September 3rd, 2018

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

If you want to contact me please feel free to send a message or a comment. I have to approve them so I see them anyway.

I wanted to pass along because I gave out my website address to some relatives at the funeral. I just wanted to make sure everyone knows that they can contact me through here.

I had the day off today. I really wish I would’ve realized that before I went to work though. I am quite used to working holidays after all these years and didn’t bother to read the email as carefully as I should’ve so it’s my own fault. That’s OK. I woke up at 4 AM anyway, long before my alarm. That’s very frustrating.

So after I got back home, I took the recycling and dropped it off. Then I washed the trailer and the truck. I haven’t washed a vehicle by hand out in the yard in a long time and it was actually quite therapeutic. I usually just take them to the car wash.

It felt good to get out and do it though. I’ve been sitting on my ass way too much lately and I need to get busy again.

I wanted to get the salt air washed off of both and get them looking good for a trip. I’m not sure about where to go next weekend. The following weekend I have a long weekend and I’m going to enjoy it.

Looks like I’ll be off a few months this winter and come back early. I’ll have time to make a trip to Europe and some other places too. I have some appointments to keep but I’ll make time to do some things.

I cooked up a breakfast tater tot hot dish this morning and put some burritos together for meals. I’ll be eating some Instant Pot items from the freezer that I made ahead and froze. Looking forward to trying some new recipes after I make some room!

May 4th, 2018

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Travel, Uncategorized

Today’s adventure is to Victoria, BC on the MV Coho out of Port Angeles, WA.

I am excited to finally go over and check out Victoria. I have been through there on my short motorcycle trip but have not visited it properly.

Going to Canada is international travel, but doesn’t really seem like it since there’s no 12 hour flight. Once you get there, though, it’s quickly apparent it is. A passport check and the signs in French really are big clues.

I have an enhanced driver’s license but am bringing my passport because I want to try and get a Canada stamp in it to go along with the Europe stamps from our trip.

A few years ago I rode my motorcycle over on what ended up being a misadventure with the mechanical issues it was having and got to Port Alberni and had to turn around for home. I rode through Victoria on that trip but didn’t play tourist in the city since I was trying to get to the other side of Vancouver Island.

Today I plan on getting some miles (or would that be kilometers?) under my belt seeing the what the city has to show (and feed!) me. I hear the Royal BC Museum is a great place to visit for a few hours so I may do that. I’m really not much for shopping – I’d rather see and do things and have experiences. I will probably go in some shops that are interesting. My neighbors were here last week and she said there was a clothing store selling hemp clothing. I definitely want to check that out if I can find it.

The weather seems to be clearing off nicely as I sit here on the ship waiting to sail. It was cloudy when I got here and the weather forecast is calling for mostly cloudy and a 40% chance of a shower over there.

The trip over was strange in that the seas seemed calm but the boat was still rocking a bit. I’ve been on the water many times before and have never experienced that. Very strange.

We got into the harbor and for some reason customs was really grilling me. I had a backpack with a raincoat and water bottle and he kept on me about getting searched. I have nothing to hide and I hate getting hassled – if you want to look through it then just do it and stop effing with me. I didn’t have this much trouble going into European countries.

I walked down to Chinatown and looked around. I went into a few shops and looked around at the Chinese herbs and groceries that were available. I wanted to pick up some herbal patches for my neck but didn’t know if I could take them back to the US so I didn’t get any.

It was 11 o’clock in the morning so what better time for a delicious pint of Guinness. I ended up at a pub called Irish Times to not only quench my thirst but to also get a big plate of poutine. All of the servers wear kilts and the atmosphere was classic pub and well done. I like the comfy atmosphere much better than most bars I have been to in the States.

I opted for the Irish poutine – it looked pretty traditional but with a twist. It had Dubliner cheddar cheese from Ireland and bacon. It was fantastic and very filling. I could see a big giant bowl or two of that after a long night of partying.

They had a pretty good menu full of many varieties of deliciousness. I saw them bringing out a Scotch egg to somebody. I’m not big on eggs other than scrambled but that might be interesting to try.

I mainly just walked around looking at things afterwards. I went into the British Columbia Parliament building and did a self-guided tour. I got to see the room where the Parliament decisions are made for the province.

I went to a grocery store and picked up a couple of snacks. It was about a mile from the parliament building each way. I headed back towards the parliament building since it is fairly close to the ferry terminal. Next to the parliament building is a little park with the water fountain and a wall of water behind the British Colombia seal and also the seals of all of the other provinces as well as the Canadian seal.

