Dietary Infractions and School’s Out

In my last post I reported a dietary faux pas where Diane educated me, at length, about me believing two apple fritters and a maple bar constituted an adequate breakfast. I learned my lesson. Today I honored those newly discovered instructions had three cinnamon rolls and two blueberry muffins instead. Apparently that combination was OK because I encountered neither spousal opposition nor new dietary instructions. So, I’m good to go with that one whenever the opportunity pops up.

Could be, too, that my spouse wasn’t aware of these infractions until just now. If that’s the case I should be exempt from any misdemeanors that arise from this admission.

In my defense I must report that the items I ingested were supplied by our church ladies as a reward to the church men for allowing the ladies to move the recurring mens’ Thursday morning coffee hour from the Kozy Korner to the church. The ultimate goal of that change was to entice the men to participate in the ladies’ Thursday morning church cleanup efforts. I think it was pretty evident from the start that they scheduled their church cleanup at the same time as the mens’ coffee hour in an effort to shame us into helping them.

Having shared all that, I must admit that it really worked, at least for me. I felt bad about it because I know the jobs they were doing had to be done. So, of course, both of the the men helped, just like all good married men should do.

About school … we have three young girls living with us who are profoundly sad that summer is here and they won’t get to go to school for another 2.5 months. They actually cried because they can’t go to school any more until September. I, personally, have no memory of being sad about having to go on summer vacation from school. Ever. Nope, I was perfectly happy about doing no school work for a long time.

Our girls, however, demonstrated just how much they liked their teachers and learning in general. They are all good at it, too. Makes us, and their parents, very proud. Next week Diane and I are taking the girls for a week at Nehalem Bay.

That is going to be a lot of fun. There will be photographic evidence of the fun when we return home from the trip.

Always Learning

The other day I discovered that 2 apple fritters and a maple bar do not constitute a proper breakfast. I was taken by surprise by that one because it sure tasted proper and filled in the proper vacancies in my empty stomach. Along with 3 cups of coffee, I had to disagree and deem that ingesting those pastries was the right thing to do at that time. I’ll even do it again given the chance. I suspect Diane will have a hand in ensuring I don’t have that chance. She’s pretty lenient with small infractions, but apparently 3 pastries is sitting above and beyond acceptable. Deep down I have to agree but I don’t have to like it.

Our weather here in the Northwest is flip flopping all over the place. Last week, after a string of really nice days, it rained for about 4 days. Starting today we’re supposed to surge into the 90’s which puts a crimp in golfing because no one I know really wants to wander around a golf course in heat like that. Well, at least one of us (Junior) doesn’t. Add to that the fact that Doug decided to have his appendix out last week kinda makes him ineligible to play so I’ll just find something else to do until it cools down and Doug heals. Maybe I can convince Diane to come play with me.

I bought her a really nice set of golf clubs about 10 years ago and they still have the protective plastic coating on the woods. She professes she’d love to go golfing but we need to find a course where she can play and no one is watching. That’s gonna be difficult, but I’ve got an eye out, just in case something pops up.

Did I mention that Diane took a chance and let me buy a chainsaw despite my poor track record with motorized tools? Well, she did, and I’ve had monumental success without sustaining any life threatening injuries. The potential is there, of course, but I’m being very, very, careful. Honest. I’ve dismantled the pussy willow tree on the corner as well as a worn out lilac tree that I subsequently discovered Diane wanted part of it left to flourish. I assured her that it’s unlikely that I removed all of it, though I really tried.

Now I have my eye on the ancient birch tree in our front yard. Diane thinks that’s a bad idea. I’m pretty sure, however, there will be a time in the near future when she feels the need to shop at Goodwill and I’ll be left alone to do as I wish. I’m willing to take the consequences, whatever they may be. I’ll let you know about it either after I get out of the hospital, or after a successful endeavor, whichever comes first.

