friday, July 16, 2010

My sister, Amy, stopped by to visit me yesterday evening. When I came through the living room to walk the dog this morning, I saw Amy's Blackberry phone on the coffee table. That means she will be stopping by early to pick it up, as I don't think a person who uses a Blackberry (or an iPhone) could do without it for very long. I hope she realizes where she left it.

It is just too darn hot to do anything today, so I plan to just take it easy indoors. I may not post for the next day or two unless it cools down and I can get out of the house to do something.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A different kind of trip--walking

In a blog a few days ago I mentioned camping in a tent on Grandfather Mtn (NC) when a fierce hurricane blew through. I was fooling around online last night, and actually found my trip report for that trip, which was posted to a mailing list for the Appalachian Trail. The hurricane occurred in Sep. 1996, and it was named "Fran". I had taken an early retirement and buyout at the end of August that year, and was getting ready to try a thru-hike of the A.T. the following March.

Reading that trip report encouraged me to go back and read through some of the A.T. mailing list's archived posts, and it was like re-connecting with old friends. Some I couldn't even picture in my mind, but many of the posters were so familiar. At that time, there was a real bias against folks who would even think of carrying a cell phone on a wilderness trek, and most people didn't even own one. I certainly didn't.

I still don't like to be at a campsite or walking a trail and have someone go by with a phone connected to their ear! What bugs me the most is walking around a store such as Costco or the grocery, and come up to someone who is talking, you think he or she is talking to you, so you ask them to repeat or even answer to what you think they are saying. It turns out they have some stupid hands free device that you can't even see. Those may be ok while driving, but they sure are a nuisance when walking around in a public place.

With regard to the A.T. mailing list, I have joined and unsubscribed numerous times over the years, quitting for a while when two guys get into a huge flame war over something stupid. Funny, but the women never seem to do that. As technology goes, most hikers today wouldn't think of setting foot on any trail without a phone, computer, and of course, a GPS. I think anyone who can't find their way from Georgia to Maine on the Appalachian Trail without a GPS shouldn't be there to begin with. But by now I'm sure all my readers know my feelings about technology. All devices are ok in their proper place, but I don't think "proper place" applies to every square inch of the planet. Sometimes I just want to get away from it all for a while.

On another note, I think this is going to be a killer-hot day today. At 9:30 it's already 75, and going up to 3 digits. Normally the breeze is still cool and blowing, but I may have to crank on the A/C today. By 5 p.m. it's 100 and going up to 102; tomorrow's high will be 104! I am SOOOOOO sick of Sacramento summer!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

(Hopefully) my 2nd last trip to the eye doctor

I had hoped this would be it, although I know that things still aren't right. The doctor said I still have a tiny bit of swelling in the eye, so he was hesitant to have me get glasses just yet. He would have gone along with it, but thinks I would soon be unhappy with the prescription. So we agreed I will see him again on the 26th of August, 6 wks away, which will still give me time to have prescription glasses made before I leave for NY.

I'm not happy about it, but I refuse to be unhappy either. It is what it is. The Dr. said that every body heals differently, and every eye heals differently. So I will make the best of it, use the eyedrops for another 6 weeks, and hope everything will be much better by then.

Before I left I ran into Enrique, who is in charge of maintenance at the apartment complex. He said he had gotten a call from Brandi, the blind woman who had lived in the apartment upstairs from me, and who underwent a 3rd cornea transplant back on June 24. She told Enrique she was very happy living in Washington (with her sister and b-i-l), her surgery went well and she is improving little by little, that she had made lots of new friends there and was going here and there and enjoying life. I think she enjoyed life when she was blind, so she must be ecstatic now. When I think of her plight, I can't curse my fate of having to wait longer than I thought I would for my sight to be as perfect for my age as I can expect.

So while my first reaction was "Oh sh*t", there isn't anything I can do about it except try to keep a positive attitude.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

More on flashlights, travel

I forgot to mention that when I was at Jeannie's house on Sunday, I challenged her to insert the batteries into the flashlight that gave me so many problems. There were two flashlights left in the pack, and Donald suggested getting both out for a contest. The minute he said "contest" I could see the look on Jeannie's face that indicated she would win, and she did. (She is one of the most competitive people I have ever known, but is a good, kind, and empathetic person as well, which sort of softens the competitiveness.) But when Ara finally came into the room and we showed her the flashlight plus the meagre instructions on the packaging, she figured it out immediately. I was nearly blown over at how fast she went to it!

