Steaks and Dog Food

This afternoon I heard the dogs arguing in the living room and had to go see what it was all about before the fur flew. It’s true. The argument was escalating to that point. Actually, it’s only Ziva growling, but it’s a bit scary for me because I know that if they tangle, I’ll have to get between them. They have substantial teeth which makes that move risky for one of us.

When I got to the scene of the event here’s what I found …

That’s an open, and empty, food pouch that the big dogs don’t get to eat. Normally. It belonged to Ozzie. Now, had they ripped the package open from the top instead of the bottom I may have thought one of them retrieved the empty packet from the garbage but the way it was open gave them away.

Perhaps the dogs used this as a teaching moment to say something like, “Jerrie, CLOSE THE STUPID CUPBOARD!”

Or, maybe it was simply them showing off what they can do and to get a sense about how upset I’d be with what they did. You know, not so mad, they could do it again some day. Really mad, they could do it again some day but not too soon.

About the steaks … they are the ones Diane bought to take with us to Detroit Lake last week. They were rib eyes and would have been really good BBQ’d. The problem, as I’m sure you guessed there was one, we left for Detroit Lake Sunday afternoon but didn’t find the steaks in the car trunk until Tuesday. So, they were incarcerated in an unrefrigerated car trunk for over two days. Still, when I picked them up they both still looked nice and pink, and they weren’t warm at all. When I pierced the plastic in which they were encased, I didn’t detect any odors that smelled like spoiled meat and neither could Diane. But, she said e-coli could still be lurking around in there and that I should throw them away.

I just couldn’t do it. They were so pretty, and I really like steak. So, I lit the BBQ and cooked them. Still no suspicious smells, but I cooked them a little longer than the normal 5 minutes a side anyway. Brown all the way through. No red.

So, I put one of them on a plate and started easy with little teeny bites to see if anything happened to me. I ate slow, chewing each bite until it was so well masticated that it could easily have come fresh from a really good blender. Suitable for ingestion by someone with no teeth.

I’ve got to admit that it wasn’t all that satisfying. It took me a while to figure out that it was probably the dried onion I used in lieu of the seasoned salt I normally use which was still at home on a shelf in the kitchen.

Diane’s words about e-coli started rolling around in my head about the time I got half-way through the steak. That, and the wrong flavor of the meat, convinced me that I probably shouldn’t be eating any more steak right then. I kind of lost my taste for meat and decided that common sense dictated that cease and bow to my bride’s superior knowledge about such things.

Then the wait began. I figured it wouldn’t take long for the stomach cramps to begin and was torn between calling an ambulance right away, or just wait for the pain to begin. I decided to wait. I waited for 3 days and nothing happened.

Apparently I’m immune to e-coli, or whatever else could be wrong with meat that should have been totally spoiled due to lack of refrigeration.

Yup. I’m immune. It’s been 7 days and I’m going with the option that e-coli normally strikes 3-4 days after exposure.

That part about e-coli taking up to 10 days to make itself known is a myth.

I may have a different story to tell in three days.

My 1,000th Post, or Why my fingers are tired

This is my 1,000th blog entry and I thought I should make it special. In what way, I don’t know, because I don’t consider any of my entries special. They’re just a bunch of words I string together in a manner that I’m still not sure I understand. Sometimes they make sense, sometimes they don’t. It’s a crap shoot. Still, I do it and I wonder why, perhaps like some of you may do. I’m not about offering advice for anything. I just share the mishaps I encounter during a current project that typically lead to some sort of injury to some of my favorite body parts. I constantly receive encouragement to keep writing leading me to believe that those folks enjoy reading about all those times I needed stitches. Or, maybe it’s because I have this one particular finger that’s had a total of 25 stitches for three different wounds over the course of the last 55 years. It’s true, and all three wounds were in close enough proximity that the resulting scars intersect. It’s evident that this finger, my left pointer, is poking around in the wrong places when it shouldn’t be.

Having people suggest that I keep producing this stuff makes me feel obligated to do so and also makes me suspect that I’m filling a need for them to be entertained. I’m OK with all of that. Sometimes I do stupid things on purpose just to see what happens. According to my wife, Diane, it’s not a proper way for a 73-year-old to conduct himself. Not healthy, either. But you know what? It’s kinda fun so I ‘spect I’ll keep going a while.

