Day One – September 10, 2012


Sorry it has taken so long to start this blog. I have had no good WiFi connection on the road until now to get this set up plus some nights I had no amenities – I was in a steel tent “roughing it” as it were. I will post each day that I already have done as I go through and edit them, then I plan to get current… and hopefully stay caught up.

Well, today is the first real day of my new adventure… my new life… my new journey. I write this as I am sitting in the camper for the first night in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It is exciting, yet a bit strange, to be doing this.

I no longer have a house, nor do I have many personal possessions any more. I went from having enough stuff to fill a 2200 sf house, to what I am able to fit into a small camper and the back of my Ford Explorer. It is actually quite a feeling to be so free – kinda like that first time you go commando to someplace like the grocery store. As I told Meghan the other day, “…no, I am not dying so that is not why I am getting rid of stuff!”. This all probably sounds rather pathetic or horrible to some, but it is a re-birth.

I say that this is the first “real day” because everything up until this was in preparation for this big life change. The last six months have been, shall we say, trying and tedious to say the least. So many decisions, and not able to plan anything out to any degree since there were so many variables for each thing I had to take care of in a deliberate and careful order (and those who know me know what I feel about planning much). Thanks to good friends and family I was able to keep my sanity (debatable, I know), and staying focused and resolute is how I was able to get to the point I am now at. It has not been easy to say the least, but I made it.

As I left my house for the final time Friday morning I really did not think much about what was actually happening… leaving the place I spent the last 16 years of my life… a place I have always loved from as far back as I can remember. Colorado will always be a special place to me and be in my heart forever. Many good memories happened there, and they greatly outnumber a few I do my best to forget. I made many new friends there and many will always stay with me no matter the distance.

Today I left my daughter Meghan’s house in Spearfish, SD after a great visit. I got to her new apartment (a very nice, brand new place) on Friday and we got to hang for a few days and do some things. One of those things was I bought a new bike and we went for a ride. It was a lot of fun, but my body is in less than ideal shape so I will be riding and exercising quite a bit more. Yesterday we went to Badlands National Park, then got to see the exterior of the Minuteman Missile Silo National Monument. A real “man” moment.

The launch door is partially opened and a glass cover is over it so you can see into the silo
Staring down the barrel of a loaded gun…

Pretty cool place

I went north up US 85 through western South Dakota into North Dakota. I arrived here at TRNP at sunset. From what I could see in the waning light was quite beautiful and spectacular. I hope to be up early in the morning to get out and do a hike before it gets too hot. Drove right past a herd of buffalo as I was going into the campground. At the house in Bailey I just left the sun would dip denied the mountain around 5pm or so; seeing a sunset around 7:30 or 8:00 was awesome and I have not seen that in quite a while. My new gig is on the Washington coast so I will get to see it every night now.

I would be an even bigger slacker if I did not thank those who have supported and been there for me the last few months:

My daughters Angie, Chelsea, and Meghan, and granddaughters Alexis, Abby, and Emery for being the wonderful people that they are. They live their lives on their own terms, and of that I am extremely proud and happy.

All of my family and friends for always being supportive, even when I did dumb shit that I probably should not have done. This goes double for my parents. I know I have been a pain in the ass at times, and I apologize for those times, but hey… I turned out okay because of you!

Thanks also go to my parents for letting me borrow the Scotty camper to undertake this adventure. This has made things much easier and gives me a chance to test the waters before I buy a trailer or RV of my own. I just wish people would quit asking me about the camper all the damn time. It is getting old!

A quick note concerning the maps I have inserted into the blog… please click on “View larger Map” if you want more details on the routes I have taken. Most of the maps I had to shrink so much the details are lost.

If you want to read more of my adventures getting to Washington, I have dated and numbered each post so you can read in order the blogs of my travels.

February 8th, 2019


Boo. It’s snowing again and it’s snowing pretty hard. By the time you get to the end of this post another inch of it will have fallen. This is on top of all the snow from earlier in the week and this round is just warming up. I bet my palm tree is unhappy about this nonsense. Crazy weather is in full swing and it’s pretty nasty out.

I was out earlier and cars were off the roads and one had rolled. Four-wheel drive is not going to fix stupid or arrogance.  The snow here in the PNW is pretty wet and heavy so it’s much different to drive in than Colorado snow.

I went to the store yesterday in anticipation of not going anyplace for a few days. It was busy but she said it was so busy earlier that the checkout lines went down the aisles. The bread shelves were pretty barren — it was surreal. I was thinking “Damn…wonder if they are watching the same weather station I was…”. Cases of water, gallons of milk, the aforementioned bread…it was kinda crazy. Between what I saw and the news stories about stores in Seattle yesterday and today it appeared to be End of Days.

Only reason I had stopped at all was that I was out of eggs and wanted to get some for breakfast. I picked up a few other things as well. I have a well-stocked cupboard and freezer already so I won’t starve anyway.

