Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I Survived!

Just got back from the Volksmarch, which turned out to be 11.08 km!  I'm too weary to figure out the conversion, but it's probably somewhere around 7 miles.  I can never remember if you divide by 1.2 or multiply by .6, or maybe it's none of those.  Seven miles sounds right, and I'm sure draggin' - feel every mile of it!

It is a beautiful day for such a walk, which was in and around midtown Sacramento, and includes a gorgeous upscale neighborhood, many artsy type shops, restaurants, old Ft. Sutter, etc.  I had forgotten but you usually walk by yourself or with your own group, so of course I walked alone.

I didn't want to carry my larger and heavier camera so I took the film camera with color film.  I hope to finish off the roll very soon and then I can post the few pictures I took during the walk.

I carried a small pack with my wallet, water, a couple of snacks, the camera, etc., and added one of my fleece jackets as I got warmed up by the walk.  I think next time I should reduce the amount I take along and keep it as lightweight as possible.  I never did like fanny packs, but that would be lighter in weight and wouldn't hold as much.  I will try to find an ultra small and lightweight unstructured pack the next time I'm in REI.  I guess this means I'm going to continue these walks.  Next Thursday's walk is through old town Jackson, CA.

I just ate a cold hamburger - I cook several ahead and keep them in the fridge for times like this when I need a good dose of protein.  My legs hurt and I think I will just stand in the hot shower for a while.  I feel pretty good that I was able to finish the entire walk, even though I had my doubts about the last .08km.

I just want to mention that I've noticed a few blogs in the sidebar that don't show up when they should.  I realize I've been missing some posts, but normally I just scan the top of the list until I get to the posts I know I've read.  I will have to check below those to see if any new ones have popped in there.  

A shower and a nap, and I will be as good as new!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Back on Track

I'm feeling much better today, and I think I just ate something that didn't agree with me.  Or maybe it was something else, but I'm not interested in finding out what it was!

I got new insoles for my walking shoes today, as I'm going to begin walking regularly.  My son, Steve, reminded me that I used to do 10km Volksmarches frequently (I think they sometimes refer to it in the U.S. as a Volkswalk, but it is an international thing.).  They are usually 10km (6.2 miles), although sometimes there is a shortcut to the route that allows you to walk 5 or 6 km.  

Tomorrow morning I am going to join a group that is walking at 9:15am, and I hope I can do the entire 10km.  It will certainly tire me out, but that's okay.  There is a 6 km route so I can bail out early if I need to.  I'm interested in meeting other walkers as well.

I got started on these walks when I lived in Sacramento in the 1980's, and then continued them when I moved to Northern Virginia.  The routes are usually marked with colored tape so you don't get lost or confused.  Some folks just do the walk while others keep track on a card.  I always kept track but when I reduced my possessions and moved into an RV I think my Volksmarch book and medallions got tossed out.  It's too bad because I had lots of miles racked up.  I remember driving to Folsom, Vaccaville, Fresno, and other towns in CA to take part in walks there, and it's a good way to see new locales.

I think I deserve at least a short nap today.  Or I could go outside and sweep leaves on the driveway.  The nap wins!  By the way, thanks to everyone who commiserated with me when I was feeling bad yesterday.  Ya can't keep a good gypsy down for long though.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Under the weather

I don't know if I have just been overdoing the exercise (although I doubt it), or if I ate something that didn't agree with me (very likely).  I didn't have a good night at all, but I'm on the road to recovery this morning.  So far I have just been napping off and on, and don't plan to do anything or go anywhere today.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cooler weather

Today turned out to be in the 60's with the sun shining most of the day.  I did 2 loads of laundry and had it hanging on the line - about 3:30 pm I looked out and the sky was dark with clouds.  I got the clothes off the line and folded, but it never did rain and now the sun is shining again.  

I debated going to the gym this morning at 9 am, and ended up going.  An instructor leads this class and we keep changing from one machine to another, then switching to cardio for a while, then working with free weights.  I managed to do ok although I'm sure everyone knew I was a newbie.  They all seem friendly and laid back, mostly in the retiree age range although a few were younger.  After the class the instructor does about 10 minutes of work with abs that anyone can stay for, and of course I did.  

I thought I'd be really wiped out this morning after yesterday's workouts, but I felt fine and am glad I went to the gym.  Back at home this afternoon I could feel the aches in my abs, but I guess "no pain, no gain" is the thing.  I'm surprised at how quickly I snap back!

The wind blew so hard yesterday evening and into the night.  The trees across the road in the little park area lost a lot of leaves, and most of them blew into my yard and driveway plus those of my neighbors on either side.  I swept up a huge pile of leaves from my driveway and into the street in front of my house.  I still had tons of them to sweep up and collect, but I had no intention of bagging all the leaves from the Park's trees.  The maintenance men were here later in the day and collected the leaves from the street.  I am in the direct path of the prevailing winds, and everything is blown this way.  It's disheartening to see the dust collect on my house, porch & railings, car, patio furniture, etc.  I just try to turn a blind eye to it all.

Hey, I have better and more fun things to think about than the dust on the outside of my house!  And I'm on a roll with better and more fun, so I gotta enjoy it while it lasts.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Well done, Gypsy

What I said exactly was "Damn, I'm good!"  But then the aches and pains set in, and I probably overdid the exercise thing, but I'm doing so well with it that I will just suffer.

The yoga video I followed yesterday evening just about kicked me in the butt.  Then this morning I went to the gym with Donald, Jeannie, & their two girls.  (CA Fitness has a special area that the kids can go, be safe, and have fun.)

