The Rest of the Story, kinda …

I just learned a new favorite quote that I’m going to plagiarize from a movie I’m watching with Jean, Diane’s Mom, while Diane goes to Walmart in her nightgown. Here’s the quote, then I’ll explain the rest of that in great detail.

A problem is an opportunity dressed in work clothes.”

The Movie is “A Taste if Christmas” and it’s on the Lifetime channel. A great quote.

Now, for the rest of the story …

First, Diane swore she wasn’t going to wear her nightgown to Walmart but I don’t know why. If I had a nightgown, and looked as good as she does in it, I’d do it. Honestly, she did leave Mom’s house in her nightgown to go home and tackle a chore while I look after Jean. That’s code for “make sure she doesn’t fall down,” “feed her,” and “watch whatever she wants to watch on TV.” The first two are simple because she doesn’t fall down any more, and I feed her when I’m hungry. The last one is more difficult because I’m never sure I’m on the correct channel at the correct time. During the week we progress through News, The Price is Right, News, Wheel of Fortune, News, Days of Our Lives, News, Lifetime, etc…

Today, however, is Saturday and, as I watch this movie I know there’s a college football game playing on at least 12 other channels but I’ve been directed to steer clear of those to spare Mom the agony of being forced to watch that kind of chaos. Sometimes I dial up those channels on my laptop so I can watch one of my favorite teams (Ducks & Beavers). I’ll be doing that later this afternoon when they are playing.

Sorry, but I got a bit distracted by all the keys on my laptop and it’s difficult to NOT touch at least most of them while I sit here. Sometimes things appear on my screen that actually make sense. All the other “stuff”I try to make it disappear. Once in a while something stupid slips by, so forgive me.

The reason Diane leaves Mom’s in her nightgown is because she spends her nights with Mom. After I get here, and have my coffee, she sneaks into the garage and gets in her car, before opening the big door, then drives home where she takes a shower before getting to work on one project or another. Our house is a little bit remote so there’s no danger of being seen in sleep wear up there. Or, there’s no danger of being seen improperly dressed at home because no one really cares up there.

About that … taking a shower, then going to work on something that’s bound to make one sweaty. I’ve always thought she did that in the wrong order. She should work first, then shower, right? But, she doesn’t and I’ve become accustom to her dyslexic approach to work and hygiene. On the upside, she always smells really great when she begins working. She also smells really good after she’s done working. So, having said that, it’s evident that I don’t really know what I’m talking about when it comes to taking a shower. Because of that, I’ve decided to just take a shower whenever she tells me to. One more decision I don’t have to worry about.

Oh! I went through the TV directory and discovered that there are 13 channels with football games on, not 12. Although I just guessed the 12, I’m sad that I was wrong because I’m so rarely that. Wrong, that is. Just ask Diane. She’ll tell you I’m almost always right.

Today Diane said she’s going to work on getting “things” out of the RV before the weather turns to bad. It’s not fun carrying a load of “stuff” from the RV to the house in the snow, or a torrential rain storm. Actually, doing it in the snow isn’t totally bad. I kinda like it that way. So, I’m not taking out my “stuff” until it snows. The way the weather is trending, I may not have to move my “stuff” at all.

I’m rambling so it must be time to stop.

Now, I think I’ll go take a shower, then watch some football.

Happy Veteran’s Day 2021

As most of you know, I spent a considerable amount of time on active duty as part of the US Navy. I retired in 1989 and still celebrate my association with the Navy and appreciate the many ‘Thank Yous’ I receive from those I meet. It was an honor to serve and I’m humbled when people take the time to thank me for that service.

What many folks do not consider is the sacrifice our spouses made over the course of those military careers. They did not have an easy job being left alone with all the household responsibilities. Many marriages cannot weather that storm and, sadly, ending in turmoil for the families.