I’m currently reading a book where the USA was destroyed by a war between Republicans and Democrats. Considering the dysfunctional nature of the current warring parties kinda makes me wonder if this book is a prophecy. Kind of scary times, it is.

Diane just left to visit her Mom, Jean, so I have a green light to get my chainsaw fired up.

See you later.

Statistics

Over the past few days I discovered a simple way to capture all of the information I’ve added to Word Press via my posts over the past 8 years. Well, almost 8 years … 7 years, 6 months, 9 days, to be more exact.

I copied and pasted all that info, photos and all, into Word documents on my computer and here’s what I got:

528 MB of data

3600 pages in Word

773,030 words (I’m disappointed because I thought it would be 1 million+)

During the course of this endeavor, I’ve acquired blurry eyes and sitbutitis deluxe.

So, for those of you who read all of them, you read a lot and now you know why my little fingers are tuckered out.

Thank You …

… to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday recently. I sincerely appreciate it and feel blessed that Diane has allowed me to live this long. Three quarters of a century is a significant number … and, she made it so much better by spending half a century of her life to get me here.

God bless you all.

On the Beach – Kinda

Today is May 19th and we’ve been gone from home since Thursday May 9th. Tomorrow I will officially be 3/4 of a century old. Some folks may think I passed that lofty goal long ago simply because of my frail appearance but that’s deceptive. Only my legs and arms are frail. The rest of me is quite robust and beefy, almost because I always eat what I order, or dish up for myself at home, even if I don’t want to. This contributes a great deal to the beefy reference.

Our first stop on this adventure was Wheeler, Oregon where we stayed for three days. Upon arrival I found a likely spot to disconnect Diane’s vehicle from the RV. When I disconnected the flat four connector for lights i discovered that one of the male pins was missing when I apparently turned too sharp and pulled it loose from the RV and dragged it all the way from St. Helens to Scappoose where the propane guy pointed it out to me when we stopped to fill our tank. I didn’t notice the missing pin when I plugged it all back in so we didn’t have a right turn signal showing on the tow vehicle, which really wasn’t a problem because the RV lights are higher than the car.

I didn’t, however, notice the missing safety cables until I went to disconnect them, also. I blame Jeff for not noticing they were missing before we left because he helped me put the RV and car together before leaving home. Yes, it’s surely his fault. I never forget things like that when left to my own devices. Well, maybe I don’t forget most of the time is more accurate.

Considering the necessity for getting replacement parts I deemed it good fortune that we were at Nehalem Bay, a mere 36 nautical miles from the nearest Costco and O’Reilly’s one of which was bound to have the parts I needed. We went the next day and confirmed that belief then had lunch at Norma’s in Seaside. Normally it’s a good place for a good crab Louie, but that wasn’t the case this trip. It was pretty, but not as tasty as I would have liked.

The second day we visited Rockaway Beach which is just a wee bit south of Garibaldi where we visited with a nice lady in the Chamber of Commerce caboose next to the public parking lot. Yes, it’s really a caboose and you can’t miss it. Didn’t get her name but that’s OK. She was very informative and helpful reporting that the Kite Festival they normally have this time of year was cancelled by the city. But, there was one hardy fellow that had numerous huge kites in the back of his Tahoe and was busy anchoring them on the beach and getting them into the air.

When we first walked down to the water only two were flying and we walked under them.

On the way back to the parking lot he’d anchored a third kite but the breeze had dwindled to the point where the originally aloft kits were down and the third was just kind of rolling around on the sand. Still, it was quite magnificent. The owner said it was called a Bol. I don’t know what that means and I’m not going to look it up. This thing is easily 25 feet in diameter.

After having our fill of kites, we continued south to Tillamook where we indulged in lunch at the Cheese Factory. Amazingly, the parking lot was far from full even though the weather was pretty nice and a good time to eat
Tillamook ice cream outside. Even so, we chose to partake inside with the other riff raff. We both had Tillamook Cheeseburgers with one order of fries. I think I read somewhere that the beef used to make these hamburgers from retired dairy cows from which they obtained tons of milk to make unknown quantities of cheese over the years. Some may find that a hard fact to deal with, if it were true, but I don’t think it is. Actually, I just made that up but, really, who knows where hamburger comes from.