Donald and Jeannie showed me a lot of the various machines, and although I was really hesitant about them at first, I found I LOVE THEM!  Especially the Nautilus machines.  Jeannie and I also did some workouts with dumbells, as well as some other equipment.

I'm pretty much wiped out right now but I plan to go back for more tomorrow morning.  If I can get out of bed, that is.

Donald was taking it easy because of his recent knee surgery, but his doctor told him he can ease back into basketball.  Jeannie and I looked in on the basketball court at the gym where he and another guy were playing - Donald is so incredibly talented and every time he shoots the ball, no matter from where on the court, he gets it in the basket.  I told him later what a show-off he is!

How nice it is to have someone to exercise alongside of and not have to go alone.  Tomorrow I will join the class that utilizes a few minutes on each of the machines, and you can do whatever you can during the interval, but you keep switching from one to another.  They really provide a total workout, and I know because I hurt in every single muscle of my body!

The weather here is sunny and will be in the upper 60's for the next few days.  It didn't get up to the predicted 72 today, so I think summer is just about over with.

I will be seeing my eye surgeon in a week, and his office is just about a mile away from REI.  Of course I will have to drop into REI to check out camping and backpacking gear, although I won't buy anything yet unless it's on sale.  Well, maybe a good map or two.  

I feel great and all is right with the world.  Ya can't ask for any better than that.  (Actually the world is in pretty crappy shape, all over.  But that isn't my world and I refuse to let events keep me down.  Not having TV sure helps in that regard.)

Saturday, October 26, 2013


I went to the gentle yoga class at the gym last night, and I didn't think it was all that gentle.  I had a difficult time understanding what the instructor was saying - she not only had a weird voice and pronunciation, sort of swallowing her words, but wore one of those microphones that is positioned right in front of your mouth.  They may be fine for singing into or even for talking on a phone, but in a big cavernous room I didn't think the sound was good at all.  I will try to attend the sessions led by someone else in the future.

I ordered a 30 day subscription to the Lilias yoga collection - I mentioned before that she is the one I followed on PBS for a couple of years after my 2nd child was born.  In watching her videos I feel like I'm back with an old friend, and she speaks clearly and distinctly without needing a distracting microphone in front of her face.

The big problem is that my Verizon MiFi is limited to 5 GB a month, and I have the feeling I won't be able to watch a 30 minute video each day for a month without going over.  I wanted to see how I could manage it for a month before I go to a year's subscription.  I may just have to either increase Verizon to the 10GB plan for $30 more a month, or wait until the MiFi contract period is up and then just get unlimited internet from AT&T or similar.  I wouldn't be able to take my own access along with me on my travels, but I think I can learn to live without it for a week at a time at least.  I often have to do that when camping.

I am pleased to say, however, that I am not all that bad (for my age), and I think strength and flexibility will increase if I keep up with it.  I'm going to accompany Jeannie to the gym soon and she will explain some of the machines to me, as well as the weight lifting equipment.  I may just stick to the dumbells (I don't want to paint an image of dumbells for the dumbell!)  I have some but they are in the hidden recesses of my car and I can't find them.  I don't know why I took them with me on my travels as I never bothered to use them even once.

So Billy Bob, don't think you are off the hook yet.  I'm still fixin' to get myself in shape for our arm rasslin' challenge.  I know you are good, but I think I can hang in there!

I'm planning a little road trip for one day next week but I need to get some laundry done soon.  And does it make sense to drive 60 miles one way to hike a few miles and then turn around and drive back?  I should consider driving up to the El Dorado National Forest and hiking there - it would cut about 20 miles off the travel each way.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Some great advice

I found a wonderful web site this afternoon, called Total Escape Outside.  It covers destinations in California, but the advice the owner gives can be meaningful to anyone reading it.  I will paste it below because I could never paraphrase or say it any better.

"we’re all in the lab

GMO food, pesticide residue coated vegetables, nuclear fall out from Fukushima, not to mention smartmeters & smartphones. The electromagnetic prison is today’s technology ruling our lives 24/7. Our must-have digital life inside our gadgets keep us so busy within the city limits – shopping, tracked, monitored and entertained to the point of numbness.

 Choose to escape the matrix every weekend – outdoors! In the wild lands, on the back roads, car camping, day hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, mountain biking… you can dream of freedom for a day – if you can afford the gasoline to actually travel. Breathe fresh air, feel the sunshine, fish for dinner in a creek, learn to cook over the open flame."

Those of us who are retired can avoid the weekend outings and traffic and enjoy less hectic outings during the week.  The website is TotalEscape.com, and I have been devouring info about places to go from Sacramento north to the Oregon border.  So instead of the monster trips I have always loved, I think I will concentrate on shorter and easier ones for a while (if I can stick to it), and I'm going to try to find out of the way places.

It's hard to believe another weekend is beginning.  It seems like only a couple of days ago I was going to the Saturday farmers' market.  Nothing specific planned for this weekend, but I'll find something to do that won't cost money.  This time of the month is when I slow down on the spending.  I should set the ladder up and wash the windows on the outside, but I'm a little afraid of ladders these days.

Does anyone else have the occasional problem of reading a word entirely wrong?  I do it more often than I'd like - today on a map I read "Trinity River Marina" as "Trinity River Marijuana" - and no, that is not where my mind is.

(I don't know why the difference in the type of the above quote, and I did what I could to try to fix it.  I figure it's not worth spending a lot of time on, when I can't even load a header picture to fit.)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Not many blogs today?

I have only been able to read a few blogs today as most have not appeared in my sidebar.  I'll take it that most of you are just taking a break today rather than a problem with Blogger.  So far I've had pretty good luck with being able to see the updated blogs.

I've had pretty much of a do-nothing day, but I'll make up for it tomorrow.  I'm planning on checking out a couple of classes at the gym, and maybe a quick trip to Costco.

