Apocolyptic Eclipse, and other Stuff

Does anyone else wonder why the media is making the coming eclipse appear to be, like, the end of the world? Here in Oregon everyone is urged to stock up on food, gas their vehicles, batteries, candles, and be careful with their pets during the 2+ minutes of darkness. It’s like a major disaster is pending.

Early on we heard local media at home treat this event “like” a catastrophe and make sure everyone has all the survival equipment they need to weather the storm, but it seems like the comparison is no longer being made – omitting that reference makes it sound like the real deal. Kind of like “War of the Worlds”.

Diane just checked the internet, which is functioning just fine here, in case you’re wondering, and saw news about all the “Eclipse Traffic” in the Prineville/Bend area. It’s bumper-to-bumper on the major roads in that area. Amazing.

Me? I’m just going to continue like normal, like it’s just another day with a brief bit of welcome shade, right up until the earth explodes. If I’m lucky, I’ll be eating a fudge cycle  when it happens.

Now, add to all that hoopla about the eclipse, we have demonstrations going on that are on the verge of being touted as domestic terrorism by some government officials. Nifty. Hate groups seem to be coming out of the wood work.

To make it worse, the media seems to think the blame for these events fall directly on President Trump’s shoulders. Interesting. These folks have been around far longer than Donald Trump.

Sorry for jumping on that wagon. I normally don’t do that, but all the negative news about what’s going on is disturbing. There doesn’t seem to be anything good happening anywhere according to reporters. So, let me share some with you.

This morning I took the dogs for a walk to the off-leash area for a romp and, hopefully, a major potty stop. It was early and the temp was fairly reasonable at less than 80 something. While there I struck up a conversation with another dog owner, Amber, who lives in Eugene. She found this dog park after looking at all of them in the area and deems it to be the best one around. It’s at least a full acre of fenced ground with water, and lots of sawdust piles in which to play. I always find it interesting that when animals are left to their own devices, they seem to all get along just great.

Anyway, Amber and I talked small talk for a long time, then got down to specifics like, “does she come there often,” and “what’s your favorite color,” and stuff like that. That’s a lie, of course. I didn’t ask her what her favorite color is. I did, however, considering the location and her perceived age (late 20’s), ask her what she taught. I actually asked that .. “what do you teach?”

That raised her eyebrows, thought for a bit, then asked in turn, “did I say something to make you think I am a teacher?”

“No,” I responded, “but it just seemed like the right question.”

“Well,” she said, “I’m a speech therapist. Good guess.”

From there we talked about many things, including dogs, and I suspect we parted company with mutual respect. Her respect for me for not hitting on her like I’m sure many men do because she’s very attractive, and my respect for her because of her dedication to her chosen career. She obviously enjoys what she does and I enjoyed my brief encounter with her, even though I don’t have any idea what her favorite color is.

Diane made another couple of trips to Walmart* today, something she enjoys, then she made another trip this afternoon to get the winning ticket for the $400 million + Power Ball drawing. We’re due to win. Just like everyone else in the good old USofA, and Canada. Who knows? Maybe this is the one. It is, after all, the new American Dream.

For being good, Diane stopped on her last trip back to get dinner at Taco Bell.

Now for some photos for those of you who made it this far …

For most of the day, when Diane was out shopping in air-conditioned spaces, this is what my view was when I opened my eyes.

By tipping my head up a little, this is what I saw.

After walking the dogs a little ways from the parking spot, this is what I saw on the way back.

Looking a bit to my left I could see our nearest neighbor. The sites here are very far apart. That neighbor, incidentally, serenades everyone at night with either his banjo or his bass. He told me he’s in a bluegrass band and needs to keep his fingers limber. He’s very good at his craft … fun to listen to.

Broken Bones, Birthday’s, TV, and A Trip

It’s been a week since my last post so you’d think I’d have a lot to say. Like normal, however, I’m at a loss for words as I begin this. Again, like normal, however, somewhere during the course of sitting here I’ll find that I have more to say than is really interesting to most normal people.