Last Friday I visited some of our Winnebago friends who came to spend a few days in St. Helens at the Elks Club. In case you don’t know, most Elks Clubs all over the US have hook ups for RVs and Camp Trailers that don’t cost much. No sewer in St. Helens, but there’s water and electricity for $15 a night. Plus, you’re parked next to a restaurant and bar that’s just a short walk away. Friday was pot luck night for the campers, however, so I represented me and Diane for the BBQ hamburger meal. Diane didn’t go.

Well, she went, actually. She went a lot because she and our daughter, Jennifer, spent the day together doing girl stuff which included lunch at a local restaurant. The food is generally good, as it was on Friday, I’m told, but both of them encountered some sort of bug that acted suspiciously like norovirus. Consequently, when the girls got home to their respective habitats, they went, and went, and went, without going anywhere except the bathroom. All the while that was going on I was sitting with our friends enjoying my hamburger, beans, and potato salad. I believe I got the better deal.

By the time I got home, Diane was much better but wouldn’t be full speed until Saturday. She communicated with the girls and the decision was made for all of them to come to our house for early dinner on Saturday. It, too, was a bit of pot luck which is always great because of the variety you get. For our part, Diane dug around in the refrigerator and found some hamburger that still smelled OK and decided to make meatloaf. For those who shun beef she went to either Safeway, or Fred Meyer’s, for some dead chicken parts they cook. I like their dead chicken. Actually, I like anyone’s dead chicken. It’s very tasty.

Now, I have to clarify here that I specify ‘dead’ chicken because we all know that there are many chickens out there that aren’t dead. Like those that live in our neighbor’s back yard. I need to make that point because I’m not a fan of live chickens but I’m not the kind of person who would go out of their way to make them more likable to my way of thinking without just cause. At this point in time the resident rooster is pushing the limit. Some of the hens are apparently special kinds because the feathers stick straight out from their scrawny necks looking as if someone has grabbed them by the feet, wrapped their hand around their neck, and apparently tried to stretch them a bit. Kinda like this …

Kinda weird, right? Now, the rooster of this little flock doesn’t have a robust crowing ability, as you might imagine. He crows in a feeble way like he’s on his last leg. So, that’s kinda like entertainment for me.

Our Winnebago Friend Gathering (WFG) this time of year is normally held at the fair grounds in Hood River. That plan was nixed when some idiot child tossed a firecracker in a ditch and started the Eagle Creek Fire and burned up over 30,000 acres of prime timber along the Columbia River. There was grave danger that the Multnomah Falls Lodge would burn but the fire fighters kept the flames away.The freeway, I-84, was closed and remains closed because of the fear of trees falling on the road once the rain starts. Because of that, the Winnebagos came our direction instead.

For our dinner, I chose to use our china, crystal, and silverware because it needs to be used. I set the table so I used pretty much all the silver so folks had enough tools to choose from for the items they were eating. No one complained and everyone had a good time.

You’ll notice that Diane isn’t in the photo. That’s because she rarely sits down during meals like this. Instead, she always up getting one thing or another like most hostesses I know. In the photo, left to right, are: Susan, Cliff, John, Less, Sophia, Terry, and Carolann. That’s me in the middle, with the big head.

This is everyone. I apologize for not getting a better photo of Diane, and I will surely hear about this one, but it’s what I got. I think she was sharing, during group discussion, how her day went on Friday. I love my wife. Mainly what we were doing in this formation, was watching the news of Hurricane Irma and how the weather was affecting folks in Florida. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Florida and Texas are drowning while Oregon and Washington burn.

