Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Quick update to Sunday's post

I went out and took pictures of the back of my Highlander.  (Excuse the boxes and remnants of camping stuff.)

I tried to lay the small seat flat and it doesn't show the true slant in these photos, but it's definitely there.  I got in and lay down with my feet elevated and head at the rear of the cargo space, and I fit.  The problem is that my air mattress wouldn't begin to fit, even though I have a twin mattress.

So to be able to use the mattress I would need to let down the larger of the two back seats.  Also, Ara pushed her back seats as far forward as they would go, leaving a good sized gap between the seat the the actual cargo area.  She filled that with pillows to close the gap.  I think rather than move the seats all the way up I would just use the floor space available for storing camping gear, beer, etc.  I'm not sure how I will fit a big cooler in.  I have a medium sized plastic cooler and a large Coleman steel belted cooler (replica of the oldies we used to use).  I think for a really long trip I want my Coleman but the thing is too heavy for me to lift when full. 

Another couple of negatives I have is that the hatch can't be opened from inside.  That should be ok because I could exit out the rear side door.  The other big drawback is that the hatch back window doesn't open, nor do any of the windows on the sides of the cargo space.  I really don't like the idea of opening a window more than a tiny crack, especially when my head and torso are in the rear of the SUV.  Not even sure if any fresh air would get to the back.

Then there is the problem of covering the windows.  I could go buy some velcro and some cheap fabric.  Ara and Hannah rigged up and hung towels on the side windows, and I guess I could do the same but I'd have to look at it more closely.

I don't think the Highlander makes the best vehicle for sleeping in, except in a pinch.  The first picture is taken from between the front seats and looking back on the passenger side.  The other two are taken from the outside back of the vehicle.  I went back outside and took two more photos trying to show the slant of the seat and how it doesn't lie flat.  Not the greatest shots, no doubt because I'm trying to take them when the car is parked in the driveway - no room to really get the various angles.

Comments and suggestions welcome, but please be nice. 

What can I say?

It's hot, almost unbearably so without a proper a/c, but tomorrow will be worse.  This summer is already written for me as to what I do and where I'm going, but you can bet next year I am going to be in the mountains for every heat wave to hit the Sacramento area.  C'mon Canada, send that jet stream back down this way!

I went over to Jeannie's this afternoon to plan the food for our upcoming trip, but we spent most of the time working on the Sunday NY Time Crossword puzzle.  Keep my old brain cells sharp.

I got an email from Ara telling me that they went through both the Tetons and Yellowstone, and were able to camp in both places.  They are having a great trip and seeing lots of new places.  It will be fun to compare our travels when I see her the latter part of September, just before her 24th birthday.

I printed something off the internet explaining how to fold down the back seats of a Highlander so they lay flat.  I haven't been able to do it, and neither could Ara.  Today I asked Donald to try it and he said they don't go flat.  That's a complete bummer to me because I wanted to be able to sleep comfortably in the cargo space in case of bad weather.  If I'm near motels, of course, there is that option, but I hope to spend most of my trip as far away from interstates as possible and to get lost in a few National Forests and Parks.  That means camping! 

I'd better stop now because I'm so miserably hot!  It's difficult to even think.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dreaming of cool!

Someplace cool, like Ireland.  Even cool and rainy, I wouldn't care.  Four days at 107/108 before it drops to a low 105, and I'm not sure I can take it.  The swamp cooler tries its best and I am helping it along with fans, but it wasn't intended to work this hard.

Thanks to Chuck and Anneke for the link to emergency room apps.  It looks like they only work on an iPhone, iPad, or Android, and I have none of these.  I wondered if it would work on an Apple computer but couldn't find any reference to that, so I will just have to rely on my Garmin GPS in the event I need to find a hospital.  Heck, I'm not going to need a hospital anyway.  Other than being listless from the heat, I'm just fine!