I gave Jeannie one flashlight to keep in her car, and Ara one to take back to school. I also had an extra compass for her since I know she and some of her friends at school like to explore and have gotten lost at least once. They like to camp down by the river and the surrounding area. A grandmother could go crazy with worry, but she has shown herself to be capable, as well as to stay cool and confident in a difficult situation.

I saw my 5th wheel online this morning at the dealer's website. Wow, it looks so clean! If only the right person would come along and fall in love with it.

Tomorrow is my long-awaited trip to the eye surgeon. I don't know if I will get much sleep tonight as I've been waiting so long, it seems.

Just for the heck of it, in case I can't drive to NY in September, I looked up the Amtrak schedules and rates. I rode the train round trip from NC to Sacramento for my son's wedding in 2008, and the fares have gone up by about $200. It would be a total of approx. $1660, plus tax (and tips). That is for the roomette sleeper which includes all meals and, depending on the car attendant, a bit of pampering. But I'm not going to spend that kind of money, so if no alternative exists I will consider flying (UGH, YUK, HORRORS). I'm still going ahead with my planned road trip, though it is a good idea to consider alternatives.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Truck tires

I've noticed a subtle difference in the way my truck rides for about the past week, so this morning I took it first thing to Les Schwab. It turns out the inner tire on the right side had only 32# of air, and most of the tires needed some adjustment. When I removed the pressure pro sensors back in Georgia I couldn't find all my metal valve caps, and the place where I took it for service only had plastic. I asked the service tech today to replace them with metal. Maybe that is what could have caused a slow leak? I don't trust plastic valve caps at all, especially for a truck.

The front tires, which were supposedly new when I bought the rig, are showing some signs of wear, so I will have everything checked out again before I leave in September. Now I need to wash the truck which is starting to look yellow from the pollen, which must also be what is making me sneeze a lot!

I just love my truck although I know I should trade it for something smaller and more economical, but I feel safe driving it and that counts for something. Besides, not knowing yet what I will be towing (or if I'll be towing), I'll just keep it for now. I'm not putting many miles on it since I've been in Sacramento - it has just over 87k which isn't bad for a 2002. That diesel is just hitting it's stride.

The rest of the day has been spent just trying to sit still and stay cool.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

World Cup

Jeannie wanted to stay home this morning and watch the World Cup which came on about 11:30 a.m. here in the west. I went over and watched a bit of it although I can say I am no longer interested in competitive sports. The cerveza will be flowing in the DC-MD-VA metro area this evening! I was glad to see Spain win, although I would have preferred it to be just one european team and one from someplace else on the globe.

My granddaughter has been complaining about her foot hurting for some time, and there was a bump where it felt like bone protruding. She finally saw a doctor who didn't think it was anything serious but had an x-ray taken (I'm sure it was a CYA thing on his part). It turns out she has a fracture that has no doubt begun to heal incorrectly. She has to wear a boot until the end of August, but if it still hasn't healed properly then they "will try something else". That puts an end to a job that had her standing on her feet all day long.

Arianna has finally started walking a few steps at a time. When we were camping she was very proud of herself for standing up unassisted, and she really wanted to take a step or two. So now she can do it, except if she wants to get someplace fast. The pediatrician saw her last week and said her two top front teeth are ready to push through, so she is on the crabby side.

I got up earlier than usual this morning because I thought we'd be leaving early for the market, so I will probably turn in early tonight - hopefully I can wait until it gets dark - but I wouldn't bet on it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Languishing in the heat

Sacramento summers have never appealed to me, although there are some advantages over other central CA cities, such as Stockton or Redding. For one thing, while the temps get very high during the day and don't really start going down until well after dark, there is almost always the Sacramento Delta breeze coming through overnight, so the mornings can be about 60. We nearly reached 100 today and tomorrow morning will be somewhere around 60. I leave my front door and windows open for most of the morning, and a couple of windows stay open all day. It has gotten a little stuffy at times, but I've never had to use the a/c. I should probably buy a small fan, but I don't usually need it.

