June 13th, 2021

Adventure

I had a cardiologist appointment last week and everything was pretty good. I will be continuing my blood thinners until early next year. That means no new tattoos until after I stop taking those. Bummer. But, if it helps my health that is a better option and it hopefully won’t be permanent. I guess the timing will work out fine for a return to Europe to get more ink over there. With full flights and the crazy arrogant assholes on those flights it is just as well to wait until the stupid calms down. At least in the meantime I can pack up and go someplace…it is even possible this week! I guess we will both be surprised.

Now that my urgent medical stuff is taken care of (he said, knocking on wood…) and I get my truck back tomorrow, I am now freed-up to get out on some local trips. I am getting the trailer closer to ready to go. I am re-mounting the spare tire on the trailer tomorrow; I took it off to save a little weight but the tire just takes up too much room inside my truck and it really limits what I can carry inside or in the truck bed. The dog’s crate is plastic and doesn’t fold down so it takes up most of the back seat; it won’t fit in the trailer door either, which is all well and good since the trailer is small. I am going to have think about getting a collapsible one for the road to save some room.

I know, buddy…I’ll be there to get you soon…

Once I get some trips out of my system and we get into drier weather I will take the shower apart after I work on sealing the windows. I have not forgotten…just too many things, like rain, a heart attack and heart surgery, that kept me from doing it yet this year when we had the nicer weather.

I still have not unboxed and put oil in my new generator for a test so that is on my agenda too. Right now I cannot lift it with my surgery restrictions but I think in another month I will be doing that. With the popularity of “camping” now I think campgrounds are gonna be jammed with people and I hope it won’t be difficult to find a spot in the forests to park for a few days. That is my preference but in this area even those spots are sometimes hard to find and I find that safety issues can be a real problem these days.

It’s been odd getting back into some normalcy. I can travel again, I have no appointments until next year, but since I believe in real science and facts I am still taking precautions from the ‘rona and will for a long time to come. It’s hard to change some of those habits, like not being able to do much, lifting restrictions, no dog, and no real travel. Between the pandemic and health issues I have been really locked down and now that I am able to go places and do things within reason I have had trouble thinking of destinations. Yeah I went to Montana in March but it was a fast trip. I was a little concerned with not just the weather but also I had just had a heart attack and was waiting for surgery. There are some vast areas of nothing along the route so that was in the back of my mind.

But now I see the future getting brighter and it’s really very uplifting and positive for me. Working on and in the trailer is getting me excited to go hit the road. Even though I will not get on a plane yet I have been bingeing quite a few international travel shows and that is getting me excited to go overseas (or even just up to Canada) again. I just know not to get my hopes up quite yet as things are changing constantly. I am starting to think about places I want to visit and will begin a list of where I want to go, knowing it may be a while yet. At least I would have that part done.

As I watch these travel and food shows I keep finding new things to add to my bucket list. Adding a few new entries to that list the other day I noticed I am really getting quite a collection of domestic things to see and do and places to eat. I will be figuring out how to make it to all these places too. I am still intent on getting the last three of the 50 states and most of the bucket list things I want to see and do are along the way. I should be freed up to be able to do that trip now. If Canada is not open yet when I get up there well it looks like I am staying “local”.

That’s all the dreaming for now…

November 22nd, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Scotty Hilander, Uncategorized

Apparently, the sealant over the crack in my shower floorpan came loose today. I happened to see it was wet from under the wall after I took a shower this morning and stepped out. I got some clear Flex Tape for a temp fix to work on tomorrow, but it looks like I’ll be taking the shower apart to fix it very soon. I don’t really want to put that stuff on there but I cannot have it leaking. At least it is clear, and maybe it will come off with a heat gun and some Goo Gone.

Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know. I shoulda done it this summer. I can’t really do it while I am staying in it so that is the issue. Now that I’ll be getting into a place I can focus on getting that done since it won’t interfere with daily life. I imagine the door has to come off the toilet and another one near the floor will as well. Pull out the toilet fixture, take the wall panels and fixtures off, pull the pan out and fix it with fiberglass, then add supports in the floor and re-assemble it. No, I have not been real excited about doing this (I think I summed up why) but it will definitely need to get done before I take it out on another trip. I just remembered I am going to have to buy a new cover for the trailer.