We arrived at Beverly Beach State Park, the second stop on our trip, on Sunday May 12th. It was a grueling 4 hour drive which I had to do all alone because Diane has yet to drive the RV. One of these days she will, and she’ll do a great job, I know. Just not yet …

On Monday we drove down to Newport and visited old town by the fishing boats. While there we bought a pound of Dungeness crab for a mere $40. That way we could make our own crab Louie’s that tasted really good, which we did, twice. I’m happy to report, so far, that over indulging in crab has not caused my gout to rear its ugly head. I’m always prepared for that but don’t worry about it because I figure the crab is worth the terrible pain and the need to limp for a few days. I have a cane for just that reason.

On the way back to Beverly it started to rain and we returned to a semi-flooded camp site.

On Wednesday, May 15th we did the longest leg of our trip south to Harris Beach State Park in Brookings which is anywhere from 1/8 to 1/2 an inch from the California border depending on which map you look at. Either way, it’s close, and made it possible for us to revisit the Trees of Mystery down that direction. Perhaps you’ve been there and might recognize these guys …

One of the main reasons we made this section of the trip, in addition to seeing such magnificent forests, was to purchase another giant sequoia to plant at home. We had one from our trip two years ago and it was growing well until we killed it. Now we have a replacement and it was good to see all those incredible giant trees. It’s a very humbling thing.

On the trip back to Harris Beach, we stopped in Crescent City for lunch at The Apple Peddler where we stopped with Lydia and Ceiarra two years ago. They welcomed us back with open arms and tried to give us the same booth we had then but we refused and sat in the booth just inside the front door. Perhaps Lydia and C remember this stop. One thing is different there since we visited … they apparently have a machine that cooks chicken like colonel Sanders. Unfortunately, the day we visited, it was broken. They said so.

Had it been working we could have purchased a 100 piece bucket of chicken for about $96. I was so bummed.

After eating we wandered around town and found signs that led us to the water front and a lighthouse that’s been there for many, many years. So, we visited it and Diane convinced her knees that it would be OK to climb all the way to the top, up narrow winding stairs and a short vertical ladder. She did it, enjoyed it and didn’t come down with any debilitating injury because of it. That made me very happy.


Then we went back to Harris Beach to just hang out. It rained most of the time until today, which was beautiful so we went to Harris Beach to watch the water. It was very entertaining.

After that, we took a tour around Brookings to see what’s here. Diane said she did some research and discovered that according to some obscure survey, Harbor, Oregon is the best place to retire to in the state. Harbor, in case you don’t know, is separated from Brookings by the Chetco River. Interesting. We drove out into the wilderness on either side of that river to see what was there and kinda liked both sides.

To end the day, Diane lounged in our private yard at the campground …

Grants Pass

Grants Pass is a small village in southern Oregon that we generally pass by without a second look except for one time in 1990 when we actually visited the town on purpose so I could attend the Oregon State Bowling Tournament at which I bowled an astounding single game of 265 (or thereabouts) but failed to win anything. But, we had fun anyway.

Anyway, Grants Pass is where we are for this last night on the road and it’s a bit more than a small village now. There’s actually a lot of history and I’d share it with you if I knew, off hand, what any of it is. If, during the course of this discourse, I stumble across something related to history I’ll be sure to share it.

We left Modesto somewhere around 9:30 this morning and arrived at our chosen abode for the evening at 5:36 on the dot according to our GPS. Between those two significant times we traversed approximately 412 miles of mostly scenic territory that included one significant mountain, Mount Shasta, which we saw from 3 specific angles:

I took photos to show you …

1) driving toward it;
2) driving around it;
3) driving away from it.