And also thanks to Phil for the info on Tru Value Hardware's price on butane fuel.  I think I will take a look at the local Korean market before I send the stove back.  I saved the packaging it came in for the possibility I'd want to return it.  I love the size though, and thought it would be nice to take along a couple of slim fuel cannisters rather than those stocky looking propane cans.  I have plenty of time to work it out.

Since I'm running low on almond butter I have had an egg sandwich for lunch the past two days.  I'd forgotten how good they are, especially when you fry the egg in bacon grease.  I've been saving a little grease in the fridge for this occasion.  Hell, I'm taking that awful Lipitor so I might as well try to keep my cholesterol level up to where it does me some good.  The doctor said my cholesterol levels were perfect but that I needed the Lipitor so that placque wouldn't break off the walls of my arteries.  He wouldn't say if it actually would lower my cholesterol even further.  Using logic and reasoning, I figured an egg fried in bacon grease now and then, and eaten between two slices of toast slathered with real butter will be good for me, and can't hurt in the long run.  I actually don't worry about fats in my diet because some are necessary, and I eat pretty healthy foods to begin with.  So no "Lite", "Low Fat", "Diet", "Low Sodium", "No sugar" products for me!

I'm feeling pretty bad about negative comments I've made regarding the mobile home park.  In the monthly newsletter is a page called "Sunshine Corner", "Keep these neighbors and friends in your thoughts and prayers."  My name was second on the list.  I hope I've learned a lesson.

A couple of days ago I ordered a toner cartridge for my printer.  It quit squeaking for some reason and the toner light hasn't yet come on, but I know the print is getting very light so I thought I'd get it sooner rather than later.  I really don't want to have to buy a new printer while this one still works.

My son (Steve) called yesterday and said they they were going to Monterey for the weekend (it never gets hot in Monterey that I know of).  He offered that I could stay at their house in A/C comfort but I would rather stay in my own home.  

What Steve calls a "little rat dog" followed Liam home from his walk about a week ago.  They looked everywhere to find notice of a missing dog and even put flyers up themselves, but no takers.  Liam named him Rusty, and the dog has made himself quite at home it seems.  He also chews everything in sight.  Meg took him to the animal shelter last week but he "looked at her" and she couldn't leave him, so she brought him back home.  They were planning to get something like a lab, shepherd, or husky since their new house has a large yard, and I don't think Rusty is the type of dog either of them wanted.  I sure wouldn't want the chewing, especially when their house has been sold and if he ruins something they will have to repair or replace it.  My lab chewed on the bottom of the kitchen cabinets when he was a puppy, and a lot of puppies seem to chew the plaster on the walls.

I think I will definitely look for a black lab when I get back from NY, and looked on a few local websites to see what they had.  Not much that I would be interested in right now, but when the time comes the dog will show up.  No little rat dogs for me however - I won't look into the eyes!  I will have to be very careful to find a dog that can fit my life right now - probably a senior dog who has grown calm and doesn't need the amount of exercise a younger dog might require, and one that doesn't chew whatever is in sight. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

I'm Mortified to Death!

I drove over to get my hair trimmed this morning, and all was well.  When I left I had to use the restroom, but like most women we'd rather wait until the last minute, so I continued on to REI.  I hit the Ladies first thing, left the stall, washed my hands, checked in the mirror I looked okay, and walked out.

I browsed through half the damn store which consisted of mostly male shoppers today, and then looked down and realized that not only did I forget to zip the fly, I didn't button the top button nor did I buckle my belt!  Could it be that none of those guys even noticed me walking by, much less looked at my fly?  I'm still blushing from the thought of it.

That's what I get for trying to look smart and tuck my shirt into the pants.  I should have left the shirt hanging out and then I would have been modestly covered.  First thing I did when I got home was rip that belt right off!

