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.

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!

Advertisements

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.

img_1764
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.

1c9bdd63-e2b7-40d4-a350-3388256bd518-2406-000001d519c7bddc_file
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.

November 15th, 2018


It has been quite busy lately wrapping up business stuff with my parents’ estate but I almost (finally) have it all taken care of. I believe there are only two more things to finish and it will be completed. It’s been a learning experience but I am glad it is about done.

My oldest granddaughter has moved up here to the Seattle last week so it has been fun hanging with her and her boyfriend for the past few days. They are here at my house for now and their new place should be ready any time to move into. Seattle will be a big change from the Midwest for them but they are ready for it.

They made a run to Seattle to check on some things so I stayed home and took care of a few business things and ran some errands. While out and about I thought Thai food sounded good so that was late lunch today. My chopstick skills are getting better and want to buy my own chopsticks to keep up the practice at home.

I recently backed a Kickstarter project for an improved version of a travel pillow that everyone raves about called Trtl Pillow. The new Trtl Pillow Plus I bought is supposed to be even better than its highly-rated predecessor. I have not received it yet but hope to get it in the next few weeks. Those old-school “fuzzy-bagel-looking neck pillows” just do not work for me in an airplane seat. This is definitely a new way of thinking about travel pillows and I bought it only after seeing all the great reviews all over the internet (so you know it must be true…unless it’s an Amazon review).

I am trying to enjoy my remaining time off while I can since I’ll be headed back to work soon. I’d like to go someplace but not sure where or even when at the moment. Staying home and saving money isn’t a bad thing either. I want to experience Alaska, Iceland, or even Scandinavia in the wintertime – I just have to do it. You never know…I may do them all! I’m not sure how soon it’ll be but I do want to do that. If I had a chance I’d even go to Antarctica or the Arctic and see what that’s like. No, I don’t like snow but there are things you just have to do and that’s one of those things. 

I got the water drained out of the Scotty tank and lines a few weeks ago and put RV anti-freeze in the drains. I hope to get the cover on maybe tomorrow and it will be put away for the season. I was hoping to get it out again but I don’t think it will happen this year unless I dry-camp. There was too much going on this year to do more trips in it than what I did unfortunately. This coming year will bring new opportunities to travel and get out on the road more often. At least I got to get it out on the road when I went to California.

I am thinking about getting a robot vacuum. My house would be a great candidate for it and with an open floor-plan and laminate floors it gets dusty/dirty fast even being careful. A robo-vac would be so nice to keep ahead of the bits of leaves and grass while I am gone to work. Meghan has one and she could not get by without it – her hands would be grafted onto her broom if she didn’t have it. With her pets it is a huge time-saver.

November 5th, 2018


Been getting quite a few things done over the past week or so that I have been home. It’s good to be back but it was good to see family. We busted our asses every day we were there, and that was after driving four days to get there and I took five getting home. It is all we did – no real time to visit with anyone. Needless to say I was ready for some downtime but many things still have to get done. (And needless to say driving that distance without the trailer was a long trip; it made me think about driving all the way to Maine from here pulling the trailer. It will be a long journey. EACH WAY.)

We had a good time though, and it really feels like we made a lot of progress.

I sat on my couch all the live long day yesterday. I watched movies and the first two seasons of Seinfeld. It was my down day after two and a half weeks on the go and dammit I needed a break. I deserved it and I was gonna be selfish. It was awesome but there’s always that remorse of taking a day for yourself and thinking it was wasted.

I got a few business calls made and a few errands ran today. I then cooked up breakfast burritos for the week. I made some burrito-size ones and some small ones like taquitos. I am going to fry them to crispy on the outside. I am curious to see how that turns out.

I then made some spaghetti sauce from canned tomato sauce and it turned out pretty good. The recipe called for canned tomatoes but all I had was three cans of the sauce form of the fruit. I put it together and then tweaked and added green peppers here and more onions there, parmesan cheese, garlic powder everywhere. I put it on top of some penne pasta and it has turned out very good – like a chunky vegetable arrabbiata sauce that thickened on the plate. Wonderful mouth feel and texture. I actually cut up some grilled burgers from last night and put them in the pot too. It adds a nice, interesting smokiness to the sauce. I have plenty to freeze so I have maybe 10 days of meals in the freezer now. It’s a decent selection too.

