Monday, July 31, 2006
  Homer, AK: August 21

The picture is southeastern native style poster for family room, excuse flash, Most floral shots including the 4 or 5 mountain views are at a viewing area outside Homer Ak, the Mountains are the Kenai range and the water is Kachemak bay part of Cook Inlet then the other floral are at Pratt Musem in Homer Ak. the lupens are on the side of the road between Homer and Nilnichik, the pictutes of your mom and dad are in the campground with wild celery. We left at 4 pm to Seweard Ak, we have a cruise booked for 1100 am tomorrow to see birds of all descriptions with sea animals. Love Mom and dad

  Resurrection Bay: August 21

Hey Babe, We took these pix on our cruise on Resurrection Bay. The weather was foul and the sea was rough, so it was not a great day for photography. We did see a sea otter, 2 whales, glaciers calving, many sea birds and a partridge in a pear tree.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
I spoke with Mom and Dad Friday night; they were at milepost 0 on the AlCan Highway; that's in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. Daddy gave the requisite wild-animal sightings which are quite impressive and included moose with calves, elk, lots of bears, stone sheep of all ilk, coyotes----in the middle of the road all of this.

Daddy also told a story that I hope I get right as I re-tell:
Either coming or going from Muncho Lake in BC (which I've just googled, it is GORGEOUS blue from the cupric (that's ionic copper) oxide deposits in its basin), they passed through Toad, named for the Toad River. They had to stop for fuel having made a long, hard trip up steep grades on fumes of petrol in the gas tank. They stopped there. It is a small small place .

The current population of Toad is 75 and 25 are school aged children, K - 12, who all attend a very small town school led by *2* teachers. Kids arrive at school using the following conveyance: airplane, walking, boats, all terrain vehicles. The inside portion of the fuel station there was completely lined with baseball caps---7200 in all! I suppose these were all donated by passers-through but I didn't get the 411 on that.

Toad was established as nothing more than an encampment for AlCan Highway workers. Everyone who lives there is in some way associated with it. Toad, the town, and Toad, the river, came to be so named because in order to build the AlCan the river had to be forded---workers and equipment had to be "toad" across it. There you have it---Toad, BC, a living demonstration of Canadian superiority in homonym usage.

Mom and Dad were off to Edmonton, Calgary and Banff leaving Dawson Creek. They expected to be back in Idaho with their friends and take possession of whatever contraband they left there on August 4, the day before Mom's birthday. For her sake, I hope her birthday is spent in a bigger bed and includes a meal she doesn't cook on the RV stove and that her fingers and toes are pretty and pink.
Monday, July 17, 2006
  Black Bears at Elmendorf, AK

Arrived to elmendorf fam camp at 12:30 today set up and 13:00 went out to truck and see what I discovered in the next spot, black bear went back in motorhome told Mary and got camera she started back in the forest then I saw one cub coming down the tree and then the other , they wen t down a couple of spots and stole a cooler and tore up the tent,last picture. What a great time yesterday two different grizzes with cubs and then today, just don't get any better!

July16th 1900 hours food cooler found you can see the tooth marks and all food including canned food had been eaten.You have been sent 2 pictures.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
  Arctic Circle

Trying to cobble together info from Mom and Dad's phone call yesterday and the photos that greeted me in my inbox this morning:

On July 11 they were out and about, landed in the Arctic Circle. It was a rough day but worth it; apparently the roads are quite brutal and your puddin' gets shook up a good bit.

These photos are from Bear Lake and great wildflowers including this spectaculor wild irises.

The photo to the right here is of the Alaska pipeline; its 800.2 miles in length. The photo was taken at 1AM and this particular shot was taken on the way to the Arctic circle but Dad reports that they drove down a little dirt road on Eilson AFB and found it running through there. Cool. Nice flowers for the Arctic, eh?

Off to Denali today; about 3 hours drive, 120 miles. Looking for an RV park with wireless. I remember wilderness camping with my parents all across Europe---these people are little weenies. Love 'em!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006
  New Project for this page

I can't decide whether to buy this software or not; I'm having fun with it for this project but it could be better and who knows if I'd ever use it again or not...but I'm still playing...
Monday, July 10, 2006
Mom and Dad called yesterday for the first time in over a week, I think. Cell coverage is poor so I'm kind of not happy about not knowing where they are and how much fun they're having... at any rate, I had guests over so couldn't chat till this morning and this is what I know so far.

They are now in Tok, Alaska having arrived yesterday. Dad reports about 20 - 22 hours of daylight and that Mom is having difficulty managing sleep in those circumstances.

But first, they left Idaho on Monday, I think. They drove across British Columbia and cut across the southwest corner of the Yukon, passing through Haines Junction and staying in the Kluane National Park.

Its amazing how wild the wildlife is---days and days of not much other than things growing in the ground and animals that live on things that grow in the ground or smaller animals that do...

Mom and Dad report sightings of the following: grizzly and black bears, moose, trumpeter swans, muskox, thinhorn sheep, coyotes and wolves. Of course shih tzu sightings are exceedingly common...

Today they're headed into Fairbanks which will be their destination over next several days; they're getting coiffured and washing laundry today. They'll have a dog sled ride (in the woods because there's no snow), see a couple of museums and hit some coffee shops. Hopefully we'll have a little more contact with them these next couple of days.

Dad is reporting a temperature range of 46 - 70 degrees farenheit. Also reports that in Canada they were paying just about 6 bucks a gallon for gasoline---that some fill-ups have cost $250!!

Hopefully they'll soon be contributing content or at least editing on these posts more frequently because I'm sure they have very exciting things to share...