I like my new haircut but it still isn't what I need, so the next time it is going to be cut short.  Every time I lean my head forward or look down, the hair falls into my face.  It is very difficult to eat, in fact, without getting a strand of hair in my mouth.  I don't know how people stand it.  I liked wearing it pulled back, but that style didn't really suit me.

Backpacker magazine sends me an email update every week describing hikes and backpack trips that are worth looking into.  This week they featured several in California, including a number of trips in the Shasta Trinity NF, which is where I am eager to spend some time and explore.  I doubt that I can get away for a month or more, and by then I'll be looking at colder weather.  I always liked cold weather hiking and camping, but it dawned on me that I'm not as young as I used to be and that maybe I should look for optimum weather conditions.  That said, I'm thinking maybe I could just plan on staying overnights at a motel and then doing day hikes. 

I don't know why I can't just sit still and relax for a few months especially after the tiring trip I recently made, but there are so many places I want to see.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Day with Liam

I have been with Liam today.  We got up at 7 am but I talked him into taking a 2 hr nap this afternoon and I feel much better myself.

I tried to get a decent picture of the mountain range way in the distance - I think it must be the coastal range.  The 2nd photo is a closeup of the first and you really can't see the mountains at all. 

 I probably need to clarify what I wrote yesterday about cats.  I wouldn't want anyone to think I dislike cats because I don't.  It's sort of the same as when you don't click on "Like" on facebook - if you don't click it doesn't mean you don't like!  I think I am indifferent about felines (including the big cats as well).  The only creatures I definitely dislike are the rodents, including squirrels.  I know they all must have a purpose but it's nowhere around me.

I almost need another nap.  We spent some time out in the yard enjoying the fresh air, worked Thomas the Train jigsaw puzzles, and watched Thomas DVD's - lots of them.  Time to clean up now before his mom gets home from work.  I was thinking about Gentle Yoga at the gym tonight at 7:30 pm, but by the time I get home I'm not sure how I'll feel about it.    

Before and after

I finally got my hair cut this afternoon.


I was glad to finally have gotten the cut, although it will possibly require more work on my part to keep it looking ok - blow drying, mousse, hair spray, etc.  

I drove to Steve & Meg's house after the haircut - terrible traffic most of the way.  They moved while I was on my trip and this is the first time I've seen their house - really love it.  I'm watching Liam tomorrow since Steve is out of town and Meg has to go to work.  I arrived at dusk and look forward to the views in the sunlight tomorrow morning - maybe I can get some pictures.

While we were sitting in the living room talking this evening, Jake the cat jumped on my lap and wanted some lovin'.  I laughed and said, "I don't even like cats, but this one is sort of sweet".  Meg thinks that cats gravitate to me because I ignore them and am not threatening.  Whatever - Jake sure sat here a long time and let me scratch his sweet little head.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Just a note -

This is just to say "Hi", since I don't really have anything else to write about.

I just put a pork sirloin tip roast into the oven.  I haven't cooked a roast in so long I'm not sure how this will turn out.  But I'm going the whole way and even mashing potatos to go with it.  I think the attraction of cooking a roast is that I will have leftovers and will have a day or so when I won't have to cook.  I still haven't made the soup, but the beans are cooked and in the fridge, the italian sausage is in the fridge, and I still have to get some sweet potatos to go into it - the rest is just stuff you pull randomly out of the fridge and throw in - celery, tomatos, onions, etc.  No additional cayenne though.

Later:  The roast turned out very well and I sure haven't lost my touch with pork gravy!  I wish I had some home made biscuits to go with the meal.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


I watched Arianna yesterday and was too tired to go to the gym.  I didn't really do much to tire me out - I read to her a lot and my voice was about to give out.

This morning I went to Autumn's soccer game.  I have to make sure that I get to at least one game for each grandkid.  On the drive home I thought about my own 3 yr soccer career.

I played two years on a new team in a women's league in Cincinnati.  At first we were so darned polite, and then we learned to be assertive and beyond.  The proudest moment of my entire soccer playing life was the day I got yellow carded!  I know I strutted around like the Queen of Sheba, my coaches looked at me with a new admiration, and my team mates were also in admiration plus maybe a little envious.

I was never all that good at the game - I had no power in my kick, but I trained myself to kick with my left foot, so I nearly always got to play.  Left footed kickers are scarce and so are in high demand, at least they were then.  I also played "smart" to make up for my lack of power.  After the first season I quit smoking which I had started at age 14, because I thought I could be a star if only I could run better.  I was never a star but I ran much better and without nearly choking to death.

First year:  (I'm second row from top, 3rd from left).  These are old photos that I scanned and I know they won't show up well in Blogger.  You can try clicking on them to enlarge, but I apologize for the lack of clarity.

Second year:  (I'm top row, 3rd from right)

After the two years playing in a female league I went over to a co-ed team - that didn't last very long because I soon realized the men wanted to score the goals and did everything they could to keep the ball away from women on their own team.  They also tried to play the game like American football, and would hurt you in a heartbeat and not feel bad about it.

I got all "soccered out" then because not only did I have practices and games, but toward the last I had 3 kids who had practices and games.  I had some heavy-duty scheduling!  Now I really don't like any kind of sports.

I cooked some kidney beans this afternoon for a soup I intend to make in the next day or two.  I only gave the shaker of cayenne a couple of tiny little shakes, but dang, you'd think I dumped a couple of tablespoons in there.  I'll be breathing fire!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Feelin' fine!

