Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Almost ready

I didn't feel like eating breakfast this morning (my favorite meal of the day), so I drove my car over to the garage where I take it for service and got an oil change, plus check of fluid levels and tires.  I was able to eat when I got home, and now I need to run some more errands.

I couldn't eat supper last night - don't know if it's the gallbladder acting up or more than likely, my excitement and nerves over my trip.  I slept well though, but I can't miss too many more meals or I'll waste away!

I think I will go to a nearby credit union and withdraw some cash for the campgrounds.  I made a list of how many of each denomination I want to get, but keep revising the list, so I may as well just get whatever I decide when I'm at the counter.  A lot of campgrounds don't make change and I want to be prepared.

Later:  I got the cash and then stopped to buy some food for the trip.  It will be a switch for me as I normally bake fish from the freezer, and only use fresh fruits and vegetables.  I will try to get by on what looks like the best of packaged meals, although many of them were put back on the shelf as soon as I looked at the list of ingredients!  I will probably buy some last minute items on Saturday.

To readers who travel from the U.S. into Canada going through Grand Portage, is there a convenient place on the other side of the border to exchange money?  I really don't know how much to change, although I'll probably need much more than I expect.

I've oftened mentioned that I like to work out my upper arms with light hand weights.  I've doubled up on the weights to get my muscles ready for carrying the heavy cooler around, and my upper arms are looking great (for my age).  What is really bad are my arms from the elbow to the hand.  Does anyone have exercises for tightening up this part of the arm?  The better my upper arms look the worse the lower ones get.  I thought chocolate might help, but so far it's helping in other ways besides my muscle tone!

I've packed my clothes in 3 duffel bags of different sizes - the large one has my clothes for every day, the next one carries my winter clothes, and the third and smallest is the one I'll carry to the shower.  I feel so much better getting that done as everything was stacked on one side of my bed and I just want to start getting things out of my way.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Response to some of the comments from yesterday's post:

Sandra, the pictures are exquisite!  I really enjoyed looking through them, and if other readers are interested in seeing some of the area I hope to be traveling through, please visit the link posted by Sandra:

As for the loading up on the car, I am pretty good in my own right, although I know I would lose interest and focus before I finished and would start throwing things wherever I could.  So I usually have one of my kids pack for me before a long trip because I know how methodical and meticulous they can be with it.  I'll be there and will know where to find everything, but even if I wasn't the order of packing will be so logical I could find everything anyway. 

When I first thought about driving the loop around Lake Superior in Ontario, I got my passport from where I usually keep it and put it in a zipped compartment of my purse.  It expires in 2019, but I double checked and yep, I'm good to go to 17 Nov 2019.  I hope I'm around and still traveling when it's time to get another renewal, although I hope they have a nicer design by then.  I liked the passports I had prior to this one, which is about the worst I have ever seen.  I suppose it is designed to cut down on counterfeiting, but all that background junk on the pages is not pretty in my opinion.

I got some things crossed off my list today but still have a few more to do by Friday.  Half my bed is taken up with little stacks of clothes that I might want to pack.  I think that is going to be the most difficult - deciding what to take along.  I've looked at the temps at some of the places on my proposed route and it gets down as low as the upper 40's at night.  I sure hate to take two sleeping bags, and think maybe I should just go with the down bag which I can leave unzipped if I need to.  I'm pretty sure the temps will be even lower at higher elevations and on my return trip.

Well, the mail just arrived and I have a package from the Blue Ridge Parkway which I'm dying to look into.  I've been over much of the Parkway but never from end to end, about 469 miles.  If I start out at the beginning of Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah, I will be driving close to 600 miles of my most favorite scenery on earth - and at approx 45 mph top speed!

Ok, now to pore over the info sent from the BRP and dream.

Searching for campgrounds

I've been looking for tent camping sites along Lake Superior in Ontario, Canada.  There are provincial parks, but their rates seem high.  I guess I'm used to paying the senior rate at US National Park and Forest Service campgrounds, which usually run between $5 and 9 (that is the senior rate which is 50% of regular).  It looks like the private campgrounds as well as provincial parks run from about $20 to 25 for a tent site, and that is in Canadian so it would be a bit more in American dollars.  It won't break me to spend approx. 3 nights in Canada, and I'll just drive until I find a good place to stop.

Are any readers familiar with Thunder Bay?  I'm not usually interested in cities or tours, and wonder if it is worth an overnight stay in that vicinity.  I might add that my entire itinerary is written in jello at this point, and for all the planning I've done I'll be winging it as I go along.  That's exactly how I love to do it!