I didn't find anything I was looking for at REI, and now I don't know where to get a butane cannister for my new Coleman 1-burner stove.  There is no place that sells it, and no, not even the Walmart near me sells it.  Everything is propane!  I think I can buy 12 cans of butane online for $39 plus shipping, plus an extra $15 hazardous shipping fee, but I'll return the stove before I do that.

There were a number of places I wanted to go to after I left REI but just didn't have the heart to go in any more stores.  The heat was rising anyway, and I needed to get home and turn on my swamp cooler.  At 102 I also need a fan circulating the air a little more; 102 is just the beginning - I read on the current 10 day forecast that it will hit 107 before this heat wave is over.  The 10 day forecast changes hourly, so we may be talking over 110!  I never wanted to be in snow more than I do now.  

While Billy Bob is wondering about "apps", I wonder about what the hell is a "hashtag"!  Do they mean a pound sign, and if so, what was wrong with calling it a pound sign.  It reminds me of when I was young and the young people of the day created their own words for things in order to confuse the old folks.  I may be wrong, but I think of an app as an icon for a program - app stands for "application" which is a longer word than "program" and not as easy to spell. 

To round out my day (and it's only 4 in the afternoon) I missed a call from the medical center telling me they can't schedule my surgical procedures before I leave, so call them back and they will set up something for November.  This started out to be something described as "Urgent" by the gallbladder specialist.  I guess what I need is a good app for my jitterbug phone that lists all the competent emergency rooms on my route! 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

My planning "desk"

Here is my trip in the planning stage - note the maps, books, highlighters, and binders (though you can't see them underneath all the other stuff).
The rest of the coffee table is taken up with a 3 hole punch, some open maps, and organizing materials.

I made a wasted trip this morning to the Verizon store - waited about an hour after checking in and watched others who came in later get helped before me.  I never did get anyone to assist me so I finally left and went over to Barnes & Noble, where I bought a book of Robert Frost's poems.

The line "The woods are lovely, dark, and deep" describe why I love the wooded mountains rather than open desert.  The mountains seem to cradle and protect me.  I hope to be doing some southwestern camping though, primarily in New Mexico, Utah, and possibly Nevada (if I eventually get on US 50 for the last leg of my journey.  A bit of my heart will remain in the Appalachians however.

I know many readers love and prefer the deserts of the southwest to the forested mountains of the east.  Isn't it wonderful that this continent, from the Arctic Circle to the Panama Canal, with all its varied terrains and climates, is accessible to us, and we don't have to necessarily get on a plane to visit these places.  I don't think any other country in the world - or I should say continent to include Canada and Mexico (as well as Central America) - can even begin to compare.     

Tomorrow I will stop by REI and hope to pick up a map or two covering Lava Beds National Monument, which is located in the Modoc National Forest.  I've printed a lot of information from the internet but the maps just don't cut it, and I'll get brochures and maps at the Visitors' Center for each national park and forest as I go along.  I printed a map of Skyline Drive through the Shenandoah (VA) and it was utterly useless.  Attempts to print it on two pages were unsuccessful, and while it probably can be done I didn't want to spend any more time on it.

I'm doing a lot less itinerary planning for the return trip (although that may change); I know the places I want to be sure to see, but the actual route will be determined by the folks I want to visit along the way.  Dang, this is almost as much fun as the actual trip!  (And I'm already thinking of where I will go next year). 

A 98 degree day coming up, to be followed by the streak of triple digits.  I don't know if I can stand it!  Normally I would go off camping at the higher elevations for a few days, but with such an ambitious trip planned, plus the road trip in July with Jeannie & family, I will just conserve my energy and resources for now.  And suffer in the Sacramento summer!   

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Heat wave

I just looked at the local 10-day forecast and we will be having a 5 day streak of triple digit temps, as high as 106.  But the weather service says that a heat wave is coming to the southwest with temps topping 120 in Death Valley, and watch out for Bullhead City, AZ and Palm Springs, CA.  There is even a chance that the thermometer will climb to 130 in some spots, so I would definitely stay away from Death Valley!