I did go to the gym for the 7:30 pm Gentle Yoga class, and I'm so glad I did.  Last night I got the best sleep I've had in a long time!  So this morning I decided to get out my stretch video and did the 25 minute routine, which is much the same as yoga warm-ups.  I feel terrific, and I'm having to hold myself back from going to the gym to work on some of the machines, or to go for a long walk.  I can feel my muscles - they don't hurt or anything - but they are letting me know I've had enough for a day and need to rest.

I'll be getting up early tomorrow to spend the morning with my granddaughter Arianna.  I was scheduled to get my hair cut in the morning but am now trying to re-book the appointment for another time.  I love it when I keep busy, but I think maybe a quick nap is in order for today.

Later:  Woke up from my nap ready for the afternoon glass of wine.  My muscles are letting me know I worked them over and above what they are used to, and that I should take it easy today.

I'm glad the govt is re-opened and that the employees can ALL go back to work - not just the Park employees.  I missed the parks as much as anyone did, but in truth, there were many more important jobs idled, and I'm happy that the FDA, FAA, the court system, NOAA, and others are working again.

We are having a beautiful week weather-wise, and that puts a sort of glow on the world, and least the world in my little corner.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


This morning my son Steve came by to see me with grandson Liam.  When I was in NY Mike put a little scooter in my car for me to bring back to Liam, who was thrilled to get it.  Mike's boys have graduated to bigger and faster scooters now, and I posted pictures on one of my previous posts when I was in NY.

I had told Steve I brought the scooter, so he came prepared with the helmet.  We have no sidewalks here and Liam's concept of riding in the street needs some refinement - the SIDE of the street, Liam, not the MIDDLE!

I went to the gym to talk to someone about what kind of activities I might start out with, and I also printed this week's schedule of classes from the internet.  There is a gentle yoga class at 7:30 this evening, and I am debating with myself whether or not to go back for it.  I normally like to do any exercising earlier in the day.  There are at least two days where I could take the "Silver Sculpt" class, which sounds to me like "Old Gray Hair Folks" class.  Since that is exactly where I belong I don't take offense to it, and even see the humor.

I will no doubt waffle back and forth about returning for the 7:30 yoga, but I'll let you know in tomorrow's post.  By the way, I realized later that in all the time I spent in the gym earlier today I didn't really pay attention to what anyone was wearing!  I hope they didn't pay attention to me either.  (I wore sweat pants and a t-shirt, and if I go back for yoga I may change into the stretchy pants, or not.)

It is in the low 80's the rest of the week but it is still cool in the house.  I closed a lot of the windows this morning so that Liam wouldn't be cold, but I shouldn't worry - kids' have metabolisms that doesn't allow for their getting cold.

Steve told me that he and a friend had gone on a backpacking trip into the Desolation Wilderness in the Eldorado National Forest.  I just love the name "Desolation Wilderness" - it is so evocative of being completely alone and on your own in the wild.  He showed me where they hiked in and set up camp, and then they did some serious climbing up ridges, etc., which I wouldn't do, but I would love to be able to go to a place like that where no vehicles are allowed.  Actually holding and unfolding a Forest Service map gives me a shivery excitement - they have a plasticized coating so as to handle rough wear, and I just love looking at them.  Perhaps the new Gypsy will one day be able to hike into a place like that, but I hope I can find a hiking partner in the meantime.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What to wear

Like most women starting a new adventure, our thoughts turn to the quandary of "what should I wear?", and I have been fretting about that all day today.  I don't want to buy exercise outfits until I see what other women wear to the gym.  You guys are probably scoffing, and I understand why.  You probably would just find the oldest t-shirt in the drawer and exercise in it, and I am leaning in that direction as well.  Maybe for beginners, an old pair of shorts and a t-shirt will do.

They tell me to bring bottled water to drink about every 10 minutes while exercising.  I normally filter my tap water into a Brita pitcher and don't buy the bottled stuff.  I hate to change my habits on that score.  Then I'm supposed to consume the high energy protein bars and snacks, but I have never found one I could tolerate.  For one thing they are too chewy or too crunchy - maybe fine for 30 year old teeth but certainly not for the 70+ yr ones, at least the ones that we have left.  I don't want to look like a cow chewing away.

I found a German brand of sports bar which is milk chocolate over a butter biscuit.  It is a big thick square shaped cookie, and if the Germans call it a sports bar then that's good enough for me.

Getting prepared to go to the gym to exercise takes a lot of preparation that you might not ever think of.  I hope I'm not the object of smirks because I'm not a savvy gym patron - yet.  If someone does happen to smirk my aging eyes probably won't notice.

Monday, October 14, 2013


I have been thinking for a long time about joining a gym.  There is a big one, California Fitness, that is practically in sight of where I live, so I went in this morning to find out about it.

The bottom line is that I signed up for a membership, and have an appointment on Wednesday to see a trainer and set up a program for me.  After touring the facilities I sort of got an idea about what I want to do and what I don't.  I'm interested in flexibility, strength in my upper body, some cardio (but not too much), and a yoga class.  I don't like the looks of the treadmill or other diabolical looking machines, but I hope to get back into walking outdoors again.

In checking out my Blue Cross/Blue Shield benefits online last night I saw where they will send me a fancy pedometer so I can set up a walking routine, and I can even record my walks on their website to keep track of my progress.

Pretty soon you're gonna be looking at the "new and improved" Gypsy, and I hope to derive some energy from all the working out I'll be doing.  Maybe even an increase in appetite resulting in a little weight gain.

After leaving the gym I made a quick trip to Costco to see if there was anything I could buy to wear when exercising.  I bought a pair of stretchy pants and only hope I don't look like a blimp in them!  As a retired person I don't have a lot of extra spendable money on hand, so I decided to definitely forget the basic TV package I was about to cave in for, plus I will cancel my land line.  I don't really need three phones in my house plus my cell phone, do I?