I am blessed to still be married to my high school sweetheart who joined me in 1968 and was whisked away from sleepy Warren, Oregon to Okinawa, Japan on the other side of the Pacific Ocean . She experienced culture shock and endured this life-changing experience, supporting me, making us an unstoppable 2-person team throughout the remaining 20 years of ‘our’ career.

Yes, it was ‘our’ career, not just mine. She put in the time and dealt with just as many difficult times as I did, never faltering, always there for me and our children.

That’s what I think about every day, and especially on Veteran’s Day when we who served are put in the spotlight.

So, My Love, Thank You for Your Service.

Ozzie 2005 – 2021

Our little Buddy is gone. I’ve had to delay this news because he passed away in his sleep while we were away in Montana. He was 16 years old, but he acted like a little puppy most of the time. Toward the end he was blind and had an attitude to the point where his groomer wasn’t able to get him looking this handsome. Still, we loved the little guy to the end and miss him every day.

Ciao, Oz.

Assigned Gender?

  • I recently had to fill out a medical form at the VA and was surprised to see that the “Gender” block had been changed. Instead of having just “M” and “F” is shows “Gender Assigned at Birth – M of F”.

I understand that in today’s world, gender identification is almost a science of its own because many people who were assigned the “M” gender at birth don’t mentally or socially associate themselves with other “M” assignees. I get it. Same goes for those assigned the “F”. I’m sure this has been an issue for many many generations but it just wasn’t discussed so openly as it is now.

Complicating this further, gender pronouns are a hot button for many folks, so I did a little research and found this info provided by the Vassar LGBTQ Center.

QUOTE 

What is a gender pronoun?

  • A gender pronoun is a pronoun that a person chooses to use for themself. For example: If Xena’s gender pronouns are sheher, and hers, you could say “Xena ate her food because she was hungry.”

END QUOTE

OK, got it. People can choose their own gender pronouns to reflect how they feel about themselves. I respect that and do my best to comply with their wishes when I encounter the need.

I submit, however, that doing this does not mean that an assigned “M” is changing their gender simply by letting people know they prefer to be called “her” or “she”. It’s a preference based on how they view themselves. At the end of the day, an “M” is still an “M” and an “F” is still an “F” even for those who identify with the opposite assigned gender.

So, I think those medical forms that use “Gender Assigned at Birth” should get an additional line requesting to know “What Gender Pronoun do you Prefer – Him or Her?”.

It’s a complicated world we live in and navigating the hazards is becoming more difficult. It isn’t my desire to offend anyone but not knowing the rules places me in harms way. I suspect that’s true for some of you, too. Hopefully, sharing this information from Vassar will help clear things up for all of us.

I will not report on this issue in the future. It’s just one of those things that got into my head and the only way I can get it out of there is to write it down.

Thanks

Car Bibs

This is for my Jennie.

Somewhere in our travels Diane obtained a couple of car bibs for us. Since we eat in our car all the time (who doesn’t?) we use them all the time. I’ve threatened to take control of Diane’s sewing machine so I could take a shot at making a few of them, but that hasn’t happened, yet. Maybe soon.

While working toward that possibility, I’m sharing what I know with all of you knowing that many of you are crafty people who can fathom the intricate details required to make these a reality for yourselves.

.5First, you must obtain a piece of material that you won’t miss from the piles of scraps in one of your drawers. Actually, get two pieces. They can be any size, but the finished example is 14.25″ X 26″.

The scraps must be larger, of course, to allow you to stitch the pieces together, good sides facing each other. Once they are stitched together, you must devise a way to turn the material inside out. You already knew that, of course, and probably left a gap at the bottom, or side which can be closed with hot glue or wood glue, whatever is handy. You can also stitch it with the sewing machine.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

Once you have the material, you need to cut out a circle large enough to go around the neck of the person for whom you’re making the bib. Use the example as a guide.

Once you’re done stitching it all together, and figured out how to get the thing inside out, dig around in your sewing supplies and find the velcro you bought six years ago. It’s in there. You just have to find it. Attach opposing pieces of velcro to the little tabs on the pieces that go around the neck opening.