I made an early morning trip to REI today to look at various camping items. I ended up buying a couple of books, two national park maps, and a 30' length of good rope so that I can give Lady some room to move about while still keeping her from roaming where she shouldn't. This is for when we are camping or otherwise outdoors on a trip, for instance.

I thank all who wrote comments about tents and such. I have looked at the Eureka Tetragon and even have them bookmarked. My first requirement for a tent is that the rainfly completely cover it all the way to the ground, including doors and windows. I don't believe the advertising about awnings over the windows keeping rain out while allowing ventilation. There are other ways to ventilate, but I'm adamant about wanting complete coverage from a rainfly.

In the mid 1990's a major hurricane (I forget which one) roared up through the Appalachian mountains (where I was backpacking on Grandfather Mtn in VA). It wreaked havoc in the Shenandoah, which had to be closed to traffic for at least a week in order to clear downed trees. I worked on the clearing of trees - didn't handle a chain saw but I was the carrier of the maintenance items for the chain saw for my team. During the night of this devastation I was snug and dry in my tent, although I thought it might get blown away to the Land of Oz! I hope to never experience another hurricane while tenting, but a heavy rain along with high winds can have a similar effect on a tent.

Another suggestion was to take my 5th wheel out of mothballs if it doesn't sell. If it doesn't sell it is going right back into consignment. I don't ever want to have to mess with a 5ver again, especially that one. The RV Dealer has cleaned it up, done some recaulking, and gotten rid of the doggie smell. I'm not going to take the dog right back into it, nor do I want to watch the caulking get dusty and dirty.

At least my 5ver didn't have electric jacks for me to have to worry about, and the manual jacks were the least of the problems I had. I no longer want slide-outs. I always had a fear of of them getting stuck halfway in or out, and it would have been a lot for me to try to crank it manually. I just don't intend to deal with that kind of thing anymore. So no electric jacks, no slides. The next thing I would prefer not to have, although it's not likely to happen, is a water pump. If I don't live in an RV or camper full time I think I could do just fine without a water connection, which requires hoses that have to be dealt with. This is one reason I've always been attracted to a teardrop camper, which wouldn't be the best choice for me for other reasons, but it is a minimalist way of living/camping. That appeals to me, because instead the time spent on all the chores that must be done to keep a big RV going can be substituted with outdoors time. I much prefer relaxing and looking up at the trees rather than down at a dirty hose.

Right now it's all speculation because I haven't sold the 5th wheel. I also need to see the eye doctor (this coming Wednesday) before making any concrete plans. I flip-flop from day to day on what I want to do and how to do it, but I trust the right thing for me will pop up when the time comes, so I'm trying to be content to wait it out. I do need to get on the road again!

Tomorrow will be a quick trip to the farmers' market. We are going early before the heat of the day sets in, and I'll be back home fairly early. It's ironic that someone who loves being outdoors is kept inside by this ungodly heat which shows no sign of abating any time soon. So I just think and plan for the time when I can take off and drive north and up to higher elevations.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Another day

Mostly I've had a pretty boring day, but first off, I got an email from Dee telling me how I can convert and send MP3 ringtones to my phone. Don't ask me how it all works, but it did. I'm so darn proud of myself for figuring it out - I usually give up on anything technology oriented but for some reason I decided to keep at it. And waiting for one of my kids to do it, I could be in a home before they got around to it. Once in a while I can still say, "Damn, I'm good"!

I dropped some books off at the library (could only read the one that was large print anyway), and stopped to get some propane cannisters. I still reside in the good old days sometimes, because I picked up the cannister of Coleman propane and nearly dropped it when I saw the price - $4.99. That's for one can! I know I have never paid that much before, and I don't really need it right now although I went through a couple of cans pretty fast last week - the lantern and campstove seemed to drink it up. Fortunately Donald had brought some.

I've been home nearly a week and am ready to be back in the woods. I've been looking at maps of some of the states I want to drive through in September, and it's making this Gypsy fidgety. Still no word on the sale of my 5th wheel, which makes me wonder if I'm going to be throwing some camping gear into the back of my Ford gypsy wagon for the trip back. It doesn't sound all that bad to me now, though I'm sure it would be a real experience to do a whole cross country trip that way. Heck, I've walked 900 miles and tented most of the time, so I know I can deal with it. I got to the point where I could set up an take down my tent in a very short time, and once you get a routine going it isn't all that difficult.