This place also has two outdoor heated pools plus a huge hot tub, and the locker room facilities seem to be top notch.  I haven't been in a pool in years but I may actually give it a try, when I get to the point where I will appear in public in a bathing suit.

In the meantime, I need to go sweep the leaves off the driveway and maybe get in a little exercise at the same time!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Quiet Sunday

I haven't done anything today except to take back the radio I bought a couple of days ago.  I didn't like the static and just didn't want to fool around trying to figure out where I might put it.  I should just buy a good digital model and hope I can read the numbers.  Digital read-outs are very difficult for me to make out and I try to avoid them where I can.

I had a wonderful dinner with Jeannie and Donald last night.  The two little girls were really tired and fell asleep before they finished their dinners.  Donald cooked both pork tenderloins to perfection on the grill - we ate one of them and they sent me home with enough for my dinner tonight.  He also grilled some mushrooms, and Jeannie made an excellent salad.  We all went back for more a couple of times.

Last week I successfully downloaded and installed an update on my Garmin GPS.  I had tried to update the software about a year ago and was unsuccessful then, but on my recent trip I realized how out-of-date the maps were - in some case the directions were useless.  Now I have to go someplace and give it a workout to see if it is any better than what I had.  A case in point was Kentucky - coming across much of the state I had to follow three different parkways.  It used to be that getting from one to another was a chore, but now the parkways are seamless and connect with each other.  The GPS couldn't figure that out and was extremely confused.  I'm thankful I can read a map easily and I had no problem anywhere I drove in all my travels.  You really need more than one option on a trip such as the one I made, where I stayed mainly on US and State highways.  I traveled a number of designated scenie byways and wish I had made a note of them.  I had downloaded a list of scenic American Byways before I left home, but I never referred to it while traveling.

This week has been in the 70's but I see we will go up to the low 80's during the coming week.  I just hope it doesn't go any higher as I love the cooler weather for a change.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Lazy Saturday

This morning I paid a visit to my local farmers' market.  I have missed it for the months I was gone, and enjoyed the beautiful produce I bought today.

I don't know why I am still so tired, as I don't think it should take that long to recuperate from driving 10,000 miles.  

Yesterday evening I attended Arianna's soccer game.  Most of the 4 year olds just run around the field, but there is always one superstar!  There is a kid on her team who can outrun anyone on the field and he is a delight to watch.  No score is kept and the quarters are short, and it's fun to watch.  The coaches are so good with little kids.

I also gave Donald two pork tenderloin roasts I bought this week at Costco - I really don't have room to host a sit down meal for more than two other people, so I sort of bribed Don into cooking for me!  Dinner is at 6 this evening and I need to be getting ready to drive over to their house.

While I was resting on the couch this afternoon I looked over a booklet I have for Trinity County, CA, which is where I am really interested in camping.  December and March are possibilities, but probably the best time is April.  I don't want to wait that long to get outdoors for a few days, so in the meantime I will keep researching.  The last part of October would be ok although I'm not sure I'm ready to drive very far (Trinity is about 200+ miles).  November is completely out, but December is relatively free.  I don't decorate or do a lot of shopping in December, so I might as well be stargazing away from city lights.

I may return the radio I bought yesterday.  It is hard to get rid of the static, and maybe that is due to all the metalic mobile homes in the area.  I'm still determined to not sign up for anything now or in the future that requires a 1 or 2 year contract.  That leaves most TV packages out, and although AT&T UVerse can be without term limits, they just offer way more than what I can use.  I don't have HD or digital TV, don't watch sports or movies, don't have a DVR, etc., so why do I need all that comes with their service.  I think I liked the 20th century better in many ways.  For one thing I was younger then and a trip didn't wipe me out!


Friday, October 11, 2013


An anonymous reader commented:

"Your ranting at the Federal Government is misplaced. They have not opened the parks. A few States have decided to open the parks and pay for them (like Utah).

If you're going to rant it is always a good thing to get your facts right."

Dear commenter, I think your facts aren't exactly right either.  The States can't DECIDE to open the parks - they must be allowed by the federal govt to open the parks, and it is implicit that the states would have to pay for the operation.

What I don't think is fair is the uneven application of the shutdown if individual states (who may be better off financially) can be authorized to open parks within their borders, while other states are not.  

I firmly believe that all parks should be open or that all parks should remain closed, not a piece-meal operation.  I also don't believe the states should have any say in the matter of national parks.

I am not going to say anything further about this matter.  It will eventually be resolved, although a lot of people will be hurt financially in the meantime.  It's only yours or my viewpoint which side is right in this whole mess, and we all have the right to hold our own opinions.

Back to what this blog is mainly focused on, and that is TRAVEL.  I'm nowhere near ready to get back out on the road, but I'm already studying maps in anticipation of my next camping trip.  I hope to get up north to the Shasta-Trinity National Forest within the next few months, but if the weather gets too cold I may camp somewhere closer to home.  I sure do miss Lady, as she was always ready to go camping.  I always got her food, bowls, etc. together first, and then my own gear, to assure her that she was included.  Oh well, it is much easier in so many ways to be a true solo although I'd rather have company.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

No Fair!

After I missed at least 5 National Parks because of govt. shutdown, I just read that the U.S. may let some of the states reopen them because it is causing hardship on the surrounding communities who rely on tourism.  Well, what the hell, isn't this what was intended to happen?  What about areas of the country where there are a lot of federal civilian workers, such as large Air Force or Naval bases, etc.  The furloughed workers in those locales certainly aren't throwing money around like tourists!

