Category Archives: Travel News

About when we are going on trips & what is happening while we are on them.


Current Mood:Accomplished emoticon Accomplished

Since our life hit the brakes and had to readjust last summer, we’ve haven’t had done any birding or anything to get out….too busy trying to get it back together. Going by our birding list, exactly 6 months since we listed anything. =(

Didn’t help that when we thought we were getting back on our feet, the rug got pulled out from under us again….but we’ve reestablished ourselves. =)

We made a point to get out today and explore a different part area that we are now living in. It was also the 1st time I’ve been in our Jeep Wrangler since we brought the Pontiac in Dec…..felt good to be back in the Wrangler. =)

We checked out a few of the local state parks. Very happy that we stopped at the visitor’s center at one of them. The staff member there was very helpful on giving us advice on where birders have been going.

We ended up in a wetlands area by a river and got to see our first short-ear owl and northern harrier! They were putting on a show. =) We saw at least 3 owls just flying around and 2-3 norther harriers. We even got to see an immature bald eagle, the head was almost finished changing to white.

It felt totally great to get out and do one of our favorite things. And the weather worked with us……no rain. =)

Settling In

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It has been an off week. We moved from one spot to another. Ended up spending last week getting ready for that and getting settled in that the off week has been affecting our dinner planning….been totally weak on it. Doing much better for this week.

So we are getting settled in and trying to learn our new duties and get a routine. It is different from what we were doing, but that is a good thing. I like it when we expand our horizons and learn new things. It comes in handy for the future.

At our last place we were spent a lot of time cleaning up after wind storms and other jobs around the park. It was cool. We’ve missed doing yard work since we’ve moved to the Oregon in ’07. You get a good satisfaction when you get something cleaned up, because you get a result.

Here, we’ll be doing clean up after campers and doing more hosting duties, making sure that we are seen and are there for the visitors. We came over at a good time, it is letting us learn our new duties before the busy season hits. And we’ll be attacking some of the winter cleanup to get it ready for the busy season.

It is cozy here. When we got to the last place it was this huge open space….kind of freaky. But got use to it and was great for the satellite and sunlight. Got here and got the tree cover we love, that is what we’ve always looked for when we got tent camping…but not good for the satellite.

Still no satellite in our rig. =( BUT we have set it up in the garage by the office….so we didn’t miss our Pacer’s playoffs and Games of Thrones. =) We are going to get some more cable and see if we can get a signal. We are happy we at least have another option if we can’t do it in our home.

Next week, we’ll going to be get ourselves on to the some of the trails. Looking forward to that. =)

Quick Catch Up

We went and took the over 4hr drive down to our storage unit in Oregon on the 24th. We had our living room tables, dinning room set and bed room set picked up and sent to consignment.

We really should’ve sold it before we left, but we just weren’t ready….I sure wasn’t. I loved our stuff…..that storage bed was awesome! But we decided to put it into storage and see how we felt after a year. Well, paying for storage ends up costing more then it takes to replace things and it was time.

I just wished I could’ve sold it our self, but at least it is done. Feels like we closed a chapter on our life….it is bitter sweet.

The consignment shop had a delivery/moving company that they worked with. They were suppose to be at the unit at 12:30…well, come 1pm I start calling the numbers I had. Nothing for awhile until I called the consignment shop and they got ahold of them.

The delivery company had to deal with a flat and it sounds like the poor guy had a hell of rough day. When they finally got there over 3hrs past the scheduled time, they were pretty fast and very professional. The owner was a go getter. They were fair on pricing and good service, even if they had a bad start on staying on schedule, it didn’t sound like it was normal for them.

During all the waiting, we did some shopping and saved on sales tax….Oregon doesn’t have one…..and much cheaper liquor tax. Picked up some food that I’m not able to get around here. After they picked up our stuff at the unit, we were just 5-10 min late from meeting a good friend of ours that we haven’t seen since we hit the road.

We had left for Oregon by 7am and didn’t get home until after midnight….it was a very long day. But I did get my bowling ball unburied from our other storage unit and brought it back….now, we just need to go bowling….grin

Totally addicted to Games Of Thrones… BFF and her sister finally got into it and did a marathon over the a weekend a few weeks ago and are all caught up. So now we are debating who did what. About time they are caught up, it was hard talking to them and not reveal anything that they haven’t seen….lol

I had gotten the Games Or Thrones on ebook a few years ago, started on them a few months ago…..but since I had seen the show, when parts started coming up that I knew would get me upset, I stopped. I get very emotional involved in my books… Well, just started them back up….handling it better then when I started last time….lol And now when I talk to my BFF and her sister, I can tell them what I learned from the books.

I originally started this post on Saturday and just finishing up now….lol We are going birding tomorrow and on Wednesday we are getting over to a different location for the summer.

Since it is so late and need to get up early tomorrow, I’ll get this posted….I had more that I want to say….but that’ll be for another time. =)

A Month of Catching Up!

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I didn’t realize it has been almost a month since I last did a post. I know I’ve been working on the blog, but that has been all in the backend so I totally lost track of time. I’ve had to go find my last post just to get a sense of what is has happen since.

I should be doing work voice mails, but we just had a storm cloud move through…no rain, unfortunately…..and it has finally cooled down from 91.4 to 79 and the humidity has dropped nicely…in fact the breeze can give a chill. Most pleasant it has been mid day in a long while, so I’m sitting outside and enjoying it. ToRn is trying to get some good shots of hummingbirds and I’m typing this up….grin

We went to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson in June. That was really cool and we highly recommend it. It is a combination museum, zoo and botanical garden. 85% of it is outside, so make sure you take water, wear a hat and lots of sunscreen. Saw the fattest black bear we have ever seen….no black bear in the wild gets that big….lol Saw the cutest gray fox and very cool ocelot.

It was much bigger then we thought and spent more time there then planned. But we still got to the Saguaro National Park, the west unit, just much later and much hotter….lol…..triple digits according to the Jeep. We went and saw the petroglyphs and got ourselves new sun hats at the visitor center. Now we look like typical birders…..LOL….but the hats are much lighter and covers the back of your neck and we got them in our favorite colors, I got my purple and ToRn got his green.