Jeannie will come by on Saturday to pack my car for me.  She did an excellent job getting everything in the van.  My ex husband was probably the best in the world for packing a car, a fridge/freezer, or just about anything, and all the kids have his skills.  I'm not bad at it but not the best either, so I'll let a pro do it for me.

I have a lot of items on my to-do list for tomorrow, including an oil change, and I'm hoping the tires are ok for the trip.  At this point I wonder if I will get everything done.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Just a few thoughts tonight

Traveling and camping items are spread all over my living room and kitchen and I wonder if it will all come together by next weekend.  Add to that all the little things I need to do this week and calls to make, I worry I'll be rushing at the last minute.

I finished off some ice cream tonight so I just have 5 Klondike bars left, and they will be gone in 5 more days!  Still don't know what I will do about dinners for the trip as I don't want to cook, but I need to eat in order to maintain my weight.     

I'm making trays of ice cubes as fast as they can freeze, so I will have at least the first day or so covered.  It looks like I'll have to take my big cooler and I don't mind because it has a valve to let out the ice melt and will hold much more than the smaller plastic cooler.  I think I will just keep my Brita pitcher in it as well as I hate to buy bottled water for the entire trip.  I might get a 6 pack or so, but will just fill a water bottle or two from the pitcher most of the time.

I really like my camp stove - a one burner butane stove.  It is so easy to attach the butane cannister and there is an electronic ignition so no matches or lighter are necessary.  It brings water to a boiling point very quickly, is lightweight, and takes less room than the 2 burner propane stove.

We stopped at the Dagoba chocolate factory in Ashland, OR and I bought 3 large bars of chocolate, one of which I'm enjoying right now.  They have a huge selection and provide samples of each.  Jeannie was insistent we stop at the factory on our way to the Coast, and I'm sure glad she was.

I hope I can get more accomplished tomorrow than I did today, although I suppose I didn't do too bad today, and I even managed a quick walk this evening.

Lastly, I want to amend something from yesterday's blog.  I mentioned meeting a woman in Weaverville who was the wife of the pizza restaurant owner.  For all I know they own the restaurant together, and for me to assume he is the sole owner isn't right.  So I am correcting that assumption. 


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Weaverville, CA

Our last overnight stop was in Weaverville, CA.  We took Rt 299 from Eureka to Redding, and although it is very hilly and extremely curvy, it is a beautiful road with exquisite scenery.  We passed through the Trinity Alps which take your breath away they are so beautiful!  I just couldn't get good pictures from the side window (I was sitting in the middle section of the van behind the driver) and just couldn't capture the grandeur.

This morning we went into the town of Weaverville and walked around a bit - I tried to get some photos but in many the lighting is all wrong.  It definitely is a town I could live in.  (Remember to click on the pictures to enlarge them.)

The court house:

I love the sense of humor here:

The buildings in this section of town were built in the early 1840's, destroyed by fire and rebuilt at least two more times.  I just love those spiral stairs outside some of the buildings.

We ate lunch at Johnny's Pizza and I had a lovely chat with the wife of the owner.  She gave me some good suggestions for getting rid of my phobia of water - Weaverville sits along the Trinity River and of course water activities are a big thing in this area.  I definitely plan to go back, maybe early next year after my return from NY and possible surgery.  

I've been thinking I would like to try going out on a river, and - don't fall over in shock - I'd like to do some fishing.  I have never been a fisherwoman.  The few times I went my husband baited the hook, removed the fish, cleaned it, and I don't remember ever getting the line snagged in a tree branch or snarled up.  Our kids kept him busy with lines tied up in granny knots though.  

This is just a dream I have and at my age I'm not likely to ever pick up a fishing pole.  But hey, I just might.  I will go back to Weaverville and probably do some tent camping along the river.

I'm home now trying to determine what I still have in Jeannie's van.  There is so much to be done and things to take care of during the next week I wonder if I'll get through it and ready to leave Sunday morning (Aug 4).  I also worry about the heat I will find in several places I plan overnight camping spots the first week, but I won't get stressed until I get there and then I can decide how to handle it.  The temperature was 103 when we went through Redding, and I believe it was 94 here.  The house was pretty hot when I walked in.

As you can imagine I listened quite often to this refrain the past week:  "Are we there yet?"  On the way back to Sac on I-5 I saw three signs in a row, reminding me of the old Burma Shave signs although not in rhyme.

1.  Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?

2.  No, not yet, Grandma!

3.  Thirty-five minutes to go, Grandma.

I think the advertising was for the casino in Corning!  I guess Grandmas (and Grandpas) have a lot in common with their grandchildren.

Thanks for all the wonderful comments I've received.  Now I will be busy catching up on all the blogs I've missed while away.

