Palm Springs

Today is Wednesday. That mean we’ve been here four days and we’ll enjoy our 5th nite-nite tonight.

My last post was on Sunday. When we arrived the temperature was 100+ and it was still around 90 when we finally went to bed. Those are outside temps, of course. Inside it’s a comfortable 72 because the A/C runs constantly, 24/7, in every hotel/motel/resort room in every village in this part of the country. The electricity necessary to make all that happen is immense but, as luck would have it, there is one of the largest wind farms in the world. I’m guessing about “in the world” but the Palm Springs Farm is really BIG. So big that there is a local company that provides self-guided tours of the farm for the paltry sum of $24.50 a person. I’m pretty sure we won’t take that tour. I don’t see the logic in taking a self-guided tour of a facility that I can view for nothing simply by driving back and forth on I-10. True, there wouldn’t be the drama of driving on roads that weave themselves around the towers on which 150 foot long blades of death spin uncaged above our heads killing birds that dare to investigate them too closely. What fun would that be?

We’d rather take a ride on the tram, one of the things on our to-do list, but wait! It’s closed for maintenance until the 10th. Not a big deal, really, because there are many other things to do here.

For instance, just driving around looking at stuff, using up all that $7.09/gallon gas. We expected that.

I’m complaining, aren’t I? Sorry. We’re actually enjoying ourselves. One fun activity is visiting thrift stores. We do that wherever we go. Kinda lame, you might think, but we enjoy it. That’s what we did on Monday in addition to grocery shopping to get the items we missed on our Sunday shopping spree.

There’s a pool here that we’ve walked passed a few times, but haven’t taken that next step to shed our clothes, jump into a skimpy swimming suit, and test the water. I suggested that we hit the hot tub first, but since it’s been over 100 degrees pretty much every day that seems kind of dumb. So, we won’t do that.

Yesterday we went to see the Salton Sea. Never been there and decided it would be a nice trip. I made sandwiches which we packed into the new foldable cooler we got for that purpose, choosing a foldable one that can be placed in Diane’s already overweight suitcase. Actually, we’ll fill the foldable cooler with excess items from Diane’s overweight suitcase and it can be her carryon.

On the way to see the Salton Sea we saw a sign pointing to Mecca. We’ve always wanted to go to Mecca so we went.

Turns out it’s not what I expected, but it was interesting. Then we continued on to the Salton Sea.

We drove down the west side of the sea to what we considered a likely place to see the sea but the road was closed. They should have put a sign on the highway to save adventurous people from wasting their time.

So, we made our way north to the top of the sea and headed east so we could venture down that side to a designated state park. We drove for many miles looking for an entrance to the state park. Turns out there are many entrances that head toward the beach but they don’t have signs for the little gravel exits along the highway. We noticed that there weren’t any vehicles along the shore which was probably due to the extreme heat. All the smart people stayed home with their air conditioners.

We finally found an entrance that led us to a number of picnic tables and ultimately to a covered one near a restroom. And, it had the only handicap parking slot in the entire park.

That’s where we ate our sandwiches, waved at a couple of park rangers as they drove through the park. Then I walked down to the shore thinking I’d like to see how salty the Salton Sea is but changed my mind when I remembered a small sign on the fence when we entered the park. I said something about poisenous algae in the water. Looking around, I saw the culprit and saved my own life by not touching anything. Also, there was a particularly nasty smell down by the shore.

Then it was time to leave.

On the way back it became abundantly clear that we were traveling through the date palm capital of the world.

I’m guessing, of course, because I really don’t know if that’s true. I just know we saw many dozens of orchard filled with thousands and thousands of date palms ripe with fruit all protected with bags.

When I saw all those bags around all that fruit I was impressed with the monumental effort it must have been for people to do all that bagging.

Amazing.

Next stop is Indio. I think.

The Bachelor

Diane and her Mom have been watching The Bachelor every chance they get. Normally, it’s when I’m off doing something else. This morning, however, I was busy working on a 1000 piece puzzle Diane got me. It’s on the dining room table close enough that I can hear the dialogue between all the pretty girls and the very well developed Bachelor. I admit, he’s a hunk, but I, personally, do not feel the attraction, like, you know, whatever those girls do. It’s, like, you know, a competition that’s usually won by the friskiest (in my opinion). But, you know, they all, you know, speak the same, like, language, so what’s, you know, not to, like, like, right?