Found our first fresh kill on June 15th. It looked like it was a fawn. Since it was out in the open, we believe it was from a pack of coyotes, mountain lions would drag it back to the treeline and try to bury some of it to keep for later. We found it in the morning and I didn’t see any vultures the evening before when I did my walk that we think it was killed over night. The bones were still “juicy” but everything picked cleaned or on it’s way to clean. Now it looks like it has been there for several months it is so bleached and dried.

For awhile there we had 3 wild turkeys hanging around. If you ever had seen the movie Dark Crystal they reminded me of those 3 mystics, hunched all over…lol Last 2 weeks we’ve only been seeing 2 of them. Not sure if one of them became someone’s dinner.

Finally been seeing an occasional bobcat….and all without going out on a hike. ToRn saw one when I was out on a hike, just walking in front of the rig, about 30ft away. Of course, I had the camera as he looked for it before he remembered and grabbed the video camera.

Then a few nights ago, we saw a bobcat bouncing in the grass in the middle of the drive away. The little bugger was hunting. =)

Yesterday, we had a visitor say that they saw a small black bear. About a year old, more chestnut colored, acting like it should and running from people. Then a staffer saw it running across the road after we were just out looking for it this morning…LOL So ToRn went back out later, didn’t find it, but got more critter pictures. =)

Hummingbirds have really picked back up. They are going nuts right now. We have broad-bill, violet crown and black chinned on a regular basis. The rufus showed up a few days ago.

Finally got the iBird Pro app for our iPhone and iPad. They also have a new one out just for iPad only, called Waite’s Birds…free to download with 50 different birds, the cost of getting them all is normally $49.99 but we got it on sale for $9.99! I LOVE sales. What is really cool about it, is over a month ago we had some of the people from iBird Pro, they all have some of their bird pictures in there and the guy that does support was showing me the new one while it was in beta. Showing all the cool things it does. So I’ve been looking for it, I really wanted to get it while it was on sale….so I’m tickled by that….grin

We went to the small parade that this small town has for the 4th. Kind of reminds of our small one of town one in Oregon. But with a few difference….like here, you are encouraged to bring your water guns and balloons…lol It is the only day of the year you get to throw water balloons at the town marshal and the parade participants return the favor….grin With the heat and climate here I can full understand that, it was hot. And they “hung” the Grand Marshal…lol

We’ve had one actually thunderstorm and a few rumbles here and there. Boy, our kitties do NOT like them. They totally go into hiding, we feel so bad for them. They didn’t grow up with thunderstorms in our part of Oregon. I’m so hoping they start doing much better with them by the time we leave Arizona.

Wow, this turned out much longer then I expected and I probably missed something. Nothing unusual there….grin

Cats & Cattle

Current Mood:Beautiful Day emoticon Beautiful Day

We are totally enjoying ourselves here in AZ

I’ve been going on morning walks about 6:30am, because I really, really want to see a bobcat. I finally got my wish on the 16th. I saw an animal jumping away over the trail in front of me. It didn’t have a long hairy tail and sure didn’t move like a coyote, it moved like a cat! I was so psyched!! But after a few days I felt like I dreamt it because it moved so fast and I just got a glance at it, not a good long look. So I’ve been determined that I was going to see another one, so taking my early morning and sunset walks when critters are the most active.

On the 22nd I got to see two bobcats on my morning walk. I was looking across a clearing and I saw to “short” animals, at first I was thinking of javelina, but then they ran towards each other to greet and circle each other. They didn’t move like either javelina or coyote….it was a cat movement. I got to see two bobcats!!! Of course, I had no camera or binoculars… After they greeted each other one started walking in one direction along the tree line and the other in the opposite way, more in my direction. The one in my direction stopped a few times, looked as if he was sunning himself and looked as if he was rolling around like our kitties do…..LOL

Well…with no camera or binoculars I’ve been more determined to see them again. Not sure if I’ll carry a camera, because it would need to be one the SLRs and on my morning walks, I’m really trying to move fast to get my heart rate up. But I can carry the small binoculars of the preserve (we’ll be getting our own soon). Now with my luck I won’t see them again since I was prepared, but I was lucky today! I saw a critter sitting in the clearing, not too far where I saw them last time. It was kind of hard, even with the binoculars, to see it because the grass is so high. I could see that the nose was short, so not a coyote and the ears weren’t that big, so not a deer. It was a cat!

Now the question was what kind of cat. I texted ToRn and he stated it he was on his way. I was on one side of the clearing and ToRn ended up on the other. With the camera, ToRn was able to get a few pictures and clean them up enough to get some good looks at him….and it was a bobcat….grin

ToRn headed back to the trail to try and outflank him so he could get a better shot and as he is heading down a trail he looks up and about literally runs into a mountain lion! The lion just looked at him like “I’m not afraid of you” They just looked at each other, ToRn texted me a pic and then took more pictures until the lion decides to walk off.

I’m so jealous! The ironies of this is that I just laminated and posted an article in the visitor center’s office about the last sighting from Dec, the preserves motion camera got a blurred rear-end and tail of one a couple of weeks ago and yesterday a couple saw the lion just walking along the trail yesterday.

The really funny part is later this morning ToRn was doing dishes and Drew decided to jump on his back. He was not wearing his normal hoodie and ended up with a lot of cat scratches. Who knew that he was safer outside with the wild cats? LOL

We really had an exciting beginning of the day today and we are very please by that.

A few days ago, ToRn looked out the bedroom window and says “We have cows out there” with surprise. We had a small herd of 7 cattle including a big bull just out there eating the grass. They left their ranch through the creek. The area manager has a couple of cattle dogs and he came over to herd them out. ToRn and I have never seen dogs work herding in person. That was really cool.

Ever since then we’ve been finding fresh cow pies…rolling eyes. The manager thinks we have a bull that has claimed this as his territory and is pushing his way through the now enforce “T” fence on the creek to make his rounds. We have over 300 wooded acres in this part of the area and so far we haven’t found him yet to drive him out. But I keep finding fresh tracks and scat in the morning.