Oregon Coast and Weaverville, CA

We left the Inn at Gold Beach after breakfast and headed over to the Forest Service Visitors Center to check out which short hikes might be best for kids (and grannies).  The woman working at the VC was so helpful and gave us several suggested hikes, plus was great with the kids - pulling out the goodie bag of items kids love.

We did a short stretch of the Oregon Coast Trail off Highway 101.  It started out fairly easy with mostly downhills and some uphills, but it got very steep once we came close to the ocean.

The last part was climbing down rocks to the little beach, but I opted to stay where I was.  I'm not steady enough on my feet to deal with the steep rocks, and have finally learned that "discretion is the better part of valor".

I think it's amazing the way the trees grow on the rocks.
Coming back up to the car we must have taken a different trail and it became so steep I wasn't sure I could make it, but I did!  The old girl ain't finished with life just yet!

It was a long drive from Gold Beach down to Eureka, CA - lots of traffic, road works, stopped traffic, and little towns, and I was glad when we finally turned east on Hwy 299 towards Redding.  We stopped for the night in the cutest little town I've seen yet, Weaverville.  I just love the looks of it, and will try to get some photos of it tomorrow.  It has a lot of shops on the Main Street, but they aren't the touristy type you see in the spruced up towns.  I think this area of the Trinity River Forest caters to fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts, and is a no-frills town but has some unique shops.  We ate dinner at a great restaurant this evening - terrific food, service, and a full house.

Please click on pictures to enlarge.  I'm never sure if I have included the pictures I want, because it is difficult to tell from the thumbnail photos shown in blogger.

More to come tomorrow!  Good night all. 


Friday, July 26, 2013

Green Springs, OR and Gold Beach, OR

Yesterday (Wed.) we remained at the Inn about 30 miles from Ashland.  In the morning we went hiking, including a stretch on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and in the afternoon we drove in to Ashland and walked around the little town.  It is strictly touristy at least in the summer, with one little shop after another, including two actual bookstores!  To me there is nothing like walking into a bookstore, picking up one book after another and reading the jacket cover to learn what it is about.  I hope they never get run out of business by online stores and electronic books.  Every individual has their own reasons for preferring one or another, but I remain committed to actual paper books.

The thing about touristy towns is that they are all alike, probably all over the world.  The best thing is the lack of chain stores and malls that carry the same chains as every other mall.  The worst is that the merchandise, while usually unique and beautiful, is high priced, and you get the feeling everyone is out to take your money (which they are).  I liked Ashland ok and may even  go back some day, but I didn't get that "homey" feeling that I've gotten with a few small towns I've been in.

Today (Thurs) we drove to Gold Beach, OR which is an absolutely great little stretch of beach/town.  The view from our Lodge is of the Pacific and the water is separated from the lodge and cottages by a stretch of dunes/sea grass.  The kids loved playing on the sand and in the cold ocean.  Donald actually got into the water!  I sat back away from it all and watched.  I must say I think the ocean is lovely, but would rather be next to a river.  I'm also not at all crazy about the sand, but I'm glad I got to see it.  There are a great deal of activities in the surrounding area to keep adults and children busy.

As always, click on a picture to enlarge it.

Jeannie noticed a sign in the office here that said something to the effect of "Gold Beach:  We're a drinking town with a bit of a fishing problem!"


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tuesday evening - we left Sunday just before Noon for Burney Falls, CA, and had a cabin reserved at the State Park there.  The cabin was very nice and just perfect for us, although the sites were close together with no or little privacy between them.  No matter, we were out to enjoy the week.

The above picture is of Grandma and Arianna.  My daughter absolutely hated to wear a dress when she was young, and her daughter hikes in a dress and pearls!  The pearls have been worn every day since we left home, and I love it.
After settling in we hiked to the Falls, which are just gorgeous.  Not content to just see them from below, we hiked up a steep trail to one that went over the Falls.  In all I supposed we hiked 2 strenuous (to me) miles, but the 4 and 6 yr old did as well as I did, if not better.  The next day they went back for more so the kids could get the information required for a special merit badge.  At that point I just stayed back at the cabin, reveling in the peace and quiet, and chilled out.

We also took the kids to Britton Lake, about 2 miles from our cabin, but I didn't get in the water - just sat in peace in the shade.  Sounds like I'm getting old!

Here are a couple of pictures taken just before we left the cabin - Flat Haley and Flat Sierra (named by my granddaughters) on the cabin front porch.