It is a very pretty mountain from all three points of view even if it’s raining. If you ever make that trip, which Diane and I have done numerous times over the years, you can catch those views going south or north on I-5, and going east or west on Highway 89. Highway 97 also gives wonderful views for southbound travelers which can be extended by connecting with I-5 south and heading east on Highway 89 just past the village of Mount Shasta which, I’m pretty sure, was named after the mountain, as was Shasta Lake.

Hunger and the need for gas occurred about the same time while passing Chico on Highway 99 before connecting with I-5 at Red Bluff. After getting gas at Costco we found a listing for Home Town Buffet which was right up our alley. When we found the place it turned out to be the Hibachi Grill Buffet which was a little disconcerting considering how reliant we are on the information provided during searches on our phones. Normally the information is accurate. In this case we decided that perhaps it was deemed important that we eat at this Hibachi Buffet. We like oriental food so what the heck. We actually said that to each other … “What the heck.”

A little south of Weed, California we encountered a small accident. Before I go into that I feel compelled to dispel any concerns about this town and the reason it was named Weed. The truth is that I actually don’t know the answer but have to agree with you that encountering a town named Weed conjures up all kinds of possibilities, don’t you think? The accident appeared to have involved only 1 vehicle, a truck, but could have easily caused lots of problems for many other vehicles considering how the truck driver landed. Looking at the photo it’s difficult to understand how the truck wound up as it did without without the driver giving it a lot of thought before engaging in this evolution. You decide …

The first photo shows a skid mark going off under the pickup truck that’s being towed by the motorhome, and the second photo shows some stuttering skid marks possible made by the truck from wheel(s). We’re guessing that the driver lost control, for some reason, and ran his truck off the road and completed some truck acrobatics in order to get his vehicle oriented as you see it. The second photo also shows someone tending to the driver. We were there right after the first policeman arrived on the scene so this was brand new. I cannot imagine what was going through the driver of that RV as this unfolded in front of him. What fun.

That was the only excitement during the trip but there was more excitement waiting for us at the hotel. Something in the plate of things I collected to have stir fried (maybe the raw shrimp) revisited me after we checked in demanding a rapid exit for some unexplained reason. Not being in a position to deny this request, I gladly granted it with a sigh of relief that it chose to complete the tour of my intestines instead of demanding release using the portal it used to gain access.

Now I must rest and worry about which part of my stir fry meal will demand release next. It seems to be an on-going thing.

Perhaps tomorrow will be better. I can only hope.

Fresno to Modesto in 9 Hours

Yes … nine hours from Fresno to Modesto. These two cities are only 104 miles apart – a 1 hr 36 min trip for normal people according to our GPS. Extending that 1.5 hours to 9 was accomplished by taking a side trip to Yosemite National Park on the way. It was just on the way and begging for us to visit. So, we did.

I suspect for most folks planning a day trip to Yosemite is kind of lame, but we’re old, don’t climb up the sheer face of cliffs, and do not hike on trails that scale incredible heights or hike extremely long distances. We just enjoy looking at stuff, not interacting with it. A hike for us is climbing upstairs from the basement.

I gotta tell you that we had the best time ever looking at stuff. We even walked a lot farther than planned and enjoyed every minute.

From Fresno we took California Highway 41 to the park which goes through a very long tunnel that ends with parking lots on either side so folks can park and check out the incredible first view of el Capitan, Half Dome, and Bridalveil Falls.

Driving further in gave us better views.

We stopped at the chapel and took a photo requested by our friend Carolann.

The view from the chapel’s front steps.

Not all of the surrounding forest on the way in and out of the park is pristine green. Recent forest fires came close to totally devastating the entire park, but by some miracle that didn’t happen.

That’s a nasty photo, and typical of a great deal of the forest. Still, there are plenty of beautiful sights to take your breath away.

Leaving the park we took Highway 120 to Modesto. It reminded us a great deal of Highway 1 along the California Coast. Very curly cue for many many miles. It was a long day, but a really good one.

Tomorrow night we plan to be in Grants Pass for the last stop on this trip.