Now I just learned today that in AZ you are responsible for fencing them OUT…the owners are not responsible for fencing them IN! That makes no sense and lets just say I totally DISAGREE with that…ggeezz.

I have a few more critters to talk about, but this post is long enough…..grin

Our New Life (at least for the next 5 months…lol)

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As of this Sunday, May 12th, we have been here 3 weeks in AZ

It has been a very interesting experience and time has been flying much faster then expected.

We knew that is was a birder destination, but boy it is huge here. It is a totally different world. The majority of them are very friendly and very happy to share their knowledge. Some are total tunnel vision, with one focus only……I don’t know how to describe it, but it is sometimes funny to see. We’ve had people waiting at the gate long before 6:30… It has slowed down some, but you still get them.

So far, out of all the states, we’ve encounter more coming from Oregon and the Pacific NW in general. It is great to talk to fellow Oregonians….grin For out of country, lots of people from the UK. Those are some of the most fun of the birders, love UK humor. Some joke about how all their birds are so boring, so that is why they come to the states.

Right now, my favorite group of birders came from Belgium. There was four gentlemen and they had never seen humming birds before, they were so delighted and had so much enjoyment. We have three feeders for them at the visitor’s center and that day we had like 20-30 humming birds, they spent hours there before even hitting the trails. When ToRn put the spotter on one of our grey hawks, they about ran to the spotter…grin

We are learning but there is so much. Don’t know if we’ve ever be as good as some of them, but we catching on to some of the birds. ToRn is doing much better then me on that, but he is much more observant and quicker on seeing them. We’ve always been interested in all sorts of wildlife and I’ve enjoyed birds, just never to the extent of serious birders.

When we’ve ID birds, we normally went by the first thing we noticed….colors and markings. Well, we’ve learned you just can’t go by that or even start with that. You have to go by shape of tail, wings, beaks, body and talons…all that, then the markings. Markings may change based on age…juvenile and adult and, of course, male and female.

For example the Summer Tanager male is beautiful bright red, while the female is a pretty bright yellow. Now I’m use to the females usually being darker, more brown or grey from the normally more colorful males, but never such an opposite bright color as the male and female Summer Tanager.

We are the type that notice the more colorful birds, humming birds and raptors. We just love hawks, eagles, falcons, owls….those are so cool to us. The Grey Hawks are here very frequently. I got to see one at 5:30am with a nice size lizard in it’s talons. ToRn saw one warn a Red Tail off the other day…

I do love looking out the bedroom window in the morning and seeing a male and female Northern Cardinal. The female is much prettier then we thought she would be. Just love watching her. Then watching the male Vermillion Flycatcher bounce from piece of grass to piece of grass.

Of the humming birds, we’ve seen the Anna (had a family of them in Oregon at our place), Broad-Billed, Violet Crown, Black Chinned and Broad Tail. The Gila Woodpecker is noisy as heck….lol Also have seen the Ladder Back and Acorn Woodpecker. Even got to see an owl the other day, I’ve never seen one in wild before. The Great Blue Heron is really cool to see fly, reminds me of those big clumsy looking sea planes that once they take off, they are so graceful. That is just some of the birds we’ve seen. I know we’ve seen a lot more and I know ToRn probably could ID more, but those are just the ones that I could ID.

At 4000 ft and a creek that has continuous water, there is a lot of wild life here. We run into javelina all the time, even hear them outside of our RV forging a couple of nights. We see white tail deer all the time. The ones here have bigger ears then the ones farther north. Almost like mules. Saw coyotes the other night at sundown, I’ve never seen any with those markings. They had dark grey/black markings and didn’t look as skinny as the ones I’m use to seeing in the Midwest. Unfortunately we haven’t seen the bobcat yet, others have, but not us. =( I so want to see it. And the mountain lion hasn’t been seen since last Nov. That would be TOTALLY cool and out of this world…..grin

ToRn posted this on his facebook the Friday night, it happened about 9:30 pm, and tells what happen the best :

Well that was different.

Wife went to the office to reboot the modem, and as usual Drew cried for mommy over and over. Pauline returns after a few minutes and as normal I mimic Drew’s “mommy cries” for her in the same pitch and frequency as Drew. And as normal we both laugh.

Unlike normal was the coyote crying in a loud response about 30′ from us. Over and over.

That took us by much surprise.

This post got longer then I expected….lol Hubby is working on the pictures, he has a much better eye and unlike me, won’t post them all….only the best. Once he goes through those, he’ll be posting them I’ll close for now and go talk about the town here in my next post.

Gunsite Wash BLM & Organ Pipe Cactus Nat’l Monument

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Gunsite Wash BLM is dispersed camping, right outside of Organ Pipe Cactus Nat’l Monument. We got there Apr 18th, after the snowbird season is over. We were only going to stay one night…but ended up staying three, with no regrets. =)

We didn’t realize 85 was so noisy with the weekend. But then I didn’t know that it was a main road for a border crossing. It goes right through the Monument. We wanted to stop at the border town of Lukeville, AZ but right at the sign that says border crossing 1 mile, the line started no the road. We didn’t want to cross, just stop at the town, didn’t feel like waiting in line just for that.

The BLM was pretty private. But totally loved that when we got here, only 3 other sets of RVs including the camp host on about a 1000 acre of land. Lots of different places to set up. We parked outside of it, unhooked and then scouted out the some of the spots. A full timer, Everett, that has been doing this 8yrs greeted us and gave us some local background of the area and suggestions for the best sites. Very friendly and helpful.

Heard and seen all sorts of birds and heard free roaming cattle. Even heard a few military “birds” doing night maneuvers.

Learned quickly not to leave our Jeep windows open over night….bird poo… We did have the tops on, so it could’ve been worst…grin

We would camp here again, even with border patrol check point lit up like crazy at night down the road…lol

HOLY COW….we aren’t in Oregon anymore. We drove through the SW back in ’07, but the border patrol is huge in comparison of then. They are every where….it is crazy. I know that we are much closer to the Mexican border then in the past, but they have increased their presence ten fold.

