October 9th, 2020

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

A Montana sunrise – looking southeast toward Livingston, MT

Fall is settling in and getting comfy but it is looking like we will get a little taste of winter over the weekend with some rain, cold nights (around 30° F) and maybe a few snowflakes. I cannot find my electric blanket yet but I am getting by okay between the electric heater and the propane furnace. I may need to do something different in the meantime like oh…get another blanket.

The moisture is certainly needed since the west half of the country is on fire and I am fairly certain that there won’t be many complaints from anyone around here no matter how we get precipitation. You can see the smoke in the picture above giving the sunrise that amber and orange glow – that is how the sky has looked most of the summer, but much of the time we cannot even see ANY of the three mountain ranges within view. The fields that are not irrigated are devoid of greenery and in many places it’s mostly just dirt. It’s pretty bad drought conditions.

I took a trip to the storage unit this morning and decided to drive a different route back. It was a backroad instead of the interstate. It went through farm country and it was a nice drive on a two-lane blacktop. All of the trees were really changing colors so it was a beautiful detour to take. I had been on just a few miles of this road at the far end so I had to see what was between where I was and what I had seen. I am beginning to understand more why my dad always did that.

After that last POS coffeemaker I bought and returned I treated myself to a present. My French press broke on the last trip so I spent real money and got a good coffeemaker this time. It is made by Breville and it is a Nespresso Vertuo. It will be here next week and I am so excited to try it. I think it will take up less room than the French press and coffee canister and I can store the kettle under the bench. Only thing is since it is electric I cannot boondock and use it so I may have to just switch to tea an d water on the stove when I am off-grid and that is totally fine. This one uses little recyclable aluminum pods instead of the plastic Keurig-style clogging the landfills with their convenience. They should store easier than my big ceramic canister which, somehow, has not broken yet given what it has been through on the road so far.

I am hoping it will make a cup of coffee like we had in Europe and, since I have never had an espresso, I will be trying that too. This machine spins the pod and it makes a “coffee foam” on top of the cup that looks kinda like a Guinness. It comes with a milk frother but I like my coffee straight up – nothing but the taste of coffee for me these days – so that will go into storage. Yeah, it takes some of the ritual out of the morning but I really wanted to try something a little different. They make many different roasts and flavors plus I really like the recycling part. Someone even makes a kit so you can refill the old pods so that is cool. Yep, I am excited about it!

Earlier this week I got a text from a friend I had not talked to in several months and that really brightened up the day. We both had many changes in our lives recently and texted back and forth for a long while, catching up with each other’s lives. It’s nice to hear from some of the people in your past and this person is definitely one of the ones it was really great to hear from. You know who you are! 🐶 🐕 (And, of course, if any of you want to send a message and don’t have my info just post a comment; they won’t post until I okay them and I do not post everything sent to me.)

I do have another adventure coming up soon so I will be posting about that at some point. I really hope the weather holds out a little while longer so I can get the things done that I need to take care of; I’m getting to the point where I will be having to worry more about the weather as the calendar pages flip. I’m sure that I’ll be posting about that in the future as well.

The other day I heard a banging noise outside and thought it was the horses banging the side of the barn like they do, but it had a different sound the more I listened. I looked out a window and the other dogs were staring at something from the backyard so I thought I would investigate. And just what did I see?

Hay! No horseplay allowed!

This is Maverick. He is a wild horse rescue who thinks he is a dog. All that banging was him climbing in the tank and playing. He stomps around a little, splashes around with his nose, then plays the fence wire with his teeth like it is a guitar string and he is Jimi Hendrix. He has such a fun personality. He always walks over to say hi and see what’s going on.

After this, the tank was moved outside the fence and just a little of it is under the fence so they can still drink but hopefully it will keep him out of it. I don’t know how, or IF, it will work or not to keep him out. Meghan’s German Shepherd Cheyenne actually does the same thing in the dog tank. 🤦‍♂️

That’s about it for today’s post. Stay safe.

August 23rd, 2020

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

First things first.

It was two years ago today I lost my Dad to bladder cancer. I miss both him and my mom quite a lot and I think about them every day. To those of you reading this blog – PLEASE get regular check-ups and see your doctors about ANYTHING going on with you that isn’t normal. I am vigilant about getting check-ups. I don’t want to get sick and I owe it to my friends and family…and you owe it to yours.

Okay, now on to better things.

I am getting ready for another road trip that I hope to make very soon – I just have to fit it in with other things going on but it is a priority. I really need to get away pretty badly and get some cooler weather with better air to breathe…and I also need a change of scenery for a little while to get my head in a better place. I do have some ideas for a few places but nothing certain yet (and I would not tell you anyhoo!). With much of the West on fire locating some clean air someplace close may be a bit of a challenge but I will find a spot.

Along these same lines it is looking like, unfortunately, my trip to upper New England and the Atlantic Provinces this Fall may have to be put on hold due to the T-virus. I wanted to go into eastern Canada when I got over there but the border is really looking like it will be staying closed for quite some time. Add to that the fact that the pandemic is nowhere near under control – and won’t be for the foreseeable future. Even though I stay in my trailer and avoid people I think it is best that my travel plans be more confined to a smaller footprint to minimize my exposure and stay closer to my own doctors just in case. I was really trying to be optimistic about it, and am not giving up completely on the idea, but there is also the reality of what is happening.