With that in mind I'm studying various tents I would consider taking on such a trip. I'm limited to a large backpacking tent because they seem to be the only kind that have rainflys that cover the entire tent and openings, and go all the way to the ground all the way around. Those flimsy little things that grace the top of most tents wouldn't make it in a rain blowing sideways. I backpacked with my dog and our packs with a 2 person tent, which worked out great. But now I think I would want more room since Lady is a bit larger than Smoky, my black lab, was. Also I need more headroom now and room to move about a bit more.

So I hope my RV sells soon and I don't have to go this way to New York, but I will if I have to. Gypsy determination!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Absolutely Nothing!

I didn't do anything today and have nothing to write about. My energy is somewhere else, as is the part of my mind that could enable me to come up with a decent blog entry.

I slept for a couple of hours - maybe just residual tiredness from camping last week, or maybe because I did a little bit of cleaning - not much cleaning at that. I probably strained my mental powers yesterday putting things together. I bought a Swiffer mop and that went together easier than I expected. I thought for a moment I'd have to get my daughter-in-law, Sarah, to do it for me.

The most taxing project yesterday was figuring out how to get batteries into a new flashlight. I bought a 3-pack of small flashlights at Costco, so it took considerable energy and determination to get through their awful packaging. When I did, I tried to twist the flashlight body, which is the way you usually get it apart to insert the batteries. The only part that turned was about 1/8" from the bottom, but there wasn't room to put 3 AAA batteries in there.

I set it aside and then went back to it. I retrieved my sailor language (and used it). I went back and forth to the flashlight, and it's a good thing I didn't break it, because I eventually unscrewed it at the bottom 1/8" and looked again inside. I tipped it over and a plastic container fell out, which is what holds the batteries! Aha!

Inserted batteries, turned it on, and it works fine. The package indicates that you can adjust the beam by twisting something nearer to the top of the flashlight body. So far I cannot find anything else that moves. I'm glad I was by myself because I'd be embarassed for anyone to see me being such an idiot!

Now I need to do some more camping. This little flashlight will be perfect for those middle-of-the-night forays, rather than the huge flashlight-weapon that I carry. I love my big light but it's overkill in the woods at 2am.

You might wonder what I am going to do with one humongous and 3 little flashlights. I plan to give one of the small ones to Ara, my granddaughter. I can't wait to see how long it takes her to figure out how to insert the batteries, and I'll let y'all know!

Oh, and I almost forgot. Since I was on a technological roll yesterday after figuring out the Chinese made flashlight, I decided to look for ringtones for my new phone since that was one thing Verizon said they couldn't transport along with the contact list. I actually looked at several websites advertising free ringtones, to find out they are free after you pay $9.99. I finally found one and found the Willie Nelson "On the road again", my signature ring tone. I found the theme from the Dukes of Hazard - "Good old boys", for my 3 sons, and Cat Stevens' "Peace Train" for Ara. If I thought she'd never find out I would use "Redneck Woman" for Jeannie, but she'd kill me if she knew, so I have to get something different. (I kind of like that song and it's fun to sing along with.)

I found an interesting ring tone called "Dance with the gypsies", but it is in MP3 format (whatever the heck that is) which I can't use as a ring tone. I'm going to look for it, because then I would make that the default tone for the RVing folks whose phone numbers I have. Then if that tone came up for an incoming call, I'd know one of my fellow gypsies was calling.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I've been doing some research on the internet about the iPod Nano, because I'm interested in the video part of it. It doesn't seem like it would take the place of a video camera, so I won't worry about that so much as it seems to be more for spontaneous recordings, and short ones at that. I did notice that it says in part of the advertisement that the design "makes it more Glam". So I think owning an iPod Nano might not make me more technologically adept, but if it makes me more Glam, gollee, I can't ask for anything more!

One thing I've noticed about the voice recorder is that I seem to be speaking extremely slowly. I was a bit worried that I am becoming slow-witted, and wondering if that was a sign of impending old age. In trying to erase everything I've recorded so far, I just hit something that makes the voice speed up, so it is quite possible that I'm still my old self. For some reason I can't erase, though I've been able to do it up to now. I like some basic technology as long as I don't have any trouble getting it to work properly, but my patience runs thin when I encounter problems with it.