Organ Pipe Cactus Nat’l Monument was stunning. We have never seen anything like it. Just a forest of Pipe Cactus and we did get to see some beautiful blooms. I’ll never look at supposedly “dead” bushes, trees or cactus again. Just with a little bit of rain they really pop. It is something that you have to see.

We did the Ajo Mountain Drive, it was not what you call an easy drive, road wise….but so worth it and beautiful, especially just before sundown.

We did check out their Twin Peaks Campground that allowed RVs. With it being April, the campground was fairly empty and it has some sites that could accommodate RVs up to 40ft. It is a pretty nice set up the way they have it. We personally prefer the BLM, but have no issue with recommending this campground.

It has been visual adjustment for us. Starting in California…which was gradual to the desert….it was so strange for us. Here in AZ, we are at 4000 ft, so it more of a high plain desert, but less stark then at Joshua Tree or at Organ Pipe Cactus Nat’l Monument.

Quartzsite, AZ

Current Mood:Beautiful Day emoticon Beautiful Day

Trying to play catch up with our posts and where we have been. I’ll be breaking mine up so it is not one huge post. =)

Never really posted that much on Quartzsite, AZ. We were there from Apr 16-18th. Learned real quick that nearly 90% of the seasonal business is closed by April 15th….lol That was interesting. We did find an all year RV resort of 88 Shades

We stopped at T Rocks, which was really cool. I’ve never seen so many different kinds of rocks and minerals before. Loved all the different colors. If we didn’t RV, I would so get some for a garden or just have around the house. If you never been a rock hound, you have to stop here and see all the beauty that is in them.

We went to the Yacht Club, just because whoever heard of a yacht club in the middle of the desert?!? lol The food was reasonable priced and tasty. I really enjoyed the fish, the bartender was nice. There was only one issue, the “town drunk”….ggrrr…hubby had red flags going off about him. He just would not leave us alone due to us being the only ones in there that wasn’t local. Totally ruined it for us. If he wasn’t there, we would recommend it.

Now the place you HAVE to stop at is the Reader’s Oasis Books ran by Paul “Sweet Pie” Winer ….the Naked Book Guy…lol. Loads of different used books and even some old vinyl. He has a baby grand buried under some books that he will be more then happy to play you one of his original bluesy songs and will entertain you with all sorts of stories from his touring days. We throughly enjoyed stopping in there and getting a earful from him.

Not sure If we would do any length of time in winter at Quartzsite…we aren’t much into crowds. But we would like to see what it is like when it is in season and just to experience it.

So Much To Learn….So Much Stress

We are here in Everett, WA….living in our home on wheels in our friend’s RV lot in their alley way. Which was a very tight fit….doesn’t help that Ackbar is low and we had to worry about bottoming out trying to get into the alley. It was not an easy park job at all….icks….but ToRn got it with our friend’s help.

Everything is all over the place, we are slowly getting things situated….just not fast enough for me. We had to pretty much unload stuff into their garage so we can do the office area and bring it back in next week.

We couldn’t put the cat litter where we wanted due to a support beam. Then things don’t come apart as easy as we thought. So just going to get office set up, put things away there and move on from that. We’ll worry about painting and such next year.

Hubby took a chill out day today after a very stressful day yesterday. Me, I want to get things done, just don’t know where to start and it is stressing me out. Then trying to get work done on top of it….icks….

I keep telling myself we got time, that is why we are here….have time and space to get set up. But until everything is in it’s place….ggrrr Right now it feels as if we are fighting Ackbar…everything is so small, that things don’t seem to fit…..

I’m stressing the holding tanks…we were at 1/3 when we got here and now 2/3rds??? How the hell did we do 14gals of each of the tanks….since Wed when we haven’t even taken showers in it yet? Do have to be fair, it has been at 1/3 since we got it in Dec and it may have been half way between 1/3 and 2/3….so we may have had only 7 gals. But how the hell we did 7 gals?? Haven’t it used it that much.

Don’t want to have to move it to find a dump station and then repark….did find a service that will come out and dump for us. So going to have that done this Thurs…that is going to make me feel better, so we are starting fresh and now we can figure out how long it’ll last.

We got a WiFiRanger Mobile, seems to catch other networks, but we can’t always able stay on. Our own 2 networks of AT&T & Millenicom….even our friends….and they are less then a 100yds away. So another new frustration, that we knew we were going to deal with that….but with everything else…not helpful.

So when I have issues, I head down to our friend’s house and steal their internet for work. =)

Our friends have been so, so helpful. We are trying to visit without imposing on them. You know what they say about fish and visitors after 3 days……so hopefully with having our own home, that won’t happen. =)

Right now watching a Ron White, getting some needed laughter….

Life Changes & the Holidays

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Happy Holidays!!!

Life is a changing for us. It is both exciting and scary as hell.

As of Friday, we picked up an RV. A 2002 Holiday Rambler Admiral, that we’ve named Ackbar.

Long story short, we are going to become full time RVers by the end of Feb, when our lease is up. We are both so looking forward to it and scared. There is so much to learn, it is so big…….it is overwhelming. Once we learn it, I know we’ll be fine… is just getting to that point.

Ideally, we want to boondocks a lot and find places to volunteer at for hook ups and learning. We already have our 1st volunteer place at Patagonia-Sonoita Creek in AZ Apr 22 for at least 3 months.

Due to packing stuff for storage, getting rid of stuff, time involved (takes me about 6hrs to put up) and you can’t put an rv under a tree, I didn’t get one this year. Right now, I’m really missing it…..being trying to avoid a lot of holiday stuff that I usually go nuts on, the holiday lights, haven’t even listened to the holiday music that I love…..since I knew that wouldn’t help. But I may listen to the music tomorrow…..and get one day of it.

I have such happy holiday memories from growing up, I love shiny glittery things, always felt like magic. And in the process, really missing my family. This year it feels like the holidays, but doesn’t.