I got an e-mail a few days back telling me how many airline miles I have so just for grins I looked up where I could get to and the prices using miles. On one flight I can go to Dublin for free but it is on an airline I don’t care to fly on, plus it is a layover flight. If I buy a few miles (which is cheaper than a ticket) I can fly non-stop back to Dublin. I can also go through Iceland again and stay there a few days if I buy a few miles more on top of the non-stop. Hot damn! But, I am nowhere near ready to get back on a plane yet (at least not without a lot of sedation). The places to go are pretty limited since most countries are closed to U.S. tourists. In Ireland right now you have to quarantine for 14 days after arrival or the penalties are pretty stiff. Hell, I have been quarantined so many times and for so many weeks that is not a problem. I will keep an eye on the pandemic and flights and see how things progress. If a great deal comes up and there are no cancellation or change fees I might book one foir the future. I said “might”.

I finally got myself a wok last week. It’s an old-school carbon steel one that had to be seasoned so I did that yesterday. It took a little time as you have to boil water in it, scrub the hell out of it to get the protective coating off, rinse and dry. Then, to season it you have to rub oil in it and heat it up on the bottom and all the sides. It is tough to do that part on a regular stove so it looks like I will need to get me a wok burner. I have not tried to cook in it yet but I am going to try it on my stove first. If that works then I may not worry about it, but I don’t know if it will work though. You have to get a wok really hot to cook in it correctly so the wok burner may be the best option. I have used a non-stick one a few times but I am really anxious to try mine out! It is pretty bulky to keep in the trailer but I will find room. It is an easy way to eat healthier and you can cook so much faster.

Speaking of space, A few weeks ago I got a new 3-way coffee maker to save a little space in the trailer. It takes the K-cups, but also makes tea in a basket (loose leaf) and has another basket for ground coffee as well. Seemed like a good idea, but only on paper (or the phony reviews on Amazon). It is definitely not the quality of a Keurig and I am going to send it back. It has had some issues working correctly and I am not gonna fight with it anymore. I will go back to my French press and kettle. It works and it’s much more gratifying to make it that way anyway. Plus they are not as polluting as the K-cups and I do like shopping for fresh beans of different new coffees to try.

Not much else exciting happening at the moment. I have been holed up in the trailer due to the air quality warnings the past several days and I am pretty much over this nonsense.

Soon. I will be going someplace soon…

I Kinda Like This Not Working Thing!!

Adventure, Just things, Travel, Uncategorized

I’ve been off work for really not very long now (about three days…) and I’m liking this quite a bit! I’m getting some things done and doctor appointments taken care of before the end of the year. Staying active at the same time!

I got some shopping for the trip out of the way (items will be here this week), a doctor appointment today where I got THREE vaccinations for my trip (yeah…you COULD say that my arms are sore), and an eye exam for new glasses and/or contacts today as well. I had another appointment yesterday, a phone appointment tomorrow, and a spine seminar Thursday. After that there is a day at work Saturday, then leave next week to go to MT.

I think I will try contact lenses again and see if I can get them to work better. When I had them before I had moved from Colorado’s dry climate to Wetter’n Washington (I think I will copyright that!). I struggled with getting them dialed in to be comfy, but part of that was also the lousy optometrist I was going to. I do think I want to try them again. I hate wearing glasses, especially working outside.

I am trying to get back on track with drinking enough water. My app is really helping, but sometimes I end up ignoring it when it nags at me. I’m getting better at listening to it and drinking without being prompted.

Working on my diet as well, trying to get rid of the unhealthier things in the cupboard (which I try not to buy as a rule) and replace with healthier items. Like most everyone, I used to like eating some of the things that are so bad for you. I try to watch thing as much as I can but I do grab a few things I should be avoiding (also like most everyone).

I bought a French press so I am anxious to try some coffee in it and compare between that and the Mr. Coffee. I am sure it will be better. I did buy an organic medium roast they had on sale but I’m not impressed with the first cup out of the Mr. Coffee. I hope it tastes better in the press.

I Miss Coffee

Just things

I gave up coffee several months ago. I quit mainly because of the empty calories from the creamer, but also to get my blood pressure down a little. Let’s face it…coffee creamers are not exactly health food either and are loaded with all sorts of bad stuff.

I mentioned a few months back about the ritual of making coffee. Yes, I miss doing that every morning. However, I also miss the taste of a nice rich cup of really dark Sumatra roast with French vanilla creamer. I do like my coffee like I like my beer – dark and satisfyingly full-bodied, and not that thin watery garbage served at many famous places that are across the street from one another.

Staying in the hotel they have coffee and creamer available 24/7 but I have been able to resist even though I was tempted and needed a boost. Perhaps one of these days I will start drinking it again, but for now the health benefits greatly outweigh my desire to resume my coffee habit. Even drinking it black there is still the stimulant property I want to avoid.

Luckily, I didn’t have that issue 15 years ago when I finally gave up cigarettes.