February 11th, 2021

Adventure, food, Just things, Uncategorized

There was about an inch or so of snow this morning when I woke up and it has been very lightly snowing off and on all day. It was a little icy underneath it but it was right at the point of freezing vs. thawing so it was not very slippery. I needed to get the truck out to see about getting the wheel bearing fixed so I ventured out early this morning and got it to Les Schwab so they could have a look.

It tuns out it was not the wheel bearing after all; it was the whole damn hub assembly. Yet another $400. Still cheaper than buying a new car.

This means that pretty much the next five days I will be at home, going nowhere unless really necessary. They said it is in bad shape so I figure I should drive as little as possible and only when necessary. I don’t want to take any chances with getting myself (or anyone else) hurt or further damaging the truck. Or spending money on what is usually an overpriced tow bill on top of any other problems.

One of my new demitasse cups; it’s the red one with the handle

I stopped by the Post Office while on the way home to get my mail since it will be a few days before I can get out again. All I had was one package, and it was my vintage espresso cups I got from the online auction. As you can see by the picture above they are not very big, and actually tinier than I thought they would be. It’s hard to believe that I saw these on some websites for over $60 a pair! I got two pair in the auction – two black ones and two red ones like the one pictured above (and no…the green thing is not a giant lime). Unfortunately there are no saucers or spoons that came with them. Since an espresso is only a little over 1 oz. the cups are not big and are designed a certain way to enhance the espresso (much like a Sam Adams beer glass or a Guinness pint glass does). Science is everywhere whether you believe in it or not.

It’s looking like I’ll have plenty of time to be doing some cooking the next few days since I probably won’t be driving much. With the temps being in the 20s it was looking like a good day to make up a pot of chili…so I did, and it turned out pretty good. I even had two extra portions for the freezer. I also made up some fresh salsa to maybe have some nachos or chips & salsa. I will be making up some chicken & dumplings and biscuits & gravy for some rib-sticking warmth over the next few days as well. Unfortunately I did not get eggs while out but I have plenty of oats and fruit and a box of Cheerios I can eat for breakfast. I will definitely need to make a grocery run after the truck is fixed.

At least I can still get out with the dog for walks the next few days if nothing else. We just have to get through the next few days of cold weather and snow. So far we are not really seeing the winds they were talking about previously, but it looks like they have posted new watches/warnings about strong winds and up to another 3″ of snow in the area. I tossed another blanket on the bed so I’ll stay toasty there next few nights.

That is all for this post. Stay safe.

October 9th, 2019

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

IMG_2509

I just got back from my first trip after retiring. I drove to Montana to visit Meghan and get my new dog, who I have named Rider. It is getting to be that time of year where the weather can be a problem driving that far. Being retired it normally wouldn’t be a problem. However it IS for the time being since I still have physical therapy and orthopedic appointments that I cannot miss.

The drive was a good opportunity to think about some things (as it always is). With the changes in my life the last few months it has given me a lot of time to think about finally deciding to retire. More time to spend with family was my main reason to finally go for it. I will have more opportunities for travel as well.

There are, however, a few details I need to figure out. The biggest of those is considering where to live. I like Washington but I do miss things about Colorado. I have really good friends in both places. Along with that are, of course, the financial aspects; WA has no state income tax and does not tax Social Security or retirement. That is pretty huge when you no longer work and want to stretch your dollars. On the other hand, though, one big thing is the cost of living in WA. Gas is currently a little over $3.00 a gallon and is even higher in the summer. Rent is ridiculous, and that is only WHEN you can find a place to rent in an area you want to live and can find a job you want. With my medical stuff happening I really cannot make any major changes at the moment so I have time to figure things out.

Speaking of driving, I forgot just how tiring driving that far can be, especially after not driving at all for three months. I left mid-afternoon last Wednesday, drove halfway and stayed the night in a hotel. I had to plan around some appointments but wanted to get a jump on it, knowing that breaking it into two days was going to be easier. Plus I wanted to take advantage of the weather being decent for driving.

I believe I have mentioned before how I just don’t like to do the marathon driving like I used to when I was younger. I have gotten away from that more in the last few years and it does make a trip more relaxing and enjoyable. Used to be when I had taken time off of work the goal was to maximize that time off and get someplace fast to spend more time there. Time will no longer be an issue (it really hasn’t the last few years anyhoo). Animals on the highways are always an issue after dark.