I did get a text from mom, dad was asking if we had an Applebees, I’m like I’d prefer Olive Garden….told them they didn’t even need to go anywhere to get the certificate or mail it…..send it by email. Love that option.

I don’t expect things from my folks anymore, my concern is their finical well being especially since they are raising their 3 grandkids. So I’m just happy with card to know that they are thinking of me. They did send us a ecertificate, which we’ll put to good use on my birthday, I was just happy to hear from them since I’m missing them right now.

I’ll be calling tomorrow, that is for sure. Dad use to call on my bday at the time I was born….but that is way too early on the west coast….grin I love my folks…even though we drive each other nuts…lol

Next year, I may not have my big 7ft fresh cut Oregon tree, but I do plan on having something. This was the 1st year I’ve been without something, not doing that again next year. I picked out cats, personal and old ornaments from when I was a kid, put them into a small shoe box and taking that with us. The only thing that I’d really be missing from it, is my German tree topper….which I love, but need a big tree for that. =)

Long Time….

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It has been a long while.  It has been busy.  For the month of July we had our nephews.  That was interesting.  Not use to having kids around on an everyday basis.  But it was fun.

Hubby had talks with them, the normal right and wrongs, helping mom, being brothers.  Tried to teach them to clean up after themselves, clean up around the house without being asked…..we’ll see if anything sticks…lol  But at that age, you can only try.

Trillium Lake

We took them on a small hike on Mt Hood, to the Oregon Zoo, and then we took them back to Canada and had an extended family camping the first weekend of Aug at Cultus Lake.  Spent one of those days at the water park….that was a ton of fun.  That weekend was full of lots of food, talk and good times with 48 people.  =)

Most of July, we had below average temps and above average rain….during our “dry” season.  We finally started getting decent weather towards the end.  So didn’t do as much with the boys as we really wanted to.  But still had fun. =)

We did have a fun gift for the boys uncle….grin  This is something college fans, especially Big Ten fans would appreciate.  Their uncle is a HUGE Michigan fan and you know, our loyalties is with Purdue….sooo..  We decided to give their uncle something to remember us by.  We all dressed in Purdue gear, hung a Purdue flag and took a picture that we printed out and put into a Purdue frame, so he can put it in his Michigan room….grin  As he said, it is the people in the picture that matters, not what we were wearing……LOL

Kalaloch Beach, Olympic National Park


[/caption]A week after we got back we decided to go for a small trip.  We never drove up the 101 coast of WA….BIG mistake.  We were expecting it to be scenic like Northern California and all of Oregon….wow, disappointing.  The first part of it, you had all the sloughs….which were kind of cool to see.  And the Kalaloch Beach of the Olympic National Park, was really cool….that is what we expected to see more of.  But the rest of the drive was boring… really scenic areas, just tunnel trees and what scenic areas there were….like 2 of them, there were no pull offs to enjoy them.

Hubby had done some research and found where we wanted to try and get a site.  Well, that was totally full.  =(  And then we visited like 5 more sites before we found a place to camp.  This was the first time we have never made reservations.  People made fun of us for that, well, we’ll stick with making reservations.

We camped lite, food wise.  Took some dehydrated foods, a few subs and oatmeal….kind of nice not to have a lot of bunch of excess of stuff, but kind of weird.

We got our site at Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge… was really nice.  Had enough camp sites, it was well maintained.  We would like to go back to and do more exploring.

Trail at Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

Dungeness Spit

The next day we had a dilliema, we were going to try and visit friends or go to Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park in the opposite direction.  We really wanted to see our friends, but the whole point of the trip was the site seeing and any hiking we can get in.  So we decided on Hurricane Ridge….totally worth it!  This is what we expected and wanted.

Zoomed in on Mt Baker from one of the pull overs on the way up to the Ridge


At Hurricane Ridge

We so totally want to go back and do some camping at the base and do some hiking up there.  There was still snow up there while there was a stunning amount of wildflowers everywhere.  Loved it!  I highly recommend it.  It helped to make up for they day before, that was a big disappointment.

On our drive out we saw signs for the Olympic Game Farm in Sequim.  We drove through Sequim, WA and found that it was the most pretty town we have ever driven through….lavender every where.  We both enjoyed and didn’t like the Olympic Game Farm, the reason why we didn’t like it is only because we hate seeing animals caged/fenced up.  We know that they are there for a reason and are taken care of and we love seeing them close up, but rather see them in the wild.  We did enjoy feeding them wheat bread.  =)

A Kodiak Beer telling me to give him another piece of bread....LOL


A Yak, they are not shy on getting close to get a treat. =)

So at least our trip ended on a high note.  =)  We are already planning on next trip.  Trying for Mt Rainer again, by the back roads….got turned around last time.  But we know were we got turned around, so going to be more careful…..we ended up on roads that weren’t on the map…

I have gotten myself back into reading.  Kind of helped that our Borders is going out of business and I’ve made a few trips.  I finally got the finally 2 books of The Clan of The Cave Bears series….been almost 20yrs since I read the Plains of Passage.  It is going to suck not to have a big bookstore near by.  I love Powells, but don’t want to have to head into PDX all the time for that.  That is life.  =)

Mt St Helen’s Pics

Current Mood:

Hubby got some really good pics of Mt St Helen on his pentax, the greens and blues just popped. Most of the pics are from his.


Coldwater Lake


All the snow on the side of the road.


This is one of our favorites, hubby took this one


How high the snow it at the observatory on June 6th.


Being difficult


Where the ridge took the hit…..all those trees that were taken out.


Clouds cleared pretty well after we saw the movie. See how the rivers cut through all that debris?


Where we started out hike.


There is a critter in there, can you see it?


I just really like this quote on here…..from a few months before it erupted.


Starting into our hike


Self portrait time.


We are literately walking on what use to be the top of Mt St Helen's


The landslide and flow left huge mounds of ash, pumice and debris….totally changing the landscape and, in time, creating new lakes and ponds.