8th – served at senior center with Jean & Sue while Diane went to physical therapy and her hand doctor. Then we had dinner with Diane’s Mom, Jean, who turned 90 this day. Diane got a cake for the occasion. Mom’s kindofa humbugger about such things and didn’t think it was a big deal like everyone else.

Me serving old people.

9th – Golfed with the Peal brothers. Did a terrible job, but had fun doing it. Took Panzee to see Dr. Freese in the pm for a checkup ($400). She’s doing just fine, all things considered. Liver functions are a little more elevated, but we expected that.

10th – Missed MELCA coffee with the guys because I had an appointment with a VA ENT specialist. Interesting that, even though I was referred in an effort to resolve an illusive issue, the doctors seem to fail to see the point about me visiting with them because I don’t have symptoms they can see. Consequently, I generally get a quick once over, a figurative blessing, and instruction to go forth and carry on. Interesting.

11th – Nothing happened this day so I chose to uninstall my heart monitor a day early and package it up for return to the vendor. Hopefully the sore spots obtained from those stick on receptacles will heal up quickly. They itch like crazy. I think I’m allergic to the conductive jelly they use.

Jack and Wynette returned ‘home’ for a short stay because somewhere in Idaho Wynette tumbled and broke her right arm just below the shoulder socket. She was in a lot of pain and the only short-term solution was to take pain meds. Docs in the ER said they couldn’t cast it so they put her in a loose sling. The son of a friend of Jack’s, who knew someone who knew an orthopedic doctor confirmed the need for the arm to hang loosely. Second opinions are always good. Both Jack and Wy slept on the recliner couch which works well for them both. Normally only Jack sleeps there, but Wy can’t lay down with the arm. Jack is taking good care of her. Their insurance company wants them back in AZ so a orthopedist in their plan can follow her from start to stop. The appointment is next Monday, August 21st. So, the break will be 10-days old by the time she sees a doctor.

Some more news from Idaho revealed that Jim’s wife, Donna, broke her foot in June. So, Diane broke her wrist in May, Donna a foot in June, and Wynette an arm in August. Somehow July was missed and were kind of concerned about our other sister-in-law, Ruth, in Connecticut. All the breaks just got worse over time so she must be in for a doozy. We hope not, of course, but the odds are not looking good for her.

12th – I was supposed to send the monitor back today but Diane turned it in yesterday. So, I visited Lydia’s Envoy and made another attempt to resurrect it from the semi-dead. I was moderately successful. It still has no power, but more than it did before. Next up is to replace the catalytic converter.

13th – Church as usual. Mom didn’t want to go for the second Sunday in a row so everyone who did attend ate her cake that Diane got.

14th – Packed up and headed out to Armitage County Park in Eugene right on time about 3 pm. We were supposed to leave at noon, but you know how plans can change. This will be the first trip we’ve taken with a car in tow. Had to use the tow dolly. Worked great. Here we are, stopped in front of Diane’s Mom’s house.

I’m happy to report that the Toyota followed us all the way to the park without falling off even one time. We found the park and our spot before dark. Everything hooked up and working great. They have an off-leash area for dogs so we took them to see what happened. There were other dogs there, but they were of no interest to Ziva who was more enthralled with smelling where all the dogs before her may have stepped, sniffed, peed, and/or pooped. She was in heaven. Ozzie, not so much. He was in more of a mood to be held and cuddled, so Diane complied.

15th – Ziva didn’t get the memo and got me up at 0532, like normal. So, I took her and Ozzie (who begged to come along, too) outside into the freezing cold morning. Diane said it was about 50, but it felt like 9, or so. Very chilly. Then I hunkered down on the sofa for another couple of hours. Kinda like being at home. It was OK. Later in the day Diane drove off to get some essential items at WalMart* which was only 7 minutes away in Eugene. One of the essential items was a small can of propane for the BBQ because I totally forgot to bring one of the two very large spare propane bottles we somehow acquired. From where is a mystery. Once she returned with the propane, and a couple other bags of ‘things’, I fired up the BBQ and cooked the steak we brought for that purpose. Diane made a salad, reheated fresh beans, and made some fake mashed potatoes. It was a wonderful meal in part, I think, because the meat was done nicely. Tasted great.