I went to Costco today and got my hearing aids. It’s so good to be able to hear better again. I am going to have to go back tomorrow for them to have a look at the fit of my hearing aids, though. One side doesn’t seem to be positioned correctly inside my ear and it is affecting everything in that ear quite a bit. It really doesn’t feel or sound right. This happened to me before so I am not surprised. These are a different brand so I have some things to get used to, but this is definitely not correct. I think it’s one of two things so I will find out hopefully tomorrow.

I had the dog with me but locked him up in his crate in the back seat while I was inside the store. I let him out of prison so we could leave and he hopped into the front and just went stark-raving mad. He was so excited it was like we had not seen each other in a year. He was jumping around, bouncing off the seats and me and trying to play. I looked over out the window beyond the dog and the woman in the car two spaces over was staring at us. Then when she saw the dog going nuts she started laughing while telling the guy in the car to look. She was cracking up, I was cracking up, and Rider was just having a big time for several minutes’-worth of laughs. It was very entertaining for everyone.

I just cannot get over this vision thing! This is so much better than what I was expecting. I still need to get readers to read up close, but I think it is a good tradeoff. No, it is actually AWESOME!!! I’ll see what they say Wednesday but I think the healing is going good and the weird things are getting better.

As soon as things calm down a bit more I will be contacting an upholstery shop I found to ask them about the supplies for me to re-do my cushions or maybe the shop re-doing them. They are really getting bad in a couple of spots – mashed down and staying that way. Not much cushion whatsoever so they need new foam rubber. There are a few RV shops around so they may also be able to give me ideas on what to use, what’s popular, what wears best, etc. I can get by for now (shower is the priority), but sometimes winter months are slow, and with the ‘rona going on they might be needing some business and cut some deals.

It’s getting close to time I need to be ordering coffee pods for the Nespresso. Now that I understand it better and know what I want (I really like all but one of the coffees they have that I have tasted) I’ll be better prepared with some knowledge on how much to get of what. I know they have several new ones out but many of those are seasonal things like peppermint or that pumpkin-spice garbage. Last time I got 120 pods, but it doesn’t store as easily as a canister of coffee that makes twice that much so that took up some room. Once I get settled into the studio, though, I won’t have to worry so much about room.

Other than checking on getting my hearing aids adjusted, no other plans until my cataract appointment then the holidays. I got the stuff for my feast today. I am not much for turkey, but I do like to have some turkey, dressing, gravy and cranberry sauce (the jiggly one – not the chunky one) two or three times a year. I might go just absolutely berserk and have mashed potatoes too. Having a real kitchen again is one exciting thing about having a place to live. I’ll be able to really cook again. I have lots of new things I want to make but it takes room to spread out and cook, plus a regular fridge and freezer helps too. Unfortunately much of my kitchen stuff is all in Montana so I’ll be making-do with what I have in the trailer until I can get there. It’ll be fine.

That’s about it for this post. Until next time…

September 28th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel

Today, I woke up.

YAY!!!

Seriously, today I wanted to get somewhat of an early start to drive back over and down to Coeur d’Alene. I have never been downtown or by the waterfront so I wanted to do that. And, it JUST so happens that there is a famous place there I want to eat called Hudson’s Hamburgers.

I left the KOA and Apple Maps routed me east and south through Idaho which is how I wanted to go anyway since it is a road I had not been on. It ended up being a very scenic drive through gold farmlands in amongst the dark green hills. A very beautiful drive and one worth the time – it took me an hour and twenty minutes or so to get to where I was going. If you have ever driven through CdA/Spokane on I-90 you will understand avoiding that mess even by taking backroads.