Our entire economy has been devastated since we sent our manufacturing to Asia and thought we could make up for it in service jobs.  Service jobs include the tourism industry.  Now all of the sudden Washington is taking pity on the tourism industry?  What about the rest of us?  It is not fair!  And what about other large sectors of the economy that are adversely affected by the shut-down, and why is tourism so favored?  (I hate to get embroiled in anything political in the blog, but this topic sure affected my travels!)

In the long run I'm sort of glad I came on home when I did.  I'm too old to be taking on such a robust itinerary, and will be much better off going back to the southwest one of these days when the parks are open but the tourism isn't as heavy as it normally is in October.

I should be catching up on my rest as I didn't wake up until 8 AM this morning, and I took over an hour nap this afternoon.  Three loads of laundry, as well as running back and forth to the laundry building to hang the clothes on the line, take them down and fold them, etc.  My bath towels smell so fresh and are stiff as a board, just the way I like them!  They are so absorbent.

I worked on the new header photo, cropping it so that it would fit - so I thought.  Evidently blogger just enlarges it to fit what their parameters are.  I even clicked on "shrink to fit" on the template page.  I don't think I can win.

I made an appointment to get my hair cut next week.  In looking back over my photos I think I looked much younger with short hair.  Of course, I was younger when the photos were taken, but I'm hoping to recapture a little of my youthful looks and energy!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Catching up

My trip is finally catching up with me and I am really tired.  This morning I cleaned up the kitchen and then made a big pot of minestrone-style vegetable soup, but this afternoon I sat down with a glass of wine to look at a magazine and fell asleep for an hour.  I must have needed the rest.  The soup turned out to be very good.  I think I'll save my dessert for a couple hours from now.

I need to tackle the header picture - get a different picture and hope it fits.  I fooled with this one for a long time and just gave up trying to make it smaller.  I used to have no problem doing that until Blogger "improved" and "updated" their program, and now I can't figure out the simplest things.

I'm also noticing way more spam than before - mostly spam comments to my blog.  It seems like the traffic peaks and then dies down a bit, and then goes back up again.  The irritating thing is that comments come to me in individual emails, so I have to look at them to see if it is truly an anonymous reader, then mark it as spam if it isn't, and then go back once in a while and delete all the spam.  And I have to go to the spam comments section of the blog and remove them.  No, it isn't difficult but it sure is annoying, especially when I'm getting about 10 of them a day, minimum.  Do the writers of this crap actually think anyone is going to check out their link or answer their dumb question?  I wish I knew what makes people do that - it must be for the sole purpose of being a jerk.

I feel like going back to sleep, but that would be a big mistake.  I'll catch up to myself sooner or later. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Jet lag?

I know it is more difficult to adjust to the time change when going west than it is the other way around.  I thought, however, that driving made a difference, and it does, but I seem to be dealing with a bit of jet lag now.  Since the last two or three days on the road I have been waking up earlier and going to sleep earlier, and today was no exception.

I was up at 6 am and took my time, thinking I wanted to be at Costco when they opened at 9am.  When I got there I remembered they open at 10am, so I headed to LaBou for a croissant and a cup of coffee.  I finally got into Costco, got a couple of prescriptions refilled, and spent a large amount of money on restocking my fridge and kitchen cabinets.  A big pot of soup is scheduled for sometime later this week as I now have all the ingredients.

I grew to really appreciate dessert when staying with Celeste and Joe in Paduah - dinner always ended with cookies or cake and ice cream.  So today I bought ice cream and some marble pound cake!  That is a nice way to end a meal.

Today (even though I'm a bit tired) I feel happy and a sense of well-being.  Can't beat that combo!

In looking at a Costco ad for cameras I notice that all the cameras featured have wi-fi.  Can someone tell me why in the world would you want wi-fi on your camera?  It's getting to be difficult to find a camera that is just a camera, a phone that is just a phone, etc.

In Judilyn's comment to my post about getting film pictures on a CD, I do have a CD slot in my Mac, but the problem seems to be the software used by the store that develops the film.  I may be missing something basic, but I couldn't ever access the pictures.  I agree the .jpg files would have to be on the CD, but I just don't know how to get them.  I need to try it again keeping in mind that I just want the picture files themselves, not the software that shows them.  Next time I have film developed I will look more closely at the disc contents.

Monday, October 7, 2013

No Place Like Home

Be it ever so humble there's no place like home!

I arrived at my day's destination in Carson City, NV at 1:00 pm and didn't want a repeat of yesterday when I had way too much time to kill because of early arrival.  Also I'm tired of motels, which are okay if they are interspersed once in a while with campgrounds.

I made a decision to drive the 120 miles home this afternoon instead of tomorrow morning.  The traffic was horrendous all around Carson City and Lake Tahoe, right down to where I turn off US 50 a mile from my home.  I arrived at about 2:30 and have been bringing things out of my car ever since, and even putting some of it away.

I took some photos in eastern Nevada but with my black & white film camera, so of course I can't include them with this post.  I think I was going to also take some with the digital camera but couldn't reach it - it was somewhere on the passenger side floor!

Nevada is a beautiful state, believe it or not, although much of it has a washed out hazy look this time of year.  I remember going the same route in winter and everything was crisp and clear.  (It's possible that my eyes saw "crisp and clear then but no longer see it that way.)  When I got to the Sierras though, they were perfectly gorgeous.  The steep mountains and treacherous curves, with not much place to pull off, plus the heavy traffic kept me from even thinking about pictures.  I will probably drive back "up the hill" before next summer and hopefully can stop and take lots of pictures.  

I really had one thought in mind and that was to get home, and get home safely.  Mission accomplished.  My eagerness sort of waned with the shut down of government facilities, and then driving the same route I've taken many times before.  I was looking for a different scene, but I'm perfectly okay with coming home earlier than planned.