I listened to those conversations until my eyes started to blink out of sync making puzzeling difficult. I then retreated to Mel’s (Diane’s Dad) little shop in the garage. It’s very quiet in there and it has a heater.

When I have conversations with kids I tend to keep track of how often they use “like” to fill the quiet spaces, and I count them by holding my hand out and extending a finger every time I hear them use that word. It doesn’t take long for them to wonder what I’m doing. When they finally ask I explain my actions, explaining that when counting the “likes” I lose track of what they are saying and the conversation devolves into a blur of words punctuated with a lot of “likes”.

When I’ve finished explaining my actions, we continue our conversation and they keep an eye on my hand, doing their absolute best to avoid filling spaces with “like”. It’s quite effective and they quickly learn that it’s much easier to engage and maintain conversational continuity by leaving the likes alone.

You know? And that’s, you know, another problem for me.

Now, let’s get back to that puzzle Diane gave me …

It’s truly brutal and a serious challenge for someone with fat fingers. It’s 1,000 pieces that fit in 12 x 16.5 inch border. I know that’s true because I measured it … see …

I know, it looks more like 16.75″ in the photo, but if you look at the dumb end of the tape you can easily see that it is at least 1/4″ away from it’s target so I extrapolated a little.

Each piece is about 1/2″ by 11/16″ and they are all the same shape. The edge pieces are an exception to that rule.

So now you know what I’m doing, you know?

Now, although it’s not truly lunch time yet, I must go prepare.

Stay safe and have a wonderful day.

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.

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.

Errands, a Vaccination, & Pork Chops

I’ve been in a bit of a daze over the last eleven days since my last post. Some of you may think that’s normal for me, and perhaps you’re correct. I readily admit that my thoughts are easily scattered making it difficult for me to distinguish fact and fiction. Since fiction is my favorite form of reading material I tend to lean heavily in the direction. Continuing with the scattered theme, that’s kinda what this post will be about.

The other day I was summoned to Daniel & Jennifer’s home to pick up some documents that needed to be scanned and some mail Jennifer wished me to mail. Oh, and deliver her water bill to the appropriate box at the water department.

When I arrived to accomplish these things, Jennifer took my photo.

She thought she’d have it to share with her friends to show them what a goofball I am. What she didn’t know was that I wound up at her door in this manner because her Mother expressly forbid me to leave the house looking like this. I admit I was flirting with danger doing this, but it’s tough for me to back away from a challenge like that. Plus, I had strong notions about going to Walmart while I was out. On the trip, however, I re-evaluated that course of action because it was daylight and it’s my understanding that people don’t usually go to Walmart dressed like this during the day. It’s evening garb. I could be wrong about that, but figured not going was erring on the side of caution.

I’ve been talking with Cedric a lot via email lately and that’s fun. He’s stationed aboard the USS Nimitz (CVN-68), in case I haven’t mentioned that early. The ship has been deployed for almost a year now. That’s a long time at sea. With the COVID pandemic they don’t get port visits like a normal WESTPAC cruise. That, and with Iran playing games with missiles, the ship is always on alert. Just recently Iran planted one in the ocean abour a 100 miles from the Nimitz, just to say “Hi!”

Cedric is weathering the cruise nicely and is looking forward to getting back Stateside. He will be discharged not long after they return.

Today was a banner day for me. Diane drove me to the VA Hospital so I could get my 1st COVID vaccination shot. I made the appointment online and it was a very simple process. Here’s the shirt I wore…

The nurses all wanted one. Since I got it from Daniel, my son-in-law, I gave them all his email address and phone number so he could help them. Actually, that’s a lie. I didn’t do that, but it might have been fun to see how many of them would have called or emailed him. But I didn’t. Honest.

I spent a total of 25 minutes in the hospital rom the time I checked in to the auditorium until I left the building. That included filling out a form, getting the shot, then sitting in a chair for 15 minutes to see if I could do it without falling on the floor.

The nurse was great. Didn’t get her name so I’ll call her Ruby. That’s a fun name. The first thing I asked her was if the needle was really as huge as the ones the news has been showing us for weeks now. They just looked overly large, and they always showed the nurse pushing it into someone’s are really slow. Ruby and I talked about that a little bit and she assured me the needle was normal size and she would be quick about it. She even let me take a photo of her in action …

I found Diane parked pretty close to the front door and we had a nice ride home. When we got there., I fried up some pork chops for lunch …

They were really good. I marinated them in some Yoshidas teriyaki stuff that I found in the cupboard. It was brand new, never opened, and had an expiration date of October 2018. Looked good to me. Tasted good, too.