Easy Peazy, right?

Now that I’ve shared all that, ETSY provides an easier way but it’s not as much fun as making them yourselves.

Show us pictures of what you’ve done.

Montana Trip Finale.

The entries for this trip are disjointed, I know, and there are reasons, of course. I would share all those reasons but it would sound a lot like whining so I’ll just give you the main reason.

OK, I’ll give you a few of them.

First, my laptop is old and slow like molasses all the time. No amount of searching on the internet, when we had it, revealed a viable solution so I struggled with the long wait times. It reminded me of when I first got involved with computers (1989) when slow was the norm. Now, however, everything is supposed to be lighting fast, like when the laptop was new (2010, I think).

Then there was the internet problem. Most of the campgrounds had wifi, but in all cases it was a iffy connection to a slow service. Diane and I found that using our iPhones as a hot spot worked far better (when we had a cell signal).

Other reasons for scattered input involved laziness. I was on vacation and simply found it more relaxing to just zone out on the sofa, watching TV, until time for bed. That was one really good thing about all the camping sites – we had a good look at the southern sky that ensured contact with the Dish satellites. Just like being home, almost. I don’t like using that term because it conjures the question, “then why didn’t you just stay home?” So, I shy away from that one so forget I said that.

Also, most of our RV trips only last 4-5 days at a time but this one stretched to 18 days. I know that’s true because that’s how many pair of underwear I packed and I used every one of them. I also packed just enough pills to make it all the way to the end and ran out the day we got home. That was last Thursday, September 30th.

The last excuse I have for not keeping up with our travels is that we had to change our route because of forest fires and rumors that Highway 12 had been closed where it crosses into the Indian Reservation to stop the spread of COVID. Instead of verifying the latter, we just chose to head north back through Coeur d’Alene to Spokane. That one wore my head out even though I was not part of the planning process to find an alternate route. The ladies did all that.

From Drummond, Montana, the name that may not be correct, and the Ghost Town attraction, we headed west. That’s the direction both those arrows indicate, but we used I-90 instead of Drummond Frontage Road, which passes by the Bearmouth Chalet and RV park.

That’s Terry & Cliff resting.

When we got to Missoula, just a few miles west of Bearmouth, or Drummond (your choice), we stopped to take a peak at Fort Missoula which was not far off route. when we finally weaved our RVs through a seemingly endless number of full parking lots, we found some space in front of the Military Museum. As luck would have it, that was my main choice of places to look at.

While trying to avoid active sprinklers, I got to a dry sidewalk and saw this lashup which intrigued me.

The hose runs off to one of the sprinklers running in the area.

This apparently intrigued me so much that I either failed to take photos inside the museum, or I took ’em and lost ’em. We may never know. I just know I can’t find them, yet.

one of On the grounds outside the museum we discovered all manner of interesting things. This was my favorites ……..

There was also a steam engine that belongs to Willamette Iron & Steel Works in Portland, Oregon. That true. there was a label on it …

In an attempt to curb vandalism, they put a sign on it to dissuade climbers,

… but there’s one in every crowd, right?

Actually, I asked Terry to step up there so I could take his photo for this very purpose. He didn’t hesitate but he didn’t see the sign, either. It was OK, though, because no one was looking but us.

There was this enormous steam tractor, too, that was connected to a portable sawmill. Fascinating.

After the park and museum, we continued our journey west toward Spokane. Since we fiddled around a while at the fort, we made it a short day by stopping at the River’s Edge RV park in Alberton, Montana. It was handy, between I-90 and the Clark Fork River. I think Diane found it. It’s a nice park once you find the spot assigned. It was very confusing, but we worked it out and got parked OK. Supper was left overs from previous meals at table #5 on the river, about 50 feet from our parking spot.