This morning (Tuesday) we finally got on the road and drove approximately 125+ miles to Ashland, Oregon.  We are staying at an Inn about 30 miles outside Ashland - a beautiful drive on a curvy bumpy road that made Autumn very car sick!  Finally arrived at the Inn and had a great dinner.  Jeanne, Donald and Autumn then left to drive in to Ashland to the Shakespearean Theater and a performance of Midsummer Night's Dream.  I think it is a modernized version with the characters more from life today than back in the Bard's time, and I hope they get a lot from the performance.  The minimum age for attending in 5 yrs old and Arianna falls one year short, so I opted to stay here at the Inn with her.  We went out to the little playground for a while and are now back in the room - me on my computer and Arianna on her Leap Pad!


Traveling with family is entirely different than traveling on one's own - they do things entirely different than I do, but the company makes it all worth while.  I just made up my mind to enjoy it, even leaving 2 or 3 hours later than we plan, and spending more time on kid friendly activities than I might on my own.  I will have a 4500 mile trip in August to do everything my own  way so I'm going to get every bit of happiness out of this week that I can.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Nearly on my way

In about 2 hrs I will be on the way to a week of fun.  Gotta have my coffee first, so I'm up a bit earlier than usual.  I still have some smaller items that I didn't take yesterday to pack in the van, but Donald assures me there will be room.

I just wanted to let everyone know I will post when I have the chance, and hope to take lots of pictures.  I'll try to read blogs as well, but it will depend on internet connection.  If I can use the MiFi and computer but with no electrical connection, then I will try to conserve my online time as much as possible.

Have a good week and I will try my best to have a good one as well, and I'll be back next Sunday.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Last day prep

I woke up not feeling so great this morning even though I got a decent night's sleep.  Since I don't feel the B-12 shot has me bursting with energy I decided not to get another one, but maybe I should rethink that and get one more before I leave for NY.

Because of the heat yesterday - still 95 at 8 pm - I decided to just do a short walk inside the park.  I was afraid I'd get down by the river and not feel like walking back.  I did a few yoga stretches to make up for the shorter walk.

I don't know how Donald is going to fit everything in their van for our trip, but i am taking my things over to their house today and see how he's doing.  They always take so much stuff because of the kids.  I need to go back and lighten my own duffle bag - this is camping and I don't need to wear a different outfit for each day.  A couple of our stops will be at rustic cabins with no showers, but we also will be staying at lodges and inns, and those will be clean-up times! 

I dropped off my stuff to be packed in the van, but when I got home I remembered a few more things.  The coffee caraffe & filter, of all things!  Jeannie ground fresh coffee beans this morning so we will have a good start to the day.

Since it is going to 103 today I think I'll skip my walk, but plan to do some hikes every day while we are gone.  

Does anyone else have the same problem I do with passwords?  It is getting to be just too much - I already have a 4 page Word document listing all the passwords I have, and it seems that the P/W thing is spreading to areas that shouldn't require one.  I'm fed up with the whole thing.

I feel a nap coming on so I'd better get the rest of my packing done before I succumb to the couch.  I hope I will be energized once we hit the road!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Call me Butterfingers today

I fixed a big bowl of my usual breakfast fruit and carried it into the living room.  I was balancing the bowl on my lap and trying to open my laptop when the bowl somehow jumped and tipped most of the fruit on the floor.  Not being one to waste, and since I keep the floor area relatively clean in this part of the room, I quickly picked it up and put it back into the bowl.  It tasted fine and I didn't waste.  Most of it went under my chair where no one walks around anyway.

I figured I might as well dust mop in every room and am glad that's done.  I'm starting to get things together for travel but have a long way to go before I'm ready.  I'll no doubt be scrambling on the last day before I leave.  

About my walking routine and to answer Phil's comment, yes I have been thinking about the trail in back of my house.  It goes all the way over to the American River and connects with the downtown-to- Folsom bike trail.  That is the same trail that goes past Cal Expo and where I walked Lady and Mandy when I stayed there in my RV for several months.

I'm pretty sure that a few homeless people live in the area behind me, although probably on the other side of the trail.  I used to meet them now and then while walking Lady, and they were mostly shy but friendly.  I have no problem with them living there - where else are they going to stay?  Maybe the likelihood of problems occurs with the larger encampments, but not here in my experience.

As for walking on it now, I might do it - I could walk down to the river and then if it is getting dark I can return along Sunrise Blvd.  I've been starting out at 8pm as it is cooling down by then, so I could make it back before total darkness even if I can manage 3 or 4 miles.  I think I walk about 4 mph.

I just received an odd email - it starts out, "We are one of the best digital images retouching/editing professionals located in China."
Are my photos that bad that they got word 
of it in China?  I think Blogger could use
some help from China in its switching of 
type size in the blog! 

This is a good place for me to stop and 
see it this publishes better than it looks

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Some thouhts on yesterday's post

In re-reading my post from yesterday I realize many of you have read a similar post from me for several years.  Every now and then I get backpacking fever so badly I just can hardly bear it.  And as every year goes by the likelihood that I could even try it again is reduced.

