November 26th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Music, Outdoors, Uncategorized

Where has this year gone? I cannot believe that it’s already the holiday season for those who celebrate those things. I guess, in reality, even those who don’t celebrate are along for the ride. I need to get out for a few things but for now I will be whittling that back to one thing and then the post office.

I bought my turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce and it was delicious. I have enough for another plate tomorrow and after that I am good with it for many months. I don’t eat turkey but two or three times a year (I like chicken better) but it is a long tradition in families and I still do the meal even though it’s just me. Now that I can go where I want whenever I want to visit family it will be better and I will be able to see them on holidays more. They are the ones that live in the middle of nowhere, not me. 😁

It has been a lazy day for the most part, but I did do some cleaning and organizing earlier so I could have some extra room, a clean kitchen and a clean table to eat on. All day I have debated doing laundry just to get it done while there’s no one else in there with the same idea. I finally decided that I needed to just get it done so after I ate I took care of it. I would have had to do it in a few days and I am going to be moving around that same time so it’s just easier to do it now. I need to do my sheets and comforter but I will do those later. Maybe tomorrow morning would be a good time, when everyone is at the stores acting like two-year-olds fighting over the last big-screen TV on sale.

When I was at Trader Joe’s a few days ago I picked up some frozen gnocchi in a tomato sauce with mozzarella. I have wanted to try gnocchi so a few nights ago it was time to do so. Perhaps it needed to heat a bit longer/hotter as it was a little “doughy” to me. It was not horrible or disgusting; I just don’t know WHAT they are supposed to be like. I will keep trying, maybe find a restaurant that makes it for takeaway.

Yesterday I had my eye appointment but I went early to get some seafood for lunch. There is a local fast seafood chain here in Washington called Skipper’s. They have a location near my cataract surgeon so I stopped to see if they had salmon and chips. And they did. And so did I. I love fish and chips but salmon that is breaded and deep-fried is fish on a whole ‘nother level. When I finally get a normal fridge again it will be so nice to have the extra space. In the trailer I do miss having the freezer room to buy salmon burgers and other seafood on sale.

It has been a really nice day today with cool sunshine. I was running inside and back out in short sleeves and it was comfortable. I would not have wanted to be out all day without having a sweatshirt or jacket, but it was pleasant out walking the dog and doing some cleaning things outdoors.

I am not sure if anyone has become aware of this or not, but I bet you will now! Lately, I have noticed that wearing a mask has really changed human communication. Being one with hearing issues, I found that before this pandemic I was unconsciously reading people’s lips to help myself understand. Now, on top of not seeing (reading) lips and listening to voices muffled by a mask we are also not seeing facial expressions and that is certainly affecting our communication. It’s like we are all faceless – like we are living some episode of “The Twilight Zone” in real time. At the same time, I have noticed some very amazing eyes. Yes, I have been captivated by eyes before, but when you cover a face in a mask and the eyes are all that is there it is just incredible. I have seen some eyes that just smiled so big, and I have seen some incredibly beautiful eyes. I have also seen dark, intense eyes, sometimes a joyless, exhausted stare. I have seen all sorts of communicating with the eyes that wasn’t as prevalent before. It was there; we were just focused elsewhere. It’s really amazing. It’s like learning a new language.

Okay, enough existentialism. But I know you’re gonna be looking now! And you’re welcome.

It will be nice getting some stuff set up to work on my music again. I wish I had the setup I had in Colorado (I have mentioned this previously); a complete stage in my basement with instruments, monitors, P.A. system, and recording gear was pretty sweet, and next to it was my Irish pub – affectionately known as “The Morningwood on Dick Mountain” – complete with a billiards table and a bar.

It was nothing fancy but it was pretty nice and we had many, many weekends and evenings of entertainment and fun along with the countless memories. And oh…the parties. Every weekend ended up a party. Always Saturday, but sometimes Friday too. And if it was a holiday weekend you best buckle up when you get back from the liquor store because it’s gonna be one for the books. Never knew who was gonna show up or who would be passed out where or what was grilling at 3:00 A.M. (but it was gonna be tasty!).

We always had so much fun; those were some really good times – living life large. I had people from out of town out for the weekend over St. Patrick’s Day a few years before I left that house (you know who you are, Chelsea). The first night we gave it hell and lived to tell about it the next day, but there was one weak individual who said something along the lines of “I’m not playing tonight”. I believe I replied with something like “Yeah, um okay. We’ll see how that plays out.”. Of course, he was right in there with the rest of us later, trying to hold on to the Earth to keep from flying off into space. Sunday was worse than Saturday, and we couldn’t drink it off since the next day was back to work. So many great days and nights playing, writing and recording music by myself or with John, my friend and neighbor.