Here’s a better photo of Diane …

It’s always fun to watch the news people during disastrous events like the floods because they encourage all the residents to evacuate then news teams go in and stand in the flood so they can get their pictures taken. It’s even more fun when the wind is blowing over 100 mph. Gotta wonder what motivates those people. Why do they feel the need to put their people in danger to show the masses what a stiff wind, filled with pelting rain, will do to unsuspecting people. Maybe it’s some sort of punishment for low performers. This only happens for water related events. Apparently the news people are smart enough to NOT show up at a forest fire and demonstrate the dangers related to them. Nope, that’s when they shift to one of those protest rallys that seem to pop up that don’t seem to have a valid point. The most recent one in Portland, today, was the Anti-White Nationalist Rally. I guess it was just a matter of time before something like that jumped out of the ground, huh? For those of you who don’t live in the Portland area, here’s a Protest Rally Schedule of events across the country that may interest you. If you attend any of them, we expect you to report back with information about what you learned at whatever rally you attend.

OK, now that I’ve actually put that rally list out there, I think, Really?! There’s a web site for protest rallys? I guess those folks who don’t have anything productive to do on any given day need guidance, and this is it.

Now it’s getting late. Ziva was happy when folks went home so she could reclaim her spot on the couch. She loved our visitors, but they were sitting on her couch.

Goofy dog.

Oh, ya! It rained Saturday night. Just enough to put a very slight green tinge on our brown yard. First rain in about 3 months.

I hope everyone had a safe weekend. Now, get back to work. I need my Social Security Check.

Thanks

Eclipse Survivors, and Broken Body Parts

Just when Diane thought it was safe to go outside again, news of other Cate wives breaking bones started coming in. At this point in time we’re up to 4 – three arms and a foot, so far. Since Diane was the first to wreck herself, I suppose that kinda makes her a winner of sorts. Three of the breakee’s are wives to we three brothers and the fourth is the wife of a close cousin who is, essentially, a brother. Just before beginning this, I warned the one remaining sister-in-law about this apparently new tradition in our lives hoping that she might escape. All she needs to do is just sit quietly and have others wait on her hand and foot for the next 3 months and she should be safe. The problem with that, however, is that there’s no way she is going to sit quietly for any extended period. She’s just too busy. Getting waited on, I’m sure, she can manage for a long time. Hopefully she’ll see the danger in testing the tradition and be wary of everything.

Taking this a step further, and kind of stepping out on a very flimsy limb (literally), I’ve got to say that the Cate men must be more durable that the women who chose to share out name. Either more durable, or just not clumsy. No, that’s wrong. Can’t use clumsy because if I’m anything it’s clumsy. Really. Not a day goes by where I don’t add a nick or ding to my exterior, some of which require medical intervention to stop the bleeding and ensure I don’t acquire an incurable infection. You can ask Diane and she will totally agree with me. Yes, ask Diane, the one who broke her arm riding her bike.

I shouldn’t talk like that, I suspect, because the arm still bothers her. Mainly, I think, because her doctor told her to use it and to keep doing her PT exercises. She’s doing that. It won’t be long before she will be able to slug me full on with her left hand, but for now she must rely on her right one, holding her punches to ensure she doesn’t endure another injury in a vain attempt to dent this rock-hard body.

She doesn’t actually do that, of course. Just another lie. Also, the only part of me that’s rock hard is my head and she’d never hit me there because it might leave a mark.

On to more fun stuff, like the eclipse. It’s apparent that we survived since I’m sitting here but it was a close call. We got up early on the 21st and drove out to the south jetty of the Siuslaw River but figured we’d never be able to see anything because we could hardly see the road due to the seemingly ever-present coastal fog. For some reason we thought maybe it would go away, but it didn’t. So, we went east on Highway 126 out of Florence until we found a likely spot to park and watch the show. While getting set up a State Trooper stopped by to make sure we were OK and validated our choice for viewing the eclipse. We had Ziva, our dog, but forgot her leash — OK, I forgot her leash — and it was simply pure luck that the Trooper had one he’d found somewhere. He loaned it to us so we would be legal and asked that we just leave it hanging on the guard rail so he could pick it up later. We did that. Nice guy.

We sat there for the entire two-hour event and never once looked at the sun without using our eclipse glasses. Consequently, neither of us went blind. Ziva didn’t either because she’s smart enough to not look directly at the sun for any reason. Only people need to be told stuff like that. We were too far south to enjoy the totality zone, but it was still a good show.

All that made me tired so I’m going to bed now.

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.

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.

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.