There was a really nice public space in the front with beautiful flowers and a nicely manicured lawn. Seems like a good place for a snack and doing some people watching.

It ended up being a beautiful day. Hopefully I won’t have to put up with any more customs BS going back over. I guess I’ll find out in a bit.

March 10th, 2018

Adventure, Just things, Uncategorized

Didn’t sleep very well last night. You know that trouble you have getting a good night’s sleep when you are in a hotel or a new place. On top of that I heard a damn dog barking – even without my hearing aids in. One of the joys of being in a populated area. I did hear frogs croaking while I was driving here last night though. That was a trip in the Wayback Machine. I have not heard that noise much the last several years.

I got up early and had a package of mini-donuts and coffee for breakfast. I am really trying hard to avoid sweets and it’s going good so far. I have to say that those donuts I used to be able to eat but they are just too damn sweet now. I guess laying off is cutting into that sugar addiction that is so prevalent in this country. I am trying to get my sweets from fruits and I can tell a difference. It just doesn’t appeal to me like it used to. Many of the sweets I used to gorge on suddenly are not as good as I remember.

I did give in today to temptation, but not for the cookies. I came out of the store this afternoon and there was this cute little girl standing there all alone with her Girl Scout Cookies. She looked so sad so I went to the truck and put my groceries away. I went back in to her little table and asked her “how much?”. She looked up at me with these sad little doe-eyes and said “Five” rather quietly. I asked her how her day was and all she said was “slow”. I was only going to get one box since I am cutting that kind of stuff out of my diet. I decided to get two and I wish I would have bought what she had on the table. She cheered up a little and counted out my change after I got two boxes.

I got some groceries to make a few things to eat here at my new home and save some money while I am here this weekend. I got a Boboli-style flatbread crust. It cooked a little faster than I thought it would so it was a little bit over cooked. But for lunch I tried a package of a Kroger chicken verde on some white corn tortillas and it was actually very good. I usually don’t buy much, if any, of the convenience foods but I don’t have all my kitchen stuff here yet. I gotta have a recipe for that chicken verde. Luckily I have leftovers.

I finally got the truck unloaded this afternoon. I had issues getting into the storage unit. Actually it was getting into the gate to get into the storage unit that was the issue. I finally got it done and I think it will actually hold everything I have that needs to go in there. I got one storage bin emptied and another has motorcycle clothes I need to get rid of since I am no longer able to ride. This one is a third of the size of the one I have by the apartment. I had to have a large storage unit for the canoe to fit so this will save me serious money.

Tomorrow it’s off to Costco to order some new glasses. They should be ready to wear right after I move completely over so the timing is good. Hopefully I can get them back before I go out of state. After Costco it’s back to the apartment for one last week at this position then two weeks off. I want to hurry and get the move over with so it is off the list and I have few days to get it all put away and relax.

This weekend has been kind of like a vacation of sorts. Got my work done fast that needed done and the rest of the day was for me. I moved the living room area around to fit the futon (a bit bigger than it needs to be). I got some blankets washed that had been stored. I wanted to get the “stored” smell and dust off of them after sneezing this morning. The futon is fairly comfy to sleep on, and I really enjoyed it as I celebrated the 20th Anniversary of “The Big Lebowski” by watching it from the comfort of a couch – something I haven’t had of my own in a while. It was so nice to lay out on a couch for a change and watch a movie (even though it was on the iPad).

It’s been a productive weekend and it was good to get it done fast.

March 9th, 2018

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Scotty Hilander, Uncategorized

Change of plans.

I loaded up the truck right after work and made a run for it. The weekend is supposed to be nice all over and it will be busy on the roadways. It was actually pretty busy tonight on the way here to the cabin. I wanted to avoid it tomorrow morning and stay here the whole weekend anyhoo.

It will be my first night staying here. Futon is fully assembled now and it’s very comfortable. I added a down mattress topper on top of the futon mattress. It is quite squishy and wraps around you. I guess that would be kind of like a fat chick.

I decided to get as many storage bins as I could in my truck. I will go through them and put in the shelves what I want to keep here and consolidate the rest in fewer tubs. My new storage unit is not very far away; basically it’s right around the corner. It will be convenient to take stuff over and pick something up if I need to go get it. That’s where I will keep most of the trailer stuff and what won’t fit in here that I won’t part with quite yet. I’ll probably still bring the trailer over next weekend (to get it out of storage) and the canoe afterwards. Since I decided to leave so abruptly I wanted to just get as much stuff fast as I could and hit the road.

A few new noises to get used to here, but I like it so much more than the apartment. Tonight the local tweaked was walking around in the middle of the intersection. Won’t have to put up with that shit much longer either. It is much quieter without trains and highway and city noises. It is bright and cheery, and the apartment is a little dingy and old feeling. It has served its purpose just fine, though, and now I’m upgrading.

I have a tiny but nice private backyard so now I need to get a grill. Haven’t had one of those in a while and it will be nice to have one again. I really like the charcoal taste better, but the propane is so much easier and much less polluting. I think I’ll do some container gardening – some tomatoes for sure, some flowers, maybe some green beans and peas to snack on raw, and peppers and onions and cilantro to try making my own salsa. And…with a new grill I can roast those babies. Gotta find a good, simple recipe. Or just wing it. I actually like that idea better.

Oh, and I just discovered that not only do I have cable, it has a TiVo. Man, it just keeps getting better.

Europe – Day 9 – February 2nd, 2018: Luxembourg to Köln, Germany

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, pictures, Travel, Uncategorized

Last night we decided that our next destination would be Köln (Cologne), Germany after some recommendations from the girl who helped us yesterday and my friend Kevin, who had been there before. We got up this morning and decided to skip going into central Luxembourg so we could get an earlier train to Germany.

We went downstairs and had a delicious complimentary hotel breakfast consisting of meats and cheeses, bread, yogurt, coffee and fruit. We are really enjoying these continental breakfasts here in Europe.

We made our way to the train station about 9:30 and got on the train to head out. We are getting pretty good about finding our way around for two guys who never really dealt much with public transportation before the trip started. I must say that Google Maps has helped quite a bit and help from the numerous strangers who have shared their knowledge along the way has been even better.

The trains are very smooth and they go everywhere. It is really an incredible system capable of mobilizing masses of people. They are smooth, quiet and comfortable and can get you virtually anyplace you want to go. The scenery is beautiful and it is really neat to see the little towns and villages in isolated areas.

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Train ride scenery between Luxembourg and Köln, Germany

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Train ride scenery between Luxembourg and Köln, Germany

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Train ride scenery between Luxembourg and Köln, Germany

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Fort at Köln, Germany train station

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Train ride scenery between Luxembourg and Köln, Germany

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Train ride scenery between Luxembourg and Köln, Germany

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Köln Station – Köln, Germany

Along the way, just before Köln I saw something interesting that may be tied to family history. I saw a Winniger Winery along the tracks. Perhaps they are some distant relatives!

We stepped out of the train station to be overwhelmed by an incredible sight…the Köln Cathedral.

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Köln Cathedral – Köln, Germany

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Köln Cathedral – Köln, Germany

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Köln Cathedral – Köln, Germany

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No way in hell I’d go up that ladder – Köln Cathedral in Köln, Germany

Words cannot describe the enormity and architecture of this building, and pictures cannot capture it – it must be seen to be believed and experienced. I could not stop looking at it the entire stay; the details of the details is just unbelievable. Gargoyles, statues, spires…it is really something to see. You cannot fathom what the inside of the place looks like. Think about this: this building started being built in the 1200s and wasn’t completed until the 1880s.

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Köln Cathedral – Köln, Germany

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Köln Cathedral – Köln, Germany

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Köln Cathedral – Köln, Germany

And the nighttime view from our hotel window inspired me to go for a walk…

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Köln Cathedral – Köln, Germany

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Köln Cathedral – Köln, Germany

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Köln Cathedral – Köln, Germany

While out walking around I stopped for some local food (no surprise there!). I went to a shop selling a sandwich called a döner. It is a type of shawarma, except the bread was more of a crusty/chewy pita that was split and filled with delicious goodness.

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A delicious late night snack called a döner – Köln, Germany

After, of course, I had to have dessert so I went by a bakery and grabbed this delicious item:

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Oh, the Pastries!

Earlier in the day Jim and I had some curry wurst mit pommes frites. It was a very filling snack and carried us through for hours. I just find something that looks interesting to eat or something I have heard of and want to try. One caveat – no mayo, which is globbed all over several foods in Europe (especially frites).

Tomorrow morning we are off to our next destination. As I write this I cannot help but look at that magnificent cathedral…what an experience.