After Fairbanks, they head to Denali National Park which includes Mt. McKinley. Its about half way to Anchorage where they will also spend several days.

Alaska, Baby! The 49th state! (Est. 1959 I like Ike)
Tok, Alaska Jeans and sweat shirt weather again today. Temp 56F this morning at 6:30. We had a couple of hours of sunshine and then, drizzling rain for the rest of the ride. Only made about 300 miles. We know the meaning of washboard roads now. I've been thinking that we always knew this trip could be long and rough, but we didn't really know it. So, O'[ve just got to lighten up and go with it. Trees and mountains, lakes and streams are what we saw today. No exotic wild life until this afternoon when we saw two trumpeter swans. Lovely. There really isn't much traffic on the road. You can go 15 minutes or more without passing another vehicle. 50% of what you do pass are RVs or campers of some kind. There are a fair amount of people traveling by motorcycle. I know for sure that I will never do any long distance riding with Fred on one of those things. Sorry about that dream. This is a very pleasant park. There are wide aisles of trees between the sites. It really seems like camping in the woods. Just now, all I see are birch and fir trees and all I hear is the rain beating on the roof. Fred is napping and then we'll go to the lodge for supper. There is beef stew or reindeer chili. I'll have stew. For afters, there is pie and coffee. Then, if the rain stops, there will be a pancake toss. What more could you ask?
Haines Junction: Kluane National Park (Canada)
Haines Junction,Yukon Territory. 68 degrees. It was light when I woke shortly after 6am and it is barely dusk now, at 11PM. It was cool and drizzly all day. We got to White Horse at around 3PM. We walked to the post-office where 1st class stamps cost 89 cents Canadian. The post-office is in the mall and there is a coffee bar in the same shop, so that is some consolation. After an espresso, we walked to a museum that I liked very much. White Horse is about 20,000 souls and appears to be doing some up-grades. Plenty of petunias. Plenty of public drunkeness, too. Here in the far North, I notice that we hear no cicadas or frogs and few to no crickets. The nights are very quiet. We see few birds, mostly ravens and seagulls, a few sparrows and some blackbirds with flashes of yellow that I haven't been able to ID. We don't see any small critters to speak of either. Today, though, we did see a red fox and a young moose. Cool. We were on the road 12 hours again. It's making me pretty tired and bitchy. I knew there'd be lots of driving but I really hoped it would be more relaxed. I blame the push to too much time spent visiting and on plain old gotta get there gotta get there. Hurry up, lets go! Anyway, tomorrows another day and I'll try harder. Dinner was late because of malfunctioning electronics. Yet more of our fabulous luck with 21st century machines. We are almost never able to send Email. Tonight, Fred was able to receive messages. Back to dinner, it was good, meatloaf. The last of the things I cooked and froze at home. I haven't mentioned that it costs $.95 to buy a Canadian dollar. Jigger is being queeny on the leash. Insists on going where she wants to go and resists coming back in. I think she may be reacting to the long days, too.
We rolled out of Ft. Nelson at 7:30 this morning. The clouds were sitting low on the mountains and about an hour out, we had to pull over because the visibility was so poor. Talk about having your head in the clouds. The sun was in and out all day but no rain until 4 or so. Just steady gray rain. All along the way, we have had views of rivers, lakes and streams. The river du jour was pale aqua, owing to the white stone that it is lined with. A type of limestone, maybe. The river was very rapid and beautiful. For a long way, we drove along the shore of Lake Muncho. The lake is large and long, it nearly fills the valley. The shore is white and rocky and the mountains rise straight up all covered with firs in the West and very bare to the East. The detail that makes the scene so unique and striking is that the lake is swimming pool blue. Beautiful, to coin a phrase. I got some nice shots of wild flowers today, notably, wild rose. They grow thick in some places, even on the steep rocky slopes, Grand. We saw; a grizzly bear- not as big as the black bear yesterday but impressive, long horn sheep with kids, caribou-ugly. We saw about a dozen horses on the highway and grazing on the shoulder. No people or houses for miles. We haven't read or heard any thing about wild horses so can't explain them. Fred reports sighting a wolf and a buffalo, naturally while I was nodding. There were signs cautioning about buffalo, seems there is a large free ranging herd in the area, but I still think Fred is just looking for ways to wake me. We arrived in Lake Watson at 5PM and pulled into a large bare parking lot with hook-ups, they call it a park. No frills camping. We are in the Yukon Territory now. Lake Watson is a town where thousands of people tack up signs with their home town names and or their own. Some leave license plates or even business signs. There is about a 2 square block area that's a forest of tall posts with signs. I'm not sure if it is funny or spooky, sort of like Indian spirit grounds. We went to the Aurora Borealis cinema here. Good star show and lovely video of the Northern lights. I'm still not sure I understand the phenomena, something to do with magnetism at the poles. We ate breakfast for dinner and now man and his best friend are sleeping. Jigger has been a model dog the last few days.
Fort Nelson: The Northern Rockies