I tried out the ear plugs when I went to bed last night, but woke up an hour or so later and ripped them out. They are truly annoying. If I listened real closely I could barely make out sounds that are probably coming from the TV, so I just went back to sleep. I'll keep the plugs handy just in case. I think the couple upstairs is probably on vacation. They moved in while I was away and seem to be nice except they sit on the steps leading down from their apartment to smoke. I shouldn't have any problem with that as long as their smoke continues to rise.

There isn't much happening today and as long as I stay home I'm not spending money. I've been thinking I need to stop at Les Schwab and have them check the air in my tires, as well as the overall condition. They put on the four dually tires last year, but I want to make sure all six tires will get me to the east and back this fall. I'm hoping to get to some out-of-the-way places on my trip, and I don't want to worry about tires.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

All is fine!

All is right in my world today! I was sort of surprised that I woke up feeling so great, because about midnight the people upstairs must have started watching a movie and I thought it would keep me awake. And I don't know why, because the floor is carpeted, but it sounds like someone walking across the floor in Army boots when they move around. It's not them, because it was the same way when Brandi lived there.

So I went out this morning to run some errands, and picked up some ear plugs which I will try. I can't tell them not to listen to music or to watch TV, so I'll just try to deal with it. The first night I was back from camping they started playing something that made the floor vibrate, and I don't think ear plugs would help much with that, so if they do it often I will just ask them to turn down the base. What I did was to crank up my iTunes to country music but didn't keep it like that for long because it's a childish thing to do. I am really not cut out for apartment or city living, but it is what I have right now so I'll make the best of it.

Yesterday I got a new Verizon phone as I just became eligible for a new one, of course requiring a new 2 year contract. I hadn't intended to even look at them, but was in Target looking at the iPod and got to talking with the guy who runs that department. He was terrific and when I mentioned I didn't want a lot of bells and whistles on a phone he steered me to the exact model I can live with. I think it's unofficially marketed for seniors, but that's fine with me. It has words instead of icons, and very few words at that, plus the arrows. I had no trouble raising the volume and increasing the font size! (It is an LG model).

I think I will eventually get the iPod Nano, but can't decide if I want the 8GB version, or for $25 more (at Costco) to get the 16GB model. I could probably do with 2GB but who knows how technologically adept I might become. Yeah right! I see that it also records videos, and if any readers have this feature I would appreciate a comment as to how well it works, and what do you usually use it for. I would sometimes like to record things on my travels but can't see spending the $ for a movie camera.

I stopped in at the Eye Clinic and rescheduled my appointment for a week from Wednesday, July 14th (which is also Bastille Day!). I'm resigned to waiting another week and keep telling myself that I will have a real leap in improvement of my eyesight during that week.

I hate to make this blog entry so long, but while writing it I forgot that I intended to post some pictures from the camping trip. The first one is "Riding Double"

As I always did when backpacking, the same thing happens while camping - I get really cold after eating dinner. It doesn't happen with breakfast or lunch (maybe because I eat less at those meals), but shortly after supper I just want to crawl into my sleeping bag. I had an extra sleeping bag along, one that isn't warm enough for being comfortable on cool nights, but it was sure nice to wrap around my shoulders while sitting near the campfire. The smoke from the fire was starting to blow in our direction, causing Autumn to squeeze her eyes shut, and Arianna to start puckering up to cry.

The family went down to the lake one afternoon but I was content to lie back in the lounger and look up at the trees and sky. Here is Donald and Arianna at the lake, although you can't see the lake.

And here is some of what kept me at the campsite. A photo can't do it justice.

Three sisters in a hammock:

Jeannie and Arianna in the hammock:

And this is Autie just enjoying camping:

I feel bad that I didn't get any pictures of Steve & Megan, but I guess we were always snapping pics of the kids. Next time they will have little Liam along, and no doubt we'll get plenty of photos of them!

Thanks to everyone who is still reading my blog, and also for the various comments. It seems that readership is down for most bloggers lately, and mine has fallen off by 1/3. I really don't blog for the purpose of racking up numbers, but I do appreciate those who are still reading my rants and raves, and joys once in a while!