So as of now I’ll be holed-up in the house until probably at least Sunday, wood stove cranking, checking a few more movies off the Hulu playlist, and maybe listen to or watch a few podcasts. I want to learn some German words (other than the three or four I already know) for the next Europe trip. A web search found that it is a fairly prevalent language in a lot of Europe and it would be a good universal language to learn (but it is still good to know a local word or two).

When I was out I stopped to get propane in one of my tanks. I am prepared in case the power goes out with the snow and winds they expect and can hang out in the trailer if necessary. I needed to get it filled anyway and this was a pretty good excuse to do it. I have been doing some grilling so I need it for that too.

I almost took the cover off the trailer and started tinkering around in it a few weeks ago but thought about it more and decided to wait (okay, I was really thinking about a weekend trip someplace). While in there I thought I should go ahead and use water system antifreeze and I am really glad I did – it got pretty cold a week or so after that. I just had a feeling about it and decided it would be best to do it.

I did get in it and do some organizing around the first of the year. I got in and got excited about heading out again this coming year so I started a little organizing and washed up the blankets and pout them away. I guess I’ll probably be doing more of that if the power goes out!

Yeah I am ready for Spring.

 

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February 6th, 2019


A year ago today I was in Amsterdam and my European adventure was (unfortunately) coming to a close. The next day it was back to Schiphol to fly home to Seattle through Iceland. It makes me remember the things I did, the places I saw and the experiences I had. I’m looking forward to the next trip back and I had already started figuring out some of the preliminary details when I was planning to go earlier.

I’ll be saving as much money up as I can so I can stay as long as possible. I really don’t need to buy much at home other than the usual daily things like food and have no major purchases planned. I should be able to still do trips in the Hilander pretty cheaply so I won’t have to spend much and still be able to get away.

It’s been pretty cold (for here) lately, with nasty roads and (gasp) snow (boo!). Reminds me why I don’t want/like to live in this stuff anymore. The forecast is looking like more is on the way Friday or so. That might affect my plans I had for Friday to meet up with some friends. I lost power twice several hours on two different days during a cold windstorm and I was really eyeing the trailer if the power didn’t come back before the house got too cold. It has a propane furnace in it and is good to have for a backup in case of emergency.

I’m definitely ready for some Spring. This year I plan to get out for more of those weekend trips in the Scotty and relax more. It should be much calmer this year and I’ll have the time to do it. I may not go far but big fun will be had. I’ll also be spending more time on the beach and doing more walking. Oh and there is always a daytrip to Seattle…you just might say I’ve got a traveling Jones going on, and I need to go someplace soon.

Actually, I need to go to bed. I’m tired. I’m enjoying these early mornings but it comes at a price.

February 2nd, 2019


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If you are telling me “Now”, then that takes the spontaneity out of it doesn’t it?

Last week I watched a documentary that ended up being very interesting…even more interesting than I thought it would end up being. It was called “California Typewriter” and had a few typewriter collectors, and among them was Tom Hanks. Another guy was admittedly more than a bit too obsessed with typewriters – if you watch it you will see what I mean. They also had an artist who made sculptures out of typewriter parts and a small old-school California typewriter repair shop that fixed and sold typewriters. They talked to writers and musicians as well who still use typewriters and not word processing programs on a computer. Tom Hanks even sends typed letters to people, and if mistakes are made he just XXXXXX across the boo-boo and types it after the mistake. He does NOT correct it with fluid. That is kinda cool actually.

Now I know you’re thinking I probably need a hobby (which I already do have a few, thank you) but it was a rather fascinating documentary. The people in it talked about the romance and grittiness of typewriters and creating something tangible instantaneously. They compared the physicality of creating something that was inked onto paper right before your eyes – warts and all – to the empty nothingness of word processors.

As I watched it and listened to the passion in the people speaking I really thought their observations were both interesting and fascinating. I thought it would be cool to use a typewriter font in this blog and was hoping to find a WordPress typewriter font but unfortunately they do not have one. It is a really good documentary and I would recommend watching it.

I have said before that the mountains (and the forests that go along with them) are very special to me. A while back I took a road trip and came across one of the most absolutely magical places in any forest that I have ever seen. The forest floor was completely covered in a thick carpeting of this dense moss-like vegetation that is common in the PNW. The beauty of the trees and plants and the lighting and shadows really were beautiful. I must go back there to spend more time and will get pictures. I was so taken by this place I didn’t even think of it at the time.

I am at the point that I have decided to make a few personal changes. I’ve been out doing more walking and being more active. The lifestyle change to eating better and being more active. I have lost a few pounds and I definitely feel better. I am making some other changes as well – different wardrobe and new glasses. I have been getting out more frequently and seeing and doing things like beers and food with friends, local sports and live music. It definitely helps getting through the last two years of BS that has happened.

Tomorrow is a sty-home day and I am going to make chicken noodle soup from scratch for the first time. I went to the market and picked up the organic chicken and fresh veggies to make it. I have a recipe for the Instant Pot that looks pretty good so I will be giving that a try. This will be interesting to go through the process and I am anxious to see how it comes out. I should have plenty of leftovers to freeze for later. There are some cold days still to come before Spring springs and this will be good on a cold day.