Happy Anniversary. A little shorter day. Left Chenwynd at usual time, stopped in Ft Nelson around 7PM. The temperature stayed mid-60s, it was gray and rainy most of the day. From mid-morning, we saw and smelled smoke, but never heard where it came from. There have been some forest fires in the area due to a very dry spring. We saw a fox with a white ring around his tail and a huge black bear crossing the road. I think that the flowers I like are not lupines but fireweed. I took some pix and hope to ID the flowers that way-I can see more detail when we're not going 60mi/hr. I was really disappointed not to stop in Dawson Creek, Fred changed his plan. The RV park was not beautiful, there was good water, though. We went out for a good steak in honor of the day. I know I'm in Canada, ay?--dudes in toques all over.
Happy Fourth of July. Another long, hot, hilly day. The mountains were higher, forests denser and valleys narrower. The country was less populated, too. We skirted Prince George which seems to be a large city, and a pretty small town, both places festooned with petunias. The roadsides are loaded with wild flowers. I especially like the alpine buckwheat that is often mixed with red violet lupines, the buckwheat is a flower that looks like Queen Anne's Lace. There are also lots of daisy like flowers, some yellow and some white. Late this afternoon, I started to see a showy cream colored flower that I can't find in my guides. Not much on the wildlife scene. Fred says he saw a bear while I was napping. I don't know, though, I think he is just jealous because I can nap, so he makes up things to keep me alert. We left Kamloops BC at 9AM and parked outside of Chenwynd around 9PM. Too long a day. It made me grouchy. We ate chili at 11. Fred is in bed and I will be soon. Tomorrow we will stop to see Dawson's Creek, then we head for Fort Nelson. That will be our last stop in BC, we will cross into the Yukon Territory on Thursday and start up the AlCan. For the record, at Don and Betty's we saw 4 or 5 colors of columbines, Indian paint brush, yarrow, foxglove-and petunias. They have feeders and we saw siskins, nuthatches, juncos, squirrels and chipmunks. Thus ends Independence Day
British Columbia/Yukon Territory
The rest of Sunday was very nice. There was another barbeque at Jodi's. Same menu, same crowd wirh extras. I got the laundry done and we had a quiet evening. It rained We last saw the 40 years ago and who knows if we'll ever be together again? We drove 14 hours today. Mountainous roads and very hot. The consolation was that Northern Washington and Southern British Columbia are beautiful. Mountains, of course, and lovely green valleys full of all sorts of fruit trees. Branches loaded with scarlet cherries and rosy apples and green pears. The orchards are neat and manicured. Vineyards have roses at the end of each row. Most of the valleys have a river or stream splashing through and in a couple, cool blue lakes. They are lovely, reflecting the mountains all around. We stopped about 10pm in a camp ground with no potable water, so it's the old basin bath tomorrow, got to save the H2O for coffee. Jigger seems happy to be back on the road. Playing with the kibble and fussing with her cookies.
Observations and other stuff; Beer ad; Perfect for our Canadian seasons--
Winter and July.
Dream; Hummingbirds are hovering around my head, sipping from my ears. It tickles and I raise my hands to pull them away. Iridescent blue and green dragonflies fly out of my ears. What does it mean?
I think; 2006 must be a bumper year for petunias. Everywhere we go, they are luxuriant, huge masses of color.
I saw; Freshly painted white frame house with a new green tin roof. It had a wrap-around pourch with hanging baskets full of pink and puple petunias at each post.;
I remember; Sedona-brilliant blue sky with wispy white clouds over surreal red rock formations. Dark green firs and pine trees clinging to slopes leading down to the stony banks of the river.
Crowds of brown skinned people splashing in the rushing water along the flat ledges looking like the children on one of those story teller figures.
The guys had a good fishing trip to blur Lake. Caught 20 bass and had some laughs. Next day, they went to Bloom Lake for trout. Fred's first time fly fishing. They used those wader float things, Don's had a leak. I think they had fun and caught several Trout, Speckled, maybe.
Jigger looks pretty good. We can see her eyes again. She doesn't like riding in Betty's car an more than she likes riding in ours. The local museum is pretty nice. Lots of logging stuff and a collection of dolls in inaugural gowns of the first ladies. I think some local stitchers must have
made them. We didn't get to do much exploring as betty's back was bothering her. Too bad for both of us. We do do lots of visiting and that was good. We went to the fair grounds yesterday and watched Jody's equestrian drill team perform. That was new to us. Must be fun for the riders but I don't know how much the horses like it. Jody has three horses, I think, and Don has one for hunting. He says he doesn't really do that kind of hunting much anymore. He has a touch of emphysema and tires easily. After the horse show, we ate a burger and went to the senior center where Don plays on Saturday afternoons. There were three pickers and Don and the lead guy sing. They are not bad. Don has a nice voice. The crowd was small, probably because it's a holiday week-end and the high point of vacation time. Everyone seemed to have a good and danced a lot. The men are out-numbered, of course, but they did their duty and all of the single women got to dance. We met some nice folks and even dance once ourselves-Silver Wings. We came home and ate barbeque with Jody and her husband and their friends, Connie and Dale. Also attending were their seven dogs. Jigger was able to pretend none of them were there. This morning, Don and Betty have gone to Church. It is a Cowboy Church and I probably should have gone just for the experience, but I decided to stay here and do laundry. So, I'd better do that because I need to be ready to go out to lunch when they get home. We are having a very nice time and it is so peaceful here. At night, it is very quiet, only a few crickets and you can hear train whistles a long way off, sounds like the old days in Indy.