Monday, July 5, 2010

2ndPost Mon., 7/5 with pictures

View of the lake from the campsite at the end of the loop:

Ara and I tried to set up Jeannie & Donald's tent before they arrived. We made several attempts but didn't give up until we had it standing. When Steve arrived he straightened it out and tightened it up.

My screen tent, which was mainly used to store our food supplies. The picnic table was located too close to the fire ring to be of practical use.

This is our group's set-up: Steve's camper, Meg's tent (being pregnant it is too difficult for her to climb up onto the bed in the camper overhead. She had a great set up in the tent, though - a regular bed-size (in height as well as mattress size) air mattress. Next is Jeannie & Donald's tent, and then a wonderful screen shade canopy which kept our seating area and picnic table shaded in the afternoon. My tent is in back of Steve's camper.

Can't forget our pooches. Lady is with Steve's dog Rocco. They were both wonderful campers, but then they aren't new to it either.

Enjoying a breakfast banana.

This is enough for one day, and I'll post some more pictures with tomorrow's blog. It is really trying to figure out from the little thumbnails, exactly which picture I'm posting.

Back Home

I left home a week ago in the best of spirits, and when we arrived at the campground it couldn't have been better. We were the only ones in our entire loop, set up the tents and equipment, then sat down to just look at the trees. Last Monday was pretty warm which didn't encourage getting out to explore. It did cool down for the rest of the week and was mostly in the upper mid-80's with very cool nights. Perfect!

Tuesday Ara got a signal on her cell phone and found a message asking her to call about a job she had applied for. It turned out they wanted to interview her on Wednesday, was hired, and worked on Thursday and Friday. Thankfully I had been obsessed with having her drive my truck and get used to maneuvering it, so I didn't mind at all her driving it back to Sacramento. Steve and Meg arrived Tuesday evening, so I had company, and Jeannie, Donald & little girls came in on Thursday afternoon. It should have been a perfect time.

I knew the campground would be sold out for the weekend, but the peace was shattered on Wednesday when a very noisy man came in with his family, and his loud voice let everyone in El Dorado County know that several of his friends were arriving, including one with a big motorhome. This guy drove a contractors truck and was evidently in construction - carried the entire bed full of lumber ends and scraps. First of all it is illegal to burn lumber in the park. As he unloaded it he made sure the heavy pieces hit the metal bed and tailgate, and the noise was incredible.

Things went from bad to worse. The next day he moved his truck to his friend's adjoining site, positioned a huge piece of lumber (I don't know lumber and would maybe say 2x12, except I think it was much thicker than 2"). He proceeded to fire up a chain saw and cut pieces of this wood for his friend to burn.

Most of the group seemed to be of a religious sect, mainly because of how the women and girls were all dressed. They weren't Amish or Mennonite for sure, but whatever they were they certainly didn't care a damn about bothering everyone in the park. The last straw came on Saturday about 9 pm when he turned on a big, loud, commercial grade generator and ran it until 10:30. I think his truck battery had died and he spent an hour and a half charging it, and all the while had set up three extremely bright lamps, one of which was aimed directly at our campsite. So much for privacy and the light even invaded the tents themselves.

Jeannie and I debated going to look for the park patrol but ended up waiting it out. This man was making noise pounding and chopping things even as early as 6 am, and I was glad he wouldn't be running the generator at 5 or 6am the next morning. The group pulled out early on July 4th, but the trip was nearly ruined for us, as well as for a lot of other campers. I decided I would never again go camping on a summer weekend. Early in the week is fine, and spring and fall weekends are usually ok. We have camped in this park numerous times and never had a problem.

So while I had a good time being with family I am still left with the feeling that I want to go camping somewhere and have a good camping experience. Fortunately the tent and screen tent went up quickly and with no problems, and I was fine sleeping on an air mattress - a backpacker's Thermarest the first night and on my air mattress the rest of the time. I would probably have used the Thermarest the entire week if Steve hadn't pumped air into the big mattress.

I also had a msg on my cell phone while camping that the eye doctor had to go out of town this week so I should call for another appointment. My battery died before I could get the office, and when I drove by this morning I noticed the entire parking lot was empty - evidently the place is closed for the week. I sure hope everything is ok with him, and that nothing serious caused this abrupt closing.