I love chicken and dumplings – reminds me of my mom making them when I was younger. It’s hard to cook them for one since you cannot reheat the dumplings – they just disintegrate. I guess I could make some out of the smaller soup portions I freeze.

Another thing she made once was blackberry dumplings. Blackberries are just about my favorite fruit and those dumplings were soooo good. I have made them as well (been a while) and may make myself a bowl with the berries I bought today.

That’s it for now.

January 22nd, 2019


Today I decided to get up really early and took a field trip to Seattle. I thought about some different things to do the last few days and decided to do a Seattle adventure. I needed to get out of the house and go do something. An escape. It started out a bit of a cool  morning but warmed up nicely with scattered clouds. It has been a great day for a field trip, and it was a much-needed one.

With the options for getting around the city pretty good and easy to use, I decided to leave the truck at home; that saves gas. I rode the train and monorail. Free transfers help save cash on this adventure too.

There are many links in this post so click on them to see websites for today’s adventures!

First stop is breakfast, and “Trailer Park to Table” is the motto at Biscuit Bitch. A little spendy but that’s a damn good biscuit smothered in some really good gravy. Check out some of the things on their menu. The biscuits are pretty good-sized and have amazing texture and fluffiness. If you’re looking for a job, “Bitch be Hiring” the sign on the window says.

The awesome attitude of the place is quite enjoyable to be around. This amusing sign was in the bathroom:

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Hahaha

 

Then it was on the train to head to the Capitol Hill station and a walk down Broadway to see a Jimi Hendrix statue that I just remembered I had not seen yet.

Jimi Hendrix statue – Seattle

 

Capitol Hill is, to me, an interesting area to walk around. Lots of interesting food and a few shops I’d like to visit. I want to go back there sometime and hang out more.

Back on the light rail to Westlake Center to catch the monorail to the Pacific Science Center. I was here once before right after I moved up here; in 2012 I came over to see the King Tut exhibition (I bet you read the post all those years ago …didn’t you?). This time I am just here to see what else there is to see.

I met up with a couple of friends and we hung out together for most of the rest of the day, first hitting all the exhibits at the Science Center. They do have some pretty cool things to see and do in there and it is a great place for kids to learn some science things hands-on.

They have exhibits of various things; some rotate depending on what displays/shows are touring. We went to a Talking Heads laser light show for just a few bucks more and it was pretty good. I have been to them before and this was maybe even a bit better since the tech has advanced.

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Laser Light Show – Pacific Science Center, Seattle WA

It sounded like they were playing a live album and I’d have to say that was an impressive band I never gave much thought to during my narrow-minded metal years. Might have to get that one.

As you can well imagine, watching lasers worked up a powerful hunger so it was off to Serious Pie and Biscuit. I have wanted to eat here since another friend of mine mentioned it to me a few years back, and one of my friends wanted to try it even longer so we went.

On the way we saw the new Chris Cornell statue in front of MoPOP:

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Chris Cornell statue – Seattle, WA

The pizzas were delicious and had good ingredients on a pretty perfect wood-fired crust.

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Potato Pizza at Serious Pie and Biscuit, Seattle, WA

They are a little pricey plus they add in a 20% gratuity automatically. The service was great – not too annoying but took care of us. One interesting thing one of my friends had was a grapefruit hefeweizen. It really wasn’t a beer…but it was. It was complex and really tasted like an old-fashioned Creamsicle. Delicious as well.

After that it was over to South Lake Union Park where we took a tour of the Virginia V steamship. It is a historical ship and it was very interesting to see the insides of. There are a few other old boats there and the museum there is something that I’d like to go back and check out. I did not get any pictures so I need to go back and do that too.

Evenings have to come to an end at some point so it was back toward our respective houses. It was a fun and quite enjoyable day.

As you can see it was quite an adventure. I got to see and do a lot…even more than I had originally thought I’d try to see and do. With 11.25 miles under my belt since 6:00 A.M. when I finally got home I’d say that I got in a little exercise today. My feet are tired and sore, and it feels rather good to sit.

Can’t wait to do it again!

January 12th, 2019 Pt. 2


As I posted this morning, it looked like it would be a nice day and it turned out to be a gorgeous one. Sunshine and short-sleeve temperatures at one point.

I ran some DVDs back to the library and then decided to go to the beach just down the street. It was a bit breezy and chilly down there but it was still pretty nice. I went to get not only sunshine and exercise, but I also wanted to see if it was a good place to birdwatch. I saw quite a few birds but I had no binoculars so I couldn’t identify them.

I walked toward a cove and there was an older lady walking her dog. She said “Where’s your dog?” in a slight NY accent. I told her I have not had pets in nearly seven years. She insisted that I needed a dog – such a nice person. We talked a little more and she left as another guy came over and we talked for about an hour.