While Diane was busy shopping, and aggravating her injured, but reportedly healed left wrist, I fiddled around with the Dish satellite system and the RV’s AV features to the point where absolutely nothing worked at all. It was a bit frustrating, to say the least, but I persevered and found a solution by removing everything from the little tiny cabinet that houses everything, then stuffed the satellite things in there and hooked them up. It worked just fine.

Perhaps some of you remember my first foray into that little cabinet. It was kinda like that all over again.

What we don’t have is a connection to the surround system of speakers that live in our ceiling, but they quite working the first time I stuck my arm in that cabinet. The fact that they still don’t work isn’t an issue right now. I’ll figure that out at a later date when it may become important. I can’t get the radio to work, either. Perhaps I should have just left all that stuff alone when it was working. But, I just can’t seem to keep my hands off of stuff that has wires attached. It’s a ‘thing’.

Now it’s time to relax some more, after I share some photos with you …

While getting things ready to roll with the RV, Brooklyn and Kaiah from next door appeared with Alice in a car seat on a hand truck. She looked pretty comfortable. None of the straps were tight so she could have escaped any old time.

I took this photo the other day thinking that Breezie was laying on a bunch of sharp rocks. Well, it was just a trick of hers. I looked at it again after she got up and saw that there were no rocks where she was laying. Apparently she pushed them all out of the way before laying down. Tricky cat.

Finally, these two Transformers landed in our yard a week or so ago and have just been staring at each other since landing. I keep waiting for one of them to make a move but, so far, neither one has flinched. I’ve seen kids from the neighborhood playing on and around them, and no one has been hurt, but it’s just a matter of time. One day soon they will rise up and destroy all the ground around them. I’d like to be there for that.

By the way, the weather in Eugene is magnificent.

Random Thoughts In No Particular Order

I left you wondering if I was going to figure out how to hook up the satellite system and I’m sure you are all expecting a report of my success. Well, I hate to disappoint you, but it never worked. So, I put everything back the way it was when we got the rig and just closed that little door. Instead of watching TV, we wound up playing lots of cribbage, walked the dog a lot, and actually talked to each other. I learned stuff, like Diane’s favorite color is Yellow, she’s really not French even though her maiden name is French, and she was only 14 when we got married. I was afraid she was going to tell me we were distant cousins at some point, but that never happened. Doesn’t mean we aren’t, just that she didn’t say it.

Bob and Steffani, my brother Jack’s oldest brother’s oldest daughter, have been visiting for the last few days after delivering Maryssa and Matt back to Salem to finish off the summer. A big plus out of the trip was that Under Armour was having a huge sale at the outlet stores in Woodburn where Matt works. Now they have to buy another suitcase to get everything home. I think they got socks for all their neighbors.

At some point during their stay, Steffani purchased a six-pack of Pepsi to consume while watching Matt and his brother play 3 on 3 basketball in Salem. It was a tournament. Maryssa was a pretty good basketball player in high school and couldn’t keep from giving pointers to the brothers because they were struggling with scoring. At one point one of them tossed the ball to Maryssa who promptly tossed it up and swished it from the sidelines. Point made, both literally and figuratively.

The Pepsi came home with B&S because they could only open 2 of the bottles. None of the manly men playing in the tournament could open them, Steffani couldn’t open them, Bob couldn’t open them, and I was never asked to try. That was OK. Since they were such a challenge we dropped by Wal-Mart* on the way to dinner yesterday, at Mark’s On The Channel, so Steffani could return them for bottles that would open. She returned quickly and reported that she never made it past the Wal-Mart* greeter who asked how she could help. Steffani explained and handed the bottles to the lady, who was in a wheel chair, and she took one of the bottles and twisted the top off with no problem. She did the same to the remaining three, solving the problem, and handed them back to a startled Steffani who was wondering about the veracity of the men populating her life. How could a frail little old lady, in a wheel chair, open bottles that young, healthy studs couldn’t? I guess the lesson here is that we should never underestimate the power of someone based on visual evidence alone.