I got into downtown and it’s a nice area if you are a shopper and like sidewalk cafes and beers – not really my kind of place to hang out. I got parked and just 600 feet around the corner there it was. Hudson’s. Nothing fancy and a very limited menu. Since I was here for a burger, I ordered up a cheeseburger with spicy mustard and onion. I stepped outside, unwrapped it and angels sang as a bright light shot out of the wrapper. Absolutely one of THE best burgers I have ever eaten. Yes, he said “ever”. Juicy, homestyle burger cooked perfectly, a slab of white onion and some fairly spicy brown mustard. I damn near went back for a second one it was so good. That alone was worth driving over six hours yesterday and the drive down to the restaurant.

I took a walk around the area, but since I am not really a shopper it didn’t do much for me. I did stop and buy an almond blackberry cookie at a bakery that was a little spendy but it was really good. I decided to get back on I-90 and head west of Spokane to pick up US 2/395 north toward the trailer.

I took my exit, and of all the bad luck there was a Dick’s Hamburgers joint at the bottom of the ramp. NOT all Dick’s are the same. This is not affiliated with the chain in the Seattle area. But, it has piqued my curiosity driving past it many times and ever since I ate at the Seattle ones as much as possible as you know from previous posts.

This was quite different than the Seattle ones but still a pretty good burger, and both are definitely much different than Hudson’s. I thought the fries were good but the Seattle ones have a soft spot as a similar memory from my childhood – my grandma’s hand-cut fries cooked in a cast iron skillet in lard. One of the top four fries I have ever eaten (Dick’s, my grandma’s, the ones at the bar near Grand Coulee Dam, the duckfat-cooked fries in Galway at a pub). Anyway, Hudson’s you MUST stop at and any Dick’s location east or west you cannot go wrong for different reasons.

Rider and I headed back to the trailer. I don’t think he is feeling very good. He hasn’t eaten much the last few days which isn’t normal. We got back and I tied him up outside. He eventually got to feeling a bit more lively and we took a walk over to the lake. I think tomorrow we are gonna just stay here and take the trail around the lake, and maybe walk around other parts of the campground.

It’s pretty quiet here right now but it is probably hopping when there’s no pandemic. They have a lot of family activities here along with the little lake and it is also part of a camping club network so yeah…it gets busy. But it is a nice place and the people are very friendly. It has great ratings and I see why. Not my usual style of camping but I knew I could get a spot here.

I actually ran into an issue in a spot last night and had to be moved. No, it was not another redneck blowhard asshat. It was an odd problem; the sewer pipe hook-up pipe was higher than my trailer tank outlets so they just would not drain. Of course I discovered this after I had already unhooked the trailer and got it set up. Something to remember to check for more often. I talked to them about the problem and they moved me to a better site and there was no extra charge. Luckily I had only hooked up the grey water and not the black but I knew what I needed to test it with and it wasn’t poo-related.

Sometimes I buy frozen Bird’seye garlic chicken with vegetables and pasta and it is really good. They came out with a new plant-based protein version (made with Gardein brand Chik’n) and it was not bad at all. Tonight I stir-fried it up (without the garlic butter) in some General Tso’s sauce. It was pretty good, but I find myself steering away from that old favorite to something less sweet and more savory these days. I guess my tastes have changed considerably as I noticed this about a year ago. I guess it’s why I have been eating more Thai food the last few years.

Unfortunately, I was in a hurry and I forgot I used all of my eggs up so I guess it will be either bacon and cheese in a tortilla (a “breakfadilla©” I shall call it and © 2020) or a Noosa yogurt. I did not realize it until I got back earlier but I didn’t want to leave again – not even tomorrow. I just want a down day to go hike around. I’ll make it work!

This has been a very relaxing trip so far. Today after we got back I just sat on the tailgate of my truck looking and listening for an hour or so. I am looking forward to the walk around the lake, too, and I know the dog will like that. It looks to be another gorgeous day tomorrow so it will be a great day to really lay back. Yeah, there’s several days of stuff to see and do around here but I only have a few days so I’m having a slack day.

It is very pleasant outside tonight. Cool but not too, perfectly still air and fairly quiet – a nearly-perfect evening that recharges you. The dog wanted to go for a stroll to check the irrigation so we walked leisurely down the road a bit and came back as he inspected; I have not seen a night like this in quite some time and it is so nice…even soothing. We have had cool nights but the never-ending wind…well, it never ends.