Where a tree was snapped off, that is the bottom, the top is buried. It was about 8 ft in diameter, it use to be an old growth tree (over a 100yrs old)


All the pumice


As the river cuts through and reclaims it's path


Trees cut down 6.5 miles away by the force of the blast.


Self-portrait time


I really like this one, caught it on my Olympus


Beaver home





The Happenings….

Current Mood:

I meant to start this earlier in the day, heck even a few days earlier……lol  Lets see what is going on.

We had a pretty good weekend last week.  We had some of the nicest weather we’ve had since the fall and did a bit of grilling to enjoy it.  Last Sunday night, as we were finishing our dinner, there was a knock at the door.  We pretty much keep to ourselves and was like, what the heck.  Hubby answered the door, the neighbor from across the street was there and seemed to be mumbling……hubby is like, you hit my jeep?  The guy is like yes.  This is not the first time, limited parking and it is on the street, so not a real big deal….exchange info and contact insurance.  So hubby is like, let me get my shoes.  He goes out there, sees a big wide scratch on the rear passenger bumper.  The guy is like I didn’t hit you there, and when asked where, he pointed to the driver side, that is so covered in pollen and dust that there isn’t a mark.  There is no way.

Hubby was going to say no big deal and not to worry, until he lied about it.  Because that scratch was not there this earlier.  He came in, all ticked, I went out to deal with it, asked for his info, he refused to give it to me, saying that he didn’t hit us there.  Sounding real baffled and buffled.  Well, that wasn’t going to work.  My husband started questioning him loudly and called him a liar, I called the police to mediate.  Dispatcher hearing it in the background, got the police here quickly.  We got the info from the wife, we felt totally guilty, she looked so crushed.  The few times we waved and talked in passing, she has always seemed so nice, she even dropped off fudge during the holidays.

The police did ask if the guy had gone back inside during this, we are like yes, well he had been drinking, but no proof if it was before or after he hit us.  I had seen them working out front all day, they had moved their car out of their drive to pull weeds, so I figured it was when he was adjusting from pulling it back in that he hit us.  It was a nice day, many people work out side and have a drink while doing it.  And looking back at how he responded, it makes sense that he had been drinking and you know the wife knew it.

Like my husband told her, he was saying to him to not to worry about it when he denied that it was his damage.  We did draw the neighbors out during this…..ggeezzz

So we have been debating all week whether to get it fix, if he hadn’t lied, we probably won’t.  And then, if to fix it, go through our insurance, pay the $100 deductible and have them deal with the neighbor’s insurance or call their insurance and deal with them and possible denial.  Well, that did get answered today when I got a letter from their insurance and are now have an appointment with their adjuster.

Been having an issue with the mail I sent out on May 31st and June 1st.  I sent out 3 things on the 31st and only 1 of them got there in a normal time frame.  One of them was not received until June 9th!  Icks.  On June 1st, I mailed out 2 netflix (to Salem), 3 cards (MI, IN, & WA)…….netflix FINALLY arrived June 10th, card to MI, June 11th….not sure of the other 2 yet, but I have hope.  What really bugs me about it, is that the card to IN was to mom & dad for their 39th Anniversary and I mailed it to be on time to be there by June 9th…..nope, didn’t happen.  So not happy about that.  But seeing that 3 of the 5 items have been delivered I have hope on the other 2, fingers crossed.  Normally only takes about 3 days to MI and 4 days to IN.

A few weeks ago I spent some time researching about internal hard drives for our macbook pros, what I read it looked easy to do and by doing it ourselves save us $50 for the change out, $50 for the transfer of settings and files and save $100 on the hard drive.  A total win-win, if as simple as they say.  Found us a much bigger hard drive ( hubby’s a 250GB, mine a 160GB at the standard 5400RPM) and even faster : Western Digital Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT 750GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache 2.5″ SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Notebook Hard Drive -Bare Drive Western digitals are considered very good hard drives, so I got them ordered.

They were delivered this past Thursday, June 9th.  When I opened the 1st one, I noticed that it had some unsecured from it’s packaging in it’s own box.  But since those boxes were surrounded by packing peanuts, I didn’t think too much of it. Hubby used that one to change out his hard drive, took 3.5hrs for the operating system to install, 1.5hrs for it restore from back up and then it ran slow as heck.  Let it sit over night to make sure everything was lined up and it worked faster in the am.

So Fri we decided to do mine, only took about 50mins for the operating system to install and 30min for it to restore, but I also only had 30GB….his was about 150GB. Didn’t take long at all for mine to be up to speed and no issue.  His started to freeze up, opening programs, playing tunes….so I did some research, sounded like a hard drive issue.  We ran the disk utility, ran the repair, still had the issue.  I started to remember about the packaging and the fact that hard drives are sensitive… we switched back to his old and put in for an exchange on the new one.  I will say that so far, has a really nice and simple online process for returns.  I’ve never used them before, but was aware of them….so definitely a site to keep in mind when we need electronics.

I got the damage hard drive shipped off and now waiting on the exchange.  Now that we know what we are doing, shouldn’t take long to switch it out and get it running again.

Monday, June 6th was the day we planned for a 12mile hike on Mt St Helen’s, as a late anniversary celebration.  Well, we didn’t go to bed as early as we should’ve and didn’t get our NW Forest Pass like we needed.  We figured we can get them when we get there.  We got our packs all ready Sunday and left here by 6 am, figuring the drive would take about 2-3hrs.  We did figured pretty correctly on the drive, took only a little bit longer due to the fog that we encountered the higher we went.  One moment it was clear the next moment couldn’t see a thing on a winding mountain road.  The pass thing really messed us up, because none of the centers opened until 10am.  If you want to do an all day hike and be back by sundown, you need to start by 8/9am.  So we had already checked a few possible substitute shorter hikes that we could do instead.