I have hardly any food in the house and I'm wondering if I should just go out to get something, but that would require getting back in the driver's seat and turning on the ignition - I'm not sure I can do it today.  I will go to Costco early tomorrow and possibly to Bel Air to get basics so that I can cook.  I have a lot of food I brought back but it's all suitable for camping, and I don't want it at home!

So I just clicked my ruby slippers and said "There's no place like home", and by golly, here I am!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

In Nevada

I woke up at 6:30 this morning when I heard a woman giggling in the adjacent room.  Dang!  I just took my time getting dressed, went to the office to get coffee, and ate breakfast in my room.  I left Green River at 7:30, forgetting I would gain an hour when I crossed into Nevada, and I arrived at the motel here at 1 pm. I drove about 340 miles today.

Utah, especially southern Utah, has some spectacular scenery.  The northern part is beautiful in places, especially the Wasatch mountain range, but it is too populated and busy to be to my liking.

These pictures were taken in Colorado and Utah.  I will drive about the same distance tomorrow so I hope to get photos of Nevada.  (Please click on a picture to enlarge it.)

I was thinking about all the pictures I took in the last ten years or so on my drives across the country and back and realized I took much better pictures with film.  Maybe it's me and not the digital-versus-film camera issue, but I think I will try to go back to film periodically.  The thing is that we quickly get addicted to uploading our photos onto the computer and see them almost instantly.  In my case, I can have the film pictures put on a CD but it usually isn't compatible with my Mac computer.  I give the CD to Donald and ask him to email me my pictures, but it's a shame the developers (i.e., Costco, Walmart, etc.) don't use a different software for the CD.  I had some film developed when I worked at Ft. Pulaski in SC a few years back, and I think it was Walgreen's that gave me a completely compatible CD with my photos.  I know, I should try Walgreen's for film developing in Sacramento!

Among all the maps I brought along was the big Forest Service map of the Humboldt-Toyabi National Forest, where I had several campgrounds in mind for my stopovers here.  To add insult to injury, I also kept passing signs to Mesa Verde, Hovenweep, Arches, Capitol Reef, Great Basin, etc., plus all the wonderful national forests I've driven through.  I try to be philosophical about it though - I can't go so why cry over it.  I may go into it in a later post, but this trip has given me some great "aha moments" and I think a few are life changing.  Time will tell.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

New Mexico to Utah

The day started out well and I left the motel at Chama, NM a little before 8 am. There weren't many vehicles on the road until I hit the small cities of Bloomfield, Farmington, and Shiprock, NM and then the traffic picked up.  

But when I got to Shiprock I got into a line of stalled traffic that stretched as far as I could see.  There were two lanes in each direction separated by a wide grassy median, and traffic was moving towards us but we went nowhere.  I moved 0.4 of a mile in an hour, when I crossed the median and drove back to Farmington where I got on a road to bypass Shiprock entirely.  I was disappointed because as many times as I've driven by it I never took a picture of the rock, which looks like a giant galleon with sails billowing.  It is really stunning.

I think the cause of the traffic was the 2013 Navajo Nation Fair which must have been going on.  No one in the traffic seemed to be bothered too much by it - no road rage or anything like that, and many just parked in the median and walked to wherever they were going.  Vendors all along the way were selling food and other items.

I came through Moab, which looks like an unattractive little town dumped in the most spectacular scenery of rock formtions.  I never did think I would want to spend any time here, although for a lot of sportsmen/women there is a lot to offer.

My destination this evening was Green River, Utah and I am settled comfortably in a nice motel.  To counteract the hours I sat in the driver's seat I took a walk to a local restaurant for my dinner. 

Tomorrow I will be driving down the Colorado Plateau, and with any luck I should get some nice pictures.  I took one after Moab, and sorry about the sign that I didn't realize got in the way.

Tomorrow is a new day, and I will be just one state away from home by evening.  

Friday, October 4, 2013

New Mexico

I left Forgan, OK at 8 am this morning and crossed into NM at 11am, or 10 am MDT, so I gained an hour.  I took a couple of pictures when the scenery began to get a little color, but wasn't in much of a picture taking mood today so this is it.

The wind was strong in Oklahoma, but I thought it would blow my car door off when I opened it at a gas station.  That is probably one of the reasons I didn't stop to take more pictures - didn't want to get picked up by the wind and deposited in the next county.

I did enjoy seeing the scenery go by as I drove, but it reminded me of the Blue Ridge Parkway in that it was one curve after another.  Fortunately there wasn't much traffic and I just tried to enjoy the drive.

Again I had to drive much longer than I would have liked to find a motel.  Looking at the map I thought Taos would be a good place to stop.  Wrong!  Bumper to bumper traffic in all the streets, and hordes of people on the sidewalks, crosswalks, and just about everywhere you could see.

Taos might be an interesting town when there aren't many visitors there, but it's way too touristy for my tastes.  The adobe buildings are attractive, but something about the town just doesn't look real.  It's too "fixed up" to be real, from the standpoint that a real town is where real people live and go about their lives.  I would like to find a little adobe town where folks live their daily lives and shop for their daily needs.  

I am probably being too judgmental and I apologize to those who like this kind of town and tourists hustling and bustling everywhere.  Different strokes for different folks.

I found the motel I'm staying in on the GPS.  I think I selected it because there weren't any other motels for this town, and just a few lodges.  Somehow "lodge" doesn't really appeal to me.  Motel is a place where I can sleep and drink a couple of beers, and maybe take a shower (although I won't be taking one in this motel).  "Lodge" has a different connotation to me although I would be hard pressed to explain it.  Tonight I should be staying at a lodge.  This motel is ok and I will get a good night's sleep here.  The shower is clean and the towels are big and fluffy, but somehow it just doesn't appeal to me, so it's just as well I took a shower this morning before leaving Oklahoma.