Up through California: Crater Lake National Park, Oregon -- Portland, Seattle
BIG TIME CATCH-UP Happy Birthday, Anna. We had a great time with Tracy and Daniel when we finally got together. Tracy had an adventure, sleeping in her van and since the
cell phones were unusable, we were all a little anxious. Alls well, etc. Crater Lake is truly beautiful. The most gorgeous shades of blue I've ever seen. So still. Lovely terrain and we saw new animals. There were Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels, very cute and fast. We saw many deer, they looked reddish but the guide says they are still mule deer. Daniel got to see them up close and he was impressed but he really liked the chipmunks best. He bought me a stuffed one for an early birthday gift. We also saw Clark's Nutcrackers, Gray Jays and discovered the small blackbirds we've seen are Brewer's Blackbirds and saw females which are gray. All around the crater, Daniel was able to play in the snow which is one of his favorite things. Tracy loves the outdoors and she is grooving on the passports. We had a nice dinner in the RV and there was key lime pie for my birthday and a dozen roses. Grand.

It was sad to say goodbye and head in opposite directions but the odyssey continues. Next, we drove to Portland seeing Mt. Shasta along the way, snow covered and kind of familiar, beautiful. Almost as soon as you can no longer see Shasta, you start seeing Mt. Hood. Beautiful country, lots of wild flowers. At traveling speed, it is hard to see enough detail to identify them. We found a nice park to stay in and went to dinner with Frank and Sue Egger. Sue is a very nice woman. Frank was raised in the Portland area (Sue too), so he was a very informative guide. We saw the Columbia Gorge and river, of course. Lovely. Went to a place called Crown Point with a great view. Saw several mountain falls, I love 'em. Lots of wild flowers and mountain azaleas and in Oregon and Washington, we have seen loads of wild berries. We also went to a fish hatchery and went to a dam where there is a fish ladder and they count the fish. There were salmon, sturgeon and several kinds of trout. One sturgeon was 65 years old and huge. The tallest falls we saw were the Multnomah Falls and Multnomah may be the name of the dam. We stopped on the way down for a fresh blackberry shake, one of my favorite stops of the day, then we went to a produce stand and bought Bings and raspberries as well as some excellent cookies. We had dinner with the Eggers and coffee, then home for cable TV which has become a rare treat this
trip. We did drive around Portland and it is a pleasant looking city, very shady. I do wish we had gone to visit The Arts museum where Sue works, but it was not on our guide's itinerary, pity. On practically every corner in Portland there is an espresso kiosk, at the parks too. We had a couple of lattes and they served a nice blend, but no bulk sale of beans. We visited a lake up the mountain which was probably Multnomah too. Very pretty, no motor boats allowed. There was a mother mallard with about a dozen ducklings out for a swim and some ducks without babies were trying to kidnap her brood. The mommy was ferocious. Very amusing to us, dead serious for mom. The weather in Portland was beautiful. A little hot at mid-day but cool and breezy morning and evening.
Next stop, Tacoma. Usual easy leg, good weather. Watching the scenery change, new mountain, St. Helena then Olympia and on to George's. It was so GOOD to see George. He is just the best and so Walker in his ways, generous and loving. Naturally Darlene and Jeff are great too. They gave us a lovely time. Their home is lovely. They have just finished a make-over and are justifiably proud. They live on the side of a hill with a view of Puget Sound, grand. There were lot of wild flowers and beautiful evergreens. I saw some wonderful poppies, all colors, delicious. We started seeing some lovely tall flowers that Betty told me today are foxglove. The ones we saw were violet and white. We arrived at George's early Sunday afternoon and talked
and visited without pause (except for some chewing) the rest of the day and evening. George had to work on Monday so Fred washed the truck and Armoraled everything that got in his way while Dar and I got our nails done. By the time some new blind were delivered and installed, George was home and we went out to dinner and talked some more. On Tuesday, we drove up the mountain and saw a lovely waterfall (I really should make notes, I can't remember place names) and great scenery. The day was warm and breezy. We stopped at a nursery to ask about a beautiful ornamental maple that George has in his yard-It wouldn't thrive in Fl. Nuts!
George and Dar did let us get them a barberry bush they liked. They'd hardly let us buy a thing.
After the nature part of the day, we drove to Seattle and went to the Spaceneedle. Impressive. The elevator ride was not scary and the view is spectacular. Seattle is a good looking city and we could see the sound and the port and islands out on the sound. I saw some ripples in the water that everyone swore were whales but I never saw hide nor fin of them. We had lunch in the
Seattle Center which seems to be a large food court with a children's museum down stairs. Good lunch, excellent elephant ears. Later, we went to Pike's Place Market, alas there was no fish throwing. There were beautiful cut flowers at great prices. I had to control myself. I did buy 2 bunches of sweet peas for George and me. I bought my first rainier cherries of the year and some roma tomatoes too. We went home and loafed and visited while George made me two batches of delicious fudge. I was teary when we pulled away from George's yesterday. He's one of my bestest cousins and as we know, he can really hug. The only thing that made the visit less than perfect was that Jigger chose Darlene's carpet for her first “mistake”. Wouldn't you just know it?
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
I wont describe the changing scenery, etc.because while I enjoy it, it is starting to sound like SOS. So, we got to Don and Betty's early yesterday afternoon. It is great to be with them again, almost like old times. They live out in the woods and it is pleasant and peaceful here. They are probably ten miles from a small town called Sandy Point. Don grew up in these parts. Betty was raised in CouerdeAlene, which may be 30 miles or so from here. Betty gave us a good dinner and we sat out and told war stories until 11. We were up and out at a reasonable time and did a drive around the old stomping grounds and around the lake we had lunch on the deck of a café overlooking the lake. Good BLT. When we got back, Fred had a rest and I started this up date. Now the boys have gone fishing and maybe Betty is still resting. Tomorrow, Jigger is going to the groomer (lucky, Betty's daughter is a groomer) and Betty and I will do breakfast, see the town and local museum while more fishing happens. Should be fun. Don't know what happens after that. The Bests asked us to stay over the 4th. There's a parade and other festivities and I think Don wants us to hear him play his Sunday gig. We'll see. I ought to write some postcards, we'll see about that too.
Santa Clara, California
Happy Birthday, Kathy. Great visit with Tracy et al. We went to Los Altos to meet T's
friend Nola for lunch. Nice girl, good shoes. I met a new BLT, too. BLTA-that's with avocado. Very edible, worth another try. One evening, we drove to Los Gatos for steak at a place called California Café. Great dinner, great company but poor Daniel got a nose bleed and was not able
to browse Barnes and Nobles as much as he would have liked. We went to a “stately home” with beautiful gardens on Father's Day. I really liked that. That night, we had Fred steak and fixings, always nice. Daniel and I drew together quite a bit. He's a very imaginative boy. Also a fine tree climber. I got to go to the library with Tracy and Daniel and we went to his school and saw the big aquarium project the kids put together. A lot of work. We enjoyed being with the kids and our visit passed very quickly. We pulled away from Tracy's at 6AM heading north. We took Daniel with us. Tracy will join us tonight or tomorrow. The chick still can't be far from under her wing. It will be fun to have them both with us when we explore Crater Lake. We had a good trip up. It got a bit long for Daniel, especially when we were turned back at the park entrance. Seems the campground is not open yet due to-----snow! There is still quite a lot up there. So we are in Fort Klamath tonight. A lovely mountain glade with all kinds of thing to interest a kid, a log cabin a teepee, several pretty bridges, a stream, canoes, swings, slides and horseshoe pits. There are also mosquitoes the size of eagles but we're ignoring them. We had spaghetti for dinner and all ate well. Daniel is watching Nanny McPhee and I'm going to join. Jigger is good, paid no attention to Sophie who really wanted to play. Jigger did lose out on some treats as Sophie is more assertive and faster. Okay, movie time. Oh, I forgot, there was a birthday cake for Fred last evening and presents. Fun.

