November 18th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Uncategorized

Yakima River

It has been a really busy couple of days and there’s more coming up.

I got up yesterday and went to have the tires rotated on the truck. After that I had an early afternoon hearing appointment. As expected, my hearing has gotten worse and my hearing aids are at the end of their lifespan so I got fitted for new hearing aids. I did a test fit and they made a big difference for my hearing. After that I went and picked up an insurance reimbursement check from my towing bill last week. Then I came home and binged on “Scrubs”.

Today I got up to go check out a place to rent. It’s a studio set-up built in one side of a garage. It’s in the country, it’s nice & quiet and it has room – much more than my trailer. Staying in the trailer full-time in campgrounds while stationary can get expensive, and if I am spending that kind of money to just stay put I might as well rent a place and just make some trips. It has wheels for a reason! I think with the pandemic (and the politics) really heating up it is probably the smartest thing to do. Along with that many of the forests and campgrounds are closed now so there’s not much free camping available at the moment unless I went to the Desert Southwest.

I then took Rider to the boarding place for a few days. It’s weird to not have him around but I get my other cataract out tomorrow and need to have some peace and quiet. Friday is a follow-up for that surgery, then I will pick him up on the way home after he gets a bath and his nails clipped (good luck to the groomers). Sunday I’m picking up my new hearing aids, then another cataract follow-up next week.

I came home and did the laundry. I have a few more things on the calendar in the weeks ahead I will need to do. It’s certainly a relief not having the hand surgery, but then it isn’t. It will have to be done at some point perhaps but it’s not worth it to me right now. It IS one less thing to have to worry about, though.

I have not eaten much today and decided that after the laundry it was time to crack open the cheddar smoked sausages that are in my fridge. Can anyone really think of a better way to heat them up than over a wood fire on the grill? The rains came, but I did not care. I was grilling, and it was awesome – even in the rain. I grilled ’em all and ate three. I might use the others for making an omelette or breakfast casserole. They are great in scrambled eggs with some cheese and veggies.

Speaking of grilling in the rain, it’s been raining a lot here. It is not that unusual, but it is definitely quite a bit different than the weather where I have been the past few months, and even last week. We had some winds here yesterday but it has mainly just been gray and rainy. Being farther north the days are also noticeably shorter. Sunset is around 4:30 and it will be getting dark around 4:00 P.M. when Winter Solstice rolls around.

I think I am headed to bed. An early and big day tomorrow.

November 9, 2020

Adventure, Just things, pictures, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

It has been a sleepless few days. Bright lights all around and train tracks across the street from the repair shop. Sunday night was tough. I’m not sure why my trailer battery doesn’t seem to charge but at 3:00 a.m. I woke up pretty damn cold – probably in the mid-20s F inside the trailer. The battery ran out of juice so no furnace. I got up and had to go out and try to charge it from the truck. I just replaced the trailer battery but no idea how long it’s been since it’s had a full charge.

An hour’s worth of charging and I got one cycle of heat. Then it went dead again so I said “well, okay then” and slept cold for about 90 minutes. I said something else along the same line as before (actually it was “F THIS”) and got up out of bed to go get coffee and something warm to eat.

I went for a drive to kill some time while waiting for my trailer. I decided to go to Roslyn, the shooting location of Northern Exposure. Great show if you’ve never seen it but you gotta like quirky. I was here maybe thirty years ago and mostly it looked the same. It is a cool old mountain town on the Historic Register. I did niot get out and walk since most everything was closed still so I went back to check on the repair.

Trailer was repaired right before noon and they asked about checking the other side. I said I had thought about it and it’s a good idea so go for it. He said the other bearings were fine and now freshly repacked. I am glad to be getting it done for peace of mind.

Getting a late start as the days get shorter is not good. Too many deer on the roads and I don’t really want to drive at night. I opted to come back to the campground I was in a few days ago and will leave earlier tomorrow morning after the frost clears. It’ll be nice to have some time to regroup and not be rushed.

I had to buy a heated water hose to keep water flowing into the trailer. I’ll need it in other places anyway so now seemed like the time to buy it since it may get cold tonight. I won’t be getting cold though!!! Got electricity so the electric heater is plugged in. Plus I did find my electric blanket right before I left and that is pretty awesome to have with the nights getting cold.

As for now, it’s a double espresso of Sumatra coffee, then a cup of dark (or as they say “Intenso”) and some relaxing in the warmth after a couple of interesting days. Might even kick off my shoes.

I got a few bundles of firewood to have a fire later tonight and an obligatory adult beverage or two. Then a nice, albeit abrupt, hot shower before crawling into my preheated bed. That sounds awesome.

You can’t look away…

It’s a really good night for a fire. It’s 32° F and some clouds to hopefully hold some heat on the earth tonight. The fire pit is an old heavy truck wheel so it really heats up and dissipates the heat nicely. The wind is a little breezy and at 32° it is chilling.

I discovered earlier that instead of a carton of pineapple passion fruit cider I actually bought a carton of seltzer. Never really been a big seltzer person but I gave it a try. As expected, it was nasty – tastes like that “go-juice” you have to drink a gallon of the night before a colonoscopy.