I went back last night and read the blog for my Appalachian Trail (AT) attempted thru-hike in 1997, and it all came back to me - the joys, the pain, the people, the rain, etc.  When I came to the last section I wrote years later about my wonderful companion, black lab Smoky, I just cried.  

I still intend to have a go at it again, but at this point with my health issues on this side of the horizon, I don't know how I'll manage it.  Maybe when I get back from NY I could try some overnighters here in CA, and I'd definitely like to be in decent enough shape to day-hike a couple of trails in the Shenandoah and the Blue Ridge on my way back in the fall.

I drove back to REI today to pick up the book I had ordered and have already picked out a couple of campgrounds along the route I'll be traveling across NY state.  Whether there are any available campsites in late August is another story, but if I hit them during the week I might find someplace to overnight.  

In the meantime I'd like to find a suitable hiking partner or two here in my area - someone not too much younger than I am. 

I thought I was so smart and the compass I bought would be a piece of cake!  It is slightly different than most I've seen, in the area of the pointer.  Most pointers are red on one end, and that's the end that points north.  My new one has a pointer with a circle on one end and a "fork" on the other.  I figured the forked end would be the pointing end and indicate north.  I knew something wasn't right, but as I've explained, the streets here are on the diagonal, and the houses are on the diagonal on their respective lots.  Finding north accurately isn't easy but I have a good general idea.  I got frustrated when I could't get it to work, and even found websites telling how to work with a compass.  

Finally in total desperation I pulled out the instructions that came with the compass and found a list of and explanations of features.  Turns out the circle end of the pointer goes to North.  Well duh, Marty.  When all else fails, read the instructions.  Once I had it properly aligned and everything was where I knew it to be, I'm confident I will get a lot of use out of this little device.  It doesn't require batteries or recharging, doesn't send you messages, doesn't beep or flash or have apps, but is just a plain and simple survival tool.  If I'm hiking a mountain trail and wonder what is the name of a mountain I'm looking at, I just orient the compass to the map and get my answer.  (And I wouldn't think of being out on a mountain trail without a map that doesn't require batteries, need recharging, etc.)  I think I take a perverse pleasure in knowing how to do things the old fashioned way, although I certainly appreciate technology at times.  When I'm driving I can use my GPS to determine direction.

I feel so good in the morning, but now that it's up in the mid 90's I'm all washed out.  I took a nap which is probably a mistake because I don't feel revived at all.  I am continuing to walk and did the entire circle around the park last night, which is +/- 2 miles.  I need to get out of this park to a place where I can vary the route as well as the mileage, but I'll have to overcome my laziness first.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My eyes are ok

I saw Dr. G this morning to find out if the irritation I had in one eye could have been related to the jaundice.  He said my eyes were fine and gave me a couple of samples of eyedrops, one will require a prescription if I need it filled, and the other is more of the soothing kind you can buy off the shelf.

I stopped by REI on the way home as I had ordered a book from their online store - The Best of Tent Camping in New York State.  It was supposed to be delivered to the store on Friday and I hoped it might be early.  They checked and it is due in tomorrow, so I'll have to make another trip.  I don't mind going to REI but I always find something to buy.  This morning I got a new compass and the latest issue of Backpacker Magazine.

Then to Bev Mo for non-alcoholic beer.  While I was waiting for someone to help me get a case off the shelf, I looked through the fine bourbons.  A while back my son Steve asked me if we were related to the owners of Willett Distillery in Bardstown.  It turned out he had tasted one of their bourbons and wanted to buy it, but would pay the price only if we were related.  I checked with my brother who is further into genealogy than I am, and indeed we are related to the distillers.  I tasted some of Steve's stash and thought I would die!  At first it takes your breath away, then the fire hits your throat but in an instant you have such a warm glow and the feeling of all's right with the world.  I have seen it at Bev Mo but the larger bottle costs close to $80 but I noticed today they had a smaller one, so I got it.  At the checkout I wondered at the irony of buying a case of non-alcoholic beer and a bottle of fine bourbon!  It should last me a long time because a few drops is about all I want every now and then.

I think I will love my new compass.  It is made right in our own state of Wyoming and looks very easy to use.

I want to get back into backpacking so bad I can taste it!  But the cost of the gear I'd need is holding me back; Steve has my backpacking tent and Joe has the sleeping bag, but I'd need a thermarest mattress, as well as a pack and possibly new boots.  Those items plus the stove, titanium cook pot, and all the little stuff, would set me back a few dollars - maybe next year.  I could drive to Maine and hike south on the Appalachian Trail!  

To this end (and also for my general health) I'm walking 5 or 6 evenings a week and last night got up to almost a mile and a half!!!  Well on my way to long distance backpacking. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

One good thing happened at least!