Sequoia National Park/King's Canyon
It's Flag day and another fine cool morning. We were off early to Sequoia and King's Canyon National parks. Really beautiful. We drove for miles through the forest and down to the bottom of the canyon and up the rock walls. More majestic trees, one 40 ft in diameter. Many are nearly 300 ft tall and some 2,000 years old. A river runs at the bottom of the canyon and tributaries splash and tumble over the rocks into it. We saw lots of wild flowers, most I couldn't ID. I did take some pictures and maybe I'll be able to find out their names or maybe I'll draw them. I did not see any cedar trees or if I did, I did not recognize them. I was disappointed. I do love the trees that I think are Douglas Firs. They are lovely like splashes of light in the shady glades. Mountain meadows make me poetic, they are so beautiful. We saw only two deer today. But we did meet some Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels who are cute and cheeky and love Cheetos (forbidden fruit). We also saw a Dark-eyed Junco and a White-headed Woodpecker. I have to read about them in the Golden book. We ate sandwiches on the patio at the visitor's center in Sequoia and shared chips and crusts with the squirrels and jays, strictly against the rules and I'm trying to be sorry. I will never feed a bear or deer. We have talked with Dora and she seems to have had a pleasant birthday and tee-heed about her teapot of roses so I guess that means she liked them. I'm happy she'll be going home with Barb. The change will be good for her. Jigger has had two long days alone but really seems content. No mistakes either day, and her appetite is good, she's even eating dry food. We'll be in Santa Clara tomorrow around noon. It will be good to see those guys.
Millerton Lake Recreation Area: Fresno, California
We left Omer's yesterday and drove to Millerton Lake State Park, about 25 miles from Fresno. Our trip was pleasant and not too long. This park is very pretty and so is the lake. Lots of bass fishermen here. We are parked near the lake and there are trees all around. There are lots of California ground squirrels around. Funny little creatures who live in burrows like prairie dogs. There are Canada geese and white and blue herons in the lake too. And , loads of cottontails. We got moving fairly early this morning and drove to Yosemite. Beautiful drive up into the mountains. Lots of wild flowers, especially some white trumpet shaped flowers I haven't identified yet. The park is not as organized as other parks we have visited but it is certainly. beautiful. All the adjectives have already been used up about the trees but they are magnificent. You can just feel their age, like weight around them. The Western dogwood is in bloom and lovely. We saw mule deer and Stellar's jays. The birds are bold as brass and came up close so we got a very good look at them. Very chirky. The only problem today, was that it was cold. It was cool when we started out but since it had been about 80 yesterday, we wore shorts and only to light jackets. Mistake. We were lucky there was only light rain as we drove up and not while we were taking the tram ride. It was just cloudy and windy. Some nice tourists loaned us their poncho to cover our legs with. It did help. We had lunch at the Wawona Hotel. A good wrap and hot chocolate the warmed us up considerably. The sun came out to stay while we were driving back to the lake and the wind died down. It's about 70 degrees now and very pleasant. Tomorrow, we will go to Sequoia and King's canyon. I don't know what to expect there, but something beautiful, I bet.