The first part of my drive through the Seattle metro area is a lot of traffic to deal with until you get to Snoqualmie Pass and I-90, but at least it goes through the National Forest and there are mountains. The drive from Ellensburg, WA to Spokane is very underwhelming. Miles and miles of miles and miles. There are few towns along the way so you have to plan a little for things like food, bathroom and fuel stops. The drive the rest of the way is better as you start to get back into the mountains and forests.

Speaking of forests, the difference between the forests of Washington and the Rockies is fairly big. Different flora and fauna due to the different climate is quite obvious, with coastal forests being more humid. This humidity makes the forest extremely dense with understory so thick you cannot walk under the trees (except on a trail) as opposed to forests in the Rockies where you see trees with grass under them.

It was good to not only get back on the road but see those forests of the Rockies again. I do miss seeing the forests where you do not feel so confined by the understory. It was also good to be back in a drier climate. I find hiking in the Rockies is more enjoyable since you aren’t limited by a trail through the brush. I have hiked trails in WA where you cannot see ANY views at all. For me it takes away a little from the enjoyment of being outdoors – it’s just not the forests and mountains I grew to fall in love with in Colorado. Different strokes.

On a twelve hour drive there will usually be something of interest worth stopping to see – museums, historical markers, even quirky restaurants and things like the world’s biggest electric electric shovel (seen it). If I see something even remotely interesting I stop and look.

Along with the usual rest stops I made a few other stops to see some interesting things along the way there and back. One place, which I have stopped at several times before, was a rest area on the west end of Wallace, ID.

IMG_2510

Rest Stop and Mining Exhibit – Wallace, ID

The town of Wallace has extensive mining history and is worth stopping in. At this particular rest area (right off if I-90) they have put together an exhibit about it with a lot of mining equipment. I took some extra time to check out the exhibit. It is very well done and is worth your time. Stop and read the interpretive signs; you just might learn something interesting and fascinating. Be sure to make a donation to help the cause!

I got to their house in the afternoon and we had a good time but it was busy! We went out one day to see their new house and drop off a load of hay. It is a really nice place they had built on a nice lot they picked out. Gorgeous views really don’t suck! the weather was very nice most of the time, but I had to get out of there early due to a big storm moving in. It was a good thing I did as it got pretty nasty.

I left Tuesday mid-morning and it was very windy until I stopped in Ellensburg at a hotel. It was odd going to a hotel with a dog. He did great during the 8-hour drive we made – slept the entire way, but was prancing around like he was Fabio on a  romance novel cover.

Looking west at Snoqualmie Pass from a rest area was a big “uh-oh”. It looked nasty on the Pass so I looked it up and it was rain/snow mix and slushy with 32 degrees. I have been stopped in that Pass before when the weather was bad and it WAS bad. I didn’t want too take a chance.

I got onto Expedia (which I am getting away from using) and checked into the Red Lion Hotel. It was decent but undergoing renovations. Friendly staff, decent rooms at reasonable prices, decent breakfast buffet, and some restaurant choices nearby. I decided to go to Taco del Mar next door and ordered a taco salad. She asked me what I wanted on it and I said “surprise me”. She looked and me and was a little surprised and smiled when IU told her to go for it and do whatever. I ended up with a 10-layer taco salad.

59227596095__2A110181-C1A1-4858-B875-125A3C2EA06C

Amazing taco salad – Taco del Mar, Ellensburg, WA

It was delicious and I ate the whole thing. Walking out I told her how good it was and she should name it.

I have actually done that before at a different Taco del Mar near me and it is really fun to see the reaction of the employees when you tell them they can create something, anything they want, for you. I said to her “make it like you would at home” and it was really good too. Try that out for yourself sometime!

After finishing off dinner I got the dog out of the truck and went to the room. After sleeping all day I guess the excitement was just too much for Rider.

IMG_2529

We got back in the truck this morning and finished driving home. Driving over Snoqualmie Pass just west of Ellensburg I saw snow, wet roads, and about 33 degrees. Not too bad and I am glad I decided to call it a day yesterday where we did. It was pretty relaxing to take another night – we just needed to avoid the weather.

I stopped and got a few pictures along the way:

IMG_2533

Near Snoqualmie Pass – Washington

IMG_2532

Near Snoqualmie Pass, Washington, looking at the ski area across I-90

IMG_2530

Near Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

It was fantastic to get away and I needed it badly. It is always good to see and hang out with family. It’s good to travel. And I finally got my dog.