He was a pretty interesting guy and has sailed all over the world, lived in Copenhagen Denmark, and has taught art and painting in schools and college. He has lived in the area for quite a while and told me about the history on the area we were in and it was pretty fascinating. I know some of the history but he told me things I had not heard yet.

I don’t know why I never thought about it (had a lot of things on my mind lately so that was probably why), but I came to the realization about an hour ago that I can log in to some of the channels on DirecTV since I pay for the satellite TV at the house in KS. I got to see the last 4 minutes of the KC Chiefs spanking the Colts and I can get apps for several networks in the channel package. Glad I finally figured that out!

January 12th, 2019


Yesterday I met up with a friend and went birding. It was a really nice day to be out of the house doing something. We saw a few things she has not seen in the area in a while (she is into birds) so I got to see a few new ones. The biggest thing (literally), though was we saw orca swimming by at one place we stopped to see birds. They were a little ways away but we were able to see them close up through binoculars and a spotting scope. A really cool experience.

We took off to a few other places to look at wildlife and worked up an appetite and a powerful thirst. We ended up in a small town at a small restaurant overlooking the water. I ordered up an interesting beer after trying a sample – a dry stout. It was similar to my favorite nectar of the gods – Guinness – but a little less filling. The interesting part of it was the “dry” aspect. Yes, it was a dry finish and I did like it and would order it again

And the food…it was fantastic. I ordered a Mediterranean gnocchi. Gnocchi, capers, Spanish and kalamata olives, pepperoncini, garlic, shallots, roasted red peppers, feta cheese, butter and artichoke hearts. It was absolutely delicious and I am going to find a recipe to make it at home. For those of you who do not know, gnocchi is a small type of dumpling.

My friend ordered tuna lettuce wraps, which had rare tuna slices rolled in sesame seeds, carrots, and some other stuff wrapped in lettuce leaves. I do not like rare-cooked meats (it’s something in my mind) but she offered me a taste and I took a bite. It was good but I just cannot get past that rare cooking.

While we were waiting for our food my friend smacked me on the arm and said “orca!”. I looked out the window (along with the others who heard her) and out in the water a pod of orca were swimming by. This was our second orca pod for the day! Needless to say that was exciting for everyone in there to see and out came the phones to snap pictures. It was a really good day – hanging with a really good friend, seeing wildlife that you don’t get to see every day, sharing a great food experience, and talking and laughing our asses off.

As I type this a squirrel is running along the fence rail with an apple in his mouth. He likes to go over to one of my apple trees and climb up and grab apples. Sometimes he sits on the fence eating them, and other times he runs off with them. I have some bird feeders within sight of my window and the birds are going crazy after I refilled the feeders. I don’t know how they stay so skinny after eating all the seed.

I planted a few tomato seeds in some pots and am waiting for them to pop up. These tomato seeds come from some store-bought ones I always buy. I plan to plant a few other things in the raised bed in the yard and have some fresh homegrown veggies. That will save a few bucks at the store. I’ll wait to plant until the weather warms up and stays warmer (of course) and probably plant from starter plants when they come in. I also think sometimes about moving and have a friend who is interested in splitting a house. That would make it cheaper than what I pay now and saving some money is good, especially if I can get into a bigger house and still pay less.

It looks like a beautiful day again today so I am going to be heading out to do something somewhere. Fresh air, sunshine, and exercise sound like a good plan for the day. I need to get to the store but Saturdays are usually pretty busy in the morning so I will go get a few things later.

Enjoy your day!

January 8th, 2019


Yesterday I had to take a drive to an appointment so I made the best of it. While I was out I was (conveniently) just in time for lunch so I looked around for something different. I came across a Hawaiian restaurant and I knew what I wanted if they had it (and I was sure they did). I got a snack of Spam musubi and a strawberry/passion fruit juice drink. Delicious.

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Spam musubi and strawberry/passion fruit juice

I stopped and got a few new shirts for a partial wardrobe makeover. Making some personal changes. After that I went a music/record/CD store that was going out of business and scored a few great deals. One of the deals I got was a stereo Beatles box set with ALL of their albums in it (there is a mono version as well). I was really excited about that score…especially for the price I got it at.

I went to a grocery store and discovered something interesting about this particular store – they do not carry products that basically have ingredients you cannot pronounce. Another plus is the local produce they carry is organic and is labeled with the farm name. They have contractual restrictions on what ingredients/additives the providers can use or they will not carry their items. I kinda like that idea so I will be making the drive to get my groceries there.

While there I picked up a bunch of rainbow carrots. The ones I roasted with the Hello Fresh meal were something new I reluctantly tried (I don’t like carrots. Not at all…I don’t like carrots in the Fall. Not in a box… Oh. Sorry.). I was definitely a fan of those roasted with a drizzle of oil and salt/pepper.

With the health issues ravaging my family it’s time for some changes. I’ve been getting my walking in and eating less processed foods. I don’t eat much fast food but every now and then I will stop in for something. I have been trying to do better by eating healthier meals and now it’s time to start using better and fresher ingredients – Hello Fresh really reinforced the use of quality of ingredients and it makes a huge difference in taste.