That is enough to make me cry for winter, or higher elevations, or cool dark forests!  All three would be just fine.

I poured my late afternoon glass of wine and there was only half a glass left in the bottle.  I guess that means I can open another bottle, and the half glass doesn't count!  I will have to sample a full glass from the new bottle.

I was going to go out today but decided to save the fuel and get all my errands done on Friday when I have an appointment to get my hair trimmed.  I hope I can keep the hairdresser from fooling with the top half at all - I just want the bottom evened out.  It is getting so long, but I still have several layers of the original cut that have to catch up.  By the time I get to where I want it to be, I'll be sick of long hair and get it cut short!

For some reason my printer quit squeaking, but I do need to order a new toner cartridge.  The print is getting so light.  I've been printing itinerary sections, campground information, national forest and America's scenic byways information, and am starting to assemble it in a binder.  The binder is too small for the round trip, so I need to start a second one for the return.

I would like to get to some National Parks I've never been in before, although it's tempting to return to the ones I love such as Lassen, Crater Lake, etc.  I'm definitely wanting to see Theodore Roosevelt NP, and I hope to spend at least one night each in the North and South units.  I've even printed out campground maps for both.

I keep looking at the calendar and trying to estimate where I'll be on weekends, which could be a problem in August especially as I get into the eastern part of the country.  Michigan worries me as everyone from Ohio goes to Michigan in the summer - at least most of them did when I lived in Ohio.  While I might find it a problem getting a campsite I don't think I should have trouble with motels, especially since I stop pretty early in the day.

A comment from Jo to yesterday's blog regarding my aol page layout, and a subsequent email from her enabled me to fiddle with settings and now AOL looks like it did before.  I'm not sure what happened to the ads, but knock on wood, they are gone for good.  I understand that free sites need  advertising revenue, but they shouldn't take up a third of the screen for that purpose.

There must be something in the air, or maybe the water, or UFO's are spreading fairy dust on the earth, but I'm noticing EVERYONE is trying to change their websites.  The National Park Service had a great site that was intuitive and easy to use.  Now they've updated it with a new look and nothing works right.  I keep getting error messages when I try to access some parks, but it's always random, not the same park.  I saw a little blurb on their site that it is powered or designed (?, can't remember which) by Bing.  For all Bing's advertising I'm not impressed with it, and they should stick to being a search engine, not a web designer!

Time to go pour the new wine!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Blogger & email problems

I seem to be having off and on problems with computer programs that go away as quickly as they come on.

Blogger doesn't show the options across the top right of the screen as it has been doing - the one where you can click for New Post, Design, etc.  My sitemeter doesn't show up on it either, which isn't that big of a problem, but it's something.  Now today, new entries weren't coming up on my list in the sidebar.  I read a couple of new blog posts this morning and by 7 pm there were still no additional new posts.

AOL is driving me crazy.  After cutting my screen space by 1/3 so they can show irritating ads, the ads suddenly appear every so often but the empty space is still stealing from my email space.

Google - what can I say about google.  After complaining about the idiotic figures that were supposed to spell G-O-O-G-L-E doing the wave, that screen suddenly stopped showing up and I was back to the normal Google screen, so I stopped using Bing.  Now today there are some goofy looking things that I think spell Google, but I swear I can't make out the individual letters, so I'm back to Bing although I don't care for the Bing news format.

When I use my I-Mac with the older operating system and no updates to the software, everything works as it should.  Is this to be the future of computer use?  Programs and websites that constantly put up a "new look" that doesn't really provide any enhancement to its use, and just confuses a lot of people.

After about 3 rainy days with temps in the upper 70's, we are heading for a sunny streak that will go up to 104 and hang in the 3 digits for a while.  What is it with this weather.  I was just reading this morning that Sacramento never has this much rain in June.  Southwestern Oregon is getting it also, but the entire area had less rain than usual in the normal rainy season, so it is hoped the fire danger will abate a little this summer.  I think about it every time I look at my proposed itinerary in August.  If I can't go one way I will just go another, which is the way I am comfortable with traveling to begin with.