I got a response to a letter I wrote to Verizon about their charging me $30 for the bandwidth I exceeded on my MiFi last month.  I explained that for some reason I couldn't track my usage on the MiFi device itself or on my Verizon page.  This went on the whole month and I ended up being over the 5GB limit.  They are crediting my account for the $30, so I'm pretty happy about that.  I had to write them a "real" letter and send it in an envelope with stamp by the way - the only customer contact is either by phone or mail it seems, and the phone contact didn't help me at all.  Verizon's customer service has been in the basement lately (for me, anyway), so I was happy to get this kind of response to my complaint.  In the letter I wrote I asked them outright to credit my account for the $30.

Got some black posterboard today, a couple of thick sheets of foam board, and one regular flexible posterboard so I can decide whether to make coverings for the windows of the Highlander.  I'm not planning to stealth camp anywhere if I can possibly avoid it, so I'm not too sure I even care about the windows being covered.  I'd be snuggled down into my sleeping bag anyway.

I guess I'm a wimp but I really think I need to be able to stand up, at least nearly straight up.  My knees have always been good, but I notice this last year that if I'm down it's really difficult to get back up - the knees just don't want to work.  So sleeping in a car or even a van wouldn't be easy for me, but I could do it in a pinch - rain, high wind, etc.  But I will see what I can do with the posterboard at any rate.  I couldn't find velcro tape, so I'll have to try another store or two.

I have the nicest breeze blowing through my house today, but tomorrow starts the upward trend and I hate the thought of the heat coming back.  Knowing I wouldn't feel like it tomorrow I opened and spread two bags of stones over the plastic edge in the back yard, but got tired after two of them and left the third.  It looks ridiculous because it's a different color than the old gravel, but I guess it will look better once it's exposed to the sun for a while.  What I really need is a truckload of gravel, but I don't think it's worth the work involved in spreading it.  The 1.5 cu. feet bags are about all I can handle.  Yard maintenance has never been something I like to do.  

I don't care much for the new profile picture on this blog, but it probably looks more like I do now than the one it replaced.  I will try to get a regular photo of me straight on and just crop it - this one was taken by the Mac and at a weird angle.  I have searched until I just can't do it anymore to find out how to change the small picture that appears when I make a comment on someone else's blog, and it may also show up on my gmail correspondence.  That pic was taken back in 2008 or 9 and my appearance has totally changed since then.  If anyone knows how to change that picture please let me know.  

I also finally found my way to my Picasa photos that have appeared on my blog.  The only problem is that some of them have never appeared on my blog, but are in my iPhoto library which has nothing to do with Picasa.  How does Picasa obtain photos that are stored on my computer and have never been on my blog or had anything to do with Google?  By the way, I NEVER use Picasa for anything so it is unlikely that I used it on any photos I've taken.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Getting my exercise

Yesterday at sundown I went out for my evening walk and hoped this time to extend it to a mile and a half or more.  I hadn't gone far when I saw a woman getting mail from her mailbox but her little dog evidently wasn't on a leash and took off.  She called to the puppy, who finally started to come back when she noticed me.  Of course, being a puppy she threw herself at my feet and rolled to expose her tummy for scratching.  While I was scratching her, and the lady was trying to get control of her collar, the little puppy peed on my hand!  I didn't say anything, the dog was picked up by her owner, and I went on my way making sure my hand didn't get near the rest of me.  You'd think in the dry heat it would have air dried pretty fast, but I swear it was still damp when I got home.  Being my right hand I had to open the door with my left, and turn on the faucet at the sink left-handed, but finally got my hands washed.  I will try to extend my walk tonight and be careful if I stop to pet a dog!

It was back to Lowe's today to see if I could successfully buy 3 bags of rocks.  First I got a cart and went back to where they were to make sure what I wanted was available.  This time they were stacked on a lower shelf and I didn't need to reach overhead.  I got the first bag on the flatbed cart when a lady who was watering plants came over and got the next two bags.  When I approached the cashier she gave me a stern look and said "Don't do that again!  Ask for assistance."  When I drove my car up she was waiting to load it into the back.  I just now unloaded it, and since there were only 3 bags I was able to back into the driveway and carry one at a time the short distance to the back yard.  This whole thing is so stupid - no one looks in my back yard so what is the big deal?  But my thanks go out to the ladies at Lowe's!