I talked to my daughter and one of my little granddaughters on the phone last night, and I am really homesick.  Tomorrow I will be in Utah, and then on to Nevada and California.  

I should have stopped to see the southwestern National Parks when I was traveling that way every year from NC to CA and back, but it was always winter.  Today has been chilly and windy, but now it is turning cold.  I doubt that I will ever drive this way again, but who knows.

I forgot to mention that I turned on the TV at the motel last night and in scrolling through the channels I hit a snag - several channels required subscriptions or pay per view, or the like.  Not being familiar with Dish Network I tried to go back and found I was locked on one screen - the channel for porn!  I was mortified thinking about the next person who turned on that TV thinking I was watching porn.  When I went to the restaurant also owned by the motel owner, I told her that I had messed it up.  She insisted I could reprogram it but I had my fill of TV by then.  Now I don't know whether to try the one at this motel or not.

I'll try to do better at taking photos tomorrow.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Not much today

I drove from Monett, MO to Western OK (in the Panhandle) for a much greater distance and time than I like to spend on the wheel.  Eight hours, and I haven't figured the mileage yet.

Northern OK is ok but mostly it's been boring.  US 60 was pretty good in the morning with very little traffic, but this afternoon there were a lot of trucks on the road - construction and farm trucks mostly - and they go slower than the speed limit and are difficult to pass.  Many of them are wide enough to hang over the middle line.  

I went through a nice little town about 2 pm that had several motels I would have gladly stayed at, but thought I would drive another hour.  Bad move - No motels for over 100 miles after that, and I was hesitant to even stop at this one but it turns out to be very nice, clean, and comfortable inside the room.

With the National Parks shut down and not likely to open in the next few days, I will probably drive the most direct route back to Sacramento.  I will have all day tomorrow to change my plans in case a miracle happens.

I want to thank Celeste for sending me off with chocolate cupcakes and some chocolate candy.  They sure improve my mood when I'm driving.  I miss our "refreshment hour" at 3 pm, as well as dessert that always included a few scoops of ice cream.  I'm spoiled now.

I have a terrible internet connection here - hope everything comes through ok.  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Kentucky and Missouri

I think I need to pick up on Monday, 9/30.  After talking on the phone with my Aunt Rachel (age 91) who lives at Nazareth, KY (next to Bardstown), I decided to backtrack and visit her.  She has been a Catholic nun since 1944, and is now retired although still working part time. 

I left on Monday morning and made the trip in about 3+ hours - it was great to see Aunt Rachel as well as cousins who are also in semi-retirement at Nazareth.  I stayed overnight in guest quarters, a very nice en suite room, plus meals in the community dining room.

The only picture I took was of the building I stayed in, and in which the nuns live.  It was formerly part of the college which they ran at Nazareth.  My room was on the first floor, and my aunt's room is on the third floor.  She took me around to some of the building and told me how some of the rooms had formerly been used.  It is still in beautiful condition, especially the old woodwork and flooring, plus much of the furniture.

The next morning I returned to Paducah and relaxed and visited the rest of the day and evening.  On the following day Celeste, Joe and I drove to a small town south of Paducah called Fancy Farm.  That's where my mom and all her family grew up and where I loved to go in the summertime.  (Fancy Farm is about 10 miles from Mayfield, and I believe I had a reader about a year ago who lived in the Mayfield area.)

We took trips down all the Memory Lanes, including the farm house my grandfather built and where most of the children were born.

We drove around to many of the sites I remember so well from my childhood, and then drove over to the school/church complex.  The old (original) school building is being converted to a museum, and the church has just been placed on the historical register.  I was always fascinated with the windows that cast such a beautiful light.

This church was established in 1836.

Finally we visited the cemetery on the church grounds.

This parish is widely known in Kentucky for its annual Picnic the first Saturday in August.  A phenomenal amount of pork and mutton are barbequed, and the politicians and hopefuls love to visit and make their speeches, many announcing their candidacy for various offices, including national ones.

Wherever we drove during my visit, we always managed to get back home in time for "refreshments".  I left Paducah this morning and drove nearly all the way through Missouri, but I called when I checked into the motel to tell them where I was and that my "refreshment" hour was a bit later than theirs.  

I took US 60 out of Paducah and have stayed on it the entire day, enjoying very little traffic except around Springfield.  I came through alternating stretches of bright sunshine and rainfall so heavy the visibility wasn't any better than the fog I drove through on much of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  After standing in the headwaters of the Mississippi River I had hoped to get a photo of it downstream, but there was absolutely no place to pull off the road.  The river looks like it's extremely low right now.  I crossed the bridge at Cairo, Ill (pronounced Kay-ro - just like Karo Syrup!) - rather than the way we pronounce the capital of Egypt.
I am wondering if I will be able to see the National Parks in the southwest as I had planned.  If the issue isn't settled by the weekend I will just head on to Sacramento but will be very disappointed.  I tried to check the NOAA weather site this evening and was surprised that it is also closed due to the shutdown of Govt.

Tomorrow I will drive the rest of the way through Missouri and start into Oklahoma.  No telling how long it will take me to get through Oklahoma, but I won't be going around or through any major cities.  I drove 337 miles today in 6-1/2 hours, which is more than I've been used to doingI am so glad I had the opportunity to spend some time with Celeste and Joe and just relax.  Of course we talked non-stop, so I didn't relax my jaws the least bit! 

Don't forget you can click on a picture to enlarge it.