Home

In Spokane we were going to stay at the Elks Lodge but upon arriving at the address we found on the internet we found that the entire building had been torn down. We found another address for it but couldn’t find it so we stayed at the Eagle’s Lodge instead. It was OK but it poured down rain in the night. That sounds like a complaint, but it isn’t. It was an observation.

From Spokane we drove south to Umatilla and stayed at a city park right on the river. It was Exit 1 after crossing the Columbia. Diane and I left the other two RV’s at Spokane because Terry was having transmission problems that needed attention and he didn’t want to take a chance of catastrophic failure on the freeway. Cliff an Susie stayed with him an Carolann to help. We went ahead because my pills ran out on Thursday and we had to be home before then. As it turned out, they acquired a workable solution that allowed them to follow about 3 hours behind us. They alerted us when they were 20 miles out so Diane and I took a walk round the park and found a bench to perch on so we could see them coming down the road.

And, there they were!

We all had good spots in the park, enjoyed the evening with a group dinner, then headed west on I-84 for The Dalles the following morning. We only made one stop along the way, not too far past Boardman.

In The Dalles we stayed at the Eagle’s Lodge parking lot (with hookups). For dinner we went to Cousin’s Restaurant. Turns out it wasn’t nearly as good as it used to be so we crossed it off out list for the near future. We took a little trip around town near our parking spots, and I found this street …

We didn’t linger here, but headed back to the ranch post haste.

Diane and I headed home the next morning but the other two couples wanted to stay another night because of the weather report. They didn’t want to get home and unpack in the rain that was forecast. So, Diane and I went on ahead.

The trip through the Columbia River Gorge was extremely windy (not uncommon) and it poured rain on us the entire way. So, the weather report Terry heard was correct.

We got home in time for me to take my last batch of pills so all is good.

As I finish this, we’ve been home just a week.

Surprise!

Warning!! This is an old entry that I started on September 9th, I think, and never finished. But, it’s got a nice photo so I’m sending it anyway.

Right this very minute Diane and I are enjoying the unseasonable humidity and heat in Kehei, Maui, in a condo that doesn’t have A/C. I’ll expand on that later …

——————————————-

Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. Actually, I seriously doubt that anyone even considered something like that even though the last post I made was August 1st. I know that’s true because I looked. Since then an incredible number of ‘things’ have occurred that I simply won’t address because I don’t remember most of them.

An admission like that could possibly cause some of you to question the condition of my short-term memory but let me assure you there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that part of me. I say that with confidence because, at Diane’s request, I was tested and have been duly certified. I aced the test. Honest, I did. Ask Diane. I’m pretty sure she’ll concur.

Even so, I can’t possibly remember all the stuff that’s happened during the past month and I’m just lazy enough to not have any desire to search my calendar, like I used to, to review events. But I do remember what happened today, so that’s where I’ll start.

Diane and I are currently ensconced in a room at the Hillcrest Inn in Seaside, Oregon. I may have mentioned in previous posts, that we’ve been here before. We stay here because we live on Hillcrest Rd. in St. Helens and when Diane was concerned about my failing short-term memory she figured I’d be less likely to get lost if we stayed in a place with a similar name to our home street. Now that’s I’ve been certified, however, we just stay here because we like it.

The occasion for this visit is to be at the beach for a large minute tide. The kind where you can walk all the way around Haystack Rock when the tide is at its lowest. That’s what we plan to do around 0700 in the morning when the tide begins to go negative. That gives us a 2-hour window to make it around Haystack Rock. unfortunately, the tide didn’t go out quite far enough to make it around, but most of the tide pools around the monolith were accessible.

Sadly, I used my really good camera to take all the photos then I was unable to download them from the SIMM. Very odd.

This evening we sat in our chairs on the beach for a couple of hours watching the ocean. Then the birds came and began obscuring our view of the water. Well, they really didn’t obscure the view as much as cause a huge distraction. From our vantage point, about 1/4 mile from the water, we watched pelican’s soaring in graceful lines, dipping into the trough’s between waves, then rising briefly and soaring into the next trough. It was fascinating to watch. There were literally hundreds of them swooping south, then north for the entire time we were there.