After getting the blood test results showing my liver function is excellent, today I have two very jaundiced eyes.  Over the weekend and in the heat I probably drank 2 to 3 times my normal intake of beer, but that seems awfully drastic a result.  I'll wait and see what it looks like tomorrow, and I'm going to teetotal it this evening.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Family weekend

Just a short post today.  My sister, Julie, came from the Bay Area with a friend yesterday, and Steve, Joe, their kids, and I went to a BBQ at Jeannie's house.  I haven't ever seen so much delicious food!  I went back today and snapped this picture of Julie, Paul, and Jeannie & family.  Both days most everyone was in the pool as it's been so hot.  I think I was outdoors in the heat too long yesterday and haven't really felt right since, although sleeping 11 hours last night helped.

I took a number of pictures by the pool yesterday but for some reason they all came out looking like stormy waves in the water.  Maybe it's a reflection from the sun making it look choppy?  Maybe someone can tell me.


Today I got the results of the blood test earlier this week, and it looks like everything is normal.  My total cholesterol went down as was to be expected from the low dose of Lipitor, but personally I'm not crazy about it being at 102 as I'm sure it could go down below 100.  Having cholesterol that is too low isn't all that healthy either, but I guess I'm stuck taking the Lipitor for a while at least.  So far the only negative I've experienced is worsening of and a different type of leg & foot cramps at night.

I missed a night of walking yesterday so I'm going to get back to it this evening.  I need to figure out where I can go to walk that is a change of scenery at least once in a while.  Could do the gym-treadmill thing, but I can't think of anything more boring, at least to me personally.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Calling cards

When I was full-time RVing and opened my South Dakota mailing address, Terri sent me a supply of calling cards as well as some return address labels.  I've been wanting to get some that aren't so plain, so after years of avoiding Instaprint - you know the advertising, the cards are either free or cost $10 - I looked at their website.

I wanted a scene from nature and actually hoped I could find one of an open road stretching out ahead, but no luck.  I didn't really want to design my own (really I'm just not capable of designing anything) so I was left with their selection, which isn't bad.  I finally chose this impressionistic, water-color-type tree.  I blotted out my phone number, but everything else is the way it looks.

For 250 cards and 50 return address labels the cost came to just under $30.  I guess it's worth it, and now if I meet any fellow bloggers/blog readers on the road I can offer them my calling card, and hopefully they have one they can offer me.  I have a nice supply of beautiful cards I've been given along the way, and always wished I had gone for broke with a photo of my 5th wheel and truck on a card, but it's just as well I didn't.  
I'm looking all over for the little card holder I had but can't find it anywhere.  Since I rarely throw out things like that, it must be somewhere in this chaos.  I am thinking about cleaning up and rearranging my office/IMac/camping gear storage room, maybe even this afternoon, and I just might find it there.  At least maybe I will be able to access all parts of the room.

Costco was first on the list this morning to get some prescriptions that are now filled in 3 month supply.  Much easier than having to always be running in for refills, and I don't want to have to keep transferring the Rx while I'm traveling.  I bought myself some new underwear while I was there - you know what your mother always told you - always wear clean underwear when you go out.  I decided I'd better pay attention to Mama just in case I need one of those emergency room apps when I'm away from home.  Oh wait, my jitterbug phone doesn't use apps (and if it does and someone knows that, please don't tell me!).  And for the record, I bought bikini type garments, just for the fun of it and imagining the look on the faces of the ER personnel!

I had chicken for my dinner last night and thought I would have problems with acid reflux during the night.  I had some of the chicken on a sandwich for lunch today, so I'll see if it's just chicken I can no longer tolerate or just a fluke.  Chicken doesn't taste as good to me any more, although I still enjoy a hamburger now and then.  I'll stick to mostly fish, but worry about my diet while traveling.  

I think I will travel only about 275 miles of interstate, and that's out of 4500 miles (one way).  I may decide to alter the route slightly but it won't make that much difference in traveling interstates.  I'm excited about seeing so much of hometown American (and possibly Canada) this trip.  

I will be going to a BBQ at Jeannie's tomorrow so I will get to see the Flat Stanleys and whatever the girls have decided to name the female dolls.  I gave them each a lot of blank outlines that I printed out and asked them to color.  It should be interesting to see what they come up with.  Two other granddaughters and a grandson will be there as well, so maybe I should go armed with additional Stanleys!

I'm also taking some little things I picked up at the Back to School sales.  They have those ruled spiral bound notebooks for only $.17, so you can imagine I bought a bunch.  I'm like a kid in a candy store at the back to school sales!  Then to avoid fights among sisters I have printed out their names on my labeling machine and affixed them to the notebooks!  I probably missed my calling to be an elementary school teacher, but it's a good thing because I don't have enough patience.