Fire is going out. Looks like it’s time for bed. Been a long day and I am tired.

Day Ten – September 19, 2012

Travel

I am sitting in Mt. Rainier NP writing this edition. I ended up with a campsite in the Park next to a beautiful river. The Douglas Firs surrounding me are probably 100 feet tall minimum, and are probably 3 – 5 feet wide at the base. They are huge. The smell and sound of the forest is amazing, and there are campfires burning all around me. I am left out on the fire – there is no wood for sale.

On the way here I finally got to see the mountain. Last time I was here was about 17 years ago and it was socked in with fog.

Mt. Rainier National Park

Mt. Rainier National Park

Got up this morning and had a leisurely time getting ready to go. Got a shower, looked at the car a bit to see if anything was loose that could be causing a misfire in the engine. Nothing obvious so fingers are indeed crossed.

Finished getting everything packed up and headed put to find the mysterious “Fred Meyer” store. After driving around I did finally stumble across the place. A very interesting store – much like a Wally World only different – and it is actually a Kroger store, like King Soopers, Dillon’s, City Market, and others. Stocked up on a few groceries and went on my way.

The appropriately-named Explorer needed an oil change and tire pressure check so I also got that done before I left town.

When I left Ellensburg the air quality was horrible. There was a huge fire north of Ellensburg that I saw when leaving to head south to come here. I heard it was up around Roslyn, where they filmed the TV show “Northern Exposure” ( my all-time favorite show). It looked like the entire mountain was on fire. Between the fires here, in Idaho, and possibly Montana, I have seen smoke in the air (and little scenery because of it) since probably Billings, MT. if not earlier. It is really bad out West, and probably worse than Colorado. I drove past dried riverbeds, many forest roads are closed because of the fires and the danger. I got out of it in Canada, but when I got back into Idaho I have seen and smelled it ever since. I hope I am getting far enough west to be past it. Gonna run out of continent if I have to go much farther. The smoke is killing my eyes, and it makes me glad my asthma is very slight or I would need oxygen. Yes… it is that bad.

Wenatchee fire - near Ellensburg, WA

Wenatchee fire – near Ellensburg, WA

Heading south towards Yakima it was hot – in the 90s. With the humidity 75 was hot to me…I need to get acclimated soon! Starting up this very long pass the “Check Engine” light went out and it is running better. Yay!

The drive here was a nice drive through the forest – quite beautiful actually. I went a bit farther than I had intended, but wanted to get close to Mt. St. Helens so I can hopefully get there tomorrow.

I have taken a ton of pictures, but I need to figure out how to post them correctly. I put a few up but am not sure if I want to post them like that or if there is another way to post them. I will figure it out.

I sit here in the darkening campground and look at the silhouettes of these big trees. They look like the “happy little trees” in a Bob Ross painting – jet black bristle-strokes against the fading blue color of the sky.

I think of this place, of Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Yosemite… all of the majesty and grandeur of the original parks. You can see it in the construction of the bridges, the buildings… even the signs. In Theodore Roosevelt National Park they talked about his vision of nature and his determination to save it from humans. He designted many national lands for protection – I think they said over 150 areas. Pure genius that man and he made this world a better place with such foresight. Too bad there are those who continue to try to destroy it.

Another thing I thought about was the bi-lingual signs in Canada. To me, they kind of take away from the grandeur of a national park in a sense that they make it seem more like an amusement park. It is a shame to me that they do that really. Trying to please too many people. The road signs elsewhere are not bi-lingual, so why do it just in the park?

I also think back through all the years camping, all the places I have seen. There have been a ton – 40 years worth of camping. I also look around the campground and see all the tent campers. Many was the night I spent on the cold hard ground, tossing and turning, waking up aching all over struggling to get a fire started or get the stove going for something warm to eat or drink. Goddammit, I may be getting old… I miss that but the trailer sure as hell is nice and comfy. In Canada it was also nice and warm too. I don’t miss that part. I saw these girls camping in Banff in a tent trying to figure out the sleeping bags and I thought “you chicks are gonna freeze your balls off”.

I do still have my backpack, my backpack tent, my stove (which I just heated supper on), sleeping bag and pad. Still nothing like the thrill of backpacking for a day or two, relying solely on yourself.

As far as the tent camping, well… we shall see.

One thing when camping I just cannot comprehend, and that is sitting outside by the campfire with the damn lantern on. I wanted to sit out in the darkness and stare up at the sky but the next door neighbors had to sit by the fire with the lantern on. The fire is so mystical and magical to watch in the dark. It is almost a tribal, primitive high and that is the only way to get it. The lantern is light pollution for those around you – again, people do not think of others. Turn the goddamn thing off or go inside if you are afraid of the Boogeyman. You are in the wilds of nature where you are just another part of the foodchain. Recognize.

I finally got to see the sky somewhat through these big-ass trees. Very first thing I saw when I looked up between a space in the trees was a satellite moving SW. Then, not two seconds later, another one in the same place heading SE. I have seen many satellites in years past, but not two that close together.

Awesome.