I went back to watching some more “Seinfeld” and then I switched to watching a Canadian show called “Letterkenny“. It is hilarious but many people will be offended so don’t watch it if you are easily offended. It has some harsh language and can be juvenile in spots, but it is so sarcastic, quirky and funny I got hooked and have been laughing my ass off. I guess it started as a parody website.

I finally decided to just stay close to home and save some money instead of travel. With the shutdown affecting TSA if I want to fly someplace I’m not playing the game with congestion and security problems potentially affecting my travel. All the federal lands are closed so I cannot spend time at places like Mt. St. Helens like I was considering doing as a quick and easy getaway in the trailer. I can sit at home cheaper than I can sit in the trailer.

Until next time…

January 2nd, 2018


I have been really taking advantage of my Black Friday Hulu score (99 cents a month for a year!). On top of various TV shows I have also been catching some movies and documentaries and some have been really good. Two documentaries really stood out.

One was called “Forgive – Don’t Forget”. It was about a guy whose family had a WWII samurai sword captured in battle and he decided to try to return the sword to the soldier’s family. It was an interesting story.

The other one was a Ron Howard-produced doc on The Beatles called “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years”. It is probably THE best music documentary I have ever seen, and I have seen many. It sheds a lot of light on not just Beatlemania but also the band being on the road and their growth both musically and personally, individually and as a band.

I watched with amazement how each of them – Ringo included – took turns singing during live shows. There were no flashy lights, no f-bombs, no pyrotechnics, no pretentiousness…just great music and four friends entertaining and having fun doing so.

I was a huge Beatles fan growing up and always liked the music. I posted a while back that I had listened to several of the Beatles’ later albums (Revolver, Rubber Soul, etc.) and I really liked them – they had matured very well as songwriters and George Martin’s production was incredible given the equipment he had to use. I had not really listened to them before (at least like they needed to be listened to) and only really knew the hits. I liked all of the members individually but was a bigger fan of John Lennon than the rest, especially as a person. He spoke up about things that meant something to him and did not care about the repercussions – you know, silly things that didn’t matter…like peace and love. The rest did speak up to varying degrees about but it seemed to come later.

The pressures on them were immense and unimaginable. I learned so much more about them watching this film. Lots of great interviews with people who were there really shed a lot of light on not just the times and the immense impact they had on not just music but  on society as well. A must-see for any music fan.

I’ve just been laying low recently, not doing much and saving some money while getting a few other things done. I had to take a break from my photo project – I got a bit overwhelmed at times with some of the memories and I needed to step away for a bit. I will resume the project as soon as I feel like it. With the photos in the computer all gone through, the scanning of the remaining photos I have not yet scanned is the next part.

I have not had to cook for several days with my leftover food cache in the fridge/freezer and I still have almost a week’s worth in there to eat. Last night I made chicken Italian sausage in olive oil with garlic over pasta.

The weather has sucked but we have been getting some breaks and it’s good to see the sun. I have been getting out walking around my neighborhood and getting some exercise when it has been nice. When the weather has been bad I have been walking in place in the house to keep the exercise going. Sounds silly perhaps, but at least I’m getting some exercise in. I went birding a few days ago with a friend and that was fun to do. It was a nice change of pace. We went out for food and beers afterwards. I had Dungeness crab cakes and a red currant hard cider that was delicious.

My off-season is winding to a close. I’m not really ready to go back to work yet but it will be good to recharge my savings account so I can get my travel funds built back up! I’m trying to get a few things done before I go back but I am also trying to savor these last few weeks while I can. I am still pondering just one more trip in this remaining time off and I am considering a short jaunt in the Hilander. I can go pretty cheaply in it.

In anticipation of the possibility of going someplace I went out to do a few things in the trailer a few days ago (plus, it was something to do). First was some organizing; storing and securing some stuff to get it ready to go. I had gotten into it to get some things out, and when I put some other things back in it I was being lazy and just put them inside the door. I got the Battery Tender hooked up to keep the battery charged and operating. I fired up the furnace to make sure it was functioning well…plus it was cold out there working in it. It is ready to go for a dry-camp trip (no water in the system since it is still cold and can possibly freeze). All that’s left to put in there is a propane refill and food.

That’s about it for now.

December 23rd, 2018


2018 State of the Union

For those of you who read my blog regularly you know it’s been another eventful year for me and my family. Quite a bit happened throughout the year.

The biggest (and by far the most devastating) news was, of course, losing my Dad to cancer. We all miss both him and my mom a lot. My sister seems to be doing okay currently but that still weighs heavy in the background. I am fairly certain that you know my thoughts on cancer by now…

I have been going through and organizing and putting my digital photos into albums and sharing them with family. I had to sort through over 8,000 photos in the computer and I have to scan probably hundreds more into it; at least we will all have them. It got to be pretty tough looking at some of the pictures of me with my parents, thinking back of what we were doing and where we were when we took certain pictures – Wyoming, Washington, Kansas, Colorado…many, many places. There will also be many more from their own adventures and trips in the scan pile.