This is us sitting at our table while dining at Mark’s On The Channel:

For those of you wondering how the meal went I’m proud to report that I didn’t get even one speck of my fish on my clothing. It was really too good to waste in such a manner. Bob had a hamburger with bacon jam on it, we other three had Alaskan Halibut which was wonderful. Bob said the jam was pretty good.

A question came up on Sunday about why the bench seats in a church are called pews. A little fumblefinger research provided me with this:

Origin

Late Middle English (originally denoting a raised, enclosed place in a church, provided for particular worshippers): from Old French puye ‘balcony’, from Latin podia, plural of podium ‘elevated place’.

That was going to be my second guess. My first guess was was all about hygiene and whether or not parishioners routinely engaged in bathing rituals beyond baptism way back in time. Just thought you should know.

Last Saturday Diane and I attended my 55th High School Reunion at Trojan Park. Trojan used to be a nuclear power plant owned by PGE and the first place I went to work in 1989 after retiring from the Navy. It’s the one where Homer Simpson worked. That’s true. It’s not mentioned in the link, but I read it somewhere. It’s obviously true because Matt Groning’s point of reference for all things concerning Homer were those surrounding Portland, Oregon.

Anyway, the Scappoose High School class of 1962 held their 55th reunion at the park and it was catered by Sunshine Pizza in St. Helens. It was good to see all those old people again and I’m sad that I didn’t get to visit with all of them for long periods of time. Our class is controlled by the “Tarbell Twins” and we will do pretty much anything they tell us to do. They are absolutely super humans. In the past we’ve always had pot lucks for our food but this time it was catered and so much better. Not the food, so much, but the ability to just graze and visit without worrying about food. Still, “The Twins”, Evelyn & Eva, were there making sure everything was perfect. It was, and we appreciated it. Now, let me see if I can remember those who were there that I actually looked in the eye: Eva, Evelyn (of course), Sam & David (another set of twins), Jimbo, 2 more David’s, Delores (another twin), Darrell, Vern, John, 3 Larry’s, Mary Ann, Phyllis, Harriet, Josette, Don, another Delores, Judy, Jim, Tom, Karen, Howard, and me. Here’s what we all look like at 73 years old:

I want everyone to know that I compiled the list of names above the photo before looking at the photo. I was one off on the count for a long time until I remember that, gee, I’m in the photo, too. I’m the guy in the green shirt ion the middle next to the really short girl (Delores). Here’s the list in order, top to bottom, left to right:

  1. David, Tom, John, Don, David, Larry, Darrell, Larry
  2. Howard, Jim, Vern (these guys kinda made up their own row of 3)
  3. Eva, David, Harriett, Josette, Delores, Jerrie, Jimbo, Larry, Delores, Sam, Karen
  4. Judy, Mary Ann, Evelyn, and Phyllis

I found out at the reunion that some of those folks actually waste their time reading my posts so all errors will be corrected, I’m sure.

On Sunday afternoon Diane, I, Bob & Steffani attended a bible lesson presented by our very own Jeran. He’s been helping with them as his Senior Project. He did a good job and all the kids just love him. His goal is to become a Youth Pastor which is perfect for him. He’s totally focused on this goal and knows exactly where he’s going in life. Pretty impressive for a 17-year-old.

After the bible study, we went to Scappoose for dessert at DQ. That’s where I get my occasional chocolate malt. I just love those things. Today’s treat, however, made itself known to me in the form of heartburn, something I’ve been avoiding lately with a chocolate-less diet. So, I’m either going to have to quit getting those things, or just get them earlier in the day, like for breakfast, so I can sleep well at night.

Bob and Steffani left this morning allowing us to reclaim all the space they’ve been taking up with their presence. Don’t get me wrong … we love having them visit, any time they wish. Them being here doesn’t impact us in any way except when it comes to food. Diane feels that a good host would make meals available on a regular basis but I’m less inclined in that direction. I figure they are adult humans and fend for themselves. So, there’s that little point of contention. The compromise is, of course, that we go out to eat a lot. It works.

Our Maiden Voyage

Monday afternoon, that was yesterday, I believe, we launched on our first trip in the ‘new’ RV. Before getting underway, however, I managed to break a cabinet door into smithereens when I forgot to close it before closing a nearby slide out. It just snapped that door into a bunch of pieces and made a very satisfying crunchy sound in the process. Thankfully, whoever constructed the cabinets wasn’t overly concerned with quality because most of the breaks were at joints that normally receive glue.

Knowing I was going to be in a bunch of trouble for the damage, I stowed the pieces out of sight, smuggled some glue and clamps to one of the storage areas (where Diane never looks), and proceeded about my business as if nothing had happened. I did a pretty good job of that, too, because I have lots of experience.

We stopped for a sandwich and fuel in Scappoose. Diane is pretty happy with the accommodations.

Everything else went smoothly until I decided to pull over and let an anxious truck driver pass us on a stretch of back road through an unending maze of well-tended fields. Where I pulled off turned out to be a terrible mistake because it was nothing but mess of potholes, the kind where little kids like to play when it rains because it’s like a series of lakes. When I first went off I think we were airborne for a bit before I was able to slow down enough so Diane remained in her seat. She went airborne herself for a bit and was severely cranky because of it. Didn’t blame her. Finally got it stopped and let the traffic go away, then slowly made my way back to the road. Diane made me promise to never to that again.

We had no more incidents on the trip. We arrived at the campground, found our spot, and I’m happy to report that I backed that big sucker perfectly into slot B4. I was so proud that I decided to work on the satellite TV connection so Diane could watch some news.

It didn’t take long for me to figure out it wasn’t going to work. So many wires … There is no broadcast TV, and we do not have a view to the southern sky for the satellite. So, no news.

When we arrived at Silver Falls State Park, it was very pleasant and looked like we were going to avoid the triple-digit temps predicted for home. As the sun dropped, however, the temp went up to the point where we were strongly considered using the A/C unit for sleeping. We didn’t and I’m glad for it because when Ziva got me up this morning at 0530 for a trip outside it was about 12 degrees. That’s a guess. Probably was warmer but it felt cold after all the dire predictions of heat.

Diane cooked a great lunch then challenged me to a game of cribbage. She’s really good a cribbage and had no trouble beating me up. About that time, Ziva decided it was time for a walk so we all went and found a trail along Smith Creek where we could let her off the leash with the hopes that she’d have a BM.  She’s shy and doesn’t like folks watching her poop so unloading is going to be a problem for her. She didn’t find a need to do that during our trek, but enjoyed being off he leash.

So did Diane …

Along the path we walked were herds of majestic fir trees that rival the red woods we recently visited. The firs aren’t as tall, and they aren’t as big, but they’re still very large and very majestic. It’s humbling to be in the presence of such beauty and makes me thank God for blessing me with eyeballs that work.

As I sit here in my lounge chair, next to the RV, in the shade, I can confirm that the predictions of heat were spot on. Diane said it’s 98 now, at 1703 (5:03 pm). There is a tiny little breeze that feels pretty good when it hits me and evaporates some of the moisture that’s soaking my shirt.

I’m going to stop, now, and see if I can figure out that stupid satellite system.

Hot Tubs & Cars

Today it’s sunny and hot here in NW Oregon making working outside a tough decision unless it involves water. So, I incorporated water into my outdoor activities to ensure I stayed cool. That’s not true, of course. I was directed by my lovely bride to power wash the hot tub and the area around and under it to ensure there were no spiders left to creep around on her arms while she reclines in the nice hot water. Heat is one of the best things she’s found for her healing broken arm bones and she’s been wanting the hot tub cleaned up for a couple of years. I’ve been putting it off because I feared the pump motors would screech and smoke demanding to be replaced. I spent a bunch of time cleaning out dozens of spiders, who spent their last days in a futile attempt to climb the slippery insides of the tub, finally succumbing to their fate and falling into the last bit of water remaining in the bottom of the unit. I envision them swimming feebly to the edge of the water, seeking high ground, finding none, then finally slipping into unconsciousness and sinking to the bottom of the shallow pool, joining those who went before. Then, along I come with my wet/dry vac to unceremoniously suck them up and dump their soggy remains into the soil at the base of a bush where they can reunite with nature and make beautiful things.

Once the tub was cleaned, I started the fill process which takes a couple of hours. When it was about half full I powered it up, expecting to hear the screech previously mentioned but, to my never-ending surprise, the pump motors, one of which I replaced years ago for the screeching reason, made not a sound and pumped water without a problem. The heater works, too, which is another part of the hot tub I replaced in the past. Well, not the entire heater, but just the sensors that detect water temperature. It’s nice to know they still work after all this time. I just checked and the temp is up to 95 so it will be perfect at 104 when the temp drops to 55 this evening. Diane’s eager to check it out. I’m not a hot tub person so rely on her expert analysis of my success in this area. So far, so good.

I mentioned that Diane and I hocked everything we had and purchased a motor home which we would love to live in as we drive around the country. You know, south in the winter, north in the summer. You, know, regular snow geese kind of people. Toward that end, we’ve been cleaning it up and loading it with all the stuff we removed from the trailer before delivering it for the trade. I’ve learned that I need to let Diane make a decision about what goes and what stays because apparently not all of it is going into the new rig. So, I just wait and take out those things that I’m told to take. I did, however, assume the responsibility of what gets stowed in the ‘basement’ compartments and loaded most of those up with odds and ends.

Now that we don’t have a trailer, we don’t need a truck. Oddly, Jack and Wynette now have a trailer, and don’t have a truck. They have a Toyota Camry. To resolve this crises we both decided to just trade vehicles and assume the current debt for the respective vehicles. Simple. No salesmen to fiddle with and we’re both getting a pretty good deal. Life should be that easy in all respects.

As I write, I’m waiting for the local Chevy dealer to call me back to report the maintenance department is done working on the truck we’re trading to Jack an Wy. They are fixing the front differential because it apparently has a bearing going bonkers. Makes all kinds of whiny noise while rolling down the road. It goes away when the transfer case is set to 2 wheel drive. The fix is being done under the 100K mile/10 year warranty for the drive line. They’ve had it for 2 days now and I wonder if we’re going to get it back. We got a 2017 Malibu for a loaner and Diane dislikes it a lot. She took it to Portland for her physical therapy and had to deal with the new feature that turns the engine off while sitting at stop lights. Pretty nifty. Tom told me something about how to make it come back to life, but I couldn’t remember. So, Diane just restarted it each time. Consequently, she’s not a fan of this feature.

Now it’s time for a nap.

Happy Independence Day – 2017

Greetings Fellow Earth Dwellers. It’s another glorious day in the neighborhood, the kind that makes it OK to get up early, even if you don’t want to. On this day I was compelled to arise at 0430 because the little dog decided it was time. The last few days, since returning from our vacation, he waiting until 0500 precisely. I swear he wears a tiny little wrist watch with an alarm. It’s amazing.

Just like all previous years, beginning a couple of days before the 4th, many of our neighbors find it necessary ignite extremely loud fireworks well into the night. We expect it. The dogs hate it and would like to run down and have a word or two with whoever is holding the igniters. Apparently the city police view such events as normal, and accepted, because we never see them converging on the offenders, even when they lite off rockets that spew sparks all over the place, including over the dry hay-field next to our property. And it’s the same folks every year.

Now, having shared all that, I’ve got another story about a fire I started, legally, on June 30th. That was the last day for open burning in the county and I’ve been putting it off. Being the last day kinda prompted me to get busy and make it go away.

I took my handy little propane torch down there, after stringing my longest hose to the pile of debris. I’ve always used matches in the past then decided to try the torch with the last pile and found it to be much more convenient because it’s got an igniter on it. Pretty handy. When I touched it to the pile it went up pretty quickly and spread to the entire burn pile in a matter of seconds. I hadn’t planned for it to be as big as it got, but I had it under control with my water hose so just let it go. After it died down a bit, I went up on the porch to watch it and visit with our Niece Maryssa who was visiting from Salem where she spending the summer in a test marriage with her boyfriend who lives with his parents. Maryssa is a Senior at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Oregon so we don’t see her much. It’s great to visit with her. I spend at least one evening talking with her and Granddaughter Lydia just like I was one of the girls. The entire time I feared they would talk about stuff I probably wouldn’t want to discuss, but they didn’t, so it was all good.

As I sat there visiting, Keith, a young firefighter, came walking into the back yard and reported that I had to put my fire out because the burn ban was ending at midnight. It was about 4:30 pm at the time, and dusk was hours away so I reported that I was legal because the “Burn Line” (503) 397-4800 told me that June 30th was the last burn day and open burning was allowed in the county for folks who had a current burn permit. My fire qualified so burn it did.

Being a good citizen, and knowing Keith was just doing the job he was told to do, I went down to man my garden hose while he went to his truck to unreel a couple hundred feet of hose after connect the truck to the fire hydrant that is conveniently located at the corner of our property. As we hosed down the pile I asked why I had to put out my fire when the burn line said it was legal and he said, “We’ve had phone calls … “, an unfinished sentence.

“OK,” I said, “so I burn legally and someone in town calls to complain so you come out to put my fire  out?”, or words to that effect. He didn’t respond to that so I prodded a little harder suggesting that whoever called knew the Fire Chief. He denied that, of course, and said, “No, some fires have already gotten out of control, and the burn ban ends at dusk.” I noted the change of the ban ending at dusk instead of midnight, his first choice, but didn’t say anything. He also said”the chief said …” a number of times that so I just left it alone.

The Chief Said.

Since I used to be a Chief, a Navy Chief, I understood the concept about “The Chief Said”. It’s law and doesn’t require any explanation. Just do it. So he did. And he did a great job. He blew my fire all apart, even thought it was barely burning when he arrived, and sprayed it all down with foam when there was no more smoke coming off the embers. I acknowledged that I doubt that that pile would burn any time before next year at the earliest.

Then, regarding phone calls to the fire department, I said, “you think you got phone calls now, wait until they build those 77 new houses in the field adjacent to our property. When I burn then you’ll probably get tons of calls.” He said, “It’s OK if you have a valid burn permit.” I let that rest a bit before replying, “I have a valid burn permit for the one we’re destroying.” Keith had no response because he knew I was correct, but, The Chief Said.

Finally he was done and told me “The Chief Said you need to have a 3 foot bare dirt perimeter around the debris to ensure it doesn’t re-start.” Looking at my destroyed burn pile which had been soaked with probably 200 plus gallons of water, maybe more, I thought it was unlikely it would ever burn again.

He wound his hose up and departed well before the Dusk ban and I went to work creating the perimeter as directed. Diane made me quit after I made one circuit of the pile because, well, it was just time to quit. Now the plan it to get the old truck down to the pile, scoop up the residue, and just let it resume to be just another part of the field I mow. Works for me because keeping track of the burn pile is a pain.

For today’s festivities at our house, I made potato salad and will be BBQing pork ribs this afternoon sometime. I have to be down at the docks at 2:00 pm to ring in the 4th using the bell in the Columbia River Warrior Rock replica located near the gazebo in front of the old court house in St. Helens. All I have to do is ring it 13 times for the original 13 colonies. It’s a yearly thing done by the American Legion Post 42 of which I’m a member. It’s kinda cool to be part of that.

Now I must go put on some clothes and ready myself for the task.

Hope everyone has a safe 4th.

Eureka to Grants Pass, then Home – Days 14 & 15

Some of you may have already done the math and discovered that Eureka and Grants Pass are only 164 miles apart so why such a short trip this day? Well, almost the entire trip is composed of twisty, turny roads and lots of maintenance folks holding signs with “Stop” on one side, “Slow” on the other. We’ve all seen those. Without fail, we always wound up with the guy who had the “Stop” aimed at us. Not a bad idea, I suppose, since the road kind of caved into either a canyon or Pacific Ocean over some long stretches. Pretty exciting stuff if you’d been there when it happened, I’m sure, but totally mind-numbing delays currently. However, I have to admit that the delays were in probably the most beautiful country in the world.

I’m talking about the Northern California Redwood Forest.

If you’ve never had an opportunity to visit these majestic trees, you are missing out on a humbling experience.

Before leaving Eureka we had breakfast at Denny’s and had the pleasure of seeing our waitress, Lisa, one more time. Both the food and the service was exceptional.

Then we stopped at the beach so the girls could spend a little more time playing. Diane and I sat in the truck and read our respective books. it was all good. When the girls finished with whatever they were doing on the rocks they made their way back to us and we continued our trip North. Since we knew it was going to be a short journey we chose to stop when the mood struck … like when we saw another one of those immense trees lurking alongside the road. Had that been the only criteria for stopping, we’d never made it to the next mile posts. There are turnouts all along the highway to allow folks to exit their vehicles to enjoy the splendor.

At one of those spots there was a small stream where pretty rocks overcame the joy of extremely large trees for the girls. They found a small stream and spent their time searching through the water for rocks while I wandered amongst the trees. All of us enjoyed ourselves.

At Klamath, California we stopped to visit the Trees of Mystery. That’s the pace where Paul Bunyan and his faithful blue ox, Babe, stand guard alongside Highway 101. After a quick trip through the gift shop we got in line for a walk through the trees, something that would never get old for me, then a 7-minute trip on the Sky Trail gondola to the top of a tall hill with a stunning view of the forest.

We met some nice folks going up, and some more on the trip down. The girls opted for the mile walk down a very steep path. It didn’t take them very long and neither of them had new injuries so they apparently didn’t fall down. Ceiarra’s white sneakers took a hit and got a little dirty so it was kind of a minor disaster from an apparel perspective. But, bottom line, they were both smiling profusely upon their return.

This is a ‘selfie’ by a pro. I was trying to figure it out then Lydia took my phone away from me. Good shot.

Then we left, said goodbye to Paul, and headed north.

Eventually we made it to Crescent City, our original destination for the night, arriving just in time for lunch. We drove all the way through town looking for something likely. Finally, I was told to turn around and return to the first place Diane saw and it turned out to be a great place. Good food. I ordered fish and chips, Diane had a tuna melt, Ceiarra had a taco salad, and Lydia had chicken strips and fries. She was thinking about fish and chips then negotiated with me to trade one piece of fish for one of her chicken strips. I did it and finally realized why Lydia likes those chicken strips so much. However, one thing I would suggest to others who order fish then trade for some chicken, that you should also bargain for some of the ranch dressing that comes with the chicken because it doesn’t go well with tartar sauce. Apparently, though, according to Lydia, ranch goes with everything, even fish. Who knew?

After lunch we went a little way south to the beach for one more beach ‘fix’ before heading inland to Grants Pass.

Ceiarra was content to sit in the warm sand and just relax.

Then it turned into an art project. Pretty crafty, C.

Lydia spent her time searching for special rocks.

Diane was content to just sit and take in the sun.

It was another curvy journey on Highway 199 to Grants Pass. Really narrow in spots, too. We stopped in Cave Junction, once we made it to Oregon, and got dessert at DQ. I offered Ceiarra a turn at the wheel but she said, “No way! I’ve got a Blizzard to eat!” So, I took my chocolate malt back to the driver’s seat and continued the journey. I haven’t driven this much on a trip since I was, like, 22. That was before I was married and had the option to drive when I wanted to. Once married I still drove quite a lot, but having a partner in life meant I had another driver, too. And she loves to drive. As we’ve aged Diane has taken over the lion’s share of driving and has become a far better driver than a passenger. It’s OK with me. Gives me a chance to sleep. With her broken arm, however, driving on crooked roads isn’t an option. So, it’s me. And I’m doing a good job, thank you very much. Lydia was so comfortable when I drove that she slept most of the time. Or, may she slept because she was afraid.

After a restful night in Grants Pass, we headed north on I-5. Since it was freeway all the way, Diane chose to start us out and drove to lunch. I don’t remember where we ate. I don’t even remember if we ate. We got home on Wednesday, day before yesterday, day 15, about 3 pm.  Lydia’s baby, Kylo, was over joyed that she was home. Knocked her right off her feet. He’s not a light-weight 3-month old puppy.

Our dogs were happy to see us, for about five minutes, then they took a nap. That’s OK. We were home.

I’ll finish with a nice poem and photos of some really awesome trees.

Pretending to conduct a wedding.