Now, many hours after the shot, my arm is really sore. I’m not sure if it’s all because of the shot, or partially because Diane had me help her scrub the little black dog. That, my friends, is a risky job. He’s pretty blind and isn’t really fond of water so his goes on high alert to protect himself and gets quite aggressive. Thankfully, I have some heavy duty leather gloves to wear during this evolution. I hold him while Diane does the scrubbing. It only took about an hour.

Now I’m going to go sit with Diane and watch news for a while.

Stay safe out there and don’t neglect to get your shot when given the opportunity.

Dazed & Confused

I don’t know where to start with this today. So much has been happening that my mind is frizzled just a bit in an effort to make sense of events.

First: The new windows we had installed earlier in the week work great. We removed the Anderson windows that were installed in 1957, which were nice but not very good with insulation, and replaced them with brand new 2020 double pane Anderson windows. Not only is the insulation noticeably better, the windows help with dimming down outside noise. That was unexpected, but it makes sense. So, life is good. Now all I have to do is save up enough money to buy enough lumber to trim all the windows. Diane want it to be oak and my first rough estimate is I need about 325 board feet to get it done. I will measure again just to make sure, of course. Diane insists. This shouldn’t take me much more than a year and a half, give or take a few months either way.

Second: COVID has involved itself with our lives. Our granddaughter tested positive about a week ago. She recently turned 21 so I accused her, kiddingly, that she shouldn’t have been hanging out at all those bars. She wasn’t and I knew that. She knew I knew it, too. Her symptoms are mild but still it’s not anything to trifle with so we will remain concerned for now. Also in the family, our daughter, Jennifer and hubby Daniel, are fostering Daniel’s great nephew who was recently diagnosed with COVID. He’s only 8-months-old. Everyone else in the family tested negative. Diane and I don’t count because we’re old and don’t go anywhere. We’re very good sequesterers. Professional, you might say, and we’re just fine with that.

Third: How about that mini-Revolution we had yesterday. Diane and I watched the events as they unfolded and were astounded that only one person was shot. What a mess. I won’t expound on this because I avoid political issues on this forum. I have opinions, of course, but I’m pretty sure none of you want to ‘hear’ about them.

Fourth: I had an “in person” eye appointment at the VA hospital with a nice young lady named Jahaila. She’s working at the VA as an intern and will graduate in May as a real deal Doctor. I enjoyed my visit and look forward to getting my new glasses in a few weeks. I think the glasses are made in Boise, last I heard, and they have a heavy workload, hence the delay. I think the glasses are delivered to our local post office by two guys on a tandem bicycle who’s sole purpose in life is to deliver glasses for the VA. For safety, they only travel backroads, never on freeways. In towns they are allowed to ride on the sidewalks because the guy in the back is legally blind. Since he isn’t steering, that’s OK. He’s really only there to pedal, really hard, and isn’t in any way responsible for anything they run over, or into, during their delivery trips. They’ve been doing this for many years now so they must really be careful.

This is the view from the 8th floor elevator lobby of the Portland VA Hospital.

Fifth: Diane’s Mom’s light over her sink burned out so I replaced it after we got back from the VA. Putting in a new bulb didn’t fix it so I got out my trusty multi meter and didn’t learn a thing that would lead to a solution. So, I called my friend, Doug, who used to be a professional electrician for some insight. He tells me that his knowledge of codes terminates around 2010 so he limits his involvement with the understanding that anything he shares isn’t useful with regard to current codes. We kibutzed a bit and he managed to lead me in a direction that will probably allow me to resolve the problem on my own. Tomorrow will tell the tail. All I have to do is remember what he told me. It would be easier with notes but he stresses the importance of not taking notes during our visits because something could go wrong which could result in a visit from the police. I understand his concern, so there are no notes. Just my faulty memory. We’ll see how that goes.

Now it’s time for me to stop all activity for the day and go sit with Diane to make sure she doesn’t watch too many shows about renovating houses. They leave her giddy with possibilities about our home. Thankfully, we live a long way from Waco so we can’t feasibly engage Chip and Joann to fix our house. It would be nice, though. Wouldn’t it be funny if they read this and decided to come visit? I’ll be sure to let you know if that happens. Honest, I will.

Now I must stop and report that a lot of what you just read is false. I can’t help myself.

G’nite.

It Must be Thanksgiving!