Looking through all of these pictures definitely brought back many other memories, too. Pictures of my three daughters and five granddaughters certainly bring back lots of memories along with many of friends, other relatives, reunions and such. Sorting through my digital pictures and organizing into albums has been on my personal to-do list for a while and now it is done. I definitely will keep them organized into photo albums as I add new pictures.

Speaking of the trailer, it was a very big travel year for me. My life-changing European Tour in Jan/Feb, a trip or two to MT, a road trip to KS, several flights to KS to see my Dad and family, a day trip to Victoria, BC, a trip to CA in the Scotty and numerous nights spent in Seattle making the most out of any trip there to either fly out or to get personal things done.

In a previous post I mentioned that I was pretty lucky to be able to travel as much as I did, albeit some of it was certainly not for pleasure. I definitely had other plans for travel but those were plans were changed due to the cancer my Dad was diagnosed with. I was hoping to involve him in some of these travel plans but it was not able to happen since his health deteriorated so fast.

I got in extra work hours in the Winter/early Spring and that helped pad the savings a little bit. I moved to a new studio in a new area this year in order to take a new job with a new employer. There ended up being some more changes at work that turned out good for me. I even got in a little more work in the late Summer/early Fall. I also ended up  moving to the house next door. More room, no more storage unit or storage lot for the trailer.

The new house has a much bigger kitchen and I am taking full advantage of it. The Hello Fresh boxes are filled with tastiness but I’m going to have to scale back and do it intermittently – I can save a little money that way and I have other things I want to eat and like to cook other than what they offer (which is a decent selection). Getting six single meals out of three meals for two really is a lot of food and cuts back on my variety of choice with all of the leftovers.

I picked up a Cuisinart Toaster Oven/Air Fryer combo appliance to use up some of the newly-found kitchen space and I am very impressed. Usually combination items like that do everything half-assed, or maybe only one thing pretty good, but this one does it all and does it well. It keeps me from having to heat up the big oven (saving money and heat in the middle of summer), I can air-fry stuff so it is healthier, and it’s one appliance and not three (saved MORE money!). That was a really good purchase.

Around Black Friday I was lucky enough to get in on a Hulu subscription for 99 cents a month for a year. It really helps out with getting through the short daylight hours here in the PNW.  I have been bingeing on TV shows – “Three Sheets”, “Scrubs”, “Seinfeld”, and a few British shows (the selection is slim). I find their movie selection a bit thin as well but I got to see some interesting documentaries so far. With a price like that I definitely couldn’t lose. Plus, I still have my Apple TV box with free Pluto TV, local news on my KIRO 7 app, and the PBS app.

I have some friends out of town and they asked me to check on their chickens for them – mainly it is to grab the eggs that are laid so they don’t lay on them to hatch. I went over there the first day and when I went to the gate it was just like going to Meghan’s house. They ran up to me and looked up at me like “So, where ya been? Got anything to eat?”. They were not skittish at all and would not leave me alone. I snagged the two eggs after cleaning out the water container and the feeder. Next day I took a few apples from my tree over to give them and they liked them. I got three eggs from the nest box and as I was leaving the pen a couple of the chicken-puppies had to see me to the gate. I reached down to grab one and it walked away but the other one stopped and stood up very straight…sure enough he was waiting for a back scratching. Cracked me up. So, I obliged and gave him a scratch and he just stood there taking it…just like we all do. One of them even stuck its butt in the air like a cat when I scratched back by it’s tail.

I am more than ready for this shitty year to get out of town and I sincerely hope the door hits it in the ass on its way out. I am looking forward to a better year in 2019. I am sure there will be more travel and adventures. I know that I am very fortunate that I get to live my life as I do: living in a great places, working with some fantastic people in a fun places doing a fun job, getting to have plenty of time off to do what I want, traveling as much as I have gotten to travel and seeing the places and doing the things I have gotten to see and do (and more to come!). I have worked very hard and made sacrifices the last six+ years to get to this point and I do not take any of it for granted.

Concerning this blog, yes I have slowed down on my posts a little but there has not been much new to write about. There are no plans to stop blogging and will continue to keep you posted. There are a few people who read and/or subscribe to it and I thank you for that. Hopefully you find it interesting and get something out of it on ocassion. I’ll continue to post my adventures or anything else that may (or may not) be of interest. Send comments if you like, and I will approve to post them (usually all of them) if I think it’s okay. Maybe you have a question…wanna know about something I post about? Perhaps a personal question? Feel free to contact me and ask. Personal questions will not be posted but I will respond to you.

I saw a woman at the Post Office a few days ago that had on bell-bottom jeans. I thought I was having a flashback. Many years have passed since I have seen a pair of those things, and many more have passed since I bought my last pair. WTF were we thinking?

Overall it was a good year, but one thing – the loss of a loved one – can really bring the whole year down – and that one thing was terrible. I do my best to keep my head up, though. Life carries on and we need to as well. Doesn’t make it any less painful; it’s just the way it is. It helps to have support from family and, given what we have gone through, my family has shown over the last two years we are incredibly strong.

Here’s to a better new year in 2019. Hopefully the world will be a better place. Sooner rather than later, preferably.

Peace to all.

 

 

 

December 8th, 2018


It’s been a bit busy lately. A plane ride to Montana, wrapping up holiday shopping in Seattle, getting some things done around the house – filing away and getting rid of old papers, going through stuff to put away and getting rid of some things.

Lately I have gotten to try a few new places to eat. Before I went to MT I ate at a burger chain called The Habit. It is supposed to be an up-and-coming place but I was not overly impressed. The burger was decent but the fries were rather generic and boring. I felt that it, much like Five Guys, was way overpriced (but not AS overpriced as FG). Five Guys has some of the best fries I have ever eaten. and all of the toppings included for no extra charge…but too pricey. To me the best burgers for the money are usually the greasy ones at the dives.

Thai Basil in Bozeman was pretty good (found out it is a chain, casual atmosphere), and The Local in Belgrade, MT had a delicious Wagyu burger at a reasonable price for the quality (but still a little higher price than average). They had an interesting cocktail called the Bridger Sunset. It was a cocktail with a giant ice ball in the middle that could only be melted by the superpowers of an additional shot of Grey Goose once the drink was gone (the “shot” being defined as a finger+ of Grey Goose in a highball glass). The drink alone was pretty damn strong but after the first drink it’s easy to like. Wouldn’t take many of those to call it a night.

I forgot what it was like to be in the snow and cold, and I got a bit of a reminder while in MT. I can honestly say that I still don’t like the snow even if I go to it and it doesn’t come to me. One morning it was 12 and I am not used to that nonsense anymore. But, as they say, “it is a dry cold”. I don’t care if it is dry or not…it was still too damn cold. Better than summer’s heat though. But I STILL want to see Alaska/Iceland/Scandinavia in the middle of winter.

While there Meghan gave me a discount code for Hello Fresh, which she had been singing the praises of. I signed up and got my first box of three meals yesterday. I chose pork carnitas, cauliflower bacon mac and cheese, and beef bulgogi that I made last night. Very impressive menu and quality of ingredients plus I don’t have to go shopping for dinner.

The bulgogi was absolutely delicious and easy to make. Each meal comes with a recipe card and you can keep those filed away in case you want to buy the ingredients and make it again. Ordering the meals for two, since I am single, gives me two meals of each of the three entrees and the portions are decent size. That is almost a week’s worth of dinner! If you are interested in joining click on the link and save $40!

Looks like I’ll be going back to work late January so I better get busy doing things I might want to do and going places I might want to go. Not really ready to go back to work yet but it’s gonna happen eventually for each of the next few years. I may have another road trip or two I can take the next few weeks but we’ll see what happens. I thought about going south into CA again and taking the trailer out, but I have it winterized and don’t want to undo that work.

Yesterday I went to a mall. I rarely do that but I needed to get a few things in the area and I found a great sale on my Levi’s 501s. I had not been to Skipper’s (a local seafood fast food joint) in probably five years so while in the area I got to enjoy some of their clam chowder and the Skipper’s Platter – fish, shrimp, clams, fries, slaw (no thanks – don’t like mayo slaw). The clam chowder there is not really creamy like New England clam chowders I have had. It is more like a thicker gravy full of delicious oceanic goodness. They even have various “All-You-Can-Eat” menu options for just a few dollars more. I have not eaten the chowder at Ivar’s so I cannot compare the two. It is on my list to try theirs though.

I had a Roomba I had purchased a few days back but it didn’t work out real well so I took it back yesterday to B3 – Bed, Bath and Beyond. It was a lower-level model – the 600 Series. It just ran around the house like it had ADHD. First the dining area for a lap, maybe two. Then it was off to do the same thing in the living room but repeat a few times. Same thing in the bedroom and kitchen and then take off and repeat areas. It was crazy how it would do little bits here and there instead of doing a whole room at once.

Today I went to a market and saw something that I had never seen before. In the produce section was something called “oca“. I thought “why not?” and bought some – about a handful – to try. I looked them up on the interwebs and found out they are quite nutritious. I ate them raw and found the texture like a cross between a potato and a radish. The taste is varied from little flavor to sweet to sour to potato-like. They appear to be quite high in carbs and energy.

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Oca

I found them to be tasty and an interesting thing to eat. I will probably get more but they are pretty spendy (but you have to try them!). They would be a very healthy snack. The info on the link above talks about them dried. That might be interesting to try out.

I stopped by the local bakery to get croissants to go with my fruit, prosciutto and gouda for a healthier/lighter breakfast the next few days. I don’t want to buy them too far out – I want them to be as fresh as they can be. Yeah, a bit more inconvenient but that’s okay for the quality.

