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…

August 10th, 2020

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

Northbound I-15 between Butte and Helena

Today I went on a road trip. I really had the need to get away for a few hundred miles so I did. I have been cooped up for a week trying to get over this damn cold/respiratory infection I got. I am feeling better, although not 100%, but I am not sitting around another day. The air quality still sucks but I turned on the recirculate function in the truck to keep the nasties out.

I went toward Butte. I just wanted to drive, but eventually you will end up someplace and that was the first place I ended up. I masked up, put on my gloves, went and looked at some travel trailers – just to see what is out there and what’s new. They are certainly different than mine, but mine has everything I need.

I didn’t go into the city center. It is a historic area but I’m not stopping in anywhere to see anything inside so I didn’t feel the need to go. Yeah, I can drive around and look at things but I have seen lots of historic mining towns in Colorado and other areas so no need to stop. They are all pretty much the same, but maybe some other time or if I am with someone who has never been there.

In Butte there is a giant strip mine called the Berkeley Pit. I remember years ago driving through and stopping to see it. It is one big polluted toxic hole in the planet. How fortunate you can pay to see a place so poisonous that birds land on the water in the pit and they die. Click on the link to find out some amazing facts, but one thing they mention is that they have mined, yes MINED, copper out of JUST THE WATER! No, humans are not bad for the planet…

I decided to drive up to Helena via I-15. It wasn’t that far and it was a nice drive through the mountains. I poked around there for a little and decided to head back out. I was going to backtrack about 20 miles or so and take a scenic route that I took a month or so ago.

I did see some signs along I-15 that were a little bothersome. The first one I saw was for the Merry Widow Health Mine. With a name like that how can you resist that? I fought off temptation and saw another sign or two. Finally, a fourth sign I saw offered clarification…it said they were RADON MINES!! What in the actual hell are people thinking? IT’S RADIOACTIVE GAS!!! They are touting health benefits but I am not going to buy that BS. It causes lung cancer! I’ll put up with pain and use my other natural remedies.

It took more than a few miles to get past the shock of what I just saw. I got to my turn for the scenic route out of Boulder, MT and it was a beautiful day to drive it. As I drove along enjoying the scenery a message popped up on my watch. It was from a stargazing app I have and it wanted to remind me of some celestial happening. I was shocked yet again…

Is this asstronomy?

Last time I took this drive I saw a historic church that I wanted to stop at but figured I would the next time and this was the next time. I love history and I appreciate architecture of the building regardless of what it signifies; I see it as an interesting and beautiful building.

It was so good to get out of the trailer for the day. I still hope to get out WITH the trailer soon, but just a day-long drive in the mountains is what I need sometimes. This was one of those times. I continued on and got back to my trailer. It’s suppertime and I think it will be pasta tonight.

June 10th, 2020

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

Today while running some errands I saw a couple of interesting things so, of course, I had to take a couple of pictures.

I saw this sign on the men’s room door at the local Food Co-op. Sausages on sale? I think I will buy mine in another part of the store, thank you. And I don’t want to hear about the buns, either.
As you can see, these lights spell out “Bah Humbug”. Could they still be called “Christmas lights”? I just don’t know…

Anyhoo, these gave me a laugh and thought I would pass them along.

I am getting ready to take a road trip pretty soon, hence the reason I was out today. I ran one of my propane tanks out of gas because it was leaking. I ended up using it to heat my trailer and run the refrigerator to get it empty since it was not safe to use on the grill with the flame so close. As usual, my whereabouts on this next adventure will be posted after the fact along with any pictures and tales from the road. I have had the trusty, and very-well-worn, road atlas out and am looking at getting WAY off the beaten path to see many new things and places.

This Fall things are looking like they just might line up so I will be able to make it to Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire – states 48, 49 and 50 – the Final Three to visit and that list is complete. This is pretty preliminary in the process of “planning” but it is looking like it could work out this year. Going in the Fall I would get to see the colors and I am sure that would be spectacular. Of course there are so many variables in life that you never know what will come up (just like I intended to do this trip a couple of times before and life took some turns). That is the nice thing about not planning anything – no big disappointments.

One disappointment about things being shut down from the ‘rona is that I was planning on getting a tattoo sleeve started when we got back from Europe. I want to start adding on around the ink I got in Dublin and really get serious about it. I really wish I would have gotten more done when I was there but I didn’t – the one I got was actually a last-minute decision on the last day in Dublin so there wasn’t time. Next trip I will be planning that part out more and will come back with (hopefully) several new tats from all the places I visit.