On Weds., we went into Vegas for our promo tour of a time share. We only went for the free tickets to see the Platters, Coasters and Drifters. We had absolutely no interest in a time share. Six hours later, we are the owners of a Vegas property 1 week a year. It is super luxurious, very tradable and there is a great points system. Best of all, since it's a deeded property, it deductible. That was our day. We had a qujick drink with the salesman who was very interesting, a musician-plays piano and harp. Then we had to hurry back to Nellis so we could change and get back to the Sahara for dinner and the shown. Dinner was very nice and we were satisfied. The show was tremendous. High energy and lots of good old doo wop. The girl singer with the platters has a fabulous voice, big and rich. Great evening. We had a little rain early in the afternoon and that really cooled us down. There was thunder and lightening during the night but no rain to speak of. The temp stayed down and we slept very well with the windows open. We left Nellis early and arrived in Hesperia, Ca. early afternoon. It's good to see Omer and Donna. Omer made dinner and we mostly talked story 'til bedtime. Friday we drove to L.A., and Hollywood, We went to Grauman's Chinese and looked a the famous footprints. I saw the Hollywood sign, briefly, and Debbie Reynolds house among other beautiful homes. In Hollywood, I bought my Swarofski fish and Bare Minerals- good swag. Then, we drove to Venice beach for some major people watching and gook view of the Pacific. I got my tattoo recolored too. I am pleased. We went to a fifties style restaurant for burgers at lunch and a huge sort of food casino for dinner. Very pleasant day. Saturday, we had a slow morning with biscuits and gravy and lots of coffee the we got in the car, and drove to Joshua Tree National Park. Lots and lots of Joshua trees with mountains in the background. Some of the trees have really fantastic shapes. Good
Cactus display, well labled. From their we drove to Palm Springs. Beautiful green town in the middle of the desert. Along the way, we saw Roy Roger's house. Sad to think he's gone. They've moved his museum to Branson. We drove thru Palm Springs to San Jacinto Mountain where we took the rotating cable car up to the peak, 8500 ft. It was not as spooky as I had imagined and an impressive sight up top. Jim Beam helped me get back on for the descent which was also not horrible. Everyone else loved it. We went to san Bernardino and had dinner at a place called Mimi's. Charming little French cottage kind of place and good food, too. Today, I think we're jus t going to hang out. It's Nascar day. Jigger is doing well. Not actively ignoring Donna's poodle, Selma any more. She keeps a respectful manner with Syrus the Roty.
If the last 2 days have not (and I'm not sure) turned me into the wicked b---witch of the West, then I am truly a saint. Let me tell you. We were up early yesterday to drive thirty or so miles, in the wrong direction looking for an RV service center. I followed Fred in the truck. People in Vegas leave freeway lane changes 'til the last possible second, Must be a gambler's tactic. Anyway, we finally recognized that we would soon be in California and turned around. Clever Fred eluded his tail (me) and found the RV center. Meanwhile, I'm cruising a strange road looking for a service center whose name I don't know. Great. Then, I had a terrific idea,
I'll call Fred. Imagine how relieved was to hear his cell phone ringing--beside me in the truck. Special. I had decided I'd just have to run the road stopping at every RV related business 'til I found him when he remembered he could call me and did so. I drove to the repair center, parked blocks away, hiked back and wandered thru an acres deep lot of giant vehicles to find my spouse and pup already started on a day long wait to find out if our RV could be repaired in a days time. Turned out, it couldn't. But nobody could tell us that until 4:30. So now, we need a room. No problem in a town like Vegas,huh? Except we're traveling with a dog and no one seems to want her. Boarding is a possibility but most are closed for the day or booked. One, with space left was more pricey than the hotels. We were just about to try to smuggle Jigger in, in my activity bag when somebody told us Best Western accepts pets and we took a room near Nellis. Not fancy but clean. So there we were. Uneventful evening. I bathed Jig with complimentary shampoo and thin towels (outdoor dogs do get dusty}. We walked to dinner and had pretty fair ribs and so endth the day. We had to reschedule our appointment this AM because there was still no cool place for the Jig. I couldn't find an open tattoo parlor or sketch book so we went back to the RV joint and wonder of wonders, it was only an hour 'til they told us the work was done. Then, it only took another hour to pay them. I think they had a new girl on the abacus. We drove on back to the base without incident, Fred couldn't shake me. We set up camp. pFil was only semi poached
And revived with some fresh air and a few pellets. I want to put an ice cube into his bowl but Fred says it's a bad idea. We went to the pharmacy on base and they would have been pleased to refill my Metrogel if I wouldn't mind waiting a minimum of three days. Then we went to the .commissary where finding some items I had been looking for including my new sketch pad and a double scoop of Baskins and Robbins consoled me somewhat. The BX and Commissary here are state of the art. Home again, home again for a dinner of tacos I'm sure to approve of and XM radio (poor TV reception here) and Stephen King 'til bedtime.
Additional 6/6 While we were hostages in the RV center, we did meet several nice couples. There was a retired British sea captain and his Finish wife, Rog and Kristiana. They are came to the US to buy an RV, tour the country for 6 mos., then ship the vehicle back to the south of France where they hope to retire. The other couples were very nice. All long time RVers with good stories to tell so our time was not entirely wasted.
Woke up at a reasonable hour, drank coffee, showered and went to the golf club for SOS
on toast. Breakfast was tasty. After that, we went down to Fremont street, bought junque and visited the Four Queens and other casinos. I played a little poker, lost my limit fast. Fred played too, and came out ahead. Then, we drove down the strip to Caesar's Palace. Took a long walk thru the Forum Shops and tried to see the statues move, as far as we could tell, the never did. When we got tired of feeling poor, we went into the casino and Fred played some more poker. I hung around the bar and watched people. The people watching in Las Vegas is exceptional. We called it a day and headed home, watching for Boulder Ave. along the way. That is where we have to go to have the brakes checked. We will go back to the strip on Tues. if not before. We signed up to listen to a time share promotion in exchange for free tickets to see the Platters, Coasters and Drifters. I doubt we'll but a time share. The temperature was 107 at 6PM. How did people tolerate this climate years ago? Jigger had been a very good doggie and was so happy to see us. I don't think she cares much for this camp there's gravel everywhere. We do see mountains all around and the sky is big and blue.
Sin City: Las Vegas, Nevada