They did have some pullovers for you to view the area.  You could see tree trunks from the landslide buried sideways in the dirt and exposed by the rivers that recut their flow through the land.  It really does mess with your mind when you think about it and see it and then the info at the observatory, a bigger mind frock….wow

We went to the Johnson Ridge Observatory, where the original hike would’ve started.  Johnson Ridge is what forced the landslide to move west instead of keep coming north.   Wow about the view…..the pictures we took do not do it justice.  When we first got there, Mt St Helen was covered in clouds and would peak out.  When the observatory opened, we saw the 16min movie they have.  They used the original film with some added CGI, it was actually pretty well done.  Learned a lot more about the blast that neither of us knew.

Didn’t feel so bad about not getting the pass needed for the hike until late, because the trail we wanted to take is still covered in snow and won’t be open until July 4th area.  So the fact that we’ve been doing the higher elevation hikes in the fall, has been a good thing.  And it was a very good thing that we ended up doing the 2.5 mile hike….it was a big workout.  Going by how long it took us, with similar terrain, that they 12mile hike would’ve taken us 9-10hrs.  We really enjoyed ourselves and learned a great deal.

I’ll be posting some pics in a separate post and I still need to make a gallery.

I’ve been working this for a couple of hours and heading to bed.

What have I been I up to?

Current Mood:Accomplished emoticon Accomplished & Tired emoticon Tired

What have I been I up to?  Pretty much a bunch of work and breaking it up by going to the gym…..that is the story that my tweets tell and boy, it is so true.

My responsibilities at work have really expanded, we have been restructuring and I’ve taken on another client when it comes to doing books.

It has taken me about 3 intense weeks around my other work to get 9 months worth of my clients transactions entered into quickbooks. Still have a few more things to get done, but waiting on info from banks to get it entered.  Going to send a copy of what I have done to his CPA so we can get things tidied it up.  I know something has probably been missed in the rush to get everything entered.

I do have to say that with the big load of work that I had to do quickly, I’m pretty happy with how much I have got done in such a short amount of time.  There were parts that were driving me nuts that I finally got under control, felt so damn good.

Before all of that really hit, we finally drive down to Crater Lake National Park and camped for the night.  We waited until after Labor Day so the kids would be in school.  Even then it was more crowded then expected. Got the last campsite at the campground….lucked out. It was cold, with sprinkles of rain.  We totally lucked out on the weather….it could’ve been much worst….lol

This was right after we entered the park, the Pumice Desert

Crater Lake was STUNNING!  We got enough sun and blue sky that the blue of the lake was breath taking.  Actually sleep much more comfortable this round of camping then last.  Used an air mattress and blankets instead of just our sleeping bags and mats. Totally saved our old backs and kept us warm when the temp hit the 30s.  =)

The next day while driving around the rim.  Clouds moved in and it snowed in some spots

We headed out to Denver at the end of month to start all of my new work.  It was a very busy and very intense week.  We did take a day off and headed up to Rocky Mountain National Park with our friends.  That was really cool.  The highest point (elevation wise) was 12,090 ft.  We have never been that high while on land.  We also lucked out and got a stunning fall day.  =)  I would love to go back and find a few hikes to do there.

Last weekend was the 1st weekend in over a month that I was able to work on things for myself….not work related.  It was so nice and so weird.  I may not get the full weekend off this one due to payroll prep, but Saturday will be all mine.  =)  Just not sure what I want to do with it.  I’m not sure if I’m mentally prepared to attack our office closet yet.  There are so many computer cds that I need to good through and get rid of.  It is kind of scary….so I need to really mentally prepare myself.  Maybe I should do it, by one organize container at time…..icks

I also need to clean out my costume jewelry and start on the holiday letter……leaning more to that for tomorrow…lol

My handy work. =)

Hubby’s got sick…

We finally picked up pumpkins today, they look good.  I really wasn’t sure if I was going to do give out candy thing this year.  We really don’t get many kids, it is going to be rainy, and just the doing it with it being payroll time.  But I do enjoy it….the kids seem to like my witches outfit.  =)  This year hubby suggested getting a huge spider and have it drop when I open the door to scare the kids…..he got it set up.  Looks really cool…I really hope that it scares them.

Say hello to Herman!  Creepy eyes….lol

That is everything in a nut shell right now.  Pretty much just spending my life working…

Trying to Organizing My Life

Current Mood:Accomplished emoticon Accomplished & Beautiful Day emoticon Beautiful Day & Chilling emoticon Chilling

A lot of my updates have been through tweets most of the time.  Mainly since nothing really major normally goes on, unless it is our cats.  But I’ll try and sum up what I have been doing.

I still keep looking for Alexis, but getting better, it helps that we have her ashes back.  Weird not to have her yelling at me in the bathroom to pet her. =(  I still need to organize all of the pictures we took during the last few days that she was with us.  Drew and Sakura are great distractions, they are so young, feisty and so full of personality….not a day goes by that I’m not grateful that hubby brought them home.

Last month my extra mom lost her husband of 50+yrs  =(  And there was family drama.  I tried to call to give support to her and my sister.  With all the drama, I was hoping it would help to give them someone to vent to.  I really wish I would’ve been able to fly out and be there from them.  Even if I would just be the bad guy for them and tell the other family members off.  The rest of the family is no skin off of my back, there are only 2 that matter to me.  =)

This summer we now have 2 hummingbird feeders and 2 blooming fuchsias…finally started to get more the one hummingbird.  We have at least 3 of them hanging around.  They will hover above our heads while outside…love it!  It is really cool, didn’t know that they could be so vocal.  Last year we had at least 1 scrub blue jay, this year at least 4 and holy cow are they noisy as heck.  They are pretty, but so annoying ear wise…..ggeezzz

We brought 2 tomato plants this spring, then it rain way above normal and we thought it killed them. At the time, we thought we did something wrong or brought bad plants until they ran a story on the news and a lot of people were having the same problem.   So we brought 2 more, planted those into our planters and put the others in the ground, really not expecting them to live much less produce any tomatoes.  Well, they actually have tomatoes on them and other 2 are going nuts. We’ve already had 1 tomato off of the early girl bush and and about 5 off of the oregon spring. They have been so sweet and tasty.  They are great on french bread with tillamook extra sharp white cheddar cheese…wow.