I do think of getting back to Ireland sooner rather than later but I know it will still be a little while yet. After all, we were just there a mere four months ago but I still think about Ireland pretty much daily. Maybe there is an Irish woman who would want to import me to Ireland…that would be awesome!

Sláinte!

April 7th, 2020

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

Hello!

All is good with me and the rest of my family and I hope that you and your family are also well and taking the necessary precautions and STAYING HOME.

We are really fortunate – we dodged one when we went to Europe in February. We got back just as it started to heat up. Wisely we took precautions to sanitize everything on most public transit when possible and didn’t touch door handles etc. None of the three of us have any illnesses (other than the seasonal tree pollen allergies giving me problems) after being back for six weeks so that’s quite a relief.

I have been home from MT about four weeks as of this post, and I have been out away from the house only 5-6 times getting groceries and prescriptions. I limit my exposure pretty seriously. I do not order takeout even though I would sure like to have some Thai or Vietnamese food while I support our local businesses – I’ll sure be back in line there when this goes away. I am staying home and away from everyone, and any shopping trip I take is get in/get out as fast as possible. I should be able to stay away from the store for two weeks after my last trip.

Cooking new things at home has been fun though. Since I am not eating out I figure if I want to eat something bad enough I will make it so that is what I have been doing. I want to try to make some Irish brown bread but a lot of the baking supplies are nowhere to be found – no flour on the shelves. Perhaps this will spark some huge change in people actually cooking at home again, which will be necessary since many restaurants may not recover from this to reopen.

We finally are enjoying a break in the weather in my area so the dog and I are getting outside quite a bit. We have been out in the sun playing fetch, ball, and Frisbee several times each day so that is a welcome change. We even get to just kick back on the patio and relax. He is enjoying getting out more and we have a lot of fun even though he’s a little bastard sometimes. Yesterday it was a very sunny and pleasant 58 degrees and calm and it is supposed to be even nicer the next two days. Pretty perfect weather.

My backyard is pretty well shaded and the grass is getting tall but it is too wet to mow everything at once so I hope to finish it up over the next few days as it dries out. I really hate mowing grass and have never understood the need for it other than keeping defensible space right next to the house and to keep rodents out. It pollutes, is noisy, and is completely unnecessary. I don’t care how it looks and I hope that we can get away from that thinking at some point.

I’ve been in a major Ireland state of mind lately; I’ve been really thinking about our adventure quite a bit. Yeah the rest of the trip was great, too, but Ireland really affected me very deeply. It is something I was really not prepared for; I had an idea that spending that much time in Ireland and seeing the family castle would “do something” to me but I didn’t know how or what or how much it would be but I have to go back there before I go anywhere else. And I will.

Given the current state of affairs I don’t know how long it will be until it is safe to fly again (biologically, that is). I plan to go back over as soon as I can and the focus of the trip will be Ireland – other countries if time (and money!) permits and if, in fact, I feel like it. Also, given the current state of affairs, it is something positive that I can begin to think about and look forward to doing.

In the meantime, though, I can also think about road trips. Whenever it is good to do so I can try to get some of my U.S./Canada road trips in while I can, but only when I can. I had some fairly ambitious plans to do some road trips this year but sometimes things change so you have to be flexible and sometimes it means you’re staying at home like it or not. I am not making any trips other than necessary.

I am looking for a few other things to do with all of this downtime. I have been looking at new guitars online but I want to play one before I buy one. I am also looking at getting a Dremel tool. I need to install a water heater power switch in the trailer and a Dremel would be handy for doing that but i would like to do other stuff with it if I weren’t artistically deficient.

That’s all for now. Just wanted to post a quick update to let those who read the blog know that my family and I are staying well. I send good thoughts to everyone out there to stay well. Be sure to think about and support the healthcare pros on the front lines by staying safe and doing what you are supposed to do and not what you want to do. Listen to those who really know what they are talking about and ignore the fucking idiots who may think they do but don’t.

February 6th, 2020

Adventure

Man the weather around here has really sucked the last few months. I mean it’s probably just how most people imagine the PNW; it really isn’t usually like this normally. Fifty shades of gray beats you down after a while; add to that the rain, and now some cold weather with snow and rain and your last nerve is done. I think they said on the local news that since January 1st it has rained in Seattle every day but one.

I, like others I know, am over this shit. My granddaughter Alexis came over a few days ago and we were talking about it. She is fed up with it too.

I am ready to go someplace and see some damn sun.