I spoke to Ara on the phone this morning, thinking they would be well on their way.  But then I have to remember their age and different outlook                              on traveling than I have.  They are headed for the most beautiful peak in the western area of the country, and meeting up with friends they visited in Santa Cruz last week.  I envy them their youth and energy, but I sure wouldn't want to go back there.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Saying goodbye

It's so hard to do, and this evening I said goodbye to Ara and Hannah.  I know how sad it makes me, and I also know Jeannie is 10X sadder than I am.  The girls will be leaving tomorrow.

I learned a few things from Ara about packing my cargo space and laying the second row of seats flat.  Even when I'm tenting I worry about setting up and taking down in the rain or high winds.  If I'm in a National Forest or on BLM land, I think I could sleep in the cargo area in a pinch.  I remember last fall in a campground when my air mattress kept deflating, I ended up sleeping across the back seats from about 1:00 am on.  I think I wouldn't be as scrunched up in the cargo area, and it's a good thing to know for an emergency.

The siren song of the road is getting louder and more insistent these days.  I'm looking forward to a one-week road trip with Jeannie, Donald & girls the 3rd week in July, and then I'll have a week to pack up for my annual odyssey and trek to the east.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Party Time

I had a great time today watching all the action.  The kids wanted to go swimming so most of the adults were out by the pool, and when it comes to my kids getting together around a pool, you know someone will get thrown in.  The end result was that Ara and Hannah, Steve and Joe all went into the water.  Being my advanced age has its privileges - I didn't even bother to take my phone out of my pocket because I knew I was safe.  A few years back at a pool party at Bill's house (my ex) Steve told me I might want to take my watch off, and within a few minutes he tossed me into the pool, to the amazement of everyone there I might add.  Steve has been expecting payback from me ever since, but I know if I reciprocated then someone else would think it funny to toss me in.  I usually laugh non-stop around this group and often wonder how they got to be this way as neither me nor their dad were that devilish.  Well maybe their father was once in a while.

Arianna described to her daddy the cake she wanted - a mountain covered with trees and a river running down it.  That's what she got, and when I arrived Donald had all the kids around him making "trees".

 The second photo is Joe pretending to throw Ara into the pool.  She wasn't worried about him because she was holding a bottle of beer, and "Joey wouldn't throw a beer into the pool.

Arianna got a new bike and tons of "Barbie stuff".

Donald is doing well with his physical therapy - if exercises once a day are good, then three times a day should be better.  That's his reasoning and it is definitely going to work.

I'm so tired - just being around all the little kids saps my energy, but throw my adult kids in with the mix and I am zonked without even doing a thing.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Lazy Saturday morning

I looked up "agoraphobia" yesterday to see if I could possibly have a mild case of it.  While I really don't think so, I sure don't want to be in crowds if I can avoid it, nor do I like closed in places.  I'm missing my granddaughter's dance recital today because I can't bear to be in an auditorium for the 3-hour program.

By the way, I'm using the Bing search now instead of Google.  They are both about the same as far as I can tell.  Google recently changed their main page to feature animated figures doing the wave - over, and over, and over - they never stop.  I find it very distracting to say the least.  I don't update my I-Mac unless the details show that it's something important or a feature that I use, and it still carries the older Google page.  (I recently turned off the automatic updates on the laptop.)  I keep getting reminded that updates are available to I-Tunes, I-Photo, etc., but they have to do with sharing and keeping everything in sync with your phone, and I don't do any of that.  So no updates sneaking things in on me that I don't want!

Tomorrow is Arianna's birthday, her 4th, and I will be happy to join a crowd of family to celebrate.  I have a couple of books for her, and the "cake" on top of the two packages is actually a notepad with a pencil stuck in it to look like a candle. 

