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.
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.
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 she, her, and hers, you could say “Xena ate her food because she was hungry.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Resortwas 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.