Getting out on these trips brings out the travel bug in a big way. It feels good to be on the road seeing things. I am so ready to get back to Europe I cannot stand it. I have been thinking about both my trips over and the girls and I were talking about our trip again. I need a long stay – enough to rent a place for a month, then another place for a month, and maybe a third, all in different countries. I still have enough miles to schedule a flight but I just can’t go for it yet.

I went out to close the front window cover a few minutes ago and had this weird flashback of doing the same thing in Banff National Park in September 2012 (almost eight years to the day…within a few weeks). My parents let me take the trailer to Washington State when I was moving, and I had a pretty big adventure. It’s why I started this blog. I didn’t know much about the trailer but I got through it and learned along the way. I have learned so much and I am still learning not just about the trailer, but a different way to live. It has an oddness and uncertainty about it most people would think “no, it’s not for me”, and rightfully so, I guess. It really is not for everyone. I really am enjoying it though. Most importantly I have had a lot of fun doing it.

It’s now time to kick back for the evening.

See you next time!

September 27th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, pictures, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel

Guess you can’t have it both ways…

Hard to believe another summer has come and gone and it is nearly October. It certainly feels like Fall in the air now and it is a welcomed change from that 100 degree BS of not long ago. The days have been pleasant, the nights cool, but the air is still choked with smoke. A few days ago the air cleared out and it was once again clear and breathable. Too bad it only lasted the one day.

With the weather getting cooler I am having to make some adjustments in the trailer. I now have to keep an eye on the cooler temps to make sure things don’t freeze but that has only been an issue a couple of nights so far. I have been using the electric heat instead of the propane furnace but I will be digging out the electric blanket at some point when I can figure out where it is buried in the storage unit. I also put some long sleeve shirts in the trailer and put the kilt in storage but left out a pair of shorts just in case. It is that time of year when you don’t know how to dress on any given day so best be prepared for most anything. It is the mountain way of life!

He’s loving this travel thing too!

Since it is getting into the time of year where travel in the northern part of the country starts shutting down, this morning I left for a campground north of Spokane, WA for possibly one of the few remaining leisure trips with the trailer this year. I did hope to get out a day or two sooner but the winds were blowing so hard that towing the trailer would be too dangerous, so between that and avoiding the weekend crowds I decided to leave today. It’s going to be about 6-7 hours of driving (adding extra time to stop for more fuel and exercise breaks).

Other than an old truck with a bumper sticker that said “You’re about to exceed the limitations of my medication” that made me laugh out loud, it was an uneventful drive and a nice day for a drive other than a little headwind. This is the first trip with the truck pulling the trailer up over a couple of fairly steep passes and it ran great. Plenty of power and the gas mileage improved even over the passes.

I have a few days here to relax and explore this area. I have not really spent much time in this area but I have been through areas west and east of here and north into Canada (too bad it’s still closed at the border) in years past. One really nice thing about being in a campground like this is your rig is pretty safe if you want to go adventure out doing some day trips. I plan on taking advantage of that every day since the forecast is not too bad for the next few days. The full utilities are certainly nice to have and come back to at the end of the day, especially having electricity on these cold nights. I do like the solitude of boondocking, though.

I got here right at the tail-end of the open season for the campground here. I believe they said this coming weekend is it for the year so I lucked out. It is in a really nice setting – lots of trees and a lake nearby that we will go check out at some point.

Tomorrow I am probably going to go back south to check out stuff around the cities plus I am on a food mission. I have never stopped here for more than a night in a hotel or the trailer and I thought this would be a good opportunity to see some of this area and not be rushed of crushed by tourists. It is a pretty area with lots of trees and Lake Coeur d’Alene is beautiful.

Tonight, however, it’s time to do some stir-fry noodles in the wok and relax with a beverage.

November 18th, 2019

Adventure, Just things, Travel, Uncategorized

It’s been a busy few weeks. Fall is definitely here, and with it comes the usual PNW climate for this time of year – grey, clouds and rain, the days getting shorter, and the much cooler weather. Quite a change that happened rather abruptly. I’m glad I will be able to get away soon to see some different and better weather.