Tomorrow will be cool and rainy, and the cool will last for about 3 days until going back up to the upper nineties, a 20 degree change!  I wish it would just stay on the cold side, but as long as it stays cool overnight and into the early afternoon, I'm happy with that.

My printer needs toner soon, and it squeaks pretty badly when printing.  I love the Brother monochrome laser printer - so fast and simple, and the price is cheap enough that you almost are better off buying a new one when it starts to give problems.  I looked at printers at Staples yesterday and saw that every single one had all kinds of buttons and screens, mostly with icons that must mean something to a lot of folks.  I prefer words to icons, and the Brother fits my requirements:  an indicator light tells me if I need toner, a new drum, or if there is an error.  There is also a light to indicate that the printer is ready, and an on/off switch.  What more do I need, and the speed of it is amazing.  For the times I want something printed in color I can take the file to Staples and have them do it, and I am the same way about sending or receiving a fax.  I would never bother with using a fax on my own machine, but would just go somewhere to have it done for me.  The cost of buying all the features I would never use makes the inexpensive Brother B&W laser just perfect!  Some people may consider the down side to be that you have to connect it to your computer via a USB port.  I have never found this to be an issue for me.

I'll be glad to get my new debit card, and I hope it comes soon.  I'm down to about $3 in cash and I don't like to use a credit card for small purchases.  My credit union watches both credit and debit cards like a hawk.  Since my official mailing address is in SD, they periodically want to know if I'm still spending in CA, and when I drive across  country I always call and let them know I'm going to be using both cards along the way.  I've been with this credit union since I was about 19 yrs old, and have never found a better credit union or a bank, anywhere!  They've grown with the times, but still have the old-time values, and watch out for their customers.  A business like that is pure gold, as far as I'm concerned.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

It's not even 7:30 am and I feel like I've put in a full day - or at least a half day.  I woke up early this morning because I'm watching Liam for a couple of hours and need to be at Steve's house before 8:30!  

The first thing I do after starting my coffee in the morning is to turn on my computer and see what email I might have - in the AOL and the gmail accounts.  Gmail greeted me with a bright cheerful note about how they've changed the way my inbox is organized so that I am "in control".  I didn't realize I wasn't in control!  But I figured out how to get the screen back to the way it was - I don't need a faceless organization deciding whether to put an email in the "social" category.  And they say they don't read anyone's emails.  Last night I figured out how to turn off all their targeted ads, so now I just have random ads floating across the screen.

AOL has drastically altered its screen and it's almost comical how little space is given to reading an email.  Again, last night I searched for alternatives, even to the point of paying for an email account.  All I want is something simple and easy to use that won't be changing it's look every month, and that doesn't have ads in my face.  

Then, I received at phone call at 7 am (actually 10 am in the eastern time zone) from my credit union.  One of the merchants that I use my debit card with has reported that their system may have been compromised.  Therefore, my credit card company wants to issue a new debit card to me, one with a different number.  The only problem I have with that is it will have to go to my official address in SD, who will in turn have to forward it to me.  Precious days are lost and I won't have a debit card, so I won't be able to go shopping!  There is a credit union locally that has an affiliation with many other credit unions, so possibly I can get cash from them and just pay the old fashioned way.  I prefer using cash to tell the truth, but you can't do it in some instances, for example, buying gas at Costco.  Only a debit card will do.

I feel like I've been through the wringer and it's time for me to go face the morning commute traffic.  Fortunately the freeway traffic moves along nicely and I normally don't have any trouble.

I doubt that I will go to the RV show - for one thing I have no one to go with, and for another I am definitely not in the market for an RV.  Not the least is that I don't like to be in crowds any more.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Should I or shouldn't I?

Go to the RV show, that is.  I just got an email from Donald telling me that the show will be at Cal Expo this weekend and admission and parking are free.

It would be ok if I had someone to go with, but I'm not the least bit interested in owning any kind of an RV, unless someone bought me a Class B.  So I don't know about walking around that big place by myself looking at RV's I don't want.  I won't decide yet, but I guess it would have to be on Friday, because Sat. is Arianna's 4th birthday and I can't miss that.

It's been three days, and three Klondike bars.  Those things are so good, and a perfect finish to a good supper.

The weather has been perfect the last couple of days, but I see it's going to go back up to the 90's for the weekend, and then back down again.  This morning I was cold - I think the overnight low was about 50.  It's good sleeping weather.  I've been napping during the afternoon, which I hate to do because it throws my sleep schedule off balance.  

I think I'll have a beer and sit outside and enjoy the breezes. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Minimalist living

I guess that is what it would seem to most people.  I no longer have tv service, and something went wrong with the dishwasher a week or so ago, so I'm washing dishes by hand.

I still miss the tv, but I must say I'm enjoying washing dishes by hand.  Also, the glasses sparkle much more than when I used the d/w.  I am using Palmolive dishwashing detergent and love it.  I had been trying to use up the Dawn left over from RVing days for the times I needed to wash something by hand.  The glasses smelled terrible after using Dawn - maybe there is something in the water that doesn't agree with Dawn - but Palmolive is working great.

My kitchen seems a lot cleaner as well.  Having hot soapy dishwater on hand makes me want to swipe every surface in sight with it, and my coffee caraffe is sparkly.  The down side is that I will get dishwater hands if I don't use copious amounts of hand lotion!

It will be interesting to see if there is a decline in my electric bill, which is pretty minimal as it is.  The fan and swamp cooler don't seem to make much of a difference in electric usage.

I haven't done much the last couple of days, although today I got a request for some genealogy info from a cousin, and I've been in a whirlwind of activity for a couple of hours.  It required me to dig into boxes stored in the laundry area, and I found what I wanted on top of the pile.

I had to go to the grocery for bananas this afternoon, and picked up a 6-pack of Klondike bars.  I haven't had them for over a year, and the one I ate for dessert this evening tasted marvelous!  I could eat at least 3 more if I let myself.

An ad came along with the junk mail today for Dish tv; the package I would be interested in is about $40 a month, and I notice that you can get internet for an additional $20/month.  I don't know the requirements of the offer or the details, but the price sounds ok.  You have to contact them for more info, and they want your phone number.  I'm not ready to order anything yet so I will hold off on it.  

It kind of irritates me when I look at the different packages.  To get Science, Animal Planet, and National Geographic I have to get the 3rd package offered.  All the packages including the lowest priced have plenty of religious channels - way more proportionately than is warranted in my opinion.  Yet to get 3 scientific channels (if you can call Animal Planet scientific) you have to get a higher priced package.  I believe they should let you choose your channels and charge you for the ones you want and use.  Ok, that's my rant for today.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Family dinner

Stephanie hosted the monthly family dinner tonight, and she had pasta and meatballs like I haven't tasted for years!  My camera battery gave out after only a couple of photos, so I didn't get the crowd.

Her are three goodies, plus an oldie-but-goodie!  These girls are really sweethearts, and even though they make me look like 90 miles of bad road by comparison, I just loved getting my picture taken with them.


Now I need to find the charger for my camera battery.  It's with all the other chargers I need for my trip and somewhere in this house, but for now the fairies have hidden them from me.

I'm tired, so this is a short post tonight.  Happy father's day to all the dads out there.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Not much news

I don't know if it's the delicious high-test coffee I've had the past two mornings, or the B-12 shot.  I've been getting along with much less sleep than usual.  You will remember I had been mixing decaf coffee beans with the regular ones, and didn't even notice a difference in taste, but I guess having less caffeine has an effect.  Maybe it has nothing at all to do with either the coffee or the shot. 

My niece Stephanie is hosting the monthly family dinner tomorrow and since I haven't been to her apartment yet I will ride over with my sister.  Ara and Hannah were going over early to help her, and I bet they will polish off a bottle of wine or two while helping!  Maybe not.

I'm really in a quandary now about the gall bladder surgery.  I did a google search to see what were the effects of stones in the bile duct without treatment, and it's pretty dire.  I can't seem to rush anything along though, so I may end up seeing my son's gastrointestinal specialist when I'm in NY.  (I don't seem to have any symptoms or pain lately.)

Thanks for the comments on finding camp sites on the road, and especially at T.R. National Park.  I'm gathering info on National Forests along my route, and might try the disbursed camping route although I don't want to get too isolated with just a tent and no guard dog.  I've never worried before or felt unsafe, and I don't want to start now.

Maybe I can post some pictures in tomorrow's post.  Have a good weekend everyone.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I have just finished several cups of the best coffee I've ever tasted.  Ara brought her mom and me some Mother's Day gifts, including each of us a bag of coffee beans from a small company in Philly.  They roast the beans in small batches, and I marvel at the flavor of the coffee.

She also gave us big coffee cups which she decorated with a Sharpie and then fired in a kiln.  Mine says "Gypsy" on the handle, and there is a lovely pattern around the rim.

In addition, she did a pastel drawing from a photo taken years ago of me holding her mom when she was about 18 months old.  I'm taking it to Michael's Crafts today to have it framed.  (I just got back from Michael's and it is going to be spectacular when framed, but it's going to cost me!)

Donald began therapy yesterday and according to Jeannie he is really enthusiastic about it.  I'm sure it hurts, but he's not going to stay down for long.  I feel sorry for him, having to ask for assistance, even for something like a glass of water.  He's always so competent, and the one doing for everyone else.  His can-do attitude will certainly help his recovery process.

I remember when I traveled in my 5th wheel, never making reservations at a campground.  I just relied on something turning up and it always did.  I think I will be doing the same with my trip in August.  It will no doubt be a lot more difficult to find good camping spots and I sure don't want to be in crowded campgrounds, but will just have to rely on my usual good luck in finding a suitable site.  I'd like to rely on disbursed sites on forest service & BLM land, but would no doubt have to drive out of the way to reach them.  There is so much country to see and I feel I have so little time left to see it.

One national park that I definitely want to see is Theodore Roosevelt NP in North Dakota.  There are two sections of the park, the north and the south sections.  I would appreciate any comments and suggestions on which one to see as I doubt I'll have time to see them both.  I'm also avoiding Williston, close to the border between Montana and SD.  I remember last year's frustration with just getting through that congested place and never finding a motel that would accept my dog.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I took this picture of Ara, her friend Hannah, Jeannie & Autumn yesterday.

Today I stopped by with strawberries and grapes, after picking up large boxes of them at Costco.  We usually share because there is too much for me to eat before it goes bad, and it is better when it's fresh.

When I was leaving, I looked and saw this little head poking up.  I asked, "Is this some kind of trick you're playing on me?"  (You really need to click on the pictures to see any detail.  This first picture was a little out of focus.)


I left and drove by the car wash in Fair Oaks that does a beautiful job and they didn't seem to be busy, and I was so happy to get all the traveling dirt off my vehicle.  I'd hate to even estimate how long it's been since I washed it.

While waiting outside the building I looked up and saw a mama hen and a bunch of little chickens pecking the dirtIf you've been reading my blog for a while you will remember me talking about the roosters that run free all over Fair Oaks, and so do the hens and chickens.
I'm thinking about the advisability of trying some dispersed camping on my trip, which shouldn't be too difficult to find in the west, at least.  Campgrounds usually don't give tenters a break in the rates, and some places can run at about the same cost as a budget motel.

I've always just taken my chances on finding something along the way, and I probably shouldn't over-plan it now.  I'm about a month away from the trip to Oregon with Jeannie & Donald, and it will only be a week or so after I get back that I will leave for the open road!