This morning, I drove down from Zion to Vegas in the truck as Fred is still concerned about the brakes, so am I. We'll both feel better when we get them checked out which means we'll be here 'til Monday afternoon at least. Some people wouldn't think Vegas is a bad place to be stuck. It was a beautiful drive, down watching the country go from mountains, to badlands, to desert. The colors changed from terra cotta to desert dun and the plants got yellower and shorter and sparser. The sky is huge and blue with a few wispy white clouds. The trip was uneventful and we arrived at Nellis AFB at about 12:30. It is hot as the hinges of hell, and we had trouble getting the AC going. We are sweaty and grumpy. Fred has gone to the clubhouse or what ever they call it to watch TV (our reception is bad) and cool off. I stayed in the RV to sweat in quiet. (They are sure to have sports on) and have a peaceful V&T with the dog and fish. Later, we will wash clothes and make nice. I finished listening to my truck-stop CD on the drive down. It's about Rahab, the harlot of Jericho, and was very pleasant. Fred just doesn't tolerate stories well. I'm psyched about the adventure tools I got Ryan and Daniel; I guess the truth is I wouldn't mind having one my own self. I'm going to mail all the gifts, through Mike 2, while we're here. It has really been worrying thinking I might forget someone. I am truly enjoying this trip, tho some days I like the RV less than others. And, I'm sorry Fred has all the mechanical responsibilities. Sometimes, I make suggestions that make his eyes cross. I wonder if we even speak the same language. It's cooler now and I'm on my second drink. Better go sort the laundry.
Bryce Canyon: Utah
We arrived yesterday in the middle of a big cottonwood flurry. It was much less today but my nose is running like water and I've had a lot of exercise sneezing. It was another beautiful day. We drove to Bryce Canyon. It took about an hour and a half. The canyon is spectacular. Red rock formations that are fantastic to see. There are columns, grottos and tall formations called hoodoos. Beautiful. We saw antelope and mule deer some, captive elk and buffalo. Fred saw a prairie dog but I missed it. We saw a Rufus hummingbird at Bryce and, later, here at Zion near the Virgin River, about 4 more. They were swooping and darting over the water, catching insects, I think. They seemed to be having a great time. The river, which really looks more like a stream is really lovely. It runs near the road between Zion and Bryce and we enjoyed watching it. We thought we might see some trout fishermen but did not. We hiked one short trail along the rim. A fairly easy stretch, mostly down hill and I did okay for a flatland tourister. Some of the inclines are fairly steep and no fun. We stopped for lunch outside Bryce and came on back to our home on wheels and Jigger. We rested a bit then walked down to the river where we watched the hummingbirds and a family splashing in the water. Very pleasant. Jigger was calm and not too impressed with the scenery. She walked up the log stairs on her own. Another first. Tomorrow, we're off to Vegas. We haven't been there for years and I'm interested to see the newish theme casinos. Oh, the long dark tunnel is only 1.1 miles. It certainly is a lo-o-o-ng mile.
Zion National Park: Southeast Utah
We drove to Zion National Park today. The first half of the trip or so was pretty uninteresting, flat and yellow. Then, we started to climb and the mountains changed from gray to red. We passed a dam and a beautiful blue lake-Lake Powell. The grades were pretty steep and the views breath-taking. We stopped in Kenab, Utah for lunch. BLT on sour dough, tasty. After lunch, we climbed higher and got to the park entrance around 2PM. We had to un-hitch the truck to go in because of length restrictions related to hairpin turns and switch-backs. Good thing, too, as fred began to have trouble with the brakes over heating on the RV. There are two tunnels going into the park. One is not so long, the other is three miles or so with a steep down grade all the way and is black as ink. Quite an adventure. It cost $15.00 to take the RV through the tunnel because they have to stop traffic in the other direction because of the width of the vehicle. We just barely meet the height restriction too. We're staying in the campground in the park. We got the last spot. It is very primitive. Electricity only. No bath houses. If you don't have your own arrangements, you can have to drive to the next town where you can shower for a fee. We will have to be sparing of the water in our tank. When we were settled, we rested a while then took the shuttle on a drive through the canyon. Beautiful. There were lots of mule deer grazing all over. Even on the lawn near the Inn. There are signs everywhere telling you not to feed the wildlife. Seems even the deer and turkeys have gotten aggressive with tourists. Fred saw a different variety of hummingbird, ground feeder, evidently. We saw bats when we got back to camp. They say there are many varieties here. They are not my favorite animal. Now we are pooped. Fred has a belly ache. Maybe he has what Jigger had. She seems cured. Tomorrow, we will drive to Bryce Canyon in the morning, then, noodle around this park in the afternoon. I hope to learn a little about the flora and maybe see more fauna.
This morning while we were having coffee, we watched a mountain lion walk around the back of the camp ground. He might have weighed 40 lbs. and was kind of buffy tan. He wasn't particularly furtive, just strolling around looking for tidbits or a Jigger sized dog. Neat. The train ride to the canyon was lovely. Comfy car, good service provided by a cute Navajo girl. Spicy Bloody Marys and a friendly bunch of passengers. Before we boarded, there was a silly Western show that we enjoyed. On the train there was a costumed fiddler who was funny too. Once at the South Rim, we got on the bus. Our first stop was for the buffet. The food was so so but we were hungry and did okay. Our driver was friendly and knowledgeable. We learned that the canyon staff and park rangers make up a community of several thousand and most live there year round. There is a school of 350 students from K-12. I think that could be a great place to grow up. The canyon, of course, was beautiful and truly awe inspiring. It made me wish I were braver so I could ride a mule to the bottom and run the rapids in a raft. They are world class rapids you know. I just wanted to see it all and from all angles. The ride back on the train was just as pleasant as the morning trip. There was a Navajo singer/guitar player, complimentary champagne and a train robbery. We sat up in the observation car for a while, too. Lovely, lovely day. We'll head to Zion National Park tomorrow. Fred says it's about 300 mi. Jigger had a long day alone. She was happy to see us.
Fred was up and out early to be at the garage when it opened. Jigger and I took the morning off. I was up Just noodllng around and nodding over my coffee. Jigger went back to bed after her AM constitutional and stayed there 'til I went in to make the bed around 10:30 and was not very happy about that. Fred was back before noon. Hallelujah! The brake assist works and it didn't cost an arm and leg. It was beautiful this AM, about 38 degrees. It warmed right up and was around 80 by mid-day. I love these mountains and tall pines. We drove to the mall and I got my nails done por fin. I feel ever so much better. I made a search and spend foray into Penney/s to replace my raggy purse, then we went to Flagstaff Pioneer Museum. It is a nice little local museum. It was originally a hospital so there were some really scary looking medical instruments as well as Western gear and, naturally, mementos of early days in Flagstaff. There is also a great locomotive and caboose--Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe. Sounds like a song, huh? We got back in time for a snooze before supper. Fred grilled a steak and I did salad and spuds. Kathy called and we caught up on tricks. Tomorrow is our nice train trip to the canyon. Can't wait. There are a couple of other things I wouldn't mind seeing but I don't know if we'll stay another day. Jigger had a Little GI upset this afternoon but she doesn't seem ill so I guess we'll just watch. I put out seed today but did not lure in any birds. Mostly I see Ravens and Sparrows around the campground. And, some strange old ducks.

Flagstaff, Arizona
Happy Memorial Day. Fred watched the races yesterday and won the Nascar pool. This morning we got a reasonable start and drove to Flagstaff. Climbing all the way. This country is so varied. Landscape, plants , animals and food. Not to mention people. It was a beautiful drive. We stopped at a scenic lookout in the Coconino Forest. I don't remember the name of the mountain range, part of the Rockies I suppose. The elevation here in Flagstaff is just under 7,000 ft. Alpine in character. Cool and breezy. Our campground is rustic and pleasant. When we were settled, we drove down to Sedona which has really grown since our first visit. Gorgeous red rock formations, beautiful vistas and a rocky stream. Lots of people out enjoying the day. Sedona still has lots of lovely Indian and local art, and now has plenty of tourist junk. Fred got himself a Navajo money clip and bracelet, Very nice. I neglected to mention that on our way today, we visited a huge meteor crater. It is the first ever proven meteor crater ever. Not the largest but very big and deep. Interesting. Tomorrow we will take the truck to be fixed. I really hope its something simple and inexpensive. With luck, we'll be able to take our train ride to Grand Canyon on Wed. We are taking the observation car-cool. We will take an auto coach tour of the canyon rim. For now, I'd better see to my swiss steak. Jigger actually ate the treat I bought her at the doggie bakery! I am wrong she only moved it after she cussed it out and beat it up. In Holbrook we saw a Western Tanager and a Lesser Goldfinch. Going to the crater, we saw a lone Prong horn (we had seen several near the petrified forest) and on the way out we saw a doe with a young fawn, probably not much more than 2 feet high. Lovely.
Yesterday, we drove from Grants NM to Holbrook AZ taking a little side trip to Window Rock AZ. It was really cool to see a place you've read about so often. I kept looking for Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee. Holbrook is an old RR town, not much here now. Today, we went to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. Truly awesome. It was extremely windy. Even stronger winds than the Pali Look-Out. I bought some treasures and a Tee shirt for Mike 2. I have to find something else for Anna as she is the next birthday girl. Out for Mexican tonight. My problem is that I really prefer my own variety of Mexican food. Tomorrow, Fred wants to sit still and watch the races guess I won't fight it. We'll head for Flagstaff on Mon. Jigger does not like the wind. I guess when you only weigh 7 pounds, you can't feel too secure in high winds.
Painted Desert/Petrified Forest (Arizona)
On the road again. Max brought the new brake assist to us this AM. The new device did not solve the problem but Fred decided to press on anyway. So, we left Alamogordo at about !0AM. Pretty hot drive today. Changing flora and mountains. We arrived at Grants NM at 5PM. Bare, no pets on the grass. We'll go on tomorrow. Heading for the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest. I'm glad to be moving even though Hank and Maxine were lovely and we had a great time with them. Jigger had a bath this morning. She was pretty good. She is really being a trooper. If she would just stop peeing on the floor.

Quiet day today. Fred went with Hank to tour the Martin Marietta facility on Holloman. He saw the planes and heard war stories and he enjoyed that. I stayed in the RV and sketched, addressed cards and got Mary's bracelet ready to mail. Mostly relaxed. This evening, we went to Hank and Maxine's for supper. Tasty. We looked at photos and laughed a lot. The floor was dry when we got back and Jigger was happy with her leftovers. Hoping for the brake assist tomorrow.

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Location: Washington, DC-ish

30+10+n years, mother of three, wife of one, enjoying a life completely unlike, and better than, the one for which she prepared herself...

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July 2006 /

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