Considering the state of our world, I submit that all of us have something to be thankful for not only on this special day, but on every day of our lives.

Me?

I’m thankful …

  • … for my family, wherever they may be. Some are near, some are far, but they are all with me in my heart, always.
  • … for all the folks who spend their days on guard protecting us in our hospitals, on the streets, at sea, and in foreign lands. They are all special people.
  • … for those folks who wear masks when it’s necessary for us to venture outside and be in their presence.
  • … that I still have all 6 of my senses, most of the time. There are some who will argue that, sure, I have the normal five, but the 6th, common, isn’t always fully engaged. Sadly, I cannot deny that.
  • … for Norris who keeps our septic system working properly.
  • … for all those people working at Oregon gas stations who fill my tank.
  • … for all the people who stock the shelves in our grocery stores.
  • … for the farmers and ranchers who produce pretty much everything I’m allowed to eat.
  • … for my friends for putting up with me even when I can’t remember their name.
  • … for the bagel lady.
  • … for Amazon Prime so I can shop in my pajamas.
  • … for all the Utility workers who ensure all our appliances work.
  • … for our pets, all of them, even cats. They were, and are, some of my favorite people.

… to mention just a few. For those I failed to mention, please forgive me. I appreciate whatever it is that you do. Honest.

Above all, I’m thankful to God who makes all this possible.

Be safe …

The Other Day, Then Today

This is a short post to capture what we did on October 3rd. I didn’t do it on the day of because my computer was arguing with me and it wouldn’t let me add photos. So I closed it and put it under a bunch of clothes in a drawer, all alone. Since then it’s been very cooperative.

On the 3rd, we took a trip to Coos Bay to see the sites. Here’s what we saw …

That pretty much sums up our activities for the day.

As I peck on my keyboard, we are taking backroads to the Coos Bay area to, perhaps, do it again. We’ll be passing through Charleston on the way. Sunset Bay State Park, just below Shore Acres, is where we stayed a few years ago so got to like the area a little bit then. We’re going back to renew that romance.

As I twiddle my thumbs, waiting for something significant to happen, I’d like to report, whether or not you’d like me to, that this area, based on the the number of flags we see, Trump supporters are in abundance. Just sayin.

There may be photos added to this at a later date, but for now, I’m frustrated enough that dismantling my laptop seems like a good thing to do.

Later.

Bandon, Oregon

What a nifty place. Major league golf courses, that cost $295 for 18 holes, if you aren’t a resort guest. Since Diane and I are 9-hole golfers, we probably wouldn’t be allowed to play. This price is the same for all of the Bandon golf courses, all of which are professional grade. Really, really nice courses. Absolutely no moles anywhere, so I hear. Oh, and carts aren’t allowed; everyone walks. That’s another reason we won’t play because, for us, half the fun of golfing is riding around in the golf cart.

Instead, we’ll just investigate the back roads around the town and pay a visit to McKays Market once in a while. There are also many excellent seafood restaurants on the wharf along the river just inside the jetties that protect entry to the Coquille River.

Today, Thursday, was beautiful. Yesterday there was forest fire smoke in the air all day, swirling up from California.

After the ride we came back to the camp ground so I could cook lunch, then we watched “Death Wish” with Bruce Willis. When it was over, we wondered why. To ease the pain of that one, we watched “The Bourne Ultimatum” for the second feature.

Diane brought along Movie Candy so we ate some of that while watching. I had Good & Plenty’s, she had Hot Tamales. I opened my box yesterday and Diane put on her “Lets test Jerrie hat” and asked me how many Good & Plenty pieces were in a standard serving. I told her, “25”, which was true because I read the label. Then I dumped some in a bowl so she could count them, and she was totally amazed to discover that I’d dumped out 25 pieces. Actually, I was too. I believe her exact words were, “how did you do that!” My response, I think, was a short explanation about how I’m able to slow the passing of time, relatively to myself, so that everything around me runs in super slow motion which allows me to do that kind of stupid stuff, or something like that. Exactly like The Flash, but different.

Now it’s bedtime. Past, actually. G’night. Maybe I’ll speed-sleep just for fun. Never done that.

I’ll add some random photos now and rely on you to relate them to the narrative.
Big Dog, I think.
Catching some rays in the front yard.
The fishing pier in Bandon where the Coquille River enters the sea.
Almost like Malibu moved to Bandon’s Beach.
No surfers here.
Diane’s Flowy hair. Wind’s from the north.

That’s it, shipmates. Semper fi.