Work wise, I’m getting more responsibility added, which is good thing.  Still working out the details to see what I can do to help out.  Looking forward to that.  I do a bit of everything at work, I really can’t even describe what I do….I guess I’m the catch all and what I don’t know or do, I know who does…

Only issue that has been driving me nuts work wise is a wire that I sent out on the July 30th still has not been received!  What the heck?!?  I’ve been ordering a wire to this account info for 2yrs now and never had an issue before.

Now I do everything online or by phone, the only time I go to our local branch is make a deposit through the drive thru.  Well, due to this issue everything needs to be done at the branch…it is to the point that they now know me by my first name….ggeezz  I wouldn’t mind going in so much if it wasn’t for the same issue.  Gave up on getting the wire delivered and did a recall, fingers crossed, I will have it back in a few days and I can take care of the contractor by another and faster method.

I have finally taken the time to go through all of my stuff.  For those who don’t know me, I’m a pack rat in for sentimental stuff…..  I still have a stuffed pillow that I was given when I was about 2 in Germany, if that tells you anything, my Baltimore Orioles shirt from when I was about 9….lol.  Well, I have  bunch of pictures, every note/letter/card my parents ever gave me and nearly every card/letter/note since junior HS.  And it was all over the place, location wise….including under the bed.  I have every little note my hubby has ever given me….lol…I know nuts. =)

Now when I tweet about going under the bed, it is really a project.  This is what we have in king size :

So you have to move the mattress and then the plywood that the mattress sits on.  There is a big space between the drawers under there that is excellent for storage, but a pain to get to it on a regular basis and with it being king size, one person can’t do it.  So I have to pester my hubby for help….grin  But I totally love our bed set, just don’t want to have to move it….icks…

A few weeks ago I started going through everything.  I went through all the pictures I’ve ever taken (mainly from Alaska) and all the pictures that were my grandmothers’, brought some photo albums (weren’t even sure they still made those…lol)  Luckily one of my grandma’s photo album wasn’t full so I was able to put a bunch of pictures in there.

I also finally got all of hubby & my ticket stubs to rock concerts, football games and other memorabilia organized and out of our photo album.  I went through and organized every letter by who sent it and postmark date, even organized the notes that I passed in school….lol Got all my cards organized, HS grad, college grad, wedding, holidays…..ect

I went through every newspaper and magazine that I kept to see if I still wanted, even found the Daily News Miner from Fairbanks, AK that I kept from the day the space shuttle Challenger exploded when I was in 7th grade.

I cleaned out my cedar hope chest and got as many of the photo albums stored in there.  Made sure that older the pictures got in there, ones that are from my grandparents and are about 50-100yrs old.

So now instead of everything all over, everything has it’s one or two container and is in one area.  I put so much stuff into the recycling and trash…..I’m hoping that if we do move from this house in 2012, that it’ll make our lives a bit easier for packing and such.

Been trying to attack my closet, especially since I lost weight there is a lot that doesn’t fit.  Some of that I’ve been shipping off to family members who may be able to use it.  The stuff is perfectly good and I normally donate it, but I like to try and help out my loved ones before anyone else.  You have to take care of family when you can, even when it is not much.  =)

We are having issues with my truck……ggrrr…  I went to do errands last Thursday and it wouldn’t start after I got out of the post office.  I had to call hubby for a jump.  We weren’t sure if it was the battery or the alternator.   I kind of was hoping for the battery, much easier to switch out and a little bit cheaper.  But as I laid in bed at night this weekend, I remembered that we just got a new one before we left FL in ’07 and it was a diehard.  (I’m a big believer in diehard batteries, once I have one I rarely worry about it.)  And the fact that we rarely drive the truck, may be 3k miles a year now….. I just felt in my gut it wasn’t the battery…plus our lives are never that easy.

We took the battery in for testing today and confirmed it wasn’t the battery….good that our diehard purchase was a good one and bad for it being more complicated.  Hubby took the alternator out of it today and we’ll take it in to get it tested tomorrow.  I’m hoping that is the issue, because for a ’97 I really don’t want to spend a ton of money….at least the truck is paid for.  But I’m really thinking that it is the alternator, we’ve had the truck since 2000 and haven’t had an alternator issue and it is over 100k mile, so it sounds about right.

Doesn’t seem like we got much of a summer…feel cheated, it was rainy and chilly through June and even at the beginning of July.  And that was after having an unusual warm winter and spring like weather that we went hiking in mid March to Smith Rock….weird.  We had a few hot days and stayed downstairs during those (no central air).  Only used the portable ac in the bedroom for one night and that was only due to someone throwing a beeping fire detector out…..that continued to beep…icks  We are suppose to get 2 more days of 90s this week and we our high Sunday was 68….lol  We did have a beautiful day today, after being chilly yesterday.

We are planning on heading to Crater Lake sometime next month.  Only the real good time to do so for us, school will be back in, less crowds and before it starts to snow (Oct).  Hubby found a bunch a little hikes, 2-5miles, but they will be steep.  Because it is about 6hrs away, we’ll be spending 2 nights camping.  And it is going to have some cold nights….extra blankets are in order.  Just going to take our MREs and some snickers, oatmeal and such…maybe some hotdogs, but no where the amount of food we took last time for camping.  Need to do a reminder practice on setting up our tent before we go….been a while and practice makes it much easier and faster when you need it and if it is raining.  =)

Been seeing some preseason football games on, nothing but a tease.  So looking forward to the kick off to the college season.  Even if a boring game is on, I’m so use to having it playing in the background that it always feels weird when the season is over.  That is from years of conditioning from my dad and my hubby….grin  I tell hubby that he needs to thank dad for his wife’s enjoyment of sports.  I know he couldn’t handle it if he had a wife that didn’t enjoy sports with him…..grin

Well, when I started this I was in the bedroom, moved myself out on the porch off of the bedroom to get some fresh air.  It is now about 2130 hours, dark with a few bugs….lol  This ended up longer then I expected.  But I think I’m going to go in, have me some wine with some extra sharp white tillamook cheese, crackers and some of our home grown tomatoes…..tasty.  =)