Next time I make pasta sauce I would like to do it from complete scratch – cooking and reducing the tomatoes myself and then adding in the spices and such. I usually buy Classico and doctor it a little, but this batch I just made turned out so good I need to make more from the ground up. I hope I can repeat this recipe and can it in jars in my InstantPot. That’s my goal this year – make and can my own pasta sauce.

I like cooking and I like good food so having leftovers to freeze for later and not buying frozen meals at the store is healthier and something fun to do. Problem is, I don’t get to enjoy cooking as much since I have so much frozen when I cook. Not a bad problem to have, I guess!

What I have been doing is keeping a variety in the freezer. I will eat a couple of meals of leftovers and to the back of the rotation it goes in the freezer, and then when I am on the last serving or two I will cook up another dish. I can keep plenty of good food in the house and supplement with some fresh things from the store as needed or for a change.

Looks like I’ll be going back to work soon. I had a few places I went to, and wanted to do more, but we’ll have to see how things unfold. It will be good to replenish the bank account but I am really enjoying the time off after what we have been through. There’s a few other moving parts as well and I don’t know how it’s all going to align yet and won’t know for a month or two.

I have gotten to go a lot of places this year so I still shouldn’t complain. I mentioned this earlier in another post, but I have been places since then. My California trip and the Kansas trip I just got back from on top of Montana, Europe, and the numerous trips to KS to see my dad.

It’s looking quite like a trip to Seattle later in the week but we’ll see what’s going on when the time comes. I’m thinking while I am in Seattle a trip to Dick’s Drive-In would be a good thing to do.Having the time off tends to spoil a person and

I need to get a winter coat and a new rain jacket. I am a big fan of Outdoor Research rain jackets if you want a reasonably priced, quality item that lasts. Their down puffy “jackets” are really good as well from what I am told. I need to go to their store if I get there this week and have time so I can try a few things on and see what extras they feature in person. I gotta go find some new pants and shirts too.

I think it’s time for a little style change-up for my wardrobe. I’ll see where it’s going but I have the desire to do something just a little different. I really like the look and fit of my 501s, but I really like the functionality of cargo pants on top of the comfort. Levi’s have gotten so overpriced and the quality has gone downhill – fewer belt loops and what feels like thinner material.

It won’t be THAT drastic so everyone calm the heck down. I’m pretty sure my family needn’t worry about me going into a “Goth phase”, or even pondering becoming a Furry. “Never say never” they say…whomever “they” are. I can safely say that I will never have either one of those things happening with me…although one would be more likely than the other. Bwahahahaha.

Anyway, that is about all for now.

 

October 30, 2018


Today I started heading home from Meghan’s house. I chose to wait because of the weather – snow and rain on at least two of the three mountain passes I have to cross and today is supposed to be drier for the two I am mostly concerned with.

It’s been a bit of a bittersweet day. I am ready to get home, but ironically it was two years ago today that I was driving home this very same route through Montana and got the news my mom had died. I had just checked into my room in Missoula late at night when the call came.

Perhaps this is why I did not sleep worth a damn last night. Lying in bed trying to go to sleep I realized that today was “that” day and I will be in the same spot on the same day exactly two years later. Meghan had been working on some entries in my mom’s genealogy stuff last night before bed and she did not sleep either. Between these things and what we had to do this past week it all finally caught up with me. A bit of a rough morning but it’s okay.

I was hoping to push all the way home but I left very late morning (not in THAT big of a hurry) and had a leisurely start to the day. I got to Ellensburg and had earlier booked a queen suite at the Best Western Plus (was the cheapest they had…) and I gotta say that I have stayed in a few of these hotels now and they are consistently nice, clean and well-run. I recommend this chain along with Holiday Inn Express so you KNOW that means I know what I am talking about. Hahaha. This hotel has, get this, a 24 hour pool, warm (!) tub, and the breakfast room is open for juices, coffee, and fresh fruits all night plus breakfast in the morning. Hell of a bargain for the price. And, just like Holiday Inn Express…fresh-baked cookies in the lobby.