I'd better quit now and let you go read some other blogs with more to say than I can come up with.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ready to mail

The maps and book are ready to be mailed to my grandsons.  I numbered each individual map in the order I will be traveling, and even highlighted my first day's route.  I hand printed a note to them about it, and anyone who doesn't normally print in lower case letters should try it some time.  Tedious!  Now it's all ready to go to the post office in a week or so.  I don't want to mail it too soon before I leave - I'm a bit superstitious when it comes down to it.

I just received a phone call that began, "The FBI has reported. . .", and I thought Oh shit what have I done and how did they find out!  It turned out to be an advertising scheme for home protection devices (they didn't mention a Smith & Wesson :~).  I think the message was to the effect that the FBI reports that a home is broken into every 15 minutes, or something like that.  A home alarm system is the last thing in the world I would want.  Two of my kids have them in their homes and it is a real pain in the neck when I'm staying there and maybe want to open the bedroom window, or when I would take the dog out early in the morning.  I would be triggering the alarm  myself all the time, or more likely, I would never set the thing to begin with.  At least the FBI isn't looking for me and I don't call any suspicious characters that would turn up on the records they collect.

I've been thinking a lot and planning the next few months, which is way more tiring work than actually doing anything!  I also had an enlightenment this morning - when I am working furiously on a project, as with the maps & trip plans, the day seems to stretch out more.  When I just sit on my rear most of the day it goes from morning to bedtime and from weekend to weekend in a flash.  You'd think it would be the other way around but it isn't.  That means I need some projects to work on, but they have to have real goals and an end result I can see and enjoy.  

Washing the dishes doesn't count as a project, although it will become one soon if I don't get busy.  I made a stupid mistake a couple of nights ago, one that I have made over and over and you'd think I'd learn but I don't.  I put a big knife into the soapy dishwater where it was waiting to cut my finger.  Hurt so damn bad and for so long I've just let dishes stack up for a day or two.

I'm thinking about going back to Lowe's and trying again to get a few bags of rocks.  I should have stopped yesterday morning after leaving the lab as Lowe's is in the same shopping area, but I had fasted for the blood draw and was hungry and needed some coffee.  I'm not excited about getting the rocks in the first place because then I'll just have to deal with them and it's too hot to fool around outside.

So far the weather today is really pleasant - only 81 by 1:30 pm, although it's going up to 92 or higher.  I think I'll have a nap before it gets too warm.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I'm just dragging today

This morning I was at the lab when they opened at 8 am so they could draw a vial of blood.  I have been taking a low dose of lipitor for about 2 months and they need to make sure it isn't affecting my liver.  By all means take that test!  But I had to fast, which is why I went so early.

Since I came home I have been absolutely dragging along, and they didn't take enough blood to cause me to feel like this.  I take iron supplements and have plenty of protein in my diet, so I just can't figure it out except maybe that it's just laziness.  It has gotten hotter today than yesterday, and I found the coolest spot in the house and took a nap.

When it gets this hot I never feel like cooking supper, so this may be a nacho chips/salsa/cheese in the microwave night.  That's the only thing I ever use my microwave for.  I thawed out chicken but it's too hot to even go outside and throw it on the grill!  Guess it will keep until tomorrow.

I mentioned yesterday that I didn't know why Sitemeter disappeared from my site a long while ago, and now it is back.  I think it is because I block Google and other companies from tracking me, and it looks like Sitemeter was one of the companies affected.  As soon as I "allowed" it, the counter is back.  I have no idea if it is accurate or not and really don't worry about the numbers anymore.  

Nothing else happening here.  If I had TV I'd probably be watching some kind of drivel, so I'm just as well off without it.  Y'all try to stay cool!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Will wonders never cease

After not showing up on my blog page for months, maybe even a year, the sitemeter is now there.  I'm afraid to breathe or cough because it might go away.

I want to thank Kristine who gave me the idea for Flat Stanley, and to Sandie who sent me the link to the templatesAt first when I looked at the web site it appeared to require Apps, and as I've said before I don't do apps.  But I found out the apps are not necessary.  I printed out several templates and just now took them over to Autumn and Arianna to color for me.  I did the Flat Stanley one, but there are also girl figures as well and I printed some of them thinking that we will use the girlie template on our upcoming road trip to Oregon.

My granddaughter Autumn is probably the best person I know to color a picture.  She does a beautiful job with it, and the colors she does are always bright and bold - just what is needed for a little paper doll who is going to appear on photographs.  

I can't believe I have never heard of Flat Stanley, and he's been around since 1964!  I was around Ara's age in 1964 and had many other things on my mind I guess.

I stopped at AAA this morning and picked up the individual state maps I'll be using for my trip to NY, and will send them soon to my grandsons.  This is going to be so much fun for me, and I hope it's half as enjoyable for the kids as it is for me.  But I don't know why "Fat Albert" is what comes to my mind first instead of "Flat Stanley".