Then we saw the smaller birds flying south, then north a little beyond the surf line in vast numbers. My first guess was that we were watching at least 37 million birds up and down the beach. That’s a huge number, I know, but I’m sure it’s close. Perhaps thousands would be more accurate but not nearly so astounding. Turns out they are cormorants and exhibit this kind of behavior this time of year on a regular basis. Neither Diane nor I had ever seen such a display before and it was quite amazing. The sea shimmered with the number of birds moving in vast herds just above the surface as they sped left (south) for half an hour, then right (north) for another half an hour to even things up. Back and forth they went, the entire two hours we watched them. We would have stayed longer but it got chilly, and dark.

It’s Been Fun, and Thanks for the Memories

Although we are scheduled to be home by September 30th, I think we can officially say we’re winding down, and heading home. Tonight will be our 3rd at the Bearmouth Chalet RV Park situated on the shores of the Clark Fork River. The river is between us and I-90, and the traffic noise is pretty loud, but it seems to just go away at night. Trains go by pretty often, too, but the same rule applies – tolerable at night.

The two hour trip from Kalispell to here took us 5 hours. That seems to be the way this trip has gone for every leg of this trip. Projected time provided by our maps and GPS units do not concur with reality. The common joke between the drivers for pretty much every leg of the trip is to hold up five fingers while stating that it’s only a 2 hour trip. Funny thing

Things would have been a little closer the projection, but one of us developed an issue with brakes climbing the hills going south making the trip down a little exciting. Stepping on the brake pedal and not getting any resistance before it bottoms out is a bit concerning, and terrifying. Especially when you’re driving a 30+ ft Class A RV.

The problem was solved by puling to the side of Highway 93 and letting everything cool off for a while. Hence, the added time for the trip. The master brake cylinder is physically located about 6-8 inches from the exhaust manifold causing the brake fluid to boil and lose it’s compression properties. Wrapping the master cylinder with a moldable aluminum baking pan added the additional protection that got us safely to our destination. It should serve us well for the remainder of the trip, also.

Prior to leaving Kalispell, we had a celebratory birthday dinner/party for Susie.

Diane, Susie, and Carolann spent a lot of their free time looking ahead to our next parking place. Without their efforts we would have had a hard time getting from one place to another. We all agreed that knowing where we’re going to land at the next stop is important. Takes a lot of stress off the drivers. Diane was normally the one who made the final phone call for reservations and she’s really good at it. Makes life on the road way better.

After Kalispell our next stop was at the BearMouth Chalet & RV Park on the shores of the Clark Fork River which just happened to be on the same exit (138) as the exit for the Garnet Ghost Town. All of that is a few miles east of Missoula.

The next day we took a drive up the mountain to the ghost town and spent a few hours looking through the remaining buildings. Much of the furnishings were still in place giving us a good idea of what it must have been like to live in such a primitive manner. Not an easy life for the miners and their families. Getting there was an adventure in itself as it was 15 miles off the main road, most of it gravel and one lane. Fun stuff. At times the sheer side of the road was a couple hundred feed down, but there were always a lot of trees to break the fall should someone wander off the road.

River’s Edge Resort was our next stop near the small village of Alberton, Montana. Beautiful spot on the banks of the Clark Fork River. Had a riverside dinner to end this brief stay.

Then we bedded down for the night preparing for the next leg of this epic venture.

Later.

We made it!

We took a trip to the mountains to see some glaciers, but they are not as close as I’d like them to be. I wanted to touch one of them but they are all too far away. Rumor has it that they’ve been shrinking lately due to global warming which may or may not be true, depending on your individuals beliefs. I, personally, think they’re probably melting because it’s warmer outside than it used to be.