A few weeks ago my oldest daughter Angie flew into town with her mom and they picked up Alexis and came to my house for a visit. We went out to the coast to see the Hoh rainforest and get on the sand at Rialto Beach. It was a really nice day and perfect weather for going out that way. My trailer makes for a nice extra room for people that come to visit.

I got back from the hospital a couple of days ago after another surgery (unrelated to the shoulder). It was something I’ve been trying to get handled for a while now so it is a relief to have it taken care of finally. I actually spent the night in a hospital which I haven’t done in decades. Needless to say I am glad to have this finally done but I am really glad to be back home. Surgery went fine and the doctor felt pretty good about the outcome. Waiting on lab results, though, before getting too relieved!

While I was gone I had to board the dog at a kennel. It was strange to do that since I just got him home and he was looking at me like “WTF is going on here?” as he curiously went with the strange (to him) woman. I’m sure he did fine since he is pretty laid back and likes almost everyone he sees. I can’t wait to see him (and not smell him!).

I’ll find out in two weeks how much longer my physical therapy will continue. It sounded like I am close to being finished with it when I was at my last visit. I will still be doing exercises but will be on my own since I still do not have full range of motion. I don’t know if it will all come back or not but I will keep working toward that goal.

It will be very nice to not have to be somewhere weekly and I can start getting out and about on some long-awaited and much-needed adventures. I try to not get too excited yet since I am still recovering from this last surgery and I have to be mindful of that. It is hard to not get excited about going places, though – I was unable to do much of anything the last six months so yes…I am ready to go someplace. I do have some big plans coming up in the future!

Being retired is quickly becoming more real. All of my options are wide open now so I  have a few things to ponder. I find the classic “Pro/Con” list is such an effective way to help you make some informed decisions of this type. I started doing this when I began thinking about no longer working so now I need to go to the next step and consider what the next chapter is. Of course, my main focus was looking at if I could even think about retiring financially.

The biggest difficulty is deciding where to call your “permanent home”. The US laws enacted after 9/11 say you must have a domicile; you cannot just wander about and be a “citizen of the world” (well, at least, not in the US). You also need a domicile address for things like getting mail (“General Delivery” at the post Office is only supposed to be allowed for 30 days), vehicle licensing and income taxes (And no, it is NOT legal to just go live in the National Forest despite what everyone thinks and does and posts on YouTube and other social media; in fact, there are limits on length of stay in the forests that vary in each National Forest so you need to check into that before you set up a camp in the forest – even if you are just on a vacation.).

That means you have to think about things like taxes on your retirement on top of statistics on crime, politics (I guess those two are the same), cost of living, climate…whatever things you consider when wanting to live someplace. Some states have no state income tax (like WA) while some tax retirement/Social Security over a certain amount (like CO), and some tax it all (like KS). This can be frustrating to try to figure out because you may live in a place you like with no taxes but the cost of living is high and want to escape to a cheaper place. Some places (like OR) have no sales tax but are not retirement-friendly financially otherwise. The combinations are infinite so you have to figure out what best suits you.

One last thing…I want to post a link for Scott’s Cheap Flights (NOTE: Clicking on the colored link and joining the website gives me future discounts on my membership and may help me win a vacation!) . This website is one I pay to be a member of and it has saved me money on many flights (but you can just join for free). My first flight to Europe a few years ago was found through this website and I ended up paying only $373 for RT tickets on Icelandair to Amsterdam.

They do show you how they search for stuff on your own, but I still pay to be a member because they will find and send you cheap flights you may not think of. For example, they sent me an email a couple of months ago with a mistake fare for Bangkok, Thailand with stopovers in Viet Nam, Singapore, or other cities in Thailand. This ticket was on the top couple of airlines that fly to the Far East and Asia. Price? It was less than $300…for a $2000+ fare! And it is really cheap enough for the savings you get.

To make it even easier they give you all the steps to get the flights, what cities, airlines, and the normal prices and there is even a search link at the bottom of the emails that already has the info filled in – click the link and it takes you to the search!

That’s today’s update.