While I was out and about I also got the recycling taken to the dumpsters. I found a bed frame at a thrift store so I can FINALLY get the bins out from underneath my boxspring. That was never intended to be permanent – just a temporary thing to get me by. I can get that sorted out tomorrow and rearrange the bedroom. I’ll try to put away more stuff in bins and eventually sell them since I am in a bigger house now. I think I will move my ginormous upright toolbox to the utility room and just deal with moving it around to maneuver into the basement. I wouldn’t have to do it that often and I want the closet space for other stuff.

It is nice to be home and have some time to not only relax, but to also get some things done like arranging the bedroom and getting more organizing done. I have been enjoying too much of the relaxing and not doing enough of the organizing.

I ordered some new coats from Outdoor Research and they came yesterday. I have had one of their water-repellent rain shells for five years or so and it has been great. I got a new shell for rain, one of the same the next size bigger, and a down hoody for insulation to wear under the larger one. My experience with the 3-in-1 jackets is the shells are always too big on them.

It’s been a while since I posted so I guess I had a lot to say.

 

 

November 28th, 2018


So much for my new robot vac. I knew something didn’t look quite right with my order but I couldn’t figure out what it was.

As I have said before I try my best to avoid Amazon and shop locally. Sometimes, however, the companies use Amazon as their only storefront or you need something and cannot find it anyplace else. Then there are the times there is that unbeatable price. The last one was the case for the robot vac – $199 (usually much more) PLUS a $30 coupon. Pretty great deal.

I was looking at my order closer and I finally figured out what was wrong. They charged me $229 and then gave me the $30 coupon. I called them to see what the deal was and I was told that the prices fluctuate and I got charged a higher price. I told them Jeff Bezos could kiss my ass and I will not buy anything from Amazon again. The item would be refused and I’ll just take the refund. I was told it would not be corrected but they offered me a $15 credit and an apology. I told the guy that would do no good since I was not going to be buying anything else from Amazon.

WTF? I click the “Buy” button on an item for a certain price and get charged a higher one? What kind of BS is that? This experience has taught me to keep a closer eye on an order more closely before I click the button. I will be looking into consumer protection with the state Attorney General to let them know about my experience.

I also learned something else about Amazon recently that I want to pass along. Just like the airlines, Amazon also uses that chickenshit tactic of raising the prices each time you do a search for the same thing. You can get around it by using a private browser and also not logging in until you are ready to buy. This way they cannot track your browsing or store it in your online account.

Okay…rant over.

I was really looking forward to getting that thing. Oh well. Gotta go get the broom and dustpan out of the trash.

November 22nd, 2018


It’s Thanksgiving Day today. I don’t have any plans – the traffic will suck badly everywhere and I don’t want to deal with it. Better yet, I don’t HAVE to deal with it. The weather is also supposed to be rainy and it only adds to the traffic issues. I’ll probably just hang close to the house the next day or two.

As I write this I am looking out the window watching the birds. I put birdseed in the feeders and the sparrows and juncos are going crazy. The feeders don’t work for the Steller’s jays because of their size but it doesn’t stop them from trying. They are all ravenous once they discover food and the feeders need filled up again today. They will have to wait until the rain stops though.

I went to the store yesterday and the hot food bar they have had roast turkey and all the fixings (no sweet potatoes/yams, or pumpkin pie, thank you) so I decided to get a to-go box and have my yearly turkey dinner yesterday. I eat turkey about twice a year – I prefer chicken to turkey. I don’t want to waste any food (and I also don’t want six months of leftovers) so I don’t make a turkey at home. I made one a few years ago that turned out really good, but being single it is way too much food that won’t get eaten anyway.

So I got home and ate my turkey dinner. It was good – the mashed potatoes were real with chunks of redskin potatoes. While at the store I picked up a few things I needed for my Thanksgiving lasagne. I put it all together in the baking pan and put it in the fridge so it’s ready to bake. I saw a marionberry pie at the store that was calling my name, but I know if I buy a whole pie I’ll eat the whole damn thing at one sitting. Berries are my favorite fruit, and berry pies are my favorite. I want to try and make some berry hand pies soon so that should make my cravings happy. I want to try to replicate my grandma’s fried peach pies at some point too. Man, those were a favorite childhood memory along with her scratch-made apple pies.

This is a busy time of year with a lot of personal events besides the holidays. Tomorrow is my dad’s birthday. It’s hard to believe he is gone and I miss him and my mom quite a bit. Sunday it will be four years since my motorcycle wreck. There are a couple of other birthdays over the next two months.

It’s looking like I won’t be going back to work as soon as I thought but will still be going back early. I have a few personal items I need to take care of so I can definitely use the time to take care of these things and not miss any work.

I decided to buy a robot vac and it is on it’s way! I don’t have carpeting to catch (and hold) dirt and a laminate/hardwood floor always looks dirty even when it isn’t that bad so I decided to get one. It even has a mop in it so that is another plus. There are so many brands and models to choose from but I finally decided on the Deebot M88. I have seen how much Meghan’s Roomba helps them keep their floors clean with pets. Since I don’t have pets it should really help maintain the floors here so I don’t have to sweep daily.

That’s it for now.

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