Once we entered the Glacier National Park the road quickly narrowed making progress difficult at times. Like when someone in a very large pickup is coming at you and he’s crowding the center line because he doesn’t want to snap his mirror off on the sheer rock wall to his right. Adding to the that, I think the pickups in Montana are bigger than in other states. And, most of them have diesel engines and the drivers like to show you how loud they can be when they stomp on the gas going by the Elks Lodge. That’s where we’re staying, the Elks Lodge in Kalispell, Montana.

Diane was driving, though, so we were safe. She’s a great driver. As we got closer to the top, the drop to our right got more exciting until she finally called it quits and turned around. Since there are no turn-arounds on the road, she just stopped and made a U-turn. It was during a rare lull when there was no traffic either direction, though, so it was safe.

We made a few stops on the way up to ooo and aaaah at the incredible views of the mountains. And, I took over 300 photos with my phone. Later in the day I blamed my sore right hand on the picture taking. Every corner we turned surprised us with another fantastic view. Here are some of them …

In front of the McDonald Lake Lodge before heading into the wilderness

Did I mention that there are lots of lakes in this part of the world? Well, there are.

McDonald Lake

Then the mountains started popping up.

At every corner the view was more magnificent

I’d add more but I think you get the idea. In that first picture you can see two of the glaciers that populate the area. Very few of them are accessible but we were perfectly content to see them from afar.

In all we spent 5-6 hours on this trip and it was worth every second of it. Mingling with all the other Looky-Looers was fun, too. We met some really nice people whose names I do not know.

Today was a day of rest for me. I got to sleep in longer than usual, then the other five folks piled into the Diane’s Equinox and motored off to visit a mansion in town. I chose to stay behind and guard everything and take a nap.

Tomorrow we planned to head down toward Missoula to visit a ghost town but discovered that this is home-coming week for the University of Montana which, unfortunately for us, is in Missoula. Seems like everyone who ever went to college there has an RV and they used up all the spaces. So, when The crew gets back from their visit to town, Diane will no doubt hunker down and search for an alternate place to park our homes.

Wish us luck.

Almost There!

Today is Sunday. We spent most of it driving from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to Troy, Montana. Normally it’s about a 2 hour drive but one of us decided to not follow the leader and screwed things up a bit. As a result, the rain gods made a concerted effort to dampen our spirits most of the way but we didn’t mind. It’s been a long time since we’ve had the pleasure of rain and it was pretty refreshing. Since we enjoyed the rain too much, I suspect, they gave up as we neared our destination and the sun came out to greet us, welcoming us to the Kootenai River Campground on Highway 2, space 4. It’s a nice little park in Troy, Montana owned by a retired Senior Chief Corpsman. We had a nice conversation about past duty stations like old chiefs are prone to do. It’s required.

Before leaving Coeur D’Alene we took a trip to the lake just to see it up close. We found a merry-go-round that was actually operating so we took a ride. I pulled 13 rings from the holder, one of which was a gold one so I won a free ride. Not wanting to use it right away, I took a ticket thinking it would make a good souvenir. Instead, I gave it to a couple of Mom’s with a couple of kids who were heading in for a ride. That’s better than a souvenir.

On the outside wall of the merry-go-round were these wings that were obviously placed there to allow folks like us to show our angelic side, which we did.

The trip along State Road 200 and 56 afforded us stunning views of rivers, mountains, and valleys. Way different from the never ending wheat fields we traversed in Washington, although those were pretty stunning, too.

Looking back toward Sandpoint. Taken on Highway 200, heading east-ish.
On Highway 200.

Though there are some nice attractions here, we are only spending one night. Getting to Glacier National Park takes precedence so we must move on.

We arrived in Kalispell, Montana early afternoon on Monday. It was a beautiful drive that included more torrents of rain and bouts of sunshine. Kalispell is spread out over a considerable area of this part of Montana. We’ve found the people, and drivers, to be very considerate and kind so it seems to be a good place. We may move here.

Then again, maybe not.

No, not “maybe”, just not. We’re quite happy with our home in Oregon.

See you tomorrow with information about the glacier.