It’s been a really good week.

February 8th, 2019

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

Boo. It’s snowing again and it’s snowing pretty hard. By the time you get to the end of this post another inch of it will have fallen. This is on top of all the snow from earlier in the week and this round is just warming up. I bet my palm tree is unhappy about this nonsense. Crazy weather is in full swing and it’s pretty nasty out.

I was out earlier and cars were off the roads and one had rolled. Four-wheel drive is not going to fix stupid or arrogance.  The snow here in the PNW is pretty wet and heavy so it’s much different to drive in than Colorado snow.

I went to the store yesterday in anticipation of not going anyplace for a few days. It was busy but she said it was so busy earlier that the checkout lines went down the aisles. The bread shelves were pretty barren — it was surreal. I was thinking “Damn…wonder if they are watching the same weather station I was…”. Cases of water, gallons of milk, the aforementioned bread…it was kinda crazy. Between what I saw and the news stories about stores in Seattle yesterday and today it appeared to be End of Days.

Only reason I had stopped at all was that I was out of eggs and wanted to get some for breakfast. I picked up a few other things as well. I have a well-stocked cupboard and freezer already so I won’t starve anyway.

So as of now I’ll be holed-up in the house until probably at least Sunday, wood stove cranking, checking a few more movies off the Hulu playlist, and maybe listen to or watch a few podcasts. I want to learn some German words (other than the three or four I already know) for the next Europe trip. A web search found that it is a fairly prevalent language in a lot of Europe and it would be a good universal language to learn (but it is still good to know a local word or two).

When I was out I stopped to get propane in one of my tanks. I am prepared in case the power goes out with the snow and winds they expect and can hang out in the trailer if necessary. I needed to get it filled anyway and this was a pretty good excuse to do it. I have been doing some grilling so I need it for that too.

I almost took the cover off the trailer and started tinkering around in it a few weeks ago but thought about it more and decided to wait (okay, I was really thinking about a weekend trip someplace). While in there I thought I should go ahead and use water system antifreeze and I am really glad I did – it got pretty cold a week or so after that. I just had a feeling about it and decided it would be best to do it.

I did get in it and do some organizing around the first of the year. I got in and got excited about heading out again this coming year so I started a little organizing and washed up the blankets and pout them away. I guess I’ll probably be doing more of that if the power goes out!

Yeah I am ready for Spring.

 

February 6th, 2019

Adventure, Just things, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

A year ago today I was in Amsterdam and my European adventure was (unfortunately) coming to a close. The next day it was back to Schiphol to fly home to Seattle through Iceland. It makes me remember the things I did, the places I saw and the experiences I had. I’m looking forward to the next trip back and I had already started figuring out some of the preliminary details when I was planning to go earlier.

I’ll be saving as much money up as I can so I can stay as long as possible. I really don’t need to buy much at home other than the usual daily things like food and have no major purchases planned. I should be able to still do trips in the Hilander pretty cheaply so I won’t have to spend much and still be able to get away.

It’s been pretty cold (for here) lately, with nasty roads and (gasp) snow (boo!). Reminds me why I don’t want/like to live in this stuff anymore. The forecast is looking like more is on the way Friday or so. That might affect my plans I had for Friday to meet up with some friends. I lost power twice several hours on two different days during a cold windstorm and I was really eyeing the trailer if the power didn’t come back before the house got too cold. It has a propane furnace in it and is good to have for a backup in case of emergency.

I’m definitely ready for some Spring. This year I plan to get out for more of those weekend trips in the Scotty and relax more. It should be much calmer this year and I’ll have the time to do it. I may not go far but big fun will be had. I’ll also be spending more time on the beach and doing more walking. Oh and there is always a daytrip to Seattle…you just might say I’ve got a traveling Jones going on, and I need to go someplace soon.

Actually, I need to go to bed. I’m tired. I’m enjoying these early mornings but it comes at a price.

Snow!

Just things

No.. not here where I am fortunately. I don’t care to deal with it again for the foreseeable future myself.

It is good to see CO and the Midwest get some moisture finally. They still have a long way to go to just catch up, but at least some decent amounts are making it to the ground finally.

I hope they all get a lot more to keep the fires danger AND the bread prices low.