During this time it was a phase of life that usually involved Guinness, Bailey’s, and Jameson’s. The name for this is something I have quit saying, but if you look those three ingredients up you’ll see what it is. We drank these profusely, but then we quickly learned of the magic power and deliciousness of Grey Goose and two freshly-diced pineapples in a container for 14 days. It was game on after that. Many came, they all saw, and they were all conquered. I know…I had to find places for them to sleep afterwards!

And yes, my backyard went up the side of Dick Mountain. For real. Now can you please stop snickering like a 12-year-old-boy.

It’s a nice distraction to go back and think about those good times, especially during these not-so-good times. It’s good to think back and laugh, or shake your head in amazement that you did this stupid childish dangerous stuff, and you KEPT doing this stuff AND lived to talk about it (so far). It’s good to live life and have fun in the process.

November 20th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Travel, Uncategorized

My eye was a little better this morning and the appointment went good. Some of the things calmed down as I slept so that was a real relief. If I am looking at something at arm’s length I can read somewhat. I came home last night, took my glasses out of my pocket, and I put them in a drawer until I can get them replaced. It will be about a month then I’ll go get a new lens prescription for reading. It is so weird not having glasses on for the last 24 hours. I’ll be curious to see how I see tomorrow morning.

I made a stop at Trader Joe’s while in the area. I had left early in case of traffic so I thought I would swing in and kill a few minutes grabbing some snacks before the appointment. After the appointment I needed to kill a few more minutes since the dog was still getting groomed so I went BACK and got a few frozen things. I think the frozen section is interesting as they have not only a great selection of interesting items, they are also smaller portions and that is a welcomed change. One thing I bought the second trip in was some frozen Hasselbeck potatoes. Thin-sliced potato, crispy on the outside and the inside is oh-so-velvety-smooth. These bad-boys are worth buying in multiples.

TJ’s is a European-owned chain (one of the two Aldi companies owns it) so perhaps that is why the smaller portions/packaging sizes. I like both Aldi and TJ’s but I do wish we had an Aldi close by. I do like smaller physical stores like these two chains have, and along with that is that with the store-branding you are not overwhelmed with choices and it’s not really a bad thing since the items are all really good.

I picked up the dog and I guess he was a bad dog at 4:30 this morning and dealt with the wrath of the groomer lady. I knew he would learn who is boss from her; she’s been doing this a while and don’t take 💩 off of any of the animals. She also had to lay the law down with him when he was getting groomed as well.

It’s been a busy few days recently but I have nothing on the calendar for tomorrow morning so I can hopefully sleep in some. I will probably be calling about storage for the trailer to get that off my to-do list. I’ll be pulling some things out of the trailer since I have nothing else here for kitchen, etc. than what is in the trailer. There is some stuff there so I will see what I need and figure it out. Obviously the less I need to take out the better.

It will be odd having that much room and being in a place again. Things change so it is time to adapt and I need to think about the future and the things going on. I still have Colorado on my mind but I have things here I need to do. It may just end up that I will go back and forth between here and there. Staying put for a bit is fine and it gives me some breathing room for the time being to sort out a few things. I was doing good for a little while, but I think I am now up to 17 or 18 different addresses since 2012. Being fairly stationary the last few years was kind of nice I will say, but I did get to where I was ready to travel and I did take some trips (but you know that).

I just finished watching the series “Long Way Up”. It was just like the other two series but this time it was on electric motorcycles (except the cameraman on a V-twin Harley) and with electric support vehicles. They rode the tip of South America all the way to Los Angeles. It was a good series, but of the three I like “Long Way ’round” the best. It was the first one and they went to some cool places. I think the thing with it was the newness of everything they were trying, especially on a personal level. But in all three series they are going through several foreign countries on one trip, seeing so much and meeting so many along the way. Makes me ready to pack my pack and head to the airport.

I see that the clock says it is now tomorrow so I think I will go to bed. TTFN!

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.

September 17th, 2020

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

I got up early to get an early start and decided in the interest of hitting the road faster i went and got breakfast and coffee. I usually do not unhook my truck so I can just wake up and get gone but I wanted to run around, and the trailer is not level in this spot if it is hooked up – it kinda goes uphill so the trailer tongue has to be cranked down lower than the hitch on the truck to be level for the fridge to work properly and the shower to drain.

The air quality is not good today – much worse than yesterday and I am starting to cough and wheeze from it so apparently I am leaving at the perfect time. I wish I had longer to stay and drive around but with the air getting unhealthy it’s just as well I leave now.

Luckily, with all my recent trips I have gotten into a pretty good rhythm to getting things done fairly quick both setting up and packing it back up for the road. Nice thing with a trailer is when it is raining hard you just park, open the door and go to bed. Dry and warm. Gotta use the toilet? It’s in your closet (basically in mine it is).

I got everything unhooked and put away then hit the road for the drive back. The winds were not quite as bad as they were on the way down but pulling a trailer still knocks the gas mileage down even with a tailwind. I stop often for gas – when I am at about a half-tank – so I don’t run out again like I did a while back. I got gas for $1.99/gallon in Cheyenne and in the low-$2.00 range most of the rest of the trip. The KOA was only $42/night and that was with full hookups.