I really think I am through with the cheap hotel chains now. I am treating myself a little better when I am out on the road. I am going to stay with the American classics we all grew up knowing and staying in. Sure, it may be a few more dollars but I think it is money well-spent to have a very nice room when you are being a road warrior. I still tend to get carried away with trying to “get someplace” but am getting better at slowing the pace down. I still need to work on it more though!

October 28th, 2018


I am starting this post in Montana, sitting at the dining room table getting ready to eat some breakfast. Meghan, Addy and I have just returned from a week in KS. The long and arduous process of going through things in the house and getting business matters in order was the purpose of our trip.

I had an afternoon appointment on Monday before I left two weeks ago and I decided to go ahead and leave after that to get a jump on getting on the road. With such a late start it ended up being two shorter days of driving instead of one really long one. That was nice for a change and much easier – so much better that I will just do that from now on.

I got to Coeur d’Alene and unfortunately the hotel I stayed in turned out to be crappy. I was more than happy to get out of there and will time my trip to stay someplace outside of that city going forward. This is the third different hotel I have used there and all three have been bad.

The trip to Meghan’s house went well. It is a l-o-n-g drive on I-90 across Montana from the Idaho border. I have done the drive several times and have stopped at several places to see things so there’s not much left to see for me to stop at now. It’s not NEARLY as bad as the drive from Ellensburg, WA through Spokane though.

We got up the next day (Wednesday) and left somewhat early – destination Denver. Speaking of horrible drives, the drive from Livingston, MT to Denver is a real yawner. It’s good to be able to drive 75-80 MPH to get through it faster. It is still a long and boring drive even at those speeds.

We got to our hotel in Denver and were ready to sleep. It was a long day – about 12 hours of being in the truck – and the three of us were done for the day. Addy did very good during the long day traveling and didn’t complain until the last 15 minutes. The hotel was nice and was a welcome sight after my experience in C d’A.

Thursday was the final push to KS – another boring drive and an extraordinarily windy one this trip. I have made that drive many, many times over the decades, sometimes three or four times a year. I have stopped in many places along the way so there’s no need to stop much other than food, fuel and leg-stretching. And the Cozy Inn in Salina, KS, which I have blogged about before. Since I usually fly I always take the time to stop at the Cozy when I drive back to buy a sack of burgers. Yes, they were delicious as always.

We got to KS late afternoon. We stopped at the house and I stayed while Meghan went on in to Chelsea’s house. The next day, the task of going through my parents’ things began.

It is a difficult thing to do, going through the stuff and the memories, but it all has to be done. Going through the possessions is tough, but not nearly as tough as settling the financial affairs and taking ownership of the house and the things to be kept.

Between me, my sister, my three daughters and a cousin or two we spent the best part of an entire week taking care of a lot of things and there’s more to do. We did get a lot done but there’s still more to do. For me, living a somewhat minimalist lifestyle the last six+ years means it’s quite a task to go through all of the things my parents accumulated over both their lifetimes. I have brought home some things that mean something to me as well as papers and other stuff I need to sort at home since I have more time to do that there.

We left KS Thursday morning to begin the long drive home through all of the same scenery (or lack thereof). We drove to Denver and left midday on Friday so we could visit with a couple of people, deciding in advance that for Addy’s comfort we would break it up between Denver and their house by staying the night in Casper, WY. We ended up in a Holiday Inn Express and it is one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in – no issues at all with anything. This may be my new go-to hotel chain.

This brings me full-circle back to the dinner table I started this post on. I plan on starting the solo portion of the trip in the next few days and get this last two days of driving over and done with. I will have been gone over two weeks by the time I get back home. I have a ballot to fill out for this very important election along with other personal business to attend to. I need to go to work and talk about a few things with them and check on my potential timeline to return to work. The weather is looking a bit iffy so I am not exactly sure how long I will be staying after just now checking the radar.

So far it has been a great trip, albeit under less-than-ideal circumstances given what we were going there to do. Addy did exceptionally well traveling and it has been a long time since Meghan and I had a road trip together.

That’s all the news there is for now. I don’t know if there will be anything else to write about for the remainder of the trip so we’ll see what happens.

Please note: I do not post anything on my blog until after I have returned home. It’s just something I do for my privacy.

 

%d bloggers like this: