August 1st, 2021

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

Wow…it’s already August. Another fast summer. Last night we had thunderstorms here, the likes of which I have not seen in many years – I moved from the Midwest 25 years ago this year – and we don’t really get those types of storms where I live in WA. Winds, lightning, torrential rains…a real blast from the past. Fun and interesting to watch but nothing I really miss.

It was an awesome day today however. It finally cooled down and was in the low 80s today. That meant it was cool enough to leave the dogs out, and that meant I could leave the house finally. Road trip!!!

Yep…The Mother Road!!!

I put Addy in the car seat and we headed out to drive a stretch of Route 66. I was going to catch it at Strafford, MO and head into Springfield from there.

The drive was really beautiful, going through the dense trees and winding backcountry roads, across many low-water crossings and bridges going over beautiful streams. And wild turkeys!

Bet they won’t be thinking “gobble gobble” come November! I will be though.

I doubled back to take this picture as the Trail of Tears is a part of my family’s history on my mom’s side. It isn’t necessary to get into all the details or comment on those events other than I had Cherokee relatives who were forced to relocate and walked this very trail.

We got to Strafford and took a quick look around. There were a few old buildings we saw and this was probably the one that stood out most to me (sorry about the reflection!).

One part I drove was the route from 1926-1928 until it was relocated west out of Strafford; this part of the route went south out of Strafford then west. I decided not to backtrack to see the other leg on this trip but in the future I will.

We headed west on this section through the countryside and rolling hills toward Springfield. As I drove it really made me think about the countless people that made this drive back in the day. It had to have been quite the journey and it really got me excited even more about travel. Imagine how that must have been to see all those things for the first time and be able to travel to the ocean from halfway across the country. It also made me think about the classic movie “The Grapes of Wrath” and the horrible things those people went through.

As we got into Springfield I saw another sign that said Route 66 followed the Trail of Tears for a couple of miles into Springfield. I could not get pictures of that, or some of the other stuff I wanted to get pictures of – I was driving and in some places there was nowhere to pull over. I am certain I will be back that way again and hope to get out and walk around town and be able to spend more time exploring.

I did get a few pictures though.

We did not go all the way through Springfield on Route 66 so I will just have to pick up where I left off someday. This is the longest section I have been on along with driving through Albuquerque, NM. The route is still on my bucket list so it is pretty cool to see this stuff. I may not necessarily need to see every inch of it in the cities but I am wanting to see more of the other stuff along the way. I may not do it all at once either but doing it piecemeal is fine; I still get to see it.

Today’s awesome adventure really got my travel Jones going. I am even more excited to go somewhere now that I did this drive. Plus, I saw so many interesting places to eat that have been around for many decades. They should have good food by now!

My trailer would fit right in with the spirit of this road. I hope to be able to do that soon but then again there are the old-school interesting motels and “motor lodges” along the way and those could be even more fun.

I do like history quite a bit but there is a difference between liking history and liking the history that you discover (and there’s plenty to not like).

It is very interesting (at least to me) to see where we have come from and how we have gotten to where we are, but it sure as hell doesn’t mean I want to live in the past. It is called “the past” for a reason. Learn from it, but move on and leave it where it belongs…in the past.

July 28th, 2021

Adventure, Just things, Music, Outdoors, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

“If you walk around expecting shit to happen, then it will.” – Dusty Hill

“Life takes you on weird trips and you just have to hold on, ride the wave and be as strong as you fucking can.” – Joey Jordison

I saw these two quotes and really thought they were worth posting. It’s how these guys lived their lives and I think there’s a lot to be said about being true to yourself.

Two big losses in the music world in the last two days; one a rock solid bass player – Dusty Hill from ZZ Top, the other Joey Jordison, the incredible monster of a drummer formerly of Slipknot. I honestly am not a big fan of either band but I do have great respect for badass musicians no matter their style. I did see ZZ Top back in the day on the Deguello tour and it was a good show. I have seen several videos of Jordison and wow. Truly amazing.

This weather sucks. Heat index right now is 102° and the forecast the next few days is up to 108. It sounds like it will be worse for my friend in St. Paul, MN – hang in there, S!

Glad I picked up some beers today as it was pretty tasty when we were out with the dogs. I got some Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat out of Kansas City and a 3 Blind Mice Brown Ale from Mother’s Brewing Co. out of Springfield, MO. I am admittedly and unashamedly a Guinness snob, but I do like a good unfiltered wheat beer on a hot day. A brown ale can be refreshing as well. They were both good beers and I may have to take some for the road.

Meghan took off today for her fire gig so I have a few weeks here helping out. We will be cleaning, vacuuming and getting things straightened out in my truck in between the sweating and beers. And the pointless showers.

I was thinking last night that I need to get a road atlas for the drive home and start looking at it. A GPS is fine but I am not sure which way I’ll be driving home and an atlas will help me get details I can’t get on a GPS routing on my phone.

My new truck has a Bose sound system and to make things even better it has Apple CarPlay. I can basically mirror my phone on the display so I get not only my music and phone but also Apple Maps. This will really be handy for finding places and easier to deal with than my phone. Pretty exciting!

I really only use a GPS/mapping app just to get someplace and not for planning of my route – it’s just too tedious. I find that, for me, a paper map is a much more useful tool looking at a route and to look at along the way for stops. Apple Maps is pretty usable with its guides at a destination.

I am considering several different options for the drive home. Smoke, fires and heat pretty much cover everything west of here so that means some options are limited going through certain areas. I do plan on seeing a few sights when I can while I am here and the trip home won’t be any different – I will stop anywhere I see something interesting just like always. I’m halfway across the country so I might as well make the most of it and see and do all I can.

Missouri has a lot of interesting places to see and things to do. There’s a lot of history and the Missouri State Parks are some of the best anywhere that I have ever been to. The campgrounds were always fantastic and well-maintained. I hope we can all get out on some trips soon and explore and just hang out by a fire doing s’mores and I’ll even splurge and eat a hot dog or two roasted on the fire.

That’s it for now.

July 24th, 2021

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

Haven’t seen this livery in a long time!

As I begin this post I’m in a shuttle bus on my way to the airport. It’s quiet, partly because it is 6:30 in the morning. It’s also quiet because they showed up maskless and I had one on when they arrived and I was asked if I prefer everyone mask up. I said “Well yeah because of what’s going on with the surge. Mandates are coming again Monday anyway.”. I’ll just leave it at that.

I am headed the airport to fly to Missouri to help Meghan out while she goes out to work on a forest fire. Certainly not excited about flying right now. I am really not looking forward to the weather either. I’m also not looking forward to going to a ‘rona hotspot but I’m heading back into lockdown mode myself and avoiding people anyway.

I’m going to pick up my dog and bring him home after nearly six months of him being gone. It’s gonna be so weird to have him back but I’m excited at the same time. I am sure he will be so excited to see me and get home too.

I’m also picking up my new (to me) vehicle and driving it back so I am going to get my road trip on after all! No idea which direction I’ll be driving back yet. I’ll know when I leave!

I’m glad I saw the problem with my Avalanche before I pulled the trailer halfway across the country. I’ll be getting it ready to sell when I get back. I think the issue is not as bad as I thought originally. I think it is just the rubber boot on the axle and not the joint itself. It should not be too expensive to fix it.

At the airport it is pretty busy. Way too busy, but at least everyone is masked up even though half don’t have their mask on correctly. Gotta cover the nose people; it’s not a jockstrap for your chin. I forgot my hand sanitizer but they had overpriced sanitizer wipes so I had to buy a pack. It’s easier than the liquid too.

Like everyone else, though, I am flying too so I am no different. We all have our different reasons and justifications for flying. I really cannot wait to get this over-with. I have to go to DFW then on a puddle jumper to MO.

I have snacks but breakfast was very early and now I am used to eating meals and not snacks and garbage foods. Traveling like this makes it difficult to do the diet but I will stick with it as much as I can. It’s a very long travel day, though, so I’ll be having to find something to eat at DFW. The turkey wrap on the plane menu was 24g of fat! I just cannot do that.

I wear stretchy cargo pants when I travel. And no, they are not like leggings so don’t get too excited dreaming of that mental image. They look like regular pants and are comfy and practical for travel. I will definitely not wear shorts on a plane; done it before and froze my ass off, plus my bare legs are not going on those seats.

Cargo pants give me places to put things without having to dig into my backpack suitcase (I will not check bags when I fly). Sanitizing supplies, masks, gloves…all in one pocket. Phone and cables, chargers, AirPods in the other side. They may not be for everyone but I am making it easier on myself.

I always consolidate everything down into my backpack before going through security – phone, wallet…everything, Before I board the plane I organize and pack stuff into my pockets that I need on the plane so I have most everything I need. I want to minimize disrupting the boarding process. The sooner we load the sooner we can get off the ground on time or maybe even leave earlier.

On the plane it is kind of a strange vibe. It is quiet and everyone is mostly staying to themselves. Most certainly I am not the only one on this flight that ate an edible or two this morning before boarding. Wake & bake!!!

I got a pair of AirPods Pro and holy cow…the noise canceling is even better than my Bose headphones which had this weird whine during the noise canceling. I heard no plane noise and they sound fantastic. I see what all the talk is about. Very impressive. They are much easier to carry too so I cannot wait to take them to Europe.

Speaking of whine I got a glass of the red stuff. It came in a can and I asked the flight attendant “What, no wine in a box?”. Nothing tastes good out of a can, especially booze, and this was certainly no exception. It had paint thinner notes with more than a hint of aluminum. I had one and it was enough. I’m doing good anyhoo with the edibles kicked in.

The first leg of the journey has been very calm; a smooth flight and no one acting like an asshole (so maybe THEY ate some edibles too!). I was actually worried about people being ducks but maybe they are getting the message they have to abide…just like The Dude. There’s no food unless you pre-order it beforehand so check on that before you fly anywhere.

I decided I had to eat something and was open to options knowing what was available at the airport would not be remotely healthy. I was going to go to Panda Express to eat what they try to pass off as Chinese food but on the way I saw Smashburger. I never had one but wanted to try it out so I did that instead. I don’t know if it was because it was in an airport but I found it very underwhelming and not worthy of the hype.

The final leg of the journey was okay. A little more lively crowd but still no assholes. The short flight was on American Airlines. I liked the first leg on Alaska much better.

I was glad to be on the ground and maskless and even more glad to see everyone. Wearing a mask all day has not been horrible, and medical people do it every day. I think I just might be able to do this going to Europe with no problem if it opens up consistently. By the time I got to where I was going it was 16 hours in a mask. I could do a non-stop to Amsterdam no problem I believe.

I’ll post again soon!

July 23rd, 2021

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

Got my last appointment done today and it is the weekend. Yay x 2! I had to drive to Tacoma for the appointment and the weekend traffic was early today so it took a while longer to get back home. I also had to stop at the storage unit and clean stuff out of my truck. Mostly it was tools and stuff I was going to use for the trip in the trailer that isn’t going to happen yet. Again, I say 🤬.

I’ll figure out the next trip very soon. All this work I have been doing and getting a few new things for the trailer today is really getting me even more excited to go. I just gotta have a dependable vehicle and I hope to have that taken care of soon.

With that comes a bit of sadness, however. Selling my Avalanche. My parents bought it new so it has some real sentimental value for me. I believe it is the only vehicle that they ever bought new all those years on the planet. I will miss driving it and 18 years of familiarity. There’s even a little “character” from my mom backing into something, leaving a divot in the plastic body parts.

When I got home the painter was painting the front of my house so the door was taped off. I decided to just go to town and kill some more time and take care of any errands I needed to do before the weekend. I stopped by Goodwill to burn some time up and I actually found a few things for the trailer I could use.

I found a couple of coffee mugs that match the teal color on the trailer so that was kinda cool. Since they are plastic (lightweight and unbreakable bouncing down the highway unlike glass or ceramic) I don’t know if I will use them for coffee but I can use them for other things. I got a small coffee cup that holds maybe a double espresso, and then lo and behold I actually stumbled across a small Italian stovetop espresso maker to go with it! Hot damn! Coffee in the trailer is now solved. It is small and easy to store and use. I also got a brand new 2-quart Crock-pot that was still in the box…AND it was half price so it was ONLY $3! I can use that in the trailer as well or in the house. A few good scores.

Some really nice weather here right now – 60s & 70s, with sunshine every day with some fog early or marine layer some mornings. I wish I had a charcoal grill but it’s just as well I don’t. Burning restrictions are starting up in a few days as well as new mask mandates. We’ll leave that alone.

I had to quit drinking wine again. I started enjoying too much of the grape every night so it was time to stop for a while. Buying cheap wine is part of the problem – it’s, well…cheap, and it’s sweeter than good wines so on a hot day it goes down easy. I’m just taking a break from it for now; I’ll be washing wine glasses again before too long.

I started watching the “Chef” series, which is based on the movie I raved about last week. The series is just as good and it makes me hungry watching it. Lots of good foods and interesting people. Jon Favreau does a great job in this series as well as the movie. It’s really making me want to go crazy cooking again! I foresee a chicken caprese ciabatta in the very near future…

That’s it for this post. Be safe!

July 21st, 2021

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

It’s time.

I discovered today that my truck needs another repair so I am going to fix it and sell it. This time it is one of the front axles. The joint on the end of one side is going bad and has to be replaced.

I just cannot do this any longer. I am going to have to give up and get something else to drive that is dependable; I just cannot be left stranded someplace and I like to be in more solitude than campgrounds so that could be problematic. I don’t mind fixing things – that isn’t the issue – but if I am in the middle of nowhere and something breaks I am hosed. That being said, I guess it is better it is happening now instead of being on the trip I was planning to take. Grrr…🤬🤬. Oh well. Life marches on. I may get delayed a bit but not delayed forever.

I guess I will go ahead and finish getting stuff in the trailer tomorrow. I will be going somewhere eventually so I might as well do it since I have the time. I started on it a few days ago and did some more this morning in anticipation of finishing it up and taking an adventure. Instead I went to a few places to see if they can fix it and most places are booked out a few weeks or longer. I can still get by with it for now but it cannot go on without being fixed. It cannot get done until someone can fix it but at least I still have wheels unlike before.

Mechanical stuff does break and the truck does have a lot of miles. It’s all good. Frustrating, but good. The trailer has different systems than the truck and I have done my share of fixes there. But, the trailer doesn’t leave me stranded like the truck does.

I know the time and money and elbow grease I have put into the trailer will hopefully keep out going for quite a while. When I had that wheel bearing go out last year after they replaced it they checked the other side and greased it so it fan get down the road okay. I have definitely learned quite a lot about maintenance, upgrades and repairs on that trailer.

That’s it for tonight. Just needed to rant. Stay safe!