Having the dog with me it’s good to let him out to exercise and do what he needs to do, and it gets me out of the truck as well so I stop often for that. He still loves to travel and does pretty good but I have had to put the crate in the back and lock him up in it to keep him from wandering.

All the way back the air quality was really horrible so I had the air conditioning set on recirculate to keep the bad air out. I saw the mountains very little and in some places they are not that far from the interstate. Even getting back to the house the smoke is thicker than I have seen in almost the entire time I have been here. I can’t stop coughing and clearing my throat. It sucks and I hope I do not get sick again, but I am staying inside, keeping the inhaler going and doing whatever else I need to do to to fight it off the best I can. I have not taken many pictures on this trip since there was really nothing to see due to the smoke so I did not bother trying.

It was so fantastic to be back in Colorado once again and revisit some long-ago visited places and memories from the past 40-odd years. I had not thought about those ‘shoestring adventures” of those days in quite a while and as I did I smiled inside and out. I only stayed in free places, I froze my ass off at times and was hungry on occasion, but I had a great time traveling like that. I still travel on a low budget but it is because I want to and because I enjoyed doing it in my 20s. Sure, I have the luxury of a trailer now but that doesn’t mean I have to give up the best and most honest way to travel; one that makes you find your happiness without much money.

So, Colorado…I hope to be back very soon! No need to leave a light on for me.

I know the way very well.

September 16th, 2020

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

I got up today after sleeping like a log for the first time in months and no back or neck pain. The air quality is not real great but not quite to the point of staying inside all day. I think I will probably just stay another night here since everywhere I want to go is the same as far as the air. It’s right at 9 hours back to the house from here so that is a little longer in the trailer because of the winds. I checked the drive time going west and up and it’s 15 hours plus I’d still have to go through SLC, which is the travel version of the movie Groundhog Day. Lots of traffic, every exit is the same and it just goes on and on and on…

I decided to go north to the historic site in WY I saw on the way down that I wanted to check out. It is called the Quebec 01Missile Alert Facility just off of I-25 about a half hour north of Cheyenne. It was not too far away from where I am staying and well-worth it. I decided to go today instead of stopping so I could make some good time Thursday on the way home.

I found this stop just north of Cheyenne, WY very interesting and even a bit unnerving

If you are a history buff or just simply curious about our tendency to want to efficiently kill millions of other people on the planet then you should stop and take the quick and inexpensive tour. It has only been around for a year or so and that is why I had not seen it before.

They take you down into the control center where the keys and codes were.

Perhaps for some of those of us who remember this stuff it will being back memories of the “Red Scare”; those evil Commies, with fallout shelters and “duck and cover” hysteria in the schools, and the planes for Operation Looking Glass overhead 24/7/365. It was interesting to see this place because I love history; I sure as hell don’t love war and seeing this place makes you realize just how fanatical and scary this crazy game of real-life Risk is. One thing so very fascinating about history is when it is actually something from our own lifetimes. It makes it different and many times you get the real story versus what we were told when we were younger. Check out the weapons-count poster. It is just insanity. There is a term for it – Mutually Assured Destruction. Yes, MAD hits the nail on the warhead.

I walked around the grounds a little then drove back to the trailer after another run to Ft. Collins for treats. While out picking up a few things I spulrged on a Good Times Guacamole Bacon Burger with Wild Fries. I’m such a rebel; Wild Fries and I EVEN had a Dr. Pepper to go with it. Yep, that’s right…a full-course COMBO meal. It’s been about 10 years since I had eaten at a Good Times and oh man it was soooo good. Not the kind of stuff I eat often these days but if I get a need for it I will buy it. It is getting a little smokier in the area. When I get back at the trailer it’s inside for a bit to avoid that bad air and hopefully it will clear out later.

It’s really been a good trip despite the air quality issues and the brake repair – you just gotta deal and move on. It’s done. Even though it is definitely not what many would call a fancy place (three of five stars) the campground was reasonable (about $43.00/night w/full hookups) and I made a few side trips to see some things. Mainly, I got to relax & unwind and that was really the focus of this trip.

I just saw an article titled “9 Unique National Parks You’ve probably Never Been To”. I just had to know, and I was surprised to find out that I have been to five of them. There are so many National Parks I want to see that I would have thought the entire list would be those places. That was kinda cool.

Tonight is just a kick back night, pop one open and the smoke has calmed down a bit. I can enjoy sitting outside relaxing on this final night out on this trip. The entire state of CO is under a fire ban so no campfires to sit around to ponder the universe and perhaps think about how to fix the crap in your life that needs fixing. Tomorrow is a bit of a drive and I don’t want to be starting on the road very late if possible so I guess it is just as well that I call the game a little early.